Category Archives: News

My thoughts on the news of the day, both local, Colorado, national and international.

Rule Five Loony California Friday

So now California’s legislature has decided “you know what, fuck the First Amendment!”  Because, I guess, California.  What the hell, California?  Is it something in the water?  Is smoke from all the fires killing brain cells out there?  What is is?  Excerpt:

California is one step away from going down the unconstitutional road of government-mandated censorship of Internet speech. The California Senate and State Assembly recently passed S.B. 1424, the “Internet: social media: advisory group” act. This fake news advisory act is now on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.

According to Section 3085 of the legislation:

The Attorney General shall, subject to the limitations of subdivision (d), establish an advisory group consisting of at least one member of the Department of Justice, Internet-based social media providers, civil liberties advocates, and First Amendment scholars, to do both of the following:

(a) Study the problem of the spread of false information through Internet-based social media platforms.

(b) Draft a model strategic plan for Internet-based social media platforms to use to mitigate the spread of false information through their platforms.

It’s hard to imagine those voting for the bill were motivated by good intentions. In any case, good intentions are not enough. Is it hard to imagine the results of the law will be censorship of views that politicians disagree with and views critical of politicians?

Most likely, Californians are not concerned about “fact-checking” content like “a mile is 5290 feet” or an appeal to form a flat Earth Facebook group; such content poses no threat to entrenched interests. Instead, “fact-checking” will be deployed against those who express doubt, for example, about climate change, vaccine safety, or “educating” children about gender dysphoria.

Seriously, now, even the oft-overturned Ninth Circuit should strike this down in a trice.  But, again, what the hell?

This is, again, an argument for making sure governments at all levels are well and truly bound within very, very narrow limits of power.  Otherwise you get shit like this; assholes thinking, “you know, people put out all kinds of stuff on the internets; someone should be keeping an eye out to make sure only government-approved information is on there.”

Look out, Alex Jones.

What’s left unsaid is the very real likelihood that the California Legislature, having ensured one-party rule through the jungle primary system, is now aiming at a system that will let them silence their political opposition for good and all.

But there’s a bright side:  It’s going to be fun watching them get slapped down by the liberal Ninth Circuit.

Animal’s Daily Staggering Lack of Self-Awareness News

Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, is at it again.  Relevant quote from Her Imperial Majesty, with my comments:

“What I would like to see is a democratic majority that actually has the chance to make that choice right now the Democrats have very few tools at their disposal to stop the Republicans from going full speed ahead and engaging in the kind of unprecedented behavior as they did with the Garland nomination. So I’m not in favor of either unilateral disarmament or Defcon-10. I think there has to be some effort to try to get back to regular order, try to get back to having a system, a process in place so that we are not subjected to the hardball behavior of the Republicans that we saw in the Garland nomination, and we’re not subject to the outrageous denial of the information that was requested on Kavanaugh.

It’s worth pointing out that Senate Democrats had several times as much data on Judge Kavanaugh as was presented for prior candidates.

“I mean, there can’t be one set of rules for Democrats and one set of rules for Republicans.”

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

“That’s one of the reasons why people don’t have any confidence in the Congress. How can you? You don’t know what’s going to happen from day to day.”

This is true; back in the day you didn’t have shrieking maniacs being led out of Senate hearing chambers in handcuffs during the confirmation process of a Supreme Court justice nominee.  And, pray tell, who were those shrieking maniacs?  Hint:  They weren’t NRA members or College Republicans.

I remember back in the Thomas hearing when senator bird was asked what he was going to do, and he said in a situation like this we should give the benefit of the doubt to the court and the country. And that’s what the Republicans should be doing right now, from the White House down Pennsylvania avenue to the Senate, give the benefit of the doubt to the court and the country.

You mean like you gave the benefit of the doubt to Paula Jones?  To Kathleen Willey?  To Monica Lewinsky?  Care to remind us, Your Royal Highness, how you reacted to your husband’s bimbo eruptions?

So, True Believers:  Is Her Imperial Majesty running again in 2020?  Because this interview sure seems like it’s intended to position Herself for another run.  Republicans all over are salivating at the thought, but who knows?  Besides, a nasty primary  fight between Her Royal Highness and Fauxcohantas Warren would sure be entertaining.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Since the city of Los Angeles has apparently solved every other problem a major city could have, they are now taking steps to ban fur.  Yes, really.  Excerpt:

A proposal to ban the sale of fur products advanced in the City Council on Tuesday. The council voted unanimously to direct the city attorney to draft an ordinance that will prohibit the manufacture and sale of new fur products. The ordinance must be presented to the council at a future date for final approval.

“This is something that is not just a good legislative win, it’s a moral win,” Councilman Bob Blumenfield said. “We feel like we’re evolving as a city as people to stop this kind of unnecessary cruelty.”

The vote also directed the city attorney to report back to the council on several issues, including how fur apparel is utilized by religious organizations, and possible exemptions, as well as potential conflicts with federal and state laws relating to sale of fur products derived from legally trapped animals.

A ban would take effect two years after final approval of the ordinance.

The ban would cover apparel made in whole or in part of fur, including clothing, handbags, shoes, hats, earmuffs, jewelry and keychains. Only used fur products could be sold.

Councilmen Bob Blumenfield and Paul Koretz submitted the motion.

Blumenfield said there’s no reason to wear fur in 2018. “Certainly not in sunny Los Angeles,” he said.

I have a reason for you, Mr. Blumenfield:  Because fuck you, that’s why.

There’s nothing like the real thing, baby.

This is what happens, True Believers, when a paternalistic, statist government runs amok and has to control every aspect of people’s lives – including, now, what clothing they choose to buy with their own money.

What’s it going to be next?  Outlawing anything not certified “organic” or “free trade?”  How about outlawing the products of Asian sweatshops, which will eliminate, oh, maybe 50 to 75% of the clothing sold in the United States?

Or how about just telling idiot, intrusive local pols that they should get a long running start and go fuck themselves?

Animal’s Daily Recovered Memories News

By now most folks have heard of the latest sudden drama surrounding the Kavanaugh nomination.  Robert Stacy McCain weighed in the other day.  Excerpt:

Did you know that “trigger warnings” are actually harmful? The trendy academic practice of alerting students to “problematic” material “reinforce the fear and compound anxiety.”

This information is highly relevant, I believe, to the claims surrounding the 11th-hour hit job on Brett Kavanaugh. We are expected to believe that the accuser, Professor Christine Ford, suffered emotional damage because she was groped by Kavanaugh at a 1982 party when they were both teenagers. The “evidence” of this alleged trauma is her therapist’s notes from when she and her husband were in couples therapy in 2012.

Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection is skeptical:

If this is a “repressed memory” case, then it changes everything against the accuser’s veracity — repressed memory is of highly questionable admissibility and credibility.

Exactly. Why would 30 years elapse before the accuser mentioned this incident to anyone? Beyond that, does it comport with our common-sense understanding of human behavior to think that the alleged incident, even if it happened exactly as it is now being described in news accounts, would be so traumatic as to be relevant to whatever marital problems Christine Ford and her husband were experiencing in 1982?

Now, regarding the “recovered memories” angle, I think there are better than even odds that the whole thing is horseshit; incidentally, some folks educated in head-candling agree with me.  But that’s neither here nor there, in whatever long-ago year “there” may be.

“Now, Animal,” you might ask, “why would you say that?  These are serious allegations.”  Well, sure, the allegation of sexual assault is normally a serious matter, and I agree with most of the croakers around the Imperial City that Dr. Ford should be allowed – nay, encouraged – to come state her case, mostly because I suspect it will become obvious that there’s no there there.

But I have seen some other facts that should also come to light.  Like how Dr. Ford’s students offer reviews of her teaching averaging 2.3 out of 5, normally a failing grade, with statements like:

“Christine (F)ord is the worst educator I have ever experienced.  Avoid taking her class and avoid any interaction with this person.  I feel like she has something wrong with her and I am surprised no one has caught this.  Also avoid fullerton’s (sic) MSW program as long as she is there.”

“Prof. Ford is unprofessional, lacks appropriate filters, and I am honestly scared of her.  She’s made comments both in class and in e-mails, if you cross her, you will be on her bad side. I fear to think of the poor clients that had to deal with her while she got her MSW and her LCSW. Absolutely the worst teacher I ever had.”

And:

“She is unclear with directions. Hard grader and talks for 2hr 45min without giving a break. she is exact opposite of what she teaches. empowering??? not at all.”

So, it seems her teaching career is not going well.  But wait – there’s more!  It seems Brett Kavanaugh’s mother, Judge Martha Kavanaugh, ruled against Dr. Ford’s parents in a foreclosure case.

So, why is all this relevant?  Because the “recovered memories” horse squeeze could just as easily be a dodge for a revenge stab at the judge who ruled against Dr. Ford’s family – or it could be an angle at a lucrative book deal – or it could be a political gambit, wherein she saw a chance to take a stab at the Trump Administration.  Who knows?  But this is all relevant information, and should damn well come out in any hearings.

But most of all, not one damn bit of it has any bearing on Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications to sit on the Supreme Court.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Moving along:  It seems beer has been with us for a lot longer than many folks suspected.  Excerpt:

A new study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports suggests beer brewing practices existed in the Eastern Mediterranean over five millennia before the earliest known evidence, discovered in northern China. In an archaeological collaboration project between Stanford University in the United States, and University of Haifa, Israel, archeologists analyzed three stone mortars from a 13,000-year old Natufian burial cave site in Israel. Their analysis confirmed that these mortars were used for brewing of wheat/barley, as well as for food storage.

“Alcohol making and food storage were among the major technological innovations that eventually led to the development of civilizations in the world, and archaeological science is a powerful means to help reveal their origins and decode their contents,” said Li Liu, PhD, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford University, USA. “We are excited to have the opportunity to present our findings, which shed new light on a deeper history of human society.”

The earliest archaeological evidence for cereal-based beer brewing even before the advent of agriculture comes from the Natufians, semi-sedentary, foraging people, living in the Eastern Mediterranean between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic periods, following the last Ice Age. The Natufians at Raqefet Cave collected locally available plants, stored malted seeds, and made beer as a part of their rituals.

The only ritual I generally use beer for is the normal Friday night beer-and-pizza blowing off steam that is part of the normal routine at the Casa del Animal, wherever that Casa happens to be at the moment.

But it’s interesting to see how far back that highly enjoyable mug o’ suds goes.  One suspects that today’s aficionados would have a hard time recognizing what those long-ago folks called beer, but that doesn’t mean it might not be enjoyable.

And, of course, as with other alcoholic beverages (like wine, another adult beverage with a long history), in those long-ago times many folks quaffed beer because it was safe to drink.  That couldn’t always be said for the water.

Hell, it can’t be said for the water in plenty of places now.  Were I for some unknown reason having a meal today in, say, Flint, Michigan, I think I’d rather have some of Alley-Oop’s beer than the local water.

So, here’s to the suds!  May they long be with us.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!  Thanks also to our blogger pals over at The Daley Gator for the link, and be sure to head over to Glibertarians.com to read my article on guns and gear for small game hunting.

Now, with all that said…

MIT has looked into what it would take to revitalize the flagging nuclear power industry.  Not surprisingly, their solution involves a bunch of Imperial interference.  Excerpt:

One way to make nuclear competitive with other kinds of power plants, MIT says, is by linking the cost of building new nuclear power plants to carbon emissions.

Currently, the electricity sector of the global economy releases 500 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour generated (gCO2/kWh), on average. If we want to limit the effects of climate change, MIT says, CO2 emissions from the electricity sector need to fall to 10–25 gCO2/kWh. Renewable energy can take us part of the way there, but in a heavily decarbonized world, adding more wind and solar generation to the grid will eventually become extremely expensive for each new unit of those kinds of energy added to the grid.

In that future scenario, grid operators have to add grid-scale batteries in massive quantities or undertake large-scale transmission line buildout to make sure there’s always power on the grid. That’s where nuclear comes in. The expense of building nuclear power plants becomes viable “when the allowable carbon emissions rate is reduced to less than 50 gCO2/kWh,” MIT writes.

In this future, nuclear finally has an opportunity to under-bid more common forms of zero-carbon electricity. In an extremely solar- and wind-saturated environment, nuclear energy may be the more reasonably priced zero-emissions energy source.

Here’s the punch line:

The scenarios run by MIT also assume that anything will be done about carbon dioxide releases. Fossil fuel-based sources of electricity have prices that don’t fully account for the cost of adding extra carbon dioxide to the air. If fossil fuel users aren’t made to pay for the external costs of climate change, then they’ll continue to underbid nuclear in a significant way.

Here’s my question:  How are you quantifying the cost of adding “extra” carbon dioxide to the atmosphere?

There’s a lot of hot air (hah) being blown about the human impact on climate, and I’m willing to concede that there is some impact, although I question whether it’s a significant impact.  Throughout most of the Earth’s 4.55 billion year history the planet has been warmer than it is now; also, we’re still recovering from the last Ice Age; further, it’s the height of arrogance to assume that we humans know what the planet’s “correct” temperature is.  But all that aside:  Why can’t we just let the markets decide which means of delivering energy is the most efficient, using that best of all possible means of determining value:  Prices?  If nuclear power, hopefully free of Imperial interference, delivers energy at a lower cost per kilowatt/hr than other energy sources, then more nuclear plants will be built.

And, let’s face it, the green movement’s vaunted wind and solar power aren’t going to win this competition – which is why the greens don’t want the market making this determination.  Because, you  know, consumers must not be allowed to make these decisions for themselves.

Rule Five Airline Prices Friday

In the Imperial City, two liberal Senators are proposing to bring back price controls for the airlines – a stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid idea.  Excerpt:

If you care about keeping airline prices low, buckle up. Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate would impose strict government price controls on airlines, disrupting the industry and endangering billions of dollars in consumer welfare.

The U.S. Senate’s version of the bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) contains a provision by Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) called the FAIR Fees Act. It establishes “standards for assessing whether baggage, seat selection, same day change, and other fees are reasonable and proportional to the costs of the services provided.”

At first blush, this proposal might appear to be pro-consumer. After all, what’s wrong with mandating “reasonable fees” and protecting flyers?

But despite the innocuous-sounding language, FAIR Fees would interfere with the successful business model that has slashed airfares and boosted consumer welfare. There is no shred of evidence to justify onerous rate regulation in a sector as competitive as the U.S. airline industry. As history has shown again and again, government bureaucrats are incapable of setting prices better than the market.

Ironically, the U.S. airline industry is one of the best-known historical examples of the federal government’s harmful attempts to manipulate market prices. From before World War II to the late 1970s, federal agencies tightly regulated America’s airlines, setting fares, routes, and schedules. The results were disastrous — artificially inflating prices, stifling competition, and mis-allocating resources.

Hint for Senators Markey and Blumenthal – this is what price controls always do.

Remember the Seventies?  The “gasoline shortages?”  There were no shortages.  While OPEC did screw around some with supply, the main problem was President Nixon’s imposition of price controls on gasoline and raw petroleum.  (Add this to a bunch of stupid economic wage and price controls imposed by the ill-fated Nixon Administration, which led to the economic malaise of the late Seventies – a malaise broken by the Reagan Presidency.)

Fixing an artificial price cap on any commodity will always – always – have bad consequences.  In the case of the airlines, we’ll return to what air travel was in the regulated Seventies; fewer routes, fewer flights, less service and the airlines will still find even more ways to pass rising costs onto passengers.

Now, honestly:  This bill is going nowhere.  In the current Republican-led Senate, it will never see a floor vote.  If by some fluke the Democrats do take control of Congress, passage is still not likely, and certainly not by enough of a margin to overcome a Trump veto.  This is pure and simple election-year grandstanding by a couple of Congressional economic illiterates.  (But I repeat myself.)

But it would be nice, just for once, to see a little common sense in the halls of Congress.  Just once.  That’s all I ask.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

The kabuki theater surrounding the approval of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court passed over into farce almost before it began yesterday.  Mrs. Animal and I listened to the opening of proceedings yesterday morning (courtesy of satellite radio) while crossing the country, and I have to say, the opposition embarrassed themselves with their hysterics.  The proceedings opened with shrieking protesters in the chamber and grandstanding Senators issuing pointless motions to adjourn.  None of it had any effect and the offenders knew these embarrassing shenanigans would have no effect; it was merely theater of the absurd, the progressive wing of the Democratic party throwing some red meat to their base and in so doing wasting everybody else’s time.

Oh, and meanwhile, the Republicans actually looked like the grown-ups in the room.

Spectator USA’s Roger Kimball predicts Kavanaugh will be approved handily, and I think he’s right.  Excerpt:

Although the malodorous cloud of the disgusting treatment meted out to to Judge Robert Bork in 1987 has hung over every subsequent Republican nominee to the Court, I am confident that Judge Kavanaugh will escape anything like Teddy Kennedy’s mendacious ‘in Robert Bork’s America’ attacks.

Yes, the Committee includes Cory Booker, Democratic Senator from New Jersey, who once said that supporters of Brett Kavanaugh were ‘complicit in evil.’ And there’s also Kamala Harris, Democratic Senator from California, who can be counted on to be antagonistic. But neither is in the same class as Kennedy when it comes to swaggering rhetorical dissimulation and character assassination.

Then, too, Brett Kavanaugh, although indisputably conservative in disposition, has not driven Democrats to pretended apoplexy as did Judge Bork. (It is not everyone, after all, who can claim the distinction of bequeathing his surname to the language as a transitive verb.) In years to come, no one is going to talk about ‘kavanaughing’ a candidate.

And here’s why:

The problem for Chuck Schumer and others who would like nothing more than to squelch President Trump’s nomination is that Kavanaugh’s views are smack dab in the middle of respectable legal opinion. It is instructive to read a few of his opinions. They are methodically presented, carefully researched, and quietly but persuasively argued. He thinks judges should say what they law is, not make policy. Not much there for Dems to sink their fangs into.

Like Justice Gorsuch before him, Judge (soon to be Justice) Kavanaugh is basically Captain America.  He’s the dictionary definition of an idea pick to the Supreme Court:  An educated, thoughtful, principled jurist who will apply not personal preference nor the whim of the mob to his decisions, but rather the Constitution.

That’s what the Founders envisioned.  That’s what the nation deserves.  And, by the end of this process, that’s what we’ll have.

Rule Five Chinese Shenanigans Friday

It may be still up in the air as to whether Russian operatives read any emails sent or received by Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, Dowager Empress of Chappaqua.  But it seems a Chinese company sure as hell did.  Excerpt:

  • A Chinese-owned company penetrated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server, according to sources briefed on the matter.
  • The company inserted code that forwarded copies of Clinton’s emails to the Chinese company in real time.
  • The Intelligence Community Inspector General warned of the problem, but the FBI subsequently failed to act, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said during a July hearing.

A Chinese-owned company operating in the Washington, D.C., area hacked Hillary Clinton’s private server throughout her term as secretary of state and obtained nearly all her emails, two sources briefed on the matter told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Chinese firm obtained Clinton’s emails in real time as she sent and received communications and documents through her personal server, according to the sources, who said the hacking was conducted as part of an intelligence operation.

The Chinese wrote code that was embedded in the server, which was kept in Clinton’s residence in upstate New York. The code generated an instant “courtesy copy” for nearly all of her emails and forwarded them to the Chinese company, according to the sources.

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found that virtually all of Clinton’s emails were sent to a “foreign entity,” Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, said at a July 12 House Committee on the Judiciary hearing. He did not reveal the entity’s identity, but said it was unrelated to Russia.

Here’s the punch line:

London Center for Policy Research’s vice president of operations, retired Col. Anthony Shaffer, told TheDCNF that Clinton’s server was vulnerable to hacking.

“Look, there’s evidence based on the complete lack of security hygiene on the server. Fourteen-year-old hackers from Canada could have probably hacked into her server and left very little trace,” Shaffer said. “Any sophisticated organization is going to be able to essentially get in and then clean up their presence.”

First off, let’s admit one thing:  Odds are long that Her Imperial Majesty will never be called to account on this.  Were she a Trump appointee – or, if you prefer, a Bush or Reagan appointee – the howls of outrage from the political Left and the legacy media would be deafening.

But the Clintons, it seems, have always been and still are above the law.  Some minions may see some trouble, but the Royal Family themselves will be untouched.  And that’s manifestly A Bad Thing.

This is the kind of thing that results from government having too much power.  The siren song of power attracts people like Her Royal Highness, who want power and are willing to cheat, steal and lie (and rig primary elections) to get it.  Remove the power, and you remove the appeal.  Defanging government would yield many benefits for a free people; this is far from one of the least of those benefits.

In this case, lives may have literally been lost because of Her Majesty’s fecklessness and callous disregard.  (Coincidence?  Yeah, right.)  And, because equal treatment under the law is a dead letter in this nation today, she will never be held to account.  She knows this, which further fuels her corruption.

Power breeds corruption.  If there’s a better example of this than Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, I’m not aware of it.

Animal’s Daily When You’ve Lost NPR News

When the would-be gun-banners have lost NPR (well, sort of) they’ve lost big.  Now, I’m sure NPR as an entity hasn’t abandoned its left-leaning positions, nor have they suddenly become Second Amendment advocates, but in this case, at least, they have shown that facts matter.  Excerpt:

How many times per year does a gun go off in an American school?

We should know. But we don’t.

This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.” The number is far higher than most other estimates.

But NPR reached out to every one of those schools repeatedly over the course of three months and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened. Child Trends, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization, assisted NPR in analyzing data from the government’s Civil Rights Data Collection.

We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.

In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn’t meet the government’s parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn’t respond to our inquiries.

In other words, the data stinks, and nobody really has a good grasp on how many school shootings happened.  And, honestly, in a nation the size of the United States, that isn’t at all surprising.

Here’s what doesn’t seem to be happening in the data-gathering:

  1. The questions asked are not consistent.
  2. Definitions are not clear and concise.  (What, precisely, constitutes a “school shooting?”)
  3. Ambiguous responses are not followed-up.

In other words, the data gathering technique was crap, and therefore, the conclusions drawn were crap.  The Dept. of Education, who commissioned the study, should be terribly embarrassed when not only NPR but Everytown for Gun Safety questions their results.

This is the anti-gun Left, folks.

Meanwhile: