Open Letter To Bobby Kahn

To: Bobby Kahn, bike absolutist
From: Mitch Berg, biker with common sense
Re: Your Poor, Put-Upon Friends

Mr. Kahn,

You admit to being friends of the people who, last weekend, decided of their own idiot free will to throw water balloons and super soakers have a pedal pub in downtown Minneapolis.

And then do it again.

Because they just don’t like pedal pubs.

And now they’re trying to set themselves up as Rodney King because they were stupid enough to squirt a pedal pub full of off-duty cops, who proceeded to take them down.

You said they – your friends – are “loveable goofballs”.

No. They’re self-absorbed narcissists.

And if it hadn’t been their idiot luck to spray off-duty cops, but just a bunch of ironworkers or bouncers or big guys, they wouldn’t be able to wrap the just consequences of their stupidity in this year’s white-liberal-guilt-fest.

And…they were angry at pedal pubs? Talk about white privilege.

That is all.

Against It Before They Were For It

During the legislative session: The Senate DFL caucus joined with Senate Republicans to defeat Governor Flint-Smith’s Dayton’s teachers union payoff (A.k.a. “early childhood education” bill) – a proposal that school districts don’t want, and research shows is at best useless for kids development.

Now that the session is over, and the Senate election is in sight: The Senate DFL caucus is puckering up, and homing in on Governor Dayton’s hindquarters:

One day after Governor Dayton announced he would be vetoing the legislature’s $400 million E-12 bill, seven DFL State Senators have made it clear they won’t be a road block to negotiations, saying they are in favor of the Governor’s desire to fund a sustained commitment to early childhood education that works for all schools and includes flexibility.

Reading the article – from the Senate DFL caucus communication office – it’s easy to see who the campaign is aimed at; people who want free stuff, and don’t really care how they get it.

Tanks For The Memories

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, do you get partial credit?

Headline: President Obama isn’t going to let local police use tanks anymore, because Black Lives Matter.

First, what authority does the President have to tell local police what they can and cannot use? Isn’t this a Congressional decision, or a state legislative decision, or a city council decision? Where does Article I say anything about local cops?

Second, why did the federal government give local police military equipment like that in the first place, if they aren’t capable of using it wisely? What else aren’t they capable of using wisely, that we should take back? Assault rifles? Grant money?

Third, why are we taking away tanks when nobody has ever been injured by a tank? Why not take away Glocks since that’s what racissss cops use to actually do the killing? Oh wait, reading further, riot shields will require special dispensation. For a Defensive tool.

It’s as if he expects voters to read the headlines and begin to cheer, without reading any further.

Joe Doakes

to be fair, expecting that behavior has never let him down before.

A Beach To Die On

It is, at best, useless for children. At worst, it actively harms them. It is a money suck that school administrators, teachers, early childhood experts, and psychologists think is completely unnecessary at best, and counterproductive at worst.

It is, in fact, nothing but a pay off to the teachers union that bought and paid for Governor Dayton.

And it’s the line in the sand that Governor Flint – Smith Dayton is drawing:.

Gov. Mark Dayton stood by his threat Sunday to veto the public schools funding bill, saying he has made his priority of enhanced prekindergarten spending clear for months, and vowing that House Republicans would pay the biggest political cost if it results in a long, messy special session.

“I will, again, I will veto” an education bill if it only includes $400 million in new money for schools, Dayton said in a Sunday afternoon press conference. His pronouncement came after he met separately with GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt and DFL Senate Leader Tom Bakk.

In this next week, look for a lot of editorials, written with furrowed brow, commenting on “reckless Republicans” “shortchanging” “the children”, almost as if the DFL and the various editorial boards had coordinated their approach to the issue (perish the thought).

Dry, Gray Lining

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The bird flu is killing turkeys by the millions and now Iowa chickens. If it kills them all, my doctor won’t be able to insist I lose weight by eating low-fat boneless, skinless, tasteless, dry white meat. Silver lining.

Joe Doakes

Heaven help us all if the Swine Flu makes a comeback.

Crocodile Tears

When Minnesota DFLers talk “bipartisanship” and “getting beyond politics”, you have to remember – it’s just talk.

The DFL is stalling on a budget deal, and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk is already talking about a special session – with a high likelihood of no agreement, followed by the shutdown that, many think, the DFL has been angling for all along:

Bakk signaled Tuesday that he’s already given some thought to a special session scenario, mentioning in an interview that he’d seen polling data indicating that Republicans would bear a greater share of the shutdown blame. “It’s not good for the institution, and I would certainly rather that it not happen,” he said. “There’s no reason this can’t get done.”

Other than “Tom Bakk would rather benefit the DFL than “the institution”, of course.

Almost Always Normally An Anomaly, Usually

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Remember Monty Python’s cannibalism-in-the-lifeboat sketch? It ended with a viewer letter saying:

“As a naval officer I abhor the implication that the Royal Navy is a haven for cannibalism. It is well known that we have the problem relatively under control, and that it is the R.A.F. who now suffer the largest casualties in this area.”

It was tasteless but funny because, of course, having a problem like cannibalism “relatively” under control isn’t remotely good enough. We expect there to be no cannibalism at all in the Royal Navy.

After the Texas shooting, I wonder if Monty Python is the Obama Administration’s best-case – Islamic terrorism in America is “relatively” under control? Not Many terrorist attacks. Only a Few Americans slaughtered. A Small invasion. Just a Handful of bombings. Pretty Good national security.

If so, this can’t be good news: ISIS claims to have 71 warriors already in-country and five targets pre-selected. Have we, as a nation, had our expectations so far lowered that we shrug and say: “It’s only 71 and they’re not in my back yard; Islamic terrorism in America is relatively under control”?

Joe Doakes

Was I the only one who looked at this claim and said “only 71?”

To Be Fair, You Were Warned

Seattle minimum wage workers discover exactly what everyone has been telling them about huge minimum wage hikes all along; they destroy jobs.  Their jobs.


Pizza shop worker Devin Jeran was excited about the raise that was coming his way thanks to Seattle’s new $15 an hour minimum wage law. Or at least he was until he found out that it would cost him his job.
Jeran will only see a bigger paycheck until August when his boss has to shut down her Z Pizza location, putting him and his 11 co-workers out of work, Q13 Fox reported.

Oh, Devin. If you’re getting your news from the mainstream media, you will always be a naif lost in the woods. Shake it off, champ.

Does this sound familiar (emphasis added):

He said that while the law was being discussed all he heard about was how the mandatory minimum wage increase would make life better for him, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
“If that’s the truth, I don’t think that’s very apparent. People like me are finding themselves in a tougher situation than ever,” he told the TV station.
Owner Ritu Shah Burnham said she just can’t afford the city’s mandated wage hikes.
“I’ve let one person go since April 1, I’ve cut hours since April 1, I’ve taken them myself because I don’t pay myself,” she told Q13. “I’ve also raised my prices a little bit, there’s no other way to do it.”

And “Z” is a nationwide franchise that takes some on some of the local franchises’ ad costs (and makes excellent pizza, if you’re ever in Roseville).

Small businesses in Seattle have up to six more years to phase in the new $15 an hour minimum wage, but even though she only has 12 employees, Z pizza counts as part of a “large business franchise.” As a result, she is on a sped up timeline to implement the full raise.

The left’s contempt for business – counting all franchisees’ employees together is pretty contemptible – has to start harming them eventually, doesn’t it?

Shah Burnham said that she is “terrified” for her employees after she closes up shop.
“I have no idea where they’re going to find jobs, because if I’m cutting hours, I imagine everyone is across the board,” she said.
The organization that pushed for the higher minimum wage, 15 Now Seattle, wouldn’t comment directly on the closing to Q13 and didn’t offer any sign of sympathy.

When I read stories like this, I wonder – perhaps some of the people who agitate for minimum wage hikes can help the displaced workers find new jobs?  Maybe that union booth at the State Fair that hands out all the “Living Wage” agitprop can devote some time to the task?

“Restaurants open and close all the time, for various reasons,” Director Jess Spear said.

I guess that’s a “no”.

A Thought Experiment

National Public Radio, as part of its mission to help half the country feel it’s smarter than the other half, published this “Study” from the National Science Foundation earlier this week.

Among its (not especially dramatic) “findings” (I’m going to add a bit of emphasis):

A quarter of Americans surveyed could not correctly answer that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around, according to a report out Friday from the National Science Foundation...To the question “Does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth,” 26 percent of those surveyed answered incorrectly.

In the same survey, just 39 percent answered correctly (true) that “The universe began with a huge explosion” and only 48 percent said “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.”

It’s kind of funny that NPR is so confident in its own audience’s vaunted intelligence that it had to subtly point out which answers were correct.

On the other hand…:

Just over half understood that antibiotics are not effective against viruses.

I’m amazed that Americans did that well on what is, in day to day life, rather more important.

It’s an indictment of the American education system, isn’t it?  Wait – maybe not:

As alarming as some of those deficits in science knowledge might appear, Americans fared better on several of the questions than similar, but older surveys of their Chinese and European counterparts.

Didn’t see that coming, didja?

This “study” is a pet peeve of mine. Let’s take the survey at face value; that some Americans are unclear about the order of the universe, believe in evolution, and don’t know about any Big Bang Theory that doesn’t involve Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco. 

So what? 

If the person who believes the sun revolves around the earth is refinishing your driveway or washing dishes or working for your city’s Public Works department, what difference does it make? He’s not your doctor. 

(And if your doctor is unconvinced by the Big Bang theory? Again, so what? She got through medical school…)

Seems like these studies are just an elaborate way of allowing half the country to laugh at the other half.

Trulbert: The Final Installment (III)

 - 7AM, November 10, 2015:  22nd Precinct Jail, Manhattan, New York, NY

Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer sat in the holding cell, silently pondering the events of the past day.

Finally, Jerry broke the silence.

“What’s up with all the beard references, anyway?”

Don’t tell me this is how “Trulbert” really ends?  

Check back this summer, when “Trulbert:  A Comic Novella About the End of the World As We Know It” comes out on E-Book!

Featuring new material not found in the blog serial (including the untangling of at least two character arcs that were written on the fly and are in dire need of editing!)

From Buffalo Microchip Publishing

Waste Not…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My Dad did some Spring Cleaning. “Here, you shoot .45, don’t you? Been saving this box a while.”


Eight bucks a box for .45′s at Monkey Wards? Geez, Dad, how old ARE these? Do I dare set them off?

Joe Doakes

Cue the raft of “oldest ammunition I shot” stories.

Another Approach

People of faith Christians who own businesses in the wedding industry are trying to find a way to keep new social demands from forcing them to violate their faith in their vocational life via legislation, the courts, and adaptation.

But it would seem they missed a golden opportunity.

The next time a gay couple comes into their bakery obviously fishing for a “public accomodations” test case, they should phone it in to the FBI as a “hate crime”.

Not One Dime

To: House and Senate Republican caucuses
From: Mitch Berg, UppityPeasant
Re: Major League Soccer

Now comes word that Minneapolis’ new “Major League Soccer” team has begun sniffing around the legislature, looking for public funding for a new stadium.

Bill Maguire – former CEO of United health group, a company that has made billions and billions of dollars from the socialization of American healthcare – is buttonholing Tom Bakk and Gov. Smith Dayton to try and figure out the best way to begin extorting taxpayer money for, you guessed it, another sports stadium.

Let me speak with precise frankness.

If any Republican votes, for any reason, for public funding for any more stadiums, ever, I will devote whatever energy I have to their political obliteration. I will give their endorsement challengers all the air time and blog space I ethically can. I will work the challengers’ phone banks, drop their literature and pound their signs. I will help the challenger identify caucus goers, and drive them to caucus night. If that doesn’t work, I will do whatever I can to bring voters to the polls to support the challenger. I will join with whatever insurgency stakes itself to removing any and all pro stadium voters from office, and from politics.

Bill Maguire is worth well over $1 billion. He and his supporters could build a soccer stadium with the change under their car seats. Not that they need to – the Twin Cities is home to the country’s biggest soccer complex, up in Blaine. There is absolutely no need – none, Nada, zilch, zip, bupkes – to build a stadium at all, much less with taxpayer money.

This is not a threat. This is a promise.

If you people can’t draw a line in the sand over this, I’m afraid there’s absolutely nothing that you will.

That is all.

Passive Resistance

As gay marriage extremists roam the country looking for pro-traditional-family Christian businesses to shake down in test cases designed to enforce absolute obeisance, it’s hard to miss the realization; there’s no possible way to fight them head-on. There’s not enough money to fight every test case, even if one could win.

But a Catholic clergyman, Father John Zuhlendorf, outlines a mode of passive resistance that is both ingenious and simple:

“Tell them that [providing] food and services will be just fine. And then inform them that all of the money that they pay for the services will be donated to a traditional pro-family lobby.”

“If it is something like catering, where your employees have to be there to provide services, tell them that all your people will smile, be professional, and everyone of them will be wearing crucifixes and have the Holy Family embroidered on their uniforms,” says Fr. Z.

“Then show them pictures of your uniforms,” he writes. “When the truck pulls up, speakers will be playing Immaculate Mary. Show them the truck and play the music.”

For Protestants, perhaps “Onward Christian Soldiers”. For traditional Presbyterians, perhaps William Wallace yelling “you can take my money, but you can’t take my freedom”.

I digress:

“Oh, you would be offended by that? I’m so sorry,” notes Fr. Z. “You approached us because we are Christians. Right? We are happy to provide services for you and we are grateful that you chose to come to our Christian catering business. We just want to be of help.”

I’m of a mind to volunteer to help any merchants who try this. Or contribute to a fund to match their donations.

Government Ingenuity

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

California is having water problems again. Too much demand, not enough supply. New tools for law enforcement at hand.

The water meter calls the water department on the cell phone to report excess usage, so they send public employees out to videotape offenders, as evidence to support an Excess Consumption ticket. This seems cumbersome and top-heavy to me.

The water department already knows historic water consumption, there, and in dry climates around the world. It could calculate a Daily Essential for each category of user (residential, car wash, hospital, laundromat). The government could charge an affordable amount for the Daily Essential based on political considerations, and charge everything over that amount a ferocious Excess Consumption rate. Payment due in 10 days or we shut you off.

No video evidence, no ticket, no phone call, no staff overtime. People would scream. But they’d comply. And if they don’t comply fast enough to alleviate the water shortage, raise the excess consumption rate some more. Eventually, even the McDonald’s franchise owner is going to turn off the sprinkler rather than risk having his restaurant closed for non-payment of the water bill.

Alternative plan: have the water meter stop the water flow when the Daily Essential amount is reached. Ideally the usage should be carried over so an underused amount will credit to the next day. This is not futuristic, it’s well within the range of current day technology. Sure, it’ll cost a fortune to upgrade all the meters – but it’ll solve the problem.

Joe Doakes

The ongoing debacle in the California water situation further proves the government is the absolute least effective way to allocate scarce resources.

Silva Lining

Notwithstanding the fact that the Saint Paul Public Schools under Superintendant Valeria Silva have been stagnant at best, the district gave her a pretty dang spectacular pay hike in renewing her contract for four years.

She’s paid back her constituents by applying for a job in Palm Beach:

On Monday night, the St. Paul school district issued a statement in reaction to Silva’s Florida job application.

According to the statement made on behalf of the school board by chairwoman Mary Doran:

“It is not surprising that Superintendent Silva would be in demand by school districts across the country.

“She is a nationally recognized education leader. Saint Paul schools are notably successful. We have been a model for other districts in many ways. That attracts attention and recruiters.

“The board negotiated a new contract with Superintendent Silva with the expectation that she would be with us for three more years. She has devoted her entire academic career to Saint Paul’s children. Not many cities can say that about their superintendent.

It actually is more than just mercenarism; the Saint Paul Teachers Federation is unhappy with Silva and the School Board, and is essentially going to buy the upcoming school board elections, which’ll make life difficult to impossible for Silva, and open the door to a new superintendent, in this case a toady almost literally hand-picked by the union to carry out its wishes more closely than even the current board.

One thing that won’t change?  The new Superintendent will be a product of the “Celebrity Superintendent” system, and will cost a metric buttload of money.

I Gotcher Journalistic Ethics Right Here

If you listen over the weekends to American Public Media is “On The Media”, heard on NPR stations nationwide, you’ll hear the hosts, Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield, sniffling and shuffling about the state of the modern media. Periodically, the subject turns to “journalistic ethics”.

Most media organizations will point to something called the “Code of Ethics,” from the Society of Professional Journalists”. No, we’ve been over the Code before; it basically does nothing but give news media a framework by which they can declare just about any behavior “ethical”.

And just you watch – that’s exactly what is going to happen with this story :

ABC-57 reporter Alyssa Marino’s editor sends her on a half-hour drive southwest of their South Bend studio, to the small town of Walkerton (Pop. ~2,300). According to Alyssa’s own account on Twitter, she “just walked into their shop [Memories Pizza] and asked how they feel” about Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Owner Crystal O’Connor says she’s in favor of it, noting that while anyone can eat in her family restaurant, if the business were asked to cater a gay wedding, they would not do it. It conflicts with their biblical beliefs. Alyssa’s tweet mentions that the O’Connors have “never been asked to cater a same-sex wedding.”

What we have here is — as we called in journalism school jargon — “no story.” Nothing happened. Nothing was about to happen.

If I were forced to mark out a story line, it would be this: A nice lady in a small town tries to be helpful and polite to a lovely young reporter from “the big city.”

In other words, Memories Pizza didn’t blast out a news release. They didn’t contact the media, nor make a stink on Twitter or Facebook. They didn’t even post a sign in the window rejecting gay-wedding catering jobs. They merely answered questions from a novice reporter who strolled into their restaurant one day – who was sent on a mission by an irresponsible news organization.

So I’m gonna make sure I tune in “On the Media” this weekendand, to see by what logically torturous path they find this behavior by the media justified.

I don’t know how they’ll do it.

I only know that they will.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I’ve been threatening to quit the Minnesota State Bar Association for years but chickened out because I get my life insurance through them and I must remain a member to keep the insurance. But I recently got insurance through AAA – I don’t need MSBA anymore. And from the way they act, they don’t need me, either.

When I joined, the Bar Association was a trade organization devoted to helping members be better lawyers. In the past 30 years, it has drifted leftward into Social Justice activism. That’s not why I joined.

I was especially pissed the leadership of the MSBA agitated for gay marriage, taking it upon themselves to speak in my name without ever asking the membership for a vote.

In the March issue of Bench and Bar, the President reports MSBA has decided it should elevate its commitment to diversity and inclusion. MSBA hired a Diversity Director and starting this Spring, will be asking renewing members to self-identify on their online member profiles in four additional areas: Gender (male, female, transgender/gender non-conforming); Race; Sexual Orientation (straight, gay, or bi); and Disability. MSBA hopes collecting this information will quantify areas of disparity and provide concrete evidence for leaders to address inequities based on fact, not anecdote or conjecture.

None of this is any of their business, but if that’s where the organization wants to go, so be it. I don’t need to wait for the survey, I can tell you right now the MSBA has too many straight White cismales. Some of them need to quit.

Glad to be of service.

Joe Doakes

Because privilege!

Smell The Quality

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Main floor bathrooms at work flooded a few weeks back. Restoration has been on hold for weeks . . . waiting for tile.

What the hell, Menard’s has tile. Is this some special hand-made Italian marble tile? What are we waiting for? These are the main public restrooms for a public building – slap up some white subway tile and get them back in service.

They’re cutting tile now. Ceramic dust billowing, sucked up in the exhaust vents, distributed all over the building, everybody is sneezing.

You couldn’t cut it at night after the blowers are off, or on the weekend when nobody is around?

You couldn’t seal the bathroom exhaust vent and suck the dust out through a filter?

True, the dust is making all four floors of the building uninhabitable, but they’re a union shop and low bidder . . . so what’s the problem?

Un. Be. Lievable.

Joe Doakes

Someone’s got to pay those dues to the Teamsters…

Our National Monologue

In all of of this nation’s frenetic back-and-forth – usually just forth – over race, i’ve really just had one question, all all this time ”

What do you want me to do?

Only an idiot doesn’t recognize racism exists, in some form. And that’s above and beyond to the “We -ism” that is endemic to every human being in the world; the race of people around them is one of the first perceptions babies develop, with uneasiness about the difference following closely.

And white privilege exists, too. Of course, the roots of white privilege date back hundreds, maybe thousands of years, when wage Northern European societies developed into patriarchal, militaristic societies dominated by aggressive warrior cultures that were able to avoid being enslaved, for the most part, as societies, at a time when most sub-Saharan African societies were small, matriarchal, and ripe for the picking buy more aggressive societies.

That’s one of the greatest “privileges” a society can hand down to its offspring; a history of freedom.

So racism and privilege exists. Stipulated.

Now what?

Writing at The Daily Beast,” John McWhorter, in a long, excellent article, has the same questions:

However, one can thoroughly understand how racism works and still ask just what this laser focus on “White Privilege” is meant to achieve.

“This is messy work, but these conversations are necessary,” says Sandra Chapman, director of diversity and community at Little Red School House in New York City. OK—but why? Note that the answer cannot be, “So that whites will understand that they are the privileged … etc.” That makes as much sense as saying “Because!” So I’m going to dare to ask a simple question: What exactly are we trying to achieve with this particular lesson?

And the questions keep coming. I will urge you to read the whole thing.