8/27/2014

Yet Another Clueless Obamabot Chimes In

Once again all I need to do to find posting fodder is turn to one of our local newspaper's Letters section and one or two will present themselves that deserve a response...usually ridicule pointing out the author's ignorance – willful or not – about the realities behind their accusations.

The latest perpetrator, one Paul, writes:

I know a little bit about the time of the $787 billion stimulus plan.

At that time banks, the insurance companies behind the banks and the U.S. automobile industry were all in trouble. The stock market was below 7,000 and we were losing jobs at an alarming rate.

Today our financial institution are stable, the stock market is flirting with 17,000 and the private sector has been growing jobs every month since the middle of 2009. The U.S. automobile industry is alive and kicking.

As for the so called "Disastrous Obamacare" please look at the numbers. Thousands and thousands of people without insurance now have insurance. They have a chance at better health care and now have a better chance at early detection of serious illness. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) saves lives.

As to Paul's first point, almost everyone, including a lot of Democrats, know the $787 billion was wasted taxpayer money. Of that total, only $55 billion had any direct effect on the economy as it went towards actual work, in this case the repair and maintenance of existing infrastructure and the creation of new infrastructure. It was a drop in the bucket. The rest? Payoffs to Obama supporters, crony capitalists, and grifters who took hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and pissed them away, creating no new jobs, no new economic activity, but a boatload of new debt our children and grandchildren will have to pay off. The recovery of the stock market happened in spite of the stimulus, not because of it.

Of the two auto companies that went into bankruptcy, one of them – GM – was bailed out illegally by the President, who unconstitutionally interfered with the normal bankruptcy proceedings as a payoff to Big Labor. Chrysler survived because it was bought by Fiat. Ford was smart and didn't go bankrupt or require a government bailout. Kudos to them.

And as far as the stock market recovery, all it signifies at this point is the recovery in the value of assets and nothing more. That the Dow Jones is around 17,000 points is not an indicator of the health of the economy. It does not signify the jobless rate (the U6 unemployment rate, not the oft touted and totally bogus U3 rate), nor actual economic activity.

Next, his crowing about how Obamacare his provided insurance to “thousands and thousands” ignores the “millions and millions” who lost their health insurance because of Obamacare and now have to pay much higher premiums for 'new' policies that provide less coverage, won't let them keep their doctor or use the local hospital. As an added insult, access to health insurance does not automatically equate to access to health care. A lot of medical practices aren't taking new patients, with or without health insurance. Others that are may be an hour or two drive away. So it helped “thousands and thousands” at the cost of hurting “millions and millions”. Yeah, that was a great tradeoff, and we still haven't seen all the effects as some mandates have been postponed – again unconstitutionally by Obama – and others due to go into effect at the first of the year will knock a lot of employers and their workers for a loop as new taxes, fees, and other requirements kick in.

Before praising the success of the stimulus and Obamacare, maybe Paul should have looked into all the effects rather than just the positive ones. I think he would have found the negative far outweighed the positive.

8/26/2014

Emily Does Freddie Proud

BeezleBub and I just finished watching the first semifinal round of America's Got Talent, something we watch every season.

Not once have I ever commented on any of the acts I've seen on the show or on any of the other competitions shows because, quite frankly, it has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. But after tonight's performance on AGT by Emily West I feel I must say something.

At this point I must state that I have been a fan of Queen since I first heard Killer Queen on the radio in the 70's. One of my all time favorites songs by them is Forever from the soundtrack of The Highlander. In all the years I've listened to that song I've always thought no one but the late great Freddie Mercury could sing that song and do it justice. I've heard dozens of covers by a wide range of singers, one or two who sounded something like Freddie but didn't have the range he did, and none of them pulled it off.

That is no longer true.

Emily West's performance was impeccable. She made the song hers rather than just another poor cover of Freddie's performance.

Once the video of tonight's performance is available I will update this post.

8/24/2014

Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a wonderful weekend here in our home town, with Old Home Day taking place Saturday and great summer weather on Sunday. Not that the weather Saturday wasn't good, being in the upper 70's, but there was some cloudiness that made it feel a little cool during mid afternoon. If that's the worst I can say about the weekend, then you know it was a good one.

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Stacy McCain posts about the Madness of “Gender Theory”, its roots in fascism (which he describing even if he doesn't realize it), and the thorough brain-washing of radical feminists. All one has to do is read their screeds and you will come away with the same conclusion as Stacy:

No normal person talks this way. People must be taught to babble this ideological nonsense, which always reminds me of George Orwell's aphorism: “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that; no ordinary man could be such a fool.”

Then again many of the self-anointed intellectuals are so disconnected from the rest of the population they have no understanding that it is they who are the fools. Then again, being an intellectual does not imply they have intelligence.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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Eric the Viking has this one right.

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Kevin Williamson asks “Who lost the cities?”

The answer can be found in places like Detroit, San Francisco, Chicago, Newark, Patterson, Camden, and an increasingly long list of cities. The common denominator has been decades of institutionalized racism perpetrated by one Democrat administration after another, making promises and buying votes with money they had to take from the productive citizens and businesses, driving them out and drying up the supply of other people's money. The race-baiters and hucksters have made sure they get their cut even as they betray the very people they supposedly represent. If the people they want to help actually managed to make it out of the perpetual cycle of poverty, these same folks would lose their constituency and their income, so it's in their best interest to keep the downtrodden in that state, their protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

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AVI delves into the issue of the differences between liberals and conservatives and how the respective groups spread their beliefs to others (socially versus intellectual argument and reasoning) . While I don't agree with everything he posits, I have to say that for the most part he's dead on target.

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I agree with Bird Dog 100% on this matter in regards to ordering at Dunkin Donuts...or anywhere else, for that matter.

Don't wait until you're at the cashier to make up your mind what it is you want to order and, if there's a long line behind you, think twice about 'custom' orders that take a lot of time to order and make, okay?

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It's only bad when the GOP does this to Liberals. If it's the other way around it's perfectly OK, right?

Unsealed documents are revealing the political corruption in Wisconsin behind the “John Doe” investigations into supporters of Republican Governor Scott Walker.

Did they really think they were going to get away with it? Of course they did, just as it's been going in in neighboring Illinois for decades. But Wisconsin isn't Illinois and the Democrats got caught pushing malicious investigations with the sole purpose of suppressing any support for GOP candidates and office holders.

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And that's the (abbreviated) news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the last full weekend of summer is fading away, the kids are returning to school this week, and where summer weather is expected to hang on for at least a few more days.

8/23/2014

No One Really Knows What Happened...Yet

Now that the narrative on the shooting of an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri is starting to unravel, one has to wonder if when the entire truth is revealed whether it will quell the unrest seen there or spur on even more violence.

It has already been seen that the so-called “Gentle Giant”, Michael Brown, wasn't as gentle as some believe, having been an active participant of a strong-arm robbery of a convenience store with his friend, the same friend who was with him when Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson confronted the pair as they were walking down the middle of a street, asking them to get out off the street and onto the sidewalk.

Allegations have been made that the shooting of Brown by Wilson was unprovoked and racially motivated, but now it appears that Wilson may have been beaten by Brown, evidenced by the broken bones in his face.

Somehow I doubt that even if there was video of the altercation from multiple viewing angles with the video showed Brown attacking Officer Wilson in his vehicle and Wilson responding with deadly force that the calls for Wilson's death would lessen, particularly with the media egging on the residents and protesters in Ferguson. It doesn't fit the “America is the most racist country in the world” narrative.

Frankly, I will wait until all the investigations have been finished and the conclusions made public. Until then no one really knows what happened that fateful night in Ferguson.

8/22/2014

A Question No One In The Media Is Asking

Received via e-mail:


Click on Image to enlarge

8/20/2014

Cable Companies Reach A Tipping Point

As the costs of video programming has been climbing, the number of subscribers to that programming on cable and satellite systems has been dropping. That's no secret, nor has it been unexpected. A side effect has been the number of subscribers to broadband has been climbing as more consumers drop their video services and use video streaming services like, Netflix, Hulu+, Amazon Prime, iTunes, and others instead.

As this change has been happening it's been inevitable that at some point the number of video subscribers would drop below the number of broadband subscribers. That point has been reached.

Leichtman Research Group (LRG) says the largest U.S. cable TV operators now have more high speed access customers than they do video customers, according to  Bruce Leichtman, LRG president and principal analyst.

Not only are the largest telcos and cable companies dramatically changing their revenue sources, but the basic “product” has become a bundle of services, anchored by broadband services of two types: high speed Internet access and video entertainment.

The “video entertainment” is the aforementioned streaming video and its share has been growing at a rate far above that of regular video subscription falloff.

It would not surprise me if at some point cable operators stop carrying traditional video programming altogether and switch all of their operations over to broadband.

8/19/2014

The Next Step In Space Flight

This is how rockets are supposed to come back to Earth...sort of.


This was the first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9R after launching the ORBCOMM satellite, re-entering the atmosphere, and soft-landing on the ocean.

Future launches will attempt a soft-landing on the ground, something that, if successful, can further decrease the cost of launching payloads into orbit. There will be no need to use a new first stage booster for every launch, something that can dramatically reduce the costs and turnaround times associated with space flight.

(H/T NextBigFuture)

8/17/2014

Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been a fifty-fifty weekend here in the Lakes Region, at least in regards to the weather.

Nice, though a bit cool for August on Saturday and cloudy/sunny/showery today, again with temps below normal. Usually we see temperatures in the upper 80's and occasionally the 90's in the first half of August with 70's and 80's for the second half. But instead both the 80's and 90's have been replaced by the 60's and 70's, with August feeling more like mid-September. Then again, it has been a cooler than normal summer with only a few days hitting the 90's.

It has been quite humid through the summer which has meant air conditioning has been used to dry out the air rather than cooling it, and even then we used the A/C here at The Manse sparingly.

I'm hoping the cooler than normal summer isn't a harbinger of a colder than normal winter.

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You know people aren't buying the indictment of Governor Rick Perry when even Democrats are saying it's bogus and politically motivated.

I would expect the governor of my home state, Maggie Hassan, to do exactly the same thing as Rick Perry under the same circumstances and I would not consider those actions to be criminal. Perry was doing his job within the scope of his duties and everyone except the dipshit special prosecutor in Travis County, Texas knows it.

As Jonathan Adler calls it, it's “the criminalization of politics.”

It's time to disbar some of these overly ambitious and politically motivated prosecutors.

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As a follow-on to my post yesterday, there's this from Commentary showing us that the Presidency has broken Obama even as he's broken the nation. All he wants to be now is an ex-president. His timing certainly sucks considering he's been backing away from his duties just when he needs to be at the top of his game. The world is descending into chaos and all he wants to do is take his ball and go home.

He apparently likes the perks and the trappings of the office but not the duties, finding them boring or beyond his abilities. But then aren't all narcissists like that?

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I must admit I have conflicting feelings over this story.

Verizon has been accused of allowing its legacy copper telephone network decay in order to force customers over to FiOS, its fiber optic network.

There are a number of advantages to the the POTS (Plain Old Telephone System), the primary one being that it will still function when many others won't because it supplies its own power, unlike the FiOS system where a backup battery at each customer's home will run the equipment for only a few hours if power fails. After that battery is discharged there's no phone. In many cases that's more than sufficient, but what of the power is out for a day, a week, two weeks, or more? POTS will still work and FiOS and cell phones will be nothing but decorations.

On the other hand I can see why Verizon would be pushing to move customers off of their copper network: it's expensive to maintain and becoming more so as the numbers of people with regular landlines has been falling, and doing so for years. Up to 40% of households no longer have landlines and are using cell phones exclusively. (Mine is one of them, having dropped our landline over 4 years ago. It made no sense to pay for a rarely used landline and our cell phones, so we got rid of it.) As soon as the last of the POTS customers are switched over to fiber, Verizon can decommission their old switching systems which means they'll have that much less in the way of legacy equipment to maintain. It also means they can sell off their copper network, either to a competitor or for recycling. (The copper is worth a lot of money on the scrap metal market.)

I'm sure there were plenty of people who didn't like the change over from manually switched systems (operators) to automatically switched systems (dial phone), or from dial phone systems to Touch Tone phone systems. There are always those who are comfortable with “the way it's always been.” But some of that might be habit or nostalgia, and not an deeply ingrained refusal to embrace change. I know when we started discussing dropping our landline that I was reluctant, but I came to realize it was more habit and familiarity rather than an actual need to keep it, so out it went.

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I have to agree with Glenn Reynolds on his take on casinos. They do end up having a negative effect on the local economy as well as a rise in crime.

A number of Democrats here in New Hampshire have been pushing for casino gambling for years but have been held off, with a number of bills either being defeated in the legislature or vetoed by the governor. All they see is the revenues to be generated for the state but conveniently ignore or dismiss the negative effects that more often than not outweigh any economic gains.

Our present governor is all for casino gambling, having gone so far as to use projected revenues from casino licensing and parimutuel taxes as part of her budgeting process for the present biennial budget, but the legislature slapped her down, with the state senate killing casino gambling yet again.

Frankly, I don't want to see casinos in New Hampshire. I don't want it to become yet another “Me, too!” state, falling down the rat hole so many others have and finding out that gambling isn't such a great moneymaker once all of the costs are factored in.

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Meet the new “gringos.”

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Mike over at Cold Fury delves into how Progressives have been shredding the US Constitution since 1913.

It is the actions started by Woodrow Wilson that have led our self-proclaimed 'betters' to push the idea that the Constitution is a “living document”, meaning they believe it can be reinterpreted at will and that the amendment process is unnecessary and too slow. That also means that the Constitution means nothing and that the rule of law instead becomes rule by decree, something that always backfires and crushes freedom, even for those who think it's a great idea.

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Matt Walsh crushes a self-centered entitled jerk who believes that Walmart somehow owes him a lot more money for a job he admits he puts in very little effort.

Yeah, like that will happen.

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Star Parker reminds us that Obama is one of those people who still believes wealth is a zero-sum game. That merely shows he isn't the “most intelligent man in the room.” Then again, he never was. But that never stopped him from believing it.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer continues, the start of school is less than two weeks away, and where plans for the upcoming winter are already being made.

8/16/2014

Phoning It In

As the clock on the Obama Administration winds down (not fast enough for me...and about 300 million other Americans), it's easy to look back to 2009 and discern the patterns and style of governing by the present occupant of the White House. I think I can describe it in two words:

Slacker chic.

The Won made all kinds of noise about remaking America, put forth all kinds of plans, threw trillions of dollars at the 'problems' he believed were plaguing this nation...and nothing happened. He was the “Idea Guy”, not the “Get It Done Guy”. He must have figured that as long as he had the vision that others would make the vision come to fruition. The problem is that these 'others' were no more capable of making any of it happen then he since most of them, like him, had little or no real world experience in actually doing things that mattered. That's what happens when you fill your cabinet, advisory positions, and 'czar' offices with academics rather than with people who have experience in getting things done, particularly in the private sector.

With one failure to execute after another, Obama looked increasingly like he was just phoning it in, not much different from a bunch of stoners phoning in a pizza order after doing ounce after ounce of choom and trying to quench their monster munchies.

The Won is a slacker, and he always has been. He just hid it long enough to get elected into one office after another. Once he actually had do something, he was lost. Not surprising, is it? After all he's never had to do anything his entire life, so he wasn't prepared to execute the duties of the highest office in the land. As he approaches the middle of his second (and last) term, he isn't even trying anymore, just going through the motions and making appearances at fund-raisers and on the links.

January 2017 can't come soon enough.

8/15/2014

Comcast Should Not Be Allowed To Merge With TWC Until It Gets Its House In Order

The possible merger between Comcast and Time-Warner is still looking like a possibility and I, for one, think it shouldn't happen. The last thing any of us need is and even bigger Comcast, particularly in light of their continued contempt for their customers.

How is it I can make the claim they have contempt for their customers? It's simple, really, as there are numerous examples of how poorly their customer service performs. One of the most recent was the poor guy who was put on hold for over three hours until the Comcast office closed. His crime? He wanted to cancel his subscription.

That's Aaron Spain of Chicago (holla!), who waited on hold with Comcast about as long as it takes some people to run a marathon, three and a half hours. Upon notifying Comcast that he was trying to cancel his service, he was in fact put on hold long enough that the Comcast offices had closed while the elevator music continued to play. Aaron confirmed this by calling back into Comcast with a different phone and getting the automated message that all the people tasked with helping him cancel his service had gone home for the day.

Now, you might be wondering why someone would wait on hold for three and a half hours with Comcast to begin with. I like to think that Aaron saw this as some kind of completely idiotic test of wills between a megalithic corporation and himself, and he'd be damned if he wasn't going to win. Call it the Chicago spirit. Call it boredom. Call it the opportunity for a great YouTube video.

Whatever you call it, don't call Comcast about it, because they'll put you on hold until they leave for the day.

He isn't the only one who has suffered at the hands of Comcast customer service while trying to cancel some or all of their services. While it is understood that any cable company will try to convince a customer canceling their service will try to convince them to remain as a customer, it appears Comcast takes this retention effort a little too far, with one customer service representative having gone so far as to insult and become belligerent with one customer trying to cancel his service. Even customers who are canceling due to a move out of a Comcast service area have a tough time of it, with Comcast charging them “Unreturned Equipment fees” for equipment they had already returned. More than a few commenters on the equipment fees have suggested a number of strategies to prevent this kind of abuse, running from making a video recording of the equipment being returned (including a return receipt from the customer service rep), demanding a “Retrieval Kit” (basically a pre-paid box for shipping your set-top box/cable modem back to them), or demanding that they send a tech out to retrieve the equipment since a tech had delivered and installed the equipment in the first place. (They hate the last one because a truck roll is always expensive and the equipment is probably worth less than the cost of a tech going out to retrieve it.)

Comcast has to get its house into order. If not, there's no way their merger with Time-Warner Cable should be allowed.