Idle Musical Thoughts

I mentioned this on the show over the weekend – this past Saturday was the 60th anniversary of the recording of “rock around the clock”, by Bill Haley and the Comets. That song’s appearance on the Billboard top 40 later on in the year is generally considered the beginning of the “rock ‘n roll era” – and, more significantly, the beginning of “youth culture”, the existence of a separate culture for adolescents in this country, something that never really existed before.

Having a nice round number like 60 makes it very easy to play the mental game is played for years regarding music history; seeing what side of pop music history’s “halfway point” different milestones fall on.

The halfway point in pop music history, as of last Saturday, was April 12, 1984.

What that means is “Hungry like the Wolf” by Duran Duran, “I Ran” by Flock of seagulls, “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits, “Message in a Bottle” by the Police, Thriller by Michael Jackson, and Bruce Springsteen’s first six studio albums – up through Nebraska (and in about six weeks, Born in the USA) are all closer to the beginning of rock ‘n roll history than to the present day.

You can also break rock and roll history up into thirds; 1974 and 1994.  That means “Baby Blue” by Badfinger, “Imagine” by John Lennon, the entire golden age of Motown and Stax, Who’s NextDark Side of the Moon, and most of the Rolling Stones’ best stuff is twice as far from the present day as it was from “Rock Around The Clock”.

Or maybe into quarters?  1969, 1984 and 1999 are the cutoffs.  That means Woodstock, Tommy, most of the Beatles’ catalog…pretty much everything “Sixties” is three times from the present day as it was from the beginning of the era.

I think I’ll stop this train of thought at the next station…

Your Higher Ed Tax Dollar Hard At Work

“Students” at the University of Minnesota rioted twice over the weekend; once when (I suspect) the sale of someone’s soul resulted in a literal last-second victory over the UND Sioux…

…and another on Saturday after the GoGos’ defeat at the hands of, I dunno, the Idaho School of Business for all I care.

And so I scoured the web looking for video of the riots that no doubt broke out in Grand Forks after UND’s loss.

But, in what I suspect is a cover-up, I could find none.

Weird.

Everyone’s Protected!

Well, we now have a statewide “bullying law”.   Mazel Tov.

Of course, we had a bullying law before.  As noted in this Channel 5 interview with lawyer Christa Groshek,. it was 37 words long, and basically required school districts to have a bullying policy.   Now, it’s 14 pages long.

Everyone Can Be A Victim!:  The law specifies so many different “protected” classes that it’s really not specific at all; in addition to affectional orientation, religion, affectional orientation, race, affectional orientation, gender and affectional orientation, the bill “protects” people from bullying based on academic status, marital status, socioeconomic status, and…

…appearance?

Where was this law when I was a greasy-haired, acne-ridden, athletically-inept 14 year old?  Oh, the fellow students – and not a few teachers – whose lives I could have ruined!

Intent Is In The Eye Of The Beholder:  And it seems to do for “bullying” what sexual harassment laws did for sexual harassment; define “bullying” as “anything that makes anyone upset in any way.

And yes, I know bullying happens, and sometimes it’s incredibly serious, and in extreme circumstances kids kill themselves over it.

But combine this with the law’s anonymous notification provisions – which are necessary in some cases, obviously, but are an open invitation to abuse as well – with the fact that parental recourse is limited to the point of absurdity, and if you know anything about how public schools work these days, the “unintended consequences” will swerve quickly into absurdity.

Or litigation.  Which, given the support the DFL gets from trial lawyers, can not in the least bit be an “unintended” consequence.

Make-Work:  Along those lines; the previous bullying law left the mechanics of the policy to the individual districts.

The new law?  It creates three levels of state bureaucracy above the districts to deal with “bullying”:

A Task Force, a Council and a “Center”.

I asked a gay activist on Twitter – who was clearly happy about the bill being signed into law, although he clearly understood little but Big Gay’s chanting points about the bill or its consequences – why he supported the new law.  ”Because we now have one policy for the whole state” was his main answer.

Liberals never realize – this is a bug, not a feature.

The further you remove policy from its implementation, the worse your policy will get.  It’s true of healthcare, taxes – and in few areas more than education.  It’s why charter schools (as a general model) are succeeding while the larger, urban and centralized-rural public systems are failing.

Parents Last:  Another problem – and this may be the big one – is that if you’re a parent concerned about an accusation against your child, your rights are pretty much nonexistant.

Now, let’s be realistic; your rights are pretty much nonexistent in the public system, especially in the major urban districts, today; as I found out in my own Kafkaesque struggle with Saint Paul’s idiot administration, your “rights” as a parent are pretty much written to fit around the convenience and protection of the sitting Administration.  If you think your child has been wrongly accused, or even just want to find out facts about this episode that is going on your child’s permanent record beyond “your child has been accused, convicted and sentenced; have a nice day”, the “process” is a passive-aggressive, sisyphean ordeal that pretty much requires you be a freaking amateur lawyer.  Or, naturally, hire a professional one.

On the Upside:  On the other hand, I can think of one upside to the new law; it’s excellent preparation for today’s modern university experience; it trains students to check their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse door (or before interacting in any way with anyone that might go through that door with them); it’s excellent training for dealing with today’s speech codes.

So there’s that.

The Clinker, As Always:  As I’ve noted in this space before, bullying has tended to go up after these laws are passed.  Now, chalk it up to more-thorough reporting if you’d like – but anyone who expects a statewide policy and bureaucracy to “solve bullying” is in for a major disappointment.

Because setting policy – whether in a 37 word statement or a 14 page bill – is the easy part.  Any idiot can do it, and the DFL majority proved it.

But here’s the bad news.  Ask yourself this; who’s going to be carrying out the policy?

School Administrators.

And while many school administrators mean well (and I’m talking about all of you out there that are friends of mine,  whom I jointly and severally except from the following statement), a disturbing number of them are idiots, or worse.

Bureaucratic “policy” is, at its worst, an excuse for the not-bright, the stupid, the corrupt and the depraved to shrug their shoulders at things that would make any human with a living soul and any common sense leap to their feet in horror.  Anti-violence “policy” routinely sweeps up the non-violent.  Anti-sexual harassment policy, enforced by idiots, has results like this.   “Zero Tolerance for Weapons” “policy” gives us this, and – on a more personal level, this (Part One and Part Two), in the hands of “administrators” who are, notwithstanding their PhDs are too stupid, in a just world, to hold any job at all.  Even something as benign as a “pedagogical model” can be turned into an instrument of, dare I say, bullying - of students and their parents – by teachers and administrators who are focused on “policy” rather than “children”.

Which, increasingly, they – especially adminstrators – are.

Just saying – with today’s generation of toxic administrators, it’s smart to expect the unintended.

This law “solves” a problem that can’t be solved (beyond the extent to which previous law already did), by giving even more power to people who should have much, much less than they already do, from a bureacracy that makes sure they mis-use it with gusto!

Huckperbole

The goverment is too powerful.  Individual freedom has been eroding for decades, and is frankly in a terrible state today.

And I do very sincerely believe we must watch out for slippery slopes – which most assuredly exist – when guarding the freedoms we have (and, ideally, bringing them back to where they belong).

And as Goldwater pointed out, “extremism in pursuit of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue”.

But let’s not get carried away, mkay?

It’s Raining NARN

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

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

(All times Central)

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

Join us!

 
 
 
 
 
 

Rethinking The Seventies: Fleetwood Mac

In the seventies, back before Michael Jackson, Prince and Bruce Springsteen completely rebooted the sales charts, Rumours by Fleetwood Mac was the ultimate, inescapable soundtrack of the last half of the decade.

And as such, being the hipper-than-thou, too-literally-cool-for-school wanna-be rock’nroll animal, I hated it.

Hated the nasal yawping of Stevie Nicks.  Hated Christine McVie’s banal cooing, and Mick Fleetwood’s shaggy dissipation and calculated (or coke-ulated) English off-beatness.  Hated especially Lindsay Buckingham’s “Look at how avant-garde I am, while selling 13 million copies!”, and John McVie’s…well, no.  I always liked John McVie.

It was a few years later – when Nicks basically adopted the Heartbreakers as her backup band for her first couple of solo albums – that I started to think maybe they deserved a chance.  But it was just a start.  And I didn’t follow up on it…

…until about 2009.  When I saw a Fleetwood Mac concert on TV.  And they were…pretty good musicians.  And they did a…

…well, pretty fair live show.

And I did a little digging.

Less Than The Sum Of History:   Fleetwood Mac’s history, for those who pay attention, reads a little like Spinal Tap:  the band has actually gone through four major line-ups, and innumerable minor changes to boot.    And while I knew about all of them when I was an obnoxious teenager, I never really paid much attention until recently.

Fleetwood and McVie started in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers – the band that also launched Eric Clapton, former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, “Cream” bassist Jack Bruce and original Journey drummer Aynsley Dunbar, among dozens of others – during the British blues craze of the mid-sixties, when a generation of young Brits looted and pillaged the American blues tradition.  Also starting with Mayall were guitarists Jeremy Spencer and Peter Green.  Spencer, Green, McVie and Fleetwood started “Fleetwood Mac” in 1967 (McVie’s girlfriend, keyboardist Christine Perfect, left blues-rock band “Chickenshack” and joined the band after an album or so, and married McVie in 1969).

I did say blues, right?

That’s Spencer, an over-emoting Kirwan and Green, from about 1969.

Green and Spencer then went on to have a couple of classic seventies-style drug-induced meltdowns, leading the band to reform with a dizzying array of other musicians – including this line-up with singer-guitarist Bob Weston and American singer-guitarist Bob Welch, which yielded some progressive-y blues…:

…and some scandal (Weston banged Mick Fleetwood’s wife Patti Boyd, who would also be the fulcrum of the long feud between George Harrison and Eric Clapton)…

…leading Fleetwood to fire Weston, Welch to leave for a brief solo career, and the rapidly-divorcing McVies and Fleetwood to settle on a new front line, the American duo (and also-splitting-up couple) of Nicks and Buckingham.

Which was the band’s definitive line-up, the one that gave us Fleetwood Mac and Rumours and superstardom and excess…

…but we’ll come back to that. Here’s one of their big singles, “Go Your Own Way”

…and “Second Hand News”…

…and the big kahuna, “Don’t Stop”…:

On the “con” side, it was the ultimate manifestation of ’70′s California pop music; the first cousin of everything the Eagles, Jackson Browne and all the other west-coast pop artists I trained myself to detest were doing.

On the “pro” side? They were very good at it. Fastidious musicianship (even from a band that built sand castles out of cocaine); a style that got more unique over and music done as a craft rather than a nihilistic “art” form…

…that I had pretty much adopted as my thing at the time.

The song that started me thinking that there was something worth listening to? “The Chain”:

Suddenly, the notion that I’d grown up with – that Fleetwood Mac was a soulless, bloodless, hits-in-their-sleep Brill Building pop corporation – was self-serving, short-sighted, solipsistic and just plain dumb; it’s a great song.

So I’ve actually listened to some Fleetwood Mac over the past few years. Not gonna shell out $200 for the concert…

UPDATE:  as you can see from the comments, the “stub” version of this article – and the entire series – has been floating around my drafts folder, and occasional accidental publications, for four and a half years. 

But I’m finally getting it written!

The “Gender Gap”, Explained

Example 1:  Take two electrical engineers;  both 32 years old, both in the industry at the same firm since graduating from the same college with the same BA BS in EEE.  One – not naming names here – has worked at the company the entire ten years.  The other – again, not naming names – has taken about a year of parental leave, and also spent about a year working part-time while their kids were little.    So between an engineer with ten years’ experience and one with in effect 8.5 years’ experience, who, all other things being equal should get paid more?

Example 2: Take two 25 year olds.  One became an oilfield worker – a field involving a lot of brutally hard work, dominated by men, and with perennial shortage of workers with immense demand (especially in North Dakota), driving up wages.  One went into social work – a field involving significant work, sometimes a state license, dominated by women, and a perennial glut of workers, driving down wages.  With all other things equal, who should get paid more?

Example 3: Take two accountants – one male, one female.  They have identical qualifications, identical experience, identical job reviews.  Who do you think makes more?  Statistically, the difference is within the realm of statistical noise, nationwide. 

Example 4:  Take a low-income couple. He works as a security guard, doing his best to pick up 50 hours a week to make ends meet.  To avoid having to pay daycare, she stays at home with the kids and is counting the days til their youngest is at kindergarten so she can get a temp office job, or a part-time job at Target.  This one’s a no-brainer, right? 

Example 5:  A female business analyst with ten years’ experience is working with a male business analyst working his first job.  Who makes more? 

Example 6: A brother and a sister – fraternal twins – graduate from high school.  He goes into car mechanics.  She goes into daycare.   

Now – compare the “men” in the above examples with the “Women”. In aggregate, the guys make about 50% more than the women.

Is it because the men in the five examples are benefitting from sexism?  Or because of the…:

  • Career choices each of them made:  Men are more likely to go into technical fields, highly-physically-demanding jobs that pay a premium, dangerous jobs that pay a premium, or to work while their spouses take time off or stay home. 
  • Life choices each of them made:  Women have babies.  That’s the way biology made the species – so sue us.  No, that’s a figure of speech.  But women are more likely to take time off from work to do it.  Should men be penalized for working while women are, well, not?   

This last cuts both ways, by the way; when my kids were little, I made a conscious choice to seek out jobs that offered flexibility in hours and schedules, so I could spend more time with them.  This pretty inevitably led to contracting, which gave me flexibility and decent money – but cut down the chances for linear, corporate “career advancement”.  Am I lagging behind other people in my “age cohort” in that career?  Probably not – I switched careers – but if I were still a technical writer, those years that I spent focusing on other things would probably have had me lagging.  (Technical writing, by the way, is a field where women make more than men, on average.  Why?  Because they’ve been doing it longer, and they dominate the field, and they tend to go into it for a career, as opposed to men (like me) who see it as a stepping-stone to elsewhere.  Not because female tech writers are sexists.  Although some are.  Oh, the stories I could tell  But won’t.  Because most tech writer stories are really really boring. 

Of course, the whole “gender wage gap” isn’t so much about facts as about waving a bloody shirt to try to shore up Democrat numbers in a year that’s looking very bad for them, and to draw attention away from the fact that this past five years have been little better for women, economically, than for African-Americans.

Hot Gear Friday: The M1928/M1 Thompson

It’s high time I reprised “Hot Gear Friday” – the feature wherein I write about…well, hot gear.

As a general rule, the “gear” is either musical instruments or firearms.  Johnny Roosh used to do other stuff – razors, motorcycles, the like – but i’m more narrowly focused.  Also, guns and music gear are about the only hot gear I ever deal with.

The other rule was, the “hot gear” I feature was stuff I’d actually used, played, fired, or even been in the same room as.  Which narrows things waaaa-aaaaaay-hey down.  I’ve led a fairly boring life, in terms of toys I’ve gotten to play with.

But things have been moving slowly forward in recent months.  And so it’s time to exhume the feature, at least until I run out of hot gear to write about.

Continue reading

Prioritization

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Damn that Fernandez, he always says things so much better than I could.

This time, it’s about why Obama isn’t stopping Putin. Best paragraph:

“One of the most ironic things about the Obama presidency is that Yes We Can hasn’t even been replaced by No We Won’t. It has shriveled to No We Can’t.”

A President who doesn’t have the guts to take on the Sierra Club isn’t going to make an ex-KGB man quake in his boots. Or even a chinless ophthalmologist. If everybody knows you’re not willing to use the stick, there’s no point is speaking at all.

Joe Doakes

Well, to be fair, the citizens require so much supervision that it’s hard to spare much effort for overseas “enemies”.

The Sick Of It All Manifesto

I don’t really like politics.

“But Mitch – you write a bizarrely-prolific blog about politics!  You host the top-rated radio talk show in the United States [1]Surely you are obsessed with politics!”

Nope.  Hate ‘em.

Can’t stand most politicians, either…

…well, no.  That’s not really true.  For all of the joking people make about the depravity of politicians, I’ve found most of the politicians I’ve actually gotten to know personally - most of them state and local, since that’s my social circle - to be perfectly good people.  Some of them very, very much so.

“Operatives?”  The staffers that work for politicians, and the campaign consultants and issue and organizations?  They’re a mixed bag in many ways – some of them greasy and sleazy, some of them really good people – but they seem to share a furious focus and a brutal work ethic.  I’ll give ‘em that.

But politics, itself?  Never cared for it.

Partly because the best description of politics – the one I used to shake my head at 20-30 years ago, and attribute to the conspiratorial and overly-excited and the perspective challenged – is actually the best one there is; the monopoly on the legal use of force.    While the line does get repeated by the conspiratorial, the jacked-up and those with warped perspectives, it’s also true; to paraphrase Kevin Williamson, if you stop paying your taxes or send your kids to a non-government approved school or build your house taller or wider than the local zoning ordinances permit or get your buzz on or produce milk or cut hair outside of current government tolerances, you will, sooner or later, if you carry on with it,  eventually wind up with people with guns and handcuffs and tasers at your front door, ready to take your property, your money and your freedom with impunity.

There are really only two reasons I’m involved in politics:

  1. Hi, We’re From The Government, And We’re Here To Help (you into a paddy wagon):  I try, in my own way, to try to make sure the “government showing up at citizens’ doors with court orders and guns” situations are limited to the absolute moral minimum; let’s save the SWAT teams for the meth-crazed robbery rings, and bother less with unlicensed Eritrean hair braiders or people who don’t pay their school lunch bill.  There is a place and time for government to use force; those places and times have been getting way too common for the past fifty years or so.
  2. Those things that can’t be sustained, won’t be:  Our national debt is greater than an entire year’s GDP; every iPhone sold, every ear of wheat harvested, every lawn mowed and pair of shoes bought and class taught, every single whiff of economic activity including you buying food for your kids, for an entire year, might pay most of our current debt, and it’s not going anywhere.  And that doesn’t ‘even count the entitlements, over 100 trillion worth, that are lurking beyond that; over an entire year’s output from the entire planet’s economy; every grain of rice harvested in Indonesia, every Android assembled in Hunan, every bit of economic activity on the planet, for over a year, would pay it off.  Ready to go without groceries for 12 months?    Well, of course not – that can’t happen.  Either can paying off all those debts, without gutting the economy.  This level of debt can’t be sustained – and it won’t be.

So outside of local government – trying to inveigle Saint Paul into maybe plowing and patching streets, instead of building trains and refrigerated ice rinks in one of the coldest state capitols in America – my main goals out of politics are to…:

Try to bring the economy in for the softest landing possible:  Remember those debt numbers?   Of course you do – they’re like two grafs up there.   Worse comes to worst, and people will look back on 1933 as the good times.  The road back from debt like that is brutally difficult if you do it right – and let’s be honest, neither of our major political parties is going to do a damn thing about it (although the GOP pays the task the most convincing lip service, and I suspect contains the very few people who have both the chance and will to try to affect policy beyond the “lip service” (or, in the case of the big-L Libertarian party, “pipe dream”) level.  And John Boehner isn’t one of them; of Minnesota’s current congressional delegation, Michelle Bachmann is the only one I’ve even heard try to explain the problem to voters.  And she’s outta there in less than a year.

My main goal in politics is to try to do what I can to make sure my kids, and grandkids, and their kids, aren’t living on soup lines and scraping for change under bus seats because of our current government’s profligachy.

Shall Never Disappear From The Face Of The Earth:  And it’s not just the economy, stupid; poor societies become ugly societies, but quick. If you think “majority rules” is an ugly thing today, at a time when even a long recession has left us more prosperous than any society in history, then mob rule during the mother of all depressions will certainly leave a mark on you.

Progressivism – and its much more evil older brother, Statism – never, ever wastes a crisis.  It used World War I and the breakdown of European power to establish statist governments in major countries; the Depression allowed it to metastasize in a more benign form to the western liberal democracies and constitutional monarchies.

Imagine what everyone from George Soros on down the ranks to Alida Messinger could do with a complete collapse of the world’s lynchpin economy, taking down the entire world’s economic order?

I stay involved in politics because if good people don’t try to maintain some control of – again, being honest here – the state’s monopoly on force, bad people most certainly will.

And Yet…:  The collapse of the economy doesn’t have to be all bad.  The fact that government will be unable to afford to do much will mean that people will have to do things they way they did them – almost invariably better, at least in the US – before World War I.

I’m unstinting in recommending the book The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure, by Kevin D. Williamson.  In it, Williamson points out that not only did the private market, and just-plain-citiziens, do most of the things that government does today, but did it much better and much cheaper.

Wanna privatize Social Security?  There’ll be your chance!

Wanna make welfare work-based, and end the decades of fruitless debate here in Minnesota?  Oh, it’ll be work-based all right.

Education?  A hundred years of government education modeled after the Prussian system (and intended more to stomp out radical immigrant allegiances and create “good citizens” than to “educate”), the literacy rate has scarcely budged – and when you consider than an eighth-grader in World War 2 (the average level of education back then) was more literate, and a better critical thinker, than most college Freshmen today, you can see there might be a better approach to the problem.

Healthcare?  You do realize that fraternal organizations like the Elks, the Moose and the like, as well as religious organizations, not only handled group health 100 years ago, and did it almost as effectively as employer paid healthcare today (to say nothing of MNSure), but did it in such a way as to ensure the growth rather than stagnation of the medical profession, right?

Law enforcement?  Yeah – the “Wild West”, where most “justice” and “law” was privately negotiated, was one of the most peaceful places and times in American history (provided you weren’t a native tribe; every premise has its gaps).  Even Dodge City and Abilene – both were vastly more peaceful than the law-clogged, politics-dominated fever swamps of the coastal cities.

But Wait!:  But don’t start bombarding me with Ron Paul quotes – because Libertarianism, especially the brutalist, Ayn-Rand-sodden variety popular among the Austrian-school fratboys that make up the driving force of the Big-L party these days (pushing out the raw milk and help set, although they share all sorts of rhetoric) is a loser with real people in the real world.

No, not liberty – the idea that we should be free, that our society should be a free association of equals, that we should all be equal in the eyes of the law and at the ballot box, and free to prosper according to our merit and energy.  Those are winners for most people; that’s why most of our forefathers came here. 

But today’s brutalist Libertarianism considers “community” a dirty word.  Which is fine – except that humans are a communitarian species.  We gather in groups, and establish rules amongst ourselves pretty instinctively.  Don’t believe it?  Watch a group of six year old boys playing in an open field.  Libertarianism resonates with me in terms of keeping “the community” from taking over and running the individual’s life, and making sure the “community” is focused as close to the individual as possible. 

And don’t get me started on the “anarcho-libertarians”, which is what too many of the Austrain-school fratboys think they are; while “anarchy” has a nice set of platitudes that pass for an “intellectual case”, they collapse over two key points:

  1. Human nature is not a “construct”. 
  2. Evil exists.

No matter what stasis you and your similarly-anarchic neighbors find amongst yourselves, in your existences as lone gentleman farmers on your farms in the hypothetical social void, at some point someone who doesn’t have what you want is going to come along and want what you have.  And they’ll realize that while you, Gentleman Farmer, are more than a match for him in a duel, he’s not going to come alone.  This group – let’s say they’re Methodists, because we know how warlike and acquisitive Methodist theology is – comes in groups of 15-30, because they are not anarchists. 

Human nature is not a construct.  Evil exists.  Not every human wants to take other peoples’ stuff by force – but enough do, that communities find it advantageous to band together to keep those pesky Methodists (or other aberrations of human nature) at bay. 

Which involves rules.  And the tension between authority and liberty. 

And a world that doesn’t fit nicely into that anarchist worldview. 

So there’s a conundrum.

The Problem, Of Course, is getting to the point where we, the not-stupid people, can drive society in a direction where, if (hah hah hah) and when the debt finally crushes our economy, it can recover in a direction that leaves us with more, not less, freedom.

More on that – much more – next week.

At any rate – that, and only that, is why I’m involved in politics, here or on the air or in my real life.

Beyond that, what’s the point?

And yet beyond that, what else matters?

[1] As measured in moral terms, not necessarily raw audience numbers.

A Rhetorical Question?

Joe Doakes from Como Oark emails:

The Complete Makeover of Society to Pamper Liberal Women Act is proceeding through the DFL dominated legislature. How many boondoggles can you find in this law?

I lost count at “a doodoo load”.

I may have boondoggle fatigue.

UPDATE:  Welcome, MPP readers.  Stop by.  Ask a question or two.  Find out all the ways the MPP “writers” have lied to you. 

If you approach things with an open mind, you’ll find that my old friend DG probably means well, but for all of her talking a about “fact-checking” really does little but filter things through her prejudices, and gets everything generally wrong.

But hope springs eternal!

Anyway, welcome.

Settled Science

Via h John Hinderaker at Power Line, still more empirical evidence that “shall issue” laws reduce violent crime, including/especially gun crime:

The CCW dummy variable is significant and positive, but the assault weapons ban is insignificant. Given that the average gun-related murder rate over the period in question was 3.44, the results of the present study indicate that states with more restrictive CCW laws had gun-related murder rates that were 10% higher. In addition, the Federal assault weapons ban is significant and positive, indicating that murder rates were 19.3% higher when the Federal ban was in effect. These results corroborate the findings of Lott and Mustard (1997). These results suggest that, even after controlling for unobservable state and year fixed effects, limiting the ability to carry concealed weapons may cause murder rates to increase.

I urge you to read the study.  Long story short:  ”shall issue” laws, at the very worst, have no negative effect on crime, and may reduce it.  ”Assault weapons” bans, on the other hand, are worthless.

Yet again.

Chanting Points Memo: The New Gulag

Last January, I pointed out that the left’s newfound demand for “transparency” – in the form of making sure every (conservative) causes’ donors were made publicly available – was the prelude to an attempt to purge conservatives from business, academia and any other place the Big Left could get them purged from.

And the purging has started; Brandon Eich – inventor of Javascript (a frequently-misused tool that is also one of the most important factors of the past decade and change for making the web usable to non-geeks) and a long-time browser engineer, one of the foremost experts on how the web actually works – was cashiered from Mozilla (maker Netscape) for donating to California’s Proposition 8, which headed off gay marriage for a few years:

When this fact first came to light, Eich, who was then CTO of Mozilla, published a post on his personal blog stating that his donation was not motivated by any sort of animosity towards gays or lesbians, and challenging those who did not believe this to cite any “incident where I displayed hatred, or ever treated someone less than respectfully because of group affinity or individual identity.”

There were no examples.  There never are.  ”Thoughtcrime” – like most offenses in the “progressive” legal canon, like “sexual harassment” and their definition of “racism” – requires no actions, or even intent.

Conservatives think liberals are wrong; liberals think conservatives are evil.  The Eich incident is only the latest and largest example of “progressives” trying to purge dissenters from private as well as public life.  Even at the lowest and most meaningless level; one of every conservative blogger’s nightmares is when a pack of liberal droogs starts snooping through your private life, trying to get you fired or at least make your political beliefs an issue with your employers or clients.  I’ve been there and done that, and it’s one reason I never mention where I work on any social media, and never talk about politics in the office (even in offices where people know my politics and extracurricular activities.

At any rate, it’s time for choosing for “progressives”; either:

  • Choose America:  Recognize that “democracy” needs a rational, reasoned dissent, and a consensus that comes from a rational debate – and, more importantly, that people have the right to disagree civilly without having to fear for their livelihoods (or lives).  Elizabeth “The Anchoress” Scalia puts it well – it’s “Time for a gay CEO with balls to hire Eich and halt this crap“.  Or…:
  • Choose Maoism:  Live and act as if your ends really do justify your means.  Crush all intellectual opposition (or, given that most of America outside the coastal enclaves is relatively conservative whatever its political party, try to, and face the inevitable consequences, of which more later this week).

My hunch:  progressivism is well on its way toward making “the American experiment” as we know it today unviable.

More on this – much, much more – tomorrow and in coming weeks.

A Technical Question

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails with a request for some geek help:

I know some tech people read this blog.  Anybody have an opinion on the Samsung Chrome Book, $249 at Staples?

On vacation, I use a Toshiba Excite 10” tablet to surf the web and check email and Facebook.  No keyboard = frustrating.  The Chrome Book would solve that without adding a Bluetooth keyboard to lug around.

At home, the grandkids use the tablet to play touch-screen games like Angry Birds but I don’t play them so touch-screen gaming is irrelevant to me.

Any other serious drawbacks I’m missing?

Joe Doakes

Might have to see if AM1280′s assistant ops manager Jon Osburn is tuned in…

…And Ask Questions Later

It’s looking more and more like Miriam Carey, the Connecticut mother who was killed last year near the Capitol  was guilty of nothing more than having a panic attack around the wrong cops.

The DC Capitol Police first called it a terrorist incident.  Then, they said Carey was on drugs.

Now?  Apparently she was just a flustered driver who panicked over cops’ response to her driving:

Columnist Mark Steyn memorably remarked, “Ms. Carey does not appear to be guilty of any act other than a panic attack,” and, “We are told Ms. Carey was ‘mentally ill,’ although she had no medications in her vehicle and those at her home back in Connecticut are sufficiently routine as to put millions of other Americans in the category of legitimate target.”

But now, it is a certified fact that Carey did not even have prescription drugs in her system when she was shot to death.

Even before that confirmation, it became clear months ago that there was no good explanation for why Carey was shot, and the story disappeared entirely off the mainstream media radar.

It’s been six months since the shooting, and the DC Capitol Police still haven’t released their report on the incident.

The list of explanations for this other than “the cops are closing ranks to cover up a major screw-up leading to the death of an innocent, panicky woman” is fast dwindling through the lower single digits.

The traditional deflection against charges of excessive police power and force is “if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear”.  The line is corrosively stupid on its surface…

…but if “making cops nervous” rates a bullet in the back of the head, then clearly even that very stupid line is wrong, these days.

The whole article is worth a read.

In Re: The Matter Of Brandon Eich: Comment 1 Of Many

To:  Gay rights supporters doing the end-zone happy dance (to an impeccable techno beat) over the lynching of Brandon Eich
From: Mitch Berg, uppity libertarian-conservative Christian
Re:  Forgiveness and Memory

Dear activists,

To all of you who are doing the end-zone happy dance over the ouster of Brandon Eich as CEO at Mozilla?   A couple of points:

The “H” Word:  I’m one who believes the word is very, very over-used in our society today – but it applies here:  if you have ever, even once, said “politics is too nasty, vitriolic and rancorous”, but support the Eich ouster, then you are a hypocrite.

And The “F” Words:  A lot of libertarian conservatives – including, on some facets of the issue, yours truly – did battle with our own tribe on this issue, supporting the idea of same sex unions to one degree or another (in my case, I support civil unions, while wanting government out of the business of sanctioning civil statuses altogether).    I didn’t expect much better out of Big Gay – any more than I do out of any other Big Left movement – but I know a lot of libertarian-conservatives are feeling burned today.  Many of us will forgive, but we don’t forget.

Wind, Whirlwing, Et Al:   Read Matt Walsh’s piece on the subject.  We’ll talk.  Oh, yes.  We will.

That is all.

 

Outgoing Fire

The first officially recorded legal self-defense case involving a civilian with a legal handgun and carry permit in Chicago in several decades took place over this past weekend.

Real American 1.  Scum 0.

The incident happened about 2:40 a.m. on the 5400 block of West Van Buren Street, said Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Michael Sullivan.

The man was walking from his garage to the front of his home when two males in hoodies appeared in a gangway between his home and the neighbor’s home, Sullivan said.

One of the two men pulled a handgun from his waistband and pointed at the man who took out his own gun and managed to fire several times at the males, Sullivan said.

The males fled the area without being struck and the shooting did not result in any property damage, police said.

The Real American wasn’t charged with anything, and probably won’t be.

But this even is important far beyond that little gangway between those two houses.  For the first time, the common schnook in Chicago has exercised his right – and moral duty – to defend himself, his family, his neighborhood, his city and his society from crime.  After decades of having to sit and take the incoming gunfire like it’s just another variety of Lake Michigan gale, and to watch a generation of (mostly minority) kids get ravaged by gang bangers who’ve turned the city’s less fashionable zip codes into their private shoot-em-up arcade with real guns, Chicago’s Real Americans have joined the fight to take their streets back without the city treating them like “the real problem”.

To many more!

Saint Paul: “Start With The Luxuries; The Necessities Take Care Of Themselves!”

The roads in Saint Paul have been particularly awful this year.  Hamline Avenue between I94 and University was (until about a week ago) a strut-crunching road worse than a Bolivian goat path, passable at maybe 5MPH (maybe 10, now, with a coat of hot patch a week or so ago).  And others are just as bad; I saw a few “smart cars” completely disappear into a couple of potholes in the past few weeks.

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The streets in St. Paul are falling apart.  The Mayor has no money to fix them without help from Congress.  Why not?

Take a typical house in the Midway valued around $175,000.  The homeowner pays property taxes totaling nearly $300 per month: $900 to the county,  $700 to the city, $1,000 to the school district, more to other entities including $70 for the Light Rail and $100 to “other special taxing districts.”

But wait, there’s more!

The homeowner also pays a $175 Special Assessment for Right of Way Maintenance and an additional $50 Special Assessment for Storm Sewer.  That sounds suspiciously like money dedicated for street repairs including curb-and-gutter.  And it isn’t a one-time deal: St. Paul charges those Special Assessments to every property including schools and churches, every single year.  So where’s that money?

Spent it all on street repairs and it’s still not enough?  Then the city’s budget managers are incompetent.

Spent it all on . . . something else?  Then we need some tar, all right, and feathers, too.  And a rail, so certain people can ride it out of town.

As society evolved from savagery, cities were formed to provide basic services: police, fire, sanitary sewer, clean water, passable roads to move goods from farm to market.  Everything else is gravy.  St. Paul city government is failing its fundamental purpose.

Joe Doakes

But..refrigerated ice rinks!

Unspun

The IRS Scandal was even less “balanced” than the media have been spinning it (emphasis added):

“Only seven applications in the IRS backlog contained the word ‘progressive,’ all of which were then approved by the IRS, while Tea Party groups received unprecedented review and experienced years-long delays. While some liberal-oriented groups were singled out for scrutiny, evidence shows it was due to non-political reasons,” according to the Oversight staff report, which was obtained by The Daily Caller.

“[T]he Administration and congressional Democrats have seized upon the notion that the IRS’s targeting was not just limited to conservative applicants,” the report states. “These Democratic claims are flat-out wrong and have no basis in any thorough examination of the facts. Yet, the Administration’s chief defenders continue to make these assertions in a concerted effort to deflect and distract from the truth about the IRS’s targeting of tax-exempt applicants.”

The media is doing everything it can to keep this scandal buried.

55 Lives

UPDATE:  Some of the commenters (see way below) are right.  It is a little early to be doing the end-zone happy dance. 

So I’m going to park my conclusions until a) the end of summer and b) a year from now.  I am 104% confident I’ll be doing an end-zone happy dance then, and that will be largely attributable to carry  permitting (and focusing law-enforcement on criminals, rather than law-abiding citizens.

Yep, I jumped the, er, gun. 

For now.

———-

The murder rate in Chicago is off this year.

Sharply.

As in, 55 fewer than at this time last year.  That translates into about a 40% reduction in the murder rate.

That’s not just a reduction.  That’s a free-fall.

And while one can expect crime to get worse in the summer, this is a month on month comparison.

So what’s changed in Chicago in the past two years (2012 was horrible, 2013 merely very very bad)?  Was in the police chief?  The police’s methods?  The number of gang-bangers?  A sudden ”come to Jesus” by the gang bangers?

No, nay, nope and uh-uh.

No – the only real change in Chicago’s legal landscape in the past year is that law-abiding citizens can get firearms.

Locked And Loaded: And the difference is drastic:

The first three months of 2014 have seen the fewest number of homicides since 1958 — six fewer than this time in 2013, and 55 fewer than this time in 2012, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The city is on track to have hundreds fewer deaths – perhaps a 30-40% drop – than in 2012.

Emanuel: Firing Blanks From A .25: The city of Chicago is trying to spin things otherwise, claiming it’s gotten illegal guns off the streets and has changed up its training – which reinforces the point Real Americans have been making all along; it’s the criminals, stupid.  Make life complicated for criminals, and stop bothering the law-abiding citizen, and you get less crime.

It’s fun to watch the left – led by Media Matters, a Soros-sponsored attack-PR firm that prefers poor black inner city people to sit down and shut up unless they’re at the polls voting Democrat – try to spin their way out of this.  Here was Media Matters after a particularly bloody weekend in Bear town last summer:

The recent bloody headlines out of Chicago relayed the sad tale of the city’s deadly weekend, where seven people were killed in shootings and more than 50 were victims of gunfire…the Chicago news triggered the usual response from conservative gun advocates, who love to mock the city’s homicide rate…Conservative conspiracists such as Rush Limbaugh even claim Democratic politicians, including Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel, want the city’s murder rate to remain high so they can use the killings to advocate for stronger gun laws.

Call it “satirical but accurate”.

Cut The Crap, Focus On The Results: Not satirical but still accurate is the fact that Media Matters and the entire left were wrong again, as always.  And we – the Real Americans – were right.

And there are 55 families in inner city Chicago right now who are mighty happy about it.  They may not know who they are.  And that’s the way it should be.

Why are white liberals so blasé about dead black children?

RIP Otis McDonald

In the late sixties, a justifiably obscure SCOTUS’ “decision”,  ”US v. Miller” (a depression-era case involving a robber who was murdered before his case made it to the court, and for whom no attorney argued before the high court) was dragged out of the legal ether by a series of liberal, activist judges, and installed into a misbegotten place as binding precedent that led, by a tortuous “logical” route, to the Second Amendment being interpreted for four decades as a “collective right”.   Just the way the Ku Klux Klan interpreted it until the 14th Amendment came along.

The Heller case began the process of flushing this noxious bit of authoritarian posturing down the latrine of history.

But it fell to Otis McDonald – a seventy-something black man who just wanted to defend his life and property against the crime that had overrun the neighborhood where he’d lived since 1971, in which he’d raised three of his children – to deliver the coup de grace against Chicago’s racist, classist gun ban.

Otis McDonald

It was merely the latest of several fights for McDonald, who was 76 when the SCOTUS upheld his demand to be allowed to defend himself, his family and his property, and not be treated like the government’s livestock.

It was one of many battles he fought in his long, full, unsung-but-productive life.

McDonald started life as one of 12 children of a Louisiana sharecropper who’d left the land at 17, deep in the Jim Crow era.  He worked for decades as a janitor at the University of Chicago, joined the union, earned a living, raised a family…

…and watched his neighborhood decay from a comfortable blue-collor area to a crime-ridden gang shooting gallery.

He sought “permission” to own a handgun – because as an older man, he couldn’t stand up in fight against one predatory teen, much less the whole pack.  The city of Chicago, adhering to the gun control movement’s orthodoxy that black people must only be seen and heard at the polls, and shouldn’t be getting all uppity in between elections, shut him down with, as it were, prejudice.

And so he, along with three other co-plaintiffs, filed suit – which duly led to the Supreme Court and, in 2009, victory in the case that bore his name, and incorporated the Second Amendment as law binding all lesser jurisdictions; the right to keep and bear arms was, as it has always been, a Right of The People, not the National Guard, not to be frittered away by self-appointed racist elitists out of the fear of armed brown men that motivates all gun control.

McDonald, on the day of his case’s epic victory.

McDonald, a humble man without even a high school education, accomplished more to secure freedom than many buildings full of Ivy-League-spawned pundits and lawyers ever will.

Otis McDonald passed away last week at age 79, after a long battle with cancer.

Massood Ayoub:

As a black man in America, he fought his way up from economic disadvantage to earning a good living for his family. He fought against violent crime in his adopted city of Chicago, and in so doing came to his most famous battle as the lead named plaintiff in McDonald, et. al. v. City of Chicago. In the plaintiffs’ landmark victory in that case in 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that neither the Windy City nor any other city could ban law-abiding citizens from owning handguns for defense of self and family. The McDonald decision helped pave the way for the concealed carry permits now being issued throughout Illinois

.And the wages of McDonald’s victory are being felt – despite the media’s attempt to suppress them – today.  More at noon.  Oh, yes – oh, so much more at noon.

And so rest in peace, Otis McDonald.  Your legacy – leaving your world a freer place than the one you came into  - is one that shames those of a whole lot of people who came into this world with advantages you never dreamed of.

At noon today:  McDonald’s legacy is already saving lives.

As Long As It Fits Under A Helmet…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The traditional High and Tight would solve this problem, if we weren’t trying so hard to be stylish and ethnic that we can’t figure out how to be a soldier.

I recommend every non-minority officer above Captain be fired and we pay millions of dollars in reparations to the women whose feelings were hurt.

Joe Doakes

Perhaps a better answer: since the military’s most elite troops – “Delta” and “Seal Team Six” (neither unit has actually gone by either name in decades) wear their hair long and even wear beards, clearly the answer is to turn the entire Army and Navy into Deltas and Seals.

Then everyone will be happy.