Category Archives: News

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

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Thanks to our blogger pals over at The Daley Gator for the link!

In our ever-increasingly technological age, want to know what’s coming next?  Smart toilets.  Yes, really.  Excerpt:

AI that screens out spam and recognizes your mom’s face is so 2017. Get ready for smart toilets that’ll scan your poop using artificial intelligence to save you a trip to the doctor.

That’s what Sanjay Mehrotra, chief executive of memory chipmaker Micron Technology, expects as AI spreads to yet another corner of our lives.

“Medicine is going toward precision medicine and precision health,” Mehrotra said at the Techonomy 2018 conference in Half Moon Bay on the Pacific coastline south of San Francisco. “Imagine smart toilets in the future that will be analyzing human waste in real time every day. You don’t need to be going to visit a physician every six months. If any sign of disease starts showing up, you’ll be able to catch it much faster because of urine analysis and stool analysis.”

OK, I have a question:  How long do you suppose it will be before some statist fuckwit gets the bright idea to propose that all smart-toilets be networked into a monitoring system?  Say you don’t eat enough fiber one week, or the potty informs Nanny that you binged on an entire gallon of ice cream last Friday night.  What then?  Will the health police start monitoring your output, the better to control your intake?

Well, that’s probably pretty unlikely.  But this really seems like a solution in search of a problem.  Instead of messing with smart toilets, how about just lifting the damn one-gallon flush regulation so we can get a loo that will actually flush with some force?  Back in the day we had toilets that would flush a cinder block.  Those damn things flushed with some force.

Ah, those were the days.

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.

Rule Five (No) Crime Wave Friday

So far, at least, the legalization of recreational marijuana in our own Colorado hasn’t led to a crime wave.  Excerpt:

The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice Office of Research and Statistics released “Impacts of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado,” a report that analyzes data on marijuana-related topics including crime, impaired driving, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits, usage rates, effects on youth and more.

State lawmakers ordered the study in 2013 after Colorado voters passed Amendment 64, which legalized the retail sale and possession of recreational marijuana for adults older than 21.

Jack K. Reed, a statistical analyst with the Office of Research and Statistics, authored the study. He called the findings a “baseline” because legal marijuana is relatively new and so is the data.

“It is difficult to draw conclusions about the potential effects of marijuana legalization and commercialization on public safety, public health or youth outcomes, and this may always be the case due to the lack of historical data,” Reed wrote in the report.

All kinds of things could affect future data, he said.

“The decreasing social stigma regarding marijuana use could lead individuals to be more likely to report use on surveys and also to health workers in emergency departments and poison control centers, making marijuana use appear to increase when perhaps it has not,” Reed wrote.

Here’s another thing that could affect future data:  The drying up of the profit margin for gangs and illegal dealers could result in a decrease of the crime rate.  So far, that remains to be seen, and the high rate of taxation for rec-weed keeps some incentive for a black market:

Data suggests that law enforcement and prosecutors are aggressively pursuing cases against black-market activity. The quantity of cases filed for serious marijuana-related crimes has remained consistent with pre-legalization levels; however, organized crime cases have generally increased since 2008.

Felony marijuana court case filings (conspiracy, manufacturing, distribution, and possession with intent to sell) declined from 2008 to 2014 but increased from 2015 through 2017.

Like most things, legalizing pot has been a mixed bag, practically speaking.  DUIs haven’t been affected much:

• Colorado State Patrol DUI cases overall were down 15 percent from 2014 to 2017.

• The percentage of Colorado State Patrol citations with marijuana-only impairment has stayed steady, at around 7 percent. The percentage of Colorado State Patrol citations with any marijuana nexus rose from 12 percent in 2012 to 17 percent in 2016 and then dropped to 15 percent in 2017.

Read the whole article, by all means.

This post-mortem of marijuana legalization is interesting, but my argument for legalization is based not on practical matters but on liberty.  It’s not the government’s responsibility to keep you form making bad decisions; it’s also not the government’s responsibility to shield you from the consequences of those bad decisions.  In most ways marijuana is no better or worse than alcohol.  When used responsibly and in moderation, it’s not a problem; when abused, it is.

But citizens, not politicians, should be making those decisions.  In Colorado, we’ve moved in that direction, and so far, most of the dire predictions of banners haven’t materialized.  But then, in almost any matter of public policy, very few of those dire predictions ever do.

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.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Well, it looks like we’ll have to deal with Dems running the House, but the GOP has managed to pick up seats in the Senate.  While we will have to likely deal with Speaker Pelosi again (ugh) judicial appointments will proceed.  That’s not nothing.

At least now the silly season is over, and we can all rest and recover for a little while until the 2020 election cycle begins, when…

… What’s that?  It already started?  At midnight last night?

Fuck.

Well, at least we’ll have horse’s asses like Ezra Klein to entertain us:


“House popular vote?”  What the hell is this idiot blathering on about?

There is, apparently, some RHEEEEing on the political left about some of our institutions, specifically the Senate and the Electoral College, being “undemocratic.”  Well, yes; that’s by design.  The United States is not a democracy, it’s a Constitutional Republic.  The Constitution was written to include safeguards against direct democracy, which the Founders (correctly) saw as little more than mob rule.

The Senate and the Electoral College are, of course, two of those safeguards.  Were it not for those, the nation would be run by New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and the rest of the country would be hosed.

But the “House popular vote?”  That’s a new level of stupidity.  What does Klein propose?  Handing over control of the House to whatever party gains the most votes nationwide?  Why not?  To hell with Congressional districts.

Hell, we may as well just have a Parliament.  Why not just appoint a king while we’re at it?

What a jackass.

Animal’s Daily Hunters For The Hungry News

I reckon most of today’s news coverage, commentary and bloggery will concern the election.  Since all you True Believers will face an embarrassment of riches on election news, I figure I’ll bring you something different; namely, Georgia deer hunters feeding hungry folks.  Excerpt:

One in seven Georgians struggles with hunger, according to Feeding America. More than 500,000 of them are children.

Food banks supply Georgia’s 1.6 million hungry residents with canned goods, dried grains and other pantry staples, but they rarely offer high-protein options, like meat.

Georgia Hunters for the Hungry aims to bridge that gap.

Venison is an ideal option to nourish the food insecure, because it’s high in protein and low in fat, Stowe said.

“We have the food banks calling us wanting more, wanting more every year,” he said.

Stowe coordinates with about 20 meat processors throughout the state who accept donations on behalf of the organization. He’s spent years recruiting more hunters and meat processors to help to fill Georgia’s ever-growing need for protein.

Resources are limited, though.

The Georgia Wildlife Federation reimburses processors $1.50 for each pound of meat they butcher. Once the meat is ground up and packaged, it’s delivered to the Georgia Food Bank Association, which distributes the venison to communities across the state.

Incidentally, you can read about my 2018 deer hunt here (my family and I eating all of our venison, though.)

It’s important to note that hunters donating game meat to food banks and homeless shelters isn’t a new thing.  None other than Ted Nugent pioneered the practice and helped set up some of the first programs.

And, yes, this is precisely how charity should be done.  Voluntarily, locally, no Imperial interference, much more efficient, much closer to the people in need.  It would be manifestly A Good Thing if more charity programs were similarly designed and carried out.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Lots of folks are bending a lot of brain cells trying to guess what tomorrow’s elections are going to give us in Congress for the next two years.  I’m not going to go there.  Predictions are hard to make, especially when they’re about the future, so I’m not going to bother myself over much with guesses.  While the Senate looks to remain in GOP hands, the Democrats will either take the House or they won’t.  If they do, then look for two years of complete gridlock in the Imperial City (silver lining?) and non-stop RHEEEEEE about President Trump, with every investigation and subpoena they can throw at him and his people.  I will hazard this guess; if the Dems end up running the house, especially given some of the expected committee chairs (Maxine Waters?  Really?) they’ll overstep badly, make complete horse’s asses of themselves, and will get handed their butts in 2020.

Meanwhile, we’ll continue to get decent judicial appointments and foreign affairs, especially trade deals, will crank along unexpected by whatever shitshow manifests itself in the House.

PJMedia columnist Rick Moran thinks the Dems may – just may – have already blown the deal.  Excerpt:

But while turnout in early voting has seen a modest rise in some constituencies, it has been nearly offset by greater than expected Republican enthusiasm. It may be that on Election Day, the polls will be swamped with blacks and Hispanics and a couple of dozen House and Senate races will be flipped, but it would be unprecedented.

The polls just aren’t showing a massive GOP blowout. The Democrats may, indeed, take control of the House. But if it’s by more than a handful of seats, it will be an upset.

That’s what I call hedging your bets.

Anyway, we’ll find out on Wednesday.  No matter what happens, for the most part, the world and our nation will just keep on ticking.

Rule Five Get Woke Go Broke Friday

I saw this a while back but didn’t comment on it right away, but a conversation with a friend today got me thinking about the story some more; namely, it seems that Levi’s, of all companies, has jumped on the “OMG ASSAULT WEAPONS” bandwagon.  That won’t hurt them as badly as it would have forty years ago, for reasons I’ll go into in a bit.  Excerpt:

American clothing company Levi Strauss & Co. announced Tuesday the launch of a new campaign aimed at preventing gun violence.

Company President and CEO Chip Bergh penned an op-ed for Fortune magazine saying business leaders have a responsibility to speak up on issues that threaten the American “fabric.”

“We can’t take on every issue. But as business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work,” he wrote. “While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option. That’s why Levi Strauss & Co. is stepping up our support for gun violence prevention.”

Mr. Bergh said the company is stepping up its gun control activism in three areas: First, by creating the Safer Tomorrow Fund, which will direct more than $1 million in philanthropic grants to boosting gun control groups; Second, by partnering with Everytown for Gun Safety and Michael Bloomberg to form Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety; And third, by doubling the company’s usual employee donation match to organizations aligned with the new Safer Tomorrow Fund.

The company will also pay employees for their political activism, for up to five hours a month.

I don’t like the trends of companies overtly virtue-signaling; if you’re in the business of making jeans, then just make jeans, and talk about nothing more than how great your damn jeans are.

And, once again, a would-be gun-grabber trots out the “gun violence” horseshit.  Now, to be fair, that term is also used by plenty of people who should know better, but the fact is that there is no such damn thing as gun violence.  There is only violence, planned and perpetrated by people, and that’s all.  It’s beyond dumbassery to use a term like “gun violence” when nobody, anywhere, ever, refers to “knife violence” or “fist violence” or “hammer violence.”  It’s only when firearms are involved do people’s brains fly right out.

Still.  One would think that antagonizing gun owners would be an ill-advised move for a company that makes blue jeans, a garment worn by plenty of working folks who like guns.  But I doubt this stance, tedious and stupid though it might be, will hurt the Levi’s brand sales much.  Why?

Because actual working folks shopping for tough, comfortable, durable working garments haven’t been buying Levi’s for years.  Starting about the time I graduated high school, Levi’s became the “style” jeans, mostly worn by townies.  The working jeans market these days belongs to Duluth Trading (my favorite brand), Carhartt, and Dickies.

That gives Levi’s some room to engage in dumb virtue-signaling.  So, fine, go for it; I don’t think it will change anything all that much.

Animal’s Daily Sky Rat News

Urban Sky Rats

Plenty of urban, suburban and rural residents have wondered this; why the hell are there so many pigeons?  Excerpt:

By the 1600s, rock doves — non-native to the United States — had reached North America, transported by ships in the thousands. Rather than being a food source, it’s most likely that the birds were brought across from Europe to satiate the growing pigeon-breeding trend among hobbyists, said Michael Habib, a paleontologist in the Dinosaur Institute at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, and the University of Southern California.

Inevitably, birds escaped captivity, and began to breed freely in American cities. “We created this novel [urban] habitat and then we basically engineered an animal that does very well in that novel habitat,” Habib told Live Science. “They were successful in cities because we engineered them to be comfortable living around humans.” [Do Birds Really Abandon Their Chicks If Humans Touch Them?]

Cities became the perfect backdrop for the pioneering pigeons’ success. “Pigeons are naturally cliff-dwellers and tall buildings do a pretty great job at mimicking cliffs,” Carlen told Live Science. “Ornate facing, window sills and air-conditioning units provide fantastic perches for pigeons, similar to the crevices found on the side of a cliff.”

Another trait that makes pigeons more adaptable is their appetite. While other bird species have to rely on supplies of berries, seeds and insects, pigeons can eat just about anything that humans toss in the trash. “Other species are specialists and pigeons are the ultimate generalists,” Portugal said. “And the food is endless: I don’t think too many pigeons go to bed hungry!”

The pigeon’s unusual breeding biology seals the deal: Both parents rear their chicks on a diet of special protein- and fat-rich milk produced in a throat pouch called the crop. So, instead of having to rely on insects, worms and seeds to keep their young alive — resources that would be scarcer in cities — pigeons can provide for their offspring no matter what, Portugal says: “As long as the adults can eat, they can feed their babies, too.”

I actually kind of admire pigeons, in the same way that I kind of admire rats and cockroaches – they’re all great survivors.  But pigeons, unlike those others, can be good eating.  When I was a kid back in Iowa, we routinely shot clean farm pigeons and tossed them in the crock-pot with onions, carrots and potatoes, making for some fine eating.

Some animals find humans troubling; we cut their forests, encroach on their habitats, interfere with their migrations.  But plenty of other animals do very well around humans, not only the aforementioned rats, pigeons and roaches but also white-tailed deer, black bears, raccoons, coyotes, squirrels, and many more.  Pigeons are just one of those lucky species, albeit one with a long, long history of co-cohabiting with humanity.

There are so many pigeons because they are adaptable.  Adaptability is a great survival strategy.  Our own ancestors learned that once.