Progress

Utah cop who became internet-famous for dragging a nurse, kicking and screaming, from a hospital after she did precisely the job she was supposed to do, and was told to do by her chain of management, is now an ex-cop:

The officer, Detective Jeff Payne, was seen on film dragging a crying nurse out of the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City after she prevented law enforcement from taking blood from an unconscious patient.

The nurse, Alex Wubbels, told officers they needed a warrant, the patient’s consent or for police to arrest the patient in order to draw blood.

Payne told Wubbels he would “leave with blood in vials or body in tow” before placing her in handcuffs and dragging her out of the hospital.

So there’s the take-away:  if government oversteps its just authority and oppresses the living crap out of you, all you need is an epic tsunami of social-media revulsion to maybe, eventually, get some justice.

Feeling better?

Animals

I’ve told the story before; one of the most illuminating lessons I’ve ever gotten on human nature was from my 11th grade history teacher, Mr. Dudley Butts – who was perhaps the most “Big Lebowski”-ish football head coach I’ve ever met.

He’d been drafted during the Vietnam War; he was proud to point out that he’d been stationed in Washington DC, and the Viet Cong never attacked the Capitol on his watch; mission accomplished.

And he told us that during basic training, as they were doing any of the things that mimicked killing people – at the rifle range, while doing bayonet drills and hand-to-hand combat practice – the drill sergeants never referred to their targets as humans.  They were always collections of not-quite-human memes; “gooks” and “charlies” and “slopes” and so on.  It took him a while to realize this wasn’t just the mark of a bunch of bigots with sergeant stripes; there was a method to it.  It was much easier to train people who’d spent 18 years of their lives being taught “thou shalt not kill” to kill if you taught them to kill something that wasn’t really human.

Likewise, the theory goes, it’s easier to convince people you’re right if you get them to believe that your opponent isnt’ operating from rationalism or intelligence; in short, to get them to believe they’re not really human.

I’ve personally fought this over the years by trying to get people who disagree together over a beer and a cigar and to see each other as hiuman beings rather than collections of stereotypes.

But the problem is worse than it’s ever been; Big Left actively dehumanizes conservatives, flyoverlanders, and anyone Not LIke Them.

Wanting to kill someone because of his politics is now sort of passé. So is the chilling habit of calibrating empathy for the dead on the basis of their perceived ideology. The now-fired vice president and senior legal counsel at CBS Hayley Geftman-Gold posted her feelings after the Las Vegas massacre: “I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans often are Republican gun toters.”

When Bernie Sanders supporter James Hodgkinson tried to assassinate Republican legislators during a baseball practice game, and almost killed Republican majority whip Steven Scalise, MSNBC host Joy Reid seemed to all but suggest that Scalise had deserved to be killed, given his conservative politics. She tweeted: “Rep. #Scalise was shot by a white man with a violent background, and saved by a black lesbian police officer, and yet . . . ” And then she followed that outburst with a list of Scalise’s conservative agenda items, such as his vote for a GOP House bill on health care, that apparently were meant to minimize the horror of his near-death. Reid’s commentary was not unusual; the Washington Post reported recently on liberal anger that a recovering Scalise was honored by being asked to throw out the first pitch at a Washington baseball game. His opposition to Obamacare and support for the Second Amendment should evidently have disqualified him from receiving sympathy for his near-fatal shooting.

There are times when I think it’s high time this nation called a divorce lawyer.  Those times are getting more and more frequent.

PS:  For those who say “Hey, Republicans do it too!”?      Republicans on the fringe certainly do.  Republicans in the mainstream do not.   Saying they do marks one as unserious.  And while being serious is overrated, being unserious is rated utterly correctly.

 

Human Nature

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Liberals insist people are basically good.  If the cops laid down their guns, then the criminals would see there’s no need to be armed so they’d lay down their guns, too.  The world would be a better place if we got rid of the nasty guns.

That’s a lovely vision but it depends on the validity of the underlying assumption: are people basically good?  Can we depend on them to be kind and generous and helpful in a crisis, when normal societal constraints are gone?  Is there any recent empirical evidence to answer the question?

Houston hurricane – looters.  Miami hurricane – looters.   Puerto Rico hurricane – looters.  Wildfires in California – looters.

Joe Doakes

And it’s not just “progressives”.   “Anarchist” libertarianism can only exist with the complete repeal of human nature.

It’s Not About Saving Lives. It’s Never About Saving Lives. It’ll Never Be About Saving Lives

Holler if you’ve had this argument:

YOU:   So that’s what I think.

THEM:  Well, some people think that’s wrong.

YOU:  You’re using “some” nameless people as your credibility?  Name them!

THEM:  (Chasing shiny object)

Senator Diane Feinstein – who was for gun control back when it was cool, and still is – gave an “inadvertent” slip this past week during a debate on “bump stocks” that pretty well spells out what gun control (AKA “Gun Safety”, “Gun Violence Prevention”) is actually about.

Preventing crime?  Preventing murders?  Curbing spectacular spree crimes?

“No, he passed background checks registering for handguns and other weapons on multiple occasions,” Feinstein told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”…“Regulations aren’t going to do it,” Feinstein said on the need for a law over an ATF rule. “We need a law. It can’t be changed by another president.”

So – banning guns, accessories and types doesn’t affect crime, or save a single life.

So why have it?

“America is a gun-happy country. And I think there are many of us in growing numbers that don’t want a gun-happy country,” said DiFi.

So it’s about controlling all those other people.

Of course, this isn’t a mystery to anyone who’s followed this issue; the real enemy, to Senator Feinswine, isn’t the criminal (whose activities foster the dependence, bureaucracy and authoritarianism that keeps her in power).

It’s you – the law-abiding gun owner.  You are the enemy.

A Gratifying Outburst Of Common Sense

The heads of both the Minneapolis and Saint Paul police unions went on the record with their views on gun control…

…and suffice to say, I don’t think either of them will get getting invites to lunch with their cities’ DFL elites.  But their statements were heartening; someone involved in the city’s political class gets it:

“Stricter gun laws are not the solution for officers on the street, or the general public, because the bad guys will find new ways to get those weapons anyhow,” Kroll said.

Kroll said the officers his union represents are frustrated because they are making arrests for illegal guns and gun-related crimes, but the offenders are often back on the street committing the same crime in a matter of months.

This jibes with what I’ve heard; the Cities’ DFL leadership plead away gun charges partly out of convenience, and partly to avoid giving gun rights groups a win to point to.

“We need to put these habitual offenders away for a long time and not give them chance after chance after chance, which just puts officers and the public at risk,” he said.

But we’re not.  As we noted a few years ago.

The whole article is worth a read.

Boundaries

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Column by Andrew Klaven, whom I do not normally read, but I love this line:  “We’re pretending we’re having a debate about gun control but we’re really having a debate about the nature of evil and whether big enough government can control it.”

Can we talk?  I mean talk honestly, about the difference between gun violence in Las Vegas versus Chicago?  Here’s the difference: it’s all about risk.

Everybody knows there are certain neighborhoods in Chicago where shootings occur.  People who can afford to avoid those neighborhoods employ a risk-avoidance strategy of private red-lining.  We don’t go into bad neighborhoods, especially not at night.  We live elsewhere, shop elsewhere, send our kids to school elsewhere.  As long as ghetto thugs stay home to kill each other, we don’t care.  That’s why statistics on violent crime in Chicago leave us unmoved. It’s NIMBY-ism, pure and simple.

Las Vegas was different.  The victims didn’t take the risk of gun violence by going into a bad neighborhood, the concert-goers stayed in a decent neighborhood with plenty of security.  That’s what causes the outrage – this should have been a safe place to be.  Think back to other mass shootings: school, movie theatre, night club, Christmas party, military base, softball field.  We followed the rules, we stayed within the lines, we should have been safe but we weren’t.  We’re angry because we’ve been cheated.

Can government prevent cheating?  Can government eliminate risk?  How big, how intrusive, how domineering must government become to have the power to keep everyone perfectly safe at all times?  Is it even possible?  If not, what’s the alternative?  How much risk do we live with and what are the appropriate private risk-avoidance strategies?  That’s what we’re really discussing.  If we’re honest about it.

Joe Doakes

The difference between expectations and reality is behind a lot of outrage in many areas – this foremost among them.

An Inconvenient Response

The New York Times actually gets something about gun violence right, in an article that almost belongs in a legitimate source of news.

While the MSM – including the NYTimes’ own editorial page – is blubbering about the same old narrative driven gun grab schemes, none of which have ever affected or will ever affect crime, this piece notes that there are ideas that have affected crime rates without gutting the civil liberties of the law-abiding:

In the 1990s, a highly effective gun violence reduction strategy was developed in Boston by a group including law enforcement officers, researchers, and black clergy members. According to the National Institute of Justice, it resulted in a 63 percent reduction in the average monthly number of youth homicide victims in that city, an accomplishment that was called “the Boston Miracle.”

Since then, variations of that strategy have been implemented in cities across the country. For example, according to a study by the Campbell Collaboration, a nonprofit organization that evaluates the effects of this type of intervention, Stockton, Calif., saw a 42 percent reduction in its monthly count of gun homicidesin the first year of the strategy’s implementation; similarly, Oakland, Calif., saw just under a 30 percent reduction. (In 2017, the city is on track to have its second-lowest homicide rate in over 30 years.)

Of course, for much of the “gun safety” movement, it’s not about solving crime; Diane Feinstein and Chuck Schumer care less about the lives of poor black and brown people than David Duke ever did.  It’s about controlling society.

But if you leave that out, it’s an excellent article, and well worth a read.

People Addict People

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

There is a crisis.  People who are prescribed drugs containing opioids can become addicted to them.

There is a problem.  People who receive medical treatment have privacy rights.  We don’t know who’s doing the prescribing, who’s doctor-shopping, who’s obtaining prescriptions only to sell them.

There are proposed solutions, but they’re mostly paperwork regulations that have no more effect on real-world issues than putting up a Drug Free Zone sign on a schoolhouse door.  More warning labels won’t help: people take the medicine doctors prescribe because we trust doctors.  Restricting prescriptions won’t solve the end problem: no doctor prescribes heroin and people who self-medicate their personal problems with drugs will obtain them illegally, as they always have.  Adding a new federal registry of sensitive information on individuals – does the word “Equifax” ring any bells?

“Opioid” is simply the new word for “narcotic” which has been a staple in the War on Drugs since Coke took cocaine out of its soft-drink 100 years ago.  The problem isn’t the tool, the problem is the tool user.

Joe Doakes

As with any plan, philosophy, worldview or kind of government – the problem is people.

Marketplace Of Dumb Ideas

A longtime friend of this blog writes:

With all the talk of Trump being too impulsive to have his proverbial finger on nuclear weapons, Trump hasn’t really done anything rash. He says some annoying things, getting the goat of many people in this country. But, despite all the uproar, he has pretty much stuck to not doing anything to us.

However, the constant focus on his brash style of speaking has me most concerned about what the Democrats are going to produce next Presidential election to counter this. It has been speculated that Franken may run. He has already written a book, which usually signals interest. Last night, I had a nightmare that he announced. His pen will likely be a little more impulsive in doing to us.

Yeah, that thought’s crossed my mind.  I can just see the meeting at the DNC:  “So the people want loudmouthed, brash and incorrigible?  Let’s give ’em really loudmouthed, brash and incorrigible!”

If Franken doesn’t run, they might go with Dennis Rodman.

World Tour 2017

Boy, is the weekend of November 10-12 going to be busy.

First – one of my bands, “Elephant in the Room”, is going to be playing at the Sundance in Maple Grove:

If you’re in the Northwest Suburbs that night, I hope you can stop by!

And then the next night, November 12, my other band, the Supreme Soviet of Love is having the release party for our first album, “See Red”, at O’Gara’s:

Doors open at 5PM, and the Supreme Soviet of Love goes on at 8PM.  Come on down, have a beer, enjoy a few tunes, hang out after for the closest thing to a MOB party I’ve been able to put together in a while!

Maybe I’ll print tour t-shirts…

Facts In The Dark: If You Get Your News About Gun Crime/Laws/Owners From NPR, You Are Starting The Race With One Leg Tied Behind Your Back

Over the weekend, NPR came out with a “Fact Check” piece about whether Chicago is “proof” that gun laws don’t affect crime.

Is the “fact check”, well, factual?

It’s NPR and they’re talking about guns. What do you think?

NPR starts with Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ post-Vegas press conference statement:

“I think one of the things we don’t want to do is try to create laws that won’t stop these types of things from happening,” Sanders said Monday. “I think if you look to Chicago where you had over 4,000 victims of gun-related crimes last year they have the strictest gun laws in the country. That certainly hasn’t helped there.”

Pointing to Chicago to suggest that gun laws don’t work is not a new talking point — Trump claimed Chicago had “the toughest gun laws in the United States” in a 2016 presidential debate; his fellow Republican candidate Chris Christie likewise pointed to Chicago as a place with high crime despite tight gun laws.

Now, if you’re a Right to Keep and Bear Arms person, you know what that really means; the idea that tight regulations on law-abiding civlilians owning guns hasn’t the foggiest impact on crime, at best, and a negative impact at worst.  That – crime and death, and how infringing freedom for the law-abiding doesn’t affect either – is what we’re concerned about.

And what does NPR focus on?

The Fussy Tangent:   Hey, at least NPR acknowledges the real problem, sort of:

It’s also true that there were more than 4,000 shooting victims in Chicago in 2016. It’s also true that Chicago has suffered a massive amount of gun crime recently. In 2016, homicides in Chicago sharply rose, mostly as a result of gun homicides, as the University of Chicago crime lab found in a January report.

Gun homicides in the city rose by 61 percent between 2015 and 2016. That helped make the gun homicide rate…25.1 per 100,000 residents in 2016, compared to 14.7 in Philadelphia and just 2.3 in New York.

But never mind all the carnage and death.  It’s Huckabee-Sanders’ assertion that’s the real issue!

But it’s not true that Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the country, as other fact checkers have also repeatedly found…”We generally think of California as having the strongest gun laws in the country,” said Hannah Shearer, a staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “The whole state’s laws are pretty strong.”

The center has given California an A rating and ranks it No. 1 in terms of the tightness of its gun laws.

Ah.  So law-abiding citizens are disarmed, and criminals are deterred only by the ministrations of the Chicago Police Department – but they’re not the “toughest” laws, according to the abstract reasoning of a gun grabber group?

This is not a “fact check”.  This is an ideological purity test.

It gets worse.

The Mean Streets Of Hammond:  NPR next revisits the old canard; Chicago would be safe, if it weren’t for those darned Hoosiers and Badgers:

It’s important to remember here that Chicago is very close to two states that have relatively weak gun laws: Wisconsin and Indiana. So while it’s easy to pick on Chicago (or any other high-crime city) for its ugly statistics, says one expert, taking bordering states into account weakens this gun-advocacy talking point.

“It’s not a scientific study. It’s an anecdote,” said Philip Cook, a professor of public policy studies at Duke University. “They might have pointed to Washington, D.C., back in the days when D.C. banned handguns and yet had high gun-violence rates. Those bans are only at best partially effective, because the borders are permeable.”

So why aren’t Indiana, Wisconsin and Virginia stacking up bodies like cordwood?    If availability of guns were the problem, then wouldn’t places like North Dakota, New Mexico and Wyoming be shooting galleries?

NPR does try to drill further into the issue:

2015 study of guns in Chicago, co-authored by Cook, found that more than 60 percent of new guns used in Chicago gang-related crimes and 31.6 percent used in non-gang-related crimes between 2009 and 2013 were bought in other states. Indiana was a particularly heavy supplier, providing nearly one-third of the gang guns and nearly one-fifth of the non-gang guns.

Other evidence corroborates this — a 2014 Chicago Police Department report found that Indiana accounted for 19 percent of all guns recovered by the department between 2009 and 2013.

NPR has found correlation, not a cause.  Yes, there are guns from other states to fill the black market demand for firearms.  Every single one of them is the result of a felony – a theft (a state felony) or a “straw purchase”, a person with a clean record buying a buy and giving/selling it to a criminal, which is a federal felony.

Is it because Indiana has “lax” gun laws?

Or is it because the US Attorney for Northern Illinois announced that his office wasn’t going to spend time prosecuting “straw buyers” anymore?  Because he wanted to focus his office on politically-sexy prosecutions, and nobody ever got elected to the Senate by showing off a record of  prosecuting gang-bangers’ girlfriends, junior high pals and grandmothers?

So, In Summary:  The NPR “fact-check” ignored the actual point of the Trump Administration’s statement – that gun control and public safety are not in any way linked, and in some cases may be inversely correlated –  to pedantically nitpick Huckabee Sanders’ conceptually accurate statement about the legalities, and issue a deflection about other states’ laws that actually reinforces the Pro-Civil Rights’ side’s point.

Facts In The Dark rules this article as part of the NPR’s effort to be part of Big Left’s Praetorian Guard.  

Judge, Jury, And Community Organizer

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Supreme Court orders Legislature to divulge how much money it has to continue operations, after Dayton line-item vetoed funding.

As we used to say in the olden days: objection – irrelevant, incompetent and immaterial.  This is a separation of powers issue, not a fiscal management issue.  How much money the legislature prudently set aside to weather bumps in the economy has no bearing on whether it’s constitutional for the Executive Branch to abolish the Legislative Branch using the line-item veto.

The Democrat-appointed Supreme Court is squirming, trying to avoid admitting that Democrat Dayton blundered.  Why?  He’s a lame duck.  Throw him under the bus to preserve the tattered shreds of your dignity. Or cast all pretense aside and admit the court is simply another manifestation of the DFL. Believe me, nobody will be surprised to hear it.

Joe Doakes

I’d almost appreciate the honesty.

 

It’s Almost NARN, And I Think I’m Gonna Be Alright

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – is back in the studio, making talk radio great again!

Today on the show:

  • Las Vegas
  • Jennifer Zielinski, candidate for Minneapolis Park Board
  • Zavier Bicott from the Republican LIberty Caucus

Too much program for two hours?  In the lands of a lesser host, yes, but not me.  Tune in!

Don’t forget – King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1440, and Brad Carlson is  on “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 2-3PM.

So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:

Join us!

Of Goals And Means

Two incumbent Minneapolis city councilbots, and five challengers with decent chances of winning, said they can see a future without a Minneapolis Police Department:

Asked, “Do you believe that we could ever have a city without police?” two incumbents and five serious challengers running for City Council answered “yes.”…Those who did and said they believe “we could ever have a city without police” were Bender, Ninth Ward Council Member Alondra Cano; Phillipe Cunningham, who’s running for council in the Fourth Ward; Jeremiah Ellison, who’s running in the Fifth Ward; Janne Flisrand, who’s running in the Seventh Ward; Ginger Jentzen, who’s running in the Third Ward and Jeremy Schroeder, who’s running in the 11th Ward.

Let’s be clear; even the candidates (mostly) say this is in the realm of imagination, if not fantasy:

“It’s aspirational, but it’s way aspirational,” said Council Member Lisa Bender, who said yes to the question. “We have a very long way to go before we would approach public safety without police.”…”The question wasn’t, ‘Do you promise to eliminate MPD by the end of your first term,’ it was ‘Can you imagine a city without police,’ ” said [long-shot candidate Phillippe] Cunningham, who’s running against Council President Barb Johnson…

Now, let’s be frank; a society without the need for police would be a good thing, from a conservative perspective.  And it can, and has, worked; in the old west, before the idea of “police” had migrated out from places like New York and Boston, communities did in fact police themselves.   Of course, they also governed themselves – without the need for Minneapolis-style city councils and bureaucracies…

…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Here’s the problem; part of it is that it’s a spitballing fantasy.

Part of it is that, being not merely DFLers but DFLers to the left of Betsy Hodges, they’re putting their faith in the wrong institution to bring this utopian vision about:

[Several of the respondents said] they were describing an ideal future in which inequality and racism are eliminated and government policy has solved many of the social problems now handled by police arresting and imprisoning people.

Uh oh.

For starters, government policy is behind most of the social problems facing Minneapolis, especially the North Side; from the warehousing of the poor in places like North Minneapolis, to the inertia of the police reform process, to the artificial hikes in the minimum wage and immigration policies that have made entry level work impossible to get for too many poor youth, most of the problems trace back to City Hall, the State Capitol, or DC.

But here’s a more troubling part:

Prosperity without order is impossible (even if it’s enough “prosperity” to pay taxes to support a leech-like bureaucracy like Minneapolis’s); freedom without prosperity is meaningless.  If you think that’s an idle bromide, look at Detroit, Camden or Stockton.

So something has got to keep order.  Sometimes – like in small towns out west, or in the Old West example above, or in areas where natural disaster has swept away government at least temporarily, that order is kept by the people agreeing on some basic rules to live by, and some simple means to enforce them.

In this day and age, in the big city, it’s a police department, a prosecutor’s office, a judicial system, a corrections system, and a parole and probation system, and the bureaucracies that recruit, train, advise, pay, and take care of all the above after they retire, and the bureaucracies that do the same for those bureaucracies.

What could be worse?

One of the study’s designers answers:

“Police reform doesn’t actually work,” [survey organizer, designer and artist Ashley] Fairbanks said. “We need to radically re-imagine what policing will look like in our community.”

And all those roads seem to lead, according to any of the councilpeople, to policing attitudes, not behavior.  To eliminating badthink.

In other words, they’d get rid of the guys in cars patrolling for speeding tickets, and replace them with thought police.

Bonus Sign of the Apocalypse:  And in this survey, one of the voices of practicality, of feet-on-the-ground common practical sense, of dealing with the “now” rather than fantasizing about the indeterminate future, is…

…Alondra Cano?

Cano said right now she actually wants a greater police presence in the Ninth Ward, which includes several neighborhoods along East Lake Street.

“The solution is not really no cops, but it’s more how do we get rid of homelessness, how do we get rid of commercial sex exploitation, how do we get rid of chemical dependency?” she said. “Then you start alleviating the pressure that a lot of police officers feel to address these very deeply rooted challenges in our community, which they themselves know they’re not going to be able to solve.”

Given Minneapolis’ electorate’s state of mind these days, that might come back to haunt her.

 

 

Hate

There’s a lot of hate on the American left for people who are Not Like Them. I see it and hear it, even among friends and acquaintances who are left of center; many of them think the vast quote on washed and put boards in flyover land are just plain less human than they are. They don’t even bother trying to hide it; Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel marinade in disdain for those they consider their inferiors, and they reflect a point of you here in coffee shops and Whole Foods from coast over to the next coast.

Hayley Geftman-Gold’s only mistake was being overheard by the wrong people, and working in one of few parts of the media industry were giving the impression of toxic bias is still bad form:

“If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs will ever do the right thing. I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans often are Republican gun toters.”

If she’d worked on the programming, or possibly news, sides of the operation, nothing would’ve happened.

Don’t shed a tear for Haley, though. The big left looks out for its own. She’ll have a job, and a darn good one, someplace, soon.

I’m going to bet it’ll be at NPR.

He Looked In Al Capone’s Vault, And Found Some Journalistic Integrity

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I’m not normally a big fan of Geraldo Rivera, but look at these tweets.  Calling out the New York Times for reckless lies?  Whoa, talk about speaking truth to power.

Here’s another page of excellent bits – don’t send us cops, don’t give to the corrupt government, problem in Puerto Rico is incompetent management.

Here’s the best one.  In response to the mayor of San Juan claiming people are dying.

He’s not 100% pro-Trump for everything, but on the Puerto Rico stuff, I’m impressed.  Nice to see somebody standing up to the rest of the media.

Joe Doakes

I’m not 100% pro-Trump either; I’m somewhere between 40-55%, depending on the day.

But Rivera’s coverage has been good (or at least from what I’ve seen and heard), and much-needed.

The Time To Mock And Taunt The Star/Tribune‘s Moronic Editorial Board For Being Unthinking Stenographers For Big Left Is Now. Right Now.

I’m not going to bother fisking the Strib Editorial Board’s entire response.  If you’ve been reading this blog, you know the points they got wrong, and the ones I’ll make.

No, I’m just going after their sub-headline; to wit:

Weaker gun laws have made this nation no safer. Time for a new direction.

Violent gun crime and homicide is down 50% in past 20 years. Minnesota has more carry permits per capita than Texas, but a lower murder rate than Norway. Violence outside America’s urban cores is approaching 100 year lows.

If America’s cancer rate or high school dropout rate dropped 50% in 20 years, people would hail it as a miracle. If the Strib could look forward to a 50% rise in sales in the next 20 years, they’d turn cartwheels down Washington Avenue.

Rep. Walz: Lie Down With “Protect” MN, Wake Up With ELCA Hair

To:  Representative Walz
From:  Mitch Berg, Obstreporous Peasant
Re:  Pandering

Rep Walz,

The other day, you took time off from measuring the drapes in the Governor’s office to Demsplain how you plan to end atrocities like the  Las Vegas shooting:

Representative Walz:  I realize you’re talking to your DFLer base, and they’re not long on logic, much less less knowledge on this issue, but perhaps you, or one of them, could tell me:  how would “background checks” have prevented a shooting by a person with no criminal background that anyone seems to be aware of?

I’ll be inviting Rep Walz onto the Northern Alliance Radio Network this Saturday to discuss this.

But let’s focus for a moment on the statement “Let me  be clear:  I’ve got the credibility to bring gun owners to the table in St. Paul to get this done”.

Rob Doar from MNGOC had the most accurate response so far:

Pandering, you say?

Why, yes – pandering is the word:

Rep. Walz cavorting with the Dreamsicles, just before the 2016 election.

With that photo, you are as “credible” with gun owners as David Duke would be as an emissary to Black Lives Matter.

Have Some More Disease

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Governor’s law enforcement committee asks the age-old question: Who watches the watchers?

The call for a special prosecutor sends up red flags for me.  Removing police prosecutions from local control adds a layer of insulation shields the special prosecutor from local oversight.  We already have a system of locally elected County Attorneys that has withstood the test of time.  Hennepin and Ramsey counties are politically deep blue so anybody elected County Attorney basically will be elected by Democrats, the party of the people, defenders of the downtrodden.  If local prosecutors are racist, it’s because the Democrats who elected them are racist in which case your problem is not with the local prosecutors, it’s with the DFL party and its voters.  Appoint more apparatchiks won’t change the racist attitudes of the appointers.

Joe Doakes

But it will add another office full of bureaucrats with AFSCME and MAPE memberships donating dues to the DFL.

If the DFL could find a way to sell the pelts of police abuse victims for political donations, they’d do it.

Retrospective

Variety does a two-part cover story on Bruce Springsteen.  And it’s worth a read, if you’re an uberfan.

And I guess I am.

Others are not – and among this blog’s audience, that’s in large part due to Springsteen’s limo-left politics.  I’ve always figured I care as much about musicians’ politics as I do about politicians’ iTunes playlists; I’ve also noted that if I limited my music by politics, I’d be listening to nothing but country-western and Ted Nugent.

But on the subject of politics:

I’m ambivalent about … sort of getting on a soapbox. I still believe people fundamentally come to music to be entertained — yes, to address their daily concerns, and yes, also to address political topics, I believe music can do that well. But I still believe fundamentally it’s an affair of the heart. People want you to go deeper than politics, they want you to reach inside to their most personal selves and their deepest struggles with their daily lives and reach that place; that’s the place I’m always trying to reach. I’d never make a record that’s just polemical, I wouldn’t release it if I did. To me, that’s just an abuse of your audience’s good graces. But if I’m moved, I’ll write, say, something like “American Skin” [inspired by the 1999 shooting death of Amadou Diallo by New York City Police officers — who were later acquitted]. That just rolled very naturally for me, and that’s as good a topical song as I’ve ever written. And when it comes up, I write ’em. If I felt that strongly, I’d do it now. But I watch myself, because I think you can weigh upon your audience’s indulgence in the wrong way.

Someone tell Katy Perry.  mu

Anyway – worth a read, if you’re a fan.

Just Watch

We’re barely outside the Berg’s 18th Law theshold with the Las Vegas shooting.

But buried on paragraph 17 of The Guardian’s coverage of the atrocity is a hint as to why the story may well soon disappear from the mainstream media:

Paddock’s motive remains unknown. “This person may have been radicalised, unbeknownst to us, and we want to identify that source [according to Las Vegas sheriff Joe Lombardo].”

Of course, everyone on all sides is racing to show Paddock was with the “other side”; some lefty sites are “reporting” he had friends of friends with “alt-right” sympathies, while “InfoWars” is claiming he was influenced by “Anti”-Fa (although the target – a country western concert, with an audience many a “progressive” would like to see scourged from the earth (by organic, gluten-free, carbon-neutral means, not icky guns).  Only ISIS seems to want to claim the guy.

But if it turns out that InfoWars is right, and that the target bepeaks the motivation?

Watch this story disappear faster than the last bag of Cheetos at a Dave Matthews concert.

Lie First, Lie Always: A Tale Of Two Tims

When last we spoke about MNCD1 DFL representative Tim Walz, he was cuddling up – literally – with “Protect” MInnesota’s ELCA-coiffed Dreamsicles.

I urged gun owners in CD1 to remember this photo – the photo of “gun grabber Tim”.

And this next bit should help?

Every word of it is crap, of course:

  • What “we’re doing” has lowered violent gun crime and gun murders 50% in the past 20 years.
  • The “facts” do lie, when they are nothing but correlation leading to a false claim of causation; neither mass shootings or cops being shot are in any way effected by background checks of any kind (criminals don’t take them!), and if he thinks suicide would be prevented by background checks, he’s clearly figuring cops will become clairvoyant.    So facts may not lie – but Walz is.

But that’s the line; he’s going to “do everything” he can to foist a law on the people that can not affect crime, and can only serve to register the gun of the law-abiding citizen.

He is, of course, playing for the Metrocrat vote, trying to get the DFL endorsement to run for governor.  He will promptly reverse course if he gets the nod (or runs for Congress again).   The media will let this fall down the memory hole.

Let’s not let that happen.

The Last Dinosaur

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Week 4, the NFL is in chaos of its own making.

The traditional way to show respect for the national anthem is to stand, face the flag, place your hand over your heart.  Doing anything else is a protest. Some players sit, some kneel, some give the Black Power salute, some link arms . . . doesn’t matter: if you’re not doing it right, you’re protesting. Television is trying to hide the protests from the viewers by skipping the anthem, cutting in late, but it’s not working.  Viewers notice.  Viewers get upset.  Why are they upset?

There are 168 hours in a week.  Your game is on for three of them.  We don’t tune in to learn your opinions on social policy, we tune to watch the team play football.  Don’t hijack my football game for your lecture; protest on your own time.

The AFL is gone.  The UFL is gone.  There’s no reason the NFL can’t go broke.  All you need to do is drive away enough customers.

Joe Doakes

I’m doing my part.

Heartbroken

When I was a kid, the cosmology of the musical world was Pete Townsend, Joe Strummer, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Davies, Tom Petty (Bono and the Edge joined when I was in college)…

…with everyone else trailing far behind.

Strummer passed 15 long years ago; Springsteen is alive and kicking, but it’s not the same without The Big Man and the Phantom.

But now Tom Petty is dead at 66.

When I heard that he’d been found in his Malibu home unresponsive, with a cardiac arrest mere days after the end of what was reputed to be the last Heartbreakers tour, I couldn’t help but think of Charles Schultz, the “Peanuts” comic artist who passed away mere hours after the last panel of his seminal strip ran in papers around the country; their life’s artistic work over, they retired for real, for good.

I wrote about Tom Petty years ago; my abrupt conversion from doubter to fan 38 years ago next month.  I was watching Saturday Night Live, looking to mock and scoff at the singer I’d heard about – for reasons I can’t  begin to remember four decades later.   Buck Henry introduced Petty; by the time they got three counts into “Refugee”, I had reconsidered my skepticism, and become a fan

(NBC blocked access to that original SNL video years ago; someone needs to die in a grease fire.  This one is close):

.  The next morning, after sunday school, I skipped church and ran to the drug store to pick up Damn the Torpedoes; me andMike Aylmer and Matt Anderson and Keri Kleingartner listened to it on a record player in one of the classrooms.  And that night, I sat down with my guitar and started learning every single song, every lick Mike Campbell played; every flourish Benmonth Tench played on the organ; I didn’t so much listen to it as I absorbed it.

Because when you were a little too tall and coulda used a few pounds, and were hardly renowned, it was revelation to know that even the losers – tramps like us – could get lucky sometimes:

It was like a musical flash-bang grenade went off in my brain, blowing it open to a phalanx of new influences:  the Byrds, Del Shannon, the whole canon of post-Beatles American rock and roll – it was all there.

Indeed, given that Petty, like his contemporaries Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger was such a traditionalist, it’s hard to remember sometimes what a radical departure from the 1970s’ mainstream he was.  Music radio lumped him in with the New Wave (as they did with many acts and artists that didn’t fit neatly into 1970s’ radio formats, from Dire Straits to AC/DC to The Police); in a half-decade of American pop music dominated by disco, sixties-holdovers from the “singer/songwriter” genre like James Taylor and Jackson Browne, arena acts like Styx and REO Speedwagon, and top-40 machines like Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles, the idea of a singer doing perfectly crafted homage to the Byrds, Stax/Volt (Duck Dunn sits in on bass on Damn the Torpedoes’ “You Tell Me”) and all that was great about early-sixties American rock and roll, and turning in into something vital, funny, crisp, fierce, was kind of radical.

It sure felt radical at the time.


His cardiac arrest yesterday was Petty’s worst medical problem, obviously – but it  wasn’t his first medical issue, as he relates in this stunning 1985 version of “The Waiting”:

And as the years unwound, he had the same personal issues a lot of us fans had when we grew up; the girl who Petty told not to do him like that, did him like that in 1999, leading to one of his best albums (and the one from which he never played anything live), Echo, full of world-weary anthems about profound loss:

But maybe my favorite thing Petty did? He wore that Dixie chip on his shoulder with pride – and wrote one of the best songs every about that chip:

And that – the idea of putting the chip on my own shoulder out there in the form of music, the one art form I ever failed to completely fail at – led to one of my life’s great adventures, writing music and playing it for people, an adventure that’s still going on today.

If you told me to take a Tom Petty song to a desert island, it’d be…well, “Even the Losers”. But I’d sneak “Southern Accents” along under the table anyway.

UPDATE: Mr. D adds his own musical obit.

UPDATE 2: Tor Sorenson, who plays bass in “The Supreme Soviet of Love” and “Elephant in the Room“, also has a tribute.