Category Archives: Pet Peeves

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Let’s talk for a moment about presentation in this, the digital media.  Specifically, let’s look at the Salem Media group, whose member sites (PJMedia, Townhall, and RedState, among others) I read regularly.  Now, let me start by noting that these sites produce a wide range of content from some fine commentators.  Sometimes I disagree with the points made, most of the time I agree, so I find them worth not only continued reading but springing for a VIP Gold membership.

But boy, howdy, do they ever need to spring for some editors.  Take a look at this headline from last Saturday:

Note:  It was corrected later that day.  But still.  “Fued?”  I presumed at the time that was meant to be “Feud.”  But the fact that this elementary and, let’s be candid, stupid mistake made it onto the headliner page of a major national alternative news media site is bothersome, and adversely affects the reputation of the site.  And it’s not just this; this is a problem that runs across all the sites of Salem Media, and what’s worse is that these mistakes are often pointed out in the comments but are almost never corrected.

Here’s another example from the same article:

Greene continued to call the Democrat Squad member out, saying that before AOC entered fbe political world, she bartender but still couldn’t do that job well enough. 

What the hell?  Did they not even try to edit this?

Now it’s bad enough that so many comments, from across the political spectrum, demonstrate only marginal literacy; those commenters are, of course, not passing themselves off as professional writers.  But I will say this:  Here in the digital world, the only thing we have to judge folks on is their written expression.  If they forgo even an attempt at spelling in grammar, our (or at least, my) estimation of them goes down.

But it’s far worse when a professional news/commentary site like Townhall, or RedState, or PJMedia just has daily mistake after mistake that ends up splashed onto the screen.  Maybe it bothers me more than most folks, being a writer who is married to an editor.

Salem Media desperately needs to hire some copy editors, and fast.

Animal’s Daily Sardine Tin News

Friendly Skies.

Before we start, check out Part II of Season of Ice over at Glibertarians!

Now then:  This has happened, to one extent or another, to everyone who (like me) has traveled a lot.  Excerpt:

My worst fear about flying isn’t crashing – it’s being stuck in a middle seat between two obese bodies. My nightmare happened to Sydney Watson. On an American Airlines flight from New York to Texas, Watson got stuck in the middle seat between two large bodies. She described it as being a human sardine. Instead of being encased in tin, Sydney was marinating in obesity.

Watson made the best of living my nightmare. She live-tweeted the experience. American Airlines was tagged by Sydney and it responded with a less-than-optimal answer.

Watson’s live-tweeting went viral. She was featured in several newspapers including the New York Post and The Guardian. Most of the journalists took the side of the unknown obese seat invaders. The Post described her comments as “offensive“. Apparently wanting to have 100% of the seat you purchased, is offensive.   She had her share of anonymous threats and haters too. She took the road everyone should take when making a valid point. She didn’t apologize. She said she meant every word. Never apologize. All your apology will do is embolden the haters who will demand more and more until you are “canceled” or fired. The left doesn’t really want an apology anyway. They want blood. They want your head on a stick.

Now, the thing Sydney Watson did wrong was to take to Twitter on this matter, which guaranteed a race to the rhetorical bottom.  Twitter is a snake pit that no sensible person should contemplate entering.

But her complaint is legitimate.  For a while, the airlines were requiring grossly obese passengers to buy two seats.  I’m not traveling as much as I did in the pre-‘vid days, but I’m still traveling some.  Even so it’s been a while since I’ve encountered a massive fatty on an airliner.  And my experience with airlines is almost wholly limited to United, with whom I have lifetime status.  If this has stopped being the practice, I’m not sure when that happened.

And American Airlines’ response is as inadequate as Sydney Watson’s claim is legitimate.  “Sorry, sucks to be you” is atrocious customer service.  A pox on American for that horrible, dismissive reply.

If I pay for an airline seat, I expect to have the use of the seat.  Not 50% of it, not 70% of it, all of it.  And if a fellow passenger is taking up 180% of a seat, then they need to be charged for two seats.  That’s all.

 

Animal’s Daily Hunter’s Illegal Gun News

If this doesn’t raise a “oh, for crying out loud” out of you today, I don’t know what will:  Court nixes public release of info about investigation of Hunter Biden’s “lost” gun.  Excerpt:

The case of Hunter Biden’s missing handgun and the ATF investigation that followed has been a curiosity for many in the Second Amendment community since we first learned of the 2018 incident in which a pistol belonging to Biden was allegedly thrown into a trashcan by his late brother’s widow… only to turn up missing when she reported it to police. The gun was recovered a couple of days later, but as POLITICO reported last year, not before the Secret Service apparently intervened in the investigation.

But a curious thing happened at the time: Secret Service agents approached the owner of the store where Hunter bought the gun and asked to take the paperwork involving the sale, according to two people, one of whom has firsthand knowledge of the episode and the other was briefed by a Secret Service agent after the fact.

The gun store owner refused to supply the paperwork, suspecting that the Secret Service officers wanted to hide Hunter’s ownership of the missing gun in case it were to be involved in a crime, the two people said. The owner, Ron Palmieri, later turned over the papers to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which oversees federal gun laws.

The Secret Service says it has no record of its agents investigating the incident, and Joe Biden, who was not under protection at the time, said through a spokesperson he has no knowledge of any Secret Service involvement.

Days later, the gun was returned by an older man who regularly rummages through the grocery’s store’s trash to collect recyclable items, according to people familiar with the situation.

The incident did not result in charges or arrests.

“The incident did not result in charges or arrests.”  No shit.

In case you’re still mulling it over, here’s the thumbnail:  Hunter Biden lied on a 4473, later “misplaced” a firearm, both incidents that would result in the arrest and prosecution of normal folks.  But Hunter gets a pass, even gets the Secret Service running interference for him, because he’s a Biden.

We could do away with a lot of this flouting of equal treatment under the law and the influence-peddling that spawns it by doing away with the pols having the influence to peddle.  And there’s a simple, step-by-step guide to doing that, if the Imperial government ever rediscovers it and, unlikely as that is, adheres to it.

I don’t see that happening, though – nor do I see Hunter Biden ever being called to account on his many and varied crimes.  That would set a precedent, a precedent that who you are related to doesn’t entitle you to special treatment, and let’s be honest, nobody in either party wants that precedent set.

Rule Five Chump Effect Friday

A while back City Journal, in an article I just stumbled across, documented something they are calling The Chump Effect.  I have some thoughts.  Excerpt:

Last January, a small but telling exchange took place at an Elizabeth Warren campaign event in Grimes, Iowa. At the time, Warren was attracting support from the Democratic Party’s left flank, with her bulging portfolio of progressive proposals. “Warren Has a Plan for That” read her campaign T-shirts. The biggest buzz surrounded her $1.25 trillion plan to pay off student-loan debt for most Americans.

A man approached Warren with a question. “My daughter is getting out of school. I’ve saved all my money [so that] she doesn’t have any student loans. Am I going to get my money back?”

“Of course not,” Warren replied.

“So you’re going to pay for people who didn’t save any money, and those of us who did the right thing get screwed?”

A video of the exchange went viral. It summed up the frustration many feel over the way progressive policies so often benefit select groups, while subtly undermining others. Saving money to send your children to college used to be considered a hallmark of middle-class responsibility. By subsidizing people who run up large debts, Warren’s policy would penalize those who took that responsibility seriously. “You’re laughing at me,” the man said, when Warren seemed to wave off his concerns. “That’s exactly what you’re doing. We did the right thing and we get screwed.”

Let us for the moment set aside the blatant and unapologetic arrogance of Liawatha Warren, who has never done an honest day’s work in her life, and her rude, dismissive reply to this man’s question.  Instead, let’s look at the concern he expressed:  He had done things the traditional way, the prudent way, the way working people with the ability of foresight do things – and now Fauxcohantas Warren told him to his face that he is, well, a chump:

That father was expressing an emotion growing more common these days: he felt like a chump. Feeling like a chump doesn’t just mean being upset that your taxes are rising or annoyed that you’re missing out on some windfall. It’s more visceral than that. People feel like chumps when they believe that they’ve played a game by the rules, only to discover that the game is rigged. Not only are they losing, they realize, but their good sportsmanship is being exploited. The players flouting the rules are the ones who get the trophy. Like that Iowa dad, the chumps of modern America feel that the life choices they’re most proud of—working hard, taking care of their families, being good citizens—aren’t just undervalued, but scorned.

The Chump Effect encompasses far more than this student loan issue, which is once again front-page news.

It encompasses business owners who worked long hours, went without things, saved and invested to build a small business, only to see it destroyed in a single night by a mob protesting “injustice.”

It encompasses girls on a high school swim team, whose chances at valuable scholarships are negated by a biological male teammate who suddenly claims to be a girl after years as a mediocre performer on the XY team.

It encompasses – in addition to parents – students who perhaps did a hitch in the military and worked part-time jobs to pay for their university education, and now will be stuck picking up the tab for their less responsible fellows.

To borrow an example from Dr. Sowell:  It encompasses a white coal miner in Appalachia, who is confronted with an article complaining how his “white privilege” somehow confers him benefits not available to a black graduate of Harvard Law School.

City Journal here is describing everyone who ever did everything the right way, the responsible way, only to find, as the article says, the game was rigged against them.  Read the whole thing.  Then think about the implications.  You may well find some chumpery in your own life – I did.

The article concludes:

In North Minneapolis, Tracey talked with Flora Westbrooks, a black woman who had owned a hair salon there for 34 years. The business helped her earn enough to buy a house and send her son to law school. On May 29, arsonists burned it down. “Sometimes I’m like, OK, I gotta go to work,” she told Tracey. But then she remembers: “I don’t own anything anymore. Everything’s burned to the ground. I have nothing no more. Everything I worked for.” The tragedy of the Chump Effect is in stories like these. People devote their lives to making things better for themselves, their children, and their communities. They follow the bourgeois norms so disdained by the Left. Then, when our society stops defending those norms, they’re the ones who suffer.

Yup.  In the eyes of the elites – and sometimes in our own eyes – we’re all chumps.

Animal’s Daily Banana Republic News

By now we are all probably approaching overload on the Mar-A-Lago raid.  Here are some relevant pieces:

Multiple Democrats Come Out Against FBI Raid of Mar-a-Lago.  Key point:  Even Andrew Dice Cuomo thought this was a bridge too far.

Merrick Garland Is A Petty, Vindictive, Little Man.

FBI ‘Scoured’ Melania’s Wardrobe at Mar-A-Lago Looking for… Classified Shoes?

We Have No Reason To Trust The FBI.

You Won’t Be Surprised by What the Judge Who Approved Raid on Mar-A-Lago Said About Trump on Facebook.

Details of What FBI Seized at Mar-a-Lago Make FBI Raid Look Downright Scandalous.

The Persecution of Donald Trump.

Vladimir Putin, Meet Joe Biden.

Welcome To Biden’s Police State, Part III.

There’s a lot more out there, and if you have been paying attention, as I have, you’ve probably already been through much of it.  But the summary is obvious:

We are now a banana republic.

There is literally nothing good that can come of this.  As for the reflection on the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration, who have gone full Sergeant Schultz on the entire affair, we can offer two alternatives: 1) they knew about it, they ordered it, and they are lying, and the FBI has gone rogue with their approval, or b) they are breathtakingly incompetent, and the FBI has gone rogue all on their own.

Personally I’m inclined to go with the first option.  There’s no way the FBI would have taken this action without running it up the chain first.  The bureaucratic mentality doesn’t work that way.  CYA applies; anyone involved in the DOJ would have wanted someone else’s name on the blame line in case things went south.

Now, will things go south for them?  Almost certainly not.  Oh, we’re hearing a lot of talk about what the GOP will do after the mid-terms, but the GOP has historically been big on talk and short on action.  But do you remember, in 2017, when they had control, all the investigations into Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, First of That Name, Dowager-Empress of Chappaqua, and her illegal email server?  Her carelessness with classified documents?  Her involvement in the Clinton Foundation’s shoveling of money to political cronies?

Yeah, me neither.

We’re well off the beaten path here, True Believers.  I’m at a loss to figure what might happen next.  Whatever it is, I’m afraid we’re taking the first steps down a dark road.

Animal’s Daily Believe It When I See It News

Before we start, check out Part 7 of the Legionnaire series over at Glibertarians!

If the GOP takes the House in November, Kevin McCarthy is talking subpoenas on the Hunter Biden scandals.  Yeah, right.  Excerpt:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said in an interview late last week that if Republicans win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives, he will use their subpoena power to find out what U.S. intelligence agencies knew about the Hunter Biden laptop before the 2020 election, and what they knew of his foreign activities while his father was vice president.

McCarthy, who made the remarks in an interview with the New York Post, warned that “we will use the subpoena” option if top officials with the intelligence agencies don’t cooperate with Republicans.

The report noted that in the days leading up to the 2020 election, more than 50 former intelligence officials signed a letter claiming that the Hunter Biden laptop story was likely a Russian disinformation campaign.

“You would want to ask these individuals first of all, ‘Would you still sign the letter today, and who asked you to sign the letter and why did you sign the letter, and what information did you have prior?’” McCarthy said. “Why did you feel comfortable — especially with your own reputations — that you would sign that letter? Was it someone from the [Biden] campaign who asked, or was it people in the intel community?”

Why isn’t the GOP running on opening up the energy sector, lowering tax rates, reducing the size of government and reducing the regulatory on business?  Why not run on liberty?  Free markets?  Individual enterprise?

Don’t get me wrong, I do think that the blatant corruption on the part of Hunter Biden needs to be looked into.  It sure as hell seems like there should be some charges filed, charges that involve some serious jail time.  But we all know that nothing of the sort will happen.  There will be some showy “hearings”, and there will be a lot of RHEEEEing from the legacy media, and there will be no charges filed, no Grand Jury empaneled, nothing, nothing, nothing will happen.

And so the cycle continues, ad nauseum.

Animal’s Daily Basic Competence News

Before we start, check out the latest in the Legionnaire series over at Glibertarians!

I guess it’s too much to expect elementary competence any more, even from a Presidential press secretary.  Excerpt:

It’s been two months since former White House press secretary Jen Psaki packed her bags and the current press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre moved in, giving reporters enough time to offer their opinions of Jean-Pierre’s performance at the stand and how they really feel about her compared to Psaki. 

According to Fox News, one reporter said Jean-Pierre can act “uniformed” at times and ill-prepared to discuss the issues of the day. 

“If your M.O. is going to be reading prepared answers, you should have a lot of prepared answers so that you’re not just deferring to reporters constantly,” the reporter said. 

Another said Jean-Pierre doesn’t take the time to answer reporter’s questions throughly, frequently admitting that she just doesn’t have an answer for them. 

“She is poorly received as she isn’t taking time to answer questions or banter with reporters on the issues of the day… a press secretary has to share some information, kind of a give and take, but she just doesn’t appear willing to do that yet,” the reporter said. 

It was also mentioned that on several occasions Jean-Pierre has wasted everyone’s time because she often tells reporters that she “has nothing from the podium” to say. 

White House reporters also complained that she delivers useless information, almost as if she did no preparation at all for the briefing. 

Folks are of course confused by Jean-Pierre’s staggering display of incompetence, but they really shouldn’t be.  Why?  Well, I’m a-gonna tell you.

If you’re expecting competence from this administration, you need to check your premises, as they are almost certainly flawed.  You are likely presuming that the personnel choices of the Biden(‘s handlers) administration are at least in part aimed at fitting out the best person to handle a specific position.  As Jean-Pierre’s appointment and subsequent performance illustrate very clearly, that isn’t the case.  She was chosen, candidly, for her melanin content and sexual preference.  She was chosen, not for her experience, skills or abilities, but because she ticked several “diversity” check boxes.  And now, if you watch any of her pitiful performances in press conferences, you can see the result of that practice.

And if you look at the state of the economy, and the polling numbers, you can see the American people’s response to an administration that follows these practices.

Animal’s Daily Tax Day News

Before we start, check out Part 3 of The Deal over at Glibertarians.

Now then:  Yesterday was tax day.  Our taxes were filed in February, Mrs. Animal being very efficient and a master at making sure we pay every penny we are required by law to pay, and not one penny more.  But not every family has a Mrs. Animal with her uncanny ability to navigate the complications of filing not only our personal taxes but the also to find her way through the Byzantine corridors of filing for a small LLC.  Most folks have to have professional help, and that costs a lot of money.  Excerpt:

Filing taxes this year is expected to cost taxpayers and businesses about 6.5 billion hours at a cost of $210 billion, a staggering — and record — paperwork burden.

With the deadline to file coming Monday, rules and regulations involved in filling out taxes are choking the nation like never before, according to an analysis by Dan Bosch, the director of regulatory policy for American Action Forum.

“Costs grew dramatically from 2021 to 2022, topping $200 billion for the first time. The $18.4 billion increase is the biggest year-over-year change since 2018, when costs exceeded 2017 levels by $24.3 billion,” said Bosch’s report, Tracker: The Cost of Tax Paperwork.

Here’s the fun bit:

While it wasn’t in his report, Bosch told us that costs to individuals for preparing tax returns were high. “The average tax filer spends $242.96 and 12.5 hours on their return each year,” he said.

Multiply that by the number of individuals filing income tax in the United States today.

This shit just isn’t funny.  It’s a horrible drain on our citizenry, and is criminally complex.  Why?  Because for some time now, the tax code has been a vehicle for rewarding some groups, punishing others, and picking winners and losers in the economy.  Not surprisingly, I have some thoughts on how to fix this.

  1. Eliminate withholding.  Everyone, every quarter, has to send money to the IRS.
  2. Eliminate “progressive” taxation.  Implement a single-rate flat tax with no exemptions or deductions for individuals.  Everyone pays something.
  3. I’d be willing to consider exempting the first, oh, $40k from taxation, if that’s what it took to get it done – in return, I’d want major welfare reform, to include lifetime limits and severe restrictions on how public aid is delivered – no more open-ended debit cards.

Who am I kidding, you ask?  Well, sure, in the existing political environment, none of this will happen.  There’s no way either major party will vote to give away the power they now hold.  The power to tax is the power to destroy, and both parties are, honestly, too damn anxious to hold on to that power.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, Bacon Time and Whores and Ale for the Rule Five links, and thanks once more to our pals over at The Daley Gator for the story link!

The weekend just past saw us banging back into Daylight Savings Time, an utterly stupid and useless artifact of times gone by.  Recently PJMedia’s Rick Moran had this to say on the topic:

Recent polls show that 63% of Americans want to get rid of altering the clock altogether and maintain daylight saving time year-round.

As of now, 18 states have passed laws or resolutions making daylight saving time permanent, and there are currently 28 states considering the change. But while states can adopt standard time year-round, there would need to be changes by the federal government in order for states to adopt daylight saving time.

Fox Business News:

A bipartisan group of senators, including Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Ed Markey (D., Mass.), reintroduced legislation in March 2021 to make daylight-saving time the year-round standard. The legislation would allow similar laws passed in states including Florida, Georgia, Delaware, Oregon and Louisiana to take effect. But the bill hasn’t made much progress in the past year.

“Switching in and out of daylight-saving time is outdated,” Mr. Rubio said in a video message Thursday, renewing calls for action. “Let’s just lock the clock once and for all and put all this stupidity behind us.”

The reason for the changing clock has lost its significance. Studies have shown that there is little in the way of energy savings from flipping the clock, nor is there a bump in economic activity. The statistical quirk of the increased number of cardiac incidents may have other explanations that don’t have anything to do with the time.

As far as I know Alaska isn’t considering any change, which is too bad, because the whole thing is just stupid.  The clock is an arbitrary measure in any case; just pick one time and stick to it.  Much of the world already does this.

We’re already kind of at odds out here, being an hour behind Pacific time; noon here is 4:00PM on the East Coast, which is where much of the industry I work in is located.  On the other hand, I can take a remote gig with a company in Japan and be fully engaged with their people while basically working a second-shift schedule here.

But messing with the clock twice a year just complicates things.  It’s stupid.  It’s arbitrary.  The reasons for doing it in the first place were bullshit and didn’t work.  It’s time for the whole Daylight Savings crap to end.  I don’t care which time they pick, but pick one and stick to it all year.  Enough is enough.

Rule Five Civil Forfeiture Friday

I’ve written on this topic before, but here from Reason.com’s Billy Binion are a few more egregious examples of the crime (yes, crime, morally if not legally) of civil forfeiture.  Excerpt:

Carl Nelson and Amy Sterner Nelson’s pre-pandemic lives look a lot different than the ones they live now. There are the obvious ways, and then there are the not so obvious ways, like the fact that they sold their house and their car, liquidated their retirement funds, and moved their family of six from a comfortable West Seattle home to Amy’s sister’s basement after the FBI seized almost $1 million from them in May 2020.

“We went from living a life where we were both working full-time to provide for our four daughters to really figuring out how we were going to make it month to month,” Amy tells me. “It’s completely changed my belief in fairness.”

The bureau took funds from nearly every corner of the Nelsons’ world, including, for instance, the savings Amy racked up from her decade as a practicing attorney and her later efforts as head of The Riveter, the co-working start-up she founded. But the FBI never even suspected Amy of committing any crime. It was Carl they were investigating—a probe that has not resulted in a single charge against him almost two years later.

In April 2020, agents showed up at the Nelsons’ home and informed them that Carl—a former real estate transaction manager for Amazon—was under investigation for allegedly depriving the tech behemoth of his “honest services.” In plainer terms, they accused him of showing favor to certain developers and securing them deals in exchange for illegal kickbacks. “That never happened and is exactly why I’ve fought as long and hard as I have,” he says. “It’s that simple.”

Whether or not the FBI has come to that conclusion is still a mystery; its years-long investigation into Carl’s alleged fraud has not yielded an indictment. Yet no such thing was necessary for the federal government to wreck the Nelsons’ lives, costing them their home, their community, their jobs, their girls’ place in their Seattle school, and their security for the future.

I have a laundry list of objections to the very idea of civil forfeiture, but here’s the main one:

Amendment IV:  The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Can anyone with enough brains to pound sand deny that the seizure of over a million dollars in assets from a citizen, with no due process and without even an indictment, violates the absolute living shit out of the Fourth Amendment?

But wait!  There’s more!

They’re not alone. There was the Indiana man whose car was seized. And the Kentucky man whose car was seized. And the Massachusetts woman whose car was seized. And the Louisiana man whose life savings were seized. And the Texas man whose life savings were seized. And the countless Californians whose money and random personal possessions were seized. Sometimes the money is returned—often only when a defendant manages to lawyer up for a civil suit. Sometimes only part of it is. Sometimes none of it is. “Civil forfeiture is quite common,” says Dan Alban, an attorney at the Institute for Justice (IJ), a public interest law firm that often litigates similar cases. “The fact that the government can do this can obviously ruin lives, and it can ruin lives without anyone being convicted of a crime, without anyone even being charged with a crime.”

This isn’t the kind of a thing that is supposed to happen in a free country, a country where the citizens have rights, where the people are supposed to be secure in their property.  So why haven’t we seen the very idea challenged in the courts?  How would the Supreme Court rule on this issue?  We know how they should rule, but how would they rule?

I’m baffled that this practice is allowed to go on.  But allowed it is, and while ruining the lives of innocent citizens, it sure is enriching attorneys and quite probably the agencies doing the seizing – I mean, where else do these assets go?

But what gets me now, right now, about this practice is how it could be expanded – say, asset forfeiture for wrong think.  Think it couldn’t happen here?  Think it couldn’t happen in a Western country, where people have rights?  Yeah?  Look north, True Believers, to Canada, a supposedly liberal Western democracy, where it’s happening right now.

Dangerous ideas like this should be strangled at birth, because killing them is much harder when they’re full-fledged.