2/13/2016

A Good Explanation Of Socialism's Failures

As a follow up to my previous post, there's this little gem from the comments that explains the biggest flaw of socialism that socialists, past and present, have chosen to ignore, and with good reason.

Socialism is all about making everyone materially equal, not prosperous. There is no concern for the poor or oppressed, just enmity to the materially advantaged. A world where everyone is impoverished is more desirable and just than one that had a strata of poor to rich. Capitalism is the greatest system to improve the welfare of the impoverished but it does result in material inequality. This is why the left hates it while perpetually praising all those "workers paradises" that barely produce even life's most basic staples. Venezuela is the latest unlearned example.

Of course many crypto-socialists, also known as egalitarians, subscribe to the idea that “making everyone materially equal” means pulling the bottom strata of the socioeconomic scale upwards, at least in theory. But practice has shown that it actually means pulling everyone except the elite down to the bottom of the socioeconomic scale all while making sure the floor of that scale moves downwards at the same time. How that helps anyone is something none of them, including certain members of my own family, have ever been able to explain to me. It all sounds like wishful thinking on their part, ignoring human nature and how it makes their solution totally unworkable.

Question To Ask Progressives

Now that the hubbub over the New Hampshire Primary has faded away and the focus has shifted to Nevada and South Carolina, I can finally think straight and the compulsion to sow expletives throughout my speech and writing has diminished...for the time being.

One of the more interesting activities in which I indulged during the run up to the primary was skewering both Clinton and Sanders supporters about their support, knowing or otherwise, for an all-powerful all-encompassing totalitarian nanny state.

More than a few denied any such support, but follow on questions shredded those denials and made them feel either uncomfortable or angry that I dared to question their beliefs.

I wish I had read Oleg Atbashian's (of The People's Cube) treatise on What To Ask Progressives, particularly on their ideological beliefs and how it is they could possibly defend them.

I found I had asked a couple of the Clinton/Sanders supporters some of these questions listed by Oleg. A sample of a few Oleg has suggested:

Why do those who decry modern civilization never live far from shopping centers and why don't grind their coffee with a stone ax?

If Hollywood types are so opposed to capitalism, why is there a warning against unauthorized distribution of their movies?

How come industrial logging is a crime against nature, but the destruction of forests by wildfires is a natural cycle of life?

If Al Gore is right and our consumption of the planet's resources is a moral issue, doesn't that make genocide an ethical solution? How about an artificial famine? What would Al Gore choose?

Since our planet's resources are limited, wouldn't the ultimate act of environmental activism be to stop eating and starve to death?

How exactly does dependency on the government increase "people power"?

I particularly like that last one, having used a version of it myself. No one has been able to adequately answer is other than by using some convoluted explanation that boils down to “Because slavery is freedom!” How Orwellian.

In any case, Read The Whole Thing.

2/08/2016

Unanticipated Rise In US Traffic Fatality Rates

An article on Jalopnik asks “Why are America's traffic deaths rising so fast?”

The piece delves into a number of possible factors including more people driving and driving more often. But that would normally not be reflected in the death rate, meaning the number of fatalities per millions of miles traveled. But the rate is rising, a trend opposite that of the past six decades.

One factor not mentioned in the article (but may be in the linked NHTSA report): increasing levels of driver distraction. Many of the electronic gizmos that can lead to driver distraction either didn't exist or weren't as ubiquitous as they are today. Once they reached critical mass, and tying in with the 'grafted to the hand' nature of smart phones used by teens and younger adults, the negative effects of chronic 24/7 connectedness is now making itself known by way of higher traffic fatalities. More than a few studies have indicated that driving while using these devices is tantamount to driving while intoxicated. If that is indeed the case it would be the equivalent of a substantial increase of people driving under the influence.

Maybe the way to help solve this problem would be to push this idea: “Put down the damn phone and drive, you damnfoolidjit!”

2/07/2016

Thoughts On A Sunday

The aftermath of the 5 inches of snow that fell Friday morning left us with a bit of plowing and shoveling, but by Saturday morning the roads and driveways were pretty well cleaned off and the sun was able to melt what snow and ice remained on them. This was more of what we call a 'nuisance' storm, just enough to cause some poor road conditions and then it disappears. Not that I'm complaining.

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BeezleBub is preparing for the arrival of Polka Girl. She'll be here tomorrow and will be departing for home next Sunday. BeezleBub will be traveling to visit her during Spring Break next month.

Long distance relationships can be hard, but not undo-able.

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I almost didn't watch the GOP debate last night, but decided it would be interesting to see what the candidates had to say one more time before Tuesday's New Hampshire Primary.

Of them all, I had to say that Chris Christie kicked ass, and in particular Marco Rubio's ass. He was taking no prisoners and gave better than he got.

It will be interesting to see what the after-debate polls have to say.

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One thing anyone who has been paying attention understands is that neither Democrat contender understands anything about economics and our economy except how to destroy it. Of the two, Bernie Sanders has the least understanding and the greatest desire to destroy what's left of our economy, finishing the work Barack Obama started.

The latest example of his economic ignorance is his tweet that tries miserably to tie imprisonment to unemployment and poverty as if either of those conditions automatically means you “Go directly to jail. Do not collect $200.”

I'm sorry, Bernie, but debtor's prison is just so 18th century!

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Speaking of Bernie Sanders, we should all remember that he's never held a private sector job. All of his paychecks have come from government, be it the city of Burlington, Vermont or from Uncle Sam as a member of Congress, either in the House or the Senate.

He's never had to worry about making payrolls or having to deal with ever more restrictive or damaging regulations while trying to stay in business. He really has no clue what effect government spending, taxation, and regulation has on the average worker, and I doubt he really wants to know all of his rhetoric to the contrary.

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Why doesn't this surprise me?

The White House is apparently upset that the House and Senate Budget Committee chairmen have stated they will not hold hearings on Obama's “worthless” budget.

Some may take this to mean that the GOP isn't interested in going over the proposed budget, but one has to look back through Obama's previous budget submissions to see that he usually didn't have a budget to have hearings on because he always submitted them months late, leaving little if any time to debate anything. This is the only time during his entire administration he's had a budget submitted on time, and in this case “on time” it means a week late.

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I can't possibly add anything to this.

Feminism is a synonym for 'Shut Up, Men'.

Read the whole thing.

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Another factor affecting the so-celled wage gap between men and women: commute times.

Hillary has been hammering away on the 'wage gap' between men and women, ignoring all of the factors that create the perceived difference. When comparing like jobs, the wage difference between men and women disappears, with women earning slightly more money than men. Hillary ignores the fact that men take much more dangerous jobs, suffering a disproportionate number of job injuries and fatalities, jobs that due to the higher risks pay more money.

Now we can add commuting times as yet another factor that determines the income of men and women.

Why do men commute more? Part of the reason is likely that they place a higher priority in maximizing income, so are willing to travel farther to a job that pays more, while women would rather commute less and will accept lower pay in exchange for a shorter commute.

That longer commutes cut into leisure and family time is something else not mentioned by either Hillary or the rest of the 'women earn less money than men' feminists.

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Then Left has long clamored on about how the GOP will bring back the days of Jim Crow, with racial segregation being the law of the land. Too bad for them that they got it entirely wrong.

I am ashamed to say our family's alma mater, the University of Connecticut located deep in the heart of the ultra-blue Nutmeg State, is building new segregated dormitories on campus.

First it will be this. Will it soon to be followed by segregated classes created to help African American students feel 'safe'? At some point will a Black-only campus be created? Does no one on the Left see either the irony or backlash this will incur?

Of course not. It's all about social justice, not racial equality or civil rights. It's all about feelz.

If this were happening only at UConn, we could look at it as a aberration. But it's not as it looks like the University of Iowa is looking to follow the same path. How effin' stupid is that?

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I had hoped the Carolina Panthers would give the Denver Broncos a run for their money in the SuperBowl, but my hopes were dashed as Denver beat them handily, 24-10.

2/06/2016

Democracy In Small Town America - 2016 Edition

Call it a twofer for American democracy, one for Small Town USA and the other for the entire nation.

Earlier this week our little town held it's school district and town meetings, the first steps in a two-step process that decides what our town will spend during the upcoming fiscal year. Each meeting of the town's residents deliberated school and town budgets and warrant articles that covered everything from zoning amendments to changes in how town government will run to funding outside agencies. One article even dealt with changing the classification of a dirt road from a town maintained road to an unmaintained road.

Some amendments to budgetary items and a few town warrant articles were made, those being the most debated issues addressed during the meetings. But for the most part both meetings were low energy with little real drama. Frankly, that's a bit unusual considering some of the school district and town meetings in the not-so-recent past.

It's amazing to see folks not blink twice when some spending articles total in the millions of dollars, with little discussion or debate, but lengthy and sometimes passionate debates over a spending article asking to spend a few hundred dollars. One would think it would be the other way around.

The outcome of these two meetings won't be known until we move on to the second step in the process next month, when the people in our town will vote to accept or reject all of the warrant articles as well as elect some town officials.

Early next week, specifically Tuesday, voters will head to the voting booths to vote during the New Hampshire primaries, helping to select the candidates from each party who are vying to be their party presidential nominees come this fall. Once done, the echoes of the candidates' speeches and campaign ads will rapidly fade away and be nothing but a memory by Wednesday evening, leaving us to recuperate in peace for the next few months until Election Day 2016 approaches.

And so it goes in small town America.

2/04/2016

Faster Internet Speed Arrives In Town

I got a pleasant surprise today, that being the download speed from my ISP, the local cable company, has been bumped up to 40Mbs at no additional cost. The upload speed, however, is still where it was before at 4Mbs.

That will certainly help the cable company keep its present Internet customers, and maybe entice some of those still using DSL to make the switch.

Of course this speed increase could have been driven by the prospect of a new player entering the market. Ain't competition, even of it hasn't arrived yet, a wonderful thing?

1/31/2016

Thoughts On A Sunday

The winter weather has fled for the time being, with warmer than normal temperatures that have kept m any of the lakes from freezing over. This has led to the delay of the annual Ice Fishing Derby, put off for two weeks to (hopefully) allow more ice to form on the various lakes where the derby will take place. This has also led to a delay in at least one sled dog race, maybe two as the snow cover is spotty at best and the thin ice on the lakes have created big gaps in the race route.

Some of the less informed folks are blaming global warming, but the rest of us know it's the side effect of El Niño as we've seen this more than once during El Niño years. Some of those same folks who blame global warming have chosen to ignore the previous two winters which saw well below normal temperatures and heavy snowfall...unless they're going to pin the blame on that weather on global warming as well, which the will.

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How many times have we heard people claiming the moon landings were faked, that 9/11 was an inside job, or a litany of world events were the product of widespread conspiracies?

I've been hearing them for decades.

My one gripe about them all is that with the large number of people who would need to be involved there would be no way it would remain a secret, and particularly for decades. The larger number of people involved in such conspiracies, the larger the chance that someone would spill the beans in increasingly short periods of time.

Now there's a mathematical equation that shows large-scale conspiracies would quickly reveal themselves.

Things like faking the moon landings would take hundreds, if not thousands of people to pull it off. There's no way anyone would be able to keep that quiet for 45+ years.

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There are none so blind as those who will not see, particularly if such sight would shatter the delusions of the multi-culti politically correct European leaders.

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Neo-neocon writes about Trump and asks “Who are Trump's supporters and what do they want?”

I know of very few of my acquaintances who are supporting him, but almost everyone agrees he's been bringing up many important topics the GOP establishment has been ignoring for years. If nothing else he's forcing the other GOP candidates to address those issues, something the GOPe hasn't liked.

Will I vote for Trump during the New Hampshire Primary? No effin' way. Will I vote for him in November if he ends up being the GOP nominee? Yes, but I'll be holding my nose as I do so.

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I wouldn't think this is the best way to garner supporters.

It appears Bernie Sanders is a full-blown 'believer' in AGW, shutting down a girl who had the audacity to question him on the subject.

Then again, Bernie doesn't need proof because he just knows it's true...even if there is no solid evidence, the claims of a 'consensus' not withstanding.

Then again, he says he has plans to “bring climate deniers to justice.” As if that doesn't carry the stink of the old Soviet Union.

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“Standing Room Only”. Yeah. Right.

Then again, what do you expect from all of the media water-carriers for Hillary? The truth?

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This is a lesson any mature business has to relearn again and again if it wants to stay in business.

This is what happens when McDonald's listens to its customers - success.

Some corporations get so big that they believe they can dictate to their customers what to buy. But examples abound that disprove that notion, some of which meant the bankruptcy and dissolution of many companies who ignored the old axiom “The customer's always right.”

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Is California becoming a modern day feudal state?

Yes. Next question?

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According to Bloomberg, we could see sub-$1.50/gallon gasoline this year.

I filled up for $1.629/gallon a week and a half ago and I've seen prices just above $1.50 just south of here. I figure it's only a matter of time unless there's a huge disruption in oil production somewhere (the Middle East, maybe).

I have been enjoying the lower gas prices, but it hasn't affected my driving habits in the least as I still drive the same number of miles as when gas was at $4/gallon.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice is either missing or too thin, the temps will be near 50ºF this week, and where I am not complaining about not having to make use of a snowblower.

1/29/2016

Is Polywell Fusion Close To A Breakthrough?

As the 'race' to achieve fusion continues, one firm, EMC2, has filed a patent for their technology – polywell fusion.

I've covered this approach to fusion before, one first proposed by the late physicist Robert Bussard and patented by him in 1985. (The new patent improves upon Bussard's original patent.) Unlike the two main types of fusion reactors, tokamak (toroidal magnetic 'bottle') and inertial confinement (lasers), polywell takes a different approach, using electrostatic fusion in a reactor that has been dubbed “Wiffle Ball” since the magnet loops make the reactor resemble a great big wiffle ball.

Will this approach lead to a breakthrough and bring fusion onto the playing field for power generation? Once can only hope. It has shown considerable promise while costing a fraction of either the ITER (tokamak) or NIF (laser) programs. Until recently it even received funding from the US Navy, one of the biggest users of nuclear power. Funding ceased due to budget cutbacks but the Navy is still interested in polywell fusion.

Should it come to fruition, fusion power can quickly overtake fission nuclear power, particularly since the cost to build a polywell reactor will be a fraction of the cost of even the newer Generation III and IV fission reactors.

I have no doubt the usual suspects will find some reason to be against polywell fusion even though it could well be the answer to all of our energy needs while eliminating the problems of high level long-lived spent nuclear fuel at the same time. I expect someone will decry how it will greatly deplete the supply of deuterium (we'll only have a few million years supply) and boron, the fuels used in the polywell reactors.

1/28/2016

Bernie's Campaign Slogan

When one thinks about it, Bernie Sanders' campaign boils down to one single phrase:


What's worse is that it's not even an original idea, and one that's been long discredited.

Unanticipated Blog Changes

I case you haven't noticed, the blog URL is pointing to my backup site. A problem with the DNS used by the company that's been hosting Weekend Pundit forced me to forward to the backup site.

While a bit bare bones, it serves it's purpose and will be updated to include links to Ye Olde Blogroll and other interesting sites. Please bear with me as I make the appropriate changes to the blog template.

1/24/2016

Thoughts On A Sunday

While the Mid-Atlantic states are recovering from Snowzilla, we're enjoying a sunny day. Thought the temps won't be above freezing today, the sunshine is helping to melt what little ice and snow remain on our driveway.

Even with the nice weather we're limiting our outdoors time as there are a ton of things we need to get done before the start of the workweek. That's the way it goes sometimes.

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I like the sound of this proposed bill.

In Tennessee, a bill sponsored by state senator Delores Gresham puts the burden of protecting people in gun-free zones on the owners of the properties declared gun-free. This allows legal gun permit holders to sue the property owners if injury or death occurs in those gun-free zones because the permit holders were not allowed to carry their firearms as a means of protection.

This is something long overdue as too many of these property owners have banned guns while doing little to ensure the safety of the people on those properties.

All one has to do is look at some of the mass shootings that have taken place and you'll see most of them took place on properties that were gun-free zones. Some mass shooters indicated they chose those locations because they knew no one would have guns, giving them a free-fire zone to exploit.

If you're going to declare your commercial property a gun-free zone then you must also be obliged to provide adequate security to protect the now-unarmed patrons. If you don't, that shows depraved indifference and that should be a punishable action, either civil or criminal.

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I think the prospect of Michael Bloomberg entering the race for president will do for Hillary or Bernie what Ross Perot did for Bob Dole.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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The New England Patriots hopes of going to the SuperBowl were dashed when they lost to Denver, 20-18. Seeing just how good the Carolina Panthers are this season, I'm almost glad they didn't make it. Frankly, I doubt Denver is good enough to beat them.

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Who didn't see this coming?

Muslim group says Germany must ban alcohol otherwise sex attacks will continue.

The problem with this argument is that alcohol has been in Germany for a long, long time, and there was never a mass of rapes and sex assaults as there was in Cologne and other German cities on New Year’s Eve. The cause of the rapes and sex assaults was the Islamic attitude toward Infidel women — that they can be taken and used sexually (cf. Qur’an 4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30). But no one, least of all the German authorities, wants to face that fact.
That won't last long. I find it interesting that Muslims like this are outright admitting that their fellow Muslims are so weak willed that they are incapable of resisting temptation. Or could it be that their cultural prohibitions are so antiquated that savagery is tolerated all in the name of Allah. They they think Germany will bow to their demands shows just how foolish they are. It is more likely Germany will ban them and deport them wholesale...with prejudice.

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Skip Murphy points us to this little truth:

Marxism is intellectualism for stupid people. - Moe Lane

Heh.

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This is just stupid.

But we know the warmists will find some way to justify it even though everyone knows it will be a lie.

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This is yet another example of why the Department of Education should be abolished and the staffers at its Office of Civil Rights should be prosecuted for civil rights violations:

Student cleared of rape charge by his college and by a jury in court still not welcome at his college.

So even though he's been found not guilty after a trial and cleared by a college tribunal, he's still guilty as far as some of his fellow students are concerned.

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I've known this for a long time, but no one listened to me because I am a white conservative male Christian.

Christians, Conservatives, Men, and White People are not responsible for your problems.

I guess it's easier for some people to blame others for their own failings and poor decisions.

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I have to admit I am becoming more entranced with Ted Cruz as we fast approach the New Hampshire Primary. I wouldn't mind seeing a Cruz/Fiorina or a Cruz/Christie ticket.

I don't care for Trump even though he is bringing up truths that the GOP establishment and the Democrats have been trying to ignore for some time. I think that explains why he's been attracting a lot of people, They're tired of being ignored by both parties.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the political rhetoric has been dialed up to '11', the number of campaign flyers in our mailboxes has tripled, and where we can't wait for the first round of the political silly season to be over.

1/23/2016

Watching Snowzilla

I have to admit to a little bit of “Let's see how you like it!” thinking in regards to the blizzard pelting the Mid-Atlantic states.

Being a hardy Yankee in northern New England gives me just a little gravitas since we see snowfalls like the one places like Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and a host of other cities are experiencing at the moment, but we see them just about every winter, and in some cases more than once in any given winter.

Then again, we're used to them and are well prepared to deal with them. With few exceptions, we rarely see folks clearing store shelves in anticipation of what to us is a not unusual storm. However, we do still have to put up with the ubiquitous Storm Center TV news and the overblown drama and dire “We're all gonna DIE!” level warnings about not going out into the storm unless it's absolutely necessary. Well, duh.

I don 't know about you, but I'm not one to go out in a storm just because I can. I never have been. If I'm out in one it's because there's a pretty darned good reason, one that makes it necessary even though I don't really want to be out there. The most common reason – snowblowing the driveway in order to stay ahead of the anticipated snowfall totals. Sometimes it's easier to go out and snowblow once or twice during the storm than it is to clear all of the snow after it's all over, particularly if snowfall is expected to be above two feet.

So far our winter up here in New Hampshire has been rather benign. We haven't had the days and weeks of below zero temperatures or storm after storm after storm. We figure we're due a respite after the past two winters of heavy snowfall and below normal temperatures. A little breather now and then is a good thing and we're hoping to make the most of it. In the meantime we're more than happy to watch others struggle with winter weather we consider normal up here.