Make Minnesota Productive Again

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Since the Governor won’t let me go out to play, I’m spending my time at
home wisely.

I’m taking the on-line class to renew my Permit to Carry a Pistol. I’m
also shopping on-line for guns (to be shipped to my local FFL for
delivery) and stocking up on ammunition (to be shipped directly to my
doorstep).

Thanks, Governor. Just what I needed.

Joe Doakes

Do it while you can.

If the Democrats take the Senate and hold the House this fall, Minnesota will make Virginia look like Wyoming.

Heroes Walking Among Us

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Went for a walk, saw this sign, having trouble identifying the symbol for “government bureaucrats.”  


Hey, we’re essential, you know.  Those papers aren’t going to shuffle themselves.  
Joe Doakes

Sardonic as Joe is, he knows as well as anyone that government workers of all kinds are the most essential workers there are. They’re public employees union members – the backbone of the DFL.

They’re essential to his and the DFL’s power.

But we all knew this.

A Look Ahead To Government Healthcare…

…with a side helping of “Blue Minnesota always tries to emulate New York”.

City-run nursing homes in NYC became wretched hellscapes during the worst of the pandemic:

“It was just heartbreaking,” said one of the RNs, a mom of four from Wisconsin who spent about 17 days at the Coler Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center.

“Patients were in deplorable conditions — very, very dirty, bed sores, terrible odors,’’ the FEMA-contracted nurse, 38, told The Post.

“During my shift, I was placing my initials on the adult diapers. When I would return the next day, the patients would have an additional adult diaper on over the one with my initials on it, saturated urine through both and through the sheets.’’

She and several other nurses, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they tended to coronavirus patients in the facility’s long-term-care section.

The virus-sickened patients were already living at the site when the nurses arrived and not among the COVID-19 sufferers who were ordered sent to the facility by Mayor Bill de Blasio because of a shortage of hospital beds amid the pandemic. The patients brought in from the outside were put in a separate wing of the site that had been closed.

The conditions were a direct result of Governor “Fredo” Cuomo and Mayor “Ratso” DiBlasio’s bureaucratic d**k-measuring contest back in March – further proof that politics is not just (as Kevin Williamson says) the worst possible way of allocating scarce resources, but in times of crisis, the deadliest as well.

Densely Packed People

“Politics is the least effective possible way to get things done” is a tight paraphrase of one of my favorite Kevin Williamson quotes. And it may as well be the theme in this piece, from far-from-right Pro Publica,

Pullquote from among many contenders:

[San Francisco Mayor London] Breed, it turns out, had sent de Blasio a copy of her detailed shelter-in-place order. She thought New York might benefit from it.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, however, reacted to de Blasio’s idea for closing down New York City with derision. It was dangerous, he said, and served only to scare people. Language mattered, Cuomo said, and “shelter-in-place” sounded like it was a response to a nuclear apocalypse.

Moreover, Cuomo said, he alone had the power to order such a measure.

For years, Cuomo and de Blasio, each of whom has harbored national political ambitions, had engaged in a kind of intrastate cold war, a rivalry that to many often felt childish and counterproductive. When de Blasio finally decided to close the city’s schools, it was Cuomo who rushed to make the public announcement, claiming it as his decision.

“No city in the state can quarantine itself without state approval,” Cuomo said of de Blasio’s call for a shelter-in-place order. “I have no plan whatsoever to quarantine any city.”

Cuomo’s conviction didn’t last. On March 22, he, too, shuttered his state. The action came six days after San Francisco had shut down, five days after de Blasio suggested doing similarly and three days after all of California had been closed by Newsom. By then, New York faced a raging epidemic, with the number of confirmed cases at 15,000 doubling every three or four days.

Being a leftist publication, the elephant in the room – population density is a key vector of transmission – got skipped.

But tinhorn imperial personality poiltics? That just plain killec.

Representative Karen

Tina LIebling, representative from…

…well, it might as well be Eastasia, given her attitude about, well, the role of the elected legislature, especially the part that’s in opposition., But I digress.

Here’s the representative, talking about GOP Senators who were doing the – let me make sure I’m perfectly clear oh this – actual job they were elected to do, standing up for their constituents’ interests.

No matter, to Rep. Karen:

Hey, at least state rules forced her to unblock me!

Confidence

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

When people have confidence in the ability and willingness of the government to protect them, they don’t buy guns to protect themselves.

Second straight month of record gun sales.  Forget what they tell the poll takers on the phone – what does that sales figure tell us about the public’s confidence in the local officials they formerly trusted?

Joe Doakes

But…I’m toldthe polling numbers are stellar…

The New Normal

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Remember going out for Sunday brunch on Mother’s Day? Thats illegal now. But you can still get an abortion. 
Welcome to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Minnesota.
Joe Doakes

He’s not wrong.

Or especially hyperbolic.

Surprising Nobody (Who’s Been Paying Attention At All)

“Unexpectedly”, Minnesota’s neighbors – well, at least the ones run by people who came up through the world of business, rather than public employment or the non-profit/industrial complex – are kicking Minnesota’s passive-aggressive tush at dealing with Coronavirus.

You could look at it in terms of deaths per million (South Dakota is 1/3 Minnesota’s rate; North Dakota, half). You could look at it in terms of ICU utilization (all are doing all right, but it’s interesting to imagine how much better the lower-density states would be doing but for the ravages of Obamacare on rural healthcare).

Oh, yeah – and testing?

Which Governor Walz, for about the tenth time in six weeks put out there as the dispositive factor in re-opening, notwithstanding the fact that Minnesota’s bureaucracy is no better at un-flattening the curve with tests than it is at managing its budget?

Oh, what do you think? Numbers as of yesterday.

North Dakota 54,330
South Dakota 22,009
Nebraska 21,253
Iowa 21,206
Wisconsin 17,695
Minnesota 17,625

Bear in mind, progs in the audience – this is in terms of tests per million.

The businesspeople – who largely happen to be Republicans, but that’s more an effect than a cause – are doing the job better.

Suppose Minnesota will learn the lesson?

The Turning Point?

The media and the Walz administration – pardon, largely, the redundancy – is waving around a bunch of polls by a bunch of left-leaning pollsters showing overwhelming support for keeping the state’s economy shut down until…um, they’ll get back to you on that.

I’ve noticed that an awful lot of those supporting a vapor-tight lockdown until (insert yet another set of Walz Administration goals – I have a hard time keeping up with ’em) have steady incomes that aren’t going anywhere. State workers, employees of schools and universities, non-profiteers in sectors with revenues that aren’t going anywhere.

But all that might change soon. From yesterday’s Governor’s presser:

Gov. Tim Walz says he’s not ready to rule anything out _ including layoffs and furloughs of state employees.

I’m gonna suspect that starts some DFLers thinking critically about risk aversion.

Government Is The Things We Do Together – Stupidly And Arbitrarily

A Long Lake restaurant tries to put on a drive in movie, complete with take-out food with all the socially-distance, plague-aware trimmings.

The state shut them down:

Birch’s On the Lake has lost around 70% of its regular revenue while doing take-out only during the stay at home order.

The owner came up with a plan to do a family night at the drive-in outside the Long Lake restaurant.

“It sold out in a day,” Burton Joseph said.

The plan was to hand out notes to customers explaining the safety rules: stay in their cars, maintain distance, and no alcohol. They would be allowed to call in an order for take-out to eat in their cars.

On Monday state officials told Joseph they could not have the event.

“If we’re coming up with the ideas to keep everyone safe at this point I feel like they deserve to give someone a chance,” Joseph said.

Yet again: we have a government run by a man who’s never had a significant job in the private sector, at the head of an administration that has nothing but contempt for businesspeople…

…telling the people who actually have the interests of not only their business, but the customers and communities that are their livelihood, and who have greatest stake in providing creative solutions to our mutual problems, how to behave.

This is the sort of thing that delegitimizes government authority, and leaves you with a Ukraine, a Belanus, a Venezuela.

Science!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

King Walz the First angrily denounced right-wing kook websites speculating that the newest plan to placate the coronavirus involved sacrificing virgins.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “Our plan is simply to have Joe Biden sniff their hair. It has been amply demonstrated that no person has died from coronavirus while having their hair sniffed by the President-Nearly-Elect. The plan has worked, works perfectly, continues to work, and anyone who questions or criticizes it is a science denier.”

King Walz did not specify how virgins would be selected, or their virginity verified, before being sent to the undisclosed location where Candidate Biden is in self-imposed quarantine with a small harem.

From the Capital, Joe Doskes, reporting.

In related news, the State of Minnesota Heath Economist neither confirmed nor denied that his office uses sheep entrails for “modeling”.

Life In A Time Of Mayor Norton

This tweet came out from the Olmsted County sheriff’s office yesterday:

While Olmsted County is not controlled by the city of Rochester, the city is obviously the center of political gravity. And Kim Norton, as passive-aggressive an anti-gun zealot as ever blurted out a made-up statistic, most certainly either had something to do with this, or the DFL culture of the county that spawned her, spawned this culture of passive-aggressive petty tyranny as well.

Remember this at election time.

Epiphany

A friend of the blog emails:

My child is not going to public school. Now that we are doing home based learning, the school continues to provide the excellent education we expected. We have a high quality teacher who gives a daily schedule that has my child doing educational work, physical activity related to the daily lesson, and 2 daily live meetings online with the entire class. This is how I envision the home school program should look. Advanced grade levels at this school are doing online group work in addition to the daily meetings with the entire class. This school is taking learning seriously. But, they were before being sent home, too.

My colleagues who have children in public schools have a different story. They tell me all their kids get is “busy work.” They tell me their kids are no longer learning anything and that home based learning “just doesn’t work for public schools.” “It’s a joke, really,” they tell me.

I honestly believe a percentage of the problem is the parents- they may be too busy to be involved, dealing with other family members, dealing with this economic crisis, etc. But, I also wonder if they have forgotten their own school experiences. Or how involved were they when their children were in actual school? In my view, a lot of public school is busy work. Why would their home program be any different?

I have a hunch that for kids whose notion of ‘education’ is learning from what goes on around them in life and applying their innate curiosity to the found opportunities the world is full of, this period could be a fantastic learning experience.

The public factory school model is not designed to foster that.

I’ve also heard – anecdotally, natch – that some public school parents, coming face-to-face with their kids curriculum for the first time, have been genuinely horrified at the, well, general uselessness of the whole charade.

One hopes that feeling carries through when the crisis is over.

Officer Friendly

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There’s a video of two Calumet County Wisconsin Sheriff’s deputies hassling a woman because her kids went to the neighbor’s house to play. 

In response, the Sheriff posted this message:  

The problem with both the video and the response is the attitude.  This is the kind of behavior that gets people upset at law enforcement.  

Look at the male deputy in the video.  His tone is berating.  His attitude is condescending.  His body language is aggressive.  The Sheriff says the Deputy is there to educate the mother, that the deputies were not there because of a violation of the order.  But that’s what the deputies accuse her of – violating the order by letting her kids play at the neighbor’s house. 

The male deputy’s posture and word choice is confrontational.  He doesn’t educate, he berates.  It angers me just watching it.  He did nothing to de-escalate the situation.  
The female deputy’s passive-aggressive behavior is little better.  She doesn’t educate or placate, she’s there to document the contact for future prosecution because now the mother has been warned.  And the mother was uncooperative!  That’s going on her Permanent Record!  

That is the sort of officious, snotty, condescending, infuriating behavior by petty tyrants that causes unrest, as in “unrest in the Middle East” or “another day of unrest in Northern Ireland.”  People who can’t behave professionally in customer-facing positions should find another line of work.

Let me be perfectly clear for law enforcement and other people of limited intellectual ability: I am not calling for people to shoot cops.  But if this woman had and I were on the jury, I’d vote to acquit.
Joe Doakes

There’s something about “public service” that brings the worst out of a certain type of personality – the kind wonderfully parodied by Rainn Wilson for nine years as “Dwight Schrute”.

Although this isn’t funny.

Indecency Plus Blue Fragility

Governor Cuomo’s “Marie Antoinette” moment:

The Democrat fielded questions Wednesday while angry protesters outside expressed their displeasure with ongoing shutdown policies. A reporter said she spoke to many of the protesters and found them to be “regular people who are not getting a paycheck.”

“Some of them are not getting their unemployment check and they’re saying that they don’t have time to wait for all of this testing and they need to get back to work in order to feed their family,” she said, CBS News reported. “Their savings are running out. They don’t have another week. They’re not getting answers. So, their point is, the cure can’t be worse than the illness itself. What is your response to that?”

Mr. Cuomo’s response suggested that government-imposed shutdowns might exist as long as a single person was at risk of dying from the contagion.

“The illness is death,” he said. “What is worse than death? Economic hardship? Yes, very bad. Not death. Emotional stress from being locked in a house — very bad. Not death. Domestic violence on the increase — very bad. Not death.”

This seems to be the tack the “shutdownists” – a term I use advisedly, as it seems to be almost a matter of religious faith among its adherents – use; the only alternative to completely shudown is mass death.

And then (with emphasis added):

The reporter countered that protesters are in an untenable position, given that they cannot pay immediate bills while simultaneously being told they cannot work.

“They can’t wait for the money,” she said. “They’re out of money.”

“They can say, ‘Unemployment insurance isn’t enough,’” the Democrat replied. “I get it. Even with the $600 check and the $1,200 check, and the unemployment benefit is not enough. I understand the economic hardship. We all feel it. The question is, ‘What do you do about it?’ And do you put public health at risk? And do you drive up the number of deaths for it, because you have no idea how to reopen now.”

Mr. Cuomo was then asked if a fundamental right to work exists if “the government can’t get [citizens] the money” they need in a timely manner.

“You want to go to work?” Mr. Cuomo replied. “Go take a job as an essential worker.”

Preferably as a dues-paying public union member, no doubt.

Killing The Patient To Save It

I spent a little time watching some of the local TV news and weather drones chattering about Earth Day yesterday.

I know – I forgot to celebrate it, too, right?

And the line among the various weather drones, in noting that pollution is at record lows around the planet, was simultaneously predictable and a crushing face palm;

“it just shows what people can do to Fight climate change when they set their mind to it”

Yes. When the economy slows to a record halt, vaporizing trillions of dollars in personal and institutional wealth, throwing millions/tens of millions, really, into at least short term poverty and possibly much worse, with industries shut down and hundreds of thousands of small businesses vanquished over a little more than six weeks, the air will get a little clean.

Moot Points

As Minnesotans – among whom Covid has taken a fairly minimal toll, in population-wide terms – start to protest the economic toll of government’s response, New Yorkers, who’ve suffered relatively terribly, may be showing the real end-game of the government’s shutdowns – ignoring the whole thing and seeing to their own survival, medically and econmically:

On my “essential walks” which I take daily to the grocery or the bodega, I traverse an overpass above the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. For the past month traffic has been spare, an emergency vehicle here and there, not much more. That too has changed. While it has not returned to the soul crushing bumper-to-bumper standstill that makes the BQE infamous, the number of cars coursing to and from Staten Island has built up everyday.

What is important and telling about the differences in people’s behavior this week is that no city or state government policies have actually changed. The people of New York themselves, and from accounts across the country in other places as well, have simply decided to loosen the guidelines for themselves. We tend to think of the idea of the government existing through the consent of the governed as being about elections, but it is about more than that, the successful lockdown of New York City was not enforced as much as it was consented to.

This phenomenon is something that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo seems to understand. Cuomo was asked during one of his daily press conferences this week if he is worried that his steady stream of good news about the number of deaths stabilizing instead of increasing and the decrease in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations could give New Yorkers a false sense of security. His answer was basically that he has to tell citizens the truth or he loses his credibility.

Ninety years ago, Prohibition was basically a dead issue by the time Congress got around to repealing the 18th Amendment.

I can easily see that happening with some of the more draconian government responses.

Indeed – being ignored may be the best that some executive pols can hope for.

Another Modification

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This is weird – I keep finding these modifications but they’re not
mentioned in the media.


Attention Subjects!

His Royal Highness, Timothy Walz the First, proclaims a modification of
Executive Order 20-20 requiring Minnesotans to Stay Home.

It has come to Our attention that some of Our subjects are in flagrant
disregard of Our proclamations.  In one such instance, the violator
behaved in a loud, obnoxious, and boisterous manner which aroused anger,
alarm and resentment in the Royal Officers who were bravely attempting
to enforce Our order.  This behavior undermines the legitimate authority
of the Crown and threatens public safety.  Effective immediately, no
subject shall express disagreement with any of Our orders, on pain of
immediate and indefinite confinement.  As to such persons, the right of
habeas corpus is suspended for the duration of the emergency.

Our Attorney General has confirmed that Abraham Lincoln himself set the
precedent for this modification, and that it does not infringe the free
speech rights of Minnesotans.  Subjects remain free to express agreement
with Our orders in any form they like: in word, in writing, in artwork
or interpretive dance, even poetry.  The only restriction is on Hate
Speech, which is defined as any speech We hate, and which all decent
subjects should hate, too.

Thank you for your attention.

HRH Timothy Walz the First


Just thought you ought to know.

Joe Doakes

I’m sure I’m not the only one that can imagine Keith Ellison re-purposing the Sedition Act…

What Do They Want? A Cookie?

So among all the bad news about the pandemic, it seems there is a silver lining: the administrations in Minneapolis and Saint Paul are being forced to stop playing Sim City with real money and people, and actually do he things city governments are supposeed to do.

Or, well, try. Emphasis added by me:

In Minneapolis, meetings to discuss the hotly debated Upper Harbor Terminal redevelopment have been postponed. Discussions about millions in funding for neighborhood organizations and reimagining the city’s transportation networks have been pushed to the summer.

In St. Paul, the pandemic prompted the city to postpone public hearings on a tenant protection ordinance and a ban on conversion therapy. A community meeting on the future of Ayd Mill Road was canceled and replaced with an online video.

The coronavirus is causing a major slowdown for the two cities, which have in recent years raised the minimum wage, overhauled zoning and made other changes consistent with a progressive policy agenda for workers and the environment. Now, they’re scrambling to find ways to meet the immediate needs of struggling residents while protecting their own workers.

In bold, you almost literally see a shopping list of “progressive” virtue-signals – gone (until the spigot turns back on).  

I’ve said it for years – especially since the Walking Dead was the most popular show on TV:  catastrophe makes everyone a conservative, one way or the other.   

“It’s nice to want to change the way things happen, but we don’t have the luxury of promoting change at this point,” said Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman. “We have the responsibility to make sure we provide the basic services of the city.”

And, when conversations on those more ambitious goals resume, they won’t look the same.

And one can hope that the people of MInneapolis and Saint Paul, when they see how badly the Cities take care of the basics after a decade of no practice, react to that change in the “conversation” by changing the way they’re governed.

Likely? Absolutely not. But if we don’t have hope, why bother?

Blue Fragility, Part II

It’s a steroetype of “blue” America – at least, the “elite” version of it that gets (and makes) the headlines – that liberty, at least the kind that involves something other than waving one’s genitals about and dunking crucifixes in urine – terrifies them.

Stereotypes exist for a reason. Blue Amerca’s official vision is that liberty is a scary thing. Of course, this vision is broadcast by an “elite” that thinks they stand to benefit from living in a society where an elite – including them, natch – makes the trains run on time.

Which is why as calls from the hinterland to open up the economy get louder, you can expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing, equating those calls with scary backwoods guys with un-oiled bears and lots of guns.

Bonus steroetype: why did the New York Times put scare quotes around “liberty” in the headline?

Social Distance Update

Joe Doakes from Como Park tries his hand at one of my patented dramatizations (c):

Mitch Berg is walking through Menards, looking in vain for dust masks so he can sand the Sheetrock repairs where he was banging his head against the wall after reading Penigma’s email, when he sees Avery Liberelle wearing a giant hula hoop hung from strings over her shoulders.  He tries to slip into the nuts and bolts aisle, but she sees him.
Avery:  Merg!
Berg: Uh, hi Avery.  What’s with the hoop?
Avery: It’s my social distancing perimeter. Why aren’t you wearing yours? 
Berg: Uh . . .
Avery (darkly): Everyone should wear one. My aunt died of Covid-19: so they said.

Berg: (clicks his tongue sympathetically)!!!

Avery: (in the same tragic tone) But it’s my belief they done the old woman in.

Berg: (puzzled) Done her in?

Avery: Y-e-e-e-es, Lord love you! Why should she die of Covid-19? She come through diphtheria right enough the month before. I saw her with my own eyes. Fairly blue with it, she was. They all thought she was dead; but my father he kept ladling gin down her throat til she came to so sudden that she bit the bowl off the spoon.

Berg: (startled) Dear me!

Avery: (piling up the indictment) What call would a woman with that strength in her have to die of the bat flu? And what become of her new straw hat that should have come to me? Somebody pinched it; and what I say is, them as pinched it done her in.

Berg: (to Avery, horrified) You surely don’t believe that your aunt was killed?

Avery: Do I not! Them in that nursing home would have killed her for a hat-pin, let alone a hat.

Berg: But it can’t have been right for your father to pour spirits down her throat like that. It might have killed her.

Avery: Not her. Gin was mother’s milk to her. Besides, he’d poured so much down his own throat that he knew the good of it. (To Berg, who is in convulsions of suppressed laughter) Here! what are you sniggering at?  Science denier!  (Avery stomps off, knocking things off the shelves with her hoop).
End Scene
Joe Doakes

It’s barely fiction, to be honest.

Sort Of A Good News / Bad News Situation

As I discussed on my show on Saturday, I see potential good and potential immense bad coming from the Covid19 epidemic. It’s almost like one of those cartoon characters, with an angel sitting on one shoulder and a devil on the other, trying to convince the character of their next action.

Good Angel

On the one hand:

The Bad Angel

  • Progressive politicians are seeing an opportunity to exercise the Emanuel Commandment (“Never Waste a Crisis”), and they’re running with it
  • For a brief moment, it seemed like identity politics might fall ill with coronavirus.  But not so much.  

Let’s all give the good angel a boost, shall we? 

Urbocentric Problems

A reader emails:

Several months ago, when white, urbanist homeowners were busy advocating for rental housing for everyone else, I would ask why. Why would we advocate for renting over ownership? I never got a good answer- it was determined to be mostly racist to ask the question, which to me seems to be more of a racist answer than the question is.

Anyway, now with COVID-19 shutdowns, I started to see this hashtag pop up- #cancelrent

I searched the hashtag on Twitter. More than 80 within the last hour.

The biggest complaint seems to be that it is now suddenly wrong for someone else to earn money by “doing no more than allowing you to have a place to live.

Great, then it’s settled. Can we stop building luxury $2000 per month apartments and go back to building single family homes or at least make the apartments that are being built condos or both?

I’m a little concerned that the generation that thought milk came from cartons, now thinks housing, healthcare, and benefits descend from the skies in velveteen treasure chests on the backs of unicorns.