Tomorrow: Freedom Needs You

Don’t forget – tomorrow is the Minnesota Gun Rights Seminar and Member Meeting.

It’ll be at the Chaska Community Center starting at 9AM. Come out, hear some great speakers, and find out what the good guys are going to be doing in the coming year.

And most important: become one of the good guys.

For more info, check out the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (Web, Facebook, Twitter)

Meet The New Feminism

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Office feminist managed to get the big stapler jammed. Spent 10 minutes banging on it, couldn’t figure out how to use the needle-nose pliers to get the retaining clip off the hinge pin so she could remove the staple head to clear it. Had to ask one of the men in the office to do it: took him two minutes, works like a charm.

Good thing that’s not sexist at all. Wouldn’t want anybody to be oppressed by any patriarchal stereotypes. Might have to spend the next month in diversity training.

Joe Doakes

Heads will no doubt roll.

Number Soup

The new GOP majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives is going to try to capitalize on the red/blue, rural/urban divide down which the votes broke last month.

This is a mixed bag of good and bad – more about that later today – but we had a little blast from the past in the reporting on the subject.

One of the left favorite mediums in discussing America’s culture war is one floated most famously by the loathsome Paul Krugman in the middle of the last decade – The idea that Blue America pays more taxes, and Red America is a net consumer of government, taxpayer paid aid.

Krugman’s thesis ignores a lot of inconvenience details; the effect that massive amounts of federal land and military bases in sparsely populated states has on calculating net government “aid” (as if the wing of B1 bombers in North Dakota are as good as cash in the pocket for the locals), to say nothing of the distorting affected the sheer numbers in the various farm bills. Not to mention the fact that blue America has higher per capita income (not to mention cost-of-living); suddenly, Paul Krugman opposes progressive taxation?

In reporting on the Minnesota GOP’s new tack, Minnesota public radio Tim Pugmire notes:

The latest numbers from the nonpartisan Minnesota House Research Department show the seven-county metro area pays 64 percent of the state’s taxes and gets back 53 percent of the major tax aids, credits and refunds. By comparison, the 80 non-metro counties pay 36 percent and get back 47 percent.

seems like a pretty cut and dried number, right?

So how much of that disparity was a result of road and farm spending in sparsely populated counties?

How much stems from the state’s decades of spending truckloads of money on the iron Range, where the standard of living and per capita income is relatively low, but state spending is extremely high?

Or from the significant disparity in income and cost-of-living between the Twin Cities and the rest of the state?

What might be a more useful comparison; compare different types of spending per capita between the Metro and greater Minnesota: The metro might be getting pretty seriously shorted on agriculture spending – but I’m going to guess the per capita transportation spending has shifted greatly towards the metro in recent years.

The point? Like Paul Krugman’s misleading black and white comparison of two numbers, the real story is a lot more complicated than the media is showing you.

This Saturday: Help Save Freedom

Don’t forget – this Saturday, December 13 is the Minnesota Gun Rights Seminar and Member Meeting. 

It’ll be at the Chaska Community Center starting at 9AM. Come out, hear some great speakers, and find out what the good guys are going to be doing in the coming year.

And most important:  become one of the good guys.

For more info, check out the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (Web, Facebook, Twitter)

If I Were The Dean At Harvard Law School

To:  Students of Harvard Law School
From: Mitch Berg, Angry Dean
Re:  Test Schedules

Dear Most Annoying Students in the World,

Starting at 8AM Monday morning, please line up in the front hall of the administration building in alphabetical order.  You will all be issued refund checks.  Because clearly we at HarvLaw have failed you as an institution.

The evidence – you all know that term, right? – is right here:

Those Harvard students have produced an open letter, in which they demand that their examinations be delayed. “Like many across the country,” its authors claim, students “are traumatized” and “visibly distressed” — to the extent that there is now a “palpable anguish looming over campus.”

I hope I’m long dead before I have people from big law firms writing me, chocking back their outrage at his institution for turning out such a vacuous pack of hamsters and calling them not only “lawyers”, but “Harvard Law School Grads”.

The “national crisis” that has been provoked by the cases of Garner and Brown, they argue, has left them with no choice but to “stand for justice rather than sit and prepare for exams.” And, like their brethren at Columbia, they contend that their “being asked to prepare for and take our exams in this moment” amounts to their “being asked to perform incredible acts of disassociation” — requests, which taken together, have led them “to question our place in this school community and the legal community at large.”

I can’t wait to see you vacuous children of boundless class privilege try that on a client in the real world; claim the violence inherent in the system makes it impossible for you to come into the office and work on your cases.  But at least you won’t “question your place in the legal community at large”, because by that point you’ll be transferring to the “fast food community”.

Justifiably so.

The bottom line? That students must be given “the opportunity to reschedule their exams in good faith and at their own discretion.”

And in good faith, I, your dean, will allow you and your faith and discretion to move your exams to any time another law school will let you, provided you get admitted.

Pick up your checks.  You haven’t failed. I have.

That is all.

The Doldrums

In February, I’ll have been doing this blog for 13 years.  And in that time, I’ve been through just about every kind of cycle there is – all between 5:30 and 7AM, weekdays.

Some days – especially in the runup to election time – the material just comes from I have no idea where; I sit up at 7AM, and I’ve got five posts written for a day, and two for the next day, and I wind up taking notes for several more on my phone during the day (major shout-out to the WordPress app for smart-phones!).

Others?  It’s like dog-paddling through maple syrup to get anything done at all.  Which is part of the point, for me;  developing the self discipline to write something every day I’m physically able.  It’s helped in a lot of other parts of my life, so it’s a big net gainer for me.

This last month has been different.  And it occurs to me why.

Two years of DFL majorities in the Legislature have meant no down-time; the Democrats made a big run at Second Amendment rights in 2013 and again last session; the customary stretch of downtime between election and session, where I normally write about music and history and leave politics alone, evaporated.

This is my first fall without substantial politics to write about since the fall of 2011.  And it took me a while to remember how to deal with those two months of inter-MN-political writing doldrums.

The answer, of course, is to take a deep breath and find other things to write about, things I enjoy rather than out of some misguided notion to try to save the world.

And everything’s pretty darn good, once I get past that!

Mandated Equality

Two truisms at play in this story:

  1. If someone has to mandate your equal outcome [*], then you probably really aren’t equal.
  2. Economics 101:  Forcing people to pay more or less for a good or service than they naturally would will distort the market.  Force the price up, and you’ll get a black market.  Force the price down, and you’ll get less of the good or service.

With that in mind, see if you can see both currents in this piece, about developers in NYC and their reaction to being forced (as a condition of a bailout) to include “Market-Rate rentals” which are, in fact, well below the market rate.

A Queens luxury tower that was bailed out by the city is blocking the large terraces of a few affordable units so tenants above with tiny balconies don’t get jealous, one resident claims.

Erin McFadzen chose her middle-income — and rent-stabilized — corner apartment at Long Island City’s new Q41 building because of its wrap-around terrace.

But when she moved in, half of it was fenced off by what she calls a “Jurassic Park”-style barricade.

The ugly 6-foot-high wire barrier also interferes with views from every window of her sixth-floor, $2,186-a-month pad.

“We’re caged in,” McFadzen told The Post.

“Every time someone comes over, I have to explain why the fence is there . . . and tell them we’re rent stabilized, like it’s a badge I have to wear,” she said.

And the tenants aren’t the only innumerate ones; the developers (read the story, for crying out loud) are just as bad.

The innumeracy washes over us in waves in this piece:

  1. Rent Control/Rent Subsidy (as well as the city’s systematic demonization of landlords, much as Minneapolis and Saint Paul are doing, although not nearly as effectively as NYC does – yet) is exactly why it’s impossible to find an affordable apartment in NYC.  ”If you make a good or service worth less than it would naturally be, there will be less of it”.
  2. The city shouldn’t be bailing out failed developers – so the developers shouldn’t be complaining that the bailout comes with strings attached requiring them to include rentals for much lower rates than the market would ordinarily bear.
  3. Real estate in New York being as much about image as value, the “low-income” tenants shouldn’t be surprised that the developers are doing something to give the residents paying the actual market rates some sense that they’re getting something justifying the premium that they’re paying for the upscale places they’re renting.  And in that case, that means making the the full-rent balconies a better deal than the cut-rate ones.  Even just by the seemingly bitchy means they used.

If governnment has to make you equal, you’re probably not.

[*] Civil rights legislation is, of course, not an example of this; civil rights and liberties are not given to us by a landlord, but by our creator.  Nobody can justly take them away.  Housing is not a right – much less a specific class of housing for a specific price.

Equality

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Courts struck down obsolete “one-man-one-woman” marriage laws because gays were treated unfairly.

Incest laws prevent birth defects . . . but gay couples don’t have that problem. So should gay cousins be allowed to marry? And what about Muslim cousin arranged marriages – shouldn’t we respect that culture?

Once you begin pulling out the foundation stones of the social framework . . . .

Joe Doakes

What, in all honesty, prevents any group of two or more people with legal standing to sign contracts from getting “married”, anymore?

Reform

SCENE:  Avery LIBRELLE is waiting at the light rail station on University Avenue. 

Seeing Mitch Berg driving past, LIBRELLE leaps and, incredibly, sails through BERG’s passenger side window and lands sitting upright in BERG’s passenger seat.

BERG:  What the…

LIBRELLE:  Hahahahahahahahaha, Merg!    You and your conservative teabagger friends “won” the South!  Now, you can keep it?

BERG:  Um, right.  Mary Landrieu lost, leaving not a single Democratic Senator, Governor or Democrat-controlled Legislative chamber in the entire old Confederacy. 

LIBRELLE:  Yeah!  You got all the racists!    The journey you started in 1968, when you inherited all the racists with Nixon’s “Southern Strategy”, is complete!  You guys got the KKK vote!

BERG:  You’re still babbling about the so-called “Southern Strategy?”

LIBRELLE:  Yes!  The racists, upset about the Civil Rights Act, all voted GOP!

BERG:  OK – let’s accept for a moment purely for sake of argument that the South is more “racist” than the rest of the country – which is deeply debatable, but again, it’s for argument’s sake – and that people vote first and foremost over racial issues. 

LIBRELLE:  Yep.  Absolutely!

BERG:  OK.  So the South voted for Nixon – but then, so did Vermont and California and, in 1972, Michigan, New York State, and even ultraliberal Minnesota.  So they’re all racists, too, right?

LIBRELLE:  The South were voting their consciences, though!

BERG:  Were they indeed?

LIBRELLE:  Even though these rhetorical questions of your always end up with me falling into a trap that makes me look stupid and uninformed, I’ll say “hell yeah!”

BERG:  OK – so the Democrats controlled every single southern Congressional delegation until 1994.  And the GOP didn’t win a majority of southern Governor’s offices, to say nothing of state legislatures, until well into the 2000s. 

By the way – the Klan hasn’t been a factor in Southern Politics since the sixties, maybe the seventies at the very latest.  So it would be more realistic to say that Republicans oversaw the extinction of mainstream racism in the Deep South. 

(BERG’s car pulls up to stoplight.  LIBRELLE steps out, walks between traffic to nearest train station).

BERG:  Avery?  Avery?

Dear Barry One

To: “Barry One”
From: Mitch Berg, Justice Warrior
Re: Fundraising

After pop tart du jour Lena Dunham used her latest book to elaborately but coyly accuse you of raping her while attending liberal cesspool Oberlin College (IDing her “rapist” as a Republican, which is about as subtle at Oberlin as identifying a “choreographer” is in Montana), I wondered how long it’s be before you sued.

And it seems we may be edging toward an answer.

So just to tell you – I will offer you two hours on my talk show, any time of your choice, to raise money any darned way you want.

Have your people call my people.

That is all.

Letting Slip The Dogs Of “Blech”

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

So those of you who follow this post through to the bitter end will be ten feet tall and armor plated in about fifteen minutes.

There’s an election in two years – and the Democrat Party has decided to try to kick off the battle via the medium of the popular song.

There are three contenders, and they’re all pretty freaking awful.

But American needs to know; what’s the worst of the noxious bunch?

Let’s meet the offenders.  Then let’s get down to voting.

Contender #1 – The Hillary Clinton Country-Western Song: This is Hillary’s opening bid for popularity in a part of the country that would rather catch a stream of projectile diarrhea than vote for Hillary Clinton.

It’s got everything that people in America’s heartland look for in a leader: central-casting “country” people; folksy abbreviations on videos (“Learnin’ Hindsight’s Always Right”, “‘Cuz Our American Dream’s At Stake”), because we like our videos to do their local patois the same way Hillary Clinton does it in her speeches – clumsy and patronizing; clunky, greasy references to inside-the-Beltway chanting points (“let’s smash that glass ceiling!”, indeed).

Hard to pick the biggest groaner; for my money, it’s the moment around 1:50, where the hot babe on the motorcycle gives the guy a ride on the back. That’s right, guys – you’ve been living in two-income families for a generation now, but deep down inside you’re all still sexists!

You just know some consultant – in my mind’s eye, “he” looks like Pajama-Boy – got major kudos for this idea. Maybe even got it stolen by a bigger consultant.

The video reportedly cost the Hillary PAC a million dollars to make.  I have a hunch most of it went to AFTRA fees for the guys in the band – the only four males in Los Angeles would could pull of “Country Western Band”.

Or is the worst song…

Fauxcahontas’s Faux Faulk Frenzy:  On the surface, it seems like Elizabeth “I Lied About Being Cherokee” Warren’s song couldn’t be any more different;  lazily-written, badly-sung pseudo-”folk” music is as organic to the cultural left as Whole Foods, Terry Gross or Gluten-Free Coffee.

And whomever produced this atrocity got some of the surface anti-glitz “glitz” as right as Hillary’s crew got “country” wrong.  ”Run Fauxcahontas Run” has lots of the veneer of bad coffeehouse folk music; the big chorus stretches eleven syllables to cover fourteen syllables of rhythm; the dork-fingered guitar-playing sounds so much like it’s being played by a Sylvia-Plath-obsessed Vassar women’s studies major…

…that you know it can’t be.  It takes professionals – session musicians earning triple the musicians union scale – to play that badly, that well; it takes a professional singer to to edge that close to sounding like a lesbian slam poet without serving into pure caricature…

…as much as the lyrics do.

Before It Was Hilarious:  Of course, the control for this experiment was this little ditty from 2008, a classic hymn to The One…

…complete with adoring crowds chanting, Nuremberg-style, in the background.

Nothing more needs to be said, right?

Please?

A Time For Choosing:  OK – so what is the worst Hymn to a Candidate ever?

What’s the worst candidate hymn?

 
pollcode.com free polls

This may be the most important vote you take this year.

“Adjective: Intense, Acute Or Keen, As Pleasure Or Pain.”

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

One reason I love reading Mark Steyn is he has a gift for choosing exactly the right word, or recognizing one when chosen by another.

The Pedestrian Crossing diamond isn’t enough, the government must add the diagonal arrow below. Because without it, motorists would panic, scanning the sky and ditches and rear-view mirror, saying “What? What? Pedestrian? Where? Where?” So road crews add the helpful diagonal arrow pointing at the crosswalk, to let motorists know where to look for pedestrians crossing the street – in the crosswalk.

“The lower sign is an exquisitely condescending touch. A nation whose citizenry is as stupid as those markers suggest they are, cannot survive. But, if we’re not that stupid, why aren’t we outraged?”

“Exquisitely condescending.” Yes. Precisely correct. We, the bureaucrats, are so clever and you, the driving public are so stupid, that we must add the diagonal arrow pointing to the crosswalk lest you mow down an entire class of schoolchildren on a field trip because the diamond sign wasn’t a sufficient hint.

Joe Doakes

i’ve always loved Steyn’s way with the word.

And “exquisitely…” Is one of the most wonderfully effective yet underused adjectives in the book.

It’s Been A Hard Day’s NARN

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!

I’ll be talking with:

  • Duane Patterson, producer of the Hugh Hewitt show.

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!

Open Letter To Mayor Betsy Hodges

To:  Betsy Hodges – Mayor, City of Minneapolis
From: Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Protest Plans

Dear Mayor Hodges,

I, like (I take it, after the news that the Minneapolis Police were ordered to facilitate rather than hinder the blocking of I35W by protesters yesterday) you, am a big believer in the First Amendment right to free speech, especially free speech focused on political protest. 

This is especially important, since it wasn’t all that long ago that Tea Party protesters were being harassed by the police for waving signs above the freeway as “too distracting”. 

This seems like a major step forward!

So if it’s OK with you, I’d very much like to reserve I35W at 28th Street for some of my friends; the limited-government, pro-Second-Amendment, pro-life, pro-school-choice, fiscal-responsibility and other right-of-center movements. 

Have your people call my people!

That is all.

 

Every Other Problem Is Clearly Solved

Those worried about the plague of having too many transportation options independent of Government controlled monopolies can rest just a tiny bit easier today; the city of St. Paul, responding to the demands of the taxicab industry that donates so much money to their campaigns, is about to fix all that. Emphasis added by me:

The new rules, passed on a 5-2 vote, will govern everything from vehicle inspections to insurance. They closely mirror a raft of regulations approved by the city of Minneapolis this summer.

Nevertheless, city council members Dave Thune and Dan Bostrom expressed concern that the rules do not go far enough to protect the city and the public and do not create a level playing field for taxi drivers.

of course, the “level playing field” is the problem that companies like Uber and Lyft were created to solve.

When the government “levels” “playing fields”, you may be sure that those fields are being leveled in favor of someone who’s already on the field, to protect them from newcomers.

Consult This

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A consultant got $100,000 grant to give St. Paul advice on snow-plowing. It boils down to “start plowing more quickly and keep plowing till you’re done.”

I could have told them that for $90,000 and change. But it’s a step in the right direction.

Joe Doakes

Government consultants are the new robber barons.

Law

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A former federal judge looked at the Grand Jury evidence and explains why they got it right.

Joe Doakes

I’m not one to trust government much or easily.  But there’s a “government and its institutions are always wrong!” current among some of my libertarian friends that, while not entirely inaccurate, is more and more tending to serve as a substitute for reason and thought.  And that’s no better than some slavering droog who drools over reruns of “Cops”.

Citizenship

I get to catch Rush Limbaugh maybe once a month, usually for about five or ten minutes as I’m going to some noon-time appointment or another. 

Yesterday, I tuned in to the sound of Limbaugh citing a story from the Jamestown Sun, the daily newspaper in my hometown, about a North Dakota legislative proposal to require high school kids to pass the same test new immigrants must pass to become Americans

 

The bill is part of the national Civics Education Initiative, an affiliate of the Joe Foss Institute. Foss, a former South Dakota governor and Marine Corps pilot who received the Congressional Medal of Honor, started the nonprofit to enlist veterans to teach young people about the value of their freedoms. He died in 2003.

The effort counts among its supporters former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day Sandra Day O’Connor, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein and actor Joe Mantegna.

A similar legislative effort was announced in September in South Dakota with support from former U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, former Citibank president Ron Williamson and former Sioux Falls mayor Dave Munson, among others.

[NoDak governor Jack] Dalrymple said the goal nationally is to have all 50 states adopt the civics test requirement by Sept. 17, 2017, the 230th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.

The state’s education commissioner notes that students can retake the test as many times as they need to get to 60% – which, I think, is the right idea; the point is that they learn the stuff. 

So – how would you do if you took the test?

Hunter Hits His First Single

The Twins re-signed Torii Hunter. 

Say what you will about the move – signing a 39 year old fielder whose numbers are just a tad off – but I’ll give the man mad props for his first press conference:

When Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press asked Hunter about his previous, well-documented statements against gay marriage and support of political candidates who share his viewpoint, he called Berardino a “prick” and said he was done talking about the topic.

And Hunter is right.

Berardino – and most of the rest of the mainstream media who’ve commented on the acquisition – have burned a lot of column inches babbling about Hunter’s support for traditional marriage, which, let me remind you, the mainstream media has declared trayf via, I presume, “settled science”. 

All dissent must be scourged. 

The media are the new Spanish Inquisition.