Is The Plural Of Conundrum “Conundra?”

So let me get this straight:

It’s impossible for people to get and keep a government ID, making voter ID laws “unfair“…

… but we’ll implement a “vaccine passport“ that is simultaneously accessible and will protect personal health and medical information that will be the baseline needed for people to participate in business, social life and travel?

Seems perfectly rational.

Fully As Expected

Big Left has had to reckon with the idea that, among major states, Florida and its science-driven approach to Covid has been more successful than the states that Big Media cast its lot with last year.

And by “reckon”, I mean “try to undercut, among the ‘try-not-to-think-too-hard’ crowd” that is the “progressive” base.

The Atlantic tries to cover both sides of Florida’s approach. And the story makes a decent shot at fairness of a sort:

If you want to say something declarative that will be proved wrong in a few months, I strongly encourage you to comment on Florida. Liberals projected that the state would suffer disproportionately for its casual approach to the pandemic, but its deaths are in line with the national average. Conservatives hailed the state for its open-air and open-business approach to 2020, but the available evidence doesn’t seem to prove that Florida’s economy is doing exceptionally well compared with those of its southern neighbors.

And, in fact, the story notes that Florida’s record, on Covid fatalities and economics, is relatively middle of the road:

As far as I can tell, though, it didn’t. At 4.8 percent, its unemployment rate is 18th in the country, and not meaningfully different from that of the median states, South Carolina and Virginia, at 5.3 percent. Real-time data tracking state spending and employment show that Florida is doing, again, no better than average. Compared with January 2020, its consumer spending is down 1 percent, which is right in line with the national average. Its small-business revenue is down about 30 percent—again, almost exactly the national average. These statistics may be missing something. But the national narrative of an exceptionally white-hot Florida economy doesn’t match the statistical record of its performance.

I mean, true – as far as it goes.

But that wasn’t the standard that was set for Florida, then or now .

Nearly a year ago, the media looked up from polishing Andrew Cuomo’s toenails only to confidently predict Florida’s policies would lead to a Walking Dead-level die-off that never came.

The Atlantic piece compares Florida with the average, and finds it right there.

But the valid comparison is with New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts – states with the opposite, media-blessed approach.

Consequences. Unintended And…

A friend of the blog emails:

Essentially this article blames the pandemic as the reason for higher Minneapolis property taxes next year.  The reason is because commercial real estate in the city has been jumping so much over the last 10 years before 2020, home owners have not seen as much increase in property taxes.  It’s all relative.  The city spend money like a drunken sailor and has been able to pass that on to the growing apartment buildings, restaurants, other commercial ventures that have popped up in the last 10 years.  That growth has halted and I predict commercial properties and values will decrease which will shift the burden to homeowners.  Get ready homeowners.

2020 has changed all that.  Part of the change is the pandemic as businesses realize they can keep workers working at home and reduce the amount of office space needed.  But it is also true that businesses will not move into a city that has no police force and allows blocks of businesses to be looted and burned.  Target is downsizing.  There wasn’t even a thought of the Canadian Pacific merger of having the headquarters in downtown Mpls where it is now.  Who thinks Minneapolis will see a Final Four or a Superbowl in the next 10 years?  The airheads running the city have created a bigger mess than just the pandemic.  I am glad to see my favorite establishment, Brit’s Pub, has re-opened but I am not tempted to go there even in daylight due to the dangerous downtown. 

Right now I am watching the discussion on the local Nextdoor.  People are noticing a big jump in their assessed home values yet their property taxes are stable and some even falling a bit.  The respite in tax increase this year is a big head fake.  The 2022 property taxes will increase mightily as these higher home values will shift a big piece of the real estate base from business to homeowners.  Maybe not if the city’s spending can be cut.  Unfortunately those cuts will likely come from the police force which is already being decimated by resignations and retirements.  The city can just recognize reality that they cannot retain and recruit enough badges.    My heart is sad for my beloved Minneapolis.  The local voters have been mislead by the local media and the chickens have come home to roost.  They will appeal to the state of MN for help.  God give backbones to the state legislature to say “NO.”  Just say “no” as Mpls voters caused this problem, they need to fix it.

Let this be a cautionary tale for other cities.  You don’t want this.

The same story can be said for all of Hennepin County. This will affect them as well.

Two observations.

First: when the MInnPost is too far to the middle for a Democrat machine…

Second: This is what a death spiral looks like.

See also: Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Newark…

…well, you get the idea.


The Strib is trying to shame people into getting the Covid vaccine:

Let’s apply this (for sake of argument) “Logic” to other patterns of behavior, shall we?

  • People who are “child free by choice” are “demographic moochers”. Everyone else’s children are going to have to pay the taxes and premiums to support them in their dotage, as well as their own parents.
  • People who live bike and transit-centered lifestyles are “fiscal moochers”. The taxes that pay for their bike lanes, paths, and transit routes and vehicles are paid, extremely disproportionally, by drivers and their gas taxes.
  • Those of you who are getting vaccinated, as opposed to getting and recovering from Covid the old-fashioned way, are moochers on multiple levels.
  • People who net out at no taxes paid in are “tax moochers”. The benefits they disproportionally receive are paid in their entirety by others.

Please see to this, Strib.


Worse Than The Disease

Science: Draconian lockdowns are, at best, of no real effect in containing the effects of Coronavirus:

The Associated Press picked up on the theme over the weekend, finding that states which enacted tight restrictions on commerce and other activities performed no better in preventing coronavirus deaths or confirmed infections. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, for instance, imposed some of the most draconian curbs in the nation. Florida was at the opposite extreme. Yet “California and Florida have experienced almost identical outcomes in COVID-19 case rates,” the AP reports, and both rank in the middle in terms of deaths per capita.

The latter is even more significant given that California’s younger demographic means that a higher percentage of Florida residents were at high risk for serious virus complications.

The AP also highlights the contrast between South Dakota and Connecticut, which are both among the 10 worst states in terms of death rates. But the latter was much more aggressive in restricting the actions of its residents, while the former took a laissez-faire approach.

While there are obviously many factors in play when making comparisons between the states, such anecdotal evidence is in line with a peer-reviewed Stanford study of eight countries — including the United States — published in January that found “no clear significant beneficial effect” from stay-at-home orders and business closures.

Politics: “They’re not about containing viruses, silly deplorables”.

Look Through Any Window (With A Correction)

“Look through any window, yeah. What do you see?”

If you follow the directive from the classic Hollies single, you can see a lot of things – smiling faces all around, little ladies in their gowns, bits and pieces of a typical Minnesota spring.

One thing you will not see, in this second Covid spring in Minnesota, is deciduous leaves on your trees.

So when Governor Tim “One Minnesota” Walz announced earlier this week that he and members of his staff were quarantining due to (yet another) Covid exposure, people – not the media mind you, just people – asked a lot of questions.

Why isn’t he vaccinated?

After a year, how does this keep happening?

And now – thanks to a friend on social media – another question the media won’t be bothered to ask.

Where the flaming hootie hoo is the Governor, where…

…you look through any window behind him and see green on deciduous trees?


I don’t think so. I mean, if you’re in southern MN, are the trees leafing out yet? Leave a comment.

Color me green with disbelief.

UPDATE – on second glance, the tree appears to be some sort of pine.

To paraphrase a certain former president, when you run a blog that roasts DFL hypocrisy and media indolence, you do get tired of winning. But not, apparently, this time.

Not Invented Here, But Pay No Mind

As predicted – Biden is claiming copious credit for things Tump actually did.


When President Trump began promising a vaccine before the end of 2020, no one believed him. The Hill ran a piece headlined, “Trump’s new vaccine timeline met with deep skepticism.” NBC News published an article titled: “Fact check: Coronavirus vaccine could come this year, Trump says. Experts say he needs a ‘miracle’ to be right.” Similarly, ABC News ran a report titled, “Trump promises coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year, but his own experts temper expectations.”

Back then, vaccine skepticism, which is now nearly universally condemned, was acceptable at the highest levels of our politics. Asked if she would take a vaccine approved prior to the election, then-vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris said, “Well, I think that’s going to be an issue for all of us.”

Now, these same vaccines are a key part of the success story that Biden wants to tell about his response to the pandemic, and so the Trump effort has to be ignored or run down. Biden has referred to “the mess” he inherited, and Harris has said that “in many ways we’re starting from scratch on something that’s been raging for almost an entire year.”

I was intensely skeptical that there’d be a vaccine in less than a couple years, this time last year. It wasn’t a bad bet, historically speaking.

That Biden and Big Left are taking credit for the miraculous performance of Big Pharma is…

…well, not unexpected.

It Might Explain A Lot

If your state budget is spending too much on old people and people with developmental disabilities, the easiest way to lighten the load is to kill them.

Joe Doakes

Far-fetched? Maybe.

But what are the downsides?

I bet a shiny new quarter Cuomo suffers no long-term fallout. As to the governors of states with policies no less apparently cynical and deadly – Massachusetts, New Jersey – who would know ?

Hand To Hand Combat

What would this blog do without Representative Ryan Winkler?

Not spend nearly as much time mocking and taunting, that’s for sure:

Of course I’m selling Winkler short. He knows that after a year of squatting on small businesses, levying the worth of families by “essential”, non-essential or just plain above it all, and putting kids’ interests and science behind those of the Teachers Union, his claim is baked wind.

But Winkler knows the most important fact of all: the DFL base is complacent, ignorant and just as sodden with self-satisfied hubris and Winkler himself. If any of them could think critically about anything, they wouldn’t be DFLers.

Hope I’ve settled that.

Facts Leaking Through

While this article bends over backward to sandbag Florida’s perfomance (pointing out that if California had Florida’s per capita death rate that its death toll would be lower, without accounting for the radically different per capita ages and population densities), it’s hard to get around the fact that Florida, run by conservative Ron DeSantis, is doing much better than its “competitors” in Covid resonse, California, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

A Litmus Test

If you believe in anything America is supposed to be about, then the phrase “The Governor is giving permission for people to…” (fill in some normal thing, like gather in groups, hug their grandparents or go back to work) should be more offensive than snuff porn.

Should government be able to temporarily pause things under a state of emergency? Under some exceptional circumstances, with legally-defined exit criteria (y’know – like Florida has, and Minnesota doesn’t), it might be a lesser evil.

Advise people to modify their behavior for the community good, and sanction irresponsible behavior? Like in Florida or the Dakotas? Much better – where “perfect” is impossible.

But grant “permission?”

The phrase – which has been popping up in mainstream media with nauseating regularity – is an obscenity that must be fumigated from the American vocabulary.

And Just Like Magic

After a year of hysteria, of gaslighting, of “Karen” nagging you from behind four masks, of plush-bottom public union employees telling unemployed waitresses “we’re all in this together” via Zoom from their ranch houses in Apple Valley, suddenly, after one barely coherent speech in the wake of the signing of an immense power grab disguised as a pork barrel bill…

…everything is OK?

So let’s get this straight – after a year of dictatorial control, now Minnesota is “ready?

And “we” are “ready” after a near majority have re-opened, without their governors publicly rolling around in the glory and majesty of their own omnipotence like Scrooge McDuck cavorting about in a vault full of quarters?

Yes. Yes, they are. Suddenly, “hope” is acceptable. Quadruple-masking? Scary new variants?

Pish-tush! The only thing to fear is fear itself! Happy Days Are Here Again!

The House majority leader, as if on cue:

And finally, Ryan Winkler tells (the second cousin of) the truth. While the pandemic was and remains real, the Minnesota government’s response has been entirely contrived to sway the election, and to give the political class a “big win” (they’ll let the media handle that for them) to use to evangelize transforming society into Big Left’s vision.

If It Seems Logical, Karen Can’t Follow It

So what’ does Karen – the iconic (and unisex) cultural metaphor for the joyless, passive-aggressive scolds who pass their time hectoring others about their masks, their distancing, their attitudes about Covid in general – do with their time?

Several possibilities suggest themselves:

  • Go for walks. Alone. Wearing masks. Alternatively, they’ll walk their dogs. Alone. With masks on both parties.
  • Surf panic porn on the internet.
  • Gossip about “deniers” of…whatever they believe.

One thing “Karen” has not done since, most likely, April?

Read any current research on now Covid actually spreads (that isn’t vetted first by institutions that benefit from broadcasting panic porn).

CDC study buries the lede, notes that asymptomatic transmission is very rare, even among people with extended close personal contact:

The text of the analysis is even more consequential than the CDC’s reference makes it seem: “Estimated mean household secondary attack rate from symptomatic index cases (18.0%; 95% CI, 14.2%-22.1%) was significantly higher than from asymptomatic or presymptomatic index cases (0.7%; 95% CI, 0%-4.9%; P < .001), although there were few studies in the latter group. These findings are consistent with other household studies28,70 reporting asymptomatic index cases as having limited role in household transmission” (emphasis added).

The 0.7 percent figure includes not just people who never show symptoms of COVID-19, but people who haven’t yet shown symptoms—two groups that have been alleged to be major factors driving the spread of the virus. This is a major data point often underplayed or even challenged in much media coverage of the virus.

The key, if not central, rationale for non-pharmaceutical interventions such as masking, distancing, and staying at home is allegedly significant transmission from people who don’t show symptoms. If the contagiousness of people without symptoms is not what drives the spread of SARS-COV-2, then no COVID restriction on public life besides staying home when you are clearly sick could be justified, considering the obvious negative consequences of these restrictions.

The 0.7 percent figure might even be a modest estimate of overall asymptomatic/presymptomatic transmission because the studies were among household contacts only—people who have close and extended contact with one another daily.

It doesn’t seem especially counterintuitive – spreading a disease

  • whose primary mode of transmission is airborne water droplets full of the virus ,and
  • where airborne water droplets primary launching mechanism is the cough or sneeze, which is in fact a symptom

…might be correlated with people coughing.

Pass this along to any teachers – or at least teachers union reps – you might know .

We Should Have Listened To Larry Pogemiller All Along

Wow, Governor Walz is a miracle worker.  Despite having the entire state economy locked down for a year with no end in sight, his administration now forecasts a billion-dollar budget surplus. So that should end his call for higher taxes, right?


“But some DFL lawmakers want Walz to stand firm in his call for higher taxes on top earners, corporations and smokers. They say it’s about tax fairness and societal opportunity as much as a deficit fix.”

Hang on, there is no deficit, there’s a surplus, so that explanation makes no sense.  And taxing top earners makes top earners flee the state; taxing corporations makes corporations flee the state; and smokers are overwhelmingly lower income people making that tax the most regressive of all of Walz’s proposals.  Where’s the fairness in that?

Puts me in mind of the when Minnesota Democrat legislator Cy Thao accidentally spoke the truth: “When you guys win, you get to keep your money; when we win, we take your money.”

Joe Doakes

Not to mention that time Larry Pogemiller admitted he really believes government knows better what to do with your money than you do.

Like Charlie Brown Lining Up For A Kick

I’ve been citing Turkish-via-UNC/Chapel Hill sociologist Zeynep Tufekci’s work on bringing actual scientific thought to the response to Covid almost as long as there’s been a pandemic.

There is literally zero evidence that Tufekci’s latest article in the Atlantic, 5 Pandemic Mistakes We Keep Repeating, is aimed at the Walz administration and the MDH. But as Texas re-opens, Florida’s approach is largely vindicated, the wheels come off the California and New York approaches, and vaccines start to dribble out to the population, the thought of copying a link to the piece to the Governor is tempting.

As Walz (and his apparent public health mentor, Fauci) keep warning of more and more armageddons two weeks away, Tufekci takes us back to another pandemic, and its denouement

When the polio vaccine was declared safe and effective, the news was met with jubilant celebration. Church bells rang across the nation, and factories blew their whistles. “Polio routed!” newspaper headlines exclaimed. “An historic victory,” “monumental,” “sensational,” newscasters declared. People erupted with joy across the United States. Some danced in the streets; others wept. Kids were sent home from school to celebrate.

One might have expected the initial approval of the coronavirus vaccines to spark similar jubilation—especially after a brutal pandemic year. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the steady drumbeat of good news about the vaccines has been met with a chorus of relentless pessimism.

The problem is not that the good news isn’t being reported, or that we should throw caution to the wind just yet. It’s that neither the reporting nor the public-health messaging has reflected the truly amazing reality of these vaccines. There is nothing wrong with realism and caution, but effective communication requires a sense of proportion—distinguishing between due alarm and alarmism; warranted, measured caution and doombait; worst-case scenarios and claims of impending catastrophe. We need to be able to celebrate profoundly positive news while noting the work that still lies ahead. However, instead of balanced optimism since the launch of the vaccines, the public has been offered a lot of misguided fretting over new virus variants, subjected to misleading debates about the inferiority of certain vaccines, and presented with long lists of things vaccinated people still cannot do, while media outlets wonder whether the pandemic will ever end.

Remember last year? When some public health authorities were treating Covid like World War 2, with massive sacrifices, a potential (and, a year later, realized) horrific cost, and a goal for us all to pull toward – victory?

That went by the boards. Pushing to get back to normal – a “normal” that for the vast majority of Americans was as good as it’d been in a loooong time, last February – got replaced by telling people to hunker down for, well, the War on Terror. An endless, endemic, dreary plod.

Which has had terrible effects – skyrocketing addiction and suicide, rampant crime, and crushing depression among school-age kids and adults. The pandemic has brought out the best in some Americans – and forced the rest into the most dehumanizing humdrum imaginable to a First Worlder.

So it’s worth looking at the five mistakes Tufekci notes that we just keep failing, and perhaps stop doing them.

They are:

Risk Compensation – the notion that if you make people safer, they’ll just abuse that safety. The theory that if you put a seatbelt in a car, people will take that additional margin of safety and use it to drive faster and more recklessly.

It appeals to the “expert class”‘s paternalism – why become an expert if you can’t warn people “you’ll shoot your eye out with that thing”? As Tufekci puts it:

[Risk Compensation is] contrarian and clever, and fits the “here’s something surprising we smart folks thought about” mold that appeals to, well, people who think of themselves as smart. Unsurprisingly, such fears have greeted efforts to persuade the public to adopt almost every advance in safety, including seat belts, helmets, and condoms.

But time and again, the numbers tell a different story: Even if safety improvements cause a few people to behave recklessly, the benefits overwhelm the ill effects. In any case, most people are already interested in staying safe from a dangerous pathogen. Further, even at the beginning of the pandemic, sociological theory predicted that wearing masks would be associated with increased adherence to other precautionary measures—people interested in staying safe are interested in staying safe—and empirical research quickly confirmed exactly that. Unfortunately, though, the theory of risk compensation—and its implicit assumptions—continue to haunt our approach, in part because there hasn’t been a reckoning with the initial missteps.

Minnesota government’s paternalistic streak is gonna be a hard thing to overcome on this front.

Rules Over Mechanisms – This one is squarely on Walz and his regime. His focus on all the things we need to do to move his array of knobs and levers, like a Skinnerian behavioral experiment, tying actions to rewards – economic and personal freedom – was classic Minnesota passive-aggression. Even moreso, the state’s refusal to share the code for the model that predicted 20,000 dead at best, and a better figure of 70,000 fatalities by July, on the grounds that people might just find different results – which was the moment this state’s effort lost all pretense of scientific legitimacy.

I said, early on – why not give people and businesses good information, and let them do what needed to be done, with just the minimal enforcement for flagrant-to-depraved behavior? It is, after all, what they did in states that battled the pandemic successfully – Florida, Texas, and the Dakotas (who, notwithstanding a surge of cases and fatalities in the fall, are in much better economic shape than Minnesota.

Even Wisconsin – where the governor’s emergency powers were tossed out by courts in short order, and which had to rely on people knowing how to protect themselves, and so told them how to do just that – is doing better by every measure that wasn’t worse before the pandemic.

Scolding and Shaming – What goverment’s approach has lacked in scientific rigor, it’s made up for in empowering the simultaneously least stable and most petty-authoritarian among us to find their inner Dwight Schrute. Tufekci:

How dare you go to the beach? newspapers have scolded us for months, despite lacking evidence that this posed any significant threat to public health. It wasn’t just talk: Many cities closed parks and outdoor recreational spaces, even as they kept open indoor dining and gyms. Just this month, UC Berkeley and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst both banned students from taking even solitary walks outdoors.

The first time I had some plush-bottom Karen scold me about putting my bag on the conveyor at the checkout at Target in Shoreview “before the cashier sanitized it” (after she’d spent five minutes arguing over a coupon), I realized there might be a scientific basis for this. Humans are adapted to be on the lookout for crises – the saber tooth tiger is still just outside the campfire’s light, and that neighboring tribe is eyeing all those berries that are starting to come in, in all of our inner psyches. And it’s been so long since we’ve had a genuine existential crisis – World War 2, the Depression – that all that evolutionary energy’s gotta go somewhere.

Combined with the other four things we’ve gotten wrong, it’s probably understandable that “Big Karen’s” energy is so misplaced.

I said “understandable”. Not OK.

Ignoring Collateral Harm – It’s been plain from the beginning – the people urging us to lock down hard and stay locked down to “eliminate the virus” are the ones with academic/public sector/large-corporate jobs that let ’em work from home indefinitely (well, so far).

We’ve been talking about many of the collateral harms – endemic depression, skyrocketing suicide, a generation of kids who are floundering emotionally and parents who are completely adrift trying to figure out what to do about it, suicide, stress and its many ailments, and skyrocketing crime, especially among bored and aimless youth on whom the suspension of most of regular life falls the hardest.

We’ve been talking about many of the collateral harms – endemic depression, skyrocketing suicide, a generation of kids who are floundering emotionally and parents who are completely adrift trying to figure out what to do about it, suicide, stress and its many ailments, and skyrocketing crime, especially among bored and aimless youth on whom the suspension of most of regular life falls the hardest.

But wait, we’re not done yet:

When we set perfection as the only option, it can cause people who fall short of that standard in one small, particular way to decide that they’ve already failed, and might as well give up entirely. Most people who have attempted a diet or a new exercise regimen are familiar with this psychological state. The better approach is encouraging risk reduction and layered mitigation—emphasizing that every little bit helps—while also recognizing that a risk-free life is neither possible nor desirable.

Socializing is not a luxury—kids need to play with one another, and adults need to interact. Your kids can play together outdoors, and outdoor time is the best chance to catch up with your neighbors is not just a sensible message; it’s a way to decrease transmission risks. 

You’d never know this listening to NPR, to say nothing of “Karen”.

Misplaced Balance Between Knowledge And Action – Or “perfect is the enemy of good enough”.

In this case, “perfection” – knowledge – was hampered not merely by the fact that we don’t know what we don’t know (and, last January, weren’t allowed to find out behind China’s bamboo curtain), but that the academic, journalistic, and real worlds have such very different, often mutuall unintelligible means of communicating:

…sometimes, the way that academics communicate clashed with how the public constructs knowledge. In academia, publishing is the coin of the realm, and it is often done through rejecting the null hypothesis—meaning that many papers do not seek to prove something conclusively, but instead, to reject the possibility that a variable has no relationship with the effect they are measuring (beyond chance). If that sounds convoluted, it is—there are historical reasons for this methodology and big arguments within academia about its merits, but for the moment, this remains standard practice.

At crucial points during the pandemic, though, this resulted in mistranslations and fueled misunderstandings, which were further muddled by differing stances toward prior scientific knowledge and theory. Yes, we faced a novel coronavirus, but we should have started by assuming that we could make some reasonable projections from prior knowledge, while looking out for anything that might prove different. That prior experience should have made us mindful of seasonality, the key role of overdispersion, and aerosol transmission. A keen eye for what was different from the past would have alerted us earlier to the importance of presymptomatic transmission.

The whole thing is worth a read.

For Me But Not For Ye Yadda Yadda Bla Bla

California teachers union official who’s spent months claiming that schools are unsafe…

…you already know where this is going, don’t you? Yet another Democrat official demanding compliance from the proles, while seizing special treatment for them and theirs. Right?

Right. And you know he’s a Democrat, because, well, he’s white, and elected, and in Berkeley, and I’ll just defer to the physical description:

“White man with dreads”. Only Urban Progressive Privilege conveys that level of immunity to charges of “cultural appropriation”.

Anyway – Meyer was caught on tape by “reopening” activists dropping his kids off at a private pre-school. I’ve added emphasis:

“Meet Matt Meyer. White man with dreads and president of the local teachers’ union,” the group wrote in a tweet on Saturday along with video footage of Meyer. “He’s been saying it is unsafe for *your kid* to be back at school, all the while dropping his kid off at private school.”

Meyer told Fox News in a statement that the video, which blurred out his child’s face, was “very inappropriate” and an intrusion of his child’s privacy. He added that there were “no public options for kids her age.”

Right – because of him, his union, and the state government over which both have inordinate control.

The Democrats are going to need another Republican to go to Cancun, and stat.

Mass Death Fails To Materialize: Big Karen Bereft, Distraught

Big Karen warned us – those Super Bowl tailgate parties in Tampa were going to lead to the extinction of Florida Man.

Those of us who paid attention in high school science noted that there’s incredibly low correlation between outdoor gatherings and Covid transmission.

“The science says ‘obey or die!'”, Big Karen responds.

Observation indicates – well…

You can almost feel the disappointment wafting out from Big Karen.

When they’re not busy deflecting away from the fact, that is.

All Is Proceeding

All is proceeding exactly as Joel Kotkin predicted.

At least a decade and half ago, urbanist Kotkin predicted…the present. Even then, urban growth patterns were trending away from the core-city/bedroom suburb model of the 1950s-1980s; most real growth was occuring on the fringes of the cities, and in medium-sized cities at the periphery. Most immigration was to the suburbs, not the fabled tenements of now-unaffordable major coastal cities. Indeed, cities were returning to their historical roots; European cities like London, Paris, Berlin and Rome, and even New York City and Boston, are mazes of smaller neighborhoods, built around settlement patterns, markets and industries (“Steinway”, in Queens, was a piano-building company town), rather than a general agglomeration of businesses.

Kotkin’s thesis – that eventually, today’s cities will become three concentric patterns:

  1. An inner core of incredible wealth, as the 1% enjoys easy access to big-industry offices and core amenities.
  2. A middle donut of intense poverty, a convenient place for Social Services to warehouse people on assistance.
  3. An outer, exurban ring blending into the hinterlands, where most of the actual people and growth are happening.

The pandemic, and the explosive acceptance of remote white and pink-collar work, is accelerating this.

The whole piece is worth a read. This pullquote in particular grabbed me:

Referring to the internet as an “information superhighway” is retro in the most cringeworthy way. But here, the metaphor seems apt. Decades after the construction of the U.S. highway system allowed high-income families to move from downtowns to the distant suburbs, Zoom might do the same. Remote work could do to America’s residential geography in the 2020s what the highway did in the 1950s and ’60s: spread it out.

Today, the term supercommuting is often used to describe the punishment inflicted on lower-income workers who have to live far from their job because of the scarcity of affordable housing. But the remote-work revolution could spawn the rise of something a little different: the affluent supercommuter who chooses to move to a big exurban house with the expectation that she’ll make fewer, longer commutes to the office.

“Historically, people who work from home don’t commute less overall, because they just drive longer distances,” Autor told me, referring to a Federal Reserve study from 2019. One shouldn’t put too much stock in a survey of pre-pandemic behavior. But the logic of fewer-but-longer commutes should lead to small towns and suburbs experiencing the fastest price growth. And, lo and behold, that’s exactly the story the online rental data are already telling us.

I left rural America for a reason; there were things about urban life that could not be found out in the hinterland. And I’m in a career where it genuinely helps to be where the work is. Will either of those factors change when – if – this pandemic ever sunsets?

No idea.

The big winners so far are Zoom, and Joel Kotkin.

Bad News / Good News

The bad news: As I observed with Ann Bauer while filling in for Brad Carlson last week, lockdowns are killing kids – especially kids who are, like so many these days, predisposed to mental illness:

Millions of American kids are struggling, and their chances for long-term improved mental health is predicated on the notion that we will now prioritize their emotional well-being, which our society has tragically shown it has no intention of doing.

Our hope for raising an emotionally healthy and mentally stable generation is dissipating with every day kids are kept locked in their bedrooms and out of schools. Skyrocketing rates of depression and anxiety are in no small part due to the fact that children feel neglected and forgotten, and they are not wrong to feel that way.

Our society has abandoned them and treated them as disposable. The damage caused by this abandonment is incalculable, and compounding every day we allow inertia, irrationality and the craven priorities of teachers unions to rule our decision-making.

The good news?

What, are you new around here? This is progressivism at work, operating through its wholly owned subsidiaries “Big Education” and “Big Karen”. Short of turning our culture around, there is none.

Walking Back…Most Of Their Assertions, To Be Honest

I recently suggested a new on-going feature, walking back the lies.  I have another item for the column.

The Best and Brightest people who sneered at Conservatives as ignorant, hateful racists for suggesting the debunked idea that a lab in Wuhan was the source of the virus and the Chinese were covering it up – are walking back the lie.  It seems  the virus may indeed have originated in Wuhan and the Chinese may indeed have covered it up. 

No apology of course.  No admission that Conservatives were right all along.  We don’t insist on that, don’t expect it, and would be astonished if it were forthcoming.

But somebody should remember and therefore the purpose of this ongoing feature.  We were right.  And they knew it. 

Joe Doakes

Series? Not a bad idea at all.

It’s verging on a Berg’s Law of “Fact-Checking” – something to the effect of “to the ‘fact-check’ caste, truth is directly correlated to “did a progressive say it”.


I’m Not Saying…

….that Ron DeSantis is high up on my short list of candidates for 2024.

I am saying that if he keeps up with his competent, fact-driven crisis management combined with his Trump-like ability to cut through the narrative BS while maintaining an air of measured acerbity…

…he could get there pretty quick.


Turns out Americans can unify on one thing – gunning up.

Even in Minnesota?

Perhaps especially so.

the numbers: The National Shooting Sports Foundation tallied more than 37,600 statewide requests to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in January — nearly double from 18,990 in January 2020.

It wasn’t just January: More than 380,000 background checks were recorded here in 2020, up 49% from the previous year.

380,000 NICS checks in 2020 is more than one for every ten eligible Minnesotans (over 21 with a clean criminal record).

Feel that #Unity