…that my blog doesn’t have nearly enough arctic fox or eighties hair-metal references.
I live to serve.
…that my blog doesn’t have nearly enough arctic fox or eighties hair-metal references.
I live to serve.
The Strib’s headline says “Minnesota legislators try to clear confusion over e-cigarettes“.
Let’s be clear, here.
The only “confusion” about e-cigarettes is in the legislature; “do we tax them, do we ban them, or both?”
And around those questions, it’s the legislature – not the state – milling around like stunned cattle.
Glad we could clear that up.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
The President spoke at Union Depot in St. Paul the other day. Here is a transcript of his remarks:
My fellow Americans:
Our country is in a mess. I believe I’m the man to fix it. That’s why I’m announcing my candidacy for President in 2016. Yes, I know the Presidency used to be limited to two terms, but our problems are too serious to wait for Congress to act; therefore, I’ve revoked that limitation by Executive Order.
The biggest problem with the world today is that things are not equal. Inequality makes life unfair. It’s inequality and unfairness that are destroying the world and America with it. And Americans are the cause of that inequality and unfairness. It’s time for America to change. I hope Americans can change. No . . . I Know Americans can change. Ordinary Americans can change their lifestyles, and with them, the world.
Americans consume more natural resources, more energy, more food and more medical care than the rest of the world combined. Ordinary Americans need to cut back on everything so you live more like people in other countries.
Americans must eat less and let children go to bed hungry more often. Ordinary Americans must drive less and walk more, carry your groceries in reusable bags and haul purchases on your backs. Ordinary Americans must dress warmer and turn the heat down in Winter, open a window and turn off the air conditioner in Summer.
The world is over-crowded. We must reduce the surplus population. It’s essential that Ordinary Americans cut back on prenatal and infant care so more babies die prematurely. We must eliminate end-of-life care so old people pass more quickly. We need to double, even triple the number of abortions performed every day, to make room for new generations of illegal immigrants to take the place of natural-born Americans. All of you must live more simply, closer to nature, and for a shorter lifetime, the way the rest of the world does.
As President, I will oversee the transformation of every American’s lifestyle to one that I deem more appropriate for that person. I will use every power at my command to make Ordinary American lives hungrier, poorer, sicker and shorter. I know it’s a giant task but I do not shrink from it, and I will not be alone in my efforts: I will ask my most important friends and donors to assist me in redistributing the country’s wealth and reordering American society. And when Ordinary Americans finally achieve equality with the rest of the poverty-stricken world, when there is no First World, no Second World, no Third World, but only One World, I will voluntarily resign as President to accept the position of King of the World, to ensure that these good works continue with full vigor, that no Ordinary American will ever raise his head above another person, that equality of misery will be world-wide, universal and forever.
Thank you for your support.
Well, those may not have been his exact words, but I think that’s the gist of it.
“Fake but accurate”.
Fitz is gone. Long live Fitzsimmons.
Now, it’s time for libertarian-conservatives caucusing with the GOP to move on to the next crisis.
Republicans are still hashing over the Fitzsimmons/Lucero bout in Wright County last weekend. It’s in the blogs, and on the talk shows – mine included.
But that’s a die that’s been cast, and can’t be called back (short of a primary challenge that I don’t suspect FItzsimmons will launch) for two more years.
Barring that primary challenge, Eric Lucero’s the guy. Not only does he need to win this fall to keep the House GOP caucus at its current level – but we need to flip four seats to turn the House red.
And ideally these four flips (and hopefully many more) should be good, solid, Tea Party conservatives. But I have no say in that; that’s up to the candidates at the BPOU level, and the activists who support them.
And along the way – like, as soon as we get done with the various BPOU endorsement battles – the various factions of the GOP need to bury whatever hatches we’ve accreted over this past few months, and start pulling in the same direction. I’ve called for this – arapprochementbetween the “five families” of the MNGOP (the Tea Party, the Socialcons, the Moderates, the Chamber of Commerce estalbishment and the “Liberty” crew, or whatever’s left of them) to agree to disagree on the details until February of 2016, and quit the pointless fratricide and grudge-mongering that’ve made being a Republican such a trying thing this past five or six years, and work toward a much greater good.
A Liberty activist should accept that a Social Conservative is going to be a more sympathetic ear in office for liberty than any DFLer will be; a Chamber of Commerce “Good Government” fixer shouldn’t worry that a Tea Partier is going to make their life suck worse than a DFLer will; they won’t.
Don’t get me wrong; now is the time of the political season for the different flavors of Republican to go to the mat for their beliefs, to leave it all out on the mat in pursuit of exactly what you want in office.
But the time is almost here to put up for the greater good, or shut up. There will be chits to be paid in 2016. But unless the GOP is back in power, it’s all a pointless sideshow.
Conservatism needs to be back on this state’s policy center stage. After that, everything will be much easier to work through.
Nothing succeeds like being successful. We need to re-learn that.
Bradley Smith notes…:
In 1170, King Henry II is said to have cried out, on hearing of the latest actions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Four knights then murdered the archbishop. Many in the U.S. media still willfully refuse to see anything connecting the murder of the archbishop to any actions or abuse of power by the king.
What does this have to do with the Obama Administration’s use of the IRS to repress conservative advocacy groups?
The mainstream press has justified its lack of coverage over the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups because there’s been no “smoking gun” tying President Obama to the scandal. This betrays a remarkable, if not willful, failure to understand abuse of power. The political pressure on the IRS to delay or deny tax-exempt status for conservative groups has been obvious to anyone who cares to open his eyes. It did not come from a direct order from the White House, but it didn’t have to.
Read the whole thing for the entire, four-year account of President Obama’s not-remotely-vague plea to be rid of that turbulent Tea Party, and the seven knights – Al Franken included – who rode forth to try to slay a nation of Becketts.
The relationship between the Democrats and the media
occasionally usually seems intimate to the point of unseemly.
But it rarely seems like the media are directly employed by the Democrat party (Keri Miller and Lori Sturdevant notwithstanding).
But that’s changed.
Perhaps you recall; a few years ago, I was part of a small group – along with left-leaning reporter David Brauer and several Senate staffers – that rewrote the Senate’s media credentialing rules. The changes opened up the Senate to all manner of alternative media, including bloggers.
That was a good thing.
But one of the rules read like this: “Organizations owned or controlled by registered lobbyists, political parties or other party organizations (defined as organizations registered with the Campaign Finance Board or the Federal Election Commission) shall not be granted credentials.”
Bill Glahn noticed something:
It turns out that in 2012 and 2013, the senate Democrats paid a total of $30,250 for “research” to a company listed as “Enlighten Enterprise” of 254 Wheeler Street in St. Paul.
Records on file at the Minnesota State Secretary of State’s Office show that a company called “Enlightened Enterprises” was registered at that address on July 25, 2012 by a Shawn Towle. The first payment from senate Democrats to Enlighten Enterprise occurred on July 26, 2012.
As pure coincidence would have it, a Shawn Towle is listed in both the 2012 and 2013 editions of Capitol News Coverage Directory as an accredited member of the senate press corps, representing Checks & Balances. That Shawn Towle is also listed in the current 2014 edition.
Sources in the Senate tell me Towle is at press conferences, pressing Republicans and back-slapping Democrats…
…which is fine, and not much different than the rest of the Capitol press corps.
But none of them are paid by the Senate DFL Caucus.
Is the Senate DFL paying for “media” presence, and violating its own rules in the process?
Someone should ask Tom Bakk…
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
New thinking for the military.
We’re keeping the fantastically expensive and kludgy F-35 plus all 11 Carrier Battle Groups but we’re going to cut the A-10 Warthog, since we’ll never again need a tank-buster. And the U-2 is obsolete in the satellite era. Oh, and we don’t need 100,000 people.
I get that we don’t want to be preparing to fight the last war. But what war are we preparing to fight?
Back in 1987, the great historian Edward Luttwak wrote The Pentagon and the Art of War, a comprehensive critique of US military strategy at a time when we’d just endured five straight military failures (Vietnam, the Mayaguez incident, Desert One and Lebanon) and one unnecessarily costly victory (Grenada).
The conclusion? The US didn’t really have a strategy; our military was designed to fight the Cold War as a rematch of World War 2, and our military was not really suited for the threats we faced or the society we had.
The book tied in with a wave of thinking in political and military circles that led to the epic reforms of the late eighties, based on the world as it was at the time.
I’m not convinced that the cuts Obama is proposing have anything to do with the world we live in.
SCENE: Mitch BERG, accompanied by Joe TUCCI, Attorney at Law, and paralegal Lance PFLAU, steps out of a black Chevy Suburban and walks up to the Highland Park home of Avery LIBRELLE. BERG knocks on the door. Eventually, LIBRELLE answers.
BERG: Hey, Avery. Let’s go.
LIBRELLE: Huh? Where?
BERG: To the pistol range. We’re going to get you started shooting, and get you started on your carry permit.
BERG: It’s time you did the right thing.
LIBRELLE: How is forcing me to pick up an instrument of violence “the right thing?”
BERG: Because it’s a right. We have the right to keep and bear arms. It’s very important to many of us, and until everyone is intellectually and socially assimilated into that right, the right is not safe.
LIBRELLE: But…but, you can’t force me to exercise a right I disagree with, especially on moral grounds, like the gun thing! You can’t!
BERG: Of course I can! Just like the gay couples who are sueing the bakers and photographers and florists who tried to opt out of rendering their services at same-sex weddings. Rather than just let the Christians have their way and go find a gay-friendly baker or photographer or florist, they hauled them into court, at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars to both sides, not so much because they wanted to use their products, but to send a message to all of society; dissent from our orthodoxy will not be tolerated! Just as they will be doing, shortly, somewhere or other, to some church somewhere or another in this country.
LIBRELLE: Pshaw! That’ll never happen. The First Amendment protects freedom of religion!
BERG: Right. Just like the Tenth Amendment trumps the Commerce Clause, the Fifth protects American citizens who end up on terror watch lists, the Fourth protects us from no-knock raids and property forfeiture, the Third keeps the police from throwing you out of your house to set up a stakeout, the Second is protecting the people of Connecticut from gun confiscations, and the First protects, well, those bakers and photographers and florists. Rights are only truly safe when everyone has been forced to comply with them.
LIBRELLE: I refuse!
BERG: I thought you might. Mr. Tucci?
(TUCCI turns to PFLAU, who takes a document out of his briefcase)
TUCCI: You’ve been served.
LIBRELLE: What the… (Reads papers) A lawsuit?
TUCCI: Yep. To compel you to come shooting, get a carry permit, and support the Second Amendment as incorporated upon the states by the Supreme Court in McDonald Vs. Chicago.
LIBRELLE: That’s BS! That’ll never fly in court!
BERG: Perhaps. But it’ll cost you thousands and thousands of dollars to retain an attorney to litigate the case, even if it’s dismissed on summary judgment. Heck, even if you go pro se, you’re going to eat up a lot of time.
LIBRELLE: Look, you’re arguing a false equivalence. Business are subject to public accomodations laws! They have to serve the reasonable demands of their customers!
BERG: Ah. So when I walk into a halal market and demand pork chops, they can’t refuse?
BERG: Pork is trayf under halal. They won’t even touch the stuff.
LIBRELLE: Well, you can’t. You’re not a memeber of a protected class.
BERG: What now?
LIBRELLE: Under public accomodations law, merchants can not refuse service on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation! You’re a straight white male, so you have no race, gender or orientation!
BERG: Ah. So the rights of gay people trump the rights of religious people to act according their consciences.
LIBRELLE: Right! Gays were born that way! You can’t refuse to serve people based on conditions they were born with. Religion is chosen!
BERG: So the rights of people who were born some way trump the rights of people who choose something.
BERG: Well, our rights are endowed to us by our creators, so I was born with the right to keep and bear arms. And so were you.
LIBRELLE: That’s really stretchy, Merg!
TUCCI: We can sort that out in court, Mis… (looks to BERG and PFLAU, both of whom shrug) …um, Avery.
BERG: So some peoples’ rights are more important than other peoples’s rights?
LIBRELLE: Absolutely. Why should I be forced to associate with people that I morally disagree with?
BERG: Wait – so you embrace the ideal of “free association”…
BERG: …unless the law says you have to associate with them?
LIBRELLE: Yes! We can’t have discrimination!
BERG: Hm. OK. Mr. Tucci?
TUCCI: Mr. Pflau?
PFLAU: I am gay. I demand you come to the range.
LIBRELLE: You’re gay?
PFLAU: Well, I’m a little curious. And addicted to Glee.
(LIBRELLE stands, holding papers, slowly deflating)
TUCCI: May I remind you; No h8.
(An air of resignation visitly wafts over LIBRELLE)
LIBRELLE: OK. Got me there.
(The four walk down to the street and bundle LIBRELLE into the Suburban. In the back seat sit Professor William G. KRIEPPI and blogger Edmund DUCHEY, morosely wearing “NRA” hats and maroon GOCRA shirts)
LIBRELLE (to KRIEPPI and DUCHEY): They got you too?
(The other two sullenly nod as the Suburban departs for Burnsville Pistol Range, Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns and Money” playing loudly on the car stereo).
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Trains start running on the University Avenue Blight Rail this week. Watch out when crossing University.
I thought I’d noticed the signal lights along the track working that last few times I drove along the street.
By the way – I can’t imagine anything much more miserable than standing on one of those station platforms in this weather. If there’s anything that’d be more miserable than a bus stop, that’d be it.
Via Sheila O’Malley, to whom I often outsource my show-biz obits:
Of all of the films that have come out during my lifetime, all the huge important Oscar-winning serious films, all the weighty masterpieces, all the films about important topics, all of the “instant classics”, the beloved movies, the camp classics, the game-changers, the films draped in awards … of all of them, if I had to choose one film to be the #1 contender for “Film That Will Be Watched Regularly 150 Years From Now”, it would be Groundhog Day.
Not sure I could disagree.
…and keeping in mind that I’m speaking in general, not necessarily about the “gay marriage” thing (and further keeping in mind that I barely believe in straight marriage as it’s currently done, much less the gay variety), let’s try a little thought experiment.
The next time someone offends you, carry out an honor killing (whatever your ethnic background, it’s probably been part of your culture at some point in the near or distant past).
See how very much we do legislate morality. And pretty damn successfully.
Honor killing is an integral part of many cultures’ version of “morality” even today (and most cultures, if you go back far enough). Ours, recently (as in “within the past 100 years” in some parts of the country) decided it’s not any more. And they legislated it.
Ditto owning slaves, or having multiple spouses – although there’s no logical reason we won’t have the latter back within a generation.
That slogan “you can’t legislature morality” has always bugged me.
In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the “War on Poverty” – the only “war” at which the United States has ever been comprehensively defeated unto humiliation – John C. Goodman analyzes the results.
On the one hand, avoiding poverty – or rising out of it, with time and hard work – is at least conceptually fairly simple (although obviously requires work, patience and perseverence):
We now know a lot about how behavior affects poverty. In fact, if you do these four things, it’s almost impossible to remain poor:
1. Finish high school,
2. Get a job,
3. Get married, and
4. Don’t have children until you get married.
Simple – right?
But throughout the “War on Poverty”, we’ve been disincenting those exact behaviors:
So how does welfare affect behavior? In the late 1960s the federal government sought to find that out in what Charles Murray calls “the most ambitious social science experiment in history.”
The experiments were all conducted by social scientists who believed in the welfare state and had no doubt about its capacity to be successful…Randomly selected people were assigned to a “control group” and an “experimental group.” The latter received a guaranteed income, and the program even used Milton Friedman’s term for it: a negative income tax. The largest, longest and best-evaluated of these experiments was SIME/DIME (Seattle Income Maintenance Experiment/Denver Income Maintenance Experiment) in Seattle and Denver. And the results were not pretty. To the dismay of the researchers, they largely confirmed what conventional wisdom had thought all along. As I reported in “Privatizing the Welfare State”:
- The number of hours worked dropped 9% for husbands and 20% for wives, relative to the control group. For young male adults it dropped 43% more.
- The length of unemployment increased 27% among husbands and 42% for wives, relative to the control group. For single female heads of households it increased 60% more.
- Divorce increased 36% more among whites and 42% more among blacks. (In a New Jersey experiment, the divorce rate was 84% higher among Hispanics.)
BTW, these results have been studied and studied over and over again and there is a large literature on them ? almost all of it written by researchers who detested the outcomes. Good summaries are provided by Charles Murray and Martin Anderson.
It’s like going to war – the real kind – and giving your soldiers Nerf guns.
Poverty is stuck at 1966 levels, and has been for almost fifty years.
Spending has soared in absolute dollars and in share of GDP.
And it’s entirely unsustainable – and things that can’t be sustained, won’t.
While much of conservative Minnesota is having a hard time with “messaging”, the Real Americans of Minnesota’s Second Amendment human rights movement have a clear, resounding one.
This from the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (GOCRA), in their session-eve email blast; it’s as crystal-clear a statement of principles and positions to the Legislature as you could ask for:
As always, the gun rights movement – GOCRA, MN-GOPAC, the TC Gun Owners and Carry Forum, the NRA and the like – will be working hard to hold back the Metrocrat orcs’ assault on Real Americans’ freedom.
And they need you.
Look – whatever group you prefer, there’s one to fit your style, temperament and philosophy.
Hell, help out all three. It’s not like the Orcs are going away any time soon.
As much rhetoric as the Democrats have expended in the past eighty years about class warfare, this is the true class war in America; our would-be “elites” want Real America disarmed; the plebeians, the underdogs, the people are the Real Americans.
Never let the Legislature forget it.
The 2014 Legislative Session kicks off today.
The DFL controls both chambers of the Legislature, and the Governor’s office. It’s a little tiny bit less monolithic than all that sounds – Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and Speaker of the House Paul Thissen hate each other with a throbbing passion, and Mark Dayton is madly triangulating between both in preparation for his re-election bid (appeasing Bakk on some issues, like gun control, while throwing bones to Thissen, like his Lieutenant Governor selectee, Frau Blücher).
But here’s really all you need to know; the DFL’s priorities for this election:
The MNGOP’s mission? Same as last session; focus on fighting a rear-guard action while trying to gin up a message that resonates with the higher-information voters that actually pay attention, all the while focusing the tensions in the GOP in a creative rather than destructive direction, leaving the good guys with the electoral ammo they need to retake the House, and God willing the Governor’s mansion, this fall.
I’ve watched both seasons of Netflix’s drama “House of Cards”.
PROS: Well-written, generally-tautly-paced, intricately-plotted, it rewards the viewer with an attention span. It’s superbly-acted by a stellar cast of excellent actors and Robin Wright.
CONS: It asks the viewer for one absolutely implausible suspension of dispbelief; the idea that a DC newspaper would energetically investigate a Democrat for corruption. (Bonus suspension – that the Chinese would sneak money to Republicans, and that the Dems would buck the teachers’ union and demand entitlement reform).
RATING: Four “Shots In The Dark”.
More guns in the hands of the law-abiding citizen?
Go ahead, argue. I don’t need to defeat you (although I will). The facts do it for me.
Julie Boonstra, in the middle of being treated for Leukemia, had to go chasing after alternative health insurance.
Because of Obamacare.
The WaPo’s “fact check” column, “Politifact”, leaped into action and did what it’s paid to do; uphold the Democrat narrative:
Media organizations investigating the ad’s claims note that Boonstra was able to find comparable new insurance under the law.
Which I’m sure was big comfort, what with being in the middle of being treated for Leukemia and all.
But that whole “finding alternate care” bit? Ummm…
Even if I didn’t love my doctor, I’d suspect that right in the middle of freaking Leukemia treatment would be a time when having the Presidentnot lie to memight be a good thing.
But today’s Democrat party? They know what matters.
The messengers; they must be lined up and shot:
And the campaign of Rep. Gary Peters is also going after television stations airing ads in which her story is featured, threatening their licenses.
The reason our country is so polarized is that half of the population supports rank evil.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
This woman is upset that a man didn’t help her lift her bag into the overhead compartment. Is chivalry dead?
Well, honey, it’s like this: a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, right? If he offered to help, that would mean he’s assuming you can’t do it alone, that you’re not as Good as a Man. That’s sexism and like all modern sensitive men, he abhors the thought of doing anything sexist. A committed feminist, he’s standing there letting you be the strong and independent woman you are, lifting your own bag. Sure, you helped another woman later, but that’s Grrrl Power and it’s okay because no men were involved so no female egos were bruised in the process.
Or possibly, he’s thinking this might be a teachable moment. Everybody on that 6:00 a.m. flight is a business-person Just Like You. They all packed their own bags. They all shlepped their own bags aboard. They all lifted their own bags. The difference is: they put some thought into what they were packing. They didn’t cram everything in their entire wardrobe into that bag. They can lift theirs without help. Perhaps he’s standing aside to give you the opportunity to make a life-changing discovery about yourself . . . that you need to organize your life better, plan ahead farther, pack less so you can lift your own bag without doing an Olympic event. Could be he’s using Tough Love to help you to help yourself. A bag-lifter is an enabler. A bystander creates the opportunity for life-style changing. Should you be sneering at a person who’s trying to help?
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s Not About You. Maybe he’s got problems of his own, just as you have problems of your own. He’s dealing with his. You deal with yours. As equals. Powerfully. Independently. Alone.
A woman needs a man like a fish needs carry-on baggage.
Outrageous inflation in military spending isn’t a modern phenomenon. Since the end of the Cold War, though, we don’t hear as much about it.
But in the 1970s, it was getting headlines. The costs involved in developing weapons were zooming. And nowhere were these costs more publicized than with aircraft.
In the late ’60s and early ’70s, the development of several key Air Force and Navy aircraft blossomed into inflationary nightmares. It started with the F-111, whose protracted development time and cost overruns became a national controversy in the ’60s and early ’70s.
The Navy’s F-14 program (that’d be the plane Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards and Val Kilmer flew in Top Gun) wasn’t as troubled – but each copy of the plane ran to well over $20 million 1972 dollars, which equals $111,000,000 today, giving a generation of American budget-watchers sticker shock.
The Air Force’s F-15 was another expensive one, marginally cheaper than the F-14 for about the same mission.
The ballooning cost caused some military theorists to speculate we’d be better off buying more, cheaper aircraft; that in a potential Hot War, the huge number of relatively cheaper Soviet airframes would take horrible casualties against the technologically formidable US planes, but that at the end of the battle there’d be so many Soviets that the Americans would end up getting shot down any way. Better, the theorists said, to buy many, many of the relatively cheap ($3-4 million a pop in the mid-seventies) F-5, which was comparable with a Soviet Mig-21.
With this in mind, General Dynamics set about trying to split the difference; building as smaller, lighter, less-expensive fighter plane. This became the F-16 – called the “Falcon” by the Air Force, the “Viper” by many of its own pilots (and the “Lawn Dart” by F-15 pilots, after a few unfortunate crashes early in its development).
And the first F-16 flew forty years ago this month.
Weights and costs rose, inevitably, as well – but for the price the Air Force got a plane with a number of firsts: it was the first “relaxed-stability” fighter plane controlled by “fly by wire” technology. Stable planes – like an airliner – are designed to fly efficiently and comfortably in straight lines. They’re stable. Airline passengers like them that way. But airliners don’t have to pull 6G (six times the force of gravity) turns to evade incoming missiles, either (ideally). Fighter planes do, on occasion – and while stability makes flying in one direction easier, it makes it harder to crank the plane into a sudden turn. Unstable planes are, well, unstable; they’re prone to tipping over and rolling about at random, unless the pilot is in complete control – more complete than a human can possibly manage. The F-16 used a computer to automatically adjust the control surfaces, many times per second, to keep the plane artificially stable in forward flight, but use the plane’s inherent instability to help it maneuver very quickly. This technology also involved replacing the traditional mechanical control cables and connections with an electronic data bus, delivering electronic signals from the computer and, less frequently, the pilot, to the plane’s control surfaces (which had the added effect of getting rid of parts that, traditionally, are among a combat aircraft’s most vulnerable to damage). It made the F-16 the most nimble fighter jet of its era, and one of the most maneuverable of our era as well.
There were other advances – a frameless bubble canopy giving an unimpeded view of the surroundings, a pilot seat that was reclined 30° to reduce the physical effects of the gravitational forces involved in violent maneuvering on the pilot, “Hands on Throttle and Stick” controls that put most of the plane’s key controls on the two controls that the pilot kept his hands on most of the time, as well as moving the “stick” (which controls roll and pitch) from between the pilot’s knees to the right side of the seat.
Many of these features have been found on most fighter planes developed since then. Some – “fly by wire” – have even popped up on commercial passenger aircraft.
The F-16 was adopted by two dozen other countries, and produced in five (US, Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey and South Korea). It flew in combat in both Gulf Wars and over Bosnia, and has also flown in combat for the Dutch, Belgian, Danish, Norwegian, Pakistani, Venezuelan and (in limited skirmishes against each other) Greek and Turkish air forces.
And above all, Israel has used the F-16, as its principle multi-role fighter plane. Eight of them (escorted by a flight of F-15s) bombed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear plant in 1981, to stall Hussein’s nuclear program. The raid highlighted both the flexibility of the F-16 (it was both an excellent fighter and a capable bomber) and the skill of Israel’s pilots (one pilot dropped his bomb through a hole in the reactor containment building that had been drilled by the previous plane’s bomb).
The F-16 has traditionally been scheduled to fly until 2025 – but delays in its putative replacement, the F-35, have likely stretched that a few years.
…if this announcement were coming, as promised ten years ago, from France.
To: Dave Fitzsimmons, the Lucero delegates, the Minnesota Family Council, the Taxpayers League, the Media, and Mr. Lucero
From: Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re: The HD30B Convention
So many things to write to so many people. Let’s start at the top:
To Dave Fitzsimmons: Thanks for all you’ve done so far. I hope you come back and do more. You’re one of the best.
To Anyone Who’s Used This Incident To Say The GOP Is A Tiny-Tent Party: Nope. This is a sign that a candidate – Eric Lucero – got a slew of single-issue activists to bum-rush the caucuses on his behalf. It’s exactly how Michelle Bachmann and Kurt Bills got their respective nominations (for Congress in 2006 and US Senate in 2012, respectively).
You’ll note – if you are intellectually honest – that of the four Republicans who voted for the Marriage Amendment, Pat Garofalo cruised to an easy endorsement in Farmington, which is every bit as blood-red conservative as Wright County, and Jennifer Loon will do the same this next month in her neck of the woods (Andrea Kieffer, unfortunately, is retiring – but she’d have been re-endorsed in a walkover).
This is what happens, sometimes, in a party that truly embraces local control. The DFL would never have allowed this to happen, for better or worse – DFL money interests would already have the primary challenge planned and the votes paid for – and events like last Saturday aside, most of us believe it’s better our way.
To The Lucero Delegates: I heard the talk from Buffalo while I was on the air on Saturday. Many of you apparently came strictly to vote
for Lucero against Fitzsimmons; you agitated loudly to cut to the voting without bothering with all the other business that the district convenes to take care of. Many of you had never darkened the door of a GOP event, ever. You had your mind made up about one issue, and one issue only.
I wonder – what would you say if I asked you what Eric Lucero intends to do, if elected, about taxes? Booming social and HHS spending? The budget bloat? How he plans to work, potentially, in a minority, and at best with a single GOP chamber against a DFL senate and possibly Governor? What his legislative priorities might be, other than…
…well, what precisely are Luceros’ priorities? Because near as I can tell, the only agenda on which Lucero ran was punishing Fitzsimmons for one single solitary vote in the entire 2013 session.
We’ll come back to that.
The Minnesota Family Council and the Taxpayers League: What the f***? I mean, what the f***ing, f***ing f***? The Taxpayers League gave Fitzsimmons a perfect 100% score and labeled him a “Friend of the Taxpayer” – presumably because Fitz perfectly supported the TPL on its brief, cutting taxes and spending . And yet there was your former boss, Phil Krinkie, writing a scathing hit piece on TPL stationery, attacking Fitzsimmons, for reasons utterly opaque to me.
And the Minnesota Family Council? You gave Fitzsimmons a 92 out of 100 – up near the top, even in a legislature full of perfect 100s. And yet over one vote, over a stance Fitzsimmons took before the GOP fell into a complete minority absolutely ensuring the passage of gay marriage - via pushing legislation that was mostly your organization’s work, by the way – and, most likely, the eventual oppression of those who dissent against it, you threw him under the bus as hard as you could.
What precisely is a good rating from either of your organizations worth, again?
Shame on both of you organizations. You both harmed both of your causes immeasurably this week among the people who’ll be showing up next week, next month and next year, if you catch my drift.
The Media: Um, not every candidate you disagree with is Tea Party. Lucero certainly isn’t. The Tea Party largely stays out of social issues. Many of us Tea Partiers have strong social beliefs, but our priority is trying to forestall the mindless liberal governments in St Paul and Washington from completely collapsing the entire economy, if we can.
Mr. Lucero: I saw you speak two weeks ago, at a Tea Party event. Near as I can tell, you have two issues; re-fighting the 2013 marriage debate, and…data security.
Assuming you get elected – and Wright County is, at least, fairly safe GOP territory, with minimal chance of the DFL flipping the seat – by all means, Mr. Lucero, tell us; what do you stand for that is material to the coming session. Because Gay Marriage ain’t coming up.
Taxes? Fighting a DFL Senate and possibly Governor? Fighting against the DFL’s drive to institute as much control over this state as it can? Getting the budget under control? Exporting conservatism from the third-tier suburbs into the parts of the state that need it?
You have some huge shoes to fill. Go ahead – convince those of us who work more than one issue that you’re fit to hold Dave Fitzsimmons’ briefcase.
That is all.
Morgan’s prime-time show is now mulch.
He was most famous for trying to return America’s gun laws to pre-revolutionary standards.
No, even that noted conservative tool, the NYTimes, caught that:
Mr. Morgan’s approach to gun regulation was more akin to King George III, peering down his nose at the unruly colonies and wondering how to bring the savages to heel. He might have wanted to recall that part of the reason the right to bear arms is codified in the Constitution is that Britain was trying to disarm the citizenry at the time.
I, for one, was looking forward to dumping the unctuous old Pom into Boston Harbor.
But I’ll settle for this, for now.
A high school friend of mine who lives in Texas, Jim, posted this on Facebook over the weekend:
Q: Why does world-famous violinist Joshua Bell make $1M for each performance?
A: Because no one is stupid enough to pay him $2M – he’s just not worth that much.
(Implication: what you do has value. A finite value. And if someone else can and will do the same things you can do, for less money, then your value has been reduced to that lower amount. Unless, of course, one of a number of things happens:
What is exciting about all of these options is that, except for the first one, all are activities that you can do yourself. They don’t require that you supine yourself before some benefactor who will then own your future. What went so wrong with a society that no longer recognizes the beauty inherent in self-determination?
What’s wrong is that we have a large, powerful interest in our society that profits handsomely from selling victimhood and dependence; the idea that all violinists, even people who’ve just picked up the instrument, should be making a “living fee” for their performances, just from pure fairness.
It’s a way of buying votes but making someone else pay for it.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
My wife and I went to Har Mar last weekend, to walk the mall. Yes, I am a mall-walker. Hey, it’s the only exercise she can get me to do, so it’s better than nothing.
An older man was sitting on a bench, people-watching. We recognized him as a guy who retired from my wife’s workplace last year. Effeminate mannerisms, trim physique, perfect hair: everyone assumed he was gay but so what, he’s a nice guy and he works hard. He never married, lived at home so he could care for his Mom until she died, and now he sits in the mall, alone.
The best argument the gay rights crowd advanced for normalizing their lifestyle was that everyone deserves to grow old with someone they love. I felt sad for him as my wife and I walked away, holding hands.
Of course, I recognize that “grow old with the one you love” is a slippery slope. There’s no reason “the one you love” must be limited. As an intellectual argument, it’s just as valid when applied to child brides, first cousins, man-boy love and probably other arrangements I’m too squeamish to wonder about. I accept that the fundamental organizational unit for any long-term stable society must be the nuclear family, lest it collapse in an orgy of self-indulgence. I’m not certain whether the next big push to expand marriage come from Muslims in plural marriages or feminists living alone with their cats; I am certain the next big push is coming.
But I still feel sorry for that man, sitting in the mall, alone.
If I were an ultra-orthodox Mormon, my ears would be perking up these days.