Presty the DJ for June 24

Proving that there is no accounting for taste, I present the number six song today in 1972:

Twenty years later, Billy Joel got an honorary diploma … from Hicksville High School in New York (where he attended but was one English credit short of graduating due to oversleeping the day of the final):

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for June 24”

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Presty the DJ for June 23

Today in 1956, perhaps the first traffic safety song, “Transfusion,” reached number eight:

Today in 1975 was not a good day for Alice Cooper, who broke six ribs after falling off a stage in Vancouver:

Today in 1979, the Knack released “My Sharona”:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for June 23”

Take me out to the ball game … or not

The Wall Street Journal reports:

With the regular season approaching the halfway point, it seems safe to say that this is baseball in 2018: lots of home runs, even more strikeouts—and, relatively speaking, not a lot of people in the stands to see them.

League-wide attendance entering Friday of 27,328 per game is down 6.6% from this date last year and 8.6% overall, according to Stats LLC. The sport hasn’t seen an attendance drop of more than 6.7% in a single season since 1995, when the average crowd fell nearly 20% following the player strike that canceled the 1994 World Series. MLB attendance has remained consistent throughout this decade, never changing more than 1.9% in either direction.

While unwelcome to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, small decreases in attendance aren’t unusual or cause for alarm. Crowds sank 0.7% last year and 0.8% the year before that. But this season has been more than a minor dip, raising legitimate questions about what is happening.

The simplest answer, and the one Manfred would prefer, is the weather. And undoubtedly, it has been a factor. Rain and unseasonably cold temperatures plagued an unusual number of markets throughout April and May, causing 36 postponements already in 2018. There were 25 weather postponements total in 2016. Attendance always climbs in the summer, when schools are closed and the thermometer is friendlier, and Manfred said he thinks “weather’s a big part” of the drop so far.

Weather, however, can’t explain the issues everywhere. Through this time last year, Blue Jays attendance is down 29% in Toronto at the Rogers Centre, a stadium with a retractable roof. It’s down 3% at Seattle’s Safeco Field, even with the Mariners sporting one of baseball’s best records. Crowds are also down 10.9% in Oakland, 6.7% in San Francisco and 4.2% in Tampa Bay, markets where weather is almost never a factor.

That might be why Manfred admitted that the league is “concerned that there’s something to it more than weather.”

“We’re hoping that we rebound here in the second half of the season,” said Manfred, speaking at the conclusion of baseball’s quarterly owners meetings Thursday on an 80-degree, sun-soaked afternoon at MLB headquarters in New York. “We’re having a great season in terms of races and competitive teams, and we’re hoping with weather like we have in New York today we make some of that ground up.”

Fans in quite a few markets might disagree with Manfred’s definition of “competitive.” There are currently six teams—the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins and Texas Rangers—with winning percentages below .400, or the same number of sub-.400 teams there were from 2014 through 2017 combined.

In the history of baseball, there have never been more than five teams to finish below .400 in a single season. That’s happened in four years, though each one with a caveat: There was a split season due to a player strike in 1981; 1977 and 1969 were expansion years; and 1901 was the inaugural season of the American League.

Conversely, four teams—the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros and Mariners—are on pace to win 100 games, which would also be a major-league record.

The gap between the haves and have-nots has expanded as an increasing number of struggling organizations have chosen to tear down their rosters and embark on a full-fledged rebuild. This strategy undoubtedly can be effective, as the last two World Series champions, the Astros and Chicago Cubs, demonstrate.

But this season has shown that going that route has a significant impact at the box office. Attendance at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park is down 29.2% through this time last year following a winter where they traded their ace, Gerrit Cole, and their most popular player, 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen. The Royals have seen a 23% drop-off at Kauffman Stadium after losing a host of players, including first baseman Eric Hosmer and outfielder Lorenzo Cain. After trading Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich, Marlins attendance is officially down almost 50%, though that’s in part due to an organization decision to start announcing attendance based only on tickets sold.

On the other side, the Brewers have seen a 19.6% increase at Miller Park after adding Cain and Yelich to their roster. Yankees attendance is up 11.6% following their acquisition of Stanton. Even the last-place San Diego Padres have seen a slight bump after signing Hosmer to a long-term free-agent contract, suggesting that bringing in star power can galvanize fans.

Manfred pushed back against the idea that the attendance decline is because of the game’s competitive landscape, saying, “Based on half a season, I just don’t buy it.” He also pointed out, correctly, that a couple of teams not widely projected to be at the top of the standings, like the Mariners and Atlanta Braves, have exceeded expectations.

“We’ve had tremendous competitive balance over the last two decades,” Manfred said. “I think that at the end of the season people will agree we had a very competitive year.”

Whether that shows up in attendance is another story, whether because of competitive balance, ticket prices, the style of play on the field, weather or some combination of them all. In his news conference Thursday, Manfred said MLB is considering ways to produce a more “fan-friendly” schedule in 2019, which could feature two-game weekend series between rivals, among other changes.

Proof that Major League Baseball is one of the worst run professional sports is Manfred’s apparent refusal to acknowledge not merely this year’s attendance drop, but the three-year drop in progress.

The biggest on-the-field difference between MLB and the National Football League as a sports league is that essentially every NFL team enters the season having a reasonable chance to make the playoffs, even teams that didn’t make it last year. Conversely, what reason do fans of the Orioles, Royals, White Sox, Reds, Marlins and Rangers have to go to games? Their teams suck, and if you’re playing below .400 now there is no way you will become a contender this season.

The Astros/Cubs/Brewers lose-now-to-win-later approach is an affront to fans. Why would you buy a ticket to watch deliberately losing baseball? When you don’t play major-league-level players, or has-beens or will-never-bes, you’re trying to lose.

 

Why I don’t live in Madison, chapter 150

Facebook Friend David Blaska:

I spoke before the Madison School Board’s ad hoc committee on police in the schools late Monday afternoon. Or tried to.

Room 103 of the Doyle administration bldg was packed with the usual suspects, a term I used in my remarks. There were about 50 of the Derail the Jail crowd, assorted socialists and others. They sprayed the F-bomb liberally and insulted the committee members at will. They brandished the usual posters, including “Expel Cops, Not Kids.” They’ve been bird-dogging this committee for the past year and a half, virtually uncontradicted. Their message is pure identity blame gaming: the white power structure is keeping them down.

When at last Blaska’s turn came (and it came toward the last) he asked whether police in the four Madison high schools are really the problem.

  • When a veteran and honored teacher like Karen Vieth quits in disgust and describes a school out of control.
  • When she describes something called the positive behavior support coach hospitalized after breaking up a fight. At her middle school! Scores of teachers and parents have verified her account.
  • When 18 police responded to La Follette H.S. to a brawl in February, where two students and one teacher were injured.
  • When the cop assigned to La Follette disarmed a student bringing a loaded handgun into school. Just a few days after Parkland, Florida.
  • When later that month, 150 La Follette parents convened to demand order be restored.

None of them asked for cops out of school.

Who, exactly, is demanding cops out of schools? I noted that the crowd seated in Room 103 were pretty much the same mob who shouted down the Dane County Board of Supervisors when that ultra-liberal body discussed building a smaller and more humane county jail, one that would treat mental illness and address substance abuse.

Apologizing to the disrupters
It was at this point that the hullaballoo reached a deafening crescendo. One board member, T.J. Mertz, bugged out entirely. Committee chairman Dean Loumos (whom I was seated behind) shouted into my ear (to be heard above the cacophony) if I would be willing to stop right there. Given the pandemonium, I did so. Still had 17 seconds left of the allotted three minutes, but Blaska is public spirited.

Then Dean Loumos did the unforgivable. He apologized to the disrupters! Dean Loumos said he did not know Blaska would use “coded language.”

What coded language? The protestors were black, white, hispanic, and east Asian. Very few are parents. All but a handful are very young, very loud, and very obnoxious. I intend for Dean Loumos to explain or apologize. (We hope to post video soon.)

What else is new? Madison school board leadership race-shamed Karen Vieth for complaining about the dysfunction in her school. So why shouldn’t school board member Loumos do the same when a citizen and parent speaks in favor of keeping the police?!

In any event, there seem to be the votes on the 12-member committee to expel the police from Madison’s four high schools. Not for next fall’s school year, but phased out.

Except, except, except. The school district’s legal counsel informed the committee that the State of Wisconsin on March 26 enacted Wisconsin Act 143, which mandates that school personnel are required to immediately report their belief that a “serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a student, school employee, or the public.”

What’s more, the statute prohibits the school district from interfering by imposing its own policy over this mandate. The school district cannot require the teacher or staff to first touch base with an administrator “or any other person before calling … 911.”

That clearly troubled school board member Loumos. He fretted that, with 4,200 district employees:

“One of them could be having a bad day and say, ‘I’m going to cause some grief.’”

(Good to know the school board has your back, Madison public school teachers.)

After the attorney’s presentation on the statute, one of the committee members, Tyrone Bell, made a motion with his hands that indicated evicting police is a dead letter. Bell conjectured that East High alone would generate 10 such calls every day but that, with a cop in the school, the problem could be reported to that officer, which the law allows. And the officer could use his/her discretion. (I have high hopes for Mr. Bell.)

Another member (didn’t catch who) actually wondered if the 911 call had to be made to Madison police! (No, silly, call the Poynette cop shop!)

This is a school district that has its hand out for state money to improve school security while simultaneously giving the boot to the police (aka educational resource officers, or EROs).

Blaska’s Bottom Line: Why should the school board’s ERO committee meeting be any less disruptive than the average Madison middle and high school?

The FBI vs. conservatives

Julie Kelly:

During his recent book tour, ex-FBI Director James Comey made it clear that he detests Donald Trump.

Comey mocked Trump’s appearance—commenting on his “orange skin” and the bags under his eyes—and compared the president to a mob boss. He saidTrump is unfit to be president, and even questioned his marriage. On Twitter, Comey taunts the president with self-aggrandizing tweets and suggests Trump’s day of reckoning will soon arrive. During an interview last spring, Comey’s wife admitted she and her daughters voted for Hillary Clinton and attended the Women’s March to protest Trump’s presidency the day after the inauguration.

But as the old saying goes, a fish rots from its head, and that certainly is the case with Comey’s FBI. (Trump fired Comey in May 2017.) Several passages in the Justice Department’s Inspector General report on the agency’s handling of the Clinton email investigation illustrate the FBI’s culture of contempt for Trump, before and after the election.

Comments from key law enforcement officials—lawyers and investigators—about Trump were vile, demeaning, and childish. But their ridicule was not isolated to Trump. These public servants were unsparing in their contempt for the voters—the very people who fund their salaries and pensions.

Let’s start with Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the FBI lovers who are connected to the Clinton email probe, the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. We know from previously-reported text exchanges that Strzok and Page harbored a deep disdain for Trump and a political preference for Clinton. The IG report confirms their bias after reviewing more than 40,000 messages between the two:

These text messages included political opinions about candidates and issues involved in the 2016 presidential election, including statements of hostility toward then-candidate Trump and statements of support for candidate Clinton. Several of their text messages also appeared to mix political opinions with discussions about the Midyear [Clinton email] and Russia investigations, raising a question as to whether Strzok’s and Page’s political opinions may have affected investigative decisions.

While Strzok was working as the lead investigator on the Clinton email probe, he and Lisa Page, then an FBI attorney, exchanged dozens of messages that were critical of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Strzok called Trump “an idiot” on several occasions in the spring of 2016, and Page concurred: “He’s awful. This man cannot be president.” After he won the nomination, their scorn intensified. Page called Trump a “d*****” and Strzok called him a “disaster” and a “f****** idiot.” They both worried he might win. In referencing a news article the day before the election, Strzok sent a panicked message to Page: “OMG THIS IS F****** TERRIFYING.”

(When questioned by the IG’s office about the tone of the texts, Strzok insisted they were merely “personal opinion talking to a friend and that “the political opinions he expressed in the text messages never transited into the official realm.”)

But that’s a bit hard to believe since Strzok started conspiring in the summer of 2016 about how to respond if Trump won. When asked by his inamorata to assure her Trump would not be the next president, Strzok replied: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

And while considering whether to join Mueller’s team in May 2017, Strzok fantasized about his role in an “investigation leading to impeachment.” When Page told Strzok in March 2017 that she had just finished reading All the President’s Men, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s account of the Watergate scandal, she noted how the president resigned at the end. Strzok replied, “What?!?! G**, that we should be so lucky.”

The lovers also criticized Republicans, conservatives, and Trump voters. In early 2016, they complained about the annual March for Life. Page told Strzok, “I truly hate these people. No support for the woman who actually has to spend the rest of her life rearing this child, but we care about ‘life.’ Assholes.” (Strzok then joked about canceling the permit for the event.) During the primaries, Strzok remarked, “the Republican party is in utter shambles. When was the last competitive ticket they offered?” Then in August 2016, Strzok texted Page, “Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support . . . .”

Buried toward the end of the report are shocking comments from three unnamed FBI officials. The inspector general slams the three—as well as Strzok and Page—for “conduct [that] has brought discredit to themselves, sowed doubt about the FBI’s handling of the Midyear investigation, and impacted the reputation of the FBI.” Two FBI agents repeatedly referred to Trump as “drumpf.” In an exchange in September 2016, one agent joked about not wanting to spend time with his colleagues: “i (sic) would rather have brunch with trump and a bunch of his supporters like the ones from ohio that are retarded.”

The day after the election, one FBI official lamented, “Trump’s supporters are all poor to middle class, uneducated, lazy POS that think he will magically grant them jobs for doing nothing. They probably didn’t watch the debates, aren’t fully educated on his policies, and are stupidly wrapped up in his unmerited enthusiasm.”

An FBI attorney responded: “I’m just devastated. I can’t wait until I can leave today and just shut off the world for the next four days.”

Then this gem: “I honestly feel like there is going to be a lot more gun issues, too, the crazies won finally. This is the tea party on steroids. And the GOP is going to be lost, they have to deal with an incumbent in 4 years. We have to fight this again. Also Pence is stupid.”

Keep in mind, these are the idiots sending messages like this on government devices.

All of the FBI officials cited in the report claimed their personal and political views did not impact their professional work. Incredibly, Inspector General Michael Horowitz seemed to agree. His report concludes that his team “did not find evidence to connect the political views expressed in these messages to the specific investigative decisions that we reviewed.”

But Americans know better. The public and private comments by top law enforcement and intelligence officials in the Obama Justice Department demonstrate a level of contempt for Trump that resulted in a bogus counterintelligence operation into his presidential campaign; the leaking of classified information to hurt Trump associates; and a special counsel investigation that has roiled the presidency and divided the country.

And now we know they hate us, too.

Remember when liberals were suspicious of the FBI?

 

Still in front

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Gov. Scott Walker leads all his Democratic challengers according to Wednesday’s Marquette University Law School Poll, while state Schools Superintendent Tony Evers was the leading choice among Democratic primary voters.

Walker had 48% to Evers’ 44% in a head-to-head match up, while Walker led former Assembly members Kelda Roys by 48% to 40%.

A field of 10 candidates is vying in the Aug. 14 Democratic primary.

In the Democratic horse race, Evers leads the field with 25%, attorney Matt Flynn, liberal activist Mike McCabe and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin had 7%.

State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout of Alma had 5%, Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik and firefighter union leader Mahlon Mitchell had 4%, Roys and Assembly member Dana Wachs of Eau Claire had 2% and Josh Pade had 1%.

A lot of people in the state have not yet tuned into the governor’s race. The poll found 34% were undecided in the Democratic primary, compared to 44% in early March.

Evers was the best known Democrat, but still, 61% did not know enough about him to form an opinion.

By comparison, just 3% couldn’t form an opinion about Walker.

The survey of 800 registered voters was conducted June 13 through Sunday. A margin of error for the entire sample  was plus or minus 4%.

Of the 318 Democratic primary voters, the sample was plus or minus 6.4 percentage points, with the 264 Republican respondents having a margin of error of 6.9 percentage points.

The half sample of 400 voters had a margin of error of 5.6 percentage points.

In the current sample, including so-called leaners, 47% identified as Republican and 44% identified as Democratic.

RightWisconsin adds:

Governor Scott Walker’s re-election campaign received some good news from the results of the latest Marquette University Law School Poll released Wednesday.

Walker’s approval rating is now at 49 percent compared to a disapproval rating of 47 percent, the first time more have approved of Walker’s performance than disapproved since October 2014. When asked if the state is on the right track, 52 percent said Wisconsin is on the right track while 42 percent said the state is on the wrong track.

Walker leads all of his Democratic rivals in head-to-head polling, including Evers who receives 44 percent support to Walker’s 48 percent.

In the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, Kevin Nicholson leads state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) 37 percent to 32 percent. However, with 30 percent undecided and a margin of error of 6.9 percentage points, the race remains wide open.

Interestingly, Nicholson leads Vukmir among Republican women voters, 39 percent to 26 percent:

Republicans still want to more about the two senate candidates, with 69 percent saying they don’t know enough about Nicholson while 72 percent still don’t know enough about Vukmir. The two candidates will face each other in the August primary, with the winner facing U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in November.

Meanwhile, Baldwin continues to be more unpopular than popular. Of those polled, 37 percent have a favorable view of Baldwin while 39 percent have an unfavorable view of the senator. The percentages are the same as they were in the March poll.

Despite her unfavorable rating, Baldwin still maintains a substantial lead over both of her Republican rivals in head-to-head polling. Baldwin leads Nicholson 50 percent to 39 percent with 7 percent undecided. Baldwin leads Vukmir 49 percent to 40 percent with 8 percent undecided.

Democrats still maintain a lead in voter enthusiasm: 71 percent of Democrats are very excited to vote in the midterm elections while 67 percent of Republicans are very excited. However, the gap was 10 points in March. Dr. Charles Franklin, who directs the poll for Marquette University Law School, cautioned that enthusiasm tends to bounce up and down in midterm election years.

Walker has always polled poorly, except on Election Day, where he gets his usual 52 or 53 percent.

Well, that was fast

National Review:

President Trump said Wednesday that he would sign an executive order, drafted by Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, ending the practice of separating children from their parents after families are caught attempting to cross the border illegally.

Trump indicated that he would sign the order to end his administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration-enforcement policy, which has thus far separated roughly 2,000 children from parents who are awaiting trial. The order is expected to ensure that families remain together in specially equipped detention centers during their prosecution.

“I’ll be signing something in a little while that’s going to do that. I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation I’m sure,” Trump told the White House press pool.

Administration officials reportedly expect a legal challenge in the event that they try to keep children with their detained parents, due to a 1997 order that mandates children be released from federal custody after 20 days.

The president’s comments came moments after Speaker Paul Ryan announced that the House will vote Thursday on immigration legislation that, in addition to increasing funding for border security and granting amnesty to Dreamers, would end the family separation policy and fund family detention centers. In a concession to conservatives,  the House is also expected to vote Thursday on a more hardline immigration bill that does not address family separations; though neither bill has the requisite Democratic support to pass.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer has already said nothing will pass, because 60 votes are required in the Senate, and Democrats think voters will vote against Republicans on this issue, irrespective of where immigration sits among nonaligned voters in terms of priority.

 

On the freak show that is my hometown

James Wigderson promises something that everyone should endorse:

I want to promise my readers something, and I swear it’s a promise that I’ll never break. It’s a promise that I make to my immediate family, my friends, and my mother. I will never ride a bicycle through Madison completely naked.

Apparently this is an annual protest against something, and a bunch of people rode their bicycles on Saturday past the farmers market in their birthday suits. I’m not sure if Madison Mayor Paul Soglin was with them and, despite my dedication to you readers, I am not going to look through the photos online to check.

Have you noticed that the people you would never want to see naked are often the ones at naked protests? And who will disinfect the rental bicycles that were used by the protesters? Yes, I’ll bet you’ll think twice now before hopping on one of those blue bicycles in Madison.

I’m sure the naked bicyclists were hoping for some sort of reaction other than, “eewww.” That upon seeing the unmentionables we would all suddenly go, “Oh, I get it. From now on, I’m going to believe like a Hollywood lefty that these naked people are right about everything.”

Instead, the reaction I saw from most people was, “Madison.” As in, I’m in Madison, and therefore the inmates of the asylum are running the place.

As they bicycled through Madison’s farmer’s market on Saturday (“Harold, do you think the melons are fresh?”) I’m guessing that never have been so many people been bored by nudity since Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman starred in Eyes Wide Shut.

Somebody forgot to tell the organizers that nudity as a protest model has not only been done, it’s now cliché. So the Madison Left will have to find some other way to shock us to seek attention for whatever it is they’re seeking attention other than themselves. And in doing so, they’ll just be a reminder of how puerile the Left has become.

It’s all about them, you know. “How do I attract attention to me so everyone can see how noble I am? What can I do so that everyone knows I care because I’m special?” And it’s usually followed by, “Can’t everyone see I’m much more enlightened than THEM?”

THEM being whatever rubes voted for Governor Scott Walker, President Donald Trump, or even Hillary Clinton instead of Bernie Sanders and whomever is the best friend of John Nichols at The Nation this week.

So we get Robert De Niro dropping the F-bomb at awards shows, John Legend dropping F-bombs on House Speaker Paul Ryan on Twitter while Legend’s wife pulls a Kelda Roys to get attention, and even Kathy Griffin has returned to drop F-bombs on First Lady Melania Trump.

Locally, One Wisconsin Now’s Scot Ross has the mouth of a sewer and yet he manages to get quoted in everyone’s publications. The protesters carry signs trying to shock people being “woke” and now we have bicyclists tempting skin cancer.

Too often people on the Right like to hyperventilate over some of these things, and some on the Right even try to emulate the Left’s tactics of using shock over substance. When that happens, we’re just giving these spoiled babies what they want: attention.

But just as we don’t take seriously a three-year-old running through the house naked after a bath, we should stop taking the Left’s antics seriously, too. When they actually have something intelligent to say and want to be taken seriously, perhaps they’ll follow the sage advice of Frau Blücher, “I suggest you put on a tie!”

This prompted a reader of Wigderson’s to post:

Note to self: Never buy a used bike seat from Madison.

Given that motorcycle riders are counseled to dress for the fall, not the ride, one wonders how many injuries Madison Fire Department paramedics had to handle from bike riders whose birthday suits met pavement.