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Will Kristi Noem Be On the National Ticket in 2024?

The short answer is: I hope so. One way or another, 2024 will be a vitally important election. If President Trump is re-elected, as I think he probably will be, the presidency will be open in 2024. If Trump loses, a senile Joe Biden will be ripe for the plucking in 2024, assuming he is still alive and functioning by then.

It isn’t too early to think about the Republican ticket four years from now. It’s no secret that I would like to see Tom Cotton running for the presidency, but we have other excellent potential candidates, like Marco Rubio, to name just one. And in the V-P slot, or possibly the presidency, my favorite choice is South Dakota’s Kristi Noem.

Noem grew up on a farm near my home town. She served four terms in Congress as South Dakota’s lone representative in the House, and then returned to her home state to run for Governor. In her first term, she faced the COVID issue and pursued a course different from almost all other governors: she went on television and said that Americans are free people, not subject to arbitrary orders from politicians. What’s more, South Dakotans are smart. They are better qualified to look after their own health than government can ever be. Therefore, she said, her administration would compile data, constantly put out information, issue recommendations based on the best knowledge available. But she would not order anyone to do anything. Freedom, she said, works.

In a sane world, that makes sense. But it caused the roof to fall in. The Washington Post, the Associated Press, and the entire phalanx of left-wing media denounced Noem for refusing to toe the line of liberal, dictatorial orthodoxy. I wrote about the Post’s pathetically stupid smear here.

In short, I would like to see Governor Noem on the GOP’s national ticket in 2024. Cotton/Noem would be the solidest ticket since the days of Calvin Coolidge. Or, who knows, maybe it’s Noem/Cotton.

If you want to get an up-close look at one of America’s hottest conservative politicians, I will interview her live, for free on Zoom, on Wednesday, day after tomorrow, at noon Central time, sponsored by Center of the American Experiment. I will ask her about her freedom-based response to the COVID epidemic, about her experience last Friday at Mount Rushmore with President Trump, and about the Democrats’ threats to destroy that famous monument. To which she has responded unequivocally:

It will be a fun conversation with a woman who may become a major figure in national politics over the next few years. I certainly hope so. To register for Wednesday’s event (for free), go here.

We have more than 1,500 people signed up for Wednesday’s program. I would love to add another 1,000 Power Line readers.

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A Cold War with China?

Niall Ferguson writes about the emerging Cold War between the U.S. and China. Ferguson calls this Cold War both inevitable and desirable. It’s desirable because, among other things, “it has jolted the U.S. out of complacency and into an earnest effort not to be surpassed by China in artificial intelligence, quantum computing and other strategically crucial technologies.”

Even Henry Kissinger, architect of the policy of U.S.-Chinese engagement, acknowledges the new reality. He told Ferguson that “we are in the foothills of a Cold War.”

Ferguson argues, correctly I think, that Donald Trump didn’t start the Cold War. Rather, the war began four years before Trump came to power, when Xi Jinping became general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and concluded that, in the wake of the global financial crisis, there was no longer any need to hide China’s ambition. Ferguson views Trump’s election in part as “a backlash against the asymmetric payoffs of engagement [with China] and its economic corollary, globalization.”

Not only had the economic benefits of Chimerica gone disproportionately to China, not only had its costs been borne disproportionately by working-class Americans, but now those same Americans saw that their elected leaders in Washington had acted as midwives at the birth of a new strategic superpower — a challenger for global predominance even more formidable, because economically stronger, than the Soviet Union.

The Wuhan coronavirus pandemic has intensified Cold War II. As Ferguson says, “the Chinese Communist Party caused this disaster — first by covering up how dangerous the new virus SARS-CoV-2 was, then by delaying the measures that might have prevented its worldwide spread.”

On the surface, China is one of few subjects these days about which there is a genuine bipartisan consensus. Both parties seem to agree that China is menace. Indeed, Democrats have criticized Trump for saying nice things about Xi Jinping. And Nancy Pelosi expresses indignation over China’s treatment of Hong Kong.

In my view, this is nearly 100 percent smoke. Ferguson shows that the foreign policy establishment, from which Democrats nearly always end up taking their guidance, is alarmed by the deterioration of American-Chinese relations.

Recently, for example, John Lipsky, formerly of the International Monetary Fund, intoned that “the establishment of a productive and predictable US/China relationship is a sine qua non for strengthening the institutions of global governance.” And we know that Democrats are all about strengthening the institutions of global governance.

Democrats are also all about blaming America, especially when a Republican has his fingerprints on the policies in question. I strongly suspect that, if there is a Biden administration, its line will be that there is plenty of blame to go around for the deterioration in our relations with China, and that the important thing is to move forward, beyond the animosity.

In other words, it’s time for a reset — minus the button.

Thus, we may not have Cold War II, after all. Such a war requires bipartisan support of the kind that existed almost throughout the first Cold War. The Democratic party of Harry Truman and John Kennedy could prosecute a cold war. The Democratic party of Joe Biden, the current foreign policy establishment, and the new breed of politicians to the left of Biden and the establishment probably cannot.

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Video Games Join the Propaganda Machine

I know virtually nothing about video games, but I got this chilling email today from a Power Line reader. First the email, then a brief comment.

Long time Power Line reader. I thought I would bring something to your attention that wouldn’t otherwise be on your radar.

One of the world’s most popular videogames is “Fortnite”. Played by tens of millions of (mostly) kids on a daily basis, the game is widely regarded as one of the most popular and widely-played videogames in the world. The concept of the game is simple: 100 players are dropped onto an island, and they must gather weapons to kill each other until only one person is left.

There are several different modes a user can play. They can play “Solo”, they can play in “Duos” or “Squads” of four people. And there is another mode in the game, called “Party Mode”. During “Party Mode”, players can log in instead of killing each other, they can watch music concerts, film previews, and other entertaining videos.

This weekend, “Party Mode” will be filled not with a country music concert or a clip of the latest Disney film…but a panel discussion on white privilege. Specifically, the program will be educating our youth about “how to change the systemic racism in media, culture, and entertainment.”

Who is on this panel? I think Power Line will love the experts gathered. And by “love,” I mean “not love.”

The moderator is Van Jones, who famously called the 2016 election a “whitewash.”

He will be joined on the panel by journalist Jemele Hill, who was fired from ESPN for calling Donald Trump a white supremacist.

Also on the panel is rapper “Killer Mike.” I admit I wasn’t familiar with Killer Mike’s music, so I looked him up. On iTunes, his most popular song is called “Burn” It contains the lyrics:

Police in the ghetto, they is killing (n-word) daily/But when we get to busting back they say that we crazy/Prison is overcrowded and school is too/Cause they under educate you and got a place for you, yeah

If those lyrics, don’t ring a bell, perhaps you will recognize the much catchier chorus of the song which goes “Bomb, yeah, yeah, yeah, this m****f****er down Yeah, yeah, yeah I will bomb this m****f****er down.”

Also on the panel is another rapper, “Lil Baby.” He wrote a song about the George Floyd killing, so I looked up those lyrics. They include the Lennon-McCartney-esque line:
“It’s too many mothers that’s grieving/They killing us for no reason/Been going on for too long to get even/Throw us in cages like dogs and hyenas.”

Rounding out the panel is write/editor Elaine Welteroth, most famous for turning Teen Vogue from a fashion magazine into one of the most overtly left-leaning publications on newsstands. See also “How Teen Vogue Became a Champion of Democratic Socialism.”

Strangely, the Fortnite videogame is debuting the live conference at 6:45 a.m. on Saturday (when it’s unlikely many of the pre-teen and teenage users will be awake), however they will be re-airing this drivel every hour on the hour inside the Fortnite game.

This is how our kids are being brainwashed. If you have readers whose kids play Fortnite (and I’m sure most of your readers who have kids do play), you should warn them of this awful conference.

I’m attaching artwork for the ad they are running. Here is a link to the press release announcing the panel.

Please spread the word!

Submitted anonymously as I don’t want to be doxxed and have my life ruined for not going with the narrative!

If you feel besieged, you are right. Our country is indeed under siege, but, weirdly, it comes from within. I have no idea who runs Epic Games or why they hate America. By rights, they should be grateful for what must be extraordinary financial success, not to mention the freedoms they enjoy along with the rest of us. Why has nearly every element of our culture gone on an insane anti-American, anti-freedom binge? I can’t explain it. I will say this, though: if the forces of evil win in November, the country we know may be doomed.

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The murder pandemic | Power Line

Daniel Horowitz writes:

Sadly, fireworks were not the only munitions shot over the July 4 weekend. Statues weren’t the only things felled by anarchists and criminals roaming free in the streets. This weekend was a bloody one across the country, with endless shootings in America’s cities, including New York City, which was considered the safest American city for a generation. Once again, African-American victims, including a number of young children, paid the price while the anarchy was excused and even legitimized by the media and politicians.

Horowitz provides details that back up these statements.

He’s right to highlight New York City. Shootings there soared by 205 percent in June, making it the city’s bloodiest month since 1996. The increase corresponds to the disbanding of New York’s anti-crime unit of plainclothes cops.

And what about Atlanta? At least 93 people were shot in that city between May 31 – about the time when the George Floyd protests began – and June 27. That’s roughly double the number from the same span a year ago.

Then came July 4th. That night alone, 23 people were shot and wounded. One of the victims was an eight year-old girl. She died.

Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, has declared a state of emergency. This will enable him to bring in up to 1,000 national guard troops. The idea is for these troops to protect state buildings, such as the Georgia State Capitol, Georgia Department of Public Safety Headquarters, and Governor’s Mansion, while local law enforcement concentrates on policing communities.

Unfortunately, with police morale at or near rock bottom in Atlanta, it’s questionable whether officers will engage in the kind of policing needed to stem the runaway violence.

For years, we have been warning against the double whammy of (1) pulling back from proactive policing and (2) allowing criminals back on the streets before they complete their sentences (or sentencing them too leniently in the first place. Proactive policing and stiff sentencing played a key role in dramatically reducing violent crime in the last years of the 20th century and the first decade-plus of this one. Now, successful attacks on both practices are bringing back to bad old days of unsafe streets and high murder rates.

And, as in the bad old days, Blacks are the victims, to a frightfully disproportionate degree.

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Goodbye, Columbus | Power Line

The current rage for tearing down statues and renaming things has reached a sort of reductio ad absurdum: the city of Columbus, Ohio has removed the statue of Christopher Columbus from in front of its City Hall. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The city of Columbus, Ohio, this week unceremoniously evicted a 16-foot bronze statue . . . of Christopher Columbus. “For many people in our community, the statue represents patriarchy, oppression and divisiveness,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther, giving the removal order two weeks ago. “That does not represent our great city.”

Which great city, precisely? He forgot to mention. Or perhaps the mayor is going to start referring to his town euphemistically as “Ohio’s capital” and so forth, the way some people refuse to say the name of the Washington Redskins football team. This could make campaigning for his re-election rather awkward: Vote Ginther for mayor of [Unmentionable Racist].

Those who want to destroy the memory of Christopher Columbus do so because they think the discovery of the New World was a mistake, or a tragedy. They have a vision, apparently, of a Stone Age culture continuing in perpetuity over which jets ferry passengers from Europe to Asia. No United States–Columbus never set foot on what is now American territory–no Canada, no Mexico, no Cuba, no Brazil, no Argentina.

Leftists might dishonestly claim that they object to Columbus not because of the discovery per se, but because of his personal failings. Shockingly, the man who drove a motley collection of tough sailors–unimaginably tough, by our standards–to and fro across the uncharted Atlantic, was not Mr. Rogers.

On the other hand, he was a prince of a fellow compared with, say, the psychopathic mass murderer Che Guevara. Or the serial killers on an industrial scale, Lenin, Stalin, Castro and Mao, all of whom are A-OK, apparently, with American liberals.

No: the anti-Columbus mania is anti-Americanism, plain and simple.

But it does raise a lot of questions. The Journal article notes that well over 100,000 people have signed a petition to rename Columbus “Flavortown.” Don’t ask. And Columbus, Ohio is relatively small potatoes. How about Washington, DC? If George Washington is canceled, our nation’s capital will have to change its name. Not just Washington, but D.C.–the District of Columbia, another tribute to the pariah Christopher C.

And that is only the beginning: Columbia, South Carolina; Columbus, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas and Wisconsin; Lincoln, Nebraska; Washington state; Virginia, named in honor of the imperialist Queen Elizabeth; both Carolinas, named after several Charleses, Charles IX of France and Charles I and Charles II of England, all of whom were hopelessly incorrect by contemporary standards; Jefferson, Missouri; the George Washington bridge; Madison, Wisconsin; Hamilton College; the list goes on forever. These are just a few samples. And, of course, the United States of America is named after Amerigo Vespucci, another explorer like Columbus who must equally be canceled because the discovery of the Americas was an unrelieved tragedy.

The list never ends! If we are going to erase all history that doesn’t live up to the elevated standards of Pajama Boy, that hero of world history, let’s be consistent. In the liberals’ brave new world, only place names taken from the Indians, like Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and the Dakotas, will be permitted. But wait, no! Those are all cultural appropriations!

It is not easy to see what will survive. Maybe Washington state can be renamed after Stalin. Maybe Madison can become Mao Tse-Tung, Wisconsin. Only it won’t be Wisconsin. But never mind: if we are going to go around the bend, let’s go all the way around the bend. And let liberals and the Democratic Party own it.

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Deja Vu All Over Again?

In my podcast with Fred Siegel a few weeks back about the rioting and deterioration of situation of New York and other American cities, Fred remarked that the real cause of our current trouble is that “the sixties never ended.” And a lot of people have been saying that 2020 reminds them of 1968—the year when everything went wrong and the country seemed to be on the brink of coming apart.

It may be that history does run in cycles—that it doesn’t repeat, but rhymes. And so I dusted off the collected letters and documents from Daniel Patrick Moynihan that was published about a decade ago, in particular to remind myself of what Moynihan wrote in his private memos to President Nixon and others in 1969 and 1970, when the last counter-cultural movement was running at full tide. (My review of the book can be found here.)

Here are a few stray comments from Moynihan’s many memos to Nixon, starting in 1969, that can be applied without change to the present moment:

“To a degree that no one could have anticipated even three or four years ago, the educated elite of the American middle class have come to detest their society, and their detestation is rapidly diffusing to youth in general. The effects of this profound movement of opinion will be with us for generations. . .

 “What we are facing is the onset of nihilism in the United States…. The three most important points are that nihilists are almost entirely drawn from the educated, even upper classes. They are extremely idealistic, seeing themselves as agents of the purest charity. They are violent in the most extreme ways. . . Nihilist movements typically have led to political regimes of the most oppressive and reactionary qualities. . .

“I know there is an authoritarian Left in this country, and I fear it.

“It would be difficult to overestimate the degree to which young well-educated blacks detest white America.

“In the best universities the best men are increasingly appalled by the authoritarian tendencies of the left. The inadequacies of traditional liberalism are equally unmistakable, while, not least important, the credulity, even the vulgarity of the supposed intellectual and social elite of the country has led increasing numbers of man and women of no especial political persuasion to realize that something is wrong somewhere.

“The elite intelligentsia of the country are turning against the country—in science, in politics, in the fundaments of patriotism. How can we not pay for this?

“Are we then witnessing the ultimate, destructive working out of the telos of liberal thought?

Short answer to this last question: Yes.

It may not be a pure coincidence that in many respects, Moynihan could be said to have been the first liberal “canceled” by the left in the 1960s (over his report on the black family), thus providing the template for today’s mass cancellations.

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The problems with implicit bias training

Last week, Scott reported that Dartmouth will impose mandatory “implicit bias” training on all students, faculty, and staff. Even Dartmouth’s board of trustees “has committed itself to participating in the training.”

I don’t doubt that there is such a thing as implicit bias. The bias can be against Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Jews, etc. It can also be against America, although these days much of the anti-American bias on display is pretty damn explicit.

But does what we know about implicit bias — e.g. how to measure it and what its real world consequences are — justify making implicit bias training mandatory? To explore this question, I turned to a paper by Gregory Mitchell, a professor at the University of Virginia.

Mitchell teaches at UVa’s law school. He has a law degree and doctorate in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. His 2018 paper, “An implicit bias primer,” was published in the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law.”

Mitchell begins by defining implicit bias. Bias, of course, is the tendency to favor or disfavor something. It is manifested by reacting differently to stimuli based on particular characteristics of the stimuli. Thus, if one tends to react more positively to White people than to Black people, then one is biased in favor of Whites and against Blacks.

Bias can be measured through direct or indirect measures. A direct measure asks someone to report how one feels about a particular group. If the responses show bias, the bias is explicit.

But people may be disinclined honestly to report their feelings about a group or incapable of assessing through introspection how they really feel. Hence the case for using indirect measures, in which researchers have people react to stimuli on a task that does not require verbal reporting of attitudes or beliefs about the stimuli. Researchers then infer from the pattern of responses whether a bias may exist. (Mitchell describes the most prominent of these measures at pages 32 of his primer.) If it does, the bias is said to be implicit.

This seems pretty straightforward. However, there are several complications, described by Mitchell at pages 33-39 of his primer. The upshot is that “indirect measures of bias have been found to have low to moderate test-retest reliability.” Moreover, one might receive a high score on one type of test for implicit bias and a low score on another type of test for the same phenomenon.

But even assuming that a particular test reliably measures implicit bias, the question remains whether individuals who show such bias have a tendency to engage in acts of discrimination against the group towards whom they are implicitly biased. According to Mitchell, the evidence to date is that tests for implicit bias have little ability to predict who will and who won’t discriminate in a given situation. Indeed, some studies show that “high bias” persons behave more positively towards minorities than “low bias” persons. One such study involved police officers. (Details at pages 47-48 of the primer)

Thus, if college students in a mandatory implicit bias course take an implicit bias test, it’s easy to imagine those whose test scores indicate implicit bias against Blacks concluding (1) that they hold racist views and (2) that they are prone to treating Blacks unfairly. But both conclusions might well be unjustified because (1) the test is unreliable and (2) even if reliable, it might not accurately predict behavior.

This analysis leads Mitchell to the questions of (1) whether implicit bias can be changed through training and education and (2) whether, even if it can be, the effort will have positive real world effects. Mitchell doubts that either question can be answered in the affirmative.

He does acknowledge the possibility that training programs might “increase vigilance about behavior and increase scrutiny of outcomes for possible group-based disparities.” He warns, however, that the possibility of such benefits should be weighed against the potential opportunity costs if adoption of implicit bias programs crowds out other interventions that may more directly or effectively prevent discrimination.

In addition, any possible advantages should be weighed against the potential disadvantages of implicit bias training Mitchell cites. They include loss of trust and increased suspicion within an organization, more impersonal and uncomfortable interactions among members of different groups, and compensatory measures aimed at promoting particular groups at the expense of merit-based decisionmaking.

Given the junk science nature of implicit bias education and the potential harms of undertaking it, I think that, other things being roughly equal, a student is better advised to attend a college that doesn’t require implicit bias training than a college that does.

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Trump at Mount Rushmore (WSJ edition)

Today’s Wall Street Journal lead editorial picks up where we left off over the weekend in our reviews of President Trump’s July 3 speech at Mount Rushmore. The Journal editorial begins with the uniform voice of the Democrat media blob condemning the speech in whacked-out headlines and dishonest stories:

At Mt. Rushmore, Trump uses Fourth of July celebration to stoke a culture war

—Los Angeles Times

Trump Uses Mount Rushmore Speech to Deliver Divisive Culture War Message

— New York Times

Trump pushes racial division, flouts virus rules at Rushmore

—Associated Press

At Mount Rushmore, Trump exploits social divisions, warns of ‘left-wing cultural revolution’ in dark speech ahead of Independence Day

—Washington Post

The Journal editors render their own judgment on the speech:

President Trump delivered one of the best speeches of his Presidency Friday evening at Mount Rushmore, and for evidence consider the echo-chamber headlines above. The chorus of independent media voices understands that Mr. Trump is trying to rally the country in defense of traditional American principles that are now under radical and unprecedented assault.

Dark? In most respects Mr. Trump’s speech was a familiar Fourth of July ode to liberty and U.S. achievement that any President might have delivered in front of an American landmark. “No nation has done more to advance the human condition than the United States of America. And no people have done more to promote human progress than the citizens of our great nation,” he said.

Contrary to the media reporting, the America Mr. Trump described is one of genuine racial equality and diversity. He highlighted the central ideal of the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.” As he rightly put it, “these immortal words set in motion the unstoppable march of freedom” that included the abolition of slavery more than a half century later.

Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. also believed this to be true, and Mr. Trump cited them both, as he did other American notables black and white, historic and more recent. There was not a hint of racial division in his words except for those who want to distort their meaning for their own political purposes. In any other time this paean to American exceptionalism would have been unexceptional.

But this year even Mr. Trump’s speech backdrop, Mount Rushmore with its four presidential faces, is politically charged. Each of those Presidents—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt—is under assault for ancient sins against modern values, as progressives seek to expunge their statues and even their names from American life. Mr. Trump’s great offense against the culturally ascendant progressives was to defend these presidential legacies.

Divisive? Mr. Trump’s speech was certainly direct, in his typical style. But it was only divisive if you haven’t been paying attention to the divisions now being stoked on the political left across American institutions. Mr. Trump had the temerity to point out that the last few weeks have seen an explosion of “cancel culture—driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees.”

Describing this statement of fact as “divisive” proves his point. Newspaper editors are being fired over headlines and op-eds after millennial staff revolts. Boeing CEO David Calhoun last week welcomed the resignation of a communications executive for opposing—33 years ago when he was in the military—women in combat. The Washington Post ran an op-ed this weekend urging that the name of America’s first President be struck from Washington and Lee University.

Any one of these events would be remarkable, but together with literally thousands of others around the country they represent precisely what Mr. Trump describes—a left-wing cultural revolution against traditional American values of free speech and political tolerance. And he called for Americans not to cower but to oppose this assault…

Whole thing here.

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Scott Jensen talks back | Power Line

Dr. Scott Jensen is a state senator who is part of the narrow GOP majority in that body trying to protect us from Governor Walz’s endless exercise of emergency powers. As a family physician, he has been a knowledgable opponent of the party line relentlessly shoved down our throats by the Walz administration with the assistance of the Minnesota media. Indeed, he has made himself a vocal opponent.

Now Senator Jensen has been reported to the state medical board for public comments about COVID-19. He has posted the video below to his Facebook page. In the video he publicizes and responds to the charges he is confronting. He writes that it’s the “[m]ost important video I’ve done…gut wrenching.” He asks: “Could this happen to you?” He urges readers to share the message and comments: “[No] one’s immune to attacks.”

Unfortunately, Senator Jensen isn’t standing for reelection and I can’t ask you to contribute to his campaign. I can only ask you to hear him out and express your support in whatever way are able to do so.

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Financial murders in the no rue morgue

On May 18 the state of Minnesota purchased the Bix Produce Co.’s former cold storage facility just north of downtown St. Paul for an emergency morgue, bracing for a peak in COVID-19 deaths predicted by the state’s super duper Minnesota Model 3.0 as updated the previous week. The state paid $5.5 million for the property. Operating costs and improvements to ready the building for its new purpose will bring the total to $6.9 million.

The 71,000-square-foot Bix Produce warehouse provides overflow room for up to 5,100 bodies. The state was bracing for up to 1,000 deaths per week, with half the deaths coming in a four- to five-week period, according to the Minnesota Department of Administration. The Star Tribune’s Jennifer Bjorhus provided a sympathetic account of the state’s new venture.

The surge in deaths has failed to materialize. The predicted peak never arrived. Indeed, deaths due to the epidemic have cratered since the state purchased the building and refashioned it as a morgue. Over the seven days from June 23 to June 29, for example, authorities attributed 52 deaths to the epidemic, a few short of the expected 1,000 per week.

KSTP-TV’s Tom Hauser asked Governor Walz about this episode at a recent press briefing. Hauser’s question elicited a few of Walz’s characteristic rhetorical maneuvers couched in meaningless fast talk: “When this is all done and COVID is contained and we move to that place where we can look back on this time, if the critique is that I built that out and should not have done that, I will take that and I will own that.”

Hauser reports the story here. It is a sidebar that opens a window onto the nature of the “leadership” of the Walz administration and the failure of the Minnesota media (with the exception of Hauser himself).