MOB Rules!

Just a reminder – the (more or less) Eighth Annual Minnesota Organization of Bloggers Summer Party is here again!

It’ll be Saturday night, September 8, at Keegan’s Irish Pub in Northeast Minneapolis:


View Larger Map

We usually meet out on the cigar patio, out back.  Hope to see you there!

As usual, the party starts at 7PM and runs until I leave, which is probably later than you leave, whoever you are.

It may be the Twin Cities’ blogosphere’s greatest tradition – the MOB Summer Party!

(More at the Facebook page)

Kubler-Ross, Meet Wasserman-Schultz

The piece could also be entitled “The Five Stages Of Liberal Argumentation”.

I’ve observed for a long time now that liberals, especially in liberal hotbeds like the Twin Cities, are really, really bad debaters.  My thesis is that liberals in liberal hotbeds never really need to learn how to debate; they are indoctrinated in a school system that teaches “progressive” values as the baseline, they are educated schooled in a university system that actively squelches dissent, and they are politically spawned in a party and movement whose entire internal message is coordinated top-down groupthink. They never have to learn to think of conservative arguments as anything but something lesser people do.

And let’s be honest; there are conservatives out there who live down to that stereotype.

But when they run into an argument that beats them on the facts, the rules and the logic – and that is very, very often, especially in the battle between the left and rights’ media and alt-media – I’ve observed a bit of a pattern:

Stage One: Unearned Smugness.  Most liberals are good for about one round of “facts” in a given argument.  These, they deliver as if they were carved on stone tablets by a lightning bolt from on high, whether they came from empirical research (rare) or chanting points straight from the leftymedia chain of command (from “Media Matters” all the way down to “Minnesota Progressive Project”).

This round of facts, or factoids, generally falls after one round of actual enquiry.  The collapse of the round of facts, or “facts”, leads to:

Stage Two:  Logical Fallacy.  When confronted with the collapse of their first and only round of factoids and chanting points, most liberal bloggers and activists will fall back on the lessons they learned from the oracle from which most of them learned all they will ever know about debate – Stephen Colbert.   Thrown off-balance by a substantive counterattack, they’ll fall back one of several common logical fallacies to try to negate an argument they can’t attack.  These include:

  • The Ad-Hominem:  ”Oh, right – you got that from “Republicanmussen”!”
  • The Tu Quoque:  ”But ten years ago, you supported raising taxes!  You flip-flopped! I shall disregard your argument!”
  • The Appeal to Ridicule: “I had an argument like that – until my father got a job!”
  • The Straw Man: “You want to reform Medicaid?  Why do you want every single poor person to die?
  • The Appeal to Authority: “Your source went to a Tier 3 Law School.  My source went to a Tier 1 school.  His data is therefore better!”
  • The “Red Herring”:  ”You say you oppose building a light rail train.  But you favored building an aircraft carrier!  You’re a hypocrite!”
These are the most common logical fallacies that libs resort to – but one must learn to expect any and all of them, frequently simultaneously.

Stage 3:  The Tonkin Gulf Gambit:  Once their facts are disposed of and their logical fallacies are called out, the liberal will have to dig deeper into the bag of tricks.  The Tonkin Gulf Gambit is named after LBJ’s signature foreign policy accomplishment – the faking of an attack by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on an American destroyer.  LBJ used the fake attack to justify a huge ramping up of the Vietnam War.

Liberals, their “facts” shredded and their fallacies mocked, will frequently gin up a simiilar fake attack, to cover their own inability to carry on a factual arrument, as in the scenario below:

LANA LIBRELL:  ”Assault weapons cause crime waves!”

KEVIN KONSERVATIVSKI: “Crime rates are actually lower in states that don’t ban assault weapons, and they’re going down”.

PETE PROGRESSIVE: “Going down?  That was sexist!  You apologize to Lana! I don’t argue with sexist pigs that objectify women!”

This is also called “Getting The Victorian Vapours”.

Stage 4:  Killing The Messenger: Unable to debate, BS or sidetrack you, the liberal’s next tactic will be to destroy  you.

KEVIN KONSERVATIVSKI: “Keeping the speed limit at 55 makes no economic sense”.

YOLANDA YUTOPIAN: “Of course you’d say that.  You have three speeding tickets in the past 15 years.  What ELSE will your records show?”

Stage 5:  Declaring Victory And Calling The Debate Over:  Like the President did the other day:

There never was an argument, Winston. The facts, logic and rules always favored us. There was never a debate. There was never a debate.

What to do about this?

Any psychologists in the house?

Open Letter To All Of Fleet Street

First, a little background:

Now, let’s decide which matters more to a nation that’s been squeezed to death by four years of spendthrift incompetence:

That is all.

North Dakotans In The Mist

As I’ve noted over the years, I was born, grew up and went to college in North Dakota.  I left when I was 22 – largely because everything I really wanted to do with my life involved one kind of city or another.  At that time, “things I wanted to do with my life” mostly included “have a band and take a shot at making it in a city with a decent music scene” – but over time, everything else I ended up wanting to do tended to involve living in a major city as well.

In 1985, North Dakota was in pretty dire straits.  The state had a lot in common with Minneapolis and Saint Paul, back then; it was in the throes of the deflation of a huge real estate bubble, in this case a bubble in the price of farm land which had led an awful lot of farmers to over-borrow, which led to a huge wave of foreclosures when the bubble finally burst.  Foreclosures zoomed, unemployment soared, the whole US agriculture industry reeled (no state more than North Dakota, which was at the time more dependent on agriculture than any state in the union).  The farm crisis of the eighties took place in the fly-overiest of America’s flyover lands, and so left only a few marks on the larger American psyche – some good, some pretty awful.

The state learned a few lessons from the eighties (which also included a brief boom and long bust in the oil market; the Oil Embargo in the seventies caused a brief burst of drilling in the western part of the state, which led to some rapid expansion and equally rapid contraction when the price of oil dropped the below the point where North Dakota oil made economic sense).

Of course, times have changed in my home state.  The place is floating in oil, and money to boot.  And that money is going to a lot of things – and infrastructure isn’t as high on the list as some (MPR) seem to think it should be.  There’s method to the madness, of course; during the first oil boom, North Dakota built all kinds of infrastructure that wasn’t needed when the boom shriveled.  While this boom may not shrivel in the same way, the state also knows that there’s a pattern to oil booms; the first ten or twenty years is the Boomtown phase, with hordes of workers drilling exploratory rigs all over the place.  Once all the exploring is done, and things switch over to production mode?  There’s still lots of oil, jobs and money – but it’s not the same.  It’s steadier. And a lot of the “boom” will move on to the next boomtown, wherever that is.  And the infrastructure needs will be very different.

Still, it’s very different than when other NYTimes columnists were calling for the state to be evacuated and handed back to nature – the infamous “Buffalo Commons”.

Our nation’s idiot media “elite” have never known what to make of the place.

I bring it up because the New York Times is writing about North Dakota again.  Gail Collins, as trifling and meringue-y a columnist as Maureen Dowd,  h paid the state a visit recently, and wrote a column that TMZ might have rejected as too shallow and caricature-worthy:

Right now you are probably asking yourself: “What would it be like to live in a place with an unemployment rate of 1 percent?”

Me, too! So I went to Williston, N.D., to find out. There are certain things that journalists do as a public service because you, the noble reader, are probably not going to do them for yourself — like attending charter revision meetings or reading the autobiography of Tim Pawlenty.

Or take Gail Collins seriously.

But she gets a key fact straight; there are jobs out in oil country:

Going to Williston is sort of in this category. The people are lovely, but you’re talking about a two-hour drive from Minot.

If you did come, however, you would feel really, really wanted. Radio ads urged me to embark on a new career as a bank teller, laborer, railroad conductor or cake decorator. The local Walmart has a big sign up, begging passers-by to consider starting their lives anew in retail sales. The Bakken Region Recruiter lists openings in truck driving, winch operating and canal maintenance work, along with ads for a floral designer, bartender, public defender, loan officer, addiction counselor and sports reporter. All in an area where the big city has a population of around 16,000.

There’s an oil boom…Williston’s median income, which was under $30,000 when the serious drilling started, has jumped to well over $50,000 a year…“It’s a place of opportunity,” says E. Ward Koeser, the genial head of a local communications company who has also been Williston’s part-time mayor for the last 18 years. A waitress at a restaurant that Koeser patronizes recently told him that she made $400 in tips on a single night. “Although I’m sure that’s not the norm,” he added hastily.

(As someone who used to work in part for tips in ND, it sure isn’t.  I drove an airport van for a hotel.  You could always tell when someone visited from New York or LA; I’d get a $5 tip for driving and hauling the bags.  Minneapolis?  A couple of bucks.  North Dakotans?  Nothing.  Or a quarter.  And that was meant to be a good tip).

You are probably wondering about the downside.

Indeed, if you’re in the MSM, you’re obsessing about it.  This is wealth not bestowed by government; there just has to be a dark side to it all!

Obviously there has to be one, or you and I would already have moved to Williston, or at least taken up a collection to send unemployed college graduates.

We’ll come back to that.

You would expect that, as population and incomes rose, new stores, theaters and restaurants would follow. But, in Williston, they haven’t. Lanny Gabbert, a science teacher at the high school, says his students yearn for a mall where they could shop, “but the closest thing is Walmart.” The most ambitious restaurants would be classified under the heading of “casual dining,” and the fast food is not fast, given the lunchtime lines that can stretch out for 20 minutes or more. Neither retailers nor restaurateurs are interested in investing in a place where they have to compete with the oil fields to attract workers.

So the “downside” is that relatively great wealth hasn’t brought a Rodeo Drive to Williston.

OK, fair enough.  Let’s continue.

Housing costs in Williston, N.D., are approaching those in New York City. Many of the oil workers stash their families back wherever they came from, and live in “man camps,” some of which resemble giant stretches of storage units.

“The man camps — I call them the necessary evil,” said Koeser, who added, apologetically, “that’s a little derogatory.”

If the place you love can’t quite climb out of the recession, think of this as consolation. At least you’re not living in a man camp and waiting half an hour in line for a Big Mac.

Which is as excellent a metaphor for Obama’s America, the America of Planet Upper West Side, as there is; better to have amenities than a job – even a job in a place that may not be up the street from Fifth Avenue or the Mall of America.

Not-Obama America?   I know guys who wake up in West Saint Paul on Sunday morning, drive all day to Williston, make a ton of money, and drive home after work Thursday.  I know guys – my sister’s husband among ‘em – who spend two weeks driving a truck in oil country and a week at home, because it’s where the money is and a great way to blast that nest egg to the next level.  People who, by desire or by necessity, have taken the recession by the horns and done what needs to be done to keep themselves and their families not just above water, but in the black at a time when the likes of Gail Collins are sniveling about their friends’ brats who just graduated from Bard College with an art degree and somehow can’t find a job with a hedge fund.

(Via North Dakota’s official blogger, and my Mom’s neighbor, Rob Port)

The Most Insulting Delusion…

… not to mention dumbest conceit that the left has is that so many of them think that if I were given a choice in a race between two candidates – namely:

  • A black Taoist lesbian who was a fierce Austrian-school trench-fighter with a solid private-sector background and a record as a spending hawk and tax reformer, and…
  • A white Ivy League dweeb with impeccable liberal credentials…

…that I’d try to find some excuse to vote for the white guy.

Just isn’t so

One Reason I Would Like To See Gay Marriage Pass

In the modern media consciousness, there is no more noble, pure-as-the-driven-snow construct in all of humanity than the Gay Couple.

Now, I have nothing against gay couples.  Indeed, while I believe that God or Evolution or remorseless fate or random biology or whatever you believe in did in fact create male and female parents for some very good reasons – they are different, and both bring things to the child-rearing process that the child needs and that the parent of the other gender lacks – that for example it’d be preferable to have adoptive kids raised by gay couples than, say, single parents.  If nothing else, they can play one-on-one instead of zone defense against kids.  You laugh, but it’s important.

But the debate about gay marriage has nothing to do with children (and if it did, gay couples would eschew marriage, since the divorce industry is the worst thing for children). Indeed, you can listen to gay marriage supporters for years – as I have – and hear scarcely a mention of children (which is true of way too many straight couples too).

But here’s the one reason I’d like to see gay marriage pass.

Currently, gay couples – at least, the sort of gay couples that intend to get married – are portrayed, inevitably, as saints and angels walking among us.  Kind, loving, perfect parents, in a relationship placid enough to shame a fifties sitcom family.   And go ahead and read any thread about gay marriage on Youtube; the thread will be full of teenagers saying “I’d take any gay couple over my parents” (although I suspect you’d see some of those same kids saying the same thing on video threads about the Partridge, Manson and Ganbino families.  Teenagers are like that).   And always, always, always, whether in anecdote or media report, gay couples are juxtaposed with straight couples – who fight, get divorced, get arrested, have the sorts of problems real couples have these days.

You never see the couples where one partner is flopped on a sofa in front of a TV, halfway through a twelve-pack, while the other partner is screaming at her about how she could have been something until she met her.  You never see the cop cars in front of gay couples houses, frog-walking a boxer-clad handcuffed gay guy out to the car while the other, in a tank top, bellows “I love you, Earl!” from the porch of the trailer and vows to come and bail him out.

The reason is most likely political correctness (and the fact that gay couples, having to adopt kids as they do, do have to be highly-motivated and just-about-perfect, at least for a while).

And if gay marriage were legalized, one minor fringe benefit would be that gay couples would actually “get” to be human.

Or at least the media – news, entertainment and otherwise – might start portraying them as humans.  Which is another matter altogether.

Gross Receipts

It’s been a couple of years since this blog has run a “bleg” – asking for donations to defray some of the (minimal) cost of running the blog, and grab a few bucks for the (not minimal) time spent writing what you read here.

Fact is, I don’t need it that much.  Business is, oddly, pretty good.  Maybe next year.

But I would like you to take a moment to think about popping a few bucks in Gary Gross’ tip jar.

Gary writes Let Freedom Ring, and does some of the top-notchiest reporting there is, anywhere.  He does for Central Minnesota what I wish blogging and talk radio paid well enough for me to do in the Metro; he is the backbone of Central Minnesota’s regional conservative alternative media.

Unlike most of the regular leftybloggers, he does a ton of work; one of very few bloggers in the state more prolific than I am.  Unlike virtually all of the more prolific leftybloggers, he doesn’t have George Soros or Alida Messinger paying his bills.

Now, Gary’s in a rough financial situation.  The details aren’t that important, and I don’t even know many of them to be honest, but we’re not talking malfeasance, here; Gary is no MIchael Lohan or Charlie Sheen.

But he’s having to stretch things pretty far to keep his blog in production.

So if you can possibly spare a few bucks, this’ll be my bleg for the year; drop ‘em by Gary’s Paypal donation page.

It’s The Only Teapot They Can Find

Democrats, with the aid of Fleet Street, ginned up a phony controversy last week, after Mitt Romney speculated out loud that maybe the Brits weren’t ready for the Olympics.

Impolitic?  Perhaps (although not on the order of stashing the Churchill bust under a bag of oily rags in a White House storage locker).

But wrong?

Exhibit 1:  Noted Conservative Tool Piers Morgan points out that everyone in the UK was saying the same thing before the Olympics:

Exhibits 2 through (TBD): The Brits prove Romney, and Morgan, correct over and over and over again.

In related news:  A poll of 10,000 random Americans shows that Romney’s off-handed remarks about the London Olympics are more important to them than unemployment, the gathering double-dip recession, and the avalanche of debt about to inundate this country.

Continue reading

Hype

Joe Doakes emails:

Well that’s going to put a damper on Heather Marten’s post-Aurora party plans.

Joe’s pointing to an article in Slate which points out the fact that “automatic” weapons (the media’s constant, consistent error; they’re “Semi-Automatic”), and indeed firearms, are not only not the most common weapons used in mass murders – they aren’t even the most deadly:

 

Guns aren’t even the most lethal mass murder weapon. According to data compiled by Grant Duwe of the Minnesota Department of Corrections, guns killed an average of 4.92 victims per mass murder in the United States during the 20th century, just edging out knives, blunt objects, and bare hands, which killed 4.52 people per incident. Fire killed 6.82 people per mass murder, while explosives far outpaced the other options at 20.82. Of the 25 deadliest mass murders in the 20th century, only 52 percent involved guns.

And aircraft.

The worst school mass murder in US history was…Columbine?

Not even close, as we discussed a few years ago; a deranged politician killed 45, including himself, blowing up a schoolhouse in Bath Michigan in the twenties.

Slate notes what is to lefties the unthinkable; the mass murder rate really has nothing to do with the availability of semi-automatic firearms:

The U.S. mass murder rate does not seem to rise or fall with the availability of automatic weapons. It reached its highest level in 1929, when fully automatic firearms were expensive and mostly limited to soldiers and organized criminals. The rate dipped in the mid-1930s, staying relatively low before surging again in the 1970s through 1990s. Some criminologists attribute the late-century spike to the potential for instant notoriety: Beginning with Charles Whitman’s 1966 shooting spree from atop a University of Texas tower, mass murderers became household names. Others point out that the mass murder rate fairly closely tracks the overall homicide rate. In the 2000s, for example, both the mass murder and the homicide rates dropped to their lowest levels since the 1960s.

There is  psychology involved:

A mass murderer’s weapon of choice depends somewhat on his victims. Attacks with guns, fire, knives, and bare hands are far more likely to be directed against family and acquaintances than total strangers, while mass murderers prefer to use explosives against people they don’t know. Also of note: Those who use firearms in a killing spree turn the gun on themselves 34 percent of the time, while only 9 percent of mass-murdering arsonists take their own lives.

At any rate – the “gun control’ “crisis”, like the “war on women” and Trayvon Martin, are all just attempts to change the conversation from the economy.  There is no other there there.

Further Evidence…

…that the Light Worker’s campaign is aimed at the one group he’s got a shot with: the not very well informed:

This is an ad, as Ed points out, that even left-leaning Politifact has rated “pants on fire”.

As this blog has been noting for quite some time now, the Democrat strategy seems to be to just toss crap in front of the electorate and hope just enough of it sticks to the dim, uninformed, adolescent, solipsistic and over-emotional to eke out a win.

It worked for Mark Dayton.

A Simple Experiment

The whole  Chick-Fil-A story brought to mind an Idea I’d had years and years ago.

Almost twenty years ago, a bunch of orc “community organizers” brought down the full weight of Saint Paul’s regulatory bureaucracy against “Saint Paul Firearms”, a gun store opened in the Midway by an electrician who’d invested his life’s savings in the place.  After a years-long battle, the city finally squeezed the owner, Greg Perkins, out of business.

And I hatched the idea for an improbable but fun experiment.  How improbable?  It was all predicated on me winning the Megamilliions and having a couple hundred million to play with

With that out of the way?  I’d lop a cool mill out of my account and buy up a block of blighted housing in a Minneapolis or Saint Paul neighborhood with potential.  The whole block.  Every single house.   Maybe an old-school block with a corner store; .

Then I’d get Jeff O’Meara in there to rehab ‘every building to a fine sheen.  I mean, serioiusly – make ‘em middle-class dream houses.

And then I’d re-sell them to people – privately, natch.  $150,000 apiece.  Or $75,000 if you had a valid carry permit, a clean criminal record, and had attended a GOP caucus meeting or primary election.  Ditto the corner store - I’d sell it back at half price to anyone who’d display a “Protected By Smith and Wesson” sign in the front window, and a “God Made Man; Colt Made Man Equal” plaque and a “God Bless Ronald Reagan” poster behind the counter. Or maybe with a billboard on top that ran adds for Ruger, the GOP, “Armed American Radio” and such.

And I’d take out annual full-page ads in the Strib and PiPress showing how crime had dropped, not only on that block, but throughout the neighborhood.

I’d love to see the official reaction.  There’d be no discriminating against non-gun-owners and voters for the anti-business, pro-blight and pro-criminal party when I sold the houses - we’d just be giving a discount for those who exercise their constitutional right to keep, bear, and know how to use arms, and support a party that supports improving life, rather than making blight tolerable.

I’d have loved to have seen the official reaction from the city involved.

Playing Chicken

Well, blow me down; I was wrong.

There is a Chick-Fil-A in the Twin Cities.   It’s in Dinkytown. which should be a nightmare to get to, but what the heck, I haven’t had a good nightmare lately.


View Larger Map

I may just buzz down there to buy…er, whatever it is they do there.  Chicken, I guess. On a bun?  Anyway – to support them in their battle against raging PC demagoguery in Boston and Chicago.

Do You Remember…

…when conservative Republican Dave Kleis, mayor of Saint Cloud, barred gay-friendly Starbucks from that city?

No?

OK.  How about when Pat Anderson, the conservative Republican mayor of Eagan, spoke out against gay-friendly Target locating a store in her city?

Got nothing?

Well, of course not – because there really are no examples of conservative mayors using the power of their city government to squelch a legitimate business, not due to the business itself or the behavior of its customers, but because of the political beliefs of the business’ owners outside the business itself.

But the headlines are alive with the stories of the mayors of Boston and Chicago bringing the full weight of government down against “Chick-Fil-A” – using the city’s regulatory apparatus to try to keep the chain of (apparently) restaurants out of their cities, not because Chick-Fil-A discriminates against anyone in any part of its business life, but because its owners, in their private, non-business lives, oppose gay marriage.

I don’t know what Chick-Fil-A is.  I mean I know, it’s a fast food joint of some kind.   I don’t think they’re even in Minnesota.  But what the heck – this deserves a free ad:

More seriously?

One of the early objections to the idea of gay marriage was that if you made it the law of the land, then it’s a very short leap – a step, really – to requiring churches to perform them. Just like with civil rights rules regarding, say, renting that violate landlords’ rights to free association on their private property, or the ongoing official persecution of the Boy Scouts for their not-gay philosophy; it is just a matter of time before politicians, eager to rack up points with their bases (left or right) abuse the law and use the full weight of their government bureaucracies to penalize churches that oppose gay marriage on theological grounds.

What was the saying?  ”First they came for the fast food restaurants – but I did nothing, because I was Vegan.  Then they came for the churches that didn’t perform gay marriages, and I did nothing, because I support gay marriage and am a post-structural Unitarian.  Then they came for me, and nobody did anything,  because I’m so freaking annoying”?  Is that how it went?

Tea Party: The Smoking…Er, Bomb

I’m chagrinned to admit it to all you liberals, but the break you spent the last three years waiting for has finally arrived; a Tea Partier has been pled guilty to a significant act of domestic terrorism:

One of five men charged with plotting to bomb an Ohio highway bridge pleaded guilty Wednesday and agreed to testify against his co-defendants.

Anthony Hayne, 35, of Cleveland, who has a criminal record for theft and breaking and entering, pleaded to all three counts against him in U.S. District Court. His attorney, Michael O’Shea, said Hayne hopes to get leniency in return for his testimony.

Under the terms of the surprise plea deal, Hayne will have the chance to avoid a life prison term. With the plea and offer of testimony for the prosecution, he could face 15 years to nearly 20 years in prison.

“I don’t think any of these guys intended harm to human beings,” O’Shea said. “I think they just thought this was a way of making some sort of political statement. But I’m relatively confident none of these people had any desires to actually hurt anybody.”…The men also discussed other potential targets, including a law enforcement center, oil wells, a cargo ship or the opening of a new downtown casino, according to a prosecution affidavit.

Er, wait – did I say Tea Party?

I meant…:

The five had been associated with Occupy Cleveland, but organizers of the movement have tried to distance the group from the men. They say the five didn’t represent it or its nonviolent philosophy.

Out of the rat-infested rape camps, a wave of violence and conspiracy.

From the Tea Party?  Bupkes.  We’re all still waiting on any evidence of that “wave ot Tea Party Violence”.

And waiting.

And waiting.

Because We All Respect Fleet Street So Very Very Much

The British media – who generally make “TMZ” and “Entertainment Tonight” look pretty sober and respectable in comparison – are selling a lot of papers by bagging on Mitt Romney’s “gaffe” over London’s preparations for the Olympics…

…that wasn’t a gaffe at all.  They’re the most over-budget games in modern Olympic history.  The police are overmatched by the security (to say nothing of traffic) nightmare, and are bringing in the British Army to help – not just in specialist roles (as in Romney’s Salt Lake City Winter games), but for the daily blocking and tackling.

Romney’s right.

But the real question in all of this is:  are you, the American taxpayer, worker and voter, better off now than you were in 2008?

That was the Beijing Olympics, if I recall correctly?

Toward A Better Conversation

If you’re not on Twitter, this article likely won’t make a lot of sense.  Don’t worry about it.

If you are on Twitter, the main means of making sense of the torrent of commentary is the “Hashtag”.  It’s a little code with a “#” sign in front of it; by having Twitter search for hashtags you’re interested in, you can watch conversations and subjects that actually interest you.  For example, the Northern Alliance Radio Netwrok’s hashtag is “#narn“.  The Star Tribune started a hashtag called “#Stribpol“.for discussing politics.

The Twin Cities’ conservative alternative media – the mass of pro-liberty bloggers, weekend talk show hosts, tweeps and their followers whose networking has made it among the most potent alt-media scenes in the country – needs its own hashtag.  Much of the Twin Cities conservative alt-media’s conversation takes place either in fairly smallish hashtags aimed at niche markets – #narn, #LateDebate – or in the big scrums like #stribpol and #tptalmanac, which are overrun with stalkers, creeps, and the liberal bobbleheads and chanting-point bots.

And I think we need a clearer channel, as it were.

And so I propose the #TCinMN hashtag: “Top Conservatives In Minnesota” (or “Twitter Conservatives in Minnesota”, it doesn’t matter).  There were a number of good suggestions – #MNCon and #MNLiberty.  But MNCon is too prankable, and MNLiberty is a lot of typing.

I’m going to throw it out there and see what happens.  If you’re a tweep, though, by all means sound off – here or there.

UPDATE:  Another that works, and is shorter, is #MNTC – “Minnesota’s Top Conservatives” or “Minnesota Twitter Conservatives”.

UPDATE 2:  And it’s #MNTC!

Protecting The Vote

I met my old friend “Lucky” Carroll, long-time DFL political operative and currently head meme-buffer for Alliance for a Better MInnesota, for a drink the other day.  As usual, she’d started before I got there.  Long before.

ME: (to waitress): Bring me a vodka sour. (to Carroll)  So whatcha been up to?

CARROLL:  (four empty cocktail glasses in front of her) I’ve been working to defeat the Voter Suppression Amendment.

ME:  Ah, the Voter ID Amendment.  Right.  So why would you want to defeat an amendment that would ensure that the integrity of our election system isn’t eroded by systematic fraud?

CARROLL:  Because we have the best election system in the world! (Finishes gin and tonic)

ME: OK well, currently the amendment is running about 2:1 in favor.  So what if a solid majority of Minnesota voters say that they want Voter ID?

CARROLL:  Then we’ll sue until the law gets thrown out anyway!

ME:  Wait – so you’ll disenfranchise a solid majority of Minnesota voters….

CARROLL:  The best voting system in the universe!

 ———-

By the way, lefty organizations with deep pockets are pouring money into advertising against the Voter ID amendment.

The Minnesota Majority – and their “ProtectMyVote” organization – have been doing most of the work,and they are not with deep pockets; if you can peel off a buck or two to help, it’d be much appreciated.

All That’s Silver Does Not Glitter

While the national polls show the presidential race a statistical toss-up, Nate Silver points out that polls conducted in swing state show Obama with an actual lead of sorts – around three points:.

While that isn’t an enormous difference in an absolute sense, it is a consequential one. A one- or two-point lead for Mr. Obama, as in the national polls, would make him barely better than a tossup to win re-election. A three- or four-point lead, as in the state polls, is obviously no guarantee given the troubles in the economy, but it is a more substantive advantage.

Here’s the part that caught my attention; I’ve added emphasis:

The difference isn’t an artifact of RealClearPolitics’s methodology. The FiveThirtyEight method, which applies a more complicated technique for estimating polling averages, sees broadly the same split between state and national polls.

On the one hand – well, doy.  Obama’s an incumbent elected in a wave, protected by a media that serves as his Praetorian Guard.  Of course he’s going to be polling well.

On the other hand?  My real point in this article is the abovementioned “FiveThirtyEigtht Method”.

I addressed this two years ago – when Silver, who is generally acknowledged to be a moderate Democrat, spent most of the 2010 campaign predicting a 6+ point Mark Dayton victory.

How did he arrive at that number?

  1. By taking an assortment of polls from around MInnesota, conducted by a variety of polling operations, and…
  2. Applying a weighting to each poll, the “538 Poll Weight”, which came from an unexplained formula known, near as I can tell, only to Silver.  Which is not to say that it’s wrong, or statistically, intellectually or journalistically dishonest, per se - merely that it’s completely opaque

But let’s take Silver’s methodology at face value – because he’s a respected statistician who works for the NYTimes, right?

The fact remains that, at least here in Minnesota, two of the polls that were given great weight in Silver’s methodology – the Star Tribune “Minnesota” poll and the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute poll, are palpably garbage, and should be viewed as DFL propaganda at best, calculated election fraud at worst. 

We went through this in some detail after the 2010 election: there’s an entire category on this blog devoted to going over the various crimes and misdemeanors of Twin Cities media pollsters.  ,Long story short – since 1988, the Strib “Minnesota” poll has consistently shorted Republican support in polls, especially the polls closest to the elections, especially in close elections.  The “Minnesota” poll’s only redeeming point?  The Humphrey Institute poll is worse.  In both cases, they tended – moreso in closer races – to exaggerate the lead the Democrat candidate for Governor, Senator or President had.   For example, in 2010 both polls showed Mark Dayton with crushing, overwhelming, humiliating leads over Tom Emmer on election-eve.  It ended up the closest gubernatorial race in Minnesota history.  The “Minnesota” poll was so bad, Frank Newport of Gallup actually wrote to comment on its dubious methodology. I suspect that the results are less mathematical background noise or methodological quicks – which would, if truly random, show distortions that would even out between the parties over time.  While it’s not provable without a whistle-blower from inside either or both organizations, I suspect the results shake out the way they do, if you are inclined to believe people have integrity, due to selection bias in setting up survey samples (and, if you don’t have much faith, in systematic bias working to achieve a “Bandwagon Effect” among the electorate.  Count me among the cynics; an organization with integrity would have noticed these errors long before a guy like me who maxed out at Algebra I in college and fixed the problem.  I’m willing to be persuaded, but you’ll have to have a much better argument than most of the polls’ defenders). 
The point being, this is the quality of the raw material that leads Nate Silver to his conclusions.  
And that should give Silver, and people who pay attention to him, pause.
I don’t know if the other state polls are as dodgy as Minnesota’s local media polling operations.  That’d be a great subject for a blogswarm.  

Disarming The Law-Abiding, Arming The Criminals

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails in re Aurora, and provides a quote that the NRA or the GOA should put on a T-shirt:

Orc: The Aurora theatre was a gun-free zone but it didn’t matter because the shooter wore body armor, he was Invincible!

Joe: Not so much. The initial media reports thought “tactical vest” meant “bulletproof vest.” No, he wore the cop version of a pheasant hunting vest, with the pockets modified to hold pistol magazines instead of shotgun shells. It affords no protection to the wearer whatsoever.

Orc: Well that doesn’t matter. The theater was dark and noisy and full of smoke. Even if theatre patrons had been allowed to carry pistols, nobody could have made a shot to stop the threat under those conditions, it’s like a battlefield.

Joe: Four military veterans died in that theatre..

Orc: Yeah, but not every veteran can shoot. They’re just Air Force computer clerks, unlikely they had experience in war or handling weapons.

Joe: Jon Blunk died in that theatre. He threw himself on top of his girlfriend to save her life.

Orc: Yeah, but he was only a sailor. Could he shoot? Would he have had the guts to shoot in a dark, noisy smoky theatre? With someone shooting back at him?

Joe: Blunk already had three tours in the Middle East under his belt and had plans to re-enlist with a goal of becoming a Navy SEAL. That’s what SEALS do – they go into dark, noisy smoky places where people are shooting at them, and they kill bad guys. Would he have had the guts? Listen to someone who knows him:

“Gill, who lived with Blunk several years in the Navy and later in Aurora, described his friend as an avid outdoorsman and gun rights advocate.

“Pretty much every weapon the guy in the theater used [Blunk] owned,” Gill said. “If you asked if he was still alive, he would have said his only regret is he didn’t have his sidearm with him and he couldn’t do anything to stop him.”

This part should be on the T-shirts and bumper stickers:

Gun-free zones don’t stop bad guys from killing good people; they stop good people from killing bad guys. That’s why they matter.

Joe Doakes

Como Park

The Name Game

I don’t live in SD33, but I like going there.  Living in Saint Paul – a one-party city where the miasma of stagnation and failure has been welling up from every storm-sewer grate since Randy Kelly left office – it’s always kind of fun to go to a place where you can smell prudence, frugality and just-plain success in the air.

Last spring it was my pleasure to drive out to Wayzata to give a nominating speech for Dave Osmek, conservative Mound city council budget hawk and long-time friend of the Northern Alliance.  I don’t live in 33, naturally, but support is support.

And it’s good to see I’m not alone: Rep. Erik Paulsen is apparently sure-footed enough in the districts newer, redder nature that he came out and endorsed Osmek.

It’s likely little surprise that Osmek’s primary opponent, Connie Doepke, has been endorsed by fellow Jamestown ND native but so-moderate-he-could-be-mistaken-for-a-sensible-Democrat former representative Jim Ramstad, as well as long-time Carlsonite GOPer Barb Sykora.

A little less intuitively, perhaps?  One of Osmek’s old opponents on the Mound City Council, Peter Meyer, is sounding off:

Many of you might be surprised by this letter. After battling with Dave Osmek for over three years on the Mound City Council, I’m probably the last person you might think would endorse him for state senate. But I’m here to tell you, Dave is exactly the kind of senator we need in Saint Paul.

Our nation and our state need leaders. While Dave and I disagreed over many issues, I have come to respect the work and effort he has made to keep Mound on a solid, fiscally conservative track. He actually has tracked every dollar spent since 2000, in every department, and holds staff accountable each year. And Mound has one of the highest bond ratings, a reflection of the success that saves us money every year.

Mound is one of those cities that, with the help of years of difficult fiscal discipline, have managed to wean themselves off of “Local Government Aid”, and do it fairly gracefully.

Why Dave now? Because we need a state senator that will fight to protect our freedoms, our liberties and our wallets. Dave’s opponent has experience, but isn’t the kind of strong advocate we need to make Minnesota great.

Dave won the SD33 endorsement over Doepke, who is a current Representative from the district.  I’ve had Doepke supporters in the area ask “What do you have against her?”  The answer is “Nothing – and I wish she’d stuck with keeping her endorsement in the House, and waltzing to an easy victory”.   I’m going with William F. Buckley philosophy – I support the most conservative candidate that can win.

And whatever Doepke’s merits as a conservative – and she has some merits as a conservative, and a few demerits, and we can debate the substance of each at another time – the fact is that Osmek has a more-solid conservative track record in the Mound City Council, and is running in an R+20 district that isn’t quite a mirror image of my own district in St. Paul (where the DFL could nominate Jerry Sandusky and win 60-40); Osmek’s more conserative, and he can and will win.  And after this last session, the proof is right in front of you; the Senate needs more honest-to-pete conservatives to backstop the likes of Dave Thompson, Dave Hann and Roger Chamberlain.

So while I have never intended any specific disrespect to Connie Doepke, I am doing what Buckley would do; supporting that most conservative candidate who can bring home the seat in November.

Because when the gavel rings down on the next session, the more of them that are in that chamber, the better.

I Got A 73 Monte With A Worn Out 350, Rusty Heads And A Three On The Tree…

I was at the Car-Craft Summer Nationals over the weekend, doing what has evolved into one of my favorite live broadcasts of the NARN broadcast year.

There were a lot of fun cars.  If you grew up in North Dakota in the seventies and eighties, the Nova was the semi-official state muscle car:

It was light, overpowered, and fairly inexpensive – three things that appealed to North Dakota gearheads.

(North Dakota gearheads were famous for one modification that, near as I can tell, was pretty local (although I’m sure it was more widespread and less local than I realize); they’d wash out the windshield washer tank, run the hose back to the cup holder on the driveshaft hump between the front seats, and fill it with Southern Comfort or Brass Monkey or some other, er, “durable” spirit.  Want a bump?  Hit the washer – provided you had a cup in the cup holder…)

Ditto the Chevelle;  one of my friends in high school had one of these.  I used to dream about one of ‘em…:

But for me, the sentimental fave was this one; a black ’73 Malibu. This was my first car.

Well, no – not this exact car.  Mine was a northern Minnesota farm car I bought my junior year of college for $125 and a case of beer.  It was black, sort of – it had so much salt damage that the driver’s side door panel flapped in the breeze like a bird’s wing when you got over 60 miles per hour.  A chunk of the floor on the driver’s side was corroded away.

But it had a 350, and it flew.   It was the car that brought me to the Twin Cities – and I used to drive home to visit keeping it around 70ish in MInnesota, and around 85 in ND.  I could make it from the 694 River Bridge to the Jamestown exit – 335 miles – in around four and a half hours on the road (not counting the fuel stop I had to make in Fergus Falls; it wouldn’t get to Fargo on one tank).

And when it finally conked out, I dreamed about keeping it, and learning how to fix up and hot-rod cars, and doing something like what you see above.

But I was 23 and making $6 an hour at Hubbard Broadcasting and needed money, so I sold it for $50 to a guy who wrecked it a week later and ran away when the police came.

If there’s a car heaven, my old Monte Carlo is there, and looks a lot like this.

Well, That Didn’t Last Long

Tens of millions of dollars burned up.  A state’s business disrupted (well, some) for the better part of a year and a half.  Endless rounds of recall elections, with much ballyhoo and smack-talk, passed…

all to give Wisconsin Democrats a one vote majority in the State Senate that they can never use, because the Senate doesn’t meet until after the next round of elections.

Oh, never mind.  The Wisconsin Senate is…:

…16-16-1 now, thanks to Senator Jim Cullen bailing out of the Democratic party.

Cullen was one of the fleebaggers last year; one of the seventeen sore losers that tried to hijack democracy and nullify the election just passed by hiding out in Illinois to dodge voting on one of Governor Walker’s bills.

Let’s take a moment to remember that:

It may have been the Wisconsin Senate Dems’ swan song for now:

After months of screaming, millions blown on recalls up and down the state, and boasting and yelling by every fist-icon-sporting lefty out there, the Democratic victory that was recalling Walker barely flipping the senate (when it isn’t in session again until after the November elections which are likely to restore at least two seats to the Republicans) hit an iceberg today.

I’d like to say Cullen’s flip was due to pure, unvarnished principle – but like so much in politics, it’d seem there’s a tetch of ego involved:

When the party regained control, Cullen, who had fled with the rest of the Democrats but was willing to work with Walker on reforms after returning to the state, was denied chairman status on any committee. He felt insulted, has walked, and the three-week-long Democratic majority is over.

There are times a house in Hudson looks soooooooo good.

Appearances

As we discussed on Monday, Michele Bachmann didn’t “witchunt” Muslims in government; she asked the Attorney General to take a break from handing out M-16es with “courtest of the NRA” stamped on the receivers to the narcotraficantes for a moment to look into some allegations.

Y’know.  Just like Democrats have a history of doing based on much less evidence.

Joe Doakes of Como Park takes us down memory lane:

Democrats accused George Bush Senior of flying the SR-71 Blackbird to Paris for a secret meeting with the Ayatollahs to free the hostages. The charge was idiotic but the Democrats insisted we must investigate. Remember why?

“In announcing the probe, House Speaker Thomas Foley, D-Wash., and Senate Democratic leader George Mitchell of Maine said that committees from each house will review the case based on `persistent and disturbing’ reports.

`We have no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, but the seriousness of these allegations, and the weight of circumstantial information, compel an effort to establish the facts,’ read a joint statement from Foley and Mitchell.”

Okay, how about infiltration by Muslim terrorist organizations into the United States government – does the seriousness of those charges warrant an investigation?

Isn’t that exactly what Michelle Bachmann asked the Inspector General to do – his job?

Joe Doakes

Como Park

Well, to be fair, Foley and Mitchell didn’t have a pack of deranged opponents stalking their every move.