All posts by Animal

Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

Here, from a 2014 performance at the Mauch Chunk Opera House, is the lovely and talented Mary Fahl performing her song Everything’s Gonna Be Alright,  my favorite song from her album Love and Gravity.

I do love this song and this singer.  It’s much more upbeat and optimistic than a lot of music these days, and I do think Mary Fahl is the best female vocalist alive today.  She’s as talented as she is beautiful, and my own talented and beautiful Mrs. Animal and  I have tickets to see her in concert in Denver this summer.  That’s something to look forward to!

Animal’s Daily News.

Chris Cuomo is a fucking idiot.  Here’s the evidence:

Cuomo3Yes, Chris, that’s a good idea, you maundering idiot:  Read the Constitution your damn self; here’s the relevant portion:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Nope.  Nothing in there about hate speech.  Michelle Malkin had the response of the day:

MalkinTweetSeriously, this jackass has a law degree?

Have a read of Reason columnist Robby Soave’s take on this.  Excerpt:

As it turns out, the Supreme Court has consistently interpreted the First Amendment to protect all kinds of odious speech, including speech perceived to be hateful. Constitutional speech protections wouldn’t be very strong if they did not include hate speech, since one person’s statement of hate is another’s statement of truth. “George Bush is a war criminal” might be construed as a hateful statement if you’re George Bush, after all.

There are indeed limits on the First Amendment; the Supreme Court has held that “fighting words” and incitements to specific and imminent violence are not protected.  But as recently as 2011, the Court ruled 8-1 that the Westboro Baptist Church had a First Amendment right to picket a military funeral and wave signs that read “You’re going to hell” and “Thank God for dead soldiers.”

In other words, it doesn’t look like the Court is ready to undertake some vast reinterpretation of the First Amendment that would possibly justify the claims of the “hate speech isn’t protected” brigade.

Derp BearCiting the Westboro Baptist Church decision was a good point; speech doesn’t come much more hateful than the assholes at Westboro.

Watch now, as before you can say Jack Robinson, Cuomo will be trying to “clarify” his remarks.  But this is one bit of stupid you just can’t put back in the can.  Who does Mr. Cuomo think he is, anyway – Joe Biden?

Updating Normally Again

Gingermageddon (5)Apparently we had some weird caching issues that led to the site not updating properly for the last few days.  That should be fixed now.

The lovely young redhead here was not on the tech support team that helped fix the problem, nor does she have any involvement with the site.  Her appearance here is purely gratuitous – and also our way of making up for the update problem.  (Allen, this one’s for you.)

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

This is interesting; could the Bill of Rights pass today?  Excerpt:

One can only imagine the attack ads that would today be marshaled against the Bill of Rights. Posited in 2015, the First Amendment’s speech protections would likely be characterized as “anti-gay” or “pro-racist” measures that had been cynically contrived to protect the capacity of bigots to say disgraceful things with impunity and to reinforce the various power structures and privileges that are at present claimed to be destroying America. The “freedom of the press,” meanwhile, would be openly disdained as an overture to the corporate purchase of elections; the “right of the people peaceably to assemble” would be regarded as a direct threat to the sanctity of the land around the entrance to abortion clinics; and the wide-ranging conscience protections contained within both the establishment and the free-exercise clauses would be cast as a devilish recipe for theocracy that would allow the irrational to operate without oversight and the backward to undermine the great cause of Science.

To run down the list is to see the modern objections fall neatly into place. As it is so often, the Second Amendment would be cast as a recipe for “Wild West” anarchy, an open invitation to sedition for those white, mountain-dwelling racists of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s nightmares, and an overture to the execution of children. The Fourth, the Fifth, and the Eighth would be denounced by both overzealous law-and-order types and totalitarian feminists as damnable “soft on crime” provisions intended to help dastardly types get away with raping college students and selling drugs to the vulnerable. And the Ninth and Tenth would be attacked viciously by our seemingly endless plague of ambitious public-policy graduates, almost all of whom believe down to their ill-fitting boots that there is no problem so small or so personal that it cannot be solved nationally. Precisely because it has such a limited effect in restraining the government, the only provision that would remain would be the Third, about quartering soldiers, although one can only suppose that John McCain and Lindsey Graham would put up quite the fight.

Excellent BearProponents of a Constitutional Convention take note; it’s very likely that this may be entirely too accurate.  It’s very likely that the original Bill of Rights would not survive such a convention in any recognizable form.   Our state universities are implementing “speech codes” to protect the delicate ears of the hyper-sensitive; the right to bear arms is under daily attack; Congress seems to have forgotten the Tenth Amendment altogether.

It’s an utter shame that the Bill of Rights was even considered necessary, even in the last years of the 18th century.  It’s an even greater shame that those rights seem so easily negotiable today.  And in the ill-considered event of a new Constitutional Convention, the Bill of Rights will not survive in any recognizable form.

Not when there are government goodies to be lobbied for.

Animal’s Daily News

Splashing-BearsThis just in from the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson:  Decoding the Rules of Baltimore.  Excerpt:

Almost everyone blames the subsequent Baltimore rioting on some –ism — endemic racism, economic inequality, the lack of jobs, the legacy of slavery, systematic police brutality and insensitivity, the pathologies of the black underclass, the destruction of the black family and on and on. However, most of America, rich and poor, black, white and other, liberal and conservative can more or less chart the conditions that explain a Ferguson or Baltimore — and remain quiet about it. At this point, I don’t think much will change until action follows rhetoric and someone like Barack Obama symbolically puts his kids in the public schools rather than at Sidwell Friends, or some of the loud MSNBC team choose to live, in desegregated style, in the Baltimore inner city, or Apple and Google grandees mentor East Palo Alto gangbangers, or an Al Gore recruits inner-city youth on his green staffs, or a Warren Buffett leads a national effort on the part of plutocrats to invest money in Detroit or Oakland shopping centers. And as long as the proverbial black community has self-appointed adjudicators of racial redress that blame pathologies on cosmic racism rather than demand introspection — of the likes of the Revs. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Jeremiah Wright, in a way quite unlike the Asian, Jewish, ethnic, and Latino communities — things will not change much. Is there a Cuban or Chinese or Korean national reverend who takes it upon himself to agitate and negotiate collective grievances?

Of course none of the above will happen; no one seriously expects President Obama, himself a child of wealth and privilege, to send his children to the execrable District of Columbia public schools.  But Dr. Hanson makes a good point; hypocrisy is an ugly thing, and no more so than when it is the detestable hustler “Reverend” Al Sharpton agitating in Baltimore, screaming “racism” while expecting “his people” to think, to believe, to vote a certain way because of the Yes-YOU-bearmelanin content of their skin – and feeling free to blame white people for the failure of big liberal-administered cities like Baltimore.

The “Reverend” Sharpton would do well to look closer to home for the source of Baltimore’s woes.  He would do even better to start by looking in a mirror.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Baltimore reveals many things, but one of them is the failure of urban centers’ prevailing bias for gun control.  Excerpt:

Citizens in Baltimore and Ferguson were on their own. Not surprisingly, during the weeks in early November before the St. Louis County grand jury released its verdict, gun sales in the Ferguson area went up about sixfold.

But poor blacks in Maryland simply can’t rush out to get guns. Politicians in Maryland have made it virtually impossible for law-abiding civilians, particularly poor individuals, to get a concealed handgun permit.

Even owning a gun in the home is difficult. It costs at least $300 to go through the licensing and registration process to get a handgun. On top of that, people face a seven-day waiting period, and it’s illegal for them to borrow a gun from their friends.

The law-abiding people living in places most heavily hit by riots are the ones most clearly prevented from defending themselves if an emergency were to arise. Democrats’ actions sure don’t back up their claims of being the defenders of the poor.

It’s important to note that the big-city Democrats in action here are not operating from any rational basis where their thoughts on legally owned guns are concerned; they are interested not in what actually is, but on what they think ought to be.

Intellectually, they haven’t progressed (hah) past “guns – bad!”  But a gun is an inanimate object.  A gun, in and of itself, is morally null.  gun control theoryOnly a person, wielding the gun, can be good or bad.  And the only reliable counter to a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun – as happens thousands of times, every year.

But big-city liberal pols will continue in their hoplophobic delusion that “guns – bad!”  And in cities like Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis, it is predominantly the very poor people that urban lefties claim to care about that pay the price for their hoplophobia.


Rule Five Friday

2015_05_01_Rule Five Friday (1)Not like this should be a surprise to anyone who has followed economic policy for the last 35 years, but here it is anyway:  Obama vs. Reagan on GDP Growth – Not Even Close.  Excerpt:

Ronald Reagan’s economic plan saw GDP surge at a 3.5% clip – 4.9% after the recession. That’s a 32% bump.

During the Obama years, thanks to his big government policies, the US economy has stalled. Today the quarterly GDP was announced. The GDP for the first quarter of 2015 braked more sharply than expected at only a .2% pace. The US economy has grown an anemic 9.6% during the Obama years (excluding today’s dismal number).

Of course, Obama’s record on job growth is also much worse than President Reagan’s record.

2015_05_01_Rule Five Friday (2)Net job growth has declined under Obama. By the end of the second year of their terms as president, economic growth under Reagan averaged 7.1% , under Obama an anemic 2.8%. (IJ Review)

And today, more than five years into the tepid recovery, labor-force participation remains at its lowest level since 1978 during the Carter years.

More from Forbes:

Let’s look at some numbers. President Reagan entered office in a period of high inflation which was stamped out by high interest rates that in turn led to the 1982 recession. His job-creation record after that may fairly be termed outstanding: nearly 20 million more Americans were employed when he left office than when the recession ended. Overall, including the recession on his watch, Reagan’s net job growth over eight years was 16.1 million.

2015_05_01_Rule Five Friday (3)Barack Obama entered office in different circumstances: He inherited a recession that was already well underway, which ended much earlier in his presidency than did the Reagan recession. If you think of the economic cycle like a bouncing ball, Obama entered office just as the ball was about to strike the pavement. The bounce, though, has proceeded in agonizingly slow motion. Some eight million jobs have been created under Obama since the mid-2009 end of the recession, with a net gain of about five million. Charting Obama and Reagan’s job-creation against overall U.S. population increases makes the picture look even worse for Obama, and the Reagan-era U.S. had a much smaller population. At any rate, more people have been added to the food-stamp rolls than the job rolls under Obama.

It’s misleading to compare employment rates during the two presidencies. 2015_05_01_Rule Five Friday (4)Imagine 90 out of 100 people are employed, and because the economy looks like it’s picking up more steam 10 more people enter the workforce. If nine out of ten of them find jobs, the unemployment rate doesn’t go down at all, yet ten percent more people are employed.

So what’s the chief difference between these two completely different takes on economic policy?

There’s one key difference:  Incentives.  President Reagan pushed policies that encouraged growth; they encouraged investment, small business, they rewarded success – at least to the extent that the Democratic Congress of those years (and mind you, the Democrat party has moved a ways to the left since the 1980s) allowed.

President Obama’s policies – at least to the extent that the rather squishy GOP Congress is allowing – punish success and reward failure.

2015_05_01_Rule Five Friday (5)It’s a truism in economics that you get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish.    Barack Obama’s economic policy can be boiled down to “you can’t make it without the Imperial Federal government.  We’ll give you handouts.  We’ll give you preferences.  We’ll give, give, give, and someone else will pay.”

Economic policy should be:  “You can do this yourself.  We’ll show you how.”

At present nobody much in the Imperial City is talking like this.  Why not?

2015_05_01_Rule Five Friday (6)

Animal’s Daily News

Who among you couldn’t use a self-guiding rifle bullet?  Check it out:

From the video description:  DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program, which developed a self-steering bullet to increase hit rates for difficult, long-distance shots, completed in February its most successful round of live-fire tests to date. An experienced shooter using the technology demonstration system repeatedly hit moving and evading targets. Additionally, a novice shooter using the system for the first time hit a moving target.

This video shows EXACTO rounds maneuvering in flight to hit targets that are moving and accelerating. EXACTO’s specially designed ammunition and real-time optical guidance system help track and direct projectiles to their targets by compensating for weather, wind, target movement and other factors that can impede successful hits.

While this would be some great fun for recreational shooting – and while one suspects the price tag would put it outside the reach of anyone not possessed of Bill Gates-type fortune – it’s probably crossing a line for the hunter, the far side of the line lying outside the realm of “fair chase.”  Of course some folks said the same for telescopic sights, and modern ammo, and probably the bow and arrow – but this seems different.  It’s not just a technical advance that Girl Hunterstill requires some skill of the marksman; it largely obviates the need for any marksmanship skill at all, as vividly shown in the video.

That’s outside the world of sportsmanship.  In war, great – and that’s DARPA’s portfolio, after all, developing weapons for war – but not in the game fields.

And speaking of the military – nothing, but nothing, can replace marksmanship skills in individual soldiers.  Gadgets can and do break.  A skilled rifleman is more resilient.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

From Steve Forbes:  Will Iran Attempt To Seize Control Of Saudi Oilfields?  Excerpt:

In 1976 an investment banker turned adventure novelist, Paul Erdman, penned a best-selling thriller, The Crash of ’79. Center to the plot was the Shah of Iran making a grab for the oilfields of the Arab Middle East, with a well-armed military, thanks to rising oil prices. Of course, barely 24 months later the Shah was ousted by radical Islamists, who subsequently bled the country white in a bloody and futile eight-year war with Iraq. Oil prices crashed after Ronald Reagan took office, and all thoughts of an Iranian version of a Nazi blitzkrieg disappeared.

Well, if Erdman were still alive (he died in 2007), he could write a very plausible updated version of his novel, with—very frighteningly—the all too likely possibility that this time fiction would turn into fact.

Iran doesn’t possess a passel of Panzer divisions and have a murderous Luftwaffe at its disposal. But it now has the means to make a play for control of the immense oilfields of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and, all too obviously, Iraq, where its proxy militias are gaining strength. Militias under Iranian control can achieve Teheran’s imperial goals almost as well as WWII-style armed forces.

Out on a limb.
Out on a limb.

It occurs to one that the nutbar regime in Tehran may have exactly that in mind, and it also occurs to one that the leadership gap from our Imperial City may be encouraging them.  With their proxy militias taking control of Yemen to the south, and Iran’s own Republican Guards to the northeast – not to mention Iran-allied militias in Iraq and Syria – Iran has the Saudis neatly boxed, their “T” precisely crossed, to use a nautical term that nobody much in that part of the world would understand.

The question is this:  What will America do?

The Iranians are betting on the answer being “not much.”  And, given the experiences of the last few years, they are probably justified in thinking so.  And those are the kinds of calculations of which world wars are made.