The Free Lord

As the German Spring Offensive raged on the ground, so to did the action in the air on April 21st, 1918.  Above the Somme, as German forces drove relentlessly into the British line, a handful of German and British aircraft dueled for air superiority.  A young Canadian pilot, Lieutenant Wilfrid “Wop” May, had fired a few bursts from his machine gun at one of the Germans.  The German evaded his shots and May quickly noticed a distinctive red, Fokker Dr.I triplane begin to chase him.  This was May’s only second day in combat and he immediately knew he was being pursued by arguably the most famous pilot in the world, Manfred von Richthofen – the “Red Baron.”

May fled as quickly as he could back into British territory, knowing full well he stood little chance against the German ace credited with 80 aerial victories.  Richthofen normally would have broken off the pursuit – he had always told his fellow pilots not to overzealously follow a single target – but May had fired upon Richthofen’s cousin and the “Red Baron” appeared out for blood.  May’s friend, Captain Arthur “Roy” Brown, saw his fellow Canadian airman was in trouble, and despite the long odds against winning, engaged the German.  In the cluster of gunfire from planes, and anti-aircraft rounds from the ground, Richthofen was struck – a bullet tearing open his chest.  But his aircraft seemingly managed a rocky landing behind the British line before finally crashing against trees.  Nearby Australian troops rushed to see what they could find.  Richthofen had smashed himself against the butt of his machine gun and flight controls.  He had likely died before even fully landing his plane.  

The man that Erich Ludendorff had said “was worth as much to us as three divisions” and had terrified Allied airmen was no more.  

Manfred von Richthofen – the Red Baron.  With 80 confirmed victories, Richthofen was the winningest pilot of the Great War.  The next highest was French pilot Rene Fonck with 75.  20 confirmed victories were required to be viewed as an “ace”


One of the more notable quotes in film history comes from director John Ford’s classic film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, where a small town newspaper editor, pressed with new information that changes a decades-old story that launched various careers, states “when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”  For Manfred von Richthofen, whose career resides between the hagiographic coverage the German press lavished upon him and a heavily edited autobiography that still managed to hint at layers of personal torment, it’s difficult if not impossible to sort fact from legend.  In roughly two-and-a-half years, Richthofen rose from obscurity to one of the most famous men in the world.  By the time of his death at only 25 years of age, Richthofen was the highest scoring ace of the Great War, had collected 25 medals from four different countries, and was a best-selling author.  He was also a shell of a man who started the war; far more morose and erratic and suffering from a serious head injury. Continue reading

Behold, Minneapolis 2023

After a solid year of “protests” – they might be more accurately called “a ‘ultra-progressive’ coup on the streets” – Portland’s coalition of Big Left constituents is starting to fracture.

[The “anarchists”] have shown themselves at times to be violent — one was charged with attempted murder after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the police — destructive of property and highly adaptable, using social media tools and other strategies to divert the police from the targets they select.

Direct actions are promoted on social media with the phrase “No gods, no masters,” a 19th-century anarchist term that indicates a rejection of all forms of authority. More traditional protesters from Black Lives Matter and other movements who try to curtail violence are now ridiculed as “peace police” by the anarchists, who mostly consist of young, white men.

Demetria Hester, a member of Moms United for Black Lives, continues to push for defunding the police but disagrees with the current call for dismantling the entire political system. “Breaking windows is performative,” she said. “That satisfies them at night, but they don’t have a plan.”

Some prominent Black leaders have been formally distancing themselves, with some calling the anarchists’ rejection of gradual progress just another symbol of privilege that Black people do not have.

“Being able to protest every night is a white privilege, being able to yell at a police’s face is a white privilege,” said Gregory McKelvey, a prominent Black organizer who ran the mayoral campaign last year for Mr. Wheeler’s opponent, Sarah Iannarone. “Most Black people across the country do everything they can to avoid cops.”

Of course, the McKelvey’s statement shows his own class bias; wanting to “burn it all down” and “revolution”, like all such revolutions, are the affectation, not of those who have nothing to lose, but of those who believe they have nothing to fear about everyone else losing everything.

Desperately Seeking

Twin Cities media – in this case, the “Minnesota Reformer”, aka “MN Monitor 4.0” – is apparently still hoping for the FBI to charge “Umbrella Man” with destroying or damaging 700 buildings last year.

I’m sorry. That was snarky.

I’ll try again.

They are apparently still awaiting formal confirmation that Umbrella Man led a horde of “white supremacists” who managed to damage 700 buildings, while leaving not so much as a single swastika or “14 Words” refernce – being simultaneously a bunch of brain-damaged losers and operatives with Mossad-level fieldcraft skills. .

Updates as the situation warrants.

VC Day

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Looking back with a year of experience, it’s clear the COVID crisis in Minnesota is over, if it ever began.

70,000 Minnesotans did not die. There was no surge of cases. Hospitals were not overwhelmed, nor funeral homes: the refrigerated warehouse sits empty.  Holiday revelers did not die in droves, nor Spring Breakers, nor school children.  Active cases are in the 300 range, hospitalizations less than 100, out of a population of 5,000,000.  Covid is still a threat to the frail elderly in nursing homes, but poses no general public health emergency.

Why hasn’t Governor Walz ended the Peacetime Emergency and returned power to the people, as he promised he would?

Joe Doakes

Because it was never about public health.

I Think I Figured It Out

An allegory in three acts:

Act 1

SCENE: An elementary school classroom.BULLY is sitting at the desk next to KID. A half dozen pencils lie strewn about the floor around KID’s desk.

BULLY: Throws a pencil at KID. KID looks annoyed, but shakes it off.

BULLY: (Sotto Voce) Hey, kid! (KID looks over as BULLY whips another pencil at him. KID, more annoyed, shakes it off)

BULLY: (Sotto Voce again). Hey, kid!

KID: Tries to ignore BULLY.

BULLY: (Flings pencil, hard . The pencil catches KID in the corner of the eye, and it hurts.

KID: (Jumps up). What’s your problem?

BULLY: Ms. Walburn! Ms. Walburn! The Kid is trying to pick a fight with me!

MS. WALBURN: Kid, you have detention tonight!

BULLY: Ms. Walburn, have I not been warning you about Kid’s propensity to bullying for days, now ?

KID: What the…?

And SCENE

Act Two

SCENE: In the kitchen of a single-wide trailer. WIFE Is sitting on the floor sobbing. HUSBAND is looking around, apparently making sure nobody saw what just happened.

HUSBAND: Look, you provoked me.

WIFE: (Sobs)

HUSBAND: I mean, OK, hitting was wrong, but you have to admit, the way you badger me about things is emotional abuse. And you know what they way – emotional abuse is worse than physical abuse.

WIFE: (Sobs)

HUSBAND: And you were badgering me. I mean, criminy, we both have big problems, here.

WIFE (Sobs)

HUSBAND: I mean, since emotional abuse is worse, and you do a lot of it, we’re really still not even even-up, here…

WIFE: (Sobs)

HUSBAND: I mean, you’re lucky I’m willing to call it even. It’s a gift.

WIFE (Sobs)

Act Three

SCENE: The United States, today.

BIG LEFT: “Whiteness” is a mental disorder that goes along with merely being white. Whiteness and systemic racism are inseparable.

NORMALS: That’s bulls#it.

BIG LEFT: That’s your privilege, racism, misogyny, transphobia and ethnocentrism talking.

NORMALS: That’s just word salad at best. “Inclusion language” – an arcane code designed to show you’re one of the “good ones” – at worst.

BIG LEFT: What if your employer were to find out about your retrograde thinking? They might not appreciated it.

NORMALS: So you’re going to try to cancel me, now?

BIG LEFT: Pffft. There is no such thing as “cancel culture”.

NORMALS: Sure there is. If we’re mainstream conservatives, and haven’t gone as undercover as a Mossad operative in Tehran, we can’t get jobs in Academia, public education, much of private education, Hollywood, many public employee unions, the news media, a whooole lot of BIg Tech, an increasing number of smaller companies. And if we break cover – or any “evidence” of mainstream conservatism is found, we can get hounded out of our jobs, our hobbies, our volunteer work, deplatformed, and have our personal lives upended as well.

BIG LEFT: Republicans do it too!

NORMALS: So let me get this straight – it doesn’t exist, but Republicans do it too?

BIG LEFT: Evangelical groups picketed LGBTQ bookstores! Gays were oppressed!

NORMALS: OK, so that’s a “yes”. And let’s be clear on this – you go back almost forty years, to very localized episodes, to find behavior that pretty much every significant conservative repudiates today. As opposed to people being barred or drummed out of whole swathes of academia, business and culture. No cancel culture? Please.

BIG LEFT: Nope. There is only “accountability culture”.

NORMALS: “Accountability” for what? Having, much less voicing, utterly mainstream Republican views?

BIG LEFT: For the results of your Privilege and Whiteness!

NORMALS: Privilege – an Orwellian deflection of classist and cultural privilege shared by the left’s “elites” over to race? “Whiteness” – a bit of made-up pseudo-social-science designed entirely to denigrate and invalidate people without needing to engage in any facts?

BIG LEFT: Sounds like “white fragility” talking…

NORMALS: More word salad, with a siding of making facts up as you go along.

BIG LEFT: Here’s the only “fact” you need: January 6! The worst act of terrorism in American history!

NORMALS: Leaving aside the fact that it’s far from the only partisan violence at the seat of American democracy, January 6 was something that every significant conservative repudiated. But you keep on trying to apply it to everyone you disagree with, as if it gives The Left a permanent intellectual get out of jail free card.

BIG LEFT: Bet you wouldn’t be talking so big if you had a bunch of protesters in front of your house, would you? It’d be a shame if something…broke.

NORMALS: Go ahead. Make my day.

BIG LEFT: It’s a threat! It’s a threat! Behold the wave of white supremacist terror we’ve been warning you about for the past fifteen years!

And SCENE.

Other Than That, Mrs. Lincoln…

SCENE: Cat SCAT, the designated “fact checker” at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “”MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com“ and office manager at a small phrenology practice, approaches Mitch BERG at the afterparty for an AM1280 event. BERG doesn’t notice until it’s too late.

SCAT: Merg. Nobody is coming for your guns.

BERG: Oh, hey, Cat…

SCAT: It’s just a fantasy spread by Hate Radio to help puff up gun sales.

BERG: We talked about this the other day. You seem to believe that until the SWAT team is busting down doors…

SCAT: Your door.

BERG: Right, then I’ve got nothing to complain about.

SCAT: It’s just a scam to keep stupid angry fat white men in a state of paranoia that benefits the gun industry.

BERG: So there’s no gun control?

SCAT”. None.

BERG”. Other than ammo bans and requiring licensing to buy ammunition, or demands to carry liability insurance, while regulating the liability carriers out of the industry, or confiscatory taxes on guns, legal “felony traps” designed to turn unsuspecting people into a felon (such as the so called universal background checks that turn you into a felon by simply handing someone a gun and then having them hand it back), or requiring guns have non-existent or non-functional technology such as microstamping or smart gun technology, or elimination of preemption laws making it easier for gun owners to unknowingly break some locale’s gun laws and giving local politicians the sort fo control over civil rights that’d be unthinkable in any other area, or allowing litigation against gun manufacturers over illegal use of their products, or eliminating the sale of gun parts without background checks (even though you’ll look long and hard for an example of a criminal building their firearm), or banning classes of guns whose definitions are more fluid than a millennial humanities major’s gender identity, or shutting down gun ranges due to “noise pollution” or “lead contamination”, or creating lists of “allowable” guns, and then making it prohibitively expensive for manufacturers to get guns on the list, or mandating parts on guns that nobody actually wants, and making sure that over time, the list shrinks to nothing, while having the BATFE constantly reverse themselves on what is legal and what is not (bankrupting companies that manufactured items the ATF previously said were legal but now say aren’t), and loading up statute books with laws that make self-defense onerous and legally fraught, and crowding the bench with judges who don’t think there’s a right to self-defense, much less to keep and bear arms?

Yeah you got a point. Other than that, I got nothing.

(But SCAT has already wandered off after a shiny object).

And SCENE

You Could See It Coming. . .

. . . right up 38th Street:

For the second time in less than a week, Minneapolis city crews worked to reopen the area around 38th Street and Chicago Avenue to traffic and activists have returned makeshift barriers to the area.

Minneapolis city crews, at around 4:50 a.m. Tuesday, were removing items from George Floyd Square in an attempt to reopen the intersection to traffic.

Once crews were done removing items, they left the area.

Later Tuesday, a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew reported activists had returned makeshift barriers to the streets near the intersection.

Our friends in Minneapolis have turned fecklessness into an art form.

Seriously, what’s the point? Either you clear the intersection and ensure it doesn’t get blocked again, or you admit you are too weak to run your city and let the local warlords run the show. This is a stupid game. 

 

Way Too Good To Fact-Check

A lot of people are yukking it up over this story – yep, including me the other day. You recall it – Italian “artist” selling an “invisible sculpture” / block of air / “vacuum full of energy” for $18,000.

“The vacuum is nothing more than a space full of energy, and even if we empty it and there is nothing left, according to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, that ‘nothing’ has a weight,” Garau said of the statue according to as.com. “Therefore, it has energy that is condensed and transformed into particles, that is, into us.”

Italy 24 News reported that per Garau’s instructions, the sculpture must be displayed in a private home free from any obstruction, in an area that is about 5 ft. long by 5 ft. wide. Because the piece does not exist, there are no special lighting or climate requirements.

The story was, to say the least, thinly sourced, to the point where the BS meter is howling.

On the other hand? This, along with the “dumpster fire” last week in Uptown Minneapolis, is the ultimate metaphor for society today.

It’s a cube of nothing – that means whatever the viewer can conjure from it.

It’s no different than “woke”-ism. Or “Critical Race Theory” . Or “Whiteness” theory. All of them are conclusions that are left to the viewer to fill in any way they want.

Signore Garau may be a garbage artist, and a con man extraordinare – even if you assume the story isn’t a hoax (and I’m abou 50-50 – mixing wealthy Frenchmen and dubious “art” is never completely implausible.

But the metaphor he is alleged to have constructed may be the best bit of literature, or at least the best bit of (unintentional?) literary symbolism of the year.

Whether it happened or not.

Purity Test

The Minneapolis City Council is going full blown Maoist.

The council sent an “open letter“ to city employees in May, “encouraging“ them to sign a declaration that there was pretty much nothing to any white culture but racism:

In a May 28 meeting, Bender referred to an open letter which all city employees are invited to sign — anyone who signs the letter is acknowledging racism as a public health crisis, accepting responsibility for the “pain” they have caused as “stewards of the City of Minneapolis’s policies,” and recognizing that Minneapolis has been and continues to be harmful to the BIPOC community.

The letter was filed into the official city record and will be published on June 11 with the signatures of all who choose to sign, making it easy to know which employees decide not to sign the letter.

Bender said this statement should not have to be “courageous.”

“This should be baked into our systems, and what we all commit to unwaveringly every day,” Bender declared. “Our staff of color, particularly in Minneapolis, have been carrying the burden of white supremacy throughout our systems every day, for a very long time.”

Riots decimate entire neighborhoods.

Gangs turn commercial streets into free fire zones.

Hot rodders make the streets unlivable after dark on weekends, at best, and at worst blaze away at each other, harming only bystanders (as usual)

And this is what the city Council busies itself with.

From The BlueAnon Archives: The Phantom Menace

To: Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radio News
From: Mitch Berg, Irasible Peasant, critic of BlueAnon
Re: It’s Been A Year

Mr. Collins,

Last year – literally, a year ago last Wednesday – you sent out a message to MPR’s mailing lists asking if anyone had seen “white supremacists” during the civil unrest of the previous weeks.

I know this sounds crazy. But it’s 2020. And I’m working on story now about white supremacists coming to Minneapolis to foment race war under cover of the protests. I need your help, and your friends help. Please refer anyone with real, credible info (not rumor or speculation) or sources to me at (I’m gonna redact that)

As we go on a year after that request, and a week after President Biden reiterated the nearly two decade old claim that “white supremacist terror” is the greatest danger facing this country, it’s. probably not unreasonable to ask if you found anything.

A not-entirely-casual search of MPR News’s archives indicates “no”.

Any chance we could get an update?

That is all.

(I sent Collins an email. Since have it on absolutely reliable sources the management at MPR News has told their staff not to engage with peasants, I’d be amazed if I got a response).

Coming Soon To An “Elite” Institution Near You

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Transcript of remarks:
“May I have your attention please?  Thank you.  Welcome to your first day at Harvard Law School.  As you may know, this year’s class is Special: there are no White students, no Asian students, certainly no Hispanics, only Black students, to make up for centuries of racist oppression.  Congratulations on being selected for our first Reparations Endeavor.  I see a hand up, yes, do you have a question?

No, there are no courses on your course schedule. The courses here are geared for brilliant and hard-working people, which, judging from your grades and test scores, includes few of you.  If you were to take our courses and be graded honestly, you’d all fail miserably and be kicked out.  That would generate terrible publicity for the school which would defeat the purpose of having you in the first place; therefore, you will attend no courses while at this school.  Instead, courses have been replaced with attendance-optional discussion sessions geared to your level of ability, in which students will discuss their feelings about law, oppression, discrimination and, of course, slavery, plus everyone will be awarded internships with major civil rights organizations like BLM and Antifa to gain hands-on experience bringing about social change through direct action.  Yes, over there, another question?

Not to worry, everyone will be getting straight A’s.  Class rank?  We have a new system for class rank.  Each of you is A Class of Your Own.  Everyone will graduate First in Class, be selected Valedictorian and have an opportunity to give a speech (on Zoom, because Covid) to your friends and relatives.  Yes, you on the right? 

Well, no, I don’t suppose you will learn much law here. But that’s not really a change, is it?  I mean, you’ve been Affirmative Action recipients all your lives. Special breaks in high school, special admission to college, special grading there . . . you’ll notice none of you took the GRE to test your knowledge in your major area of study, some of you took the LSAT which is a general knowledge bullshit exam, but most of you were given a test waiver on account of your race.  Subject matter expertise has never been expected of you; why start now?  In the red shirt, yes, your question?
No, no! Perish the thought.  Your Harvard Law Degree won’t be worthless: it’s worth half a million dollars each, to the school. Plus you will receive a handsome diploma, suitable for framing, at no additional cost.  Speak up, please, young lady, your question? 
How will you get a job if you don’t know anything?  Oh, don’t worry about that.  Big law firms will be falling all over themselves to hire a Black Woman like you.  They desperately need to fill quotas for their HR departments.  Moving on, yes, you there?

Well, now, I don’t know that I’d put it that way.  Calling yourself a ‘token’ is so harsh. And besides, better to be a ‘token’ in a major firm than not working in a major firm at all, right?  I mean, it’s no secret you’re an Affirmative Action graduate, they knew that the moment they laid eyes on you. In fact in your case, Duante, is it?  They knew it when they received your resume, which is why your resume rose to the top of the pile ahead of better qualified students named Chad or Tiffany, Yang or Levi.  

I see so many hands, I think it’s time to end this introductory session so I can hand you off to your personal Diversity and Inclusion Deans, one for each student.  They’ll help you feel good about yourselves and your role here in this historic class.  Welcome to Harvard and remember: you are Special!”

Joe Doakes

Today’s satire is tomorrow’s journalism.

And to the inevitable chirping “That’s racist” from the usual pack of pseudonymous progressive trolls: what do you call simultaneously piddling on academic merit and making race – absent all over context – a primary social determiner?

If it were in regard to sending people to prison rather than the finishing school for America’s “elite”, it’d be pretty unconscionable, wouldn’t it?

Deferred

I got my start in radio.

My first full-time job paid $700 a month – after inflation today, probably more like $1,400. Which would translate to $8 an hour in 2021 dollars, except that in small-market radio back then, “full time” meant 48 hours a week. You had to pick up a weekend shift – meaning that in today’s dollars, I was making $6.75 an hour, for running the music playlist, reporting a bit of news, doing some baseball play-by-play, and being on the air from 8-noon and 3-6PM weekdays, plus the eight hour weekend shift.

I did it because, at the time, that’s how one got into the business. Before one could apply for the job making $20K (in 1985 dollars), which could lead you to the job in Minneapolis making $30-35, which could lead you to Chicago and $50-60 – maybe even that major-market morning guy or program director job that would get you into six figures.

Most of us, myself included, never got that far, of course. Oh, I made it to the big markets – in my case, KSTP in the ’80s, where I think my best year was $12K (1987 dollars) plus a whooooole lot of freelance voice work and news reporting. It actually went downhill from there; when I left radio in ’93, I’d been making $7 an hour and 20-25 hours a week at WDGY, as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity gutted the market for 20-something guys doing afternoon talk shows.

I moved on to other dreams.

One of which has never been to be the Political Class’s middle and senior management.

Which is the dream for an awful lot of people who go into political staff work.

Starting with a four-year degree in Political Science, they move on to internships, and then to entry-level staff jobs – with legislators, congresspeople, executive branch departments – that, like a lot of entry level white collar jobs with immense supplies of applicants and few positions (even in government), which (even in government) limits the wages.

Oh, yeah – these “kids” who are plugging away for peanuts are all betting on the long term – a senior staffer, a civil service management gig with the six figure salary and the government pension, a consultant job making the serious money, or like AOC an elected office with the boundless wealth that brings (for Democrats) – the big payoff for those who have the talent, the marketing acumen and the persistence to get there.

But even given all that? There’s no field so with so much upside that someone can’t wrench some victimology out of it:

They “help pass trillion dollar legislation” in the same way an Amazon delivery driver is “part of the world’s largest corporation”.

But just you watch – this sort of “story” doesn’t appear in a vaccuum. There’ll be a push to address the standard of living, “diversitiy” and pay of political staffers. None of it paid for by the senior staffers the “victims” want to one day become.

All These Worlds Are Yours, Except Mitteleuropa

While Germany was hitting the Western Allies with hundreds of thousands of men and millions of rounds of artillery, their Austro-Hungarian ally was launching a far less impactful volley of words in the heart of their own nation.  Austrian Foreign Minister Count Ottokar von Czernin had arrived at the Vienna City Council on April 2nd, 1918 to attempt to give an inspirational speech and rally the falling support of the Habsburg’s polyglot empire.  

Czernin’s stemwinder specifically attacked France’s new Prime Minister, Georges Clemenceau, as the major obstacle to peace with the Allies.  Clemenceau had certainly drawn a hardline in the wake of the mutinies of 1917, stating that France’s policy would be “la guerre jusqu’au bout” (war until the end), echoing Britain’s David Lloyd George commitment to nothing less than total victory.  But Czernin’s attack wasn’t merely personal but also proclaimed that Clemenceau’s boasts didn’t reflect the true will of France because the prior administration had reached out to the Dual Monarchy in an attempt to sue for peace the year before.

An outraged Clemenceau quickly revealed the truth – it had been Austria-Hungary which had attempted to make a separate peace in early 1917.  And the proof came in the form of letters and communications from none other than the newly crowned Emperor himself, Charles I.

Charles I – for his attempt to end the war, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004 and known to the Catholic Church as Blessed Karl of Austria


Karl Franz Joseph Ludwig Hubert Georg Otto Maria had never intended to become the Emperor of the Dual Monarchy.  At his birth, he was the great-nephew of Karl Joseph and quite a distance removed from any realistic considerations towards obtaining the crown.  Karl studied science at a public school and then politics and law during his service in the army, becoming more of an educational dilettante than a man dedicated to any particular field.  HIs years of work had won him few accolades but neither had he acquired any detractors.  In some ways, Karl was a model member of the royal family – dutiful, friendly, family-oriented and deeply religious. Continue reading

Just Another Man Of Peace

Winston Smith, the man killed last week in Uptown, was apparently already “at war” with the police:

Smith’s violent resistance to arrest may have been motivated by his belief that he was engaged in a “war” on cops.

For years leading up to his death, Smith made statements across social media platforms vowing to shoot police officers if he were ever to be apprehended, encouraging his followers to bring guns and bombs to protests and outlining tactics he believed would be most effective to kill members of law enforcement. He also frequently suggested that he was meeting with like-minded people and taking tangible steps towards these aims.

“Get ready for war,” Smith told his followers via Instagram in mid-April.

“Motherfuckers are finna move on these ‘ops,” he continued, using a slang term that means people would attack police.

“All the shooters, suit up,” he ordered. “Lace your boots up, it’s war fucking time. Bring your gun to the protest, bring them fucking bombs and rocket launchers and all that shit.”

Even some of the local media – in this case, ,reliably left-of-center Fox9 – are taking their break from the Twin Cities media’s usual “write a hagiography first, ask questions later” procedure and noting that there just might be an elephant in this particular room.

UPDATE: It’s unclear from media or law enforcement reports whether Smith was involved in January 6, the only example of violence in American history.

Flush

A decision Friday undercut the legal basis of California’s “assault weapon” ban:

California’s 32-year-old ban on a certain class of semi-automatic rifles colloquially known as “assault weapons” was declared unconstitutional yesterday in the case of Miller v. BontaAt the same time, the Biden administration wants to impose similar restrictions federally.

The decision does not instantly nullify the enforcement of the law. “Because this case involves serious questions going to the merits, a temporary stay is in the public interest,” concludes the decision, which was penned by U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez for the Southern District of California. The injunction that would force California to stop enforcing its ban is therefore “stayed for 30 days during which time the Attorney General may appeal and seek a stay from the Court of Appeals.”

The state’s attorney general, Rob Bonta, has already announced his intention to appeal—and the 9th Circuit, which will consider that appeal, is not reliably supportive of the Second Amendment. But Benitez’s reasoning remains for other jurists to draw on in other cases, especially if Biden continues his interest in banning certain kinds of rifles.

The 9th Circuit will overturn the decision. Which will likely go to the SCOTUS.

At which point the New York Rifle and Pistol case will have ended in a preceded applying strict scrutiny to state gun laws.

Gun rights are a marathon, not a sprint.

If only ever conservative cause could learn the lessons the 2nd Amendment movement teaches.

Intelligence <> Wisdom

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Richard Fernandez asks the right question.  Nobody in the Garden Administration seems to be listening. The Vegetable can’t figure out what flavor pudding to have today and The Hoe, well, she’s a ho and that’s about it.  Maybe the problem is the people running things behind the scenes are just plain evil so it isn’t that they aren’t listening, it’s that they don’t care.

Joe Doakes

Don’t care?

Or “it serves their interests?”

Conspiracy!

SCENE: Mitch BERG is walking, sans ceremonial mask, into the Target on University Avenue, trying to calculate the number of people without masks in mandate-free, Karen-rich Saint Paul. Focused on numbers, he doesn’t notice as Avery LIBRELLE, wearing three masks, walks around the corner.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Oh, ssssshhhhhhhhut the front door, how ya been, Avery?

LIBRELLE: Nobody is coming for your guns.

BERG: Democrats nationwide, including in Minnesota, are trying to.

LIBRELLE: Are they at your door taking your guns right this minute?

BERG: Er, no

LIBRELLE: So they’re not coming for your guns.

BERG: So if they’re not coming for my guns in five minutes, but not literally carting off my gun safe right at this moment…

LIBRELLE: Then you’ve got nothing to complain about.

BERG: Huh.

LIBRELLE: But the whole “Second Amendment” thing is just a conspiracy to sell more guns and ammo. It’s to profit from fear.

BERG: Huh. So the firearms and ammo industries staged “gun control” panic to improve their market.

LIBRELLE: Exactly!

BERG: So if that were the case, wouldn’t the firearms and ammunition industries have made sure they were ready to supply the immense demand?

(But LIBRELLE has already wandered off to badger someone who’s not wearing a mask.

I Missed My Calling

An Italian “artist“ just sold an invisible statue – and not for invisible money, either:

an artist has sold an invisible statue for 15,000 euros. His name is Salvatore Garau and he has managed to auction his “work” for an amount that many consider crazy. However, he defends his creation tooth and nail.

The artist explained that “the success of the auction confirms an irrefutable fact: the void is nothing more than a space full of energy, even if we empty it and there is nothing left, according to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle that nothing has a weight. It therefore has an energy that is condensed and transformed into particles, that is to say, into us

My mission is clear. I need to create a better space full of energy.

The world of art demands it.

Green Ideas And Word Salads

Do you remember Kate Knuth? When we last heard from her, she was cashing checks as a resilience officer for the city of Minneapolis. It didn’t end well:

Knuth, an environmental educator and former DFL legislator, spent her first months in the job interviewing people and conducting a survey, but had not delivered any finished work product before she resigned.

So what happened? Tell me if you can figure out what happened:

Mychal Vlatkovich, a spokesman for Mayor Jacob Frey, said they’ve begun looking for a replacement and hope to hire someone by the end of March who will focus on the mayor’s goals. He said the mayor’s office did not ask Knuth to step down, but declined to answer whether she was allowed to continue in the position and referred further questions to Knuth and former City Coordinator Spencer Cronk, who is now the city manager of Austin, Texas.

Go ask the guy who moved to Texas. We aren’t sayin’ nothin’.

As you might imagine, this unceremonious departure didn’t sit well with Knuth, who has been rent-seeking for the better part of her career. And unsurprisingly, after her tussle with the tousled mayor, she’s looking for revenge:

Frey’s contentious relationship with the city’s elected representatives, among other issues, got Knuth thinking in January about running for mayor. “Especially in the last year, especially in the last six weeks, there has been an absence” on the part of Frey, she said. “I also haven’t seen as strong of an interest in the basic running of the city that I would like to see from my mayor.”

In theory, revenge is a better motive for running than monomaniacal incoherence, which is what usually delivers the goods around City Hall. But is Knuth coherent? Let’s check out her Jack Handey imitation:

“The thing that I bring is this really strong commitment to moving through the work of structural transformative change, particularly when it comes to public safety, particularly when it comes to climate change,” she said. “Pairing that with [my] experience in, and just liking working within, big public institutions and working with them and through them to make sure they’re serving what we deserve as a city is potentially really powerful and I think something people in this city would really value.”

Dude. But there’s more. Oh my yes, there’s more:

Climate change intersects with progressive economic policies for Knuth. “I think one of the best resilience strategies we could accomplish is if every family had $500 in the bank,” she said. “Whether it’s a car breaking down or the power going out and losing some food, they’re better able to handle that. Does that sound like a climate policy? No, but if climate change increases risks in the most vulnerable [communities] now or even more vulnerable [communities in the future], decreasing vulnerability overall is super important in terms of dealing with climate change.”

That’s just super.

Will Knuth have a chance? Given the puzzle palace structure of elections in Minneapolis, it’s entirely possible. Frey has been weighed and found wanting, but the current competition has Mos Eisley Cantina written all over it, a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Coming on like a amalgam of Marianne Williamson and Rachel Carson may just work. 

 

Pop Life

I’ve never much liked the entire “Seventies Midwestern Arena Rock” genre. 

But among the bands in that genre, it’s Styx that’s always gone beneath and below the rest, the one whose impression to me swerves from apathy into active dislike.  

It’s not that they couldn’t play.   They certainly had live game. 

But unlike REO Speedwagon, or Head East or Trooper or April Wine (I know, they’re Canadian, but they fit the genre) or Michael Stanley Band or any of the others that were more or less like them, Styx’s Dennis DeYoung spent most of the late seventies and eighties whining about how awful being a pop star was, how degrading the machinery of the stardom industry was, and what mindless sheeple the fans were. 

To which I eventually responded “OK – then go to work in a meat processing plant and quit your whining”.

We’ll come back to that.

———-

This is the Sinead O’Connor I suspect most of us remember:


This is the response I suspect most of us, even us Protestant goyim that found, nevertheless, much that was admirable about JPII, would have loved to have made:

Thirty years and change along, and it turns out it wasn’t (just) rabid anti-Catholicism. Turns out she really, really, really loathed being a pop star, and she also had some serious mother issues:

In the book, she details how her mother physically abused her throughout her childhood. “I won the prize in kindergarten for being able to curl up into the smallest ball, but my teacher never knew why I could do it so well,” she writes…O’Connor was 18 when her mother died, and on that day, she took down the one photograph on her mom’s bedroom wall: the image of the pope. O’Connor carefully saved the photo, waiting for the right moment to destroy it.

“Child abuse is an identity crisis and fame is an identity crisis, so I went straight from one identity crisis into another,” she said. And when she tried to call attention to child abuse through her fame, she was vilified. “People would say that she’s fragile,” Geldof said. “No, no, no. Many people would have collapsed under the weight of being Sinead O’Connor, had it not been Sinead.”

Of course, being an “artist” (I put the term in scare quotes not because O’Connor isn’t one – she was an exceptional singer – but because the term has been stretched far beyond meaning these days) means being able to pass the abuse on without ever having to adopt any sort of adult coping skills, which is one of the reasons people go into being one in the first place.

The piece is an interesting read, although kind of depressing by the time you get to the end and really digest it.


Oh, yeah – I said I’d come back to Styx and Dennis DeYoung. I have a habit of saying “we’ll come back to that”, and I don’t, always. I should go back through a few years of this blog’s history and finish some of those threads.

Anyway. DeYoung.

Uh…

Actually, for all the whining about the pop star life he had (and still has), and how vocally I dislike most everything he has ever written, in or out of Styx, DeYoung would seem have avoided the most cliched pitfalls of stardom; he’s abstemious and rigorously healthy, as devoutly Catholic as O’Connor is, well, not, and he’s been married to the same woman for 50 years; he used to take his family on the road to avoid, y’know, all the problems that families get when Dad is on the road all the time. And as whiny as most of his music was, in interviews he’s always been one of the funniest, most genial, and seemingly audibly well-adjusted, grateful people in the music business.

That might be worth an article all by itself.