11/29/2009

Thoughts On A Sunday

Thanksgiving here at The Manse went well, with only Deb, BeezleBub, the WP In-Laws, and yours truly celebrating. It isn't that I don't like the large family gatherings, because I do. But this year the smaller gathering suited us. There wasn't as much food to prepare, less to clean up, and more time to just 'hang with the homies'.

The WP Parents and my dear brother's family made the trip down to my youngest sister's place south of Boston for the 'big' gathering.

All in all, it was a great holiday (and my personal favorite).

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BeezleBub was back working at the farm yesterday. His boss needed him and one or two others for hay and firewood deliveries as well as some odds-and-ends work that needed to be completed before winter arrives.

That pleased BeezleBub to no end as he's been feeling a little out of sorts without his weekend job.

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It was quite windy here in the Granite State yesterday, causing power outages all over the state.

During one of my trips out yesterday I was able to look out onto Lake Winnipesaukee and see whitecaps, rollers, and even some much larger breakers. It was almost like watching Deadliest Catch, the water was that rough. I wouldn't have wanted to be out there even on the Marine Patrol's 41-foot patrol boat.

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It would be best if I do not allow the feline members of the WP household to see this article about cat-friendly house design. I thought our cat condo and the connecting catwalk to the penthouse BeezleBub designed and built was pretty cool. But the features I saw in the article make the accommodations at The Manse look lame in comparison.

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And the hits keep on coming.

Reboot Congress has extensive links and quotes to a number of Eric S. Raymond posts and comments about ClimateGate, the fraud committed, analysis of the computer code used to create the required AGW results, and the damning e-mails from the perpetrators.

This is an issue that isn't just going to go away, and is something that must be addressed, particularly at the upcoming Copenhagen conference. To base both an international treaty and US policy on a fraudulent theory is madness and will, in the end, come back to bite us all in the butt.

(H/T Instapundit)

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Will the US be able to turn things around and become economically and politically robust like Texas, or will we continue on our present path and end up being an economic/political basket case like California?

I'm hoping and working for the former rather than the latter.

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This doesn't surprise me in the least.

The poor in America today are better off than the average American in 1971.

Of course the Democrats in Congress are working hard to change that...and not for the better. That doesn't surprise me either.

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William Briggs offers up some predictions of the aftermath of ClimateGate. The first one rings all too true:

Die-hard “activists” will develop a conspiracy theory of how skeptics are deliberately misinterpreting and/or inventing the emails/computer code to confuse the public. A rumor will float that Big Oil, or other “denialist” bugaboo, was involved in the conspiracy.

I've already seen some inklings of this in comments made to a number of blog posts and on-line articles, claiming the CRU data hacked from the University of East Anglia was a hoax. Never mind the University has admitted the files were likely accurate. (That must mean the University is in on the hoax!! OMG!!!!)

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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In light of ClimateGate, Senator Jack Inhofe (R-OK) says the Cap-and-Trade bill is dead, particularly if Democrats want to remain in office after 2010.

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Yet another hit from Climategate – the torturous code used to analyze the climate data that gave them their original results was so complex and convoluted even the CRU's own programmer couldn't recreate it.

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It's a shame that Washington no longer believes in Main Street, USA. But that's all right because Main Street, USA no longer believes in Washington, DC either.

"Elites like President Obama see government as a force for protecting the little guy," explains University of Arkansas political scientist Robert Maranto. "But regular folks on Main Street see government as incomprehensible and unpredictable."

--snip--

Much of the nation can buy a nice house for $150,000, live in a safe neighborhood with good schools and in general have peace of mind - and do it on one income.

For folks in places like Indiana, Pa., the economic insecurity of Chicago or both coasts - where people may work two jobs to live in a safe neighborhood - is totally foreign.

Even here in New Hampshire we see the same thing, with the exception of Rockingham and Hillsborough Counties (the two southernmost counties and closest to Boston). It's not uncommon for families in those two counties to require two incomes to survive. It's also not all that uncommon for one or both breadwinners to work over the border in the People's Republic of Taxachusetts. The political divide is just as broad, with a far more registered Democrats in those two southern counties while independents and Republicans tend to be the majority in the remaining eight counties. So even though we are on the East Coast, we tend to look at ourselves as also living in flyover country, just like the folks in Indiana, Pennsylvania. And like them we just want the government, both state and federal, to leave us alone.

From one of the comments:

[Main Street Americans] are really tired of being told their values and way of life are not politically correct.

We are tired of being told what [to] think, period.

Amen.

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From our friend Skip over at GraniteGrok: Who went to Fort Hood when it mattered?

You can probably guess the answer to this one.

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At least one part of New Hampshire state government is moving into the 21st Century.

Now if we can get the rest of it updated the cost of state government will fall. To quote former New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson, “Clicks, not Bricks.”

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Representative Paul Hodes (D-NH) of New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District (Yes, there actually is a 2nd Congressional District in New Hampshire) tries to spin his support of and vote in favor of the g*d-awful PelosiCare bill.

From the comments many of his constituents aren't buying it. The few that are are showing the typical symptoms of having imbibed on Leftist kool-aid, using the typical and tired platitudes and accusing anyone opposing health care reform as written as being un-American.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the power is back on, BeezleBub is working again, and where we're still feeling the dietary aftereffects of Thanksgiving.

11/28/2009

Pelosi Needs New Material

I have to agree with Eric the Viking on this one: Who's writing Nancy Pelosi's material these days?

"The American people have an anger about the growth of the deficit because they're not getting anything for it. ... If somebody has the idea that the percentage of GDP of what our national debt is will go up a bit, but they will now -- and their neighbors and their children -- will have jobs, I think they could absorb that, and then we ride it out and bring money in," she said.

She's kidding, right? (Unfortunately, she's not.)

This statement and the others in Eric's post and link shows me three things about our Speaker of the House:

a) She really has little understanding of economics.

b) She really has no idea what motivates average Americans, particularly when it comes to matters economic.

c) She really doesn't care because she knows better than everyone else in the nation, including the very folks she claims she wants to 'help'.

The angry American taxpayers don't want Congress to spend even more money we don't have on more stimulus, health care reform that will reform nothing, or any other dubious and expensive government programs.

Sucking over $1.4 trillion out of the economy (the present budget deficit figure) is not helping the economy in any way, shape, or form. Pulling even more out of the economy with higher deficits and higher taxes in a second effort to 'stimulate' the economy will only make the recession worse. This is something Pelosi, as well as Reid and Obama, do not understand. I find that difficult to believe considering there's plenty of history to show previous attempts to do just that have failed miserably and, in fact, made things worse.

11/25/2009

AGW Fraud - A Deafening Silence

After the hacked and leaked e-mails and data files from the University of East Anglia's CRU became public, the hew and cry from both sides of the AGW debate rose to a level I've not witnessed before. The leaked information illuminated the fraudulent, dishonest, and in some cases, illegal activities of some of the 'premier' global warming researchers, both in the UK and elsewhere in the world. Cover ups, destruction and willful denial of publicly financed research data to those requesting it under both the UK and US Freedom of Information laws, and collusion to 'jigger' data to eliminate evidence that show climate models are wrong and to bolster preconceived ideas about human-caused climate change.

The AGW skeptics, including yours truly, can point to the files to show that scientific integrity has been lost, that all AGW alarmist doom-and-gloom predictions are based upon fraudulent, cherry-picked data and algorithms designed to produce a predetermined outcome regardless of the data fed into them.

That in itself might be a major news story, but the deafening silence from the MSM implies the fix is still in. Other than Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and a few other news outlets, there has been little, if anything from the major media. About the only exception has been the New York Times, and that surprised me (though it appears they tried to downplay the significance of the leaked data). The rest of the media are acting like nothing's changed, still publishing iffy reports laying out “We're all gonna DIE if we don't impoverish ourselves NOW!!” scenarios. But readers/listeners/watchers aren't buying it, making comment after comment about Climategate and lambasting the media for acting like it doesn't exist.

But what disturbs me more than lack of attention by the MSM and the governments of the UK and the US are the comments posted by the faithful AlGoristas, bending over backwards to explain away the leaked e-mails, data, and jiggered computer code. Reading the comments to the WSJ article linked above, it is quite apparent that quite a few of those trying to debunk the leaked information have an ax to grind, their reasoning having absolutely nothing to do with the AGW fraud exposed. They blame the WSJ (as if reporting about the hacked and leaked data was somehow 'just not done'). They blame George Bush (I haven't quite figured that one out). They blame a nameless conspiracy bent on the destruction of the human race (I haven't figured out the logic of that one, either). Others seem to be lamenting the fact they won't receive the financial gains they expected due to AGW carbon credits/alternative energy schemes/complete control over the energy production portion of the economy. And yet others claim the multi-megabytes of e-mails, data, and computer code is all a hoax, created to discredit the researchers and their sainted AlGore. Never mind that the folks at the University of East Anglia say it appears the files posted onto the 'net are genuine. That will not deter the true believers.

As the old saying goes, don't confuse the issue with facts. The Warmists will not be denied despite evidence saying their beliefs are based upon falsified data and computer climate models that are little more than means of manipulating other data to 'prove' AGW regardless of what the data really says.

11/23/2009

An Open Letter

From a comment to this post on Moonbattery:

An Open Letter to "Aye" Voting Senators & Specifically, Kay Hagan - NC

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With Saturday's vote, you have threatened the ability of every small business in America to maintain their current employment level.

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The vote was a dishonest cram-down against our need for lower cost & more competitive health insurance, and a lower tax burden to help keep our doors open. A tax credit is of no use, when we are counting our sales each day and each week during the month to meet expenses.

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Politicians need to understand that we can't print money, we can't ignore expenses and financial obligations, and we don't have access to credit - ANY credit. So while Washington - and Democrats specifically, are BURNING cash with excessive spending, driving down the value of the US dollar, quadrupling the national debt in the first 4 months of this year... Small Business USA, is dying.

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We are trying to take care of our employees and their families. Your vote,in the name of party unity, for some 1930's goal, was a betrayal of us all.

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If you wanted ANY public or republican input, it would have been in conference and in deliberations, and there would be PLENTY OF TIME to analyze and refine any bill - in advance, and without any gimmicks.

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But no, it had to be done in secret. It had to be released at the last minute, with a rushed vote - just like the destructive 'stimulus' bill - on a Saturday night with a minimum of publicity.

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Don't think you can vote "NO" later and have political coverage. Come January, my employee's health insurance premiums are going to go up, my business and personal taxes are going to go up, and my business, as an ongoing concern, remains uncertain.

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The healthcare bill should have been fully discussed and deliberated by BOTH democrats and republicans BEFORE it came to a cloture vote.
You made my decision tonight.

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I am either going to have to try to get my employees to voluntarily reduce their hours to 32 per week so they can retain their full time benefits, or I am going to have to let some of them go. I am sick to my stomach.

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My business is carrying over $ 2.5M in debt and we are struggling to survive. I can't handle any more expense - regardless of your good intentions.

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For the first time in 8 years, we will not be having an office Christmas lunch. We moved it to Thanksgiving in appreciation of each other and in consolation for the difficulties ahead. It feels like a 'Last Supper', in that we may not be around by next November.

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Do NOT be surprised when our unemployment rate in North Carolina exceeds 20%. It's nearly there in some counties. Forget about SPENDING and TAXING. The political class is robbing us of our hopes and dreams, and the future looks bleak.

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All of us EXISTING small business owners IN EVERY COMMUNITY, need a means to refinance our debt with extended terms and/or a lower interest rate AND lower tax burdens. We need to lower our operating costs so we could stretch our sales dollars a little further and maintain the security of our employees.

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Instead ... we got 2,100 pages of MANDATES, ADDITIONAL TAXES, worthless PROMISES of less spending in the future, MORE bureaucracy and regulations, and a (wink, wink) "debate" to make it better. I can hardly wait. Maybe an additional 1,000 pages will make it better ...

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Your vote betrayed us all. Want to try for 30% unemployment with Cap n' Trade ???

The only changes made to the comment were for formatting and spelling errors.

11/22/2009

Thoughts On A Sunday

BeezleBub didn't get as much done as he usually likes to do on a Saturday. That happens when he sleeps until just past noon. It's not like he's done that before.

It's certainly screwed up his circadian rhythms, so it was questionable whether he was going to be able to sleep.

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Could it be entrepreneurs have gone on strike? It appears they don't like the idea that know-nothings in Washington are deciding the government can run businesses better than they can. I'd say history is against the know-nothings on this one.

(H/T Instapundit)

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The Climategate scandal is spreading, showing the cover-ups and deceit extended beyond the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit.

Will this be the final nail in the coffin of AGW alarmism? If not, it has certainly damaged the credibility of the AGW cause. It appears the skeptics were right to question the validity of AlGorism.

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Anyone familiar with Obama's political history in Chicago should not be surprised at his actions since he's taken office as President. The 'Hopey-Changey' candidate has stayed with what has worked for him in the past – throwing his friends and associates under the bus when it's convenient.

Is it any wonder he's doing the same thing to the entire country?

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As if it wasn't bad enough, it also appears Obama has thrown fellow Chicagoan Oprah under the bus. Of all the celebrities that helped him get elected, she probably had the greatest impact. Cynthia Yockey also adds quite a bit of her own thoughts about this, showing she wasn't surprised that it happened.

I know this report comes by way of the National Enquirer, but these days I have far more respect for the Enquirer than for a good portion of the MSM.

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Is PDS really just an extension of BDS?

Here's proof that hatred of Palin is so ingrained into the Left that it seems pathological.

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I can understand typos creating a few 'phantom' Congressional districts on Recovery.gov, but 440 of them? Here in New Hampshire we have two, but somehow we've ended up with four more, the 00th, 4th, 6th, and 27th.

Taking advantage of the new districts, friend Grant Bosse has decided to run to represent the New Hampshire Zero-eth Congressional District.

Run, Grant! Run!

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And speaking of New Hampshire news, the US Navy has announced that the Portsmouth, NH Naval Shipyard will become the home port of the USS Virginia (SSN-774), the lead boat in the new Virginia-class nuclear submarine fleet. The Virginia-class submarines will be replacing the Los Angeles-class subs as the newest and most advanced fast-attack submarines in the fleet.

Some here in New Hampshire are wondering whether the state's namesake USS New Hampshire will also be stationed out of Portsmouth as well.

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Right Wing Sparkle gives us a comparison between Bush and Obama during the first year of each president's administration. One damning statement:

But it is amusing to go back and look at the news when Bush was running for re-election in 2004. The economy was in recovery, but the Democrats were moaning about the 2.3 million jobs lost under Bush in his first term, calling it the worst job creation record of any president since Herbert Hoover. 2.3 million is the number of jobs lost under Obama in his first year. I shudder to think of what the number will be when his term ends.

How soon they (choose to) forget.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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There's no doubt this is an accurate depiction of how Congress (and the rest of government in Washington DC) works.

(Also via Pirate's Cove)

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Jay Tea, another WP friend, has noticed a disturbing trend in politics, namely that the politicians pandering for our votes and the parties they belong to have become hostile to the common people. That's no way to stay in office or in power. Jay offers a couple of examples of this hostility. This one in particular grates on me:

[I]n politics, there is a growing trend to take that nobody, that average person, and treat them just like we do hardened political professionals -- and attempt to destroy them in the process.

Take, for example, this guy named Joe. He's playing with his kids in his front yard one fine fall day a bit over a year ago when this horde descends on his neighborhood. He recognizes the guy at the head of the mob -- it's the Democratic nominee for president, and Joe doesn't particularly like the guy. So he figures he'll ask him a rather pointed question, take what will likely be his only shot in life to make a big shot squirm a little. It's not the greatest of questions, but the big shot bobbles it a little -- and suddenly Joe finds that he's the talk of water coolers across the nation.

For Joe's impertinence of helping Mr. Big Shot make himself look like a fool, he must be punished. No, he must be destroyed. Every aspect of his life must be ripped apart and laid bare for public consumption. Why, did you hear that he's behind on his taxes? That he's not even a fully licensed plumber? Hell, his legal first name isn't even Joe!

It only got worse from there. And all this average guy did was ask a question.

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The New England Patriots played the New York Jets in Foxboro this afternoon. The Pats lost their first game against the Jets earlier in the season, being able to score only field goals against the Jets defense. This time the Patriots were able to put 24 points on the scoreboard before the Jets could score in return.

Unfortunately during the second half the Patriots followed a more than occasional pattern seen this season of not being able to score or defend after the half. It's like they lose their rhythm or their energy during half-time. At least they managed to get their rhythm back during the last 6 minutes of the 4th quarter, scoring another touchdown and winning 31-14.

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It's a very short workweek for me this week, being off from Wednesday to the following Monday.

Goodness knows I could use the time off.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where preparations for Thanksgiving continue, the good weather is holding, and where winter will arrive all too soon.

11/20/2009

History Repeats Itself

Watching what's happening to our economy today it's easy to forget that this isn't the first time we've been through this, with government trying to spend its way out of a recession. The effort back in the 1930's failed miserably, extending the Great Depression for years, as did the 'stimulus' of 1962, which prompted Ayn Rand to comment on the error on the part of government in thinking such spending would do anything but have negative effect, that our economic IQ was sadly deficient. From her column in the L.A Times back in 1962:

Since "economic growth" is today's great problem, and our present Administration is promising to "stimulate" it—to achieve general prosperity by ever wider government controls, while spending an unproduced wealth—I wonder how many people know the origin of the term laissez-faire?

France, in the seventeenth century, was an absolute monarchy. Her system has been described as "absolutism limited by chaos." The king held total power over everyone's life, work, and property—and only the corruption of government officials gave people an unofficial margin of freedom.

Louis XIV was an archetypical despot: a pretentious mediocrity with grandiose ambitions. His reign is regarded as one of the brilliant periods of French history: he provided the country with a "national goal," in the form of long and successful wars; he established France as the leading power and the cultural center of Europe. But "national goals" cost money. The fiscal policies of his government led to a chronic state of crisis, solved by the immemorial expedient of draining the country through ever-increasing taxation.

Colbert, chief adviser of Louis XIV, was one of the early modern statists. He believed that government regulations can create national prosperity and that higher tax revenues can be obtained only from the country's "economic growth"; so he devoted himself to seeking "a general increase in wealth by the encouragement of industry." The encouragement consisted of imposing countless government controls and minute regulations that choked business activity; the result was dismal failure.

Colbert was not an enemy of business; no more than is our present Administration. Colbert was eager to help fatten the sacrificial victims—and on one historic occasion, he asked a group of manufacturers what he could do for industry. A manufacturer named Legendre answered: "Laissez-nous faire!" ("Let us alone!")

Apparently, the French businessmen of the seventeenth century had more courage than their American counterparts of the twentieth, and a better understanding of economics. They knew that government "help" to business is just as disastrous as government persecution, and that the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.

Regardless of the purpose for which one intends to use it, wealth must first be produced. As far as economics is concerned, there is no difference between the motives of Colbert and of President Johnson. Both wanted to achieve national prosperity. Whether the wealth extorted by taxation is drained for the unearned benefit of Louis XIV or for the unearned benefit of the "underprivileged" makes no difference to the economic productivity of a nation. Whether one is chained for a "noble" purpose or an ignoble one, for the benefit of the poor or the rich, for the sake of somebody's "need" or somebody's "greed"—when one is chained, one cannot produce.

There is no difference in the ultimate fate of all chained economies, regardless of any alleged justifications for the chains.

It seems that we still haven't learned that lesson four decades or four centuries later. As the late Ronald Reagan said more than once, “Government isn't the answer. Government is the problem.” It was true back during Louis XIV's reign and it's true today. Our government is bent on controlling more businesses, either through direct take over like GM, Chrysler, the banks, and health care, or through onerous regulation and taxation, all in the name of 'stimulus' and 'fairness'.

Apparently our leaders have learned nothing from past attempts to tighten control over economies and businesses that their attempts won't work, won't create the results they want, and won't lead to anything but more poverty, less business, and a weaker economy than if they'd just left everything alone. But government is incapable of not fiddling about with things they really don't understand. And that's our biggest problem today.

11/19/2009

Health Care Coercion - Unconstitutional?

I know Nancy Pelosi doesn't think much of the Constitution, seeing it as an obstruction to creating a truly socialist state much like that of the old Soviet Union, but even she must realize that certain portions of the ObamaCare/PelosiCare bill she rammed down the throats of the House are unconstitutional. Not that she'll let that stop her. After all “the people” must be coerced into doing things she and her fellow socialists have decided is for the good of all, even if it will have just the opposite effect.

Democrats' health bills depend on forcing individuals to buy insurance or face severe fines or imprisonment. In 1994, the Congressional Budget Office said forcing individuals to buy insurance would be "an unprecedented form of federal action," adding: "The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States."

This year, the Congressional Research Service delicately said "it is a novel issue whether Congress may use the (Commerce) Clause to require an individual to purchase a good or service." Congress has the constitutional power to "regulate commerce ... among the several states." But a Federalist Society study by Peter Urbanowicz and Dennis Smith judges it perverse to exercise coercion under the Commerce Clause "on an individual who chooses not to undertake a commercial transaction." As Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, says, there is "a fundamental difference between regulating activities in which individuals choose to engage" -- e.g, drivers can be required to buy auto insurance -- "and requiring such activities" just because an individual exists.

When asked whether any compulsory insurance purchases are constitutional, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was genuinely astonished: "Are you serious? Are you serious?" In 1803, in Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote, "The powers of the legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken, or forgotten, the Constitution is written." He was serious.

Nancy's reaction to the question illustrates either her ignorance of what the Constitution actually says or her willful choice to ignore it in favor of her own agenda and the American people's rights be damned.

Should the awful and onerous ObamaCare/PelosiCare bill become law I hope it will be challenged on constitutional grounds and struck down for being overreaching and in violation of the Constitution. But we can't count on such a thing happening. Therefore we must strive to let our Senators know how displeased we are with this legislation because we know its a disingenuous attempt to do an end run around the people's wishes, a flagrant attempt to violate the Constitution, and a blueprint for medical and financial disaster.

11/18/2009

It's Not The Taxes. It's The Spending.

As John Stossel writes, it's not the taxes that are the problem, it's the spending.

Last week on "The O'Reilly Factor", we talked about California's and New York's enormous budget deficits and planned tax increases. Those states would have big surpluses had they just grown their governments in pace with inflation. But of course they didn't. Now the politicians act like their current deficits are something imposed on them by the recession.

But that's nonsense. They created the problem with their reckless spending.

--snip--

O'Reilly told me that America is ready for a tax revolt. I hope he's right. But I don't think it will happen until more people see the ruling elite for what it is: a gang of arrogant bullies that has the audacity to believe that they know how to direct our lives better than we do.

That's why, bad as the taxes are, I'm more upset about ObamaCare, Medicare, the "stimulus," the auto bailout, the bank bailouts, the Fannie/Freddie bailouts, the trillions in guarantees, and on and on.

The need for all those extra taxes would be reduced if government at state and federal level could get their spending under control. For the most part that's not going to happen because far too many of those in power like to “bring home the bacon” regardless of the actual costs to their constituents. Only those states forced to address their spending issues, like California, New York, New Jersey, and Michigan, to name a few, will actually have the opportunity to trim spending by billions of dollars. They won't have a choice because if they don't cut spending higher taxes won't fill the empty coffers and the states will face bankruptcy. They simply don't have the money to pay for all those really 'neat things' everyone thought they could afford during the good times. But the good times are gone and with them, the revenues the states had gotten used to having.

To paraphrase James Carville, “It's the spending, stupid!”

11/16/2009

Going Rogue - PDS Rears Its Ugly Head...Still

After reading a review of Sarah Palin's book - Going Rogue - I knew I'd have to read it.

It wasn't the review itself that made me want to do so. It was the comments made of the review by those still suffering from PDS (Palin Derangement Syndrome) that moved me in that direction.

Not one of those commenting that posted negative reviews of the review itself had actually read Palin's tome. Not one of them posted anything that was any different from the same tired and long discredited tripe they wrote before the 2008 elections. Not one of them posted anything original. Just about every negative comment was a retread. No original thought was required. Only hatred, envy, and disdain made it into the comments.

So much for polite discourse or agreement to disagree.

The pathological hatred of Palin displayed by the Left is disturbing. It goes beyond all reason. (Yes, I know. I'm trying to ascribe reason to those showing absolutely none whatsoever.) It shows the old saying is true – We Hate That Which We Fear. The Left must be truly scared of Sarah Palin.

11/15/2009

Thoughts On A Sunday

Yesterday was one of those not-much-got-done days. With the heavy rains and the feeling of lethargy that kind of weather tends to bring. Other than a trip to the local Lowe's and WalMart, we really didn't do all that much yesterday. This is the first real rain we've had this month and Mother Nature more than made up for the deficit yesterday.

At least today will be a nice day, allowing us to take care of more of our pre-winter work outside The Manse. We even let the fire go out in the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove, it was that nice a day.

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While President Obama dithers about Afghanistan, troop morale there is plummeting. Between long and repetitive tours of duty and a Commander-in-Chief incapable of making a decision in regards to their mission, is it any wonder morale is deteriorating?

It all comes down to this: “Mr. President, make the g**d*** decision!”

The longer he waffles, the harder it will get for our troops and the stronger the Taliban will become.

He's starting sound and act more like Jimmy Carter every day.

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If this isn't a case of hypocrisy, I don't know what is.

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What happens when supporters of Obama/PelosiCare hold a rally and no one shows?

When the anti-Obama/PelosiCare rallies turn out hundreds or thousands and pro-Obama/PelosiCare rallies can only scare up a couple of dozen, one has to wonder if Congressional Democrats' claims of broad support of Obama/PelosiCare refelct reality to any degree.

I'd have to say the answer to that is a resounding 'no'.

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I have to admit to thinking the same thing as these folks on more than one occasion. I may have even thought it out loud. I'll even admit to thinking it far more often over the past few years.

Every year since he was 13, Henry Ladd Sr. has hunted deer, moose, bear and whatever else the forest provides. And each year, like clockwork, Ladd has hung the catch in front of his home, where it was gutted and drained of blood before the meat was cut.

That was until last week, when a neighbor who spotted a hanging doe called the police to complain about Ladd, who is now 81.

For the police, the call was a minor animal complaint, just one of many on Oct. 31, according to Sgt. Margaret Lougee. An officer spoke to Ladd, but there was nothing illegal about using his own property to process venison.

However, the idea that a neighbor would not understand a hunting tradition the Ladds have passed on for 68 years left a foul taste in their mouths.

"Did you tell them to go back to Massachusetts? That's what we do up here," Henry Ladd Jr., 43, recalled saying to the officer.

(emphasis added – ed.)

One thing that's always bothered me has been the folks moving up here to New Hampshire from Massachusetts and then trying turn their new home town into a clone of the very place they fled. As I've said to the them more than once, “If the place you came from was so damn good then why don't you go back there?”

(H/T No Looking Backwards)

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You'll get no argument from me on this one.

Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.

Until they start speaking out, their silence will be taken as tacit approval of the actions of the militant jihadist factions within Islam.

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Obama has tripled the national deficit in less than a year yet Bush is still given the blame for everything regarding the economy. I still can't fathom the idea that people still believe the government can spend tons of money we don't have yet that such spending will somehow 'cure' the recession. That might work in the short term, but once the bill comes due the damage will be worse than the original problem.

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There certainly was a lot of hullabaloo about the possible federal bailout of a number of failing newspapers, which many feared would mean a media beholden to the government (specifically the Obama Administration) making them de facto propaganda arms of the government. But it turns out it wasn't the feds we had to worry about. Instead it was the Executive Council of the state of New Hampshire that voted unanimously to approve a bailout for a local failed newspaper in the western part of the state. This move was so out of character that it received coverage on Glenn Beck's show on Fox.



The statewide newspaper, the Union Leader of Manchester, NH is against the idea because it sets a bad precedent.

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Speaking of a bad precedent, the idea of using GPS in vehicles to allow taxation by mileage has two effects:

It will reduce traffic, and...

..it makes tracking the activities of citizens very easy.

That sounds too 1984 for me. Big Brother will definitely be watching everything you do and every place you go.

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I'm sure their parents are so proud.

New London, N.H., police have arrested 105 students at a party where officers say underage youths were drinking.

Police said 91 of the youths arrested Friday night are from Colby-Sawyer College. Police said 55 students were charged with alcohol possession after their blood-alcohol levels registered at 0.02 percent or higher. The rest were released to their parents.

What lesson will these college students learn from this incident?

Don't let your kegger get so loud the police can hear it from the police station.

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Could the Democrats lose Obama's old seat in the US Senate?

That would be a real kick in the teeth if the GOP takes the seat.

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The New England Patriots played a late game against the Colts in Indianapolis tonight. As I write this the game is tied 7-7 in the first quarter.

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BeezleBub and I finished cleaning out the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout, removing the cushions, life jackets, tools, anchors, and just about everything else not otherwise attached. We also started assembling the winter storage frame, used to support the large tarp we use to shelter the boat over the winter. But unlike past years where we used store-bought lumber, we decided to use the materials we had at hand.

If you read last week's Thoughts On A Sunday I mentioned we were cutting brush around The Manse. There were a lot smaller trees Beezlebub downed that were originally destined for the burn pile or the wood pile. Instead we're using them to build the frame. On top of that we aren't using any metal fasteners (screws or nails) to put it together. Everything is being held together with wooden pegs and sisal rope (the only item we bought). The pegs have been fashioned from the smaller tree limbs trimmed from the trees taken down last week.

While it isn't beautiful it will serve the purpose for which it was constructed – protect The Boat.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weather was warm, the stove has been allowed to go cold, and where our boat will soon be under cover for the winter.

11/14/2009

Reveneues Fall, Spending Doesn't

It appears the budget deficit is going to be bigger than either the White House or the Congressional Budget Office had predicted.

That's not surprising considering federal revenues were 18% below projections. At least it didn't surprise me considering Congress and the White House ignored the Law of Diminishing Returns: Once you raise taxes and fees above a certain point the amount of revenue you collect will fall. It's a perfect example of the Laffer Curve in action.

On the other hand government spending hasn't dropped off nearly enough (only about 3%) to make up for the revenue shortfall. I have no doubt Congress will act to correct the problem...by raising more taxes and fees. This will have the effect of causing an even greater falloff in revenue. Congress shouldn't be raising taxes during a deep recession. They also shouldn't be spending money we don't have, either. But I don't expect Congress or the White House to do the necessary things to stem this flood of red ink.

Here in New Hampshire the state is seeing a similar falloff in revenues, being short about $38 million so far. A number of people within the New Hampshire legislature warned that revenue projections were unrealistic, particularly in light of the hefty increase in taxes and fees. This is the second budget cycle where the Democrat dominated legislature overestimated revenues and used those projected revenue figures to increase state spending by amounts that far exceeded the inflation rate. Over four years state spending has increased by 30%, but revenues haven't come anywhere near to covering the larger expenditures.

The state ended it's last budget cycle (New Hampshire has a two-year budget) over $100 million in the red. The legislature still has that budget gap to fill and has been trying to do so by raiding $110 million in surplus insurance premiums being held by the state chartered Joint Underwriting Association, a private organization created by the state to ensure doctors, medical practices, hospitals, and other medical facilities and personnel could get malpractice insurance. So far the state has failed in its attempts to confiscate those funds. A Belknap Count judge ruled in a suit filed by the JUA that the state had no rights to those funds because the law that set up the Association states surplus funds must be returned to the policy holders, past and present. The judge also ruled the state had no other claims to the funds because the JUA is a private entity, particularly in light of the fact that no state funds or state personnel are used to administer the Association. The state disagreed and has taken the case to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

You know it's getting bad when the state legislature figures it can raid private funds to plug a budget gap. I believe that's called theft. Of course the Democrats in the legislature see it as monies being withheld from them by greedy doctors when the state can make far better use of that money. Never mind that state law says otherwise. Never mind that the money isn't theirs to begin with.

It's going to be interesting (in the old Chinese curse definition) to see how the financial situation at the federal and state level will play out.

11/13/2009

Four Years After Kelo - The Aftermath

As if we need another reminder why the US Supreme Court got it wrong in regards to the Kelo vs New London decision.

The aftermath of Kelo is the latest example of the futility of using eminent domain as corporate welfare. While Ms. Kelo and her neighbors lost their homes, the city and the state spent some $78 million to bulldoze private property for high-end condos and other "desirable" elements. Instead, the wrecked and condemned neighborhood still stands vacant, without any of the touted tax benefits or job creation.

New London may have won the case, but it lost the war, ending up with a part of the city now vacant and generating no tax revenue at all. Millions of dollars were spent and all the city has to show for it is a desolate section of the city that is now nothing but empty lots. So much for their grandiose plans.

One positive effect of Kelo vs New London: many states strengthened the limits of eminent domain with new laws or amendments to their state constitutions to prevent such abuses from happening again. Ironically, Connecticut was one of them.

Too bad it was too late to help the citizens/taxpayers of New London.

Here's another lesson can we take from the aftermath of Kelo that should act as a precautionary tale for those believing government is the answer to all our ills:

If there is a lesson from Connecticut's misfortune, it is that economic development that relies on the strong arm of government will never be the kind to create sustainable growth.

We've seen that far too often. As soon as the government money runs out, the growth stops or even reverses as the government funded/subsidized jobs end. Better that the private sector create sustainable growth if for no other reason that it also creates wealth and, in the end, more jobs.

11/12/2009

Health Care Reform Has Nothing To With Health Care Or Reform

While I'm at it, I might as well add insult to injury in regards to the the recently passed Pelosi Health Care Destruction bill.

While she has crowed her success into forcing the passage of an onerous and deceptive bill the American people don't want, at least one liberal has the courage to state exactly what Pelosi's health care reform legislation is really all about: making the American people more dependent on the US Government against their will...and not for their own good.

[John] Cassidy is more honest than the politicians whose dishonesty he supports. "The U.S. government is making a costly and open-ended commitment," he writes. "Let's not pretend that it isn't a big deal, or that it will be self-financing, or that it will work out exactly as planned. It won't. What is really unfolding, I suspect, is the scenario that many conservatives feared. The Obama Administration . . . is creating a new entitlement program, which, once established, will be virtually impossible to rescind."

Why are they doing it? Because, according to Mr. Cassidy, ObamaCare serves the twin goals of "making the United States a more equitable country" and furthering the Democrats' "political calculus." In other words, the purpose is to further redistribute income by putting health care further under government control, and in the process making the middle class more dependent on government. As the party of government, Democrats will benefit over the long run.

“Making the United States a more equitable country?” Who decides what is 'equitable'? And is equality as Obama and his minions define it really a good thing?

The answer to this last question is 'no', for Obama's equality has nothing to do with equality of opportunity and everything to do with outcome. We've seen such equality many times, both in the past and present, and it's nothing anyone should aspire to because all it really means is equality of misery.

Everyone will be equal...except of course the ruling elite. Nothing will be denied to them because, after all, they are more equal than the rest of us.

In making health care reform a misplaced priority, he and Pelosi and Reid have shown us what it is they really want to do is to make sure we are all good little proles on the hook to the 'benevolent' dictatorship that is The State. They have come to believe they know what's good for the masses better than we do, therefore they must control every aspect of our lives. Such is their arrogance. But like all statists their beliefs have one major flaw: they are no better at running our lives than they are their own. In fact, they are totally incapable of making our lives better by the means they have been pushing for all these decades. [/rant]

As more than one commenter to the Cassidy piece noted, the last thing we want to do is to be like everyone else.

We are the EXCEPTION. Who cares if the rest of the world has universal health care? The United States of America has been the exception since it was first created. What is sad is that we have idiots in our government who do not believe in American exceptionalism and think that we need to be just like the rest of the world. Did the founding fathers believe that we needed to be like Europe when we declared independence? NOOOOOOO!!! Why should we become like them now?

Look, we don't want a government run system that will give us mediocre care and only give the best care to the rich, famous, and the Washington elites. We want to be able to have choice. The healthcare legislation that the Democrats are trying to pass will not give us choice. It is designed to make private insurance obsolete and eventually put everyone on a government run system.

We already know how well such a system will run. Examples abound, both here and in other countries, showing us that they work well...if you aren't sick or hurt. Otherwise all bets are off. Do we really want a system like that?

11/11/2009

ObamaCare/PelosiCare - Another Preview...Again

Here's yet another story about how great ObamaCare/PelosiCare will be for the average American:



Some may say that this example and the one I posted yesterday are atypical of what occurs under Canada's socialized medical care system. But I know far too many friends north of the border that tell me it is all too typical. I've heard the same thing from friends in the UK about the NHS as well.

(H/T Instapundit)

11/10/2009

Lost Treasure

It's not often I will write or link to something emotional, something that brings tears to the eyes of even the most hard-hearted person. But I am this time.

It never ceases to amaze me how much effect our four-footed family members can have on us. It's also surprising how much we hurt when they hurt...and how much we grieve when they are taken from us.

And so it has been with Shawn Mallow and his cat, Treasure.

Go read their story.

Keep a hanky nearby.

ObamaCare/PelosiCare - Another Preview

If you want a preview of what ObamaCare/PelosiCare is going to be like, take a look at this:



The only problem we'll have is that we'll have no place to go to get the care we want, unlike our Canadian brethren do now. Hmm, maybe some of the more enterprising physicians in the US will move their practices offshore to one of the Caribbean islands in order to give the care we Americans will soon be deprived of by the oh-so-caring US Government.

(H/T Instapundit)

11/08/2009

Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been 'let's cut the brush out back' time here at the Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Manse this weekend.

While BeezleBub tackled the brush out back I took care of cleaning out the more noxious and tenacious brush that have invaded the front. While we could have done this during the summer months, it has turned out to be easier and more efficacious after the leaves have fallen. It's easier to remove the vegetation when we can actually see what we're working on.

While we haven't gotten it all done, we did make a major dent in our task. I figure we'll be at it for another couple of weekends before we can declare success.

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It was a nice warm day here in central New Hampshire today, with temps in the low 60's. It's supposed to be even warmer tomorrow and Tuesday. I'll take it. While we have been running at below normal temperatures since mid September, we are being graced with a few days of above normal temps. Then we'll be back into the colder than normal temperatures. But at least we won't need to run the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove during the day until Wednesday. That works for me.

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Late last night I saw Nancy Pelosi crowing her success in extorting and strong-arming enough Democrats to vote for her 1990+ page “Destruction of the American Health Care System and Daunting Deficit Spending To Pay For It All” bill. In my opinion it shows her delight in sending the US down the path of economic ruin for our health care system. The Speaker obviously has no understanding of economics and what motivates and demotivates people to do what they do when it comes to economic activity.

We know her intentions are good (after all, she says so), but we all know the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Unfortunately she will be dragging 300+ million Americans to Health Care Hell with her.

Now all we can hope for is the bill's failure to pass in the Senate. I'd like to think there will be enough opposition to kill it despite Harry Reid's arm twisting.

Obama praised this soul-killing bill as one “desperately needed by the American people.” Unfortunately he's wrong (or disingenuous). This isn't what was needed by anyone but him. What the American desperately need is for him to stop screwing around with the economy and to stop spending money we don't have.

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Sarah Palin makes known her thoughts about the just passed Pelosi health care bill:

Despite Americans’ decisive message last Tuesday that they reject the troubling path this country has been taking, Speaker Pelosi has broken her own promises of transparency to ram a health “care” bill through the House of Representatives just before midnight. Why did she push the 2,000 page bill this weekend? Was she perhaps afraid to give her peers and the constituents for whom she works the chance to actually read this monstrous bill carefully, if at all? Was she concerned that Americans might really digest the details of a bill that the Wall Street Journal has called “the worst piece of post-New Deal legislation ever introduced”?

I've turned manure piles at the farm that did't stink anywhere near as much as this socialist piece-of-crap legislation.

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You know it's bad for Obama when even the Chicago press is criticizing him for his reaction (or lack thereof) to the shootings in Fort Hood. Some have even called this his “My Pet Goat” moment. (For those of you out there not familiar with the reference, President George W. Bush was reading “My Pet Goat” to a bunch of elementary school students Down South when he received word of the first attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th. Some criticized him for not leaving immediately, possibly scaring the hell out of the kids, even though there was no definitive information about what had happened at that time.)

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But wait! It gets even worse for Obama!

It's not good for the President when even Democrats state they miss George W. Bush.

In a sign that the Obama honeymoon truly is over, I began to hear this week the first stirrings of a wistfulness about Mr Bush. "I never thought I'd hear myself say it," one Democrat told me. "But Obama makes you feel that at least with Bush you knew where he was on something."

This makes me want to buy one of these.

You know Obama's luster has indeed faded when the cool demeanor he displayed during the presidential campaign is now being criticized because he's seen as too cool, too passionless.

When Mr Bush's Republicans were defeated in the 2006 mid-term elections, it was the President himself who stepped up and declared that his party had received "a thumpin'". The Democratic defeats on Tuesday were not on anything like the same scale but Mr Obama acted as if nothing at all had happened.

This sounds like denial, where someone will ignore an event or events in the hope that it will all go away all by itself.

I don't think that's going to work in this case.

(H/T Instapundit)

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Glenn Reynolds has a series of links decrying the Department of Homeland Security's focus on Tea Party protesters while ignoring online posts and rants of those glorifying suicide bombings and jihadist attacks against US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Says Instapundit reader C.J. Burch, “Ah, but those middle class protesters are a threat to politicians’ power. Terrorists are just a threat to their constituents’ lives. See the difference?”

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One must wonder what the heck the Obama Administration thinks the First Amendment – and particularly Free Speech – means. From what I've been reading lately I get the impression they see it as something that should be greatly curtailed...unless someone is speaking in favor of something the Administration wants.

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If this were really the case:



I've always liked the VW's.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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This is how President Obama should have handled the shootings at Ft. Hood.

Are we missing Dubya and Laura yet?

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The New England Patriots played the Miami Dolphins in Foxboro today, beating them 27-17. While still not perfect, the Patriots have shaped up nicely after a few stumbles at the beginning of the season.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where above normal temps are visiting for a few days, the depression over PelosiCare is setting in, and where ammo is still in short supply.

11/06/2009

How's That "Smart Diplomacy" Workin' For You?

It appears the Obama Administration has finally figured out that the Hondurans did have the legal right to oust former President Zelaya.

After making all kinds of noise about the supposed “coup” and how the Honduran Congress and Supreme Court removing Zelaya under their own constitution and laws were somehow wrong, the Obama Administration now concedes their actions were lawful and will magnanimously allow them some say in their own affairs.

Gee, isn't that just swell?

So much for “smart diplomacy.”

11/05/2009

An Accidental Stimulus

From the November 5th issue of Machine Design comes this eye opening observation about our economy, specifically in regards to the Law of Unintended Consequences.

As the official unemployment rate tops 10% in more than one quarter of all states, the hot topic of the day increasingly moves toward how to stimulate more hiring. This is particularly true in states hit the hardest in the economic downturn.

With this in mind, consider the annual trade show put on by the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute last month. Despite the punk economy, show attendance was healthy. Many exhibitors reported a lot of interest in the packaging and food-processing equipment they had on the show floor.

One might wonder why, with manufacturing companies in such terrible shape, makers of food-processing and food-packaging equipment seemed to be doing relatively well. Part of the answer, according to a longtime PMMI board member, is that makers of automation equipment for the food industry are being helped along by recent legislation, but not in the way you might think.

This board member, who has held management positions in the foodprocessing-
equipment industry for many years, wasn’t referring to stimulus spending. He was alluding to the rise in the minimum wage which took effect this past summer. The food industry is characterized by a significant number of low-wage workers, he points out. In the past, he’d noticed that every increase in the minimum wage resulted in an up-tick of orders for automation equipment designed to eliminate a few more jobs. He figures this past summer’s wage hike is shaping up to be no different. Of course, you’ll likely never read this explanation for economic activity in newspaper headlines. One suspects that machinery manufacturers asked to publicly explain their improving business conditions tend to avoid giving politically incorrect answers. It is generally unwise to point out that your own good fortunes are partly due to missteps by politicians that have brought misery to others.

(emphasis added – ed.)

Of course it was the politicians in Congress that pushed through the raise in the minimum wage, using the excuse that no one could support a family making the minimum wage as it was before they took action. However, it is rare that anyone making minimum wage is also supporting a family. Such jobs are usually entry level positions for people taking their first jobs. But with the increase of the minimum wage over the past couple of years many of those jobs have disappeared. As illustrated above, when the costs go up employers find ways of cutting costs. Whether that means trimming jobs or replacing personnel with machinery, the end result is the number of jobs at minimum wage shrink.

I have no doubt the members of Congress that ramrodded this change will now claim the decrease in the number of minimum wage jobs is solely the fault of the greedy business owners. But the one thing they constantly overlook is that businesses, particularly small businesses, are not charities. If they don't remain profitable they go out of business, and those working for them will be out of jobs. This is something that seems to have escaped the notice of the Congresscritters when they passed the minimum wage increase legislation.

11/04/2009

List Of Accomplishments

Received via e-mail:

Listofac 596 x 769.jpg

No further comment required.

11/02/2009

(No) Power To The People

Things are not going well in the socialist paradise of Venezuela. Apparently Hugo Chávez and his minions are having trouble keeping the lights on and the water running. Is it really any surprise?

Venezuelans in the capital are bracing themselves for drastic rationing as public services in the oil-rich nation sink ever deeper into crisis, threatening to undermine President Hugo Chávez's support.

Water is to be cut off in Caracas for up to 48 hours a week from Monday, possibly lasting until next May or June. Power rationing is also starting this week, aiming to reduce national useage by 20 per cent.

Venezuela's populist leader says the water shortages are a result of the driest weather in 40 years, which has also intensified the problem of blackouts. The country relies on hydroelectricity for about three-quarters of its power and reservoirs are at record lows. Increased consumption due to high economic growth has exacerbated the problem, he says.

“High economic growth”? Really? In Venezuela?

Hmm. Somehow I find it difficult to believe there is economic growth of any kind in Venezuela, particularly when price controls for various commodities (like food) have made them very scarce. Graft, corruption, and incompetence have severely limited or destroyed various segments of the economy. Even Venezuela's oil reserves, claimed by Chávez to be greater than that even of Saudi Arabia, have been unable to support the government's growing social and economic engineering programs. Of course it doesn't help that their petroleum infrastructure has been decaying since Chávez took power and nationalized the oil companies. Most of the personnel that used to run and maintain the infrastructure have either quit, been fired, or fled Venezuela. The missing workers have been replaced by many of Chávez's political cronies, few of which know anything about running or maintaining the wells and equipment needed to keep the oil flowing.

I wonder how long it will take their wells, pipelines, oil terminals, and other equipment to deteriorate to the point where it doesn't work? All one need do is look at how Iran's once profitable oil infrastructure has crumbled to the point where they can't even refine enough of their own oil to meet their domestic needs.

His fellow Venezuelans haven't been buying his line about the causes of the various shortages, knowing many of the problems they are suffering are due entirely to his actions.

Government critics say that, despite Venezuela being flooded by oil wealth in recent years as energy prices rose, persistent under-investment in maintaining and expanding water and electricity networks lies at the root of the problem. They also point to chronic mismanagement, poor planning and even corruption. Furthermore, frozen tariffs have provided no incentive to conserve water or electricity.

Many remain unconvinced by Mr Chávez's attempts to brush off responsibility for the shortages by attributing problems to the climatic phenomenon known as El Niño .

"It's not the root of the problem," says Norberto Bausson, director of the Municipal Institute for Water and Aqueducts of Sucre, an opposition-controlled municipality in eastern Caracas. He says the rationing is caused by rising demand due to population growth and increased consumption per capita, while an absence of infrastructure investment has caused supply to be lower now than a decade ago.

Eventually Chávez will run out of excuses. He won't be able to blame the rich because there won't be any left, except for his cronies (he'll have made sure of that). He won't be able to blame a drought if the electrical and water systems finally break down and provide neither to the populace even though there's plenty of water available to drink and generate electricity. He won't be able to blame the farmers for the shortage of food if he's driven them all out of business due to his fixing prices at such a low level that the farmers go bankrupt.

The time will come (if it hasn't already) when the only one left to blame will be Chávez himself. But he won't (or can't) admit he's been the cause of Venezuela's economic ills because when it comes to economics he's a total moron. But then most dictators are when it comes to understanding how economies work.

11/01/2009

Thoughts On A Sunday

We knew it had to come to an end, but Beezlebub was devastated by the fact that his regular employment at the farm has ended for the year. It left him a bit directionless as he really didn't know what to do with his free time. He will be helping with building a roof over the outdoor coolers sometime later this month, but it isn't quite the same thing as working in the fields or running one of the tractors.

To help with his feelings of loss, we ended up making a trip to the WP In-Laws for the day, something that always makes him feel better.

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Speaking of yesterday, the weather was definitely schizophrenic, with the day looking like it should have been a cool, windy, rainy day. Instead it was a very warm, windy, rainy day. Coats and sweaters were not required because it was in the upper 60's/lower 70's. The Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove was allowed to go cold and wasn't restarted until late today. The brief reprieve from the cool temperatures lasted until today, when things returned to normal.

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As often happens during family trips, discussions about various topics take place. During our trip home from the WP In-Laws I made mention that I was having trouble seeing because of the dark and rain. At first I thought it was just me and my aging eyes. But both Deb and BeezleBub said they were also having a tough time seeing as well. The recently painted markings on the roads were barely visible (the rain deflecting the reflections from the markings), the winds causing the rain to wash across the windshield in ways that made it difficult for the wipers to keep it clear. It quickly became apparent we weren't the only ones having that problem as more than one car or truck we encountered on our trip home were driving slower and more carefully that they otherwise might have.

New pavement was more difficult to see because it is darker than older pavement, making it tougher to see the edges of the road. There was lots of new pavement along our route of travel (so maybe it's Obama's fault we couldn't see because of all the ARRA funds made available for road construction/reconstruction!).

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Oh, yeah, like this bodes well for the state of California.

Starting Sunday, cash-strapped California will dig deeper into the pocketbooks of wage earners -- holding back 10% more than it already does in state income taxes just as the biggest shopping season of the year kicks into gear.

Technically, it's not a tax increase, even though it may feel like one when your next paycheck arrives.

Think of it as a forced, interest-free loan: You'll be repaid any extra withholding in April. Those who would receive a refund anyway will receive a larger one, and those who owe taxes will owe less.

Yeah, like that will happen. Knowing California's deep budget deficit, I doubt they'll have the means of paying that money back any time soon, if ever.

(H/T Instapundit)

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Tammy Bruce confirms a prediction I made way back when that the Cash For Clunkers program would end up screwing both the taxpayers and the used car market.

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I just upgraded our Linux computers to Ubuntu 9.10. The laptop had no problems and sailed through the upgrade with no problems. BeezleBub's computer, on the other hand, is now reporting a number of bad sectors on its primary hard drive. It also freezes when he tries to start an application. Ironically, it only happens on his account. When I log onto his computer on my account, everything seems to work just fine.

And people wonder why I hate and love computers at the same time.

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First, there was Bush Derangement Syndrome. Then came Palin Derangement Syndrome (an ongoing affliction). Now there's (Liz) Cheney Derangement Syndrome.

Those hate-filled misogynists at MSNBC just can't handle it when a conservative woman dares utter an opinion. After Liz Cheney rightfully criticized Barack Obama's cheesy photo-op at Dover AFB the other night, MSNBC clown Lawrence O'Donnell, filling in for the insane Keith Olbermann, goes on this lame rant last night. O'Donnell is technically correct on one point: Yes, neither George W. Bush nor Dick Cheney ever pulled a stunt like Obama's. Likely because they realized buffoons like O'Donnell would have gone wild about "monsters" like Bush and Cheney showing up to greet the soldiers "they killed" in their "illegal war for oil" or some such nonsense.

'Nuff said.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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The White House has claimed a large number of jobs have been 'saved' by the stimulus bill. What they don't tell you is that most of them were government jobs.

It sounds like they've been taking a page from the book of New Jersey governor John Corzine.

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Speaking of John Corzine, the gubernatorial race in New Jersey is a close one.

Corzine has ponied up over $30 million of his own money, while Republican challenger Chris Christie has been using public funding. Ironically, in a state with a 2-1 advantage of registered Democrats to Republicans, Christie is giving Corzine a run for his money. It all comes down to who the voters believe can turn New Jersey around and help the state economy recover. If Corzine's record in that regard were the only criteria for deciding who to vote for, he'd lose by a landslide. Unfortunately this race is about more than that...and that's the problem.

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Has anyone else other than me and Don Surber noticed the White House really doesn't like criticism?

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Ford Motor Company managed to avoid bankruptcy, managed to stay in business, and is making and selling cars consumers want to buy. So what happens?

The UAW figures Ford must be punished for its success.

With the rank and file voting down a contract negotiated between the unions and Ford, I would not be surprised to see demands for high pay, a wider swath of benefits, and more crippling work rules. The UAW played its part in bringing down Chrysler and GM, now they want to do the same thing to Ford.

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Bruce points out the greed of Massachusetts shoppers crossing the border into New Hampshire to do their shopping, depriving their beloved Commonwealth of much needed revenue required “For The Children!”

In the photo included in his post, you see the owner of the vehicle is a proud member of a union, an Obama supporter, and definitely not a fan of George W. Bush. To me it illustrates their hypocrisy, apparently being for all kinds of liberal spending (and the taxes that go with them), yet stiffing their own home state of tax revenues to benefit themselves.

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Bogie and her WS are making preparations for the coming winter, getting their firewood supply stacked and under cover. As she says, “This is stuff of warm and cozy winters!”

Here at The Manse we have two-thirds of our firewood supply stacked and ready to go, with the last third being delivered sometime in the next week or so.

Unlike last winter, we will be doing almost all our heating using the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove. About the only time we'll turn up the thermostat is when it is below zero outside (the woodstove can't quite keep up when it's that cold) and when we leave The Manse for more than a day, like over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (we'll be at the WP In-Laws). We plan to limit our use of our propane supply to the water heater and the clothes drier. If this winter's usage holds to previous winters when we used only wood to heat, we won't go through more than 200 gallons of propane between our last fill up in September and our next one in late April/early May next year.

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Are this week's elections in Virginia, New Jersey, and upstate New York a prelude to 2010? They will certainly be an indicator of whether President Obama still has any pull with the electorate. If Republicans win in all three races it would show the luster has begun to fade from Obama and that independents and moderates are abandoning in large numbers the left-center shift they showed last November. If Republicans win in two of the three races (figure Virginia and upstate New York) it points to the growing problem the Democrats have been having with independent and moderate voters. If a Republican wins only one of the races (likely Virginia), then it means Obama still has some pull, Corzine's millions spent on his own campaign notwithstanding.

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One of the aforementioned races – New York's 23rd Congressional District - has had a number of twist and turns, one being the GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava dropping out of the race, leaving the way open for Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman. A lot of people thought Scozzafava was more of a RINO (Republican In Name Only), so her backing by the state GOP and RNC was puzzling (the county GOP endorsed Hoffman).

The latest twist: Scozzafava has endorsed the Democrat candidate. Scozzafava made fools of the GOP, and particularly Newt Gingrich, who endorsed her over Hoffman.

I'd say this shows the RNC is seriously out of touch with the rank and file.

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One thing I must admit: I hate having to change clocks twice a year, particularly from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. I'd rather keep the extra hour of daylight in the afternoon and deal with the extra morning darkness. The shift from DST is always the most difficult one for me, the family, and particularly the feline members of the household. (Dinnertime is very important to them, but with the change to Standard Time their dinnertime has been delayed an hour because no one is home to feed them. They aren't happy about that at all.)

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where Standard Time has returned, the weather has been kind of weird, and where our firewood stacks are getting bigger.