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!

Well, sort of.  I’m not certain how hump day works when this Mittwoch is also basically this week’s Monday.  Regardless, let’s move along.  First up, thanks once again to The Other McCain for our first 2019 Rule Five links!

So let’s look at some 2018 highlights:

Here from PJMedia are the 20 Worst Quotes of 2018.  My favorite:  “Almost every single person I’ve ever heard of with an AR-15 has been a mass murderer.” — Author Nina Burleigh.  There are, best guess, somewhere between 10 and 20 million AR-pattern rifles in the United States.  Since we can only conclude that there have not been between 10 and 20 million mass murders, we can only assume that “Author” Nina Burleigh is a hyperbolic horse’s ass.

Speaking of horseshit:  “Psychic” Nikki, whoever that is, has some predictions for 2019.  As is normally the case with this kind of crap, her “predictions” are so vague as to be meaningless.   Except this one:  And if we can’t find someone on this planet to be nice to, perhaps someone from somewhere else will come into our lives. “…You’re going to hear more voices coming from outer space.” And not just voices, either. Psychic Nikki is certain of that. “We’re going to see more UFOs coming to earth… I wouldn’t be surprised if a spaceship landed by the end of 2019, 2020 for sure. I don’t think it’s going to be anything to be scared of. I just think there’s another planet like us out there.”

I can make a prediction too:  This won’t happen.  But the kind of nitwits that pay attention to “psychics” don’t notice when they’re wrong.

Here from Campus Reform are the five craziest college campus stories of 2018.

Of course, you can’t overlook Dave Barry’s Year in Review.

And, here, from the Washington Examiner, are the top five worst journalistic fuckups of 2018.  The worst, of course?  The media’s handling of the Justice Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, and what a travesty that was.

Anyway, work beckons; Q1 2019 lies ahead, and it’s going to be busy.  Watch these virtual pages for more of all you’ve come to expect, True Believers!  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Goodbye, Blue Monday – and Goodbye, 2018!

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Not really a true-Blue Monday, because it’s New Year’s Eve, and plenty of folks are still off work.  But not our friends at Pirate’s Cove who are still favoring us with Rule Five links!

2018 wasn’t one of our best years.  Business was slow, with a several-month dry spell over the summer.  And we had a couple of losses in the family, primary of which was my Dad, the finest man I’ve ever encountered.

But 2019 is here now, and I’ve always been the sort to look ahead, not back.  Mrs. Animal and I already have some plans for the year which will in time be chronicled here.

In the meantime, thanks for reading!  I’ve always said that I keep this blog up mostly for my own amusement, but that doesn’t mean I lack appreciation for all you True Believers who come here to read every day (and, I’m sure, to once in a while look at some pretty girls.)

So, thanks!  May 2019 be a good year for you all:  Healthy, happy and profitable!

Animal’s Daily Exercise in Futility News

As the title notes, file this one under “Exercises in Futility.”  Excerpt:

A D.C. District Court judge slammed dictator Kim Jong-un’s regime with a $501 million bill today to the family of tortured and murdered American hostage Otto Warmbier.

The family of the 22-year-old University of Virginia student held hostage by North Korea and returned to the United States just days before he passed away filed a wrongful death lawsuit in April against North Korea.

Warmbier, who visited the communist regime as part of a tour group, was seized by North Korean officials on Jan. 2, 2016, before his flight was supposed to take off from Pyongyang. He was paraded before cameras the next month for a tearful “confession,” admitting he took down a propaganda banner that was hanging in the hall of his hotel. “I made the worst mistake of my life,” he said.

North Korea claimed the student took the poster as a “hostile act” to disturb DPRK unity at the behest of the CIA, a college group and a church in his home state of Ohio. He was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years of hard labor and reportedly fell into a coma shortly after his sentence began.

The 46-page ruling handed down today by Judge Beryl Howell noted that Warmbier was “blind, deaf, and brain dead” when returned by North Korea.

Let’s be real about this for just one moment; the judge didn’t “slam” the Norks with anything.  The North Koreans will not give one ounce of rat’s pee about this ruling, except maybe to enjoy a few rounds of laughter over it.

Seriously, though, why do people who should know better visit shitholes like North  Korea and Morocco?  In what insane universe did they think things would end well?  Countries like North Korea are always looking for an opportunity for internal propaganda against the United States, and as for Morocco, it’s in a part of the world that, frankly, is populated by fucking savages.

North Korea, of course, won’t be following any order issued by a U.S. court.  They will instead answer it with derision, and, to be honest, the U.S. government won’t do anything about it.  Sad as this whole situation was, anyone with a lick of sense could have seen the strong possibility of a bad ending the moment Otto Warmbier set foot in that batshit-crazy country ruled by a stunted little gargoyle with bad hair from a long line of stunted little gargoyles with bad hair.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Boxing Day!

Will California be the next Detroit?  Sure seems possible.  Excerpt:

California has a $16 billion deficit that no one seems to notice. Brown’s budget “assumes” that California voters will pass massive tax increases on themselves. If they do not, the 2013 deficit becomes a mind-numbing $20 billion. The budget, mandated to balance by the Calfornia Constitution, has been billions in the red for 10 straight years. How could Californians re-elect the same politicians year after year that produce budgets with multi-billion dollar deficits?

To protect the endangered Delta Smelt, a fish known better as bait, water has been diverted from the Central Valley to the Pacific Ocean. Orchards in the Central Valley have been allowed to wither and die, resulting in unemployment in the Central Valley as high as 40 percent. Imagine Californians living in what was the breadbasket of American now living on food stamps. California voters rejected Republican Carly Fiorina for U.S. Senator in 2010. She ran Hewlett Packard. Instead, they re-elected Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer ,who vowed to protect the Delta Smelt at the expense of the Central Valley.

California has 519 state agencies, like the state Blueberry Commission, that pay each of their commissioners more than $100,000 per year. State politicians, when asked to make cuts, fire teachers and fire fighters to inflict maximum pain on its citizens, while leaving these patronage commissions intact. State politicians have elevator operators in the state capital to push the buttons for them. Their solution for the overcrowding of the state’s prisons is to release inmates or transfer them to local facilities in already bankrupt cities. Yet, they are re-elected by California voters in numbers consistently higher than the old Soviet Politburo.

California’s public education system, once the envy of the world, now ranks 49th in the nation. Its business climate, according to 650 CEOs measured by Chief Executive Magazine, ranked dead last. Apple will take 3,600 new jobs to Austin, Tex. at its $280,000,000 new facility. Texas ranked first in the same survey.

Californey seems to be prone to a unique lunacy.  the once-and-former Golden State has plenty to offer; beautiful scenery, gorgeous weather, generally just a salubrious place to live.  But the tendency of California voters to keep putting the same lunatics back in charge of the asylum is troubling.

And the residents of that asylum will be calling on the Imperial government for help when the inevitable crash occurs.

The correct response from the Imperial City, of course, would be “you assholes made your bed – now go lie in it.”  But that probably won’t happen; whoever sits in the Imperial Mansion when that day comes will probably continue to enable the asylum’s behavior by making some nebulous claim as to how the entire nation’s economy depends on propping California up, and funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to the Left Coast.

And things will just keep going on the same old way.  California’s not too big to fail.  The rest of the country should let it.  There’s an object lesson in there for the other forty-nine states.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Good news for Bruce Lee fans!  Nunchuks are now protected by the Second Amendment.  Excerpt:

A federal judge found last week that New York’s 45-year old ban on a popular martial arts weapon is unconstitutional when squared against the right to bear arms.

Judge Pamela K. Chen found in favor of James M. Maloney in her 32-page ruling on Friday, arguing that the sale, use, and possession of nunchaku or chuka sticks — a simple weapon consisting of two sticks connected by a length of chain or rope — is protected by the Second Amendment. As such, New York’s ban on such weapons, enacted in 1974 after their popularity in martial arts films of the time, went too far and is an unconstitutional restriction.

Maloney, a college professor and an amateur martial artist, created his own martial arts style of which he is the sole practitioner. Key in his style is the use of nunchucks for self-defense, which are illegal to possess or sell in the Empire State. As he wants to both train his children in the art and possess the weapons in his home legally, he filed a lawsuit back in 2003 in an effort to overturn the law and, last Friday, the court sided with him.

As part of his case, witnesses for Maloney advised that at least 64,890 factory-produced metal and wood nunchakus were sold to individuals in the U.S. since 1995, that they are legal and in common use in 48 states — only New York and Massachusetts bans them — and some 5,000 martial arts schools train their users. The devices are even carried by police in California and Colorado.

Carried by police?  Really?

Archery may be affected.

This case is interesting to me, at least, not because I give two hoots about nunchuks – I don’t – but because it expands the concept of “arms” beyond guns.  By defining arms to include two sticks connected by a bit of cord or chain, they have made it more difficult for those who would restrict the Second.

We’re not just talking about guns anymore, folks.  Take this decision to its logical conclusion, and you have to include archery tackle, all manner of martial arts gear, replica swords, all sorts of things.  And all of those things have people who enjoy using them and don’t want them restricted.

And if you don’t think the government would restrict archery tackle, look at what’s happening in Britain right now with knives.

Animal’s Daily Taxifornia News

The cabal of nitwits that passes for Californey’s government is at it again, this time proposing to tax text messages.  Yes, really.  Excerpt:

Why do people call California “Taxifornia”? Here’s one reason: California regulators wanted to tax cellphone text messages. They were even considering making the tax retroactive. It just shows there’s nothing in California that can’t be taxed.

As always, the state government had what it believed is a good reason for imposing the tax: It would subsidize phone service for low-income Californians. And it suggested that the tax is so small — “just” $44.5 million a year — that cellphone users wouldn’t even notice it.

California has turned the richest state in the union, and once a middle-class haven, into a state with the most poor people and fully a third of all the nation’s welfare recipients. Now middle-class Californians are fleeing. Pretty soon no one will be left to pay for “low-income Californians.”

The California Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) dropped its plan to vote on the measure in January, but only after the Federal Communications Commission ruled that text messages can’t be taxed as a telecom service. Nevertheless, the PUC will soon need money. Why? Its spending on the so-called Public Purpose Program budget has soared from $670 million in 2011 to $998 million in 2017, a 49% increase.

California is certainly following the Reagan comment about government:  “If it moves, tax it.  If it keeps moving, regulate it.  If it stops moving, subsidize it.”  But the real idiocy of this is that, as the article notes, folks will just switch to other methods.  Facebook apparently has a messenger app, and if this were to pass you’d see a wealth of messaging apps pop up like clover blossoms after a spring rain.

And, clear as day, when this happens I can see the taxers wanting to either ban those apps or tax them as well.  There’s just no end to the stupidity.

Sometimes I think that the entire California legislature has not one brain among them.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links – and do go read the latest in my series on the history of sixguns over at the Glibertarians site.

In other news, it seems Obamacare is no more.  Only not really.  Excerpt:

A federal judge has struck down the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). A group of Republican state attorneys general argued in their lawsuit that the repeal of the tax penalty gutted the argument for ACA legality. Bloomberg has more, with the publication adding that the DOJ tried to argue that the individual mandate, including provisions to keep the premium rates the same among healthy individuals and those with pre-existing conditions, should be struck down, but keep the rest of the law intact. That included Medicaid expansion, the employer mandates, the exchanges, and premium subsides for hospitals. 

The judge ruled that the mandate and the rest of the law couldn’t be separated. Don’t fall in love with this ruling, as I’m seeing that it a) probably won’t survive an appeal, which is going to happen; and b) it’s not an injunction. In short, law Twitter is saying that the judge’s ruling merely treats the “motion for a preliminary injunction as a request for summary judgment.”

In other words, nothing is going to happen.

None of this should have been necessary in the first place.  In January of 2017, with President Trump newly ensconced in office and Paul Ryan wielding the Speaker’s gavel; with all those promises to “repeal and replace” (why not just repeal?) ringing in our ears, the GOP missed their opportunity; in fact, they blew it, badly.

They knew their opportunity was coming.  They should have had bills prepared.  All Speaker Ryan should have had to do was to bang the gavel and yell “Go!”

But they didn’t.  Now the House is in Democrat hands, while the Senate is even more firmly Republican; nothing much will happen in the next two years.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing; our freedoms and bank accounts are all safer when the Imperial apparatchiks are caught up in gridlock.

But this is much ado about nothing.  The ruling isn’t an injunction.  The ACA is still in place, with its few benefits and manifest flaws.  The Democrats will increasingly call for completely socialized health insurance, and the GOP will continue to bumble about like The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

The more things change…

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Ever wonder how various European countries stack up against the United States, economy-wise?  The Mises Institute looked into it, and it turns out that the nations of Europe don’t even stack up too well against individual states.

Like, say, Mississippi.  Excerpt:

Last year, a debate erupted over how Britain would compare to individual US states. In the UK Spectator, Fraser Nelson explained “Why Britain is poorer than any US state, other than Mississippi.” A week later, TIME shot back with an article titled “No, Britain Is Not Poorer than Alabama.” The author of the TIME article, Dan Stewart, explained that, yes, Britain is poorer than many US states, but certainly not all of them. (See below to confirm that the UK is, in fact, poorer than every state.)

The main fault of the Spectator article, its critics alleged, was that it relied primarily on GDP and GDP per capita to make the comparisons. The critics at TIME (and other publications) correctly pointed out that if one is going to draw broad conclusions about poverty among various countries, GDP numbers are arguably not the best metric. For one, GDP per capita can be skewed upward by a small number of ultra-rich persons. After all, it is just GDP divided by the total population. That gives us no idea of how the median household is doing is those areas. Also, it’s best to avoid averages and stick with median values if we’re looking to avoid numbers that can be pulled up by some wealthy outliers.

And:

But, I’m really being too conservative with the US numbers here. I’m comparing OECD countries to US states based on a single nation-wide purchasing power number for the US. We’ve already accounted for cost of living at the national level (using PPP data), but the US is so much larger than all  other countries compared here, we really need to consider the regional cost of living in the United States. Were we to calculate real incomes based on the cost of living in each state, we’d find that real purchasing power is even higher in many of the lower-income states than we see above. 

Image from article.

We now see that there’s less variation in the median income levels among the US states. That makes sense because many states with low median incomes also have a very low cost of living. At the same time, many states with high median incomes have a very high cost of living.

Now that we’ve accounted for the low cost of living in Mississippi, we find that Mississippi ($26,517) is no longer the state with the lowest median income in real terms. New York ($26,152) is now the state with the lowest median income due to its very high cost of living.

This has had the effect of giving us a more realistic view of the purchasing power of the median household in US states. It is also more helpful in comparing individual states to OECD members, many of which have much higher costs of living than places like the American south and midwest. Now that we recognize how inexpensive it is to live in places like Tennessee, Florida, and Kentucky, we find that residents in those states now have higher median incomes than Sweden (a place that’s 30% more expensive than the US) and most other OECD countries measured.

Please do go read the whole article, as Mises’ explains things much better than I could.  But there’s a lesson for the folks who hold, say, Sweden up as a progressive Utopia; and it’s also important to note that the only thing keeping Europe alive today is Germany, Britain and some of the Western European nations who are still actually making products for sale, unlike the PIGS nations with their moribund economies and slacking populace; but while Sweden, Germany and even Britain are clinging to the remnants of former industrial might, that won’t last, as they seem to show little concern at their eventual collapse into a pan-European Caliphate.

That, True Believers, is an irony that must have old Charles Martel spinning in his grave.

Animal’s Daily Gun Registration Fails News

A while back the People’s Republik of Boulder passed an ordinance demanding owners of nebulously-defined “assault weapons” register, surrender or move their arms out of the city.  So far the city has registered 85 weapons, which would seem to indicate most Boulder gun owners responded with “fuck off, slavers!”  Excerpt:

With only 21 days left to go before the certification period closes, a total of 86 certificates have been issued (there are just over 100,000 residents in the college town). Two of those certifications were for the same firearm shared by a husband and wife (for some reason), that means only 85 guns have been certified so far.

City Attorney Tom Carr, who drafted the law to try to fit “the council’s vision,” openly admits that it’ll be difficult to enforce.

“I can’t imagine a way to do proactive enforcement,” Carr said. “Obviously, there’s no circumstance where we go door-to-door and ask people if they’ve violated the law. So, I think it would mostly be responsive.”

Carr also “thinks” a lot of other things about the law he’s written:

“The code gives officers discretion,” Carr said. “For example, if the weapon was discovered during an investigation of a crime of violence, I would think that it is more likely to be seized. If the investigation was for something more administrative in nature, I would expect most officers would advise the person of the law and how to comply.”

Boulder resident John Ramey, who worked together with Councilwoman Mirabai Nagle to propose an alternative to the ban, made the following statement via email when the law was being proposed:

“By definition, effective governing must be practical and enforceable. When something isn’t enforceable, like the war on drugs, that’s a huge sign that the underlying legal model doesn’t match the actual problems and realities.”

Take a good look at that last sentence.  Boulder has done precisely this; created a law that is impossible to enforce.  In fact it’s worse, it is a law that potentially – indeed, almost certainly – makes criminals out of formerly law-abiding citizens.  Feature or bug?  Ayn Rand may have foreseen it:

“Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

Boulder has done some stupid shit; this is really just the latest in a long string.  And, sadly, the rest of the once and former Colorado may not be far behind in the Stupid Sweepstakes where gun control is concerned, despite growing evidence that the would-be gun-grabbers proposals simply don’t work.

Forewarned is forearmed.

It’s not just Colorado.  New Yorkers’ compliance with their misnamed “SAFE Act” is so low as to be barely noticeable.

So where does this end?  On the one hand, when new laws have no effect, or a negative effect, on lowering crime, pols clamor for more laws, with which the formerly law-abiding increasingly show disregard; thus spawning calls for more restrictions, which piss off more gun owners who reply by refusing to comply…

Odds are this won’t end well.

Animal’s Daily #MeToo News

No, not me.  Wall Street.  Excerpt:

No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings.

In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way?

Across Wall Street, men are adopting controversial strategies for the #MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for women.

Call it the Pence Effect, after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who has said he avoids dining alone with any woman other than his wife. In finance, the overarching impact can be, in essence, gender segregation.

Interviews with more than 30 senior executives suggest many are spooked by #MeToo and struggling to cope. “It’s creating a sense of walking on eggshells,” said David Bahnsen, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley who’s now an independent adviser overseeing more than $1.5 billion.

Now I’m the least threatening guy in the world to women young or old.  At 57, I’m well past the hormone-driven stage; as a happily married man for 26 years, I’m not interested in shopping around.  I enjoy women aesthetically, but I also enjoy golden aspens in the fall, beautiful sunsets, kittens and wildflowers for much the same reasons.

And yes, I’ve adjusted my behaviors because of all this crap.  No one-on-one meetings behind closed doors.  I’m probably speaking more deliberately because my natural tendency is towards rough language and I have to watch that more carefully now.  And unlike years gone by, I never, ever complement a woman (other than Mrs. Animal, my Mom or my daughters) on their appearance.  My one exception to the above rule is a 30-something colleague who a few years back asked if I could mentor her through her advancing career, and I have agreed to do so, but have known her for a long time, she and Mrs. Animal are great friends, and I trust her.

It’s a shame that things like this have to suck every last bit of enjoyment we have in human interaction.  I like women; I enjoy being around them and talking with them, even though I’m not interested in hitting on them or sidling up to them.

But even I, as harmless a sort as you’re liable to find, have cut way back on my interactions with female coworkers.  It’s not worth taking the chance.  No way.  And that’s just too damn bad.