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 Urban Outdoorsmen News

Denver police are going to resume enforcement of the city’s camping ban, in spite of its overturn by an activist local judge.  This is good news, a commodity that is in short supply regarding public policy in Colorado these days.  Excerpt:

The Denver Police Department will resume enforcing the city’s urban camping ban, the Denver City Attorney’s Office confirmed Monday evening. A county judge struck down the ban in late December. 

The judge, Johnny C. Barajas, argued the ban violated the Eight Amendment.

“The County Court ruling related to the ordinance did not overturn or prohibit enforcement,” the city attorney’s office said of the judge’s decision.

The city attorney’s office did not say when enforcement would resume.

Since the ban was struck down, the homeless community has set up tents in public places previously off-limits to camping, such as Civic Center Park.

The city attorney’s office says an appeal of the judge’s ruling has not yet been filed, but a notice of appeal has been submitted in district court.

Here’s where the stupid creeps back in:

(Notorious leftist)  Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca said last week that she wants to repeal the ban through City Council.

“When you’re a city and starved of public dollars, and you have a ruling that a law you’re enforcing is cruel and unusual, you should repeal that law,” CdeBaca said.

It’s certainly more cruel and unusual to leave these bums on the streets.  Forget about the possibility of harm to themselves; they made choices that led them to this status, and nobody else is responsible for their predicament.  Many, if not most, of them have mental health and substance abuse issues, and they pose a direct threat to the urban environs they infest.  Look at Los Angeles, where they have had outbreaks of various communicable diseases among their urban outdoor population, including leprosy – leprosy, for crying out loud!

Allowing bums to camp in city parks does no good to anyone; not to the people of the city, not to public sanitation, and, no, not to the bums themselves.  If we are going to have city property, then the city should keep the bums out of it.  Denver’s appeal will almost certainly result in the ordinance being upheld, and that (hopefully) will be a rare victory for common sense in our courts.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Programming note:  Trying a new format for the Wednesday links posts.  If I decide I like it, I may expand the format to the rest of the week.

On to the links!

The daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont steps on a rake.

Barack Obama got a Nobel prize for existing.  Now he’s getting an Oscar nomination for existing.  Talk about phoning it in.

Spartacus Drops Out.  Are we under a dozen yet?

Reporter in Australian taken in by old drop-bear gag.

Cocaine Mitch says Nancy Pelosi has struck out.  He’s almost certainly right.

The correct answer is “who gives a shit?

Austin, TX has a case of California Disease.

Goose. They are the Hate Birds, the Birds That Hate.

Duck!

Duck!

Goose!

We’re not stuck in here with you.  You’re stuck in here with us.

Coming soon to a blue state near you.

This week’s idiots:

This week’s selection of idiots is wide-ranging.

Bloomberg’s Francis Wilkinson is an idiot.

Casey B. Mulligan explains why many financial “experts” are idiots.

Andrew Yang is an idiot.

I have no idea who Eric Benet is, but he’s an idiot.

The stupid, it is strong in this one.

DNC Chair Tom Perez is an idiot.

And now…

It’s been an interesting week so far, and it’s going to get more interesting.  Things in the Imperial City right now are like the Energizer Bunny on crack; they just keep getting dumber, and dumber, and dumber.

And on that note:  We return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.

Animal’s Daily Brain Development News

Before we move on, go check out the latest in my Thirty-Something RIfle Cartridges series over at Glibertarians!

Now: Here is Complete Colorado’s Rob Natelson on another shot at the graduated age of majority.  Excerpt:

On December 20, President Trump signed legislation purporting to impose a single national age of 21 for selling tobacco products.

Obviously, the measure reduces the freedom of millions of Americans who are legally adults in almost every other respect—including (correctly or not) the right to vote. Moreover, setting minimum consumption ages is not a power the Constitution grants the federal government. The Constitution reserves it to the states.

The issue here, of course, is not whether tobacco products are safe. They clearly are not. The issue here is whether our Constitution and the freedoms it protects are safe. As this episode demonstrates, they clearly are not.

Regulating local sale and consumer use of products is an exercise of what lawyers call the “police power.” This phrase does not refer to your local police officers; it is an older use of “police” to mean “policy.” The police power is authority to adopt regulations to protect public health, safety, morals, and the general welfare. Under the Constitution, the states retain broad police power, with constitutionally-imposed exceptions.

By contrast, the Constitution grants the federal government only certain enumerated (listed) powers, including police power within Washington, D.C. and other federal enclaves and the federal territory. Outside those areas—as the Supreme Court has reiterated—the federal government has no general police power.

This is why when advocates of Prohibition sought to ban alcohol use, they did so by constitutional amendment.

Did you get that?  The Imperial government has no authority to meddle with what ages people are allowed to buy tobacco.  In the past, where drinking ages and so forth were concerned, the Imperial City set age expectations in a different manner – through extortion.  When the Imperial age limit of 21 was decided for alcohol, for example, the Imperial City threatened to withhold highway funding for states that did not meekly submit.

In an ideal world, Washington wouldn’t have this kind of hold over the states.  State highways should be state business, and if we are going to have a national highway net – as in, the U.S. highways and the interstate highway system – then either the Imperial City pays for them, or the states pay for construction and maintenance within their borders – no payment of tax money into the Imperial government to be doled back out piecemeal and oh, by the way, used as a cudgel to force recalcitrant states into submission with Imperial whims.

I’m notoriously irritated by the idiotic graduated-age-of-majority in our country, but I’m far more irritated by this kind of high-handed Imperial extortion.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Bacon Time, The Other McCain and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

There’s an old saying that pols on the left measure government “compassion” by how many folks are on the welfare rolls, while the right measures it by how many no longer need to be on the welfare rolls.  That’s superficially accurate, when you’re talking about direct handouts like the SNAP (used to be food stamp) program, and during President Trump’s tenure, enrollment in that program is down.  Dramatically.  Excerpt:

While the Trump administration anticipated that the new rule would prospectively reduce the number of people on food stamps, the growth in employment has meant that the number of people on food stamps plummeted even under the old rule:

President Trump has overseen a drop of millions of food stamp beneficiaries even before his administration’s proposals for tightening eligibility take effect.

The administration sees it as an accomplishment that food stamp rolls have fallen by 17.5% as the economy has grown and said that further reforms to the benefits will aid families. Democrats and anti-poverty groups, though, warn that the administration’s proposals would further impoverish children, immigrants, and veterans.

Trump’s year-end list of “results” included the boast that “nearly 7 million Americans have been lifted off of food stamps,” which the administration credited to people “being lifted out of poverty as a result of today’s booming economy.”

Indeed, the latest data from the Department of Agriculture shows that 7.7 million fewer Americans receive food stamps now than did when Trump entered the White House. The Agriculture Department administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, but the actual food stamp benefits are distributed by individual states.

It’s also correctly said that President Obama was known as the Food Stamp President.  Under his administration, the Imperial government actually ran television and radio ads pushing the SNAP program, a truly unconscionable waste of taxpayer dollars hawking an Imperial handout.

Here, incidentally, is the rule change referenced above:

Under the old rules for food stamp eligibility, adults between 18 and 49, who were able to work and had no dependents, could receive only three months of food stamp benefits over a three year period if they did not meet a 20-hour-a-week minimum work requirement. The exception to the rule was that states with unemployment rates as low as 3.6% were able to waive the work requirement.

When Donald Trump came into office, he promised to shrink the number of food stamp recipients by tightening eligibility rules. He wisely waited, however, until the economy was stronger before implementing any major rules.  Starting in 2020, the federal government significantly limits when states can exempt “work-eligible adults” who have no dependents from the steady employment requirement. Now, a county must have a 6% minimum unemployment rate before getting a waiver.

I’d make a lot more changes; for instance, I’d strictly limit the items that can be purchased by recipients of Imperial money to staple items such as ground meat, potatoes, sacked rice, beans and so forth.  Don’t like it?  Leverage yourself off Imperial handouts.  People will whine that it’s not fair to tell people what they can and can’t eat, but as I’ve commented many times, if I’m paying for it, I damn well can and I damn well will.

The Trump Administration’s rule change is a start on reforming our horrendous Imperial welfare system.  But that’s all it is – a start.

Rule Five Cultural Regions Friday

Ever wondered what the United States would look like if it was broken up into several different nations, by cultural and not necessarily geographical lines?  Well, and of Business Insider may have some thoughts on that.

I found this interesting; this is the article’s map of North America, broken down by cultural regions (image taken directly from the linked article).

Excerpts, with my comments:

In his fourth book, “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures in North America,” award-winning author Colin Woodard identifies 11 distinct cultures that have historically divided the US.

“The country has been arguing about a lot of fundamental things lately including state roles and individual liberty,” Woodard, a Maine native who won the 2012 George Polk Award for investigative reporting, told Business Insider. “[But] in order to have any productive conversation on these issues,” he added, “you need to know where you come from.”

You also have to have some idea where you’re going and why; differing visions on that score are a big part of what the authors point out next.

Woodard also believes the nation is likely to become more polarized, even though America is becoming a more diverse place every day. He says this is because people are “self-sorting.”

“People choose to move to places where they identify with the values,”  Woodard says. “Red minorities go south and blue minorities go north to be in the majority. This is why blue states are getting bluer and red states are getting redder and the middle is getting smaller.”

Which self-sorting, I might point out, is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.  But here’s what’s interesting; here are the summaries of the upper Midwest, where I grew up, and the Mountain West, where I live now:

Settled by English Quakers, The Midlands are a welcoming middle-class society that spawned the culture of the “American Heartland.” Political opinion is moderate, and government regulation is frowned upon. Woodard calls the ethnically diverse Midlands “America’s great swing region.” Within the Midlands are parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska.

I have to strongly question any cultural grouping that can claim Iowa and New Jersey share much of anything, culturally.  Iowa is as the article states; mostly moderate politically, and government regulation is mostly frowned on (except where farm subsidies are involved.)   But New Jersey?  Government interference in all matters is welcomed and celebrated, and political opinions are anything but moderate; as evidence, just look at most of their laws and elected officials.

The conservative west. Developed through large investment in industry, yet where inhabitants continue to “resent” the Eastern interests that initially controlled that investment. The Far West spans several states, including Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Nebraska, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Oregon, and California.

In the article, the authors point out that “California” as described herein does not include what is called “the Left Coast,” which encompasses Los Angeles, San Francisco, and indeed most of the west coast.  That being the case, this grouping I would broadly agree with; the West in this case also includes Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska.

What all this points up is something I’ve been saying for some years now: The differences dividing the nation today are cultural, and geographical, but not in the sense they were before the 1860-65 war.  Our differences today are geographical in a much finer-grained sense; look at the map, and you’ll see that the divides are largely major urban centers vs. everyone else.

If things ever got really nasty in this cultural clash, the major cities might have some hard lessons coming in how easy it is to eat when the outlying areas get pissed off enough to block trade.  That, folks, would be a damned unpleasant time, and while I think it’s unlikely in the extreme that things escalate to that point…  Well, I wouldn’t want to be in New York, Chicago, Detroit or San Francisco if it did.

Animal’s Daily Colorado News

Near Gore Pass.

I’ve lived in Colorado for a little over thirty years.  I moved to Colorado after coming off active Army duty (the first time) in 1989, because I wanted to live in the Mountain West, and the Denver area presented the best opportunity to find a job.  I don’t regret that move; I never have.  There’s a lot I still love about Colorado.  I love the mountains, the plains, the hunting, fishing, the outdoor opportunities; I love the 300+ days of sunshine a year.  There are many things I still love about Colorado.

This isn’t one of those things.  Excerpt:

In the last 20 years, Colorado’s population has increased by a little more than 1.5 million people. As of 2019, the state had 5.7 million residents.

“I think we’re probably going to get to 5.8 million [people] for 2020,” said Elizabeth Garner, Colorado’s state demographer.

Population growth slowed during the 2008 recession.

Since 2010, however, Colorado has welcomed about 700,000 new residents. On average, the state is growing anywhere from 70,000 to 80,000 people each year.

That said, it experienced a bit of a slow-down in 2019, when the population increased by about 67,000 over the prior year.

“Compared to the year before where we increased by about 80,000 — it’s about 13,000 fewer people in terms of total growth we’ve seen over that time period,” said Garner.

Much of the growth has been concentrated along the Interstate 25 corridor.

“Which is also where we’re creating all of the jobs. So it makes sense where we’re seeing the job growth and population growth,” Garner said.

According to state data, in the last two decades, most newcomers moved to the Front Range (about 91%) and nearly 8% decided to call the Western Slope, home.

For the record, I live an eastern suburb of Denver, which sits at the foot of the Front Range.

To be perfectly candid, Colorado has gone frickin’ nuts.  There always was a bean-and-granola set here, mostly in Boulder and some of the nuttier mountain communities like Aspen and Vail.  But the Denver/Boulder Axis is taking over the state, and the results are becoming more and more uncomfortable.

Look back on the Colorado that was.

Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. have long planned to retire elsewhere – and by elsewhere, I mean Alaska – but we may not wait now until we’re ready to retire.  Our kids that live in Colorado are growing restive as well, as they were raised to appreciate the blessings of liberty, which an increasingly left-leaning state government ever seeks to restrict.

Plenty of folks have told me I should stay, that I should fight for my state.  But part of the fight is knowing when you’re licked.  I think we’ve lost Colorado.  Thirty years ago, Colorado was South Wyoming.  Now it’s East California.  And that’s a shame.  But it’s increasingly looking like it’s time to vote with our feet.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

And now – on to the links!

Right now, I’d buy Ricky Gervais a beer.  I have no idea who he is, but I’d buy him a beer.

Michael Moore is an idiot.

Alexandria Occasional Cortex is an idiot. (Again.)  And so is her Moron Squad buddy Ilhan Omar.

The first British astronaut is an idiot, and possibly nuts.

Hunter Biden is an idiot.  But not too big an idiot to accept enormous fat sacks of cash from Ukraine and China for having the last name “Biden.”

But wait!  There’s more!  Move over, Hunter Biden:  Chelsea Clinton is also getting rich because of her last name.  Great (non-)work if you can get it, I suppose – and if your last name is Clinton or Biden, you can get it, qualifications or not.

Both old Groper Joe and Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, are laundering payoffs through their children, and there’s no other way to put it.   What crooked, lying, conniving, hypocritical assholes.

Loony old Auntie Maxine Waters, one of the top five finalists for the Stupidest Member of Congress prize (granted she’s up against some pretty stiff competition), got punked.  Heh heh heh.

Cities are responding to poor people’s lack of purchasing opportunities by campaigning against…  affordable purchasing opportunities.

Is the President holding all the 2020 cards?  Maybe, maybe not, but I’d argue that it’s waaaaay too soon to predict.

There may be active volcanoes on Venus.  I think I’ll pass on going there to see for myself.  Speculative image from the article:

Yeah, no.  To make up for that, here’s something else with a little bit of the same color palette:

And with that, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.

Animal’s Daily Time Travel News

Make sure to check out the latest in my series on the thirty-something rifle cartridges over at Glibertarians!

Ever wanted to travel back in time?  Astrophysicist Ron Mallett thinks you might be able to.  Uh huh.  Excerpt:

Joining the ranks of movie inventors like Doc Brown of “Back to the Future” are a few real-life scientists currently trying to realize the dream of turning back the clock to travel to the ultimate destination.
Among them is Ron Mallett, an astrophysicist who has dedicated much of his adult life to the notion that time travel is possible. He’s come up with the scientific equations and principles upon which he says a time machine could be created.

While acknowledging that his theories and designs are unlikely to allow time travel in his lifetime, for years he’s been working in parallel to a respected academic career to fulfill his dream of venturing back in time to see his beloved father again.

Mallett was aged 10 when his father died suddenly, of a heart attack, an event that the scientist says changed the track of his life forever.
“For me, the sun rose and set on him, he was just the center of things,” he tells CNN Travel. “Even today, after all of these years, there’s still an unreality about it for me.”

Mallett’s father, a TV repair man, instilled in his son a love of reading, and encouraged his budding passion for science. About a year after his father’s death, a grieving Mallett stumbled across an illustrated version of the classic sci-fi novel “The Time Machine.”

“The book that changed my life,” he says.

Color me skeptical.  Not necessarily on Mallett’s personal story; but rather on his assessment of the possibility of traveling back in time.  Now I’m not an astrophysicist, nor do I play one on television, but I do read a lot about a variety of topics.  Time travel into the future is possible; we all do it, every moment, at the rate of one minute per minute.  You can speed that up; all you have to do is go out into space and buzz around at nearly the speed of light for, say, a year, then come back to find several years have passed on Earth.

But backwards? I don’t believe that.  I’ve never read anything credible that suggests it’s possible.

I feel for Ron Mallett and the loss of his father.  I lost my own father not too long ago, and it’s not something you can ever really recover from; it’s still hard for me when it hits me that the great, solid, immovable, stable boulder at the center of my young life is gone now.

I haven’t launched into flights of fancy over it.  But, I suppose, whatever brings a body some measure of comfort and peace of mind, eh?

Although…  If this ever did work…  Anyone up for a safari into the Cretaceous?  I think I could find room on a wall for a tyrannosaur head.

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