I mostly like my studies and roving reporter gig here at BPI. Yes, I admit to procrastinating my research on 21st Century Political Nuttitude. Yes, I get grumpy when I travel. The faculty senate let me get away with that, probably because voting to do anything about it would require their obligatory six hour debate on whether to take a bathroom break. Regardless, they let me climb up on the campus soapbox and say pretty much whatever is on my mind.

There are limits, of course. I can’t talk about our Denials Department. So I’m not allowed to tell you when the Professor of Astrology Janitor polishes the lighted display case that is not by the hot tub faculty lounge squirrel bath and does not contain the cue ball that was not autographed by the nuns who were not involved in anything that did not happen in Tijuana. If I talked about that, I’d probably get in trouble.

Like Wisconsin state employee Chris Larsen did.

You see, Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature recently passed a voter ID bill. They apparently have a Denials Department too, and theirs says they passed that law to control “voter fraud,” which is virtually nonexistent. The new law has nothing to do with trying to stop poor people and other likely Democrats from voting, their Denials Department insists.

That’s why the new law includes a provision that says you can get a state ID for free. It seems the Twenty-fourth Amendment banned poll taxes, and requiring people to pay for an ID in order to vote would be a poll tax. So offering a free state ID means it’s not about keeping poor people away from the polls. Really.

Of course, Wisconsin’s Denials Department is very clever. You can get a free ID, if you already know about it and check the box, but a Department of Transportations memo instructed DMV employees not to tell people they could get the ID for free. If person coming in for an ID doesn’t check the box, he or she has to pay $28. But that’s all okay because they should know about it from the DOT website or by word of mouth or – take the Denials Department’s word for it – they should find out somehow. Just not from a DMV employee.

Well okay, Chris Larsen thought. How about from a Department of Safety and Professional Services employee? He doesn’t work for the DOT and wasn’t covered by that memo. So he sent this email to other employees in his department:

Do you know someone who votes that does not have a State ID that meets requirements to vote? Tell them they can go to the DMV/DOT and get a free ID card. However they must ask for the free ID. a memo was sent out by the 3rd in command of the DMV/DOT. The memo specifically told the employees at the DMV/DOT not to inform individuals that the ID’s are free. So if the individuals seeking to get the free ID does not ask for a free ID, they will have to pay for it!!


Clearly he doesn’t understand the proper procedure regarding Denials Departments. Not only can those involved not talk about it – like the BPI resident faculty don’t talk about the Tijuana Incident – but no one else can talk about it either. After all, what’s the point of having a Denials Department if someone else comes out and confirms that the Professor of Astrology Janitor uses a diluted ammonia solution to wash the glass of that lighted display case that isn’t … well … I better not say any more. Or I might get fired.

Like Chris Larsen did. Of course the Wisconsin Denials Department won’t say they did that to intimidate other state employees who might be tempted to tell those pesky poor people that they can get free state IDs. They say it was “inappropriate use of official state email,” and that Larsen had a prior record of same. He says he’s never been disciplined before, but I’m sure before all’s not-said and done they will find some note from some boss saying Larsen did something.

Maybe it’s hidden beneath that cue ball that isn’t there. But you didn’t hear that from me.

Good day and good nuts.