Here’s the send-off line of Michelle Malkin’s piece on the ill-advised nature of the Pope’s jeremiad against air conditioning:

If the pontiff truly believes “excessive consumption” of modern conveniences is causing evil “climate change,” will he be shutting down and returning the multi-million-dollar system Carrier generously gifted to the Vatican Museums?

If not, I suggest, with all due respect, that Pope Francis do humanity a favor and refrain from blowing any more hot air unless he’s willing to stew in his own.

What is Malkin talking about?

Read the rest of the piece.

I’ve been saying for years – when you add politics to science, you don’t get scientific politics – you get politicized science.

I can’t see how the same doesn’t go for religion.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Laptop hard drive died, extended warranty sent tech to my house to replace it.  Charming Black woman, prompt and efficient but thick accent.  She’s from Ethiopia.  She said that if you get crosswise with the government, yourproperty can be seized and bureaucrats will harass youdeny you permitsaudit you.

I was afraid to ask her – are you talking about Ethiopia, or about being a Conservative in the United States of Obama?

Joe Doakes

To quote a great American statesperson: what difference does it make at this point?

I’ve Seen All Good Bassists

Music geeks over the weekend noted the passing of Chris Squire, longtime bassist for prog-rock icons Yes.

Now, as I’ve written innumerable times, I really listen to music on two levels; is the music technically adept in some way – singing, instrumental chops, production – and does it grab me in the liver and say “this song is something important to you”.

Much Noise, Signifying…:  Speaking for me?  Yes – of whom Squire was the only constant member from 1968 through his passing, as the band went through 18 other members over the years – was always plenty of the former, and only rarely any of the latter.

As to the former, the musical talent?  It was always the band’s long suit.  I, like a lot of guitar players of a certain age, grew up very pleased with myself for nailing the first part of “Roundabout”, and bobbing my head in awe at the rest of the song:

Admit it; if it weren’t for “I’ve Seen Good People” and “Roundabout”, you don’t know the words to the chorus of a single “Yes” song before 1984.   It’s not the most ornate Yes song of their first 16 years as a band – they frequently had songs that filled entire 20 minute album sides – and far from their least accessible.

But there’s no doubting the technical chops; Rick Wakeman’s virtuosic but gaseous keyboards, Jon Anderson’s fluid lead singing, and Steve Howe’s technically-impeccable and occasionally-brilliant guitar (why does he always look like he’s getting a prostate exam when he’s playing?).

But Squire’s bass is the most notable thing about the song; from the blazingly ornate yet reliable sixteenth-note runs during the verses, to the off-kilter pulse of the chorus, it’s really brilliant stuff.

Which, of course, made me nod my head and go “yeah, pretty brilliant – now where’s some music I actually feel?

Worse, Yes committed some terrible crimes against music.   Their trite, mawkish cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” deserves a tribunal, somewhere:

It was the first time I had actually felt some emotion besides admiration for their technical chops when listening to a Yes song.  In this case, it was unbridled hatred for murdering a great song.

But it wasn’t the last.

So – wanna start an argument with a “Yes” fan?  Tell him you didn’t hear a “Yes” song that you actually enjoyed until “Owner of a Lonely Heart”:

The band shed Howe (who went to join the dull as dry toast “GTR” for a few years) and added South African guitar whiz Trevor Rabin.  They also did three albums in a row produced by Trevor Rabin, the former lead singer of “Buggles” (“Video Killed the Radio Star”), who’d sung lead for Yes for a year before becoming one of the defining producers of the 1980s.

And again – underneath Rabin’s guitar and Wakeman’s un-Wakeman-y keyboards, Squire’s bass is absolutely subtle and ingenious.

The best way to get an old-school “Yes” fan to try to assassinate you is to say you prefer the song to their earlier work. But I do.  Far and away.  Assassinate me?  Bring it.

No Respect: I  wasn’t the only one who didn’t much care for Yes.  The Rock and Roll hall of fame has been cool to them:

In February 2013, Rolling Stone spoke to Squire about Yes’ legacy and the fact that Rush, but not Yes, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Logistically, it’s probably difficult for whoever the committee is to bring in Yes,” Squire said. “Rush is fairly simple. It’s the same three guys and always has been. They deserve to be there, no doubt about that. But there still seems to be a certain bias towards early-Seventies prog rock bands like Yes and King Crimson… In our case, we’re on our 18th member. If we ever do get inducted, it would be only fair to have all the members, old and new. So that may be a problem for the committee. I don’t know.”

Of course, the Hall of Fame – for whatever it’s worth, which is really not much – is dominated by critics.  And critics have always savaged the band, except for their brief flirtation with New Wave during the Rabin years.  Dave Marsh wrote in the 1983 Rolling Stone Record Buyer’s Guide:

Classical rockers with hearts of cold, Yes entered the Seventies as a creative example of post-Pepper‘s artistic aspirations, a musicianly alternative to the growing metal monster rock was becoming. It left the decade as perhaps the epitome of uninvolved, pretentious and decidedly nonprogressive music, so flaccid and conservative that it became the symbol of uncaring platinum success, spawning more stylistic opponents than adherents. … On Tales from Topographic Oceans, the bottom fell out …

Now, I had that particular Record Buyer’s Guide.  And I was as “rockist” as Marsh, who is most famous as the definitive biographer of The Who and Springsteen, and who has always compared all rock and roll to the MC5, and always will.

At it was via watching rock critics’ treatment of Yes during its various stylistic gyrations in the eighties – especially Marsh, my favorite as a teenager, and the single most promiscuous mixer of art and politics in the English language – that I finally realized something; that the real gaseous, bloated, self-important, pretentious, overblown, in-love-with-the-sounds-of-their-precious-creativity ones…

…are the rock critics.

RIP Chris Squire,

Quote Of The Day

I thought this was both appropriate and daunting:

“We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”
— George Orwell

These days, it’s the only duty we’re going to have time to do.

Amateur Hour

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you want to join a gun rights group.

Let’s say that you don’t read this blog – or worse, you read it, but don’t take it seriously. So you don’t know, or haven’t taken seriously, the news that the group “Minnesota Gun Rights”, is basically a Potemkin fundraising front the transfers money from Minnesota to Iowa, and spends a bare minimum of it on Minnesota political campaigning.

You send in your hard-earned money.

And when you do, the website shows you this: 

“These are the people that we report to – not a boss 1,000 miles away who doesn’t understand Iowa and what Iowans want”.

That may be the most hilariously ironic slip of all this group’s hilariously ironic slips.

If you were this fictional person, who might now be wondering “hey, maybe there’s a point to all the things that people’ve been saying about Minnesota Gun Rights“, you might follow up by asking the people looking out for your Iowegian Minnesotan gun rights a few questions:

  • What “backroom deals” are you referring to, and what specifically was wrong with them?  What rights did they cost me, or anyone, in Iowa Minnesota?
  • Precisely what “bribes” are you referring to?  That sounds pretty serious, so please be very specific.
  • What rights have existing groups – the NRA, GOCRA and others – “bargained away”?   Again, since I’m a concerned shooter, this sounds really serious.  Please be very, totally, utterly specific.

Let me know if you hear back from them.

Wherever you live.

One Vote

John Hinderaker, at Power Line, asks the question that has been completely absent from the major media’s/far left’s (pardon the redundancy) celebration of Friday’s 5-4gay marriage ruling:

What would you think if the Court had decided the opposite? That is, if the Court had held that same sex marriage is unconstitutional, so that all state laws approving such unions are void, and all court decisions establishing same sex marriage are overruled. Would you then think it appropriate for “five lawyers,” as Chief Justice Roberts put it, to remove this issue from the democratic process and purport to resolve it by judicial fiat?
I am pretty sure you wouldn’t. I am pretty sure that in the face of such a ruling, you would howl with outrage and insist that the issue of same sex marriage be determined by democratic processes.

The Supreme Court, due process, and separation of powers are wonderful things or obsolescent white elephants that need to be repealed, depending on whether the Supreme Court is ruling on gay rights, gun rights, abortion-rights or speech rationing.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The first time around, the Supreme Court said “Congress claims Obamacare is not a tax but if that were true, the act would be unconstitutional because Congress has no power to force people to buy stuff they don’t want. But Congress could have made it a tax and if they had, the act would be a perfectly valid exercise of its power to lay and collect taxes. So we’re going to pretend Congress made it a tax and therefore, it’s fine.”

This time around, the Supreme Court said “Congress said people in state exchanges don’t get a subsidy but if that were true, giving them subsidies would be illegal. But Congress could have said people in state exchanges get a subsidy and if they had, giving them a subsidy would be perfectly legal. So we’re going to pretend Congress gave subsidies to people in a ‘state or federal exchange’ and therefore, it’s okay.”

Even if the Supreme Court has the power of Judicial Review, I’m not at all convinced it has the power of Legislative Repair. This is blatant judicial activism. And there’s no pretending otherwise.

Joe Doakes

I’m not sure that the Supremes much care what we think anymore.

Doakes Sunday: Sounds And Fury, Signifying Music

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I’m working my way through two inches of abstract of title to a parcel of real estate, preparing to write an Attorney’s Opinion on Title, while listening to “Truckin” by the Grateful Dead.  Enjoying my job today, the music is a big part of it.

What do other SITD readers listen to?

Joe Doakes

The last ten songs on my rotation:

  1. “Take It Inside”, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes
  2. “It’s All I Can Do”, Cars
  3. “Lonely Road of Faith”, Kid Rock
  4. “It’s Not Over”, Allison Krause w/Mark Chesnutt
  5. “No Mercy”, Nils Lofgren
  6. “The Closer”, Marah
  7. “Mama Said”, Metallica
  8. “Beautiful Girl”, INXS
  9. “Sign O The Times”, Prince
  10. “The Rising of the Moon”, The Clancy Brothers


Doakes Sunday: The Imperial Court

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Chief Justice Roberts says there’s an ambiguity in the Obama-Care Act: the limited definition of State Exchange and the broad requirement to subsidize qualified individuals means we can’t tell what Congress intended.

I don’t practice in federal court, maybe their rules are different. Here in Minnesota, if a Court finds the statutory language ambiguous, it looks to the intent of the legislation as articulated in testimony to the Legislature at the time of enactment. Conservative media has extensively reported on Obama-care architect Jonathan Gruber’s testimony that participants in federal exchanges were not intended to receive subsidies, only qualified individuals in state exchanges were meant to receive subsidies. That testimony wasn’t found to be dispositive; indeed, Gruber’s name does not appear anywhere in any of the opinions.

The Court said it didn’t know what the law was intended to do, then ignored the testimony of the guy who wrote the law, explaining what the law was intended to do. The only explanation for that behavior is the Court simply substituted its own preferences for those of Congress and re-wrote the law from the bench.

That’s judicial activism and once it happens, there is no further appeal. That’s why some Constitutional scholars doubt the Founders intended the Court to have the power of judicial review at all – it upsets the balance of powers and puts the Supreme Court in a position to act as unelected and unaccountable Supreme Legislators whenever the court feels like it. That’s completely antithetical to the carefully constructed powers the Founders gave each branch. And again today, we see the wisdom of their plan.

Joe Doakes
Saint Paul

Today’s big question:  how do you reform a body that can declare reforms unconstitutional?

Doakes Sunday: Freedom From Offense

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Black people in South Carolina were shot. A bar in St. Paul displays a Confederate Battle flag. Matthew Steen is upset enough to write to City Pages and also to Yelp.

Our Boy Steen’s “logic” confuses me.

The bar owner didn’t shoot those people. The bar owner’s flag didn’t shoot them. Nobody who ever went into the bar and saw the flag, shot them. If the flag had never been in the bar, they’d still have been shot. If the bar owner pulled the flag down today, they’d remain shot.

So what’s the point?

The Battle Flag is a symbol of hatred? Even if that were true, so what? Are we suggesting that if nobody displayed the flag, there’d be no hatred so nobody would get shot ever again?

The Battle Flag is a symbol of the Confederacy, an extinct nation with offensive practices? Even if that were true, so what? The swastika is a symbol of Nazi Germany, the hammer and cycle is a symbol of the Soviet Union and the rainbow flag is a symbol of Sodom, all extinct nations with offensive practices. Forbidding those flags’ display cannot change the historical fact of those nations’ existence.

Looks to me like a case of moral preening. Enlightened Matthew from Eden Prairie is so well educated, so well mannered, so superbly refined that he simply can’t bear to be in the same room with such crass, ignorant people and their crass, ignorant decor. And it’s important to him that we all know it. Because he’s just that special.

Wow. And people think I’m a conceited ass.

Joe Doakes

Words have meanings, and so do symbols.  I can see avoiding a place festooned with swastikas on the principle of it all.

The self-righteous snit is, of course, the part we’re discussing.

OK, not “discussing” so much as “mocking”.

There Is A NARN In North Ontario

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – is on the air! I will be on from 1-3PM today!

Today on the show,

  • What else?  The SCOTUS on gay marriage
  • The Liberty MN Legislative Scorecard, and the danger of scorecards
  • FreedomFest!

Don’t forget – King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1570, and Brad Carlson has “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 1-3PM.

So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:

Join us!

All Hail The Philosopher Kings

On the one hand, I think marriage has existed in its “traditional form” – guy/s and gal/s raising the kids – for thousands of years for pretty significant reason.

On the other hand, in a secular society, sure – let same-sex couples get together, sign a contract, and call it whatever they want. (

On the other other hand, if I ever do get married again, I am not going to bother with a state license. Still – I am not the most violent opponent of gay marriage; I barely support straight marriage, to be honest.

Up ’til yesterday, the thing that bothered me most about the gay marriage “debate” was that it wasn’t a debate; it was a growing minority browbeating the rest of society into submission. If I had a buck for every time I heard “If you don’t support gay marriage for whatever reason, you’re a bigot”, I wouldn’t need to work for a living. (That, and the fallacy that marriage is “about love”).

But today is another day.

The SCOTUS decision is awful – and it would be awful even if it proclaimed a right to keep and bear machine guns, or something else I support without reservation.

Gary Miller put it better on his Facebook page – and since most of you can’t see that, I’m going to pull the money quote:

There is…no right to homosexual marriage in the 14th Amendment or hiding under any magical penumbra thereof. In fact, there is no right to heterosexual marriage enshrined in the Constitution. The document is entirely silent on the matter and, as such, it should have been left to the 13 remaining states to have been shamed into the truth or – alternatively – to govern themselves in a way contrary to the popular zeitgeist and suffer any societal consequences (or benefits as the case may be).
Democracy lost, judicial fiat won, and the culture wars shall continue unabated. Yay, Court.

It’s another step on the path from being a federalist representative republic to a philosopher-kingdom. At best.

The answer, of course, is electing a continuous series of legislatures and Presidents that have the wisdom and cohesion to push back on the Imperial Court. Which seems, today, about as likely as me pitching a called third strike on Torii Hunter.

PS:  All you “progressives” who were whinging about the “legitimacy” of the SCOTUS after Citizens United – anything to add?

PPS:  The decision says the right to marriage is “fundamental” – which, since it’s not reserved to anyone in the Constitution, is reserved to the states and/or people by the Tenth Amendment.  OK, fine…

…but if marriage is an inalienable right, then why isn’t life itself an inalienable right?

Shot In The Dark: Banned By The Man!

Apparently I’m a one-person trigger warning!

A longtime friend of this blog emailed:


I thought you might find this interesting. For the mornings this week, I’m camped out on the second floor of the MacPhail Center for Music, while my kiddo attends a harp class. (I’m hoping she takes an interest in something much less expensive, such as ukulele, for which she has a class in July.)

After a while, kids’ music all sounds the same.

I digress:

Sometimes I’ve used my cell phone service for an Internet connection, sometimes I use the MacPhail Wi-fi. I just tried to go to SITD, and got this message instead: Redirecting you to Barracuda Web Filter.

I was able to get to National Review and Powerline, so it’s not an anti-conservative thing. I didn’t see any “bans guns on these premises” sign when I have entered, but perhaps “shot” is just too … violent, ya know?

[Name Redacted]

I suspect it’s mostly my music reviews.

Pod And Fury…

The Tea Party and me go way back.

In 2009 and 2010, I spoke at a couple of the big Tea Party rallies, including the big Tax Day 2010 rally at the Capitol, as well as more in other, smaller locales.

That’s me. Tax Day, 2010, addressing a couple of thousand people at the Tea Party rally on the State Capitol Mall. First person to call me a Camicia Nera gets smacked.

At the time, the Tea Party was a fairly organic thing; lots of little groups of people, angry about Obamacare and taxes and immigration and gun control and the general sense that Obama was going to sap the bejeebers out of whatever liberty, economic future and choice we had left.

One of my big memories of my big speech was asking the crowd “How many of you voted Republican in 2008?”. About half the crowd cheered.  “How many voted Democrat?”  A few people cheered, gingerly.  “How many voted Ron Paul?”   Many cheered lustily.  “How many would rather jab a screwdriver into your skull than vote for Ron Paul?”  Other cheered with gusto. “How many of you didn’t care because you hated politics?”  Many, many cheered.

What made the Tea Party so fun at the time was that it was that, as I discovered in my speech, it was a little bit of everyone.   And it worked; the Tea Party, and its outpouring of energy, was disproportionally responsible for flipping both chambers of the Minnesota House in 2010.

It was the biggest political tent I’d ever seen – because nobody involved knew enough to try to keep anyone out (except, of course, for liberals carrying signs designed to make the Tea Party look bad; we kept them out pretty handily).

The Tea Party – at least a part of the big, decentralized whole, anyway – seems to have unlearned that vital lesson.

Jack Rogers and Jake Duesenberg have built up a pretty big network of Tea Party groups around the metro.  The groups involve big monthly meetings, speakers, lots of education…

…and, well, I’m not sure what.

The other day on the Tea Party podcast with Jack Rogers and Jake Duesenberg, they took a run at the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance – one of the most accomplished, successful civil rights groups in the state.

Here’s what they had to say:

To closely paraphrase Duesenberg (it’s the first half of the clip above) – GOCRA does some big things, but they do it by playing the political game with politicians.  By doing this, they make incremental improvements, but fail to go for the BIG improvements in gun rights.

I think Duesenberg is trying to compare GOCRA’s approach – he calls it “Access-Based”, which to the non-access-based is a term that means “belonging to the country club” – with some of the more confrontation-based groups, whose model is based more around making a big noise (almost always in front of people who vigorously agree with you).  Groups like “Minnesota Gun Rights”, the Iowa-based group we’ve written about in the past, as well as some of the “liberty” groups that focus on building large groups of followers, and then…

…well, we’ll get back to that.

Of course, if you want to focus on confrontation, it helps to show you’re able to go politically medieval on your opponent.  For example:  while GOCRA certainly can work the “access” angle, they can also bring the political pain; ask the Capitol legislative assistants and receptionists how many phone calls they get when GOCRA puts out a call to their troops to melt the phone lines.  The phone lines melt; tens of thousands of calls, emails, letters and visits follow.  And behind those calls are votes; when GOCRA decided to confront the outstate DFLers in 2002 on “Shall Issue” carry reform, every single outstate DFLer that’d voted against carry permit reform lost their election.   Carry permit reform followed in the next session.

After 25 years of “access-based” lobbying mixed with “kicking opponents asses at the polls”, GOCRA has achieved something any grass-roots group should sit back and study; we’ve got a legislature where the GOP is 100% pro-gun, and where even the DFL is about evenly split, giving pro-gun forces a solid majority.  Think how much shooters in Colorado – where the push this past session was led by the “confrontation-based” National Association of Gun Rights, and was a complete fiasco – would like to have such a situation.

And between the combination of access-based influence carrots and “Bring the Pain!” political sticks, GOCRA got a hell of a lot done this session; barring gun confiscations in emergencies, repealing the capitol felony trap, expanding carry permit reciprocity, and bringing Minnesota into line with federal law on Suppressors and purchase of long arms in noncontiguous states.   Is there more to do?  Absolutely; much of it depends on getting a GOP governor into office.

So what has the Tea Party done lately?

I’m not saying that to needle Jack and Jake; I say let a thousand flowers bloom.

But when you say “GOCRA would like…” to a legislator, they sit up and pay attention – either because they like or respect GOCRA and its leadership, or because they loathe but fear them for what they can do at the polls.   And when you’re trying to get policy passed, being liked or feared are equally useful.

So here’s your question:  when it comes to influencing votes on policy, do people like and respect the Tea Party (or Jake’s guest, “Liberty Minnesota”, a libertarian group that seems to spend a lot of time riffing on Republicans and, occasionally, obliquely, DFLers) enough to extend themselves on their behalf when  it comes to voting on policy?

Or, failing that, do they legitimately fear what the Jack and Jake Brigade is going to do to them at the polls in November?

As someone who was doing the Tea Party before the cool kids were involved, I’d love to see the Tea Party legitimately do all three.

Can anyone honestly say they do?

Because until they do, they’re no better than the Libertarian Party; a bunch of people sitting around a room vigorously agreeing with each other.

Bonus Question:  To pick a constitutional liberty out of the ether for an example; how do you think “Constitutional Carry” – changing Minnesota to a “no permit” state, like Vermont, Alaska, Wyoming, Arizona or Kansas – is going to happen:

  • Via a judicious combination of carrots and sticks, both during sessions and on the campaign trail, to get the Legislature to pass it, or
  • People sitting around in rooms bellowing about how awful it is that it hasn’t been passed yet?

Any bets?

Dive! Dive! Dive!

Prodded by the outburst from the peevish, moralistic hipster in this week’s City Page, I met a couple of friends at the Gopher Bar last night.

Unlike most of the “dive bars” so beloved of today’s hipsters, it actually is kind of a dive.  It reminds you of that one bar on mainstreet in every small town in the Midwest – the Wonder Bar in Jamestown, the Ace in Carrington, the Sportsman in Thief River Falls, or fill in the blank in whatever town of less than 20,000 you can think of.

Although the Gopher is a little like that guy every talk radio station used to have back in the eighties, back before talk radio was political, who used to want to offend a little bit of everyone as his gimmick.

Even the front door has something to piss of both liberal and “libertarian” hipsters:

…although their sentiments are pretty clear.

Still, the place doesn’t take itself all that seriously…:

…certainly not nearly as seriously as the kinds of hipsters who write letters to the City Pages (most of whose staff couldn’t find the Gopher Bar, or Saint Paul, if it occurred to them to try).

Of course, while the City Pages doesn’t know much about Saint Paul, the Gopher has read the City Pages.  The staff had heard plenty about the letter to the editor.

And so there it is – the worst flag in the world, without which all racism would disappear:

Of course, if the petulant hipster had turned around, he’d have noticed two more, flanking an apparently racist sailfish.

And there was one other thing the hipster might have noticed had he turned around, observed, and shut his precious yapper; African-American customers.

There were no less than seven in the house when I was there last night (no, I didn’t take pictures of people who just wanted to have a coney and mind their own business).

By the way, that’s seven more African-Americans than have ever worked for the City Pages.

They were no more there to see and be seen than and my dinner companions were.  They were there, like us, for a beer, a coney and fries for under $10.  And as much as I personally hate chili dogs (lots and lots and lots.  Don’t test me on this), the Coneys at the Gopher are really, really tasty.

I know – not a great picture. But trust me; the Coney is as tasty as the photo is blurry.

Anyway – keeping ahead of the ire of Twin Cities social justice warriors is introducing me to some great eats (as I discovered at the River Oasis last summer).

Keep ’em coming, Warriors!

Bark For Your Treat, Part IV

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My neighbor just renewed her Permit to . . . okay, you get the picture.

The Revolutionary War started in 1776 and ended in 1783.  The Constitution was adopted in 1787, four years after the war ended.  What were the Founders doing all that time?  Thinking.  Studying.  Debating.  Trying to answer the most basic questions: what is government?  What is it for?  What is its purpose?  What should it Do and what should it Not Do?

Some people wanted a king, some wanted a strong parliament, some wanted the power of government severely limited.  As for the people who favored the Constitution, we know what they were afraid of and why because we can read their thoughts in pamphlets.  We know which rights they found particularly important to protect from government, because they made a special point of adding the Bill of Rights as the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

The Founders warned us that the right to keep and bear arms is the right that secures all the others.  If The People lack the means to force the government to back off, The People do not have Rights, they merely have Privileges awarded on whatever conditions are set by whomever is running the government at the moment.  My prior posts on Permit to Vote, Permit to Pray, Permit to Publish are intended to highlight just how differently modern society treats the right to keep and bear arms, a distinction the Founders would have found utterly abhorrent.

Joe Doakes

Pretty sure our founders would have long since moved on to another country if they came back to life today.

Poland, maybe.  Some place that appreciates freedom.

Hipster Gets Vapors, Throws Snit

I caught this in the City Pages – as reliable a barometer of the Twin Cities far-left, as well as the attitudes and mores of the wanna-be hipster, as there is.

A Minneapolis hipster was offended by something he saw at the Gopher Bar:

Letter to the editor:

I fancy myself something of a dive-bar enthusiast, and the Gopher Bar was just about the last feather to place in my Twin Cities cap.

No doubt an ironic seed cap.  No,wait – that was hipsters ten years ago.

Whenever hipsters talk “dive bars”, they’re talking “dive bars hipsters go to”.  Which are to “dive bars” what the Disneyland “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride is to having your ship boarded by cuttthroats.

But the Gopher probably qualifies.  It gives off all the signs of being “not upmarket” and “not even a little bit gentrified”.

Click to see full size

Click to see full size


Some signs, indeed, that make one suspect the lad might wet his pants, had he stayed long enough to read all the bar’s “flair”.

Which he did not:

Having spent the entire drive down talking to my friend about how troubled I was with the church shooting and resulting racial insensitivity, it seemed almost surreal to walk into Gopher Bar and see the Stars n’ Bars flying proudly. Upon asking the bartender about it, he replied with an (almost self-aware?) “Man, that doesn’t mean anything.” All I could squeak out was, “I beg to differ on behalf of nine families in Charleston” and walked out.

Confederates didn’t kill those nine people in Charleston.  A mentally disturbed narcissist who’d latched onto racism as his vehicle to fifteen minutes’ fame did.

But I get it.  The Confederate flag was the symbol of a nation that existed in large part due to slavery; the political crisis that led to its forming was over slavery; the economic battle between the North and South was between industry and slavery.  The “preservation of the union” argument leading to the war was over the right to secede…over issues that all traced back to slavery.   I have my misgivings about the Confederate flag.

We’ll come back to that.

The next morning I called and spoke with a woman, simply informing her that she had alienated a customer, to which she replied: “Actually, if you’re offended at that then you’re the racist, and for every one of you that leaves we have ten that come in because of that flag.”
My natural, earnest follow-up question was “Is this a Klan bar?”
That response was met with an expletive and a phone-slam.

And that was better than the earnest young hipster lad deserved.  I wish he’d come into the place and ask in person.

But let’s diverge from our earnest young hipster friend for a moment and look at some history.

Rejection!:  The day after VE Day, in 1945, the Swastika was trayf, worldwide.  Everyone in polite, and most impolite, soceity linked it with world war, with the Holocaust, with millions of dead.  Since then, the Swastika (outside of its traditional Sanskrit context) is only used for history, or to shock people.  There’s never been any ambiguity about that.

Not so the Confederate flag.  Southerners say it’s a symbol of the south’s valor – which is legitimate.  In many ways, the South fought the right fight to defend the wrong cause. One might rightly say that “a wrong cause is a wrong cause”, and there’s a point there.

But most of our society was very slow to get it.  The Confederate flag has been a symbol in pop culture roughly forever:

I mean, big pop culture:

Even popular music:

Lynyrd Skynrd yn thyir heydyy.

Now, a modern hipster might not recognize Lynyrd Skynyrd, but they were kinda PC for their day; how many southern bands today espouse gun control?

PC, hell –  – even artists with impeccable liberal credentials have apparently committed thoughtcrime!

Here’s Tom Petty in 1985.  Check around the 0:17 mark in the video:

It’s from an entire album about being southern and misunderstood by all us damn Yankees that practically jammed the kudzu down your throat

Even back with my father’s father, they called us all rebels

They tore up cornfields, and burned our cities to level

Well I still feel the eyes of those blue-bellied devils,

When I’m walking around at night,

through the concrete and metal,

Hey hey hey!

I was born a Rebel!

And yeah, it’s a great freaking song – one of Tom Petty’s greatest.

So – is he a racist?

Or, for that matter, the Allman Brothers…:

Click it. It takes you to the official Allman Brothers website.

…which wrapped itself in the Confederate flag at times – with its drummer, Jaimoe Johanson.

Now – was Jaimoe Johanson an “Uncle Tom” token, a victim of the Allman Brothers’ corrosive racism?

Or was it just that as of 40-50 years ago, the Confederate flag just wasn’t considered all that corrosively racist, in and of itself, devoid of any further context?

Or even 35 years ago?

Or 25 years ago?



Now – were Bill Clinton, Algore and Goofytooth corrosive racists?

Or has the flag had different meanings to different people over time?

And if Jimmy Carter in 1976, and Bill Clinton in 2002, and the Allman Brothers in 1969, and Hollywood in the seventies, get a pass on that “different meanings” clause, why not the almighty Gopher Bar?

Pick Your Symbols:  Back to the hipster lad:

I realize what a self-righteous, white-privileged Social Justice Warrior I’m coming off as, [Any bets on that?  – Ed] and I suppose I tacitly must support this establishment’s right to display hate paraphernalia if they so choose [Mighty big of you – The Founding Fathers via Ed.]. I just think (especially with the increased foot traffic from CHS Field) potential patrons should be forewarned and take their business to the plethora of less abrasive, ignorant, and bigoted establishments in the area.

The hipster lad – his name is “Matthew Steen” – is certainly entitled to go where he wants.  As someone who goes to the Gopher from time to time – for the cheap drinks and the Coneys, not the racism, which I personally have never noticed – I say it matters not what it takes to make hipsters go elsewhere, provided they actually go elsewhere.

But if I were to meet Mr. Steen, I’d have to ask:  does he have a similar petulant outburst when he encounters this symbol of genocide and ethnic cleansing, which enjoys periodic bits of ironic hipness?

Or this one, which seems to be fairly timeless in hipster circles?

Mr. Steen – I’d be more than happy to entertain your reply.

Bloomie Hits The Bricks

As I was digging around through the Campaign Finance Board’s lobbying reports yesterday, I happened upon this little bon mot among “Everytown for ‘Gun Safety'” “Minnesota’s” various disclosures:

Click to see full-size

Click to see full-size

First – to the surprise of absolutely nobody who hasn’t been marinading their head in “progressive” kool-aid – “Everytown for Gun ‘Safety'” “Minnesota” is (see the upper red rectangle) based in New York City; it is about as Minnesotan as open displays of emotion and capable professional sports (I say this so as not to jinx the Twins with unseemly optimism).

And in the lower rectangle?

They’re gone.  Done.  Hanging up their scolding sticks and sending their monogrammed checkbooks back to New York and jabbering away into the sunset.

This, after outspending the pro-human rights, Real Americans who support our civil liberties by a lopsided margin.

I’m sure they’ll be back for 2016, of course – if not as “Everytown”, as something else; maybe “No More Dead Children Inc” or something equally measured and rational.

But for now?  It’s like the Germans racing back across the Rhine in the summer of 1944.

And that’s a good thing – if you’re on the right side.

Pooing Where They Eat:  The funny part – if you’re a Real Minnesotan – is that when Bloomberg rolled into town with his armored car full of cash, he basically told the local pro-gun-confiscation group, “Protect” MN, and “Moms Want Action”, to sit down and shut up and let the competent folks do the thinking.

And so while in the past election and session Everytown disclosed a metric poop-ton of spending, as we pointed out yesterday, “Protect” MN spent not one dime on lobbying.

Again, have no fear; Bloomie will be back.  So will the blow-dried slickee boys who tried to browbeat the legislators during this past session and election.

Now would be a fine time to join GOCRA and MNGOPAC, by the way.  If you don’t keep Bloomberg and the gun-grabbers at bay, who will?

You Have To Order It In Austrian

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The South Carolina church shooter killed people for their race. He owns a Glock. Which is made in Austria. So was Hitler. Who also killed people for their race.

It all makes sense, now. Stop the Senseless Slaughter! Immigration Reform Now! Ban Austrians, All Their Works!

What the heck, it makes as much sense as the other people seizing this tragedy to flog their pet agendas.

Joe Doakes

It’s time the President got tough on Rhodesia.  I’m sure he’ll put Joe Biden on the job.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Boris Yeltsin*, head of the Federal Reserve, declares the short-term interest rate the Fed charges banks will remain nearly zero.  That will keep loan interest rates down hoping to stimulate the economy.  And with interest rates low, buyers can afford a larger loan so sellers can afford to retire to Fort Meyers.  Unalloyed good, right?

Maybe not.  When I bought my first house in 1987, our loan was 9.5% because the seller paid two points to buy down the rate.  My wife and I were dancing in the street – Free Money!  On a $70,000 house, our PITI was about $1,000 per month.  We could afford that as we were both working full time.

That same house today would cost $150,000.  At 4%, the payment is still around $1,000 per month.  But can Millennials afford to pay that?  They have more student loans than we did.  Their debt to income ratio is worse.  Are they getting married as my generation did, working full time as we did, giving up vacations and iPhones and luxuries as we did?  If not – how can sellers afford to sell and move?

I don’t have a solution, I merely note that zero interest rate is not a silver bullet to cure all economic ills.  And once you’ve fired it – as the Fed has done – there’s nothing left to try.  After that, we’re down to the Iceland Option.

*Oops, I misspoke – Janet Yellen is head of the fed.  Boris Yeltsin was the dictator whose policies led to economic collapse.  I get confused.

Joe Doakes

Something liberals, with their decades of tinkering with the buttons and levers and switches of government, never quite understand; the intrinsic value of things never really changes (allowing for variables like location, quality, or whatever applies).  A house is a house.  An appendectomy is an appendectomy.  A flipped patty is a flipped patty.

Tinkering with the money supply only changes the value of the things we use to represent those concrete values.  Making more money only works if you make more stuff for that money to represent.

We’re not doing nearly enough of that.