The saga of Ollie the bobcat

by on February 3, 2017 at 1:23 am in Current Affairs, Food and Drink, Political Science, Uncategorized | Permalink

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, which I believe must be read as a whole.  Nonetheless here is one brief excerpt, noting that the premise is the escape of bobcat Ollie from the National Zoo:

The saddest part of the Ollie saga is that, believe it or not, not everyone cares so much about freedom. Zoo officials had suggested that Ollie could live comfortably in Rock Creek Park and feed off a diet of mice, rats, chipmunks and squirrels. Our nation’s capital had a chance for its own D.B. Cooper, Butch Cassidy, Bigfoot and Jersey Devil, all rolled into one lovable feline persona, standoffish or not.

It was not to be, but not because a team of Navy SEALs hauled her in. Ollie, after a few reported sightings about town, returned to the zoo and was caught in a trap baited with food. She was found by the bird cages, shortly after the zoo reported it was giving up the search. It seems she is more of a homebody, preferring federal rule, federal housing and a heavily regulated diet to a tax-free life on the lam.

Do read the whole thing.

1 Mc February 3, 2017 at 1:28 am

good write up tyler 🙂

2 anon February 3, 2017 at 5:07 am

Yeah, it was fun.

3 Doug February 3, 2017 at 9:48 am

Most enjoyable thing I read all week.

As an aside, how can a blog post be tagged “uncategorized” when it’s already categorized with three preceding tags?

4 Mc February 3, 2017 at 1:33 am

Obesity, worldwide, is not something that could of been fathomed 100 years ago. Celebrate that 32 oz Coke-a-Cola, even if it is rotting your teeth and shortening you life.

5 Mark Thorson February 3, 2017 at 6:57 pm
6 gab February 4, 2017 at 1:09 am

“Coke-a-Cola” ? Where are you from?

Every red-blooded American knows it’s Coca Cola that rots our teeth and shortens our lives. It also gets the ring out of the toilet.

7 Mc February 3, 2017 at 1:51 am

In short, Ollie was given freedom but came back to the government tit.

8 DJF February 3, 2017 at 7:26 am

No, Ollie was a anti-government activist but he was caught in a government sting operation.

He did not voluntarily surrender but was caught in a trap

9 N.K Anton February 3, 2017 at 9:35 am

This made me lol.

10 Hazel Meade February 3, 2017 at 11:17 am

People yearn for freedom but are lazy and want free food.

11 Andre February 3, 2017 at 2:44 am

Some of the radio shows were talking about this thing like it was a mountain lion, poor thing. Popping off a baby deer or two in Rock Creek park could probably save a life.

12 anon February 3, 2017 at 5:03 am

Bobcats are scarier when you’ve never seen one.

13 dearieme February 3, 2017 at 6:38 am

I understand that they are distinctly smaller than the European lynx; people on the Continent don’t shiver in fear of them. There’s even a proposal (bonkers, I’ll grant you) to reintroduce them to Britain.

14 Hazel Meade February 3, 2017 at 11:18 am

A bobcat is basically the size of a large housecat. I’ve seen one. I’ve seen house cats that are half bobcat. They are closely related enough to interbreed.

15 robz February 3, 2017 at 12:36 pm

The record for a male bobcat is 49 pounds which is about twice the size of the largest housecat ever.

16 Hazel Meade February 3, 2017 at 3:14 pm

Right, so the average bobcat is about the size of a really large housecat. I mean there’s significant overlap in their size distributions, not that the size distribution is identical.

17 Mark Thorson February 3, 2017 at 7:05 pm

The bobcats I’ve seen are about the size of housecats. Once I even saw a bobcat being chased out of a yard by a large housecat.

18 Hazel Meade February 3, 2017 at 11:21 am
19 JWatts February 3, 2017 at 7:59 pm

Ollie the Bobcat weight 25 pounds.

20 Kevin O'Neill February 3, 2017 at 3:27 am

There are an estimated 200,000 wolves left in the world.

There are an estimated 148 million dogs.

Ollie’s ancestors dealt her a losing hand. She may know a good thing when she sees it, but it’s likely too late for her and her kin.

21 too hot for MR February 3, 2017 at 3:40 am

If man valued freedom as much as he thinks he does, marriage would be a fringe activity.

22 prior_test2 February 3, 2017 at 3:42 am

This makes me think you don’t have children of your own. Or don’t care about any children you might have, of course.

Which is likely a requirement to be consistently believe in libertarian beliefs.

23 chuck martel February 3, 2017 at 6:22 am

Marriage isn’t the same thing as co-habitation and parenthood.

24 Alan February 3, 2017 at 7:11 am

Thank goodness, since the status quo is many, many unmarried parents.

25 prior_test2 February 3, 2017 at 3:41 am

Public choice economist writes apparent animal allegory to make whatever point is being made.

Which considering how the National Zoo is part of the Smithsonian, this parable could have likely pointed out the effectiveness of a public/private partnership, along with advocating a reduction in the taxpayer funded parts of an institution that is funded in this fashion – ‘The Smithsonian’s federal funding for fiscal year 2016 (Oct. 1, 2015–Sept. 30, 2016) is $840 million. The Institution is approximately 60 percent federally funded (a combination of the congressional appropriation and federal grants and contracts).

In addition to the federal contribution, the Smithsonian has trust or non-federal funds, which include contributions from private sources (endowments; donations from individuals, corporations and foundations; and memberships) and revenues from the Smithsonian Enterprises operation (magazines, mail-order catalog, product development, entertainment, shops, restaurants and concessions).’

In other words, ‘It seems she is more of a homebody, preferring federal rule, federal housing and a heavily regulated diet to a tax-free life on the lam’ just might need to be finessed with the actual facts concerning the Smithsonian’s founding –

‘The British scientist James Smithson (d. 1829) left most of his wealth to his nephew Henry James Hungerford. When Hungerford died childless in 1835, the estate passed “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge among men”, in accordance with Smithson’s will. Congress officially accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation, and pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust on July 1, 1836. The American diplomat Richard Rush was dispatched to England by President Andrew Jackson to collect the bequest. Rush returned in August 1838 with 105 sacks containing 104,960 gold sovereigns (about $500,000 at the time, which is equivalent to $11,245,000 in 2016).’

Basically, the Smithsonian is a privately founded institution entrusted to the United States, being known for more than a century as the “United States National Museum.”

26 Itsallrigged February 3, 2017 at 4:36 am

I don’t think I will bother with this one.

27 anon February 3, 2017 at 5:07 am

Oddly, I dislike the Smithsonian much more than NPR. Maybe because NPR doesn’t wrap itself in quite such a shroud of self-righteousness, and NPR is much higher ROI.

28 dan1111 February 3, 2017 at 6:22 am

This. Is. Awesome. As soon as I saw this post, I knew your rebuttal was going to be a classic, but this exceeded expectations. Thanks for setting the record straight that the bobcat prefers public-private partnerships, not government programs. You saved us from so much faulty reasoning based on a misunderstanding of bobcat preferences.

29 Thor February 3, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Lol, true. I am also waiting to have it explained to me why the Brazilian jaguar is superior to the lowly American bobcat.

30 MMK February 3, 2017 at 6:54 am

The Smithsonian sucks…why I gotta go through metal detectors to get in a museum?

31 Dan1111 February 3, 2017 at 7:11 am

Maybe the bobcat just likes the peace of mind that comes from living in a gated community.

32 AlanW February 3, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Yeah! What’s the Louvre, anyway?

33 Turkey Vulture February 3, 2017 at 6:12 am

I don’t know that cancelling outdoor recess should be attributed so much to overprotectiveness as to a desire to “be part of” an event in the spotlight, and a bias towards needing to “do something.”

In 2013, we shut down a significant part of the Boston region for a full workday, and told people (not just children) to “shelter in place,” because one wounded teenager was on the loose.

34 Mark Thorson February 3, 2017 at 7:12 pm

A school in SIlicon Valley was put on lockdown a couple years ago because someone saw a bobcat. I attribute that to freaking out.

35 John Mansfield February 3, 2017 at 6:38 am

This bobcat has brought out the best in multiple writers.

“A nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico won’t be easier to police.” The U.S. already has a 2,000 border with Mexico that it polices, so there’s no need for future tense. As for the difficulty of policing it, well, managing gradients is what life is all about. Literally. The concentration of potassium is higher inside our cells than in the surrounding interstitial fluid, and the concentration of sodium is lower. The different concentrations of ions on different sides of the cell membrane exist because the cell keeps expending energy to pump potassium in and sodium out. It keeps pumping even though the potassium it pumps in flows back out and sodium flows back in. When the cell is dead, the pumping will stop and the potassium and sodium levels inside the cell will be the same as in the surrounding fluid. In fact, you could take the lack of a gradient as one sign that the cell is dead. Until then, the sodium-potassium pump is not a futile waste of energy, even if the cell has to keep pushing sodium ions back out over and over.

36 TMC February 3, 2017 at 10:41 am

So much for lauding marginal improvements, like just enforcing current immigration laws. i just read the Obama administration was sued in recent years by 11 people – not sure how many separate lawsuits – because it was forcing Homeland Security to violate federal laws.

37 rayward February 3, 2017 at 6:53 am

Maybe Cowen is warning of another likely public/private partnership, the right of way for autonomous vehicles. As Google’s engineers let slip, autonomous vehicles will be limited to about 30 mph as long as they share the road with non-autonomous vehicles. There are two solutions to this apparent dilemma: ban non-autonomous vehicles or build a separate right of way for autonomous vehicles. The former solution would require moms to give up their behemoth SUVs and dads to give up their Porsches, so it’s not happening. That leaves the separate right of way. Who will pay for it? That’s right, a public/private partnership, in which the public pays the cost and the private collects the revenues. A public/private partnership will free autonomous vehicles to roam the land and free the makers of autonomous vehicles to reap the fruits of their labors.

38 Dan1111 February 3, 2017 at 7:14 am

And of course there’s no conceivable way in which the public might benefit from self driving cars, only those evil corporations…

39 kevin February 3, 2017 at 7:18 am

This already happens. Government pays much of the necessary cost, auto dealers sit back and collect the revenues. You’re simply adding more roads, and replacing auto dealers with google, et al.

40 rayward February 3, 2017 at 7:38 am

If it was good enough for Ike, it’s good enough for me. Indeed, this is the “infrastructure” project that would save Trump (and us) from the likely catastrophe resulting from his bumbling in foreign affairs. Trump likes to build things. He could travel around the country supervising construction and issuing executive orders that are never seen. The right of way could be called the Trump Lane. To give Trump an incentive to go along with the plan, he could be allowed to collect a toll from the autonomous vehicles. I’m not sure how an autonomous vehicle could pay a toll, but by the time the ignoramus figured it out his term would be over, he could move to Russia to be close to his buddy Putin, and the risk of catastrophe would have passed. It’s win, win, win.

41 kevin February 3, 2017 at 10:45 am

I rather like this idea. Might be a couple years too early, but adding an auto only lane where possible wouldn’t cost nearly as much as the whole highway system; would induce more investment into autonomous R&D; and you could designate times for it so current non-autmoatonomus drivers wouldn’t be so opposed–simliar to HOV, allow normal rush hour commuters to use it, then restrict it to autonomous cars all other hours.

42 TMC February 3, 2017 at 10:44 am

“As Google’s engineers let slip” Poor Google. Foiled again by thost nasty engineers. Well 30 mph beats the 15 mph gasoline cars that never improved from the original models.

43 rayward February 3, 2017 at 11:06 am

I didn’t think I needed to explain the Goggle engineers’ gaffe, but apparently I do. Autonomous vehicles can travel at any speed a non-autonomous vehicle can travel, but an autonomous vehicle can travel safely at no more than 30 mph if they share the road with non-autonomous vehicles. One has to wonder about the thought process of someone who believes that autonomous vehicles can zip around at 70 mph while sharing the road with non-autonomous vehicles driven by unpredictable human beings of all ages, levels of intelligence, and degree of concern for the safety of themselves and others.

44 msgkings February 3, 2017 at 11:52 am

It’s a damn shame too, that autonomous vehicles will never change or improve, fated to remain exactly as they are for all future millennia, bereft of improvement.

45 Cliff February 3, 2017 at 11:52 am

…at current levels of technology?

46 Mark Thorson February 3, 2017 at 9:37 pm

It’s the camel’s nose under the tent. First 30 mph, then once market penetration is high enough people will start asking why we still have people-driven cars slowing everybody else down. We don’t let the Amish drive their horse-drawn buggies on the freeway.

47 carlospln February 3, 2017 at 7:13 am

An Epic Post.

One for the Ages [MR Annals: ‘Achievements in the Field of Excellence’]


48 Benny Lava February 3, 2017 at 8:45 am

There is no way I am clicking through based on this little turd of shit writing. At least try next time.

49 derek February 3, 2017 at 9:08 am

Agreed. The real lesson is that why would we willingly let people like this tell us how to live our lives?

A story. We have bears, deer and other wildlife roaming about often in our yard. A neighbor had a bobcat on their driveway. There was a cougar sighted half a mile away. We look after our pets, keep our garbage secure, and thoroughly enjoy it all.

A few years ago the Quebec government decided to mandate that doctors do emergency ward duty, which resulted in a nice french canadian family from Montreal moving to our area. I met them when I followed them on a path to a local beach. They had bells and bear spray, and were noticeably on edge. The bears in their yard and in the area freaked them out. They were afraid and eventually left for more civilized environs where such nuisances are shot on sight.

50 Morgan Greene February 3, 2017 at 9:03 am

I don’t like Smithsonian.Smithsonian sucks

51 Turkey Vulture February 3, 2017 at 9:06 am

Spent some time reading about bobcats and Canada Lynx as a result of this post. Just want to go on record saying Canada Lynx are superior.

52 Theo Clifford February 3, 2017 at 9:20 am

subtitles: Declining American mobility, Bobcats are the real Complacent Class

53 Hadur February 3, 2017 at 10:01 am

I read somewhere that Ollie was raised by humans and didn’t have the hunting instincts to survive on her own in the wild.

54 Rick February 3, 2017 at 10:27 am

Stopped reading when I got to feminist stuff. We’re born believing in gender double standards based on millions of years gender bifurcation and our brains I would think are pretty good at knowing what is healthy for a boy is not necessarily healthy for a girl and vice versa. Only so many hours is a day, the internet is big, not listening to feminists is a good rule to live by if you’re looking for a proxy for rationality.

55 Cliff February 3, 2017 at 11:54 am

I believe it was a joke?

56 Edgar February 3, 2017 at 10:28 am

So now Tyler is advocating caging the deplorables like zoo animals because its for their own good: Cages are freedom. You can take the boy out of the New York Times but you can’t take the New York Times out of the boy, a new low in hateful eliminationist rhetoric.

57 Hazel Meade February 3, 2017 at 11:23 am

Bobcats are fat cats that keep coming back to rent seek off the government.

58 Tom T. February 3, 2017 at 2:07 pm

A red panda went missing from a Virginia zoo around the same time. I liked to think that this was about forbidden inter-species love, and they were trying to be together.

59 Hazel Meade February 3, 2017 at 3:15 pm

Thereby symbolically representing the love between socialists (red pandas) and crony capitalists (bobcats).

60 Deckard February 3, 2017 at 10:31 pm

Classic case of Stockholm Syndrome.

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