9/30/2012

Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been a wet, rainy, and cool weekend here at Lake Winnipesaukee. That has meant almost all activities have been confined to the indoors.

I must admit I had hoped for dry weather which would have allowed my to finish up some of the still undone summer chores (I still need to finish re-staining the steps to both the front door and door to the mud room). But that wasn't the case.

The wet weather meant BeezleBub didn't have to work at the farm Friday or Saturday evening because the farm's corn maze was closed. It also meant I was going to haul the laundry I washed today over the WP Parent's place to use their clothes drier. (It also meant I was going to watch the New England Patriots game on their 42" HDTV, not a bad deal!) Instead, it meant a trip to the local laundromat to use their big driers because what would have taken 4 hours at the folks took only an hour at the laundromat...plus they had a TV tuned to the game!

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And speaking of cool weather, we had the chimney sweeps here this past week to clean the chimney so we could use the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove when the time comes. The Official Weekend Pundit Gas Furnace is still waiting a repair part, but the folks who service it say it should be in some time next week. (We can still use the furnace as it is but it makes all kinds of noises when it runs, something the furnace repair tech said was nothing to worry about.)

The furnace gets used mostly during the beginning and end of the heating season as it's far easier to use it 'take the chill off' than firing up the woodstove to the same thing (and then overheating The Manse). It also comes into use on those nights when it's well below zero and the woodstove can't quite keep up

Now all we need for the woodstove is our three cords of wood to be delivered. (We still have a little over one cord left over from last winter so we're good to go for some time.)

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The self-destruction of California is accelerating. Unfortunately they just might take the rest of us with them as far too often what starts in California spreads to the rest of the nation.

I hope that instead California will stand as a object lesson that what has happened in Greece can certainly happen here. The only problem is that too many people have short attention spans.

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And then there's this from California, where some big name companies are pulling the plug on some of their California operations.

Both Campbell Soup and Comcast are closing facilities in the Golden State, with Campbell stating they are doing so to “improve supply chain productivity,” meaning it's costing them too much to keep their plant in Sacramento open. Comcast didn't sugar-coat their reason for shutting down three of their northern California call centers, stating “We determined that the high cost of doing business in California makes it difficult to run cost-effective call centers in Northern California.”

California still hasn't realized that if they continue to make it too expensive to do business in California that businesses will leave, taking their jobs with them.

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Glenn Reynolds makes me wonder if the fellow named in his post has been using Atlas Shrugged as a manual rather than a warning.

What's scary is that the fellow making the proposition has likely never had to run a business of his own. Not that he would have learned anything. He certainly didn't learn anything in his previous post as the U.S. Register of Copyrights.

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How is it Democrats have come to believe the economy is absolutely awesome when just about everyone else sees it for the dismal thing it is?

It must be the same delusion that has driven a lot of these same folks to think increased economic activity that creates good jobs is a bad thing.

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Assistant Village Idiot gives us this warning in regards to the undecided voter: “...the indecision of voters that is more key to politicians are those who are undecided whether they are going to bother to vote, not who they are going to vote for.”

Indeed.

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It looks like France has decided to further cripple their economy by “sticking it to the rich” by increasing their income tax rate to 75%.

So, I guess you’re not really planning on addressing your two main problems — a hugely bloated national budget with too much public spending, and a stagnant economy with high unemployment — er, at all? You’re just going to tax the hell out of any individual or business audacious enough to be successful at providing a useful product/service, instead of even trying to slim down public expenditures? …I see. Interesting strategy you’ve got there, France.

It's apparent they did not learn the lesson taught by their neighbors just across the English Channel.

The UK tried something similar in the 1970's and it made their already struggling economy collapse as wealth and investment capital fled for friendlier climes. Considering France already has an unemployment rate of 10% I would think the last thing they'd want to do is something that is guaranteed to make that rate go higher.

It doesn't help that French labor laws also make it almost impossible to lay off workers when there's a downturn, meaning a lot of employers are reluctant to hire new employees under any circumstances. Instead they make do with the workers they have or outsource work to other countries without such overreaching labor laws.

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This is just about what I expect for small town in northern Maine. Then again, I once lived in small New Hampshire town that could easily match it for such activities.

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I usually will link to some post listed in Cap'n Teach's Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup link roundup. But today's is too good to single out just one so I'm going to link to the whole thing and let you pick your favorite.

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Bogie tells us about a package she got from home that included preserves, a quilt, and some fun stuff for one of her kitties.

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Tom Bowler links to and comments on some of the questionable polling numbers, where aggregate numbers for Obama and Romney don't seem to reflect the breakdowns of the actual voting populace.

It also appears the MSM is ignoring the poll results of independent voters who were so crucial to Obama in 2008. So far Romney has the edge with independent voters in both Ohio and Florida, states that Obama barely won in 2008 because of those same independent voters.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the wet and cool weather continues, the leaves are changing color, and the crowds of leaf peepers are growing every day.

9/29/2012

Smart Phones Alleviate Boredom...

...and create a lack of human interaction and down time.

Before I even read the post about boredom and smart phones, I knew I was going to agree with the premise.

"Doug Gross writes that thanks to technology, there's been a recent sea change in how people today kill time. 'Those dog-eared magazines in your doctor's office are going unread. Your fellow customers in line at the deli counter are being ignored. And simply gazing around at one's surroundings? Forget about it.' ”

Indeed.

How often have you looked around at others while you're walking down the street, waiting at the subway station, or standing at the checkout line and seen people with their heads bowed as if at prayer, gazing down at their smart phones and pecking away at its keyboard or browsing the web? I look around all the time and I see this phenomenon all the time. This is particularly so at social gatherings, be they with friends or at family events.

On more than one occasion at a family gathering of the WP Clan I've seen the teens and young adults pecking away at their phones. They're engaged with whatever is going on on their screens but aren't really in the here and now with everyone else. Whether it's due to boredom (likely) or the 'need' to be connected 24/7/365 (also likely), they're physically present but they aren't interacting with the people actually around them.

Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I have a phone that lets me make phone calls and to text. And while it does have the capability to surf the web, I don't use it (and don't want to pay for it). Texting comes in handy if I need to send or receive messages from the missus or my son that don't require an immediate response (usually reminders about appointments, things to pick up at the supermarket, etc) I won't spend hours at a time pecking away at the keypad to 'talk' to my family, friends, or acquaintances. If I need or want to do that I'll call them and talk to them or, a novel idea, visit them.

I have no problem with being bored on occasion. During the summer I'll go down to the town beach or the boat ramp and just watch people. It amazes me what I'll see there from time to time. Sometimes I take a walk and will think things over. (That helps me a lot at work when I get stuck on something – I'll go take a walk outside and mull things over. I've solved a lot of problems and come up with interesting ideas doing just that.)

However, with the constant stimulation provided by smart phones, tablets, and the like, that opportunity has disappeared for a lot of people. That's a shame.

This reminds me of something I heard a long time ago from a number of different sources that describes exactly what has been going on: Too many people are merely living on this world, not in it. Those in this world live in a state of constant amazement at what they experience.

I'd like to think I'm one of those living in it.

(H/T Instapundit)

9/28/2012

Solar Maximum Barely Above Minimum - Colder Weather On The Way

Sitting here in front of my computer in The Manse's little office, looking out the window at the rain falling on this below normal temperature fall afternoon makes me yet again question the idea put forth by many of the AGW faithful that the sun has little effect on our climate.

There is plenty of evidence that our sun's activity cycles have quite a lot to do with our climate, with observations over the past 5,000 years seemingly backing up a number of theories that sunspot cycles can have a profound effect on our world's weather.

Even over the past 1,000 years it can be shown that the number of sunspots appearing on the sun's surface gives us a pretty good indication of activity, with more sunspots heralding warmer temperatures and less (or none) bringing cooler temperatures.

Work done by Dr. Henrik Svensmark has shown that the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods coincided with lengthy periods of high sunspot numbers and the Little Ice Ages (approximately 1300 to 1550 AD and 1650 to 1750AD) coincided with lengthy periods of minimal sunspot numbers, the so-called Maunder and Dalton Minimums. (I linked to Svensmark's Wikipedia page as most of his works, papers, and videos are linked from there.) Svensmark has managed to tie together solar activity and its effects on gamma radiation and cloud formation. (I won't go into all of it here, but I have covered it before.)

Now we find out our sun may be going into an extended quiet period – a minimum – like those seen during the Little Ice Ages. If Svensmark is right this may mean we're going to see extended periods of colder than normal weather that may last decades.

Waiting for solar fireworks to reach a grand finale next year? Um, sorry, looks like you already missed them. Structures in the sun's corona indicate that the peak in our star's latest cycle of activity has been and gone, at least in its northern hemisphere.

The southern hemisphere, meanwhile, is on a sluggish rise to solar maximum and may not hit its peak until 2014.

This bizarre asymmetry strengthens a theory that has been bubbling among sun watchers for the past few years: our star is headed for hibernation. Having the sun's outbursts turned off for a while would provide a better baseline for studying how they influence Earth's climate.

If such a thing does happen, it will give us a better idea of what effect the sun and CO2 has on our climate. I'm willing to bet that many of the AGW faithful are going to find out their favorite villain, anthropogenic CO2, has had little effect on climate and that the changes seen in our most recent history have been driven primarily by solar activity.

The next few decades are going to be interesting.

(H/T Synthstuff)

9/27/2012

Another Example Of Arrogance

I have to think that this incident is another case of an arrogant Democrat believing the “Do as I say, not as I do” nonsense.

In this case, New Hampshire 2nd Congressional District candidate, Democrat Annie Kuster, didn't like that someone was recording her as she was making her campaign rounds. In fact, she disliked the idea so much that she attacked the cameraman, took his camera from him, and walked off with it with a parting “F*** him.”

Later she claimed that the cameraman had been harassing her, but as the post from the NH Journal claims, “campaign trackers, bloggers, regular voters and even reporters frequently use handheld cameras to record politicians.” If she wants to be a politician she had better get used to being followed around by people with cameras while in public.

Kuster seems to be following the lead of her fellow New Hampshire Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, former member of the House from New Hampshire's First Congressional District and once again a candidate for her old seat.

Shea-Porter often harassed previous First District Congressmen at their public forums, being arrested more than once for her outbursts. But once she took office she made sure all of her 'public' appearances were devoid of anyone who might pull the same thing she had, meaning non-Democrats were decidedly unwelcome. In forums where she could not control the content of those attending, she made sure there was little if any time for anyone to ask her questions she didn't want to answer. She also had undisguised disdain and contempt for those who were not her constituents, meaning anyone in her district that wasn't a Democrat or independent. Republicans in her district were persona non grata. (This I know both directly and indirectly having experienced this discrimination and having heard from others who were treated to the same “You're not a constituent” blow off.) It's no wonder she was defeated by a landslide in 2010, replaced by Republican Frank Guinta, someone who seems to have no problems with helping his constituents regardless of their party affiliations. (Shea-Porter blamed the Chinese for her defeat, an accusation she has never explained.)

So once again we see the how arrogant Democrat politicians have one set of rules for themselves and different rules for everyone else.

9/26/2012

Are There No Lies They Won't Try To Sell?

When I first read this I thought it might be a parody by way of The Onion. But it turns out it was anything but.

The latest bit of wackiness from the watermelon environmentalists in New York are their claims that fracking – the hydraulic fracturing of oil or natural gas bearing rock – will cause an increase in syphilis. And that's not all. Their reasoning? Try this:

They argue that a drilling boom would draw an influx of male workers from other states who would engage in activities of a kind that would spread sexually transmitted diseases.

They also contend that a boom would trigger a housing crunch, adding to homelessness and the health ailments that go along with it.

And that increased truck traffic would not only lead to more road fatalities, but would also — again, no kidding — discourage people from getting the outdoor exercise they need to stay fit.

Yeah. Right.

It sounds like these folks are related to the West Coast wackos who have been claiming the decrease in population (and businesses) in California is a good thing because “it gives the municipalities and the state the opportunity to plan and build for future population and business growth.” They don't seem to understand that there will be no money available to do those things because most of the people who would supply that money through the taxes they pay no longer work or live there. (And we musn't forget the multi-billions of taxpayer dollars that will be spent building a high speed rail system to nowhere, again with money they won't have, for people who don't want it or need it.)

All of this sounds like it came right out of Atlas Shrugged. (One wag commenting on a WSJ opinion piece about California's accelerating economic decline suggested banning businesses from moving out of state, reminiscent of Directive 10-289. At first I thought it was sarcasm, but it wasn't. How sad.)

So, economic growth and the jobs that go with it are a Bad Thing™? I'm not sure how they came to this conclusion, but obviously some deluded soul has sold them on the idea that anything that helps the economy must automatically be bad because....because...umm...it's just bad!!

(H/T Synthstuff)

9/24/2012

A Message To The Religion Of Perpetual Offense

Pat Condell gives us another insightful rant, this time about the perpetually offended religion of peace.


I have to agree with Pat on more than one point, specifically those of tolerance and respect. Tolerance works in both directions. I will not be tolerant of an ideology that has none of its own. And respect is earned, it is never owed. Demanding that I respect someone who has no respect for me is a non-starter. It ain't gonna happen.

These endlessly pissed-off folk have got to get a grip on themselves and realize that the more they act like savages, the less we will listen to them and the less likely we will be to ever respect them.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

9/23/2012

Thoughts On A Sunday

Despite yesterday's gloomy looking weather, it was quite nice out. I did have to delay work on the main deck as it took a while for the fog and low clouds to burn off and let things dry out enough to continue staining. On the last day of summer I was still only half way through my summer honey-do list. I probably won't even get started on my autumn honey-do list until some time in the middle of October.

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It's also NASCAR Weekend with New Hampshire's second Sprint Cup race of the season taking place down at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. About 110,000 fans will fill the stands for the Sylvania 300.

The fans started showing up this past Monday and the traffic within 20 miles of the track has been heavy (and crazy) since Thursday. But it's only twice a year so I have no problems dealing with it. Call it the “last gasp of summer”.

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Speaking of traffic, I had to make a quick trip to Deb's place of employment to drop off her purse. In her haste she'd left it behind when she left for work.

Normally this wouldn't be an issue but one of the surrounding towns runs a sobriety check point on Saturday nights and being without any form of ID when going through it causes all kinds of problems and delays. So off I went late yesterday afternoon with her purse.

The traffic was awful.

I could go on and on about the various bits of traffic stupidity and cluelessness I witnessed on my way there and back, but I won't bore you with them...except for one.

Passing through the town where Deb works, one of the main roads passes over the main north-south Interstate highway, meaning traffic can be quite heavy just on either side of it. One fellow seemed to think the heavy traffic gave him leave to cease paying attention to driving and more attention to his cell phone. As we stopped at each set of traffic lights (there's quite a few of them on that stretch of road), he paid less attention to the traffic lights and more to his phone.

At the first set of lights just past the Interstate, he didn't finish texting (I assume that's what he was doing) until just before the lights turned yellow. He, the truck right behind him, and I made it through before the lights turned red. At the next set of lights he again didn't move when the lights turned green and actually raised his index finger on his right hand as if to say “Wait a sec!” as the horns of the vehicles behind (including mine) him blared. Not a single vehicle in his lane made it through the lights before they again were red. At the next green light cycle he (and the rest of us) moved. At the very next set of lights he was once again fooling with his phone, the lights changed to green, and he didn't move.

At this point the guy in the pickup truck directly behind him apparently had enough, got out of his pickup, walked to the car, grabbed the guy's phone out of his hands and tossed it into the back seat. Over the sound of the still blaring horns I heard the pickup's driver yell something along the lines of “Put down your effin' phone and effin' drive, s**thead!” By the time he got back to his truck Texting Guy had taken off and we didn't see him again.

Some folks just don't get it.

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While the summer tourist season has ended we are gearing up for the foliage season. Fall colors have already started appearing north of the notches. A few of the swamp maples here in the Lakes Region are already showing crimson (they tend to lead the rest of the trees by three or four weeks), as are the sumacs. Some of the beeches are already showing some yellow here and there, but I don't expect to see much in the way of color for at least another two weeks.

I have no idea how brilliant the colors will be this year, but since it was a nice summer it's quite possible that they'll be awesome. Only time will tell.

The leaf peepers will be up in droves over the next few weeks, with folks coming from all over the world to take in the sights. I expect to see lots of tour buses and cars, minivans, and SUVs with out-of-state license plates showing up.

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I find it illuminating that the Obama campaign has been slamming Romney's 2011 tax returns, showing he paid “only” 14.1% taxes on his $13 million income, all of which was from capital gains. (In case you aren't aware, capital gains tax is a nominal 15%. What may also not be aware of is that income taxes were already paid on the money invested to generate those capital gains.)

What they fail to mention is that of the Romney's $13 million of income last year, he gave away $4 million to charity. $4 million. That's almost 31% of his income, and he didn't even write it off. Joe Biden, on the other hand, donated about 0.15% of his income to charity. It wouldn't surprise me that Obama donated a like amount. They're rather tight-fisted with their money. But neither of those two seem to have any problem with donating large amounts of your money to 'charity', in this case government charity.

At least Romney's money will be used to do real charity work (and probably more effectively than any government program), and he'll have some say about where it will be spent. That's not so of taxpayer funded government 'charity'.

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When Romney claimed that 47% of the American people receive benefits from the federal government, he was wrong.

It's closer to 49%.

(H/T Instapundit)

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This is not a surprise to me: Sunspots Do Impact Climate.

I've known that since reading some of Dr. Henrik Svensmark's papers on the subject. One thing Svensmark's work has over that of Mann, Jones, Hansen, and the whole list of the usual suspects? His work is reproducible.

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I've read a lot of opinions about the reasons for the anti-American protests/riots across parts of the Middle East. I think David Starr has one of the better ones.

It all comes down to one thing: “Could the real reason be, that they just plain hate our guts?”

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The New England Patriots play the Baltimore Ravens tonight down in Baltimore.

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News You Can Use: German troops riot in Italy over Disney film mocking Der Fuhrer!

(H/T Instapundit)

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This makes sense. Well, no, not really.

If you have so-called “Victim studies” in academia, you always end up with an ever expanding world of victims.

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You know the Obama administration lacks integrity when it briefs the New York Times before it briefs senate Republicans, a major breach in protocol.

But then Obama has never stood by protocol. In fact he's never even stood by the law, doing end runs around Congress and violating long-standing bankruptcy laws to 'reward' his cronies.

The sooner we get rid of this Hugo Chavez wannabe, the better.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer has fled, cottages and camps are slowly being prepared for winter, and where the leaves have just barely started to turn.

9/22/2012

End Of Summer

Both the calendar and the weather are telling me that summer has ended.

And as always it is this song that describes how the end of summer makes me feel, taking me back to end of summer during my teen years.


Note: There were tons of covers done of this song, with some of the videos quite good, but they aren't the same. Only Don Henley's version speaks for me.

9/20/2012

To ID Or Not ID, That Is The Question

The Wall Street Journal posited the question “Should voters have to show identification?”

The poll included with this group discussion showed over 89% of those taking the poll agreed that voters should be required to show ID.

The comments posted to that question showed the typical dichotomy between Republican and Democrat respondents, with Republicans favoring voter ID and Democrats opposed.

One of the most used arguments against the idea was the claim that requiring ID would disfranchise the poor and minorities, but it's been shown more than once that the argument is specious. (BTW, the term “disenfranchise” is meaningless. The correct word is “disfranchise”.)

While the need to obtain proper ID may be a burden to some, that number is very small. Most of the poor and minorities cited as examples of why voter ID would be discriminatory already have the required ID. They have to have it in order to receive government benefits, cash checks, pick up certain prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines, use EBT/credit/debit cards, and a perform a host of other activities. Many of those same “poor and minorities” have drivers licenses, one of the acceptable forms of ID. Why would it be any more of a problem to present ID to vote? It would certainly reduce the ability to commit voter fraud.

My home state had a trial run for voter ID earlier this month during the September 11th state primaries. The election was used to inform voters that proper ID will be required in order to vote in the nationwide elections on November 6th.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

9/19/2012

Don't Vote If You're Dum!

There's nothing I can add to this.


(H/T Maggie's Farm)

9/16/2012

Thoughts On A Sunday

The summer-like weather has fled for the time being, with night time temps in the upper 30's and day temps in the upper 60's/lower 70's. This change prompted me to pull out the air conditioner from the dining room window and replace the screen. The air conditioner now sits down in the basement until next summer. There are still two more to remove but those will wait until later today or some time during the week.

Summer chores are slowly winding down while fall chores start taking their place. I still have decks and front steps requiring refinishing but I hope to get those done by the end of next week, weather permitting. Brush needs to be cut back again, the lawn (what little there is of it) requires mowing but with the mower deck set lower, and the parking area next to the garage needs to be cleaned up to allow firewood deliveries some time over the next couple of weeks. The chimney sweeps will be here in a little over a week to clean the chimney in preparation of the coming heating season. (Firewood is cheap. Propane is not.)

And how are your fall preparations coming?

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Despite the water-carrying the MSM is doing for Obama, the narrative has been shifting from Romney's perceived 'deficiencies' to Obama's failures, both foreign and domestic.

His Middle East foreign policy has been shown to be a disaster – Egypt and Libya were just starters. Tied in with that he seems more than willing to allow foreign religious fanatics to dictate to us what can and can't be said despite our Constitution saying we have freedom of speech.

He has no understanding of economics, and doesn't want to. He's placed ever higher burdens on business and individuals and he wonders why the economy has recovered and is headed back down. He blocks much needed construction projects that will help ensure our energy independence but is willing to waste billions of tax dollars on 'alternative' energy sources that will never meet more than a very small percentage of our energy needs. He ignores laws he doesn't like, interferes with laws on the behalf of his 'supporters', and has no problem lying to the people and then doing just the opposite of what he promised.

No amount of the MSM's effort to paint his incompetence, malfeasance, and non-feasance as 'success' will prevent the truth from being known. There are too many ways around the propaganda that portrays itself as news.

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And speaking of the MSM and it's increasing irrelevance, there's this little gem that exposes how uncaring the MSM has become. They no longer look at the unintended consequences of their actions, feel no remorse in endangering others to 'get their story', and have shifted from being the “preventers of tyranny” to the enablers.

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Eric the Viking offers his take on the whole embassy attacks/YouTube movie protests issue.

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Susan Duclos points out there have been four days of terror attacks since 9/11/12 and Obama has spent three of them campaigning. Susan also gives us this:

Protests have spread from Egypt and Libya and now have been reported in Australia, Germany, Tunisia, more in Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon,  Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey England, Israel, Nigeria, Malaysia, Bangladesh and India among other locales, just to name a few from CNN.

Does anyone truly believe that a clip that had been up for over 2 months (see here), coincidentally became known in time to spark worldwide anti-American protests on September 11, the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American soil?

As she also states, the attacks were preplanned and used the protests as cover.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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Cap'n Teach wonders: Why the Arab World is so easily offended?

One possible cause: Cap'n Teach thinks they're still a little pissed about the Mongol invasion in the 13th century that tore apart the Caliphate. It could also be that they're trying to keep their culture stuck in the 13th century, but the West insists upon living in the 21st century.

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David Starr dumps on David Gregory of Meet The Pressfor his trying to bait Benjamin Netanyahu into saying something damaging to Israel.

As David writes: “...Gregory is not a trustworthy newsman. He is partisan, out grinding his axes.”

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The New England Patriots played the Arizona Cardinals in Foxboro today...and lost. It was their first home opener loss in 10 years.

It was a low scoring game and, quite frankly, the Patriots didn't do all the great a job. What's worse is they they were in a position to win the game with a field goal and their kicker, Gostkowsi, missed by a mile! He never misses by that much.

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One more trip over to Cap'n Teach's place points us to the foolishness that is the EPA and its demand that we use more food crops for fuel.

From many examples we know ethanol is a loser, between eating up valuable food stocks and driving up food prices, causing problems with fuel systems, decreasing fuel economy, creating more CO2 than using straight unblended gasoline, and not cutting back our dependence on foreign oil by one iota. (All we need to do to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil is to be allowed to fully develop our own oil and natural gas resources, but Obama and EPA won't let us do that.)

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where cooler nights prevail, the crowds of summerfolk isn't as small as we expected them to be, and a long list of summer chores are still undone.

9/14/2012

A New Kind Of Engine

I saw this video and thought it was kind of cool. It covers what is called a nutating disk engine, a new type of internal combustion engine.

It's a little reminiscent of a Wankel rotary engine, but produces power through a different cycle. Two things I thought that were really cool: it can use any kind of fuel and it can be supercharged by using a larger version of the engine (sans combustion and fuel injectors) to compress the air going into the engine.

The engine was developed to use with UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) like the Predator. It generates more power in a smaller package than the engines used in drones while also using less fuel to do so.


9/11/2012

Holy Crap!!

This past Thursday I filled the trusty F150's gas tank, paying $3.689 per gallon for the privilege.

This afternoon on my way home I passed by the gas station and saw regular had jumped to $3.919 per gallon. WTF?

That's a 23¢ per gallon jump in only 5 days.

Did I miss some earth-shattering news that caused oil prices to spike some time in the past few days? I know prices tend to fall after the summer season ends and then jumps up a bit when the refiners start changing over to making the winter blends of gasoline as well as increasing fuel oil and propane production. But what the heck?

That Awful Day - 11 Years Gone

I find that I couldn't do justice to this day. Every time I started to write my thoughts and feelings about That Awful Day eleven years ago my eyes filled with tears. I still feel the pain in my heart, the hole that has never fully healed. I see the images flashing on the TV screen again as if it were happening right now. I think of the people lost, of friends I will never see again, of families torn apart, all in the name of an insane and murderous ideology.

I know it's a cop out, but I find I just can't do it. I can't sit here in front of my computer and tear open the still barely healed wound. I can't.

It's too hard and it still hurts too much.....


9/10/2012

It Didn't Take Long

It certainly didn't take long.

Yesterday I mentioned in my weekly Thoughts On A Sunday post that it wouldn't be long before the Dems tried to set up an October surprise. Here it is, one day later, and it's already started.

First, there's a number of Twitter streams claiming all kinds of nasty things about Romney, including a fake Romney quote about slaves, that he wants to abolish the Martin Luther King holiday, and that his campaign slogan came from an old KKK campaign.

Then there's this roundabout way that Obama might be seen as a 'savior'. It came from a reader e-mail commenting on the Chicago teacher's strike.

“It MAY be ALL coincidental, but within the last couple of weeks, my cousin told me about a truly diabolical plan for election ‘optics.’ He is a Longshoreman in Texas. His union was considering going on strike for the sole purpose of allowing BHO to intervene and settle the labor dispute and look like either a uniter or maybe even tough on unions. So, when I saw that Rahm’s teachers went on strike in spite of a 16% pay raise offer, my mind went places that logic would never take it, but modern day politics do. Worth watching anyway. Also, to protect my cousin from retribution from union thugs, I suppose it would be best to avoid attribution here.”

Would I put it past the Obama campaign, and particularly David Axelrod, to pull off such a scheme? Nope. It is, after all, politics, Chicago-style. (Think Jack Ryan during the 2004 Senate campaign.)

You Didn't Build That!

By way of GraniteGrok comes this enlightening video. Just remember, “You didn't build that!”


9/09/2012

Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been relatively quiet around The Manse this weekend. The large crowds of summerfolk have dwindled now that school is back in session, so it's only the weekenders making the trip to the lake. And even then it's mostly those folks with summer cottages and lake houses making the trip. For the most part the rental business has slacked off.

BeezleBub worked at the farm, though last night's activities (running the farm's corn maze) was canceled due to the heavy rain and wind we experienced last night. He couldn't get together with Horse Girl because she was out of town, so he had a rather sedate night at home.

Deb worked at her job and on her homework for school. (She started her nursing program classes this past week.)

About all I had to do was some painting on The Manse's main deck and some laundry. Some of that was curtailed due to the rain and wind. (I have to wait for the still unstained wood on the deck to dry before I continue applying stain.)

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Now that the GOP and Democrat conventions are done, the campaign ads have kicked in to high gear. That's going to get old real quick. I think that most folks have already made up their minds.

Of course we'll have to wait for the so-called October Surprise. I expect the Dems will pull something out of the old Chicago Democrat Political Machine Playbook to try and paint Romney as some kind of deviant, monster, or other type of social reprobate. It wouldn't be the first time something like that has been pulled by Obama's campaign team. ('Someone' released the sealed divorce documents of his GOP opponent, Jack Ryan, during their 2004 election run for the US Senate. Ryan eventually dropped out of the race.)

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At least there will be less voter fraud in some states during the upcoming November elections.

My home state of New Hampshire now requires ID in order to vote. The 'dry run' of the voter ID requirement will be implemented during the statewide primaries being held this coming Tuesday. No one will be prevented from voting Tuesday, but it gives the election officials the opportunity to fine tune the system and to inform voters of the need to present a valid ID to vote come the nationwide elections in November. No ID, no vote.

And before people start screaming about “poor voters being disenfranchised by the onerous requirements”, these same poor have to have valid ID in order to collect benefits from the state, to cash checks, or to pick up certain OTC and prescription medications. Many of the poor already have drivers licenses, so the argument that they will be locked out of the voting process are nonsense.

But it will keep the dead from voting.

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I think the headline on this says it all:

“Son, you were going 160 miles an hour OVER THE SPEED LIMIT.”

I. Want. One.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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Could it be that blue state Connecticut may be shifting a bit to the red?

Between an ineffective tax-tax-tax-and-spend Democrat governor deeply beholden to the public employees unions, and GOP candidate Linda McMahon leading Democrat Chris Murphy in the race for retiring Senator Joe Lieberman's seat, it could be that the taxpayers (and voters) in the Nutmeg State have had just about enough of the blue model.

What's striking is that it appears many of the rank-and-file members of the labor unions in Connecticut are supporting McMahon in her run.

If McMahon wins, she'll be the first Republican senator from Connecticut since Lowell Weicker, and he was more liberal that most Democrats.

(H/T Instapundit)

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The New England Patriots played their first game of the regular season against the Titans, beating them 34-13.

With the many changes seen in both the defense and offense, it's going to be interesting to see how well they'll do this season. The pre-season games weren't an indicator by any means as it was mostly second and third string players along with the new players the Pats picked up during the off-season who played.

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Watching this evening's ABC World News, you'd think Barack Obama has the election all sewed up. The latest Gallup daily poll has Obama over Romney by 49% to 44%. But as we always have to remember that polls, particularly at this stage of the game, mean very little. The only poll that counts is the on held on November 6th. And if the economy weakens, as some have projected it will, it is unlikely Obama will win a second term, the polls notwithstanding.

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I know recycling is supposed to be a socially acceptable activity, helping to “save the planet”. But it's not such a great thing to do with speeches, particularly speeches that commemorate one of the greatest tragedies in American history. And in this case a speech from the President of the United States.

As Cap'n Teach tells us, President Obama “mailed it in” in regards to commemorating That Awful Day. Frankly, I expected better.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the summerfolk are fewer in number, the weather is good, and the the lake water temps are still in the 70's.

9/08/2012

Two Candidates

Now that the half-hearted media 'frenzy' over the DNC has finally faded away (that took all of five, maybe ten minutes after the closing gavel), I can finally get down to taking a close look at the top two candidates running for President. (Yes, there are a bunch more folks out there running, but let's face it, they aren't even spoilers in comparison, unlike Ross Perot back in 1992 and 1996.)

Note: As always, I am not unbiased. I don't pretend to be, though on some issues I do try to take a look at both pro and con positions. This isn't one of those times.

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

Obama:

Between consistently dismal jobs reports, hitting the $16 trillion mark for the national debt (of which $5 trillion belongs to him), lackadaisical control over government agencies that have gone rogue, economy killing regulations and 'programs', pandering and payoffs to labor unions and rent-seekers, destruction of the health care system (ObamaCare), and total disregard for the rule of law (executive order after executive order because Congress didn't give him what he wanted and interference in the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler, just to name a few), I think it's time we show this incompetent inexperienced narcissistic blowhard the door.

Unlike most other presidents, this presidency has been about him and him alone, not the nation. (There have been others like him, but they're all dead and they didn't do nearly the damage BHO has done.)

His 'vision' of America has nothing to do with American ideals and traditions and more to do with the socialist ideals drummed into him by his mother, grandparents, and professors at college. It seems most of the people with whom he has associated were anything but mainstream Americans. Instead they were radical bomb-throwing socialists, America-hating racist theologians, and Big Government cronies. He takes no responsibility for his failures, always laying the blame on others (“It's all Bush's fault.”). He takes credit for the accomplishment of others, the “I got Bin Laden” or “I saved GM” effect. And while he did have something to with both of those events, they were minor at best. Others were carrying the heavy load.

These are not the marks of a leader.

Romney

Romney's not perfect, but he's far more competent than Obama. While he's made a few mistakes, probably the biggest being so-called RomneyCare (the Massachusetts precursor to ObamaCare), he's also done a lot of the right things.

Between his time in both the private sector and government, he's created more jobs than Obama could ever hope to do. He's also had to work with a hostile Democrat majority legislature while he was governor of Massachusetts. And while he wasn't able to make a huge dent in the long institutionalized tax-and-spend mentality so prevalent in the Bay State, he did manage to rein in spending to the point where there were balanced budgets during at least three of the four years he served, and did it without raising taxes.

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

OK, that's enough for now. I suppose I could go on and on about both Obama and Romney, leaning heavily to excoriating Obama for his dismal performance in office, but I've got better things to do.

9/05/2012

Yet Another Stop Towards Enslavement By The Left

First, we are told “You didn't build that!”

Next, it's “Government is the only thing we all belong to.”

It's merely another part of the Democrat mind-set, being that we owe everything to the government and that we are owned part and parcel by that same government. In other words, they are trying to tell us that we are slaves of the State and that we should be grateful for our indentured status.

What's worse is that at there are a lot of people who look forward to becoming vassals as if that will somehow relieve them of some great burden. It will. They will be relieved of their freedom to choose for themselves. They will become nothing but a disposable cog in the machine that is the State.

Is there anything we as Americans can do to prevent this from happening? Sure.

Vote them out of office. Ridicule them at every opportunity. Show the rest of the people that what these folks are advocating is not a solution, but a trap. There are plenty of examples to prove the point.

One of the biggest in more recent American history was LBJ's Great Society, a social welfare program that trapped millions in poverty and kept them dependent on the government, generation after generation. Minorities that had been making great strides to lift themselves out of poverty after World War II were again made second class citizens, having sold their freedom for a regular check from the government coffers. What's worse is that very folks who pulled this off painted their efforts to re-enslave them as a means to reach some kind of never-to-be-reached 'equality'. They were sold a lie, one too many still continue to believe.

If they need other examples there are plenty to choose from – the Bolshevik Revolution, Nazi Germany, Cuba, Nicaragua under the Sandinistas, Chavez's Venezuela, and a whole host of other nations that tried what the Democrats have been attempting to do (and failed miserably). It's a system that is always doomed to fail. Some have failed in spectacular fashion while others have been slowly fading away. But all of them have had one common element – surrendering individual freedoms to the State.

9/03/2012

The Presidents And First Ladies - A Secret Service Perspective

A tip received via e-mail from the WP Parents:

Ron Kessler's tell-all book about the Secret Service gives us a view of the observations and opinions from the agents whose sworn duty it is to protect the President, the First Family, the Vice President and his family, as well as some members of the White House staff.

What I found interesting was how different the various Presidents and their families were, at least in the eyes of the agents assigned to them.

A few excerpts (edited for formatting and clarity):

John & Jacqueline Kennedy

He: A philanderer of the highest order.

She: She ordered the kitchen help to save all the left-over wine during a State dinner, mixed it with fresh wine and served again during the next White House occasion.

Lyndon & Ladybird Johnson

He: Another philanderer of the highest order. In addition, LBJ was as crude as the day is long. Both JFK and LBJ kept a lot of women in the White House for extramarital affairs, and both had set up “early warning systems” to alert them if/when their wives were nearby. Both Kennedy & Johnson were promiscuous and oversexed men.

She: She was either naive or just pretended to “not know” about her husband’s many liaisons.

Richard & Pat Nixon

He: A “moral” man but very odd, weird, paranoid, etc. He had horrible relationship with his family, and in a way, was almost a recluse.

She: She was quiet most of the time.

Spiro Agnew

Nice, decent man. Everyone in the Secret Service was surprised by his downfall.

Gerald & Betty Ford

He: A true gentlemen who treated the Secret Service with respect and dignity. He had a great sense of humor.

She: She drank a lot!

Jimmy & Rosalyn Carter

He: A complete phony who would portray one picture of himself to public and very different in private, e..g., would be shown carrying his own luggage, but the suitcases were always empty; he kept the empty ones just for photo ops. Wanted the people to see him as pious and a non-drinker, but he and his family drank alcohol a lot!  He had disdain for the Secret Service, and was very irresponsible with the “football” with nuclear codes.  He didn’t think it was a big deal and would keep military aides at a great distance. Often did not acknowledge the presence of Secret Service personnel assigned to serve him.

She: She mostly did her own thing.

Ronald & Nancy Reagan

He: The real deal — moral, honest, respectful, and dignified. They treated Secret Service and everyone else with respect and honor. Thanked everyone all the time. He took the time to know everyone on a personal level. One “favorite” story that has circulated among the Secret Service personnel was an incident early in his Presidency, when he came out of his room with a pistol tucked on his hip. The agent in charge asked: “Why the pistol, Mr. President” He replied, “In case you boys can’t get the job done, I can help.” It was common for him to carry a pistol. When he met with Gorbachev, he had a pistol in his briefcase. Upon learning that Gary Hart was caught with Donna Rice, Reagan said, “Boys will be boys, but boys will not be Presidents.” [He obviously either did not know or forgot JFK's and LBJ's sexcapades!]

She: She was very nice but very protective of the President; and the Secret Service was often caught in the middle. She tried hard to control what the President ate, and he would say to the agent, “Come on, you gotta help me out.” The Reagans drank wine during State dinners and special occasions only; otherwise, they shunned alcohol; the Secret Service could count on one hand the times they were served wine during their “family dinner”. For all the fake bluster of the Carters, the Reagans were the ones who lived life as genuinely moral people.

George H.W. & Barbara Bush

He: Extremely kind and considerate. Always respectful. Took great care in making sure the agents’ comforts were taken care of. They even brought them meals, etc. One time Barbara Bush brought warm clothes to agents standing outside at Kennebunkport; one agent was given a warm hat, and when he tried to nicely say “no thanks” even though he was obviously freezing, President Bush said “Son, don’t argue with the First Lady, put the hat on.” He was the most prompt of the Presidents. He ran the White House like a well-oiled machine.

She: She ruled the house and spoke her mind.

Bill & Hillary Clinton

He: Presidency was one giant party. Not trustworthy — he was nice mainly because he wanted everyone to like him, but to him life is just one big game and party. Everyone knows of his sexuality.

She: She is another phony. Her personality would change the instant cameras were near. She hated with open disdain the military and Secret Service. She was another one who felt people were there to serve her. She was always trying to keep tabs on Bill Clinton.

Al Gore

An egotistical ass, who was once overheard by his Secret Service detail lecturing his only son that he needed to do better in school or he “would end up like these guys” — pointing to the agents.

George W. & Laura Bush

He: The Secret Service loved him and Laura Bush. He was also the most physically “in shape” who had a very strict workout regimen. The Bushes made sure their entire administrative and household staff understood they were to respect and be considerate of the Secret Service.

She: She was one of the nicest First Ladies, if not the nicest; she never had any harsh word to say about anyone.

Karl Rove

The guy who was the most caring of the Secret Service in the administration.

Barack & Michelle Obama

He: “Clinton all over again” – hates the military and looks down on the Secret Service. He is egotistical and cunning; looks you in the eye and appears to agree with you, but turns around and does the opposite — untrustworthy. He has temper tantrums.

She: She is a complete bitch, who basically hates anybody who is not black; hates the military; and looks at the Secret Service as servants.

I find it interesting the way the occupant of the White House treated the Secret Service and the rest of the staff followed along party lines. Republicans were respectful and well liked while Democrats were not. Of course I realize these examples just go back to JFK, so we only have a sample of nine Presidents and their spouses, two Vice Presidents, and one White House staffer. But it is telling.

If the Democrats treat their protective details and other staffers poorly, how will they treat the rest of us? I suspect there would be little difference...unless the cameras are on.

It' Not Just Labor Day...

It's National Empty Chair Day!

Check it out.

9/02/2012

Thoughts On A Sunday

The Labor Day Weekend is half gone and the crowds seen here are impressive.

Folks are making the best of the last weekend of the summer season. (Yes, I know summer doesn't officially end until the 22nd of this month, but to all intents and purposes most of the summer activities that have been going on since Memorial Day weekend come to a close.) Deb headed out to the Seacoast with a friend from work to see comedian Gabriel Iglesias. (She says the show was great.) BeezleBub spent last evening working at the farm's corn maze. (They had a record number for an opening evening.) And I headed up to Plymouth for an evening of food and chat with Submarine Tim's boss, Dawn at one of our favorite restaurants. (It was packed 10 minutes after we got there, meaning our timing was just right. The parking lot was full of vehicles with out of state plates, meaning Dawn and I were likely one of the few locals there last evening.)

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I wish I could say I got the decks at The Manse stained today, but the weather didn't cooperate, with clouds and occasional showers. However the weather forecast says Monday will be clear and sunny, meaning I can get a good portion of that task done then.

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While watching GMA this morning, they played a bit of a speech by President Obama in Iowa yesterday. I thought it ironic that he accused Mitt Romney of claiming he knew how to create jobs but not revealing how he planned to do so.

Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black? (No, that isn't racist.) Obama has made grandiose promises over the past 4 years, but never once told anyone how he would go about making them come to be. He's big on promises yet rarely carries through on them, except for the one where he said he'd necessarily make energy prices skyrocket. It figures that's the one he'd manage to keep.

It all comes down to the Democrats accusing the GOP of doing what it is they themselves are doing.

We'll see how that plays in Peoria.

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Much abuse has been heaped upon Bain Capital by the Left. But I find it interesting that many of the same groups excoriating Bain as eeevvviilllll have also parked over $1.5 billion in funds with Bain. (That's “billion”, with a “b”.)

As Glenn Reynolds comments, “Republicans should challenge these lefty groups to divest, or shut up.”

Indeed.

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More then once I've commented on the lack of Obama campaign signs here in portions of New Hampshire. During my travels yesterday which took me through three towns I hadn't been through lately, I noticed the same lack. In college-town Plymouth I didn't see a single Obama sign, even on the Plymouth State University campus. (I didn't go through the entire campus. But unlike the previous election where Obama signs popped up like dandelions right around this time of the election cycle, there weren't any to be seen.)

Is this an indicator that Obama is in big trouble? Or is his campaign organization husbanding its financial resources for a final push after the convention, knowing Romney's campaign has been raising a lot more money than they have? Is this also indicative that Obama's in trouble?

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By way of Eric the Viking comes these two bits of news the Democrats could do without just before the DNC convention: US auto production is set to plunge by most in 16 months, and the US debt is about to hit $16 trillion on Labor Day.

Yeah, that'll be something to crow about on the convention floor.

Of course I expect the DNC to lay the blame entirely on the GOP despite the fact that it's been a Democrat president and his cronies in Congress – Pelosi and Reid - who boosted the federal debt by 50% in less than four years.

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Much has been made of the fact that Mitt Romney made a trip to visit storm-ravaged Louisiana before President Obama. Much of this from the MSM, and some of it criticizing Romney for stealing Obama's thunder.

Why did Obama wait so long before going to Louisiana? He didn't want to change his planned campaign stops.

It wasn't like Hurricane Isaac sprung up out of nowhere, surprising everyone. Yet President Obama put off visiting the disaster area until well after storm had passed, finally canceling a campaign trip to Cleveland, Ohio. But once he made that visit, he was off to Toledo, Ohio and back on the campaign trail.

So campaigning was far more important to the President than visiting a storm-ravaged red state?

At least we now know exactly where his priorities lie, and it ain't with the “little people”.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the summerfolk are making the best use of their time on this last weekend of summer, the BBQ's are running full tilt, and where some of us wuill be laboring on Labor Day.

9/01/2012

Anti-Obama Signs Stir Up Controversy In Blue State Massachusetts

Apparently some anti-Obama signs down in Hanson, Massachusetts have created something of a controversy. The two signs, put on private property by the property owner, have generated both ire and applause.

A few homemade billboard signs in Hanson, Mass., have generated considerable controversy for their inflammatory anti-Obama messages.

Sitting on the property of motorcycle accessories distributor Sullivans Inc., one large sign shows President Barack Obama with a caption that reads: “Somewhere in Kenya, a village is missing its idiot.”

“Obama One Big Ass Mistake America, Vote Mitt Romney for 2012!” it reads below the main headline. The communist symbolic images of the hammer and sickle are on the president’s shirt collar.

Several feet away, another sign shows a pouting young girl giving the middle-finger to the president. “Thanks, Obama,” begins the caption in bold red letters, and then continues in child-like penmanship: “You’ve spent my lunch money, my allowance, my inheritance, 35 years of future paychecks and my retirement. You jerk.”

While the first sign displays the displeasure felt by the property owner towards out Socialist In Chief, the second is closer to the truth than most people realize. The President has mortgaged our children's futures, leaving them to pay the bills run up by him, Pelosi, and Reid. (I'm not saying the GOP has no skin in this game, but you have to admit that Obama has increased the debt greatly – about 50% - in a very short period of time with help from the Democrats in Congress.)

I have a feeling we'll see more signs like this showing up the closer we get to November, particularly the second one.