With Any Luck

Last year saw Gawker Media spin into oblivion.

With a little luck, we’ll be seeing the same from Vice before too long.

As I wait for the bonfire, I’ll refer you to this memorable parody of Vice

…from the parody series “Documentary Now” – which as been one of Netflix’s better offerings in the past couple years.

Berg’s Seventh Law In The Headlines

Berg’s Seventh Law: “When a Liberal issues a group defamation or assault on conservatives’ ethics, character, humanity or respect for liberty or the truth, they are at best projecting, and at worst drawing attention away from their own misdeeds.”

Remember during the campaign, when Donald “The Donald” Trump’s history of sexist japes, braggadocio and womanizing went from being a Hollywood inside joke to grist for a desperate Clinton campaign to dig out of a hole?

Of course you do.  You couldn’t escape it.

And as I saw that unfolding in Hillary’s attempt to claw her way into office, I kept thinking;  “Yes, it’s about drawing attention away from Bill and her history of committing and abetting unspeakable horrors upon women to the winking and chuckling of their buddies in high lefty places”.

But I  also thought “it’s gotta be more than this”.

And with the juxtaposition of Roseanne Barr (whose show was tanked within a day of her racist jape on Twitter) and Samantha Bee (who will be a cause celébre on the left, just you watch), it became clear; the borg that is Big Left just doesn’t think their own (the “elite” at the top of the prog pile – the Clintons, Emmanuels, Feinsteins, Waterses and the like) can be guilty of anything.  

Case in point:

When you have a movement whose “elite” (koff koff) takes private jets halfway around the world to conferences where they tell everyone else to move into apartments and take transit? That sends its kids to private academies but hectors you for putting yours in a charter school? That parks its money in tax shelters run by rooms full of tax lawyers and tells you you’re unpatriotic for wanting your taxes lowered?

Who tell you “Misogyny is bad” while excusing…ugly stupid misogyny (in terms so patronizing and sexist that they’d have gotten any Republican politican exiled to rural Alaska)?

I guess I can see why they deflect to “Racism” when talking about why Trump won.

Whenever I Need A Little Pick-Me-Up…

With the departure of Fast Eddie Schultz from the (American) national media, Cenk Uygur has taken sole possession of the role of dumbest person in American public life.

And every once in a while, when I need a little pick-me-up, I re-roll this clip of his election-night journey from entitled, Urban-Progressive-Privilege-sodden, illiterate profane smugness to prehensile, Urban-Progressive-Privilege-sodden, profane rage.

Tarred

The good news?  You’ve got people on the left defending free speech on campus, and defending it well, as Charles C. Cooke notes in the National Review about a piece in New York Magazine by Jesse Singal:.

But there’s still a bit of fact-checking to do, as Cooke notes – in this case, quoting Singal:

“The existence of white nationalist Richard Spencer, and other bigoted far-right figures like him, poses a genuine challenge to public universities. Conservative student groups invite these sorts of figures to speak fairly often, and the courts have consistently held that public universities can’t really interfere with such events.”

There’s just one thing wrong:

Having read this, you could be forgiven for thinking that “conservative student groups” have invited ”white nationalist Richard Spencer” to speak on campus, and that they have done so “fairly often.” This isn’t correct. Richard Spencer has indeed spoken on college campuses recently. But, invariably, he has invited himself.

After which the conservative groups do what they do – defend actual free speech, including the stuff that everyone hates, which is indeed why we need “Free Speech” in the Constitution in the first place.

So there’s that.

But there’s one other problem:  Singal refers to Spencer et al as “bigoted far-right figures”.   And he’s far from alone.

Thing is, as Michael Knowles points out in this superb Prager U video, the “Alt-Right” is not right.  It repudiates, in fact, much of what American conservatism believes:

To sum up, the “Alt-Right” – or “Alternative to the Right” – believes in:

  • Relentless identity politics, just like Big Left does, only in  its case the identity is “White”.
  • Atheistic.  Christianity important to the alt-right only as a motivator for Western European civilizzation – but rejects faith as a moral, ethical or spiritual force.
  • A disdain for the value of the individual in favor of the primacy of the group.

Conservatism is focused on the individual, and the presence of a stable, higher order (even conservative atheists – they exist – generally believe in some sort of higher moral order).

I know, I know – they christened themselves “Alt-Right”, sparing the media the trouble of doing it for them.

Stage IV Pauline Kael Syndrome

Katha Pollitt is sort of a gender affirmative action project; Big Leftymedia has Jonathan Chait, so the need a female version (pardon the redundancy).

She never disappoints, which is another way of saying if you have any hope that our coastal elite can be salvaged, she disappoints intensely.

In this case, Pollitt “writes” about the rage that’s been buiding in her since…well, that day last November:

Unlike my friend’s, my life has changed a lot in the year since Trump was elected. Not materially, except for the fact that my stepson and daughter-in-law moved to Canada partly because, as non-citizens, they worried for their futures here in the US.

Er, right.  That’s why they moved.  Not to be rid of their ninny mother in law. Nosirreebob.

I mean psychologically. I sometimes feel like I’m a different person now. I’m fidgety and irritable and have trouble concentrating.

I have little doubt that the affliction is real; she hands out straight lines like after-dinner mints; either she’s so addled by her rage, or so secure in never being challenged by her audience:

My work seems trivial: Given what we are facing, what difference does one more Nation column make? I might as well be an ancient Egyptian scribe logging production figures for cat mummies.

Katha:  your work is trivial.  Even when your guy was in power, you were a joyless scold who served only to fluff your social class’s sense of self-importance.

Today, you are the same thing, plus depression born of unrequited entitlement.  Mazel tov.

In the old days, the days before Trump, it bothered me that so many people loved things I thought were stupid. Now I just think, Go ahead, enjoy yourself. Maybe your Batman DVDs will comfort you when we’re wandering around in the ashen hellscape of whatever apocalypse Trump will bring down upon us.

Katha:  Sylvia Plath called.  She told you to buck up and quit being such a downer.

But the main difference is that I hate people now. Well, not all people, of course. Just people who voted for Trump.

Of course you hate people “now”, Katha.

People who do their own “research” on the Internet and discover there that President Obama is a Muslim and Michelle Obama is a man. People who use the n-word and can’t even spell it right, because—have you noticed?—Trump supporters can’t spell. Well-off people who only care about lowering their taxes. People who said they couldn’t vote for Hillary because of her emails. Excuse me, sir or madam, can you explain to me what an email server even is?

The real question, Katha, is can you?

No.  You can’t.

If you want to see example 25,695 on why Trump/Pence are going to win re-election in 2020, look no further.

Sadly Disappointed

When I read the headline on this piece (“We Should Ban Cars From Big Cities. Seriously.”), the first thing that crossed my mind was “Oh, this could be a fiendishly brilliant parody of gun-grabber “arguments”.

Then I saw the masthead; BuzzFeed.  Which means nothing clever, fiendish or otherwise.

A gun lobbyist would typically step in right about now to ask whether those who demand gun control after mass shootings also want to ban cars after events like this week. To which I say: Hell yes. Cars don’t belong on the streets of big cities, and we should do everything in our power to get rid of them.

You can’t stop crazy. But you can reduce the number of people allowed to drive their 4,000 pound machines into city parks, along city beaches, past playgrounds, and alongside the sidewalks of the most pedestrian-packed places in the nation. If we banned cars from every city in the US tomorrow, we would stop vehicular terrorism overnight — and save thousands of lives.

The “writer” – Jessie Singer – fancies himself a transportation expert.  Clearly he’s not an expert in logistics; that Ethiopian coffee doesn’t arrive at his New York cafe on the backs of unicorns.  They arrive in commercial trucks.  And they likely will for a long, long time.

The trucks in New York and Nice, France were…what now?  A rental from a Home Depot or a Lowe’s ($19.95 an hour) in NYC; a regular delivery truck in Nice.

With experts like this, it’s hard to believe the left needs ignorant people.

Dawn Of The Doakes: Fact-Checking MinnPost; Like Cleaning Up Puerto Rico With A DustBuster

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A friend of your blog mentioned a MinnPost article, in a column captioned Big Words.  Since it’s the MinnPost, you have to wade through the stage-setting lies to search for a possible grain of wisdom.

Lie #1.  Trump did not refer to Kaepernick as a son-of-a-bitch, Trump explicitly referred to present players who take the knee.

Lie #2.  Kneeling is not about “a persistent American injustice” since Kaepernick himself was quoted in the article saying it’s no longer about police brutality, it’s about general unfairness.

Lie #3.  The world does not wonder if Trump seeks a return to pre-Jackie Robinson days, the author imputes that, groundlessly.

Lie #4.  Trump did not receive comeuppance from the players last week; viewership was down another 11% as fans heeded his advice to skip the game and owners now beg them to return.

Lie #5.  It’s true that Trump was elected by a minority of Americans, just like every modern President.  Half of Americans don’t vote at all; the winner is the person who gets half of the half that do – meaning a quarter of the whole.  The implication that Trump therefore lacks a mandate is not true, his quarter gives him the same mandate as Obama or Bush or Clinton.

Lie #6.  Trump’s approval rating has not fallen as a result of these tweets, it’s still hovering around 40% which is all he ever had

Lie #7.  Trump is not the person threatening the destroy the entire nation, that’s Rocket Man, who was subsidized and enabled by prior administrations kicking the can down the road.

After all those lies, what is the author left with?  Wishful thinking about impeachment.  Hope that Trump will get bored and quit (bad news – that doesn’t get you Hillary, it gets you Pence).  Exhortation to sit during the national anthem, because that’ll show him.  None of those will work and everybody knows it, even the author of the article.

He urges us to pray.  I agree, but I’m astonished MinnPost printed it.  Pray?  Pray to the God that Democrats repeatedly rejected at their convention, the God that Liberals have banned from schools, the God whose Commandments must be removed from the courthouse lawn?

Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn occasionally.  I’m thrilled this author found his.  I’m just sorry it cost him so many lies to get there.

Joe Doakes

All in a day’s work at the MinnPost.

Word Choice

Rolling Stone, reeling from a decade of decay of the print publication biz and its own growing irrelevance, is on the market; Jann Wenner is looking for a buyer.

The NYTimes notes (emphasis added by me):

But the headwinds buffeting the publishing industry, and some costly strategic missteps, have steadily taken a financial toll on Rolling Stone, and a botched story three years ago about an unproven gang rape at the University of Virginia badly bruised the magazine’s journalistic reputation.

“Botched”.

“Unproven”.

The actual word is “false”.

 

Trapped In A World They Never Made

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Star Tribune newspaper (using the term very generously) with their stable of leftist propagandists, is so far out of the reality loop that I am becoming convinced they are not merely pretending to believe this swill, they actually believe it.  I know this is a long and ludicrous review, but it’s informative to see just how outrageous things have gotten.

It’s utterly ridiculous.  The proposal to stop forcing taxpayers to pay for murdering babies in the womb is literally the same thing as enslaving women and assigning them to castes for breeding.  And that future is NOW!!!

The show, in the works before Trump’s election, “became more relevant than we ever imagined,” said Warren Littlefield, the executive producer, earlier this year. “A big part of what we deal with in ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ is the issue of women’s control of their body, and now we’re dealing with the possible defunding of Planned Parenthood . . . We didn’t want to be more relevant, but somehow we got that way.”

The inability to distinguish fantasy from reality is a symptom of mental illness.  Someone should intervene to help this woman.

Joe Doakes

You have to walk a long way from Hollywood to find someone capable of intervening.

Does Harvard Give Refunds?

Rachel Maddow – not the most overrated “public intellectual” in the leftymedia, but pretty dang close – threw out some hilarioiusly historicalliy-ignorant red meat organic gruel for her audience of ill-informed wannabe intellects.

Over the past year I’ve been reading a lot about what it was like when Hitler first became chancellor. I am gravitating toward moments in history for subliminal reference in terms of cultures that have unexpectedly veered into dark places, because I think that’s possibly where we are

Well, there’s a “subliminal reference” there, but not the one Maddow is thinking of.

Let’s look back on when Hitler became Chancellor.

It was a decade when political parties kept private armies that roamed the streets beating, stabbing and sometimes shooting their opponents. There were more than a few massacres, of both commies and Nazis.   The left has some groups that might, with a little more derangement, become “private armies”, but I’ll be charitable and assume thats not where we’re going, at least on purpose.  

Germany had a parliamentary system that gave a president – superannuated General Von Hindenburg – the power to dissolve the government – something easily used by a crafty plurality to stage what amounted to a bloodless consensual coup.   That’d be hard to do, at least legally, within the US’s constitutional system.  Of course, the left has spent the past eight weeks floating ideas to circumvent or avoid the constitution – but again, let’s just chalk that up to the whining of spoiled, entitled children of all ages.

It was a place deeply fractured among extremist parties that hated each other and often acted on that hate. OK – the left might be giving us that equivalence.

Otherwise? Shut up, Rachel, and make me a f****ng sandwich.

The Problem With Liberal Media Talking About “Fake News”

The left-leaning mainstream media – which has in the life of this blog:

…is wondering why people don’t trust it.

Perhaps because of paragraphs like this (emphasis added by me):

“What I think is so unsettling about the fake news cries now is that their audience has already sort of bought into this idea that journalism has no credibility or legitimacy,” said Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters, a liberal group that polices the news media for bias. “Therefore, by applying that term to credible outlets, it becomes much more believable.”

Media Matters is a Soros-funded propaganda mill.  It is a “media watchdog” only to the extent that an attack-PR firm is a watchdog of anything; relentlessly scouring media for congruence with liberal chanting points with all the grace of a German funk band.

Others see a larger effort to slander the basic journalistic function of fact-checking. Nonpartisan websites like Snopes and Factcheck.org have found themselves maligned when they have disproved stories that had been flattering to conservatives.

Neither is non-partisan.

While I think good reporting is essential to a representative Republic, I think our current mainstream media will not be the ones to perform any kind of “good reporting”.   The sooner it goes out of business, the better for democracy.

This Changes EVERYTHING!

Celebrities – among the left’s most vital constituencies – are now asking for 37 electors to vote against Trump.

Don’t want to watch the whole video?  OK – the “highlight” is probably Martin Sheen, who preaches:

Sheen pledges that anyone who votes his or her way will go “down in the books as an American hero,” and others say those electors will “have my respect.”

Violating state election laws and party rules, and getting Martin Sheen’s “respect?”

Stardom

Speaking for myself, I’m not going to participate in the left’s jabbering about “the Alt-Right” – which is to this cycle what “Vast Rightwing Conspiracy” was to 1996, and “War on Women” was to 2012; a mass smear attempting to tie the entire American “right” to the most noxious people who can possibly be linked to it.

In this case, some “Klan” leaders who nobody has heard of (there are bowling leagues with more members and political clout than the KKK has these days) who were thrust into instant, utterly temporary, undeserved prominence by dint of “endorsing” or “heiling” Trump.

However, Trump has refudiated his ‘supporters’ on the “alt-right”.

Suppose that’ll get any headlines?

Garbage Out

There’s a meme going about – a corruption of “Godwin’s Law”, I think – that says “the first person to refer to Hitler loses”.   We’ve been through Godwin’s Law and its various permutations in the past.

But it did bring something to mind.

When I get into rhubarbs with liberals, it’s pretty much an even bet they’ll cite “data” and “sources” from ThinkProgress, a blog project of the Center for American “Progress”.

When this happens, I know (from history, no less) that the argument is over – because Think” “Progress” is in its entirety baked wind.

Come Back, Aaron Rupar: All Is Forgiven

To:  The City Pages
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  You Suck

Dear “City Pages”,

While you’ve always been a freebie hipster lifestyle ‘zine, you used to have some great writing.  Thirty years ago, you were the home of Lileks and Jim DeRogatis.

Twenty years ago, led by Steve Perry,  you had some great journalism – as in, some of the best reporting in the Twin Cities.  And as smugly left-of-center as you’ve always been, you surprised us; under Perry’s watch, you were the first newspaper in town to fairly and accurately cover the Concealed Carry debate.  I said so at the time, and I say it now – kudos.

Twenty years ago.

Today, though?

Just saying – this kind of fratboy drunk-Facebooking pablum would have been laughed out of my high school newspaper.  And this piece here might legitimately make someone wonder if the City Pages is getting money, directly or indirectly, from Bloomberg (more tomorrow).

Speaking of which – is City Pages getting money from Bloomberg?

It’s almost, but not quite, a Berg’s Law; whenever you think the City Pages can’t get any dumber, it will get dumber.

That is all.

Shots Fired

Rep. Kim Norton is going to come for your guns this session.

It may not work, but it’s the next measure in what Big Left hopes to make into a steady drumbeat that eventually wears the great, underinformed middle down on the issue.

But the facts are out there.

Location, Location, Location:   If you live in Minnesota, you know that North Minneapolis is the state’s little Oakland.  While Minnesota as a whole has a murder rate of 1.6 per 100,000 people, the North Side’s violent crime (about 30 murders last year, in a population of under 40,000 people) teases out to a murder rate of 75/100,000 – higher than Venezela, double that of Columbia.

Of course, Minneapolis (and Hennepin County in general) has among the lowest legal firearms ownership rates in the state:

So if the left’s conceit  – less guns (in the hands of the law-abiding) equals less crime – would seem to predict a nice, low crime rate in Minneapolis.

But the MinnPost ran a piece earlier this week – and for starters, it confirmed what everyone already knew; the North Side is a shooting gallery, at least judging by the MPD’s “Shot Spotter” system.

Here’s a “heat map” of the city:

screenshot-www.minnpost.com 2016-01-19 12-16-08

 

 

There’s a faint dribble of shooting in the “Phillips” neighborhood (between Franklin and Lake, east of 35W and west of Hiawatha), and some in the central core of the south side between 35W and probably Chicago (and just so we’re accurate, here, the shot-spotter microphones are only installed in high-crime areas; we don’t see shots fired in Linden Hills or along Minnehaha Creek because there are no microphones in Linden Hills or along Minnehaha Creek.  But there are no microphones there because, objectively, there really isn’t a big “gun violence” problem there.  Or Nordeast.  Or by Nokomis. Or even on Lake Street east of Hiawatha or much west of Nicollet.

More telling?  Shooting has been trending down on the south side for the past six years:

screenshot-www.minnpost.com 2016-01-19 12-16-33
Even the NYTimes knows that North Minneapolis is a free-fire zone:

But as Willesha Moorehead, who came here from Chicago a dozen years ago, can attest, struggle is baked into its streets.

Seven of her friends or members of her family, including the father of her first child, have died from gun violence in North Minneapolis. She has struggled to get work, in part because she could not find child care for her two daughters, she said. And for the past three years she has bounced between the homes of friends and family because she could not find affordable housing.

The problem, the NYTimes seems to imply, is that not enough money gets spent on the North Side:

Public transportation is poor, residents say, and though local officials are planning to spend more than $1 billion on a light-rail line, North Minneapolis residents have been critical because it will run through downtown and the suburbs but skirt their community.

So clearly, the answer is to crack down on guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens in Northeast and Saint Paul and Anoka and Thief River Falls.

That should solve it.

The real problem?  The government has been using the North Side as a warehouse for the poor for a couple of generations now.  The city has been fine with that – they’re a nice pool of captive DFL voters – but now, the social consequences of keeping a bull pen full of dependents is catching up with the city.

Again.

Hugo First

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

As a youth, I looked for Science Fiction books with Hugo Winner on the cover because that was a sign of quality science fiction writing.

For the last 30 years, Hugo winners have been more about political correctness than starships and laser beams, a future of despair, not hope.  Look, I read escapist fiction to escape political correctness and despair, I don’t want it in my Science Fiction so I quit buying SF.

Three years ago, author Larry Correia noticed the trend and in a parody of typical politically-correct appeals, claimed that boring message fiction was the leading cause of puppy-related sadness.  He said the Hugos put authors’ politics above the quality of the work, that conservatives were shunned.  He formed the Sad Puppies club and got a few conservatives nominated for the award.  The Liberal response was typical:  Sad Puppies are racist, sexist and homophobic and must be shunned.  SP did it again last year and the response got worse.  This year there were two groups: Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, who swept the nominations and then the fur really flew.

The major media reporting on the controversy started from the wrong premise: they examined genitals and scrutinized skin color to see if Sad Puppies nominees filled quotas of women and racial minority authors.  That investigation entirely misses the point: regardless of who wrote the stories, were the stories any good?

The metric used to measure the problem, IS the problem.

The 2015 Hugos were announced: no Award won several categories.  Politically correct fans would sooner give no award at all than let conservative nominees win, not even the woman, Hispanic or American Indian Sad Puppies nominees.  Politics ruled; Liberals burned down their politically correct village in order to save it.

The insanity goes beyond science fiction.

President Obama nominated Sotomayor to the Supreme Court because she was a “wise Latina.” Is there something about being a woman that makes the Commerce Clause easier to understand?  Some special cultural benefit of having Spanish ancestors that gives you clearer insight into the Due Process Clause?  Liberals insist Diversity is Essential but never provide an intellectual justification for it.

We can see the results of Affirmative Action in the Hugos and in the White House.  When will we, as a society, get the message that rewarding the least qualified and punishing the most qualified on the basis of immaterial factors such as race and sex . . . is a stupid way to run a society?

Joe Doakes

I’m happy that Joe can explain  the flap about the Hugo Awards because I, myself, have never cared for sci-fi.

And when I say “sci-fi”, I mean “sci-fi fans”, of whom I have the grossly-unfair stereotype of being a roomful of people who look and act like Comic Store Guy on Simpsons

…and who justify the stereotype, in part, by doing such a terrible job (Joe Doakes excepted) of explaining why we should care?  Reading sci-fi fans’ “explanations” of the Hugo Award flap is like reading about “Gamergate”;  clogged with subcultural jargon that, like all subcultural argot, is intended to make the subculture opaque to outsiders.

And it works!  What is a “sad puppy?”  (Joe explains it adequately, in context, which is a first).  What in the f*****g f*****g f*** is “Dragoncon?”  Who is who, and how do we know, and for the love of The Force, why does it matter?

So it’s a start.  Thanks, Joe.

Sustainability

Minnesota Public Radio announced what amounts to a fairly sweeping set of layoffs in the newsroom yesterday:

The identities of the laid off staff members have not been confirmed, but a series of tweets by MPR Newscut blogger Bob Collins Thursday night suggest that they are:

Newscaster Beth Kidd; higher ed reporter Alex Friedrich; politics reporter Catharine Richert; arts reporter Chris Roberts; producer Emily Kaiser; photographers Jeffrey Thompson and Jennifer Simonson; reporter/producer Nikki Tundel; and editor/reporter David Cazares. (List compiled by the Business Journal).

Waxing purely editorially here – it appears that the House that Keillor Built is running into the same buzz saw  the rest of the radio industry ran into 6–7 years ago, and that the old Big Three broadcast operations have been wrestling with for a decade; the fact that the audience is splintering, drawn to other media spawned by new technology.

The amazing factoid? I’ve always known that Minnesota Public Radio news was a massive operation, certainly in scale with the rest of the be behemoth that is MPR, filling out the huge building on 7th and Cedar in downtown St. Paul like it does. Even I had had no idea how huge the newsroom was; the nine layoffs amounted to 13% of the newsroom; that meant MPR’s newsroom alone was somewhere north of 70 people.

It’s disappointing – and a telling – to see among the nine above a number of a good, solid journalists losing their jobs, while Keri Miller just keeps prattling away.

PS: On the other hand, assuming “producer Emily Kaiser” is the same one who used to “write” at the City Pages

…well, it’s bad karma to kibitz about people who just got whacked.  I’ve been there way too many times myself.

Best of luck, everyone.

Stasis

Change is all around us.
Some things – technology, reality TV, the Dow – change very quickly.

Others – glaciers, the cityscape or landscape around you – change so slowly as to be imperceptible, until you look at a time lapse photograph or think back over 20 years in a place, and go “wow –  that snuck up on me”.

Indeed, the “expanding universe” model of astrophysics says that literally every single thing in the universe is changing, all the time.

There is only one thing in all of the known universe that is not changing. And that is…: 

… Oliver Willis will always be Oliver Willis.