Quote Of The Day

Williamson’s Victor Davis Hanson’s 1 piece – on the bureaucracy full of smug, entitled, thirtysomething bureaucrats who have such disporportionate control over this country today – is worth a read from beginning to end.

But this quote was the payoff:

Most men in Dayton or Huntsville do not lounge around in the morning in their pajamas, with or without built-in footpads, drinking hot chocolate and scanning health-insurance policies. That our elites either think they do, or think the few that matter do, explains why a nation $20 trillion in debt envisions the battle over transgender restrooms as if it were Pearl Harbor.

But read it all anyway.

1 Yeah, it’s been that kind of morning.

The Stick

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

In the olden days, public sector jobs were filled by patronage, which led to massive incompetence and frequent turnover.  These employees could get away with lousy service without repercussion because their jobs didn’t depend on customer service, they depended on remaining in favor.

 Later, public sector jobs are filled by civil service procedures to avoid nepotism and favoritism, hopefully resulting in more competent employees.  These employees couldn’t give the public lousy service because they’d be disciplined or even fired.

 In states like Minnesota, public sector jobs became union jobs with the adoption of the Public Employment Labor Relations Act in 1984.  They’re still filled by civil service exams but now they’re union jobs so employees can get away with lousy service without repercussion because it’s so difficult to discipline or fire a public union employee.  Local media attention or legislative scrutiny often is required before action is taken.

 I once submitted documents to the County Recorder but they were rejected.  The phone conversation went something like this: “Why were my documents rejected?  We can’t give you legal advice.  I don’t want legal advice, I want to know what’s wrong with my documents so I can fix them to get them recorded.  Read the statute.  I did read the statute, I still can’t see anything wrong with my documents.  Consult a lawyer.  I AM A LAWYER AND AS FAR AS I CAN TELL THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH MY DOCUMENTS SO WHAT’S THE PROBLM?  I’ll refer you to my supervisor.” 

 I don’t know whether that’s incompetence, malice, stupidity, or just an idiotic policy, but it did not delight the customer.

 And in the federal government, it’s even worse: public sector jobs are union jobs, supposedly filled by civil service process except the bosses are political appointees so the workers actually selected to fill positions tend to mirror the boss’s political views.  The federal government workforce leans Democrat so they have no personal qualms about treating Tea Party fundraisers less well than Move On fundraisers, for example.  Massive media attention and Congressional inquiries were insufficient to motivate the IRS to discipline anybody.

 Maybe this will get their attention.

 Joe Doakes

Something will have to, someday.  Perhaps it’ll be DC collapsing.

Syttende Mai

Today, Syttende Mai, is the 111th anniversary of the Norske Revolusjon – when Norwegian patriots, chafing under decades of Swedish/Danish tyranny, rebelled, casting off the brutal, authoritarian Swedish monarchy in an epic cataclysm that ended in a titanic battle in the hills outside Kristiansand, a crushing victory for the grossly-outnumbered Norwegians that sent the demoralized Swedes into a panicked retreat in the short term, and a social tailspin in the long run.


After the battle, and when the treaty was signed that granted Norway its hard=earned independence, General Olaf Haraldsson proclaimed:

Med allmektige Gud som vitne i dag, jeg sverger før du at fra i dag fram til slutten av tid og norsk skal noensinne baugen ned før en svenske. Det er bare galt

Words we cal all live by?  I think we can all agree on this.

So happy birthday, Norway!

Continue reading

MNDFL: They Know What Matters

The transportation, tax and bonding bills are all a shambles.

So what is the Minnesota DFL focused on?

Baseball players and their tobacco.

The bill was introduced Monday by Rep. Mike Freiberg, DFL-Golden Valley. It would ban the use of tobacco at Target Field, CHS Field and other professional sports stadiums in Minnesota.

“We need to make smokeless tobacco use in baseball a remnant of the past – and Minnesota should be proud to play a role in that movement,” said Freiberg Monday. “By allowing smokeless tobacco at the ballparks, we send the absolute wrong message about tobacco use. It’s time to take tobacco out of the game completely for the good of baseball and the health of our kids and players alike.”

All Is Proceeding As Predicted

Five years after Governor Flint-Smith Dayton got his Vikings Stadium deal, he admits his “e-pulltab” proposal – which was supposed to fund the state’s share of Zygi Wilf’s real-estate upgrade – was a flop (emphasis added):

By now, it’s a well-known fact that the plan to fund the state’s $498 million share of the new Vikings stadium with revenue from electronic pulltabs was a bust, but now Gov. Mark Dayton is owning up to it.

“You know, there were multiple errors made, and in hindsight, obviously we were terribly wrong,” Dayton toldMinnesota Public Radio.

Well, no, Governor Flint-Smith Dayton; you and the hysterical ninnies in the Legislature who buckled under to a bunch of louts dressed in fake Vikingwear were terribly wrong.

We – conservatives, people who both believe it’s not government’s job to build stadiums, and who do our freaking homework about shiny toys like e-pulltabs – were terribly right all along.

We Gotcher Minimum Wage Hike Right Here

Wendy’s follows McDonalds in moving to automated kiosks in its thousand and thousands of restaurants:

After New York City and California mandated $15 minimum-wage laws, fast-food chain Wendy’s reacted, announcing Thursday its plans to make available self-serving kiosks in its 6,000-plus restaurants across the country by year’s end.

In addition to using the technology to cut down on labor costs, Wendy’s President Todd Penegor noted on the company’s quarterly conference call, that some of its franchise locations have been raising prices to offset the minimum-wage increase, according to Investor’s Business Daily.

“Wendy’s Penegor said company-operated stores, only about 10 percent of the total, are seeing wage inflation of 5 percent to 6 percent, driven both by the minimum wage and some by the need to offer a competitive wage ‘to access good labor,’” IBD reported.

Why, it’s almost as if you’d think the left would have to know that artificially raising the minimum wage without increases in skill and productivity is going to increase unemployment among low-skill, low-wage workers, thus increasing dependence on government (thus increasing employment for government workers and their unions) or something.

All About The Kids

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This guy will use any stick to beat his favorite horses so I’m not endorsing his analysis.  The rise in births to unmarried mothers could be due to some other factor – unpopularity of shotgun marriages, for instance.

 But his claims that mixed race children grow up without fathers, and without paternal support, are interesting as they tie to other factors.  Children raised by single mothers are more likely to live in poverty.  Boys having no positive male role model more easily slip into violence and crime.

 It’s worth asking if the rise in illegitimacy might be related to the present furor over Black incarceration rates, police shootings protested by Black Lives Matter, 1,000 people shot (so far) in predominantly Black neighborhoods in Chicago, and Democrats’ collective fantasy that passing more gun laws will solve society’s problems.  Maybe traditional sexual morality restrained more than it appeared; maybe knocking down those barriers let loose more than we anticipated. 

 Oddly, why did unwed childbearing rates drop across the board in the 1990’s?  Newt Gingrich pushed through welfare reform and Clinton signed it in 1996, but the rate took a dive before the effects of the law could have been felt.  Why did women stop having babies out of wedlock, and why did they start up, again?

 Anyway, the charts are interesting. 

 Joe Doakes

The link between unwed parents and poverty is pretty iron-clad.

A Slice of Turkey

The letter that sat on the desk of Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, had been eagerly awaited.

Addressed from France’s Ambassador to Britain, Paul Cambon, the contents of the letter were the result of nearly five months of negotiations between Britain and France to reshape the Middle East after the hoped-for fall of the Ottoman Empire.  Despite the failings of the Entente to make progress on the battlefield, diplomats Sir Mark Sykes of England and François Georges-Picot of France had sought out success at the negotiating table, slicing and dicing Turkish lands.

What would become known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement would first unite, and then embarrass the Entente, while setting the foundation for the next 100 years of engagement between the Middle East and the West.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement – the final map of the Middle East after World War I wouldn’t be much different


100 years earlier, Europe had seemingly settled most of the map of the world with the post-Napoleonic Congress of Vienna.  The result had ultimately satisfied no one, with most of the attendees echoing the parting words of Britain’s Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, who regarded the final treaty as little more than “a piece of sublime mysticism and nonsense.”  For Stewart’s heirs across the various powers, the Great War seemed a grand opportunity to re-draft the map of the world for another century.

From the war’s first shots, both the Entente and Central Powers had cast their eyes onto their rival’s territories with hopes of expansion.  Whether it was the British and French trying to digest German African colonies, or the Ottomans seeking to expand their Empire to Persia, millions were dying or being maimed for the right to claim sections of the globe most the warring power’s citizens didn’t even know existed.   Continue reading

Madeline LeBeau

The last surviving credited cast member from the movie “Casablanca”, French actress Madeline LeBeau, has died.  She was 92.

LeBeau, in a still from a scene cut from “Casablanca”

The cause was complications from a broken thigh bone, her stepson, documentary filmmaker and mountaineer Carlo Alberto Pinelli, told the Hollywood Reporter.

Ms. LeBeau (sometimes credited as Lebeau) was the last surviving credited cast member of “Casablanca” (1942), which the American Film Institute lists as the second greatest movie of all time. “Citizen Kane” is No. 1, according to the film preservation group.

She played Rick Blaine’s (Humphrey Bogart) jilted girlfriend in the early part of the movie…:

I have no idea where the subtitles come from. Bizarre.

…and then reappeared during the famous “La Marseillaise” scene:

(Along with her husband at the time, Emil the Croupier, who hands Major Renault his winnings at the end of the clip).

Bigotry And Phobia!

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is trimming weeds by his driveway with a grass whip.  

Before he can react, Avery LIBRELLE – who is walking through the alley making notes about people who aren’t separating their recycling – surprises him.  

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!   Why are you people so panicky about transgenders picking their own restrooms?

BERG:  I’m not.  The whole thing is a tempest in a teapot – except of course for the Feds stepping in to make, literally, a federal issue about something that is really no issue at all.

LIBRELLE:  But you Republicans are all angry and scared!

BERG:  Enh.  Not me.  I’ve worked around some transgendered people.  It’s really no big deal.

LIBRELLE:   Ha ha ha ha ha!  Hah!  You should know that transgender people are very very unlikely to commit any crime at all!

BERG:  Right.  I know that.  But let me ask you, Avery – since transgendered people have a very very very low crime rate, we shouldn’t be imposing all sorts of pointless regulations on who goes into what restroom?

LIBRELLE:   Right!  That would be bigoted and transphobic!

BERG:  Bigotry and a design-your-own phobia!  Exactly!  Being mortally afraid of, and imposing pointless regulations that will have absolutely no affect on crime, on populations that have essentially negligible offense rates, is bigotry and phobia!

LIBRELLE:  Exactly!

BERG:  (Getting excited)  In fact, we should never impose pointless rules and regulations on people who commit vastly fewer crimes than the general population, because such regulations are rooted in bigotry and fear!

LIBRELLE:  Yes!  Absolutely!

BERG:  All of them!

LIBRELLE:  All of them! (LIBRELLE leaps up, kicks heels in glee)

BERG:  So background checks for law-abiding citizens transferring guns are…

LIBRELLE:  (Not quite realizing the change in subject) Phobic and bigo…HEY!

And SCENE. 

Sartrereffic!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Americans of my generation are dreamers.  We grew up believing the future held flying cars, any boy could become President or even better, an astronaut, and we’d eventually find the Perfect Girl.  We grew up believing America was the greatest nation on Earth, prosperity was here to stay and things would only get better, for ourselves and for our children.

 What do people like that do when flying cars turn out to be crappy little tin cans, when American astronauts have to hitch rides on Russian rockets, when The Girl leaves, taking the children with her?  What do we believe in when the President tells us “You didn’t build that,” sends jobs out of the country, brings in millions of welfare leeches and not only lets our sworn enemies have The Bomb, he pays them $100 Billion to do it? 

 What is left to believe in, when mental illness becomes constitutional right, when a lifetime of savings and equity evaporates, when college students are afraid of chalk and seemingly sensible people can no longer figure out which bathroom to use?

What do you do when your dream dies?  White Male suicide is skyrocketing.  Is losing the dream, the reason why?

 Doesn’t matter – you DESERVE to die.  Because Privilege

 Joe Doakes

And people ask why Trump is doing so very very well these days.

The Strafexpedition

For an operation that the Dual Monarchy had hinged on careful coordination, seemingly nothing had gone according to plan.

The scale of the forces involved could hardly be concealed.  400,000 men, complete with nearly 2,000 pieces of heavy artillery, had sat nestled into the Austrian Alps for months on the Italian/Austro-Hungarian border.  Record snowfall had kept the men confined to their trenches as whatever element of surprise the Austro-Hungarians once held slowly melted as surely as the white powder around them.

Having been on the defensive in Italy for a year, the Austro-Hungarian troops were now fed promises of dealing their hated Italian enemies a crushing blow.  General Conrad von Hötzendorf, the Dual Monarchy’s Chief of Staff, had labeled the coming offensive a Strafexpedition or “punitive expedition” against Italy.  While the tactical goal was ideally to cut off the Italians from the majority of their armies to the south in the Isonzo river valley, the more honest strategic purpose was simply to raze as much of Italy as possible for having joined the Entente.  At last, the Dual Monarchy was finally prepared to have their revenge.

On May 15th, 1916 the Austro-Hungarian army wasn’t looking to beat Italy, but to punish her.

The ruins of Asiago. The city, deep in what is now northern Italy, then closer to the border, was devastated by the Austro-Hungarian offensive

Long before Italy had cast it’s lot with the Entente, the simmering hostilities between the Dual Monarchy and Rome were well known among the diplomats of Europe.  France’s ambassador to Italy, Camille Barrère, defined the relationship between the two nations as “enemy-allies.”  Despite each nation’s participation in the Triple Alliance with Germany, the Austrians resented their defeats within the Italian Risorgimento and the Italians longed to acquire territory at the Dual Monarchy’s expense.  As late as 1911, the Austro-Hungarians were contemplating a preemptive assault against their nominal Italian allies.   Continue reading

I Hear The NARN A’Comin…

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

  • I’ll be talking with author Gary Moore.  

Don’t forget – King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1440, and Brad Carlson has “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 2-3PM.

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

Join us!

Alondra Cano: Bully

You might recall Minneapolis City Councilor Alonda Cano; last winter, she was abusing her access to city data to “shame” people who criticized her support for Black Lives Matter.  Then, when called for alleged laziness by (of all outlets) the City Pages, she…

…well, that actually brings us up to this week:

Tuesday evening, it was Cano’s turn to join the public conversation, doing so in the form of a Facebook post on her city council page. Cano wrote it was “hurtful and disappointing” to read the words “lazy,” “always late,” and “clueless” used to describe her work ethic on the council.

“It is important to illuminate,” Cano went on, “that these words, when used to frame women and people of color, carry a history of coded language that serve to create negative racial stereotypes.”

That could be.

Those words, when referring to someone who’d rather grandstand than learn their damn job, are also not-coded-at-all terms to refer to lazy, inconsiderate people who don’t do their homework, whatever their skin color.

Cano wrote that the negative story “weighed on me heavily,” and she went back and forth on whether she should respond to it. After all, she and her south Minneapolis constituents in the Ninth Ward have far greater concerns: wage theft, slumlords, a lack of paid sick time for workers, even working moms.

Which Cano, apparently, isn’t doing jack for.

“However,” Cano continued, “when loaded and biased attacks occur, it is vital that we stand up and speak the truth. In this case, this story was racist, sexist, and it was an attempt to smear all of the things I stand for.

Well, no.  It was an attempt to tell the public that Cano – who reportedly has ambitions to run for Mayor or the Legislature – isn’t doing a very good job, when her job doesn’t involve granstanding, or taking spiffy trips on the taxpayer’s dime.

I want you to know that I am unabashed in my commitment to continuing to advance a racial and social justice agenda no matter the backlash.”

Let’s take a moment to go over what just happened.  Alondra Cano – an elected member of a power bloc with absolute one-party control of a major city, a person with in effect a lifetime sinecure either in government or non-profits for her and (likely) her entire family, one who wields the kind of power that mere citizens don’t even know how to dream of – is trying to paint herself as a victim.

Cano – like Nekima Levy-Pounds, another person with immense power and privilege herself – is perfectly fine using her position to shame critics who don’t buy newsprint by the trainload; when someone – even the lowly City Pages – comes along and hits her from the level, she cries “victimization”.  

Question, Minneapolis:  Do you deserve better, or not?

 

Golf Clap

I finally found a “public servant” I can get behind; Minneapolis Park Board member Liz Wielinski cut Nekima Levy-Pounds off at the knees when the local NAACP leader interrrupted, out of order, at a Park Board meeting:

“I’m tired of this. You keep interrupting our meetings,” Wielinski shouted after Levy-Pounds began to speak. “You’re a crude, interrupting adult.”

Any bets on how Levy-Pounds responded?

No bets?

I never get any bets on the response.

With good reason (emphasis added):

Levy-Pounds, who has been involved in multiple protests over racial disparities in recent months, accused Wielinski of exercising white supremacy and speaking to her as a slave. The exchange was recorded on video and later posted on Facebook.
“I’m not your child. Don’t ever talk to me like that again,” Levy-Pounds, a law professor, told Wielinski.

Levy-Pounds is a child; more accurately, a spoiled, entitled teenager, used to stomping over whatever she wants and crying “racist” at anyone who raises a finger at her.

“I was berated and yelled at like a child,” Levy-Pounds said Thursday.

If only.

As for Wielinski?  She’s go the right perspective:

Wielinski said Thursday that she has apologized to the board for an exchange she compared to “The Jerry Springer Show,” but said she has no apology to make to Levy-Pounds. She said Levy-Pounds and others could avail themselves of the board’s regularly scheduled public comment period at other meetings.
“I think I shouldn’t have lost my temper, but we were within our rights to ask people to respect the process,” she said.

One wonders how Ms. Levy-Pounds would react if someone interrupted an NAACP meeting.

 

Open Letter To Sen. Latz, Rep. Schoen, Rep. Norton, Rev. Nord Bence, Jane Kaye, Heather Martens, and Joan Peterson

To:  The Abovementioned
From: Mitch Berg, Mere Peasant
Re:  Your signage where your mouths are

All,

You are the leaders of Minnesota’s gun-grabber movement.  You and your wan little pack of Volvo-driving, alpaca-wearing, NPR-listening, St. Olaf-graduating, ELCA-coiffed followers want to take away Minnesotans’ right and means to defend themselves.

Now, crime in Minnesota is very, very low – and a higher percentage of Minnesotans have carry permits than Texans.  Crime is lowest of all in places where the number of legally-carried guns is the highest.

And vice versa.

So you all live in your hideaways in Kenwood, Saint Anthony Park, Crocus Hill, Rochester and Saint Louis Park, in part made safer by the deterrent effect of all of us shooters.

So why not make an integrity move, and eschew that deterrence?

Put one of these babies in your yard:

Show America’s gun culture that you  patently reject the collateral benefit of their – our – prudence!

Tell Minnesota – all Minnesotans – that you trust all 5.5 million of your neighbors to stay honest.  Tell them that you implicitly trust that if something goes hinky, that you trust the police will be there fast enough to make a difference.

You do trust the police to protect you, just as you want us to trust them – don’t you?

Please see to this immediately.

What?  You’re not afraid, are you?

Because I’d hate to think you all were a bunch of hypocrites.

That is all.

Hearings

Joe Doakes convenes a meeting of the Immigration Integration Advisory Task Force, via email:

C: This session of the Immigration Integration Advisory Task Force will come to order. The Secretary will call the roll:
S: Madam Chairman . . .
C: Excuse me. I find that offensive. I prefer a gender-neutral title.
S: Certainly Madame Chair.
C: I am not a “Chair,” I am a human being. And I am offended by “Madame.” I prefer a gender-neutral title for that, too, in case I change my mind about my gender while we’re in session. You can address me as “Mix.”

Continue reading

A Tale Of Two Cities

Tyler Gottwalt strapped on an AK47 and took a walk.  He was looking for trouble…

…in pretty much the same way Martin Luther King was.  He set out to flush out an illegal law.

And he found it.  While the Sauk Rapids cops knew the law – citizens with carry permits are allowed to carry uncased long arms in public – the Saint Cloud PD didn’t.  They arrested Gottwalt, citing a city ordinance.

We’ll let the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance take up the story next:

As Professor Olson notes in the video, Saint Cloud can’t regulate guns differently than the state does, due to the state’s pre-emption ordinance. Which makes the SCPD’s arrest an illegal one.

Gottwalt is sueing the city. I hope he wins and wins big.

Those Who Forget Stupid-People History Are Doomed To Repeat It

The Early ’70s – the National Coalition to Ban Handguns distributes signs indicating that the home is “proud to be gun-free”.

They made the usual, predictable media splash – the nation’s opinion-pushers were pretty roundly anti-gun in those days, and they’d done a pretty fair job of bandwagoning a good chunk of American opinion into line with them.

But then a funny thing happened.

The robbery rates in “gun-free homes” shot through the roof; owners of posted homes found that they were being robbed at a rate vastly, vastly, utterly, screamingly, almost satirically higher than their neighbors.

So the signs disappeared almost as fast as the “no guns allowed” signs vanished from Twin Cities bars after “gun-free” bars found themselves getting stuck up at an alarming rate.

We’re seeing a pattern here – right?

And by “we” I mean anyone whose EKG is ticking in the least bit.

Because not everybody does.

UPDATE:  Hah!  It look like the “red light” story is from a satire site!   The story is fake…

…but accurate.

In other words, I’ve fallen for a line that is devoid of fact.  Just like Senator Latz, Representatives Norton and Schoen, Heather Martens, the Right Reverend Nancy Nord Bence, Joan Peterson and Nick Coleman.  Only mine doesn’t trample the Constitution and get innocent people killed.

Open Letter To Minnesota Public Radio News

To: Minnesota Public Radio News
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Food For Thought

MPR,

Isn’t it annoying – to say the least – to have to subject your constitutional freedoms to theatrical, unproductive and degrading scrutiny by bureaucrats, to no useful end?

A few minutes after 8 o’clock Monday morning, [MPR Reporter] Mukhtar Ibrahim started filing through the security line at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis.
It was a big day for Ibrahim, and figured to be a long one: Day one of a high-profile trial for three local men accused of plotting to join ISIS fighters in Syria.

Ibrahim and a reporter for the Star Tribune approached the security screening and offered their bags for clearance by a security officer. The other reporter, who is white, passed right through and headed for the elevator. Ibrahim was stopped, and told he couldn’t go in yet. He would have to wait for the time when the court opened to the public.

If it saves even one life…!

Ibrahim protested, pulling out a press badge showing he works for Minnesota Public Radio. Not good enough, the officer said. Go wait with the rest of the public.

Ibrahim didn’t argue and instead just collected his wallet, keys, and bag, and went to wait with public spectators. The way Ibrahim figures, he shouldn’t have even needed to flash the badge. He’s been covering cases there for a year and a half: These guys should recognize him by now.

People with a long, proven record of not abusing free speech are almost never a danger!

On Monday, once Ibrahim and the rest of the non-journalists observers there for the trial were let in, he simply walked across the courtroom to the area sectioned-off for members of the media and sat down. But the episode continued to eat at him.

“It messed up my mood the whole day,” Ibrahim said. “I was just really frustrated. I didn’t expect this.”

It is frustrating, isn’t it?  Trying to go about your business, doing something you have a Constitutional right to do, and getting badgered by petty bureaucrats?

“I like to stick to the facts,” Ibrahim said, “so I’ll let people make their own conclusions of this.”

The obvious answer; force all reporters to take a background check.

That’ll fix it.

That is all.

I’m No Trump Fan…

…but I will say that his Second Amendment stance, expressed here in writing, is aggressively excellent.

Especially this bit here:

NATIONAL RIGHT TO CARRY. The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states. A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state. If we can do that for driving – which is a privilege, not a right – then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege.

Given how often Trump is accused of making verbal promises he has no idea how to deliver, it’s kind of funny seeing him showing the gun control movement – which has been doing the same thing in fact for almost 50 years.