Also Remember…

…voting is going on through midnight tonight for the Most Hated Conservatives poll.

Vote for the Minnesota (!) conservatives that Minnesota liberals hate the most.  Vote for up to ten, in order; I’m weighting the votes by where they appear in order (a #1 vote counts for more than a #8 vote).

Leave your votes in the comment section, or email my yahoo dot com address found at “feedbackinthedark”.

Cutoff is midnight tonight.

Weekend Update

Normally, the Northern Alliance takes holiday weekends like the Fourth of July off.

However, this weekend will feature a very special Northern Alliance Radio Network broadcast from 1-3PM; I’ll be talking with a panel of experts about the McDonald decision, as well as covering the media’s antics in the Minnesota gubernatorial election.

That’s the Northern Alliance Radio Network, this Saturday from 1-3PM.

One For The Hall Of Fame

Franken, in national news, dozes off during the Kagan hearings:

Every few years, we, as Americans, get to sit back and literally watch history being made in front of our very eyes. We get to see our country’s future being written. We get to- Oh my God! Is Al Franken falling asleep? He totally is!

During Elena Kagan’s opening remarks today, Sen. Franken had a bit of a hard time keeping his eyes open. In his defense, I’m sure many people who watch the confirmation hearings felt the same way. Seriously, do these people know how to blather, or what? Still though, you’d think Franken, as a graduate of live television, would know better than to nod off with so many cameras around.

Yeah, Minnesota, you chose well.

Thanks, DFL.

Your Education Dollars At Work: Bun In Summer School, Part I

Bun’s in summer school getting caught up on some various credits.

One of her classes is history.   She’s relating to me that her history teacher has some unique views on American history, recent and past.

We’ve had five black presidents, doncha know: Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Harding and Coolidge were all afro-American.

Value Judgments:  White students are worth the least of any students in the public school system; while he was apparently vague on the overall hierarchy, he said that Ethiopian and Somali students are “worth more”, in terms of getting funding.

People are “disregarding their blackness” to “reap white benefits”: The teacher has cited the “one drop rule” – people with “even a drop” of black blood, so says the teacher, are black – and disregard their “blackness” only for the swag, apparently.

Minorities have no rights:  He didn’t elaborate.

Katrinariffic:  The teacher told the class that the government “may have blown up” the levees in the poor black neighborhoods of New Orleans.  He also said that White New Orleans put police on the bridge between Black and White New Orleans to send black refugees back to their deaths, as white people sat on the levees and watched the black people die.  He apparently did an impersonation, in a “white trash” voice; “Hey, Bill, grab me a brewski; that n***er is trying to swim”.   Because, says the teacher, “Black people as a rule can’t swim”.

Obama Yoot:  They’re doing a packet from Ebony Magazine; the first one is called “A Child’s View/A Young Man’s View/An Elder’s View” of Obama; it was their considered opinion that most people who didn’t vote for Obama were motivated by race.  The class is also supposed to write whether they do or don’t agree with Obama.  Bun say she’s feeling just a tad intimidated.

Obviously he’s a conservative, huh?

I’ll be doing a daily log.

The Powers That Be

Eric Pusey at Minnesota “Progressive” Project complains about John Kline:

Kline is notorious for rarely if ever appearing in public.  Kline only appears at events where the contact is either with pre-screened, conservative-only audiences or the questions are screened in advance.  Kline doesn’t debate.

Either do Keith Ellison – a prickly little man who can’t tolerate dissent – or Betty McCollum, who would be overmatched  debating Anna Nicole Smith.

Pusey is writing on behalf of “Powers“, the DFL’s endorsed victim in the 2nd CD.  Powers, a construction worker who beat Shelly Madore in the “unified” DFL in the 2nd CD, is on his way to getting maybe 30% this November.

“Plus, we’re getting lots of hits on our website after every parade or event,” he continued.  “People are checking me out further after they first meet me.”

To be honest, I’d like to see debates in every district for every race – but I can see why Kline doesn’t take the chance in a district where he has a crushing advantage, in a city where the media will wrench everything he says out of context.

Not sure that Ellison and McCollum have the same excuse…

Attention, DFLers

Just keep chanting it…:

Tom Horner and Matt Entenza answered questions specific to the legal world. They agreed on concerns about the politicizing of judicial elections. But they disagreed on taxes, with the former Republican-turned-Independent Horner being more open to increased sales taxes than DFLer Entenza.

When asked about extending the sales tax to legal services Entenza said “I’m not going to take a pledge, but I don’t think expanding the sales tax is the direction we want to go.” Horner on the other hand cited a nearly $6 billion shortfall saying “we’re going to need new revenue, I do think we need to increase the sales tax.” The IP-endorsed candidate added that some business taxes should be reduced as well as possibly lowering and broadening the sales tax.

…”Horner is a republican;  Horner is a republican; Horner is a republican; Horner is a republican; Horner is a republican…”

No.  Shush, and get chanting.

Who Do Minnesota Liberals Hate?

As noted last week, my pal and radio colleague Ed Morrissey made it onto the list of the top 100 conservatives the left loves to hate. Morrissey earned his #49 spot, beating out Governor Pawlenty (#86) and Ted Nugent (who cares).  Glenn Beck was the winner, naturally, with the usual suspects – Limbaugh, Rove, Hannity, Malkin, Savage – up at the top of the list (and, oddly, the not-very-conservative, liberal-friendly David Frum at 99).

But it started me to thinking:  Who are the most hated conservatives in Minnesota?  Who does the leftysphere in Minnesota detest more than anything?

Thus, it’s time for a poll.  Everyone give me up to your top ten Minnesota conservatives that Minnesota liberals love to hate, in descending order – in other words, put your “Most Hated” at #1, the tenth most hated at #10.  I’ll use your rankings to weight the results.

I want everyone to vote – conservatives, liberals, don’t cares, Tea Partiers, Libertarians, the works.  Just leave me your top ten, either in the comments or at the email address “feedbackinthedark”, which is a Yahoo dot com email address.

You have until Thursday midnight to get your votes in.  This post will likely be bumped up or reprised during the week.

Open Letter To Mayor Daley

To:  Mayor Richard Daley

From: Mitch Berg, Real American

Re:  Your priorities

Mayor Daley,

Your city is overrun by gang-bangers who, despite your gun ban, make your city more violent than Baghdad today.

Your city is broke – and that great legacy of your city’s corrupt, stupid system, Barack Obama, is doing the same to the rest of the nation.

So now that the Supreme Court has strapped your city’s moronic gun ban – itself a racist concoction and a legacy of your notoriously corrupt father’s tenure in office – into the chair and gotten the switch ready to flip, I suppose it makes sense that you’ll focus on the “real problem”, the law-abiding gun owner:

As expected, Mayor Daley and Chicago’s City Council are circling the wagons to defend against an unfavorable decision by the Supreme Court concerning the city’s gun ban.

Daley said the city would have in place a new ordinance aimed at making it difficult to purchase and own a gun in Chicago.

“We’ll publicly propose a new ordinance very soon,” Daley said at an afternoon press conference concerning the gun ban.

Great to see you’ve got your priorities straight.

That is all.

Eagan’s DFL Mayor: “The First Amendment Confuses And Frightens Me”

Mike Maguire, the DFL mayor of the Twin Cities suburb of Eagan, is

Hoping to preserve “the sanity of our citizens and the beauty of our community,” Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire called on candidates of all political stripes to pledge not to clutter his and other communities with unnecessary political campaign signs through the whole summer.

Maguire, who is running for reelection in November, was disappointed to return home from a family visit this weekend only to see his city already posted with campaign signs for candidates with no elections until November.

“It’s not even the 4th of July yet! Its just too early,” said the Mayor, “Through the summer these signs serve no real purpose but to clutter up our community and subject our citizens to a whole summer of political signage.”

I have a hunch his motive might be a tad more cynical than that; Eagan’s two House and one Senate seats fell to DFLers during the past two elections – but second-tier suburbs like Eagan (where AM1280 The Patriot, the station that broadcasts my show, is located) are hotbeds of the Tea Party in Minnesota.   Eagan’s seats are prime opportunities for GOP pickups this fall.

And the best way to prevent that, if you’re a DFL mayor, is to make sure your citizens aren’t aware that there are any challengers until the last possible moment.

Liberty Scares Richard Daley

As Real America celebrates the judicial whack the SCOTUS gave the City of Chicago, even the ChiTrib notes how miserably Chicago’s gun ban has failed; Justice Alito, in his majority opinion, noted:

“[A group of Democratic Illinois legislators who proposed calling in the National Guard to try to re-take Chicago’s blood-drenched streets] noted that the number of Chicago homicide victims during the current year equaled the number of American soldiers killed during that same period in Afghanistan and Iraq,” the opinion stated.

“If (the) safety of . . . law abiding members of the community would be enhanced by the possession of handguns in the home for self-defense, then the Second Amendment right protects the rights of minorities and other residents of high-crime areas whose needs are not being met by elected public officials.”

If you can say anything about the government of Chicago, it’s that it doesn’t meet the needs of the people for safety.

And if there’s anything we can count on Richard Daley for, it’s that he’ll do his best to reinforce failure.

Just what kind of idiot is Chicago’s mayor?

In an interview with the Tribune, the mayor said his primary goal would be to protect police officers, paramedics and emergency workers from being shot when responding to an incident at a home.

Right – because cop-killers obey gun bans.

Now, if the NRA doesn’t print Daley’s next statement on T-shirts, and if the GOP doesn’t post it on billboards, and if the Illinois Tea Party isn’t harping on it at the top of their lungs, then all of them need to leave their jobs and never come back:

 He said he also wants to save taxpayers from the financial cost of lawsuits if police shoot someone in the house because the officer felt threatened.

Got that?   The law-abiding should remain unprotected so Daley’s cops don’t get the city in trouble for blazing away at people in their own homes.

It’s East Germany on Lake Michigan.

Come to think of it, maybe they do need the National Guard. 

They should storm City Hall.

The Right Of The People: Democracy’s Longest Day

Today, the United States Supreme Court issued a legal groin-kick with steel-toed boots to the idea that the human right of self-defense exists at the sufference of governments and bureaucrats, in ruling for Otis McDonald XXX to XXX in his seminal lawsuit against the Duchy City of Chicago.

Monday’s decision did not explicitly strike down the Chicago area laws, ordering a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling. But it left little doubt that they would eventually fall.

Still, Alito noted that the declaration that the Second Amendment is fully binding on states and cities “limits (but by no means eliminates) their ability to devise solutions to social problems that suit local needs and values.”

Now, it’s our turn.


If you know me, you know I love a good analogy from military history.

The late sixties?  Those were, metaphorically, the years when the Germans rolled across Europe at will; gun control essentially won the battle for the hearts and minds of…well, much of the American “elite” and “intelligentsia”, and it felt like there was litte Real America could do about it.

1987, when Florida became the ninth state, and by far the largest, to adopt “shall-issue” concealed carry?  That was the Dieppe Raid raid; a bold counterstroke that showed Real America may have been down, but not out.

1991, when Dr. Sanford Levinson released The Embarassing Second Amendment in the Yale Law Review?  That was the battle of El Alamein; not a definitive battle in and of itself, it showed the world that the anti-freedom juggernaut was not invulnerable, and could be defeated.

2008, when the Supreme Court ruled in Heller that “Right of the People” meant people, not “National Guard”?  That was the bloody, ugly battle of the Atlantic, and the air battle over Germany, which made what was to follow feasible in the first place.

And this, today?  The McDonald decision?  It’s D-Day.  It’s the day all the preparatory work – the Yaltas, the raiding, the negotiations, the legal scholarship, the bombing, the posturing – all comes to an end.  It’s the day the big players – the Churchills and Hestons, the Mussolinis and the Lillehaugs, the Montgomeries and Guras, the Hitlers and the Heather Martens, the Pattons and the Kopels, the Swiss and the Laurence Tribes, the Goerings and the Daleys, the Eisenhowers and the Scalias – find their work, if not “done”, at least receding to the rear.  It’s now the job of the infantry.

That’d be us.  The grass roots.

The decision makes the court’s opinion in Heller, that the Second Amendment is a right of the people, binding on lower levels of law – as it should – but doesn’t toss out local laws wholesale.  Again, rightly.  A principled judicial conservative doesn’t legislate from the bench.

And so it’s up to us – the grass roots, the “infantry” of the Human Rights movement – to take up the battle now.  To take this battle to every pillbox of fascism and racism, the gun-grabbing city halls and state legislatures and county commissions, and turn the flamethrower of reason, the satchel charge of the Constitution, and the bayonet of human liberty on them, and destroy them, one by one, all of them.  To pound them out of existence through the weight of our numbers, the unstoppable passion of our attack, and the rightness of our cause.

And many of us “infantry” in the Higgins boats today won’t be here in the front lines when the news finally comes down that Gun Control, holed up in its bunker in San Francisco, has stuck a metaphoric (and ironic!) gun in its legal and social mouth and brought an end to the war.  This, as Churchill said, isn’t the end, or even the beginning of the end.   It’s the end of the beginning.

And it’s our job – every one of us Real Americans – to bring this thing to its end.  A prudent end, with Real, law-abiding Americans in control and criminals cowering in fear; a just end, with banana-republic tyrants like Richard Daley groveling for forgiveness before the souls of the thousands killed for want of the human right to self-defense, perhaps waddling through the afterlife with the symbolic muzzle of a metaphorical Mosin-Nagant jammed into his nether regions as cosmic penance; a sane end, with “gun control” spoken with the same dirty sneer that “McCarthyism” or “racism” get today.

And that end got a little closer today.

And it’s all in front of us.

Congratulations, Real America.  Take a day to celebrate.  Tomorrow, you’ll earn it all over again.

God Bless America.

Freedom Wins! Slavery Defeated!

By a vote of 5-4 breaking upon straight “party” ‘lines, the Supreme Court of the United States at long last  ruled that the Second Amendment is as much a “right of the people” in New York or Tucumcari or Chicago as the Heller decision two years ago said it was in Washington DC; it’s a right of the people, not the militia or the police or, as usual in big Democrat-controlled cities, the favorited elites with political clout.

The decision rules that the Fourteenth Amendment “incorporates” the Second, making it a right binding on state and local law.

Alito, Thomas, Scalia, Roberts and Kennedy stood with freedom, liberty and human rights.

Sotomayor, Ginsberg, Stevens and Breyer took the side of oppression, smug elitism and racism.

 While this decision doesn’t end the racist, authoritarian notion of “gun control” aimed at the law-abiding, it does give Real Americans the constitutional wherewithal to stomp it out of existence in the legislatures, city councils and lower courts around the country.

This is not total victory – no conservative justice would ever impose legislation from the bench onto the whole country.  But it’s a huge start.

More – much more – as this amazing day progresses.

God Bless America.

Chanting Points Memo: The Case Of The Landscaper Who “Got Dirt”

During the 2006 election, the Star/Tribune ran a story about Alan Fine, the GOP candidate for the Minnesota house against then-candidate, now-representative Keith Ellison.

The piece, with a byline from reporters Rochelle Olson and Paul McEnroe, but which reportedly included a lot of reporting from Erik Black, dropped right before the election, and covered a 12-year-old domestic violence case in which Fine was arrested after a reported altercation with his then-wife.

I looked at the story and thought, for a variety of reasons, that it stank to high heaven.  Scott Johnson at Powerline , being a lawyer, was able to put fact, or lack of it, to the   Strib’s “coverage”; the Strib piece omitted the facts that there was no physical evidence of abuse, no charges were ever filed, the arrest was expunged from Fine’s record, that Fine had eventually won custody of their minor child (a rarity in contested divorces in Minnesota), and Fine’s ex-wife later went on to get arrested for…domestic abuse.

I asked the Strib why all these facts got left out of Olson and McEnroe’s story.

“It was an editorial decision; there wasn’t enough room”, went the response.   But that was dodgy; in an exercise in which I left out some of the puffery and marginalia from Olson and McEnroe’s original story, I got in all the facts with plenty of room to spare (in terms of word count and column-inches).

So you may ask; why did the Strib run an incomplete story that related an inaccurate story that served only to slander a Republican candidate against the candidate that the DFL and Star/Tribune both endorsed?

Do I need to start over, or what?


The problem is, if last week is any indication, the regional media is getting worse – even more selective in its relation of fact, bespeaking an even more bald-faced desire to get Democrats elected.

Last week, the Strib’s Pat Doyle ran a piece purporting to report on some of Tom Emmer’s legal wranging.  I covered it at the time,  calling it a “dog bites man” story of a lawyer…practicing law, and dealing with some of the collateral stresses that come with practicing small-town law; an embezzling office manager, a complaint from a former client, some other issues.  Even on a “Dog Bites Man” level, the story was thin, runny gruel.

The single story of the four that seemed to perhaps hold water was the tale of the landscaper that, to read Doyle’s account, lost a lawsuit against Emmer and his wife Jacquie.

Now, if you take Doyle’s account at face value, Emmer looks like a parsimonious weasel who wriggled out of a bill on a technicality:

In small claims court, District Judge Kathleen Mottl awarded Poppler his entire claim. She added that Emmer’s “request for reimbursement of ‘attorney’s fees’ is wholly inappropriate, as he represented himself.”

Emmer took his appeal to District Court, where his lawyer argued that he wasn’t responsible for the landscaping bill because his wife had initiated and modified the job.

Earlier, Mottl had disagreed with that notion. “She essentially did so as her husband’s agent,” she wrote.

But District Judge Dale Mossey ruled that Emmer was not responsible for his wife’s actions. Poppler said Jacquie Emmer has not paid the $1,237.

He said he’s considering suing her, but he is concerned about attorney’s fees.

Sounds pretty damaging.

And sources out on the campaign trail tell me that the tale has raised some eyebrows.

But Doyle’s story is missing some key facts.


A Minnesota Tenth District Court document, “Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order” for Case Number CV-07-7141, filed on December 28, 2007, includes the following “Findings of Fact” (transcribed from the order), relates the conclusions of the judge, after a December 13 hearing in Buffalo between Tony Poppler and defeandant Tom Emmer.:

  1. In May of 2006, Jacquie Emmer contacted Plaintiff, seeking the performance of landscaping work.  Plaintiff and Ms. Emmer discussed the scope of the work and the price to perform that work.  Plaintiff and Ms. Emmer entered into an oral contract to perform the work.
  2. On June 22 and 23, 2007, Plaintiff performed the work requested.  During the work, Mrs. Emmer requested additional work to be performed and Plaintiff agreed to perform it.  Part of this additional work included removal of certain dirt.  Mrs. Emmer and Plaintiff did not discuss the specific cost of the additional work.
  3. Defended is married to Mrs. Emmer.  During the course of the project, Defendant looked over some of the work that had been performed and said that it looked good.
  4. Defendant never asked Plaintiff to perform any work whatsoever.  defendant never agreed to pay for removal of dirt.  There is no evidence that Defendant directed Mrs. Emmer to seek landscaping services or to remove dirt.
  5. Plaintiff has been compensated for all materials and labor except for, possibly, the removal of dirt.  Plaintiff does not seek recovery from Defendant or Mrs. Emmer under any theory of contract.  Plaintiff does not seek recovery from Mrs. Emmer under any theory.  Plaintiff seeks recovery from Defendant on a quasi contract theory of unjust enrichment.

Re-read number five.   It says that, as a matter of fact, Poppler didn’t try to sue Mrs. Emmer, the person with whom he had the “contract”.  He’s trying to get the money out of Tom Emmer for “unjust enrichment“.

The “Conclusions of Law” are pretty succinct:

  1. Plaintiff’s performance of landscaping work at the direction of Mrs. Emmer does not unjustly enrich Defendant. Schumacher v. Schumacher, 627 N.W. 2d 725, 729 (Minn App. 2001).

In other words, the basis of Poppler’s suit – that Tom Emmer was “unjustly enriched” by the flap between he and Jacquie Emmer – had no basis in law.

And the “Order for Judgment” is one simple line:

  1. Defendant is entitled to dismissal of Plaintiff’s claims, with prejudice, and to tax his costs.

I’m no lawyer, but it looks as if Mr. Poppler and Jacquie Emmer had a misunderstanding about billing – even though as the court directly noted, he was paid for everything but the dirt removal.  Poppler went after Tom Emmer and, after an appeal, lost, and was compelled to pay Tom Emmer’s court costs.

A source with knowledge of the situation emailed: “Basically, [Poppler] didn’t sue Jacquie because he couldn’t – he did not have a contract and he would have lost. So he tried to sue Tom for “unjust enrichment.” In the findings of fact, the judge wrote that he didn’t have a case against Jacquie. He ruled that the guy sued the wrong person. And he gave Tom court costs. A clear victory for the Emmers“.

But to hear Pat Doyle tell the story, you’d think it was one of a pettifogging attorney welching out on a contractor, and getting away with it on a petty technicality.

Pat Doyle would seem to have printed all the news that fit…the Strib’s narrative.  It’s of a piece with the 2006 smear of Alan Fine, the 2000 smear by association of Rod Grams (reporting on his son Morgan’s addication problems while omitting the fact that Grams had had very little contact with his son; his ex-wife had custory), and other among the Strib’s greatest hits, and might prompt a thinking person to say “there’s a pattern here”.

I will be asking Pat Doyle for comment.  Don’t hold your breath; most Strib and PiPress reporters seem to think they’re above answering questions from peasants.

Equal Before The Law As The Administration Says It Says

J. Christian Adams on the Administration’s intercession in the Black Panther voter intimidation case.

Read the whole thing; it explains the legal vacuity and the legal incompetence of the Administration’s actions (dismissing the case despite clear and overwhelming evidence of federal violations).

But the conclusion is worse:

Most disturbing, the dismissal is part of a creeping lawlessness infusing our government institutions. Citizens would be shocked to learn about the open and pervasive hostility within the Justice Department to bringing civil rights cases against nonwhite defendants on behalf of white victims. Equal enforcement of justice is not a priority of this administration. Open contempt is voiced for these types of cases.

Some of my co-workers argued that the law should not be used against black wrongdoers because of the long history of slavery and segregation. Less charitable individuals called it “payback time.” Incredibly, after the case was dismissed, instructions were given that no more cases against racial minorities like the Black Panther case would be brought by the Voting Section.

Refusing to enforce the law equally means some citizens are protected by the law while others are left to be victimized, depending on their race. Core American principles of equality before the law and freedom from racial discrimination are at risk. Hopefully, equal enforcement of the law is still a point of bipartisan, if not universal, agreement. However, after my experience with the New Black Panther dismissal and the attitudes held by officials in the Civil Rights Division, I am beginning to fear the era of agreement over these core American principles has passed.

Just keep chanting, liberals; “conservatives are racist; conservatives are racist;conservatives are racist;conservatives are racist;conservatives are racist…”

My Weekend Earworm

Perhaps it’s because I’m fortysomething, and have found things in my life that yank on my emotions harder than music does – kids, relationships, divorce, stress – but it’s rare that new music jumps out and grabs me in my liver and says “Dance, MoFo!”

Just thought I’d say – I had one of those moments the other day. The band is “Jet”, and they had a hit about six years ago with “Do You Wanna Be My Girl”, which was a fun little rock and roll shuffle but not something to go to war over, capisce?

This song, “Goodbye Hollywood”, is totally different.  It totally rocks my world.

And if the promise of a great rock ‘n roll song isn’t enough to make you listen, the fact that I couldn’t find a video version, so you’ll have to use this version featuring Kate Beckinsale writhing about the place as a substitute.

Any objections?

I rather thought not.

It’s Tomorrow

Chief Justice Roberts has announced tomorrow will be the last day of the Supreme Court term.  And it’s gonna be a doozy:

In eagerly awaited rulings, the nation’s highest court is expected to decide the constitutionality of a national board that polices auditors of public companies…

…AKA “Sarbanes Oxley”, itself a huge issue…

…and whether gun rights extend to every state and city in the nation.

Tom Goldstein at SCOTUSBlog writes:

I predict that Justice Alito will write the Court’s opinion in McDonald recognizing that the Second Amendment is incorporated.  But given Justice Alito’s sensitivity towards law enforcement, I doubt that the opinion will call into question a broad swath of firearms regulation.

That’s as it should be, frustrating as it may be in the short run; the case should set the stage for a  huge legislative effort to overturn fascist gun-control laws.  And if all goes well tomorrow, it’ll give Real America the constitutional tools it needs to exactly that.

I will, to say the least, be watching, and writing on the McDonald decision at my earliest opportunity.

Camouflaging The Point

Say that a news reporter, hypothetically, writes an article in which he both selectively omits crucial facts about a story in order to present a picture of a candidate to present a technically-accurate but in fact misleading picture of that candidate to the public, and plagiarizes another get some of that material.

Which of these infractions will get the reporter’s editors, managers, ombudspeople and colleagues the most exercised?

The plagiarism, naturally; the story will generate abashed corrections, a firing, in-depth-analyses and apologies, and endless discussions and not a few news stories about the reporter’s offenses against the craft.

The selective reporting?  Despite the fact that it presented an ultimately misleading impression of an important story, journalists will largely wash their hands of it.  The editors will nod their heads and say “everything in the story was factual, and things were left out because of space constraints”.  The ombudsmen will write a piece on how perhaps more care is required in sourcing, but the story was ultimately factual, and thus fair.  Other journalists will shrug their shoulders and say “sh*t happens”.

And for the candidate, it just did.

The most interesting thing about the Washington Post/David Weigel case isn’t so much the incident itself – Weigel’s participation in a hush-hush liberal list-server with many of the nation’s “elite” left-leaning journalists, his off-the-record slurs against conservatives, or the fact that a fellow “elite” lefty journalist decided to dump a bunch of the offending emails.

Although that seems to be the part that the WaPo thinks is most important.  The Post’s ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, took a whack at writing the WaPo’s nostra culpa (or perhaps Weigel culpayesterday, hitting all the important points – if you’re a left-leaning journalist:

Weigel bears responsibility for sarcastic and scornful comments he made in e-mails leaked from a supposedly private listserv called “Journolist,” started in 2007 by fellow Post blogger and friend Ezra Klein. Weigel’s e-mails showed strikingly poor judgment and revealed a bias that only underscored existing complaints from conservatives that he couldn’t impartially cover them.

I read this, and I thought “liberal journalist sniffing down his nose about conservatives when he thinks he’s in private?  That’s not even a “dog bites man” story.  That’s a “dog pees in grass” story”.

But his departure also raises questions about whether The Post has adequately defined the role of bloggers like Weigel. Are they neutral reporters or ideologues?

This is a question that can only come from Planet Beltway.

Here’s a better question:  a newspaper which is widely believed to have a left-of-center editorial slant hires a reporter from the liberal propaganda-blog Washington Independent (a corporate cousin of the Minnesota “Independent”, both run by the ironically-named “Center for Independent Media”, all of which were founded by liberals with deep pockets to spread propaganda for the Democratic Party), to essentially serve as a journalistic anthropologist, a Jane Goodall-like figure to translate the mysterious ways of all those inscrutable enigmas between the Hudson and the Sierra Madre.

So why should the half of the American people and news consumers who identify as conservatives not see that as overt, institutionalized condescension?  As one of the most powerful media organs in the country telling its readership “we will have one of our specialists translate all this vaguely-scary, wingnutty, teabaggy stuff into acceptable, non-accented English”?

Weigel did an interview last winter on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross (full transcript here) where talking to a elite-media-club member in good standing Terri Gross, he lets his guard down.

Mr. WEIGEL: He was elected in 1984 and he left on his own volition in 2002. I mean he was in no danger of being defeated. He just retired to become, like a lot of former congressmen, a lobbyist with some political interests.
GROSS: Okay. So what are his interests in funding the Tea Party movement?

Mr. WEIGEL: One thing Armey would say is that he doesnt fund the Tea Party movement. He loves to contrast what they see as union thugs and ACORN putting Democratic rallies together with Tea Party people gassing up their cars and driving to Washington for his rallies. There’s some dishonesty there.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. WEIGEL: I mean Freedom Works is always on the scene. It helps set these things up. It’s got full-time activists who help get permits. And I mean I’ve been to a couple of events at Freedom Works’ office where theyll have huge, you know, nice buffet spreads and things like that for Tea Party activists and conservative bloggers to meet and strategize.

Mr. WEIGEL: He was elected in 1984 and he left on his own volition in 2002. I mean he was in no danger of being defeated. He just retired to become, like a lot of former congressmen, a lobbyist with some political interests.

GROSS: Okay. So what are his interests in funding the Tea Party movement?

Mr. WEIGEL: One thing Armey would say is that he doesnt fund the Tea Party movement. He loves to contrast what they see as union thugs and ACORN putting Democratic rallies together with Tea Party people gassing up their cars and driving to Washington for his rallies. There’s some dishonesty there.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. WEIGEL: I mean Freedom Works is always on the scene. It helps set these things up. It’s got full-time activists who help get permits. And I mean I’ve been to a couple of events at Freedom Works’ office where theyll have huge, you know, nice buffet spreads and things like that for Tea Party activists and conservative bloggers to meet and strategize

Not that Weigel was systematically unfair – although he strains to connect the John Birch Society to Glenn Beck.  Read the transcript for yourself; you be the judge.

The WaPo’s Alexander asks:

And, given the disdainful comments in his e-mails, there is the separate question of whether he was miscast from the outset when he was hired earlier this year.

The bigger question is “how could anyone who was paying attention “miscast” Weigel as anything but a left-leaning writer who would treat conservatism with the same giggly, hipster post-irony of an Ira Glass or a Robert Sagel?”   Weigel’s history is pretty well-known,   Even I could have told them; Weigel spent some time years ago (ten years ago at least) covering a Minnesota electronic-democracy group; while Weigel seemed to be a fair enough guy, there was no mistaking his political sympathies.

But the problem isn’ t that a liberal paper sent a liberal to cover, and translate, conservatism. It isn’t even that that reporter turned out to say naughty things about conservatives when he thought he was off the record.  Most conservatives accept that as the norm.

So the WaPo’s editors miss the point when they say…:

“I don’t think you need to be a conservative to cover the conservative movement,” [editor] Narisetti told me late today. “But you do need to be impartial… in your views.”

He said that when Weigel was hired, he was vetted in the same way that other prospective Post journalists are screened. He interviewed with a variety of top editors, his writings were reviewed and his references were checked, Narisetti said.

“But we’re living in an era when maybe we need to add a level” of inquiry, he said. “It may be in our interests to ask potential reporters: ‘In private… have you expressed any opinions that would make it difficult for you to do your job.”

…because the real point is not that reporters can be “impartial”, any more than I can.  They need merely to be honest about their biases – because there is no such thing as a neutral reporter.  Objectivity is a myth – and the idea that the WaPo thought they could pass off a secret club-member like Weigel as “objective” isn’t nearly as insulting as the fact that whole “conservatives in the mist” exercise entirely about a sense of preening cultural superiority.

Alas, it took only one listserv participant to bundle up Weigel’s archived comments and start leaking them outside the group. The result is that Weigel lost his job. But the bigger loss is The Post’s standing among conservatives.

There, Mr. Alexander needn’t worry; the Post never had much to lose.

The other question that actually matters relates to “Journolist”, the hush-hush email discussion group where “elite” left-leaning  journalists swapped ideas and mapped out approaches to big stories.  Journolist was founded by Ezra Klein, formerly of the ultraleftyblog Pandagon, with whom I went ’round and ’round back when blogging was mostly done for the love of the game.

And Klein, like Alexander, is mostly concerned about the damage this flap does to his craft-within-a-craft, the pseudo-journalistic institutional blog:

In a column about Stanley McChrystal today, David Brooks talks about the union of electronic text, unheralded transparency, 24/7 media and a culture that has not yet settled on new rules for what is, and isn’t, private, and what is, and isn’t, newsworthy. “The exposure ethos, with its relentless emphasis on destroying privacy and exposing impurities, has chased good people from public life, undermined public faith in institutions and elevated the trivial over the important,” he writes.

There’s a lot of faux-intimacy on the Web. Readers like that intimacy, or at least some of them do. But it’s dangerous. A newspaper column is public, and writers treat it as such. So too is a blog. But Twitter? It’s public, but it feels, somehow, looser, safer. Facebook is less public than Twitter, and feels even more intimate. A private e-mail list is not public, but it is electronically archived text, and it is protected only by a password field and the good will of the members. It’s easy to talk as if it’s private without considering the possibility, unlikely as it is, that it will one day become public, and that some ambitious gossip reporters will dig through it for an exposure story…

Well, yeah.  Klein’s right here; I study how people and computers interact for a living, and faux intimacy and lowered inhibitions are why online discussions quickly degenerate into name calling, why online dating is an intense whirlwind, and why online commerce, with its instant gratification, is so popular.

But the real story in this flap – and the real damage it does to “journalism” – has little to do with the formalities of the journalistic craft, or the pathologies of online communication.


A newspaper reporter opposing the Afghanistan war in a news story is doing something improper. A newspaper reporter telling his wife he opposes the war is being perfectly proper. If someone had been surreptitiously taping that reporter’s conversations with his wife, there’d be no doubt that was a violation of privacy, and the gathered remarks and observations were illegitimate.

Right.  So let’s continue the analogy.

Dozens of newspaper reporters who oppose the Afghanistan war gather online, in a “secure” undisclosed virtual location they share with other journalists and plenty of hard-left pundits, to discuss how they can affect the coverage, to shade it to a desired political end.

Ethical or not?

What do you think the Washington Post’s ombudsman would say?

The fact that the Washington Post felt it needed to report on conservatism as a matter of cultural anthropology is insulting, but just dumb; a waste of resources, and of credibility to the conservative community even before the Weigel flap.

The fact that “journalists” are discussing how to politically shade their coverage to achieve desired political ends – as some of Weigel’s emails showed – is the real issue here.

I’d love to see an editor, an ombudsman and a journalist address that.  All the other questions are just side issues.

It Suddenly Feels Like A New Year

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism from 9AM-3PM.

  • Volume I “The First Team” –  Brian and John or some combination thereof kick off from 11-1.
  • Volume II “The Headliner”Ed and I follow from 1-3PM Central
  • The King Banaian Show! – King is on from 9-11 on AM1570, Business Radio for the Twin Cities!  We’re broadening the franchise; two stations, now!
  • And for those of you who like your constitutionalism straight up with no chaser, don’t forget the Sons of Liberty, from 3-5!

(All times Central)

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 or at UStream).
  • Podcast at Townhall, usually by Monday
  • Good ol’ telephone – 651-289-4488!
  • And make sure you fan us on Facebook!

Join us!

The Rising Tide Racks All Slides

It’s come down to Tuesday.

Next Tuesday is the final day of the Supreme Court session.  They are due to release their decision in McDonald Vs. Chicago.  It will likely make the Second Amendment binding on state governments at some level or another. 

We’ll come back to that.

If the good guys beat the orcs on Tuesday, it’ll be the capstone on a generally good year for freedom; the Second Amendment Human Rights movement has made many advances. 

But nobody ever expected the orcs to roll over and play dead; un-American anti-liberty sentiment is deeply entrenched in some of our nation’s more benighted, nanny-state-prone areas:

[“Brady Campaign for Victim Disarmament” state legislative director Brian] Malte points to states such as California, Illinois and much of the Northeast, where he says gun advocates have largely failed to make inroads. And gun-control advocates have played offense some this session, too. In New York State, for example, the Assembly passed “microstamping” legislation, before the bill stalled in the Senate, although supporters hope to revive it this fall. The bill would require that semiautomatic pistols made or sold in the state stamp cartridges with the make, model and serial number of the gun when it’s fired.

I’m not a gun manufacturer.  But if I were, I’d make sure the dies on the inside of my New York-bound chambers all gave the make, model, serial number, and a big clear “F*ck Michael Bloomberg”.   By the way, while I’ve heard some moderate gun-controllers throw this out as a “reasonable” possibility, all it’ll do in the short term is make for tidier criminals and a market for cartridge-catcher bags, and in the long run add to the state of New York’s level of criminal expertise in grinding off microstamp dies, to say nothing of making revolvers the preferred weapon of gangland assassins.

 In California, the Assembly passed a bill that would ban the practice known as “open carry,” which allows people to carry an unloaded gun in plain sight, even if the person also is carrying ammunition as well.

That should solve the violence problem.

The point is this; Tuesday may bring human-rights advocates a victory – but the legislative battle is going to go on.  A victory on Tuesday will clear some of the more insipid legal obstacles – but the orcs are still out there, and need to be killed off (rhetorically and politically), one at a time.


It’s hard to look at the MN House of Representatives’ own wrapup of the 2010 session (WARNING:  PDF

How can the first paragraph of this press release be read as anything other than a complete and total vindication of Governor Pawlenty’s budget stance last year? 

 Despite court challenges and ceaseless partisan attacks, he held firm until the DFL itself introduced the very law that not only ratified the un-allotments but made even MORE cuts in programs intended to help poor people, the heartless bastards!

 The media is already working hard to try to slander Pawlenty’s legacy.  It’s because if more people nationwide knew the real Pawlenty story, he’d be a headache for the Democrats nationwide.


Jon Shields in the WSJ on Manute Bol’s “Radical Christianity”:

Bol’s life and death throws into sharp relief the trivialized manner in which sports journalists employ the concept of redemption.

Not just sports “journalists”, really – but we’ll come back to that.

In the world of sports media players are redeemed when they overcome some prior “humiliation” by playing well. Redemption then is deeply connected to personal gain and celebrity. It leads to fatter contracts, shoe endorsements, and adoring women.

Yet as Bol reminds us, the Christian understanding of redemption has always involved lowering and humbling oneself. It leads to suffering and even death.

It is of little surprise, then, that the sort of radical Christianity exemplified by Bol is rarely understood by sports journalists. For all its interest in the intimate details of players’ lives, the media has long been tone deaf to the way devout Christianity profoundly shapes some of them.

It’s not just true in sports, naturally.  The media treats the sort of faith Bol had – he spent his entire NBA fortune building hospitals in the Sudan, and spent his last years raising money through means most people, much less stars, would find humiliating – as a vaguely scary curiosity.

Read the whole thing.

Why Does The DFL Lie To The People? (Part MMMCCCCLXXXVIII)

Need month-old debunked out-of-context defmatory news?

The DFL website is your one stop shop.

Does anything about this “story” sound familiar to you?

Tom Emmer recently came under fire for his ties to the organization You Can Run But You Can’t Hide International, and its leader Bradlee Dean who has equated homosexuals with pedophiles and encouraged his followers to stand up and “enforce God’s laws” on their own.

Why yes – if you read Shot In The Dark for the truth about current events, you have.

When asked to address his relationship with Dean and his organization, Emmer simply said “these are good people.”

Now, if you are smart you know everything that the DFL say about Tom Emmer is a filthy, rotting lie, and if it’s in the Minnesoros “Independent” or any other leftyblog you need to distrust but verify.

Yes, I said “filthy rotting lie”.  From the categorical debunking of Andy Birkey’s out-of-context hit piece earlier this month:

The “ties”, according to Birkey, are:

An almost-two-year-old “donation” of $250, in the form of buying seats at a You Can Run benefit dinner in November of 2008.  This, by the way, was long before YCR was on the regional media radar – although Birkey continues to refer to this “donation” with context and time frame carefully buried.

Tom Emmer stopping by and getting photographed at the YCR booth at the Minnesota State GOP Convention (as he had stopped by every single gathering of conservatives anywhere in Minnnesota for the past year).

An appearance on “Sons Of Liberty”.  By that token, RT Rybak, a former NARN guest, must be a conservative sympathizer.

Tom Emmer calling Bradlee Dean and his associates “nice people.   It’s perhaps an inconvenient truth to Andy Birkey that Bradlee Dean and Jake MacMillan are nice people.  They may have different beliefs than Andy Birkey and, also, me.  And perhaps it’s easier to believe people who disagree with you are foul people with horns growing out their heads.  But Dean and MacMillan and their wives and associates are a genial bunch.

And that’s it.  That, according to Birkey, is the extent of Tom Emmer’s “link” to YCR.

There is no involvement.  To say otherwise is a lie.

But this is the DFL we’re talking about:

“Is Tom Emmer kidding? Good people indeed,” said DFL spokesperson Donald McFarland. “Tom Emmer stood up for a man who called members of the GLBT community predators, who has encouraged violence against homosexuals and would like to impose his narrow-minded beliefs on the whole of America.

OK, Donald McFarland, here’s your choice:

  • Show is where Emmer “stood up for”Bradlee Dean”, or
  • Admit you’re lying.

We’ll be in touch.