UPDATE II: The NARN Curse? Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, Terry Schaivo and now Scalia, all initially reported dead moments after the NARN goes off the air (after discussing them) on Saturday.
UPDATE III: Sean Davis of the Federalist:
“If Donald Trump wants to end this race tonight, he’ll vow that his first act as president will be appointing Ted Cruz to the Supreme Court.”
There’s something to that. As I noted today while the NARN was on the air, the sole reason I’d vote for Trump if nominated is because of the chance that Scalia or Kennedy would leave the court. Knowing that Scalia would be replaced by a solid conservative justice – as Cruz would be – would calm my conscience greatly.
Want to to know the only thing that makes me happier than Chad Anderson winning the special election for Ann Lenczewski’s old seat in Bloomington?
Here it is.
Income: Anderson received $11,805 in individual contributions:
Carlson got $10,407:
So in terms of on-the-street fundraising from actual people, Anderson had a slight edge. The edge is especially notable in terms of non-itemized contributions – smaller contributions from regular people that don’t need to be itemized on state reports; 86% of Andersons contributions were from the little guy; with Carlson, 39% of his individual donations came from deep-pocketed suburban progressive grandées.
In terms of funding from political parties: Anderson got $500 from his local party unit- which, like most underfunded GOP party units in the city and the first ring of suburbs, no doubt had to dig really, really deep:
The state GOP doesn’t spend a lot of money on special elections in the city and the first ring, while it’s still getting its financial house in order.
Carlson got $9,158.40 from the always well-heeled local party unit ($2,000), as well as cleaning out Lenczewski’s campaign account to the tune of $3,000, and a generous $4158.40 gift from the state DFL:
Carlson received $9,700 from various union PACs.
Carlson also got a public subsidy of $6897.04:
Anderson got no direct PAC money, and he got no public subsidy.
Outgo: Here’s the fun part; in total, Carlson spent $25,122.67:
On the other hand, Anderson spent a total of $6324.32.
That means DFL’s Carlson outspent the Republican Anderson by roughly 4:1. And lost.
Apparently, people in Bloomington really don’t want their trash messed with.
Panera is the latest large chain to succumb to the blandishments of “Harpies For A Criminal-Safe World” “Moms Want Action” (a fully-owned subsidiary of Michael Bloomberg).
Bakery-cafe chain Panera Bread has joined a growing list of retailers including Starbucks and Target by announcing that customers should leave their guns at home.
It makes no difference to me – I have eaten at Panera exactly thrice, and the last two, it was because someone else was picking up the tab. I never ever really want an $8 grilled cheese sandwich that bad.
In the weeks and months leading up to this policy announcement, Panera Bread sought advice from Michael Bloomberg-backed Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, now part of the former Mayor’s $50 million Everytown nonprofit.
Behind every dumb decision about guns…
“Panera deserves our thanks and our congratulations for taking this important step, and I applaud the company for proactively consulting Moms Demand Action as it developed and implemented its policy,” said the group’s founder Shannon Watts, who has herself become the focus of ire from open carry activists and the NRA in recent months following efforts to see retailers and restaurant chains change their firearms policies.
And everyone deserves Moms Want Action’s(a fully-owned subsidiary of Michael Bloomberg) thanks for taking this action, which will end “gun violence” at Panera restraurants nationwide…
When I was in high school and college, music majors – and the high school kids who planned to become music majors – weren’t supposed to like rock and roll.
But the music kidz were always given a pass for Chicago. The band’s pseudo-jazz roots made Chicago sort of a safe space for young people in the seventies who wanted to be accepted by both their music teachers and their rock’n roll-listening friends.
And so every time a new Chicago album would come out – for the first eleven albums, they were just numbered – the music kids would flip rhetorical cartwheels; “it’s like rock and roll, only better!“, I remember our high school stage band’s star sax player hyperventilating. “Terry Kath is one of the great guitar players!”, others would exclaim as I practiced windmilling a la Pete Townsend.
I didn’t buy it – not even at the depths of my need to be accepted. Oh, the part of me that appreciates technical skill could listen to Robert Lamm (keyboards), Terry Kath (guitar), James Pankow (trombone), Peter Cetera (bass), Lee Loughnane (trumpet), Walter Parazaider (reeds), Danny Seraphine (drums) and Laudir D’Oliveira (percussion)  and go “there’s some musical skill going on here”, all right.
But when it came to the part where the music was supposed to grab me in the liver, Chicago did not. Part of it was that jazz, at least jazz from after about 1950, has always bored me stiff; how is a watered-down second-generation copy an improvement? To be fair, it was the same problem I had with Blood, Sweat and Tears and all of the other jazz-rock fusion experiments; neither needed the other to be valid music.
Part of it was Peter Cetera’s soggy contralto voice. There. I said it.
As to those who said Terry Kath was one of the great guitarists ever – in a league with Hendrix, Beck, Page and Clapton?
Terry Kath was a great guitar player in the same sense that I was a “great aeronautical engineer” because I’d built a nifty model of a Supermarine Spitfire. I was not! I had simply pieced together a bunch of plastic parts to make a scale facimile; Reginald Mitchell was the engineer. Likewise, Terry Kath took the bits and pieces of a bunch other great guitarists’ styles, mixed in some technical chops of his own (all respect due), and put it on a record. Oh, Jimi Hendrix once told Parazaider that Terry Kath was better than he was; Hendrix had a bit of a drug problem, you know.
“But Mitch – have you heard “Free Form Guitar”, off of the first Chicago album?”
Yes. Yes, I have. I have not only heard it, but I played something exactly like it, or maybe much better, in Voorhees Chapel at Jamestown College in January of 1985, at three in the morning, with an Ibanez SG with a Duncan “Jeff Beck” pickup, hooked up to Fender Deluxe and a Big Muff fuzz pedal and room and space to crank my amp to 11, after six or seven cans of Strohs. And so has every other guitar player, given the chance.
So when the music majors, and music majors-to-be jabbered on about Chicago, I usually mentally checked out.
Except, of course, when I didn’t.
All of Chicago’s worst ingredients – the soggy droopy horns, Danny Seraphine’s indifferent drumming, and of course Peter Cetera, full stop – are on display in this live version of “I’ve Been Searching So Long”:
And yet I have always loved the song. Why? The vocal interplay in the bridge? A part where the droopy, treacly horns actually complement the song itself? Terry Kath’s guitar fills during the big finish? Sure, why not?
Because every once in a while, skill plus craft breaks the right way, and you get decent music. Because Terry Kath may have just assembled other guitarists parts into his own songs, but sometimes it just plain worked.
Oh, it’s been a long time since Chicago had “decent music”; after Terry Kath’s death in 1978, the band turned into a hit machine; after Cetera left in 1984, it turned into an adult-contemporary elevator music production house; since about 1990 it’s been a nostalgia act (only Lamm and the horn section remain from the band’s heyday).
And the music majors? They were wrong. No genre needs to be “better than” another to have merit; no genre’s merit is measured by the degrees its practitioners have.
 – Yep, I can’t remember my kids’ social security numbers, but I can recall all the members of Chicago’s “definitive” lineup by name and instrument without going online.
It’s been my theory that Minnesota “progressives” – especially here in the Metro area – are incapable of debating conservatives on a level deeper than ad-homina and strawmen because they never learn what it’s like to deal with dissent. They grow up in “progressive” families, sure – and then go on to 12 years of public education run by and for the left. Then 4-8 years at a U of M or a Saint Olaf or a Macalester, where conservatism is treated as a villain in a melodrama, all but twisting its mustache in sadistic glee, and where no realistic debate is tolerated. Then they go on to careers in academia, public education, non-profits, or public sector unions, where people marinade in unquestioned “progressivism” for decades without a break.
In other words, for Minnesota “progressives”, their entire life is a “safe space”.
Robert Tracinski at The Federalist thinks that’s a bad sign for progressivism – that it will lead, eventually, to “Peak Leftism”. In fact…
At the beginning of the year, I speculated that we may have reached “Peak Leftism,” the point at which the left has achieved such uniform control of the commanding heights of the culture that they have no place to go but down. Their mania for soft ideological conformity suggests a mechanism for this decline. They are growing so accustomed to living in an ideological “safe space” that they will no longer understand what it means to debate their positions, much less how to win the debate.
And this is bad for “progressive”ism because… (emphasis added):
The most powerful historical precedent for this is the totalitarian creed of the Soviet Union—a dogma imposed, not just by campus censors or a Twitter mob, but by gulags and secret police. Yet one of the lessons of the Soviet collapse is that the ideological uniformity of a dictatorship seems totally solid and impenetrable—right up to the moment it cracks apart. The imposition of dogma succeeds in getting everyone to mouth the right slogans, even as fewer and fewer of them understand or believe the ideology behind it.
Go ahead. Talk some some Sanders supporters for a while. Tracinski’s thesis doesn’t seem so far out.
I’ll admit it; I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut when dealing with the left and media (pardon the redundancy).
Especially when they talk about “reaching across divides”. Whenever people on the left talk about “Reaching” across one “divide” or another (let’s leave aside the fact that divides are always of their making), the best one can hope for is that they’ll act like Jane Goodall – ideological anthropologists, here to furrow their brows and write about the Conservatives in the Mist. At worst, they come to mug for their fans and exude their self-perceived superiority and laugh at the locals.
Both efforts pretty generally backfire when the subject is firearms and the Second Amendment. The mugging and smugging usually gets undercut by a lot of unforced errors. And once in a while, the lefty has a Road to Damascus moment and sees the light. Yes, it happens.
“So let’s get this straight – we have an overwhelming majority of young people supporting a white-haired old man who promises to give them stuff for free. But I imagine someday they’ll be disappointed when they discover it was really their parents paying for college”.
— Peter Segel, NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” over the weekend.
With all the precincts tallied in the special election to replace Lenczewski, Anderson netted 51 percent to DFL Bloomington City Council member Andrew Carlson’s 49 percent.
The win gives Republicans, who are already in the House majority, an extra legislative vote this year and a key boost of confidence before November’s election, when the entire Legislature is up for election.
Both House Republican and Democratic-Farmer-Labor campaign arms spent thousands of dollars on ads targeting the Bloomington area, an unusual step in special elections. About 5,000 voters turned out Tuesday.
Losing Lenczewski’s seat has to have people at the DFL’s office on Plato Boulevard changing their underwear today. It’s not quite like flipping a seat in Minneapolis – but it’s not that far from it, either.
Andrew Carlson – the DFL contender, and an incumbent Bloomington City Council member – was instrumental in jamming down Cuban-style socialized trash collection in Bloomington last year.
UPDATE: What could be better than flipping a DFL sinecure? Doing it while spending 1/4 as much as the Democrat did.
High-minded appeals to transparency are the stuff of which Democrats are made. Barack Obama has called his scandal-plagued White House “the most transparent administration in history,” even as he resorts to circumventing the legislative process to enact policies he couldn’t get through Congress, thereby stripping voters of their ability to check the executive branch. Hillary Clinton says she has been “as transparent as possible” about her troublesome e-mail, ignoring the plain truth that she intentionally used a private e-mail account to circumvent public-disclosure laws, thereby keeping voters in the dark about her work as the nation’s chief diplomat.
Is power ultimately vested in “the people”? And do “the people” have a right to the capacity and knowledge to make use of that power? If so, then Democrats at the highest levels have sought to curtail their rights at every turn. And now it’s happened again, at the ballot box in Iowa, the state’s Democratic party and the apparent winner of the caucus having decided that transparency and accountability — “more democracy,” as it were — do not serve their purposes at this particular juncture.
America may have slid from “Democracy” (representative republic, of course) into “Authoritarian Bureaucracy” some time ago. But the Obama administration will be known as the time when the mask came off all the happy talk.
I owe someone some thanks. And I have no easy way of reaching them. But what the heck – we’ll try it the hard way:
Last night, I woke up to a knock on my door at 11PM.
After a quarter-century of living in the Midway, I know that there’s no such thing as a good knock on the door after dark – so I took, er, the necessary precautions, and went to the door.
A young woman identifying herself as “Shelby” told me she’d seen a car run into my daughter’s car, which was parked out on the street, and then drive off. She got the license number, called the police, left a note under my daughter’s windshield wiper…and then came and knocked on the door.
First, let me say two things; it takes guts to walk up to a stranger’s door at all, much less in the middle of the night, much less when you’re a (near as I could tell) 5’3, 120 pound woman.
Second thing? I’m happy I live in a neighborhood where people feel they can walk up to a stranger’s door and knock in the middle of the night.
But I digress.
It was miserably cold last night, and I wasn’t in a state to let anyone in, #ifyacatchmydrift, but she basically told me everything I needed to call the police and the insurance company to get things taken care of.
To my astonishment, the cops actually found the car, and the driver – a woman from up north somewhere who was apparently lost and claimed not to have known she’d hit someone. I can find no record that charges were filed – the woman wasn’t drunk, according to the officer I talked with. I’m going to guess she was texting and didn’t see a black car on a dark street. That’s just a guess.
Thankfully, at least both parties are insured.
Anyway – I don’t know who you are, Shelby, and I hope you’ll forgive my less than stellar late-night hospitality, but I thank you for all you did last night.
And if someone out there in the Midway knows Ms. Shelby (twentysomething, African-American, probably 5’3, possibly a Hamline student), it’d make my day if you could pass on my thanks!
January: the Real Americans of the Second Amendment movement watched President Obama’s tearful, angry, and utterly theatrical broadside about guns, gun owners and gun manufacturers, noted that nearly everything he was “proposing” was existing law already, and said that the President’s big “effort” was nothing but a shallow bit of political grandstanding calculated to make it look like he planned to, as his supporters wailed, “dooooooooooo something”, without actually signing the political death warrants of every Democrat between the Hudson and the Sierra Madre.
Joe Joe Doakes from Como Park emails about an appeals court ruling of interest to Second Amendment supporters:
This article focuses on the important point: the battleground for Second Amendment rights is in the court-created rules, not the Constitution.
If firearms ownership is a constitutionally protected fundamental right, then any law infringing that right must pass “strict scrutiny” meaning the law must be narrowly tailored and the least restrictive means to further a compelling government interest. This is the same level of scrutiny given to restrictions on speech and religion and very few laws can meet that test. Which is as it should be – the whole POINT of constitutionally protected rights is to prevent the government from infringing on them.
The lower court applied “intermediate scrutiny” which is a lower standard: laws can infringe on rights if the law furthers an important government interest in some way that is substantially related to the government’s interest. This is the level of review given to sex discrimination laws: it’s easier to pass because the right being protected is not as important in the constitutional hierarchy.
The Court of Appeals got it right. Firearms belong with speech and religion on the top of the hierarchy of rights the Founders wanted to protect.
Yes, I know, the Court of Appeals is still applying the idiotic “home defense” notion instead of recognizing the Founders intent that the citizenry be as well-equipped as the government in order to resist tyranny; but that’s a battle yet to come.
But only if we keep the Supreme Court in rough balance.
Which is one reason why I will plug my nose and vote for Donald Trump if he’s nominated.
SCENE: Mitch BERG is in his car, at the drive-through at Taco John’s in Little Canada.
Suddenly, Moonbeam BIRKENSTOCK steps around the corner and up to BERG’s driver window.
BIRKENSTOCK: Merg! Stop the cultural appropriation!
BERG: What are you talking about?
BIRKENSTOCK: Places like Taco Johns that prepare ethnic food outside its original cultural context are practicing cultural appropriation!
BERG: So? All cultures practice appropriation. And by the way, who are you – a twenty-something graduate of Saint Olaf, and of Camp Wellstone, who works as a telemarketer for “Minnesotans United for All Progressive Causes”, and is as white as the driven snow – doing jabbering about “cultural appropriation”, anyway?
BIRKENSTOCK: I identify as a wise Latina!
BERG: Huh. OK. So no member of a culture can use anything from another culture without, what? An accompanying certificate of authenticity?
BIRKENSTOCK: Don’t be a smart-aleck, Berg. Appropriating other cultures diminishes them!
BERG: Huh. Well, OK, then. In for a dime, in for a dollar.
BIRKENSTOCK: What does that mean?
BERG: Well, people from other cultures should stop appropriating things that are identified with a European cultural context. Universities. Voting. The emphasis on the rights of the individual. The idea of democratic government and one-person, one-vote rule and equality of all people of all classes before a law that is written by consent of those governed. The ideals of free speech, the right to petition for the redress of grievances, fair trials, enumerated powers and unenumerated rights – all of them are Western, “white” ideals, most of them American.
BIRKENSTOCK: Nonsense. All of them were invented by the Iroquois.
NARAL objected to a Super Bowl commercial because it “humanized” a fetus.
Let me respond:
It’s an ultrasound. But take note, NARAL and other infanticide supporters; I don’t need to “humanize” it, any more than someone needs to “conservatise” me – because it is human. Left alone without any medical intervention (or, likely, help), the odds are overwhelming that in about 31 weeks it’ll be born as a human being, not a cat or a goat or a Prius or a producer of NPR’s “On the Media”.
It is a human, you joyless babbling harpies.
Go suck an exhaust pipe.
UPDATE: Anything that gets Darth LateTerm and the Infanticide Sith this exercised deserves some product-placement love: