Prioritization

While MInneapolis’ mayor Betsy Hodges has spent four years diffusing her efforts over a bewildering jumble of social-justice virtue-signals, the poor woman will never top the list of “Mayors with Bizarre Priorities” list while New York’s Bill DiBlasio is in office.

Hizzoner’s latest target?  In a city with rising crime, infrastructure that’s crumbling faster than an Alka-Seltzer tablet in a glass of Seven-Up, and a financial situation that is rapidly decaying, DiBlasio is…

…confiscating electric bicycles – which are booming in popularity, especially among delivery riders for stores and restaurants; they are in fact the most efficient way of navigating the most street-space-starved city in America:

On Thursday, de Blasio announced the nation’s largest city would start fining restaurants in addition to operators, expanding and formalizing a style of broken-windows policing favored by the NYPD, which has confiscated 900 e-bikes this year. His justification? E-bikes are “just too dangerous,” the mayor said at a press conference.

How dangerous are they? Nearly 70 pedestrians (and 13 cyclists) have been killed by cars, trucks, and buses in New York City this year. No one has been killed by a bicycle. As for e-bikes in particular? The NYPD has no data on e-bike accidents or complaints. Nor does the city have any information about how the crackdown affects restaurants or riders. De Blasio was acting on instinct: The crackdown began when a local cyclist, Matthew Shefler, called into his radio show to complain.

Slower, more expensive deliveries; more congestion; yet another handicap for small business, even the ones that don’t get fined.

Betsy has some huge shoes to fill in the “bizarre priorities” deparatment.

The Swanson Conundrum

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The State of Minnesota is suing President Trump for ending payments that a federal judge has already ruled must be ended.  Attorney General Lori Swanson’s argument: President Obama started giving us illegal payments and President Trump continued the illegal payments while Congress worked on the problem.  We budgeted based on receiving illegal payments.  To suddenly end the illegal payments would inconvenience us by making us live within our own means, so therefore we’re entitled to continue receiving illegal payments, forever.

It’s illegal to follow the law.

Joe Doakes

To be fair to the Attorney General, it’s how the DFL has handled budgeting for the past six decades or so.

Meet The New Tree; Same As The Old Tree

Eagan has a new city logo:  a more expensive version of the old city logo:

[The old] symbol, a more realistic green tree outlined in black, was in use since 2004. It was sometimes compared to a stalk of broccoli.

Eagan’s new, non-cruciferous-vegetable-looking logo. $75K. Not sure if that included the new city font.

A prominent graphic designer who lives in Eagan, Allan Peters, designed the updated logo for $75,000.

But practice makes perfect:

The city is on its fourth logo since the 1970s, each featuring what the city called a “strong, independent tree.”

This is what happens when a formerly sensible suburb gets overrun by DFLers fleeing DFL policies in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, but who bring their DFL politics with ’em.

People Addict People

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

There is a crisis.  People who are prescribed drugs containing opioids can become addicted to them.

There is a problem.  People who receive medical treatment have privacy rights.  We don’t know who’s doing the prescribing, who’s doctor-shopping, who’s obtaining prescriptions only to sell them.

There are proposed solutions, but they’re mostly paperwork regulations that have no more effect on real-world issues than putting up a Drug Free Zone sign on a schoolhouse door.  More warning labels won’t help: people take the medicine doctors prescribe because we trust doctors.  Restricting prescriptions won’t solve the end problem: no doctor prescribes heroin and people who self-medicate their personal problems with drugs will obtain them illegally, as they always have.  Adding a new federal registry of sensitive information on individuals – does the word “Equifax” ring any bells?

“Opioid” is simply the new word for “narcotic” which has been a staple in the War on Drugs since Coke took cocaine out of its soft-drink 100 years ago.  The problem isn’t the tool, the problem is the tool user.

Joe Doakes

As with any plan, philosophy, worldview or kind of government – the problem is people.

Let’s Sue The President Over His Twitter Account

A bunch of journos are apparently getting ready to sue the President for blocking them from his Twitter account.

I’m about ready to send money to their plaintiff’s fund.

Wny?

Because the journos are right.  Why should pols get to decide whose speech to restrict, and from whom they can restrict access to their public speech?

It’s downright un-American.

And I’ve got quite a little list of DFL pols who’ve done exactly the same to me, and I’d guess most every conservative pundit in Minnesota.

In some cases – like Kim “Profile in Courage” Norton – it was because I publicly called out her lies over “criminal protection” laws.

And yes, I may have actually broken the story of Alondra “The Industrial Engineer” Cano distributing personal information on Twitter about people who’d criticized her privately  (or so they thought() on the City of Minneapolis website to try to bully them into silence.

Both of these politicians blocked me almost immediately after I publicly ate their lunches.  Waah waah waaah.

Likewise, the Twitter accounts of “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” and “Protect MN” have long since blocked me – because I crush them every time I turn my attention to them.

But others – Rep. Melissa Hortmann, Senator Tina LIebling, as well as several DFL-xupporting non-profits – already had me blocked before I ever attempted to write/tweet about them.

I know that there are apps that can systematically block all social media from authors matching some lists or algorithms – which is why I suspect the blanket block from DFL pols.

But I don’t care.  If it’s fair for CNN, it’s fair for me.

Remember that in all cases, while I am a stone-cold purveyor of unassailable fact, I am also scrupulously polite to a fault.    Anyone who wants to claim otherwise is welcome to prove it – and yes, there I AM more than willing to file a test case.  I’m not the sharpest tool in the box, but I’m way smarter than that.

So yes, “journos”.  Sue Donald Trump.  I beg of you.  Indeed, there’s some legal grounding already starting to happen:

So let the courts court, and the juries jurr.

Then get it incorporated onto all the states.

And hurry.  Some MN Pols need some freaking free speech already.

And we’ve got some lost time to make up for.

But Where’s The Opportunity For Graft?

City comes up with an estimate of $65,000-$110,000 to build a stairway linking two levels of a city park, and replacing a rutted path with a steep incline that was causing injuries.

Citizen builds the stairway for $550.

Retired mechanic Adi Astl says he took it upon himself to build the stairs after several neighbours fell down the steep path to a community garden in Tom Riley Park, in Etobicoke, Ont. Astl says his neighbours chipped in on the project, which only ended up costing $550 – a far cry from the $65,000-$150,000 price tag the city had estimated for the job.

“I thought they were talking about an escalator,” Astl told CTV News Channel on Wednesday.

Astl says he hired a homeless person to help him and built the eight steps in a matter of hours.

Problem solved, right?

Well, no.

Because boy, is the government mad:

City bylaw officers have taped off the stairs while officials make a decision on what to do with it. However, Astl has not been charged with any sort of violation.

Mayor John Tory acknowledged that the city estimate sounds “completely out of whack with reality” on Wednesday. [Noooooo! – Ed] However, he says that still doesn’t justify allowing private citizens to bypass city bylaws to build public structures themselves.

“I think everyone will understand that it will be more than $550,” he said on Wednesday. “We just can’t have people decide to go out to Home Depot and build a staircase in a park because that’s what they would like to have.”

Of course not.

There are consultants – members of the political class – to be paid to study the issue.  There are contractors – favored by the political class, frequently due to polices promulgated and administered by other members of the political class – to whom money must be funneled, usually via other members of the political class.

If people just made stuff work, the system would completely break down!

“But what about the handicapped?”

He pointed out that the park already has an accessible path for those who worry about falling down the incline, which is essentially a shortcut from the parking lot to the garden area.

It’s all about showing the peasants who’s boss.

Disgust

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

St. Paul Police Chief Axtell does not know what he’s talking about.

Gun violence is exploding in St. Paul.  The Chief says “ . . . basically it’s yesterday’s fistfights are today’s gun fights.”  But then he says it’s “ . . . a community health problem, this is a public health crisis.”

No.

A health problem is caused by disease.  The cure is quarantine and medical treatment for those infected, and sanitation to prevent spread of illness.  Americans know very well how to handle outbreaks of disease.  St. Paul does not have a public health problem.

St. Paul has a cultural problem.  Perfectly healthy people are choosing to shoot each other instead of fistfight.  We’re not willing to quarantine residents in Frogtown and there is no medical treatment, no vaccine that cures bad behavior.  Bad behavior is cured by deterrence and punishment, to make bad behavior unacceptably costly to the actors.

When Charles Napier wanted to end the Hindu practice of burning wives alive on their husband’s funeral pyre, he explained to the priests: “This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”  The practice of suttee ended abruptly.

In fairness, it may be that the Chief knows exactly what’s going on in his city, but he’s afraid to speak the truth because the City Council is a bunch of liberals more concerned with signaling their virtue by mouthing politically acceptable platitudes than with protecting their citizens by enacting effective law enforcement measures.  As long as the people dying are young Black men and poor children on the East Side, what’s the big deal?

Can we talk about adding another light rail line now? Because that’s a big deal. That’s something we care about.

Joe Doakes

I have to hope that there’s a lot of smart cops out there acting dumb because they want to keep their jobs.

The alternative?  Remember – today’s police forces didn’t exist when the Constitution was written.  I have a hunch they are more like the standing armies our forefathers feared than our current standing army is.

The New Brahmins

Democrat congresswoman tells commoner that her First Amendment rights are “Different” than his:

A bit of background:  when Rep. Demings was a police chief, her gun was stolen from her car; it’s tautological that her gun fell into the hands of a criminal.

Demings is, naturally, a gun grabber:

So that’s two “rights of the people” where this Demcorat rep thinks some people are more people than others.

Only Complete Subjugation Will Do

The City of Minneapolis has decided not to completely put Surdyk’s out of business for the “crime” of selling liquor on Sundays because Sunday liquor sales would be a catastrophic moral blow to the state even though the law hasn’t quite expired yet.    The city negotiated the fine down from a multimillion dollar one-month suspension of the liquor license to $6,000 in fines and eight Sundays of suspension…

…only to have a City Council committee reject the deal.

Why?

Reading between Lisa Goodman’s lines, it’s because the greatest crime is defying Mother Government, or even not paying instant obeisance:

“We went down and asked him not to open, the state called him and asked him not to be open, and he basically said, ‘Too bad, I’m not going to do it,’” Council Member Lisa Goodman said. “If he had shut down right after they came in and asked him to do so, I might have felt different.”

“Justice” in Minneapolis is a matter of connections, after all:

A new deal must be negotiated over the next month, the council committee said, and there may be a public hearing. Goodman said she has heard from “a lot of members of the public” about the matter, and they are not happy that Surdyk might have gotten off with a $6,000 fine and 10-day suspension.

Yeah, Goodman.  I just bet you did, and I just bet they’re not.

The worst part?  The best defense seems to be self-abasement:

His lawyer, Dennis Johnson, told council members that a $6,000 fine would wipe out any profit Surdyk made on March 12, the day he opened illegally. Johnson attempted to make no justification for his client’s actions, however.

“It’s simply that it was a boneheaded move,” Johnson said. “We need to deal with it, and accept any consequences that come from the city.”

Johnson said Surdyk just wants the problem to be resolved, and he is hoping that time and the fact that his business has been a model of regulatory compliance for 40 years, will help the city show some leniency.

“In the heat of the moment he made a horrible decision,” Johnson said, as Surdyk looked on. “He can’t justify what he did. He screwed up.”

It’s American in 2017, and striking a blow for freedom against a stupid regulation in an autocratic bureaucracy needs to be defended by pleading “I just can’t make decisions without the beneficent hand of the all-wise Council guiding me”.

This nation is doomed.

Reader Mail

From today’s mailbag, we’ve got a question…

…for Joe Doakes from Como Park:

Hello Mitch…

Does “Joe Doakes from Como Park” have time to answer a question from the Norwegian Lutheran contingent of the NARN Peanut Gallery?  [Not sure that narrows it down much – Ed]

My question:  In her haughty refusal to obey a Presidential executive order. One vetted by the DoJ Office of Legal Counsel and which counters Emperor Obama’s previous directive that ignored federal law…

Did Miss Yates also violate 18 USC 2384?

Respectfully submitted, 

– Tor S.

Scum of the earth technical writer

Deplorable infidel

Lord of the low frequencies

I need a Doakes Signal to shine on a low-hanging cloud.

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”.

Diagnosis

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.