Thursday, October 31, 2019

Don't bother, they're here

There ought to be clowns, we are told. Lots of them. Items to note:

  • I know I’ve said this before, but it’s been obvious from the jump why this particular Schiff-scented impeachment confection had to take place at this time. While I expect IG Horowitz to pull his punches again, Durham won’t. The entire point of the charade is to allow the Democrats to characterize the Durham investigation as revenge, rather than the pursuit of justice.
  • Angie Craig and Dean Phillips must have looked at the polls and decided this faux impeachment vote won’t hurt them. Perhaps they’re right; suburbia is filled with minivan Mensheviks and Bad Orange Man offends a lot of sensibilities in places like Eden Prairie and Eagan. Craig in particular may feel the wind is at her back since Jason Lewis is gunning for Tina Smith instead, but she’s still gonna get challenged. 
  • Collin Peterson voted against impeachment. He’s looking at the polls, too. Prediction: if this blows up on the Democrats and yet Peterson still survives, he’ll cross the aisle in 2021, especially if the House flips. It may be his only way to survive.
  • Speaking of worried Democrats, you may also have noticed that Barack Obama spoke out recently against “cancel culture.” This isn’t a matter of intellectual bravery or principled liberalism, to the extent principled liberalism is even possible at this particular hour. Obama’s stance is really about something else: he’s seen the Lion King and knows what happened to Scar. He’s already getting “OK Boomer” sneers from some quarters and he knows the revolutionaries he nurtured are now coming of age. And they may come for him soon enough.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Question for the audience

Technical question, actually:

  • Do you use an ad blocker?
  • If you don't, do you see ads on my blog?
The reason I'm asking is my ad blocker indicates it's blocked multiple ads on my site. And I don't have ads on my site, at least that I've authorized.

Let me know -- I'm curious about this.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Worth remembering

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

                                                                   -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

In practice:

  1. Some things Donald Trump do are counterproductive at best.
  2. Donald Trump has been wronged countless times since he came down the escalator in 2015.
Or, if you'd prefer:
  1. Donald Trump is not the sort of person you'd want to be president in an ideal world.
  2. We don't live in an ideal world and the current batch of Democrats are uniformly horrible people who should have no power, ever.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Benster and D Pick Your Games---Vikings Win Edition

Old dude, the Vikings won, and people are still complaining?

Yep. Apparently a lot of Vikings fans bet the over or something. I heard a bunch of moaning about Zimmer's 4th and 1 call in the game. It's not as though the Redskins were going to score, so I don't get it.

It's like they want Zimmer gone. Maybe Brad Childress could give Zimmer a ride to MSP.

They don't really want Zimmer gone, but some folks can't handle prosperity. Winning by 1, or 10, or 40 counts the same. No style points in the NFL.

If the Vikings want to feel mad, they could watch this:

I'm matriculating down the field and feeling the HYYYYYYYYYPPPPEEE! Okay, it's time to watch me work.

Maryland Terps (+16) vs. Minnesota Golden Elite Rowers of the Boat The Gophers hold the inside track to Indianapolis right now, thanks to events we will discuss later. They are a good team, but now they have the pressure all to themselves. The spotlight will shine on them starting this week. Maryland seems to be building something, though this is going to be a very difficult ask. I don't expect the Gophers to fall into a trap similar to what happened last week at Memorial Stadium. Gophers 31, Terps 0.

Maryland isn't terrible, but they are inconsistent. The Gophers should win. Minnesota 28, Maryland 20.

Beloved Wisconsin Badgers (+14.5) vs. A School in Columbus Well, last week was quite simply a horrible loss and embarrassment to the entire Badger program. I was very upset with the performance of the entire team and the coaching staff. I still love them all, but sometimes you have to tell the truth. This game is going to be very difficult, and will require near perfection to win. Everyone knows what I think about the Buckeyes as a general rule, but they are arguably the best team in the nation. That's the standard the Badgers are going to have to play at to win. Badgers 24, Buckeyes 17.

Ohio State looks frightening. But you have to face your fears. I think the Badgers will rebound and play very well. But it may not be enough. Ohio State 24, Wisconsin 20.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (-4.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs This game got more interesting and less interesting simultaneously with the news that Patrick Mahomes cannot play because of injury. This sucks, because this game should have been a fun shootout between two MVP quarterbacks. The Packers looked very good on offense last week and have proven they can win without Davante Adams. The key defensively is to get some pressure on Kansas City and do not let Hill and Kelce make plays. Packers 45, Chiefs 21.

The Chiefs are decent and Arrowhead is a very tough place to win. I think the Packers have only one once in that stadium. Make it two. Packers 31, Chiefs 24.

Los Angeles Chargers (+4) vs. Bear Down Chicago Da Bearz Still Suck The Chargers are playing yet another road game, and it's amazing that they have to play 20 road games if you count the preseason. Da Bearz lost a tough one at home to the Saints, and look like they are out of the race already in the NFC North. Mitch Trubisky is in danger of being run out of town by angry Chicago fans. Even Marty McFly stopped going back to 1985, and the Super Bowl Shuffle crew is not walking through that door alongside Mateen Cleaves. Da Bearz should win, though. Da Bearz Still Suck 14, Chargers 7.

Have I mentioned the Chargers are dumb? Look at where they are. They have a nice team, but Benster is right -- they don't have a fan base and every time they play at home, the other team's fans fill the place. I expect to see a lot of Navy and Orange in the stands on Sunday. And while Trubisky seems to be channeling Moses Moreno, the Bears can still play defense. And they will. Bears 17, Chargers 10.

I'm walking outside that door. Ben out.


It's on:

Winter may be coming but it's already Springtime for Lawyers in Washington, D.C.  The list of people lawyering up these days would probably fill this page and lap over onto the next. It's just been announced that the John Durham investigation into the provenance of the Russia probe has turned into a criminal investigation. 
Subpoenas and grand juries are coming, real ones, not the Star Chamber counterfeits being orchestrated by the panicked Democrats and their junior league Southern California Torquemada.

The whole point of the phony impeachment inquiry was to muddy the waters. By getting out ahead of Durham, the Dems and their MSM buddies will now claim the inquiry is partisan revenge and therefore illegitimate. As always, you get more projection out of the Democrats than you see at a 20-screen multiplex theater.

The real question -- will Durham really do what he needs to do? Or will he bury it, like all the other scandals before? I would like to believe, but speaking of projection -- we've seen this movie before.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Benster and D Pick Your Games---Enough With The Thursday Games Edition

Old dude, can the NFL stop with the Thursday games outside of Thanksgiving? It's getting absurd.

Have you ever seen the movie Cabaret, old chum?

I'd never seen Roger Goodell wearing a top hat before!

If you're fortunate, you never will again.

I know, but it's not like the NFL was doing poorly before.

Not the point. It's all about the money. Player safety? Player schmafety! Adam Thielen can't play? Too bad. Get the money.

These midweek games make you even more cynical than usual, Geritol Fan. Time to discuss the Vikings. Watch me work!

Washington Gridlocks (+16.5) vs. Minnesota Vikings. Unlike other events involving Washington, this one will be done in full view of the public. The Gridlocks are a terrible football team, and the federal government is probably better run these days. This game is interesting because of the quarterback duel. Case Keenum returns to Minnesota for the first time since the Minneapolis Miracle, and he is generally viewed favorably around these parts. Kirk Cousins on the other hand has a more complicated relationship with the locals, and will face the Gridlocks for the first time since leaving them in free agency. This game provides a natural comparison between the two, and there should be a lot of takes depending on the outcome. No Thielen is going to hurt the Vikings, but they were fine against Detroit after he went out. In addition, the short week always is a difficult ask for any team. The Vikings should win, but I would expect Washington to cover. Vikings 28. Gridlocks 17.

Yeah, the story lines are all over this matchup. Not much else, though. Cousins seems to have found his groove and he's played quite well since he was removed from the Solder Field turf with a spatula a few weeks back. I think it will go well one more week. Vikings 31, Redskins 14.

We will be back Friday to pick the rest of the games. Ben out!

Star Chamber Schiff Gets Bum Rushed in the SCIF

I’m glad the Republicans finally stormed the castle today, disrupting the reindeer games of Adam Schiff and his merry band of miscreants. At no point since the putative “impeachment inquiry” began has there been any actual inquiry going on. What happens in that super secret room is narrative manufacturing. It’s crap, and the Democrats know it. But they also know their confreres in the media will report whatever they manufacture as news. Can you get a career denizen of Foggy Bottom to contradict the Bad Orange Man? Of course. That’s easy. And whatever serves the narrative is probative, no matter how many other officials contradict the statements, and no matter that this most recent dude is reporting third-hand.

The Republicans in Congress have been letting this charade go on for a month now. It should have stopped the day it began. The only way to conduct a legitimate inquiry is to let both sides participate. That hasn’t happened and the Dems have had no intention of allowing anyone to provide any scrutiny of their manufacturing process. We currently have auditors in my office -- they come every year because the company where I'm currently working is transparent. The Congress needs plenty of auditing. And an enema.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Benster and D Pick Your Games---No Refs Were Harmed Edition

Old dude, you mentioned that I am going to have words about what happened to the LOLions on Monday Night Football?

Well, I figured you would.

I do, but I will save those comments for when we discuss that game.

Building up a head of steam, as usual, Grasshopper?

Oh, it'll be red hot steaming.

Benster is red hot, D's picks are doodly squat, then?

You're catching on. Old guys can be educated! I am feeling the HYYYYYYYYYPPPPEEE!, and am ready to work.

Minnesota Golden Elite Rowers of the Boat (-28.5) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The Gophers finally got ranked after taking Nebraska to the woodshed last weekend, and they get a reward of going to a Rutgers squad that is terrible once again. This game is going to be very noncompetitive and not worth the investment unless you are a fan of these two teams or are betting on this. When will the Gophers actually play a real opponent that will actually challenge them? Row Row Row Your Boat Elitely 50, Buttgers 0.

Rutgers ought to try the Midwest Conference. They might be able to handle that. Gophers roll. Gophers 38, Rutgers 7.

Beloved Wisconsin Badgers (-31) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini.  First of all, let us bask in the glory that is Lovie Smith's beard. It is a work of art, and testament to the natural beauty that our world contains. Wisconsin looked dominant on defense yet again against a Spartan team that looked overmatched and could not handle the Badgers. The danger in this game is that people are going to be looking ahead to the showdown against A School In Columbus. This game could be tight, but the Badgers should win and then worry about the Buckeyes. Badgers 38, Illini 17.

It is lush and luxuriant:

Image result for lovie smith beard
Like the cliffs of Dover, but in handy beard format
Unfortunately, his team? Not so much. Bucky keeps it going in Champaign. Badgers 52, Illini 3.

Minnesota Vikings (-2) vs. Detroit LOLions Before I unleash my thoughts, let me offer some thoughts on the Vikings. They looked very impressive last week, and it was great to see Kirk Cousins get involved in the offense and have him take some pressure off Dalvin Cook. It was a comfortable win, and they are in a good position right now. With that being said, it's time for a Very Special Comment.

Everyone duck and cover!

Image result for duck and cover drills 1950s
Benster's gonna drop the bomb!

Are you through yet? Never interrupt a trained professional when he is working, mkay? Ahem. The Detroit Lions are getting a lot of sympathy from the national media because the officials inserted themselves into the game at Lambeau. The reason that the narrative has spread is because of ESPN announcer Booger McFarland. McFarland complained about the officiating during the final drive, and what he didn't realize was that there was at least 13 million viewers watching his broadcast on ESPN. I say at least because the game was simulcast on local stations in the Packers and Lions home markets, so there was probably more people watching on those stations, in addition to people watching at restaurants. He gave no credit to the Packers for taking advantage of getting those breaks, and fighting through adversity. The Lions were +3 in the turnover battle, but only got field goals out of those turnovers. The Lions fan base has a victim mentality when it comes to the refs, but they never blame ownership for making terrible hires, or admit they lost. That mentality disgusts me, as they can't give the Packers any credit. McFarland really should understand how he set the narrative, and he should be ashamed for selling the Packers short.

This is a desperation game because of the tightness of the NFC North. Thus, I default to the desperate team at home rule. LOLions 24, Vikings 10. 

Glad you feel better now. Booger had a point, I suppose, but he's also trying to save his job because the folks at ESPN have not been happy with him, so a little controversy never hurts, I guess. In any event, this is actually a pretty crucial game. I need to disagree with you at some point, so. . . Vikings 27, Lions 23.

Oakland Raiders of Las Vegas (4.5) vs. Glorious Green Bay Packers The Packers had a very narrow escape at home against the LOLions, and are going to be very shorthanded at receiver. It's also a short week, and the Raiders come in fully rested after their win in London over da Bearz. This game might be a little closer than one would think, but the Packers should win to keep pace in the NFC North. It's vital that the Packers hold the head to head tiebreaker on everyone else in the division as well as the 3-0 record in the division. Packers 31, Raiders 20.

This game concerns me, because the Packers don't have a lot of wide receivers. Not sure if they called back Terry Mickens (remember him?), but they should be able to get past a decent Raiders team. Packers 27, Raiders 17.

New Orleans Saints (+4) vs. Bear Down Chicago Da Bearz Still Suck Well, Mitch Trubisky is going to return to start, and this game is going to be interesting. The Saints have looked good without Drew Brees, and it's great to see Teddy Bridgewater back and happy. The Bears need this win at home to keep pace in the division. This game is very interesting, and I expect a lot of offense. Saints 45, da Bearz 28.

The Saints have done well with Teddy. But now they have to play the Bears without Brees and without Alvin Kamara? In Chicago? Good luck with that. Bears 17, Saints 14.

Who goes by Booger, anyway? That's not even a good stage name for the WWE. Ben out!

il miglior fabbro

John "Doc Zero" Hayward doesn't get a lot of attention because he plies his trade at Breitbart, but he's a wonderful writer and observer. He writes about foreign policy issues these days and this summation of the most recent Dem debate is spot-on, especially on the matter of Syria:
None of the Democrats wanted to discuss Turkey’s claims of a severe security threat from northeastern Syria, discuss why the international community did nothing to address those claims, or explain why the United States was held solely responsible for preventing Turkey from taking action. They treated the notion of Russian and Syrian involvement against the Turkish assault as inherently outrageous without explaining why the Syrian government should not be held responsible for protecting its own citizens and securing its own borders. They complained about escaping ISIS prisoners without discussing why thousands of them were still parked in Kurdish prison camps and how long they should be left there.

None of the Democrats was asked to present a war plan for fighting Turkey or discuss how much the U.S. depends on Turkish bases for operations in the Middle East. None of them, not even Biden, was pressed on how the Obama administration set the table for current events. None of them acknowledged the difficulty of getting reliable information from any party involved in the savage Syrian civil war, although Gabbard came close when she pointed out how dodgy some of the groups supported by the Obama administration were.

And of course, CNN would not dream of asking the Democrat candidates — several of whom are sitting senators — why their caucus did not authorize military force against Turkey to protect the Kurds, instead spending all of its time on an impeachment crusade against President Trump. Trump said he wanted to pull troops out of Syria almost a year ago, and Erdogan was threatening to invade long before that. The Democrats had plenty of time to pass the appropriate congressional resolutions and send a strong message to Turkey, but that would have involved putting real political capital on the line instead of sniping from the sidelines.
I asked a question about troop levels in Syria yesterday because I don't know these answers. But I recognize demagoguery when I see it. As always, read the whole thing.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Question for the audience

How many actual troops did we have stationed in Syria? And where are they going? I guess that's two questions.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Random observations

Still not too focused on blogging, but I do have a few thoughts:

  • We were having trouble with our television last night (dang it, Comcast), so even if I'd wanted to watch the Dems debate I wouldn't have been able to. But there was no appetite for the topic in our house. The post-mortems indicate Elizabeth Warren didn't have a great night and that Bernie hasn't let a heart attack stop him from yelling at clouds. In a deeply divided nation, it's possible one of the luminaries on the stage might be president in 2021, but I wouldn't count on it.
  • Yes, the officiating in the NFL is screwed up. Did it benefit the Packers on Monday night? Everyone seems to think so. To which I respond -- fine. But to hell with the Lions anyway. If the Lions want to assuage their wounds, they can take their frustrations out on the Vikings this week. Benster will likely have a few words about this topic later in the week.
  • Congratulations to the Nationals, in the World Series for the first time in franchise history. I wonder what the fans of the Montreal Expos think about it.
  • It was always argued that "Seinfeld" was about nothing. The Dems are running a Seinfeld impeachment.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Benster and D Pick Your Games----It's Too Cold Edition

Old dude, in what world does it make sense for there to be snow in the early part of October? What is going on in this state?

Life barely above the 45th parallel, young fella.

Well, it could be worse. Our fellow contribute Stinger is going to be at the Golden Elite Rowers of the Boat game, and hopefully he doesn't freeze.

The warmth of P. J. Fleck will keep everyone at the stadium glowing. Or something like that.

I actually admire P. J. He's even more into HYYYYYYYYYYYPPPPPPPE! than I am. But enough of that -- it is time to watch me work.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (+9) vs. Minnesota Golden Elite Rowers of the Boat Well, Minnesota is getting no love from the pollsters despite being undefeated. It could be because they have looked very mortal against competition that has not been top shelf. But, they have won all their games, and that is all you can ask. Nebraska fans understand that Scott Frost will need some time to rebuild the dynasty, but the good news is that Nebraska fans always live in the past. Johnny Rodgers is not walking through that door. It's going to be a cold one under the lights, but I think Nebraska can pull the upset. Nebraska 17, Row Row Row Your Boat Elitely 9.

Then again, Rick Upchurch isn't walking through the door of  TCF Bank Stadium, either. But don't you wish he was?

Touchdown, Goooolden Gophers!
That's some really old stuff. But then again, Ray Christensen isn't walking through that door, either. Gophers 24, Nebraska 20.

Michigan State Sparty the Spartan (+10) vs. Beloved Wisconsin Badgers Well, this is going to be a more difficult game for the Badgers than Kent State. The Spartans worry me because they are a pretty good defensive outfit, and Mark Dantonio is very good at motivating players when he is an underdog. The difference is that this game is in Madison, and JT is going continue his Heisman candidacy for another week. I expect a fairly close game, but one that the Badgers win after a good 4th quarter. Wisconsin 31, Sparty 14.

So, Bucky beats the spread? Yeah, I think so, too. Sparty is okay, but it's going to be Badger weather and Jonathan Taylor is going to romp. Wisconsin 28, Michigan State 13.

Philadelphia Eagles (+3) vs. Minnesota Vikings Well, the Vikings survived their trip to the Meadowlands and beat an injured Giants team. That's not the Vikings fault, it's just what they had to do. The Eagles will not be intimidated by the Vikings, since they pulled a win out on the road against the Packers in Lambeau. This game is not going to be as easy as some Vikings-approved homers on KFAN might have let you know. Doug Pederson matches up well against Mike Zimmer's defense, and the Eagles won their last game here in Minnesota. This is the game when we find out if Kirk Cousins will be earning his money. Eagles 34, Vikings 24.

You insult Meatsauce at your peril there, Grasshopper. Will Kirk Cousins earn his money? Well, the check will clear. Eagles 17, Vikings 16.

Detroit LOLions (+4) vs. Glorious Green Bay Packers The Packers went into Dallas and owned the Cowboys like the Yankees own the Twins, and Skip Brainless is still mad about that. This sets up very well for the Packers if they win. Should that happen, the Packers will be 3-0 in the division and own the tiebreakers over every other team in the NFC North. To do that won't be easy. As much as the LOLions have a history of underachieving, they have talent. Also, the Packers haven't beaten them in a couple of years for some reason. This is not a gimme like in other years. However, these are the LOLions, and hope is a dangerous thing for them. Packers 42, LOLions 0.

Matt Patricia has had an extra week to prepare. That may work against him, actually. Packers have something to prove. I think they will. Packers 24, Lions 21.

Washington Gridlocks (-3.5) vs. Miami Tuna Net Victims This game would ordinarily be one that would never be picked under normal circumstances, but this game is one of the most atrocious NFL games ever. Both teams are trying to lose out in order to draft Tua, and quite frankly both could lose to an XFL team. This game shows us why tanking is a terrible thing in sports. This game could set the sport back into the dark ages of the NFL. I'm serious when I say you would be better off watching anything else on television. The NFL should send both of these teams down to the Arena Football League. At least then there would be some scoring. Gridlocks -3, Tuna Net Victims -30.

Did someone say Dark Ages?

Have some Doug Kotar! You know you stink when a 24-minute highlight film of your 1976 team starts with 3 minutes of introductions of your team from 1956. But the Giants aren't in this game. Then again, neither are the teams who will be playing. Washington 7, Miami 3.

Boy, that Miami game is going to be a terrible watch. Ben out.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Thursday night talkers

As I write this, Donald Trump is speaking at the Target Center in Minneapolis, and Dick Cheney is speaking at Eaton Chapel at my alma mater, Beloit College. I'm not particularly fond of either of these gentlemen, but their respective enemies are the sort of people who should never have power, either.

Lately I've been listening to a country singer named Sturgill Simpson. Here's a blistering performance of his on, of all places, Saturday Night Live:

You can tell he's country by his proto-Waylon Jennings (about a half-octave higher) voice, but this arrangement gives you a Sprinsteenian raveup and a little Blues Brothers, too. And the lyrics are pure pox on everyone's house:

Well nobody’s looking up to care about a drone
All too busy looking down at our phone
Ego’s begging for food like a dog from a feed
Refreshing obsessively until our eyes start to bleed
They serve up distractions and we eat them with fries
Until the bombs fall out of our fucking skies

But he's not done:

Turn off the TV
Turn off the news
There's nothing to see here
They’re serving the blues
Bullshit on my TV
Bullshit on my radio
Hollywood telling me how to be me
The bullshit’s got to go

Alas, it ain't going anywhere.

Saying what needs to be said

P. J. O'Rourke doesn't write much any more, but he's in fine form in this piece:
To be woke is to maintain a state of mind where you are constantly and acutely alert to social injustice and permanently on the lookout for more social injustice to be alert to. Or what I would call a good reason to take a nap.

Which you’d think would be acceptable since being woke doesn’t actually entail doing anything. But, thankfully for the jester, hypocrisy never sleeps. If you’re woke you must stay ‘conscious’, in order to continually ‘communicate’ how vigilant you are about toxic masculinity, how mindful you’re becoming about cultural appropriation and so forth ad infinitum.

Being woke is a parody of being Born Again: instead of your accepting Jesus, people like Jesus (‘privileged’, famously well- connected fathers) have to accept you.
Well, that and the Chinese government (looking at you, Pop and Kerr). The Bad Orange Man noticed:

When you're runnin' down our country, hoss
Swapping out your shibboleths doesn't indicate thought or discernment. It's actually intellectually lazy. It's past time to start laughing at Woke people.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Random thoughts

  • I don’t care that much about Ilhan Omar’s marital status per se, which has never been easy to sort out. What I do care about is it has been a marker for corruption, including the likelihood that she was a participant in, among other things, immigration fraud. And I especially care about the chance she has been paying her paramour a salary. That’s a big issue.
  • Are the Packers for real? It’s always difficult to tell in the week-to-week world of the NFL, but for the moment the answer is yes. One thing is certain – Aaron Rodgers is not carrying the team on his back. If anything, he was along for the ride yesterday against Dallas. That’s by far the most promising development of the season thus far. Having said that, if Rodgers were to suffer a season-ending injury, it would be a disaster. Beating Dallas in Dallas is big, but beating Detroit in Green Bay next week is even more important, because it would establish clear supremacy within the division. Vic Ketchman, the retired writer who is one of the best football minds around, thinks the Packers should be 11-2 when they hit the end of the season. If that happens, it could be a very special season. But then again, I’ve thought the Bears and the Vikings were actually the more dominant NFC North team at different points this season, only to see both of them underperform in key moments. This much seems to be true – while the Packers have not been dominant in any one game, they’ve done enough to win four games of five in the NFL, and have defeated three of the preseason favorites to be content for the NFC championship. That matters. Still, it’s best to trust no one.
  • The local community newspaper chain that covers New Brighton and its neighbors has apparently gone out of business. In recent years, they haven’t done much other than print DFL politician press releases and semi-amusing police reports (no, seriously). Ad revenue hasn’t sustained their operations, and almost no one took a “voluntary” subscription to subsidize their efforts. It’s not surprising; many such small publishers have gone out of business in recent years, but it’s still a little sad. Almost no one covers the local scene any more and if any local government could use a little scrutiny, it’s New Brighton’s. I may have to step up my efforts on this beat.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- Where in the World Is Stefon Diggs Edition

Old dude, is Stefon Diggs trying to get out of town? Maybe he wants to watch the Twins take out the Yankees. I'm very excited to see how my beloved Twins do, and maybe this is the year that the boogeyman can get slain.

Did someone say boogie?

There is no exception to the rule.

I watch videos like that and it really explains a lot about you, Geritol Fan. How old were you when that came out?

15 or 16, something like that.

Child abuse. That's what it was.

Actually, no. Bass lines and the Sold Gold dancers -- yeah, that was about what a guy that age would have wanted back then.

Can't say I blame you. That was not something that I was expecting.

I've been managing expectations for years, grasshopper.

Especially your won/loss record in this feature. But now, it's time to watch me work.

Illinois Fighting Illini (+14) vs. Minnesota Golden Elite Rowers of the Boat The Gophers clearly are getting zero respect for being undefeated, though I don't blame the pollsters for this at all. They have been very loose in the turns this year, and haven't looked great against very weak competition. This game should be another game that looks easy, but the Gophers will find a way to make life difficult for themselves before pulling another victory out of a hat. Gophers 21, Illini 17.

Game is here. That makes a difference. I still greatly appreciate the lush beard of Lovie Smith:

Lovie Smith guided Illinois to a 4-8 record last season and is 9-27 in three seasons at the school.
No one is confusing him with Lovey Howell
There's almost a serenity about Lovie these days. I guess when you know your team is destined for the bottom of the division, you can relax a bit. Gophers do need to play better, but I think this one is set up well for them. Gophers 31, Illini 20.

Kent State Golden Flashes (+35) vs. Beloved Wisconsin Badgers The Badgers didn't look amazing against Northwestern, but they won. Kent State is not a good MAC team this year, and the Badgers will be prepared to play against a weaker opponent having learned their lesson from BYU last year. This should be a nice win and a routine one to get the Badgers ready for tougher meat in the Spartans next week. Badgers 42, Golden Flashes 10.

Have I mentioned that Northwestern is really annoying? Kent State is a bit of a footwipe in the MAC, so it's difficult to imagine Bucky having any trouble in this one. Badgers 56, Kent State 3.

Minnesota Vikings (-5) vs. All Hail the New York Football Giants. The Vikings did not look great in Chicago, and that was due to a variety of factors. I was told by a valued commentator that my take on the Vikings offense was questionable. Well, the Bears gave my view some legs. That was a winnable game for the Vikings after Trubisky was knocked out of the game, but they could only score 6 points against the Bears. To be fair, Chicago has a great defense, and they had a lot of success with their game plan. What really hurt the Vikings was not getting Cousins into the game flow, and now you have people taking their grumbling public. Kirk should have just taken Diggs, Theilen, Zimmer, Kubiak, and Stefanski out to Pizza Ranch so they could buffet their way. The Giants have looked better since they made the switch to Daniel Jones, and Wayne Gallman has been pretty good filling in for Saquon Barkley. The good news for the Vikings is that the Diggs story is getting overshadowed by the Twins and Gophers talk locally. This game will tell us a lot about the future of the Vikings, and it might not be what people want to know. All Hail the New York Giants 24, Days of our Zimmers 20.

Once more, with feeling:

Vikings have to win this game. The Giants are a terrible defensive team. If Kirk Cousins is going to salvage his season/career, it could start in the Meadowlands on Sunday. Vikings 31, Giants 23.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (+3) vs. Dallas How Bout Them Cowboahs Well, this game is going to be very interesting this weekend. The Packers had a very frustrating loss, and Davante Adams will be in street clothes on Sunday. That is going to make this game very difficult. However, the Cowboys are going to be banged up on the offensive line, which matters a lot. The Cowboys offensive line is the best in football, and a lot of the success of Dak and Zeke is based on that line. There is no doubt that both are very talented, but it helps when they can get large holes to run through and enough time to develop passing plays. The Packers are going to have to find plays from someone in the passing game, and are going to need to make a couple big plays on defense. Aaron Rodgers has a strong affinity for playing in Jerry World, and he's beaten the Cowboys plenty of times before. It's not going to be easy, but I think the Packers can pull it off. Packers 24, Cowboys 21.

We will learn a lot about the Packers on Sunday. The loss to the Eagles was disquieting. I have little doubt the rest of the division will continue to keep pace, so the Packers don't have much margin for error. Dallas needs this win, too. A hunch, though. . . Packers 31, Cowboys 24.

Bear Down Chicago da Bearz Still Suck (-5) vs. Oakland Raiders of Las Vegas, in London. I don't know what the fine folks of Las Vegas are going to think about the Raiders when they move after this year. They freed themselves from the antics of Antonio Brown before his current legal troubles, and have not looked very sharp. Da Bearz won a very important game behind Chase Daniel, who will start for da Bearz this week. I like their chances, as their defense has been a real equalizer this year, and Daniel has won games as a backup for them before. Da Bearz Still Suck 30, Raiders of Las Vegas 14.

Is it possible the Bears are better without Trubisky? I think they are. Chase Daniel is just a guy, but he follows instructions well and he keeps his eyes downfield when he's under pressure. He shouldn't see a lot of pressure on Sunday. Bears 31, Raiders 10.

Let's see how the Twins can do against the boogeyman that has haunted them for a long time. Ben out!

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Rules are for suckers

The invaluable Sean Davis, writing for the Federalist, looks at how the whistle began blowing:
On Monday, the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG) admitted that it did alter its forms and policies governing whistleblower complaints, and that it did so in response to the anti-Trump complaint filed on Aug. 12, 2019. The Federalist first reported the sudden changes last Friday. While many in the media falsely claimed the ICIG’s stunning admission debunked The Federalist’s report, the admission from the ICIG completely affirmed the reporting on the secretive change to whistleblower rules following the filing of an anti-Trump complaint in August.

The ICIG also disclosed for the first time that the anti-Trump complainant filed his complaint using the previously authorized form, the guidance for which explicitly stated the ICIG’s previous requirement for firsthand evidence for credible complaints. The Federalist reported last week that it was not known which form, if any, the complainant used, as the complaint that was declassified and released to the public last week was written as a letter to the two chairmen of the congressional intelligence committees.
So why does the form matter? Back to Davis:

The ICIG’s claim that it would have been incorrect to perceive a requirement for firsthand information is bizarre considering the previous version of the form clearly stated in unambiguous language that firsthand evidence was required in order for “urgent concern” whistleblower complaints to be deemed credible. It said, in bold, underlined, all-caps text, “FIRST-HAND INFORMATION REQUIRED”:

Second-hand news
Because the complaint did not allege wrongdoing against a member of the intelligence community (the president of the United States is an elected constitutional officer, not an employee of a statutory agency), did not allege wrongdoing with regard to an intelligence activity (a phone call between two elected world leaders is basic diplomacy, not the execution of a statutorily required intelligence activity), and relied primarily on hearsay rather than firsthand evidence, both the director of national intelligence (DNI) and the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel determined that the anti-Trump complaint was not an “urgent concern” under the law and was therefore not required to be transmitted to the relevant congressional committees. In spite of those determinations, the ICIG on its own and after revising its internal guidance and policies regarding firsthand evidence decided the complaint did qualify as an “urgent concern” and forwarded the anti-Trump complaint to Congress.
The rules, in other words, are whatever someone with an animus against a sitting president, says they are. For his part, Donald Trump was tweetin' last night and called this thing what it is:

He's right, you know

I was NeverTrump once. Some of my friends who remain bloggers are still highly critical of Trump for his boorishness. I'm sorry, but aesthetics don't matter at this point. Trump's political enemies cannot succeed. If they do, we don't have a country. It's possible, even probable, they already have. You can't have unelected, unaccountable people changing forms and changing lives. The bureaucracy serves at our pleasure, but they have every reason to believe they rule. And why wouldn't they?

Tuesday, October 01, 2019


The impeachment frenzy is strong now because it's obvious Barr, Durham, and Huber are over the target. It's all coming down soon, one way or another.