Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Just another routine week here in the U.S. – several major cities are being overrun by rioters and looters, murder rates in those and several other major cities are spiking, cops are walking off the jobs, and our economy remains locked in the thrall of the Kung Flu.

I refuse to believe that this is the new normal, but what the hell?  When are our elected officials going to do their damn jobs?

And if they don’t, who will?

Anyway.  With that out of the way…

On To the Links!

And the A-10 goes brrrrrt.

Denver strip club owners:  Eroticism requires less distance.  Well, I suppose so.

Well, at least we needn’t worry about mosquitoes spreading the ‘rona.

I generally consider almost any statement coming out of Iran to be utter horseshit, but this one may actually be believable, given the shithole that country has become.  And if so – holy shit!

Roger Simon has this to say on the 2020 election.

I’m sure it’s all just a coincidence.  (No, not really.)

Chicago continues its descent into chaos.  Incompetent leadership in that city is mostly to blame.

Self-fulfilling prophecies.

You can count on these agitators to lie.

Personally I don’t know but that I’d let these cities stew in their own damn juice.

Japan’s re-arming continues.  They’ve been pretty good at naval operations since Tsushima Strait, only now they’re on our side.

Chris Wallace recently spent some time interviewing President Trump, in a sometimes contentious session where no subjects were off limits.  The President answered every question.  Now Mr. Wallace is wondering when Groper Joe will do the same.  Me too!

This Week’s Idiots:

Paul Krugman is an idiot.

Forbes’ Tom Tamny is an idiot.

The City of Denver is obviously run by idiots.  (To be fair, evidence of this is widespread.)

Groper Joe’s advisors on energy policy are all idiots.

And So:

I got nothin’ else today, except for a big case of the gripes aimed at several big-city mayors (Denver included) and even more so at several governors (Colorado included.)  So here is something from the archives to take our minds off of all that:

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

Animal’s Daily Racist Assumptions News

Be sure to catch the latest in the Allamakee County Chronicles over at Glibertarians!

Now then:  Note to the Smithsonian:  This is actually racist.  Not to mention stupid.  Excerpt:

Witness last week’s contretemps at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum, which bills itself as “the only national museum devoted exclusively” to educating the public on these topics, recently debuted the online guide “Talking about Race.” The guide included a chart cataloguing the “aspects and assumptions” of “white culture” that “have been normalized over time and are now considered standard practices in the United States.”

What are these sinister aspects of “white culture,” you ask? Well, according to the Smithsonian, values like “hard work,” “self-reliance,” “be[ing] polite,” and timeliness are all a product of the “white dominant culture.” Indeed, it turns out that conventional grammar, Christianity, the notion that “intent counts” in courts of law, and the scientific method and its emphasis on “objective, rational linear thinking” are all proprietary to “white culture.”

There are several things that might be said about all this. But the place to start may be by observing just how insidious it is to teach black children to reject intellectual and personal traits that promote personal and civic success — in the U.S. or anywhere else. After all, in what land are students well-served when they’re encouraged not to work hard, make decisions, think rationally, or be polite and on time? Among the extraordinarily accomplished people honored by the museum, those such as Frederick Douglass; Harriet Tubman; Jackie Robinson; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Toni Morrison; John Lewis; Oprah Winfrey; Michael Jordan; Condoleezza Rice; and Barack Obama might be surprised to learn that hard work and rational thinking are somehow alien to black culture.

Don’t take my word for it.  Here’s the actual chart:

What a condescending pile of crap.  Let’s look at a couple of the most egregiously stupid bits:

  • Self-reliance

As opposed to what?  Dependence?  On whom?  Or what?  This is particularly demeaning, as it implies that “people of color” (whatever that means) are somehow less capable of self-reliance.  That’s utter horseshit.

  • Objective, rational, linear thinking

As opposed to what?  Subjective, irrational, scattered thinking?  That’s not thinking at all.  That’s just feeling.  That’s no way to live a life, and it’s sure as hell no way to decide a policy at any level of government.

  • Plan for future, and
  • Delayed gratification

As opposed to what?  Disregarding the future and only doing what feels good now?  These two items are critically important life skills.  Especially if one ever harbors any notions of a peaceful retirement.

Most of the attributes listed in this aggregation of racist horseshit aren’t “white” values.  Most of them are values of responsible, thoughtful adults.  They apply evenly and equally to everyone who takes responsibility for their own lives.

The Smithsonian should be ashamed of themselves for putting out this crap.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, Whores and Ale and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links, and thanks again to our pals over at The Daley Gator for the link-back.

Now then:  Here in Colorado, as sometimes happens in the summer, the plague is back.  No, not the Kung Flu; we’re talking something that was, back in its heyday, far more deadly:  Bubonic plague.  Excerpt:

The Colorado health department that had announced a positive detection of plague in a dead squirrel recently updated its press release to reassure members of the public that plague “usually occurs somewhere in Colorado every year” and that it was found in a squirrel after a local health department investigated what was behind the deaths of more than a dozen of the animals. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that a handful of human plague cases are detected in the US annually, almost always in the rural west. There are rarely any deaths. While there were four in 2015, for instance, there were none recorded in the three subsequent years. Nowadays, the number of cases detected worldwide each year total no more than a few hundred, says Head.

Head points out that bubonic plague, one of three main types of plague, does not transmit easily between humans. Instead, it’s spread by infected fleas that live on rodents including squirrels, prairie dogs, and marmots. 

To catch bubonic plague, a person usually has to be bitten by a flea after coming into contact with one of these rodents or another animal, such as a pet, that itself has had such contact. It’s also possible to catch the disease by exposure to body fluids from an infected animal.

Plague Mask.

The actual infection is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Widely available antibiotics such as streptomycin or gentamicin are used to treat bubonic plague.

If untreated, the disease can cause fever, chills, vomiting, and greatly swollen lymph nodes—the “buboes” from which the bubonic plague gets its name. Between 30 percent and 60 percent of infected individuals die, according to the World Health Organization.

The WHO actually gets this one right.  While it killed millions back in the Bad Old Days, bubonic plague these days isn’t particularly dangerous as long as one seeks treatment.  And, to boot, it isn’t particularly easy to catch, unless you have a habit of handling wild prairie dogs or squirrels and letting their fleas jump on you.

And yet, over the past twenty years, we’re still averaging about seven deaths cases (thanks to reader WolfNippleChips for the correction) a year from plague, almost completely in the West.  I suppose that in those cases there are some complicating conditions involved, although information on that isn’t clear.  I suppose there are always a few cranks that won’t seek treatment for one reason or another, and in those cases, well, that’s why we have the Darwin Awards.

Still.  Seven cases a year in a nation of three hundred and thirty million.  That should place the plague awfully low on everyone’s Give-A-Shit-O-Meter.

Rule Five What Makes A Nation Friday

What makes a nation?

A nation is a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory.  That’s a pretty good working definition.  But what makes a nation last?  Let’s kick that around some.

There are four things a nation has to have to remain a nation:

  • Commonality
  • Cohesion
  • Trust
  • Liberty

Now let’s take a look at each of those and apply them to the United States today, now, in July of 2020.

Commonality

We’ve always been a nation built of parts.  But the national motto, E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One) no longer seems to apply.  Our nation is fractured along partisan lines.  As recently as the Eighties, the two major political parties could find common ground on at least a few issues, but today?

Refusal to accept the outcomes of elections is now the order of the day.  The political Left is particularly to blame; if they can’t achieve goals through the usual means, they resort to judge-shopping or, recently, outright intimidation and violence.  As recently as the Eighties, we were all Americans.  Now there are voices calling not to reform our nation, but to tear it down – and some of them are in Congress.

Cohesion

The United States is probably more fractured than it has been at any time since 1865.  The divide then was along geographical lines, North v. South; now the divide is largely along cultural lines, urban v. suburban/rural.

And, yes, some of this is along racial lines as well.  Major cities tend to be more “diverse” in skin tone, although not so much in ideology.  Small towns and rural areas tend to be populated by people of pallor.  And there is now a distinct tendency for urban denizens to automatically assume “racism” on the part of the small-town/rural dwellers, even though the term “racist” has been so over-used as to be meaningless; any disagreement, now, with radical progressive viewpoints is labeled as “racist,” even as nobody points out the actual racism involved in viewing whites as fundamentally flawed and evil, due not to the content of their character, but rather the color of their skin.

Trust

I remember when I was a young man in the Seventies and Eighties, I operated on the assumption that almost everyone I met was probably a pretty decent person, and tended to view strangers as friends I hadn’t met yet.  That may have been my rural farm-boy upbringing, and probably involved a little naivete even then.

Now, though?

I’ve always been more comfortable out in the boonies than in a city.  But now our major cities are descending into chaos.  I’m not just talking about riots and arson; look at the feces-laden, discarded-needle messes that San Francisco and Los Angeles have descended into.   People venture into some of these places at their peril, because a plurality of the people in those cities, based on all available evidence, are not decent people, and should probably be avoided.

Liberty

Are you kidding?

We now live in a country where you have to beg permission from the government to cut someone’s hair or paint their nails.

Various levels of government confiscate a portion of our income every year with the threat of force (try not paying your taxes, and see how long it is before they send men with guns out looking for you.)  The average American now labors until sometime in April every year just to pay taxes.

It has even come to the point where, in many states, you have to beg the government for permission to exercise a Constitutionally defined right.  And I’m not talking just about the Second Amendment, but increasingly in the post-Kung Flu world, even the First.

And So:

Someone once said that a house divided against itself cannot stand.  Our house is becoming increasingly divided, to the point where these four qualities, the ones that make a nation, no longer apply.

As I’ve said before and will say again, I’m hoping I don’t live to see the whole thing come apart.  I’m afraid my children and grandchildren will.  And, after the events of this year, I’m afraid I will as well.

Animal’s Daily Bronco Returns News

The new Bronco.

Ford has been dropping little bits of info about this for years, but as of Tuesday, the Bronco is officially back – but actual vehicles won’t be delivered until next year.  Ford is advertising it thus:

There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be discovered. To find it you have to break rules, push boundaries and climb over the barriers in your way. With its relentless toughness and durability, the all-new Bronco was built to carry outdoor enthusiasts to wherever the wilderness calls. Available in two- or four-door models.

I’ve had two Broncos.  The first was one of the originals, a 1974, painted a rather horrible nuclear-reactor green.  We called it the Green Machine, and it was a wonder.  I think that truck would go up and down trees.  It stuffed a 302ci V-8 into a fairly small frame, with 4:11 gears and manual everything.  The interior was all sheet metal and vinyl; at the end of elk season you could just take it into the car wash and hose it out.  It wasn’t without down sides, though.  In hot weather the floorboards got uncomfortably hot, and the low gearing and lack of overdrive limited it to about 50-55mph on the highway.

The second one was a 1992, one of the ones based on the F-150 chassis.  It had the all-black “Nite” trim package, so we called it the Dark Horse.

The Dark Horse in an early elk camp, some years ago

The Dark Horse wasn’t quite as tough off-road, although is was still pretty damn capable.  It used the same 302ci V-8 but the newer engine, with multi-port fuel injection, managed to provide plenty of power for the bigger truck.  It was better on the highway, being geared at about 3:55 (as I recall) but the automatic transmission had an overdrive gear, so it would comfortably tool along the interstate at 75mph with my tent trailer tacked on behind.

I used the Dark Horse a lot.  It saw hunting fields and off-road trails everywhere between Montana and the Mexican border, between the Mississippi and the Sierras.  It was a great truck, but eventually it just plain wore out, at which point I traded it in on the inestimable Rojito, which I still am using today.

Rojito in another elk camp.

The new Bronco looks the part, at least in the photos I’ve seen so far.  But I’m concerned all the same.  I prefer manual everything in a truck that I’ll be pounding on jeep trails.  The Dark Horse had power windows and door locks, both of which weren’t working very well by the end of its tenure.  The new Bronco appears to have all kinds of electronic gewgaws that, I am afraid, won’t last well under the kind of hard use that a hunting/fishing/outdoor rig frequently sees on the trail.

When the new Broncos arrive at the dealership we use, I’ll go look at them.  But I’m prepared to be disappointed.  We’ll see.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Thanks again to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

I hate hot weather.  And it’s a hot one this week.  Yesterday wasn’t that bad, but it’s going to be well into the nineties by the weekend.  Of all the reasons Mrs. Animal and I want to move up north to the Great Land, the cool summers are a big part of it.

Granted eastern Iowa where I grew up was worse than here in Colorado, having not only heat but also humidity.  And the winters were actually worse than the typical winters in Alaska near the ocean.  I’ve often said that there were two reasons I left the Midwest:  The summers, and the winters.  But in fact, I can handle cold weather better than hot weather.  You can always put more clothes on, but there is a limit to how much you can take off without upsetting the neighbors.

Anyhow; with that out of the way…

On To the Links!

Trump to Minnesota:  You broke it, you bought it.

I love a happy ending.

What do they know that we don’t?

When bears start associating humans with food, it never ends well.

But, sure, let’s start sending social workers instead of cops on these.

Answer to a question nobody’s asking.

Bookmark this site and keep an eye on it.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Seattle City Council are all idiots.

Bill De Blasio is an idiot.  (Yes, again.)

USA Today’s fact checkers are idiots.

Congresscritter Crazy Eyes is an idiot.  (Yes, again.)

And So:

I don’t have any more deep thoughts or perspectives to share on this busy week, so instead, here is a representative of the better things about summer:

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

Animal’s Daily Airline Seats News

Be sure to check out my latest over at Glibertarians – this week’s entry is five guns you should consider in the event Something Bad Happens.  Now then:

Wow – the airlines can cut your odds of contracting the Kung Flu on an airplane by eliminating middle seats!  Sounds great, eh?  Well, maybe not so much.  Excerpt:

Eliminating the middle seat on planes may help cut already low on-flight coronavirus risk even more, a new research paper from Massachusetts Institute of Technology has suggested.

The paper, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, pegs the risk of contracting COVID-19 from nearby passengers on a full flight at about 1 in 4,300. According to the research findings, that risk drops to 1 in 7,700 when the middle seat is not booked.

The research paper, titled “Covid-19 Risk Among Airline Passengers: Should the Middle Seat Stay Empty?” was penned by award-winning MIT statistician Arnold Barnett and published in MedRxiv earlier this month.

The calculations, Barnett writes, “do suggest a measurable reduction in COVID-19 risk when middle seats on aircraft are deliberately kept open.”

“Measurable.”  Well, sure; electron orbits are “measurable,” too.  That’s a word that really carries little meaning in this case.

Let’s measure this another way.  The elimination of middle seats – something I’d love, by the way, for purely selfish reasons – would reduce your risk of a Kung Flu infection from 0.233% to 0.130%.

Well, that sure is measurable.  As in, it can be measured.

By way of comparison, your odds of being hit by lightning, over an 80-year lifespan, are about 0.0065%.  So you’re more likely to catch the Kung Flu on a plane trip than you  have of being struck by lightning. You have similar odds of being killed by “exposure to excessive natural heat.”  Your odds are far higher of dying in a “pedestrian incident” (0.599%) or in a fall (0.787%.)

So, yeah, don’t look for the airlines to keep the middle seats un-booked for very long.  My own airline of choice, United, has already started refilling these seats.  So has America.  Much as I’d love to see them remain empty just to feel less crowded on a flight, it doesn’t appear to make good sense.  Not in a time when all of the major airlines are already bleeding cash.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Well, now, this is certainly good news; it turns out that light drinking can help protect brain function as we age.  Excerpt:

“We know there are some older people who believe that drinking a little wine everyday could maintain a good cognitive condition,” said lead author Ruiyuan Zhang, a doctoral student at UGA’s College of Public Health.

“We wanted to know if drinking a small amount of alcohol actually correlates with a good cognitive function, or is it just a kind of survivor bias.”

Regular, moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to promote heart health and some research points to a similar protective benefit for brain health. However, many of these studies were not designed to isolate the effects of alcohol on cognition or did not measure effects over time.

Zhang and his team developed a way to track cognition performance over 10 years using participant data from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study.

During the study, a total of 19,887 participants completed surveys every two years about their health and lifestyle, including questions on drinking habits. Light to moderate drinking is defined as fewer than eight drinks per week for women and 15 drinks or fewer per week among men.

The result?

A little dab will do you.

Compared to nondrinkers, they found that those who had a drink or two a day tended to perform better on cognitive tests over time.

Even when other important factors known to impact cognition such as age, smoking or education level were controlled for, they saw a pattern of light drinking associated with high cognitive trajectories.

The wisest man I’ve ever known, my Dad, was fond of saying “all things in moderation.”  He was fond of a little whiskey or rum in a Coke; when I was a young fellow I would routinely give Dad a pint bottle of Crown Royal for Christmas, which would usually last him the year.  I don’t think I ever once saw him show any effect from the alcohol.

Now, in my youth, my friends and I would sometimes indulge in three-day events that devolved into a mobile earthquake of drunken excess, but we all grew out of that.  Nowadays I’m more like Dad; I like a little snort once in a while, but, as he always said, in moderation.

Dad lived to 94 and his mind stayed sharp to the end.  His Dad, who was teetotal all his life, lived to 91 and was likewise pretty sharp.  Mixed results?  I suspect that genetics are more to credit than alcohol or the lack of it.  But here, in this story, I can smile at the idea that the occasional snort is, in fact, good for me.

Bartender!  I’ll have another.

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