All posts by Animal

Rule Five All Politics is Local Friday

This bright morning finds Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. back in sunny Colorado, where moments from now loyal sidekick Rat and I will climb into the inestimable Rojito and go afield to do battle with antlered ungulates.  As mentioned earlier, watch for some more Teutonic totty as placeholders whilst we are afield; normal news posts should resume a week from today.

But for now, here’s some Colorado news.  We have a gubernatorial election this year, and as is often the case, the Democrat candidate, one Jared Polis, is having trouble explaining how he would pay for his ambitious agenda for our fair state.  Excerpt:

Republican state Treasurer Walker Stapleton’s clear goal was to call U.S. Rep. Jared Polis “radical and extreme” as many times as possible in their hour-long gubernatorial debate Monday night at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Polis, the Boulder Democrat, didn’t bristle at the steady barrage from Stapleton, but neither did he answer it with what the GOP candidate demanded— details on how Polis intends to pay for an ambitious agenda that includes affordable health care, free pre-school and kindergarten classes.

Polis, who is a multi-millionaire from starting and selling companies, said he would work as governor to lower prescription drug prices, find other solutions in providing better care and could even work with President Trump.

“The time for name-calling is passed,” he told Stapleton, who clearly didn’t think so.

“If you will tell these people how you will pay for it, I’ll stop calling you a radical,” Stapleton shot back.

Polis denied he was either radical or extreme, saying Oklahoma provides free pre-school to students “And if Oklahoma can do it, we can do it.”

Now, to be fair, Colorado has changed politically in the thirty years I’ve lived here, but it hasn’t been Californicated to the point (yet) where a Ocasio-Cortez or Pelosi could be elected to statewide office.  Our current governor, John Hickenlooper, is as close to a moderate Democrat as you’ll find these days.  And, while I’d prefer to see Walker Stapleton win this fall, smart money in our increasingly-purple state tells me we’ll probably be dealing with Jared Polis for the next four to eight years.

But moderate (hopefully) though he may be, Jared Polis still has one failing common to Democrats and, to be fair, to plenty of Republican as well – he has a lot of big ideas, but honestly very little idea how much they will cost or how he plans to pay for them.

But here’s the catch:  Colorado’s Constitution demands the state’s budget be balanced.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have something like that at the Imperial level?  Don’t  hold your breath, though, until Congress votes to tighten up those vote-buying purse strings.

Animal’s Daily Imperial Civility News

Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, is at it again.  Excerpt:

The most prominent Democrat in the country has, for all intents and purposes, just given a green light to every left-wing kook and violent sociopath to be uncivil to Republicans.

Hillary Clinton said on CNN, “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” as reported by Fox News.

Speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee said, “That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”

Clinton’s comments come amid escalating attacks against Republican lawmakers and Trump administration officials by left-wing activists.

I may be wrong but I haven’t heard of any Democrats and their families being chased out of restaurants or threatened with bodily harm by mobs. Nor have I heard about their personal information being published online.

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.,  said Sunday his wife had received a graphic text message with a video depicting a beheading, after Gardner voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Before and after the vote, thousands of demonstrators stormed the halls of Congress and steps of the Supreme Court to protest Kavanaugh.

Last week, Democratic intern Jackson Cosko, who recently worked as an unpaid intern for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, also was arrested for posting the personal information of Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah on Wikipedia — including their home addresses.

So, where are all the doxxings by people on the right?  Where are the confrontations, the shouting, the torching of police cars, the attacks with bike locks?

As a minarchist libertarian, I’ve had occasion to criticize both of the traditional sides of the political spectrum from time to time.  But when it comes to this kind of assholery, it always seems to come from the radical Left.

Yes, yes, I know, Tim McVeigh (over twenty years ago) and the white supremacist assholes in Charlotte a year or so back.  Fair enough.  But on the Left (as witness the recent buffoonery around the Kavanaugh nomination) it’s beginning to become a habit – and Her Imperial Highness is stoking the partisan flames.

I’m sure I’m joined by plenty of rational Democrats who wise she would just shut up and go away.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Güten Buckel-Tag!

Nothing in particular leaps out at me this early morning, so here are some random notes and thoughts instead.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has resigned, effective at year’s end.  That’s a loss for the Trump Administration; she was pretty damn good in that role.  Seeing who the President picks as her replacement should be entertaining.

Crisper gene-editing tech is now being used to (sort of, but not really) bring back extinct species.  Except they’re really just diddling existing species to have some traits of extinct species.  But here’s the line that caught my eye:

Crispr has produced disease-resistant chickens and hornless dairy cattle.

Uh, breeders have been producing hornless livestock for a century or so.  Look up polled livestock.

For those of you who are of a religious bent:  Of late I’ve been hearing a fair amount of advertising on satellite radio for TaxTiger.com, a tax-remediation service that advertises to help you with your ta x bills while operating on “Christian principles.”  Serious question here; what Christian principles are involved in solving tax problems?  I lack any religious background but am reasonably well-read on comparative religions, having read such works as Sir George Fraser’s The Golden Bough, the Qur’an, and two or three versions of the Bible.  But I can’t think of anything that might apply to a company of this kind.  Can anyone clarify?  I find myself genuinely curious, but then I’m of a curious nature on all things.

Finally, here’s an interesting take on a side effect of the entire Kavanaugh kerfuffle.

And on that judicial note, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.

Animal’s Daily Road Rage News

Any of you True Believers who, like yr. obdt., have spent a lot of time on our nation’s highways will understand this piece.  Excerpt:

America badly needs more highway capacity. Our interstate system was built in the 1960s and 1970s for a nation of 200 million with a $1 trillion economy. Today the United States has a population of 325 million and a $19 trillion economy. We are a much bigger nation with a much bigger economy. Our transportation infrastructure hasn’t kept up.

This isn’t a problem that can be solved with more bike lanes, carpooling, or public transit, even with ample funding and goodwill. Over the last quarter-century, federal and state governments have invested heavily in adding carpool lanes, and about 20 percent of federal Highway Trust Fund money is diverted to public transit. Yet single-driver highway travel remains dominant and indispensable. As Robert Poole Jr., a transportation scholar at the Reason Foundation, points out, outside of six “legacy-transit” cities (Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, and San Francisco), only about 5 percent of daily commuting in America is by transit.

“People continue to travel on urban freeways because using them is less bad than the alternatives,” Poole writes in his new book, Rethinking America’s Highways. There is no prospect of that changing. For entirely respectable reasons, Americans prefer to drive on highways. Public policy should be aimed at facilitating that preference, not thwarting it.

Hear, hear!

Readers of these virtual pages will remember that Mrs. Animal and I spent most of last year in the loony environs of Californey’s Bay Area, which is one of the worst places in the world for driving; now this year finds us in New Jersey, which may be even worse.  But the article makes a good point; our highway system is badly out of date, not just in its design but also in its upkeep.

Take speed limits.  Most, if not all, of the speed limits in this country were set using assumptions developed in the 1950s and 1960s.  Highways are safer now, and vehicles are vastly safer; but we still are stuck with outmoded speed limits.  A few years back I had occasion to drive Interstate 80 in western Wyoming; assuming your vehicle’s alignment was in order, you could probably fall asleep in Rawlins and wake up in Ft. Bridger, still between the ditches.  If there was ever country (and a highway) suited for 100+ mph speeds, this is it.  But Wyoming keeps it at 80, at least in part, one suspects, to generate revenue.

At least we’ve done away with the Imperial 55mph mandate.

There are all kinds of ways we could update and improve the nation’s highways.  Now that we have a guy in the Imperial Mansion who has actually overseen the building of things, maybe we’ll see some movement on getting the Interstate system in order; the rest is, as it should be, up to the several States.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Auf Wiedersehen, Blauer Montag!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!  Also, please go read my latest outdoor article over at Glibertarians, this time on the worst elk hunt I’ve ever experienced – just the kind you tell stories about.

Also, a housekeeping note:  Next week loyal sidekick Rat and I will be afield pursuing antlered ungulates, so Monday through Thursday will see some Teutonic placeholder totty posts while we are out hunting.  Regular posts should return next week in time for Rule Five Friday.

The story of the day, of course, is Saturday’s confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.  Here are some accounts:

Kavanaugh Sworn to High Court After Rancorous Confirmation

Kavanaugh Foes Fill Senate Gallery With Sounds of the Insane

Kavanaugh’s Rise Heralds New Conservative Era on Supreme Court

Personally I would have preferred a new Justice who was a little stronger on Fourth Amendment issues, but of the three items in the Bill of Rights I see as linchpins – the First, Second and Fourth Amendments- he’s pretty good on two.  I’ll take that.

Now, the histrionic RHEEEEEEE from many of the Kavanaugh protestors has led many to wonder if there will be an electoral backlash this November.  There may be, indeed, but I doubt it will be swinging leftward; Senate polls in particular are heading in the other direction.  Heitkamp is all but done in North Dakota; Donnelly is sliding in Indiana, MacCaskill is slipping behind her GOP challenger in Missouri ( a state that went overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016) and even in New Jersey, Menendez has been slipping in the polls lately.  As so often happens, this fall’s mid-terms may not align with the “popular wisdom.”

But the Silent Majority is still a thing, and the attempted last-minute, unsubstantiated smear of now-Justice Kavanaugh isn’t helping the Left any.

Rule Five Service Rifle Friday

The Army is examining a revolutionary new type of rifle, one that was designed and built in a Colorado Springs garage.  Excerpt:

The Army adopted its battle rifle in 1963 and has spent 55 years looking for a replacement for the M-16 and its variants.

They might have found it in Martin Grier’s Colorado Springs garage. Grier, a self-described inventor who has worked at a local bed and breakfast, built the new “ribbon gun” with a hobbyist’s tools. It looks like a space-age toy drawn by a fifth-grader.

But goofy origins and cartoon-looks aside, this could be the gun of the future. The Army is studying Grier’s gun and has ordered a military-grade prototype.

The specifications are incredible, four 6 mm barrels cut side by side within one steel block. New ammunition blocks fired by electromagnetic actuators that could theoretically give the weapon a firing rate of 250 rounds per second.

And then there’s the feature no soldier would turn down. “It’s called a power shot,” Grier said.

That’s the shotgun feature of this sniper-shot, machine-assault gun that can send four bullets simultaneously whizzing toward an enemy at more than 2,500 mph.

Now:  Color me skeptical.  Here’s the pros and cons of this admittedly fascinating new design.

Pros:

Four bullets with one shot; that’s cool.  Not sure how useful it would be, but it’s cool.

The ammo blocks look like they’d be pretty good heat sinks; the advantage of brass cases, one that military testers learned in playing with caseless ammo in small arms, is that they carry excess heat away from the weapon.  These would do that even more.

Cons:

Electrical actuation.  What happens if your battery goes dead and supply is out of replacements?

Ammo block.  From the photos in the article, the four-round blocks look considerably heavier than four rounds of conventional ammo.

EMP – maybe?  The weapon would have to be EMP hardened, which isn’t impossible but adds to cost and design challenges.

All in all, I’d give this one a pass.  Inventor Martin Grier rightly points out that weapon design hasn’t changed much in a long, long time (even the M-16’s design plan goes back to the late Fifties) but there’s a reason for it; modern firearms designs are robust, practical, and they work.

This rifle is interesting and I’d welcome the chance to play with one, but carry one in combat?  Hard no.