If Looks Could Kill

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Stopped at the liquor store on the way home. As I was walking to the store, a car pulled into the handicap spot. 

Beater car, young black male driver, young black woman passenger. Came in behind me wearing a bandana. No signs of handicap. No sticker on the car. No handicap license plate.

I had to actually grit my teeth not to say something. I know, could have been a white man, Asian man, any young man ignoring the rules and parking in the wrong spot. But it exacerbated The Stereotype of a young black man who thinks he’s above the rules because of his race. That, or is too stupid to follow the rules.

Either way, he’s a threat to orderly Society. People who don’t follow the rules, starting with little ones and working on up, undermine the foundation of civilization.

So I shot him.

Joe Doakes


Betcha Sally Jo Sorenson has a field day with this one. (Is Sally Jo still a thing? I have no idea).

Berg’s Law, Part I: Welcome To Law School

“Any argument that begins with a dictionary definition of the argument’s key term can be disregarded without further thought”
— Mitch Berg, “Berg’s Law”

From Brittanica:

Satire, artistic form, chiefly literary and dramatic, in which human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, parody, caricature, or other methods, sometimes with an intent to inspire social reform.

Satire Is The New News

I’m old enough to remember a lot of things that would amaze people who weren’t born before I became an adult.

And when TVs had antennae, and were the centerpieces of one’s living room.

I remember when phones had cords, and phones without cords had a range of feet, not miles, and cell phones without cords were symbols of wealth and status that marked you as a junk bond king, a hip hop mogul or an oil sheikh. Also when “junk bond kings” existed, hip hop wasn’t a business of moguls, and oil sheiks were the bad guys, before they were the good guys, before they became the bad guys again.

And perhaps most jarringly, I remember when satire wasn’t more accurate at relating the goings-on in the world around its than the “journalism” of the day.

Those days are long behind us.

Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself

My name is Mitch Berg. My personal story is of little importance – but I’ll cruise through it quickly here, since it’ll help explain where some of the material comes from,

I was born, grew up, started a career in radio,and went to high school and college in Jamestown, North Dakota. In that order.

After graduating from college, I moved to the Twin Cities, seeking a career as a rock singer. I accidentally got back into radio, and worked as a producer and, for a spectacular year, a talk show host; my promise was so apparent, management put me on the air from 2-4AM Monday mornings. And I fell in love with it; the electric crackle of the air in the studio, the feeling that I was riding on the pulse of the nation – or at least the part of the nation that was awake at 3AM Monday morning – and, most of all, having a voice. For a glorious year or so, I could speak, and thousands – dozens? I don’t know – would hear me.

I figured I’d make it my career.

Most of the staff got laid off.

I knocked around a bunch of jobs – freelance news reporting, voice over artist, mover and, finally, night club DJ – a job also known as “bottoming out in life”.

About that time, I got married. ‘

I had two kids.

I changed careers – first into writing instruction manuals for terrible software, then into designing better software.

I got divorced.

By this point, it had been well over a decade since I felt I had a “voice”, at least outside my house.

Technology was about to change that.

That brings us up to 2002.

I Wanna Make Some History

In the winter of 2002, I was working at a rapidly-failing Dotcom startup. I was bored. I was underutilized – I could only look for a better job so many hours a day. I was a fairly new single parent, and stress notwithstanding, I was bored stiff

I read an article in Time magazine – back when it was still printed on paper, and also had more readers than Cracked.com – about a new trend, “blogging”.

The blog has been sort of passé lately, surpassed by the slick visuals, instant gratification and intellectual junk food found on social media.

But back then – having hit me right about the time I was starting to keenly feel the lack of a “voice” – it hit me like a bag of cliché about high-impact events in your life.

I started my blog, Shot In The Dark (Shotinthedark.info) that evening, right after I got the kids to bed. I’ve been writing it five days a week since then.

This happened during the frenetic year and a half between the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq.

Which led to my first, initially satirical, observation.

Seattle: Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

Seattle cops, barred the use of tear gas and other non-lethal force, are telling businesses “sorry – you’re on your own”.

Given that “keeping order” – making a city a safe place for law-abiding taxpayers to be – is one of local government’s most unambiguously legitimate missions, this should really wake all but the most deluded Seattleoids up.  

I said ‘should”. 

The Most Heinous Crime Of This Heinous Year

The “Mask Mandate” – which, as of a week ago, was of such crucial “scientific” importance that it was on the table in negotiations about the bonding bill – will become official policy as of Friday midnight.

Not only long after Covid peaked in Minnesota, but long after most Americans led the world in voluntarily adopting masks:

Which is more or less what I said a couple weeks ago – give Americans good information, a transparent request, and clear statement of interests, and we’ll do what needs to be done.

Here’s the thing – as we’ve noted, Covid is a disease spread by density. It might be a red-county meat-packing plant, or a major-metro bar, restaurant, open-plan office, bus or train, but the correlation between packing people together for extended time and the spread of Covid seems pretty clear.

Here in Minnesota, about half the counties have had no Covid deaths. Outside the metro areas – Twin Cities, Saint Cloud, Duluth and Rochester – and a few rural meat-packing facilities, the disease is just plain rare.

Senate Majority Leader Gazelka had the termerity to point this out – that perhaps a one-size fits all state mandate for a disease for which one size does not fit all, makes absolutely no sense.

Governor Klink’s response:

Someday, there will need to be an accounting for the damage the American Left has inflicted on the term “science”. For much, indeed most, of the American left, “science” is treated like saying “no sipsies” in high school when you bought a can of pop – a way to pre-emptively foreclose any argument, because you were the first to invoke “science”.

But y’see, Governor Klink, science is observation.

Observe this – pattern of the spread of the disease after five months in Minnesota:

So explain the “science” to us, Governor Klink?

What is the special science-fu that means a disease that spread between metropoli halfway around the world from each other in a matter of weeks, has yet to ravage the low-density hinterlands after five months?

The Governor isn’t talking science. He’s talking Blue Fragility.

The Unmarked Van Of Remorseless Logic

I’ve had a couple people ask what I thought about Federal law enforcement, driving rental vans and wearing generic mil-cop camouflage, grabbing individual “protesters” off the streets of Portland.

To be honest, I’m not of two minds about it. Maybe three or four.

Bear with me, here.

I was a Libertarian with a capital L. I’m still a libertarian with small “l'”. I read my Soviet history (which is why I’m not a DFLer or a “progressive”). Cops descending out of nowhere and throwing people into vans and driving off is not a good look.

And if you can show me that those people have disappeared without a trace – as opposed to appearing in federal court being arraigned on charges involving destroying federal property and other federal crimes – then we’ve got something to talk about.

On the other hand:

I will wager a shiny new quarter that every single one of these “peaceful” protesters is going to appear in enough video, witness statements and other credible evidence to support at least an indictable allegation that they were involved in destroying federal (as in “you and me paid for it”) property, and/or travelled across state lines to organize other peoples’ felonies.

Now – given that Portland has in effect been turned over to “Anti”-Fa [1], and in effect told its own police to leave them alone and get out of the way, what’s going to be the best way to get these alleged violent conspirators – rolling up in a van labeled “FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT”, warning the wannabe tough guys to form a mob and get their bats and bike chains and guns out, and starting yet another riot?

Or maybe take the subtle approach, get the organizers they want, and leave without letting the mob destroy the neighborhood – again?

On the other, other hand:

All of you people demanding openness and transparency in law enforcement in tracking and arresting (for sake of argument) people who are credibly alleged to be organizers of violent riots that have caused tens of millions of dollars of damage to private, local and federal property: Where were you brave, iconoclastic souls in 2011-2013, when prosecutors in Wisconsin were serving no-knock “John Doe” warrants with SWAT teams armed not one degree behind the Specal Forces fashion curve, along with gag orders signed by courts that the Kangaroos released a statement saying they didn’t want to be associated with, against people accused of…

…supporting Scott Walker for Governor?

Where were you?

Is opaque government only a problem when it’s the people you agree with (?) getting arrested under unseemly circumstances?

And on the other, other, other hand:

Is Federal law enforcement and the whole federal justice system, with its 98% conviction rate and its indulgent rules that allow federal prosecutors to squeeze people to choose between guilty pleas or having their lived completely destroyed and being personally, legally and financially ruined forever, too powerful?

Well, I agree – and if you root for that same system when they pick out a white collar criminal to hound to death (read Howard Root’s “Cardiac Arrest” for a great local story by a guy who beat the rap – at the cost of $25 million), but get the vapors when it’s an entitled, upper-middle-class, over-schooled but under-educated “progressive” anarchist, then yes, I am going to point out your (let’s be polite here) inconsistency.

“Shot In The Dark”: The News That Matters, First

Powerline’s Scott Johnson on his wrapup of what happened in Minneapolis over Memorial Day.

In his initial comments the morning after the Third Precinct was destroyed, Governor Walz threw Frey under the proverbial bus for the decision to abandon it. Warned in advance of the decision by Frey, Walz professed himself “not comfortable” with it. These were perhaps the most truthful only words uttered by Walz in this entire series of events. Walz quickly reverted to the style of the stereotypical used car salesman that is his characteristic mode.

The decision to abandon the Third Precinct on the evening of May 28 was an open secret. The Wall Street Journal now looks back in “‘We’re Just Going to Walk Away From This?’ How Minneapolis Left a Police Station to Rioters.” MPR looks back in “‘The precinct is on fire’: What happened at Minneapolis’ 3rd Precinct — and what it means.”

Unfortunately, MPR has no idea what it means. Led by the Star Tribune, we have a massive failure of the Minnesota media to settle accounts and assess responsibility. Their view is utterly blinkered, not by the fog of war, but rather by the fog of leftist sympathy. Sheer cowardice must be a substantial contributing factor as well.

The perpetrators of the terroristic crime wave were many and varied. Only a few have been charged so far. The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota has brought arson cases against a dozen or so defendants to date. See the US Attorney press releases compiled here. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seems to be taking the lead in the investigation of the 150 arsons throughout the Twin Cities in the week following Floyd’s death.

The whole piece is worth a read.

But let’s set the record straight, here. Here’s the Wall Street Journal’s wrapup of the abandonment of the Third Precinct:

Police were preparing another round of tear gas to use against a rock-throwing crowd when they got word from Mayor Jacob Frey on the night of Thursday, May 28, to abandon the city’s Third Precinct,

Here’s MPR’s team report:

It was 9:53 p.m. when a Minneapolis police officer sent out an urgent call to the other officers who remained in the 3rd Precinct.

“We need to move. We need to move,” he shouted over the police radio.  

Protesters were breaking into the back of the station, and officers were preparing to take an unprecedented step in American policing: to abandon their precinct building. 

Let the record show that Shot In The Dark, informed by a source with close connections in the Minneapolis Police, broke the news that the decision had been made, in a post timestamped 2:54PM Thursday afternoon.

Shot in the Dark – more better news.

They Own These Towns…

…but that doesn’t leave Republicans off the hook for the collapse of America’s cities:

Despite all of these Democrats, the number one factor stopping real progress in the inner city is Republicans. If Republicans can’t figure out how to speak to minority voters, it is pointless to discuss alternative solutions. President Trump has been the first “Republican” in years to really talk to minority voters and also work to pass bills that directly affect them. We need others willing to seize that momentum and work to demonstrate that Democrats have done nothing for the inner cities but hurt them. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then that is exactly what being a minority and voting for Democrats is like. Nothing ever gets better for them, but they continue to vote for Democrats.

Recently, Sean Combs said the “black vote is not going to be for free,” and he should be right! Politicians should be working for the black community as well as all communities if they want our votes. No one should give away his vote without question. All politicians should work a little harder and not assume that they will get our votes just because there is an R or D next to their name.

If Republicans can actually begin having constructive conversations with minorities and inner-city residents, these are just some of the many conservative ideas that can and will help inner cities if implemented:

Democrats, until a few years ago, were wont to chant “WE OWN THIS TOWN” after elections where their people were swept into office by near-three-digit margins. It’s tempting to tell them “Yes, Sparky, you sure do. Clean it up”.

So tempting that I do it myself.

But when you get a wasp nest under your back porch eaves, do you leave the back porch to the wasps?

Human Nature

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

In college poli-sci classes, you learn there are two schools of thought about what humans would be like in the absence of government.

Some think humans are Basically Good and government corrupts us, so if we could get rid of government, everything would be wonderful.

Others think humans are Basically Rotten and only government protects us from ourselves. If we got rid of government, our lives would be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.

Recent events don’t answer the question. Did people riot because government pulled back and let them, or because government was so corrupt they had to?
Ask yourself this: if we get rid of the police, and the Basically Rotten people are correct, what will take the place of the police? Individual citizens maintaining Eternal Vigilance, dispensing Street Justice? Are we certain that’s a better solution than a municipal police force? Are we willing to bet our lives on it?

Joe Doakes

The “better solution” our social justice-y betters are splaining to us is Camden – whose new, woke, exquisitely expensive law enforcement organization has improved it from the worst murder rate of any city of any size in the United States to tied with #6 (Kansas City), were it over 200,000 people, which it’s not; it may be the most dangerous small city in the US.

While We’re Destroying Things With Objectionable Cultural Connotations…

Georgetown and Harvard universities were both built with slave labor and the proceeds from sales of human beings.

Yale is named after an actual slave trader.

The city of New York didn’t ban slavery till 1827, and people in NYC still owned slaves into the 1840s, and the industries that made it wealthy before 1861 – textiles and cigars – were entirely powered by cheap material produced by slavery. New York City voted for the proslavery candidate for president in 1860 end, after three years of Civil War, 1864. The New York City draft riots of 1863 overwhelmingly targeted freed black men and pro-abolition businesspeople, politicians and groups.

The father of modern progressivism (as well as today’s bureaucratic administrative state), Woodrow Wilson, was one of the most corrosive racists In the history of American government; he is overwhelmingly responsible for the institution of Jim Crow at the federal level, which had cascade effects throughout the country, including an expansion of Jim Crow laws at the state and local levels, and the expansion of the KKK to its greatest power.

So if today’s “protesters“ are really serious about tearing down the legacies of a racist history, they need to tear down the ivy league, New York City, the Internal Revenue Service and about half of the executive branch departments.

Let’s go to it!


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I wonder what they’re going to do with all those statues the Left is
tearing down?   Can I have them?

I might put a few around the perimeter of my back yard, looking in
toward the yard.  Dress up the place a bit.  Put some nice hostas around
them.  St. Francis of Assisi.  Robert E. Lee. Christopher Columbus. 
George Washington.  Are they tearing down Aphrodite?  I’ll take her, for

Maybe put a fire ring in the corner of the yard so I could enjoy a
“recreational fire” with a few cold ones while I admire intelligence and
beauty.  Make a nice change of pace for a guy who lives in St. Paul.

Joe Doakes

I’ve taken to going to churches that have no hymns written in the past 100 years.

I could see doing the same as re art, soon enough.

If You’re Not A Cynic, You’re Not Paying Attention

In the wake of – or perhaps as a next chapter of the George Floyd riots, “Anti”-Fa are setting up an “Autonomous” enclave in Seattle. They are extorting businesses in that enclave for protection money.

And unlike Minneapolis, where President Trump steamrollered Governor Walz into sending a more-than-token National Guard force with threats of invoking the Insurrection Act and units of combat-veteran regular military to East Lake Street, the President is silent on Seattle.

People – including fellow Trump-skeptic Mike Cernovich – are asking questions (language NSFW, but who pays attention to that these days?):

Maybe I’m a cynic, but it seems simple to me: nobody is calling Washington a swing state. Their electoral votes are off the table – at least until the parts of Washington outside the Seattle/Tacoma metro area secede and join Idaho.

That’s why Trump “doesn’t care” about Seattle.

Or Pelosi, for that matter. Nothing’s moving Washington out of the “hard blue” column any time soon – least of all an insurrenction led by the children of her biggest donors.

Minnesota? It’s at least hypothetically in play, especially if suburban and exurban Republicans, alarmed by the collapse of the Twin Cities, and bolstered by the President’s strong alternative, turn out in apocalyptic numbers. As they will have to to stave off a complete Democrat majority at the Capitol.

And that’s why everyone – not just Trump – is letting Seattle turn into Beirut on the Sound.

These Are Our “Elites”

NPR’s Mara Liasson, over the weekend, observing the anniversary of D-Day. Or, more accurately, “observing” the anniversary of “D-Day”, really.

When talking with progs about “Anti”-Fa – a group whose origins were as the Communist version of the Nazi “Brownshirts”, and nothing else – I’ve found “progs” (and “elite” media types like Liasson fall out into two camps:

  • They judge the book by its cover and nothing more; “Antifa is anti-fascist! That’s a good thing!”. Comprehending this level of see/hear/speak-no-evil ignorance is like looking at a tornado for the first time; you’ve heard about ’em, you’re read about ’em, but they’re incomprehensible when you see ’em in person.
  • They think the idea of Big Left having an army of thugs is a necessary evil – or a necessary good, depending on the relative level of depravity.

I’m going to guess Liasson, cocooned in the DC area, is the former.

The DFL bobbleheads who run the Twin Cities? Much more mixed.

Questions Nobody Is Asking

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Business gurus are excited that working from home will become The New Normal, everyone will embrace it, and it’ll be great.
I wonder about weird things like the Americans with Disabilities Act.
If I were in the office, I would have a sit-stand desk and ergonomically correct chair, with my keyboard positioned at the proper height to avoid a repetitive motion injury that results in a workers comp claim.
If I’m working from home, doing the employer’s work on the employers time, shouldn’t I be sitting at the employers desk? Aren’t they supposed to supply me with the correct equipment and if they don’t, can I make a workers comp, disability or discrimination claim?
We’ve all been good sports til now, working on a laptop at the kitchen table.  As we realize it’s just a scam,  that we are in no danger,  the goodwill will fade.  The transition will not be as easy as they think.
Joe Doakes 

Perhaps. The ADA wrangling that Joe is talking about is going to put a lot of lawyers’ kids through school.

That being said, my home office is a home-made stand/sit desk (hacked Ikea parts, with a bar stool for when I don’t feel like standing), five monitors on two computers, and everything else I need. It’s like a private corner office. The only thing I miss is – and I mean this sincerely – my co-workers.

I’m No Lawyer…

…and I’ll leave plenty of room for those of you who are.

But as re Keith Ellison taking over the prosecution of the officers involved in the George Floyd case, I can’t help but think the following:

Hot Potato: Mike Freeman just got the most controversial case in his misbegotten career off his plate. He can’t help but be relieved to get this “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” monstrosity off his docket.

Priorities For starters, Ellison’s not trying the case personally – the head of his trials division is.

On the other hand, the MN Attorney General’s office, under a fifty-year-long series of DFL occupants (Ellison, Lori Swanson, Mike Hatch, Skip Humphrey and Warren Spannaus), has basically turned into a Better Business Bureau with guns, and a 1-800-ASK-GARY for political non-profits looking to harass businesses into compliance with their pet policies. I’m not gonna say the MNAGO doesnt have the expertise to prosecute a shoplifter caught on camera – but it’s not exactly been their front foot for the last, oh, couple generations or so.

I’m gonna guess the state’ll be paying a lot for “consultants” on this case.

A Charge Or Two Too Far: So let’s take a look – via my admittedly non-lawyer perspective – at the three charges. I’ll add emphasis to what I – again, a non-lawyer – think the “beef” is.

Murder in the Second Degree:

Whoever does either of the following is guilty of murder in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 40 years:

(1) causes the death of a human being with intent to effect the death of that person or another, but without premeditation

[(2) relates to drive-by shootings – clearly not applicable]

Subd. 2. Unintentional Murders. Whoever does either of the following is guilty of unintentional murder in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 40 years:

(1) causes the death of a human being, without intent to effect the death of any person, while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense other than criminal sexual conduct in the first or second degree with force or violence or a drive-by shooting; or
[(2) relates to killing people who’ve taken out restraining orders]

Now, let’s look at Murder in the Third Degree

(a) Whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years.

[(b) relates to selling drugs to someone who dies of an overdose – not applicable here – Ed]

Here’s Manslaughter in the Second Degree.

 A person who causes the death of another by any of the following means is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both:

(1) by the person’s culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another; or [several sections related to actions that don’t apply – the statute is linked, holler if you disagree – Ed]

So – knowing what we know now, what do you think is going to fly beyond a reasonable doubt?


  1. The officers intended to kill Floyd while committing a felony offense – which would involve proving that “doing their jobs” was a felony? Or
  2. Unintentionally killed Floyd while committing an eminently dangerous act? You could say kneeling on someone’s neck might be eminently dangerous, and I might agree 100%, but qualified immunity – the doctrine that if one government employee gets away with something, they all get away with it – and the tactic is not completely outlandish, if discouraged, in police circles, might be a problem, here.
  3. The officers were culpably negligent and created an unreasonable (i.e., would fail to convince a jiury) risk.

The usual caveats apply: case law colors how statues are applied, and I’m not a lawyer.

But given that it appears to this non-lawyer that charging Chauvin with Second Degree murder was a) done to placate the crowd and b) find charges for the other three officers and c) looks like a very long shot, I have to wonder if they aren’t banking on, in effect, making a political statement and not bothering with justice.

Politics First: Being entirely a puppet of “progressives” with deep pockets, you knew Ellison was going to have to bump up the charges to…well, whatever he could get away with. The party he answers to needs to have a ritual stoning, or some other red meat to throw its constituents and, ideally, beat Republicans over the head with in the fall…

…without actually having negative consequences for the November elections.

Ellison, himself as graceful and fluid in his deflections as a German jazz band, telegraphed this during his initial presser, saying a trial would take “months”. Meaning – it’ll stay in the realm of political mud-throwing until after November, giving the DFL PR machine plenty of time to repair damage from the inevitable disturbances that erupt after Chauvin is acquitted for Second Degree murder (and, I can’t help but think, delaying that verdict until the depth of a Minnesota winter, deterring a lot of rioting).

Dear Virtue-signaling Political Demigogues And White “Progressives”

When the Irish underclass in New York City – themselves indentured servants, or descended from them – brutalized black slaves and freedmen…

When the serfs of Russian Eastern Europe, themselves slaves in all but name, terrorized and murdered their Jewish neighbors…

When the “white trash” of the deep south and all over the country – a pretty hopeless underclass even before the Civil War – joined the Klan…

When Germans decided that “subhumans” – Gypsies, Gays, the disabled, Slavs, and of course Jews – were a useful kick toy to exorcise their anger after the miseries of World War 1, Versailles and back-to-back economic collapses…

When people in Los Angeles took our their rage at a catastrophically unjust system on…themselves…

…in no case did they get any more justice, more freedom, more prosperity, more equality. Just the opposite, in fact. “Passing injustice on to others to get more justice for oneself” is batting .000 through all of history. At best it’s a record of horror and misery; at worst, it consolidates power in the hands of those who benefit from horror and misery (see “demigogues”).

Freedom, justice and equality aren’t like toilet paper aisles, with a finite supply to be doled out, or fought over, with haves and have nots. They are a store that can be – needs to be – continually added onto.

Anger is justified. It can be a powerful motivator. And one thinks you, pliural, would have figured this out after 2016, where leading with hatred and oppression got answered with people reacting to being hated and oppressed, to vote for a president you all find hateful and oppressive…

…are you seeing a pattern here, yet?

For those of you in the “Urban Progressive Privilege” set who are trying to spread the injustice around, rather than eliminate it? You think you’re helping?

See the list above.

Taking Sides

So as law biting, hard-working, taxpaying Twin City ends wake up to get another day under siege, it’s providence to ask yourself – whose side are your leaders on?

Not just comic book characters like our “Attorney General”:

Did anybody else watch Minneapolis Mayor Frey’s press conference yesterday? It looked like an outtake from “Reno 911”. Minneapolis needed a leader – a Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, John F Kennedy.

They got pajama boy.

Blue Fragility: “Science!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minnesotans support the lockdown!

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

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

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

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


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


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


Representative Mary Franson voiced her displeasure yesterday:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s Make Sure We’re Clear On This

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

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

Bring down the full weight and power of government!


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

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

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

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