Category Archives: News

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

Animal’s Daily Flat Earth Cruise News

Thanks as always to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links.  Also, go read the latest in my History of Lever Guns series over at Glibertarians, and if you haven’t yet, check out all my Glibs articles here.

With all that said:  I should have covered this yesterday, because these are some April fools if ever there were some.  Excerpts, with my comments:

Organizers of an annual conference that brings together people who believe that the Earth is flat are planning a cruise to the purported edge of the planet. They’re looking for the ice wall that holds back the oceans.

I predict they’ll be disappointed.

The journey will take place in 2020, the Flat Earth International Conference (FEIC) recently announced on its website. The goal? To test so-called flat-Earthers’ assertion that Earth is a flattened disk surrounded at its edge by a towering wall of ice.

So, if they find no such wall of ice but instead a great southern continent, will they admit that they have been mistaken all this time?  Or will they come up with another bullshit conspiracy “theory?”  I think we already know that answer.

Details about the event, including the dates, are forthcoming, according to the FEIC, which calls the cruise “the biggest, boldest adventure yet.” However, it’s worth noting that nautical maps and navigation technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS) work as they do because the Earth is … a globe. [7 Ways to Prove the Earth Is Round]

It won’t be a big adventure.  It won’t be a bold adventure.  If these people are truly serious about this, which is difficult to credit, this is the most foolish of fool’s errands.  This is more ridiculous than the Green New Deal, more ridiculous than a soup sandwich.

Believers in a flat Earth argue that images showing a curved horizon are fake and that photos of a round Earth from space are part of a vast conspiracy perpetrated by NASA and other space agencies to hide Earth’s flatness. These and other flat-Earth assertions appear on the website of the Flat Earth Society (FES), allegedly the world’s oldest official flat Earth organization, dating to the early 1800s.

Back when people believed in phrenology and humours, of which nitwittery the Flat Earth belief is of a kind.

However, the ancient Greeks demonstrated that Earth was a sphere more than 2,000 years ago, and the gravity that keeps everything on the planet from flying off into space could exist only on a spherical world.

More like 2,200 years, actually.  Eratosthenes of Cyrene calculated the circumference of the Earth pretty accurately around 245 BC.

Honestly these screwballs are really pretty funny.  While it’s hard to take them seriously, they certainly do appear to take themselves so; they’re as serious as the people who claim socialism is a workable economic system, evidence from such paradises as Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea notwithstanding.

Flat Earthers, indeed.  Well, we can always use more nitwits to point and laugh at.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

On Monday I brought to all you True Believers some photos from the Imperial Gardens here in Tokyo, which is a truly lovely sight.

But Tokyo has many other things worth seeing as well, including the wonderful nuttery that is two famous districts:  Shibuya, home to the famous Shibuya Crossing and the Hatchiko statue, and Akihabara, the electronics capital of the city and the center of otaku culture.  Photos follow – enjoy! Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Thanks to our blogger pal Doug Hagin over at the Daley Gator for the linkback!

In a few short hours, my own dear Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. will board a big ole jet airliner for the a distant land, for a week of a little bit of business but mostly just fun.  Watch these virtual pages for tales of our adventure.

But while that’s going on, here in the States, pols are doing what pols do – being phonies.  Excerpt:

It was bound to happen in the Democrat-Left Age of Intersectionality. In an era where you lose “society-advantage points” for being White, more points for being male, more for having progenitor roots anywhere in Europe, and a few more for being all three plus “straight”… In such a society, it was bound to happen that imposters would start emerging — even among candidates for the nation’s highest office and among their biggest donors — claiming false identities. Remember Rachel Dolezal, the Caucasian of European lineage, who rose to head an NAACP chapter by falsely presenting as Black? Now they all seem to be prescribed medical formulations of Dolezal.

Let’s start with Beto the Skate-o. I initially was fooled into thinking that Beto O’Rourke was some Mexican-American, or whatever, who was running in Texas for Senate against Ted Cruz. Who names a kid “Beto” if not a Hispanic family? There are no “Beto” personalities in the Bible. I figured the guy was Latino, maybe Chicano, pitching for that vote down in El Paso.

Although Karl Rove of Texas refused to call Beto by his sobriquet, insisting on calling him “Robert Francis” O’Rourke, Rove failed to clarify why he denied the Skateboard King his moniker. So look deeper: His Dad is Pat Francis O’Rourke. Irish. The Mom is Melissa Martha Williams O’Rourke. “Beto” is of Irish and Welsh ancestry. Hmm. So what’s with the “Beto”? The presumed underprivileged Hispanic life that he overcame to rise and raise $80 million from around the country against Ted Cruz?

The author of this piece, American Spectator’s Dov Fischer, writes of many more candidates than the Irish O’Rourke, of course, and his treading the John Kerry route to fortune (he married it.)  But his description of Beta O’Rourke is spot-on.

The guy has so many backstories, even he can’t keep them straight.  And he’s launched his campaign by apologizing for his white-maleness – well, OK then, if you’re going to start your run by apologizing for having the nerve to, you know, run, then please explain to me why anyone should vote for you?

I get it – politicians are phonies by nature.  But in Beta’s case, his phoniness is of a particular kind, and it’s rather similar to the guy he’d like to be compared to, one Barack Obama.  They have something in common – neither of them has ever held an honest job, neither of them had any accomplishments of note before seeking the Presidency.

While we’re on the topic, let’s crowd-source a good nickname for Beta.  How about “Paddy Tortilla?”  “Beta” is pretty descriptive, but I like to be creative.  Ideas?

Rule Five Blind Hogs And Acorns Friday

Remember that old saw about blind hogs and acorns?  It seems that Nancy Pelosi has found a couple.  Remarkable! Excerpt:

First, she douses progressives’ impeachment dreams in cold water, telling the Washington Post that such a divisive and drastic political step should only be taken over egregious criminality that’s “compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan.”  She cagily adds, “he’s just not worth it,” a personal swipe at the president, likely deployed to placate Trump haters who will bristle at her stance.  Insulting him is a little wink that she’s still ‘on the team.’  But even if the hard-Left wing of the party is willing to forgive Pelosi’s hesitant posture on impeachment, how might they react to her intense fiscal skepticism on ‘Medicare for All’ — the holy grail of the statist agenda?  Via Rolling Stone:

When they say Medicare for All, people have to understand this: Medicare for All is not as good a benefit as the Affordable Care Act. It doesn’t have catastrophic [coverage] — you have to go buy it. It doesn’t have dental. It’s not as good as the plans that you can buy under the Affordable Care Act. So I say to them, come in with your ideas, but understand that we’re either gonna have to improve Medicare — for all, including seniors — or else people are not gonna get what they think they’re gonna get. And by the way, how’s it gonna be paid for?  Now, single-payer is a different thing. People use the terms interchangeably. Sometimes it could be the same thing, but it’s not always. Single-payer is just about who pays. It’s not about what the benefits are. That is, administratively, the simplest thing to do, but to convert to it? Thirty trillion dollars. Now, how do you pay for that? So I said, “Look, just put them all on the table, and let’s have the discussion, and let people see what it is. But know what it is that you’re talking about.” All I want is the goal of every American having access to health care. You don’t get there by dismantling the Affordable Care Act.

It’s nice to see a dose of reality sink in to that old San Francisco liberal.

Now, she’s not exactly switching to being a flaming supply-sider, at least not yet (and, candidly, not ever.)  But it’s just too much fun to see old Mrs. “We Have To Pass It To Find Out What’s In It” counseling caution now; urging members of her own caucus to “come in with ideas” but stating that they’ll have to decide how they’re going to pay for them.

Yes, you read that right.  She’s worrying about how to pay for things like Medicare for All.  What a novel concept.

Of course this caution may well evaporate the next time a Democrat ensconces him/herself behind the Resolute Desk.

Still; it turns out old Nancy isn’t the only blind donkey stumbling across those fruits of the oak tree.  New York Governor Cuomo has chimed in on the same theme:

“Single payer. Okay. Pass it. I’ll sign it. You pass it, I’ll sign it,” Cuomo says. But … would he want to sign it? “No, but no sane person will pass it,” he says. So he’s daring the legislature to pass it? “Oh no. If they pass it, I’ll sign it,” he says. Even though he thinks it’ll blow up the state budget? “Yeah, well, you’d double everybody’s taxes. You want to do that? Let’s go,” he says. “They can never pass it. But I have no problem with the dare. Every union is against it. The hospitals are against it. The Civil Service Employees Association is against it. The 1199 health-care union is against it.

Dare we hope that some semblance of fiscal sanity is sinking in to at least a few people on the political Left?

Nah.  Probably not.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

So, yesterday morning we observed the first half of our annual Daylight Savings Time stupidity, wherein we pushed our clocks an hour ahead because…  reasons, including some hand-waving about extra daylight in the evenings reducing energy expenditures.  Later on this year we’ll roll them back and thus reclaim the hour we lost in March.  Why are we still doing this when there are so many good arguments for abandoning the practice?  Excerpt:

Unfortunately, the evidence indicates that in practice, no energy savings result.

Like many people, getting enough sleep is a serious issue for me, and it is a struggle every day to get to bed and asleep early enough.  The last thing I need is to lose another hour of sleep.

Isn’t there a political constituency for dumping DST?  Two states, Arizona and Hawaii, already do not observe Daylight Savings Time, but where are the brave members of the House and Senate to introduce legislation mandating a national end to this absurd practice?  I’d welcome hearings on the subject.

Of course, it has nothing to do with removing Trump from office, so Democrats in the House probably are not interested.  Still, it is time to end this ridiculous, costly ordeal.

So apparently in the winter months, when energy expenditures are higher, the extra hour of daylight robbed from morning to pay evening doesn’t count?  The whole rigamarole is like taking a six-foot length of rope, cutting a foot off one end, tying it to the other and claiming the rope is a foot longer.

Not that there isn’t a lot to love about summer.

The reason this ridiculous practice remains in place is simple:  It made a certain amount of sense when the United States was primarily an agricultural nation, but now that we are not, it has held on through institutional inertia.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It’s much the same with our traditional school schedules, where kids originally got a long summer break so they were available to help with farm chores, along with a spring break (planting) and a fall break (harvesting.)

The Imperial government, if they are going to be the arbiters of what time it is, should damn well pick a time and stick to it.  Arizona and Hawaii have done so and seem to be getting along just fine.  Let’s follow their example.

Animal’s Daily Random Notes and Deep Thoughts News

Last night ran late and this morning starts early, so I’ll just post a few interesting (to me, anyway) stories and some random notes and thoughts.  The fulsome totty appearing to the left has nothing to do with any of these stories or notes; her appearance here is purely gratuitous.

First up:  Big thanks to our blogger pal Doug Hagin over at The Daley Gator for the linkback!

Robert Stacy McCain brings us cogent discussion of the situation on our southern border.  This article is all the more interesting publishing as it did on the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo.

Another hate crime, another assault by a MAGA cap wearer – oh, no, wait, it was an assault on a MAGA cap wearer.  Someone probably thought he was insufficiently tolerant of other people’s views.

Speaking of hate crimes

Here is a prediction of what the 2020 Democrat Presidential nomination battle might look like.  One thing appears to have been decided:  Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, has said she’s not running.  And we all know Her Imperial Highness never goes back on her word.

Here’s how we’ll know when Skynet gains consciousness.  Right before it launches an army of machines to wipe out mankind, at least until a plucky little truck stop waitress rises to save us.  Because that’s how these things usually play out.

Welcome to U.S./Soviet relations, circa 1963.

Colorado’s last Governor, John Hickenlooper, has become Democrat #12,694 to enter the 2020 Democrat Presidential nomination sweepstakes.  His advantage:  He’s more moderate in most of his positions than pretty much anyone else running on that side.  His disadvantage:  Nobody much outside of Colorado has ever heard of him.

Barack Obama complains about leaders who beat their chest.  Animal says “look who’s talking.”

Hell with it.  Let’s look at another pretty girl, then get back to work.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

There’s a continual RRHHEEEE from the political Left these days on the epidemic of mass shootings that are, apparently, something that only happens here in the U.S. – except, that’s not true.  We’re not even the country with the most mass shootings.  Not by a (hah!) long shot.  Excerpt:

…But a study of global mass-shooting incidents from 2009 to 2015 by the Crime Prevention Research Center, headed by economist John Lott, shows the U.S. doesn’t lead the world in mass shootings. In fact, it doesn’t even make the top 10, when measured by death rate per million population from mass public shootings.

So who’s tops? Surprisingly, Norway is, with an outlier mass shooting death rate of 1.888 per million (high no doubt because of the rifle assault by political extremist Anders Brevik that claimed 77 lives in 2011). No. 2 is Serbia, at just 0.381, followed by France at 0.347, Macedonia at 0.337, and Albania at 0.206. Slovakia, Finland, Belgium, and Czech Republic all follow. Then comes the U.S., at No. 11, with a death rate of 0.089.

That’s not all. There were also 27% more casualties from 2009 to 2015 per mass shooting incident in the European Union than in the U.S.

“There were 16 cases where at least 15 people were killed,” the study said. “Out of those cases, four were in the United States, two in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.”

“But the U.S. has a population four times greater than Germany’s and five times the U.K.’s, so on a per-capita basis the U.S. ranks low in comparison — actually, those two countries would have had a frequency of attacks 1.96 (Germany) and 2.46 (UK) times higher.”

Yes, the U.S. rate is still high, and nothing to be proud of. But it’s not the highest in the developed world. Not by a long shot.

Yet, some today propose banning rifles, in particular AR-15s, because they’ve been used in a number of mass killings. It’s important to note however that, according to FBI crime data cited this week by the Daily Caller, deaths by knives in the U.S. outnumber deaths by rifles by five to 1: In 2016, 1,604 people were killed by knives and other cutting instruments, while 374 were killed by rifles.

Now, to be fair, Norway’s stats are skewed (as the study notes) by one horrific event.  But hey, folks, the EU has us beat cold when it comes to mass shootings.  And they have the kind of gun laws that would give the worst gun-grabber in our Congress wet dreams.

So what can we conclude from this?  Simple:  Bad people do bad things.  Restricting or banning objects won’t stop them from doing bad things.  And when people do bad things, those people who have done the bad things are responsible; not any inanimate object that they chose to use as a tool.

It’s really not that complicated.

Rule Five Asset Forfeiture Friday

Readers of these virtual pages will probably already know my opinions on asset forfeiture.  Namely, I think it is theft, pure and simple, by agents of government, and is clearly unconstitutional as it results in seizure of a citizen’s assets with no due process.

Now, at last, there is a Supreme Court decision, unanimous even, that agrees, although it makes the decision on 8th Amendment grounds.  Excerpt:

Last week, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement can no longer make grossly disproportionate seizures of property, even from people who owe money after being convicted of crimes.

Tyson Timbs, having pleaded guilty to a drug-related crime, was given a year of home detention and put into a treatment program. But he owed $1,203 to the State of Indiana. The Hoosier State chose to recoup, through a civil forfeiture action, his obligation by seizing his $42,000 Land Rover, which he had purchased recently with money that came from the life insurance policy of his deceased father.

Although Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas offered slightly different rationales for reaching the same conclusion, all nine justices agreed that the state cannot simply take seize mountains where molehills are due. This ruling does not deal with the many broader issues of civil asset forfeiture, nor with all the specific abuses of civil asset forfeiture that we have previously written about. But it does at least set a clear limit at one end of the field for seizures that are ridiculously large in response to offenses that are modest. It will have the practical value of limiting the worst abuses.

Writing for the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg cited the Eighth Amendment’s clear language: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” This language, the justices agreed, is binding on not only the federal but also state governments, and it is also applicable to cases like this one.

This is a step in the right direction, to be sure.  Now the next case should be one on Fifth Amendment grounds.  That amendment states:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The relevant part here being “…not be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”  Asset forfeiture prior to conviction does precisely this, has been historically used as a revenue-generating tool by local and state governments for far to long, is anathema to any concept of individual liberty and needs to stop.  It’s inconceivable that this practice has gone on as long as it has.

But what’s great about this decision is that the arguments against excessive asset forfeiture on Eighth Amendment grounds were compelling enough to bring both wings of the Court into agreement.  There can be no argument from either side that this was a partisan decision; long-standing liberal Ginsburg authored the opinion, while Trump appointees Gorsuch and Kavanaugh agreed.

As the piece linked above notes, this will curb the worst asset forfeiture abuses.  Now all we need is a good Fifth Amendment case to end this abusive practice once and for all.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

I have a new series starting up over at Glibertarians; go read the first issue of Profiles in Toxic Masculinity!

Now that I’ve pissed off any potential SJW’s in the audience (thus making my day complete…) let’s look at some interesting thoughts on hate crime hoaxes.  Here’s the excerpt I found compelling:

Long term cultural trends matter, too, and the third thing to know is that hate crime hoaxes thrive in a culture of victimhood. We use the term victimhood culture to refer to a new moral framework that differs from the older cultures of honor and dignity. Honor culture refers to a morality that revolves around physical bravery. In honor cultures one’s reputation is important, and it might be necessary to engage in violence to protect it. In the dignity cultures that replaced honor cultures, morality more often revolves around the idea that people have equal moral worth. Insults and slights don’t lower one’s status as they do in honor cultures, and people can ignore many minor offenses and go to the police and courts for more serious ones. Victimhood culture, which is in its most extreme form among campus activists, is different from both honor and dignity cultures. Its morality revolves around a narrative of oppression and victimhood, with victimhood acting as new kind of moral status, much like honor was a kind of moral status in many traditional societies.

Something like a hate crime hoax would make no sense in an honor culture. You might falsely accuse someone of insulting you so that you have a chance to display your honor, but you’d be trying to get them to engage in a duel or some other kind of fight. You’d be trying to demonstrate strength, to show you can handle your conflicts on your own. The last thing you’d want to do is claim to be a victim in need of help. Hate crime hoaxes make a little more sense in a dignity culture. Hate crimes are offenses against dignity, and perhaps you’d have something to gain by falsely claiming victimhood. But in a moral world less focused on praising victims and demonizing the privileged, the benefits are lesser and skepticism is greater.

Here’s what the author misses, though.  In either an honor culture or a dignity culture – and between you and me, I’d prefer to live in the latter – there’s another compelling reason not to engage in hoaxes of this or any other reason, and that’s because both honor culture and dignity cultures tend to look down on dishonesty.

And that’s kind of the central point in a hoax, and there’s a word that I’ve not seen used nearly often enough in describing these kinds of hoaxers:  Liars.  They are lying about their supposed attackers, they are lying about why they were “targeted,” they were lying about the motivations of their non-existent aggressors, they were lying in an attempt to smear an entire demographic.  They are liars, pure and simple, and if a person will lie about one thing they will lie about anything.

Liar is a word that is thrown around too casually in some contexts, where it is applied to mean “something someone said that I disagree with,” and not often enough in its true sense, “claiming as truth something that is demonstrably false.”  Let’s fix that, and in so doing, not shy away from labeling actual liars as such.

Animal’s Daily Conscription News

Israel gets it.

While it isn’t often described as such, this strikes me as an issue of equal treatment under the law, as well as a big helping of sauce for the goose.  Excerpt:

A federal judge in Texas has declared that the all-male military draft is unconstitutional, ruling that “the time has passed” for a debate on whether women belong in the military.

The decision deals the biggest legal blow to the Selective Service System since the Supreme Court upheld the draft in 1981. In Rostker v. Goldberg, the court ruled that the male-only draft was “fully justified” because women were ineligible for combat roles.

But U.S. District Judge Gray Miller ruled late Friday that while historical restrictions on women serving in combat “may have justified past discrimination,” men and women are now equally able to fight. In 2015, the Pentagon lifted all restrictions for women in military service. 

The case was brought by the National Coalition For Men, a men’s rights group, and two men who argued the all-male draft was unfair.

Men who fail to register with the Selective Service System at their 18th birthday can be denied public benefits such as federal employment and student loans. Women cannot register for Selective Service.

I’m not in favor of allowing women to serve in Combat Arms units.  Mrs. Animal, who had a military career spanning eight years and has a Bronze Star among her effects from that service, agrees.  Women as a rule simply do not have the strength, endurance and tolerance of trauma that men do.  There are also hygiene issues involved in having women in the field for prolonged periods, and in combat, there is also the issue that men will do reckless things to protect women.  Deny it all you like, but that’s a fact.  I’d have damn little time for any man who wouldn’t take risks to protect a woman.

But since we do have a Selective Service law, and since prominent women activists have been demanding access to women in traditionally all-male branches like Armor and Infantry, then fine – if you want that, you have to take all that comes with it, including a draft in the event of a major war.

What government does for anyone it must do for everyone, or it must do for no one.

I highly recommend this documentary on the subject.

Personally I would be in favor of doing away with Selective Service altogether.  In our era of a high-tech, modern military that requires a fair amount of training to make soldiers proficient, a two-year conscription isn’t really enough time to produce a troop who is technically and tactically proficient.  Further, the big advantage of a volunteer Army is that we have people who are serving not by order but by choice.  Early in my own career in Uncle Sam’s colors there were plenty of NCOs and officers who remembered what it was like dealing with draftees, and to a man they never wanted to go back to those days.

But equal treatment under the law means just that – equal treatment under the law.  I’m still not in favor of putting women in Combat Arms roles.  But that doesn’t mean, should circumstances call for it, that we couldn’t conscript them into other roles, freeing up men to serve in combat.  If we’re going to have a Selective Service law at all, then yes, it should apply to both sexes.