Category Archives: Pet Peeves

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?


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)


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.

Animal’s Daily News

Relaxed BearThanks again to The Other McCain for the Rule Five Links!

Nothing big today, just some random notes:

Am I alone in really hating the new Colonel Sanders?

Fellow Colorado blogger Stephen Green (Vodkapundit)  on the possibility of daffy old Uncle Joe Biden running for President:

Oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please let Joe run.

I have to agree.

Apparently now your office air conditioning is sexist.   I wasn’t sure if this was parody or not, then I saw it was from Vox.  You really can’t make this stuff up.

It seems that corn flakes were created to help people stop masturbating.  Best guess:  Didn’t work.

Derp BearNow two that seem to go together:

The Disgusting Secrets of Smelly Feet.

Sarcasm Is The Key to Creativity.  Unless your feet are too smelly.

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

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Another workweek, another series of plane rides ahead. Oy.

Question:  Why do cable/satellite  television bundles work the way they do?

Being one of those oddballs in today’s world – a sports-illiterate – I experience no small annoyance when I see how much of the cable (Comcast, to be specific) package I’m paying for consists of sports programming.  Why can a cable or satellite television company not offer an ala carte programming scheme, wherein one can only pay for the specific channels one will actually watch?

There are only two television shows I make any effort to watch these days, and they are South Park – the best social satire available today – and Archer, which manages to mix a healthy dose of Sixties spy-show spoofery with a  mix of raunchy, cutting humor.

But if I could, I would love to pay for only a few television channels, maybe one premium movie channel, and forgo all the sports and music programming entirely.  Why can I not have this option at, say, a third of the price of my current package which includes dozens and Excellent Beardozens of channels which I will ignore until the end of time?

The cable company that solves this problem will likely gain a lot of subscribers.

Animal’s Daily Pet Peeves

Relaxed BearA few random peeves:

People who conclude every written sentence with “LOL” should be beaten to death with their keyboards.

People who chew with their mouths open in public should be force-fed syrup of ipecac, so they know how everyone around them feels.

Caps lock.   Writing in all caps isn’t emphatic; it just makes you look like an idiot.

Business people (or anyone else) who say they want “110%.”  You can’t give more than 100%, by definition.

Improper use of “decimate.”  “Decimate” means “to reduce by ten percent.”  If we, as the President claims, “decimate” Al Qaeda, we have reduced them in number by ten percent.  That’s not very good.  In fact, it sucks.

Yes-YOU-bearAnyone who brings an infant or toddler to a movie and sits there in the theater while the kid cries loudly or otherwise raises hell, should have someone sneak in their bedroom late at night and blow a boat horn in their ear.

I’m frequently tempted to carry a string of firecrackers.  Why?  For people who come to the bottom of an escalator, stop and stand there looking around.  A string of Black Cats going off around their feet will get their dead asses moving.

Slow people in general.  A couple of years back I was buzzing through the Philly airport with a tight connection, and had to go to another concourse across the airport.  While passing through the terminal I passed a group of college-age kids who were also walking.

Excellent BearI passed them.  Me, a middle-aged man with a backpack full of paper and electronics passed a bunch of college kids.  Unencumbered college kids.

Who were walking on a goddamn moving walkaway while I was walking on the corridor beside it.

Do these kids have no damn sense of purpose whatsoever?

Animal’s Daily News

Silver BearIn the style of the esteemed Dr. Sowell, here today are some random thoughts and notes on the passing scene.

Some interesting work possibilities are in progress.  Bids are out on four projects; two in the Bay Area, one in Cleveland, and one in Ogden, Utah.  Of the four the Ogden job is vastly preferable.  As far as the work itself there is little to differentiate the four, but the Ogden area is vastly preferable to the others; quiet, scenic, friendly, reasonably close to home, and the climate and landscape are familiar.  We are reliably informed there is some great waterfowling in the area.

Sleepy-BearGasoline prices continue to drop.  We filled up Mrs. Animal’s Explorer today for $2.66 a gallon.  Before the Thanksgiving holiday gas here in the metro Denver area was over $3.  Apparently the Saudis are ramping up production to try to squeeze out the boom in North American shale production, but either way it’s good for consumers, and when the sheiks run out of oil the shale fields will still be there.  And they can’t touch us on natural gas production, which will continue.

The 2016 presumptive Democrat Presidential front-runner, Hillary Clinton, is underwhelming crowds.  In the considered opinion of yr. obdt., who has been a dedicated election-watcher since the 1976 contest, she won’t be the nominee.  She is carrying more baggage than a Samsonite factory, and she is old news.  And remember – she was the presumptive nominee in 2008 as well, and was adroitly taken out by a newcomer nobody much had heard of before that year.

Manly Arts.
Manly Arts.

One of our favorite state wildlife areas, the 891-acre Brush State Wildlife Area, no long requires reservations!  This SWA is a great place to jump-shoot some tasty wild mallards, and there are white-tailed deer, rabbits, a few pheasants, quail and squirrels on the land as well.  The Brush SWA is also not what most non-Coloradans think of when they think of our state; east of Ft. Morgan, it’s all Platte River lowlands, flat and lightly wooded with cottonwoods and ash trees.  It’s a fun place to take a shotgun and wander around for a couple of hours, and now that we can do it on short notice – which work schedules frequently mandate – it’s back on the list of Things That Need Doing.  Maybe this week sometime.

One that outdoorsy note, we return you to your Thursday, already in progress.

Animal’s Daily News

Angry-BearAs a person who travels for a living, this was of great interest:  What’s Up With That:  Boarding Airplanes Takes Forever.  Boy howdy, does it ever.  Excerpt:

I was at the airport last week, and all I wanted to do was sit down, strap in, and lift off. Of course I couldn’t, because there were a bunch of people standing in my way. As the line crept along, I scanned ahead for malingerers, but everyone seemed sufficiently ready to board. I couldn’t help but wonder, is there a more efficient way for airlines to put get our butts into our seats, and into the air?

Millions of other people probably have pondered this question. At least one wrote a computer program to find the answer. Jason Steffen is an astrophysicist at Northwestern University, and several years ago he modeled different airline boarding methods to see what made them so slow. He also figured out how airlines could get us on board much faster.

Unfortunately the airlines aren’t really listening.

The problem is this:  It’s not possible to come up with a perfect system for boarding an airplane or, for that matter, any other operation that involves people – unless you have perfect people.  Having boarded a few hundred airplanes over the last ten years or so as an independent consultant, I can observe with some experience that there is always – always – at least one knucklehead who holds up the line because:

  • They brought aboard an enormous dog-coffin “carry-on” that they can’t manage to cram into the overhead bin.
  • Airline seats are an intimidating and mysterious thing, and they have to stand in the aisle for an extended time examining their seat before getting in.
  • The overhead bin above their seat is full, so they proceed to the back of the plane, stuff their bag in the last bin at the back, then have to swim against the current all the way back to their row.
    • A variation on this is the knucklehead who stuffs their bag in a bin in First Class, then has to come back forward from Economy and retrieve it when the flight attendant tells them they can’t use that space.
  • Last but not least, the idiot who can’t stop talking on the phone long enough to sit down and strap in.

Sad-BearThe traveling life has it’s share of frustrations, and air travel is stressful enough already without having to deal with nitwits.  Unfortunately, like death and taxes, nitwits will always be with us.

Perhaps, instead of looking for more efficient ways to board aircraft, science should look for a cure for nitwittery?