Things Continue To Go Just Great!

Brooklyn Park WalMart to close:

Walmart spokesperson said after a “careful and thoughtful review process” the company made the “difficult decision” to close the location on Friday, April 21. 

In a statement, they added that the store didn’t perform  “as well as we hoped” and didn’t meet the company’s financial expectations, but employees will be able to transfer to another store.

This follows on the heels of Target announcing they’ll be closing their Uptown mini-store. With that closing, the chain’s explanation made sense; the price of the land in Uptown was higher than the low-service mini-Target was worth.

For now.

As to Shingle Creek Crossing? It’s not land values. The shoplifting got it.


Social media droogs from Crocus Hill and Northeast are chortling, thinking the store will be turned into an abstract performance space or something.

Social Justice

So maybe not all HR people are remedial:

I’d love to see if that is still true at companies that officially embrace “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” (DEI), or if the actual hiring managers at companies that adopt such frippery also find potential employees like that to be a complete pain in the ass, too…

Tina Smith: Filthy Liar

Senator Smith took to Twitter to shill for “ESG“ – rules that require businesses to make decisions based on “Environment, Social Credit, [woke corporate] Governance l” other words, replacing fiduciary responsibility with “woke“ “social justice“ (read: Marxist) values.

there are really only two possibilities:

  • Smith really is this ignorant.
  • She knows she can count on a majority of her voters being this ignorant.

Given the last few elections in Minnesota, #2 isn’t the dumbest strategery .

Inconvenient, Energy-Dense Fact

A friend of the blog emails:

I was at Pheasant Fest last week and the American Petroleum Institute had a booth. Not sure why, but I believe it’s because so many pipelines cross pheasant country.

Well I told the guys I want a tee shirt that says ” I like fossil fuels!”.   

He told me, “That’s great! My idea was “The oil industry saved the whales!” 

I’d take that shirt too

Someone get a business card to that guy.

All Things Dispensed With

I worked in radio long enough that I make a point of never revelling in the job misfortunes of others.

So yesterday’s news – 10% staff layoffs at National Public Radio – don’t provoke a happy jig. I wish em all luck, even the most useless mid-level bureaucrat among ’em.

But…has the organization learned the right lessons?

(Emphasis added):

When asked about his priorities, Lansing invoked what he has called the network’s “North Star” since his arrival in the fall of 2019: a push to ensure the network has a bigger and broader audience base, rooted in younger and more diverse listeners, readers and consumers. The emphasis, he says, must be on drawing in “the future audience to make NPR sustainable for the next 50 years.”

“Younger”? Well, over the past decade, the network has sure jammed down more than its share of breezy mediocrities (“It’s Been a Minute”, “The Moth Radio Hour”) – not sure if yesterday’s news is a verdict on that.

As to “more diverse” – they’ve tripled down on antagonizing half their audience. Even their “game shows” carry the message; the once excellent “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me“, which used to include the late PJ O’Rourke as a regular panelist, has become as lively and politically unpredictable as “Late Night with Steven Colbert“.

But you remember above, when I said I didn’t take joy in others misfortunes?

Well, I’m going to ask forgiveness for this, since I’m going to make an exception. Emphasis added:

The layoffs are in keeping with an increasingly grim landscape for media companies over recent months. Vox Media cut jobs by 7%; Gannett and Spotify by 6%. The Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, eliminated its Sunday magazine and a handful of other jobs. After becoming part of Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN cut hundreds of jobs and killed off its brand-new streaming service, CNN+.

Maybe it’s not “joy”. Maybe more “I told you so”.

Except Vox. That’s pure childlike joy.

No Way No How Signs Of Collapse Nosirreebob

One of the symptoms of a strong, thriving downtown, is when multiple outlets of a popular store chain, selling a common addictive product to locals and passersby, close en masse.

Haines – good news! – that’s exactly what’s happening!

Minnesota-based Caribou Coffee is reportedly closing some of its downtown Minneapolis shops in the near future.

Four stores, including three in the skyway, will be closing at the end of next month, as a part of Minneapolis’ continued renaissance.

Worse Waitress

After twenty years on Eat Street, “Bad Waitress” – as perfect a metaphor for life in a city run by Democrats – has abused its last customer.

“When we opened The Bad Waitress, we set out to serve our friends and neighbors better food with a fresh approach. We’ve believed since the start that brunch makes everything better – but this time, it couldn’t save the day,” the Cohens wrote. “We hope you’ll join us for one last lunch date, boozy brunch, mid-morning coffee, or to use your Bad Waitress gift card before we close our doors on Sunday, January 29.”  

They actually had two locations. The other one, up in Northeast, closed…

…oh, just you guess when. 2020. You got it.

But remember – don’t you dare say Minneapolis is in a death spiral.

While I wish the folks at Hell’s Kitchen all the best, after some of their wokiness, I can’t help but wonder if the wolves aren’t circling the door.

Best Intentions

Black owned detailing shops, immigrant owned restaurants and Vietnamese run nail salons come and go constantly throughout Minnesota. They come and go without much comments from the gatekeepers of popular culture.

but high concept, restaurants, especially the ones that clean closely to the progressive narrative? They get saturation media coverage, coming and going.

“Common Roots”, a high concept restaurant in south Minneapolis, got breathless media coverage when it opened a few years back. And with a mission statement like this, it’s no wonder:

‘According to their website, the eatery was operated around the values of supporting local farmers, being environmentally sustainable and providing living wages and benefits for employees.’

With a set up like that, you know how the story ends, don’t you?

“While we dramatically reduced our monthly losses during the course of the year, the business still will end 2022 with a large financial loss. We are still only operating at roughly half the sales we did prior to the pandemic. Our margins were thin in good times, but there’s absolutely no possibility of the budget working at anywhere near the volume we are at now,” Schwartzman wrote.

And I’m sure there’s no link, no way, no, how, between the fact that principal collided with reality:

He added that last week he was informed that staff wanted to unionize, which forced him to “take a fresh look at the overall state of the business.”

“I fully support the labor movement and would have loved being able to run a union business,” Schwartzman wrote, but said he “couldn’t commit to moving forward if I didn’t have confidence I would be able to keep the business open under all the very many different strains the business is under.”


So, your principles have unsustainable prices?


Vibrant! Vibraaaant! VIBRAAAAAAAAAAAANT!

II had to double-check to see I hadn’t clicked onto the Babylon Bee by accident.

Alas, no.

Minneapolis, reacting to the latest round of retail closures, is starting a – I swear, I’m not making this up – “Vibrant Downtown Storefronts Workgroup” to try to make downtown, for lack of a better term, suck less:

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey convened a “Vibrant Downtown Storefronts Workgroup” this week following a string of recent high-profile closures.

“Cities that see the most success post-pandemic won’t cling to the old ways that are now changed forever,” Frey said in a press release. “Here in Minneapolis, we will step boldly into the future, guided by the top experts in our region, prepared to innovate and adapt. Minneapolis has always been a hub of commerce and innovation, and I am confident that this workgroup will help ensure we continue carrying that legacy forward.”

The workgroup will be co-chaired by Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the mpls downtown council, and Gabrielle Grier, managing director of Juxtaposition Arts.

So – downtown is starting a vibrant storefronts working group but downtown is back and it never really left and if you say otherwise you probably drive a minivan and live in Maple Grove.

Circling The Drain

The hits keep coming for Minneapolis, as more restaurants  are calling it quits:

In Minneapolis alone, a number of long-standing institutions have called it quits. Rock Bottom Brewery, Seven Steakhouse and Sushi, Williams Pub and Peanut Bar, Amore Uptown and Stella’s Fish Cafe to name a few.

Some of them date back to long before I moved to the Cities – in this case, Asia Chow Mein in Columbia Heights:

“It was very hard to decide that,” Ng said. “At first, I was going to have my son take over, but now with so many obstacles and so many unknowns in this industry, I just hate for him to take over and he will be struggling like we have the last three years.”

Winnie said what served as a mold for success the prior generation, is one that no longer fits.

“The American dream maybe is for our parents,” Winnie said. “Because they think, immigrate here, they will make a better living, a better education for the kids. But I really don’t know what the outcome would be if we were to stay. I still have cousins and people back home and they’re doing really good too, you know?”

Ng said she is grateful for the sacrifice that her and Tim’s parents made. She recognizes the difficulty of moving to America, without speaking English, with the hopes of providing a better future for their children. She admired that they took the time to learn English, to navigate American cities, to learn how to walk in the snow, to learn to love eating American food.

In completely unrelated news, Downtown merchants and other leaders are trying to figure out what to do to revive downtown

…which is back,and also never went away and has no crime or vacancy problem, and if you think it does you’re a rube from Waconia or Maple Grove.

Proof Of Concept

How certain is the DFL that at least a plurality of Minnesota voters just aren’t very good at logic, civics or critical thinking?

Sure enough that they’re treating the $17 Billion “Surplus” a big win for progressive governance, and proof of some divine mandate:

What it actually is, of course, is a combination of:

  • BIllions of dollars in federal Covid stimulus dollars
  • The normal Minnesota DFL overtaxation…
  • …with receipts driven up by inflation in the cost of the goods being taxed
  • All that taxation and inflation going on over an epipandemic surge in stimulus-swollen consumer spending

Mark my words – and I have marked them myself, with “to dos” on my calendar on the first Mondays ijn December of 2024 and 2026: the following will happen:

We’ll check back on this.  Oh, yes we will. 

Heavy-Handed Metaphor Alert

A bar and restaurant explicitly aimed at revitalizing Downtown, and at “bringing Minneapolis together”,as a “place of healing for people” as one of its owners said, and overturning the image of downtown Minneapolis as a crime-ridden area enmeshed in a death spiral, has…

…oh, do I even need to finish the sentence?

I mean, let a thousand lights shine and all. It takes more gumption to try to open a restaurant downtown than I, for one, have.

But some of this stuff just seems to be the cosmic equivalent of taping a “kick me” sign on your back. The “Baghdad Bob” vibe alone was just tempting Murphy’s Law…

In March, a bartender at Ties Lounge & Rooftop told Alpha News that downtown Minneapolis is “very, very safe,” even though the city had released data at the time showing increased thefts, gunshot victims, and assaults in the area compared to the previous year.

…even if crime, and downtown’s eroding status as a destination, didn’t do it first.

New Feudalists Vs. The Free Market

Remember Compact Fluorescent Bulbs?

Government and the expert class all but brought them to your house and forced you to change out incandescent bulbs at gunpoint. Government tried to jam them down with by force of law, notwithstanding their cost (to purchase, and to dispose of), and their many other drawbacks.

And then, just about the time the jamdown was complete, the free market came up with the LED bulb: cheaper, better light, easier to dispose of (and they last longer, so there’s less need to dispose of them) and they use even less energy.

Point, free market!

That same expert class is saying we need to switch to electric vehicles to “save the planet”.

Steven Hayward at Breitbart spells out how there’s no rational way to look at this as anything but returning the world to feudalism.

Hate flipping through Twitter threads? I unroll the thread, below the jump.

We’re already getting there, under “unusual” (for the moment) circumstances.

Of course, yet again, the free market may well have a better answer – more sustainable (especially if society kicks its unscientific superstition about nuclear power), more affordable, and capable of keeping the world, not just the top 10% of it, mobile. More on this in the future.

Watch to see how the would-be ruling class tries to gundeck hydrogen power.

Continue reading

Downtown’s Back, Baybee!

If proclamations made with muted, Minnesotan gusto were correlated with economic results, Jacob Frey’s exhortations would have downtown Minneapolis humming along like Dallas.

Alas, they do not. Some of downtown’s signature office towers are ailing financially:

 The 30-story LaSalle Plaza in downtown Minneapolis is scheduled to go to auction next week after the previous owner, the Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois, avoided foreclosure by transferring the building to its lender, Northwest Mutual.

Nearby Fifth Street Towers is facing the same fate and may also go back to its lender this month, according to Axios’ sources who were not authorized to discuss the matter.

And it’s not just your garden-variety class-AAAAA office space. It’s the big daddy of all the downtown office buildings (emphasis added):

Real estate analytics firm Trepp is keeping tabs on IDS Center — the city’s most iconic office tower — due to a 77% occupancy rate and the loss of Nordstrom Rack from Crystal Court, said senior managing director Manus Clancy

Rumors of downtown’s non-demise appear to be premature.

Let Them Eat Lima Beans

I can’t be the only one to have read/seen this NPR piece on controlling the cost of the Thanksgiving meal and thought it read like early-seventies Pravda, can I?

The article concocts “replacements” for the main components of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner:

Turkey is by far the most expensive thing on the table. Turkey prices have risen about 50% in the last two years, largely because of production slowdowns and an outbreak of avian flu [and, of course, trillions of dollars poured into the economy – a fact NPR goes to great lengths to avoid talking about. Ed]. On average, a 16-pound bird will run you $28.96 and stuffing (prices are up about 70%) will run you $3.88.

NPR Global Economics Correspondent Stacey Vanek Smith decided she would stick with meat for the main dish (many vegetarian options are cheaper), even though that’s not easy. Meat prices have risen significantly across the board: Beef, chicken, fish and even Spam are all pricey. So Stacey opted for pork. Specifically: bacon.

Stacey’s local grocery store was selling family packs of bacon for just $4 apiece. And, of course, a little bacon goes a long way.

Instead of stuffing, Stacey sliced some tomatoes — a relative bargain that she hoped could be put to use with leftovers to create a new holiday tradition: The Thanksgiving BLT.

The worse news: it’s not the their worst idea.

They took a photo – and I swear, this is not a Babylon Bee spoof:

This article alone could be a Casus Belli for a second civil war.

Tuesday’s Gone

Fleshing out my first thoughts on the most recent election:

In Minnesota, the age-old wisdom prevails: money talks, bullshit walks. Tim Walz is sputtering fool, but he will be governor for the next four years. Unless his A1C level approaches triple digits, it’s highly likely he’ll complete his term and step aside for another sideshow act once he passes his sell-by date, some time around 2027. The DFL has the money and the infrastructure to control this state for the foreseeable future and the GOP has nothing. The DFL proved they could elect any droolbucket with a brand name when they pushed Mark Dayton across the line in 2010 and 2014. A guy with Walz’s skillset and mien wouldn’t get beyond middle management for any respectable company in the state, but he’s won twice. We can see all see it for what it is, but it doesn’t matter in the slightest — for the fourth election running, the DFL showed Team Rocks and Cows their ass. I don’t doubt they’ll find another standard bearer who is (a) absurd and (b) likely to win in 2026.

Keith Ellison is corrupt as the day is long, a 30-year grifter. He let a $250 million fraud run without interruption for the better part of two years. He’s now won statewide office twice. We’re pretty far gone if he can’t be defeated. I don’t doubt Jim Schultz is a competent lawyer, but his affect was of a guy who doesn’t get out of the conference room nearly enough and he was too nice a guy to run against a bully. To take the AG’s office back, the Republicans need a crusading litigator type who can prosecute the prosecutor and expose the rot within. There has to be one of those out there.

On the national level, it has to be said: Donald Trump didn’t help. He was and continues to be horribly wronged by what he’s gone through at the hands of his persecutors. And since civic education in this country is essentially dead in the water, most citizens can’t recognize that Trump is living example of why the Founders were against bills of attainder. Having said that, Trump will never get a sympathetic audience. He’s an obnoxious boor and he can’t get past his own solipsism; if he had even a scintilla of self-awareness, he might understand where he is, but we’ve been watching him for well over 40 years and that’s not in his skill set. Trump fancies himself the indispensable man, the conquering hero, but if he sincerely loves his nation, he’d recognize that martyrdom is a better career move. Not a chance in hell he’ll accept his fate, though.

Aside from the utter domination of Ron DeSantis in Florida, election results did not go well as one might have expected. Even so, the Republicans could still flip the House and the Senate. Based on reports from Arizona and Nevada, the Republicans could get over the line despite the Fetterman debacle in Pennsylvania. It appears likely that Adam Laxalt will win his seat in Nevada and there’s reason to believe Blake Masters may squeak by with Kari Lake becoming the governor in Arizona. Meanwhile, Herschel Walker will be going to a runoff in Georgia and has a good chance of prevailing this time. Even if the Senate ends up 50/50 again, I can imagine Joe Manchin may try to cross the aisle to save his ass in 2024. What will be interesting is whether Mitch McConnell would want him. I am not convinced McConnell enjoys being majority leader; he has more opportunities for self-enrichment in his current position.

Meanwhile, the Donks own the next two years. And they are going to hate that. There is still an urgent need for them to ease out Biden before too long, but they aren’t going to have an easy path to removing him, unless they decide to use Hunter Biden’s depredations as the pretext. Still, they will need a plausible successor. Kamala Harris impresses no one. Gavin Newsom is an empty suit. Pete Buttigieg? I don’t think so. Maybe it will be time for President Fetterman. 


Tulsi Gabbard is sick and tired of the Democrat party, and she’s not going to take it anymore:

Click on the tweet to read the entire thread over on the hellscape Musk might buyoughts

A few thoughts:

The Key Log: As Berg’s Seventh Law foretells, one of the reasons that Democrats like to harp on the “extremism” of the GOP is to deflect away from their own. One can hope the popular Senator from the very blue state might be the crack in the dam that brings out this century’s “Reagan Republicans”.

Speaking of Reagan: There’s at least some conventional wisdom that Gabbard has made this move to put her name in the VP stakes for 2024.

“She’s a LIBERAL”, some of my conservative friends say.

Let’s back up a moment.

One of Ronald Reagan’s great bits of genius was his ability to reach across the aisle to get people to pull together on the issues that mattered to his agenda. His agenda, by the way, was two items: right the economic ship, and destroy communism. He used his bully pulpit to push others to make headway on other issues – abortion, 2nd Amendment, the border – but he kept his own political powder dry to get the deals he needed made with Dems like Tip O’Neil on the 1982 Tax Cuts, and with the AFL-CIO’s Lane Kirkland on assisting the Eastern European labor movement against the USSR.

So – could a future Republican president focused on our society’s current enemies – the deep state, stagflation and China – benefit from reaching across the aisle to a center-left “libertarian” Democrat who shares those concerns (in as many words, in her statement above)?

It’s worth a look.

Spit Hits The Tracks

The good news for Republicans: all those price drops in gas will likely turn around and head north again starting Friday.

The bad news: the apparently upcoming rail strike is going to bodge up a good chunk of the rest of the economy.

And you’ve probably heard next to nothing about it. The typical Democrat-voting schmuck driving down Grand Avenue certainly hasn’t. Jim Geraghty:

We live in a country where the (currently) ruling political party and most of the national media have a symbiotic relationship. (Jen Psaki started work at NBC News this week.) One of the problems with this dynamic is that when the ruling class decides something is important — say, emphasizing the issue abortion as the midterm elections approach — it tends to squeeze out everything that the ruling party doesn’t want emphasized.

Don’t get me wrong; abortion is a hugely important issue to many Americans. You can read more about South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham’s bill from Alexandra DeSanctis and Charlie Cooke and John McCormick and Kathryn Jean Lopez.

But there are a lot of things going on in this world, and one issue that seems spectacularly under-covered — a ticking time bomb, if you will — is that starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday, or about a day and a half from now, if there isn’t a deal between freight-rail unions and employers, the U.S. economy comes to a screeching halt and . . . well, the term “derails” seems fitting.

Trains transport most of the crude oil that produces the gas we pay too much for. And with trains transporting none of it, gas get scarcer. Also – everything else produced with crude oil.

Not to mention the coal that powers all those electric cars that Governor Klink wants to force you into, to say nothing of providing a fair chunk of the nation’s heat in the winter.

To say nothing of the food that is already inflating faster than many Americans can afford, especially given that this is happening right at the harvest time that provides so much of the food that people will be eating until next year.

But yeah, by all means keep talking about abortion and Mara Lago.


I caught this Twitter thread last week, and wanted to make sure I got a chance to talk about it. It’s by Andrew Hammel, an American living in Germany. The first people to pass it around to are all of your friends who still think Angela Merkel was the real leader of the free world over the last six years.

After that? Pass it on to all of your friends and relatives who think that “Social democracy – Socialism lite – is financially self supporting, and doesn’t depend on literally everything going perfectly.

And while it’s about European macro economics, there is an inevitable Minnesota angle below Mr. Hammel’s piece, which follows. And speaking of Minnesota – whenever “Germany” is mentioned in the piece below, fill in “Minnesota”. It doesn’t all fit, but enough of it does that it’s worth sitting up and taking notice.

I think many Germans don’t realize how the energy crisis directly threatens Germany’s future as a prosperous country. Germany has a huge bureaucracy and social-welfare apparatus, and provides comparatively generous subsidies for the arts.

Universities are free, which means the taxpayer pays for them, and lots of vocational training is also heavily subsidized.

Where does all the money to pay for this come from?

If you ask the typical lefty voter, they have only the vaguest idea: Big companies and the rich people in modernist villas who always turn out to be the real killer on German crime shows.

The German media do a terrible job conveying the basic principles of economics and management to viewers and listeners, so most Germans who aren’t engineers or executives or factory workers or otherwise directly involved in producing goods don’t really understand where Germany’s wealth comes from.

But no, the only reason Germany can afford all these dead-weight investments which don’t yield any returns (or only indirect, generalized, time-delayed returns) is because Germany makes things people want to buy.

That’s what brings the money in. Germany doesn’t have many natural resources (at least, that it is willing to recover), so those don’t bring in the cash. Germany’s exports are the main, nearly the exclusive, source of its wealth.

Germany has much higher manufacturing costs than many other comparable countries, and the only way it can keep competitive is through a well-educated workforce, efficiency, high technology, and high quality.

That’s what generates enough value added to make it worthwhile to produce something in Germany, rather than in Hungary or China or the US or Russia, where all input costs are cheaper.

But the energy crisis has the potential to nearly or completely destroy this competitive advantage.

When energy costs are merely three times what they are in a competitive country such as the USA or Romania or China (depending on the product), German efficiency and technical quality and brand reputation can make up for that.

When energy costs rise to 10 times or even 15 times those of competitive countries, and the markets become convinced this is a lasting situation, Germany becomes unsustainable. It becomes impossible to manufacture high value-added products for a profit within Germany.

They may be designed in Germany, but they won’t be made there. It will just be too expensive, period. There’s no way to make the numbers work.

And this leads to long-term erosion of the tax base.

Gradually the money dries up for things which aren’t vital to the survival of the country. And what are those things vital to the survival of the country? Massive government subsidies to make energy and food affordable to the average person.

This is where much of the budget of many developing countries goes right now: to subsidies on diesel and wheat and rice which enable ordinary people to be able to pay their (artificially reduced) bills.

Half of the time you read about riots in places like Indonesia or Egypt, the cause is the government being forced to reduce subsidies on food and energy, often by a mandate from the IMF.

Once Germany reaches the point where it has to subsidize energy and food to prevent social unrest – something it’s about to start doing right now – then money for non-essential things dries up.

Those things include generous welfare, arts subsidies, free education, generous pensions, etc. There will be even more privatizations, and many arts institutions will simply go bankrupt.

Train travel might become something reserved (even more) for the well-off, since (1) subsidies which keep the Deutsche Bahn (even remotely) affordable will disappear; and (2) the average German consumer will not have enough disposable income to pay for a non-subsidized train ticket. Universities will gradually wither on the vine unless they introduce tuition fees, and even then, they’ll shut down entire degree programs which don’t channel graduates into well-paying jobs.

Goodbye humanities, it was nice knowing you.

Sorry regional symphony orchestra, we can’t afford you anymore. Bye-bye small museum, you’re becoming an Aldi. And sorry 2nd-oldest church in Hepperhausen, there’s no money to maintain you anymore.

We can just barely afford the 1st-oldest church, which we have to keep up because it’s a tourist attraction, and we are desperate for every tourist dollar.

And all those state-funded “streetworkers” and “night buses” providing basic assistance to the growing numbers of homeless? Sorry, you’ll have to find money elsewhere.

And then Germany will find itself in the trap many developing countries find themselves in: It will lack the productive industries needed to support the subsidies which it must continue paying to avoid social chaos.

It will go further and further into the red, and will need help from outside entities. And those entities will point out that the only way out of the red is to cut the broad subsidies for basic survival.

Which Germany won’t be able to do without plunging millions of people into genuine, real, not-enough-food-to-eat poverty.

Germany will survive, of course, but it will keep getting steadily poorer and poorer.

And that is very bad for a country’s psyche, since humans regret what they have lost much more bitterly than they regret losing a chance to get something they’ve never had. Deaths of despair will increase, as they did in Russia in the 1990s.

This is why the energy crisis poses a grave threat to Germany’s future as a prosperous country. There is still a way to avert it, but certainly not with the strategies currently favored by the administration. We’ll see whether the EU can pull a rabbit out of the hat.

I’m not optimistic.

The side angles – about things that Germans do when things break down – are too obvious and awful to think about.

Minnesota, and US, angle: we don’t have the Soviet…er, Russian government shutting off gas and raising energy prices by an order of magnitude.

Or do we? I mean, this winter is going to suuuuuuck, and we’ve got a governor who thinks, like Angela Merkel, that shutting off nuke and coal plants and driving people to solar and wind power makes perfect sense.

Originally in this tweet thread:


This may be the most badly-aged tweet of the decade so far:

sometimes it feels like the world is in a race between those who are inventing fusion Power too cheap to be metered, and those who are trying to send us back to the 1600s as serfs to the progressive nobility.

The Best Of Hands

So on Tuesday, Brandon banged his sceptre on the floor of the palace and bade $20K to disappear from student loan balances, forthwith.

And his reasoning was the same, sober statesmanship we’ve come to expect from Brandon:

Unanswered – and, as far as I know, unasked by most of the media – does he actually have the authority to unilaterally erase loan balances and transfer it all to the deficit?

Of course notnot if you take enumerated powers seriously:

As of yet, Congress has provided no authorization for the executive branch to arbitrarily write off some of the money that borrowers owe to taxpayers. As of yet, Congress has passed no rules that allow down-on-their-luck presidents to throw money at people for political gain. As of yet, Congress has given no instruction that if the president’s friends might like a little more cash, he can raid the Treasury to give it to them. Certainly, Congress has set up a loan program. But the deal there is rather simple, all told: First you borrow, and then you pay back what you borrowed. There is no mention of “forgiveness” days or of “help” or of rolling Chekhovian jubilees, and by pretending otherwise, President Biden is making a mockery of his oath to uphold the Constitution.

To be fair and accurate, there’s never been any indication Biden understood that oath, even before his senescence.

But mark my words: colleges – their endowments untouched – will start telling prospective students “Borrow whatever you need – there’ll be another forgiveness soon”.

You and I, and our grandchildren, will be paying off the loans of these

Stumble Of Faith

I’m a conservative, and a Christian.

And I cringe at some of the things said in the name of “conservative Christianity“.

Which I hasten to add, because some of the things I’ve seen from “progressive Christians“, including some friends and classmates, this past few days have had me cringing even more.

Three things, specifically:

“Christ came to earth to forgive mankind‘s sins – so if you oppose loan forgiveness, you’re not a very good Christian“.

This is not “loan forgiveness”. This is transferring the loan to people who didn’t borrow it.

Will it benefit some people? Sure, it must be nice to have $10-$20,000 in balance disappear.

But this political act has nothing to do with Christ’s grace – dying for the sins every individual commits. It’s more like rounding up randos off the streets because someone else committed a murder. 

“It’s predatory lending!”

You can make that case. But unfortunately, the “forgiveness“ will do nothing to change that. In fact, it will only accelerate the “predatory“ lending, since everyone applying for those “predatory loans“ is going to figure “the first $10,000 is going to be free, again, anyway…“.

In fact, if the administration had sat down in a room to figure out the worst possible solution to student debt, this would’ve been it.

They could’ve made universities, with their hundreds of billions of dollars of endowments, share some of the risk. They could’ve even just cut interest rates.

But no. Fighting predatory lending by making everyone else pay is like fighting street crime by dumping piles of wallets out on the street and hoping people will stop holding other people up.

“New Ministers Go Deep Into Debt – and Don’t Make Much Money”

A couple of (it’s fair to say) “liberal” clergy I know have pointed out that their denominations require a Masters in Divinity (MDiv) to be ordained – which can cost up to $200K, as much as law school or medical school – but their first jobs out of seminary pay something close to minimum wage. And it’s fair to say outside Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar and Pope Frank, nobody goes into the ministry to get rich.

But isn’t that a little odd – an academic discipline (a product and service) that pays badly, and doesn’t necessarily cater to the children of immense wealth, costing well into six figures? I mean, if “products and services for people without a lot of money to spend on them” were prone to spontaneously inflating out of reach, the McDonalds cheeseburger would be $25.

At any rate – presenting this as a gesture of Christian grace is cynical, manipulative and profoundly wrong.

Cranking The Screws

If it seemed to you that the Administration and Dems jammed down the “Inflation Reduction Act” – an agglomeration of “Build Back Battered“ and “Green New Deal“ policies – really really hard?

You were probably right. It’s because people are losing interest in “climate change“:

mericans are less concerned now about how climate change might impact them personally — and about how their personal choices affect the climate — than they were three years ago, a new poll shows, even as a wide majority still believe climate change is happening…Overall, 35% of U.S. adults say they are “extremely” or “very” concerned about the impact of climate change on them personally, down from 44% in August 2019. Another third say they are somewhat concerned. Only about half say their actions have an effect on climate change, compared with two-thirds in 2019.

The story is, in fact, more climatemongery, and goes on to try to re-bury the lede – but between the lines, the message is there; other priorities are taking over for people in the real world, outside the upper-middle-class progressive bubble.

And if people ever make the connection between the output of the “green/sustainable/equitable“ mafia policies, and the depression in their standard of living, that’s going to be a big problem for the greens.

Poor people don’t solve problems.