A Day In The Biden Administration

“Know what’d be better for halting Covid than wearing a mask? Wearing two masks. Let’s all do it.

But wait – you know what’d be better than wearing two masks? Three masks! Let’s get on board…

Hang on – you know what’d be better than wearing three masks? Four masks! That’s like four times the protection! So…

Jst a doggone minute – you know what’d be better than wearing four masks? Five masks! Bam!

Whoa, dudes, dudettes and non-binariliy-duded – you know what’d be better than wearing five masks? Si masks! Let’s smoke this brisket…

But…ay caramba – you know what’d be better than wearing six masks? Seven masks! Holy cow, we got the virus on the run now…

But hold your horses, hombres – you know what’d be better than wearing seven masks? Eight masks! Can you smell the victory…

Wow – wow wow wow – you know what’d be better than wearing eight masks? Nine masks! This must be what Jonas Salk felt like…

Oh, maaaaaan – you know where I’m going, right? 10 masks! Let’s get on board…

D’oh – I’m such a silly. Why stop at 10 when 11 masks are sitting right in front…no, wait, 12! 12 masks!

Some Animals Experience More Convenience Than Others

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

They’re building bridges over their roads for the reindeer to cross safely.

In fact, let’s go one step farther.  Let’s dig tunnels under the roads for raccoons to cross safely.  And paint different colored stripes for bicycles to cross safely.  And lower speed limits so jaywalkers can cross safely.

You know what?  Why are we messing around with half-measures?  If we’re going to do it, just do it right.

Ban vehicles and tear up the roads completely, so everyone and everything can cross safely.  Because what’s more important – moving people and goods efficiently, or signaling our virtue?

Do it . . . for the reindeer.

Joe Doakes

To be fair, not only are “we” doing it…

…but the “we” in this case is the Utah Highway and Natural Resources departments – arguably less likely to be swayed by bizarre priorities than Texas.

Say what you will – it’s a fascinating watch.

The Old School

Two bands I’ve never much cared for are Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead. Part of it was punky contrarianism; they were both very popular when I was in high school. Naturally, I had to zag away from the zigging crowd.

And yet if I had to pick three guitarists whose style mine most resembles, they’d be David Gilmour and Jerry Garcia (along with Mike Campbell).

I’d never have called myself a huge fan. And yet here I am – someone who wound up learning the guitar from their examples.

We’ll come back to that.

———-

Talk radio and cable TV legend Larry King died over the weekend. He was 87.

“For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster,” read the statement [from his production company]

“Larry always viewed his interview subjects as the true stars of his programs, and himself as merely an unbiased conduit between the guest and audience,” it continued. “Whether he was interviewing a U.S. president, foreign leader, celebrity, scandal-ridden personage, or an everyman, Larry liked to ask short, direct, and uncomplicated questions. He believed concise questions usually provided the best answers, and he was not wrong in that belief.”

King predated “talk radio” as we have known it since the repeal of the “Fairness Doctrine” by a solid decade and change. He was one of a generation of talkers – Joe Pyne, Tom Leykis, Morton Downey Jr., Bob Grant, and for that matter Don Vogel and Geoff Charles – who definitely had political views, but had to wrap them in enough information and entertainment to not get their stations, and eventually affiliates, licenses challenged with the FCC.

———-

We didn’t have a lot of talk radio in North Dakota when I was growing up.

There was the occasional “talk show”, of course. The boss at my first station did a half-hour interview with some local figure or another, every afternoon during the station’s evening news block. WDAY in Fargo had a morning talk show – “Live Line”, or some such innocuity – that was more or less the same, on weekday mornings. Mostly, they were done to fulfill a station’s “Public Service” requirement – the vague rule that they had to do something to “serve the public” with their federal broadcast license.

I was coming back from a Who concert in Minneapolis in 1982, ridingi shotgun through the night back to Fargo with a friend and fellow Who fan and much better night driver than I, when I first heard Larry King, and a whole different way of doing radio – talking about whatever grabbed the host’s fancy and making it…

…well, “interesting”, yes – but more importantly, injecting his personality into the subject. It was a conversation, more or less – but it was Larry King’s conversation.

I wasn’t bowled over.

Three years later – almost to the day, in fact – I moved to Minneapolis. And via an improbable series of events, I encountered modern talk radio, accidentally getting a job at KSTP-AM when “talk radio” still called itself “News/Talk” in an attempt to try to mix journalistic legitimacy with the chatter.

The station carried King – but I had other things going on in the evening. I didn’t listen much.

Along the way, as I was doing the ongoing pitch for my own talk show, I read one of King’s columns in USA Today. And it had some advice for would-be interviewers that’s stuck with me for the past 34 years.

Never prep for interviews.

It sounds lazy – and I’d be lying if I haven’t used it to rationalize a little endemic laziness. And it’s not right for every interview; if you’re talking with someone about a particularly fraught issue – something where defamation charges could be on the line, for example – then getting the key facts, and your approach to presenting them, straight is very much in order.

But for most interviews? Knowing nothing about the subject or the content, King said, forced you to approach the subject in exactly the same depth as most of your audience has to – from the absolute ground level up.

Of course, the craft comes from moving from that elementary level to one where you can have a meaningful, interesting conversation, quickly enough to make for good radio.

It didn’t always work – over 63 years, what does? But the example he provided – starting an interview small and working up to something you could (often as not) sink your teeth into – was pretty earthshaking for someone who aspired to try to do the same.

So, utterly counterintuitively, while I would never have called myself a huge Larry King fan, he (along with Don Vogel) probably influenced me more than anyone else in the business.

Open Letter To “A Wide Swath Of Liberal And Progressive Organizations”

To: The above-mentioned Swath
From: Mitch Berg, irascible, deplorable peasant
Re: Your Offensive

I couldn’t help but notice this from (where else) NPR the other day:

Oh, I can help.

For starters, you can beg for forgiveness for having appropriated a bit of culture – the term “Resistance” – you never earned.

For starters, you were a bunch of entitled, white, upper-middle-class plush-bottom yoonoos whose “resistance” involved posting irate Instagram selfies while running between your morning frappuccino and your Pilates class, appropriating a term that people who fought against real Nazis, who risked their lives and those of their families and friends during a war in which millions like them vanished without a trace. My contempt for y our self-aggrandizing drama should be apparent on this count alone – but if you’d like, I can be clearer.

Beyond that? Calling yourself a “resistance” is a little like Colin Kaepernick pleading “oppression” between meeting with his financial planner and running to a CNN interview. You people are part of the class that controlled much of the most powerful parts of society – the media, the bureaucracy, the educational-industrial complex…NPR, for that matter.

Just stop.

That is all.

Open-ish Thread

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails with a great idea

How about a new series of posts entitled something like “Walking it
Back” in which we detail the lies told during the Trump administration
which now are admitted to have been lies?

Exhibit one.

Joe Doakes

Keep ’em coming in the comment section.

Please note – comments that are not examples of media and Democrat (ptr) lies about Trump will be deleted, sooner than later. 99.9% of the posts on this blog have barely-moderated comment threads (on both sides). This is an exception.

Carry on.

On The Offensive

Imagine this: you are walking through downtown…er, Brainerd. It’s dark out, with a tinge of fog in the air.

A car full of rural youth with mischief on their minds rolls up and jumps out. One has a gun, another a baseball bat. They are making loud, aggressive, rural-youth-y noises.

In a split second, you discern:

  1. Your life is in immediate danger
  2. They, not you, are the aggressors
  3. You being a middle-aged man or woman, and they being spry rural teens, you don’t reasonably have the means or opportunity to run away.

In a split second, you decide that your concealed handgun is the best way to resolve the situation – whether you shoot or not.

And after the episode is resolved – via the youths fleeing or, heaven forfend, violently – you call the police, lawyer up, and get ready for the process of proving to the prosecutor (if all goes well) or a court and jury (if it doesn’t) that your decision was correct.

Here’s where it gets complicated.

For the next several weeks a county attorney, sitting in a warm, safe office with a Keurig and stacks of law books and protected by metal detectors and deputies, working from the police report, will pick over the life-or-death decision you were forced, against your will, to make on a cold, dark, foggy night in Brainerd, with a grisly death potentially seconds away, to see if your attempt to flee was satisfactory enough under not only statute, but according to at least a dozen entries in Minnesota case law.

Your freedom for the next seven to life is at stake – to say nothing of your life’s savings, home, and your family’s future.

Seem reasonable?

If so – in what world? Seriously?

———-

Self-defense reform bills – SF 13 and HF131 – have been introduced in the House and Senate that would remove Minnesota’s ambiguous, legalistic and opaque “duty to retreat” requirement in self-defense situations – where the other criteria for self-defense (see the list above) are met.

They will NOT let people shoot people because they don’t like the way they looked at them.

They will NOT provide open season for the current usual cultural suspects (WhitesupremacistnazitransphobeKKKsciencedeniers) to kill people (indeed, in states with “Stand your Ground” laws, “people of color’ use them more often than white defendants – successfully).
There is literally no *rational* reason not to pass this measure into law. Reflexively chanting “Duty to retreat! Duty to retreat!” will earn you an invite to re-read the opening scenario.

If you’re in Minnesota, contact your legislator.  I imagine most of you know yours, but the MN Gun Owners Caucus tool above has a legislative contact tool that’ll find ’em in case yo don’t.  

It’s kind of nice to be on the offensive again, isn’t it?

(The bills are of purely intellectual interest to me of course – any firearms I may have owned fell into Mille Lacs last summer. And guns terrify me. I’d never own one again).

Four More Years. Of…

LIke MInneaolis doesn’t have enough problems…

Jacob “McDreamy” Frey is going to run for re-election.

As one wag noted:

Suggested camaign motto: “Stay the Curse”.

The thing about Minneapolis, of course, is that if Frey gets unseated, it’ll be to someone from the left.

And that person will be unseated by someone from their left.

I’m afraid the vortex is unescapable.

Boys Will Be Boys Whatever Leadership Says They Are

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

On his very first day in office, President Biden ended Girls’ Sports. From now on, there will be Boys Champions and Boys in Dresses Champions but no girl champions because they’ll be physically unable to compete.

Good! Gives the girls more time to work on sewing and baking cookies and raising babies, being properly ladylike instead of roughhousing tomboys.

Joe Doakes

Why, it’s almost as if every single “progressive“ policy destroys the things that they are ostensibly trying to promote.

President Of Convenience

SCENE: Mitch BERG is out on his porch waiting for some food delivery. He’s committed – can’t go inside yet – when Avery LIBRELLE happens around the corner.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Uh, hey, Avery…

LIBRELLE: Stop with all the scare talk. Joe Biden is a moderate.

BERG: Biden is a moderate in the exact same sense that Brooke Shields was George Michael’s girlfriend in the ’80s.

LIBRELLE: What? Go on…

BERG: In the ’80s, various publicists circulated the story that Brooke Shields was dating George Michael – a fantastic singer who tripped every ‘gaydar’ set in the world when “Wham UK” started releasing music videos.

The “Relationship” was imposed on the couple, and the world, by the execs at Michael’s label for a bunch of reasons; in an age when being “gay” was still pretty closet-y and the likes of Freddy Mercury and Elton John kept their orientations very much under the radar, it protected Michael’s marketability. It benefitted both of their careers. It kept the whole “is he gay?” discussion from hampering record sales. And it was neither of their idea – it was a concoction of publicists working for their various record, studio and management companies, to keep everyone’s nests feathered.

LIBRELLE: And…?

BERG: Biden is the same thing. He was brought in to put a “crazy grampa” veneer on a party whose extremism has exploded like a diet Coke with a Mento dropped in. To make incipient communism less scary for soccer moms.

LIBRELLE: That’s just…

BERG: Just what?

LIBRELLE: I’m torn between “Racist” and “Anti-Palestinian”.

BERG: Naturally…

BERG’s delivery arrives.

And SCENE

Meaning

A friend of the blog emails:

The number of words that have totally lost their meaning over the last couple of weeks is astonishing. Coup, treason, sedition, insurrection and now unity. What’s next.

Anyone’s guess.

They join other terms – “white privilege”, “white supremacy”, “ Anti“ – pretty much any western virtue…

Common Sense

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A frequent commentor asked: “What utility does a ghost gun have that a
serial numbered gun does not?”

It’s a question frequently asked by those in favor of “common sense” gun
control.

To which I reply: “What utility does a Catholic have that an Anglican
does not?  Why can’t we have common sense Catholic control?”

And, “What utility does conservative political speech have that liberal
political speech does not?  Why can’t we have common sense speech control?”

To ask these questions is to reveal the fundamental disagreement between
my view of how government should operate and the questioner’s view,
between the Founders’ view and modern-day Democrats’ view.

How far we’ve strayed . . .

Joe Doakes

My other preferred answer: “I’m a citizen doing something I have a Constitutional and statutory right to do. The utility it has is giving people like you a big f*** you”.

Planet Of The Humans, Part 5 – Fizzle On The Launchpad

In the eighties and nineties, the cultural clichés about young people getting started in life were Hollywood’s fables about the young and gorgeous, weighing offers for competing top-tier business and law schools, on their way toward earning a solid middle class income straight out of school.

Tom Cruise in Risky Business was looking at Harvard, but would settle for Penn State as a safety school. The brat packers in Bright Lights, Big City and The Secret Of My Success and Breakfast Club and, worst of the lot, Saint Elmo’s Fire, slid from the inevitable Evanston that John Hughes froze in time, to Big Ten or Ivy League credentials, to jobs in the big city, whence story devolved into plot devolved into genre.

Real life was a little more pedestrian – but there was opportunity out there. I could pack up everything I owned and trek off to an affordable-enough city – which Minneapolis was at the time – and with little more than a dream, find a trade to ply. and start the process of building a life.

Now, on the one hand, I think when I was in high school and college, people were realistic; my English major advisor never told anyone a BA in English was going to pave your way to success, the way kids over the past fifteen years have been sold on the idea.

Kids today are, at least for the moment, embracing the far left. Socialism is seen as not merely viable but preferable by a dispiriting number of younger people.

Why?

Generational Failure

The education system certainly plays a role – kids today get twelve years of “progressive” indoctrination. If you did it to dogs, you’d get them taken away.

And the post-secondary system, which has spent years turning college into a semi-private wealth transfer that grifts kids into unrealistic expectations, plays its role.

But even with all that, between college debt and a bulge of baby boom workers still in the workforce and the perverse incentives that impel companies to work toward short-term return rather than long-term growth and prosperity, there’s a solid case that this is a tough time to be an entry-level worker.

And those perverse incentives – like the college debt crisis itself – are downstream of government policy. Companies chasing an IPO, or a valuation bubble to draw mergers and acquisitions, draw away from the kind of focus that used to lead to companies building for and working toward the long term.

This hasn’t surprised anyone who’s been paying attention. And while Democrat-driven regulation bears plenty of blame, the GOP focus on benefitting business qua business, as opposed business as part of a free, sustainable market, is part of the problem as well.

30-40 years ago, America’s most recent golden age was built by people whose prospects were, as a sarcastic but on-point song of the era pointed out, so bright they had to wear shades. The breezy optimism of John Hughes movies was a caricature, but not a sarcastic one.

And optimistic people b uild golden ages.

We’re lacking both today.

Today Is The Day…

…where we turn over control over “concern about the deficit and national debt” from one party to the other.

UPDATE: Also the date many of us become “domestic terrorists” in the eyes of the ruling party and Media (ptr).

UPDATE 2: On the other hand, today is the beginning of the period where Covid will be recognized as something that, between natural immunity and vaccines, will burn itself out and cease to be a national health crisis.

Playbook

Big Left has been openly salivating about a “wave of ‘white supremacist terror’ that’ll dwarf 9/11″ for years, now.

No – seriously. Years.

Does it seem like they’re wishing it to be so?

You’re not alone:

Need an Orwell reference? Authoritarians always need a boogieman. And like Orwell’s Eurasia and Eastasia, or Hitler’s “Reichstag arsonists” or the “Polish soldiers who attacked the Gleiwitz radio station” or “Jews”, or generations of Soviet “wreckers” and “counter-revolutionaries”, having a conspiracy to flog can certainly take peoples’ minds off of the bread lines or endless mask mandates, wouldn’t it?

Of course, the Democrats chose half the country for their boogieman.

Seems…self-limiting?

If so, the good guys have two years to prove it.

Planet Of The Humans, Part 4: Red On Red

So far in this series, I’ve ascribed blame for the dismal downward curve in the greatest society in the history of the world – from the apogee in the early nineties to the riot at the Capitol amid dueling thud-witted social media chanting mobs – to some easy suspects; the President himself, the extreme Progressive tilt of the left, and the collapse of trust in the institutions, education and law enforcement and the media, that we depend on to keep government fair, accountable and transparent.

Today? I turn the cannon on the Republican Party.

The GOP had virtually nothing to lose when it nominated Ronald Reagan in 1980. Gutted by Watergate and the Nixon resignation after four decades of basically being Democrats with better suits, sometimes it seemed that Ronald Reagan dragged the GOP into success, kicking and screaming and against its own will.

But by 1994, when the Newt Gringrich phalanx swung Congress to the GOP for the first time since the ’20s, the Party seemed to have its priorities straight: limit the size of government, cut taxes, and defend the country. Being a polyglot party, it enacted policy perfectly in none of those areas. But from 1980-ish until about 2000, the GOP was clear, principled alternative to the Democratic Party.

After that?

Analogy Time

I left the GOP in 1994, disgusted by the votes of so many Republicans for the 1994 “Crime Bill”, a knee-jerk reaction to a surge in crime that marked a high-water point in gun control as well as the weaponizing of drug policy.

I complained that the GOP – which had always paid lip service to gun rights – was happy to collect the votes of gun owners, but wouldn’t deliver for them when the chips were down. (Which was true – it took a surging gun rights movement to give the GOP religion on the subject). The complacent assumption that gun owners owed the GOP their votes drove me to the Libertarians – for a while, anyway.

The complacency drove me crazy.

And it still does.

Of course, economic economic conservatism is hard and tends to get people un-elected these days, so that by 2000 the Republican president was a bigger spender than the Demcorat he replaced (albet Clinton’s relative “conservatism” was a reaction to the 1994 Congress).

Hey – he was better than Algore would have been…

…right?

Second Acts

Fifteen years after Newt Gingrich’s revolution, the GOP was back in the minority in both chambers, victims of economic circumstance and offering roughly no reason to vote for them other than…you guessed it, they were better than the alternative.

The Tea Party sprang from nowhere, doing for basic conservative causes like fiscal discipline and limited government what the gun rights movement had done for “Shall Issue” over the previous two decades – took it to the streets and the halls of the Capitol. Very successfully…

…briefly. The “establishments” of both parties teamed up to slander the Tea Party out of existence – leaving only a few elected members of the Class of 2010 left to tell the tale.

And with the Tea Party beaten back underground, the GOP stood for…

…well, what?

Really, two things – an appeal to cliche, and another to some party crashers.

The Business Of The GOP Is…

The GOP’s commitment to business – or, mostly, limiting the impact of business taxes – is undeniable.

Unfortunately, it was a broad brush approach that focused on the sorts of breaks larger companies get with the help of offices full of tax lawyers, and left smaller busineses, and especially younger consumers, mostly alone.

Which played its part in creating a generation to whom the wealth hasn’t “trickled down” yet, and may well not at this rate.

We’ll come back to that later.

And of course, after nearly twenty years of standing for nothing, it spent five years falling for something that gave it purpose – populism. Giving the people what they want, rather than what a civilization needs. Given a choice between standing for the principles that gave it success in the first place, and the dog’s breakfast of big spending and big lip service to its ideals, the GOP ditched its principles like a two dollar date.

And with Donald Trump’s imminent departure from office, what will the GOP replace him with?

The GOP doesn’t even know, at this point.

Given an opportunity to cement our nation’s, and civilization’s, status, the GOP…

…whiffed.

It had help, of course.

More in the next installment.

It

#Progsplaining

Kendall Qualls was the GOP endorsed candidate for the 3rd Congressional District seat in this past election.

Having lost that time, he’s on to something potentially bigger – starting a conversation with the black community about…itself.

The DFL’s brain trust needs to stomp on that idea, but quick:

I raise you this, Zach: Imagine an entitled, very very white, middle class member of the ruling political class #progsplaining a black man about how he’s allowed to talk about black history.

This is today’s DFL.

Ineffective

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Study from Stanford University concludes lock-downs have no significant
effect on Covid spread
and the small effect they might have, could be
achieved by less restrictive means.

I doubt it’ll stay up long, once Liberals realized it proves
Conservatives were right all along:  there is no scientific basis for
lock-downs and Stay Home orders, and without a scientific basis for the
regulations, they’re simply unconstitutional power grabs.

PDF copy attached.

Joe Doakes

To paraphrase the old law school saying: when the emotion is against you, argue science. When the science is against you, argue emotion. When both science and emotion are against you…doxx them?

Against The Woke Mob Before It Was Cool

I’m not going to say I’m the world’s biggest Angela Merkel fan. American fans of Merkel tend to be be the kind of people who think soccer is a gripping watch and that Governor Walz’s knobs and levers are a great metaphor for communicating complex public health policy to the knaves.

Er…people.

But she was born in East Germany – and, unlike today’s woke mob, understands the inevitable result of their philosophy. So she earned the woke mob’s ire last week by coming out against Twitter’s canceling of the Trump twitter account.

Unexpectedly.

And now, Poland – a nation that was fighting for its freedom back when America was arguing over whether Miller Lite tasted great or was less filling, is firing a shot across Silicon Valley’s bow.

What do they know that thousands of Bernie Bros and Oberlin grievance studies grads don’t?

I’ve Got A Fever, And The Only Prescription Is More Knobs And Levers

For all of the pomp and circumstance and portent of Governor Klink’s grand proclamations on Covid policy, the inescapable fact is that he ahd his administration are doing a terrible job:

And the graphic here spells it out pretty starkly – Minnesota is lagging pretty much everyone.

Maybe the Governor is hoping to put that freezer morgue to use, still?

We Have Come Down From The Mountain

Today is Martin Luther King day.

And it’s time to be intellectually honest – to today’s Big Left, if he were alive, he’d have been canceled decades ago.

Because the historical record – one you have all seen, over and over, the “I Have A Dream” speech – flies in the face of the Critical Race Theory that dominates all “progressive” “thought” these days:

Anyway – it’s not like you don’t hear “I Have A Dream” constantly these days, but for this speech teacher’s kid’s money, “I Have Been To The Mountain” is the one I measure his, and nearly everyone else’s, oratory by.