When The Breakdown Hit At Midnight There Was Nothing Left To Say

Backstreets magazine, which has been covering all things Springsteen and setting the standard for high-music fanzines since 1980, is going out for a ride and not coming back.

Like so much in modern music, it’s Ticketmaster’s fault:

If you read the editorial Backstreets published last summer in the aftermath of the U.S. ticket sales, you have a sense of where our heads and hearts have been: dispirited, downhearted, and, yes, disillusioned. It’s not a feeling we’re at all accustomed to while anticipating a new Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band tour. If you haven’t yet read that editorial (“Freeze-out,” July 24, 2022), or the crux of Springsteen’s response to Rolling Stone in November, we encourage you to do so; we don’t want to rehash those issues, but we stand behind our positions and points.

We’re not alone in struggling with the sea change. Judging by the letters we’ve received over recent months, the friends and longtimers we’ve been checking in with, and the response to our editorial, disappointment is a common feeling among hardcore fans in the Backstreets community.

Side note: loath as I am to either commend Senator Klobuchar for, well, anything, or to recommend anything from WNYC’s generally loathsome On The Media, this past week’s episode breaks down the history of Ticketmaster’s toxic impact on music. Don’t tell anyone, but it’s worth a listen:

As to Springsteen?

I’ve seen him probably half a dozen times over the years. I’m not sorry to say some of those shows were pivotal moments in my life – in some ways, I wouldn’t be who or where I am today if I hadn’t been there.

While my interest in his music has waxed and waned over the years – his first two and 2-3 most recent albums are very good, most of his stuff since about 2005 sailed right past me, the records from his break from the E-Street Band (Human Touch, Lucky Town and Ghost of Tom Joad) were a swing and a miss, and the “Holy Trinity” (Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River), Nebraska, Tunnel of Love and The Rising are as good as popular music gets, and in comparison Born in the USA is merely great – underneath it all i’ve been fascinating to watch how Springsteen has kept himself and his fans in a state of creative churn trying not to turn into a nostalgia act dragging a troupe of nostalgia act fans around the world. And even though I might go ten years without enjoying (or buying) one of his records, for that, I’m grateful.

So I’m not going to say I’m not going to keep an eye peeled for a much, much better price for next month’s shows at the X, for old times sake. He won’t be touring forever.

But the extent to which even Bruce – who, 40 years ago, was gutting Big Scalper before there was a Pearl Jam – has been assimilated is…

…well, Backstreets‘s op-ed calls it ‘disappointing”, and I can’t disagree. Bruce sounds a lot like a politician in explaining his position, stuck between the most loyal fan base in music and Ticketmaster and Live Nation…

…who are no less greedy and soulless a bunch of “bosses” as the musachioed villains in the Pete Seeger songs Bruce memorialized (checks notes) 17 years ago.

Disappointing. I’ll stick with that.

(Note: Don’t like Bruce? Take it up elsewhere. Bruce hate will be culled without mercy or comment. Take it up with JB Doubtless – if you can find him. As the sage said, I’m still here, he’s all gone).

Other Peoples Money

Back when I worked in downtown Saint Paul, I commuted down Summit Avenue.

There’s a bike lane down the entire length of the street. And while the condition of the lane is the same as the condition of the street itself (I’m looking at you, Summit and Oakland) it’s already one of the most beautiful urban corridors in the city.

Let’s review: for the price of the paint it took to create it, two-way bike lanes co-exist with two lanes of traffic each way, down a gorgeous parkway. It’s how biking should be.

“The City of Saint Paul” wants to spend $`12 million to build raised lanes on both side of Summit, reducing the street to one lane each way. And by “the City of Saint Paul”, I mean a thin, entitled, smug, innumerate veneer of smug upper-middle-class members of the laptop class – the peolple who run the city.

The city can’t hire cops. Its streets are a disaster. Every year, we hesitate to call the snow-plowing “the worst ever” because that merely temptes the next year.

And, make no mistake – the fact that this story is being publicized means the decision has been made. Oh, here will be “public hearings” and “listening sessions” – which are stamps on the procedural ticket to show they’ve done their due diligence before doing what they wanted to do anyway.

But speaking as a biker, I’d like to have a word with Zack Mensinger.

Proposed Berg’s Law

To wit:

People who use the phrase “…stand in solidarity” are almost always entitled, grandiloquent jagoffs who are speaking in support of horrible people who are doing wretched things”.

To wit:

Exhibit B…:

…which also suggests a link between the phrase and bad Latin Socialist Realist art.


It’s About Suburban Maryland…

…but Jude Russo’s description of a train ride from his home into the District of Colombia may as well be about the Twin Cities, from the post-Covid pathologies of the drivers on the freeways…:

I rarely leave the greater D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area, so I cannot speak to the case in other parts of the country, but here the drivers have simply become worse since the pandemic shutdowns.

In particular cases, it is clear what is happening—a 20-year-old Camry in the passing lane, going ten under the limit and reeking of the botanicals that the people of my state last year voted to legalize, holds no mystery. But we have also added speed demons and weavers and those inscrutable drivers who insist on going the exact speed as the cars in the lanes next to them, making passing impossible. The etiology of these pathologies, whether chemical or spiritual, is unknown to me.

…to the state of the state (or, I guess, district) overall:

It is difficult not to feel that something has come loose these past few years. Public standards for everything from dressing to doing your job to maintaining infrastructure have slipped. But the Maryland government ran a surplus last year, and may repeat the feat with the help of gambling tax revenue; Alstom is in the black, as is SP Plus.

Everyone has more money but is poorer; things are more profitable but worse; there are more legal ways to have fun than ever, but everyone is miserable. “The purveyor of rare herbs and prescribed chemicals is back. Will we never be set free?”

It’s worth a read…

…assuming you haven’t been living it,here or there.

Never Forget

Yesterday was the date of a horrific atrocity.

No, not some people kicking Ilhan Omar off of something. The 21st anniversary of the – words fail – supernaturally brutal murder of Daniel Pearl.

You should read Yid With Lid’s entire piece on the subject, which writ larger is the fiction of the notion that “Antizionism” isn’t in fact antisemitism. Pearl’s murder showed this to anyone who isn’t too blinded by bigotry to see it.

Twenty-one years and one day after Daniel Pearl was brutally murdered, Rep Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was tossed off a committee because of her putrid public Antisemitism and regular use of anti-Jewish canards on Twitter. Omar was tossed because of her hatred of Jews, but many in congress, the media, and their supporters are claiming it’s political.

If you ask people why Daniel Pearl was murdered, they will give several reasons but leave out the Antisemitism part. Because the key lesson was never learned.

May God teach the people in the world to recognize that Antisemitism is real and pervasive.

“Never Forget”, they used to say.

A Boot On Your Neck. Forever.

Democrats in Minnesota and nationwide are switching into enforcement mode.

The legal persecution of Jack Phillips continues…

Phillips’s public expression of his faith had placed a target on his back, and the narrow Supreme Court ruling in his favor had the two-pronged effect of further inflaming activists while simultaneously depriving the baker of decisive, precedent-setting protections against their agitations. In 2017, “the very day the Supreme Court agreed to hear Phillips’s case, Autumn Scardina, a transgender activist in Denver, called Masterpiece Cakeshop and requested a custom cake with a blue exterior and a pink interior to symbolize a gender transition,” David Harsanyi wrote. Scardina was allegedly a member of the Church of Satan, and court documents alleged the activist had also sought Phillips’s services for charming depictions such as a cake celebrating Satan’s birthday, which would feature “a large figure of Satan, licking a 9″ black Dildo,” with the requirement that the dildo must necessarily be “an actual working model that can be turned on before we unveil the cake.”

Phillips, of course, politely declined Scardina’s requests. Scardina, of course, proceeded to file a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The commission, of course, ruled against Phillips. In August 2018, two months after his initial Masterpiece Cakeshop victory, Phillips was back in court.

Last week, a panel for the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld an earlier court decision requiring Phillips to bake Scardina’s transgender cake. No surprise there — the same court had also upheld the state’s original injunction demanding that Phillips bake the same-sex wedding cake. What should be abundantly clear at this point is that “civil rights,” in this context, are more about power — wielded against disfavored groups, and in favor of privileged ones — than any neutral conception of legal protection. Even as it ruled against Phillips, the Commission upheld the right of bakers to refuse to make a Bible-shaped cake inscribed with the message: “Homosexuality is a detestable sin. Leviticus 18:2.” This double standard is a feature, not a bug, of how these bureaucracies function. As NR’s editors noted today, the practical effect of the Left’s weaponization of anti-discrimination laws “is to demand that the faithful kneel before favored identity groups.”

…and is so hamfistedly symbolic that a sophomore-year English prof would send it back for rewrite if it were fiction.

The process is the punishment.

Of course, the MNDFL does its darnedest to make it difficult, even impossible, to run as a Republican. I’ve heard more than one GOP legislator who’d been pondering running for higher office without having spent their teens and twenties as cloistered monks say they were going to demur on running , because the DFL’s opposition research crowd would make not only their lives, but their family’s, a living hell.

WIth that in mind?

Keith Ellison is going to show Scott Jenson that running against the DFL has consequences. Via David Strom:

…the Attorney General of the State of Minnesota has taken it upon himself to step up the harassment of Dr. Jensen based upon already adjudicated charges that should never have been brought in the first place. It is disgraceful and can be explained by nothing other than politics.

It is a political hit job–punishment not for what he has done, or even said, but for who he is. A well-respected Republican who dared to challenge Tim Walz in the last election. They are sending a message that taking on the Democrat establishment will ruin your life.

I said above that the process is the punishment. At some point, the determination that he may continue to conduct medicine will not exonerate him, nor return the time, effort, and money that he has to spend to defend himself. They have turned him into a doctor who has faced 5 investigations. How many potential patients will avoid him for that alone? Countless.

No matter how bogus the charges are, the punishment has taken place simply by making the charges and forcing him to defend himself.

Politics ain’t beanbag, and it is usual for people in the midst of campaigns to hurl charges at each other. But this goes way beyond that. They are mobilizing all the power of the state to destroy Jensen.

This is what tyranny looks like in America.

When all your oppoonent cares about is gaining and consolidating power, “democracy” is just a decorative verbal sprig of parsley on top of whatever horrors our new Leninists are hoiking up.

Grandma Bea

Today would have been the 119th birthday of my grandmother, Beatrice Gresley Berg.

The. youngest of four children of a drayman, Berndt Oleson, who’d emigrated from Graesli, Norway in the 1890s, she was born in the suburbs of Thief River Falls, MN, before moving up to Middle River. She grew up speaking Norwegian until she was 8. I always regretted the fact that second generation immigrants were so adamant about not passing on the language to their kids and grandkids – until I started learning Norwegian a few years ago, and realized Berndt’s hill-country dialect was to Norway what an Appalachian brogue is to the modern US, and I probably dodged a sociolinguistic bullet.

Other than being my grandmother, and my dad’s mom, Grandma Bea was most famous – sort of – for her involvement in one famous photo.

Bea had two aunts on her mother’s side, a couple of entrepreneurs who’d traveled the wilds of Minnesota and the Dakotas. starting photography studios all over the place and selling them off to new photogs. Some of those studios still exist. One that doesn’t, but has lived on in Minnesota lore, was the Eric Enstrom studio in Bovey – a stone’s throw from Coleraine. Grandma apprenticed with Enstrom, and one day in the early ’20s was involved in the staging, shooting, development and hand-coloring of this photo:

“Grace” went on to a place on the wall of nearly every dining room in the Upper Midwest. It made Enstrom famous (mostly posthumously), made Bovey at least something of a destination, and became the “Minnesota State Painting”, as Tim Pawlenty described it to me before I gave him the entire history.

She went on to answer an ad for an assistant at a new studio in Jamestown, North Dakota, where she eventually married the boss and had my father. Grandpa Oscar died in 1942, and Bea kept the studio going by herself for a few more decades.

I’ve often wished the three of them, Bea and her two photo tycoon aunts, could have a word with today’s “feminists”, none of whom could have carried Grandma or her aunt’s camera cases.


One of the things about having one’s party in the minority is that, free from the possibility of having to try to craft compromises to pass legislation, they can submit legislation that reflects their core principles to a T.

When the GOP is in the minority – as it is in the MN House and Senate? Then you see bills that make you wonder “where was that kind of thinking when the Republicans controlled the gavel?” Of course, it’s easy to stand on pure principle as the minority – it’s all for the campaign lit in the next election.

Parties in the minority submit legislation that reflects their inner id.

WIth the GOP in the minority, you get solid conservative, even daringly libertarian proposals.

WIth Democrats in the minority? You get attacks on core liberties.

Adam Schiff and his fellow Dems dream of gutting the First Amendment. He and his cronies are proposing to reverse Citizens United – which ended speech rationing for non-union corporations – and re-regulate political spending, which is political speech.

Of course, they’re in the minority, for now:

It’s just a political stunt, of course, as Schiff doesn’t have the votes. But it does reflect the authoritarian outlook of the contemporary left on free expression. From the day the decision came down, 13 years ago this week, Citizens Unitedwas a rallying cry for those threatened by unregulated discourse. President Barack Obama infamously, and inaccurately, rebuked the justices during his State of the Union for upholding the First Amendment. Since then, Democrats have regularly blamed the decision for the alleged corrosion of “democracy.”

“Democracy”, in Democrat usage, is losing meaning almost as fast as “White Supremacy”.

The Bullied Pulpit

Remember last year, in the immediate aftermath of the Dobbs decision, when Kansas referred a constitutional amendment banning abortion to a popular vote…

…and it lost?

In deep-red (but for Wichita and Kansas City) Kansas?

Big Left took it as a bit of great news – “Even Red America is pro-choice!”

Smarter Americans read it this way: America is divided on abortion:

  • About 15% want abortion through all forty weeks, and maybe even a little after (no, I’m not bveing hyperbolic).
  • 20-odd percent want to ban abortions completely – many with exceptions in the rare cases where the mother’s life is at risk.
  • The remainder support some form of abortion, with support sloping steadily downward from six to 20 weeks, and nearly vanishing after the halfway point in the pregnancy.

The DFL, dominated by that first 15%, has jammed down the most extreme interpretation of “choice” this side of California. Will the people lash back from the extremes, the way they (arguably) did in Kansas?

Well, if I have anything to do with it.

One group that should, doctrinally, be in the second 20% – or at least the most moderate parts of the larger 60% – is Catholics. Of course, we know Catholics oppose abortion, because Catholics never get divorced or eat meat on Fridays, either…

…but if there was ever a time for a hypothetical archdiocese to get serious about doctrine, one might think this would be it.

Ten Catholics in the House, and three in the Senate, voted for the “PRO Act”.

Now, at least a few Catholic bishops and priests have invoked ecclesiastical sanctions against some “pro-choice Catholics”, so it’s not without precedent.

So the question remains – is Archbishop Hebda going to do his job, or find some artful and obtuse grounds to evade it?

A Time For Choosing

A. send your goons after businesses, trying to survive your administrations unconstitutional lockdown. Openly sided with rioters against law abiding people.


B. Yap about “upholding the dignity of every Minnesotan”.

Pick one.

What’s Ojibwe For “Buuuurn”?

Lieutenant, governor Flanigan – who is known to wear an Anishanabe costume when it suits her, politically – was crowing about Minnesota being on the brink of adopting, the most radical abortion law in the country., and one of the worst in the world:

Former senator Matt Dean caught her on the facts.

But Representative Donna Bergstrom – also an Ojibwe – had the burn that we’ve been looking for:

I bet the Ojibwe had words for “murder”, “outsider who’s not supposed to be among us without some scrutiny”, and “petty tyrant”.

The Dicken Drill

Noticed a lot more people shooting at silhouettes waaaaaay down at the other end of the range lately?

Blame Elisha Dicken, the hero of last summer’s attempted spree killing in Indiana, who put eight out of ten shots into a would-be mass murderer at a range of 40 yards, under the stress of shooting at someone out to murder everyone he could see.

Massood Ayoob comments on the episode, the drill – and comments on some other attempted spree killings ended by good guys with guns….

…at ranges that seem like they’re from Davy Crockett tales.

Urban Progressive Privilege: “The Word Means What I Say It Means. Also, It Doesn’t Exist”

In my 20s, I had a section of my bookshelf that I called my “Know Thy Enemy” section.

It had an assortment of books that, broadly, are antithetical to Western Civliization: Marx, Mein Kampf (in German and translation), even a copy of “The Turner Diaries” at one point (although that last one got tossed along the way).

Point being, while I don’t still literally have that bookshelf, I find it useful to know our enemies.

So I listen to NPR. Not all the time. Mostly when I’m stuck on a long drive. I seek out the blinkered, the entitled and the depraved.

The New Yorker Radio Hour rarely disappoints on any of those counts. Like it’s fellow WNYC production, NYRH is a reliable stenographer for the inner id of eastern transatlantic progressive reflexes.

This past weekend? The etymology of word “woke”…

…which, we are reminded, doesn’t really exist:

Lately, conservatives have blamed “wokeness” for everything from deadly mass shootings to lower military recruitment. Still, few have a ready definition for what the word means. 

The episode then goes on to provide its etymology (I’m a linguistics geek, I live for that stuff) and several working definitions and its history of use on the “progressive” left…

…on the way toward telling us the whole thing is a conservative messaging scam.

This is, of course, the leftist pattern:

  1. Coin a term – “Politically Correct”, “CRT” “Woke”, “Mostly Peaceful” – to describe one of the left’s activities or goals
  2. Use it.
  3. Turn it into a social cliche.
  4. When conservatives turn the cliche against them, declare it never existed and that that it’s all right-wing messaging (leaving behind a residue of people who didn’t get the memo, and continue to use the term in its original form with dogged, entitled obstinacy).
  5. Move on to the next term, lather, rinse, repeat.

My project for the coming year: do my little bit to push “white supremacy” down into Step 4.


You might look at Minneapolis, and silently wonder to yourself “how did that city become like it is? How do people like Jacob Frey and Alondra Cano and the City Council keep getting elected? What is with those voters“?

And then you read…:

And you turn your mind to productive things.

The “Party Of Science” (TM) In Action

I was down at the State Capitol yesterday morning for the Gun Owners Lobby Day.

While there, I ran into a bunch of legislator friends, including former Representative, now Senator Eric Lucero.

Who told me this story, which I’m pleased to pass on to all of you now.

Anyone get the impression Senator Mitchell was a “Meteorologist” at a failing small-market TV station before becoming part of the DFL machine?

Maybe Steve Carell studied her before doing “Anchorman?”

Four Or Five Times Bitten

Police departments nationwide reportedly bracing for riots after yet another police shooting…

…in yet another Democrat-run city, which yet another wave of “protesters” will turn into yet another wave exploitation of another wave of, what the heck, let’s call it “anger”.

“Anger” that feels more and more like a Democrat party campaign-prep operation. .

The Tytler Spiral

A quote:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”

Alexander Fraser Tytler

In completely unrelated news, Governor Klink proposes a budget that is 21% larger than the previous budget.

As predicted by yours truly, it turns the entire “surplus” [1] into permanent spending, giving a pittance back to those earning less than $75,000 – in other words, the ones that didn’t pay the taxes – and calls the payments “Walz Checks”.

I’m a little amazed they’re not called “Walz/Flanagan Checks”.

Not sure why I thought those two things at precisely the same time.

[1] Which is not only the usual overtaxation, but heavily comprising one-time federal money, and spending driven by federal stimulus and inflated a solid 8%. Only the inflation is going to remain.

Worse Waitress

After twenty years on Eat Street, “Bad Waitress” – as perfect a metaphor for life in a city run by Democrats – has abused its last customer.

“When we opened The Bad Waitress, we set out to serve our friends and neighbors better food with a fresh approach. We’ve believed since the start that brunch makes everything better – but this time, it couldn’t save the day,” the Cohens wrote. “We hope you’ll join us for one last lunch date, boozy brunch, mid-morning coffee, or to use your Bad Waitress gift card before we close our doors on Sunday, January 29.”  

They actually had two locations. The other one, up in Northeast, closed…

…oh, just you guess when. 2020. You got it.

But remember – don’t you dare say Minneapolis is in a death spiral.

While I wish the folks at Hell’s Kitchen all the best, after some of their wokiness, I can’t help but wonder if the wolves aren’t circling the door.

The Ghouls Among Us

During the debate on the state’s #1 priority, Rep. Peggy Scott asked Rep. Skeletor when a baby becomes human.

Liebling’s response:

I’m going to park this is a post for 2024. The media will try to memory-hole this entire shameful episode. I may not be able to fix that, but in the little corner of the world I influence, this is going to be a topic in about 18 months.

Wanna See Gymnastics?

Ask a vocal pro-choicer this question:

“At what point in your mother’s pregnancy with you would it have become unacceptable for her to abort you?”

Not some abstract “woman” excercising “reproductive rights”. Your mother.

Not some abstract “Fetus” or “clump of cells” or “tissue mass”. You. The person you were born as, and became.

When would you, Mr/Ms. Pro-Choicer celebrating legislature considering abortion through 40 weeks of gestation on demand, tell your mother the life you’re living now had enough worth to consider it human?

Mohammed Ali in his prime didn’t duck and weave and gyrate like what you’re about to see.

The Gaslighting Project

Nikole Hanna-Jones grift continues.

I caught her segment on “All Things Considered” over the weekend (so you don’t have to):

I think there is a segment of America that you will never reach. They don’t care what the facts are. They don’t care what the history is. They don’t want to hear it. But I don’t actually think that’s most Americans. As I say, you know, in the preface for the original project, we all suffer for the poor history we’ve been taught. And I couldn’t be a journalist – I wouldn’t have chosen this as my profession if I didn’t believe that if you can inform people, if you can provide people with the correct information, that that has the ability to be transformative.

One of the segments Hanna-Jones will never reach are people who prefer their history to tell the complete story, without being altered to drive a political agenda. People like those notorious conservative tools at The Atlantic, Forbes, Politico, and collections of Civil War academics and economists and on and on.

She’ll never reach those of us who object to her completely rewriting and slandering entire swathes of American history, while slathering herself in the strawman that critiqueing her project (or, merely, her) means shutting down the study of the history of slavery.

Somehow – unexpectedly – none of that made it into Michelle Martin’s fawning “interview”, which was more a matter of mutual toenail-painting than news.

Go Time

Governor Klink released his gun control proposals yesterday.

Did he propose to push metro prosecutors to use the sentence enhancement for using guns to commit crime?

Perish the thought, simple peasant.

No, the usual California-stye gruel: magazine capacity limits, age limits, and most importantly gun registration [1].

It’s time to turn out.

The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus is holding its annual “Lobby Day” on Thursday morning. Come on down to the Capitol. Members of the Caucus will meet you, show you how to find your Rep and Senator in the various office buildings, and help you represent gun owners, face to face, to our legislature.

The legislature takes these days seriously since they know that unlike the astroturf clutches of biddies with ELCA Hair that ProtectMN and Moms Want Action sends waddling around the place, we represent a hell of a lot of actual voters that consider the 2nd Amendment a litmus test. And there are a lot of us out there. Enough to flip a chamber or two in 2024? Yep.

Hope to see you there on Thursday morning!

[1] They’re called “Universal Background Checks” – but the only way to make them “universal” is to keep track of which guns have been background-checked. This creates a set of linked data points – or, as they’re called in the information management business, a “database” . Ringing a bell, yet?

Now Be Thankful

Amy Klobuchar should be thankful to the feminist goddess that Tina Smith is in Congress.

Because as long as she is, A-Klo is not the dumbest Senator in our delegation.



To be fair, Smith says it because she knows Democrat voters don’t do critical thought.