Bulletin Bulletin Bulletin

Dog licks dog.

Donald Trump makes a huge, vainglorous declaration he’s never going to have to convince a legislature to support.

Facebook is full of cat videos.

Cheap hotels are often sketchy.

The Vikings don’t look very good this year.

And Minnesota’s real Governor, Tina Flint-Smith, former director of Planned Parenthood Infanticide Hut, pulled the wires and worked the remote control so as to make “Governor” Mark Dayton mumble words that sounded like the state won’t be investigating the goings-on at the non-profit, and there’s no way, nosirreebob that the Abattoir on Vandalia has ever trafficked in baby parts, no way no how, how about those Saints?

And it sure is humid out there.  Also big news.

Residual Force

Former mayor of the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers Andy Aplikowski is throwing his hat in the ring for a lateral transfer, declaring his candidacy for the Minnesota State Senate in SD 35.  He’s running to replace retiring Senator Branden Peterson.  

He’ll probably have an easier race in reliably read SD 35, in the far north suburbs of the Twin Cities, THAN he did winning the famously fickle MOB race..  He’ll definitely have an easier time representing that district than he did the MOB.  

Good luck, Andy. Have your people call my people..

Quintuple Whammy

A year or so after he finally departed the Minnesota Vikings, the City Pages has finally pulled its collective head out of Chris Kluwe’s ass long enough to do some reporting about the taxpayer-funded improvments to Zygi Wilf’s real estate portfolio the Vikings and their stadium.

And while Corey Zurowski’s piece is not quite on par with the reporting the Pages did during Steve Perry’s heyday, it’s not bad.

Oh, yeah – as anyone who was reading conservative blogs before 2010 knows, the stadium is a lousy deal for taxpayers:

Minnesota and Minneapolis taxpayers are on the construction cuff for a combined $498 million — the state $393 million and the city $150 million. [But don’t 393 and 150 add up to 543? – EdIn both cases, the public funds are being floated by taking on debt, not cash.

[pullquote]At four percent and change, that means $26 million in interest alone in the first year.[/pullquote] Plus maintenance and the inevitable “improvements” that’ll be needed.  Read the whole article for the whole story about the principal, interest and taxes.

And King Banaian reminds us that on top of all that (and the minimal economic benefit it’ll bring, and even that mostly in the form of money that would’ve been spent elsewhere being spent downtown), the e-pulltabs that were set up to float the state’s share in this bit of larceny are taking money away from other Minnesota non-profits, including many that aren’t run by billionaires from out of state:

The number of bingo halls using paper, not electronics, is down to six in Minnesota after the closing of St. Cloud’s Bingo Emporium….State Senator John Pederson of St. Cloud says the tax on pull tabs was raised to 36-percent last year to help fund the Vikings stadium, which put paper-bingo halls in a “very, very difficult situation.”

Oh, well.  You’ve gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet, right?

Liberty’s Broad, Broad Brush

Sometime today, check out Walter Hudson’s “Fighting Words” podcast.  I’m appearing on the show, along with Senator Brandon Petersen, talking about the “Liberty Minnesota” legislative scorecard.   I’m speaking in the dissent.  Sort of.

We’ll come back to that.

First Things First: Kudos to “Liberty Minnesota” for doing what too many “liberty” groups won’t; at least starting to get its hands dirty in the world of policy and legislative process.  Too many “liberty” groups, or at least too many “liberty” people, seem to think that sitting respendently above the fray snarking at activists to “Vote Harder!” and “Hey, how’s changing the party from the inside going for you?” with knowing, clubby chuckles amongst their fellow echo-chamberites is striking a blow for liberty.

So credit to Liberty Minnesota for doing the scorecard.

Now, the criticisms of the scorecard basically broke down as follows:

  • The final tabulation showed that Republicans and Democrats were tied at 33%.
  • The selected votes were cherry-picked to make Republicans look bad and Democrats look…not as bad as they are.
  • The selected votes were naive and betrayed a certain innocence about politics.

Let’s address each of them.

How’s That Again?:   Now, to be fair, the first comparison may be more properly leveled at some of “Liberty MN”‘s “liberty” supporters, who promptly took to social media and said “Look!  We were right!  There really is no difference between Republicans and Democrats!” and, in one particularly absurd factoid, “Tara Mack is worse for liberty than Phyllis Kahn”.

And my observation – and it’s only a personal observation – is that “Liberty MN” is pretty diligent about documenting and castigating Republican shortfalls on liberty issues, while glossing over the DFL’s crimes pretty lightly.  Again, it’s a personal observation.

Still, to the best of my knowledge, that’s not the line Liberty MN has taken in re the scorecard.

But even using “Liberty MN’s” numbers exactly as they are, from their scorecard (manually transposed to a spreadsheet), it’s not quite so close (while allowing that there might be some frictional errors from my manual transcription of numbers):

  • Entire Legislature:  Republicans 39% – Democrats 28%
  • Senate:   Republicans 48% – Democrats 19%
  • House:   Republicans 36% – Democrats 33%  (Either I made an error with the numbers, or Liberty MN did).

Among leadership, by the way, it’s even more lopsided:

  • Senate:  Dave Hann 65% – Tom Bakk 19%
  • House: Kurt Daudt 50% – Paul Thissen 33%

Hemp In, Raw Milk Out:  Still – any scorecard that shows the GOP and the DFL tied for “liberty” scores in the House must show us a problem – mustn’t it?

Take a moment to look at the issues that “Liberty MN” scored:

Click on it to see it full-size.

If you read the list, you notice a couple of things.  The issues certainly are “liberty” issues, all right; there’s a grab bag of economic, privacy, First, Second and Fourth Amendment, freedom of choice, tax and spending, environmental and other bills.

And at first glance, I observed that…:

Battle Lines:  These are not issues that largely break out on partisan lines.  Sunday Liquor Sales and the keeping of License Plate Reader data and many, many others among them break down on different lines; religious/union versus liberty, rural versus urban, religious/union versus free-market, Phyllis Kahn versus serious people – very few of the selected issues broke out by party.  Which is fine – as the estimable Walter Hudson says, it’s good to measure politicians on liberty issues qua liberty issues.

But it’s certainly not like 2013-2014, when many liberty issues – gun grabs, MNSure, forced daycare and PCA unionization, advancing business taxes and spending – did largely break out on partisan lines.

Still, I could cut the results some slack – except that the results are being used to try to wedge the GOP.  But then that’s not really Liberty MN’s fault.  What is their fault is the next two bits:

Take Two Freedoms:  Not all “Liberty” issues are included.   I’m not just talking about the omission of four of the five gun bills, including the Emergency Powers restriction, which struck me as by far the bigger liberty bill (but was also fairly bipartisan).

But you wills scour the “scorecard” in vain for any mention of:

  • The gas tax – a crushing attack on economic freedom, especially for the poor.  The GOP voted against it; the DFL supported it.
  • E-Cigarette regulation – a pointless regulatory assault on a legal, safe product that many are using to quit smoking – which may be the real reason for the assault.
  • Mandatory Pre-Kindergarten – perhaps “liberty” people don’t have kids.  Maybe they all home school.  I don’t know.  But I do know that the move to jam more kids into the public schools is not a position libertarians should support, it is  a position the DFL supports, it was DFL Governor Tina Flint-Smith’s Dayton’s short list of “Top priorities”, and it was at the very least a politically motivated appropriation and at most an expansion of state indoctrination.
  • The battle over the Pollution Control Agency’s Citizen Review Board, which is essentially an appointed, unaccountable group of environmental extremists who have veto power over mining – ergo “economic freedom” in Northern Minnesota
  • Any mention of efforts to reduce the power and scope of the Met Council.  Granted, none of those measures got anywhere in the Legislature – but then, neither did many of the issues that “Liberty MN” did select, like Phyllis Kahn’s bid to lower the voting age to 18.
  • The budget.  It certainly grew.  The GOP participated in the growth – although they controlled one chamber, and there’s a DFL governor, so the GOP’s power was limited.  And let’s be honest; it grew less than in either of the two DFL-controlled sessions; it was the third smallest increase in the past forty years.  That’s not ideal, but it’s not chicken feed under the circumstances.

Four of those six are, by my reckoning, fairly vital liberty issues.  All of them but the budget were pretty much GOP initiatives.  Several were flat-out GOP victories.  Including any of them would have changed the voting, especially in the House of Representatives.

Not sure if Liberty Minnesota thinks that’d be a feature or a bug, but I do plan on finding out.

I Wanna Make Some History:  So because of the bills selected and, arguably, not selected, you have all sorts of unintentional comedy.

  • Alice Hausman, a woman who never met a gun she wouldn’t grab or a private-sector dollar she wouldn’t seize, tied with laissez-faire Tea Party firerand Cindy Pugh.
  • Rena Moran, who would jam a single-payer healthcare system down your throat with both of her feet, outscoring Tony Cornish.
  • Tax hiking, gun grabbing govenrment power pimp Jim Davnie outscoring Kelly Fenton.

And on, and on, and on.

And so because of this selection of largely nonpartisan bills, The scorecard gives, intentionally or not, the impression that the GOP – a party that his lip service, often very imperfectly, to liberty – it’s basically the same as the DFL, Minnesota’s softcore Socialist party, the party that historically pimps for tax hikes, bloated budgets, high regulation, suburbs subsidizing intercity spending, gun control, The party that opposes school choice and economic development in the iron Range, when a cursory reading of history shows what an absurd Lee that is.

Question:  do you think if any votes on the six issues above – all of which had at least as much visibility in the legislature this session as some of the bills “Liberty MN” selected – had been considered, any of those absurdities would have persisted?

Clubbing: Oh, yeah – about the title.

A liberty supporter might say “liberties are liberties – we’re not going to pick and choose between them”.

And in the abstract, and for those of “liberty” groups, that may be perfectly fine.

But do I think the gas tax and mandatory pre-kindergarten or the Met Council affect more liberty for more people than, say, Sunday liquor sales? I certainly do, and I’m going to guess most people do too. Do I think a fourth amendment issue like license plate reader data is more important than a lifestyle issue like lowering the drinking age? I do – and I’m going to guess most people who pay attention to the ongoing decay of the fourth amendment do, as well.

Liberty people may not give weight different liberties. I do – and I think the failure to do so is a critical witness of the sort of scorecard.

I think that especially with as large and broad a swathe of votes as Liberty Minnesota used for their scorecard, they might have done well to break the issues up into categories – Personal Freedom, Economic Freedom, Social Freedom, Limiting Government and the like, and giving sub-ratings to legislators by category.  That may be counter to Liberty MN’s purposes; I think it serves Liberty in Minnesota’s purposes.

But To Summarize:  Again, I applaud Liberty Minnesota for doing this.  I hope it’s a step toward mobilizing some actual political clout on behalf of liberty issues in the legislature, and at election time – something the “liberty movement” in Minnesota has largely avoided so far.

Furthering the Discussion:  I’m currently looking forward to having Karl Eggers of “Liberty Minnesota” on my program on July 11 to discuss this.  And if you’re reading this, Karl, I just telegraphed my punches.  Merry early Christmas.

The Smell Of Defeat?

For well over a decade, “Protect MN” – it’s changed its name several times since it started way back when – has been the dotty, not-too-bright face of the gun control movement in Minnesota.

While the wave of Michael Bloomberg money in 2013 moved the center of gravity over to “Everytown for Gun Safety” and its “local” affiliate, Heather Martens has remained an inescapable farce in Minnesota politics.

Force. I meant force.  Honest.  I’ll catch it in post-production.  Sorry.

But a correspondent who follows these things found this bon mot during some recreational reading of state Campaign Finance Board filings.

Continue reading

On Talking With Every Large “Libertarian” Organization In Minnesota

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is picking out a cordless drill at Menard’s.    Egbert FLEGEL, Chairmain of Liberty Uber Alles Minnesota, almost literally bumps into BERG.  

FLEGEL:  Hey, Merg.

BERG:  Hey, Egbert.  What’s new?

FLEGEL:  Oh, we’re just carrying on the fight for liberty.  We’re about to put together the Liberty Uber Alles 2015 scorecard on the Minnesota Legislature.

BERG:  Ah. So what issues does the scorecard focus on?

FLEGEL:   Well, the Minnesota GOP got in the way of restoration of felon rights, marijuana legalization, raw milk legalization, they didn’t fight hard enough against photo license readers, they stood in the way of marjuana legalization, they dropped the ball on data deletion, they didn’t work hard enough to kill the “Kingfisher” cell-phone-eavesdropping system, they didn’t fight hard enough for Constitutional Carry, they didn’t do enough to atone for opposing gay marriage, they didn’t work for marijuana legalization, they’re still pro-life, they allowed the DFL Senate and Governor to increase the budget, they didn’t decriminalize Marijuana, they failed to legalize gambling, they failed to roll back the taxpayer subsidies of stadiums, they didn’t roll back property forfeiture, and they didn’t legalize marijuana.

BERG:  Huh.  Not very liberty-friendly.

FLEGEL:  Nope!

BERG:  How about the DFL?

FLEGEL:  The who?

And SCENE.  

Governor Tease

This is actually a post about state politics.  But there’s a tangent.

 

Along about thirty years ago, Holly Dunn – a twangy honky-tonk girl, and one of the highlights of country-western music at a time when the genre was still suffering through the last of its “crossover” mania – had a huge, but controversial, hit with “Maybe I Mean Yes”.

It was a bouncy ditty about romantic mind games.  It was also controversial, even in those much less silly times, among feminists for, according to the PC police of the era, “making rape and domestic abuse acceptable”; the teapot-tempest thereafter caused a few country stations to pull the single, making Holly Dunn one of the first casualties of modern political correctness – which is a shame, because most of your Gretchen Wilsons and Miranda Lamberts owe her a huge debt.

But this article isn’t about eighties honky-tonk music.  It’s about Governor Flint-Smith.

Dayton. Governor Dayton.  Sorry.  I have no idea how that happened.

In a legislative session in which the Governor’s “top priority” changed from spending the surplus to, literally, “everything” as a top priority, to synchronizing traffic lights to taking farmland out of production to transportation something or another to passing a universal pre-kindergarten bill that neither the legislature nor school administrators statewide wanted (but the teachers union does) to trying to justify Rebecca Otto’s electoral existence, it should be no surprise that he’s changed “top priorities” again:

Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday said he was dropping his insistence that lawmakers change language dealing with county audits but cited three other, previously unmentioned, objections to the Legislature’s special session plans.

Just last Thursday the DFL governor said that he and the House’s “major remaining difference” had to do with the state auditor. But on Monday, he said that he and the House were still in disagreement over three other issues: funding for programs for the disabled and mentally ill, energy net metering and lower electric rates for industries in northeastern Minnesota.

Apparently, the GOP House and DFL Senate majorities are doing better at reaching agreements than Dayton figured.

Oh, yeah.  If we take care of these three “top priorities”, he’s got a bunch more waiting in the wings:

“Before I can call a special session, it remains necessary for us to reach agreements,” on the three other issues, Dayton wrote. He also listed four other issues –an increase in broadband grants, funding for a new sex offender facility, rail grade crossing safety projects and clarification of language dealing with Rochester’s Destination Medical Center — that he urged be addressed.

When the Governor says “shut down”, he means maybe, and then maybe he means yes.

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.

The Good Guys Win One

Governor Dayton has reportedly signed HF878, the Public Safety omnibus bill that included five second-amendment-related provisions:

  • Barring thengovernornfeom confiscating guns during states of emergency

  • enacting carry permit reciprocity with several other states
  • allow Minnesotans to buy long guns in non-contiguous states
  • eliminated the capitol felony trap
  • allows Minnesotans to own and use their federally-licensed suppressors.

This is a big win for human rights.

Thanks to Governor Dayton for heeding the overwhelming will of The People, and signing the bill.

Thanks also to a newly-active NRA, to MN-GOPAC and to GOCRA, as well as to the legislators who made it happen.

And thanks to you, the Real Minnesotans, for speaking out so loudly and clearly.

What does this mean for next session? More on the show this weekend, and on the blog next week.

“Sharp-Tongued”

Ryan Winkler is leaving the House of Representatives.

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

Winkler racked up a long, storied history:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Governor Congeniality

Senator Thompson – who will be a guest on the NARN on Saturday – pretty well nailed the Governor’s tantrum:

And Andy Aplikowski, on Facebook, made the sterling point that Governor Dayton is touring the state trying to convince Minnesotans he “cares about children”…

…with his Lieutenant Governor, Tina Flint-Smith, former executive butcherette of Planned Parenthood (aka “The Vandalia Abattoir”).

Impulse Control

This past week has been a really, really bad one for Governor Dayton and anyone who thinks he’s ready for prime time as a governor.

First, it the promise (since delivered) of a veto of the K-12 E-12 bill over a few hundred million in spending that a bipartisan majority in the Legislature had already turned down (in support of a program that nobody but Education Minnesota really wants).

And now?   He’s accusing Republicans of “hating teachers”.

Which certainly perked up my ears, what with having a father, two grandparents and a little sister who’ve been teachers.

Oh, yeah – Sondra Erickson, also a teacher, was not amused:

 Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, who chairs the House Education Policy Committee said Dayton should apologize for the remark.

In a statement, Erickson said:

“As a public school teacher with nearly four decades in public school classrooms, I am disappointed with Governor Dayton’s disrespectful remarks. Minnesotans expect their public officials to respectfully debate the issues facing our state without resorting to personal attacks. Republicans and Democrats passed a bipartisan budget that underscored our commitment to students and teachers including significant investments in proven early learning programs. Teachers deserve nothing but great respect because of their dedication to prepare our children with knowledge and skills for the future. Closing the achievement gap requires only the highest regard for those who teach and lead our children. I respectfully request that the governor apologize for his remarks.”

Of course, he’s not going to do it.  I fact, look for them to double down.

Because that’s page 1 of the Democrat messaging handbook.  Question how veterans benefits are paid for?  “Why do Republicans hate veterans?”.

Dispute global warming?  “Why do Republicans hate science?”.

Don’t like abortion, and think identity feminism has done a lot of damage?  “It’s a war on women!”.

Push back against a pork-barrel program that will at best do nothing useful for the vast majority of kids, but will plump up Education Minnesota’s and the DFL’s coffers?  “Republicans hate teachers!”.

And the thing is, 40-odd percent of Minnesota voters are stupid enough to buy it.

Why would he apologize?

Make My Day

Here’s the good news: over the weekend, an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of Republicans and Democrats, in both the House and Senate, voted for the public safety omnibus bill as finalized by the conference committee.

How overwhelming was the majority?

Here’s how overwhelming:

IMG_3647.JPG

That is a veto proof majority in both the House and the DFL-controlled Senate.

How important is this? This bill will:

  • Abolish the capital felony trap – by recognizing that the Capitol police have instant access to the database of carry permit holders, just like every other cop in the state of Minnesota.
  • Bar the governor for ordering the confiscation of firearms during emergencies. The governor of Minnesota has immense, wide-sweeping emergency powers, almost completely unregulated by law. This will prevent the situation that new Orleans residents ran into after Hurricane Katrina, with government officials and police going door-to-door to confiscate firearms, rendering citizens defenseless in the face of looters.
  • Legalize the ownership of federally licensed suppressors – mufflers for guns.
  • Allow Minnesotans to buy a long arms from non-contiguous states.
  • Make Minnesota permits reciprocal with many more neighboring states. This is great if you, hypothetically, constantly wind up having to stop at gas stations in Moorhead or East Grand Forks, to avoid inadvertently becoming a felon in North Dakota. Again, hypothetically.

So that’s the good news.

The Bad News – Governor Flint- Smith Dayton has said that he will veto the bill, over the suppressor provision.

Of course, the photo above – the votes for a bipartisan, vetoproof majority passing the bill – might give Governor Flint-Smith Dayton pause. Getting a veto overridden is embarrassing.

You know what else would give her him pause?

We’ll talk about that at noon.

 

Governor Dayton’s Priorities

Governor Flint-Smith Dayton is threatening to veto the budget deal over the lower level of funding promised for pre-kindergarten.

I’m not sure that our legislature – much less our governor – is smart enough to fight the battle based on something like “what’s best for children”…

…but in case any legislators are focused on that, psychology and even teachers are starting to think that jamming down academics with young children is at best of no value, and at worst counterproductive in the long run:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201505/early-academic-training-produces-long-term-harm (I’ve added emphasis):

A number of well-controlled studies have compared the effects of academically oriented early education classrooms with those of play-based classrooms (some of which are reviewed here, in an article by Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Geralyn McLaughlin,and Joan Almon).[1] The results are quite consistent from study to study: Early academic training somewhat increases children’s immediate scores on the specific tests that the training is aimed at (no surprise), but these initial gains wash out within 1 to 3 years and, at least in some studies, are eventually reversed. Perhaps more tragic than the lack of long-term academic advantage of early academic instruction is evidence that such instruction can produce long-term harm, especially in the realms of social and emotional development.

When you start regimenting kids bright and early, is it a surprise they grow up less able to think for themselves?

For example, in the 1970s, the German government sponsored a large-scale comparison in which the graduates of 50 play-based kindergartens were compared, over time, with the graduates of 50 academic direct-instruction-based kindergartens.[2] Despite the initial academic gains of direct instruction, by grade four the children from the direct-instruction kindergartens performed significantly worse than those from the play-based kindergartens on every measure that was used. In particular, they were less advanced in reading and mathematics and less well adjusted socially and emotionally. At the time of the study, Germany was gradually making a switch from traditional play-based kindergartens to academic ones. At least partly as a result of the study, Germany reversed that trend; they went back to play-based kindergartens. Apparently, German educational authorities, at least at that time, unlike American authorities today, actually paid attention to educational research and used it to inform educational practice.

Of course, universal “free” Pre-K isn’t about educating children, much less making them grow up to be better, happier, smarter people.

It’s about providing more jobs for Governor Flint-Smith’s Dayton’s biggest contributors, and thereby more dues for the DFL.

Universal pre-K may be the best possible advertisement for home schooling.

Trashed

Bloomington residents are having the same “debate” that Maplewood residents had a while ago, and that Saint Paul residents barely manage to stave off, year over year; socialized trash collection.  In Saint Paul, every few years, a coalition of:

  • Environmentalists who think that having one truck go through your alley every week is better than having more than one truck go through your alley every week
  • NIMBAs (“Not in my back alley”) who for whatever reason are tormented by the number of trucks driving through their alleys at ugodly hours of the Midday
  • Big Government dweebs

…unites to try to jam down municipal garbage collection.

And it’s apparently go-time in Bloomington:

Those in favor most often cited the need to cut down on the number of trucks in the neighborhoods.

“Every Thursday morning my normally serene suburban home life is shattered by a steady caravan of heavy trucks,” wrote John Zimmerman. “Air brakes squeal, backup alarms chirp, and I lose track after the tenth truck has rolled through.”

Apparently John Zimmerman’s realtor told him he was moving to rural Iowa.

Bear in mind, Bloomington already has a semi-government-run system, doling out parts of the city to seven different haulers.  The city wants to go from picking seven winners to picking one:

The city still is negotiating with the seven haulers, but the most recent proposal would cost the average household $18.42 a month for trash and recycling pickup, said Public Works Director Karl Keel.

When the government wants to socialize a municipal service, the first number they give you is like that 3% interest rate on your credit card, or that first joint they give the grade school kids; it’s a teaser.  It will not last.

In  Maplewood, the rates may not have risen – but the “fees” tacked onto the rates certainly have.  The “winning” hauler also made the rate by supplying cheap trash carts that fell apart after a year, cutting corners on customer service, and other “savings” that, in a free market, you don’t have to tolerate.

I pay $20 a month, fees and all, to a ma and pa company that calls me if I forget a  payment, picks up extra stuff without any muss and fuss, and always answers the phone on the second ring.

Think you’ll get that with one big municipal service?

Opportunity Dumps:  If you’re a Bloomington Republican, here’s a classic example of a local issue that your candidates can use to set themselves apart from the incumbents (who, on the Bloomington City Council, favor the proposal 6-1).  Yes, it’s early.  No, it’s it’s not early enough.  If you’re thinking about being a conservative candidate for Bloomington City Council, you should be out there on the barricades today.

(And if you’re a “liberty” supporter?  Helping the people win this battle would convince a lot more people that you’re not just a bunch of white frat boys wallowing in an echo chamber eating chicken wings and listening to each other argue about who’s the biggest Austrian-schooler).

 

Currently, Bloomington’s 26,000 households pay an average of $26.72 a month. Keel estimated that city residents would save about $13 million over a five-year hauling contract.

 

Many residents have pointed out that by negotiating with different haulers, they’ve been able to get extremely low rates. Council Member Tim Busse was skeptical of some claims.

“I’d like to meet the residents who are getting their trash [picked up] for 10 bucks a month,” Busse said. “I want to take you with me the next time I buy a car. That’s some pretty good negotiating.”

In the end, the council voted 6-1 to continue negotiating the single-hauler deal, with only Cynthia Bemis Abrams opposing. A public hearing will be held before a final decision is made.

Perspective

While legalizing firearm suppressors has gotten most of the attention this legislative session, I think the most vital part of the Public Safety Omnibus bill is Rep. Newberger’s “Katrina Bill”, which would bar the state government from confiscating citizens’ firearms during a state of emergency.

How important is this?  As we speak, in Maryland, the government is clamping down on the availability of ammunition…

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…which is another way of making civilian firearms useless.  Of course, during Hurricane Katrina, the local police went door-to-door, confiscating firearms.  Current Minnesota law allows the state governnment even more-onerous leeway than Maryland law.

And a quick note to the “Minnesota” gun groups that advocate focusing only on “Constitutional Carry”; even if that were to pass, it wouldn’t affect state emergency powers.

This bill needs to pass.

Tipping Point

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

In the olden days, waitresses got paid less than minimum wage and made it up in tips. If you didn’t tip, you were stiffing her wages. The rule of thumb was 15-20% to cover her wages and the quality of her service.

Now they’ve changed the law so waitresses get minimum wage. So, why am I tipping 15-20%? Not to make up wages, you already got that. For quality service? Okay, what’s the percentage for quality service?

If Mark Dayton and the DFL already covered her wages for me, then my “quality of service” tip should be 5-10% instead of 15-20%, right? I haven’t noticed restaurants re-programming the helpful chart on their receipts. Am I missing something?

Joe Doakes

No, Joe. You’re not.

Intended Consequences

Remember when the Minnesota DFL made all sorts of noises about wanting people to quit smoking?

Apparently they only want them to quit the right way.  Lyle Koenen (DFL), has introduced a bill (SF 2025) that would jack up taxes on e-cigarette vapor products by 800%.

Clearly, the goal is to try to gut sales of e-cigarettes – which would seem to be cutting into the state’s lucrative racket, picking the pockets of tobacco users.

It’s very worth a call to your legislator.  Ask them why they want to drive people back to tobacco.

At The Capitol

It’s been a big couple of days at the Minnesota State Capitol for Second Amendment supporters.

Yesterday, the House Public Safety Committee passed all or parts of four bills as part of the Public Safety Omnibus bill:

  • HF830 (Lucero), the Interstate Purchase bill (legalizing buying firearms from states that aren’t contiguous to Minnesota.  I bet you didn’t know that was illegal?)
  • HF372 (Nash), which would abolish the capitol felony trap (the requirement to notify the head of Capitol Security if you’re a permittee who’s carrying is obsolete and serves only to dangle the threat of a felony over otherwise law-abiding citizens)
  • HF722 (Newberger), perhaps the most important of all, the Katrina bill, barring state government from seizing firearms during a “state of emergency”.

It’s an omnibus bill – which means when it goes to the Senate, the bills have a decent chance of either passing, or putting a lot of DFL senators on record as anti-gun extremists. While the majority in the Senate is pro-Human-Rights (even the DFLers), most of the committees are controlled by anti-gun extremists like Ron Latz.

Now, here’s the big part; tomorrow, the House is voting on four stand-alone bills.  Yes, it’s redundant to the omnibus bill; it’s theatrics, to show the Senate (and governor, and the media) how much popular support these bills have.

They’ll be voting on Lucero, Nash and Newberger’s bills, as well as Mark Anderson’s bill  (HF1434) to allow Minnesotans to put mufflers on their guns and preserve their hearing, as they do in 39 other, smarter states.

Here’s The Deal:  The debate and vote are at 3PM tomorrow.  If you can make it down to the Capitol at 3, preferably wearing a maroon shirt, ideally a GOCRA t-shirt (or anything but camouflage, basically); it’d be great to show the House (and the Senate) that we’re serious.  We always do.

There’s a decent chance these bills can pass – and leave the Human Rights movement in a better position to further expand the rights of the law-abiding in future sessions.

Our Vapid Overlords

Let’s flash back:

2012:  Heading for what looks like a tough mid-term, Governor Messinger Dayton promises he’ll lower property taxes for “middle class Minnesotans”…

…many of whom seem blissfully, gullibly unaware that the state government has absolutely nothing to do with property taxes, which are levied by county commissions and school districts.  Oh, the state increased “Local Government Aid” (mostly to Minneapolis and Saint Paul) – but for a majority of Minnesotans, property taxes increased, promise notwithstanding.

2015:  Governor Flint-Smith Dayton promises to work to synchronize traffic lights throughout Minnesota.

Notwithstanding the fact that the timing of traffic lights is controlled entirely by local public works departments, and it’s not a promise Governor Flint-Smith Dayton can deliver on.  Ever.

But smart people already know this.

Which says exactly what about the DFL’s audience?   And about what they think about our state’s voters?

 

The Elmer Gantries

When it comes to Second Amendment rights groups, I’ve always said “let a thousand flowers bloom”.

You prefer to fight the national fight by proxy?  Send your $35 to the NRA.  Want to get more into the thick of things nationally?  Contribute to the Second Amendment Foundation.

Wanna affect what happens in the Minnesota legislature?  Support GOCRA.  Wanna affect who gets elected to the Legislature?  Support MNGOPAC.  Feel like taking it to the streets?  The Twin Cities Carry Forum is the place to go.

If you want to donate money to an organization that seems to have little tie to Minnesota, that is closely linked to a network of similar organizations that seem to do more harm than good in the legislature in other states (Iowa, Colorado and Mississippi), which probably means it’s a good thing all that Minnesota fundraising has no visible impact in the Legislature itself?

A bipartisan group of pro-Second-Amendment legislators would like to have a word with you about that:

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This bipartisan group of legislators, most of whom have been key leaders in pushing back the Bloomberg-financed gun grab bills, are urging you not to be fooled.

Now, I’ve written a bit about “Minnesota Gun Rights”, as well as “Iowa Gun Owners” and the “National Association of Gun Rights” in the past year and a half.  And I get two questions about the subject:

  • “Berg, aren’t you connected with GOCRA?  Isn’t this just trying to thin out the competition?”:  I’m “connected” with just about everyone in the Second Amendment movement.  I network like a madman.  Hello – I’m a blogger and talk show host; I go where the info is. And no – “competition” is good, where the goal is “who can be the first to drag Governor Flint-Smith kicking and screaming to the table to sign the legislation we want”.  As I believe I and the sixteen oversigned legislators have established, MGR isn’t really competing on that front.
  • “MGR stands for Constitutional Carry – GOCRA, the NRA and MNGOPAC don’t.  If we pass Constitutional Carry, we won’t need any of the other legislation.  Why waste time?”:  That’s a little like saying I’m swearing off dating until Morena Baccarin returns my calls.  I mean, if I get into a position where Morena Baccarin returns my calls, great – but until I do (and I’m not), what then?    Saying “We’ll accept nothing but Constitutional Carry, and any lesser legislation merely accedes to government’s power to regulate  your God-given right to self-defense”.  Which is true – in a philosophical sense.  The law is not philosophy.  If the Minnesota gun movement had adopted that idea in 1994, we’d still be begging our police chiefs for carry permits, mostly in vain.  And the simple fact is, until we get a pro-Second Amendment governor, and legislatures that are not just mostly pro-Second Amendment (as they are today) but very strongly so, we’re not going to get Constitutional Carry.  Minnesota is not Arizona or Wyoming or Alaska.  By the way, passing Constitutional Carry won’t solve many of the other gun related issues – like reciprocity, the Capitol felony trap, or the right to purchase in non-contiguous states.  It just won’t.
  • “Isn’t ‘Shall Issue’ just a moneymaker for the carry permit instructors that run GOCRA?”:  No more so than fund-raising over a pie-in-the-sky proposal that is years away from passage, assuming everything goes perfectly from an electoral perspective (which Minnesota Gun  Rights is doing absolutely nothing to assure).

More later.

Clearly All Of Minnesota’s Problems Have Been Solved

Because they have time for this:

A bipartisan Minnesota House proposal suggests the engraving on a statute of Christopher Columbus should be edited. It now reads “Discoverer of America.” The proposal says it should be re-written to read, “Landed in America.”

The bill is sponsored by DFLer John Persell, of Bemidji.  Who, to be fair, may be (fairly and accurately) representing for his Norwegian constituents, who may prefer to honor North America’s actual European discoveror, Leif Ericson.

Still.  They have the time for this?

Break Out Your Maroon Shirts

Tonight, and Thursday morning, the legislature is going to be debating a bill – HF722, sponsored by representative Jim Newburger – which would prevent government from confiscating civilian firearms during states of emergency.

This is no idle worry; after Hurricane Katrina, the police went door to door through the storm ravaged neighborhoods, confiscating peoples firearms, leaving them helpless in the face of looters and thugs.

There are going to be two rounds of hearings:

  • Tonight at 6 PM, in the Civil Law committee. This will be in room 500, at the State office building. You can park for free in lot AAA, at Aurora and rice, after 4 PM – and meters are generally open along John Ireland Boulevard after business hours, too.
  • Thursday morning at 10:15 AM in the Public Safety committee. This will be in room 10 at the state office building.

Second Amendment humans rights advocates are on the offensive, this session – but that doesn’t mean anything is a shoe in. Showing up at hearings, or calling your legislators, is still essential.  Maybe moreso than ever.

Any DFLer who votes against this bill is essentially tipping their hand; they won’t “waste a crisis”, and if offered the chance will use that crisis as an excuse to extort firearms from the law abiding citizen. They need to be held accountable for this 2016