5/30/2012

I'm Not From Bahston

This is “wicked pissah”*!!



*Translation: Very cool.

5/28/2012

Remembering Our Honored Dead

I looked through the Weekend Pundit archives in search of an appropriate illustration for Memorial Day. Instead I came across this post from 2006 which related an event that we experienced that Memorial Day. The memory is as fresh as if it happened today and still makes me a little misty-eyed.

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It is Memorial Day.

It is a day to remember the honored dead, those who gave their lives to keep us free.

It often is a day of parades, memorial services, speeches, and memories.

This year, it was also the day of the funeral of Gilmanton, NH native PFC Nicholas R. Cournoyer, with 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, New York. Nicholas died while serving in Iraq.

My family and I went to have breakfast at the Paugus Diner late this morning. As we were eating we saw a number of people carrying American flags gathering outside the entrance of the Bayside Cemetery in Laconia. Some folks in the diner thought that they must be getting ready for a Memorial Day parade. But one of the waitresses informed them that PFC Cournoyer was going to be laid to rest.

All I had to do was look at Deb and she knew what it is I wanted to do.

I quickly finished my meal, paid the check, and walked out to the road, joining a number of others there waiting for the funeral cortège to arrive. Deb and BeezleBub joined me a few minutes later once they finished their meals.

We heard the procession long before we saw it.

The rumble of dozens of motorcycles came closer, led by the Laconia and Belmont PD motorcycle units. A small number of cars followed them. And then, curiously, a white pickup truck with rock and roll music blaring from its windows approached. It wasn't until it was almost even with us that we could see that it carried the flag draped casket of PFC Cournoyer. Somehow the music seemed fitting. Someone in the crowd said that it was Nicholas' favorite.

A long white limousine followed the pickup close behind.

As the casket-bearing truck pulled even with us, Deb and BeezleBub put their hands over their hearts and I removed my hat and placed it over my heart. It was then that my vision blurred and I realized tears were running down my face. I looked to Deb and saw that she too was crying. I put my arm around her shoulders and pulled her close to me. We continued to watch the procession as it entered the cemetery. More than 200 vehicles filed past.

The parades, the speeches, the memorial services that denote Memorial Day became all the more poignant for the funeral of PFC Nicholas R. Cournoyer. For today, we remember the honored dead.

5/27/2012

Thoughts On A Sunday

It's Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start of the summer tourist season here in New Hampshire. All day yesterday I could hear the sound of boat motors from the lake (the bigger go-fast boats, not the runabouts like ours), the sounds of motorcycles along the state roads here in town, and the crush of out-of-state folks making the most of the weekend.

Most of what I did to start off the weekend dealt with work around The Manse. There are still decks to scrape/strip/sand/stain, laundry to wash, lawns to mow, weeds to kill, and blue stone to move. I might even make it down to the town beach before the weekend is out.

And so starts another summer.

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Deb also reminded me the tourists are out, particularly the dreaded “summah people”. She told me she darned near got hit head on by one of them coming down a back road when that 'tourist' decided they needed to use the entire road rather than one side like everyone else.

And so it starts.

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This is the big difference between Romney and Obama/Biden: Obama and Biden have never worked a day in the private sector. As Romney says, Obama just doesn't understand the basics of capitalism or a free economy.

If they've never had to make a payroll, deal with government regulations, worry about whether customers would pay them on time or wonder whether they would be able to pay creditors on time, then how can they possibly understand what businesses large and small really need?

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The aforementioned lack of understanding of the basics of capitalist economics by Obama and Biden might explain why Obama's use of Bain Capital as part of his re-election strategy has backfired. It became evident that Obama and his campaign staff didn't understand that venture capital firms like Bain deal with failing companies, trying to turn them around and make them successful again. They also fail to understand that it doesn't always work and then firms like Bain will sell off the assets in order to reduce or recoup their losses. An 80% success rate for Bain isn't bad. It's not perfect, but it isn't bad by any means.

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You know things are getting bad when parents can be arrested for letting their kids walk or ride their bikes to school.

Yet another example of the nanny state stepping it where it isn't wanted...or needed.

These people need to get an effin' clue.

(H/T Instapundit)

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As if we need yet another example of the nanny state effing things up, there's this little gem:

School Nurse Refuses To Give Student Inhaler During Asthma Attack.

What's worse is that when it became apparent the student was losing consciousness due to the asthma attack, the nurse closed and locked the door to her office rather than calling 911.

The school administration officials defend the nurse's actions because “it's school policy”. The ever meaningless “it's policy” gambit is used by administrators who are too stupid or lazy to actually make a decision.

That's one school system that needs to be sued, big time.

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Bogie reports on her Wonderful Spouse's trip to Washington, DC to participate in the Rolling Thunder tribute to our veterans and our honored dead.

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Oh, great! Patient Zero of the coming Zombie Apocalypse has appeared in Miami.

Not a great way to start the Memorial Day weekend.

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Also by way of Instapundit comes this story about yet another federal agency run amok, in this case the EEOC targeting a coffee shop chain in the South Shore area south of Boston.

What is the coffee chain's offense, at least in the eyes of the EEOC? Hiring pretty coeds to run the stores. Call it a coffee shop version of Hooters. And like Hooters, many seem to think the EEOC will drop their inquiry for the same reason – embarrassment.

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Memorial Day is tomorrow.

I can't adequately describe this, but I have to agree with the author that this single image and the story that goes with it haunts me.

(H/T Viking Pundit)

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Tom Bowler gets into the distinction between justice and social justice. They aren't the same thing.

Writes Tom:

Social Justice has nothing to do with justice in any sense of what is right or fair.  It's a political concept, contrived for the convenience of a political class who make a princely living by extorting money from anybody who has it and promising it to anybody who can be persuaded that they're entitled to it.  Funny how so much of it rubs off along the way.  Funny how slow some people are so slow to realize what's going on.

--snip--

It's as if some people have to be hit over the head before they get it.  Liberal politicians, or progressives as they now like to be called, talk the talk about freedom, by which they mostly mean license or entitlement, but it's all about getting and holding onto power.

It's about power, not about what is right or fair.

Yup, I'd say that sums it up pretty well.

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Kathleen Parker covers Cory Booker's being taken out behind the woodshed for speaking the truth.

But the most telling part of her op-ed piece is in the comments. More than one commenter demanded that Romney release his tax returns for the years he headed Bain Capital. For those making those demands, I have to ask them this: How long do they keep copies of their tax returns?

I don't know about you, but we keep ours for three years. Some people keep theirs for up to seven years. What makes you think Romney keeps his for any longer than that? He started at Bain in 1977, created Bain Capital in 1984, and left in 1998. I don't know about you but why would anyone keep their tax returns from 14 years ago, let alone 28 years ago?

I'd be far more interested in Obama's college transcripts, the ones that supposedly show him to be so darned intelligent.

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Steve MacDonald points out the beverage known as a milk shake in the rest of the US is called a frappe in much of New England. (I believe it's called a 'cabinet' in Rhode Island.) And it's pronounced 'frapp' not 'fraa-paayy'.

Just so you know in case you have occasion to visit New England.

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You might be a Liberal if...

(H/T Granite Grok)

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A group of 49 former NASA astronauts, scientists, engineers, and others have asked NASA to “halt what they consider its unscientific advocacy of climate alarmism.”

In a letter to NASA administrator Charles Bolden Jr., these rocket scientists, space explorers, and other men and women of reason requested that “NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites.” They added: “We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.”

“The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements,” the March 28 letter continued.

Of course the push back from the Warmists will follow the usual line: “But these people aren't climate scientists! What do they know?”

That's true, they aren't climate scientists, but many of them are scientists in related fields and they have a thorough understanding of scientific method, something far too many of the climate scientists seem to have forgotten (or chosen to ignore).

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the summer tourist season has begun, the “summah people' are evident, and where there's still plenty of work to do around our homes.

5/26/2012

Detroit Goin' Dark?

The implosion of Detroit continues, with the city taking more actions to cut its costs even as revenues decline and more people leave the city seeking greener pastures. Their latest action: shutting off and/or removing half the street lights in the city. That ought to help the crime rate in the city...go up.

Detroit, whose 139 square miles contain 60 percent fewer residents than in 1950, will try to nudge them into a smaller living space by eliminating almost half its streetlights.

As it is, 40 percent of the 88,000 streetlights are broken and the city, whose finances are to be overseen by an appointed board, can’t afford to fix them. Mayor Dave Bing’s plan would create an authority to borrow $160 million to upgrade and reduce the number of streetlights to 46,000. Maintenance would be contracted out, saving the city $10 million a year.

When you have block after block of abandoned commercial buildings and homes, it makes no sense to waste money lighting streets where no one (except squatters) live. Of course many of those buildings and homes wouldn't be abandoned if decades of Progressive leadership hadn't driven the city into these dire straits. The city is a perfect example of the Thatcher Axiom: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money.” That certainly fits Detroit to a 'T'.

Detroit’s dwindling income and property-tax revenue have required residents to endure unreliable buses and strained police services throughout the city. Because streetlights are basic to urban life, deciding what areas to illuminate will reshape the city, said Kirk Cheyfitz, co-founder of a project called Detroit143 -- named for the 139 square miles of land, plus water -- that publicizes neighborhood issues.

--snip--

Meantime, [Detroit Chief Operating Officer Chris] Brown said, the city will fix broken streetlights in certain places even as it discontinues such services as street and sidewalk repairs in “distressed” areas -- those with a high degree of blight and little or no commercial activity.

As Glenn Reynolds stated in his link to the story, it's like something right out of Atlas Shrugged or I Will Fear No Evil.

5/24/2012

An Evening With Ovide Lamontagne

Guest blogger Bill attended the Lakes Region (New Hampshire) TEA Party meeting in Moultonborough this evening, taking the opportunity to listen to Republican gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne speak. Here's his take on Lamontagne.

On Wed. May 23rd, Ovide Lamontagne came to the regular monthly Moultonboro TEA Party meeting at the Moultonboro Public Library. I’ve heard the man’s name sporadically over the last couple of years, usually along with little bits and pieces of his views. Since he is running for Governor and since all those bits and pieces never really got strung together enough to have a real opinion about the man, I decided to go. The evening’s event was well attended compared to one I had gone to a few months ago. After opening and a brief mention of America’s current state using JKF as a reference point, he talked a bit about his personal and work past. He has always been surrounded by extended family, and has been a business attorney for over 20 years. Concurrent with that, he has served on multiple boards and councils ranging from the NH State Board of Education, the local Daniel Webster Council of the Boy Scouts of America, St. Mary’s Bank, the Easter Seals Society, and the Governor’s Commission on Domestic Violence. His public service resume is notably longer than that, with the positions Chairman and Director appearing more than not. Many of these details were spread out and elaborated through the evening. Shortly after this, he talked in a declarative way of his respect and admonishment for not just the Constitution of the United States, but of the Constitution of New Hampshire. Referring to each throughout the meeting as well, in both a first person understanding as well as a historical context that when combined often led to very natural moments that moved the audience. Personally, I believe I saw people being tugged and motivated simultaneously. Mr. Lamontagne spoke several times on such meaningful elements of personal freedom and the requisite personal responsibility a functioning Republic demands, that much of the audience appeared to feel not only related to, but I think also a little moved to be and do more than they have been. Now, I recognize that that sounded romantic and more than a little potentially contrived. The thing is, this was through the course of a conversation, he was not giving a speech. Mr. Lamontagne was communicating ideas and values that are deeply important to many people, and did it in a way that did not appear forced or rehearsed, making this audience rather appreciative.

So, he got good grades on the likability factor. That being said, if America is to survive, we have to remove Progressive brainwashing from our voting habits, among other things. By that I mean casting votes based on how candidates make us feel about ourselves, and on how pretty one speaks over the other, and all those unicorn and rainbow platitudes that we have allowed ourselves to be conditioned to [accept], all of which at direct expense of the substance and reality of our responsibilities in our Government. Voting on what amounts to a high school popularity contest is killing us. While I will not pretend to speak for the man or his campaign, and I fully recognize the limitations of my knowledge of the details of his positions, based on what was said that night, here is a short list of what I came away thinking of the man's positions:

He is highly motivated to regain the State of NH’s state sovereignty that is by definition part of the Balance of Power in Federalism, doing so by judicious means of both roadblocks (vs. Obamacare) and slow means (vs. US Dept of Education).

He expressed strong interest in a state voter ID policy and stands against casinos in NH with the singular exception of the possible redevelopment of the Rockingham Park horse track.

He is both pro-life and appears to be willing to take a stand with Natural (Traditional) Marriage.

The Northern Pass was brought up, fortunately only in brief as that subject could (and does warrant) considerable dialogue. While he did not take a definitive stand for its development, it appeared that its development would be contingent on both the power lines being buried and that NH would have legal right to that power once its in the state. (The Northern Pass is a project to bring high voltage lines from Canada through New Hampshire into southern New England. The problem lies with the proposed route which takes it through some of the most scenic areas of the state, something that some folks in this state believe will destroy part of the tourist industry in favor of out-of-state electricity consumers. - ed.)

He expressed disinterest in enhancing any gun control law with several notes from a common sense, practical point of view. On the question of the creation of a state referendum, he appeared luke warm to it, but in such a way that one could not really tell if it was his opinion of it itself, the political reality of getting it through or some other issue.

He did make several strong stances on the need for vigilance (on all our parts) when it came to encroachments on NH’s state power, including but not limited to Cap and Trade through any number of back doors, UN potential power grabs, and an overreaching Federal gov’t in myriad forms.

There was an odd question posed by a member of the audience, that was followed by another person in the audience that appeared a set up/gotcha moment. One person asked a loose question that seemed to be “what’s the hardest ‘No” you’ve ever had to say?” Perhaps trying to get an idea of Mr. Lamontagne’s ability to say “No” to someone when it would hurt. Possibly a character test question when so much of America is the weakest it’s ever been, and at a time when Occupy demands everything with the veiled threat of violence. He answered it well from the position of his American/Conservative point of view. Taking his time to flesh out that there are things that just are not government’s job to do. Adding, and I believe quite well, that a representative must say No in such a way as to be understood a decision has been made, but by such means that the person being refused realizes that that answer does not apply to everything that same person would ask for. That it was important to make the distinction between saying No to a thing, and not No to the person. The person’s involvement and other future requests were still of some value, and will be heard and understood as such. This was said in such a simple and honest way that it would have demanded the President and other National representatives who call for civility and show none, be left shamed and humiliated. Fate however, would rear its head with a follow on question by another that was, simply put, “Are you going to make some kind of price control/anti-gouging law for gas and oil companies with their ridiculously inconsistent prices, that are forcing some people to choose to either eat, heat, or get their treatments?” Mr. Lamontagne did laugh, not at the question, but at the oddity of the moment, which everyone recognized as well. He then went on to explain that prices can be difficult, but that free markets by their nature do find their own ideal price, albeit over time, and that government usually makes things worse despite good intentions. The man that posed the question did in fact say that he respected Mr. Lamontagne for his answering a direct question honestly.

The meeting continued, but with this being the candidate's second such meeting that day and having a dinner date with his wife, left shortly after.

In a perfect world, when asked “Mr. Lamontagne, what are you going to do for me?” He would reply, “Nothing.”

That’s what I did on my field trip.

5/23/2012

Obama Administration Using ADA To Keep Your Kids From Swimming

In light of the upcoming summer season, this little tidbit by way of Maggie's Farm hits a little too close to home. But considering where it comes from we shouldn't be all that surprised, should we?

The Obama Administration seems to be doing all it can to make sure life is “fair”, even if it has to destroy long standing traditions, activities, and other bits of American culture to do so. The latest bit of “fairness” comes by way of the rather overused and severely twisted ADA, or the Americans with Disabilities Act. The most recent salvo threatens to close down both public and commercial swimming pools because they don't have easy access into the water for the severely disabled.

Last week, news was made as today’s deadline approached for commercial and municipal swimming pool owners to install means, by which disabled swimmers could enter the nation’s swimming pools. It is the kind of regulation that would make a great punch line for the conservative version of the Daily Show, if conservatives were that funny. The Obama Administration has recently construed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Standards for Accessible Design to apply to the act of swimming.

Today, this regulation was supposed to go into effect, opening up the owners to $100,000 fines as well as trial lawyer liability. However, thanks to the kindness of the Justice Department, existing pools now have until January 2013 to comply. “Newly constructed or altered places of public accommodation, commercial facilities and state and local government facilities” operating swimming pools will now be required to install permanent structures that lower physically disabled patrons into the pool.

How many municipalities, hotels, and other facilities will close their pools rather than worry about facing fines or spending money they can't afford to comply with this latest application of the ADA, particularly when it was never really meant to be used in such a punitive fashion?

Call it yet another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences punishing the innocent all in the name of “fairness”.

5/22/2012

From The Archives - Visiting/Living In The Lakes Region Of New Hampshire

I think Mondays or Tuesdays are going to become the official “Pull Something From The Archives” day here at Weekend Pundit. It makes it easier for me to make the transition from weekend mode to work day mode.

From March 2004 comes this gem, yet another in a series about recreating or living up here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. I have made a few edits (I removed a part about the exact change lanes at the toll booths as for the most part they've gone the way of the dodo, replaced with the EZ-Pass system), and removed references to some other no longer existing websites or blogs.

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I realize I've been remiss in regaling you with (mostly) true stories and northern New England wisdom, the kinds of things that will help visitors (or those thinking of moving here) survive...er...enjoy their time here.

One thing that new residents and visitors seem to have a difficulty with is time. Not telling time so much as understanding that time moves at a different pace up here. While California is often seen as the capitol of 'laid back' it was actually invented here. The old saying “The hurrier I go the behinder I get” pretty well describes how we don't do things around here.

For instance I've seen too many people up here on vacation trying to jam in a month's worth of recreating into one or two weeks. They go home more exhausted than when they arrived and then they need time off to recuperate before they go back to work. It kinda defeats the purpose of coming up here.

Folks have got to learn to slow down a bit. Not so much to the point that mañana becomes the theme of their stay, but more like not trying to do too much in a single day. No one needs to go skiing, sledding, snowmobiling, shopping, and ice skating all before lunch. Nor is it necessary to go swimming, boating, water-skiing, jet-skiing, and playing video games at the arcades all between lunch and dinner. It's OK to kick back, sit on a lawn chair in the shade and read a good book or watch other folks recreating hard or even lie back and do nothing at all. Heck, folks are even allowed to take a nap any time they want. It's not like we're going to tell on you if that's what you want to do. Take a walk. Take a hike. Ride a bike. Go to a movie, maybe even a drive-in! Stop at a roadside ice cream stand and indulge yourself and your family. But for cryin' out loud, don't try to do it all at once. All anyone trying to do that will do nothing but tucker themselves out.

For those moving here to live rather than to recreate, some of the same advice applies. Also. don't over-schedule things, particularly your kids' extracurricular activities. They don't need to play soccer, football, basketball, field hockey, ice hockey, golf, run track, cross-country ski, etc. in order to be 'complete'. Allow them some time to be just kids, to hang out and play with their friends. And whatever you do don't fall into the habit of 'play dates'. Save that crap for the city. You didn't move here just to do exactly the same things you moved from the city to get away from, did you? If you did, then why did you bother to move up this way in the first place?

Next, something near and dear to my heart – driving.

One thing that visitors and new residents learn the hard way is that the posted speed limits are pretty well enforced on the smaller highways and town roads. The police seem to give more leeway on the Interstates, but even that is subject to change without notice. While there are stretches of road that appear to have an artificially low speed limit, it's usually because there are farm or logging operations going on somewhere along that road. So the speeds are kept down in order to make it easier for the farmers and logging truck drivers to pull out onto the road. Farm tractors don't move very quickly and fully loaded logging trucks take a while to get up to speed. Give them time and space to do so. It's the courteous thing to do, something that we take quite serious around here.

Another thing – that doodad on the left side of your steering wheel is called a turn signal. Learn how to use it, and use it before you actually make a turn rather than after in order to show us what it is you just did (I believe that's something endemic to the People's Republic of Massachusetts because it's mostly folks in cars with Massachusetts plates that pull that little stunt).

One thing that a lot of folks from away have a tough time getting used to is stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks. Cityfolk might not think it's all that important, but around here the pedestrians have the right of way. That, and you must also remember that some of them carry guns. So be polite and stop for those crossing the street, even if they aren't in a crosswalk.

Okay, that takes care of the driving part of this post. Let's move on.

One thing that we really like up here in northern New England is the scenic beauty that surrounds us. We try hard to keep it clean for both visitors and the folks living here. All that we ask is that you do your part, too. In other words, clean up after yourselves. Trash belongs in a trash barrel, not along the side of a road or a hiking trail, and certainly not in the rivers, lakes, or streams. While we enjoy the fact that tourists like to come here, enjoy our scenery, partake of the various recreation opportunities, for the most part we are not your servants and we don't take kindly to people trashing our home.

I'll close out this post with a quote from Weirs Times columnist Lorrie Baird that explains a very important concept that visitors must understand:

Only the people who live here and pay taxes have earned the right to complain about local services – which is almost a sport around here.

Indeed.

5/20/2012

Thoughts On A Sunday

I got a ton of work done around The Manse this weekend. Of course it helped that I took both Thursday and Friday off from work to get a head start.

The lawn has been mowed (for the most part – BeezleBub took care of the 'flats' and I struggled with the slope). Old stain has been stripped from one of the three decks in preparation for new stain, something long overdue. Weeds have been attacked with some of the nastiest stuff I could find that wouldn't also wipe out half the planet at the same time.

All in all it's a good start. Hopefully I can get the rest of the maintenance stuff finished next weekend.

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Is the Mann Hockey Stick finally dead? According to Rand Simberg, it is.

It's about frickin' time.

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Knowing the pathology of BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome), this doesn't surprise me in the least.

So now that Bush has been out of office over three years, isn't it about time for his successor to take responsibility for his own actions (or inaction)? Apparently not.

It seems that Bush will be held to blame for things like the humungous budget deficits until 2019, if not forever. Never mind that his total deficits were less than Obama's first budget deficit. (Of course he really has never had a budget because the Democrats in Congress have refused to generate one for four years now.

I'm just waiting for them start blaming him for things that happened before he was even born. It's only a matter of time.

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By way of Scary Yankee Chick comes 48 things that will make many of us feel old.

The one that gets me is #14. I remember when I thought those things were tiny compared to the 5 ¼” and 8” floppies. They also held a lot more data than the two older floppies.

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Oh, yeah, I like this one!

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As bad as traffic was last weekend, with what appeared to most of eastern Massachusetts having decamped for the Lakes Region, it was even heavier this weekend.

The few errands I had to run yesterday morning took quite a bit longer than usual due to the longer lines of traffic at stop signs and traffic lights. The parking lots at WalMart, Lowe's, Hannaford's and Shaw's (two local supermarket chains) were full. Parking was at a premium at 8:30 in the morning! Usually the peak traffic time on a Saturday is between 10 and 11AM, but not yesterday.

I don't know if this can be taken as an indication of how busy this coming summer will be because I've heard others talking about how owners of some marinas are saying slip rentals are down from previous years.

One good thing: gas prices have been falling slightly and probably won't reach the $5 gallon level many predicted at the beginning of the year. However I have seen some marine gas prices around the lake hovering around $4.09/gallon.

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By way of Bogie comes this piece about what Google is calling Project Glass.

Basically it's augmented reality, popping up all kinds of information in your visual field and allowing you to perform a number of actions with voice commands and visual cues.

Enhanced reality has been around for a while, with the military being one of the groups developing the technology. (The military has demonstrated the technology, using it to help maintenance personnel service vehicles and aircraft and for use on the battlefield to help ground troops and air support have a better awareness during combat.)

I do have a few problems with the idea, the biggest one being that it is likely to make our already distracted populace even more distracted. It can also lead to an even bigger dependence on the technology.

An example of this increased dependence was brought up during lunch with a vendor supplying the company I work for. He talked about the problems he had when the GPS in his car failed he had no idea how to get to the various customers he had to visit. He was totally dependent upon it to get where he needed to go. As he said, he didn't pay attention to the route he took because the GPS told him how to get to his destinations. He had no “picture in his head” of the routes to take as he would have in the past. That is definite downside to the technology.

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In light of Facebook's IPO faceplant, I have to agree with the sentiment penned by John Aziz:

The truth is that Facebook is a toy, a dreamworld, a figment of the imagination. Zuckerberg wanted to make the world a more connected place (and build a huge database of personal preferences), and he succeeded thanks to a huge slathering of venture capital. That’s an accomplishment, but it’s not a business. While the angel investors and college-dorm engineers will feel gratified at paper gains, it is becoming hard to ignore that there is no great profit engine under the venture.

Aziz also brings up the fact that Apple wasn't all that successful in the beginning either, and that Facebook might be able to figure out how to pull everything together to create a sustainable business plan.

I am a Facebook user, but I am not a fanatic. I log in to my account once or twice a month just to check on friends and to visit the two or three interest groups to which I belong. This less than stellar participation could be due to my age (though I know lots of folks my age and older logging in to Facebook several times a day) or because I have better things to do with my time. I spend enough time in front of computers as it is. I don't need or want to spend any more than I already do.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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It appears NBC has a new post-apocalypse show for the fall line up, depicting life after a massive EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) attack that wipes out all of the worlds electricity and electronics. The NBC show, Revolution, takes place in Chicago 15 years after the attack.

This isn't the first post-EMP drama on network TV. Fox's Dark Angel (2000-2002) took place in post-EMP Seattle. The focus of this show was more on a group of transgenic humans and not the actual post-Pulse world, unlike NBC's Revolution.

(H/T Instapundit)

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The effects of the progressive esteem-building educational system have come home to roost, having created a generation that cannot learn because they have never really been challenged in school.

The unteachable student has been told all her life that she is excellent: gifted, creative, insightful, thoughtful, able to succeed at whatever she tries, full of potential and innate ability. Pedagogical wisdom since at least the time of John Dewey — and in some form all the way back to William Wordsworth’s divinely anointed child “trailing clouds of glory” — has stressed the development of self-esteem and a sense of achievement.

--snip--

It sounds good. The problem, as traditionalists have argued (but without much success), is that the utopian approach hasn’t worked as intended. Rather than forming cheerful, self-directed learners, the pedagogy of self-esteem has often created disaffected, passive pupils, bored precisely because they were never forced to learn.

'Rewarding' them for merely showing up doesn't teach a student anything...other than how to be lazy. The “everyone wins, nobody loses” self-esteem building has done nothing but teach these kids that they don't have to actually do anything to receive praise or to move ahead. Unfortunately once they're out in the real world, whether it be out in the work force or at college, they find those touchy-feelie programs are nowhere to be found and they're shocked to learn that they actually have to perform to a set of standards or meet the expectations of those who don't care about their self-esteem.

Self-esteem is greatly overrated. There are plenty of people in prison, and even on death row, that have great self-esteem. It certainly didn't serve them very well, did it?

All this progressive educational system has done is to create a generation (or more) of intellectual cripples incapable of functioning in the real world.

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Wizbang covers the EPA's effective annexation of Alaska, proving once again that rogue agency is out of control. Never mind that the United States Supreme Court ruled the EPA could not use the Clean Water Act as a catch-all bludgeon to take control of millions of acres of land and waterways, bypassing state and local regulatory agencies and laws. That hasn't stopped the EPA from doing just that.

Of course such actions have certainly made the watermelon environmentalists happy. It also means they're urging the EPA to use the same method to kill any other projects they don't like.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer has arrived (even if the calendar says it hasn't), the summerfolk are here in droves, and there's still too much work to do around The Manse.

5/18/2012

Bad People

I have to agree with Bird Dog on this one: The Kennedy's are what we term “bad people” in Yankee land.

I know the folks out on Martha's Vineyard Island universally detested the Kennedy clan with only a few exceptions, those being Jackie, John Jr. and Caroline. The rest were considered meddlesome do-gooder-like wastrels more interested interfering with Islanders' lives and livelihoods rather than actually doing anyone any good.

Has The New York City Council Caught The Progressive California Disease?

Much as cities in California have made mistakes when it comes to their finances, it appears here on the East Coast the city of New York is about to shoot itself in the foot, but in a different fashion.

While New York also has problems with its public employee unions, it's nowhere near the level seen elsewhere. Instead, the City Council is proposing rules that will help drive the last surviving industry out of the city – the financial industry.

For the life of me I can't figure out how making it too difficult and too expensive to remain in New York City is going to help the city's finances. Is it possible the City Council has been infected with the “California disease”? After all, California's state and local level governments have been doing their best to drive businesses out of business or out of state. They have succeeded. That's why California is in the fiscal mess it's in. And now New York City wants to do the same thing?

Yet in the wake of JP Morgan’s massive losses last week and the continuing controversy surrounding the Wall Street bailouts, the New York City Council is debating a measure that would require city banks to publicly disclose their efforts at “socially responsible” banking.

--snip--

Many bankers, as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have voiced their opposition to the new plans. The regulations, they say, would add another burdensome layer to the web of regulations that already exist at the federal and state levels. The Council, however, appears unmoved, and support of key council leaders...give it a fighting chance at making it into law.

If it does, its supporters on the Council will hail it as a major victory, but it will be a loss for the city as a whole. The financial industry is the one industry keeping the city alive, yet New York’s blue politicians seem unconcerned about the risks of antagonizing their major cash cow.

This is the same attitude held by many politicians in California and we've seen how well that's worked out for them. The City Council doesn't seem to understand that the banks and other financial institutions will have no problem departing the city for greener pastures. As the post linked above states, Fortune 500 companies have been leaving New York for decades. Wall Street firms will have no problems following them to places with better business climates. And with today's telecommunications infrastructure, those greener pastures can be anywhere, even here in New Hampshire.

5/17/2012

Is California Doomed? Unfortunately The Answer Is "Yes"

Every story we hear coming out of the once Golden State gives us more insight into the coming collapse of California. What's worse is the state government, including the legislature and the governor, is doing everything it can to hasten the process. How is it that it can't see the very actions it's been taking are only making things worse while those it chooses to ignore are the ones needed to set things back on the path to prosperity?

As more than one pundit has stated, California does not have a revenue problem but a spending problem. Even the once-and-again governor Jerry Brown knows the state is in a deep fiscal crisis, but his solution is raise taxes again. This after the last tax increase failed to raise the projected revenues, leaving the state with a $16 billion budget deficit. Whether he and the rest of the tax-and-spend Democrats realize it or not, they're on the wrong side of the Laffer Curve, meaning even if they continue to raise taxes, revenues will be well below projections. At this point the taxes have become punitive and outright confiscatory, punishing financial success. Once you start doing that people either stop trying or they leave. In the case of California, it's both. And it's not just those providing jobs who are packing up and leaving, so are many of the workers, including illegal immigrants. The net population change has shown more than 4 million more people have left California than have entered over the past 10 years. And this figure does not include the illegal immigrants, many whom are heading back home because there's no work to be had in the economic wasteland that is California.

Other states have been struggling with economic crises, including New Jersey. It is here where we see the difference in approaches taken to solve fiscal problems. Governor Chris Christie dove head first into the problem, understanding New Jersey's fiscal crisis was due to runaway government spending at all levels and overreaching public employee union demands. He went after both and managed to cut spending and dial back a lot of the union benefits that were unsustainable, particularly during this ongoing recession. As the piece linked above stated, “More states are realizing that the road to fiscal hell is paved with progressive intentions.” Christie gets it. Brown does not.

There was also another thing Christie did that Brown did not: Canceled a multi-billion dollar commuter rail project between New Jersey and New York City that his state could not afford. He knew it for the money-wasting boondoggle it was and wanted nothing to do with it. Brown on the other hand, caved in to federal demands and decided to go ahead with a high-speed rail project that is doomed to fail before the first rail tie is laid down, committing California to billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars it doesn't have for a project no one (except the watermelon environmentalists) wants or needs. What use is a high-speed train to nowhere? (The initial stretches will be built out in economically depressed and less urban and suburban areas. Why would they need such a train when the only place it will take them is to another economically depressed area?)

Need more proof California is heading to an inevitable financial meltdown? Then look at the local level where municipalities are struggling to meet unrealistic demands from their public employees and the state. Here's an example:

A mere handful of people are left to hear the San Jose city manager offer the latest bleak financial news: the state of California was clawing back tens of millions of dollars more, and “140 employees have been separated from the city.” (New times call for new euphemisms.) A pollster presents his finding that, no matter how the question is phrased, the citizens of San Jose are unlikely to approve any ballot measure that raises taxes. A numbers guy gets to his feet and explains that the investment returns in the city’s pension plan are not likely to be anything near as high as was assumed. In addition to there not being enough money in this particular pot to begin with, the pot is failing to expand as fast as everyone had hoped, and so the gap between what the city’s employees are entitled to and what will exist is even greater than previously imagined. The council then votes to postpone, for six weeks, a vote on whether to declare the city’s budget a “public emergency,” and thus to give to the mayor, Chuck Reed, new powers.

The relationship between the people and their money in California is such that you can pluck almost any city at random and enter a crisis. San Jose has the highest per capita income of any city in the United States, after New York. It has the highest credit rating of any city in California with a population over 250,000. It is one of the few cities in America with a triple-A rating from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, but only because its bondholders have the power to compel the city to levy a tax on property owners to pay off the bonds. The city itself is not all that far from being bankrupt.

--snip--

[Mayor Chuck Reed is] a Democrat, but at this point it doesn’t much matter which party he belongs to, or what his ideological leanings are, or for that matter how popular he is with the people of San Jose. He’s got a problem so big that it overwhelms ordinary politics: the city owes so much more money to its employees than it can afford to pay that it could cut its debts in half and still wind up broke. “I did a calculation of cost per public employee,” he says as we settle in. “We’re not as bad as Greece, I don’t think.”

We're not as bad as Greece. Not exactly an overwhelming vote of confidence from the mayor, is it? San Jose isn't the only municipality facing the same kind of crisis. It is, unfortunately, an all too common problem across the state.

Stockton is on the verge of bankruptcy. Vallejo's government is all but shut down after that city's bankruptcy in 2008, with police and fire departments gutted, a relocated city hall with few staff, and a general feeling of hopelessness.

Eighty percent of the city’s budget—and the lion’s share of the claims that had thrown it into bankruptcy—were wrapped up in the pay and benefits of public-safety workers. Relations between the police and the firefighters, on the one hand, and the citizens, on the other, were at historic lows. The public-safety workers thought that the city was out to screw them on their contracts; the citizenry thought that the public-safety workers were using fear as a tool to extort money from them.

Since the bankruptcy, the police and fire departments have been cut in half; some number of the citizens who came to [city manager] Phil Batchelor’s office did so to say they no longer felt safe in their own homes. All other city services had been reduced effectively to zero. “Do you know that some cities actually pave their streets?” says Batchelor. “That’s not here.”

Is this is what is in store for other cities and towns in California? Yes, unless things change and the public employee unions either give up their over-the-top compensation (which has put municipalities into these dire fiscal straits) or are broken or decertified. Otherwise California has no chance at all.

5/14/2012

From The Archives - So You Really Want To Live Out In The Country?

This post comes from the Weekend Pundit archives, in this case back in October 2002. I have made a few minor edits, mostly grammatic, though one change was more along the lines of “this sounds awkward so I'll change these three words.” The post below was actually part of a much larger post covering a number of topics, a precursor to my regular Thoughts On A Sunday posts.

This one was near and dear to my heart, dealing with seasonal visitors opining how great it would be to “live out in the country.” The problem is that quite often they don't have a clue what that entails.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Have any of you urban or suburban dwellers out there have ever wondered what it would be like to live out in the country? I hear this quite often from visitors to this state. Usually it’s from someone spending a week or two of their vacation time at the lakes, up in the mountains, at some campground in one of the many forests, or at one of the ski resorts. All they’ve seen or experienced of New Hampshire (or Vermont, Maine, or upstate New York) in the limited time they’re here is what is aimed at the tourist trade.

Many have no concept what it means to live someplace where pizza parlors and Chinese restaurants don’t deliver; where the nearest convenience store might be 20 miles away down a dirt road; where winters can be harsh and deadly; and where you haul your own trash to the dump. There are no Starbucks, Taco Bells, or tofu burgers. The closest thing to a Sak’s Fifth Avenue is the L.L. Bean outlet store in one of the shopping meccas in the heart of tourist country.

Most have never experienced cabin fever after being stuck inside for a week or more because of the brutally cold temperatures and heavy snowfalls in the winter. The same can also be said of mid-spring – the black flies are out in force making any time spent outside uncomfortable to an extreme.

Few are cut out for small town life, where everybody knows your business. For some of us hardy Yankees, it’s no big thing. But for others it can be quite trying. Up here, neighbors watch out for neighbors, even if that neighbor lives on the other side of town.

Some people have trouble with the concept of town meeting, where the residents of the town gather once a year to decide how the town will or will not spend their tax dollars. It can be a very personal thing, town meeting. Though it is local government at its best, people also have to contend with egos, feuds, and the ubiquitous anti-flatlander mentality. Most new folks make the almost fatal mistake their first time speaking at town meeting by starting their remarks with, “Back where I come from….”. Most folks at town meeting could care less about where you come from or what you did there, unless you’re going to use the reference to show how something the town is thinking of doing is a bad idea. Then they might let you get away with it. Maybe.

Something many others moving to the country end up learning the hard way is this: Never piss off the Town Clerk, the Road Agent, or the Police Chief (assuming the town actually has a police department). Getting on their bad side can make living in a small town an extremely uncomfortable and frustrating experience.

One thing anyone wanting to move out to the country will have to get used to is guns. Lot’s of folks around here own guns for hunting, protection, or just plain plinking. By association, they’ll also have to get used to the various hunting seasons. Getting all misty-eyed about the Big Bad Hunters out stalking Bambi so they can carve him in to venison steaks will earn you no points up here. It’s more likely to get you talked about.

And one other thing: You are expected to take responsibility for your own actions. It’s not ‘society’s fault’. It’s not because your mother didn’t breastfeed you. It’s not because you ate too many Twinkies. That kind of pseudo-psychological BS won’t fly out here in the sticks. Folks out in the country don’t have time for it. We’re too busy making a living, raising our kids, working on our homes, and paying our taxes.

If all of that sounds appealing to you, then we’ll welcome you with open arms. Otherwise, don’t even think of moving to any place like this. You’ll hate it.

5/13/2012

Thoughts On A Sunday

Summer-like weather returned this weekend, making it possible to start dealing with the almost overwhelming amount of yard work needed around The Manse. I'm even taking a couple of days off during the upcoming week to try and get ahead of it as well as get the decks cleaned, stripped, and re-stained.

Hopefully I can get BeezleBub to give me a hand with a few of the chores that require two people to deal with.

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As Blue states in his post, this is only a story...maybe.

Heaven help us if there's even a grain of truth to it.

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The “Romney was a bully in prep school” meme has been dying out rapidly, proving there was no “there” there. If the Obama campaign has started with digging up potentially embarrassing incidents from Romney's youth, it means they're desperate and they have nothing they can use to skewer his chances.

In the mean time Obama's campaign has been running his re-election ads and the one I've seen on TV has a couple of small truths, but for the most part it's an attempt to put a good spin on a do-nothing-but-hurt-the-economy-and-our-international-standing presidency. One thing's for sure, he's been a big disappointment to the rest of the world.

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Deb had a People of WalMart moment yesterday, spotting a fellow with a gaudy cowboy hat, overalls, no shirt, and a thick pelt of fur. If she hadn't been so hell bent on getting out of there she would have followed him and snapped a picture with her phone.

As she also noted, Massachusetts has emptied out and headed for the Lakes Region this weekend as most of the cars in the parking lots of WalMart and the local supermarket chain were dominated by cars with Massachusetts plates.

The summerfolk have returned, along with the always dreaded “summah people”. With the good weather I'm not surprised to see them here to open up their cottages and summer camps.

Another indicator was the parking lot of one of our favorite breakfast joints this morning. The split between New Hampshire and Massachusetts plates favored New Hampshire, but barely. That will change once Memorial Day weekend arrives. Between then and Labor Day the ratio will favor Massachusetts plates.

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Speaking of summerfolk, summah people, and folks from away, I have been digging through the Weekend Pundit archives and re-reading pieces I wrote dealing with those three groups. This activity has made me realize that maybe it's time to revisit those posts, update a few of them, and putting a few together in an easily read compilation. Much of what I wrote 10 years ago (Has it really been that long?) is still true today. A few things have gotten better. Some have gotten worse.

If nothing else it gives me the opportunity to let my few dozen readers to see the Lakes Region of New Hampshire though the eyes of a year-round resident.

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With the recent elections in France and Greece it looks like the EU economy is heading to a major collapse. Both countries have elected leaders who will drive them hard to the left, increasing already unsustainable government spending, raising taxes to the point where anyone with money will leave, taking jobs and the economy with them when they go. It's obvious that neither they nor the people who elected them into office understand how economies work, how they can be negatively affected by government policies, regulations, and confiscatory taxation.

Ironically the UK learned that lesson the hard way during the 1970's and the only thing that turned it around was Maggie Thatcher's ascension to Prime Minister in the early 80's. She undid much of the damage done by previous governments, de-nationalizing industries, doing away with onerous tax rates, and letting business people run businesses. The economic turnaround was dramatic.

But now it looks like Great Britain will be dragged down by folks in the rest of Europe making the same mistakes as the UK made in the 70's. It's Santayana's axiom proven...again.

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Rand Simberg delves into the increasingly uncivil war between the Warmist and Skeptic camps in the AGW debate.

The Warmists are using increasingly eliminationist rhetoric to try to win people over to their totalitarian viewpoint of what must be done, while Skeptics are pointing out that the Warmists are trying to impose draconian measures to deal with a problem that may not exist. In fact, the 'problem' may be more helpful than harmful, but don't tell the Warmists that.

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Does Obama really think publicly attacking donors to Mitt Romney's campaign is going to silence them? According to one recent 'victim' of this tactic, the answer is a resounding “No!” In fact, it may end up doing more harm, particularly when it gets compared to Dick Nixon's enemies list. That is not a positive image by any means and one you'd think the Obama campaign would want to stay away from.

Then again, the Obama campaign hasn't been showing much in the way of smarts lately.

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As if we need yet another example of how things aren't going so well for the Teleprompter In Chief, a stump speech he gave in Reno, Nevada drew dozens.

I remember when he drew thousands, even at such a small venue such as the one above.

(H/T Instapundit)

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Is the Chinese economic bubble about to burst?

From indicators many of us have been seeing over the past year or so, I'd say it's imminent. Between a housing market bubble that makes the one in the US look like a minor glitch (there are entire cities that are empty, built in anticipation of high housing demand that hasn't materialized). Wages are going up. Other business costs are rising. All in all, China is catching up with the rest of the world and the explosive growth of the Chinese economy has been grinding to a halt.

Some American companies that off-shored a lot of work to China are now bringing it back to the US. Rising costs in China and ever increasing transportation costs are making it more attractive to bring the work back here. That certainly isn't helping the Chinese economy.

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There's that word again - “Unexpectedly.”

That's only true if you bought the hype coming out of the governor's office in Sacramento.

Anyone else with a lick of sense knew California's budget deficit was going to be higher than the official estimate, particularly in light of tax rates have passed the point of diminishing returns a long time ago.

The gummint folks in California still haven't realized their state does not have a revenue problem, but a spending problem. Until they're willing to admit to this, there is no hope the problem will be fixed.

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When it comes to energy news in the US, not much surprises me any more, including this:

The US Government Accountability Office reports that there are more oil reserves in the states of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming as the entire proven reserves of the rest of the world combined.

As Glenn Reynolds opines, “If I were the Russians and the Saudis, I’d be paying off some Green groups to block development.”

Hey, wait a minute!!....

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Leave it to Bob Parks to ask the really important questions.

In this case he wants to know if fast food service has really gone down hill?

Frankly, I find this to be more important than 99% of the crap the Obama Administration is heaping upon the American public.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the summerfolk have been returning, the summah people have too, and where we'd much rather deal with the first rather than the second.

5/12/2012

The Law Of Unintended Consequences Bites Germany's Environmental Movement

Call it yet another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Germany's push to become “greener than everyone else” is now showing some of the major downsides of the quasi-religious environmental movement.

We buy organic food, put E10 in our gas tanks and switch to green electricity. Our roofs are covered in solar panels and our walls plastered with insulation. This makes us feel good about ourselves. The only question is: What exactly does the environment get out of all this?

The answer is not much, really. One downside to a lot of the environmental measures being taken is that things stink more than they used to, literally.

Showerhead technology has undergone rapid development in recent years. Less water, more air, says the European Union's environmental design guideline. Gone are the days when it was enough for a showerhead to simply distribute water. Today an aerosol is generated through a complicated process in the interior of the showerhead. The moisture content in the resulting air-water mixture is so low and the air content so high that taking a shower feels more like getting blow-dried.

..."Think about how you can save water! Taking a shower is better for the environment than taking a bath. Turn off the water when you're soaping yourself. Never let the water run when you're not using it. And maybe you can spend less time in the shower, too."

This is all very well and good, but there's only one problem: It stinks. Our street is filled with the stench of decay. It's especially bad in the summer, when half of Berlin is under a cloud of gas.

--snip--

Our consumption has declined so much that there is not enough water going through the pipes to wash away fecal matter, urine and food waste, causing blockages. The inert brown sludge sloshes back and forth in the pipes, which are now much too big, releasing its full aroma.

...But toxic heavy metals like copper, nickel and lead are also accumulating in the sewage system. Sulfuric acid is corroding the pipes, causing steel to rust and concrete to crumble. It's a problem that no amount of deodorant can solve.

The waterworks must now periodically flush their pipes and conduits. The water we save with our low-flow toilets is simply being pumped directly through hoses into the sewage system below. On some days, an additional half a million cubic meters of tap water is run through the Berlin drainage system to ensure what officials call the "necessary flow rate."

Save water on one end, but blast huge amounts of water through the sewer systems to flush out what used to flow easily before the days low flush toilets and low-flow shower heads on the other end? I'll bet the Greenies didn't see that coming. Net savings? Probably somewhere on the negative side of the balance sheet, particularly if one takes into account the increased maintenance and replacement costs of the infrastructure. What makes this even more ironic is that Germany isn't suffering from water shortages by any means, yet they're acting as if the country is located in an arid climate.

As the author of the article states, much of Germany's environmental regulations and requirements are more of the “this makes me feel good about my contribution to saving the environment” type than any real efforts to “save” the environment. In other words, it's all feel-good legislation with a net-negative outcome.

The Spiegel article goes on to list a litany of failed environmental issues that are costing the German economy billions of Euros while giving little in return, including energy efficiency requirements that cause more problems than they solve, and intensive recycling efforts that end up with a lot of the materials saved from the landfill being “thermally recycled” - burned to generate electricity – which has its own environmental issues.

As much as we can point to Germany's problems with going green, we can't assume we won't go to the extremes the Germans have. All we have to do is look at California to see how many of their environmental regulations have done far more harm than good. While there are differences between Germany and California, one of the biggest being large parts of California being arid, many of the same side effects are being felt there as well. We can't assume that many of the same actions taken in California won't make it to the rest of the states, particularly if Obama's rogue EPA gets its way.

(H/T Small Dead Animals)

5/11/2012

There Are Some Sick And Evil People Out There

By way of Scary Yankee Chick comes this horrifying story that makes me question the humanity of some people.

The one thing I've learned about some of the truly sick people out there is that if they abuse animals they'll also abuse other people, particularly their own family members.

There are some people out there that are just too effin' sick and twisted to be allowed out into society. The sick bastard in the story linked above is one of them.

A Graduation Message To The Class Of 2012

Bret Stephens addresses members of the graduating Class of 2012, exposing them to some hard truths they haven't had to face until now. One of most salient points is something that will stand them in good stead, assuming they're willing to listen: “But if you can just manage to tone down your egos, shape up your minds, and think unfashionable thoughts, you just might be able to do something worthy with your lives. And even get a job. Good luck!”

Bret brings up a number of problems with our existing college and university system today, that being they are less about preparing students to face the real world and more about students “getting inflated grades in useless subjects in order to obtain a debased degree.” What's worse is that many of these students put them and/or their families deep into debt, yet they won't be able to find jobs that will pay them anywhere what it is they owe.

Some of those commenting to Bret's piece miss the point, trying to make it seem that he's saying the only worthwhile degrees are in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine), but that's not what he's saying at all. Instead he's warning students who get degrees in Womyn's Studies, Urban Graffiti, or Transgendered Native American Studies shouldn't expect to be snapped up by corporate America when there are more than enough graduates with degrees in Business Administration, Statistics, Finance, Graphic Arts, Culinary Arts, and an almost endless list of other BA and BS degrees that are far more applicable to the real world.

What's even worse for many of these still unprepared grads is that is that a lot of their contemporaries who didn't go to college are doing far better than they can ever hope to do. This is particularly true of those who went into the trades. They don't have huge student loans to pay off. They started earning their way years earlier than their college-bound friends. And in many ways they've grown up while their friends lived an extended adolescence in college.

On a slightly different thread, one commenter fell into a semantic trap, claiming students are being taught how to think. He went on to claim that they're being brainwashed into being good little progressive puppets. But what he really meant was that they're being taught what to think, which is entirely different.

Being taught how to think, meaning being taught critical thinking skills, is something we need more of in our educational system. If one can think critically, then they can reason from available facts and their own experiences rather than being spoon fed radical and, in the end, socially destructive ideologies masquerading as knowledge and wisdom. Unfortunately we aren't seeing much in the way of critical thinking being taught in our schools any more, and it shows. (This is particularly true in many of our liberal arts colleges.)

Could it be that the lack of critical thinking skills and the abundance of money through loan programs has caused this rampant problem of students studying majors that don't prepare them for life in the real world? I don't know, but it's something worth pondering.

5/07/2012

Kitteh Sings The Blues...

I haven't done any cat blogging in a while. When I saw this I couldn't resist.

Kitteh sings the blues!!


5/06/2012

Thoughts On A Sunday

Things are back to normal here at The Manse now that BeezleBub has recovered from his trip to St. Louis for the FIRST Robotics World Championships.

One thing I've noticed since he's back at school is that he's suffering from a moderate form of 'senioritis'. He's feeling less motivated to do homework or to put full effort into his classes because he has less than four weeks of school left before he graduates. It's not surprising. But both Deb and I are staying on his case, making sure he finishes his assignments in a timely (and complete) fashion.

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While we had a rather dry winter, spring is more than making up for it with rain almost all last week and for a few days this coming week. At least yesterday and today was warm and sunny, as will it will also be on Monday. But on Tuesday through Thursday we'll be back in the rain.

It certainly hasn't made it easy to get any yard work done during the week. (I much prefer to do it during the week because I have much better things to do on weekends.)

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As I constantly have to remind many of my friends, Cinqo de Mayo isn't all that big a deal in Mexico. It's right up there with St. Patrick's Day in Ireland. Both are purely American holidays.

But I do have to make the disclosure that St. Patrick's Day is gaining momentum in Ireland, again something driven by Americans of Irish descent. But then there are more Irish in the US than there are in Ireland, so that might have something to do with it.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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We keep hearing the 'dropping' unemployment numbers being touted by the Obama Administration as a show that Obamanomics is working. But what they choose to sweep under the carpet is why those numbers are dropping. It has nothing to do with more Americans being employed so much as it does with them dropping out of the labor force. If one takes a look at the overall employment numbers which include both underemployed (working part time or in jobs for which they are greatly overqualified) and those who have given up looking for work, the actual unemployment rate is closer to 16%.

The labor participation rate is the lowest it's been since 1981. How is this good news? But to hear Obama tell it things are just great.

Yeah. Right.

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Newsbusters digs into the New York Times' efforts to stir up racial strife in regards to the upcoming 2012 Presidential campaigns.

It appears the only racists left in the country work for the Lame Stream Media. Most Americans could not care less about the issue.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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Cap'n Teach offers this cautionary tale of the sperm donor in Obama's “Life of Julia” tale.

Age 22: Peter’s in his senior year, working towards his Sociology degree. He supplements his meager income from student loans and a part time job down at the local Subway by selling his sperm to a local sperm bank, and signs documents which state that all “donations” will be kept completely anonymous.

--snip--

Age 27: Peter moves up the ladder, and is finally able to make money by skimming money from government grants. He receives a letter in the mail from Julia’s lawyer slapping him with a paternity suit.

Age 28: Peter attempts to fight the suit, but, a liberal judge throws out the legal non-disclosure forms, saying Peter has to Do His Part. Peter’s still in debt from college, and also has some sort of strange disease from his time in the 3rd world s***hole. Very few doctors accept his insurance and government centers have months long waits. He starts filing phony reports to the government in order to get more money.

And it goes down hill from there.

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Assistant Village Idiot points us to two studies that show the differences in TV preferences of Democrats and Republicans and differences in attitude between Democrat and Republican bloggers.

Looking at the TV show lists, I'm not surprised at the dichotomy at all. That there are shows that both sides like (or dislike) equally is also not surprising.

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Glenn Reynolds asks and answers the question “What comes after the higher education bubble?”

The Harvard/MIT EdX model looks good to me. I have perused a number of the courses MIT has available online. (It's entire curriculum is available online..for free.)

I know I'll be availing myself of a number of classes MIT will be offering which will help my career advance. The cool thing is that MIT will offer certificates of completion if you can pass the final exam. That part won't be free, but it will still be a fraction of the cost of actually taking the course at MIT.

As someone once asked (it might have even been Glenn), what would you prefer to have? A Princeton education without the diploma, or a Princeton diploma without the education? It all goes back to the “credentialed, not educated” meme.

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What excuse will Obama use to kill the Keystone XL pipeline this time? And how will he justify killing American jobs and making the US even less energy secure? Somehow I doubt his campaign will use the pipeline as an issue.

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I thought this was cool: maps showing the invisible borders that define American culture. The map below shows an interesting phenomenon, but it isn't what you might think it is. To find out what it means, Read The Whole Thing.



Click on image to enlarge


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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where kids are thinking of the coming summer, the rains have held off for the weekend, and where soda pop is sometimes called 'tonic' by summerfolk.

5/05/2012

Obama's Arrogance Will Be His Downfall

I read this and realized I had to post it in toto. Just linking it wasn't going to cut it.

Right behind the economy, the issue that will sway swayable voters in November is the repeated displays of arrogance by President Obama and his administration, inept arrogance at that. Indeed, that arrogance has been so heavy- and ham-handed that it has and will continue to undermine almost every other appeal the Obama campaign may make to marginal voters. Those on the dole or looking forward to being on it may shrug, but those with a shred of self-respect will be repulsed.

Obama's arrogance has reached the point of making him a laughing-stock. Obama’s inflated self-image will continue to overreact, making him appear more unworthy of confidence. Yeah, that’s the ticket! The best worst efforts of many in the major media to cover it up will be pierced, demonstrating their own lack of credibility. Others clinging to a shred of journalism will have to report the Obama campaign’s lack of credibility. There’s my forecast. And, I’m sticking to it.

P.S.: For those wondering about how Romney will capitalize on this, his campaign and those of us in the alternative media have shown how to expose the fool behind the curtain. All Romney himself has to do regarding Obama's buffoonery is remain the gentleman that he is, and toss out an occasional barb at the overinflated balloonery from the Obama camp.

Arrogance indeed. Of course as someone has pointed out to me in the past, it isn't arrogance if you can actually do what you say you can. However, as Bruce writes above, Obama's arrogance is based upon his overinflated opinion of himself. He's inept, therefore he is arrogant. Other than making energy prices skyrocket, he hasn't kept one campaign promise. Not. One.

He's never once had to prove himself to anyone, and particularly the public, and somehow he figured he wouldn't have to do so as President of the United States? His greatest accomplishments before making it to the White House have been running for and winning election to office, each one higher than before. But he's never actually had to perform the duties of those offices (voting “present”, anyone?) because as soon as he is sworn in he's started running for the next office. But now he's in the highest office in the land and he's had to perform. Instead, he's tried to vote “present” and found he can't do that any more.

(Actually, I realize I made a mis-statement about Obama having to prove himself. He has...in this case proving he's just as capable as any other incompetent 'community organizer' by making $110 million of Annenberg Foundation funds disappear with nothing to show for it.)

Is it any wonder that some of those who supported him in 2008 want nothing to do with him in 2012?

5/04/2012

Sharks...With Lasers?

It's bad enough many sharks are eating machines. Now humans have upgraded them, mounting lasers on their dorsal fins.



What's next, photon torpedo launchers?

5/03/2012

Sunny TV

Sunny just cracks me up! I found her by way of Maggie's Farm.


She reminds me of a young Catherine O'Hara.