Category Archives: News

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

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Moving right along:  This popped up over the weekend.  Excerpt:

U.S. troops in northern Syria came under artillery fire from Turkish positions on Friday but none were wounded, the Pentagon said, an incident that highlights the risks to U.S. troops as Turkey wages an offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish militia.

“The explosion occurred within a few hundred meters of a location outside the Security Mechanism zone and in an area known by the Turks to have U.S. forces present,” Navy Captain Brook DeWalt, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

DeWalt said that all U.S. troops were accounted for after the incident near Kobane, Syria late on Friday.

U.S. troops have not withdrawn from Kobane, he said.

Turkey’s Defense Ministry said it had taken all measures to ensure that no U.S. base was damaged while it responded to harassment fire that originated near a U.S. base close to Kobane.

“The firing was ceased as a result of the issue being relayed to us by the U.S.,” the ministry said in a statement.

U.S. forces have had a successful partnership with Kurdish YPG militia in Syria to oust the Islamic State group.

In the movie version of Tom Clancy’s Hunt for Red October, there’s a great scene where the late Fred Thompson, playing a U.S. Navy admiral in charge of a carrier task group, rushes to the flight deck to see the wreck of an F-14 that tried to crowd a Soviet Bear away from the task group and, damaged, crashed on landing.  Thompson as the admiral snaps angrily, “This thing will get out of control.  It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it.”

That’s what bothers me about this whole Turkey/Syria business.  Syria is a festering shithole, true; Turkey is a NATO ally, also true.  But the Kurds are also allies, and some of the very few loyally pro-U.S. folks in that part of the world.  But the Turks hate them and persecute Kurds within their own borders.

So the U.S. is left with few good answers when the Turks invade Syria and two of our allies bump heads and suddenly it’s slash-and-snap time at the zoo.

There’s an obvious answer, but it would probably require mediation by some international body.  The UN may have been able to do it in the 1950s, but that organization has grown so ossified and so corrupt that it is now essentially useless.  Maybe NATO would be able to pull it off.  The answer, of course, is a free and independent Kurdistan, carved out of traditionally Kurdish portions of Turkey, Syrian and Iraq.  This is part of a recurring issue in this region dating back to 1918, when borders were set arbitrarily with little regard to ethnic and tribal divisions.

Setting up an independent Kurdistan would be a good start on unhosing that goat-screw.

 

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

On to the links!

Corey Booker is an idiot.

Chuck Todd is an idiot.

Alexandria Occasional Cortex is an idiot.  (Yes, I know, low-hanging fruit.)

Can you count past infinity?  Common sense says no.  Mathematicians say “it depends.”

The United States is now officially free of measles.  How long it will remain that way is anyone’s guess, between unchecked Third World immigration and the stupidity of anti-vaxxers.

Want to keep flies off  your cows?  Paint them up like zebras.  No shit!  Excerpt, because I found this pretty interesting:

…the researchers painted six Japanese Black cows with black-and-white stripes, which took just five minutes per cow. They then observed the cows for three days, taking high-resolution images of them at regular intervals to count the insects on the animals and also recording any fly-repelling behaviors like leg stamping, tail flicking, and skin twitching. The same cows were also observed for three days with painted-on black stripes (to see if it was the paint chemicals, not the coloring, that repelled flies) and and with no stripes at all.

The apparent effects of the stripes were remarkable. The number of biting flies observed on zebra-striped cows was less than half the number seen on unpainted cows and far less than cows painted with black stripes. Moreover, zebra-striping reduced fly-repelling behaviors by about 20%, indicating that the cows were less bothered by the insects.

Remind me to buy some zebra-stripe shirts before the next time I go fishing in Canada.  Hope it works on mosquitoes.

Have aliens bugged space rocks?  I doubt it, but if we found one – then what?

Impeachment seems to be helping President Trump, not Democrats.  Newt Gingrich was unavailable for comment.

Who doesn’t love a cold one?

Colorado breweries were big winners at the 2019 Great American Beer Fest.  One of the things I like about Colorado, although I confess that the things I dislike about Colorado are catching up with the things I like.

Joe Biden tries to sell us a bill of goods.

Princess Spreading Bull lied about having been fired for being pregnant.  Add that lie to the list, folks.

On that lie-detecting note, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.

Animal’s Daily Ethanol News

First things first:  Thanks once again to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!  Also:  Check out the latest of my Profiles in Toxic Masculinity over at Glibertarians!  This week’s example is Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez, an honest to gosh American hero whose hand I was once honored to shake.

Moving on:  The Trump Administration has promised to expand the ethanol mandate.  It’s a stupid idea, and should be ended, not expanded.  Excerpt:

Already guaranteed a share of the energy market through the Renewable Fuel Standard, a regulation which mandates that fuel used for transportation contains a certain amount of renewable sources like ethanol, Big Corn is reaching out for even more.

This is a problem, as the ethanol mandate has never come cheap. Indeed, it’s hugely expensive, both economically and environmentally. University of California-Davis researchers determined that the mandate has raised corn and soybean prices 30% and 20%, respectively. Higher prices for food and feedstock are bad news for consumers and farmers raising chickens, cattle, turkeys, and other livestock.

The mandate has also produced undesirable environmental side-effects. The National Wildlife Foundation found that it resulted in the “conversion of 1.6 million acres of grassland, shrubland, wetland, and forestland into cropland between 2008 and 2016.”

Complying with the mandate is hugely expensive for American refiners as well. Naturally, those costs are passed on to consumers — sometimes costing them more than $1 billion a year. The Energy Policy Research Foundation and others estimate it has driven up gasoline prices 6 to 9 cents per gallon.

The article is well worth the read, and it’s a great illustration of why the Imperial government (or, for that matter, any other level of government) shouldn’t mess with markets.  Left alone, markets aren’t perfect – nothing is – but left alone, markets generally get things right in the long run.  And, besides, ethanol isn’t for fuel – it’s for drinking!

Not sure if she’s in favor of the ethanol mandate or not.

But the article, well-argued as it is, misses the biggest point.  I leave it to you, True Believers, to discover one thing for yourselves; examine this document, supposedly the law of the land above and beyond all others, and show me where the Imperial government has been granted the power to do this kind of meddling.  Go ahead; I’ll wait right here.

Back?  OK, good.  Didn’t find anything, did you?  Neither did I.  Probably because it isn’t in there.

I’d claim to be surprised, but you and I all know that isn’t true.  The Imperial Congress and most of our Presidents have been wiping their asses with the Constitution since about 1860, and that trend has just been getting worse.  This policy is no exception.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links, and to our pals over at The Daley Gator for the linkback!

If this doesn’t piss you off, I don’t know what will; Americans spend more on taxes than on health care, food and clothing.  Combined.  Excerpt:

Americans on average spent more on taxes in 2018 than they did on the basic necessities of food, clothing and health care combined, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey.

The survey’s recently published Table R-1 for 2018 lists the average “detailed expenditures” of what the BLS calls “consumer units.”

“Consumer units,” says BLS, “include families, single persons living alone or sharing a household with others but who are financially independent, or two or more persons living together who share major expenses.”

In 2018, according to Table R-1, American consumer units spent an average of $9,031.93 on federal income taxes; $5,023.73 on Social Security taxes (which the table calls “deductions”); $2,284.62 on state and local income taxes; $2,199.80 on property taxes; and $77.85 on what BLS calls “other taxes.”

The combined payments the average American consumer unit made for these five categories of taxes was $18,617.93.

At the same time the average American consumer unit was paying these taxes, it was spending $7,923.19 on food; $4,968.44 on health care; and $1,866.48 on “apparel and services.”

These combined expenditures equaled $14,758.11.

So, the $14,758.11 that the average American consumer unit paid for food, clothing and health care was $3,859.82 less than the $18,617.93 it paid in federal, state and local income taxes, property taxes, Social Security taxes and “other taxes.”

And here’s the kicker; you can choose what clothing and food to buy, and even in our increasingly-controlled health care market you still have some leeway as to what coverage you want to pay for.  But taxes?  No.  That is money that is taken from you by force; if you don’t pay up, the government will send men with guns out to compel you to pay.

That’s because businesses can only persuade you to conduct a transaction.  Government can force you, and they damn well will.

And the genesis of this?  As I noted recently, until early in the 20th century the Imperial government only consumed about 3% of GDP.  Now that figure is about 20%, and it’s still going up.  We have passed 22 trillion in debt, counting unfunded liabilities, and that is almost certainly past the point of no return.  But the government continues to confiscate our resources and, increasingly, to interfere with our affairs.  The tax code is so complex that an entire industry has sprung up to help the citizens navigate the torturous and twisted paths of taxation.

I’d like to think that, eventually, some semblance of fiscal sanity will return to the Imperial City, but honestly, I’ve given up hope.  That ratchet only goes one way, True Believers, and that way ain’t in our favor.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

On to the links!

Denver’s proposed minimum-wage law will hurt the people it’s supposed to help.  No shit, Sherlock; just like every minimum-wage law ever instituted, anytime, anywhere.

Colorado’s own Mike Rosen on the Swedish doomcryer Pippi Longshpieling.

In 2001, I had the distinct honor of spending two hours in the studio of Denver’s 850 KOA on the Mike Rosen show, discussing my recently-released work Misplaced Compassion.  Mike is a brilliant guy.

National treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson weighs in again on the possible impeachment proceedings.  If you read one thing today, read this.  Here’s the money line:

Why Impeachment Now?

The Democrats have exhausted every other mechanism for destroying Trump—and they are running out of time before November 2020 election.

What would happen if the Earth’s magnetic field suddenly disappeared?  Nothing good.

Los Angeles-area political leaders are seeking an emergency declaration over homelessness.  Maybe the recent leprosy outbreak has something to do with that?

Global Warming.

More Global Warming.

Things in Hong Kong may soon go from bad to worse.

To the Moon, Alice!  To the Moon!

Debbie Harry, back in the day.

Remember Debbie Harry?  Boy, I do.  She has a new memoir out about her days in rock & roll.  Apparently (I haven’t read it and probably won’t) it’s about what you’d expect:  Sex, drugs and rock & roll.

Whenever I think of Debbie Harry, though, I remember the summer of 1980, when I was working in the Woolco store in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and the Blondie tune Rapture was playing on the store’s PA system several times a day.

Turns out Canadian Antifa are just as much a bunch of shitheads as American Antifa.

These college students are idiots.

John Brennan is an idiot.

These Yale students are idiots.

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

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Hanson concludes:

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

As usual, Dr. Hanson nails it.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

On to the links!

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking of birds:

Duck!

Duck!

Goose!

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

Candace Owens is a national treasure.

On the other end of the spectrum:

This Colorado Springs woman is an idiot.

Radiohead’s Thome Yorke is an idiot.

San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton is an idiot.

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

RHEEEEEEEEE

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

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

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

I’ve been thinking of making Wednesday links day, instead of scattering them around at random when no particular thing grabs my attention.  I do like to comment on a wide range of things, after all.

So, on Wednesdays here at Animal Magnetism, that’s the new rule – Wednesday is links day, unless something in particular comes up that can’t wait for Thursday, or unless nothing comes up on any other day, or unless I change my mind.

So there.  I’ve made up my mind.  At least until I change it again.

So, on to the links!

Sheila Jackson Lee Is An Idiot.   I know, I know – no news there.

I  honestly don’t think Tulsi Gabbard is an idiot, in spite of disagreeing with her on almost everything; but she’s working hard to change my mind.

An unnamed high school teacher at Cuthbertson High School in North Carolina is an idiot.

The Trump Administration is yanking Californey’s authority to set stricter than Imperial auto emissions rules.  Californey will predictably respond with hysterics and cries about the sky falling.

From the esteemed Robert Stacy McCain:  Import people from Third World shitholes, and they act like they’re in a Third World shithole.  Is anyone surprised?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?

From The Daley Gator!  Texans at large:  “Murder suspects are walking around free and causing all sorts of trouble!”  Beta O’Rourke:  ***crickets***

Our good friend Jillian Becker on Russia, well worth the read.

Fewer young folks are going hunting.  If you hunt, take a kid hunting!  I’ve got loyal sidekick Rat to my credit – he wasn’t an outdoors type until he and I got to be buddies, now he’s hooked.

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

Animal’s Daily Random Notes News

Just a few random notes, stories and thoughts for the day.

Want to improve your memory?  Try walking backwards.

John Bolton is out as National Security Advisor.  Bolton was arguing to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan with no clear mission and no exit strategy.  The President – his boss – disagreed.  So, this was obviously going to happen.

Want to improve your memory?  Try walking backwards.

Democrats are blaming airplanes, meat and business for climate change.  Guess which three of those things aren’t going anywhere.

Seriously, is that what Dems are running on in 2020?  Do they want more Trump?  Because that’s how you get more Trump.

In Normandy, scientists have uncovered a bunch of preserved footprints – from Neandertals.  This is pretty cool stuff, because while bones give us an idea of what the Neandertal looked like and how they moved, and their tools give us an idea of how innovative they were, footprints record behavior – they are like signatures, saying I was here. It’s a really groovy find.

Want to improve your memory?  Try walking backwards.

Quantum gravity may be the key to time travel.  I will be the first to admit that my understanding of all this is somewhat less than rudimentary, but color me skeptical.

Turns out naps could be good for your heart.  Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a cat having a heart attack, and all they seem to do is nap, so…

Want to improve your memory?  Try walking backwards.

The Brits in Parliament seem to have the most fun.

Back home, the Denver City Council seeks to emulate San Francisco in nutballery.  At least we don’t have shit-choked streets and discarded needles everywhere – yet.

To ease your transition back to the real world, here is a bit of totty from the archives:

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