We wait a full year for the Shooties – my annual award ceremony for all that is awful about Twin Cities blogging and alternative media.
And yet it’s always so very, totally worth it.
So let’s start making the sausage, shall we?
The Sominex Award: This year, this award goes to the leftyblog that bored me completely stiff.
And this year, the award goes to: The Entire Twin Cities Leftyblogosphere!
Look – Twin Cities leftyblogs are almost always dumb. Most of the smart ones – and there have been a few – have moved on to greener pastures. And what’s left?
When Sally Jo Sorenson is the cream of the remaining crop, you know you’ve got a problem.
The “Oceania Has Always Thought Eastasia Acted Perfectly Normal” Award: For the fifth straight year, the Twin Cities media – the so-called “fifth estate” that ostensibly keeps an eye on government – asked not a single question about the physical or mental health of a governor who disappeared for weeks, and seemed to barely be in the office when he was in the office.
The “Fonzie Is Up On His Skis” Award: The entire political “fact-check” genre jumped the proverbial shark long ago, lost in a welter of bald-faced left-wing biased capstoned by “Polifact”, the putative flagship of the genre, flagging a “Lie of the Year” that turned out to be as true as mom’s apple pie in 2012.
But MPR’s “Poligraph” feature broke new, er, ground this past year – “fact-checking” one of Jeff Johnson’s purely-subjective statements about the governor’s race.
The “That Bludgeoned Feeling You Get” Award: There was a national wave for Republicans – one of the biggest in history. It was a wave that largely vindicated the Tea Party – the fiscally-conservative, socially-libertarian asymmetric grass roots movement that rocked official Washington in both parties back on its heels in 2010, and got pushed back after a massive nationwide campaign of demonization in the mainstream and left alt-medias (pardon the redundancy).
And the wave conquered the Minnesota House – at least in Greater Minnesota. The DFL Machine held most of the Twin Cities metro, but for a stubborn seat in Burnsville that finally fell to Roz Peterson.
And yet the Minnesota GOP didn’t get even one solitary statewide office. Not even the Secretary of State, which polls in the weeks before the election showed as a likely pickup for the MNGOP’s Dan Severson.
Let’s reiterate this: in the midst of a nationwide wave of revulsion for the Obama Administration, where Republicans took the governors offices in Maryland and Illinois, to say nothing of decisively taking hold of the US Senate, the MNGOP laid an egg statewide.
It’s enough to try the patience of even a Saint Paul republican.
The “Nothing Here But Us Davids!” Award: This one goes to the entire Minnesota Second Amendment movement.
After being humiliated by the shooters in the 2013 session, the gun-grabbers came back with hundreds of thousands of dollars of Michael Bloomberg’s money, hiring a platoon of top-flight lobbyists to supplant the hapless Heather Martens and the demented Jane Kay at the Capitol.
And even though the entire Legislature was controlled by the DFL, with a DFL governor, the antis got absolutely nothing. Michael Bloomberg’s money was as wasted as John Bonham, Keith Moon and Ronnie Van Zant in a Motel Six in Houston with an unlimited bar tab.
The Back To The Future Award: The Star/Tribune, in an effort to buff up its online presence, added some new blogs.
And when I say “new”, I mean “pretty much exactly the ones that anyone who is deeply cynical about the Strib’s relentless editorial left-wing slang would expect them to hire”.
You’ve got Mark Andrew, former state DFL chair Minneapolis mayor candidate and self-appointed giver of scarlet letters. You’ve got Molly Priesmeyer, a woman whom the Twin Cities leftymedia takes inexplicably seriously (even though we surely do not). There’s the perfectly capable Aaron Brown – one of a very short list of Minnesota liberal bloggers who don’t deserve to be under police surveillance. And there’s my old friend and former NARN colleague Michael Brodkorb. Michael’s a good writer and great reporter, but let’s be honest; before he started straying from the GOP line, the Strib wouldn’t have collectively urinated on him if he had been on fire. Now that he’s a little more, I think it’s fair to say, unattached? Suddenly the Strib bites.
I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you.
The Benito Mussolini Award: In 2014, the Met Council opened its second light rail line, drilled straight down the middle of University Avenue, at a cost of $1.4 Billion. As has been noted in this space in the past, it was the wrong kind of train in the wrong place (“light rail” is supposed to jet along at 55MPH along routes with stops roughly every mile, like the “Blue Line” does; if you’re going to go down the middle of a busy urban street, you should build a trolley).
So last June, the Green Line, connecting the downtowns, opened with suffocating fanfare and cloying adulation…
…and, as it happens, not much speed. It took over an hour to go from downtown to downtown – about the same as the limited-stop 50 Bus that the train replaced (which did the route in about an hour), not much faster than the local 16 bus (about 90 minutes), and much, much slower than the 94 Express, which did the route with very limited stops in about 25 minutes. (The Met Council responded by eliminating the 94 Express outside rush hour).
So bad was it that even the transit fans at MPR, who had been cheerleading the Green Line since its inception (except for the part where it went past the MPR studios), were unamused to the point of taking the car.
I rode the Green Line once and once only – on its debut night. I rode from Hamline down to the Union Depot; it took about an hour and fifteen minutes, counting walking down to University and waiting for the train. That compared to about 40 minutes if I took the 67 bus (25 minutes) and walked from Cedar down to Union Depot, or 30 minutes if I biked it, or maybe fifteen by car, counting finding a parking spot.
I calculated that if they get the “Southwest Light Rail” built, it’ll mean someone can go from Union Depot to Eden Prairie Center in three hours.
The Charles Townsend Award – In 1765, British parliamentarian Charles Townsend, in noting the Colonies’ protests against the Stamp Act, said:
“And now will these Americans, Children planted by our Care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a Degree of Strength & Opulence, and protected by our Arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burden which we lie under?”
Townsend’s statements sum up the arrogance of the professional bureaucrat, the institutional utopian, the Masters of the Universe who believe they were sent here to keep us peasants from crapping in our beds.
And the winner this year? The entire Democrat “Farmer” Labor Party, as well as the entire machine that supports it in this state – Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota, Take Action Minnesota, the Star-Tribune and other left-leaning non-profits – who, after two years of blatantly carrying the DFL’s water on their signature pledge in the 2012 election (“We’ll lower property taxes for the middle class!”), promptly…
…presided over massive increases in property taxes for the middle class.
Which somehow got less media coverage than Teddy Bridgewater’s choice of sneakers.
OK, that’ll do it for this year! See you in 2015!