Combs Spouts Off

"It's my opinion and it's very true."

Castle Rock, CO, refuses federal funds

Posted by Richard on May 17, 2016

Three cheers for Castle Rock, CO (population 55,000), located about 30 miles south of Denver. Its Town Council is refusing federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) because of the onerous strings attached:

… At issue for the town was a new set of regulations, 377 pages in all, which gives the unelected HUD bureaucrats broad powers over grant recipient communities, including the power to reverse electoral decisions by local voters, change local zoning laws and force said communities to join regions against the its wishes.

Faced with the choice of refusing federal funds or submitting to increased federal intrusion into their local concerns, Castle Rock’s town government chose the former, reports SustainableFreedomLab.org. In a letter to local HUD applicants, mayor Paul Donahue explained that,

“If we continue to accept the HUD grants, we will be forced to prepare detailed taxpayer-financed studies of our schools, retail, housing, and other community aspects to HUD who will decide if our neighborhoods are “furthering fair housing.” That means that even though our town has never been found in violation of the anti-discrimination housing rules that have been law for over 50 years, HUD on a whim could force us to build low-income, government subsidized housing into our neighborhoods if HUD decides we aren’t racially balanced enough.”

In other words, Castle Rock’s town council has recognized that the new federal regulations are likely to be used not to mitigate actual instances of discriminatory behavior, but as politically-motivated means to produce politically-motivated ends. As Castle Rock’s letter acknowledged, far from being a paranoid hypothetical, this scenario has already played out in Westchester County, New York, where county leaders have been fighting a HUD directive to construct 750 affordable-housing units in established neighborhoods. But while Westchester County has sued to have this decision reversed – a suit that, to nobody’s surprise, was decided in the federal government’s favor by the federal government’s judge – it has not decided to refuse the HUD funds.

What Castle Rock has discovered, that Westchester County apparently has not, is that federal funds always come with strings attached, and the strongest string is invariably tied to local sovereignty. The Castle Rock town council has heroically identified this truth and has decided that the funds are not worth the cost. Donahue’s letter concludes,

“As a Town Council, we will resist all federal attempt to destroy our local sovereignty, be it from HUD, the EPA, or any other government agency. Council will always defend our resident’s right to make their own local decisions without federal interference. While I appreciate the many good works that are represented by your (the grant applicants’) programs, accepting onerous federal grant requirements, which harm our community, cannot be the price to pay for federal monies.”

Towns, cities, counties and states all across the country should take notice of what Castle Rock has done and should hasten to emulate its example.

Word. If you don’t take the feds’ money, they can’t attach the strings with which to control you, and you’ve effectively nullified their edicts.

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I survived the Blogger/Twitter/Zomby Bash/Fest

Posted by Richard on April 9, 2016

Eight of us (IIRC) spent an enjoyable four hours or so at the Pint Room in Littleton this afternoon sampling some of the 175 or so beers on tap, learning the details of why zombyboy is moving to Florida and when it might happen, and conversing about a wide variety of topics from Trump (“how the eff did this happen?”) to the firing of various projectiles from a compressed-air cannon.

We also enjoyed the Pint Room’s burgers and some appetizers; the food is quite good, slightly upscale pub fare. Oh, and there were some shots. Holding the bash/fest in mid-afternoon proved to be a good plan. It was much quieter than such places are on a weekend evening, so we could mostly hear and be heard. And I managed to get home before dark, not much worse for the wear.

On my way out, two different young women (one outside in her car) complimented me on my t-shirt:

ATLAS
SHRUGGED
NOW, NON-FICTION

Who knew you could attract the attention of pretty young women by wearing an Atlas Shrugged t-shirt?

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Incredible must-see video of today’s SpaceX launch and landing

Posted by Richard on April 8, 2016

Trust me, you need to set aside 37 minutes to watch SpaceX’s video of the Dragon CRS-8 mission. If you’re pressed for time, you can skip the first 15-18 minutes. Make sure you watch in full-screen mode and HD. If you have a big-screen TV with a web browser, watch it on that.

Launch is at the 19-minute mark. You definitely want to watch from there through main engine cutoff (MECO) and second stage ignition (~21:30), and the first-stage landing (~27:00) is simply amazing, awesome, breathtaking … words are inadequate to describe it. I’ve watched it five times now and each time is still a thrill. “The crowd is going a little nuts here” is an understatement, and the joy of the people at SpaceX is contagious. It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time.

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Happy National Beer Day!

Posted by Richard on April 7, 2016

I just recently discovered that today is National Beer Day.

Of course, for some of us, just about every day is beer day.

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BloggerBash … or TwitterFest … or ZombyBash … or something

Posted by Richard on April 4, 2016

Zombyboy (@zombyboy) has threatened to leave Colorado for Florida in the not-too-distant future. He doesn’t seem to understand that life’s a mountain, not a beach. Anyway, a few of us decided we should get together for a blogger/tweeter bash/fest before he leaves. Heck, it’s been forever since the last one (over three years, IIRC).

If you’re a Colorado blogger/tweeter or follow Colorado bloggers/tweeters, you’re welcome to join in the fun. Which will consist of food, beer, distilled spirits (either zombyboy or I, or both, will probably buy shots), humor, political snark and rants, gun talk, good reads, …

Where: Pint Room, 2620 W. Belleview Ave., Littleton (we’ll be in the back or on the patio)

When: Saturday, April 9, 3 PM

Yeah, we’re doing the afternoon thing, so plan for a very late lunch or early supper. What I call “lupper.” It’ll be much quieter than Saturday night, so we can carry on conversations without getting hoarse. Plus, some of us aren’t getting any younger.

If you’re coming, leave a comment or email me (address under my picture).

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Paternalists push potent pot proscription

Posted by Richard on April 1, 2016

The folks who fought against legal marijuana in Colorado have been fighting rear-guard actions ever since they lost at the polls, pushing local bans on pot shops, ever tighter restrictions on edibles, etc. Their latest effort involves the old “today’s marijuana is much more dangerous than the stuff you boomers smoked in college” argument:

A proposed ballot initiative and an amendment to a bill in the state House would cap the THC potency of recreational cannabis and marijuana products at a percentage below most of those products’ current averages.

The initiative would limit the potency of “marijuana and marijuana products” to 15 percent or 16 percent THC.

The average potency of Colorado pot products is already higher — 17.1 percent for cannabis flower and 62.1 percent for marijuana extracts, according to a state study.

Supporters of the legislation, introduced byRepublican state Rep. Kathleen Conti, say they’re being cautious until more research has been done and protecting the brain development of adolescents. But opponents say the measures are unreasonable and could squash some of the legal cannabis industry’s most popular categories.

“All the studies that have been done on THC levels have been done on THC levels between 2 and 8 percent,” said Conti, whose district encompasses parts of Greenwood Village and Littleton. “Most of the marijuana coming in now, the flowers are being rated at a THC count of about 17 percent on average, so this is dramatically over, and we really don’t know that we’ve gotten the true feel on the health risks associated with that marijuana.”

Let’s apply the same silly argument to another popular intoxicant. The alcohol content by volume (ABV) of the average mass-produced American lager beer is between 4 and 5 percent. The ABV of beers sold in grocery stores is capped at 3.2% (yes, Colorado still clings to that silly restriction). But more and more people are turning to tastier craft beers, and those often have an ABV of 7, 8, or even 10 percent and higher. And who knows what additional risks beer drinkers are taking when they switch from Coors Light to a Double IPA or (horrors!) a barleywine ale? Especially the adolescents. We should cap beer potency at 5% ABV. It’s for the children! (Never mind that it’s already illegal for adolescents to use either alcohol or pot.)

And OMG, what about distilled spirits? Someone who’s used to quaffing a pint or three of 5% ABV beer may not realize the danger of downing a pint or three of 90 proof (45% ABV) bourbon!

Of course, this is nonsense. Except for a small minority with no self-control (many of whom live under a bridge), people imbibe and smoke until they reach a comfortable level of inebriation and then stop. If they’re drinking Coors Light (or smoking 8% THC pot), they drink (smoke) more; if they’re drinking Upslope Imperial IPA (or smoking Purple Lady), they drink (smoke) less. If they’re drinking Bulleit (or vaping a concentrate), they drink (vape) much less.

Limit the THC content of legal marijuana, and users will burn more vegetable matter to achieve the same high, which is bad for their lungs. (Or they’ll switch to black market pot; anyone see an opportunity for a Baptists-and-bootleggers alliance here?)

But then, the puritans secretly believe that pursuers of such sybaritic pleasures deserve to be punished/harmed by them. That’s why it’s illegal for brewers and distillers to add B vitamins to their products, which would significantly reduce the incidence of liver damage among heavy drinkers.

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“I Think My Dog’s a Democrat”

Posted by Richard on March 28, 2016

Acting like he’s entitled is what gave him away.


[YouTube link]

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Poking fun at Emory University

Posted by Richard on March 27, 2016

You probably heard about the kerfuffle at Emory University, where some of the special snowflakes attending the exclusive school were upset that someone had written “Trump 2016” in chalk on various surfaces. Snopes calls much of the reporting of the incident false:

WHAT’S FALSE: “Emergency counseling” was offered to or demanded by students; Emory students complained that their “safe spaces” had been violated; students were afraid of or traumatized by the chalk markings.

Snopes’ leftist leanings have made it completely unreliable regarding anything even vaguely political. The “emergency counseling” claim may be false; regarding non-emergency counseling, it depends on whether you draw the same inferences from a student government email as Snopes.

Snopes dismisses the “safe spaces” issue because the phrase “was included as a paraphrase (meaning the purportedly oversensitive students invoking the concept hadn’t actually used the words)” in a student newspaper article. Their parenthetical claim is nonsense, and the rest of their claim is undermined by the very quote they cite, which also makes it clear that suppression of pro-Trump speech is at least one protester’s goal (emphases added):

Grievances were not restricted to shortcomings of the administration. “[Faculty] are supporting this rhetoric by not ending it,” said one student, who went on to say that “people of color are struggling academically because they are so focused on trying to have a safe community and focus on these issues [related to having safe spaces on campus].”

For a deeper, on-the-spot view, see the Weekly Standard column by Emory professor Harvey Klehr. Klehr begins by recounting an earlier “Black Lives Matter” protest on campus (I’m willing to bet many of the same people were involved in both protests). During it, protesters spoke of “the trauma of being on campus every day” and the “micro-aggressions” they endured, which left “some students in need of additional counselors in the Psychological Center specifically trained to work with black students.” Maybe that’s the source of the counseling claim in the more recent Trump incident.

But if you prefer to laugh at these ninnies instead wading through more infuriating details about them, I recommend this Atlanta Banana parody:

Emory Student Pain So Deep Heated Land Rover Seats Can’t Evaporate the Tears 

“Do you know how much it costs to get tears and snot out of a Range Rover leather seat?” bellowed Dusty Pirkins, Gender Indeterminate Non-Factual Research major. “Well, I don’t, but you can bet my Dad does!”

“We had no idea we’d be exposed to facts when we came to college,” screamed Summer Frock-Waters, basket blanket artisan. She then collapsed onto her AMG Mercedes, spilling a delicious mocha latte onto a smartphone the size of a baking sheet and howling, “My pain is so real and it’s my pain!”

RTWT. Then watch this from Comedy Central’s Nightly Show. It includes a fake student interview, the end of which reveals why this kind of nonsense tends to occur on campuses at specific times of the year.

 

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Being a moderate Muslim is dangerous, even in Britain

Posted by Richard on March 26, 2016

Non-Muslim opponents of Islamofascism (myself included) have often lamented the fact that so few moderate Muslims speak out against the radical jihadis. It’s important to remember, however, that doing so can be dangerous. And not just in places like Pakistan or Arab countries. Extending happy Easter wishes to Christians and speaking out against the Brussels bombings proved fatal for a Muslim shopkeeper in Britain:

A popular shopkeeper who wished Christians a happy Easter on Facebook was stabbed to death in what police in Scotland say was a “religiously prejudiced” attack carried out by a fellow Muslim, it was reported Saturday.

Asad Shah, a Pakistani-born resident of Glasgow, was stabbed thirty times and his head stomped, a family friend told the Daily Mail:

Mohammad Faisal, a family friend, said a bearded Muslim wearing a long religious robe entered Mr Shah’s shop and spoke to him in his native language before stabbing him in the head with a kitchen knife.

Mr Shah’s brother, who was working next door, rushed out to find the killer laughing while sitting on the Glasgow newsagent’s bleeding chest.

‘The brother dragged Mr Shah away but the guy continued attacking with the blade,’ said Mr Faisal. ‘They struggled up to the bus stop where Asad collapsed.

‘It was just a clear-cut revenge attack. For posting messages about peace, messages about greeting fellow Christians and Jews.

 

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Skiing Red Rocks Amphitheater

Posted by Richard on March 25, 2016

We had snow in Denver Wednesday. More accurately, we had a blizzard with 30-50+ mph winds for about 12 hours. It dumped 12-18″ in Denver and 20-30″ or more in the foothills. The airport closed, highways closed in every direction, the National Guard was called out to rescue stranded motorists, and it made the national news.

But the good news is it gave Nick Gianoutsos a chance to check something off on his bucket list: skiing Red Rocks. 7NEWS Denver has the video. Check it out:

They also have a charming video of how a cat named Boots enjoyed the snowstorm. Boots’ owners opened the sliding glass door with snow piled up against it, and … well, just watch:

 

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Another GOP “leader” caves to the left

Posted by Richard on March 24, 2016

Today brings yet another example of why many rank-and-file Republicans are so fed up and pissed off that they’re saying “screw all the party politicians, I’m backing Trump.” Press release from Americans for Limited Government (emphasis added):

March 24, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement blasting Sen. Jerry Moran’s (R-Kan.) statement that “the process ought to go forward” for President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland:

“Jerry Moran’s decision to cave on considering Obama’s Supreme Court nominee is incomprehensible.  As the former head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Moran spent the past two years telling America that they needed a GOP majority to stop Obama from fundamentally transforming America.  Now, Moran is opening the door for a Supreme Court nominee who would lock in Obama’s agenda for a generation.  This is an outright betrayal of the very GOP Senate majority which Moran successfully led the fight to achieve.  Jerry Moran needs to understand one simple fact, stopping Obama’s agenda is his job, and pandering to the hard left which demands that he kowtow to their whims is hopefully a misquote rather than his considered position.”

 

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Brussels bombings and liberal insanity

Posted by Richard on March 23, 2016

In the wake of the terrible terrorist bombings in Brussels, elements of the mainstream media and left (but I repeat myself) are doubling down on their commitment to the postmodernist belief that there are no objective facts, only their socially-constructed subjective narrative. Case in point (emphasis in original):

The knowledge that the attacks were bombings didn’t stop Atlantic Washington editor Steve Clemons, who phoned into MSNBC and was inside the country, from criticizing Belgium for their “ease of getting guns here.

See there? If, according to your subjective narrative, guns are evil and cause violence, mayhem, and murder, then you can blame guns for jihadist bombings.

Never mind that Belgium has extremely tough gun control laws (which, surprisingly, jihadists and criminals don’t always comply with).

And if, according to your subjective narrative, the real problem facing the West isn’t supremacist radical Islam’s desire to impose its 7th-century religio-political system globally, the real problem is Islamophobia, then you’ll fret not about the possibility of more terrorist attacks, but about how less enlightened people react to such things (emphasis in original):

Appearing on a special extended edition of NBC’s Today on Tuesday, Daily Beast world news editor Christopher Dickey fretted that “rampant Islamophobia” in Europe would intensify following the terrorist attacks in Belgium.

Talking to co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer early in the 11 a.m. ET hour, Dickey warned: “It’s a huge political issue because there already was rampant Islamophobia in this part of the world. And now, you have a situation where people who were not inclined to look suspiciously at Arabs and Muslims, now they’re terrified.”

Meanwhile, our postmodernist, socialist, anti-colonial President schmoozed with totalitarian racist murderers, “welcomed” Castro’s criticisms of the U.S., and praised Cuba’s “human rights advances” in health care and education. But he did devote 51 seconds to the Brussels bombings, mouthing the usual platitudes about “thoughts and prayers,” “solidarity,” etc. And he stuck to “the Obama doctrine” on Islamofascist terrorism:

Obama explained why he attended the game as planned: “It’s always a challenge when you have a terrorist attack anywhere in the world, particularly in this age of 24/7 news coverage, you wanna be respectful and understand the gravity of the situation but the whole premise of terrorism is to try to disrupt people’s ordinary lives.”

Heaven forbid that anything should disrupt President Barack Hussein Obama’s “ordinary” life.

One of the illuminating passages in Jeffrey Goldberg’s compilation of the wit and wisdom of Barack Obama addresses the subject of terrorism. When it comes to terrorism, this is “the Obama doctrine.” Cool out and learn to live with it. His attitude is complacent. His take on ISIS to Valerie Jarrett represents it: “They’re not coming here to chop our heads off.”

Well, one of them did exactly that in Oklahoma.

Today, we got more of the Obama doctrine (emphasis added):

Speaking to reporters in Argentina Wednesday, President Obama downplayed the gravity of Tuesday’s terror attacks in Brussels by saying ISIS does not pose “an existential threat” to national security.

Earlier in the press conference, Obama showed displeasure when an Associated Press reporter asked whether the Brussels attacks “changed anything.”

I’ve got a lot of things on my plate,” he responded before assuring reporters his top priority is “to eliminate the scourge of this barbaric terrorism that’s been taking place around the world.”
Given utterances such as these from our “thought leaders” — pundits, journalists, and politicians — it’s understandable (but extremely unfortunate) that many non-postmodern Americans (i.e., the real reality-based community) find the broad-brush, over-the-top, no-nonsense rhetoric of Donald Trump increasingly attractive.

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Don’t do it, Ted!

Posted by Richard on March 4, 2016

I see where Cruz is putting time and money into Florida, where he’s a distant 3rd (~12%), and going after Rubio. Florida is winner-take-all. Cruz is willing to hand Florida to Trump to hurt Rubio. Someone on Twitter said he’s doing the same thing in Ohio, going after Kasich.

I guess he’s gambling that if it’s a 2-man race, he can still overcome Trump’s delegate lead. That may be a bad bet if Trump were to take Florida and Ohio.

If I were Ted, I’d be urging my supporters in Florida and Ohio to vote for Rubio and Kasich respectively. But then, I have a certain amount of decency and principles.

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Proof that we’re living in Heinlein’s “Crazy Years”

Posted by Richard on March 3, 2016

Claims that we’re living in “The Crazy Years” from Robert A. Heinlein’s Future History series are nothing new, but they’ve been getting more frequent on Twitter during this election cycle. Understandable, I’d thought, if a bit overblown.

But now I’m convinced that we’re actually in the real-world equivalent of “The Crazy Years.” What convinced me is learning that there are long-time Ron Paul supporters backing Donald Trump for President (emphases in original):

Donald Trump personifies the Liberty Movement’s finest anti-establishment spirit. He is the only rational choice left in the presidential race for those of us who hold liberty dear.

Just like Ron Paul, Donald Trump loves America and Americans, and we find it fascinating that he arrived at many of the same positions as Ron Paul not by extrapolating them from libertarian principles but by applying his ample business experience and sheer human decency.

Ron Paul has not endorsed Donald Trump, and in fact this very website is filled with anti-Trump videos and articles by Ron Paul. Nevertheless, we strongly feel that Donald Trump is the only candidate left in the race who has the potential of restoring and preserving many of our liberties. He might not be perfect, but his heart is in the right place, and if anyone can prevail against the establishment it is a renegade billionaire like him.

It would be a great tragedy for our fellow Ron Paul supporters to sit out this election. To beat the GOPe and preempt a brokered convention, Trump needs many decisive victories so he can accumulate enough delegates to carry the nomination on the first ballot. This time around, our support can make a real difference!

We’re all in for Donald Trump. Join us, and him, in Making America Great Again!

Tim Martin, Esther Anderson, Jeff Hale
Founders, RonPaul.com Grassroots Website (est. May 2008)

I don’t know which is more mind-boggling, libertarians supporting Trump or anyone using the phrase “sheer human decency” to describe him.

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Webb Wilder in Knoxville

Posted by Richard on February 17, 2016

If you’re in East Tennessee and you like both rock AND roll, get yourself down to Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria in Knoxville’s Historic Old City on Sunday, February 21. WUTK (90.3 The Rock)  is sponsoring a CD release show by Webb Wilder and the Beatnecks. It’ll be the best $5 ticket you ever bought. And I’m envious, because they never make it out this way anymore.

If you can’t make it to that show, Webb reports (via email) two other Knoxville appearances you might be interested in:

The very next day (Mon. 2/22) I will be performing live and solo/acoustic on WDVX’s Blue Plate Special program at noon. The Blue Plate Special is broadcast from the Knoxville Visitor’s Center in downtown Knoxville in front of a live audience.

THEN, I will head over to Knoxville’s WFIV for a 2pm appearance.

Don’t know Webb Wilder? Here’s a taste.


[YouTube link]

And there’s lots more here.

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