May 31, 2012

So long, May

A TMR bonus factoid: When she married Sammy Davis jr. on November 13, 1960, interracial marriage was illegal in 31 states.

How Many Poles Does it Take...

Okay, it was the dumbass move of the month, this "Polish death camp" line our dim president threw out. It wasn't a mere "gaffe." He read it from his teleprompter, meaning it was written by experts in demagoguery, edited by even greater authorities on the art of bullshitting voters, and, finally, approved by the handful of high courtiers allowed to walk into the Obama Oval Office without knocking.

None of them, not even His Ineptness himself, had a neuron jiggled by the inherent dangers of an adjective, in this case "Polish."

Politics being the street brawl that it is, Romneyites are within their rights to kick the Obama campaign wedding tackle. True, the mouthpieces of the left are going blue in the face screaming that the GOP should retire to a neutral corner while the Obama seconds sponge him off and apply styptic powder.  Wouldn't they just.

It will all die down, leaving His Ineptness with fewer Ski votes this fall. And leaving some of us slack-jawed in amazement at the things the American electorate and its  media find crucial.


Here's what happened, Bunkie: About 73 years ago a country called Germany, led by a guy called Hitler, had a friend called Russia. Together, they raped a country called Poland. A domestic dispute occurred and Germany wound up running things in Poland. Among the innovations there were "death camps," conceived and operated of the Germans, by the Germans, and for the Germans. The camps wrecked unbelievable horror on millions of innocents who happened to have the wrong religion or the wrong genes or the wrong profession.

Hence "Polish death camps" -- a central event in the defining years of the 20th Century. It was universally understood that the term referred to German evil which, as a matter of Nazi convenience, was perpetrated across its border with Poland. It was simply more efficient to put ovens and torture chambers close to the target demographic.

By 1944 or '45 German guilt was in all the papers. No one  qualified to appear in public without a minder thought otherwise. Even many dues-paying members of the teachers' unions knew it and taught it.

Times change. History gets muddled, as do educationists, journalists, and grasping parasites of the political class. And so a great international debate flares over what, not much more than generation ago, would have been a phrase objectionable only to the most anal grammarian at Miss Porter's Country Day School.

Meanwhile, Rome-on-Potomac burns because math is a lot harder than squalling about ethnic insensitivity.  (cf: fiat money, debt)

This is not to let His Ineptness off the hook. He has one and only one profession, the politics of power. He and his elite panderers to public opinion of the moment are rewarded beyond Midas dreams to appear Christly at all times to even the looniest understandings held by blocs of the voting public. It's Propaganda 101, Mr. President. You flunked.

Now, as a practical matter, guys nicknamed Ski don't constitute the most important part of your electoral base. But, out of pure human kindness, may I suggest that you don't repeat the error.

For instance, if one of your crack speech writers gives you a draft containing "Negro lynchings," you might want to rephrase.

May 30, 2012

It's the law!

Found in the crawl space under the shop. It's decorated my loo for years, a reminder to myself that I am quite the criminal when I test fire .22s in the gun room.

Until the early 1960s, Camp J was a pasture. Land was cheap. Even so near the nice water, even within the village limits,  it was economical to  reserve grass and burr oaks for the contentment of cows.  I suspect the farmer erected the sign to protect his herd from the autumn invasion of bookkeepers and insurance peddlers who might mistake a Guernsey for a  grouse.

Shots Fired!

I'm in my gun-tinkering room. I've reshaped the lips of the Colt Huntsman magazine. I check my work by unloading five fast ones into a big billet of oak. Three minutes and 55 seconds later I'm cuffed up and a cop is reading me my rights.*

I've been ratted out by a geek in Mountain View.

It's the latest  Telescreen precursor, called "ShotSpotter, an aural triangulation system  made mighty by the magic of communications satellites, the GPS,  and warp-speed computing.  If it isn't universal yet, it 's not for lack of desire by cops, prosecutors, and the company that owns the system,

Trusted members of the Outer Party visit your neighborhood and nail sensors to utility poles, buildings, and so forth. The gizmos hear a shot and instantly inform the watchers who, again with speed-of-light communications, tell the local cops. The company propaganda boasts location accuracy of within a few yards. It's a real crime-stopper.

So was the Tell-All Tube in the shabby room over the antique shop where Winston boffed Julia.


The Times superficially reports the usual privacy vs. security debate, which is revealing in itself because, wonder of wonders, the same system can also record conversations.

Sam Sutter, the district attorney in Bristol County, Mass., called ShotSpotter “an extremely valuable tool” that had helped his office bring charges in four nonfatal shootings.

“In my view legally,” he said, “what is said and picked up by the ShotSpotter recording does not have the expectation of privacy because it’s said out in public, and so I think that will turn out to be admissible evidence.”

The company jumps on that PR problem:

James G. Beldock, a vice president at ShotSpotter, said that the system was not intended to record anything except gunshots and that cases like New Bedford’s were extremely rare. “There are people who perceive that these sensors are triggered by conversations, but that is just patently not true,” he said. “They don’t turn on unless they hear a gunshot.”

Very reassuring, James. We are relieved that your bug is so limited that there is no way on earth to tune it to pick up conversation without an announcing gun shot.  I hope someone alerts me when your technology advances to that point so I can be careful  to say nothing seditious in the public space which I usually refer to as my front yard.

May 28, 2012

About a year ago the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that your response to a crooked cop barging into your home should be to roll over and play dead. 

This idea that police can go where they want, when they want, for good reason or ill -- or none at all -- could be tested in Iowa.


In Des Moines, Cynthia King and Tavius King cohabited. No other relationship is noted. Cynthia and Tavius fell out, and she booted him from the apartment. Tavius called the cops, proved he once lived there,  and wanted them to help him get his clothes.  Cynthia came out, announced that this no-good ex-cohabiter was not coming back into her home, and slammed the door, giving one of the police officers an owie.

 The door hit Officer Greg Trimble’s hand and foot as he tried to keep it open and avoid it from hitting him, police said.

A little later she unlocked the door and was cuffed up, charged with interfering with official acts and assaulting a cop.

Sounds to me like the wrong person went to jail, but maybe that's just my notorious Fourth Amendment crankery. Sounds to me like Officer Greg got excited, assaulted the door and, by extension, Cynthia who was in intimate contact with it. Sounds to me like...

--The cops had no warrant to invade Cynthia's home.

--No "hot pursuit" exception to the Fourth Amendment existed because no crime had been committed, or even alleged.

--Some cop public relations REMF has a lot of trouble with kinetic concepts. Most of us will have trouble with the idea that Greg was trying to hold the door open without making contact with it.


It's a ham-and-egg case, and perhaps Cynthia will pay the two dollars. If so, too bad. It would be nice to see this one hashed out in an atmosphere of Constitutional concern

May 26, 2012

G'mornin' Mama

Mid-morning on a holiday weekend isn't the best time to cross the road in these parts, Woman. Trying to nest your eggs in the gravel adjacent to the tarmac is worse, a sure ticket to the unpleasant end of the Darwin-results spectrum.

That's why you got the ride on the grain scoop, and I'm sorry to have offended your  snappish sense of dignity. I really think you'll find greater happiness in a more obscure region of the canal network.

May 25, 2012

A slice of wildlife

In one of my AP gigs I was given a half-day a week  of "enterprise" time to produce a Midwest outdoor column. Of the hundred or so that hit the wire, I remember only a few in detail. One of them is a longish piece on how to find and kill a wild turkey.  It was well-received, though I suspect it discouraged many would-be hunters with its  long exposition of the expensive gear and Leatherstocking wilderness skills necessary to take a gobbler.

I'm glad I wrote that in pre-internet days. I would be embarrassed if it were commonly available today.

That point occurred to me a few minutes ago when my peripheral vision caught a movement just outside the big south window. A grand-daddy strolled by, glanced at me, strutted around the house to the mulch pile, and, careless of all concern, rooted around in the decaying leaves for whatever turkey goodies might be squiggling there.  It's getting so common that I didn't even reach for the camera. More tellingly, New Dog Libby didn't bother to bark.

A similar column today would be short; "Get a sling shot. Sit quietly on your deck. Pretty soon one will walk by. Shoot it."

May 24, 2012

All kinds of porn

Bad trigger procedure here, Mitzi. Rule 3.

But I forgive you because 

MITZI%25252520GAYNOR%2525252001 Mitzi Gaynor In White Christmas

This is one of the better of the mid-century studio-glamour shots, so I used it instead of one of Ms. Gaynor as Ensign Nellie Forbush, the role that got a wee lad's attention about the time he started thinking less about Trigger and more about Dale Evans.

And what the heck. As long as I'm pandering to the vile instincts of the gentlemen in the room, here's a sop for the ladies. It is, in part, a fulfillment of an old promise to my buddy Doris.

Tom Selleck

May 23, 2012

Switzerland Listening to Ron Paul

Everyone knows an alternative currency based on a commodity won't work. Anyone who thinks it will is crazy and, worse, doesn't watch Rachel Maddow; in other words a deranged crank like Dr. Paul.

Or a citizen of Switzerland getting all worried about its own fiat currency and persuading his parliament to actually debate a circulating gold coin.

As I say, cranks.  As is well known, the Swiss know nothing about money.

May 22, 2012

A little dose of evening irony

Y'all have already seen the viral video about Union Boss Debbie swatting a  Governor Nikki pinata down in South Carolina, so there's no need to go into it here.

But perhaps it is in order to recall wistfully the the slimy rhetoric that followed the shooting of  Arizona Congresswoman Gabby.

You remember, don't you? She was shot  because all of us small-government conservatives and libertarian types talked mean -- violent metaphors and like that. The gentle lambs of the American left would never stoop so low.


The Zuckerberg Divorce

Poor Mark. Poor Priscilla. If things are still going well, they haven't taken in the "Do Not Disturb" knob hanger. Their sole contact with the outside world is room service.  They wouldn't even know that The New York Times is choreographing their divorce in a Who Gets What  piece.

It is unseemly, of course, but it' not hard to understand. Who can figure out why the facebook IPO flopped in its first two days and is looking worse this morning? I mean, who even wants to get his brain all discombobulated with numbers about how much the company might earn and when in comparison with other investment possibilities -- among a lot else, most of it having to do with numbers? Math is boring, and hard! 

Skylarking around about possibilities for their divorce settlement makes fewer neuron demands, and is quite a little sexier to boot.  It isn't many more steps to speculation about Mark's first trophy wife, to be acquired when cute Priscella develops her first wrinkle.

Oh well, that's how we sell newspapers, and I don't particularly mind even though I would have expected the Good Gray Lady to hold off a bit, at least until the happy couple puts its pants back on, leaving the early titillation to Fox News,  The Ed Show, and TMZ.

May 21, 2012

Geopolitical quickie

A Very Important General, USA,  has recently bought the house next door to me and plans to move in when he retires later this year. I've visited with him briefly and he seems a bright and pleasant guy.

So, when we come well-aquainted enough, I will put Tam's Latest Hit under his nose and see if he laughs as hard as I did. If he does I'll propose him for high political office.

Sample: ... if the Frogs and Jerries are still worried about Tsar Vladimir I, let them cut a few social programs and reactivate an armored division or two on their own dime...

With apologies to Lawdog

On the one paw, don't we pay police officers in part for adequate marksmanship?

Officers ______ and ______  responded to the 1300 block of College Avenue on a report of shots being fired. _________said he approached the scene with his weapon drawn and saw the dog running at full speed toward him and _______. He said he shot three times with his handgun, and the dog ran away. It was not hit.

On the other paw, a dog charging head on doesn't present much center mass, so maybe we should give Officer Friendly a pass.

On the third paw, don't we pay journalists for a certain completeness in their reports?  There not a syllable of explanation of the "shots being fired" call which led to the Fido confrontation.

That leaves me with one paw to spare. Put 'er there, Pawdner. 

May 19, 2012

Ron Paul update and compassion note

So they keep talking about cold-hearted libertarian zealots? Not so fast.

Paul people swept the Minnesota convention floor with Mitt Romney. Thirteen delegate slots  were up for grabs, and Dr. Ron captured 12 of them. So many that...

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, whose name appeared on a Romney slate Saturday, did not initially get enough votes to join the Republicans going to Tampa. She only avoided a run-off election when a Paul supporter ceded to her.

H/T again to my MSM pal, author of The  World's Greatest Travel Blog

Our day at the range

It isn't that Ken and I had nothing else to do, It just seemed like a good idea to take the battered RST4 down to pond and make something dance a little.

About 60 rounds of cheap Winchester bulk pack (one FTF) at 30 feet or so. Some from a rest on the Rusty Red, the F150, but mostly fast and off hand in a Weaverish way.

I can think of worse ways to pass a little time, even though I recently read an expert who said serious shooters should never "plink." Get lost.

May 18, 2012

Things Ron Paul wouldn't say or do, even in Minnesota

He wouldn't walk down the street eating lutefisk on a stick. He wouldn't say he loved lefska. He wouldn't promise to name an aircraft carrier the USS Uffdah.

Still, our libertarian Minnesota political whizzes love him, and they're about to prove it by sending a disporportionate number of Paul supporters to the national convention and by ensuring that his ideas carry weight at the state-party level.

On day two of the convention, Ron Paul supporters really get a chance to flex their muscle as the 2,000-plus delegates elect a slate to represent Minnesota at the national Republican convention in Tampa. Paul delegates have already claimed 20 of the 24 delegates elected from the state’s congressional districts. Three delegate slots automatically go to party officers. Another 13 national delegates are chosen on Saturday. With the force behind them, it’s possible -- maybe probable -- that 33 of the state’s 40 delegates will be pledged to nominate Ron Paul.

It parallels the libertarian/Paul movement in Iowa and several other states, and the immediate upshot is that his ideas will not be totally ignored in Tampa. The time beyond the convention is fuzzier, but  it can't hurt the liberty cause to have a young cadre of smart operatives pulling the strings in the middle levels of the GOP bureaucracy.


I've attended political conventions for decades as a reporter, paid operative, and delegate. An outstanding feature is the blatent cluelessness of of many party officials and most delegates. They think the purpose is to bloviate on issues. The nearest comparison would be a mechanic who thinks his job is to expound this theories of automotive design while you're paying him to grind your valves.

The Minnesota Paulites illustrate the usefulness of highly skilled tinkering after learning the party rules and mores inside and out. When you've mastered the technical aspects,  then the time comes for using the machine to get to where you want to go, in this case from a higher level of statism to a a lower one. It's incremental and tedious, but it stands a better chance of reinstating our Constitution than loading up our M4geries.

May 17, 2012

What gun for bison?

They're on the loose a half-hour west of me. .30-06?

(Because, dammit, I don't own a .50-70, that's why.)

One of the hunting chiefs:

Lieutenant Seth Hofman of the Osceola County Sheriff's Office says the buffalo are "really, really fast." 

I dunno, Loot. Anything the Indians could catch on a little Appy can't be too swift. But they are big, and you might advise your warriors that while a Glock   -- with several charged magazines at the ready -- might eventually put one down,  they would be pretty well advised to have a Plan B.  Forty-caliber oozing sores get Tatonka heap pissed.

Makes me hungry for some hump meat and boudins.

May 16, 2012

...bob-bob-bobbin' along

I've been needing that 2x6 for weeks, Just didn't have the heart.

Dear Diary

It's hard to concentrate on sharing interesting and important things with Blogville when you have just lost the second semi-important set of keys within a month.

They're around, and eventually I'll discover them. Meanwhile  I think I'm developing some significant philosophical observations.

--It is better to own about half as much stuff as you do.

--Clutter is almost as dangerous as an Obama second term.


EDIT 1: Aha. Found the more important of the lost set of keys.

EDIT 2: That blurt about owning half as much does not apply to firearms nor ammunition. I should have made that clear. What could I have been thinking?

May 15, 2012

Father of the Year

I understand the impulse to call the cops on your teenage kid.  It's an urge a father should resist, and I predict a bad outcome for a family down in Everly.

The head of the household was rooting around in his 17-year-old's bedroom. He found a little pot and some drug paraphernalia, so he called the sheriff and invited Officer Friendly to search the rest of the house. More contraband was discovered, and Pops waved bye-bye to Junior as the forces of law and order hauled him off to  the clink.

Family values, eh?

Better alternatives suggest themselves. You might have been able to talk to the kid. If not, a boxing lesson was in order, from you if you're fit enough or otherwise  from a well-muscled uncle, maybe. Choosing to invite the po-po to handle your family dysfunction leads to problems you weren't smart enough to think of. Among them:

1. Sooner or later the cops are going to send him back, and Father's Day at your house is likely to be a restrained celebration.

2. You're probably stuck with him for longer than you planned. The arrest makes him a good deal less employable. Even the Army won't be anxious to take him off your hands.

3. If your motive was to teach the lad a good lesson, you undoubtedly did: "My Old Man is a Treacherous Bastard."  

May 14, 2012

Yep, we're broke

All New York City needs to rise to the economic level of Yap is a new manhole cover policy. Drill a hole in the center.

It a tough way to make a living, but enterprising thieves have been stealing the 300-pound covers lately -- here in the years of our Obama recovery from the Bush  et (most definitely) al. financial debacle. The chunk of Con Ed cast iron is worth about 30 bucks at the scrap yard.

It probably isn't a good idea to consider a long-term investment in Manhole Heist, Inc.   When Ben Bernanke gets wind of this new store of value, he'll probably seize control and figure out a way to create manhole covers by the trillions.  They'll depreciate, and pretty soon it will take a wheel barrow load of them to buy  a pair of socks.

May 11, 2012

And while I'm feeling pastoral...

Welcome to the blog roll, Jake.

He's another of the folks willing to dirty his hands up a bit in order to put some prime rib on our citifed tables.

Kill the government

Good idea, but it's like trying to stomp a hog snake with your sneakers. Derned thing just keeps on squiggling. Ask any of the 44 souls who populate Mount Sterling, Iowa, down along the Missouri border.

Mount Sterling is an official city with an ambition to be an official nonentity. Even the city council agrees it has nothing much to offer and has voted itself and its town into oblivion except as a "populated place" to the cartographers. They can live with that level of recognition and organization. Couldn't we all?

Not so fast says Higher Authority. The vote was 2-0. The third council person was absent . Never mind her presence would have made no difference. Everyone down there wants to disband.

The confusion comes from a decision some years ago -- no one seems sure just when and no one much gives a damn -- to pare the council from five to three. The official red tape got tangled, so maybe two members didn't really constitute a legal quorum. Now the lawyers and state bureaucrats are involved, and Mount Sterling remains alive as a taxing, law-enforcing, zoning-law capable bureaucracy with authority to  borrow money it couldn't possibly repay. Sort of like the government that lives in Washington.

If it's that hard for 44 good folks to behead their government, we libertarian/ancap fanciers may have a longer row to hoe than we thought.  Just have to keep on stompin' I guess.

Shooting Vietnam

Horst Faas won a Pulitzer for combat shots in Vietnam. Later an RPG wound confined him to the AP bureau in Saigon where he added a second legend to name, as a trainer, teacher,  editor.

He was also famous in our profession for handing out Nikon Fs like candy, one to virtually every would-be war free lancer who stumbled into his Saigon office. The camera came with unlimited Tri-X  and one instruction: Come back with good pictures.

Personally, Mr. Faas carried a Leica.

He died yesterday at 79. RIP to a consummate professional.

May 9, 2012

Losing Lugar

We may need to supply mouth guards to every liberal and neocon (as though they really are two separate snake balls) in America. Indiana fomented a national tragedy by tarring and feathering  Senator Richard Lugar in yesterday's GOP primary. Already the establishment politicians have ground their teeth down to nubs.

Without Lugar the Senate is doomed to deadlock. Worse,  the era of "collegiality" and  "bipartisanship" is in danger of doing a do-do.



Senator Lugar: I'm getting bored with this, Ted. You let me push my wars in Afghanistan and Iran and I'll support your $2 billion to hire more cops and teachers. Okay?

Senator Kennedy: We're getting close,  but you get one war or the other, not both. C'mon, I got Harvard AND Williams to worry about.

Okay, Afghanistan, then. But  I also want that $250 million for Wabash River beautification. Hell, we're borrowing it all from the Chinese, anyway.

Kennedy: Done! Let's go to the Monicle in a bipartisan manner and find a lobbyist to pay and drink martinis and be collegial together. 

Thanks again, Dad

Welcome company warmed my house for a couple of days, so I took the liberty of not writing. That meant I missed taking public notice of my father's birthday yesterday.  May 8, 1916-February 13, 2004.

Turgenev. Fathers and Sons. Their mutual awkwardness and conflicts both tempered and made more melancholy for the lucky ones whose personalities are welded in love, however much the affection may go undemonstrated.

It was and is too easy to define Dad by his fears. His boyhood was the horror of Depression poverty in rural isolation. From those ugly years he took away a vast prudence. We always had toys. We were never hungry. But I always lived with stern fatherly reminders that many things were not possible for "people like us."

From time to time the strictures of the latter would nearly sever us. That always moved us to look for a way to repair the bonds.  Often enough, that meant a gift, preferably hand made, from our personal work shops. Once, in his 70s, the result was:

A box. Quite a nice one, but still just a box? Not quite, and it must be understood that my father held a monumental  indifference to firearms and shooting. He found my weapons interests somewhat silly, and certainly a poor use of money. Nevertheless:

From no plans, no patterns. Like most of Dad's projects, it was a work of pure thought, at most aided by a glance at a magazine picture.

It still goes afield with me, Partner. Thanks again.

May 6, 2012

Sinful Sunday Thought

I have a small project in mind. Strictly speaking, it requires a building permit. Even more strictly, the  building permit will not be issued without a variance because I live in a "nonconforming structure." That is, my little house, on about  one and 1/4 acres, sets only 30 feet from the rear property line. The Smugleye-on-Lake Commissariat requires 35 feet. No credit is given for the the 200 feet of grass and trees in front of the house even though the greensward fans out to a generous 310 feet along the road.

It costs $200  (actually, about the cost of the project istelf)  to beg for a variance. Nonrefundable.  The zoning czars and the variance czars will get around to saying da or nyet in a matter of mere weeks or months.

So, since the project would change no footprint, would be unnoticeable to neighbors,  and could probably be done without alerting the zoning checka, I'm thinking just going ahead and pleading ignorance or something if my victimless crime comes to official notice.

But that isn't the sinful impulse.

One of the village council commissars peddles used cars. After the customer agrees to the deal, he tacks on a "documentation" fee, that is, he makes the sucker pay for his paperwork. (light bulb in the text balloon)

I write up the variance request, cut the check, fill out the long building permit form, and let the SOL bureaucracy play with itself until the issue is settled. I then surprise the Smugleye Politburo with a dun, my documentation fee. "Net 30 days; 1 1/2 per cent per month on the unpaid balance thereafter...Thank you for your business!"

I respond to nothing they say, just keep sending "Past Due!" notices and, when the fun of that wears off, file a small-claims action.  That costs $30, and -- even with the variance fee -- it strikes me as cheap thrills. -- even if I don't slip a tip to a reporter friend known for her weird sense of humor.

May 5, 2012

Poor Tam

She needed to peform surgery on a bubble-package imprisoning a baby seal. Rodded but not bladed, she had to humiliate herself by borrowing a knife.  At least her sad tale produced as good a quote-of-the-day as any:

...what kind of adult goes about their business without a knife on their person?

May 4, 2012


Hey Kids! I almost  forgot to tell you. Come to Okoboji.  It's Willie Weekend! We have Willies wiggling all over  the place. Big Willies and So-So Willies and Wee Willies. One is very special, and if you can grab it it you'll get a wonderful reward. Wink.


Okay, so it's really Walleye Weekend, opening of the season with great fanfare and an astounding increase in retail prices. It marks the beginning of the annual Fleece -the-Tourist  extravaganza which runs through September.

There really is a special Willie walleye. It's tagged and worth a big bundle ($30k ? I never pay much attention.)

This post results from what is usually a nice quiet, traffic-free jaunt down to the nearest country convenience store. Also from my distaste for turning the quiet, contemplative, solitary art of fishing in to a goddam rave-cum-carnival-cum-lottery.

May 2, 2012

Hey Jack, you seen my boots?

Let's say this college student got caught in a dragnet. Let's say he was hauled to a California Lubyanka. Let's say he was told he would be released and driven home. Let's say he was then tossed into a tiny holding cell and left there for five days, without food, water, or a toilet.  The reason? "We just forgot."

And let's add, just for good measure, that the jailers accidentally left a dose or two of meth in that cell.

Now, what would you call authorities like that? Incompetent? Criminally insane? Thugs? Guards-in-training for the next Dachau?

Wrong, Bunkie. You should call them dedicated employees of your federal government, specifically of the Drug Enforcement Administration.


May 1, 2012

Hooray. Hooray. The First of Mae

A sterling idea

The  Republican lawmaker probably didn't mean to be  taken too seriously when he said the deadlocked Iowa legislature should throw up its hands, go home, and try again next year. I suspect he was just amusing himself  by jerking chains.

Our Capitol Theatre of the Absurd is skivvy-knotted over -- you guessed it -- how much to extort and spend. Most of the hot air is being belched over commercial property taxes which are too high. Republicans want to cut them. Democrats, secure in their knowledge that all business people are thieving plutocrats, don't.

If our solons go home without writing a budget, the state would, theoretically, have to shut down. And we learn the results from Senate Boss Michael Gronstal, who represents  AFSCME, SIEU, the teacher's union, and, incidentally at best, the people who elected him.

“Therefore, one-quarter of all people in nursing homes would be thrown out ... and schools would lose thousands of teachers. It’s not really a plan that works.”

Of course. And conservatives, being what they are, would delay evicting your nonagenarian grandma from the care center until a nice January blizzard. Just to make the point more vividly. Gurneys in the snow banks. What a photo op.


Both sides bring considerable financial lunacy to the tax debate.  Democrats argue that lower business rates will mean higher residential rates. Quite true. Republicans say,"So what?" although in much subtler terms and accompanied by various plans to delay and disguise the rape of the smaller taxpayer.

Neither likes to soil its hands with the ultimate solution to confiscatory  property taxes. Which is, broadly sketched, to ravish goofy spending programs, swinging sabres and thrusting spears with all the fervor of a Mongol horde riding down a Crimean village.

True, school districts might have to do way with a few administrators who never deal with an actual student from one year to the next.  Cities and towns would face survival without the services of a a third-assistant deputy  zoning administrator. Other horrors would likewise exist, but, in the end, the more lightly taxed proletarian might no longer need to pick his neighbor's pocket to finance great-gram's bedroom.