Food For Thought

After a year or two ofdabbling I pretty much swore off Food Porn shows. They’re all pretty much the same, and the whole “foodie” culture has come to annoy the bejeebers out of me.

Since I stopped paying attention to the whole genre years ago, I wasn’t familiar with Food Network star Alton Brown.

Reading this profile in the NY Times, I wish I had encountered him earlier. He eschews “foodie” culture – at least partly on religious, as well as aesthetics, grounds – and is want to show businesses few “out” shooters.

It’s worth a quick read..


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Eden: God created the world and holds all power over it. Residents have the right to do anything they please except eat of the fruit of one tree.

Monarchy: God delegated His powers to the king, who has the right to do anything he pleases. Residents have no rights, only privileges specifically granted to them by the king.  

United States of America in 1776: God gave all rights and powers to The People; the government has no rights and only the powers specifically granted to it by The Constitution.

Socialism: There is no God. Government bureaucrats hold all power and can do anything they please. Residents have no rights, only privileges specifically granted to them by The Party.

The Obama Administration . . . .

I’ll  take a guess; like Socialism, only with more snide pettiness.

The Flag

It was a hot, dry summer – like most summers in North Dakota, really – 39 years ago.

I was going into seventh grade in the fall.  But that was a few months away.  Like most sixth-graders in those days before video games, I spent my days biking, playing sandlot baseball and football (usually behind the Stutsman County Jail), and spending lots of time at the library – which was the only building to which I had regular free access that had air conditioning.

But boredom drew me to a lot of other things.

One of my favorite haunts was the Stutsman County Historical Society – an 1890’s vintage mansion on Third Avenue in Jamestown, built by, of all things, a North Dakota timber baron.

I kid you not.

The museum’s lovingly-preserved rooms were a time capsule of life in central North Dakota from about 1860 to probably the ’50s; rooms were dedicated to the kitchen, entertainment, children and schools, stores, doctor’s offices, the railroad…

…and, on the second floor, to Fort Seward.  An army outpost built in 1867 to protect the railroad’s construction crews, the Fort covered the crossing of the James River right around the confluence with Pipestem Creek.  It was there, where the rivers and train came together, that Jamestown formed.

The Seward room covered the city’s military history – the fort, and Jamestown’s contributions to the wars since then; the 1st North Dakota Volunteers who fought in Cuba during the Spanish American war, and Company H of the 164th Infantry, which fought in both World Wars 1 and 2 and Korea.

I knew all this.  My first “big kid” book, at age 5, was my dad’s old book of World War 2 aircraft, from when he’d been about my age.  I’d learned them all – and, as my parents walked among the people getting ready for the town’s Memorial Day parade in, probably, 1969 or so, I showed the book to one of the National Guard guys who was getting ready to march in the parade.

“Yeah”, he nodded.  “I was there”.  And he had been; into middle age now, he’d been a teenage infantryman at the end of the war.

So I took to this stuff early.  And as a 12 year old military history buff, I was able to rattle off the story behind each of the pieces of equipment in the room to the attendant – the .45-70 Trapdoor Springfields of the fort’s original infantrymen (three companies of the 20th US Infantry), the M1903 Springfields of the WW1 doughboys, the Garands that the town’s GIs carried on Guadalcanal and Bougainville and the Philippines and Korea, the various uniforms, and on and on.

The ladies who worked there were impressed enough to ask if I’d like to come in and be the “docent” for the room.  It was something to do – so I spent a few Sundays explaining, and knowing me, over-explaining the room, to passersby.

Not that it was that busy.

The “job” – I got paid in cookies and lemonade – left me lots of free time to explore.  One the things I explored was a large wooden trunk sitting below the Fort Seward room’s window.

One day, I opened it.

I found a large piece of red and white fabric, folded many times, neatly stored in the trunk.  On top of it was a small typewritten piece of paper.  It was actually a Japanese “Rising Sun” flag.

But not just any flag.  The flag that’d been given by the Japanese delegation at the surrender ceremony on the deck of the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945, to General Douglas MacArthur, as a traditional part of the surrender ceremony.

The piece of paper noted that the flag had been given by MacArthur to a Colonel DuPuy, a US Marine who was a native of Jamestown.  This, he took home with him, and at some point in the fifties or early sixties, gave it to the Stutsman County Historical Society.

Which put it in the trunk and forgot about it.

Until that sweltering Sunday afternoon in August of 1976, when I found it.

I told the museum ladies – the museum owned a big piece of history.

“That’s nice, Mitch”, they nodded.  There was a reason I was handing the Fort Seward room; it really wasn’t their subject.

I told my parents.  “That’s interesting, Mitch”, they said, not very interested at all.

I told other people, over the years, but nothing much came of it.  It was only me, after all.

Sometime about 20 years ago, my dad called me; some history buffs had “found” the flag.  They’d carefully unfolded it – it was huge – and gotten a picture taken; it made the front page of the Jamestown Sun, along with the story behind how it got to Jamestown.

Twenty years after I found it and tried to tell people the story, naturally.

It was good preparation for being a conservative in Saint Paul, actually.

My good friend First Ringer and I just finished writing our six-year-long series on the seventieth anniversaries of events of World War 2 yesterday.

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The Golden Age Of Fake Radio

One of the classic rhetorical small talk questions as “when would you like to have been born?”

On the one hand, at least from where we sit now, there’s never been a better time to be alive, at least from all of the basic utilitarian perspectives that most human beings would have wished for over the last few tens of thousands of years.

But purely from the perspective of my lifetime? There are times I think I should’ve been born 100 years ago, in 1915.

Had I gotten into radio at age 15, in 1930 rather than 1978, I would’ve been getting in on the glory years of the industry. A time when instantaneous mass communication was just starting to take off;  when the rulebook hadn’t been written yet, and the whole industry, craft, and art form was still virgin soil:; when Stanley Hubbard was pioneering spot news with a Duesenberg mounting a short wave transceiver, reporting from breaking news stories around the country in real time, AND inventing broadcast entertainment as we know it today, right here in the Twin Cities, running Jack Benny and his vaudeville show live from the Orpheum in Minneapolis.

And above and beyond all that, mostly, so I could have been there for what was likely radio’s greatest moment; World War II.

The list of iconic radio moments from the war is almost too long to do justice to: Churchill and Roosevelt’s speeches; Edward R. Murrow’s “this is London” and reporting  from Buchenwald; Walter Cronkite reporting from Air Force bombers and soldiers’  foxholes; those riveting moments when NBC told the nation Pearl Harbor had been bombed, and when the BBC told the world that Hitler was dead.

I won’t delude myself by believing I would’ve done anything other than wet myself and hide under a truck after two seconds of trying to follow Andy Rooney across Omaha Beach, or sitting in the waist gun compartment of the B-17 with Charles Collongwood as the Flak and Messerschmidts erupted all around.

But after my early years in talk radio, working with the likes of Don Vogel, I could completely see myself working for this guy, on his project.

Sefton Delmer was an Australian Jew born in Berlin in 1904.  After  A bit of elementary school in Germany, and a brief period of internment as a hostile national at the beginning of World War I, he was educated in a typical British public school, and found work as a journalist.

Sefton Delmer

He was in the right place at the right time for the dawn of radio, connecting with the early BBC in the 30s.  In 1931, he was the first western journalist to interview Adolf Hitler – at the time, leader of a Nazi party that was just starting to move to electoral  prominence, on its way to the majority in two years.  During those years, he had the distinction of being suspected by both the German Abwehr and the British MI6 as being a spy, respectively, for MI6 and the Abwehr.

Then, at the beginning of World War II, using contacts in MI6, he pieced together the assignment of a lifetime; produce fake German radio programs, for distribution to the conquered  continent.

His first broadcast, GS1, took place 75 years ago this month; “GS” had no actual meaning, and was an intentional ambiguity, left for the listener to fill in what it meant (“General Stab, or “General Staff?”  Could be!).  It was an ostensibly “underground” broadcast from inside Germany, featuring an announcer and a character called Der Chef (“the Chief”), played by Peter Seckelmann, a former Berlin radio announcer and refugee, playing the role of a Nazi party insider.  Most shows involved what we’d call “opposition research” today; blasting out stories (some real, some fictional) about corrupt and depraved Nazi party officials.

The 12 minute programs were recorded on glass discs in London, and transmitted starting at 12 minutes before the top of the hour, hourly, usually for a day, sometimes (if the bit was particularly juicy or of major intelligence value) two or three days.  While the Germans jammed GS1, the show developed what MI6’s “Political Warfare Executive” determined was a large audience.

The broadcast carried on for two and a half years, until Delmer ended the show in a simulated Gestapo raid, going out in a hail of (recorded) machine gun fire not unlike the final Don Vogel broadcast, in the fall of 1943.

He went on to other “black propaganda” operations; one that appealed to consciences of German Christians, with some success.  Another, the “Atlantic Shortwave Service”, broadcast “news” to U-boat crews in the Atlantic; a typical example involved a message being sent to an actual U-boat commander whose boat was at sea, congratulating him on the birth of twins.  The commander was known not to have been home in over a year, of course.   Many of the broadcasts featured a cast of German characters, including the dusky, sultry “Vicki”, a seductive newsreader played by Agnes Bernelle, a woman who went on to a long career in the US and UK as an actress and cabaret singer.

Best of all?  The BBC crabbled about Delmer’s broadcasts.  Some of it was journalists, appalled at the hijacking of their medium to deceive.  More of it was tactical; they were worried that if Delmer’s broadcasts were broadly attributed to the BBC, then people in occupied countries might not trust the information on the Beeb.

Were Delmer’s black propaganda broadcasts successful?  There have been apocryphal stories that a U-boat commander surrendered in part because of the stories; they’re probably apocryphal for a reason.  But MI6 did in fact note that Delmer’s “news” did in fact push some cracks into the morale of German troops whose morale was subject to cracking.

Either way – that must have been some fun radio to do.

Societal Castor Oil

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My cousin constantly posts to Facebook how upset she’s become about gun violence. She insists we must Do Something by which she means Universal Background Checks. My response: moral problems do not have technological solutions.

The solution to the problem of alcoholism is not prohibition, but sobriety.

The solution to the problem of teenage pregnancy is not abortion, but abstinence.

The solution to the problem of murder is not universal background checks, but the Sixth Commandment.

Liberals are terrified of morality because it’s judgmental so they resort to ineffectual alternatives then complain when they fail. I fear I lack sympathy for intelligent people acting like idiots.   

Joe Doakes

That is the difference, of course, The difference between liberals and conservatives; conservatism offers relatively simple answers to most problems – but those simple answers require a lot of work.  Morality is easy to understand, and hard to achieve. 

Liberalism offers a byzantine array of “easy answers” – Heck, let’s just have everyone pay for everyone else’s health care!  – that really don’t work as answers. But boy, they sure seem simple upfront!

The Beginning

It was a little before 9am in the morning as Mamoru Shigemitsu, Japan’s foreign minister, and the rest of the Japanese delegation, boarded the massive American battleship the USS Missouri on September 2nd, 1945.

The small Japanese contingent was dwarfed by the presence of the American military, and the number of representatives from other Allied forces.  89 warships, the majority American but a handful of them British, lay at anchor in Tokyo Bay, while hundreds of American planes flew in formation overhead.  The deck of the Missouri itself was overflowing with brass and press, the occasion dripping in symbolism of the American military might than had finally brought Japan to surrender.

At 9:04am, Shigemitsu signed the Instrument of Japanese Surrender on behalf of Emperor Hirohito.  In a small form of irony, Shigemitsu had been among the few prominent figures in the government to oppose a war with the United States (Japan’s militarists never trusted him) and yet stood signing for a surrender to a war he had never wanted.  Gen. Douglas MacArthur, milking the moment, signed as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces before turning the pen over to the representatives of the other Allied nations.  By 9:23am, the signatures had been completed and the brief ceremony finished.

World War II had ended.  The challenge of the post-war world had begun.

The formal Japanese surrender – the actual ceremony was very brief

Defeating the Axis powers had been a monumental task, won at the cost of perhaps 50 million dead or more (some estimates range as high as 80 million).  Rebuilding those same powers would prove to be a nearly equal task.    Continue reading

To Be Fair, Most Of Us Had Forgotten Brian Lambert Was Still Being Published, Too

Someone pointed it out in the comment section; Brian Lambert interviewed Jason Lewis in the MinnPost earlier today:


MP:​ But even The Patriot [AM 1280] is now all syndication. They used to have local bloggers with shows ripping the feckless liberals and all the usual stuff. Now, it’s all mailed in.

JL:​ ​It’s the only thing they can afford. They don’t have the budget for anything else. The economics of the industry requires a massive paradigm shift. And, as I say, it’s due to mismanagement, technology and debt, the over­buying of radio stations.


Lambert exhibits the attention to detail he always showed when he was the Pioneer Press’ “broadcasting reporter”.

AM1280 was always syndicated.  The Northern Alliance started three years after the station went on the air – almost two years before AM1130 went all talk, before Jason Lewis left the Twin Cities for Charlotte much less before he came back and bumped Lambert’s show from the 1130’s lineup.

And unlike both of them, we’re still here.  Different group of us, to be sure – but we’re still alive and kicking.

And I’d love to invite Lambert on the show to prove it.  But I have no idea where to find him, or for that matter, whether he still really exists or not.

If you know where he’s at, please forward my invite.

The Summer Of 1985

Years ago, I was working in an “oldies” station.  Still being in the middle of a radio career, and trying to keep my options open (I’d always wanted to do news and talk, and was chafing with life as a disc jockey – but “when in Rome…”, as they say), I asked the station’s program director what it was that made a song an “oldie”.

He replied that music directors operated on two key bits of psychology:

  • People are intensely emotionally attached to music that connected with them during puberty; music mixes with raging hormones to create a powerful, almost chemical bond.
  • People are also mentally and emotionally attached to the music that was in their lives when they were in their late teens and early twenties – but for slightly different reasons.  It was the music that was current, and on their minds, and affecting their emotions, about the time their brains were finally, belatedly getting formed and becoming adult.

I was sitting in a Culver’s the other day.  They were playing Sirius FM’s “Original MTV Veejay” station – the station where Martha Quinn and the rest of the original MTV VJs (no, I can’t remember anyone but Martha Quinn) voicetrack the songs that were in vogue from 1981-86ish.

And for some reason, they played a 4-5 song sweep of nothing but music that was on the radio and MTV when I moved to the Twin Cities, 30 years ago next month.

And, just like my old program director said, it was incredibly evocative.  I remembered how it felt driving across the prairie for the last time as a North Dakota resident, listening to Rain on the Scarecrow.  Driving down 494 and turning onto the Southtown Strip for the first time as “Money for Nothing” played on the radio.  My first rush hour on 494 at Cedar, racing to my first job interview in the Cities to the tune of “Shout”, in WLOL.  Watching MTV after a long day of cold calling and seeing “Take On Me” for the first time.

And I started writing this post on my phone.

(Warning:  immense number of embedded videos below the jump.  You’ve been warned).

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A Bad Idea Whose Time Will Never Come

Joe Doakes, of Como Park, emails:

Gun control proposals never die, they just rest a while. Mandatory insurance has staggered back to life. 

The notion is that guns cause injuries which require medical attention which the public must pay for; therefore, gun owners should have insurance policies to pay the cost of treating those injuries. It’s like car insurance, see?

Of course, unlike car insurance, the real hope is that such insurance would be so expensive, nobody would buy guns and if nobody has a gun, gun violence ends. 

Two things:

First, unlike driving, gun ownership is a Fundamental Right protected by the Constitution. We don’t require journalists to buy insurance in case an inaccurate, misleading article ruins someone’s life. On the contrary, under the New York Times v. Sullivan standard, the more likely the harm, the harder we make it for victims to recover. Remedies for problems caused by privileges don’t apply to problems caused by rights.

Second, I am forced to buy uninsured motorist coverage to subsidize law-breakers who drive without insurance. I am forced to buy Obama-care compliant health insurance to subsidize scoff-laws who lack health insurance. Neither of those schemes eliminated the uninsured, they simply shifted the cost to me. Similarly, forcing gun purchasers to subsidize criminals using guns to commit violence won’t eliminate gun violence. 

It’s wrong and it won’t work. So naturally, Democrats are all over it.


Joe Doakes


Voluntary gun insurance, driven by the free market, makes  sense.

Mandatory gun insirance is nothing but back door gun control.

The left must be counting on the idea that Second Amendment advocates turn over every couple of years, so all of these ideas sound new.

Liberal Privilege

Just to reset the stage:  last Saturday’s “Black Lives Matter” demonstration (and its union benefactors), without bothering to get a city permit to block a street or use a city park, used a city park to organize a parade that went on to block traffic on the Midway’s busiest street for 3-4 hours, on one of Saint Paul’s highest-traffic days on one of the ten days a year when the Midway gets any outside traffic at all, escorted and guarded by an impressive array of Saint Paul Police and the rest of the city’s DFL-run bureaucracy.

And after all that?  The biggest controversy about last weekend’s “Black Live Matter” March at the Minnesota State fair, at this remove, is the chant that the crowd broken into at one point during the March; “Pigs in a blanket/fry’em like bacon”.

The St. Paul police union criticized the chant.

To which parade organizer Rashad Turn replied:

“It definitely wasn’t a threat. I don’t know if they would have received it differently if we would have said on a stick. We’re there chanting, using our voices,” Turner said.
“It definitely wasn’t a threat. I don’t know if they would have received it differently if we would have said on a stick. We’re there chanting, using our voices,” Turner said.

And I’m sure if a group of white people walked up Snelling chanting…

Save our cities, cut our losses

 line their lawns with blazing crosses” 

…or called a blazing cross “campfire on a stick”, Rashad Turner would be calling it “just words”, too.

I’ll take bets on that.

Hugo First

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

As a youth, I looked for Science Fiction books with Hugo Winner on the cover because that was a sign of quality science fiction writing.

For the last 30 years, Hugo winners have been more about political correctness than starships and laser beams, a future of despair, not hope.  Look, I read escapist fiction to escape political correctness and despair, I don’t want it in my Science Fiction so I quit buying SF.

Three years ago, author Larry Correia noticed the trend and in a parody of typical politically-correct appeals, claimed that boring message fiction was the leading cause of puppy-related sadness.  He said the Hugos put authors’ politics above the quality of the work, that conservatives were shunned.  He formed the Sad Puppies club and got a few conservatives nominated for the award.  The Liberal response was typical:  Sad Puppies are racist, sexist and homophobic and must be shunned.  SP did it again last year and the response got worse.  This year there were two groups: Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, who swept the nominations and then the fur really flew.

The major media reporting on the controversy started from the wrong premise: they examined genitals and scrutinized skin color to see if Sad Puppies nominees filled quotas of women and racial minority authors.  That investigation entirely misses the point: regardless of who wrote the stories, were the stories any good?

The metric used to measure the problem, IS the problem.

The 2015 Hugos were announced: no Award won several categories.  Politically correct fans would sooner give no award at all than let conservative nominees win, not even the woman, Hispanic or American Indian Sad Puppies nominees.  Politics ruled; Liberals burned down their politically correct village in order to save it.

The insanity goes beyond science fiction.

President Obama nominated Sotomayor to the Supreme Court because she was a “wise Latina.” Is there something about being a woman that makes the Commerce Clause easier to understand?  Some special cultural benefit of having Spanish ancestors that gives you clearer insight into the Due Process Clause?  Liberals insist Diversity is Essential but never provide an intellectual justification for it.

We can see the results of Affirmative Action in the Hugos and in the White House.  When will we, as a society, get the message that rewarding the least qualified and punishing the most qualified on the basis of immaterial factors such as race and sex . . . is a stupid way to run a society?

Joe Doakes

I’m happy that Joe can explain  the flap about the Hugo Awards because I, myself, have never cared for sci-fi.

And when I say “sci-fi”, I mean “sci-fi fans”, of whom I have the grossly-unfair stereotype of being a roomful of people who look and act like Comic Store Guy on Simpsons

…and who justify the stereotype, in part, by doing such a terrible job (Joe Doakes excepted) of explaining why we should care?  Reading sci-fi fans’ “explanations” of the Hugo Award flap is like reading about “Gamergate”;  clogged with subcultural jargon that, like all subcultural argot, is intended to make the subculture opaque to outsiders.

And it works!  What is a “sad puppy?”  (Joe explains it adequately, in context, which is a first).  What in the f*****g f*****g f*** is “Dragoncon?”  Who is who, and how do we know, and for the love of The Force, why does it matter?

So it’s a start.  Thanks, Joe.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Todd Gramnez, a representative of Black Lives Matter, on my show on Saturday.

To which one of the groups adherents might reply “yeah, he’s not the real Black Live Matter”; Gramnez was the one who took up the Minnesota State Fair on their offer for a booth inside the fairgrounds, when other BLM group that carried out the march on the state fair, led by Rashaad Turner, turned them down.

It was a good discussion.  And, by the way, I’d be more than happy to invite Rashad Turner on my show – provided that he does all of his race baiting on social media before the show, rather than after, as he did after his generally cordial interview with Jack Tomczak on the lesser talk station.  I’d love to have a discussion with all of that on the table, rather than passive-aggressively held off for later.


Takeaways from the weekend:

Agreement: Of course I agree with several of BLM’s points; anyone who cares about civil liberty, the Fourth Amendment, and limited state power should. We have too many no knock raids; the police are too militarized.  Anytime the police, for whatever reason, adopt an “us against them” attitude about the population they police, society fails (not that that is even necessarily always the police’s fault – it takes two to tango.

So, long story short:  I agree with many of BLM’s stated goals.  Not all of them – and neither do a fair number of African-Americans; BLM’s desire to end “broken windows” policing flies in the face of most inner-city residents of all skin colors, who have to live with the consequences of unchecked petty crime.  And I think some of their local leadership – Rashad Taylor and Nekima Levy-Pounds – do their cause more harm than good.  But of course, my approval is not what they’re after.  And that’s just fine.

But there is common ground on many of the stated goals.  And I emphasize  stated  for a reason.

Motives:  Last  Saturday was a gorgeous morning – and as I frequently do I’m gorgeous mornings, I walked from my house to the state fairgrounds to do the show. Since the BLM March was assembling just a few blocks from my house, I thought I would stop by.

There was a major police presence in the Midway, naturally:

And when I got to Midway Park? I can’t say I was surprised to note that the crowd, probably an hour before the rally got underway, was easily 2/3  Caucasian – most of them giving off the usual visual signs of being one variety of Minnesota Liberal or another:

Including many, many union members, acting as traffic marshals. One observer noted that they were wearing AFL-CIO vests, turned inside out.

And yep, there they are:

White Highland Park Liberals will certainly turn out, just for the fun of it, to march in any old parade. No argument there.

But why are the unions turning out people and money – including, reportedly, busing protesters in from other parts of the city – for of an event like BLM?

To paraphrase Fred Thompson in Hunt for Red October, “The unions don’t take a dump without a policy directive from the Democrats”.  And vice versa.

They’re there for the same reason that there protests happened in heavily African-American neighborhoods, rather than in front of the capital or the governors mansion.  Because there’s a presidential election coming up in another year, and for the first time in eight years, the slate of septuagenarian white people is on the Democratic side, and the Dems don’t have a charismatic black man on the ballot, and the Democrat party knows it needs to keep the African-American vote whipped up or it is doomed.

Question:  So I agree with some of Black Live Matters agenda; I also think they are in the process of being co-opted into a Democrat campaign effort, to the extent that they weren’t to begin with.

But let’s forget about the politics and the personalities. Let’s talk about Black Lives.

Freedom is something with which we are endowed by our Creator.  It can’t be taken away (short of some major offense against other people). It can’t even be given away.  It’s not a zero sum equation; the freedom I have, I don’t have because I got it from someone else. In the same way a right cannot interfere with another person’s right, one person’s freedom cannot take away from another person’s freedom.

If freedom, equality and respect or what BLM is after, then I’m with you.

But some BLM activists – I’m not naming names, here – refer  to freedom and equality in the same way  Bernie Sanders refers to earned income; like it is a finite quantity, that they wish to redistribute.  As if some people get freedom, equality and respect by taking it away from other people.

Is it the imprecise phrasing of people driven by emotion?

Or is it a slopover from the organization’s political backgdrop, a natural response from a group – progressivism, not BLM – that regards “equality” as the end result of redistribution, whether it’s money or equality.

And there, they’re wrong – and any American, whatever the color of their skin, needs to tell them so.

Tumultuous Stability

Of course, it could all change tomorrow.

But at the moment, we are in the most peaceful period in human history:

Knock wood, of course.

And yet people continue to feel as if we’re in one of the most tumultuous times in history.

Side question:  how much of this is the responsibility of “peace movements”, and how much of it the results of a concerted policy of peace through strength?

Dear City Of Saint Paul

To:  City of Saint Paul
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Protests

Dear City,

I caught part of the Black Lives Matter protest over the weekend.  Everything turned out OK – partly due to BLM’s leadership’s abrupt change in tone, from “we’ll meet resistance with resistance” to Saturday morning’s “de-escalation training”, and partly due to the heavy presence by the Saint Paul Police, who blocked off most of Snelling Avenue for a fair chunk of the day.

The police also directly intervened in a few incidents where “counterprotesters” – I think that exaggerates their numbers and role, but whatever – heckled the march, moving to screen the “counterprotesters” off from the march in what was likely a prudent effort, but wasn’t one of the First Amendment’s shining hours on either side.

But enough pleasantries; I have a question for you.

If I wanted to have a Tea Party march from Hamline Park up Snelling Avenue, completely blocking traffic during one of the busiest money-making days of the year for Midway merchants – say, next Saturday, also during the State Fair – could I expect the same level of accomodation and forebearance from the City that BLM got?   While, like BLM, not bothering to get a city permit to use a street and block traffic?

I mean, forget for a moment that 2/3 of the people in my parade likely won’t be the white liberals and union people that made up 2/3 of the BLM march, and also keep your bosses, Mayor Coleman and his city council, in office.

What would your response be?

That is all.

Battlefield Preparation

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Planned Parenthood gives awards to journalists who promote abortion – who knew?  Apparently, 16 journalists accepted Maggie Awards despite the recent chop-shop videos.

I wonder who got the coveted “Intact Calvarium” award and who had to settle for the “Uncrushed Spleen”?

Joe doakes

Those are the awards that are presented at the theater before the real award show, right?

Every Day Is A Winding NARN

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – is on the air! I will be on live at the Minnesota State Fair COM from 1-3PM today!

Today on the show,

  • Minnesota GOP chairman Keith Downey joins me to talk about the state of the Republican Party heading into a big election year.

Don’t forget – King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1570, and Brad Carlson has “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 1-3PM.

So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:

Join us!

Scope Creep

I’m kind of torn about “Black Lives Matter”.

On the one hand, our criminal justice system has 99 problems, and racism is one.   Militarization, abuse of qualified immunity, the erosion of the Fourth Amendment, a drug war that’s been a complete failure, a mass of county and federal prosecutors driven by poiltics rather than justice, and on and on.

And “BLM”‘s stated national goals are, largely, on target in my opinion.  Not all of them – “broken windows” policing is a fine way of lowering crime, as long as it doesn’t get abused, yadda yadda – and is largely supported by the black communities on whose behalf BLM purports to protest.

On the other, to say racism is a pervasive force in American life, compared to 50 or 100 years ago, is madness.   Alternatively; “we-ism” is a problem everywhere on earth; it’s part of human nature.

Which isn’t to say I think BLM

But so as long as BLM focuses on our criminal justice system?  They may have a good point.  And I’m all behind people’s right to protest (while noting correctly that their claims of “institutional racism” kinda fall flat when you see how Official Minnesota has bent over backward to accomodate their protests; had the Tea Party or GOCRA blocked a freeway during rush hour, there’d have been tear gas and dogs).

Problem is, there’s some scope creep going on.

How’s That?:   The organizer of tomorrow’s planned State Fair protest, Rashad Turner, is either talking a lot of big talk, or playing peek-a-boo with the Twin Cities media, hinting at violence being possible.

Is he basically saying “Hey, media!  Being cameras!  You never know what’s gonna happen!”?

Or is he hoping to draw a few extra testosterone-jacked adolescents to the event with visions of mixing it up with cops dancing through their heads, to an area that’ll have more video cameras than Charlie Sheen’s boudoir?

Or is Rashad Turner himself one of those adolescents?

I suspect we’ll find out tomorrow.  Either way, it’s either a dumb manipulation (that’ll probably work), or a lot of really stupid talk.

Scope Creep:  And let me emphasize – I support protest, and limiting the power of government.  The police exist for a reason – but the idea that they work for us seems to be eroding over time.

So as far as that goes?  I’ll give BLM a listen.

But behind the criminal justice talk is all sorts of politics:

“Although there are elements of racism and white supremacy that are there, a simple policy change would be to start tracking [ethnicity] so we can be more intentional about representing the community,” he says. “I don’t think that anybody likes to check a box, but that would be a simple step to create an affirmative action process.”…BLM also wants the fair to be more transparent about its vetting of applications, and to make sure its top organizers include black, Asian and Latino people, says Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis NAACP.

“Certain businesses are almost going to be guaranteed a spot if they’ve been there at the fair for a long time, and that’s obviously going to work to the disadvantage of minority-owned businesses and new businesses who weren’t given access to be vendors back when the fair began,” Levy-Pounds says. “This is a majority-white state that’s becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, and a colorblind policy is no longer effective at ensuring equal access to opportunity.”

But a free market that includes lots of minority businesspeople that know how to write a business plan and sell an idea is effective at ensuring that access.

But I don’t think that’s what they’re after.  Because…:

New Wrapper, Same Old Candy Bar:  But here’s a fearless prediction:  once the talk turns past policing and justice to government economic policy, BLM will be all about promoting “progressive” politics; they’ve already protested in favor of raising the minimum wage, and Levy-Pounds has just thrown in on affirmative action.

One of the questions I’ve heard asked of BLM is “why are you protesting in places like South Minneapolis and the Midway?  Why aren’t you protesting in front of the Governor’s mansion, or in Kenwood, or Maple Grove or Lakeville, where the actual power is?”

One possible answer;  because BLM isn’t about who’s in power.  It’s about whipping up the black vote in 2016, in a race where all the candidates will be old and white and in dire need of some of that Obama coalition to drag their sagging carcasses over the finish line.

And you’re not going to find those voters on Summit, or in Kenwood, or in Maple Grove.

Too cynical?  Perhaps.  But experience tells me that “too cynical” is just about right, most of the time.

Betting Long On Ignorance

Like most of the Real Americans that support the Second Amendment, I am agog at the gullibility and willful illiteracy of most American gun control advocates, up to and including many of their leadership.

For years, I’ve thought “this just has to be part of a strategy to rope in the gullible, the badly-informed, the fear-driven, and the intellectual-legends-in-their-own-minds”.

And as with most of my flippant observations about human behavior that start out as sarcastic jokes and almost invariably turn out to be ironclad truths, it turns out I’m exactly,l precisely correct.

The “Violence Policy Center” – a “think tank” supported by liberals with deep pockets, that’s short on the “think” and long on the “in the tank” – did a report on gun control tactics in 1988.   While I was pro-Second-Amendment back then, I didn’t spend a lot of time reading the opposition on the subject.

And if I had, I’d have spent the past 27 years beating on this coming quote like John Bonham playing “Moby Dick”:

“The semi-automatic weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons — anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun — can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.”

In other words, the past three decades of the gun control movement have been predicated on exploiting technical ignorance, fear and gullibility.

It extends to all areas of their agenda, of course – stats, policy, history – but rarely do you find a grabber putting it in as many words.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I went to a new restaurant and hated it – there were too many menu choices and they all sounded so good that I couldn’t decide because I worried there was a better choice.

Cops have that problem.  The deputy sheriff guarding our building wears a Batman Belt giving her the choice of responding to problems with handcuffs, baton, pepper spray, Taser, pistol . . . too late, you’re dead.  Took too long to decide because you were worried there was a better choice.

We should go back to the old way: nightstick and a pistol, forget the rest.  If you go in the cop car peacefully, we won’t need handcuffs; if not, you’ll either go in the ambulance or the hearse and again, we won’t need handcuffs.  Should make the rules of behavior easier for cops and much clearer for People Whose Lives Matter.

Joe Doakes

I’m gonna indulge in a rare disagreement with Joe here.  The less we treat cops like medieval knights and civilians like peasants, the better.

“Please Please Please Please Please Send Cameras Please Please Please”

So there’s kind of a theme coming out of  “Black Lives Matter” here in the Twin Cities.

Last week, Rashad Taylor, one of the organizers of Saturday’s protest that’ll be starting a few blocks from my house and proceeding up Snelling – the busiest street in the state during Fair time – to the State Fairgrounds, hinted that there juuuust might be some violence at the protest:

“We’re gonna disrupt [the fair]. There’s nothing they’re gonna be able to do about it…. If we’re met with any resistance or threatened with any resistance, we’ll meet them with that same resistance.”


And on Facebook, Nekima Levy-Pounds – the leader of Black Lives Matter in the Twin Cities, and a woman with a PhD and a lifetime tenure-track job in a make-work academic discipline, who nonetheless complains about “white privilege” – posted:

Friends, Please pray for those brave and courageous souls who will be participating in the ‪#‎BlackFair‬ demonstration outside of the State Fair on Saturday. The level of racial hatred and animus that has come to the surface in Minnesota is appalling. These racist attitudes are typically hidden behind a Minnesota Nice facade. Now, we are able to see the truth of how these folks really feel about blacks and other people of color.

Some have taken these statements as a threat of violence.

Call me a pollyanna if you want; maybe, more accurately, you can accuse me of transposing my own motives on those of others. I read these statements, and I see a couple of people saying “Heeeeey, news media! Make sure you got plenty of cameras lined up on Snelling this Saturday. You wouldn’t wanna miss another…Ferguson or Baltimore, would you?”

Am I wrong?