A Tale Of Three Nations

As the US flirts with Ebola panic, it’s worth noting that Nigeria – more corrupt than Chicago but probably not Camden, with ethnic and social divisions that would make the most hardened academic grievance-monger yak up her skull, and a nation that as a whole is like a Detroit that rarely ends – has managed to stop its Ebola outbreak pretty much cold.  20 were infected, and eight died – a tragedy, sure, but since the outbreak occurred in Lagos, a city of 21 million that is among the least hygenic metropolitan areas in the world, that seems fairly miraculous.   

Nigeria did it by doing the public-heath blocking and tackling that has stanched epidemics from cholera to malaria to dengue fever; isolating the infected and the infection, monitoring the exposed, practicing basic hygiene around the ill and the potentially ill. 

They knuckled down and did what needed to be done. 

Now, the US is one of the healthiest nations on earth.  Perhaps too healthy – modern parents’ mania for germ-killing may be hurting their childrens’ immune systems.  Worse, while some among our public health community are well aware of the dangers a virus like Ebola could cause, it seems there were several major breakdowns in the handling of the first case, Thomas Duncan, a Liberian living in Dallas. 

Will the CDC and the other public health authorities react appropriately to the outbreak?  Especially given that the CDC answers to an Administration that clearly values political correctness over competence? 

Let’s just say that this is one area where I’d love to think government was as competent as big government’s proponents tell us it is. 

The track record is mixed, of course. 

Through much of the last 100 years, between sound public health and public information, and world-leading research (thank you, free enterprise!), most epidemic diseases have been contained, and many former scourges have been nearly eradicated. 

And yet when the AIDS epidemic broke out, it quickly escaped the public health agencies’ ability to control it.  Part of it was the government’s response; in one of three mistakes he made as President, he kept the government’s response low-key. 

Of course, there was plenty of blame to shame.  Some countries contained AIDS using sound, traditional public health practices.  Cuba contained its outbreak far more quickly and effectively than the US, using sound, traditional public health techniques including quarantining the infected…

…which were politically untenable in the US; as the gay rights movement gained traction, the idea of focusing public health efforts on gay culture, much less quarantining gay male patients, as the Cubans did), became politically incorrect. 

(And since some liberal will no doubt read the above as “Mitch Berg calls for quarantining teh gay” – I’d say the same thing if there were a 100% lethal, contagious, viral disease that spread via the behavior of straight Presbyterian conservatives; public health is public health). 

Will the Obama Administration react any better to this crisis than they did the last several?  There’s always hope.  The President certainly isn’t getting useful advice from some of his supporters (hint to MSNBC hosts and other illiterates; the CDC needs a surgeon general to react to an epidemic about like the IRS needs a director to process your 1040 form; Obama needs to quit politicizing public health.  Oh, wait – there it is again!).

Fingers crossed.

A Brief History Of Proportionality

Act 1

[SCENE:  The New Jersey-side bank of the Delaware River, December 24, 1776.  General George WASHINGTON, having just led the ragged Continental Army across the Delaware River, is having a final conference with his senior officers before attacking the Hessians, who are passed out, hung over after their Christmas drinking binges, in their winter camp in Trenton New Jersey.]

WASHINGTON:  Our revolution has had major setbacks this past year.  Now is our time to strike back, re-set the balance of this war, and convince the French, Dutch and Spanish that the Revolution can be sustained!

[The generals cheer - except for A. LIBRELLE, a civilian bureaucrat attached to the Army by the group Justice For Britain].

LIBRELLE:  I’m sorry, General.  This attack is disproportionate.  Your men need to get drunk,, become hung over, and then wake the Hessians so it can be a fair fight.  And lose the cannon.

General Marquis de LAFAYETTE:  Sacre bleu, is this person mad? 

[And SCENE]

Act 2

[SCENE:  Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 3, 1863.  General George Gordon MEADE, commander of the Army of the Potomac, is at the front line atop Cemetery Ridge, alongside his battered, bloodied army.  Across a wide open field, Confederate General George Pickett is lining up his troops for their epic charge across the rolling field of grass, as MEADE's artillerymen load their cannon]

MEADE:  Men – this is it.  It’s here that the union stands, or falls.  We hold here, or the war is over.   Who’s with me, boys!

[The men cheer - except for A. LIBRELLE, a representative from Quakers for Peace, whose head shakes and face scowls disapprovingly].

LIBRELLE:  Wait, General.  This isn’t proportionate.  You should move your men off this hill and away from behind these walls and fences, and move down into the field so that nobody has cover, and it’s a fair fight.  And what’s with the “men” and “boys” bit?  Isn’t that just a tad patriarchal?

MEADE:  It’s the Army…

[And SCENE]

Scene 3

[SCENE:  London, June 5, 1944.  Generals Dwight EISENHOWER, Bernard Law MONTGOMERY and Omar BRADLEY are firming up the final details of the next day's invasion of Europe, known to us as "D-Day".]

EISENHOWER:  The entire fate of Western Civilization hangs on tomorrow’s invasion.

MONTGOMERY:  Quite.

BRADLEY:  We’ve done all we can.  Now, it’s just down to the guts of the regular GI Joe.

[A. LIBRELLE, representative from the United Nations Office of Philosophy, interrupts]

LIBRELLE:  Wait – Generals?  This invasion is by no means proportionate.  You have battleships, paratroopers, waves and waves of bombers.  The Germans have none of theses. 

MONTGOMERY:  Then you suggest…

LIBRELLE:  Do the invasion without the battleships, the bombers, or the paratroopers. 

EISENHOWER:  That’s suicide!

LIBRELLE:  It’s proportional!

[And SCENE]

Scene 4

[SCENE:  Somewhere in the desert of Judea, early in the morning, 63BC.  Roman legionary RICHARDUS Magnus is addressing his Legion before their final assault on the Jewish stronghold of Masada, where dozens of Jewish patriots are making a last stand against the Roman conquerors]

RICHARDUS:  Legionaires!  Today we shall charge up the siege towers and scale the walls and build a pyramid of the enemy’s skulls!

[The soldiers cheer lustily, as A. LIBRELLIVS, a reporters from the news-scroll Tempus Romanii, stands, bored, kicking at clods of sand]

RICHARDUS:  [Looks at LIBRELLIVS with a look of ill-concealed disdain] Anything to add, Librellius?

LIBRELLIVS:  Nah, I got nothing. 

[And SCENE]

No Pep

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Stopped at Pep Boys on South Robert to buy epoxy for a cracked bumper. Pep Boys Bans Guns In This Store. I asked if that was a franchise decision but the counterman said no, all Pep Boys stores are corporate. So I went up the street to O’Reilly Auto Parts instead.

No, I wasn’t carrying. But if they don’t want my business on my terms, I’m happy to take it elsewhere.

Joe Doakes
Como Park

As everyone should.

I haven’t voluntarily patronized a posted business since 2003. I’ve specifically thanked businesses that took down their idiot signs.

Now is no time to let old habits die.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Are you sure you’ve thought through this lawsuit, Chris?

Chris Kluwe potentially kicks open a Pandora’s Box.

Given Chris Kluwe’s love of role-playing board games, it shouldn’t surprise that his latest actions have more angles than 23-sided dice.

On Tuesday, former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe was demanding that the team, through the law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P, release the six-month independent investigation into Kluwe’s allegations that he was let go due to his gay marriage activism.  By Friday night, Kluwe (or at least his attorneys) might have wished the Vikings had kept the findings to themselves.

The 29-page summary of the investigation (pdf warning on the link) was notable for two things: 1) proving Kluwe’s story that current Special Teams coach Mike Priefer did indeed make his “nuke the gays” comment; 2) proving little else.  Instead, the investigation brought to light an incident of Kluwe mocking the Jerry Sandusky trial and generally negatively commented on Kluwe’s final years as a Viking:

The record does not support the claim that the Vikings released Kluwe because of his activism on behalf of marriage equality, but instead because of his declining punting performance in 2012 and potentially because of the distraction caused by Kluwe’s activism, as opposed to the substance of such.

Throughout the independent investigation, interviewees characterized Kluwe in similar
ways: someone who is highly intelligent, reads a lot, a prankster or jokester, comfortable with the media and seems to enjoy attention. [Vikings kicker Blair] Walsh stated that Kluwe spent much of his free time in the locker room doing interviews. Walsh also said that Kluwe “loves the attention,” “was focused on everything but football,” and wanted to be in the spotlight.

The fallout was sadly predictable.

The perpetually indignant community – Kluwe’s political base – expressed outrage (outrage!) that the Patron Saint of Punting was a “hypocrite” for engaging in the same sort of outrageously inappropriate locker room behavior that Kluwe supposedly was fighting against by his threatened lawsuit.  While many former media supporters were throwing Kluwe under the bus, the man at the center of the report took to twitter to vent, sparing even with gay marriage supporters and potentially getting the Vikings (and maybe himself) deeper into the dark waters of legal action:

Color me unimpressed with the outrage over Kluwe’s Sandusky jokes.  In the pantheon of vulgar Kluwe behavior/comments, his exposed butt cheeks aren’t even as crass as most of his Deadspin articles.  But Kluwe’s accusation that he (and presumably, the Vikings) knew about statutory rape and did nothing is a world away from Kluwe’s STD shots at Mankato or calling NFL lockout opponents “assh*le f**kwits.”  Kluwe is potentially an accomplice in this (alleged) crime at worst.  At best, he kept silent about actions against minors, but the words of a hot-headed, idiotic Special Teams coach were somehow his personal Rubicon…after he was fired.

Kluwe’s defenders, like ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio, are trying to poke holes in the investigation’s conclusions over the Vikings’ assessment on Kluwe’s punting abilities, setting the stage for Kluwe’s threatened lawsuit that he was dismissed for his beliefs, not his on-field actions.  Despite all the vitriol, the merits of any potential Kluwe lawsuit are few and far between, and minus a heretofore undiscovered “smoking gun” document or testimony, a legal Trojan Horse for the entire NFL should Kluwe prevail.

NFL history, and Minnesota Vikings’ history, is replete with older veterans being replaced for players deemed to have a larger upside who can be signed for less money.  In the last several seasons, the Vikings alone have cut ties with still capable players like kicker Ryan Longwell or defensive end Jared Allen.  These moves aren’t always right or popular (SITD argued against the Allen move months ago) or consistent across franchises.  Denver’s punter, Britton Colquitt, is the highest paid punter in the NFL, earning $3.9 million a year for a 46.1 yards per punt average.  Chris Kluwe was making $1.5 million, due to increase to over $2 million, for a career average of 44.4 yards per punt.  Jeff Locke kicked an average of 44.2 yards for roughly $400,000 for the Vikings in 2013.  Is any of that logical?  By NFL standards, for better or worse, yes.

If Chris Kluwe can convince a jury that a $1.5 million punter with the league’s 22nd best average cannot be cut for a younger, cheaper option because said player is outspoken, then the NFL’s entire collective bargaining agreement will be up for grabs.  In a league with an openly gay 7th round draft pick who isn’t assured of making the team, what will stop current and future NFL players from adopting controversial political/social causes if they believe doing so will complicate their release?  Will the next Tim Tebow decide that his Christianity, not his throwing motion, was the motivating factor in his cutting, and sue his former employer?

A Kluwe victory (again, barring new evidence) means a more political NFL – an outcome that can only hurt the most popular sporting brand in the country.

Footloose

Photoshop out the football and you’ve pretty much recreated Chris Kluwe’s latest press conference

The most famous (or is it infamous?) punter in modern history tries to pin the Minnesota Vikings against their end zone.

Well, in his defense, he no longer has a job to be so focused on.

Chris Kluwe may possess a number of less-than-desirable qualities, but the former punter’s media savvy remains arguably his strongest suit.  Since leveling accusations against the Minnesota Vikings, in particular special teams coach Mike Priefer, of fostering an atmosphere of homosexual hatred which led to his firing by “two cowards and a bigot,” Kluwe has remained relatively quiet.  Perhaps partially motivated by a press corps seemingly less willing to believe him, or realizing that his legal strategy depended upon him dragging many of his former teammates into the mix, Kluwe and his representation had said little about the Vikings’ independent investigation in the past seven months.

That changed Tuesday as Kluwe charged that the Vikings’ investigation has concluded and that the lack of public disclosure over the findings proved Kluwe’s allegations of bigotry:

The onetime punter said Tuesday the team is “reneging on a promise” to release a copy of its completed investigation of alleged anti-gay sentiments expressed by special teams coach Mike Priefer during the 2012 season.

Kluwe and his attorney, Clayton Halunen, announced at a morning news conference that they will file suit against the Vikings alleging discrimination on the grounds of religion, human rights, defamation and “torturous interference for contractual relations.”

The move is self-aggrandizing and potentially premature (the Vikings said the independent investigatory group would provide a report this week).  Had the press conference included accusations of the team of being “lustful c**kmonsters,” it would have been vintage Kluwe.

It was also a somewhat smart public relations ploy.  Now, whenever Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P release their findings, Kluwe can claim his pressure forced the team to do so.  And Kluwe’s willingness to forgo a lawsuit for a monetary settlement that goes towards an LGBT cause also assists both the Vikings, in helping the issue go away faster, and Kluwe himself as even old media allies questioned the punter’s motivations (the KFAN Morning Show, who often gave Kluwe free-rein to voice his opinions on all matter of subjects, openly wondered if he was making a money grab this morning).

But “somewhat smart” isn’t the same as “smart.”  Kluwe’s strategy only truly works if the independent investigation proves some or all of Kluwe’s anecdotes, in particular his claim that Mike Priefer suggested moving gay people to an island and hitting it with a nuclear bomb.  Not unlike the current Jesse Ventura defamation suit, Kluwe’s case ultimately comes down to a “he said/he said” legal battle.  Even if Kluwe is 100% accurate in quoting Vikings’ staff, he would still have to prove a correlation between comments like Priefer’s and his cutting in 2013.  The Vikings can respond about Kluwe’s declining skills and (for the position) high salary – reasons that even Kluwe cited…when cut last summer by the Oakland Raiders.

The outcome of the investigation – or any following legal action – may be pointless.  Kluwe’s defenders will continue to insist the end of his career was due to his gay rights activism, and not his next-to-last finish for punts inside the 20-yard line while making $1.45 million.  Kluwe’s detractors will continue to be maligned as being bothered by his politics rather than his penchant for vulgar name-calling to anyone who doesn’t share his views (on gay rights or other subjects).

Other than attorneys or an LGBT charity, it’s hard pressed to see who benefits from this continued fight.

Everyone’s A Racist!

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is walking through the downtown branch of the Saint Paul Library.  He’s way back in the stacks, deeply engrossed in a book, when Avery LIBRELLE pops around the corner.  LIBRELLE notices BERG, and tiptoes up to him.]

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!

BERG:  (Startled)  Huh?  Oh.  It’s you.

LIBRELLE:  Bar Louie is Racist!

BERG:  Oh, the story about the dress code?  That’s kind of a stretch. 

LIBRELLE:  They bar people wearing clothing that only black people wear. 

BERG:  You’ve never worked in a bar, have you?

LIBRELLE:   I’ve been to a few.  I love the Lurcat. 

BERG:  Naturally.  But I meant a bar.  A hangout.  A dive.  I worked in bars – places with pool tables and brawls on Friday and Saturday nights.  Some of them barred people wearing “colors”.

LIBRELLE:  Because they were racist!

BERG:  Well, no – it applied to motorcycle club colors just as much as gangs.  Our bouncers kept ‘em all out. 

LIBRELLE: Yabbut Bar Louie’s dress code pretty much applied only to black people. 

BERG:  Like Vanilla Ice, Robin Thicke, Ad-Rock and Eminem?

LIBRELLE:  Exac…hey, wait ! Those are white guys who dress like…

BERG:  …like what?

LIBRELLE:  Like you’re a racist!

BERG:  Naturally.  So here’s a thought experiment for you.  Let’s say we started a club.  We had a dress code; guys have to wear suits with ties.  Is that racist?

LIBRELLE:  Of course! 

BERG:  Why?  Black people don’t wear suits and ties? 

LIBRELLE:  Of course they do.

BERG:  I thought they wore sports jerseys and flat-billed baseball caps? 

LIBRELLE:  Well, not all of them…

BERG:  …what’s that?  Not all black people are identified by their clothing?  

LIBRELLE: [stares blankly, jaw slowly undulating up and down]

BERG:  Let’s try this on for size.  Pick a bar. 

LIBRELLE:  The Lurcat!

BERG:  OK, sure, the Lurcat.  Let’s say as you’re walking toward the Lurcat, you see a group of burly white guys in biker leathers wearing motorcycle club colors.  They’re drunk, they’re looking aggressive.  Do you go in? 

LIBRELLE:  That’s silly. 

BERG:  Or a bunch of intoxicated white guys in grubby jeans and “wife-beater” tank tops waving pool cues about….

LIBRELLE:  Don’t be silly. The Lurcat would never…[pauses, stops]

BERG:  They’d never allow people in biker gang colors in their joint, much less set up pool tables to draw the blue-collar crowd?  Because they’re racists? 

LIBRELLE:  Because…[head slowly rolls about]

 BERG:  Because social cues have meaning.

LIBRELLE:  Stereotyping people!  That’s just so typical of you bitter gun-clinging Jeeeeebus freaks in flyoverland!

BERG:  Sure.  Later!

(And SCENE)

The Ninny Elite

When I worked in bars, many of them had dress codes that explicitly barred “colors” and other gang-wear from the bars. 

This, by the way referred equally as much (sometimes moreso) to motorcycle club colors as to urban “gang” colors. 

Here’s the thing; when you work in bars for a while, you realize that trouble comes in all shapes and colors and even genders – but there are some traits across colors, genders and social classes that let you know that trouble might be likely.  Drunk guys in Packer jerseys; drunk rednecks in t-shirts and worn-out jeans; drunk guys in Marine greens (yep, I had that once); drunk bikers in their club colors; drunk urban youth in gang colors. 

It wasn’t a “race” thing; it was a “trouble” thing. 

The local (and to some extent national media) has been all a-swirl over the claim by Michelle Horovitz, leader and likely sole member of “Menu for Equity” or “Forks Against Racism” or some other such “group”, that h Bar Louie’s dress code is “overtly racist”:

A Minneapolis woman says a sign she found outside Bar Louie in Uptown was shocking, and she’s not shy about speaking out on the controversial dress code that has many saying they’ll no longer spend money there.

“It’s the new Jim Crow being enforced in a colorblind way,” Michelle Horovitz told Fox 9 News.

If it’s color-blind, Ms. Horovitz, then how is it “Jim Crow?”

“What is ‘excessively baggy?’” Horovitz asked. “Who’s going to judge that? Are you going to have Grandma B sitting by the door saying, ‘That’s too baggy’?”

Grandma B?  That seems a little ageist of Ms. Horovitz, who looks – if I may profile – like an upper-middle-class white humanities graduate who’s trying to score a grant. 

Horovitz considers the dress code to be both appalling and racist.

“You might as well say, ‘No black folks allowed,’” she said. “It’s ridiculous.”

She’s not the only one who is disgusted by the dress code either. Sean Tierney told Fox 9 News he believes it’s “totally racial profiling,” and Imani Vincent said the real message is clear.

Mr. Tierney is at least onto something.  It’s definitely profiling.  Not racial – social. 

Bar Louie doesn’t want people coming in dressed like thugs and gang-bangers.  Being in uptown Minneapolis (and Minnetonka), I’m gonna take a wild guess that they don’t get a lot of drunk bikers, drunk rednecks or drunk Packers fans; what trouble do  you suppose they’ve had? 

Let’s be honest;  everybody profiles.

Let’s try a thought experiment:  let’s take Michelle Horovitz – suburban upper-middle-class humanities or social “science” major (there, I’m profiling again) and check her reactions around, say, a group of drunk white guys with ZZ Top Beards and biker leathers, and blue-collar rednecks in white t-shirts and grubby jeans hanging around the pool tables? 

Think she’s going to “discriminate” deep in her heart of hearts?   Use her “profile” of drunk bikers and rednecks to guide her actions? 

Based on clothing and visual cues? 

Think Michelle Horovitz might be a “we-ist”, feeling more comfortable around people like her? 

Place your bets. 

(But when you’re placing your bets, I’ve got “she’s a publicity hound shooting for a grant from some progressive organization” taken already).

Compare And Contrast

2008:  ”Hah!  Sarah Palin gave her baby brain damage – if it’s even hers!”

2014:  ”How dare you question whether Hillary Clinton suffered a brain injury?  Have you people no decency?  Give a woman her privacy!”

The Obligatory Privilege Check

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

“Check my privilege?” Okay, let’s. Let’s check the privileges that I enjoyed, which may have contributed to my success.

A “privilege” is only meaningful when it gives advantage between competitors. The Queen of England enjoys greater privileges than I but they don’t affect my opportunity for success in Minnesota because she and I are not competing to succeed in the same arena. The privileges that contributed to my success were the ones I enjoyed but my competitors did not. What were they?

I was born White, as were 98% of the people in Minnesota at the time. Skin color could not have been the deciding factor that set me apart from other, less successful people of my generation. If being White was a privilege, everybody had it so nobody gained anything by it.

My parents were married when I was born, as were 95% of other kids born in Minnesota at the time, and stayed married throughout my childhood, as did more than 90% of the families in my time. Legitimacy and intact family status could not have been the deciding factor, we all shared those privileges.

My Dad had a full time job, as did 80% of men at the time, while Mom stayed home with us kids, as did 60% of other Moms . A possible factor.

My Mom read stories to us kids, which instilled a life-long love of reading, which is the foundation of learning. That definitely was a factor.

I graduated from high school, as did 75% of the kids in my rural, non-farm school; and also graduated from college, as did 13% of Minnesotans at that time. Definitely a factor.

I avoided a felony conviction, as did all but 64,000 of 4,000,000 fellow Minnesotans. When 99% of the population shares a characteristic, it’s gives no privilege to any one of them.

I worked full time days and studied law nights for four years, eventually making me one of 25,000 lawyers in the state.

So – when I “Check My Privilege,” which of these factors should I be ashamed of?

Yes, I was gifted with better-than-average intelligence. I freely acknowledge it and regret only that I haven’t put my God-given abilities to better use. Brain power is not something anybody can do anything about so it’s nothing I need to feel guilty about having.

If society wants to identify the factors to success, it’s worse than senseless to harp on factors people can’t do anything about, such as intelligence or skin color, it’s wicked. Being born poor and Black does not absolutely condemn you to a life of poverty and crime – see the many Black people who succeeded. Making people think their lives are predetermined, that no amount of effort can make a difference, is soul-destroying evil.

If society wants to identify the factors to success, we should emphasize the choices that everyone has control over. Wait to have kids until you’re married. Stay married, for the kids’ sake. Be involved in your children’s education – read to them, make them do homework. Kids: stay in school until you graduate, then get a job and work at least 40 hours per week, and stay out of trouble with the law. Make the most of your God-given talents, whatever they may be.

After you’ve done all that to the best of your ability, if someone is still holding you back, then we can talk about race. Somehow, I don’t think that’s a conversation the “Check Your Privilege” crowd wants to have.
Joe Doakes.

“Privilege” is one of those charges that’s intended to shut down all “debate”.

It needs to be answered, mocked, and shut down itself.

Dear Minimum Wage Activists

We warned you.

But did you listen?  No!  You said that jobs would not be lost as pay for low-skill jobs was forced upward by government fiat, and that there’d be no unintended consequences – because all consequences, presumably, would be forestalled by foo-foo dust brought down from the skies on the backs of unicorns. 

But there is no foo-foo dust, there are no unicorns, and when you force someone to pay more or less than the free market will bear for something, there will be consequences.

And so there are.

#FixEverythingBad!

Mark Steyn on hashtag diplomacy:

Plenty has been written about all the things that this photo…

…says about the United States today.  None of them good.

Steyn notes – as many have quoted – that it’s certainly not going to matter of inveighing Boko Haram (Nigerian for “So Long, Suckers!”) to “give the girls back”.  Someone’s going to have to either engage in some incredibly tough negotiation (the Bokos know they hold the cards), or take them back, if they can be found (and it’s likely they can’t).

But he brought up two other points – both of them tying the Boko Haram kidnappings to a story I wrote about last week, in which a California school issued an assignment asking students to present evidence that the Holocaust never happened.

Being unaware of the background details, I thought it might juuuuuust be possible it was a debate point, asking kids to step outside their comfort zone (waaaaay outside) to debate a point.

It wasn’t, of course (I’ll be adding the odd bit of emphasis) not, and my vestigial faith in the integrity of public school teachers is, as all-too-frequently, wasted:

That’s never a smart idea. The California schools superintendent who wanted his Eighth Graders to turn in essays arguing that the Holocaust didn’t happen is called Mohammad Z Islam. That’s why they got the assignment, not because they wanted to turn themselves into the Oxford Union. As Laura Rosen Cohen pointed out, there are all kinds of lively topics Mr Cooke might propose for our schools: Did Mohammed exist? What’s the deal with his nine-year-old bride? But in the real world even mild questioning of whether Islam is a “religion of peace” is beyond the pale, and across the Continent the Holocaust is disappearing from school curricula.

That’s the problem. There’s no point winning an Oxford debate if the other side win everything else.

And he notes that modern eighth-graders rarely know what the Holocaust is, much less how to have an Oxford Union-style debate on the subject.

And of course…:

In 1984, George Orwell wrote, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

And it’s be hard to argue that the good guys are winning the present.

Rhetorical Questions

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Minority students disciplined for protesting discrimination.

Who trumps what?  We already know that on the national stage Black trumps Woman for the throne.  But how about locally?  Liberals applying the “shut up and sit down” routine against other liberals.  Who could see that coming?

Were disciplinary letters sent last month, when students and faculty protested Condoleeza Rice’s speech?

How deeply does the U of M’s hypocrisy run . . . at taxpayer expense?

Joe Doakes

I’m tempted to ask Joe if it’s a rhetorical question.

A Public Good

To: Daniela Hernandez, Dartmouth PC natterer
From: Mitch Berg, campesino ingobernable
Re: Nuestra dva sprache

Ms. Hernandez,

Language is the supremely public good.

Nobody owns it. Even the French discovered that the full weight of national power can go so far in governing how people use your language.

Now, you’re the woman who’s been nattering at the supremely gullible administration at Dartmouth (“the poster child for the higher-ed bubble”) about peoples’ use of Spanish terms like Fiesta.

Since you’re only getting a degree from Dartmouth, I’ll explain this slowly:  people adopt works from other languages, usually (not necessarily always) because the word works better than the local word.

So you have ever, even once, sat in your sauna drinking rooibos tea from an itsy-bitsy bamboo demitasse listening to the music blare from the frat, you can thank the Finns, Hungarians, South Africans Afrikaans speakers, the Dutch, French, the Dutch again, and Latin.  Or stop oppressing them.  Your choice. 

And since, like all the words above, your fellow PC indoctrinees students are using “Fiesta” to mean roughly exactly what it means in Spanish, I suggest you relax.  Or contact your ombudsman…

…oops. Norwegian.

That is all.

 

Live As We Live, But Not Near Us

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Eric Roper is a reporter for the Star Tribune.  He lives in Minneapolis but has no car.  How does he do itand is his solution right for all of us, as the Minneapolis City Council seems to believe?

Items to consider:  The reporter is single, he lives on a bus line, he works downtown where the buses go, his work hours are flexible, he has no family or friends outside the city to visit, and he grew up in New York where nobody has a car so he’s used to making do without one.  Plus, he evidently makes enough money that when he wants a car, he rents one.

Eric can afford to spend Time instead of Money to get around.  That works for single, childless, affluent, flexible, downtown residents, what we used to call “Yuppies” in the olden days.  I agree, Yuppies shouldn’t own cars.  For everybody else . . . .

Joe Doakes

I’ve noticed that about transit advocates and activists; they tend not to have kids. No after school activities, no unplanned doctor appointments, no friends just outside easy walking or safe biking (in the city) distance. And working in an industry that, largely, isn’t downtown.

Back when I had kids at home dependent on me for transportation to everything planned and unplanned, I used to dream about daring a transit advocate to try to survive a week of my life using nothing but buses.

Confronting The History Thief

Question: will the media force Elizabeth Warren – putatively the Democrat second choice after Hillary! – to meet with Cherokee women who’d like to talk with her about her phony claim to being a member of their tribe?

And profiting from it?

(Answer: Sure they will.  When they get done holding Ryan Winkler accountable for turning a SCOTUS justice into Stepin Fetchit).

A Rhetorical Question?

Joe Doakes from Como Oark emails:

The Complete Makeover of Society to Pamper Liberal Women Act is proceeding through the DFL dominated legislature. How many boondoggles can you find in this law?

I lost count at “a doodoo load”.

I may have boondoggle fatigue.

UPDATE:  Welcome, MPP readers.  Stop by.  Ask a question or two.  Find out all the ways the MPP “writers” have lied to you. 

If you approach things with an open mind, you’ll find that my old friend DG probably means well, but for all of her talking a about “fact-checking” really does little but filter things through her prejudices, and gets everything generally wrong.

But hope springs eternal!

Anyway, welcome.

Oceania Has Never Bullied Eastasia, Winston

The bill that the Metrocrats chose to call the “Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act” passed the Senate. 

Let’s look at what’s in a name.  Because the name “Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act” is intensely misleading – almost to a geometric fault.

There are so many names for this bill that are more appropriate:

The Redundant Feel-Good Act:  Every school district already has a bullying policy.  It’s the law. 

The PC Payoff Act:  This bill - probably soon to be a law – is a chit being paid back to the DFL’s supporters by the party currently in power, creating not only a protected class of students, but a super-di-duper protected class. 

The Full Employment For Bureaucrats Act:  This bill – which creates a huge unfunded mandate on top of all the others foisted on our school systems, to the point where many districts are nothing but mandate delivery systems with occasional spurts of “education” – will create a whole new class of administrators.  And they’ll belong to unions, who donate their dues money to the DFL. 

The Full Employment For Trial Lawyers Act:  The bill makes the entire process of dealing with “bullying” even more legalistic than it already is.  Legalistic means “designed to be controlled, and especially litigated (at an exquisitely expensive hourly rate) by lawyers”. 

The Type-Cast Your Child For Life Act:  Everything related to everything that can be defined as “bullying”, no matter how torturously, will become part of a child’s permanent academic record.  Which will affect childrens’ future chances at higher education, jobs, the military, jobs requiring security clearances and the like, long after the child has grown out of whatever phase they were in when they were bullies (and that’s assume they were rightly and justly accused of “bullying”, since the bill is also…)

“Stasi Had The Right Idea!” Act:   Anonymous informants?  Giving those who accuse others of bullying complete immunity from consequences if it turns out that the accusations were fabricated? 

The “Further Proof That North Dakotans Are Smarter Than Minnesotans” Act:  Other states – including our grown-up neighbor, my home state of North Dakota – address bullying by addressing bullying, passing laws that address actual behavior rather than creating the infrastructure for a network of secret denunciations and…

The Ideology Police Act:  …making all beliefs that don’t toe the PC line, especially personal religious beliefs, however manifested or stated, a form of behavior that needs to be watched and suppressed, overtly or subtly, “for the good of the children”.       

The “Let’s Have More Bullying, Not Less!” Act:  Bullying tends to go up, rather than down, in places with bullying bills.   

The Metrocrat Power Grab Of 2014 Act:  The bill – which does nothing to address bullying of children that isn’t already covered by existing policies – does coalesce more power to indoctrinate, to punish dissent from the state-sanctioned social views, and to extort more from the taxpayer in the bargain.  And it does it during the last session during which the DFL is guaranteed absolute power.                 

Could someone in the legislature please see to this?

One Of The “Meta” Tribe

Jon Stewart has his moments – but I’ve never, not once, thought the “Colbert Report” was funny. 

I know – he’s basically satirizing Bill O’Reilly, and that’s something that desperately needs to be done well.  Colbert isn’t it. 

Yesterday, Colbert got into trouble for a “racist” shot at Asian-Americans, exhaustively documented at “The Twitchy“. 

Here was the original tweet:

The worst part is that he and (worst of all) his defenders will say “It wasn’t really Colbert! He was acting the way a conservative host on Faux News, har di har, would act!”.

Except that Colbert and Ryan Winker and Maxine Waters do act that way.  And it’s happening more and more lately – to the point that the lefty noise machine is spending more and more time digging back to find objectionable japes on the right.  The other day, some lefty bobblehead on Twitter tried to tie gun owners to a remark Ted Nugent made…

…in 1990. 

Sorry, guys.  After you’ve dealt with Ryan WInkler in 2013, we’ll talk about Ted Nugent back during the George HW Bush administration.

Obama’s War On Womyn, Chapter MCCLXVI

Percentage of women in the federal civilian workforce drops sharply under The Lightworker:

Since Obama has been in office, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management, the percentage of women in the civilian federal work force has been shrinking. Before Obama took office, it was already smaller than the percentage in the overall national civilian labor force. Under Obama, it has gotten smaller still…about 44.4 percent of civilian federal workers were female in 1998.

In 2013, only about 43.5 percent were female — the lowest percentage in the sixteen years available.

In 1998, nationwide, about 46.3 percent of the civilian labor force was female — about 1.9 points more than the female share of the federal civilian labor force. In 2013, about 46.8 percent of the nationwide civilian labor force was female — about 3.3 points more than the female share of the federal civilian labor force.

The economy is worse for minorities, worse for women…

…and a never-ending spiff for DC residents.

…But Not For Thee, Throughout History

 Was I the only one who noticed – California Senator Diane Feinstein was silent during the part of the NSA scandal when it was just the peasants getting spied on…

…but she swung into action like Batwoman when it was her getting snooped?

For Sen. Dianne Feinstein, regulation of unmanned aerial vehicles has gotten personal.

In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday night, the California Democrat said a drone spied into the window of her home during a protest outside her house, and that privacy concerns for the technology were “major.”

…now.

Can anyone help but remember Feinstein’s time in San Francisco, where she moved to revoke all civilian handgun carry permits…

…after having herself issued a police permit?

When it was her life being threatened?

I walked to the hospital when my husband was sick. I carried a concealed weapon and I made the determination if somebody was going to try and take me out, I was going to take them with me.”

 In the world of the left, only the right people actually need civil rights.

I’m Jumpin’ NARN Flash, It’s A Gas, Gas, Gas…

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism, as the Twin Cities media’s sole source of honesty!

  • I’m in the studio today from 1-3.  I’ll have Senator Roger Chamberlain on, regarding the dueling Bullying Bills.  Then, we’ll talk with Kim Crockett about the ”Minnesota Exodus”, all of companies leaving Minnesota over taxes. (oops – that’s next week…)
  • Don’t forget the King Banaian Radio Show, on AM1570 “The Businessman” from 9-11AM this morning!
  • Tomorrow,  Brad Carlson is on “The Closer”!

(All times Central)

So tune in to all six hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, the Twin Cities’ media’s sole guardians of honest news. You have so many options:

Join us!

The “Stasi Bill” Vs. “The Bullying Bill”, Part 2

Senator Roger Chamberlain has been leading the push to try to replace Senator Dibble’s “bullying bill”, HF 826, with a bill that addresses bullying rather than serves as a bludgeon of indoctrination.

He wrote a piece on Facebook (among, I’m sure, other places) earlier this week that I think sums things up well.  I’m going to excerpt it below, with a few bits of emphasis added by me:

———-

I need to be blunt. HF 826 will turn our schools into indoctrination camps; it will create a climate of fear. Our children will be stripped of their innocence and humanity; HF 826 looks at children as nothing more than programmable machinery. Parents will lose more control, school districts lose control, and communities will lose control.
Another sad and disturbing fact is some elected officials and lobbyists do not care about the larger issue, the overall harm the bill will cause to children and parents. They will work to cut deals with the bill’s author and when they achieve their specific objective, and then they will walk away. One lobbyist said they will simply live with the results of the session.

What happened to the idea of doing what is right? Unfortunately it’s a fairly rare concept in government.

There is an alternative, senate file 2411 (SF 2411) it is based on North Dakota law, which, in 2011, was endorsed by our Attorney General Lori Swanson. It is short, 4 pages not 20 pages, clarifies the issue but most importantly it protects all kids equally, retains parental rights and local control.

HF 826 is not just another law people will learn to live with, it’s not MNSure, and these are children, your children and not some abstraction. People have no idea the damage this will cause; they have no idea what they are asking for.

———-

If you take action on no other issue this session (and I know this blog’s audience is prone to taking action on political issues), do it for this one.

 

Same As It Ever Was

The other day, a pack of the usual crowd of waxy yellow Leftyblog and Leftytweet buildup  teased themselves to ecstasy over this photo:

It’s a group of “Trail Life” boys – from a breakaway sect of Boy Scouts that bars openly gay members – “giving a Nazi salute” as they recited their creed. 

Except it wasn’t:

But it turns out that the boys were not saluting Hitler and contrary to the first Associated Press caption, they were not reciting a creed. The boys were singing “Taps,” a longtime Boy Scout tradition that the Texas Trail USA troop had adapted as their own.

The boys had gathered in a circle with their hands raised straight into the air. They gradually lowered their hands as they sang the song. It concludes with their hands flush against their side.

“It really misrepresented what was going on,” [John Stemberger, chairman of the board of Trail Life] told me. “There are children involved and that made it more outrageous. They were exploited and misunderstood.”

The picture accompanied what was actually apparently a relatively fair story.

But when it comes to the un-PC, “fair” isn’t part of the left’s playbook. 

Read the whole thing.