The Real Eighties: It’s Guys With New Toys Week!

One of the great stereotypes of eighties music, at almost thirty years’ remove, is that of the band with big mutant chemical hair playing synthesizers.

One of the goals of this series is to show that there was a lot more to the era than that.

But the fact remains that the decade did have plenty of artists whose hair was an engineering marvel, who benefitted from one of the greatest democratizations in artistic technology the world saw (until the Internet, of course).

So that’s the subject this week!

This Is Occupy

The first five minutes of this video – by Sally Zelikovsky and Steve Kemp of TeaPartyTelevision – almost looks like OccupyMN; placid enough, but with a lot of flowery semiliterate arrested-adolescent rhetoric (“It looks like the rich don’t want to give it up, so we’re going to have to take it”).

The last five minutes – with the black-clad, masked “anarchist” mob destroying property and intimidating people – documents more violence, hatred and destruction than occurred at every Tea Party rally, ever.

This Is Radio NARN

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism!

  • Ed is off on assignment; I’m soloing today, from 1-3PM Central. I’ll be talking about the week in review,  We’ll look back at the elections, and ahead to next year’s big show. .
  • Brad Carlson’s show – “The Closer” – will be up tomorrow, from 6-7PM!
  • The King Banaian Show! – King is on AM1570, Business Radio for the Twin Cities!  Join him from 9-11!

(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).
  • Good ol’ telephone – 651-289-4488!
  • Podcasts are now available on the AM1280 page!  (Ed and I are #2 – Brad is #3).
  • And make sure you fan us on our new Facebook page!

Join us!

The Rhetorical Greased Pig

I sat down for an interview with Erik Black, the former Strib political reporter and one of the thundering herd of “deans of Minnesota political reporting”, the other day.

It went a little like this.:

BLACK:  So you took a trip the other day.

BERG: I did.

BLACK:  You’ve said your goal when driving long distances is to get there as fast as you legally can.

BERG:  Yep.  I like to get the trip over with.

BLACK:  But you stopped in Black River Falls.

BERG:  Right.  I had to go to the bathroom.

BLACK:  What do you mean?

BERG:  Er, I had to urinate. And buy a Red Bull.

BLACK: So haven’t you gone back on your princples then?

BERG:  Are you serious?

BLACK: You don’t have an answer, do  you?

BERG:  Of course I do.  My goal was to get to Chicago. As a practical matter, I needed to take a whiz.

BLACK:  So your principles are muddled, then?  Perhaps you shoudn’t talk about “driving fast”.

BERG:  (Facepalm).

OK, I made that one up.

But when you read Black’s fisking (I mean, really?  What else would you call it?) of a Jason Lewis column  in the Strib this past weekend, you might wonder:

Let’s do Mr. Jason Lewis the kindness of taking seriously his latest Strib op-ed philippic against the evils of liberalism.

The headline “Do you want equality or freedom?” certainly suggests that we can’t want a bit of both, and it also suggests that freedom and equality cannot coexist.

Now, when liberals read “equality” they think “women and minorities voting” – something conservatives support.  When Jason Lewis – whose broadcasts and op-eds sound and read more like grad-school poli-sci seminars every year – talks about “equality” in this context, he’s referring to equality of outcomes; leveling out the economic peaks to fill in the valleys; making sure nobody becomes wealthy until everyone’s in the middle class.

I’m going to add some emphasis to the next bit; we’ll come back to it:

Of course, Lewis didn’t write the headline, but it captures the keys to his argument, and to a bit of semantic bullying in which righties engage often.

It goes something like this:

Everything the right likes can be phrased as a form of “freedom,” as in freedom of the rich from paying higher taxes, freedom of corporations from government regulation, freedom to pollute, freedom of those with almost unlimited resources to use those resources to influence elections, freedom of the wealthiest 1 percent to accumulate any damn portion of the society’s wealth and income without shame, freedom to overthrow foreign governments (but only in order to bring freedom to the oppressed of those nations) and a few other important freedoms that you can think of on your own.

Once the right has established its ownership of the “freedom brand,” it follows that everything that distinguishes the left from the right is a form of oppression.

Government is oppression, taxes are tyranny, and progressive taxation or anything else that requires rich people to pay more than poor people is a particularly pernicious Bolshevik form of totalitarianism that requires a complete leveling between rich and poor.

That’s why you have to choose between freedom and equality.


No “rhetorical bullying” in that passage, was there?

There are really two ways of addressing Black’s…argument?

First:  I work in an engineering-y field.  And when analyzing a problem, engineers will break it into two areas; what you want to happen – your goal – and how you make it happen.  Your goal – your “policy”, at a high level – is to put a bridge over a river.  That goal/”policy” drives the actual implementation; building over the road on one bank and between the buildings on the other, using plate-girder construction instead of stressed concrete arches (because it’s a small bridge with a low budget).  The same idea works in politics; high-level “principles” guide lower-level politics and undertakings.  If your princples are “progressive”, you likely believe some permutation of “society should use government to rectify the worst of life’s wrongs” and “those that have should be expected to help out those who have not”.  These principles likely inform  your “policy” decisions – things like “the rich should only make 80 times as much as the rest of us, rather than 90 times, so let’s add on a Wealth Tax”.  It’s a simple fact of life that there will be inconsistencies between your “princples” and the policies you use to implement them.   Lewis is speaking in terms of principles – “Freedom” and “Equality” in abstract, academic senses that never really occur as absolutes in nature.  That’s what he does.

Second: Well, duh.  That’s what political rhetoric is; trying to frame your side as a better idea than the other side.

You don’t have the option of maybe just bumping the top marginal rate up a point or two to help reduce the deficit (something about which the right generally claims to care) and still leave the average CEO 90 times better off than his average employee (or maybe only 80).

Mr. Black:  Behold the power of rhetoric.  Of course you have the option.  Lewis is arguing against the option.

It’s not much different than when progressives, for example, say “if you want to cut taxes [or just not increase them as much as the left wants – Ed.], you must hate government!”.  Conservatives respond “Er, government is fine – but couldn’t we settle for just the right amount of it, rather than letting it expand forever, unchecked?”

Because in principle, conservatives want to control the size of government; in practice, that means picking and choosing.

Just like Black wants Lewis to allow for.

Now, that’s Jason Lewis for you; the guy with the Masters (PhD?  LLD?  I forget) in Poli Sci does like him some high-level political theory.  He does it for three hours every night, and in most of his written output as well.   His second hitch in Twin Cities radio has been like an extended grad school poli sci seminar.

And I have to believe Black knows that.

So why would he write an entire column chastising Lewis’ “logic” when, in fact, all the cognitive dissonance is a matter of the scope of the argument (Lewis’ high-level rhetoric vs. Black’s policy-oriented low-level analysis)?

Reading the comment section – which largely reads like a thread at Democrat Underground or the Daily Kos – should answer that for you.


Warren Throws “Occupy” Under The Bus

When your friend deserts you, it’s bad.

When your self-proclaimed founder jams you under the bus like she’s wedging one last trash bag into the dumpster?

U.S. Senate hopeful and Harvard Law prof Elizabeth Warren, who has claimed she laid the “intellectual foundation” for the Occupy Wall Street movement, is jilting the anti-corporate proteges in her own Ivy League yard, refusing to sign a petition in support of Occupy Harvard.

Warren, who declined to speak to the Herald, is focused on her campaign, said spokesman Kyle Sullivan.

“Elizabeth hasn’t signed the petition, but she’s been standing up to Wall Street and the big banks [bla bla bla – Ed.],” said Sullivan in a statement.

I think it’s time for conservatives to step up and help “Occupy” to survive.

They’re going to be an electoral bonanza for us next year, at this rate.

For The Children

Occopy New York protestors terrorize school children:

In the middle of thousands of protestors yelling and chanting — some kicking and screaming – CBS 2’s Emily Smith found little school kids trying to get to class. Nervous parents led them through the barriers on Wall Street. The NYPD helped funnel the children, anything to ease their fears while some protestors chanted “follow those kids!”

Maybe it’s time for real people to start occupying the occupation.

Soros Pushes The “Flush” Lever

The Minnesota Independent  is pining for the fjords:.

I am writing today to announce the closure of the Minnesota Independent. After five years of operation in Minnesota, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news into a single site, The American Independent at

I love that; the “American Independent News Network”, which runs the “Colorado Independent”, the “Iowa Independent”, the “Florida Independent” and the “Texas Independent”, and ran the “Minnesota Independent” (as well as the also-closed “New Mexico Independent” and “Michigan Messenger”), allows the various regional fiefdoms about as much “independence” as the Soviet Ministry of Agriculture. The “Independent” regional media is not only being shut down…

…it’s being centralized!:

This is part of a shift in strategy, towards new forms of journalism made available as technology has advanced, and an increasing emphasis on national coverage and issue-based coverage from our network. Over the coming months, AINN will announce a number of new journalism initiatives that will continue to advance our mission of producing impact journalism in the public interest.

So that’s that!

The Mindy, as some of us called it, wasn’t always a complete waste; Paul Schmelzer was a capable writer; Andy Birkey could be a decent reporter, back before his obsession with Bradlee Dean drove him off the rails.

But from the Mindy’s breezy, amateurish start (as the Minnesota Monitor, under then-editor Robin Marty), through its history, it went from groaningly disingenuous (Marty often, absurdly denied any connection to George Soros and “liberals with deep pockets” during her reign) to curiously overstaffed (the Mindy briefly employed some very high-caliber liberal reporters and “editors” – Steve Perry, Erik Black and others – until, it seemed, moments after the 2008 elections) and its descent into near-irrelevance over the past three years, it’s always been a hothouse flower – something that couldn’t exist without massive outside support.

And that’s gone.

Going forward, an archive of Minnesota Independent’s reporting will exist on

Perhaps a more interesting archive of the Mindy and MinnMon’s history is found right here on this very blog.

So just for old time’s sake, let’s go through some of the Mindy’s greatest hits:

And on, and on, and on.

One of my more solidified principles is that I never, ever do the end-zone happy dance over people losing jobs.  I do indeed hope Andy Birkey (and whoever else may still have been left at the Mindy) come up with some kind of gainful employment (and I have a hunch the Sorosphere will look out for its own).

But I come to bury the Mindy, not to praise it.

The Gang That Couldn’t Protest Straight

I know that I’ve pretty much given up trying to keep up with all the stories of the violence and depravity at the various “Occupy” sites around the country over at my “Climate Of Hate” page; there’s just been too much for what is supposed to be a series of capsule summaries of individual events.  “Occupy” has turned, with a nod to “Iowa Hawk”, into “Rat-infested Nazi-endorsed rape camps”.

The folks at Verum Serum have been trying to keep up with it all.  Will they keep it going?  Who knows:  It could be a full time job.

Their list, so far (go to the original article for links to sources):


  • Occupy Fort Collins – Member arrested, $10 million in damage
  • Occupy Portland –  Member arrested for throwing Molotov Cocktail
  • Occupy Seattle – Suspicious fire at Bank of America 2.7 miles from camp
  • Occupy Portland – Three men arrested with homemade grenades


  • Occupy SF – 12 assaults in 24 hours
  • Occupy LA – 4 assaults including two with knives
  • Occupy Philly – Man punches woman in the face
  • Occupy LA – Two assaults including setting someone on fire
  • Occupy Berkeley – Police respond to three assault calls per night
  • Occupy Wall Street – Three men threaten the life of a sexual assault victim
  • Occupy Lawrence – Punch thrown
  • Occupy Orlando – Knife fight sends man to hospital
  • Occupy Portland – Multiple assaults within a 24 hr. period
  • Occupy Toledo – Man assaults police officer after arrest
  • Occupy San Diego – Woman assaults cameraman
  • Occupy Victoria – Man dumps urine on city worker
  • Occupy Vancouver – Two police officers bitten during near riot
  • Occupy Oakland – Death threats
  • Occupy Austin – Man in Joker make-up arrested for brandishing knife
  • Occupy Oakland – Man sets his dog on reporter
  • Occupy Oakland – Man pulls a knife in camp
  • Occupy Wall Street – Photographer assaulted


  • Occupy Boston – Two drug busts in a week
  • Occupy Boston – Another drug arrest
  • Occupy Boston – Heroin dealers busted were living with 6 year old boy directly behind welcome tent
  • Occupy Portland – First hand account “Drugs. Selling…Heroin. Meth.”
  • Occupy Portland – Video of open drug use in the camp
  • Occupy Portland – “I get high“


  • National Lawyer’s Guild member Ari Douglas pretends to be run over by a police scooter


  • Occupy Santa Cruz – Ringworm outbreak
  • Occupy Atlanta – TB outbreak
  • Occupy Wall Street – Zuccotti lung outbreak
  • Occupy New Orleans – Man discovered in tent had been dead 2 days
  • Occupy Portland – Body lice outbreak


  • Occupy Oakland – Fatal shooting

Public disturbance

  • Occupy Dallas – Protesters block bank entrance, 23 arrested
  • Occupy Vancouver – Mob with bullhorn enters bank
  • Occupy Wall Street – Protesters block bank entrance, four arrested
  • Occupier takes a bathroom break in the street
  • Occupy Vancouver – Occupiers disrupt debate, threaten riot when asked to leave
  • Occupy Long Beach – Group disrupts city council meeting
  • Occupy Boston – Three arrested for occupying Burger King
  • Occupy Oakland – Yelling and nonsense at Burger King
  • Occupy DC – Group storms AFP event, traps attendees inside

Rape/Sexual Assault

  • Occupy Philly – Man arrested for alleged rape
  • Occupy Wall Street – Two sexual assaults unreported to police
  • Occupy Wall Street – Man arrested for sexual assault, suspect in rape
  • Occupy Dallas – Sex offender allegedly rapes 14 year old
  • Occupy Ottawa – Sexual assaults go unreported to police
  • Occupy Lawrence – Sexual assault reported
  • Occupy Toronto – Foot sniffer arrested
  • Occupy Seattle – Man exposes himself to young girls
  • Occupy Portland – Sexual assault
  • Occupy Wall Street – Drunk gropes women in Zuccotti Park
  • Occupy Cleveland – Rape reported after an overnight stay
  • Occupy Glasgow – Possible gang rape
  • Occupy Baltimore – Multiple reports of harassment
  • Occupy Chicago – Man arrested for child porn
  • Occupy LA – Man charged with exposing himself to a child


  • Occupy DC – Let’s have a coup by taking over the military
  • Ted Rall wants occupiers to choose the path of violence
  • Occupy DC – Mike Malloy incites crowd to cheer for President Bush’s execution


  • Occupy Burlington – Man kills himself with handgun
  • Occupy Salt Lake City – Man found dead with syringe in his tent
  • Occupy Vancouver – Young woman dies of cocaine and heroine overdose
  • Occupy OKC – Young man with history of drug abuse found dead


  • Occupy Portland – Theft is ongoing
  • Occupy Boston – Store owner suffers 4 break-ins since camp began


  • Occupy Eureka – Protesters use local bank as a toilet
  • Occupy Portland – Two banks vandalized, promises of more to come
  • Occupy Oakland – Bank windows broken, Whole Foods vandalized, broken windows
  • Occupy Boston – Banks vandalized with anarchist, OWS graffiti
  • Occupy Portland – Spike in vandalism near camp
  • Occupy SF: ATMs being smeared with feces
  • Occupy Santa Fe: Banks vandalized with OWS-themed graffiti
  • Occupy San Diego – Vendors cart vandalized with bodily fluids
  • Occupy graffiti found on PA governor’s mansion

I can think of a few they left out; where’s the guy crapping on the police car in NYC?

Victor: Wonks

You’ve probably heard:  Saint Paul had its first “Instant Runoff Vote” last week.

And I think the results demonstrated why so many cities that have tried to implement IRV have repealing it.

Doug Bass was less unimpressed by it than I was, and he helpfully ran an instant replay on the St. Paul Ward 2 “Instant Runoff”; 61% of Ward 2 voters initially rejected incumbent councilman Dave Thune, who won after three rounds of counting.  Bass unpacks the whole process (read the whole thing).

Bass concludes:

At this point, Im willing to accept that IRV provides a reasonable snapshot of the will of the people, until shown otherwise.  I would like to see the returns in more detail.  For example, out of all the first choice ballots for Thune, how were the second choices distributed?  Did a ballot with Thune as the fifth choice put him over the top?  Someone might say its none of my business.  But that doesnt keep me from wondering.

I have more pedestrian worries.  The campaigns this time around seemed to worry more about how to game the ranked-choice system than they did on actually talking issues.  Granted, it’s a one-party city, so they never have to actually talk issues.

Which is a signal fact of Instant Runoff Voting; it seems to get adopted in one-party cities like Saint Paul, Minneapolis, Tacoma and the like.  Could it work in a place with competitive races?

We may never know.  I’m not aware that it’s been tried.  And even many of the one-party cities that adopted it in a wave of fanfare over the past decade are quietly retiring the idea.

What do they know that we don’t?

It’s mostly a rhetorical question.

The Price Of Compromise

Sure enough – on the TV this morning: “Suprcommittee Republicans are proposing $290 billion in new taxes!”.

Compromise is part of politics. But you can not lead with a compromise offer.  Doing so relies on the good faith of people who have none.

The Real Eighties: Guitars, Cadillacs and Hillbilly Music

In this – the “American” week of my “The Real Eighties” series – I’m focusing on American bands.

Of course, the first day was the return to roots-y music (and yes, I missed a slew of bands), which meant a lot of references to sixties R&B-based rock and roll.  Yesterday, of course, was Latin day, with Los Lobos.

But the eighties were a bit of a renaissance for that other singularly American genre, country-western.

Country-Western had spent most of the seventies mired in an attempt to “cross over” with the pop charts.  The C&W charts were dominated by the bilious, pop-ified likes of Kenny Rogers, Barbara Mandrell, Eddie Rabbitt, Alabama and a slew of other more forgettable product.

There was a backlash, of course; the “Outlaw Movement” – Waylon Jennings, Willy Nelson, Hank Williams Junior, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash studiously avoided crossing over, and did about the only memorable C&W of the decade, at least to this rock and roller.

Now, in the nineties Country made a huge roaring comeback, with artists like Garth Brooks, the Judds and a slew of others twanging it up old-school style (with a healthy dose of bleeding-edge technology and pop hooks thrown in for good measure).

But it was the country, and alternative-country, of the eighties that tied those two together, and breathed a bit of life into country’s somnolent hulk.

More below the jump, so the rest of the blog can actually load…

Continue reading

It’s The Integrity, Stupid

With the Tea Party putting the wind in its sails, the GOP scored a historic reversal last fall, turning the Obama “revolution” back on its heels.

Is the GOP establishment about to completely blow it?

Well, not if I have anything to say about it.  Needless to say, I’m going to need some help.


An article in the Lehigh Morning Call indicates that the conservatives on the “Supercommittee”, including Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, are pondering a compromise on the deficit that would cut taxes (good), combined with eliminating some loopholes (not so good):

At the proposal’s core is Toomey’s economic belief that simplifying and lowering taxes will grow the economy, and in turn, a growing economy will produce more revenue. It would cut the deficit by a bit more than the $1.2 trillion required of the supercommittee, with about $700 billion coming from spending cuts. It would lower the top tax rate for individuals from 35 percent to 28 percent, and generate around $500 billion in new revenue from closing unspecified tax loopholes and reducing tax deductions….

Toomey, whose plan was presented verbally to his colleagues and not in written bill form, did not specify which spending or tax deductions to cut. In a phone interview Friday, he said his preference would be across the board reductions in deductions as opposed to eliminating any entirely.

His plan equates to $1.50 of cuts for every $1 of new revenue, he said. It’s a huge concession for Republicans, he said, considering the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform had recommended $3 in cuts for each $1 of new revenue.

This is not a place for compromise.

Hugh Hewitt has some challenges – pronouncing names seems to vex him – but on this sort of subject, he’s as good as they come.  And he’s not happy:

What is crucial is that this approach be loudly and quickly rejected by the House GOP and key GOP senators as any such plan is an enormous breach of faith with the voters who sent back a new GOP majority and who will be asked in less than a year to do so again and to add enough GOP senators to make a working majority for a new Republican president. Any deal like Toomey’s would greatly injure the chances of gathering the sort of energy necessary to recreate the 2010, 1994 or 1980 sweep because it would be an obvious indictment of the credibility of the House and Senate GOP, not one member of which ran on such a platform last year.

I’m not the first to say that this – if it actually happens – is another “Read My Lips” moment; a compromise that depends on the integrity of the Democrats in keeping up their end of a bargain.  They have none, and they won’t.  Ask George H. W. Bush (and, for that matter, Ronald Reagan).


Both [Jeb Hensarling and Pat Toomey] seem to have forgotten that they were not sent back to D.C. to re-engineer the government or “reform” the tax code so that millions would pay more and millions would pay less and more total revenue would flow into it, but so that spending would be drastically cut.

They were not sent there to be part of the all-knowing, all seeing Committee of Oz.

Which is, by the way, exactly what may of us knew the “Supercommittee” was going to turn into.

It’s time to bum-rush the Capitol switchboard again.

If you’re in Minnesota,

In Re The Senate Race

The upcoming Minnesota Senate race, say some, is a foregone conclusion.  A-Klo in a walkover, says the conventional wisdom.

The MNGOP has three candidates vying for the nomination, so far..  Former State Representative Dan Severson is, by most accounts, the front-running.  Joe Arwood and Tony Hernandez round out the field of applicants so far.

I’ve interviewed Dan many times; in a just world, he’d be the Secretary of State today.  Hernandez ran a tireless State Senate campaign last fall in Saint Paul – which is like saying “the Light Brigade sure charged with energy!”, sure, but Hernandez is an amazingly sharp, capable guy.  And I met Joe Arwood over the weekend; I think he has a future in politics, too.   I could vote for any of them, after any of them gets nominated.

But let’s spitball for just a moment here.

What, according to the “conventional wisdom”, does the GOP need to win the Senate race?

The candidate has to be…:

  • Someone with some name ID.
  • Someone with some fundraising mojo.  That’s huge; with the departure of Bill Guidera from the race, I’m personally not seeing a fundraising superstar in the line-up.
  • Let’s be honest – conservative.  A-Klo has done a good job of fooling Minnesotans into thinking she’s “Center”-left, although she’s feeling confident enough in her chances that she’s actually come out and co-sponsored some Obama-blessed legislation – something she’s eschewed (along with most work of any kind) so far in her career in the Senate; she’ll have the media to cover for her and shade her to the center.  The GOP loses nothing by presenting voters a real ideological alternative.
  • Female.   Hey, it counts.  Minnesotans, I suspect, are hooked on the idea of their Senate delegation being a mixed doubles team.

So as I was thinking about this the other day, someone said “what do you think about Bridget Sutton?”

Sutton – a businesswoman who is currently on the Inver Grove Heights school board, is the wife of MNGOP chair Tony Sutton – which would be a two-edged sword, not only as a shrieking point for the DFL and media (pardon, as always, as always, the redundancy) but with elements of the MNGOP that are not happy with the current regime.

On the other hand, Sutton is smart, savvy, and would mulch Klobuchar in a debate.

So what does the assembled multitude think?

And who are we missing here?

The Real Eighties: Banging Drums And Old Guitars

As I noted (briefly) yesterday, once you get past the hairdos and the synth-pop and the hair-metal, the eighties were a time when American rock and roll went way way back to its roots.

And hardly anyone dug into those roots harder and further than four Latinos and a Jewish writer from Los Angeles who’d spent years as a bar band before an ever-so-brief flash of top-40 success, followed by three decades of fanatic cult fandom, Los Lobos.

Los Lobos is most famous for “La Bamba”, a mega-hit in 1988.  But before that they’d had minor hits, both English (the glorious “Will The Wolf Survive?”)…

…and Spanish:

And they tied ’em both together into one of the best live and and studio bands of the last thirty years, to say nothing of the past thirty years.

So I like to throw them at my daughter when she starts yapping about the “Safety Dance” …

They Warned Us…

…back in 2009 that if we supported the Tea Party, violence and depravity would reign in the streets.

And they were right!

Three young bucks at the “Occupy Portland” rally were arrested with crude, home-made fragmentation grenades…:

…two commercially made mortars inside glass canning jars, designed to be fired into the area during professional pyrotechnic displays. One was found in the floorboard of the vehicle, and the other was allegedly in [one of the accused’s] jacket.

The deputy also found two gas masks, protective eye goggles and a safety helmet. All three men told the deputy that they had spent the night at the Occupy Portland demonstration, and they brought the mortars and safety equipment to the demonstration in preparation of the expected confrontation between police and protesters Sunday morning.

Just reckless adolescent posturing?

When asked about the explosives, the three men told authorities that they knew the canning jar would explode, causing glass shrapnel to fly and possibly cause injury.

So compare and contrast; the Tea Party; mature, peaceful and effective.  “Occupy”; post-adolescent at best, violent, rapacious and depraved at worst.

This is what Democracy looks like, all right.

The Gleam Of Success

This via Bob Collins at MPR’s News Cut, a look at North Dakota’s Bakken oil field from space:

…Ken Paulman at Midwest Energy News [provided] a long look at the “cool” video that NASA put out…

The image Paulman pulled from the video certainly presents a compelling view of how big the oil fields are and, given that some of that light may be caused by the burning of natural gas, what sort of impact the entire operation is having on terra firma.

MPR has been covering the oil boom; I got one of the emails their Public Affairs department sends out looking for people and insights on stories.  They’re looking, it seems, for the pros and cons.

I’m sure they’ll get plenty of cons.  I know my sister’s husband is going start commuting to the Bakken from Billings next week; two weeks on, one week off.

But here’s a pro for you; when I left NoDak back in 1985. the pace was genuinely depressed.  There was nothing going on up there. Only the eastbound lane of I94 over the Red River ever needed repair.  The state was drying up and dying; idiot East Coast academics were discussing turning the whole place into a “Buffalo Commons” – basically giving the whole place back to nature (apparently not asking the Native Americans what they thought about it).

Serves ’em right.

Couldn’t See This Coming…

Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher is raising eyebrows in all the wrong ways:

The Iron Lady, a new biopic starring Meryl Streep as Baroness Thatcher, has drawn an angry response from friends over its portrayal of the former prime minister as a lonely figure sliding into dementia.

In the opening scenes, a frail Lady Thatcher is seen shuffling into a corner shop to buy a pint of milk and expressing shock at 21st-century prices.

Back at her Belgravia home, her security team fret that she has left the house unsupervised.

Another scene shows her oblivious to the fact that her husband, Sir Denis, is dead. She imagines him to be in the room and conducts conversations with him, before revisiting her glory years in a series of flashbacks.

The article goes on to note that Thatcher is portrayed as being a strong leader in re the Falkllands, the coal miner’s strike, and so on.

But it’s sorta fleshing out my theory that the only way the liberal media – and Hollywood is a part, maybe the biggest part, of that media – can portray conservatives is as either caricatures (see every “conservative” that’s turned up on Law and Order for the past 15 years), effective leaders with dark sides that counterbalance or negate it all (see the TV “Reagan” biopic a few years back) or jokes.

Just Another Assault

Apropos not much, there’s been so  much violence lately at “Occupy” protests – rapes, assaults, serious stuff – that I’ve stopped adding it to the “Occupy” chapter of my “Climate of Hate” page.  That’s a page I started back during the Tea Party, when the left was finding “Tea Party Violence” under every rock (but not, we note, at actual rallies).  There’s just too much of it.

Anyway – you might look at the beginning of this story….

Taylor Garrett, a Republican consultant in Texas who stars in the reality series on the channel LOGO TV, said in an interview that he was attacked outside a birthday party in Dallas…

…might be just a red-state gay-bashing, or maybe someone who just doesn’t like “reality” TV much.

Not so:

…after finding a vandal scratching “F–k Coulter” on the side of his car.

Ooh.  Wonder if there’ll be brow-furrowed editorials about the tone of politics?

(And yes, that’s presuming it doesn’t turn out to be a hoax  I expect hoaxes from Democrats.  I’ll be disappointed if one of the good guys does it).

The Real Eighties: The Valley Of The Thundering Hearts

This week in “The Real Eighties”, we’re going to look at American music.

The post-punk era had very different effects on both sides of the pond – if you go by stereotype at least.  Still – the stereotype was that British post-punk pop was largely technological, while in American it went back to the future.

John Mellencamp took a break from a fairly lackluster career to dive into sixties R’nB and garage rock records, and came back with a couple of the best American albums of the era.

Bruce Springsteen swerved abruptly away from the top forty into Woody Guthrie territory with Nebraska:

And it was just the beginning of one of the best ten year stretches that American popular music had had.

More as we proceed through the week.

Do You Remember…

…when the left was screeching blue murder over electronic balloting?  How “Diebold” was in the bag for Republicans, and how transparency in the voting process was the most important factor in democracy?

Hey, I don’t disagree. Transparency is good.

So where all those “transparency is king” people now that the Twin Cities are both being beset by an electoral system that virtually nobody understands, gives an electoral edge to people who don’t get the most votes, and virtually guarantees that more elections will end up in the sort of costly re-election brouhahas we’ve had in 2008 and 2010 in Minnesota?

Mostly supporting electoral politics’ shiniest new toy, “Ranked Choice Voting”.  Saint Paul’s first ranked-choice election has led  to a recall among the city’s seven city council races – the fractious race in Ward Two, where incumbent Dave Thune got 39 percent of the vote.  That would have been a weak plurality win in a normal election.

This time, it means the “Green Party” candidate, Jim Ivey, whose campaign was largely based on trying to game the Ranked Voting system (and whose party is one of “IRV”‘s biggest proponents, for this very reason) and who got 26 percent in the first round, stands to potentially benefit in today’s recount:

Ivey has what looks like an edge. With about 1,300 second-place votes, he has a 4-3 edge over Thune among second-choice designations. But according to Ramsey County elections manager Joe Mansky, it’s not that simple.

“Because we know that not every ballot has a second choice,”Mansky said. “More to the point, the lowest-ranked candidates get counted first, meaning they have the greatest impact on the results.”

That means the reallocation will be a ballot-by-ballot battle, watched over by the candidates’ supporters in St. Paul.

And if nobody gets over 51%?   Chaos reigns!


If It’s Saturday, It Must Be NARN Day

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism!

  • Ed is off on assignment; I’m soloing today, from 1-3PM Central. I’ll be talking about the week in review,  We’ll look back at the elections, and ahead to next year’s big show. .
  • Brad Carlson’s show – “The Closer” – will be up tomorrow, from 6-7PM!
  • The King Banaian Show! – King is on AM1570, Business Radio for the Twin Cities!  Join him from 9-11!

(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).
  • Good ol’ telephone – 651-289-4488!
  • Podcasts are now available on the AM1280 page!  (Ed and I are #2 – Brad is #3).
  • And make sure you fan us on our new Facebook page!

Join us!

The Real Eighties: Going Down To Alice Springs

I did say this week in “The Real Eighties” was about Britain.  I oversimplified:  it’s about the Commonwealth.  Most of the really good music of the decade – yep, as I define it – came from the parts of Britain that weren’t  England; from Ireland, Scotland, Wales…

…and Australian and New Zealand.

Split Enz kicked off the decade


And of course, Midnight Oil.

For all of you who thought U2 was too modest and unambitious, or that The Alarm were too subtle, or Big Country were too musically baroque, the Australian band – led by six-foot-seven-inch-tall socialist activist Peter Garrett – fit the bill.

Relentlessly preachy, as earnest as a fourteen year old animal rights activist….

….but musically, both maddeningly baroque and classically ambitious. I mean, if you’re a campfire guitar player, just try to follow the changes in Kosciosko…:

…to say nothing of the interplay between the vocals. This is not “Louie Louie”.

Or “Safety Dance” for that matter.

In  fact, the dancing was very unsafe:

Preachy enough to make an “Occupy Minnesota” glitter-flinging fop blanche in embarassment?  Absolutely!

But the point of this series isn’t “was it cool and detached enough for hipsters today”.

It’s “there’s a lot of stuff to remember that wasn’t focused on hair”.  Peter Garret’s ‘do should be proof…

Better hair – and less preachy – was the band I always wanted to actually have, back in the eighties; INXS, which brought an R’nB-ish danceability and hooks you could hang sides of beef from throughout the decade.