Top Ten Other Nork Demands Of Hollywood

In addition to gundecking the premiere of The Interview, my sources at the FBI tell me the North Koreans have demanded the following:

10.  Also remove “Knocked Up” from circulation.

9. Bring back Life In Rehab

8. Digitally insert Kim Jong Un into all of Rogan’s parts in Freaks and Geeks. 

7. Digitally insert Kim Jong Un at the head of the conquering Humans in Return of the King.

6. Green-light Kim Jong Un’s screenplay for “Indiana Jones and the Kimchi Hangover”.

5. A talk show on “Twin Cities News Talk”.

4. Digitally substitute Kim Jong Un for Jeff Daniels in The Big Lebowski

3. Go back and rewrite/reshoot/re-release Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.  And get them right this time.

2. More nude scenes involving Jennifer Lawrence.

1. No South Park parody of the entire hacking/cancelling The Interview fiasco.

Packs Of Lone Wolves

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Muslim terrorist killed in the Australian siege is being called a “lone-wolf” and not part of an organized terror group.

He’s the latest in a long line, so many that Mark Steyn suggests they form the Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves.

A single incident is an incident. Two incidents is a pair, three is a few and twelve is a dozen incidents. All single incidents.

When does a string of incidents become something more, such as a trend or a movement or perhaps even enemy action: when we reach a certain number of “isolated incidents?” Or when we admit to ourselves that they’re not?

Joe Doakes


When a Republican is president, of course.


Nate Silver – in a piece entitled “Is Jeb Bush Too Liberal To Win The Republican Nomination In 2016” – answered the question halfway, after providing a nifty visual of Republicans rated (according to Silver’s choice of ratings on indices: voting recordsdonor base and public statements on the issues.

Here’s the list:

Quibble with the methodology if you want (Mike Huckabee is not “to the right” of Rick Perry or Bobby Jindal, much less Ronald Reagan).

But it does provide an interesting jumpoff point for a conversation; is the GOP screwing up again with the “Jeb is Inevitable” meme? 

The whole point behind John McCain was his “electability”.  Ditto, to an extent, Mitt Romney – both of whom, you may recall, lost. 

As Limbaugh put it yesterday:

So we are, in a blog here at FiveThirtyEight, we’re ranking Jeb Bush against four other men who have lost or failed to succeed in getting a nomination or did get the nomination but lost the election. Now, isn’t there a lesson there? The establishment keeps telling us, “No, no, no, you Tea Party people, look at what happened to Barry Goldwater, we’ll get creamed. You people are extremist kooks! America thinks the Tea Party is a bunch of kooks, and if we have a nominee coming from you, why, we’re gonna get creamed. We’re gonna have a landslide like Goldwater.”

And, of course, the retort is, “Yeah, well, the people you are nominating, I don’t see a W next to their names at the end of the process. You guys can cite one: Barry Goldwater. We can cite every one of your nominees. They lose, every one of them.” But, nevertheless, the process continues here to rank Jeb and other Republicans on this imaginary chart of conservatism.

Upshot: the more I watch Scott Walker, the more I like him.

Holidays In Heck

A colleague from long ago writes:

I just found out that the school my children attend has stopped the student council fundraising event for the Giving Tree. The event is a cookies and cocoa Christmas sale that allows the kids to have fun buying cookies for themselves and for other students, all in the spirit of the season, and all for the spirit of giving to children who may not have a very pleasant Christmas.

The reason? Wait for it…..wait for it…. It doesn’t meet Michelles limits on sugar in school foods.

So, no fundraiser for the elementary school, and pickles for the high school (why pickles, I don’t know. Why not carrots or Bok Choy?)

I’m hoping that some day parents will realize just how much we are being controlled. I remember when school was about reading, writing and arithmetic. Not any more.

Brown Rice is the new Sugar Cookie.

Open Letter To Michelle Obama

To: Michelle Obama, FLOTUS
From: Mitch Berg, Commoner
Re: Shelves

I – 6’5″ white guy – get asked by short people between three and five times a year to help someone get something off of the top shelf at Target, Walmart, or any other grocery store.

Heretofore, I’ve always been happy to oblige.

You’ve taken the scales for my eyes. Please give me a civil rights department contact; clearly, litigation is in order.

That is all.

When Lies Are All You Have

If you’ve been reading this blog’s coverage of Second Amendment issues for any length of time, you’ll note that one of my most air-tight theses is that Minnesota’s gun control movement – not just its leaders, the hapless Heather Martens, the hopeless Joan Peterson and the comical Jane Kay, and its camp followers in the political class like Dakota County attorney Jim Backstrom and Chaska police chief Scott Knight, but the entire movement, from Michael Bloomberg and the Joyce Foundation all the way down - can not seem to make a single substantively true factual statement. 

And the reason for this would seem to be, as a matter of fact,  that they can’t.

Paging Alanis Morrissette

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A school play condemning suicide bombing was blown up by a suicide bomber because . . . it was insulting to Islamic values.

Can’t wait for them to bring more Diversity to Minnesota.

Joe Doakes

Being as passive-aggressive and provincial as Minnesotans are, I have a hunch that if there was any sectarian violence among immigrants, Minnesota would turn about as tolerant as mid-sixties Ulster.

Meet The Old Boss, Same As The New Boss, Same As The Last Boss…

Minneapolis School superintendant Bernardeia Johnson resigned her office yesterday

Johnson was also recently thrust into a dicey position by incendiary news stories and a legislative probe into a questionable $405,000 no-bid contract awarded to Community Standards Initiative (CSI), a politically connected group run by community activists Al Flowers and Clarence Hightower. For months, groups in the African-American community exerted enormous pressure on Johnson to take a side and say whether two Minneapolis DFLers — state Sens. Bobby Joe Champion and Jeff Hayden — strong-armed her into going forward with the CSI contract. Some of the pressure came in the form of a viral social media campaign using the hashtag #JimCrowJr.

An affidavit submitted to lawmakers in her name suggested she strove to protect the district from an untenable situation. A state Senate committee hearing into the matter proved to be more partisan theater than a quest for facts that might have supplied some much-needed context.

By all accounts I’ve read and heard, she was a perfectly capable school administrator. 

Of course, by all accounts, all of the superintendents have been capable administrators, as far as we know – and yet Minneapolis’ school district is a mess (outside some of the elite challenge programs), and the mess has largely resisted any number of bureaucratic initiatives to change the situation.

And Johnson had her share of those:

Perhaps the most symbolic of the problems that dogged her tenure was the teaching corps’ failure to consistently and enthusiastically dive into a program central to her vision, Focused Instruction. Johnson struggled to articulate the merits of the approach, and it’s believed that half or more of the district’s teachers simply ignored the initiative.

Focused Instruction is a form of data-driven teaching that is, on one level, something that works in some districts and, on another, is one of those buzzwords that translates into “one size fits all approach to teaching tens of thousands of individual kids”.  There’s more to it than that, of course – it’s not the dumbest teaching fad to hit the market.

But just as politics is the worst possible way to allocate resources or solve problems, it’s also the worst possible way to education individual children.  School districts are fundamentally political institutions, not educational ones.  Any solution they proffer will first and foremost be, necessarily, a political one, designed to be the most attractive common denominator for the student body as an aggregate (and their teachers, administrators, district stakeholders, etc etc etc).  Nowhere in that aggregation is the idea that kids are unique individuals who aren’t interchangeable cogs on an intellectual assembly line. 

So the next Minneapolis superintendent may be, like Bernardeia Johnson, a good person, a well-respected administrator, and a capable bureaucrat.  Or they might be a complete schnook.  And it probably won’t matter much, because in the end they’re all selling one-size-fits-all education that is designed to serve everyone, and therefore serves nobody.

Simo Häyhä

I wrote this piece five years ago today.  I’m updating the dates, but leaving the rest pretty much as was. 


It was 110 years ago today that Simo Häyhä was born?

“Simo Whøhä?”

Have a seat.

Simo Häyhä was a pretty typical Finnish farmer – the kind of guy you can find in any small town in rural Finland or, for that matter, the Iron Range. He was born and grew up in Rautjärvi, a spot on the map off the west edge of Lake Ladoga, two miles west of the current Russo-Finnish border. Like most Finns, he did his year of military service in the mid-twenties, and went back to his real life – farming in the summer, hunting moose in the winter. He was, outwardly, a pretty unpreposessing man – he stood only 5’3, which is especially diminuitive among the statuesque Finns.

He was 34 when the Soviets invaded Finland. Häyhä was recalled to service with the Finnish 12th Division. The division held the Kollaa front, north of Lake Ladoga, and was quickly beset by four Soviet divisions and a tank brigade.

Kollaa was the Somme of the Winter War. The Soviets would charge; they’d get through the Finnish lines; the Finns would cut them off and kill them, or drive them back. And so it went, back and forth, for three whole months – virtually the entire length of the war.

And one of the reasons was Häyhä.

Simo Häyhä

Armed with a Moissin/Nagant M/28 – a World War 1-vintage Russian rifle that the Finns had reworked into a much more accurate piece (the Finns, a former Russian province, had retained the Russian-caliber, mostlhy Russian-surplus, weapons after independence) – and wearing homemade white camouflage, on his own cross-country skis, Häyhä stalked the forest. Unlike most of history’s snipers, he used only his rifle’s iron sights – he thought scopes forced the sniper to raise their heads too high, dangerously raising their profile. He was thorough about concealment – when he had time to prepare a position, he would compact the snow in front of him to avoid raising a small blizzard with his muzzle blast. He’d also keep snow in his mouth while stalking, to pre-cool his exhalation, avoiding the big clouds of steam that normally accompany heavy exertion in the extreme cold. 

Did we mention the extreme cold? The average temperature during the Battle of the Kollaa varied from “freaking cold” to “how the hell do humans live in this” – from -4 to -40, Fahrenheit.In a three-month period – roughly 100 days – Häyhä had 505 confirmed kills. 542 if you count some unconfirmed ones. Some Finnish sources say it was closer to 800.

And he wasn’t just a sniper; when the situation called for the Finns to close with with the Soviets, Häyhä would ski into hand-to-hand range with the rest of the troops for the close assault; he was credited with another 200 kills at point-blank range with his Suomi Model 31 submachine gun.

The Soviets called him “The White Death”. They tried everything to get him; countersnipers (they didn’t last long), concentrated volleys of anti-tank rifle fire (gunnies will know what they are; to a non-gunny, think “really big rifle desigined to penetrate a quarter inch of armor”), and finally rolling artillery barrages.

A week before the war’s end, on March 6 1940, a lucky shot from a Soviet infantryman caught Häyhä in the jaw, wrecking it and blowing of his left cheek. His comrades dragged him to the rear, where he began several years of recuperation. He got one of the very few battlefield promotions ever issued in the Finnish army, from Corporal to Second Lieutenant, in honor of his achievements.

The Soviets suffered 8,000 dead in three months in Kollaa; Häyhä alone accounted for nearly 10% of the total (and at least one of Finland’s other great snipers,Sulo Kolkka, claimed another 400 at the Kollaa; the two men between them accounted for over 12% of the entire death toll). On the list of the world’s greatest snipers, he’s not only the top of the list by a considerable margin, but he did it all in 100 days flat.

Even John Woo or Quentin Tarantino couldn’t make him a bigger badass.

But Simo Häyhä was no movie action hero; he was a typical workadaddy hugamommy Finnish backwoodsman. He survived the war, and lived until 2002 in rural Finland, hunting moose and breeding dogs. He was bit of a national treasure in Finland.

Häyha, signing autographs not long before his death.

Asked in the nineties what made him so successful as a sniper, he responded in Finnish “Pyytlikkonyykkeyynnkyypelaapetoonen“; “Practice”. [1]

What can we take away from Häyhä’s story? That a little guy with a rifle can make a disproportionate difference. He stymied Stalin, just like a lot of American little guys with rifles (but whose preferred weapon is the ballot and the picket sign and the checkbook), outnumbered and outgunned and outspent, rhetorically stymie Nancy Pelosi and Richard Daley and the Democrats today. [2]

The damage to Häyhä’s jaw affected him the rest of his life. But he was a hero in Finland for nearly 70 years.

And so Simo Häyhä is every bit as much a hero for Real Americans for what he represents as he is for Finns for what he did.

Happy posthumous birthday, Simo Häyhä!

[1]What? You think I speak Finnish? Of course I made that up. But I bet I’m not far off.

[2] Comment-bait? Sure. It’s my blog, and I’ll provoke if I want to.

The New Puritans

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

New study: porn is a public health crisis.

No, it’s not from a right-wing fundamentalist Christian group.  It’s a couple of college professors who want the federal government to stomp out porn on-line, in hotels and in retail shops.

If their dream came true, inevitably some cop would kill a cherub for selling dirty pictures.  What would the protest symbol be?  Hoodie for Trayvon, Hands Up for Ferguson, perhaps Clutch your Crotch for Porn?

Joe Doakes

Legions of fans who grew up listening to Eminem already have the gesture in muscle memory.

It occurs to me that there is a generation of adults who grew up listening to Eminem.

Meet The New Terrs, Same As The Old Terrs

The Administration’s comforting tale – that terrorism is no longer the centralized juggernaut we faced from the nineties through 2001 – might be as inaccurate as any of the Administration’s other claims:

After 32-year old Canadian Muslim Michael Zehaf-Bibeau stormed the Parliament building in Ottawa, shot a soldier on guard duty fatally in the back, made his way into the Hall of Honor, and opened fire before eventually being gunned down himself, Canadian officials said there was no evidence tying him to Islamic State.

But in late November, Canadian Justice Minister Peter MacKay told me in an interview that not only did the Canadian government believe that Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Couture-Rouleau, a Muslim who drove over two soldiers only days earlier, were radicalized by the Islamic State, they now suspect both men may have been in direct contact with the group.

“They were influenced by ISIS there is no question,” MacKay told me at the Halifax International Security Forum.

Clearly, the Canadian Justice Minister a conspiracy theorist of some kind.


Layers And Layers Of Fact-Checkers

While I’ve assumed most mainstream media is filtered through a statist lens for decades, now, there was a time I assumed that news organizations – made up of reporters like the ones I used to work with and, occasionally, was – would, if they bothered to cover a story at all (because who needs coverage of the IRS scandal, or Mark Dayton’s mental state, after all?) at least endeavor to get the basic facts right. 

Not even the whole “are the facts of a highly-charged story about a contentious issue correct”, like Rolling Stone’s rapidly-unravelling UVA rape story. 

No, little things – like “does the story actually exist“?


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

In 2012, the heads of big Minneapolis law firms wrote a letter in the Star Tribune against The Marriage Amendment, warning they wouldn’t be able to recruit the best and brightest lawyers if it passed.

So how’s that been working out for them?  What statistics are kept on gay Minneapolis lawyers to see if they were right, or if they were lying?

Joe Doakes

People still think it was about achieving empirical results?

No Juthtith, No Peathe

(SCENE:  Mitch BERG is sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s office, waiting on a checkup. Avery LIBRELLE enters the room, holding a throbbing tooth.  BERG tries to hunch down behind his magazine – but LIBRELLE notices him).

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!  (Speaks with difficulty through pain) Thereth  an epidemic of rape on American univerthity camputheth.

BERG:  Wow.  Your mouth sounds painful. 

LIBRELLE: You’re dodthing the queththion!

BERG:  Well, no, I…OK, so how do we know about this “epidemic”?

LIBRELLE:  Becauthe American univerthitieth thay tho. 

BERG:  (Wincing in pain as LIBRELLE thpeakth) So in other words, university administrations, carrying out their own home-grown investigations, driven by a feminist lobby that actively disparages the idea of due process for those accused of rape, and with a vested interest in resolving all ambiguous cases – say, cases where everyone involved was blind drunk and there were no witnesses, or even the occasional malicious accusation – as rape, say there’s an epidemic. 


BERG: So you think data coming from university administrations – who act in these cases primarily as political rather than criminal-justice bodies – are the appropriate people to investigate allegations of felonious assaults which our society justifiably regards as second only to murder in moral gravity?

LIBRELLE: Of courthe.  Who elthe knowth more about thtudentth than the univerthity thythtem?

BERG:  OK.  So in the same vein – who knows more about priests than their various dioceses, arch-dioceses and the Vatican?  When priests were being accused of sexually abusing children, by your logic, the church was right to try to deal with it by itself.

LIBRELLE:  OF courthe not. 

BERG:  How so?

LIBRELLE:  Of courthe not. 

BERG: No, I mean why do you think not?

LIBRELLE:  And I anthwered you.  Of courthe not. 

BERG:  That’s no answer.

LIBRELLE:  Yeth it wath.

(ASSISTANT calls BERG’s appointment; LIBRELLE attempts to get up and leave the room ahead of BERG)

BERG:  Um, hello?

LIBRELLE:  Get an exthternal invethtigation, thucker.


Christian Charity…

…inveighs me to pray for a safe outcome for everyone in the siege in Sydney, where latest reports say the police have stormed the Lindt cafe where Iranian cleric named, according to press accounts, Man Monis has been holding between 15-30 hostages.  According to Australian press reports, Monis is on bail after being charged with murder and sexual assault, and has spent the past several years sending hate mail to families of Australian service people killed in action - sort of a Muslim Fred Phelps.

And I do pray for exactly that.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit part of me hopes the sonofabitch got two shots in the head.

UPDATE:  Clearly the entire story is BS.

Mr. Monis, the alleged hostage-taker, was allegedly armed with a pump-action shotgun – which is, at close range, more deadly than any ”assault rifle”.  Monis has been convicted of harassment, and was out on bail on murder and sexual assault charges.  In addition, Australia has strict civilian gun control.

There’s just no way a person with Monis’ record could get a gun!  That would be illegal.

Small Win

A Long Island woman, jailed for being a Tea Partier, wins big bucks in her lawsuit:

Southhampton cops searched her and found a legally owned rifle that she was transporting from a nearby rifle range. She contends a deputy sheriff arrived on the scene later and said to her, “I bet you are one of those Tea Party people.” When Genovese said she’s gone to Tea Party rallies, he allegedly said, “You’re a real right-winger, aren’t you?” and “You are a ‘Teabagger’” and then added that she’d be arrested for terrorism to make an example of other “right wingers.”
“Ms. Genovese was subjected to a level of abuse because [authorities] did not share the same political views as she did and saw this as an excuse to deny her even the most basic civil rights,” her lawyer Frederick Brewington said.​​

Winning money is nice – but that’s one thing government officials are never short of, time whining notwithstanding.

Far better that the sheriff deputy spend four days in jail himself; who qualified immunity” is supposed to cover police officers carry out duties they can reasonably be expected to perform; political persecution is not what we hire them for.

Settled Pseudoscience

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Another flawed, biased, incorrect study by big-shot economists proving the raising the minimum wagehurts poor people most.

Clearly deniers.  Won’t admit settled science.  Overwhelming consensus of experts in the field.  Like Hilary.

Joe Doakes

Like – what was Nick Coleman’s version of it?  Like peasants attacking the observatory with pitchforks and torches?

One Day My Uncle Sonny Blew Back Into NARN…

Today, I’ll be taking a bit of a day off on the NARN to take care of some political business.

But filling in for me today – a real blast from the NARN past:  John Hinderaker and Brian Ward!

What will he talk about?  It’s anyone’s guess – and I won’t be there to worry about it.  But tune in anyway!

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

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

Join us!

Grounds For Optimism

It’s an easy time to feel pessimistic about America. 

Forget the fact that we have the worst president in history (althought that doesn’t help much).  Part of the disaffected right would have you believe that our entire political class, GOP and Democrat, are about the same.  I see your objection – Boehner’s depressing cave on spending – and raise you Ted Cruz and Justin Amash and a few good Tea Party Republicans.

But yet I feel some optimism. 

Part of that is I’ve pretty much internalized Kevin Williamson’s The End Is Near (And It’s Going To Be Awesome), a masterpiece from last year about the inevitability of the eventual collapse of the current political system, and how, if we’re lucky and work hard, it could actually free up some space for the free market to actually solve things.

Along those same lines comes this piece from Victor Davis Hanson.  You need to read the whole thing – but this was buried near the conclusion:

America is not saved by our elected officials, bureaucrats, celebrities, and partisan activists. Instead, just a few million hardworking Americans in key areas — a natural meritocracy of all races, classes, and backgrounds — ignore the daily hype and chaos, remain innovative and productive, and dazzle the world.

The silent few of a forgotten America have given the entire country an astonishing standard of living that is quite inexplicable.

The road to that paragraph is well worth travelling.  Go there.

Tomorrow: Freedom Needs You

Don’t forget – tomorrow is the Minnesota Gun Rights Seminar and Member Meeting.

It’ll be at the Chaska Community Center starting at 9AM. Come out, hear some great speakers, and find out what the good guys are going to be doing in the coming year.

And most important: become one of the good guys.

For more info, check out the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (Web, Facebook, Twitter)

Meet The New Feminism

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Office feminist managed to get the big stapler jammed. Spent 10 minutes banging on it, couldn’t figure out how to use the needle-nose pliers to get the retaining clip off the hinge pin so she could remove the staple head to clear it. Had to ask one of the men in the office to do it: took him two minutes, works like a charm.

Good thing that’s not sexist at all. Wouldn’t want anybody to be oppressed by any patriarchal stereotypes. Might have to spend the next month in diversity training.

Joe Doakes

Heads will no doubt roll.