Rule Five Electoral Reform Friday

This Friday finds Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. in San Diego, where we have some local business to transact, after which we’ll enjoy a warm and sunny Friday afternoon and Saturday far from the chilly environs of New Joisey, to whence we return on Sunday.  It may be daffy old Californey, but at least it’s a change of scene.

In the meantime:  After thinking a little about this week’s post on electoral shenanigans, I have an idea.  Let’s propose an amendment to the Constitution!

Yes, I know.  It’s a wild shot in the dark.  The Constitution is hard to amend on purpose, and this amendment would have the blue states lined up against it from the start.  Plenty of folks in the red states wouldn’t like it, either.  But anyway, here it is, my proposed 28th Amendment, the Electoral Integrity Amendment:

  1. All voters shall be required to identify themselves via government-issued photo ID or biometric to a certified election official prior to casting any vote.
  2. All votes must be cast and entered by the actual voter.  Voting by proxy and delivery of ballots by third party is prohibited.
  3. All votes will be cast on one day, that day being the first Tuesday in November, excepting special elections, recall elections and runoff elections.  Absentee voting is allowed for military members and persons working outside the country.
  4. Citizens and residents who have been on any form of taxpayer funded public assistance within the twelve months prior to the election day are denied the franchise.

That last one in particular would cause a RHEEEEE that you could hear from orbit.  But let’s look at each part:

  1. This is voter ID, but modernized.  A while back I proposed a few ways to modernize our voting system that this amendment specifically allows for, namely a biometric ID as part of a validated, secured online system.  I can’t believe that the high foreheads at the NSA can’t come up with something at least as secure as our present system, which ain’t saying much.  And I can think of only one reason anyone would object to making voters identify themselves prior to voting.
  2. No more “ballot harvesting” horseshit.  Each state can work out systems for invalids and so on, but everyone must cast their own vote.  Note that an online biometric system would make it much easier for, say, senior citizens and the severely disabled to cast their votes.  And biometrics joined to a validated, secure database would eliminate multiple voting shenanigans.
  3. Election day is election day.  If you don’t care enough to show up at the polling place – or open a damned app on your phone or computer, if we go that route – then you shouldn’t be voting.
  4. I’ve proposed this before, in my Manifesto among other places, but as a matter of principle, if you ain’t get skin in the game, you cain’t have a say in how things are run.  I’d want to work out the details to exempt retirees, disabled veterans and so on, but that can be handled.

So, True Believers – thoughts?  Additions?  Subtractions?

Animal’s Daily #MeToo News

No, not me.  Wall Street.  Excerpt:

No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings.

In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way?

Across Wall Street, men are adopting controversial strategies for the #MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for women.

Call it the Pence Effect, after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who has said he avoids dining alone with any woman other than his wife. In finance, the overarching impact can be, in essence, gender segregation.

Interviews with more than 30 senior executives suggest many are spooked by #MeToo and struggling to cope. “It’s creating a sense of walking on eggshells,” said David Bahnsen, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley who’s now an independent adviser overseeing more than $1.5 billion.

Now I’m the least threatening guy in the world to women young or old.  At 57, I’m well past the hormone-driven stage; as a happily married man for 26 years, I’m not interested in shopping around.  I enjoy women aesthetically, but I also enjoy golden aspens in the fall, beautiful sunsets, kittens and wildflowers for much the same reasons.

And yes, I’ve adjusted my behaviors because of all this crap.  No one-on-one meetings behind closed doors.  I’m probably speaking more deliberately because my natural tendency is towards rough language and I have to watch that more carefully now.  And unlike years gone by, I never, ever complement a woman (other than Mrs. Animal, my Mom or my daughters) on their appearance.  My one exception to the above rule is a 30-something colleague who a few years back asked if I could mentor her through her advancing career, and I have agreed to do so, but have known her for a long time, she and Mrs. Animal are great friends, and I trust her.

It’s a shame that things like this have to suck every last bit of enjoyment we have in human interaction.  I like women; I enjoy being around them and talking with them, even though I’m not interested in hitting on them or sidling up to them.

But even I, as harmless a sort as you’re liable to find, have cut way back on my interactions with female coworkers.  It’s not worth taking the chance.  No way.  And that’s just too damn bad.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

It seems Congrescritter-elect Crazy Eyes is at it again.  Excerpt:

Democratic Socialist darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hasn’t even been sworn into office yet and she’s already shaking things up in Washington, D.C. Scratch that. She hasn’t even been sworn in as a Congresswoman yet and she’s already making demands of her fellow legislators…before meeting and working with them.

First, she complained that she couldn’t find adequate housing that she could afford. Then, she complained about health insurance as a means of advocating for Medicare For All. And who could forget her crazy comparisons between the Central American caravan and the Holocaust? Or that she didn’t know what the three branches of government are?

Now, she’s telling her colleagues that they need to pay staffers a living wage:


Hasn’t anybody yet told her that hypocrisy is not only not disqualifying for Congress, it’s practically a requirement?

Now, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez will be being paid $174,000 a year as a member of Congress, starting in January.  Will she, like a good little socialist, take only what salary her living expenses require and donate the rest to her staff, to take them closer to a “living wage,” whatever that is?  Granted the Imperial City is a pretty damned expensive place to live, but there’s no reason it should be; Harry Truman (a Democrat, but one who probably wouldn’t recognize what his party has become) said you can’t get rich in politics unless you’re a crook.

He was right.

Dan Quayle once misspelled “potato” and was castigated as a moron forever more.   Karla Marx here flunks Civics 101 on national news daily and is still a darling of the socialist left.  Go figure.

Animal’s Daily Electoral Shenanigans News

California is at it again.  That is, their voting laws are at it again.  Excerpt:

In California’s 39th Congressional District, Republican candidate Young Kim was widely anticipated to snag an electoral victory and fill outgoing Rep. Ed Royce’s shoes, becoming the first Korean-American woman to serve in Congress. On election night and the next day, she held a wide lead ahead of Democrat Gil Cisneros. While waiting for the official ballot tally, Kim flew to Washington D.C. to attend orientation events for freshmen members of Congress, including the class photo op, but as ballots continued to pour in up to a week after the election, the results flipped and she ultimately lost.

Watching every single contested congressional race flip from Republican to Democrat days after the election is, as Ryan put it, weird. While Here are six reasons California’s electoral system is deeply flawed.

Here’s the biggest source of possible shenanigans:

2. ‘Ballot Harvesting’ allows political operatives to drop off other people’s ballots.

A new state law allows third parties to pick up ballots and drop them off at polling locations on behalf of that person, a practice known as “ballot harvesting.”

In video footage that surfaced last month, a woman who identifies herself to a California resident as Lulu is seen knocking on someone’s door and offering to deliver their absentee ballot, but “only to, like, people who are supporting the Democratic Party.”

Now, as for that specific video:  Were the shoe on the other foot and the operative saying “…people who are supporting the Republican Party,” I’d be suspicious of a set-up.  So I’m forced to be skeptical here, too; there’s just no indication that this is an authentic portrayal of a real event.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible, and that doesn’t mean it’s not likely.

Is it asking too much to expect people to cast their own damn ballots?  I suppose you should make some allowances; my mother, in the 2016 election, was bedridden and only left the house at great pain and effort, so the local election commission sent two election workers – one from each party – to my parent’s house so Mom could fill in her vote.  But in California, it seems any schmuck can pick up ballots – say, from a listing of registered Democrats, or Republicans, it’s just as wrong either way.

It’s becoming as standing joke in too many places around the country, boxes of ballots mysteriously appearing the day after the election – or several days after.  It’s time to stop these shenanigans.  Anyone who has any faith in our election process right now just isn’t paying any damn attention.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks again to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

Here’s a lesson for sporting-goods retailers:  Don’t be a Dick’s.  Excerpt:

Dick’s Sporting Goods may no longer sell hunting-related gear and products.

The CEO for the sporting goods retailer said Thursday that the company was doing a trial run in 10 locations, pulling all hunting merchandise and replacing it with other items.

“Though it’s too early to discuss performance, we’re optimistic these changes will better serve the athletes in these communities,” Dick’s CEO Edward Stack said in a conference call, as reported by JSOnline.

The reason for the new approach may be because sales in that department have plummeted across all of Dick’s 732 stores.

“Specific to hunt, in addition to the strategic decisions made regarding firearms earlier this year, sales continued to be negatively impacted by double-digit declines in hunt and electronics,” said Lee Belitsky, chief financial officer.

Dick’s sadly underestimated the impact of their support of gun control laws, and their virtue-signalling policy changes in not only removing but destroying semi-auto rifles in their inventories.

I’ve purchased precisely one gun from Dick’s, long before any of these shenanigans started up.  They had a sale with a really good price on new Browning Citoris, so I bought my 12 gauge Satin Hunter from them.  That was in 2007, I haven’t set foot in a Dick’s since, and never will.

There are plenty of folks out there like me.

Alienating a key constituent in your target market rarely ends well.  Heard much from the Dixie Chicks lately?  No?  Well, now Dick’s is apparently following the Dixie Chicks model.  Piss off a big part of your target market and see how it ends up.

As my grandfather used to say, you can teach ’em, but you can’t learn ’em.

Rule Five Mass Gun Confiscation Friday

The idea of a massed, forcible confiscation of guns has been kicked around here in these virtual pages.  It’s entertaining brain-fodder, as certainly a significant proportion of gun owners would not comply.  Here, from author and pro-gunner Larry Correia, is one of the better dissections of this issue I’ve seen to date.  A few excerpts follow, with my comments.

So today I’m writing this for my left leaning friends and readers, in the hopes that I can break down the flaws in this argument. I’m going to try not to be too insulting. Accent on try… But I’ll probably fail because this is a really stupid argument.

So, bear in mind, Mr. Correia is directing the comments that follow to the would-be gun-banners.

First, let’s talk about the basic premise that an irregular force primarily armed with rifles would be helpless against a powerful army that has things like drones and attack helicopters.

Like, say, the Viet Cong.

This is a deeply ironic argument to make, considering that the most technologically advanced military coalition in history has spent the better part of the last two decades fighting goat herders with AKs in Afghanistan and Iraq. Seriously, it’s like you guys only pay attention to American casualties when there’s a republican in office and an election coming up.

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barack Obama launched over five hundred drone strikes during his eight years in office. We’ve used Apaches (that’s the scary looking helicopter in the picture for my peacenik liberal friends), smart bombs, tanks, I don’t know how many thousand s of raids on houses and compounds, all the stuff that the lefty memes say they’re willing to do to crush the gun nut right, and we’ve spent something like 6 trillion dollars on the global war on terror so far.

And yet they’re still fighting.

And:

Let’s be super generous. I’m talking absurdly generous, and say that a full 99% of US gun owners say won’t somebody think of the children and all hold hands and sing kumbaya, so that then you are only dealing with the angriest, listless malcontents who hate progress… These are those crazy, knuckle dragging bastards who you will have to put in the ground.

And there are 650,000 of them.

To put that into perspective, we were fighting 22,000 insurgents in Iraq, a country which would fit comfortably inside Texas with plenty of room to spare. This would be almost 30 times as many fighters, spread across 22 times the area.

And that estimated number is pathetically, laughably low.

But here’s the real kicker, when it comes to how just a small percentage of the population – with the help, almost certainly, of a not-insignificant portion of the military and police – could do a lot with a little to fuck things up for everybody:

The scariest single conversation I’ve ever heard in my life was five Special Forces guys having a fun thought exercise about how they would bring a major American city to its knees. They picked Chicago, because it was a place they’d all been. It was fascinating, and utterly terrifying. And I’ll never ever put any of it in a book, because I don’t want to give crazy people any ideas. Give it about a week and people would be eating each other (and gee whiz, take one wild guess what the political leanings of most Green Berets are?).

Similar dinner conversation once, with a bunch of SWAT cops from a major American city, talking about how incredibly easy it would be to entirely shut down and utterly ruin their city, with only a small crew of dedicated individuals and about forty eight hours of mayhem and fuckery. (And guess what their political leanings were? Hint, most of them were eager to retire because they’d been treated like shit by their liberal mayors, and take their pension to someplace like Arkansas).

Read the whole thing, by all means.  Now, don’t think for a moment that the gun-ban advocates haven’t thought of these things as well; if they have three IQ points to rub together they’d have to know what kind of hell they’d be unleashing by even trying.

But there are other ways to deal gun owners a death of a thousand cuts, and you’re seeing some of those in the works now.  Like the “red flag” proposals, which give local law enforcement the power to confiscate guns by force from anyone who they have reason to believe presents some danger – anyone think that this will never be abused?  Anyone worried about enabling government at any level to strip someone of a Constitutionally recognized natural right based on hearsay?

How about a punitive tax on ammo, powder and primers?  Gun-banners have already started talking about going after ammo – after all, guns aren’t much use without ammo – and hell, they wouldn’t have to ban ammo, all they would have to do is find a way to make it horribly expensive to make primers.

There are easily a thousand ways to tax, regulate and annoy the gun-owning population to the point where a fair number of them will just give it up as a bad job.  That will dry up the pool of people who care about the Second Amendment, which will allow for even more onerous regulation and legislation…

…See where I’m headed with this?  I’d almost rather they try to just ban guns outright.  At least then we’d get the damn thing over with quickly.

Animal’s Daily Vaping News

National treasure John Stossel and his mustache weigh in on vaping.  Excerpt:

“Your kids are not an experiment! Protect them from e-cigarettes,” warns former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy in a CDC PSA.

My former employer, ABC News, which never finds a risk it doesn’t hype, has run more than a dozen scare stores on vaping. A “Nightline” reporter warned about kids “addicted to nicotine before they even graduate from middle school!”

Yet compared to regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes are “extraordinarily less harmful,” says Michelle Minton of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. In my new newest video she says, “We should really be encouraging people to use vaping.”

Calling vaping safer than smoking doesn’t mean the risks are zero. Vapor contains harmful chemicals, too. But scientists say it’s far less harmful than smoking. If smokers switched to e-cigarettes, that would save millions of lives.

Nicotine is what makes both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes addictive. But nicotine itself isn’t that bad. Like caffeine, it’s a stimulant.

“On the spectrum of drugs that you can become addicted to,” says Minton, “nicotine and caffeine are very similar.”

The big health risks come from the 7,000 other chemicals generated by burning tobacco leaves.

By contrast, e-cigarette smoke is mostly just flavored vapor, which is less likely to harm anyone.

It doesn’t even smell as bad as cigarettes. “Somebody who’s vaping a huge cloud of Vanilla Cherry Blast, or whatever they’re vaping, is way more pleasant than standing next to somebody exhaling smoke from a combustible cigarette,” observed Minton.

Here’s a question for all of you True Believers; here is the United States Constitution.  Show me in there where the Imperial government has the power to rule over tobacco or other, similar substances.

Couldn’t find it?  Me either.  Anyway…

Its interesting to see how many of our supposed betters feel the compelling need to nanny other folks.  As a casual smoker myself (2-3 cigars a week) I can say honestly that my cigars are a choice I make, knowing the risks, and enjoying a fine smoke in moderation is something I will continue to do.

But the anti-vaping RHEEEE is something I find baffling.  It seems to me that vaping is a valuable tool for helping long-term smokers wean themselves off cigarettes; I would have thought government would want to encourage that.  As for teenagers, would you rather a booming black market grow around vaping – or tobacco?  Because that’s what would happen.

Trust me on this.  When I was in high school in the Seventies, marijuana was very illegal, especially for teens, and yet, nobody had any trouble getting a dime bag if they wanted one.

Maybe someday the nanny-staters will learn.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

There is, apparently, plenty of cash in pseudo-scientific woo.  Just ask Gwyneth Paltrow, but there are other purveyors of all manner of nitwittery.  Excerpt:

Misleading research is costly to society directly because much of it is supported by the federal government, and indirectly, when it gives rise to unwise, harmful public policy.

Social science studies are notorious offenders. A landmark study in the journal Nature Human Behaviour in August reported the results of efforts to replicate 21 social science studies published in the prestigious journals Nature and Science between 2010 and 2015. 

The multi-national team actually “conducted high-powered replications of the 21 experimental social science studies — using sample sizes around five times larger than the original sample sizes” and found that “62% of the replications show an effect in the same direction as the original studies.” One out of the four Nature papers and seven of the seventeen Science papers evaluated did not replicate, a shocking result for two prestigious scientific journals. The authors noted two kinds of flaws in the original studies: false positives and inflated effect sizes.

Science is supposed to be self-correcting. Smart editors. Peer review. Competition from other labs. But when we see that university research claims – published in the crème de la crème of scientific journals, no less — are so often wrong, there must be systematic problems. One of them is outright fraud – “advocacy research” that has methodological flaws or intentionally misinterprets the results.

Science, first off, isn’t a “thing,” or even, really, an occupation.  It’s a method of examining data and arriving at conclusions.  In my consulting business, I spend a lot of time teaching organizations how to examine data and follow it to a conclusion – and I always push them to forget any of their preconceived notions and assumptions; to follow the data where it leads, to form conclusions, and to test those conclusions.

A renowned scientist with his assistants.

The problem is that plenty of folks think of the word “scientist” and get some vague idea of a guy like the Professor in Gilligan’s Island, who could make a cold fusion reactor from three lengths of vine and a coconut.   That allows some who work in scientific disciplines to speak freely on topics they know little about, while maintaining a cloak of respectability.  Take Dr. Neal DeGrasse Tyson, who is an awesome cosmologist; but I once saw him opining about economics, a subject about which he clearly lacks a notion of the difference between ass and face.

And plenty of folks with barely a nodding acquaintance with the scientific disciplines know just enough to sell horseshit to the gullible.  That’s too bad, because while I honestly feel there comes a point where fools and their money deserve to be parted, all too often it’s the very young, the very old, the ignorant and the desperate that are taken advantage of by these charlatans.

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