What A Difference A Little Access To Power Makes

Senator Melisa Lopez Franzen took what some called a “brave” stance in going after the perps in a sexual harassment scandal at the MN STate Capitol earlier this year.

A Senate staffer, Cynthia Callais, reported being harassed by a Legislative staff manager who happened to be related to Senator Jason Isaacson, a prominent DFLer.

The fracas led to the resignation of Susan Kent from her Senate Minority Leader role, and her announcement she wasn’t going to run again – potentially opening a seat for a GOP challenger, but that’s another story.

So Lopez Franzen just got elected to Kent’s old position.

And look who’s BFFs:

It’s not about justice, for women or anyone else. It’s about power – personal, and partisan.

A Small Victory

Half of our society is figuring it out:

Lots of ground to make up.

But it’s a start.

Urban Progressive Privilege:Somebody Else’s Neighborhood

Saint Paul progressives are all about high density housing and development.

In the Midway. Or out on the East Side. Or all up and down University Avenue.

Not, you know, where they live:

Neighbors who rallied together under the title “Friends of A Better Way St. Paul” had said the St. Paul Planning Commission had mishandled a series of zoning variances related to the height and density of the proposed structure, which would span 80 residential apartments and four restaurant-ready commercial spaces at ground level.

Fearless prediction: the development gets built, but only after the city spends enough on fighting the court case against the well-heeled neighborhood to have hired 200 cops.

Congratulations, Gavin Newsom

To: Gavin Newsom, Premier of California
From: Mitch Berg, Obstreporous Peasant
Re: Congratulations

Governor Newsom,

In a state dominated 2:1 by registered voters from your party, you evaded being recalled by a 7:4 margin.

After outspending the initiative by 5:1, with the united efforts of an in-the-bag media and a full turnout of the national social nomenklatura, in a vote that still saw your support among Latinos erode still further.

Sleep tight, Democrats.

That is all.

We Interrupt…

…the frat bros and sorority sisters of Big Left fist-bumping each other over Gavin Newsom winning the recall (after outspending the opposition 5-1) to point out that the ongoing Prog pipe dream of a “Blue Texas” seems to be slipping away as we speak.

Texas Monthly stated that much of the problem is the Democrat party’s assumption that Hispanic voters would default to voting Democrat as the left considers itself the party of the minority. This is increasingly proving to be a hubristic stance by the left, and Hispanic voters, Texans in particular, are teaching them not to take them for granted:

“Banking on an identity-based appeal, Democrats last year trotted out the sort of bilingual messaging in South Texas that has played well among Mexican Americans in Los Angeles and Puerto Ricans in New York, focused on a celebration of diversity and immigration. Republicans, by contrast, recognized that Hispanic South Texans share many of the same values as non-Hispanic white voters elsewhere in Texas and swept in with a pitch about defending gun rights, promoting the oil and gas industry, restricting abortion, and supporting law enforcement. Republicans proved more persuasive.”

Of course, this is the Great Sort in action.

But if there’s a state the GOP – and whatever future conservatism has at the national level, in whatever form – needs to hold, it’s Texas.

The Praetorians

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Our last defense against liberal tyranny has always been the military. They won’t fire on us, they are us, the military think the way we do.
Not anymore. In a couple of years, the new officers trained under the new regime will be in the field commanding troops. Either we will see officers leading troops against Americans, or a massive surge of fragging. Neither is good for the nation.
Joe Doakes

The US military has over 20 years of constant warfare become one of America’s most respected institutions.

For the past 40 years or so, Americans have trusted it to be the last, best defense against tyranny, whether imposed from abroad or within.

I think Joe may be a tad Pollyanna-ish: The flag rank officers who came up through the upper field grades under the Obama administration, reflect in the politics of that era.

Our founding fathers were right to be nervous of the standing military. I’m hoping we don’t we don’t find out exactly how right they were in the near future.

Being Locked Down And Nothingness, Part II

As I pointed out yesterday, I didn’t have a lot of personal sturm und drang during the “lockdown”. Life changed, of course – but I don’t think I especially did.

I was listening to an NPR science show a few weeks back. It discussed new discoveries about the interconnectedness of pleasure and pain – literal pleasure and pain,, in this case, and their role in addiction.

Doing something pleasurable triggers a jolt of dopamine – which is pleasant, and makes you happy. Doesn’t matter what the pleasure impulse is – a small victory, a shot of bourbon, sex, a good TV show, it all triggers dopamine. Of course, there’s an inner pendulum of sorts – as the body experiences pleasure, it pushes back, so the pleasure is followed by nearly equal, nearly opposite pain. Sugar is followed by crash; Big victory is followed by “so, what’s next?”.

One of the article’s many points was that humans have more stimuli for dopamine now than ever before; 24/7 entertainment, smart phones, porn on demand, drugs from caffeine to Fentanyl and everything in between. Humans aren’t built for all the pleasure modern times presents them; eveolutionariliy, everyone in the world is a virtual Norwegian Bachelor Farmer, expecting an aescetic life.

And this past 19 months have stripped away a lot of the stimulation people used to get – and made some of the more transient ones, video games and cell phones and the like – old hat. Buzzes get old; to quote the great psychiatrist Axl Rose, “I used to do a little but a little didn’t do it, so a little got more and more”.

And “creatives”, I think, are much more addicted to more dopamine, more need for stimulus and variation, than most.

And those are the ones writing the extended laments of the misery of thjis past two years.

Checked And Balanced

A state district judge has thrown out a lawsuit by a group of parents Who were seeking an order requiring the governor to issue a state wide mask mandate and to reinstate the state of emergency.

Thankfully, the judge shot the request down:

“While this court is gravely concerned about the public health consequences of the failure of school districts to implement the guidance of the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health regarding the use of masks for children, teachers, and staff in K-12 public schools,” the judge wrote in his ruling, “the judiciary cannot order a co-equal branch of government to exercise its discretionary, political judgment to implement a specific educational policy.”

In other words…

… (Mitch takes a deep breath)…

…the parents wanted a member of the judicial branch to compel the head of the executive branch do seize all of the authority of the legislative branch.

Sure, we have a public health crisis. We have an even bigger crisis in civics education in this state.

Out Hateful Racist President

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Black people make up 13.5% of the US population but only 10% of vaccinated people.

Executive Orders closing entertainment venues and employment opportunities to the unvaccinated, will have a disparate impact on Blacks.

Disparate Impact discrimination is a hateful and invidious form of racism.

The Usurper in the White House is a hateful racist. We must remove him from office at once, so Kamala can be elevated to cure the building of the taint of racial discrimination.

Republicans should introduce Articles of Impeachment based disparate impact racial discrimination. No, of course they won’t pass. But it’ll be fun hearing the explanation why the Hater in Chief should remain in office instead of allowing the First Black Woman President to heal the nation.

Joe Doakes

I suspect the next step would be a state of emergency…

Being Locked Down, And Nothingness, Part I

Back around the fall of 2020, in respect to the mewling avalanche of navel gazing in the media and among parts of my social circle about how 2020 was “the worst year ever”, I made two observations.

  1. Tell that to anyone alive in 1942, or 1916 (or the 1918 Influenza), 1861, or any of the various Bubonic Plagues. Those that didn’t hit you with a brick would laugh a bitter, condescending laugh.
  2. Worst ever? It wasn’t even the worst in my lifetime, from my perspective.

This last observation was a little controversial in some parts of my social circle – but among years in my life, 2020 might have cracked the bottom five, maybe. Just off the top of my head: 2008 was horrible, 2003 was a grueling slog of unemployment, 2000 involved all the fun and frolic of a divorce and 1988 was a hideous morass of depression.

So – 2020 was #5 on the *hit parade. At worst.

I posted that list on another, lesser social media platform than this blog. And it drew…

…well, some agreement, and a particularly harsh reaction from some parts of my social circle.

I’m not going to say 2020 was fun – it was terrible, and for reasons that went beyond Covid. And 2021, so far, is worse; more people in my life, speaking for myself, have died of Covid this year than last year. Again, neither year comes close to topping any of the years I listed above.

It’s heartening to see others making the observation:

No one can or should emerge from that world-historical shock without a heightened sense of life’s transience. It is the lockdown, the pause in “busy-ness”, that has been infused with more meaning than it can hold. What started as twee high jinks about banana bread became a sour reappraisal of modernity by its principal winners: the educated, the urban, the mobile. 

It is mortifyingly non-U, in fact, to say that I enter the post-lockdown world with no new angle on life. But there it is. I am going to go out as much as I did before, thanks. I am going to travel as much as the friction of new rules allows. If some urbanites crave an Arcadian life, I encourage them to find it in the obvious places instead of bending cities to their tastes. To the extent that I have changed at all, it is in the direction of more speed and zest: passing some of my forties in an Asian megacity is a goal now, as it never was before.

No doubt, my failure to have a Damascene lockdown reveals an impoverished imagination. But then which side is more bovinely stuck in its ways here? What stands out about the great odysseys of the soul I keep reading is their familiarity. Metropolitans have always been prone to credulous nature-worship. Families have always been prone to urban flight. Mid-life ennui has always been dressed up as some fault with the outside world. What is new is the respectability that such attitudes have acquired over the past year and a half. In other words, the lockdown hasn’t changed these people any more than it changed me. It just dignified existing impulses.

Read the whole thing.

But I think there was one other factor at work.

More tomorrow.

At Stake

If you’re voting in California today? Your mission is clear.

Gavin Newsom is everything that’s wrong with modern progressivism (although far from alone at that). He’ part of an “elite” that has destroyed one of history’s great success stories, one of America’s onetime great accomplishments.

Larry Elder may not have all the answers, and given that even if he manages to swim upstream past the Democrat fraud machine he’ll still be facing a California State Assembly on his own.

Is there a better guy for the job than Elder? Some certainly wish it so:

As Donald Rumsfeld said, “You don’t go to war with the army you want. You go with the army you have”. The California GOP may be rebounding, but at the state level they’ve got nothing. Nationally? This next three years is going to be interesting in all the wrong ways, party-wise.

A wish and $3 will get you a cup of Starbucks. $5.50 in California.

Statistical Rhetoric

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Article on vaccine hesitancy uses risk graph that shows what they want it to show to support their argument, not what it ought to show for me to make up my own mind. Odds of dying fully vaccinated are 1 in 137,000. Yeah, versus the odds of dying from what? Car accident? Hot air balloon crash? Carnival knife thrower? Who cares? In an article about vaccine hesitancy, the correct comparison is odds of dying while fully vaccinated versus odds of dying while not vaccinated. If you’re trying to convince me to get vaccinated, then show me the vast improvement in the odds resulting from the vaccine. Instead, the next graph shows just the opposite. Odds of NOT dying from Covid are the same as the ordinary flu, except for the elderly infirm.

I lack the math skills to convert the second chart into the first chart but I’m guessing that in a nation of 350 million people with only 650,000 deaths (and those are deaths counted using the phony numbers), my odds of dying from Covid while not vaccinated are only 1 in 538. Given most of the deaths are elderly infirm, my odds are actually better, maybe 1 in 1,000 about the same as drowning or a motorcycle accident, risks that I consider slight enough to ignore. And since I work mostly from home and rarely travel, my odds of meeting an Covid-infected person to catch the bug and die from it are even lower, just as my odds of dying from snake bite are much lower than the national average, which is lower than the global average.

I hate articles that use misleading graphs like that. They actually heighten my vaccine hesitancy.

Joe Doakes

My favorite example from the last week; the star Tribune breathlessly pointing out that 69 people had gotten infected with Covid at the Minnesota State fair.

Which turns out to be an infection rate per million roughly 1/4 that of the general population.

When A Bumper Sticker Just Isn’t Enough

Minneapolis.

It has an educational achievement gap at the very bottom of the national pile.

It’s on track to have its worst year for violent crime in a generation.

The gap between haves and have nots is daunting; crossing 394 between Kenwood and the North Side, or driving up Washington from the posh North Loop to Near North, is a little like crossing the Berlin Wall in 1974.

The public class is governing like Lewis Carrol’s Mad Queen is teaching a sophomore-level poli sci “laboratory” experiment – focused on bikeability and ramming trains down horse-and-carriage sized streets and telling the subjects public safety is a “privilege”.

Its downtown is decimated by Covid, its formerly stellar entertainment districts cowed by Covid and jittery from spasms of hooliganism and violence.

It’s ruling class can’t be bothered with any of that, other than chanting it’s all Trump’s fault.

But what can they do?

Virtue-signal about policies that went out of favor sixty years ago:

…where “do something” is the homeowners equivalent of putting a bumpersticker on their car.

For decades some Minnesotans added language to their property deeds barring future sales to people of color.

Two new initiatives hope to raise awareness of these racially restrictive covenants and their impact, get them removed and also raise money to increase Black homeownership in the city. And it starts one lawn sign at a time.

It’s true – these were parts of covenents in deeds, and some deeds may still have some of that language tucked away…

…over seventy years after they became illegal and unenforceable, in 1948.

The article points out, correctly, that at one point those covenants did at one point affect where populations were able and allowed to settle.

And it’s intellectually honest to note that demography takes forever to change organically – Saint Louis Park or Highland Park haven’t been semi-formal “Jewish Ghettoes” since well before World War II, and yet both still retain elements of that history.

It’s also intellectually honest to note that the demography that was forced by the covenants has been reinforced for decades, now, not by property covenants, but by the two-tiered public school system with the lower tier reserved for poor kids; by a social welfare state that uses the inner city as a warehouse for the poor; by welfare policies that have encouraged the breakdown of all families, but with the black family leading the fall.

“It starts……”

And, let’s be honest, stops, unless those wealthy progs want to change the system they own.

Or give their property away.

Otherwise, it’s just another, bigger, more expensive bumper sticker.

Karen Crow

The “attack” on Jussie Smollett was a reflection of everything wrong about Trump’s Amerikkka, until it almost inevitably turned out to be a hoax. Then it disappeared.

The attack on Larry Elder by a “woman” (we weren’t given any actual pronouns to use, so I’m not positive about that) in a gorilla mask – a bit of Jim Crow-era racism dating back to the systematic dehumanization of black people in the 1920s through 1960s – is…

…well, if you’re a Democrat leader, nothing at all.

Nominal

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

“Nominal” is Latin for “in name only.” William S. Lind, author of books on 4th Generation Warfare, knows a thing or two about armies. He says the Afghan Army was a ‘nominal’ army – an army in name, only. In reality, it was a bunch of guys who needed a job but didn’t much care about fighting and dying for their country. The Afghan Army collapsed overnight because it never really existed outside the minds of bureaucrats who believed in it. An army that won’t fight isn’t a military force, it’s a social work project.

That brings us to the United States military with its woke generals and high-heel wearing cadets and purging the ranks for fear of white supremacists. If the US military isn’t a fighting force, what is it? It’s a stepping stone. For young people, it’s free college. For lower ranks, it’s a place to belong until you retire. But for top ranks – admirals and generals – it’s the finishing school for a job in the military-industrial complex, all those Beltway Bandits living off the Pentagon. Manufacturers of military equipment need customers. If insurgents don’t have military grade weapons, national governments won’t buy more. Their eternal quandary is: How do we get military grade weapons into the hands of terrorists so that national governments will buy more of our product, without getting caught selling to proscribed people?

The top brass of the US military ordered the bug-out from Afghanistan leaving behind billions (with a b) billions of dollars worth of military grade weapons and equipment knowing it would fall into the hands of the Taliban and from there would find its way to insurgent groups worldwide, causing national governments everywhere to need more and better military grade weapons and hardware. Our top brass are well on the way to becoming Salesmen of the Year.

Joe Doakes

There will be so much for a new conservative administration to fix…

… if we ever get one.

Do You Remember…

…20 years ago, right after 9/11, when some on the left said the overreaction to the terror attacks 20 years ago tomorrow would actually give the terrorists the win they wanted?

I can’t have been the only one thinking Joe Biden’s speech yesterday must have made Mohammed Atta smile in whatever part of the Great Beyond he’s in now.

The nuts and bolts of the speech, to the extent there were any? The “president” wants to use OSHA to enforce a vaccine mandate on companies with more than 100 employees – as if forcing a medication on employees (and the forced sharing of medical records, and the inevitable shielding of employers from liability when those records are inevitably. misused) is the same as safety shields in ripsaws. We’ll await future presidents using the same precedent to force inoculations against smoking, obesity, and, eventually and inevitably, barring some outbreak of sanity, ideas.

Also – not a single mention of natural immuinity. 50 mllion Americans are known to have been infected and recovered (myself included); that natural immunity is at least as effective as any pharmaceutical – but is being pointedly ignored.

It’s hard to honestly say what was the most concerning part of our “chief of state’s” speech yesterday. I’m not the only one to whom it sounded like a desperate muddle of authoritarian knee-jerks.

His little shot at the governors who are pushing back at his misbegotten authority – how he’s going to use the power of the Federal Government and the Presidency to show them who’s boss?

It sounds like he wants to crush the idea and practice of federalism; like separation of powers is the problem.

Much of it was peoples reactions to the “President”. For example, this weasel:

People on the left have a frightening propensity to see government as a “Parent”, rather than the custodian elected by the “Free Association of Equals” in the Declaration of Independence.

Of course, if you can’t get timeless wisdom from Joy Reid and Steve Schmidt of “The Lincoln Project”, where can you get it?

The scapegoating of the unvaccinated – who, notwithstanding the left’s propaganda machcine, are largely the young, the poor, and Black males from 20-40 years old – was perhaps the most chilling thing about the, er, “speech”.

Thing is, a real leader – I’m looking at you, Ron DeSantis – could get a lot of mileage out of something that’s been pushed to the sidelines throughout this pandemic – the truth. John Hayward has a draft of a part of the speech that could have been:

20 years after 9/11, we have government by decree, an out of control bureaucracy that governs more or less as it wishes unless and until someone musters the numbers or. money to try to clip it, a plutocrat sector that buys its own boutique version of freedom, and a population that’s being conditioned to accept a dystopian shredding of freedom as “the new normal”.

Against Type

The pandemic and civil unrest has led, as we’ve noted in this space, to a massive realignment of attitudes about firearms, with Democrats, women and minorities the fastest-growing members of a fast-growing lifestyle.

And now – school choice?

Granted, the “choice” is for more mask mandates.

But any port in a storm.

Not Unexpected

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The United States still faces a shortage of affordable ammunition. The Garden Administration is going to make it worse.

Ammunition made in Russia is imported into the US and sold under brands like Tula, Wolf, Bear and others. It’s generally made from cheaper components (steel case, bi-metal jacket, low-grade-primer) so ammo snobs like me won’t buy it. But cheaper components means cheaper prices, even after shipping it half-way around the world. Today on Ammoseek, 9mm 115 grain by Tula is $0.33 per round while Winchester White Box is $0.40 (limited quantities). Unless you’re shooting a lot of rounds, that probably won’t make a difference in your pocketbook.

But remember our discussion about Second Order Effects? Take away the cheapest ammo and what do low-budget shooters do: quit shooting altogether or buy more expansive ammo? And if they buy more expensive ammo, that depletes the available inventory of more expensive ammo which . . . pushes up the price to make it even more expensive.

When ammunition becomes a luxury good, only rich people and government can afford it. Disarming the masses on the cheap – welcome to The New United States, where Constitutional rights are a historical anachronism that you can’t afford to exercise.

Joe Doakes

It is implementing, in effect, Moynahan’s famous, and most stupid, policy suggestion; the thousand percent tax on ammunition.

Berg’s Eighth Law Goes To San Francisco

Berg’s Eighth Law of DIversity states “”American progressivism’s reaction to one of “their”constituents – women, gays or people of color – running for office or otherwise identifying as a conservative is indistinguishable from sociopathic disorder.

There’s a reason it’s called Berg’s Law, and not Berg’s suggestion.

I don’t know if Larry Elder is going to win next week’s recall election against Gavin Newsom.

But Big Left certainly seems to think he’s got enough of a shot to pull out the big, stupid, racist guns…

…and the small, stupid, racist guns.

(No literal guns, yet – but let’s say a prayer for Elder anyway).

If you’re thinking referring to a black man as a “white supremacist” cheapens the term – well, Big Left is devaluing the term itself; since it seems Latinos in California, who’ve been the buttresses of the Democrat majority in the state for the past couple decades, are very underwhelmed with Newsom.

It’s going to be an insane five days. And not in a good way.

Vibrant

Sure is a good thing the State Fair banned the law abiding citizen from carrying on the Fairgrounds.

Otherwise, who knows what kind of mischief all those law-abiding citizens will get into.