7/27/2016

A Paradise That Was

This is the paradise that is Venezuela!


(H/T Moonbattery)

7/26/2016

A Brief View Of Day One Of The DNC Convention - Hypocrisy All Around

I caught the last half hour or so of the first evening of the DNC convention.

My impression of what I saw during that time?

Hypocrisy, envy, greed, and drooling media sycophants.

Did I miss anything?

The topics brought up by the two speakers I heard, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, had me both angry and dismayed at the same time.

Warren talked about getting corporate money out of elections, particularly Wall Street money, when one of the biggest recipients of that ‘dirty’ money is Hillary Clinton. In the same vein Bernie brought up the Koch brothers, choosing to ignore the huge amounts of money George Soros and Tom Steyer have bestowed upon the Democrats. The money the Kochs have donated is a mere pittance compared to what those two have given. And unlike Soros and Steyer, the Kochs have donated money to campaigns of both Democrats and Republicans. But no mention of any of that was made. I figure the whole “Let’s overturn Citizens United” shtick will disappear should Hillary be elected.

Bernie brought forth his “We’re gonna give you free shit” talking points, between ‘free’ college tuition, ‘free’ health care, and ‘free’ money in the form of a $15 minimum wage. And like anything that’s ‘free’, it’s going to be expensive and it isn’t going to deliver on the promises as anything that’s ‘free’ is worth what you aid for it, meaning it’s worthless. The college degree will be worth nothing, the free health care will provide neither health or care, and the very people the $15 minimum wage is supposed to help will help them…right on to the unemployment lines and the welfare roles.

And then there was the media.

During the RNC convention the usual suspects of the MSM were serious, wearing disapproving expressions on their faces and giving lip service to the idea of unadulterated coverage. But during the first night of the DNC convention one could see the unabated excitement and, dare I say it, adulation of the MSM drones.

And so it goes.

7/24/2016

Thoughts On A Sunday

The heat and humidity has been with us since just before the weekend, but it hasn't been like that felt in other parts of the US. With heat indexes above 110ºF, numerous people were affected with heat exhaustion and heat stroke. While these temps are not unprecedented, they are still daunting.

At least we haven't seen temps or heat indexes like that. We also have the nearby lake helping cool things off as well as occasional showers and thundershowers cooling things off as well.

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The Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout, aka The Boat, is finally ready to again ply the waters of the lake. A considerable amount of work was needed before it was seaworthy and the work wasn't completed until this past week. It now sits on its trailer waiting for me to perform the last tasks needed before we put it back into the water, that being putting the various cushions and seat covers back into place, checking the anchor rodes (no, that isn't a typo) and replacing them is need be, locating the mooring lines and getting them back where they belong, replacing the horn, and one or two other minor bits of work.

I hope to launch The Boat this next weekend.

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Have you noticed that a lot of modern cityscapes are starting to resemble the dystopian visions of a number of science fiction stories and movies?

Science fiction cityscapes have awed audiences since Metropolis debuted in Germany in 1927. These amplified skylines provide a visual shorthand for change, depicting a sort of physical and political accretion. The future Los Angeles of Blade Runner (and Blade Runner 2) implies the end of nationalism. The flooded New York of Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence implies climate change and loss. The upper middle class verticality of Spike Jonze’s Her implies the economic and cultural results of widespread automation. These cities aren’t just predictions, they’re caricatures of our culture that eventually inform real world decision making.

The article is eye-opening, so Read The Whole Thing.

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I think we can call this either an oxymoron or a paradox.

Hillary has pledged to “end the epidemic of violence” while Obama says crime is down substantially. So which is it?

Could it be the media is playing up any act of violent crime, making it bigger than it is as a means of giving Hillary a talking point? Once she's elected, much of this reporting would fade away, giving everyone the impression that she's somehow brought down the crime rate. The first reaction might be “The news media would never do that!” But as we've come to see, much of the MSM are merely Democrat operatives with bylines. They don't report the news. They shape opinion, even if it's wrongheaded or even based upon a lie. (Two examples – the Black Lives Matter movement and the many times disproven Gender Pay Gap.)

So what's the truth? You won't find the answer from the news media.

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On the other hand, City-Journal's Heather MacDonald delves into the other side of the coin, that being the big part of the crime rate story the rest of the media is purposely ignoring.

It is remarkable how little black lives matter when they have not been taken by a police officer. The mainstream media is foaming at the mouth over Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s warnings about rising crime during his Thursday night convention speech. Trump pointed out that homicides were up nearly 17 percent in the largest 50 cities. (The latest research actually shows a nearly 17 percent increase in the 56 largest cities). There have been more than 2,000 shooting victims this year in Chicago, he said, and more than 3,600 killed in Chicago since President Obama took office.

The overwhelming majority of the victims in this post-Ferguson shooting and homicide surge have been black. In Baltimore, for example, 45 people were killed in July 2015 alone; 43 of them were black. Baltimore’s per capita murder rate was the highest in its history in 2015. In Chicago, 2,460 blacks were shot in 2015—lethally or non-lethally—or nearly seven blacks a day. By contrast, 78 whites were shot in Chicago, or one every 4.6 days. Twelve cities with large black populations saw murders rise anywhere from 54 percent—in the case of Washington, D.C.—to 90 percent, in Cleveland.

If the Black Lives Matter movement were truly serious about saving black lives, it is these crimes they would be protesting about and working with the police to stop. But we hear nary a word which tells me that to BLM, black lives don't really matter as blacks killing blacks is perfectly OK with them.

What a bunch of hypocrites.

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Another paradox? It appears Tim Kaine, Hillary's running mate, took some common sense and perfectly constitutional measures to address gun violence when he was the mayor of Richmond, Virginia that brought the firearms homicide rate down in that city by 41 percent.

Of course some of the die-hard liberals see him as being racist for supporting the laws that put people in jail for illegally possessing firearms.

Seems like a pretty good idea. Convicted felons, at least ones that have been convicted of violent crimes, shouldn’t be allowed to own or possess a weapon. Nor are they. Increasing the penalties certainly won’t stop all illegal activities….murder is illegal but people still do it….but, if it brings down the crime rate, that is a good thing, right? Right???

Kaine's move defined illegal possession of firearms by convicted felons a federal crime, meaning they went to federal prison and were incarcerated for longer than they would have been under state law. All Kaine did was refer the cases to the federal prosecutors and they did the rest.

Of course the usual suspects tried to paint the move as racist since a majority of those convicted under the federal law were black. But they chose to ignore the little fact that these were convicted felons in possession of firearms, something that was already illegal.

Yet another example of the liberal double standard.

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Toni Airaksinen is telling feminists that the feminist war on college men must end. If it does not, everybody loses.

One of the biggest issues is the fallout from the Dear Colleague letter from the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, where due process was set aside in order to ensure more college men were found guilty of sexual assault based solely upon mere accusation. Two problems with this is that the definition of sexual assault on college campuses has been broadened to the point where it is meaningless, and if a true assault took place, it should be a matter for the local police and judicial system to deal with, not a star chamber tribunal where guilt is assumed and innocence is rarely found.

These two issues have already cost a number of colleges and universities their reputations, and in some cases, large sums of money after male students accused and expelled sued their colleges and were found to have been railroaded, then suspended or expelled without cause while damaging the reputation of the accused student.

This isn't going to end well if this nonsense doesn't stop.

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Despite years of propaganda pushing the meme “Keep it in the ground”, the American people aren't buying it. They're saying 'Yes' to energy, and 'No' to keep it in the ground.

There are still problems to be addressed, particularly the rabid NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) and BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Neat Anything) that have worked hard to kill any energy project, including renewables and/or the power lines needed to get that electrical power from where it's generated to where it's needed, or pipelines that bring much needed natural gas to power plants, factories, and homes. They have bought into the know-nothing propaganda with little or no thought.

These deluded souls seem to think that the electricity that comes out of their outlets appears because of magic and not because of power plants, power lines, and transformer/switching sub-stations. They are also the ones who scream the loudest when they throw that power switch and nothing happens. But they'll still fight any project that adds capacity to our increasingly stressed power grid.

They also don't like the idea of fossil fuels in any form even though there is nothing they can propose to replace them. Even electric cars require power from the very same power grid they want to make sure becomes less capable every day.

I think these folks need a much needed dose of reality. Maybe then they'll come to realize that they are the cause of many of the energy problems we have. However, I'm not holding my breath.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the hot humid weather is returning, thunderstorms will follow, and where a bad day on the lake is better than a good day at work.

7/23/2016

The New Face Of The $15 Minimum Wage Cashier

It's both interesting and disturbing to me that the DNC platform includes the push for a $15 minimum wage. Such a position may sound great on the face of it, but anyone who knows anything about economics or has run a business knows it will have some dire side effects the Democrats either don't know about, or worse, don't really care about as long as they win the election in November.

The biggest side effect the Democrats are ignoring – the hit to minimum wage earners many of whom will lose their jobs because their new wage makes it more attractive (and cheaper) to replace them with machines. This hit will be hurt those between the ages of 17-24, the group that makes up a large majority of those with minimum wage jobs. It will be jobs like those in fast food restaurants, convenience store/gas stations, supermarkets, and farms that will take the biggest hit. Most of those jobs are entry level jobs, in other words first jobs, that will go the way of the dodo and passenger pigeon. Those jobs helped train those with no experience about the responsibilities any job entails, and hopefully teaches good work habits. But those jobs will be gone, unemployment will rise, and all of the supposed 'benefits' of the more than doubled minimum wage will never materialize.

Instead, this is what we'll see:

7/22/2016

Liberals, Conservatives, And The Gun Conversation That Needs To Take Place...But Won't

In an editorial by Dr. R. B. A. DiMuccio, the topic of guns and the outlook by two opposite ends of the political spectrum are covered, including some harsh truths about guns and crime.

Today’s political landscape is rife with puzzles and paradoxes in desperate need of Rosetta Stones. The one that I want to discuss is this: Why are we so profoundly incapable of having a reasonable dialogue about guns? National Review writer David French describes the “conversation” as hopelessly polarized. It’s as if, he laments, we are coming from entirely different worlds when processing events like the massacre that took place in Orlando.

The basic facts of that incident are not in dispute: A self-professed ISIS jihadist indiscriminately slaughtered dozens of innocent people at a gay nightclub, literally pledging his loyalty to ISIS via a phone call to a 9-1-1 dispatcher as he was committing the atrocity. Seeing this, conservatives generally zeroed in on the evil of the perpetrator and addressed the broader war on terror. Viewing the same facts, leftist commentators and pundits invariably settled on a narrative driven by a fixation on “America’s gun culture,” a narrow focus on stricter gun control, and blanket calls for “tolerance” of the “LGBTQ” agenda by conservatives and Christians.

It is no wonder that David French refers to the liberal reaction to this and other similar incidents as a “bizarro morality.” The level of disconnect has been truly mind-boggling.

A single tragic event. Two entirely different takes on the event – one rational and the other purely emotion-driven, with the usual “Do Something!” demands upon government. Ironically, that 'something' merely makes those demanding action feel better, but does absolutely nothing to fix the actual problem. Then it happens again and the demands to “Do Something!” become more strident. Another 'something' is done, the demanders feel better that someone has done something even though, like the previous time, that 'something' does nothing to fix the actual problem. And the cycle continues.

How does that fix anything? It doesn't. All it does is create an increasingly wide divide and anyone addressing the actual problem and offering a workable solution are reviled as thugs, bigots, and haters.

And so it goes.

7/18/2016

Who Is Selfish?

Which system creates more selfishness – capitalism or socialism? Dennis Prager has the answer...and it isn't what most people (on the Left) think.


I know I've always felt those things I have earned, be they a feeling of accomplishment or some new possession, are always more appreciated than things that were just given to me. As the saying goes, something that is free is worth what you paid for it. (For those Progressives who will have trouble parsing this, it means whatever it is, is worthless.)

7/17/2016

Thoughts On A Sunday

The last of my time off from work is coming to an end. At least I managed to get all the work we'd planned for The Manse completed and the missus is pleased with the outcome.

I also found out that the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout – aka The Boat – has had all of the work it needed to make it seaworthy has been completed. That means we'll be able to ply the waters of the lake starting some time this coming week.

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You know it's gotten bad when a newspaper apologizes for publishing an accurate headline.

The correct response the the BLM dupes who protested the headline should have been “Sod off, swampy!”

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“Obama has lost control of the Middle East.”

It's not like he ever had it to begin with.

He pissed away years of progress paid for in blood and treasure for better poll numbers. That's not a leader. That's a narcissist with delusions of adequacy. Now we're paying the price for his abandonment of the Iraqis with more blood and more terror with more to come.

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Undoing 50 years of race relations because Obama can’t help himself.

If there is no strife, no struggle, community organizers have no reason to exist. Race baiters like Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, and Barack Obama would be out of a job.

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David Starr offers a solution to getting rid of ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the rest of the militant fundamentalist Islamic pinheads.

As he writes, it “might be a little costly.” But it would probably be cheaper in the long run.

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Tom Bowler points us to a piece about Alan Greenspan and his warnings about the upcoming “crisis which has a way to go.”

Greenspan admits part of the problem is the very policies he helped implement. One of the issues he says that will bring down our economy is the rapidly growing entitlement time bomb. The bill for all of those promises made by previous generations of movers and shakers in Washington will be coming due and we won't have the tax revenue to pay it. Projections show that in 2032 every penny of federal tax revenue will be needed to pay out on the entitlements. Raising taxes will only delay the inevitable briefly and will have detrimental effects on an already stressed economy, meaning the anticipated tax revenues will not be anywhere near what they are projected to be.

Of course I have to lay some of the blame on Richard Nixon as it was he who took the US off of the gold standard in 1971 and made our money nothing more than fiat, backed by nothing but promises and perceptions. (Note: FDR did the same thing in 1933 but it was only 'temporary', meaning it ended just before the end of World War II under the conditions of the Bretton Woods agreement in 1944.)

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As per usual, the Massachusetts legislature is blindly considering a renewable energy source mandate that will have a number of unintended consequences, including much higher electricity rates in an region that already has higher than average rates and indirectly forcing the closure of two non-CO2 producing power plants – the Millstone nuclear power plant in Connecticut and the Seabrook nuclear plant in New Hampshire.

One of the other side effects is that the demand for natural gas will skyrocket as base loads will have to be provided in some fashion and the over 2300 megawatts of base load capacity lost through closure of the two nuclear plants will have to be replaced by something, most likely natural gas dual-cycle plants. The problem? There isn't enough pipeline capacity to supply the amount of natural gas needed to run those plants (the local NIMBYs killed off the Kinder Morgan pipeline project through Massachusetts and New Hampshire) so it will need to come from Yemen on the huge LNG tankers at a premium cost rather than from domestic gas wells in Pennsylvania at a fraction of the cost.

The argument has been made that we'll be able to make use of Canadian hydropower, but there are two issues those making that argument are ignoring: access to that hydropower depends upon the building of the Northern Pass powerline project, something local NIMBYs are vehemently opposed to, and that the hydropower won't be cheap.

Either way, the mandate isn't a good or economic solution to a problem that really doesn't exist. It is merely yet another feel-good piece of legislation that will cause more harm than good.

But at least the legislators in Massachusetts will be able to use their support of the mandate as a means of virtue signaling. Too bad that a lot of ratepayers in New England will be paying through the nose to make them feel better.

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Gee, as if we haven't known this for a while!

Eight Years After Hope And Change, Voters Are Angry, Anxious.

I remember watching Obama's first inauguration speech, figuring I'd give him a chance as it was quite possible he might do just fine. (I had voted for McCain and Palin). My hopes were dashed mere minutes into his speech when he attacked his predecessor's governance while George W. Bush was standing right behind him.

I knew then he was a classless boob, a narcissist (I knew that before the election but this confirmed it), close-minded, and likely to do a lot of damage to the country.

Time has proven me right, much to my and others' dismay.

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Anyone paying attention to what's been happening in the US over the past 80 years or so realizes that the basis of our nation, federalism, has been slowly diminished by presidents, congresses, or overweening bureaucrats who believe that only the US government can handle all our nation's needs.

As federalism has declined, so has our government's responsiveness and accountability. Too often solutions to problems in one area of the country are mandated throughout the rest of the nation even though the solutions make no sense (or cause bigger problems) in areas which do not suffer the maladies being 'cured'. We've seen this with the EPA, a rogue government agency that believes itself beholden to no one and immune from the checks and balances. We've seen it with a host of other government agencies or departments like the ATF, the IRS, Justice, Commerce, and Department of the Interior. Our present president doesn't believe in those checks and balances either, handing down decrees by way of executive orders when Congress doesn't give him what he wants when he wants it. It doesn't even matter to him whether his decrees are constitutional, he issues them anyway.

The states suffer under this federal overreach, some times having to implement policies and regulations which make no sense because otherwise federal funds that are supposed to be 'no strings attached' will be withheld. Our political system has become corrupt, unresponsive, and abusive, all supposedly “for our own good.”

I have a feeling the breaking point is approaching, where the states will finally say “Enough!” and tell Washington DC to “Piss off!”

It can't come soon enough for me.

One possible solution to the problem is Senator Mike Lee's (R-UT) proposal that will require removal of an existing government regulation for every new one added. This will be accomplished through what is being called regulatory budgets.

Regulatory budgeting thus seeks to apply basic budgetary principles, such as prioritization and trade-offs, to the management of existing regulations and to the development of new regulations. Departments and agencies are given “regulatory budgets” based on the number of regulations, rules, and directives they issue, along with their estimated economic costs, and they are expected to live within them. Any new regulations must be offset by “savings” realized by eliminating existing regulatory requirements. The goal is to bring greater accountability, discipline, and transparency to the regulatory process.

The United States increasingly is a nation of regulations rather than laws. The federal bureaucracy has become the de facto source of lawmaking, using vague and open-ended statutes to give itself seemingly unlimited powers to enact regulations, rules, and directives without congressional oversight. Federal bureaucrats have used the Clean Air Act alone to enact, on average, roughly 350 pages of regulations for every year the act has been in effect.But that is not all. The initiative also seeks to restore limits on executive action and promote Congress’s role in defending the public interest. Regulatory reform is at the heart of the effort to reclaim Article I of the U.S. Constitution.

Works for me.

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Is there nothing Hillary won't do or anyone she won't pander to just to get elected? From what I can see, the answer is a definitive “Yes”.

In this instance, she's calling for a constitutional amendment that would reverse the Citizens United decision in order to “get big money out of politics.”

Of course I expect it's merely electoral rhetoric because she has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of big money to fund both her lifestyle and her campaign. If she is indeed elected, I expect that proposed amendment would die a quiet and lonely death...until she needs it again.

Such is the hypocrisy that is Hillary Clinton.

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After the terrorist attack in Nice, France, I wonder how long it will be before the Left in the US starts calling for the banning trucks. After all, the terrorist killed more people with his truck than he did with his guns.

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Obama has left us more racially divided than ever.

Yeah, he has, and it was done deliberately. He cries 'Racism' when he himself is the biggest racist in the room.

As Alinsky wrote, “Blame the opposition of the things you are doing.” Obama has followed that particular rule again and again since he became a community organizer. So what else is new?

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Who is more anti-science: Democrats or Republicans?

To hear Democrats tell it Republicans are the anti-science party and they are pro-science. But it turns out that isn't even close to being true.

Members of each party have the science blind spots. One such blind spot is GMOs, genetically modified organisms. Republicans are split on the matter while ~75 percent of Democrats rate GMOs as unsafe despite more than decade of almost 2000 studies showing GMOs are safe for human consumption.

Climate science is another area where the two parties differ, with most Republicans being skeptical about AGW. On the other hand Democrats aren't particularly science minded when it comes to solutions to a problem that might not be a problem.

What it all boils down to is that members of both parties have problems with science, with the anti/pro-science attitudes being split evenly between them.

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And that is the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the business jets are leaving the loocal airport after this afternoon's NASCAR race, the summer folk have been reveling in the hot and humid weather, and where yet another summer Monday has arrived too soon.

7/15/2016

Coup In Turkey

Was the military coup in Turkey all that unexpected? Not to anyone paying attention. Between Erdogan's increasingly militant Islamic slant, the dissolution of Syria, the ISIS poison crossing the border, increasing Kurdish unrest, and the possible behind-the-scenes machinations of Vladimir Putin, I figured something along this line might happen. What is surprising is that US intelligence organs apparently had no idea such a thing might be in the works. Then again, US intelligence operations have become increasingly ineffective since The Won took office.

This isn't the first time a faction within the Turkish military staged a coup to oust a government they saw as increasingly problematic and not working in the best interests of Turkey.

It will be interesting to see how this all works out. If the faction that has taken power is nothing but a puppet of Putin, there is likely to be a civil war within Turkey. That certainly helps Putin weaken NATO and leaves him more room to exercise his empire building ambitions. If the faction is pro-Western, then it's possible we'll see closer ties with Turkey.

In the end, we'll all have to wait and see.

7/14/2016

Caught In A Bind

As time has gone on since he graced Dallas with his presence, Obama continues to pile on law enforcement, in effect calling them an inherently racist institution. He ignores what he's done to help undo years of progress in race relationships, using every opportunity to widen the racial divide he created. He's put law enforcement in a bind.

Black communities condemn the police for black deaths at the hands of police (which is a small number compared to the number of whites killed by police), complain that the police have no interest in solving black homicides while at the same time refusing to give any aid to the investigations into those homicides. They are openly hostile to police yet expect them to perform miracles in regards to solving homicide cases. They wonder why police are wary of entering high crime rate “no go” zones where police have a target on their back.

And The Won keeps egging them on.

He wants a divided America. After all, it's easier to destroy our form of government and replace it with a totalitarian socialist regime much like that of his idols, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

7/10/2016

Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been a busy weekend for yours truly as I have doing a number of house chores including redoing one bedroom and emptying, prepping, and painting our office. It also meant that we did not have any computers online as both our cable modem and wireless router were located in the office and had to be taken offline in order to do the prep and paint work.

As such,this will be a somewhat abbreviated version of Thoughts On A Sunday. Regular blogging will resume once I have the office reassembled.

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Despite the tragedy that was Dallas, I have to say I am getting heartily sick of hearing the same talking heads pontificating about “the meaning of it all.” Between fast, furious (and wrong) accounts of who, what, and where, the media played it up for all they could.

The shooter, a former army reserve soldier, had a mission to kill as many white cops as he could. It was racially motivated, period.

That race relations are at their lowest point in decades, all through the work of the present administration over the past seven-and-a-half years, was certainly one heck of a contributing factor.

Of course The Won deplores the racially motivated killings of the Dallas police officers, conveniently ignoring the fact that he helped create the very conditions that have cause race relations to tank in the first place.

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The Black Lives Matter meme has certainly caught a lot of the public attention. Too bad it's premise, that blacks are disproportionately killed by police compared to whites, is false.

The truth is that whites are about half of those killed by police, with blacks coming in at about a quarter, Hispanics at a bit over an eighth, and the balance “other”, not including Asians, who are rarely shot by police.

That Black Lives Matter does not address the elephant in the room, that being the black homicide rate is almost eight times higher than the white homicide rate, tends to deligitimize their meme. Perhaps they should be focusing their efforts on black-on-black killings which would have a far greater impact on their families and neighborhoods.

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This is something I've known for a long time.

Eat organic, kill the planet.

Organic foods aren't the answer, something Farmer Andy has been telling anyone who will listen for some time. The one big problem with organic farming? Crop yield is a lot lower so you need to cultivate a lot more land to get an equal amount of food.

Frankly, the whole 'organic' food thing is just another means of virtue signaling, significant of nothing.

As I have mentioned in other posts, slap the word 'organic' on something and the rubes will be willing to spend more for it. Farmer Andy proved that a number of years ago when he advertised “Organically Grown, Solar Dried Firewood” for $25 more per cord than 'regular' firewood. Both the 'organic' and regular firewood came from the same pile as I am not aware of any firewood that is not organically grown and most firewood is solar dried. Certainly his was.

He sold a lot of the 'organic' firewood.

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Here are the 8 dumbest celebrity quotes gun control quotes you'll ever read. Of course most of them can afford to pay for private security so they don't need ot have guns...but their security guards do.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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And that's the (greatly) abbreviated news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where it's been raining all weekend, grilling has been taking place despite the rain, and where my vacation has come to an end far too soon.