25 Sep 2016

Return of the Jaguar

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jaguar1

The Jaguar (Panthera onca), third largest feline predator in the world, has been described as extinct in the United States since early in the last century, but rumors and scattered alleged sightings on the tops of the “sky island” mountains south of Tuscon, Arizona were followed in recent years by photographs and videos, and even treeings and collarings of real jaguars in the Arizona mountains.

Smithsonian has a typical bleating nincompoop piece gushing over the return of the jaguar (in reality, doubtless, jaguars have always been present in the same area in very small numbers, their existence simply denied and overlooked by the authorities), complete with naming the kitty, publicity and promotion for particular self-appointed experts, partisan turf war accounts, and anti-capitalist agitation (development of a single copper mine south of Bisbee might threaten or somehow impede the peregrinations of the odd jaguar).

The real threat to the presence of jaguars in the United States is Donald Trump’s “great, beautiful wall,” 35 to 50 feet high, which would probably not stop really determined humans, but which would put the final kibosh on rare cross-border species like the jaguar.

If you can put up with all the cant, it is still worth reading.


Jaguar filmed recently in Arizona (February 2016 video)

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

24 Sep 2016

Why Ted Cruz Endorsed Trump

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ted-cruz

Ben Domenech, at the Federalist, explains that Cruz’s unexpected move was indeed a calculated and prudential sell-out.

[Cruz’s change of position] came due to those who had been some of Cruz’s most prominent backers. The Mercer family and Peter Thiel played critical roles in elevating Cruz from a virtual unknown in the state of Texas to knocking off a popular Lieutenant Governor in an extremely competitive primary. Now they are prominent backers of Donald Trump, and the threat of a well-backed primary campaign for Cruz in 2018 was increasingly real, with Rep. Michael McCaul and former Gov. and DWTS star Rick Perry showing themselves to be very competitive against him. Cruz’s former media backers had turned on the populist, and the potential for a well-backed challenger against Cruz in Texas was real. Had Trump lost narrowly to Hillary Clinton, as seems the likeliest outcome today, the timing of Cruz’s race would’ve made him public enemy number one among the Trump crew.

A move by Ted Cruz to endorse Trump in Cleveland wouldn’t have satisfied anyone already opposed to Cruz, but it would’ve seemed like par for the course among all the Republicans who’ve lined up to back the nominee, which now includes all the candidates this cycle except for Jeb Bush and John Kasich. The move to endorse now seems ideologically baseless, because it is. It seems like an act of political self-defense, because it is. And it seems opportunistic, because it is.

24 Sep 2016

The Nearly Extinct Gharial

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gharial

Ark in Space:

This strange looking creature, with its immensely long and delicate snout is the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus). Until very recently it thrived throughout the Indian sub-continent but now it numbers less than a few hundred in the wild. …

Once it flourished and could be found in all of the major rivers of India and Pakistan. The Indus, which has its source in Tibet and flows through Pakistan and Northern India had gharials along almost its entire length. Now, in this vast river not a single one may be found.

It is the same in many other major river systems. The list is depressingly long. The Irrawaddy in Myanmar holds none, neither does the Brahmaputra of Bhutan and Bangladesh – and this is not counting the many tributaries of these vast waterways. In fact the gharial can now be found in only 2% of its former territory.

These survivors from the age of the dinosaur need our help to survive – or it will be goodbye to them forever within a few decades. There are nine protected areas in India for the gharial. Eggs are often collected in the wild and raised in captivity. …

Over 3,000 young gharial have been released under these operations. Even so, it is thought that at most there are only around 400 breeding pairs in the wild. …

There are about ten places in Asia where the gharial is bred in captivity with the young released in to the wild at around the age of three. Another 8 centers in the US and 3 in Europe also offer some hope to the gharial.

gharial2

24 Sep 2016

Deer Season Coming Soon

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hillarybambismother

23 Sep 2016

Ötzi the Iceman Speaks

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otzi

Science Alert:

We already know what Ötzi the Iceman was wearing when he died more than 5,000 years ago in the Italian Alps, as well as how many tattoos he had.

But now scientists have taken things one step further: they’ve managed to recreate the “best possible approximation” of his voice.

By using CT scans to measure the structure of the famous mummy’s vocal cords, throat, and mouth, scientists from Bolzano’s General Hospital in Italy have been able to digitally reconstruct what Ötzi might have sounded like while pronouncing vowels in Italian.

22 Sep 2016

The Firing Squad Blank Cartridge Election

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2016choice

Sara Hoyt, on FB, has a good suggestion:

You know how if you are ever on an execution squad, one person has blanks instead of bullets, and you don’t know which of you it is?

To save the national conscience, I think those in charge of the elections this year should have two identical boxes. One is a ballot box, one a shredder.

Each person is given two ballots, and puts one in each box. You don’t know which box is which.

If you’re absolutely decided for one of the horrors running, good for you. you can vote both ballots the same. But if you don’t want to vote for either, and don’t want it on your conscience, you can leave it in the lap of the gods. Vote the down ticket according to your conscience, fill the top of each ticket with one of the ass-clowns and rest easy. It was not you but the fates.

22 Sep 2016

Twitter Suspends Instapundit

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instapunditlogo

Glenn Reynolds announced today:

OPENED UP TWITTER TO SEE THIS:

[ACCOUNT SUSPENDED GRAPHIC]

Can’t imagine why they’d do that, except that it seems to be happening to a lot of people for no obvious reason. It’s as if, despite assurances to the contrary, Twitter is out to silence voices it disagrees with or something.

UPDATE: Ah, it was about this tweet.

Sorry, blocking the interstate is dangerous, and trapping people in their cars is a threat. Driving on is self-preservation, especially when we’ve had mobs destroying property and injuring and killing people. But if Twitter doesn’t like me, I’m happy to stop providing them with free content. …

I don’t even know that this is why I was suspended, as I’ve heard nothing from Twitter at all. They tell users and investors that they don’t censor, but they seem awfully quick to suspend people on one side of the debate and, as people over at Twitchy note, awfully tolerant of outright threats on the other.

Twitter can do without me, as I can certainly do without Twitter.

Infuriating. Who do they think they are? I’d like to see massive retaliatory hacking, denial of service attacks, and mobs armed with pitchforks and torches besieging these douchebags’ offices.

————————————–

Glenn Reynolds’ tweet was obviously intended as a quip, expressing frustrated indignation at the form of protest, blocking highways, that has recently become popular. Twitter censors took advantage of its dark humor to strike an exaggerated moralizing pose and punish the person whose politics they do not like.

But, really, faced with a crowd of racially-chauvinist rioters from the inner city criminal class getting through the blockers by threatening to run them down would simply be the most prudent course of action.

Just check some of the headlines: Rioters beat man who begs for mercy in parking garage.

Protestors Try to Burn Photographer Alive.

Better to force them out of your way than to be beaten or burned alive. If one of them gets run over, too bad.

22 Sep 2016

Joss Whedon Almost Got Me to Vote For Trump

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Regular readers must be aware by now what I think of Donald Trump. The hell of it is: Joss Whedon’s tv programs and movies are good. They are filled with wit and with a genuine appreciation of the human capacity for heroism. But, politically, Joss Whedon is obviously a totally self-congratulatory conformist airhead.

Whedon has started his own Super PAC, called “Save The Day,” which is intended, just like Spike’s self-sacrifice in the final episode of Buffy to close the hell mouth, save the world from ending, and… elect Hillary Clinton!

Joss Whedon is going to do his personal bit to save the world from a Trumpocalypse by producing a series of videos featuring famous Hollywood actors, all self-importantly preening for the camera while delivering cutesy, but puerile, admonitions to register and vote… against Trump and in favor of everything really stupid people believe to be good.

Yech! One wanted to believe that Tony Stark (Robert Downey) is smart. The sad truth is obviously that he is a total waste, and might just as well go back to the cocaine. One used to believe that Julianne Moore was desirable. The sad reality is that she is a left-wing shrew with a foul mouth.

These people are so incredibly stupid, so incredibly self-entitled, and so incredibly annoying that one could almost be in favor of letting the Great Old Ones rise again and destroy the world just to be rid of them (“The Cabin in the Woods” (2012) allusion), or vote for The Donald just to spite them. Almost.

21 Sep 2016

You Know How Kids Get a Kick Out of It When Older People Can’t Handle Technology?

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21 Sep 2016

“Trump Is Everything I Was Taught Not To Be”

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Ken Robert and I don’t agree on a few tiny details, but he has put his finger precisely on why it is impossible to support Donald Trump.

My disdain for Donald Trump has little to do with Republican vs Democrat. It has much more to do with what I was taught growing up about being a decent human being.

Much of that was taught to me by my father, a man who wasn’t perfect but always tried his best to be decent toward and honest with everyone he met. Trump is just about everything I was taught not to be, and it’s become almost all but impossible to hold onto whatever respect I once held for people I know who support him.

It doesn’t feel good to lose that respect. I was also taught to look for the good in people, and I still believe there’s good in almost everyone, but I find less of it when I hear people cheer for a man who embodies everything my father taught me to disdain: bullies, liars, blowhards, braggarts, and cheats. To me, championing a man who displays those behaviors on an almost daily basis demonstrates a fundamental flaw of character.

Based on what I was taught, you just don’t do the following: You don’t mock the disabled. You don’t disparage someone for being a prisoner of war, even if you disagree with their politics. You don’t take money from a proclaimed charitable foundation and use it to pay $20,000 for a painting of yourself to give to your spouse. You don’t claim you’ve given a million dollars to veterans that you haven’t given, then, when the press discovers and reports that you haven’t, try to cover your ass by giving it in the middle of the night before calling a press conference the following day to berate the media for calling you on your dishonesty. You don’t insinuate things about the parents of a fallen soldier you could have discovered were false by checking just because you got your precious feelings hurt when they criticized your proposed ban on people who practice their religion which is about as direct a violation of the U.S. Constitution as someone can cook up. … You don’t do so many things this man does almost every day.

If we disagree on these things, we simply don’t share the same values. If I criticize these things and your response is to laugh with derogatory glee, you come across like a toothless jackass braying as you lift a leg to take a piss on human decency.

We can debate the impact of a minimum wage hike, the best approach to healthcare, the effectiveness and constitutionality of a gun regulation proposal, and a great many other things, but human decency isn’t on my list of debatable topics anymore and it never should have been to begin with.

My father was a Republican, but he was not a straight ticket voter, and I can’t believe he would have ever cast a ballot for this man. As the father of a handicapped child who died very young, he would have severed any ties he had to Trump the day the candidate mocked a reporter’s disfiguring congenital joint disorder.

I think my father would have agreed with my basic argument against such behavior: “Fuck that asshole and the festering pile of shit he rode in on.”

Read the whole thing.

I agree with him on the basic equation that, if Trump’s rudeness, vulgarity, shameless lying, and bullying do not repel you, if you think they are cute, if you think they constitute a really clever strategy for defeating democrats and winning elections, there is something seriously wrong with you.

21 Sep 2016

Lost Winchester 1873 Dated and Conserved

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Remember that Winchester Model 1873 Rifle found abandoned for most of a century, left leaning up against a tree in Great Basin National Park back in November of 2014?

It’s been examined, dated, and conserved and is now on display at Lehman Caves Visitor Center, part of Great Basin National Park, in Baker, Nevada.

21 Sep 2016

Praising NYC

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tweet196

20 Sep 2016

The Conservative Dilemma

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dancingglacierpoint

Escapism is laudable, perhaps the only truly honorable course for humane men — but only for them. Those who remain in the world, if they will not surrender on its terms, must maneuver within its terms. That is what conservatives must decide: how much to give up in order to survive at all: how much to give up in order not to give up the basic principles. And, of course, that results in a dance along a precipice. Many will drop over, and always, the cliff dancers will hear the screaming curses of those who fall, or be numbed by the sullen silence of those, nobler souls perhaps, who will not join the dance.

–Whittaker Chambers, Odyssey of a Friend, p.83.

19 Sep 2016

Minnesota Somali Brought a Knife to a Gun Fight

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dahir
The late Dahir A. Adan

Bearing Arms tells us a lot more about the chap who stopped the St. Cloud, MN knife attacks than the MSM has.

Boy, did that Muslim ever pick the wrong guy to try to attack with a knife!

USPSA Shooter, 3-Gunner, and NRA-certified firearms instructor Jason Falconer has been identified as the man who shot and killed a 22-year-old Somali immigrant who went on a stabbing rampage inside a St. Cloud, (MN) Mall on Saturday.

The apparent terrorist—who apparently asked victims if they were Muslims before stabbing them—was engaged by Falconer inside the mall.

Falconer is the president and owner of Tactical Advantage LLC, a shooting range and tactical training facility with a strong focus on arming concealed carriers. He’s also a former chief of the Albany (MN) police department, and he remains a part-time officer.

But Falconer has consistently been identified in the mainstream media only as as a “former police chief” and “off-duty police officer.” …

    A knife-wielding suspect who was dressed in a private security uniform and made references to Allah while attacking at least nine people during a mass stabbing incident at the Crossroads Center shopping mall was shot dead by an off-duty police officer from Avon, authorities said.

    Jason Falconer, former police chief of Albany, Minn., was shopping when he confronted the suspect.

    At a press conference at the police department just after noon on Sunday, St. Cloud Mayor David Kleis said he believes Falconer prevented additional injuries and loss of life.

    “Clearly he is a hero. Officer Falconer was there at the right time and the right place.”

    Kleis said the end of the attack and the final confrontation could be seen on video from the Macy’s store. Describing the video, which did not have audio, Kleis said the suspect clearly had a knife in hand, and lunged at Falconer, who fired at him. The suspect fell, then got back up three times before the fatal shot.

jasonfalconer
Jason Falconer

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