Rule Five Friday

2014_09_26_Rule Five Friday (1)Paul Allen:  Another Anti-Gun Hypocrite.  Excerpt:

Paul Allen is the less well-known founder of Microsoft, and has used his billions to buy, among other things, the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers. He’s an avid yachtsman, and at one point owned or had owned multiple entries in Power and Motor Yacht magazine’s list of the world’s longest yachts.

He is also an avid collector of military vehicles, which is something all SGN readers would heartily approve if that weren’t contrasted with his support of the Washington State Initiative 594, which would impose a universal background check system and 10-day waiting period on all gun purchases. 2014_09_26_Rule Five Friday (2)Allen has chipped in $500,000 to support the initiative, supporting his old Microsoft partner, Bill Gates, who came in with a full million.

There is a slight element of apples/oranges here; the tank in question, along with the other various military vehicles Allen owns, is almost certainly demilled.  But there’s a marked tendency among anti-gunners to refuse to practice what they preach, and Allen’s support of restrictive gun control does seem odd in light off his hobby.

But Allen isn’t really the star hypocrite in this story.  The linked article concludes:

2014_09_26_Rule Five Friday (3)The late Tom Siatos, a longtime executive at Petersen Publishing Co. and regular columnist in Guns & Ammo, was having a few belts at a Los Angles Safari Club Int’l gathering when he encountered Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler, who enjoyed numerous Africa safaris.

Why, Siatos asked, was the Times reliably anti-gun when its publisher owned and used hundreds of them? “Oh, Tom,” Chandler replied, “we’ll always have our guns.”

Uh huh.

So, how about we peruse a short list of anti-gun hypocrites?

2014_09_26_Rule Five Friday (4)Father Micheal Pfleger.

Dianne Feinstein.

NYPD Chief Ray Kelly.

Mark Kelly.

And, last but not least, notorious liar and blowpig Michael Moore.

Let’s be fair; hypocrisy comes in all flavors, and pols and other public figures on all points of the political spectrum are prone to it; for every anti-gun hypocrite I could point out, it would be trivially easy to find, say,  a staunch GOP social-issues conservative who has had an 2014_09_26_Rule Five Friday (5)extramarital affair.

But what does the overt hypocrisy of any of these people tell us?

How about a critical lack of integrity?  Of moral consistency?  Of intellectual consistency?

How about the lack of necessity of ever taking them seriously on these chosen issues, ever again?

Why should we listen to (notorious blowpig) Michael Moore whining about the need for laws to disarm law-abiding citizens when he stands behind a phalanx of armed guards?

Answer:  We shouldn’t.

2014_09_26_Rule Five Friday (6)

Animal’s Daily News

Splashing-BearsDo we have two anti-choice parties in America?  Sure; they are just anti-choice in differing areas.  Excerpt:

Democrats constantly increase limits on individual choice. President Obama won’t let people work in unpaid internships, and health officials in liberal cities ban trans fats from restaurants.I like the way Sen. Rand Paul (R.-Ken.) summarized liberals’ love of crushing choice:

“It’s light bulbs. It’s toilets. It’s cars. You name it. Your freedom of choice is gone. For a party that says they are the pro-choice party, this is the most anti-choice administration we’ve seen in a lifetime.”

Republicans have their own list of ways in which they want to control us. Many are not just anti-abortion (as is Sen. Paul); they’re also anti-gay marriage, anti-drugs, anti-gambling and, in a few cases, anti-free speech.

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, says most of these rules are needed to protect society as a whole. When I challenge the war on drugs, asking, “Don’t I own my own body?” he answers, “It is your body, John, but the consequences are paid for by the broader society.

Dual-BearsAs to that last; that’s the other side of the libertarian coin, at least the one carried and advocated by yr. obdt.; sure, it is your body, and if you mess it up by acting irresponsibly, it is not the role of the taxpayers to bail your dumb ass out.  Screw up, and it’s all on you. 

But the gist of the article is horrifyingly accurate.  I vote GOP as the lesser of two evils, and because they are almost without exception better than the Democrats – not good, just better than the Democrats – on spending and debt, which in my considered opinion is one of the transcendent issues of our time, the resolution of which the very future of our Republic depends.

But that doesn’t mean I like every plank in their platform, either.

Sad-BearSome years back sci-fi author and libertarian scribe Robert Heinlein said, “Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”

Almost everyone in government – especially the Imperial Federal government – belong in that first group.  And in my lifetime, it’s gotten a whole lot worse.

Where does it end?

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

Some good news – sort of – on the Second Amendment front for denizens of the Imperial City:  D.C. Council votes to allow concealed handguns.  Excerpt:

 A reluctant District of Columbia Council voted unanimously Tuesday to allow people to carry concealed handguns in the nation’s capital for the first time in nearly 40 years.

The bill was crafted to comply with a court ruling that struck down the District’s ban on carrying handguns outside the home.

Residents and visitors who want to carry a concealed handgun would have to show a specific reason that they need one, among other requirements, and District leaders are hoping that the law would withstand further court challenges. But the attorney who challenged the ban on carrying guns has said the legislation is too restrictive and does not comply with the court ruling.

Will there be some more legal wrangling?  Almost certainly – and certainly hopefully these restrictions (especially the idiotic ‘…would have to show a specific reason clause) will continue to ease.  But what’s revealing in this story are the quotes from the Council members themselves (comments from yr. obdt. added for color.)

“I don’t believe in guns. I don’t believe in carrying guns,” said Council member Marion Barry, a Democrat and a former four-term mayor. “I think the public ought to understand that all of us here are doing something we really don’t want to do.”

You “don’t believe in guns,” you crack-smoking horse’s ass?  I assure you, they exist.  And yes, we know this is something you don’t want to do, largely because you make decisions on what you ‘feel’ and what you ‘believe,’ much of which has little basis in fact.

The bill requires the signature of Mayor Vincent Gray, who has said he plans to sign it.

“This bill ensures that we will be able to meet the requirements of the Constitution while maintaining the maximum amount of safeguards possible to protect our residents, visitors, workers and public-safety officers,” Gray said in a written statement.

gun control theoryThe ‘maximum amount of safeguards’ would be to permit personal weapons by the law-abiding residents of the Imperial City.  It is a matter of irrefutable fact that CCW permit holders are far less likely to be involved in a crime than the balance of the populace.

Facts are stubborn things.  It’s telling – very telling indeed – that the Imperial City itself continues to ignore facts in order to continue to restrict the liberty of its residents.

Animal’s Daily News

Relaxing BearHere’s an interesting bit on the weird dichotomy of the Golden State, from one who knows, the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson.  Excerpt:

California is run from a sort of Pacific Versailles, an isolated coastal compound of elite rulers physically cut off from its interior peasantry.

To understand how California works — or rather does not work — drive over the I-5 Grapevine and gaze down at the brilliantly engineered artificial Pyramid Lake. Thanks to California water project deliveries, even in a third year of drought its level still fluctuates between 90 to 100% full — ensuring, along with its companion reservoirs, plentiful water for the Los Angeles-area municipalities for the next two years. The far distant watersheds and reservoirs that feed Pyramid Lake are about bone dry.

The same disconnect is true of Crystal Springs Reservoir along the I-280 near San Francisco. The Sierra watershed that supplies the now 90%+full lake is drying up. But San Francisco will have an assured water supply from its manmade reservoirs for some time, even if the drought persists.

One of then central tenets of the personal Philosophy of Animal is that the government governs best that governs least, and that government should be as local as possible.

This is why.

Witness the results when a cabal of uber-wealthy coastal elites make well-meaning policy that so adversely affects the hoi polloi in the interior.  As disconnected from the normal people of most of the state as Louis XVI was from the peasantry of France, this coastal elite has led California into fiscal insolvency.

Dr. Hanson concludes:

But for now in our pyramidal state, there is a Versailles elite on the coast, and a let-them-eat-cake mass everywhere else.

Do you remember what happened to Louis XVI?  I wonder if Jerry Brown does.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

From The Denver Post’s Vince Carroll, here’s another update on our local Colorado politics:  Carroll: Toe to Toe in Colorado Governor’s Race.  Excerpt:

John Hickenlooper is in a fight for his political life, but you certainly can’t lay it on his opponent. Bob Beauprez’s campaign for governor has been far more sure-footed than the last time he ran for the office, in 2006, but it has not been memorable or creative, either.

Nor has it been notably geared to attracting independents and moderates. Beauprez has hewed to predictable conservative positions on most issues. And in a few cases — immigration and oil and gas drilling, for example — he has even sounded gratuitously right-wing.

If there’s a position of his that would raise eyebrows with his GOP base, I haven’t noticed it.

Carroll is right, so far, of course; but he also notes:

By contrast, Hickenlooper has irritated the Democratic base on several occasions during his term, most notably by his support for hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas drilling. Had a Republican or more liberal Democrat been governor these past four years, it’s quite possible the debate over fracking would have degenerated into a fully partisan issue — a dangerous state of affairs given the importance of energy development, and indeed fossil fuels, to this state.

Given this observation, and I think it’s a good one, Bob Beauprez may be thinking he can afford to run a rather tepid campaign; one of the first rules of any manner of conflict is “when your opponent is punching himself in the face, let him.

But what Mr. Carroll misses isn’t just Hickenlooper’s estrangement of Denver and Boulder liberals over energy policy.  There’s another factor in play, and that is Hickenlooper’s support for the Colorado Legislature’s recent bouts of gun-control stupidity, which has cost three Democrat legislators their seats already.  While Denver and Boulder are reliably bright blue, the Colorado Democratic party also has a strong leavening of blue-collar Truman Democrats around Pueblo and in the Arkansas Valley, and those voters to not look kindly on attempts to restrict their Second Amendment rights.

In the considered opinion of yr. obdt., Hickenlooper is still the likely winner.  But the race draws closer, and six weeks is a long, long time in politics.

Rule Five Friday

2014_09_19_Rule Five Friday (1)Some election tidbits:

GOP Candidate Takes 10-Point Lead in Colorado Governor’s Race.  Excerpt:

National media types have gone into overdrive to focus on the Kansas governor’s race where GOP incumbent Sam Brownback is struggling to win re-election after enacting a conservative agenda. But Brownback is within the margin of error in recent polls. That might not be the case about another governor in a larger state who is trouble for enacting a liberal agenda. The latest Quinnipiac University Poll finds Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper trailing his opponent, former GOP congressman Bob Beauprez, by 10 points.

2014_09_19_Rule Five Friday (2)2014_09_19_Rule Five Friday (3)Honestly, I’m very skeptical about this poll – I don’t see the race as anything but close.  I’d like to see Bob Beauprez win this election, but Colorado is not today what it was ten or fifteen years ago.   Governor Hickenlooper, for all his faults, still commands a powerful lead in the major metro areas of Denver and Boulder.

Could I be wrong?  It’s happened once or twice.

2014_09_19_Rule Five Friday (4)2014_09_19_Rule Five Friday (5)But there’s another indicator.  A USA Today/Suffolk poll taken on September 13-16 shows GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner leading incumbent Mark Udall by one point, the first such poll that has Gardner in the lead.

Interesting, but not necessarily indicative; not yet.  Gardner is running what is in the opinion of yr. obdt. a lackluster campaign.

Nationally it looks like the Senate races are tightening up.  The RCP map has the Senate going (as of today) 47 Republican, 42 Democrat, with 8 tossups.   But a recent WaPo story posits that the Democrats 2014_09_19_Rule Five Friday (6)2014_09_19_Rule Five Friday (7)have a 51% chance of retaining the Senate.

Again, color me skeptical.  At this point my guess is that the GOP will squeak out a narrow majority – 51 or 52 seats.

Still – it’s a bit over six weeks until what may or may not be a wave election.  That’s a long, long time in politics.

2014_09_19_Rule Five Friday (8)

Animal’s Daily Martian News

Martian Native.
Martian Native.

Could we terraform Mars, and make it habitable for humans?  Maybe so.  Excerpt:

Today, Mars has little atmosphere to speak of, sports an average temperature of -76 degrees Fahrenheit around the equator, and is pelted by ultraviolet radiation. It’s little more than a desert pockmarked by craters. And yet, there are some who think that Mars can live again.

“You don’t build Mars,” Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at NASA says. “You just warm it up and throw some seeds.”

It’s that simple.

Here are three easy steps to terraform Mars and make it habitable for humans.

Read the whole thing for an outline of the three necessary (and time-consuming – we’re talking thousands of years) steps.

Forgetting the astronomical cost (pun intended) and the time frame for a moment, and think about the implications of a population of humans living on a successfully terraformed Mars.  No, they aren’t likely to turn green, nor will they encounter thoats, exotic red princesses or any other boojums or boogers.  But they will change, as generations are born and grow on a planet with only a little over a third of Earth’s gravity.

The new Martians will be taller and thinner, most likely, as they adjust through growth on a low-gravity environment.  They will probably have to adjust to a colder planet, even after terraforming, but we can Silver Beardo that through technology as prosaic as coats; but gravity will have a more lasting impact.

Not least of which is this:  Native Martians may never be able to visit the home planet.  A 1G gravity field may kill them.

So, while this is interesting and may someday actually happen, any human population on Mars will probably have to be permanent.

Check out Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy for an interesting bit of speculation as to how this might actually work.

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