Estate Plan

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I visited a woman in the hospital this weekend.  She had a heart attack and was unresponsive on arrival.  The doctors didn’t know if she would make it.  Here’s a note from her husband (I did their estate plan, back when I was in private practice):

“When you are laying in bed at 2:00 a.m and your mind is running the gerbil wheel of ‘what if she doesn’t wake up,  would she want burial or cremation and what do I do with the ashes, keep them or scatter them, and what funeral home should I hire, and who is going to scan photos for the video but would she even want a memorial, and what are her friends’ phone numbers or maybe invite only family, and can we even have a memorial, what are the Covid rules and oh God, what if she doesn’t wake up?’ . . . it’s not as much fun as you might think.  Spend some time talking to your family so they know the plan.”

Joe Doakes

What Joe said. 

Ritual

A friend of the blog emails:

Recently I was in a meeting with State of Minnesota bureaucrats. They said it is now the practice for state of MN meetings to start each one with this recital.

Why is this necessary? Why not an acknowledgement for the ingenious federal republic devised to govern such a vast and varied people? Why not an acknowledgement for the free enterprise market that has done more to raise more people out of poverty than any other economic system ever invented.

I was just so floored by the Land Acknowledgement. Really.

That floors me, too.

And I have sat through Saint Paul school board meetings.

Sides

Reading Governor Klink‘s response to the situation in Brooklyn Center…:

… Several questions jump to mind.

One of those questions is not, as it happens, “who is side is the governor on“. That’s easy; whichever side gets him credit with the “progressive“ wing of the DFL, to whom he owes his position in every possible way.

This is, of course, the inevitable and result of single party democrat governance. You dear Fellers like to chant “you we own this town!“ After your little lopsided, fraud a tinge to factories.

Yes, you do. Every bit of it. To the hilt.

Did Anyone Not See This Coming?

Biden: Texas, Mississippi and Florida going free-market on mask mandates and lockdowns is “Neanderthal Thinking”.

Reality:

And Minnesota’s not looking so hot, with its death rate pulling ahead of Wisconsin’s after being tied for months.

Ecology Theater

An Indian wag and devotee of Mahatma Gandhi once quipped “It costs us a fortune to keep Gandhi poor“.

Likewise, it takes an immense amount of carbon-based fuel for Transportation Secretary and choo-choo train fanboy Pete Buttigieg to virtue-signal his carbon neutrality:

There are, of course, innumerable such conundra on the left. For example, it takes a staggering amount of the fruits of western capitalism to keep Ilhan Omar’s anti-western hatred in business.

Keep it going.

None Dare Call It Slander

I mean, when even Bill Maher gets uncomfortable…

Former North Dakota Senator and current useless mouth Heidi Heitkamp calls Gina Carano a “Nazi”. Plain and simple, full stop.

I’ll chalk this up to the (utterly true) idea that any Democrat can parrot any narrative twaddle, no matter how moronic, without fear, knowing that their audience hasn’t the critical thinking skills to call them on it. Or anything.

But I won’t get mad. I’ll just get on the air. I sent this to her Facebook page.

Senator,

I’m Mitch Berg. I grew up in Jamestown. My mother, Jan Berg/Brooks, was a volunteer for any number of your campaigns at the state and federal level.

I fell a bit farther from the tree, politically, of course.

I’d like to make a media request – I’d love to interview y ou on my show (WWTC AM1280) in the Twin Cities regarding your assertion that Gina Carano is a “Nazi”.

I can either do it live on Saturday at 2PM, or record an interview at any time convenient to you.

Hope we can discuss this.

Thanks.

Why, sure – I expect a response! Why wouldn’t I?

It All Starts With A Virtue Signal

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I visited a woman in the hospital this weekend.  She had a heart attack and was unresponsive on arrival.  The doctors didn’t know if she would make it.  Here’s a note from her husband (I did their estate plan, back when I was in private practice):

“When you are laying in bed at 2:00 a.m and your mind is running the gerbil wheel of ‘what if she doesn’t wake up,  would she want burial or cremation and what do I do with the ashes, keep them or scatter them, and what funeral home should I hire, and who is going to scan photos for the video but would she even want a memorial, and what are her friends’ phone numbers or maybe invite only family, and can we even have a memorial, what are the Covid rules and oh God, what if she doesn’t wake up?’ . . . it’s not as much fun as you might think.  Spend some time talking to your family so they know the plan.”

Joe Doakes

What Joe said. 

A buddy owns an electrical contracting shop.  He writes:

“14/2 shot up about 50% since the inauguration.   It doubled since last
week.  It was running about $38 a roll last summer.  It hit $92.   And
the word is that there will be shortages. Suppliers are limiting
customers to 60% of normal inventory.  I had a few bids out.   I may
need to pull them.   For certain I won’t be in a hurry to write a lot of
new ones.”

For those who don’t speak Electrician, 14/2 is the size of plastic-clad
copper electrical wire used in Minnesota homes for common household
circuits (15 amps).  Busy electricians go through miles of it every
year.  The smallest change in price can upset the bid price.  So why is
the price of wire spiking now?  Why are shortages looming?

Turns out, the plastic coating of the wire is made from PVC which is
made from natural gas, which is extracted from leases on federal lands,
which the Garden Administration terminated by Executive Order to reverse
President Trump’s policy of American energy independence, because
anything the Bad Orange Man did was Bad and must be ended, regardless of
how much it costs.  It’s a moral imperative. Sometimes you have to
destroy a civilization in order to save it.

The first order effect of ending leases was to signal their virtue.

The second order effect is to make crude oil and natural gas less
plentiful domestically thus requiring the use of higher priced imports,
which push futures prices higher for gas and oil and PVC, which causes
higher prices for consumers of those products (such as electrical wire).

The third order effect is a slow-down in travel and home construction,
as higher prices push marginal customers out of the market.

The fourth order effect is lower tax revenues from reduced sales of gas,
wire and homes.

The fifth order effect is higher income taxes on the middle class to
offset the tax revenue lost in other areas.

We’re seeing it happen in real time.  We know what’s coming.  Why are we
the only ones who notice, the only ones who care?

Joe Doakes

To answer Joe’s question – because the “progressive” pols running the show today don’t care, and their voters aren’t smart enough to know better.

Among The Biggest Advantages…

…that DFL politicians have is that they can say anything, no matter how illogical, preposterous and risible, anything at all , knowing that not only will the media never call them out on it, but that “their” voters, of all races, classes and education levels, having as they do zero critical thinking skills, will gobble it up.

Councilman Philippe Cunningham, in a “Neighborhood Safety Manual”, repeats the assertion from last year that “Klansmen”, complete with robes and pointy hoods, were roaming North Minneapolis during the riots.

Note to non-MSP residents: Klansmen in robes will occur in the Twin Cities about the same time I go on a hot third date with Anna Kendrick.

So Let’s Get This Straight

The DFL and the Teachers Union – pardon the redundancy – is rejecting the idea of allowing high school kids to take their standardized tests from home…

…because there’s no way to make such an important bit of work reliable and honest.

Democratic senators said Minnesota’s testing provider, Pearson Education, would not be able to develop a remote testing option in the next few weeks. It would be impossible to control the at-home environment like a classroom to monitor for cheating, they said.

“You can’t have anything on the board that would give a student an unfair advantage. How can we ensure that is going to happen at home?” said state Sen. Mary Kunesh, DFL-New Brighton.

Huh.

Gotta hand it to the DFL. They know the value of keeping institutions, the ones vital to democracy, un-sullied by essentially sending them home on the honor system.

Yessirreebob.

After Nearly A Year…

…of constant violence that he encouraged not only with as many words but with as many actions, Portland, Oregon mayor Ted Wheeler says people are “sick of” the constant sturm und drang that has made parts of the city unlivable:

Portland became a hotbed of civil unrest last summer during demonstrations protesting the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis. Similar demonstrations in cities across the country were largely peaceful. But in Portland, some of the demonstrations have deteriorated into widespread arson, looting and assaults. ADVERTISEMENT

Rioters in the city, who have called for the defunding of the local police department along with other measures, have on several occasions targeted a federal courthouse, spraying it with graffiti, setting fires and destroying nearby storefronts and other property.  

“The people who work here support the voices of racial and social justice and will not be intimidated from doing our jobs by the ugly graffiti or broken windows,” Scott Erik Asphaug, a U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon, said during the press conference, the AP reported. “We do not confuse the voices of the many with the shouts of the few who hope to hold our city hostage by petty crime and violence.”

The first two things that jumped to my mind?

  1. After ten months of Wheeler all but setting Portland up as an “Anti”-Fa staging area, I wonder what powerful “progressive” constituency finally figured it was time to rein the party in?
  2. Reading Asphaug’s quote, am I the only one who thinks it sounds like they’re trying to pin the violence on…”the right”?

Too Much Credit

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I visited a woman in the hospital this weekend.  She had a heart attack and was unresponsive on arrival.  The doctors didn’t know if she would make it.  Here’s a note from her husband (I did their estate plan, back when I was in private practice):

“When you are laying in bed at 2:00 a.m and your mind is running the gerbil wheel of ‘what if she doesn’t wake up,  would she want burial or cremation and what do I do with the ashes, keep them or scatter them, and what funeral home should I hire, and who is going to scan photos for the video but would she even want a memorial, and what are her friends’ phone numbers or maybe invite only family, and can we even have a memorial, what are the Covid rules and oh God, what if she doesn’t wake up?’ . . . it’s not as much fun as you might think.  Spend some time talking to your family so they know the plan.”

Joe Doakes

What Joe said. 

What Liberals believe will happen:

Gangbanger 1: “Hey, man, that guy was disrespectful to me.  I’m going to kill him.  Give me your gun.”

Gangbanger 2: “No way, man.  There’s a new law: you must pass a background check first.”

Gangbanger 1: “Dang, man.  I guess I’ll go play some basketball instead.”

Joe Doakes

Joe gives gun grabbers too much credit. I doubt most of them consider the notion that there are people out there we already prohibit from owning guns. They think the good guys are the problem.

Surprise

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I visited a woman in the hospital this weekend.  She had a heart attack and was unresponsive on arrival.  The doctors didn’t know if she would make it.  Here’s a note from her husband (I did their estate plan, back when I was in private practice):

“When you are laying in bed at 2:00 a.m and your mind is running the gerbil wheel of ‘what if she doesn’t wake up,  would she want burial or cremation and what do I do with the ashes, keep them or scatter them, and what funeral home should I hire, and who is going to scan photos for the video but would she even want a memorial, and what are her friends’ phone numbers or maybe invite only family, and can we even have a memorial, what are the Covid rules and oh God, what if she doesn’t wake up?’ . . . it’s not as much fun as you might think.  Spend some time talking to your family so they know the plan.”

Joe Doakes

What Joe said. 

A federal judge rules the federal government has no power to order a nation-wide moratorium on evictions.  State governments can do it, but not the federal government.  That’s a refreshing change.

Did I mention the judge is a Trump nominee?  The winning continues long after The President has left the Oval Office.

Joe Doakes

Which, as a Trump skeptic, was always my best-case result.

The Medium Garbles The Message

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I visited a woman in the hospital this weekend.  She had a heart attack and was unresponsive on arrival.  The doctors didn’t know if she would make it.  Here’s a note from her husband (I did their estate plan, back when I was in private practice):

“When you are laying in bed at 2:00 a.m and your mind is running the gerbil wheel of ‘what if she doesn’t wake up,  would she want burial or cremation and what do I do with the ashes, keep them or scatter them, and what funeral home should I hire, and who is going to scan photos for the video but would she even want a memorial, and what are her friends’ phone numbers or maybe invite only family, and can we even have a memorial, what are the Covid rules and oh God, what if she doesn’t wake up?’ . . . it’s not as much fun as you might think.  Spend some time talking to your family so they know the plan.”

Joe Doakes

What Joe said. 

Podcasts are all the rage.  I hate podcasts.  They remind me of sitting in fourth grade class when the teacher says, “You read silently while I read aloud.”  I was done with the chapter and bored long before the teacher finished.

Worse, the skills needed to be a good writer are not identical to those of a good speaker. Podcasters may have good things to say, but it’s torture to listen to them say them. 

Our Gracious Host, of course, has training and experience in both sides – print and radio – so this is not a dig at him.  But I miss reading guys like Scott Adams and Mark Steyn.

Joe Doakes

No dig taken, JD. And I’m with you – I don’t much care for podcasts, and I’m slow in warming to audio books, for that matter. Part of it is that so many of them have such lousy production values – and yes, that may sound shallow, but poor audio quality, bad mic technique and a lousy speaking voice are very analogous to terrible grammar and lousy style. They’re integral parts of the medium.

It even happens with “polished, professional” podcasts. “The Daily”, the New York Times’ daily podcast, is hosted by Michael Barbaro. Leaving aside Barbaro’s history of hackery, he has the most annoying “radio voice” anywhere.

I still much prefer reading.

Insecurity Theater

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I visited a woman in the hospital this weekend.  She had a heart attack and was unresponsive on arrival.  The doctors didn’t know if she would make it.  Here’s a note from her husband (I did their estate plan, back when I was in private practice):

“When you are laying in bed at 2:00 a.m and your mind is running the gerbil wheel of ‘what if she doesn’t wake up,  would she want burial or cremation and what do I do with the ashes, keep them or scatter them, and what funeral home should I hire, and who is going to scan photos for the video but would she even want a memorial, and what are her friends’ phone numbers or maybe invite only family, and can we even have a memorial, what are the Covid rules and oh God, what if she doesn’t wake up?’ . . . it’s not as much fun as you might think.  Spend some time talking to your family so they know the plan.”

Joe Doakes

What Joe said. 

Two-Mask-Tony has famously decreed that if one mask is good, two masks
is better.  I figured out where he got the notion: from software
security people.

My password to remotely log into the work computer is the same password
as I use to log into the various software programs on the work server. 
What’s the point of every program having a password if they’re all the
same?  Since I know the password to get into the computer itself, I know
the password for everything else, too.

It’s as if they expect to thwart some cartoon villain tapping on my
keyboard.  “Dammit, I made it through the first nine passwords, but now
I can’t get into the timesheet system to report my hours for payroll. 
Curses, foiled again!”

Joe Doakes

I’ve cracked wise about this in the recent past.

It’s easy to design “perfect” safety: wear ten masks, and never leave the house!

The costs of that approach never seem to enter these peoples’ thinking.

Perhaps because it costs them nothing.

Purge Day

Remember last spring and early summer? When New York’s catastrophic mismanagement of the Covid pandemic led to a national scandal that humiliated Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill “Squiggy” DiBlasio?

Of course not. The media tamped it down. With a contentious election already underway, Big Media and Big Left didn’t want any splatter getting on the Democrat nominee, whoever that was going to be.

But it was horrible; both New Yorks, state and city, had death rates that still dwarf the rest of the country. Over 10% of all nursing home residents died in a matter of mere weeks. The city was a charnel house. One nursing home left a few dozen bodies in a n un-refrigerated U-Haul, and hospitals were, as related by an endless stream of morose NPR stories, overwhelmed (even as a Navy hospital ship rode, almost empty, at anchor in the harbor, lest President Trump garner any credit whatsoever).

Big Left rallied around the inept Cuomo, spending nine months treating him as a saint walking among us, as an epidemiological Omar Bradley smiting the viral foe from the field, plumping up the sales for Cuomo’s absurd public health “how to” book, putting him up for an Emmy Award for his televised appearances.

Until the inauguration.

Now that Democrat are in charge, Cuomo’s stock has fallen faster than GameStop.

Seems weird?

Not at all. Cuomo is not popular on the hard left that is currently in vogue in DC. He’s too centrist. The progressive wing of the party hates him – and Mayor Squiggy has aspirations in Albany and (absurd as it seems) DC.

Two theories, not mutually exclusive:

All The Facts That Fit The Narrative: It’s verging on being a Berg’s Law – modern media “fact checking” is largely a matter of making sure Democrats get all the credit for the true stuff. Cuomo was a hero – until Big Left wanted him out of the way.

Which is not in any way discontiguous with the other theory:

Try To Find A Pickaxe In Albany. I Dare You: I think it’s a purge on the left. The “progressive” wing, which controls everything in DC (including, let’s be honest, the “Moderate” Biden – wants their slightly-too-moderate bete noir out of the way. While Cuomo’s presidential odds were likely slim and none, he certainly has a powerful bully pulpit within the party.

Well – had one.

This past week, in my observation, has been almost perfectly stage-managed – with the news of the whistleblower coming out while the Governor was in an audience with Biden.

Why? I addition to being a “moderate” (yep, you read that right – Cuomo is like Phyllis Kahn) wart on the Democrat party’s butt that can be excised, making room for more acceptable “Progressives” for the nation’s third-or-fourth-most powerful, but certainly most prestigious, governorship, it also allows Democrats to claim the “credit” for getting “justice” for all the seniors that died…

…even though conservatives owned the story from the beginning.

Like Stalin ordering Trotsky’s murder, this purge – with able assistance from the media that is giving itself leg and lip cramps kissing Biden’s ass – serves all sorts of purposes for Big Left.

Badda bing.

Virtue-Signal To Virtue-Noise Level = 0

Ryan Winkler takes a strong moral stand:

About time Ryan Winkler took a strong, courageous stand against corporate prisons…

…of which there are zero in Minnesota.

Remember when I said DFLers can count on the fact that DFL voters are overwhelmingly badly-informed and lousy at critical thought?

Any questions?

.

Whizzing On Your Foot, Telling You It’s Raining

Where have you gone, our #UmbrellaMan?

The Star/Trib turns its lonely eyes to you:

In a city ravaged by leftist violence several times in the past year, we’re going to focus, hard, on finding the dozen doughy ex-Libertarians, sitting in their parents basements, who identify as Trumpo-Anarchists.

In related news, Germany, expressing alarm over a 1939 attack on a border radio station, is concerned about potential Polish aggression.

No Science Was Used In The Production Of This News

Last summer, on my show, I interviewed a guy – an engineering professor – who had a side project, mathematically modeling the progress of the Covid pandemic.

His assertion – that somewhere between 5-10 times as many people had been infected as the testing showed – because “getting tested” was at best a self-selecting set of subjects (if, at that time, they could get tested at all) and most people were asymptomatic, or had limited symptoms.

The numbers were plausible – and the limited symptoms part resonated with me. I barely talked myself into getting an antibody test. My symptoms were fairly minimal – a fever for about a day, a nasty cough for a few more, basically the bronchitis I get every couple years. Were it not for a rash on the back of my hands, I might have just skipped the whole thing. The antibody test showed I’d had Covid, in late March or early April – consistent with the symptoms I did have.

Here’s the deal – the modeler and I considered it good news. With viruses, all other things being equal and acknowledging there’s a lot we still don’t know about Covid, recovering from an infection gets you, if not immunity, at least resistance, at least for some period of time. And even limited immunity and enhanced resistance is a huge thing; the common cold is largely shrugged off by most Westerners, but it was frequently lethal to natives when Westerners traveled to places where the people had never had exposure to it. The difference between a lethal pandemic and the sniffles was a few (or few dozen) generations of having had it and survived.

The modeler’s advice? Everyone who wasn’t under sixty and/or in relatively decent health should protect themselves accordingly until a vaccine came out; everyone else should “play spin the bottle, and power through the infection as fast as possible”.

Having “Survived” a mild case, I’ll recuse myself from the games.

And that particular modeler is not the only person to have found these results.

Shrieking Ninnies In Expensive Suits – which was why I was a little surprised not only to see this story from National Public Radio’s “health” beat reporters, about a study from Columbia that reached precisely the same factual concusion that Covid had infected 5-10 times as many people as we thought…

…and not just that they thought it was seriously ground-breaking news (emphasis added)…

The model has not been published or peer-reviewed yet, but lead researcher, Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious disease specialist at Columbia University, shared the data exclusively with NPR.

…when my lil’ ol’ talk show covered this exact same conclusion eight months ago…

…but the conclusion these “elite” “journalists” reached:

…[the model] gives a much more complete — and scary — picture of how much virus is circulating in our communities…The model’s conclusion: On any given day, the actual number of active cases — people who are newly infected or still infectious — is likely 10 times that day’s official number of reported cases.

So let’s recap: a model that is:

  • Unpublished
  • Not peer-reviewed
  • Reaches a statistical conclusion that is “news” only if one’s sense of credentialism has eaten whatever journalistic inquisitiveness one might have had

…is presented not only as “new” news, but as bad news.

Now, during my brief, not very successful career as a reporter, one thing I did do well was ask questions – which used to be a key qualifier for journalists.

And I have so many of them, reading both the study and the “elite” journos at NPR’s take on it.

  • Given that the number of deaths and serious hospitalizations are a reasonably known quantity, and their numbers has been broadly tracking with known infection rates, and we presume that this discrepancy is not brand new, doesn’t that mean the disease is on 10-20% as fatal as we thought?
  • Again assuming that the infection rates have always been ahead of testing, doesn’t that mean an order of magnitude more people have been infected, and (remember, we know the death rates) recovered, and thus are at least partly immune or resistant? Isn’t that good news (except of course for the number of immune people getting scarce vaccines, and also the fact that our government response seems to be discounting natural immunity entirely?)
  • Wny, in fact, does this story ignore the natural/herd immunity implications of numbers like this?

This sort of “reporting” is neither science nor, if my various bosses, teachers, editors and mentors were to be believed, journalism in any sense other than “providing PR for an authioritarian narrative”.

Ivy League Alums Ponder Restraining Orders, Injunctions

David Hogg, who has built a very rewarding career slandering law-abiding gun owners, is his immense expertise from “gun safety” to industry. Seeking to “own” Mike Lindell [1], he announced last week he seeks to start a pillow company.

Last Friday, it turned out Hogg’s big idea had run into the same roadblock as his gun control agenda – reality:

That Harvard education is serving the lad well, isn’t it?

Our Illiterate Overlords

As seniors try to navigate buggy, inept MN-IT (but I repeat myself) websites, or pile in to try for a single-digit percent chance of a shot (maybe, or again, maybe not), teachers union members get a special vaccine event…

…even though they’re still ambivalent about going back to work at all.

Just saying – when David Brooks is right, he’s very, very right. Teachers unions are just as intelledtually vacuous and immune to real science as the most blinkered pandemic conspiracy theorist:

in-person learning can be done safely with the right precautions. This was unclear last March and April, but now study after study has shown that schools can be safe. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just attested to this fact. The evidence seems clear.

Private and some public schools are already operating safely all around the country, with little evidence that attendance is spreading the virus.

[But] teachers unions don’t seem to have adjusted to the facts. In Washington, Chicago and elsewhere, unions have managed to shut down in-class instruction. The Chicago public schools union is on the verge of an illegal strike, even though 130 private schools and 2,000 early learning centers have been open safely since the fall….The Chicago district installed air purifiers in classrooms, conducted ventilation tests, increased rapid testing and held more than 60 meetings with union leaders, but so far the union has been able to keep public schools from reope

Of course, it’s not about science – because the Teachers Union is no more about science than it is about, well, teaching:

A study by Michael T. Hartney and Leslie Finger found that political partisanship and teacher union strength explain how school boards approached reopening. Another survey, conducted last year by Chalkbeat and The Associated Press, found that roughly half of white students had access to in-person learning, compared with a quarter of Black and Hispanic kids.

Readers, many of us got involved in the Black Lives Matter marches last summer. I guess I would ask you, do Black lives matter to you only when they serve your political purpose? If not, shouldn’t we all be marching to get Black and brown children back safely into schools right now?

There were many haunting moments in MacGillis’s ProPublica piece [cited elsewhere in Brooks op-ed]. One comes when he asks the National Education Association president, Becky Pringle, about her claim that reopening schools could lead to the death of 50,000 children. MacGillis points out to her that, in fact, the number of American children known to have died of Covid-19 up to that point is around 100.

The unions are not reflecting reality. Instead of addressing legitimate fears with facts and evidence, they are using their political muscle to inflame those fears. The most vulnerable people in our country are the victims.

The whole thing is worth a read.