The Longest Weekend

My first radio job, at KEYJ in Jamestown, North Dakota, started 35 years ago this past month or so.  After months – like, a year – of hanging around the station bothering the staff and trying to figure out how everything worked, the owner, Bob Richardson, decided to give me a job.  I spent most of August training – which involved coming in to the studio at 5AM Saturday mornings with John Weisphenning and Dick Ingstand, learning how to run the board and the transmitter and spin records and read news. 

It all led up to my first day “soloing” – September 1.  I got up at 4:30, got to the station at 4:45, warmed up the transmitter, picked through the 50 feet of wire copy that had printed out of the AP teletype, organized my newscasts, and got things ready go to.   At 5:55AM, I turned on the mike, read the signon script, played the national anthem, and the day got started for real.  

There were one-hour news blocks at 7, 8 – each with long blocks of national, statewide and local news, weathercasts, sports news focusing on local and North Dakota teams (the NDSU Bison, then as now, dominated all they surveyed), reports from the nursing homes, the city and rural fire departments, a run through the weeks’ arrest reports, and more.  At 10AM, “Trading Post” – a 30 minute show where listeners bought, sold and traded things.  And in between, music – punctuated by five minutes of network news at the top of the hour, and five minutes of local news, weather and sports at the bottom, with weather forecasts at :15 and :45 after the hour.  And then another hour of news, weather, sports and local flava at noon.

Once I got past 1PM, it was downhill; just music and the weather and the bottom of the hour news.  You could breathe a little. 

I was on from 5AM til 3PM.  It was a long, tiring day.  And I loved it.

And I did it again for the next couple weeks. 

The 22nd started out routinely enough; I was still a little rough, but getting the hang of things fast.  That was one nice thing about those loooong board shifts with all that news; you got a ton of  practice, fast. 

Around 1:30, Bob Richardson, the owner, called from his lake cabin.  The guy who was supposed to work from 3 until the midnight sign-off was very, very sick, and nobody else was available - Richardson would have done it, I suspect, had he been in town - and would I mind working the evening shift too? 

I asked if someone could fill in for a couple hours so I could grab some food and a shower.  He rounded up the weekday evening guy to come in for a couple hours; I biked home, ate, showered, and came back and worked until midnight – which was mostly just spinning music and reading the news at the bottom of the hour and, at about 11:55, reading the “signoff” script, playing George Beverly Shea’s “Our Father”, and signing off the station. 

I biked home through a gorgeous, pleasant North Dakota night – the bugs weren’t swarming around the street lights, so it was a good night – and went to bed, exhausted. 

I think it was 7AM when my dad woke me up; I had a phone call. 

It was Richardson; the guy who was supposed to be on Saturday Night was also supposed to be on Sunday; he was still sick, and he still couldn’t find another substitute.  Could I do it?  And, by the way, sign the station on real quick?  (We normally signed on at 7:30 on Sundays, and went off the air at 10PM). 

And so I biked back to the station, signed on (on time!); the schedule was lighter (no hour-long news blocks, and lots of church services and recorded religious shows)…

…but it was another long day. 

I got off the air at 3 – for real, this time – and walked home, counting up the numbers; 24 hours in one weekend, times my pay rate ($2.90/hour) – I made damn near seventy bucks!

That put a little spring in my step.

Social Realism

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I haven’t seen much from St. Paul’s Poet Laureate For Life, Carol Connolly, appointed by Mayor Chris Coleman. Her first poem immortalized his 2006 Budget. A later work celebrated his 2010 reelection.
I was hoping she’d write about President Obama’s 2014 decision to send advisors to Iraq, not to serve as combat troops, but to forward deploy with Iraqi troops giving tactical advice and calling in airstrikes, coming, as it does, after his 2012 decision to remove American troops from Iraq.
I thought she might title the piece “You put your best boots in, you pull your best boots out, you put your best boots in . . . .”
Joe Doakes

Saint Paul. It’s like a parody, only it’s not.

I’m Only Happy When It NARNs

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show –  will be on from 1-3PM!

I’ll be talking with:

  • GOP Gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson, about the ongoing MNSure debacle.

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!

Keith Ellison And That Famous DFL Civility

Here’s a blast from the past:  Keith Ellison, in an interview on KFAI (a little community station that serves as the drum-pounding id of the loony liberal West Bank, and for which I was a news guy for a while in the early ’90s) exhibits that reach-across-the-aisle comity that Lori Sturdevant is always demanding (from Republicans), repeatedly calls MNGOP Deputy Chair (at the time, Secretary) Chris Fields a…

…well, let’s take a look (with some emphasis added):

Ellison: “You’re real stupid for bringing up your domestic violence allegations. I wasn’t gonna say a thing about it. I wasn’t gonna mention it.”

Fields: “You know, if you want to talk about divorce —”

Ellison: “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Fields: “—talk about your own. Talk about the fact—”

Ellison: “You are a scumbag.”

Fields: “—that you only pay $500 for child support. Talk about that. You used that money to hurt my ex-wife, who I still love.”

Ellison: “You are a low-life scumbag. You are a low-life scumbag.”

Fields: “I did not spend money to look into my divorce. You did.”

Ellison: “You are a gutter-dweller, and you’re an idiot for bringing up your domestic violence charges.”

Fields: “There was never any.”

This is the DFL in action.

Hear the whole thing here.  And if you live in CD5, bring a friend to vote for Doug Daggett.

CORRECTION:  I thought it seemed familiar.  The story is two years old.  Blah.  I think I may have even written about it back then – to try to get people to vote for Chris Fields, who was running against the peevish Ellison back then.

The story is old.  The sentiment – get rid of Ellison – is timeless.

Dear Blue States

To:  The Blue States
From: Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Examples

Hey, Blues,

Scotland has voted to stay in the United Kingdom (provided the UK’s taxpayers pay more for its care and feeding).

But perhaps there’s a lesson in there for you.

Given your contempt for those who think differently than you – “What’s the Matter With Kansas“, anyone? – and the conceit you cling to that you pay the nation’s freight (it’s BS, but it’s Krugman, so you all are attached to it), perhaps it’s time for you to follow the Scots’ example.

Maybe you should get high on dudgeon, and take your toys and go elsewhere?

That’ll show us!

Sincerely,

That is all!

No Binders

Deb Wasserman Drescher Schultz will likely not be The Nanny the chair of the DNC too terribly much longer.

And it’s interesting to notice, after two years of “War on Women” rhetoric (much of it put into the public arena by Wasserman Drescher Schultz herself), that the Democrats’ bench of (obligatory) female prospects to run the DNC is so very very shallow:

Here’s the reality: No matter the outcome for Democrats in November, Wasserman Schultz will likely be shown the door, with another woman to replace her. But, the list of possible replacements is a not-so-long list of two: Stephanie Schriock, who heads the Democratic women’s group EMILY’s List, and Stephanie Rawlings Blake, the mayor of Baltimore.

The world of politics still has a recruiting problem when it comes to women, and Wasserman Schultz is perhaps both a beneficiary and victim of that reality.

Looks like a certain party needs to start putting together binders and binders full of women…

Modeling

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Got to the office Monday, arms and back were sore from a weekend Honey-Do project. No pain pills at the office.
I had bottles of ibuprofen and acetaminophen in my desk drawer, but new office assistant (21-year old woman) re-organized. The bottles had expiration dates of 2011 and 2012 so she threw them away. She didn’t want me to poison myself with expired medication.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that acetaminophen and ibuprofen do not expire. She means well, she just doesn’t know any better.
She’s a perfect Democrat: she causes others to suffer pain but since she was acting with good intentions and didn’t mean to cause harm, she can’t be blamed for it.
Joe Doakes

True enough.

Although she won’t be a true democrat until she actively demonizes you for seeking a solution she disagreed with…

Throwback Thursday

Governor Dayton says “the buck stops” with him in re MNSure:

— Gov. Mark Dayton [said] that he ultimately feels responsible for the success or failure of [MNSure].

Dayton apologized for problems Minnesotans are having on the state’s health care exchange. The governor is promising to fix multiple website problems, as soon as possible.

“I apologize to those Minnesotans who have been seriously inconvenienced or are distraught by the failures of MNsure. It’s unacceptable,” Dayton said Thursday.“Did I cause? I don’t think I caused the problems at MNsure and I did everything I could to prevent them,” he said. “Ultimately the buck stops here.”

Oh, yeah – you read that right; the story came out last December

Before MNSure’s current woes – the cratering of the code, and Preferred One’s bailing out of the whole debacle. 

So – when Governor Dayton says “the buck stops here”, does he mean it like he did…:

  • during the Vikings Stadium fiasco, where he committed the state’s taxpayers to hundreds of millions of dollars, then told the Legislature to “deal with it”, a la Michael Scott?
  • during the Minimum Wage fiasco, when signed a deeply flawed bill, and then publicly wavered a few months later when his spawn told him they were having trouble making ends meet at their posh Minneapolis restaurant?
  • during the last Budget session, when he served as an untrained mouthpiece for the public employee unions that put him in power?

Because none of those, nor his behavior in re MNSure, involve actually stopping any bucks.

Our National Monologue

When people say they want a “dialog about race”, what they really mean is “let’s have a monologue where I talk and you listen”.

Now, I don’t talk much about race. As a matter of fact, I do think listening is a better approach on the subject – and while I’m the only person I can speak for, it’s advice I think pretty much everyone in the world should follow anyway. Even you, Al Sharpton.

But I saw this video – from a group called “Kids of Ferguson”, which is plausible if you assume the Kids of Ferguson are world-class videographers and editors.

And this is what our “dialog” is?

“Hey, white people!”.

Apparently, my skin color is my only defining feature.

Who knew?

(By the way – the kids’ t-shirts say “Racism’s not over, but I’m over racism”?  I’m gonna guess if I said exactly that, I would be told I can’t be “over racism” because…I’m Caucasian?  How does that work?)

Let’s pretend for a moment that “dialog” is what anyone’s looking for.  Here’s my side of it – just three points, really, not that anyone cares:

People Are People – And That’s A Bad Thing:  Everyone, of all skin tones – white, black, brown – is equally worthless. No, seriously – that’s part of the Christian creation story.  Mankind is fallen.  People, as groups, are pretty much always awful – collections of stereotypes and group dogmas, pretty much.  Ick.

People Are Individuals, If You Let Them:  If you’d like to try and get to know me as an individual, I’ll return the favor.   There’s more to you than your skin color, you say? (You do say that, don’t you?  Martin Luther King did, anyway)  Anyway – bully for you!  Me too!  I mean, come on – “white?”  Any label that includes Swedes and Italians and pre-Arab North Africans, or Icelanders and Hungarians and Armenians, is meaningless anyway – just like any term that includes Bantus, Tutsis and Ethiopians.    Anyway – Martin Luther King once said he dreamed people would one day judge his children by the contents of their hearts rather than the color of their skin.  I’m the last guy to try to speak for Dr. King, but that video has got to have him puking in his grave.

People Are Also Trash, If You Let Them:  Let’s take a test.  You see a group of drunk, aggressive teenagers coming down the street.   You can’t make out their skin tone yet – it’s dark – but what do you do?  ”Take precautions, because drunk teenagers are just about the worst plague in the world, whatever their hue?”  You win the freaking cookie.  Here’s the deal;  you wanna treat me like an individual human person, I’ll return the favor with interest.  I’m less worried about the color of your skin than your attitude.  You wanna talk?  We’ll talk.  You wanna be a dink?  I’ll ignore you.  You present me a threat of death or great bodily harm?   That’d be a bad decision.

Everything in between is negotiable.

You want a “conversation about race?”  Talk to me.  Not to the stereotype you’ve been told you’re talking to.  And I’ll try to do the same. 

Problem is, I don’t think the “Kids of Ferguson” are being taught any such thing.

Airborne

The President is discussing sending 3,000 US military personnel to the heart of the Ebola outbreak, in west Africa. 

The proposal has brought out the crazy…on the right.  To be fair, it’s only comment-section trolls, for the most part, but the claims – “Obamawantsto introduce Ebola to the US” – take me back to the glory days of Bush Derangement Syndrome; again, to be fair, it’s comment-section chum on the right, and MSNBC commentators on the left, but it’s still depressing.

Am I dismayed that Obama is sending troops to Africa when he isn’t securing the border?  Sure.  With that out of the way?  Not all troops do the same job; Obama’s Africa mission would, according to the reports I’ve read, be engineers and civil affairs types to build lots of Ebola treatment centers fast, and people to get the logistics, which are non-functional in large swathes of these godforsaken countries, working to the point that clinics have supplies again.  So that we can tamp down this epidemic before it kills a third of Africa, and leaves us with an epidemic that we really can’t keep from entering the US? 

And whether you agree with Obama’s priorities or not, I ask you – what organization in the US can handle building things and moving supplies into hellholes, while keeping themselves safe from a biohazard? 

“But the troops’ll catch Ebola”.  Not if they avoid physical contact with the patients or corpses – and these folks aren’t doctors or nurses. 

“But it’s airborne!”

Well, no – it’s not, and it probably won’t be anytime soon

Partly, it’s evolution:  Ebola hasn’t evolved into a respiratory virus…:

Even viruses that are well adapted to attacking the respiratory system often have a hard time getting transmitted through the airways. Consider the experience so far with avian flu, which is easily transmitted through the air in birds but hasn’t yet mutated to become easily spreadable in that fashion among people.

What’s the hold-up? “The difficulty is that those [flu] viruses don’t have the protein attachments that can actually attach to cells in the upper airway. They have to develop attachments to do that,” Schaffner says. So even if a virus were exhaled, it would need to lodge onto something in another person’s cells that are already prepared for it in the upper airway. “Since the virus doesn’t have attachment factors that can work in the upper airway, it’s very rare for it to go human to human, and then it almost always stops and doesn’t get to a third person,” Schaffner notes. Similarly for Ebola, the virus would have to develop attachments that would allow it to easily attach receptors in the upper respiratory pathway — something that neither it (nor any of its viral cousins) has been known to do in the wild.

…because it hasn’t needed to:

And yet Ebola already spreads very easily without such mutations. The delicate lock-and-key protein–virus fit required for the virus to successfully latch onto and replicate in the airway has not developed because there is no evolutionary pressure for it to do so; it simply would not be an efficient option. Epidemiologists can take some comfort in that.

I’d rather see troops latching onto illegal immigrants and building fences along the Rio Grande, too.  But if we accept the idea that the military has a business doing humanitarian missions, and that the Ebola epidemic is worth getting on top of once and for all, there are dumber decisions to make…

Lowballed

SCENE:  At the Mississippi Market co-op in Saint Paul.  Mitch BERG is shopping for steel-cut oatmeal.  He notices Avery LIBRELLE turning into his aisle, looking for free-range humane tofu.  He tries to turn and leave, but it’s already too late. 

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!  The Free Market is collapsing!

BERG:  Er, OK – how do you figure?

LIBRELLE:  Preferred One left the MNSure network!

BERG: Um, that’s not a failure of the free market.

LIBRELLE: Sure it is!  They came into the plan with a low-ball proposal.  It didn’t work, so it’s a failure of the free market! 

BERG: Well, no.  It’s not.  The plans they’re pulling from MNSure are basically the same thing they’ve been selling to employers for decades, although more expensive, to cover all the extra Obamacare requirements, and a little extra to cover the fact that they’d only get paid after the money filtered through the MNSure system, which just isn’t working.  It’s the kind of plan they can sell by themselves just fine, and keep themselves in business. 

LIBRELLE:  Well, businesses shouldn’t profit from healthcare!

BERG:  Preferred One is a non-profit under Minnesota law.   And even so, they couldn’t financially justify the overhead that the MNSure system brought into the equation. 

LIBRELLE:  They should have come to the market with a plan that asked for more money!  Government subsidies would cover it anyway!

BERG:  And you have just explained why government subsidies promote inflation. 

LIBRELLE:  No I didn’t.

BERG:  Yes you did.  Businesses should raise their prices to smooth out dealing with the government’s incompetent bureaucracy, because another part of government is going to subsidize the transaction – which prices the business’s service out of reach of the unsubsidized.  It’s done for health insurance exactly what it’s done for higher education. 

LIBRELLE:  That just means we need single payer healthcare.

BERG:  Right.  So the same government that can’t produce a health care exchange on time and on budget, and get payments to providers efficiently enough to make the service worth providing, will now be directly in charge of every facet of your healthcare. 

LIBRELLE:  Well, at least it’ll promote transparency. 

BERG:  How so? 

LIBRELLE:  See the social justice that the IRS brought to political campaigning by denying teabagger groups their tax-exempt status?  Imagine the transparency we’ll get when The People can start denying them healthcare!

(LIBRELLE turns, starts walking away, but walks into shelf full of jars of organic peanut butter.  LIBRELLE falls as shelves of jars fall to the floor)

(And SCENE)

Of No Use Whatsoever

 The BATFE is now collecting racial data when you go to buy a gun:

With little fanfare, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2012 amended its Form 4473 — the transactional record the government requires gun purchasers and sellers to fill out when buying a firearm — to identify buyers as either Hispanic, Latino or not. Then a buyer must check his or her race: Indian, Asian, black, Pacific Islander or white.

Now, the purpose of the form is supposed to be to collect information needed to screen potential purchasers for criminal background. 

So what’s race got to do with it?  

…“This issue concerns me deeply because, first, it’s offensive, and, secondly, there’s no need for it,” said Evan Nappen, a private practice firearms lawyer in New Jersey. “If there’s no need for an amendment, then there’s usually a political reason for the change. What this indicates is it was done for political reasons, not law enforcement reasons.”

Yet another example of politicized “law enforcement”.

Apparently Preferred One Are Also “Tea Partiers” Who Are “Wrong For Minnesota”

Preferred One – the company chosen by about three of five people that were able to actually enroll in MNSure in the past year – is bailing out of Minnesota’s troubled health insurance exchange.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, [MNSure CEO Scott] Leitz said he is disappointed with the decision but Minnesotans will still have other options for health insurance through MNsure.

“We level the playing field for consumers. We provide options so Minnesotans can make wise choices,” he said. “We anticipated some bumps along the way, and we’re still seeing some of those bumps.”

He’s half right.  MNSure – like Obamacare – removes actual choice.

But the bumps?  Those are real.

This is a huge hit for MNSure (emphasis added):

As of Aug. 6, Preferred One had 59 percent of the individual market MNsure enrollees. Blue Cross Blue Shield was a distant second at 23 percent, with HealthPartners, Medica and UCare much further back.

Preferred One got such a large share, because they had the lowest rates of the five insurance companies in the program.

And I’m going to hazard a guess that the bulk of Preferred One’s customers were the ones who were getting the lowest subsidies – i.e. the ones that MNSure was counting on to pay the bills for the subsidized, high-risk customers.

It’s possible this could signal big rate increases to be unveiled in early October, and that could have a significant impact on the elections.

“One of the big land mines looking out over the campaign will be when MNsure announces its new rates for health insurance premiums,” University of Minnesota political expert Larry Jacobs said. “If those go up by 10 percent, some have even suggested 15 percent, then that could really shake up this election.”

So let’s get this straight:  because of Democrat/DFL medding in healthcare, you can’t keep your doctor, but your rates will skyrocket. 

Just wanna make sure we’re clear on this. 

Of course, since there are DFLers involved, “clarity” will be hard to come by:

State Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Minn., also commented in a statement saying in part, “MNsure is a marketplace where consumers can compare and shop for quality health insurance. It is no different than Target or Cub Foods in that some products will come and go. Preferred One may be leaving, but MNsure still has great products.”

Of course, that’s lunacy.  MNSure would be like “Target or Cub” if the state made it illegal to shop at Aldi, and taxed you extra for shopping at Kowalski’s.

Oh, yeah – and if the state paid low-income people to shop there, maybe:

Anyone who has PreferredOne through MNsure can still directly renew through the company, but they won’t get the government subsidy. To get the subsidy, they will have to choose a different insurance plan starting Nov. 15.

This is what the DFL hath wrought.

RELATED: Big Left squirts tears, blames capitalism, pimps single-payer.

The Democrats’ War On The First Amendment

Kevin Williamson’s conclusion:

The only thing stopping federal authorities from suffocating free speech — not only by independent groups such as the SBA List, but by individuals, trade groups, National Review, and the New York Times — is the First Amendment.

And Harry Reid wants to gut it. Figure out why that is and you’ll know everything you need to know about the Democratic party, which with each passing day functions less and less like a political party and more like a crime syndicate.

What led him to the conclusion?

Well, here’s the opener:

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Dissent is the lowest form of crime. If you are a drone in the hive of the Left, it is possible — easy, in fact — to believe both of those things at the same time.

Just read the whole thing.

Call It A 2016 Election Dress Rehearsal…

DFL Representative Steve Simon is running for Secretary of State against GOP endorsed candidate Dan Severson. 

He’s had kind of a rough race so far; during the primaries, he came in with barely over 40% of the DFL vote, against a perennial candidate (Dick Fransen, who’s sort of a downmarket Ole Savior) and an unknown.  He’s got no name recognition to speak of (as compared to Dan Severson, who is a former state rep, SOS and Senate candidate). 

So he’s gotta get some name recognition – “popularity” – somehow, between now and November.

Now, as of last summer, Simon had a set of Twitter followers that, quite frankly, would befit a candidate who could only eke out 42% in his own party’s primary; around about a thousand or so.

Then, suddenly, BOOM: he was over 70,000 followers.

A case of Steve-mentum?

Probably not. It would seem the Simon campaign has chosen to try to buy some popularity – at least on Twitter:

20140915-164219-60139821.jpg

A “TwitterAudit” shows that at least 55,000 of Simon’s 70,000 followers are probably fakes.  An email from a GOP analyst explains:

This typically indicates that someone has purchased a list of fake subscribers.

Some of the earmarks of “list buyers” are:

  • Twitter accounts that are in a foreign language (paging thru his followers, it’s remarkable how many are in Russian, Asian and Arabic (yes, Arabic)
  • Twitter accounts that have no image of a real person next to them, but instead just have what is called the “Twitter egg” – again, paging thru Steve’s followers, it’s clear that a majority of his followers are “eggs”.

Check out the Twitteraudit yourself.

If this is how he runs his Twitter account, imagine what he’ll do for the voter rolls!

“But wait, Merg!  Lots of people, yourself included, have lots of spam followers on Twitter!  I mean, look at how popular you seem to be with 18 year old Filipinas!”.  Spam followers are certainly an issue on Twitter – everyone’s got ‘em – but having one’s number of overall followers multiply by almost two orders of magnitude in less time than it’s taking me to type about it is not just the sign of some staff intern getting happy fingers on the “Follow!” buttons. 

“But Merg!  Maybe Simon’s account was hacked!”.  Maybe.  Show us the evidence that a “malicious” “hack” just happened to inflate a less-than-popular candidate’s numbers into Twitterverse regional A-lister levels, and we can talk. 

I’ll wait. 

But I’m not going to hold my breath, if it’s all right with you. 

Continue reading

Trulbert! Part XI – Rumor Of Warp

 - 8AM, October 28, 2015 – Behind “The Stretchy Premise Cafe”, Downtown Minneapolis

It was a chilly, clear morning – even inside a red wool blazer, like the one Jared Voorhees was wearing.  He also wore a red wool “Jets” stocking cap over his normally sculpted mop of blond hair.

t had been a rough month for the Jets – once Minneapolis’ most powerful street gang.  First, there had been the escalating series of battles against the Sharks, who came repeatedly to street fights armed with handguns and submachine guns, making short work of Jets and their switchblades and broken bottles.

Then – it was hard for Voorhees to believe it’d been just a few days – the decapitation attack against Lester Sommerfeldt and the rest of the Jets’ leadership, outside Cafe Acrimony, just a few blocks away.  Continue reading

They’re Gonna Need Another “War On Women”

Two years of “war on women” rhetoric gets the Democrats…

bupkes:

Women surveyed said they disapprove of Obama by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin — nearing an all-time low in the poll. It’s almost the reverse of the 55 percent to 44 percent breakdown for Obama among female voters in 2012, according to exit polls.

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 His approval rating among women has slipped four percentage points from a year ago and 16 points since his second inaugural in January 2013, when his approval was 60 percent among the group.

 I’d like to think it’s because women felt the Democrats were patronizing them, and that they’re smarter than that. 

I said I’d like to think it. 

Oh, yeah – and yoots are unamused:

Among younger voting-age Americans, Obama’s approval rating stood at 43 percent. That marked an 11-point drop since June among those 18 to 29 years old. Voters younger than 30 supported Obama by 60 percent to 37 percent in 2012.

I’m not one of those who thinks that the whole world needs to turn on the wishes of the under-thirty set; most of them will be changing their minds, one way or another, between 25 and 35 anyway.

More Abuse

The same prosecutor who approved a pre-trial diversion program for football player Ray Rice, a fairly routine step in New Jersey for first-time offenders (especially non-violent ones, which Rice was not alleged to be) - and the judge who ordered the diversion – is doing his best to throw the book at a 27 year old black single mother of two whose only “crime” was inadvertently driving into Camden, NJ with a handgun that was perfectly legal in Philadelphia, and for which she had valid Pennsylvania carry permit.

Shaneen Allen wants to know what makes her so different from Ray Rice.

Allen, a 27-year-old Philadelphia mother who says she mistakenly entered New Jersey with a handgun legally registered in her state, was not accepted into a pre-trial intervention program, unlike the former Baltimore Ravens running back who was caught on an elevator surveillance camera punching his then-fiancée and current wife. The disparate decisions, made by the same prosecutor and approved by the same judge, leave Allen facing more than three years in prison and Rice free, though disgraced. 

It was entirely a matter of the prosecutor’s discretion – and that of the judge confirming the decision:

Atlantic County prosecutor Jim McClain recommended Rice for the program in May, months after denying the single mother’s application. And Superior Court Judge Michael Donio, who signed off on the agreement that spared Rice jail time, denied a motion by Allen’s attorney to force McClain to reconsider.

Let’s make sure we’re clear on what happened:  Ms. Allen crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge from Philly into Camden.  Before she could turn around and get back to Philly, she got pulled over for a routine traffic stop.  When she showed the cop her license and insurance, she also showed him her carry permit and said she had a gun in her purse.  That might have been too much honesty – according to her attorney, Evan Nappen (with whom I spoke last night while sitting in with Mark Walters on “Armed American”), the judge told her she was, basically, in trouble for being honest.   It may also have not been a bad idea; if the cop had for whatever reason seen or found an unannounced gun, it could have gotten sticky.

Ms. Allen’s trial has been rescheduled, and switched to a new judge – which is probably a good thing for her.

But there’s a great question for the people of New Jersey; why are there two tiers of justice in Atlantic County?  One for former Rutgers football stars, and one for commoners?

 

NoH8!

When gay marriage activists sold the idea of same-sex marriage, their key points (other than the “if you disagree you are teh bigot!” that most of the lower-information supporters prattled endlessly) were:

  1. The idea that marriage is purely about raising children is obsolete – people who don’t intend to, or can’t, have children, are married all the time, even in churches. 
  2. With the idea of procreation left out of the equation, why, really, shouldn’t two people who love each other be able to be married?

This, of course, introduced some new questions; if, indeed, “love” is the basis for marriage, why can’t three or more people love each other enough to get married, by that same token? 

There was one other case I’ve been wondering about for the past few years; what kind of “love” do we mean, here? 

Who Wrote The Book Of Love?:  There are different kinds of love; the Bible breaks “love” down into three categories:

  • “Eros” – physical attraction
  • “Philos” – “brotherly” love, or deep friendship
  • “Agape” (pronounced:  “ogg-OPP-ay”):  unconditional love – usually associated with divinity, sometimes also of the “Greater love hath nobody that they lay down their life…” variety.

The Vapours:  With that in mind, gay groups in New Zealand are up in arms over a couple of guys – Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick, who happen to be longtime utterly heterosexual pals – who got married as part of a radio station promotion. 

They are not amused: 

 Otago University Students’ Association Queer Support co-ordinator Neill Ballantyne, of Dunedin, said the wedding was an”insult” because marriage equality was a”hard fought” battle for gay people.

“Something like this trivialises what we fought for.” The competition promoted the marriage of two men as something negative,”as something outrageous that you’d never consider”, Mr Ballantyne said.

LegaliseLove Aotearoa Wellington co-chairman Joseph Habgood said the competition attacked the legitimacy of same-sex marriages.

“The point of this competition is that men marrying each other is still something they think is worth having a laugh at …

Both of these gentlemen bring up two responses:

Yuk It Up:  In a free society, marriage – no matter who is doing it – is always worth having a laugh at.  There is no right not to be offended. 

More seriously?:  Mr. Habgood’s organization’s name, “LegalizeLove”, should give you a hint here.

Gay activists convinced a plurality of representatives that “marriageable love” didn’t just involve people who practiced “Eros” in the heteronormative manner. 

So why must marriageable love include “Eros” (to say nothing of “Eros” between just two people) at all?  By the standard we’ve been convinced/forced to accept, all love is equal.  Why not “Philos?”

(And if the “Deep brotherly love” is only “love of Rugby”, as indeed seems to be the case?  Love is love, dammit!)

Cue The Outrage Industry:  Perhaps it’s time for “Philos” activists to take to the streets to fight for Pal Marriage.  To combat the “Homonormative” hatred that is denying rights to other people whose love for each other is no less valid than that of any gay couple. 

NoH8!