Rule Five Friday

2014_04_04_Rule Five Fridy (1)To go along with some summery Friday Rule Five totty, we have an interestingly timed follow-up to Wednesday’s post regarding the Koch brothers comes today in the form of a Wall Street Journal article from Charles Koch himself.  Excerpt:

Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation’s own government. That’s why, if we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight for those principles. I have been doing so for more than 50 years, primarily through educational efforts. It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process.

2014_04_04_Rule Five Fridy (2)A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens. The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.

There are plenty of pols on both sides of the aisle who fit the mind-set bemoaned by Mr. Koch, namely, that the typical American is incapable of managing his or her own life.  Example:  I favor 2014_04_04_Rule Five Fridy (3)privatizing Social Security at least to the extent that taxpayers should be able to manage their own money – that we do away with the idea of a “trust fund” that may be raided by Congress at will for whatever boondoggle strikes their fancy at the moment, the taxpayer’s “contributions” (use of scare quotes intentional; “contribution” implies that the transaction is voluntary.)  Instead, the taxpayer’s withholding would go into a fund, with their name on it, that they can manage and even pass on to their heirs.

“But Animal,” comes the inevitable question, “what if some people manage their funds badly and lose money?”

2014_04_04_Rule Five Fridy (4)The reply:  “How am I responsible for other people’s poor decisions?”

This is the kind of thing Mr. Koch is describing; the explosion of intrusive, overbearing government.  He concludes:

Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal.

If more businesses (and elected officials) were to embrace a vision of creating real value for people in a principled way, our nation would be far better off—not just today, but for generations to come. I’m dedicated to fighting for that vision. I’m convinced most Americans believe it’s worth fighting for, too.

I don’t know about most Americans – not any more – but I think it’s worth fighting for, too.

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Animal’s Daily News

16 gauge Browning White Lightning
16 gauge Browning White Lightning

Our own dear Mrs. Animal takes a deal of pride in being contrary, at times, and her choice in shotguns reflects that; her arm for trap and sporting clays is the Browning White Lightning in 16 gauge.

Why 16 gauge?  Because she likes it, and sees no need to explain herself beyond that.  Doug Oliver, the keeper of the 16 Gauge Society, has a more detailed explanation.  His thoughts were recently detailed in Shotgun Life.  Excerpt:

“The 16 gauge is absolutely the perfect shotgun,” he explains. “It has a perfect load for wingshooting. Plus a 16 gauge will typically be a pound lighter than a 12 gauge if you’re carrying it all day in the field. The 16 gauge shoots like a 12 gauge but carries like a 20 gauge. It’s a great gun.”

When Doug turned 50, for his midlife crisis instead of a Porsche he bought himself a shotgun. It was a 16-gauge F.A.I.R. Rizzini over/under. It was a better gun than he had known at that point.

On a flight from Los Angeles to New York, he had been reading an article in Double Gun Journal about dove hunting in Argentina. Until that point he had every intention of buying a 20 or 28 Beretta, but the article deflected him to the 16-gauge F.A.I.R. Razzing.

Doug found himself smitten by the lovely 16 gauge. In doing his “homework” for that 16-gauge F.A.I.R. Rizini he realized “that 16 gauge was a stepchild,” he explained. “Information at the time was so hard to dig out and that’s where the 16 Gauge Society web site came in. I though I’d just design and throw up 16 gauge web site and maybe sell a couple of hats. The project itself was fun and informative.”

Relaxing BearOne of my oldest friends is a big 16 gauge fan as well; Dave has been insistent on the virtues of the 16 since we were in high school, back in the 1970s, even as yr. obdt. went along with the Old Man’s preference for 12-bore guns.

Browning Citori Satin Hunter and Mountain Quail.

Still; the 16 is an intriguing size.  A round ball of 16-bore diameter weighs exactly one ounce; a one-ounce shot charge fills the bore nicely, without excessive stacking which can, in smaller bores, lead to long shot strings and blown patterns.  But perhaps one of the nicer things about the 16 is that older guns in this bore size are relatively cheap and easy to find, precisely due to the shrinking popularity of the gauge.

I’ve been scouting around for a WW2-vintage, solid rib 16 gauge Winchester Model 12 to accompany my 12 gauge gun of those specs in the rack. It will be interesting to fact-check Mrs. Animal’s and Dave’s 16 gauge advocacy for myself, both on the range and in the field.  If it matches up to my various 12 gauge guns I’ll be well pleased.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

From the New World Dictionary:

oligarchy (ˈɒlɪˌɡɑːkɪ)

— n , pl -chies
1. government by a small group of people
2. a state or organization so governed
3. a small body of individuals ruling such a state
4. chiefly ( US ) a small clique of private citizens who exert a strong influence on government

So, who qualifies as an “oligarch?”  Like “decimate” this is a term that’s roundly abused.  The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page weighed in on the idea recently.  Excerpt:

You may have noticed that our friends on the left have begun to refer to the Koch brothers and other rich conservatives as “oligarchs.” Like calling evangelicals “jihadists” and the tea party “racist,” this comparison to the billionaires in Vladimir Putin‘s circle is meant to stigmatize and marginalize these men politically and socially.

140331-koch-ness-monsterThis latest Saul Alinsky tactic got us thinking about who really qualifies as an American oligarch. If the definition is someone who becomes rich by association with government power and policies, and then assists those in power, the Kochs would barely make the list. Their companies are usually harassed by government.

The list, with supporting data, is wonderfully illustrated by Doug Ross here (image from that site.)

The demonization of political opponents is nothing new, dating at least back to the Roman Republic – if you think pols today have problems with incivility, read some of Marcus Tullius Cicero’s speeches, especially those about Mark Antony.

Cicero really, really hated Mark Antony.  He was eloquent about it, but the hate really comes through in his speeches to the Roman Senate.

But I digress.

The fact is, the Left – in and out of government both – are demonizing the Koch brothers for activities that some of their own staunchest (and richest)  supporters are guilty of, in spades.  Demonization is one thing, hypocrisy another; while there is plenty on both sides of the aisle, this example by the Left is particularly egregious.

And what’s more – the examples listed on the left side of the political spectrum have, by and large, made their fortunes through collusion with government, while the Koch brothers – agree with their politics or not – have made their fortunes by providing products and services that people want to buy.

Ayn Rand called it the “aristocracy of pull.”  In this as in many other things, she was remarkably prescient.

Animal’s Daily News

bears-cute-awesome2-12An interesting story out of Selma, Alabama, wherein a would-be robbery perp was taken all the way out by an armed citizen – read here and here.

Money quote from that second story:

Law enforcement officials are calling Marlo Ellis a hero in the wake of Thursday’s shooting at the Dollar General in Orrville.

Ellis shot and killed Dallas County resident Kevin McLaughlin after McLaughlin entered the store, reportedly shouting and waving a gun.

Authorities said that as McLaughlin was leading a group of people into a break room, Ellis turned and used his own pistol to shoot McLaughlin. Ellis’ weapon was concealed according to Sheriff Harris Huffman.

McLaughlin was pronounced dead shortly after the shooting.

Facepalm-bearNow, here’s the catch:  The Dollar Store in question had a “no guns” policy, and the CCW holder and proclaimed (by local law enforcement, no less) hero of the moment may face trespassing charges for bringing his weapon into the store in violation of their posted signs.

It’s unclear whether this is a corporate policy or the local store’s idea.  There are Dollar Stores here in Colorado, but honestly I’ve never been in one.  But in this specific instance, if the company proceeds with charges against Ellis, they would bring to mind the Austrian’s reply to Russia after the Russians helped put down a revolt during the Crimean War:  “We will shock the world with our ingratitude.”

Really, to avoid looking like a gigantic collection of jackasses, Dollar Store really needs to just let this one go.

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.

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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.

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