Animal’s Daily National Geographic News

The October, 1961 National Geographic.

When I was a little kid, I always enjoyed going through the monthly National Geographic, once the Old Man had read it and passed it down through my siblings to me.  It was a quality publication in those days, full of fascinating insights into exotic locales.  Somewhere around here I still have an October 1961 edition, and it’s neat to look through that and see the state of the world the month I was born.

The current National Geographic – currently going by the childishly stupid NatGeo – is none of these things.  Law & Liberty’s Mark Judge describes the fall of this magazine.  Excerpt:

Today, National Geographic, like so much of the rest of the culture, seems gripped in a mania focused on guilt over race and gender. As part of the magazine’s April 2018 “The Race Issue,” editor Susan Goldberg offered this headline: “For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It.” Goldberg hired a scholar, John Edwin Mason of the University of Virginia, to dig through the archives and find white supremacy. Interviewed by Vox, Mason announced that “the magazine was born at the height of so-called ‘scientific’ racism and imperialism — including American imperialism. This culture of white supremacy shaped the outlook of the magazine’s editors, writers, and photographers, who were always white and almost always men.” Responding to a 2018 cover featuring a cowboy on horseback, Mason argues that “the image of the white cowboy reproduces and romanticizes the mythic iconography of settler colonialism and white supremacy.”

And then there was the ridiculous hagiographic Fauci, a documentary that gives the impression that the proper response to public authority is unquestioning obedience and unceasing praise.

It’s sad – read the whole thing, because Mr. Judge describes his father’s work and how he met many of the leading lights of the original National Geographic.  But I think this, like so many things, is a sign of the descent of American society into kakistocracy.  There are so many signs that it’s difficult to name them all, but I’ll give an example:  Written English.  In my business I have occasion to read written work, such as work instructions, investigation plans and reports, and so on, written in many cases by recent college graduates but also at times by experienced people with ten or fifteen years of industry experience.  And the average writing skill?  It ranges from middling to absolutely awful, with a few stellar exceptions that I can only assume are self-taught.

National Geographic is just another example.  When I reached adulthood, I had bought my own subscription to this old periodical and maintained it until sometime in the late Nineties.  The last straw was their cable TV channel, the mostly terrible programming thereon, and the descent of the magazine as Mr. Judge describes.  Not to mention the stupid “NatGeo” appellation.

It was once a fine American periodical, professional, fact-based, scrupulously edited and fascinating.  No longer.  And that’s too bad.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

The science nut (and science fiction writer) in me finds this kind of thing extremely cool:  We can now see an image of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.  Excerpt:

The image is a long-anticipated look at the massive object that sits at the very center of our galaxy. Scientists had previously seen stars orbiting around something invisible, compact, and very massive at the center of the Milky Way. This strongly suggested that this object — known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*, pronounced “sadge-ay-star”) — is a black hole, and today’s image provides the first direct visual evidence of it.

Although we cannot see the black hole itself, because it is completely dark, glowing gas around it reveals a telltale signature: a dark central region (called a “shadow”) surrounded by a bright ring-like structure. The new view captures light bent by the powerful gravity of the black hole, which is four million times more massive than our Sun.

“We were stunned by how well the size of the ring agreed with predictions from Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity,” said EHT Project Scientist Geoffrey Bower from the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Academia Sinica, Taipei. “These unprecedented observations have greatly improved our understanding of what happens at the very center of our galaxy and offer new insights on how these giant black holes interact with their surroundings.”

Here’s the image:

I find this fascinating.  Granted this is a composite made from tiny snaps from many telescopes, but it looks about like you’d expect the accretion ring around a black hole to look, so it’s certainly plausible – and it’s not like you’d want to get too close to the thing to photograph it with traditional means, as the center of the galaxy is probably a (literal) hotbed of radiation and super-heated gas.

We’ll probably never have substantial human colonies anywhere, even Mars, in my lifetime.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t look outward, even if we can’t go outward – yet.  But if the last few hundred years has taught us anything, it’s that we can do amazing things when we set our minds to them.  And maybe, if our current crop of ineffective, incompetent and idiotic politicians stay out of the way, maybe we will be able to one day move outwards.

Rule Five Exasperated Americans Friday

National treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hansen is of the opinion that lots of Americans are fed up.  He may be right.  Excerpt:

The American people know that on every occasion their president speaks, he will slur his words at best. At worst, he will have little idea where he is, where he has been, or what he is supposed to be saying or doing. When he is momentarily cognizant, he is at his meanest, or he simply makes things up.

Our new normal of a mentally incapacitated president is not entirely new in American history—Woodrow Wilson was an invalid during the last months of his presidency. But Wilson’s condition was well hidden. Quite novel is the idea that the American people know the man in the White House is cognitively disabled and simply expect him to confirm that bleak diagnosis each time he opens his mouth.

If Donald Trump exaggerated, Biden flat out lies daily. His most recent untruth was his assertion that the MAGA movement represents “the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history.” Biden cannot really believe that roughly half the country is now more dangerous than Antifa, Black Lives Matter, the Weathermen, the American Nazi Party, the American Communist Party, and the Ku Klux Klan. And this comes from the mythically moderate “good old Joe from Scranton”?

This is true, of course – as is the observation that the legacy media is, for the most part, providing close air support for the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration.  But it’s becoming increasingly obvious that something is badly wrong, and nobody is too enthused about who is waiting in the wings:

Even if the Republicans were to win a 60-vote majority in the Senate, they would hesitate to impeach Biden simply because Harris is a more frightening prospect. And some Marquess of Queensberry centrist RINOs would not wish to codify the Democrats’ new standard of impeaching an opposition president the minute he loses the House of Representatives in his first midterm.

That is a problem; the GOP all too often seems to want to play nice when their opposite numbers on the Left are very willing to go scorched-earth.  Increasingly, the perceived end result behind either party’s being in charge is muddled; as I’m fond of resigned to pointing out, when it comes to fiscal policy, both parties are determined to Thelma-and-Louise the nation over a fiscal cliff, but the GOP are willing to do it a tad more slowly.

But the main thing Dr. Hansen points out is that people are tired (he claims) over being repeatedly fed a diet of increasingly-obvious lies:

Americans have a rough idea that the tragic death of George Floyd was not proof of an epidemic of lethal police shootings of black males. Yet that single death set off the entire woke conflagration of 2020 and, with the hysterias of the lockdowns, has nearly wrecked the country.

Yet in 2021, out of more than 10 million arrests in the United States, police shot about six unarmed black men. The same year, 346 police officers were shot, 63 fatally—to left-wing indifference. Moreover, roughly 8,000 blacks were murdered mostly by other blacks—to callous media and political silence. Thousands of lost black lives mattered little—except the fewer than 1 in 1,000 of that total who were tragically and lethally shot while unarmed by police.

Finally, Americans were angry at the rioting inside the Capitol on January 6, 2021. But they cannot forgive the needless lies surrounding that illegal act in an effort to fabricate an insurrection out of a spontaneous buffoonish riot.

But here’s where I’m a little less hopeful than Dr. Hansen, despite my great admiration for the man; he concludes:

But behind the popular furor is a sense of impotence in the face of the untruth they are assaulted with day after day. In other words, bullied Americans are angry that people who control the nation’s institutions deliberately mislead them and do so because they hate them.

Let us hope that they channel this historic exasperation in November in a manner we have never seen before in the modern era.

And well we might.  But what about the election after that?  And the one after that?

Advocates of truly limited government and free markets are few and far between even in the GOP.  And all of those are running against the siren song of Free Shit.  It’s hard to run against Santa Claus, especially in a society where for every person that can name their Congressman there are five that have bookmarked the last internet article in which Kim Kardashian’s bloated ass has appeared (seriously, the woman’s fundament is like the afterdeck of the Andrea Doria.)

That, as much as incompetence and dissembling from pols, is the danger we face.

Animal’s Daily Insurrection News

Imagine the outcry from the legacy media were the Republican mayor of a major city openly call for armed insurrection.  Yet a Democratic mayor, namely Chicago Mayor Beetlejuice, can do that, and as our pal Robert Stacy McCain points out, the reply from the legacy media is a huge collective yawn.  Excerpt:

The year-to-date homicide total in Chicago has already topped 200, but the city’s Amphibian-American mayor isn’t worried about that. In an average week, 11 people are murdered in Chicago. You might think reducing this deadly violence would be a top priority for Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a task that would absorb all of her attention. Nevertheless, she manages to find time to spend on Twitter, warning her “community” about the real danger — the United States Supreme Court.

In the aftermath of the city’s deadliest year since 1996, how does a “call to arms” against the Supreme Court fit on Lightfoot’s agenda? Chicago just celebrated Mother’s Day weekend with 24 shootings, including six fatalities. The previous weekend was the most deadly of the year, with 32 shootings including seven fatalities. That’s just shootings, to say nothing of other crime in Chicago, such as the carjacking rampage in which more than 500 people have been carjacked so far this year. The violence in Chicago is so out of control that the police department just issued a memo canceling “all days off . ;. . for one full week between May 24 and 31” because of fears of mayhem in the city around Memorial Day.

While Mr. McCain makes some excellent points about Mayor Beetlejuice bloviating while the city of Chicago collapses into anarchy, where is the outrage over her call for armed insurrection?  Because if the shoe was on the other foot, if, say, Governor DeSantis replied to a Supreme Court decision by describing it as a “call to arms” the RHEEEEE from the legacy media would measure on the Richter scale.

This, True Believers, is just another example of principals over principles – and an added example of why the general populace holds the legacy media in such low esteem.  This naked partisanship is growing old, and the “established” media hasn’t  yet figured that out.

But that’s OK, because we now have a Ministry of Truth to help all us dumb schlubs out here in flyover country understand what is acceptable knowledge and what isn’t.

Kakistocracy achieved.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

As I’ve noted (only yesterday in fact), spring comes late to the Great Land.  But we share a  harbinger of spring with most of the upper tier of the Forty-Eight, that being the return of our robins (Turdus migratorius).

Our robins have only been back for a week or so, and they’ll depart in mid-September, if last year was any gauge.  They’re mostly ground-feeders and depart about the time snow starts to fall.  We had them in our old digs in Colorado, too, but there they were year-round residents.

Here, they are again the sign of spring that they were in the northeast Iowa hills of my youth.  There’s one singing in the top of one of our big birch trees as I write this, and it’s nice to hear him; they have a cheery, pleasant song, and it’s a promise of warm, sunny days ahead.

Now then…

On To the Links!

I live in a free speech zone.  It’s called the United States of America.  Still, good for Georgia.

Maybe.  Maybe not.  The GOP hasn’t exactly been on fire about pursuing corruption.

WH Tacitly Endorses Intimidation of Supreme Court Justices.  I can’t add anything to that.

Biden speaks, a nation groans.  Yeah, with embarrassment.

Well, this wouldn’t be good.

This wouldn’t be good either.

Get woke, go broke.

Oh, rats!

Eleven corrupt speed-trap towns.  What assholes!

Dammit, Bill Maher, stop  making me agree with you!

Human brains were bigger 3,000 years ago.  No television, I’m guessing.

On de-extinction.  Good, I want to go mammoth hunting!

Phrases you never heard before:  “Mouse sperm hook.”

Mob secrets coming to light.

Groomer breakfast cereal?

This Week’s Idiots:

The Nation’s Elie Mystal (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Nation’s Sasha Abramsky is an idiot. 

The Nation’s Joan Walsh (I’m sensing a pattern here) is an idiot.

Vox’s Ian Millhiser is an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert)  remains a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

New York Magazine’s David Klion is an idiot.

USA Today’s Richard Wolf is an idiot.

Vox’s Rebecca Leber (I’m sensing another pattern here) is an idiot.

USA Today’s Jill Lawrence is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Ja’han Jones (I’m sensing yet another pattern here) is an idiot.

Salon’s Chris Hedges is an idiot.

OK, that’s all I can take this week.  I actually do read these, you know.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

In his eponymous 1980 album, Peter Gabriel had a number of good tunes, but one I’ve always found interesting is the song Games Without Frontiers. 

While this song is often described as an ‘anti-war’ song, and it is that, it seems to me to spend more verses poking fun at the whole world of international relations, not only war but also our attempts at diplomacy.

It’s an interesting listen, and the video – well, the video is very Eighties.  Here, check it out:

Animal’s Daily Great Land News

Before we start, check out part II of my latest series over at Glibertarians!

Spring has come to the Great Land in full force, with snow melting all over, landslides blocking roads and ice dams flooding small towns.  But that’s life up here; we’re a lot closer to nature untamed than most of the more-developed Forty-Eight.

Last weekend Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. took a drive up to Denali, just to see how the springtime was looking that far  north.  We hit some light snow around Broad Pass, but  it wasn’t sticking, and the highway remained clear and no more than damp.  It was a pretty drive, but north of Talkeetna there is still a lot of snow on the ground.  If any of you ever visit Alaska, this is a beautiful drive any time of year (although it can be a bit dodgy in winter) but in summer it’s one of the greatest displays of scenery you’ll find anywhere.

What’s really fun to contemplate, and what is hard to wrap your mind around until you’ve been here a while, is the scale of this place.  There are a few places in my old Colorado stomping grounds where you can park your truck and walk for twenty miles before you cut another road.  There are lots and lots of places up here where you can walk for a few hundred miles and never see any signs of humans.  There are places along the Parks Highway where you can walk due west and hit the Bering Strait before you encounter anything built by humans.  Oh, there are some villages out in the bush, but they’re pretty scattered, and it’s a big, big country out there.

And that’s a big part of the appeal.  This is the only place I’ve ever lived where I have never felt hemmed in.

Back to spring arriving.  I’ve been going over fishing tackle.  New line on the reel, checking that I’ve got all the spinners, lures, and so forth that I’ll need.  Last year we didn’t meet the residency requirements; this year we have no such issues.  Let the fishing begin! There are a bunch of salmon, trout and maybe some halibut with my name on ’em.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Ever wonder why folks on the political Left come so unglued when things don’t go their way?  Issues & Insights has some thoughts.  Excerpt:

There are plenty of candidates for the most hinge-free response to the draft. But before we go further, we’d like to highlight Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren descent into madness. Watch the video with the audio muted. Does her body language, the spasmodic gesturing, the pointed finger remind anyone of a 20th century figure whose speeches we’re used to seeing in black-and-white newsreels?

Heaven help us.

Warren’s fevered tirade clearly shows we have reached the point that the left has decided that policy will not be made like sausage but through tantrum, intimidation, and riot. If the Supreme Court doesn’t rule its way, then the Court is illegitimate, stolen and therefore has to be destroyed to save itself from making incorrect rulings. As John Daniel Davidson so eloquently noted for The Federalist, “whenever the left feels they have lost control of an institution, they try to destroy it.”

But what should we expect given the childish outbursts and lawlessness following the 2016 election of Donald Trump? The Antifa riots and violent Black Lives Matter mobs that were tacitly approved, and in some cases supported, by the Democrats? And a hard-left press that strangled its last shred of credibility by trafficking the Russian dossier it new was fake, and then insisting in the most maniacal ways imaginable that only it can determine what is acceptable speech in the U.S.?

If anyone wonders where this started, we need go back no further for the answer than 2000, when Democrats demanded the Florida presidential ballots be recounted and recounted until enough votes could be found to give Al Gore the state, and the White House. A peaceful transition of power was not in their plans.

What I don’t see mentioned in this article is something I think the authors overlooked – the fundamental insecurity behind this kind of behavior.  I’m not certain as to the source of that insecurity.  Maybe it’s because the people acting out like this know, at some deep hidden inner level, that their policy proposals are horseshit.  Or maybe it’s because they know that, given the chance for an honest vote and full airing of both sides, the average voter would reject their horseshit policy proposals.

In either case, leftists have been trying for some time to shift the Overton window in American politics, but it seems increasingly that they have succeeded mostly in moving the Overton window of the Democrat Party; that is, they have become the party of moochers, looters, ivory-tower academics and a small urban elite.

That’s leaving the GOP a lot of room in which to operate.

Rule Five Gas Prices Friday

I stumbled across this from The Heritage Foundation the other day, explaining how high gasoline prices appear to be the result of intentional acts on the part of the Imperial City.  Honestly, if you wanted to drive gas prices through the roof, what would you do differently?  Excerpt:

Throughout his presidential campaign, Biden promised to wage war on the U.S. energy industry. “I want you to look at my eyes,” he said. “I guarantee you. I guarantee you. We’re going to end fossil fuel.” That’s pretty unequivocal. And his policies reflect that.

On his first day in the Oval Office, Biden pulled the plug on the Keystone XL pipeline and put a “temporary moratorium” on oil and gas activities in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve. A week later, he “paused” new oil and gas activities on federal lands and waters and set in motion an army of regulators to begin the process of restricting financing for, access to and use of conventional energy.

Also in January 2021, Biden formally recommitted the United States to the Paris Climate Accords, the global carbon-reduction agreement that, if taken seriously, would cripple the U.S. oil industry and the entire economy—and do so without the consent of Americans’ representatives in the Senate. His nominee to be vice chair of the Federal Reserve famously argued that the central bank should restrict access to capital for energy companies—“a dying industry,” she called them—to punish them for their sins against the climate.

See what I mean?  From literally the very beginning, every action the Biden(‘s handlers) administration has increased energy costs.

But wait!  There’s more!

None of these choices was forced on the president. In every case, he intentionally sought policies and personnel who he knew would cut domestic production of and access to fossil fuels—even as the world’s emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic drove global demand for energy ever higher throughout 2021.

Nor could Biden have any doubt that his regulatory war on fossil fuels would, indeed, drive up the price of fossil fuels. In California, where successive progressive governors and legislatures have restricted drilling, mandated renewable fuels, capped carbon emissions, blocked new projects and hiked taxes, gas today costs not $4 per gallon, but $6. Gov. Gavin Newsom is developing a plan to ban the sale of internal combustion engines from the state altogether—even lawn mowers—no matter the inconvenience or expense.

These are the same kinds of laws that Biden and his team want to impose on the whole country—and with them, $6 gas prices.

Let’s be clear about one thing:  Laying this at President Biden’s feet is probably a tad unfair.  It’s become very clear in recent weeks that he has very little capacity to understand, much less direct, these actions.  He is little more than a mouthpiece for unelected persons behind the scenes who are, yes, very likely deliberately driving this agenda.  They reckon, after all, that it won’t affect them; they demonstrate here the same blindness that affects many in leftist movements, who always seem to have to learn the hard way that, when the glorious People’s Revolution comes, they won’t be the apparatchiks with the clipboards, but more likely the ones tied to posts looking at rifles from the wrong side.

Here’s the onion:

Politicians aren’t engineers or scientists. They can’t make renewable energy better and cheaper. But they can make oil and gas more expensive—ideally, so expensive that the “sustainable” energy sources they like seem comparably affordable.

The Biden energy agenda isn’t a conspiracy. It is an uncomplicated array of policies all aimed at one obvious goal—a goal that Biden himself, his party and the Left openly support. Anyone confused about why the president isn’t acting to lower gasoline prices in the near term and boost America’s energy production and infrastructure in the long term already have their answer.

The only problem Joe Biden sees with $4.23 gas is that it’s too low.

And that’s the crime behind the whole thing:  These people would be much happier with $6.00 gas.

There’s an apocryphal story about the Duke of Wellington, in which he rails against passenger railways, claiming they would “promote unrest by allowing the lower classes to move too freely about.”  What an asshole!  And that’s the same kind of attitude that’s driving this crap in the Imperial City today.

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