The Young Ones

Harvard poll shows that – despite all the fuzzy assurances of magical-thinkers with agendas, especially in “libertarian” circles – Millennials who are “definitely votint” are picking the GOP over the Dems this cycle:

A new and massive poll of 2,029 18-29-year-olds from Harvard’s Institute of Politics just released found that of those who say they will “definitely be voting,” 51 percent want the GOP in charge, 47 percent favoring Democratic control.

Because the numbers are close, however, Harvard said the kid vote is “up for grabs.”

Still, it is a huge shift from the last IOP midterm poll. In 2010, younger voters kept to their historic trend with 55 percent favoring Democrats, 43 percent Republicans. That is an eight-point change, very good news for the Republicans who had feared that the Obama generation would show up at the polls and in knee-jerk fashion simply pull the Democratic levers.

On the one hand, it’s young voters.  They are the most driven by self-interest; they almost always vote Democrat; polls that show Millennials tend to have more libertarian beliefs also show they tend to have more socialistic beliefs.  In other words, they’re adolescents and post-adolescents who, often as not, haven’t the foggiest idea what they really think. 

But if the Harvard trend follows through next Tuesday, it’ll be the second time in recent memory, after 1980-84, that young voters have predominantly voted Republican. 

The real challenge?  If there is a GOP wave on Tuesday, it’ll be making sure that GOP majority stays conservative.  Keeping the Karl Rove faction out of the way.  Focusing on why people actually vote conservative (as opposed to Republican). 

As all of that “Jeb Bush 2016″ talk shows us, there’s a big part of the GOP that’s stuck on stupid.

As the Tea Party shows us, there’s a big part that’s not. 

Who will win?

I’ve picked my side.

Rep. Savick: The Past Has Ears

Representative Shannon Savick is a first-term Democrat from House District 27, the Albert Lea area, south of the Metro.  She’s a member of the Democrat Farmer Labor party. She’s blessed with a fairly well-off rural community for whom the consequences of DFL control aren’t yet life-or-death, and the presence of the Albert Lea Tribune, a newspaper that gives the City Pages and Star Tribune a run for their big-city money as mouthpieces for the DFL.   The paper has, of course, endorsed Savick. 

Everything seems hunky-dory for Ms. Savick, who is running for a second term. 

Everything but one; an especially noxious vote against Minnesotans’ human rights and civil liberties during her freshman session in 2013.  It was a bill by Rep. Paymar that would have:

  • Banned “Ugly Guns”: The bill would have banned firearms with scary military-looking cosmetic features
  • Banned Large-Capacity Magazines: Paymar wanted to force law-abiding homeowners and citizens to be forced to reload 2-3 times as often if they are beset by determined, dissociative or chemically motivated attackers. 
  • Private Transfers: While even some Second Amendment people think this – requiring all purchases to go through a federally-licensed firearms dealer (FFL), to close the non-existant “gun show loophole” – doesn’t sound too noxious on the surface, its byproduct -a paper trail for all guns – makes the next step, universal registration, trivially easy.

Savick was one of four outstate DFLers – including John Ward, Erik Simonson and Paul Rosenthal – who voted for this atrocity of a bill. 

At the risk of sounding crass, I’ll tell the truth; the bill was an attempt to kick in the teeth of every law-abiding gun owner in Minnesota. 

Even worse?  During the public hearings on these bills – where pro-Human-Rights activists outnumbered Victim Disarmament activists by close to 30-1 – Savick joined her Metrocrat colleagues in walking out of the hearings when it came time for opponents to testify against the bills.

Despite this deeply misguided vote, and deeply stupid bit of theatrics, the conventional wisdom had Savick as a pretty sure bet for re-election.

The calculus must have changed.  Savick is pulling an Ann Wynia – protesting her history with firearms:

I remember when my dad gave me my first gun when I was 16. It was a Marlin .22 bolt-action rifle. I have many fond memories of carrying that gun as I went hunting with my cousins. Over the next 30 years or so, I acquired another five guns, some for shooting and some for collecting.

I share this because I have recently been asked about how I feel about guns. People are concerned that I might be a gun-hating politician who wants to take away their guns.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I own and shoot guns. I have a permit to carry. A few months ago I hosted a permit to carry class in my basement so others could get their permit. And actually, I am a pretty good shot.

Just thought I should set the record straight.

If you have questions about this, please don’t hesitate to call me.

Oh, I’ll call. 

Because owning guns is easy (thanks to us Second Amendment activists, anyway).  Mark Dayton says he owns guns.  Carl Rowan owned guns.  A rabidly anti-gun Missouri state Senator was arrested with a gun in Ferguson a few weeks back. 

But the Second Amendment isn’t about hunting. 

Representative Savick:  Can you name a single vote you took in the past two years that supported the rights of the law-abiding Minnesotan to keep and bear arms for self-defense? 

Can you find some action on your part to atone for your votes for Paymar’s agenda?

Have your people call my people.  But just in case my people are calling your people anyway.

Savick’s opponent, Peggy Bennett, is having a forum at the Hayfield American Legion tonight at 7PM.

It Could Happen To Anyone

A couple of weeks ago, I was doing a piece about Tina Flint Smith, Minnesota’s first whore. Having someone like that in the office of lieutenant governor would serve to concentrate all of the power of the executive office…

… wait – did I just call Tina Flint Smith a whore?

Dang.  That’s bizarre.

Anyway – I was talking with a Republican friend about “Take Action Minnesota”, the community organizing group run by that door-to-door, bore-on-the-floor whore Greta Bergstrom.  The group has been working overtime…

…What?  Really?  I did?  I called her a “whore?” Not only that, but concocted a cutesy rhyme to set it all off?  Oh, not again.  How could that possibly happen?

Well, I guess it just goes to show you it could happen to anyone.

Accidents!  Who knew?

Or at least that’s what the media wants you to think about – I’m sure it’s just a coincidence – a Democrat saying it about South Carolina governor Nikki Haley (emphasis added):

FLORENCE, S.C. (CBS Charlotte) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Vincet Sheheen is coming under fire for accidentally calling Gov. Nikki Haley a “whore” at a campaign event.

Sheheen was caught on video at an appearance in Florence last week stating “we are going to escort whore out the door” referring to Haley. His gaffe appeared to be a slip from the tongue and he quickly corrected himself stating “we’re going to escort her out the door.”

So Shaheen “accidentally” used a rhyming couplet, for which he corrected himself, before yukking it up with his peckerwood supporters?

But immediately after correcting himself, Sheheen has an almost gleeful interaction with the crowd and laughed at his gaffe. Video of the event has gone viral.

Who hasn’t had that happen, honestly?   

I’m imagining a world where the Democrat Party didn’t have a media “accidentally” serving as their Praetorian Guard.

Confederacy Of Dunces

Kevin Williamson’s piece, “Five Reasons You’re Too Dumb To Vote“, concludes with a plea to those that Lena Dunham – producer of HBO’s insipid “Girls” – would inveigle into voting for the reasons Ms. Dunham gives:

I would like to suggest, as gently as I can, that if you are voting as an act of self-gratification, if you do not understand the role that voting in fact plays in a constitutional republic, and if you need Lena Dunham to tell you why and how you should be voting — you should not vote. If you get your politics from actors and your news from television comedians — you should not vote. There’s no shame in it, your vote is statistically unlikely to affect the outcome of an election, and there are many much more meaningful ways to serve your country and your fellow man: Volunteer at a homeless shelter; join the Marine Corps; become a nun; start a business.

And maybe think about acting like men and women rather than boys and Girls.

What?  You want me to add commentary to Kevin Williamson?  No – do us both a favor and just read the whole piece.

Trulbert! Part XIX – A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Scream

-  3:00PM, November 1, 2015 – A Block East of Fake It Til You Make It School, Minneapolis, MN

The coffee shop was still safe and sound.  Hana and Traian had grabbed a few valuables, locked things down a little tighter, and gotten back on the road with Lynn.

It was a fairly brisk mile to the school.  They avoided blocks where it looked like “Fairness Patrols” were working, which took a little extra time.

The three turned the corner – and saw the school grounds crawling with Methodists.  Above the front door, and over the hastiliy-painted “Fake It Til You Make It” sign, was a banner; “Fairness Academy”.

Lynn stood for a second, frozen, like a ball of Icy Hot was in her stomach.

“We should go”, said Hana.

Continue reading

Mills: Didn’t See That Coming

The Strib endorses…

Stewart Mills in CD8.

I must confess, I didn’t see it coming – and reading the Strib ‘s piece, I’m going to guess they didn’t either:

Among the district’s immediate challenges is a choice between two imperfect candidates for Congress. On balance, we conclude that this changing district would be best served by a fresh voice, and we give the endorsement edge to retail executive Stewart Mills.

One wonders how often the Star Tribune specifically notes candidates are “imperfect”. I imagine it’s less of a surprise to most readers than the Star Tribune may believe.

One charge relentlessly leveled at Mills is that he is the beneficiary of inherited wealth through his family’s Fleet Farm empire. But we doubt that many Minnesotans really consider such a background a disqualification from public office.

While it would be a bit much to expect the Star Tribune to attack the DFL for making Mills’s wealth – for which he worked – an issue while endorsing a trust fund baby for governor, one could always hope.

Still, the endorsement does go on to tell Mills’ story fairly:

Having begun his Fleet Farm career scrubbing toilets and emptying trash, Mills today is vice president in charge of the chain’s health care plan, covering 6,000 employees and their dependents. He has developed a hands-on understanding of the intricacies of the health care marketplace, coming to see wellness and prevention as keys to controlling costs.

Mills says his objections to the Affordable Care Act are central to inspiring his run for Congress. His candidacy follows what he calls the “Hunting Camp Rule”: If you complain about something, you get the job of fixing it. His condemnation of the ACA is too sweeping, given that he backs the law’s key goals. But the market-based approaches he prefers — including more price transparency and tort reform — could contribute to needed improvements in the law.

I know, I know – I shouldn’t complain too hard; the Star Tribune just endorsed a relatively free-market conservative.

But would a little honesty, or at least economic literacy, kill the “newspaper of record”? (Emphasis added):

Mills is challenging Rep. Rick Nolan, who returned to Congress in 2012 after a 32-year hiatus. Nolan lists several accomplishments, including working with Minnesota Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar in securing $10 million in federal funds for improvements for the Port of Duluth-Superior.

Nolan has been a leader in efforts to clamp down on foreign-made steel dumping in this country. He has also worked to expand invasive species protection in the Great Lakes. And he says he’s committed to campaign finance reform and efforts to improve the legislative process.

Nolan’s “accomplishments”, in other words, involve coughing up taxpayer. goodies for the special interests in his district.

Speaking of special interests:

We differ with Mills on a number of issues — not least on his unyielding stance against firearm regulation.

Running in the Eighth Congressional District? That’s a feature, not a bug.  So, by the way, is supporting the Constitution.

But here’s how we know it’s really, really a Star Tribune endorsement (emphasis added):

But we’re also persuaded that Mills has the intelligence and pragmatic instincts to learn, grow and adapt in office.

Mr. Mills – I hope you get elected. And that you then resist “growing in office” with every fiber of your being.

If elected, Mills will face a learning curve in Washington. But he has the energy, the zest for ideas and the deep commitment to northern Minnesota to make a success of it.

Yeah, it’ll take a lot of learning to get up to the level of a Nancy Pelosi or a Sheila Jackson Lee.

But those are the marginalia. It’s an endorsement. It’s only a newspaper endorsement, but it’s the last thing I ever expected.

Dayton’s Budget: A Big Fat “F”

Cato’s 2014 Fiscal Policy report card gives Minnesota’s a resounding “F”, and it doesn’t mean “For Fiscally-Ingenious”.  The grade puts Minnesota eighth from the bottom in terms of fiscal policy:

Governor Dayton replicated his grade of “F” from the last Cato report card. Under Dayton, general fund spending increased 13 percent in 2013 and an estimated 4 percent in 2014. His poor score also stems from his large tax hikes. In 2012 he signed into law higher taxes on gaming. In 2013 he approved a package raising annual revenues by $1 billion, which is almost 5 percent of total state tax revenues. The package created a new top individual income tax rate of 9.85 percent above the current top rate of 7.85 percent. It also raised cigarette taxes by $1.60 per pack. In 2014 he partly reversed course and signed into law modest tax cuts that reduced estate taxes, ended the marriage penalty under the income tax, and reduced sales taxes on business purchases.

The net result?  We – the actual people of the state – are two billion short.

It was a richly-deserved “F”.

Hunky Dory

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is driving down the road, when he notices Avery LIBRELLE by the side of the road.  LIBRELLE is standing by the trunk of a Chevy Volt; on the trunk is perched a miniature windmill, attached by cables to a terminal under the Volt’s open hood.   LIBRELLE is blowing on the windmill. 

BERG sighs, pulls over.  He gets out of the car, notes that there is no wind – it’s a flat calm – and walks up to LIBRELLE.

BERG:  Hey, what’s…

LIBRELLE:  Hah, Merg!  The economy is doing fantastic!  You were wrong!

BERG:  Um, what now? 

LIBRELLE:  Unemployment is under 6%

BERG:  That’s that’s because so many people have left the workforce, as we see on this chart here…:

 

…which is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Labor Force Participation Rate, representing the percentage of the labor force – able-bodied people between 16 and 70 – that are actually working.  As you can see, since Obama’s election, that number has plummeted from the mid-sixties to under 63%.  .

And six percent of them are unemployed, which means that the actual share of the population that’s working is more like this:

That’s the labor force participation rate minus the unemployed.  Now, if there were an economic recovery going on, that number would be ticking back up. 

LIBRELLE:  Hah, Hah, Hah, Merg!  You’ve been watching too much Faux News!   (Goes back to blowing on the windmill, spinning the blades madly)

BERG: That’s pronounced “foh”, not “fowks”.

LIBRELLE:  Standard pronunciation is a microaggression of the patriarchy!  Anyway – you lie.  The labor force participation rate is dropping because Baby Boomers are retiring!  Hah!

BERG:  That’s a great theory – because statistics show that older people are working less, and that hours and productivity are ticking up among people in their prime working years.

LIBRELLE:  Hah!  Got that right! (LIBRELLE blows on the windmill some more)

BERG:  Except that both of those statements are untrue.  Neither is actually the case. 

Older workers are the only group of workers who are actually increasing their share of the workforce:

And the “inactivity rate” of men between the ages of 25 and 54 – the prime income-earning years – is double what it was during the Reagan Administration…

…and a good third above what it was under Dubya.  And since the “end” of the recession, it’s just kept climbing. 

LIBRELLE:  So you admit you lied to me?

BERG:  Huh?

LIBRELLE: By saying that the stats said one thing, and then showing that they said another!

BERG:  Uh…right.

LIBRELLE:  (Resumes blowing on windmill)

BERG:  What are you doing?

LIBRELLE:  My car ran out of battery.  I’m trying to give it a sustainable jump start. 

BERG:  With a…

LIBRELLE:  With a Personal Wind Generator. 

BERG:   Er…where…

LIBRELLE:  I got it at Sharpened Image.  It was $499. 

BERG:  Don’t you mean “Sharper Image?” 

LIBRELLE:  No. Sharpened.  It’s from Nigeria. 

BERG:  Huh.  Have a great week.

LIBRELLE continues blowing on windmill as BERG walks to his car. 

And SCENE. 

We Warned You

We were warned; if we voted for Mitt Romney, free speech would evaporate.

And they were right; Obama’s FEC is moving to regulate online political speech, including this blog

Late Friday, Ann M. Ravel, the Democratic vice chair of the Federal Elections Commission, said the FEC would begin the process to regulate Internet-based campaigns and videos which are currently free from oversight by the federal government. The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard said one Republican FEC chairman, Lee E. Goodman, warned that anyone who writes a political blog, a politically active news site or even a chat room, could be regulated….Earlier in the year, Bedard noted, Goodman warned that Democrats on the panel were gunning for conservative websites like the extremely popular Drudge Report, a site that typically sees some 30 million visits per day.

The beef is ostensibly about political groups disseminating videos via blogs and social media that would be regulated on television. 

But then, they’d manage that by regulating everyone who links or carries the content.  Which, in plain English, means regulating political content in all social media, including here on Shot In The Dark.

Not only is it imperative that the Democrats lose and lose big next month – it’s even more imperative that the GOP actually provide a meaningful alternative.

Whose Time Has Come

It was fifty years ago today that Ronald Reagan gave one of the most important speeches in American history, and perhaps the most important speech in the history of American conservatism:  A Time For Choosing.

And it’s more vital now than it was, even then.

You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well, I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down: man’s old, old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism

Here it is, in its entirety.

It’s impossible to overstate this speech’s importance.  It was the opening salvo in the rebirth of conservatism.  It took a decade for its aftereffects to be  known; George Will wrote in 1984 that it won the Presidency for Goldwater – it just took 16 years to count the votes.

And it’s a hot, blazing rebuke for the mental midgets to claim the GOP has “become more extreme” lately.  Listen to the whole thing.  There is nothing the Tea Party stands behind that wasn’t stated in this speech.

It also destroys the even dimmer claim that “Reagan was too moderate for today’s GOP”.  If only today’s GOP – outside the Tea Party, anyway – had the balls to live up to the standards in this speech.   

In retrospect, Reagan’s presidency – and it may be fairly said that this speech was the beginning of Reagan’s political career – bought this nation a few decades before the extended populist spending orgy that took off in the sixties finally brings this nation to its heels. 

Is there still time to change things?

Perhaps.  But this is the real time for choosing. 

HG

Priorities

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

We don’t have enough money to find a treatment for Ebola because we’re spending millions on stuff like this.
Joe Doakes

I forget who originally said it, once upon a time in the comment section of this blog, but a quote that needs to become part of our national rhetorical currency is “when you politicize science, you don’t get scientific politics; you get politicized science”.

Don’t Let The NARN Remind Us Of What We Are Not Now

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

  • We’ll have Senator Dave Osmek to talk about the Preferred One extortion story
  • I’ll be talking with GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson about, well, the governor race.

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!

The Canadians

As the world slides into what looks to be a continuation of a decade-long war against terror, I saw this on Facebook yesterday.

20141023-124748-46068909.jpg

It’s a reference, of course, to Canada’s War Memorial, the location of this week’s shooting, a place most Americans don’t know much about; it’s their “Tomb of the Unknowns”, and has the same signficance to Canada’s history:

And I got to thinking.

Americans have long given Canada a hard time for its extra “u”s, its occasional passive-aggressiveness, its (to Americans) bizarre parliamentary system, and its tut-tutting about all the things about life in the Lower 48 they just don’t get. 

And some of that criticism, over the past 40 years – especially from American conservatives – related to perceptions of Canada’s foreign policy, especially as regards defense.  To be fair, Canada’s fractioius parliament has given it leaders who did, in fact, qualify as “pacifists”; anyone with the last name “Trudeau”, which is to Canada what “Kennedy” is in the US, in terms of political influence and political orientation, would make Paul Wellstone look like Sean Hannity.  Like one of its ancestral parents, France, Canada has a fairly strong sense of “national interest”, and they are pretty consistent in operating with it (or the ruling party’s interpretation of it). 

But since it achieved independence from the UK not all that much more than a century ago, Canada has not only been there with the US (and UK) when the chips were down, but in many cases punched well above its weight. 

In World War I, 620,000 Canadians served in the military – out of a population that was right around eight million in 1914. 

Soldiers of a Canadian “Scottish” regiment, clad in kilts and tams, in the trenches, July, 1916.

 In scale, that would be like the United States mobilizing over 24 million people to the colors, today.  And of them, 67,000 were killed and around 250,000 wounded; that’s a casualty rate of just shy of 40%.  The Canadian Corps at Ypres was the first target for chemical warfare, when the Germans launched chlorine gas at the Canadian lines; the Canadians, in turn, invented the world’s first gas masks, on the fly, by peeing on handkerchiefs and tying them over their faces (better ones followed soon). 

In World War II, 1.1 million Canadians out of a population of less than 12 million were in uniform at some point or another. 45,000 died, 54,000 were wounded, as Canadians fought on every front in the war, in Canadian units as well as in British and other Commonwealth units. 

Canadian paratroopers, World War 2

According to some military historians, Canada, torn between its British traditions and political ties, and the influence and industrial power of its American neighbors, adopted the best of both systems; the Canadian military picked and chose the best of British and American equipment, and organized its Army using a British-derived Regimental system, in which troops served in units with histories stretching back (via the UK) hundreds of years, a system unfamiliar in the US outside the Marine Corps.  Beyond that?  The Canadians imposed conscription – a draft – but stipulated that only volunteers would serve overseas.  As a result, Canadian Army units frequently exhibited a degree of cohesion, motivation and skill in battle well above that of their neighboring American and British units, full of draftees that in many cases very much wanted to be somewhere else (although they, too, won the war). 

And they needed it; Canadians were in the thick of the war. 

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada – in which Corporal Cirillo was serving when he was shot on Wednesday – training for D-Day.

 The abortive raid on Dieppe in 1942 was largely a Canadian operation, and the casualties from the disaster were largely Canadian.  On D-Day, the fighting at Juno Beach – the Canadian landing zone – was only surpassed by the carnage at Omaha Beach for ferocity. 

Canadian troops debarking at Juno Beach on D-Day. The fighting among the houses in the town along the beach was hand-to-hand; after Omaha, Juno was the hardest-fought invasion beach.

 And the Canadian Army had one of the toughest, least-famous vital battles of the war, the bloody, ugly, largely clearing of Walcheren Island in the Netherlands, which opened up the supply routes that enabled the Allies to carry out the final offensive into Germany. 

Canadians fought in Korea, and manned the West German garrison during the Cold War, with equal distinction.

A Canadian “Leopard” tank, in Germany during the eighties. It’s parked next to an early American M-1 “Abrams”

And today?  Most of Europe’s militaries fell into drastic decline after the fall of the Berlin Wall; Germany’s once-well-regarded Bundeswehr,12 lean, mean combat divisions in 1987, now fields two divisions of troops largely boy scouts with guns with guns, famously overweight and undertrained; the Luftwaffe, once one of Europe’s premiere air forces, couldn’t even fly a transport plane full of Ebola supplies to Africa without a breakdown.  Most other contintental NATO nations, save the Poles, have followed suit; their militaries are shadows of their Cold War-era selves.

Not so Canada; it’s kept things up pretty well, not only in terms of numbers but training; it’s capable of going into action on just about the same footing as the US, UK, Australian and New Zealand militaries – the best in the western, free world. 

Canadian grunts in Afganistan

Anyway – say what you will, but when I bag on the Canadians, I stick with the extra “u” in color and rumor and honor, and maybe the whole hockey thing.

And my thoughts, like those of most Yanks, are with you all this week.

A Friday Trifle

I’m just happy I was able to recognize most, but by no means all, of the singers and other musicians, in this BBC Music promo vid…:

…of one of my favorite songs in pop music history.

Joe Persell: Context Goes Both Ways

The big DFL strategy in this election, so far, seems to be to scare to death the voters who they haven’t bored to death.

There was a debate on Wednesday in Bemidji.  Since a couple of districts – 2A and 5A – are in play in the Bemidji area, candidate from both were apparently in the ring.

The topic turned to gun control:

In response to a question on gun control, [HD2A GOP challenger Dave] Hancock said shooting incidents usually occur in places where guns are banned.

“If we look we look at the areas where tragedy has occurred with guns, they are usually in gun-free zone(s),” he said. “Where you have people armed and carrying concealed weaponry, the criminal in use of a gun thinks twice.”

That’s pretty much the fact.  Hancock got it right.  No surprise there.

Here’s where it gets interesting – and when I say “interesting”, I mean “A DFLer starts saying things that misinform the uninformed”.  The DFL’s Joe Persell responded to the question; I’m going to add emphasis:

Persell disagreed, saying carrying weapons can exacerbate tense situations.

“Folks that are out there carrying, playing cop … I don’t think we want them to be doing that,” he said. “There’s more instances of people being killed because they are carrying, and they think somebody said something nasty, and they felt threatened, and so they shot them.”

Really, Rep. Persell?

I wanted to ask Rep. Persell to name one example of either of a Minnesotan…:

  • being killed because they were “playing cop”
  • killing someone who “said something nasty” to them.

Conversation:  I sent Rep. Persell an email asking for clarification.  He contacted me, saying he’d been taken out of context in the Bemidji Pioneer.  We wound up having a conversation last night.   I pointed out that there has never been such a case involving a legal post 2003 carry permit holder in the state of Minnesota (although there were a few incidents with pre-2003 permits – the ones issued by sheriffs).

Rep. Persell told me that the conversation referred to the Second Amendment as a general, nationwide issue, and that he was referring to cases like those of Michael Dunn, the Florida man who shot a teenager over, the court case said, “loud music”.

Those cases certainly grab the headlines – the media, being left-of-center and largely anti-gun, makes sure they do.

But even those lavishly-publicized incidents are exceedingly rare.  I ran the numbers, nationwide, a few years ago; in a typical year, a carry permittee is two orders of magnitude less likely to commit any kind of crime than the general public.

So while Persell wasn’t “lying”, per se, he was focusing attention on a type of incident that is exceedingly rare in real life.   While his original quote in the Bemidji Pioneer may have been out of context, the context of his remark is misleading and inflammatory.

The problem with guns, statistically, nationwide, isn’t a guy with a carry permit killing someone unjustifiably.  It’s the thousands of criminals without permits who kill people without regard to the law at all.

Hope that word gets out…

Continue reading

Instrumentation

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Social Security is going up 1.7% next year, a small cost-of-living increase because there’s no inflation. At least, not officially. Not since the government changed the way it calculates inflation.
Here’s a chart showing the inflation rate would be around 6% if we still used the old way of measuring it, from when Reagan and Clinton were in office. That feels more like the decrease in purchasing power I’ve experienced at the supermarket.

20141024-061230-22350377.jpg

joe doakes

I believe it was during the early Clinton era that “Discouraged workers” and other ultra long-term unemployed were dropped from the “U1″ number – the top-line unemployment figure the media runs with.

Which is the only way the unemployment rate is below 6% nationwide, and at 4.5% in Minnesota.

The moral of the story? All statistics are just as good as the formula the statistician used to generate them.

“It’d Be A Shame If Your Insurance Company Were To..Break, Or Something”

The reason Preferred One – provider with all of the least-expensive plans in the MNSure exchange – left the exchange last month, giving most of its subscribers a 60+% increase in rates to keep a MNSure plan, was that they were basically strong-armed into providing the unsustainable low rates to begin with:

Sometime after the insurer PreferredOne submitted its proposed rates for the first year of the MNsure exchange, state regulators asked the company to consider lowering the numbers.

Ultimately, the insurer responded with “a total rate decrease of 37 percent”, according to a July 2013 letter from an outside actuary to the company.  Those final rates were the lowest in the Twin Cities – and across the country, in many cases – and helped PreferredOne to grab nearly 60 percent of the MNsure business.

 

Now, those subscribers face an average premium increase of 63 percent if they stay with PreferredOne — a yo-yo scenario that health policy experts say points to the challenge in setting prices under the federal health law. The big swing also suggests that the low prices were out of step with the reality of the business.

 

“This was the first year of a new market, so no one knew what they were bidding on,” , said Gary Claxton, a vice president with the California-based Kaiser Family Foundation. “That means it was hard to create the rates, and it was hard to review them.”

 Here’s the deal:  as Representative Zerwas pointed out on a morning radio show today, Preferred One is keenly aware that the MNSure board – a political board, composed (per statute) of absolutely no people from the  healthcare or health insurance industries – can decide who does and doesn’t get to participate in the exchange. 

Which gives them a lot of power when, for example, they tell a company like Preferred One  to kick the tires on an unsustainable rate structure. 

 

 

Calibrated

Back in 2006, they told us that electronic voting machines were going to be an easy, non-transparent way to hijack elections. 

And they were right:

Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan went to vote Monday at the Schaumburg Public Library.

“I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent,” Moynihan said. “You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.”

The conservative website Illinois Review reported that “While using a touch screen voting machine in Schaumburg, Moynihan voted for several races on the ballot, only to find that whenever he voted for a Republican candidate, the machine registered the vote for a Democrat in the same race. He notified the election judge at his polling place and demonstrated that it continued to cast a vote for the opposing candidate’s party. Moynihan was eventually allowed to vote for Republican candidates, including his own race.

There’s a simple answer, of course:

 “This was a calibration error of the touch-screen on the machine,” Scalzitti said. “When Mr. Moynihan used the touch-screen, it improperly assigned his votes due to improper calibration.”

“I’m not robbing this bank, officer; I’m just doing a bad job of calibrating the safe”.

“That’s not a crack pipe under my seat, officer; its a poorly-calibrated CPAP mask”. 

“Those weren’t dead people voting; just poorly-calibrated living people”. 

I’m not going to say the Democrats are a criminal syndicate.  I’m just wondering how they’d have to behave any differently to be one…

“The Most Dictatorial President We’ve Ever Had”

Watch this video starring Ted Nugent, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage, in which President Obama is called…well, exactly that.

UPDATE:  I lied.  It’s not Nugent, Hannity and Savage.  It’s Nat Hentoff, liberal civil libertarian and godfather of the ACLU.  He’s a liberal – but he has been committed enough to actual civil liberty over the decades that he’s even pissed liberals off at him…