No Cigar

Political movements rise and fall.  It’s part of political life in a democracy with a free market of ideas.

Of course, there’s nothing that the purveyors of central intellectual planning would like more than for the National Rifle Association to fade into obscurity. In this CNN article, the writer quite tangibly palpitates at the idea.

Could the National Rifle Association ever face a similar fate? Most Americans probably don’t think so. When a gunman murdered nine people at a community college in Oregon earlier this month, the President seemed to express what many Americans were thinking when he said, “Somehow this has become routine. … We have become numb to this.”

There’s a pervasive belief that any attempt to tighten gun laws would be futile because too many politicians are afraid to defy the NRA. But there are at least four examples from American history — including two snatched from recent headlines — where ordinary people and unforeseen events defeated a seemingly invincible lobbying group, and hardly anyone saw it coming.

Could the NRA vanish from political prominence? Of course.

But the article is wrong on three points:

Apples And Axles:   The author – John Blake – picked four groups as examples of “popular” opposition overturning “powerful lobbying groups”:  The “Anti Saloon League”, the “Tobacco Lobby”, the “Cuba Lobby” and AIPAC.

They’re all lousy comparisons:

  • The “Cuba Lobby” became less relevant with the end of the Cold War.  Not to say they’re not right.
  • The big defeats of the Cuba Lobby and AIPAC that Blake cites were the establishment of relations with Cuba, and the jamdown of the Iran treaty executive agreement.  Both were single-issue decisions by an ideological executive – in the case of the Iran “agreement”, very possibly a violation of the law.
  • The “defeat” of the tobacco lobby was a result of decades of public health propaganda (which happened to be largely correct, outside the canard of “second hand smoke”) that didn’t need to be politicized to be effective (although it often was anyway), and cost billions and billions of dollars.
  • The Anti Saloon League was opposed by an equally-large mass of countervailing opinion; this opinion took 15 years to get organized (Prohibition was nearly 100 years in the making); The ASL was, in fact, more analogous the gun control mement, and its opposition was more similar to the Second Amendment Rights movement between 1985 and 2000.

Which brings us to the second point:

NRA is the Vox Populi:  I’ve non-joke joked for nearly three decades now; the left has been jabbering about class warfare for a couple centuries.  And they finally got one; the battle over guns.  But they’re the patricians, and the Second Amendment movement are the uppity peasants.

As Jeffrey Snyder pointed out in his seminal essay A Nation of Cowards, that’s the reason the left has spent the last fifty years so knotted up about guns; not because they care about anyone’s lives, or “gun violence”; but because it’s the vox populi giving them a big bad veto, saying “the nannystate has its limits”.

In the early nineties, at the start of the Clinton Administration’s gun control efforts, the NRA reached a then-record membership of 4 million – people who paid a minumum of $35 a year for their memberships, frequenlty more.  At the time, the various gun grabber groups reached a peak strength of around 150,000 – at a time when “membership” meant, in most cases, saying “I’m a member!”.  The “Million Mom March” may have peaked out around 10,000 members, at a time when all a Mom had to do was…march.  Or indicate an interest in marching.

And focusing on the NRA is misleading in and of itself – because…:

The NRA Is Just A Part Of The Movement:  The NRA deploys some serious muscle at the federal level.  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The Second Amendment human rights movement is a mosaic of dozens, maybe hundreds, of smaller groups that do most of the heavy lifting in the states, where most gun legislation takes place.  In Minnesota, the bulk of the actual work is done by GOCRA and MNGOPAC, with several other groups helping out in the various trenches as well.  The NRA has always been a utility player in Minnesota; they had almost nothing to do with Shall-Issue; they helped with the lobbying in 2012 through this past session, but they are part of a cast of groups, not the big gorilla.

Here’s the real measure of support; when GOCRA says “turn out to the capitol” to show legislators where the real political brawn is, hundreds of people from all over Minnesota turn out in a sea of maroon shirts; the Bloombergs might be able to get a couple of dozen wan-looking Highland Park “progressives” accompanying their half-dozen paid, mercenary lobbyists.   It has more in common with the people who rejected Prohibition than the people who enacted it.

And this process has only accelerated as the distribution of information has become more decentralized.  In 1993, the Gun Owners Action League (the predecessor of GOCRA) had to print and mails its newsletters at great expense, to a database maintained on heaven only knows what.  Today, grassroots gun rights groups can, and do, form around facebook pages and online discussion forums, and with a little work and diligence and messaging can actually go on to persuade the unpersuaded.

The same dynamic holds for the anti-gun side – but at the end of the day, all they seem to draw is liberal plutocrats with deep pockets, and people who look like they got lost on their way to a live presentation of “This American Life”.

Backwards:  So in its lust to silence the peasants, CNN has gotten things more or less inverted:  the NRA is not only utterly unlike the four “unbeatable lobbying groups” that they cite, but they aren’t even the real issue.

The real issue is this:  the part of America east of the Hudson and west of the Sierra Madre thinks the Second Amendment is at least a weird throwback, and at most a threat to their version of civilization.  Real Americans treasure the Second Amendment as all other civil liberties, and will fight for it as they have for the past forty years – without regard to the group that carries the flag.

You Asked For It, John Oliver

To: John Oliver, this month’s Rachel Maddow
From:  Mitch Berg, ND Native
Re:  Anger

Mr. Oliver,

The other night, during your largely erroneous segment on oil in North Dakota, you patronizingly told North Dakotans that they should “get angry”.

I was born there, and I’ve spent years watching our self-appointed  “elites” – from Minnesota Public Radio to the documentary film industry to, now, you –  go from calling for the entire Great Plains to be ceded back to nature, to sniffing down their aquiline noses at the notion of all those red-state rubes getting all that unseemly, unregulated, private-market prosperity.  So while I’m not from there anymore, I spent 22 years there – so I’ll speak on its behalf if I want to.

I’m all about the help.

“Get mad!”, you say.

OK, John Oliver. I’m mad.  Your segment, as Rob Port showed, was crap, and you are beggaring the notion of “journalism” in your snooty, condescending attack on my homeland.

So go f**k yourself.

There.  I feel better.

That is all.

 

All The News That’s Fit To Gin Up From Pretty Much Nothing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Star Tribune breathlessly reports that “questions” have been raised, front page, above the fold.  Why did 98% of the new state subsidies for rural bus routes go to Mn/DOT Commissioner Zelle’s former employer?  Conflict of interest?  Shenanigans?  What’s going on here?

“Jefferson Lines and Land to Air Express were two of three firms who applied for the state funding that year. The third, Rainbow Rider Transit, received less than $8,000 in state subsidies.”

Three firms applied.  Rainbow Rider is the short bus for handicapped people in a few counties in Western Minnesota, counties you never heard of, like Grant and Pope.  They got a few bucks.  The other companies provide bus service and airport shuttle.  They got the rest because Nobody Else Applied.  Which isn’t surprising – how many bus companies can you name besides Greyhound and they run long-haul between cities, not back lanes to Clodhopper, Minnesota.  There’s no conflict, there isn’t even a question, it’s perfectly clear and obviously the whole thing is completely above-board.

So why the headline?  The headline leads low-information voters to think the Commissioner’s a crook when the story itself completely exonerates him.  What a pathetic excuse for a newspaper.

Joe Doakes

They’re just asking questions:

“But why don’t you subscribe to the Strib, Mitch?”

Another Fearless Prediction

Lars Walker, author and longtime friend of this blog, has a prediction (from Facebook):

Here is my prediction. Within a day or two, we will begin to see character attacks in the media against the 3 American service men who prevented the terrorist murders in France. Our culture cannot bear the sight of heroes.

I wouldn’t take that bet at 10:1.  The mainstream media, dedicated as it is to the narrative that America is a corrupt, awful place that is the source of this world’s problems, will have these guys on Joe the Plumber watch before you can say “sacre bleu”.  

Dogged

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Some of us right-wing kooks think the media has jumped on the Dentist Killed National Treasure Cecil the Lion story as a way to distract Americans from the baby-butcher videos.  As proof, I offer . . .

Imagine if instead of Planned Parenthood it was some puppy mill and the workers were joking over the puppy parts, talking about using them for something and how much money they can make for kidneys or something.  Those workers would be in jail facing major prison time.
Joe Doakes

I have a hunch puppy mills are going to become a big story again, in about 3…2…1…

 

“Ombudsman” Is The New Green

A longtime friend of this blog writes:

In their usual holier-than-thou fashion, NPR ticked me off this morning.  I sent the following complaint to the NPR ombudsman.
“On the morning broadcast of  Friday, August 7, 2015, I heard the fact checkers make a very snide comment…that was at least 50% wrong.  Scott Horsley and Steve Inskeep fact checked the GOP presidential debate of the previous evening.  While discussing the responses of former Gov. Huckabee and Ben Carson the fact checkers made a very uncalled for remark that was factually incorrect..  The snide remark made by Scott Horsley was “One might remember Mitt Romney made similar claims in 2012, only to have President Obama poke fun at such anachronistic measurements, saying the military is using a lot fewer horses and bayonets than it used to.”  While the statement is correct about horses it is absolutely incorrect about bayonets.  The military has more bayonets in use today than it did in 1917 and President Obama was flat out wrong when he spoke it in 2012.  NPR listeners were subjected to a snide remark for which Mr. Horsley’s facts were incorrect.  We deserve better as listeners.

Your friend,
[Redacted]

I’ve noted in the past the deep regard Public Broadcasting has for being corrected by the peasants.  With that in mind, and because you all have a right to know, I found a picture of NPR’s “ombudsman”:

Makes perfect sense now.

Bend Over Citizen: Part II – The NYTimes Demands A Police State

This morning, I beat up the Strib’s editorial board for babbling platitudes about gun control that I’m pretty sure none of them really understands.

But there are times that sit back and thank all that is holy that the “brain trust” behind the editorial coverage at Minnesota’s pre-eminent media outlet is merely dotty, smug, and genially ignorant.

As opposed to the toxic, malevolent, dangerous ignorance of the New York Times.   

Last week, columnist Timothy Egan wrote “Guns and the Two Americas“.

Now, I don’t know much about Timothy Egan; I’ve never written about him.  But he appears to be equal parts Dwight Schrute, rote stenographer and closet authoritarian.

Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica:  While Egan appears to be the kind of New Yorker that’d soil himself if he walked into the pistol range at Gander Mountain, he is, nonethless, an expert on tactics:

Just after the tragedy in a Louisiana theater a week ago — a shooting by a hate-filled man who was able to legally obtain a gun despite a history of mental illness — Rick Perry called gun-free zones a bad idea.

In his view, echoing that of the fanatics who own the Republican Party by intimidation, everyone should be armed, everywhere. [Aaaaand  there’s the inevitable strawman – Ed.] Once a shooting starts, the bad guy with the gun will be killed by the good guy with the gun, somehow able to get a draw on the shooter in a darkened theater, or behind a pew in church.

This scenario almost never happens. The logic is nonsense, the odds of a perfectly timed counter-killer getting the drop on the evil killer unlikely. And even when such a situation does happen, as in the Tucson shooting of 2011, the armed citizen who jumps into the melee can pose a mortal threat to others. In Tucson, an innocent person came within seconds of getting shot by an armed bystander who wasn’t sure whom to shoot.

There’s nothing “unlikely” about it; readers of this blog can quote the debunkment chapter and verse; even the Feds note that mass shootings where someone – with our without a badge – intervenes with a gun, the death toll is around 2; without intervention, into two digits.  Jabbering about “timing” is ignorant nit-picking by someone who’d seem to have watched too many ninja movies.

And the episode in Tucson in 2011, where a citizen responded to Jared Laughner’s shooting spree that killed six and wounded Representative Gabby Giffords, ready to return fire?  Egan uses as evidence against shooters an example of a shooter who, under pressure that would make Timothy Egan soil himself with fright, did the exact right thing, checking fire at a time when all too many police would have blazed away?

All The News That’s Given To Me And Stamped “Fit To Print”:   Egan is as ignorant and unquestioning about sociology as he is about tactics:

Nationwide, if you want to lessen your chances of getting shot, stay out of the South. The South is the most violent region in the United States, and also the place with the highest rate of gun ownership. More guns, easily obtained by the mentally ill, religious fanatics and anti-government extremists, mean more gun deaths.

But how do you feel about profiling, Timothy Egan?

Leave aside the patriarchal New Yorker references to phantom religious fanatics and militiamen; it’s entirely possible one of them actually will blow a fuse, someday.

Anything can happen.

Egan’s right, to an extent; the South is violent.  Indeed, as readers of this blog know better than anyone who gets their news from the NYTimes, the rural deep south is, per capita, the most violent place in the US.    And it was the same 100 years ago, when it voted solidy Democrat.  And it was 200 years ago, before the Civil War.  And it was 250 years ago, before most rural southerners had guns.

Because the violence in the rural South is not about hardware; it was an offshoot of Scots-Irish culture, which is and has always been more violent than the national average; southern Scots-Irish were dueling for keeps long after the rest of the country took their feuds to court; honor killings aren’t unknown.  And the violence in the South has exactly the same relationship to guns as does the violence in Chicago and Detroit or rural Afghanistan for that matter; the people were violent long before guns and, if you shut down every gun store in Dixie, it wouldn’t change.

Egan is also no better at picking his sources than the dumbest Minnesota liberal blogger:

Better to go to a city or state with gun restrictions, at least if you’re playing the odds. Most of the states with tighter gun laws have fewer gun deaths.

In which he uncritically points to a “study” in the Atlantic that was BS for all the same reasons Eric Ostermeier’s work at the U of M was wrong.

But Timothy Egan is ignorant.  So what?

One People, One Nation, One Times:  Because the Times has given a big megaphone to a guy who believes that the answer to “gun violence” is a smothering police state:

You want protection in a country that allows a deranged man to get an assault weapon to hunt down innocent people in a public space? Go to the airport — that bubble of gun-free security. Or go to a major-league baseball game, or a stadium in the National Football League.

Our big league venues may be engaging only in security theater, as critics assert, but their owners don’t think so. They now mandate metal detectors to snag weapons, and most of them even ban off-duty cops from bringing guns to the games.

 

“Gun Free” zones are dangerous not because they only affect the law-abiding, but because…

Most gun-free zones, like the theater in Lafayette, La., are not gun-free at all. They have no metal detectors or screening — that would cost too much, the theater owners claim. Gun-free is a suggestion, and therefore a misnomer. Eventually, the more prosperous theaters in better communities will pay for metal detectors, further setting apart the two Americas in our age of mass shootings.

…they’re not intrusive enough?

In other words, the answer is “smothering, patriarchal government surveillance?”   Allowing the state to poke and prod and scan us all will keep us safe?

Not just the state, but its private agents – like our own Mall of America?

The Mall of America — more than 500 stores in four miles of retail space, drawing 40 million annual visitors to a climate-controlled part of Minnesota — is trying to be a gun-free zone. “Guns are banned on these premises” is the mall’s official policy…The mall has a security force of more than a hundred people. Yeah — I hear the joke about the feckless mall cops. But the Mall of America trusts them more than well-armed shoppers to protect people, as they should.

No mass shootings have happened at the MOA.  God willing, they never will.   But hey, the signs at the doors must be working!

Of course, Crosswinds Mall in suburban Omaha had signs, and mall cops, when a nutcase killed seven back in 2009.

So, for that matter, did the Clackamas Mall in Portland Oregon, on December 11, 2012 – three days before the Newtown massacre.  When a man with hundreds of rounds of ammunition came into the mall, opened fire and killed two…

…and looked down the barrel of Nick Meli’s Glock.   Meli – like dozens of other armed citizens too mundane for Egan to note – did what Egan believes impossible, or superhuman (unless you have a mall cop badge); he pointed his gun at the killer.  Who, like most spree killers when faced with armed resistance, deflated; he turned, walked into The Gap, and shot himself.

Will the Mall of America’s signs (which are legally not binding, although it’ll take an expensive test case to prove it) and cops and dogs do a better job of protecting the customers?  Well, here’s hoping.

So Timothy Egan’s message is clear; the police state will set you free.  Well, not “Free” in the “life liberty happiness” sense of the term, but free from being killed off by deranged madmen.

Right?

Well, wrong.

Very, wrong.

So wrong, light leaving right won’t reach us until we’re long dead.

Bend Over, Citizen: Part I – Our Ignorant Priests Of Knowledge

Having been one level of activist on the Second Amendment or another for thirty years now, and having seen how far the issue has moved since the mid-eighties – when the Second Amendment seems to be on the ropes – it’s almost tempting to fall into a bit of complacent triumphalism.  This past twenty years has been one of the most impressive grass roots political campaigns in American history.  It’s also given us the class war that the left has always been predicting – in inverted form; the gun grabbers are overwhelmingly drawn from society’s lotus-eating NPR-listening Subaru-driving patricians; the bulk of the Human Rights camp is mainstreet, blue-collar and middle-class Real America.

But the temptation can’t be indulged too long; the bad guys are still out there, and they still have the media for their mouthpiece.   There were two notable calls for more gun control in the big media last week, ranging from the historically ignorant to the hysterically demented.

Continue reading

Doakes Sunday: Accessories

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Story makes the point the woman in the car who survived because she was wearing her seatbelt (politically correct), whereas the motorcycle riders who died were not wearing helmets (politically incorrect).

 

Completely missed the point that she had a stop sign, stopped for it, then pulled out in front of the motorcycle.  She caused the accident.  She killed those men, not their helmets or lack thereof.

 

Joe Doakes

Narratives gotta get narrated, dammit.

Austered The Wrong Way

To: National Public Radio News

From: Mitch Berg, uppity peasant

Re: Terminology

Dear NPR:

Over the weekend, while listening to one of your news programs, I caught a story about skilled workers emigrating from Portugal. 

Your story announced that the Portuguese economy was “recovering from austerity”

Austerity was not the problem. Or, rather, austerity was, at most, a symptom; The disease was unsustainable government spending, that sapped the vitality of the private sector economy.  

Unrestrained spending on things like lavish pensions, cradle to grave welfare, a government workforce that displaces private enterprise, and yes, public broadcasting, committed governments to endless, crippling spending that, when the economy goes south, cannot be sustained.  

See that we don’t make this mistake again, shall we?

That is all.

The Mitch

To: the Gullible

From: Mitch Berg

Re:  Trump

I will close the borders, and make sure every American company that is illegally employing illegal aliens pays for it.

I will also get the economy humming so good, the minimum wage will be irrelevant. And I will do it all on my way to my third date with Jennifer Lawrence.

There. I’ve just done everything Donald Trump is doing; talked a bunch of big promises I’ll never have to deliver on, but that will get people to talk about me.

The only difference? I don’t have a mainstream media simultaneously obsessed with my celebrity and using me to wedge the party that they want to see out of power again.

I hope we’re clear on this, now.

That is all.

The Only Real Question Is…

…what kind of pollyanna-ish rock have the other 30% been hiding under for the past fifty years?

The “First Amendment Center” – a media puff center – survey shows 70+% of America believes the media is biased:

The 2015 State of the First Amendment Survey, conducted by the First Amendment Center and USA Today [shows] that only 24 percent of American adults agree with the statement that “overall, the news media tries to report the news without bias,” while 70 percent disagree.

When the question was asked last year, 41 percent agreed, a 17-point difference.

“These are discouraging results for those of us who have spent our careers in journalism,” Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center, wrote in an op-ed for USA Today on Thursday. “In 23 years in newsrooms, I saw consistent and concerted efforts to get stories right. Clearly, the public’s not convinced.”

Ken Paulson must think people are idiots.

One can get a story right, and still be intensely biased.

This blog gets the stories right (within the limits imposed by writing a blog that is not a full time job) – but there’s no mistaking my bias.  If you are a liberal reading this blog, you are confronted (if you’re not an idiot) by the fact that the facts have a conservative, free market, pro-liberty bias – and I’m going to make sure you read them.

Bias needn’t be a bad thing – when you read European newspapers, you know which side they’re on, and can judge them based on whether they get the facts straight.

American media are not only biased, but often get way too many facts wrong – or fail to present relevant facts – entirely on political grounds.

You can “get the facts straight”, and still only present the sliver of the story that makes sense for your agenda.  It’s basic rhetoric.

And CNN, CBS, the Strib and NPR all do it.

So what are that other 30% smoking?

Dear Entire Twin Cities Media

Congrats!

DFLMinistryofTruthLARGE

After a couple of years of diligent reporting about the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and Saint Paul’s coverup of priests’ involvement in sexual abuse of minors (especially by MPR), you have convinced the Vatican to completely toss the Archdioce’s leadership.

Bully.

Now, when the scent of that glorious celebration (at the Amsterdam?  WA Frost?  The Lex?) has faded from your journalistic nostrils, we’ve got a couple more stories for you to cover.

Bill Clinton, beloved of our cultural elites (including most of you in the media, whom he treated like the old pals you longed to be), has been linked at the hip with an industrial-grade pedophile.

And the AP found that 2,500 teachers have have been punished for one degree of sexual abuse of students or another in the past five years.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve not heard of any time at which 500 priests per year were being rung up on sexual abuse charges.  Have you?

You’ve spent the past couple years investigating the tolerance of tolerance of sexual abuse in high places within a major institution.  Well, we’ve got another major institution for you to look into, and involvement in still more in some very high places to dig into.

Never let it be said I’m not here to help.

Our Lazy Biased Media Overlords

Last week, the MSM and its greek chorus in the lefty noise machine were all a’-chortle over Marco Rubio’s driving records.

Such as they were; two dismissed tickets and two trivial moving violations in 18 years.  No innocent women drowned; he apparently paid the fines, unlike a certain sitting celebrity Minnesota congressman.

And how did that happen (emphasis added)?

A couple of Times reporters spent Friday morning basking in praise for their “nice scoop” — the less-than-remarkable public knowledge that Marco Rubio was written four traffic tickets over the course of two decades — but, as Brent Scher of the Washington Free Beacon pointed out, neither of the reporters in the byline — Alan Rappeport and Steve Eder — nor the researcher also credited by the Times for the piece — Kitty Bennett — ever accessed the traffic records in question. But somebody did: American Bridge, a left-wing activist group, had pulled the records just before the Times piece appeared, and the Times employed some cagey language, with the relevant sentence beginning: “According to a search of the Miami-Dade and Duval County court dockets. . . . ” A search? Yes. Whose search? A piece of the news that apparently is not fit to print.

It’s not just national politics, of course; for a decade and a half, the vast majority of “reporting” on Michele Bachmann was done by her stalkers in the lefty alt-media, with few questions asked other than “how fast can I type my byline on this pre-written story?”

Settled Science

The NYTimes sloooooowly backs away from the “Settled Science” of 47 years ago:

The New York Times just published an extraordinary “retro report”—a short video paired with an article—looking back at Paul Ehrlich’s “population bomb” theory, the fear that an uncontrolled human population would outstrip the ability of the Earth to support it.
The Times lays out some of the evidence for the theory’s failure, including the fact that the world’s population was about 3.5 billion when Ehrlich first made his apocalyptic prognostications in 1968. It’s 7 billion now, and we haven’t starved, we haven’t run out of resources, and we’re better off than we’ve ever been.

Although they never really admit wrongdoing:

And the Times is still committed to an outgrowth of the same apocalyptic theory. It cites British journalist Fred Pearce: “In Mr. Pearce’s view, the villain is not overpopulation but, rather, overconsumption. ‘We can survive massive demographic change,’ he said in 2011. But he is less sanguine about the overuse of available resources and its effects on climate change.” Perhaps some day they’ll do a look back on the failure of the global warming hysteria—though at this rate, we should expect to see that some time around 2062.

Or not.  The existence of billions of people who weren’t supposed to be alive is pretty easy to prove.  The climate is nice and nebulous and ambiguous.  It’s the perfect lefty crisis-not-to-be-wasted.

The Problem With Ryan Winkler…

…was, paradoxically, only incidentally about Ryan Winkler.

Our Big Game of Telephone:  From the mid-nineties on, when Michele Bachmann was still organizing the Maple River Education Coalition, before she even ran for the State Senate, the late Karl Bremer was dinging on the future Presidential candidate and conservative lighting rod.

And conservatives, in turn, dinged on the irascible Bremer.  I’m not one to speak ill of the dead – but it’s a simple fact that the guy was prone to using imagination when the facts didn’t give him the story he wanted.   For years, finding and pointing out all the logical and factual holes in his peevish tirades was for conservative bloggers what “mending nets” is for Spanish fishermen.  In short – he was like a blogger, only more so.

But if you ask a left-leaning member of the Minnesota Media “elite”, you got a different story; Bremer was lauded as a hero, treated as one of the club, given the secret handshake.  He won an award from the “Society of Professional Journalists” – something like “best digger of documents”.

It was all, every bit of it, related to Bremer’s nearly two-decade-long mania for “covering” / writing about / stalking Michele Bachmann.  The enemy of the Twin Cities’ media’s enemy is the Twin Cities media’s friend.

And had Bremer turned all of that manic energy on Paul Wellstone or Keith Ellison?  Not a single member of the Twin Cities media would have acknowledged his existence, much less pissed on his grave.

Warm, Fuzzy:  With that in mind, take a good read through Doug Grow’s profile of the retiring Representative Ryan Winkler.

Entitled “Why the Legislature will miss Ryan Winkler”, it’s full of assurances, via Pat Garofalo, that Winkler’s big and rapidly-moving mouth was “all business, nothing personal” – which is a fine thing, and mildly reassuring (although mere nonelected proles who encountered Winkler on Twitter had mixed experiences with the lad)…

…and maybe even true, as far as it goes.

But read the article.

You’ll scan it in vain for any mention of Winkler’s “Uncle Tom” jape.  And that’s fine; people make mistakes; to err is human and to forgive divine, yadda yadda.  If every political “opposition researcher” in the world suddenly broke their femurs and spent six months in traction, and the world could forgive politicians their past oopses, the world would be a happier place, and maybe a  little bit better one too.

That might actually be a wonderful thing.

But as I – and quite a few other people – noted when Winkler announced his retirement, Winkler was only the symptom.  The disease?  The Minnesota Media’s double-standard.

Because if Winkler’d been a Republican, you can bet “Uncle Tom” would have popped up in Grow’s epitaph; it’d be carved large on the media’s collective memory of the guy for all eternity.

Winkler has painstakingly avoided ruling out a return to Minnesota politics.  Five will get you twenty that when he does, “Uncle Thomas” will not rate a single inch of copy.

Anywhere.

“Sharp-Tongued”

Ryan Winkler is leaving the House of Representatives.

Winkler spent nine sessions in the Legislature.  During the last five or six of them, his job, coming from an utterly safe seat in Golden Valley, seemed to be “the DFL’s Costco version of Sidney Blumenthal”; to say and do the things that no DFLer in a contested district – or human with an education and a conscience – would dare to say.

Winkler racked up a long, storied history:

…enough that he seemed to be well on the way to becoming Minnesota’s Joe Biden.

Of course, Paul Thissen said what caucus leaders are supposed to say about their hatchet men:

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said he’ll miss Winkler’s “impatience with injustice. He is always willing to take on the tough fights and not back down. He drove the discussion forward about how to make our economy work better for people. His work to raise the minimum wage and improve opportunity for average Minnesotans is a tremendous legacy.”

Um yeah.  When a Minnesotan loses a job to pay for his precious minimum wage hike, we need to say they’ve been “Winklered”.

But this isn’t about my observations.  Look at the adjectives the media uses in describing Winkler’s career; “outspoken” (as in “outspoken advocate on behalf of…” yadda yadda), “sharp-tongued”, “Harvard-Educated”, and the like.

If he’d been a Republican, I’d have looked for adjectives more like “Controversial”, “stridently partisan”, and maybe “gaffe-prone”.   More to the point?  A “sharp-tongued” Republican would be “contibuting to the nasty partisanship” around the Capitol.

But he’s a DFLer in Minnesota.   He was just a character, one that the reporters could always get a cutesy quote from.

Ryan Winkler is the poster child for the Minnesota media’s double standard.

Everything You Need To Know…

…not only about the shootout (not “riot”) between rival outlaw biker gangs in Waco over the weekend, but about the idiot left’s race-baiting response?  Yep – Kevin Williamson already has it, in this piece from NRO.

I’ll let you read the whole thing.  With Williamson, it’s always worth it; he bludgeons the incendiary mythmongering of the left’s activists and media (ptr) wings.

I’ll cut to the big pullquote:

The Waco police did not follow the lead of the Baltimore police; the mayor of Waco did not follow the lead of the mayor of Baltimore and declare an outlaw-biker free-fire zone. Instead, the police swooped in, arrested the better part of 200 people, started booking them, and peace was restored.

And nobody in Waco gave any press conferences about the need to understand the legitimate rage of the poor white peckerwood dumbass class.

And that’s as it should be.