Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Could we – and by we, I mean humanity – be wiped out by a mega-volcano?  Well, maybe.  Excerpt:

In the Bay of Naples, Europe’s most notorious giant is showing signs of reawakening from its long slumber.

Campi Flegrei, a name that aptly translates as “burning fields”, is a supervolcano. It consists of a vast and complex network of underground chambers that formed hundreds of thousands of years ago, stretching from the outskirts of Naples to underneath the Mediterranean Sea. About half a million people live in Campi Flegrei’s seven-mile-long caldera, which was formed by vast eruptions 200,000, 39,000, 35,000 and 12,000 years ago.

The past 500 years have been fairly peaceful ones for Campi Flegrei. There have been no eruptions at all since 1538, and that was a comparatively small event that resulted in the formation of the “New Mountain”, Monte Nuovo. But recent events suggest that this period of quiescence may be coming to an end.

Here’s the scary bit:

“The last eruption of Yellowstone would potentially have put ash across both American continents,” says David Pyle at the University of Oxford. “If you take a continental land mass and you suddenly cover it with 10cm of volcanic ash, all the organic matter and trees will lose their leaves and probably die. Animals will take in chemicals which are toxic to them. The ground will suddenly be much brighter than before, so a lot of the incoming solar radiation might simply be reflected back into the atmosphere, resulting in a lengthy drought.”

With water supplies clogged, electricity transmission lines failing and a complete disruption in ground transport, there would be an immediate crisis.

So, as Owen Wilson might say, the scariest environment imaginable.

While a mega-volcano eruption would indeed have global consequences, I’m not spending much time worrying about one.  I find the geology behind mega-volcanoes interesting (I find pretty much all geology interesting) but if you read any of the science at all, there’s one ting you have to understand while considering the scariest environment imaginable resulting from a mega-volcano eruption:

Geologic time scales.

One of these monsters might go up tomorrow.  Or it might not happen for half a million years.  For the last few million years, ice ages have come and gone; on the geological time scale, glaciers have been marching up and down the Northern Hemisphere like window shades, but the only reason we know anything about the most recent glaciation is from the signs it left behind.

There’s another reason to remain calm:  There’s no point in worrying about something you can’t do anything about.  So, sure, a mega-volcano may wipe us all out tomorrow.  So might a Texas-sized asteroid.  But, while the science is interesting, I won’t bend many neurons worrying about either.

Animal’s Daily Kid Rock News

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

Oh, for the luvva Pete.  Now Kid Rock is running for the Senate from Michigan – as a Republican – and he’s running well ahead of Democrat incumbent Debbie Stabenow in the polls.  Excerpt:

Rockstar Kid Rock set off a political firestorm after teasing his Twitter followers about a potential Senate run in Michigan.

News broke this weekend that Kid Rock is LEADING challenger, Dem Debbie Stabenow in a new poll 30% to 26%!

He’s saying some of the right things:

Days later, Kid Rock tweeted out a ‘manifesto’ to his followers, laying out his political believes in a short graphic.  

“I believe if you work your butt off and pay taxes, you should be able to easily understand and navigate the laws, tax codes, health care and anything else the government puts in place that affects us all.”

Regardless of how well Kid Rock is liked in his home state, and regardless of what position statements he releases (and I do like the one above) his candidacy and his lead in the admittedly-vastly-premature polls is a symptom of the same thing that elected President Trump:  People are sick of business as usual in the Imperial City, and are willing to try almost anything new.

Will Rogers once famously said “The short memory of American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.”  That seems to be changing – and I can only say, it’s about damned time.

So who’s next?  Hank Williams Jr.?  Ted Nugent?  Toby Keith?

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

One of my favorite free-range, largely unedited and uncontrolled libertarian web sites is Glibertarians.com.  Over the weekend one of the regular Glib posters discussed the first round of the Trump tax wars.  Excerpt:

Now that Team Red has demonstrated their utter hackery by suddenly changing their minds about dismantling the government-controlled health insurance system and demonstrating their deep and abiding love for expansive government, the next ripe target is so-called “tax reform.” Team Blue is already manning the ramparts in the certain fear that any adjustments in the tax code will be away from their moneybags and toward the Team Red moneybags (we know for certain that actually cutting taxes and pushing all the moneybags away from the trough is as likely as the sudden heat death of the Universe).

So it was with that thought in mind that I approached a Vox article written by the reliably mendacious Matt Yglesias as a general hit-piece on Trump. The article doesn’t disappoint, it was the expected (and at this point yawn-inducing) brew. The section on taxes drew my attention: as expected, the well-past-damn-lies use of statistics, cherry-picked quotes, emotional appeals, and the Diana Moon Glampers view of the purpose of economic manipulation.

Back on the policy front, Trump says of his tax plan that “if you add what the people are going to save in the middle income brackets, if you add that to what they’re saving with health care, this is like a windfall for the country, for the people.”

Trump’s actual tax plan would raise taxes on millions of Americans while delivering a windfall to the rich…

But here’s the real kicker, right at the end of the article:

It was the very next several paragraphs which floored me:

TPC could not model an actual Trump tax plan since far too many critical details are unknown. For instance, the Administration has been sending mixed signals about whether it wants a tax bill to raise as much revenue as current law or whether it prefers a version that reduces overall taxes and add to the deficit.

Beyond those threshold questions, the White House outline left out many critical details. For instance, during the campaign, candidate Trump said he’d increase the standard deduction but eliminate both the personal exemption and head of household filing status. The April outline repeated the promise to boost the standard deduction but was silent on the two revenue-raisers.

In other words, “We have no idea of what the plan we’re criticizing actually is.” But it gets better:

As a result, TPC created a stylized version of what the key elements of a Trump plan might look like. It first analyzed the tax cuts that the White House outlined in April, adding key assumptions to fill in unspecified details. For instance, TPC assigned income ranges to the proposed tax brackets, which the Administration did not.

In other words, WE JUST MADE THIS SHIT UP OURSELVES. And THAT was what got cited, and Yglesias still had to apply the usual lying sack of shit spin and misquotation to it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Journalism Circa 2017.

This is the pass we have come to, True Believers, when “journalist” has pretty much become a synonym for “lying sack of shit.”

Which is also a synonym for “Congressman.”

Seriously, though – are there any thinking people at all who can’t see through this “tax cuts for the rich” horseshit?  Of course the higher-income earners will see more of a tax reduction in any tax reform plan; they pay most of the goddamn taxes.  When most pols yap about a “tax cut for working people” they really mean “handing out more Free Shit.”

And what the hell does “working people” mean, anyway?  I’m not a 1%-er but I sure as hell am a 10%-er, mostly through dint of a lot of hard work and nearly 30 years in an industry sucking up every little bit of knowledge I found lying around, to the point where now I have a reputation in the industry and people will pay me to come in to their businesses to fix things.

Are these politics-of-envy assholes implying I don’t work?  Because it sure feels to me like I’ve been working my ass off for quite a long while now.  And considering that I lose somewhere between a third and half my income in taxes every year, yeah, I’d like to have some kind of a fucking break.

With that said, I’ll just state that Matt Yglesias is a dishonest shitbag and a stupid prick, and leave it at that before I end up any more pissed off about the whole thing.

Rule Five Economic Infringement Friday

Here’s an important point to remember:  When pols talk about regulating “the economy” they are talking about regulating people.  Excerpt:

Strictly speaking, it’s not markets that can and should be free—it’s people. The term free market merely describes one political-legal context in which people conduct themselves. It’s shorthand for a subset of human action—the exchange of goods and services, usually for money. (The logic of human action, the study of which Ludwig von Mises called praxeology, applies to all purposeful conduct, not just market exchange.)

It follows, then, that when politicians and activists call on the government to regulate the economy, they mean to regulate us. There’s no economy to regulate. It’s not a machine or a vehicle. It’s an unending series of purposeful activities the logic of which gives rise to a process characterized by regularities. Hence, for example, the law of supply and demand. We can talk about this orderly process—the market—as though it were a thing, but we have to keep its metaphorical nature in mind. It’s still only people cooperating with each other.

When market critics demand government regulation, they imply that markets are by nature unregulated. But we’ve just seen that this is nonsense. An unregulated market is a logical contradiction. That we call it a market indicates the regularities, or laws, just mentioned. No regularity—no market. There could no more be an unregulated market than there could be a grammarless language or a perpetually disorderly society. We would not call a population a society if it did not display a general order expressed by rules (written and unwritten), customs, and mores. Without such things, a population would be not a society but a Hobbesian state of nature.

What this article omits when writing of free markets is the appending of the term “capitalism”:

Free market capitalism.

There are damn few pols of any political stripe who actually support honest free market capitalism.  (Rand Paul comes closest.)  But here’s the thing about capitalism:  There is no real “ism” there.  In true free market capitalism, there is no underlying ideology, no central dogma, except liberty.  Free market capitalism consists only of free people engaging in free trade with one another, using their own skills, talents, abilities and assets to trade with others for their skills, talents, abilities and assets to the mutual advantage of all parties.

How could anyone be against that?

Ronald Reagan once pointed out that liberals “aren’t always wrong – it’s just that they believe so many things that aren’t so.”  Would-be market regulators are much the same.  The problem – no, not the problem, the really scary thing about politicians that want to regulate markets your economic freedom is that not only do they believe things that aren’t so, they are willing to use force – men with guns – to compel you to comply with their beliefs.

You can have regulated markets or you can have liberty.

You cannot have both.

The market in microcosm takes essentially this form:

Producer:  “I have produced Item A.  I would like to sell Item A for $5.”

Consumer:  “I would like to have Item A.  Here is $5.”

Producer:  “Thank you.”  Producer then uses the $5 to purchase more raw materials to make more Item As.

Both parties gain value.  This is the only legitimate way for economic transactions to take place; if they take place by coercion, that is theft, and if they take place by deception, that is fraud.

That’s how economies grow, True Believers, because we are the economy.  And if we are free – truly free – then unless theft or fraud has taken place, there’s no damn room for government regulators to stick their noses in.

Animal’s Daily Brain Dead News

No, this post isn’t about Congress.  Well, not yet.  But here’s a doc (not named Frankenstein) who is going to try to reanimate a brand-dead cadaver.  Excerpt:

Sergei Paylian was only 14 years old when he was horrified by the death of his young, attractive neighbor in Tbilisi, Georgia. As was the local Soviet custom at the time, her open coffin was carried through the street to the sound of music as a shocked teenage Sergei looked on, confronted for the first time with the issue of his own mortality.

It sparked a lifelong obsession with aging – and how to reverse it.

Now, standing in his neat Florida laboratory that looks more like a dentist’s office, the 66-year-old scientist is explaining how a lifetime of research has culminated in a purified extract he calls bioquantines, ‘combinatorial biologics’ incorporating other species such as frogs and, in the future, sharks that he believes is the key to curing diseases – and even death.

When injected into humans, he claims, the bioquantines find their way to diseased or damaged cells and help restore them to a healthier state.

The company Dr Paylian founded, Bioquark, is part of a broader project called ReAnima – which is ‘exploring the potential of cutting edge biomedical technology for human neuro-regeneration and neuro-reanimation.’

Prediction:  It won’t work.  “Dr” Paylian may be able to resurrect Pauly Shore’s career, but he won’t be able to resurrect a cadaver.  Even if he managed to restore enough brain-stem function to keep heart and lungs working, how much higher brain function would be irretrievably gone?

Prediction #2:  “Dr” Paylian will produce a corpse on a heart-lung machine, somehow provoke some reflex movement, and claim “partial success.”

But the whole idea isn’t hopeless.  Maybe we could mix some of these “bioquantines” into the lunch menu in the Capitol; they might just resurrect Congress into some kind of actual animated activity.

Then again – do we really want them doing anything?

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Today’s  happy juxtaposition of fundamentalist Islamic shitbaggery with the usual Hump Day totty is completely intentional.

Our allies the Saudis have detained a Saudi woman for a heinous breach of morality – she posted a video of herself wearing a crop-top shirt and a miniskirt.  Oh, the horror!  Excerpt:

The woman in the video has not been identified, but she’s being called “Khulood” online. The country’s religious police said that her attire is “offensive” and promised to investigate the matter. In Saudi Arabia, women are supposed to wear an abaya, which is a loose-fitting, cloaklike garment, over their clothes, and their hair should be covered in public. These laws do not apply to foreign women, which is why female members of President Donald Trump’s delegation to the country did not cover their heads during their visit.

First things first: that outfit is in no way offensive for walking around a city on a hot summer day. It wouldn’t be out of place in any American shopping mall.

Second: it’s absolutely abhorrent that a woman could be detained by the police for walking around outside. She wasn’t in a religious site or in some other area like a workplace where one could reasonably expect a dress code prohibiting crop tops. She was outside.

Third, there’s this gem from Linda Sarsour:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  Fucking savages.

It’s hard to form an opinion from a few seconds of grainy video, but the person in question appears to be a lovely young woman in the prime of life, a picture of the Feminine Aesthetic that we adherents to Western civilization love and revere.  But in the Kingdom, she is now in jail for wearing an outfit that would not be out of place in any high school in the United States.

That’s not morality.  It’s bald, unadulterated oppression.  Real oppression, not the hysterical “I’m oppressed because the government won’t pay for my birth control” kind of oppressed.  This is real, not-allowed-to-drive, not-allowed-to-speak-to-an-unrelated-male, not-allowed-to-speak-unless-spoken-to oppression.

So, in response, let’s remind ourselves what a real, self-confident, capable American woman looks like.

Animal’s Daily Snake Oil News

First of all, our hearty thanks once again to The Other McCain and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

Moving on:  Gwyneth Paltrow is a fair actress and she’s pretty hot, but when it comes to “alternative medicine,” she’s barking nuts.  Excerpt:

This week, Gwyneth Paltrow’s high-profile lifestyle and e-commerce site, Goop, gave birth to a beautiful gift to the Internet—and it wasn’t a moon-powered vagina egg that invigorates our mystical “life force.” No, it was a perfectly crafted reference guide for how to sell snake oil.

It’s really quite impressive.

Read the whole thing; but if you’re pressed for time, here’s where it gets really funny:

But before we take a dive into how Goop makes its money, it might be useful to run through the inventory of ridiculous products and practices that the Goop brand has peddled. This way, you can have an idea of just how much legwork might be needed during a sales pitch to move these types of products.

I’ll start off with the jade egg, which is, of course, intended to empower women when inserted into the vagina. According to Goop’s “beauty guru/healer/inspiration/friend Shiva Rose” it can improve your sex life and “detox” your lady bits, among other things. It sells for a mere $55 to $66 on Goop’s site.

To be fair, some women might feel emboldened by shoving an expensive rock in there. But there is no evidence to support—or even reason to believe—the health claims. For one thing, unless your kidneys are failing or you have been poisoned, you do not need to detoxify your body. Detoxing is not a thing. Plus, as Dr. Gunter and others have pointed out, keeping a porous egg that may harbor bacteria in your vagina has the potential to spur an infection. Similarly, Goop has also recommended vaginal steam cleaning, which is unnecessary because the vagina is self-cleaning. The steaming could also encourage infections, as well as burns.

Holy.

Effing.

Shit.

Question, True Believers:  Is it fraud if you actually believe the bullshit you are spewing to sell your useless crap?  Because this smells like fraud to me.

Don’t get me wrong; I do actually believe that, at some point, fools and their money deserve to be parted.  But really, horseshit like this strains credulity.  What’s really disappointing, what really shakes what little faith I have left in my fellow man, is the fact that some people actually believe in and spend money on this absolute codswallop.

Seriously, Ms. Paltrow – you should be ashamed of yourself.  You are taking advantage of people who (I’m guessing) don’t have two IQ points to rub together, and you’re doing so by selling them the biggest line of horseshit since the Greeks convinced the Trojans to roll an enormous wooden horse, big enough to contain a few hundred Greeks in full armor, inside their city gates and all go off for an early night.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

A judge has overturned a lawsuit brought by two University of Texas at Austin (of course) professors against Texas’ CCW on campus law.  Good news!  Excerpt:

Professors Jennifer Lynn Glass (sociology), Lisa Moore (English), and Mia Carter (English) banded together and filed a lawsuit that sought to overturn the new law. One professor argued that the “possibility of the presence of concealed weapons in a classroom impedes my and other professors’ ability to create a daring, intellectually active, mutually supportive, and engaged community of thinkers.”  (Animal Note:  What an enormous pile of fresh steaming horseshit.) Their reasoning centered around the idea that students will be unable to speak freely––a First Amendment argument––in an environment where other students are armed.

But this logic posits that students will pull guns on each other when they hear ideas they disagree with––an unlikely outcome. Even for controversial topics like abortion and, ironically, gun rights, it would be beyond the scope of reason to expect that a classroom conversation would become so heated that a student’s life would be threatened.

Judge Yeakel drew on the reasoning in the 1972 free speech case Laird v. Tatum, which said that “Allegations of a subjective ‘chill’ are not an adequate substitute for a claim of specific present objective harm or a threat of specific future harm.”

Is it really necessary to point out that the serious threats to free speech on college campii are not coming from legal, permitted CCW carriers but from the masked and hooded fascists of the ironically-dubbed “Antifa” movement?  Not from the NRA-supporting Right, but from the totalitarian Left?

They Antifa fascists are the ones starting fires and throwing bricks.  They are the ones attacking anyone to the right of Leon Trotsky who has the temerity to try to speak on a college campus.

It’s good that this suit was rightly overturned.  It’s sad that the dipshits who brought this suit can’t see the overwhelming irony of their action.

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