Trulbert! Part III: Ten Thousand Holes In Blankford, Lancashire

 - 1AM, Monday, September 1, 2015: The Hendrickson Home, South Minneapolis

t was after midnight. Lynn was sprawled, asleep, under the covers. Hendrickson puffed an e-cig and smiled.

He thought about all the petty anxieties he usually felt on these insomniac evenings were whittled down.  Gone was the usual “what the hell is going on with this country”, or “is my job going to be here tomorrow”, or “is Charlie or is Charlie not on the right track academically”. 

No, there was only simple contentment, as Lynn lightly snored next to him – and that, mostly, kept his mind occupied and smiling as he faded off to sleep. 

Looks like tomorrow could be pretty decent, for a Monday.


Halfway around the world, it was a busy Monday morning in the London Stock Exchange.  Nigel Rawsthorpe, the 41 year old floor manager for Endicotte and Marlborough Pty, Ltd, sent an intern for another cup of tea and looked at the situation, trying in vain to make sense of it.   

Field Marshal Li’s “Sell” order on all American government bonds rippled across the world’s fiscal firmament like an electronic tsunami.  The Nikkei index opened to a frenzy of sales, and the currency indexes in Tokyo had reacted like a scared cat racing down a strairway.  Banks dumped US bonds – and as the bonds plunged, they started ditching the dollar. 

Trading in Singapore and Hong Kong had apparently followed suit.  And the surge in sales caught the markets in Dubai and Mumbai; with US bonds and dollars being dropped faster than Kim Kardashian’s latest line of perfume, what started as a major sell-off turned into a cataclysm of liquidation, as hedges got pruned down to fiscal stumps. 

And as much as other nations had tried to dump the dollar, the world’s currency markets were still tied to the US currency.  The Pound, the Euro and the Loonie all were tipping over into freefall, as government efforts to buttress them were undercut; when everyone ran out of US bonds and dollars to unload, they dumped every other government’s bonds and currency too. 

As Rawsthorpe watched, idly twisting his stylized handlebar mustache and sipping his oolong, the Yen, the Singapore and Australian Dollars, the Rupee, the Vietnamese Dong - all plunged to single-digit percentages of their values the previous day. 

Rawsthorpe called his boss, Edward Bevin-Stoppleford, who was on holiday, fox-hunting in Kent. 

“Edward, old chap?  Yes, sorry to interrupt your holiday.  Bit of a pickle, here; there’s a mass selloff of all the world’s currencies.  Yes, old bean, seems nothing is worth anything anymore”.

Rawsthorpe listened as Bevin-Stoppleford’s voice rattled on the other end of the connection.  “Well, old bean, the Swiss Franc is holding up, because it’s Swiss”.  He paused as Bevin-Stoppleford interjected a muted quite.  “And the Ruble is holding its value, which as you know was bloody f**k-all anyway – pardon my Chaucerian digression”.   The line chirped with Bevin-Stoppleford’s acknowledgement. 

“But it’d seem that all the world’s currencies have come quite the cropper today”, he said, as the trading floor below him fell into polite, tea-stoked pandemonium. 

When the US and European markets opened, it was already basically a fait accompli.  The dollar was of no worth.

- – 7:30AM, Monday, September 1 2015:  The Minnesota Department of Transportation Department Of Statistical Analysis Office of Roadway Measures and Metrics, Central Office, Saint Paul, MN.

Myron Ilktost climbed off the “Green Line” train on Cedar Avenue in Downtown Saint Paul.  It’d been a long morning already, like all of Myron Ilktost’s mornings; up at 5AM to make breakfast for he and his wife, then a quick shower and a five block walk to catch the 7 Bus at 6AM.  Off the bus at 6:25 to get on the Green Line train to Saint Paul.  Then, the hour on the Green Line train through the Midway to Fourth and Cedar, and a four block walk to a nondescript, thirties-era office building that had laid mostly dormant and empty since the seventies, until various offices were rented out by various state agencies. 

Ilktost walked in off the street, unnoticed by everyone around him, his rumpled raincoat unneeded in the late-summer heat.  He punched the elevator button to go up to the 13th floor, to begin another day of his job. 

For 24 years, Ilktost had been the man who received the forms that came in from the people who managed the road sensors the MNDOT had placed around the state – the cables that stretched across roads counting road traffic in selected areas.  Ilktost’s job; take the incoming reports, collate them, enter them into the MNDOT-DOSA-ORMAM’s ’1970′s era mainframe database, and file them for future use by regional transit authorities.  When the regional transit authorities needed raw data to help drive transportation capital expenditures, Ilktost was the man who’d find the data – after the request had been received, classified, prioritized and ordered by several layers of bureaucrats above him. 

Ilktost got off the elevator at precisely 7:30, as he did nearly every morning.  And he went to the door as he did every morning, his security badge at the end of his extended lanyard, swiping the badge reader, waiting for the usual “beep” of the door opening.

The beep never came. 

Looking at the floor, he swiped the badge again.  No beep.

He swiped it again.  And again.  And again.  And again.  He looked at the card-reader; the little red light was not shining.  He swiped it again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again. 

Still no beep.

Finally, Ilktost looked up at the door.  There was a 8.5×11 inch piece of laser-printed paper.

MNDOT-DOSA-ORMAM Closed Untel Furthur Notes
Do too money being werthless

Ilktost stood, reading the sign, over and over, idly swiping his security badge a few dozen times as he read, and re-read, the scrap of paper. 

 - 8:35 AM, September 1, 2015:  Offices of “Claimtech LLC”, Downtown Minneapolis

Hendrickson was nursing a cup of coffee when an urgent email popped up on his screen at 8:32 AM.  “Suspend All Government Contracts”. 

As he moved his mouse to open it, his cell phone buzzed.  It was Lynn. 

“Paul?  They’re shutting down the school!”

“Um, what?”

“They say the dollar’s no good, so there’s no way to pay for any of the school’s operations.  Apparently the entire government is shutting down”. 

Hendrickson was aware that his head was swimming.   The government is shutting down?

“I’m headed home”, said Lynn, almost more as a question than a statement. 

“Yeah”, said Paul, opening the email, which was even sketchier on details. 

He opened a browser to “The Drudge Report”.  There was a siren at the top of the page.




Over to Hot Air.  Allahpundit wrote “Dollar To Nil: What Could Go Wrong?”

Hendrickson shook his head and tried to start making heads or tails of the situation.

It didn’t work.


- 9:54 AM, September 1, 2015:  Dripping With Irony Coffee Shop, South Minneapolis MN

Oz Streachan walked up to the counter, slowly picking a knot out of his ZZ Top beard.  Frena Marquette stepped over to him.

“Hey, Oz”, Frena said, flipping a lock of her dyed-jet-black bangs out of her eye.  “Have you heard the news?”

Streachan shook his head.  “You know I never read, watch or listen to the corporatist media”. 

“I know”, said Marquette with an excited lilt in her voice.  “But the government – it shut down!”

Streachan nodded.  “Cool.  Can I have a grande mocchiato?”

“For here or to go?”

“Do you have wi-fi?”

“It’s broken”, Marquette averred.

“To go, then”.

Pick Your Poison

The Star/Tribune last week ran a piece noting and lamenting the fact that as many as 50 trains carrying oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields cross Minnesota – every week.

And I remembered – when I was a kid growing up in rural North Dakota, we used to get over 20 trains a day passing through…

…mostly loaded with coal to power the Twin Cities powerplants.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Reviewing Amazon’s subscription service, this guy is talking about me:
“ . . . the sort of people who will benefit most from the subscription model are the sort of readers who will make do with reading the back of a cereal box if nothing else is available.”
Joe Doakes


Me? Well, I will read darned near anything when I’m desperate enough, I hate subscription model everything. Software, books, periodicals – you name it.

Dead Cat Recovery

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Fewer people are missing mortgage payments in Minnesota. I suspect that means all the bad loans, marginal loans, unemployed, sick and elderly mortgage payers have been wrung out of the system over the past seven years and now are renters, which explains the tight rental market.
The only homeowners left are those who can and will pay. It’s nice that fewer people are losing their homes. If that’s because fewer people have homes to lose, it’s not unalloyed good news.
Joe Doakes

Where are the housing values blooming these days? Not where the worst of the foreclosure crisis was, or most of the bad loans got shaken out.

Junk Science, Junkier “Journalism”

In recent years, this blog has made great sport of criticizing the MinnPost‘s coverage of Second Amendment issues, noting that much of their coverage has been both anti-gun and comically poor, and pointing out they are sponsored by the Joyce Foundation, which actively sponsors many anti-gun groups (including Protect MN here in Minnesota, and the national-scoped “Violence Policy Center”, or “VPC”). 

On the other hand, Joyce has sponsored the work of reporter Mike Cronin, who is three parts into a series on America’s gun culture (check out his installments so far on his introduction to shooting, attending a permit training class with Andrew Rothman, and his conversations with violence victims).   The series, thus far, is genuinely fair and balanced; I’ve talked with Cronin, and he seems interested in keeping it that way.  That’s all to the good. 

Continue reading

One For The Good Guys

Armed robber tries to stick up a store in North Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Police responded to a report of an armed robbery just before 9 a.m. at the Handy Stop on the 2600 block of West Broadway Avenue. When officers arrived, they learned an armed suspect entered the store and attempted to rob it at gunpoint.

Armed store owner had a dissenting opinion:

Police said at some point, the suspect and the store owner exchanged gun fire. Nobody was hit as a result of the gun fire, and there were no injuries in the incident. The suspect fled the scene before officers arrived and is still at-large.

There are few news stories in the world that make me happier than criminal scum leaving the premises, in cuffs, on a stretcher or, Heaven forfend, a gurney (let’s not call it “happy” in this case), or even at a dead run with soiled undies as a law-abiding citizen sweeps up shell casings behind him. 

They’ve just got to set Michael Bloomberg spinning in the coffin he sleeps in.

The Kill Cult

Joe Doakes from Como Park emailed me about something Glenn Reynolds wrote, that I wanted to write about anyway:

Libertarian, explained in six sentences:
“So, I’m skeptical of the death penalty’s administration because the criminal justice system is a disaster. But, assuming guilt, I don’t really care much about the morality of killing people. The nation-state is all about killing people. Its sole reason for existing is that it’s better at killing people in large numbers than any other form of human organization. If you don’t like the idea of the state killing people, you don’t like the idea of the state. If you don’t realize this, it’s because your thinking is confused.”

Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit, 8:34 a.m. July 25, 2014

Far be it from me to disagree with the esteemed Prof. Reynolds, but I think it’s his thinking that’s confused.

We pay taxes to a state that excels at carrying out violence for the same reason we buy a pistol and get a carry permit; we are responding prudently to a threat by giving ourselves the means to defend ourselves, singularly and collectively, from what the law calls “an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm” or it’s state equivalent, conquest and destruction. Judgment is called for – but not “due process”.

I don’t necessarily trust the state to “get self-defense right”, but where the alternative is being conquered by someone much worse, I’ll accept the risks.

Criminal justice is not self-defense. It’s not about life or death (for the crime victim, anyway) – not anymore. The perp is in custody. It’s about making things right, which involves getting things right.

Except the state can’t get things right – not 100% of the time.

There is no alternative to self-defense – you live if it works, and if it doesn’t you die. There is a reasonable alternative to the state botching executions, or, worse, killing the wrong person entirely (as they have certainly done more than a few times).

I tolerate the idea of the state defending us imperfectly because there is no rational alternative. There are plenty of rational alternatives to the state botching the judicial execution.

There. I hope I’ve settled that once and for all.

Doakes Sunday: Findings Of Fact

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Another company leaving Minnesota for Wisconsin. This one is probably more about marketing to its customer base than taxes; still . . . . . Dayton -1, Walker +1.

unlike the date and administrations job numbers, the number of “companies leaving Minnesota” is getting revised downward anytime soon.

In unrelated news I see that Chuck Knoblauch is accused of domestic assault, therefore the Twins have cancelled his induction into the Twins hall of fame.
I don’t care a whit for sports heroes, but the endless manipulation for PC is really tiresome. Not to mention that if this happened when he was on the team and useful for their pennant rally, they would be on the soap box reminding us that the justice system needs time to work, that a person is innocent until proven guilty, etc.
I did not read any of the story, or see it on the news. Don’t have a clue what evidence, if any, is involved. But PC sucks.
Joe Doakes

it’s Minnesota. “People” – ha ha – accused of domestic abuse will be assured a speedy trial and immediate execution.

Only NARN Can Break A Heart

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!

  • , Brad Carlson is in the studio today from 1-3.  He’s got a full slate of guests – check him out!
  • Don’t forget the King Banaian Radio Show, on AM1570 “The Businessman” from 9-11AM this morning!
  • I’ll be in for Brad tomorrow from 1-3 on “The Closer”!   I’ll be talking with Andrew Richter about his resignation from the Crystal Planning Commission, and of course with the reigning Ms. Minneapolis Julie Schliesing.

(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!

Good Intentions

Seventy years ago today, a 500-pound bomb from an American bomber that dropped its payload miles short of its intended target fell 20,000 feet, and landed squarely on top of Lieutenant General Lesley McNair.

General Lesley McNair, who died – spectacularly – 70 years ago today.

Literally. The bomb fell directly into McNair’s foxole, landing physically directly on top of the three star general. McNair was dead from being hit by 500 pounds of metal screaming earthward at 600 miles per hour, even before the bomb exploded.

But explode it did, further mangling the unlucky general’s body so badly that the only parts that were immediately recognizable were the three gold stars from his collar, found some distance away from the bomb crater that remodeled the general’s foxhole.

The graves registration detail found the parts the best they could – which is exactly as difficult a job as you might imagine for a body that had been almost literally wrapped around 400 pounds of explosives and 100 or so pounds of steel. His mortal coil thus uncoiled and then re-coiled, he was buried at the American Cemetary in Normandy – the senior American interred at this most holy of shrines to America’s sacrifice in Europe.

He was one of four American three-star generals killed in action during the war.

It wasn’t McNair’s first brush with death; he’d been wounded by German artillery in North Africa the previous year.

McNair (center) in Tunisia. The day after this photo was taken, McNair was wounded by fragments from a German artillery shell.

But neither his bad luck nor his bravery were the the most notable thing about General Lesley McNair. For while his death was one for the trivia contests, his life was of immense impact – much of it controversial to this day.

For while generals like Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall, Patton, Bradley, Clark, MacAuliffe and Gavin were household names in America, then and (mostly, and among historians) now, there were few men in history who had more to do with how America fought the war, and the lot of the American fighting man, than Lieutenant General Lesley McNair.

And most of the legacy was just as bad as McNair’s end was spectacular and bizarre.

Continue reading

That’s Rock And Roll

In the whole history of pop music, the whole “hypstr chicks warbling out-of-tune protest-y songs over campfire-style guitar-strumming” is the third worst genre ever hatched (behind only “hypstr chicks warbling out-of-tune protest-y songs over plinky pianos” and, worst of all, “hypster chicks warbling out-of-tune protest-y songs over ukuleles”).  Wanna call that part of the “war on women?”  I’m OK with that.  The genre is that bad.  Someone’s gotta say it.  I’ll take the hit for the betterment of humanity.

On the other hand?  If you are a progressive, this song is the call to action you need…:

…because if you are a “progressive”, Elizabeth Warren – Cherokee chieftain that she is – is the only intellectually honest choice for President in 2016.

You don’t have to believe me. The out-of-tune chick warbling partly in-tune over the politely-strummed, co-op-approved campfire guitar has spoken.

A Watchdog That Only Barks At Mailmen

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

They completely missed the real scandal, which is President Obama’s imperial disregard for the law, but at least this is a step in the right direction. Sorry about the annoying survey pop-up, no wonder nobody reads that newspaper.

Gun-running to Mexico and refusing to enforce the borders don’t bother the editors. Closing the ocean is no problem. Targeting Americans for drone strikes is fine. But sneak a peek at a journalist’s email and they turn on you like savages.

Better late than never.

Joe Doakes

it’s hard to come up with even a short list of things that’ve disgusted me about this administration, and about this country during this administration, but on the very short list would have to be the fact that the media only act like watchdogs when the media, itself, is affected.

There needs to be in accounting for that, someday.

Trulbert!, Part II – Blink

 – 9PM, Saturday, August 30 – Somewhere in South Minneapolis, MN
It had been a long, brutal day – exactly enough to make Paul Hendrickson wish he’d gone to his sister-in-law’s baby shower with his wife instead. Ten hours in the office chasing bugs, another day’s worth coming up tomorrow, and no end in sight.

And nobody at home; Lynn had taken the kids to visit their cousins up in Bemidji, and nobody would be home until Sunday night.

He drove up Hiawatha Avenue, past the desultory light rail and spotty car traffic, and saw a joint he’d never seen before - the “Invisible Hand” Bar and Grill, on Hiawatha somewhere in the forties.  One of the girls in QA had told him they made a great burger.

But they had me at beer, Hendrickson thought, as he tried to remember the last time he’d been in a bar without either his wife or his co-workers.  Since the Clinton years, for sure, he mused as he pulled into the parking lot.  He hesitated – I could just nuke some leftover beef stew, he thought – before turning off the car and walking into the bar.  He yawned loudly as he walked into the bar.  A whiteboard sign pointed an arrow labeled “Seat Yourself” to the left, and “TRU LBRT, The Gathering!” to the right.

Defininitely want “Seat  Yourself“,Hendrickson thought, absent-mindedly turning to the right.

He stepped into a large back-room, about half full of people, and grabbed a seat at a table and opened a menu.

“Welcome!”, chirped Dave Os, in a different tweed jacket, wering a different bow-tie, sitting down at Hendrickson’s table.

“Um…hello?” Hendrickson replied, looking suspiciously over the top of his menu.

“So what’s your interest in liberty?” Os asked, his fingers absendmindedly running through the impeccably-tended whiskers of his beard.

“Um – I’m strongly in favor?”  Hendrickson replied looking for a waitress.

“Good!”, said Os, as Ron Pallsacher – wearing a Gadsden flag t-shirt – sat down next to him.

“So…why are you asking me?” asked Hendrickson, looking for a waitress who seemed not to be coming at all.

“Oh, you’re at the TRU LBRT gathering!”, said Pallsacher, pronouncing it “True Liberty”.

“Huh.  I guess I’m in the wrong room”.

“Or maybe the right room”, Os said.  “I mean, do you value freedom, don’t you?”

“Well, I’m married, so clearly it’s an academic question to me…”

“So you don’t value liberty?”, Pallsacher chimed in, missing the joke.

“No, no, of course I do…although I really don’t know what you’re getting at”, Hendrickson said, giving up on the waitress for the moment.

“What we’re getting at”, said Pallsacher, “is that government takes away your liberty, and we’re going out to take it back”. Os nodded.

“Ah.  I gotcha.  Well, sort of”, Hendrickson said, leaning forward in his chair, dusting off a mental drawer that hadn’t been opened in quite a few years of not reading much about politics.  “Like what liberties have we lost?”

“Oh, like the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures”, Os said, nervously twisting a lock of his beard into a little spike, then un-twisting it.

“Oh yeah – like all those no-knock SWAT team raids.  Yeah, I’ve heard about those.  Those are bad news”.

“Or the prohibition against marijuana”, said Os.

“Bingo”, said Pallsacher.  “Why ban bud?”

“Not really my thing”, Hendrickson relied – even when he had experimented, he’d been much more into uppers…

“Or raw milk!”, Os continued.  “Why should government force me to drink pasteurized milk?”

“Or taxes!”, said Pallsacher, his fists clenched in excitement as Arnie Quist, wearing fashionably unwashed raw-denim jeans and a formal seed cap, sat down next to Hendrickson.

“Well, yeah – my taxes are mighty high”, Hendrickson nodded, casting a suspicious glance at Quist. 

“Why should you have to pay any taxes at all?”, Os asked. 

“Er…to support the government?”, Hendrickson replied gingerly, provoking chuckles from Os, Pallsacher and Quist.

“Most of our problems stem from government”, Quist said, to enthusiastic nods from Os and Pallsacher. 

“You’re telling me.  I work in healthcare software.  What a freaking nightmare”, Hendrickson said, to nods from the other men. 

“It’s so far beyond healthcare.  Most of the problems in this world are caused by government.  That’s why I’m an anarcho-capitalist”, said Os. 

“Huh”, said Hendrickson, sorting out the phrase in his head.  “Capitalism without government.  So how does that work?”

“Very well!”, said Quist. 

“Where?” asked Hendrickson.

“Well, nowhere, yet”

“OK, I figured that.  But I mean, literally – how does it work?   How do you have capitalism without some sort of court system to enforce contracts?”

“Courts can be corrupted by the banksters that control goverment”, Quist chimed in, as Oz Streachan sat next to Os. 

“Right, I get that.  But how do you enforce contracts?  I mean, I’ve had to take vendors to court for non-delivery.  How do you do that without having some sort of government?”

“Everyone observes the NAP – the Non-Aggression Principle”, said Pallsacher. 

“They have no reason not to, without government distorting the free market”, added Os. 

“OK”, said Hendrickson, “I’m going to have to think about that one.  But this “non-aggression principle” brings up the other thing – like, defending the country…”, he said, stopping when all four men started laughing.  “OK, what?”

“Well”, said Quist, “wars happen because governments exist.  In a world without governments and the interests that control them, and everyone observing the Non-Aggression Principle, there’d be no need for defense, since there’d be no government to defend against”. 

“So everyone in the world will just suddenly agree to get along?”, Hendrickson asked, looking at the four men. 

“Well, it’ll take some time to win everyone over – which is what we’re working on tonight!”, said Quist. 

“So Al Quaeda will stop trying to kill us, because…”

“Because we won’t be trying to kill them”, said Streachan. 

“Gotcha.  OK – so who builds the roads?”

The four men – now joined by Frena Marquette and Bill Durburgh – erupted laughing.

“Who’ll ‘build the roads’”, Quist chuckled. 

“Yeah, never heard that one before!” guffawed Streachan. 

Hendrickson looked among his six tablemates.   “OK, so how do roads get built – say, a road between two cities across private land, without any recourse to eminent domain?”

“The private market will settle it”, Os and Durburgh responded, as Pallsacher answered “Really, there can be no more inland cities”, while Streachan and Quist chimed in “Hover cars!”, and Marquette replied “their problem, not mine”.

Hendrickson looked at them.  “Huh.  Interesting.  So the the perfect world will become perfect through the complete lack of government?”

“Yes!”, answered all six immediately.

“Interesting”, Hendrickson replied.  “Hey – I’m supposed to meet someone across town.  Nice to meet you all.  Gotta dash”. 

Os handed Hendrickson a business card reading “Dave Os – Social De-Engineer”.  “Call me if you want to get involved!”

“Will do!”, said Hendrickson.  “Nice to meet you all”, he said, side-stepping toward the door. 

– 11AM East China Time, Sunday, August 31 – Shanghai, Peoples Republic of China

Field Marshal Li Wang H’sing groaned, half in pain, half in pleasure, as the masseuse’s fingers dug into the fleshy skin of his upper back.

Li’s uniform coat – hung neatly on the door to the room, whose view overlooked Shanghai harbor from the 42nd Floor of the Peoples’ Liberation Bank headquarters building – had six stars on the epaulettes. His ID card – tucked into his wallet, in his back pants pocket, also hanging from the door – identified him as as the Commander of the People’s Liberation Bank.

And the masseuse – an 18 year old girl from Sichuan – was definitely in line for a promotion to Sergeant.

The door knocked, three times, briskly.

“Enter”, Li yelled in his dense, Shanghai accent.

Colonel Wu T’ang Klan – a trim, athletic 40-something man in a Peoples’ Liberation Army officer’s daily dress uniform with a “Cybercommando” patch on the left shoulder – entered the room. Eyeing the masseuse, he smiled – the perks of command were indeed excellent, he briefly mused, pondering his own evening’s plans after getting off duty in the Operations Center. But he shook the thought off.

“What is it, Wu?” Li groaned.

“Three things, Comrade Field Marshal. First – Commissioner Fong is going to be here at eight to discuss the matter of the natural gas exports”

Li groaned. It wasn’t the first time this issue had raised its head.

Wu continued “Your wife called. Her car is on the way”.

Li’s eyes popped open wide. “That was the second item of business? Are you mad?”

Wu continued, calmly. “The third, matter – the purchase of US Government Bonds”.

But Li was already up, rustling for his clothes. “Screw the bonds”, he muttered in his thick, Shanghai accent, nearly unintelligible to speakers of other Chinese dialects. Li usually spoke a higher dialect of Mandarin to avoid trouble…

…but not this day. He blurted it out.

And to Wu – a native of Szechuan – it sounded for all the world like “Sell the Bonds”.

“By your leave, Comrade Field Marshal”, he said, executing a crisp salute and leaving as the Field Marshal frantically got dressed.

Wu walked briskly down the hall toward the elevator, returning salutes from a group of People’s Liberation Army Commerce Guards. An elevator car was waiting, and he climbed in for his ride down to the basement Operations Center.

Wu knew Li was nobody to mess with. In a thirty year career in the Peoples’ Liberation Army, Li had been at the thick of every action. His record was well-known; a platoon leader during the building of the Hong Kong casinos; a company commander during the cracking of the encryption for the Microsoft Windows source code, he was promoted quickly to command a Battalion. Tasked with leading the merger and acquisition of a Welsh fish and chips chain, he’d led their expansion into Africa and Asia, getting him a Regiment command. And there he might have stalled – but for his near-miraculous turnaround on the response to a sell-off of an overleveraged derivate, which he turned from a defensive play to a major fiscal victory, getting him division and then Field Fiscal Army command. Then, during the bidding war to supply natural gas to Korea, he jumped over thousands of other three-star generals to become PLA Mergers and Acquisitions Director, which added three and then four stars to his shoulders. This brought him to command of the Peoples Liberation Bank three years ago – just in time to lead it to victory in the war over the deferred accrual of Singaporean derivatives, which led to the epic fiscal “Victory of the Ten Swans”, as it was called in the popular song that all the school children sang to Li’s honor. Tough, smart, politically bulletproof, Li was a good wagon for a young greyhound like Wu to be hitched to.

Then Wu laughed. Who would hitch a grayhound to a wagon?

This brought Wu to the Operations Center of the People’s Liberation Bank. He swiped his ID card, and the door slid open with a briskswish. He walked through a splendid marble anteroom, dotted with tables at which senior officers sat, talking furtively, drinking tea and scotch and discussing fiscal policy. A steward offered him a cup – an exquisite porcelain demitasse, no doubt a product of Hai’nan’s finest craftspeople – of the bank’s utterly divine strain of H’ung Lang tea. Wu took a sip, then another. Then, taking a deep breath, he left it on the table, and stepped to a door guarded by two Peoples’ Liberation Bank guards. As he returned the guards’ snappy salute, the door opened, and the serene, incense-scented quiet of the anteroom was bludgeoned with the noise of the Peoples’ Liberation Bank bond trading floor.

Wu stepped out onto the marble balcony, thirty feet above the trading floor, as the duty sergeant major bellowed “Attention”. The men on the balcony – the guards, four telephone talkers, and Lieutenant Wang Hung Long, the third-shift duty officer, snapped to attention, saluting the Colonel.

“As you were. Wang!”


“Comrade Marshal Li has ordered we sell all American bonds”.

Wang grabbed a white binder from a shelf along the wall way from the floor, and flipped to the “bond sale” protocol. “Sir – I acknowledge the sale of all American government bonds!” He turned to Captain Shih Pang Fung. “Captain. Initiate a sell order on all American government bonds”.

Captain Shih turned to Wa How Chung, the grizzled old sergeant major. “Initiate a sale of all American government bonds”.

Sergeant Major Wa took a microphone, and pressed the talk key. As he started speaking, the floor fell quiet.

“Now hear this. How hear this. Initiate a complete sale of all American government bonds. I repeat; Initiate a complete sale of all American government bonds. That is all”.

The floor erupted in a cataract of noise, as lieutenant-colonels ordered the companies of their floor trading battalions into action. The company captains passed frantic orders to the sergeants, who ordered squads of private on the phones to start placing “sell” orders on American bonds. Paper carriers, their sergeants cursing at them and jogging at double time, brought more sale forms to the phone-men at the front line, who ran through the forms as fast as they could. Stretcher bearers carried the casualties off the floor, as replacements – scared and just out of business school – took their places on the phones.

Wu stood impassively, giving no sign of his anxieties as the battle drill unfolded below other than his right hand clencing and unclenching.

But finally – three hours later, Sergeant Wa Jin Kang, exhausted, shuffled through the piles of paper and stepped over exhausted comrades, carrying a Chinese flag up the steps to the balcony. He wearily stepped up the stairs, to the top, saluted Wu, and reported “Sir, we have sold the last of the bonds”.

Wu executed a snappy return salute, prompting a weary but loud cheer from the floor.

“As you were”, said Wu, wondering if anything would ever really be as it was again.

Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come For You?

Like most people of my generation, I was brought up to respect and trust the police.

Of course, conservatism is about enduring social orders, and, when absolutely necessary and when nothing else will work, applying judicious force to protect that order against those that would harm, rob or swindle others, within the boundaries of fair, just laws on which there was broad consensus.

But conservatism is also about limited government – the proverbial good government that governs least.

And it says impossible to miss as it is troubling to notice that nearly every day seems to bring another story of grotesque police overreach; of swat teams barging into the wrong house, shooting dogs and handcuffing people and terrorizing children (or, in one recent case, burning and disfiguring them with Military grade flash bang grenades) only to find that it’s the wrong address (and then tearing the place apart to find something, anything illegal to justify the raid, and still leaving the homeowners to pay for the damages; “rogue” cops trampling all over citizens rights.

On the one hand, criticizing the police goes against conservatives’ DNA, in some ways; it is a difficult and necessary job.

On the other hand, or the past 20 years the police have been getting more and more powerful – and, with the blessing of not a few courts that seem to forgotten what the Constitution was for, made the 4th amendment almost as meaningless as the 10th.

And criticizing the heavy handedness of the police doesn’t come without blowback; you can usually count on a few responses almost immediately:

  • “You could never do the job” – other than “reading addresses correctly” and knowing the difference between a dangerous dog and family pet barking to protect his family, you’re probably right. That’s why I pay taxes for the police department. As employees. Not feudal lords and masters.
  • “Without police, society would be overrun with criminals!” – For starters, it’s a strawman; nobody’s talking about getting rid of the police. Again, I pay taxes, in part, for a police force. As employees, to keep the order – not like medieval knights to whom I, the mere citizen, must bow and scrape.
  • “What’s the matter? If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear from the police. Maybe you have something to hide…” – I’m not saying that people who say this with a straight, unironic face want a dictatorial police state. I’m just saying that dictatorial police states need lots of people who think this kind of idiocy to have a chance to take root. And in a society is overrun with rules and regulations as ours is, I think it’s fairly safe to say that absolutely no one hasn’t broken some sort of law.
  • “You can’t blame the police for wanting to come home alive at the end of the shift” – Absolutely. And watching the way the police sprayed fire at innocent civilians during the manhunt for rogue cop Christopher Dornan in California two years ago, or watching police wound nine people – none of them the perpetrator – chasing a shooter around the Empire State building in New York City, you can’t blame me for wanting to do the same.

AJ Delgado, writing in National Review,
points out the danger in unthinking, knee-jerk support for the police.

He starts with the obligatory disclaimer – although that’s not enough to forestall some of the knee-jerk reactions he gets his comments section:

Let’s get the obligatory disclaimer out of the way: Yes, many police officers do heroic works and, yes, many are upstanding individuals who serve the community bravely and capably.

But respecting good police work means being willing to speak out against civil-liberties-breaking thugs who shrug their shoulders after brutalizing citizens.

Read the whole thing.

Delgado points out that, but some statistical measures, police are actually better behaved than they used to be. And in an era where everyone has a cell phone with a video camera, it’s getting harder and harder for police to misbehave.

On the other hand, now that local police forces are running around with SWAT teams decks out in better battle rattle than the local National Guard unit, the stakes are even higher than they used to be.

Read the whole thing.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It’s nice to feel welcome.
Joe Doakes

i’m always puzzled by stores that post themselves “no firearms”. Carry permit holders are, on average, about 3% of Minnesota customers. Members of every gun-control organization combined amount to less than 1% of 1%.

How many people would you rather have stay away from your business?

Every Parent A Felon

When I was five years old, I walked to kindergarten every day. It was three blocks each way. For that matter, so did nearly every other five-year-old who lived within three blocks of the place.

The next year? First grade? I and all my friends walked six blocks each way to school.

My parents would probably be arrested today.

That’s the subject of Ross Douthat’s latest.

And besides the usual snickering at the overweening, overprotective helicopter parent run amok, Douthat points out something much more corrosive:

Third is an erosion of community and social trust, which has made ordinary neighborliness seem somehow unnatural or archaic, and given us instead what Gracy Olmstead’s article in The American Conservative dubs the “bad Samaritan” phenomenon — the passer-by who passes the buck to law enforcement as expeditiously as possible. (Technology accentuates this problem: Why speak to a parent when you can just snap a smartphone picture for the cops?)

20 years of watching John Walsh has turned us into a nation of Dwight Schrutes.

Except when child protective services gets involved, nobody walks away laughing.

Eggs For The Omelet, As It Were

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Michelle Obama wants grocery stores to install talking grocery carts that will encourage shoppers to buy healthier food.
I predict that as soon as my medical records become part of Obama-care, the NSA will monitor the bar code scanner as I load the talking grocery cart with purchases and when it sees the package of Hostess Ding Dongs, a red light will flash and the cart will shout “HELP HELP UNWISE FOOD CHOICE IN AISLE THREE” until a Team Member arrives to take away the unhealthy item to replace it with a nice head of broccoli.
I can hardly wait.
Joe Doakes

It’ll have to do until the kids are trained to do the ratting-out more reliably.

Trulbert! Part I: State Of Affairs

– 7PM, Wednesday, August 29, 2014 – Longfellow Neighborhood, South Minneapolis

Myron Ilktost fumbled in his pocket for his keychain.

“Don’t forget to lock the door!” bellowed a disembodied female voice from at least two rooms away inside the house.

“I’ve got it,  honey”, Ilktost replied, straining to make his thin, reedy voice heard over the dishwasher that was clanking away in the kitchen.  As he shut the door, the woman – Iris, his wife of 32 years – bellowed “because you keep forgetting!”.

“Locking it now, honey”, he replied, shutting the door and turning the key.

He kept the keychain in his hand as he walked to his car – a green, ten year old Subaru Forester with a single “Don’t Park The Bus” sticker affixed to the back bumper.

A faint whiff of blue smoke puffed from the exhaust as Ilktost backed out of his prim driveway and out onto 42nd Avenue in South Minneapolis.  The perennials he’d labored over for so long were just starting to bloom after a hard, long winter.  Ilktost drove about six blocks, to a church building – Jehovah Methodist.  He picked the keychain up from his passenger seat, and lumbered up to the side door.

Slight, about 5’8, tidy, balding, mustachioed, gray-haired and 56 years old, wearing a gray alpaca sweater and khaki pants, Ilktost unlocked the door and turned on the lights inside the building.  He walked to the church office, sat down at a sixties-institutional desk, turned on an early-2000s vintage Gateway PC, and started rummaging through a small stack of flyers, handwritten notes and – eventually – emails.

After a few minutes, he was interrupted by a knock on the door.  He looked through the window.  It was the UPS man.  He opened the door.

“Mister Liktost?” asked the deliveryman.

“That’s I-L-K-Tost”, Ilktost said, sounding mildly worried.

“Ah, OK.  My bad.  Please sign for this”.

Ilktost took the deliveryman’s clipboard.  “I have to get this sunday’s program together”, he muttered, as much for himself as the deliveryman’s benefit.

“Ah.  Well, I’ll get out of your way” said the UPS man, mission accomplished.

Ilktost locked the door and went back to work.  Programs don’t put themselves together.

– 5:20 PM, Thursday, August 29 – Downtown Minneapolis

“Programs don’t put themselves together”.

Joshua Nieman shook his head as he said it, as if Paul Hendrickson had never heard any of it before.

“Yeah, I know”, said Hendrickson, who at 45 was 20 years older than Nieman.  “I know the requirements were hosed.  We’re in catch-up mode.  Just trying to keep Tofte from crawling up both our asses”.

“Well, I’m not working this weekend”, said the younger man.  “I’ve got a Modern Warfare hackathon to do”.

“Yeah, keep your weekend.  We’re not curing cancer, here”, said Hendrickson.  “Just give me an estimate Monday morning, OK?”

Nieman grunted, and Hendrickson walked away down the aisle separating two of the forty rows of cubes at Claimtech.

It was 5:45 PM, he noticed as he checked his phone for messages.  There were several – mostly work-related.  A text message from Lynn telling him to bring cat food home.

And that’s just what I’m gonna do.

He picked up his jacket at his cube, walked out to the ramp, drove half an hour up 494, then Cedar, then Crosstown, over to 34th. Into the convenience store, back out with the cat food, then up 34th to 48th, then over a few blocks to the tidy little Cape Cod that’d been his family’s home since they bought it from Lynn’s parents ten years earlier.

Abby – ten years old – was playing with the dog in the back yard.   ”Hi, Daddy!” she said.  “I taught Buck to play dead!”.

She looks so much like my mom at that age, Hendrickson thought as the skinny, colt-legged blond girl put Buck, the family’s eight year old Springer Spaniel, through its paces.

“That’s awesome, honey!”, he said as Abby and Buck took a bow, both grinning from ear to ear.  “I”m gonna go in and see Mommy”.


Hendrickson walked in the back door, up the stairs into the kitchen.  Lynn – a pretty, auburn-haired 38 year old, Hendrickson’s wife of 16 years – was throwing cheese sandwiches onto the grill as a crock pot of stew simmered in the background.

Hendrickson tiptoed up the stairs and padded silently across the kitchen floor, wrapping his arms around Lynn from behind.  “Mmm – hello!”, she purred.  “That bean stew thing you have in the pot smells glorious”.

He kissed her on the neck.  “So where are Charlie and Dani?”

“Dani’s over at the Torstengardsens doing a science project with Vicky.  And Charlie’s at track practice.”

“Hmm.  So they’re pretty much occupied…?”

“I bought a bottle of wine for later…”

Hendrickson smiled.  “Nice.  Thank God it’s Thursday!”

His wife purred, leaning back to kiss his cheek.  “You sure you can’t come to Carrie’s for the shower?”

“Nah.  Stupid project deadline”

“And I know how much you love baby showers”.

“Half of one and six dozen of the other.  I’d much rather be there than working on this bug-stomp this weekend”, Hendrickson purred into his wife’s ear, nibbling the ear lobe ever so slightly…

“Ew”, shouted a crackly, adolescent male voice, as Charlie Hendrickson – a gangly, red-headed teen in track shorts and a school t-shirt – stomped up the back stairs three at a time.  “Gross, you two.  Stop it.  When’s dinner?”

“Ten minutes.  Take a shower first”, Lynn patiently responded as Paul slowly let go and walked to start setting the table.

“Yep.  Thank God it’s Thursday”.

– 9:00PM, Friday, August 29, 2014 – On the “TRU LBRT NOW!” Facebook Page

A sultry breeze blew from the west, sweeping across the south end of Plymouth, MN, where Dave Os, a late-20-ish man in with a carefully-tended beard, a tweed blazer, jeans and a “Doors” T-shirt, sat at a table at an outdoor bar patio.  Idly waiting for some friends to show up, he noodled through his Facebook timeline.  An article caught his attention, about a planned light rail line that would connect the northwest suburbs of the Twin Cities with downtown.

Os shared the article to “TRU LBRT NOW”, a libertarian Facebook page of which he was a member, writing “Great.  More money suck from government”.  He clicked the “Post” button as his friends arrived.

The warm breeze swept east, crossing Saint Louis Park, where Ron Pallsacher, a mildly obese 35-year-old with an acne-pocked face and a scraggly blondish beard, sat on the balcony of his apartment, working on fixing some JQuery code for one of his clients.  He saw the “Incoming Message” popup, and saw Os’s posting.  He read it, typed “another installment payment in the progressive statist dream”, clicked “Post”, and went back to work.

The breeze rolled across Highway 100, briefly juddering a Ford Econoline van driven by Arnie Quist, a dark-haired, 30-ish man with a dense black beard,wearing a seed cap, as he drove southward carrying a load of mulch for his garden.  He read Os and Pallsacher’s posts as he drove, and – ignoring the safety rules about texting and driving – clicked his “voice to text” function on his phone: “Not just progressives.  Republicans equally worthless!”.  He clicked “Post”, just before narrowly missing a Toyota Corolla that had legally merged onto the road.

The puff of wind rolled up Lake Street in Minneapolis, ruffling the hair of Oz Streachan – a 6’6  tall 40-year-old man, with a Billy Gibbons beard, an awlward gait and a voice that sounded incongruously high and light for such a tall man, who was en route to one of the rooftop bars in Uptown for a friend’s bachelor party.  He saw the notification, read it, and typed “The only way to get good governmente is no goverment”, he typed raggedly as he stood next to the light pole, before the light turned green.

An eddy of the breeze – which was becoming less sweet and more humid as it rolled across the city – swept through an open window into the Powderhorn Park-area efficiency apartment of Frena Marquette – 5’6, 25 years old, with purple hair and overly-thick eyeliner, wearing a “Ron Paul Express 2012″ t-shirt, busy folding her laundry.  She saw the notification on her IPad, and typed “No Gummint?  Oh, Noes!  Who’ll build the roadz?”.  Satisfied, she chuckled, and went back to folding.

The breeze – smelling less like west-suburban gardens than auto exhaust, by now – rolled across the Marshall-Lake Bridge and across the front of Izzy’s Ice Cream Parlor, where sat Bill Durburgh – in a white dress shirt, a bow tie, a helmet of “televangellist” that he’d been cultivating as an “ironic statement” for three yers, and a perfectly-trimmed beard.  He looked at his Android, saw the list of comments, and typed “This is why all voting is a waste.  The best thing we can do is throw off the chains of all government”, hitting “post” and then angrily swearing as a drip of ice cream plopped onto his screen.

The breeze – another part of it, a mile south of Durburgh – swept through the yard of Myron Ilktost.  Ilktost was busily weeding the flower bed in front of his house, swatting at mosquitos.

“Are you STILL doing that?”, bellowed the disembodied voice of his wife.

“No, Dear”, Ilktost yelled.  Not for long, he muttered under his breath.

When The ObamaCare Story Is Finally Written…


  1. It will no doubt be written by someone from outside the American mainstream media (but that’s a no-brainer)
  2. Somebody will no doubt note and write about the deep, intense web of influence UnitedHealth group, based in Minnetonka, has spun for itself with this administration.

Naturally, it won’t happen until Obama leaves office. But I’m just saying.

Heck, it’s something to look forward to.

No Pep

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Stopped at Pep Boys on South Robert to buy epoxy for a cracked bumper. Pep Boys Bans Guns In This Store. I asked if that was a franchise decision but the counterman said no, all Pep Boys stores are corporate. So I went up the street to O’Reilly Auto Parts instead.

No, I wasn’t carrying. But if they don’t want my business on my terms, I’m happy to take it elsewhere.

Joe Doakes
Como Park

As everyone should.

I haven’t voluntarily patronized a posted business since 2003. I’ve specifically thanked businesses that took down their idiot signs.

Now is no time to let old habits die.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Are you sure you’ve thought through this lawsuit, Chris?

Chris Kluwe potentially kicks open a Pandora’s Box.

Given Chris Kluwe’s love of role-playing board games, it shouldn’t surprise that his latest actions have more angles than 23-sided dice.

On Tuesday, former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe was demanding that the team, through the law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P, release the six-month independent investigation into Kluwe’s allegations that he was let go due to his gay marriage activism.  By Friday night, Kluwe (or at least his attorneys) might have wished the Vikings had kept the findings to themselves.

The 29-page summary of the investigation (pdf warning on the link) was notable for two things: 1) proving Kluwe’s story that current Special Teams coach Mike Priefer did indeed make his “nuke the gays” comment; 2) proving little else.  Instead, the investigation brought to light an incident of Kluwe mocking the Jerry Sandusky trial and generally negatively commented on Kluwe’s final years as a Viking:

The record does not support the claim that the Vikings released Kluwe because of his activism on behalf of marriage equality, but instead because of his declining punting performance in 2012 and potentially because of the distraction caused by Kluwe’s activism, as opposed to the substance of such.

Throughout the independent investigation, interviewees characterized Kluwe in similar
ways: someone who is highly intelligent, reads a lot, a prankster or jokester, comfortable with the media and seems to enjoy attention. [Vikings kicker Blair] Walsh stated that Kluwe spent much of his free time in the locker room doing interviews. Walsh also said that Kluwe “loves the attention,” “was focused on everything but football,” and wanted to be in the spotlight.

The fallout was sadly predictable.

The perpetually indignant community – Kluwe’s political base – expressed outrage (outrage!) that the Patron Saint of Punting was a “hypocrite” for engaging in the same sort of outrageously inappropriate locker room behavior that Kluwe supposedly was fighting against by his threatened lawsuit.  While many former media supporters were throwing Kluwe under the bus, the man at the center of the report took to twitter to vent, sparing even with gay marriage supporters and potentially getting the Vikings (and maybe himself) deeper into the dark waters of legal action:

Color me unimpressed with the outrage over Kluwe’s Sandusky jokes.  In the pantheon of vulgar Kluwe behavior/comments, his exposed butt cheeks aren’t even as crass as most of his Deadspin articles.  But Kluwe’s accusation that he (and presumably, the Vikings) knew about statutory rape and did nothing is a world away from Kluwe’s STD shots at Mankato or calling NFL lockout opponents “assh*le f**kwits.”  Kluwe is potentially an accomplice in this (alleged) crime at worst.  At best, he kept silent about actions against minors, but the words of a hot-headed, idiotic Special Teams coach were somehow his personal Rubicon…after he was fired.

Kluwe’s defenders, like’s Mike Florio, are trying to poke holes in the investigation’s conclusions over the Vikings’ assessment on Kluwe’s punting abilities, setting the stage for Kluwe’s threatened lawsuit that he was dismissed for his beliefs, not his on-field actions.  Despite all the vitriol, the merits of any potential Kluwe lawsuit are few and far between, and minus a heretofore undiscovered “smoking gun” document or testimony, a legal Trojan Horse for the entire NFL should Kluwe prevail.

NFL history, and Minnesota Vikings’ history, is replete with older veterans being replaced for players deemed to have a larger upside who can be signed for less money.  In the last several seasons, the Vikings alone have cut ties with still capable players like kicker Ryan Longwell or defensive end Jared Allen.  These moves aren’t always right or popular (SITD argued against the Allen move months ago) or consistent across franchises.  Denver’s punter, Britton Colquitt, is the highest paid punter in the NFL, earning $3.9 million a year for a 46.1 yards per punt average.  Chris Kluwe was making $1.5 million, due to increase to over $2 million, for a career average of 44.4 yards per punt.  Jeff Locke kicked an average of 44.2 yards for roughly $400,000 for the Vikings in 2013.  Is any of that logical?  By NFL standards, for better or worse, yes.

If Chris Kluwe can convince a jury that a $1.5 million punter with the league’s 22nd best average cannot be cut for a younger, cheaper option because said player is outspoken, then the NFL’s entire collective bargaining agreement will be up for grabs.  In a league with an openly gay 7th round draft pick who isn’t assured of making the team, what will stop current and future NFL players from adopting controversial political/social causes if they believe doing so will complicate their release?  Will the next Tim Tebow decide that his Christianity, not his throwing motion, was the motivating factor in his cutting, and sue his former employer?

A Kluwe victory (again, barring new evidence) means a more political NFL – an outcome that can only hurt the most popular sporting brand in the country.