Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Whores and Ale, and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links, and to our blogger pals over at The Daley Gator for the link!  As always, if I’ve missed your link somehow, let me know in the comments and I’ll add you to the weekly FMJRA (hat-tip to Robert Stacy McCain for this term.)

Now then:  I found this interesting piece by Emmett Tyrrell on the infantilization of the West, and it’s worth the read.  Excerpt:

Are you familiar with the work of professor Simon Gottschalk? I have only become familiar with his work recently, but I commend it to you. He is a professor of sociology with the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. He apparently watches a lot of television in the course of his work, and he even takes notes. He has come up with a brilliant, if alarming, insight. According to the professor, television assists in spreading the “infantilization of the West.” For instance, if you have seen a grown man wearing shorts as winter approaches, pay attention. Probably, he is carrying a bottle of water and has his baseball cap on backwards. Perhaps, he is wearing a T-shirt with an infantile declaration across the chest. If this spectacle alarms you, you probably are in Gottschalk’s camp. You certainly are in my camp.

I live in Washington D.C., and I see spectacles such as the above all the time. Since the Biden Administration settled in, I have even seen an influx of this sort of dress around the White House. In fact, I would not be surprised to see a fellow dressed like this on the very steps of the Old Executive Office Building. He probably checks his water bottle at the front door and submits his attache case for the Secret Service’s inspection. Protocols have declined in the dress code, but I assume everyone still observes security regulations. By the way, I would not be surprised to see women in the Biden White House attired in this way, too, particularly wearing their baseball caps backwards as they skip into the Oval Office. Doubtless, Gottschalk would be alarmed even if he is a Bidenite.

I hadn’t really thought about the infantilization angle but I do remember back to school nights when the kids were younger, some years ago now (our youngest is 24.) It never failed that some guy in is forties would show up in baggy shorts, white sneakers five sizes too big, an a massively oversized t-shirt.  These were the same assholes who wore sunglasses indoors and inevitably asked about five stupid questions that the person speaking had already answered, if only the idiot had been paying attention instead of looking at his phone.

Granted I dressed casually when I couldn’t avoid those things; jeans and a decent button-down shirt.  I’m a big fan of business casual when circumstances require me to go into a work site.  Around the place, I wear Duluth Trading jeans or Key hickory bib overalls for choring.

Oh, yeah, and the backwards cap.  The bill is there for a reason, stupid.

Tyrrell goes much further than clothing, particularly in advertising, citing as an example the use of cartoons to sell products to adults.

Maybe there is something to the idea of this being a symptom (probably not a cause) of infantilization.  But the cause, I think, is obvious:  We have raised several generations of the most coddled, pampered, soft-shelled, weak individuals that have ever existed in the history of mankind.  And we’re seeing the fruits of that now, as we’re well into the “weak people make hard times” phase of the historical cycle.

Rule Five Linguistics Friday

I’ve always found languages interesting, although I have very little talent or ability to easily pick up new ones.  I can struggle along in German if people speak slowly, and I know a few key phrases in Japanese, Spanish and French.  But a recent study has found a possible origin for what are known as the “Transeuropean languages.”  Excerpt:

In contrast to previously proposed homelands, which range from the Altai6,7,8 to the Yellow River22 to the Greater Khingan Mountains23 to the Amur basin24, we find support for a Transeurasian origin in the West Liao River region in the Early Neolithic. After a primary break-up of the family in the Neolithic, further dispersals took place in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age. The ancestor of the Mongolic languages expanded northwards to the Mongolian Plateau, Proto-Turkic moved westwards over the eastern steppe and the other branches moved eastwards: Proto-Tungusic to the Amur–Ussuri–Khanka region, Proto-Koreanic to the Korean Peninsula and Proto-Japonic over Korea to the Japanese islands (Fig. 1b).

Through a qualitative analysis in which we examined agropastoral words that were revealed in the reconstructed vocabulary of the proto-languages (Supplementary Data 5), we further identified items that are culturally diagnostic for ancestral speech communities in a particular region at a particular time. Common ancestral languages that separated in the Neolithic, such as Proto-Transeurasian, Proto-Altaic, Proto-Mongolo-Tungusic and Proto-Japano-Koreanic, reflect a small core of inherited words that relate to cultivation (‘field’, ‘sow’, ‘plant’, ‘grow’, ‘cultivate’, ‘spade’); millets but not rice or other crops (‘millet seed’, ‘millet gruel’, ‘barnyard millet’); food production and preservation (‘ferment’, ‘grind’, ‘crush to pulp’, ‘brew’); wild foods suggestive of sedentism (‘walnut’, ‘acorn’, ‘chestnut’); textile production (‘sew’, ‘weave cloth’, ‘weave with a loom’, ‘spin’, ‘cut cloth’, ‘ramie’, ‘hemp’); and pigs and dogs as the only domesticated animals.

By contrast, individual subfamilies that separated in the Bronze Age, such as Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, Koreanic and Japonic, inserted new subsistence terms that relate to the cultivation of rice, wheat and barley; dairying; domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep and horses; farming or kitchen tools; and textiles such as silk (Supplementary Data 5). These words are borrowings that result from linguistic interaction between Bronze Age populations speaking various Transeurasian and non-Transeurasian languages.

I know, that’s a little dry.  This is an actual no-shit scientific paper, published in Nature, which still manages to be a reputable journal.

What I find interesting about this is the common origin for a bunch of different languages, from Turkic to Japanese.  Let’s take just two of them in particular:  Korean and Japanese.  These two languages are spoken by two relatively similar peoples who have some bad history, not just in World War II but well before that – and yet now we have not only genetic but also linguistic data linking them through a common ancestry.

Interesting stuff.

English, of course, along with Gaelic, the Scandinavian and Latin languages and a few others are Indo-European languages.  There has been some interesting work done re-creating what the original proto-Indo-European may have sounded like, and also where and when it was spoken.

I wonder if one could go back farther than that?  It’s probably impossible, but wouldn’t it be interesting to hear how the first modern human inhabitants of Ice Age Europe spoke?  Or the ancestral American Indians as they straggled across Beringia?  What did the Neandertal sound like?  Could Homo erectus speak, and if so, what was their language like?

Probably questions we can’t answer and, barring a working time machine, never will.  But it’s fun to ponder all the same.

Animal’s Daily Alien Search News

I’ve been saying for some years now that when space exploration enters its next inevitable stage, it will be the private sector driving it.  While Bezos and Musk are messing around with spacecraft, another privately-funded efforts aims to look at the Alpha Centauri system for signs of life.  Excerpt:

A new space mission to hunt for potentially habitable planets around Earth’s closest neighbouring star system is under way.

In a project with echoes of the 2009 film Avatar, an international collaboration of scientists in Australia and the US will search in the Alpha Centauri star system for earth-like planets that could sustain life.

Alpha Centauri – Earth’s closest neighbouring star system – consists of two sun-like stars, known as Alpha Centauri A and B, and a more distant red dwarf star.

The Toliman mission, named after the ancient Arabic-derived name for the star system, will search for potential planets orbiting Alpha Centauri A and B.

The Toliman telescope, which is under construction, is set to be launched into low-earth orbit in 2023. It seeks to discover new planets in the “Goldilocks orbit” – at the right distance, so the planet is neither too hot nor too cold to sustain life.

Project leader Prof Peter Tuthill, of the University of Sydney, said: “If we’re looking for life as we know it, usually the gold standard is a planet where liquid water could be present at the surface of the planet – so it’s not like a frozen snowball, and it doesn’t boil all the water up into the atmosphere.”

“We know that life has evolved at least once, around a sun-like star on an earth-like planet,” Tuthill said. “We try to look for other examples that are as close to that configuration as possible.”

Fascinating stuff; of course, the article makes no statement as to the sources of funding for this mission, and there are a couple of universities involved, so one wonders how “privately funded” this whole thing is.

Still.  Alpha is only a little over 4 light years away.  With current technology, we could have a ship there in, oh, about a hundred thousand years.  It’s still interesting work, and finding biosignatures, even from bacteria, coming from any exoplanet would be earth-shaking.  I’ll watch this project with interest.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Winter’s on the way for most of the Forty-Eight.  But for us, it’s already here, and has been for some time!

First snow.

Last week saw our first significant snowfall here in the Great Land, with six inches of the white stuff landing on us Thursday and Friday.  This week it’s sunny all week, with high temps in the single digits and lows around zero.  Up here six inches of snow and single-digit temps are no big deal, mind you; this is, after all, Alaska, not Miami Beach.

With that comes shorter days, which is taking a little getting used to.  Right now it’s not really light until a bit after 0900, with the sun setting about 1600.  The next month will see some more shaved off of that, at least until the arc starts to bend back towards spring again.  But what we love about winter here is this:  The snow is a lovely, pristine white, and stays that way.  No city gunk messing up the view.  It’s like the land has pulled a clean white blanket of snow over itself, and will sleep until spring.

With that said…

On To the Links!

Will President Biden(‘s handlers) turn the U.S. military on the citizens?  And how will the military react?

It’s not so much that Democrats are engaging in “woke” stupidity.  It’s more that they’re actually incompetent.

We take our heroes where we finds ’em.

The current state of the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration.

Is President Biden(‘s handlers) the second coming of Herbert Hoover?  Well, given how things are at the moment, I wouldn’t rule it out.  Seems like lots of folks aren’t too happy about it.

More on that same note.

This is what happens when your primary criteria for a VP candidate are “brown skin and a vagina.”

Seems our ancestors took several tries at getting into Europe.

It’s not even The Police’s best song.

A meteor just gave Earth a haircut.  Yipes!

Keep your damn booger-hook off the bang-switch!  What an asshole.

No shit, Sherlock.

I’m wondering if this is the start of a trend.

Yes.

Holy crap!  A 128-foot long dinosaur.

President Biden(‘s handlers) throw Taiwan under the bus.

President Biden(‘s handlers) throw U.S. consumers under the bus.

We should all be really grateful that this asshole never ended up on the Supreme Court.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Tony Norman is an idiot.

538’s Hakeem Jefferson and Michael Tesler are both idiots.

Jacobin’s Luke Savage is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

The New York TimesBryce Covert is an idiot.

The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington is an idiot.

The New Yorker’s John Cassidy is an idiot.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Brown is an idiot.

Bloomberg’s Allison Schrager is an idiot.

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

Being as stupid as MSNBC’s Tiffany Cross should be physically painful.

The Nation’s Kali Holloway is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Something a little different this week.

In 1998 Sunrise Inc. and director Shinichirō Watanabe released what was to be one of Japanese animation’s benchmark series:  Cowboy Bebop.  Having worked, lived in and traveled around Japan, I have a pretty good understanding on how prevalent anime is in Japanese culture, but it’s pretty damn common over here as well.  Some pretty serious work has appeared in the format, such as Mushishi, Ghost in the Shell and Spice and Wolf, but Cowboy Bebop set the standard, with well-choreographed action, good character development and an amazing soundtrack.

Now Netflix is bringing out a live-action adaptation.  I’m not sure how this will play out, but the trailer looks interesting.  We’ll see.  It starts this Friday, and I expect Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. will be tuning in.

Animal’s Daily Charlie Fox News

Before we start, be sure to check out the latest in my Listening Post series over at Glibertarians.

Now:  To add to the list of stupid ideas coming out of the shadowy, cobwebbed mind of President Biden(‘s handlers) comes this trial balloon:  Apparently they are floating the idea of making history’s worst Vice President a Supreme Court Justice.  Because, you know, how could she fuck things up even worse?  Excerpt:

Two CNN reporters penned a piece on Sunday headlined “Exasperation and dysfunction: Inside Kamala Harris’ frustrating start as vice president.” The article cited nearly three dozen officials in Harris’ office and the White House as their sources, and few had nice things to say.

But there was one passage that caught everyone’s eye.

“Defenders and people who care for Harris are getting frantic. When they’re annoyed, some pass around a recent Onion story mocking her lack of more substantive work, one with the headline, “White House Urges Kamala Harris To Sit At Computer All Day In Case Emails Come Through.” When they’re depressed, they bat down the Aaron Sorkin-style rumor that Biden might try to replace her by nominating her to a Supreme Court vacancy. That chatter has already reached top levels of the Biden orbit, according to one person who’s heard it,” said the piece.

That small “rumor” prompted The Daily Mail to write: “Harris’ approval rating has plunged even further than Biden’s in recent months, with rumors swirling that the president is considering appointing her to the Supreme Court as a backdoor method of selecting a new VP.”

Wow.  Just… wow.

Bear in mind that this nomination would stand a snowball’s chance in Mumbai of getting confirmed in the Senate.  I mean, Heels-Up’s own party despises her, and there’s no way they would ever get even one Republican to vote to put this cackling harpy on the Court.

But consider, for a moment, the utter impotence of this administration, to even float just such an idea at this – a stupid, stupid idea.  I’d point out this is what happens when your primary criteria for a VP candidate are brown skin and a vagina, but that would be belaboring the obvious.

This is just a rumor, maybe not even up to the level of an “official” trial balloon.  Still, it sure does look like we’re getting closer to the point where the long knives come out, doesn’t it?

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, Whores and Ale and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!  And thanks as well to our blogger pals over at The Daley Gator for the link!  If you aren’t visiting these blogs regularly, you should be.

Now then:  In New York City, a place I have been to but never plan to see again (except maybe from an airliner passing overhead) comes this:  The moderate Mayor-elect being threatened with riots are arson by Black Lives Matter leaders.  Excerpt:

New York City mayor-elect Eric Adams challenged his fellow Democrats to condemn Black Lives Matter activist Hawk Newsome who said Adam’s new policing plans would trigger ‘riots and bloodshed’ in NYC streets. 

At a press conference on Friday, Adams – a centrist who has taken a tough stance on law and order – questioned why members of his party have not spoken out against Newsome’s calls to violence. 

‘I think that this is an excellent moment for the local and state and federal Democratic Party to state: We could have justice without violence,’ Adams said.  

‘National, state and city electeds should stand up and say, ‘we will never allow anyone to make those comments,’ that there will be blood in our streets, because you know where that blood ends up? In the streets of our community,’ Adams added.  

He spoke two days after a tense meeting at Borough Hall with members of the Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, co-founder of the group Hawk Newsome had some harsh words for the incoming mayor if he went through with his plans to reinstate the NYPD’s plainclothes cop units. 

‘If he thinks that they’re going to go back to the old ways of policing, then we are going to take to the streets again. There will be riots, there will be fire and there will be bloodshed because we believe in defending our people,’ Newsome told reporters outside Borough Hall.

History shows us one way to deal with riots, arson, looting and attacks on citizens:

  1. Public reading of the Riot Act.
  2. Order the rioters, “Disperse or you will be fired upon.”
  3. Follow through.

Now honestly I’d hate to see things come to this kind of a pass, but the BLM activists rioters may well drive several of the nation’s cities to that point; either that, or the cities will continue to lose what honest, productive citizens they have left, and then descend even further into apocalyptic hellholes.

Roof Koreans.

It’s important to note that one of the (few) legitimate roles of government is to keep people from hurting us or taking our stuff.  The governments of many of our big cities – Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, Portland and Seattle, to name a few – are utterly failing in that responsibility.  What happens now?  More Roof Koreans for the win?  Or just a general abandonment of the cities to the thugs, followed by an unimaginable melt-down?

Either way, I don’t figure on seeing it for myself.  And it the would-be rioters, looters and arsonists want to come try kicking up their heels up here in the Mat-Su, they sure aren’t going to like how that works out for them.

Rule Five FTC Friday

This is now a couple of weeks old, but I just stumbled across a very interesting look at the new Federal Trade Commission chair.  And it’s a little bizarre.  Excerpt:

Last month Lina Khan, the new chair of the Federal Trade Commission, issued an internal memo setting out her goals for the agency. It is a paper loaded with bureaucratic abstraction. Khan calls on the agency to “harness” a “strategic approach,” “execute on best practices,” “broaden…institutional skillsets,” “prioritize…core operational objectives,” and “apply an integrated approach” that “surface[s] interconnections.”

Underneath the linguistic bunkum, however, are some bold claims about the agency and its place in the world. Khan calls for a “holistic” (read: expansive) approach to antitrust law, one that (somehow) balances the interests of “workers and independent businesses as well as consumers.” She urges staff to operate more like industrial planners—administrators who identify “root causes,” dictate “market structure,” and control “macro effects.” She declares the agency a “body whose work shapes the distribution of power and opportunity across our economy.”

Note that it’s impossible to “dictate market structure” or to “control macro effects.”  This is the language of Marx and Lenin, and central control has failed every time it’s been tried.  This is stupidity on steroids – hardly something new for the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration.

But here’s the onion:

A government agent bent on “shap[ing] the distribution of power” is presumably in want of formidable power herself. Khan has granted herself unilateral authority over antitrust investigations, barred agency staff from speaking in public, and dismissed a respected economist from one of the agency’s most notable cases. She has expanded the agency’s discretion to challenge vertical mergers, its power to attach conditions to merger approvals, and its ability to expedite (and politicize) the making of rules governing trade practices. In an especially high-handed move, the agency has on Khan’s watch announced that instead of approving certain mergers, it will simply tell the parties that they may merge “at their own risk,” the agency reserving the right to unwind deals later. Make no mistake, merger reviews still occur; but now, they are reportedly being used to interrogate firms about social justice and ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) matters unrelated to competition. If you’re still not impressed, consider that all of this occurred in the new chair’s first three months in office.

Lina Khan is not opposed to consolidated power, it seems, so much as she is opposed to consolidated power not wielded by Lina Khan. She doesn’t necessarily disagree. In a recent interview, Khan referred to the “existential stakes of underreaching,” as chair. “When identifying the top ten threats” to the agency, she said, going too far is “not on the list.”

In other words, Lina Khan is proposing to engage in an unprecedented power grab, one that will give her an illegal and unconstitutional control over the nation’s economy.

I wish I could say that this was something new, but it’s not.

This, True Believers, is lawmaking by the Executive branch, and it’s illegal as hell – not to mention disastrous for the nation’s economy, and utterly destructive to the very idea of free trade.  Not only is Lina Khan proposing an unconstitutional power grab, she has a dagger aimed at the heart of what made America what it is – free trade and commerce.

Here’s the possible bright spot:  The Biden(‘s handlers) Administration has indulged in one stupid over-reach after another since January past.  Judging from their response to last week’s elections, they are undeterred and will continue to do so.  That’s hopeful; the GOP is, after all, driving us off the same fiscal cliff, but at least they’re doing it a little more slowly.

Animal’s Daily Parent’s Choice News

Yr. obdt. 1991

Before I start, happy and reflective Veteran’s Day to all my brothers and sisters who, like Mrs. Animal and myself, wore Uncle Sam’s colors.

Now then:  John Stossel has another piece on education, and like most of his work, it’s worth reading.  Excerpt:

As Virginia’s gubernatorial election drew to a close last week, Democrat Terry McAuliffe brought in teachers union president Randi Weingarten.

He thought that would help?

I suppose he, like many progressives, believes everyone thinks the way he does.

“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and … make their own decisions,” he’d said. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

That’s the political attitude: Government runs things. We, the experts, know what’s best. Parents as “customers” who make choices? Nonsense.

I hope his defeat means Americans are figuring out that such politicians are enemies of progress.

Years ago, I was surprised to discover that NYC’s failing public schools spent $20,000 per student. Teachers had been holding protests where they shouted: “Fund schools! We don’t have enough money!”

But they spent $20,000 (now nearly $30,000) per student! At 25 students per class, that’s $500,000 per classroom! Think what you could do with that money: hire five good teachers?

Where did the money go? No one in the bureaucracy had a good answer. Governments make money … disappear.

But these guys were hot for teacher.

My preferred answer would be, of course, to get government out of education altogether, but I can’t have that.  So Governor-elect Youngkin’s preference may not be the best of all imaginable solutions, but it may be the best of all possible solutions:  Choice.  Vouchers, or a robust charter school system.  Let a thousand flowers bloom, and yes, let parents have the final say in what their children are and aren’t learning.

Here’s the bit John Stossel misses:

Of course, some parents will make bad choices, and doom their kids to a bad education.  OK.  Explain to my how that’s my problem.  Explain to me why I should shield these people, with my tax dollars, from the consequences of their own bad decisions.

That’s the part I’d like to see John Stossel address.  I love ya, John, but you keep leaving that part out.

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