9/30/2013

Awesome Rescue

I saw this and I knew I had to post it. A good ending to an otherwise horrible day.

9/29/2013

Thoughts On A Sunday

The fall colors are starting to make themselves known around New Hampshire, with color peak approaching up in the North Woods. Here in the Lakes Region colors have just started coming out over the past few days. This means that we'll be seeing the annual migration of the Leaf Peepers, aka tourists.

With the rather funky summer weather I have no idea what to expect in regards to how good the fall foliage will be. The summer weather can affect the brilliance and depth of the colors in the fall. Only time will tell.

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I must admit that I have been remiss in checking Rachel Lucas's blog, knowing she was blogging intermittently from Europe as the mood struck and time allowed. Imagine my surprise to find out that after 4½ years in the UK and Italy that she returned to Texas almost 2 months ago. As she says, “Damn, I love this country!”

Needless to say, while her time in Europe was enlightening, she missed the interactions between people she was used to in the US.

It’s not that Europeans are exactly un-friendly, especially Italians, who are in fact very polite and kind to strangers, and warm to friends and family, but I lived in Texas for 15 years before moving to Europe and being openly friendly to complete strangers was (is) deeply part of my personality, and I had to shut that part down until I got back here last week. It was really difficult those first few weeks in southern England, not being able to say “hi” to people I passed on a sidewalk because if I did, they’d avoid eye contact, veer away, and sometimes even give me a pointed look of rejection.

Then Italy. It’s the same there, at least in Turin. You don’t say hello to strangers you pass on sidewalks, and most eye contact in that situation is brief and definitely doesn’t involve a grin (unless your dogs interact, then it’s definitely game-on, which was one reason my life improved dramatically when we adopted Primo). All of those sorts of interactions were oddly (to me) formal and structured, always with some distance. Again, I understood it and never took it personally; but I still always, always had to hold back my natural personality.

….I didn’t take it personally, it just made me amazingly homesick.

I noticed the same thing when I ventured regularly to the UK. Colleagues in the UK noticed just the opposite when they came here to the US, amazed at how open and friendly everyone in “The Colonies” appeared to be. It made them feel a little uncomfortable at first, but in the end they came to revel in it.

In any case, I am glad to see that Rachel has returned home and I expect to see her blogging on a more regular basis.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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Any of you regular readers out there, all two or three of you, know I despise zero-tolerance policies, particularly in our schools. They show a particular lack of courage and are nothing more than a respite for incompetent administrators unwilling to make a decision about anything, especially when it comes to those affecting the children in their schools.

In the latest example of education bureaucratic incompetence from Coventry, Rhode Island, comes this story of a student suspended for three days because of a tiny 2” gun-shaped keychain fob that fell out of his backpack. (The keychain was attached to his house key.) As usual, the school fell back on its zero-tolerance policy, claiming that “it could have been ten days or he could have even been expelled”, as if that statement would some how lessen the absurdity of its actions.

The student in question is in advanced math classes and is apparently one of the better students in the school. In a non-zero tolerance school it's likely absolutely nothing would have come from the keyfob incident, or at worst a teacher, guidance councilor, or principal would have merely told the student to not bring it into school again and it would have ended there. But not in Coventry. Instead they are jeopardizing the academic standing of one of their best students and the school by suspending him because of a rigid and over-the-top policy that solves nothing. As the past few years have shown, zero-tolerance policies tend to punish the innocent for things that in normal society wouldn't even be worth a mention.

These folks should be so fired because they aren't competent to teach our kids.

(H/T Instapundit)

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David Starr makes the argument that not raising the federal debt limit is not default. Instead it's just another bit of Obama scaremongering.

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Bogie shares her experiences (and photos) of her trip to last weekend's NASCAR race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The flyover by the World War II era Boeing B-17 during the national anthem was very cool!

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Speaking of Bogie, it appears she's recovered most of the data she lost when her laptop melted down last week.

I also sent her some advice about the matter, stating it in three words: External. Hard. Drive.

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It looks like Scary Yankee Chick had a computer problem too, similar to that suffered by Bogie.

When it rains, it pours!

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It's bad enough when local police departments misuse forfeiture laws to seize money and property of law-abiding citizens, but when the IRS goes after small businesses the same way and leaves the business owners with little or no legal recourse, then it's time to modify the laws and abolish the IRS, one of the most abusive and criminal government agencies in existence.

As we've seen in other instances, the IRS seems to think that the laws and the Constitution does not apply to that agency. Even mob protection rackets aren't nearly as abusive as the IRS. As I've seen on more than one bumper sticker over the years: “Fight Organized Crime. Abolish The IRS.”

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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Things are looking bad for Obama, particularly in the polls. What makes it worse is that the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll is weighted to sample more Democrats than Republicans (40% versus 30%, with the balance being Independents or non-declared) and he still has only a 39% approval rating.

When the approval rating within his own party is falling, you know he's in trouble.

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In response to abusive lefties trying to out her real name, Sister Toldjah beats them to the punch and announces her real name on her blog and on Twitter. As she writes:

BTW, as y'all are aware, my NC liberal stalkers have been trying to “out” my real name in an attempt to silence me for months. So I did it before they did a couple of weeks ago in a conversational announcement – and today officially on my Twitter page, proving 1) I”m not the GOP operative they think I am and 2) they will not silence me. Ever.

As I have seen stated on more than a few blogs here and there, you know you're over the target when the flak is heaviest. So Sister Toldjah must have been royally pissing off the leftist if they've been trying to shut her down.

One commenter to her post quoted Winston Churchill:

One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!

Indeed.

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You know the Nanny State is going too far when you have to produce a drivers license just to purchase glue at Target.

WTF? Has there been a recent epidemic of glue sniffing we haven't heard about? (I could understand maybe if it were a teen buying large amounts of glue, but a middle-aged man buying a single container? Get real!)

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the foliage is changing color, the leaf peepers are arriving, and where we have to wait until tonight to watch the New England Patriots play.

9/28/2013

It's All About Obama

I have to give the President some credit. He's been doing a great job blaming everyone else for the budget crisis of his making. Even his press secretary has gotten into the act, stating that the President won't compromise, or even negotiate with Congressional Republicans in order to avoid a government shutdown. How the hell does Obama expect to get anything done if he isn't willing to negotiate anything? It merely shows his narcissistic belief that he need not do anything except make demands upon people he sees as his inferiors. After all, it is only they who should be willing to compromise, right?

One would think that after 5 years in office Obama would understand how that nothing gets done in Washington with compromises here and there. Other than his one or two 'triumphs”, bought at a very heavy price in political capital, he has managed to do very little other than alienate Congress (including members of his own party), the Supreme Court, a majority of the American people, and some long standing allies of this country.

You know that somewhere, Jimmy Carter is celebrating because he is no longer the worst president of the modern era.

9/22/2013

Thoughts On A Sunday

This was another half-and-half weekend here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire – warm and partly sunny on Saturday; warmish, wet, and mostly cloudy on Sunday. It started pouring around 4AM Sunday which necessitated closing two of the windows in my bedroom.

It being the second of two NASCAR weekends at New Hampshire Motor Speedway trhis weekend, the weather was a big worry. The Weather GuysTM were saying all the raind and most of the cloudiness would be gone by noon, giving two hours to dry the track before the green flag.

We'll see.

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Bird Dog over at Maggie's Farm gives a brief tutorial on crickets and their welcomed chirping on summer/early fall evenings. The cricket found here in New England, the Black Field Cricket, can generally be heard from the beginning of August until the first hard frost.

I have to admit to a bit of melancholy when I can no longer hear them when I have my bedroom window open. What's almost worse is hearing a lone cricket slowly chirping away in vain after all of its kindred have died off. It can be one of the loneliest sounds you'll hear.

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The re-shoring of business from overseas back to the US continues, with yet another industry making a comeback, in this case textiles. The only problem is that the number of jobs that went overseas won't be the same number coming back as automation has reduced the number of mill workers needed, in some cases 90% less. Mills which in the past employed 2000 workers now have only 140 workers producing the same amount of fabric.

This trend is continuing in a number of areas, particularly in industries that have become more time and cost sensitive. When lead times were not an issue, going overseas made sense. But these days delays of weeks and months is not acceptable as demand can change rapidly. Bringing some of the needed manufacturing back to the US can reduce the lead times considerably. The next big factors driving re-shoring is transportation costs and transportation time. The first has been rising and the second one can be long if products are transported by cargo ship.

(H/T Instapundit)

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Some of the changes seen in our country, specifically how we structure businesses, is a shift from a heavily industrial society to something that incorporates some of the old industrialism with new technologies that makes the need for huge factories staffed by thousands of unskilled and semi-skilled laborers a thing of the past. It is the transition from America 2.0 to America 3.0, and it is not a smooth transition by any means. But then the transition from agricultural America 1.0 to industrial America 2.0 wasn't smooth either and it took 60 years to make the shift. I have no doubt the transition from America 2.0 to America 3.0 will take a little bit less time but will be just as disruptive as the transition to America 2.0.

This transition also has political implications as it will likely lead to a less centralized government (a legacy of America 2.0) and more control of social issues by the individual states. The days of One-Size-Fits-All national solutions to what are in fact regional problems will fade away. (An example: low flow shower heads and low volume toilets that make sense in arid parts of the US being applied where water supply is not an issue.)

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President Obama's lambasting of the Congressional Republicans refusal to give him what he wants in regards to spending without giving them anything in return merely shows that he still has the mistaken impression that his office somehow gives him the power of a king. He wants what he wants and that members of Congress are not willing to give it to him without question does not fit with his view of himself. It is obvious from his own words that he has no intention of compromising on anything. He hasn't yet learned that more often than not he has to 'give to get'. He doesn't ask, he demands, and when he doesn't get his way he acts like a spoiled child.

After 5 years in office he should know better.

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It may be a surprise to some folks, but not to me: CBO reports US is on “unsustainable” budget course.

I could almost have inserted “unexpectedly” somewhere in there as it seems the Obama Administration certainly didn't expect such a negative report from the Congressional Budget Office. But most folks with a modicum of economic sense understand you can't keep increasing the limit on the governmental credit card forever and that the debt has to be paid back at some point. Doubling down on something we already know isn't sustainable is a sure path to economic failure.

(H/T Viking Pundit)

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Some folks just can seem to catch a break. That's certainly true of Bogie as after a number of other misfortunes insult has been added to injury as her laptop died Saturday. That might not normally be so bad but she hadn't done any recent backups.

Ouch.

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Is it possible Obama will continue his losing streak and lose the fight over a government shutdown?

President Barack Obama, fresh from having his lunch money taken from him by Russia's Vladimir Putin, is flailing about trying to find someone he can shift the public's attention to.

He has chosen House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh) as the person and the upcoming end of the U.S. government's fiscal year on September 30 as his verbal weapon.

I think that is the wrong fight against the wrong guy.

The House Republicans are trying hard to defund ObamaCare, something the American public didn't want to begin with (and still doesn't) but was shoved down their throats by a Democrat-majority Congress without a single Republican vote in favor. (24 Democrats also voted against it.)

If Obama thinks Congress won't dare let the government shut down, he should check the history of the Clinton Administration when the government was shut down for three weeks .

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The New England Patriots played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Foxborough today, beating them 23-3. While the score was lopsided it didn't show the Buccaneers' strengths, something I think they while put to good use as the become more cohesive.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the roar of stock car engines has faded away, the sound of business jet engines has increased, and where the last day of summer has come and gone.

9/21/2013

Is It Time To Take Few Steps Back?

This quote from John Derbyshire sums it up when it comes to computer operating systems and government:

We have reached a point of diminishing returns in our public life. Hardly anything actually needs doing. We may in fact be past that point; not only does nothing much need doing, but we’d benefit if much of what has been done were to be undone. What useful work can I do with Windows 8 that I couldn’t do with XP?

While I am not quite of the same opinion as Derbyshire in regards to his point about Windows 8 versus XP – XP certainly had its share of problems and shortfalls – I do agree that changing over to a 'new' operating systems just because it's new is not always the best thing to do. Personally, I believe Windows 7 was far superior to XP, fixing a lot of the problems in XP and Vista, and I have found it to be quite stable.

Windows 8, on the other hand, was a huge mistake on Microsoft's part. It offered nothing other than an arcane and confusing user interface suited to tablets and not laptops or desktop computers. (I have written on this particular topic more than once so I won't go into it yet again.)

Changing a user interface just because someone thinks it should be changed without bothering to ask the potential users what they think is always a mistake. If Microsoft had bothered to ask users of Windows 7 what they thought of it then they never would have tried to port Windows 8 to laptops and desktops.

The same principle of leaving well enough alone also applies to politics and government.

Politicians make a living—a very grand living indeed at the higher levels—by saying there are things wrong that need fixing. Are there, though?

Bill Thompson, running for Mayor of New York City, told city voters recently that one of every four city schoolchildren goes to bed hungry each night. Setting aside the temptation to respond to this the way we used to when parents nagged us to eat our vegetables because little children were starving in India—“Name one!”—I really have to ask: Does Thompson believe this?

If I had to guess I'd say Thompson doesn't believe it, but it makes for a great talking point for his campaign. It sounds like it should be true, but with a little digging you'll find it is a huge exaggeration. It's as if politicians and bureaucrats have to come up with new ideas in order to justify their reasons for being, even if they are bad ideas. Therein lies the problem.

If there are no real problems left to solve, those in government will try to find new ones that “must be fixed”, even if the problem doesn't really exist, or worse, is such a small problem that only a very few people are affected. It gets blown out of proportion and millions, hundreds of millions, or billions of tax dollars are allocated to fix them. The real problem is that there are very few problems that still need fixing, and they don't need the guiding hand or the money of government to do so. Like Derbyshire has stated, maybe some of the things that have been done in the name of the people in need should be undone because they serve no useful purpose while eating up a lot of money we don't have.

Some of it comes down to various functions, regulations, or programs having reached the point of diminishing returns, where expanding them or providing additional funding gives little or nothing in return. If 99% of the problem has been solved with 'X' amount of dollars, it will take 10 'X' the number of dollars to take care of the remaining 0.9%, still leaving that last 0.1% undone. That last 0.1% will take 100 'X' the amount of money it took to take care of the first 99% of the problem to solve 0.09% of the remaining problem. It makes no sense. Unfortunately with some of the things government does we have gone past that point of diminishing returns. Maybe it's time to take a close, hard look at everything government does at the local, state, and federal level and cut back on those things that have passed that point or do away entirely with things that are redundant, obsolete, or otherwise perform no useful purpose except to ensure the employment of unneeded government bureaucrats.

At least it would be a good place to start.

9/19/2013

Why Detroit Failed...And Will Continue To Do So

Now that Detroit is in the throes of bankruptcy and everything that goes with it, it might be a good time to look back to see how it all came about. For the most part it can be summed up thus: short-sightedness, missed opportunities, bad decisions, and in one case, karma.

Detroit is broke, but it didn’t have to be. An in-depth Free Press analysis of the city’s financial history back to the 1950s shows that its elected officials and others charged with managing its finances repeatedly failed — or refused — to make the tough economic and political decisions that might have saved the city from financial ruin.

Instead, amid a huge exodus of residents, plummeting tax revenues and skyrocketing home abandonment, Detroit’s leaders engaged in a billion-dollar borrowing binge, created new taxes and failed to cut expenses when they needed to. Simultaneously, they gifted workers and retirees with generous bonuses. And under pressure from unions and, sometimes, arbitrators, they failed to cut health care benefits — saddling the city with staggering costs that today threaten the safety and quality of life of people who live here.

The Detroit Free Press article goes into depth, digging out the various factors that caused Detroit's financial demise. What it all comes down to is that the various administrations failed to take action when the opportunities presented themselves. While some did make an effort to deflect the coming fiscal train wreck, they either weren't able to do enough or in one case were prevented from making the necessary changes by forces outside their control.

With all of that one would think the city of Detroit would be trying to do everything possible to help businesses thrive inside the city limits. But that hasn't been the case. It isn't even that the city is doing nothing to help foster the growth of businesses. Instead it has been targeting businesses, and specifically small business, forcing them to pay exorbitant fees and file reams of needless paperwork or closing them down altogether. How anyone in the city bureaucracy thinks that by crippling or closing small businesses it will somehow foster Detroit's return to financial health is beyond me. Things are seriously broken in the Motor City and unless there is some major housecleaning in city government Detroit will soon become nothing but a ghost town, a monument to decades of socialist cronyism, profligate spending, and the lack of political will to fix things before everything came apart.

9/15/2013

Thoughts On A Sunday

Though it's still astronomical Summer, summer weather has become scarce despite a brief return to the 90's this past week. We'll be seeing days in the upper 60's/lower 70's over the next few days with a dip into the upper 50's along the way. It looks like I'll have to break out my fall jacket for that day. Outdoor work is going to become more important over the next three weeks as it's become time to clear way the summer growth of unwanted brush. I plan to attack the sumac with loppers and the chain saw as it spreads very quickly if it isn't attended to. (It is, after all, a weed. It's just a very big weed.)

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I finished up the last of some much needed electrical work on Saturday with the replacement of a defective light switch. I cannot remember the last time I've had to replace a light switch, at least not a defective light switch in a modern home. (I've replaced others when there's been a need to turn a single into a two-way or three-way arrangement, or when renovating a much older home by replacing old two-button on-off switches with modern toggle switches, but that's it.) What I found interesting is that the defective switch went to a single light over the sink and that light didn't draw very much current as it was a CFL flood light.

With the new light switch also comes a new light in the fixture over the sink, in this case an LED flood light. Not there was anything wrong with the CFL it replaced, but I hated having to wait a couple of minutes for it to come up to full brightness when I needed it immediately. It is a light that is used for only a few minutes at a time a couple of times a day. A CFL wasn't really cutting it in that application, so out came the now 8-year old CFL and in went the new LED.

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Though the Obama Administration is trumpeting its success in the negotiations with Russia on Syria's chemical weapons, it has nothing to be proud of. All these negotiations have show is how ineffectual America has become under Obama. Neither Bush 43, Bush 41, or Reagan would have needed to do so. (I can't offer an opinion on Clinton as there was little he needed to do in that regard.) They would have assembled a willing coalition under the auspices of the UN to deal with the issue. But Obama blundered, getting it exactly wrong while at the same time sending the wrong message to everyone, including the American people. You know it's gotten bad when even I agreed with some of points brought up in Vladimir Putin's New York Times op-ed piece.

“Smart” diplomacy has turned out to be not-so-smart after all. But that's what you get when you have a self-important inexperienced amateur/perpetual campaigner in the White House.

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I have always been of the opinion that speed limits on stretches of numerous Interstate and state highways have been artificially low for a long time. This was certainly true of the much-detested and universally ignored 55 MPH National Maximum Speed Limit. Once the NMSL was repealed, many states boosted their speed limits to more reasonable levels, but in many cases they were not returned to those that existed before the NMSL became the bane of motorists everywhere.

Here in New Hampshire the speed limit on the Interstates was 70MPH, but were reset to only 65MPH after the NMSL was gone. That was too slow and it has been pretty much ignored as most folks still drive 70 or 75. At least the legislature has corrected part of that error by raising the speed limit on portions on one Interstate to 70MPH, though an attempt was made to do that on all of the Interstates.

What it all comes down to is that people will drive at the speed at which they feel comfortable regardless of the posted limit. There certainly is enough evidence of this.

The argument can be made that if the speed limits are raised to 70MPH, that people will start driving 80MPH, but there is little evidence to back this up. The folks that will drive 80 are already doing so and a change in the speed limit won't change that at all.

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Bogie answers the question “How much wood can Bogie chuck...?”

Considering it's supposed to be a bitterly cold winter I have to wonder if it will be enough. We plan on using at least 4 cords to heat The Manse this coming winter.

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David Starr is upset over the increasing size of his cable bill, seeing it rise another $7 dollars. The problem is that the video side of his bill – the traditional 'cable' bill – tends to fluctuate as the content providers change what they charge the cable companies to carry their programming.

The Internet side tends to stay stable, price-wise as it isn't subject to the whims of content providers. It might also explain why the number of video subscribers on cable and satellite systems has flattened, if not decreased. These days the data services are far more profitable than the video services and more video content is becoming available all the time at a fraction of the cost of traditional video services.

Is it any wonder more people are 'cutting the cord' when it comes to TV?

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Here's yet another reason not to attack Syria: A US led attack on Syria would release lethal quantities of CO2.

Yeah. Right.

The warmists have got to get a grip on reality.

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Now a heart-rending story, one that caught me a bit off-guard when I read it.

It appears a newborn elephant calf was trampled by his mother shortly after its birth in a Chinese zoo. At first it was thought to be an accident but once the calf was treated and put back into the same compound with its mother she tried to kill her calf again. Zookeepers drove off the mother and again rescued the calf, who is now being cared for by the zoo staff. It appears the calf cried for over 5 hours after its mother tied to kill it.

I don't know why this story bothered me so much, but it did.

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What happens when the state cannot or will not protect its citizens from the predations of criminals? The citizens take up arms and defend themselves.

That's what's been happening in Mexico as the government has all but given up trying to battle the drug cartels in some parts of the country. So citizens have formed militias and have gone to war against the cartels and are winning.

This should be an object lesson for the Obama Administration as we've already seen where it the federal government has stopped enforcing its own laws and left American citizens virtually undefended in states that border Mexico and tried to block the state governments from doing so as well.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee,where fall weather has been making itself known, winter preparations continue apace, and where we're throwing another blanket on the bed.

It Must Be Done

I have to admit that my frustration with many on the Left has been growing. Not that I am frustrated with their political beliefs so much as their total reliance on empathy politics, meaning much of their politics is driven by feelings rather than facts or logic. I've written about this before, so this frustration isn't something new. But I've had more than large dose of it lately as I've been responding to letters published in one of our local papers. It seems to me that many of the regular Leftists have abandoned all logic and facts and pull an increasing number of accusations against conservatives out of thin air (or worse, their nether regions).


They have made accusations that run between “right-wing nuts” want to repeal ObamaCare and allow millions to die in the streets to the existence of a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to eliminate the right of millions to vote. The list of transgressions have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous, with more than a few of the Leftist claims being backed up by 'facts' that no one can seem to find anywhere on the 'Net, the papers, or anyplace...other than their fervid imaginations.


I have confronted more than a few of these deluded “feelings not facts” folks in the pages of our local paper. But unlike them, I actually reference my sources and I rarely if ever use Fox News, Rush, Glenn, or any of the other “usual suspects” so denigrated by these deluded souls. More often than not I use the very same media outlets so favored by the Left.

I have gone so far as to actually call the North Carolina Secretary of State to confirm what is needed in order to obtain a valid state I.D., something required in order to vote in that state. I quoted it word for word in a letter I submitted that rebutted an over-the-top accusation made by one of the aforementioned deluded Leftists that North Carolina was making sure it was “difficult, if not impossible to obtain a state I.D.” I also found the same information on the Secretary of State's website.


Dealing with folks who will make stuff up in order to “prove” their point or apply twisted logic in order try to justify outrageous claims is tiresome, but it must be done. Otherwise the distortions, half-truths, and outright fabrications will become “The Truth” and the real truth will be buried.

9/13/2013

202 Months Without Any Global Warming

With the AGW crowd trying to crank up the rhetoric about how we're all doomed unless we do something about global warming in order to 'make things right with Gaia', it's too bad that their narrative doesn't match the real world observations that show that there has been no warming for 202 months (16 years and 10 months) and that it appears we are heading for a cooling period. How do they sell everyone on the idea that we must make draconian sacrifices in order to prevent whatever it is that they think is going to happen? How do they spin it to make it seem that the last 16+ years have no meaning even though their sacred global climate models do not come anywhere near close to reality? It's simple, really:

Move the goalposts that indicate there isn't any warming.

The least-squares linear-regression trend on the data from the RSS satellites since November 1996 shows there has been no global warming at all for 202 months (16 years 10 months). In a few more months, unless an el NiƱo comes along in January, its favorite month, RSS may be the first dataset to show 17 full years with a zero global warming trend.

The NOAA’s 2008 State of the Climate report said 15 or more years without global warming would indicate what was delicately described as a “discrepancy” between prediction and observation.

Fifteen years without warming duly came and went: indeed, Professor Jones of the University of East Anglia was the first to admit this, in response to a question I had suggested to Roger Harrabin of the BBC (who had thought I was daft to suggest that there had been no statistically-significant warming for as much as a decade and a half).

But more than 15 years have passed, so the time period to show there has been no warming was changed to 17 years. And now that we're approaching 17 years some want to push it back to 20 or even 25 years. Sorry, but that isn't going to fly. In order to prove or disprove the phenomenon a time limit must be set otherwise it is too easy to leave things open-ended which in turn means it will be impossible to prove it one way or the other. Writes one commenter about the moving goalposts:

Say – “This disappearance of the “committed warming” is – of itself – sufficient to falsify the AGW hypothesis as emulated by climate models. If we reach 2020 without any detection of the “committed warming” then it will be 100% certain that all projections of global warming are complete bunkum.”

What can we do then? Obviously nothing has turned the tide. Perhaps its time to agree on some metrics that will falsify AGW? It’s almost as if AGW has a life all of its own and it appears all political.

It doesn't just appear to be political, it is political. They cannot let facts get in the way of their agenda, so if the facts don't support it they attempt to diminish or respin them to make them either irrelevant or appear to support their cause. But the old canards they've used over the past few years aren't working any more and the public is wising up to the deception. They can no longer hide the so-called “missing heat” or the lack of warming for almost 2 decades. What will it take before the AGW faithful admit they were wrong, glaciers advancing on Washington DC?

9/11/2013

September 11th, 2001 8:46:40AM

It's hard to believe it's been 12 years.

It still hurts, that heartache that never really goes away.

Remembering that awful day still brings tears to my eyes.

So many gone.

So many died.

So many hearts broken.

So many families torn asunder.

So many heroes that never thought twice about their own safety working hard to save the lives of so many others.

Other heroes whose last words were “Let's roll.”

Let us never forget that day of thunder, fire, smoke, heroic deeds, tearful goodbyes, and at the end, mournful silence.

Let us never forget.

ThatDay-X.gif

9/10/2013

The President's Speech

All I can say about President Obama's attempt to remain relevant through his speech about Syria can be summed up with one word: Pathetic.

9/08/2013

Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a half-and-half weekend weatherwise, with a warm and sunny Saturday and a cool and windy Sunday. It was also the first regular game of the NFL season for the New England Patriots who played at Buffalo. The beat Buffalo 23-21.

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It looks like the Australian public finally got tired of the heavy-handed carbon taxes, a flagging economy, and endless broken promises and swept the Labor Party out of power. That's what happens when the party in power thinks it can ignore the will of the people “for their own good.”

I wonder if that will happen here in 2014?

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This doesn't surprise me in the least.

It appears that my home state of New Hampshire is considered one of the least corrupt in the US.

As Skip opines, “Perhaps it is because most of our elected officials are paid so little and that volunteerism amongst local officials is the norm rather the exception compared to most others around the country?  Or can we just chalk it up to have a better moral fiber here in NH?” Maybe it's a little of both.

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Are synthetic girlfriends the future, particularly among the socially inept?

I can certainly see the advantages, but give me an organic companion any day.

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This isn't the first time I've heard this complaint.

In light of Oberlin College's notoriety due to the “hate crime” hoax perpetrated a couple of progressive instigators, the last thing they need is to be considered a discriminatory institution, particularly when it comes to “townies”. But apparently that is yet another sin for which they can be condemned – acting more like an upscale gated communit rather than an institution of learning.

There always tension between students and townies in any college town, but to create a “double secret probation” list used to exclude townspeople from campus is going too far.

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Here's a safety tip from Bogie: Always check to see if the lug nuts on the wheels are tight, particularly just after you've had your vehicle serviced.

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Here's a great < ahref=http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/07/quote-of-the-week-down-under-edition/>Quote of the Week by way of Watts Up With That.

There has got to be a better way of stewardship for the planet than by scaring the hell out of everyone.

Indeed.

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Is there anything Global Hotcoldwetdry can't do?

Now scientists are saying the world is cooling. Maybe it's because the climate is refusing to cooperate with the multitudes of climate models, all of which say we should still be warming. But the reality is that there hasn't been warming for over 16 years and there may now be a downward trend in global temperatures.

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And that's the abbreviated news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where there are still plenty of weekenders around, summer temps are returning, and yard work has kept us far too busy.

9/07/2013

August Jobs Report Sucks...Unexpectedly

At first glance the jobs report for August looks promising, but once you delve into the details you realize they are nothing to be happy about.

The only reason the U3 unemployment rate – the rate for those unemployed collecting benefits – has fallen to 7.3% has to do with the large number of people, over 300,000, dropping off the unemployment roles as their benefits have expired or have just given up and not because of people finding jobs. The U6 unemployment rate – the rate for all unemployed whether they are collecting benefits or not – hovers just under 15%. As one pundit put it, “Our drop from 8.1% unemployment to 7.3% is analogous to losing 20 pounds by cutting off a body part.” Only 176,000 new jobs were created, nowhere near what is needed to keep the actual unemployment rate steady. (The figure I seen again and again is that the economy needs to add 310,000 jobs every month just to break even. We haven't seen that number in years, so how is it the government can claim the unemployment rate is going down?)

With this latest report our country has reached the lowest labor participation rate since 1978. I can believe it as I remember 1978 all too well. The economy was stumbling along with high inflation, stagnant wages, and a chronic unemployment problem that the government did everything it could to make it worse and succeeded. Taxes were high and getting higher and entire industries were abandoning high tax states in search of greener pastures. (The punchline to the joke that was the People's Republic of Taxachusetts back then was “Would the last person leaving the Pay State please turn off the lights?”) It was during this period that the heavily industrialized portions of the US became less so and later became the so-called Rust Belt.

Reading the comments to various opinion pieces and articles in the New York Times and the Washington Post it is apparent there are still a lot of economically illiterate out there who believe Obama has saved us and our economy and that only the “obstructionist Republicans” in Congress are to blame, choosing to ignore that the obstructionists reside in the US Senate and are personified by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (I could go on and on about that, but I have addresses that particular issue again and again and feel no need to do it yet again.)

If we continue on this path our economy will go the way of so many others in Europe and we could find ourselves in a decades long malaise not unlike that seen in Japan. And we'll have Obama to thank for it.

9/06/2013

Are Thorium Reactors The Future Of Nuclear Power?

The resurgence of nuclear power keeps popping in and out of news, with some media outlets decrying nuclear power as deadly and pointing to Three Mile Island (where no one died or was injured), Chernobyl (caused by a combination of bureaucratic incompetence and extremely poor reactor design), and Fukishima (reactors of Generation 1 design that were not adequately protected from the possibility of a tsunami, but where no one died from the reactor failures) as examples of how bad nuclear power is.

But one of the new nuclear technologies (which isn't new by any means) that is garnering more interest is nuclear reactors using the thorium power cycle rather than the uranium power cycle. Why thorium? Because it is a much better fuel for generating power than uranium.

First, thorium is quite common compared to uranium. There are thousand of tons of the stuff being stored in buried storage containers. This is not to keep it away from the environment like nuclear waste but because it takes less effort and money to store it in this fashion.

Second, it doesn't require enrichment in order to be used as nuclear fuel. Uranium in its natural state is mostly U238, a non-radioactive isotope, along with a very small percentage of U235, the isotope needed for nuclear fission to take place. Uranium must be enriched to approximately 5 percent U235 in order to be used in a reactor. Enrichment is an expensive and dangerous process.

Third, it can't melt down like a uranium fueled reactor because it requires an external neutron source in order to start and maintain a nuclear fission chain reaction. Shut off the neutron source and the fission reactions stops. Uranium reactors are self-sustaining meaning that unless some external device disrupts the chain reaction it will keep running. (This is usually achieved by control rods that absorb or block neutrons from the chain reaction when they are inserted in between the fuel rods in the reactor.)

Fourth, the fission products have short half-lives, unlike the plutonium byproduct of uranium fission which has a half-life of 25,000 years. This makes storing any waste products easier because they don't need to be stored very long before they are safe. Thorium reactors also produces less nuclear waste than uranium-fueled reactors. Plutonium is also dangerous in a chemical sense because it is a toxic material even without it being radioactive.

Fifth, it cannot be used to make nuclear fission bombs or so-called 'dirty' bombs that spread radioactive material over a wide area.

Sixth, and most important, one ton of thorium can produce as much energy as 200 tons of uranium or 3.5 million tons of coal. That's a lot of carbon-free energy. And we have a lot of thorium already in storage and there is a lot more readily available to be mined here in the US.

That brings us to a question I've heard again and again over the years: If thorium is so great, then why haven't we been using it? The answer is quite simple: nuclear weapons.

Since uranium fission produces plutonium, an essential ingredient in any nuclear weapon, it made sense to the Department of Defense to have commercial reactors use uranium in order to generate both power and the plutonium needed for nuclear weapons production. (The first atomic bomb detonated at the Trinity site used plutonium and was an implosion device. Little Boy, used on Hiroshima, used uranium and was a gun-type of device. Fat Man was another plutonium implosion device like the Trinity bomb.) Thorium reactors don't create the plutonium needed for nuclear weapons. Since having reactors that used two entirely different fuel cycles didn't make sense, the uranium fuel cycle was chosen. Of course that was back in the days when atomic bombs were seen as the weapon to end all wars. We have more plutonium on hand than we know what to do with so switching to the thorium fuel cycle makes more sense on a number of levels.

Now all that's need is convincing the rabid anti-nuclear folks that this is a viable means of producing vast amounts of clean energy without the downsides of four generations of uranium-fueled reactors.

9/05/2013

It Turns Out Mitt Romney Was Right

Could it be that Mitt Romney was right about everything during his campaign in 2012? Looking back at his viewpoints and predictions during his campaign and during the various debates during the election season, it appears he was spouting more than campaign rhetoric.

From his widely mocked warnings about a hostile Russia to his adamant opposition to the increasingly unpopular implementation of Obamacare, the ex-candidate’s canon of campaign rhetoric now offers cause for vindication — and remorse — to Romney’s friends, supporters, and former advisers.

Between our 'falling out' with Russia, his concern about Islamic extremists attempting to take over Mali, and major problems with ObamaCare, just to name a few, it seems Romney was prescient and right on the mark. He was mocked for many of his concerns during the campaign but now those that mocked him are silent, or even worse, they are now turning on Obama for his mishandling of those issues and many more.

It couldn't happen to a more deserving Chicago politician.

9/04/2013

Reality Is Catching Up To The Political Class

I have to agree with Scott Rasmussen's contention that reality is catching up to the political class. How can it be otherwise?

Too many of in the political class are insulated from the harsh realities of the rest of us living in flyover country. To them Washington DC is reality and the rest if the nation is merely someplace they read about in the Washington Post or New York Times. It's as if there is an alternate reality curtain that surrounds Washington DC and once people cross through that curtain they become disconnected from the reality of the rest of the nation. That can certainly be seen with one of the more recent events the political class thought was of the utmost importance. The rest of us had more important things to worry about.

One big reality check came earlier this year over a very modest trimming of the budget known as the sequester. In D.C., many expected the American people would rise up in revolt when the so-called “cuts” took effect. Instead, no one noticed. Outside of those who work for the government, there was hardly any impact.

For those in power, that was a terrible glimpse into the reality of how irrelevant much of what they do has become. For most Americans, it was a baby step in the right direction.

Somehow the political class thought an $85 billion cut in federal spending would have a major effect on the rest of us. But the rest of us thought “It's a good start, but it's not enough.” They totally misread the mood of those of us outside the Beltway. But wait! There's more!

For those in power, that was a terrible glimpse into the reality of how irrelevant much of what they do has become. For most Americans, it was a baby step in the right direction.

The notion that problems can be solved outside of Washington is the last thing politicians want to hear. But it’s the path our nation is following.

We are turning back to some of the ways we used to solve problems before government got involved. One thing that has made it possible is Internet and everything it brings with it, including social networking and crowdsourcing, two forces that have started to change how we do things and how we interact with each other. (A caveat: Like anything in our lives, there are downsides to these two related phenomena. It comes down to the old aphorism about “all things in moderation.” And so it will be with them.)

If government, and particularly big government isn't getting things done or is doing it poorly or incorrectly, it is up to us to set things right. We don't have to wait for government to do it. We shouldn't wait for government to do it because we can do it better, faster, cheaper (meaning we don't have to take other people's money away from them in order to do it), and do it right the first time. I'm not saying that government shouldn't do anything, but I am saying that the time of thinking it has all the answers, is wiser than the rest of us, and can solve all our problems has passed. Now it's merely a matter of showing the political class that they have to stop thinking that way and we just might become an even greater nation than we have been before. Let government take care of the things it is better suited for, like defense, foreign affairs, and so on. Let us take care of the rest because we know what we need to do, what we need to have, and the political class doesn't. We also understand that one-size-fits-all solutions do not work and never have. The needs in one part of the nation are entirely different from needs in another part and require different solutions. (A quick example: Requiring use of low flush toilets and water saving technologies in areas where lack of water has never been a problem. That may help in places where water is in short supply like the arid Southwest, but makes no sense in places where just the opposite conditions exist, like New England. It's a one-size-fits-all solution that should apply only to those areas that need it.)

It's time for the political class to wake up and realize that they aren't as important as they thought they were. We can get along just fine without them should the need arise.

9/02/2013

Here We Go Again

How many people will actually believe this bit of nonsense?

EPA to regulate water vapor emissions.

If I didn't know better I'd say a lot, particularly the clueless low-information 'environmentalists.'

9/01/2013

Thoughts On A Sunday

As Labor Day weekends go, this one has been pretty low key. Of course the iffy weather may have had something to do with it as it's been mostly cloudy, very humid, with pop-up thundershowers thrown in for good measure. In fact the humidity has made it difficult to take care of some of the yard work as it has kept the grass from drying out enough to mow. It has also meant that clothing hung out to dry on the Official Weekend Pundit Clothesline hasn't, even after being out on the line for almost 8 hours. That's when you know it's really humid.

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Cap'n Teach expresses his opinions about the fast food worker protests a few days ago.

I can understand why anyone would like to get more pay for the work they do, but to demand twice the pay for what is unskilled labor is ludicrous. As Cap'n Teach writes, “I wonder if next week’s headline will be 'Unemployment Applications Rise' followed by 'Fast Food Restaurants Advertise For Lots of Newly Opened Positions'.”

One protester in particular became the focus of the his piece after she talked about having worked the same job for years but still only being paid minimum wage.

Furthermore, many, like Brandi, have worked these jobs for years, and if you’re still making minimum wage after being their (sic) for 5 years, don’t blame the company, blame yourself. Obviously, the work skills are not present. These people could have parlayed the skills into management/supervisory positions at the same or other companies, yet they’re still slaving away in a job meant for teens and people who want to earn a little extra cash. Again, this says something about themselves, not the companies.

Indeed. Nothing is owed to them for merely existing. If they want more they need to prove they're worth more.

Something else the protesters should consider: At $15/hour it becomes cheaper to replace workers with machines. That's already happening in Europe. Isn't a job at $7.50/hour much better than no job at $15/hour? Or have these folks taken a lesson from the Washington DC City Council which wanted to force Walmart to pay at least $10.25 to workers they would hire after building three new stores in DC? Walmart balked and has reconsidered building any stores in DC. As the City Council found out, 900 jobs at $7.50/hour (or more) is a lot better than no jobs at $10.25/hour.

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On a related topic, Bulldog over at Maggie's Farm gets into the issues he has with Millenials in his workplace.

I've worked with the 'Gen Y' folks, otherwise known as 'Millenials' now for about 8 years now, and they are among the most difficult to work with that I've ever encountered.  Full of good ideas?  Sure, every new generation has good ideas.  That's not the issue, though.  I try to be a positive, forward-thinking ruler manager and I let each one know that my goal is to see everyone succeed somehow.  Sometimes, unfortunately, that success means you have to leave the company you're working for.

A college classmate of mine, who runs her own company, recently told me how wonderful all these young people are, all so smart!  I told her I must get the ones who have fallen off a turnip truck.  It's not that they lack intelligence.  Their problem is they don't like to engage thought and don't respect experience.  I wind up giving them more direction and have to constantly praise them for work that's part of their everyday regimen.  What impressed my old friend was how well they could 'communicate using new media', which is essential for her company.  I laughed and said I knew how to use Facebook and Twitter, too.  She told me I was just "being old."  I doubt it.  I remember what I was like when I was that young.  Sure, I had some similar attitudes, and it took me longer than most my age to respect experience.

Another friend of mine hired one as a bookkeeper.  He used QuickBooks for his small business, and after several months was told he owed the government $77,000 in back payroll taxes.  My buddy looked at me in amazement as he told the story.  After all, QuickBooks gives you a 'tickler' warning each month if a bill goes unpaid.  For some reason, this youngster ignored or forgot to mention these bills needed to be paid for several months.  To make matters worse, they asked for a raise at the same time.  I believe this is known as 'chutzpah'.

As Bulldog goes on to note, every generation gets evaluated poorly by the previous one. But this one seems to lack the ability to think independently which requires more oversight on his part.

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As Bogie writes, the Farmers' Almanac is predicting a winter with “piercing cold” for the Northeast.

That's one reason I'm laying in an extra cord of wood for the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove this fall. I have already contacted the chimney sweeps and made an appointment for them to clean the chimney in preparation for the upcoming winter.

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And speaking of winter, I have to admit to feeling dismay during my visit to one of the local hardware stores. We are still in summer with summer weather and summer activities, yet the hardware store had already set up its display of snowblowers. In August.

Do they know something we don't know? Or have they read the Farmers' Almanac and made plans accordingly?

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Yet another sign of California's decline is the film and television production industry's abandonment of the Golden State for greener (and much less expensive) pastures.

When other states and/or Canadian provinces offer much lower costs than California can only dream about, is it any wonder more film and TV production is being done outside of California?

I have seen more programs on the various cable channels being shot anywhere but California, with many TV series being shot in British Columbia or Ontario. (One of my favorites, Haven on SyFy, is shot in and around seven towns in Nova Scotia, a stand in for the rocky coast of Maine where the fictional town of Haven is located.)

North Carolina has been a favorite for movies and television for some time. My home state of New Hampshire is starting to see more film and television production as well, as is Massachusetts. (One advantage to shooting in NH is that no tax breaks are required to induce production companies to shoot here because we don't have a lot in the way of taxes on which to give breaks to begin with.)

With movie and TV production becoming easier as the technology improves, the need to shoot in Hollywood decreases. That it's also a lot less expensive to shoot outside of Hollywood is also another factor driving production companies to leave California.

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This just in: 82% of whites support 'racist' voter ID...as do 83% of non-whites.

So what's the real issue here? Could it be those who are against voter ID are against it not because it is 'racist' but because it means it will be harder for them to commit voter fraud?

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Something which I must credit to Cap'n Teach is the new moniker he's laid upon President Obama: Presidenty McBombypants.

That's certainly less vulgar than the Left's nickname for his predecessor: Chimpy McBushitler.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the last 'official' weekend of summer is progressing, the summerfolk are trying to enjoy it as much as possible, and where it's still to damp and humid to mow the lawn.