I just wanted to use my new “Beer” post tag again.
Anyone have a problem with that?
I just wanted to use my new “Beer” post tag again.
Anyone have a problem with that?
“It’s a bad one”, Sergeant Koziolecki said; the flushed look on his face showed that he wasn’t exaggerating.
“Whadda we got?” I clipped my badge to my belt as we walked through the abandoned warehouse in the Saint Paul Warehouse District, ducking under the yellow “crime scene” tape.
“Four vics; two hispanic males, early twenties; one black male, late twenties; one caucasian female, late teens-early twenties. Gunned down execution style” Koziolecki recited from fresh memory.
We rounded a dirty, ratty corner to what had been the lobby of a shipping dock, and saw the CSI crew going over the scene. Four bodies were lined up, face-down, by a grafitti-clogged block wall. “No kidding”.
“A bullet to the back of each head” Koziolecki read off the notes, pushing his readers up to the bridge of his nose. The acrid smell of fresh blood was fading as we stood there, replaced by the smell of death. Death and…I thought for a moment, not quite placing it.
“Killer or killers left a calling card”, Koziolecki continued. “May I?” he asked the CSI guy, who nodded as he dusted, fruitlessly, for prints. Koziolecki gently rolled the body of a girl – late teens, with tattooed arms and hair that’d been multicolored even before getting sprayed with her own and her friends’ blood and brains, who looked like a tank grrl or roller-derby chick.
Former roller derby chick.
And she had something in her mouth.
While the news from the rest of the economy remains dicey, Associate Executive Publisher Johnny Roosh and I are proud to announce that Shot In The Dark is increasing our headcount of unpaid writers by 50%.
Starting Monday, look for another “new” writer – actually a familiar face – at Shot In The Dark.
John Edwards, in a line that may well top off his political epitaph one day, famously said that there are “Two Americas”. He was referring to the literal and metaphorical gulf betweenr America’s “Haves” and “Have Nots”. He didn’t note that there are also two Indias, two Phillipines, two Frances and two Argentinas, but Edwards has never been one to let eternal truths of the human condition get in the way of a sound bite.
Conservatives accept these gulfs, recognizing that talent, innate applied intelligence, hard work and just-plain-luck and the lack of them will put people in one America or the other. At the same time, most see a moral obligation to cut down the hurdles and obstacles between the two – especially the exits from “Have Not” America.
The left, on the other hand, has always sought to make life in “Have Not” America at least superficially less onerous, all the while making “Have” America a refreshing oasis for those who spend their days dwelling on the plight of the “Have Nots”. Their rationale isn’t much different from the one that royalty accepted in years past; the responsibilities of taking care of ones’ inferiors justified life’s little luxuries, and the big ones as well. In big ways (the USSR’s kommissars shopped at special stores and lived in special housing while the proles waited in line for bread and crammed entire families into studio apartments) and little (count the number of anti-Second-Amendment celebs who’ve used their connections to get themselves and/or their bodyguards concealed carry permits), the left constantly squirrels away perks for their fellow “haves”.
Since the bloom is finally coming off Obama’s electoral rose, it’s time to catalog the Administration’s, and the Democrats’, attempts to make “Have” America a nicer place for those who take care of all of us peasants.
Vices and Sin
It’s good to be king, isn’t it?
[UPDATE: This post is cross-posted at Hot Air]
In the wake of Minneapolis’ 35W bridge disaster – which occured two years ago tomorrow – Democrats nationwide use the tragedy as yet another reason to call for more taxes, to pay for more “infrastructure” spending.
Minnesota DFLers used the tragedy as an occasion to pillory Governor Pawlenty – in some particularly ghoulish cases, even before the last girder had fallen into the river – for having vetoed a hike in the state gas tax, and for having taken and held to a “no new taxes” pledge five years earlier, during his nomination process.
In response, many of us asked, hypothetically, “if the DFL had had complete control of the state for the past ten years – if Skip Humphrey had beaten Jesse Ventura and Norm Coleman – do you homestly believe they’d have spent that time and money doing the unglamorous, tedious, exquisitely expensive work of going and inspecting and repairing old infrastructure (or not-so-old infrastructure – the 35W bridge was half the age of the bridges up and downstream from it) rather than more-visible work, like building light rail and more roads?”
We were, of course, absolutely correct:
Tens of thousands of unsafe or decaying bridges carrying 100 million drivers a day must wait for repairs because states are spending stimulus money on spans that are already in good shape or on easier projects like repaving roads, an Associated Press analysis shows.President Barack Obama urged Congress last winter to pass his $787 billion stimulus package so some of the economic recovery money could be used to rebuild what he called America’s “crumbling bridges.” Lawmakers said it was a historic chance to chip away at the $65 billion backlog of deficient structures, often neglected until a catastrophe like the Minneapolis bridge that collapsed two years ago this Saturday.
The lesson? Raising taxes and assuming that Democrats will use the money to pay for maintenance is like giving a teenager a credit card to buy school supplies.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Congress allocated close to $1 billion for the Cash for Clunkers program. That’s billion with nine zeros. And all that money might be gone by midnight tonight.
On one hand, a lot of cars, both foreign and domestic were sold. On the other, it’s already over. On one hand, the industry was stimulated, if even for only a couple weeks. On the other, we borrowed the money to do it.
Dan Rather proposes the media should not only be in the pocket of the Obama administration but should now be digging into the pockets of the American taxpayer.
As if the relationship between the Obama Administration and the news media weren’t cozy enough already, former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather is calling on President Obama to “make recommendations” for the media on how to survive the economic downturn.
The media outlets that are failing financially are failing to be relevant.
According to the story, Rather said “corporate and political influence” on newsrooms had damaged the industry and was cause for concern.
…and a government bailout from the government will have no strings attached, right Dan?
PS Since when did Dan Rather get his credibility back?
The question isn’t so much “why is the President losing ground on healthcare”; socialized healthcare is a dumb idea, and most Americans (especially those of us who’ll be paying for it and losing from it) know it. It was the shoal that the liberal Bill Clinton of 1992-1993 ran up on; it’ll be proof that the Obama administration is only human, too:
Pluralities now say that the president’s health care plan is a bad idea, and that it will result in the quality of their care getting worse. What’s more, just four in 10 approve of his handling on the issue.The poll also finds that Obama’s overall job-approval rating has dropped to 53 percent. And it shows a public that has grown increasingly concerned about the federal government’s spending as the administration defends its $787 billion economic stimulus and supports a $1 trillion-plus health-care bill.
No, the question is this: Given that grassroots support for socialized medicine is falling faster than Nancy Pelosi’s jawline, the question is, how does this lack of support make middle-America racist?
Well, if it involves alleged Black Panther voter intimidation, anyway
The third-ranking suit in Obama’s Justice department, Thomas Perrelli, allegedly gave the go-ahead to scuttle the suit:
The department’s career lawyers in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division who pursued the complaint for five months had recommended that Justice seek sanctions against the party and three of its members after the government had already won a default judgment in federal court against the men.
Front-line lawyers were in the final stages of completing that work when they were unexpectedly told by their superiors in late April to seek a delay after a meeting between political appointees and career supervisors, according to federal records and interviews.
The delay was ordered by then-acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King after she discussed with Mr. Perrelli concerns about the case during one of their regular review meetings, according to the interviews.
No word yet on the brand of beer the President intends to order for the Panthers and the voters they allegedly intimidated.
A year ago, Obama was being hailed as a “light worker”, the salvor of our nation’s soul; a man, but not just a man.
Today, of course, his poll numbers are gratifyingly human:
The nation is close to evenly split in its assessment of the president’s policies to date, and there is great intensity on both sides of the debate with dwindling numbers in the middle.Those are the chief findings of the latest NPR poll of 850 registered voters conducted nationwide Wednesday through Sunday by a bipartisan team. The pollsters found 53 percent approving of the president’s handling of his job, while 42 percent disapproved — the narrowest gap of the Obama presidency to date. Most of the approving group said they approved strongly, and an even greater majority of the disapproving group said they disapproved strongly.
Poll respondents liked a Democratic statement on solving health care problems better than a Republican statement (51 percent to 42 percent). However, when asked about the plan now moving through Congress, a plurality of 47 percent was opposed and 42 percent said they were in favor, based on what they had heard about the plan so far.
Presidential poll numbers are the most
fungible transient asset in American politics, of course; Ronald Reagan’s numbers were abysmal in 1982, but jumped enough to give him re-election in 1984 and a Republican house of Congress in 1986. So don’t start writing Obama’s political epitaph yet.
Because poll numbers aren’t forever.
I’m not so much saying this to the Republican and Conservative readers, though. It’s not them I’m worried about.
No, it’s the readers on the left that concerned me. Because while poll numbers change with the breeze, hatred just smolders on; Eric Kleefeld is finding racists under rocks.
He addresses the “racism” between the lines (it must be between the lines) from, in this case, Rush Limbaugh (with commentary inset):
So let’s take a look at some of those recent racially-charged attacks that have circulated against Obama, both right before and after the Gates incident.
• Above all others, the real celebrity here has been Rush Limbaugh. He’s done this kind of thing before — remember the “Barack, The Magic Negro” song? [which, while un-PC, was a takeoff on a line by a liberal commentator; certainly not a commentary on Limbaugh's approach to race - Ed.] But in the wake of the Gates incident, he’s managed to become even more hard-edged about it. “Here you have a black president trying to destroy a white policeman,” Limbaugh declared this past Friday. [which would have been pretty below-the-belt, had it not been for the fact that that's exactly how Gates played it - as a racial issue- Ed.] Yesterday, he shared a dream he’s had about the dangers to capitalism: “I had a dream that I was a slave building a sphinx in a desert that looked like Obama.” [Remember when dissent was the highest virtue? Now, it's apparently "racist"- Ed.] And he joked that food-safety advocates will go after all the unhealthy foods people like to eat, one by one — but they’ll have to wait until Obama is out of office to ban Oreos. [I suppose it would have been safer to say "Starbucks" or "Volvo" or "Patagonia"...- Ed.]
How much intellectual seed corn is the left willing to burn to prop up The One? Poll numbers come and go, but assaults on the integrity of half of ones’ fellow countrymen – defamatory, specious, intellectually vacuous attacks, of course – are gifts that just keep on giving.
Remember when talk of “homegrown terror” was just BushCo talk to scare the sheeple into submission?
Either does Attorney General Eric Holder:
[Holder] told ABC News in an exclusive interview today that he is increasingly concerned about Americans becoming radicalized and turning to terrorism.
“I mean, that’s one of the things that’s particularly troubling: This whole notion of radicalization of Americans,” Holder told ABC News during an interview in his SUV as his motorcade brought him from home to work. “Leaving this country and going to different parts of the world and then coming back, all, again, in aim of doing harm to the American people, is a great concern.”
“In some ways it’s the most sobering part of the day,” Holder said of his morning intelligence briefing, in which he gets the latest report on the landscape of “the organizations, the people who are bound and determined to do harm to our nation.”
But there’s good news:
He noted, however, that the Bush administration “left us an infrastructure that I think is very good,”
Oooh, Holder just blew his invite to the MoveOn.org Fashion Week Gala
“The American people would be surprised by the depth of the threat, but also reassured to see the assets that have been deployed around the world,” Holder said, adding that the United States interacts closely with its foreign partners.
Wow. Something the Administration isn’t blaming on BushCo!
One controversy after another dogs El Presidente as he pours a cold one with his new-found beer buddies.
Earlier this week the White House indicated each man would drink the beer of their choice — Bud Light for President Obama, Blue Moon for the police officer, and perhaps Red Stripe or Beck’s for Gates.
But one Massachusetts congressman thinks another beer entirely should be served: Boston’s own Sam Adams.
In a letter to Obama dated Wednesday, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal strongly urges the president not to drink Budweiser, now owned by a Belgian company. Nor should the White House consider serving Miller or Coors, Neal writes, both owned by a United Kingdom conglomerate.
These are weighty issues. This is behavior unbecoming the leader of the free world. I think the President should just resign.
(I glad that I created our new “Beer” tag because it appears to be well positioned for heavy use in the immediate future)
But in the mean time and in light of Congressman Neal’s push to elevate one’s choice of beer to the national stage, we can speak up, be heard, and tell our President what beer we think he should drink for the betterment of our nation (these are all real beers).
Is it just me or does it seem like The President might have more pressing issues than shipping his “Perfesser” and the Perfesser’s cop cousin to the White House for a Beer? (Not that Bud Light is actually beer).
Obama, 47, has picked the top-selling beer in the U.S. for his get-together at the White House with Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge, Massachusetts, police Sergeant James Crowley, according to an administration official who asked to remain anonymous. The official wouldn’t say what the guests would be drinking.
…nor did it occur to him that no one gives a rat’s arse.
Political strategists and marketing experts (that’s redundant-JR) called the pick an easy, non-controversial choice for a meeting designed to defuse the tension sparked by the July 16 arrest of Gates by Crowley.
…as opposed to
…which apparently “Works Every Time!”
But the President chose wisely as Bud Light has “Drinkability.”
Meanwhile, Iran is building a nuclear warhead, the Chinese are going to stop buying our paper, and one in ten Americans don’t have a job.
…AND FIFTY (!!!) MILLION (!!!!!!!!) PEOPLE (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) DON’T HAVE HEALTHCARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Dear President Jimbammy,
If you had just kept your mouth shut, and read what I was feeding you, you would not be involved in this pissing match.
Get back to work.
With all undue respect,
T. Elle Prompter
I’ve ripped on talk radio’s “Cult of Personality” – the belief, against all rational evidence, that “celebrities” make good talk radio hosts – for years.
It’s been a cancer on the business for a decade and a half, both locally (for years, KSTP-AM has figured that newspaper columnists and TV reporters are perfectly suited to host talk shows, despite a decade and a half of foisting flops like Pat Milan, Jesse Ventura, Katherine Lanpher, Nick Coleman, Jim Souhan and others on their poor audience; KTLK-FM briefly partook in the same madness with Brian Lambert and Pat Kessler) and nationally. For everyone who’s forged meat ‘n potatoes success at talk radio after coming to the business as a celeb – Dennis Miller, Bill Bennett, Michael Medved – there are piles of Al Frankens, Mario Cuomos, Joe Scarboroughs, Marc Marons, Chuck Ds, Janeane Garofalos, Mika Brzezinskis, Monica Crowleys and Jim Hightowers buried head-down in the cement on radio’s Cadillac Ranch.
Radio management seems to miss the key lesson of this past twenty years; the real successes in talk radio are radio people (Limbaugh, Laura Schlesinger, Hannity, Beck), or people who learn (or hire the learning) to do radio (Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage) as entertainment, rather than either preaching or extensions of their own celebrity.
All that being said, I’m genuinely of two minds about this dispatch from the radio rumor mill:
While not exactly shopping the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential candidate, sources say Palin representatives have been quietly testing the waters to see how much interest radio syndicators have for her.
Sources say Palin hasn’t committed to radio either, but rather it could be a possible next step for her.
On the one hand, I think she could be dynamite, especially with the right sidekick (airchecks available to syndication execs on request).
On the other? It’s not many people who can do radio really, really well as a sideline to other ambitions.
I don’t know that I see it happening, but it’ll be an interesting couple of months.
To: Midway Rainbow
From: Mitch Berg, longtime customer
I’ve been coming to your Midway store for nearly twenty years.
In that time, in exchange for prices slightly lower than Cub and a little higher than WalMart, I’ve endured the dirty, tatty condition of the store (although not since the remodel job), a generation of disinterested cashiers, checkout lines that vary from “oppressive” to “absurd”, and your infamous parking lot, AKA “Panhandler Alley”, where I have heard every phony sob story conceivable – although only rarely after the neighboring liquor store closes, to be fair.
But after this week’s Bing cherry sale – like, a buck a pound for the most delicious cherries I’ve had in years?
Yes. All is forgiven.
That is all.
On the one hand, I support charter schools. They are the only real form of school choice available to people who don’t have the money to send their kids to private schools. They are the only alternative to the failed inner-city public school systems for most low-income students.
On the other hand, charter schools are supposed to follow rules – and in the case of Tarek Ibn Ziyad Academy (in Blaine and Inver Grove Heights), there have been credible allegations that TIZA broke a big one, the Establishment Clause. Charter schools use public money – each student’s allotment of state ed money – to operate; the law says that money can’t support religion. Other charter schools in the state use the parochial school model to get excellent results, while scrupulously leaving actual religious instruction for times and places outside school; TIZA may not have, and may have reacted poorly to the allegations.
On the third hand, TIZA gets the kind of results that many charter schools, and all urban public schools, should envy. With a student body that is 80% low-income and 2/3 of whom speak English as a second language, TIZA gets math and reading test scores that shame most schools of all types, everywhere in the state (and nationwide). They are obviously doing something right.
On the fourth hand, they are allegedly doing something wrong; the American Civil Liberties Union took TIZA to court.
On the fifth hand, the first of the ACLU’s three suits got dismissed last week.
On the sixth hand, TIZA is counter-suing the ACLU:
“TiZA was forced to take these steps because of the tortuous interference the ACLU has caused one of the state’s best public charter schools,” said Erick Kaardal , TiZA’s legal counsel. “The ACLU’s claims are meritless as TiZA has followed state and federal regulations. TiZA hopes the court will prevent the ACLU from inflicting further interference and defamation with a permanent injunction.”
TIZA is suing the ACLU for “an amount exceeding” $300,000 for defamation, interference with the contract between TIZA and its students’ parents, and screwing with their ability to hire teachers.
So who do you root for? The Establishment Clause (allegedly), or anyone who’ll cut the ACLU down a notch?
The Obama Administration is borrowing a key tenet of his “Heathcare” strategy from an infamous Minnesota initiative from the 1990′s; “Soak the Addicts Who Don’t Have Clout”.
In 1998, the State of Minnesota and Blue Cross sued and won $6.1 Billion from “Big Tobacco” – which was, of course, passed on to “Big Tobacco’s” customers, aka “smokers”.
But that was safe, because smoking – and smokers – were indefensible. So nobody defended them.
Of course, the to make money, the strategy depends on having a boundless supply of people with declasse addictions and problems – smokers, drinkers, and – as the LA Times informs us with breathless excitement – the overweight and obese.
When historians look back to identify the pivotal moments in the nation’s struggle against obesity, they might point to the current period as the moment when those who influenced opinion and made public policy decided it was time to take the gloves off.As evidence of this new “get-tough” strategy on obesity, they may well cite a study released today by the Urban Institute titled “Reducing Obesity: Policy Strategies From the Tobacco Wars.”In the debate over healthcare reform, the added cost of caring for patients with obesity-related diseases has become a common refrain: most recent is the cost-of-obesity study, also released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It finds that as obesity rates increased from 18.3% of Americans in 1998 to 25% in 2006, the cost of providing treatment for those patients’ weight-driven problems increased healthcare spending by $40 billion a year.If you happen to be the 1-in-3 Americans who is neither obese nor overweight (and, thus, considered at risk of becoming obese), you might well conclude that the habits of the remaining two-thirds of Americans are costing you, big time. U.S. life expectancies are expected to slide backward, after years of marching upward. (But that’s their statistical problem: Yours is how to make them stop costing you all that extra money because they are presumably making poor choices in their food consumption.)
[Taxes raised on "unhealthy" foods] would pay for a lot of healthcare reform, which some have estimated will cost as much as $1 trillion to implement over the next ten years.And here’s the payoff: Conservatively estimated, a 10% tax levied on foods that would be defined as “less healthy” by a national standard adopted recently in Great Britain could yield $240 billion in its first five years and $522 billion over 10 years of implementation — if it were to begin in October 2010. If lawmakers instituted a program of tax subsidies to encourage the purchase of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, the added revenue would still be $356 billion over 10 years.
Let’s be honest: the more affluent Americans will not feel the effect of a soda tax, nor that of the inevitable tax on fast-food purchases from McDonald’s, Burger King or Taco Bell…But let’s play along with the Ivory Tower bigwigs and self-appointed health gurus who are advocating the tax on “sugary” drinks as a means of off-setting the enormous costs of President Obama’s back-breaking health care initiative, as well as combating bad habits. Why stop at soda? How about a tax on every calorie-laden coffee drink served at Starbucks and its competitors? After all, a vanilla bean frappuccino with whipped cream is more than 500 calories, a beverage that health researcher Mike Adams calls “dessert in a cup.” Throw in a scone or brownie with one of those Starbucks “desserts” and a consumer is approaching, at mid-morning, the daily recommended calorie intake.
No knock against Starbucks, which I patronize, but it’s fairly inconceivable that either Congress or nutritionists would classify that chain’s offerings with the low-hanging taxable fruit of Pepsi and Coke. Taking this argument further: why aren’t the revenue seekers proposing slapping a “sin” tax on the following items that aren’t at all healthy (whether organic or not): butter, cream, eggs, bacon, corned beef, mayo, Godiva and Lindt chocolates, foie gras, triple-cream Brie, the entire dessert tray at a ritzy French restaurant, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, fried clams, squid, shrimp and oysters, entire menus at Chinese restaurants (both cheap and pricey) and fresh-squeezed orange juice? And maybe a tax credit ought to be awarded to those consumers who purchase olive oil instead of butter.
To add insult to injury; not only are “sin taxes” a way for the majority to punish the minority – they don’t work, either as revenue-generators or as societal behavior modification:
The consequences of the sin tax are often the very opposite of those intended by its designers. Rather than increasing revenue, the sin tax can reduce it. Rather than discouraging what are regarded as morally questionable behaviors, the sin tax can make them more appealing. Rather than reducing what are perceived to be internal costs of the sin, the sin tax can increase them and expand them to society as a whole.
The evidence that sin taxes are a failed policy approach is incontrovertible. According to, “taxes on sugar-sweetened soft drinks do not necessarily advance the overall public interest, may be regressive in nature, and hardly ever work as intended.” The bottom line, say researchers Richard Williams and Katelyn Christ, is that a convincing body of evidence tells us that boosting food and drink prices “is not sufficient to make ‘fat taxes’ a viable tool to lower obesity.” That’s because soft drinks are really a small portion of most people’s diets.
In short – sin taxes are a flop. They drive down revenue, sap economic and personal freedom, and yet don’t affect behavior. What they are is a handy way for those that are in charge in society to tell those that are not “there are gonna be some changes, here”.
So observe the number of ways the Obama Administration is telling 51% of the population to stick it to the other 49%.
And ask yourself “is this the society I want to live in?”
To: Luis Pizarro
From: Mitch Berg
Dear Mr. Pizarro,
There are so many reasons I want to hate your “reality” show, Operation Repo.
There’s your nightmarish sister Sonia. I’m otherwise at a loss for words.
Or there’s your roid-raging muscle guy Matt, He reminds me of the dumbest crew of bouncers I ever dealt with when i worked in the bars; picking fights at the dumbest provocations; I picture him bellowing “You wanna start something? You wanna start something? You wanna start something? You wanna start something? You wanna start something? You wanna start something?” at waiters who bring him the wrong drink.
There’s the way Sonia and Matt both treat the unflappable, supernaturally-calm-and-collected hook-and-drag guy, Froy; if Froy ever gets tired of “showbiz”, he’s got a harassment suit waiting for him.
All together, they make me hate the show so badly I’ll have to stop watching.
Season after next. Maybe sooner. We’ll see.
…that I started in radio.
I’d started hanging around the control room at KEYJ Radio – eight rooms squeedged into the second floor of the original White Drug building on First Avenue in Jamestown – almost a year earlier. Dick Ingstad, a friend of mine who worked there, let me in to hang around and shoot the breeze; he knew I was interested in the business. Dick, who was a year ahead of me in school, was pretty much your typical high school kid, with four key differences:
Anyway – I’d applied for a job the previous May, at the end of my sophomore year of high school. I’d called Bob Richardson, the gruff, irascible boss at KEYJ, one afternoon, calming the butterflies that almost incapacitated me as I worked up the nerve to talk with a legend in regional broadcasting.
After the phone call last May, I waited three months, until I got a call from him the Tuesday before. They’d just fired one of their weekend guys, which gave me an opening.
Mr. Richardson told me to start showing up at 5:00AM Saturday mornings to train with John Weisfenning, a student at Moorhead State who’d been in town working for the summer.
And today was the first day.
I set three alarm clocks - two electric and one wind-up – to make sure I got vaulted out of bed at 4:15AM. I jumped on my bike (a three-speed Schwinn that used to be Dad’s) and was waiting at the door by 4:45…
…for Weisphenning, who showed up at 5:10. “Hey, Mitch!”
I would spend two weeks learning the ropes – how to turn the mike on and off, how to run the ancient (late 1930′s) control board, with its heavy, perfectly-balanced bakelite rotary pots and mechanical key switches, how to take transmitter readings, to turn the transmitter on in the morning and shut it off at night. And then the hard part; all the programs I had to run.
I’d absorbed a lot of the basics of the night shift with Dick – but Saturday Mornings were a lot more involved. Richardson’s philosophy: everyone was a newsman. So the weekend people did an amazing schedule of news; two local news/weathercasts per hour, plus hour-long blocks of news, weather, sports, community information, fire department reports, funeral home and nursing home reports and the rest of the thrum of small-town life at 7AM, 8AM and noon.
The first job of the morning, at 5:11AM? Roll up the forty-odd feet of AP wire copy that had scrolled out overnight. Rip it. Sort it by content; state, regional, national, weather and sports. Look for local angles to highlight. Get the scores from last night sorted out and in order for the array of sportscasts to come (Jamestown High School Blue Jays and Jamestown College Jimmies sports first; then NDSU, UND and Mary; finally, the Twins, Vikings and North Stars, and any other national sports of interest after that. Weather – local zone, state and regional forecasts for today, the three-day, and the extended forecast for the coming week. Farm market and crop news. Local news from yesterday; keep and rewrite what was timely, file the rest. Look for opportunities for updates.
John made it look easy; I could see it taking some getting used to.
And then at 5:55AM, the big moment; he flipped the three switches that controlled the ancient transmitter, read the station’s sign-on script, and played the National Anthem.
And we were off to the races.
The next nine hours – the airshift ran from signon ’til 3PM – are a blur to me today. They were probably a blur back then, too; so much information. Cueing records, playing commercials, noting how John did newscasts and weather breaks, listening to the police scanner for anything of interest (there wasn’t), jumping through the ceiling as the “Plectron” fire alarm (a sort of pager that called the local volunteer fire department up for action; we had one, too) warbled the news of a fire somewhere, which John copied down and passed along on the air as we did with all local fire calls…
3PM came very fast. I was exhausted, and exhilarated, and could hardly wait for next week. I hung around an extra couple of hours for the beginning of Dick’s shift, just to absorb more the place.
I figured I could dig this.
Yesterday, I noted that all that talk about companies leaving Minnesota for lower-tax states like the Dakotas is not, in fact, wind in sails.
Over on Twitter, someone thought he had me cornered:
Except taxes didn’t go up & they are still expanding in ND
That’s true, but for purposes of business, irrelevant. Businesspeople – smart ones, anyway, especially in capital-intensive businesses like the one I highlighted yesterday – don’t plan based on the current year. They plan ahead.
And what does someone who plans ahead see in Minnesota’s not-too-distant future?
Given that forecast – complete control, over the next 2-4 years, of state government by a party that is less responsible at spending than The Real Housewives of Orange County – where would you put your business?
Pawlenty’s holding of the line on taxes is just the calm before the storm grinds the levees into cat litter.
A US Navy officer has M filed a sexual harassment complaint against a Miami Herald reporter. Former Strib editor Gyllenhall is the Herald’s Executive Editor.
FishbowlDC obtained a copy of the July 22, 2009 letter addressed to Miami Herald Senior VP and Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal. In the complaint, Gordon calls for a “thorough investigation” to put an end to [Herald reporter Carol] Rosenberg’s “appalling behavior” that includes comments about the Commander’s sexual orientation.
The complaint outlines examples of Rosenberg’s alleged “abusive and degrading, comments of an explicitly sexual nature.”
And Ms. Gordon would allegedly make a bunch of longshoremen blanche:
To me, in front of another journalist with reference to why 9/11 co-defendant Mustafa Al Hawsawi was seated on a pillow in court:“Have you ever had a red hot poker shoved up your a**? Have you ever had a broomstick shoved up your a**? Have you ever had anything in your a**? How would you know how it feels if it never happened to you? Admit it, you liked it? No wonder why you like to stay in South Beach on your Miami visits.”
She could write for a Twin Cities’ leftyblog!
Rosenberg, to CNN’s Jamie McIntyre in front of roughly 15 journalists in the Guantanamo Commission’s press center:
To Jamie – “Aren’t you in the BOQ (Bachelor Officers Quarters)? I didn’t think you were in tent city because these people (military public affairs escorts) are so far up your ass that I figured you must be in the BOQ.”
Good thing we have gatekeepers.
Gordon, who also serves as the Pentagon Spokesman for Western Hemisphere and Guantanamo issues also accuses Rosenberg of “bullying” reporters from various outlets including New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, CBC, Der Siegel [sic] and Al Jazeera. He claims that over the years, Rosenberg has labeled her peers in the press and Gordon’s colleagues “bitches,” “stupid,” “lazy,” “incompetent,” “Nazis,” and “Saddam Hussein-like.”
Here’s my real question: How much do you wanna bet that “journalistic ethics” commentators will find some way to justify the whole thing under “journalistic ethics”, which seem more and more to be a framework by which journalists can justify anything they do?
First, lets be clear. Is our health care system the best in the world? Yes.
Are a majority of Americans satisfied with the system as it is? Yes.
Do most American’s believe our health care system needs change? Yes.
…but if it’s so bad, why are some of the wealthiest people in the world coming here for their health care? Just ask anyone in the hospitality industry in Rochester, Minnesota, who’s privately-owned jumbo jet sits on the tarmac for a week and who’s occupants reserve a whole floor at the Kahler hotel for their annual visit to the Mayo Clinic?
The Saudi Royal Family comes here for their health care.
These people have unlimited resources – and come here?
And yet, often cited are World Health Organization Statistics citing such items as national longevity, live birth rates and such, attempting to paint a bleaker picture and calling for Change® in America, so we can get in line and be more like the rest of the world.
…but the WHO is an arm of the UN, who brought us the long debunked Man-Made Global Warming scam and thereby disqualifies itself as a source of reliable statistical basis, let alone scientific integrity.
An interesting WHO statistic often cited in defense of socialized health care are physician salaries in other nations where socialized health care has long been the norm. Lower salaries for physicians is actually presented as an upside!
Riddle me this: how much do you want the guy who has his hands in your abdomen – or better yet your child’s – to earn? Who is going to sign up for eight years of crappy pay, long hours of internship and residency, and a couple hundred thousand dollars of med-school debt only to end up with a lifetime of crappy pay?
I want my doc to be driving a Porsche to deliver my baby or save my wife’s life.
Nonetheless, I think we can all agree, the the two main issues with our current health care system are coverage and cost.
One reason costs are high in America because we are wealthy as a nation. Seriously.
Food is cheap here and we eat a lot of it. Caloric intake and obesity have long been associated with increased morbidity and mortality via type two diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Maladies our nation suffers disproportionately with much of the rest of the globe.
That’s not the only cause for the high costs, but it is a cause uniquely American. Our current third-party payer system is the culprit. This approach has gradually created a choke point between the consumer and the service. Here is the opportunity for real reform.
The current system has allowed providers and insurance companies to control far too much of the market under cover of little competition and very little consumer data on the cost and quality of care and coverage.
So before you say that the free market has failed health care, let’s actually try a free-market approach first. Because this has not been a free-market for years.
Reform is indicated, but further government encroachment is an absolute last resort.
For liberals however, it’s all they have to offer.
Liberals are attempting to seize the moment by bastardizing a need for reform into a call for a larger federal government. Obama innocently claims his plan just adds another player but true to form his eloquence is betrayed by the fine print. He intends on complete and total government control of the system.
His plan is a single-payer system, pointing health care reform in precisely the wrong direction by actually reducing accountability and market forces when increasing both is the only proven recipe for success.
As for access, there are millions of Americans without health insurance – many by choice – others because of situational factors like The Great Recession brought to you by liberals like Barney Frank. Certainly a great many need help – those that can’t do for themselves.
For those that legitimately don’t have access, government can and should help out by creating a system like unemployment insurance, possibly co-funded by insurers, providers and taxpayers to create temporary coverage with a choice of providers, for those who are unemployed, and a permanent system to bridge access to Medicaid for those that are truly unemployable. These are ideas we need to hear from our conservative leadership.
As unnerving as the socialization of health care is the dearth of alternative offerings on the part of conservatives who have instead put their chips on political polarization. Republicans are attacking the Democrats’ plan without offering a solution of their own, giving rise to calls that “any reform is better than no reform at all,” not to mention doing nothing for their chances in the next election cycle.
We are constantly compared with other industrialized nations and their universal health care systems as if America is expected to follow suit. Following the rest of the world is not what made us the most powerful nation in the world. America should be enlisting the forces of innovation, ingenuity and free enterprise that got us this far.
The answer to our health care ills can be found among the principles upon which this bruised but still great country was founded and which have propelled us to our current level of wealth and prosperity: Limited government and free enterprise.
In the mean time, on the health care issue, Republicans have become one-dimensional naysayers, a role heretofore reserved for Democrats.
Barack Obama is blowing his political capital like Bill Clinton in a strip joint. The Gates controversy coupled with an utter failure to get any health care reform to paper has left Barack Obama in a political crisis.
Now more than ever, the GOP needs to speak up and offer an alternative plan.
Lest this crisis be wasted.
I think it’s time to have the Summer MOB party. It’s been five months, after all – why not get at it?
How does the evening of Saturday, August 22nd look for everyone?
Not that there are a whole lot of other options, but I figured asking would be a good thing.
Yeah, I know – Frank Zappa was a really great guitar player…:
…although I never really cared for him there, either.
Over the years, I’ve been told “the Mothers of Invention were the best band of the sixties!”
Which was, of course, rubbish; they were just another big, self-indulgent jam band, like the Grateful Dead without the pot-headed geniality but with all of the snide, smarter-than-thou precociousness that the world would soon call “Frank Zappa”.
Frank Zappa’s greatest trick was convincing the world that “shallow, smarter-than-thou aping of people with real talent” was “groundbreaking”. If we accept that Frank Zappa was the love child of Jerry Garcia, Jello Biafra and Weird Al Yankovic, then ask yourselves these questions:
Oh, no doubt about it; Zappa was a clever fellow. “Sheik Yerbouti”, his disco parody album from the late seventies…
…was one of the best visual gag/puns of the decade.
But his music?
“But he was so clever!”
No, he wasn’t.
“But he was a groundbreaking innovator”.
No, he was a dyspeptic crank with a creative streak.
“But he was a musical genius”.
No, he was a musical footpad with a cult following.
“But he was funny…”
Yeah, I know – don’t eat yellow snow. Got it.
From the day I checked The Mothers’ “Weasels Rip My Flesh” out from the Jamestown Library, to the day he passed away (lamentably young, I’ll add), I detested his music; I’d rather be forced to listen to early-period Pink Floyd than any of Zappa’s various incarnations.
But disliking music is a fairly ambient thing. My visceral dislike for everything Zappa represented was cemented years after my ennui for his music was set in stone.
Back in 1980, Zappa appeared on the New Years’ Eve edition of ABC’s old SNL knockoff Fridays, doing a “Top Ten Albums” countdown. Predictably, he hated every album on the top ten (except for the recently-murdered John Lennon’s dismal Double Fantasy, which he called “a testimony to the good taste of the American record-buying public”).
Now, #5 for the year was Styx’s vacuous Paradise Theater, an album I personally had no time for. I’d developed a cordial dislike for Styx by this point, especially anything involving Dennis DeYoung, inflamed by having had to play the sappy, treacly, unbearable megahit “Babe” about a million times at my radio job in the past year).
But what did Zappa mention in his review? DeYoung’s whiny “woe is me” over the travails of being a spoiled rock star? The trite bombast of everythign DeYoung touched? The conceit of doing a concept album
about a theater at all?
No. He said – and I remember it word for word, 28 years and change later: “Styx. They grow wheat where these guys come from”, before flinging the album away.
Yes, Frank F****ng Zappa. They grow wheat where Eddie Cochrane came from, too. And they grew cotton where Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash and Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry came from. Bruce Springsteen comes from tomato country. Jimmy Hendrix? Apples. Liverpool was big for oats and potatoes. And Frank Zappa. who was not fit to carry any of their gig bags, obviously came from wherever they grow bumper crops of ass***es.
Frank Zappa – rest his soul – was a waste of musical time. He bores me. Of him, no more shall be said.