6/30/2012

US CO2 Emissions Dropping Without Help From The 'Greens'

I find it ironic that the push by the greens and 'watermelon environmentalists' to impose draconian regulations and controls on carbon dioxide emissions in the US is coming to naught. It's not that the US won't give in to their demands (they aren't), it's more that US carbon dioxide emissions have been dropping without the need of these 'extraordinary measures' demanded by the greens.

It's a hard sell for them when emissions have been falling at a more rapid pace than they demanded.

Much to the surprise (and, one suspects, the chagrin) of the deranged doomsaying wing of the environmental movement, new forecasts of US CO2 emission are out and they point to an even steeper drop than the last set of predictions.

No cap and trade, no huge new taxes on oil, no draconian driver restrictions, no air conditioning bans, no rationing — and the US is on track to cut its CO2 emissions 17 percent below the 2005 levels by 2020 — and to keep cutting our emissions levels beyond that.

There are a couple of reasons for the drop, the two biggest being the replacement of less efficient vehicles, industrial/commercial/residential equipment, and older power generation systems with new and more energy efficient ones; and a drop in economic activity which usually decreases the demand for energy and in turn decreases carbon dioxide emissions.

I doubt very much the choice to replace old equipment was made purely in order to reduce CO2 emissions. Instead it was likely made due to economics, as newer equipment tends to be more efficient and requires less maintenance than old equipment which in turn lowers operating costs. The lower emissions are a byproduct of this efficiency.

I know in the recent past the US was decreasing its carbon dioxide emissions at a faster rate than those countries who signed on to the Kyoto treaty and I think we'll probably find that is still the case. But what this is telling us is that Kyoto was not the means of reducing CO2 output. In fact, some signatories have seen their CO2 emissions continue to rise.

In any case, the United States of America is living proof that there are more ways to address environmental concerns than the green movement as a whole is willing to admit.

--snip--

The truth is that if CO2 emissions are going to come down, it’s going to happen the American way rather than the Greenpeace way. Instead of flinging muck and howling curses at the most successful carbon cutting large economy in the world, maybe a few more greens here and there will start thinking about how to spread the magic around.

Indeed.

(H/T Instapundit)

The Fourth Of July Holiday Has Arrived Early

You could tell it was the opening weekend of the July Fourth holiday. All one had to do was look at the traffic pouring off of Interstate 93 into the Lakes Region and the full parking lots at the local supermarkets.

I normally make by bi-weekly stop at the local discount warehouse every other Thursday. But due to another commitment I had to put off that trip until yesterday.

That was a mistake.

It was immediately apparent I was going to spend more time there than is usual as the lot was almost three-quarters full. I've never seen the lot with that many cars and trucks in it and I've been shopping there for over 12 years.

Seeing that the gas pumps had only one or two cars fueling up, I decided to fill up the trusty F150 before braving the shopping inside the warehouse. (This discount place also sells gasoline, usually for as much as 10¢ a gallon less than most of the other gas stations in the Lakes Region.)

Once done and making the trip across the parking lot and into the warehouse, I was able to pick up the items I needed pretty quickly. In less than 10 minutes I had gone through my entire shopping list. (When you're buying in bulk it doesn't take much to fill a shopping cart.) However, checking out was a different story.

It is my usual routine to use the self-checkout lanes as they're generally faster than using the regular checkout lanes. That wasn't the case this time. Due to poor planning or poor resource management there were only 2 cashiers working the regular lanes. They should have had all eight of them open. That dearth of human checkers meant the self-checkout lanes were also jammed. And to add insult to injury, many of those using the self-checkout had obviously not done so before as they fumbled around, trying to figure out how to use them. That slowed an already slow-moving process even more. In the lane where I found myself it got worse.

The fellow at the self-checkout terminal had finished running his items through the scanner and was paying for his purchases....with cash. It's one thing if he had cash wad in some logical order, but he had to pick through to find the bill denominations he needed to feed the terminal. It took a long time. It wasn't until he was almost finished that I realized why it was taking him so long: he was trying to give the machine exact change! Either he didn't know or didn't care that the terminal would give him the correct change if he fed it enough cash. (This wasn't an older gentleman who might not be conversant with the technology, but a fellow easily 20 or 25 years my junior.)

Then, his wife ran her items through the scanner and once again he went through his stack of cash, feeding one bill at a time into the terminal. Something that should have taken them all of 5 minutes to do took them 15, which meant the line got even longer than it might have otherwise.

I wasn't the only one having to deal with this as Deb spent a considerably more time at our local supermarket than usual.

First, the parking lot was full, meaning it took time for her to find a parking space.

Second, there were no carts available. She and others had to wait for departing customers to empty their carts before snagging it and heading into the market. She's never had to do that, either.

I don't know whether this is due to the fact that the Fourth of July is in the middle of the week and the summerfolk are making a long weekend or a full week of the holiday or if this is going to be happening all summer long.

I'm almost hoping for the latter rather than the former because it means the tourists and summerfolk are spending more time and more money here in the Lakes Region, something good for our local economy.

6/29/2012

The Left Shows Its True Colors - Sexism

You have to hand it to the Left. When they decide to take the low road, they go all in.

Yesterday, they went the racist route, denigrating Justice Clarence Thomas after the ObamaCare decision.

Today, the took the sexist route, with the DNC slamming ObamaCare foes with sexual slurs.

Talk about hypocrites!

6/28/2012

The Left Shows Its True Colors - Racism

Reading some of the responses to the Supreme Court's decision upholding ObamaCare, the most interesting ones are coming from the Left. The only way I can describe some of these people is “sore winners.” Even in victory they have to resort to racial slurs against Justice Clarence Thomas, one of those Justices dissenting, letting their chronic BDS get the best of them. Once again they prove that it is the Left who are the racists.

Take a close look, kiddies. This is what happens when you let feelings overrule your logic, something that happens to those on Left all too often.

SCOTUS To The American People - "Screw You!"


In light of the Supreme Court's ruling on ObamaCare, my only response is “We're screwed!”

It seems it took the majority, including Chief Justice Roberts, all kinds of elaborate and painfully twisted reasoning to justify the continuing existence of this godawful law.

While all hope is not lost, meaning it will take Congress to kill this law, repealing the ACA will probably have to wait until after the November elections, assuming Obama is kicked out of office bag and baggage and Harry Reid ends up as the Senate Minority leader. Otherwise we're stuck with a law that will seriously cripple a sixth of the American economy with draconian regulations and taxes. (One has to remember that the ACA requires 10 years of tax revenues to fund 6 years of benefits which is why the major part (and most expensive) doesn't go into effect until 2014. But what happens after those 6 years pass? Tax hikes, that's what.)

So once again the will of the American people is overridden by our supposed “betters” and we're still going to get stuck with the bill for their 'party'.

6/27/2012

Scientist Fights Back Against Use Of 'Deniers' Label In Scientific Journal

One of the best rebuttals I've ever read in regards to the use of the word “deniers” in scientific literature to label those of us who are skeptical about Anthropogenic Global Warming comes from Dr. Robert G . Brown of Duke University. Dr. Brown is a theoretical physicist and has a full understanding of the scientific method and the pitfalls scientists must avoid in order to make sure the science is sound.

One of the biggest problems with the use of “denier” is that it is too often applied to skeptics, which are not the same thing. One of Dr. Brown's complaints is the use of that term in scientific literature to describe those who are skeptical of questionable claims about AGW. As he states more than once, all scientists should be skeptical about claims of any kind, even their own, as a means of maintaining scientific honesty. It is too easy for scientists to be caught up in what they want to be true versus what is true, hence the need for healthy skepticism. Unfortunately when it comes to climate science it seems that skepticism is not tolerated, something that makes any claims made by those same climate scientists automatically suspect.

Being a skeptic does not mean that one does not believe in climate change. Quite the contrary. But health skepticism at the cause of climate change must be maintained in order to delve into the true causes, particularly when the the only acceptable answer is that its main cause is human activity.

I won't quote from Dr. Brown's response to Dr. Paul Bain's use of “denier” in scientific literature, but I will use one of his comments in response to the post linked above. I think he does a pretty good job describing why he finds the label so disturbing as he sees it as an indicator of closed minds in a field of endeavor that requires minds to be open to all possible causes of climate change, otherwise any results will be tainted and will smack of Lysenkoism, where politics decides scientific 'truth' rather than facts, evidence, experimentation, and theories.

Writes Dr. Brown in response to this comment:

On the contrary, I don’t think there is any good reason to call people who don’t believe in the “Anthropogenic” part of global warming deniers either, as I don’t think the term has any place in science (as I think I made clear). However, bear in mind that I’m posting as a physicist — not ex cathedra in any sense, but to explain why I find it difficult to escape from my own strongly held beliefs concerning the laws of nature. That the globe has warmed, on average, since the LIA (with some bobbles along the way) is — in my opinion — difficult to doubt because there is a rather lot of evidence supporting the assertion. That takes care of the GW part — people who “deny” that global warming and cooling take place (with mostly warming since the mid-19th century) may not be “deniers” but they are IMO badly wrong, an opinion I will continue to hold until I am shown some fairly serious evidence to the contrary.

It is also entirely possible to doubt the anthropogenic part and not be irrational. I’ve been in a debate with a very cogent arguer in other threads of WUWT who puts forth the proposition that global CO_2 levels are set by temperature only, with a roughly two year lag. His argument is evidence-based, associated with an observed, usually lagged, strong correlation between the temperature anomaly and the derivative of the atmospheric CO_2 concentration. It is quite plausible, and only fails to be completely convincing because it is not unique — one can find a number of related models for the carbon cycle that make more or less of the CO_2 concentration responsible for the temperature anomaly and still retain the correlation in question, as well as models that may or may not retain the correlation but that fit the data within its error bars. There is also a problem of sorts with causal order in the data — again, not something that proves the arguer or his assertion wrong, but still something to be thought about (as it implies that both the CO_2 and temperature change might have a common prior cause that is neither one of them). This approach doesn’t “deny” that warming has occurred, or deny that atmospheric CO_2 concentration increases can cause temperature increases, it merely points out that it is not certain that the CO_2 levels in our atmosphere are primarily set by anthropogenic contributions, that there are plausible alternatives not as far as I know falsified by any argument or evidence, and that it may be GW that is causing the CO_2 increase and not the other way around. There are arguments against this, note well, but IMO they are not certain or settled science — the carbon cycle is too open a question for that and a lot of science is still being done.

However, it is a lot more common for the doubt of AGW or the GHE itself to be expressed as terrible science — propositions that openly violate the first or second law of thermodynamics or “There is no way that a trace gas in our atmosphere can be responsible for warming”, for example. Well, yes there is, and the physics of it is relatively straightforward and well-known. Furthermore, one can simply look at the TOA IR spectra and see the CO_2 hole in radiation from the surface — as close as one might hope to get to direct experimental of the GHE in action. So when skeptics assert “there is no such thing as the Greenhouse Effect”, usually without anything like a well-founded theoretical argument or empirical support, they — again in my opinion — openly invite rebuttal, and I spend a fair bit of time on WUWT rebutting exactly that sort of claim. Obviously, they provide CAGW proponents with an opportunity to commit any number of logical fallacies and claim that because these skeptics have silly arguments, all skeptics are wrong. And even given my strong beliefs that the GHE is totally real and that it is not at all unreasonable that humans have contributed both to the total CO_2 concentration in the atmosphere (although quite possibly less than the AGW crowd asserts that they have contributed) and that the increased CO_2 has raised global temperatures by some amount (although quite possibly a lot less than the CAGW crowd asserts that they have raised them by), I do try to remain open to any specific argument to the contrary (such as the example given above that I could not falsify, although neither could I falsify alternatives that also worked).

The point is that one should not excuse the individuals on either side of the issue from their individual errors against reason. Some AGW opponents are quacks. I’m sorry, but there it is. Anthony is aware of this — all of the scientists on this list are. The fact that some quacks try to invent unified field theory in physics (and somehow always seem to find my email address so that they can explain it to me) doesn’t mean that physics in general or the search for a unified field theory in particular is quackery. Similarly some quacks opposing CAGW doesn’t mean CAGW is either right or wrong, or that skepticism in general is quackery, it just means more “noise” in the discussion. In general, the list is pretty good at policing this sort of thing without resorting to censorship or (usually) name calling — one reason I like to hang out here — and the level of the science presented on both sides tends to be pretty good.

Note well, some AGW proponents are just as quackers! Ask Al Gore, for example, to present actual evidence defending half of the assertions he makes in the international news. A few other names come to mind as well, especially ones that have more or less “confessed” to at the very least abhorrent scientific practices in the Climategate emails — gatekeeping, trying to get journal editors fired, concealing evidence that does not support a desired “cause”, and the extraordinary steps of trying to get scientists actually fired from faculty positions at other institutions for the sin of disagreement with their published results and public position!

Shameful. One can indeed think of some nasty adjectives to describe the individuals who engage in such inappropriate activity as if it were science.

Science, however, does not benefit from throwing around pejorative terms (even in the specific cases where one might think they are justified). It’s one thing that does bother me about this list — certain members knee-jerk assume the worst about any scientist or politician that does — in all honesty — accept the conclusion of AGW, or CAGW. They not infrequently blow off steam with a bit of name-calling (and I’m probably not entirely free from blame here — it is human nature and this is an informal venue). I obviously understand that — but again it degrades the quality of the scientific debate, which should not automatically impugn the motives of someone that disagrees with you but rather should focus on the details of the disagreement, the arguments, and above all, the data and what can legitimately be inferred from it.

In any event, I hope this makes my position here clear. To summarize — one should never use pejorative terms like “denier” in a scientific paper published in a reputable journal, not even to describe quacks who “deny” the laws of thermodynamics (whether or not they understand them). In general one should just ignore them. I would go one step further, and say that the term skeptic has no place in the debate, and is a purely political term that needlessly and incorrectly polarizes the scientific community and stifles the scientific process itself. All scientists worthy of the name are skeptics, and the best of them are the most skeptical of their own pet theories and beliefs, for it is here that we are most easily blinded the most by that bete noire of the scientific process, confirmation bias. We all see what we believe, and it is only by doubting our own beliefs that we can come to be reasonably sure of them, in time.

It is this that Feynman was attempting to convey in his wonderful speech — one can always find evidence confirming any belief if one looks for it and fails to accurately report all of the evidence that didn’t work out or confounds it. It is here that — in my opinion — climate science has horribly failed the people of the world. Whether or not the AGW hypothesis is correct — with or without the “C” — there has been a most unseemly rush to present only one side of the evidence, almost certainly to achieve certain political ends. Contrary evidence or arguments have been actively suppressed. Data and methods have been concealed as long as possible, and when finally revealed have proven to be at least — questionable — in many cases.

In the end it is this dishonesty that corrupts the scientific process, and we are paying for that corruption every day not just in climate science but in medical research, social science research, and many other scientific venues in which confirmation bias and cherrypicking of results runs rampant. In the case of climate science, the worst case bill — either way — could be in the trillions. Perhaps instead of throwing around terms like “denier” intended to shut down debate, we could open up the debate and get the science right.

Indeed.

Too many of the AGW and CAGW faithful have their blinders on and are incapable of seeing evidence, data, or theories that contradict their deeply held beliefs. Call it an ideological not-seeing-the-forest-for-the-trees problem. Their minds are made up and no amount of debate, discussion, or failure of their pet theories to predict actual climate behavior will change their minds. On the other hand, if the climate scientists who espouse much of this not-to-be-questioned theories were to take a closer look at their work, their data, and their assumptions, they might do one of two things: open up all of their data, algorithms, experimental processes, and any other relevant information for everyone to see, or; decide their theories and predictions are wrong and start over, this time without falling into the Feynman trap.

6/25/2012

Open Office Lives!

As the dozen or so of you regular readers of Weekend Pundit know, I am not a great fan of Microsoft Office, particularly Office 2010. (I won't bother going into all the reasons I dislike it, but if you want to know why, you can read my original post on the matter.) It is for this reason I have been using Open Office for a number of years now. It also helps that it is free.

Imagine my dismay when my dear brother informed me about a year ago that Sun had dropped all support for the Open Office platform. Not that the news made me stop using it as it had been such a good office suite, but I despaired of finding another suite like Open Office.

Imagine my surprise when a couple of weeks ago I saw a notification telling me an upgrade for Open Office was available for installation.

I clicked on the notification icon, downloaded and installed the upgrade.

When I fired up Open Office 3.4.0 for the first time after the upgrade I noticed something new on the opening flash screen: where it had once mentioned Sun it now said Apache Open Office.

That works for me.

6/24/2012

Thoughts On A Sunday

The hot and humid weather that graced us with its presence made its exit over the weekend, just in time for me to do the yard work and allowing me to do more work on the three decks here at The Manse.

There's still plenty of prep work to do before staining, in this case sanding the main deck to smooth out the rough surface. While the other decks won't require quite such drastic work, the main deck takes the brunt of the sun and temperature extremes, meaning the decking gets pretty beat up.

I'm hoping to have it completed before the Fourth if July.

************

I found this surprising because it doesn't fit the usual narrative from the Left.

From the Talk Left online magazine comes this piece that comes right out and makes this totally unexpected statement:

My opinion: This is self-defense. Zimmerman was not the aggressor, he did nothing to provoke Trayvon Martin’s beating him, breaking his nose and slamming his head into concrete. He had every right to respond with deadly force to stop Trayvon’s physical attack on him and to prevent Trayvon from getting control of his weapon.

So different from what we'd expect from media outlets like MSNBC, the New York Times, and a host of other MSM and online media outlets.

(H/T Instapundit)

************

It makes me wonder what folks are thinking when they decide to shut down Super Max prisons. It certainly isn't for a dearth of dangerous criminals to occupy them.

In almost all cases the inmates sent to such prisons are so dangerous the only way to keep them from killing other inmates and prison personnel is to put them in Super Max. Returning them to 'regular' maximum security prisons merely gives them a target rich environment. Some of the bleeding hearts say it's cruel and unusual punishment, leading to psychological problems. But those sent to such prisons already have such problems, otherwise they wouldn't be such violent inmates that it gets them sent there in the first place. They aren't sent to Super Max because they're misunderstood. They're sent there because they've maimed and killed other inmates and prison personnel on a regular basis.

You don't solve the problems of such criminals by allowing them to continue to prey on others within the prison system.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

************

Some of the more radical environmental activists don't let such mundane things like lengthy studies and medical research get in their way when they want to ban something they wholeheartedly believe is Really Really Really Bad For Children And Other Living Things. And so it is with BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical used to harden plastics.

Never mind that lengthy studies, decades long, have shown absolutely no connection between BPA and any negative health effects. None. Yet they still want the FDA to ban its use in plastics used to make drink and food containers. After all, why should they let the facts sway their beliefs.

************

It seems Nancy Pelosi has the GOP all figured out: Republicans are going after AG Eric Holder as a distraction so the states can purge their voting rolls of non-eligible voters, particularly the non-citizens and the dead, most of whom always seem to vote for Democrats.

Uh-oh, busted.....NOT.

************

Gee, my home state of New Hampshire is considered the third Most Peaceful State in the US, at least according to 24/7 Wall Street.

************

Cap'n Teach lets us know the reason Democrats in Congress thought ObamaCare was constitutional was because they said it was and because they passed the bill. As if that's all that's required.

But they conveniently forgot a few things, like the actual Constitution and a few other odds and ends.

The Dems simply said “it’s Constitutional since we say it is, and because we passed it.” Let’s not forget that the vote in the House was 219-212, with 34 Democrats voting against, and that the Democrats had to offer serious bribes for Representatives and Senators to get to the numbers needed to pass this monstrosity, as well as legislative chicanery such as using the reconciliation process. And still passed it despite the massive opposition and outcry from the American People during the 10 months the Democrats were pushing it (while ignoring the economy).

Just how shocked will they be, particularly Nancy Pelosi, if/when the Supreme Court renders their decision about ObamaCare, declaring it unconstitutional? Remember Nancy's reply when asked if the bill was constitutional way back when? I expect her head to explode when the Supremes strike it down.

************

One thing I have to say about my home state is that it “don't take crap” from other states. A case in point, the passage and signing of HB 1701 which prohibits the state of New Hampshire from enforcing tax payments owed by New Hampshire residents to other states.

For instance, drivers licenses cannot be suspended in New Hampshire if driving privileges have been suspended in another state due solely to a tax delinquency in that state.

New Hampshire has a long history of telling other states to “piss off” when it comes to taxes. One of the more recent cases involved the Massachusetts Department of Revenue trying to force New Hampshire retailers to collect Massachusetts sales tax from Massachusetts residents buying items in New Hampshire. New Hampshire responded by passing legislation making it illegal for New Hampshire businesses to 'enforce' sales tax laws of other states.

************

Assistant Village Idiot voices his disdain for those who murder the King's English, specifically the word mischievous. He cringes every time he hears it pronounced “mis-cheevee-uss” as there's no “i” in the second syllable. Folks pronounce it as if there are four syllables in the word when there are only three.

One of my pet peeves is frustrated or frustration, both pronounced as if the first “r” isn't there, i.e. “fuss-tray-ted” or “fuss-tray-shun”. Yet another word that drives me up the wall is irregardless. There us no such word. One can hold someone in irregard or do something regardless of the risk, but irregardless is a meaningless word.

************

And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer is in full swing, the yard work is never done, and yet again Monday has returned all too soon.

6/23/2012

Another Four Pinnochio Claim By The Obama Campaign

Carrying on from yesterday's post about the WaPo fact checker slapping the latest Obama anti-Romney attack ad with four Pinnochios, here's another from the WaPo fact checker on yet another Obama campaign claim that's also been awarded four Pinnochios. In this case it's White House senior adviser David Plouffe's claims made on last weekend's Sunday talks shows about Romney's job creation record, specifically how he created six times the number of government jobs as he did private sector jobs while he was governor of Massachusetts.

First, Plouffe's claim, made on Fox News Sunday on June 17th :

“There was an amazing article the other day, I believe it was in the Wall Street Journal, where Republicans in Congress openly were saying, ‘we’re not going to do anything until the election on the economy, because we want to help Mitt Romney.’ ... With an economy that needs help right now, with the middle class that’s struggling, it’s an amazing thing.”

“For all of this talk about government, for every private-sector job created in Massachusetts by Governor Romney, six public sector jobs.”

Sounds incredible, doesn't it? Too bad it's based entirely upon very poor math, or at least a very poor understanding of math, something of which we all know the Obama Administration is guilty.

Here's the Fact Checker's finding:

In terms of the “amazing article” Plouffe referred to, we found no reports quoting Republicans talking openly about sitting idle on the economy to improve Romney’s election chances.

--snip--

As for Plouffe’s claim about the Bay State’s employment gains, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show Massachusetts added 22,400 private-sector jobs during Romney’s tenure. That means the state would need to have created 134,400 public-sector jobs in the same period for the White House adviser’s claim to be true.

That’s not even close to what happened. Massachusetts gained just 5,300 state-government jobs while Romney was in office. As such, the state added more than four private-sector jobs for every state-government job. This is pretty much the reverse of what Plouffe claimed.

Fact Checker goes on to explain the tortured path the White House folks must have followed to come up with the conclusion Plouffe used on camera. Call it an 'A' for effort, but an 'F' for the answer.

Is it any wonder such things like deficits and mounting national debt mean little to the Obama Administration? They. Can't. Do. The. Math!

As the saying goes, Read The Whole Thing.

6/22/2012

Latest Obama Anti-Romney Ad Rates Slam From Washington Post

It’s bad enough when campaigns stretch the truth. It’s another when they break it, stomp on it, cut it up into little pieces, and then glue it back together until it is unrecognizable. Such is the case with the Obama campaign’s latest anti-Romney ad. Its untruthfulness is so blatant that even the Washington Post Fact Checker blog gives it a rating of four Pinocchios.

As Fact Checker states:

The Obama campaign fails to make its case. On just about every level, this ad is misleading, unfair and untrue, from the use of “corporate raider” to its examples of alleged outsourcing. Simply repeating the same debunked claims won’t make them any more correct.

When the Washington Post is slamming their favorite president’s campaign ad, you know it’s bad. WaPo has been in the pocket for Obama since he first decided to run for president. That one of its house organs is calling “Bull***t!” on his latest campaign ad is indicative that the love affair with Obama may be coming to an end.

One example of the ad’s falsehoods:

The claim that Romney outsourced jobs as governor is equally overblown.

This concerns Romney’s veto of a bill that would have prohibited Massachusetts from contracting with companies that outsourced the state’s work to other countries. Lawmakers were especially concerned about a $160,000-a-month contract with Citigroup to operate a system of electronic food-stamp cards that included a customer phone service center in India.

Both the liberal editorial page of the Boston Globe and conservative editorial page of the Boston Herald urged Romney to veto the amendment, saying it would cost the state money. Romney agreed, saying the measure did not protect state jobs — the call center might have moved from India to another state — but “had the potential of costing our citizens a lot more money.” The Democratic-dominated Massachusetts legislature did not override his veto, even though it overturned 117 others, suggesting that there was little real support for the measure.

When the food-stamp contract expired, the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance insisted that those jobs be returned to the United States. But they ended up in a call center based in Utah — just as Romney had predicted.

One of the more telling parts of the quote above? “The Democratic-dominated Massachusetts legislature did not override his veto, even though it overturned 117 others.

Most people either don’t know or don’t care that the Massachusetts legislature has had Democrat super-majorities in both the House and the Senate for years, making anything the then-governor wanted to do very difficult. His few successes in wrangling the legislature to his way of thinking ended up helping the Massachusetts economy. On the other hand the state legislature did its darnedest to burden the state economy with higher taxes, more regulation, and greater disincentives for businesses to expand or even remain in Massachusetts. Knowing this, the fact that the legislature overrode 117 of his vetoes ought to tell us something – it was the legislature that was likely at fault for the problems Obama’s campaign is attributing to Romney.

But let’s not let the facts get in the way of an untruthful attack ad.

6/21/2012

It's Not Just The President Choking Off Economic Recovery

Despite the questionable results of a Bloomberg poll, we are not better off than we were four years ago. As much as many of us lay the blame for the anemic economic recovery on President Obama's actions (or inaction), it isn't Obama alone we have to thank for this mess.

Reams and reams of laws and government regulations have been choking off our economic engine for decades. Every now and then someone comes along who, once they gain the White House or the Governor's office, strip back many of those encumbering laws and bureaucratic regulations. The results are almost always a booming economy and a strong job market. But then over time Congress or the state legislature, government bureaucrats, and anti-business presidents and governors start tightening down the screws on economic activity, all in the name of “protecting the consumer/small business owner” or ensuring “fairness in business”, with fairness being defined in esoteric or emotional terms having nothing to do with reality. In turn we see businesses saddled with more taxes and burdensome regulations that do nothing but ensure some bureaucrat somewhere a job enforcing all those regulations. Economic activity slows down, profits fall, jobs are lost, and then we find ourselves in yet another recession.

One of the better examples of this is Washington DC, where the Congress and the leviathan that is government bureaucracy has made more difficult for businesses to survive. That trend does not seem to be abating.

The federal government spent $3.6 trillion in 2011. But according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the annual cost of complying with federal regulations has exceeded $1 trillion since around 2005, and none of those costs appear in the federal budget. The federal government actually costs us half again more than most people think it does.

--snip--

The federal government lists all of its regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations. It is more than 169,000 pages long and growing. Last year alone, 3,807 new final rules were published in the Federal Register -- more than 10 per day. In 2010, it was 3,573 new rules.

Small businesses bear an outsize share of regulatory burdens. Candidates from both parties constantly climb over each other to seize the mantle of Protector of Small Business. But their claims ring hollow if they don’t work to enact top-to-bottom regulatory reform.

It must be understood that it is small business that creates most of the jobs, particularly during a recovery. But make it difficult and expensive for them to do so, those jobs won't be created. In turn the economy suffers. With all these “protectors of small business” out there you'd think they'd actually do something to protect those small businesses. But it's mostly rhetoric and political posturing and the small business owner be damned.

The weather has reminded me of something I've advocated in the past, something that would certainly slow down the ever meddling Congress and the government bureaucracy: make heating and air conditioning illegal in Congressional and government bureaucracy offices. If it's too hot or too cold they won't be spending time coming up with new ways to make earning a living more difficult. Instead, they'll go home and stop wasting taxpayer dollars.

Maybe it's an idea whose time has come.

6/20/2012

Dems Crank Rhetoric Dial To "11"...And Get It Wrong

The presidential elections are still 4 months off, yet the rhetoric and specious attack ads from the Obama campaign have ramped up as if the elections were 4 days away.

Obama's campaign folks have cranked the attack ad dial to “11”, not realizing that very few people are buying it. The not-quite-so-fawning MSM is doing its part, with MSNBC's edits of Romney's “WaWa” remarks changing the context entirely. Unfortunately this ploy has backfired. I guess the folks at MSNBC have forgotten the RatherGate affair and how a blogger brought Dan Rather and members of the CBS news organization down. These days the blogosphere is much more powerful and bloggers ubiquitous, meaning crap like MSNBC's creative editing do not go unchallenged by the public. All this has done is make them look childish.

The Obama campaign can't even seem to find real anti-Romney protesters and must resort to hiring them. How pathetic is that?

Obama himself is finding he has to resort to laying blame for his own failures on his predecessor. Doesn't he realize George W. Bush has been out of office for almost three-and-a-half years? When does he take ownership of his failures? From what I've seen of Barack Obama, never. It will always be someone else's fault. That isn't very presidential.

All we have to do is look at another president who took office when things were dismal, rolled up his sleeves, and got to work. He didn't waste time during his first term blaming his predecessor. Instead, he got things done, working with Congressional leaders in both parties to do what was needed to turn things around. The most important thing he did to fix the economy? He got government out of the way and let the economy fix itself, which in turn led to over 12 years in incredible economic growth and prosperity.

That president? Ronald Reagan.

If Obama had half the gumption and work ethic of Reagan, the economy would have recovered two years ago. But here we are in 2012, and Obama is making claims that “The private sector is doing fine” (which it isn't). On the other hand we have Romney responding to hecklers at his campaign stops with this retort: “You really want four more years of this?”

6/18/2012

From The Archives - Who Is John Kerry?

With the presidential election campaign rhetoric heating up, I decided to look through the Weekend Pundit Archives to see if there was anything from the past that paralleled the present. I didn't have to look far.

I focused on the 2004 campaign season, pulling this little gem from August 2004, lambasting John Kerry's chameleon-like ability to change who he is. (Sorry, but Geoffrey's linked post no longer exists – ed.)

Give this a gander. I think you'll see there are a number of parallels between Kerry and the present occupant of the White House.

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

Geoffrey asks the question: Who is John Kerry? The answer:

It's really hard to tell. There are several John Kerrys. Is John Kerry who he says he is, or is John Kerry what's he's done?

Who really knows? I'm not sure. Does John Kerry really know who he is? I'm beginning to wonder.

The biggest mistake that John Kerry has made is basing his campaign upon his service in Vietnam, something he did over 35 years ago, said service lasting all of four months. Does that make him qualified to be President of the United States? Not in my book.

Better, we should be looking at his record since then, particularly his many years of service in the US Senate. There's only one word to describe it: dismal. Maybe that's why he's focusing on his military service record – He actually accomplished something there.

In the Senate he's been something of a non-entity. He doesn't show up for committee meetings. He fails to show up for important votes on issues he supports, in some cases causing the measures he 'supports' to fail by a single vote. He pays lip service to his obligations to the people who elected him. And he never saw a military or intelligence appropriation he didn't try to torpedo. Will he do any better in the White House? His record of public service so far implies the answer is a resounding no.

My question: Why the hell are the Democrats supporting this guy? He's everything they despise, even though they may be reluctant to admit it. He's a rich, vain, untruthful, seditious SOB who comes across like a used car salesman. And let us not forget that he earned his money the old fashioned way – he married into it....twice. Is this guy like the Shadow, able to cloud men's minds? Maybe it's something else.

Kerry panders to the Anybody But Bush crowd while trying to speak to the polls. He always has, and always will be, a sellout. He stands for nothing, and his record proves it.

Maybe Geoffrey knows of what he speaks.

We might ask the same question of the President: Is Obama who he says he is, or is Obama what he's done?

Like Kerry, he was a non-entity in the Senate. More often than not he voted “present” while serving in the Illinois Legislature, as he did in the US Senate. That might as well be a “no” vote, and as such why did he bother showing up at all?

Like Kerry, he introduced no legislation during his tenure there.

Like Kerry, “he pays lip service to his obligations to the people who elected him.”

Like Kerry, he's still pandering to the Anybody But Bush crowd even though Dubya has been out of office for three-and-a-half years now.

Is it any wonder Democrats are jumping ship, trying to stay as far away from Obama as they can?

6/17/2012

Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been quiet around The Manse, with BeezleBub at the farm haying (a sunrise to sunset operation), and Deb off to the Big-E in Springfield, Massachusetts to attend a classic car show with one of her friends.

Not that their absence has meant I can slack off from my distaff duties. There's been plenty to do in and around The Manse. And while I didn't get to everything (I never do as the 'to-do' list is quite long), I got a goodly portion done. Much of this work is in anticipation of our Independence Day activities (most of which will take place the weekend prior to the Fourth because both BeezleBub and Deb have to work that day).

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Laconia Motorcycle Week has been winding down, with today being the last day of the 9-day long event. While the crowd hasn't been anywhere near the largest (police estimate about 270,000 visited this year), many of the vendors say people have been spending more than the previous 4 or 5 years. It helps that gas prices are well below where everyone thought they would be this time of year.

While the photo below is of a previous Bike Week, it gives you a small taste of what it's been like along Lakeside Avenue in Weirs Beach.







Click on image to embiggen


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Ann Althouse and a plethora of commenters are piling on Elizabeth Wurtzel's diatribe against 1% wives, blaming them for the so-called “war on women.”

It doesn't cross her mind even once that it is she (another 1%-er) that is waging a war on women, blasting them for being moms and not career-driven feminists with no children. (This 'problem' could solve itself as those like Wurtzel choose not to reproduce and they cause their own extinction.)

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Talk about another feminist FAIL, there's this from the House of Erasthenes.

One of the best comments: “Under Feminism, only women are allowed to be sexually attracted to anything, and only men are required to be sexually attractive.”

Yeah, that ought to work...

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Forbes lists the most business friendly places to start a business in the US. Not surprisingly the top four are Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah. My home state of New Hampshire is one of the top eight. Also not surprising, the bottom four are California, Hawaii, Vermont, and Rhode Island.

I won't go into the reasons the bottom four are the least friendly as I think almost anyone that has been paying attention to the economy over the past couple of years or so understands the factors that make them that way.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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Skip Murphy points us to an ongoing e-mail conversation about pensions. One of the more poignant quotes: “Now I realize nurses aren’t treated the best, but I don’t understand why she feels we owe her a pension.”

The 'we' in this case is the American taxpayers.

As Skip says, “A socialist society is a selfish society – and as Government does more and more (notice that I did not say Society!), people expect and then demand more and more.”

As the saying goes, Read The Whole Thing.

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First Street Journal asks whether Barack Obama is North America's Hugo Chavez. I'd have to say, no, he isn't.

Instead he's a Hugo Chavez wannabe and he's finding out the American people have had just about enough of his Chavista ploys and working around or outright ignoring the Constitution and our laws, insulting our allies, sucking up to our enemies, and working hard to undermine democracies (Honduras, anyone?) everywhere.

I think he'll find out just how much the American people want him gone come November 6, 2012.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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Also by way of Cap'n Teach comes the news that the UK is ending subsidies for on-shore wind power by 2020.

At least the UK government is doing something right, realizing that the 'green energy' paradigm is expensive, counterproductive, expensive, not as green as everyone has been claiming, and expensive.

As the Cap'n also informs us, the UK is also looking into axing subsidies for solar farms, too.

It's looking more and more like 'green energy' is yet another bit of feel-good ideology that has little basis in fact, doesn't perform the way 'they' said it would, creates more problems than it solves, and makes the supply of power even less reliable, all while making it more expensive.

All of this is supposed to help us how?

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MIT's Technology Review raises the question whether the Anti-Virus Era is over?

The TR article uses the example of Flame, “the most complex mal-ware ever found”, showing that “conventional antivirus software is an outmoded way of protecting computers against mal-ware.”

I can see anti-virus software protecting computers form the more run-of-the-mill virus put together by less competent virus programmers and “script-kiddies”. But the more sophisticated mal-ware like Flame and StuxNet fly below the anti-virus radar and are usually found by accident. It might also have something to do with the possibility that both of these pieces of mal-ware were not created by some anonymous code hack in his mother's basement, but by high level government entities in order to make sure they have the high-ground if/when it comes to cyber-warfare.

I doubt we've heard the last of these sophisticated, stealthy programs.

(H/T Instapundit)

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Are all of the new wireless devices, such as the iPhones, iPads, Android phones/devices, and so on, going to create a spectrum crunch? Unfortunately the answer is yes.

That means wireless carriers will be dialing back data-speeds and limiting the amount of data for each user. It also means they'll be eying spectrum that belongs to other services, such as public safety, commercial land-mobile radio, amateur radio, broadcasting, satellite, and even military spectrum. The problem is that there's very little spectrum left to be exploited. Spectrum is a finite resource. The only way the wireless carriers can get more spectrum is to kick other users off of theirs. I doubt very much that's going to happen as there are too many other legitimate users that cannot be relocated easily, if at all.

One of the few ways wireless carriers can expand their data carrying capabilities is create smaller cells which in turn allows them to re-use spectrum they already own. This means that an area that is covered at present by a single cell site maybe be broken up into 6 or more smaller sites, each covering a smaller area. This increases the data capacity by the factor of 6 or more. The only problem is that this is an expensive proposition for the carriers because they'll have to deploy a lot more equipment to do so. The return on investment may not be there, at least not yet.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the sounds of motorcycles is slowly fading away, the first day of summer (according to the calendar) is only three days away, and where visitors have not yet been reduced to screaming into their cell phones “Can you hear me now?”

6/15/2012

Obama Magic Nowhere To Be Found


It seems the magic the Obama campaign had during the 2008 election season is nowhere to be found in 2012. Between the gaffes by Obama and his spokesthings, old ideas and themes being re-hashed as somehow “new and improved”, economic indicators and jobs numbers telling entirely different stories compared to the Obama narrative, the young turning away from Obama as they struggle to find jobs to pay off their vastly overpriced and undervalued educations, and a highly response Romney team exploiting every misstep made by Team Obama, is it any wonder there's no magic this time around?

Even non-cynics are being cynical about Obama's latest move to boost his popularity numbers, that being the granting of amnesty to 800,000 illegal immigrants by fiat, sidestepping Congress because he figured they weren't going to give him what he wanted in its entirety. (He still doesn't seem to understand the actual meaning of compromise, which isn't “Sit down, shut up, and vote the way I tell you to vote!”) If only one side - usually meaning the GOP - gives up something and the other doesn't, that isn't compromise. That's capitulation. That is not what Congress is supposed to be about. As a 'Constitutional lecturer' he should know that. But then it seems he never really liked the Constitution all that much, particularly once he reached the Oval Office. All those icky rules and laws getting in the way of what he feels should be his right to do, even if it's wrong.

Despite the campaign ads running that have slamming Romney, too many of the independents aren't buying it. In fact, it seems a lot of Democrats aren't buying it either. Some have even been distancing themselves from him, afraid his growing unpopularity and disconnection from middle class Americans might drag them down, too. That certainly is not an unfounded fear.

It seems it's one stumble after another for the Obama campaign. The “Hope and Change” mantra is gone, along with its magic. It looks more like the campaign is starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel and finding there's little left to use.

Where Does The Time Go?


Last week BeezleBub graduated from high school. Today he celebrated his 18th birthday.

How time flies!!

6/13/2012

These Youngbloods Don't Practice The Fundamentals

By way of Maggie's Farm comes this great prank.

Out And About


No post last night as I was out and about with two blokes from my company's European affiliate. Mark and Simon are from the UK and will be servicing our equipment rather than having European customers shipping their instruments all the way back to the US for service or calibration.

I took them out to one of our local favorite places to eat and then down to Weirs Beach, the center of activity for Motorcycle Week. (It was a bit deserted due to some of the rain that started early yesterday evening. It's also a bit early to see the large crowds, which should start arriving in earnest tomorrow.)

Neither Mark or Simon have been to the US before, so it was a bit eye-opening for them. They've been enjoying themselves immensely, taking particular delight in the food. One thing they find truly different: free refills of their coffee when dining. It just isn't done in Europe!

Deb and I are out and about tonight, going over to one of our favorite eating establishments before heading over to our local concert venue to see Crosby, Stills & Nash. (As both Deb and a friend from work have dubbed it: Crosby, Stills & Nash – The Geriatric Tour.)

It's going to be a great night out!

6/11/2012

One Way To Deal With Stupid People

By way of Scary Yankee Chick comes this e-Card that states my sentiments exactly.


6/10/2012

Thoughts On A Sunday

It's hard to believe that our little boy has grown up.

Yesterday BeezleBub graduated from high school along with 129 of his fellow students. The WP Parents, WP In-Laws, the WP Sister-In-Law and her husband attended the ceremony. The oldest WP Sister joined us at The Manse after the ceremony to help celebrate.

The ceremony was one of the better ones I've attended. It was short, sweet, to the point, and was enjoyable. It also helped that the weather was great, too.

And now BeezleBub starts his summer hours at the farm in earnest.

How time flies.

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Another change here at The Manse: a new member of the feline contingent.

One of Deb's friends convinced her we needed to take in Tom, an orange long-haired cat. A large orange long-haired cat. He's 19 pounds (yes he's overweight, but we'll work on that) and kind of the male version of Hilda as he's also very fluffy and loves to be brushed, just like her.

So we're back up to a full complement of 7 and three-quarters cats.

But I still miss Bagheera.

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Oh, I almost forgot to mention this: Laconia Bike Week has started!

Motorcycle enthusiasts started arriving Friday afternoon and have made their presence known all weekend. The largest part of the crowds won't start arriving until this Wednesday or Thursday.

So far it's been great weather and it's supposed to continue through at least Tuesday, with some rain late Wednesday and into Thursday. Hopefully it will clear out again and be great weather for next weekend.

Unfortunately there have already been a number of accidents, including one I saw at the end of the Laconia Bypass while I was out running an errand to WalMart. I have no doubt it won't be the last.

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Obama's “Private business is doing just fine” gaffe is paying endless dividends, making even is quasi-supporters say “WTF?!” (And we don't mean “Win The Future”.)

All it proves to me is that he really has no understanding of how the economy works and what it is that drives it. It caused John Hinderaker to wonder if it was Obama's most clueless moment yet.

The gaffe has certainly boosted Romney's chances.

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Texas will soon be opening a new toll road between Austin and San Antonio. That's not big news. However, the fact that it will have an 85 MPH speed limit is.

A number of states have speed limits greater than 65 MPH, particularly out west. (It makes sense when you have to cover large distances just to get to the next town.)

The speed limit in New Hampshire is 65 MPH, but way back before the dreaded double-nickle (55 MPH) mandated by the Feds in order to “Save Gas And Save Lives”, the speed limit was 70 MPH. To all intents and purposes, it's still 70. I rarely see anyone driving 65 on the Interstates, me included.

People will drive at speeds at which they are comfortable, the posted speed limit notwithstanding. Traffic engineers know this and in the past set speed limits based on the 85-percentile, meaning they would measure the speed of all traffic along a highway and set the speed to that which at least 85 percent were traveling. Most of the Interstates were designed for much higher speeds than the posted limits. (It might have had something to do with the fact that there were stretches designed to be used as runways for combat aircraft in times of war.)

I hope New Hampshire will at some point go back to its original 70 MPH limit.

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You know Obama's in trouble when veterans of Special Operations Forces in our Armed Forces are organizing against his re-election.

You know it's got to be bad when former Navy SEALs, Air Force Air Commandos, and Marine Corp MARSOC members are creating a SuperPAC to defeat the Commander-In-Chief.

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Tom Bowler links to and comments upon the increasing disappointment and dislike Progressives are expressing for Obama. They've come to realize that is he's not one of them.

I remain fascinated that anyone pretending to have Democratic, progressive, let alone liberal, political views cares whether Pres. Obama wins or loses. What it’s going to take for people to understand he’s not fighting any of your battles, but only waging his own for himself, is unknown at this point, but maybe when he shoots for legacy on the “grand bargain” fence of history people will tune in and, perhaps, wake up. Then it will be too late, though it already is and was a long time ago.

If he's losing even the Progressives/Marxists/Chavistas in the Democrat Party, he's toast come November.

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Jeff Soyer tells us that in Canada when it comes to guns they've doubled down on stupid.

The father of a four-year old girl was handcuffed and arrested by the police because his daughter drew a picture of him “shooting monsters and bad men”. This apparently caused a panic to her “weak-minded teacher”, sucked in a “gullible principal”, who in turn frightened “reactionary child welfare officials”, who in turn called the police.

As Jeff reports, “An exhaustive search of the Sansone home revealed a plastic toy gun.”

These folks should be fired. Who needs people this stupid teaching their kids?

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James Delingpole posts a list from another blogger that gives us a number of all too true “Only in America..” insanities.

Two of my favorites are number 9 and 10:

9) Only in America could the government collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, but still spend over a trillion dollars more than it has per year while the President complain that there is not nearly enough money to do what he wants.

10) Only in America could the people who pay 86% of all income taxes be accused by the President of not paying their "fair share" on behalf of the people who don't pay any income taxes at all.

On number 10, I've asked a number of people who've made that complaint in my presence what amount would be fair. I almost always got the ubiquitous, unthinking, and envy-filled response: “More than they pay now!”

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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Also by way of Cap'n Teach we have this post at Say Anything reminding us that if anything is taxed at a high enough rate, a black market for that good or service will arise.

One of the first rules of free markets is that markets are dynamic, while regulations are static. Regulations, or in this case taxes, that are more arduous than consumers care to bear are usually circumvented, be it legally or illegally.

The case cited here is the onerous $4.35 per-pack tax on cigarettes in New York State. Is it any wonder there's a booming black market for untaxed cigarettes there?

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

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the rumble of thousands of motorcycles can be heard, visitors are spending their hard-earned vacation money, and where I'm still having a tough time getting used to the idea that BeezleBub has finished high school.

6/09/2012

It's Time To End Farm Subsidies

On more than one occasion I have opined that farm subsidies are something that should end because they have outlived their usefulness. These days farm subsidies have nothing to do with helping the family farm survive but are more about unneededcorporate welfare for the agri-businesses, i.e. crony capitalism.

However, the farm lobby is powerful and doing away with something that benefits the agri-businesses will be difficult even though it would save the American taxpayers $22 billion directly, and untold millions or billions indirectly when consumers no longer have to pay artificially high prices for some foodstuffs.

Cronyism is the practice by which government officials provide preferential treatment (such as loans, subsidies or regulatory preferences) to handpicked firms or industries. It is a bipartisan practice, as we may once again find out if lawmakers reauthorize most of the farm bill currently moving through Congress. There is no justification for extending our current regime of agricultural subsidies -- a clear example of cronyism.

In 2012, the Department of Agriculture is projected to spend $22 billion on subsidy programs for farmers. Introduced in the 1930s to help struggling small family farms, the subsidies have become the poster child for government welfare for the affluent. Farm households have higher incomes, on average, than do nonfarm U.S. households.

Second, farm subsidies tend to flow toward the largest and wealthiest farm businesses. According to the Environmental Working Group database, in 2010, 10 percent of farms received 74 percent of all subsidies. These recipients are large commercial farms with more than $250,000 in sales and mostly produced crops tied to political interests. The Cato Institute's Tad DeHaven and Chris Edwards calculate that more than 90 percent of all farm subsidies go to farmers of just five crops -- corn, wheat, soybeans, rice and cotton. For every federal dollar spent on farm subsidies, 19 cents goes to small farms, 19 cents to intermediate (middle-income) farms and 62 cents to the largest commercial farms.

Other countries have ended farm subsidies and in the end everyone was better off without them, including the farms. The excuse “But we've always done it this way!” is lame. All subsidies do is distort the market by short-circuiting the free market feedback systems and give political power to both major parties because they can use them to reward their “friends” and punish their “enemies” by granting or denying them taxpayer dollars.

It's time to do away with that kind of foolishness and end yet another failed FDR-era policy.

6/08/2012

Has It Really Been Ten Years?

I can't believe it's been ten years since Weekend Pundit was started by my dear brother. The third post to this blog was mine and I've been doing it ever since. There have been thousands of posts though a goodly number disappeared into the Big Bit Bucket when our second host, Blogmosis, went up in smoke, leaving us to fall back on Blogger and later on to our own site. Despite the loss, I still have all of my original posts here at The Manse on the Official Weekend Pundit Main Computer as well as on a number of backup disks stashed away in secure locations.

My brother stopped regular blogging some years ago to pursue other interests including authoring a book with fellow blogger Dean Esmay - Methuselah's Daughter.

There are many times when I'll go back and view previous posts and wonder Who wrote that? until realizing it was me. I constantly amaze myself, wondering how it is that I sounded so insightful when I know I am anything but. I'm just a working stiff in central New Hampshire enjoying work, family, some recreation, and the privilege of posting my opinions about things profound, trivial, and everything in between.

It's been a great ten years and I'm looking forward to see what the next ten years will look like.

6/06/2012

Democrats Crank Spin Machine To Max After Walker Win


Now that the Wisconsin recall election is in the history books, the Democrat Machine has switched to the Max Extract Spin Mode, trying its best to make Scott Walker's successful defense against the public employee union onslaught seem like nothing more than a fluke. The union thugs lost this one by losing support of the very people they believed were firmly in their pocket – the working stiffs. These same working stiffs are also less likely to support a President they see as doing everything he can to kill jobs despite his claims to the contrary. His record speaks for itself. The spin the Dems and the White House are trying to put on Walker's win isn't resonating very well across the country.

So why did the public employee unions lose after spending millions in union funds to unseat Walker? It's simple, really.

It's tough to convince someone who's barely making ends meet all while seeing their taxes going up year after year that it's in their best interest to support state and municipal employee demands for gold plated benefits packages those of us in the private sector can only dream about. It was a major disconnect between the public employee unions and the average working folks.

What made this disconnect even worse is that Walker's actions did exactly what he said they would – turning a $6 billion budget deficit into the first budget surplus seen in years, all without raising taxes; lowering property taxes; and helping reduce benefits costs paid by school systems across the state. It's not easy convincing people who see more of their money staying in their pockets that they should “go back to the way it used to be.” That's a tough sell.

Do the results in Wisconsin automatically mean Obama is doomed and Romney will have a cakewalk? No, not in the least. But it does mean that a state the Democrats saw as safely in the Obama camp is now in play, and that does not bode well for the President.

Too bad. Or not.


6/05/2012

Walker Wins

A number of news organizations have called the Wisconsin recall election for Scott Walker. With 58% of the precincts reporting, it appears that as of 10:30PM EDT/9:30CDT that Scott walker has 57% of the vote to Tom Barrett's 42% (from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

Millions in union funds spent to recall Scott Walker and the public employee unions get their heads handed to them, and rightfully so. Too many of the union leaders and rank-and-file seemed to believe the taxpayer's money belonged to them rather than the people who actually earned it. Talk about being out of touch with reality. Their belief the gold-plated benefits and pensions they received in the past were owed to them when the people paying for them were struggling to make ends meet was the height of arrogance, setting them up for their failure.

But as Glenn Reynolds reminds us, “Don't get cocky, kid!”

Free NASA Book Covering Aerospace Accidents And Incidents

I came across this rather cool NASA publication dealing with aerospace accidents and incidents, a 244 page (in PDF format) report on all kinds of aerospace accidents and their causes, covering everything from crashes of X-planes, rough landings of the Space Shuttle, and problems with “almost” loss-of-consciousness incidents with F22 Raptor, amongst a number of aircraft/spacecraft covered in the report.

The report shows that quite often it is not a single factor that causes these incidents, but a chain of errors that leads up to problems encountered.

The free download from NASA can be found here with three different formats available, E-Pub, Mobi, or PDF.

It's quite fascinating reading for those of you out there who are aviation and spaceflight fans.

6/03/2012

Thoughts On A Sunday

I have to admit it was an unusual start to the weekend.

It's not all that uncommon to hear one or more of our neighbors mowing their lawns first thing Saturday morning. It was no different this Saturday morning, except for one thing: it was raining quite heavily.

On one of the few mornings I get to sleep in (that means staying in bed until 7 or even 7:15) I hear what sounds like a lawn mower somewhere here in our neighborhood. It wasn't until I got up that I realized it was raining, and it wasn't a light rain.

The neighbor's mower ran for about an hour (that must be one heck of a lawn if it takes that long to mow) before shutting down. And then a few minutes I could hear their weed-whacker. A half hour later they were done.

I know some people are creatures of habit, but did this person really need to mow their lawn in the middle of a lengthy and heavy rain storm? They couldn't have waited until tomorrow when we would have some breaks in the clouds?

I guess not.

I'd like to think I did the smart thing and mowed the lawn here at The Manse late Friday afternoon, knowing the rains were coming and likely to stick around until Wednesday or Thursday. I knew if I waited until next weekend I'd have trouble mowing, between the much longer grass and the not-running-so-well Official Weekend Pundit Lawnmower.

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The voter intimidation has already started, with so-called “Surveillance Effect” mailers going out to registered Republicans in Wisconsin in effect saying, we know who you are and who you've given political contributions to and we're going to make sure everyone else knows, too. This must be seen as an effort to negatively affect Republican voter turnout in Tuesday's re-call election in that state.

I expect the Democrats to use the same organization to do the same thing once we start getting closer to the November elections. All of this is being done in the name of “research” to see if voting patterns change after receiving such mailings. It's one thing if they were going out to equal numbers of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans in each 'targeted' district, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

The Dems must be running scared if they have to resort to this kind of subtle intimidation. I also expect that the intimidation will become less subtle the closer we get to November.

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As Bogie states, Texas may have overlarge everything, but our turtles are just plain meaner: they stop traffic.

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By way of Eric the Viking comes this question: Can President Obama name ONE clean energy success?

I certainly can't think of one.

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Assistant Village Idiot expresses his opinion about pay-as-you-go highway express lanes, saying they he thinks they're a great idea.

When private toll roads are quicker, even poor people will use them occasionally. At the cost of a few dollars, you can even think of it as an inexpensive luxury. If you have ever comfortably passed a mile or two of stopped traffic, you know what a thrill it is. I'm rich! I'm free!

I have no problem with it.

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Oh, the horror!!

Apparently the Democrats don't like the fact that Romney is “punching back twice as hard.”

I guess they feel they're the only ones allowed to do that.

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Then there's the public's growing disdain for so-called “green energy” and its growing costs. The problem is that people are starting to wonder why so much taxpayer money is being wasted on energy sources that are more expensive and less reliable. And to add insult to injury, a number of 'enlightened' governments are abandoning subsidies for green energy because the costs aren't worth the return.

In January, the Spanish government ended absurdly lavish subsidies for its renewable-energy industry, and the renewable-energy industry all but imploded. You could say it was never a renewable-energy industry at all. It was a government-subsidy industry where in exchange for creating conscience-soothing but otherwise inefficient windmills and solar panels, the government gave the makers piles of cash consumers never would have.

--snip--

The reason the Spanish example is so important is that it demonstrates how the whole green-energy “revolution” was really an ideologically driven green boondoggle from the start.

It's no different here in the US. Even private investors realize there's no “there” there, with the likes of T. Boone Pickens abandoning his plans for investing in large windfarms in Texas. The return on investment just wasn't there and he felt no need to blow hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money on something that wasn't going to pay off. Why should the government use taxpayer money to do what private investors see as a money-losing proposition?

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I thought I'd heard it all, but when I found out Eric Holder's DOJ has ordered Florida to stop removing foreigners from its voting rolls, I figured it had to be a joke.

They do understand that non-citizens aren't eligible to vote, don't they? Or has the DOJ become so indoctrinated in the incredibly stupid “the Constitution is a living document and we can ignore the parts we don't like” mindset that they feel they don't need to enforce one of the most fundamental laws in the nation? I think we can safely say the answer to this question is an unassailable “yes”.

These people need to be fired, the quicker the better.

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I didn't think it was possible for Obama's so-called “Smart Diplomacy” to get any stupider, but it has. And it seems to me he really has it in for the British, insulting them not once, but twice.

This time around he's asked them to negotiate with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, something the British aren't willing to do. After all, they fought a war over the Falklands after Argentina invaded and occupied them in 1982. The British managed to kick them out after heavy fighting and at the cost of the lives to 250 British servicemen.

And let's not forget his “Polish death camps” gaffe, either.

All this says to me is that Obama is neither smart or diplomatic.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the heavy rains have ended, there's more on the way, and where I'm glad I mowed my lawn Friday afternoon.

6/02/2012

Will 53-Year Old Cross Have To Be Removed?

This is just stupid.

And I have to ask this of the ACLU: Show me the so-called "separation of church and state laws" you've cited as you reason for pursuing the case in question.

All we have to remember is that in general the ACLU is not your friend nor does it have anything to civil liberties. Mostly it deals with taking them away all in the name of "fairness", and we all know where that leads.

6/01/2012

Baseless Fact-Deficient Bashing Of Romney Has Begun

It looks like the newest strain of Bush Derangement Syndrome is working its way through the leftist Democrats. This sub-strain, called Romney Derangement Psychosis (RDP), hasn't taken long to mutate and spread amongst our much less knowledgeable leftists brethren.

One of the first signs is the claims by low-level Obama supporters that “Romney became rich by making other people poor!” Call it an offshoot of the ever-discredited “Zero Sum Fallacy” constantly being sold by the economically clueless Left.

If memory serves, I recall reading one claim on one of the WSJ forums about Bain Capital buying a distressed business, closing it, and selling off its assets.

First, Bain's raison d'étrè was to invest in failing businesses, turn them around, and make money for the investors. For the most part, they succeeded. But sometimes they couldn't and the companies failed, were closed, and the assets sold off to offset their losses. There are times when no matter what, a failing business can't be saved.

Second, the action in question took place in 2002. There's only one problem with the claim made by the poster in the forum: Romney wasn't with Bain at the time. He'd left in 1998, four years before this supposedly took place.

So how could Romney be held responsible for something that took place well after he left unless it's one of the side effects of RDP? After all, the Left blames George Bush for all kinds of things, including things done by a Democrat majority Congress. Some blame him for things that have taken place long after he left office. Why shouldn't we expect the indoctrinated Left to do the same thing to Romney. All I'm waiting for now is some kind of “fake but accurate” incident analogous to RatherGate to smear Romney. I figure it's only a matter of time.

Reading some of the Letters to the Editor in one of the local papers here in New Hampshire, I am already seeing elements of the coming smear campaign. The local Leftist parrots are already repeating their carefully programmed claims, condemning Romney and praising their messiah, regardless of the fact that Romney has created more jobs while working in the private sector than Obama has since he was nothing more than a community organizer in Chicago. Claims of 4.25 millions jobs created by Obama must be taken with a huge grain of salt, just as many of us doubt his “3 million jobs created or saved by the $878 billion stimulus” claim. Certainly the unemployment numbers never reflected that claim, either the officially reported number (meaning those collecting unemployment) and the officially ignored number (meaning those also unemployed who were no longer collecting unemployment or who were underemployed) which boosted the unemployment rate a good 6 or 7 percentage points higher than the official numbers. (At one point the unemployment rate was above 11%, meaning the actual unemployment rate was closer to 17 percent.)

So far the “evil Bain” approach and hyped jobs claims hasn't worked and it's backfired on the Democrats. Too many folks out there know the real story because they're living it and claims made by the Obama campaign to the contrary don't match their reality. With today's unemployment numbers showing the unemployment rate has gone up, job creation fell far short of projections, and the Dow Jones Average falling almost 300 points today, reality has just slapped the Democrats in the face.

But I don't expect that to stop the spread of baseless, fact-deficient, and ignorant distortions of Romney's record of accomplishments.