Experience

The Czech Republic is debating implementing a constitutional guarantee in line with our second amendment:

A few years ago, the amendment passed through the lower house of the Czech parliament but was stopped in the upper house. The proposed language read as so: “The right to defend one’s own life or the life of another person with a weapon is guaranteed under the conditions laid down by law.”null

Since then, the center-right Civic Democratic Party has won a majority in the Czech Senate. And this week, the Czech government unexpectedly announced it would endorse the plan to add the language. The amendment now needs a 60 percent supermajority in both chambers to become — somewhat appropriately — only the second amendment to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

Former president of the Czech Police — and the most vocal champion of the bill — Martin Červíček, says that it’s meant to counter the “disarmament tendencies” of the European Union. Which sounds like a worthwhile cause.

Off Target

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Powerline has a column on President Trump’s decision to revoke President Obama’s rule on AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing).  The Left claims the decision is racist.  It’s not.

President Obama wanted to force racial integration in nice neighborhoods, which white people in nice neighborhoods don’t oppose.  Nobody is trying to block blacks from buying homes in Woodbury or Wayzata, for example. People in nice neighborhoods oppose forced class integration, because of the behavioral differences between classes

Florence King, a writer from the South, explained how Southern ladies distinguish classes:

If you live in a run-down little house with a beat-up car in the front yard but the car runs, you’re ordinary.

If you live in a run-down little house with a beat-up car in the front yard but the car doesn’t run, you’re common.

If you live in a run-down little house with pieces of a car in the front yard, you’re trash.

That’s why people in nice neighborhoods oppose AFFH.  It has nothing to do with race.  We don’t want trash – of any race – moving into the neighborhoods we worked so hard to reach. 

Joe Doakes

But remember – all “racial conflict” is really class conflict being re-painted with “race” to make it socially acceptable on the left.

If Looks Could Kill

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Stopped at the liquor store on the way home. As I was walking to the store, a car pulled into the handicap spot. 


Beater car, young black male driver, young black woman passenger. Came in behind me wearing a bandana. No signs of handicap. No sticker on the car. No handicap license plate.

I had to actually grit my teeth not to say something. I know, could have been a white man, Asian man, any young man ignoring the rules and parking in the wrong spot. But it exacerbated The Stereotype of a young black man who thinks he’s above the rules because of his race. That, or is too stupid to follow the rules.

Either way, he’s a threat to orderly Society. People who don’t follow the rules, starting with little ones and working on up, undermine the foundation of civilization.

So I shot him.

Joe Doakes

#SatireOnSoManyLevels

Betcha Sally Jo Sorenson has a field day with this one. (Is Sally Jo still a thing? I have no idea).

Berg’s Law, Part I: Welcome To Law School

“Any argument that begins with a dictionary definition of the argument’s key term can be disregarded without further thought”
— Mitch Berg, “Berg’s Law”

From Brittanica:

Satire, artistic form, chiefly literary and dramatic, in which human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, parody, caricature, or other methods, sometimes with an intent to inspire social reform.

Satire Is The New News

I’m old enough to remember a lot of things that would amaze people who weren’t born before I became an adult.

And when TVs had antennae, and were the centerpieces of one’s living room.

I remember when phones had cords, and phones without cords had a range of feet, not miles, and cell phones without cords were symbols of wealth and status that marked you as a junk bond king, a hip hop mogul or an oil sheikh. Also when “junk bond kings” existed, hip hop wasn’t a business of moguls, and oil sheiks were the bad guys, before they were the good guys, before they became the bad guys again.

And perhaps most jarringly, I remember when satire wasn’t more accurate at relating the goings-on in the world around its than the “journalism” of the day.

Those days are long behind us.

Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself

My name is Mitch Berg. My personal story is of little importance – but I’ll cruise through it quickly here, since it’ll help explain where some of the material comes from,

I was born, grew up, started a career in radio,and went to high school and college in Jamestown, North Dakota. In that order.

After graduating from college, I moved to the Twin Cities, seeking a career as a rock singer. I accidentally got back into radio, and worked as a producer and, for a spectacular year, a talk show host; my promise was so apparent, management put me on the air from 2-4AM Monday mornings. And I fell in love with it; the electric crackle of the air in the studio, the feeling that I was riding on the pulse of the nation – or at least the part of the nation that was awake at 3AM Monday morning – and, most of all, having a voice. For a glorious year or so, I could speak, and thousands – dozens? I don’t know – would hear me.

I figured I’d make it my career.

Most of the staff got laid off.

I knocked around a bunch of jobs – freelance news reporting, voice over artist, mover and, finally, night club DJ – a job also known as “bottoming out in life”.

About that time, I got married. ‘

I had two kids.

I changed careers – first into writing instruction manuals for terrible software, then into designing better software.

I got divorced.

By this point, it had been well over a decade since I felt I had a “voice”, at least outside my house.

Technology was about to change that.

That brings us up to 2002.

I Wanna Make Some History

In the winter of 2002, I was working at a rapidly-failing Dotcom startup. I was bored. I was underutilized – I could only look for a better job so many hours a day. I was a fairly new single parent, and stress notwithstanding, I was bored stiff

I read an article in Time magazine – back when it was still printed on paper, and also had more readers than Cracked.com – about a new trend, “blogging”.

The blog has been sort of passé lately, surpassed by the slick visuals, instant gratification and intellectual junk food found on social media.

But back then – having hit me right about the time I was starting to keenly feel the lack of a “voice” – it hit me like a bag of cliché about high-impact events in your life.

I started my blog, Shot In The Dark (Shotinthedark.info) that evening, right after I got the kids to bed. I’ve been writing it five days a week since then.

This happened during the frenetic year and a half between the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq.

Which led to my first, initially satirical, observation.

Alternate History

75 years ago today the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

It was dropped by a B29 Superfortress – a plane that was literally built in parallel with the Manhattan Project to develop the bomb, and cost as much to bring into service and was in many ways more difficult to get built than the bomb itself.

A B-29 – one of about three, if I recall correctly, still in flying order today.

As troubled by development problems and cost overruns as most other procurement projects today – early versions had an alarming tendency for engine fires to melt the wing spar, causing wings to break off and the plane to go into an uncontrollable spiral – but carried into action on a wave of wartime emergency money, the Army Air Force brass were seriously worried that the Superfortress would be ready to do the job.

Worried enough to come up with an alternate plan, with the only other plane in the world that could have carried the two early, huge atomic bombs.

Here’s the story.

By the way – if you’re a history geek, “Mark Felton Productions” is a treasure trove of the sort of history you just don’t get in most history books – the kind of off-the-beaten-path stories First Ringer and me focused on in our “World War 2 – Fact and Myth” series, way back when. It’s very much worth a watch.

Governor Passive-Aggressive

Mayor Frey is going public with his complaints that Governor Walz stonewalled him on sending the National Guard.

Walz’s response shows Frey was right…

…and that Walz – aka “Governor Klink” – still has a little bit of that high school gym teacher in him, passive-aggressively torturing the wimpy kid.

Or perhaps, in this case, Dwight Schrute:

Either way, the former NCO seems to have a pretty terrible opinion of the Guard:

So…note to future mayors: When you go to Governor Klink to ask for the guard:

  1. Watch “Patton” so you have some idea how to “plan” riot control
  2. Specially request “no 19 year old cooks”.

Got that?

Now, let’s not for a moment pretend this public “squabble” between Mayor McDreamy and Governor Klink is anything but a public charade designed to give both the Mayor and the Governor political cover.

All I can say is, you’re in great hands, Minnesota.

This Is A Job For The Counselor Squad

Shot: Vandals of sorts “attack” Lisa Bender’s house:

Chaser: And in response Bender filed a…

…well, let’s look at the Channel 5 story:

The Minneapolis Police Department told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS there is an incident report filed concerning an act of vandalism that occurred at the home of Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender last week.

Bender declined an interview request from KSTP.

I smell some more private security for the more-equal animals.

And I’m not the only one, if you read between the lines:

Three Minneapolis City Council members, Andrea Jenkins, Alondra Cano and Phillipe Cunningham recently received threats that prompted safety concerns, and the city paid for private security companies to provide extra protection.

Jenkins told KSTP there have been protests outside the homes of several city council members in recent weeks. After the vandalism at Bender’s home, she said she has never seen this type of vitriol aimed at the city council during her 16 years of work at city hall.

And remember – there are two Betg’s Laws in effect here; the 18th Law covers the media’s reaction, and let’s not rule out the 20th Law in re Councilwoman Bender or her staff themselves.

Badly Conceived

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The governor’s hybrid school plan troubles me.


 I’ve been informed integrated schools are neccessary so white students get the rich diversity of Black Latino and Asian students in the classroom to share their experiences. Will students coming to school on even-numbered days be carefully selected to balance racial and gender diversity?

I’ve been informed slow students should be mainstreamed with excellent students so they get a social experience. Will the students attending class on odd numbered days be carefully selected to maintain the ratio of geniuses to dummies?

What happens to students who fall behind, perhaps because they lack Wi-Fi, their parents work, they’re unmotivated… Will we still pass them along to maintain progress through grade levels, or will we flunk them?

Troubling

Joe Doakes 

The answer: the same “cracks” into which millions of kids, including a hugely disproportionate number of Twin Cities “students of color”, fell before Covid, just turned into chasms.

The union will wash their hands of those kids (after blaming Orange Hitler and Paul Gazelka); afterwards, of them no more will be spoken.

The New Kulaks

Remember when “racism” meant “hating, disparaging or discriminating against someone because of their ethnicity?”

And the good guys and gals sought “equality” – the whole “judging by the contents of peoples’ hearts rather than the color of their skin” thing.

Those were quaint days indeed.

Today? Big Left isn’t seeking “equality”. The goal is “anti-Racism”.

And the “racism” they are against is, when you dig beneath the twaddle, all of Western CIvilization.

Slither

I take no joy in observing Joe Biden seems to be slipping into dementia. I’ve got family suffering from one degree of senile dementia or another – if you need to know the details, you already do – and it’s a horrible thing.

Of course, there needs to be a reckoning for the elder abusers propping him up in this run for the Presidency.

But fear not. To his biggest, most powerful supporters, dementia isn’t the problem. The system is! It’s time to scrap the debates!

But not, of course, because of the candidate’s mental state, nosireebob:

This, by the way, isn’t written out of any concern that Donald Trump will prevail over Joe Biden in the debates; Mr. Biden has done just fine in a long string of such contests. The point is that “winning” a debate, however assessed, should be irrelevant, as are the debates themselves.

Sarah Palin – derided as an anti-intellectual joke by the usual suspects these days – fought Biden to (I’ll be charitable) a standstill in 2008, when nobody was attacking his mental state. Ethics, yes – acuity, no.

Trump vs. Biden would be a little like Mohammed Ali vs. Jerry Cooney.

This is a bald-faced evasion.

Shot In The Dark: Today’s News, Months Ago

Someone in the press leaked the body cam video of the George Floyd arrest. Taking nothing away from the tragedy or the anger that went along with it – “knee on the throat” isn’t a good look – but seeing this, I’m thinking Keith Ellison would need Vasily Ulrikh on the bench to get a Murder conviction.

I have little to add, except that this piece from two months ago is looking better and better.

Oh, yeah – strap in. Officer Chauvin will be acquitted of “Unintentional Second Degree Murder”, and the other three will get away with lesser included charges. It’s going to make the last week in May look like a kindergarten full of kids who broke into the Koolaid.

Wage Terrorists

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Teachers unions typically threaten to strike if they don’t get more money. It’s like strapping a bomb to the kid and saying, “Pay us the money or the kid gets it.”

This Time It’s Different. They strapped a bomb to themselves and are saying, “Close the school or the teacher gets it.”

Millions of parents are muttering, “Yeah? Push the damn button.”

Joe Doakes

I’d hate to be a teacher that is, shall we say, a “skeptic” about Education Minnesota these days.

Blue Fragility: Open Letter To Jonathan Chait

To: Johnathan “Chaitful” Chait
From: Mitch Berg – Red State Sleeper Agent
Re: This Little “Eliminationist Hatred” Problem You Have

Mr. Chait

We go way back, of course – and not in a good way. You have a bit of a history of being a horrible excuse for a human being. But you are a gift that keeps giving, for people like me, so for that I thank you, even if backhandedly.

This past week, you wrote an article in “New York Magazine” claiming that the Republican response to Covid is, in your terms, a “Death Cult”.

I won’t pullquote anything – the article is long, and never really improves over the title.

But I have two questions.

First, some background – here’s the listed Covid fatalities/million as of last Friday:

  • NY (D): 1,684
  • NJ (D): 1,790
  • US average: 474
  • FL (R): 319
  • MN (DFL): 291
  • TX (R): 241
  • ND (R): 135

So I’ve got two questions for you, Mr. Chait:

  1. Did you ever refer to Cuomo (or the governors of NJ/CT/MA) as running a “death cult?” I’ll confess, I’m an infrequent reader of yours. I only read you (or John Fugelsang) when you step on your d**k spectacularly – but I’d hate to be unfair.
  2. I wager you a shiny new quarter that as of November 3, 2020, TX and FL will be below half NY’s fatalities per million. Any action on that bet?

Thanks.

By the way – at the risk of sounding uncharitable, there are times that I think you are God’s karmic gift to me for never teasing the short-bus kids in elementary school. For this, I thank Him, and urge you to keep up the, uh, work, karmically speaking.

That is all.

Side Note: I’m making this the The George W. Bush Corollary To Berg’s Seventh Law – All of a Republican’s sins, imaginary or (for sake of argument) real, will be forgotten once the Republican can no longer hold office. 

Priorities

Dissent will not be tolerated:

The Attorney General has leapt into action, suing the organizers.

In the meantime, the group of over-schooled, under-educated children of the political class who destroyed state property as the cameras rolled…

…and the State Patrol looked on are still “under investigation”.

“Some animals are more equal than others”

Price

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Went to dinner at Old Mexico in Roseville, sat on the patio, a pleasant evening. Dinner for three, one drink each, no appetizer or dessert, with tip, $100.

Is it just me, or are post-covid prices significantly higher than pre-covid prices?
 This is going to cut into my dining budget, which will extend the economic harm from the governors orders. 

Joe Doakes 

Restaurants are pricing the contortions they’re going through into their menus.

Or going out of business.

My favorite BBQ joint has jacked up its prices. Still worth it, but I can feel the pain – some of it. I imagine it’s worse for them (although they are doing very well).

Not much in between.

Let’s Set The Record Straight, Here

Since the topic of political “extremism” is on everyone’s mind, I may as well get this out there.

I’m an extremist.

I’m an extremist for Western Civilization.

I’m an extremist for the legacy of the value of the individual that comes from the Judeo-Christian tradition.

I am a zealot for that civilization’s rejection of group guilt for the sins of the individual.

I am a full blown foot soldier for the idea that rights – freedom of expression, conscience, innocence until proof of guilt, and defending my life, family, home, freedom and community – are all indivisible parts of being human, not “privileges” granted to you by a benevolent government (and taken away by a less-benevolent one).

I am a militant (intellectually speaking, and here’s hoping it can stay that way) for the notion that “citizenship” means having all the powers, rights and responsibilities of government, allowing me (and you!) to govern a society together, regardless of (indeed, ignoring completely) the rest of our various identities.

I’m a howling berserker (again, purely intellectually, here) for the free markets of ideas as well as goods, which has made this civilization the most humane human system in all of history.

I am a full-blown crusader for the tolerance of dissent, and indeed exaltation of informed criticism of and dissent from our rulers, our laws, and indeed the imperfections of Western Civilization itself that our civilization, pretty much alone among all the world’s cultures through history, invented – as well as for the ability to tolerate, learn from, and co-exist with other cultures as equals in the eyes of God and the law…

…while keeping, living by, and proselytizing the parts of our civilization that have made it the system in human history that has most effectively and systematically upheld the dignity and value of human life, even with all its (amply studied) imperfections.
I’m a stormtrooper for the ideal that these freedoms, exaltations, values and traditions are not zero sum propositions; that taking freedom away from someone doesn’t give you more.

I’m a flag-waving militiaman for the imperative to spread those freedoms to as many people in the world as want them – and, if needed, defend them from those who don’t.
For those things, I’m an extremist. A peaceful one, one that welcomes both agreement and civil disagreement.

But I’m absolutely an extremist. You can have my Western Civilization when you pry it from my cold, hand – and you will spend an eternity trying to pry it from my hot, living soul, and failing.

“Extremism in the defense of freedom is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue”
— Barry Goldwater.

Course Of Events: A “Berg’s 21st Law” Story

Found on Twitter. Verdict: Absolutely true – but it doesn’t go far enough.

30 Days from Now: “Expecting protests to be ‘peaceful’ is a sign of white privilege.”

60 Days from Now: “Any ‘violence’ inflicted on you at a peaceful protest is deserved – expecting not to have violence committed on you at a protest is a sign of privilege”

90 Days from Now: “Violence is Peace”

Remember – Berg’s 21st Law is a law for a reason.

Blue Fragility: Numbers Game

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Liberals keep haranguing us about Covid numbers, comparing New York to Florida, Minnesota to Wisconsin. They want us to believe open states fare worse than closed states. I don’t believe the numbers Liberals use are apt comparisons.

Covid kills old people. It’s reasonable that places with more old people would experience more Covid deaths. Raw number of deaths, and deaths-per-million-of-total-population, don’t take into account how many of the population are old enough to be at-risk (leaving aside the fact nobody believes the reported death numbers). You have to look at the at-risk populations to see how various states are doing.

There are 5,800,000 people in Wisconsin, 16.5% of them over-65, for a pool of 957,000 at-risk seniors, of which 906 have died of Covid.  That gives Wisconsin an at-risk death rate of 0.094%

There are 21,500,000 people in Florida, 21% of them over-65, for a pool of 4,515,000 at-risk seniors, of which 6,100 have died of Covid. That gives Florida an at-risk death rate of 0.135%.

There are 5,600,000 people in Minnesota, 16.3% of them over-65, for a pool of 912,800 at-risk seniors, of which 1,600 have died of Covid.  That gives Minnesota an at-risk death rate of 0.175%.

There are 19,500,000 people in New York, 17% of them over-65, for a pool of 3,315,000 at-risk seniors, of which 32,700 have died of Covid. That gives New York an at-risk death rate of 0.986%.

Minnesota’s results are twice as bad as Wisconsin’s (17 to 9).

New York’s results are SEVEN TIMES as bad as Florida’s (98 to 13).

Among the at-risk population, open states have decisively better results.

That’s a story that needs better telling.

Joe Doakes

That’s been the case since the beginning of this plague: “Blue State” pundits, pols and Karens have been predicting perdition for uppity square-staters with the fervor of Pentecostal ministers.

The comparison is less and less inapt every day.

Programming Note

As background: Thursdays are usually my slow day here on SITD. I usually do a little surge of writing over the weekend that tides me through the first half of the week – and the end of the week usually brings its own observations I scramble to get in for Friday.

But late-week fatigue, other commitments, and the like have made Thursdays the red-headed step-day of the Shot In The Dark schedule for years and years, now.

I’m going to fix that. Sort of.

So – the urge to do another book project has overtaken me. And writing Trulbert as a “Dickensian Serial” on this blog six years ago was not only a lot of fun, but short-circuited some of the usual pitfalls of trying to write a book, most particularly the whole “self-discipline” thing.

Indeed, I believe the fact that one of you readers called it exactly that was what sparked an interest to turn an extended series of “comical” posts into a novel. And it was suggestions in the comment section that led to an actual ending.

So I’m gonna do it again. I’m going to earmark Thursdays for the new project.

Or should I say, “new” project.

Thursdays will likely be light on other content, and devoted to a “chapter” of my next project.

More next week.

For The Record

While I haven’t probably kept up with all of Pete Townsend‘s work since “White City“, I have to say if I were to put together a list of his most overlooked solo/non-Who work, my list would look very much the same as this, and more or less the same order.

“The Sea Refuses No River” is far and away his most underrated song. And “White City Fighting” should have been a hit.

Seattle: Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

Seattle cops, barred the use of tear gas and other non-lethal force, are telling businesses “sorry – you’re on your own”.

Given that “keeping order” – making a city a safe place for law-abiding taxpayers to be – is one of local government’s most unambiguously legitimate missions, this should really wake all but the most deluded Seattleoids up.  

I said ‘should”. 

Masquerade

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Went to dinner at friend’s house, no masks or distancing, and got to admire his M1 from the CMP program. Solid people.

His wife is afraid Democrats will never let us take off our muzzles but I explained the marks silliness will only last through the recount.

Last January, impeachment was a ploy to get Trump out of office. It failed.
Covid is a ploy to prevent Trump from getting re-elected. When it fails, they will drop it and move to a different play to get him removed from office. I suspect it will be another attempt at impeachment, this time based on tax returns.

Masks are temporary. Does not make them less annoying, but the end is in sight.

Joe Doakes

Even if mask mandates are as effective at disease prevention as they are at logrolling compliance, this whole episode points out that when the people get terrible information, the rumor mill – and its high-tech analog, “fake news” – fill in the gaps.

And yes, it is all Governor Klink’s fault.

For The Children

As this is written, the general trend in research indicates that children – under 10-ish – suffer exceptionally mild symptoms of Covid, frequently none at all, and may not even transmit it when infected (which may or may not be related to the observation that asymptomatic people may not spread it, either).

At the same time, the nation’s teachers’ unions are demanding a near-complete lockdown, including another stretch of “distance learning” – which for many children is the worst possible way to learn, amplifying the stultifying effects of sitting in a desk with the boredom of never leaving home at all – even if the home isn’t an unpleasant or cramped place to be, as indeed it is for many, largely inner-urban children. And that’s for kids where learning at home is even an option.

We’ve all heard the stories – children rendered paranoid about germs and masks, terrified about dying hooked up to a ventilator or being left orphaned, kept sometimes literally sequestered away from the world, including the in-person socializing that’s such a vital part of childhood, often by the same parents that are the most obnoxious, hectoring helicopter elders stereotype can muster (I have to figure that yesterday’s “helicopter parent” is todays’ Karen, while we’re on the subject).

So what’s that going to do to kids?

Probably nothing good.

And, given the shadiness and opacity of Governor Klink’s response, I have to wonder – what if, along with a “mail-in” election that could put the DFL’s mass of fraudulent registrations into play, “raising a generation of kids so insecure, damaged and anxious they make millennials seem like John Wayne in comparison” is the actual goal?

Anxious, insecure people who’ve had any notion of self-determination strained out of them are “progressivism’s” farm team.

Psychologically speaking, this quarantine may well be the biggest “grooming” exercise ever attempted.