The 2014 Shootie Awards!

We wait a full year for the Shooties – my annual award ceremony for all that is awful about Twin Cities blogging and alternative media.

And yet it’s always so very, totally worth it.

So let’s start making the sausage, shall we?

The Sominex Award:  This year, this award goes to the leftyblog that bored me completely stiff.

And this year, the award goes to:  The Entire Twin Cities Leftyblogosphere!

Look – Twin Cities leftyblogs are almost always dumb.  Most of the smart ones – and there have been a few – have moved on to greener pastures.  And what’s left?

When Sally Jo Sorenson is the cream of the remaining crop, you know you’ve got a problem.

The “Oceania Has Always Thought Eastasia Acted Perfectly Normal” Award:  For the fifth straight year, the Twin Cities media – the so-called “fifth estate” that ostensibly keeps an eye on government – asked not a single question about the physical or mental health of a governor who disappeared for weeks, and seemed to barely be in the office when he was in the office.

The “Fonzie Is Up On His Skis” Award:  The entire political “fact-check” genre jumped the proverbial shark long ago, lost in a welter of bald-faced left-wing biased capstoned by “Polifact”, the putative flagship of the genre, flagging a “Lie of the Year” that turned out to be as true as mom’s apple pie in 2012.

But MPR’s “Poligraph” feature broke new, er, ground this past year – “fact-checking” one of Jeff Johnson’s purely-subjective statements about the governor’s race.

The “That Bludgeoned Feeling You Get” Award:  There was a national wave for Republicans – one of the biggest in history.  It was a wave that largely vindicated the Tea Party – the fiscally-conservative, socially-libertarian asymmetric grass roots movement that rocked official Washington in both parties back on its heels in 2010, and got pushed back after a massive nationwide campaign of demonization in the mainstream and left alt-medias (pardon the redundancy).

And the wave conquered the Minnesota House – at least in Greater Minnesota.  The DFL Machine held most of the Twin Cities metro, but for a stubborn seat in Burnsville that finally fell to Roz Peterson.

And yet the Minnesota GOP didn’t get even one solitary statewide office.  Not even the Secretary of State, which polls in the weeks before the election showed as a likely pickup for the MNGOP’s Dan Severson.

Let’s reiterate this:  in the midst of a nationwide wave of revulsion for the Obama Administration, where Republicans took the governors offices in Maryland and Illinois, to say nothing of decisively taking hold of the US Senate, the MNGOP laid an egg statewide.

It’s enough to try the patience of even a Saint Paul republican.

The “Nothing Here But Us Davids!” Award:  This one goes to the entire Minnesota Second Amendment movement.

After being humiliated by the shooters in the 2013 session, the gun-grabbers came back with hundreds of thousands of dollars of Michael Bloomberg’s money, hiring a platoon of top-flight lobbyists to supplant the hapless Heather Martens and the demented Jane Kay at the Capitol.

And even though the entire Legislature was controlled by the DFL, with a DFL governor, the antis got absolutely nothing.  Michael Bloomberg’s money was as wasted as John Bonham, Keith Moon and Ronnie Van Zant in a Motel Six in Houston with an unlimited bar tab.

The Back To The Future Award:  The Star/Tribune, in an effort to buff up its online presence, added some new blogs.

And when I say “new”, I mean “pretty much exactly the ones that anyone who is deeply cynical about the Strib’s relentless editorial left-wing slang would expect them to hire”.

You’ve got Mark Andrew, former state DFL chair Minneapolis mayor candidate and self-appointed giver of scarlet letters.  You’ve got Molly Priesmeyer, a woman whom the Twin Cities leftymedia takes inexplicably seriously (even though we surely do not).  There’s the perfectly capable Aaron Brown – one of a very short list of Minnesota liberal bloggers who don’t deserve to be under police surveillance.  And there’s my old friend and former NARN colleague Michael Brodkorb.  Michael’s a good writer and great reporter, but let’s be honest; before he started straying from the GOP line, the Strib wouldn’t have collectively urinated on him if he had been  on fire.  Now that he’s a little more, I think it’s fair to say, unattached?  Suddenly the Strib bites.

I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you.

The Benito Mussolini Award:  In 2014, the Met Council opened its second light rail line, drilled straight down the middle of University Avenue, at a cost of $1.4 Billion.  As has been noted in this space in the past, it was the wrong kind of train in the wrong place (“light rail” is supposed to jet along at 55MPH along routes with stops roughly every mile, like the “Blue Line” does; if you’re going to go down the middle of a busy urban street, you should build a trolley).

So last June, the Green Line, connecting the downtowns, opened with suffocating fanfare and cloying adulation…

…and, as it happens, not much speed.   It took over an hour to go from downtown to downtown – about the same as the limited-stop 50 Bus that the train replaced (which did the route in about an hour), not much  faster than the local 16 bus (about 90 minutes), and much, much slower than the 94 Express, which did the route with very limited stops in about 25 minutes.  (The Met Council responded by eliminating the 94 Express outside rush hour).

So bad was it that even the transit fans at MPR, who had been cheerleading the Green Line since its inception (except for the part where it went past the MPR studios), were unamused to the point of taking the car.

I rode the Green Line once and once only – on its debut night.  I rode from Hamline down to the Union Depot; it took about an hour and fifteen minutes, counting walking down to University and waiting for the train.  That compared to about 40 minutes if I took the 67 bus (25 minutes) and walked from Cedar down to Union Depot, or 30 minutes if I biked it, or maybe fifteen by car, counting finding a parking spot.

I calculated that if they get the “Southwest Light Rail” built, it’ll mean someone can go from Union Depot to Eden Prairie Center in three hours.

The Charles Townsend Award – In 1765, British parliamentarian Charles Townsend, in noting the Colonies’ protests against the Stamp Act, said:

“And now will these Americans, Children planted by our Care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a Degree of Strength & Opulence, and protected by our Arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burden which we lie under?”

Townsend’s statements sum up the arrogance of the professional bureaucrat, the institutional utopian, the Masters of the Universe who believe they were sent here to keep us peasants from crapping in our beds.

And the winner this year?  The entire Democrat “Farmer” Labor Party, as well as the entire machine that supports it in this state – Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota,  Take Action Minnesota, the Star-Tribune and other left-leaning non-profits – who, after two years of blatantly carrying the DFL’s water on their signature pledge in the 2012 election (“We’ll lower property taxes for the middle class!”), promptly…

presided over massive increases in property taxes for the middle class.

Which somehow got less media coverage than Teddy Bridgewater’s choice of sneakers.

OK, that’ll do it for this year!  See you in 2015!

It’s The 2013 Shootie Awards!

It’s New Years Day, and as such it’s time for a tradition unlike most others – the Seventh Annual Shootie Awards, “honoring” the “best” in Minnesota blogging, talk radio, and social and alt-media in the same way D-Con Mouse Pellets honor the best in rodent culture.

The Nick Coleman/Brian Lambert Memorial Award For Broadcast Excellence: With the virtual demise of the Twin Cities’ liberal “AM950”, you’d think we’d be going begging for a recipient for this traditional honor.

Not so.

This year, the award goes to Minnesota Public Radio’s Keri Miller.

Don’t get us wrong; Miller is not a thud-witted radio pretender like Coleman was, nor a chuckling Uptown caricature like Lambert.  Miller has a multitude of approaches; one minute – say, when interviewing any Republican or conservative – she’s acerbic and aggressive, badgering and hectoring and interrupting to the point it’d be fairer to say she “occasionally allows her conservative guests to interrupt her interruptions” (Mike Wallace’s ghost reportedly wanders the miles of halls at MPR urging Miller to “dial back the cranky, toots”).  The next minute – when a DFL politician, dependent or employee is on the air, usually – she’ll sound as if she may be giving the guest a back massage.  The real show of Miller’s expertise?  As Bill Glahn notes, she’ll even do both during the course of the same interview!

So fear not.  The legacy of Brian Lambert, Nick Coleman and Andrew Colton lives on.  Whoever Andrew Colton was.

The Larry Jacobs “Most Overquoted Person in the Twin Cities Media” Award:  This award – which has also gone to Professor David Schultz of Hamline University, a relentless liberal who seems to be regarded as the only knowledgeable source on Minnesota conservatives – is rarely a huge surprise.

But let’s give a nod to tradition; the award this year goes to none other than Larry Jacobs himself, especially in honor of his NYTimes piece declaring Minnesota the winner over WIsconsin in the blue vs. red economic battle, even though Minnesota’s experiment with spendthrift liberal government hadn’t really taken effect yet.

The John Najarian Memorial Award for Surgically-Precise Sarcasm:  This award goes to this blog’s good friend John Gilmore at his blog Minnesota Conservatives, who satirized with a brilliantly straightened face the ideal of reading Twin Cities liberal bloggers in a piece which, tart tongue notwithstanding, is an essential read, even down to its ingeniously snarky title “On It:  Reading Minnesota’s Liberal Blogosphere“.  The mark of Gilmore’s pithy genius?  He mixes in some sincere, legitimate, deserved compliments; to the excellent if equally snarky Tony Petrangelo, and the City Pages’ Aaron Rupar (Gilmore says he has ” a large measure of personal style that’s impossible to pick up in any journalism class”, which is true; while Rupar punches his ticket as a DFL water-carrier, we must give credit where due; Rupar isn’t the onanistic panty-sniffer his colleague Kevin Hoffman is) and Sally Jo Sorenson, who can be annoyingly juvenile but is a capable reporter with – improbably – a sense of integrity).

But then comes the payoff – “compliments” that, to those who’ve followed Minnesota’s liberal ‘sphere for any time at all, are just howlers; Eric Austin has “an admixture of deadliness and humor” (only his logic is funny; his “deadliness” is against those who can’t fight back).  And attorney Gilmore must be paying some intra-professional respect to Steve “Spotty” Timmer, calling him an essential read notwithstanding Timmer’s very dubious grasp (or misleading explanation) of the law.

But the true mark of Gilmore’s genius?  In a piece ostensibly urging people to read liberal blogs, he directs people to read Minnesota Progressive Project, which is a little like introducing people to French cuisine with a tastefully-arranged Merde au Vin Flambé   – a cunning double-cross if there ever were one.

Anyway – bravo, John!  Oscar Wilde applauds from the great beyond!

The George Santayana Memorial “He Who’s Forgotten History Is Condemned To Be A Liberal Academic” Award: This year, it goes not to an academic,per se, but to a blogger.

Sally Jo Sorenson – who, I take pains to note, is one of those rare Minnesota liberal bloggers who doesn’t seem to deserve police surveillance – is a perfectly fine writer.  But one might assume that she skipped a few history classes to concentrate on the Poli Sci, if  you catch my drift, not that I have a “drift” or anything.

The “Minnesota Nice” Award:  Minnesotans are an accomodating bunch.  If one of us needs some help, someone will no doubt be there to pitch in (see also:  Rep. Martens, above).

And so last year when Governor Messinger Dayton announced his budget, it was a natural assumption that Carrie Lucking – Executive Directrix of “Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota” – would be there to tweet about the picayune details found deep inside the Governor’s big, thick budget.

Notwithstanding the fact that the details were buried deeeeeeeeep inside a budget that had supposedly been available to the public for precisely 13 minutes when Lucking wrote the tweet.

Some cynical wags said it had to be because Lucking had to have gotten a copy from Bob Hume, a senior staffer for Governor Messinger Dayton and, rumor and innuendo and a rogue Strib article had it, either Lucking’s boyfriend or spouse.

Me?  I think Hume and Dayton got their copies from Lucking, after Messinger dictated it.

Anyway – all that cooperation?  It’s just nice.

The “The Media, The Media, The Media’s On Fire! We Don’t Need No Water, Let That Liberal Institution Burn!” Award: This one goes to the entire mainstream-media “Fact-Checking” racket, which seems to have morphed more into a “Democrat Ministry of Truth” than it even started out.

The Just Remember, Libruls are Teh Smrt Award: I’ve noted it before; the Democrats should have been able to impose some kind of gun control law this past session.  They controlled the legislature, and they have a governor who does whatever his ex-wife tells him to do.  They couldn’t have asked for a more favorable situation – other than the whole “Minnesota is closely divided between the GOP and DFL” bit.

But the DFL House Metrocrat caucus’s gun-grab brain trust – Representatives Paymar and Hausman – not only introduced a raft of draconian assaults on the Bill of Rights (all of them crudely copied-and-pasted from other state’s bills) guaranteed to inflame the peasants.

Alice Hausman, introducing a resolution declaring Steven Colbert funny

Best of all?  When it came time for Hausman (who represents Saint Paul’s House District 66A in the same way Prince Charles of Wales “represents” the Welsh) to introduce one of her gun-grab bills to the House Judiciary Committee, Hausman was nowhere to be found.  So Chairman Paymar, likely in violation of House rules, allowed Martens – a registered lobbyist – to do Representative Hausman’s job, reading the bill into consideration.

Rep. (apparently) Heather Martens (DFL 66A) exploiting the victim of an earlier tragedy

Rumor has it the DFL will just let Alida Messinger, Michael Bloomberg and George Soros sit on the house floor and cast their votes for them in 2014.

The Cicero/Demosthenes/Socrates Award For Excellence In The Advancement Of Keen-Eyed Rhetoric:  The gun control movement in Minnesota hired Richard Carlbom, PR-chitect of the Gay Marriage law, to help them try to jam down anti-rights legislation in the next session.

One of the reasons was the comedic ineptitude of the Minnesota gun movement’s current leadership.

And while Representative Heather Martens has earned plenty of brickbats for her tone-deaf, unintentionally comic performances over the past decade or so (and a Shootie award or two, including this year, which see), the breakout performer was Jane Kay of “Moms Want Action”.  It’s a safe bet that a big part of what will no doubt be the gun-grab movement’s push toward calming, “reasonable” talk about “responsible” laws and “sane” approaches is to try to counter the Jane Kay’s legacy as a purple-faced hate-clogged caricature who, notwithstanding a slopped-on coat of feminist sloganeering, managed to simultaneously make her message cheaply sexist (while utterly un-sexy) and self-marginalizing at the same time.

If Richard Carlbom spends his first three months doing damage control, Kay is part of the reason.  And for that, she earns the award, and earns it well!

The Walter Duranty Award:  Among Minnesota’s “Libertarian” “movement” – which coalesced around the Ron Paul campaign in 2012 to seize a disproportionate control of the MNGOP – were quite a few one-time, there-and-gone “activists”, a gratifying number of very sharp people who did a good job in bringing solid, needed libertarian politics to the MNGOP, and – at the very core – a group of smirking, preening, frat-boy-esque self-styled “Anarcho-Libertarians” who really were only there to pee in all the peasants’ Wheaties and then slap themselves on the back and laugh at the complaints.

Now, if the question is “is our government too powerful” and “do we need to limit the power of government over the individual”, I’m with you.  Government is too big.  We need to carve much of it out and toss it away.

But just as the “peace” movement 30 years ago wasn’t about “nuclear weapons” but “US nuclear weapons”, the Liberty Fratboys rose as one to applaud Edward Snowden’s assault on big intrusive government (qualified yay)…

…as Snowden applauded Vladimir Putin’s human rights record.

The “Every Junior High Impressed-With-Himself Chess-Club Prig” Award For Intellectual Rigor:  After a long absence from this award, it almost feels like old home week, as we award this to a man who was once a candidate for a Shootie Lifetime Achievement award.  That’s right – Nick Coleman, gone from the Shooties for years, is back, and he shows that he’s still at the peak of his game, where “his game” means “autoerotic and homoerotic japes delivered with all the grace of a Danish jazz band”, and “peak” means “same crap, different year”.  This piece – which laces Coleman’s usual oeuvre of erection jokes with a long train of outright fabrications – was almost a return to the Nick Coleman of his Strib Columnists’ Row glory days, except including the fact that nobody with an IQ above plant life read it.  And for that, we salute Coleman.  It’s not like we give these things away.

Well, actually, we do.  But what I mean is…

…well, anyway, congrats!

The Nancy Pelosi “You Won’t Know What It Means Til You Do It!” Award For Wishful Planning:  MNSure.  Duh.

The Claudius Caesar Award For Excellence In Praetorian Guardsmanship:  This is always a hotly-contested award – and getting moreso every year, as the “objective” media slides ever-more into the bag for the left.

This year it was a tight, tight race, nearly a coin toss.  Both of the contenders in the final two exemplify the trend of “objective” “mainstream” media allowing (left-leaning and/or pro-big-state, pardon the redundancy) groups to underwrite “journalism” and “news coverage”.

At the end of the day, we decided to give the runner-up spot to Minnesota Public Radio News – a news organization that has not just any arm of government, but MNSure, perhaps the most controversial executive-branch project in the state this past year, as a sponsor for Keri Miller’s Morning Circuit – an MPR News production.   A casual reader might note that this is a conflict according to the Society of Professional Journalists’ “Code of Ethics” (while the pros know, of course, that the SPJ code is nothing but a framework by which journalists evade all accountability).

The prize, however, goes to the MinnPost, whose coverage of Second Amendment issues this past year, while posited as “journalism”, was delivered with five-figure annual grant from the “Joyce Foundation” – which, the MinnPost never bothered to tell the reader, also sponsors most of America’s major gun-control groups, as well as “Take Action Minnesota”.  So not only was there a never-explicitly-stated imperative for the MinnPost to slant its coverage – but the coverage itself was shoddy and risible, ranging from historically myopic to ludicrously badly-reported to just-plain-false and propagandistic, devolving eventually into an extended rhetorical tongue-bath for Minnesota’s incompetent gun -grab movement.

The capstone of the whole year?  Accompanying one of the MinnPost’s pieces (citing a long-obscure and generally-debunked theory that the Second Amendment was instituted to defend slavery), the site decided to use this as an symbol for Second Amendment support:

Yep. Confederate soldiers. Because that’s what all of you law-abiding gun owners are – to the Joyce-Foundation-supported MinnPost.

In a just world, a news organization with integrity would apologize, not only for the post-hoc slander, but for its misleading, slanted and, frankly, bought-off “journalism”.

The world, of course, is not a just one.  Does the MinnPost have integrity?

Oh, it’s a new year, full of promise, isn’t it?

The Charles Townsend Award – In 1765, British parliamentarian Charles Townsend, in noting the Colonies’ protests against the Stamp Act, said:

“And now will these Americans, Children planted by our Care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a Degree of Strength & Opulence, and protected by our Arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burden which we lie under?”

Townsend’s statements sum up the arrogance of the professional bureaucrat, the institutional utopian, the Masters of the Universe who believe they were sent here to keep us peasants from crapping in our beds.

And for the first time in the history of the Shooties, the Townsend award goes not to a stupid statement by a politician, but a photo that gloriously sums up Minnesota under DFL rule in 2013:

Governors Zygi Wilf and Mark Messinger Dayton

Yes, it’s Zygi Wilf in a paroxysm of glee over all those taxpayer dollars he’s going to be marinating his tush in – but it could just as easily be Javi Morillo, or Elliot Seid, or Greta Bergstrom or Carrie Lucking, roiling in glee and amazed that they’ve been able to put one over on the rubes, as our “Governor” wonders what this thing on a long stick is and hopes Alida doesn’t take away his driving privileges.

You have to give them the money to know what the money is!  Or something!

Or we’ll lose the Vikings!

Anyway – as long as there’s a New Years in Minnesota, there’s a Shooties.  See you next year!

(Here are the previous Shootie winners, going back to 2006)

The 2012 Shootie Awards!

It’s New Years Day, and as such it’s time for a tradition unlike most others – the Seventh Annual Shootie Awards, “honoring” the “best” in Minnesota blogging in the same way D-Con Mouse Pellets honor the best in rodent culture.

The Nick Coleman/Brian Lambert Memorial Award For Broadcast Excellence: There wasn’t much to report on this year, since I’m not even sure KTNF – the Twin Cities’ former “Air America” affiliate – is on the air anymore (although it still has a website, so I guess it still exists, more or less).  At least, not in the Twin Cities.

But the Shooties are everywhere, including Fargo.  And it didn’t escape my notice that among the many Minnesota lefties babbling about MN Representative Mary Franson was KFGO (Fargo) sportscaster-turned-leftyblog-“talk show host” Mike McFeely.  After repeating some slanders that were debunked even by some of Minnesota’s less-depraved liberal bloggers long ago, McFeely got roundly  slapped down by his management (who must be getting tired of slapping the hapless McFeely, whose ratings  reportedly badly lag the rest of KFGO’s WCCO-like happy-talk lineup).

But he wasn’t done.  He poked his nose into the District 8A race in an op-ed in a local paper that was just a little too clever in its selectiveness about facts to be really termed “incompetent” or “illiterate” – but left you with the same feeling when you were done.

It was a little like…a sportscaster trying to write about things other than grownups chasing balls around fields.

And not since Frank DeFord has that ever been pretty.

The J. Wellington Wimpy “I Will Gladly Pay You Never For Your Vote Today” Award:  This award goes to Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk.  After benefitting mightily from a campaign against the “Marriage Amendment” with a counter-campaign asking Minnesotans why gay couples should be treated as second class citizens, why people who love each other should be discriminated against, and why we should mistreat people who share the same goals we all do about our families and kids, Bakk answered the question; “because it might hurt the DFL in the coming session, that’s why“.

It’s been explained that Bakk is counting on one level of court or another to strike down Minnesota’s gay marriage ban.

Now there’s a profile in courage for you.

The George Santayana Memorial “He Who’s Forgotten History Is Condemned To Be A Liberal Academic” Award:  It’s not strictly Minnesota – but Amitai Etzioni brought back one of the great punch lines in the history of the American gun control debate last month.

In the seventies, at the crest of the gun control tide, one of the big gun grabber organizations – I want to say it was the “National Coalition to Ban Handguns”, which I believe morphed over the years into the “Violence Policy Center” – gave out “Gun Free Home” signs to people who wanted to put their support for gun control on their front door.

Didn’t last long, of course – homes with the signs had a burglary rate at least an order of magnitude higher than their neighbors.  The signs disappeared faster than the campaign.

And Mr. Etzioni proved Dennis Prager’s dictum that “it takes an elite university education to be this stupid” by suggesting gun-grabbing families give it another try.

The “Minnesota Nice” Award:  The Minnesota left spent a year and a half convincing Minnesotans that love, not dogma, was the answer.

And what love they preached:

Seen at an anti-Marriage-Amendment gathering at the State Fair.  Courtesy Andy Parrish.

It passed without a peep from the Twin Cities media, who were apparently still spent from their years of trolling Tea Party rallies for any hint of deviance.

It could happen to anyone, I guess.

The “The Media, The Media, The Media’s On Fire! We Don’t Need No Water, Let That Liberal Institution Burn!” Award: goes not so much to “Politifiact”, but to the final positive conclusion reached this past year that Politifact is less concerned with “fact” than with fluffing the left’s narrative, and is of no more value than “The Daily Kos” for finding “facts”.

The Dennis Prager “It Takes A University Education To Be This Stupid” Award:  This award is always a brutal slugfest among many – indeed, an entire academy – full of contenders.  But the clear winner was Jeff Kolnick, from Southwest Minnesota State University, for this gale of unsupported illogical logorrhea that the Strib favored as an op-ed, and that would have been returned to any freshman comp student as poorly argued and unsupported.

The Just Remember, Libruls are Teh Smrt Award: Awarded, this year, to Steve Timmer’s copy-editor, whoever it is.

The Elvis Costello “Shut Up Or Get Cut Up” Award:  No contest this year.  It goes ot U of M Professor William B. Gleason.

While spending this past year exercising his beaver-like work ethic in his demanding job as a chemistry professor at the U (as opposed to writing thousands and thousands of tweets about the subjects of some impotent outrage on U of M time – no, perish the thought), Gleason filed a specious FCC complaint against Jack Tomczak of The Late Debate – at the time, heard on a little potboiler of a station in the north suburbs.  Tomczak, taking his infant daughter with him, went to the U of M to try to see Gleason hard at work curing cancer and stuff, and recounted the expedition on the air.  Gleason filed his meritless complaint.  The station’s management showed why they’re managing an obscure gospel station, and folded like a cheap end table, and whacked the show…

…which moved over, eventually, to a full-time slot on AM1130, with a paycheck and an audience.

(Gleason also filed a “harassment restraining order” against Tomczak, in court – but failed to show up for the hearing.  Clearly, this was because of his grueling research schedule.  Not, good heavens no, because he’s a narcissistic bully who runs like a scared bunny rabbit, like all bullies,  when he’s stood up to.  Perish the thought).

The Benito Mussolini “The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend” Award:  In a related incident, this goes to MinnPost’s Brian Lambert, for uncritically (as in, “like a trained bobblehead”) siding with Gleason in the above episode – because Tomczak was a former Michele Bachmann aide, and thus beyond the local lefty snark-based media’s self-imposed pale.

The Cicero/Demosthenes/Socrates Award For Excellence In The Advancement Of Keen-Eyed Rhetoric:  This goes to the entire Twin Cities left, the apotheosis of whose entire argument over this past year (outside of those paid for by Alida Messinger) was the handful of glitter thrown at their enemy du jour.

The Jordan Daycare Providers’ Association Award For Excellence In Airtight, Unreasoning Groupthink:  This one was too hard to choose; it had to go to Just About The Entire Minnesota Sorosphere for their disgraceful conduct in re Rep Franson’s comments about the state and dependence culture.  After a video in which she said dependance treated people like animals – as in, pets or livestock, dependent on a benevolent master – the local left translated it (context be damned) into “The Poor Are Animals!”, and sat back and giggled.

Franson laughed last, of course (as noted waaay above).

The “Every Junior High Impressed-With-Himself Chess-Club Prig” Award For Intellectual Rigor:  This dolt, who argued (in, what else, the Strib ) that liberals are right and conservatives are wrong because, well, liberals are right and conservatives are wrong.

The Blog Neologism Of The Year:  This one goes to Mr. Dilettante, for “Helga Braid Nation“, describing the mass of Minnesota voters whose primary argument for subsidizing Zygi Wilf’s real estate investment with your money and mind was that they dressed like stylized Vikings.

Yeah, that was about all there was to it.

The Nancy Pelosi “You Won’t Know What It Means Til You Do It!” Award For Wishful Planning:  This one is shared between Governor Dayton, Ted Mondale, and “Helga Braid Nation”, for pinning much of the funding for the stadium subsidy on a form of gambling whose receipts have been dropping for decades, that doesn’t really jibe with how Minnesotans gamble, and whose machines can’t get state approval, leaving even more of the subsidy in the lap of the Minnesota taxpayer than before.

The Claudius Caesar Award For Excellence In Praetorian Guardsmanship:  This is another shared award, between the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute and the entire Twin Cities media, who conspired to keep video of a particularly dissociative, rambling, downright bizarre Mark Dayton speech hidden from the public.

And finally, the capstone of all the awards in this annual event…:

The Charles Townsend Award – In 1765, British parliamentarian Charles Townsend, in noting the Colonies’ protests against the Stamp Act, said:

“And now will these Americans, Children planted by our Care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a Degree of Strength & Opulence, and protected by our Arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burden which we lie under?”

And this year’s winner is Jim Schowalter, head of MMB, who – at a meeting of business leaders at an outstate company shortly after Barack Obama’s “You Didn’t Build That” jape, basically said…

…the same thingthat Minnesota business exists because of Minnesota government, so we should all shut up and be happy to pay for a better Minnesota or there will be consequences.

That’s it for this year!  But have no fear; every year provides a bounty of material for which I give daily thanks.

Til next year!

The 2011 Shootie Awards!

It’s time once again for that grand tradition in Twin Cities blogging; it’s the sixth-annual, 2011 edition of the Shootie Awards.  These awards commend the worst – and, ever-so-rarely, the best – in Twin Cities (usually-but-not-always alternative) media.

And we’ll kick off the awards with the first statuette:

The Walter Winchell Award For Cool, Dispassionate Reportage – For 2011, it wasn’t hard to pick out the story that’d lead to someone getting the award; the Darren Evanovich shooting in Minneapolis last October, in which a Mr. Evanovich  was shot by a legally-armed citizen in self-defense, was tailor made to bring out the prejudices and provincialism – dare I say, “rant and slant” – in the Twin Cities media.  And as the Henco Attorney’s office investigated and kept the official story close to its institutional vest (turns out Evanovich and his sisters had allegedly done several such capers), and as the Twin Cities Second Amendment movement – the sole source of legitimate, unbiased information on gun-related news, I’m more convinced every day – waved its arms and yelled “Hey, there’s some facts that need reporting here!”, the Twin Cities media took ever-increasing liberties with un-released facts, including a touching portrait of Mr. Evanovich’s family from Channel 5’s Tim Cherno, and a high-level (and grossly-premature) second-guessing of the wisdom of Minnesota’s concealed-carry law from MPR’s generally-excellent Bob Collins.

But at the end of the day, the award was an easy one; it goes to the Strib’s Matt McKinney, who took the sparse info from the Minneapolis Police Department’s news release on the case, interspersed a lot of humanzing detail about Mr. Evanovich, and keystoned his report with the line of the year; that the shooter – still anonymous – had…:

…a state permit to carry a pistol, and he had one with him. He chased the robber behind a restaurant and shot him dead.

As Mr. D famously added, we could be grateful he didn’t add “…just to watch him die”, but really, would it have been necessary?

Two days after the story ran, Henco attorney Mike Freeman declared the shooter a hero, while tut-tutting that his actions should only be untertaken in the extreme – which drew a response of “d’ya think?” from every Twin Cities shooter.

The Gordon Jump “As God Is My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly” Award:  The living will at the Minnesota Independent finally ground on down to its “do not resuscitate” clause.  Three years after being shaved down to a skeleton crew, and after two years of doing not much but providing commentary on “Uptake” videos and writing about Bradlee Dean, the crew of “liberals with deep pockets” that kept the Mindy in the chips – and on salary – from its “Hey, Gang, let’s do a show (on George Soros’ dime!)” origins, through its Steve Perry/Erik Black/Paul Demko-sporting salad days, to its lonely and oblivious end, finally decided to call in the fire and pee on the dogs.

The Just Plain Too-Dumb-To-Fisk Award – In all my years of blogging, I’ve seen a lot of pretentious, entitled, stupid writing.

Only once have I seen something so completely bereft of insight and intelligence, yet so utterly clogged with smug entitlement, that I had literally nothing to say.

Hinda Mandell’s Strib op-ed last September, in which she found racism in coffee labelling, reset the counter on smug, entitled and parochial.  It was really too weird to be “so bad it’s funny”.  And if you followed that, you are probably too smart to read Hinda Mandell.  Or something.

The “When Did You Stop Beating Your Husband” Award for Innuendo-Based-Journalism – It’s one of the Twin Cities’ leftysphere’s favorite “journalistic” techniques; “cover” a “story” by “asking” loaded “questions” about the “subject” of one’s “reporting”, so as to imply there’s “substance” to the “reporting” beyond the “question” itself;.   And while it’s hard to filter through all the entries in this category – do Twin Cities leftybloggers have any other technique for reporting on stories that they don’t actually have the facts to close the deal on? (Doh!  Now I’m doing it!), it’s foremost practitioner is in no doubt whatsoever.  Award-winning jouralist Karl Bremer wins the award (!) and spikes the ball in the endzone with two “winning” entries in this elite category; his innuendo-laden mischaracterization of the status of Michele Bachmann’s law license last summer, distinguished by being nearly devoid of actual fact, and his breathless questions about Bradlee Dean’s association with a financial planner who was in trouble with the law (whom Bremer apparently wasn’t curious enough to find out was also in trouble with Dean – Dean had sued the subject of the story).

The Billy Graham “Blinding Flash Of Epiphany” Award For Renewed Interest In Absolute Moral Rectitude In Politicians – goes to every Twin Cities leftyblogger who, in 1997, bleated “It’s only sex!  Mooooove on!  Just mooooooooooove on!  Peoples’ personal lives aren’t of any political importance” in re the Clinton/Lewinski flap, but suddenly re-discovered their inner tittering moralistic junior high nerd when news of the Amy Koch fiasco blew up.

The Phoenix Woman Award For Excellence In Rhetoric – For this year, this award goes to AM950 host Matt McNeil for – I’ll try to be tactful, here – face-palmingly inappropriate response to the Breivik shootings in Norway on Twitter.  Further proving that if there was a “Fairness Doctrine” for doy, AM950 would be off the air.

The Mister O’Brien 2+2=5 Award For Analysis – This one goes to Minnesota Progressive Project’s Eric Pusey who, in the middle of complaining that nobody was covering the dreary, addled “Netroots Nation” and all the media were over at the companian, interesting, hospitable, babe-packed “Right Online” conference, noted for his blog’s brief national audience that the Strib is really a conservative tool.

The Tina Brown Award For Turning A Prestigious News Organization Into A Showy, Shallow, Shrill Joke – Goes this year, as every year, to Tina Brown for the job she’s done turning “Newsweek” into something no self-respecting grocery-store will stock next to the National Enquirer.  In this case, for out-doing Dump Bachmann at picking the least-flattering possible portrait of Michele Bachmann to further their ‘Journalism”, and doing it with such bald-faced aplomb that the National Organization of Women, which normally wouldn’t pee on Rep. Bachmann if she were on fire, objected.

The Quickster Award For Excellence In Blog-Product Launch Marketing – is almost as easy to judge this year.  What better time to put a capstone on a decade of frothy, often fact-challenged obsession with former activist, former State Senator, current Representative and Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann than when she’s riding high in the polls!  None!

But the crew at Wiley and Sons waited to publish The Madness Of Michele Bachmann,  a Hugh-Hewitt-like assemblage of eight years of blog posts by Eva Young, Ken “Avidor” Weiner and the award-winning Karl Bremer until Bachmann’s star had risen, set, and was calmly fermenting in the middle-to-bottom of the GOP presidential pack, and probably generating less interest (outside the rage-y bsessives that frequent The Dump) than Tim Pawenty.

The Cicero Demosthenes Award For Excellence In Political Rhetoric – This one is always a tough one.  Which Twin Cities leftyblogger has brought the most to the expansion of the glory of written English rhetoric?

The nominations were compelling indeed:

  • “Two-Putt” Tommy Johnson, who raised “I know you are, but what am I?” to something of a low art form
  • Karl Bremer and the “Did you stop beating your wife?” school of reporting (which see above)
  • University of Minnesota professor Bill Gleason, who brought spam sites into their rightful place as news sources.

But as to the winner?  The choice wasn’t so much “who” as “why”.   “Robert Erickson”, the nom de douche of Nick Espinosa, achieved the simulacrum of “progressive” rhetoric on two different levels in the past year.  His mastery of the “Call and chant” form of speech, which he perfected at weeks and weeks of “Occupy MN” protests (he’s actually “Dieter” in this video here) was surpassed only by his pioneering of what is, truly, the dominant form of progressive rhetorical articulation; meeting ones’s opponents with a cloud of glitter.

You hear that?  It’s the ghost of Demosthenes.  He’s crying.  I’m sure it’s joy.  Really.

And finally, the award di tutti awardi of the Shooties lo these many years…:

The Charles Townsend Award, the keystone award of these entire festivities.  Charles Townsend was a British Parliamentarian in the 1770′s, whose response to the growing “Tea Party” in the colonies was a marvel of patrician contempt…

“And now will these Americans, Children planted by our Care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a Degree of Strength & Opulence, and protected by our Arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burden which we lie under?”

…was worthy of Larry Pogemiller or Nick Coleman.  Or Ryan Winkler.

On the Sunday, July 3 edition of the Esme Murphy show, Elliot Seid  – the capo for the Twin Cities Service Employees International Union (SEIU) said in re the state’s budget squabble, and the legislative majority’s unwillingness to accede to a 22% state spending increase, and tax hikes to match, in the middle of a recession, said “We don’t have a spending problem. We have a revenue problem!”.

And that’s it for this year!  Bus your own tables on the way out – we had to lay off most of the union kitchen staff to make our budget – and we’ll see you for next year’s Shooties!

The 2010 Shootie Awards!

It’s time once again for a tradition unlike any other; the 2010 edition of the Twin Cities’ foremost blog award ceremony – the Shooties!

Every year for the Shooties, we honor the worst – and occasionally the best – of Minnesota blogging. And this year is no exception – only more so!

So without any further ado, let’s move on to the awards!  We’ll kick things off with…:

The Dan Rather “Fake Is Accurate!” Award For Journalistic Ethics: This award goes to Erin Maye, “Intern” at “The Uptake”, a left-“leaning” video “news” blog.  While being busted mangling context on a number of stories, Ms. Maye – a “Peace Studies” student – tweeted “I’m Editing.  I feel important because I can make people say things they may not have said.  Muhahaha”.  Prediction:  She will run Gawker Media by 2012.

The Tiger Beat Celebrity Saturation Award:   This year’s TBCSA, given for the year’s best example of “news” coverage that combined slavering saturation with excellence in contextual laxity, goes to the Minnesota Independent’s Andy Birkey and his ongoing obsession with Bradlee Dean, ultra-mega-super-di-duper fundamentalist evangelist and talk radio host (whose program, “Sons of Liberty”, follows mine at AM1280 every Saturday).  Birkey wrote about Dean no less thatn 23 times in the past year.  But the coverage wasn’t just of a level of saturation that made Larry Jacobs sit up and go “er, wait, he’s overquoted”.  It took vast liberties with context and attribution:

  • Birkey wrote in high dudgeon that Michele Bachmann and Tom Emmer would “appear in Dean’s documentary”, My War, without bothering to learn that the “appearances” were from shots of news clippings (or without thinking his audience needed to know).
  • Birkey claimed that Emmer gave “financial support” to Dean’s ministry, without disclosing that the “Support” was the purchase of a $250 table at a non-political teen outreach dinner – long before Emmer was a candidate.
  • Birkey claimed that Dean said Moslem nations had more integrity than Christian ones because they executed gays. It was a lie.

And more.

The “Dump Bachmann” Award For Unintended Consequences:  Campaigning in the GOP-leaning Sixth District, Tarryl Clark wrote a piece…

on the Daily Kos.

No better way to paint one as a “reasonable centrist” than writing for “Democratic Underground Lite”.

It probably helped take an eight point race and make it a twelve-pointer.

The Joe McCarthy Trophy For Resurrecting The Letter And Spirit of Joe McCarthy: This one – given for bringing McCarthyism back from the dead – goes to Minneesota “Progressive” Project’s Joe Bodell for his January plea to least think about treating Tea Party sympathies and speaking out against The One and other forms of dissent as “sedition“.  I guess dissent isn’t patriotic anymore!

The Abe Gibron Trophy: After years of humiliating itself by running a smug, ill-informed, badly-written, phoned-in, rote, and talking-points-driven column by Nick Coleman, the Strib changed things up, giving the gig to Jon Tevlin, who turned the column into a smug, ill-informed, badly-written, phoned-in, rote, and talking-points-driven column.

The Jeff Fecke “The Male Client Is Obviously Guilty” Award For Egregious Misandry: This year’s winner is Rachel Nygaard, who took the facts of Rep. Tom Hackbarth’s arrest (he and his carry-permitted handgun were picked up by the Saint Paul Police, inadvertently parked by the Saint Paul office of Infanticide Mart, where he admitted his was having a bit of a clingy snit over a woman’s excuse for begging off on a date; a sign the guy needs to get a grip, not a crime.  So far.  There was no evidence that Hackbarth acted in any way upon that snit, by the way, other than by driving to Saint Paul which is, by the way, also not a crime).  Nygaaard extrapolated this into a Lifetime Movie, with a slavering man beating down a woman’s door and shooting her in a fit of testosterone-induced rage, potentially.

The runner up?  Fecke himself!  After getting this award named after him for his performance in the Duke Lacrosse case, where Fecke was prominent among “feminists” who tried, convicted, castrated and executed three college guys who, it turned out, were falsely accused of rape and railroaded by an unethical prosecutor and a media that looked at the case – a black “victim”, a bunch of smug, rich white boy “perps”, and saw dollar signs.

Well, he’s baaaack with the whole “I, Jury” bit, in re Julian Assange’s very curious “sexual assault” accusations.  (UPDATE: The American Petard exchange reports that petard prices are skyrocketing; those petards are getting hoisted and blown up so fast, production can’t keep up with capacity anymore).

The Yarmagh The Destroyer Award For Rolling A “9” For “Charisma”, Even With An Elivsh Sorcerer Character: A twofer for Joe Bodell, who learned that “cleric” is actually the singular for clergy, rather than a smear against Muslims by the big, bad conservative media. Well, we hope he learned it, anyway.

The Robin Marty Award For Calm, Dispassionate Fact-Checking: Andy Birkey is a repeat winner, here, for his piece impugning the Tea Party for a “threatening message to the local AFSCME office from a regional Tea Party leader” that happened to be neither threatening nor from anyone that anybody in the regional Tea Party leadership had ever heard of, at all (not that Birkey ever bothered to check, much less report that).

The National Concussion Association Poster Child For Blogging While Suffering From A Crippling Brain Injury: Barbara O’Brien from Mahablog.  (UPDATE:  I’m sorry – O’Brien doesn’t suffer from a brain injurty.  She’s just blood-curdlingly stupid).

The Walter Duranty Award: Ezra “The Constitution Is Haaard” Klein and Matt Yglesias, who proved themselves almost as stupid as O’Brien.

The Baghdad Bob Award: This clear winner this year goes to the “Humphrey Institute’s” Professor Larry Jacobs. While the Star-Tribune’s “Minnesota Poll” remained a joke (the virtual-tie Governor race was portrayed as a seven point blowout, but only by telling Minnesota that Democrats were a quarter more likely to vote – in the most GOP year in recent history), the Humphrey Institute poll released just before the election showed it as a twelve-point massacre.  A post-election analysis showed that the Humphrey’s polling over-sampled DFL-heavy areas, but didn’t weight for that oversample the way every credible poll does.  The Twin Cities media may try to offer a defense against the charge that Jacobs, and they, are trying to foment a “bandwagon effect” with the front-page play these polls get in all the regional media – but they haven’t offered it yet.

The runner-up for this award, though, goes to the entire Twin Cities media, into whose coverage of the governor’s race the Humphrey and Strib polls neatly fit.  Their performance – all of them, every one – in this past election was nothing short of shameful.  Faced with a DFL candidate who had embarassed the state in the US Senate, and had multiple run-ins with alcoholism and crippling depression in the past five years, and whose (entirely smear-oriented) campaign was financed by a shady, utterly unexamined consortium of unions and the Dayton Family (including Dayton himself), and whose chemical and mental health state remained utterly examined (barring a perfunctory Rachel Stassen-Berger puff piece run long before the non-wonk voter even knew there was a governor race coming up), the Twin Cities media gamboled and cavorted about with stories of Tom Emmer’s ancient drinking-and-driving convictions, a malaprop about waiter tips (which was not even inaccurate), and whether the post-Citizens United end of the ban on corporate donations (that weren’t from unions or trust fund babies) would end democracy as we knew it.  It was the year that it became perfectly clear that they see their mission to be to comfort the DFL and afflict the MNGOP.

And Finally, The Charles Townsend Award, the keystone award of these entire festivities.  Charles Townsend was a British Parliamentarian in the 1770’s, whose response to the growing “Tea Party” in the colonies…

“And now will these Americans, Children planted by our Care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a Degree of Strength & Opulence, and protected by our Arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burden which we lie under?”

…was worthy of Larry Pogemiller or Nick Coleman.

This year’s award goes to Governor-Elect Dayton (and, really, by extension every single person who supported him).  The Dayton budget plan was built on a lie, and – quite simply – can not succeed, even notwithstanding the fact that it’s dead on arrival at the GOP Legislature.  Support for Dayton is support for the idea that we, The People, are serfs whose labors exist to support government first.  Then our families.

So for the first time, about 43% of Minnesota wins the award!


And we’ll see you next year!  Because Goddess knows there’ll be material!

2009 Shootie Awards

And now, it’s time for the highlight of the Shot In The Dark season; the fourth annual Shootie Awards for 2009.

With these awards, we hail some of the lowlights of the year in the Twin Cities blogosphere.  We hope you enjoy the awards as much as we disliked reading the crap that won ’em…

The Dan Rather Fake But Inaccurate Award: The Minnesota Progressive Project – the descendant of MNBlue – has cut a wide swath in the local alt-media, where “Cut a Wide Swath” means “let a lot of incredibly dim dolts write a lot of really stupid crap”.

Among the worst this past year was last March’s “big scoop”, where MPP “journalist” “Jimmy Olson” “discovered” (from a friend that, he assured the MPP’s audience, had “written a book about Clear Channel!”) that Townhall was “paying” AM1280 to air the Northern Alliance Radio Network.  His “investigation” showed that, yes indeed, the station would rent airtime to people, although nothing whatever to do with his allegations.

Olson” turned out to be one Fred Gates, a congenital crank; his “source” was a local internet-radio host who was somewhat nonplussed that Gates had completely mugged the context of his original remarks.  Along the way, I discovered that Gates had actively marketed untrue aspects of his story to MPP founder Joe Bodell, and that Bodell bought into the lies without question.

The Nick Coleman “Look At Me, I’m An Engineer” Award For Jumping To The Wrong, Politically-Motivated Conclusion: We have a tie this year!

Last summer, after part-time teacher and census-taker Bill Sparkman was found hanging from a tree deep in the heart of Kentucky’s meth-lab country, local leftybloggers leapt into action instantly.

  • City Pages generic angst-filled hYpStR Matt Hoffman went all “Burn Notice” on us before the police had even adjourned to the donut shoppe:  “Now a census worker has been found in what appears to be an anti-government lynching. Does Bachmann own some responsibility?”
  • Dusty “The Michael Brodkorb Of Snark” Trice delivered a verdict before they’d actually cut Sparkman’s body down: “I’m going to say it again because sadly I feel it bears repeating. I strongly believe that the inflammatory rhetoric Rep. Michele Bachmann thinks passes for policy debate is going to end in violence.

Just like Coleman’s engineering verdict about the I35W Bridge Collapse (David Strom and Tim Pawlenty blew it up to kill granny!), both were comically wrong.  And worse, nobody ever answered the question – after all that defamation of Bachmann and all other conservatives, maybe it was the climate of hatred the left created that pushed Sparkman over the edge?

The Les Nessman Buckeye Newshawk Trophy: That’s gotta go to Aaron Landry of MNPublius, who gave himself a promotion from “Adenoidal Pet-Blogger for Al Franken” to “Senior Corresopndent” in an interview with some unsuspecting Brit rag.

MNPublius is, lest we forget, a blog.

Perhaps Landry could get promoted to Tijuana Bureau Chief next?

The Rochelle Olson “All The News That’s Fit To Painfully Wrench Out Of Context” Award For Suspiciously Selective Reportage: This award – a Twin Cities media staple – goes to John Fitzgerald of the liberal think tank MN2020.  In a hit piece report issued last June and seemingly custom-made for Teachers Union publication, Fitzgerald demanded the closure of Minnesota’s charter schools…

…over a series of accounting bobbles that are maddeningly mundane, completely common, and if regarded as capital offenses would result in the closure of virtually every small non-profit and smaller unit of government in the state.

The “Minnesota Monitor” Memorial Memory Hole Rotorooter Award: Goes to MN2020 again – for quietly tiptoeing away from the above demands by quietly ignoring the fact that they’d ever happened.

The Nick Coleman “I Know Stuff” Award For Showing One Doesn’t Know Enough Stuff: In a stunning upset, this award goes to Nick Coleman, who “left” the Star/Tribune as a putative “cost-cutting measure” to go to work for a “think tank”, but still seems to contribute columns to the “Strib” as often as many other “columnists” – who two months after the MN2020 report went down with all hands, published a column basically regurgitating every single talking point from the think tank’s hit piece, seemingly editing them only to throw in a few of his trademark leaden snarks.  And that’s it!

The Reynolds Aluminum Company Lifetime Achievement Award: This is a joint award – to “Legendary Investigative Reporter” Seymour Hersh, who at a seminar at the U of M attended by a cadre of slavering media fanboys and former Vice President Walter Mondale, secretively “dropped a bomb” about a covert US military organization, “Joint Special Operations Command”, carrying out assassinations around the world, acting as Dick Cheney’s private military (according to evidence in his book that was going to come out soon, honest – right after he provides the evidence for his three year old claim that US Special Forces were preparing the ground for an invasion of Iran)…

…and the roomful of slavering media fanboys, none of whom could apparently be bothered to Google “Joint Special Operations Command” and learn that it’s existed since 1980, and was established by Walter Mondale’s old boss, Jimmy Carter.

We’ll be waiting on Hersh’s book.  Oh, my, yes we will.

And finally, the highlight of every year…:

The Charles Townsend Award – In 1765, British parliamentarian Charles Townsend, in noting the Colonies’ protests against the Stamp Act, said:

“And now will these Americans, Children planted by our Care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a Degree of Strength & Opulence, and protected by our Arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burden which we lie under?”

After two years of endless panjandrum from the Democrats about “infrastructure”, they finally got full control of everyone’s piggybanks.

And spent the “infrastructure” money on pretty much everything but fixing infrastructure!


And that’ll do it for the 2009 Shootie Awards!

2010 is another whole year; we’ll be watching!

2008 Shootie Awards

It hardly seems like it’s been three years since the staff of this blog issued the first-ever “Shot In The Dark Academy Of Blogging Art, Science and Engineering Awards For MetaJournalistic AntiExcellence” – known and loved as the “Shooties”. During those three years, the online metajournalistic world has expanded – and, like a Peter-Principled fog, opportunities for really bad metajournalism have expanded anon.

And so, last night at a gala at Northrop Auditorium, the staff of Shot In The Dark and an assembled audience of 3,000 of the creme de la creme of the elite of the elite gathered to bestow these awards, and to look ahead to next year. It was a dazzling display of fashion and blogging star power (marred only slightly by JB Doubtless’ tipsy recitation of his favorite slam poetry of 2006) highlighted by appearances by Marisa Tomei, Metallica and beer expert Michael Jackson.

(Technical awards were given the previous week at the Minneapolis Grayhound station, and were all won by Joe Bodell).

And so without further ado – a tradition unlike many others: The Shootie Awards for 2008!

The Andy Dick Whiny B**ch Award For B***hy Whinyness: Need I say more?

The Daniel Pearl Profiles in Journalistic Courage Award: This one goes to Molly “Is It White In Here” Priesmeyer of the Minnesoros “Independent”. Last March, she wrote:

…it’s at least refreshing to see McCain’s teeth get a razzing (though, unfortunately, not a cleaning). It gets a little tiring listening to the same sexist cries that Hillary Clinton is just too ugly to be president. Hatin’ on the looks of all the candidates? Now that’s equality!

The next day, she noted to MDE that, schwoops, she wasn’t aware that McCain’s teeth had been beaten out of his face while a POW in Vietnam:

I was not aware of the fact. I simply was linking to a post that revealed “his teeth” had become a topic of discussion on the blogosphere. is an aggregator site that collects trends of the day.

The “Mindy” – all the news that’s fit for rich liberals to pay you to link to!

The Leona Helmsley “Accountability For Ye, but Not For We” Award: Last March, the Minnesoros Monitor “Independent”‘s Andy Birkey chided Rep. Michele Bachmann for eschewing appearances on the local tanning-bed media, preferring to stick to conservative and Christian news outlets (an approach that was pretty roundly vindicated closer to election time). I asked Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senate Candiate Al Franken, Representatives Keith Eillson and Betty McCollum, and mayors R.T Rybak and Chris Coleman for interviews on the NARN or, if their schedules didn’t permit, on my blog.

Mayor Rybak earned my respect by accepting the invitation.

None of the others responded to repeated inquiries.

The Cliff Clavin Award For Unintentional Comedic Self-Glamorization: Grace Kelly at MNBlue MnProgressiveProject some wackjob commieblog knows who the real heroes are.

DFL volunteers.

The Mao Zhedong “We Are Identically Diverse” Award: Lori Sturdevant has given so much to this award ceremony every year; she’s a serious contender for a lifetime achievement award. This years’ paeon to “feminist unity” (behind left-leaning women only, naturally) was just one of dozens of potential choices from her oeuvre this past year.

The Baghdad Bob “We’re Not Laughing With You, We’re Laughing At You” Award: Mere weeks after the Minnesoros “Independent” laid off much of its staff at the behest of the “Center for “Independent” Media” (causing editor Steve Perry to realize that he’d been running a bald-faced propaganda rag roughly two years after every other person in the Twin Cities had twigged to the fact), Chris Steller complained unironically that the Coleman campaign was tossing the utterly dependent Steller from press conferences. (The NARN is still waiting on press credentials from Keith Ellison).

Post Title Of The Year: While there were the usual avalanche of contenders, I found nothing better than Mr. Dilettante’s “Jesus Christ Oberstar“.

The Martin Luther King/Sermon On The Mount Award For Political Civility: Aaron Landry – MNPublius’ designated wind-up Frankenblogger – brought political discourse to a higher level.

The “Dewey Wins” Award For Gate-Keeping and Fact-Checking – This years’ award goes to the Minnsoros “Independent” (nee Monitor), for Dan Haugen’s “It Could Be Worse“. Background: during the spring legislative session, Rep. Tony Cornish (R – Good Thunder) sponsored a bill that would have clarified Minnesota’s rules for armed self-defense. While the rest of the Minnesota Sorosphere turned to actively lying about Cornish’s bill (see “Government Figure As Mushroom Farmer”, below), Haugen tried to wax humorous, snickering that at least Minnesotans weren’t proposing allowing guns in bars, like a bill in Tennessee proposed.

Unfortunately, being a highly trained “independent” “citizen journalist”, Haugen couldn’t be bothered to have found out that legal, unintoxicated (blood alcohol below .04%) permit holders are allowed to carry guns in bars in Minnesota.

The “C’mon, Thomas Jefferson – Work With King George!” Award: To the entire Twin Cities media and leftymedia (pardon the redundancy), for their nonstop pressure on the GOP to not just forgive and forget the Override Six for stabbing their party and constituents in the back, but to pretty much become DFLers anyway. As usual.

Government Official As Mushroom Farmer Award: This one goes to Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom, in his response to Rep. Cornish’s bill. Backstrom demonstrates the old adage – if you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, just lie, since the media will back you up anyway.

And finally, the big kahuna – the one we’ve been waiting for all year:

The Charles Townsend Award – In 1765, British parliamentarian Charles Townsend, in noting the Colonies’ protests against the Stamp Act, said:

“And now will these Americans, Children planted by our Care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a Degree of Strength & Opulence, and protected by our Arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burden which we lie under?”

And this year’s winner is…

(Drum Roll)

Larry Pogemiller, “I think it’s simplistic and naive to say people can spend their money better than the government.”

That’s it for this year, folks! But stay tuned – 2009 promises to be a doozy!

ALSO:  Swiftee is giving out awards, too – and unlike the autocratic Shooties, you have a say!

The 2007 Shootie Awards

Happy New Year! 

And you know what that means, right?  Yepper, it’s time for the Shooties!

The Shooties have been an annual tradition here at Shot In The Dark for…well, a year, now. The Shooties stand watch over the regional media, alternative media, and political scene, ready to skewer the obnoxious, pretentious, and dumb (and, occasionally, reward the meritorious).

Technical awards were given out at a ceremony at Keegans’ last October.

So, with no further ado, let’s get on with the show!

The Baghdad Bob Award for Holding On To An Absurd Fiction Long Past The Point Of Pathetic: This award goes to the Minnesota Monitor. For the entire year of their existence, they denied – or, more accurately, refused to comment on, and declared all speculation “paranoid” – their relationship with George Soros’ attack-PR firm “Media Matters for America”, saying that there was no reason whatsoever to assume that just because the Monitor’s parent group, the ironically-named “Center for Independent Media”, shared offices with MM4A early in its organizational life, that there was any relationship between the CIM and the left-supporting billionaire.

Until former Strib reporter Erik Black put the qibosh on the “silly” “nonsense”-ical “attack” meme by…confirming it, as he was departing CIM employ and decamping to the MinnPost.

The Daniel Pearl Profiles in Journalistic Courage Award: This year, we award this award to none other than ace “journalist” Jeff Fecke, of the Soros joint Minnesota Monitor, in what will be the first of several awards this year.

While trying to “cover” a John Kline town hall meeting he claimed that that Congressman Kline’s staff had barred him from liveblogging – but then turned around and allowed a group of conservative bloggers to blog away unhindered. He wrote

“Minnesota Monitor had intended to liveblog the event. Unfortunately, while some conservative bloggers were allowed internet access, Kline staffers informed this reporter that I would not be able to take advantage of internet access that had been offered me after inquiry with the Lakeville school district.”

Like a lawnmower going over a gopher, Michael Brodkorb and Joe “Learned Foot” Tucci ripped Fecke’s claim of discrimination to shreds; Brodkorb even scanned and posted the forum’s rules.

Perception remained reality at the MinMoneyitor.

The “Let’s Go Find All The Narrow-Minded Bigots – and Lynch Them” Award for Even-Handed, Detached “Journalism” – Phil Krinkie was a famous tax hawk in the State House for many years. He’s also a great guy – funny, jovial, reasonable, a great ambassador for fiscal conservatism. Lori Sturdevant is a DFL hack whose every column is a bit of “unpaid” flakkery for the left in this state; not only does she never deviate from the party line, she usually is right in line with whatever transient strategy is in current effect. So when she wrote about a conversation with Krinkie, after reciting the entire catalog of DFL talking points about Krinkie, she added “Notice how much more reasonable a zealot can sound when chatting with an old classmate than when performing on the stump?”

There’s reason to believe she wasn’t even trying to be ironic.

The “This Is London” Plaque for Creative “Journalistic” Cribbing – Over the summer, the Minnesota Monitor’s Jeff Fecke got busted for low-grade plagiarism, shoddy attribution, and trying to bluster his way out of being busted for these mistakes with a creative edit or two. His only response? “On the advice of my editor, I have no comment”. Which was pretty much Fecke’s response to every question about his work with the Monitor last year.

The Richard M. Nixon Award for Ethics – Busted for numerous ethical lapses, the Minnesota Monitor – which came into existence trumpeting its “Code of Ethics“, which tells its practicioners to “Admit mistakes and correct them promptly” – didn’t really admit or correct much of anything.

The Joe Isuzu Trophy – This award is given to those who talk a huuuuuge game, and delivery a tiiiiiiiny one.

And the “winner” this year is Minnesota “MNob” Observer, a lawyer apparently licensed to practice law in Minnesota and who writes for about sixty regional leftyblogs, whose analysis of the Olson v. Brodkorb summary judgement, er, flunked with dishonors.

The Minnesota Monitor “Do As We Say, Not As We Do” Award For Grating Hypocrisy – Karl Bremer – dyspeptic anti-Michele Bachmann obsessive from Stillwater – made huge waves when, mirabile dictu, nearly every left-leaning regional website simultaneously tripped onto a month-old, native-American-bashing post at “Anti-Strib”. And while Anti-Strib got ripped pretty soundly by the local Sorosphere (and, let’s not forget, a fair chunk of the regional dextrosphere), there was deafening silence about a comment Bremer himself left on a post at “Dump Bachmann“:

I thought I saw the name Drew Emmer among those arrested with Larry Craig for cruising MSP airport bathrooms for anonymous sex. I could be wrong, but Emmer’s behavior and comments seem oddly similar in both form and content to Craig’s.

There was never a comment from anyone involved in The [decreasingly relevant] Dump, or any other leftyblog outlet, about Bremer’s slander.

Being the darling of the local Sorosphere means not needing basic ethics.

The “Howard Dean” Trophy For Leaving Liberals Screaming and Sputtering: Every year for the last, oh, two years or so, the City Pages – the occasionally brilliant but always reliably hip-“counterculture”-lefty local “alternative” freebie ‘zine – gives two “Best Blog” awards. The “Best Liberal Blog” is generally stridently, constantly political (“MNVolved”, I think, in ’06, although it didn’t survive much beyond the award, and “Clucking Stool” in ’07); the “Best Conservative Blog” has been the one that talks the least about politics. In ’06 it was Nihilist in Golf Pants, and the award seems to have gutted the spirit of the once-prolific stalwarts. But in ’07, the “award” went to Dan Lacey of “Faithmouse”. Perhaps trying to avoid the City Pages “Best New Band” jinx (the “winners” inevitably break up) Lacey turned around and sold the “award” on EBay. It drew sputtering from the usual assortment of left-leaning waxy yellow blogbuildup, but who cared? The quietest blog smackdown of the year, it was also by far the best.

And finally, the big kahuna, the award that started it all:

The Charles Townsend Award – In 1765, British parliamentarian Charles Townsend, in noting the Colonies’ protests against the Stamp Act, said:

“And now will these Americans, Children planted by our Care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a Degree of Strength & Opulence, and protected by our Arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burden which we lie under?”

And this year’s winner is: a triple play!

Positively loathsome.

And that’s it for this year’s edition of the Shooties! So until next year, thanks for stopping by, and remember – if you’re in the media, the alt-media, or regional politics, and your head is tightly jammed where the sun doesn’t shine, I’ll be busily writing down the details!