Rule Five Friday

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (1)Want to hear a tale about game-changers?

Let’s take a look at Rand Paul at Berkeley.  PJ Media’s Roger Simon has some interesting observations.  Excerpt:

Whatever you think of Rand Paul, he’s actually doing something that politicians rarely do — talking at length to audiences who don’t usually agree with him.  And winning over new friends in the process. His recent speech at UC Berkeley, where he apparently got a standing ovation for excoriating runaway government spying on Americans, is only the latest example.

Historically, the Republican Party has been just what the public thinks it is, largely a bunch of risk-averse white men who are totally clueless at public relations, even though they are on the right (correct) side of almost every issue.  Meanwhile, the liberal Democrats haven’t had a decent rational argument about anything for years, if they ever did. They ream young people, blacks and virtually every other “interest group”that supports them with their policies and they still win most national elections.  What a disgraceful group of losers that makes the Republicans. There are literally thousands of chips on the table and they’re leaving them all behind.

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (2)Rand Paul is smart enough to realize this and actually goes out and does things about it. Other Republicans should get out their little red book of quotations and Learn from Chairman Rand.  The country is changing.  Whole new groups are ripe for the picking, most obviously the young who are being so completely raked over by the Obama administration via Obamacare and the rest of the entitlements so many of them know they will never see. They were ready to applaud at Berkeley.

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (3)For the last thirty years or so, yr. obdt. had been advocating for the increasing libertarian wing of the Republican party.  Rand Paul comes the closest we’ve had to a viable member of that wing to run for President (and yes, he’s certainly positioning himself for precisely that) in a long, long time – maybe ever.

But the Berkeley gig – that’s something new.

Rand Paul is doing something not many political candidates do nowadays.  He’s venturing into hostile territory, and he’s winning supporters among them that should by rights be supporting the other side.  That could backfire on him badly, or it could be the 2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (4)beginnings of a 1984-style landslide.

There is one concern about Paul the Younger, and that is his plans for the War Department Department of Defense.  It’s not really a good time to be reducing the budget for our military; not with Vlad Putin kicking up his heels in eastern Europe, Iran building nukes, and the stunted little gargoyle from  a line of stunted little gargoyles running North Korea launching missiles into the Sea of Japan.

Mr. Simon concludes:

I suspect, given how bad things have been the last 5-6 years, the country is ready to hear some radical proposals, like truly massive cuts to federal government programs  and a flat tax, maybe even, as Rick Perry suggested in the last election cycle, the complete elimination of some government departments.  He called for three.  How about four?

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (5)I am NOT one, however,  who thinks we should be cutting defense at all at this present time, given what’s going on across the globe from Caracas to Tehran.  That’s where I might diverge from Citizen Rand.  I get nervous when I read columns from his father about the Crimea.  Maybe Old Ron never visited the Soviet Union.  I did.  It was a jail the size of a continent. It went away for awhile, but unfortunately Evil Empires have  a way of coming back.

In any case, we shall see how Rand reacts to all this in the fullness of time. The way things are going, I suspect he won’t be able to avoid it.

I suspect he’s right.

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (6)

Animal’s Daily News

Big Bang Discovery Opens Door to the Multiverse.  Excerpt:

ThisBig-BearGravitational waves rippling through the aftermath of the cosmic fireball, physicists suggest, point to us inhabiting a multiverse, a universe filled with many universes. (See: “Big Bang’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Confirms Early Universe’s Exponential Growth.”)

That’s because those gravitational wave results point to a particularly prolific and potent kind of “inflation” of the early universe, an exponential expansion of the dimensions of space to many times the size of our own cosmos in the first fraction of a second of the Big Bang, some 13.82 billion years ago.

“In most models, if you have inflation, then you have a multiverse,” said Stanford physicist Andrei Linde. Linde, one of cosmological inflation’s inventors, spoke on Monday at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics event where the BICEP2 astrophysics team unveiled the gravitational wave results.

I have to admit that it’s hard to wrap the old brain pan around these kinds of concepts, unless you are a theoretical physicist.   But imagine if you will the idea of a gazillion or so alternate universes – if the number is large enough, would some of those be similar enough to ours to allow other sentient life to evolve?

bears-cute-awesome1-11For a fun if somewhat long-winded look at this idea, take a browse through Robert Heinlein’s Number of the Beast.  The two heroes and two heroines of that piece take a romp through just such a multiverse, using an interdimensional ship that can travel though all the universes – that number being not six hundred and sixty-six, as the title suggests, but rather six to the sixth power to the sixth power.   They discover that each universe is the product of a work of fiction from ours, or rather, than each universe somehow generated a corresponding work of fiction.  They visit Barsoom, and Oz, and the Lensman’s universe, and a bunch more – before running into the inevitable Lazarus Long in a dragged-out and somewhat predictable ending, which was the bane of Heinlein’s later works.

It’s still worth the read.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

A possible redemption?  Romney:  The Price of Failed Leadership.  Excerpt:

Why are there no good choices? From Crimea to North Korea, from Syria to Egypt, and from Iraq to Afghanistan, America apparently has no good options. If possession is nine-tenths of the law, Russia owns Crimea and all we can do is sanction and disinvite—and wring our hands.

Iran is following North Korea’s nuclear path, but it seems that we can only entreat Iran to sign the same kind of agreement North Korea once signed, undoubtedly with the same result.

Our tough talk about a red line in Syria prompted Vladimir Putin‘s sleight of hand, leaving the chemicals and killings much as they were. We say Bashar Assad must go, but aligning with his al Qaeda-backed opposition is an unacceptable option.

And how can it be that Iraq and Afghanistan each refused to sign the status-of-forces agreement with us—with the very nation that shed the blood of thousands of our bravest for them?

Why, across the world, are America’s hands so tied?

Because we tied them ourselves, Mr. Romney.

Fishing BearWe’re drawing down our Army to pre-WW2 levels.

We’re planning to draw the Navy down likewise – including reducing our carrier force, the only means we have left to project power.

No despot or dictator anywhere in the world takes the United States seriously any more – and there’s no reason they should, not as long as the incumbent sits in the White House.

Here’s what’s interesting about this article; could the inestimable Mr. Romney be positioning himself for 2016?  It wouldn’t be the first time someone has staged a comeback from one election season to the next, and won the White House.

It might be an interesting election season after all.

Animal’s Daily News

Smiling BearAnatomy of a Democratic Midterm Freakout.  Excerpt:

National Democrats are in a near panic — if the media’s highly-attuned panic detectors are any indicator — with a “poisonous” president unable to use his popularity to sway voters, a “screaming siren” warning about mid-term turnout, and Republicans on the offensive on Obamacare. There are a long eight months until November, but Democrats seem unlikely to get much sleep over the interim.

There are (at least!) six reasons why.

The second reason should really be the first:

2. President Obama is near all-time lows on his approval ratings.

This Administration is poison for Democrats seeking re-election this year.   Marked by incompetence, scandal and Chicago-style cronyism, the Obama Administration has done the impossible – made the country nostalgic for the relatively capable James Earl Carter.

But a mid-term election with a disgruntled electorate won’t make the difference in 2016.  Dissatisfaction with the Obama White House will help the GOP this year, and may have some coattails into 2016.  But gaining House seats – almost certain – and retaking the Senate – somewhat less likely but looking more possible by the day – will only render the President the lamest of lame ducks.  To win the White House, hold Congress and earn a mandate in 2016 will take something else – a message.  A positive message.

Sleepy-bearIt’s not enough to tell the country what the Obama Administration and the Reid Senate has done wrong.  They have to tell America what they intend to do right.  A pro-liberty, limited government message would go a long way.

But then, the GOP has a  pretty good history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

And not only Blue Monday, but St. Patrick’s Day as well, so (after work) feel free to hoist one or several in the time-honored Irish tradition.

But, Monday and Irish celebrations aside, the world isn’t looking to be all that happy a place this morning.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

We have a missing Malaysian airliner that may have ended up in Pakistan – protestations from Washington to the contrary aside, this is a nation that has no love for the United States.  Who knows what was on that airliner, or to what nefarious use it may be put?

Meanwhile, Crimeans seem poised to vote to join Russia, while Moscow (read that: Putin) is massing troops in the area for what may well be an incursion into Ukraine proper.

There’s an old saw that goes “history may not always repeat, but it does often rhyme.”  Putin’s grab for lebensraum for the Russian people sure does have a familiar ring to it.

And make no mistake  the United States can’t do anything about it.  We’ve drawn down too far militarily, and we have very little influence in that region.  Also, Vladimir Putin has accurately assessed Barack Obama’s foreign policy chops as all hat, no cattle -he figures he can do as he pleases in eastern Europe, and he’s right.

Peeking-Bear-150x99Interesting times, these.

In other, similar news, the Quebecois are making noises about separating from Canada again.  Interesting change in the North American landscape if it happens, but this change will at least be peaceful.

On reflection, this may be the ideal day to hoist a few.  Here’s mud in your eye!

Rule Five Friday

2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (3)Let’s talk about the War on Women.  No, not the infamous, often-abused Democrat claim about Republican policies (or vice versa, as has happened a time or two.)  Instead, let’s talk about the War on Women being conducted by gun-ban advocates.

“Wait, what?” you ask.  Well, have a read of these two articles, both from the Bullets First blog:

Gun Girls of CPAC – Killing the Stereotype

The Brady Campaign’s War on Women

2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (1)Money quote from the second article:

The gun is the equalizer that can protect the 100lb girl from the monsters in the night.  From those who would rob innocence and shatter dreams.  The gun levels a playing field for the small and the weak so that we are not a society run by thugs and roving gangs of strong arms.

The Brady Campaign would deny the right of the small to defend themselves against the large.  They would promote reasoning with rabid animals and the moral authority of being raped over killing your rapist.

I would say to use every method possible that would stop one of the most heinous acts from being perpetrated against you.  If you think that the Yale study and the ISP advice is sound I won’t advise against it, it might work.  But I KNOW that 3 shots to the chest with a .45 will work.  If I were a woman I would prefer to have to deal with the fact that I put down 2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (2)a rabid animal than I would dealing with the fact that that animal raped me.

And that, True Believers, is the whole point.

As a CCW permit holder who carries regularly as I go about my daily business, I am on occasion drawn into the conversation about the merits of carrying a concealed handgun, and the likelihood of it one day saving my or someone else’s life.   Two common comments arise:

2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (4)Comment: “You know, that gun won’t protect you in every situation.”

Reply:  “That’s true – but it will protect me in many situations, and if I don’t have one, it won’t protect me in any situation.”

Comment:  “I’d be afraid someone would get my gun away from me and kill me with it.”

Reply:  “If I’m ever killed with my own gun, they’ll have to beat me to death with it, because it will sure as hell be empty.”

My own dear Mrs Animal – a small, middle-aged, visibly disabled woman who always has a firearm and usually a blade of some kind concealed about her person – is even more adamant about it, agreeing strongly with the statement above that “3 shots to the chest with a .45,” or in her case, a .380 or a .40 S&W, will sure as hell stop an attacker.

2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (5)It’s baffling why anyone could make the case for a policy that denies women the choice to defend themselves with the only completely effective tool for the job – the only one that will enable a small, disabled, middle-aged woman to defend herself against a six-foot, twenty year old, male attacker.

Do they truly, as BulletsFirst observes, believe a woman that attempts to foil a rapist with urine, defecation or vomit – or a woman who just submits – is morally superior than a woman who effectively and decisively defends herself with deadly force?

It’s hard to draw any other conclusion.  Fortunately, every year more and more women are calling “bullshit!”

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Animal’s Daily News

2014_03_12_Shotguns (1)Two ongoing shooting iron projects returned from the Colorado School of Trades today (photo, left.)

The iron to the left in the first photo still has more work ahead.  This is a Winchester Model 12, 12 gauge, solid rib, made in the late 1940s.  The gunsmith school applied a polish and gloss blue and tuned up the action.  Next will come a new stock and fore-end, and then choke tubes – a tricky proposition, that, as Model 12s have notoriously thin barrel walls.  Still, several choke tube installers/manufacturers have thin-wall tubes especially for these wonderful old guns, so while it’s limited to traditional, 2-3/4″ lead shot loads, it’s doable.

Model 12 Action closeup
Model 12 Action closeup

And doable is good in this case; the Model 12 is the gold standard of American pump shotguns.   The gun started in (obviously) 1912 as a redesign of John Browning’s Winchester Model 1897, and had an eighty-year history.  Model 12s saw service in game fields, duck blinds and trap/skeet ranges all over the U.S. and Canada (many other places as well, no doubt.)  They even saw service in the U.S. military from the First World War through Vietnam.

It’s nice to have a nicely restored example of this fine shotgun in the rack.

The second arm, the one on the right in the first photo, is the Sears-marked version of the venerable Stevens 520a, again a 12 gauge, manufactured in 1945 or 1946.  2014_03_12_Shotguns (5)This one is done as is, having been polished, blued and tuned.  Why put the effort into a gun with little or no collector’s value, even if it were untouched and original?

Simple:  This was the Old Man’s gun, purchased with some of his demobilization pay when he came home to Iowa at the end of World War 2.  Again a Browning design, the old Stevens has a lot going for it; like the Model 12 it’s a solid steel action, a breakdown gun that fits handily in a short carry case.  It’s a good solid pheasant-killer, in no way fancy but effective – and durable.

You can pick these old Stevens shotguns up for a couple of C-notes when you can find them, but this one isn’t for sale at any price.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

Another Mittwoch, another week halfway through.

I find it more than a little disappointing that the Smithsonian magazine, a publication nominally concerned with science, would stoop to this:  On the Trail of Florida’s Bigfoot – The Skunk Ape.  Excerpt:

The first time Dave Shealy saw a skunk ape, he says, he was ten years old. It was 1974, a few years after his father had come upon a set of footprints left by the creature—an Everglades version of Bigfoot named for its supposedly pungent odor. Dave was out deer hunting with his older brother, Jack, in the swamp behind his house, in what’s now Big Cypress National Preserve, when he encountered the ape incarnate.

“It was walking across the swamp, and my brother spotted it first. But I couldn’t see it over the grass—I wasn’t tall enough,” Shealy says. “My brother picked me up, and I saw it, about 100 yards away. We were just kids, but we’d heard about it, and knew for sure what we were looking at. It looked like a man, but completely covered with hair.” He and his brother stared at the creature, mouths agape, but almost at the same time, as he tells it, the skies opened and rain poured down. The ape hurried away, into the cypress hummocks scattered amongst the marsh. “Holy crap,” he remembers thinking. “I finally saw this damn thing, and it got away, just like that.”

An expert.
An expert.

Here’s the point:  He didn’t see a skunk ape.

There aren’t any skunk apes.

There aren’t any Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) Yetis, or any other mysterious, hairy, bipedal apes.

Why so confident, you ask?  Simply this:  Biology.  There can’t be just a few of these creatures running around – there has to be a population.  A genetically viable, breeding population – thousands of animals.  In the heavily settled Southeast, it’s staggeringly unlikely that a population of thousands of giant, hairy bipedal apes exists and yet not one has been killed by a car, or shot by a hunter, or died and left remains anywhere where a human could stumble across them.

A corpse, now that would be proof – inarguable proof.  But we don’t have a corpse, we’ve never had a corpse, and unless the dumbfoundingly unlikely actually happens, we won’t have a corpse.  And what’s more, in this era where every cell phone has a camera, nobody manages to get an unarguable photo.  Let a cop start smacking around a gang punk and everyone and their brother is taking video, but a giant, bipedal hairy ape?  Somehow we’re still stuck with grainy, crappy video that could be anything from a man in a gorilla suit to a rerun of I Love Lucy.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.  In this case, there just isn’t any.

But still – videos keep surfacing:


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