All posts by Animal

Animal’s Daily Energy Bills News

Gasoline.

How much have your energy bills gone up?  A lot?  I’m just going to leave this here.  Excerpt:

Across the country, energy prices continue to skyrocket under President Biden’s agenda that strangled American energy independence. It’s being felt at the gas pump, where Americans are paying the most — ever — after the national average cost per gallon recently doubled under Biden’s policies. 

But in another less-obvious way, electricity rates have also been spiking under Biden. There’s no illuminated sign on the corner showing the price Americans pay per kilowatt hour, but the burden of increasing residential electricity rates is hitting wallets. 

Townhall reviewed the latest available data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to find which states’ electricity costs made the biggest jumps by comparing average residential retail price of electricity (RRPE) in cents per kilowatthour between January 2021 and March 2022 when Biden took office — and the pain caused by the combination of Biden’s inflation and energy crises is abundantly clear. 

Lots of graphs follow.  Go read the whole thing.

Interestingly, we aren’t doing as bad in the Great Land as folks in lots of places; our overall energy bills have only gone up a tad over six percent, according to this piece.  I have a hard time drawing comfort from that when gasoline is at $5.51/gallon, as of yesterday.  Needless to say we’re not driving a lot when we can help it.

Add to this issue the fact that America’s electrical grid is aging, badly, and we’re anticipating rolling brownouts over much of the country this summer.  Our entire society relies on electricity; without it, we’re kicked back to 1850, and our country at the technological level of 1850 can’t support 335,000,000 people.  You’re looking at mass starvation, especially in the cities, and open civil conflict, if this happens.

I’d point out that “Hey!  No more mean tweets!”  But honestly, I didn’t see a plan from the GOP on addressing the problems with the grid.  Production, sure, some lip service.  But lip service ain’t getting us anywhere.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

One of the interesting summer visitors to the Great Land is the Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius), a relative of the more common American Robin who also hits up our area for summer feeding & breeding.

But while the robins sing loudly and melodiously from the tops of trees, and hunt insects and worms in our open yard, the Varied Thrush prefers to stay well back in the brush, away from the open areas.  It’s song isn’t much, just a metallic trill, repeated here and there in the undergrowth.  I haven’t been able to lay eyes on one yet, but we hear them every day.  Sooner or later I’ll have to wander into the mosquito-laden woods and find one.  Hearing them is good, but actually laying eyes on a bird is somehow more satisfying.

Now then…

On To the Links!

Well, here’s a rare bit of good news out of California.

No shit, Sherlock.

Hint:  Democrats.

It’s the economy, stupid.

I love a happy ending.

I love a happy ending II.

Yeah, he’s probably toast.

This is known as belaboring the obvious.

We can hope.

The redpilling of Bill Maher continues.

There are still a few honest liberals around.

Entropy hits Disney.

It’s all part of the plan.

Your dollar is now worth less than it was a month ago.

The Germans do have a reputation for building good tanks.

This Week’s Idiots:

Watch this idiot prevaricate.

The Philly Enquirer’s editorial board are all idiots.

MSNBC’s Charlie Sykes is an idiot.

Fat, flatulent blowpig Michael Moore can fuck right off.

The daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont is still an idiot.

Maureen Dowd is an idiot.

The Hill’s Bill Schneider is an idiot.

The question these idiots can’t answer is “at what cost?”

Are these idiots threatening an insurrection?  Imagine the reaction from the legacy media if these were Republican congresscritters.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Up until the early Seventies, America’s Songwriter, Bob Dylan, was mostly known as an acoustic folk artist.  But in 1975 and 1976, he put on the Rolling Thunder Revue, set in a variety of small venues around the country.  One of those shows was televised, that being the May 23, 1976 show in Fort Collins, Colorado.  That recording later became the live album Hard Rain, and that concert also presented my favorite version of what I consider one of Dylan’s finest songs, Shelter From the Storm. 

This performance settled any doubts that the folk artist Dylan could also do rock & roll.  Here, then, is that piece from that show.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Daily Alaska Politics News

Before we get into today’s topic, check out my latest over at Glibertarians!

Meanwhile, up here in the Great Land, last Saturday was the due date for ballots in Alaska’s special election primary.  This is the election to fill (for a few months) the seat left vacant by the passing of Don Young, who had been Alaska’s sole Representative since I was in high school.

At the moment, it looks like Sarah Palin has the election pretty much in the bag.  Nick Begitch is running a respectable second, with Independent (and by “Independent” mean “a Democrat running in a red state”) is in third.  Democrat Mary Peltola looks to be rounding out the four-position ranked-choice ballot for the general election.  Mind you, that just puts the top four in the mix for the general in August.

At this point, even with the goofy ranked-choice voting that we have here, it sure looks like Mrs. Palin is the best bet to win.  And I hope that goes through.  Why?  Well, I’m a-gonna tell you.

For a while now, I’ve given up any hope that we can salvage much of anything out of the Imperial City.  We have $30 trillion in debt.  Both parties seemed determine to make the money printers go brrrr and spend us into oblivion.  The GOP, granted, is selling us out a little more slowly than the Dems, but only a little.  Equal protection under the law?  That’s now a sad joke.  Our tax system is so horrendous that it takes literal armies of lawyers to sift through and figure out what the hell means what.  I could go on all day, but it all boils down to ‘we’re pretty fucked.’  As one great American once said:  “I got news for you pal – they’re gonna nail us no matter what we do!  So we might as well have a good time.”

So if we can send Sarah Palin to Congress, that will make plenty of liberal heads explode – just like when we sent Donald Trump to the Imperial Mansion.  And that’s worth it right there.  Forget reform, it’s too little too late for that.  At this point all we can hope for is entertainment.  As my kids are fond of saying, it’s worth it just for the lulz.

 

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Moving on:  Here, from RealClearPolicy, are five facts on Social Security that you would probably rather not think about.  Image from article.  Excerpt:

The Social Security trust fund is running out of money, but it has been decades since Congress passed legislation making reforms to the program. Tens of millions of Americans rely on Social Security for their survival, and it keeps many — not just retirees — above the poverty line. Congress needs to focus on this emerging crisis, and it will take work across the aisle to keep the program afloat.

Here are five facts on the Social Security trust fund.

1.         The Social Security trust fund is projected to be depleted within the next 12 years.

Social Security’s financial operations are actually two legally distinct trust funds, the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund and the Disability Insurance trust fund. They are usually referred to collectively as “the Social Security trust fund.”

The trust funds had $2.85 trillion in reserves at the end of 2021. These funds will run out of money by 2034, according to the most recent official estimate. As recently as 2019, the funds were expected to last until 2044, but the COVID pandemic resulted in a significant reassessment.

Read all five.  It’s not new information, not if you’ve been paying attention for the last couple of decades, but it’s a great summary.

Social Security is, to put a point on it, an enormous steaming pile of suck for anyone under fifty.  For my grandparents generation – and three of my grandparents were born in the 19th century, with the last in 1901 – it wasn’t a bad deal at all.  For my parent’s generation, the WW2 generation, it was OK.  For us Boomers, well, if you’re like me and in the last cohort of the Baby Boomers, Social Security is distinctly a bad deal.  And if you’re younger than that?  Fuhgeddaboutit.  Social Security might as well not exist.

So why has nothing been done about fixing it?  Well, the obvious answer is that it’s past fixing.  Another good answer is that the one thing that might save it – privatization – is unacceptable to the politicians for political reasons.  And the third?  Well, the political class exempted themselves from SS and have fat pensions to rely on, so, hey, it’s not their problem!

This is just another example of the inherent incompetence of most of our elected officials.

Rule Five Higher Education Friday

This is an interesting take:  What Are College Students Paying For?  Well, they should be paying for an institution that will make them into young adults with marketable skills, but all too often, they are failing miserably.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow.

But deep discussions and dialogue in college classes can be rare. So what else are college students paying for? Some colleges have tried to make the campus experience itself the attraction. For example, in College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education, Ryan Craig illustrates how, in addition to climbing walls and gourmet dining facilities, many campuses have developed water parks: “The New York Times [in 2014] reported [that] Auburn has developed a $52 million water park, including a 45-student paw-print-shaped hot tub and a 20-foot wet climbing wall … Auburn raised its student activity fee from $7.50 to $200 to fund its water park.” The University of Missouri “has a lazy river, waterfall, indoor beach club, and a grotto modeled after the one at the Playboy Mansion. Not to be outdone, Missouri State has put in a waterpark complete with zipline and lazy river, but insists on calling the lazy river a ‘current river’ because ‘Missouri State students are not lazy.’” So, the answer to “What else are students paying for?” includes college campuses as vacation destinations.

What the actual fuck?  Why the hell do college kids need indoor beach clubs and climbing walls?  People are constantly nattering on about the costs of higher education, and then the universities are paying for this horseshit?

In the 1960s and 1970s, proliferating colleges, with their swelling enrollments, needed more teachers. And it so happened that this era of college expansion coincided with the civil rights era, an era of protest. Many radical leftists, socialists, progressives, and Marxists saw an opportunity to use teaching to preach and promote their causes. Thus it was that during this time, the idea of using—or, rather, abusing—education as a platform to promote ideologies and activism began to spread. The fruits of this phenomenon still poison classrooms today.

Yeah, and then some – while simultaneously doing nothing at all to instill marketable skills in these young skulls full of mush.

And this begs the question of what the purpose of college is, anyway. Is it to be like Plato’s Academy, a safe haven from the constraints of public opinion where students can engage in dialogue exploring Goodness, Truth, and Beauty? Or should college essentially be about social mobility, giving students marketable job skills? Indeed, when one sees some students balancing accounting equations and others wrestling with existential philosophical questions, it is logical to ask if these subjects belong on the same grounds or are better kept separate.

I’m in favor of the latter option, especially if we are to continue the current lunacy of government-subsidized education.  Universities should – nay, must – be like any other business; they should produce a product, that product being young people with marketable skills.

Perhaps we are on the cusp of a backlash that will pare away more of the useless majors, ideologies, gimmicks, and excesses and re-center the college experience around real dialogue and learning. The Stephen Curry Effect will continue to expose the meaninglessness of college rankings, contrived diversity, and hollow exclusivity. And the Internet will continue to undermine the monopoly on rare books and expertise that colleges once held.

I’m skeptical about that backlash.  I just don’t see much sign that the current trend of horseshit Ethnic Underwater Dog-Polishing degrees abating any time soon, at least not as long as the Imperial City keeps subsidizing this crap and pols keep pandering to young morons with zero marketable skills who keep shrieking that the taxpayers should assume their six figures of college debt.

I have, for some years now, proposed a solution.  Remove any government subsidy for higher education.  All of it.  If a young would-be student needs to borrow money for their education, let them approach a private financial institution and make their case.  Student A, with a 3.9 grade point average from a school specializing in prepping STEM students, who intends to pursue a degree in Software Engineering, would be a pretty good risk.  Student B, with a 2.6 grade point average from the MoonBattery Squish Academy for the Politically Correct, who intends to pursue a degree in Eastern European Queer History, would certainly be sent packing.

Eliminate the problems of horseshit, useless degrees, overwhelming student debt, and crap like climbing walls on campus at a stroke, and move education to what it ought to be.  It’s a good idea, which is reason enough alone that the Imperial City won’t touch it.

We could also start some kind of re-discovery of the trades.  The country needs carpenters, plumbers, welders and electricians, too.  Those are honest, respectable trades with the potential for really good income.  But that’s probably a topic for another day.

Animal’s Daily Sovietization News

National treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson recently drew some uncomfortable parallels between the US and the Soviet Union.  Excerpt:

One day historians will look back at the period beginning with the COVID lockdowns of spring 2020 through the midterm elections of 2022 to understand how America for over two years lost its collective mind and turned into something unrecognizable and antithetical to its founding principles.

“Sovietization” is perhaps the best diagnosis of the pathology. It refers to the subordination of policy, expression, popular culture, and even thought to ideological mandates. Ultimately such regimentation destroys a state since dogma wars with and defeats meritocracy, creativity, and freedom.

Experts become sycophantic. They mortgage their experience and talent to ideology—to the point where society itself regresses. 

The law is no longer blind and disinterested, but adjudicates indictment, prosecution, verdict, and punishment on the ideology of the accused. Eric Holder is held in contempt of Congress and smiles; Peter Navarro is held in contempt of Congress and is hauled off in cuffs and leg-irons. James Clapper and John Brennan lied under oath to Congress—and were rewarded with television contracts; Roger Stone did the same and a SWAT team showed up at his home. Andrew McCabe made false statements to federal investigators and was exempt. A set-up George Papadopoulos went to prison for a similar charge. So goes the new American commissariat.

Read especially Dr. Hanson’s comments on California; while reading, bear in mind that Dr. Hanson lives in California, comes from an old California family, and is describing the death of the home state he loves:

Examine California and ask a series of simple questions. 

Why does the state that formerly served as a model to the nation regarding transportation now suffer inferior freeways while its multibillion-dollar high-speed rail project remains an utter boondoggle and failure? 

Why was its safe and critically needed last-remaining nuclear power plant scheduled for shutdown (and only recently reversed) as the state faced summer brownouts? 

Why did its forests go up in smoke predictably each summer, as its timber industry and the century-old science of forest management all but disappeared from the state?

Why do the state’s criminals so often evade indictment, and if convicted are often not incarcerated—or are quickly paroled? 

Why are its schools’ test scores dismal, its gasoline the nation’s highest-priced, and the streets of its major cities fetid and dangerous—in a fashion not true 50 years ago or elsewhere today?

In a word, the one-party state is Sovietized. Public policy is no longer empirical but subservient to green, diversity, equity, and inclusion dogmas—and detached from the reality of daily middle-class existence. Decline is ensured once ideology governs problem-solving rather than time-tested and successful policymaking.

There used to be a saying in American politics:  “As goes California, so goes the nation.”  I’m hoping that has changed, but I’m a little skeptical; two of our kids still live just outside the Denver metro area, in spite of our exhortations to them to leave that now-declining state, and they report on Denver’s slide into California-like status:  Needles on the streets, tent cities, a city government that seems helpless to deal with any of it.

Dr. Hanson’s observations can only make one very uncomfortable.  He eloquently (more eloquently than I) describes the death of equal treatment under the law, and the dangers of one-party rule at the city and state level.  And now, just this year, Democrat politicians in the Imperial City were pushing an “election reform” bill that was a transparent attempt to assure one-party rule for the nation.  Fortunately, that bill went down in well-deserved flames.  But don’t think for a moment that the Left has given up on this, and sooner or later, they’ll be in a position to do it.

We live in interesting times, my friends.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Boy howdy, has mosquito season ever started up here in the Great Land.

The picture is in Alaska. These may or may not be real Alaska mosquitoes, though.

Honestly, I’ve been places where the mosquitoes were worse (I’m looking at you, Ft. Benning) than they are here in our Susitna Valley home.  And the buggy season isn’t all that long, either, running from the first week in June until mid-late July.  Add to that the fact that it’s been a dry spring this year, and, well, it could be a lot worse.  But we still have good numbers of the little bloodsuckers.  Some measures can help, though.  Planting marigolds, lavender and mint around the house can help repel them.  So can citronella.

But the best thing we’ve done to help us sleep at night without whining, bloodsucking pests (I mean mosquitoes, not Congressmen) buzzing around was to get all the old windows replaced with new, tight-fitting units with good screens.  It cost a fair bit, but it’s worth it, and the new windows are also better-installed and better-insulated than the old, which will help in winter, too.

Keeping up a place never stops; there’s always something that needs fixed or replaced.  And a country place, even more so.

Also:  I’ve been and remain a little salty this week, language-wise.  Sorry, but there’s been a lot of crap that irritates me this week, and unusually, not all of it came out of the Imperial City.  And so…

On To the Links!

Haw haw haw!

When Americans vote with their feet, the real winner is freedom.

Molon labe, asshole.

Time can fuck right off.

The different kinds of bullshit.

I love a happy ending.

Johnny Depp is now the poster child for Guy Rule #1:  “Never Stick Your Dick in Crazy.”

No shit, Sherlock.

Good.

Hopefully not the last.

(H/T to the Glibertarian’s Sloopyinca)There will be food. Food. People will eat the food. Food. Some may give speeches. Speeches with words. Words the people will hear. And food. The dinner will be about food. And people. But food.

Shocker:  Japan and America aren’t very much alike.

RIP Dan Seals, of Seals & Crofts.  Damn, he was eighty?

This Week’s Idiots:

The LA Times‘ Robin Abcarian is an idiot.

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

Idiots appointing idiots.

Kookoo for Cocoa Puffs.

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

Eleanor Clift can fuck right off.

USAToday’s Rex Huppke is an idiot.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (Shit-for-Brains, RI) is an idiot.

The Nation’s Laura Flanders is an idiot, and so is the subject of her interview and Repeat Offender Ibram Kendi.

Yes.  And don’t let the screen door hit your ass on the way out.

Idiots in their own words.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

When I was a young fellow mooching around northeast Iowa, all of us had a few tunes we referred to as “make-out music.”  This sorta-genre was as widely varied as tastes in music in general, and throughout those heady days of rock & roll in the late Seventies we still had a fair amount of smooth smoochin’ tunes to rely on.

One popular singer when one was “closing the deal” was Rod Stewart, and one of the best of his song to have loaded in your car’s eight-track player or on your turntable was his 1976 tune Tonight’s the Night.  Here is the official video for that great make-out tune.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Daily College Debt News

Before we start, check out my latest over at Glibertarians – and thanks to our pals at The Daley Gator for the hat tip!

Now then:  Get a load of this nitwit, decrying her six figures of student debt.  Excerpt:

If it weren’t for compounding interest, Cheryl — who requested her last name be withheld for privacy concerns — thinks President Joe Biden’s plans to forgive $10,000 in student debt for federal borrowers might have made a difference for her.

But with $303,000 in federal student debt — and an additional $20,000 in private student loans — the president’s plan just isn’t enough.

“It is not even a drop in the bucket,” Cheryl, 53, told Insider. “If you wanted to make a real difference, you could do away with half the interest we’ve accrued, but for now I’ll never be able to cover the payments.”

As a teacher in Massachusetts, Cheryl had to take out student loans for her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in education. While she said she has no problem paying back the debt she borrowed, the problem is the interest that accrued while she was in school and her loans were in forbearance. At her current modest income level, it’s been nearly impossible for her to make a dent in her principal balance, which has swelled to more than $300,000 thanks to all the interest.

To “Cheryl” I can only say this:  “Did you read the loan agreements?  Did you sign them?  Yes?  Then shut the fuck up.”

Cheryl is asking the Imperial government to commit theft on her behalf.  She is asking for taxpayer dollars, taken by force (yes, by force; try not paying your taxes for a while and see how long it takes for the government to send men with guns out after you) from productive people to pay off her student loans.

She’s not the only one asking for this, of course.  And every damn one of them is asking the Imperial government to commit theft on their behalf.  They signed loan agreements – contracts – with the loan terms spelled out in detail.  And now they are asking for the Imperial government to cancel those agreements and meet the obligations these assholes agreed to, with taxpayer dollars.

The only proper response to people like this is “shut up and pay your own debts.”  The answer to this sort of thing, policy-wise, is to get government completely out of the business of education, and especially out of the business of financing education.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Have a look at this:

As do a lot of folks, I suspect that the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination is probably Donald Trump’s to lose, should he choose to run for it.  I also suspect that Governor DeSantis wouldn’t run against him.  But President Trump hasn’t yet made that announcement, and there’s always the chance that his age and health may rule him out; he’s said so himself.

But if he doesn’t run, boy howdy, is this ever the guy that the GOP needs to put up against whoever the Dems pick, and that sure as shootin’ won’t be President Biden(‘s handlers).  Every time Governor DeSantis makes a statement like this, every time he gets an attempted ‘gotcha’ question from the media and shoots it down in flames, every time he triumphantly signs some new piece of legislation that slams the door on some aspect of the proggie wish list, he just makes that plainer and plainer.

Even if we don’t see President DeSantis sworn in in January 2025, it’s a damn good bet we’ll see him in 2029, or at some point after that.  Back in the Eighties it was often said that it took a Carter to give us a Reagan; it will very likely be the case that it will take a Biden to bring us a DeSantis.  And that, True Believers, will be a good thing.