A – what else? – university professor claims that honky can’t help but mass murder.
For decades – like, four or five of them – the old municipal shooting range in Jamestown North Dakota was where people went to plink, to practice their skeet, or to polish their aim or, in my case thirty years ago this summer, learn how to shoot.
Now, when we say “Municipal Range”, that may conjure up images of grandeur. Or civilizaation. Not so with the Jamestown range, located by the Pipestem Reservoir, about seven miles north of town on US 281. There was a firing line with a couple of rough wooden stands and a log hot line. There were some target stands downrange, and, 300 or so yards out, a big berm that someone had bulldozed into place.
And for decades, it sufficed; most people followed the rules, because someone would teach them. One of my friends from the neighborhood, an Air Force veteran of sorts, hauled me out there when I was 22, lugging my Remington Nylon 66 that I’d just bought with my returned dorm key deposit ($50 at Gun and Reel Sports), and showed me the unbreakable rules, and started me plinking.
Some didn’t have the same benefit, or just lacked common sense; when we were downrange setting our targets once, a couple of moron kids with a 20-gauge shotgun started popping off at clay pigeons. They were off on the right side of the range, away from the rest of us (me and a couple of other guys who were off to my left, and also downrange with me). Yes, I remember what birdshot sounds like passing by 20 yards away from me. I also remember the sound of the guy who’d been to my left, apparently a service veteran, barreling across the field yelling like all the hounds of hell turned loose on the kid with the shotgun, who I’m going to bet has never made that mistake again.
And there the range sat, decade after decade, without any problems – until now:
Shooting sports enthusiasts will be without a range to shoot here after July 1. Bob Martin, manager of Pipestem Dam for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the rifle range located west of the dam will close on that date due to safety issues.
“The safety concerns started popping up eight years ago,” he said. “There have been additional buildings adjacent to the down-range area. Outbuildings there have three or four (bullet) holes in them”
Larry Kukla, secretary of the Jamestown United Sportsmen, said it was unfortunate the range had to close.
“It is a sad day, but for safety reasons we have to close the range,” he said.
Kukla – father of a classmate and a former teaching colleague of my dad’s – and his group did all the caretaking on the range for years and years. Which is how a lot of stuff got done back there; local groups taking care of things of local interest, without much need for governement.
But always, always, there’s gotta be idiots; even though they adjusted the range, nearby buildings and even the range’s safety signs kept turning up with bullet holes:
“Between careless, inexperienced and just being stupid,” Martin said, referring to the source or sources of the stray bullets. “If you are shooting at the proper targets, it’s impossible to shoot off the range. But you know they’re not just shooting at the targets by looking at the (damaged) signs.”
And so America’s real one percent – the one percent of people who can’t be trusted to use a public toilet without smearing something on the wall – as ruined everything for everyone else, yet again.
It’s July 1.
And Mark Dayton, amazingly, is still “in office”.
And that means my entry in the Dayton Retirement Pool is officially out of the running.
Best of luck to the rest of you.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
I overheard a young woman in the building talking on the phone in the break-room. She’s stressed out today. She thought she was current on her debt consolidation loan but the bank claims she’s been a month behind for ages. Out of every $60 payment she makes, $40 goes to interest and $15 to late fees which means the principal has hardly been touched. She and her live-in boyfriend have no more available credit and can’t get caught up because neither of them have an extra $60 that isn’t already promised to someone else.
I remember those days, when my family was young and struggling, when $60 was not a modest dinner at Red Lobster but an insurmountable obstacle. Seems like a lifetime ago. I suppose everybody must go through it – no other way to learn sacrifice, delayed gratification, habits of thrift.
Unless you’re a politician. Then you just spend whatever you like on whatever you want. Must be nice.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, the vultures at the Brady Institute for Gun Grabbing filed a large, punitive lawsuit against Lucky Gunner, an ammunition vendor where Adam Lanza apparently purchased his ammunition.
The courts threw out the suit with prejudice, ordering Brady to pay over $111,000 in court and legal costs to Lucky Gunner.
Lucky Gunner is donating the entire cash award to gun rights organizations around the country – depending on their vote totals in a national poll.
And the good folks at the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance would deeply appreciate as many votes as they can get.
Sometime today, check out Walter Hudson’s “Fighting Words” podcast. I’m appearing on the show, along with Senator Brandon Petersen, talking about the “Liberty Minnesota” legislative scorecard. I’m speaking in the dissent. Sort of.
We’ll come back to that.
First Things First: Kudos to “Liberty Minnesota” for doing what too many “liberty” groups won’t; at least starting to get its hands dirty in the world of policy and legislative process. Too many “liberty” groups, or at least too many “liberty” people, seem to think that sitting respendently above the fray snarking at activists to “Vote Harder!” and “Hey, how’s changing the party from the inside going for you?” with knowing, clubby chuckles amongst their fellow echo-chamberites is striking a blow for liberty.
So credit to Liberty Minnesota for doing the scorecard.
Now, the criticisms of the scorecard basically broke down as follows:
- The final tabulation showed that Republicans and Democrats were tied at 33%.
- The selected votes were cherry-picked to make Republicans look bad and Democrats look…not as bad as they are.
- The selected votes were naive and betrayed a certain innocence about politics.
Let’s address each of them.
How’s That Again?: Now, to be fair, the first comparison may be more properly leveled at some of “Liberty MN”‘s “liberty” supporters, who promptly took to social media and said “Look! We were right! There really is no difference between Republicans and Democrats!” and, in one particularly absurd factoid, “Tara Mack is worse for liberty than Phyllis Kahn”.
And my observation – and it’s only a personal observation – is that “Liberty MN” is pretty diligent about documenting and castigating Republican shortfalls on liberty issues, while glossing over the DFL’s crimes pretty lightly. Again, it’s a personal observation.
Still, to the best of my knowledge, that’s not the line Liberty MN has taken in re the scorecard.
But even using “Liberty MN’s” numbers exactly as they are, from their scorecard (manually transposed to a spreadsheet), it’s not quite so close (while allowing that there might be some frictional errors from my manual transcription of numbers):
- Entire Legislature: Republicans 39% – Democrats 28%
- Senate: Republicans 48% – Democrats 19%
- House: Republicans 36% – Democrats 33% (Either I made an error with the numbers, or Liberty MN did).
Among leadership, by the way, it’s even more lopsided:
- Senate: Dave Hann 65% – Tom Bakk 19%
- House: Kurt Daudt 50% – Paul Thissen 33%
Hemp In, Raw Milk Out: Still – any scorecard that shows the GOP and the DFL tied for “liberty” scores in the House must show us a problem – mustn’t it?
Take a moment to look at the issues that “Liberty MN” scored:
If you read the list, you notice a couple of things. The issues certainly are “liberty” issues, all right; there’s a grab bag of economic, privacy, First, Second and Fourth Amendment, freedom of choice, tax and spending, environmental and other bills.
And at first glance, I observed that…:
Battle Lines: These are not issues that largely break out on partisan lines. Sunday Liquor Sales and the keeping of License Plate Reader data and many, many others among them break down on different lines; religious/union versus liberty, rural versus urban, religious/union versus free-market, Phyllis Kahn versus serious people – very few of the selected issues broke out by party. Which is fine – as the estimable Walter Hudson says, it’s good to measure politicians on liberty issues qua liberty issues.
But it’s certainly not like 2013-2014, when many liberty issues – gun grabs, MNSure, forced daycare and PCA unionization, advancing business taxes and spending – did largely break out on partisan lines.
Still, I could cut the results some slack – except that the results are being used to try to wedge the GOP. But then that’s not really Liberty MN’s fault. What is their fault is the next two bits:
Take Two Freedoms: Not all “Liberty” issues are included. I’m not just talking about the omission of four of the five gun bills, including the Emergency Powers restriction, which struck me as by far the bigger liberty bill (but was also fairly bipartisan).
But you wills scour the “scorecard” in vain for any mention of:
- The gas tax – a crushing attack on economic freedom, especially for the poor. The GOP voted against it; the DFL supported it.
- E-Cigarette regulation – a pointless regulatory assault on a legal, safe product that many are using to quit smoking – which may be the real reason for the assault.
- Mandatory Pre-Kindergarten – perhaps “liberty” people don’t have kids. Maybe they all home school. I don’t know. But I do know that the move to jam more kids into the public schools is not a position libertarians should support, it is a position the DFL supports, it was DFL Governor
Tina Flint-Smith’sDayton’s short list of “Top priorities”, and it was at the very least a politically motivated appropriation and at most an expansion of state indoctrination.
- The battle over the Pollution Control Agency’s Citizen Review Board, which is essentially an appointed, unaccountable group of environmental extremists who have veto power over mining – ergo “economic freedom” in Northern Minnesota
- Any mention of efforts to reduce the power and scope of the Met Council. Granted, none of those measures got anywhere in the Legislature – but then, neither did many of the issues that “Liberty MN” did select, like Phyllis Kahn’s bid to lower the voting age to 18.
- The budget. It certainly grew. The GOP participated in the growth – although they controlled one chamber, and there’s a DFL governor, so the GOP’s power was limited. And let’s be honest; it grew less than in either of the two DFL-controlled sessions; it was the third smallest increase in the past forty years. That’s not ideal, but it’s not chicken feed under the circumstances.
Four of those six are, by my reckoning, fairly vital liberty issues. All of them but the budget were pretty much GOP initiatives. Several were flat-out GOP victories. Including any of them would have changed the voting, especially in the House of Representatives.
Not sure if Liberty Minnesota thinks that’d be a feature or a bug, but I do plan on finding out.
I Wanna Make Some History: So because of the bills selected and, arguably, not selected, you have all sorts of unintentional comedy.
- Alice Hausman, a woman who never met a gun she wouldn’t grab or a private-sector dollar she wouldn’t seize, tied with laissez-faire Tea Party firerand Cindy Pugh.
- Rena Moran, who would jam a single-payer healthcare system down your throat with both of her feet, outscoring Tony Cornish.
- Tax hiking, gun grabbing govenrment power pimp Jim Davnie outscoring Kelly Fenton.
And on, and on, and on.
And so because of this selection of largely nonpartisan bills, The scorecard gives, intentionally or not, the impression that the GOP – a party that his lip service, often very imperfectly, to liberty – it’s basically the same as the DFL, Minnesota’s softcore Socialist party, the party that historically pimps for tax hikes, bloated budgets, high regulation, suburbs subsidizing intercity spending, gun control, The party that opposes school choice and economic development in the iron Range, when a cursory reading of history shows what an absurd Lee that is.
Question: do you think if any votes on the six issues above – all of which had at least as much visibility in the legislature this session as some of the bills “Liberty MN” selected – had been considered, any of those absurdities would have persisted?
Clubbing: Oh, yeah – about the title.
A liberty supporter might say “liberties are liberties – we’re not going to pick and choose between them”.
And in the abstract, and for those of “liberty” groups, that may be perfectly fine.
But do I think the gas tax and mandatory pre-kindergarten or the Met Council affect more liberty for more people than, say, Sunday liquor sales? I certainly do, and I’m going to guess most people do too. Do I think a fourth amendment issue like license plate reader data is more important than a lifestyle issue like lowering the drinking age? I do – and I’m going to guess most people who pay attention to the ongoing decay of the fourth amendment do, as well.
Liberty people may not give weight different liberties. I do – and I think the failure to do so is a critical witness of the sort of scorecard.
I think that especially with as large and broad a swathe of votes as Liberty Minnesota used for their scorecard, they might have done well to break the issues up into categories – Personal Freedom, Economic Freedom, Social Freedom, Limiting Government and the like, and giving sub-ratings to legislators by category. That may be counter to Liberty MN’s purposes; I think it serves Liberty in Minnesota’s purposes.
But To Summarize: Again, I applaud Liberty Minnesota for doing this. I hope it’s a step toward mobilizing some actual political clout on behalf of liberty issues in the legislature, and at election time – something the “liberty movement” in Minnesota has largely avoided so far.
Furthering the Discussion: I’m currently looking forward to having Karl Eggers of “Liberty Minnesota” on my program on July 11 to discuss this. And if you’re reading this, Karl, I just telegraphed my punches. Merry early Christmas.
What is one thing, besides mountains, that Colorado has that Minnesota doesn’t?
Amy Klobuchar giving them the unvarnished facts about her beliefs:
Senator Klobuchar was the first woman elected to represent the State of Minnesota in the U.S. Senate when she took office in 2007. She was interviewed by Walter Issacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute, in one of the first events of the 2015 Aspen Ideas Festival.
“What I will never, ever forget was this one mother who said they were all in the firehouse after the shooting,” [at Sandy Hook] said Klobuchar. “And one by one, the kids would come in from the school. After about a few hours had passed, the parents that were left knew that their kids were never coming back into that firehouse.”
Her story left the entire room quiet, the silence only being punctured by sniffling and crying.
“So when you sit there with those parents and think of the courage that they have and think that the Senate did not have the courage to pass a simple background check bill, it was really the lowest,” said Klobuchar, adding that the possibility that the Senate could do something about gun control would be a step forward.
Hmm. She seemed pretty quiet about background checks in 2012 and 2014…
…here at home, at least.
Here’s the send-off line of Michelle Malkin’s piece on the ill-advised nature of the Pope’s jeremiad against air conditioning:
If the pontiff truly believes “excessive consumption” of modern conveniences is causing evil “climate change,” will he be shutting down and returning the multi-million-dollar system Carrier generously gifted to the Vatican Museums?
If not, I suggest, with all due respect, that Pope Francis do humanity a favor and refrain from blowing any more hot air unless he’s willing to stew in his own.
What is Malkin talking about?
I’ve been saying for years – when you add politics to science, you don’t get scientific politics – you get politicized science.
I can’t see how the same doesn’t go for religion.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Laptop hard drive died, extended warranty sent tech to my house to replace it. Charming Black woman, prompt and efficient but thick accent. She’s from Ethiopia. She said that if you get crosswise with the government, yourproperty can be seized and bureaucrats will harass you, deny you permits, audit you.
I was afraid to ask her – are you talking about Ethiopia, or about being a Conservative in the United States of Obama?
To quote a great American statesperson: what difference does it make at this point?
Music geeks over the weekend noted the passing of Chris Squire, longtime bassist for prog-rock icons Yes.
Now, as I’ve written innumerable times, I really listen to music on two levels; is the music technically adept in some way – singing, instrumental chops, production – and does it grab me in the liver and say “this song is something important to you”.
Much Noise, Signifying…: Speaking for me? Yes – of whom Squire was the only constant member from 1968 through his passing, as the band went through 18 other members over the years – was always plenty of the former, and only rarely any of the latter.
As to the former, the musical talent? It was always the band’s long suit. I, like a lot of guitar players of a certain age, grew up very pleased with myself for nailing the first part of “Roundabout”, and bobbing my head in awe at the rest of the song:
Admit it; if it weren’t for “I’ve Seen Good People” and “Roundabout”, you don’t know the words to the chorus of a single “Yes” song before 1984. It’s not the most ornate Yes song of their first 16 years as a band – they frequently had songs that filled entire 20 minute album sides – and far from their least accessible.
But there’s no doubting the technical chops; Rick Wakeman’s virtuosic but gaseous keyboards, Jon Anderson’s fluid lead singing, and Steve Howe’s technically-impeccable and occasionally-brilliant guitar (why does he always look like he’s getting a prostate exam when he’s playing?).
But Squire’s bass is the most notable thing about the song; from the blazingly ornate yet reliable sixteenth-note runs during the verses, to the off-kilter pulse of the chorus, it’s really brilliant stuff.
Which, of course, made me nod my head and go “yeah, pretty brilliant – now where’s some music I actually feel?”
Worse, Yes committed some terrible crimes against music. Their trite, mawkish cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” deserves a tribunal, somewhere:
It was the first time I had actually felt some emotion besides admiration for their technical chops when listening to a Yes song. In this case, it was unbridled hatred for murdering a great song.
But it wasn’t the last.
So – wanna start an argument with a “Yes” fan? Tell him you didn’t hear a “Yes” song that you actually enjoyed until “Owner of a Lonely Heart”:
The band shed Howe (who went to join the dull as dry toast “GTR” for a few years) and added South African guitar whiz Trevor Rabin. They also did three albums in a row produced by Trevor Rabin, the former lead singer of “Buggles” (“Video Killed the Radio Star”), who’d sung lead for Yes for a year before becoming one of the defining producers of the 1980s.
And again – underneath Rabin’s guitar and Wakeman’s un-Wakeman-y keyboards, Squire’s bass is absolutely subtle and ingenious.
The best way to get an old-school “Yes” fan to try to assassinate you is to say you prefer the song to their earlier work. But I do. Far and away. Assassinate me? Bring it.
No Respect: I wasn’t the only one who didn’t much care for Yes. The Rock and Roll hall of fame has been cool to them:
In February 2013, Rolling Stone spoke to Squire about Yes’ legacy and the fact that Rush, but not Yes, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Logistically, it’s probably difficult for whoever the committee is to bring in Yes,” Squire said. “Rush is fairly simple. It’s the same three guys and always has been. They deserve to be there, no doubt about that. But there still seems to be a certain bias towards early-Seventies prog rock bands like Yes and King Crimson… In our case, we’re on our 18th member. If we ever do get inducted, it would be only fair to have all the members, old and new. So that may be a problem for the committee. I don’t know.”
Of course, the Hall of Fame – for whatever it’s worth, which is really not much – is dominated by critics. And critics have always savaged the band, except for their brief flirtation with New Wave during the Rabin years. Dave Marsh wrote in the 1983 Rolling Stone Record Buyer’s Guide:
Classical rockers with hearts of cold, Yes entered the Seventies as a creative example of post-Pepper‘s artistic aspirations, a musicianly alternative to the growing metal monster rock was becoming. It left the decade as perhaps the epitome of uninvolved, pretentious and decidedly nonprogressive music, so flaccid and conservative that it became the symbol of uncaring platinum success, spawning more stylistic opponents than adherents. … On Tales from Topographic Oceans, the bottom fell out …
Now, I had that particular Record Buyer’s Guide. And I was as “rockist” as Marsh, who is most famous as the definitive biographer of The Who and Springsteen, and who has always compared all rock and roll to the MC5, and always will.
At it was via watching rock critics’ treatment of Yes during its various stylistic gyrations in the eighties – especially Marsh, my favorite as a teenager, and the single most promiscuous mixer of art and politics in the English language – that I finally realized something; that the real gaseous, bloated, self-important, pretentious, overblown, in-love-with-the-sounds-of-their-precious-creativity ones…
…are the rock critics.
RIP Chris Squire,
I thought this was both appropriate and daunting:
“We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”
— George Orwell
These days, it’s the only duty we’re going to have time to do.
Let’s say, hypothetically, that you want to join a gun rights group.
Let’s say that you don’t read this blog – or worse, you read it, but don’t take it seriously. So you don’t know, or haven’t taken seriously, the news that the group “Minnesota Gun Rights”, is basically a Potemkin fundraising front the transfers money from Minnesota to Iowa, and spends a bare minimum of it on Minnesota political campaigning.
You send in your hard-earned money.
“These are the people that we report to – not a boss 1,000 miles away who doesn’t understand Iowa and what Iowans want”.
That may be the most hilariously ironic slip of all this group’s hilariously ironic slips.
If you were this fictional person, who might now be wondering “hey, maybe there’s a point to all the things that people’ve been saying about Minnesota Gun Rights“, you might follow up by asking the people looking out for your
Iowegian Minnesotan gun rights a few questions:
- What “backroom deals” are you referring to, and what specifically was wrong with them? What rights did they cost me, or anyone, in
- Precisely what “bribes” are you referring to? That sounds pretty serious, so please be very specific.
- What rights have existing groups – the NRA, GOCRA and others – “bargained away”? Again, since I’m a concerned shooter, this sounds really serious. Please be very, totally, utterly specific.
Let me know if you hear back from them.
Wherever you live.
John Hinderaker, at Power Line, asks the question that has been completely absent from the major media’s/far left’s (pardon the redundancy) celebration of Friday’s 5-4gay marriage ruling:
What would you think if the Court had decided the opposite? That is, if the Court had held that same sex marriage is unconstitutional, so that all state laws approving such unions are void, and all court decisions establishing same sex marriage are overruled. Would you then think it appropriate for “five lawyers,” as Chief Justice Roberts put it, to remove this issue from the democratic process and purport to resolve it by judicial fiat?
I am pretty sure you wouldn’t. I am pretty sure that in the face of such a ruling, you would howl with outrage and insist that the issue of same sex marriage be determined by democratic processes.
The Supreme Court, due process, and separation of powers are wonderful things or obsolescent white elephants that need to be repealed, depending on whether the Supreme Court is ruling on gay rights, gun rights, abortion-rights or speech rationing.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
The first time around, the Supreme Court said “Congress claims Obamacare is not a tax but if that were true, the act would be unconstitutional because Congress has no power to force people to buy stuff they don’t want. But Congress could have made it a tax and if they had, the act would be a perfectly valid exercise of its power to lay and collect taxes. So we’re going to pretend Congress made it a tax and therefore, it’s fine.”
This time around, the Supreme Court said “Congress said people in state exchanges don’t get a subsidy but if that were true, giving them subsidies would be illegal. But Congress could have said people in state exchanges get a subsidy and if they had, giving them a subsidy would be perfectly legal. So we’re going to pretend Congress gave subsidies to people in a ‘state or federal exchange’ and therefore, it’s okay.”
Even if the Supreme Court has the power of Judicial Review, I’m not at all convinced it has the power of Legislative Repair. This is blatant judicial activism. And there’s no pretending otherwise.
I’m not sure that the Supremes much care what we think anymore.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
I’m working my way through two inches of abstract of title to a parcel of real estate, preparing to write an Attorney’s Opinion on Title, while listening to “Truckin” by the Grateful Dead. Enjoying my job today, the music is a big part of it.
What do other SITD readers listen to?
The last ten songs on my rotation:
- “Take It Inside”, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes
- “It’s All I Can Do”, Cars
- “Lonely Road of Faith”, Kid Rock
- “It’s Not Over”, Allison Krause w/Mark Chesnutt
- “No Mercy”, Nils Lofgren
- “The Closer”, Marah
- “Mama Said”, Metallica
- “Beautiful Girl”, INXS
- “Sign O The Times”, Prince
- “The Rising of the Moon”, The Clancy Brothers
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Chief Justice Roberts says there’s an ambiguity in the Obama-Care Act: the limited definition of State Exchange and the broad requirement to subsidize qualified individuals means we can’t tell what Congress intended.
I don’t practice in federal court, maybe their rules are different. Here in Minnesota, if a Court finds the statutory language ambiguous, it looks to the intent of the legislation as articulated in testimony to the Legislature at the time of enactment. Conservative media has extensively reported on Obama-care architect Jonathan Gruber’s testimony that participants in federal exchanges were not intended to receive subsidies, only qualified individuals in state exchanges were meant to receive subsidies. That testimony wasn’t found to be dispositive; indeed, Gruber’s name does not appear anywhere in any of the opinions.
The Court said it didn’t know what the law was intended to do, then ignored the testimony of the guy who wrote the law, explaining what the law was intended to do. The only explanation for that behavior is the Court simply substituted its own preferences for those of Congress and re-wrote the law from the bench.
That’s judicial activism and once it happens, there is no further appeal. That’s why some Constitutional scholars doubt the Founders intended the Court to have the power of judicial review at all – it upsets the balance of powers and puts the Supreme Court in a position to act as unelected and unaccountable Supreme Legislators whenever the court feels like it. That’s completely antithetical to the carefully constructed powers the Founders gave each branch. And again today, we see the wisdom of their plan.
Today’s big question: how do you reform a body that can declare reforms unconstitutional?
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Black people in South Carolina were shot. A bar in St. Paul displays a Confederate Battle flag. Matthew Steen is upset enough to write to City Pages and also to Yelp.
Our Boy Steen’s “logic” confuses me.
The bar owner didn’t shoot those people. The bar owner’s flag didn’t shoot them. Nobody who ever went into the bar and saw the flag, shot them. If the flag had never been in the bar, they’d still have been shot. If the bar owner pulled the flag down today, they’d remain shot.
So what’s the point?
The Battle Flag is a symbol of hatred? Even if that were true, so what? Are we suggesting that if nobody displayed the flag, there’d be no hatred so nobody would get shot ever again?
The Battle Flag is a symbol of the Confederacy, an extinct nation with offensive practices? Even if that were true, so what? The swastika is a symbol of Nazi Germany, the hammer and cycle is a symbol of the Soviet Union and the rainbow flag is a symbol of Sodom, all extinct nations with offensive practices. Forbidding those flags’ display cannot change the historical fact of those nations’ existence.
Looks to me like a case of moral preening. Enlightened Matthew from Eden Prairie is so well educated, so well mannered, so superbly refined that he simply can’t bear to be in the same room with such crass, ignorant people and their crass, ignorant decor. And it’s important to him that we all know it. Because he’s just that special.
Wow. And people think I’m a conceited ass.
Words have meanings, and so do symbols. I can see avoiding a place festooned with swastikas on the principle of it all.
The self-righteous snit is, of course, the part we’re discussing.
OK, not “discussing” so much as “mocking”.
Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – is on the air! I will be on from 1-3PM today!
Today on the show,
- What else? The SCOTUS on gay marriage
- The Liberty MN Legislative Scorecard, and the danger of scorecards
Don’t forget – King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1570, and Brad Carlson has “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 1-3PM.
So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:
- AM1280 in the Metro
- Streaming at AM1280’s Website
- Streaming on IHeartRadio
- On Twitter (the Volume 2 show will use hashtag #narn2)
- Via my UStream video and chat channel.
- Send us an SMS text message – 651-243-0390
- Good ol’ telephone – 651-289-4488
- Podcasts are now available; for my show and for Brad’s
- And make sure you fan us on our new Facebook page!
On the one hand, I think marriage has existed in its “traditional form” – guy/s and gal/s raising the kids – for thousands of years for pretty significant reason.
On the other hand, in a secular society, sure – let same-sex couples get together, sign a contract, and call it whatever they want. (
On the other other hand, if I ever do get married again, I am not going to bother with a state license. Still – I am not the most violent opponent of gay marriage; I barely support straight marriage, to be honest.
Up ’til yesterday, the thing that bothered me most about the gay marriage “debate” was that it wasn’t a debate; it was a growing minority browbeating the rest of society into submission. If I had a buck for every time I heard “If you don’t support gay marriage for whatever reason, you’re a bigot”, I wouldn’t need to work for a living. (That, and the fallacy that marriage is “about love”).
But today is another day.
The SCOTUS decision is awful – and it would be awful even if it proclaimed a right to keep and bear machine guns, or something else I support without reservation.
Gary Miller put it better on his Facebook page – and since most of you can’t see that, I’m going to pull the money quote:
There is…no right to homosexual marriage in the 14th Amendment or hiding under any magical penumbra thereof. In fact, there is no right to heterosexual marriage enshrined in the Constitution. The document is entirely silent on the matter and, as such, it should have been left to the 13 remaining states to have been shamed into the truth or – alternatively – to govern themselves in a way contrary to the popular zeitgeist and suffer any societal consequences (or benefits as the case may be).
Democracy lost, judicial fiat won, and the culture wars shall continue unabated. Yay, Court.
It’s another step on the path from being a federalist representative republic to a philosopher-kingdom. At best.
The answer, of course, is electing a continuous series of legislatures and Presidents that have the wisdom and cohesion to push back on the Imperial Court. Which seems, today, about as likely as me pitching a called third strike on Torii Hunter.
PS: All you “progressives” who were whinging about the “legitimacy” of the SCOTUS after Citizens United – anything to add?
PPS: The decision says the right to marriage is “fundamental” – which, since it’s not reserved to anyone in the Constitution, is reserved to the states and/or people by the Tenth Amendment. OK, fine…
…but if marriage is an inalienable right, then why isn’t life itself an inalienable right?
Apparently I’m a one-person trigger warning!
A longtime friend of this blog emailed:
I thought you might find this interesting. For the mornings this week, I’m camped out on the second floor of the MacPhail Center for Music, while my kiddo attends a harp class. (I’m hoping she takes an interest in something much less expensive, such as ukulele, for which she has a class in July.)
After a while, kids’ music all sounds the same.
Sometimes I’ve used my cell phone service for an Internet connection, sometimes I use the MacPhail Wi-fi. I just tried to go to SITD, and got this message instead: Redirecting you to Barracuda Web Filter.
I was able to get to National Review and Powerline, so it’s not an anti-conservative thing. I didn’t see any “bans guns on these premises” sign when I have entered, but perhaps “shot” is just too … violent, ya know?
I suspect it’s mostly my music reviews.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
An impressionable young man shoots up a Methodist Church. What new book could have influenced him to believe Methodists were villains, about to take over his city?
Sorry to say, that occurred to me.
The Tea Party and me go way back.
In 2009 and 2010, I spoke at a couple of the big Tea Party rallies, including the big Tax Day 2010 rally at the Capitol, as well as more in other, smaller locales.
At the time, the Tea Party was a fairly organic thing; lots of little groups of people, angry about Obamacare and taxes and immigration and gun control and the general sense that Obama was going to sap the bejeebers out of whatever liberty, economic future and choice we had left.
One of my big memories of my big speech was asking the crowd “How many of you voted Republican in 2008?”. About half the crowd cheered. “How many voted Democrat?” A few people cheered, gingerly. “How many voted Ron Paul?” Many cheered lustily. “How many would rather jab a screwdriver into your skull than vote for Ron Paul?” Other cheered with gusto. “How many of you didn’t care because you hated politics?” Many, many cheered.
What made the Tea Party so fun at the time was that it was that, as I discovered in my speech, it was a little bit of everyone. And it worked; the Tea Party, and its outpouring of energy, was disproportionally responsible for flipping both chambers of the Minnesota House in 2010.
It was the biggest political tent I’d ever seen – because nobody involved knew enough to try to keep anyone out (except, of course, for liberals carrying signs designed to make the Tea Party look bad; we kept them out pretty handily).
The Tea Party – at least a part of the big, decentralized whole, anyway – seems to have unlearned that vital lesson.
Jack Rogers and Jake Duesenberg have built up a pretty big network of Tea Party groups around the metro. The groups involve big monthly meetings, speakers, lots of education…
…and, well, I’m not sure what.
The other day on the Tea Party podcast with Jack Rogers and Jake Duesenberg, they took a run at the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance – one of the most accomplished, successful civil rights groups in the state.
Here’s what they had to say:
To closely paraphrase Duesenberg (it’s the first half of the clip above) – GOCRA does some big things, but they do it by playing the political game with politicians. By doing this, they make incremental improvements, but fail to go for the BIG improvements in gun rights.
I think Duesenberg is trying to compare GOCRA’s approach – he calls it “Access-Based”, which to the non-access-based is a term that means “belonging to the country club” – with some of the more confrontation-based groups, whose model is based more around making a big noise (almost always in front of people who vigorously agree with you). Groups like “Minnesota Gun Rights”, the Iowa-based group we’ve written about in the past, as well as some of the “liberty” groups that focus on building large groups of followers, and then…
…well, we’ll get back to that.
Of course, if you want to focus on confrontation, it helps to show you’re able to go politically medieval on your opponent. For example: while GOCRA certainly can work the “access” angle, they can also bring the political pain; ask the Capitol legislative assistants and receptionists how many phone calls they get when GOCRA puts out a call to their troops to melt the phone lines. The phone lines melt; tens of thousands of calls, emails, letters and visits follow. And behind those calls are votes; when GOCRA decided to confront the outstate DFLers in 2002 on “Shall Issue” carry reform, every single outstate DFLer that’d voted against carry permit reform lost their election. Carry permit reform followed in the next session.
After 25 years of “access-based” lobbying mixed with “kicking opponents asses at the polls”, GOCRA has achieved something any grass-roots group should sit back and study; we’ve got a legislature where the GOP is 100% pro-gun, and where even the DFL is about evenly split, giving pro-gun forces a solid majority. Think how much shooters in Colorado – where the push this past session was led by the “confrontation-based” National Association of Gun Rights, and was a complete fiasco – would like to have such a situation.
And between the combination of access-based influence carrots and “Bring the Pain!” political sticks, GOCRA got a hell of a lot done this session; barring gun confiscations in emergencies, repealing the capitol felony trap, expanding carry permit reciprocity, and bringing Minnesota into line with federal law on Suppressors and purchase of long arms in noncontiguous states. Is there more to do? Absolutely; much of it depends on getting a GOP governor into office.
So what has the Tea Party done lately?
I’m not saying that to needle Jack and Jake; I say let a thousand flowers bloom.
But when you say “GOCRA would like…” to a legislator, they sit up and pay attention – either because they like or respect GOCRA and its leadership, or because they loathe but fear them for what they can do at the polls. And when you’re trying to get policy passed, being liked or feared are equally useful.
So here’s your question: when it comes to influencing votes on policy, do people like and respect the Tea Party (or Jake’s guest, “Liberty Minnesota”, a libertarian group that seems to spend a lot of time riffing on Republicans and, occasionally, obliquely, DFLers) enough to extend themselves on their behalf when it comes to voting on policy?
Or, failing that, do they legitimately fear what the Jack and Jake Brigade is going to do to them at the polls in November?
As someone who was doing the Tea Party before the cool kids were involved, I’d love to see the Tea Party legitimately do all three.
Can anyone honestly say they do?
Because until they do, they’re no better than the Libertarian Party; a bunch of people sitting around a room vigorously agreeing with each other.
Bonus Question: To pick a constitutional liberty out of the ether for an example; how do you think “Constitutional Carry” – changing Minnesota to a “no permit” state, like Vermont, Alaska, Wyoming, Arizona or Kansas – is going to happen:
- Via a judicious combination of carrots and sticks, both during sessions and on the campaign trail, to get the Legislature to pass it, or
- People sitting around in rooms bellowing about how awful it is that it hasn’t been passed yet?