Category Archives: Pet Peeves

Animal’s Daily Transparent Goofball News

Blogger pal Doug Hagin over at The Daley Gator brought this to our attention the other day.  Original article here.  Excerpt:

“The View” co-host Sunny Hostin said that her family was “targeted” over the Fourth of July holiday with people yelling the “n-word” at them.

The comments came during a panel discussion Monday about how the co-hosts spent their holiday and week off from the show. Hostin explained that her family had rented a house on the beach in a predominantly black neighborhood, and during the fourth, a group of people ran by their home yelling the racist comment at them.

“We were there celebrating, and some kids — about 20 of them — ran in front of our home and started yelling the n-word at us,” Hostin shared.

She then showed home video of her family asking a group of kids if they knew who the culprits were after realizing the people were “targeting them.”

Prodded by Joy Behar, Hostin said the kids yelled, “This is America, we are patriots, this is our holiday — things like that.”

In a word:  Bullshit.

First of all; in this area of near-ubiquitous cell phone cameras, nobody – I mean nobody – evidently whipped out a phone and hit “record” to document what would have objectively been a little group of assholes was doing?  Nobody?  That strains credulity.  Second, there have been just too many “racist incidents” made up out of whole cloth lately, to just take the word of some talking head.

I’m not sure what Ms. Hostin is trying to achieve here.  I do know that I ain’t buying it.

Oh, and tune in tomorrow for more horseshit from a journalist; this one we don’t have to doubt, we can show damn well how they are lying.

Rule Five Utter Horseshit Friday

It seems some “panel of experts” has rated the top ten most dangerous nations on the planet for women, and guess what?  The U.S. made the list.  To which I can only say, what a huge steaming pile of crap.  Excerpt:

The United States has been ranked for the first time among the 10 nations deemed to be the most dangerous for women by experts in the field. A survey by the Thomson Reuters Foundation of about 550 experts in women’s issues around the globe labeled the U.S. the 10th most dangerous nation in terms of the risk of sexual violence, harassment and being coerced into sex.

The foundation said the U.S. placement on the dubious list was down largely to the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns increasing awareness of sexual violence and intimidation of women in the U.S. in the wake of the criminal allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Here’s the list:

  1. India
  2. Afghanistan
  3. Syria
  4. Somalia
  5. Saudi Arabia
  6. Pakistan
  7. Democratic Republic of Congo
  8. Yemen
  9. Nigeria
  10. United States

Honestly, I can see most of those belonging on the list, but who in the hell can keep a straight face while claiming the U.S. is a more dangerous place for women than, say, South Sudan, about which shithole Wikipedia has this to say:

The United Nations rights office has described the situation in the country as “one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world.” It accused the army and allied militias of allowing fighters to rape women as form of payment for fighting, as well as raid cattle in an agreement of “do what you can, take what you can.” 

How about Iran?  Here’s some info:

Unequal value for women’s testimony compared to that of a man, and traditional attitudes towards women’s behavior and clothing as a way of explaining rape have made conviction for rape of women difficult if not impossible in Iran. One widely criticized case was that of Atefah Sahaaleh, who was executed by the state for ‘inappropriate sexual relations’, despite evidence she was most probably a rape victim.

Differences in blood money for men and women include victims and offenders. In 2003, the parents of Leila Fathi, an 11-year-old village girl from Sarghez who was raped and murdered, were asked to come up with the equivalent of thousands of US dollars to pay the blood money (diyya) for the execution of their daughter’s killers because a woman’s life is worth half that of a man’s life.

Iran elected not to become a member of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 2003, since the convention contradicted the Islamic Sharia law in Clause A of its single article. “Discriminatory provisions” against women in criminal and civil laws in Iran were declared “in urgent need of reform,” and gender-based violence “widespread” by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a report released 20 Oct 2008.

Where is any of this happening in the United States?

This panel of experts assholes should damn well be ashamed of themselves.

Animal’s Daily Pretentious Gasbag News

Here’s a pretentious little prat if I’ve ever seen one, and I’ve seen a few.  Excerpts and my comments follow:

I had an unfortunately rare pleasure over the Memorial Day holiday: I visited a real bookstore.

Who the hell made you the arbiter of what a real bookstore is?  Here’s a hint:  A bookstore is a brick-and-mortar establishment that sells books.  You don’t get to make up your own definition.

We do have a Barnes & Noble, though. It’s better than nothing, but spending time in the Lake Forest Book Store reminded me of the distance between most Barnes & Noble stores and a genuine bookstore.

See above.

It’s a strange paradox. In theory, Barnes & Noble with its significantly larger inventory should be more likely to have something I want, but the sheer volume of product makes it harder to find. Granted, I am one of those readers who normally goes to the store not on a specific mission, hoping for an unexpected or unanticipated match, but I suspect many core bookstore patrons are similar. We go to commune with the books.

Commune with the books?  What the hell?  What does that even mean?

I’m a big reader and one of my own distinct pleasures on my various travels is finding little local bookstores.  I wandered into one a couple of years ago in Gloucester, Massachusetts, spent an hour mooching around in the stacks, shot the breeze with the owner for a while and left with a locally-published book on historical New England glassware as a gift for my Mom.  But I’m also economically literate, and understand how business models change.  The rise of big bookstores like B&N hurt small local bookstores, yes, just like the rise of Walmart hurt little local hardware stores.  But it’s not little local “real” bookstores that are hurting B&N now – it’s online retailers like Amazon.

Business models change.  Publishing and book-selling are two business models that are undergoing a catharsis right now, and that’s not going backwards.  That makes it more annoying, not less, to see pretentious windbags wheezing on about “real” bookstores.

Rule Five Government Theft Friday

Let me begin by saying this:  Any government elected, appointed or hired official who supports civil asset forfeiture should be tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail.  This family had their life savings stolen – yes, fucking stolen- by an illegitimate act of a government gone mad.  Excerpt:

Rustem Kazazi, 64, was headed to his native Albania to visit relatives in October, according to a federal lawsuit that he, his wife, Lejla, and son, Erald, filed this week in Ohio against the agency and others.
The suit alleges Customs and Border Protection used civil forfeiture laws to take the money without arresting or charging anyone with a crime.

Kazazi had planned to spend six months in Albania and buy a vacation home for retirement on the Adriatic coast, according to court documents. He also wanted to help members of his extended family, who are struggling, the court documents said.

To make the transactions easier and avoid bank fees, he reduced his family’s life savings to cash, packed it in a carry-on and brought it with him to the airport, according to the family’s lawsuit.

“He counted the cash several times, separated it into three stacks of $20,000, $19,100 and $19,000 each, and then, after counting again, labeled each stack with the amount it contained. He then placed the three stacks in a single envelope and wrote ‘$58,100’ on the outside,” the documents state.

Transportation Security Administration agents spotted the money inside Kazazi’s bag as he went through security on October 27 at Cleveland’s airport to catch a flight to Newark, New Jersey, before flying out to Albania, according to court documents. TSA called Customs and Border Protection agents, who took Kazazi’s passport and driver’s license, according to the filing.

He was put in a small private room for a body search, the documents state.

Kazazi speaks limited English, according to the lawsuit.

Customs agents “interrogated him without a translator, and then seized his family’s life savings without charging anyone with a crime,” according to the Institute for Justice, whose attorney, Wesley Hottot, is representing the Kazazi family in the lawsuit.

So, Mr. Kazazi – who is in the United States legally, legally worked and contributed to our economy and his community, wanted to take some of the resources he earned back to his country of origin to buy a home their and oh, by the way, help his family.  His resources.  Resources he earned, legally.

And government officials just seized the money.  Because fuck you, that’s why.

In what sane world are civil forfeiture laws not a gross violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments?  Mr. Kazazi was subjected to an unwarranted search, and had a considerable amount of property, the aforementioned $58,100, stolen by agents of the Imperial government with no due process.  Giving him a receipt for an unspecified amount of U.S. currency was just adding insult to injury.

This kind of horseshit should have been slam-dunked by the courts years ago.  Why hasn’t it been?

One my suspect the answer:  A court decision against this practice would dry up a big source of unearned increment (excrement?) for various levels of government.

If you’ve ever looked for reasons to strip government of power, this practice should be high up on the list.

Rule Five Alien Octopus Friday

I can’t believe that the editors of the Express published this with a straight face. Science news: Octopuses came to Earth from space as frozen eggs millions of years ago.  Excerpt:

Octopuses are “aliens” which evolved on another planet before arriving on Earth hundreds of millions of years ago as “cryopreserved” eggs via a process known as panspermia, radical new research has suggested.

The extraordinary claims were made in a report entitled Cause of Cambrian Explosion – Terrestrial or Cosmic? which was co-authored by a group of 33 scientists and published in the Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology journal.

The paper suggests that the explanation for the sudden flourishing of life during the Cambrian era – often referred to as the Cambrian Explosion – lies in the stars, as a result of the Earth being bombarded by clouds of organic molecules.

But the scientists go on to make an even more extraordinary claim concerning octopuses, which seem to have evolved on Earth quite rapidly something like 270 million years ago, 250 million years after the Cambrian explosion.

The paper states: “The genome of the Octopus shows a staggering level of complexity with 33,000 protein-coding genes more than is present in Homo sapiens.

And:

“One plausible explanation, in our view, is that the new genes are likely new extraterrestrial imports to Earth – most plausibly as an already coherent group of functioning genes within (say) cryopreserved and matrix protected fertilized Octopus eggs.

About this article, I can only say this:

What utter horseshit.

For crying out loud, the place in the Earth’s tree of life occupied by cephalopods has been known for a long time now.  Yes, octopuses are rather unique; they are quick to learn, adaptable and capable of exploiting lots of different environments.

But then, so are lots of other animals.  Like, for example, us.

This is pseudo-scientific woo along the lines of anti-GMO or anti-vaxxer hysteria; clueless and utterly unsupported by anything with a remote resemblance to a fact.

Not only is the evolutionary and genetic relationship of the cephalopoda well documented, there’s another problem with this idea:  We have several metric tons (or tonnes, if you prefer) of meteorites to examine, and to date not one iota of genetic material has been found in any of them.

To the authors of this research, I can only say this:  Gwyneth Paltrow called.  She wants her bullshit back.

Animal’s Daily Government Waste News

Nobody should be surprised by this, but the Imperial government is going to audit the progress of Californey’s high-speed train to nowhere, and things aren’t looking good.  Excerpt:

Gee, I wonder what federal auditors will find — besides a phantom train set and a lot of wasted money? With a new study out showing that California doesn’t have the funding to complete even the first phase of their high-speed rail project, the Inspector General for the Department of Transportation will open the books to see how federal monies have been spent:

California’s high-speed rail project is facing an audit from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s as costs continue to climb.

The inspector general’s audit, announced Thursday, will examine the Federal Railroad Administration’s oversight of nearly $3.5 billion in federal grant money awarded to the project.

That’s bad news for a project that has already had plenty of bad news over the last several years. The IG will apparently focus mainly on how the FRA has performed in reporting on California’s progress rather than the performance of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. At issue will be whether the FRA has enforced project performance requirements, but that will still point out the lack of progress California has made despite all of the cash it received:

The federal money awarded to California comes with specific conditions that Kelly has promised to meet. They include completing a 119-mile (192-kilometer) segment of track now under construction in the Central Valley and finishing environmental reviews for the full line by 2022.

The audit will specifically evaluate how the Federal Railroad Administration determines whether California has complied with federal guidelines.

Out on a limb.

Let us all hazard a guess, shall we?  The state of this project’s finances will, very likely, be grounds for multiple prosecutions, if not a full-blown RICO investigation.  This is a cluster-fuck of, well, Californian proportions.

And the bad thing is this:  It was doomed to failure from the start.  A high-speed rail network will work in a country like Japan, where 200 million people live in a land the size of California.  Trains are even useful in the densely populated northeaster USA.  But in the wide-open Western states, where there are miles and miles of miles and miles?

Nope.

This entire project wasn’t thought up and pushed through for any practical reason.  It was state-wide virtue signalling, nothing but, in a heavy-handed attempt by government to wean people off their cars (which allow a pesky amount of independence and freedom of movement) and shove them into rail travel.

Doomed to failure, True Believers.  I’m sure you didn’t hear it here first, but it’s nonetheless true.

Rule Five Horse Squeeze Friday

A few days back, noted author and our good friend Jillian Becker had this piece over at her blog The Atheist Conservative.  Please do go read the entire article, but there is one specific quote I want to discuss here, that quote being from (formerly) radical leftist professor Bret Weinstein:

I explained in numerous interviews and essays, I was not a Trump supporter; I was never a right-winger, or an alt-right-winger; I was never a conservative of any variety. I wasn’t even a classical John Stuart Mill liberal.

In fact, for several years, I had identified as a left or libertarian communist. My politics were to the left (and considerably critical of the authoritarianism) of Bolshevism!  (Emphasis added by me.)

Now, take a look at that bolded portion.  Digest that for a moment.

Ready?  Now, I’ll tell you what I think of that:  It’s pure, unadulterated horseshit.  You can not say again not be a libertarian communist, any more than you can be a feathered fish.  The two are utterly incompatible.  Communism is a statist system, with government in control of the entire production system; in a pure communist state there is no enterprise, no entrepreneurship, no private property, no liberty.   My response to the original blog post was this:

I keep seeing this, “libertarian socialist” and similar horse squeeze being bandied about by idiots. The two are contradictory; you can not be a “libertarian communist” or a “libertarian socialist” any more than you can turn right and left at the same instant.

Liberty is antithetical to totalitarian systems like communism or socialism. Rectenwald is, in this sentence, talking out of his ass.

As Rand pointed out, contradictions in assertions of fact do not exist. One of the contradicting premises is always false; in this case, it is his claim to be libertarian.

Now, here’s the good news, and it’s news that gives me a little more hope for my fellow man; Dr. Weinstein responded himself to Ms. Becker’s commentary:

I am no longer a communist, nor a leftist of any stripe, believe me. I consider myself a classical John Stuart Mill liberal now, and thus, by contemporary standards, a conservative.

A John Stuart Mill liberal, or “classical liberal,” is closer to a libertarian than a conservative as the term is used today.  But that’s as may be; to Dr. Weinstein all I can say is, sir, welcome!  Welcome to the cause of liberty.  Please do all you can to spread that cause throughout academia, because as I am sure you know, that vocation needs all the exposure to the cause of liberty that we can send it.

What would be interesting to know is the story behind this conversion to the side of freedom.  Any thinking person can look at the history of socialist and communist governments:  The enduring misery that was the Soviet Union, the crash-and-burn economy of Venezuela, the brutal oppression of dissenters in communist/socialist nations from Cuba to Red China.  Did Dr. Weinstein read this history and apply his own capacity for reason to the observations of fact?  Did he stop to contemplate the prosperity enjoyed citizens of nations with free-market economies?

Whatever the reason, his conversion is a good thing.  Let’s hope for more like him.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

Just in case you needed reminding that people are assholes, read this.  Excerpt (odd-ball Canuck spelling reproduced verbatim):

Shawn Kathleen became so annoyed by rude passengers while working as a flight attendant in the U.S. that she started writing about them in a blog.

Many people didn’t believe her stories — until she also started posting photographic evidence.

She was fired in 2013 — she believes because her employer discovered she was behind the blog.

But the job loss didn’t end the Ohio resident’s mission to expose bad behaviour on planes. Instead, the blog morphed into an Instagram site called PassengerShaming, which has more than 522,000 followers.

Based on photo contributions from air travellers and flight staff worldwide, the site shows it all: passengers making out in their seats, clipping nails and nose hairs, tossing garbage on the floor, flying shirtless and even watching porn on their electronic devices.

And yes, people are assholes.

I’ve seen the whole run of the kinds of losers lovingly depicted on the PassengerShaming blog; from people with barking dogs to kids that won’t stop kicking the back of your seat to one bonehead on a  trans-Pacific flight who wanted to play his fucking bongo drums until I suggested (to applause from my fellow passengers) that his continued health and well-being hinged on his ceasing and desisting “…and I mean RIGHT GODDAMN NOW.”

Maybe I’m getting to be a cranky old man.  But when I pay for an airline seat, I expect a little politeness from the people who are jammed in that sealed aluminum tube with me.  If this blog can do just a little bit to shame the assholes who may recognize their own bad behavior, good for Shawn Kathleen.

But I doubt it will make any real difference.  People who behave like this in the first place can’t be shamed.  But venting has a purpose as well, and sometimes it might help to browse PassengerShaming after a long flight so we might tell ourselves, “at least I wasn’t sitting next to that guy.”

 

Rule Five Martial Law Friday

2016_07_15_Rule Five Friday (1)Run a Google search on “Obama declaring martial law” and you’ll get 122,000 or so results.  Mind you, a lot of those are debunking the idea that President Obama will find some pretext to declare martial law and suspend this fall’s elections, effectively making him President-For-Life.  Notorious nut-bar conspiracy kook Alex Jones, among others, have been beating that drum for a while now.

It’s bullshit.  It’s stupid, senseless conspiracy-mongering.  President Obama will not declare martial law.  Here’s why.

2016_07_15_Rule Five Friday (2)1) President Obama has no desire to remain in the Imperial Mansion.  He is set to enjoy a comfortable, taxpayer-funded retirement beginning in January 2017.  He will be free to agitate, to criticize from a position of safety (no re-election to worry about) and will be required to do little or nothing but agitate.  That’s what he does best.  President Obama is lazy; he has no reason to want to continue in one of the most stressful jobs on the planet.

2) President Obama’s place in history is secure; too many will forget his fecklessness, his continuing destabilization of the middle east, his demagoguery.  He will be remembered as the First Black President(TM) and that’s enough for him.

2016_07_15_Rule Five Friday (3)3) A blanket declaration of martial law is logistically and tactically impossible in a nation the size of the United States.  Even were we to assume that the entire U.S. military and law enforcement communities were to agree, without argument or dissent, to enforce the declaration, our armed forces and civil police forces combined are insufficient to hold down 80-100 million armed citizens, many of whom are military veterans (yr. obdt. included.)  And it is unlikely beyond belief that the military and law-enforcement communities would unquestioningly obey such a declaration.  There would almost certainly be massive disobedience, if not outright rebellion, among the nation’s military members, a majority of whom hold no fondness for President Obama.

4) The United States has 4 million square miles of land, 4 million miles of paved roads, 150,000 miles of railroads, thousands of miles of navigable rivers. There is no conceivable way that the Imperial government could monitor, much less control, all of the movement of citizens along those routes.  The only result of such an effort would be massive civil disobedience.

2016_07_15_Rule Five Friday (4)5) An effective enforcement of martial law would require the Imperial government to shut down the internet and cell phone networks.  This would cause untold chaos in every aspect of life, but most notably in the business world.  The vast majority of American businesses rely heavily on the internet and cell phone networks for everything from accepting credit/debit card payments to coordinating operations.  This action would plunge the economy into a depression that would make the 1928-1941 depression look like a picnic, and the impact would be global; in spite of the best efforts of the President and his Democrat colleagues, the United States is still far and away the most powerful and influential economy on the planet.

6) The United States Constitution is not clear on the President’s authority to declare martial law, but it is clear on Congress’s role.  Under Article I, Section 8, Clause 15, of the Constitution, Congress has the power “[t]o provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel Invasions.”  The current Congress, which is sitting until January 2017, will issue no such declaration.

2016_07_15_Rule Five Friday (5)The failures, overreaches, intrusions and shortcomings of the Obama Administration are manifest.  There is no reason to add to them with senseless conspiracy theories.  There will be no declaration of nationwide martial law; President Obama will leave office in January 2017, as forty-three Presidents have before him, to be replaces almost certainly by Donald Trump or (hopefully not!) Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I.  That’s all there is to it.

I have a standing offer, open to all comers, of a wager.  I will wager 1000 rounds of XM-193 5.56mm ammo on stripper clips against a like amount of ammo that President Obama will leave office peacefully in January.  Conspiracy theorists, any of you want to take that bet?

2016_07_15_Rule Five Friday (6)

Responses

Just a while ago, over at The Other McCain, Mr. McCain posted this:

Robert Stacy wrote quite a long reply and reaction, which you should go read; however, my reply to this statement is much pithier:  “Fuck off.  I’ll speak and write as I damn well please, and if you don’t like it, too damn bad.”

As I’ve repeatedly stated, I live in a free-speech zone called the United States of America.  Nitwits like “Drew,” attempt to silence me at your peril.