Friday, September 30, 2016

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- Into October Edition

Old dude, the moth of October is really the greatest month if you are a sports fan. All four major pro leagues are in play, and in college football there are a lot of good conference games that are really interesting.

That's true, Seabiscuit. And the Ryder Cup is going on this weekend here in Minnesota.

I know! I wish I could be there, but my collegiate obligations keep me here in exciting Galesburg. Believe me, if I were there, I'd have no trouble mustering the HYYYYYYYYYPPPPPPE!

They seem to have the HYYYYYYYPPPPPPPE! under control, actually. The crowds have been raunchy and raucous.

You're from Manhattan, they're from Seacaucus? Very old school, old dude! Channeling the Beastie Boys again?

Yeah. I find it interesting, kinda like this month.

Well, I guess it would be interesting to you, but I might have thought that there were months that were far less interesting. Can you get multiple Early Bird Specials in October?

Guess I'll find out.

It is time to pick some games, so watch me work:

Minnesota Golden Gophers (+3) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions. This is one of the 100 or so trophy games in the Big Ten, though I do not think that the teams really hate each other. The Gophers have looked pretty decent in the early part of the season, while Penn State did lose at Pitt and got embarrassed by Michigan last week in Ann Arbor. I do think that the Gophers are going to be a factor in the Big Ten West, since Iowa looks to have taken a step back. Still, I do think winning in Happy Valley is a step a bit too far. Penn State 27, Gophers 14.

I tend to agree with you on this one. Penn State has to have this one. The Gophers want this one. Many things are decided with those levels of motivation. Penn State 24, Gophers 20.

Beloved Wisconsin Badgers (+10.5) vs. Michigan Wolverines. Meanwhile, the Badgers took care of things quite well in East Lansing, and are ranked in the top 10 in the polls. However, with no Vince Biegel for the next few weeks, things are going to be a lot more difficult. Michigan is a very good team, and are certainly well coached by Jim, the more annoying Harbaugh brother. However,, Harbaugh has not won a big game in this conference yet, and Wisconsin can say that they beat two top 10 teams away from Camp Randall. We are about to find out if these teams are for real. I do think that it is great that the Badgers are playing Michigan again after a few years. Paul Chryst will have his team ready to play, and I think that the Badgers have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Badgers 21, Fail to the Victors 11.

This is a tough assignment, especially given all the injuries the Badgers have faced. They are also missing their kicker, who is out for the season. That's going to matter, maybe as soon as this week. Michigan 21, Wisconsin 20.

Tottenham Hotspur (NL) vs. Manchester City. Since Knox is on bye this week, and there were no national college games that really stood out, let's talk some more Premier League. Tottenham currently sit 2nd in the table, behind Manchester City, who have yet to drop points in the league under Pep Guardiola, who is arguably the most successful manager in the world. Spurs will not have Harry Kane, but I do expect that this game is going to be high scoring. However, Tottenham is coming back from a long trip to Moscow in the Champions League, while City only went to Glasgow to play Celtic. Tottenham 1-3 Manchester City.

If my Spurs are going to be a factor this season, they need to win this match, or at least get a draw. I think they will win. New Spurs hero Heung Min Son scores again and the goaltending remains stout. Spurs 1, City 0.

New York Football Giants (+5) vs. Minnesota Vikings. Nobody expected the Vikings to have as good a start as they have had without Teddy Bridgewater and AP, but the defense of the Vikings is looking really good. The Giants come into town looking like they finally figured some things out after last year. I do expect this game to be close, but the Vikings should have no issues winning at their new palace, which I would rename A "Better" Minnesota Dome. Vikings 25, Giants 3.

Peyton Eli Manning really stinks against the Vikings. No reason to believe that changes this week. Vikings 24, Giants 10.

Detroit LOLions (-2.5) vs. Bear Down Chicago da Bearz. The Bears are, quite frankly, a joke right now. I know that they are banged up, but their record at home recently has been unacceptable, and you have to wonder if the McCaskey family needs to make more changes at Halas Hall. John Fox really has not gotten in the right mix of players, and I since he is sitting on a molten lava chair. I am begging Gino to buy the Bears. At least he shows passion and enthusiasm, unlike the front office. If the Bears can't beat the freaking Lions, a team that should really be playing against the Providence Steam Roller, or maybe the Canton Bulldogs or some other ancient team, then we know that the only thing pretty about Soldier Field right now is the parking garage. Lions 45, Just Fire the Whole Freaking Team 0.

Gino's a formidable presence in fantasy football, so why not? As for the game, this is one the Bears can, and should, win. I think it's a shootout and, what the heck? Bears 35, Lions 31.

That is all for us, and if you are a fan of the Bears, I am so sorry you have to watch that team. Oh wait, I am a Packers fan. I really don't give a darn. Ben out!

A reminder from afar

We'd rather not talk about our governor in Minnesota. Sometimes it takes a reminder from an outside observer to make the point. Here's Victor Davis Hanson:
In our new age of racial polarization, few have been quite as crude as Minnesota governor Mark Dayton, who lashed out at any Minnesotans who questioned the wisdom of allowing into his state mostly unvetted refugees from Somalia, a few with demonstrable Islamist ties: “If you are that intolerant, if you are that much of a racist or a bigot, then find another state. Find a state where the minority population is 1 percent or whatever.” Then Dayton zeroed in with contempt for the white working class: “Our economy cannot expand based on white, B+, Minnesota-born citizens. We don’t have enough.”
I suppose if Dayton would stop insulting them and taxing the snot out of them, we might have a few more, but I digress. Hanson brings up Dayton in service of a larger point:
White progressive elites also explain much of the disparagement. By focusing on the supposed racism of the working classes, they find exemption for their own often exclusionary lives. Paula Deen’s long ago insensitive racial epithet was nearly a career-ending gaffe, whereas the nation simply shrugged off the more recent and racist characterization of Barack Obama in 2008 by then senators Joe Biden and Harry Reid. Saturday Night Live, worried about the appearance of its nearly all-white cast, just hired a “Latina” comedian who in preemptory fashion deleted 2,000 tweets that had illustrated her own racial stereotyping of black men and Asians in general.

Those with real “white privilege” can both alleviate guilt and navigate around the ramifications of their own racialist ideologies by expressing outrage at supposedly unrepentant Confederates and hillbillies — and, more recently, Trump supporters. I know hundreds of working-class whites in rural central California and have not heard racial slurs from any of them. But then again, none stereotype other white people as “deplorable” in the fashion of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Maybe because none ever traffic in the race vocabulary of “white people,” in the fashion that Hillary Clinton did in 2008, they now feel no need to do so to demonize them.
We all need our Other. And we all need our expiation. It's a lot more tolerable if you can dump your sins on someone else. Back to Hanson:
Cowardice too plays a role. It is much easier to blast faceless white supposed Neanderthals from afar when proximate whites are frequently the sensitive metrosexuals and pajama boys of the Yale campus, in the MSNBC green room, or among the Washington press corps. When a Princeton environmental-studies major confesses to her white privilege, she seeks exemption for her own apartheid by suggesting that white racists are epidemic in places she has never visited.

Speaking truth to power is not chastising those of the same elite class but rather venturing to a Bakersfield NASCAR race or a rural Ohio fairground to blast “white privilege.”
And if you want to know why Trump is still hanging in there, even though every major media outlet around is issuing full-throated denunciations of him, it's behavior of this sort that explains it. Hanson sums it up quite nicely:
In a new world of racially segregated dorms, racially safe spaces on campus, and racial preferences for the children of Eric Holder and Jorge Ramos, one needs a quite unattractive white working class other than the sympathetic multimillionaire cadre of a John Kerry, Chelsea Clinton, or George Soros. In that context, the Clingers, the Deplorables, and the B+ers of America’s vast loser interior serve well enough.
Until they don't.

Meanwhile, in Chicago

Too many promises, not enough money:
Chicago, the nation’s biggest junk-rated city, has raised taxes and moved to shore up its debt-ridden pension system, but for its schools, the triage still has a ways to go.

The Chicago Board of Education is facing a potential strike by its teachers, which could further strain its coffers. The third-largest U.S. school district’s budget counts on state aid and union concessions that may not come. And this week, Moody’s Investors Service cut its rating deeper into junk, citing its “precarious liquidity” and reliance on borrowed money, as preliminary data showed an enrollment drop of almost 14,000 students -- a loss that may cut into its funding.
How bad is it?
"To say that they’re challenged is an understatement,” said Richard Ciccarone, the Chicago-based president of Merritt Research Services LLC, which analyzes municipal finances. "The problems that they’re having poses risks to continued operations and the timely repayment of liabilities.”

The school board’s situation has worsened as its fund balance and reserves shrink, according to Moody’s.

“Because the reserves and the liquidity have weakened steadily over the past few years, there’s less room for uncertainty in the budget,” said Rachel Cortez, vice president at Moody’s in Chicago. “They don’t have any cash left to buffer against revenue or expenditure assumptions that don’t pan out.”
And of course, Chicago has a few other issues as well:
Tuesday, Aug. 23, provided a particular glimpse of how the city's murder toll steadily grew.
On that day, Victor Mata, 22, a member of a faction of the Satan Disciples, was found dead in the front yard of a house. It was the fourth time he had been shot in recent years.

Christopher Hibbler, 42, who belonged to the Black P Stones, a leading black street gang, died when people in a car sprayed gunfire at the corner where he was standing.

Tykina Ali, 20, was shot when someone opened fire on her boyfriend's car.

Johnell Johnson, a 37-year-old member of the Black Gangsters on the city's West Side, was found dead in the street, shot in the face.
I left Chicago nearly 24 years ago. I have not regretted the move.

Your first October Surprise

Step up to the microphone, Deutsche Bank:
German officials could be about to find themselves in an uncomfortable position: Being called on to show they're ready to rescue a bank in a part of the world where such operations are considered taboo.

Deutsche Bank came under intensified market fire Thursday, the latest salvo being a Bloomberg report that a small number of hedge funds are trimming their sails at the German bank.
So, what's the issue?
The bank has about about $16 billion in equity and some $160 billion in debt.
If you read the linked article from CNBC, the writers are going all out to assure us that, no, this isn't a Lehman Brothers-style meltdown. Events get in the saddle, though. Something to watch carefully.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Open thread

While I'm sure interesting things are happening in the world, I'm not sure anything I've seen this morning is worth blogging about, so I'm going to make this an open thread. Have at it!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Just read it

There's a lot to digest, but this essay by Angelo Codevilla is the smartest (and depressing) thing I've read all year. I could pull dozens of quotes from the essay, but I'll just go with two. First, on the nature of the ruling class:
In today’s America, a network of executive, judicial, bureaucratic, and social kinship channels bypasses the sovereignty of citizens. Our imperial regime, already in force, works on a simple principle: the president and the cronies who populate these channels may do whatever they like so long as the bureaucracy obeys and one third plus one of the Senate protects him from impeachment. If you are on the right side of that network, you can make up the rules as you go along, ignore or violate any number of laws, obfuscate or commit perjury about what you are doing (in the unlikely case they put you under oath), and be certain of your peers’ support. These cronies’ shared social and intellectual identity stems from the uniform education they have received in the universities. Because disdain for ordinary Americans is this ruling class's chief feature, its members can be equally certain that all will join in celebrating each, and in demonizing their respective opponents.
As we've watched how Washington has handled the Hillary Clinton email scandal, all of Codevilla's assertions are proving correct. Then there's the nature of how opponents are dealt with:
The Declaration of Independence says that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” among which are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These rights—codified in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights—are not civil rights that governments may define. The free exercise of religion, freedom of speech and assembly, keeping and bearing arms, freedom from warrantless searches, protection against double jeopardy and self-incrimination, trial by jury of one’s peers, etc., are natural rights that pertain to human beings as such. Securing them for Americans is what the United States is all about. But today’s U.S. Civil Rights Commission advocates truncating the foremost of these rights because, as it stated in a recent report, “Religious exemptions to the protections of civil rights based upon classifications such as race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity, when they are permissible, significantly infringe upon those civil rights.” The report explains why the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights should not be permissible: “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy, or any form of intolerance.”

Hillary Clinton’s attack on Trump supporters merely matched the ruling class’s current common sense. Why should government workers and all who wield the administrative state’s unaccountable powers not follow their leaders’ judgment, backed by the prestige press, about who are to be treated as citizens and who is to be handled as deplorable refuse? Hillary Clinton underlined once again how the ruling class regards us, and about what it has in store for us.
More, a lot more, at the link. Read it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Debate one

  • Trump is Trump -- he has a lot of energy but he's still undisciplined and doesn't focus well. Once he starts to ramble, he gets in trouble. He did a lot of rambling last night -- why the hell was he talking about Rosie O'Donnell? This tendency is why he blew off a potential one-on-one debate with Ted Cruz or John Kasich -- if he has more than one foil, he can play off the others and, from time to time, he can get out of the spotlight. He couldn't do that last night and it was a problem. 
  • He also, inexplicably, let a hanging curveball go by when it came to cybersecurity. Clinton is astonishingly vulnerable on that point, but he didn't seize on it. He has to do better than that. I am glad he gave Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve a shot and it was both smart and accurate to point out that we are in the middle of a bubble.
  • Hillary won on points, but I think she did plant some seeds that could be used against her later on. She got it easy this time -- moderator Lester Holt steered clear of issues that could damage her and didn't ask her to defend any of her past positions or comments. She probably won't get similar treatment from Chris Wallace later on. In her own smirky way, Clinton can match Trump's evident narcissism stride for stride. More about that in a moment.
  • Not sure this debate is going to move the needle much; based on what my social media shows, people who hate Trump still hate him and people who hate Clinton still hate her. And more than a few people hate both of them. I don't see too much winning hearts and minds going on in this election. It's a visceral election.
  • I don't suspect Trump would take my advice, since I'm on record as #NeverTrump, but I would suggest if he really wants to win, he needs to amplify the Hunger Games argument. Life is great in Washington, DC. The suburban areas surrounding the city are among the most wealthy in the country. It's increasingly like the Capitol in the dystopian novels and movies -- a place where the party never ends. Trump has developed some of these themes in his campaign and now is the time to make it clear that Washington is completely out of control. Trump is most effective when he comes on as the avenging angel, ready to tear the playhouse down.
  • One of my favorite songs from the 1980s was a tune called "Welcome to the Boomtown" by David & David. The opening lyric is about a jaded L.A. socialite, but the description fits Hillary Clinton well:  Ms. Cristina drives a nine four four/Satisfaction oozes from her pores. Clinton, like far too many people in the political class, is entirely too pleased with herself and she can't help but let it show. People notice stuff like that and in the current environment, it won't help Clinton. And as the song also says, "all that money makes such a succulent sound." It's pretty succulent in Washington. 

Monday, September 26, 2016


He seemed human, with his weird-looking backswing and his somewhat ruffled appearance.He was a chain smoker and he liked a few highballs after a round. He wasn't patrician in the least. He was a great ambassador for the game and a worthy champion. Arnold Palmer has died.

I'm too young to have seen Palmer during his heyday -- when Palmer won the Masters in 1964, in the clip I've posted above, I had a rattle in my hand, and I didn't see his great battles with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, among others. I saw plenty of Nicklaus and Player growing up, but while they were great champions, they weren't the same type of personality that Palmer was. While Nicklaus was certainly a greater golfer than Palmer, he was never as popular.

These days golf is technically better than ever, but it's become a sport that's not the same any more. We're about to host the Ryder Cup here in Minnesota and the best golfers in the world will be coming here to play. Not one of them will have the force of personality that Arnold Palmer had. RIP.


Just a few words about the debate tonight.

  • Most of the paid observers of politics seem to think that tonight's debate will be a game changer. I don't know that it will, actually. Donald Trump is going to do what Donald Trump does at debates and if moderator Lester Holt goes into "fact checking" mode, it won't do a lot to change minds. We don't agree on facts any more.
  • The only way the debate changes the trajectory of the race? If Hillary Clinton has a medical episode on stage. I'm sure she'll come in rested and properly medicated, but on the Left the stakes are high. The fear on my social media feed is palpable.
  • Will I watch? Probably some of it. I won't vote for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances and I am convinced a vote for Trump would be a move to regret. It's too bad Gary Johnson decided to be Burning Man John Anderson. And no, Ted Cruz's tepid endorsement of the Donald doesn't make a lot of difference.
  • This debate will take place at Hofstra University. It was originally scheduled for Wright State University in Dayton, but that school is having financial trouble and wasn't sure it could pull the event off. Too bad, because if there was ever a venue that was appropriate for such a contest, it would have to be the Nutter Center.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- 9-Game Big Ten Edition

Old dude, I am really glad that the Big Ten has expanded to play 9 conference games.

I am, too. You gotta work hard to get those Rutgers games in there!

So cynical. Glad I have youthful innocence on my side! One of the things that is great, is that teams in the old school Big Ten get to play each other more, and there is one less cupcake game, which the SEC likes to pretend does not exist.

Oh, how else is Presbyterian gonna get to visit Tuscaloosa?

They should probably buy a ticket. But my brilliant skills are my ticket. So, even though I don't see a lot of HYYYYYYYPPPPE! this week, it is time to watch me work.

Colorado State Rams (+17) vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Gophers are not playing a conference game this week, since they were on bye last week. The Rams are a team that has been rumored to be a possible expansion candidate for the Big XII. They certainly are a good solid football program, and they would provide you access to the Denver market. Minnesota is a team that is certainly going to be a factor in a wide open West race, considering that they are going to miss at least one of the big boys in the East. This game should be a little scary, but the Gophers should have no problems, right? Gophers 28, CSU 19.

This has trap written all over it. The Gophers need to pay attention to detail here, but I suspect the week off will help them. I think the Gophers will take care of business. Gophers 31, Rams 14.

Beloved Wisconsin Badgers (+4.5) vs. Michigan State Spartans. This game is start of what is the most brutal stretch of games that the Big Ten could have designed for a team at their offices in Chicago. The Badgers have to play at East Lansing, followed by going down the road to Ann Arbor, followed by hosting A School in Columbus. Wisconsin is banged up, and is going to be starting a freshman quarterback in what is going to be a hostile road atmosphere. Thankfully, Sparty did lose a very decorated and successful senior class, and the Badgers did already win a game against LSU that the experts gave them no chance to. I am curious to see if the Badgers are for real, but I am more curious to see if the Spartans are going to be a bit down. Badgers 20, Spartans 0.

So who are the Badgers, anyway? The team that stared down LSU, or the team that struggled to beat Georgia State? I don't like sending a freshman quarterback into East Lansing, so I'm going the other way on this one. Spartans 24, Badgers 17.

Knox College Prairie Fire (NL, despite the fact that some people would bet on it) vs Ripon Red Hawks. Knox College does have a lot of nice students, and we are plenty smart and very talented. The issue is our football program just is not there. Thankfully, this week is a new week, and plus Ripon is never a team that screams powerful team in the Midwest Conference. Knox 19, Ripon 0.

You don't know the history -- Ripon was a feared team for years, but lately you're right. I think this is a close game and we'll give it to the homestanding Red Hawks. Ripon 31, Knox 24.

Minnesota Purple People Eaters (+7.5) vs. Carolina Panthers. This game is unfortunate to be going on during the riots in the Charlotte area. Now, I rarely if ever talk politics, so let's talk football. The Vikings won a very tight game against the Packers, but have suddenly been hit again by the injury bug. Adrian Peterson is going to be out for a few months, and they lost their best offensive linemen. Carolina is a team that has not really broken out much, but you know that Cam Newton is a dangerous playmaker. While Sam Bradford had a very shockingly good performance against the Packers, this time he has a few less buddies in the stands, and the burden is on his shoulders alone. Panthers 45, Vikings 29.

Give the Vikings credit -- they can play defense for sure. I hope Sam Bradford has his insurance paid up, especially with a left tackle who will be on casters. Panthers 31, Vikings 17.

Detroit LOLions (+7.5) vs. Glorious Green Bay Packers. The Packer fanbase is really concerned with how questionable things have been. Thankfully, the Packers have a few things going for them. The LOLions will not have Megatron this time around, and the Packers are going to have a nice run of games in Green Bay, where Aaron Rodgers goes from a very good player to arguably the greatest signal caller in league history. I still believe that the NFC North is going to be up for grabs on Christmas Eve, and the Packers are traditionally slower starters. Packers 50, LOLions 2.

Aaron Rodgers is angry. The Lions won't like Aaron Rodgers when he's angry. Packers 34, Lions 14.

English Premier League.  AFC Bournemouth (NL) vs. Everton FC. Since the Bears are a dumpster fire and the Cowgirls are irrelevant again, let's discuss some soccer. My beloved Everton have quietly sneaked into 2nd place in the table, and are unbeaten the league. Bournemouth are a team who should be mid table to relegation fighters, and are well managed under Eddie Howe. The Toffees should dig out a result on one of the longest road trips of the year, since Everton is from Liverpool in the northeast of England, and Bournemouth is on the southern coast. AFC Bournemouth 0-2 Everton, goals scored by Lukaku and Bolasie.

Everton won't stay second, but they are having a nice year. Bournemouth isn't much. So yeah, you're right. The question is whether the Bears could beat Everton. I'm guessing not. I don't know who will score for Everton, but just don't say Lukaku in a Virginia senate race. Bournemouth 1, Everton 3.

I know Gino is going to rage at me for picking soccer ahead of the Bears, but technically I never said I couldn't pick soccer games here. Ben out!


So why would riots break out in Charlotte, but not in Tulsa, where the police shooting in question seems significantly more heinous? Because it's easier to get the rioters into Charlotte:
"This is not Charlotte that's out here.  These are outside entities that are coming in and causing these problems. These are not protestors, these are criminals."

"We've got the instigators that are coming in from the outside.  They were coming in on buses from out of state.  If you go back and look at some of the arrests that were made last night.  I can about say probably 70% of those had out-of-state IDs.  They're not coming from Charlotte."
That's according to a spokesman for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. The next question to ask -- which states are we talking about? Are these guys from nearby states? Or somewhere else? Charlotte sits on the border with South Carolina, but somehow I suspect the folks looting semis on the interstate are from the Palmetto State.

And who is paying for the buses? Well, one might look at history:
There’s a solitary man at the financial center of the Ferguson protest movement. No, it’s not victim Michael Brown or Officer Darren Wilson. It’s not even the Rev. Al Sharpton, despite his ubiquitous campaign on TV and the streets.

Rather, it’s liberal billionaire George Soros, who has built a business empire that dominates across the ocean in Europe while forging a political machine powered by nonprofit foundations that impacts American politics and policy, not unlike what he did with

Mr. Soros spurred the Ferguson protest movement through years of funding and mobilizing groups across the U.S., according to interviews with key players and financial records reviewed by The Washington Times.
The money trail does lead back to Soros. If ever a guy deserved a little RICO prosecution, it's this guy, but it's not gonna happen while Barack Obama has his thumb on the Justice Department. If you want to know why liberals are so terrified of the Big Orange Nemesis, imagine a Trump Justice Department poking around a few of the organizations on the Left. There's even a roadmap.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Charlotte Sometimes

The world is Rashomon:
 Authorities in Charlotte tried to quell public anger Wednesday after a police officer shot a black man, but a dusk prayer vigil turned into a second night of violence, with police firing tear gas at angry protesters and a man being critically wounded by gunfire. North Carolina's governor declared a state of emergency in the city.

The man was not shot by police who had massed in riot gear to keep the marchers outside an upscale downtown hotel, Charlotte officials announced on Twitter. City officials originally announced the man was dead but later reversed that statement and said he was on life support.

The second night of violent protests added Charlotte to the list of U.S. cities that have erupted in violence over the death of a black man at the hands of police.

With officials refusing to release any video of the Tuesday shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, anger built as two starkly different versions emerged: Police say Scott disregarded repeated demands to drop his gun, while neighborhood residents say he was holding a book, not a weapon, as he waited for his son to get off the school bus.
Emphasis mine. Do you know what happened? I don't. I do know this is happening:

Career opportunities
On Tuesday night, dozens of demonstrators threw rocks at police and reporters, damaged squad cars, closed part of Interstate 85, and looted and set on fire a stopped truck. Authorities used tear gas to break up the protests. Sixteen officers suffered minor injuries. One person was arrested.
Does that help? Probably not. But in most of these cases, that's not the point.
The violence broke out shortly after a woman who appeared to be Scott's daughter posted a profanity-laced, hourlong video on Facebook, saying her father had an unspecified disability and was unarmed. In the footage, she is at the cordoned-off shooting scene, yelling at officers.

"My daddy is dead!" the woman screams on the video, which has not been authenticated by The Associated Press.
It also doesn't help when the police don't understand the problem:
On Wednesday morning, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said: "It's time to change the narrative, because I can tell you from the facts that the story's a little bit different as to how it's been portrayed so far, especially through social media."

The police chief said officers were serving arrest warrants on another person when they saw Scott get out of a vehicle with a handgun. A black plainclothes officer in a vest emblazoned "Police" shot Scott after the officer and other uniformed members of the force made "loud, clear" demands that he drop the gun, the chief said.
Memo to Chief Putney -- you can present facts and evidence, but you're not going to change the narrative.

I also know things aren't over in St. Anthony, and that we continue to have issues throughout the country. It's always easier to look at the Other than to look in the mirror.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

25 Years Ago

A wonderful day and everything that matters in my life flows from it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Just a reminder

Take it away, Walter Russell Mead:
America’s public pension funds, which manage trillions of dollars in retirement assets for millions of civil servants, are systematically deceiving taxpayers, the politicians, and municipal bond investors with elaborate accounting sleight-of-hand. The “official” numbers show that public pension funds are struggling; the accurate ones show that the looming fiscal time bomb is so explosive that it may be impossible to defuse.
Mead points us to this piece from the New York Times, which has plenty to keep you awake:
When one of the tiniest pension funds imaginable — for Citrus Pest Control District No. 2, serving just six people in California — decided last year to convert itself to a 401(k) plan, it seemed like a no-brainer.

After all, the little fund held far more money than it needed, according to its official numbers from California’s renowned public pension system, Calpers.

Except it really didn’t.

In fact, it was significantly underfunded. Suddenly Calpers began demanding a payment of more than half a million dollars.

“My board was somewhat shocked,” said Larry Houser, the general manager of the pest control district, whose workers tame the bugs and blights that threaten their corner of California citrus country. It is just a few miles down the road from Joshua Tree National Park.
So why would Calpers want half a million dollars?
It turns out that Calpers, which managed the little pension plan, keeps two sets of books: the officially stated numbers, and another set that reflects the “market value” of the pensions that people have earned. The second number is not publicly disclosed. And it typically paints a much more troubling picture, according to people who follow the money.
So what's going on? Back to the Times:
The two competing ways of valuing a pension fund are often called the actuarial approach (which is geared toward helping employers plan stable annual budgets, as opposed to measuring assets and liabilities), and the market approach, which reflects more hard-nosed math.

The market value of a pension reflects the full cost today of providing a steady, guaranteed income for life — and it’s large. Alarmingly large, in fact. This is one reason most states and cities don’t let the market numbers see the light of day.
If you keep two sets of books in the private sector, it's usually called fraud. More, a lot more, at the link, including a few unpleasant surprises for the municipal bond market.

Monday, September 19, 2016

This should help

The Leader of the Free World takes it very seriously:
My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot. Tolerance is on the ballot. Democracy is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Good schools are on the ballot. Ending mass incarceration, that's on the ballot right now.

And there is one candidate who will advance those things. And there is another candidate who's defining principal, the central theme of his candidacy is opposition to all that we have done.

There's no such thing as a vote that doesn't matter. It all matters. And after we have achieved historic turnout in 2008 and 2012, especially in the African-American community, I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy, if this community lets down it's guard and fails to activate itself in this election. You want to give me a good send off? Go vote! And I'm going to be working as hard as I can these next seven weeks to make sure folks do.
And if there's someone well versed in personal insults, it's our president:

Obama's policy legacy is a tattered ruin, but he's a handsome man so his picture will look very nice in the history books.

Meanwhile, in St. Cloud

Don't ask me what I think of you, I might not give the answer that you want me to:
In a few bloody minutes, a man rampaged through a St. Cloud shopping mall Saturday evening, stabbing nine people before being fatally shot by an off-duty police officer. The violence is being investigated as terrorism, federal authorities said.

None of the nine victims, seven men and two women who ranged in age from 15 to 53, was killed in the attack.

In a media briefing after midnight Sunday, St. Cloud Police Chief William Anderson said an off-duty officer from another jurisdiction confronted and shot the suspect Saturday night inside Crossroads Center mall. He said the man — dressed in a private security uniform — reportedly asked at least one victim whether they were Muslim before assaulting them, and referred to Allah ­during the attacks.
So is this guy?
While law enforcement has not disclosed the suspect’s name, his father identified him as Dahir A. Adan, 22. Interviewed Sunday through a translator at his apartment in St. Cloud, Ahmed Adan said his son was born in Kenya but grew up in the United States. Other family members said Dahir Adan was beginning his third year as a student at St. Cloud State University.

Police told Ahmed Adan about 9 p.m. Saturday that his son had died at the mall, he said. He had “no suspicion” of his son being involved in any terrorist activity, he added. Police raided the apartment on St. Germain Street on Sunday morning and seized photos and other materials, Ahmed Adan said.

Police executed search warrants for two apartments, including the one where Adan lived with his father, Anderson said. They also impounded the assailant’s car from the mall parking lot.

Inside the building where the Adans lived, a neighbor said the younger Adan sometimes wore a security guard uniform. A cousin down the hall in the same building described Dahir Adan as a good person who minded his own business.
He minded his own business until he didn't. And note well this assessment, from the same story:
Barakad Omar, a classmate of Dahir Adan at Apollo High School, said he was “a good kid” and an A student.

He was more into sports than religion, said Jama Alimad, a community leader and close friend of the family, who described him as “the most assimilated kid in the neighborhood.” He worked part-time as a security guard at Electrolux Home Products in St. Cloud.
Makes you wonder what the unassimilated kids think.

I Don't Want to Go to Chelsea

Oh no it does not move me
Even though I've seen the movie
Counterterrorism agents were combing through surveillance videos as they hunted for a bomb maker who set off an explosion in New York Saturday night that injured 29 people, putting the city on high alert.

Officials said they were trying to determine if the explosion in Manhattan, an unexploded device that was found four blocks away and a blast earlier in the day about 80 miles away in New Jersey were the work of the same individual or group.
Men come screaming, dressed in white coats
Shake you very gently by the throat
One's named Gus, one's named Alfie
I don't want to go to Chelsea
The Manhattan explosion took place around 8:30 p.m. Saturday on West 23rd Street, near Sixth Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood, shaking buildings, shattering windows and sending people scrambling for cover, authorities said.

“I’m concerned,” said New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill. “We did have a bomb that was detonated…and we have no one apprehended, so of course I’m concerned.” The explosion occurred on Mr. O’Neill’s second day on the job.
Everybody's got new orders
Be a nice girl and kiss the warders

She's last year's model

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Birther of a Nation

I've never, ever thought Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States. And he would have been eligible to be president in any event because his mother was an American citizen. So I don't care. Still, it's worth remembering that, as recently as 1991, he had a literary agency portraying him as somewhat more, ahem, exotic than he is now:

As it turned out, he never finished "Journeys in Black and White" and instead wrote the first of his two autobiographies, "Dreams of My Father" instead. One would have thought Obama would have had this document corrected concerning the place of his birth, but he didn't bother. He probably thought it advantageous at the time. After a quarter century, it doesn't really matter very much.

It's always been clear that Lord Orange of the Outer Boroughs has had a lot of fun playing the birther card over the years. Does that matter much? Well, if you believe the amazing screed (labeled as "analysis") on the front page of today's Star Tribune, it's just about the worst thing ever:
It was not true in 2011, when Donald Trump mischievously began to question President Obama’s birthplace aloud in TV interviews. “I’m starting to think that he was not born here,” he said at the time.

It was not true in 2012, when he took to Twitter to declare that “an ‘extremely credible source’ ” had called his office to inform him that Obama’s birth certificate was “a fraud.”

It was not true in 2014, when Trump invited hackers to “please hack Obama’s college records (destroyed?) and check ‘place of birth.’ ”

It was never true. Obama’s citizenship was never in question. No credible evidence ever suggested otherwise.

Yet it took Trump five years of dodging, winking and joking to surrender to reality, finally on Friday, after a remarkable campaign of relentless deception that tried to undermine the legitimacy of the nation’s first black president. 
In fact, it took Trump much longer than that: Obama released his short-form birth certificate from the Hawaii Department of Health in 2008. Most of the world moved on.

But not Trump. He nurtured the conspiracy like a poisonous flower, watering and feeding it with an ardor that still baffles and embarrasses many around him.

He called up like-minded sowers of the same corrosive rumor, asking them how to take a falsehood and make it mainstream in 2011, as he weighed his White House run.

“What can we do to get to the bottom of this?” Trump asked Joseph Farah, an author who has long labored on the fringes of political life.

What he could do — and what he did do — was talk about it, uninhibitedly, on social media, where dark rumors flourish in 140-character bursts and, inevitably, find a home with those who have no need for facts.
You can always tell how worked up a writer really is if you count the adjectives. This guy is kinda worked up. But I understand -- consider what I wrote about the birther controversy, in this feature, back in 2011:
1) Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and is a U.S. citizen.

2) Even if he weren't born in Hawaii, his mother was a U.S. citizen, which makes him a U.S. citizen. That would be true even if he was born in Kenya, or Indonesia, or beamed down from Planet Zorf. Which he wasn't.

3) We rightly ridicule Andrew Sullivan for the wild-ass theories he progagates about Sarah Palin's son Trig. We stare in disbelief at the spectacle of those who believe 9-11 was some sort of inside job. We marvel and scoff at the cottage industry that continues to surround the assassination of John F. Kennedy, nearly 50 years on. We do these things for good reason. And yet some of our putative friends throw all that common sense out the window, because they wish to believe conspiracy theories that are more in line with fan fiction than reality.

4) You can, I think, believe that Barack Obama's presidency is dunderheaded, inept, mendacious, intellectually vacant and morally bankrupt. You can mention with confidence the notion that he has surrounded himself with knaves, mountebanks, thugs and brown nosers. You can describe his performance in office as that of a dilettante (ahem), a malingerer and someone who is aloof to the point of catatonia. Even if all of these assertions are accurate, his presidency is not illegitimate. Barack Obama won the election in 2008, decisively. He is the President of the United States. So can we give this birther crap a rest, please?
Since then, Obama was reelected in 2012. He's about to leave the stage, thank God. He's not the issue any more, although cleaning up the incredible mess he's leaving behind is Job One for his successor. So let's make a few updated assertions, shall we:

1) Barack Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. I'm sure it was a blessed event.

2) At some point, Barack Obama decided it might be advantageous to pretend he was born elsewhere. Around the time of his 30th birthday, he allowed a publication to state he was born in Kenya. This may have been for marketing purposes or to hide something else (perhaps he was able to gain financial assistance from the colleges he attended), but we aren't ever likely to find out the truth. And in the end it doesn't matter much, 25 years on.

3) That doesn't change the facts of his birth, but it does explain why some people view his upbringing with suspicion.

4) The two candidates most likely to succeed him, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, were born in the United States, in the aftermath of World War II. They are early-period Baby Boomers and as such carry a certain assortment of assumptions that are reflected in their thinking and their actions on the world stage.

5) The question before us is which one is better suited to assume the role that the current president has so comprehensively botched.

6) I don't have confidence that either of them is up to the task, for a variety of reasons.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- Opening the Bank Edition

So, this is the biggest Vikings home game in years, as we will finally see how the new stadium for the Vikings looks for a real NFL game.

It's a nice enough joint -- we've been there before ourselves:

This time, all the seats will be filled
Well, for what, a billion dollars? It had better be nice!


We'll see if it lives up to the HYYYYYYYPPPPPPPPPE! Meanwhile, we have other work to do, Geritol Fan, so let's get to it! Watch me work!

Georgia State Panthers (+35) vs. Beloved Wisconsin Badgers. Despite having people in the national media question how difficult the schedule the Badgers have, they are undefeated and are one of the 10 best teams in all the land. Wisconsin should have no issues with this game, but this is the last easy game for a while, as Big Ten play starts next week and the gauntlet starts. Wisconsin 56, GSU 11.

Panthers is probably a better nickname than "Commuters," but anyway... this is a mismatch. Bucky should romp. Badgers 63, GSU 14.

St. Norbert Green Knights (NL, because Vegas already takes enough bets) vs. Knox College Prairie Fire. Knox is a great school, and I really enjoy it here. The problem is that football is something that Knox does not have a winning tradition in. St. Norbert is the big bad bully who wins all the freaking time, but they are not a College that Changes Lives, let me tell you that. Knox 186, St. Norbert 111.

No, but they will kick your butt in most sports. Don't feel too bad about it, though -- they pick on everyone in the league. St. Norbert 45, Knox 14.

A School In Columbus (-1.5) vs. Oklahoma Sooners. Yes, you may have noticed that the Buckeyes have a new name around here. The reason is since they refuse to call Michigan by it's proper name, and that the charter for the school puts it above the many fine higher education choices in the state of Ohio, we can call the Buckeyes what they really are. Columbus's Big Ten team last year was quite frankly an example of what happens when Urban Meyer loses a very good assistant. Tom Herman was the key to the success of the offense, and his leaving to push Houston into a major contender highlighted the value I believe a good offensive mind brings. Meyer has yet to adjust, and that is something that needs to change. Oklahoma lost to Houston earlier in the year, and considering that experience means that Oklahoma has to run the table and win the Big XII outright in order to have any shot. Once again, A School in Columbus will ride the Sweater Vest experience, where success with someone else's recruits will make the fanbase expect way too much and run a good coach out of town. Oklahoma 31, A School in Columbus 14.

I watched some of that Oklahoma vs. Houston game. I don't think Oklahoma is that good. OSU 31, Oklahoma 21.

English Premier League: Tottenham (NL) vs. Sunderland. Tottenham are a major threat in the Premier League this year, but they stumbled on Wednesday in their Champions League opener against Monaco. Thankfully, Sunderland is a huge relegation favorite who lost 3-0 to Everton on Monday. I expect that Spurs will use this match as way to begin their push on all fronts. Tottenham 5, Sunderland 1.

My beloved (well, kinda) Spurs! To dare is to do! COYS! All that! Young fella is right -- Sunderland isn't very good. Spurs are. Spurs 5, Sunderland 0.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (-2.5) vs. Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings came into training camp with huge expectations. The future seemed bright, the new stadium was opening, and the Vikings were going to get past the hurt that ended their year against the Seachicken bandwagoners. With Teddy Bridgewater on IR, it is going to be Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford that is going to have to fill the void. The Packers played well last week in the heat against the Jags, but there were some areas that concerned me. The Vikings are going to be jacked up to play in their new palace, but the Packers have won the last 3 times they have crossed the St. Croix. As much as Mrs. D is going to shake her head, the Packers lost their title as Kings of the North, and they want it back. Packers 24, Vikings 22.

Can Sam Bradford do it? Can the the Packers survive the ferocious pass rush? I think so. Sharif Floyd is not playing for the Vikings, nor is Xavier Rhodes, their best cover man. That means the Packers will have time to throw and an open receiver. That's trouble for the Vikings. Packers 31, Vikings 20.

Philadelphia Eagles (+3) vs. Bear Down Chicago da Bearz. So the Bears think that they are improving, and that they are going to help decide if the John Fox era is going to be better than the last era. Gino is excited about the way the Bears played against the Texans, but at the same time, the Bears are a team that gets by based on luck, and the Eagles are a sneaky team with a very accomplished quarterback in Carson Wentz, who is no secret to folks who know about what he did in the Fargodome. Eagles 49, da Bearz Still Suck 9.

I think Carson Wentz is gonna be good, but it's tough to call him accomplished when he's only played one game. I also think the Eagle defense is not very good and this game represents a good chance for the Bears to get untracked. I also have Alshon Jeffery on my fantasy team, so. . . Da Bearz 34, Eagles 24.

Meanwhile, back to work for me -- I have tough classes this year, because I go to a College That Changes Lives! Ben out!

Meanwhile, at the Bullseye

The new(ish) CEO attempts to rally the troops:
Standing before a roaring crowd of 14,000 of Target Corp.'s red-and-khaki faithful, CEO Brian Cornell couldn't help but acknowledge some recent "bumps in the road" at the company's annual preholiday pep rally.

Yet the Minneapolis-based retailer's fall national meeting Thursday was to fire up his team for the critical holiday season, and he asked the headquarters employees and store managers flown in from around the county to give him everything they had for the final sprint.

"We have 137 days in front of us to turn this into a winning year, to start that second-half rally," he said, standing on the same stage where he first proclaimed two years ago that Target needed to be cool again.
Those fall rallies were always a hoot. One year I remember seeing Julie Andrews and Beyonce (as part of her old group, Destiny's Child). The meetings didn't change that much, though, and this one won't either. The main problem for Target is buried further down in the Star Tribune story:
"Jon Bon Jovi just opened up for me," John Mulligan, Target's chief operations officer, quipped as he followed the rocker on stage.

Mulligan was new to his role at this time last year, and he told the audience then that his top priority was to reduce out-of-stocks, an issue that has plagued the retailer in recent years as online shopping strained its previously stores-focused supply chain. In the last year, his team has been focused on the problem and has decreased out-of-stocks by 25 percent, he reported on Thursday.
Supply chain and logistics have always been a problem for Target, and based on what I see in the stores the problem has been getting worse. Walmart's greatest accomplishment as a retailer is its supply chain. Amazon is even better at supply chain management. You can bring in Jon Bon Jovi to sing "Living on a Prayer" if you'd like, but unless Target can figure that one out, they don't have a prayer.

A quick rant

My practice is to get up early so I have time to write a blog post in the morning. This morning, I had a problem with Google Chrome not working well. The usual way to deal with this issue is to restart this very old (5+ years) computer. Upon restart, I discovered that Microsoft decided it was time to add "updates," which essentially turned the computer into a brick for a half hour. When it finally began to work again, I went back to Chrome and discovered that the "update" changed all my browser settings and changed the default browser to Microsoft Edge. I have just spent a few minutes turning off several of the "updates."

I don't mind security updates -- the world is full of rat bastards who would steal your files and passwords and whatnot. But I don't want my operating system to turn on things I didn't request.

End of rant. Fortunately, I even have a post label for this sort of thing.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fella needs a hobby

Colin Powell on Hill and Bill:
Colin Powell wrote in a jaw-dropping e-mail that he doesn’t want to vote for his pal Hillary Clinton because she’s a greedy defender of the status quo whose husband is “still ­d–king bimbos at home (according to the NYP)” — the New York Post.

“I would rather not have to vote for her, although she is a friend I respect,” the former secretary of state wrote Democratic donor Jeffrey Leeds on July 26, 2014.

“A 70-year person with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational, with a husband still d–kng bimbos at home (according to the NYP),” reads the explosive e-mail obtained by the Web site DCLeaks. Hillary is actually 68.
If they get back in the White House, I'm going long on Clorox.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

No luck for the Gophers

There are a number of excellent senior high school basketball players in Minnesota this year. None of them will be attending the University of Minnesota:
A week ago, there was a good chance Champlin Park’s dynamic basketball duo — Theo John and McKinley Wright — were going to be future Gophers teammates.

But Tuesday night at a commitment ceremony at their high school gym, John and Wright both decided to play elsewhere, picking Marquette and Dayton, respectively.
Meanwhile, two others, forward Nathan Reuvers of Lakevile North and guard Brad Davison of Maple Grove, are going to be Badgers. Another player, Jericho Sims of Cristo Rey, is headed for Texas, and the best player in the class, Gary Trent Jr., is not considering the Gophers at all.

Richard Pitino is trying to build a program with kids from outside the state. It might work, but getting hometown kids who can play helps that process along. Not a good scenario if you're a Gopher fan.

So what is going on with Mrs. Clinton, anyway?

A few incidents, from the Chicago Boyz:
1998 Blood Clot
Clinton’s first known blood clot occurred in 1998, while she was still first lady.
Clinton experienced symptoms while attending a fundraiser for Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, who would soon become her Senate home-state colleague. Her right foot swelled up to the point where she couldn’t put on her shoe.
Clinton got quietly taken to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda for treatment at the time. She was found to have ‘a big clot’ blood clot behind her knee, Clinton wrote in her memoir, ‘Living History.’
She called it ‘the most significant health scare I’ve ever had,’ the Washington Post noted.
According to her physician, Mt. Kisco physician, Lisa Bardack, Clinton was advised at the time to take Lovenox, described as a short-acting blood thinner, when she took flights. The meds were discontinued when she went on Coumadin.


2009 Blood Clot
Clinton had a second blood clot incident in 2009. The episode was described by her doctor in a 2015 letter. [...]
2012 Blood Clot and Concussion
Clinton got a bad stomach bug and fainted at her home in Washington in 2012, an event that led her to get a concussion. Information about what exactly had happened emerged only slowly over time.
As her doctor put it, ‘In December 2012, Mrs. Clinton suffered a stomach virus after traveling, became dehydrated, fainted and sustained a concussion.’
The then-secretary of state wasn’t seen in public between Dec. 7th and when she left the hospital in New York January 2, 2013.
Clinton experienced ‘double vision for a period of time and benefited from wearing glasses with a Fresnel Prism,’ a special corrective lens, her doctor wrote in a letter voluntarily released to the media in 2015 as part of Clinton’s presidential campaign. Her concussion ‘resolved within two months,’ Bardack wrote.
 There's more than that, too. Hit the link.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The New Yorker notices

When cartoons of this sort start appearing in The New Yorker, the Hillary health story is reaching critical mass:

Wrong Bernie, ma'am
I hear the whistling. Do you hear it?

You can vote for The Donald after all

The DFL gets shut down:
Donald Trump will be on Minnesota’s ballot this November, despite a DFL Party legal maneuver to try to keep him off.

In a six-page decision issued Monday afternoon, the state Supreme Court dismissed a petition filed last week in which DFL leaders argued that the Republican presidential nominee and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, should not be listed on the ballot because Republicans had not properly selected alternate electors.

The court said the DFL waited too long to lodge its objections to what it characterized as a technical error.
My two cents -- this was a strategic error from the get-go. Despite everything that's been going on in recent days with Hillary Clinton's health, or at least what little we have been able to learn about it, she is still highly likely to win in Minnesota. Had Trump been removed from the ballot, it would have been a national story and it would have played into "the election is rigged" zeitgeist that Trump and his team have been orchestrating. This is an outsider election and any evidence showing insiders using technicalities against Trump would not redound to Mrs. Clinton's benefit. We'll just leave it there for now.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Should we worry about Hillary's health?

Yeah, I think so:
An ill Hillary Clinton abruptly left a 9/11 anniversary ceremony Sunday and needed to be held up by three people before she appeared to stumble off a curb and was helped into a van. Several hours later, her campaign revealed she had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday and advised to rest.
The article I've linked has not yet been updated as I write this morning,but the headline refers to something else we've just learned. A screen shot:

Won't you get hip to this timely tip, when you make that California trip
A lot of what's happening doesn't add up. We are being told that Clinton has pneumonia, but she subsequently gave a child a hug outside of Chelsea Clinton's apartment. Another screen shot:

I have the touch
Another way I can tell this is serious -- the lefties on my FB feed are in full shriek about it. It means nothing! I'd like to see any of you fat #%@* go through a presidential campaign! You can have walking pneumonia and not even realize it!

We'll keep watching. This could be, as the orange-hued one says, yuge.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Market Basket

A tisket, a tasket, deplorables in a basket:
Hillary Clinton told an audience of donors Friday night that half of Donald Trump's supporters fall into "the basket of deplorables," meaning people who are racist, sexist, homophobic or xenophobic.

In an effort to explain the support behind Trump, Clinton went on to describe the rest of Trump supporters as people who are looking for change in any form because of economic anxiety and urged her supporters to empathize with them.

"To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables," Clinton said. "Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it."

She added, "And unfortunately, there are people like that and he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric."
She's a charmer. I wonder what the overlap is between the basket of deplorables and the binders full of women.

The good news is that the rest of Trump's supporters aren't deplorable, but suffering from economic anxiety. Gee, given that Mrs. Clinton's former employer believes things are "pretty darn great," why would anyone have any anxiety? Ah, but Clinton has an explanation:
Shifting to the other half of Trump supporters, Clinton said many of those people feel like the government doesn't care about them and who just want change in any form.

"That other basket of people are people who feel that government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures. They are just desperate for change. Doesn't really even matter where it comes from." 
She continued, "They won't wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they're in a dead end. Those are people who we have to understand and empathize with as well."
I wonder what Clinton means when she says the people in the other basket won't wake up. Maybe an enterprising reporter might ask.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- Quick Emergency Edition

It's moving week and we're taking the Benster down to college, so we don't have time to do one of our full-fledged glorious prediction segments this week. However, we know our adoring public wants our wisdom, so here you go. Ready, Benster?

The house is full of suitcases and I'm on the move, so let's go quick. First game!

Indiana State Sycamores (NL) vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers. Unless you expect Larry Bird to get more eligibility, there's no reason to assume that Indiana State can beat the Gophers. I expect a beatdown. Gophers 89, Syc Burn 4.

So the Sycamores are apparently scoring a rouge. Why not. It won't be close. Gophers 28, Sycamores 3.

Akron Zips (+23.5) vs. Beloved Wisconsin Badgers. So I guess the national pundits had their collective butts handed to them last week at Lambeau. Sorry, LSU, but not really. This might be a little closer than expected, because Akron is okay and has Terry Bowden at the helm, but talent will win out. Badgers 31, Akron 20.

I think Akron can score, but last week they were playing VMI. This ain't VMI. Badgers 45, Zips 17.

Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) vs. Tennessee Tuxedos. The Vikings should still be good even without Teddy Bridgewater. I don't think Tennessee has enough weapons. Tricky game, but the Vikes should prevail. Vikings 17, Titans 16.

This has trap written all over it. You know the Vikings are looking ahead to the big opener against the Packers. Zimmer will have their attention, but will the Titans? Tennessee 24, Vikings 20.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (-5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars. This game scares me. The Jags are looking really good and the weather appears to be horrible -- rain and about 93 degrees. Apparently this game is actually taking place in Manila. The Packers should win, but they will need a great escape. Packers 7, Jags 5.

They play football, not baseball. Oh well. I actually think this will be a high scoring affair. But the Packers will prevail somehow. Eddie Lacy gets to be a mudder and he's better than anyone the Jags can trot out. That's the difference. Packers 34, Jaguars 23.

This was quick, but next week the Benster will be safely at school and will be taking all y'all to school, right Ben?

You got that right, old dude! And next week we'll make sure to pick da Bearz game, too! Ben out!

The easy way to #NeverTrump

So, you don't want to vote for Donald Trump? DFL honcho Ken Martin wants to make it even easier:
In a bold escalation of its effort to have Donald Trump and Mike Pence removed from the ballot in Minnesota, the DFL Party has taken its argument to the state Supreme Court.

Ken Martin, the party’s chair, late Thursday filed a petition with the court asking it to order the Minnesota secretary of state to strip the Republicans’ names off the state’s Nov. 8 election ballot.

There is urgency in resolving the issue, because early voting will begin in Minnesota Sept. 23.

The petition names Secretary of State Steve Simon as the defendant. It says Simon erred when he accepted a “certificate of nomination” filed about Aug. 25 by the state Republican Party after its Executive Committee met to select and approve alternate presidential electors. According to state law, electors and alternate electors must be nominated at an official state convention.
The DFL approaches voting in the same way Henry Ford reputedly viewed color choices for the Model T -- you can vote for anyone you like, as long as the candidate is a Democrat. Getting people bounced from the ballot is a proven strategy. Such rules do not apply to Frank Lautenberg, however.

il miglior fabbro

Victor Davis Hanson, still in touch with the moment:
What enrages the public about virtue-mongering is that, according to the laws of their own value system, the elite sin and then fob such failings off on others to find resolution. Kaepernick makes more in a month than most Americans whom he insults will make in a lifetime; and most Americans have never used the N-word to slur someone of color. Most Americans do not get rich off overseas coal plants like the green Tom Steyer did, or dump worthless cable channels to the Islamist and anti-Semitic Al Jazeera in order to get rich from carbon-exporting Qatar, in the fashion of the global-sermonizing Al Gore. None of us in the manner of the Clintons have boarded a Lolita Express jet or tried to peddle diplomatic passports to the wealthy and connected. I have never met an American who bought up all the homes surrounding his own to redefine his neighborhood as did Mark Zuckerberg, who derides walls and border enforcement for others. And yet we are lectured about our social-awareness failings ad nauseam by these masters of the progressive universe.
And there's a lot more at the link, wherein Hanson puts paid to Jorge Ramos, the Clintons, Beyonce and so many more.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

The Wetterling Case and the Monsters -- Part Two, The Serial Killer Down the Block

Tina's house
The house is painted red now, but it was white in the 1970s. It was a non-descript home, probably built in the 1920s or 1930s, on Pine Street, in Appleton, Wisconsin, just east of Prospect Avenue, one of the main arterials on the southwest side of the city. I grew up in a house about three blocks away, on Outagamie Street, near Alicia Park. It was on my paper route and I delivered newspapers there. I also walked by the house dozens of times during my childhood.

There was a girl who lived in the house. She was a classmate of mine at Jefferson Elementary School. Her name was Tina and what I remember about her is that she was tough -- not exactly a tomboy, but a girl who had not an ounce of sugar and spice in her. She hung around with some of the more sketchy kids in the class, but she was a mutual friend of one of my best friends growing up. I'd talk to Tina from time to time, mostly when I had to, but I didn't know her well. It's been about 40 years since I spoke to her last. I don't really know where she lives now, or if she's even alive at all.

Tina had a brother who was about five years older than she was. His name is James Duquette. And he is a serial killer.

I didn't know Anne Preimesberger, but I knew other people who did. She was 18 in 1980, a student at East High School, and she worked at a restaurant on the south edge of town. Although I can't find a picture of her, she was attractive and the people I knew said she was a nice girl. After a shift at the restaurant, she disappeared one day and didn't come home. As it turned out, she had the misfortune of encountering James Duquette, who raped her and murdered her, then dumped her body near an overpass. James Duquette raped and murdered a 14-year old girl, Tara Kassens, in 1987, and he is suspected in the deaths of at least two others, although there isn't enough physical evidence available to tie him to the crimes. He is currently serving four life terms in Massachusetts for crimes he committed there.

It took eleven years to bring James Duquette to justice. It took twenty-seven to bring Danny Heinrich to justice. You don't always know where the monsters are. And that is the source of our fear.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The Wetterling Case and the Monsters -- Part One, Biggie Rat

How do you approach the horror of it? The chances that a child, any child, will meet a monster are vanishingly small, but yet on that day, nearly 27 years ago, Jacob Wetterling met a monster. And now we know what happened.

What bothers me more about the Wetterling case aren't the details themselves, as horrific as they are. What bothers me more is how one man, Danny Heinrich, did so much to fundamentally alter the childhoods of millions of Americans. I wrote about this briefly yesterday, but it deserves amplification. I was born fifteen years before Jacob Wetterling. I grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, a town that's about the same size as St. Cloud. The Wetterlings lived outside of St. Cloud, in a somewhat rural area. The landscape Jacob Wetterling knew wasn't much different than what we saw growing up in Wisconsin. When I was young, I didn't have to worry about my safety, as long as I was careful and didn't take stupid chances.

We did worry about monsters, though. It would have been about 1970 or so when the kid rumor mill went nuts in Appleton about an evil guy named Biggie Rat.

Biggie Rat, wearing his cape, with an assortment of the local citizenry

He hung out mostly on the east side of town and apparently spent a lot of time in the cemeteries. He wore a cape and carried a sword. He supposedly was a big fan of satanic rituals and the stories we would hear and share on the St. Therese playgrounds made him into a figure of great fear. I was in the second grade at the time and we heard the wildest things about him. He'd killed people. He would take you to the cemetery and do horrible things to you. He had supernatural powers. We also heard he had a nemesis named Biggie Cat, who was coming to get Biggie Rat.

I was genuinely terrified of this guy. Looking back, the whole thing was ridiculous. Biggie Rat was just a guy who was looking for attention. In the end, he was harmless. But there was a real monster in Appleton at that time, although we didn't know it yet. And we'll come back to that.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Lightning Round - 090616

Seems appropriate, as lightning is flashing all around me as I write this stormy Tuesday morning. Let's start with some video.


She's the picture of health. No question about it. Anyway...

  • Is the campaign about the direction of the country, or about monetizing campaign funds? Read and decide for yourself.
  • Remember how we were told Barack Obama would improve foreign relations? How's that working out, Mr. President?
  • The talk around town, and all over Minnesota, has been about the end of the Jacob Wetterling story, after 27 long years. The idea that a stranger would abduct and kill your child is one of the greatest fears any parent has. We've seen a big change in how kids live their lives since that fateful day in 1989; many parents aren't willing to risk letting their children run around unattended. When I was Jacob Wetterling's age, I could go anywhere in town and my parents never worried about it. Those days are gone. Danny Heinrich, the monster who took Jacob, took away a lot more than one child.
  • Wisconsin 16, LSU 14. A very satisfying result. And just a guess -- we're going to be waiting a long time for another SEC team to come north.
  • I don't know if Sam Bradford can save the season for the Vikings; I tend to doubt it, actually. Still, give the Vikings credit for taking a chance -- while their defense is young and talented, the window for Adrian Peterson is closing and they may not have another year to wait.
  • I'm not crazy about the Packers releasing Josh Sitton. I'm even less crazy about him going to the Bears. Ted Thompson better be right.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Is the Wetterling Case Finally Over?

It would appear so.

What an awful thing it's been. Prayers go out to the Wetterling family, and woe betide the monster who committed this horrible act so many years ago.

Nixon was a piker

This revelation should be the end of Hillary Clinton's campaign and career, but it's not:
A number of Hillary Clinton’s private emails were erased weeks after The New York Times published a story reporting on her use of a private email server while secretary of State, according to notes from the FBI’s investigation released on Friday.

The notes include an entry that says that someone mistakenly deleted Clinton’s archived mailbox from her server and exported files.

The deletion took place between March 25 and March 31, the FBI learned in a May 3 interview. The name of the person who deleted the emails was redacted from the FBI’s notes.
"Mistakenly" my ass.

Would you have found this out if you'd read the Star Tribune this morning? No, because they ran with the soft-pedal version which leaves that detail out. Although the soft-pedal report is damaging, too:
 Hillary Clinton told the FBI she relied on her staff not to send emails containing classified information to the private email server she used as secretary of state.

The revelation came Friday as the FBI, in a rare step, published scores of pages summarizing interviews with Clinton and her top aides from the recently closed criminal investigation into her use of a private email server in the basement of her Chappaqua, New York, home.

The Democratic presidential nominee told the FBI she never sought or asked permission to use a private server or email address during her tenure as the nation's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013. A prior review by the State Department's internal watchdog concluded the practice violated several polices for the safekeeping and preservation of federal records.
So the lead isn't destruction of evidence, but that Hillary is really Blanche DuBois, always relying on the kindness of strangers. Got it. The following paragraph reveals the true dilemma:
The latest developments highlight competing liabilities for Clinton. Either she made a conscious effort to prevent a full public accounting of her tenure at State or she was nonchalant about decisions with national security consequences and risks. The first scenario plays into Republican arguments and voter concerns about her trustworthiness and transparency, while the second casts doubt on her pitch as a hyper-competent, detail-driven executive.
So the issue isn't what she did. Rather, the issue is perception. Got it. Don't make the MSM's job more difficult.

This isn't difficult, folks. This is Rose Mary Woods level corruption. There's no way in hell that Hillary Clinton should be anywhere near the White House. But instead of a dogged determination to ensure her corruption is made known to the public, we get crap like this:
Advisers to Hillary Clinton’s campaign have identified so many paths to an Election Day victory they are now focusing not only on the one or two battlegrounds that would ensure a win but on opening up the possibility of an Electoral College landslide.

“Hillary Clinton has many paths to 270 electoral votes, more than any candidate in a generation,” said Jeff Berman, a paid consultant to her campaign.
What a depressing election.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Another MNsure success story

Do you have insurance through MNsure? Good luck paying for it next year:
Minnesota health insurers are seeking big premium increases next year for people who buy coverage on their own, with proposed jumps for thousands of people averaging anywhere from 36 percent to 67 percent.

About 270,000 people buy coverage through Minnesota’s individual market, where shoppers buy through insurers, brokers or the state’s MNsure health insurance exchange.

Insurers defend the proposed spikes as necessary given escalating medical costs among enrollees. One health plan, in fact, said the only alternative would be to drop out of the market entirely.
Yeah, the numbers don't look good, especially if you have UCare -- they want to go up 66% But don't worry -- Mark Dayton is gonna subsidize you!
Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement that consumers should check MNsure to see if they can obtain a tax credit.
Uh oh -- "if." Better not make too much money, otherwise you're gonna be on the hook for the whole thing. And if that's a family plan, it's a big hook:
Rates vary by region. In Rochester, the benchmark plan for a 40-year-old costs $335 per month, compared with $290 per month in Duluth.

The dollars get considerably bigger for people in family plans, where some cite annual health insurance costs of $25,000 to $30,000. With the information released Thursday, consumers still don’t know exactly what will happen to their costs, since the increases are averages of rates that can vary considerably according to age and geography.
Do you happen to have 30 large lying around somewhere?

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Submitted without further comment

Speaks for itself.

Who needs a legislature, anyway?

It doesn't really matter what the legislature says -- if Adam Duininck wants a train, we shall have a train:
Over the past week, transit planners in the Twin Cities have cobbled together $145 million to salvage the Southwest light-rail line, providing a level of certainty to a project that has long been fraught with controversy.

“We will have a project,” declared Adam Duininck, chairman of the Metropolitan Council, which is spearheading the $1.9 billion light-rail line from downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.
We will have a project, peasants. Oh yes, we will. Read on:
After the project failed to win financial support from a bitterly divided Legislature, the 14.5-mile line was fast running out of cash, facing staff layoffs, possible shutdown and a flagging reputation with the federal government, which is expected to pay half its cost.

On Wednesday, the Met Council threw the project a critical lifeline — approving a new funding plan that deploys an obscure financial tool called “certificates of participation” to raise $103.5 million. The Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB), which consists largely of elected officials from metro-area counties, and the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority each agreed this week to kick in an additional $20.5 million, as well.
So what are "certificates of participation," anyway? It's the new way of getting your toys:
The council will try one more time to win state funding support for the Southwest LRT during the 2017 legislative session. If that fails, then the certificates will be issued the following July bearing an interest rate of about 3.25 percent — slightly higher than general-obligation bonds. If the legislative attempt is successful, both Hennepin County and CTIB’s most recent contributions would be repaid.

The use of the certificates, which the council says is not debt, is rare, but not unheard of — about $13.5 million in certificates was issued to update the council’s office building in downtown St. Paul. About $81 million of certificate financing was also used for the controversial $90 million Senate office building at the Capitol.

The Met Council will finance about $92 million of the certificates, which amounts to $4 million to $5 million a year to pay down principal and interest, while CTIB will finance $11.75 million, about $600,000 in principal and interest annually. The certificates are likely to carry a term of 30 years.
If you don't recall voting for Adam Duininck, you aren't alone, but don't worry about it. He knows what's best.

So now you'd better stop, and rebuild all your ruins

The Donald gave his big immigration speech yesterday. Read the transcript here. A few thoughts:

  • The wall isn't going to be built. It just won't be. Let it go.
  • He's planning to hire a lot of federal employees to make his policy work. Oh, goody.
  • Most of the other proposals make sense.
The best thing you can do is read the transcript. Judge for yourself if you think what he's proposing will work. But do think about the number of federal employees he wants to hire.