Making Politics a Contact Sport: Best Campaign Promise Ever


I’m not sure if this is a real campaign or just a satire on campaign promisies, but here’s an offer which is getting quite a bit of attention. Tania Devereaux, a candidate for Senate in Belgium, is offering to give 40,000 blow jobs. From their web site, “It started with our response to incredible claims that were made by other parties in Belgium, several parties promised new job opportunities in ridiculous amounts. We responded with a parody campaign for which I posed naked and promised our voters 400.000 new jobs.” Michael P.F. van der Galiën is trying to determine the legitimacy of this offer.

The blow jobs can either be physical, with Tania’s party providing transportation world wide, or virtual in Second Life. She offers the virtual blow jobs for those who are married or shy. In addition, “Services for female applicants can only be provided in Second Life if the applicant has the necessary avatar modifications.”

They calculate that fulfilling this promise will take 500 days to tour the world, giving 80 blow jobs a day. In order to keep to this schedule, “each performance can last no longer than 5 minutes, no exceptions will be made under any circumstance.” Other conditions include:

  • applicants must be 18yrs old or above
  • condoms must be used and provided and paid for by the user
  • the user shall not engage in any other form of physical contact
  • any attempt to influence the depth of insertion by the user will
    result in immediate end of service
  • Tania may deny service for hygiene reasons

Requests for blow jobs can be made on line. There’s no word as to whether Bill Clinton has signed up.

Michael Moore’s Controversial Look at Health Care in America

Sicko, Michael Moore’s new film on health care, has been shown at Cannes this week. From initial reports, it sounds like there will aspects of the film which please and displease most viewers. The attacks on heavy handed attempts to control health care decisions by HMO’s will find agreement among many liberals, as well as conservatives who may be unaware of the Republican push for establishing such a system. Moore’s love of the Canadian system will be opposed by conservatives, as well as many liberals.

The most controversial aspect of the movie, which is turning into a tremendous publicity stunt, has been going to Cuba. Moore’s original idea was to take the 9/11 workers to Guantanamo. where “US authorities claimed top medical services had been provided to the inmates.” Moore expected viewers to react by saying, “You are telling me that al-Qaeda are receiving better healthcare than those who suffered and died on 9/11.” When it turned out to be too difficult to get to Guantanamo, Moore went to Cuba instead, leading to investigation by the U.S. government.

Conservatives generally try to shout out any plans to make health care more affordable to businesses and individuals as “socialized medicine.” They are bound to try to blur the distinctions between Moore’s more radical opinions and those of most Democrats. As I previously discussed, none of the Democrats running for President actually support socialized medicine, but Dennis Kucinich comes by far the closest. Even Kucinich doesn’t go far enough for Moore, as he discussed in this interview in Time Magazine:

TIME: Of the declared presidential candidates, down to the Dennis Kucinich level, say, who do you think has the best health-care plan? Including Kucinich? We could include him.

Michael Moore: Then Kucinich, but he doesn’t go far enough. He supports what he’s calling a single-payer nonprofit plan, but from my read, it would still allow [private] entities to control things, as opposed to the government. What’s wrong with the government? The right wing and the G.O.P. have done a wonderful job brainwashing people that government doesn’t work, and then, as Al Franken says, they get elected and proceed to prove the point. [Laughs.]

What we really need is a system where neither big business or the government are making health care decisions. From what I have heard about the movie so far, it may be valuable in bringing more publicity to the failings in our health care system. There remains plenty of room for controversy over the best solutions, with virtually no Republicans, and even a minority of Democrats, likely to agree with Moore on this topic.

Update: One sign that this topic transcends much of the usual left vs. right divide comes from a review at Fox News which calls Sicko a “brilliant and uplifting new documentary” in which Moore shows “a new maturity.”

Update II: The official movie trailer.

Kansas Creationist Running Unopposed For Education Position

Kenneth R. Willard, a Kansas Republican who voted to include teaching intelligent design in science classes, is running unopposed to be President of The National Association of State Boards of Education. His previous opponent for the July election dropped out for personal reasons and nominations are now closed.

Scientists opposed to having a creationist in such a position are urging members to write in Sam Schloemer, who they also helped get on the Ohio board last November when organizing to defeat creationist candidates.

People like Steve Rissing, a professor of biology at Ohio State University who was involved in the state election effort last fall, say they fear that if Mr. Willard is elected, challenges to the teaching of evolution would move to the national board. “Those of us in the trenches say, ‘Oh no, not again,’ ” Professor Rissing said.

Patricia Princehouse, a professor of evolutionary biology at Case Western Reserve University and a leader of the scientists’ efforts, said she hoped there would be many write-in votes. “Whether they decide it counts or not is up to Nasbe,” Professor Princehouse said, using the acronym for the national association. “But people do not have to endorse Willard’s candidacy.”

Supporters of teaching creationism in science classes, such as The Discovery Institute, support his candidacy.

But Kenneth R. Miller, a biology professor at Brown University who testified last year in a lawsuit over an effort to challenge the teaching of evolution in Dover, Pa., said he was “concerned” when he learned a supporter of intelligent design was slated to head the national school board group.

“We are in a nationwide struggle for the integrity of science education,” Professor Miller said, “and any situation that provides an opportunity for the opponents of science education to advance their agenda is a matter of concern.”

Think Progress quotes Willard on teaching intelligent design:

“Any introduction of any criticism of evolution or the consideration of it is a challenge to the blind faith in evolution that some people want to hold.” [PBS, 11/11/05]

“I’m very pleased to be maybe on the front edge of trying to bring some intellectual honesty and integrity to the science classroom rather than asking students to check their questions at the door because it is a challenge to the sanctity of evolution.” [New York Times, 11/9/05]

“”What we’re dealing with here…is a high degree of fear of change.” [Washington Post, 11/9/05]

As The New York Times report states, “There is no credible scientific challenge to the theory of evolution as an explanation for the complexity and diversity of life on earth. Courts have repeatedly ruled that creationism and intelligent design are religious doctrines, not scientific theories.”