The North Loop Is Burning!, Part IV: Never Waste A Crisis

Last week, the Strib put out a breathtakingly obtuse editorial about the wave of crime sweeping the North Loop in Minneapolis – even as crime statewide continues a long-term downward trend.

The Strib’s editorial board blamed court for limiting the cops’ ability to arrest drunk and panhandlers – but, mirabile dictu, not a single word about getting the Mayor and City Council to take time off from virtue-signaling, political posturing, and  building exquisitely expensive monuments to their own wisdom.

But now, it’s time for the scapegoating:

There’s another, more intractable problem that Freeman, Segal, Arradondo and others wrestle with: guns. “We as a society have refused to provide law enforcement with the resources and laws needed to reduce the number of guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” Freeman said.

Bravo!

Getting guns out of the hands of those who should not have them!   That’s just brilliant!

So the MPD will start focusing on straw buyers, gangs and habitual offenders?

Don’t be silly, fellow peasant; it’s Minneapolis:

Options here are few, especially in light of the strength of the gun lobby.

Let’s make this absolutely clear:  the “Gun Lobby” is the only party to this discussion proposing anything that will actually affect crime; upcharging gun criminals,

Some attempts at municipal restrictions have been struck down. One notable exception is New York City, where carrying a gun requires a special city permit issued by the police commissioner.

And where crime 35 years ago was off the charts – with the same, exact laws they have today.  It was Giuliani and his “stop and frisk” and “broken windows” policies – none of which the government of Minneapolis would ever condone – that actually lowered crime in NYC.   And by the way – have you noticed how crime is trending since DiBlasio reversed Giuliani and Bloomberg’s policies?

Minnesota typically has had strong Second Amendment protections, but it may be time for Minneapolis to explore its own carve-out.

Because of all the carry permittees that are shooting people up in the North Loop?

Because all those north side gang bangers will get permits?

Because holding out bitterly against the rights of the law-abiding citizen has served Chicago so well?

The legislative delegations from Minneapolis and St. Paul, with assists from city leaders, should make their voices heard on resurrecting a gun safety bill that would require criminal background checks for gun sales made at gun shows, privately and online.  These are the same background checks gun shop owners are required to conduct, and a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll last year found strong support for such a measure — 82 percent.

Which only proves that 82 percent of the Strib’s remaining film of readers are idiots.   Criminals don’t take background checks.

No.  The responsibility for the carnage on the North Side and in the North Loop lies precisely in the laps of Mayor Hodges and the pack of virtue-signaling, PC fops that amuse themselves playing “government” at City Hall.  It is they that continue the policies that keep the North Side hopeless, keep the Minneapolis PD busy chasing PC trends, and keep the city as a whole ripe pickings for the criminal class.

Perhaps it’s Minneapolis’ idiot political class that should be taking background checks.

See you

The North Loop Is Burning!, Part II: Kotkin Was Right!

A few years ago, we wrote about an article by urban planner Joel Kotkin.

Kotkin is a left-leaning urban planning type – is there any other kind?   But he’s made himself persona non grata among urban planning wonks by swimming against the current train of thought, which holds that core cities will rise again; the “Creative Class” loves their inner-urban amenities, and the rest will be forced there by Met Council policies.

Kotkin notes that for the past generation, most growth in this country – economic and demographic – is happening in the outer suburbs and exurbs of major and mid-sized cities.  Kotkin also theorizes that cities are rapidly devolving into a demographic donut:

  1. A downtown area full of well-to-do, gentry – businesspeople, technocrats, upper-middle-class empty-nesting retirees, and “the creative class”.
  2. The rest of the city – where the civil service class warehouses the poor.

The progressive political class tries to conceal this by inducing suburbs to increase the amount of “Affordable Housing” – but we’re going astray, here.

Accoridng to the Strib’s editorial last week, it appears that the outer and inner donut rings are getting too close together:

“Downtown has become everything to everybody,” said Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, and that’s a problem. Few downtowns, he noted, have two major homeless shelters, along with the myriad social-services and outreach programs that have located downtown over the years.

Five will get you ten that this is followed by a call to move more of these facilities and services to the ‘burbs – so the people in the donut hole don’t have to deal with them.

“That may be something to rethink,” he said.

Huh.

So – for the past sixty years, the DFL has had iron-clad control over Minneapolis.   They created an interventionistic bureaucracy that fed off the welfare state, and created some of the worst income disparitie in the state.

And now they want someone to get the bums out of their perfectly-coiffed hair:

Panhandling is tougher to deal with, since a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2015 — Reed vs. the town of Gilbert — has been widely interpreted as a prohibition on panhandling laws thought to restrict free speech. The high court did not make a specific ruling on that issue, but the Columbia Law Review recently noted that “there is a real danger that virtually all panhandling laws will be invalidated, even though some serve to protect pedestrians and others.” Because of the court’s decision, Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said the city’s panhandling laws are no longer enforced.

 

Aggressive panhandling is not benign, and it often is committed by individuals with mental-health problems and addictions. There have been reports of panhandlers confronting individuals and demanding money, even chasing them for “donations.” It is possible that more narrowly targeted laws, aimed at harassing behavior or specific locations, such as near ATMs and transit stops, could survive legal scrutiny. Minneapolis officials should undertake a serious effort to craft legally defensible alternatives, rather than leave an apparently unenforceable law on the books.

Or, Minneapolis could continue to shred through low-income jobs like they grow on trees, enforcing unsustainable, job-killing minimum wage laws and making affordable housing a government-controlled racket.

Maybe that’ll work this time.

Tomorrow – Never Never Land,

The North Loop Is Burning!, Part I: “Solve The Problem We Helped Create!”

I’m not saying the Star Tribune’s Editorial Board is full of people that want a dictator to solve all our society’s problem.

am saying that if a dictator ever wanted to take over, they’d’ need society to be full of people like the Strib’s editors to have a chance of succeeding.

They ran an editorial this past week proposing some solutions to the problem of crime, violence and their bedfellows social and economic decay.

And it’s a masterpiece of double-talk, deflection, and putting a crisis to political use.

Home to nearly 6,000 businesses, downtown Minneapolis swells daily as more than 160,000 workers head in to the state’s economic hub. Its landscape is dotted with major businesses, banks, hotels and a massive football stadium.

Yep.  The idea of the hub-and-spoke downtown is alive and well, in a city that pretty much depends on the idea being propagated for eternity.

But unlike a generation ago, downtown is also a growing neighborhood, home to nearly 40,000 residents. By design, they tend to be educated, affluent professionals craving an urban lifestyle that includes the excitement of a nightlife powered by bars, theaters and restaurants along Hennepin Avenue and in the bustling North Loop.

“By design”.

Two very loaded words.

A generation ago, when I moved to the Twin Cities, the North Loop was a blighted area, nearly vacant after dark but for the occasional roughneck bar and strip joint.   Just down the road from North Minneapolis – which was just as big a problem to the city’s reputation then as it is today, although people were a lot less reticent to say so, or why, back then – it shared some of the same pathologies, albeit without a resident population.   I wrote about my encounter with the old North Loop 11 years ago.

Somewhere in the nineties, Minneapolis noticed the small groups of young entrepreneurs that were taking advantage of cheap, blighted property and, with the aid of a flood of federal and state tax money, decided to turn the North Loop into a little Brooklyn;  to replace all that urban grit with a hipster/young child-free-couple-friendly version; let’s call it “Urban Grit-land”, like an urban fantasy version of a Disney subdivision.

Not that the redevelopment of the North Loop was a bad thing.   More stuff going on is better than less stuff going on, all other things being equal.   The Strib, of course, supported the redevelopment – partly, one must imagine, because it increased the paper vallue of their property up on Eight Street North, the paper’s former printing shop and now headquarters, which allowed them to sell their old property down on 4th and Portland for a huge profit.

And let’s not forget – the Strib has always been a relentless supporter of the DFL politicians and policies that have left the neighboring North Side a blighted battlezone.

Of course, what they also did was put a big population of soft, wealthy (and, election results would seem to indicate, very unlikely to resist) targets within reach of a whole lot of urban grit that hasn’t yet been sanded and laquered to a fine patina yet:

But downtown also has a stubbornly rising crime rate that threatens all of the effort and investment in making this area vibrant and attractive. Robberies are up significantly. Homeless encampments are becoming more common. Weekends bring regular reports of shots fired. Complaints about aggressive panhandling are up, and some light-rail transit stations have become trouble spots that draw crowds of young people late at night.

You mean, exactly as we warned them they would?

These are the early warning signs that can signal greater trouble in the future. Spiraling crime can scare off prospective residents and employers. Residents of downtown, unlike those in most neighborhoods, tend to be renters, for whom moving is as easy as not renewing a lease. Businesses, too, can vote with their feet if they or their employees become uncomfortable.

The Strib then goes on to prescribe some “solutions” for the problems that – as we’ll see – they helped create.

We’ll be looking at this for the rest of the week.

Tomorrow:  Kotkin Was Right!

Calling All Davids

Last week, we noted that the Strib had rejected an op-ed by Sarah Cade – a center-left African-American woman who happens to be a competition shooter, a friend of mine, and the owner of one of the most rightous ARs I’ve seen.

By way of trying to outflank the Strib’s abusive monopoly on political opinion publishing, I posted her entire op-ed on this blog last week in its entirety.

Yesterday came news that, with the advance of a “Stand your Ground” bill to hearings in the House Rules Committee this week, the Strib ran a series of fact-free opinion pieces against the legislation – but not a single piece in support.    Against the fact-free – and largely Bloomberg-financed – dreck, not a single word of learned response was allowed to see the light of day in this state’s misbegotten “newspaper of record”.

I”m just a little blog.  I’m David’s left toenail, going up against Goliath.

Well, you and me – we are David’s left toenail.

I’m going to urge you do a couple of things:

  • Pass Sarah’s article around; I’m going to reprint it again below the jump.
  • If you’re on social media, post this on Twitter.  (I’ll also be posting on Twitter, as dirty as that makes me feel).
  • If you’re a Facebook user, share Sarah’s Facebook post, with the facts of the situation and the text of her op-ed.   .

It’s not much.  But it’s the best that we can do.

And every once in a while, David gets in a lucky shot.

More on the “Stand your Ground” hearings later this week.

P.S. to the Strib:  it’s been a while since I publicly said I sincerely hope the free market drives that little DFL PR shop you call a “newspaper” out of business for good.

The more things chance, the less they change.

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Journalism Without Limits!

Well, the title is a little misleading.  Where I wrote “without limits”, I guess I what I meant was “no bottom to the barrel”.

Because in the arc of downfall for the City Pages, from its heady days in the eighties publishing James Lileks, and its journalistic peak in the nineties, where they ran a lot of excellent reporting, the CP just keeps falling.

And every time I think “they can’t possibly get any worse as reporters?”   They somehow pull it off.

I didn’t think they could get any worse than Dan Haugen’s factual malaprops – but sure enough, Kevin Hoffman was right there with the onanistic panty-sniffing disguised as high-school-caliber schadefreud.  From thence, we’ve had a couple years of the ongoing gift of hilarity that is Corey Zurowski’s writing, which has been its own reward.

So given that the City Pages seems to have no lower limit, I’ll refrain from saying Pete Kotz’s piece about the GOP’s pushback on cities trying to jam down $15 minimum wage laws bespeaks any descent below any journalistic or factual pale.

Because there’s always more ground below the barrel.

But oh, lord – it’s getting worse.

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The Strib’s New Editorial Writer

Allison Sherry added this opinion column – essentially, a piece of delated-PR for the Angie Craig campaign – in Monday’s Strib:

Incoming Republican U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis made his career as a provocative talk-radio personality who seemed to relish holding court on the fringes of the political mainstream.

On any given day, he could offer up inflammatory comments about slavery or assert that unmarried women just want government to pay for their birth control.

Now Lewis faces the biggest test of his political career as he must rapidly transition from radio provocateur into a full-time member of Congress.

Sherry is a new member of the Strib’s ignominious “columnist’s row”, so it’s to be expected she’ll start her beat by reprising Angie Craig’s campaign chanting points – which the Strib considers “sources”, by the way.

Lewis seems to get it, though:

“I’m not an expert, though I played one on the radio for 20 years,” Lewis said in the basement of the Capitol complex, fidgeting with a bottle of water. “It is humbling and sobering when all of [a] sudden you see Rep. Jason Lewis on things.”

Ms. Sherry seems well fitted to follow in Nick Coleman’s steps.

In a more serious vein:  why would the Strib be running what is basically a hit piece on the new Congressman, before he’s even sworn in?

Easy.  Angie Craig is already fundraising for a rematch.  To the DFL and Strib, the 2018 race is already underway.

CORRECTION:  It seems Ms. Sherry is actually not a columnist, but one of the Strib’s reporters.

I regret the error.

The Strib: Lowering Their Own Bar?

The Strib “reported”, after a fashion, about attitudes about Obamacare after an election where it was primarily responsible for ejecting the DFL from power in the Minnesota Senate.

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And it’s either a masterpiece of selective fact, or some fairly incurious reporting:

Anxiety is greatest among Minnesotans with preexisting medical conditions. Before the ACA, insurance companies could simply deny them coverage.

Which is technically true.

After which, in Minnesota at least, they would get insurance from one of the state-subsizied high risk plans.

Before MNSure, 92% of Minnesotans were insured, via the private market, a public plan, or some combination.   It was the highest share in the nation.   Of the 8% who didn’t have insurance, the vast majority were people who didn’t want insurance – mostly young, mostly healthy.  There were exceptions – but they were few, rare, and mostly the product of poor information and a pre-Obama media who were actively pitching the “47 million uninsured Americans…” narrative.

Today, the state says half as many Minnesotans are uninsured – but networks have shrunk (in vast swathes of Minnesota, only one plan is available), premiums have skyrocketed for individual members (like me!),  people could not keep their doctor (The Lightworker’s promises notwithstanding…)

So why is the Strib story – a “Team Report” by Jeremy Olson, Christopher Snowbeck and Glenn Howatt, no less – either so slanted or uninformed?

To borrow a Glenn Reynolds phrase – if you treat them as DFL operatives with bylines, it all makes sense.

A Slip Of The Lip. Or Typing Finger. Whatever.

Preya Samsundar continues to beat the stuffing out of the Twin Cities institutional media in reporting on Minneapolis DFL legislative candidate Ilhan Omar’s fuzzy marital history.

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Only this time, she may have done it with the unwitting help of the City Pages’ DFLer-with-byline Cory Zurowski:

Whether or not Mr. Zurowski realizes it, he has shed new light into the Omar case. The story, which was originally published on Wednesday, October 26, Mr. Zurowski wrote that Ilhan Omar’s father is named “Nur Said Elmi Mohamed”. A day later, Zurowski’s article was changed and now Omar’s father’s name appears in the article as “Nur Omar Mohamed”.

Read the whole thing.

And then ask yourselves why nobody in the Twin Cities media is covering this story.

To use a Glenn Reynolds line, it helps if you think of reporters as Democrat operatives with bylines.  Who, in this case, don’t want to be barred from the Saint Paul Grill.

“You Are A Horrible Person”, She Explained

It’s becoming a tradition; every year, the Star Tribune editorial board theatrically laments the “death of civility” in Minnesota politics.

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Or, to be accurate, the paper – like most other media outlets in the Twin Cities – laments the fact that occasionally, someone hurts a liberal’s feelings.

Last week, the paper ran an op Ed by a Susan Mallison. And, let’s be honest – the episode she relates was pretty darn uncivil:

I wore my Hillary shirt to the fair. As I stood at the Star Tribune booth at the bottom of the Grandstand ramp, suddenly a man approached me so closely that he was invading my personal space (nose to nose). He sneered at me and snarled, “Do you like my picture?” as he pulled something out of his pocket. I was very frightened by his actions, and felt, at that moment, the picture he was shoving toward my face would be of his penis.

It was a picture of Hillary wearing prison garb. I recognized the picture as the image at the Minnesota Republican Party booth that I had seen earlier. The man had mounted it on cardboard, covered it with plastic wrap and was carrying it around in his pocket. Presumably he was looking for people wearing Hillary shirts in order to threaten them.

That’s a little scary – and, let’s be honest, no different than experiences I have had from the other side.   The Strib will never, ever, ever take the faintest shard of interest in any of those, naturally.

But when Susan Mallison cries out “who killed civility”, the response is “after all, Sue, it was you”:

I intend to proudly continue to wear both my Hillary T-shirt and the button that I bought at the DFL booth at the fair. The button says, “Love Trumps Hate.”

The purple faced, outraged caricatures like those that Ms. Mallison relates to us are the comic book version of the real incivility in this state, and in our society: The lumpen, plush bottom, ELCA-coiffed, Volvo driving, Garrison Keillor upsucking, Whole Foods shopping, free range alpaca wearing plush bottomed yoohoos who pin on their DFL issued flair and carry the message that “either you are with us, with the DFL, with Herself, or you are full of hate”.

These are the people who have debased the term “hate” unto meaninglessness.

In your own way, Susan Mallison,  you are no better.

Our Loathsome Media – Here And Everywhere

This blog has always been dedicated to the idea that the mainstream media is a PR firm for the Democrat party nationally, and the DFL in Minnesota.

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While there are capable, honest reporters in the Twin Cities and nationally who do make a level effort to cover the news rather than paint Democrat toenails and safeguard their dinner reservations at Brothers, it’s this blog’s considered opinion that the American media has long since ceased being a “check and balance” on anyone but conservatives and the GOP.

It’s been much in the news this past week.

Michael Goodwin at the NYPost notes the extent to which the mainstream media has become, without no hyperbole whatsoever, an arm of Hillary Clinton’s campaign:

A recent article by its media reporter, Jim Rutenberg, whom I know and like, began this way: “If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?”

Whoa, Nellie. The clear assumption is that many reporters see Trump that way, and it is note­worthy that no similar question is raised about Clinton, whose scandals are deserving only of “scrutiny.” Rutenberg approvingly cites a leftist journalist who calls one candidate “normal” and the other ­“abnormal.”

Clinton is hardly “normal” to the 68 percent of Americans who find her dishonest and untrustworthy, though apparently not a single one of those people writes for the Times. Statistically, that makes the Times “abnormal.”

Also, you don’t need to be a ­detective to hear echoes in that first paragraph of Clinton speeches and ads, including those featured prominently on the Times’ Web site. In effect, the paper has seamlessly ­adopted Clinton’s view as its own, then tries to justify its coverage.

But that’s a bit of bias that has long, deep roots; most of the American media seemed eager to finish for Bill Clinton the job Monica Lewinski started.

Meanwhile, locally, at a Donald Trump rally last week, “protesters” – pro-Democrat agitators – repeatedly attacked, hit and spat on people attending a Donald Trump meeting in Minneapolis.  You‘d never know if from most of the media, as John Gilmore reports:

But not even I was prepared for what followed: a sustained assault on citizens attempting to leave that venue while Minneapolis police stood by, for the most part. Some performed admirably and to them much credit should be given. Yet it wasn’t nearly enough.

There were first hand reports of people being spat upon, physically assaulted and some who had their property stolen. There were even reports of people themselves being spray painted. Many of those committing the assaults on white people were identified as black, but certainly not exclusively.

Minneapolis has become a lawless city, on the verge of becoming yet another Third World City, and last Friday night proved it beyond doubt. Those who have a different political view from the reigning majority were persecuted for simply exercising their constitutional right of assembly.

Twin Cities media reporting of the night’s events proved a mixed bag. There is no doubt that had the political polarities been reversed the coverage would have been far more extensive, breathless and condemnatory. But because the victims were republicans, much was glossed over. Which is to say, the violence.

Minnesota media should be ashamed of itself but it doesn’t really possess the capacity.

Read the whole thing.

For the sake of the city’s good, conscientious reporters, I do hope there’s some sort of future out there in writing actual news.

That future is not with the current legacy news media.

Lie First, Lie Always: The Strib Marinades In The Bloomberg Kool-Aid

The Star/Tribune’s editorial board is a group of people, apparently in their sixties and seventies, who seem to spend their days pining away for a time when the media could say anything they want without fear of being caught out in public by people who know better.

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Those days are long gone.  Only the editorial board doesn’t seem to know it, or recognize it, as shown in last week’s editorial calling for, at the least, hearings on a “universal background check” bill.

And like everyone on the institutional left, they participate – with all the grace of a German jazz band – in the left’s only real tactic on the issue of gun control; Lie First, Lie Always.

Why, it’s almost as if Heather Martens, in addition to being a State Representative, is a Strib editor…

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The Peasants Are Restless

A Survey USA poll shows Hillary losing to every single GOP candidate.

In Minnesota.

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Longtime friend of the blog Fresch Fisch writes in re poll (about which more later today):

I predict the Minnesota Poll will come out in a couple of weeks showing her back on top.

True.

But she won’t just be back on top, but on top by a margin guaranteed to discourage GOP turnout.

Nope. No Media Bias Here.

Last week, we noted that Heather Martens – leader of “Gun Safety” group “Protect” MN, and serial liar – demanded $1,500 to discuss “gun safety” on my show, with me, someone with at least some track record of knowing the issue in some detail.

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We also noted that she did appear on KARE11 to debate “gun safety” with Andy Parrish, a GOP strategist, who is not noted as a Second Amendment activist or someone with an especial command of the facts of the issue (which is not to disparage him; I don’t know any of his areas of expertise, either).

Today comes confirmation that Martens did not ask, or recieve, $1,500 from KARE11.

Why, it’s almost as if Martens knows that certain Twin Cities media outlets will paint her toenails on the air, and she’s avoiding having to deal with anyone who can point out her chronic, vocational mendacity.

I said “almost”.

I have no idea why.

My Letter To The Strib

After reading Heather Martens’ challenge in the Strib yesterday, I wrote this letter to the Editor.

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And since there’s not a chance in hell the Strib will ever print it, I’ll run it here, too:


In her October 19 reply to DJ Tice’s October 11 editorial, Heather Martens says that the Star/Tribune should “do their homework, force the gun lobby and its friends to defend their indefensible opposition to important new policies”

On behalf of my many friends and colleagues in the Second Amendment human rights movement, I accept the challenge! I urge the Star/Tribune to set up a debate between Ms. Martens and her colleagues and members of the “gun lobby”, on neutral ground, on camera and on the record, with mutually-agreed-upon rules.

As Ms. Martens notes, it would be an essential act of journalism, and it’d part of that “conversation about guns” that everyone is always asking for.

If not us (and Ms. Martens), who? If not now, when?

I welcome this paper’s initiative in helping get this vital debate organized.

Please contact me; I’ll be happy to help set things up.

Mitch Berg
Saint Paul


What the heck – it was worth a try, for laughs.

Dear Entire Twin Cities Media

Congrats!

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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.

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.

Ask Not What You Can Do From Another Country…

…rather, ask why you’re doing it, and others can/will not.

MPR’s Bob Collins ran a piece earlier this week about “How MPR is able to Broadcast from Cuba“.

And just to be clear – he was focusing on how they dealt with the technical hurdles of broadcasting from a country that is the Northwestern Quatrosphere’s little enclave of the Third World.  And I’ll cop to it; the former radio producer in me geeks out at that part:

…when [MPR technical geek Rob Byers] and his team sat down and examined the map of undersea cables in the Caribbean, they found almost no connectivity to the rest of the world, save for two connections to Venezuela. But because both MPR’s sibling company American Public Media and Cuban state radio (ICRT) are associate members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), it was possible to make a satellite connection from Cuban radio in Havana to a downlink in Geneva, Switzerland, and from there to a site in London that could connect to MPR in St. Paul.

Collins adds:

They found a better way. A direct satellite uplink from Havana to St. Paul, using a downlink at the Fitzgerald Theater and a backup site at Twin Cities Public Television.

Geek vibes.

But Collins also hastens (or hastened, after the subject came up in the comments):

…people asked about political and legal hurdles. I checked back with Rob and Brian. Brian says they’ve asked from the start whether there would be any editorial oversight of the broadcasts by Cuban authorities and they have been assured there would not be.

Rob says he has not encountered legal hurdles.

Right – but MPR is apparently going to Cuba to broadcast the Minnesota Orchestra concert – a fairly uncontroversial-looking program of Beethoven, Bernstein, Prokofiev, and Cuban composer Alejandro García Caturla.

Is it especially controversial to note that there’s a reason they didn’t ask (and I’m going to skip past the cliches here) Michael Medved or Dennis Prager or, um, yours truly to broadcast from Cuba.   The Castro regime isn’t looking for a challenge, and MPR will be the last media outlet to deliver one.

And on the one hand, that’s fine – challenging the authoritarian status quo isn’t MPR Classical’s mission.

On the other hand – Cuba is a human rights offender on a massive scale.  The plight of Cuban dissendent journalists – or any dissidents, really – is the sort of thing that makes anyone who thinks freedom is a good thing a little queasy.

And I have to wonder – from what other authoritarian basket case would MPR pursue a broadcast?

That Fourth Estate Of Ours

When was Mark Dayton’s last alcoholic relapse?

What sort of psychotropic medications is he on? And why?

Our media here in the Twin Cities doesn’t think you, mere peasant, have a “need to know”.

But never let it be said the Twin Cities media won’t hold big government’s feet in the fire over the tough issues!

Because, boy howdy, they sure will!

MPR: Pounding That Wedge For All It’s Worth

For the record, I’m a fan of MPR’s Bob Collins – if for no other reason than few people write about aviation issues as well as he does (and there are other reasons).

Which is not to say that I agree with him all the time.  We’ve had our disagreements

The Minority Case:  And this Collins blog post is one of them; it quotes a story from Tim Pugmire about an incoming state representative John Heintzeman of Nisswa, who scored a big upset win earlier this month.   Pugmire quoted Heintzeman as saying:

“People of faith need to be able to know that they can practice their faith in the way, in the tradition that their family has over many, many years, without being afraid of somehow violating the law,”

 Collins follows:

“Rural values” and “traditional values” are fairly vague terms, which are often left to the rest of us — city slickers — to figure out what they define exactly. They often are intertwined with religion or “faith,” as Heintzeman said.

 And that usually leads to the obvious question: whose religion and whose faith?

For the benefit of the audience that Collins is writing to – the Volvo-with-a-reproduction-“Wellstone”-sticker driving, free-range-alpaca wearing, straight-ticket-DFL-voting Macalester alumni set that is the “must win” demographic for MPR, I’ll explain it.

It’s about Islam. 

It’s so the young Somali woman working at the Midway WalMart need not worry about feeling racist, faith-ist repercussions when she politely asks an infidel like yours truly to please move the pork chops across the scanner, since her observance of her faith doesn’t allow her to handle them. 

Oh, it probably also covers cases like the photographers and bakers and florists who, for religious reasons not a lot different than the young Somali, tried to beg off participating in gay weddings, even trying in some cases to refer the “customers” to gay-wedding-friendly competition, leading to test cases (since that was what the “customers” were looking for in the first place).   And, yes, sometimes those concerns aren’t purely individual in scope.

It could even – hard as this may be to believe – cover religious freedom for people whose beliefs are more in line with the MPR audiences’

Really, it’s about protecting the minority from the majority – which is supposed to be what a representative republic (as opposed to a democracy) does. 

In other words – everyone’s religion and faith.  Or even their complete lack of either. 

Rights are rights. 

Oh, there’s more to it than that.  There’s a wedge to be pounded:

Pick Your Herbicide:  Perhaps you’ve heard the story; a GOP district chair in Big Stone County, whose day job is was working at a Hardware Hank, did a no-no; he said really stupid things about Muslims.  Of course, this is red vegan meat for the DFL establishment – at least in part because it’s more fun for them than some other stories that wecouldbe talking about. 

Collins finds a greater significance in it, though (emphasis added):

In Big Stone County, the chairman of the Republican Party is defining those values, at least for his neck of the woods.

Jack Whitley posted this yesterday on his Facebook page.

Let’s make this clear: a guy who was elected chairman of the GOP in the fifth-smallest county in Minnesota, a county with fewer registered voters than MPR has assistant producers, is “defining” “rural values”?

Would that be in the same way that Paris Hilton or Plukey Duke “define” “urban values?”

No?

Naturally, everyone from Ken Martin to CAIR jumped on the statement… 

“It’s very disturbing to see a Republican Party leader engage in outright bigotry and hate,” the Council for American-Islamic Relations said in a statement calling on Republicans to disavow Whitley’s values. “Without a clear rejection of these inaccurate and intolerant remarks, the party’s silence will appear to be agreement.”…

 …““How such a violently bigoted person can hold a position of leadership in the Minnesota Republican Party is confounding and absolutely unacceptable,” DFL Chair Ken Martin said in a statement which called on Downey to demand Whitley quit his party position.

…using it to impugn all Republicans and, as Collins seems to be flirting with, the whole idea of “rural” values themselves.

Naturally (as Collins notes), MNGOP chair Keith Downey did condemn the statements.  Some of Ken Martin’s oompa-loompas have wondered publicly and in the media why Downey doesn’t just fire Mr. Whitley; perhaps that’d work in the DFL, but chairs of GOP house, senate or county districts are elected by their members, and need to be removed by them (as readers of this blog have learned over the years).

But this isn’t about inside-the-GOP party mechanics:

Too-Free Association:  In 2008, Barack Obama referred to Americans with “rural” values as bitter, gun-clinging Jeebus freaks.   The Obama coalition relied on creating a big, sharp, thick wedge between “mainstream” America – in the stereotypes, the part that is white and mainstream-Christian and straight and usually male – and anyone else. 

And the Minnesota DFL is no better; Minnesota’s political map is the results of decades of wedging city vs. suburbs, metro vs. outstate, white vs. black, and in the case of MPR, us vs. them.

And there sure could be more wedges:  if the Minnesota media ever held the DFL to account for, say, Keith Ellison (who openly supports Hamas, whose charter calls for the extermination of Jews), or Phyllis Kahn (who bent party rules, and party dogma about election fraud, to the breaking point in keeping a Muslim insurgency from ousting her at her district convention) I’m sure that could create some wedges, too. 

But nobody wants those wedges, apparently.

I Am Just A Caveman:  I’m still trying to figure out what Mr. Heintzeman’s statement – about protecting freedom of religious conscience from majority coercion, which is a right most people support unless it transgresses Big Gay – has to do with Mr. Whitley’s outburst. 

And I imagine I will be for some time.

A Campaign Ad, Courtesy MPR

So I was listening to Minnesota Public Radio news yesterday as I was driving home from some errands.

The newscaster introduced a story, saying that politicians were jumping into their final days of their campaigns around Minnesota. She then threw to a story by MPR’s Brett McNealy.

It starts with a bit of the day of the campaigning life of Keith Ellison, extreme ultraliberal and darling of the Kenwood brie and chablis set, hoofing it about North Minneapolis, doing his last minute get out the vote efforts.

And it ended there, too.

No word from the Doug Daggett campaign – Ellisons opponent. No word from Margaret Martin, a Republican running in North Minneapolis (and longtime friend of this blog). 

Any word from anyone but Keith Ellison?

Nope. Just a little radio kissyface for Keith Ellison, with a plaintive reminder mixed in the Republicans are expected to do well.

I wonder – does this piece have to be counted as a campaign contribution?

Things You’ll Never See Or Hear On The Twin Cities Mainstream Media

Governor Dayton is, by all accounts, a decent enough person.

My next-door neighbor, coincidentally, is a decent enough person too.  She’s also got terrible eyesight as she approaches her eighties, and doesn’t belong behind the wheel, by her own admission.  Nice lady; no car.

One need not attack Governor Dayton’s personality to note that something’s just a tad…off.  In 2005, he shut down his Senate office after an unattributed terror threat, leaving Washington to be run by just the other 534 other Congresspeople, prompting left-slanted Time to call him the worst Senator in America.

He left the Senate in 2006, amid rumors he’d had an alcoholic relapse.

It took the DFL and Alita Messinger four years to rehabilitate him.   They managed this with a complete blackout on any facts about Governor Dayton’s health or mental state.  I pointed it out during the 2010 campaign; the Strib wrote precisely one piece about Dayton’s mental health – a piece by Rachel Stassen-Berger and reliable DFL shill Baird Helgeson.

That appeared in December of 2009.  Roughly 10 months before most Minnesota voters started caring about the governor race; the very definition of “punching the ticket early”.

And today?  Almost five years after that single, solitary report about the Governor’s state of health?

John Gilmore at Minnesota Conservatives has covered this issue more than most:

Dayton hasn’t released his medical records so we don’t know for sure which medications he is being administered. It defies firsthand experience and common sense, however, to pretend that he is not frequently heavily medicated in public.

Can anyone imagine an engaged Mark Dayton on a full time basis, in public view most of the day for a solid week? Of course not. He’s carefully handled to appear for only limited amounts of time in public. Even then, most people cringe out of compassion given his performance…

Media know how impaired Dayton has become but don’t particularly care: they’re on the same team and none of them would do anything to harm the progressive agenda. If a republican governor, however, were this manifestly troubled, Minnesota media would cloak themselves in the phony “the public has a right to know” rubric and have at it.

The Minnesota media that herniated itself to get to a story about Rod Grams’s son (of whom Grams had not had custody in some time), to a long litany of would-be (but never-were) scandals about Norm Coleman, about Tom Emmer’s 20 year old driving records, about…anything with the  eternally teflon-coated Tim Pawlenty, can’t be bothered to cover actual news about a sitting governor with a past that would make any potential employer sit up and go “er…let’s talk about…”

It’s campaign ad fodder, of course:

And then there’s this – a compendium of Mark Dayton video appearances.  And tell me – is this someone who’s “leading the polls by nine points”, or whatever, by grace of his merits as a leader?

Or listen to this speech – the infamous speech at the Humphrey Institute in September, 2012; the one whose video the Humphrey Institute had the balls to claim it couldn’t release because “videotape is too expensive”, and whose video no TV station will release.  Read John Gilmore’s account for the mental visuals whose literal visuals the powers that be don’t think you, Citizen, need to see.

And then ask yourself not just “should this man be governor”.

Ask yourself “is our media incompetent, or in the bag”.

Or both, of course.

Profile In Courage

The DFL Legislature raises business taxes.  Governor Dayton scuttled away from his party.

The DFL legislature’s idea for plundering taxpayers to pay for Zygi Wilf’s real estate improvements – “E-pulltabs” – raised roughly 1/1000% as much money as it was supposed to.  Governor Dayton huffed and puffed and blamed it all on other people. 

The DFL raised the minimum wage, without adding a tip credit for restaurant workers who frequently make many times more than a “living wage” from tips.  Governor Dayton quietly tossed the idea partly under the bus when his sons pointed out it was hurting their restaurant. 

When people started talking about legalizing marijuana, Governor Dayton was for it before against it before he was for it before he was whatever he is today. 

Dayton favored releasing sex offenders, before he opposed it, before…oh, hell, I don’t know.

And Dayton took great pride in MNSure before he washed his hands of it.

Oh yeah – and although the administration he largely appointed and which reports to him was busted trying to jockey MNSure’s premium rates, Governor Dayton apparently pleads complete ignorance

It’d be great if someone in the Minnesota media would press the Governor on this – but of course, he isn’t talking with the press this week.  Not that anyone in the press would ask him if he were talking to the press. 

The GOP has been railing – correctly – on Dayton’s competence. 

The competence of MInnesota’s press may be the bigger issue.

Evidence In The Affirmative

Last week, we reported that a KSTP/Survey USA poll shows Stewart Mills leading Rick Nolan by eight points.

As we’ve noted for years and years, polls are deeply imperfect (sorry, Nate Silver), and there’s only one poll that matters, and it’s coming up two weeks from tomorrow.

But if there were any evidence needed that Rick Nolan is nervous about his prospects, it’s yesterday’s interview with Esme Murphy on WCCO

…which he spent sniveling like a four-year-old who didn’t get ice cream about outside money’s effect on politics.

Apparently he’s feeling cut out of the DCCC’s flood of Franken money…

(Courtesty @JohnHockey on Twitter)

Our Incoherent Newspaper Of Record

On “Up and At ‘Em”, on the lesser talk station this morning, Ben Kruse said (I’ll paraphrase) if you left out the parts about Governor Dayton, this past weekend’s endorsement of the incumbent governor actually reads a little like an endorsement of Jeff Johnson. 

And Ben had a point:

Johnson, 47, is gubernatorial material…Voters who want a state government that’s leaner and more trusting of the marketplace to solve public problems can opt for Johnson without concern that he is unprepared, excessively doctrinaire or temperamentally ill-suited to the office….Unlike Dayton, Johnson is unfettered to Education Minnesota, the teachers’ union.

[Remember the emphasized bit.  I’ll be making a return appearance]

 He’s eager to pursue changes in teacher licensure and tenure rules that might strengthen the state’s teaching corps — versions of which Dayton vetoed…Johnson is also more open to changing the state’s tax code in ways that would better align Minnesota competitively with other states, by broadening the sales tax to more consumer purchases while reducing its rate.

All of that’s true.  

But they went with Governor Messinger Mark Dayton anyway. 

Minnesota is back where it belongs. It has resumed its strong position among Midwestern states in employment, incomes, educational attainment and quality of life. Gov. Mark Dayton can’t take sole credit for the rebound from recession — nor does this modest leader make that claim. But the DFLer’s stewardship since 2011 has made a positive contribution to recovery, and his aims for a second term would continue that course.

That is, of course, the narrative that the Alliance for a Better Minnesota has spent millions to establish in this state.

The truth, of course, is that most of the “positive contributions” happened in the first two years of Messinger’s Dayton’s term.  Since the DFL took unfettered control of state government, unemployment has dropped mostly due to people taking crummy jobs or leaving the workforce. 

But we digress.

Like An Ink-Stained Nadia Comaneci:  I originally entitled this piece “Our Senile Newspaper of Record” – but I changed my mind; it takes some mental chops to do the logical gymnastics the Strib goes through to get to painting Dayton’s term as a positive and Dayton as a capable leader:

State government stability is itself a competitive asset, one Minnesotans should not want to jeopardize again.

What the hell does that even mean?

The answer:  whatever the narrator wants it to mean.  

For example, the Strib would have you believe that before Mark Dayton, Minnesota was a cold Bolivia, apparently:

Dayton deserves credit for the fiscal stability that has returned on his watch. His push to correct the oversized income tax cuts enacted in 1999 and 2000 was important to that change, as was the discipline to enlarge the state’s reserves and repay more than $2 billion owed to school districts.

Dayton “paid back” the shift entirely because he delayed the GOP’s attempt to “pay it back” until the DFL could claim credit

The Special Interest Drinking Game:  Now – with a reminder from Jack and Ben’s show this morning – let’s read this next graf and go back to the Strib’s muted praise for Johnson:

The state’s stronger balance sheet leads a long list of first-term accomplishments justifying Dayton’s re-election. Also there: All-day kindergarten. Beefed-up funding for preschool for needy families. Same-sex marriage. Human services funding reform, saving Minnesota taxpayers an estimated $1 billion a year. A higher minimum wage. An end to a decade of disinvestment in higher education. Support for the Rochester infrastructure that’s crucial to Mayo Clinic expansion. A renewed partnership with local governments, slowing the increase in property taxes. Alternative teacher licensure and teacher performance evaluation.

If this were a drinking game – “Special Interest Shots”, where you took a drink every time the paper mentioned a bit of DFL special interest pork – you’d be dead of alcohol poisoning now. 

Making History Out Of Nothing At All:  Now – Minnesota’s Obamacare exchange is a disaster.  Perhaps you’ve heard.  It was in all the papers – for a while, anyway. 

Heeeere’s whitewash!

Dayton’s credits also include extending the benefits of health insurance to more than 250,000 previously uninsured Minnesotans, by embracing the federal Affordable Care Act.

This is simply false.

92% of Minnesotans were insured before MNSure – and every single Minnesotan that was involuntarily uninsured before 2012 could have been covered through one existing program or another. 

The “250,000 previously uninsured” are insured today – at exquisite cost to the taxpayer – are there mostly because the law says they have to be. 

Not because Mark Dayton did such a helluvva job.   

I’ll give the Strib points for consistency.  While their praise for his first term was a checklist of special interest sops, their outlook for the second term is…:

The second-term agenda Dayton outlines befits him. It’s substantial but not slick, and focused on jobs. He wants state government to be an ally of Minnesota’s high-tech industries by better meeting their need for highly skilled workers, and of the health care and medical technology industries by shoring up the University of Minnesota Medical School. He wants a literacy push to boost chances that children read proficiently by grade three, and he seeks more funding for early ed.

He also wants clean energy and robust infrastructure investments, including expansion of light-rail transit, to continue.

…more of the same. 

Alliance?  What Alliance?:  Finally?  The Strib editorial team apparently did their internships writing for Fidel Castro (emphasis added):

Dayton, 67, is making his sixth and what he says will be his last bid for statewide office. After a lifetime of public service, he’s a well-known quantity who is offering Minnesota something rare — a governorship unbound by calculations about how to win the next election.

Dayton’s governorship has never been bound by anything but the fact that he is controlled, no less than a marionette, puppet or organ-grinder monkey – by the special interests that floated his candidacy and call, via the “Alliance for a Better MN”, all the shots in his office. 

 We expect that will look a lot like what Minnesotans saw in Dayton’s first term. If it does, this state will be well served.

If Dayton is re-elected, Minnesota will deserve what it gets.

UPDATE:  Fixed the link to the Strib piece.

For Whom The Shill Polls

As part of a campaign to portray his election inevitable, because the economy is juuuuust hunky dory, Governor Messinger Dayton and his praetorian guard, the Twin Cities media, is pushing hard the notion that unemployment is down. 

Jeff Johnson rightly responds that underemployment – people working for less than they’re qualified for, because they’re taking any job they can get – is endemic and growing – a claim supported by the fact that tax revenues have not only fallen short of forecasts every month since the DFL budget took hold, but that the revenues are falling farther and farther behind. 

The media, especially the Strib, is in full cover mode, doing its best to downplay the underemployment statistics while cheerleading the top-line unemployment figures.

The interesting part?  The Strib itself, in the form of Lori Sturdevant – hardly a GOP sympathizer – last spring

So which is it, Strib?  A huge problem, or no problem at all (until December)?

Go ahead.  Tell me the media isn’t actively working to get Governor Messinger Flint-Smith Dayton re-elected.