Wednesday, June 13, 2018

On the way

Arches are a thing down there
More traveling today. Light posting for a few days.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Wait and see

Grip and grin
No one knows if the agreement Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un will mean anything. If someday there is peace in Korea, that would make the world a safer, better place. Considering we were wondering if Kim was going to nuke Guam a year ago, we are seeing progress.

Trump is a dealmaker -- it's been the basis of his life. I have reservations whether Kim can be trusted and I'm guessing Trump does, too. The hard work will come later on. For peace to truly come to Korea, the North cannot continue to have an existential military force pointed across the demilitarized zone. Once even a hint of openness comes to the Hermit Kingdom, it will be almost impossible for Kim to keep control. He has to know that, too. But for this moment, it's worth noting that something we never thought we'd see has happened.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Rejected Tim Pawlenty Campaign Slogans

Haven't done one of these in a while.
  • Why the hell not?
  • New, Improved, Old Fashioned
  • You could do worse. In fact, you have
  • More baggage than American Tourister!
  • Woke? Nah, barely awake!
  • Ain't too proud to beg, as I have demonstrated for the past 8 years
  • I won't scare the horses, at least not much
  • More of a lounge act than a lobbyist
  • Probably better than a blunt stick in the eye
  • A convenient way to meet recycling mandates!
  • Every generation throws a Stassen up the pop charts

Calliope, Part Three -- Minnesota CD5

When incumbent Keith Ellison jumped into the race for attorney general, that meant there would be a free-for-all for his seat in Congress. In my mind, this race becomes the most interesting race of this cycle, because it will tell us a lot about where the metro DFL really is these days.

If the DFL is still sane, Margaret Anderson Kelliher will be the obvious choice. The former speaker of the Minnesota House and 2010 endorsed DFL candidate for governor, Kelliher is a reliable liberal but. . . how do I put this? She's a recognizable political type, the earnest liberal who is willing to talk with conservatives. She would represent CD5 much in the way Ellison's predecessor, Martin Olav Sabo, once did. Kelliher is about the best one could expect out of the district. But she has plenty of competitors. Patricia Torres Ray has been in the state Senate for a dozen years now and hasn't done a lot to make a difference there, but she'd not embarrass anyone. Then there are two candidates who represent the two sides of Ellison. Ilhan Omar, a Somali immigrant with an, ahem, interesting past,  was just elected to the House in the last cycle. She seems to have a lot of push behind her candidacy, as she carries Gov. Mark Dayton's endorsement. Then there's state Senator Bobby Joe Champion, an Ellison protege with a trail of ethics investigations in his past, along with two other minor candidates. On the Republican side, there are candidates, including the endorsed candidate Jennifer Zielinski, but Republicans aren't going to win CD5.

So what happens? The motivated group wins. Kelliher would be the smart choice for the district and for Minnesota, but I would not be surprised if Omar wins. Advantage -- Margaret Anderson Kelliher.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Calliope, Part Two -- The Race for Attorney General

While the race for governor is certainly the most consequential of this election cycle, the attorney general matters quite a lot, too. And it's going to be interesting now that Lori Swanson has decided to run for governor.

The big fish on the DFL side is Keith Ellison, who has been in Congress for six terms and until recently served as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee. The term "problematic" is overused, but that's Ellison. He's never quite gotten around to disavowing his previous support of Louis Farrakhan and he's mostly gotten by with a compliant local press burying his misdeeds. A guy who likes to skirt the law ought not be Attorney General, but he has to be the favorite, even though there are plausible alternatives. The endorsed DFL candidate, Matt Pelikan, has no chance, despite the value of the endorsement. He's a DFL activist from Northfield who was able to run Swanson off by trashing her intermittent support for gun rights and by being more woke generally, but he's a silly candidate in every other respect. There are also three other plausible candidates on the DFL side, including Rep. Debra Hillstrom of Brooklyn Center, who is an Anoka County prosecutor for her day job. Hillstrom would likely perform in office like Swanson has; if you have to have a DFLer in the position, she'd be competent. Another candidate, Mike Rothman, served as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce. He's a bright guy but he's coming out of the bureaucracy and it's not clear he has the presence to get past the other candidates. Also in the race is Tom Foley, who was Ramsey County Attorney years ago. He could certainly do the job, but he's getting long in the tooth. Ellison has to be the favorite, but he'd be a disastrous pick for the job. It would have been better if Rothman and Foley had dropped out, leaving Hillstrom to run, but that didn't happen. Advantage: Keith Ellison.

On the Republican side, the endorsed candidate is Doug Wardlow, who served one term in the Minnesota legislature. In an ordinary year, he'd be the latest Republican sacrificial lamb, but he might have a chance, particularly if Ellison is the candidate for the DFL. Wardlow is a bright guy and a solid conservative; if he could win, he'd be great. Just before the filing deadline, Wardlow got a challenger, the longtime state senator from International Falls, Bob Lessard. Lessard is a legend, but he's a legend because he's 87 years old. While I have great respect for his service to the state, he's past his sell-by date by at least 15 years. Advantage: Doug Wardlow.

We'll look at some more races in the coming days.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Calliope -- the Race for Governor

We're back from celebrating graduation ceremonies for Benster and Fearless Maria. These were joyful events and we're all proud of their accomplishments. It was also good to get away from writing about politics for a few days.

As we left town for Benster's graduation, the nominating conventions for the DFL and the Republicans took place. As it happens, a party endorsement doesn't mean much these days, as we're clearly headed for primaries in most races. And it's going to be a circus. I'm going to run the races down, but it's going to take multiple posts. We'll start with the governor's race:

Governor: On the Republican side, no surprises. Jeff Johnson, who is a very nice man, won the endorsement over what turned out to be token opposition. His actual opponent is former governor Tim Pawlenty, who is back in the game after making his pile in the lobbying biz. No one in the party really likes Pawlenty, but he's won statewide office twice, a claim no other active Republican can make, and he's got more financial backing than King Canute. I've met Jeff Johnson and, as I said, he's a very nice man. But Mark Dayton kicked his butt in 2014 and there's no evidence Johnson is any more formidable now than he was four years ago. Advantage: Tim Pawlenty.

Meanwhile, the DFL race is going to be entertaining as hell. Somehow Tim Walz, who had all the advantages going in, lost the endorsement to Erin Murphy, a gun grabbing state rep who was Majority Leader of the House at one point. She picked another gun-grabbing Erin, the publicity-hungry state rep Erin Maye Quade, as her running mate. Meanwhile, Walz, who gave up his seat in Congress to run for governor, finds himself in a tough spot, because the outstate support he was counting on may not be forthcoming, since he had to go all-in with the gun grabbers to seek the nomination. And to make it even more amusing, Attorney General Lori Swanson threw her hat into the ring after she lost her AG endorsement to something called Matt Pelikan. Swanson has the charisma of lint, but she's a cagey operator and made a smart pick for a running mate in Rick Nolan, the crusty old congressman who is retiring from CD-8. There's a significant advantage in having the endorsement for Murphy/Quade, but they will be a hard sell anywhere outside of the 494/694 loop. From what I can tell, Walz is screwed -- he's not going to get enough votes from the activists to get through. If the DFL were smart, they'd probably pick Swanson, but I'm guessing they'll be erring with the Erins. Advantage: Erin Murphy.

I expect we'll be hearing a lot about guns in the general election. The gun grabbers have been highly visible in the run-up to the election, but there are a lot of Second Amendment stalwarts in this state, as former DFL candidates such as Mike Hatch discovered to their pain. I also expect we'll hear a lot about the bizarre and petulant performance of outgoing governor Mark Dayton in the election. Dayton is not on the ballot, but his crazytown performance in office over the last two years is going to be a problem for the DFL, especially outside the 494/694 loop. There will be significant appetite not to reward the DFL for their perfidy, but Pawlenty has a lot of baggage. It's going to get interesting, and certainly it's going to be expensive.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Caps and gowns

Light, or maybe no, posting the next few days. Benster gets his college diploma on Sunday, Fearless Maria gets her high school diploma on Tuesday. If something merits attention, I'll get to it soon!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

A good, succinct explanation

Writing for American Greatness, Henry Olsen has a few gentle clues for the Bill Kristols of the world:
I am not a Trump fan by any stretch of the imagination, yet it strikes me as fairly obvious why many Americans would like the president or think he is doing a good job. Some Americans have been so disaffected by economic changes of the last decade that they see Trump’s enthusiastic embrace of American jobs for American workers as a breath of fresh air. Others find his staunch support of American security as reassuring. Trump’s proposed Muslim ban enrages many of his opponents, but the polling data suggests that this more than any other proposal is what made him president.

Others might be less enthusiastic about Trump but have good reason to think he’s doing a good job. Religiously traditional people see themselves under siege from an elite culture that holds them in contempt and have chosen to embrace the devil that backs them over the devil who does not.

Still others, many of whom are traditional business or free market conservatives, remain wary of him personally but increasingly like his policies. Indeed, there are a number of polls that show Republicans who voted for Gary Johnson to be of this view. They might prefer someone without Trump’s flaws, but faced with the evidence of a man who hasn’t screwed up and who has implemented much of their agenda they seem willing to reconsider their prior anti-Trump views. But few if any of the punditocracy has followed suit, and fewer still can even see that many Americans don’t view Trump as beyond the pale.
The last three words of this excerpt are the key ones -- beyond the pale. It's a term that goes back centuries, but in the current context it means unacceptable. And as I've come to experience the current administration, I've had to look at what unacceptable means. For the Never Trumpers, it's still more about style and temperament than it is about actual performance in office. Trump's behavior will always be grating -- the braggadocio, the continuing struggles with subject/verb agreement, like that. All the boorishness will never be easy to take.

And yet, and yet. . . Trump's critics persist in making much of their critique about his deportment rather than his performance of his duties. Barack Obama's persona was certainly more elegant and classy than Trump's, but it was a veneer. He remains what he decided he wanted to be when he entered politics -- a Chicago politician. Obama may not have worn a pinkie ring, but he was quick to kneecap anyone who got in his way. He just was more discreet about it. Trump doesn't care about any of those niceties -- if he wants something, he'll either do it if he can take care of it himself, or he'll rage and whine and wheedle and threaten. But he'll often get what he wants. And to the extent his exertions square with good public policy, he'll be more successful than his predecessor and deservedly so. It all goes back to the distinction Eric Hoffer makes between Men of Words and Men of Action. We have a Man of Action in the White House. And that's going to make the Men of Words grind their gears.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

il miglior fabbro

I missed this piece from Richard "Belmont Club" Fernandez when it first came out, but it's spot-on:
What could explain the relative durability of Donald Trump in the face of the 24x7 media denunciation of his peccadillos is the fact that he, like the man in the rubber monster suit, is too front and center to be genuinely frightening. It is not that the public has ignored his shortcomings or faults so much as they have made adjustments for them. Trump is a definite quantity and many prefer him to what they imagine to be worse.

While Trump’s defects have been “priced in” to the political equation by contrast the liberal heroes are often pitched too high.  The future villains, ignored or flatteringly covered by the media until the moment of their sudden exposure, prove psychologically more menacing because they were supposed to be the Good Guys. Portrayed as kindly television personalities, avuncular talk show hosts, square jawed news anchors, patrons of feminism or crusading district attorneys until exposure they fulfill the condition of betrayal and a surprise of the classic horror boogeyman. They are the tigers who stalk us from behind, the anacondas that wait coiled in ambush from an overhead branch, or little old ladies quietly eating at a diner who turns out to be possessed.
Anyone who observes the scene long enough knows the Good Guys aren't very good at all. But in a world where traditional faith is denounced and mocked on a regular basis, those doing the denouncing and mocking face the task of providing a substitute. And so we are regaled with tales of brave Sir Schneiderman and his contemporaries. And the tales, almost invariably, turn to ash. As always, click the link.

Freedom of speech

We have freedom of speech. When you are being compensated, the organization compensating you may not enjoy your observations so much and take action against you, up to and including no longer providing any more compensation.

  • I don't care about Roseanne Barr. She was working for Disney/ABC. If Disney/ABC doesn't like her promulgating offensive tweets against Obama-era officials, they can fire her.
  • I don't care about Colin Kaepernick. He was working for the San Francisco 49ers, who got rid of him. Other teams don't see his value being commensurate with the public relations nightmare he is. He's not entitled to a job any more than Roseanne Barr is entitled to a job.
That's the only way intellectually consistent way to look at these issues, I think. Just understand -- the culture war is for keeps, bro.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Albion the news that's fit to print

Can't talk about it in England. Likely no one in England will read these words, but in case someone from England does happen across this blog, I share the reportage of Ezra Levant:

On Friday, May 25, Tommy [Robinson] was reporting from outside the courthouse in Leeds, where an accused Muslim rape gang was on trial for repeatedly raping British girls as young as eleven years old. Tommy was broadcasting on Facebook, from his cell phone.  
Tommy was very careful:
He did not set foot on the court precinct.
He did not call the men “rapists”, but rather called them “accused rapists”.
In no way did he interfere with the trial, which was on its final day.
When Tommy mentioned the names of the accused rapists, he was reading from a BBC website — so the names were clearly public information, on the state broadcaster.
Tommy did nothing wrong.

But suddenly, seven police officers swarmed Tommy and threw him in the back of a police van.

They said he was causing a disturbance, which is absurd — he was by himself on the street, with only a cameraman and a friend.

But it got worse. Much worse.

Within hours, Tommy was summoned before the judge. Tommy’s long-time lawyer was not informed of this. Rather, the court appointed a lawyer who didn’t know Tommy and wasn’t an expert in the specialized law of contempt of court.

In a matter of minutes, Tommy was sent to prison — with a 13-month sentence. He is now in HM Prison Hull, a brutal facility near Leeds. 
You aren't allowed to talk about certain things in England any more. In the United States, we have a First Amendment. In England, there are hate speech laws. If the government hates your speech, you can be thrown into a police van without warning. Back to Levant:
The basic facts here — what Tommy was doing and what he didn’t do; the shocking speed with which he was imprisoned; the fact that his own lawyer was not notified; the fact that Tommy has not had a proper chance to meet with his lawyer — are banned in the UK.

Not just the underlying facts of the rape gang trial — but the whole incident involving Tommy.

The judge who sent Tommy to jail, made it illegal to report that he sent Tommy to jail.

Why did the judge keep his justice secret? 
Why? Because he rightly assumed he could get by with it. More at the link, including a fundraising appeal if you're so inclined.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Calling in an air strike on your own position

I'm seeing plenty of this image on social media today:

That monster Trump, putting kids in cages in. . . 2014?
The problem? This was 2014.

In Hamm, Luxembourg

Over 5,000 Americans have their final resting place here, including Gen. George S. Patton:

A number of my uncles served in World War II. They all made it back. My grandfather served in World War I. He made it back. Many did not. We remember them today.