Presty the DJ for Feb. 25

The number one country and western single today in 1956 was the singer’s number one number one:

The number one British album today in 1984 was the Thompson Twins’ “Into the Gap”:

The number one single today in 1984 was adapted by WGN-TV for its Chicago Cubs games — a good choice given that the Cubs that season decided to play like an actual baseball team:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Feb. 25”


Presty the DJ for Feb. 24

The number one single today in 1973:

Today in 1976, the Eagles’ “Their Greatest Hits” became the first platinum album, exceeding 1 million sales:

Today in 2000, Carlos Santana won eight Grammy Awards for “Supernatural”:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Feb. 24”

The Second Amendment civil war

David French:

[Wednesday] night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second Amendment. They mocked the notion that rape victims might want to arm themselves for protection. There were calls of “murderer.” Rubio was compared to a mass killer. There were wild cheers for the idea of banning every single semiautomatic rifle in America. The discourse was vicious.

It was also slanderous. There were millions of Americans who watched all or part of the town hall and came away with a clear message: These people aren’t just angry at what happened in their town, to their friends and family members; they hate me. They really believe I’m the kind of person who doesn’t care if kids die, and they want to deprive me of the ability to defend myself.

The CNN town hall might in other circumstances have been easy to write off as an outlier, a result of the still-raw grief and pain left in the wake of the Parkland shooting. But it was no less vitriolic than the “discourse” online, where progressives who hadn’t lost anyone in the attack were using many of the same words as the angry crowd that confronted Rubio and Loesch. The NRA has blood on its hands, they said. It’s a terrorist organization. Gun-rights supporters — especially those who oppose an assault-weapons ban — are lunatics at best, evil at worst.

This progressive rage isn’t fake. It comes from a place of fierce conviction and sincere belief.

Unfortunately, so does the angry response from too many conservatives:

While I don’t live in New York and D.C., I do interact with quite a few members of the mainstream media — from cable hosts to producers to print reporters — and I can assure you that this sentiment is every bit as slanderous to their characters as the claim that gun-rights supporters “don’t care” when kids are gunned down in schools.

Moreover, videos like this run alongside the NRA’s hard turn toward Trump and its angry ads that blur the lines between peaceful resistance and Antifa riots while condemning the “violence of lies” from gun-control advocates.

One thing’s for sure: Every single conservative who argues that such rhetoric is merely “fighting fire with fire” or making the enemy play by its own rules is matched by a progressive who argues the same darn thing. If you’re looking for one, you’ll never have trouble finding a reason to demonize your opponents.

My colleague Kevin Williamson has long argued that the gun-control debate isn’t a matter of policy but of “Kulturkampf.” The mutual disdain isn’t limited to vigorous disagreement about background checks; it extends to a perceived way of life. As Kevin says, some progressives believe that firearms are little more than “an atavistic enthusiasm for rural primitives and right-wing militia nuts, a hobby that must be tolerated — if only barely — because of some vestigial 18th-century political compromise.” They simply do not grasp — or care to grasp — how “gun culture” is truly lived in red America.

This loathing isn’t one-sided. It’s simply false to believe that the haters are clustered on the left side of the spectrum, and the Right is plaintively seeking greater understanding.

This loathing isn’t one-sided. It’s simply false to believe that the haters are clustered on the left side of the spectrum, and the Right is plaintively seeking greater understanding. Increasingly, conservatives don’t just hate their liberal counterparts; they despise the perceived culture of blue America. They’re repulsed by the notion that personal security should depend almost completely on the government. The sense of dependence is at odds with their view of a free citizenry, and — to put it bluntly — they perceive their progressive peers as soft and unmanly.

This divide won’t go away, and it has the potential to break us as a nation.

Unlike the stupid hysterics over net neutrality, tax policy, or regulatory reform, the gun debate really is — at its heart — about life and death. It’s about different ways of life, different ways of perceiving your role in a nation and a community. Given these immense stakes, extra degrees of charity and empathy are necessary in public discussion and debate. At the moment, what we have instead are extra degrees of anger and contempt. The stakes are high. Emotions are high. Ignorance abounds. Why bother to learn anything new when you know the other side is evil?

It takes more than a constitution or a government to hold a nation together. The ties that bind us as Americans are strong and durable, but the great challenges that formed them are receding into the past. Geographic differences create cultural differences, and cultural differences hasten ever-greater geographic change. Like clusters with like, and it results in the fury we saw last night, when one of the bluest communities in America vented its rage at the red emissaries in their midst.

A nation cannot endure forever when its people are consumed with such hate.

Gun control is racist

February being Black History Month, David Kopel and Joseph Greenlee present something that should make liberals uncomfortable:

Guns have historically protected Americans from white supremacists, just as gun control has historically protected white supremacists from the Americans they terrorize.

One month after the Confederate surrender in 1865, Frederick Douglass urged federal action to stop state and local infringement of the right to arms. Until this was accomplished, Douglass argued, “the work of the abolitionists is not finished.”

Indeed, it was not. As the Special Report of the Paris Anti-Slavery Conference of 1867 found, freedmen in some southern states “were forbidden to own or bear firearms, and thus were rendered defenseless against assault.” Thus, white supremacists could continue to control freedmen through threat of violence.

Congress demolished these racist laws. The Freedmen’s Bureau Bill of 1865, Civil Rights Act of 1866, and Civil Rights Act of 1870 each guaranteed all persons equal rights of self-defense. Most importantly, the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, made the Second Amendment applicable to the states.

Kansas Senator Samuel Pomeroy extolled the three “indispensable” “safeguards of liberty under our form of government,” the sanctity of the home, the right to vote, and “the right to bear arms.” So “if the cabin door of the freedman is broken open and the intruder enter…then should a well-loaded musket be in the hand of the occupant to send the polluted wretch to another world.”

Because of the 14th Amendment, gun control laws now had to be racially neutral. But states quickly learned to draft neutrally-worded laws for discriminatory application. Tennessee and Arkansas prohibited handguns that freedmen could afford, while allowing expensive “Army & Navy” handguns, which ex-Confederate officers already owned.

The South Carolina law against concealed carry put blacks in chain gangs, but whites only paid a small fine, if anything. In the early 20th century, such laws began to spread beyond the ex-Confederacy. An Ohio Supreme Court Justice acknowledged that such statutes reflected “a decisive purpose to entirely disarm the Negro.”

When lynching increased in the 1880s, the vice-president of the National Colored Press Association, John R. Mitchell, Jr., encouraged blacks to buy Winchesters to protect their families from “the two-legged animals … growling around your home in the dead of night.”

Ida B. Wells, the leading journalist opposing lynching, agreed. In the nationally-circulated pamphlet Southern Horrors, Wells documented cases in Kentucky and Florida, “where the men armed themselves” and fended off lynch mobs. “The lesson this teaches,” Wells wrote, “is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give.”

After the thwarted lynching in Florida, the state legislature enacted a law requiring a license to possess “a pistol, Winchester rifle or other repeating rifle.” A Florida Supreme Court Justice later explained: “the Act was passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers” and “was never intended to apply to the white population and in practice has never been so applied.”

While lynching began to decline in the early twentieth century, race riots increased. According to historian John Dittmer, blacks fought “back successfully when the mobs invaded their neighborhoods” during the Atlanta riots in 1906. When police stood idle as 23 blacks were killed during riots resulting from a black man swimming into “white” water near Chicago, blacks used rifles to kill 15 attackers.

During the Tulsa Race Riot in 1921, whites (with government approval) burned down a square mile of the prosperous district nicknamed “Black Wall Street,” killing 200 blacks. There would have been more devastation had blacks not fought back, killing 50 of their attackers.

Firearms made possible the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Charles Cobb’s excellent book, “This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible” describes how pacifist community organizers from the North learned to accept the armed protection of their black, rural communities.

The Deacons for Defense and Justice was an armed community defense organization, founded in 1965. With .38 Special revolvers and M1 carbines, they deterred terrorism in the “Klan country” region of Louisiana and Mississippi. When Dr. King led the “Meredith March against Fear” for voter registration in Mississippi, the Deacons provided armed security.

Condoleezza Rice became a self-described “Second Amendment absolutist,” because of her experiences growing up in Birmingham. She recalled the bombings in the summer of 1963, when her father helped guard the streets at night. Had the civil rights workers’ guns been registered, she argued, they could have been confiscated, rendering the community defenseless.

Similarly, when the Klan targeted North Carolina’s Lumbee Indians in 1958 because of their “race mixing,” the Lumbee drove off the Klan in an armed confrontation, the Battle of Hayes Pond. Klan operations ceased in the region.

Justice Clarence Thomas’s opinion in the 2010 McDonald v. Chicagoexplicated the history of gun control as race control. Historically, people of color in the United States have often had to depend on themselves for protection. Sometimes the reason is not overt hostility by the government, but instead the incapability of government to secure public safety, as in Chicago today.

Self-defense is an inherent human right. The 14th Amendment is America’s promise that no law-abiding person will be deprived of that right, regardless of color.

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”

Trump learns to be a politician

For those skeptical of Donald Trump’s conservative credentials, this confirms your cynicism (from WMUR-TV):

President Trump promised to be “very strong on background checks” during a listening session with parents, teachers and students affected by school shootings. Then on Thursday he tweeted his support for comprehensive background checks.

“I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue – I hope!”

This proves, for those who should have known better, that Trump’s political beliefs are based on who’s in charge and what’s popular. With Republicans in charge in Congress, Trump does conservative things. When the public (wrongly) wants more gun control, Trump accommodates them.

The hiccup here (besides what Congress will pass, which is a bigger question than what Trump says he wants) is that Trump’s hardcore supporters, Trump’s principal audience, are not fans of more gun control. So that is odd. But politicians gotta be political.


And a child shall (not) lead them

Michelle Malkin (with the headline from the title of one of the worst episodes of the original Star Trek):

Two adult men, occupying lofty perches as law professors, argued this week that the voting age in the U.S. should be lowered to 16 because some high school survivors of the Parkland, Florida, shooting who want gun control “are proving how important it is to include young people’s voices in political debate.”

That was the assertion of University of Kentucky law professor Joshua Douglas on He praised some student leaders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who’ve been making the rounds on TV, shouting at President Trump, Republicans in Congress and the NRA “to demand change” — which Douglas defines obtusely as “meaningful gun control,” whatever that means.

Because these children are apparently doing a better job at broadcasting his own ineffectual political views, Douglas asserts, “we should include them more directly in our democratic process” by enfranchising them now.

Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe similarly tweeted, “Teens between 14 and 18 have far better BS detectors, on average, than ‘adults’ 18 and older.” On what basis does distinguished Professor Tribe make such a claim? On a foundation of pure, steaming BS.

Undaunted, gun control advocate Tribe urged: “Wouldn’t it be great if the voting age were lowered to 16? Just a pipe dream, I know, but . . . #Children’sCrusade?”

This is unadulterated silliness. It’s hashtag hokum from a pair of pandering left-wing profs exploiting a new round of Democratic youth props. I have called this rhetorical fallacy “argumentum ad filium:” If politicians appeal to the children, it’s unassailably good and true.

This is not compassion, but abdication. America is not a juvenilocracy. It is a constitutional republic. There is a reason we don’t elect high school sophomores and juniors to public office or allow them to cast ballots. There are many, many reasons, actually.

Pubescents are fueled by hormones and dopamine and pizza and Sonic shakes. They’re fickle and fragile and fierce and forgetful. They hate you. They love you. They need you. They ignore you. They know everything. They know nothing. All in the span of 10 seconds. I know. I have two of them.

If you’re lucky, they’ve only Googled “Should I eat Tide pods?” or “What happens if I snort Ramen powder?” and not actually attempted the latest social media stunt challenges.

But that’s what kids do. Because they’re kids.

Many may be exceptionally smart, passionate and articulate beyond their years, but they do not possess any semblance of wisdom because they have not lived those years. Their knowledge of history, law and public policy is severely limited (Common Core certainly hasn’t helped). And their moral agency and cognitive abilities are far from fully developed.

Most are in no position to change the world when they can’t even remember to change their own bedsheets.

Yet, Tribe relishes the opportunity to hide behind the young Parkland activists headed to CNN’s propaganda town halls and Washington, D.C.: “NRA will meet more than its match in these amazing kids,” he gleefully cheered. “(I)t’ll meet its master and will be brought to heel. At long last.”

President Obama employed this very same kiddie human shield strategy to ram his federal health care takeover through Capitol Hill and down our throats. Immigration and education lobbyists use it, too. Their cynicism is unbounded. Human prop-a-palooza infantilizes public discourse and renders measured, mature dissent impossible. Those who question the logic, efficacy and wisdom of the latest left-wing “children’s crusade” face accusations of “hating” the children. Refusing to acquiesce to their tears and protests is tantamount to letting them die.

Showing resilience and resolve in the face of horrific adversity deserves the highest praise and attention. Juvenile victim status, however, does not warrant absolute moral authority or the unfettered powers in the political arena that ideologically stunted law professors are so eager to bestow upon them.

It’s fine to listen, but do not let the children lead.

The assumption of Douglas and Tribe is that children would vote the way they want them to vote. That is a dubious premise. We have two teenage boys in the house. If I polled their friends, I don’t think a majority of them would support more gun control, which is what this issue is about.

Cop Humor adds:

Watching these kids in Florida speaking about gun reform and demanding change with existing guns laws, I’m reminded how much we have failed this younger generation. This generation which knows all too well about instant results and self gratification.

Not once, did I hear one of those kids demanding change with society; demanding more family time, more ethics and morals, more dinners together, speaking with and getting to know your neighbors. There was nothing demanding parents start acting like parents instead of being their kids best friends and being afraid to say, “No.”

Nothing about having kids stop acting like spoiled and disrespectful little assholes to their teachers, parents and authority [How did they get this way?] I must’ve missed the part about demanding change in society about how we treat each other. I also missed the part about demanding law enforcement stop being demonized.

During their speeches, there was no mention about taking accountability and responsibility of ones own actions. How about demanding criminals stop breaking laws?

There was no demanding Hollywood stop making so much money off us by glorifying and sensationalizing violence. No demanding the recording industry stop with the violent, hateful, racist lyrics.

If we were to tell these kids that drinking alcohol is unlawful under the age of 21, how many would stop drinking? It would certainly save MANY lives…If only people obeyed these laws .

Kudos to these kids for the courage to demand change. But they’re missing the point about why society is the way it is and the discussions we NEED to have to turn society in a different direction.

And if children are going to get the adult responsibility of voting, how about they take some adult responsibility now? How many of the shooter’s fellow students, none of whom seemed surprised at the identity of the shooter, said anything to school authorities or the police? How many befriended kids they previously bullied or ostracized or ignored?

The one-race primary election hangover blog

Keeping with an occasional tradition inspired by the former Wisconsin Public Television “WeekEnd” election hangover shows on the Friday following elections (the last being in 2000, which was after the election but not before the presidential election was decided), George Mitchell sums up Tuesday’s Supreme Court primary and the oncoming April 3 election:

For the next six weeks, Milwaukee Judge Rebecca Dallet needs to take 100 percent ownership of her gaffe about the single issue that explains Judge Michael Screnock’s victory in Tuesday’s primary.

Speaking of Screnock at a candidate forum, the supposedly moderate Dallet took the audience by surprise when she said:

He’s talking about all this rhetoric about rule of law garbage…He’s just saying the same tired old thing that doesn’t mean anything.

Oh really?  Then how is it that a virtually unknown judge from a small rural county outpolled candidates from the state’s most populous regions?

Screnock relentlessly drove home what is the defining difference between him, Dallet, and the so-called progressive bloc of voters who have come up short in every recent Wisconsin Supreme Court race. His message is stark and unambiguous:

I believe strongly in the rule of law. The role of a judge or justice is to interpret and apply the law, not rewrite the law…When a court is asked to interpret a law, its role is to declare what the law is, based on what the legislative and executive branches have done, and not what the court thinks it should be. Following these principles, the judiciary should never serve as a political check on the actions of the other two branches. It is not the role of a court to veto, or rewrite, laws that it believes are unwise or imprudent.

Judge Dallet believes otherwise. Exhibit A is Act 10, which she says the court “got wrong” when it upheld that law as constitutional. Notably, the late Justice Patrick Crooks joined in the 5-2 court decision. Crooks explicitly offered his negative assessment of the bill — on policy grounds — and just as clearly said that view was irrelevant to the Court’s role.

So, the stakes are clear and high. It’s either Judge Screnock and his adherence to the rule of law or Judge Dallet and her dismissal of “rule of law garbage.”

Screnock didn’t get a majority of the votes, which caused some conservatives angst yesterday. Such angst assumes, however, that all of loser Michael Burns’ voters will vote for Dallet (why wouldn’t they have voted for Dallet instead of Burns Tuesday?), and that Screnock will gain no voters who didn’t vote Tuesday because it was a one-election primary. And, as James Wigderson points out …

Too many people are trying to be cute and add together the liberal candidates’ votes showing they received a majority. That’s true, but it was also true in 2016 when Justice Rebecca Bradley ran against Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg, and then Bradley won in April. In 2011, Justice David Prosser actually got a majority of the vote and then almost lost to Kloppenburg, then an assistant attorney general, in the April election.

Regardless of who wins, the Supreme Court will remain in the hands of conservatives, either four or five depending on whether Screnock or Dallet replaces retiring Justice Mike Gableman. Two of the three oldest justices are the two liberals, Shirley Abrahamson, 84 (her term expires next year), and Ann Walsh Bradley, 67. (Chief Justice Patience Roggensack is 77.)


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:


When Trump makes liberals nostalgic for Reagan

Ruth Marcus:

A Presidents’ Day weekend visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum here provokes an unfamiliar and unexpected emotion: Reagan nostalgia.

Seriously. I was a young reporter in Washington, fresh out of college, when Reagan was elected. It felt like nothing less than a hostile takeover of the government. The Reagan people swept in for the inauguration with their furs and their limousines and their Heritage Foundation briefing books and proceeded, as Stephen K. Bannon might have put it, to deconstruct the regulatory state.

I covered some of Reagan’s finest moments — his nomination of the first female Supreme Court justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, for one — but also some of his least attractive — for me, as a Justice Department reporter, the undermining of the Civil Rights Division.

So while every presidential library presents an airbrushed portrait of the president it celebrates, I did not expect to emerge with something of a Reagan glow — certainly not with my dyed-in-the-wool-Democrat husband dragged along. And yet, glow there was.

First, about Reagan and the media. The Reagan administration saw the full flowering of the presidency in the television age, with its focus on message management and staged events and more worry over perfect lighting than precise facts. The president himself was often sheltered from reporters’ pestering questions.

But pick up the handset at the museum and listen to Reagan, back in 1976, talking about the traveling press corps that covered his losing primary challenge to President Gerald R. Ford. “I knew many of them had written pre-campaign commentaries about me questioning . . . whether I was for real,” Reagan recounted during one of his weekly radio commentaries. But in the course of the campaign — “on tour together,” Reagan said — “I saw . . . the long hours when the day was done for me but they were still filing stories. . . . I have to say their treatment of me was fair. They were objective, they did their job . . . we parted friends.”

That was, no doubt, a glossy view of a relationship with built-in strains. Yet it is impossible to listen to Reagan’s words and not hear Donald Trump’s thuggish campaign-trail assault on reporters as “lying, disgusting,” “absolute scum” or, more alarming, the Trump administration’s “fake news” effort to delegitimize any reporting with which it disagrees.

Second, about Reagan and the art of the apology. Admitting error does not come easily to any of us, and it is fraught with peril for any politician and any president. Indeed, it did not come easily to Reagan — hence the famous “mistakes were made” formulation about the Iran-contra affair during his 1987 State of the Union address.

Yet stop at the exhibit on Iran-contra and listen to the speech Reagan gave the following August: “My fellow Americans, I’ve thought long and often about how to explain to you what I intended to accomplish, but I respect you too much to make excuses. The fact of the matter is that there’s nothing I can say that will make the situation right. I was stubborn in my pursuit of a policy that went astray.”

Again, to hear this in the age of Trump is to wonder: Will we ever, could we ever, hear such self-reflection, even such pretend self-reflection, or acceptance of responsibility from President Trump? It is not in his nature or his skill set. He knows only the counterpunch.

Finally, about Reagan and optimism, a theme that pervades the museum’s displays and is made manifest with the famous “Morning in America” reelection commercial playing on a monitor. It was possible to disagree with Reagan without finding him disagreeable. If Reagan was, in Democratic super-lawyer Clark Clifford’s memorable phrase, an “amiable dunce,” his strength was that very amiability and the way in which that genial optimism spilled over into his vision of America.

Now we have gone from Reagan’s “shining city upon a hill,” as he proclaimed in his farewell address in 1989, to Trump’s “American carnage” inaugural.

Reagan told a story in that address that encapsulates the fundamental difference between the 40th president and the 45th. He described the USS Midway, patrolling the South China Sea, when a sailor “spied on the horizon a leaky little boat. And crammed inside were refugees from Indochina hoping to get to America.”

The Midway sent a launch to pick them up, Reagan continued, and “as the refugees made their way through the choppy seas, one spied the sailor on deck, and stood up, and called out to him. He yelled, ‘Hello, American sailor. Hello, freedom man.’ ”

We left the Reagan library on a glorious California winter day, sunny and crisp. And we could not help but wonder: What will future generations think emerging from Trump’s presidential library? What will it celebrate?