Charitable Exhortation

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

In what conceivable way is my charitable giving any of my employer’s business?  

 More annoying – they pick some charity they want to fund and hit up everybody to contribute.  I nominate the National Rifle Association.  No?  Why not?  Why does it have to be the United Way funneling money to Leftist causes?

 A “charitable contribution” is, by definition, a non-governmental activity for which my contribution is tax-deductible.  Why would a governmental entity be encouraging government employees to reduce the tax revenues from which we’re funded?

 Joe Doakes

It’s not like tax revenue ever really drops…

Shades Of Things To Come?

Why does the American political class spend so much time jabbering about “gun safety”, about gay marriage, about climate change?

To distract you from the economy, and the oncoming deflation of a huge entitlement debt bubble that is going to have drastic impact on…well, everything.

The California pension system – which is a bellwether for most blue-state-model pension systems around the country – is starting to groan under the strain of the contradictions it labors under (emphasis added):

As Steven Malanga has noted, both of these union-managed funds are notorious for pulling political stunts even as they face gaping shortfalls, going on a misguided “green” investing binge that flushed taxpayer money down the drain, and pulling out of tobacco companies on moral grounds just before those stocks began to rise.

But the underlying flaw with the funds is not their politicization. If anything, these kinds of moves are a distraction from more pressing crisis of public employee retirement systems: That state legislatures have epically over-promised the level of retirement benefits they can reasonably provide, and obscured this reality by presuming levels of investment returns that are impossible to sustain, especially in this era of historically low interest rates.

The choice is pretty stark – massive reforms, including a shift away from defined-benefit pensions for public employees, and other tough choices.

Politicians from both sides hate tough choices – but it’s the blue model that’s given us this debt, and it’s the blue states that are facing the most immediate fallout.

Minnesota’s public plans are – depending on your political point of view – either better-administered, or do a better job of laundering the money.  Maybe it’s a little bit of both, combined with a state that has a better income-to-debt ratio than California for now, but the pain might strike us later.

Emphasis is on “later”.


Andy Aplikowski – long of the “Residual Forces” blog – writes re the Brexit on Facebook:

So it appears the only people still whining about ‪#‎BREXIT‬ are:

1) European politicians who will lose power.
2) American politicians afraid of Federalism and State’s rights catching on in the US.
3) Filthy rich who lost a “crap ton” of money due to stock market and currency corrections.

The rest of the world doesn’t seem to be permanently affected. Maybe we should have more votes of no confidence in the people who are screwing up the world.

Line up the petitions.  I’m good to go.

Cause And Effect

A longtime friend of this blog writes re Keith Ellison’s recent op-ed in the MinnPost:

“Long airport-security lines are a symptom of Congress’ budget-cutting mantra” [1]

Hmm. Doesn’t look right.

“Long airport-security lines are a symptom of Arabs hijacking aircraft and blowing them up”

There. Fixed.

Well, mostly.

Terrorist attack led to concern for security, which led to government seeing a new opportunity for graft, which led to a permanent bureaucracy which does little to secure air travel but very much does want to get paid, and paid well.

There.  Now we’re all ship-shape.

This Is What Generations Of One-Party Democrat Rule Looks Like

Last week, social conservatives on social media vented their disgust at a mother whose son had been shot and killed in an armed robbery attempt; the woman infamously asked how it was her son was supposed to get money for clothes, being in “the hood” and all.

The landed punditry pummeled the mother; with such an upbringing, how was the kid supposed to grow up? was a common refrain.

I’m not going to bag on a distraught mother.  She’ll have an eternity to wonder about what she did or didn’t do wrong as a mom.  I’m not going to chuckle at grief, even if it provides what seems to be a window into a worldview utterly foreign to mine.

And because there’s a much more galling example of corrosive entitlement happening on a much bigger, but less dramatic, scale.

The Detroit Way:  A dozen current and former Detroit school administrators received the equivalent of federal indictments for bribery and kickbacks totaling over a million dollars over 13 years.   The administrators allegedly worked with a crooked vendor to take kickbacks for school supplies that weren’t delivered, funneling funds through dummy companies set up to try to fool auditors.

That case will wend its merry way through the courts for many more years, no doubt.

But if I may, I’ll ask the world’s collective dogs to leave the grieving mother of the late robber alone, and take a gander at this ripe turd of entitlement (with emphasis added):

“It’s pitiful that they’re going after principals who are probably just doing what they need to do even if it might be a little bit unethical in order to provide the students in their schools with the supplies and materials that they need that district and the state should be providing us,” teacher Cathy Brackett said. “They should be going after the big thieves who have come into the district under the guise of emergency managers and consultants who have skimmed not just thousands of dollars but millions of dollars away from our students and just move on to their next gig, seemingly without repercussions.”

While Ms. Brackett is right to a point – the educational consulting racket is basically an under-the-table wealth transfer from the taxpayers to the political class, which in Detroit means Democrat hangers-on – it’s that emphasized bit that made me forget all about the robber’s mom’s outburst; people skimming taxpayer money are “probably” doing it for their kids’ benefit?  Read it for yourself.

You’ll notice that this happens only in cities where one-party rule has ossified into a permanent political overclass – which happens only in Democrat-run cities, as it happens.

Here’s Your Crow; Cold And Bloody

Court rules that the IRS acted in bad faith, targeted Tea Party groups:

A federal appeals court spanked the IRS Tuesday, saying it has taken laws designed to protect taxpayers from the government and turned them on their head, using them to try to protect the tax agency from the very tea party groups it targeted.

The judges ordered the IRS to quickly turn over the full list of groups it targeted so that a class-action lawsuit, filed by the NorCal Tea Party Patriots, can proceed. The judges also accused the Justice Departmentlawyers, who are representing the IRS in the case, of acting in bad faith — compounding the initial targeting — by fighting the disclosure.

My greatest dream is to see those responsible frog-walked into a paddy wagon.   Like the “Clinton Indictment”, it’ll never happen – but hope is what it’s all about.

Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye!

I missed covering this the other day.  AFSCME’s push to vacuum up money from Minnesota daycare providers got rebuffed in a landslide so decisive, that even the government unions – who normally clap their jaws onto any hint of graft like a pitbull – have given it up:

AFSCME organizers declined interviews on Tuesday but issued a statement saying they were disappointed, but that they wouldn’t pursue another union election before the law expires in 2017.

Upside?  Maybe the good guys/gals can get some decent sleep during the next session:

Jennifer Parrish, a Rochester child-care provider and a leader of the Coalition of Union Free Providers, said the results of the vote weren’t surprising.

“We know that over the 10 years that we’ve been working on this that child-care providers are hands down overwhelmingly opposed to this. They were waiting by their mailboxes just so they could have an opportunity to vote no,” she said. “Family child-care providers are small business owners. … We set our own rates, we create our own working conditions — all the things that unions typically negotiate for, we determine for ourselves.”

The union would have negotiated public policy issues that “we can work for through our associations without having to pay high union dues,” she said.

Five will get you ten the DFL and Governor Flint-Smith Dayton are upset because they already spent the $2 million a year the jamdown was going to bring the DFL.

The Clicking Sound Of “Justice”…

…must be tempered by the knowledge that the only reason this happened – University of Missouri professor Melissa “Poster Child for Moral Constipation” Click, was fired earlier this week – was that her little meltdown was caught on video:

(Looking at the “Students” in this video may be the most deeply depressing thing I’ve done lately.  Fascism is alive and well and drinking latte on a thousand university campuses)

How many professors out there commit the same, and worse, crimes against free expression and critical inquiry every day, unrecorded and, thanks to the outdated practice of academic tenure, utterly untouchable?

In a just world, every one of those “students” will have this video hounding them throughout their “lives”.

Additional Question:  Any bets on whether Click gets hired at one of the Twin Cities’ surplus crop of mediocre colleges?

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

One of the keys to achieving a healthier citizenry is providing everyone with affordable (meaning subsidized) health insurance.  Naturally, since the government is paying for most of it, the government needs the data supporting the billings.  So all your medical records belong to the government.  But it’s okay, the data is totally secure, just like the personnel records at the Department of Homeland Security.

Joe Doakes

In all things, we must reinforce failure and reward incompentence.

With government, anyway.

Promises, Promises

It’s become an election-year staple; celebrities – usually well past the tops of their career bell curves – promising to move to other countries if a Republican is elected or re-elected President.

Of course, I can’t recall a single one that ever did.

But here’s one such promise that, if true, could have a monumental impact on our society:

One in four federal workers would consider leaving their jobs if Trump were elected president, according to a new survey conducted by the Government Business Council, Government Executive Media Group’s research arm. About 14 percent of respondents said they would definitely consider leaving federal service under President Trump, while an additional 11 percent said they might.


The findings indicate those leaving government would come from agencies’ top ranks, as a majority of respondents were in General Schedule positions GS-13 and higher.


Nearly as many Democrats said they would consider leaving in a Trump administration as would definitely stay, the survey found. Among Democrats, 42 percent said they would consider leaving, while 48 percent would not. Just 8 percent of Republican feds would consider refusing to work in a Trump presidency.

Read on if you want to get even more disgusted with the Federal workforce.

Of course, just like our big-talking celeb class, it’ll never happen.  If Trump is elected, the morning after the inauguration every federal worker will look at that Trump picture on the wall, and then they’ll look at their pension prospectus, and then likely think about what it’d take for someone with no marketable skills in the private sector to get a job, and they’ll sit back down at those government-issued seats and go back to, um, “work“.

But we can dream.

“It’d Be A Shame If The Country Broke”

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Supreme Court will hear a public sector union case: does forcing government employees to pay Fair Share dues interfere with their First Amendment right?

George Will’s view differs from John Choi’s view.

First, why is John Choi expressing a view at all?  He’s an executive branch government official.  Shouldn’t he keep his mouth shut and let the judicial branch decide without political influence?

Second, this line from Choi’s column:

“If the Friedrichs decision upends existing labor law, it could jeopardize our ability to ensure effective delivery of services.”

In other words, if you don’t let public employees organize into unions that contribute to the Democrats, police and firemen won’t do their jobs.  Nice city you got there, be a shame if anything happened to it.

Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers who were trying to cripple the nation with an illegal strike and replaced them with military controllers until new non-union employees could be trained.  Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan.  He won’t deploy the military to serve as police and firemen.  You can bet he’s told Justice Roberts as much.  The nation is being held hostage by the Democrat-controlled public employee unions.

This is EXACTLY what Conservatives predicted would happen before public employees unions were allowed.

Joe Doakes

I’m inclined to say “let ’em strike”; most of the “services” provided by government would be better done by the private sector, or nobody at all.

But Joe’s right.  The fix is in.  It’ll never happen.

Easier To Get A Basketball Than A Book

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A buddy sent me this.  I forward it, unedited:

“Here in a nutshell is what’s wrong with this nation:

Roseville Library

Mon-Thu10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri-Sat10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sun12 – 5 p.m.

Closed – Thursday, January 1, 2015
Closed – Monday, January 19, 2015
Closed – Monday, February 16, 2015
Closed – Sunday, April 5, 2015
Closed – Monday, April 20, 2015
Closed – Monday, May 25, 2015
Closed – Saturday, July 4, 2015
Closed – Monday, September 7, 2015
New Brighton Library will be closed Sept 7-11 for Community Center maintenance!
Closed – Monday, October 12, 2015
Closed – Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Closed – Thursday, November 26, 2015
Open – Friday, November 27, 2015
Closed – Thursday, December 24, 2015
Closed – Friday, December 25, 2015
Open – Thursday, December 31, 2015 until 5 p.m.
Alert – New Brighton Library will close at 4 p.m. on December 31, 2015
Closed – Friday, January 1, 2016


The library is closed pretty much all hours and days that any working person could get there.  Closed at 5 on Friday and Saturday.  Opens at noon on Sunday, for 5 hours.  When I had the kids for the weekends I could get there only if we made a special day of it, couldn’t do anything else around getting to the library.  We could just barely get there on Sunday if we ate early then got on the road right after to make it to the hostage exchange on time.   Roseville is the busiest library in the entire system, hence it has the longest hours.  The others are far worse.

Books bad, basketball good.


Rec centers:

MondayFriday – 6:30 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Saturday – 7:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m
Sunday – 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

All sites are CLOSED for the following major holidays:

Thursday, November 26 – Thanksgiving Day
Friday, December 25 – Christmas Day
Friday, January 1 – New Year’s Day
Memorial Day
Fourth of July
Labor Day


So the library, where books are, is closed on any holiday, real or imagined, on weekend evenings, most of the day on Sunday, etc.  Where as the rec center is open nearly all the time, and the feds want to spend money keeping them open at midnight for basketball.

Joe Doakes

Back when the GOP controlled the Legislature, the DFL used to whinge “they want to close the libraries!”.  I used to ask “What?  They’re open?”

The library in my neighborhood – a neglected old place that’s perpetually on the city’s chopping block, and hasn’t nearly the hours that the huge Roseville library has – seems to be open at times most convenient to…library staffers.  Not school kids, much less working adults.

And don’t get me started on the fact that the new Roseville “library” seems to allot about 20% of its space to…books.

But maybe that’s what the President means when he prattles about guns being easier to get than books; he’s referring to guns and books owned by government.  You can’t get to a book during hours any working person could get there – but the Department of Justice will give you a gun – if you’re a narcotraficante.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I went to a new restaurant and hated it – there were too many menu choices and they all sounded so good that I couldn’t decide because I worried there was a better choice.

Cops have that problem.  The deputy sheriff guarding our building wears a Batman Belt giving her the choice of responding to problems with handcuffs, baton, pepper spray, Taser, pistol . . . too late, you’re dead.  Took too long to decide because you were worried there was a better choice.

We should go back to the old way: nightstick and a pistol, forget the rest.  If you go in the cop car peacefully, we won’t need handcuffs; if not, you’ll either go in the ambulance or the hearse and again, we won’t need handcuffs.  Should make the rules of behavior easier for cops and much clearer for People Whose Lives Matter.

Joe Doakes

I’m gonna indulge in a rare disagreement with Joe here.  The less we treat cops like medieval knights and civilians like peasants, the better.

Protection For We, But Not For Ye

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Some local folks lost their home for non-payment of real estate taxes.  Their son allegedly showed up at the county offices, threatened some staff, broke a window.  A restraining order was issued but staff wasn’t satisfied.

“A piece of paper won’t keep him away, he might come back with a gun. We need protection,” they told the County Manager.

Like what?  A guy with a badge?  We have that, the private security guard at the door.

No, he’s just a rent-a-cop.  We are a unit of County government, we want a Deputy Sheriff.

Pull a deputy off patrol to babysit an office building?  How about a Reserve Deputy?  Wears the same uniform and badge, is that okay?

No, Reserve Deputies don’t carry a gun.  We want a real deputy.

So what you want is a Good Guy with a Gun to defend you from the possible Bad Guy with a Gun?

Not necessarily, it could be a female deputy; but basically, yes.

So we got one, she’s been sitting in the squad in the parking lot.  With her gun.

Amazing how being personally targeted clarifies one’s thinking.

Heather Martens would be appalled.

Joe Doakes

Well, I for one think Heather would looooove a police state.

The Madding Horde

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

“Doc. No. XXX is stated as being expired, but was not listed on the spread sheet. Please make sure that this is inserted and in the future when you discover a new one please add it to the list. Thanks much.”

Another example of a clerical mind-set employee who knows the procedures, but not the reason for the procedures.

I started the spreadsheet as a way for me to track expired restrictive covenants that kept showing up in conveyances. Most of those documents were recorded by developers in the 1950’s, before suburbs had zoning ordinances, so they afflicted whole subdivisions with crap like “can’t build closer than X feet from the property line” or “building must be at least X square feet” and of course, the ever popular “cannot sell to colored people.” They expired under the 40-year law but must be manually removed each time I see one.

Unless the restrictive covenants reserved easements for utilities or drainage, in which case they can’t be manually removed but instead must be corrected to say “reserves easement.”

I created the spread sheet so I wouldn’t have to read the restrictive covenant document every time; instead, I’d glance at the spread sheet to see which ones had to be carried forward with corrections and which could be omitted.

The document in question is a deed that affected one single platted lot. It did not reserve easements. So I ordered it removed. Now that it’s been removed, it’ll never be a problem in the future. Do we need to list that deed on the spreadsheet? No, of course not. But she has to make a point of sending an email to the whole office reminding us to do it, just to be certain we know that she’s paying attention to every single thing we do, searching for mistakes to correct them, to prove how valuable she is. It’s “quality control,” you see. To enhance “customer service.”

Except it’s not a mistake, I deliberately chose not to clutter up the spread sheet with useless data. The employee knows the procedure but not the reason for the procedure, and therefore confuses the means with the end. Of course, saying so would be mansplaining, a hurtful and sexist thing to do, and elitist because I have a degree as well as ageist since she’s been here 30 years and it’s disrespectful not to respect her opinion, even if wrong.

You wonder why government isn’t fast on its feet – it’s because of all the ankle-biters slowing us down.

Joe Doakes

Government bureaucracy – where people are penalized for being too good at their jobs.

Let Them Eat Paper

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Divorce case recently appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, sent back for more fact-finding on this question: were the parties even married? The Court of Appeals’ reasoning infuriates me.

When you fled to Thailand in 1975 to escape the Communists after the Americans abandoned Southeast Asia, and you got “married” to this guy that you met in a refugee camp, did you file a marriage certificate with the Thailand government? No? Well, then, the fact you’ve lived together for 40 years, had six kids together, filed married tax returns and owned real estate in Minnesota is interesting trivia but really, lady, if you can’t be bothered to fill out the proper forms, we have no sympathy for you at all. Shacking up with a guy – even with the tribal elders’ blessing – doesn’t give you the privilege to use the Minnesota divorce court. You can’t get divorced if you were never legally married.

Dude. It’s a refugee camp. There IS no government. And if there were, you’d be a fool to bring attention to yourself. No self-respecting government would issue a marriage certificate without a birth certificate, proof of residency, passport stamps showing legal entry, resident alien visa and payment of appropriate fees to every bureaucrat . . . none of which is possible in a war zone. You couldn’t get “legally” married even if you wanted to. It’s a REFUGEE camp.

Oh, and your husband claims you were already married to another guy when he married you. Well, yes, the guy who stayed behind to cover our escape. No, I don’t have a death certificate but I strongly suspect he was captured by the Pathet Lao so what do you think happened to him? No, I didn’t serve him with a Divorce Summons; there was nobody crazy enough to go back to serve it so I could get divorced while I was struggling to survive IN THE REFUGEE CAMP.

It’s as if these judges lived all their lives in safe, comfortable First World suburbs where the biggest disruption in life is weak Wi-Fi signal; they literally cannot conceive of a place where there are no forms to complete, no pens to complete them, no office to file them in.


Joe Doakes

What happened to official Minnesota’s vaunted “cultural sensitivity?”

A Bargain At Half The Price!

I was listening to Jack Tomczak talking with AFSCME’s Javier Morillo on the lesser talk station yesterday, about the Dayton pay raises.

Morillo said, out of one corner of his mouth, that there is no way you could find people in the private sector who deal with headcounts and budgets like these administrators do, at the same pay, even with the raises.

And there may be something to that.  Most people who can hold their own in the private sector and look for more out of a career than a pension (outside of law enforcement and fire, the military, teachers and a few other fields) look at government work as a purgatory of eternal frustration and career stagnation.

But out of the other side of his mouth, he said that the salaries still aren’t competitive with the private sector.

So if the salaries are not competitive, the “talent” still isn’t going to get attracted from the private sector (or, apparently, local government). So why have the raises?

It doesn’t make sense as a “talent acquisition” measure; Morillo admitted as much.

But as an expanded payoff to the political class?

There, it makes perfect sense.

Sense And Insensibility

Barack Obama is highly unpopular in the military.

And yet many of his policies are going over just fine among the troops:

The long-term effects of Obama’s social policies on the military remain unknown. But one thing is clear: He is a deeper unpopular commander in chief among the troops.

According to a Military Times survey of almost 2,300 active-duty service members, Obama’s popularity — never high to begin with — has crumbled, falling from 35 percent in 2009 to just 15 percent this year, while his disapproval ratings have increased to 55 percent from 40 percent over that time.

And before someone chimes in “it’s just anti-gay bigotry in the military, angry over the lifting of the sanction against gay troops”…:

A Military Times poll in 2009 found 35 percent of troops felt that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve in uniform. Five years later, that figure has jumped to 60 percent.

Similarly, open opposition to homosexuality in the military has collapsed. In 2009, 49 percent of troops felt gays, lesbians and bisexuals should not be allowed to serve. In 2014, such disapproval fell to just 19 percent. 

Or against women in combat?

From 2011 to 2014, the percentage of survey respondents who felt that all jobs in combat arms units should be opened to women remained unchanged at 24 percent.

But the percentage of troops who felt some combat-arms jobs should be opened up to women — while allowing the military to continue to place some jobs off-limits — increased from 34 percent to 41 percent, while the percentage of respondents who felt the military should not change its policies excluding women from combat arms units fell from 43 percent in 2011 to 28 percent in 2014.

I’m going to suggest that while his policies may not be unpopular among the military, the fact that he’s a terrible leader is.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My work now has Microsoft Lync, an instant messaging system intended for internal communications. It’s an alternative to inter-office mail, e-mail, fax, telephone or walking down the hall to talk to somebody at their desk.

Why do we need it another form of internal communication? E-mail is retained on servers which costs money, and retained e-mails are discoverable in lawsuits. Instant messages won’t tie up storage space on servers (which will save money) and won’t be discoverable in litigation.

Except . . . we’re government. EVERYTHING we do should be discoverable, that’s the point of Sunshine Laws. And if we don’t want to pay to store e-mail, then don’t store it – establish a retention policy and delete everything after a short time.

Joe Doakes

At my most recent employer, every Lync session started with a notice that *everything*  you wrote and presented was being recorded.

But it wouldn’t astound me if Ramco used Lync to skirt the rules…

Hell: Freezing?

The Star/Tribune Editorial Board, perhaps shockingly, called for a special prosecutor in the IRS Scandal:

That’s a necessary step, and the request should be expediently heeded by the Obama administration. Although there are two investigations underway in the Republican-controlled House, a nonpartisan review by an investigator with bipartisan respect and technological expertise is sorely needed. The public needs reassurance that the nation’s tax-collection agency is run with integrity and that anyone who may have abused its formidable authority has been held accountable.

So far, so good.

But then we swerve into the weeds:

The decision on whether to appoint a special prosecutor, officially called a special counsel, lies with the Department of Justice.

That’s long for Eric Holder.  The guy who’s been stonewalling several other investigations of Obama administration corruption, Fast and Furious chief among them.

IRS officials have insisted that the lost e-mails were just an unfortunate computer meltdown and that the extra scrutiny of groups with “Tea Party” and “Patriots” in their names was a regrettable mistake. If this is trumped-up, as Democrats often and sometimes accurately deride other House investigations, there’s nothing to fear by appointing a special prosecutor to put this long-simmering scandal to bed.

Or – as Holder will do – whitewash it. 

Still – while the Strib’s editorial board exhibits its inner pollyanna about the DOJ’s inner gestalt, at least it’s heart is in the right place, kind of:

It’s foolish to think this is going to blow over — or that it should. A May 2013 report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration unequivocally concluded that the agency used “inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions.’’…a thorough reading of the report underscores that conservative groups were targeted.

The real question is:  can we, The People, trust an Obama Administration appointee to police his boss? 

There was a time we could count on the media to ensure someone like Holder’s behavior would be above board. 

Perhaps we need a special investigator into that