Category Archives: Pet Peeves

Animal’s Daily Crushing Debt News

Thanks to our friends at Pirate’s Cove for the linkback!

The more things (like Presidents) change, the more things stay the same.  Like, say, the Imperial debt.  That does change, because it always increases.  Excerpt:

The federal debt increased by $1,271,158,167,126.72 in fiscal 2018, according to data released today by the Treasury.

The total federal debt started the fiscal year at $20,244,900,016,053.51 according to the Treasury, and finished the fiscal year at $21,516,058,183,180.23.

The federal fiscal year runs from October 1 through September 30.

The $1,271,158,167,126.72 in debt accumulated in fiscal 2018 made fiscal 2018 the eighth fiscal year in the last eleven in which the debt increased by at least one trillion dollars.

The $1,271,158,167,126.72 increase in the federal debt was also the sixth largest fiscal-year debt increase in the history of the United States.

Holy crap.

One of my recurring fantasies about being President (not one of the ones that results in my waking up screaming) is submitting to Congress a budget that involves reducing the Imperial government to pre-Civil War levels, and happily vetoing any budget that spends a penny more than I proposed.

But I’m not President and I’m not likely to be.

Congressional varmints of both parties pay lip service to fiscal sanity, but do little about it.  The Republicans preach spending restraint but are content to tiny decreases in the rate of growth; the Democrats ignore the Laffer curve and shout for tax increases.  Meanwhile we continue to mortgage our grandchildren’s futures.

Again, were I President, my retort with every aforementioned veto would be:  “Fuck you.  Cut spending.”  It would be nice if President Trump showed some such inclinations.

Rule Five Kangaroo Court Friday

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee listened to Dr. Ford and grilled Judge Kavanaugh.  Here are some highlights:

The full transcript of Dr. Ford’s statement.

Judge Kavanaugh Decries “Circus.”

The full transcript of Judge Kavanaugh’s statement.

Senator Graham on the damage done to the process.

I listened to/watched some bits and pieces of both sessions.  In summary, let me just say this:

What a fucking travesty this has been.

I really think that Dr. Ford has been a victim of this whole mess as well.  She may well have been assaulted at some time in the past; but there’s no evidence that it was Judge Kavanaugh that did it.  But the way Senate Democrats have cruelly and cynically used her for political gain is nothing short of disgusting.  When she initially approached her Congresscritter and then Senator Feinstein, she asked for anonymity and wished to have her privacy respected.  She was thrown to the wolves.  She was used just as cruelly by the Senate Democrats as she claims to have been used back in the summer of 1982.

But Judge Kavanaugh has been raked over the coals on the flimsiest of pretexts.  In yesterday’s session, Senate Judiciary Democrats harped on the FBI issue; “why won’t you allow the FBI to investigate?”  Chairman Grassley finally shut them down by quoting daffy old Uncle Joe Biden, who oversaw the Clarence Thomas approval hearings, stating that the FBI “do not investigate local crimes…  (the FBI) does not reach conclusions, does not make recommendations.”

I could spend some time decrying the embarrassing mess this confirmation process has become, but I’ll let Judge Kavanaugh, in his remarks from today’s hearings, do it for me:

This confirmation process has become a national disgrace. The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advise and consent with search and destroy. Since my nomination in July, there has been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation, shortly after I was nominated, the Democratic Senate leader said he would, quote, oppose me with everything he’s got, a Democratic senator on this committee publicly referred to me as evil … evil, think about that word. And said that those who supported me were, quote, complicit in evil.

Another Democratic senator on this committee said, quote, “Judge Kavanaugh is your worst nightmare.” A former head of the Democratic National Committee said, quote, “Judge Kavanaugh will threaten the lives of millions of Americans for decades to come.”

I understand the passions of the moment, but I would say to those senators, your words have meaning. Millions of Americans listened carefully to you, given comments like those, is it any surprise that people have been willing to do anything, to make any physical threat against my family, to send any violent email to my wife, to make any kind of allegation against me or against my friends to blow me up and take me down

You sowed the wind, for decades to come, I fear that the whole country will reap the whirlwind. The behavior of several of the Democratic members of this committee at my hearing a few weeks ago was an embarrassment, but at least it was a good old-fashioned attempt at “Borking.” Those efforts didn’t work when I did at least OK enough at the hearings that it looked like I might actually get confirmed, a new tactic was needed. Some of you were lying in wait and had it ready. This first allegation was held in secret for weeks by a Democratic member of this committee and by staff. It would be needed only if you couldn’t take me out on the merits. When it was needed, this allegation was unleashed and publicly deployed over Dr. Ford’s wishes. And then, and then, as no doubt was expected if not planned came a long series of false last minute smears designed to scare me and drive me out of the process before any hearing occurred. Crazy stuff. Gangs, illegitimate children, fights on boats in Rhode Island, all nonsense, reported breathlessly and often uncritically by the media. This has destroyed my family and my good name, a good name built up through decades of very hard work and public service at the highest levels of the American government, this whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups. This is a circus.

What a clusterfuck.  What a fucking disgrace.  What a goddamn shambles.  I’m afraid our nation is permanently damaged by this horseshit.  And, as Senator Graham has pointed out, it’s all because Democrats think they can use shenanigans to delay until after mid-terms, in hopes of grabbing off a Supreme Court seat for themselves.

 

Animal’s Daily Recovered Memories News

By now most folks have heard of the latest sudden drama surrounding the Kavanaugh nomination.  Robert Stacy McCain weighed in the other day.  Excerpt:

Did you know that “trigger warnings” are actually harmful? The trendy academic practice of alerting students to “problematic” material “reinforce the fear and compound anxiety.”

This information is highly relevant, I believe, to the claims surrounding the 11th-hour hit job on Brett Kavanaugh. We are expected to believe that the accuser, Professor Christine Ford, suffered emotional damage because she was groped by Kavanaugh at a 1982 party when they were both teenagers. The “evidence” of this alleged trauma is her therapist’s notes from when she and her husband were in couples therapy in 2012.

Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection is skeptical:

If this is a “repressed memory” case, then it changes everything against the accuser’s veracity — repressed memory is of highly questionable admissibility and credibility.

Exactly. Why would 30 years elapse before the accuser mentioned this incident to anyone? Beyond that, does it comport with our common-sense understanding of human behavior to think that the alleged incident, even if it happened exactly as it is now being described in news accounts, would be so traumatic as to be relevant to whatever marital problems Christine Ford and her husband were experiencing in 1982?

Now, regarding the “recovered memories” angle, I think there are better than even odds that the whole thing is horseshit; incidentally, some folks educated in head-candling agree with me.  But that’s neither here nor there, in whatever long-ago year “there” may be.

“Now, Animal,” you might ask, “why would you say that?  These are serious allegations.”  Well, sure, the allegation of sexual assault is normally a serious matter, and I agree with most of the croakers around the Imperial City that Dr. Ford should be allowed – nay, encouraged – to come state her case, mostly because I suspect it will become obvious that there’s no there there.

But I have seen some other facts that should also come to light.  Like how Dr. Ford’s students offer reviews of her teaching averaging 2.3 out of 5, normally a failing grade, with statements like:

“Christine (F)ord is the worst educator I have ever experienced.  Avoid taking her class and avoid any interaction with this person.  I feel like she has something wrong with her and I am surprised no one has caught this.  Also avoid fullerton’s (sic) MSW program as long as she is there.”

“Prof. Ford is unprofessional, lacks appropriate filters, and I am honestly scared of her.  She’s made comments both in class and in e-mails, if you cross her, you will be on her bad side. I fear to think of the poor clients that had to deal with her while she got her MSW and her LCSW. Absolutely the worst teacher I ever had.”

And:

“She is unclear with directions. Hard grader and talks for 2hr 45min without giving a break. she is exact opposite of what she teaches. empowering??? not at all.”

So, it seems her teaching career is not going well.  But wait – there’s more!  It seems Brett Kavanaugh’s mother, Judge Martha Kavanaugh, ruled against Dr. Ford’s parents in a foreclosure case.

So, why is all this relevant?  Because the “recovered memories” horse squeeze could just as easily be a dodge for a revenge stab at the judge who ruled against Dr. Ford’s family – or it could be an angle at a lucrative book deal – or it could be a political gambit, wherein she saw a chance to take a stab at the Trump Administration.  Who knows?  But this is all relevant information, and should damn well come out in any hearings.

But most of all, not one damn bit of it has any bearing on Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications to sit on the Supreme Court.

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.