While Building The Case That “Public Schools Are Essential For Democracy”…

…one might be well-placed to shuffle past the Minneapolis Public Schools’ latest collective bargaining agreement:

To be, uh, fair, it doesn’t mean all white teachers get laid off before all minority ones. The union would never go for that.

No, just that honkeys are first people at any given level of seniority to get whacked.

One of the proposals dealt with “educators of color protections.” The agreement states that if a non-white teacher is subject to excess, MPS must excess a white teacher with the “next least” seniority.

“Starting with the Spring 2023 Budget Tie-Out Cycle, if excessing a teacher who is a member of a population underrepresented among licensed teachers in the site, the District shall excess the next least senior teacher, who is not a member of an underrepresented population,” the agreement reads.

That’ll fix that achievement gap…

Feminists Need Not Apply

New play about Joan of Arc portrays her as…

…you guessed it.

Forget about cultural conservatives. I’m waiting for the world’s feminists to rise up in anger at the trans mafia that is appropriating and canceling womanhood itself (without which the Joan of Arc story is just another insurgency).

POUNCING – Minneapolis Geography Edition

What is it with DFL politicians who don’t live where they say they live?

Hennepin County requires its sheriffs to live in Hennepin County.

Dawanna Witt, the DFL-endorsed, primary-victorious “progressive” DFL candidate for Hennepin County sheriff, apparently doesn’t, according to Rebecca Brannon, apparently the only journalist in Minnesota who’ll cover Democrats:

But there are questions….

…prompred by Candidate Witt herself:

Unlike the soon-to-be-retired (no doubt to a posh non-profit gig) John Thompson, Wittr is at least apparently in the right state.

But that is not, legally, close enough for county work.

Just Like They Say, Nothing Good Ever Lasts

I’ve wondered for years; what would it be that forced Walmart, finally, to end its quaint, small to midsize southern city tradition of allowing RVs and campers to stay in Walmart parking lots overnight?

I always figured it would be a lawsuit brought in someplace like the Twin Cities.

We don’t know how Walmart is going to react – but the suit has arrived:

Essie McKenzie alleges that Walmart’s policy to allow RVs and other vehicles camp in their store parking lots led a California couple to stay overnight in August of 2019, and eventually use a hotplate that started McKenzie’s van on fire with her two children sleeping inside. The lawsuit alleges wrongful death, and says by allowing people to camp with no supervision, permit requirements or sanitation, Walmart has maintained dangerous conditions on store grounds.

I suppose it’s inevitable – everything that is good and innocent must be crushed, or turned into an opportunity to transfer more wealth to the regulatory class.

Yeah, I’m getting a little peevish about it. I don’t even own an RV.

Berg’s 24th Law Is New Yet Omniscient

Last week, President Biden said this:

And the left social-media bashibazuks spent the rest of the week repeating it as if – aaaaalmost as if – driven by a coded algorithm.

Why, it’s aaaaaaalmost as if the Democrats know they can count on stupidity, incuriosity and inability to reason to bring out the vote for them.

Victory Celebration

In previous years, when the DFL won elections in Minneapolis and Saint Paul by Iranian-election-level margins, their activists would gather at “victory” parties and chant “We own this town! We own this town!

I wonder if they’ll be doing that this year?

Well, some people were out to celebrate: last night, as criminal sympathizers moved to the ballot for Henco Attorney and Sheriff in November, it’s hard to miss the constituents celebrating:

You’re right, DFL. You own this town

Ray Of Hopelessness

I wouldn’t say there was much in the way of “surprises“ in the primaries last night. Mostly confirmation of existing hunches, and a brief stab of hope followed by waves and waves of confirmation that Minneapolis is not only screwed, but seems hell-bent on participating in its own screwing.

The marquee race, Don Samuels tackling Ilhan Omar, ended up a lot closer than I, or anyone, I suspect, figured it might.

That is painfully close. A few hundred people who kvetch about crime turning out? A few hundred Republicans crossing over? An errand thunderstorm? All could’ve affected the results enough to retire Omar.

I have to expect the results surprised congresswoman Omar as well; she ran almost no television, and a fairly languid campaign up until the frenzied (and occasionally tone deaf) tour with The Squad this past week. Primaries usually draw the party’s loyalists to the polls – the hard-core who also go to caucuses and the next layer outward. In Minneapolis. that generally means white, upper-middle-class progressives, and public union employees. I haven’t looked at the precinct results yet, but I have to suspect Samuels started getting people to the polls who normally wait ’til November, if at all, to vote.

Omar pulled it off by two points. If she doesn’t focus on crime, and Minneapolis continues to deteriorate, someone else – Samuels, or some new law and order DFLer – might have a shot.

Which is probably the closest thing we can find to a silver lining on the next two races.

In Hennepin County races, the top two finishers in the primary go onto the general election. and if the choices of the county voters gave themselves last night are any indication, there is going to be a big opportunity for a “law and order“ candidate in two years.

It’s hard to come up with an adjective phrase even softer than “soft on crime” to describe the choices that will move to the November ballot. Mary Moriarty and Martha Holton Dimick will be the “options“ this fall for Hennepin county attorney. Mori

And for sheriff, committed progressive Dawanna Witt will square off against Joseph “Who?” Banks. When Witt wins, she will make Dave Hutchinson look like Ted Nugent.

Last night – at least as re the CD5 DFL primary – was a little spasm of common sense and protest voting in the highest profile race in the city, the results are fairly clear; the people who come out of the primaries are fine with Minneapolis’s status quo.

On the other hand, the DFL finally cut itself loose from its biggest public relations boondoggle of 2020; John Thompson got pummeled, with a level of voting that suggests orders went out from party HQ:

And in house district 52 a – the area around my radio station – the reliably moderate, center left Sandy Mason got pummeled…

by…

Liz Reyer.

Liz who?

I don’t know who she is, but she pulled off the exceptionally difficult combination of “ELCA hair“ and pink. Not just literally, but figuratively and morally:

So Eagan has moved from center left to “Alandra Cano“ territory.

On the GOP side: Jim Schultz beat back a challenge from Doug Wardlow, to advance to run against Keith Ellison for Attorney General this fall.

Every time I see these, I have to ask – who are the 12 freaking percent of people who vote for Sharon Anderson?

I’ve got nothing against Wardlow; I’ve emceed or spoken at five of his fundraisers over the years. but I’m having a bigger and bigger problem with people defying the party endorsement. Especially after saying they would honor it.

Speaking of honoring endorsements: in the new 33B, endorsed candidate Mark Bischofsky prevailed over Tina Riehle, a candidate supported by most of the GOP brass (including Kurt Daudt and Karin Housley, who took a break from opining for the sanctity of the endorsement to float Riehle against the endorsed candidate, for reasons I am just not advanced enough an intelligence to figure out)

Here’s hoping the GOP can pull it together enough to get behind the primary winner, and flip that very winnable seat.

I’m Curious

Is there someone out there, anywhere, who read this:

…and thought “Hmmm – government is clearly not working for my family, and the “Inflation Reduction Act is clearly a turd that will raise prices…

but he ended it with the word “Period”.

Hmmm.

He must be onto something”?

Conversations I’d Like To Have

Roughly a fifth of American adults don’t want to have children:

Our estimate of the number of childfree people is much higher than past national studies, which placed the percentage between 2% and 9%. This likely happened because our measurement focuses on a person’s desire to have children, not their ability. This is important because a person can be childfree whether they are biologically capable of having children or not…Our findings depart from research conducted in the 1970s, which found that childfree adults tended to arrive at their decision later in life after postponing parenthood for many years. Earlier decisions may reflect changing norms toward parenthood and an increasing recognition and acceptance of a childfree lifestyle.

Before you ask? The study does in fact distinguish between people who haven’t decided yet, and those who can’t have children for medical reasons.

The bad news: this means 20% of Americans aren’t going to be bringing anyone into the world to take care of them – literally, financially, politically any other way – when they get to the stage of their life when they need help. Someone else’s kids will be taking care of all that – from paying Medicare taxes to literally changing their diapers.

The good news: They are disproportionally, although not completely or overwhelmingly – in Blue America.

Empty

A friend of the blog – and fellow Saint Paul resident – emails:

Our Councilperson, Mitra Jalali, recently tweeted about how wonderful it would be to permanently close Snelling to make it pedestrian/transitway only. Someone sane asked the question about where traffic would be re-routed. Someone who apparently has been blind to what the construction of the light rail on University has done to local businesses responded that “traffic will tend to disappear because non-locals won’t pass through and locals will walk more places.” Well, actually that person is partially correct and partially paying attention- traffic disappears because everyone will find a new place to be. But, where the person is oblivious is locals won’t walk more places because those places will disappear as they did on University Avenue.

Anyway, Little Africa Fest happened this weekend and a portion of Snelling was actually closed off to cars and was pedestrian only. I like the local African restaurants, so I checked it out, hoping to get some good food. It was 6pm in the evening. The event started around 11am, I believe, and was supposed to go on until 10pm. There was quite a lot of activity happening at Hamline Park and it was very crowded there. That is good. Those businesses deserve attention and it was a community festival with the local businesses setting up booths. But, as anticipated, nothing happening on the closed part of Snelling Avenue. No real apparent reason to close off Snelling Avenue. In fact, if we permanently closed off Snelling Avenue, this is how it would look 24 hours a day. No one walking, no real activity happening.

#vibrant!

The close the streets people say that closing some streets to cars, or “building streets for people” would actually make neighborhoods safer. I must say I didn’t hear any sirens going on during the festival- but perhaps that might have been due to the heavy visible police presence in the neighborhood for the festival…

On the one hand, a street that is genuinely closed probably makes a bad getaway route.

On the other hand, if there is no business, and thus no potential victims on the hoof – that’s a little like destroying the village to save it, isn’t it?

Berg’s Law: Stare Decisive

It’s been a while since we inaugurated a new Berg’s Law.

But it’s high time.

Berg’s 24th Law Of Rhetorical Predictability: Democrat politicians can, and routinely do, say anything they want, regardless of honesty or even factuality, confident that their audience, while theoretically “educated”, has no capacity for critical thought”.

We’ve seen this writ large…

…well, no. We’ve seen this writ small, venial and a little bit pathetic this past week or so, as Governor Walz has gone out of his way to take credit for a “Middle Class Tax Cut”…

…that he fought:

The only reason Governor Flanagan and Mr. Walz have “never raised a tax” is because of that single-vote, and later 3-5 vote, MNGOP majority in the Senate.

But Flanagan and Walz made the claim in the Farmfest debate, and it’s on their TV ads that have been inundating local TV this past few weeks.

Why?

Because they know local media will never check them on it, and DFL voters can’t think critically anyway.

They could say “2+2=Abortion”. and every ELCA-haired crone at every coffee shop in Crocus Hill and Kenwood will nod their head and chant it back in response.

It’s why it’s called a “Law”.

Play Your Bets

I have no idea why it Michael Beschloss a blue check.

But let’s place a little bit, if not with him then with ourselves:

It’s entirely possible he’s right. Abortion, and abortion alone, could Blunch watch polls today say will be a red wave.

But if it doesn’t?

What is the opposite happens? What if The “Rod wave” actually happens?

Will that be a referendum on the Supreme Court?

I’m going to post this for the morning after the election, just to make sure I ask Beschloss, if that’s what happens.

I Saw The World Change In The Blink Of An Eye

It finally happened; I’m at an age when I get to spend time correcting younger people about the misconceptions some older people are giving them about “my” time.

Maybe it’s just me – but I’ve been noting a little surge of questions – and revisionist answers – about the 1980s, lately.

I’ll stick with the question:

I’ll take a run at that.

No, Mr. McGeoch and anyone else with the question – they were even better than most people today credit them for.

Do yourself a favor and watch the movie the movie “Miracle”; the opening montage *brilliantly* shows how depressing US life was in the ’70s.

Here it is.

If you are of a certain age, you can almost feel the depression of that era – the malaise that plagued us for that miserable decade – creeping over you.

We know how the movie – and the game whose story it related – ended; a two hour movie about a one hour game boiling down to one of the most memorable minutes in the history of television:

The decade took a little longer, and was a lot more suspenseful.

It wasn’t just that we bounced back from the economic malaise of the ’70s, and the ’82 recession (as bad as 2008) in a way that seems *miraculous* today. Although to a guy getting out into the world at the time, that was pretty good timing.

No – it was much bigger.

In the ’70s, Communism – the bloodiest dictatorships in history – was at its peak. And while the success of Ronald Reagan’s goal of extincting the USSR has a thousand fathers today, in 1980 literally nobody thought they were going away.

People today think of the Cold War as a cultural punch line – but it was no joke, kids.

I grew up in missile country, during the height of the cold war, between two SAC bases. I grew up very aware the world could get incinerated in minutes if some colonel in Moscow or Colorado Springs had a bad day.

I was *never* going to have kids in a world like that. This was something I knew when I graduated from college. Why bring someone into the world, just to have them die with you, and the rest of civilization? What was the point?

And over the course of that decade, the USSR – the most murderous regime in history – went from being the “other” superpower to…gone.

The threat hanging over all of us and everything we did…

..vanished.

In 1980, the entire American intelligentsia said the Communist world was here to stay. Anyone who says that they didn’t think so is lying.

And yet:

Even his own staff thought it was too reckless. The Democrats? Forget about it.

And even though I was living in the middle of it at the time, I didn’t quite believe it. Even as the Berlin Wall fell…:

…I couldn’t quite believe it.

I’ve cited Miracle; I’m going to drop the other pop culture bomb. Things still hadn’t sunk in for me when I was working at at Top 40 station. This song came out:

It’s “Right Here, Right Now” by Jesus Jones. They’re a trite, flash in the pan British post-new-wave band. But it was the only song (other than the Scorptions Wind of Change) about that bit of history. I can’t think of a whole lot of pop culture artifacts about “watching the world wake up from history”.

It’s a trite bit of new wave pop – and I get a catch in my threat when I listen to it, to this day.

Because it came out about the time that the USAF, which had kept nuclear bombers on alert 24/7 for literally 40 years…stopped. Hundreds of missiles got retired.

And it was like someone lifted a steamer trunk full of bowling balls off my chest. I have no idea how to relate that to someone who wasn’t there.

Bob Dylan didn’t have this to sing about
You know it feels good to be alive

Other than perhaps to hope one gets the significance that my oldest was born a year later – into a world that was safe enough to think about it. And for all the jabbering about “revolution” that the generation before mine had inflicted on the world, this? This was revolutionary.

All because of what happened in the ’80s.

I saw the decade in, when it seemed the world could change with the blink of an eye.

And it didn’t end there. With the end of the Cold War, a tidal wave of defense effort turned to civilian uses. All that American ingenuity that had spent the ’70s and ’80s helping tanks hit their targets while driving at 40mph, detecting Soviet submarines hundreds of miles away, went into civilian goods. The GPS in your smart phone started out in smart bombs. Your car’s airbag’s origin story was in the fire detector in M1 Abrams tanks. This blog comes to you via ancient Department of Defense project eventually called the Internet.

It was the “peace dividend”. Bill Clinton (with the invaluable assistance of the last actually conservative GOP Congress forcing him to the right) got to cash it. The economy went on the longest boom in history.

It would not have happened without the events of the 1980s.

That’s the fun, nostalgic part. I spent my late teens and early 20s watching the world wake up from history.

But as another song put it, nothing good ever lasts: Mr. McGeoch’s entire generation grew up knowing little about the era but what they’ve been told by the people who write the memes, who shoot the TikTok videos, write the cultural punch lines – while at the same time benefitting from its results as no previous generation in human history. Two generations have grown up thinking that the world that started in 1989 was the natural order – or, simultaneously better and worse, not having to think about it all that hard.

It’s not. Mankind’s natural state is for the strong to dominate the weak; for those with the will to power to control those without. The moral arc of history is long, but almost always – but for this past 200-odd years – bends toward tyranny and barbarism.

And it can all go away like *that*.

I saw the world change in the blink of an eye” when I was 26.

I’m seeing it change back in a long, slow, masochistic drip drip drip.

Like the seventies – only much more serious, this time. Perhaps because I’m old enough and well-read enough to know the consequences. Perhaps because the people driving us toward what appears to be an even deeper, grayer nadir are not comic book villains in tanks, but people in our own country, with PhDs and blue checkmarks.

It’s game-time…

…against ourselves.

Hope that answers the question.

Crisis Management

An apparent teenager was shot and killed on the Nicollet Avenue LRT platform on Tuesday afternoon, in broad daylight, during a Twins game.

#DowntownIsBack #Vibrant!

Minneapolis’s progressives sprang into action against the real problem

…which is apparently “people who point out that Minneapolis has a problem”.

If only people would stop talking about crime, it wouldn’t be a problem, would it?

We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

Now, last month I was reliably informed that an “activist” Supreme Court had banned abortion.

So this just can not be: a referendum to repeal Kansas’s constitutional protection of abortion failed, and failed hard, yesterday.

Why, it’s almost as if all the Dobbs decision does it require pro-choicers to do what us Second Amendment activists have been doing for fifty years; go out and convince voters, and elect legislators, create a cultural push in favor of, uh, killing babies throughout all nine months of gestation and beyond.

Which, to some extent, is what happened in Kansas. Sort of:

The result is bad news, but supporters of the abortion license are giddily overreading it. The instant line is that the result shows that a backlash to Dobbs will be powerful this November. And it’s true that the referendum appears to have driven turnout in the state. This suggests to me a few potential advantages for pro-abortion Democrats this fall. They can do very well in places where a pro-life referendum is on the ballot, especially one that can be presented as effectively banning abortion without exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape; and maybe also in some places where legislators are on the verge of enacting such bans (or can be presented as being on the verge of it).

Will they be as successful in turning out their vote in the many places where those conditions are not present? Tuesday night’s result in Kansas will yield Democratic confidence about the answer to that question. It could turn out to be overconfidence.

And even in Kansas, I think pro-lifers ought to come back in a few years with another ballot initiative, this one establishing a gestational limit on abortion: at fifteen weeks, for example. There is no reason pro-lifers should take this deeply disappointing vote as the last word anywhere.

I said “sort of”:

There are two takeaways from this:

  1. Pro-lifers, after operating for fifty years with the paper ceiling of a “constitutional right” to abortion emanating from a penumbra, suddenly have to do the same thing pro-infantiders and 2nd Amendment people do; convince voters. There appear to be a fair number of Republicans in Kansas who fall somewhere in the middle, and need to be convinced.
  2. That’s a lot of Republican turnout, isn’t it? Looks like the Democrats are going to need abortion to turn out the base.

As The Kids Get Ready…

… for another year of school, their teachers are getting ready as well:

“Interrupting whiteness“

Now, here’s a little dirty little secret of mine; I can and do ignore people who create new adjectives by adding “–ness” to the ends of nouns, willy-nilly.

When I first started hearing “progressive“ activists jabbering about “whiteness“ a few years back, I got to confess, I ignored it. The idea that there is some essential, internal racial trait that unifies a term that covers Armenians and Norwegians, or Italians and Irish, is the kind of laughable absurdity you get from… Well, racists who are trying to pound facts into shape to fit is theory.

It’s always hard to pick which leftist pathology to ignore, and which to take seriously.

Of course, looking at the “crowd“ in this photo, I’m not sure I would take them “seriously“ if they weren’t all intimately involved in teaching the children of whatever parents weren’t smart enough to get them out of the Minneapolis Public schools…

Justice

Woman in the Phillips neighborhood of south MInneapolis describes the break-ins and arason that followed her criticism of a neighborhood “homeless camp”:

“This would not happen in Kenwood. This would not happen in Lowry Hill, in Linden Hills. This would not happen by the lake. We’re on our 18th camp in a six-by-six neighborhood,” that homeowner told us when explaining the last two years.

She is fearful for her safety after what happened at her home. It’s why we are not showing the woman’s face or using her name.

After being out of town, she came home to a horrible scene two weekends ago. Every room in the house where she’s lived for 20 years was ransacked.

“Everything destroyed and torn apart. Doors kicked in. Everything I owned [was] trashed. Stolen. Bags of stuff stolen and taken out of the house,” she said.

She believes it was retaliation for speaking out about homeless encampments in the neighborhood.

The woman may be anonymous. but she knows how things work in a modern, “woke” city:

The woman was candid about what’s gone on.

“So, when the city talks about equity in every breath, every breath they say ‘in the eyes of equity.’ I’ll just say it’s bullshit, because if it was in the eyes of equity, they would be containing crime here in the Phillips community,” the woman said.

Liz Collen at Alphanews has the whole story:

When people can’t count on government to keep them safe, they’ll figure out a way to do it themselves. And that’ll get very ugly, very fast.

The Mother Of All Debacles

Watching the ongoing slow dripping failure of the Southwest Light Rail line, it’s temping to remember a time when American could actually accomplish big public infrastructure projects.

Forget for a moment the breezy authoritarianism that went behind such projects as “Urban Renewal” and driving interstates through neighborhoods with less clout than their neighbors – that’s part and parcel of government “getting things done” whether your goal is to drive from Cleveland to Detroit or to stop the spread of a disease with a 99+% survival rate.

But there was a time when this country did get big projects done; the canal system, the coastal forts, the transcontinental railroad, the Panama Canal, the Tennessee Valley Authroity (again, forget the low-grade totalitarianism), the Interstate Highway System.

Those days seem to be over. America just doesn’t finish big infrastructure jobs anymore.

It’s a long read – but this piece notes the dismal record of American public infrastructure work since the beginning and failure of California’s “High Speed Rail” (HSR):

Despite its failure, the HSR project inaugurated the U.S.’s megaproject era. Once a rare type of project, by 2018 megaprojects comprised 33 percent of the value of all U.S. construction project starts. An alarming number of these have spiraled out of control for many of the same reasons that killed the California bullet train. The decade that followed the financial crisis was a kind of inflection point in the industry; this was when construction projects became noticeably worse and when the long-term implications could no longer be ignored. One of the most cited studies of the U.S.’s declining ability to build reviewed 180 transit megaprojects across the country, revealing that today, U.S. projects take longer to complete and cost nearly 50 percent more on average than those in Europe and Canada.

Having joined Kiewit in 2010, I witnessed these changes first-hand. I have since moved on, but have remained in the broader industry, including working on what are called “strategic pursuits”—the process by which companies compete for megaprojects. This experience has provided insight into the mechanics of how these projects are awarded and why they so frequently fail.

You can fill in “Southwest LIght Rail” (and some Twin Cities-y locations) at virtually any point in the piece, and it still makes sense.

Misinformation

The Star Tribune is complaining about “misinformation” today. You may hit a paywall (I did), and i”m not giving them any money.

Sort of unrelated aside: today is the fifteenth anniversary of the collapse of the 35W River Bridge, in downtown Minneapolis.

An event which prompted the most obscene tidal wave of concentrated disinformation I can recall – mostly, former Strib “Senior Columnist”, the late Nick Coleman, who beclowned his newspaper in print and on national TV by blaming Governor Pawlenty, and tax-accountability groups like David Strom’s “Taxpayers League”, for the collapse before the last of the bodies were cold. It was the most craven display of “journalistic” abuse on the local level, ever.

In the intervening years, the Strib’s fortunes have fared about as well as the late bridge. The Strib managed to do some good reporting on the story – but along with the photos and the survivor interviews, it’s hard to separate that story from Nick Coleman on MSNBC, bellowing bug-eyed at the camera about Tim Pawlenty’s responsibilty…

…for an engineering mistake made in 1967.

The bridge is back. The Strib is still here, technically. And “misinformation” has become an industry that’d boggle Nick Coleman’s mind from the great beyond.