Tag Archives: idiocy

Fixin What Ain’t Broke – Voter ID Bill

So yeah, its been a month or so since I’ve posted. Oops.

I don’t really have much of an excuse, except that working full time over break and then starting school has taken a lot out of me. Also, normally I take my politics break over winter break, (there’s only so much I can take before I need some time off and this election cycle was rather insane), and didn’t do so this time. So I’ve been a bit out of the loop. Confession: Still have not watched/listened to/read the State of the Union address. That’s how bad it is. At least I’m still Tweeting.

I’d like to focus on something a little closer to home than national politics today. Shocking, I know! Instead, I want to focus on Wisconsin Attorney General Van Hollen’s proposed Voter ID bill.

To give you some background: This bill is intended to cut down on Wisconsin voter fraud. An admirable goal, for sure. For example, in the 2008 election, there was a huge stink over ACORN in the US and other smaller pieces of fraud in Wisconsin. But in reality, according to a study from Van Hollen’s office, there were only 18 fraudulent votes out of all 3 million votes cast in the state. Big deal? Maybe, but not huge.

So before we beg  the question of whether this bill is necessary at all, here’s how he wants to do it: by requiring all users to show a photo ID before being allowed to vote. And not just any photo ID, but only drivers licenses, state IDs and military IDs.  For example, UW students could no longer use their UW identification cards along with proof of a current address to vote.

Now, we all already know that getting voters to the polls is a problem. If you’re poor, you’re less likely to vote. If you’re a minority, you’re less likely to vote. If you’re young, you’re less likely to vote. If you’re too old, you’re less likely to vote. If you’re disabled, you’re less likely to vote. Less than half of the people in Wisconsin voted in the 2008 election, and even less in the 2010 midterms. So now, all of a sudden, if you decide, “Hey, I might go vote today!” but you’ve been too poor to get a state ID, you can’t.  If you’re a student from out of state and your license hasn’t been switched over, you can’t vote. If you’re elderly and don’t have a license anymore because you don’t drive, you can’t vote. And if you don’t live close to a DMV or work during business hours? You’re SOL.

One Wisconsin Now keeps pointing out the problem, as does the Government Accountability Board.

See the problem?

But it gets even more confusing. According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, to make sure this doesn’t amount to a poll tax, state IDs will no longer cost money. But wait, you say, isn’t there a budget deficit? Doesn’t even that small amount of money help the state? Well, yes, yes it does. Thanks for noting that. You forgot to mention cost of training for state employees to learn the new rules, training for everyone else to make sure it’s enforced, and special exceptions for students, elderly, etc.

In fact, according to the Sentinel, in 2009 this was estimated to have an annual 2.9 million dollar price tag. That’s not counting the training costs (estimated at 2 million by the Government Accountability Board), the loss of DMV revenue, or anything else. That’s just the cost of the program itself.

So while I know the Republicans are trying to put some trust back into the political system, I don’t see how this is going to help. You know that saying, if it’s broke, don’t fix it? Here’s another, if it’s broken, don’t spend money to make it worse.


“We all just want a catfight.”

So this morning, for the sake of this blog and being better informed and all that good jazz, I once again attempted to watch the national morning news. I thought maybe, seeing as it’s been months since I watched anything other than Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, that maybe my memory deceived me. (For the record, CNN is boring, FOX News makes me sick to my stomach, and I pay enough for cable without shelling out extra for the BBC, so MSNBC seems my only option.)

I gave it a good effort. But 25 minutes was all I could handle before switching it off. Here’s why.

Meghan McCain, the marriage equality supporting member of the John McCain family (she posed for a  set of NoH8 ads earlier this year), recently released a book called “Dirty Sexy Politics.” DSP chronicles her thoughts on her father’s failed presidential bid in 2008, and does a decent bit of Palin bashing, according to MSNBC. In an article from 8/31/10, MSNBC states that Meghan called Palin a ticking time-bomb, waiting to explode the campaign.

However, she also said some pretty nice things about Palin, things about her and her family being “nice and down-to-Earth.”

Anyway, on The Today Show, Meghan said her first thoughts about Palin were “Who the hell is Sarah Palin?” Which, to be honest, was pretty much everyone’s first thought. Did you know who this Palin woman was? I sure didn’t. (You can watch clips and read about it in the Post here.)

So MSNBC, instead of taking that at face value, called in one of their various “political experts” (at the time of writing I can’t find her name, but I assume there will be a Youtube clip soon) and asked her what she thought of Meghan McCain talking about how she didn’t know Sarah Palin.

And the first words out of this expert’s mouth were “Well, we all just want a catfight. America loves catfights. We love seeing two well-dressed, beautiful women go at it on television.” She then went on to suggest McCain and Palin should wrestle in a hot tub, because America would love it.

Swear to God.

HOW IS THAT ANALYSIS? Oh, also, the book doesn’t have enough sex or dirt in it. (How dare a woman whose father works in politics not wreck his name and his campaign in the most revealing book ever?) But…the expert had only done a ‘Washington read,’ meaning all she’d done was skim various sections looking for proper names. So, we can’t really take her word on that either.

Thank you MSNBC for proving again why I don’t watch television news.

Oh, also, in a beautiful twist of fate, Snooki from Jersey Shore goes to court today after being charged with being too annoying for anyone to deal with anymore. No, really. Criminally annoying is a charge. Check it out here.