NoH8!

Now, I’ve never been much for bashing on people who are different than me.

Gays, in particular.  While I am a committed straight breeder, bashing on gays for their orientation has never really interested me.

And when the whole genre of gay-baiting humor, to say nothing of hatred, went out of style (except in the world of all those democrats who produce hip-hop, naturally), I breathed a muted sigh of relief.

So we’re all good.

Now, gay movement; could you please see to these hatemongers?  Before someone gets pissed and starts putting on “Pranciest Fairy” contests again?

Because “H8″ really does cut both ways.

Thanks.

Attention, World

To:  The English-Speaking World
From: Mitch Berg, Angry Language Purist
Re:  Lunchtime Frenzy of Anger

Dear World:

Chipotle.

It’s pronounced “Sha-POTE-lay”.

Not “Sha-POLE-tay”.

See to this at once or suffer the consequences.  Flaming, shrapnel-laden consequences.

That is all.

The S Word, Part III: Baggage Full Of Red Herrings

So as we discussed in the first two installments, there are plenty of reasons Americans aren’t enamoured with each other these days.  There really are two Americas – one that believes that the road to all good things leads through government, and one that pays at least lip service to the idea that we’ve a free association of equals and that our government operates by consent of the governed.

We’ll come back to that.

Continue reading

The Left’s War On The Western Intellect

One never needs to look far for a Berg’s Seventh Law violation.  But this one may be the big daddy of them all.

For all the left’s bargling about how smart they are and how stupid the teabagging wingnuts are, it’s the left that’s waging a war against the intellectual traditions that made the West a great, and – by world historical standards – free, prosperous and enlightened place.

The Late, Great Debate:  I did debate team for one year, and speech team for two in high school.  And with all due respect to the debaters in my social circle – including John Hinderaker, a national college debate champ – there was no question about it; debate team was the lesser set of skills.  The best “debaters” merely honed their ability to rattle off, auctioneer-style, factoids in a coherent-sounding case; oratorical style and even audible legibility didn’t make the cut as priorities.  Debaters tended to make lousy “forensics” speakers.

But debate teaches a vital skill – indeed, perhaps one of Western Civilization’s most vital skills; classical logic.  A good debater knows how to contruct a logical argument, quickly, steering clear of glaring logical fallacies which will, of course, cost them points with literate judges.

Or rather, they knew it.

John Hinderaker relates the story of the decline and fall of collegiate debate, where teams are now winning “debate” tournaments while ignoring the stated topic and swerving into their own personal polemics, often in “slam poetry” and hip-hop styles and, dumber still, declaring the idea of “logic” and “structure” to be racist:

The assertion that “the framework of collegiate debate has historically privileged straight, white, middle-class students” is puzzling. By “privileged,” the writer apparently means that these are the people who have been good at it. Historically, most college students have of course been white and middle-class, but so what?

“Collegiate debate” has turned into the MinnPost comment section!

I’m tempted to declare that the structure, rules and equipment of the NFL are ageist, classist and ableist, and play using only a shotgun and a hockey stick; why should those privileged with athletic talent and lack of years have all the fun and money?

Well, no – I won’t.  Because I’m not an idiot.

The underlying message from the academy (and hip hop forms notwithstanding, the end of collegiate debate is a battle between academic points of view, not tastes in music) is that logic and structure – the building blocks of western philosophy, “liberal” government, modern science, and indeed every Western intellectual tradition worth preserving – are matters of racist “privilege”.

Would we have had a small-”l” liberal government, ann Enlightenment, a Renaissance, math and science as we know it, a legal system remotely worth having, and any common intellectual tradition without classical logic?

Happy To Be An Intellectual Midget For A Better Minnesota!:  Of course, it’s more than just a national thing; the Minnesota Left has been doing its best to make politics and public life in Minnesota  dumber, coarser, nastier thing.

Bill Glahn dials this tendency in as remorselessly as a sniper:

As the 2014 election campaign heats up, a drearily familiar pattern is repeating itself. Flush with big dollars from out-of-state donors, Democrat-front group Alliance for a Better Minnesota (ABM) is attacking Republican candidates under the theme Wrong for Minnesota…Back in the dim mists of time—when dinosaurs still trod upon the earth—I was taught that arguing against the person (ad hominem) rather than what the person was saying, defied the laws of logic.

When I was in debate in high school, and moreso when arguing points in college, leading with the ad hominem was a good way to have your thesis sent to the showers.

I was taught in classical Greek rhetoric that a message that relied exclusively on raw emotion (pathos)—rather than reason (logos) or an appeal to values (ethos)—was considered the lowest form of communication.
Ad hominem and pathos are the only form of expressions ABM is capable of. The reason why ABM relies on these tactics is because they work. The object is not to engage in debate, but to end debate by surpressing voter turnout. ABM is not trying to convince you that you should vote for Democrats, they are trying to convince you that no Republican possesses the personal character worthy of your vote.

And it works.  A potential candidate for higher office talked with me about ABM’s efforts last year; this person wanted very much to run for an office that would be up for election this year, but couldn’t; while they have the political savvy, experience and record to do the job, ABM would make their personal life – things unrelated to politics, of course – a living hell.  And so a good candidate opted out of the race – leaving that bit more room for an inferior Democrat.

To add insult to injury?  The same media full of Lori Sturdevants and Keri Millers that snivel about the “vitriol” and “anger” in politics, are utterly silent about the Alliance’s crimes against logic:

Should a Republican whisper about the health of our current governor or the temperament of our junior senator, they are immediately shouted down by local media.

Either because of personal relationships or broad sympathy with the aims of ABM, these tactics are never questioned by local media. ABM’s increasingly fantastic and desperate claims against Republicans are never subjected to the “fact-check” apparatus.

And why is that?

Why has MPR, especially their “Fact-Check” operation, “Poligraph”, never systematically looked into ABM’s propaganda?  Catherine Richert?  Mike Mulcahy?  Tom Scheck? Anyone?

File It Under “Questions”

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I wonder what position Dog Gone took on this bill? Always interesting to see how Liberals respond when their oxes are being gored.

HF84/SF36 – Animal Law

This legislation requires the Board of Animal Health to license and inspect dog and cat breeders that have ten or more adult animals and produce more than five litters per year. The bill provides a standard for animal care that must be met and companion penalties and procedures for licensed breeders that do not meet the standards. The Animal Law section took a position in support of this legislation. Despite some vocal opposition in committees, the House included the language from this bill in their supplemental appropriations bill (HF3172). The Senate did not follow suit, so the issue will be resolved in a conference committee in the upcoming weeks.

Joe Doakes

So I guess that’s a question…

The Barricades Fall – A Little

The Twin Cities’ left is declaring a Code Red; Glen Taylor is buying the Strib

The Minnesota sports and business tycoon and former GOP state senator has picked up the shrivelling Gray Nag of Minnesota media properties - and has vowed to make some changes.

Some. 

Bear in mind, Taylor came from the old-school Minnesota GOP; relatively moderate, accustomed to working with the then-slightly-less-extreme DFL in a way that’s as obsolete as the personal computers from the 1980s, when that arrangement still held sway. 

But he’s talking changes; the MinnPost‘s Britt Robson (from the first installment of a two-part interview) talked with Taylor about his planned changes:

MP: The Star Tribune is regarded as a liberal newspaper, rightly or wrongly, and probably less so now than ten years ago. Will that change under you in any way shape or form?

GT: I think the answer is yes. But I think the answer is yes whether I buy it or don’t buy it. Everything changes, and some people are going to say, “Well it is, because you bought it, that it changed.”

I would say back to them, “No. You are going to have new hires. You are going to have new people. There are going to be changes in seniority. You have got to be responsible to your readership.” And I think it has already been changing, and I have been a longtime reader of the paper.

Will it change because of the ownership of Glen Taylor? Yeah. To say it won’t wouldn’t be accurate. But it isn’t like Glen Taylor is going to come in there on day one and say, “I’m going to fire people” and do all sorts of things. I am going to say — and I have already told them this — that first of all it has got to be fair and it has got to be accurate.

On the one hand, that – especially if manifested in the form of “reporting news that impacts the DFL with the same zeal as they do it to the GOP” – would be a huge start. 

On the other, I think Taylor is too sanguine about the evolutionary process in journalism.  The old, DFL-upsucking liberals like Nick Coleman are slowly fading away (and Lori Sturdevant has got to be eyeing that condo in Tampa, right?), but even they got their start at a time when American journalism paid more than feeble lip service to the ideals of impartiality and balance.

The Journalism academy today is far less idealistic than it was forty years ago.  New J-School grads are far more likely to start out as advocates from the word “go” than their elders, who oozed into the role over decades in a “progressive”-dominated state. 

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes:  So what does the Strib  really need?

  1. An Editorial Staff that actually puts accuracy and completeness ahead of politics.  Today – when they’ll sit on video of Mark Dayton giving an embarassing speech, but race to press with even the most foetid allegations about Republicans – they do not.  This editorial staff needs to crack the whip on, if not “objectivity” (which I believe has always been a myth in the major media) at least detachment, balance and development of sources outside the current crop’s clubby Rolodex full of left-leaning contacts. 
  2. Accountability:  For the better part of a decade, the person filling the role of the ombudsman (“reader representative”) at the Strib has served entirely as the editorial board’s spinmeister/spinmistress.  Ombuds like Sue Perry were the journalistic equivalents of Baghdad Bob, asking who you trusted – your lying eyes, or the Strib’s spin on the mountain of evidence of the paper’s bias.   The Strib needs an ombud that revels in mixing it up with the paper’s status quo. 
  3. A Columnist’s Row With Real Diversity:  Liberals have spent the past half-decade or so whining about the hiring of Katherine Kersten.  The complaints took two forms; “why hire a conservative, the paper is already balanced/conservative”, and “she doesn’t know the journo’s secret handshake!”.  The first line of complaints was straight from Alice in Wonderland.  The second wasn’t so much delusional as, I think, a tacit admission that conservatives were right; the journos wanted someone filling the “house conservative” role who knew the secret journo handshake and would work for “the team” when in doubt.  Which is not to impugn Doug Tice, Kersten’s designated replacement, in any way – he’s a solid reporter, right of center by Strib standards, and a journo of great integrity, but hardly an iconoclast.   The Strib needs an iconoclast, someone who will hold the ancient, biased institution of the paper’s feet in the fire. 

What else will it take?

The Failed War On Women

The Democrat “War on Women” rhetoric was entirely calibrated to try to win the votes of white women (Obama already controlled non-white womens’ votes).

But for all the palaver?     It didn’t work.

Michael Medved in the NYTimes last week (with emphasis added):

A closer look at the numbers reveals that Mr. Obama’s success with the ladies actually stemmed from his well-known appeal to minority voters. In 2012, 72% of all women voters identified themselves as “white.” This subset preferred Mitt Romney by a crushing 14-point advantage, 56% to 42%. Though Democrats ratcheted up the women’s rhetoric in the run-up to Election Day, the party did poorly among the white women it sought to influence: The Republican advantage in this crucial segment of the electorate doubled to 14 points in 2012 from seven points in 2008. In the race against Mr. Romney, Obama carried the overall female vote—and with it the election—based solely on his success with the 28% of women voters who identified as nonwhite. He carried 76% of Latina women and a startling 96% of black women.

So for all of the left’s argling about racism being the only reason not to vote for Obama, it would seem that race is the only reason to vote for him, since Black and Latina women have fared among the worst of all during the Obameconomy.

As with every election since 2000, marriage matters:

The same discrepancy exists when considering marital status. In 2012, nearly 60% of female voters were married, and they preferred Mr. Romney by six points, 53% to 46%. Black and Latina women, on the other hand, are disproportionately represented among unmarried female voters, and they favored Mr. Obama by more than 2-to-1, 67% to 31%.

Read the whole thing.

And check a few of your assumptions about Democrat rhetoric.

For It Before He Was Against It

Al Franken supported a program that uses taxpayer money to give foreign companies a leg up in the market over US companies…

…until someone whispered “Hey, Al – this directly harms Minnesota business, and uses Minnesotans’ tax dollars to do it…”.

But in politics, policy must become parochial for a politician before they see the error of their ways. In July of 2013, the Bank’s activities became a threat to Minnesotans and for Franken, who voted to reauthorize the Bank just months earlier.

Half a billion worth of business (provided you’re a crony of Franken and his clique).  Good, right?

Apparently Franken needed reminding that Minnesotans are his constituents; he reversed his vote when someone apparently reminded him of this factoid:

But when the citizens of Minnesota were in danger of being directly and substantially harmed, Mr. Franken suddenly became “concerned.”…

U.S. iron ore production is concentrated in Michigan and Minnesota…

Australia is in the midst of an economic boom right now, due in significant part to the expansion of its mining industry.

And how’s the Iron Range doing these days?

Now – let’s place some odds on whether MPR, the Strib or the MinnPost ever cover this story.

Confronting The History Thief

Question: will the media force Elizabeth Warren – putatively the Democrat second choice after Hillary! – to meet with Cherokee women who’d like to talk with her about her phony claim to being a member of their tribe?

And profiting from it?

(Answer: Sure they will.  When they get done holding Ryan Winkler accountable for turning a SCOTUS justice into Stepin Fetchit).

NARN It. NARN It Good.

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism, as the Twin Cities media’s sole source of honesty!

  • I’m in the studio today from 1-3.
  • Don’t forget the King Banaian Radio Show, on AM1570 “The Businessman” from 9-11AM this morning!
  • Tomorrow,  Brad Carlson is on “The Closer”!

(All times Central)

So tune in to all six hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, the Twin Cities’ media’s sole guardians of honest news. You have so many options:

Join us!

 
 
 
 
 
 

If Whiling Away A Drizzly Saturday…

…why not tune in the Northern Alliance Radio Network?  We’re America’s first grass-roots talk frachise, and we’re starting our second decade of crushing all rational opposition and mocking the rest!

I’m on from 1-3PM tomorrow.  I’ll be interviewing Abdimalik Askar, GOP candidate to replace Phyllis Kahn in the Minnesota House.  We’ll be talking about him, his campaign, his district, and his ideas.  Hope you can tune in!

Sunday from 1-3 is Brad Carlson’s edition.  He’ll be talking with (soon-to-be-published) author and long-time NARN friend Katie Kieffer about her new book, GOP activist Jeff Kolb, and of course Miss Minneapolis, Julia Schliesing

We’re on AM1280, and you can call in at 651-28/9-4488, or via Twitter at the hashtag #narn. 

Hope you can make it!

She’ll Never Do Lunch In Berkeley Again.

I’ve always tried to understand people from “across the aisle”.

Part of it was the fact that I was a liberal for a while.  It’s easy for me not to see libs as “evil”; I wasn’t evil, I was just naive.

And over the years I’ve found that getting to know people who think differently, outside the context of politics, can be useful, especially for people whose primary interaction is via some sort of social media.  Social media – and the whole online user experience – tends to reduce inhibitions and focus emotion – which is a lousy combination for civil discussion.  And over the decade or so of doing MOB parties, I’ve met a lot of people who disagree with me – but spent enough time talking about anything but politics that it was easier to start treating each other like human beings rather than collections of caricatures.

(I said a lot.  Not all of them.  There are some Twin Cities leftybloggers who are not redeemable, and not worth knowing or understanding, because they are depraved and of no value.  But I’m not naming names).

And it cuts both ways.  Liberal  commentator and strategist Sally Kohn spent some time, er, commentating at Fox News, and learned that conservatives are, in fact, human.

My time at Fox News was marked by meeting and working with some of the kindest, smartest, and most talented people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in life. As I said in my TED talk, Sean Hannity is one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet – and even now that I’ve parted ways with Fox, he remains a good friend and mentor.

For a radical progressive who once harbored negative stereotypes about folks on the right, it was a turning point for me to meet people such as Mr. Hannity, Karl Rove, Monica Crowley, Sarah Palin, and so many others, and see that – though we certainly disagree profoundly on political issues – they’re personable and kind and human. Just like me.

It’s strange to suggest that a seemingly simple realization such as that is in fact a profound revelation, but in our hyperpartisan era, when we often vilify the other side as being less-than-human, it is.

I’m going to be watching for the waves of hatred that this piece generates.

Because it will.

Their Masters Voice

Sunday liquor sales.

All of the states bordering Minnesota have it. Most of the people of Minnesota want it. The ones that don’t, really don’t care about the issue all that much.

And for alcohol retailers in border cities, it’s a significant economic issue.

Seems like a no-brainer, right?

Not when the Teamsters get involved:

Even though the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) possesses a majority in the state House and state Senate, it does not retain complete free will in terms of policy adjustments (but who does?); the Teamsters lobby (like many unions) has an uncanny ability to get elected officials of the DFL variety to acquiesce to their views.
This past week Ed Reynoso, the Teamster’s Union political director, pulled a few strings with DFL leaders to stop the sale of growlers (a practice becoming popular in the taprooms of microbreweries around the state) on Sunday. He did this because an unnamed liquor distribution company, which employs some of his members, claims it would reopen contracts due to the legal changes made by the law.

Acouple of phone calls from a couple of unions to a couple of DF hours, and it looks like Sunday liquor sales are toast for the next year or two.

It’s the Minnesota way.

The S Word, Part II: Our Fathers’ House

Years ago, a bunch of people I’ll call The Original Bloggers wrote:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Or at least impel them to think about it.  I mean, we’re just thinking, here…

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–

Let’s talk about Liberty.  The NSA is snooping on your phone calls.  The IRS is selectively sandbagging the First Amendment.   The federal and state governments are attacking the First Amendment (FEC regulations, sueing businesses that don’t recognize gay marriage on First Amendment freedom of religion grounds, placing gag orders on politicized investigations). You don’t even have the freedom to pick a healthcare plan that works for you anymore.  Your Fourth Amendment rights are out the window if someone tells the cops you might have traffic-sized lots of pot in your house; your property can be forfeited even if you’re never convicted.  The Tenth Amendment is effectively a dead issue; the Feds can claim absolutely anything is their jurisdiction ever since FDR turned the Commerce Clause into the dominant statement in the Constitution.

They’ve even started walking over the Third Amendment, for crying out loud.

So then what?

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

Let’s emphasize; just powers.  By consent of the governed.

The powers that the US Government is exercising are – to say the least – flirting with unjust.

Says me.

…That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

If you’re a blue-stater, you no doubt believe that Red America is engaged in a war against Choice.  We want to impound your Lady Parts, or something.   The Tea Party wants to force you into a national church.

And if you’re a red-stater, you know that the apparatus of government, from the IRS scandal to Secretary Napolitano’s McCarthyistic “Enemies Lists” made up of pro-lifers, tax protesters and Second Amendment activists, are the stocking feet that warn of the jackboot aimed at your throat.

Decision Point:Here’s the key to the whole thing.  It may be the most important part of the Declaration of Independence.  Read it twice.

 Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

So do the “abuses and usurpations” rise to the level of “evincing a design” that invokes our “right and duty” to reboot the American experiment the government America hires to defend the borders and plow the streets?

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

Usurpations: Time has rendered some of the listed injuries and usurpations obsolete – but others still ring true, to people on both sides of the aisle.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

Any Second Amendment supporter that’s ever played “find the roaming hearing” at the Capitol in Saint Paul knows how this works.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners

If you’re a Blue American, you may feel this way.

If you’re a Red American, you might think He has done the opposite; refused to prevent the population of the states by the un-naturalized.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

Homeland Security, anyone?

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

I’d say the current militarization of the police and Federal law enforcement, and the ritual abuse of property forfeiture laws, certainly qualifies.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

And giving the police and prosecutors immense power, especially at the federal level, to make jury trials mere formalities.

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

Lefties; testify!

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

That’s not an especially absurd way to describe the gutting of the Tenth Amendment and the ballooning of the Commerce Clause.

Distant, Arrogant, Unresponsive:  So no matter what part of our society you’re from, there’s something to complain about.  And if the Presidency and Congress change hands, the left will no doubt return to their complaints apace.

But they all sound basically the same.  Our society is hobbled by the tyranny of people who just aren’t like us.

If you’re a Blue American, you no doubt wonder how much better a nation this would be if it weren’t held back by all those god-bothering, bitter, gun-clinging fat white Jeebus freaks that clog fly-over-land.  Indeed, the left fantasizes about it – from Paul Krugman’s dissociative fantasies disguised as NYTimes columns, to Seth McFarland’s “What if Algore had won?” episode of Family Guy.

And if you’re a Red American, you no doubt see the nation you love being turned from a representative democracy into an bureaucratic oligarchy; morphing from a “free association of equals” into a hierarchical, top-down society run by, for, and in the image of a self-appointed caste of brahmin elites that care nothing for society outside the Beltway or between the Hudson and the Sierra Madre, but need to control it anyway.

So – why are we still together?

More next Tuesday.

Satirically Speaking

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

. Governor Mark Dayton (DFL- Minnesota) astounded his critics today by amending his legislative proposal to include $100,000,000 of new bonding authority for the Minnesota Housing Finance Authority. “for too long, Republicans have said the Democrats won’t put their money where their mouth is. That ends today” said governor dayton. “starting immediately, every state County School District and city employee must reside within 3 blocks of the light rail line. This will demonstrate our commitment to light rail and show the public that everyone in the government has the public best interest at heart. I, myself, am moving to an apartment at University Avenue and Western Avenue, so I can ride the light rail to the capital to work. This new bonding Authority will give the government money to subsidize employees mortgages so they can relocate closer to the right location. I encourage all Metro DFL representatives to do the same.”

That’ll happen when the Democrats in Congress sign up for Obamacare.

Front Runner?

Scott Walker.

He’s conservative.

He’s got a killer track record.

He’s got killer approval ratings, and has them in a state perhaps even more purple than Minnesota, notwithstanding (or – ahem – because of) his tough, conservative stances on vital issues. 

He’s withstood four years of the most scabrous liberal and media (ptr) campaigns in the history of American politics (not directed at a woman or minority conservative, anyway), and come out stronger than ever

Revealingly, Walker fares well in an electorate that does not seem particularly conservative and that, if anything, appears to be slightly to the left of American voters in general. Among those surveyed in the WPR/St. Norbert’s poll, 48 percent had a favorable view of President Obama; 50 percent had an unfavorable view. Obama generally fares worse than that in national polling. In addition, Wisconsin’s liberal Senator Tammy Baldwin had a positive rating — 44 percent approve; 33 percent disapprove.

In this context, Walker’s popularity is particularly striking. 59 percent approve of his performance, while only 39 percent disapprove.

And despite the left and media’s (ptr) attempt to sand-bag his accomplishments (for instance, the left’s meme claiming Minnesota is “doing better” than Wisconsin, which depends entirely on ignoring the structural differences between manufacturing-heavy Wisconsin and service-heavy Minnesota, or Wisconsin’s commanding lead over MN in climate for new businesses), he’s got his own constituents basically on board - especially amazing considering the manufactured rancor of his first 18 months in office:

 Walker’s approval numbers basically track the right direction/wrong direction numbers for his State. 57 percent said that Wisconsin is moving in the right direction, while 38 percent said its moving in the wrong direction. By contrast only 32 percent believe the United States is moving in the right direction. 63 percent think we’re moving the other way.

If the GOP has a brain…

…well, Jeb who?

What Happens In Nevada Used To Stay In Nevada

 31 years ago last winter, a shootout between US Marshals and neo-Nazi tax protesters brought an avalanche of federal law-enforcement to rural North Dakota. 

Even then, long before the rampant militarization of federal law enforcement, the feds stomped about the place like an occupying army:

The police – and, as I recall, a North Dakota National Guard armored personnel carrier – had surrounded the farmhouse. A dog darted from an outbuilding; a policeman shot the dog dead. The gunshot sparked more gunfire, and before long the farmhouse was completely riddled with bullet holes. Finally, the police moved in…

…to discover the farmhouse empty.

Now, there was a “happy” ending; the manhunt ended with Gordon Kahl and an associate dead, and his family and accomplices serving long jail terms. 

But I’ve wondered over the years – what if that manhunt would have happened at a time when everyone had the ability to publish, and broadcast video, in real time? 

Ditto controversial federal law enforcement actions like Waco? 

I ask because the alternative media played a vital role in last week’s Nevada range war:

In another era, Bundy would likely have been quietly run out of business and – literally – lost the farm. Now, thanks to his own efforts in reaching out and the participation of media watchers around the nation, along with volunteers who showed up to help, he and his family may actually get a fair hearing and a chance to keep what they have worked so long and so hard for. But, as I said above, this one will be developing for some time to come if I’m right.

If nothing else?  Today, if the government wants to do things in the night and fog, it has to stay in the dark and fog to do it. 

Which may be good news, or it may be bad…

Identifying The Enemy

It’s about time the Feds got busy stomping out the scourge of people exercising their First and Second Amendment rights!:

Author Brandon Turbeville says he was approached by an individual who works in a Columbia, South Carolina gun shop to relate the story of how an FBI agent entered the store on Monday, showed his credentials, before proceeding to ask a series of stunning questions.

Telling the gun store worker he was tasked with visiting all the firearms outlets in the local area to check on “suspicious purchases” for counterterrorism purposes, the agent then began discussing what in actual fact were “completely normal transactions,” such as, “paying with cash, purchasing long guns, and other similarly innocuous behavior.”

The FBI agent then reportedly made a shocking remark that almost seems too chilling to believe.

“If you see some Middle Eastern guy come in, you don’t have to be so worried about that. What we’re really looking for are people talking about being sovereign such as sovereign citizens or people talking about big government,” the agent reportedly stated.

On the one hand, it’s just Infowars.  So I’d normally assume at least some, er, “embellishment”. 

On the other hand, it’s not one bit out of line with DHS Secretary Napolitano’s agenda this past five years

I call it 50-50.

Religious Holiday

It’s time we observe the “progressive” movement’s foremost religious holiday, Tax Day!

It’s more than just the day the commoner pays obeisance to the debt we all owe Government.  No - Tax Day is a ritualized sacrifice of the fruit of our labor, combined with the symbolic gesture of giving control of one’s livelihood and destiny to (what the left believes is) something bigger and better than mere people.  Something that, though we and our aspirations may die, lives on, bigger and better than the sum of its parts.

So happy Tax Day, “progressives”!

The S Word, Part I: We’re Just Not That Into Each Other Anymore

It’s said that America is the most polarized it’s been in history.

It’s not true, of course; the stretch from the 1890s into the Depression features some very stark social battle lines.  The 1828 election was kinda contentious.  And you might recall we fought a Civil War once upon a time.  Ken Burns even did a documentary about it.

In the past, we’ve fought – usually more or less civilly – amongst ourselves over a lot of things.  Slavery was a big one.  Approaches to federalism – and yep, that question usually manifested itself in re slavery, for the first fourscore and seven years of our nation’s existence – were a common squabbling point.  I suspect it was the topic of the year for the Debate team from 1777 to 1864.

And from the end of the Civil War until the Depression, the gulf between the Haves and the Have Nots was big.  Much bigger than it is today, even after five years of Obama exacerbating it for the benefit of his plutocrat pals.  No, seriously – no contest.

Of course, the different parts of this country have differed in the past – so much so that two of them spent four years fighting the bloodiest war in American history.  The contention?  Federalism, economic rivalries, whatever – they all tied back to slavery, one way or the other.

And in each of those conflicts – once the noxious legacy of slavery was extinguished – there was a general agreement; underneath it all, we were undertaking a valid national experiment.

As in “national”, meaning “everyone in the nation”. 

I wonder, sometimes.

Continue reading

15-40

I’ve never had much patience for sci-fi buffs.  Maybe it was the sci-fi buffs I spent my time around – I don’t know – but their (stereotypically) prickly anal-retentiveness over their genre always rubbed me the wrong way. 

And so I never really understood the whole “Firefly” thing – especially the show’s fans’ anger over the show’s (I gathered from listening to the tribe talking) sudden cancellation.   But working in technology as I do, I heard a lot of complaints.

No.  A lot.

Never could figure out what the fuss was about.

Then, last year, I finally fired up Netflix Streaming.  And Firefly – a “space western” produced by Joss Whedon – was one of the options.

So I started watching. 

And about ten days later, after getting to the end of episode 14, I started looking for the next epi. 

And looking.

And looking.

And remembering the growls and howls of my co-worker fanboys and fangirls.

And then I got angry.  And then just sad and disappointed at the waste of so much…potential. 

And I stayed a little of both.

Until today

UPDATE:  Or not. 

I guess it’s karma; for all the times I’ve yanked others’ chains, it’s probably fitting that I not only fell for a April Fools joke, but one that’s been around for a few years. 

OK.  The universe is at balance. 

For now.

(Play that joke on me again, and you’ll be awake, facing me, and armed…)

On A Rattlesnake Light Rail ‘cross The Hiawatha Desert

SCENE:  It’s 1985.  Mitch BERG – just out of college, hair waving in the breeze  and his elbow resting on the sill of his open driver’s side window - barrels down North Dakota Highway 200 at 85 miles per hour in his 1973 Chevy Monte Carlo.  Over the deafening racket of his small-block 350 engine (whose muffler fell off some time earlier, to BERG’s penurious horror but aesthetic delight) a boom box with a cigarette-lighter adaptor blasts  a cassette of John Mellencamp’s Scarecrow.   The Monte Carlo, covered in rust to the point where the driver’s side door panel flaps in the slipstream, wobbles and loudly grinds during BERG’s rare applications of brake.  But it’s a beautiful summer day in east-central North Dakota. 

BERG, dressed in a plain white v-neck T-shirt, an army-surplus dungaree shirt  and black straight-leg jeans, has a filterless Chesterfield dangling from his lip.  The coal on the end of the cigarette glows as BERG draws in a puff – and then almost instantly blows it out into the slipstream, studiously avoiding any inhalation.   In the back of the car are three guitar cases, a Fender amplifier, and two duffel bags full of clothes.

Suddenly, he notices a blueish smoke cloud in the distance.  He squints, tosses the half-smoked cigarette out onto the roadway, and shuts off the cassette. 

Gradually, he makes out the shape of a 1979 Subaru wagon.  It is parked outside the access road to a Minuteman missile silo, which sits about 200 yards north of the two-lane highway, encircled in chain link fence and razor wire.  A lone figure climbs out of the Subaru.   As BERG slows to a stop by the Subaru, we recognize a much-younger Avery LIBRELLE.  LIBRELLE’s car is festooned with anti-nuclear bumper stickers; the cargo area and back seat are crammed with signs demanding an immediate nuclear freeze, and declaring you can’t hug children with nuclear arms.  The Subaru, idling, continues to belch blue smoke. 

BERG pulls into the access road and brakes the Chevy to a stop by LIBRELLE’s car in a squall of metallic grinding, indicating the rotors and shoes direly need repair and replacement.   He turns off the engine, and the prairie is silent, but for the wind. 

BERG:  Hey – what’s up?  Something wrong with your car?

LIBRELLE:  Er…no?

BERG:  Well, it looks like you’ve had a bit of a fire. 

LIBRELLE:  What makes you say that? 

BERG:  Um…the smoke cloud?  It looks like a grass fire cominig across the prairie.  And it smells like burning oil… 

LIBRELLE:  Huh.  Haven’t seen anything.  And I think Subarus come from the factory like that.  Everyone in Minneapolis has ‘em. 

BERG:  Huh.  OK – well, it looked like you needed some help…

LIBRELLE: Oh, I do!  I do!  I need people to carry these signs (points to stack of hundreds of Nuclear Freeze signs in the back of car) to protest the US Military’s race to armageddon, and demand that we allow the peaceful leadership of the Soviet Union to co-exist with the peace-loving people of the earth!  Which is all they want!

BERG:  And you came up here from Minneapolis…

LIBRELLE:  …looking for people to protest with me.

BERG:  And how’s that going for you?

LIBRELLE: Not great, so far. 

BERG:  Huh.  Well, people around here have a lot on their minds.  There’s  farm crisis going on, and most of the locals are trying to hang on and survive.  And most of ‘em pretty much support the Air Force, anyway…

LIBRELLE:  So I’m finding out.  But you’ll help (LIBRELLE grabs a sign hopefully)

BERG:  No, no, sorry – I just thought you were, y’know, on fire or something.  I’m actually moving to the Twin Cities. 

LIBRELLE:  Oh, yeah?  Why?

BERG:  Well, I just graduated with a BA in English, and I want to be a writer and a musician, and there’s no much opportunity for that here.  In fact, there’s not much opportunity at all around here.  Job market’s kinda slow even for diesel mechanics and custom combiners, to say nothing of tortured starving would-be artists.  So I’m going to move to Minneapolis to try my luck at…well, writing, or technical writing, or music, or something.  Anything, really.  I have no idea what I’m gonna do.   I just know that unless they, I dunno, strike oil or something… (both BERG and LIBRELLE chuckle at the absurdity) …it’s never gonna happen here for me.  This place is never gonna be an economic powerhouse.

LIBRELLE:  But you can live the ideal life out here!  Be a hunter-gatherer!  Be in touch with the land! 

BERG: Er, no.  Looking for…

LIBRELLE:  The train!

BERG:  Huh?

LIBRELLE:  They’re going to build a light rail train down Hiawatha Avenue from downtown to the Airport!   They tore down all the buildings along Hiawatha Avenue twenty years ago to make way for it, and it’s going to get built any day now!

BERG:  Er, OK (starting to fidget)

LIBRELLE:  You’re a creative who’s moving to Minneaoplis because of the train!

BERG:  Um, what now?

LIBRELLE:  Mass transit!  It’s what draws creatives to the city!  

BERG:  Er, no.  That’s what I have a car for.  No, I’m moving there for opportunity – a chance at doing some things that really only occur in major cities.  I mean – huh?  Moving somewhere because there’s  a train?  Thats just weird

LIBRELLE:  Lalalalalalalalalalalalala!   The Met Council has spoken!  LALALALALALA!  (LIBRELLE grabs a Nuclear Freeze sign and hands it to BERG)

(BERG takes the sign, throws it into the front seat of his car, and starts the engine, which roars in unmuffled glory).

LIBRELLE (Starts to picket the missile silo)  No More Nukes!  No More Nukes!

BERG:  (Yelling over the din from his engine).  Hey, you know there aren’t actually any people in that silo, right?   That’s just where the missile is.   The people are in the command silo, which is somewhere else…

LIBRELLE: (Yelling back over the din):  Yes, I know there’s a feeble line of reasoning for fissile weapons.  A feeble line they don’t believe themselves…

BERG (Yelling):  No, er…yeah.  Yeah, that’s it. 

(BERG steps on the gas.  The Monte Carlo accelerates, as BERG turns the cassette deck back on). 

(And SCENE)