The Racket Strikes Back

A friend of the blog writes:

It used to be people would go out for a night of fun and one person would have to be the designated driver. A majority didn’t even think to use cabs and public transit would often not run regularly enough at bar close.

Now that we have Uber and Lyft, I have heard many, many stories of people using those services when going out. I know some people who no longer drive under the influence because of the affordability of Uber.

So, of course, when people get real options that are reliable and affordable, those in the government who think their jobs are as social engineers have a problem.

Of interest locally, I found this link through a Tweet that declared Minneapolis/St Paul should consider this next. Why?

They can try to limit all they want, but there will still be people in cars and ride sharing will still happen. For example, the other day, I was approached by a man on the street who was trying to start his own ride share business, offering lower rates than Uber by about $2. I also have the number of a taxi driver who moonlights as a personal driver for those of us with his business card. He pretty much places himself on call for us.

So, yes, there will be options, which makes it even more aggravating that city governments get involved in private business that actually works for the people.

In a system built on rent-seeking, people will seek rent.

And for the government permission racket to survive, it’s gotta deliver the rent.

Orwell Was A Pollyanna

Ben Shapiro challenged prog flavor of the month Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez to a debate – something she’s never had in her “political career”.

Now, there’s no requirement that a pol debate anyone, ever – even their opponents for office, much less pundits.   Of course, it can be used against you – not that it matters in a one-party town like Ocasio-Cortez’ district.

And there are so many ways to decline a debate request like this:

  • “Sorry – I’m getting ready for a general election (coronation?), and I’m too busy”.
  • “Debating you will be of no consequence to serving (koff koff) my constituents and my district.  Why would either of us waste our time?”
  • “I’ve got drapes to measure that evening”
  • “I gotta wash my hair”.
  • Or the old reliable “<silence>”.

That’s not what Ocasio-Cortez did, though:

Asking for a debate is “like catcalling” – sexist, intrusive, unwanted, arrogant.

A response that is, itself, sexist and arrogant, and a sign of a mind that can think on no other plane than the politics of identity and outrage.

Congratuations, New York.  You got another winner here.  (Not that Minnesota has anything to brag about, since the equally risible Alondra Cano  Alondra Cano, Ray Dehn and Keith Ellison remain in office).

SIDE NOTE:   Remember when the same people who are raving about Ocasio-Cortez today were calling Sarah Palin  an ignorant dumbass?

This is the sound of “the bar” in freefall.

Do You Remember

Remember when the media was crawling over every square foot of wind-ravaged Puerto Rican soil looking for examples of Trump administration incompetence and corruption, making a hero out of San Juan’s idiot Democrat mayor in the process, if only briefly?

Where is the media now?

A mayor and two former government officials in Puerto Rico face public corruption charges in separate cases that involve a total of $8 million in federal and local funds, authorities said Thursday. The suspects are the mayor of the southwest town of Sabana Grande and the former directors of finance for the northern town of Toa Baja, which has struggled to pay its employees amid an 11-year recession.

U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez told reporters that the former officials from Toa Baja are accused of using nearly $5 million worth of federal funds to pay the town’s public employees and municipal contractors.

“Not only is that illegal, it’s immoral,” she said.

Puerto Rico – aka “A Warm Minneapolis” – would be considered a “Failed State” if it weren’t a US territory.

But unless the “news” can “denormalize” Trump, they really don’t care.

This Is Today’s DFL

Ilhan Omar – DFL endorsed candidate for Congress in the 5th CD – is a raving anti-semite.

State representative Ilhan Omar has yet to complete her first term in the Minnesota legislature, where she has accomplished approximately nothing of substance, though she has now secured the DFL endorsement to succeed Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison in Congress. In the brief Weekly Standard article “The anti-Israel seat,” I conclude with observations related to Omar’s frank hatred of Israel. She doesn’t sugarcoat it. She calls Israel an “apartheid regime.”

That is a defamatory falsehood with a shabby provenance. In Omar’s case, it is something more than an impulsive comment in a recent tweet. It represents her considered judgment. One can see it at work in her remarks on the floor of the Minnesota House in opposition to a bill (HF 400) opposing the boycott of Israel promoted by so-called BDS groups harking back to the “Zionism is racism” lie of the 1970’s.

And it’s fascinating how local media treats Omar’s anti-semitiem; exactly the same way as they treated her dubious family history.

It makes sense; their editors and producers know they’ll never get another invite to the Oceannarie if they do.

More, Faster!

The Southern Poverty Law Center loses a $3 million defamation suit:

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, has apologized for including the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism group, and its founder, Maajid Nawaz, in its Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists. “Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism,” the SPLC wrote in a statement. The SPLC will also pay a $3.375 million settlement to Quilliam that will be used to fight “anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism,” according to a Quilliam press release.

But…what made the SPLC refer to them as a “hate group?”

“We were able to fight back against the Regressive Left and show them that moderate Muslims will not be silenced,” Nawaz said in the release.

Aaaah.  It all makes sense now.

Peasants: Your Overlords Grant You Clemency!

StPaul residence now have until Friday to pick a trash cart…

… to replace the perfectly good trash buckets they had from the perfectly good trash haulers that, in many cases, they’ve been happily using for years. (Like my own trash hauler of this past decade, Highland Sanitation; if you live in their service area, they come highly recommended).

And if you are a low income or fixed income person who has been extemporizing by sharing a bucket contract with another neighbor?

Shush, present, and be happy to pay for your bureaucrats pensions!:

“Each unit does need to have its own cart and service,” \said Lisa Hiebert, a spokeswoman for St. Paul Public Works. “If they’re in a multi-unit building, or they’re sharing, there is no opt-out option

Of course it’s not an option. This is serious business.

And by serious business, I mean “this is a featherbedded contract to generate more city employees, meaning more public sector union dues, meaning more contributions to the Saint Paul DFL.

So with those stakes in mind, you will get exactly the options you are given, peasants!

Berg’s Seventh Law: On The Cusp Of Immortality?

I was thinking the other day – if it turns out that, after almost two years of Democrats claiming that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians it turns out that the Democrats were the ones who actually colluded with Putin?

It’d mean that Berg’s Seventh Law is not only an inviolable law of human political behavior, but in fact one of the core truths about the American political system today.

The Rightful Owners

Former Iron Range legislator Carly Melin (who has since gone on to the great non-profit sinecure reward that awaits all DFL legislators) on the protests at the Blue Line on Fort Snelling yesterday:

Er, Ms. Melin? Why shouldn’t we be mad? We paid for it.

God knows you didn’t.

Any Bets On How Long It’ll Take For The Met Council To Do This?

Uber and Lyft are cutting into the DC Metro subway system’s ridership; it’s cheaper than cabs and more convenient than the train, with the added advantage of not having to share a moving jail cell with transit customers.

And in Democrat America, there is no greater sin than beating government:

The plan would increase D.C.’s tax on ride-hailing services from 1 percent to 4.75 percent. Nearly quintupling the city’s tax on ride-hailing services will have the obvious effect of driving prices up for customers, punishing them for choosing a product more to their liking.

Yet that’s how D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and WMATA Board Chairman and D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) proposed to raise a portion of D.C.’s “share” — $178.5 million — of the $500 million in new subsidies Metro craves. The council and mayor already approved their annual $178.5 million contribution for Metro, but the taxes that will ultimately serve as its source must be authorized through the District’s budget process.It is no wonder that Metro would want to hammer the competition with tax hikes. Ride-hailing services have contributed to Metro’s drastic decline in ridership, albeit in a relatively small way. And customers increasingly turn to the apps when Metro leaves them stranded. In some cases, Metro service disruptions have increased demand for ride-hailing services by as much as 25 percent.

But the tax adds insult to injury: It makes taxpayers prop up a service they do not want while making it more expensive for them to use preferred alternatives. The logic is clear: If it moves better than Metro, tax it.

Prediction:  if bicycles start taking people off transit, you’ll see a tax on bikes and cement pylons on all the bike lanes.

Resilience

When I hear city governments talking about hiring “resilience directors” – like Minneapolis and Saint Paul – the job usually involves…

…well, let’s let the City of Minneapolis explain it:

…expanding access to affordable housing, and the impact that would have on our other goals, including building an inclusive economy and strengthening police-community relations,

In other words, it’s a non-profit executive being paid for directly by the taxpayer.

Of course, when I originally heard the term “resiliency officer”, I thought they meant something like this – actually working to make their cities more, y’know, resilient:

In the wake of Harvey, Houston has become a prominent test case for resilient rebuilding. Last month, the Houston City Council approved regulations requiring new buildings in the 100- and 500-year floodplains be built 2 feet above ground level or above the projected water level of a 500-year flood. The city previously mandated a 1-foot height for homeowners in the 100-year floodplain, and a report earlier this year found that 84 percent of Harvey-damaged homes in the area’s floodplains could have been spared with the higher height standard.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who originally proposed the new height rule, also is seeking funding to build a third reservoir for the city, though such a project would take years to complete.This year’s hurricane season, which begins June 1, is forecast to be “slightly above average.”

Leave it to the DFL to pervert the term “Resilience” beyond all recognition.

 

Another Reason I’d Be Buying Hornady…

…if all my guns hadn’t fallen into Mille Lacs;  after a New York state comptroller sent aletter urging banks to treat gun-related transactions the same way they handle potential money-laundering and human-trafficking funding, Hornady responded:

Today, the State of New York did one of the most despicable acts ever perpetrated by any state by asking New York banks, financial institutions and insurance companies to stop doing business with the gun and ammo industry.

While it may not make a difference to New York, Hornady will not knowingly allow our ammunition to be sold to the State of NY or any NY agencies. Their actions are a blatant and disgusting abuse of office and we won’t be associated with a government that acts like that. They should be ashamed.

It’s coming high time for Real America to cut the orcs off in every possible way available.

Not A Peep Of Resistance

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

“ . . . new employees are seen as crucial to ensure ample funding for the wave of retiring baby boomers . . . .”

This is the exact definition of Ponzi Scheme but the Post doesn’t seem to notice that the union’s position is absurd and in any other context, illegal.

Read the whole thing.

This is what people with half a brain are up against: people with less than half a brain.

I Wonder If Lori Sturdevant Has Read This?

Republicans just don’t want to work across the aisle. 

This, the Democrats say about a party that’s nominated John McCain, Mitt Romney, Dubya, Tim Pawlenty, Mike McFadden…

…well, you know the list.

But on the far left, chucking even Big Left’s current unconvincing veneer of “bipartisanship” is becoming outré:

In this current period of American politics, at this juncture in our history, there’s no way that a bipartisan path provides the way forward. The way forward is on the path California blazed about 15 years ago.

In the early 2000s, California faced a similar situation to the one America faces today. Its state politics were severely polarized, and state government was largely paralyzed. The Republican Party was trapped in the brain-dead orthodoxies of an ideology stuck in the past. The party was controlled by zealous activists and corrupt special interests who refused to face up to the reality of the new century. It was a party that refused to work with the Democrats in good faith or compromise in any way.

To which their response is – let’s not compromise in any way ourselves!

The solution for the people of California was to reconfigure the political landscape and shift a supermajority of citizens — and by extension their elected officials — under the Democratic Party’s big tent. The natural continuum of more progressive to more moderate solutions then got worked out within the context of the only remaining functioning party…California today provides a model for America as a whole. This model of politics and government is by no means perfect, but it is far ahead of the nation in coming to terms with the inexorable digital, global, sustainable transformation of our era.

You could say Cali provides a model for the rest of the country…

…but not in the way the authors (alt-media, TED talk and public broadcasting darlings Ruy Texeira and Peter Leyden) think.

Wonder if Lori Sturdevant is going to give Leyden and Texeira a stern talking-to?

UPDATE:  Not sure if Sturdevant’s read it, but Kurt Schlichter has.

California is a bankrupt failed state that is essentially Illinois with palm trees and better weather. Outside the coastal urban enclaves where Jack and his pals mingle, drinking kombucha and apologizing for their white privilege to their baffled servants, it’s a crowded, decaying disaster. Bums wander the streets, littering the sidewalks with human waste. Crime is rising. Illegal aliens abound, more welcome in the Golden State than actual Americans. California is an example all right, but a cautionary one.

Read both of ’em.  The Second Civil War is underway.  Not a shot has been fired (well, not many of them anyway) – call it the Civil Cold War if you’d like.

Never Waste A Crisis

The “crisis” over school security (which isn’t – schools are a quarter as violent as they were 20 years ago) may be causing all sorts of problems…

…but to Patricia Torres Ray, Susan Kent and Chuck Wiger – Metrocrat senators – it’s a fundraising bonanza for DFL public sector union constituents.

Go ahead – read the bill.  It’s got more pork than a Wrigley Field concession stand.

I gotta wonder – when there’s a spree killing, do DFLers hear “Cha Ching?”

Our Slimy Overlords

Mark my words:  Any police official who refers to citizens as “sheep” (and, perforce, to police as “Sheepdogs” or “Lions”) needs to be escorted from public life, sans badge, gun, and power, with extreme prejudice.

Like Broward County sheriff Scott Israel – whose office didn’t have time to investigate nearly forty contacts with Nikolas Cruz, but has had time to act like…

…well, a Democrat pol in office:

Israel had been a Republican but ran for office as a Democrat. He was first elected sheriff in 2012, then re-elected in 2016. According to the Sun Sentinel:

The outreach workers, who mainly attend community events, are in addition to political activists and others Israel hired into community affairs roles, writing and designing printed pieces about the agency, and sharing it on social media. The employee log shows six hired into community affairs roles, their salaries totaling $388,729.

Israel’s opponents say he’s built a publicly funded political machine, paying back supporters with jobs and using them to keep him in office. They say the money could be better spent, particularly after the sheriff complained about not having enough funding to secure the county courthouse, where a murder suspect recently escaped.

Sound like the priorities in a city rhyming with “Every schmiberal city in the schmunited shmates” to anyone but me?

Oh, yeah – and this next bit?

Asked about the allegations, Israel responded, “What have I done differently than Don Shula or Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King, Ghandi?”

He also said, “Lions don’t care about the opinions of sheep.” That’s a paraphrase of a quote from the Game of Thrones character Tywin Lannister, a villainous public administrator known for promoting his family’s interests ahead of the government’s or the people’s.

Sheep.

That’s what he thinks of citizens.  Not unlike way too many cops.

It’s time for some changes in Broward County.

Resilient!

MInneapolis’ “Resilience Officer” has departed, after seven months, after submitting no work product of any kind:

[Former DFL legislatore Kate] Knuth, an environmental educator and former DFL legislator, spent her first months in the job interviewing people and conducting a survey, but had not delivered any finished work product before she resigned.

Mychal Vlatkovich, a spokesman for Mayor Jacob Frey, said they’ve begun looking for a replacement and hope to hire someone by the end of March who will focus on the mayor’s goals. He said the mayor’s office did not ask Knuth to step down, but declined to answer whether she was allowed to continue in the position and referred further questions to Knuth and former City Coordinator Spencer Cronk, who is now the city manager of Austin, Texas.

I’ve always wondered what a “Resiliehce Officer” does. Reading the job title, I assumed it covered things like network security, hardening city communications against hacking and terrorism, and coming up with plans for responding to things like natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and winning college hockey titles.

The position is designed to reflect the priorities of the administration, and in this case we’re going to be focused more narrowly on expanding access to affordable housing, and the impact that would have on our other goals, including building an inclusive economy and strengthening police-community relations,” Vlatkovich said.

In other words, a “Resilience Officer” is in charge of making the city look like it’s trying to dooooooooo something about progressive “dog whistle” issues.

Kniuth’s job was apparently funded by a grant.  But Saint Paul, not to be left behind by an urban progressive fad, is jumping on the hybrid bandwagon:

While St. Paul is not one of the 100 “resilient cities,” the city has hired former Council President Russ Stark as chief resilience officer. Stark, who starts on Thursday, will be paid a salary of $105,000 through the city’s general fund. The city of St. Paul says he will “promote sustainability strategies aimed at protecting Saint Paul families from the effects of climate change.”

People on social media have commentned “That doesn’t seem all that resilient”.

They miss the point.

The resilience is in the concept – which is “to transfer taxpayer dollars to the DFL’s political class”, keeping the likes of Knuth and Stark paid and fed and involved in “progressive” politics.  It’s a part of institutional life in Minnesota, and the reason most “community non-profits” exist, and the reason getting elected as a DFL pol means never having to look for work again as long as you live.

And that is resilience!

PS:   Kate Knuth is the daughter of the Saint Paul school administrator at the end of this episode.  Yep, “public service” runs in families, doesn’t it? )

Skeeze For Thee But Not For We

A friend of the blog writes

Can #metoo now remove her from the council for sexual misconduct, please?

I think one of the offshoots of the Franken controversy is that the DFL is now giving its own people outside the presidency  a pass on sexual harassment.

But t’s Amy Brendemoen – the City Councilor last known for shutting down a successful restaurant in the city-owned Como Pavilion to give the lease to friends of hers (whose high-gloss concept restaurant closed last fall).

And she’s upset, now, about cheerleaders:

After watching the Super Bowl Sunday night, St. Paul city council member Amy Brendmoen took to Facebook to vent her annoyance at seeing bikini-clad cheerleaders rush the field with players.

“Once again, when are we going to address the cheerleading scene in pro sports?” she asked her friends and followers, intending to stir conversation.

She included an upskirt selfie of a U of M cheerleader as evidence.

Will anything happen?

It’s Chicago.  Saint Paul on the Mississippi.  What do you think?

We Never Had This Problem With Willard Scott

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails in re Matt Lauer:

The biggest name on your most popular program routinely engages in sexual assault in his office but nobody in the world’s largest news organization knows anything about it?  Is everybody in management related to Sergent Shultz?

And yet the media insists I should trust them to fairly and accurately report the news because they have legions of professional investigative reporters and editors with layers and layers of fact checkers.

Joe Doakes

Funny, isn’t it?

Top Heavy

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails

60 million receiving Social Security, 120 million paying into it, a 2-to-1 ratio of workers to beneficiaries.  We’ve reached the level of the Ponzi scheme pyramid where the scam becomes unsustainable.

How to save it?  Maybe start by eliminating payments to non-citizens.   Why not, they can’t vote you out of office and the rest of us certainly will.  Side benefit – money is fungible.  Every dollar we don’t send to non-citizens living in Mexico is a dollar to Build The Wall and have Mexico pay for it.  Campaign promise kept!

Joe Doakes

I can hear the sputtering already.

A Sign You’ve Solved All The Serious Crises

Dogs at Los Angeles’ animal shelters may  be going vegan:

The idea was proposed by Commissioner Roger Wolfson, a Hollywood screenwriter who cited research that he contended shows vegan diets “eliminate” many health problems in dogs, which are omnivores. But he said rethinking the dogs’ meals is about far more sweeping matters — the environmental effect of a meat industry that produces the main ingredients in lots of dog food and the ethics of feeding animals to animals.

“We have to embrace the fact that the raising and killing of animals for food purposes must only be done if we have absolutely no other choice,” Wolfson said at the meeting, according to a recording published on a county website. “This is about the long-term survival of every man, woman and child in this room, and all of the people in our lives.”

While “progressives” are all about “science” when it comes to smooching Bill Nye’s hindquarters or browbeating fundamentalists, it’d seem they’re swimming against the scientific current here…:

The city’s chief veterinarian, Jeremy Prupas, was not convinced. In a report to the commission, he recommended rejecting the proposal, saying that it could deprive dogs of sufficient protein, calcium and phosphorus and that it could be inadequate for injured, pregnant or lactating pups. Prupas said he’d consulted three clinical nutritionists at veterinary medical schools, one shelter medicine specialist and a veterinary toxicologist who works with a pet food company. None endorsed vegan dog diets, he testified.

Oh, yeah – and vegan dog food, not unlike vegan human food, costs four times as much as the regular stuff.

Which is all fine, if you’re just playing “government dress-up” with other peoples’ money.

Which is another way of saying “California”.

Although if it passes in LA, look for Alondra Cano to propose it in short order in Minneapolis.

Who Could Have Predicted Such A Thing?

Is it just hypothetically possible that Saint Paul – a city run by people whose only experience with business is working for non-profits that harass actual productive businesspeople – has gotten the city into an epic Ponzi scheme?  

Neil DeMause at Deadspin  talks with a group of sports economists that aren’t especially bullish on this year’s hipster diversion, the MLS:

“When Forbes last looked at MLS finances, it had to perform mathematical contortions to explain why franchise values are rising even as annual losses continue to mount.”

“That business model and this financial trajectory suggests that MLS’s sea of red ink is either a loss leader or a Ponzi scheme, and it’s not always easy to tell the difference between the two until it’s too late. Several sports economists, though, aren’t optimistic.”

“The best indicator of expansion franchise worth is success at the bottom of the league” in revenues, says Stanford economist Roger Noll. For MLS, “that still looks more like AAA baseball except for a few million per year more in TV revenue.”

But as DeMause explains, the TV revenue isn’t going to happen – not the way the league is currently run – because there are already better leagues on the TV.  Mexican “Liga MX” games get better ratings; English Premiere League games on Saturday mornings get better numbers than MLS games in prime time.  

Why? 

Because they have better soccer.  

But won’t the MLS improve?  

Not the way it’s currently set up.  Unlike *every* successful sports league, all MLS players get paid by the league – not their teams.  Instead of teams competing with teams around the US and world for talent that’ll make actual soccer fans interested, the league as a whole competes with leagues that are made up of teams that are competing with each other, and the whole world, for talent.   As a result, the payroll for the *entire MLS league* is lower than the *average* payroll for a single Premiere League team.  MLS spends at about the same rate as the Bulgarian national league .   The MLS model is designed to *control espenses*, not foster the competition that creates a watchable product.  

So all those new immigrants that are supposed to keep MLS afloat?  They’ve already got *good* leagues to watch.  MLS is to Premier or the German Bundesliga or even Liga MX as the Saint Paul Saints are to the Twins, in terms of talent.   Why would people from parts of the world were soccer is the main sport bother with a product that’s not only inferior, but *designed to stay that way*?

As the current TV ratings show – they’re not.  Not outside of New York or LA, anyway. 

And yet the cost for an MLS franchise has grown from $10M at the turn of the century to $150M today – a price tag that currently gets the owner a piece of $100M in losses, in a businesss that is structurally incapable of improving, and doesn’t even have the level of competition that “promotion and relegation” – moving the worst major league teams down to the minors, and promoting the better minor league teams to the majors, like in every major Euro league – brings.

DeMause:

“Whether current MLS honchos actually have this in mind now, or are still guzzling their own Kool-Aid, is tough to say. But for most big-market teams and early adopters, even if the expand-o-ganza goes south, it’s a fair bet they’ll be left with a chair when the music stops—franchises like New York and Los Angeles should be safe and potentially profitable, even if the likes of Raleigh or Nashville might be screwed.”
I gave the Minnesota franchise five years from the opening kickoff before it folds.  I’m feeling more optimistic about my prediction – if not about the “investment” the DFL forced me to make via my tax dollars – every day.