Saturday, April 29, 2017

ESPN starts to fade

I was going to write about what's going on at ESPN, but my friend, the estimable Brad Carlson, is on the case. A taste:
Speaking for myself, I have a cable package which includes NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA TV and NHL Network. If I want to see highlights/analysis within a particular sport, any of those aforementioned channels fulfill that specific need. As such, I don't have to endure, say, NCAA Lacrosse highlights while awaiting footage of the latest Twins game. 
Bingo. It's very easy in 2017 to get the sports news you want, when you want it, rather than to sit through a mishmash of other things you don't care about. The witty banter of SportsCenter in its heyday is long past. The SJW crap is annoying, but it's hardly the most important reason for ESPN's problems. Brad has more at the link. You should hit that link and get what you want, when you want it.

Friday, April 28, 2017


The thing speaks for itself:
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges learned that Police Chief Janeé Harteau would appoint Lt. John Delmonico as inspector of the North Side’s Fourth Precinct 90 minutes before police announced the decision.

The mayor urged Harteau to come to her office for a meeting, and Harteau declined, according to sources with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.

Finally, Hodges said that either Harteau needed to undo the appointment of Delmonico, or Hodges would undo it herself. Harteau left the task to the mayor, and Hodges issued a statement late Wednesday overruling the decision.
A few thoughts:

  • Minneapolis has some really screwed up people running the city. Hodges is embattled on many fronts and stands a good chance of losing her seat, primarily because the demands of the job require her to have a few Menshevik moments, even though her operational preference is to combine careening self-congratulation and incoherent shaming of anyone who would dare disagree with her deep thoughts on any given subject.
  • Harteau clearly was trying to give Hodges the needle. Anyone who has ever watched the local news in the last 15 years has likely seen Delmonico on television, usually in the position of defending the latest indefensible act a cop committed. As the head of the police union, it was Delmonico's job to explain that beating the hell out of an unarmed person with a broken tail light  was always fully justified. Delmonico also made a very public accusation against Hodges a few years back, claiming that she was flashing gang signs. For Harteau to make Delmonico the top cop in the most combustible neighborhood in Minneapolis is, without question, a provocation, and an especially nasty one at that.
  • I'd like to argue the citizens of Minneapolis deserve better than this, but frankly they don't. If you elect someone like Betsy Hodges to run your city, you get what you deserve.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Still the same

Events have made it difficult to maintain a normal blogging schedule for at least the past week, but I'm hopeful we'll get better about it in the coming days. For today, let's consider the latest nonsense coming out of Berkeley, California:
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter has canceled her speech planned for this week at the University of California's Berkeley campus after a dispute with university officials, who feared violent protests, over whether a safe venue could be found.

"There will be no speech," she wrote in an email to Reuters on Wednesday, saying two conservative groups sponsoring her speech were no longer supporting her. "I looked over my shoulder and my allies had joined the other team," she wrote.
Ann Coulter has been doing her shtick for nearly 30 years now. We've heard it all before and one would ordinarily think the reaction to her appearance in any venue ought to be boredom, but here we have the battle joined.

The Left is not winning the argument these days. From what I can tell, they aren't even trying to win. The prevailing mode of discourse is you should shut up now.

For its part, the ACLU issued a pro forma denunciation of what happened to Coulter:

I doubt they will, though
Hateful speech isn't something directing other people to hate. It's whatever the bien pensant left would rather not contemplate. And in the end, all this nonsense at Berkeley is less about a conflict of visions (to use a phrase from Thomas Sowell) and more about turf. The Left has its redoubts and academe is a key one. It's bad enough the ravening hordes of Trump Nation are on the prowl in small towns and exurban enclaves, but they'd better stay the hell away from Sproul Plaza. Otherwise you get to meet these freedom fighters:

Image result for antifa
Love is in the air
They love you and have a wonderful plan for your life, so long as you get in line.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Events are again in the saddle

Not much content on the blog lately. While there are any number of things to discuss, I don't imagine I will be writing about them for a few days. I'm hoping to return to regular blogging soon.

I would throw out one thought that I read recently. Condescension is not persuasion.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Money Went Down to Georgia

Curses. . . foiled again!
For the second time in a week, Republicans dodged a potential political cataclysm.

Last Tuesday it was a special election in Kansas where the Republican candidate did just enough to win. This Tuesday it was another special election -- this one in suburban Atlanta -- where a slew of GOP candidates managed to keep Democrat Jon Ossoff just under 50%, forcing a June runoff.
Not for a lack of effort, though:
Sensing opportunity, national Democrats flooded the race with money -- Ossoff raised an eye-popping $8.3 million over the last three months, 95% of which came from out of the state of Georgia. That massive influx of cash, coupled with a lack of any other serious Democrats in the race and a disdain among many Republicans in the district for Trump's in-your-face style, made for a surprising opportunity for Democrats in the south -- a region where the party has been decimated over the last decade.
This isn't complicated, really. No matter what you think about Donald Trump, the Democrats aren't popular, either. Nothing that Trump has done, or hasn't done, has changed that calculus. You can print "potpourri" on that manure sack, but it's still going to have the same aroma. All the out-of-state money in the world isn't going to to change that.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Writing for the New York Times, a Ph.D student at Duke named Casey Williams offers a little shop talk:
For decades, critical social scientists and humanists have chipped away at the idea of truth. We’ve deconstructed facts, insisted that knowledge is situated and denied the existence of objectivity. The bedrock claim of critical philosophy, going back to Kant, is simple: We can never have certain knowledge about the world in its entirety. Claiming to know the truth is therefore a kind of assertion of power.
And now Williams has noticed that Donald Trump is good at using this approach:
There’s no question that past presidents have lied. And Trump is nothing if not a cynical manipulator. But Trump’s relationship to the truth seems novel, if only because he doesn’t try to hide his relativism. Mexican immigration, Islamic terrorism, free trade: For Trump, truth is always more about how people feel than what may be empirically verifiable. Trump admits as much in “The Art of the Deal,” where he describes his sales strategy as “truthful hyperbole.” For Trump, facts are fragile, and truth is flexible.
How would Williams know that? Never mind. Read on:
Trump and Stephen K. Bannon probably don’t spend evenings poring over Jean Baudrillard’s “Simulacra and Simulation” or Michel Foucault’s “The Archaeology of Knowledge” (although Bannon’s adviser, Julia Hahn, did write her undergraduate thesis on the psychoanalytic theorist Leo Bersani). But the parallels between Trump’s attacks on accepted knowledge and critical philosophy’s insistence that we interrogate truth claims suggest that not all assaults on the authority of facts are revolutionary.
It can be a struggle to keep up with all the name dropping. I prefer quote dropping. Here's one:
“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means — the only complete realist.”
That's C.S. Lewis, one of my favorite dead white European males. Here's a live one:

Facts are simple and facts are straight
Facts are lazy and facts are late
Facts all come with points of view
Facts don't do what I want them to
Facts just twist the truth around
Facts are living turned inside out
Facts are getting the best of them
Facts are nothing on the face of things
Facts don't stain the furniture
Facts go out and slam the door
Facts are written all over your face
Facts continue to change their shape

That's David Byrne. As long as facts continue to change their shape, they aren't likely to do what you want them to.

You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it. It's blowing pretty good these days.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mellow Yellow

I see 'em a lot more than I used to -- the flashing yellow left-turn signal at an intersection. And apparently the signals are confusing people:
By the looks of things, drivers in Plymouth — and probably other places, too — could use a crash course on how to navigate intersections governed by flashing yellow turn arrows.

This comes after an analysis by Plymouth police found that nearly 50 percent of crashes at the intersection of Rockford Road and Fernbrook Lane were the result of drivers not yielding to oncoming traffic when flashing yellow arrows were operating.

Between March 10, 2016 and Feb. 22, officer Scott Kirchner said there were 34 crashes at the busy intersection, and 16 were attributed to motorists failing to yield. The intersection handles 21,000 vehicles a day, according to a 2013 traffic count by the Hennepin County Transportation Department. Of those drivers, 4,093 make left turns. Keep in mind those counts were taken four years ago so the numbers are probably higher.
I don't go through that area much, if ever -- it's probably been a good ten years since I have, but it's easy to understand why there's a problem. It's often difficult to gauge the speed of oncoming traffic in the suburbs, because the posted speed limits often don't have much to do with reality. You don't necessarily know whether the oncoming traffic is coming at you at 35 MPH or 45 MPH. In my area, County Road D/37th Avenue NE tends to have a lot of traffic, but it's often coming more slowly than you think (sometimes less than 30 MPH), while the speeds on Old Highway 8 tend to be faster (often closer to 50 MPH). It's especially tough to make a left turn from Foss Road onto Old Highway 8, which gets a lot of overflow traffic from 35W. That intersection, a T-style intersection, does not have any traffic control other than a stop sign and you can end up waiting as long as 4-5 minutes to make that turn during rush hour. You also have several apartment buildings on Old Highway 8 with people impatiently trying to get out of their parking lots, so making that left-hand turn has been a white knuckle affair for the 20 years I've lived in the area.

The idea of a flashing yellow is to stop the backups at intersections, but it doesn't necessarily work. The linked Star Tribune article suggests one reason:
Impatience might be a factor, too. [Plymouth police officer Scott Kirchner] said drivers waiting to turn at the intersection have had motorists behind them honk.

“They hear that horn and think it’s my turn and go without thinking,” Kirchner said. “There is the pressure and they think maybe I can make this gap.”
We have more need for traffic control than ever before. We don't spend as much money on roads as we could, because we spend a lot of transportation money on other things. I don't have time to rehearse those arguments this morning, but we need to think more about how we move people and goods through our communities.


Saturday Night Live skits are not news.

Friday, April 14, 2017

An entertaining read

Overslept this morning, so I don't have time to write a proper blog post. I will point you to a fascinating interview, however. For those of you who remember the era, John Brockington was the bell cow of the Green Bay Packers, a powerful runner who gained over 1,000 yards a season for his first three years. This was 1971-73, an era where the NFL played only 14 games in a season and the defenses were geared to stop the run. It was actually quite an achievement.
On the move in '72

Green Bay Packers historian (yes, they have one) Cliff Christl conducted a couple of interviews with Brockington, who is now 68 years old. The entire interview is here, but have a taste:

Playing for Dan Devine on a 4-8-2 team as a rookie compared to playing for Woody Hayes at Ohio State, which was unbeaten his senior year heading into the Rose Bowl: “(Devine) was very strange. When we were getting ready for the Bengals (the third game in ‘71), I’ll never forget, he said, ‘This team is bigger than us, they’re stronger than us, they’re faster than us. You have to do everything just right to win this football game.’ Like, why are we going out to play? When I was at Ohio State, we never went into a game thinking we could lose. Woody would say, ‘This is how we’re going to beat them.’ And we believed him because he was Woody Hayes. This guy (Devine) tells us, ‘If we don’t play a perfect game, we’re going to lose. They’re better than we are.’ I couldn’t believe it. But that was (Devine).”

On Devine telling him before the 12th game in 1971 that if he could start a team he’d take Minnesota’s Dave Osborn as his running back:  “So we’re in St. Louis and I was like chump change away from 1,000 yards and he makes the comment about Dave Osborn. Gillie says, ‘We got a back that’s ready to get 1,000 yards and (Devine) wants to start a team with somebody else.’ I didn’t want to get into that crap; I just wanted to play football. But he was a strange guy.”

On whether it was common for Devine to do things like that: “He wasn’t a coach that brought the team together. The things he said were so obvious that you wouldn’t do, but he’d do it anyway. It was amazing. He’d say things like, ‘If I was to start a football team, I’d start it with Alan Page or Joe Moore or Dave Osborn.’ It was never a Green Bay Packer. It was always somebody else. I mean how do you get ready for football games when the head coach doesn’t respect the team he is coaching?”
If you are a football fan of a certain age, this is great stuff. Check it out.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A nice move, Jiggly Boy

I've met John Sweeney, but I don't really know him, other than having beers with him in Madison one time maybe 30 years ago now. He's a good friend of my brother Pat, and I'm pretty sure that our faithful correspondent Crankbait is also a friend of Sweeney as well. Sweeney is the successor to the legendary Dudley Riggs and runs the Brave New Workshop, the Minneapolis-based improv group that has been our version of Second City for many years. He's also been known for dancing shirtless at Timberwolves games.

Since he's taken the helm at the Brave New Workshop, Sweeney has sought opportunities to simultaneously help his franchise and help people in the community, and his improv classes for seniors manage to achieve both goals, as the Star Tribune reports:
At the Brave New Workshop comedy school in Minneapolis, [Diane] Fuglestad, 69, is one of 30 senior citizens who have been learning improvisational technique for years. It’s about more than getting a laugh: The classes give these elders new skills to think and act quickly, speak up and, most of all, be seen.
Improv forces you to think on your feet and to react quickly, but it's mostly about joy. I recommend the linked article. We need more joy these days.

Shake Down the Blunder From the Sky

Good grief:
Vice President Mike Pence’s scheduled commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame has prompted a protest by senior students who say that Pence's presence on campus will make them "feel unsafe."

Students Immane Mondane and Jourdyhn Williams have started a #NotMyCommencementSpeaker campaign against Pence's May 21 address.

The campaign consists of students holding white boards featuring quotes from Pence that are "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, offensive, or ostracizing" to members of the Notre Dame community.
A friend of mine on social media posted a version of this story, along with an observation that must be made. If you aren't already aware of this, Notre Dame is located just outside of South Bend, Indiana. Does anyone remember what Mike Pence was doing prior to January 20? Anyone? Bueller?

Just in case you don't recall, Mike Pence was governor of Indiana. Assuming the students mentioned in the story are seniors, they've spent the last four years living in the presence of a scary, scary man. You wonder why the heck they didn't transfer to some other school a long time ago.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

RIP, Don Rickles

Very late to the party on this one. Rickles was hilarious and he had a great run. Some of his best moments were on the old Dean Martin roasts, which are astonishing to see these days -- so many legendary performers -- just look at the people assembled on the dais in this clip, in which Frank Sinatra and everyone within a five-mile radius is a target of Rickles's brilliant shtick. A sample of the master at work:

RIP, Mr. Warmth.

RIP, J. Geils

I always enjoyed their music -- frontman Peter Wolf is one of the more memorable singers of the rock era. Just when the J. Geils Band finally hit the big time, it all fell apart. But they left a lot of good music in their wake. A sample:


Just a guess

I'm pretty sure that Sean Spicer knows the Nazis were actually quite fond of using chemicals to kill people. He may be incompetent, but he's not dumb. Spicer seems to have fundamental problems using the language, though. And considering the job he holds requires an individual who has excellent communication skills, he doesn't seem like the optimal choice for the position. Not my place to make personnel decisions for the White House, but they might want to consider an upgrade. And that's all I have to say about that.

Desperados Under the Expected Rate of Return

And if California slides into the ocean
Like the mystics and statistics say it will
I predict this motel will be standing until I pay my bill

-- Warren Zevon

Hell-raising rock and rollers aren't usually actuaries, but as California's bills start to come due, the artist has a point:
California cities and counties will see their required contributions to the largest U.S. pension fund almost double in five years, according to an analysis by the California Policy Center.

In the fiscal year beginning in July, local payments to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System will total $5.3 billion and rise to $9.8 billion in fiscal 2023, according to the right-leaning group that examines public pensions.

The increase reflects Calpers’ decision in December to roll back the expected rate of return on its investments. That means the system’s 3,000 cities, counties, school districts and other public agencies will have to put more taxpayer money into the fund because they can’t count as heavily on anticipated investment income to cover future benefit checks.
As Walter Russell Mead points out, the expected rate of return was pretty high:
Calpers has concealed the depth of the pension shortfall by using unrealistic rates of return in its accounting estimates. But to stay solvent, it was recently forced to cut its projected rate from 7.5 percent to 7.375 percent (with more reductions almost certainly on their way). The state will need to make up the difference with tax increases and austerity.
So if the actual rate of return turns out to be more like, say, 5 percent? Good luck. We have looming pension crises in a lot of places. And if California imagines that some other entity is going to make up the shortfall, they are sadly mistaken. The printing presses at the Fed are still running full bore and it's not going to be enough.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

State champions

For the second consecutive year, the Irondale Winter Drumline has won the state championship. We're getting now getting ready to go to Dayton for the WGI Championships. Irondale has a legitimate chance to win the national competition as well, as their scores during the season have consistently been in the top 2-3 positions.

If you want to see Irondale perform live, you'll have a chance on Saturday, as the Knights and River City Rhythm perform at 7 p.m. at Irondale High School. Admission is free. Meanwhile, here's video of an early performance of this year's show, "Forever":

And here is RCR's show, "The Devil's Advocate":

Monday, April 10, 2017

Palm Sunday Bombs

Although we are often reminded of such things from the pulpit, the history of Christianity has been filled with martyrs. We now have more in Egypt, following two bombings of Coptic churches yesterday:
Egypt's president called for a three-month state of emergency Sunday after at least 44 people were killed and more than 100 more were injured in two Palm Sunday suicide attacks at Coptic Christian churches, each carried out by the ISIS terror group.

Sunday's first blast happened at St. George Church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, where at least 27 people were killed and 78 others wounded, officials said.

Television footage showed the inside of the church, where a large number of people gathered around what appeared to be lifeless, bloody bodies covered with papers.

A second explosion – which Egypt’s Interior Ministry says was caused by a suicide bomber who tried to storm St. Mark's Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria -- left at least 17 dead, and 48 injured. The attack came just after Pope Tawadros II -- leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria -- finished services, but aides told local media that he was unharmed.
We prayed for our brethren yesterday during our own Palm Sunday Mass. I'm glad we did, but I wonder how much it really meant. We don't have much to worry about in our sanctuaries -- the bombers don't come to our suburban churches and while we name many of our churches in honor of those who paid the ultimate price for the faith, we don't spend much time thinking about the meaning of those sacrifices, even during Holy Week. Perhaps we should.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Justice Gorsuch

It won't do to pretend Neil Gorsuch is now on the Supreme Court because of high principle, even if his rulings on the Court demonstrate high principle. The whole thing was about a raw exercise in power. And given the stakes, raw power is what matters. Instead of Barack Obama putting a jurist on the court who would have rolled back the First, Second and Fourth Amendments to fit current leftist desires, Donald Trump put a jurist on the court who might protect those amendments. One can never be sure with justices appointed by Republican presidents. One can always assume a leftist jurist will vote in lockstep, because they always do.

Last year, Mitch McConnell rolled the dice. This time he won. And now that the filibuster is gone, it's likely Trump will have more justices to appoint. I could see him naming the replacements for four more jurists -- Kennedy, Breyer and Ginsburg are getting up there, and Thomas has made noises about retiring in the past. A lot of Democrats are thinking they will flip the Senate and/or the House in 2018, but I doubt that will happen. I would not be surprised if we start seeing a lot of 7-2 decisions in the future.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Once again, events are in the saddle

Life matters more than blogging, so things may be a bit light around here for the next few days. So have an open thread!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Actually, I appreciate her honest expression of her opinion

Melissa Hortman is a DFLliberal politician. At least she's honest about it:
The DFL's leader in the state House of Representatives is not apologizing for a crack about white men during a floor speech that led at least one Republican colleague to demand on Tuesday she resign from her leadership post.

"I hate to break up the 100 percent white male card game in the retiring room, but I think this is an important debate," House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman of Brooklyn Park said during a House session Monday evening.

Hortman then praised several speeches by female colleagues, including several women of color, that some members missed as they relaxed in the lounge-style room reserved for members just off the House floor.
Of course it was a cheap shot. It also reflects precisely why Hortman and her pals in the DFL are now a minority and why, outside of places like Brooklyn Park, people who share Hortman's views have difficulty getting elected.

Keep talking, Rep. Hortman. Tell us all about your world view. Shout it from the housetops. Fill thy horn with bile.

The Tell

Experienced pokers players look for any behavior that might tip them off about what their opponent is thinking -- a pattern of tapping one's fingers on the table, a repressed smile, whistling. It's called a "tell." The Democrats and their friends are offering up rather a lot of tells at the moment.

First, the war against Devin Nunes. We've discussed the matter before. Now we have 20 Democrats demanding Nunes step down:
Congress must come together in a bipartisan fashion to understand the nature of this attack and the scope of Russian ties to the Trump campaign, transition team, and presidential administration. Chairman Nunes has demonstrated his bias, and the public will no longer accept the results of this probe as legitimate under his leadership. This is about country, not party. It is also a test about the ability of the House, as an institution, to conduct an investigation of the Executive Branch while being independent of that branch. Chairman Nunes’ recent actions make clear he has failed that test. Only his recusal will allow the House to pass that test.
In the lexicon of Democrats, "bipartisan" means they get their way. It's clear why they don't want Nunes to go forward -- he's on to something.

Meanwhile, on the support staff side of the Democrats, we have this stirring statement of principle:
In a monologue on his Monday night program, CNN host Don Lemon said the network and host will not cover the story about Susan Rice uncovering, or 'unmasking,' the names of Trump officials and confidants that were swept up in surveillance.

"So let us be very clear about this," Lemon said. "There is no evidence whatsoever that the Trump team surveilled or spied on -- was spied on illegally. There is no evidence that backs up the president's original claim."

"And on this program tonight, we will not insult your intelligence by pretending otherwise, nor will we aid and abet the people who were trying to misinform you the American people by creating a diversion. We're not going to do it," Lemon declared.
Emphasis mine. CNN is not going to touch the story. It's left to others to do so. Writing for National Review, a publication that isn't exactly supportive of Donald Trump, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy explains what really went on:

In general, it is the FBI that conducts investigations that bear on American citizens suspected of committing crimes or of acting as agents of foreign powers. In the matter of alleged Russian meddling, the investigative camp also includes the CIA and the NSA. All three agencies conducted a probe and issued a joint report in January. That was after Obama, despite having previously acknowledged that the Russian activity was inconsequential, suddenly made a great show of ordering an inquiry and issuing sanctions.

Consequently, if unmasking was relevant to the Russia investigation, it would have been done by those three agencies. And if it had been critical to know the identities of Americans caught up in other foreign intelligence efforts, the agencies that collect the information and conduct investigations would have unmasked it. Because they are the agencies that collect and refine intelligence “products” for the rest of the “intelligence community,” they are responsible for any unmasking; and they do it under “minimization” standards that FBI Director James Comey, in recent congressional testimony, described as “obsessive” in their determination to protect the identities and privacy of Americans.

Understand: There would have been no intelligence need for Susan Rice to ask for identities to be unmasked. If there had been a real need to reveal the identities — an intelligence need based on American interests — the unmasking would have been done by the investigating agencies.

The national-security adviser is not an investigator. She is a White House staffer. The president’s staff is a consumer of intelligence, not a generator or collector of it. If Susan Rice was unmasking Americans, it was not to fulfill an intelligence need based on American interests; it was to fulfill a political desire based on Democratic-party interests.
It's not in the interest of the Democratic Party to have such actions receive scrutiny. So Nunes must step down, and Don Lemon and his pals at CNN must not discuss the matter, either. As McCarthy rightly points out, political appointees do political things. If you choose to believe that Repubicans are Evil and Democrats are Good, I'm sure it's tough to swallow. It's also why we're seeing so much finger tapping and whistling from our fellow citizens on the port side.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Lightning Round -- 040417

I've got nothing to say, but it's okay/Good morning, good morning, good morning. Well, that's not quite true. Commence:

  • It's going to be a nuclear option on the Gorsuch nomination to the Supreme Court, apparently. Fine with me. If the Supreme Court is going to be the blunt instrument used to enforce raw governmental power, as it has been since at least Wickard v. Filburn, the Republicans might as well be forthright about it. 
  • You can tell the Democrats are running out of stories to keep their Russia hacking the election meme going, if they are trotting out a Blackwater story. The way you can tell this is insane -- the date of the meeting was apparently January 11. There wasn't any reason to establish a back channel to Putin on Trump's behalf when Trump was going to be president in nine days. And consider the description of what happened: Though Prince had no formal role with the Trump campaign or transition team, he presented himself as an unofficial envoy for Trump to high-ranking Emiratis involved in setting up his meeting with the Putin confidant, according to the officials, who did not identify the Russian. No formal role, unofficial envoy, unnamed official, unnamed Russian. This isn't a news story, but it's on the front page of the Strib's website. Wouldn't want to talk about Susan Rice, now would you?
  • I continue to watch what's going to happen in the case of Jeronimo Yanez, the St. Anthony cop who is going to stand trial in the shooting of Philando Castile. It's all quite close to home for us. St. Anthony is literally just past our back yard. The judge in the case is considering a variety of defense motions today, so stay tuned.
  • I hated the basketball game last night. The officiating crew called 27 fouls in the second half. The game was sloppy but not chippy in the least. Swallow the whistles a bit and let 'em play. 

Monday, April 03, 2017

Nothing or Everything

The Keyser Soze of the Obama Administration is back. Perhaps:
Susan Rice, who served as the National Security Adviser under President Obama, has been identified as the official who requested unmasking of incoming Trump officials, Cernovich Media can exclusively report.

The White House Counsel’s office identified Rice as the person responsible for the unmasking after examining Rice’s document log requests. The reports Rice requested to see are kept under tightly-controlled conditions. Each person must log her name before being granted access to them.

Upon learning of Rice’s actions, H. R. McMaster dispatched his close aide Derek Harvey to Capitol Hill to brief Chairman Nunes.
So who, or rather what, is Cernovich Media? It's a guy who does his own reporting and has an agenda. So maybe this is crap. Or maybe not:
This reporter has been informed that Maggie Haberman has had this story about Susan Rice for at least 48 hours, and has chosen to sit on it in an effort to protect the reputation of former President Barack Obama.
Maggie Haberman works for the New York Times. She's also someone who carries water for the Democrats generally, as we discovered from WikiLeaks last year.  As usual, we have no idea who is telling the truth. If Cernovich is telling the truth, Rice should be in prison. But we have no idea.

Meanwhile, Byron York is following another trail for the Washington Examiner*:
Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey demanding the story behind the FBI's reported plan to pay the author of a lurid and unsubstantiated dossier on candidate Donald Trump. In particular, Grassley appears to be zeroing in on the FBI's deputy director, Andrew McCabe, indicating Senate investigators want to learn more about McCabe's role in a key aspect of the Trump-Russia affair.

Grassley began his investigation after the Washington Post reported on February 28 that the FBI, "a few weeks before the election," agreed to pay former British spy Christopher Steele to investigate Trump. Prior to that, supporters of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign had paid Steele to gather intelligence on Clinton's Republican rival. In the end, the FBI did not pay Steele, the Post reported, after the dossier "became the subject of news stories, congressional inquiries and presidential denials." It is not clear whether Steele worked under agreement with the FBI for any period of time before the payment deal fell through.

"The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for president in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI's independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration's use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends," Grassley wrote in a letter to Comey dated March 28.
So will we be talking about any of these issues today? I would imagine we would, because as I was writing this post, the Leader of the Free World was back on the ol' Twitter:

Forcing the issue
Guess we'll find out. Perhaps we'll even hear from Maggie Haberman.

*If you click on the link, mute your tab. York is a good reporter, but that website launches autoplay videos like there's no tomorrow.