Rule Five Friday

2014_07_25_Rule Five Friday (1)2016 is still a long ways away, electorally-speaking, but the Presidential sweepstakes are already in progress.  And one of the more interesting potential candidates blue-side are Massachusetts’ own Fauxcahontas, Elizabeth Warren.  But is Ms. Warren really all that?  Maybe not.  Excerpt:

The notion that Elizabeth Warren should challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party presidential nomination has been optimistically tossed around in left-wing circles for a while now. Activists at Netroots Nation recently chanted ”Run, Liz, run.”  And no doubt, the excitement generated by Warren is a function of her ideological sincerity—a sincerity that’s most obvious when contrasted with Hillary Clinton’s lack of earnestness and pandering.

2014_07_25_Rule Five Friday (2)Still, it seems to me that a lot of people are overestimating the appeal, uniqueness, and popularity of Warren. What’s most enticing about Warren right now is the perception of her, not the reality.

If you’re looking at Fauxcahontas from the right, that perception is somewhat different than that of those encouraging her to run; Elizabeth Warren is just another New England progressive, nothing more, nothing less.  Still, it would be roundly entertaining to see her run, and even more so to see her win the Democratic nomination.  2014_07_25_Rule Five Friday (3)Why?

  • She’s a bit to Barack Obama’s left, but without his talent for speechifying – given a teleprompter (President Obama is an absolutely execrable speaker without a script.)
  • Like many on the political left, and, sadly, all too many on the right, she is pathetically, completely, irretrievably economically illiterate.
  • Her entire academic career is based on a lie – she gained her position at Harvard by claiming minority status, naming a purely fictional Cherokee ancestor.  The GOP can and should hang that on her like a cheap leisure suit.
  • If she was half as competent as she thinks she is, she’d be twice as competent as she really is; that would make primary debates and Presidential debates really, really entertaining.

2014_07_25_Rule Five Friday (4)The Federalist concludes:  She would offer a more honest reflection of Democratic Party’s drift to the far Left on economics. But if anyone believes Democrats have another 2008-Obama on their hands, they haven’t really taken the time to listen to Elizabeth Warren.

Of course, there will be a primary fight, and Democrat voters will get to see Elizabeth Warren in all her amateurish, gaffe-ridden glory – and, almost certainly, will choose someone else.  But who?  Hillary Clinton, who has more baggage than a Samsonite factory?  Daffy old Joe Biden, who can’t open his mouth without something ridiculous coming out?

No matter what happens, it’s going to be an entertaining election cycle.  And the GOP will probably only add to the entertainment factor.

2014_07_25_Rule Five Friday (5)

Animal’s Daily News

Sabatti 1I think I might need one of these.

This, True Believers, is a Sabatti double rifle, made in Italy and imported exclusively by sporting-goods giant Cabela’s.  The Sabatti comes in two grades, with the higher (and more expensive) grade coming in what would ideally be my caliber of choice, the thunderously powerful .470 Nitro Express.

Yes, it’s an elephant gun.

What makes the Sabatti unique in the double-rifle market is its price tag; just a hair over $5,000 for a nicely appointed, heavy-caliber hunting double.  Sure, it’s a bit heavy for Alaskan moose and even grizzlies, but I’ve always been an adherent of the principle that you can shoot little stuff with a big gun, but you can’t shoot big stuff with a little gun.  And the .470NE is manifestly a big gun.

Sabatti 2The double rifle is still a mainstay for dangerous African game (and I still harbor a desire to one day hunt Cape Buffalo) for one reason:  It’s the fastest second shot available in a sledgehammer-grade caliber shoulder weapon.

And, of course, there is the “cool” factor.

So who says one couldn’t go into the Alaskan bush after moose with a rifle that Robert Ruark would have happily carried out hunting buffalo or elephant?  Nobody, that’s who; at least, nobody who is a hunter or shooter, and who isn’t particularly recoil-sensitive.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

Let’s talk about more science stuff today; Anti-GMO Activists Are Harming Hungry Africans.  Excerpt:

African crop yields lag well behind those of the world’s developed countries, and the continent’s food security is shaky at best. Starvation is an ever-present threat for many, and the impending effects of climate change loom ominously in the distance. But scientists have solutions, genetically modified crops that are resistant to droughts, pests, and disease, that, pending government approval, are ready for planting. Dismayingly, Luddite anti-GMO campaigners have smeared these potential problem-solvers as unsafe and unnatural, and as a result, to-date no African government has approved the use of GM crops.

Looking for a logical argument coming from the kind of eco-Luddites who oppose things like GMO crops and vaccines is like looking for a piece of straw in an enormous stack of needles, but even that isn’t the worst of it.  The thing is this:  Africa should be a wealthy continent.  The place is huge; you could drop the United States and Russia into Africa and have room left over for a Europe or two.  It has enormous mineral wealth, some of the world’s best farmlands, and plenty of manpower.

So, what’s holding Africa back?

Sleepy-bearGenerations of fundamentally corrupt governments, for one thing.  In some places – like Sudan – Islamic nutballery is a big part of the problem.  But the West has limited ability to affect those things.  What can we affect?

We could – and should – stop helping them.

Heartless?  Not at all.  The GMO controversy is just one way in which well-meaning but ignorant outsiders are preventing the spread of technology that could revolutionize African agriculture.  And yes, the anti-GMO protestors are ignorant; no reputable study has ever found a threat to human health from GMO crops (see here and here.)

What’s interesting is that the anti-GMO nuts are almost invariably members of the political Left.  I thought the political Left was supposed to be pro-science?

In all candor, in our country at least, this is probably more a symptom of the United States’ utter failure in basic science education than anything else.

Animal’s Daily News

Smiling BearThanks as always to The Other McCain for our inclusion in the Sunday Rule Five index!

This morning, let’s look at some tidbits from the world of science.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Is a Fucking Idiot.  ‘Nuff said.

Check out the vehicle that people could drive on Mars.  I doubt you’ll see one at a showroom near you any time soon.  Too bad.

The Secret of Natural Sandstone Arches.  Sandstone arches, not Golden Arches; the only secret to the latter is how they manage to stay in business while serving such crappy food.

What Happened When A State Accidentally Legalized Prostitution.  Thumbnail:  Rape cases decreased.  Specifically:  “The statewide incidence of gonorrhea among women declined by 39 percent, and the number of rapes reported to police in the state declined by 31 percent, according to the paper.”

Finally, in answer to a question that nobody had ever asked until now:  Scientists Use MRI to Measure Precisely How Your Butt Deforms When You Sit Down.  Excerpt:

The complex deformation of buttocks tissue seen in this case study may help explain the inconsistent results reported in finite element models. 3D imaging of the seated buttocks provides a unique opportunity to study the actual buttocks response to sitting.”

Uh… OK?

And on that note, we return you to your Tuesday, already in progress.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday
Goodbye, Blue Monday

Here’s an interesting take on the current state of global terror from Pajama Media’s Richard Fernandez:  The Element of Predictable Surprise.  Excerpt:

The current model of al-Qaeda is much more sophisticated than the original, with a minimum 7,000 jihadists with Western passports supported by intelligence, signals and other specialist cells.  While they have waxed, the West has deliberately waned.  The Obama administration has defined the threat away by tying the War on Terror to a campaign talking point. They must now maintain the fiction that “Osama bin Laden is dead and Detroit is alive” because that was an electoral promise which on no account must be falsified.

The WOT is now officially over, except for low-level  responses like drone strikes and targeted intelligence operations.  But what if it’s not? What if the president declared victory with the enemy still rampant in the field? In retrospect, the major strategic miscalculation of the Obama administration may have been a failure to anticipate that the terror threat would evolve. Their implicit assumption was that the jihad would remain at the al-Qaeda 1.0 level indefinitely.  They never imagined it would mutate and they would have to take the very roads that they proscribed.

It’s a truism in military circles that we always train to fight the last war.  This one is no different.  We’ve been watching for another 9/11, and there has been a certain amount of hubris amongst our military and intelligence communities – and in the White House- that there has not been a repeat of that day.  But the savages that adhere to radical Islam – and make no mistake, “terror” is not the enemy, radical Islam is – almost certainly won’t try the same thing again.

Bear in mind that these people have access to chemical weapons (from Syria and, presumably, from those stocks of Saddam Hussein’s that may have found their way there) to nuclear materials and maybe even nuclear weapons (from Pakistan and soon, Iran) and possibly even biological agents (from who knows where.)

Bear in mind also that these fucking savages have, in many cases, the resources of nation-states behind them:  Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and Hamas-governed Gaza.

Mr. Fernandez ends with an interesting thought:

The major reason for the absence of large-scale attacks despite the growing jihadi capability is they are not yet sure what the response will be. Ironically, it may be the fear of Europe that is holding terror back. European politics can be far more volatile than American politics.  The flip side of the soft left in Europe can be the very hard right.

Grizzly-Bear-FaceA jihadist nuclear device, placed on a container ship and detonated in New York harbor, would almost certainly result in the American people demanding an overwhelming response – and, assuming we can determine a source for the nuclear material, a Middle Eastern nation turned into a smoking, radioactive ruin.  But Europe is a lot closer to the Islamic nations, and most of Europe now has a significant and frequently troublesome Muslim minority.

Imagine how Europe would look if increasing jihadi activity brought another Hitler to the fore – or another Charles Martel.

The Continent could them make World War II look like a minor scrap in a schoolyard.

Rule Five Friday

2014_07_18_Rule Five Friday (1)Consider the following:

“If there were any way to make compromise work, (the President) is the man who could have done it.  He was an expert at the game of manipulating pressure groups – a game that consists of making promises and friends, and keeping the second, but not the first.  His skill as a manipulator was the one characteristic that his “public image builders” were selling us at the height of his popularity.  If he cold not make it, no amateur can.

The practical efficacy of compromise is the first premise that (the President’s) history should prompt people to check.  And, I believe, a great many people are checking it.  People, but not Republicans – or, at least, 2014_07_18_Rule Five Friday (2)not all of them.  Not those who are now pushing an unformed, soft-shelled thing like Romney to succeed where a pro has failed.

What are we left with, now that the consensus has collapsed?  Nothing but the open spectacle of a mixed economy’s intellectual and moral bankruptcy, the random wreckage of its naked mechanism, with the screeching of its gears as the only sound in our public silence – the sound of crude, range-of-the-moment demands by pressure groups who have abandoned even the pretense of any political ideals or moral justification.

Sound familiar?  Maybe a statement from the Presidential election of 2012?  You could certainly be justified in thinking so.

But this was Ayn Rand, in a lecture given at the Ford 2014_07_18_Rule Five Friday (3)Hall Forum on April 16, 1967.  The President she was speaking of was Lyndon Johnson; the Romney in question was Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney.

But there’s another parallel that is, perhaps, even more telling; earlier in this same speech, Ms. Rand said:

Where is President Johnson’s consensus today?  And where, politically, is President Johnson?  To descend – in two years, in an era of seeming prosperity, without the push of any obvious national disaster – to descend from the height of a popular landslide to the status of a liability to his own party in the elections of 1966, is a feat that should give pause to anyone concerned with modern politics.

2014_07_18_Rule Five Friday (4)Mark Twain once said that history may not repeat, but it often rhymes.  Consider once more the rhyming of Johnson’s Presidency and that of Barack Obama:  Johnson’s downfall gave us the price-freezing, paranoid Nixon, the bland place-holder Ford, the inept and hapless Carter and finally, when the nation was sick of mediocrities and buffoons, the truly transformative Ronald Reagan.  Barack Obama enjoys none of the advantages Johnson had; we are embroiled in a savage battle against radical Islam, the economy is stagnant due to idiotic fiscal and economic policies, and Barack Obama is probably the most inept President since Andrew Johnson.  And there does not appear to be a Reagan waiting in the wings.

Rand also said, in this same speech:  “As of this date, Governor Reagan seems to be a promising public figure – I do not know him and cannot speak for the future.”

Where is our next Reagan?  Who will bring us the next Morning in America?  Who will be the next promising figure in America’s future?

There is a historic rhyme that we’re still all waiting to see.

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