An Extra In The Security Theatre

I’m going to commit to you this longish piece by Jason Harrington, “Dear America: I Saw You Naked“, from Politico.  It chronicles his time as a grad student marooned as a TSA screener at O’Hare. 

Of course, if you’re reading this blog, it’s likely as not you aren’t a huge TSA fan.  And for all that, there are probably things in Harrington’s piece that’ll still get you mad.

But I am linking to this because it’d seem Mr. Harrington and I must have met. 

Because this person:

Every now and then, a passenger would throw up two middle fingers during his or her scan, as though somehow aware of the transgressions going on.

That’s me. 

Every time I fly.

The Affordable Barracks Act

Joe Doakes from Como Park writes:

The First Amendment protects the freedom to speak on political subjects, if you say liberal things.

The First Amendment also protects religious freedom, unless you’re a Catholic nun.

The Second Amendment protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms, assuming you’re a Liberal.

The Fourth Amendment protects us from government snooping, except for electronic snooping.

The Fifth Amendment protects us from government taking our property without compensation, unless it can’t deliver?

Hey wait a minute, we skipped one.  What about the Third Amendment?  The Third Amendment says citizens can’t be forced to provide room and board for government troops – no “quartering” is allowed without my consent.  The way things are going in Washington these days, Obama probably will assign me troops and if I decline, he’ll make me to pay the cost of putting up the troops in the Ritz.  And it’ll be legal, as a tax.

I better get started on that basement apartment.

Joe Doakes

“If you like it, you’ll be able to keep your spare bedroom”


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I was thinking of changing careers to become a writer but the Blue section represents an income of zerowhereas the $100,000 group is the sliver of Green.  Odds not looking so good to be a paid professional.  I think I’ll keep pelting Mitch with emails; he can publish what he likes and delete the rest.

The crazy thing about American copyright law is they assume nobody will write or sing or paint without guaranteed income from the performance.  But my experience is you can’t stop people from writing and singing and painting, just for the pleasure of it.  Sure, it’d be nice to make a few bucks to support the hobby, but artistic spirit is wholly unrelated to business management.  Mitch couldn’t stop writing even if he had to pay out of his own pocket for the privilege of keeping up the website to post his writings. [Wait, he does?  Well there you go, proves my point].

Which, by the way, is how I know Barak Obama didn’t write his own books.  He’s not a writer.  He’s a talker.  A very good talker, yes, but oral storytelling is a completely different artistic ability from writing.  Mitch can’t stop writing.  Obama can’t stop talking.  That’s just in their character.

And that makes me wonder . . . Hilary will be the next President.  What’s in her character?  What is it that she just can’t stop doing?

Joe Doakes

I was thinking of changing careers to become a writer but the Blue section represents an income of zerowhereas the $100,000 group is the sliver of Green.  Odds not looking so good to be a paid professional.  I think I’ll keep pelting Mitch with emails; he can publish what he likes and delete the rest.

The crazy thing about American copyright law is they assume nobody will write or sing or paint without guaranteed income from the performance.  But my experience is you can’t stop people from writing and singing and painting, just for the pleasure of it.  Sure, it’d be nice to make a few bucks to support the hobby, but artistic spirit is wholly unrelated to business management.  Mitch couldn’t stop writing even if he had to pay out of his own pocket for the privilege of keeping up the website to post his writings. [Wait, he does?  Well there you go, proves my point].

Which, by the way, is how I know Barak Obama didn’t write his own books.  He’s not a writer.  He’s a talker.  A very good talker, yes, but oral storytelling is a completely different artistic ability from writing.  Mitch can’t stop writing.  Obama can’t stop talking.  That’s just in their character.

And that makes me wonder . . . Hilary will be the next President.  What’s in her character?  What is it that she just can’t stop doing?

Joe Doakes 

Oh, what difference does it make?

Doakes Sunday: Government Without Limits

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Does this decision seem over-broad to you?

It doesn’t matter that the gun is in somebody else’s locked safe and you don’t have the key.  You’re still in possession because you could have burgled the safe.  How about the house next door?  He could have burgled that, too, or the gun store in Minneapolis.

And since when does the strength of the container determine who has possession of the contents?

Yes, I know, the guy’s a crook and the weapon is illegal.  So why bother with procedures? Just go ahead and punish him.  He’s probably a TEA Party member anyway, and a Christian besides.

Unless, of course, we actually care about limitations on government and due process and Rule of Law and all those other shyster lawyer loopholes that don’t mean a thing until suddenly the IRS, ATF, NSA and FBI are knocking at your door.

Joe Doakes

As the Obama Administration has shown us, sometimes it’s just easier to get forgiveness than permission.

The Conservative Archipelago

Obama continues to work through his enemies list.  Historian and author Dinesh D’Souza is being indicted today on a piddly campaign finance charge:

D’Souza first learned he was being investigated in the middle of 2013, several months after 2016 had earned $33 million at the box office and become the second-most-popular political documentary in U.S. history. The film included an interview with Obama’s half-brother, George Obama, who was mildly critical of the president.

Molen says D’Souza is being singled out for “an alleged minor violation” in the same way the IRS reportedly targeted conservative Tea Party groups for retribution. “In light of the recent events and the way the IRS has been used to stifle dissent, this arrest should send shivers down the spines of all freedom-loving Americans,” Molen says.

D’Souza was in San Diego working on his next film and book, each to be called America, when he was informed he was about to be indicted and that he should fly to New York and turn himself in to authorities. The indictment came late Thursday, according to those with knowledge of the situation.

Look for a lot more of these political prosecutions in the next two years.

When people say “there’s no difference between the parties”, just answer “George W. Bush didn’t sic the IRS and the FEC on their opponents.  And I really doubt Mitt Romney would have, either”.

UPDATE:  The WaPo reminds us that John Edwards donor, accused of the precise same crime for the exact same amount, was prosecuted for a misdemeanor. 

Straw-donor cases have been brought against prominnent individuals from time to time. For example, in 2011, a prominent Los Angeles attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor chargest of making $20,000 in donations to the presidential campaign of former Sen. John Edwards and reimbursing straw donors.

Just saying.

UPDATE 2:  John Hinderaker at Power Line - an actual lawyer – on the Obama Administration’s larger pattern of gangster behavior.

Pretty Much A Summation Of Relative Levels Of Government Spitefulness

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If you speak out against Chris Christie for Governor, you get stuck in traffic for a while.

If you speak out against President Barak Obama, you get audited by the IRS, even if you’re dying of cancer.

Joe Doakes

In politics, people who think their ends justify their means are pretty much at the root of every evil, from planned traffic jams to the Holodomor.


Who did the best job of flensing Jamie Steihm’s bigoted and logically vapid attack in USNWR on SCOTUS justice Sonia Sotomayors’ siding with the law in allowing the Little Sisters of the Poor to define their own perspective on, um, Catholicism, faith and religion? 

Was it Elizabeth “The Anchoress” Scalia?

Was it Ed “The Captain” Morrissey

Why choose.  Read them both. 

The only thing I want to add to the whole flap?  Let’s not Catholicize this mess.  There are plenty of us Protestant goyim who object to having the state define the boundaries of our fath too.

Not In My Zip Code

“Affordable Housing” and “Diversity” are big chanting points of blue-state liberals.

Provided that the affordable housing, and the diverse people who pay for it, aren’t actually anywhere near you.

Upper West Side Manhattanites recoil at people living in RVs among them:

Farther uptown, on Central Park West — where the neighborhood’s most expensive rental, a town house with a pool, fetches a cool $75,000 a month — stands a 19-foot, 1975 Dodge Sportsman with gold rims and two cameras affixed to its exterior.

“It looks like it would fit more in the mountains of West Virginia than on the Upper West Side,” said area resident Ron Hoffman.

The Dodge owner, who only gave his name as Robert, refused to answer any questions.

Neighbors are puzzled by the RV’s windows, which are covered by gold curtains.

“He once told me he just uses it to store things — but if that’s the case, why would you have everything blacked out so you can’t see the person inside!” said longtime resident Bill Smith.

“I don’t think it should be here,” added Mario Parisi, 86. “We’re all waiting to park. Sitting there all the time is not a good idea — it’s a monster.”

Diversity is a wonderful thing.

Just not near us.

The New Liberal Math

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Mathematics – particularly statistics – are racissss

A buddy of mine worries about the implications.  He says “Rahm Emmanual knows that to lower crime, he needs to alter the racial makeup of his community.  So Chicago – the hotbed of anti-gun libs and ground zero of violent crime in the US – will step up the efforts to ship Blacks to welfare-happy Minnesota, with Governor Deer-in-the-Headlights only too happy to meet them at the border with the key to the treasury.”

Nah, couldn’t be.

Joe Doakes

What the Czarist Russians did with Siberia…


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This law purports to require society to be structured around the lowest common denominator but discriminates against people in comas, and those in an iron lung, and quadriplegics. Why are Canucks such haters?

Do they also require keys to be huge, like the key to a medieval church door, so frail hands get more leverage to turn them?

Is there no limit to societal engineering downward?

Joe Doakes

I’d suggest “dealing with crappy software” as one counterexample.

Colorado Thugly

Remember – Berg’s Seventh Law has no known exceptions. 

When you have people like Heather Martens – who has never made a substantive true statement in her entire career – and Michael Paymar saying they feel intimidated by gun owners bringing legaly-owned, permitted firearms into the Capitol, you may be certain it’s to draw attention away from the American Left’s inherently thuggish approach to, well, everything. 

And you’d be right to assume it

Otherwise, it’d be called “Berg’s Seventh Theory”. 


A Holiday Present To “Protect” MN

The Select Committee on Capitol Security met yesterday

They moved to hire some new State Patrol and rent-a-cops.   There wasn’t a whole lot of controversy there, although Representative Woodard and Senator Ingebrigtsen noted that security in the parts of the Capitol that need it is already pretty good. 

But the reason reason people paid attention to yesterday’s meeting was because Rep. Michael Paymar intended to push his proposal to ban legally-carried firearms in Capitol complex buildings (the Capitol, the State Office Building and the Judicial building). 

 More than 800 Minnesotans have filed with the DPS to indicate that they have a permit to carry a firearm and may bring their pistol into the Capitol. Originally, the draft recommendation would have required gun owners to update that notification annually; at Ingebrigtsen’s urging, that timeframe was adjusted to renewing the notification every five years, and was adopted by the committee.

In other words, you renew your notification as often as you renew your permit.  Truth be told, I already thought I had to do that…

…if, hypothetically, I had a carry permit and desired to carry at the Capitol. 

After that bit of fairly sensible legislation, it was looney-time:

Paymar argued that the fact that the Capitol had so far been spared any violent altercations was not evidence that current safety measures are adequate.

“Having a ‘cross your fingers’ kind of policy coming out of this entity, which is charged with making recommendations about public safety on the Capitol complex, to me, is irresponsible,” said Paymar, who chairs the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee.

Mijnnesota’s carry-permit holders are the single constituency in Minnesota least likely to cause a problem , at the Capitol or anywhere else.  Ever  Period. 

No, seriously – Minnesotans at large commit murder at the rate a little over 2 per 100,000 people per year.  There’s been one unjustified homicide by a carry-permittee in ten years; the math breaks down to .1/5 million Minnesotans/year, or .002/100,000 annually.  That’s right around three orders of magnitude safer. 

Mr. Paymar would more aptly worry about one of his Saint Paul constituents – perhaps the many supporters of terrorist-accomplice Kathleen Soliah, who live in Paymar’s neighborhood and tacitly condoned her activities in the seventies – freaking out and killing people in the Capitol than the state’s legal carry permittees. 

No, this wasn’t done because of any danger, real or perceived or even fabricated.  This was done to try to try to salvage at least a smidgen of “Protect” MN’s narrative from this past session – the addlepated notion that legislators were “intimidated” by gun owners who carried openly and legally during last spring’s epic waste of taxpayer time hearings on Rep. Paymar, Hausman and Martens’ various gun grab bills.  The staff at Capitol Security refute that idea with prejudice; ask them for yourself. 

Emphasis added in this next bit:

Ingebrigtsen pushed back, and pointed out that Gov. Mark Dayton had already said publicly he does not favor a move to ban firearms in the Capitol.

“We’ve also got the governor saying the same thing,” Ingebrigtsen said. “[Dayton] doesn’t see anything wrong with law-abiding citizens carrying handguns on the Capitol complex.”

The vote fell, 2-2 (ties are counted as defeats); Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon (there’s a trivia question for you) and Paymar voted for it, Ingebrigtsen and Woodard voted nay, SCOM justice Lori Gildea abstained (she might have to hear a court case on the issue someday…)

…and Ann Rest, a DFL Senator from Plymouth who is as electorally bulletproof as an Armored Humvee, didn’t show up. 

Don’t think for a moment that was an accident.  Even safe DFLers are nervous about the Metrocrats’ insane obsession with disarming the law-abiding. 

Not that they’re going to stop them. 

No, that’s our job.  At the ballot box. 

(NOTE TO DFL LEGISLATORS:   If I had a carry permit, I doubt I’d ever carry openly.  It’s not my style.  But feel free to be intimidated – not by any gun I’d hypothetically carry, but by the fact that I can shred through every single actual factual assertion that Heather Martens and Richard Carlbom make about the gun control issue like a riding mower going through a daisy patch, and not break a sweat.  Be intimdated by the fact that if either Martens or Carlbom debated me, or any of 500 other gun rights advocates, in a face to face, open debate, I’d fold them up like origami swans and make them scamper away like scared bunnies.  Be intimidated by the fact that I, myself, have convinced liberal Democrats that you are wrong, and I’m just getting started.  Ignore any gun I might hypothetically be carrying.  Be intimidated by the weapon between my ears.  On this issue, your side is carrying a pellet pistol; I’ve got a .44 Magnum, and I don’t mean one of those wimpy four inch barrels, either)

Two Americas

John Edwards was right – there are Two Americas.

In one of them, people of means can get healthcare whenever and whereever they need to.

And in the other?  All the poor mopes who are jammed into Obamacare like Tokyo subway straphangers h take whatever they can and say “please, sir, may I have more?”:

As of this week, not one of the plans for sale on New York’s health benefit exchange would cover treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, one of the world’s largest and most respected cancer hospitals.

That could mean that the 615,000 individuals and 450,000 small business employees expected to eventually get their insurance through the exchange would have to go someplace else for treatment, or pay the bill out of their own pockets.

Other premier city hospitals are in the networks of just a few of the new plans.

Now, if you voted for Obama, you should be Happy To Die Pointlessly For A More Level Healthcare Playing Field, and not bitch about it.  This was what you wanted.

For everyone else?  I’d rather keep my “substandard” plan, which doesn’t provide me prenatal care, but does, y’know, cover diseases I could conceivably get, if that’s OK.

And I’m sure it’s not.

The Many Lies Of “Protect”MN, Part XIX

I was going to title the piece “Rep. Heather Martens:  Her Lips Are Moving” – but now that Protect MN has hired Richard Carlbom, the PR father of gay marriage in Minnesota, I have to upgrade my approach.

Because while Representative Martens has never made a substantive true claim in all her years of working for victim disarmament in Minnesota, it’s time to start tracking Carlbom by the same standards.

An email went out to “Protect”MN supporters the other day.  Here was the money quote:

Click here to sign the petition urging our lawmakers to renew the Undetectable Firearms Act before it expires on December 9…

… Guns without a certain amount of metal can slip by metal detectors in public places. There is no reason responsible gun owners would need to have unconventional weapons like these. The Undetectable Firearms Act keeps guns that evade critical security measures off the streets. The law is set to expire on December 9. We urge legislators to renew the Undetectable Firearms Act to keep these dangerous guns away from airports, courtrooms, and other public places.

Now, the fact is that no such weapons have ever been produced.

And not only does every single gun owner know it, but so do the Feds.  Neither the Departments of the Treasury or Justice have ever enacted any regulations pursuant to the “Undetectable Firearms Act”…

…because there’s nothing to regulate.


The “Undetectable Firearms Act” is an utterly empty gesture.  It affects no crime.  It affects no manufacturing.  It is yet another empty gesture that groups like “Protect”MN flop in front of their ill-informed followers to give their shapeless concerns some rallying point.

I responded to the petition:

It’s not. This is empty legislation – even the feds have not bothered to enact any regulations due to this “act”, because *it refers to weapons that don’t exist*. There ARE no “undetectable firearms”.

“Protect”MN is lying. Again.

I think that sums it up.

Your Papers, Please

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Obama Administration sicced the IRS on TEA Party-related fundraising groups so they couldn’t raise money to get the Conservative message out to voters for the 2012 elections.   It was voter suppression at the front end, by muzzling First Amendment rights.


Wisconsin Democrats are applying the same principle on the local level, harassing and intimidating Conservative groups to suppress their fundraising.  Expect Dog Gone to screech about the Koch Brothers any minute now, under Berg’s Law.


Joe Doakes

Sad to say, I do expect it.

Time was, people on both sides valued a vigorous debate.

That was before the Democrats were taken over by Alinskyites.

Abuses And Usurpations

From the Declaration of Independence, with emphasis added :

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

From the Journal – again, with emphasis added:

Copies of two subpoenas we’ve seen demand “all memoranda, email . . . correspondence, and communications” both internally and between the subpoena target and some 29 conservative groups, including Wisconsin and national nonprofits, political vendors and party committees. The groups include the League of American Voters, Wisconsin Family Action, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Americans for Prosperity—Wisconsin, American Crossroads, the Republican Governors Association, Friends of Scott Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

One subpoena also demands “all records of income received, including fundraising information and the identity of persons contributing to the corporation.” In other words, tell us who your donors are.

Oh, yeah – and since the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel may be one newspaper that might occasionally take its lips off of the Democrat party’s boy parts long enough to worry about that whole “holding government accountable” thing…:

The investigation is taking place under Wisconsin’s John Doe law, which bars a subpoena’s targets from disclosing its contents to anyone but his attorneys. John Doe probes work much like a grand jury, allowing prosecutors to issue subpoenas and conduct searches, while the gag orders leave the targets facing the resources of the state with no way to publicly defend themselves.

And hey, just in time for campaign season!

I’ve always tried to stay hopeful for the future of this country.  But it gets harder and harder every day.

American Poobah

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It’s nice to have a modern leader in office.

In the olden days, Congress passed the laws and the President faithfully carried them out. Nowadays, Congress passes laws and the President does as he chooses. He faithfully carries out those parts of the law that he likes, when he feels like it, exempting friends and delaying implementation at whim. And if a problem arises, no need to go back to Congress for amendments, he changes the law of the land by press conference.

President isn’t really a fitting title for that sort of leader. King? Supreme Leader?

I’ll go with “Czar”.

They should give the Beltway media really snazzy uniforms. Like the Swiss Guard.

Blight of Day

Is Detroit’s new-found cause célèbre ignoring the past to cloud the future?

George Clooney had the Sudan.  Bono has Africa.  Anthony Bourdain – and much of the American media - apparently has Detroit.

Michigan’s So Not Grand Central Station: built in 1912 and on the national registry of historic places. It was closed in 1988 and is one of Detroit’s estimated 78,000 abandoned buildings.

In recent months, the city of Detroit has witnessed two narratives arise in Phoenix-like fashion from the economic ashes of the city, often in conjecture with themselves.  One is the purported economic revitalization of the city that gave birth to Motown and the American automotive industry.  It is a narrative fostered by Quicken Loans founder (and Cleveland Cavs owners) Dan Gilbert who, among others, has put millions into Detroit to try and restore its grandeur.  The other narrative, the so-called “ruin porn” seen in picture form below, depicts Detroit as a third-world ghetto.  A Somalia on the St. Clair River.

The former delights the denizens of Detroit with hopes of a better future.  The latter rankles them.  Gilbert himself expressed outrage when 60 Minutes balance their report on the Motor City between Gilbert’s altruism and the destruction of the out-lying portions of the city, comparing it to Dresden after the Allied bombing of World War II.  Gilbert tweeted a defiant message, stating “a city’s soul that will not die was the story & they missed it.”  But even a sympathetic, blue-collar soul as Bourdain, whose CNN show Parts Unknown highlighted the city last night, saw the need to balance Detroit’s attempts to pick itself up off the ground with the stark realities of a city undone.

The Fisher Body Plant: once part of the GM empire

Both narratives ignore the Chrysler in the room – how Detroit got to where it is today.

If the “ruin porn” industry renders pity without judgement, the acts of Dan Gilbert and others, as well-intended as they obviously are, seek a future for Detroit without acknowledging its past or present.  Not once in 60 Minutes‘ coverage did the story’s telejournalism deal with the political causes for Detroit’s decay - a corrupt, one-party institution burrowed like a tick into City Hall.  Equally, if differently, ignorant are the views of Gilbert et al who believe that once their plans to remove all of Detroit’s blight (78,000 buildings), capital will come easily rushing back into the city:

Gilbert is no fan of urban farming, though. When he envisions land cleared of  blight, he sees developers rushing in to build anew…

“When that blight is gone, maybe we don’t have to be talking about shrinking cities because it will be such a rush of people who want to get into low-value housing — when all the utilities are there and the land is pretty much close to free— not exactly free, but close to it — and all the utilities are there, it becomes very cheap for a builder/developer to develop a residential unit, and they are going to develop them and develop them in mass as soon as we get the structures down and maybe we don’t have to worry about raising peas or corn or whatever it is you do in the farm.”

The Highland Park Police Station: even Detroit’s police stations no longer want anything to do with the city

And what will cause developers (yet alone individuals or businesses) to return to a city with the highest property tax rate in the country?  What will encourage retail industries when Michigan’s sales tax is 6% on top of that?  Detroit’s backers can honestly claim that the city ranks no where near the top of the tax chain (Detroit ranks 92nd nationally; Minneapolis is 52nd by comparison).  But the tax climate is far from ideal, especially the dubbed ”most dangerous city in America” with a murder rate 10-times the national average.  Throw in a 58-minute response time for police, to attract businesses back, Detroit may literally need the fictional hero RoboCop (to whom a statue is being built - seriously).

There isn’t much evidence that Detroit is about to change its ways.

The Merrill Fountain at Palmer Park: has sat empty for 50 years since being moved from the Opera House.  Vandals have stolen much of it.

The Merrill Fountain at Palmer Park: has sat empty for 50 years since being moved from the Opera House. Vandals have stolen much of it.

Since Governor Rick Snyder’s decision to appoint emergency manager Kevyn Orr last spring, Detroit’s journey to bankruptcy has been managed with minimal (some would say no) input from City Hall.  As the case has headed to court, where Orr has testified about Detroit’s long-term debts of $18 billion, city officials have fought the measure almost every step of the way.  The election of Mike Duggan as mayor, the former head of the Detroit Medical Center, has been advertised as the promotion of a turnaround artist.  But while Duggan had success revitalizing the city’s Medical Center, Duggan also ran on opposing Orr’s decisions and comes as a political protégé of former Wayne County Executive Edward McNamara – an official who backed the cartoonishly corrupt Kwame Kilpatrick and had FBI agents and state police raid his own office in November 2002, over alleged corruption in airport contracts and campaign fundraising.  Meet the new boss.

The American Hotel: built in 1926, the hotel is 11 stories high with over 300 rooms. It has remained vacant since the early 90′s.

Oh, there have been the requisite platitudes.  Duggan and Orr have broken bread in what was described as a “very good first meeting.”  And Duggan has said all the right things that a reformer would state, such as being “a huge believer in lean processing. If you are not excellent at making systems work, you cannot survive…”

But the inertia of the status quo has been apparent even after only one week from the election.  The Michigan House Appropriations Committee ranking Democrat Rep. Fred Durhal, Jr. is angry that Duggan hasn’t called him yet.  Metro Detroit AFL-CIO President Chris Michalakis essentially threw down a polite ultimatum that Duggan must “honor” his commitment to working families, while suggesting the labor doesn’t trust the new mayor.  Duggan claims he just wants a seat at the table as Detroit’s debts are solved, and if Synder and Orr are smart, they’ll allow it.

Wilbur Wright High School: closed in 2005, this building actually is among the few on this list that has been demolished. 10,000 buildings have been torn down in Detroit since 2010.

The decision to abrogate Detroit’s city government in the bankruptcy process may have been politically necessary (Detroit certainly hasn’t come to grips with its position despite many, many, many opportunities), but doing so has allowed Snyder and Orr to play the villain while the usual suspects who caused this economic disaster play the victim.  However, it’s also allowed Snyder to take all the credit too.  67% of Michigan voters approved the move back in March (including 41% of Detroit), and the decision has given Snyder a welcome bump in his approval rating.  That’s a short term political fix to a long-term structural problem.

Mike Duggan may be a product of the system that failed Detroit, but he’s viewed warily by both it.  Orr’s contract expires in the fall of 2014; Duggan and the City Council can vote whether or not to renew it – almost literally the only voice they have in the process.  If that’s the first time Duggan has to impact the process, he’ll have likely caved by then to labor, vote to end Orr’s tenure and – more importantly – work to undo reforms set in place.  Should Rick Snyder not return in 2015, an opportunity to address Detroit’s deeper fundamental problems will have passed and a new administration will slap a band-aid bailout on the city, and hope more journalists write about Dan Gilbert than urban hunters who live off of raccoon to supplement their meals.

Room 101

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Opponents of the government should be forcibly committed to insane asylums, without trial but merely by executive order, say Hollywood actor and British talk-show host.  Just as Sissy Spacek was qualified to testify about the suffering of farm wives because she had played one in a movie, Sean Penn is qualified to talk about crazy people because . . . well, fill in the punch-line yourself.

Who says history doesn’t repeat itself?

Joe Doakes

Why do you think MNCare collects all that information, silly?

With Prejudice

A mediator ordered the Dayton Administration to pay the legal bills for the plaintiffs against his “unionization by decree” stunt.

From a news release from MN Majority (with emphasis added):

Governor Dayton and the Bureau of Mediation Services yesterday settled to reimburse $60,000 in attorneys’ fees to the home-based child care providers who sued to halt Governor Dayton’s unlawful executive order establishing a unionization procedure for the providers. In Swanson, et al. v. Dayton, et al, the court found that the governor’s executive order exceeded his constitutional authority, struck down the order and awarded attorneys’ fees to the prevailing plaintiffs. The Administration paid these fees in compliance with a Minnesota Court of Appeals’ order earlier this year which said the fees were owed because the Governor was not merely wrong in issuing this unionization order, but had no substantial legal justification to do so at all under Minnesota’s Constitution and laws.

Mark Dayton:  The Law and the Constitution are for peasants.

The providers aren’t done:

 Plaintiff home-based child care provider Hollee Saville said: “This is a great day for the small-business child care providers who resisted the schemes to force unionization, dues and fees on our entire industry, and we plan to continue to resist the new unionization legislation, which is also unlawful.”

And I love the closing quote so much, I’m going to add emphasis to it:

Plaintiff Becky Swanson commented further on the fee payment made yesterday. “This fee payment illustrates that the real ‘extremist’ in the child care unionization scheme is the Governor, who ignored the constitutional limitations on his own authority to do political favors for his union friends, not us self-employed child care providers who resisted this overreach, and whom he arrogantly derided as ‘right wing extremists.’”

It’s the only line they know.

Suck it, commies.

Teacher Of The Year

Perhaps you’ve heard; Minnesota’s new “Teacher of the Year”, Saint Paul science teacher Megan Hall seems to have answered the question “are today’s public schools nothing but left-wing indoctrination centers” with a rousing “Hell yeah!”

This is from her acceptance speech, with emphasis added by me:

Teachers are persistent and responsible and generous because we believe that every child in America, regardless of circumstances of birth, deserves a decent chance at a good life. [Applause] From where I stand, teachers create equality of opportunity. From where I stand, teaching is a profession that takes a gritty patriotism. And from where I stand, teachers are American democracy’s last line of defense against the tyranny of the 1 percent

Don’t believe me?  Here’s the video

How over the top was it?  Even the City Pages’ Aaron Rupar seemed to feel a little uncomfortable: “Yeah, maybe that would’ve been a good line to save for when you’re having beers with your liberal buddies after the speech”.

For all I know Ms. Hall is a perfectly adequate teacher – and in my experience in the Saint Paul Public Schools, adequate would have been pretty superlative.

But I have to wonder:  if Ms. Hall is protecting the students from “the 1%”, who is going to protect them from the Saint Paul Public Schools?

Because between the child abuse, the brain-dead kommissariat masquerading as a bureaucracy, and the massive horde of intellectually-walking-dead union members Ms. Hall shares a district with?

I’ll take my chance with those gol-durned rich folks, thanks.

But look at it her way; I suppose if I taught for a district with the worst major-market achievement gap in the United States, with a minority graduation rate lower than Miley Cyrus’ neckline, a district that minority parents were decamping from as fast as they can find open spaces in charter schools or suburban schools via open enrollment, I’d look for a scapegoat too.

They Don’t Give You Any Choice, Cuz They Think That It’s Treason

(SCENE:  Mitch BERG climbs out of his car and fishes a big gym bag full of firearms and ammo out of the back seat.  He walks toward the front door of the firing range – and notices Avery LIBRELLE, walking, alone, with a picket sign.  The sign says “A Millian Americans Are Picketting This Gun Rang”.  BERG hides his face, and tries to time his approach while LIBRELLE is walking the other way – but a piece of shiny tinfoil attracts LIBRELLE’s attention back toward BERG).

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Oh…uh, hi, Avery. What’s new?

LIBRELLE:  I think MoveOn.Org has the right idea!  It’s time to start arresting teabaggers for sedition!

BERG:  Sedition?

LIBRELLE: Speaking out against the government!

BERG: I know what sedition is. That’s not what the House Republicans or Cruz or Paul did. 

LIBRELLE: The “Affordable Care Act” is the law!  And the law is the manifestation of government!   And if you oppose The Law, you oppose Government, meaning you oppose the will of The People!

BERG:  Well, no.  The GOP majority in the House carried out the House’s Constitutional duty to take care of the nation’s purse-strings – a job for which the voters of this country gave them the majority at the polls in 2010 and 2012. 

LIBRELLE:  Yeah, but the people also elected President Obama twice. He is the government, and his laws are the laws of the land, the revealed word of the people!

BERG:  The President is not “the government”.  The government is the executive branch – the President and his staff and the rest of the bureaucracy – the Legislative branch, and the judicial branch, and - don’t forget this – all of the checks and balances in between all of them. 

LIBRELLE: Well, the “Affordable Care Act” is now the law.

BERG:  So?  The First Amendment says we have the right to free speech, to assemble, and to petition to seek redress of grievances.  Which is, in every particular, what the Tea Party is and always has been. 

LIBRELLE:  What are you, a constitutional scholar?  I’m pretty sure those are all collective rights, just like the Second Amendment. 

BERG:  What now?

LIBRELLE:  Anyway – Obamacare is the law, which means it’s the will of the people, and the government IS the people, so fighting the law is fighting the people.  “Sedition” is probably the nicest word for it.

BERG:  Again – what now?

LIBRELLE:  I’d call it “Treason”.

BERG:  “Treason?”  Actively betraying your country to an enemy in wartime?

LIBRELLE:  Yep.  This country’s been at war against poverty since the sixties.  Obamacare fights poverty.  Undercutting the people in the War on Poverty IS betraying your country in wartime.  That’s the very definition of treason!  We should sic the military on all of you!

BERG:  Huh.  The military.   (Takes stick of gum from pocket, unwraps it, pops gum in mouth).

LIBRELLE:  Tanks.  Choppers.  Whatever it takes. 

BERG:  To preserve democracy.


BERG:  Huh. 

(BERG drops shiny tinfoil wrapper onto the ground.  LIBRELLE chases it, allowing BERG to make his escape).

(And SCENE).

Signs We’re Overgoverned

Vacationing senior citizens kept under armed guard in a hotel…

…to keep them from seeing all that shut-down federal land:

Vaillancourt was one of thousands of people who found themselves in a national park as the federal government shutdown went into effect on Oct. 1. For many hours her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.

The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.

When finally allowed to leave, the bus was not allowed to halt at all along the 2.5-hour trip out of the park, not even to stop at private bathrooms that were open along the route.

“We’ve become a country of fear, guns and control,” said Vaillancourt, who grew up in Lawrence. “It was like they brought out the armed forces. Nobody was saying, ‘we’re sorry,’ it was all like — ” as she clenched her fist and banged it against her forearm.

It’s time for Real Americans to get out and fight this banana-republic tyranny with the only weapon that matters (until November of 2014); mockery.

Which brings us to a question:  I’ve been looking for a federal monument in the Twin Cities area that’s been closed by the Feds, with an aim toward getting the biggest group of people I can, with the most cameras possible, to do some “civil disobedience”.

This weekend turned bad, naturally.

But I’m looking for a federal installation.  Ideally a monument, but a recreational area will also work.