Presty the DJ for July 8

To be indicted for drug trafficking is not generally considered to be a good career move, but that’s what happened to Jonathan “Chico” and Robert DeBarge today in 1988:

Birthdays begin with Jaimoe “Johnny” Johanson, drummer for the Allman Brothers:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for July 8”

Politics to the death

J.D. Tuccille:

Somehow, it became a sign of bedrock conservative principles to refuse to wear a face mask anytime, anyplace, in the middle of a pandemic. Likewise, it’s now a marker of devout progressivism to shriek like banshees at anybody who fails to don a mask even for a stroll along a deserted path. Forget health concernsmasks have become signifiers of tribal affiliation.

The politicization of face masks is stupid enough, but research suggests that polarization in the United States has permeated many seemingly unrelated issues, leaving little of life unpolluted by partisanship. Those few who remain outside the scrum may have to bear heavy burdens in the days to come.

“What if polarization is less like a fence getting taller over time and more like an oil spill that spreads from its source to gradually taint more and more previously ‘apolitical’ attitudes, opinions, and preferences?” writes Pennsylvania State University’s Daniel DellaPosta in an study published last month in American Sociological Review.

DellaPosta has been on this beat for a while, co-authoring a 2015 study finding that “as people congregate with the like-minded, they reinforce their shared views, “producing a stereotypical world of ‘latte liberals’ and ‘bird-hunting conservatives.'” That earlier work helped explain the dynamic by which Americans sorting themselves by lifestyle choices that tend to correlate with politicsrural homes for conservatives and urban dwellings for liberals, for exampletend to become more ideologically representative of their chosen communities.

The new study explores evidence that “many initially apolitical lifestyle characteristics, from musical taste to belief in astrology, can become politicized as signals for deeper beliefs and preferences.”

For his data, DellaPosta crunched data from the General Social Survey, which is overseen by the University of Chicago and has been compiling information about Americans’ opinions since 1972. He found growing evidence not only that Americans are increasingly at odds with one another, but that they’ve chosen partisan sides over things that have no obvious political content.

Some connections seem to accrete almost accidentally, so that sports and beverage preferences become political signifiers.

“You may have heard politicians referring to ‘latte-drinking liberals,’ for example, which captures the idea of the oil spill,” DellaPosta told Penn State News. “Why should something like drinking a latte become associated with your political ideology?”

The connections may start off as loosely linked lifestyle choices, but they become firmer as people come to associate a preference with a tribal choice shared by other fans of that preference. They then adopt a host of new preferences as symbols of their tribal affiliation.

“If every time I go to a football game, I see parking lots full of cars with Trump bumper stickers, I will tend to see football fandom as being associated with Trump support. If I already like football but do not yet support Trump, I might conclude from this that I should naturally support Trump due to my other preferences,” writes DellaPosta.

By the same token, he adds, “once I come around to drinking lattes through this practice’s association with liberalism, I might also proceed to adopt a series of other beliefs and practices associated with latte-drinking—such as driving a hybrid electric car or listening to indie rock.”

That is, many people—enough to mold much of our society—tend not to pick and choose their beliefs through careful consideration, but to purchase the package deal. Their weekend plans come with a party affiliation, and that party affiliation pushes them towards dinner preferences.

And that’s how we got to the point where “wearing a mask is for smug liberals. Refusing to is for reckless Republicans,” as Politico noted. “Prominent people who don’t wear them are shamed and dragged on Twitter by lefty accounts. On the right, where the mask is often seen as the symbol of a purported overreaction to the coronavirus, mask promotion is a target of ridicule.”

The call-outs happen even when those with naked faces are far away from the risks associated with crowds, or when those donning them are in busy indoor spaces where viral transmission is a real concern. Forget about the risks or lack thereof of infection; it might as well be an argument over MAGA caps vs. pussy hats.

As you might guess, it’s not a good thing when politics ooze across the landscape like an oil spill to pollute music choices, restaurant preferences, recreational activities, and sports fandom. This leaves a declining number of activities in which people can engage that don’t carry partisan baggage.

“Cross-cutting cleavages have collapsed to form more encompassing partisan identities with little common ground between them,” notes DellaPosta. “The existence of polarized ‘super-identities’ feeds affective polarization by leading people to simplify the outgroup (e.g., as an evil force unworthy of civil engagement) and attach negative stereotypes.”

Experiments with exposing people to different viewpoints and activities just drive the subjects further into the embrace of their chosen tribe. The sides are so entrenched, now, that there’s not much remaining that people of opposing views can mutually enjoy.

While DellaPosta doesn’t get into it, the remaining cross-cutting alignments in American culture appear to be in the hands of those who have rejected both of the dominant political tribes and their package deals of ideology and culture.

“Not all of us have chosen a side. Some of us dislike them both but are perfectly willing and able to cross the boundaries of culture, lifestyle, and partisanship to socialize and do business,” I wrote last year.

Those of us still willing to break bread or play games with people who think differently may be the best hope for the troubled world in which we live. Libertarians and others who haven’t turned life into a political package deal may need to serve as translators and peacemakers for countrymen who have lost the ability to talk to one another.

“Unify the country”?

Tom Woods:

Joe Biden keeps saying he wants to “unify the country.”
Sure he does.
His vision for “unifying” the country calls to mind the neoconservatives’ stance on promoting democracy abroad: it’s democracy if our guys win.
Likewise, it’s “unifying the country” if we all unite around the Establishment.
Not to mention: how exactly does Biden or anyone else propose to “unify the country”?
How do you “unify” (1) people who, like Ludwig von Mises, point out that the idea of liberty is, in its origins, a Western one, with (2) people who consider the West a great oppressor?
How do you “unify” people who think society ought to be able to run its affairs without the patronizing intervention of Ivy League intellectuals, and people who believe in the top-down management of society?
How do you “unify” people who want to suppress dissident voices with people who are dissident voices?
At this point, calls for “unity” are just low-IQ boilerplate.
And incidentally, which side is trying to get people fired and their lives destroyed for wrongthink? Which side condemns half the country as backward rubes? Seems like it would take some real nerve for the very same people to call for unity.
You first, pal.
And the fact is: they have zero desire to “unify” us.
Our friend Dave Smith pointed out an absolutely typical example the other day:
ABC reported that a 24-year-old Black Lives Matter protestor was killed after being hit by a car that plowed into a group of protestors.
Here’s their summary on Twitter:
“A young protester has died from injuries she suffered when a luxury car plowed into her and another woman during a Black Lives Matter protest Saturday on a Seattle freeway that has been shut down for days due to the civil unrest, police said.”
Any indication in there that the driver was black? Because he was.
Here’s Dave’s comment: “Race is only relevant when it will heighten racial tensions, so ABC doesn’t mention that the driver was black. They do, however, give you the critical detail that it was a luxury car.”
Does that kind of reporting seem designed to “unify” America?
And in case you’re wondering: it’s not just the Twitter summary. The entire article failed to mention the driver’s race, thereby leaving people to presume that interracial strife must be at the root of the incident.
Want to unite around reason and good will? That’s easier said than done in our public square these days.

Biden and every other Democrat accuse Trump of dividing the country. Which is a true yet irrelevant statement. The idea of “unity” presupposes there is unity, as in agreement, when there clearly is not unity. Not a single president in my lifetime (which goes back to Lyndon Baines Johnson, who divided his own party on civil rights, and then divided his own party differently on Vietnam) has been a unifier, except perhaps for Jimmy Carter in that two-thirds of the country agreed he did a horrible job as president.

The only way you can unify the country is by getting the political minority to agree with the political majority, or vice versa. And when will that happen?


Rioters vs. the Second Amendment

The Wall Street Journal:

Patricia and Mark McCloskey are the couple made instantly famous—or infamous—after a video showed them wielding firearms as they fended off protesters who had trespassed on private property outside their St. Louis home.

The Circuit Attorney for St. Louis, Kimberly Gardner, reacted by issuing a statement saying she planned an investigation, and that her office will not tolerate any effort to chill peaceful protest by the “threat of deadly force.” Never mind that Mr. McCloskey says he and his wife feared they’d be killed. As they told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “the only thing that kept those mobsters, that crowd, away from us is that we were standing there with guns.”

If soaring gun sales are a guide, millions of Americans are with the McCloskeys. This week the FBI announced a record 3.9 million background checks for June, the highest monthly total since the FBI began keeping the statistic in 1998. Adjusting to reflect checks only for gun purchases, the National Shooting Sports Foundation says this works out to 2.2 million, a 136% increase over June 2019. NSSF spokesman Mark Oliva says about 40% of these checks are for first-time gun buyers.

This is a warning to the Defund the Police movement about unintended consequences. The more progressives push policies that mean cops won’t be around when people need them, the more they are inviting Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves.

The economic consequences of the coronavirus

Benjamin Yount:

Some of the jobs lost to Wisconsin’s coronavirus shutdown will not come back.

The state’s economic development office, the WEDC, sent a report to lawmakers that outlines the economic impact of the coronavirus.

“Although this report can only capture a snapshot in time and further monitoring will be required to fully understand and refine recommendations, several clear themes were identified that clearly have the potential to shape Wisconsin’s recovery,” the report states.

WEDC found:

  • Tourism, retail and service businesses are still closed, are open in voluntary limited capacity or are struggling for customers. Most have seen substantial declines in their business and are unsure of their long-term prospects.
  • Agriculture and food and beverage, which have been identified as essential businesses, are seeking to anticipate the markets and manage disruptions to the supply chain.
  • Manufacturing and construction saw less immediate disruption but anticipate the long-term economic impact with slower consumer spending and overall activity as well as declining capital investment.
  • Forest products have had perhaps the starkest divide, with consumer paper goods at record highs while the decline in printed advertising has seriously impacted the catalog and magazine industry.
  • Education and health care – both huge economic engines in their own right – have also been disrupted or nearly brought to a halt by the pandemic.

“If anything, this report reflects the complexity of a crisis that hits every person, every region, every economy in our state and beyond our borders,” WEDC CEO Missy Hughes wrote in the report.

But some aspects of the report are brutally simple.

“Many jobs simply disappeared overnight, especially among service workers,” Hughes noted. “The reality today is many of the jobs previously held in the service industry will not recover.”

Hughes doesn’t have a number for how many jobs will never return, but the report does have some estimates about the number of jobs lost and the amount of money the coronavirus lock down cost businesses.

The report says businesses reported $22.2 billion in income losses, and another $37.8 billion in other economic losses. Those same businesses reported 2,648 lost positions.

Some of those business losses were offset by nearly $14 billion in federal aid. The vast majority of that federal money went to farmers and businesses in the state through programs like PPP and farm payments.

WEDC’s report notes that both income and sales tax revenue to the state dipped during the worst of the coronavirus lock down. But the report states it is too early to tell just how much state government will lose by the time 2021 rolls around.

Recall, however, that Gov. Tony Evers tried his best to shut down the state by dividing businesses, and therefore their employees, and therefore Wisconsinites, into “essential” and “nonessential” (including the businesses whose employment is nowhere near normal). Keep that in mind when you assess fault.


Presty the DJ for July 6

Can one wish a happy birthday to an entire band? If so, I volunteer to wish Jefferson Airplane a happy birthday:

Or perhaps you’d like to celebrate Bill Haley’s birthday around the clock:


Gene Chandler:

Who is Terrence “Jet” Harris? He is credited with popularizing the bass guitar in Britain and helping give Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones (who ended up in Led Zeppelin) their starts:

Rik Elswit of Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show:

Madison native John Jorgenson of the Desert Rose Band:

Michael Grant of Musical Youth, which asks you to …

244 years ago


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Presty the DJ for July 4

This seems appropriate to begin Independence Day …

… as is this, whether or not Independence Day is on a Saturday:

This being Independence Day, you wouldn’t think there would be many music anniversaries today. There is a broadcasting anniversary, though: WOWO radio in Fort Wayne, Ind., celebrated the nation’s 153rd birthday by burning its transmitter to the ground.

Independence Day 1970 was not a holiday for Casey Kasem, who premiered “America’s Top 40,” though it likely was on tape instead of live:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for July 4”