Category Archives: Pet Peeves

Animal’s Daily Lady Stalin News

Know how the far left defines a “gaffe?”  It’s when one of them accidentally says what they really mean.  Case in point.  Excerpt:

It has been clear ever since the creation (and later the fall) of the Soviet Union that socialism is an inherently dictatorial, tyrannical ideology. Only those who worship the state and power want to have anything to do with it. Which is why it makes perfect sense that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a passionate Marxist.

As Madam Tyrant put it herself recently:

“To be ethical, if you’re a billionaire today, the thing that you need to do is give up control and power,” Mrs. Stalin said. “So I don’t want your money as much as we want your power,” she went on to say while quickly changing the “I” into “we.” “The people, not me,” she added.

Haha, of course not!

“That’s gonna be cut in clips,” she said after the gaffe.

You hope.

Here, True Believers, is the naked face of a would-be tyrant.  (Or tyrantita.)  This stupid, stupid girl, who supposedly has a degree in Economics and yet was working as a bartender before the people in her district stupidly put her in Congress, would cheerfully confiscate the property of thousands, maybe millions, of Americans.  Not just billionaires; if she got her way, she could confiscate the property of every billionaire in America, and it still wouldn’t pay for her Utopia.  And that’s assuming that not one of those billionaires – people with, you know, the resources of a billionaire – fled for less repressive shores.

And when her failure became obvious, she’d look next to millionaires – then the “very wealthy”, whatever that means – then to you and me.

There can only be one response to this:  Fuck off, slaver!

Rule Five Fleecing the Rubes Friday

Programming note:  At the moment this post goes live Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. will be aloft in the Friendly Skies, off to a brief yet fun-filled adventure; watch this space next week for details.

Moving along:  As documented by ArsTechnica, our old nemesis Gwyneth Paltrow is back with a new Netflix series, and she’s just as batshit crazy as ever – or is she?  Excerpt, with a few comments:

In Netflix’s own words, the show intends to guide “deeply inquisitive” (my ass) viewers through “boundary-pushing wellness topics,” such as “energy healing and psychics.” The show—like Goop—appears to be largely aimed at women, and the trailer’s release was accompanied by an image of Paltrow appearing to descend into an artist’s rendition of a vagina.

Goop critics were quick to decry the show, arguing that—like the brand—it actually intends to guide exploitable viewers (read “exploitable” as “stupid”) through unproven and potentially dangerous health practices, such as the same garbage Goop has been promoting for years. And the show—like Goop—claims to “empower” women only by convincing them to try dubious treatments and products.

Critics on Twitter have been particularly merciless at trashing and mocking the show (and Goop) all day. The announcements of the show’s trailer have been bombarded with disapproving memes, viewers noping out, and messages scolding Netflix for getting involved with the notorious business. (The responses were overwhelmingly negative, but there were some solid puns in there, too.)

Despite the swift backlash online, the most cutting and concise critiques of the show seem to appear in the trailer itself. As the teaser notes, the unproven wellness practices and products shown are “unregulated” and simply “dangerous.”

In one clip, Paltrow herself asks one of the show’s guests “what the fuck are you doing to people?”

Yet, the trailer also offers Paltrow’s justification for the show’s—and Goop’s—existence. In an apparent rejoinder to the unspoken-yet-blaring question of “dear lord, why?”, Paltrow explains: “We’re here one time, one life. How can we really milk the shit out of this?”

Note that last quote from Ms. Paltrow.  Here it is again:

Paltrow explains: “We’re here one time, one life. How can we really milk the shit out of this?”

Well, let’s give her some points for being unintentionally honest for once.

I’ve long said that there is some point at which fools and their money deserve to be parted, and make no mistake, those are precisely the kind of fools that are Gwyneth’s target audience for this latest outpouring of woo.  And as a staunch minarchist, I can only reaffirm that caveat emptor applies here, and stupid people will usually get what’s coming to them.

But, as I’ve mused before, I have to wonder about Ms. Paltrow’s motivations here.  Is she really dumb enough to believe in the ridiculous snake oil she hawks?  Or is she, as she unwittingly let slip, just milking the shit out of this for big fat sacks of cash?  Honestly, is Gwyneth a simpleton, or is she secretly thinking “I can make huge bags of cash off these morons?”

And what the fuck, Netflix?  Why on earth would you give a platform to this enormous outpouring of absolute, steaming horseshit?  How much is Gwyneth paying you for another opportunity to sell jade vagina eggs and $85 plastic water bottles with healing crystals in them?

ArsTechnica concludes:  With the new show, Paltrow remains steadfast. In a statement to Cosmopolitan, Paltrow said that the show takes the same “open-minded approach that we’ve cultivated at Goop and applied a different, visual lens with Netflix.”

This, True Believers, is a textbook case of folks’ minds being so open that their brains have actually fallen out.

Animal’s Daily Lotto Winner News

It’s all about the Benjamins.

Before we get going, make sure to check out my latest article over at Glibertarians – especially if you’re a fan of old Colt cap-and-ball revolvers.  And if you like that, you can read the rest of my Glibs articles at the link on the right.

Now then:  I’ve long referred to the various state lotteries as “a tax on stupidity.”  The New York Post’s Howard Husock agrees, but I do take issue with a couple of his points.  Excerpts, with my comments:

The advent of government-organized gambling, in the form of state lotteries, is one of our age’s most unnoticed social transformations. Before 1964, America had no such lotteries. Today, only five states don’t run their own, and most others permit interstate games such as Powerball, which jack up prizes to extravagant levels. Lottery participation has skyrocketed. Overall revenues total some $80 billion; New York is the state leader, with $10 billion in ticket sales. The spread of lotteries has played a leading role in the normalization of gambling, once considered a vice akin to drug use or prostitution — and lottery sales are boosted by publicly funded advertising campaigns that prey on the weakness of gambling addicts while encouraging non-gamblers to get involved, too.

Now, let me tell you where I sit before I tell you where I stand; I think that gambling should be legal.  It’s not the role of government to shield people from the consequences of their own bad decisions.  But with that said, I agree, the various levels of government should not be spending tax dollars to encourage people to play state-sponsored lotteries.  It’s a stupid waste of taxpayer’s money, which is, of course, money confiscated from the citizenry with the implied use of force.

At least the lotteries are voluntary.

It’s common for states to frame lotteries as being for a good cause — for public education, say. The claim is meaningless, though: All state money is fungible. The lottery proceeds go into the state’s general fund; one could just as easily say that they’re used to pay down interest on debt.

In Colorado, the money supposedly goes to parks and open spaces – but as Husock points out, that’s all fungible.  Money is money is money, and once absorbed into the State, it’s impossible to control where it goes.

But here’s where Husock and I part ways:

It’s time for states to ban lottery advertising. Sure, let people play, post the winning numbers — but stop selling the dream.

Let’s be careful with the terminology here.  I think the various state governments should cease wasting taxpayer dollars on advertising the lotteries – and lots of other things.  But a complete ban on advertising?  That would imply a prohibition on a private store owner putting up a sign stating “Lottery tickets sold here!”  That’s not reasonable.

Weaning government from our addiction to promoting lotteries wouldn’t be easy. An adjustment period would be necessary as lottery revenues fell — though perhaps the adjustment would not be dramatic. Massachusetts, among the first states to mount a lottery, later moved to limit advertising — at one point, cutting it from $12 million to just $400,000 a year — but the state has not seen lottery revenues crater.

I doubt many states would see much difference.  Everyone knows the lotteries are there.  Everyone knows where you can get tickets.

On the positive side, tax revenues might even increase as citizens, freed from such dispiriting messages, re-embrace working and saving. In any case, though, getting states out of lottery advertising is the right thing to do.

I doubt that.  If you were to draw a Venn diagram with one side being “people who embrace working and saving” and “people who plan on the lottery as their retirement plan,” you’d have very little overlap.

Most people don’t want to make money. They just want to spend money.

My issue with state lotteries, and the reason I call them “a tax on stupidity,” is primarily this:  The odds are awful.  And why?  The vigorish.  That’s the cut the house takes in any gamble.  If you want to gamble, your odds are much better if you just go to the nearest casino and play slot machines.  In Las Vegas, most slots pay out between 95 and 98 cents on each dollar gambled.  The state lotteries?  Under 50 cents.  The vigorish on state lotteries is awful, which is why the states love them.

So, play the lotteries if you like; it’s a free country, and there’s nothing wrong with paying a couple of bucks for the chance to fantasize about what you’d do if you won.  Just be aware that the odds are astronomically small.  And, yes, be aware that your state may well be wasting taxpayer dollars encouraging you to indulge in a bad deal.

Rule Five Shoe On the Other Foot Friday

Parties, Not Principles.

It’s interesting to note how many folks think that someone is stupid just because they disagree on any certain issue.  Granted, some people really are stupid; some people in public life, for instance.  But plenty of people are not, and plenty of people hold variety of opinions on plenty of topics.  Someone who disagrees with you isn’t necessarily stupid; they just disagree.

I’ve written on this phenomenon before.  It’s long been a pet peeve of mine.

But there’s a corollary of this; people who form opinions of any person, event or policy based on the political affiliation of the person or persons who are involved.  Let’s look at the current impeachment circus, for example.

Reversals

This whole mess brewed up over a phone call between the President and the President of Ukraine.  Here’s a relevant statement from the transcript by the President:

The other thing, there’s a lot of. talk about Biden’s son, that Eiden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.  Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.

Now, that’s a very small excerpt of a five-page transcript, but I’m not going to analyze the whole thing; that’s not what I’m aiming to do here.

Let’s hypothesize the exact some statement, only coming from President Trump’s predecessor:

The other thing, there’s a lot of. talk about Cheney’s son, that Eiden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.  Cheney went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.

Would Barney Google-Schiff have been gung-ho to impeach President Obama over this?  Hell no; he would have said the same thing that some in the GOP are saying now, that the President has the right and, indeed, an obligation, to investigate corruption in a country that will be receiving millions in American taxpayer dollars.

And they’d be right.

Principle-Free

But the order of the day now is partisanship, not principles.  And, to be fair, both sides are guilty of it.  If they had principles, then those principles would not change with the political affiliation of the object; but they have no principles, only partisanship.

To a certain extent, I find this excess of partisanship strangely comforting.  When the Imperial government is hopelessly deadlocked, as they seem to have been for some time now – even when the GOP held both houses they couldn’t seem to get anything done, leading to the obvious comparison of them to The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight – at least they can’t hurt us.

But while this kabuki theater in Washington is still going on, while Barney Google-Schiff keeps bringing forward “witnesses” who heard from a guy who heard from a guy who may have heard the President say something, the Imperial  government continues to pour trillions of taxpayer dollars every year on millions of ratholes, the Imperial debt continues to rise, and the Washington establishment grows more and more entrenched.  And all in the name of naked, toxic partisanship.

There doesn’t seem to be any end to it.

There’s an answer, of course.  We spoke of it only a week ago, if somewhat obliquely; tear the whole damn thing down.  Hogtie the Imperial government behind restrictions they can’t break:

  1. Term limits, to eliminate the permanent ruling class we have now.
  2. A balanced-budget amendment, to keep the new class of pols from spending our grandchildren into bankruptcy.
  3. Voting security, to make damn sure our elections are valid.

I could name a bunch of other ideas, but these would be a good start.

None of this will happen, of course.   The toxic atmosphere in the Imperial City today won’t allow the necessary cooperation to achieve anything positive.  The current impeachment circus is a symptom, not a cause, but it’s a damn telling one.

Rule Five Oblivious Friday

Oblivious  (adjective)

  • unmindful; unconscious; unaware (usually followed by of or to): She was oblivious of his admiration.
  • forgetful; without remembrance or memory: oblivious of my former failure.
  • inducing forgetfulness.

There’s a disturbing trend among the everyday Americans you meet in your daily doings, one that you may have noticed.  That is the trend among people to be oblivious as to how their behavior affects those around them.

I’m not talking about those people who are deliberately rude; that’s a topic for another day, and to be honest, those kinds of people have always been around.  We call them “assholes.”  I’m not talking about stupid people; that’s likewise a topic for another day, and besides, a lack of capacity is something we pity, not something we grow angry over – unless the stupid people are in Congress.

And let’s be honest, the list of Congress-critters who aren’t stupid would be shorter than the ones that are.

What I am talking about are people who are so clueless, or maybe self-absorbed, or both, that they simply have no clue how annoying their behavior is to others.

A few examples I’ve observed recently:

Last Sunday Mrs. Animal and I attended the Raritan, NJ annual John Basilone Day parade.  Now a parade honoring a military hero is always punctuated by the various color guards of the organizations marching in the parade, and I was already mildly annoyed by the fact that Mrs. A and I were the only ones who made a point of standing when the color guards went by – Mrs. A leveraging herself up off of her walker to do so – and I was the only man to remove his headgear at that time, even though there were several self-professed veterans in our immediate vicinity.

But that wasn’t what got me.  What got me was the young man who parked himself just to Mrs. A’s right front and stood there, through the whole parade, in the exact middle of the sidewalk, forcing families and groups of onlookers to wedge around him to proceed down the sidewalk.

Now this dumb son of a bitch could have taken one long step to his front or rear where there was plenty of room and left ample space for passerby.  But despite some very pointed looks and remarks, he didn’t bother.  He stood in the middle of the damn way throughout.

Another:  While here in our temporary New Jersey lodgings, Mrs. A and I generally set aside an hour or so on Friday afternoon to hit the grocery store and do our trading for the week.  It’s usually a good time to go; I can set aside time early enough in the day when most folks are still at work, and the store isn’t too crowded.

But on Friday last, one week ago today, we ran into another oblivious person.  This one was in the baking aisle; she was standing to one side, comparing labels on two or three different brands of olive oil.  That would have been fine, except…  that she left her overloaded shopping cart exactly in the middle, blocking the entire aisle.

We waited a few moments.  She ignored us.  I finally said, “excuse me, but we need to get by,” and moved her cart myself, at which point she gave me a mildly annoyed look (who dare I presume the aisle should be left clear for others to navigate!) but said nothing.

For what may be the best one I have to take you back to about 1978.  This example is a case study in obliviousness and stupidity, which makes it even more befuddling.

It was a Friday night; I had just gotten off work and was on the prowl for a bit of adventure.  As I needed gas and had just gotten paid, I want to the nearest Quick-Trip, which had two gas pumps, to fuel up for the weekend.

Just ahead of me was an old Chevrolet, who had pulled up to the pump just ahead of me.  The driver got out of his car, took the nozzle off the holder, flipped the lever to turn the pump on – and then tucked the nozzle under his arm to light a cigarette.

I hit Reverse, punched it, shot into the street, did a reverse bootlegger spin that would not have been out of place in a Hal Needham/Burt Reynolds movie, and got the hell out of there.

I’m not sure why this is becoming a more noticeable trend.  Airports are one of the worst places to see oblivious people.  On almost any given flight you can see some jackass parked in the Handicapped seating nearest the gate, with his ass on one seat, his suitcase on another and his backpack on a third.  And driving – don’t get me started!  Coloradans, I will say, are a little better than New Jersey or California folks about remembering that their vehicles have turn signals, but only just.

It’s not necessarily stupidity.  I’ve known, personally, people who were frequently oblivious but not necessarily stupid.  It’s not necessarily meanness.  I’ve known, personally, people who were good-natured and even fun, but still were frequently unaware of how their behavior affected people.

The problem is, oblivious people may be even more dangerous than morons or assholes.  Stupid people and assholes are a different beast.  We know them, we can predict their assholery/stupidity and deal with it.

Oblivious people?  There’s no telling what they may screw up next.

Rule Five Red Light Cameras Friday

Our own Aurora and the neighboring city of Denver have experimented with red-light cameras.  I think it’s a terrible idea, and almost certainly unconstitutional.  Here’s an interesting take on the topic.  Excerpt:

Speed and red-light cameras are the bane of many motorists. A modern idea made possible by technology, they have been installed in at least 24 states. Although these cameras are a revenue boon for governments across the nation, their intrusion into daily life is disturbing, and their constitutionality is dubious.

Specifically, use of these cameras could violate the Sixth Amendment. The Confrontation Clause grants criminal defendants the right to be confronted with the witnesses against them. Since it is a camera and not a person that witnessed the offense, such violations generally cannot be considered a criminal offense. The ticket is issued to the owner of the vehicle, not to the person driving it, leaving a lack of certainty as to the identity of the offender.

Therefore, the “ticket” in most places is nothing more than a civil fine, making enforcement and collection difficult. To date, governments have avoided this problem by requiring payment of the fine before motorists can renew their driver’s license or auto registration. Although there generally are appeals procedures, they typically do not give drivers a day in court. In other words, what happened to being innocent until proven guilty?

There are several for-profit companies that install and operate the cameras, some of them foreign-owned. In a typical arrangement, a camera company will contract with a local government to pay the capital cost of installing the cameras in exchange for a share of the revenue generated via fines. In short, governments get a new revenue stream without any operating cost, and the camera companies make a tidy profit.

Stop right there.  Take a look at that last sentence.  Here, read it again:

In short, governments get a new revenue stream without any operating cost, and the camera companies make a tidy profit.

Did you get that?

In short, governments get a new revenue stream without any operating cost, and the camera companies make a tidy profit.

Now there, True Believers, you have the key to the whole thing.  These red light cameras, which almost certainly violate the Sixth Amendment – how can you confront your accuser when the accuser is a camera? – aren’t about traffic safety.  They are all about generating revenue for city governments.

Most of the citations issues are civil fines, meaning you have no recourse in the courts.  And since these are based on photos of moving vehicles and are focused on the plates, the better to ID the owner, they are issued to the owner of the vehicle.  So if you loan your car to a friend, or let your teenager drive, you are fiscally liable for a minor infraction you didn’t commit.

Crap like this lessens respect for the law.  It’s capricious, lacks even a pretense of due process, and is clearly and transparently a revenue-generating tool for city governments.

Last year our own Aurora put the issue on the ballot.  The residents of our town, yr. obdt. among them, voted to get rid of the cameras.  That’s a step in the right direction.  Let’s hope more municipalities follow suit.

Rule Five NYT Hypocrites Friday

The New York Times is really concerned about global warming climate change.  They are so concerned about it that they have launched a campaign to convince you and I that we don’t need air conditioning.

But they need AC, and they are getting AC, in spades, and partly at taxpayer expense.  Yes, really.  Excerpt:

I just spent a week in New York City without air conditioning while doing some heavy lifting. I drank like a fish. I staggered to and fro. I felt dizzy at times. By the end of the week, the unrelieved humidity had left me weak and exhausted. And I was thrilled to return to LA and an earthquake.

And that’s New York. Not Texas or Georgia. Or even Washington D.C.

Air conditioning during the summer in many parts of the country is a vital necessity. It makes it possible for people to function during the hotter months of the year. (Though there’s probably an argument for pulling all cooling technology from D.C. as a reform measure.)

So of course the New York Times published an insane warmunist screed, “Do Americans Need Air-Conditioning?”

Or food. Or shelter.

But, before we take a closer look at the screed, let’s look at how the New York Times was keeping cool while I was going through a gallon of water a day.

The NYTB’s cooling load is served by a 6250 ton chilled water system while heating is provided via high-pressure steam purchased from the utility. Air distribution is achieved via variable air volume boxes for interior zones and fan powered boxes with heating coils for exterior zones. The floors occupied by the New York Times Company utilize an UFAD system, the first of its kind in a New York City high-rise. There is a cogeneration plant provides 1.4 MW of electricity for the building year-round.

A $1 Million grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) helped offset the initial investment in a cogeneration plant.

Really?  Really?  Fuck those assholes!

But here’s the real laugh line:

People in countries with lower G.D.P.s, said David Lehrer, the communications director and a researcher there, are more comfortable with a wider range of temperatures. It appears that first world discomfort is a learned behavior.

My ass.

Maybe people in Third World shitholes are more tolerant of a range of temperatures – mostly because they don’t have any damn choice.  They are also more tolerant of double-digit infant mortality, open sewers, filthy water, dirt floors and the occasional incursion of murderous bandits.  But the United States isn’t a Third World shithole.  Well, maybe parts of San Francisco and Los Angeles, sure, but not most of the United States.

We have a choice.  We choose vaccines, clean streets (well, in most places) and air conditioning.  These hypocritical, finger-wagging assholes at the Noo Yawk Times can choose to swelter in the heat if they want, but they likewise choose air conditioning while proposing to take that choice away from the rest of us.  Well, the New York Times staff aren’t the lords, and we aren’t the serfs; we’ll continue to cool our homes and workplaces in hot weather.

What a bunch of supercilious fuckwads.

Animal’s Daily Climate Hypocrite News

I can’t abide hypocrites.

And national treasure  Ann Althouse has found a doozy.  Excerpt:

This is one of my longtime issues — the hypocrisy of those who purport to care deeply about carbon footprints yet enthusiastically imprint their feet all over the world and encourage (and even pressure) others to do the same.

I like to see how the NYT deals with this subject — the NYT, with all its concern-mongering about climate change and all its travel articles and ads and its need to serve the emotions and vanities of its readers. What are we having today? A little shame, spiced with humorous self-deprecation, along with the usual self-esteem boosting about our progressivism and our love of the good life?

For this article, the author is by Andy Newman. Let’s read:

[T]hese are morally bewildering times. Something that seemed like pure escape and adventure has become double-edged, harmful, the epitome of selfish consumption. Going someplace far away, we now know, is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change. One seat on a flight from New York to Los Angeles effectively adds months worth of human-generated carbon emissions to the atmosphere. And yet we fly more and more….

What’s morally bewildering? If you believe what the consensus of climate scientists and the proponents of the Green New Deal are telling us, you should never travel. Everything else is morally wrong. If you are bewildered, you’re just bewildered about whether you — as opposed to those other people — want to center your life on morality.

But here’s the giggle line:

How does Newman bring this thing in for a landing? He’s still taking his family to Greece and Paris this summer. His reasoning is pathetically emotional: “We’re going because last year we canceled vacation to come home and watch our dog die. We’re going because the New York City public high school application process was an ordeal.” Why not rent a car and drive your spouse and teenager to a state park in upstate New York? You can hike and sleep in tents.

Mostly we’re going because of things we saw last time we were there. The tiny beach at the base of the towering cliff. The playground where the little children played past midnight while their parents and grandparents sat chatting. Chubby partridges pecking around the ruined temple of Poseidon.

So you’ve already gone, but you want to re-see what you’ve seen, because somehow the way they do it in Europe is more to your taste. I’m sure there’s a tiny beach with a towering cliff at one of those state parks I linked to.

This Newman – what an asshole.  He whines about the “carbon footprint” he produces, but then blithely announces he’s going to take his family to Europe anyway.  His reason is, effectively, because “fuck you, that’s why.”

Oh, but he bought some “carbon offsets,” which are the purest corral litter.  The fact is, he has no intention of changing his lifestyle; he just wants Top Men in the Imperial City to force you and I to change ours.  The proper response to this is, of course, “fuck off, slaver.”

Newman’s particular brand of hypocrisy isn’t unique to him.  Take a look at AL Gore’s mansion.  Take a look at Leonardo DeCaprio’s private jet, which he uses in this globe-trotting campaign to stop carbon emissions – except, apparently, for his.  A few moment’s searching would certainly reveal many, many more such examples.

What is it about these jerks, what weird cognitive dissonance is it, that makes them immune from the results of their own pet issues?

Animal’s Daily Robocall News

If you, like me, carry around a cellular phone as a matter of personal necessity (mine is my business phone as well as my personal phone) then you’ve probably been on the receiving end of the recent plague of robocalls and scam calls.  I know I have.  Not surprisingly, the FCC is under a lot of heat to do something.  Excerpt:

It was 3 a.m. when the phone rang.

But it wasn’t an emergency — it was a robocall, and it enraged one resident of Marietta, Pennsylvania, enough to fire off a profane complaint to the Federal Communications Commission.

“Someone should shoot these a**holes,” that robocall recipient wrote.

Both the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission receive a mind-boggling number of complaints monthly from Americans who can’t stand the growing scourge of scam calls. Last year, the FCC received 232,000 complaints regarding unwanted calls like robocalls and telemarketing offers, while the FTC received more than 3.7 million robocall complaints alone. For both agencies, these complaints are the most frequent ones they receive.

Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request from NBC News, the FCC provided roughly 200 lightly redacted complaints — all from May 1 and with the names of the filers redacted — that highlight just how fed up Americans are with the scam calls and how badly they want the government to take action against the perpetrators.

Here’s what’s been done:

Both federal agencies and lawmakers are trying. On Thursday, the Senate passed the TRACED Act, 97 to 1. That bill would push major telecom companies to better authenticate calls while also increasing penalties and fines that the FCC can levy for violations. In the House, legislative efforts are underway to combat “spoofing,” in which scammers trick a caller ID into believing that a call is coming from the recipient’s area code.

Well, great.  Now as a staunch minarchist, I’m not generally in favor of government solutions for every problem, but in this case, I’m in favor of this action, as what I am given to understand this bill does is to actually deregulate the telecom companies in one respect; prior, all service providers were required by law to pass on any attempted call.  Now they will have more latitude to identify and block scammers and robocalls.

As far as the increased penalties, they won’t amount to a damn; most of the robocalls come from overseas, in jurisdictions that aren’t interested in cooperating with the FCC.

Anything to be done about this will have to be done here; let the FCC identify and block these calls, and I suspect the problem will dry up, and the scammers will have to go back to emailing people, claiming to be exiled Nigerian princes.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks once more to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

Meanwhile, now this here is some stupid shit.  Excerpt:

A group calling itself Genesis II Church of Health and Healing plans to convene at a hotel resort in Washington state on Saturday to promote a “miracle cure” that claims to cure 95% of all diseases in the world by making adults and children, including infants, drink industrial bleach.

The group is inviting members of the public through Facebook to attend what they call their “effective alternative healing” at the Icicle Village Resort in Leavenworth on Saturday morning. The organizer of the event, Tom Merry, has publicized the event on his personal Facebook page by telling people that learning how to consume the bleach “could save your life, or the life of a loved one sent home to die”.

The “church” is asking attendants of the meeting to “donate” $450 each, or $800 per couple, in exchange for receiving membership to the organization as well as packages of the bleach, which they call “sacraments”. The chemical is referred to as MMS, or “miracle mineral solution or supplement”, and participants are promised they will acquire “the knowledge to help heal many people of this world’s terrible diseases”.

In a world where people still profess belief in a flat earth, UFOs, chemtrails, Bigfoot and socialism as a workable economic system, it’s not so surprising that some morons would believe that drinking bleach can cure all the world’s ills.  I mean, what do they put in water to purify it for drinking?  Chlorine.  What’s the primary component of most bleaches?  Chlorine.

By that logic, since alcohol is used to kill germs, I should drink more whiskey and then I’d never get sick.

Here’s what I see as the real crime here, and it’s not mentioned in the article; I’m pretty damned certain that the assholes that run this “Genesis II Church of Health and Healing” don’t really believe any of this horseshit, and I’m damned certain they aren’t drinking this toxic crap themselves.  They are soaking idiots for $450 each to drink bleach, and excusing it by calling it “religion,” which, of course, is crap.

Now, I’m a staunch minarchist.  But even in a minarchist system there are protections against fraud.  It’s important to remember that there are only three ways to conduct an economic transaction; by choice, by force, or by fraud.  This is a perfect example of the last of those.