Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

Deep thoughts, omphaloskepsis, and other random musings.

Animal’s Daily Fallen Legends News

Sad news today, as we wish a fond farewell to comics maven Stan Lee.  It’s not often you can say of a man that he literally created a whole world, but Stan Lee and Marvel Comics certainly did that.  Excerpt:

In the late ’50s, DC started reimagining its heroes — kicking off what comics historians call the “Silver Age” of the business — but those figures were still, largely, otherworldly and two-dimensional, living in made-up places such as Metropolis and Gotham City.

In the early ’60s, Lee was asked to come up with a team of superheroes to compete against DC’s Justice League. With the notable help of artists such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, he helped instigate a revolution, though Lee didn’t see it that way at the time.

“If my publisher hadn’t said ‘let’s do superhero stories,’ I’d probably still be doing ‘A Kid Called Outlaw,’ ‘The Two-Gun Kid’ or ‘Millie the Model’ or whatever I was doing at the time,” he told CNN in 2013.

Marvel revitalized the comics business with a series of flawed, more human superheroes. Its figures lived in the real world — a few were based in New York City, with all its dirt and clamor — and struggled with everyday challenges, whether it was paying the rent or wondering about their purposes in life.

First came the Fantastic Four, a superhero team probably most famous for the grumpy, rock-skinned Thing. Following that success Lee and Marvel introduced such characters as Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men and Daredevil.

So long, Stan.

As a kid I spent many a happy hour poring over the adventures of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Hulk, Captain America and the Avengers.  And every month there was a bonus, as Stan the Man always penned his regular column, Stan’s Soapbox, printed in the back of each comic.  There Stan passed on Marvel news, anecdotes and pithy bits of his own brand of wisdom.  In fact, the term I often use to refer to you readers, “True Believers,” is cribbed from Stan’s Soapbox.

Later, with the advent of Marvel movies and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he became famous for the “Staneo,” appearing in every Marvel movie, even if just for a moment.

He was a piece of our youth, and he’ll be missed.  Excelsior, Mr. Lee!  Excelsior!

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links, and a warm welcome back to the blogosphere to our good friend Wombat-socho, who compiles those links over at The Other McCain.  Glad to see you back in action!

Here are a few odds and ends for this Monday morning.

“Democratic Socialist” darling of the Left Ocasio-Cortez bemoans the high cost of living in the Imperial City.  It’s important to note that some of the wealthiest counties in the U.S. are those right around the Imperial City, which makes one wonder how the hell there is so much money to be made in government?  Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, whatever her bleatings about “income equality,” will almost certainly follow the pattern by which Imperial representatives (of both parties, let’s be honest) leave government service inexplicably wealthier than they came into it.

Grandpa Clark, 1917

Our good friend Jillian Becker has a great piece on the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, and how that event formed the roots of Europe’s ongoing suicide.  Go have a read.  I greeted the anniversary of that Armistice with some reflection, as my paternal grandfather was a WW1 veteran.  Grandpa would be 124 were he alive today.

Armistice Day is now of course Veteran’s Day here in the U.S., where we honor not just WW1 veterans but all who have worn Uncle Sam’s colors.  And that’s a good thing to take notice of.  Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt., veterans ourselves, observed Veteran’s Day with a quiet day in our temporary New Jersey (ugh) digs.

Meanwhile, Florida continues to lead the charge into a banana republic electoral system, with Georgia hot on their heels.  Comedy, tragedy or farce?  There are elements of all three in this fiasco.  Now the various Republicans are shouting about election fraud, probably not without reason, but you know what?  These people pull this kind of shit because they keep getting away with it.  A few prosecutions and prison terms would greatly cut down on the shenanigans.  Want a likely candidate, pour encourager les autres?  Look at Broward County.

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

Animal’s Daily Californication News

It’s official – our own Colorado has gone blue.  Excerpt:

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis handily defeated Republican state Treasurer Walker Stapleton in Tuesday’s race to succeed centrist Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is term-limited and considering a 2020 presidential run.

It was a dramatic moment for Colorado, dubbed a “hate state” nationwide when voters in 1992 approved a ban on municipal antidiscrimination laws to protect gay people. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law as unconstitutional four years later.

And:

In a state where unaffiliated voters outnumber Democrats and Republicans, Colorado residents clearly opted for Democrats largely as a check on a Republican Party led by President Donald Trump, whose anti-immigrant rhetoric never played well in the state.

Resentment against Trump helped Democratic first-term candidate Jason Crow defeat longtime Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman.

Coffman pushed his self-described moderate stance on immigration and his occasional bucking of the GOP to try to persuade voters to keep him.

Democrats also took away the offices of attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer from Republicans.

Under Republican Wayne Williams, the secretary of state’s office won nationwide accolades for establishing one of the most secure and voter-friendly elections systems in the U.S.

Democrats also were poised to seize control of the state Senate, which the GOP holds by a one-vote margin.

I know Mike Coffman.  He was our State Representative before he was State Treasurer.  When I was a precinct guy in our old neighborhood, Mike actually visited us, sat on my couch and talked issues with me.  But he was soft on immigration in a year when that was a major issue for GOP voters, and that may well have cost him party enthusiasm enough to see him retired.  So now, Mrs. Animal and I are represented by a Democrat.

Times change.  But I’ve been in Colorado for thirty years, and while a few things have improved, in general the state is heading in a direction I don’t care for.  The Alaska plans may have to be ratcheted up a little bit.

Rule Five Federalism Friday

Here’s something I’ve been saying for years: Want to Fix the Senate? Repeal the 17th Amendment!  Excerpt:

Senate procedures are frequently criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike. Hurdles such as the 60-vote threshold to limit debate make it difficult to pass legislation. And until 2013, when Democrats had control of the chamber, 60 votes were required to invoke cloture on all nominations by the president, except Supreme Court nominees.

At the time, Democrats had a 54-seat majority, including two independents, and complained that Republicans were blocking nominees to various executive agencies. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) led an effort to eliminate the filibuster and quickly confirm then-President Barack Obama’s executive and judicial appointments.

Last year, with a 52-seat majority, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Republicans, using the precedent established in 2013 under Democratic control of the Senate, eliminated use of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. The filibuster for legislation remains intact. 

As envisioned by the Framers of the Constitution, the Senate was to represent state interests in Congress. The House of Representatives was meant to be the part of the legislative branch closest to the people. Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution specifies that representation in the House is based on population of the states and its members are directly elected.

Here’s the real kicker:

Without question, the 17th Amendment has led to more growth in the federal government since it eliminates the state voices that would traditionally advocate for a balance of power between state and federal government. Unsurprisingly and unfortunately, the direct election of senators has almost completely undermined federalism.

Today’s charges that the Senate is “undemocratic” and that representation should be based on population arise from a fundamental misunderstanding of what our government is supposed to be. The Framers were obviously skeptical of a monarchy, which could be tyrannical, and were skeptical of direct democracy, which they rightly viewed as mob rule.

It bugs me when people who should know better refer to “our democracy.”  The United States is not and never was a democracy; it’s a Constitutional Republic, and the Founders built into the Constitution specific safeguards to prevent the nation from foundering into direct democracy.  And the appointment of Senators by the legislatures of the several States was key in said prevention.

At present, Senators are just Representatives with longer terms in office.  At present, the government of Zimbabwe has direct representation in the Imperial City (through an embassy) but the government of Wyoming does not.

Much as I’d like to see the 17th repealed (and several others into the bargain) I’ve resigned myself to the idea that I’ll never see it happen.  It is in the nature of government to grow ever larger and more intrusive; the 17th Amendment is a symptom of that, not a cause.  The Founders did a pretty decent job of constraining the Imperial government, but those chains slip ever further now, day by day, while most of the citizenry welcomes ever-increasing Imperial power.

It’s a sad state of affairs.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Now there’s this bullshit:  25% of students claim they were traumatized by the 2016 election.  What a bunch of wusses.  Excerpt:

A quarter of students found the 2016 so traumatic they now report symptoms of PTSD, according to a new study.

Researchers surveyed Arizona State University students around the time of President Donald Trump‘s inauguration in 2017, and some had stress scores on par with that of school shooting witnesses’ seven-month follow-ups.

Twenty-five percent of the 769 students, who were an even mix of genders and races and socioeconomic backgrounds, reported ‘clinically significant’ levels of stress.

The most severe cases were seen among women, black, and non-white Hispanic students, who were 45 percent more likely to feel distressed by the 2016 run between Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Lead researcher Melissa Hagan, an assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, believes the ‘divisive tone’ about race, identity, and what makes a valuable American ‘really heightened stress for a lot of people’.  

If you’re so invested in a political campaign that you think you have PTSD because the outcome didn’t go your way, seriously, you really need to take a good hard look at your life.  But note that I said “you think you have PTSD.”  These snot-nosed little shits may have something, but it ain’t PTSD.

My uncle Don may have had PTSD.  He jumped with the 101st in Operation Market Garden, fought through Bastogne and into Germany, where a fragment from an 88 shell took part of his forehead and one eye.  Don lived fifty years after the war but was never the same again.

My uncle Carl may have had PTSD.  He took a Japanese bayonet through the shoulder on Iwo Jima and nearly died of sepsis.  He went on to have two careers, one in the Navy and the second with the Iowa Department of Corrections.

My brother-in-law Bill may have had PTSD.  He was shot in the leg on a frigid hillside in Korea in 1951.  He went on to have a great career in railroads.

None of those three relatives of mine who were wounded in battle (my Dad and my uncle Norman also served, both in WW2, but neither was wounded) certainly had more reason to claim trauma than any of the little snots interviewed in this study.  They all went on to lead productive lives – even Don, who had some brain damage but still managed a small farm for the rest of his life.

All of my family’s WW2/Korea veterans are gone now.  But I would be willing to bet any of them would spit at the very idea of some pusillanimous little twit whining about “PTSD” from the results of an election.

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.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Regular readers of these virtual pages will recall that yr. obdt. landed another gig, this one in New Jersey; a couple weeks back you’ll recall the week of travel totty pics put up whilst Mrs. Animal and myself were crossing most of a continent to our temporary lodgings.

Well, today sees us headed halfway back, as we discovered the client company could not complete my IT stuff (laptop) and training at the Joisey site, so we have to go to a place up north of the Chicago metro area to get that done.  That will take 2-3 weeks, then it’s off back to Joisey.

Good news:  In the time we’ve already been in Raritan, NJ, where our temporary digs are located, we’ve found it to be a pleasant little town.  The folks are friendly, there is some great Italian food to be had, and the countryside isn’t bad at all – big trees, a nice river through the town.   It’s acceptable.  In fact, if it weren’t for the state’s bat-guano crazy government, it would be a pretty nice place.

So, this morning it’s back in our little travel car/truck/SUV/something (is the Ford Edge a car or a truck?  An SUV?  What the hell do you call it?) and off to Illinois.  Bright side:  We’ll take a weekend in there and go see our oldest kid and my Mom in Iowa, a 4-hour or so drive from the training site.

Self-employment is not an easy life.  But all in all, in the fifteen years I’ve been doing this, I’ve had a pretty good time.  Complications come with the business and you have to learn to roll with them.

Roll we are.  Tomorrow you’ll be stuck with one more travel totty post, then we’ll check in with you all from Illinois.  Fortunately we’ll be well away from the free-fire zone that is Chicago.

Goodbye,Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!  So, let’s have a few random thoughts and observations this morning.

What with the release of FISA warrant requests and the ongoing drama over the pre-elections actions of Strzok and company, there’s more talk than ever about the Deep State.  Want to do something about it?  How about reining the Imperial government in to what it is constitutionally limited to doing, and thereby removing most of the power from Imperial officials and bureaucrats?

Chicago has been named the rat capital of the United States.  But enough about the Rahm Emmanuel mayoralty; there are a lot of small, pestiferous rodents there too.

The “Democratic Socialist” (a synonym for “Economically Illiterate”) wing of the Democratic Party is doing their best to ensure President Trump coasts to re-election in 2020.  Take a look at the supposedly male person standing speaking in the photo; why are so many lefty males such sad little weeds?

On the Cold War II front, President Trump may have picked up an unlikely ally:  Piers Morgan.  Scanning the sky for flying pigs now.

A new discovery may lead to a revolution in deodorants.  But if the Democratic Socialists like She Guevara and the daffy old socialist from Vermont get there way, you won’t have many choices in deodorants any more.

This story reminds me of the young man who was vacationing in the British Isles.  He was in a charming country pub one afternoon when he encountered two very large women speaking with a thick, distinctive brogue.  “Excuse me,” has asked, “are you two ladies from Scotland?”

“Wales, you idiot,” one of the women snapped back.

“I’m sorry,” the young man replied.  “Are you two whales from Scotland?”

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

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

I’ve discussed the likelihood of a possible breakup of the United States before in these virtual pages before, but here’s a pretty interesting take on the topic.  Excerpt:

The problem? In short, there are no red states; there are no blue states. There are instead, counties and neighborhoods and streets and the couch versus the bedroom after an argument with a spouse or significant other over political matters.

“And so what?” asks the Pollyanna-ish reader. He (or the rarer idiot she) observes, “We split up and then there’s no more reason to fight?”

That’s wrong for several reasons. One is that it is the moderate and right-wing tendency in the red areas that politically constrains the left-wing tendency of the blue. Remove the red from the blue and the real reds of the bluest blue states run amok, with moderates and moderation suppressed.

Think here: Stalin in Birkenstocks, the spirit of Ho Chi Minh coming down from his gas tank in Boston,4 or a Pol Pot cognate with a degree in journalism from Harvard or Yale, rather than École Française d’Électronique et d’Informatique. Remember, too, that Bill Ayers’ Weatherman expected and, I daresay, wanted to kill twenty-five million Americans, one in eight of the population, one in five adults, to create their preferred society.

It should not need to be said, in a world of bright people, but, sadly, we don’t live in that world: I am pretty sure that the same happens in the red states, where the removal of the political Left leaves all kinds of wingnuts, to include of the white-sheeted, pointy-hatted variety, to create or recreate their own particular fantasies, and run roughshod over moderates there.

Yes, it’s true; a major societal collapse, and a civil war sure as hell would be one of those, would be a shitshow beyond imagining; and yes, it’s very likely that in plenty of areas the nuts would rise to the top.  Plenty of areas would be run, not by elected leaders, but by warlords who managed to accumulate enough guns and followers to cow the rest of the population.

It’s just too bad that some folks have some weird idea that a civil war would be some glorious reclamation of the United States’ founding principles.  It wouldn’t be the beginning of a renewed U.S., it would be the end of the U.S. in any recognizable form.  I’m not saying it will never happen; I am saying I hope I don’t live to see it.

Rule Five Campaign Speech Friday

As this is a busy week with many family commitments, and as this is an election year, today I will present a rerun of my 2016 Presidential campaign speech.  As always, if anyone is offended by any of the statements in this hypothetical speech, too damn bad.

Ladies and Gentlemen – friends – Americans – citizens.

I stand before you on this two hundred and twenty-eighth 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 are 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 has to 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 has to 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 has to 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. Our government is too big. I call bullshit. This has to stop.

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.

Disclaimer:  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I have absolutely no intention of ever running for any elected office.  I’d sooner shovel shit – the odor is better and at least shoveling shit is honest work.  But if I were to seek office, this would pretty much sum up my platform, with one addition:  If I sought and won the top spot, within my first 100 days as President I would submit a budget to Congress that consisted of four words:  “Fuck you, cut spending.”