It’s about time…

…that somebody, Trout Unlimited in this case, called an auto manufacturer on those ceaseless TV ads of off-road vehicles crashing through forest, field, and stream, tearing up everything in sight.  After a week or so of seeing that crap on the tube, I’m surprised there’s an intact meadow, stream, or game trail left anywhere in North America.  Off-roading is a hobby that is incomprehensible to me.  Besides being an enormous money pit, it looks a lot like high-tech vandalism of nature.

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Maybe NOT every job will be automated

Turns out there may be an upper limit to automating retail businesses.  When confronted with self-serve checkouts, many folks turn into thieves:

“There is NO MORAL ISSUE with stealing from a store that forces you to use self checkout, period. THEY ARE CHARGING YOU TO WORK AT THEIR STORE.”

It’s so pervasive that it’s not even called shoplifting any more; it’s “external shrinkage.”

TheBananaTrick

This is going to continue until retailers wise up to the idea that it’s cheaper to have a flesh-and-blood cashier ringing up–and collecting payment for–purchases, than it is to have the stuff just walk out the door.

Tip from the Geek Press.

Mrs Sherlock Holmes

Was the nickname given lawyer-detective Grace Humiston when she became prominent in New York’s 1917 Ruth Cruger murder case.  The fascinating story is told in Brad Ricca’s biography Mrs Sherlock Holmes, which is as gripping and surprising as any great detective novel.

MrsSherlockHolmes

In an interesting episode, the wife of  suspected murderer Alfredo Cocchi is being questioned

Wallstein kept his questions focused on the police activities in the case. … She [Maria Cocchi] silently stuck out her hand and produced a white card.  Wallstein took it and turned it over.  It read:

Take care of Alfredo Cocchi.  He’s O. K.  BILLY EYNON

When Wallstein read the tiny card out loud, the crowd nodded and the reporters wrote. Everyone knew that Billy Eynon was an active motorcycle cop.  Wallstein was very familiar with these types of cards, though he wished that he were not.  The holder of the card could show it to any motorcycle squad member who had pulled him over for speeding and walk away without a ticket.   (p. 221)

Sketchy stuff.  What’s more, 103 years later, the NYPD Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association is still handing out cards like this.  Better yet, you, too, can get one on EBay!

The Feds are not your friends

Writing in the New York Times Magazine, Jennifer Percy describes Fear of the Federal Government in the Ranchlands of Oregon.  Try though she might, her east coast acculturation won’t let her quite get into the heads of the folks in towns where she spent her childhood.

They visited Yellowstone Nation Park and saw, they said, two million acres of natural resources gone to waste. “At least one day a year,” Robin said, “we ought to be able to go in and take advantage.”

Emily thought the trees were too close together. “Didn’t look healthy,” she said, “because they don’t log.”

“And look at all those buffalo,” Robin said. “Can’t some of them be used for meat?”

“You wanted to eat them?” I said.

Why not Jennifer?  American Indians do.

I tried to suggest a lack of understanding between rural and urban people, but Robin stopped me. “No,” she said. “We just want different things.” The statement was cold and clear.  It suggested the end of reconciliation. “We don’t want you breathing down our back,” she said.  “Bottom line is we don’t trust you.  We don’t trust you to look out for our best interests.  An in truth we don’t even know that you know how to.  A lot of people were saying this was about saving the bunnies and butterflies, but that’s not what is is about.”

Robin sat over her empty plate.  “It’s about getting people off the land,” she said. “It’s dark.”

Environmentalists with national influence have never been interested in reconciliation, but poor Jennifer won’t admit it.

Private Charity? No way!

Michael Tanner, writing for National Review online, attempts to answer the question “Why Is There So Much Government Hostility to Private Charity?”  The answer is simple, once you understand this guy’s fundamental message

mussolini

“Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

Tip from Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm.

 

 

Our National Blind Spot

Want to save the planet?  How about starting by saving the birds.  Here’s a Pareto graph that gives a strong hint of where to start:

BirdMortality

That’s right, get the cat population under control.  Eradicate feral cat colonies, and euthanize cat collections (oh, and institutionalize obsessive cat ladies).  The whole country needs to grow up and get that “cute little kitty” lie out of their heads, and replace it with something more realistic, like “bird murderer.”

Tip from Bird Note, by way of Sarah Hoyt at the Instapundit.

Update:  One Dallas suburb is infested with feral cats, protected by a well-connected cat lady.