Author Archives: Scott Johnson

President Hanlon, include me out

Featured image Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon has sent a blast email to “the Dartmouth community.” According to the subject line, the email addresses “Dartmouth Action Plan for Inclusive Excellence.” The action plan is posted here. Given the message’s concatenation of current academic cliches, I think I’ll pass. By the evidence of his message, President Hanlon has successfully stifled the urge to say anything in a voice that resembles that of a sentient »

The gospel according to Suzy

Featured image I flipped over singer Suzy Bogguss when I saw her perform with her band at the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant in downtown Minneapolis in 2011. I wrote about the show here. Suzy played many of her hits and previewed her then unreleased recording of traditional American music. She returns to the Dakota this coming Wednesday and Thursday for 7:00 p.m. shows. I urge you to check out her show »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (18)

Featured image The end approacheth. The prosecution called its final witnesses and rested yesterday. The last two government witnesses testified to the undercover sting operation leading to the arrest of two of the three defendants (Abdirahman Daud and Mohamed Farah) in San Diego, where they thought they were procuring fake passports facilitating their travel to join ISIS in Syria. The FBI used an undercover officer detailed from the San Diego police department »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammon Grrrll is thinking allegorically about D-I-V-O-R-C-E! (An Imperfect Metaphor). She writes: We should have seen it coming. Human beings can only put up with so much. Former slave and abolitionist, genius essayist, Frederick Douglass said it best: “Find out what any people will quietly submit to and you will find out the exact measure of misery and wrong that will be heaped upon them.” It certainly seemed like a »

With peaceniks for jihad

Featured image Minnesota’s Anti-War Committee — “Organizing Against US Wars Since 1998” — has opened up a front at the federal courthouse in downtown Minneapolis. They stage weekly protests in support of the defendants in the ongoing trial of the “Minnesota men” charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and other related offenses. Six of the defendants among the current group have pleaded guilty; one is believed »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (17)

Featured image Well, I went to the trial yesterday and a fight broke out. Waiting in the hallway to enter the courtroom at the appointed hour, the hallway was thick with those of us wanting to take a seat inside. I stood directly behind a young Somali lady wearing a hijab. As she started pushing and shoving, she repeatedly dropped the F-bomb at maximum volume within shouting distance of the jury. One »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (16) [updated]

Featured image Judge Davis’s concerns about maintaining order in the courthouse were well founded, to say the least. He knows what he is doing, or trying to do. While we were waiting to be admitted to Judge Davis’s courtroom this morning a few mintues ago, a rumble broke out between Somali factions in the hallway. A young Somali woman started yelling that she would not be instructed where to sit by another »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (15)

Featured image Conspirator turned government informant Abdirahman Bashir completed his testimony during his fifth day on the stand yesterday. Defense counsel Bruce Nestor represents Abdhirahman Daud and is the best lawyer at the trial. He aggressively cross examined Bashir about his role promoting the trip to San Diego that culminated in the arrest of Daud and Mohamed Farah. (Ruled Omar was arrested in Minneapolis.) Bashir worked with the FBI to promise fake »

The deep meaning of Ben Rhodes

Featured image Obama national security adviser and voluble liar Ben Rhodes declined the invitation to appear before the House Oversight Committee to testify on “White House narratives on the Iran deal” last week, but Michael Doran accepted. The hearing was occasioned by David Samuels’s illuminating New York Times profile of Rhodes. You may recall that White House flack Josh Earnest asserted that committee member Ken Buck and others were lying about the »

Not dark yet, cont’d

Featured image Bob Dylan is first and foremost an astounding songwriter. He somehow absorbed the folk, rock, country and blues traditions as a precocious young man and then recapitulated them in his own voice many times over while adding a twist of modernist poetry to the mix. On his seventy fifth-birthday, I want to take the liberty of posting some notable cover versions of great songs you may not have heard before, »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (14)

Featured image Conspirator turned government informant Abdirahman Bashir returned to the stand for a fourth day yesterday. He completed direct examination in the morning before the lunch break. Defense counsel have commenced their cross examination of Bashir and should complete it today. So far my estimate is that Bashir is an effective witness for the government. He recorded hours of conversations with defendants beginning in February 2015, culminating in the arrest of »

Not dark yet

Featured image Today is the birthday of Minnesota native son Bob Dylan; he turns the ripe old age of 75. He is a remarkable artist, self-invented, deep in the American grain. A few years back I visited Dylan’s old home at 2425 7th Avenue East in Hibbing. The house is a small two-story residence with a one-car attached garage on the side. The house is exactly two blocks from Hibbing High School, »

Labor’s little problem

Featured image The Gatestone Institute has just initiated a video series that leads off with Douglas Murray’s exposition of the British Labor Party’s problem with anti-Semitism. In an email message promoting the video the institute explains: “Anti-Semitism isn’t new to the UK Labour Party, and its recent anti-Semitic outbursts shouldn’t surprise anyone. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has ordered an ‘independent inquiry’ into the party’s anti-Semitism. Douglas Murray, a Distinguished Senior Fellow »

Through the media looking-glass

Featured image The terrorism trial in progress before Judge Davis is important and interesting, but is difficult to understand through a media filter. The national media have mostly shied away from the trial. A couple of recent articles, however, offer exhibits A and B in the imposition of a gauzy filter over the case. The Los Angeles Times’s Matt Pearce took a detour from his trip to Minneapolis on the Prince beat »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (13)

Featured image The recordings made by conspirator turned informant Abdirahman Bashir took center stage for three hours at the trial of the three “Minnesota men” on Friday. They came in “fast and furious,” including so many items of interest that I found it hard to keep up as they were played in court. I therefore overlooked several in my post yesterday. Here is one with a little help from the Star Tribune’s »

Patrick Hogan would prefer not to

Featured image Conspirator turned informant Abdirahman Bashir testified to his former employment at the airport in the terrorism trial in progress before Judge Michael Davis in Minneapolis this past Thursday. I immediately wrote Metropolitan Airports Commission public affairs officer Patrick Hogan to ask for basic information regarding Bashir’s employment at the airport. It was information of the kind that Hogan had previously provided me on co-conspirator Abdirizak Warsame, who also worked at »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (12)

Featured image Conspirator turned FBI informant Abdirahman Bashir remained on the stand as the prosecution played three more hours of conversations with the defendants that he secretly recorded in February, March and April 2015. Judge Davis excused the jury for the weekend at 12:30. During their opening statements, defense counsel portrayed the three defendants as innocents ensnared by the government. Defense counsel sought to create the impression that their clients’ interest in »