I saw this a while back but didn’t comment on it right away, but a conversation with a friend today got me thinking about the story some more; namely, it seems that Levi’s, of all companies, has jumped on the “OMG ASSAULT WEAPONS” bandwagon. That won’t hurt them as badly as it would have forty years ago, for reasons I’ll go into in a bit. Excerpt:
American clothing company Levi Strauss & Co. announced Tuesday the launch of a new campaign aimed at preventing gun violence.
“We can’t take on every issue. But as business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work,” he wrote. “While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option. That’s why Levi Strauss & Co. is stepping up our support for gun violence prevention.”
Mr. Bergh said the company is stepping up its gun control activism in three areas: First, by creating the Safer Tomorrow Fund, which will direct more than $1 million in philanthropic grants to boosting gun control groups; Second, by partnering with Everytown for Gun Safety and Michael Bloomberg to form Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety; And third, by doubling the company’s usual employee donation match to organizations aligned with the new Safer Tomorrow Fund.
The company will also pay employees for their political activism, for up to five hours a month.
And, once again, a would-be gun-grabber trots out the “gun violence” horseshit. Now, to be fair, that term is also used by plenty of people who should know better, but the fact is that there is no such damn thing as gun violence. There is only violence, planned and perpetrated by people, and that’s all. It’s beyond dumbassery to use a term like “gun violence” when nobody, anywhere, ever, refers to “knife violence” or “fist violence” or “hammer violence.” It’s only when firearms are involved do people’s brains fly right out.
Still. One would think that antagonizing gun owners would be an ill-advised move for a company that makes blue jeans, a garment worn by plenty of working folks who like guns. But I doubt this stance, tedious and stupid though it might be, will hurt the Levi’s brand sales much. Why?
Because actual working folks shopping for tough, comfortable, durable working garments haven’t been buying Levi’s for years. Starting about the time I graduated high school, Levi’s became the “style” jeans, mostly worn by townies. The working jeans market these days belongs to Duluth Trading (my favorite brand), Carhartt, and Dickies.
That gives Levi’s some room to engage in dumb virtue-signaling. So, fine, go for it; I don’t think it will change anything all that much.
Plenty of urban, suburban and rural residents have wondered this; why the hell are there so many pigeons? Excerpt:
By the 1600s, rock doves — non-native to the United States — had reached North America, transported by ships in the thousands. Rather than being a food source, it’s most likely that the birds were brought across from Europe to satiate the growing pigeon-breeding trend among hobbyists, said Michael Habib, a paleontologist in the Dinosaur Institute at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, and the University of Southern California.
Inevitably, birds escaped captivity, and began to breed freely in American cities. “We created this novel [urban] habitat and then we basically engineered an animal that does very well in that novel habitat,” Habib told Live Science. “They were successful in cities because we engineered them to be comfortable living around humans.” [Do Birds Really Abandon Their Chicks If Humans Touch Them?]
Cities became the perfect backdrop for the pioneering pigeons’ success. “Pigeons are naturally cliff-dwellers and tall buildings do a pretty great job at mimicking cliffs,” Carlen told Live Science. “Ornate facing, window sills and air-conditioning units provide fantastic perches for pigeons, similar to the crevices found on the side of a cliff.”
Another trait that makes pigeons more adaptable is their appetite. While other bird species have to rely on supplies of berries, seeds and insects, pigeons can eat just about anything that humans toss in the trash. “Other species are specialists and pigeons are the ultimate generalists,” Portugal said. “And the food is endless: I don’t think too many pigeons go to bed hungry!”
The pigeon’s unusual breeding biology seals the deal: Both parents rear their chicks on a diet of special protein- and fat-rich milk produced in a throat pouch called the crop. So, instead of having to rely on insects, worms and seeds to keep their young alive — resources that would be scarcer in cities — pigeons can provide for their offspring no matter what, Portugal says: “As long as the adults can eat, they can feed their babies, too.”
I actually kind of admire pigeons, in the same way that I kind of admire rats and cockroaches – they’re all great survivors. But pigeons, unlike those others, can be good eating. When I was a kid back in Iowa, we routinely shot clean farm pigeons and tossed them in the crock-pot with onions, carrots and potatoes, making for some fine eating.
Some animals find humans troubling; we cut their forests, encroach on their habitats, interfere with their migrations. But plenty of other animals do very well around humans, not only the aforementioned rats, pigeons and roaches but also white-tailed deer, black bears, raccoons, coyotes, squirrels, and many more. Pigeons are just one of those lucky species, albeit one with a long, long history of co-cohabiting with humanity.
There are so many pigeons because they are adaptable. Adaptability is a great survival strategy. Our own ancestors learned that once.
Not so spooky, but the last day for the Animal Magnetism Oktoberfest!
Meanwhile, in Florida, some real-life horror show sets fire to a mattress, and makes national news – why? Because he’s a sort of do-it-yourself Homo habilis. Excerpt:
A South Florida man with half a head is facing attempted murder and arson charges for setting his mattress on fire.
Police say Carlos Rodriguez, 31, set his mattress on fire at his Miami home Monday afternoon. Two victims were inside a duplex connected to the house and police say the fire posed a threat to the occupants.
Police found Rodriguez in the backyard and arrested him.
He was being held on a $20,000 bond.
Rodriguez, who goes by the nickname, “Halfy,” is seen on a YouTube video explaining how he lost half of his skull in an accident.
Just for shits and giggles, here’s a speculative reconstruction of H. habilis:
Now that I think on it, I think comparing this gomer to H. habilis may be doing our distant ancestor a grave disservice. Our habiline ancestors, to be fair, while having only roughly half our brain capacity, were at least born that way. Mr. Rodriguez gained his quasi-habiline status through the exercise of his own poor judgement.
I mean, really. Driving while intoxicated. Anyone with half a brain should know better.
And on that note – and with that image above burned into your brain – we return you to your Hallowe’en, already in progress.
Now, I have to admit, this is funny; a porn-watching Imperial employee has infected Imperial computers with Russian malware. Collusion? Maybe! Excerpt:
An Interior Department watchdog recommended the U.S. Geological Survey ratchet up internet security protocols after discovering its networks had been infected with malware from pornography sites.
The agency’s inspector general traced the malicious software to a single unnamed USGS employee, who reportedly used a government-issued computer to visit some 9,000 adult video sites, according to a report published Oct. 17.
Many of the prohibited pages were linked to Russian websites containing malware, which was ultimately downloaded to the employee’s computer and used to infiltrate USGS networks, auditors found. The investigation found the employee saved much of the pornographic material on an unauthorized USB drive and personal Android cellphone, both of which were connected to their computer against agency protocols.
The employee’s cell phone was also infected with malware.
“Our digital forensic examination revealed that [the employee] had an extensive history of visiting adult pornography websites” that hosted malware, the IG wrote. “The malware was downloaded to [the employee’s] government laptop, which then exploited the USGS’ network.”
First of all, I hope the dumbass Imperial employee has been fired – but given how difficult it can be to get rid of the worst of that sort, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the dipshit porn-watcher is on “paid leave” or some other such crap.
But here’s the real concern I have with this: If these people have enough time on their hands to be surfing porn sites at work, what the hell are we paying them for? Most of my typical workdays when I’m on-site, on a project, I don’t have time to sneeze, much less spend some time watching the online shenanigans of porn stars.
I’ve often said that if I were ever appointed as, say, Director of Veteran’s Affairs, the first thing I would do would be to visit every Imperial facility for which I was responsible, and ask every employee of said facility two questions:
- What is your purpose here?
- What are you doing right now?
Any employee who can not satisfactorily answer both of those questions would be dismissed on the spot.
It’s a fantasy, I know. But it’s a fun one. And it would sure cut down on the featherbedding in Imperial staffing.
Thanks again to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links! Also, our good friend Wombat-socho, who compiles links and so forth for our also-good-friends Robert Stacy McCain and Smitty, has fallen under the weather. Please go here for news and ways in which to wish him the best. Wombat’s a great guy, and we wish him a speedy recovery.
I wish I could say this was a surprise. A man hunting elk in Montana was mauled by a grizzly, and animal rights morons responded by bemoaning the fact that he survived. Excerpt:
Sunday, right before he went into surgery, a friend messaged him a warning that an animal rights group in England had reposted his post.
The flood gates opened.
Many of the comments Legasa received were supportive. Friends, family and strangers wished him a speedy recovery. But there were many critical, mean and violent comments, too.
“Karma. Can you post your address so that someone can finish the job and feed the remains to the bears in winter,” posted a Facebook user from France.
“Come on guys, don’t be so mean. This is incredibly tragic,” wrote someone from Canada. “Tragic that Momma Bear didn’t get a chance to finish the job of taking out the trash.”
An American wrote, “Bet you’re not the apex predator you thought you were. Let’s hope the next time the bear finished what it started.”
First off: Facebook is a damned snake pit of stupid, and if you post anything there, you shouldn’t be surprised at any response you get from the moron gallery. But with that said:
Speaking as the guy who literally wrote the book on these assholes, none of this surprises me one iota. When Misplaced Compassion came out in 2001, I got a stunning amount of hate mail and even some shitty, threatening phone calls – which calls I responded to with jeering and taunts until the caller eventually gave up. I was even approached in a parking lot after leaving the 850KOA talk radio building in Denver by an animal rights nut who suddenly thought better of threatening me personally when he noted I was younger (then!) and probably had ten inches height and seventy-five pounds on him.
That’s why the current discussion of threats and so forth in politics doesn’t surprise me. It’s not anything new. I’ve been dealing with it for seventeen years now.
Here’s something I’ve been saying for years: Want to Fix the Senate? Repeal the 17th Amendment! Excerpt:
Senate procedures are frequently criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike. Hurdles such as the 60-vote threshold to limit debate make it difficult to pass legislation. And until 2013, when Democrats had control of the chamber, 60 votes were required to invoke cloture on all nominations by the president, except Supreme Court nominees.
At the time, Democrats had a 54-seat majority, including two independents, and complained that Republicans were blocking nominees to various executive agencies. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) led an effort to eliminate the filibuster and quickly confirm then-President Barack Obama’s executive and judicial appointments.
Last year, with a 52-seat majority, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Republicans, using the precedent established in 2013 under Democratic control of the Senate, eliminated use of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. The filibuster for legislation remains intact.
As envisioned by the Framers of the Constitution, the Senate was to represent state interests in Congress. The House of Representatives was meant to be the part of the legislative branch closest to the people. Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution specifies that representation in the House is based on population of the states and its members are directly elected.
Here’s the real kicker:
Without question, the 17th Amendment has led to more growth in the federal government since it eliminates the state voices that would traditionally advocate for a balance of power between state and federal government. Unsurprisingly and unfortunately, the direct election of senators has almost completely undermined federalism.
Today’s charges that the Senate is “undemocratic” and that representation should be based on population arise from a fundamental misunderstanding of what our government is supposed to be. The Framers were obviously skeptical of a monarchy, which could be tyrannical, and were skeptical of direct democracy, which they rightly viewed as mob rule.
It bugs me when people who should know better refer to “our democracy.” The United States is not and never was a democracy; it’s a Constitutional Republic, and the Founders built into the Constitution specific safeguards to prevent the nation from foundering into direct democracy. And the appointment of Senators by the legislatures of the several States was key in said prevention.
At present, Senators are just Representatives with longer terms in office. At present, the government of Zimbabwe has direct representation in the Imperial City (through an embassy) but the government of Wyoming does not.
Much as I’d like to see the 17th repealed (and several others into the bargain) I’ve resigned myself to the idea that I’ll never see it happen. It is in the nature of government to grow ever larger and more intrusive; the 17th Amendment is a symptom of that, not a cause. The Founders did a pretty decent job of constraining the Imperial government, but those chains slip ever further now, day by day, while most of the citizenry welcomes ever-increasing Imperial power.
It’s a sad state of affairs.
Thanks to our pals over at The Daley Gator for the linkback! If you don’t look at that site daily (or Daley) you should.
Moving right along: Apparently folks in China have cloned twenty different breeds of dogs, and they claim humans are next. Excerpt:
A 12-year-old schnauzer has become the latest canine to undergo the process, which involves taking a skin sample from the animal.
Wang Yinqing, who is the dog’s owner, showed off the puppy to its “father clone” name Doudou in a recently-released snap.
However, despite the dogs having the identical DNA, scientists have said they may have a different temperament as this is shaped by its upbringing.
According to Chinese news, there have now been 200 different types of dog cloned in the country.
And last month, the world came closer to carrying out mass human cloning.
Japanese experts revealed they made human egg cells from blood using a cutting-edge stem cell testing technique.
Although these eggs cannot be grown into babies as they are too immature, the research is paving the way for this type of experiment.
Now I will confess when I saw this article, my first thought was “Is there suddenly some shortage of people in China?” It doesn’t seem like they’re desperate enough for population to start cloning, although I seem to remember that Russia has a pretty significant demographic problem; maybe China could sell them some cloning clinics.
Back to dogs.
I had a dog in a million once. Gypsy was an English Springer Spaniel of the field strain, a long-legged, rangy, fast, tough dog, small enough to share a pickup cab easily with her owner (45 pounds or so) but big enough to retrieve big pheasants and mountain grouse.
She died in 1999. I cut my elk hunt short that year to rush home and spend Gyp’s last few hours with her. I loved that dog.
Would I have cloned her, had the technology existed then? No.
I know this is becoming a vanity thing, cloning a beloved pet, but as even the article above notes, the cloned animal won’t be a duplicate. You can’t step into the same river twice, and you can’t exactly reproduce a good gun dog by cloning; the unique combination of genetics and environment will never be exactly the same.
I’d rather remember Gyp the way she was, and when the time comes when I can give up my semi-nomadic existence and have another gun dog, I’ll get another dog entirely.
China can keep their clones.
Now there’s this bullshit: 25% of students claim they were traumatized by the 2016 election. What a bunch of wusses. Excerpt:
A quarter of students found the 2016 so traumatic they now report symptoms of PTSD, according to a new study.
Researchers surveyed Arizona State University students around the time of President Donald Trump‘s inauguration in 2017, and some had stress scores on par with that of school shooting witnesses’ seven-month follow-ups.
Twenty-five percent of the 769 students, who were an even mix of genders and races and socioeconomic backgrounds, reported ‘clinically significant’ levels of stress.
The most severe cases were seen among women, black, and non-white Hispanic students, who were 45 percent more likely to feel distressed by the 2016 run between Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Lead researcher Melissa Hagan, an assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, believes the ‘divisive tone’ about race, identity, and what makes a valuable American ‘really heightened stress for a lot of people’.
If you’re so invested in a political campaign that you think you have PTSD because the outcome didn’t go your way, seriously, you really need to take a good hard look at your life. But note that I said “you think you have PTSD.” These snot-nosed little shits may have something, but it ain’t PTSD.
My uncle Don may have had PTSD. He jumped with the 101st in Operation Market Garden, fought through Bastogne and into Germany, where a fragment from an 88 shell took part of his forehead and one eye. Don lived fifty years after the war but was never the same again.
My uncle Carl may have had PTSD. He took a Japanese bayonet through the shoulder on Iwo Jima and nearly died of sepsis. He went on to have two careers, one in the Navy and the second with the Iowa Department of Corrections.
My brother-in-law Bill may have had PTSD. He was shot in the leg on a frigid hillside in Korea in 1951. He went on to have a great career in railroads.
None of those three relatives of mine who were wounded in battle (my Dad and my uncle Norman also served, both in WW2, but neither was wounded) certainly had more reason to claim trauma than any of the little snots interviewed in this study. They all went on to lead productive lives – even Don, who had some brain damage but still managed a small farm for the rest of his life.
All of my family’s WW2/Korea veterans are gone now. But I would be willing to bet any of them would spit at the very idea of some pusillanimous little twit whining about “PTSD” from the results of an election.