Distinctions And Differences

I missed the State of the Union last night – I was actually busy interviewing a guest for this Saturday’s Northern Alliance broadcast – but I heard some of National Public Radio’s post speech wrap up.

The hosts discussed the conversation about the Keystone XL pipeline; the NPR “analysts” were careful to note that “the number of permanent jobs is actually quite small”; they’d be mostly temporary construction jobs.

Which is true, and all that.

I’m just trying to remember any similar commentary about Pres. Obama’s “Shovel Ready Jobs” six years ago.

I Have A Dog Whistle

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This is why I was careful not to eat some my favorite foods on Martin Luther King Day: I didn’t want to offend anybody.

I intentionally skipped Quaker Instant Grits for breakfast, passed up Kentucky Fried Chicken with fried okra and orange pop for lunch, and made certain to avoid Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Q Ribs and corn bread for dinner.

Fifty years of “civil rights” has transformed American into a place where menu choices made to honor Dr. King’s name are twisted into proof of hatred of his memory. I wonder if this is the kind of tolerant, diverse, color-blind society he was hoping for when he said “I have a dream?”

Joe Doakes

in the future, it will be considered “racist” to point out that Michael Jordan could dunk.

Nothing To Hide

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If we’re going to let government ignore the law in favor of inquisitive gossip, here are a few questions I’d like to see:

Have you ever protested official US government policy such as the War in Vietnam or the War in Iraq? [anti-government sentiments]

Are you, or any member of your extended family in this country or abroad, a member of the Muslim faith? [possible terrorist]

Are you gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered? [potential depressive, possible suicide]

Do you live in a predominantly Black, Hispanic or Asian neighborhood? [may tend to violence]

Are you a single mother? [poor judge of character]

When you were in High School, did the Cool Girls Clique snub you? [bitter, resentful]

Do you have a visible means of support upon which you pay state income tax? [shiftless, no-account, lazy]

Have you ever consulted a mental health professional or counsellor, at any time, for any reason? [nuts]

Have you, or any member of your household, ever used, possessed or sold marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, or other illegal drugs? [doper]

Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of an organization committed to the overthrow of the American Way of Life, i.e. the Democrat party? [self-explanatory]

I can’t see why anyone would object to telling Law Enforcement these personal details before being allowed to exercise Fundamental Constitutional Rights. Put them on the Application to Register to Vote, the Application for Welfare and the Application To Have An Abortion, too. What’s the problem?

Joe Doakes

As long as you’re following the rules…

Life’s Rough. Wear A Helmet.

Two quick points as background:

  • It stinks to have a job offer rescinded.  I’ve had it happen once; a contracting agency made me an offer to work a contract at Northern States Power, back when that still existed.  In the two weeks that followed, NSP re-aligned its priorities.  The agency rescinded my offer; there was no job to put me in.  It was worse than a pain in the ass in my case; I had given notice at the job I had (which I hated), and I had a mortgage and three kids to feed.
  • I’m always amused to hear that businesses “recruit on college campuses” – partly because I went to a college that nobody ever recruited at (at the time) unless you were a nursing or computer science major.  I always figured “wouldn’t that be nice?”, but never thought that much of it.
Anyway – from the City Pages, we see that Target has apparently botched some offers to one of their 2014 “class” of junior executive fodder.  Their priorities and funding changed (certainly not because the Minnesota and National economies aren’t just booming, nosireebob, perish the thought), and Target got cold feet about some of their would-be junior suits.

“I can’t deal with that kind of management,” Zhang said, recalling the whole process of interviewing over the phone in October, flying out to Minnesota in early November, learning about the job, and preparing to move. “Don’t tell a whole class that they’re super special, awesome, and perfect for the job if you’re gonna treat us simply as another expense.”

Mr. Zhang:  Sorry you got laid off before you even started.  But let’s try to get two things straight, here:

First:  this may be in conflict with what Target’s recruiting staff, to say nothing of the professors at whatever $40K a year degree mill you just finished attending, told you – but you’re not super special, awesome and perfect.  You are units of talent – or, give your age, potential talent – that a company will measure against its needs.

Second:  all management are like that.  Oh, they don’t all rescind job offers – but every last one of them measures expenses against bottom line.

And “an expense” is exactly what you are.  At best, you’re an “investment” subject to return on investment calculations, just like you learned in business school.   That Target sometimes does that clumsily?  You could have asked anyone in the Twin Cities IT market about that…

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back to it.   Or whine to the City Pages.  It’s your call.

I Gotta Keep On Chasing That NARN, Though I May Never Find It

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – is on the air! I will be on from 1-3PM today!

Today on the show:

  • Devin Foley of “Better Ed” joins me to talk about education reform.

Don’t forget - King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1570, and Brad Carlson has “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 1-3PM.

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

Join us!


On seeing the carnage in Paris, I thought – per usual – “good thing all of the civilians victims were unarmed and utterly helpless, or Mon Dieu knows how bad it could have been!”

France has, by continental standards, a fairly high rate of civilian gun ownership.  But civilian gun laws are as byzantine as California and Washington DC, and for exactly the same reasons.  And the issuance civilian handgun carry permits to carry the kinds of firearms that might have been useful in Paris follows pretty much exactly the same rules as in DC, San Francisco and New York; available only to judges and prosecutors in high-profile cases, or people with enough political clout to sway the bureaucracy; politicians, plutocrats and celebrities with friends in high places.  That’s about it.

The laws, byzantine though they are, didn’t prevent the attackers in Paris from getting fully-automatic Yugoslav-surplus AK47s, the kind that have been illegal in the US for eight decades now, of course.  Laws don’t stop law-breakers.

So – yet again, thugs, criminals and terrorists launch attack on the disarmed.

There’s a reason they don’t do these sorts of attacks in Dallas.

Equal Protection

California high school basketball players will be allowed to wear “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts while warming up before games:

With backing from school officials, the athletic director at Fort Bragg High School, previously told the boys and girls teams from Mendocino High School they could not play in the three-day event if they wore the shirts inspired by the last words of a New York man who died after an officer put him in a chokehold.

Karen Boyd, a First Amendment lawyer who represents one of the players, said the reversal by the Fort Bragg School District came just moments before she intended to file a federal court motion arguing that barring the shirts violated the free speech rights of student athletes.

The agreement will stand as long as the shirts do not cause any serious problems at the tournament. It also allows spectators to wear the shirts, which several did as the tournament got underway Monday at Fort Bragg High School, Boyd said.

“This is always my preference, if we can get things worked out without a lot of court stuff,” she said.

Well, that’s great!

I’m wondering if the school district – not far from San Francisco – would extend the same courtesy to students who chose one chance to California’s racist gun control laws by wearing pro Second Amendment T-shirts?


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Russians fear a run on banks, the ruble is collapsing.

Morons. The solution is for the government to give the banks free money. That’s what Obama has been doing to the average tune of $60 BILLION EVERY MONTH. Look how well it worked for us.

Joe Doakes

Key distinction; Putin’s goal is to make Russia bigger, better and greater. He may not accomplish it, but it certainly is his goal.

Kind of the opposite of Obama’s goal…

Simo Häyhä

I wrote this piece five years ago today.  I’m updating the dates, but leaving the rest pretty much as was. 


It was 110 years ago today that Simo Häyhä was born?

“Simo Whøhä?”

Have a seat.

Simo Häyhä was a pretty typical Finnish farmer – the kind of guy you can find in any small town in rural Finland or, for that matter, the Iron Range. He was born and grew up in Rautjärvi, a spot on the map off the west edge of Lake Ladoga, two miles west of the current Russo-Finnish border. Like most Finns, he did his year of military service in the mid-twenties, and went back to his real life – farming in the summer, hunting moose in the winter. He was, outwardly, a pretty unpreposessing man – he stood only 5’3, which is especially diminuitive among the statuesque Finns.

He was 34 when the Soviets invaded Finland. Häyhä was recalled to service with the Finnish 12th Division. The division held the Kollaa front, north of Lake Ladoga, and was quickly beset by four Soviet divisions and a tank brigade.

Kollaa was the Somme of the Winter War. The Soviets would charge; they’d get through the Finnish lines; the Finns would cut them off and kill them, or drive them back. And so it went, back and forth, for three whole months – virtually the entire length of the war.

And one of the reasons was Häyhä.

Simo Häyhä

Armed with a Moissin/Nagant M/28 – a World War 1-vintage Russian rifle that the Finns had reworked into a much more accurate piece (the Finns, a former Russian province, had retained the Russian-caliber, mostlhy Russian-surplus, weapons after independence) – and wearing homemade white camouflage, on his own cross-country skis, Häyhä stalked the forest. Unlike most of history’s snipers, he used only his rifle’s iron sights – he thought scopes forced the sniper to raise their heads too high, dangerously raising their profile. He was thorough about concealment – when he had time to prepare a position, he would compact the snow in front of him to avoid raising a small blizzard with his muzzle blast. He’d also keep snow in his mouth while stalking, to pre-cool his exhalation, avoiding the big clouds of steam that normally accompany heavy exertion in the extreme cold. 

Did we mention the extreme cold? The average temperature during the Battle of the Kollaa varied from “freaking cold” to “how the hell do humans live in this” – from -4 to -40, Fahrenheit.In a three-month period – roughly 100 days – Häyhä had 505 confirmed kills. 542 if you count some unconfirmed ones. Some Finnish sources say it was closer to 800.

And he wasn’t just a sniper; when the situation called for the Finns to close with with the Soviets, Häyhä would ski into hand-to-hand range with the rest of the troops for the close assault; he was credited with another 200 kills at point-blank range with his Suomi Model 31 submachine gun.

The Soviets called him “The White Death”. They tried everything to get him; countersnipers (they didn’t last long), concentrated volleys of anti-tank rifle fire (gunnies will know what they are; to a non-gunny, think “really big rifle desigined to penetrate a quarter inch of armor”), and finally rolling artillery barrages.

A week before the war’s end, on March 6 1940, a lucky shot from a Soviet infantryman caught Häyhä in the jaw, wrecking it and blowing of his left cheek. His comrades dragged him to the rear, where he began several years of recuperation. He got one of the very few battlefield promotions ever issued in the Finnish army, from Corporal to Second Lieutenant, in honor of his achievements.

The Soviets suffered 8,000 dead in three months in Kollaa; Häyhä alone accounted for nearly 10% of the total (and at least one of Finland’s other great snipers,Sulo Kolkka, claimed another 400 at the Kollaa; the two men between them accounted for over 12% of the entire death toll). On the list of the world’s greatest snipers, he’s not only the top of the list by a considerable margin, but he did it all in 100 days flat.

Even John Woo or Quentin Tarantino couldn’t make him a bigger badass.

But Simo Häyhä was no movie action hero; he was a typical workadaddy hugamommy Finnish backwoodsman. He survived the war, and lived until 2002 in rural Finland, hunting moose and breeding dogs. He was bit of a national treasure in Finland.

Häyha, signing autographs not long before his death.

Asked in the nineties what made him so successful as a sniper, he responded in Finnish “Pyytlikkonyykkeyynnkyypelaapetoonen“; “Practice”. [1]

What can we take away from Häyhä’s story? That a little guy with a rifle can make a disproportionate difference. He stymied Stalin, just like a lot of American little guys with rifles (but whose preferred weapon is the ballot and the picket sign and the checkbook), outnumbered and outgunned and outspent, rhetorically stymie Nancy Pelosi and Richard Daley and the Democrats today. [2]

The damage to Häyhä’s jaw affected him the rest of his life. But he was a hero in Finland for nearly 70 years.

And so Simo Häyhä is every bit as much a hero for Real Americans for what he represents as he is for Finns for what he did.

Happy posthumous birthday, Simo Häyhä!

[1]What? You think I speak Finnish? Of course I made that up. But I bet I’m not far off.

[2] Comment-bait? Sure. It’s my blog, and I’ll provoke if I want to.

No Juthtith, No Peathe

(SCENE:  Mitch BERG is sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s office, waiting on a checkup. Avery LIBRELLE enters the room, holding a throbbing tooth.  BERG tries to hunch down behind his magazine – but LIBRELLE notices him).

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!  (Speaks with difficulty through pain) Thereth  an epidemic of rape on American univerthity camputheth.

BERG:  Wow.  Your mouth sounds painful. 

LIBRELLE: You’re dodthing the queththion!

BERG:  Well, no, I…OK, so how do we know about this “epidemic”?

LIBRELLE:  Becauthe American univerthitieth thay tho. 

BERG:  (Wincing in pain as LIBRELLE thpeakth) So in other words, university administrations, carrying out their own home-grown investigations, driven by a feminist lobby that actively disparages the idea of due process for those accused of rape, and with a vested interest in resolving all ambiguous cases – say, cases where everyone involved was blind drunk and there were no witnesses, or even the occasional malicious accusation – as rape, say there’s an epidemic. 


BERG: So you think data coming from university administrations – who act in these cases primarily as political rather than criminal-justice bodies – are the appropriate people to investigate allegations of felonious assaults which our society justifiably regards as second only to murder in moral gravity?

LIBRELLE: Of courthe.  Who elthe knowth more about thtudentth than the univerthity thythtem?

BERG:  OK.  So in the same vein – who knows more about priests than their various dioceses, arch-dioceses and the Vatican?  When priests were being accused of sexually abusing children, by your logic, the church was right to try to deal with it by itself.

LIBRELLE:  OF courthe not. 

BERG:  How so?

LIBRELLE:  Of courthe not. 

BERG: No, I mean why do you think not?

LIBRELLE:  And I anthwered you.  Of courthe not. 

BERG:  That’s no answer.

LIBRELLE:  Yeth it wath.

(ASSISTANT calls BERG’s appointment; LIBRELLE attempts to get up and leave the room ahead of BERG)

BERG:  Um, hello?

LIBRELLE:  Get an exthternal invethtigation, thucker.


Small Win

A Long Island woman, jailed for being a Tea Partier, wins big bucks in her lawsuit:

Southhampton cops searched her and found a legally owned rifle that she was transporting from a nearby rifle range. She contends a deputy sheriff arrived on the scene later and said to her, “I bet you are one of those Tea Party people.” When Genovese said she’s gone to Tea Party rallies, he allegedly said, “You’re a real right-winger, aren’t you?” and “You are a ‘Teabagger’” and then added that she’d be arrested for terrorism to make an example of other “right wingers.”
“Ms. Genovese was subjected to a level of abuse because [authorities] did not share the same political views as she did and saw this as an excuse to deny her even the most basic civil rights,” her lawyer Frederick Brewington said.​​

Winning money is nice – but that’s one thing government officials are never short of, time whining notwithstanding.

Far better that the sheriff deputy spend four days in jail himself; who qualified immunity” is supposed to cover police officers carry out duties they can reasonably be expected to perform; political persecution is not what we hire them for.

Consult This

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A consultant got $100,000 grant to give St. Paul advice on snow-plowing. It boils down to “start plowing more quickly and keep plowing till you’re done.”

I could have told them that for $90,000 and change. But it’s a step in the right direction.

Joe Doakes

Government consultants are the new robber barons.

For Your Own Good

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There is no limit to the power over others is contained in the phrase “for your own good.”

Gallons per flush and curly light bulbs, school lunches and eliminating kickball, unlimited immigration and minimum wage increases, bank bailouts and crop subsidies, gun bans, up-armored police and down-graded health insurance plans.

It’s the reason we had to destroy the village to save it: it was for their own good.

That’s going to become one of my new litmus tests. When someone proposes society require people to do something the people won’t voluntarily do for themselves, I’m going to ask why. If the answer is “it’s for their own good,” then regardless of the merits of the proposal, I’m against it.

Joe Doakes

A significant part of our society mixes up “government” and “parents”.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Government over-reach.

FDA to require calorie information, even on popcorn at theaters. The theory is giving people more information will enable them to make wise decisions.

Is there a person alive in America who doesn’t already KNOW that theater popcorn is terrible for them?

Is there a person alive in American who would look at the label on theater popcorn and say “Oh, Hell no; I’ll munch some broccoli instead”?

Talk about your food deserts – places where no healthy food is available – the movie theater is second only to the State Fair. And nobody goes there to eat healthy, either.

Joe Doakes

A third Obama term would no doubt involve Michelle Obama tackling theater fare. An FDR like fourth term? State fair grub.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Chuck Hagel was fired as Defense Secretary. The story is he was an outsider, couldn’t get past the inner circle of Obama advisers. And who are those people?

Valerie Jarrett, of course. And Denis McDonough. He’s from Stillwater, went to St. John’s University, and now runs the country.

The White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to speak before the president’s announcement, said McDonough has played a key role in all of Obama’s major national security decisions in recent years, including the end of the war in Iraq, winding down the war in Afghanistan, responses to natural disasters in Haiti and Japan and repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members.

Minnesotans should not wait until he’s purged, we should start distancing ourselves from him now. Preemptive repudiation.

Joe Doakes

That would not be Minnesota nice, naturally…