Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Circling the Drain
Here's something so stupid it causes me actual physical pain just thinking about the combination of synapses in the human brain that must fire to make a person think this is sensible: Infertility is an unhealthy situation. Because contraceptives cause infertility, they are unhealthy. Therefore, the state has a compelling interest in banning contraceptives to promote women's health.

Amanda and her readers at Pandagon do a nice job of demolishing the argument, showing that if contraception is somehow contradictory to "nature," so are cold medication, chemotherapy, and marriage. But the fact that somebody even has to rebut such a stone stupid argument indicates how speedily our society is circling the drain.

Lots of blogs are talking about the appointment of Fox talking head Tony Snow as White House Press Secretary. Best comment I've seen came from a reader at Political Animal, who suggested that the appointment is aimed straight at the Repug base. Since the 32 percent of Americans who still support He Who Shall Not Be Named are probably mainlining Fox News 18 to 20 hours a day, the Snow appointment is a message to them and to their wavering brethren that He Who is still their man, and they need to stick with him in November.

But neither of those is the big story of the day. Nope. Here in Wisconsin, our long statewide nightmare is over: Brett Favre has announced he will return for another season quarterbacking the Packers.

Favre has dithered over the decision since early January, but finally made up his mind yesterday. The great Canadian philosopher Geddy Lee once said, "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice." By taking four months to make up his mind, Favre told us a lot. He made it pretty clear that he wouldn't mind getting out of Green Bay by saying he felt like he could still play at a high level but wanted to be sure the Packers would be contenders before he made up his mind. So I wonder how committed he is to being in Green Bay at all. Even though he's saying this will be his last year, if he has an average season statistically by his standards (regardless of the Packers' eventual record), I am pretty sure he'll want to play somewhere else in 2007.

I have no empirical evidence for it, but I have a feeling that Favre has burned substantial goodwill among fans by jerking the team around all winter. My hope is that the second or third time he makes one of the stupid mistakes that helped ruin the 2005 season, he'll get booed. Last season, a quarterback who played as poorly as Favre did would have been benched, but Favre's legendary status kept him in the games beyond all rationality. That shouldn't happen this year. If the guy shows he can't play, he should sit, whether he's a Hall of Famer or not. It isn't like we have to worry about keeping him happy, which was why he played last year when he didn't deserve to.

Nobody's quite sure what Favre's seen recently that makes him think the Packers will be contenders in 2006. Only the most blindly optimistic, kool-aid drunk fans (32 percent, maybe?) believe they will be. So Favre should be on a mighty short leash this year. We've gone 4-and-12 with him, and we can go 4-and-12 without him.

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