Rule Five Dynasties Ending Friday

This is a week or so old, but I stumbled across it last night and felt it worth presenting; here is national treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson on the end of the Clinton dynasty.  Excerpt:

The Hillary/Bill fortune — generated by pay-for-play influence peddling on the proposition that Bill would return to the White House under Hillary’s aegis and reward friends while punishing enemies — hit a reported $150 million some time ago, a fortune built not on farming, mining, insurance, finance, high-tech, or manufacturing, but on skimming off money. The Clintons are simply grifters whose insider access to government gave them the power to make rich people richer.

Long gone was the Scrooge-like need to write off used underwear as charitable tax deductions or to play 4-trillion-to-one odds in rigging a $100,000 cattle-futures profit on a $1,000 “investment,” or Hillary’s decade-and-a-half as a corporate lawyer masquerading as a children’s advocate. How pathetic the minor league Whitewater cons must seem now to the multimillionaire Clintons — such a tawdry ancient example of amateurish shakedowns when compared with the sophistication of real profiteering through the humanitarian-sounding, high-brow, corrupt Clinton Foundation.

So the Clintons finally got their millions and what such millions can ensure for their separate lifestyles. They have at last beautiful gated estates, tasteful and secluded from hoi polloi, light years away from Arkansas and the Rose Law Firm. Progressive Chelsea married a multimillionaire hedge-fund operator whose father served five years in federal prison for bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Her parents’ profiteering can allow Chelsea to announce, perhaps even sincerely, that she is not interested in money. Why should she be, given her own reported $15 million net worth from maternal spin-off favors? She lives in a $10 million Manhattan residence, so her parents had no motivation to get more in order to “provide” for their offspring. Instead, was bringing Chelsea down to Bill and Hillary’s level as a Foundation fixer a way to leave her a post mortem primer on how to get even richer?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  In the 2016 election of Donald Trump, one thing is certain:  The nation dodged a huge bullet.  More like a 155mm artillery shell, in fact.  That bullet was Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, the most deeply and fundamentally corrupt political figure since Huey Long.  Maybe since Caligula.

Compare the Clinton family fortune with that of what the political Left would have us believe are the arch-demons of the national scene, the Koch brothers.  The Koch brothers made their fortune the traditional way; by producing and selling products and services that add value to the lives and businesses of those who purchase them.

The Clintons, on the other hand, made theirs through graft.  Bill’s half-million dollar speaking fees, for example; not to mention the massive donations to the Clinton Foundation by foreign nationals who then were granted access to the State Department whilst Her Imperial Highness was SecState.

And let’s not forget the appalling disregard Her Imperial Majesty showed for even the most elementary security measures with classified information while she was SecState.  And let’s be honest, at least amongst ourselves; she was only in that role because President Obama was savvy enough to adhere to the old truism “keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer.”

Yes, Dr. Hanson, the Clinton political machine may finally be grinding to a halt.  The nation is safer and more prosperous because of it.  For that, more than any other single thing, we owe a debt to President Trump.

Animal’s Daily Random Thoughts

Some of my actual bucket list items:

  • Taking a dump on Turkmenistan.
  • Being in a situation where I can accurately say to someone “you have arrived just in time for my moment of triumph!”
  • Go on a Cape Buffalo hunt in which I kill a massive bull in a full charge, timed so that he slides, dead, up to the toes of my boots.  Note that this item will likely necessitate a change of underwear immediately thereafter.
  • Bitch-slap Chuck Schumer.
  • Drive the AlCan.
  • Go hunting in Siberia.
  • See the following places:
    • India
    • Vladivostok
    • Iceland
    • Scotland
    • Wales
    • Rome
    • Tierra del Fuego
    • Patagonia

I have more bucket list items, but those are just a few of my favorites.

I know the science in Jurassic Park is pretty much at the Star Trek level of bullshit, but I wish it wasn’t, solely because I think hunting a full-grown bull T-rex would be an unimaginably awesome adventure.

Being able to teleport would be the best superpower you could have.  Being telepathic would be a close second.

Having spent a fair amount of time in Japan, I’ve often wondered why Japanese schoolgirls wear what amounts to a sailor’s uniform.  They aren’t going to school on a ship – so, why?

By the time Mrs. Animal and I leave here on Saturday, I will have spent nigh unto a year now working and living in Silicon Valley.  I can sum up my experience temporarily residing in California with three words:  Fuck this place.

On that note, we return you to your Thursday, already in progress.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Housekeeping note:  I’m finishing up this Silicon Valley project on this coming Friday. Mrs. Animal and I are taking the scenic route home to Colorado, so I’ll put up some gratuitous totty posts Monday through Wednesday of next week.  Expect travel reports on Thursday, probably with photos.

Moving on:  How Many Guns Are Too Many?  Several answers are possible.  Excerpt:

Guns are not “basically all the same,” and now that I am an instructor, a competitive shooter and a vocal 2nd Amendment supporter, my views on firearms — and the amounts that one should or should not have — are much different than they used to be. It seems that Americans’ views may have changed a bit, as well. A 2017 Harvard/Northwestern University joint study estimated that our country’s 319 million citizens currently own about 265 million guns. And while in 1994, the “typical gun-owning household” owned 4.2 guns, in 2015, The Washington Post revealed that this average number of firearms owned has nearly doubled to 8.1 guns per household. And that trend has only gone up since! (On a side note: How many of you are now thinking: “I guess I am not a typical gun-owning household!”?)

From 1911s and guns just for show to shotguns and ARs and guns on the go, there are so many different firearms out there … and just as many different reasons to have them. So when a friend recently posed the question: “How many firearms is considered ‘too many?,’” it reminded me of how far I’ve come. And it got me thinking about possible answers to this intriguing topic.

I’ve been asked this question a number of times.  As with many things, the manner in which the question is asked affects the answer.

Some people are genuinely curious, and my answer then is “I do not accept the premise that there is such a thing as too many guns.  If you ask how many I want to own, the answer is ‘all the ones I have now, the ones I still want, and maybe a few more.'”

Some people are fellow gun aficionados, and are more likely to ask how many more I want, likewise knowing as I do that there is no such thing as too many.  To them my answer may be fairly detailed, going into such things as how I have 12 and 16 gauge examples of both the pre-64 Winchester Model 12 and the Browning Auto-5 but still need 20-gauge examples of each.

Some people ask in an aggressive and petulant demand for justification of my hobby.  My answer to them is “fuck off.”

Your mileage may vary.  But it’s an interesting discussion point all the same.

Animal’s Daily Capitalism 101 News

Like your refrigerator?  Me too.  I keep all kinds of good eatin’ stuff, not to mention beer, in there.  Fridges are damn near indispensable.  And we should thank the free market for that.  Excerpt:

The growing prevalence of refrigerators is partly due to their declining cost and partly due to people’s growing incomes. In 1919, the Frigidaire was the first self-contained refrigerator. It cost $775 (over $11,000 in today’s money). As the average hourly wage in 1919 was just $0.43, it took the average American 1,802 hours of work to afford this luxury appliance. The Frigidaire was a marvel back in its day but had only five cubic feet of storage. As such, it would be classed as a “mini-fridge” today.

Today, the standard Whirlpool French door refrigerator holds 25 cubic feet’s worth of food and drink. It has “fingerprint resistant stainless steel” and costs just $1,529. According to the latest BLS statistics, it would take the average American just 57.5 hours of work to be able to afford this – now common – appliance. (The average wage today is $26.55 per hour.) Even as the price of refrigerators decreased, refrigerator quality increased.

According to government data, 95.5 percent of households have what is classed as a “medium” refrigerator of 15 cubic feet or larger – meaning that the vast majority of people have a refrigerator at least three times the size of the most luxurious version available 100 years ago. The modern refrigerators have more settings, are more reliable and more energy-efficient.

The story of refrigeration is a common one: from a task done by many servants to a luxury good, and to now a common household appliance used by all. This type of progress exists with nearly all household appliances; from ovens to irons, from washing machines to dishwashers, and from air conditioners to water heaters.

As Marian L. Tupy of the Cato Institute previously pointed out, “an ordinary person today lives better than most kings of yesteryear,” thanks to innovation, capitalism and mass production.

You can, of course, apply the same historical example to microwave ovens, cellular phones, televisions, and many more consumer items.  Why?  Innovation, free markets and the profit motive.

Here’s the thing about capitalism – real, free market, non-crony capitalism – it works every time it’s tried.  Why?  Because the very name is a misnomer.  There is no “-ism” in honest capitalism.  There is no underlying philosophy other than liberty; there is no dogma, no set of underlying principles other than leaving people the hell alone.  Capitalism in the pure form is nothing more than millions of people making up their own minds, free of outside pressure, as to how to manage their own talents, skills and resources and when and with whom to engage in voluntary trade.  Capitalism is free people dealing with each other voluntarily in free markets.  In a word:  Liberty.  In the example given above, you see the results.

We need more of this.  Not less.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!  With that said…

Tobacco is legal.

Whatever you think of tobacco, it’s legal.  Whatever you think of people’s choices to partake of tobacco, it’s their choice.  (Full disclosure – I enjoy a good cigar at regular intervals.)  And it is those people’s responsibility to accept any consequences of that decision.

Which makes the New York City Council’s attempts to sin-tax tobacco out of existence all the more ridiculous.  John Stossel reports; excerpt:

Politicians want you to spend more for tobacco.

They decided this after anti-smoking crusader Dr. Kurt Ribisl told the Centers for Disease Control, “Higher prices will deter children from smoking.”

A pit of socialist micromanagers called the New York City Council quickly embraced the idea. “It’s also being considered very seriously in a number of jurisdictions in California,” Ribisl told me.

When health totalitarians make suggestions, leftist politicians jump.

Ribisl also told the CDC, “Very cheap (tobacco) products should no longer be available.” So for my YouTube video this week, I asked him, “Why do you get to decide?!”

“No, I’m not deciding,” he insisted. “I’m a person who studies these policies. I’ll let the policymakers decide.”

OK, I sighed, “Why do the politicians get to decide?”

“Cigarettes are the most lethal product ever introduced,” he replied.

That may be true, although few people realize that half the people who smoke do not die from tobacco-related illness.

Fatty foods, swimming pools and cars also kill lots of people. Maybe the health police will raise their prices next.

Note to Mr. Stossel:  Don’t say that too loud.  Some idiot pol will think it’s a good idea.

When the hell did New York become every resident’s nagging granny?  When the hell did it become the responsibility of the New York City Council to protect people from the consequences of their own decisions?

We can always give these idiot pols the benefit of the doubt and assume (yes, I know what that does, but it’s OK, because politicians are already asses) that they are genuinely concerned with the public health.  But the presumption from all levels of government should be that liberty is paramount.

Instead, from New York, we get this stupidity.  Go figure.

Rule Five Sapiosexual Friday

Thanks to Darkness Over the Land for the pingback!

Moving on:  Yes, apparently this is a thing; for some folks, at least, brains are an essential part of what makes another person sexually interesting.  (I offer no speculation on the intelligence of today’s Rule Five girl; that’s not why she’s here.)  Excerpt:

To get to the bottom of the question, Gilles Gignac, a psychology researcher at the University of Western Australia conducted a survey of both undergraduate students in Australia and participants on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. He and his co-authors had them complete a questionnaire that asked whether they found high levels of intelligence attractive, in addition to more general questions about intelligence. Examples included “Listening to someone speak very intelligently arouses me sexually,” and “very high level of intelligence alone is enough for me to be attracted to someone sexually.”

Gignac also asked them directly whether they would find people with varying levels of intelligence attractive, ranging from well below the 50th percentile to the very top end of the intelligence spectrum. His study was published in the journal Intelligence, natch.

Tallying the data revealed that for most people, intelligence isn’t a significant factor in deciding whether someone’s hot or not. While it wasn’t totally insignificant, it’s likely that other characteristics override brains for most people. For a select few, however, it appears that a prodigious intellect did indeed serve to stir desire. Eight percent of the participants scored a 4 out of 5 on Gignac’s test, meaning they responded strongly in the positive to most questions that asked whether they were turned on by intelligence. He interprets this as evidence of sapiosexuality among a small subset of people.

Interestingly, it seems there’s a limit to how much intelligence people can handle. When asked to rate what level of intelligence they found attractive, most people stopped at an IQ of 120, which corresponds roughly to the 90th percentile of intelligence. Gignac, isn’t sure about why this is so, though he suggests that portrayals of extremely intelligent people as socially awkward, as well fears of compatibility problems, could come into play.

In addition, the participant’s own level of intelligence, as measured by a few common cognitive tests, didn’t seem to make them more attracted to smart people. In other words, sapiosexuality doesn’t seem to be relegated solely to the brilliant.

I’m a little skeptical about the whole thing.

I do find intelligence appealing.  Mrs. Animal is extremely intelligent; for twenty-five years now she has run the business side of all our small business ventures and managed her own small publishing company, all while raising four daughters.  She speaks several languages, and repeatedly demonstrates unfailing aptitude for almost any new project she takes on.  Yes, she’s a smart cookie.  I think I’m a pretty smart cookie too, and that’s one of the reasons our marriage has been so successful.

But where I think this article misses the mark is in shallowly confining the study to sexuality.  Compatibility in a relationship involves a lot more, including – perhaps too obviously – a certain amount of intellectual parity.  I could refer you to an acquaintance of mine, a man of above-average intelligence who for reasons unknown married a woman who I must in all candor describe as a drooling imbecile.  Not surprisingly, he’s unhappy in the relationship.

Sexual compatibility is important in a relationship, sure.  But more fundamentally, people have to be able to simply talk to each other.  That’s what this study missed.

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