People Are Basically Trash

Today would have been Anne Frank’s 90th birthday.  

Erin Blakemore has an excellent article on how the Attic may, or may not, have been discovered by the Nazis and their collaborators.  

And I urge you to read Blakemore’s twitter thread (starting below) about the anger she feels seeing the remarks in Frank’s diary about believing in her heart in the goodness of people are so often ripped out of context today:

If you keep reading, you’ll note that Frank – who wrote that three weeks before the Attic was raided – went on to say she had a harder and harder time believing that. Justifiably so.

The Diary of Anne Frank wasn’t the first book I ever read about the Holocaust – The Black Book, Treblinka and Escape from Sobibor all came first – but it was one of many things that convinced me that the hopey-changey of the left were at best a trifle and at worst bait. It started me down the road toward being a Reagan Conservative, a 2nd Amendment activist, and someone who eschews horror movies. Who needs to watch The Walking Dead – cable TV’s excellent show about the complete collapse of civilization – when it’s all right there in history?

The Strib Is Ilhan Omar’s PR Flack

This hit twitter yesterday; Ilhan Omar’s spin doctor, Ben Goldfarb, caught in the emailed act of trying to fix media and pundit coverage of the perennially-scabrous Ilhan Omar:

Someone should probably reach out to talk off the record and shut it down with him as we do with the Strib“.

Not that this is a mystery to anyone, but it’s still a little jarring to see it in black and white from one of the co-conspirators.

The downside, of course – if the DFL does in fact primary Omar, and manages to replace her (doubtful), they’ll only come up with someone worse.

Where Have You Gone, Learned Foot…

…turns out you were just too far ahead of your time.

Collecting old Kool-Aid packets is big money:

While there’s no real quantifiable way to know just how big this particular community is, the best place to pulse-check their vitality is eBay. A quick search for “Kool-Aid packet” seemed to signal the market is alive and well, returning over 250 active listings, some of which were going for triple-digit asking prices: $400 for a still- sealed case of Pink Swimmingo, $225 for a single packet of Yabba-Dabba-Doo Berry, and $195 for a single packet of one of Kool-Aid’s most beloved flavor mascots, Purplesaurus Rex, just to name a few. A search for recently completed eBay auctions showed a display of 1960s Grape packets being sold for $250 and a single packet of Rock-A-Dile Red closing out at $125. The good stuff don’t come cheap, my friends.

There has simply got to be a way to turn this into a glorious troll of obnoxious foodies.

Institutional Sadists

Back during blogging’s brief heyday, I commented that a few of the “progressive” bloggers that tried to make a sport of getting conservatives fired, doxxed and “othered” were the kinds of people who’d loved pulling the wings off of moths as children. I’ve found little to change that assessment.

It carries on to the insitutional level, according to Dennis Prager in this article about Big Left’s cavorting about the ongoing legal pummeling of Paul Manafort.

Big Left is those moth kids with law degrees.

Paragraph 10

Maybe it’s just me – but I think I sense some backing away going on.

I’m referring to the faint air of “we got dragged into this” in Melissa Hortman’s op-ed about the just-ended legislative session in the Strib.

Remember – in 2018, the DFL wrapped itself around gun control, claiming that the issue flipped the metro, and that “90% of Minnesotans” supported their agenda of Universal Registration and Red Flag Confiscation.

Fast forward to April and May, when Ryan “Uncle Tom” Winkler’s DFL majority didn’t have the votes to bring either to the floor as stand-alone measures – which, if Minnesota were behind the measures by a ratio of 9:1, would be kind of unthinkable.

Fast forward still more, to paragraph 10 of her op-ed – the very last graf about policies discussed during the session, the one before the closing, the graf about the measures that supposedly swept the DFL into power last year.

Smell the distancing:

Beyond our core values of education, health care and economic security, Minnesotans have called on legislators to make communities safer by addressing the epidemic of gun violence. Republicans have said “no” to common-sense gun violence prevention measures that have become law in Republican-led states — criminal background checks for all gun sales and red-flag laws to prevent people who have indicated an intent to cause harm from possessing firearms until the danger has passed. These measures would save lives. DFLers will continue efforts to enact these provisions into law.

Catch that? “Minnesotans called…”. “Republicans said no”.

As if Hortman is saying “don’t look at us! MInnesotans asked for it, and the GOP said no! We are just simple vessels of others’ will!”. Of course, they get so much money from Michael Bloomberg that they have to keep making with the hopey-changey.

But – and it could be just me – it doesn’t sound like her heart is in it.

One could almost say you can detect the faint aroma of that albatross around their neck starting to go bad.

Great Job, Saint Paul

The steady trickle of Saint Paul traditions being extinguished by taxes and roaming teams of weasel lawyers and pet plaintiffs continues. The original Snuffy’s is next:

[Snuff’s marketing director Dana] Bach said the decision to close was based on a combination of factors: a rent increase, property tax increases and ADA compliance issues. “It’s making it tough for us to continue operating at this location,” she said.

Of course, Snuffy’s continues to operate elsewhere – Edina, Minnetonka and Bloomington.

But then, that’s the point. Like Saint Paul eateries, old and new, pretty much anyplace is a greener pasture, these days.

Throne Of Games

The media and the political establishment plays checkers. It’s a perfectly honorable game, with well-established rules that haven’t changed in generations. There’s only one way to play checkers.

Trump plays…

… Well, not chess. To say that would be to claim he plays a similar, more sophisticated game than the establishment and media.

Trump plays poker. He may play it well, he may not, it may vary from hand to hand in situation to situation. He may bluff while holding fours over deuces with all the grace of a German jazz band, and he may drop a straight flush on you while you’re doing the “I’ve got a full house!” dance…

… but whether he’s playing it well or like an amateur after 12 cocktails, it’s a completely different game, with different rules, goals and expectations, than checkers. .

And the media – or at least the “elite“ media that the establishment does business with – Watch his hand after hand of poker, good or bad, and keeps yapping about how bad Trump is at checkers, and how much better off we’d all be if he played checkers as well as Andrea Merkel does…

March Of The Strawmen

Over the weekened, I listened to “It’s Been a Minute” with Sam Sanders – one of NPR’s many mad grabs for virtue-seeking relevance – and I heard a bit that simultaneously nauseated and thrilled me.

It’s at about 17:00 into this week’s broadcast.

But don’t worry – I listened to it, so you don’t have to.

Big Left is finding it necessary to rescue, reclaim and rehabilitate the word “Intersectionality”.

I thought about transcribing some quotes – but I’ll just leave it to y’all.

Because this is the sound of Big Left launching a counter-counter-attack in the culture war and the Battle for the Language.

Lines Like This…

…are why Lileks is still the best there is:

“I woke up this morning,” I said to the salesman, “and I felt like I wanted to be flattered and lied to, but there’s no brothel around so I thought I’d go to a dealership.”
If he’d been a dog he would have cocked his head sideways; it’s possible he thought “Brothel” was a new soup place down the road.

I’ve needed that dog cocking his head line so many times…

Now We Have A Precedent. Ho Ho Ho.

Oberlin – perennial contender for the most obnoxiously “progressive” college in the country – gets hit with an $11 million defamation judgment after its social justice legion falsely accused a local bakery of racism:

A Lorain County jury ordered Oberlin to pay $11 million in compensatory damages to Gibson’s Bakery, a local fixture since 1885 that was beset by protests and racism allegations after three black students were arrested for shoplifting the day after the 2016 presidential election.
“The jury saw that Oberlin College went out of their way to harm a good family and longtime business in their community for no real reason, and the jury said we aren’t going to tolerate that in our community anymore,” Owen Rarric, an attorney for the Gibsons, told Legal Insurrection.

The award, which could triple at Tuesday’s hearing on punitive damages, came as a warning to universities that encourage social-justice activism as student protests spill from the campus to the local community.

The protests started after three black students were arrested for shoplifting.

And what of that?

Meanwhile, the three students pleaded guilty to shoplifting and aggravated trespass while issuing statements absolving the bakery of racism.
In 2017, Gibson’s sued the college for libel; tortious influence with business relationships and contracts, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, culminating in the nearly month-long trial in Elyria, Ohio.
“The students eventually pleaded guilty, but not before large protests and boycotts intended to destroy the bakery and defame the owners,” Mr. Jacobson said. “The jury appears to have accepted that Oberlin College facilitated the wrongful conduct against the bakery.”

Let the caterwauling about “chilling effecdts” begin.

More of this. Faster.

UPDATE: It’d seem Oberlin itself is doing its best to make sure more of this happens faster.

UPDATE 2: Oberlin costs $55K a year. Don’t you just love it when people with that kind of pedigree start yapping about other peoples’ “privilege”?

(Post title h/t Paul Havemann)

Simultaneously Villain And Scapegoat

Scott Peterson – the Parkland deputy who seemingly did everything he could to avoid doing anything useful during the Parkland massacre – arrested, released on bond:

As CBS News reported, Peterson was arrested late Tuesday afternoon after a 15 month investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which said Peterson was “derelict in his duty” and “failed to act consistently with his training and fled to a position of personal safety while [Nikolas] Cruz shot and killed students and staff.”
The report also states Peterson was “in a position to engage Cruz and mitigate further harm to others, and he willfully decided not to do so.”
While out on bail, Peterson cannot possess a firearm or take any job involving children, Scherer said. Peterson, dressed in beige jail clothes, did not speak during the hearing


I said it at the time, and I’ll say it now – I’ll always be circumspect about commenting on peoples’ reactions when faced with an immediate, lethal threat. History is full of tales of blustery men who shriveled when the bullets started flying – the lesson being “don’t bluster about how you’re gonna behave when the chips are down”.

But Peterson is one of the people we bless with a lot of extra power, rights and training to do exactly the things he didn’t do when Nik Cruz started his killing spree. He’s one of the people even “progressives” think should have the right to keep and bear arms. So while I mute my criticism of the man, I do in fact criticize the badge. Peterson’s behavior was all over the Orlando Sun-Sentinel’s excellent minute-by-minute breakdown of the breakdown.

But then, so was that of every other Parkland cop, up and down the chain of command, up to former chief Scott Israel, who parlayed his own incompetence and his entire department’s dereliction into a career as a gun control activist.

And Peterson’s actions, at least in re some charges, will be judged by how they comported with policies Israel established for his officers, and trained (or failed to train) them in. And one of those policies.

And, as the Sun-Sentinel noted (emphasis added):

Since Columbine, officers are taught to rush toward gunshots and neutralize the killer. But the first Broward deputies don’t rush in.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel later reveals that he personally changed department policy to say that deputies “may” instead of “shall” rush in.

And just you watch – it’ll be Israel’s policy that will allow Peterson to skate on at least some of the charges against him.

Scot Peterson is facing trial. Scott Israel roams free.

That may be the system, but that ain’t justice.

When Real News Is More Like Satire Than “Satirical” News Is

Florida woman stabs self.

Blames Trump.

Officers found the unidentified woman standing outside her home in Palmetto, Fla., bleeding from her hands, legs, and face, according to a partially redacted report obtained by the Smoking Gun.
After being asked what was wrong, the woman responded, “I’m tired of living in Trump’s country, I’m tired of Trump being president.”

Oh, the wise I must not crack…

Ripple Effect

If you learned history the conventional way, you saw D-Day pretty much in terms of surface meaning – the opening of a Western Front, the beginning of the West’s drive to Berlin…well, the Elbe, anyway.

But the importance may have gone well beyond the operational. Had it not worked, or not been attempted when it was, the Eastern Front that ate up 2/3 of the German war effort might have gone away, allowing Germany to focus on its western and southern flanks:

There is ample evidence that Soviet and German representatives had met in Stockholm for serious talks. Hitler saw Stalin’s opening as a sign of weakness. Understanding the tension between the Soviets and the Americans and British, he didn’t believe in 1943 that they could mount an invasion. Since Stalin himself had doubts, Hitler drove a hard bargain, demanding that Germany retain the land it had already won, particularly Ukraine. The talks broke down, though contacts seem to have continued.

Had the Allies not invaded Normandy in 1944, it is reasonable to assume that Stalin, whose troops were still fighting far inside their own country, would have accepted the deal with Hitler, since he likely could not continue fighting without a western front or at the very least could not regain the territory on his own. Churchill, it should be noted, was never enthusiastic about the invasion, either because he feared the resulting losses would be the end of the British army or because he wouldn’t have minded if the German-Soviet war continued so the Allies could intervene at the last minute, while nibbling at Greece. Either way, Roosevelt rejected Churchill’s view, sensing that the Soviets would make peace without an Allied invasion.


Without D-Day, Europe would likely still be controlled by the Nazis.

Given Germany’s new-found focus on being Germany again, I don’t think most Americans – particularly our idiot “#Resistance”, know how important that is.

Unsafe Space

Reagan, speaking 32 years ago at Pointe Du Hoc, above Omaha Beach:

“The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers — the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machineguns and throwing grenades.

And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing.

Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe.

Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After 2 days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.”

– Ronald Reagan, 1984

NOTE I first ran this D-Day piece three years ago.

Just Like Australia…

For the past couple decades or so, anti-gun hamsters have been chortling that “Australia cured its mass shooting problem by banning guns”. They “Hadn’t had a single mass shooting!” since they banned most semiautomatic firearms.

The response for most of that decade, was “so far”.

Not any more.

At least four people were killed in the city of Darwin and several injured when a gunman opened fire with a pump-action shotgun late Tuesday night in several different locations, police said. A suspect was apprehended soon afterward, and has been identified as 45-year-old local Ben Hoffmann, according to CNN affiliate 9 News. Hoffmann was on parole at the time of the killings.
It is the worst spree shooting in Australia since the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, which resulted in the country radically overhauling its gun laws, and the worst gun-related crime since a murder-suicide last year in Western Australia, in which a grandfather killed his entire family and himself.

But…but…guns were banned!

Police confirmed the alleged weapon, a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun, “may have been stolen as far back as 1997.” Authorities are now trying to piece together how the alleged Darwin shooter acquired his weapon and any motivations he may have had for the shootings, which made front pages across Australia Wednesday.



Pass the word to your gun-illiterate friends: a 12 gauge pump action shotgun isn’t “semi-automatic”, there are likely at least half a million of ’em in Minnesota alone, and inside a room they may be even deadlier than an AR15.

The problem is, the enemy isn’t the right of the law-abiding citizen to keep and bear arms – even if that gun is an AR15, or a fully-automatic machine gun, artillery or flamethrowers, for that matter.

The enemy is human nature.

How ‘Bout Them Twins?

As the Twins continue what is so far a stellar season – winning .678 as this is written, which is the best in the majors, still, by .001 point – I find myself in the painful position of reminding people about the law.

Berg’s Law.

The local media is starting to talk with a straight face about the Twins and post-season. Maybe even the World Series.

A reminder, Twin Cities media; it’s called “Berg’s Law”, not “Berg’s Suggestion”, for a reason. And Berg’s Fourth Law of Media/Sports Inversion is in full effect, and no less binding than Berg’s Seventh.

To wit: “Minnesota sports team may be a contender until the moment the local media actually believes they will be contenders. At that moment – be it spring training, late November in the NFL season, or week 72 of the NHL playoffs – the season will fall irredeemably apart.”

It’s iron-clad. It’s immutable. And it’s the law.

The Gipper Meets The Boss

Thirty-five years ago yesterday, “Born in the USA” was released.

And Kyle Smith makes the case that it did more than most things to ensure the *other* great event of that year, Ronald Reagan’s re-election.

Read the whole thing – but I’ll give you the conclusion:

“Morning in America,” the title of a corny TV commercial, was often described as Reagan’s all-but-official reelection theme. Really it was “Born in the U.S.A.” There is only one upbeat line in it, but it’s the last one Springsteen sang: “I’m a cool rockin’ daddy in the U.S.A.” Despite everything he’s endured, the narrator is still rockin’, still cool. Even those who paid close attention to the lyrics of the accidental anthem could take from it this: Dark as things got in a previous era, this is a new generation. The draft is no more. We have shaken off the pall of Vietnam. We are back. We are Americans, and it’s time to shout it out loud again. We were born in the U.S.A.”

Don’t be tired and bored with yourself. Just read it.

And as I noted a few years ago, completely without knowing it, Bruce is America’s best conservative songwriter – for reason that are purely conservative:

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

In the wake of the session, the Pioneer Press ran a letter to the editor – “Democrats offered plenty of compromises on gun bills” – from one Jo Haugen.   I wrote a response.  It never got printed.

Shocking, right?

Well, that’s one of the reasons I started this blog, now, isn’t it?

My response to the PiPress:

——————–

In her May 22 letter to the editor (“Democrats offered plenty of compromise on gun bills”), Jo Haugen criticized Senate Majority Leader Gazelka for kililing the DFL’s gun control bills, because “a vast majority of Minnesotans as well as law enforcement support these bills”

If “mandate” were real, then Speaker Hortmann and Majority Leader Winkler should have had no trouble passing the measures – “Red Flag” confiscation and “Universal” registration bills – as standalone measures, confident that that massive support would be greeted with hosannas at election time.

Curiously, they could not.  Winkler didn’t have the votes to do that, and snuck them into the omnibus Public Safety bills against bipartisan opposition.

Either the House DFL leadership are cowards for ignoring Ms. Haugen’s supposed mandate, or the “vast majority” of Minnesotans support nothing of the sort, and the polling to which Ms. Haugen refers was a bogus piece of propaganda.

Minnesota’s gun control movement:  The few, trying to control the many with the acquiescence of the gullible.

Mitch Berg
Saint Paul

Live From Where?

Riffing on Garrison Keillor – his smug, somnolent, peculiarly-Minnesotan brand of entitled arrogance – literally put this blog on the map back in 2002.

Keillor was (according to many people who’d passed through and near his production) a terrible, vindictive boss, someone who piddled on people he considered his inferiors while being a relentless upsuck to those he perceived as being higher in station. Beating up on his infantile politics was the least I could do.

But for all that, “A Prairie Home Companion” was a weekly ritual for me for a very long time. For all Keillor’s ideosyncrasies, aPHC had a wry but deep sense of place – and that place was the same place I was from. Rural upper-midwestern Scandinavian culture was my culture, and Keillor sent it up pretty brilliantly.

After thirty-odd years, some things were starting to get a little stale – how many times a year did Robin and Linda Williams need to be on the show, really? – but I was still a regular up until Keillor retired the show a few years back.

Keillor’s handpicked successor was alt-bluegrass mandolin player Chris Thile – who carried on the PHC brand until Keillor’s untimely #MeToo-and-hubris driven demise. The show changed names, to “Live From Here”. It’s been going for about two years now.

And while the format has stayed fairly similar – an eclectic mix of music, sketch comedy borrowed from the old “radio drama” school, and gently acerbic commentary, it’s changed a bit.

Noise: In a lot of ways, LFH has upped the musical game – if you’re eclectic in a fairly focused way. PHC used to have some fun gems hidden away – hearing Suzy Bogguss again after all these years was a treat – but the Williams’ and the Steele sisters, good as they are, were starting to wear grooves into the dressing room. The music on LFH is great – if you really like alt-country, alt-rock, and alt-trip-electronic-trance-techno pop. Gone are Keillor’s occasional forays into big band, classical, gospel and choral miscellany. I call it even – but for Thile himself, whose own frequent musical interludes with the house band are pretty brilliant.

So I have little to complain about there.

Drammer: Keillor’s sketch comedy – featuring old-school sound effects whiz Tim Newman Twin Cities voice actors Sue Scott and Tim Russell, plus a cast of hundreds of others here and there over the years – were often brilliant.

I know, I know. I hate to say it. But it’s true. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

Because Thile’s writers sound like they’re trying to audition for NPR’s “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me”; they miss more than they hit.

Edge to PHC, here.

Hah: One area where LFH has changed the format from PHC is in having more frequent appearances by comedians…

…or so we’re told. In two years, I’ve heard a fair number of standup comics on LFH, with a lot of different schticks – black comics, feminist comics, acerbic comics, depressed comics…

…but, perhaps twice, have I heard comics that made me laugh.

It’s almost as if someone is booking these people because they lost a bet.

Live From Everywhere: The considerable charms of Prairie Home Companion were largely rooted in Keillor’s fictional-yet-autobiographical Lake Wobegon, the place that was both nowhere and yet, if you grew up in upper-midwestern Scandinavian small-town culture, everywhere.

And for all of Keillor’s arrogance and all his many, many tics, that kept the show grounded. For better or, sometimes, worse. You can only go so far afield when your stock in trade, week in, week out, is chronicling the Thelma Monsons and Reverend Tostengards of the world.

Live From Here has a sense of place, too.

Unfortunately, that place is Brooklyn. Or Austin. Or Portland, Mission Hill, Seattle, or the lower part of Northeast Minneapolis. It’s an alt-bluegrass background soundtrack to a hipster coffee shop, full of bad wall art and people in their thirties acting like people in their twenties.

Live from Here is live from somewhere a lot less interesting .