Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Benster and D Pick Your Game -- Why Are We Still Playing on Thursday Edition

That's right -- why in the wide, wide world of sports does the NFL insist on having games on Thursday? The only time football should be played on Thursday is Thanksgiving. Is tomorrow Thanksgiving? No. It's December Freaking First! Knock it off, Goodell.

You know why this happening, young fella. I know you know why. Here's why:

Your concerns? You can give them to the birds and bees. Goodell wants the money. That's what he wants.

Quit drinking the Kool-Aid! Or are you mixing it with your Geritol again?

Don't knock it until you've tried it, Seabiscuit.

Naaah. I'll settle for something a little more refreshing. Something with HYYYYYYPPPPPE! Watch me work!

Dallas How 'Bout Them Cowboahs (-3.5) vs. Minnesota Vikings. Speaking of unquenchable greed, here comes Jerry Jones to town, with his nasty Cowboys. The Cowboys are suddenly a good team again this year, no doubt making carnival barkers like Skip Bayless happier than a pig in, well, you know. However, the Vikings are no slouches. The key will be to stop the run game. Ezekiel Elliott has been nothing short of outstanding in his rookie season, while Dak Prescott has been the busiest bankruptcy lawyer in Minnesota. No, that's not right. That would be our pal the late, great, Jack Prescott. Dak Prescott has been putting his opponents into Chapter 7 all season long. The Vikings have to win this game, because they need to keep pace with the Lions and the Packers are now nipping at their heels. I'm so confident the Vikings will win that if my pick doesn't come true, I will call Skip Bayless a genius. Vikings 45, Cowboahs 17.

I'd rather call Skip Bayless a cab to the airport, as long as he rides in the trunk. This one is going to be tough because the Vikings are suddenly riddled with injuries. They will not have Sharrif Floyd, Joe Berger, Marcus Sherels or Mackenzie Alexander available this week. Floyd hasn't been playing much this season because of injuries, but they could really use him this week. It's going to be tough. Stefon Diggs is still questionable and may not play. So it's adversity time at the People's Stadium, and not just because Ted Mondale is taking up a bunch of suites. I'd like the Vikings to win, because the Cowboys are flat evil, but I don't see it this week. Cowboys 27, Vikings 19.

I can't believe I just promised to say something nice about Skip Bayless. He's still upset because Vince Lombardi spoiled his sorry-ass childhood. Ben out!

Another loss in the recount

Guess we won't have a recount by hand in Wisconsin after all:
Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn said the effort to force the hand recount, which was backed by Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign, did not meet the state’s legal standard for prohibiting the use of machines in the recount, saying that the two campaigns did not show a hand recount, though more thorough, was necessary or show there was a clear and convincing evidence of fraud or other problems.

Bailey-Rihn said there were good reasons to do a hand recount but no legal basis for her to mandate it.

"I follow the law. That's who I am despite my personal opinions," said Bailey-Rihn, who was elected to the bench last spring.
A Dane County judge who follows the law? Dang -- didn't know that was possible.

Safe space

My goodness:
Gov. Mark Dayton stormed out of a public meeting about the State Capitol restoration on Tuesday, after accusing a Republican state lawmaker of playing politics with decisions about a set of Civil War paintings and their placement in the soon-to-reopen building.

“If this commission gets hijacked for political purposes, I’ll resign from it,” Dayton said at the meeting of the Capitol Preservation Commission. He cited a recent memo by state Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, to his House colleagues arguing against what he alleged was a move by the administration to remove one or several Civil War paintings.

“The Capitol should not be designed around the likes and dislikes of any temporary tenant,” Dean wrote in the memo.
Where to begin?

  • Storming out of a meeting is always the best approach to a dispute.
  • I would like a bit more precision in the reporting -- "one or several"? 
  • Dean is correct -- the Capitol is more than just a place the politicians meet.
There's more -- back to the Star Tribune story:
At a news conference later in the afternoon, Dayton reiterated that he believed House Republicans were trying to make political hay out of disagreements over the paintings’ placement: “I’m not going to sit around and be part of that contrivance,” the DFL governor said. He said he would not try to influence the Historical Society’s decision.

Dayton said he believed the art kerfuffle was an attempt by Republicans to distract from their inaction in addressing an expected spike in MNsure premiums in January. He also alleged that Dean, who is considering a 2018 bid for governor, was using the issue to bolster his own conservative credentials.
I don't know if the Republicans want to take action on MNsure, but they can't do a thing unless a special session is called. The only person who can call a special session is Dayton, but he won't call a special session because once the legislature is in session, it can do any number of things. Dayton only wants the lege to rubber stamp what he wants done. That's not how it works in a system of government where the legislature and the executive share power. Despite having similar voting patterns, St. Paul is not Pyongang, at least not yet. 

As for MNsure, it's difficult to see why the Republicans are responsible for fixing something that the DFL broke. At this point, Dayton would be better off calling the special session and letting the chips fall where they may, because the next lege will be completely in Republican hands and he's not likely to get a better deal on anything in 2017. And of course the personal attack on Dean is par for the course.

Someday we'll look back on the Dayton era and marvel at it all. For now, the repeated demonstrations of pique that we get from the guy who is head of the state government are causes for disgust and shame.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Recount down for the count?

If you're someone who dreams of a last-minute reversal of fortune that will send Hillary Clinton to the White House, yesterday didn't help your agenda. First, no foot-dragging hand recount in Wisconsin:
The Wisconsin Elections Commission agreed Monday to begin a recount of the presidential election on Thursday but was sued by Green Party candidate Jill Stein after the agency declined to require county officials to recount the votes by hand.
On the bright side for Stein, who is acting as a cat's-paw for Clinton, the suit is filed in Dane County, where nearly every judge is more than willing to aid the Left. The problem for Stein is she's likely to run out of time. Moreover, she also needs to sue to get a recount in Pennsylvania, because she missed the deadline:
Jill Stein has everything she needs to launch a presidential recount. She's got the cash, the grassroots fervor and the spotlight of an adoring media. But there's one thing she needs to overturn Trump's victory: a calendar.

Stein missed Pennsylvania's deadline to file for a voter-initiated recount. That blown deadline is a huge blow for Democrats who have pinned their hopes on recounts in the Keystone State, Michigan and Wisconsin.

"According to Wanda Murren, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of State," the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Monday, "the deadline for a voter-initiated recount was Monday, Nov. 21."
You don't have to like Donald Trump; goodness knows I don't. Although I took it down after the election, this feature had a #NeverTrump banner on the sidebar for nearly the entirety of the election. Having said that, Donald Trump is President-elect because he won the election as the election is contested, in the Electoral College. Jill Stein has no path to victory and neither does Hillary Clinton. The Democrats and their patrons would do well to start making better arguments and start fielding better candidates so they can run against Trump in 2020. Their efforts at litigating their way to victory in a contest that is alrady lost suggest they have worries about their abilities to contest the election properly in the next cycle.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Madness takes its toll

While there's news aplenty, it's becoming increasingly difficult to take much of it seriously. Most of the headlines at the moment concern the silly recount effort underway in Wisconsin. There's not a chance in hell that the results will change, but we're going to be treated to a plethora of chin-scratchers from the assembled punditocracy. If you have 800 words to fill, it's a great way to do it.

What is underlying the recount, however, does bear some scrutiny. I'm frankly a little worried about how unhinged people have become about the election of Le Gran Orange. Every day I read things like "he must be stopped" and "he cannot be president" on my social media feed. Such statements require a question -- if Trump must be stopped and cannot be president, what are people prepared to do to stop him? Are people on the Left willing to mount an insurrection?

I don't think they are, nor do I think they are capable of it. Still, I wonder about how long the madness can go on.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Mayor of New Brighton

This Star Tribune article on the latest nonsense out of New Brighton city hall generally speaks for itself, but one passage deserves special note, as it neatly crystallizes the problem at the helm:
Instead, consultant Barb Strandell, who has worked with squabbling city councils around the region, will lead a “team-building” exercise in January that may include personality assessments.

Strandell learned how steep her challenge is at a recent preparatory session when Mayor Valerie Johnson declared: “I don’t want to walk into another meeting where the first words are, ‘You are not a dictator!’ ”

When Strandell sought to cut in with a soothing, “Well, now, just let me say …” the mayor was having none of it.

“No, I’m going to keep talking,” Johnson said. “It’s my meeting.”
Keep talking, Mayor Johnson. Keep talking.

We'll come back to this topic in the coming days.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro is dead

RIP doesn't seem appropriate for a guy who should have gotten the Ceaușescu treatment. Castro will have to hope his Maker is more merciful than he ever was. A reminder of who Fidel Castro really was seems in order. A good place to start is the Babalu Blog; there's plenty at the link.

Meanwhile, it's also worth remembering this photo, in which Castro's brother Raul blindfolding a man about to be murdered by one of his brother's firing squads:

Monsters, Inc.
I'm also certain you will see the name of the dictator Castro overthrew, Fulgencio Batista, thrown around as someone who was worse. Batista was a monster, yes, but a tyrant is a tyrant. Life in Cuba won't change appreciably until Raul Castro and his partners in tyranny are gone. I hope that day arrives soon.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- Right Where We Left Off Edition

We now return to your regularly scheduled HYYYYYYYPPPPPPE!

A fine addition to anyone's Black Friday. Plenty o' hype out there at Rosedale today.

I thought everyone was sleeping off the turkey. That's what you were doing last night? Or were you mainlining the NyQuil again?

You must have me mistaken for some other Mr. D.

No, I don't think so. You're over the counter medicated and way under the line in your prediction skills. Watch me work!

Meeshegan Harbaughs (+6.5) vs. A School in Ohio Buckeyes. If you've been watching ESPN at all this week, and why would you, but anyway I'm sure you have, you know that this game has even more HYYYYYYPPPPPE! than normal. It's a straight elimination game, but with a twist -- if Ohio State wins, there is a good chance that they will be watching the Big Ten Championship Game on television, assuming Penn State does their job against a woeful Sparty squad. I've gone on record as saying I do not like either head coach of these respective institutions, and I consider them to have underachieved at their current jobs. You are thinking to yourself, but Benster -- hasn't Urban Meyer won a national championship at Ohio State? True. I'll give him that. However, he is in danger of wasting yet another golden chance at a national championship. Meanwhile, Harbaugh needs to win this game. Although I hate to do this. . . Ohio State 42, Michigan 39.

Hmmm. I thought Michigan's calling card was their stout defense. Hmmm. I'm not sure I agree with your analysis, Seabiscuit. But you're used to that. I think both teams will want to have an explosive offensive day, but neither will be able to get much going. So all other things being equal, who would you put your money on -- J. T. Barrett, or Wilton Speight? Ohio State 20, Michigan 16.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (+15) vs. Beloved Wisconsin Badgers. No matter what happens tomorrow, the Badgers have already punched their ticket to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game. Because of the odd tie-breaking rules, even if the Badgers lose tomorrow, they would win a four-way tie. However, the Badgers have to win this game to keep their hopes alive for a New Year's Six Game, or even a berth in the Playoff. The Gophers are a good team, but this is asking a lot of them. Badgers 31, Gophers 20.

I agree with you -- this line seems too high for the Badgers. The Gophers are solid across the board and they do play defense pretty well, although they do seem to have a distressing penchant for picking up targeting penalties. I think that Tracy Claes needs to get that cleaned up for next season, and yes, I think he'll be coming back for another season. What's been interesting to see about the Badgers at this point in the season is the emergence of yet another stud running back, Bradrick Shaw, who is the heir apparent to both Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbawale. And let's face it, Shaw is a lot easier to spell than Ogunbawale. Too much talent in Red this time. Badgers 35, Gophers 21.

Tennessee Tuxedos (+5) vs. Bear Down Chicago da Bearz. We haven't been paying a lot of attention to da Bearz in recent weeks, and that's because they are irrelevant. They are down to Charles Arnie Matt Barkley as their quarterback. In case you don't know who Arnie Barkley is, Old Dude has a video clip from his dim and distant past:

If you wonder why old dudes of Old Dude's generation are so thoroughly screwed up, this is proof that there was more disturbing stuff out there on Saturday mornings than just Sid and Marty Krofft. As for the game, Tennessee is gonna roll, unless they use this guy as quarterback:

Tennessee 90, da Bearz 2.

I don't think Gino's gonna want to send you any venison sausage with a pick like that, Seabiscuit! The only good news about this season in Chicago is now it should be pretty easy to get rid of Jay Cutler once and for all. Time to start over, again. Titans 31, Bears 10.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (+4) vs. Philadelphia Iggles. I'm going to say it right now -- the Packers are not dead. They did look better on offense last week. Yes, the defense was a dumpster fire, but there's progress. Here's the other thing -- all the Packers need to do is win on Monday night and then the schedule starts to get a bit more manageable. Yes, they have the big bad Seahawks coming to town, but they still get the Lions and Vikings, so they have a chance to make up some ground on the frontrunners. Anybody that says the Packers are dead is trying to sell you something. Packers 24, Iggles 17.

I guess I'm trying to sell you something, then. I think the Packers have a chance this week, but it's going to be tough. I don't see enough help coming back on defense and at this point, without a running game, there's little reason to believe the Packers are going to be able to keep opposing defenses off balance. I think we need to do a bit of soul searching this year. Right now, this team isn't good enough to win consistently, or even that much. Perhaps that's my 70s-era skepticism coming back to the fore, or maybe I'm traumatized with the Barkleys reruns. Eagles 28, Packers 20.

Oh Old Dude of Little Faith. Believe, baby! They said the same thing in 2003, and 2013. Anything is possible. And for all the Packer fans out there, it's time to back the team and stop screaming for people to get fired. Ben out!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- Emergency Turkey Edition

Good morning, football fans! It's that day to eat turkey and watch a few turkeys cavorting on the field in Detroit. What could be better?

I have an itemized list of things that could be better.

You don't have to be like this guy:

Looks more like D every year
Get happy, Geritol Fan! It's a glorious moment! It's football, darn it! And this year the Vikings get to do the dirty work that the Packers usually pull, which is reminding America that (a) the Lions are still in the league, and (b) probably are happy they can't be relegated.

We shouldn't be talking about relegation, given the way our boys are playing, young fella.

That is a topic we'll discuss tomorrow. For now, watch me work!

Minnesota Vikings (+2.5) vs. Detroit LOLions. So check it out, old dude -- the LOLions are favored on Thanksgiving Day! I don't know if that powers that be have already had their turkey, because that line makes no sense at all. The Vikings managed to get out of their funk last week against a reeling Cardinals squad, while the LOLions have been quietly taking care of business against a string of weak opponents. One of the few enduring truths of the world is that the LOLions are only playing today because of tradition. They will embarrass themselves. That's also a tradition. So if you want to avoid talking to your family about politics, you can always make LOLions jokes. Vikings 49, LOLions 24.

I know this is odd to you, since you've never actually seen it before, but the Lions are pretty good. The Vikings did show a pulse last week, and there's no question they can still play defense, but I don't think they have a hope in Hades of scoring 49 points today. It all depends on getting to Matt Stafford. If the Viking rushers can keep him sufficiently harassed, the Vikes have a good chance to win. I'm going to say they get close, but not close enough. Lions 24, Vikings 20.

If the Lions score 49 points today, Old Dude has promised to eat a TV dinner! That should be incentive enough for the Purple. Ben out!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Get ready

I'm certain others have made this point before, but it's worth remembering -- as a practical matter, Democrats don't represent much any more other than municipalities. And that means it's going to get interesting for governmental entities at other levels:
Looking at the fiscal nightmares facing places like LA, which now spends 20 percent of its annual budget to cover pension liabilities, and Dallas, we wonder how much longer residents will be willing to live in nearly-insolvent cities. There’s a lot of talk these days about urban renewal, with greener waterfronts and hipster gentrification driving up real estate values and making previously-decrepit neighborhoods hot spots of culture. But today’s urban havens are built on a very unsteady foundation of blue city governance. At what point will the costs of maintaining today’s blue cities outweigh the appeal of what we might call “Brooklynization”? It’s not just rising housing prices that could drive people out; imagine the tax rates which could be necessary to pay off pension liabilities. Particularly for families looking to make an investment in real estate, cities may start to look much riskier.
This conflict is only going to get more contentious over time. And you will be forced to choose a side.

Just so you know

Man, I'm getting tired of all the shrieking on the Left.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


In the Star Tribune, a guy who is taking things very well:
Somewhere around 1:30 a.m. the morning after the election — an insurgency of white, rural Americans lacking college degrees having taken its revenge upon itself and the rest of us by granting power to a self-styled strongman with a long record of race-baiting, tax-dodging, creditor-stiffing, self-dealing, model-chasing, lie-disseminating and the hosting of rallies where journalists were confined to pens and subjected to taunts and promises of death printed on T-shirts (please, commenters, do tell us again about the Hillary Clinton e-mails) — I staged the only act of protest left in my immediate control.

I sent an e-mail to an in-law, telling him that his genial hockey buddy and Trump supporter friend Johnny was no longer welcome on Thanksgiving.

I’m not a hater. Johnny’s a good guy. He means well and has done nice things for me. I’ve known him 20 years. But I can’t feed him any more of my potatoes. 
It's a shame -- I understand the bile gravy he serves with his potatoes is quite tasty. We'll come back to that. There's more:
I made it to 3:30 the next afternoon before embarking on my next round of social housecleaning. By text, I put the question to a different relative, a note that read, let’s see, oh yes, here it is: “Please tell me you guys didn’t vote for that monster.”

Before the election, I had developed a vague inkling that this relative and her significant other — generous, warm, and good parents the both of them — might possibly have been considering a vote for the strongman. When six hours passed and she hadn’t replied, my forebodings only grew stronger — we trade texts about our kids in a heartbeat. At some point I sent over a curt follow-up: “I’ll take that as a ‘yes.’ ”

“Don’t get hostile,” she shot back. “I didn’t vote.”
And then you read on, and you start to wonder if it's a put-on:
On the third and final night of this reckoning by text, it was time to engage with a young cousin by marriage:

“Did you vote for Trump?”

I had been primed for confrontation with the young man, whose head is harder for me to impale on a spike because I have known him since he was a child. But he’s 30 now. And more to the point, when he arrived in my home last year for Thanksgiving and began pelting me with Sean Hannity talking points on the subject of police shootings of unarmed motorists, a thought suddenly occurred to me: Why was I making this guy such delicious gravy?
It's all gravy, fella. Then we get to the point:
Trump did us all a favor by showing exactly what would happen if an opportunist and political parasite with a compliant host party normalized the American subtext of racism, then brought it to a vote. Some of us see that as a vote to be subjected to a million small acts of social correction, not engagement.

So you don’t have to make the Trump supporters dinner, or remain their friends on Facebook, or keep sending them holiday cards. In fact, it’s probably better that you don’t, not if you don’t want to normalize the election of a man who seems poised to penalize his critics, run a hotel business with the national Treasury, bunker down under the counsel of blood relatives as all tyrants do, and foment anger within his base. Some of us have pushed away family over far less. And once you’ve taken a stand, they might have to think about what matters more to them — their fondness for the strongman, or you.
The choice might be easier than he imagines.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Benster and D Pick Your Games---Destiny of the Chosen Edition

Old dude, for the Packers and the Vikings, it is time for the real versions of those teams to finally step up and play well in games that they have to win. Make no mistake, both teams have really been terrible the past two weeks.

Or as America's Greatest Living Philosopher would have it:

And it has been as fun as watching a small child try to ride a bike. You are just looking for when the other shoe drops.

I remember getting my bell bottom pants legs caught in the bike chain. Lost more than my shoe on a few of those adventures.

I've seen the pictures, Geritol Fan. You didn't have a bike; you were riding on the back of a Conestoga wagon.

Actually, it looked more like this:

Nice ride, old dude!
Man, that's uglier than your won/loss record in this feature!

But not uglier than our featured teams have been playing!

I might agree, I might not. It is time to pick these games, and next week I am home and we can do Benster and D old school style. The HYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYPPPPPEEE! will be unreal. Watch me work!

Northwestern Wildcats (-2.5) vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers. This line really makes no sense. The Gophers have been a good team and still have a faint hope of getting to Indy to play for a conference title. Northwestern certainly isn't a bad team by any means, but the Gophers are a much better team. Once again Vegas shows a bias that has no reasonable answer. I expect the Gophers to win, though I am sure that they are looking forward to getting the Axe next weekend for the first time since Glen "Mase In Your Face" Mason was the head coach. Gophers 21, Wildcats 10.

It's been a long time since the Axe stayed in Minneapolis. The larger issue for the Gophers will be stopping Northwestern's running attack. I think they will, but it won't be easy. Tough one, but the Gophers prevail. Gophers 20, Wildcats 16.

Beloved Wisconsin Badgers (-28) vs. Purdon't Boilermakers. The Badgers were a team given no chance to win. Colin Cowherd even proclaimed that the Badgers were going to be lucky to get an invite to the Quick Lane Bowl by going 6-6. Well guess what, Colin? Never underestimate that Wisconsin is well coached, and always will play at a high level. If the Badgers win at Purdue and beat the Gophers, they will play either Michigan or Penn State, meaning that at worst Wisconsin might go to either the Rose Bowl or the Orange Bowl. With Louisville already losing on Thursday to Houston, with a win Wisconsin should be no worse than 6th in the next rankings. Purdue is not going to be an issue, since they are, what exactly, Sir Charles?

I thought so. This game should be a good way to have the Badgers establish themselves as a legit threat to sneak in the back door to the playoff. Badgers 49, Purdon't 13.

The largest challenge for the Badgers will be physically getting to the stadium. That wind is nasty tonight! But assuming the Badgers don't travel to West Lafayette on the Edmund Fitzgerald, it should be pretty easy. Badgers 38, Purdue 7.

Arizona Cardinals (+1) vs. Minnesota Vikings. As is the tradition here, whenever the Purple plays the Cardinals, we can't resist playing this. As always, if you are a Vikings fan, I suggest that you do not click this video.

That call never gets old. And funny enough, the Vikings are in danger of having what happened that year repeat, since they have looked terrible since the bye week. Mike Zimmer looks like he is not figuring things out fast enough, and you have to wonder if the Vikings players have been giving their best efforts. The Cardinals have not had a good year, but they have been improving in recent weeks. Local guy and Holy Angels alum Larry Fitzgerald should be a huge factor. If the Vikings struggle early, then they can't go in the tank and the fans need to back them and give them energy. Thankfully, Vikings fans are among the best in the league at doing that. Cardinals 21, Vikings 17.

Can the Cardinals rush the passer? Historically, yes. Do the Vikings block well? No. This could get ugly. Cardinals 31, Vikings 14.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (+2.5) vs. Washington Gridlocks. The Packers really looked about as terrible as I can remember last week in Nashville. The offense played decently well, but the defense looked like they had gotten the wrong sort of film. This game is mission critical for the Packers, who need to avoid getting in an early hole. Thankfully, the Packers did play very well last time they came to suburban D.C., and I expect that this is the week that the Packers finally put a complete game together. Packers 24, Gridlocks 14.

You are fortunate enough to have not lived through the dark ages, young fella. It was brutal stuff. Here's an example from 1980:

Did you see the Packer defensive back? He looked like he was hailing a cab. Awful. Can the Packers get it turned around? I hate to say this, but. . . Redskins 27, Packers 23.

I know that we are only picking the four games this week, but really those were the only interesting games this week that I actually care about. I can't prove da Bearz are still in the league. We'll research the matter for next week. Ben out!

Home truth

Via Mark Steyn, a great quote from C.S. Lewis on the nature of argumentation:
I complained that the tone of undergraduate criticism was too often 'that of passionate resentment'. You illustrate this admirably by accusing me of 'Pecksniffian disingenuousness', 'shabby bluff' and 'self-righteousness'. Do not misunderstand. I am not in the least deprecating your insults; I have enjoyed these twenty years l'honneur d'être une cible and am now pachydermatous. I am not even rebuking your bad manners; I am not Mr Turveydrop and 'gentlemanly deportment' is not a subject I am paid to teach. What shocks me is that students, academics, men of letters, should display what I had thought was an essentially uneducated inability to differentiate between a disputation and a quarrel. The real objection to this sort of thing is that it is all a distraction from the issue. You waste on calling me a liar and hypocrite time you ought to have spent on refuting my position. Even if your main purpose was to gratify resentment, you have gone about it in the wrong way. Any man would much rather be called names than proved wrong.
More than 50 years on, nothing has changed. Steyn amplifies the point:
To be honest, I'd be mildly impressed were any of the #NotMyPresident types to hold up a sign accusing Trump of "Pecksniffian disingenuousness" and "shabby bluff", but it doesn't seem to be Miley or Katy's bag, and Pecksniffian uses up too many Twitter characters for a viable hashtag. That said, Donald Trump is pachydermatous on a nuclear scale and clearly relishes l'honneur d'être une cible (look it up, snowflakes). So you're gonna need something new. Like maybe try refuting Trump's positions rather than labeling the millions of voters who support them. Oh, and while we're at at it, you might politely suggest to Messrs Oliver, Colbert and Noah that there's never been a better time to embark on a mid-life career change and move into comedy. If the object is to win the next election, sneering is not a substitute for argument, or entertainment.
I'll save you the trouble of looking it up: l'honneur d'être une cible means "the honor of being a target" and comes from Edmond Rostand's 1897 play "Cyrano de Bergerac." As always, the rest of Steyn's piece is worth your time.


A true story in the service of a false narrative:
A small wooden placard with a message involving the Ku Klux Klan was found this week in a basement classroom of Irondale High School.

A school spokesman said the Post-It Note-sized wooden tile with the message "The KKK wants you!" was discovered by a handful of students who immediately reported it. The spokesman said the student responsible has been identified.

"We're dealing with the student appropriately," the spokesman said.
As most readers of this feature know, we have a pretty strong relationship with Irondale High School. One contributor to this feature is a graduate of Irondale, while the other is currently a student there. They also happen to be my kids.

This is the work of one, troubled kid, who has been suspended more than once for pulling stunts of this sort. There's no evidence that the kid is actually a Klan supporter. There are about 1500 kids at IHS; I would imagine the other 1499 would denounce the Klan. The only thing that's changed since Trump's election is that reporting on crap like this is a way to get an easy headline for KSTP. Anyone who has ever gone to high school knows that some kids like to do outrageous things to get attention. It's a universal experience. To pretend otherwise is ludicrous.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Melvin Laird, RIP

A blast from the past:
Melvin R. Laird, a former congressman who served as President Richard M. Nixon’s defense secretary at the height of the Vietnam War and designed policies that eventually led to the American withdrawal from combat operations, died Nov. 16 at a hospital in Fort Myers, Fla. He was 94.

The cause was complications from congestive heart failure, said a son, David Laird.

A shrewd and influential Wisconsin Republican, Mr. Laird became his party’s leading expert on military affairs during his 16 years in the House of Representatives.

Out of party loyalty, he reluctantly agreed to leave Congress and become defense secretary in January 1969, at a moment when U.S. troop strength in Vietnam — around 550,000 — was nearing its peak. During his four years at the Pentagon, Mr. Laird dramatically reduced U.S. troop involvement in the conflict, supported the cause of bringing home U.S. prisoners of war held under horrible conditions in North Vietnam and worked to end the deeply unpopular draft.
Laird represented the 7th District in Wisconsin, a vast area in the north and central part of the state. He was an old school guy and he looked like one even then. I remember seeing a lot of Laird on television when I was young, because he was regularly in the news. He wasn't as controversial a figure as his predecessor at Defense, Robert McNamara, but he had a plan and he stuck to it. Among Nixon's men, he was one of the few who was completely free of the taint of scandal. He was an advocate for openness and accountability in the federal government, which was also at odds with how Nixon preferred to operate. And once he left Washington, he didn't cash in as a lobbyist. Instead, he went to work for Reader's Digest. I don't know that you can find many people in Washington like Melvin Laird anymore. Would that we could.

Charges in Castile Case

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi made his decision yesterday -- Jeronimo Yanez will face charges in the shooting of Philando Castile:
Philando Castile’s fatal encounter last July with St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez lasted only a minute, but quickly escalated from a “respectful and compliant” exchange to one steeped in confusion and fear.

In an extraordinary move by a Minnesota prosecutor, authorities said the officer, not the civilian, is to blame for the tragic events that turned a traffic stop in a Twin Cities suburb into a flash point in the national debate over racial profiling and police use of force.

Yanez pulled Castile, a 32-year-old, over at 9:05 p.m. July 9 on Larpenteur Avenue near Fry Street in Falcon Heights. By 9:06 p.m., the young officer had fired seven shots into Castile’s car, killing him as his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter watched.

For those actions, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said at a news conference Wednesday morning, Yanez will be charged with three felony counts — second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. He’s the first Minnesota officer charged in an on-duty killing in modern memory.
The number seven matters here, because it suggests that Yanez panicked. I am guessing the charge of second-degree manslaughter is designed to get a plea agreement. The definition of second-degree manslaughter is here:
A person who causes the death of another by any of the following means is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both:
(1) by the person's culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another; or(2) by shooting another with a firearm or other dangerous weapon as a result of negligently believing the other to be a deer or other animal; or
(3) by setting a spring gun, pit fall, deadfall, snare, or other like dangerous weapon or device; or
(4) by negligently or intentionally permitting any animal, known by the person to have vicious propensities or to have caused great or substantial bodily harm in the past, to run uncontrolled off the owner's premises, or negligently failing to keep it properly confined; or
(5) by committing or attempting to commit a violation of section 609.378 (neglect or endangerment of a child), and murder in the first, second, or third degree is not committed thereby.
If proven by a preponderance of the evidence, it shall be an affirmative defense to criminal liability under clause (4) that the victim provoked the animal to cause the victim's death.
Emphasis mine. The key word is unreasonable. What will a jury decide is reasonable? A lot hangs on the decision. I am, as I write this, about 100 feet away from St. Anthony Village. I will be watching events closely.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

And now, some haiku

Bitchin' and moanin'
Eight years in the wilderness
Better post a meme

Two, four, six, eight, now
Is the time to fulminate
Man, he destroyed Trump

Soros and Chomsky
Proof positive that bile is
A preservative

Nancy Pelosi
Just the person you'd ask to
Lead a youth movement


Write your own haiku
Put your verse in the comments
Quite easy to do

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Virtue Signaling in Mudville

If anything, the election last week has made social media even more hateful than it was before the election. I don't know if the lefties on my feed can keep their dudgeon high for the next four years, but it sure seems that is the goal. The signal to noise ratio has never been worse.

I keep my politics here; only rarely do I bother with commenting on posts of a political nature on social media, primarily because so many of my college friends are so far off the deep end that it's not worth risking friendships over engaging in, ahem, discussions. I want to see their family pictures, or stories about their lives. I don't really need to see them denounce Stephen Bannon for the 13th time today; I got the point at least a half-dozen posts ago.

Perhaps it will change, though.  I'm noticing this -- while the number of propaganda posts are increasing on my feed, the actual number of comments and "likes" I see on each are going down. We aren't into discussions any more, we're all about the virtue signaling. It would be easier if Facebook and other similar sites simply gave you the option to add a halo to your icon, much as you can superimpose a French flag screen over your icon every time the French get hit with another terrorist attack. It would be a real timesaver.

At least it will be amusing

If you thought Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges wasn't entertaining enough with her Lucille Ball-meets-Jiang Qing persona, here comes some competition:
Nekima Levy-Pounds, a civil rights activist and critic of local police practices, will announce Tuesday that she is running for mayor of Minneapolis.

Levy-Pounds, 40, an attorney who stepped down in October as president of the Minneapolis NAACP, said she’ll make her formal announcement at a news conference in front of the Minneapolis police Fourth Precinct on the anniversary of the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark. A white Minneapolis police officer shot Clark, a black man, in a scuffle Nov. 15, 2015. His death prompted protests and an 18-day encampment outside the precinct in north Minneapolis.
Might be time to bring back the pirate guy.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Leon Russell, RIP

Leon had success in his solo career -- still, he's probably best known for his work with Joe Cocker on the famous "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" tour back in 1970 or thereabouts, as Leon peers out from underneath his top hat:

But he played on a lot of other songs, including "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes. He had a remarkable career. RIP.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

#Never is here

I've had both a #NeverTrump logo and a "Hillary for Prison" logo on my sidebar for most of the year. I've removed both. So now what?

My #NeverTrump stance flowed from three beliefs:

  • I assumed his boorishness and inexperience would make him too toxic to be elected and deliver the White House to the Clintons. I was wrong about that.
  • I believed he would govern as a Democrat, but with less of a pants crease than David Brooks might prefer. That may happen.
  • I also assumed that, if, mirable dictu, Trump would get the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, he would turn out to be a fraud and a charlatan and would destroy the Republican Party brand. That may happen, too.

So, where does that leave me? I’m willing to take a wait-and-see attitude on Trump. If he uses his power wisely, I will support him. If he doesn’t, I’ll remain critical. I don’t think it’s really that different from where many of my fellow citizens are. And it's the stance I would have if somehow a different Republican were standing where Trump does today. My loyalty doesn't belong to any person, because every person has flaws.

While it was hardly inevitable that Donald Trump would be president in 2017, it is inevitable that 2017 and the years to follow will be a struggle. Trump can do things to make life better, but the heavy lifting will have to come from all of us and most of the work ahead is beyond Trump's control. Time to get to it.

Benster And D Pick Your Games -- Razor's Edge Edition

Old dude, seems to me that a lot of our football teams are needing to get a victory to stay the course, or bad things could happen.

Yes. It's been somewhat of a disappointing season on a number of fronts, but nothing is decided yet.

Agreed. The Packers, Vikings, Gophers, and Badgers are all facing games that are going to be tough to overcome, but all are games that should make a difference.

At least on some of the college campuses, the fields will be wet from all of the tears.

We need a cleanup on aisle academia! And that is why football is still a lot more fun than politics, because at the very least there is a clear winner and loser, and you do not have to be a Republican or Democrat to enjoy a game. But enough about politics, it is time to unleash the HYYYYYYYYYYYPPPPPPE! Watch me work!

Minnesota Golden Gophers (+7) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Gophers have quietly moved into a tie for the lead in the Big Ten West, and if they win out are looking forward to a trip to Indy to play either Michigan or A School in Columbus. If Nebraska loses again, they are pretty much done, since they do not have the head to head tiebreaker already over Wisconsin, and will not have it against Minnesota if they lose. As of this writing, Tommy Armstrong might not be ready to go after his scary injury last week, and the Nebraska offense looked bad without him. Gophers 31, Cornhuskers 24.

This one is interesting. The Gophers have, for the most part, taken care of business. Tommy Armstrong makes the Nebraska offense go. The Gophers tend to be "bend, but don't break" on defense, so it will be interesting to see if they can keep the score low.  That's the formula for success in this game. Nebraska 20, Minnesota 17.

Illinois Fighting Illini (+22.5) vs. Beloved Wisconsin Badgers. I have to be honest with you, this game just makes me a little nervous. Wisconsin has the inside track in the West, and have a very winnable game against Purdue next week, and get Minnesota at home. Illinois is a team that always plays Wisconsin very close, and the Old Dude and I both have a lot of respect for Lovie Smith and the job he did with the Bears. Illinois is a team that struggles a lot, but the Badgers need to worry about looking ahead, and I wonder if the offense will improve. Wisconsin 20, Illinois 17.

The point spread seems a bit high for the Badgers, who are offensively challenged. Illinois will get better under Lovie, but they aren't there yet. Check back in two years on the Illini. Badgers 28, Illinois 14.

The 128th Bronze Turkey Game: Monmouth College Fighting Scots (NL) vs. Knox College Prairie Fire. This game is one of the most heated games that most college football fans are unaware, but for me as a Knox student, this game is the one I want to win every single year. These schools do not like each other, and are separated by 10 miles. As a former AD of Knox once said, Knox and Monmouth could be playing each other in tiddly winks and people would watch. Monmouth had dominated this series for well over a decade, but I have a feeling that this time the Bronze Turkey will finally leave Monmouth and return home. Knox 27, Monmouth 7.

Uh, no. Monmouth is clearly the class of the league and while your Prairie Fire squad is plucky, they are gonna get crushed. Sorry, young fella. Monmouth 59, Knox 14.

Minnesota Vikings (+1) vs. Washington Gridlocks. The Vikings are suddenly in trouble, and quite frankly I do not understand why. Yes, they have had injuries, but you can say that about every team in the league at this point. Remember, 13 years ago the Vikings got off to a hot start, and then the bottom fell out. Washington is a solid team, and the Vikings should be able to win this game even though they have to go on the road. But I said that last week, and the Vikings lost. If the Vikings somehow lose this game, then Mike Zimmer will start to feel his seat warm up a little. Redskins 31, Vikings 10.

This game will tell us a lot about the Vikings. The Redskins are okay at best and a beatable opponent, but you have to wonder if the offensive line can hold up. Sam Bradford has been under siege and I don't think that changes this week. Redskins 24, Vikings 16.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (-2.5) vs. Tennessee Tuxedos. The Packers are also in trouble, and are facing a road game stretch that they need to have a winning record on. Tennessee has been a very improved team, and the Packers do tend to struggle playing outdoors in the South, though the temp will not be as high as it was in Jacksonville. All the Packers need is to just have a complete game on offense and defense, and avoid putting themselves into an early hole. I think the Packers are going to win, they just have to play well enough and do enough to win. This game is going to be not as pretty as other games, but at this point, we need a win. Packers 17, Tuxedos 7.

Can the Packers stop an elite running back? The Titans have one. If DeMarco Murray goes for 150 yards or more, it's a long day for the Pack. In either event, this one is a shootout. Packers 38, Titans 27.
Thank you so much for reading, and I hope everyone has a good weekend. Enjoy the football, I know I will. Ben out!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Asked and answered

The marching orders came down:
The first order of business, however, is to grieve, to rage, to confess confusion, to shake with fear. Only when we let ourselves feel fully do we free our minds enough to think clearly about what is next. 
That's the order of Betsy Hodges, the mayor of Minneapolis. And the order was fulfilled:
Several thousand anti-Trump protesters blocked Interstate 94 in Minneapolis for about an hour Thursday night, causing a major traffic backup in both directions.

From about 8 to 9 p.m., throngs of protesters who had marched onto the heavily traveled road after a rally at the University of Minnesota chanted and hoisted signs, some of them sitting on the road, others locking arms and facing lines of police officers. They eventually left the freeway via Cedar Avenue.
Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
D'you know that you can use it?

Expect a lot of use in the coming days. And don't expect the instructions from Mayor Hodges to get any more helpful.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Get Your Kübler-Ross On

According to the psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. the five stages of grief are:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance
Looks like the anger part came pretty quickly:

A protest that started with about 100 people at the Minnesota State Capitol grew quickly Wednesday night as it moved first to John Ireland Boulevard then to downtown St. Paul.

Protesters, who chanted and carried signs, blocked some downtown streets. Their ranks grew as they marched west on University Avenue, blocking both sides of the street and shouting expletives about Donald Trump in English and Spanish.
Might as well make it bilingual bile. Moving on (so to speak):
The group, which peaked at about 300 people, circled back downtown and, at 10:35 p.m., were at St. Anthony Avenue and Marion Street, St. Paul police said. Officers were there directing traffic, but not interfering with the protest. There was no violence, police said.

The protest was one of several in U.S. cities in the wake of Tuesday’s election of the GOP candidate, notably in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit and Portland, Ore.
At least they stayed off the freeway this time. That's something. Meanwhile, a familiar name was among their ranks:
“This is about what’s going to be done in our name,” said Peter Rachleff, a former Macalester College professor. “We’re all responsible. We’re better than this.”
Better than what? Better than what's reported as another anecdote from the Star Tribune article?
Moments later, a clash broke out between a black student and a white student wearing a Trump “Make America Great Again” hat just outside the black student group’s headquarters at Coffman Memorial Union.

Matthew Selmen, 19, said he was doing his homework when another man noticed his hat and started yelling at him, accusing him of being a racist. Selmen videotaped the incident, saying the man threatened him before leaving.
At least he left. There's more:
“I think it really comes down to ignorance on behalf of both sides,” [Selmen] said, insisting that students were jumping to conclusions because he was a Trump supporter. “I don’t support everything he says or does,” he said, but “if we can’t have a conversation here, I don’t think that’s right.”

Others, though, wondered if Selmen meant to be provocative. “This is the second floor of Coffman, this is where multicultural students come,” said Keren Habtes, a journalism and history major. “So you come here with that hat? It seemed like it was very divisive.”
Can't have free speech at the U, apparently. Meanwhile, our old pal Garrison Keillor got his rage on in the Chicago Tribune:
To all the patronizing BS we've read about Trump expressing the white working class's displacement and loss of the American Dream, I say, "Feh!" — go put your head under cold water. Resentment is no excuse for baldfaced stupidity. America is still the land where the waitress's kids can grow up to become physicists and novelists and pediatricians, but it helps a lot if the waitress and her husband encourage good habits and the ambition to use your God-given talents and the kids aren't plugged into electronics day and night. Whooping it up for the candidate of cruelty and ignorance does less than nothing for your kids.
He doesn't need to understand -- he understands everything. But he's not done yet.
We liberal elitists are now completely in the clear. The government is in Republican hands. Let them deal with him. Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers, and let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids and we Democrats can go for a long brisk walk and smell the roses. 
Actually, traveling around the country would be a good idea. Maybe Keillor could go the places where Trump got his votes and learn something. He won't, though. It's a lot more fun to raise heirloom tomatoes and then toss them at the hoi polloi. Keillor has his own opioids, but don't bother him with it.

The Trump presidency hasn't even begun. I rather doubt we'll get to the acceptance phase.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Spiritus Mundi

Go figure. I didn't think Donald Trump would win, but win he has, and likely with north of 300 electoral votes when all is said and done. We'll be picking at this one for a while, but here are my first, quick thoughts:

  • It appears turnout was down, which means the armies of Obama didn't come out to vote for Hillary. That appears to be the difference, especially in some of the states that broke for Trump.
  • Ace Commenter Gino has been saying the same thing all along -- the working class of this country has gotten bupkis for its support of the Democrats over the years. Some voted for Trump, others stayed home.
  • There's a pretty evident middle finger being pointed at both coasts and the elites that reside there. It looks like Clinton did carry Minnesota, but she almost lost here, too. Trump won Wisconsin pretty decisively and at this writing it appears he won Michigan and Pennsylvania as well.
  • Hillary Clinton is a uniquely bad candidate. She's never been able to fake compassion and her behavior in high office was a huge red flag. She richly deserves the defeat she has been dealt.
  • I'm delighted that Jason Lewis is going to Congress. He's a very smart and principled man who does a better job of explaining conservative thought than just about anyone I know. He'll be a great voice in Congress and I suspect he'll also be an effective one as well. And given the horrible mendacity of his opponent, Angie "HR Lady" Craig, it was an especially just result.
  • Rick Nolan barely survives, again. I thought he was a goner.
  • I'm thrilled that Ron Johnson prevailed in Wisconsin. He's a good man and Russ Feingold richly deserved to lose.
  • I think this electoral result is actually a blessing for the Dems, assuming they take the time to understand the verdict. The Clintons and their ilk need to be swept from American political life and a restoration of their graft and odious mores would have been a horrible result. The leadership of the Democratic Party is, in the main, a bunch of fugitives from Madam Tussaud's. The next generation of leadership from the port side needs to step forward now. Perhaps someone like newly-elected Tammy Duckworth might now emerge.
As we said, we'll have plenty more to discuss in the coming days. 

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Election Day

I will be voting today, but my focus is on down-ballot races. It's possible, even likely, that every candidate I will vote for in this election will lose. I do have some hope for Sue Jeffers winning a seat on the Ramsey County Board, but my guess is that she will fall short, too. I live in a blue district and it simply doesn't matter that the DFL is a pernicious organization filled with careerists and charlatans. My neighbors don't care and refuse to see an alternative, so we'll send another batch of them to St. Paul.

I've predicted that Hillary Clinton will win tonight, but I remain convinced her prize is a poisoned chalice. We've been whistling past the graveyard on any number of fronts and the endgame is coming -- we have unfunded liabilities in the trillions of dollars and the blue model of governance is unsustainable. Hillary isn't going to touch any of it. She's got her pile and she's conveniently identified the deplorables, who do not merit her attention.

I did not think Donald Trump would change the trajectory of our nation. Nothing he has said or done convinces me otherwise. His supporters are enthusiastic and they come out in large numbers to rallies, but he doesn't have the client base to match Hillary. And in the end, that will be the difference.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Janet Reno, RIP

The prototype for all Attorneys General going forward. That's not a compliment, either. And lest we forget:

We're from the government and we're here to help you

Schrödinger's Bureaucrat

Comey Comey Comey Comey Comey Chameleon. He comes and goes, he comes and goes:
The FBI has concluded a review of newly-discovered emails related to Hillary Clinton, and sees no reason to change its previous conclusions about Clinton's use of a private server when she was secretary of state, FBI Director James Comey said in a letter to Congress today.

In July, after a year-long investigation, the FBI concluded that charges against Clinton were not warranted, saying agents had not found any evidence that Clinton knowingly sent or received classified information on the server.

On October 28, Comey wrote to Congress that the FBI was going to investigate emails potentially related to Clinton that had been found during an unrelated investigation.
A few thoughts:

  • Yesterday I predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the election narrowly and that, shortly thereafter, the FBI would start leaking like a sieve. This result pretty much guarantees it. 
  • WikiLeaks (remember that?) isn't done, either. We will have something approaching a full accounting of Clintonworld before too long.
  • But does anyone really care? Apparently enough people in this country are okay with the corruption of the Clintons and are willing to pull the lever for them, likely enough to hand Hillary Clinton the presidency.
  • As for Comey himself -- who knows what to think? He's a hero, a scoundrel, a hero, a scoundrel. He's a careerist, he's corrupt, he's a crusader, he's a cautious investigator, he's a man of probity, he'd sell his grandmother for a nickel, he's this season's John Roberts. He knows everything, he knows nothing. He's Schrödinger's Bureaucrat.
  • Meanwhile, we learned yesterday that among Hillary Clinton's other accomplishments, she was fond of having her maid print out classified emails. As usual, America's Greatest Newspaper had the winning pun:
My life is changing in so many ways I don't know who to trust any more
It's a beautiful world, kids. And on Wednesday, the fun really begins.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Prediction time

Here's my map. Make your own here and share your totals in the comments:

Flip a state and it goes the other way
And after that, the FBI leaks like a sieve and we get our constitutional crisis. Still more fun than anyone ought to have, especially us.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- Footsteps Getting Louder Editon

Old dude, the business end of the football season is getting pretty close on us. It is time to have teams raise the level of their game. I think that this weekend will be critical.

Yes. If you want to be playing in January, you need to take care of business in November.

It's the only way. You have to stay on schedule. It's the same reason that Decrepit buys Metamucil in the 55-gallon drum.

Metamucil? Really? And the Geritol? You must think I'm the target demographic for those ads on the nighty news.

Yeah, I did say that. You're headed to Del Webb world soon enough. Deal with it, pal.

Ah, youth. Well, I'll let that Galesburg braggadocio slide because we have games to pick.

I agree. It is time to go to work on the HYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYPPPPE. Watch me work.

Purdue Boilermakers (+17.5) vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers. I put the Gophers on notice last weekend, and they seemed to have responded. This should be an absolute steal of a game, since Purdue is a team that is quite frankly not that good, and the Gophers are a better team, especially with the game in Minneapolis. The Gophers have an outside shot of reaching Indy, but really do not have the chance, since other teams have better shots. Gophers 45, Purdon't 0.

This has Rutgers written all over it. The Gophers almost blew that one. Purdue is better than Rutgers. Pay attention, Gophers. Gophers 35, Purdue 27.

Beloved Wisconsin Badgers (-6.5) vs. Northwestern Wildcats. Visits to Evanston for Wisconsin have been an odd stumbling block in recent years. The last time the Badgers won a game in Evanston, Ron Dayne was still around. Wisconsin needs to win out and get some help from someone on Nebraska's schedule. I like to think that the Badgers will look better offensively, and they got through the very difficult part of the schedule with about the record you might have expected. I expect Northwestern to be fired up, but this time Wisconsin finds a way. Wisconsin 32, Northwestern 21.

This game scares me, but it's winnable. The Badger defense is excellent and has the tools to take away what Northwestern wants to do on offense. A tough one, but I agree they will find a way. Badgers 24, Northwestern 17.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (+17.5) vs. A School In Columbus. Nebraska has a very simple path. All they have to do is win out, and they will go to Indy. However, this is a tough ask. I have called Ohio State out numerous times, and have been one of the few media types to criticize Urban Meyer for not doing more with all the wins when the situation is favorable. The biggest thing that has impressed me about the Buckeyes is that they have the talent level one would demand if they were rooting for them, yet they are very young with not a lot of upperclassmen. I do not normally do this that often, but I think that my self-interest is on the line here. I still am not softening my feelings on how I feel about the Buckeyes, though. A School in Columbus 35, Fail Big Red 9.

Nebraska is game. They don't fold up under Mike Riley the way they did under Bo Pelini. That said, winning in Columbus is a tough assignment. The Buckeyes need to win out, too, so they will. Ohio State 31, Nebraska 20.

Detroit LOLions (+7) vs. Minnesota Vikings. Two weeks ago, we thought that the Vikings were going to continue their impressive and unexpected great start. However, the Vikings are now down one Norv Turner, and are down some confidence after dropping two losses that quite honestly did not look that good. The LOLions at home should be smooth sailing on lovely Lake Minnetonka, but what the Vikings need to do is to toughen up and avoid having the leadership of the team to bring the victory home without having to answer to the authorities about what happened on the boat. LOLions 24, Vikings 20.

There's never a bad time for a Fred Smoot joke. The Vikings can win this one. I assume we'll see 2 or 3 tight ends and an effort to run the ball this time. The Viking defense needs to respond. Matt Stafford is pretty good. Vikings 24, Lions 23.

Indianapolis Colts (+8) vs. Glorious Green Bay Packers. The Packers on the other hand looked a lot better last weekend down in Atlanta, but the defense just had struggles trying to stop a good passing attack. The Colts have a good passing attack, and are a favorite in the AFC South. I think that what the Packers need to do is continue to spread the ball around on offense, and try and get better pressure, since what doomed them last week was that Matt Ryan had a lot of time to find open receivers. Packers 31, Colts 20.

The Colts tend to be very good at home and awful on the road. Andrew Luck is pretty good, but Lambeau is a tough place to win. Talent level favors the Packers, too. Packers 38, Colts 24.

That is it for us this week. Boy, this year has been strange, especially with seeing the Cubs hold a victory parade and playing meaningful games in November. Ben out!

Friday, November 04, 2016

Weiner Republic

Our friends on the port side will deny something is true if it appears on Fox News. This report is not from Fox News:
The FBI has found emails related to Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state on the laptop belonging to the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner, according to a U.S. official.

These emails, CBS News’ Andres Triay reports, are not duplicates of emails found on Secretary Clinton’s private server. At this point, however, it remains to be seen whether these emails are significant to the FBI’s investigation into Clinton. It is also not known how many relevant emails there are.
We may find out soon. I suspect something is going to drop.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Cubs Win, so

I stayed up too late and watched the World Series game last night, so I grabbed some extra sleep and don't have time for anything more than a pro forma blog post. Briefly:

  • If Team Clinton has anything more about Trump to dump, expect to see it today. 
  • I would expect another dump on Hillary as well -- a lot of things are swirling around at the moment and I could see a Lawrence Walsh-style announcement from somewhere about criminal charges being filed against someone in her orbit.
  • Early voting is pernicious. There will be a lot of people who voted early who will come to regret their votes, especially as new information comes to light about these dumpster fire candidates.
  • Then again, just about every possible vote a person can make in this presidential election will be cause for regret.
  • Pay attention to the local races; we need better politicians than the ones we have now and it's possible you will have a chance to pull the lever for someone who might change things for the better. I know, crazy talk, but hope springs eternal.
  • Congratulations to the Cubs. I know many people who really do love them and I'm delighted those fans are having this moment. Come April, it's back to the Twins and the True Blue Brew Crew for me.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Blast from the past, part two

So the other day, Jamie Gorelick was opining on supposed improprieties in the FBI reopening the investigation on Hillary's emails. Victor Davis Hanson reminds us of who Gorelick is:

. . .[W]hat is destroying democracy is an elite culture of amorality in Washington, in which incestuous politicians, journalists, and lawyers go out from government and politics into government-related finance, law, and lobbying, often cashing in without proven expertise or experience — in other words, in the manner that one Jamie Gorelick (whose Post byline of high government service mysteriously stops nearly 20 years ago at 1997) served for nearly six years (1997–2003) as vice chairman of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) under the infamous Franklin Raines. Raines and Gorelick oversaw a $10 billion loss, putting Fannie Mae on the trajectory to its implosion during the 2008 meltdown.

For all that damage, Gorelick walked away from the Fannie Mae mess with $26,466,834 in compensation and “bonuses,” although for what reason and on what merit no one has yet ascertained. The bonus was almost as mysterious as her own original appointment to Fannie Mae as an outgoing Clinton official, given that Gorelick had no banking expertise whatsoever to help manage one of the nation’s most important lending institutions.

In today’s Washington ethos, Gorelick, who owed her job to Bill Clinton, and, thanks to him, made millions as her agency imploded, now writes about the FBI director’s supposed ethical problems as emblematic of a danger to democracy — in a not so subtle fashion to help the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Gorelick’s public career could charitably be called a textbook case of conflict of interest. Meanwhile, no one any longer recalls the millions of Americans who lost their homes and savings in part due to the consequences of sloppy, unethical, and callous leadership of Washington’s government-sponsored finance and lending.

If you seek the monuments of Trump’s origins, look around Washington.

If I Were a Rich Man

Here's a blast from the past:
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is raising questions about the timing of the FBI’s release Tuesday of records on a 15-year-old investigation into President Bill Clinton’s pardon to fugitive financier Marc Rich.

The FBI posted the 129 pages of records in its online Freedom of Information Act reading room in apparent response to a FOIA request seeking information on FBI inquiries into the Clinton Foundation.
The timing is odd, for sure, but it's a useful reminder of who the Clintons are and how they operate. Rich was a fugitive from justice when the pardon came. The suspicion at the time was that Rich's wife, Denise, made donations to the Clintons in order to procure the pardon. More from the linked article:
Despite the lack of major revelations in the documents, which constitute only a part of the FBI’s files on the inquiry, the atmospherics in the records are unhelpful to the Clinton campaign. The records repeatedly refer to the probe being handled by the “Public Corruption Unit” and make clear that the FBI was examining claims that Denise Rich’s Democratic Party “donations may have been intended to influence the fugitive’s pardon.”

“It appears that the required pardon standards and procedures were not followed,” the internal FBI memos said.
We knew that at the time. Bill Clinton had the right to pardon Rich, so in the end the investigation didn't really go anywhere (fun fact: the official who closed the case was James Comey), but the stink of it has never really gone away. I would not be surprised if a few more blasts from the past are forthcoming. For the moment, this election seems to be more of a referendum on Clintonworld than it is about Trump. That's may change -- I imagine the Clintons have at least one more oppo dump for The Donald -- but as long as the focus remains on how the Clintons operate, it's going to be a problem for Hillary.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Just a reminder

James Comey did not keep a homebrew server designed to keep a high public official's actions from scrutiny. He's just investigating it. If Hillary Clinton and her acolytes want to assign blame for their current predicament, they might look for a mirror.

A suggestion I never thought I'd make

The guy who infamously asked "what's the matter with Kansas" is now paying attention to what's the matter with another spot on the map. It's Thomas Frank:
The emails currently roiling the US presidential campaign are part of some digital collection amassed by the troublesome Anthony Weiner, but if your purpose is to understand the clique of people who dominate Washington today, the emails that really matter are the ones being slowly released by WikiLeaks from the hacked account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta. They are last week’s scandal in a year running over with scandals, but in truth their significance goes far beyond mere scandal: they are a window into the soul of the Democratic party and into the dreams and thoughts of the class to whom the party answers.
And Frank is dialed in:
The class to which I refer is not rising in angry protest; they are by and large pretty satisfied, pretty contented. Nobody takes road trips to exotic West Virginia to see what the members of this class looks like or how they live; on the contrary, they are the ones for whom such stories are written. This bunch doesn’t have to make do with a comb-over TV mountebank for a leader; for this class, the choices are always pretty good, and this year they happen to be excellent.

They are the comfortable and well-educated mainstay of our modern Democratic party. They are also the grandees of our national media; the architects of our software; the designers of our streets; the high officials of our banking system; the authors of just about every plan to fix social security or fine-tune the Middle East with precision droning. They are, they think, not a class at all but rather the enlightened ones, the people who must be answered to but who need never explain themselves.
Welcome, welcome to the boomtown
All that money makes such a succulent sound
Welcome to the boomtown

It's important to note that, when it comes to bashing the mores of middle America, no one has been more diligent about it than Thomas Frank. I'm not sure why he's now fixed his gaze on the Beltway, but he's calling out people who richly deserve the attention. One more bit:
There are wonderful things to be found in this treasure trove when you search the gilded words “Davos” or “Tahoe”. But it is when you search “Vineyard” on the WikiLeaks dump that you realize these people truly inhabit a different world from the rest of us. By “vineyard”, of course, they mean Martha’s Vineyard, the ritzy vacation resort island off the coast of Massachusetts where presidents Clinton and Obama spent most of their summer vacations. The Vineyard is a place for the very, very rich to unwind, yes, but as we learn from these emails, it is also a place of high idealism; a land of enlightened liberal commitment far beyond anything ordinary citizens can ever achieve.

Consider, for example, the 2015 email from a foundation executive to a retired mortgage banker (who then seems to have forwarded the note on to Podesta, and thus into history) expressing concern that “Hillary’s image is being torn apart in the media and there’s not enough effective push back”. The public eavesdrops as yet another financier invites Podesta to a dinner featuring “food produced exclusively by the island’s farmers and fishermen which will be matched with specially selected wines”. We learn how a Hillary campaign aide recommended that a policy statement appear on a certain day so that “It wont get in the way of any other news we are trying to make – but far enough ahead of Hamptons and Vineyard money events”. We even read the pleadings of a man who wants to be invited to a state dinner at the White House and who offers, as one of several exhibits in his favor, the fact that he “joined the DSCC Majority Trust in Martha’s Vineyard (contributing over $32,400 to Democratic senators) in July 2014”.
There's more, a lot more, if you follow the link at the top of the page. You should click the link and read it all.