When All Motives Are Base, All Thoughts Are Wrong

Angie Harmon, the model and former Law and Order star and “out” Republican in Hollywood, said something the other day that started me thinking.

She was decrying the impulse among Obama’s supporters in Hollywood to brand criticizing the President as “racist”.  Of course we’ve seen this before; during the campaign, countless Democrat activists tried to position “not voting for Obama” as “racism”.

But he won!

But the dynamic continues:

Here’s my problem with this, I’m just going to come out and say it. If I have anything to say against Obama it’s not because I’m a racist, it’s because I don’t like what he’s doing as President and anybody should be able to feel that way, but what I find now is that if you say anything against him you’re called a racist,” Harmon told Tarts at Thursday’s Los Angeles launch of the new eyelash-growing formula, Latisse. “But it has nothing to do with it, I don’t care what color he is. I’m just not crazy about what he’s doing and I heard all about this, and he’s gonna do that and change and change, so okay … I’m still dressing for a recession over here buddy and we’ve got unemployment at an all-time high and that was his number one thing and that’s the thing I really don’t appreciate. If I’m going to disagree with my President, that doesn’t make me a racist. If I was to disagree with W, that doesn’t make me racist. It has nothing to do with it, it is ridiculous.”

These are many of the same people who whinged that their “patriotism” was being impugned over the past years (although none of them can ever show an example of this when asked.  Never). 

Harmon’s remarks brought to mind an appearance I had with Rep. Phyllis Kahn of Minneapolis on Marty Owings’ “Radio Free Nation” a few weeks ago.  The topic was gay marriage.

Now, gay marriage isn’t exactly my hottest-button issue; if we don’t win the War on Terror and save the economy from the ravages of a decade of government/market cronyism and the canoodling of a neo-socialist administration, then gay marriage will be the least of the stresses facing the traditional family.

But I asked Kahn, a gay-marriage supporter: “What do you make of the fact that voters have categorically rejected gay  marriage, even in liberal bastions like Oregon and California?”

Her response: “There’s a survey that shows 60% of voters today would vote against the Bill of Rights!”. 

I ignored the irony that this was a woman who’s spent a career going above and beyond the DFL’s drive to flense the Second, Fifth and Tenth Amendments, and who’s spent 36 years in the Legislature serving as a front-woman for an educational-industrial complex that’s dumbed down Minnesota students to the point where I’d be surprised if a tiny minority could recite the Bill of Rights in the first place.  But I did point out that even if I accepted the accuracy of that “survey” (or its existence – and I accept neither, but I digress), it’s a non-sequitur; specific states in all their diverse glory did vote, repeatedly on on the record, in states conservative, liberal and whackdoodlesque, to reject the idea.

And yet she repeated that exact refrain several more times during the appearance.  “You can reason with Lufthansa; you can also reason with livestock, for all the good it’ll do you”, PJ O’Rourke once wrote.  I thought of that as I listened to Kahn repeat the meme over and over – and then shook it off.  This was not bovinity.

It was part of the Dems’ attempt to control the language.

If you dissent from The One, you’re a racist.  There’s no nuance asked or granted; your motives are no different from a Klansman’s.

Have a principled objection to the notion of Gay Marriage? Your nuances – wanting to separate religion from contract law, your actual beliefs – are of no interest.  You are no different than people who want to beat protesters or burn heretics at the stake.

And of course, this follows nearly a decade of “them” accusing “us” of…well, you know.

Dissent isn’t patriotic.  It’s a sign of moral turpitude.

Oh, yeah – and don’t you dare call them unpatriotic!

Survey Says…

Financial advisors are by no means infallible but tend to work with clients that plan for the future, heavily discount  government’s role in their planning, and are self-employed. As such, they probably tend to have a pretty good handle on what drives investors and the economy – not to mention often times being self employed themselves.
What say they regarding our governments efforts to salvage our economy?

from Financial Planning Magazine yesterday:

Brinker Capital, an investment management firm, published its Brinker Barometer, a gauge of financial advisor confidence and sentiment related to the economy and the markets. It concluded that advisors across the industry are skeptical of the government’s attempts to shore up the economy. “Financial advisors continue to be concerned about the state of the U.S. economy and are critical of the Obama Administration’s efforts to introduce a meaningful stimulus package,” said John Coyne, president of Brinker Capital, in a public statement. “Fully 77% of respondents say the final stimulus plan will not be effective, while 88% of advisors contend that the plan itself was not the product of a bipartisan effort.”

About 43% of advisors surveyed said that government’s efforts should have job creation as the top priority. Tax cuts came in second at 30%, with housing and mortgage relief third at 16%.

How about Mr. Obama himself?

When asked to grade President Obama’s performance so far with a mock school-grading system, nine percent gave him an “A,” while 66% graded him between “C” and “F.”

Despite the Governments worst (and predictable given the current administration) efforts, advisors think that the markets, in anticipation of the economy, will improve – albeit slowly – despite the Obama Administrations ill-advised tactics.

Sixty percent of respondents think that the economy will emerge from recession in 2010. And more than one-third of respondents believe that it will take more than six years’ for portfolios to recoup their losses.

Just in time for Obama to take credit although it will be too late as his supporters will have realized by then that they are still making their own mortgage payments and filling their own tanks with gas.

Usableism

Different people will draw different interpretations of events.

My old pal Erik “Transit Geek” Hare (the nick is purely a NARN creation, feel free not to use it in regular conversation) has – if you read his blog, Barataria – invested a lot in the notion that world is on the brink of a huge realignment of some sort of another, and has since I’ve known him.  That’s going on fifteen years now.

He thinks the recent splatter at Facebook is a sign of this. I, naturally, take a more prosaic view that, as is happens, ties in with my little corner of the IT world.

The design team at Facebook thought it had a winning strategy to defeat Twitter – offer users everything that Twitter has, and more. What they didn’t realize is that Twitter’s base were fans for one key reason – it was less. The resulting firestorm has Facebook scrambling to regroup. This may seem like an isolated situation, a simple business decision gone wrong, but it appears to be something more. Observed from the perspective of general trends in culture and the arts, minimalism appears to be the fashion and thought of the day.

Well, if you constrain your perspective to that of “currently-vogue-y social networking websites”, that sure seems to be true.

The implications extend far beyond one software product.deskMinimalism is, at its heart, an ethic of stripping everything down to its essential elements. It’s different from utilitarianism in that in minimalism the structure and essence speak for themselves, creating a style that goes beyond the simple use of an object. There is a philosophy at the heart of minimalism, a plan and ethos that is not unadorned, but the ornamentation grows naturally from the essence of what the thing at hand really is. In short, form closely follows function.

Except that if you look beyond that, throughout society, you’ll find that minimalism in and of itself only goes so far.

Microsoft Word, the big-screen TV, the IPhone, video games with seemingly-complex user interfaces with buttons and little flippy gizmos, American Idol (with its byzantine voting and judging arrangments and its patina of excess), cars loaded with IPods and Satellite Terminals and packed with hybrid engines whose engine compartments look like Auxiliary Equipment rooms in nuclear submarines, Deal or No Deal (with its permuted plot and masses of models)  and Google – the very definition of “feature creep” – are all mind-warpingly popular.

What do they have in common? Not much!  Some look complex from the outside; others, like Google, mask immense complexity in a benign wrapper with just one input field and two buttons.

What they – or at least, the parts of “they” that are successful – have in common is “usability”.  Can a person sit down and, without any “training” and with a minimum of muss and fuss, use the thing, first successfully, then productively, and finally with enough pleasure to make someone want to buy another one?

Minimalism alone isn’t it.  Google is a page with an input blank and a couple of buttons.  Pretty minimal, right?

WordPerfect for DOS was also simple; you booted it up and looked at a blue screen with no controls and few cues.

One of them is utterly self-explanatory; try Google once or twice, and one pretty well has it down.  On the other hand, WordPerfect – once the lingua franca of world processors, for those of you who remember the early ’90′s – spawned an immense industry for people to train people how to use the thing. It died when Microsoft Word – anything but a “minimalist” program – figured out how to make visual complexity relatively usable.

Software that has the minimalist ethic is not much different in its approach. By keeping things simple and allowing the user to put themselves and their needs into the program, a programmer can create something that fills a fairly narrow niche that has a lot of room to grow. Flexibility and customization are usually key points…The basic ideas are heavily modernist in origin – form follows function.

Except that in the cases of products that succeed in the market, form and function both follow usability.  In the cases of each of the products I listed above, from the Prius to the IPhone, designers and the various flavors of “usability” people – human factors engineers, usability analysts, designers and the rest – manage to tame and shape both form and function to make the product work with people rather than against them. So whether the product is, on its face, complex (the IPhone, the video game) or simple (Google) or familiar (the “user interface” for the car is pretty well-know everywhere in the world), the common thread isn’t minimalism, or even the system’s form or function themselves.

It’s this;when the product was being desgned, did the designers ask themselves “what will it take to make this thing work with users, rather than against them?”
Erik’s piece delves into minimalist music as well. That’s worth another article.

So Who’s Gonna Pay?

So the banks – some of them, anyway, who bet long on toxic assets and lent like 14 year olds with too-big-allowances – are in trouble.  The government, rightly or (koff, koff) wrongly, is stepping in and socializing the major bank industry in all but name, and spreading the love downstream with an immense “stimulus” program that promises money to just about everyone.

The question is, how is this going to be paid for?

“Borrowing?”  Sure – but eventually loans need to be paid back (unless the government has ordered Fannie and Freddie to underwrite the loans, but that doesn’t apply in this situation).  And that’ll be “The taxpayer”

Who is this “taxpayer?”

Well, let’s find out who it’s not.

For starters, let’s leave out the 91 million Americans who pay no tax at all, leaving 209 million people to pay taxes.

Who are the patriarchs who caused the problem?  Men!  That leaves out the 51% of the population that are women, taking us down to 98 million.

Remove those in State and Federal prison, (3.8 million), as well as the 3% of Americans on parole (another 9 million), and you’re at just under 86 million people on the hook for these plans.

Of course, you can’t count the 73.5 million Americans who are below age 18, obviously.  They’re kids.  It’s not their fault.  That leaves 12.5 million of  us – except we’re going to have to leave out 10 million illegal immigrants, leaving us at 2.5 million), the military (since they’re busy), the employees of federal and state governments (since they’ll be the ones solving the problem and…

…that leaves two Americans.  You, and me.  We are the ones who are going to wind up paying for all this.

Continue reading

Obama: Saving Our Image Around The World

Barack Obama was going to fix America’s image to the rest of the planet.

After insulting European democracies, giving the Soviets Joe Biden.

Really, just saying the name is all you need. On a trip to Spain, Biden thanked Prime Minister Zapatero for his “help” in Iraq:

As everybody knows, the first decision Zapatero made after his unexpected win in 2004, right after the Madrid train terrorist attacks, was to abruptly and unilaterally pull out from Iraq.

Of course, as with all things in the current administration, there is a rational explanation:

So either Biden made a gaffe, or he was thanking Zapatero for angering Bush…

What do you think Robert Gibbs’ll say?

CORRECTION:  My bad.  Gibbs will never be asked.

The Future Of An Illusion

One of the most galling memes of the last eight years was the notion, passed on by thousands of talking-point-gurgitating, historically-illiterate, but sometimes well-meaning lefties at all levels of the media, alt-media and society, was that the Democrats – the party of the NRO, the CCC, the WPA, the Great Society, Ted Kennedy, Tip O’Neil and Phyllis Kahn – were the party of “fiscal responsibility”.

Especially this past eight years,when we were saddled with a president and Congress who spent like crack whores with stolen gold cards (by the standards we were used to anyway), allowing the Tics to frame the debate entirely in terms of “balanced budgets” and deficits, rather than spending.

Of course, we knew the meme was a bunch of baked wind. We merely hoped the US wouldn’t have to find out with the greatest lesson in negative consequences in the history of the free world.

But that’s pretty much what’s gonna happen:

Already in the first 45 days of his administration, the federal government has authorized more debt spending than Ronald Reagan did in eight years in office.Then last week the Democrats’ own Congressional Budget Office found that the ten-year deficits of the Obama plan will be about $2.3 trillion higher than the $6.97 trillion the White House is projecting. This is the policy of the party that was swept back into power in 2006 and 2008 promising a return to an era of fiscal responsibility.

Welcome to the Obama doctrine.

“Tax and Spend” is the meme we on the right have assigned to liberal policy for several generations now.  It was pretty much a breezy device, in retrospect, compared to today, where Obama proposes to spend ghastly, brain-spinning sums today in exchange for job-killing, growth-shredding, future-mortgaging taxes tomorrow.

But the news on the red ink front is much worse than the president or even the CBO’s budget report suggests. If all of Obama’s “transformational” policy objectives–from global warming taxes to universal health care to doubling the Department of Energy’s budget–are enacted, the debt is likely
to increase from about 40 percent of GDP today to close to 100 percent of GDP by 2018. The ten-year debt is likely to be at least $6 trillion higher–or more than one-half trillion of higher deficits a year from now until forever–than the Obama budget projects.

These are uncharted levels of debt for the United States–though not for such high-flying nations as Argentina, Bolivia, and Mexico.

To be fair, Obama did promise change.

We’re changing into a third world country.

It took Edison 10,000 tries…

…apparently the fluorescent light bulb needs a few more.

Consumers who are trying them say they sometimes fail to work, or wear out early. At best, people discover that using the bulbs requires learning a long list of dos and don’ts.

…as in don’t spend nine dollars on a  ninety-nine cent light bulb.

Compact fluorescents once cost as much as $30 apiece. Now they go for as little as $1 [not as far as I can tell-JR] — still more than regular bulbs, but each compact fluorescent is supposed to last 10 times longer, save as much as $5.40 a bulb each year in electricity, and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from burning coal in power plants.

…that data brought to you by the Government Department of Departments Department.

…or was it a TV commercial featuring Madonna and Tim Robbins?

Take the case of Karen Zuercher and her husband, in San Francisco. Inspired by watching the movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” they decided to swap out nearly every incandescent bulb in their home for energy-saving compact fluorescents. Instead of having a satisfying green moment, however, they wound up coping with a mess.

The horrors; a satisfying green moment denied? How could this happen?

Experts say the quality problems are compounded by poor package instructions. Using the bulbs incorrectly, like screwing low-end bulbs into fixtures where heat is prone to build up, can greatly shorten their lives.

Seriously? Light bulbs have an owner’s manual? Oh-never mind, I forgot; these are people getting advice from a movie – made by Al Gore no less.

“We’re both college-educated and pay attention to labels we read,” Ms. Zuercher said. “It feels like someone forgot to put a place to find the information.”

(That’s a funny-soundin’ sentence ya got there m’am – for a college edumacated person)

Um, you mean like the internet?

Some experts who study the issue blame the government for the quality problems, saying an intensive federal push to lower the price essentially backfired by encouraging manufacturers to use cheap components.

Boy, that Barney Frank has his hands in everything these days.

Seriously, I am sure that over time the fluorescent bulb will get better but what is Al Gore gonna tell his peeps when they start realizing how much mercury is ending up in our landfills because people don’t read the part about disposing of fluorescent bulbs?

Life Is A Rock, But Talkradio Rolled Me

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism from 11AM-5PM:

  • Volume I “The First Team” -  Brian and John kick off from 11-1.
  • Volume II “The Headliner”Ed and I are up next, from 1-3. We’ll be talking with Christina Hoff Summers, author of Who Stole Feminism and The War Against Boys.  She’s going to be in town to do a talk with the Minnesota Association of Scholars, among others, and she’s one of the best interviews we’ve ever had.  Hope you can join us!
  • Volume III, “The Final Word”King will be dishing the economic smack from 3-5.
  • And don’t forget, our long-time colleagues David Strom and Margaret Martin lead things off on the David Strom Show from 9-11AM!

So tune in to all six hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, the Twin Cities’ media’s sole guardians of sanity. You have so many options:

  • AM1280 in the Metro
  • streaming at AM1280’s Website,
  • On Twitter (the Volume 2 show will use hashtag #narn2)
  • UStream video and chat (at HotAir.com or at UStream)
  • Podcast at Townhall (usually uploaded by Monday morning).
  • Good ol’ telephone – 651-289-4488!

Join us!

(Title: Mr. Bad Example)

(Title: Reunion)

Tinfoil Rising

To lefties, conservative talk radio just can’t be an organic success.  There just can’t be a demand for it.  There just has to be some shadowy conspiracy – a “Scaifenet” – slipping envelopes full of Jacksons to inveigle radio stations to run the stuff.

In the most risible bit of “investigation” since Joe Bodell went all Chloe O’Brien on True North a few years back, “Jimmy Olson” from Minnesota  Progressive  Project is – shhhhhhh! – onto something:

I’ve been doing a bit of digging after getting an anonymous tip that NARN may be paying for their radio time (and not disclosing it), or that townhall.com pays for it.

Now, for those of you who haven’t been paying attention for the past eighty years or so, let me give you a quick remedial course on Radio Programming; let’s call the course “Radio Programming For The Utterly Ignorant”.

There are four types of programming in commercial radio:

  1. Programs The Station Owns - Think programs like Joe Soucheray.  They provide programming for the station; the station pays them as long as the ratings justify it (or, in the case of Tom Mischke, sometimes when they don’t).  It’s a traditional employer-employee relationship, only (I say this from a career’s worth of experience) more mercurial.
  2. Network Programs - These are provided by a third-party production company, and provide their programming to stations; sometimes they charge the stations for the right to play the show (this is National Public Radio’s model); others provide the show for free, but get advertising slots for their networks on the affiliates’ stations during the shows.  The most famous example of this is Rush Limbaugh – who is free to all of his affiliates, in exchange for eight minutes of ad time per hour, which is sold to national advertisers (for amazing prices, because Limbaugh dominates the industry and gets spectacular ratings).  Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck, Dennis Miller, Fast Eddie Schultz, Jason Lewis, Art Bell – they all use the same model. They draw their salaries from the networks – as long as they draw the ratings, systemwide.
  3. “Brokered” Talk – In this example, a broadcaster “rents” airtime from a station (or several stations), either because they believe that strongly in getting their message out, or because they think they can turn around and sell enough ad time to recoup the investment (not always financially, or (often, in talk radio) some combination of the above.  The Taxpayers’ League Live was an example of this. So was “Talk Education”, which I used to co-host on KYCR.  Auto Talk on KSTP?  Ask the Veterinarian on Air America Minnesota?  Most of your “Ask the Lawyer” and “Ask the Financial Planner” shows?  All pretty much the same thing.  Sometimes the goal is to just get a show some time, which might not otherwise get picked up by a station (see #1, above).  Note that the entire Air American lineup, for the network’s first several years, was “brokered” in New York, Chicago and LA (until the checks started bouncing).
  4. Commercials – These can be short-form commercials – :30 to :60 second “spots” dropped into commercial breaks during any of the types of shows above.  They can also be “infomercials” – entire half-hours, hours, or longer.  They can be distinguised from regular programming by the observation that they’re trying to sell you something, and the station is getting paid good money to broadcast it at all.

Now, “Jimmy Olson’s” opening graf might make you ask: which is the Northern Alliance Radio Network?

It’s simple.  We are #1 – only without the money.  And when I say “without the money”, I mean yeah, we get a few bucks here and there; when I do a commercial for someone, we’re getting a little money – called a “talent fee”, believe it or not.  You can tell when this is happening, because the voice of Mitch Berg (or Ed Morrissey, or King, or whomever) is trying to sell you a product or service, as opposed to talking about politics.  But we get no salary from Salem, from WWTC Radio (AM, from Townhall.com, or from anyone else.  We never have.
We’ve also never paid for airtime at WWTC.  The “Sponsors” we announce every week – Thompson, Keegans, whomever?  They pay to put ads on our show, which is the only money that the station makes directly off of us.
Now, what if “Jimmy” is right – that I write a check every month to WWTC, or Townhall did?  Well, we’d be under no more obligation to disclose it than Stephanie Miller is to tell you her salary.
If we were paying for our airtime – like, say, Health Insights, heard on Air America Minnesota, not that anyone cares since more people will learn about it via this post than will listen to it in a given week – we’d also be under no more obligation to tell anyone about it, since it’s a program, and there’s no real business requirement to tell people that you’re paying for your time.

Now, if you’re paid to give plugs for medical products, or for political candidates, and a few other things, there are ethical rules involved.  We’ll come back to that.

The bad news is, nobody – with a few exceptions – is required  to say “Somone is paying for this airtime”.

The good news is, anyone who can pony up a few hundred or thousand bucks – and convince a station that you won’t scare off the rest of their audience – can rent the time to host a talk show!

Which brings us to the part of “Jimmy Olson’s” investigation that really cuts to the chase:

Here’s (with redactions to protect identities) a letter I got back from Salem Communications re my queries about buying airtime:

———————————-
Good Morning ********,

My name is ********** and I am an Account Executive here at Salem Comm, Twin Cities and ********** asked me to follow up and get you any information you need. We do sell programming on our stations both on the National and Local level.

Here’s something you may be very interested in…..  Effective Monday, March 30, we are transitioning our KYCR AM1570 station to an all-business format.

Hey, that’s right – tune in to AM1570′s new BizRadio lineup, starting today!

And yep; some of the time will be “brokered” (see #3, above).

This next bit, though, Jimmy?

Also, If you could have your friend who is up here in Minnesota call me, I can get them any information they need as well..

So you lied about who you were?

I took the additional step of calling this contact, identifying myself as a journalist,…

Another lie about who you are! Dude – I’ll call you a journalist.  But you gotta call me “Admiral” first.

and asking if he’d “go on record” to confirm the tip.

“Tip?”

“Jimmy”!  Slapnuts!  It’s a sales pitch!  Salem makes money from brokering out time on all three of its Twin Cities stations (AM1280, AM1570 and AM980).

He declined but used interesting language. He asked if we were attempting to “nail them,” meaning townhall.com.

Wrong!

“He” did not mean Townhall.com!  Salem Twin Cities’ sales staff do not represent Townhall.  Salem Radio owns WWTC/KYCR/KKMS, and they own Townhall; the only place they come together is on the stations’ websites, which are centralized.  And of course the podcasts, which Townhall distributes.  That’s it.

I answered frankly that I just wanted information on disclosure and if that was all it takes to “nail” them then yes, that is what I was doing.

Most informercials start with the disclaimer “the following is paid programming.” As far as I know townhall.com-subsidized shows don’t have a similar intro. They are in multiple markets, not just MN.

The call ended pleasantly and he promised to have others there call me to answer my questions.

I’ll let you know if that happens!

So here is what “Jimmy Olson” brings you:

  1. An “anonymous tip” that someone out there is “paying” AM1280 to broadcast the Northern Alliance.   Nope.  Isn’t true.  Has never been true.  Nobody has ever paid AM1280 to air the Northern Alliance, directly or indirectly.  The station and Salem “pay” an opportunity cost, arguably – they could sell those six hours to infomercials; they choose to use that time to market the station locally, broadcasting local, entertaining, successful programming.  And it is succesful; our ratings (Ed and I dominate our time slot against KSTP, WCCO and KTLK; John, Brian, King and the Stroms are all very competitive) make the “investment” more than worth it.  If it didn’t, would the station have invested five years’ worth of valuable air time in us?
  2. A email and a conversation with a Salem Account Exec saying that, yes, Salem rents airtime to people.  This is a big scoop.  And if you want to play “journalist” and get that scoop yourself, you can go to the Salem website, email the Sales department, and buy yourself some air-time too – presuming that you’re either conservative (AM1280), Christian (AM980) or know a lot about business (AM1570).  The upside; you’ll be every bit as much a “journalist” as “Jimmy Olson”; the downside – it’s really not that big a rush.

And that’s it.
So let’s go back to the top; Jimmy Olson’s claim that an “anonymous tipsters” told him “NARN may be paying for their radio time (and not disclosing it), or that townhall.com pays for it”.

What has “Jimmy’s” “story” given you?  Other than the impression the “lad” has delusions of grandeur (“Hello! I’m a journalist!”), a sales pitch, and a tip-off that the guy doesn’t know jack about Radio?

Nothing.

Here is the story, the whole story, and nothing but the story; nobody pays for the NARN.  There are exactly two “highly-placed sources”on this story; Salem Twin Cities’ General Manager John Hunt, who lets us use his air time, and yours truly.  Me.  Mitch Berg. The guy who hatched the original idea for the Northern Alliance Radio Network, and pitched it to the station, as well as my good friends John, Scott, Brian, Chad, Atomizer, JB, Ed, King and Michael.

So on the one hand, “Jimmy Olson’s” story is – I think I’m justified in saying this – a crock of bulls**t.

On the other hand, “Jimmy” can now take his place beside Grace “9/11 was an inside job!” Kelly in the pantheon of great Minnesota Progressive Project “journalists”.

UPDATE: Behold, “Jimmy Olson”:

“Igotmyreasons” is a guy named Fred Gates.  He’s from New York, and I don’t know much about him, except that he was a fellow guest on Marty Owings’ now-defunct “Radio Free Nation”; Mom always said if you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all, so I’ll keep my counsel, except to note that “Jimmy”/Fred was completely unable to carry on a political discussion on RFN without hyperpersonalizing it (with me or anyone else, according to several of the other guests with whom I’ve spoken), and has been carrying on a rather curious little vendetta against me on Twitter and his “blog” and BlogTalkRadio “show” for a while now.

Wooooh!  Scary!

And while everyone involved is more or less anonymous, I will assume (and note the assumption) that “MNProgressive” is Eric “Big E” Pusey, of the MPP. Mr. Pusey is apparently soliciting Mr. Gates’ unsourced, un-true “story” for the Minnesota Progressive Project, without knowing any of Gates’ substantiation for any of his claims (or, obviously, that no such substantiation exists).

And the “anonymous tip” is apparently Fred Gates’ assumption that someone just has to be paying the station to air us.

They just have to!
EPILOGUE:  I’ll cop to it.  I resort to more ridicule than I should when dealing with the MPP.  It’s not the better me speaking.  I tend to work the room I’m in; if I’m dealing with responsible, intelligent, capable liberal commentators, like Marty Owings, Charlie Quimby, Liberal In The Land of Conservative, most of the Uptake crew, or the MNPublius guys (except for Landry), I’m on my best behavior.  Dealing with shrieking ninnies like Grace Kelly, Two-Putt Tommy, Andy Driscoll or Fred Gates?  Well, let’s just say when in Rome, I do what the Romans do, to my occasional chagrin.  I will, and do, try to do better; to taunt less and prove more.

But in this case, the Romans are just plain dumb.  Seriously.

(And thanks to regular commenter Tolowen for the tip!)

EPI-EPILOGUE:  Fred “IGotMyReasons” Gates is apparently the same whackjob troll that Ed Morrissey wound up repeatedly banning from his old BlogTalkRadio show for being a depraved lunatic.

Well, Eric Pusey?  This is what you want “Minnesota Progressive Project” to be?

My comment section is open (which is more than one can say for yours, apparently).

EPI-EPI-EPILOGUE: I missed this the first time I read this:

Gates/”Olson”: Most informercials start with the disclaimer “the following is paid programming.”

That is something the station does to distinguish commercials from programming that is within its format!  It’s so that the audience doesn’t mix up commercial, off-format programming (say, a program on nutrition supplements on a political talk station) with the station’s actual programming.  It is a marketing, not legal or ethical, issue.

As far as I know townhall.com-subsidized shows don’t have a similar intro. They are in multiple markets, not just MN.

Townhall subsidizes absolutely no shows!  Townhall is a fully-owned subsidiary of Salem Communications, which also owns the Salem Radio Network.  Townhall is not in the radio business, and subsidizes no programing.

Fred/”Jimmy”, in addition, continues to claim that he has an “anonymous source” that has all the facts on this story.  Fred/”Jimmy” and his “source” has gotten every single fact in contention wrong (I said “in contention”; yes, you can rent airtime, although nobody’s doing it for the NARN) throughout this story. And now he’s backing and filling to cover his lies.

But here’s the deal; since your story has been debunked, then if you have an “anonymous source” (supposedly an “expert on the industry”), Fred/”Jimmy”, then either reveal “him” (which will be interesting, since “he” doesn’t exist),or corroborate “his” “statement”, or just crawl away.

This Does Not Sound Good

The eastern 100 miles of I-94 in North Dakota – from Jamestown to Fargo – has been closed to make way for an evacuation:

The North Dakota Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol have closed the eastbound lanes of Interstate 94. The closure is to prepare for a voluntary evacuation of the Fargo area and to help with the transfer of flood-fighting resources.

I don’t recall ’94 ever closing (away from the immediate Fargo-Moorhead area – around bridges and such) for anything but blizzards in the past.

A Note From Fargo

A high school classmate of mine who lives in the “exurbs” north of Fargo writes:

Just a note that if you’re interested in listening to local flood coverage in Fargo, below is a link.My daughter is out again sandbagging today.Many volunteers and homehowners are exhausted, many others still eager. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.Thanks – [redacted]

Wish I could get up there.  I’m banking energy and vacation time in case Saint Paul and Newport flood again.

 

Now This Is Kinda Cool

Paintings/sculptures made from recycled cassette tape

Flickr user iri5 has an impressive series titled ‘Ghost in the machine’ of portraits of well-known musicians (such as Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Ian Brown, …) made from recycle [sic] cassette tape.

I suppose you could do them with eight-track tapes, but only for artists from before like 1976…

For Your Pod-Surfing Pleasure

I’ve been meaning to post this all week – it’s the link to last Saturday’s interview with Ezra Levant on the NARN. Ed  and I got to talk with Mr. Levant about his epic battle with the Alberta PC Police “Human Rights” commission, and what that means to Americans.

The Pelosi-Reed Congress wants to make this look like a walk in the park, of course.

After you’ve checked that hour out, by all means peruse the rest of our online catalog.

News We Can Use

Henry Payne at the Detroit News notes that the voters of Michign

There were two contestants, because…:

The poll comes in the wake of Governor Granholm’s joke at last weekend’s Gridiron Club dinner that her Alaska peer, and former vice presidential candidate, “really set back the cause of hot governors.”

That’d be Jennifer Granholm…:

…who’s a tax ‘n spend liberal who has the Detroit, the calamitous Michigan state budget, and (judging by the photo) messiah complex to show for it…

…and Sarah Palin…:

… whom the relevant authorities have measured at a whopping 955 milihelens, and who damn near made John McCain palatable.

Oh, what do you think?

Part A of our poll asked who’s hottest, and the Belle of Alaska won in a landslide, polling 7:1 hotter over the Lansing beauty.

And you know what they say.  As goes Lansing, so goes…

…well, I don’t know what they say.  But speaking of which:

Part B asked “What should be Palin’s come-back line?”

[snip]
Winner: “I know hot governors. Hot governors are friends of mine. Miss Granholm, you’re no hot governor.” – Peter S

Vox populi, vox dei.

UPDATE:  Yes, Mr. Emailer, I could have called it “Hot Governor Friday”.  My bad.
(Via Don Surber on Twitter)

Serve Til You Drop

The “The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education” (GIVE) act passed the House yesterday by a depressingly lopsided margin, and has passed cloture in the Senate.

The bill, promoted by the Obama administration as a means of encouraging America’s youth to participate in voluntary community service, has received little scrutiny from Congress or the public.

Innocuous enough?  Sure.

The Obama is in the details (emphasis added):

Yet, a version of the bill in the House proposes to establish a Congressional Commission on Civil Service tasked with determining whether a mandatory service requirement for all young people in America could be developed and implemented, though it is not clear that provision will survive a conference committee.

Moreover, an amendment to the bill introduced by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., one of the bill’s 37 co-sponsors in the House, appears to severely restrict the First Amendment by prohibiting the youth participating in the program from attempting to influence legislation, organize or engage in protests, petitions, boycotts or strikes.

While this isn’t quite to the point of the Administration’s overaching proposal to create a new “Civilian Conservation Corps”, conscripted and in uniform and living in barracks in the countryside working on “shovel-ready” projects (the”Mandatory Volunteerism” provisions – Orwell alert! – have been stripped out) it’s a necessary step to get there.

Oh, and the First Amendment restriction would be irrelevant; the government bodies for whom the draftees would be working would do all their political thinking for them, thankewverymuch:

Funds under the bill are designated to be distributed through AmeriCorps, even though AmeriCorps volunteers have a history of being recruited and employed by community programs with an ideological purpose supported by Democratic Party politicians, including Planned Parenthood.

Under terms of the legislation, volunteers recruited into AmeriCorps through the GIVE Act could end up counseling Planned Parenthood clients to recommend and arrange abortions.

It is uncertain whether restrictions will survive into the final legislation that would prohibit GIVE Act participants from being recruited under the program to work in ACORN, a radical community organizing group facing criminal charges in several states for voter fraud.

Look, I have teenagers; there are times I’d welcome the draft starting at age, oh, 16 or so.  But could there be a less cost-effective way to get work done, unless the “work” is to “shred decent paying jobs for adult workers”, in which case the plan sounds marvelous?

Look – there’s a case to be made for national military service (provided that it’s genuine National Service, as in Israel, Switzerland or Finland, as opposed to a selective draft that leaves the children of the “elites” cooling their heels in college while the rest of their age group carries backpacks around South Carolina); it makes the nation’s military policy more conservative, for better or worse.

But National Civil Service lumps three bad ideas – compulsory labor, bigger government, indoctrination of youth into the Big Government way of life – into a perfect storm of self-perpetuating stupid.

Those Who Forget Their History Are Condemned To Write For Minnesota Progressive Project

Eric “Big E” Pusey over at The Minnesota Short Bus Collection Of “Progressive” Whackdoodles So Big It Must Be A Stimulus-Funded Project hops up and down and notes the blazingly obvious; Tim Pawlenty has turned on his previous – as in, over 12-year-old – support of term limits:

Dusty Trice brought it up and I couldn’t help taking a look for myself.  And wouldn’t you be surprised what I found.  Gov. Tim Pawlenty was for term limits before he was against them.

But he wasn’t just for term limits, he actually went so far as to introduce a bill.  This means he really meant it.  Back when he was a turd-flinging back-bencher.

This was a year before he became a serious politician.  A year before he was elected Minority Leader in the House.  A year before he understood how much he liked power.

One wonders where Pusey got this narrative; Pawlenty has always “liked power” (i.e. been highly motivated in his political career, often seen as a good thing when it’s not Republicans).

No person may file to be a candidate for election to a term in the house of representatives or senate that, if served, would cause the person to serve more than ten consecutive years in the legislature.
(From HF30 as introduced Jan. 10, 1997)

That’s all well and good, Timmeh, but your bill also included term limits for Governor as well.  Where do you stand on term limits now?

[What's that buzzing sound?  Do you hear a buzzing sound?]

Oh, relax.  When a Tic – like, say, Paul Wellstone - does it, it’s called “growing in office”.

Actually, in this case the Wellstone and Pawlenty stories are closer than you might think (especially if you’re completely ignorant of both); Wellstone, if we take him at his word, opted to break his two-term promise because he worried the seat could go to a Republican if he left; the GOP controlled the Senate by a decent margin at the time, and he felt, not-completely-unjustifiably, like he needed to keep the seat in his own caucus.

Governor Pawlenty – who, unlike Wellstone, is an effective politician – can genuinely say the same thing; ceding the state’s last executive office to DFL hegemony, in the absence of an effective state GOP capable of contesting control of the State House, would be a disaster of biblical proportions for Minnesota.

So, y’see, Libs? We Republicans have actual, not-always-base motivations for the things we do, too!
But…but…that buzzing sound?

We all know you like the sound of Three Term Timmeh

Timmeh?  The handicapped kid from South Park?

We have to share a state with these toddlers?

Hot Hosiery Friday

I have been wearing Gold Toe® hosiery for as long as I can remember. I prefer the Metropolitan over-the-calf in Black and Brown. The stretch nylon holds up to months and months of wear and they never lose their elastic so, they never come back down your calf.

During the early part of last century, two German immigrants founded a small mill in Bally, Pennsylvania to manufacture men’s hosiery and as a tribute to the country that adopted them, they named their company Great American Knitting Mills. From the start, Great American set out to look for “golden opportunities” in the marketplace. Ironically, the most fruitful and long lasting reward was to come from Great American’s humble efforts to answer the needs of Americans hard hit by the Great Depression of 1929. Consumers wanted hosiery that would wear better and last longer than ever before, so Great American introduced a sock with a gold reinforcing yarn sewn in the toe. Before long, Americans everywhere were asking for the durable “sock with the gold toe.” Gold Toe® hosiery had emerged as one of the leading brands in America, and The Standard of Quality in the Industry. During 2002 the Company changed its name to Gold Toe Brands, Inc.

Hosiery. Damn good hosiery.

Not so good with shorts though. Word to the wise.

Next time: Boxers or Briefs, Pros and Cons.

Curious

The stock market does well for a president – Clinton – who, to be fair, was forced to do a decent, hands-off job on economic policy by a conservative congress, and to be even more fair was benefitting from the “Peace Dividend” Ronald Reagan gave him:  “The President is responsible for the strong market!”

The stock market starts correcting into a mild recession as overvalued tech stocks correct at the very end of his term in office:  “The President is not responsible for the market!”

The already-ailing market tumbles after 9/11:  “The President is responsible for the weak market!”

The stock market reacts to epic, welcome tax cuts by jumping to all-time record highs (taking employment and prosperity to equally-record levels):  “The President has nothing to do with the market!”

The real-estate bubble – which inflated largely due to socialistic policies that largely pre-date his administration, and which his administration fought (albeit in an inconsistent and dilatory fashion, albeit less so than the Congress) – deflates, eating up a quarter of the market:  “The President is responsible for the weak market!”

The stock market reacts to the election of a fabian socialist by shedding another 15% (from its high – 30% using election day as a baseline):  “The President has nothing to do with the market!”

The stock market reacts to the new administration’s inept, disastrous first six weeks by burning up another 8% of its pre-crash value (15% using election day as a baseline):  “The President really, Really, REALLY has nothing to do with the market!”

The market bounces back a few hundred points, amounting to less than 10% of its shrivelled value (around 5% of its Bush-era peak) in what most economists are calling a bear-market rally :  “Look at this wondrous market The President has, in His infinite wisdom, given to we who are not worthy!”

Pissed

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the fine.

Michael Harold Lynch was ticketed for doing 54 mph in a 35 mph area that was also a construction zone. The fine was $206.

And when you pay it, don’t spray it.

Lynch decided to let his anger flow by placing $206 in a plastic bag, peeing in the bag and sending it in. Upon receiving Lynch’s little care package, the courthouse staff gave it to a police officer and declined to accept the pungent payment to clear the ticket.

Turns out Lynch didn’t break any laws – it’s not necessarily illegal to mail bodily fluids.

Oh? Good to know.

The pee-and-pennies were sent back to Lynch – COD, in fact – with a note that said they couldn’t be taken because “the pile of coins emitted a strong, pungent odor of stale urine.”

Fresh urine: is that an oxymoron?

Lynch responded by sending a check made out to another agency, which was returned, then he sent a check for the wrong amount. Now he’s on the hook for $271 because his payment is late.

Nope, just a moron.