Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks again to Robert Stacy and Smitty for the Rule Five linkage – and also to our pals at The Daley Gator for the same.  Now, on to some geological news:  4.8 Earthquake Shakes Yellowstone.  Excerpt:

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports the earthquake occurred at 6:34 a.m. about 4 miles north-northeast of the Norris Geyser Basin. The university reports it was felt in the Montana border towns of West Yellowstone and Gardiner, both about 20 miles from the epicenter.

 Some folks will no doubt fret about the Yellowstone Supervolcano, which will inevitably erupt – someday – and wipe out a good portion of North America, not to mention knocking the earth’s climate into a cocked hat for what may be quite a few years.  Being of a somewhat more sanguine nature than some, I tend to adopt a “What, Me Worry?” attitude towards such things – there’s really no point in worrying about things you can’t change, one way or another.  And these Yellowstone quakes are nothing unusual; the area of the caldera has been geologically active for a long, long time.

Folks living in southern California, now they may have a little more reason to be concerned.  Excerpt:

What, Me Worry?

The Puente Hills thrust fault, which brought Friday night’s magnitude-5.1 quake centered in La Habra and well over 100 aftershocks by Sunday, stretches from northern Orange County under downtown Los Angeles into Hollywood – a heavily populated swath of the Los Angeles area.

A magnitude-7.5 earthquake along that fault could prove more catastrophic than one along the San Andreas, which runs along the outskirts of metropolitan Southern California, seismologists said.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that such a quake along the Puente Hills fault could kill 3,000 to 18,000 people and cause up to $250 billion in damage. In contrast, a larger magnitude 8 quake along the San Andreas would cause an estimated 1,800 deaths.

Smiling BearStill – worrying won’t change it.  One has to feel for the residents of SoCal, though; if the fiscal condition of their state and the peripatetic lunacy of their state government wasn’t bad enough, then to have to add earthquakes to the list of things that can go south…  Well, Colorado by comparison looks mighty good.

Rule Five Friday

2014_03_28_Rule Five Friday (1)Let’s build a little bit on yesterday’s post about stupid politicians with a real-life example; Iowa Democrat Dismisses Chuck Grassley As ‘A Farmer From Iowa Who Never Went to Law School.’  Excerpt:

If there’s one thing that candidates should have learned from the 2012 election season, it’s to watch what they say in closed-door fundraisers. One Iowa Democrat apparently didn’t get the memo.

While attempting to court a group of lawyers at a South Texas fundraiser, Rep. Bruce Braley took a swipe at Sen. Chuck Grassley by warning of a possible Republican Senate majority after the midterms.

2014_03_28_Rule Five Friday (2)“You might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Braley said in a video released by the conservative America Rising PAC. “Because, if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

If there’s one thing that candidates should have learned from the 2012 election season, it’s to watch what they say in closed-door fundraisers. One Iowa Democrat apparently didn’t get the memo.

While attempting to court a group of lawyers at a South Texas fundraiser, Rep. Bruce Braley took a swipe at Sen. Chuck Grassley by warning of a possible Republican Senate majority after the midterms.

“You might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Braley said in a video released by the conservative America Rising PAC. “Because, if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

2014_03_28_Rule Five Friday (3) Grassley is the ranking member of that committee. Braley, who practiced law before joining the House, told the crowd he would be someone on the Senate Judiciary Committee with “your background, your experience, your voice, someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years.”

Speaking as someone who was raised by an Iowa farmer who never went to law school and never practiced law, it would be easy to take this rather personally.  The Old Man, even today at 90 years of age but in fine physical and mental fettle, is far better suited, both temperamentally and intellectually, to serve in Congress than 99% of the incumbents – maybe 100%.

But the real eye-opener is this comment:

…Braley, who practiced law before joining the House, told the crowd he 2014_03_28_Rule Five Friday (4)would be someone on the Senate Judiciary Committee with “your background, your experience, your voice, someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years.”

Holy shit.  Is that supposed to be a recommendation?  If there are two things this nation needs, it is 1) tort reform, and b) fewer lawyers in Congress.

I’m a big fan of term limits, but I’d rather have ten Grassleys in the Senate than one Braley.  Let’s hope Iowa voters kick this nitwit to the curb.

2014_03_28_Rule Five Friday (5)

Animal’s Daily News

Ever wonder why pols seem to be getting dumber?  Have a look at this first of a series of three videos in PJMedia’s Trifecta series.

See Part 2 here – and watch for the upcoming Part 3.

Here’s the question:  How do these nitwits get elected?  One possible observation is that the majority of voters in their respective districts/states themselves lack the mental brainpower to think their way out of a wet paper bag.   Another is the sad state of our electorate today, with nearly 50% dependent to one degree or another on government, because of which many pols who are Facepalm-bearpathetically, profoundly ignorant on a host of issues nevertheless can muster the brainpower to promise voters more and more of someone else’s stuff.

Anyone with enough brains to pound sand knows islands can’t capsize.  Unfortunately a room-temperature IQ apparently isn’t a bar to elected office.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

Some random tidbits on this fine Hump Day.

From the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson:  Loud + Weak = War.  Speaking loudly and carrying a twig, in other words, is a recipe for failure.

More on that topic:  If NATO Doesn’t Stand up to Putin, it’s finished.  Note to the Telegraph’s copyeditor:  NATO is an acronym, and should be rendered in all caps.  What ever happened to the rules of written English, anyway?

Speaking of NATO – this from the Wall Street Journal, NATO’s Military Decline.   One could just as easily write an article on the West’s military decline – it would be just as apt.

Moving east (or East, if you prefer) How Japan Could Turn the Tables on China.   Of late Japan has been making some noises of rearming, Sleepy-Bearand who could blame them?  Japan’s entire post-war military posture has been based on the presumption that America, bound by treaty obligations, would have their backs – and they aren’t so sure about that any more.  And who could blame them?

And finally, it looks like the missing Malaysian airliner has been found – maybe.  Who knows?

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

Animal’s Daily News

Harp BearThanks to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

This just in from the folks at Reason:  The 3D Economy – Forget Guns, What Happens When Everyone Prints Their Own Shoes?  Excerpt:

Imagine what will happen when millions of people start using the tools that produced The Liberator to make, copy, swap, barter, buy, and sell all the quotidian stuff with which they furnish their lives. Rest in peace, Bed, Bath & Beyond. Thanks for all the stuff, Foxconn, but we get our gadgets from Pirate Bay and MEGA now.

Once the retail and manufacturing carnage starts to scale, the government carnage will soon follow. How can it not, when only old people pay sales tax, fewer citizens obtain their incomes from traditional easy-to-tax jobs, and large corporate taxpayers start folding like daily newspapers? Without big business, big government can’t function.

Naysayers to this scenario point out that the typical 3D printer is still expensive (a canard; technology always drops in relative price as it becomes mainstreamed) and that users still have to buy raw materials and software (somewhat accurate; raw materials will also become cheaper, but software is effectively uncontrollable.)

This tech, Reason accurately points out, has the potential to set manufacturing on its ear.  However, world-changing new tech always does; the invention of the automobile and Henry Ford’s introduction of mass production in the automotive industry changed the world, and drove several competing industries into near-extinction almost overnight; buggy-whip makers, horse tack manufacturers, farriers and coachbuilders suddenly found themselves looking for other work.  This will do the same; it will be awfully hard for TV pitchmen to convince you to buy the new Whang-O One-Hand Bottle Opener for just $9.95 (Order NOW and we’ll double the offer!) when the typical consumer will be able to download a pattern and print their own.

Reason concludes:

Be prepared, however, to expect some pushback from your local regulators. Over the past decade or so, as newer technologies and fewer opportunities for traditional employment have prompted more people to act in entrepreneurially innovative ways, government’s response has been the same: Consumers must be protected against strawberry balsamic jam made in home kitchens. Tourists must be protected against immaculately maintained carriage houses that can be rented on a daily basis for below-hotel rates. Travelers must be protected from cheap rides from the airport.

Shy BearWhen government realizes that self-produced plastic shower curtain rings are far more potentially disruptive than self-produced plastic pistols, it’ll be more than libertarian entrepreneur-iconoclasts at risk.

3D printing gives consumers much, much more control over a wide range of consumer goods – how they will be produced, designed, bought and sold.  The down side:  Government at all levels in institutionally incapable of surrendering control.  This is a technology that threatens to place a vast swath of consumer goods outside the taxable, regulated grasp of industry and in the direct control of consumers.  Watch for the inevitable shouts of the need to control this – probably “for our own good.”

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye Blue Monday!
Goodbye Blue Monday!

Reason recently put up another interesting article about the libertarian game-changer of the moment.  Rand Paul: 2Libertarian 2Be Electable?  (And yes, I loathe the moronic substitution of numbers for words.)  Excerpt:

I have no doubt that right now serious libertarianism will be a hard national sell, even to a Republican Party that in theory should be able to embrace the small-government part. It also seems likely that any liberal/progressive affection for the anti-security state, pro-civil liberties Rand Paul will crash and burn against the wall of his opposition to abortion and government income transfer programs. Paul told me in my New York Times piece of the need for more social tolerance and minority outreach for the GOP, but I think no amount of that will overcome the abortion and income transfer stuff when it comes to winning over Democrat-leaning independents.

That said, a Santorum-like focus on being “socially conservative” is unlikely to be a national winner for the Party at any time moving forward into the 21st century, so there’s another good reason–besides reality itself–for some major Party to suck it up and offer something close to real libertarianism.

It would be profoundly interesting to see a Presidential candidate run on a social-issues platform of “mind your own damn business.”  It is, at least in the considered opinion of this correspondent, a platform that will capture far more of the younger Millennial demographic than will a Rick Santorum-style evangelical platform.

Standing-BearThe times, they are-a changin’, and the GOP hasn’t quite figured that out yet.  It’s possible Rand Paul has.  Fortunately for Mr. Paul and the GOP’s young Turks, the Democrats don’t seem to have figured that out yet either, as they continue to adhere to a Sixties-style statist, left-wing platform of ever-increasing spending and ever-increasing dependency.

Stein’s Law applies.  Something that can’t continue, won’t.

Rule Five Friday

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (1)Want to hear a tale about game-changers?

Let’s take a look at Rand Paul at Berkeley.  PJ Media’s Roger Simon has some interesting observations.  Excerpt:

Whatever you think of Rand Paul, he’s actually doing something that politicians rarely do — talking at length to audiences who don’t usually agree with him.  And winning over new friends in the process. His recent speech at UC Berkeley, where he apparently got a standing ovation for excoriating runaway government spying on Americans, is only the latest example.

Historically, the Republican Party has been just what the public thinks it is, largely a bunch of risk-averse white men who are totally clueless at public relations, even though they are on the right (correct) side of almost every issue.  Meanwhile, the liberal Democrats haven’t had a decent rational argument about anything for years, if they ever did. They ream young people, blacks and virtually every other “interest group”that supports them with their policies and they still win most national elections.  What a disgraceful group of losers that makes the Republicans. There are literally thousands of chips on the table and they’re leaving them all behind.

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (2)Rand Paul is smart enough to realize this and actually goes out and does things about it. Other Republicans should get out their little red book of quotations and Learn from Chairman Rand.  The country is changing.  Whole new groups are ripe for the picking, most obviously the young who are being so completely raked over by the Obama administration via Obamacare and the rest of the entitlements so many of them know they will never see. They were ready to applaud at Berkeley.

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (3)For the last thirty years or so, yr. obdt. had been advocating for the increasing libertarian wing of the Republican party.  Rand Paul comes the closest we’ve had to a viable member of that wing to run for President (and yes, he’s certainly positioning himself for precisely that) in a long, long time – maybe ever.

But the Berkeley gig – that’s something new.

Rand Paul is doing something not many political candidates do nowadays.  He’s venturing into hostile territory, and he’s winning supporters among them that should by rights be supporting the other side.  That could backfire on him badly, or it could be the 2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (4)beginnings of a 1984-style landslide.

There is one concern about Paul the Younger, and that is his plans for the War Department Department of Defense.  It’s not really a good time to be reducing the budget for our military; not with Vlad Putin kicking up his heels in eastern Europe, Iran building nukes, and the stunted little gargoyle from  a line of stunted little gargoyles running North Korea launching missiles into the Sea of Japan.

Mr. Simon concludes:

I suspect, given how bad things have been the last 5-6 years, the country is ready to hear some radical proposals, like truly massive cuts to federal government programs  and a flat tax, maybe even, as Rick Perry suggested in the last election cycle, the complete elimination of some government departments.  He called for three.  How about four?

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (5)I am NOT one, however,  who thinks we should be cutting defense at all at this present time, given what’s going on across the globe from Caracas to Tehran.  That’s where I might diverge from Citizen Rand.  I get nervous when I read columns from his father about the Crimea.  Maybe Old Ron never visited the Soviet Union.  I did.  It was a jail the size of a continent. It went away for awhile, but unfortunately Evil Empires have  a way of coming back.

In any case, we shall see how Rand reacts to all this in the fullness of time. The way things are going, I suspect he won’t be able to avoid it.

I suspect he’s right.

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (6)

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.