Animal’s Daily Loony Shoes News

I like basics in footwear.  My favorite foot-housings are plain, unadorned Justin ropers; a pair costs a hundred bucks or so and can last twenty years.  The plain old roper boot (known as a Wellington in some parts) is 18th century technology, but there’s a good reason they haven’t changed much – and that’s because there’s no reason for them to change.  I put mine through rain, mud, snow, dust, rocks, all manner of stuff.   Clean them, apply some saddle soap and mink oil, and you’re good to go.  Simple and reliable.

That’s how footwear should be.  Simple and reliable.  So why do people have to complicate things?  Excerpt:

“Athletes will be able to update and evolve their shoes with upgrades, new features and services all through smartphone technology inside their footwear,” said Michael Donaghu, Nike’s vice president of innovation.

While Nike touts this shoe as a “mobile sports research lab on feet everywhere,” the shoe currently doesn’t provide any data, but the company said that will be coming.

“We are moving from fit to firmware,” said Donaghu.

Nike researchers said the Nike Adapt BB is the most tested shoe in its history. The company chose basketball as the first sport because of the demands basketball players put on their shoes with fast cuts and constant sprints.

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum has been the guinea pig secretly testing the Adapt behind the scenes. Tatum will wear the Adapt BB in the shoe’s professional debut Wednesday night when the Celtics play the Toronto Raptors. The shoe is available to customers beginning Feb. 17.

These damn things start at $350.  I could get a fair-middling pair of blue stingray cowboy boots for that, suitable for a Saturday night on the town, and I can tell you I consider that money far better spent.

Here’s my concern with high-tech shoes:  Shoes go on your feet, which are generally used for walking, running, hopping, jumping and other things that involve impact.  Further, those shoes are probably going to get muddy, wet, dirty in all sorts of ways.  And, sooner or later, the fancy smart-phone-adjustable gizmos are going to break, leaving you stuck with a really expensive pair of sneakers that you can no longer lace up.

This is a high-tech solution looking for a problem.  A First World problem.

 

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Thanks once again to blogger pal Doug Hagin over at The Daley Gator for the linkback and the kudos!

When I was a little tad, one of the major figures in my young life was my maternal grandfather.  Grandpa Baty stood as a giant in my young world.  He was a farmer and a carpenter, a dedicated fisherman and keen observer of the outdoor world.  He was a man of another era, born in 1898, a young man during the first World War, the father of an expanding family during the Depression, a man with two sons and a son in law serving overseas in the Second.

Grandpa in 1915

Every morning of his adult life he rose, washed, shaved with a straight razor – when I was little I thought that was the coolest thing ever – and donned his Key Imperial hickory overalls to face the day.  In the bib pocket of those overalls he put his watch, an old Westclox Pocket Ben that he bought sometime during the Depression for the princely sum of three dollars.  The watch had a fob of knotted string that Grandpa had made himself.  One of my earliest memories of my grandfather was of sitting in his lap at the kitchen table, hearing that watch ticking loudly in his bib pocket.

Last spring, when my Dad passed away, my mother and sisters spent several days packing up stuff from Mom & Dad’s house, as Mom wasn’t going to be able to stay there alone.

1967: Grandpa, Mom, Dad and Yr. Obdt.

Part of that process was deciding which family heirlooms would go to which of us five kids.  I’m not much for stuff, but it had been a long-understood thing that I was to one day get my Grandpa’s watch.  For the many years since Grandpa died my Mom had kept it; it was her Daddy’s watch, after all.  But during this transition, Mom decided it was time to pass the watch on.  So I have it now.  For Christmas this year, my own dear Mrs. Animal gave me a beautiful walnut and brass stand to display the watch:

Grandpa’s Watch

It’s an old, outdated, cheap wind-up pocket watch with a knotted string fob, eighty or more years old.  If you wind it it only runs for an hour or so.  The crystal is cracked and missing a piece; the radium-painted hands no longer glow.  No pawnbroker would give you a penny for it.

It was my Grandpa’s watch.  Bill Gates couldn’t buy it from me.  Once in a while I take it off the stand, wind it up some, close my eyes and for a few moments just listen to that old watch ticking…

…and for a little while, I’m a little boy again, hanging out with my Grandpa.

Some things are beyond price.

Animal’s Daily Colorado Baker News

This is interesting news; an Imperial judge has ruled that Colorado baker Jack Phillips has standing to sue the State of Colorado for religious bias.  Excerpt:

Last week, a federal judge ruled that Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, could proceed to sue the state for anti-religious bias.

Phillips previously fought a case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court after the Colorado Civil Rights Commission cited him for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. The Supreme Court found that the commission discriminated against Phillips for his religious views.

On the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take Phillips’ appeal, Denver attorney Autumn Scardina requested Phillips to bake a cake that celebrated gender transition with a blue outside and an pink inside, the Western Journal reports. After Phillips refused, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission cited him again.

Despite Phillips winning his case at the Supreme Court, the state still decided to prosecute him, causing him to file a lawsuit.

And:

Campbell added that Phillips serves all customers regardless of their lifestyle but doesn’t create custom cakes that express messages that conflict with his religious beliefs.

You know, it’s illustrative to reverse the roles here.  Imagine an LGBTQX baker that refused to make a custom cake for a traditional heterosexual couple’s wedding.  Would the state of Colorado descend on them with the same fury they have visited on Phillips? Of course not!  And in that case, as opposed to Mr. Phillips’ case, the state would be correct; it is a clear violation of freedom of association to force a private business to enter into an agreement that violates their personal sense of ethics.

It doesn’t matter what their ethics system is based on:  The Bible, the Kama Sutra, the Books of Bokonon or the rantings of a street-corner drunk.  The state only has two legitimate purposes:  To protect the safety and the liberty of the citizen.  In this case, nobody’s safety or liberty was threatened by being denied a custom cake – except, of course, the liberty of Mr. Phillips, in the sense that the state attempted to deny him freedom of association.

“But Animal,” you might ask, “where do we draw the line?  Should a baker be allowed to refuse to provide a custom cake to a mixed-race couple, because he’s a (actual, as opposed to the usual, modern definition) racist?

“Yes,” I would reply, “…because bigoted pricks still have freedom of association.  No victim, no crime.  I may join you in a protest in front of that guy’s shop to deprive the bigoted prick of customers, but I’ll never say he isn’t within his rights to refuse – and there are plenty more bakers in Denver.”

The entire discussion should stop right there.  No victim, no crime.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links – and check out my latest part in the “History of The Six-Gun” over at Glibertarians!  In fact, you should check the link to the right to read all my Glibertarians articles.

Meanwhile, California’s descent into lunacy continues apace.  Excerpt:

This is the state that told McDonalds they could no longer give away Happy Meal toys, all because a politician said it was hard for him to tell his children “No” as they drove by the Arches. (McDonalds instead charges for the toys, and they actually move MORE of them, while turning a larger profit as a result.) This is the state that recently criminalized restaurants serving drinks with plastic straws.

Now the next micro-managed policy is being forwarded. An assemblyman by the name of Phil Ting has latched on to the next big crisis to rock the Golden State, and we thank the stars he is there for the goodness of the residents.

All the elements are in place, from the fact-challenged statistics to the catchy rhyming hashtag!

And please, enough cannot be said about the shaming of the intern by posing on a stool as an anthropomorphic CVS receipt!

I have to agree on the mental and emotional abuse of the intern; that poor schmuck looks absolutely mortified.  And California residents will also feel mortified if this crap becomes law, another useless, feel-good measure intruding on how businesses conduct their affairs.  This will cost businesses more money to transition, once again jacking up the prices of consumer goods in the Golden Loony State, and making it harder on the margins for small businesses to compete.

Why the hell does anyone even attempt to do business in Californey any more, anyway?

Rule Five Political Hypocrite Friday

I know, I know – the title is a redundancy, but there you are.  A powerful – and by that, read “crooked as a snake with a busted back” – Chicago politician has not only been busted, but the notoriously anti-gun pol has been ordered to turn in his own personal collection of twenty-three guns.  Hah!  Excerpt, with my comments:

Alderman Ed Burke, 75, is charged with one count of attempted extortion for conveying to company executives in 2017 that they’d get the (city remodeling) permits only if they signed on as clients at Burke’s private property-tax law firm in Chicago, a 37-page complaint unsealed on Thursday says.

Apparently Alderman Burke was fond of the old-school “nice contracting business you’ve got there – shame if something were to… happen to it.”

For many Chicagoans suspicious of dealings behind closed doors at City Hall, Burke has personified the city’s machine politics for decades. Dozens of aldermen have entered U.S. District court on corruption charges, but Burke seemed too powerful, too wealthy and too savvy to land himself in the kind of legal trouble he now faces.

A career state police officer of my acquaintance some years back once told me that every criminal he ever encountered combined three character traits in various proportions:  Greedy, mean, and stupid.  Apparently the same applies to Chicago aldermen.

He sat in a packed Chicago federal courtroom Thursday afternoon with his arms folded, wearing his trademark pinstriped suit with a pocket square. Minutes later, he stood before U.S. Magistrate Sheila Finnegan, who asked if he understood the charge and that a conviction could carry a lengthy prison sentence.

“Yes, your honor,” he answered calmly.

And if there is any justice to be found in Cook County – a highly doubtful supposition – that prison sentence will indeed be lengthy.

Burke’s attorney, Charles Sklarsky, commented briefly to reporters as he left the courthouse with his client, saying he looked forward to proving Burke did nothing wrong.

“The transaction described in the complaint does not make out extortion or an attempt to extort,” he said.

Which statement is lawyerly hogwash.

Here’s the punch line:

Prosecutors told the judge that Burke, who has publicly opposed the National Rifle Association and proposed multiple gun-control ordinances over the years, had 23 guns at his offices alone. The judge said one condition of his continued release is that he gets rid of all his guns, including any at his home. He also was required to turn over his passport.

Haw!

If I had a dollar for every anti-gun politician who ascribed to the “laws for thee, but not for me” school of thought, I’d have… well, a whole bunch of dollars.  Like Dianne Feinstein and her politically-connected CCW permit, or Mike Bloomberg and his retinue of armed guards.

Of course this is Illinois, which state in general and Cook County in particular has a long history of political corruption, as the linked article points out:

Burke joins a long list of Illinois lawmakers charged criminally, including former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is serving a 14-year prison term on multiple federal corruption convictions.

Now hypocrisy isn’t against the law, for which fact many members of Congress no doubt breathe the occasional sigh of relief.  But there should damn well be some cost on Election Day; should be, but in all too many cases there isn’t, as much of the electorate apparently expects nothing else from pols of either party.

Animal’s Daily Gun Buy-Back Shenanigans News

Guns Not for Sale.

This elicited a chuckle:  Man Sells Junk Guns to Buy-Back Program, Buys New Gun With Cash.  Excerpt:

Nine times out of 10, those selling us their guns are law-abiding citizens getting rid of broken or unused weapons.

It’s entrepreneurship at its finest. So for that, I need to give some serious props to state leaders. While they failed at the whole “gun handover” thing, they sure succeeded at giving people a side hustle.

Like this guy, for example.

A Missouri man sold his firearms made out of scrap metal and garbage to a gun buy-back program… and then used the money to buy a real gun.

We call that man a “patriot”.

YouTuber Royal Nonesuch made a quick $300 by taking 3 firearms that he’d built out of scrap and selling them back to the state of Missouri. He described two of the pipe guns as the ‘crappiest guns I’ve ever made’ but was still able to successfully sell them off to the program.

First off; yes, gun buy-backs are stupid.  What’s more, they’re a waste of taxpayer money.  Even more than that, the “no-questions-asked” models of most buy-backs allow criminals to safely dispose of weapons that may well be linked to a crime, and get some cash or prizes into the bargain.

And riddle me this:  How the hell can a city “buy back” something that never belonged to the city in the first place?

The last gun “buy-back” done in Denver was in 2008, and netted a grand total of fifteen guns; at least that one was done by a church, and not by the city at taxpayer expense.  But if they ever do another, I expect I’ll have to find some time to drag loyal sidekick Rat out of his lodgings to head to a scrap yard.  I’m fairly certain we can bang together a few zip-gun style gizmos to sell, and I’ve been toying with the idea of trying out one of the Ruger Gunsite Scout rifles…

…Opportunities are where we find them.  Right?

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Thanks again to The Other McCain for the Rule Five link!

So Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg missed out on opening arguments for the first time in her 26 years on the Supreme Court, due to her ongoing health issues.  She’s 85.  Excerpt:

Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said the 85-year-old justice is continuing to recuperate and work from home after doctors removed two cancerous growths from her left lung on Dec. 21.

Ginsburg was discharged from a New York hospital on Dec. 25.

Chief Justice John Roberts said in the courtroom Monday that Ginsburg would participate in deciding the argued cases “on the basis of the briefs and transcripts of oral arguments.”

Ginsburg had two earlier cancer surgeries in 1999 and 2009 that did not cause her to miss court sessions. She also has broken ribs on at least two occasions.

The court said doctors found the growths on Ginsburg’s lung when she was being treated for fractured ribs she suffered in a fall at her office on Nov. 7.

After past health scares, Ginsburg has come back to work relatively quickly. In 2009, she was at the court for arguments on Feb. 23, 18 days after surgery for pancreatic cancer.

Ginsburg, one of the Court’s liberals, has been in declining health for a while now.  While she certainly has our sympathies, it’s painfully obvious that she’s hanging on by her fingernails because she doesn’t want President Trump to name her replacement.

Think about that.  She is reducing the effectiveness of the Court for political reasons.

Here’s the thing:  The Supreme Court should not be a partisan body.  In an ideal world, it wouldn’t be.  But this isn’t an ideal world, and there is a huge ideological chasm between judges President Trump nominates for the Court and the ones Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I would have nominated.

That’s the main reason I voted for President Trump, incidentally, and from conversations I’ve had with conservatives and libertarians, I’ve got a fair amount of company there.

But enough is enough.  It’s time for Justice Ginsburg to hang it up.  Her family would thank her for it, and the country should thank her for it (although many on the left won’t.)  She has had a long and distinguished career, but it’s time.  Retire, Justice Ginsburg.  It’s time.

Animal’s Daily Secession Round II News

We’ve been kicking this idea around for a while now, but here’s another take on it from The Washington Times’ Stephen Moore.  Excerpt:

Houston, we have a problem. The federal government is losing the consent of the governed.

Could this red state-blue state America end in violence and uprising if one side feels hopelessly aggrieved by the tyranny of the majority of the other side? We know, regrettably, from history that it can.

How do we head this off? Two ideas need to be pursued.

The most practical solution is a reinvigorated emphasis on federalism — a political movement that takes ever-expanding power away from the federal government and restores the sovereignty and home rule of the states. That way Americans can self-select to live under the laws they agree with but within the context of the legal protections of U.S. citizens embedded in the U.S. Constitution.

If you want drugs legalized, government-run health care, abortion on demand and an end to fossil fuels, move to California. If you want low taxes, right-to-work laws, prayer in school, move to Alabama. This mitigates the tyranny of the federal government and is much in the intent of our Founding Fathers.

If this doesn’t work, America may need to consider a Brexit option. One of the flaws of the U.S. Constitution is that it never set forth terms of legal separation. Perhaps that needs to be fixed with a constitutional amendment that allows a state to leave the union if some super-majority of the citizens of that state want to opt out. As long as the states remained as a free-trade zone and perhaps agreed to a common currency (like the euro) the economic costs would be small.

Some may view this as an un-American and even treasonous idea. No. Offering states an exit option would force the majority of states to be more attentive to the grievances of the minority and would help resolve conflicts and could save the union from dissolution.

I don’t know as it would save the union from dissolution; not at all.  Why not?  Well, there are a couple of reasons.

First, the red/blue divide of the states isn’t as geographically coherent as the North/South divide in 1861.  You have New England and the Atlantic Seaboard, Illinois and a few other parts of the upper Midwest and the Left Coast, Nevada and Colorado in the deep-blue column.  The rest of the country is either red or purple, and I have little doubt that if a “USexit” was in the cards, plenty of folks would vote with their feet to either join or flee the seceding states, thus making the divide even greater.

Second, there would be a tipping point at which the Imperial city wouldn’t be able to hold things together.  If, say, twenty of fifty states bailed – the aforementioned above plus, say, Alaska and Hawaii – I think you’d hit a point of no return where residents of the remaining states would start looking closer to home for resolutions of their distributed interests.  The result of that would probably be several loose regional coalitions of states – several versions of something more like the Articles of Confederation in the red states, something more along the lines of pure democracy in the blue areas.

Either way, the United States as we know it ends at that point.

Now, Mr. Moore also advocates the more sane solution of a return to federalism.  That’s my preferred action as well, but honestly, hardly anybody in either party in the Imperial City is interested in depriving themselves of what has become a truly staggering power over the citizenry.

That’s where we are, True Believers, and it ain’t pretty.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links, and to our pals over at The Daley Gator for the linkback!  Also, go read my latest article over at Glibertarians.com.

Now, with all that said…

On January 1st, the new “assault weapons” ban in the People’s Republik of Boulder took effect.  Independence Institute leader and Boulder resident Jon Caldera, having previously announced his intention to do precisely that, is refusing to comply.  Excerpt:

My strong belief in my Second Amendment rights is core to who I am. I know that is not understood by many today, however I am not asking to be understood. I’m asking to be left alone.

I am asking for progressives who run city government to live up to their assertion of tolerance and just let me be.

Because I own a long gun with a pistol grip and a detachable magazine, I had to the end of December to self-identify to the police, present myself for investigation and my gun for inspection, pay fees in order to receive a police-issued permission slip, all to avoid jail time, monetary penalties, and the confiscation and destruction of my gun.

I have never been convicted or even charged with a crime in my 54 years of life, but this week I became a criminal. I am no different then potentially thousands of other Boulderites who cannot bring themselves to submit to this ugliness. And yes, I know, most people today don’t see this as ugly or intolerant, but simply a reasonable thing to do about this “epidemic.” After all, something needs to be done.

For publicly stating that I will not comply, my daughter has been targeted at her Boulder school, the one with posters celebrating tolerance and diversity all over the walls. My refusal to submit has been commented on by teachers in front of their classes. She has been ganged up on by students and bullied because “her father is a murderer.” She is worried that I will be taken to jail. As a single dad to her and her handicapped brother, I have to admit I’m worried about that too.

Now illegal in Boulder.

And Mr. Caldera has company.

I’ve said it before, but the four words “I Will Not Comply” are some of the most powerful words in the English language.  Our own Denver suburb of Aurora has not yet given in to this nitwittery, but if they were to do so, I’d have to join Mr. Caldera and the legion of “gun toting hippies” in refusing to comply.

I can’t say as I’m optimistic about all this.  Local and state governments (see New Jersey, California and Washington for recent examples) will continue passing stupid laws, and more and more people will join the ranks of those who will not comply.  I’m looking for a way this can end without violence, but I’m damned if I can see one.

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.