She Stood There Bright As The NARN On That California Coast

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – will be live at “Holes For Heroes”, out on Medicine Lake in Plymouth from 1-3PM today!

Today on the show, I’ll be talking with the usual parade of guests.  Join me out on the lake!  It’s a great benefit for wounded veterans.

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

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

Join us!

The Media And The Screamingly Obvious

On Monday, 68 year old Raymond Kmetz walked into the New Hope City Hall with a shotgun, shooting and wounding two police before other police killed him.

And the Pioneer Press, in relating official Minnesota’s confusion as to how Mr. Kmetz got his gun, revealed a number of truths about the gun issue (for the multi-millionth time) that, for some, could be a teaching moment, if they’re smart enough to be taught.

The man who brought a pistol-grip shotgun to New Hope City Hall on Monday night and started firing at police officers before being gunned down was not legally allowed to have a firearm, authorities said Wednesday.

Wait – so now the media is telling us that people who aren’t supposed to have guns…can get them?

Someone with a long history of mental illness, who had been incarcerated twice for making terroristic threats, subject to numerous restraining orders, and whose possession of a shotgun was a federal felony, was able to find a gun?

The next thing you know, they’ll be telling us that people with felony records can get them!

What next?  Juveniles with gang affiliations?

The answer, obviously, is to disarm the sane and the law-abiding.

Kill It Dead

Representative Mary Franson, GOP from Alexandria, is making the first move toward repealing the forced unionization of childcare and homecare providers:

… Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria), a former childcare provider, introduced legislation – known as the “Hands Off Child Care Act” – that would repeal the childcare unionization law of 2013.

“The vast majority of childcare providers do not want be forced into a union,” said Franson. “Given the high costs of childcare in Minnesota, this legislation will help alleviate costs that unionization would bring providers, moms, and dads.”

It’s worth noting that Minnesota already had some of the highest childcare costs in the United States – considerably higher than our other costs and standards of living, before the DFL, working at the behest of the SEIU and AFSCME, jammed down the unionize Asian of providers in the 2013 session.

“But wait!”, You might say, “the DFL controls the Senate, and Mark Dayton is still the governor!”

And you to be right. Mark Dayton doesn’t take a dump without his union benefactors’ okay.

But this bill will get votes on the record, assuming it gets out of committee. And that’s with the GOP majority in the house needs to do; get lots of damning votes to associate with lots of DFLers on these bread-and-butter issues.

Above All That

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Obama isn’t Un-American, he’s Post-American.

Before the Constitution, people living here were subject to the whims of the British Crown.

While we’re living here, we’re supposed to be citizens of a democratic republic; but that’s too confining for a person who has the vision and power to stop the seas from rising and start the Earth healing.

We’re headed into a Post-American era, where national geographical boundaries will no longer matter. Anybody who wants to move here should be able to, and should be able to work here, too. And President Obama’s new pick for Attorney General agrees it’s totally legal and constitutional legal and Constitutional for the President to up and decide that, on his own. Worse, she won’t rule out the possibility that President Obama’s actions give illegal aliens greater rights to jobs than American citizens, like Veterans’ Preference points, only for soldiers in the other side’s army.

I wouldn’t mind so much except I keep wondering what else will change in a Post-American era. Will life here become like Europe after the Fall of Rome? That might not be as much fun as some people seem to think.

Joe Doakes

“Progressive” have seen themselves as “post American” for a long time; it was one of the key factors of the 2004 election. It didn’t work for John Kerry; I think people basically ignored it with Barack Obama.

I’m Still Here, He’s All Gone

Sometime next week, this blog will hit its 13th anniversary.

I’ve told the story, of course, many times; when I started this blog, I was inspired by reading Andrew Sullivan’s site. Along with James Lileks, it was Sullivan that I went to to see how this new form of writing was supposed to be done. Back when bloggers kept track of these things, I called him my “blogfather”.

But after 15 years, Sullivan is hanging it up:

Why? Two reasons. The first is one I hope anyone can understand: although it has been the most rewarding experience in my writing career, I’ve now been blogging daily for fifteen years straight (well kinda straight). That’s long enough to do any single job. In some ways, it’s as simple as that. There comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen.

The second is that I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me. I want to write a book.

i’ve gotten some of the same urges, myself; not burn out – although that certainly happens, from time to time. Working through that has been a zen like exercise in self discipline, on the occasions – roughly every two years – when it happens.

But the urge to do things smaller, slower, older and more deliberate is certainly there.

When Making Your Weekend Plans

This weekend Brad Carlson and I will be doing what we always do on the last weekend in January – we’ll be out on the ice at Medicine Lake for “Holes for Heroes”, a veterans’ ice-fishing benefit.

And we’ll have some guests!:

  • We’ll be talking with Jason Quick of Concerned Veterans for America
  • We’ll have Miss Minnesota, Savanna Cole, talking about her upcoming charity curling match to benefit epilepsy
  • And finally, we’ll have Ben Kruse.

Hope you can tune in – or better yet, join us out on the ice!  It’s gonna be beautiful (and the ice is officially supposed to be much more than thick enough).

The News Isn’t Nearly Bad Enough

Saint Paul Public Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva is giving her state of the district address later this morning, down at the SPPS’ Stalinesque fortress headquarters at 360 Colborne Street.

As the PiPress notes, most of Silva’s goals remain unmet.  It looks pretty bad, but for one little bit of silver lining – or so the PiPress (or perhaps the SPPS’ press release) would have you believe:

By 2014, she said, her overhaul of the school district would lift student proficiency on math and reading tests to 75 percent; four-year graduation rates would climb to 75 percent; and by signing up a greater share of the city’s students, enrollment would jump by 3,500 to 5,000 students.

Four years later, only the graduation goal has come close to fruition — up 8 points to 73.3 percent in 2013. Meanwhile, enrollment is up just 64 students, and math and reading scores have fallen further behind Minneapolis and the rest of Minnesota.

And that’s not all:

  • 42% of St. Paul  3-8 graders hit the state’s math targets in last year’s standardized tests – down a point in the past year.   The figure statewide jumped from 58 to 63 percent; even benighted Minneapolis’ scores, somehow, leapt from 37 percent to 45 percent.
  • Reading proficiency for same sample was 38% in Saint Paul last year – versus 42 percent in Minneapolis and 59 percent in the parts of the state that vote GOP.

But notwithstanding the fact that Saint Paul’s students are performing worse and worse on every other test, at least the graduation rate – up from 65 to 73%.  So that’s good news, and a vindication for Silva – right?

Well, no. As we discussed last year, graduation rates throughout Minnesota jumped last year.  They did it immediately after the DFL-dominated legislature removed graduation testing requirements.  If a student puts in 12-ish years without formally dropping out, trying to stab a teacher or saying anything Republican, they’re pretty much going to get a diploma and a handshake.  And while I can not prove that the correlation leads to a causation, the complete lack of evidence that anything else is improving in the SPPS seems to be evidence in the affirmative.

But notwithstanding the fact that she did nothing that couldn’t be attributed to “political pennies from heaven”, she’s in line to get a raise, to over $200K, plus the kind of perks that’d make a corporate CEO blush.

So I’ll tell you what, SPPS; if you want, I’ll take a run at it.  Pay me the relative bargain rate of $160K.  I’ll make a bunch of promises that I (likely) can’t possibly keep.  At the end of the contract, you’ll have gotten precisely the same results – for a 20% discount!

There’s A Reason They Called Bobby Heenan “The Brain”

Over the last year, former Gov. Jesse Ventura went to court against the estate of the late Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, claiming – successfully, in court – that Kyle’s statements about him defamed him in the eyes of veterans. Especially SEALs, of which Ventura is a former member.

And then Ventura, rose to fame pretending to throw people around a ring, said (emphasis added)?:

A hero must be honorable, must have honor. And you can’t have honor if you’re a liar. There is no honor in lying,” Ventura told The Associated Press from his winter home in Baja California, Mexico. He also noted that the movie isn’t playing there.

Ventura also dismissed the movie as propaganda because it conveys the false idea that Iraq had something to do with the 9/11 attacks. “It’s as authentic as ‘Dirty Harry,’” he said, referring to fictional movie series starring Clint Eastwood, the director of “American Sniper”

or perhaps it’s as authentic as professional wrestling.

So Ventura just spent $1 million trying to rebuild his reputation among veterans – and then he says this?

Who’s he going to sue now?

They’re Just Too Smart

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My Android cell phone makes a noise when I plug it into the charger, kind of a “boink-boink” sound. I plugged it in at work, a few minutes ago. Worked fine, then started making that noise. Quit now. Never does it at home.

I suspect power fluctuations in this building. I bet every time somebody starts a microwave down the hall, my cell phone senses the power drop and thinks it’s been unplugged, then immediately senses the power rebound and thinks it’s been plugged back in. boink-boink. Boink-boink.

I mentioned to a buddy who is a Master Electrician. He says:

“More likely power factor issues. The power factor is screwed up by all the fluorescent lights and computers. Those are shifting the power so that voltage sine is out of phase with the amperage sign. That’s the power factor. AC electricity flows in a sine wave, if all is well. When a coil load or capacitor load is introduced the impedance and/or reactance will shift the power out of phase with itself. One shifts the voltage forward, one shifts the amperage forward. As they get out of phase the amperage has to go up to compensate for the loss of actual power because the voltage times amperage of the power as it is actually used is not the same as the multiple of each measured separately. Yes the voltage measured is 120 and amperage measured is 10, but they don’t reach those points simultaneously. As a function of simultaneous use when voltage is 120 amperage is only 9.7 and when it reaches 10.3 the voltage is already sliding back down to 116.5. Your phone and charger may be sensing that.”

Not power fluctuation, power factor. Well, that’s me told, then.

Joe Doakes

one of the scariest days of my life – in a completely unrelated story – when I was when I have an electrician over to my house to look at a circuit that was acting funny. He took it apart, and said “you’re lucky to be alive”.

Good thing I didn’t have a self on the plug into it!

Trulbert! – Part XXVI: Darkness Before The Damned

 - 6AM, November 6, 2015 – The Hendrickson Residence, South Minneapolis, MN

“OK”, said Hendrickson, trying to sound more confident than he really felt.  ”So everyone’s got their job to do.  Me, Traian, Miss Hardman and Mr. Fleen The White will go to the Broadmans to learn about catering.  Charlie, Dan-Marius and Stefan will go looking for those crazy Scottish Presbyterians, wherever they are.  And Dave…”

He turned to Os.

“What is it you’re doing again?”

“I’m going to go find other anarcho-capitalists to convince them of the individual utility of joining in the struggle”.

“Right.  That.  We meet back here tonight and go over the final plan.  Everyone set?”

Everyone nodded – all of them also trying to look more self-assured than they felt.

Except for Dan-Marius Codriciu.  He felt pretty self-assured, to be honest. Continue reading

A Farewell To Demigogues

Charles C.W. Cooke, like a lot of conservatives, is pretty much over Sarah Palin.  While the attacks on her from the left were almost entirely the sort of caustic sexism that accompanies the toxic racism that they dish out to apostates in “their” demographic groups, it’s fair to say that Palin hasn’t developed much as a politician beyond, as Cooke says, the leader of a cult following.

You can read the article for the Palin-related stuff.  Because for my money, that’s not the real payoff of this piece.

The real value is its swipe at what’s become, among conservatives and libertarians, the beginnings of a very non-conservative trend (and even if you’re a Big-L libertarian who eschews the “C” word, it’s also un-Libertarian); the subscription to political personality cults, which…:

…is deeply unconservative, too. The Right will likely never agree on how best it should move forward, but we might at least unite against the belief that there exist superheroes who are able to save the country from itself; against the idea that any one person can be the official standard bearer of a whole ideological or demographic group; and against the presumption that conservatism will gain anything much at all from the promotion and advancement of its most erratic champions.

It matters not if your superhero is Palin, Ron Paul, Ben Carson, or any other candidate who’ll “fix it all” through, apparently, the strength of his or her personality and the purity of their principles.

Not only is that not the way government works, it’s not supposed to be the way representative republics work.

Settled Science

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

One year ago . . . the End of Snow.  One year later . . . Woist Blizzahd Evah!

Well, worst in our lifetimes, which is all that matters, right?

It’s possible weather runs in cycles, but the cycles last so long that humans don’t recognize them.  “It hasn’t snowed this hard in 50 years” may be perfectly true and yet perfectly normal . . . if snowfall runs in 100 year cycles.

The reason Global Warming Alarmists have to fudge their data and shift from tree rings to temperature readings to make their models work, is because we don’t have reliable data from a long-enough time period to draw honest conclusions or propose sensible solutions.

It’s like checking the thermometer at 7:00 am and again 8:00, lowering the 7:00 am temperature to account for not being fully awake when you took that reading, then drawing a line on a graph and predicting the world will be aflame before midnight unless we all stop drinking hot coffee.   If temperatures are cyclical, rising and falling with the sun, then you don’t have enough data to support your prediction – whether or not you fudge the data – and your proposed cure won’t solve anything.

Joe Doakes

What part of “settled” are people missing, doggonnit?

Humanity’s Scar

Today his “Holocaust Remembrance Day”, and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz/Birkenau/Monowitz extermination camp.

It wasn’t the first camp liberated; the Russians had liberated Majdanek, arguably the second deadliest of the camps, the previous summer.   And they’d made their discovery public.  But Soviet propaganda even then had a history of being marginally more heavy-handed than the Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s; surely, people figured, the Russians were slandering, understandably enough, the people who’d raped the Motherland so brutally.

And the news about Auschwitz got the same reception.  It wasn’t until the Western Allies started liberating camps in the late winter and early spring (soon to come on this blog) that the story started to get some traction in the west.

There was one filmmaker at Auschwitz, Alexandr Vorontzov, a Soviet cameraman attached to the 100th “Lviv” Infantry Division, of the 1st Ukrainian Front, present at the liberation, 70 years ago today.  He spent a few weeks on the scene, documenting not only the liberation and the gruesome discoveries, but also

The most sobering thing, on this anniversary, is that so few remember what happened – and so many seem amenable to trying it again.

I’ve run across a few Holocaust deniers over the years; I interviewed Ernst Zündel, a Canadian resident who made quite the cottage industry out of denial in the eighties, in my old KSTP show.  And I’ve shredded not a few on Facebook over the years. High on my bucket list is a desire to meet one in person, and pound them until the convusions stop.

Rhetorically speaking, of course.

This is why, by the way, I’m a Second Amendment activist.

Surprise, Surprise

Who predicted this?

Oh, yeah – all the good guys.

Since Illinois started granting concealed carry permits this year, the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year, according to police department statistics. Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft are down 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low.

“It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. “The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy or of course — and yet you have these incredible numbers.”

As you were.

“The Greatest American Battle of the War”

The cold had taken its toil – on American and German alike.

The remnants of the U.S. Third Army, the majority of which had, under the leadership of Gen. George S. Patton, moved to relieve the surrounded men of the 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne, Belgium, were now exhausted.  Furious German counterattacks from Unternehmen Nordwind (Operation North Wind) had bloodied both sides.  On January 25th, 1945, more than a month after launching the largest offensive of the Western Front through the Ardennes, the Wehrmacht had not only stopped punching, but were back on the front they started from.

The “Battle of the Bulge” – the largest single battle of the war in the West was over – at the staggering cost of perhaps as many as 108,000 American casualties.

The German Advance: few expected the Germans to attack, and even fewer thought it would come from the Ardennes

By the winter of 1944, distance, not determination, was the only factor keeping the Allies from delivering the final blow to the Nazi regime. Continue reading

Hope

Generally, I keep my powder dry as we ramp up to big endorsement challenges.  And this year might be as good a year as any to keep mum.

But I’m not.  Among a small short-list of GOP candidates I’d like to see running for the Presidency – Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, maybe Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio – the top of my list is Scott Walker.  I’m a Walker guy, and I have been since he survived his recall.

The biggest concern people have had so far about Walker is that “he’s not charismatic enough” – yet another thing that has made me long for the days before television screwed up American politics.

But there is ground for hope that worries about Walker’s charisma may be exaggerated.

Rosy

As the media relentlessly chants about “economic recovery”, at least one article (from the AP) notes that those “new jobs” aren’t really doing much for the lower-middle-class – people who may be doing OK on the surface, but are only a missed paycheck or two away from depending on someone else.

And it’s worth noting that every previous sharp recession – like 1982 – had a correspondingly sharp rebound; within two years of the bottom of that recession, the economy was adding 500,000 jobs a month.

The 2007 recession was, along with the Great Depression, part of a tiny, exclusive club; sharp corrections that didn’t bounce back fast – as in, almost like an inverted bell curve.  And what did they have in common?

Govenment efforts to “help”.

Europe’s Misbegotten Cousin

Greece appears to be on the brink of electing a far-left government which is promising its voters and end to the “austerity” that the incumbent center-right (by Greek standards; it’d still be to the left of the DFL) government imposed after the Greek economy, driven by decades of suffocating goverment spending that drove the government into crippling debt, crashed.

Greece currently has nearly 30% unemployment; it’s nearly 50% among younger people. And it was rescued from “worse” only by a massive bailout from the parts of Europe that work – mainly center-right Germany.

And now, their response seems to be to tell the Germans “screw you, give us more money”.

Here’s the piece from NPR’s “Marketplace”:

Listen to the Greek government “economic advisor”, Janos Milios (at around 4:42 on the audio):

Europe is a continent of democracy.  When the people of one country decide to change course, change policy, this is something that has to be respected by all parties”.

Respected?  If they’re paying their own bills and not surviving by pilfering the the wallets of the responsible countries, maybe.

This pretty much embodied the old criticism of democracy; “it can only survive until 51% of the people discover they can live off the other 49%”.

But the worst, most noxious quote is yet to come.  Among the left’s most bilious conceits is that society is a “family” – with, naturally, government serving as a gender-neutral parent to keep all the unruly kids in line.

That was the line taken by Dimitrius Papadimitriotis, an Athens psychiatrist (at around  3:30):

We believe it has to be shared among our European partners.  Being part of the “European Family” means taking care of each other, being there for each other.  And this is what “family” is all about.

Government – least of all extranational associations of governments – is not a “family”.

And if it were, then it’d be time to take the snotty spendthrift teenager to the garage and have a word with her about nagging mom and dad to pay off her credit card debts.

If I were a German taxpayer, I’d be demanding my government cut the Greeks off completely.

A Linguistic Proposal

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Homophobia started as urban slang for men who were afraid to look gay. “I can’t wear a purple necktie, I’ll look as if I’m gay.” That’s what homophobia meant.

Then it transformed into men who beat up gays to show they weren’t secretly attracted to them. ” I can prove I’m not secretly gay because I enjoy kicking gay men’s asses.” That’s what homophobia meant next.

Now homophobia is used to mean anybody who less than fully enthusiastic about any whim that strikes the GLBT movement. That’s what homophobia means now.

I’m not afraid of my clothing looking gay. I haven’t been in a fight since 5th grade. But I am tired of GLBT being shoved in my face to assuage 2% of the population’s narcissism.

I propose a new word, one that doesn’t translate as “fear” but “tired of hearing about it.” I propose homolassus, pronounced by adding Ho to Molasses.

Joe Doakes

We’ll run it past the OED…

Western Civilization’s Finest Hour

It was fifty years ago today that Winston Churchill died.

There’s a strong case to be made that Churchill was the greatest person of the past 100 years; that without him, Western Civilization might be a very different thing today.

He was a great political thinker, a great statesman, and – especially in the darkest hours of World War 2 in Europe – one of the most epochal leaders of all time.

And one of the great orators; I’m as unemotional a person as you’ll ever meet, but it’s hard not to feel something stirring at Churchill’s greatest speech, his “Dunkirk” speech:

He rallied a people whose backs were worse than “up against the wall” – and a civilization that’d just taken a massive beating after one of the bleakest quarter-centuries in history.