Times In Which The Mundane Is Spectacularly Radical

Let’s say I write an article in which I assert that the mid-day sky is actually bright scarlet red in color.

You might respond “You’re just Mitch Berg. You’re a conservative, so you always think stupid things”. That response is half, maybe 3/4 true – but doesn’t say anything about the color of the sky. What it does is say “your argument is false because of who you are”. The term is “Argumentum ad Hominem” – latin for “arguing against the man”, rather than the facts the Man presented. It’s a logical fallacy. Who I am has no bearing on the facts I present, right or wrong.

You might then respond “You don’t have a degree in meteorology – how would you know anything about the sky?” That’s also true – I’m not a meteorologist. But it doesn’t address the facts presented, but rather my credentials. It’s called an “Appeal to Authority”, and it’s another logical fallacy. One’s credentials might lend authority to a statement – but not truth or falsity, all by themselves.

You could try another tack, something like “you are an idiot”. That’d be called an “Appeal to Ridicule”. Again – I might be actually an idiot, but it doesn’t address my factual assertion in any way. It’s…yep, another logical fallacy.

Maybe you could dig back on Twitter, and find some example of me saying “the sky is blue”, and post a before-and-after saying “Hah! You’re being inconsistent!”. That’s called the “Argumentum Tu Quoque” – focusing on the fact that one has changed their mind on a subject, rather than the facts at hand – which is a really dumb one; the fact that I was a Democrat growing up, for example, doesn’t make me less a conservative today (or vice versa for someone else).

You could go on the offensive, and claim that if I believe the sky is scarlet with “Sooooo, what you’re saying is you want old people to die”. That’s called a “Straw Man Argument” – trying to make someone defend an argument they never made. I said the sky was scarlet – nothing about Grandma at all.

You could write “the sky is blue, because as I noted above, the sky is blue”. That’s called “Begging the Question” – perhaps the most mis-used phrase in the quasi-educated dialect of English, which people usually use to refer to “asking a question again”. It means “using your conclusion as proof of your conclusion”.

Or – here’s a radical thought, you could post a picture of a bright blue, or dull gray, sky and tell the world “Look! The sky above is blue! It’s not even a little bit scarlet!”. That would address the actual facts of my assertion that the sky was bright scarlet.

And the technical term for that is “a factual argument”.

I’m writing this not because I’m trying to go all Jordan Peterson on you, but because our society would be a lot stronger, smarter and BS-proof if more people learned how to make a logical argument, and to spot and call out an illogical one.

“That’s just NPR!” or “That’s just National Review” or “that info came from people allied with “the swamp”” and many other arguments…aren’t really arguments at all. They are illogical deflections.

Not to go all Walt Kowalski, but there was a time people had to learn this stuff. And there are times I think, reading social media, that learning the basics of, if not logic, at least spotting gross illogic and not being illogical, should be required before people can vote…

much less post on Facebook or Twitter.

And if I’m ever appointed king, or otherwise become a benevolent strongman…

(Careful, kids – in some quarters, particularly academia, the above is very un-PC. It’s what we used to call Samizdat. )

This post was originally run on May 11 2020. I’m re-running it because, well, it seems appropriate.

Dense

“Red” states are 45% of the nation’s population – and about 21% of the nation’s Covid19 deaths (and 25% of the cases, as far as testing shows, although that’s a fuzzy numerator at best in many states, including Minnesota).

That leaves most of this epidemic’s carnage to the 100 most densely-populated counties – almost all of them “blue”. Indeed, Dallas and Houston – two of the only “red” major cities in the ocuntry – aren’t even in the top 100 metropolitan areas for infection rates.

And the red-state natives are getting restless (emphasis added):

“The cure is worse than the disease, no doubt,” said Mark Henry, a Republican who oversees the Galveston County government in southeast Texas. “There are businesses that were shut down that are never going to open again.”

In the country as a whole, outbreaks in conservative rural counties are rising, but not on a scale that would close the gap in the virus’s impact on red and blue counties.

Overall, the infection rate is 1.7 times as high in the most urban areas of the country compared with nearby suburbs, and 2.3 times as high in the suburbs as in exurban and rural areas.

That bolded bit is kinda key. The more incendiary, less filtered parts of the Blue commentariat are openly predicting – “hoping” and “praying to the God they don’t believe in” might be more like it – that the impudent Reds get their comeuppance, like some Biblical penitence for disbelieving. It’s the mirror image of the fundie crones who are saying the plague is God’s vengeance on the cities…

…except that the Blue scolds have an actual platform and audience.

Blue Fragility: “Science!”

I’ve been pretty stringently self isolated since March 16. I’ve got my reasons – a number of people in my family and immediate social circle with immune and cardiovascular problems, as well as a mother in memory care and a father who is doing quite well, but he’s 82, so why chance it, anyway? I’m blessed with a job that allows me to work from home. It makes perfect sense for me to do so.

I believe the closest thing we have to scientific consensus – drawn from decades of experience in operating rooms worldwide – is that masks don’t prevent anyone from catching viruses; they prevent them from being spread from the infected to other people. Which is my operating room staff wear them. And if you were able to get all the worlds asymptomatic yet infected people to wear masks, I suspect you might cut the infection rate down by a fair chunk.

That being said, I think the current orgy of virtue signaling over masks is largely pseudoscientific logrolling – a festival of malinformed logrolling and bandwagoneering.

And with that, in turm, being said, I’ve worn a mask twice in the past week: both times to go to Menards, which requires masks. It’s private property, and it’s about 7 miles closer than the nearest big box home improvement store that doesn’t require a mask. Putting on a cheap surgical mask for 10 minutes burns up less of my time than driving all the way to Home Depot.

Wearing a mask, in short, is purely a matter of contingency, not belief.

And I believe that Mayor Frey’s order that all people wear masks while in any indoor public accommodation in Minneapolis is, if not pointless, then merely virtue signaling of the most callow order.

And yet, if I had taken the call from the Strib’s “ Minnesota“ Poll, I would’ve come down on the “make everybody wear a masks” side of this fairly dimwitted bit of propaganda, which appeared as an at taken out by the DFL on the various Star Tribune online properties over the weekend. It read:

74% of Minnesotans have worn a mask in the past week

Minnesotans support the lockdown!

Now, we don’t know how many people among the “74%” in this “Paul” are like me Dash people who wore masks for utilitarian or social reasons, rather than out of any conviction that Governor Walz is anything but Way over his head and being led around by a bunch of party hacks whounderstand neither business nor science.

And, obviously, we have no idea how many of them are committed mask wearers, like this woman, whose mooring in the world of science is clear and utterly unassailable:

That’s the thing I love about “ progressives”: their absolute, categorical commitment to science and reason.

But the Democrats – and some of their apologists in the “center” – are claiming this isstar Tribune Minnesota poll is a mandate for the governor.I don’t think that necessarily means The DFL, the posters or the various media organizations involved (the Strib, MPR and KARE11) are stupid.I think it means they are counting on Minnesota voters to be stupid. And doing their best to keep them that way.

Minnesota Is Finally Number 1

Minnesota has the highest share of long-term-care residents as fatalities of any state in the union. So we’re finally champs at something.

And looking at the numbers in that spreadsheet, it’s beyond shocking – nearly ten percent of all ilong term care residents in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – the Blue Triangle of Death – have died in this pandemic.

Minnesota, thus far, has lost 2.8% of its nursing home population – the 14th-worst result in the US, thus far. That’s far, far above the death toll in the two states that are every Minnesota “progressive’s” favorite punch lines, Mississippi (1.9%) and Florida (1.5%).

The Dakotas – the two neighbor states that Minnesota Progressives just can’t stop bashing? Both tied in the bottom five – at 0.1% of the long term care population.

And while politicizing the results isn’t entirely fair or appropriate, it’s worth noting that the top 25 states in terms of deaths in long-term care are all “blue” states (with the exception of Louisiana, whose main population center and Covid hot spot is utterly dominated by the Democrats.

Great job, Walz-y.

Never Waste A Crisis – Libertarian Edition

I pointed out with a bit of mindly tart surprise last month that California, after voting in lock step with the statist agenda for the past thirty years, had rediscovered the virtues of federalism via the current public health crisis, and the (to progressives) greater crisis of Hillary losing the election.

That was a tad sarcastic – but as José Niño at the Mises Institute points out, after quite a few policians romping and playing in power like Scrooge McDuck bathing in his coin vault…:

Amusingly, the COVID-19 saga has been host to some of the most flagrant political posturing in recent memory. Early in March (which feels like eons ago in today’s frenetic media cycle) New York City mayor de Blasio was telling people to go to the movies and have fun. Now, he’s done a complete 180, shutting down most private businesses and even calling for the nationalization of certain industries and begging the federal government for military aid to combat the epidemic.

…there’ve been some object lessons show, and learned, on the value of federalism coming out of this crisis:

We are indeed living in the strangest of times when LA Times columnists are expressing sentiments that better belong in a passage of Human Action. The jury is still out on whether this is merely oppositional posturing from the Left, but any kind of conversation entailing the restoration of federalism is a welcome surprise.

The “authorized” right can generally be counted on to disappoint its constituents who genuinely believe in small government principles. To their credit, there have been some bright spots on their side in the present pandemic. States like Texas have gone out of their way to declare gun stores essential businesses and to deregulate several parts of its economy at a time where bureaucracy is impeding various vital economic functions.

Elected officials like State Representative Matt Gurtler in Georgia have raised the stakes by floating a proposal that would allow law-abiding Georgians to concealed carry anywhere. South Dakota governor Kristi Noem projected a stark contrast in her relatively lax approach to handling the pandemic. Jeff Deist used her example as the basis for several pragmatic measures that state governments can take to reopen their economies without throwing civil liberties into the wood chipper. No doubt there is much work to be done, but we can find glimmering signs of promise every now and then.

The example I like to use – after Katrina, gun rights groups noticed the speed at which Louisiana and New Orleans’ layers of incompetent Democrat governments turned to confiscating the firearms of law-abiding citizens. In 2015, Minnesota’s gun rights groups pushed a law in Minnesota barring the state from confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens under states of emergency, or shutting down gun stores before every other store in the state was closed. The bills passed, with bipartisan majorities in both chambers powerful enough to scare Governor Dayton’s handlers away from telling him to sign a veto.

We – the good guys – need to do that with every other civil right.

Starting in November.

Idle Question For Governor Walz

Question: why are tiny United Churches of Christ in small towns in southwestern Minnesota, the huge Cathedral of Saint Paul, and the sprawling Living Word Church which seats several thousand people several times every normal Sunday, all limited to 10 attendees?

What’s the ostensible “science” behind concluding fifty people on a restaurant patio – any restaurant patio – but the same limit holds for churches that seat 5,000 as 50?

Why, it’s almost as if Minnesota’s ongoing response to Covid has become so reflexively, un-scientifically, sclerotically unscientific and bureaucracy-driven that even the “elite” media is starting to take notice.

But you know what would be cool? If we had some group of people, perhaps working for companies that owned printing presses or transmitters, maybe even people who see themselves as heroic comforters of the afflicted and afflictors of the comfortable, who’d ask questions like this theselves.

Other than Tom Hauser, sometimes. .

Huh. I guess all this quarantining is making me delusional.

Unimpressed

The governors “reopening plan“ – it might be better referred to as a “slow strangulation plot” – Might not actually be is designed to destroy small businesses, especially in low density parts of the state.

 

But if it were, it would be hard to tell what they would do differently.

 

Representative Mary Franson voiced her displeasure yesterday:

I’m in decent health – I’ve never missed the 80 pounds I lost over the last two years less than I have this last two months – and so I have to say in all honesty, I’m a lot more worried about surviving governments response to this epidemic that I am the epidemic itself.

That’s not to say I don’t take it seriously, Karen: I have people in my family who are in several of the various risk groups.But it’s time for the real people of the state to ratchet up the opposition.More later this week, maybe.

Make Minnesota Productive Again

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Since the Governor won’t let me go out to play, I’m spending my time at
home wisely.

I’m taking the on-line class to renew my Permit to Carry a Pistol. I’m
also shopping on-line for guns (to be shipped to my local FFL for
delivery) and stocking up on ammunition (to be shipped directly to my
doorstep).

Thanks, Governor. Just what I needed.

Joe Doakes

Do it while you can.

If the Democrats take the Senate and hold the House this fall, Minnesota will make Virginia look like Wyoming.

Blue Fragility, Part VI: Lysenkoism Vs. Actual Science!

Those of us who favor a safe, science-driven re-opening of the economy are frequently derided by the “shut down until ______” (fill in the blank du jour) crowd as either callous or ignorant.

But looking at examples of states that have managed to combine generally good public health outcomes with a relatively sane course on economic re-opening, two patterns emerge:

1) those paths tend to be steered by governors with experience in the private sector – the likes of Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Doug Burgum of North Dakota and especially Ron DeSantis of Florida) treat science as a way of finding the truth, as opposed it being a tool to coerce compliance.

2) The success tends to follow a parade of calumny in the “blue” media – followed by the media moving on to another story when none of the predictions pans out.

The response to Governor DeSantis’s plans early in the epidemic (the sky was going to fall!) and now (it didn’t!) is illustrative:

An irony of the national coverage of the coronavirus crisis is that at the same time DeSantis was being made into a villain, New York governor Andrew Cuomo was being elevated as a hero, even though the DeSantis approach to nursing homes was obviously superior to that of Cuomo. Florida went out of its way to get COVID-19-positive people out of nursing homes, while New York went out of its way to get them in, a policy now widely acknowledged to have been a debacle.

The media didn’t exactly have their eyes on the ball. “The day that the media had their first big freakout about Florida was March 15th,” DeSantis recalls, “which was, there were people on Clearwater Beach, and it was this big deal. That same day is when we signed the executive order to, one, ban visitation in the nursing homes, and two, ban the reintroduction of a COVID-positive patient back into a nursing home.”

DeSantis is bemused by the obsession with Florida’s beaches. When they opened in Jacksonville, it was a big national story, usually relayed with a dire tone. “Jacksonville has almost no COVID activity outside of a nursing-home context,” he says. “Their hospitalizations are down, ICU down since the beaches opened a month ago. And yet, nobody talks about it. It’s just like, ‘Okay, we just move on to the next target.’”

Perhaps more understandably, The Villages, the iconic senior community, was a focus of media worries. According to DeSantis, as of last weekend there hadn’t been a single resident of The Villages in the hospital for COVID-19 for about a week. At one point, the infection rate in The Villages was so low that state officials were worried that they were missing something. “So I got the University of Florida to do a study,” he says. “They did 1,200 asymptomatic seniors at The Villages, and not one of them came back positive, which was really incredible.”

So how did DeSantis go about responding to the epidemic? It began with the data, and trying to learn the lessons of other countries.

The “Red” states’ approaches (and to be fair, California’s) spared their states the carnage that befell New York’s nursing homes (and Minnesota’s, as well); a dispassionate, scientific approach to the data (as opposed to the governor’s desired conclusions, as in Minnesota) led them to protect their most vulnerable – in stark contrast to the policies of New York’s governor (and increasingly, Minnesota’s).

I’ve been calling this response “Blue Fragility” – the tendency of our society’s “gatekeepers” to lash out in anger and frustration at the realization that their version of “science” is as much about browbeating and logrolling people into submission as it is about systematic inquiry leading to knowledge. It helps deflect away from several fairly inescapable conclusions one might get from observing this pandemic:

  1. High density “blue city” urban lifestyles – like the Met Council is mandating in the Twin Cities – are not “resilient” against pandemics. High density living, transit-centered lifestyles, open plan offices, bars and restaurants are all hotbeds of contagion in a way that, at least anecdotally, lower-density areas – even as in Los Angeles as compared to New York – just don’t.
  2. When you mix science and politics, you don’t get scientific politics. You get politicized science – better known as “propaganda” and “logrolling”.

Blue Fragility is causing some shutdown proponents to “kill the messenger”; I had a prominent Saint Paul political operative tell me “small towns are going to get the s**t kicked out of them”, with an almost evangelical glee, like he was looking forward to watching all those MAGA-hatted bitter clingers’ suffereing.

And it prompts people to deflect away from the success story to, frankly, “dog bites dog” stories like this – where a “covid denier” who is quite visibly high risk of contracting the disease…contracts the disease. Surprise, surprise.

It’s easier to mock and taunt one’s opponent than engage them – when that’s all you’ve got.

Civil Disobedience

I’ll confess – I never thought I’d see the Catholic Church act up against big government.

The Missouri Synod Lutherans? Sure. But Twin Cities catholics? I’d given up hope.

Happy to admit I got that one wrong.

Minnesota’s collection of Bishops have joined with the conservative Missouri Synod Lutherans to defy the Governor’s absurd “10 people in church” order.

So we’re clear on this – to an administration full of people who roil with contempt for business, faith and science, fifty people on a restaurant patio is juuuust fine. Eleven people in a church, whether a tiny United Church of Christ congregation in Eveleth or the Cathedral of Saint Paul, or the Living Word megachurch for that matter? Not.

I’ve been personally pretty cautious and conservative about my own interactions with people – but the Walz Administration has “departed controlled flight”, reason-wise. I’m sure their goal isn’t to actively breed contempt and disrespect for government – but if they were, I’m at a loss for how they’d do it differently.

The Bishops’ letter is below the jump.

Continue reading

Heroes Walking Among Us

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Went for a walk, saw this sign, having trouble identifying the symbol for “government bureaucrats.”  


Hey, we’re essential, you know.  Those papers aren’t going to shuffle themselves.  
Joe Doakes

Sardonic as Joe is, he knows as well as anyone that government workers of all kinds are the most essential workers there are. They’re public employees union members – the backbone of the DFL.

They’re essential to his and the DFL’s power.

But we all knew this.

A Look Ahead To Government Healthcare…

…with a side helping of “Blue Minnesota always tries to emulate New York”.

City-run nursing homes in NYC became wretched hellscapes during the worst of the pandemic:

“It was just heartbreaking,” said one of the RNs, a mom of four from Wisconsin who spent about 17 days at the Coler Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center.

“Patients were in deplorable conditions — very, very dirty, bed sores, terrible odors,’’ the FEMA-contracted nurse, 38, told The Post.

“During my shift, I was placing my initials on the adult diapers. When I would return the next day, the patients would have an additional adult diaper on over the one with my initials on it, saturated urine through both and through the sheets.’’

She and several other nurses, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they tended to coronavirus patients in the facility’s long-term-care section.

The virus-sickened patients were already living at the site when the nurses arrived and not among the COVID-19 sufferers who were ordered sent to the facility by Mayor Bill de Blasio because of a shortage of hospital beds amid the pandemic. The patients brought in from the outside were put in a separate wing of the site that had been closed.

The conditions were a direct result of Governor “Fredo” Cuomo and Mayor “Ratso” DiBlasio’s bureaucratic d**k-measuring contest back in March – further proof that politics is not just (as Kevin Williamson says) the worst possible way of allocating scarce resources, but in times of crisis, the deadliest as well.

The Good News: Americans Have Learned A Lot About Dealing With Crises

The bad news: they learned it by watching The Walking Dead.

I’ve noticed a serious uptick in incredibly dangerous, reckless driving since the onset of the epidemic.

Now, out on I94 between the Cities is one thing. But this includes a lot of episodes on Saint Paul’s narrow side streets.

Worst example? I was driving down Phalen Parkway, out toward the East Side a few weeks ago. Not long after I passed Olive street, moving about 40MPH, I saw a car way behind me, moving very fast, swerving between the oncoming and right lanes, doing at least 90mph (in a 40mph zone).

Worse yet, I saw a concrete median, and cars in the oncoming lane, Speed Racer was going to have to squeeze into the right lane, along with me, before we got to the median.

Part of me thought “just carry on, and let the moron either jam on the binders or smack into the median – before I remembered that “me and my new-ish used car” were also a viable option. I pulled over – and the moron (a twenty-something of Vibrant descent) swerved into the lane with probably ten feet to spare, jamming on the gas.

I followed him, hoping to get a license or at least be around to call in the crash report, but he swerved onto Frank Street, narrowly missing an oncoming car, and gunned it up the hill into the neighborhood. I lost him. I have to hope he didn’t kill anyone – yet.

So I’d been wondering when we’d start seeing stories like these all over the place.

Let’s Make Sure We’re Clear On This

“World’s Largest Candy Store”, (run by a buddy and contributor to the governor and his campaign): absolutely essential, and above question as to its impact to the community.

Chain of rural Minnesota bars that employs dozens, in areas with very, very case rates (because they are very, very low density), but who make a point of defying the regal power of the state executive branch?

Bring down the full weight and power of government!

Timing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Newest Covid statistics.

10% of the people tested got the virus.  1.5% of those who got the virus, needed hospitalization. One-half of one percent of those who got the virus, died from it.  80% of the deaths are in nursing homes.  No child has died from it.
 
The computer model estimates from the press conference in March, when the Governor imposed the lock down, were that 2.5 million Minnesotans would get it, of all ages, from 6 months to 91 years; that 15% of those who get it would require hospitalization; 5% of them would require ICU care; 1% would die. 
 
Testing proves the computer model was wrong.  Can we abandon the model, now?  Focus our efforts on those who need them, liberate the rest to go back to work so we can pay for it all?
 
Joe Doakes

I’m not going to say “nothing about Govenor Walz’s response has anything to do with public health.

But nearly every part of the response – especially last week’s luke-warm reopening announcement – is driven by political expedience.

In this case, most notably, as defiance of the state of emergency burgeons, the expedience of appearing to still be in charge.

Perspective

This blog is eighteen years old and counting. Granted, it’s been a hobby the whole time – other than my annual fund drive and the occasional Google Ads check, it’s never been a money-making proposition. There’s aways been something else to keep me much, much busier from 8-5 – initially a couple of kids, plus a career; these days, the career covers most of it.

But the goals have always been the same: talk about the things in this world where not talking about them would drive me completely crazy, and try to convince the “other side” that there’s another way.

Christian Toto – longtime journo, and conservative film critic – has been at it longer, with different priorities, and a story that resonates with me; a conservative in Saint Paul is a fish at least as far out of water as one in Hollywood.

The whole thing is worth a read, but here’s my pullquote:

What’s different now about me?

I’ve embraced more of Andrew Breitbart’s spirit, his vision. It IS a culture war, and one side has far more ammunition. I’m not looking for domination, though. Given the chilling clampdown on free speech I simply want all sides to be heard without, as Dave Rubin would say, being called a Nazi … and then punched.

Once upon a time that was the liberal’s default position. No longer. It’s time to act accordingly. Taking that basic stance makes me both an outlier and a culture warrior. Guilty as charged on both fronts.

If you’re a left-of-center movie buff, I hope you’ll stand by me, too. Let’s argue about the best, and worst, content streaming into our homes.

We can agree to disagree, assuming you acknowledge “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein” got stiffed by the Academy in 1948.

Worth a read.

Densely Packed People

“Politics is the least effective possible way to get things done” is a tight paraphrase of one of my favorite Kevin Williamson quotes. And it may as well be the theme in this piece, from far-from-right Pro Publica,

Pullquote from among many contenders:

[San Francisco Mayor London] Breed, it turns out, had sent de Blasio a copy of her detailed shelter-in-place order. She thought New York might benefit from it.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, however, reacted to de Blasio’s idea for closing down New York City with derision. It was dangerous, he said, and served only to scare people. Language mattered, Cuomo said, and “shelter-in-place” sounded like it was a response to a nuclear apocalypse.

Moreover, Cuomo said, he alone had the power to order such a measure.

For years, Cuomo and de Blasio, each of whom has harbored national political ambitions, had engaged in a kind of intrastate cold war, a rivalry that to many often felt childish and counterproductive. When de Blasio finally decided to close the city’s schools, it was Cuomo who rushed to make the public announcement, claiming it as his decision.

“No city in the state can quarantine itself without state approval,” Cuomo said of de Blasio’s call for a shelter-in-place order. “I have no plan whatsoever to quarantine any city.”

Cuomo’s conviction didn’t last. On March 22, he, too, shuttered his state. The action came six days after San Francisco had shut down, five days after de Blasio suggested doing similarly and three days after all of California had been closed by Newsom. By then, New York faced a raging epidemic, with the number of confirmed cases at 15,000 doubling every three or four days.

Being a leftist publication, the elephant in the room – population density is a key vector of transmission – got skipped.

But tinhorn imperial personality poiltics? That just plain killec.

Tone Deaf

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

600,000 Minnesotans lost their jobs this Spring. The $1.5 billion surplus is now a $2.5 billion deficit.  DFL legislators want to give 50,000 state employees a 2% raise in July.
 
My thought: there are 50,000 state employees?  That’s a lot of bureaucrats.  And it does not include all government employees – teachers, county or city – only state government.  Are we sure that’s as lean as we can get?  No fat to trim?  None?
 
The Republicans are holding strong, for now.  Let the state employees strike.  Give them a taste of their own medicine, going without pay like so many others.  
 
State employee unions hold Walz’ leash.  Time to give it a yank.  
 
Joe Doakes

Being a public employee union makes you not only “essential”, but more valuable to Tim Walz’s Minnesota than the people who are paying the taxes to support them.

If Daudt and the House GOP give up their cards on the bonding bill, I may go back to the Libertarians after all.

Government By Slogan

Gym class is one of few parts of high school – mostly junior high – that I’ve actively tried to blot from my mind. Don’t get me wrong – some of the gym teachers at my high school might not have been sadistic sociopaths. Some of them may have grown as human beings. I’ll leave it to divine judgment.

I do remember that many of ’em, when they weren’t articulating the humor they found in making the less team-sports-inclined kids feel like fish out of water, communicated primarily in slogans, to the depth of “no pain no gain” and “loooong slow distance” and other such repositories of the wisdom of Western Civilization. I don’t remember much, but I remember the slogans.

I thought about that when Governor Walz explained his new testing policy on Friday. Emphasis added by me:

Gov. Tim Walz coined the phrase “Minnesota moonshot” to refer to his goal for COVID-19 testing in the coming weeks.

It’s a “moonshot” because the level of testing he says is necessary is hard to imagine in current conditions.

Over the past six weeks, Minnesota labs have run more than 39,000 total tests statewide. Before the state begins returning to normal, Walz said he was aiming for some 5,000 tests per day or 40,000 a week.

And another story came out Friday as well, spelling out the details. I’ve added some emphasis:

Walz has said that a massive increase in testing — both tests that diagnose people who have the virus and tests that determine whether someone has developed antibodies to fight the virus — is necessary to restart parts of the economy.

Walz is planning to use $36 million from a state COVID-19 fund for the first phase of a several-step process: A three- to four-week period in which Mayo Clinic and the U of M will create a central lab to accommodate the expanded testing. Clinics and hospitals around the state will also be ramping up their efforts to take samples from potentially infected patients, which they will then send to that new central lab

The state is also planning to establish a virtual command center, to coordinate the state’s response with health care systems across Minnesota. The center would help determine where the tests are needed most on a given day, and how best to quickly address outbreaks that occur.

A new website, in which patients can see exactly where all the testing sites are among other resources, is also in the works.

Well, I”m glad there’s a plan.

Or was, anyway.

The sharp-eyed among you, and those that still pay attention to the Minnesota media, may have noticed something – the first story, announcing the Governor’s “moon shot”, was a month ago, and the bit with the “details” – really, a list of aspirations fit entirely for public relations use, which is all it takes for most Twin Cities media to run the story – came out a week later. A month after the “moonshot”, after the “three to four weeks” the governor called out for getting the state – with its formidable concentration of hospitals and immense public health bureaucracy – up to 20K tests a day, we’re noodling along around 5,000, on a good day, and that’s pretty recent.

And you can scan the Twin Cities media every day looking for any sign that a single reporter is going to follow up on the complete flop that Walz’s slogan turned into.

Not only are we testing at 3/4 the rate of South Dakota, and 1/3 the rate of North Dakota – we’re lagging every Minnesota “progressive’s” rhetorical punching bag, Mississippi, by a solid quarter.

Governor Walz is a gym teacher. God love gym teachers – but chanting “no pain, no gain” isn’t going to move any needles.

Not outside of Twin Cities newsrooms, anyway.

Representative Karen

Tina LIebling, representative from…

…well, it might as well be Eastasia, given her attitude about, well, the role of the elected legislature, especially the part that’s in opposition., But I digress.

Here’s the representative, talking about GOP Senators who were doing the – let me make sure I’m perfectly clear oh this – actual job they were elected to do, standing up for their constituents’ interests.

No matter, to Rep. Karen:

Hey, at least state rules forced her to unblock me!

Confidence

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

When people have confidence in the ability and willingness of the government to protect them, they don’t buy guns to protect themselves.

Second straight month of record gun sales.  Forget what they tell the poll takers on the phone – what does that sales figure tell us about the public’s confidence in the local officials they formerly trusted?

Joe Doakes

But…I’m toldthe polling numbers are stellar…

Imbalance

Bob Collins’s descent into madness notwithstanding, Minnesota Public Radio is in general the best, least systematically biased newsrooms in the Twin CIties. It’s a low bar, but they get over it by a hair or two. On a good day or the right issue, Tom Hauser at Channel 5 might join ’em above the bar – but I digress.

(And we’re referring to the newsroom, here – not their programming, which is largely Democrat PR).

So one of the greater injustices of this whole epidemic is that MPR and American Public Media (APM) are buying out a slew of long-time staffers, including some fairly decent reporters…

…but Keri Miller – who may be an even more sycophantic DFL toady than Esme Murphy – just keeps jabbering on.