1/29/2015

Obama Finding Out He Does Have Limits

It seems that Obama was surprised by the backlash garnered when he announced plans to tax withdrawals from 529 education savings plans. What did he expect?

He said during the State of the Union address that he was going to change the regulations governing the savings plans and treat any interest as taxable income, gutting the intent of the plans: to help save for post secondary education. What makes his idea even more laughable is that he would use the revenues to pay for “free” community college, meaning he was taking money from the very people he said he was going to help, in this case the middle class. This sounds almost like the old “Gimme your lunch money!” extortion pulled by the school bully. How is it the President thought there wouldn't be a hew and cry from those who were about to have their savings accounts raided to help pay for someone else's education? Or did he know and just not give a damn?

Of the two, I'd say it was more likely the latter as we already know he has no love of the middle class, indicated by the actions he's taken over the past six years that have decimated it.

While he claimed this would really only affect the rich, the rich generally don't use 529 plans to pay for their kids' education. They usually pay it out of pocket. The biggest users of the 529 plans are the middle class, not that that little detail bothered him in the least.

At least now that he's backed away from the idea, seeing the huge negative reactions to it by both parties in Congress, and knowing he would never get away with imposing such a tax by executive order. (If I remember the Constitution correctly he has no power to do so, which could lead to a constitutional crisis and either intervention by the Supreme Court or impeachment by Congress.)

Obama is finding out rather late in the game that he isn't omnipotent and that elections have consequences...for him.

1/26/2015

Snow Storm Thoughtlessness

To prove just how crazy folks have become since the news media has been trumpeting the impending doom that is the coming blizzard, I have this little tidbit that I experienced personally.

I had finished work for the day, went home to pick up the gas can so I could get some fuel for the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower and to check what Deb might need to help her diminish the symptoms of her cold.

With the gas can in the back of the trusty F150, I headed off to Walmart to pick up their generic version of Nyquil. Twenty minutes later I had the cold remedy in hand and my wallet was 6 dollars lighter. From there it was off the gas station near the local airport, and then home.

I pulled into the gas station, and due to a few vehicles already occupying the pumps, I waited patiently for one of them directly in front of me to finish and then pull away. Finally, the fellow in the car at the pump I was going to used finished, got into his car and pulled away.

Just as I started moving forward towards the now vacant pump, a car pulled into the station from the road, cut in front of me and pulled in next to the pump I was going to use.

I admit to being a bit steamed that someone would pull such a rude and stupid stunt. I came inches from colliding with their left rear quarter as they made their mad dash for the pump. (I'd had to wait a small distance away from the pump because the previous car was facing towards me and needed the room to pull out.)

As the driver of the offending vehicle got out of her car, I honked my horn and gave her a “What the heck?” shrug.

Her response: “F**k you! I'm in a hurry!” It figures, considering she had Rhode Island plates.

My response was to pull up behind her car, put the F150 in park, roll down my window and say, “Here in New Hampshire we try to be polite. You might want to consider that while you're here.”

Her response: “F**k you, pops! First come first serve!” She then proceeded to pump her gas.

While she was doing that, the truck in front of her finished, pulled away, and another vehicle pulled in, facing towards her. It was big Ford F350 diesel and if it was like most of those I know, it was going to pump a lot of fuel, meaning it was going to take a while.

She finally finished, got the receipt printed out by the pump, and started to get into her car when she realized she wasn't going to be able to pull out until the F350 in front of her was done. She then has the gall to tell me that I have to move my truck so she can get out. By then there were a couple of other vehicles behind me, meaning backing up was not an option.

So I did the only thing I could do.

Nothing.

To say she was peeved would be an understatement. That she thought that I had to do anything for her, particularly after her actions and her expletive laden retorts and threats, had me wondering if she was plain crazy, storm crazy, or perhaps a little of both.

It took another ten minutes for the fellow in he F350 to finish filling his tanks before he finally backed out away from the pumps and left. With squealing tires and a flash of an upraised middle finger, she was off, too.

I was able to fill my two gallon gas can in less than a minute and I was then on my way as well.

It was just a mile or so from the turnoff from the state route on to the road to The Manse that I again came across the woman from Rhode Island. She was making the acquaintance of one of our local police officers who must have decided that she'd broken one traffic law or another.

As I drove by I waved. The officer who was standing beside her driver side window waved back and then continued talking to woman in the car. (I must confess at this point that I know most of the police officers in this town and this particular one was a neighbor of mine until recently.)

I have to wonder just how late she was to wherever it was she was in a hurry to get to?

All of this illustrates one universal truth: Karma is a bitch.

1/25/2015

Thoughts On A Sunday

We're still cleaning up after the snowfall we got as a result of the first of two Nor'easters (the second is supposed to hit this area starting some time Tuesday morning).

For the relatively small snowfall in this area from the first storm, the effects were bigger than I expected. The roads turned slick very quickly and 4WD was an absolute necessity to go anywhere. Sand didn't help all that much and getting out of The Manse's driveway was iffy at best.

BeezleBub and I cleared away the last of snowfall this morning, spreading sand and some snowmelt (calcium chloride) to melt away some of the ice and compacted snow. Once the sun hit it much of the big slope on our driveway was down to pavement for the first time in over a week.

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The second Nor'easter headed this way is supposed to be a doozy, with anywhere from 10 to 24 inches expected to fall here in central New Hampshire. Normally that wouldn't concern me, but the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower may not be up to the task of clearing away the snow.

Two earlier snowfalls with heavy wet snow with the consistency of soggy mashed potatoes put a heavy strain on it, causing the drive belt for the auger and impeller to stretch to the point where it no longer engaged when needed. BeezleBub managed to make an adjustment to take up some of the slack on the belt, but it doesn't look to be in good shape. All we can hope for is that it will last long enough to take care of the coming storm (it should all be very light, fluffy snow, something we think the snowblower should be able to handle. I haven't yet found a part number for the belt in question, but hopefully I can find it on the Web later and call our local supplier to see if they have a new one in stock.

As a back up we did talk with our neighbor, asking if we might be able to use her snowblower should ours break down. Since we have taken care of her driveway when she's away, she had no problem with the request. So we do have a Plan 'B' if out snowblower fails.

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I see that Obama is yet again going to snub our allies, in this case he won't lower himself to attend the 70th anniversary remembrance of the liberation of Auschwitz. I guess he's got a golf date that conflicts with this solemn event.

All I can say is that the next president, Democrat or Republican, is going to have to do a lot of fence mending to undo the eight years of damage caused by Obama's total lack of competence in regards to foreign relations.

What. A. Putz.

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I can state with absolute certainty that I agree with Sarah Palin 100% on this:

“Screw the Hollywood Left!”

Heh.

Frankly, I'm hoping she runs for the GOP presidential nomination. If nothing else it will cause heads to explode in Hollywood.

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Juliette Ochieng tells it like it is: Dumb equals death, particularly in regards to black lives.

As the saying goes, Read The Whole Thing.

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Obama says he's for the Middle Class. But if that's so, then why is he going to take away even more money from them? In this case, he is apparently eying the money many middle class families put aside into 529 savings accounts, money that will be used to pay for post-secondary education.

Though millions of Americans have been putting money into "tax free" 529 plans to save for their children's increasingly expensive college educations, President Obama would change the law so that withdrawals from the plans to fund college would be taxed as ordinary income. So while you used to be able to get a nice tax benefit by saving for college, now you'll be shelling out to Uncle Sam every time you withdraw to pay for Junior's dorm fees.

BeezleBub has had a 529 account for a long time and it's the reason why he hasn't had to borrow a penny to pay for school. But if Obama gets his way the result will be that he won't have as much money set aside as he thinks he does because up to a quarter of that money will be taken away when he withdraws it to pay his tuition and to purchase books.

And where will that tax money go? To pay for other people's “free” education. So once again Obama wants to punish the productive and thrifty in order to buy votes from his base, i.e. the takers.

It's yet another action right out of Atlas Shrugged. By the way, it was meant to be a warning, not a how-to manual.

Taxing the 529 plans isn't the only target Obama has his eye on.

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In light of Obama's plan to tax the hell out of the Middle Class, the News Junkie delves into the so-called Death Tax, where the government can confiscate some or all of the estate of the deceased even if it will leave the surviving family destitute.

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Unlike our Teleprompter In Chief, Governor Scott Walker does just fine without one.


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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the day was spent cleaning up after the last snowfall, getting ready for the next one, and where Spring can't come soon enough.

1/24/2015

Leftist Idiocy Should Have A Color

In my previous post about the Left, I called them maroons, a play on words from a Bugs Bunny cartoon used to signify the object(s) of derision were morons. That got me to thinking.

Maybe the idiocy of the Left and their moronic view of the world should be assigned a color. That color should be maroon.

It would signify to the rest of the world that anyone wearing maroon should not be taken seriously because they are morons, a people to be pitied. Any ideas or demands being put forth by these poor souls should be devoutly ignored because experience has shown them to be dangerous, unworkable, and in the end, deadly to hundreds of millions of people over the past 100 years or so.

So the old Bugs Bunny admonition applies well here: What a bunch of maroons!

1/23/2015

Showing Their True Colors

Witnessing the meltdown by the Left over American Sniper merely illustrates to anyone paying attention (and not infected with the Leftist 'virus') just how disconnected they are from the realities of life outside their cloistered and imaginary world.

The one thing the Left seems incapable of understanding is that the only reason they have the freedom to be the pathetic delusional idiots they are is because of the very people like Chris Kyle they vilify.

They see their fellow Americans as barbarians and the radical Islamists as kindred souls.

They revere people who would be more likely to enslave, rape, and kill them in the same horrific manner as Al Qaeda did to Nick Berg or ISIS did to Daniel Foley rather than embrace them as their brethren. (A little hint to our resident Leftists: The Islamists see you as corrupt infidels with no morals, no faith, and with little, if any value other than as an object lesson to other corrupt and amoral infidels. They won't care if you're a supporter of the LGBT community because they will kill all the members of the LGBT community due to the perversion of their practices in the eyes of Allah. They will silence you because the one thing they do not believe in is freedom of speech. You will submit or die.)

I think one of my biggest gripes is that so many of the Left condemning American Sniper have neither seen the movie or read the book. But somehow they feel qualified to comment upon it. They are depending upon the opinions of other Leftists who also have not seen the movie or read the book. It's all one big kneejerk reaction to something someone else felt. (Remember, with the Left it's always about feelings, not facts.)

What a bunch of maroons.....

1/20/2015

SOTU 2015 - Same Old Same Old

OK, I've read the State of the Union address and I saw nothing new. It's the same old rehashed stuff the President has said before. He stated some outright falsehoods, the biggest one being that unemployment is lower than it has been since just before the Great Recession. The actual unemployment rate, meaning the inclusion of those whose unemployment benefits have run out or have taken jobs that pay far below what many earned before, is almost three times higher than the 'official' rate. Nice try, Mr. President. He is going to raise taxes on the “rich” to pay for even more social programs that will do nothing but eat up taxpayer dollars and give nothing in return. It's right out of the Tax and Spend handbook.

You say everything is better than it was, but 60% of Americans disagree with you. It's not better for far too many Americans, specifically Middle Class Americans. Much of what you've done to fix things helped the very richest and the very poorest, but it screwed over the everyone in between. That isn't progress, Mr. President, that's willful destruction of an entire class of people, the backbone that made America great.

He also used I/I've/Me/My only 79 times during his speech, a record low for him, but still more than 10 times the number used by his four previous predecessors during their SOTU speeches.

1/18/2015

Thoughts On A Sunday

There are all sorts of things happening around Lake Winnipesaukee, yet the only thing anyone is paying attention to or talking about is the playoff game between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts this evening.

Never mind that I had a small accident that damaged the garage at The Manse. (Note to self: don't wear the big-ass snow boots when driving the trusty F150, even if all you're doing is pulling it into the garage.)

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Hearing the news about the crackdown and arrests of terrorist sleeper cells across Europe evokes only one response from me: It's about time.

The virtually unrestricted of Muslim immigrants and their refusal to assimilate was a formula for disaster. All one has to do to see the bad effects of that is Sweden, where the crime rate has skyrocketed, particularly sexual assaults, almost all of which were committed by unassimilated Muslim men.

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A 25-year old “Gender & Migration Consultant” working for the city of Boston was fired by the mayor after she took part in the I-93 protests that blocked traffic into the city the other morning.

Two questions brought up about this consultant:

What the hell is a “Gender & Migration Consultant” from Finland doing working for the city of Boston?

Don’t we have enough Barnard graduates with useless degrees born in America who can do this job?

Indeed.

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Glenn Reynolds comments upon a Washington Post article that reports a majority of children in public schools are in poverty, stating that “[T]he WaPo has missed the big story — it’s not that so many students are poor, it’s that the non-poor students, and parents, are exiting the public schools.”

I wonder what the teachers unions have to say about that?

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That the US is not building more really tall skyscrapers is not a sign of American decline, but rather an indicator of maturity, specifically when it comes to performance versus cost, according to Coyote Blog.

Many of these super-tall building projects make little economic sense, but are completed to validate the prestige of emerging nations, like teenage boys comparing penis sizes.

I discussed this in the context of rail a while back at Forbes.  In that case, it seems everyone thinks the US is behind in rail, because it does not have sexy bullet trains.  But in fact we have a far more developed freight network than any other country, and shift of transport to rail makes a much larger positive economic and environmental impact for cargo than for [passenger] rail.  It comes down to what you care about -- prestige or actual performance.   Again choosing performance over prestige is a sign of maturity.

Performance over pretty is a good metric for any kind of economic activity.

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I watched Senator Rand Paul (R -KY) on our local TV station's Close Up program and I have to say I think he has a good view about what is needed in the way of a GOP presidential candidate, and it isn't the 'same old, same old' the GOP has put up over the past two election cycles.

That Romney is considering a third run for the Oval Office has generated some buzz, particularly since everything he predicted would happen in regards to the economy, foreign relations, and terrorism has come to pass. But I think he may be past his 'expiration date'. On the other hand Ronald Reagan didn't win until his third run for the White House.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) describes herself as “always an outsider”, but looking at her history I'd have to say that's a delusional viewpoint. While she is keeping the pressure on Hillary and the Democrats in regards to 2016 and the Obama Administrations close ties to Wall Street, she is not really an outsider but a stealth insider. She just hides it better than most.

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While the EPA is tasked with protecting the environment, will it be the cause of a increasingly unreliable electrical grid as it forces more of our power generation stations offline?



With the EPA pushing new mandates and deadlines that are impossible to meet, more generating capacity is going offline just as demand is increasing. With shrinking capacity margins it may be only a matter of time before demand exceeds supply and utilities will be forced to employ rolling blackouts, something we usually see in Third World nations, not here. Then again the EPA has become less about protecting the environment and more about taking more control of the populace be strangling our energy supplies. Then again we've known the EPA is a rogue agency under control of no one. It ignores court decisions, congressional regulations, and even some executive decisions.

Maybe it's time to defund the EPA and start with a clean sheet of paper to create a new EPA that is severely limited in its scope and understands that it exists at the discretion of Congress.

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While both the wealthiest and poorest Americans have fared better over the past few years under Obama, the middle class has taken it on the chin and isn't likely to fare any better of over the rest of Obama's term. It explains why Obama's lost the middle class.

One of the emerging ironies of the Obama presidency, in fact, is the sagging fortunes of the American middle class while those on either end — rich and poor alike — have arguably fared better under Obama.

It’s no surprise, then, that Obama is most popular with the lowest earners, with an approval rating of 52% among people earning less than $2,000 per month. That’s the highest approval rating of four income brackets. Obama’s lowest marks come not from the wealthy, as conventional wisdom might suggest, but from middle earners with incomes between $5,000 and $7,499 per month, who only give Obama a 44% approval rating.

As much as Obama claims he's trying to help the middle class, his actions have been proving just the opposite. But that's not surprising considering a strong middle class is anathema to his beliefs because they don't need him or his cradle to grave help and therefore not beholden to him. That's why he really doesn't care about them because the poor are easy to please and the rich will give him all kinds of money. The middle class will give him nothing so he has no need of them.

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David Starr comments upon the possibility the UK may leave the EU should the United Kingdom Independence Party, or UKIP, gain enough seats in Parliament in the upcoming elections.

I certainly understand the UKIP's stand in regards to the EU bureaucratic strangulation of the economy. They see the UK being slowly wiped away by unelected government officials in another country and they're having none of it. Frankly I would welcome them into a NAFTA-like agreement that opens the entire North American market to them and the UK market to us. They would likely do better considering the North American market is much larger than the EU market and not burdened by nearly as much bureaucratic inertia as in the EU.

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With somewhat warmer temperatures forecast for the next few days I've taken the opportunity to let the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove to go cold, allowing me to perform some needed maintenance.

Unlike some forms of heating, woodstoves require more maintenance. In this case I've had to remove the air tubes and fire bricks at the top of stove's interior to clean out the accumulated ash. Without this bit of work the stove won't heat as efficiently as it did at the beginning of the heating season. So once during the winter, usually during the January thaw, I let the stove go cold and clean out the not so easily reached parts to remove the accumulated ash. It also allows me the time to apply more adhesive to the door gasket to ensure it remains in place for the rest of the heating season.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the lake has mostly frozen over, freezing rain is making the roads slick, and where I'm making final preparations to watch the Patriots-Colts game.

1/17/2015

Fox News Viewers Are More Informed Than The Left Wants To Believe

I am constantly amazed at the obsession the Left has with Fox News. Despite their claims that it is thoroughly biased and close-minded, more than few on the Left have made the observation that Fox does air contrary views while the balance of the MSM does not.

But that the Left decries Fox's 'bias' proves that more than a few of them are watching it, unlike CNN and MSNBC.

Kevin Williamson delves into this issue, deconstructing a PunditFact 'study' that was neither a study or in anyway unbiased and the many Alternet claims about Fox's viewers and just how stupid they are to believe a number of “outrageous” things that they believe are in error. However Alternet's beliefs are themselves proven to be in error. Here are a few Williamson mentions.

91% believe that the stimulus legislation lost jobs. [Some highly credentialed academic economists believe exactly that; economists at large remain sharply divided on the effect of the stimulus.]

72% believe that the health reform law will increase the deficit. [It almost certainly will, if you believe the Congressional Budget Office and the (ho, ho!) Government Accountability Office. Here, Fox News viewers were hardly alone: The majority of respondents answered the same way.]

49% believe that income taxes have gone up. [They have -- the top rate in 2009 was 35 percent; it’s now 39.6. Assuming that 39.6 percent is still more than 35 percent, 49 percent of Fox News viewers are bulletproof here; one wonders why the number isn’t higher.]

Williamson goes on to show how poorly Alternet interpreted the study they cite as proof that “Fox News makes you stupid,” attributing much of it to confirmation bias, meaning they ignored anything that disagreed with their beliefs.

No surprise there.

1/15/2015

Yet Another Victim Of Institutional Cowardice

The whole “campus rape” meme got old very quickly, particularly since it has been hurting a lot of innocent people. The whole thing has been blown out of proportion, with much of the justification for the actions taken by colleges and universities based upon a poll that even those who ran it understood was flawed because most of the participants were self-selected. The study was limited to two public schools and was never meant to be used as the basis of an overreaching and, in the end, unconstitutional policy from the Department of Education.

The result has been the railroading of numerous college students, specifically male college students, charged with sexual assault and disciplined or expelled based solely upon an accusation with absolutely no corroborating evidence, no investigations, no means for the accused to defend themselves, without even the appearance of due process. This has left an increasing number of colleges the targets of lawsuits filed by those students summarily 'convicted by accusation'. However that hasn't stopped them from continuing with their persecution of students based entirely upon their gender.

The latest victim of this witch hunt atmosphere is an autistic student who hugged and kissed another student on the top of her head that he had mistaken for a friend of his. His punishment for the mistaken identity?

Expulsion.

It was an honest mistake. No one was harmed, molested, mussed up, or raped. But that doesn't make a bit of difference. So a special needs student has seen his academic studies terminated because the college isn't brave enough to call it an honest mistake and to let it be.

People need to be fired from this supposed institution of higher education because they are incapable of being able to discriminate between a case of mistaken identity and a sexual assault.

Morons.

1/13/2015

Are We Going To Become A European "Gimmedat" Nation?

Our leftist brethren must be reminded now and then that even though they admire European socialism, even as it's running out of other people's money, is that America is not Europe, and no amount of cajoling, manipulating, and outright threatening the American public is going to change that.

America has no history of respect or trust in government, a history of defiance of the State, no history of serfdom, no homogeneity at all. And except for the (fortunate, in retrospect) Africans sold by their brethren and the Muslim slavers into slavery to Americans, America's traditions are based on its eager settlers, pioneers, and immigrants and are all about "leave me alone."

JFK spoke for all immigrants with his "Ask not..." speech, which stood in bold contrast to the Euroland of his time and, perhaps, in contrast to some of America today. As we say, America was not made for sissies, but for the few and the brave. Not for farm animals.

Too much of European socialism and its ersatz American cousin are more about the “Gimmedat” nation, where government beneficence is seen not as something bestowed by a caring government but as something owed to the recipient without the need to actually contribute anything towards the benefits they receive. Again the problem is that eventually such a system runs out of the money its been taking from the productive members of society and the “Gimmedat” nation collapses.