Monday, October 31, 2016

More trolling than a fishing show

I still have a number of friends from my days in Chicago and they are exceptionally angry about the latest column from the columnist they love to hate, the Chicago Tribune's John Kass:
FBI director James Comey's announcement about the renewed Clinton email investigation is the bombshell in the presidential campaign. That he announced this so close to Election Day should tell every thinking person that what the FBI is looking at is extremely serious.

This can't be about pervert Anthony Weiner and his reported desire for a teenage girl. But it can be about the laptop of Weiner's wife, Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and emails between her and Hillary. It comes after the FBI investigation in which Comey concluded Clinton had lied and been "reckless" with national secrets, but said he could not recommend prosecution.

So what should the Democrats do now?
Wait for it, wait for it. . .
If ruling Democrats hold themselves to the high moral standards they impose on the people they govern, they would follow a simple process:

They would demand that Mrs. Clinton step down, immediately, and let her vice presidential nominee, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, stand in her place.

Democrats should say, honestly, that with a new criminal investigation going on into events around her home-brew email server from the time she was secretary of state, having Clinton anywhere near the White House is just not a good idea.
A few thoughts:

  • This is world-class trolling. It's also a reminder of the demands we've all been hearing from Democrats in this cycle -- why won't you denounce Donald Trump? I've probably seen 100 ads from the DCCC on behalf of Terri Bonoff, who is running (and losing) for Congress in MN CD-3, against the incumbent Erik Paulsen. Kass is asking a relevant question -- why won't Democrats denounce Hillary Clinton?
  • Kass's hypothetical question about the high moral standards of Democrats is one that rarely gets asked. It's also pure Alinsky Rule 4 -- make the enemy live up to its own set of rules.
  • Maybe half of the electorate is too young to remember the 1972 election cycle, but I do. The big difference is that the rot is being exposed before Election Day.
Kass makes a larger point that can't be made often enough:
As secretary of state she kept classified documents on the home-brew server in her basement, which is against the law. She lied about it to the American people. She couldn't remember details dozens of times when questioned by the FBI. Her aides destroyed evidence by BleachBit and hammers. Her husband, Bill, met secretly on an airport tarmac with Attorney General Loretta Lynch for about a half-hour, and all they said they talked about was golf and the grandkids.

And there was no prosecution of Hillary.

That isn't merely wrong and unethical. It is poisonous.

And during this presidential campaign, Americans were confronted with a two-tiered system of federal justice: one for standards for the Clintons and one for the peasants.

If nothing else animates Trump supporters, watching these double standards play out has to be at the top of their list of legitimate grievances. The Clintons really need to go, because they corrupt everything they touch. And that includes the party that millions support. The hour is late.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Big Weiner

So, that was a nice little bit of news yesterday from our man James Comey. Let's get the jokes out of the way first:

You've got email

Headless Campaign in Topless Bar
I'm not sure that's going to be enough

The larger issues aren't very funny at all. I have many thoughts about all this. A few:

  • So why were so many emails stored on Anthony Weiner's phone, anyway? If anyone knows what Hillary Clinton is capable of, it has to be Huma Abedin, who is in the process of divorcing Weiner. Keeping the emails was Abedin's way to avoid the tires on Hillary's bus. Abedin's mistake was failing to understand her husband's lechery is boundless. 
  • Rhetorical question -- what the hell is wrong with a person who would marry Anthony Weiner and work for Hillary Clinton? That's a lot of evil to suss.
  • Is there a smoking gun? Yeah, I bet there is. If there are tens of thousands of emails to go through, and they include correspondence between Clinton and Abedin, that's where the dirt is. And Team Clinton and the Democrats know it, which is why they are so furious with Comey.
  • Comey is in a bind, to put it mildly. His body language throughout the last few months is a tell -- this is a man who knows he's in an impossible situation. He knows Clinton should have been indicted, but he also knew his bosses weren't going to do it, and he also knew he had to march into the bayonet, which he did. Comey has always had more reason to fear Team Clinton than a feckless Congress, but he also understands that, on his watch, the FBI has become corrupted. The overarching problem with the Clintons has been the same for the quarter-century they have strode the national stage -- they corrupt everything and everyone they touch.
  • The linked article from CNN at at the top of this post is being regularly updatd; the top part of the story now details that Loretta Lynch, the rubber stamp speed bump consigliere Attorney General, disagreed with Comey's decision to go forward with a public notification to Congress that the investigation is being reopened. That's a tell. 
  • It was also a tell that, in her public pronouncement yesterday, Clinton praised early voting. 
  • For his part, Donald Trump has been playing it smarter than he usually does. While I don't expect that to continue, this Trump tweet from 2015 seems prescient:
The Naked Truth
Fasten your seatbelts, everyone!

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- Contiential Divide Edition

Before I begin, I wanted to issue a correction on last week's post. When I was doing my research for writing last week's edition, I made the mistake of saying that Knox was playing Lake Forest, when Knox is playing Lake Forest this week. It was a total error on my part, and I should have double checked the date. Thankfully, this is a new week.

The good news is we made the pick last week, so we don't have to address the game this week. That's called working ahead.

Good point, Geritol Fan! Yeah, we all make mistakes. It was just a case of a bit too much HYYYYYYYPPPEEE, and my brain going on autopilot.

It just means you're getting older. You have more things to think about now and keeping 'em all sorted is a task in itself. But your adoring audience wants football picks, not fatherly advice, right?

For a guy born in the McKinley administration, you know a few things! Lots of interesting games this week, including a crucial Big Ten game that some people are ignoring the significance of. Watch me work!

Minnesota Golden Gophers (-9) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini. Illinois has not been a factor this year, but is a team I expect will be a factor soon. Lovie Smith is a great man, and still is remembered fondly among Bears fans for having a good amount of success in his tenure. My only concern about Lovie is that he has never been a college head coach, and he really hasn't demonstrated recruiting expertise yet. The Gophers needed a late field goal to beat Rutgers at home last week, and one of my Gopher sources was really not happy about that. I figure that Illinois is going to get better, especially if Lovie can recruit Chicago well. Maybe this game is one he can use as evidence. Illinois 25, Minnesota 18.

I heard a lot of grumbling about the Gophers around town this week. I think Tracy Claes had better win this game, and a few more, or else the new AD will need to clean house and start over. We've heard that before in Minneapolis. Gophers 24, Illini 20.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (+9) vs. Beloved Wisconsin Badgers. This game is, bar none, a huge Big Ten game, and the playoff committee would do well to understand why. I feel that the line Nebraska is getting is a little unfair, since they are undefeated and control their own destiny to Indy and a top 4 finish. Nebraska has only beaten the Badgers once since coming into the conference, and all the games they have played in Camp Randall were nightmare games for the passionate Husker faithful. The Badgers have hung on and are coming out of the hellish part of the nation's most demanding schedule, and will have star linebacker Vince Biegel back and playing more snaps. I still think that this game is a bridge too far for Nebraska, but I would not be surprised if this game is close and comes down to the wire. Wisconsin 24, Nebraska 21, in overtime.

This game won't be a blowout, because this edition of the Badgers is not capable of hanging 50 on a quality opponent. The calling card here is defense, and the Badgers are outstanding. It all comes down to Tommy Armstrong, the Nebraska quarterback. Can he make enough plays to win? I don't think so. Badgers 31, Cornhuskers 17.

UEFA Champions League: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Bayer Leverkusen, at Wembley. How about talking a bit of soccer, and focusing on Decrepit's beloved Tottenham? This is a critical game for Spurs in their group, since they are third, and need a win in order to make their chances of progressing in 1st or 2nd place as likely as possible. I figure that Spurs will play a full strength side against a solid German side in Leverkusen. This should be a close match, but I like Tottenham, since they are used to playing midweek at Wembley now. Tottenham 2, Bayer Leverkusen 1.

Spurs are still unbeaten in the Premier League and defense has been their strength. They have a world-class goalkeeper in Hugo Lloris. Watch for Lloris to come up huge this time. Spurs 1, Bayer Leverkusen 0.

Minnesota Vikings (-4) vs. Bear Down Chicago da Bearz. If you are a Bears fan, I really hope you are a Cubs fan as well, since the Bears have told their fans for many years to get used to disappointment, and that life as a Bears fan is pain, and if you are told something else, they are just selling you something. The Vikings had their first stumble in Philly last weekend, but this should be no issue since the Bears are a pathetic team. Vikings 278, da Bearz 27.

I'm not convinced the Vikings will score 278 points all season, so this prediction seems a bit much. Jay Cutler returns for da Bearz, and following a vigorous rehab regimen he is ready for action:

Tanned, rested and ready
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer called his team soft after the game in Philly. I don't think they'll be soft against the Bears. Vikings 27, Bears 14.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (+3) vs. Hotlanta Falcons. The Packers figured some things out last week, though the jury is still out on them since they did beat the Bears. The additional break was good, since Knile Davis has had the time to learn the offense, and Ty Montgomery can properly prepare as a running back. Atlanta is a good outfit as you would expect, and the Packers are still not getting some of their better corners back, so Julio Jones is a good fantasy start this week. This game should be a shootout, but the Packers offense looked better last week, and Aaron loves playing on a faster surface in a dome. Packers 45, Falcons 31.

This game concerns me. The Packers have been uneven as hell so far. I think Montgomery is a key player in this game, but stopping the Falcons running game may be even more of a challenge than Julio. Bet the over. Packers 38, Falcons 35.

Thanks again for reading, and enjoy your football weekend. Ben out!

Friday, October 28, 2016


I haven't written about the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy, mostly because it's outside the realm of topics we usually discuss around here. Things apparently got real out there yesterday:
CANNON BALL, N.D. — Law enforcement officers dressed in riot gear and firing bean bags and pepper spray evicted protesters Thursday from private land in the path of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, dramatically escalating a monthslong dispute over Native American rights and the project's environmental impact.

In an operation that took nearly six hours, hundreds of armed state and local police and National Guard — some on foot and others in trucks, military Humvees and buses — pushed past burning barricades to slowly envelop the camp.

At least 117 people were arrested. No serious injuries were reported, though one man was hurt in the leg and received treatment from a medic.

Among those arrested was a woman who pulled out a .38-caliber pistol and fired three times at officers, narrowly missing a sheriff's deputy, State Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong said. Officers did not return fire, she said.
Very briefly:

  • Cannon Ball, ND has to be one of my all-time favorite datelines.
  • Note the words "private land" in the article -- that's the lede.
  • Peaceful protesters don't fire .38-caliber pistols.
  • Burning barricades is an odd way to protect the environment -- this image from the AP tells the tale:
What I do know is the lefties on my social media feed are really angry about all this. This is a Holy Cause. So I guess we need to pay some attention.

The New Brighton Kangaroo Court Gets Struck Down Again

You might recall the case of the New Brighton City Council, which tried to move city council elections up a year, ostensibly to save money, but really to rid itself of the one person on the council who spoils all their free spending fun. I've written several pieces about the matter, all linked here.

A brief recap, in bullet form:

  • City Council changes ordinance on elections. Doesn't follow guidelines
  • City Council member Gina Bauman, who understands the law, works with other citizens to get a petition about the change on the ballot
  • Other City Council members reject petition, censure Bauman for spurious reasons
  • Bauman and other citizens get lawyer, file case in Ramsey County Circuit Court
  • Ramsey County Judge Lezlie Ott Marek strikes down ordinance with great dispatch
  • Other council members decide being wrong on facts and law is no deterrent to appeal, and appeal ruling
So the matter came up for expedited review at the Supreme Court this week. And the result is below:

Go home New Brighton, you're drunk (with power)
If you recall, the ostensible reason to change the elections was to save money. It's difficult to save money if the city council continues to set taxpayer dollars on fire in this pointless litigation, in which they have been defeated over and over.

This needs to end now. If the city council is really serious about saving money, they will stop litigating this case. We'll keep watching.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Burying the lede

Tacked on to the very end of a CNBC story about the presidential race, in which we are assured that no, this election won't be a Brexit:
Wall Street is heavily invested in a Clinton victory.

Securities and investment firms have poured nearly $65 million into her campaign coffers, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Goldman Sachs employees have donated $284,816 to Clinton and just $3,641 to Trump, who has received $716,407 from Wall Street.
While I doubt any Bernie Bros read this feature, that seems worthy of note.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A frustrating cycle

It doesn't seem to matter. We can read things like this:
There was panic in Camp Clinton when President Obama falsely told the public he had not known about then-Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of private e-mail until he heard about it “through news reports.” In reality, Obama and Clinton exchanged at least 18 e-mails through Clinton’s private account and homebrew server system. And we now know, based on investigative reports released by the FBI, that Obama used a pseudonym in at least some of his e-mails with Clinton. Moreover, as I noted in a column ten days ago, top advisers to Obama and Clinton flagged the Obama–Clinton e-mails problem before Obama issued his false denial of knowledge.
The "I" in this case is Andrew McCarthy, who writes for National Review. You might be able to read about these details in the Star Tribune, but you'll have to search for it.

But it doesn't matter. We know what the email says:

Must protect Precious -- both of them

We know this is Watergate-level stuff. We know that Team Clinton wiped out 30,000+ emails from her server, even though all the email was under congressional subpoena. Meanwhile, the Leader of the Free World is out there saying this -- for context, the guy in question is Darrell Issa, who has tried to bring Obama's machinations to light:
Here's a guy who called my administration perhaps the most corrupt in history -- despite the fact that actually we have not had a major scandal in my administration -- that, when Trump was suggesting that I wasn’t even born here, said, well, I don’t know, was not sure.  We can pull up the quotes. 
Our leaders lie to our faces. It happens every day. And there are no repercussions at all. The reporters look at these scoundrels like this group of admirers awaiting our approaching Queen:

The election will take place in less than two weeks. I expect the Tiger Beat-level coverage of all Democrats to continue beyond the election cycle. It's not going to end well, folks.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Events remain in the saddle

Blogging will continue to be catch as catch can for the next day or two. All is well, but other responsibilities take precedence.

From what I can tell, nothing has changed anyway... every day we learn of a new, jaw - dropping scandal involving the Clintons, which we then ignore because her opponent is a boor. The historians will have a field day with this race, assuming we have historians in the future.

Meanwhile, I stick with my knitting.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Benster and D Pick Your Games----Back from the Brink Edition

Well, I think the pressure is off the Packers for now, and Packers fans can watch football without having to worry about things.

Well, it's something. The NFL is like that. Every game seems to be either a tremendous success or an existential crisis. The season lends itself to those sorts of interpretations.

I don't disagree. I think the Packers might have snapped their way out of the funk, but Atlanta is going to be a very difficult opponent to play next weekend.

Yes. But we are still in this week. Lotsa other action.

True, Geritol Fan! It is time to pick some games. Watch me work, and get ready to feel the HYYYYYYYYYYYPPPEEE!

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+18) vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers. Simply put, Rutgers is not any good, and the only reason they are even in the conference is to get more cable subscriptions paying for the conference network. The Gophers are going to be a factor, though they still have to play Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin down the stretch. The Gophers should have no issues winning against a terrible opponent at home. Gophers 49, Scarlet Knights 7.

I agree with this. Rutgers was not horrible last season, but this year they haven't been competitive at all. Gophers should have little trouble in this one. Gophers 35, Rutgers 0.

Beloved Wisconsin Badgers (-4) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes. The Badgers have lost two tough games in a row, but the hard part is almost done. Iowa is always going to be a tough team, and you know that Iowa and Wisconsin always play each other very close. Having the Badgers get their leader and best player, Vince Biegel, back is really a boost. Wisconsin has won the last three games played in Kinnick, and I expect the Badgers to win again this weekend, but not without having to earn it. Wisconsin 27, Iowa 19.

The Badgers will have a fight on their hands, but the available evidence suggests a win for the Badgers. It will be low scoring. Wisconsin 17, Iowa 9.

Knox Prairie Fire (NL) vs. Lake Forest Foresters. This is another game where I think Knox has a chance. They looked pretty good last week before not finishing the job in the final few minutes. Sadly I will not be going up to Lake Forest to attend, but I expect the Fire to maybe sneak another win and build momentum to the most intense trophy game you never heard of, the Bronze Turkey Game against evil Monmouth. Knox 17, Lake Forest 13.

Lake Forest is actually pretty strong this season. Won't happen. Lake Forest 34, Knox 14.

Minnesota Vikings (-3) vs. Philadelphia Eagles. The Vikings got a huge boost by gaining a half game on the Packers during the bye week, and whomever has the Vikings as a fantasy defense, you made a smart pick. However, I think the Vikings are going to play their first tough game on the road, and Sam Bradford is looking to get one up on his former team. I think the Vikings are still the team to beat in the NFC North, but this game looks like a game that is going to be a tough one. Eagles 42, Vikings 21.

If the Vikings can block, they win. If not, this could be trouble. The Eagles have a lot of pass-rushers and that's going to be a challenge. I expect the Viking defense to show up as usual (and yes, I have the Vikings defense for my fantasy league team), but I expect this to be a challenging game for the Vikings offense. Philadelphia 17, Vikings 10.

Not a lot of games to pick, but the NFL forced our hand by having us pick a game due to them wanting you to upgrade a tier. Kids, don't let an overpaid man named Roger make your programming choices for you. Ben out!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- NFL Mandated Early Edition

Since the league office continues to want to have us and the readers upgrade a tier, and spend Thursday night watching football instead of other things, we have to get an early pick up.

Yeah, and I'm not so sure I want the NFL Network, to say nothing of trying to watch the game on Twitter, for goodness sakes.

I know it is kinda lame, but the NFL has to make money I guess, right?

That's what they are all about, Seabiscuit. Nothing else.

Well, it's fine. Let them scrap over a few nickels. My picks are always money and it's Bears Week, so there's opportunities galore for HYYYYYYYYYPPPPPPPPE! It is time to watch me work.

Bear Down Chicago da Bearz (+7.5) vs Glorious Green Bay Packers. Sunday was a terrible day for the Packers, as they played one of the worst games I have seen in a while. Thankfully, they are playing right away again, and this time will face the Bears. The Packers are banged up, and will have very little depth in the defensive backfield and in the running game. This game reminds me of how many times in the past the haters will have said that the Packers are done. Well, this should be different. The Bears still have Brian Hoyer, who is a decent starter. I really figure that things are going to change, because after all the Bears have not won the close games, and this game is going to be a typical close Packers-Bears game. Packers 21, da Bearz Still Suck 17.

What worries me about this game is not the running attack, which is now in the hands of Ty Montgomery and Knile Davis, who is apparently the 2016 version of Samkon Gado. What worries me is that the Packers are essentially out of cornerbacks. They will be trotting out Ladarius Gunter yet again, who was clueless against the Cowboy receivers. I don't think that will work well. So, this one could be an aerial circus, if Aaron Rodgers can get it back together. He has to eventually, so it starts tonight. Packers 33, Bears 27.

D and the rest of the family are on the way to Galesburg tomorrow, so we'll really be able unleash the HYYYYYPPPE! then. But for now, Ben out!

The final debate

I watched it. Probably should have watched the Cubs instead. My two cents:

  • Nothing happened that really moved the needle. All the social media howling today is about Trump's refusal to answer whether he'd accept the results of the election, but it's beside the point. Whether he concedes or not, if Hillary Clinton gets the majority of the votes in the electoral college, she will be the next president. If he gets the majority, which I doubt he will, he will be president. The rest is just theatrics.
  • For someone whose slogan is "Stronger Together," Hillary sure has a lot of people she'd like to punish. Perhaps you are one of them.
  • Moderator Chris Wallace is getting a lot of praise for his performance, but I don't see why. He was so wedded to his set of questions that he didn't ask some followups that need to be asked. When Clinton went off on a rant about Russian involvement in the WikiLeaks documents, the obvious followup wasn't where the docs came from, but whether they were real. It would have been useful to get that answer on the record. Wallace never came to the aid of Clinton, which puts him well above the Raddatz/Crowley line, but that's an awfully low bar.
  • Trump had his moments, but he is a disastrous debater. He's a guy who likes to riff on a subject and he's not disciplined in his presentation style. And he's incapable of avoiding the asides that sink him. He didn't need to say Clinton is a nasty woman -- the evidence speaks for itself. The Clinton campaign will have t-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers with that comment for sale this morning. If Trump had any wit, he'd ask for royalties.
  • I've never backed away from my #NeverTrump stance, because he's simply not a good choice to be president. Clinton is worse. If we didn't have a completely compromised FBI and Justice Department, she would be facing prison for destroying thousands of emails. Her record in office is abysmal and her conduct is worse. She's surrounded by charlatans. She will be president and the only question on the table is whether her presidency will be more like that of James Buchanan or that of Herbert Hoover. Assuming, of course, that her presidency isn't most like William Henry Harrison. She's going to be horrible. Somehow, I suspect most of my readers already know that.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Meanwhile, back in New Brighton

The New Brighton City Council has, against all odds, decided to appeal the slam dunk judgment against it, which I wrote about at length. You can expect an expedited ruling any day now, which will almost certainly swat away the appeal with great dispatch. I'll have more about the ruling when it comes down -- I am having difficulty accessing the relevant documents at the moment, but they are public record and you can access them here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Swirling, swirling

We actually are learning a few things about the corruption going on at State:
A top State Department official tried to pressure the FBI to change its determination that at least one of the e-mails on Hillary Clinton’s private server contained classified content, prompting discussion of a possible trade to resolve the issue, two FBI employees told colleagues investigating her use of a private server last year.

One FBI official conceded that he told the State Department employee he would “look into” changing the classification of a Clinton e-mail if the official would lend his authority to an FBI request to increase its personnel in Iraq, according to documents released by the bureau Monday.
And we're also learning about the level of fealty that at least one of our media watchdogs gives to a key Clinton figure, John Podesta:
In an astonishing email, Politico chief White House political correspondent and senior staff writer Glenn Thrush ran his latest article by Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta to make sure nothing offended the Clinton henchman.

"Because I have become a hack I will send u the whole section that pertains to u [sic]," Thrush wrote to Podesta. "Please don't share or tell anyone I did this … tell me if I f***ed up anything," he continued.

"OTR: No problems here," Podesta responded.
I do appreciate the admission that Glenn Thrush is a hack. At least he's honest enough to admit as much.

At this point, it's becoming clear that Hillary Clinton is going to be president. It's also becoming clear that her organization is corrupt as hell. This election could turn out to be a lot like 1972 -- a landslide followed by scandals galore. I suspect we'll learn a lot more in the coming days.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Back from Oklahoma

After being away from the blog (and the news) for three days, it does not appear much has changed in the political season. From what I can tell, Trump gets trashed every day, the WikiLeaks stories are pretty much confined to the right wing press, and yet the polls show Hillary Clinton cannot get to 50%.

If ever there was an election in which None of the Above should be on the ballot, it's this one. Even the third-party candidates stink. But you know what? I got to watch some tremendous high school marching bands in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma this week. If you want to know what's going well in our country, go see one of these shows. You will see coordination, spectacle, discipline, beauty, dedication, and spirited yet friendly competition. And our Irondale Marching Knights were there:

Standing at attention, ready to entertain

You don't see anger and contempt at a marching band show. You see mutual respect. You see what's still right with America, and what it can be.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Benster and D Pick Your Games-----Don't Break My Arrow Edition

Old dude, I understand that you are going down to check out scenic Oklahoma vistas and HYYYYYPPPPE! Tulsa this weekend?

That's it, Seabiscuit. We are in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma for the marching band festival here, featuring the mighty Irondale Marching Knights!

Maybe you can find out exactly where Tulsa is and maybe try and get a hat or something.

We were in Tulsa with my cousin Mary Lou last night, so I can report it's there. A hat would be a good thing, though. On my list of acquisitions. Meanwhile, you are busy working away at school and at predictions, correct?

If you want to be the best, and I am the best, you have to put in the work. So it is time to pick some games, so watch me work!

Minnesota Golden Gophers (+7) vs. Maryland Terps. I'm sorry, but this line makes no sense at all. I understand that Minnesota is probably not going to win the Big Ten West, and they are on the road in College Park, but this line is just too big. The Gophers are not a bad football team at all, and certainly are better than a Maryland team who is still finding the groove in the Big Ten in football. At the very least, show the Gophers a bit of respect for how solid they have looked this year against pretty decent opponents. Gophers 28, Terps 13.

Vegas may be trying to get some wagering on this game with this line. It does seem excessive. These schools really don't have much of a history. Mitch Leidner is not going to play today, which complicates matters for the Gophers. But if they bring their defense, they should be able to handle the Terps. Gophers 17, Terps 14.

A School in Columbus (-10.5) vs. Beloved Wisconsin Badgers. Okay, time for a bit of a rant. The Badgers clearly have gotten no respect from Las Vegas on this one. I know the Buckeyes are a very loaded and talented team, and even I can admit it. They deserve to be ranked highly and are going to be a tough out. However, the Badgers are certainly no slouches either. They beat LSU on a neutral field, and beat Michigan State on the road, and played a very tight game against Michigan. So why are the Badgers getting disrespected when they clearly deserve equal billing? I have given Urban Meyer a lot of criticism in this space, but he said that the job Wisconsin has done is a very good body of work, and I promise you that even the smug Buckeye fans who I think are the worst should be worried. Wisconsin is a very good football team, and their ranking and body of work in a very difficult schedule shows that. Camp Randall is going to be loud, and the Buckeyes claim they want to be champions. We will see if they can win, or if once again Urban Meyer wastes a golden chance at a title. Wisconsin 31, A School in Columbus 24.

I don't know what to think about this one. I'd love to see the Badgers will it, but I'm skeptical. They have a lot, and I mean a lot, of injuries on defense. It's going to come down to discipline against superior athleticism. On offense, can young Alex Hornibrook get it going against a talented defense. I say he can, but it's going to be tough. Badgers 24, Buckeyes 21.

Illinois College Blueboys (NL, but someone might want to bet on it) vs. Knox College Prairie Fire. This weekend is homecoming weekend at Knox, and I have already seen a lot of alums walking around the place. Knox has only won the one game, which happened to be last week against Grinnell, who are a god awful team. Illinois College is a solid Midwest Conference team, but the Fire should feed off a very large crowd to help the alums write more checks to the financial office. Knox 78, IC 0.

We write checks to Knox, so why shouldn't they? IC is better than solid. Knox will play well, but they will come up short. IC 31, Knox 21.

Dallas How 'Bout Them Cowboys (+4.5) vs. Glorious Green Bay Packers. Dallas is back again in Lambeau, where they have found it to be very tough in the past two years. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot have been able to help Dallas withstand losing Tony Romo. The Packers did not play a complete game again last week, but made enough plays to get the win. The Packers do tend to have trouble with the read option, which I would expect the Cowboys to use a bit of. The Packers still have a number of injuries that are nagging, but I would expect the Packers to win another tough game and keep pace with the Vikings. Packers 27, Cowgirls 24.

The Packers are the best defense Prescott has faced. They will make it very difficult on the Cowboys. Aaron Rodgers needs to play better, but I think he will this week. Surprisingly easy one. Packers 31, Cowboys 20.

Jacksonville Jaguars (Pick) vs. Bear Down Chicago da Bearz. The Bears have been looking better in recent weeks, though John Fox has to continue showing that improvement if he wants to keep his job. Granted, the Bears have had some injuries, but Cameron Meredith in particular has looked like a good option and someone that Brian Hoyer trusted last week. Jacksonville is a tough opponent who should give all NFC North teams fits. Bears 34, Jaguars 20.

The Jags have been a disappointment so far, but they seemed to get better as the season went on last year. This is a game the Bears can win. Will they? Bears 21, Jags 20.

That is all for this week, and we will have to do something about the NFL Network requiring the Bears and the Packers to play on Thursday. Again, I swear they want our readers to upgrade a tier or something. Ben out!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Lightning Round - 101316

I can't keep up with it all, really. But I can make note of it:

  • As far as I know, Donald Trump hasn't touched me inappropriately. I may be the only person in America who can safely make that claim.
  • Anyone calling for a "Catholic Spring" hasn't heard about Lord Mountbatten.
  • Ol' Drudge has a crapload of links you may or may not find probative. Easiest way to explain it all is to screen shot it:
I'll give you such a pinch!
  • Walter Russell Mead is still on the Calpers beat, in which he relays how Royalton, California is getting royally screwed. If you only have time to click one link today, this link would be a good choice.
  • Mark Dayton notices what we all have known for years -- the Affordable Care Act isn't. Naturally, it's the fault of the Republicans, who had nothing to do with any of it. Go back to sleep, Governor.
  • The owner of the Smitten Kitten thinks $15/hour should be everyone's minimum wage. I'm guessing the markup on her, ahem, merchandise is a little higher than what they sell at the ol' Dollar General.
  • And if the glitter cuffs at the Smitten Kitten aren't your speed, maybe you'd enjoy a stock market crash instead.
  • Blogging may be lighter over the next few days; we're going to be busy. It's good to be busy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The W

I've followed baseball for a long time, nearly all of my life. My father was a Cubs fan. When I was very young, probably 6 or maybe 7, he took the family to Chicago for a weekend. One of the events he had planned for us was to see a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. The day of the game, a tremendous line of thunderstorms swept through Chicago and the game was rained out, so instead of going to Wrigley, we ended up sitting in our hotel room. This would have been around 1970 or thereabouts; the Cubs of that era were a good team, with Hall of Famers like Ferguson Jenkins, Billy Williams, and Ron Santo on the roster. I remember Dan being very disappointed about the rainout, especially as the storms broke later that afternoon.

Later on the 1970s, one of the local television stations in Green Bay would broadcast Cubs games on Sunday afternoons during the summer. It was appointment television for my Dad, who would faithfully watch the Bill Madlock-era Cubs get their butts handed to them. Sometimes I would watch the game with him, but most of the time I'd find other things to do. Dad would still watch the games.

In the late 1970s, we got cable television. The games weren't ubiquitous on television then; even when you had ESPN, it was more likely to have Australian Rules football on. But we did have WGN and so we watched the Cubs. You'd get occasional excitement, especially on a day when Dave Kingman was playing and the wind was out of the southwest, but for the most part those Cubs teams weren't very good, either.

By the late 1980s, I had moved to Chicago and the Cubs were up and down, but mostly down. Getting a ticket to Wrigley was now fairly difficult, but I did go maybe a dozen times over the course of the five years I lived there. My dad passed away in 1990, a year that the Cubs were 77-85, a quintessential Cubs season. As it happened, that team had three Hall of Famers on the roster as well -- Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, and Greg Maddux. But they also had Marvell Wynne and Doug Dascenzo. It wasn't enough. It never was.

Cubs Win! A sight seldom seen in many seasons
My dad, like a lot of Cubs fans, was loyal but fatalistic about his allegiance. The Cubs always seemed to be at least a player or two short of really getting there. There were magical seasons along the way, but they never could get it done. Now, in 2016, we see a fully operational juggernaut dressed in bright blue caps with the simple red C. The uniforms say Chicago across the front, but the men wearing them don't look like Larry Biittner or Mike Bielecki. I don't know if the Cubs are going to finally break through, after over 100 years, but I do wish my dad could have seen this team. The Cubs attract a lot of bandwagon fans, but the one Cubs fan I loved wasn't one of them. And as this season progresses, I'm thinking about him.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A ridiculous editorial, from longtime experts in the genre

Everyone who reads this feature knows that I have remained #NeverTrump throughout this election cycle, even though I have reserved most of my criticism for his opponent, who richly deserves it. In a season of lies, the Star Tribune editorial board uncorked a beaut this morning:
Anyone who saw Donald Trump’s boast of his celebrity-bestowed ability to indiscriminately grab women by the genitals as a new political low was proved wrong by Sunday’s debate.

That’s when the Republican nominee hit a frightening nadir in American politics by saying on live television that if he became president, his opponent, Hillary Clinton “would be in jail.” There is, and can be, no normalizing of such statements. This country doesn’t make political prisoners of rivals. Part of democracy’s hope and promise, and what has always set the U.S. apart from so many other countries, is the peaceful transition of power every four years. Opponents here are defeated, not imprisoned.
Okay, then. Explain this picture:

The master of the felonious veto
That's the mug shot of Rick Perry, former governor of Texas. He was charged with abuse of office because he vetoed funding for a state "public integrity unit" that was protecting another public official, the district attorney of Travis County, Rosemary Lehmberg, who also has a mug shot:

Drink for me, drink for my health, you know I can't drink any more
Lehmberg was driving drunk. Her arrest video remains an eternal classic of the genre:

By the way, Lehmberg is still in office.

Perry is hardly the only public official who has been through the wringer. I've written more than once about the abuse heaped upon Scott Walker and his colleagues in Wisconsin. Writing for the Federalist, Bre Payton provides a handy compilation of selective outrage. A particular favorite:
‘I could have arrested Karl Rove on any given day,’ Pelosi said to laughter, during a sit-down with reporters. ‘I’m not kidding. There’s a prison here in the Capitol … If we had spotted him in the Capitol, we could have arrested him.’ …

Asked on what grounds she could have arrested Rove, Pelosi replied, ‘Oh, any number. But there were some specific ones for his being in contempt of Congress. But we didn’t.’
All sixteen of the examples in Payton's excellent piece share one thing in common -- all of the purported perpretrators are people who were somehow hostile to the Left. It's possible that the Star Tribune has editorialized against the the outrages against Perry and Walker, but I don't recall seeing it.

Hillary Clinton has done some awful things in her life. She may not get called to account for them. But to pretend that Trump's musing is something new and awful? Give me a break.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Don't look back

This is not the look of a man feeling particularly serene:

Spotcheck Billy got down on his hands and knees

Can't be too comfortable when your accusers are in the audience:

But you got me in a squeeze play on the cheesy side of town

If I were Donald Trump, and I thank my lucky stars every day I am not, I would put these women on camera at every opportunity. I don't know if it will Trump's chances to win the election, but at this point the Clintons need to have their feral noses rubbed in the dirt and wreckage they have left in their wake. Trump is a horrible, often thoughtless person. The Clintons are horrible by design.

As for the debate itself, on balance I think Trump won. As usual, he was bordering on the demented in some of his statements, but he did get to a larger truth about his opponent yesterday. In particular, his threat of bringing in a special prosecutor was smart. There's a sense out there that Hillary is getting special treatment. By now I think most people understand who the Clintons are, but they'd rather not think about it much. There's exquisite irony in Trump forcing voters to consider their consciences before casting a ballot for  Hillary Clinton, but it's the right thing to do.

A few other brief observations:

  • Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz were dismal, especially in the stretch where Raddatz decided she needed to debate Trump on military options. Viewers take notice of things like this and it feeds into Trump's narrative.
  • As for Hillary Clinton's performance, give her credit for not taking the bait a few times. She is disciplined when the situation requires it. Still, we got glimpses of her Nurse Ratched persona a few times and, if she gets a less solicitous debate moderator in the final debate, she might let the mask slip.
  • Did Trump save his campaign last night? Probably not, but he certainly made life more uncomfortable for the long line of politicians on the Republican side who disavowed him over the weekend. If you're Paul Ryan or Kelly Ayotte, what do you do now?

Sunday, October 09, 2016

They couldn't possibly be worse

I know, right?
Millard Fillmore -- tanned, rested, and ready:

And he's ready to kick all y'all's butts
And if you think that presidential sneer is a problem, we've seen it more recently:

You better put some ice on that
 Our leaders love us, of course:

And I mean that most sincerely
And our next president will be equally happy to see you:

You keep posting those unflattering pictures, peasant. Watch yer back.
Yeah, ol' Millard might be the solution.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

On Trump

Thoughts on the latest scandal scandal scandal SCANDAL SCANDAL! SCANDAL!!

  • If Donald Trump had any wit, he'd start referring to his penis as Quemoy or Matsu.
  • It took 32 years beyond the predicted date, but the Junior Anti-Sex League is here. For people who are obsessed with sex as much as modern liberals, they sure are a bunch of intermittent Puritans.
  • It personally took me a while to realize this, but a gentleman doesn't discuss his sex life. For the most part, people who discuss their sex lives in detail don't actually have one. Trump would be an exception on both scores. Extreme narcissists are a breed unto themselves and are rarely gentlemen.
  • For months, certain commenters here have asked me why I still consider myself #NeverTrump. It's because of crap like this. Defending the indefensible is a mug's game.
  • I'm not particularly offended by what he said; back in the day, I heard worse on a daily basis. Although I don't remember saying anything as foul as what Trump said, I wouldn't swear I didn't, especially after I'd had a few adult beverages. But I stopped acting that way a long time ago. Trump never did and he's spent most of his adult life in proximity to microphones. He's probably said worse and we're likely to hear it before Nov. 8.
  • A comment on Althouse's blog sums up the current state of play accurately:  "Any girl with a story to tell about Bill Clinton knows by now to keep her mouth shut. On the other hand, any girl with a story to tell about Donald Trump will be honored and richly rewarded. They're both players but the game is rigged in Clinton's favor." As usual, you can complain about the double standard all you want, but your complaints won't make the double standard go away. 
  • So what is the actual standard? Republican sexuality is bad -- it's pretty much axiomatic. No one really gave a damn about Trump's horndogging, except in a Page Six, do you believe what Trump did this time? sense, until he began describing himself as a Republican. Trump likely didn't understand that when he was running his mouth 11 years ago, but he understands it now. Back in 2005, it wasn't disgraceful. It was marketing. Not any more.
  • As always, the tape hit at the same time as another revelation of Clinton perfidy arose, but this time one that implicates St. Barack's minions. Can't have that, so we need to have the locker room banter on Page One. At some point, the historians may tell us some of the stories we really need to understand, assuming we still have historians in the future. We will only get glimpses of the truth for the moment.
  • Unless the biochemical engineers in her employ screw up the titration and she dies onstage tomorrow at Washington University in St. Louis, Hillary Clinton is going to be president. The only consolation is she's going to reap a hell of a whirlwind. Everyone knows she's a monster and the Gods of the Copybook Headings will be visiting in due course.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- Politics Free Zone

You will not find any political stuff here, in fact I recommend you watch football this weekend instead of the debates.

I'm not going to argue with you. At this point, I think the only way to view this campaign is in a hazmat suit.

That's right, Geritol Fan! All your suits look like hazmat suits anyway, so you'll be right at home!

You're not exactly an expert on fine tailoring, young fella. 

That's true, too, but you know what? I'm not trying to pretend otherwise. But the main point is to keep the politics out of this particular feature.

Make it a "Safe Space?"

I go to a liberal arts school, old dude. That's all we have! But it's fine. I mean, we all know that Trump is going to Trump, and Hillary is going to Hillary, and I like to not try and antagonize either our conservative or liberal readers.

We do have both. Sometimes it even turns out that liberal readers are still reading!

I think most of them are literate. So, it is time to unleash the HYYYYYPPPPPPPPEEE!, and watch me work.

Iowa Hawkeyes (+1) vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers. Iowa has been a major disappointment this year. A lot of folks thought they would repeat in the West, but they lost at home to North Dakota State, which is not an upset at all, but still makes the Big Ten as a whole look very bad. Minnesota is still figuring things out a bit, but they are looking like a team that in about 2 years should be getting a fuller trophy case, if you get my drift. This game should be close, but I figure that Minnesota can win since the game is in Minneapolis. Gophers 31, Iowa 17.

I agree -- the Gophers can win this game. In fact, they need to win this game to be taken seriously as a contender. Iowa is vulnerable. Now or "wait 'til next year," gentlemen. Gophers 21, Iowa 17.

Knox College Prairie Fire (NL, despite the fact that someone might want to bet on it) vs. Grinnell College Pioneers. Both these teams are looking like bottom feeders in the conference. Knox has a lot of great kids who are game, it is just that in terms of football, Knox does other things better. Grinnell is not as strong as in basketball, and there is no full line changes in football. I figure that Knox should win at least one game, right? Knox 17, Grinnell 0.

A few weeks back, my beloved Beloit Buccaneers edged Grinnell 72-17. Grinnell is awful. Knox will win this one. Knox 34, Grinnell 21.

Tennessee Volunteers (+7) vs. Texas A&M Aggies. Since the Badgers are taking the week off, we had to find a replacement. The Volunteers have been looking a lot like a team of destiny, coming back off the mat against Florida and throwing the Hail Mary last week down in Athens against Georgia. Texas A&M has been a huge surprise in the SEC, since Trevor Knight has looked very good after transferring from Oklahoma. The concern if you are the Vols is that you just had to come off two very emotional wins and still have to play Alabama later on. Aggies 37, Vols 7.

College Station is a tough, tough place to win. The Vols are coming back, but this test is a bit much. Texas A&M 31, Tennessee 22.

Houston Texans (+7) vs. Minnesota Vikings. I know that Mrs. D must really enjoy watching the Vikings as of late, and she is right about that. The Vikings have been a very pleasant surprise, and that defense and running game have looked great. The Texans are without J.J. Watt, and the jury is still out on Brock Osweiler. The one concern I have about the Vikings is that they still have issues in the kicking game, and that they are now the hunted team instead of the hunter, and I want to see how they respond to some adversity. Texans 24, Vikings 23.

The breaking news is Stefon Diggs will not play. Is it time to unleash Laquon Treadwell? Even without Watt, the Texans can play defense. I'd take the under. Vikings 14, Texans 9.

New York Football Giants (+7.5) vs. Glorious Green Bay Packers. The Packers come out of the bye week with some extra prep time, and will get Clay Matthews back, although Sam Shields is still on the concussion protocol. The Packers are not going to go away, and the Giants are coming off a short week against the Vikings. I have not been impressed with how the Giants looked offensively lately, and Eli Manning is looking like he may have lost a step or two. I think that the Packers need to win all these home games coming up, to keep the pressure on the Vikings. Packers 37, Giants 24.

Not sure how this is going to work. The Giants have a lot of firepower and the Packers are short a few defensive backs, especially with Shields still unavailable. I think Odell Beckham will have something to prove. This could be a wild one. Packers 38, Giants 34.

Bear Down Chicago da Bearz (+5) vs. Indinapolis Colts. Chicago still looks like a trainwreck, but they did finally get a win at home last week against the LOLions. As things stand, I think John Fox might get another year, but he has to show improvement, and quite frankly that has been tough with all the injuries. If Smokin Jay can't go, then Brian Hoyer will have to prove that he is better than Craig Krenzel, or Jim "I'm Emotional" Harbaugh. Colts 97, da Bearz Still Suck 0.

Uh, no. Somewhere, Peter Tom Willis is wondering what the heck is going on. Hoyer looks fairly competent and while the Bears defense is still short a few guys, Fox is starting to figure things out on that side of the ball. I think this one could get interesting. I would like to request two touchdowns apiece from Zach Miller, Alshon Jeffrey, and T.Y. Hilton. For my fantasy team, of course. Bears 35, Colts 28.

And a quick note about the weather this weekend down in Florida. If you live down in Florida, or anywhere in the path of the hurricane, please do the right thing and get out. I know that it is tempting to stay, but you can always buy a new home or a new truck. You don't get to buy another life. Hope everyone in the path of Hurricane Matthew is safe, and you are in my thoughts and prayers this weekend. Ben out!

A dude in Toronto makes Gino's argument

I don't typically read the Canadian press, so I'm not familiar with John Ibbitson, but this piece from the Globe and Mail makes a variation of the argument that Ace Commenter Gino has been making all year long:
Donald Trump will probably lose the election. But he is a final warning. Unless political elites of both the left and the right become more humble, unless they once again ask themselves how their agendas will play in Peoria, the next rough beast might slouch over the corpse of the republic.
As Ibbitson notes, Peoria was, back in the day, seen as the ultimate example of Middle American values. And as he further explains, things aren't so great in Peoria these days:
Peoria is hurting. The city is home to Caterpillar. But the heavy-equipment giant has outsourced most of its work force overseas or to so-called right-to-work states.

But what does Washington care? The left worries more about combatting global warming than about blue-collar workers with bad backs and no jobs. The right promises to retrain them, but somehow never gets around to it.
Yes, the sneer about right-to-work is a tell that Ibbitson is part of the Left, but like Thomas Frank, he senses the earth is moving. More:
Let’s not sign those trade deals until we know which jobs will be at risk and what we can do for those workers. Let’s not shut the coal mines without a thought for what will become of the miners. Don’t offer amnesty until you have control over the border. As we move to driverless cars and machine learning and an economy in which any action that is repeated can be automated, let’s spare a thought for the kids who only get Cs in school. What will become of them? What do you mean you have no idea? That’s your job! Let’s bring some small measure of consensus back to political culture. Let’s bring humility back. Let’s go back to asking: Will it play in Peoria? And if it won’t, then let’s think about that before we push ahead. Because you really, really don’t want to see what comes after Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton is asking for a poisoned chalice. She will get her wish.

Might as well mention it

Gotta get the votes cast before this investigation gets disseminated too widely, of course:
Minnesota education officials have launched a review of online PhD programs at a for-profit college with ties to former President Bill Clinton.

"We have seen an increased number of complaints related to dissertations at Walden University," Sandy Connolly of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education told NBC News.
Why does that matter?
The review follows an NBC News report on Minneapolis-based Walden, including interviews with some students who felt victimized by its practices and were saddled with large student loans.

Walden is the U.S. flagship of Laureate Education, which paid "honorary chancellor" Bill Clinton $17.6 million over five years before he stepped down in 2015 just ahead of wife Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign run.
$17.6 million is a lotta scratch for an honorary position. I would assume most readers of this feature know about this, because the majority follow conservative media. What's odd is that you won't find a word about it in the Star Tribune. Given that Walden's headquarters are in Minneapolis, you'd expect some enterprising reporter to start sniffing around a little bit, but apparently not. If you search Walden University on the Star Tribune's website, you won't get much:

Something of a sleepy beat

If you search Trump University, you get considerably more:

Just about every day

Not sure what conclusions you should draw, but I do find the lack of curiosity about a local business to be, well, curious.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Just a reminder

Walter Russell Mead, on the discovery of a huge new oil field in Alaska:
As good as this is for both Alaska and the United States, it’s a bad sign for other major producers, and more specifically it’s unwelcome news for petrostates like Saudi Arabia and Russia. OPEC intends to cut production at its semiannual meeting in November, but even as it works to constrain the world’s oil supply to set off a price rebound, new discoveries are being made and new projects are coming online. You can find the latest example of this massive global glut off the coast of the United Kingdom, where roughly a dozen tankers are waiting their turn to offload their crude cargoes. The world is awash in oil, and despite the protestations of the delusional “peak oil” movement, that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.
Somewhere, Don Shelby is gnashing his teeth.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Based on the available evidence. . .

Tim Kaine is a putz. That's one lesson from last night's debate. The other? If he was the best person Hillary Clinton could find for a running mate, it speaks volumes about the quality of people within the Democratic Party these days.

One other observation -- let's see if Le Grand Orange learned anything from Mike Pence's performance. Pence never took the bait, made his points calmly and and won the debate easily. Do you think The Donald can do that?

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin

The rogue prosecutors get shut down, yet again:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by three Democratic district attorneys seeking to revive a criminal investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s recall campaign — effectively ending the legal wrangling over the four-year-old probe.

The decision marks a major victory for Walker and his Republican allies, who mounted a vigorous challenge to the secretive, so-called John Doe II investigation that involved investigators issuing dozens of subpoenas and seizing equipment and millions of documents from those under investigation.

In a statement Monday, Walker said the U.S. Supreme Court, Wisconsin Supreme Court and other judges have all reached the same conclusion — “that this investigation by prosecutors was without merit and thus must be ended.”

“I applaud the individuals and organizations who fought for and successfully defended their First Amendment rights against political opponents who wanted to silence them,” Walker said.
Needless to say, the secret policemen are disappointed:
In a joint statement, the three district attorneys who appealed the case — [Milwakee County Prosecutor John] Chisholm, Dane County’s Ismael Ozanne and Iowa County’s Larry Nelson — said they were disappointed by the decision.

“The state Supreme Court decision, left intact by today’s order, prohibits Wisconsin citizens from enacting laws requiring the full disclosure of disguised contributions to a candidate, i.e., monies expended by third parties at the direction of a candidate for the benefit of that candidate’s election,” they said.

“We are proud to have taken this fight as far as the law would allow and we look forward to the day when Wisconsin adopts a more enlightened view of the need for transparency in campaign finance.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but they are proud that they have gotten their asses handed to them at every level of jurisdiction. In a better world, all three of these individuals would be disbarred. They won't be. They are now required to turn over all the materials they seized within 30 days. I am willing to wager that Chisholm and his partners in sleaze will turn the materials over via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

What has happened to Walker and his political allies in Wisconsin is similar to the lawfare tactics used in Texas against Tom DeLay and Rick Perry. In the end, it all gets thrown out, but the process itself is the punishment. It's a disgrace.


It's early in the day and you never know how things will play out over the next few weeks, but it appears the great Julian Assange October Surprise is a nothingburger:
For those of us stateside who woke up at an ungodly hour for Julian Assange‘s big “October Surprise,” it’s time to go back to bed.

The Wikileaks founder changed the plans for his big reveal, citing security concerns and shunning away from his usual route of parading around big media shows: from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he was been since 2012.

Instead, Tuesday morning’s “surprise” was broadcast over a live-streamed news conference that ended up being a self-congratulatory pat on the back for 10 years in business (the Wikileaks domain name was registered a decade ago to the day). Assange even managed to promote a few new books as well during his broadcast — “40% off this week” for the book Wikileaks Files he touted — but alas, no incriminating documents relating to Hillary Clinton‘s campaign.
Imagine that. More at the link, including various howls of outrage from the Twitterati.

Monday, October 03, 2016

To the point

Victor Davis Hanson:
Part of the frenzy over 2016 as a make-or-break election is because a closely divided Senate’s future may hinge on the coattails of the presidential winner. An aging Supreme Court may also translate into perhaps three to four court picks for the next president.

Yet such considerations only partly explain the current election frenzy.

The model of the imperial Obama presidency is the greater fear. Over the last eight years, Obama has transformed the powers of presidency in a way not seen in decades.
Hanson goes through the particulars at the link, and it's worth your time. It's easy to forget all the depredations Our President has undertaken over the past eight years. Just a few:
The Senate used to ratify treaties. In the past, a president could not unilaterally approve the Treaty of Versailles, enroll the United States in the League of Nations, fight in Vietnam or Iraq without congressional authorization, change existing laws by non-enforcement, or rewrite bankruptcy laws.

Not now. Obama set a precedent that he did not need Senate ratification to make a landmark treaty with Iran on nuclear enrichment.

He picked and chose which elements of the Affordable Care Act would be enforced — predicated on his 2012 reelection efforts.

Rebuffed by Congress, Obama is now slowly shutting down the Guantanamo Bay detention center by insidiously having inmates sent to other countries.
The idea of an imperial presidency has been ongoing since Woodrow Wilson. About the only president since who eschewed the tendency is Calvin Coolidge, and he left office nearly 90 years ago. And when you have a liar in the office, it's particularly a problem. Back to Hanson:
Obama established the precedent that a president should be given a pass on lying to the American people. Did Americans, as Obama repeatedly promised, really get to keep their doctors and health plans while enjoying lower premiums and deductibles, as the country saved billions through his Affordable Care Act?

More recently, did Obama mean to tell a lie when he swore that he sent cash to the Iranians only because he could not wire them the money — when in truth the administration had wired money to Iran in the past? Was cash to Iran really not a ransom for American hostages, as the president asserted? Did Obama really, as he insisted, never e-mail Clinton at her private unsecured server?

Can the next president, like Obama, double the national debt and claim to be a deficit hawk?
Most likely, yes.


It appears Donald Trump took over a $900 million loss in 1995. That's all we really know. The rest of what I read yesterday is, at best, speculation.

Does it matter? Maybe, but not as much as Hillary's partisans would argue it does. If we subsequently learn that Trump was evading taxes, that would be one thing, but nothing indicates he has done so. We'd have known about it a long time ago.

We'll have all manner of October surprises. I'd be stunned if it turned out otherwise.