All posts by Animal

Animal’s Daily Nutty Bolshevik News

First things first:  Be sure to check out the latest in my Profiles in Toxic Masculinity series over at Glibertarians!

The daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont is going nowhere fast in the Democrat’s primary race.  Excerpts, with my comments:

With just four months until the first-in-the-nation caucuses, Sanders is in trouble. As he delivered his populist gospel to large crowds of camouflage-clad high schoolers, liberal arts college students, and trade union members across Iowa last week, a problematic narrative was hardening around him: His campaign is in disarray and Elizabeth Warren has eclipsed him as the progressive standard-bearer of the primary. He’s sunk to third place nationally, behind Warren and Joe Biden, and some polls of early nomination states show him barely clinging to double digits. He’s shaken up his staffs in Iowa and New Hampshire. He’s lost the endorsement of the Working Families Party, a left-wing group that backed him in 2016, to Warren.

Of course he has sunk to third place nationally, even though daffy old Groper Joe Biden may soon fall even farther and harder.  It won’t help Bernie, though.  A big part of what may be sinking Bernie, oddly enough, is his unusual candor for a loony old leftie:  He has been saying that folks are going to be paying more taxes to pay for his leftist nutballery.  A lot more.  That doesn’t play well in Paducah, folks.

Sanders is in a locker room in Decorah wearing a suit he bought at Kohl’s, surrounded by three of his aides. The county where Decorah is voted 60-38 for Obama in 2008 and 46.4-45.6 for Trump eight years later. He asks a staffer about his jam-packed schedule. “We’ll be good,” the aide assures Sanders. “We’ll be good.” Sanders sits on a bench and crouches over with his hands on his knees.

The county here in question is Winneshiek county.  I grew up in neighboring Allamakee County.  It’s important to note the venue here:

About an hour earlier, Sanders entered a gym at Luther College to shouts of “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” He delivered his rip-roaring stump speech to about 500 people inside and 150 more streaming outdoors, in a city with a population of only 7,850. But there was a slight twist: He gave a brief preview of how he would campaign against Trump.

Luther is a private college, a rather expensive one, and back in the day was a haven for uninformed idealists.  The crowd Bernie played to at Luther is in no way representative of northeast Iowa’s population, which consists mostly of tradesmen and farmers.  Winneshiek and Allamakee County have no major industrial centers; Decorah, where Luther College is located, is a town of about 8,000 people.  Waukon, the county seat of Allamakee County, is about half that size.  Bernie is going for a population he’s not likely to win.

I know these counties.  I know the people who live there.  Bernie’s not going anywhere with this crowd.

But here’s the real giggle line:

Another thing that Sanders doesn’t often do is talk in depth about his working-class background.

Because he doesn’t have one.

Sanders has never held an honest job in his life.  He failed as a carpenter.  He has a gift for polemics, which has enabled him to have a political career despite his overwhelming economic illiteracy.  He even honeymooned with actual Communists in the Soviet Union, where he may well have been better off staying put rather than attempting to import his Bolshevism to the United States.

Thankfully, admiring crowds at Luther College aside, Bernie’s never going to be President, and that’s a good thing.

 

 

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove, The Other McCain and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!

Meanwhile: Over at National Review, national treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson weighs in on the ill-advised House Democrat’s impeachment push.  Excerpt:

Scary references abound to the supposed laws that the legal-eagle whistleblower believes were violated. In sum, there is all the usual evidence of an administrative-state bureaucrat, likely to be some third-tier Brennan or Clapper-like intelligence operative, who is canvassing disgruntled White House staffers, writing a report that imitates intelligence-department formats, combing the Internet, in “dream-team” and “all-star” footnote fashion, for scare quotes and anti-Trump stories, and then likely having it dressed up in legalese by an activist lawyer. Take all that away, and one is left with “I heard.”

After nearly three years of this, we know the delivery system that ensues. Along with the sensationalized initial media hype, the promised “smoking gun” leak usually follows. But when the “overwhelming” evidence or “walls are closing in” documents are released, there is no criminal act to be found other than occasional art-of-the-deal bluster from Trump. And then on to the next crude coup attempt, since the line of wannabe Glen Simpsons, Bruce Ohrs, Andrew McCabes, and John Brennans seems endless.

The real victim of this affair won’t be President Trump.  It may well be daffy old Uncle Joe Biden.   Anyone who thinks the Bidens weren’t up to some shenanigans whilst old Joe was playing second fiddle to President Obama just hasn’t been paying attention.  Joe did a lot of traveling around the world while he was filling the role of VP, and unlike Lyndon Johnson, the Biden family found that the job was worth a whole lot more than a bucket of warm spit.  Daffy old Groper Joe’s son Hunter seemed to follow Joe around the planet collecting bags of cash, and here’s the thing about impeachment:  If the House votes to impeach, and they may well do so, the the Senate is obliged to hold a trial – which will never result in a 2/3 vote to eject President Trump.  But in that trial, all the gloves come off – the President’s team can call anyone from anywhere and question them about anything.

Some bright lights will be shone in some dark corners here, True Believers.  You can bet on that.

Dr. Hanson concludes:

Biden will get snappy, befuddled, and indignant to questions, to the extent he will even entertain them — all the while losing ground to Elizabeth Warren. Trump will be the eventual beneficiary of Warren’s more likely and more alienating candidacy. And, even if impeached, Trump will be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as growing stronger for enduring ever shriller and more monotonous attacks.

As usual, Dr. Hanson nails it.

Rule Five Oblivious Friday

Oblivious  (adjective)

  • unmindful; unconscious; unaware (usually followed by of or to): She was oblivious of his admiration.
  • forgetful; without remembrance or memory: oblivious of my former failure.
  • inducing forgetfulness.

There’s a disturbing trend among the everyday Americans you meet in your daily doings, one that you may have noticed.  That is the trend among people to be oblivious as to how their behavior affects those around them.

I’m not talking about those people who are deliberately rude; that’s a topic for another day, and to be honest, those kinds of people have always been around.  We call them “assholes.”  I’m not talking about stupid people; that’s likewise a topic for another day, and besides, a lack of capacity is something we pity, not something we grow angry over – unless the stupid people are in Congress.

And let’s be honest, the list of Congress-critters who aren’t stupid would be shorter than the ones that are.

What I am talking about are people who are so clueless, or maybe self-absorbed, or both, that they simply have no clue how annoying their behavior is to others.

A few examples I’ve observed recently:

Last Sunday Mrs. Animal and I attended the Raritan, NJ annual John Basilone Day parade.  Now a parade honoring a military hero is always punctuated by the various color guards of the organizations marching in the parade, and I was already mildly annoyed by the fact that Mrs. A and I were the only ones who made a point of standing when the color guards went by – Mrs. A leveraging herself up off of her walker to do so – and I was the only man to remove his headgear at that time, even though there were several self-professed veterans in our immediate vicinity.

But that wasn’t what got me.  What got me was the young man who parked himself just to Mrs. A’s right front and stood there, through the whole parade, in the exact middle of the sidewalk, forcing families and groups of onlookers to wedge around him to proceed down the sidewalk.

Now this dumb son of a bitch could have taken one long step to his front or rear where there was plenty of room and left ample space for passerby.  But despite some very pointed looks and remarks, he didn’t bother.  He stood in the middle of the damn way throughout.

Another:  While here in our temporary New Jersey lodgings, Mrs. A and I generally set aside an hour or so on Friday afternoon to hit the grocery store and do our trading for the week.  It’s usually a good time to go; I can set aside time early enough in the day when most folks are still at work, and the store isn’t too crowded.

But on Friday last, one week ago today, we ran into another oblivious person.  This one was in the baking aisle; she was standing to one side, comparing labels on two or three different brands of olive oil.  That would have been fine, except…  that she left her overloaded shopping cart exactly in the middle, blocking the entire aisle.

We waited a few moments.  She ignored us.  I finally said, “excuse me, but we need to get by,” and moved her cart myself, at which point she gave me a mildly annoyed look (who dare I presume the aisle should be left clear for others to navigate!) but said nothing.

For what may be the best one I have to take you back to about 1978.  This example is a case study in obliviousness and stupidity, which makes it even more befuddling.

It was a Friday night; I had just gotten off work and was on the prowl for a bit of adventure.  As I needed gas and had just gotten paid, I want to the nearest Quick-Trip, which had two gas pumps, to fuel up for the weekend.

Just ahead of me was an old Chevrolet, who had pulled up to the pump just ahead of me.  The driver got out of his car, took the nozzle off the holder, flipped the lever to turn the pump on – and then tucked the nozzle under his arm to light a cigarette.

I hit Reverse, punched it, shot into the street, did a reverse bootlegger spin that would not have been out of place in a Hal Needham/Burt Reynolds movie, and got the hell out of there.

I’m not sure why this is becoming a more noticeable trend.  Airports are one of the worst places to see oblivious people.  On almost any given flight you can see some jackass parked in the Handicapped seating nearest the gate, with his ass on one seat, his suitcase on another and his backpack on a third.  And driving – don’t get me started!  Coloradans, I will say, are a little better than New Jersey or California folks about remembering that their vehicles have turn signals, but only just.

It’s not necessarily stupidity.  I’ve known, personally, people who were frequently oblivious but not necessarily stupid.  It’s not necessarily meanness.  I’ve known, personally, people who were good-natured and even fun, but still were frequently unaware of how their behavior affected people.

The problem is, oblivious people may be even more dangerous than morons or assholes.  Stupid people and assholes are a different beast.  We know them, we can predict their assholery/stupidity and deal with it.

Oblivious people?  There’s no telling what they may screw up next.

Animal’s Daily Better Earth News

Yes, yes, I know, the House of Representatives has officially joined the Trump re-election campaign.  Remember how well that worked out when the GOP impeached Bill Clinton?  Yeah, I expect more of the same – but I’ll comment on that more when things actually start to develop.

Meanwhile, from the world of astronomy/cosmology – there may be other planets more friendly to life than Earth.  Interesting.  Excerpt:

If there’s one thing the field of astronomy has taught us, it’s that we’re not special. We’re not the center of the Solar System. This isn’t a special place or time in the Universe. And that probably means Earth isn’t the best place for life. It’s the best place for humans, but not for life.

According to a paper in 2013, Penn State astrobiologist Ravi Kumar Kopparapu and others calculated where the edges of a star’s habitable zone should truly be, based on modern climate data. They calculated that a habitable zone around a sunlike star should be between 0.99 and 1.7 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun.

Which means that the Earth is actually right on the inner edge of the Sun’s habitable zone. Like, just barely. If it was any closer to the Sun, we’d experience a runaway greenhouse effect, like Venus.

You probably want to be closer to the middle of the habitable zone, where orbital variations won’t push your planet into extremes.

The Earth is relatively young. Considering the fact that the planet has only been around for 4.5 billion years now, and only figured out multicellular life in the last few hundred million years.

The Sun is heating up, and since we’re so close, we’ve actually only got a few hundred million years, a billion years at the most before temperatures rise and the oceans evaporate. But what if life could have gotten billions of more years of evolution to work out new, more diverse forms of life?

You think a platypus is unusual, just imagine what you’d get with 2 billion more years of evolution. Or 20 billion.

Where no man has gone before!

Turns out that there are main-sequence stars that last longer and are more stable than friendly old Sol.  The Sun is a G-series star, about 4.6 billion years old and with maybe 4 billion years left to run, but it will grow hotter and scorch Earth to a cinder within the next billion.  But K-series stars may last ten times as long as Sol, without the flares and short orbital intervals of red dwarf stars.  Where Earth has had complex life for about two hundred million years, a planet around a K-series sun may have billions of years of development.  Imagine the life that could exist on a fertile planet with that long to marinate!

I know that humans may never reach any of these stars or planets, and I find that kind of saddening; it’s the sci-fi guy in me, and that’s for certain.  But we don’t have to go there!  What if we find the spectral lines of chlorophyll in the atmosphere of an exoplanet – or air pollutants that indicate a developing technological civilization!

That would be one hell of a day, when that news came out.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

On to the links!

Where Do Black Holes Lead?  Probably to the brain of a Congressman.

Venus may have been life-bearing, or at least capable of supporting life, for billions of years.  Now, of course, Venus is uninhabitable due to a runaway greenhouse effect making the place a pressure-cooker.  Venusian cattle farting are to blame, no doubt.

Women these days have trouble giving birth, due to the large skulls of their babies.  It was not always thus.  But it turns out it wasn’t a steady transition.  Interesting.

It turns out predicted dooms-days generally don’t happen.  Who knew?

Meanwhile, environmentally-friendly windmills kill almost three million birds a year.  But Gaia, or something!

Speaking of birds:

Duck!

Duck!

Goose!

Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Occasional Cortex opened her mouth and, predictably, something stupid came out.  Our pals at Pirate’s Cove have the details.

Candace Owens is a national treasure.

On the other end of the spectrum:

This Colorado Springs woman is an idiot.

Radiohead’s Thome Yorke is an idiot.

San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton is an idiot.

File this under “belaboring the obvious”:  Behavior Matters.  In other words:  Poor people will generally remain poor because they keep doing the things that make them poor.  Rich people will generally stay rich because they keep doing the things that made them rich.

RHEEEEEEEEE

Russian Navy vessel sunk in the Arctic – by a walrus.  Yes, really.  OK, it was only a rubber boat.  But still.

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

Animal’s Daily Functional Retard News

Before we start, be sure to check out my latest over at Glibertarians: Gold Standards II – The Colt/Browning 1911.

Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has officially hit Tard Factor Eight.  Excerpt:

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee incorrectly claimed that AR-15 rifles fire .50 caliber ammunition and that the weapons are “as heavy as 10 boxes that you might be moving.”

The Texas Democrat, who is pushing for further gun control policies, made the statement to reporters, claiming that she has held an AR-15 but wished she had not.

“It is as heavy as 10 boxes that you might be moving,” Jackson Lee, 69, said. “And the bullet that is utilized, a .50 caliber, these kinds of bullets need to be licensed and do not need to be on the street.”

A loaded AR-15 weighs about 7.5 pounds and does not fire .50 caliber rounds, but rather .223 ammunition. The difference between the size of the two types of ammunition is stark, with .50 rounds typically used by the military in heavy machine guns and anti-material weapons.

It’s important to note that calling Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) an idiot does a grave disservice to idiots everywhere.  While (as you all know) I dislike the practice of attributing any disagreement to stupidity, in her case, it’s legitimately true; the woman is a dullard.  She makes her colleague Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Occasional Cortex look almost functional by comparison.

But perhaps the most idiotic statement she makes here is that she has held an AR-15.  She clearly has not.  Like lying New York columnist and notorious pussy Gersh Kuntzman, she is not only a liar but a stupid liar.  Neither of them have handled or fired an AR-15; I’d bet money that neither of them have been within hailing distance of one.

Lying is one thing, and sadly, we’ve come to expect that of politicians.  But stupid lying – as stupid as this – should disqualify one from elected office.  The people of Jackson-Lee’s district should be ashamed of themselves for sending this moron back to Congress for thirteen terms.

Oh, and here is by far the best response out of dozens and dozens of stinging responses:

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove, Bacon Time and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

Over at Townhall, columnist Debra Saunders gives us her take on the ongoing disintegration of San Francisco.  Excerpt:

It’s a dystopian pit. It stinks. It feels dangerous. It isn’t clean. It is an expensive temple to a left-wing ideology that has turned a shining city into an obstacle course of broken needles, human waste and broken men and women who harm themselves and those around them.

You’d expect to see the kind of rot you see in San Francisco in a city that is hemorrhaging wealth and jobs. To the contrary, the City by the Bay is swimming in tech and tourism money — for now.

San Francisco is poor mainly when it comes to making the city work for the residents and workers who keep it running rather than enabling those who piss all over it.

I know a little bit about this because I wrote a column for the San Francisco Chronicle for 24 years, ending in 2016.

I’ve been to the tent cities and the full-service center that was supposed to navigate the homeless off the streets.

I’ve listened to police who talk like social workers even as they lament a system that will not allow them to do what needs to be done to make the city safer. And I’ve heard the tug in their voices at their inability to do something to take on the criminal elements of homelessness.

Having spent the year of 2017 in the Bay Area, I can confirm all of the above, and it’s probably grown worse  in the two years since.  And here’s the onion:

San Franciscans tell themselves that their city has so many street people because they are so compassionate. But really, this brand of compassion doesn’t work for anyone. It is cruelty for all.

It’s not compassion.  It’s enabling self-destructive behavior, and worse, it’s enabling a public health crisis.

And, yes, part of the problem is San Franciscans themselves – not the ones who are sleeping in parks and shitting on the streets, but the ones who are enabling this behavior.

See, there’s a funny attitude I noticed in San Francisco residents in the year I lived and worked in the Bay Area.  Many (although not all) residents of that city carry a weird self-reinforcing conceit, that they live in San Francisco because they are “better people,” and that San Francisco is likewise better because they live there.  It’s an odd feedback loop so wonderfully lampooned by South Park in an episode showing San Francisco liberals as being in love with the smell of their own flatulence.

Presumably they’re in love with the smell of human shit on their sidewalks, too.  And with discarded needles on their streets.  And bums sleeping in the parks.  If they weren’t, would they keep voting to install local politicians who make this possible?

Side note:  Twenty years or so ago, I had the opportunity to exchange a few emails with Debra Saunders.  I had written (politely) to comment on one of her articles that I disagreed with, but she responded graciously and, while neither of us converted the other on the subject disagreed on, I enjoyed the brief discussion and came away impressed with her class and her intelligence.  I can’t even remember the subject now, but I do remember that.

Rule Five Campaign Speech Friday

I’ve done this once or twice before in these virtual pages.  But once again, the current state of the 2020 race, and all the bloviating by the candidates, got me thinking:  What kind of a campaign speech would I give if I, your humble servant, were running for President?  It might go something like this:

Ladies and Gentlemen – friends – Americans – citizens.

I stand before you on this two hundred and thirty-first year of our Republic.   I stand before you to announce my intention to seek the Presidency of our Republic.  Most important of all, I stand before you to tell you why I intend to seek this thankless, stressful job, and what I intend to do with it.

I’d like to take this time to tell you the undying principles upon which I will base my policies, and upon which I will base legislation that I will propose to Congress:

First:  Liberty.

Liberty means you are free to do as you please, so long as you cause no harm, physical or financial, to anyone else.  As Thomas Jefferson said, “If it neither picks my pocket nor break my arm, it’s not my concern.”  This is a coin with two sides:  Nobody gets to tell you what to do, but neither do you get to tell anyone else what to do.  Marry who you like.  Work where and how you like.  Start businesses and create new products and services as you like.  It’s nobody else’s business – and it sure as hell isn’t the government’s business – until you hurt someone else.  We currently live in a nation where you are required to obtain permission from a government bureaucrat to cut hair, to paint fingernails, to sell lemonade.  I call bullshit.  This must stop.

Second:  Property.

That means the following:  The fruits of your labors are yours.  They do not belong to some government bureaucrat, nor to some shouting agitator, nor to some ivory tower academic.  They are yours.  Government, to be effective at the few things they are required – absolutely required – to do, must tax you for some small amount of the fruits of your labors, but that taxation must be strictly limited, strictly fair, simply defined, and some must be collected from every single citizen.  Everybody contributes.  Nobody skates.  There are too many in the nation who have no skin in the game, and our elections have become auctions, with candidates falling over each other promising voters more of other peoples’ property.  I call bullshit.  This must stop.

Third:  Accountability.

Government, at all levels, serves you.  You do not serve the government.  I stand here today not as someone seeking to be your master, but as someone applying for a job – and you will be my employers.  I am applying for the job of CEO of the world’s largest Republic, and you, the citizens of the Republic, are the world’s largest Board of Directors.  I answer to you, not the other way around.  Every single government employee, from the President to the third assistant dogcatcher in Leaf Springs, Arkansas, answers to you.  And so as one of my first acts in office I will personally visit every office, every facility, and every installation that falls under the control of the Executive Branch.  I will personally speak with the Federal employees at those offices, facilities and installations.  Any employee that cannot satisfactorily answer two questions:  “What is your purpose?  What are you doing right now?” will be fired on the spot.  Any Executive Branch employee at any level who breaks the law, any law, will be fired and prosecuted.  Government employees have, for too long, been held to different standards than the electorate.  I call bullshit.  This must stop.

Fourth:  Efficiency.

The Federal government has become a bloated Colossus.  Washington is littered with extra-constitutional agencies, the purpose of which is to regulate, to dictate, to interfere with the free citizenry.  There is no constitutional justification for many of them, and many of them actually work at cross purposes.  The result is that every single business enterprise in the nation has to have an army of accountants and attorneys to help them navigate the twisted pathways of regulation and taxation; that every citizen has to puzzle through pages upon pages of Federal guidance in so prosaic an action as filing their annual tax return.  The Federal government has only a few, a very few, legitimate roles:  To protect private property, to ensure liberty, to protect the citizens from foreign interference.  That’s all.  But not today; no, not today.   The Federal government has indeed become a bloated Colossus, but I intend to cut it down to size.  As one of my first acts in office I will call upon Congress to eliminate the Federal Departments of Commerce, of Energy, of Education, and any others that I deem to be extra-constitutional and that add no value to the proper roles of government.  And believe you me, this is only the beginning.  Our government is too big.  I call bullshit.  This must stop.

Let me be very clear on my intent.  I intend to reduce the Federal government to a minimum.  I’m not talking about trimming around the edges.  I’m sure as hell not talking about “reductions in the rate of increase.”  I’m talking about swinging a meat axe, and I am serious as hell about it.  All the extra-constitutional agencies set up by previous administrations will be gone.  Not reduced, not repurposed – gone.  Education?  Gone.  Energy?  Gone.  Commerce?  Gone.  Health and Human Services?  Gone.  Labor?  Gone.  Housing and Urban Development?  Gone.  Environmental Protection?  Gone.  Homeland Security?  Gone.

There are three cabinet-level agencies that the Federal government is justified in retaining:  Defense, Treasury, and State.  The rest can go.  Veteran’s Affairs can be rolled into Defense.  As for Federal law enforcement, we already have an agency for that:  The U.S. Marshals.  The borders?  Roll the Border Patrol into the Marshals.  One headquarters, several missions, but that’s doable.

I intend to take the Federal government back to the level it was in 1850.  In that year, the Federal government’s expenditures were about 3% of GDP.  Now we are 23 trillion in debt, and Federal spending is 20% of GDP.  I call bullshit.  This must stop.

That will be the genesis of my campaign slogan:  THREE PERCENT!

So, if you value liberty and property, and want accountability and efficiency in your public servants, vote for me.  If you want Free Shit, vote for someone else.  That’s all.

In all honesty, even if I wanted the job of President, I’m effectively unelectable in any case (think the country would elect an atheist minarchist libertarian President?  Not hardly!)  But I’d love the opportunity to give this speech in a big enough venue to make media talking heads explode and proggie commentators start running around like their hair is on fire.  As my kids say, just for the lulz.