6/23/2016

It's Time For The Brexit Vote

As I write this, one of the most important votes in Great Britain's history is but hours away from starting. As you read this the polls across Britain are open and the people are casting their ballots to decide its fate: to stay within the EU or to exit it and save British sovereignty.

The British exit from the EU, so-called “Brexit”, has been one of the most debated issues in the UK and the EU, as well as in the US and Canada.

Why is it happening?

The British people have had enough of unelected bureaucrats telling them what they can and cannot do, treat them as if they had no voice in what was happening in their own country, being pushed to accept immigrants they know will never assimilate and will likely try to force a religion and legal system upon them that is anathema to their history and beliefs, all while being forced to fork over billions of pounds to support a social welfare system that doesn't work.

While many pro-EU Brits have pushed to keep the UK in the EU, citing all kinds of dire consequences that could happen should UK citizens decide to leave the EU – economic collapse, social; backlash, or maybe even World War III – just as many anti-EU Brits see little downside to abandoning the hegemony of the EU. It isn't likely that trade will suffer other than temporarily because the EU receives almost a third of its goods from the UK. If it comes to it, the UK could forge new trade partnerships with the Anglosphere (Australia, Canada, the US, New Zealand, etc) that would more than make up for any loss of trade with the EU. Were trade and customs barriers lowered or even eliminated amongst the Anglosphere, kind of like a super-NAFTA agreement, the UK and the rest of those nations could benefit greatly.

Of course there are a lot of people outside of the EU that have done their best to head off Brexit, including The Won. He warned the British there could be dire consequences for Anglo-American relations. It's not as if the relationship with our cousins could get much worse after all the damage Obama has already inflicted upon them. In fact, it might have even spurred more of them to vote for Brexit as they want to distance themselves from that clueless narcissist with delusions of adequacy.

Frankly, the best thing our British cousins could do for themselves is to get the hell out of the EU before it's too late.

6/19/2016

Thoughts On A Sunday

The distant roar of motorcycles has been what we've been hearing since last weekend. With the closing of the annual Motorcycle Week quickly coming upon us, the roar will fade away and become nothing but a memory until next year.

I have always been of two minds about Bike Week, both enjoying it and being annoyed by it at the same time. Then again it has always been a paradoxical event, between the flood of tourist money on the plus side and the traffic tie-ups on the minus side.

One down side has been the number of injuries and fatalities caused during accidents, with quite a few of them being car versus motorcycle collisions. They are as inevitable as the roar of hundreds of thousands of motorcycle engines. Some years we see very few. Other years, like this one, we see too many. I know everyone would like to find a way to keep those to a minimum, but there's only so much anyone can do, so the accidents will continue.

And so it goes.

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For all of his storytelling about small town life in Minnesota, you'd never know that Garrison Keillor is not a fan of small towns because of “their industriousness, their infernal humility, their schoolmarmish sincerity, their earnest interest in you, their clich├ęs falling like clockwork — it can be tiring to be around.” No, Garrison, tell us what you really think.

I don't know about you, but I find that “tiring” experience to preferable to the 'right-thinking' condescension and inflated self-worth of so many living in huge suburbs and cities. So much of what they know just isn't so...and they don't care that they're mis-informed.

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First we have an ill informed NYT reporter writing about his 'temporary PTSD' fro firing an AR-15. (I doubt he actually fired one because what he describes and my own experiences doing so don't even come close to matching.)

Then we have Oleg Atabashian going one step further and reporting his experience firing a Daisy BB gun. (“Careful kid, you'll shoot your eye out!”)

Oh, the humanity!

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Turnabout is fair play, Dems. If the Democrat AG's go after AGW skeptics then the Republican AG's will go after the alarmists.

Of the two, who has done the most harm? It sure as heck hasn't been the skeptics.

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I find it interesting that one college with a student body that is 97% female and a California university with 36,000 students had no reported rapes in 2014 are still seeing protests and rallies about the “rape culture” that exists on the respective campuses.

That of 2200 colleges surveyed about sexual assaults on campus, more 1300 of them had no reported rapes. This is not seen as good news, but as evidence of a rampant rape culture. What's even more troubling is the 1300+ campuses that reported no sexual assaults are seen as “worrisome”.

Does that mean the people who see such a finding as worrisome do so because they believe all reports of sexual assault are being suppressed, or that college women on those campuses don't seem to realize that all sex, even consensual sex, is in reality rape?

These folks have got to get a life.

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David Starr asks the question - “What did the founders mean by the word 'militia'”

I also added my 2¢ worth in the comments, dispelling the incorrect interpretation of the phrase “well regulated militia”, something most people get wrong.

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I've always thought it was, particularly after they got all the bugs worked out.

Why the F-22 Raptor is such a bad-ass plane.

Frankly, I think they should start up production again because we don't have nearly enough of them (only 186 even though there were supposed to be 700 built and delivered) and it can do things no other air superiority fighter can do and the F-35 can not. Then again, the F-35 was not designed for the air superiority role, but as a strike fighter. (It is also not a combat air support aircraft like the A-10 despite the USAF's claims to the contrary.)

With both Russia and China getting ready to field their versions of Fifth Generation fighters and in large numbers, we need to get our proven fighter back into production.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the roar of motorcycle engines have faded away until next year, the number of boats on the lake is the highest it's been in years, and where summer starts tomorrow!

6/17/2016

What Stinks Most?

The other night I was thinking just how effed up this presidential campaign season has been and we haven't even reached the party conventions yet.

Both presumptive nominees are people I wouldn't trust with my money, let alone controlling the government machinery that has increasingly been the cause of our many problems rather than the solution. This election will become more of a contest about who we hate least. (I still think we need to institute a 'None of the Above' option on ballots.) This is no way to elect the leader of a once great nation.

One has to wonder what stinks the most -the candidates, the media, or the office?

While many believe it's the media (and they'd be right), all three each share the blame.

We have a presidency that is too powerful, ignoring the will of the people and their representatives – Congress – and trying to pretend the judicial branch doesn't exist at all. It all goes back to FDR and his actions that made the presidency an increasingly incompetent imperial office rather than an a smaller and more effective managerial one.

The media has been acting as a house organ to the Democrat Party, willing to ignore behaviors and scandals involving Democrats, but tearing into Republicans who are guilty of the same behaviors. As Glenn Reynolds has stated on more than one occasion, the MSM are merely political operatives of the DNC with bylines. As such, they have become increasingly irrelevant because no one is paying much attention to them anymore except to call them out as the pseudo-news organizations they have become. When the National Enquirer has become one of the better investigative news operations in the nation, you know the MSM has become a decadent shadow of its former self.

This election year is starting to resemble something like that old Chinese curse - “May you live in interesting times.” It's going to be a long year.

6/16/2016

"Phubbing" All Too Common

On more than one occasion I have made mention of one of the most annoying occurrences that has only grown with time, that being people in a social gathering or situation ignoring other people because they're paying too darned much attention to their phones. It is a particular pet peeve of mine.

The first time it ever intruded into my notice was during a gathering of the WP Clan for Thanksgiving here at The Manse. It included family from both sides of the Family, Deb's and mine. The one thing I noticed part way into the day was that almost every one of the teens had their noses buried in their phones, texting away to friends both near and far. The kids were physically present, but their attention was anyplace but here It got to the point where all the parents demanded that their respective children shut off their phones or have them taken away until the day was over. There were the expected protests, but in the end all of the kids shut them off and put them away. It wasn't too long after than you could see them start jonesing as if they needed a fix. They had no idea how to adequately communicate without using their electronic addictions.

It's only gotten worse since then.

These days, “phubbing” or phone snubbing has become an all too common practice. What's worse is that many of the people committing such acts see nothing wrong with it. That begs the question – Why waste time getting together in social situations if all you're going to do is ignore each other and pay attention to whatever is on your phone that has you enthralled? Why not just stay home and save both time and money by not traveling to wherever it is you're going to ignore the people around you? Leave all of the actual socializing to those of us who are capable of interacting with other people face to face. That way you can do all of the electronic interfacing you want without restriction and we won't be annoyed by the fact that you don't even realize the rest of us exist.

I figure the problem will eventually solve itself when all of the phubbers finally die out without leaving any progeny behind since they never bothered to have kids. This will be because they were always too busy with their phones to actually meet anyone and have sex.

6/12/2016

Thoughts On A Sunday

It was Graduation Weekend here abouts, with the WP Great-Niece matriculating from our high school. The family gathered to celebrate with a cookout. I only wish the weather had cooperated a bit more as it was chilly and windy throughout the day of celebration.

At least we'll have good weather through the week which will be a boon for Motorcycle Week.

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The action against the Orlando shooter hadn't even been concluded before the Usual SuspectsTM started screaming about imposing more restrictive gun control measures.

The shooter was nominally an ISIS supporter. The FBI had questioned him at least three times and came to the conclusion he wasn't a threat. (It's quite obvious they were wrong.) Though he did legally purchase the guns he used, had he not been able to do so he would have likely found another means of getting the guns he wanted. If he hadn't used gins, he would have found some other way of pulling off the massacre.

If anyone inside the club had been carrying their own legal weapons, chances are the twisted miscreant would not have been able to rack up the body count. (I have to wonder whether Pulse was one of those establishments that were so-called 'Gun Free Zones', which freely translates into 'Free Fire Zone'. Insensitive? Maybe. But that doesn't make it any less an important factor if that was indeed the case.)

Taking guns away from law abiding citizens protects no one...except the government.

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You know network TV is getting desperate when it has to dust off old TV game shows in an effort to retain viewers. In this case ABC has resurrected The $100,000 Pyramid and Match Game. They've also spun a version of Family Feud using TV families from some of their sitcoms.

Sad.

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I've had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people I would not normally have the chance speak with. (By this I mean I would never have met them but did due to a certain family emergency which I will not go into here.)

One of the topics I managed to address while talking to them was the upcoming presidential elections. While more than a few expressed their opinions about who they were going to vote for, the one thing I heard again and again was that they weren't particularly enthusiastic about their candidate of choice. My impression is that many weren't particularly enamored of any candidate. Of those, I did ask “If you had the choice to vote for 'None of the Above', would you?' Almost every single one of them said they would.

I keep thinking “None of the Above” should be a valid choice on any election ballot. Should “None of the Above” win with a majority – but not a plurality - then the election for that particular office would be declared null and void and a new election would have to be held with these two stipulations: 1.) The new election would be held in one month's time, 2.) None of the candidates who ran during the first election would be eligible to run in the second election.

Would it cause chaos if “None of the Above” won? Absolutely. Would it be expensive to run a second round in order to fill that office? No doubt. But it would also serve as an object lesson for potential candidates that no amount of glad-handing, campaign spending, or shifting positions are enough to get you elected if no one really likes you and the voters have a choice that doesn't include any of the candidates running.

I know I am sick to death of having to choose the lesser of two evils during an election. I would prefer to let them know we don't like any of them without having to resort to staying home and not voting, which actually does nothing to show our displeasure. “None of the Above” would send a clear message to all candidates, that being “We don't trust any of you lying bastards!”

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On more than one occasions I have opined about why men are not pursuing marriage these days. It breaks down to one simple factor: There's nothing in it for them other than misery, pain, and loss of financial assets. Why would men willingly put themselves through that knowing it's a no win situation for them?

What's worse is the very women these men are avoiding are asking why they can't find any good men, not understanding that they're out there, but that they want nothing to do with them. I think much of this is seen much more often in urban and larger suburban areas and not so much in the smaller suburban and rural areas. That right there may be a reason for the smart men to seek mates out in the country and to avoid the cities.

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Should the citizens in the UK vote to leave the EU (the so-called 'Brexit'), they will be leaving at just the right time. The EU is in shambles, between a lackluster economy, increasing numbers of draconian regulations and laws that make running businesses increasingly difficult, and a collapsing social welfare system that is being strained to the limit by 'refugees' who have no plans to integrate themselves into the society which has taken them in, the UK will be saving itself from the EU's self-inflicted demise.

At least the British were smart enough not to get involved with the unified monetary system – the 'Euro' – and kept the pound which helped cushion some of the blow from Brussels' short-sighted monetary policies.

Come June 23rd we'll find out if the UK will sever itself from the anchor around its neck that is the EU.

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If the Yalies who are demanding to remain ignorant really desire to remain that way, who are we to deny them the opportunity?

My only suggestion would be that their transcripts and diplomas be annotated with something along the lines of “This graduate demanded to be allowed to remain an ignorant, self-important, overly sensitive ass, but was willing to shell out $60,000+ per year to do so. Who were we to say no? This qualifies this graduate to become a barista or a pizza delivery driver. Whatever you do, don't hire them to fill any positions that would give them the power to fuck up our nation or its economy with their self-imposed ignorance.”

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This overweening attention on the so-called “Rape Crisis” on college campuses has had one intentionally overlooked side effect, that being how it hurts actual victims sexual assault on campuses.

Not that any of the Social Justice Warriors who have been pushing the “1 in 4” hype really give a damn about actual assault victims. Not that there are anywhere near that many actual victims, but those that are actual victims aren't being taken seriously because the SJW's have so poisoned the public's perception. These victims are marginalized and do not receive the attention and help they really need.

It's the Law of Unintended Consequences showing the SJW's...nothing. The SJW's don't care.

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David Starr delves into what makes good teachers. I'll give you a hint: it isn't more money.

Bottom line, I don't think good teachers are born or trained.  Good teaching happens when the teacher knows his subject thoroughly, and cares about his students. 

Indeed.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the cool weather is leaving, the motorcycles are arriving, and the rumble of all those engines signifies large amounts of tourist dollars filling our coffers.

6/10/2016

I Miss Harry Potter

If you've been wondering what J. K. Rowling has had up her sleeve in regards to a follow up to her Harry Potter series, now you know.

6/05/2016

Thoughts On A Sunday

It was our wedding anniversary yesterday. We didn't get mushy. We didn't celebrate by going out to one of our favorite restaurants. There were no flowers. (There was a card from me to her.)

What did we do to celebrate?

We spent the entire day together doing things we either had never done together before - walked the WOW Trail in Laconia, ate at the Lunch Box Diner in the Laconia Antiques Center and then perused the aisles looking at all kinds of things that triggered memories of our childhoods – and then did something we've done before and always enjoyed – taking a drive around the lake and stopping at the Old Country Store in Moultonborough, then ending the trip at The Wine'ing Butcher to pick up some awesome sirloin burgers that made their way on to our grill.

All in all it was a great day!

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They've been telling us for years that our salt intake is too high. Some have been forced on to low sodium diets as a palliative for hypertension or high blood pressure. Of course one of the downsides to these diets is the increased incidence of heart arrhythmia due to electrolyte imbalances.

Today there seems to be a lot more evidence out there that concern over salt intake has been blown out of proportion. But that hasn't stopped the federal government from trying to control your salt intake even though nothing in the US Constitution or in federal law gives the government that kind of power.

It will be “bad policy based upon bad science.”

So what else is new?

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Related to the above, David Starr reminds us that all kinds of government agencies can issue regulations having the force of law without any of them being reviewed or vetted by Congress or the President. Even if they are unconstitutional they can be used to make criminals out of ordinary citizens.

There have been some regulations that ended up being reviewed and then overturned by the US Supreme Court, but the court decision was ignored and the regulation continued to be applied. (The EPA is notorious for this, ignoring federal court decisions and even Supreme Court decisions, making it a rogue agency that seems to think it is above the law. So is the IRS.)

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While some may consider Stacy Dash's opinion of the whole “bathroom” issue as insensitive, I think she's dead on target.

“I’m not gonna put my child’s life at risk because you want to change a law,” Dash, the mother of 13-year-old Lola, said. “So that you can be comfortable with your beliefs — which means I have to change my beliefs and my rights? No.”

“Why do I have to suffer because you can’t decide what you wanna be that day?” Dash continued.

She goes on to label it as “tyranny of the minority.”

Amen.

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Gay Patriot tells us “why you only run into nice people at Chik-Fil-A .”

Because leftists don’t eat there.

Heh.

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Dr. Helen answers the question “Should men get married?”

My answer: No. It's a no-win situation for men and until the marital laws are changed to make sure men are not automatically presumed to be scumbag criminal abusers and are treated equally in regards to child support, custody, and division of assets, they should stay as far away from marriage as they can.

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These days too many people assume experts in various fields are also competent enough to exercise political authority.

Here's a clue for you – They Aren't.

The additional power that is being granted to experts under the Obama administration is indeed striking. The administration has appointed “czars” to bring expertise to bear outside of the traditional cabinet positions. Congress has enacted sweeping legislation in health care and finance, and Democratic leaders have equally ambitious agendas that envision placing greater trust in experts to manage energy and the environment, education and human capital, and transportation and communications infrastructure.

However, equally striking is the failure of such experts. They failed to prevent the financial crisis, they failed to stimulate the economy to create jobs, they have failed in Massachusetts to hold down the cost of health care, and sometimes they have failed to prevent terrorist attacks that instead had to be thwarted by ordinary civilians.

Ironically, whenever government experts fail, their instinctive reaction is to ask for more power and more resources. Instead, we need to step back and recognize that what we are seeing is not the vindication of Keynes, but the vindication of Hayek. That is, decentralized knowledge is becoming increasingly important, and that in turn makes centralized power increasingly anomalous.

As Robert Heinlein opined about experts decades ago, listen to experts, then do just the opposite. More often than not you'll do the right thing.

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And that's the (abbreviated) news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weather was fifty-fifty, the summerfolk spent lots of money, and where Monday keeps coming back no matter what we do.

6/04/2016

How Can We Not Find A Use For This? It's Already Paid For

I've always been a space 'nut', if you will. I remember the first manned missions of the Mercury program, the numerous Gemini missions, and the follow-on Apollo program that got us to the moon and ushered in Skylab. I remember both the beginning and the end of the shuttle program.

I remember a number of the X-plane programs, from the X-15 through the X-47.

One in particular that sticks in my mind was the X-33 VentureStar that was supposed to bring us closer to Single Stage To Orbit (SSTO) spacecraft that would eliminate the need for the cumbersome booster systems we've used (and still use) to get cargo and personnel into orbit.

One of the cool features of the X-33 was the Aerospike engine, a revolutionary propulsion system that was supposed to make SSTO possible.

The propulsion system worked, and worked like a champ.


Feature creep and politics doomed the X-33, leaving the Aerospike engine without a home. Maybe someone, somewhere can find a use for this propulsion system and get us one step closer to a Single Stage To Orbit space plane.

5/30/2016

Memorial Day

I think this says it best.


5/29/2016

Thoughts On A Sunday

This weekend signifies the unofficial start of summer. Certainly the weather on Saturday was summer-like, with temps in the mid 90's and dew points in the 60's. At least today was about 20 degrees cooler.

There were plenty of boats and jet skis on trailers to be seen as folks headed to the lake. The town beach was busy even without the benefit of lifeguards. (They don't start for another week or so.)

I ushered in summer's start by stopping by one of the seasonal ice cream joints and partaking of a chocolate frappe, one of their specialties. One taste and I knew summer was here.

Not a bad way to start the summer.

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Every time I think Katie Couric can't do more to damage her reputation, she proves me wrong. Her latest (and ongoing) slide to the bottom is a manifestation of her longstanding hatred of guns and her efforts to inhibit or outright do away with gun rights.

I won't dignify her efforts by calling it journalism, yellow or otherwise, much as Matt Continetti has opined.

As Ed Driscoll noted, “Just think of her as a Democrat operative with a byline, and you really can’t go wrong.”

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Michael Crichton predicted the fall of the main stream media way back in 1993.

In 2008, it looked like he was right as a number of news media giants felt the onslaught of newer and more timely sources of news and opinion. While his timeline was off a bit, it has been only the in the past few of years we've seen his predictions coming to fruition.

Today many of the news giants he castigated are shadows of their former selves, with falling revenues and circulation, declining staffing levels, all while TV evening news viewership has been plummeting as the people become even less trusting of the pablum and editorializing that has been masquerading as news.

I don't feel sorry for them because their problem has been self-inflicted.

(H/T Ed Driscoll at Instapundit)

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From the “Gee, I could have told you that!” files.

It turns out that Millennials views on socialism change: At first they love it. Then they get jobs and they realize they're the ones who will be footing the bill to pay for it all. It doesn't look all that great when the bill comes due.

My youngest sister was a dyed in the wool socialist once she graduated from one of the hoity-toity women's liberal arts colleges. Then she got a job and saw how much the government was taking from her paycheck to pay for all those government programs she thought were great. The viewpoint always changes when you're the one who has to foot the bill.

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It turns out wind power isn't all it's cracked up to be, being a lot more expensive than many were led to believe. That's how Denmark sees it.

Denmark has led the charge for renewable energy, but now the green policies have become too expensive.

In 2015, Denmark set a new world record by generating the equivalent of 42.1% of the country’s total energy consumption by wind. Denmark is also the world’s largest exporter of wind power equipment. So it’s fair to say that Denmark is perhaps the world’s leading wind power nation.

[An] analysis showed that in 2014 a staggering 66 percent of the average Danish electricity bill went to taxes and fees, 18 percent to transportation and only 15 percent of the price was for the electricity in itself. Only Germany came close with 52 percent in electricity taxes.

Yeah, the energy produced is cheap but the government taxes the bejeezus out of it to make it very expensive. Weren't renewables supposed to be cheaper than traditional sources?

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Solar doesn't get off the hook as it turns out it can be bad for the environment.

All one has to do is look at what happened in rural Buffalo, Minnesota to see what solar advocates won't tell you about the downsides of this supposedly 'green' technology.

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I think these are the same folks who want to ban dihydrogen monoxide.

Eighty percent of Americans want to label all foods that contain DNA.

Wouldn't be easier and cheaper to label the foods that don't? It would certainly take a lot less effort.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer has started despite what the calendar says, the weather is cooperating (for the most part), and where the call of the lake is getting stronger every day.