4/13/2014

Thoughts On A Sunday

Spring temps have arrived with a vengeance, with daytime highs in the 60's over the weekend and forecasts saying it could reach the 70's during the week. Considering just a couple of weeks ago we still had below normal temps, I'm not complaining. The warmer weather has certainly done a number on the snow cover around here, with areas that receive little direct sunlight during the day and the snow banks being the only snow still visible around here.

This has prompted me to break out the Official Weekend Pundit Clothes Line yesterday and to make use of it for a few items not requiring rapid drying by way of a clothes drier. This isn't the earliest I've hung the clothes out to dry, nor is it the latest. On the whole I'd say it's right about average.

With the warmer temps has come the start of Spring Cleaning. While the ground outside is still too waterlogged to allow yard work, there's plenty inside The Manse that needs squaring away. One of the biggest cleanups will be the mud room, the one place that gathers all of the mud and dirt from outside. It's also difficult to adequately clean during the winter, between the low temperatures usually seen in there as well as a lack of room to move the various items that will allow a good cleaning.

You know it's Spring when the mud room is being mucked out!

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The farm stand for the farm where BeezleBub works opens its doors in two weeks, yet another sign that Spring has arrived. At the moment he's only putting in hours on Fridays and Saturdays as he's still taking his college courses. But once he finishes the semester in May he'll be back working at the farm 6 days a week.

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Maybe this helps explains how Harry Reid has managed to amass a fortune while serving in the US Senate.

It all comes down to nepotism and his “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality.

Reid has got to be one of the least ethical members of the Senate I can think of, between his behind the scenes deals, his use of his position to commit character assassination on the floor of the Senate without fear of repercussions, and his heavy handed rule in the Senate to block any legislation he doesn't like regardless of the wishes of the other 99 members of that chamber of Congress.

What a hypocrite.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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Some people have no problems showing the depths of their depravity in public, particularly the CAGW “true believers”. One such has stated publicly that he has no problems if “thousands of middle-class white people died in an extreme weather event.”

Stated like a true watermelon environmentalist/totalitarian a**wipe.

My reply: “You first.”

(H/T Instapundit)

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“Isn't this holding children responsible for their parents’ retirement debts the governing model of the Democratic Party?”

Yes. Yes it is.

As Glenn Reynolds comments, “If the government isn’t bound by the law, why should the rest of us be?”

Next question?

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Cap'n Teach delves into President Obama's belief that voter fraud is “the people passing laws that require people to verify who they are in order to vote.”

Never mind the 36,000 cases of potential voter fraud during the 2012 election in just one state, North Carolina. How bad is it then in some of the Democrat strongholds where the dead vote on a regular basis?

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As a follow-on to Cap'n Teach's treatise comes this from J. Christian Adams about the “tragic phenomenon [that] has affected President Obama since he became President,” that being the more radical his audience, the more outrageous his lies. In this case it relates to Obama's voter fraud and claiming it's “bogus” and the outright lie he told about the number of DOJ cases dealing with voter rights.

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Unless you've been in hiding, you know that Microsoft support of Windows XP ended this past week. No more updates. No more patches. No more service packs. Basically, if you're still using XP you're on your own.

Some machines using XP can be upgraded to Windows 7, but I doubt enough of them have the hardware necessary to allow it to run efficiently. Buying a new machine is an option, but if you decide to do so seriously consider spending a little extra money to have Windows 7 installed in place of Windows 8. (Windows 8 has a number of problems, with the biggest one being its awful user interface which was designed more to be used with tablets or computers with touch screens and not 'regular' desktops or laptops. If you're used to XP the chances are high you'll hate Windows 8.)

There is another alternative to trying to get your old machine to run Windows 7 or buying a new machine. If you use your computer for e-mail, web surfing, and for running general office programs and not much else, consider installing Linux on your computer.

The nice thing about Linux is that you can install it and keep Windows XP on your machine using what is called Dual Boot. (This assumes you have enough disk space left on your hard drive or are willing to spend less than $100 for an additional hard drive for your computer.) You can also “try it on for size” without installing it by running it from a CD or USB key, giving you an opportunity to use it without the hassle of actually installing.

I have used Linux on a number of machines here at The Manse, primarily installing it on older machines that do not have the horsepower to run the newer versions of Windows but are more than adequate for handling e-mail, the web, and office applications. That I've been able to keep these older machines running and still 'up-to-date' with a modern operating system has saved me (and others) a lot of money. So Linux might be worth looking into for you as well.

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I'm sorry, but this is just plain stupid. Call the fellow who lost his job just another victim of #rapeculture propaganda.

The woman who triggered this needs to get a life, and maybe some psychiatric help as well because she's just too damn sensitive about friggin' everything.

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This always works out well.

In the past debate between opposing parties on an issue were open to debate, and at times compromise.

But these days rather than being open to debate, the Left tries to control the debate by declaring there is no debate because the matter, whatever it is, is settled and whoever disagrees with them must be silenced. One way of doing that is to turn 'deniers' into pariahs, either through character assassination or intimidation.

This is nothing new for the Left. They've done it before.

The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian. It declares certain controversies over and visits serious consequences — from social ostracism to vocational defenestration — upon those who refuse to be silenced.

And sometimes they take it to an extreme, as they have in the past, by imprisoning or executing dissenters. Think it hasn't happened? Then let me remind you of places like the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Kampuchea (Cambodia) under the Khmer Rouge, and the People's Republic of China under Mao. Over 100 million were silenced for the crime of disagreeing with them.

Think it won't happen here? There have already been demands by the more rabid leftists calling for the imprisonment of those who disagree with the religion that is CAGW. That's how it starts.

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Considering the social/financial downsides to marrying White City Women having driven down the marriage rate, is it any wonder more WCW's have traded bearing and raising children to having dogs instead?

I could go on about the various reasons they have given for having a dog rather than raising their own kids, but I have a feeling you'd become as bored as I did after reading the first one of two. Better to read the comments to the article as I feel they give a much better perspective on the phenomenon.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where we're waiting for the ground to dry out enough to start spring cleanups, the birds and bears have been making regular appearances at the birdfeeders, and where we're keeping an eye on the ice on the big lake.

4/12/2014

An Interesting Proposal

At first the idea sounds like a pipe dream, a joke. In fact, it sounds more like the story line from a novel (Night Probe) rather than an idea to be taken seriously. But someone is thinking it and the more I think about, the more sense it makes.

What is that idea?

The United States of North America.

Froma Harrop puts forth an idea from Diane Francis that maybe the time has come to consider merging the US and Canada.

What country do Americans overwhelmingly like the most? Canada.

What country do Canadians pretty much like the most? America.

What country has the natural resources America needs? Canada.

What country has the entrepreneurship, technology and defense capability Canada needs? America.

Has the time come to face the music and dance? Yes, says Diane Francis, editor-at-large at the National Post in Toronto. Her book "Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country" is both provocative and persuasive.

Indeed. One might think the cultural differences might be insurmountable, but the differences are much smaller obstacles than one might think. And the more I think about it the more I think the positives far outweigh the negatives for both nations.

I live in a state that borders Canada and we see a lot of Canadian business people and tourists. The same is true of Maine, Vermont, and New York. Sometimes the only way we can tell folks are from Canada is when we see the license plates on their cars or trucks. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario plates are quite common in this area. More than a few people here have close ties with family on the other side of the border.

But there's more.

What does each partner have to offer? "Canada's best assets include its resources, stability and banking system, its strong relationship with the United States and an educated, law-abiding people," according to Francis.

America offers a culture of risk taking and entrepreneurship. It leads the world in technology and defense.

"There's no excuse for two countries as similar as us to not get rid of the border after 26 years of free trade," Francis says.

A merged Canada and U.S. would occupy more land than Russia or all of South America. It would become an energy and economic powerhouse less subject to foreign intrigue.

Because both nations have similar cultural roots, being settled by both British and French colonists, have many of the same traditions, and speak the same languages (there's a lot more French spoken in Canada than the US...with the exception maybe of northern New England and Louisiana), a political union is more likely to work.

The forms of government are different, with Canada being based upon the British parliamentary system and the US on its constitutional republic system which has at its basic level the same roots - the British parliamentary system. The head of state in Canada is selected by its parliament while the head of state in the US is selected indirectly by voters by way of the electoral college. The differences shrink when you get down the the province/state level, though there are still differences. They all but disappear at the town level, with the variances being no wider than what we presently see within the US alone. The differences could be worked out over time, perhaps by taking the best from each system. But this is something that would have to be worked out once a decision to merge is made.

On the whole I believe both nations would be better off by creating one larger nation. There are some downsides, of course, but for the most part I think they are outweighed by the upsides. It wouldn't be an easy thing to do by any means and would likely take a decade or more to work out the kinks, but I thinks it is something Americans and Canadians should consider.

4/10/2014

The U.S. Navy's Newest 21st Century Weapon

This is yet another step the US military is taking to make sure it is ready for 21st century warfare: the railgun.

The U.S. Navy is planning sea trials for a weapon that can fire a low-cost, 23-pound (10-kg) projectile at seven times the speed of sound using electromagnetic energy, a "Star Wars" technology that will make enemies think twice, the Navy's research chief said.

Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, the chief of Naval Research, told a round table group recently the futuristic electromagnetic rail gun had already undergone extensive testing on land and would be mounted on the USNS Millinocket, a high-speed vessel, for sea trials beginning in 2016.

The Navy research chief said that cost differential - $25,000 for a railgun projectile versus $500,000 to $1.5 million for a missile - will make potential enemies think twice about the economic viability of engaging U.S. forces.

Railguns use electromagnetic energy known as the Lorenz Force to launch a projectile between two conductive rails. The high-power electric pulse generates a magnetic field to fire the projectile with very little recoil, officials said.

"We're talking about a projectile that we're going to send well over 100 miles, we're talking about a projectile that can go over Mach 7, we're talking about a projectile that can go well into the atmosphere," Klunder said.

The video gives you a feel for what it can do and why it is so different from conventional naval guns.

4/08/2014

More Zero-Tolerance Idiocy

Just when you think they couldn't get any stupider...

Yet another example of how zero-tolerance policies are a tool of the lazy and/or incompetent has presented itself, in this case in the form of 13-year old Jonathan Turley, who was suspended from his school because he was “twirling his pencil in a weapons-like manner.”

My first reaction was “WTF?!!”

How does someone twirl a pencil such that someone thinks it's done in a “weapons-like manner”?

The school superintendent and any other official involved with this debacle should be fired. The level of stupidity shown in this matter goes beyond all reason and the people involved should be shown for the politically correct buffoons they are.

All these zero-tolerance policies do is hurt the innocent and make school officials look like idiots.

4/06/2014

Thoughts On A Sunday

With the warmer weather (for the most part), the snow has been melting away with abandon. There are a lot more bare spots than there were even a couple of days ago and we're in for some warmer weather during the upcoming week.

One thing that hasn't fared well with the now almost constant melting has been our roads. While I have mentioned that the extended below average temperatures were playing havoc with the roads due to frost heaves, the melting has now opened numerous potholes and other voids that make traveling the roads quite hazardous. Both the state and local highway departments have been trying their best to fill them temporarily, they haven't been able to keep up because of the sheer volume needing attention.

I have to say that this is probably one of the worst years I can remember in regards to frost heaves and potholes, and it isn't over yet.

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In a follow up to my post yesterday about Charles Koch's WSJ opinion piece, I present to you a piece by Larry Kudlow which asks “Is Atlas Shrugging?” in regards to Koch's warning about how collectivism is seriously affecting job growth.

In my opinion both Koch and Kudlow are dead on.

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This is no surprise to me.

It appears a study has found that vegetarians are less healthy than their meat-eating counterparts.

A new study from the Medical University of Graz in Austria finds that vegetarians are more physically active, drink less alcohol and smoke less tobacco than those who consume meat in their diets. Vegetarians also have a higher socioeconomic status and a lower body mass index. But the vegetarian diet — characterized by a low consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol that includes increased intake of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products — carries elevated risks of cancer, allergies and mental health disorders.

I've known more than a few vegetarians, some of whom were totally vegan, and I found they tended to be sick more often and required a lot more visits to the doctor's office.

One of the more personal examples of this is Horse Girl, BeezleBub's girl friend. She is vegetarian and has suffered a number of maladies directly related to her diet. Her physician has also told her than when the time comes when she wants to have kids her vegetarian diet may make it difficult to conceive (her BMI is low and that has ended up affecting her menstrual cycle, meaning there have been stretches of months where she hasn't had one) and if she should be able to conceive she would have a difficult time carrying to term because her diet wouldn't provide enough of the nutrients required.

This subject brings to mind a comedy routine by a stand-up comic whose name escapes me at the moment, where he made the observation that all the people you see in the health food stores look like death warmed over while the people eating normal food look to be in great health.

When ever I hear someone tell me that humans weren't meant to be meat-eaters I respond by telling them that their teeth give lie to that claim as humans have the teeth of omnivores, meaning they can eat a wide range of foods, including meat.

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I've covered this in one way or another before, but it bears repeating:

The EPA is proposing burdensome regulations on wood stoves.

Should the EPA follow through a lot of people are going to find themselves either freezing to death because they can't afford expensive new stoves that meet the regulations, going bankrupt to pay for expensive fossil fuel heating, or thwarting the regulations and leaving themselves open to fines and arrest.

Some aspects of the proposed regulations sound like a wood stove version of the infamous Cash for Clunkers debacle, where old wood stoves will have to be scrapped rather than resold.

This crap has got to stop. I think a number of EPA administrators need to go to prison. After all the EPA has ignored court rulings and federal law and gone rogue, writing themselves all kinds of new rules and regulations that are far outside their charter.

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This piece from Daniel J. Mitchell shows the combined state and local tax burden experienced by each of the 57..err...50 states, from Wyoming (the lowest) to New York (the highest). Mitchell gets his figures from the Tax Foundation and, as he says, since economic and finance numbers tend to lag the figures used are for 2011.

My home state of New Hampshire comes in at #44, just 6 steps behind Wyoming.

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It seems the #RapeCulture narrative is falling apart.

As the number of male teachers in our public education system declines because of the automatic suspicion that they are barely under control rapists preying upon our children, it appears female are stepping in to fill in that role.

Story after story after story of female teachers “who can't seem to be happy unless they've got a high school boy's penis in their mouth” fills the media.

It seems the men have been driven out to make room for the women who prey upon their students. I guess they didn't want the competition.

But does any of this poke huge holes onto the #RapeCulture narrative of the feminazis? Nope. Not one bit. It's still “Women are being oppressed by the patriarchy! Now, excuse me while I suck this teenage boy’s penis . . .

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It finally happened.

The cell phone I've used over the past 3+ years bit it.

Three times in the past month I have dropped my trusty LG phone, with each drop degrading the performance of the displays on the lid. The third time was the charm as neither display would light up, though the phone still functioned. No amount of poking around after carefully dismantling the phone restored its displays. It was time to give up on this otherwise reliable phone and get a new one.

I didn't go crazy and get one of the newer smart phones. I don't need a phone that smart. I just need one that allows me to make phone calls and text, nothing more. I don't need web access. I don't need e-mail. I don't need to be able to watch videos or TV.

So I ended up with a Samsung phone that is a bit tougher than my old LG phone and has a better display to boot.

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Rather than reiterate what someone else has written about climate change and how things just aren't going the way of the Warmists, I'll just point to what Tom Bowler has written about the subject.

It all boils down to this: There has been no warming for over 17 years, something not a single climate model predicted, but we're still gonna die anyways because global warming is happening even though it's not, or something.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the snowpack is melting away, the ice on the lake is still thick, and the ski areas are still open and doing business.

4/05/2014

The Left Unminds Itself Over Charles Koch Editorial

It is generally known the Koch brothers are universally reviled by the Left as “evil vote-buying election-rigging union-busting wannabe air/water polluters” or some such nonsense. It matters not a fig that the portrayals of the Koch's and Koch Industries in general is not much more than propaganda of the “Big Lie” kind so well used by Left over the past 100 years or so.

Imagine the hew and cry should the Koch's actually speak out about their beliefs and how they've been portrayed. Well, actually you don't have to imagine because Charles Koch penned an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal and the response by the Left has been anything but welcoming, but not unexpected.

Most WSJ opinion pieces garner all kinds of comments from across the political spectrum, but this one has over 80 pages of comments and still counting, something I haven't seen in years of perusing the Opinion section. I wish I could say there was reasoned debate, but that was only wishful thinking on my part.

The invective within the comments was predictable, with many of those commenting negatively using copy-and-paste tactics to repeatedly tell us how the “evil” Koch brothers were corrupting everything or pointing to reports in such 'unbiased' media outlets as Mother Jones, HuffPo, Daily Kos, MSNBC, and the other usual suspects as the only proof needed to back up their accusations. In other words, they were responding just as programmed “useful idiots” would – with unthinking and irrational emotion.

Any counterclaims against leftist multi-billionaires were sloughed off because, after all, their politics were correct. One of the better counters I saw related the differences between George Soros and the Koch brothers, showing that Soros was a destroyer, a looter, making his billions by manipulating currencies and bringing down banks, bankrupting businesses and individuals, in turn leading to the loss of jobs over a wide swath of the world. The Koch's, on the other hand, provide jobs, are known as being highly ethical in their business dealings, and do what they can to make things better for their employees and the communities where they live. But because Soros is a self-proclaimed socialist he gets a pass from the self-righteous Left.

Reading the comments I wish I could say the leftists commenting there brought up anything new, but there wasn't. Some of the pro-Koch commenters anticipated what the Leftists would post, pre-empting some of their invective and showing the anti-Koch commenters as unimaginative since they used the same old tired accusations without providing a shred of proof or a single cite from a reputable source about the supposed wrongdoings of the brothers. Not one. It was all feelings, not facts from the usual suspects. In other words, it was nothing new.

And so it goes.....

4/02/2014

The USPS Has A Problem

I know the United States Postal Service is struggling, but one would think they would be trying to not piss off their customers, something that certainly isn't going to help their situation.

In the past, the phrase “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night shall keep this courier from his rounds,” meant something, tied in with the Post Office's mission to get the mail through no matter what. But it appears that motto no longer applies, as a resident of a neighboring town has found out the hard way.

I received a note from my carrier that there was a bee's nest near the box. The budding nest was removed and sprayed for within minutes of that day's mail. It resulted in over two weeks of suspended delivery.

Our mail carrier once told me that we weren't receiving mail because she, "couldn't turn around in our driveway." We live at the end of our street. I watch her turn around in our neighbor's driveway every day. When asked about the nonsensical nature of her response, she gave no explanation and left. For the record, I also joyously invited her to use our driveway at will, especially if it meant actually receiving mail.

I've been told my snowbank is not sufficiently cleared. I have my driveway and mailbox plowed during major storms, snow-blowed for others, and I am a 33-year-old male, lifetime New Hampshire resident who knows my way around a shovel all too well. My mailbox is clear, always. For the last month, the snowbank behind our mailbox is about 3-4 feet higher than anyone on our street, because of the extreme amounts of snow I've cleared from around it. My mailbox is much more accessible than most neighbors. Due to the previous difficulties with my mail, I'm very cognizant of it and spend extra time clearing it, making this claim all-the-more frustrating.

I understand the last point all to well, always endeavoring to make sure the mail carrier has no problem getting to our mail box. Our mail carrier usually leaves a note at the beginning of the winter weather season reminding us to make sure our mailboxes are clear enough to allow the mail carrier to reach the box. No problem. But apparently the standards for what is considered 'clear' differs entirely in the next town.

I have spoken with three different supervisors in the past two months about receiving my mail. The first time, I was told the supervisor would come check out my home personally and call me back. I never received a call. The next week I stopped by the post office to collect my mail, and asked the counter clerk if I could speak with a supervisor. She went out back, returned to tell me that he was "in a meeting," took my info and promised a phone call that never came. The third attempt, I finally did get a call back, another week later, from a man named Paul, who very clearly spoke to my carrier instead of inspecting my box himself, and was quite argumentative. At the end of the conversation, Paul instructed me to continue to pick my mail up at the post office, and "do a better job next year."

Today, despite the insulting nature of Paul's directive, I kindly stopped in to collect my mail, planning to leave before another frustrating encounter. Upon requesting my mail, I was told to wait for a supervisor. After a minute, a man came out front, threw a pile of mail on the counter in front of me, and barked at me to, "clear your mailbox." I briefly attempted to explain that I had spoken with somebody about my box already, and he interrupted me with a loud, angry declaration that, "You need to clear your mailbox." I would hesitate to allow parents to discipline a child with the tone of voice that this man used to speak to a grown man in public as part of his profession. It was probably the most egregious violation of every customer service law ever written, and I'm still a little in shock. Needless to say I don't know if it was Paul, as all I could think to do was kindly, quietly ask who his supervisor was. Surprisingly, he went to get her.

I finally got to speak to the postmaster today. While it was refreshing to finally speak to someone who seemed concerned about my predicament, it was also overwhelmingly obvious that she wanted the conversation centered on what I was doing wrong, and why this was all my fault. No apologies, no concern for the failures of her "supervisors," nor the inexplicable actions of her carrier. Just a calm, methodical discussion of my problems and what I have to do about my property.

See, it's always the customer's problems and not the fact that a mail carrier apparently doesn't want to be bothered to deliver mail to one particular postal patron even though that patron has done everything necessary (and then some) to make sure his mail box is easily accessible. How typical of a government bureaucracy. (Make no mistake about it, the USPS is a government bureaucracy even though it does far more for the taxpayers than many other government agencies are even capable of doing.) If the USPS wants to survive, it's going to have to stifle the blatant disregard of its mission by some of its employees. Otherwise it doesn't deserve to remain in business.

3/31/2014

What Is Resurrection?

Received via e-mail from a former co-worker:

The priest was presenting a children's sermon and asked the children if they knew what the Resurrection was.

Now, asking questions during children's sermons is crucial, but at the same time, asking children questions in front of a congregation can also be very dangerous. In response to the question, a little boy raised his hand.

The priest called on him and the boy said, "I know that if you have a resurrection that lasts more than four hours you are supposed to call the doctor."

It took ten minutes for the congregation to settle down enough for the service to continue.

3/30/2014

Thoughts On A Sunday

The weather has turned, with a considerable amount of rain working to melt/wash away a good portion of the snow cover here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Some bare patches of ground can now be seen here and there, but there's still a lot of snow that needs to melt away before we can say spring has arrived.

The warmer temps were expecting over the next few days will help make a small dent in the snow cover, but I expect much of it will remain well into the middle of April.

Ice Out on Lake Winnipesaukee is expected to be quite late this year, perhaps as late as early May.

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We had to fire up the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove again because the furnace is still not working properly. (We tend to use the propane furnace on those days where using the woodstove would make The Manse overly warm.) Even though it was repaired, requiring the replacement of a circulator pump, it still isn't functioning properly and isn't providing heat.

A call to our HVAC contractor is in order for Monday morning.

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Is college a waste of time and money?

These days I'd have to say the answer to the question is yes for a lot of students. The idea that the only way to get ahead is to get a college education may have been true decades ago, but these days the courses of study being offered and the costs of doing so are insane. As we have seen over the past decade or so a lot of college grads end up working outside their field of study in jobs that require no college degree. Yet they carry a heavy student loan debt load that will take decades to pay off.

Unless a specific profession actually requires a degree, like medicine, engineering and the like, going to and paying for four years of college makes little sense. More often than not a two-year college or trade school makes much more sense.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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This really helps foster trust in the electoral process.

It seems that Covered California, the state ObamaCare exchange, has been mailing pre-marked voter registration forms in letters promoting voter registration.

The party affiliation marked? Democrat, of course.

I'm not sure, but might that be considered voter intimidation or voter fraud, both of which are felonies?

Is there nothing the Obamabots won't do in order to push their agenda? Of course not.

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If we need any more evidence of 'tolerance' by the Left, then all we need to do is look Adam Weinstein who, in his ever benevolent tolerance of those with different viewpoints, firmly believes AGW skeptics should be imprisoned.

Mr. Weinstein should be careful as he's letting his incipient totalitarianism show through. He wants to follow the paths of his predecessors such as Stalin and Hitler in their tolerance of differing points of view.

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It seems that if Bogie didn't have bad luck, she'd have no luck at all.

She's still settling in to her hew home and finds out the company she's been working for is shuttering the facility where she's been employed the past 16 months and she's now out of a job.

When it rains, it pours.

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You know it's getting bad when a state's alcohol enforcement personnel can't tell the difference between bottled water and beer.

The victims of this law enforcement agency's overzealousness, a 20-year old coed and her two roommates, were accosted by plainclothes ABC officers, dragged from their vehicle at gunpoint, and arrested after they bought some victuals – sparkling water, ice cream, and cookie dough - for a sorority benefit fund raiser.

I hate to say it, but this kind of event is starting to become all too commonplace. I hope the coed wins the $40 million lawsuit she and her family have filed against the agency and its officers.

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It looks like California's bullet train boondoggle is only getting worse.

You'd think that by now the Powers-That-Be in the Golden State would have figured out that their project is doomed and would cut their losses. On the other hand, without this doomed project the opportunity for graft disappears.

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Assistant Village Idiot delves into the mechanism where people will double down on stupid, when their mistaken or misguided beliefs are challenged by hard evidence.

That certainly explains a number of things, particularly when it comes to some of the topics I posted about above.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where winter is trying to hold on, spring is trying to move in, and where the snowcover is starting to look pretty ugly.

3/29/2014

Climate Science Refuses To Conform To Warmist Beliefs

The rank ignorance of the Left when it comes to actual science never ceases to amaze me. While the Left decries the Right (more specifically conservatives) as being anti-science, it is more often the Left who will decry science that does not match with their ideological (read that 'political') views. Thank goodness I rarely have to deal with this in my line of work because if I did I would have abandoned it long ago. (There's just no getting around the laws of physics, no matter how many laws, regulations, or 'studies' may try to do so.)

One of the biggest science disciplines where this ignorance becomes evident is climate science. More often than not they'll try to shut down any debate about climate change by the usual appeal to authority or the ever popular “We have top men working on it” defense.

But what happens when one ignores what's happening in the real world while still spouting the 'settled science' of global warming? Will the cognitive dissonance created when observations refuse to match with the almost sacred climate models cause mass hysteria amongst the anointed Left? Or will they try to explain away the mismatch by going so far as to claim the observations must be wrong? (Not that such a thing has actually happened, at least not on the national or international stage. But I have heard more than a few of the local AGW faithful actually say that.)

Now that real world observations have been putting the screws to the various climate models used to predict our doom, the warmists are caught in a conundrum, particularly when even the UN IPCC is starting to to hedge its bets in regards to climate change, and more specifically, the effects of a warmer climate. How do they maintain the high level of alarmism and the push to “Do Something!” when even their biggest pillar of support is now saying, in effect, “Hey now, let's take another look at this because something doesn't add up”?

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will shortly publish the second part of its latest report, on the likely impact of climate change. Government representatives are meeting with scientists in Japan to sex up—sorry, rewrite—a summary of the scientists' accounts of storms, droughts and diseases to come. But the actual report, known as AR5-WGII, is less frightening than its predecessor seven years ago.

The 2007 report was riddled with errors about Himalayan glaciers, the Amazon rain forest, African agriculture, water shortages and other matters, all of which erred in the direction of alarm. This led to a critical appraisal of the report-writing process from a council of national science academies, some of whose recommendations were simply ignored.

Others, however, hit home. According to leaks, this time the full report is much more cautious and vague about worsening cyclones, changes in rainfall, climate-change refugees, and the overall cost of global warming.

The forthcoming report apparently admits that climate change has extinguished no species so far and expresses "very little confidence" that it will do so. There is new emphasis that climate change is not the only environmental problem that matters and on adapting to it rather than preventing it.

First, the warmists/alarmists have always made the claim that a warmer climate is automatically a bad thing, yet they provide no proof. It's just a guess. On the other hand there's plenty of scientific evidence that indicates just the opposite, showing that a warmer climate will be more beneficial, just as it has in the past.

Second, the warmists/alarmists haven't provided a shred of proof of what 'normal' is supposed to be in regards climate. Earth's climate is not static, has never been so, and will never be. It changes constantly. So for them to say “This is normal and anything outside of that is not” is conjecture at best and a canard at worst, one used to convince us that we must “Do Something!”

Third, far too many seem to have no idea how science is supposed to work and believe, incorrectly, that once something is 'settled' nothing more need be done. This belief and lack of understanding is their biggest failing and I believe has led to their unwillingness to look at the blatant disparity between the models and the actual observations.

Overstating the risk may motivate some to make changes, but far too often it has just the opposite effect, particularly when there is more than a little evidence or data that indicates the risks being touted by the “Do Something” crowd is over the top, an absolute worst case scenario that ignores some, if not all the mitigating factors. In the long run it makes people ignore the alarmists, something that can also come back to haunt us. It is something akin to the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” scenario, where when a real risk comes along the alarmists will be ignored the one time they should be taken seriously. But the alarmists have only themselves to blame for this.

Almost every global environmental scare of the past half century proved exaggerated including the population "bomb," pesticides, acid rain, the ozone hole, falling sperm counts, genetically engineered crops and killer bees. In every case, institutional scientists gained a lot of funding from the scare and then quietly converged on the view that the problem was much more moderate than the extreme voices had argued. Global warming is no different.

Part of it can be blamed on media sensationalism. The media loves a good scare story. Goodness knows we see that every winter when a snowstorm is moving in to an area that experiences such storms every year, but the media plays it up like it's the STORM OF DOOM! This certainly doesn't help.

However, I have drifted away from the original subject, that being the rank ignorance about science being displayed by too many people.

It all comes down to these few principles:

If your hypothesis/theory is incapable of being proven wrong (also called being unfalsifiable), then it's not valid, period. (Call it the You-Have-To-Take-It-On-Faith scenario – no proof necessary.)

If your hypothesis/theory doesn't match with observations or experimental results, then it is in error.

If the experiments or observations that led you to generate your hypothesis/theory cannot be recreated by others within a certain margin of error, then your hypothesis/theory is in error.

If the raw data, the data sources, and data analysis methods or algorithms are not made available to others for reanalysis and experimentation, then the hypothesis/theory derived from them are suspect and must be considered in error...or fraudulent.

See? It isn't difficult. But to read the e-mails made public in both ClimateGate 1.0 and 2.0, you have to question the validity of any of the theories about climate change, and particularly Anthropogenic Global Warming. If the various climate models constantly being touted as the End-All-And-Be-All of climate prediction don't even come close to matching the actual observations, then the models are invalid and should either be redone or abandoned. If only a single factor is being focused upon as the cause of all climate change, then any theory being put forth about it is wrong because climate is such a complicated, semi-chaotic system that no one really understands or is capable of taking into account everything that's driving the climate. But the ignorant ideologues cling to the tenets of their faith as if they are the Gospel and any questioning of the Truth So Revealed is blasphemy against the One True Faith. In other words, it's 'science' only when they agree with it or if it meets their needs. Otherwise it isn't, and scientific method be damned.

So in the end, if the Left is ignorant of what is and is not science, it is by choice and not by circumstance, which only makes it worse.