Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

Deep thoughts, omphaloskepsis, and other random musings.

Animal’s Christmas Wishes

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!

No news today, not on this lovely Colorado Christmas Eve.  No deep thoughts, no musing, no notes on the passing scene.

Instead, today, just accept our best wishes from all here at the Casa de Animal (along with the concomitant Christmas Hump Day totty) and a heartfelt Merry Christmas to all True Believers!

Regular posts will return on (Rule Five) Friday.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

Since yesterday’s comments were directed at a possible 2016 candidacy by Democrat Elizabeth Warren, it seems only fair to discuss an announcement today by a GOP candidate – Jeb Bush.  Once again Michael Walsh weighs in over at PJMedia; his comment:

Just what America needs: three presidents in one family, and the prospect of another Bush/Clinton election. A total disgrace to the American ideal. Jeb and the rest of the clan should reconsider before he embarrasses himself further.

I will second that and add my own, “Oh, HELL no!” to the chorus.

Yes, it’s a fair comment that, if Jeb Bush runs, his father and brother won’t be on the ballot.  Yes, it’s a fair observation to note that the electorate and the media should judge Jeb Bush on his own merits, and not those of his father and brother.

But they won’t.

bears-cute-awesome1-11Just as the tenure of Bill Clinton will be an issue in any possible Hillary Clinton candidacy, so will the Presidencies of the first two Bushes be in issue in any 2016 race involving Jeb Bush.  His father is remembered positively for the runaway success of the first Gulf War (seen as a success mostly because of our quick withdrawal with no attempts at nation-building) but was otherwise a tepid President at best.  And George W. Bush, fairly or not, will always be remembered as having presided over the economic collapse of 2008.

But the larger principle is this:  We are not supposed to be a nation with elite families.  Be they Roosevelts, Kennedys, Gores, Bushes or Clintons, the very idea of elite, ruling-class dynasties is something that should make any American shudder in horror.

That is why Jeb Bush should not run for President.

Animal’s Daily News

Silver BearIn the style of the esteemed Dr. Sowell, here today are some random thoughts and notes on the passing scene.

Some interesting work possibilities are in progress.  Bids are out on four projects; two in the Bay Area, one in Cleveland, and one in Ogden, Utah.  Of the four the Ogden job is vastly preferable.  As far as the work itself there is little to differentiate the four, but the Ogden area is vastly preferable to the others; quiet, scenic, friendly, reasonably close to home, and the climate and landscape are familiar.  We are reliably informed there is some great waterfowling in the area.

Sleepy-BearGasoline prices continue to drop.  We filled up Mrs. Animal’s Explorer today for $2.66 a gallon.  Before the Thanksgiving holiday gas here in the metro Denver area was over $3.  Apparently the Saudis are ramping up production to try to squeeze out the boom in North American shale production, but either way it’s good for consumers, and when the sheiks run out of oil the shale fields will still be there.  And they can’t touch us on natural gas production, which will continue.

The 2016 presumptive Democrat Presidential front-runner, Hillary Clinton, is underwhelming crowds.  In the considered opinion of yr. obdt., who has been a dedicated election-watcher since the 1976 contest, she won’t be the nominee.  She is carrying more baggage than a Samsonite factory, and she is old news.  And remember – she was the presumptive nominee in 2008 as well, and was adroitly taken out by a newcomer nobody much had heard of before that year.

Manly Arts.
Manly Arts.

One of our favorite state wildlife areas, the 891-acre Brush State Wildlife Area, no long requires reservations!  This SWA is a great place to jump-shoot some tasty wild mallards, and there are white-tailed deer, rabbits, a few pheasants, quail and squirrels on the land as well.  The Brush SWA is also not what most non-Coloradans think of when they think of our state; east of Ft. Morgan, it’s all Platte River lowlands, flat and lightly wooded with cottonwoods and ash trees.  It’s a fun place to take a shotgun and wander around for a couple of hours, and now that we can do it on short notice – which work schedules frequently mandate – it’s back on the list of Things That Need Doing.  Maybe this week sometime.

One that outdoorsy note, we return you to your Thursday, already in progress.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Another Thanksgiving come and gone, and on this first day of December we all probably are wondering where the hell 2014 went.

Before we begin, once more we give our thanks to for the Rule Five links!  Aficionados of the Feminine Aesthetic should check out Wombat-socho’s extensive compilation of links.

An interesting data point noticed in our Thanksgiving travels was the drop in gasoline prices.  Some of the reasons for that are the explosion of gas and oil development in the Dakotas and Canada, but another explosion is taking place in the Utica Shale formation of  eastern Ohio.  Excerpt:

The Utica Shale is coming on strong as the nation’s second-fastest natural gas formation, right behind the Marcellus. The Utica lies just beneath the Marcellus and extends all the way from central Ohio to tiny slivers of Maryland and New Jersey (not shown). Production in the Utica has risen tenfold since the field was opened in 2012, from 155 million cubic feet per day to 1.3 billion.

Until recently, regular unleaded gasoline was well over $3 a gallon here in Colorado.  It was over $3 in Indiana for all of the year and three months I recently spent there.  When we traveled yesterday across Iowa, Nebraska and eastern Colorado, the highest we paid for petrol was $2.67.

Smiling BearSupply and demand works, True Believers.  Adam Smith figured that out 240 years ago, even if Congress and the other denizens of the Imperial City haven’t yet.

So why has the Senate not approved the Keystone pipeline, which will add 800 miles of pipeline to the well over 2 million already in everyday use around the lower 48?  The environmental lobby has had their say, but their argument is based on a sham; that oil will be extracted and sold, either to the U.S. or to China.  While the price of oil, a fungible commodity, is a global price, and that price will continue to drop as supply increases, it would be a far more efficient use of the resource to refine and use it closer to the point of origin.

And why not send U.S. energy dollars to a nation that is not only our neighbor but also our close friend and ally, rather than to Middle Eastern sponsors of terror, run by either thug-dictators or cabals of 7th century barbarians?

The recalcitrance of the Obama Administration on this issue is mind-boggling.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

Time and family presses, so we’ll just have a few quick notes  and items of interest on this pre-Thanksgiving Hump Day.

Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of Galaxies.  Ours, obviously, would be in that 10%, although the jury is still out on the possibility of intelligent life in Congress.

The Delicious Science of Chinese Buffets.  We have one in the Denver area we favor, the Great Wall buffet in Lakewood, where it is not only possible but probable to eat entirely too much.  Too many Chinese buffets serve up a menu where everything tastes like it was dumped out of a can and heated, but the Great Wall serves up a wide variety of food that is obviously freshly made and piping hot.

But oh, the calories.

bears-cute-awesome1-11Breaking the boundaries of established science; what happens when you put a snail in the microwave?  Yes, really.

Finally:  Did Ben Franklin Want the Turkey As Our National Symbol?  Perhaps not, although these days one wonders if the chicken would be more appropriate.

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

Rule Five Friday

2014_11_14_Rule Five Friday (1) (1280x843)Is there cause for optimism in this era of ever-increasing government?  The Ludwig von Mises Institute’s Jeff Diest thinks so.  Excerpt:

If you believe the state is harmful rather than benevolent; if you believe that the state threatens individual rights and property rights, rather than protects them; if you believe that the state decreases our chances for peace and prosperity; if you believe, in sum, that the state is an overwhelming force for ill in our society, a force that makes all of us far worse off, why in the world is it unrealistic to work toward its elimination?

2014_11_14_Rule Five Friday (2) (860x1280)Notice that the charge of being unrealistic, impractical, or overly idealistic is never applied to medicine or crime prevention. Nobody says to the cancer researcher, “you should be more realistic, cancer and infectious disease will always exist. Why not just work on making the common cold a bit less severe?” Nobody says to the criminal investigator, “gee, organized crime and violence are just part of human nature, it’s useless to try to prevent them. Maybe you should just focus on reducing bike thefts.”

So why should we be apologetic or timid or less than fully optimistic in our fight against the state? We should not. Like the cancer researcher, like the crime fighter, we should be bold, we should be optimistic, and we should be vigorous in our opposition to government. We should be every bit as certain as Murray Rothbard was in the eventual success of our mission.

Note that Mr. Deist pushes the libertarian ideal a bit farther than most; personally, I’d be happy if the people in the Imperial City would not only remember that our Constitution exists, but also actually try reading it.

2014_11_14_Rule Five Friday (3) (858x1280)I’d also like to see some semblance of a moral society as well.  Now, when a lot of folks talk about morality, they link it in with religion; the two may at times be complimentary but they are not inextricably linked.

When I think of a moral society, I think of a society in which (for example) I am not required to labor longer and harder, to pay an increased tax burden, for no other reason than to shelter some of my fellow citizens from the consequences of their own poor decisions.  There is a word for such involuntary servitude, and it’s not a pretty one.  But we accept it, as a matter of course, in our modern, increasingly statist society.

There are things that are the legitimate functions of a national government; the military, border security, foreign trade and so on.  Sheltering my fellow citizens from the consequences of their own bad decisions is not one of those legitimate functions.  The requirement that I do this reduces my own individual liberty by forcing me to labor longer and harder, not for my own benefit, but for the benefit of others.

Remember John Galt’s oath?  “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

Deist concludes:

2014_11_14_Rule Five Friday (4) (861x1280)So propose liberty, and make the case for optimism. After all, despite the state and its depredations we still lead magnificent lives compared to virtually every human who ever walked the earth — kings and queens included. If we let the state make us unhappy or pessimistic about our future, we will have failed not only our children and grandchildren, but our ancestors as well.

He is correct here; these days it is popular to hear folks wax rhapsodic about the “good old days,” and television programs like Game of Thrones glorifies a medieval lifestyle that, in reality, was horrible for almost everyone, with even the nobility living in unspeakable filth, with double-digit infant mortality, a shocking number of women dying in childbirth, and plagues rampaging unchecked with horrible regularity.

But we can do better.  We should.  Deist is partly correct, technology will continue to push us farther down the road, but it will take more than that; it will take the rediscovery of liberty.

Because make no mistake, most of us have lost the concept.

2014_11_14_Rule Five Friday (5) (1280x843)

Animal’s Daily News

bears-cute-awesome1-11Nothing big today, just some random notes on this frigid Thursday morning.

Nancy Pelosi:  Wave?  What Wave?  Animal:  Nancy Pelosi is delusional.  If House Democrats keep this moron in a leadership position, they are in danger of wresting the title “The Stupid Party” away from Republicans.

The Worst Candidate of 2014.   Money quote:

It started way back in January when the conservative opposition research group America Rising obtained video of Braley speaking at a Texas fundraiser. Here’s part of what he said:

Facepalm-bear“If you help me win this race, you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years, in a visible or public way, on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Or, you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

In the space of two sentences, Braley managed to: (1) insult popular Sen. Chuck Grassley (2) insult farmers and (3) sound as super-arrogant as humanly possible.

It’s hard to know if Braley really was a worse candidate than, say, Anthony Brown, the Democrat candidate for Governor in deep, deep blue Maryland – who managed to lose to a Republican.  But Braley certainly belongs in the top ten list; having been raised in Iowa and coming from a long line of Iowa farmers, the above quote alone would have done it for me.

And, finally:  Ice Age Babies Surrounded by Weapons Parts Found in Alaska.  Good thing it was in Alaska and not Chicago; the Chicago Machine would be registering them to vote.

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

Happy Veteran’s Day!

To all True Believers who wore Uncle Sam’s colors, this is our day!  Go forth and be cheerful, and also mindful of those who can’t be with us on this Veteran’s Day. Photos are, in order, Mrs. Animal somewhere in northern Saudi Arabia in 1991, the night we arrived in country if memory serves; the Old Man on a U.S. Army airfield in 1945, yr. obdt. at a place called MedBase America in 1991, and my paternal grandfather in 1917. We are a family with a tradition of service.
Dawn-Eskan-Village Dad OD 1945 Ward-in-Persian-Gulf Grandpa Clark 1917

Animal’s Daily News

Angry-BearAs a person who travels for a living, this was of great interest:  What’s Up With That:  Boarding Airplanes Takes Forever.  Boy howdy, does it ever.  Excerpt:

I was at the airport last week, and all I wanted to do was sit down, strap in, and lift off. Of course I couldn’t, because there were a bunch of people standing in my way. As the line crept along, I scanned ahead for malingerers, but everyone seemed sufficiently ready to board. I couldn’t help but wonder, is there a more efficient way for airlines to put get our butts into our seats, and into the air?

Millions of other people probably have pondered this question. At least one wrote a computer program to find the answer. Jason Steffen is an astrophysicist at Northwestern University, and several years ago he modeled different airline boarding methods to see what made them so slow. He also figured out how airlines could get us on board much faster.

Unfortunately the airlines aren’t really listening.

The problem is this:  It’s not possible to come up with a perfect system for boarding an airplane or, for that matter, any other operation that involves people – unless you have perfect people.  Having boarded a few hundred airplanes over the last ten years or so as an independent consultant, I can observe with some experience that there is always – always – at least one knucklehead who holds up the line because:

  • They brought aboard an enormous dog-coffin “carry-on” that they can’t manage to cram into the overhead bin.
  • Airline seats are an intimidating and mysterious thing, and they have to stand in the aisle for an extended time examining their seat before getting in.
  • The overhead bin above their seat is full, so they proceed to the back of the plane, stuff their bag in the last bin at the back, then have to swim against the current all the way back to their row.
    • A variation on this is the knucklehead who stuffs their bag in a bin in First Class, then has to come back forward from Economy and retrieve it when the flight attendant tells them they can’t use that space.
  • Last but not least, the idiot who can’t stop talking on the phone long enough to sit down and strap in.

Sad-BearThe traveling life has it’s share of frustrations, and air travel is stressful enough already without having to deal with nitwits.  Unfortunately, like death and taxes, nitwits will always be with us.

Perhaps, instead of looking for more efficient ways to board aircraft, science should look for a cure for nitwittery?

Animal’s Daily News

Smiling BearSo what’s up with the Left’s obsession with the Koch brothers?

You know, the Kansas businessmen who donate to political causes – just like wacko-bird leftie George Soros.  The Koch brothers who are libertarians, not conservatives, who also donate millions to such raging right-wing causes as the New York Museum of Natural History, (donation: $20 million, and that facility now has a David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins), the Lincoln Center (donation: $100 million), and the New York Public Library (donation: $100 million)?

Ingram’s Jack Cashill has some ideas.  Excerpt:

As Wichita’s Koch family has learned the hard way, the surest way to make mortal enemies in contemporary America is to build a hugely successful business, stick to your principles, and care about the future of your country.

A bantam-weight among those enemies is The Kansas City Star. Not above the occasional rabbit punch, Star editors jabbed away with a recent story headlined, “Conservative Koch group launches TV ad attacking Orman in Kansas Senate race.”

Never mind that the Kochs are libertarians, not conservatives. What intrigues about the story is that hundreds of groups run ads every campaign season. To single out just one sponsor by name when that sponsor is running perfectly legal ads in its own state suggests something deeper than a bias. It suggests a disease, specifically KDS—Koch Derangement Syndrome.

Among those afflicted is self-styled environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The day before The Star article—a coincidence?—he, too, singled out the Kochs, this time for questioning the agenda of that day’s million-madman climate march in New York. “They are enjoying making themselves billionaire by impoverishing the rest of us,” ranted Kennedy. “Do I think the Koch brothers should be tried for reckless endangerment? Absolutely.”

Derp BearLet’s just point out that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a fucking idiot.  The Koch brothers certainly have not stripped away a penny of the Kennedy fortune, amassed by bootlegging, rumrunning and political machination.  Nor have they impoverished anyone else by making the billions of dollars that they earned – that’s right, Mr. Kennedy, you economic imbecile, they earned – by providing goods and services for which many people are willing and even anxious to pay, and oh by the way producing thousands of jobs in the process.

But the Kochs  are unmoved by the endless litany of slander from the Left.  These right-wing fanatics just keep on plugging, along the way also lending support for gay marriage, along with being generally libertarian on most social issues, which hardly endears them to the social-conservative Right.

In fact, the Koch brothers are precisely the kinds of people more Americans should try to emulate.  They are successful through their own efforts, through providing value to their customers.  They are outspoken men of principle who do not waver in the face of (generally unfair) criticism.  They are men straight out of an Ayn Rand novel, and America could use more men of similar caliber.