Presty the DJ for Feb. 23

The number one song today in 1991:

Today in 1998, the members of Oasis were banned for life from Cathay Pacific Airways for their “abusive and disgusting behavior.”

Apparently Cathay Pacific knew it was doing, because one year to the day later, Oasis guitarist Paul Arthurs was arrested outside a Tommy Hilfiger store in London for drunk and disorderly conduct.

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Feb. 23”

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Presty the DJ for Feb. 22

The number one single today in 1960:

Its remake 16 years later — which I had never heard of before writing this blog — finished 12 places below the original:

The number one British single today in 1962:

The number one single today in 1975

Proving there is no accounting for taste, even among the supposedly cultured British, I present their number one single today in 1981:

The number one British single today in 1997:

The short list of birthdays begins with one-hit-wonder Ernie K. Doe (whose inclusion certainly does not express my opinion about my own mother-in-law):

Bobby Hendricks of the Drifters:

Michael Wilton of Queensryche:

One non-musical death of note today in 1987: The indescribable Andy Warhol, who among other things managed the Velvet Underground:

One musical death of note today in 2002: Drummer Ronnie Verrell, who drummed as Animal on the Muppet Show:

 

The green destruction of Wisconsin

Matt Kittle:

Make no mistake, taxpayers of all income levels — not just the wealthy — would pay dearly should the fantastical, socialist Green New Deal ever become law.

That’s not a threat. That’s a fact that more and more Green New Deal warriors like U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan are more than happy to admit. 

The Madison Democrat this week on Wisconsin Public Radio likened the massive environmental and social welfare proposal to America’s quest to put a man on the moon. 

“When we put a person on the moon we made a serious effort from government to do just that. We invested a lot in space exploration,” Pocan said. 

But the cost to put a man on the moon, even in today’s dollars, pales in comparison to the trillions upon trillions of dollars that would be required to implement the sweeping energy, environmental and social welfare changes found in the Green New Deal. 

The Apollo program cost a total of about $19.4 billion, according to NASA’s Apollo budget appropriations between 1960 and 1973. That amounts to about $225 billion in today’s dollars for all of those rockets, space modules and NASA scientists, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculators. 

The Green New Deal resolution introduced last week by U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the face of the radical left scheme, calls for transforming the nation’s power portfolio to 100 percent renewable within a decade. 

While economic experts and people grounded in reality assert such a drastic change is impossible, going to “net-zero” carbon dioxide emissions in a decade is just the beginning for the green dreamers.  

As the Heritage Foundation’s Stephen Moore aptly put it in a Boston Herald column Wednesday, the GND “also includes a whole social justice agenda that features everything from (Bernie Sanders’) ‘Medicare-for-all’ to a guaranteed job for all Americans, a $15-an-hour minimum wage and even regulations on how often you will be able to drive your car and fly in an airplane.” 

Ocasio-Cortez and her socialist handlers have had to do a lot of explaining and damage control after a New Green Deal “Frequently Asked Questions” explainer not in the resolution was swiftly retracted. The FAQ included some truly alarming ideas, asserting expansion of “highspeed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary,” and “economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work.” One initiative described a goal to “fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes.” 

Ocasio-Cortez and her surrogates swear that sections of the document had been “doctored” or not ready for public viewing. But the final resolution was radical enough without prohibitions on flatulent cows and abandoning air travel.

Still, proponents of the GND, which Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) even derided as a “green dream,” speak cavalierly about the lost jobs and the massive infusion of taxpayer cash needed to make the green dream a reality.

“If we wind up transitioning to, as we should, renewable energy sources, you are going to have a displacement of jobs in people who work in the fossil fuels industry, so you have to address that,” Pocan said, calling small details like an estimated $32 trillion universal health care plan tucked into the Green New deal part of the “little side portions” that plan “detractors” are focusing on. 

But even the traditional allies of the Democratic Party, organized labor, see the ruin in rapidly implementing full renewables like solar and wind.   

“We’ve heard words like ‘just transition’ before, but what does that really mean? Our members are worried about putting food on the table,” Phil Smith, spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America, told Reuters this week. 

UWMA represents about 80,000 members, including coal miners, factory workers, health care employees, and corrections officers in the U.S. and Canada. 

“We will never settle for ‘just transition’ language as a solution to the job losses that will surely come from some of the policies in the resolution,” Yvette Pena O’Sullivan, executive director of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, told Reuters. LIUNA represents about a half a million construction workers and gave the vast majority of its political action committee House contributions in the last campaign cycle to Democrats, including $7,500 to Pocan.

Pocan’s green odyssey would deliver a beating to Wisconsin’s vital and expanding manufacturing base. While there are no estimates from the Green New Deal, a joint study by the MacIver Institute and The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in 2015 found that the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan would have cost Wisconsin $920 million in 2030, and reduce disposable income in the state by nearly $2 billion.

The Trump administration in October 2017 officially put an end to a draconian slate of regulations that would have dramatically increased energy rates for businesses and residential customers.  

Like the Green New Deal resolution, Obama’s green dream would have reduced carbon emissions from coal-fired electricity power plants, but only by half as much. Despite the high economic cost, the Clean Power Plan would only have changed global temperature by under two-hundredths of a degree Celsius by the end of the century, according to researchers at the CATO Institute.

Climate alarmists say that without immediate and drastic reductions in CO2 emissions over the next dozen years, the planet is courting disaster. Such environmental doomsday prophesies, some reeking of politics, have been delivered in the past. We are still here.

Wisconsin’s own former U.S. senator, the late-Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis.), creator of Earth Day, in April 1970 wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all species of living animals will be extinct.” 

In 1989, an Associated Press climate alarmist piece included this screaming headline: “UN Official Predicts Disaster, Says Greenhouse Effect Could Wipe Some Nations Off Map.” A United Nations Environment Programme official predicted “entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000.” 

Fear is what the radical left is banking on. 

Many on the green team don’t mind at all the descriptor “radical,” however. John Nichols in a piece earlier this week for the far-left Nation argued that conservatives once called Franklin Delano Roosevelt “radical,” too. Note to Nichols: Conservatives still call FDR radical and for good reason. 

As the Heritage Foundation’s Moore wrote, the big-government expansions of the 1930s failed the economy and the worker in many ways.

“Ocasio-Cortez says that to replace the millions of jobs the GND would destroy, the new guaranteed-jobs program would work like the original New Deal. But despite the fake history of the Great Depression, FDR’s make-work programs, such as the Works Progress Administration, failed miserably in their quest to end joblessness and poverty. During the eight years of the WPA, the unemployment rate averaged above 12 percent, some three times higher than today,” Stephens wrote.

Arguably, not even Roosevelt could imagine this much government takeover of the daily lives and markets of the capitalist nation he led through a war against tyranny and oppression. 

In his column, Nichols praises State Rep. Greta Neubauer (D-Racine), Wisconsin’s version of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Neubauer, a young liberal gun in the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network before winning election last year, “says that what matters now is an understanding of the need to advance an ambitious program ‘that provides living wage jobs and protects our environment,’” Nichols writes. 

Apparently, supporters of the Green New Deal resolution, non-binding for now, don’t see or ignore the needs of the people that they claim to most represent.

“Cutting carbon emissions is incredibly expensive. Green energy is not yet able to compete with fossil fuels to meet most of humanity’s needs. Forcing industries and communities to shift — or plying them with expensive subsidies — means everyone pays more for energy, hurting the poorest most,” Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and visiting professor at Copenhagen Business School, wrote last year in an op-ed for USA Today. Lomborg, a green energy advocate and certainly no reactionary, urged world leaders not to panic about the latest dour – and faulty – U.N. climate change report.

Neubauer, a vocal supporter of the Green Deal, did not answer MacIver News Service’s email seeking the legislator’s thoughts on the emerging details of the radical resolution. 

Like America’s moon mission, Pocan and other green dreamers say their deal would create all kinds of jobs and spin-off positions in the wind and solar business to offset the job losses forced by the socialist initiative. We’ve seen that bad movie before. Remember Solyndra? 

In peddling her socialist wish list, Ocasio-Cortez said climate change is “one of the biggest existential threats to our way of life.” A lot of economic experts feel the same about the Green New Deal. 

How to get rid of 25,000 jobs

Brad Stone:

In retrospect, the helipad was probably a bad idea.

The proposed transportation hub for senior Amazon executives was supposed to sit atop one of the company’s gleaming new skyscrapers along the East River, part of its planned second headquarters in Queens, New York. But the image of Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos and his well-heeled lieutenants bypassing the city’s congested subway system grated even on proponents of the deal. It also handed political opponents a convenient catch phrase—“Stay the helipad out!”

On Thursday morning, Amazon.com Inc.decided to do just that, scotching a deal that would have brought 25,000 high-paying jobs over 10 years to New York, in exchange for close to $3 billion in tax breaks and subsidies. “After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens,” Amazon announced on its corporate blog. “We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion.”

Bezos and colleagues, along with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the primary backers of the deal, will now have to puzzle over how one of the most prominent development deals in recent history went wrong. According to urban policy experts and other observers of the fracas, there’s plenty of blame to go around: regional politicians who didn’t properly consult local interests, local officials who turned the debate into a national bully pulpit on unrelated issues such as the merits of facial recognition technology, and an economic development process that for decades has pitted U.S. city against city in a destructive battle to court the largest companies in the world.

And Amazon, too, is to blame. “For them to not have anticipated a political backlash to this kind of incentive package, when it sits right in the backyard of people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, just shows complete incompetence,” says Richard Florida, an urban studies professor at the University of Toronto.

Amazon’s withdrawal is, by any measure, a catastrophic outcome to its extremely hyped search for a second headquarters, or HQ2. Bezos decided to conduct the search in September 2017, when Amazon was facing increasing animosity in its home town. Candidates in the Seattle mayoral election that year slammed the rapidly expanding company for contributing to soaring housing prices and homelessness, while the city council passed an income tax on residents making more than $250,000 a year—a dart aimed right at Amazon executives. Other legislation, which Amazon bitterly fought: taxes on the city’s large businesses to fund homeless services and affordable housing.

For Bezos and other Amazon execs, the HQ2 search was partly a way to gauge public sentiment in each potential city, so they could avoid the problems they faced in Seattle, according to a person familiar with the process. Outside the company, as Amazon narrowed its list to 20 finalist cities in January 2018, there was a different reaction from corporate welfare opponents who saw the process as an effort to extract the biggest possible tax breaks. The optics were further tainted by the fact that during the process, Jeff Bezos became the wealthiest man in the world, by a lot, and Amazon’s market value touched (briefly) the magical threshold of $1 trillion.

Still, de Blasio and Cuomo were all smiles at a press conference last November, when they announced they had scored one-half of the prodigious HQ2 haul, along with northern Virginia, the other winning site. Cuomo predicted that Amazon would hire 40,000 workers within 25 years and that the city would reap as much as $27.5 billion in tax revenue—a great return on a $3 billion enticement. They had won the game, “doing what mayors and governors have done for time immemorial, which is to get companies to locate in their region,” says Margaret O’Mara, a professor at the University of Washington who has studied the history of Silicon Valley and other technology hubs.

The local opposition started to gather before the press conference even ended. Outside the event, huddled against the cold wind, a handful of local politicians criticized the “secretive grease-the-wheels process,” according to Jimmy Van Bramer, a city councilman who represents the district where Amazon would have located.

If the opposition was a surprise to Amazon, it shouldn’t have been. Last June, 28-year-old Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated powerful incumbent Representative Joseph Crowley, running on a Bernie-flavored platform of Medicare expansion, government housing, and jobs guarantees. The progressive left was emboldened, and with political winds shifting, local officials feared being on the wrong side of the Amazon fight.

There was other relevant history that should have scared Amazon: New York has repeatedly stiffed the entreaties of another gigantic retailer, Walmart, which doesn’t have any stores in the five boroughs, despite repeated attempts over many decades. “I don’t care if we are ever here,” a former Walmart CEO, Lee Scott, once said bitterly of New York, sounding a bit like a beaten-down Frank Sinatra. “I don’t think it’s worth the effort.”

Predictably, opposition got louder after Amazon announced its plans. Anti-Amazon activists were already well organized from Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign and armed with lists of constituent emails and telephone numbers. The New York tabloids sharpened their knives. “Queens Ransom” blared the cover of the New York Post, with an illustration of Bezos holding bags of cash and smiling villainously as he departed via the infamous helipad.

The company’s response was uncharacteristically feeble. It sent out flyers (“Happy New Year from your future neighbors at Amazon”) that promised career retraining for local residents and a donation of real estate for a new school for 600 students. And weeks after the initial announcement, it set up a community advisory council to interact with local officials and advocate for the deal.

It was also notable what Amazon did not do: bring out the big gun, Jeff Bezos himself, to give city politicians the attention they often feel entitled to. Instead, his chief deputy, Jeff Wilke, called local officials to wish them Happy Thanksgiving, while policy and real estate executives represented the company at the increasingly fractious public hearings.

Polls showed strong support for Amazon in Long Island City. Residents backed the deal 58 percent to 35 percent, according to a poll conducted in early February by Siena College. But opponents had leverage: The subsidy package, or part of it, required the authorization of the state’s three-member Public Authorities Control Board; a major critic of the project, Queens State Senator Michael Gianaris, was nominated to the board. Critics were also raising issues, emphatically, on TV and online, that Amazon would rather not address, such as the company’s opposition to unions in its fulfillment centers and its sale of facial recognition technology to government agencies like ICE.

None of this surprised longtime observers of New York politics. But Amazon, it seems, didn’t have the appetite for the protracted public battle, or the prospect that it could be scapegoated by every subway delay, pizza rat, traffic jam, or housing eviction in Queens from now to eternity.

“This was not even that a difficult a fight,” says Ester Fuchs, a Columbia University urban affairs professor. “I think it’s a misreading by Amazon of how politics works in New York.” Julie Samuels, executive director of Tech:NYC, a group that advocates for tech-friendly urban policies, says “culturally, the problem was they were not equipped for people to not be excited. They had no tools in place for that.”

And so Bezos went full Snake Plissken and escaped from New York. Cities such as Newark, N.J., are trying to win Amazon’s favor. But the company said in its blog post that it will stick with northern Virginia and a smaller office planned for Nashville.

It’s a typical Bezos power play—belligerently confronting opposition he views as unfair or unjust. He did it in Texas back in 2011, when he threatened to close a fulfillment center in the face of a $269 million bill for uncollected state taxes. (The state caved.) He also did it last week, when he called out the National Enquirer in a blog post for threatening to publish personal photos if he didn’t suspend an inquiry into the tabloid paper. (The paper and its parent company denied the charge of extortion.)

Now, New York and some of its politicians are feeling the brunt of Bezos’s ire. In their quieter moments, they may also be counting all the jobs and tax revenues that could have been.

This, of course, is what Wisconsin Democrats want to do to Foxconn, because (1) they don’t believe in the private sector, and (2) they didn’t make the Foxconn deal.

 

Comrade (would-be) President Sanders

Kevin D. Williamson:

Bernie Sanders, the antique Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, is not quite ready to retire to his lakeside dacha and so once again is running for the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong with an agenda about which he cannot be quite entirely honest.

Presty the DJ for Feb. 20

The Beatles had quite a schedule today in 1963. They drove from Liverpool to London through the night to appear on the BBC’s “Parade of the Pops,” which was on live at noon.

After their two songs, they drove back north another three hours to get to their evening performance at the Swimming Baths in Doncaster.

The number one song today in 1965:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Feb. 20”

The governor goes to pot

George Mitchell:

As reported Monday in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Governor Tony Evers has justified his proposal to decriminalize marijuana as follows:

Bottom line is we’re spending too much money prosecuting and incarcerating people and often people of color for non-violent crimes related to possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Don’t hold your breath, so to speak, waiting for evidence that “possessing small amounts of marijuana” has anything to do with the incarceration rate.

Last month the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) reported on the most serious offenses for which inmates were admitted to state prison. Among male inmates, 111 of 22,459 were admitted for drug possession. Among female inmates, 30 of 1,624 were admitted for drug possession.

More than twenty years ago I studied a representative random sample of state prison inmates from Milwaukee County. The most recent offense of seven percent of the inmates was drug related. As detailed in the report, none of the offenses were for possession. All involved possession with intent to deliver or actual delivery of drugs. Many offenders were armed. Some were in school zones.

Current data demonstrate that little has changed. The new LFB report shows that nearly eight percent of current inmates had convictions for possession with intent to deliver or manufacturing and delivery.

As for who really goes to prison, a 2018 LFB report states, “The predominant offenses by [male inmates] are sexual offenses, murder/homicide, robbery, assaults, and burglary. The most common by women are murder/homicide, theft, assault, operating while intoxicated, and robbery.”

Yet another 2018 report, from the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum, addresses the “logic” employed by Evers. Under the heading “Serious Crimes, Serious Time,” WPF describes “the rising share of inmates serving time for violent crimes. These numbers rose from 59.4% of inmates in 2006 to 66.0% in 2017.”

Directly addressing the assumption that “most inmates are nonviolent drug offenders who do not require incarceration,” WPF matter-of-factly observes that “corrections data do not appear to bear that out.”

(Disclosure: I am in the small minority of Americans who favor a broader policy of ending drug prohibition than offered by Evers. That’s a topic for another day.)

Anecdotal evidence from my years of covering police and courts bears this out, at least in my experience. Where I work the people who get arrested for marijuana offenses (1) aren’t small-time personal users (for instance, the 21 people who got arrested on marijuana delivery charges in Platteville in May 2012) or (2) get busted in the course of something else — for instance, a traffic stop where the officer discovers drug paraphernalia. Do those who support marijuana legalization also support allowing drivers to toke and drive?

 

Presty the DJ for Feb. 19

Today in 1956, Elvis Presley performed three shows at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa, Fla. Presley closed the final show by announcing to the crowd of 14,000, “Girls, I’ll see you backstage.”

Many of them took Presley at his word. Presley barely made it into his dressing room, losing some of his clothes and his shoes in the girl gauntlet.

The number one single today in 1961 posed the question of whether actors can sing:

(Answer: Generally, singers act better than actors sing. Read on.)

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Feb. 19”

Why People Hate the Media, Chapter 9,222

Facebook Friend Michael Smith:

The Smollett fake attack has now devolved to where all these fake attacks go to live an eternal life – to Ratherland.

Ratherland is that imaginary place created by former CBS anchor Dan Rather, where things are “fake but accurate” and even when disproved, are kept alive because they represent a “greater truth”.

Here’s the process:

1 – Person fakes an outrageous situation (almost always one with political benefit).

2 – Media and politicians immediatley jump to virtue signal by siding with the “victim” and running feet of columns and hours of broadcast coverage.

3 – Situation proves to be faked or untrue.

4 – Rather than chastising the perpetrator, the media and politicians immediatley blame people for noticing it is fake.

5 – Perpetrator disappears from the news, relegated to page 27 below the fold.

6 – Media and politicians claim that even if the situation was faked, the conditions exist in America for such a situation to happen, so even if it didn’t, we should treat it as if it did (a GQ writer actually stated such).

7 – You are a racist homophobe if you think differently.

8 – Welcome to Ratherland!

Progressives claim that an event that never happened somehow proves their points and supports the idea that they are better, more compassionate and more woke than you are. Members of the media are now claiming they are the victims.

I saw another tweet that cluelessly claimed the right is using the Smollett situation to blame all people who report such crimes and how bad it is to generalize one bad apple to represent the whole barrel. Wonder where they were when anyone who didn’t jump on the Smollett bandwagon was being called a racist homophobe.

And yet a whole political movement is bases on nothing but claiming your opponent is bad because you want them to be. This is why honest debate is impossible today – in true Kafkaesque fashion, no matter what you do or what you say – even (especially) if you don’t say or do anything, you are guilty.

And if you are guilty, you are shipped off to Ratherland.