Counterfeit

How do you fight a piece of popular culture that completely mangles history?

You put out some popular culture of your own

Historians fighting back against the pop revisionism of Hamilton with a musical of their own.

Reed’s “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda” is an uncompromising take-down of “Hamilton,” reminding viewers of the Founding Father’s complicity in slavery and his war on Native Americans.
“My goal is that this to be a counter-narrative to the text that has been distributed to thousands of students throughout the country,” said Reed, who teaches at the California College of the Arts and the University of California at Berkeley and whose latest novel is “Conjugating Hindi.”
Reed, whose play had a recent reading in New York and who is raising money for a four-week production in May, is part of a wave of “Hamilton” skeptics — often solitary voices of dissent amid a wall of fawning attention — who have written journal articles, newspaper op-eds and a 2018 collection of essays, “Historians on Hamilton.”
Miranda’s glowing portrayal of a Hamilton who celebrates open borders — “Immigrants, we get the job done!” — and who denounces slavery has incensed everyone from professors at Harvard to the University of Houston to Rutgers.
They argue that Miranda got Hamilton all wrong — the Founding Father wasn’t progressive at all, his actual role as a slave owner has been whitewashed and the pro-immigrant figure onstage hides the fact that he was, in fact, an anti-immigration elitist.
“It’s a fictional rewrite of Hamilton. You can’t pick the history facts that you want,” said Nancy Isenberg , a professor of American history at Louisiana State University who has written a biography of Aaron Burr and is the author of “White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America.”

It all fits into my plan to do a musical on the life and legacy of Calvin Coolidge.

Open Letter To Senator Scott Jensen

To: Sen. Scott Jensen
From: Mitch Berg, Impudent Peasant
Re: Know Your Friends

Sen. Jensen,

Last year, as he got set up to run for re-election as a Republican in decaying purple district, Representative Dario Anselmo made a very visible point of cuddling up to Minnesota’s various gun control groups.

He spoke at their rallies.

He offered his own testimony (his stepmother was murdered).

He sought the grabbers’ endorsement, he could practically taste it.

And after all that, the DFL and the gun grab groups up to which he’d been sucking, endorsed the DFL opponent, who won the race surfing atop of curl of Progressive Plutocrat money. And it’s not just Anselmo. Republicans who cuddle up to Big Gun Control tend to get treated like the kid in junior high who, when the bullies and mean girls ask them to eat a bug to be accepted by the “cool kids”, eat the bug – and have the photos of them eating the bug pasted up around the school.

Don’t eat the bug, Senator Jensen.

That is all.

When “Progs” Call Trump A “Nazi”…

…remind them that he’s the kind of “Nazi” who sings “Happy Birthday” to a Jewish camp survivor:

House and Senate members broke into a rendition of “Happy Birthday” during Tuesday’s State of the Union address to celebrate a survivor of the Holocaust and last year’s Tree of Life synagogue shooting.

Judah Samet attended the address as a guest of the White House. President Trump acknowledged him in the crowd, prompting a standing ovation, and noted it was Samet’s 81st birthday.ADVERTISEMENT

Attendees then broke into song, with Trump mock-conducting from the dais.

“Thank you!” Samet shouted.

Wonder if Ilhan Omar joined in?

Not a rhetorical question. I’m seriously curious.

Logic

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The governor of Virginia explained that a proposed law would allow a woman to give birth to her baby, then decide whether to kill it.  A “post-birth” abortion.  Aside from the fact that killing babies is what Kenneth Gosnell went to prison for, why only the mother? Why isn’t the father involved in the decision to kill the child?
In the past, the “women-only” argument was that a woman’s body should be free from government intrusion.  Government shouldn’t have the power to force her to carry a child, and neither should anybody else.  That’s involuntary servitude, a fancy of saying sexual slavery, which is evil.  Plainly, the woman is the only person with a right to decide what happens to her body, including whether to terminate the pregnancy by abortion.
But under the proposed law, the carrying is done.  The baby is out of her body.  No slavery involved.  So why should only the woman get to decide whether the baby lives or dies? Why isn’t the father involved?  For that matter, why isn’t the baby involved?   Who speaks on behalf of the living, breathing, child lying on the table?  Shouldn’t there be someone appointed to defend the child’s rights including the most fundamental right of all – the right to be alive?  
Serious flaws in the logic of the proposed law. Send it back for more work.

To be fair, it was never about logic.

A Couple Of Birthdays

It’s been a little crazy lately, and in the rush I neglected two birthdays.

The first, of course, is today.

Reagan

Note:  This is an “encore” of a post I wrote in 2013

Today would be the 108th birthday of the greatest president of my lifetime.

People say “there’s no Ronald Reagan in American politics today”.  And they’re right – but as his son Michael told me in an interview a few years ago, it’s not that there couldn’t be.

Because Reagan had three great talents:   he was a great, natural communicator (who, unlike a lot of “natural communicators”, honed his craft with relentless discipline);  he developed a vision and he stuck to it with determination and focus; and most importantly for today’s  conservatives, he knew how to build coalitions, rather than exclude people from them.

We have plenty of people who can communicate well, although the conservative movement has had its share of duds in that department too.  And we have not a few who can visioneer with the best of them  – in fact, with the rise of the Tea Party, our movement’s best years may be to come, provided they keep the faith.

But as to building coalitions?

Today, we’re better at building silos.

Reagan did something that conservatives are terrible at today; he got social conservatives (at the peak of their notoriety and political cachet), blue-collar Democrats who the economy had turned into instant fiscalcons, Jack Kemp-style economic hawks and paleocons together…

…by focusing remorselessly on what they agreed on;  fixing the economy, and ending Communism.

And once in office, that’s what he focused on.  Oh, he paid lip service to issues that were to him tangents – and lip service from the world’s greatest bully pulpit ain’t chicken feed. But he didn’t fritter his political capital away with excessive natterings about issues that were tangential to his vision, and the vision his coalition all agreed on in electing him.  He spoke eloquently on issues – many of them – and that speaking had its effect.

Some call that an abdication; it was in fact a matter of leaving that work to the members of his coalition (example:  he exerted very little executive effort on abortion and gun control – but the efforts to roll both back at the state and local level started to coalesce during his time in office anyway – in part because of his leadership from the bully pulpit.  But for all that, always, the focus was on “dancing with the one what brung him” to DC at the head of an impossibly-diverse coalition; his rock-solid, bone-simple two point agenda, fixing the economy and toppling the Commies.

As I moderated the “Where Do We Go From Here” event last week at the Blue Fox, and listened to some of the friction and cat-calling across the party’s various factions, I thought there was a lot of focus on what divided us.  And so my final question to the panel was “what do we all – all of us, from socialcons like Andy Parrish to libertarians like Marianne Stebbins, actually agree on?”  Because that is the only real way forward for any of the factions – since if any faction takes Parrish’s (tongue in cheek?) advice and forms a separate party, it’s the road to mutual palookaville, with multiple parties that are less than the sum of the parts they once were.

So for my annual Gipper Day celebration, it’ll be the usual; jelly beans at my desk, taking the kids out to dinner to talk about what Reagan’s legacy has meant in their lives (other than the uninformed, out-of-context crap the DFLers in their lives’ll say)…

…and asking my fellow conservatives “what do we agree on?”

The second? Well, that’ was yesterday.

Shot In The Dark

Yesterday was the 17th anniversary of my starting this blog.

Hardly seems possible, sometimes.

Ebb Tide

Jason Rarick won the special election in Senate District 11 last night, and did it with a pretty impressive margin in a district that was not only pretty much 50-50, but in which the GOP has never won the Senate seat.

Perhaps it’s a sign that the DFL wave from last fall has dissipated in a welter of the overreach I predicated. The GOP now has a two-vote majority in the Senate.

An interesting sign: organized labor, at least private-sector labor, was working the district hard.

For Rarick.

Didn’t see that coming, I gotta admit.

And perhaps it’s a sign that MInnesota’s real 2nd Amendment groups, which backed Rarick, are actually starting to get their clout back, and see the truth about the (in my opinion) fraudulent, Iowa-based “Minnesota” Gun Rights, which denounced Rarick for no rational reason other than the simple fact that winning would gut their gravy train. Side note: If you donate to Minnesota Gun Rights, you are a sucker and I’ll tell you to your face; you would do less damage giving your money directly to Michael Bloomberg.

Congrats, Jason Rarick!

The Flow

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Ivoprop is a respected brand of ultralight propellers.  They have a great reputation.  The founder has an even better story.

Nobody ever flew one the other direction to escape from capitalist Austria into socialist Czechoslovakia.  Lesson for Ilhan and AOC in there, somewhere.

Somewhere, somehow, I’m pretty sure either Ilhan and AOC got it in their head that someone did, or they know that nobody in their voting pool would check them on it if they said “as many people fled east as west”.

Minnesota “progressives” aren’t that curious or critical.

It’s Technically Only Satire If It’s Not 100% True

SCENE: Mitch BERG is shopping for a new casserole trivet for his Instant Pot (C) when MyLysa SILBERMAN, Reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats, rounds the corner.

BERG: Er…Ms. Silberman.

SILBERMAN: [visibly searching for name] . Er – hello, Merg.

BERG: So – any comment about the allegations against Ralph “Satchmo” Northam?

SILBERMAN: In these inflammatory situations and divided times, it’s a journalist’s responsibility to make sure they get the facts straight.

BERG: OK. So – Brent Kavanaugh…

SILBERMAN: [Abruptly screams, face red with rage] WE ALWAYS #BELIEVEWOMEN, YOU SON OF A BITCH!!!

BERG: Huh. So – Democrat governor Northam…

SILBERMAN: [Abruptly calm again] Get the facts…

BERG: Northam, Ellison, Clinton…

SILBERMAN: [Abruptly calm again] We can’t report a story where we’re not absolutely sure…

BERG: The Covington kids..

SILBERMAN: [Enraged again] . WHITE! MAGA! THE…SMIRK! I JUST WANT TO BURN THAT KID’S FACE OFF!

BERG: Right. So I’ve predicted that the media will declare Northam “rehabilitated” within the year.

SILBERMAN: Rehabilitated from what?

BERG: Er…yeah. Exactly.

And SCENE

Just Desserts

Attorneys representing Nick Sandman, the Covington Kid who was the subject of Big Left’s two minutes’ hate a couple weeks ago, have started the wheels rolling on lawsuits.

Over fifty of them:

“The legal counsel representing Nick and his family, Todd McMurtry and experienced libel and defamation lawyer L. Lin Wood of Atlanta, have said they will seek justice for the harm allegedly done to the teen,” The Enquirer reported. “McMurtry is with the law firm of Hemmer Defrank Wessels and has practiced law in Greater Cincinnati since 1991. He said a team of seven lawyers has been working full-time to review the media accounts of what happened.”
The letters come in response to the media’s smearing of Sandmann after a selectively edited clip of an incident on January 19, 2019, went viral that showed Sandmann standing face-to-face with Native American Nathan Phillips, who was beating a drum in Sandmann’s face.

The list of people and entities served includes:

  1. The Washington Post
  2. The New York Times
  3. Cable News Network, Inc. (CNN)
  4. The Guardian
  5. National Public Radio
  6. TMZ
  7. Atlantic Media Inc.
  8. Capitol Hill Publishing Corp.
  9. Diocese of Covington
  10. Diocese of Lexington
  11. Archdiocese of Louisville
  12. Diocese of Baltimore
  13. Ana Cabrera (CNN)
  14. Sara Sidner (CNN)
  15. Erin Burnett (CNN)
  16. S.E. Cupp (CNN)
  17. Elliot C. McLaughlin (CNN)
  18. Amanda Watts (CNN)
  19. Emanuella Grinberg (CNN)
  20. Michelle Boorstein (Washington Post)
  21. Cleve R. Wootson Jr. (Washington Post)
  22. Antonio Olivo (Washington Post)
  23. Joe Heim (Washington Post)
  24. Michael E. Miller (Washington Post)
  25. Eli Rosenberg (Washington Post)
  26. Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post)
  27. Kristine Phillips (Washington Post)
  28. Sarah Mervosh (New York Times)
  29. Emily S. Rueb (New York Times)
  30. Maggie Haberman (New York Times)
  31. David Brooks (New York Times)
  32. Shannon Doyne
  33. Kurt Eichenwald
  34. Andrea Mitchell (NBC/MSNBC)
  35. Savannah Guthrie (NBC)
  36. Joy Reid (MSNBC)
  37. Chuck Todd (NBC)
  38. Noah Berlatsky
  39. Elisha Fieldstadt (NBC)
  40. Eun Kyung Kim
  41. HBO
  42. Bill Maher
  43. Warner Media
  44. Conde Nast
  45. GQ
  46. Heavy.com
  47. The Hill
  48. The Atlantic
  49. Bustle.com
  50. Ilhan Omar
  51. Elizabeth Warren
  52. Kathy Griffin
  53. Alyssa Milano
  54. Jim Carrey

Defamation cases are very hard to win. Justifiably so.

But I hope Sandmann cleans clock on this.

Free, And Still Not Worth It

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Amazon Prime members can read Kindle books for free. The one I’m reading now was advertised as a realistic action thriller, so I thought I’d take a chance. Why not?  It’s free, if I hate it, I just push delete.

I’m three pages in.

Milton, the main character is a British assassin in the James Bond mould.  He has parked his car and walked around to the trunk. Here’s where the story picks up and I quote: “he unfolded the edges of the blanket to uncover the assault rifle that had been left at the Dead Drop the previous night. It was an HK53 carbine with integrated suppressor, the rifle that the SAS often used when stealth was as important as stopping power. Milton lifted the rifle from the boot and pressed a fresh 25 round magazine into the breach. He opened the collapsible stock and took aim, pointing down the middle of the road. Satisfied that the weapon was functioning correctly, he made his way toward the bridge and rested it in the undergrowth, out of sight.”

See?  Total realism.  That’s how you test a rifle. Slam in the mag, fold open the stock, point it down the road. You don’t test-fire it, cycle the action, don’t even look inside the chamber to see if it’s loaded. Apparently, I’ve been doing it wrong all these years and never knew.

Delete.

Joe Doakes

People who don’t know, or like, or care about guns write about them pretty much the way I write about golf.

(All due respect to the golfers in the audience…)

Echoes Over The Desert

As a native of North Dakota, I’ve always found southern Minnesota winters to be a bit of a letdown (although last week certainly got my attention).

But there are those who find the whole thing rather brisk, and prefer hiking to shoveling snow.  And so they retire to other states.

Turns out Arizona is the #1 destination for Minnesota snowbirds.

And the story Martin Moylan of Minnesota Public Radio did about the subject last week was actually really good and informative.

But I wondered about this bit here:

Politically, Arizona has been bright red historically. But it may be turning purple, and, if politics matter, newcomers can find communities that align with their social and other perspectives.

Translated:  “Don’t worry, all of you Urban Progressive Privilege entitlees;  even here in a whole new place, there nothing that says you need to rattle your echo chamber by learning to treat other peoples’ perspectives as anything other than caricatures”.

Wonder why they felt the need to do that?

Kamala Harris Is Everything That’s Ugly And Stupid About Government

The thing about “progressivism” is that while it flaps its jaws about “helping” the vulnerable, it inevitably ends up harming them.

Give them a $15 minimum wage and mandatory sick time? Get them laid off!

Attack landlords for the “quality” of housing they provide? Make housing unaffordable!

Kamala Harris, in her celebrated (by the media) record as a prosecutor, did more than her fair share of being unfair.

. Her crusade against the scourge of parents whose kids skip school, for example:

The good news is that post-CNN town hall, although much of the media lauded Harris and posted adoring articles about her acumen and likability, several took it upon themselves to resurface videos of Harris’s recent support for cracking down on truancy violations.
In 2010, for example, video shows Harris saying, “I believe a child going without an education is tantamount to a crime. So I decided I was gonna start prosecuting parents for truancy.”
“Well, this was a little controversial in San Francisco,” Harris noted, with a folksy giggle.
Another video showed Harris bragging about her power: “As a prosecutor in law enforcement, I have huge stick. The school district as a carrot. Let’s work together in tandem…to get those kids in school.”

Have I ever mentioned how much I love prosecutors who are drunk with their own power?

Her policies involved $2,000 fines, and even jail time, for parents whose kids missed “too much” school.

Which, people who actually pay attention to this issue will tell you, is a stupid, stupid plan, unless your goal is to paint yourself as “tough”:

…the people hurt by this carceral approach are the very people who are most likely to be financially crippled by a few fines. We’re not talking about wealthy people here, and generally speaking, criminal justice reform advocates fear using punitive means to “help” poor people because it can be so easy for them to get trapped in a cycle of unpaid fines that leads to jail time, which leads to time forcibly taken off of work, which leads to even less money and even less ability to pay outstanding debts.
None of this, you can imagine, helps children get a more stable home life with more attention from parents. 

With junior high and high school kids, truancy often isn’t something parents can control (while still holding down jobs, anyway).

With younger kids? If they’re missing school regularly, it’s usually not a matter of “truancy”; it’s problems at home, more often than not problems stemming from one personal or social pathology or another.

In what other area of society do we try to address this sort of thing with fines and jail time?

Kamala Harris is a public cancer.

Hostile Takeover

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

When private health insurance was unable to provide uniform affordable coverage, Congress had no choice but to take it over through Obama-care.  The success of that program proves the principle is sound: government must do what private industry can’t do.
Thousands of people are without electricity during dangerously cold weather.  Private power companies have demonstrated they are incapable of providing uniform affordable coverage.  Congress has no choice but to take over the electrical industry. This is right in line with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ socialist philosophy, she’s the logical choice to introduce the legislation.  Government, not private business, is the only way to ensure prompt and efficient delivery of essential services to women and minorities, whatever the weather might be
In other news, the Post Office isn’t delivering mail today.  Mn/DOT pulled its snowplows off the road.  St. Paul schools are closed and it’s mandatory recycling program is suspended.  Government workers cannot promptly and efficiently deliver essential services because of the weather. 
Hmm, maybe we should revisit the concept of government taking over private businesses?  Do we really expect union government employees to be climbing power poles in the howling freezing wind in the dead of night?  Would that idea work any better than Obama-care or its inevitable successor, Kamela-care?
Whatever those guys on the power poles make (and they’re almost all guys), it’s not enough.  Whatever those gals in Congress make (and the goofy ones are almost all gals), it’s too much.

I for one am so happy I’ve got private-sector power. Although it’s a private monopoly in the area, so it’s not quite free market…

A Conservative Is A Liberal That’s Been Mugged

It’s not just an aphorism!

DC/Baltimore area liberal political comic lives it out:

Tim Young was heading to one of D.C.’s newest hotspots—The Wharf—when his life changed.
He was walking down a well-lit section of M Street at about 7:45 p.m. Wednesday when two men approached him—one of them had a gun.
“Terrified. You know, when I talk to people about this… you’re scared. There’s no man card involved. I was defenseless,” explained Young, who’s a political comedian and host of ‘No Things Considered’ at the D.C. Examiner. The men ran off with his cell phone.


Now, he said he absolutely plans to apply for a concealed carry permit in D.C., but it won’t be easy. The District is one of the toughest places in the country to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
“When you’re in an instance where there’s a gun is pointed at you and your life is being threatened for your property and no one’s going to help—and now I know that no one’s going to help—I want to feel more secure. I want to feel safe, and I have something to defend myself with,” he said.
When asked how the situation would have went differently if he had a gun, Young told Bruce Johnson on ‘Off Script’ that he probably would have pulled it out to defend himself.
He addressed people who are against conceal carry permits by saying they’ve probably never been in his position.
“I think a lot of those people who are opposed to having a conceal carry permit and being able to own a weapon have never had one pointed directly at them when they have nothing on them,” Young said.

Welcome to the party, Tim.

Bring some friends.

Someone Give This To Ron Latz

Remember that quip you get from every bobbleheaded liberal when you remind them that the Second Amendment is supposed to be about defending freedom against tyranny?

“What?”, they inevitably respond, “you’re going to fight at tank with your AR15?” (No, I won’t have to, because if the government comes for the guns, it’ll be the AR15s and the tanks against the progressives with their protest signs. But I digress).

The question about whether tyranny in Venezuela will, to paraphrase Mick Jones, will stay or go, is partly about socialist power politics, partly about manipulation of mobs…

…and mostly about who’s got the guns.

Military defectors say it’s also all about guns.  The military apparently doesn’t have any, or at least access to them, despite the massive arms sales from Russia that Venezuela’s socialist regime has spent its oil bounty on. [Former soldier] Hidalgo Azuaje added: “We’re not saying that we need only US support, but also Brazil, Colombia, Peru, all brother countries, that are against this dictatorship.”
The military men are pleading for arms.  They’ll take care of the job, they say, if they have the tools to do it.
Recall that when Venezuelan soldiers mutinied in the area of Petare earlier this month, their priority also was seizing weapons.
It does suggest that a penurious armed force with no access to weapons is the problem.  Apparently, not even the soldiers are trusted with guns by the dictatorship.  The Maduro regime is starting to arm gangs as a means of checking the military.  They trust gangs and thugs, but not responsible military men with guns, and seem to have disarmed them

It’s worth noting that Hugo Chavez – whose death let to Maduro and his clacque ineriting and extending their absolute power – got his start as a paratrooper in the Venezuelan army. So the regime knows what it needs to defend against.

When Brazil’s new government instituted a right to keep and bear arms for Brazilians, it wasn’t entirely about street crime.

Totalitarian dictatorship has been described as “a boot on your face, forever”. A monopoly on firepower is what makes it possible to keep that boot there, unmolested.

Buzzkill

Buzzfeed circles the drain. 

Kyle Smith watches it spinning:

Founded in 2006, BuzzFeed is, as of this year, a teenager, and as is true of many teens it has an unrealistic view of its own likely future. BuzzFeed dreams of landing the Disney prince of profitability by dolling itself up in two ways. One is to cut costs. Unload most of the journalists producing the kinds of pieces that could in theory appear in an actual newspaper because this stuff loses money. Dozens of people have been laid off already, with more to come. Yet BuzzFeed is at the same time advertising for “editorial fellows” (journalistic lingo for “low-paid employees”) to apply for jobs. Clear out all those 28-year-olds whose salaries have soared worryingly into the mid-five figures and replace them with 23-year-olds willing to work for Starbucks wages. Hey, being a journalista beats being a barista, right? And as hinted above, it’s not like BuzzFeed has any hangups about the quality of its content. If you can make a latte, you can probably make a listicle.

I knew Buzzfeed, at least as far as “journalism” goes, was going to be a joke when I first heard about it. Know how I knew? Because of the company it kept here in the Twin Cities.

The second part of the BuzzFeed makeover, coming soon, is to grow. BuzzFeed has hinted that it intends to hoover up many other similar sites, all those fourth-rate imitators of a third-rate product that also seek to provide micro-dopamine infusions to cupcake-scarfing arrested-development cubicle prisoners as they daydream of shopping at Forever 21 and wonder if Jafar is kind of hot. If 17 bajillion dollops of extreme-low-quality content delivering 150 gajillion eyeballs doesn’t work, double down! If gigantic scale doesn’t work, activate ludicrous scale!

If Buzzfeed spirals in, one hopes the American people would get smarter.

These days, it’s more likeliy it’d get replaced by something worse…

The Wrong Lesson

Four Houston cops were shot (and another sustained a non-gunshot injury) serving a warrant against a couple of drug dealers.

That’s bad enough.

Worse?

Houston Police Officers’ Union President Joe Gamaldi was upset:

“We are sick and tired of dirt bags trying to take our lives when all we’re trying to do is protect this community and our families,” he said. “Enough is enough.”

I get that. It’s downright understandable.

This next part – where he apparently declares war on anti-police thoughtcrime? A little more troublesome:

“If you’re the ones that are out there spreading the rhetoric that police officers are the enemy, just know we’ve all got your number now, we’re going to be keeping track of all of y’all, and we’re going to make sure that we hold you accountable every time you stir the pot on our police officers.We’ve had enough, folks. We’re out there doing our jobs every day, putting our lives on the line for our families.”

I’m curious what level of criticism

Virtue-Filing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If this law passes, you will be able to march down to the County Recorder and pay $46 to have them record your Affidavit of Virtue.
Well, that’s not the exact title.  It’s called “Discharge of Restrictive Covenant Affecting Protected Classes.”  It has no legal effect.  Restrictive covenants which discriminate against protected classes already are unenforceable, but by recording this form you can proclaim to the world that unenforceable restrictive covenants on your land are now double-plus-ungood.  You and your virtuous neighbors might want to put up lawn signs, get t-shirts printed, have block parties.  You could invite city council members and legislators to attend and congratulate you on your virtue.
In addition, I suspect the newspapers will publish names of people who have signaled their virtue by recording these forms, and also the names of racist, hateful curmudgeons like me who won’t spring $46 to record a document that does absolutely nothing.  So you’ll have that going for you.
I can hardly wait.
Joe Doakes

Sort of a like a PC loyalty oath.

I Need To Hit That Powerball. Stat.

I’ve never been a yuge Pink Floyd fan.

But if you had to pick a guitar player whose style is probably most like mine, it’s probably David Gilmour.

And Gilmour is selling off most of his guitar collection for charity, including some seriously iconic pieces:

The instruments that will be on the auction block at Christie’s New York headquarters this June include many of his signature instruments. He’ll be selling the Black Strat — a guitar he played on “Money,” “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and “Comfortably Numb” and enough other songs that it has amassed a legacy worthy of its own book — as well as his Stratocaster with the serial number 0001, the 12-string he wrote “Wish You Were Here” on and the Ovation six-string he’s played “Comfortably Numb” on at almost every live performance he’s done.

“These guitars have been very good to me,” he tells Rolling Stone on a phone call from his home in England. “They’re my friends. They have given me lots of music. I just think it’s time that they went off and served someone else. I have had my time with them. And of course the money that they will raise will do an enormous amount of good in the world, and that is my intention.”

I liked this particular pullquote:

It’s very hard to talk about the writing process and how I record and use little snippets. Sometimes I’m hearing a piece of music as it’s playing on the radio or on television, and I record 10 seconds of it, just for a little particular thing and rhythm or something attracts me. I will go back to that little moment to say, “What was it about this that attracted me and what can I … not steal, but pay homage to or extract a feeling from it.” Most of [the ideas] are things strummed on acoustic guitar or plunked on a piano. Ninety percent of them, I will not understand why on earth I jotted them down and recorded them, but I have several hundred of them. I’ll find something good in there.

So – time to find that winning lottery ticket…

Freedom Dies In “Efficiency”

Alternate title: “Ryan Winkler tries to make the trains run on time”.

The DFL majority in the House has moved all the House’s committees under the Ways and Means committee – meaning that Ways and Means chair Lyndon Carlson can can move bills around, and forward to votes, without a whole lot of scrutiny:

According to the DFLers who now make up the majority in the House, the newish method of managing the flow of budget-related bills is more efficient: a way for legislation to spend less time on the House floor and more time in committees, where the heavy lifting of legislating is really done.

But for House Republicans — both the 55-member Republican Caucus and the four-member “New Republican” caucus — those same rules constitute an anti-transparency move that puts democracy at risk. The newbie GOP even borrowed the motto of the Washington Post — “Democracy Dies in Darkness” — when discussing the rules, and one person testifying against them even drew a comparison to the casus belli of the Revolutionary War.
So is the move anti-democratic or a way of making things more efficient? Both? And does anyone outside the halls of the state Capitol much care?



Given that we now have situations with pages of bills moving through “divisions” – not even “committees”, anymore – with a single terse memo of commentary, I’d say “anti-democratic”.

Indeed, given that Ryan Winkler is behind it, I’d say “prima facie anti-democratic“.