10/30/2013

Too Busy

Sorry, no post tonight. I was busy watching the Red Sox win the World Series!!

10/29/2013

Medical Student Explains To Obama Why He's Leaving Medicine

Hundreds of thousands, if not a couple of million Americans are feeling the negative effects of ObamaCare after receiving letters from their insurers informing them that their medical insurance was being canceled because they don't meet the requirements laid out by the ACA. Instead they'll have to pay even more money for policies that provide less of what they need and more of what the government tells them they need.

But they aren't the only ones feeling the effects. So are medical personnel.

One in particular, medical student Michael Gordon Lofti, has decided to “hang up his white coat” rather than being reduced to nothing but a factory worker in a government approved medical factory. In fact he was driven to write a letter to President Obama expressing why he is doing so.

Writes Lofti:

When I started college I knew where I was going. You had just won the election. I remember the cameras focusing in on Oprah Winfrey’s face. Tears streamed down. At the time, I knew nothing about politics. My biggest concern was a girl in my Anatomy & Physiology class I had a crush on. I paid little attention to Washington DC.

I worked hard. Multiple all-nighters, falling asleep behind the wheel of my car countless times, thousands of shots of espresso (I actually took a job at Starbucks to support the habit) and 15k note-cards later I had graduated in the top 5% of the country. However, during those last few years something changed.

Since the passage of Obamacare everything has changed. When I started college I never intended to work for the government. I never thought I’d have a government bureaucrat dictate what I was worth to the market, and I certainly never imagined those same bureaucrats (who have absolutely no medical training) telling me how to treat my patients.

I remember the day Obamacare became law. I was sitting in the hospital working in the anesthesia department part-time to cover the costs of tuition. Dr. Alfery, a mentor of mine, looked over at me and said, “Run– It’s not too late to change majors.”

Since that day I’ve yet to find a doctor who recommends the field. People respond to my complaints, “It’s still going to be a good job”. I don’t want a “good job”. I have not fought for a government entitlement of a “good job”. I want an incredible career. That’s what I have fought tirelessly for.

I have decided that I believe in the principles of a truly free-market, and I trust the free-market. Because of this deep, internal value system I cannot, with clear conscience, continue on this path. My life has value. Such value cannot be calculated by Washington bureaucrats. I won’t allow it. Only a true free-market can accurately assess the value I am capable of.

Mr President, I’m leaving the medical field. I’m hanging up the white coat. However, let me be clear. You have not won. Unless something “changes”, you’ve lost and will continue to lose. You will fail because you lack principle. Meanwhile, we will succeed because we are born of principle.

Nothing more need be said.

10/27/2013

Thoughts On A Sunday

The end of the fall tourist season is upon us, heralded by the closing of the farm stand and corn maze owned by BeezleBub's boss. Saturday night was the last night for the maze and today was the final day for the farm stand, though there will be plenty of work left to do there after it has closed for the year.

The foliage is well past peak, though there are a few trees still making the transition from their normal green to yellow, orange and red. Traffic on the highways and byways has returned to its normal non-tourist levels and seating is now available in our local restaurants without lengthy waiting times. The summer and fall venues are closed and boarded up until late spring (including some of our favorite ice cream stands).

It's going to be quiet around here, at least until the ski season starts in earnest.

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I've been working away at getting our first load of firewood moved and stacked in the garage, finally getting it completed earlier today. As anyone who has performed this chore can tell you, it's not the bigger pieces of split cord wood that takes time to move, it's all of the smaller pieces. Between pieces fit only as kindling or the odd-sized pieces that won't fit very well inside the woodstove, it takes quite a bit of time to pick it up, sort it, and find some place to put so it will be readily available when needed that will also be out of the way.

I have never quite mastered that last part and on more than one occasion have either given away or sold off the odd-sized pieces and overabundant kindling. (It's rare that we need to light a cold woodstove because once the heating season is in full swing the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove runs 24/7. The only times we'll let it go out and cool off is if we're going away for a day or two or there are adjustments or repairs we need to make to the stove. Therefore we don't need a lot of kindling, but we end up with it anyways.)

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The de-urbanization of Detroit is moving forward with a new 140-acre forest coming into being in a blighted area. Of course some critics are saying it's a “play to increase land values by buying a huge swath of acreage and taking it off the market.” And the problem with that is what, exactly?

Right now no one is living there, there's no one paying any property taxes on it, and removal of the derelict and abandoned buildings still remaining will be paid for by the new owners rather than the taxpayers of Detroit (what there is of them).

On top of that real estate values are in the tank and won't recover any time soon with over 30,000 acres of abandoned property on the city's tax rolls. Anyone wanting to buy up some small parcel of it is a plus, even if that someone is rich.

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As if we needed yet another reminder, ObamaCare is a disaster of Titanic proportions, and it's only going to get worse.

As Glenn Reynolds writes, “We used to launch men to the Moon. Now the U.S. government can’t launch a website.”

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Dr. Robert Owens gives us a view of what happens when the Have-Nots become the Haves by taking everything from the Haves and then demanding even more in a quest for power.

He also states that we should ignore the reported U3 unemployment numbers – about 7.2% - as they are meaningless. It is the U6 number, meaning total unemployment including those who no longer receive unemployment benefits, which is closer to 13% and has a more profound effect on the economy.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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I started watching the New England Patriots play the Miami Dolphins, but after the Pats were down 17-3 at the end of the half I turned off the TV, grabbed the old portable radio, headed out to the garage, and listened to the game as I finish stacking the aforementioned firewood.

The Patriots were a different team during the second half, scoring 24 unanswered points and shutting down the Miami offense, winning it 27-17. That brings them a 6-2 record.

Next week they play the 2-4 Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Have you wondered why your taxes are high and getting higher?

It comes down to the numbers, folks. In this case there are over 108 million people receiving means-tested government benefits (local, state, and/or federal) in some form or fashion. However there are just under 102 million working full-time year round. That's the bad news.

The worse news is that none of the 108 million are receiving Social Security, Medicare, or VA benefits, which adds millions more to that total. Never have we seen such an imbalance between those paying for the benefits and those receiving them. If something isn't done soon, those 102 million (and shrinking) will be unable to support those receiving benefits. As we've been seeing and hearing, that which cannot go on, won't.

It's straightforward math, something the Democrats in Congress (and the White House) seem to be incapable of understanding.

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Now we're hearing claims that climate change wiped out biblical civilizations. To quote Cap'n Teach, “They really shouldn’t have driven fossil fueled vehicles back in the old days.”

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This isn't good, though I have to say it doesn't surprise me.

According to a Wells Fargo study, 37 percent of middle class Americans say they will never retire. Quite a few of those saying they won't be able to retire blame the economy as most of their income presently goes to paying bills, leaving little or nothing to put towards retirement.

Too many of us are living paycheck to paycheck, much of that caused by the ongoing recession. (I don't buy the government's claim that the 'Great Recession' ended in 2009 because true unemployment is still 13% and the government is stimulating the stock market by printing money. Neither is a sign that the recession has ended.) With new taxes, exploding health insurance costs and other negative effects of ObamaCare, I doubt those now incapable of saving for retirement are going to do so in the near future either.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the last vestiges of summer have finally disappeared, the tourist traffic has dropped to almost zero, and where we will have some peace and quiet until ski season starts.

Obama's Credibility Is Approaching Zero

As time has passed it has become evident to anyone who has been paying attention over the past few years that the present occupant of the White House has been a disappointment on so many levels. Between his failed economic policies, divisive rhetoric, and disastrous foreign policy, his credibility has been melting away like an ice cream cone on a hot summer day.

From the moment he emerged in the public eye with his 2004 speech at the Democratic Convention and through his astonishing defeat of the Clintons in 2008, Barack Obama's calling card has been credibility. He speaks, and enough of the world believes to keep his presidency afloat. Or used to.

All of a sudden, from Washington to Riyadh, Barack Obama's credibility is melting.

When belief in the average politician's word diminishes, the political world marks him down and moves away. With the president of the United States, especially one in his second term, the costs of the credibility markdown become immeasurably greater.

Bluntly, Mr. Obama's partners are concluding that they cannot do business with him. They don't trust him. Whether it's the Saudis, the Syrian rebels, the French, the Iraqis, the unpivoted Asians or the congressional Republicans, they've all had their fill of coming up on the short end with so mercurial a U.S. president. And when that happens, the world's important business doesn't get done. It sits in a dangerous and volatile vacuum.

We've seen it in Washington more than once.

How many times has Congress, and more specifically the House of Representatives, worked with the White House to come to an agreement about various legislation only to have Obama throw a monkey wrench into the works at the last minute? How many times has Obama come right out and said that he would not negotiate with Congress on issues that require it? How many times have we heard him say one thing but do another, usually to the detriment of the American people or the economy or foreign relations? And how many times has he ended up throwing our allies under the bus while sucking up to our adversaries? It's one thing if this occurred only now and then, but this happens all the time.

We've seen the president expend valuable political capital on things like ObamaCare when he should have been using it to deal with our economic problems. His priorities are out of line with those of the American people. He focuses on trivialities when he should be paying attention to the big problems. (ObamaCare was never about the big picture but about his place in history. What makes it worse is that ObamaCare will not do what was promised, including providing health insurance to the 30 million Americans who presently don't have it...and still won't.)

Another indicator that Obama has been losing credibility is members of his own party distancing themselves from him, particularly when it comes to the debacle that is ObamaCare. A number of congressional Democrats, including a number of Senators, are ready to seek delays in implementing some parts of the ACA. With the meltdown of the website used for signing up for coverage and the dismally low numbers of Americans signing up for health insurance, ObamaCare is in trouble and the Democrats know it. They also know that unless they do something to make it at least appear they are doing something about it their chances of re-election next year are slim.

Hundreds of thousands of health-insurance policies canceled. Companies dumping coverage and cutting employees' hours. Premiums skyrocketing. And a website that reprises the experience of a Commodore 64. As recently as May, Democratic consultants were advising members of Congress that their best ObamaCare strategy for 2014 was to "own" the law. [Senator Jeanne] Shaheen [D-NH]has now publicly advised the consultants where they can file that memo.

This Democratic freakout has been building for months, even if it was masked by the shutdown headlines and the way the media reported that event. Nationally, yes, the GOP took a drubbing on the shutdown. But next year isn't a national election. It's a midterm that will turn on key states, where polls all along have found disapproval of ObamaCare, the president and his party's handling of the economy.

Some people – primarily the MSM and other watercarriers for Obama – seem to think the shutdown will lead to a landslide by the Dems, sweeping them back into power in the House. But as ObamaCare stumbles and decreases even more in popularity, the shutdown has quickly faded out of the voters' memories as it really had little effect on them. But ObamaCare is hitting almost everyone in the wallet and for the most part it isn't living up to its promises. People are losing their existing health insurance and are being forced to replace it with something that costs more and provides less coverage. Others are losing their jobs or are seeing their hours cut back to less than 30 hours, meaning they are also losing their benefits. How is any of that going to win the House for the Democrats in 2014? Or are they going to try their old standby and lay the blame for the failure of ObamaCare and Obama's fading credibility at the feet of George W. Bush?

I wouldn't put it past them.

10/25/2013

Quote Of The Day

“My father voted Republican all his life until he died. After that he voted Democrat.” - Stuart Whitman

10/23/2013

Free Stuff

Received via e-mail:
I've never heard this said as simply or as well. Class war at its best. The folks who are getting the free stuff don't like the folks who are paying for the free stuff, because the folks who are paying for the free stuff can no longer afford to pay for both the free stuff and their own stuff.

And the folks who are paying for the free stuff want the free stuff to stop.

And the folks who are getting the free stuff want even more free stuff on top of the free stuff they are already getting!

Now... the people who are forcing the people who pay for the free stuff have told the people who are RECEIVING the free stuff that the people who are PAYING for the free stuff are being mean, prejudiced, and racist.

So... the people who are GETTING the free stuff have been convinced they need to hate the people who are paying for the free stuff by the people who are forcing some people to pay for their free stuff and giving them the free stuff in the first place.

We have let the free stuff giving go on for so long that there are now more people getting free stuff than paying for the free stuff.

Now understand this. All great democracies have committed financial suicide somewhere between 200 and 250 years after being founded. The reason?

The voters figured out they could vote themselves money from the treasury by electing people who promised to give them money from the treasury in exchange for electing them.

The United States officially became a Republic in 1776, 237 years ago. The number of people now getting free stuff outnumber the people paying for the free stuff.

Failure to change that spells the end of the United States as we know it.

As the e-mail goes on to remind us, the 2014 elections are coming and that “a nation of sheep breeds a government of wolves.” And if we need yet another reminder of how things should be, it is not the people who should be afraid of the government, but the government that should be afraid of the people.

10/22/2013

Liberalism Versus Conservatism

It seems I'm not the only one that understands one basic truth about the difference between liberals and conservatives when it comes to the human condition.

Dinesh D'Souza writes about political speech and how it differs between liberalism and conservatism. One of the more common differences is the outlook on equality. For liberals it's all about equality of outcome. For conservatives it's about equality of opportunity. The former is almost impossible to achieve unless the desired outcome is to make sure everyone is equally miserable, destitute, and terrorized by the powers-that-be. The latter is difficult as it requires constant vigilance, but it is possible to achieve as we've seen more than once in our own history.

Equality of outcome usually entails embracing the lowest common denominator, something that has always failed. Despite claims that they want to 'pull everyone up to a higher level', in practice liberals tend to pull everyone down to a level no one wants to inhabit. Competition is eliminated because it might hurt someone's feelings or self-esteem. (Self-esteem is vastly overrated. There are plenty of people on death row that have great self-esteem, so it's no measure of success.) It's a great system for discouraging anyone from trying to better themselves because there is no reward for doing so. Instead such ambition is punished and diminished. The results are predictable (at least to non-liberals), disappointing, and baffling to the very people who implemented the system.

Equality of opportunity almost always results in a better outcome. Even failure can have positive results as it can often spur people on to greater efforts. (Ask any successful entrepreneur or business owner and you'll find that almost all of them failed at some point, in some cases more than once.) In the long run everyone benefits, both socially and financially, even the failures.

But one of the biggest differences between the two political camps is their understanding of human nature. To put it simply, liberals don't understand it and conservatives do.

At root, conservatives and liberals have two different conceptions of human nature that cause them to see the world so differently. Liberals tend to believe in Rousseau’s proposition that human nature is intrinsically good. Therefore they believe that people who fail or do bad things are not acting out of laziness or wickedness; rather, society put them in this unfortunate position. Since people are innately good, liberals hold that the great conflicts in the world are not the result of good versus evil; rather they arise out of terrible misunderstandings that can be corrected through ongoing conversation and through the mediation of groups like the United Nations. Finally the liberal’s high opinion of human nature leads to the view that if you give people autonomy they will use their freedom well.

Conservatives know better. Conservatives recognize that there are two principles in human nature—good and evil—and these are in constant conflict. Given the warped timber of humanity, conservatives seek a social structure that helps to bring out the best in human nature and suppress man’s lower or base impulses. Conservatives support capitalism because it is a way of steering our natural pursuit of self-interest toward the material betterment of society at large. Conservatives insist that there are evil regimes and destructive forces in the world that cannot be talked out of their nefarious objectives; force is an indispensable element of international relations. Finally conservatives support autonomy when it is attached to personal responsibility—when people are held accountable for their actions—but they also believe in the indispensability of moral incubators (the family, civic institutions) that are aimed at instructing people to choose virtue over vice.

Unfortunately the liberal trust that deep down inside everyone is good has been disproven time and again throughout history. There are too many examples of people who were so effin' evil that no amount of feel good platitudes and singing “Kumbaya” can fix them. You can't explain away those like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and many others by blaming it on society. Even 'innocent' children show their savage side when left to their own devices. How do you explain the bullying committed by kids from otherwise good homes, bullying that is cruel to an extreme? If people were innately good such a thing would be rare. But given the opportunity kids will hoist the Jolly Roger and 'pillage and plunder' their way through their peers without giving a damn about the consequences. And with no restraints and no real consequences it can become something right out of The Lord Of The Flies. Conservatives understand this. Liberals do not, and it seems all of their policies are based upon that lack of understanding. It also explains why so many of their policies fail to meet expectations, and in too many cases, make things worse than if they did nothing.

Greed Quote

By way of Maggie's Farm comes this apropos quote:

Politicians never accuse you of ‘greed’ for wanting other people’s money, only for wanting to keep your own money. - Joseph Sobran

Indeed.

10/20/2013

Thoughts On A Sunday

The warmer weather has turned cooler and with it the winds have picked up, making it feel even cooler. The winds have also been stripping the now past peak leaves from the trees, leaving at lot of bare branches.

With the cooler temps it means today was probably the last day I'll be able to use the Official Weekend Pundit Clothesline to dry the laundry. The breezy conditions help dry the laundry but it still takes a while because of the cool temps.

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The cooler temps also prompted me to pull out the screens from the storm doors and install the winter glass panels. This still allows the feline contingent to 'watch' what we call Cat TV, but just the video. No more audio or olfactory channels will be available until next spring.

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You know it takes a big man to admit his mistakes and Alan Greenspan is a big man. While many blame his polices for the housing bubble, something he has rebutted and has a number of economists backing up his rebuttal, he admits that it wasn't until after the Fed's financial models failed to predict the crisis that he understood that “there is more to forecasting than numbers.” In effect, Greenspan discovered the human factor when it comes to the financial markets, something not easily accounted for in computer models and something his late friend Ayn Rand had warned him about back in the 1950's.

One of the more disturbing trends that Greenspan came across was the relationship between increasing entitlements and decreasing domestic savings. As savings decline so does the amount of capital available needed for capital investments which is why we now have $5 trillion in foreign owned debt.

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Watching the New England Patriots play the New York Jets was painful. With the injuries on both offense and defense plaguing the Pats, many of the positions have been filled by rookies and they aren't quite up to speed. Even with the return of Rob Gronkowski to the line-up and the high number of penalties by the Jets, the Patriots struggled throughout the game.

The Patriots managed to get the game to go into overtime with a last minute field goal at the end of regulation. But a costly penalty by one of their rookies during overtime, one even the commentators said they've never seen before, cost them the game when the Jets were able to kick the game winning field goal. Again, the injuries to their veterans and the inexperience of their rookies has come back to haunt the Pats.

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Both the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post published stories in the past claiming that Boomers were abandoning the suburbs for the cities, but it turns out they were both wrong. Instead many of them have been heading for greener pastures away from the cities, at least according to census data from the 2010 census.

Cities hoping to attract retiring and “empty nest” Boomers had better rethink their plans because it is the young single people who are flocking to the cities.

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One of the biggest problems with the debate about climate change? Historical perspective.

Too often all we see are charts showing global temps over the past few hundred years. It gives a distorted view of temperature change by ignoring global temps prior to that time. Once we take a look back a couple of thousand years or so we see that the temperatures we're seeing now and might see in the next couple of hundred years are not going to doom us, but are typical of the past once you get past the Little Ice Age.

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I think David Starr has a good idea when it comes to the rules Congress uses to move legislation.

At the moment it seems the rules change with every bill that makes it on to the floor of the House and Senate which is wasteful of time and taxpayer money. Instead David has proposed 6 rules that would stop the foolishness and help expedite up or down votes. Everyone might not like them and I have a feeling most of the veteran Congresscritters will hate them. But it's time for the Congressional shenanigans to stop and for Congress to start representing the People again.

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Liberal racism strikes again.

This is no surprise to me as I have seen it in action for decades. The latest bit of this insidious stealth racism?

Trying to get the Washington Redskins to change their name.

What's interesting is there doesn't appear to be any of the American Indian tribes demanding the change, just the guilt-ridden white liberal elites.

Maybe we should change the name of the team as suggested by a commenter on another blog (who's name escapes me at the moment) because the name is demeaning. So from now on we should refer to the Washington Redskins as just the Redskins. Problem solved. The Redskins will no longer be demeaned by any association with Washington DC.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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In relation to the post just above, I seem to recall some students on a college campus showed a good sense of humor when they decided to name their intramural basketball team the Fighting Whities some years ago. The team was made up of American Indians, Latinos, and whites.

Of course no one but the liberal elite racists thought it was a bad idea.

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Staying on the topic of racism for a bit longer, Legal Insurrection tells us how a lie about a supposedly racist blog post spread around the world in a short time.

What makes this ironic is that the alleged perpetrator was none other “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher. What makes this stupid is that Joe linked to a column written by Kevin Jackson of The Blacksphere. Yes, Kevin Jackson is black.

The topic of Jackson's column? That fear of being accused of racism has stifled the ability to have an open dialogue regarding Obama’s many faults. And in the case of the Black community, Jackson argued, free rein has been give to black race card players.

Have these liberal racists have no shame? Obviously not.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the temps are falling, the days are getting shorter, and where the old woodstove is going to be fired up any day now.

10/19/2013

More Climate Silliness

The debate about global warming continues and the rhetoric has been getting louder and more strident, at least among the Warmists. As that has been happening the claims made by a number of the Warmists has become a bit over the top, and in some cases, bizarre. A case in point, this little bit of lunacy:

Scott Saleska, an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona who studies interactions between vegetation and climate, said that the researchers provide a potentially compelling argument for continued forest restoration and preservation by specifying the “climate impact” of vegetation.

Although the researchers saw a strong historical influence of carbon fertilization in carbon absorption, that exchange does have its limits, Saleska said. If carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue rising, more vegetation would be needed to maintain the size of the carbon sink Shevliakova and her colleagues reported.

“There is surely some limit to how long increasing carbon dioxide can continue to promote plant growth that absorbs carbon dioxide,” Saleska said. “Carbon dioxide is food for plants, and putting more food out there stimulates them to ‘eat’ more. However, just like humans, eventually they get full and putting more food out doesn’t stimulate more eating.” ( Emphasis mine – ed.)

Excuse me?Plants get full? Isn't that a bit of anthropomorphizing on Saleska's part? Plants aren't like humans. They don't have stomachs or digestive tracts to get 'full'. As long as they have sunlight, water, soil nutrients, and carbon dioxide they'll keep 'eating'. Saleska also seems to think the number of plants available to eat CO2 are finite, another mistake as plants will also reproduce at a faster rate, increasing CO2 uptake. As a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology he should know that.

Saleska also ignores the past as CO2 levels were much higher, 5000ppm and higher, and the plant life seemed to be able to handle it just fine. So did the animal life.

It seems to me that the Warmists have come to believe that the climate we experience now is the 'right' one even though we know that isn't true. Climate will change and unless we develop a means of actually controlling the climate รก la Star Trek, there's little or nothing we can do to stop it. Even the Warmists agree that even with draconian measures short of genocide our efforts will have little effect on global temps. Even that assumes their defective climate models are correct, which we know is not the case.

10/17/2013

10/16/2013

This Isn't Your Father's OPEC

Now that the faux debt limit debacle appears to have been resolved (for the moment), we can focus on other things of greater import.

It was 40 years ago that the Arab Oil Embargo took place, and none of the dire predictions made about where we were headed in regards to energy, and specifically fossil fuel, have come to pass. Instead the US has become an energy giant with more proven reserves than the rest of the world combined. While not all of it is accessible at the moment due to the Obama Administration's ban on drilling on federal lands and offshore, those wells on private lands have been producing vast amounts of new oil and natural gas. And we've barely scratched the surface on all of the recoverable oil and gas still waiting to be tapped.

Many of the energy problems we suffer from today does not come from lack of supply but from government interference (and incompetence). We've seen that again and again. Even the gas shortages during the embargo in 1973 and again in 1979 were due to the government 'monkeying around' with fuel allocations, prices, or both.

In 1979 the gas lines returned, at least on the East and West Coasts, while the Midwest was drowning in gasoline. This was all due to the government allocating fuel rather than letting the market decide where fuel needed to go. (If I recall correctly the WP Dad was doing a job in the Midwest at that time and there were gas wars going on because there was so much gas and diesel they didn't know what to do with it all. The rest if us had to deal with gas rationing because there wasn't fuel to be had at any price.)

Back then OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, was calling the shots, setting production quotas and oil prices. But over the years OPEC's influence on both supply and prices has dwindled. This is particularly so today as new drilling and extraction technologies have made oil and natural gas plentiful in a number of places around the globe. That's certainly true here in the US and Canada (and I expect Mexico won't be far behind).

What's ironic is that the supply of oil and gas is expanding in the US even though the demand for it has flattened or even fallen. In fact US oil consumption is only 7% higher than it was back in the early 1970's. We've learned to do more with less energy and it shows.

What the new domestic sources do for us is help insulate us more from disruptions in oil supplies from hostile nations or by the actions of other nations that have the same effect.

Now only if we could get nuclear power back on track.

10/14/2013

California's Green War

We know the problems that plague California are many. We also know that almost all of them are self-inflicted by way of onerous environmental and business regulations, confiscatory taxes, extremely liberal social policies, and enthrallment of government at all levels to public employee unions and the unrealistic pay and benefits they demand. All of these things have made it harder for the average California resident to prosper, and in many cases have made it impossible to do so. It is no wonder that businesses and people are leaving the not-so-Golden State, taking their money and jobs with them.

So what does California do to try to stem the tide of the increasing outmigration and decreasing economy?

It doubles down on stupid, of course.

Environmental policies are often economic protectionism in green clothing. A case in point is California's low-carbon fuel standard, whose constitutionality is being challenged in federal court. It's also a case study of the incredible contortions of green policy-making today.

California's low-carbon fuel mandate requires the state, by 2020, to reduce the "carbon intensity" of its transportation fuels by 10%. Carbon intensity is a fuel's "life-cycle emissions," which include the energy needed to produce and transport it. You guessed it: California fuels tend to qualify as less carbon intense than imported out-of-state fuels because they're produced closer to market and use "cleaner" (i.e., renewable) sources of power.

On the face of it it sounds logical. But looking deeper into the issue you'll find that it isn't so. For one thing some of the oil produced in California require the use of oil extraction techniques that actually make it more expensive to pump and produce high emissions along the way. Yet the state chooses to ignore that, in effect pro-rating those in-state emissions such that they don't count towards the carbon footprint of such a means of fuel production.

By the California Air Resources Board's own admission, the state's fuel standard "does not result in reductions in greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale" because more carbon-intense fuels will be sold elsewhere anyway.

So what's the point of all this? The goal is to corner the market for "advanced" biofuels, such as soybean oil, landfill waste and even animal lard. This stuff will be in high demand when the U.S. EPA ratchets up the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. California subsidized the biofuels industry by $23 million this year.

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and other affected parties have sued the state for violating the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause by discriminating against out-of-state fuels. In 2011, federal Judge Lawrence O'Neill of the Eastern District of California ruled that the fuel mandate is unconstitutional and issued a preliminary injunction.

But wait, there's more! The Ninth Circuit Court, the most overturned federal court in the nation, vacated the lower court's order, citing whether the lower court “should have considered whether the local benefits of controlling climate change exceeded the burden on interstate commerce.”

As argued by Justice Ronald Gould, California could see "its labor force imperiled by rising temperatures, and its farms devastated by severe droughts" due to rising emissions.

By this expansive logic, California could impose restrictions on virtually any out-of-state product on the pretext of reducing carbon emissions as the state defines them.

Hmm, maybe we should do California a favor and convince the other 49 states to not sell them anything. Make California live up to the CARB rules and the ruling by the Ninth Circus (no, that's not a typo), but take it a step further by forcing them to source everything they need locally, including electricity and water. Let them see just what a 'paradise' they'll have if they have to live up to their own rules, something right out of Alinsky.

One of the better, and very brief, comments to the WSJ editorial, sums up the ideology of the Watermelon Greens perfectly:

Their point is that Global Warming cancels the Constitution.

Indeed.

10/13/2013

Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a gathering of the WP clan at my dear brother's place to celebrate the wedding of his oldest son to his inamorata of the past few years. Despite the rather gloomy looking weather we all had a great time.

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During the festivities I had more than a few opportunities to discuss topics of import with the youngest WP Sister and her husband, the token liberals in the family. It seems that over the past few months their 'love affair' with The One has soured. They also admitted their disgust with Congress, and not just the GOP. Like me, they have come to believe it's time to fire them all, including their local Congresscritter.

While this is only anecdotal evidence, the fact that WP Younger Sis and her husband are expressing such dissatisfaction with members of their own party is telling to me. For one thing it signals that the Democrats may be in bigger trouble than they may have thought and that the 2014 elections maybe be more hotly contested than many originally believed, particularly in the primary races. I think we may see a lot of incumbents in both parties being ousted by challengers in the various state primaries, caucuses, and conventions.

The GOP certainly might benefit from such a thing as Establishment Republicans – long out of touch with their base – are replaced by more fiscally conservative members who resonate better with people in Flyover America.

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Gee, if the economy is recovering as Obama has stated again and again, then why are major corporations cutting thousands of jobs?

And before you start looking for small businesses to pick up the slack and start hiring, remember that many small businesses are being taxed and regulated so heavily that they are unlikely to add jobs and are more likely to close their doors.

Welcome the the Obama Economy.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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A not-so-quick story having nothing to do with anything:

When I arrived home from work Thursday afternoon it was a wee bit chilly in The Manse, so I figured I'd turn up the thermostat and take the chill out of the house. Nothing happened. I thought I might have forgotten to turn the power on to the furnace (I usually shut it off once we get past heating season), so I went down into the basement to flip the switch...except that it was already on. A quick check of the pilot light in the nearby water heater showed there was no pilot light.

Uh-oh.

I made quick trip outside to the 500 gallon propane tank out behind The Manse, opened the weather cover to expose the fuel gauge, and saw that the gauge was reading 0%. That certainly explained the lack of heat and hot water.

A call to our local supplier to confirm whether we were on their automatic delivery schedule proved that we were and that by their calculations there should have been about 100 gallons of propane remaining the the tank, at least by our past usage history. The problem was that we had used more propane during the last few weeks of the heating season because we had exhausted our firewood supply, meaning we had burned that 'remaining' 100 gallons back in early spring. But they had no way of knowing that. Oops.

They scheduled an immediate delivery and by 9:30 that evening the delivery truck arrived and filled the tank. At least we didn't have to pay an 'emergency delivery' charge because we were on automatic delivery scheduling and they cut the margin too closely.

One good thing about it happening now: the weather was relatively good so lack of heat wasn't much of an issue.

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Rachel Lucas is still in the process of reintegrating into American life after almost 5 years away, settling in to her new house and unpacking all kinds of stuff she and her husband put away in storage before their departure for Europe.

One of her biggest surprises? Wondering why they had decided to store some of the stuff they did when it would have been better off being thrown out or donated.

The Tuesday after closing, that stuff was delivered to the new house, and all I can say is that 5 years is a long time and I had no memory of half of these things, plus styles have changed, plus we’ve gotten older and have much better taste than we did then. Box after box, I’d open it up and laugh out loud. OH MY GOD THESE PANTS! OH MY GOD THIS TABLE IS GARBAGE WHY DID WE STORE IT? OH MY GOD I HAD THIS HANGING ON A WALL?!? Why????

Heh.

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The Farmer's Almanac has predicted a bitterly cold and snowy winter for New England. Apparently one of the weather forecasting organizations in the UK has made a similar prediction for Olde England...and Wales and Scotland.

At least we in New England are used to such weather, dealing with it on a pretty regular basis. But the folks in the UK aren't, as we've seen more than once over the past few years as 'unusual' winter weather hammered Great Britain. (That type of winter weather was quite common there until the early 1800's.)

I wonder if Al Gore has been spending time in the UK?

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Is it possible that a simple solar astronomical model beats the IPCC Global Circulation Models when it comes to making projections about climate?

Wouldn't that be a kick in the teeth for the Warmists if it turns out to be true?

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I've been pondering these questions for some time: How is that not raising the nation's debt limit means it will default on loans it already has? Doesn't it really mean that it can't borrow any more money? How is that a default? We'll still have tax revenue that is already being used to repay outstanding debt, plus interest. If we're still doing that then how can we be in default? Isn't default defined as not making payments on outstanding debt?

No one has adequately explained this to me in terms everyone can understand.

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Sometimes even the government realizes crony capitalism doesn't work. In this case the EPA, one of the rogue agencies in the Obama Administration, has come to realize that the Renewable Fuel Standard isn't workable and are considering rolling back the ethanol-blending requirements for refiners. That certainly has the ethanol lobby screaming bloody murder because they won't be able to sell as much ethanol to the refiners as they want.

If there isn't enough demand there's no way the EPA can require refiners to 'create' the demand by mixing more ethanol into gasoline, particularly when automakers have already told the government that they won't support such a move and will void the warranties of any vehicle using more than a 10% ethanol blend.

The Renewable Fuel Standard was defective from the outset because it ignored two possibilities when it was drafted: gasoline demand might go down and new domestic sources would be found that would eliminate the need to import any oil from unfriendly foreign nations. All the Renewable Fuel Standard has done is guarantee ethanol producers a market even though renewable fuels are a actually a money loser and no better for the environment than petroleum.

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I have to admit that I watched the New England Patriots play the New Orleans Saints while sitting on the edge of my seat. It all came down to the last 2 minutes of the game when I thought the Patriots had lost the game. But they ended up pulling it off and winning the game with 5 seconds left. Talk about as nail-biter of a game!

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the fall foliage is at peak, the leaf peepers are crowding the roads, and where the Patriots are now 5-1.

10/12/2013

John Adams Was Right

I find it ironic that the words of the Founders of the Republic have so often turned out to be relevant even two centuries later, yet so many today are ignorant of them and their import. Many of their thoughts about our nation, both good and bad, have stood the test of time. Then again, I believe it's likely they had a much better understanding of human nature than many of our putative leaders today. That would certainly explain why their words of wisdom still ring true today.

One of the Founders, John Adams, warned us of the actions of government that would lead to our nation's downfall. It's too bad that his warnings have been ignored by those in power and those under their sway.

Between the inequitable burden of taxes on some and not others, disincentives and libels against those who build businesses, “spreading the wealth” of those who earned it to those who had not, abolishment of debts owed by decree, and a demand for some kind of twisted egalitarian society, everything Adams warned us about has come to pass. And in doing so it has diminished us all and put our great nation on the path to destruction. What's worse is that those in power are either ignorant of the danger or fully cognizant of it and are doing their best to hasten it. And of the two, the former is the hardest to counter.

10/10/2013

A 60-Second Refutation Of Socialism

Every so often you come across a post from a fellow blogger's archive that still strikes a chord many years later. In this case it was the 60 Second Refutation Of Socialism posted in Coyote Blog almost nine years ago that still has relevance today, particularly in regards to the present occupant of the Oval Office. Specifically the post refutes Obama's leftist knee-jerk statement “You didn't build that!”

One of the reasons I took up writing a blog is that I have never been as snappy or witty in real-time discussions as I would like to be, and I generally think of the perfect comeback or argument minutes or hours too late.  I have always done better with writing, where I have time to think.  However, on this day, I had inspiration from a half-remembered story I had heard before.  I am sure I stole the following argument from someone, but to this day I still can't remember from whom.

I picked up a handful of sand, and said "this is almost pure silicon, virtually identical to what powers a computer. Take as much labor as you want, and build me a computer with it -- the only limitation is you can only have true manual laborers - no engineers or managers or other capitalist lackeys".

She replied that my request was BS, that it took a lot of money to build an electronics plant, and her group of laborers didn't have any and bankers would never lend them any.

I told her - assume for our discussion that I have tons of money, and I will give you and your laborers as much as you need. The only restriction I put on it is that you may only buy raw materials - steel, land, silicon - in their crudest forms. It is up to you to assemble these raw materials, with your laborers, to build the factory and make me my computer.

She thought for a few seconds, and responded "[B]ut I can't - I don't know how. I need someone to tell me how to do it[!]"

And that is the heart of socialism's failure. For the true source of wealth is not brute labor, or even what you might call brute capital, but the mind. The mind creates new technologies, new products, new business models, new productivity enhancements, in short, everything that creates wealth. Labor or capital without a mind behind it is useless.

I find it interesting that Coyote demolished Obama's argument years before he even made it. I've heard the argument made in a number of places over the years that it was government that built the roads, the water and sewer systems, provided the power plants, power lines, and telephone systems, but it isn't true. With a few exceptions, government did none of that. Private capital funded it, private companies or individuals designed it, and private contractors built it. Almost every housing or commercial development built in the last 50 or 60 years or so saw the developer pay the cost for building the roads, installing water and sewer, and see to it that electrical, gas, and telephone utilities were installed. It wasn't the ever benevolent government that did any of that. That disproves Obama's claim that we “didn't build that.” We most certainly did. Obama just wants to take credit for it.

10/08/2013

The Solar Max Ain't So Max

While it seems to many here in the US that the funding and debt limit crises are the most important issues of the day, they aren't. Neither will cause problems with upcoming changes in Earth's climate. Instead we should be paying attention to the sun's activity, or rather its lack of activity.

The latest data is not encouraging for Solar Cycle 24 as the SSN [Sun Spot Numbers]...have taken a pretty big hit. In fact, all the solar metrics have taken a hit at a time near the peak when their should be many more sunspots and indications of an active solar dynamo.

A quieter sun means a cooler climate, or at least it has in the past. This solar cycle has been quite weak, it started about 2 years late, and it appears there was an early peak in the sunspot numbers – the so-called Solar Max. The question many are asking is whether this could be the onset of another lengthy 'minimum', meaning there will be decades of low solar activity. The previous periods experiencing lengthy minimums also experienced decades of colder temperatures, the Little Ice Ages that so devastated Europe after the Medieval Warm Period ended.

Should this come to pass it will be interesting to see how the AGW folks are going to explain it away...unless they find some way to blame it on Global Warming.

10/07/2013

A Hard Truth

A conversation overheard between two of my co-workers this morning:

Co-worker #1: “I can’t believe the stuff being done because of the government shutdown - shutting down parks, kicking people out of their homes. You’d think the government would listen to the people about this.”

Co-worker #2: “The only part of government that listens to the people is the NSA.”

‘Nuff said.

10/06/2013

Thoughts On A Sunday

The cooler and cloudy weather made a trip to the laundromat necessary as we have not as yet replaced the defunct Official Weekend Pundit Clothes Drier. It rained on and off all day today which precluded any outside work from bring performed as well.

At least the foliage colors are brightening up a bit to make up for it.

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The funding impasse has reached its sixth day and for the first time it appears President Obama might finally be willing to negotiate a solution. Maybe.

I ain't holding my breath.

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The New England Patriots played the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati and it turned out to be a battle between defenses. In the end New England couldn't get it done and they lost their first game of the season, 13-6, bringing them to 4-1.

What's worse is that they lost more players to injuries which weakens both their offense and defense.

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Oh, I like this!

Yet another moniker being bestowed upon Obama: President Stompy Foot. In this case I saw it applied in tweets about people being kicked out of their homes due to the government shutdown because they happen to be on federal land.

No wonder the White House has been renamed the “Spite House.” Obama wants to make sure he pisses off as many people as he can so they will blame the House Republicans, but it's backfiring because the people being adversely affected are laying the blame where it belongs: Obama and Reid.

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This is yet another example of affordable health care without insurance.

It's amazing how much cost can be cut out of a medical practice when they don't have to deal with all of the overhead health insurance adds.

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It looks like Bogie's luck has had a turn for the better. She even got around to getting an external hard drive for backing up the contents of her computer.

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Here's more on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker telling the federal government to take a hike in regards to closing state parks that are on federal property but run and maintained by the state of Wisconsin.

Frankly we should be telling the federal government to take a hike on most things that are entirely the purview of the states.

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Somehow I knew this: SEALs are quieter than ninjas. Well, at least until the SEALs open up with their automatic weapons, then they make a whole lot of noise!

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It's funny how harsh reality easily blows away fantasies, particularly fantasies like ObamaCare.

Once the bill for health insurance premiums arrive, reality intrudes and supporters of ObamaCare find they have to dig a lot deeper into their pockets to pay for the same or worse coverage than they had before.

To quote one of my favorite movie heroes, “Welcome to the party, pal!”

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And that's the abbreviated news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the leaves continue to turn, the rain is ending after the weekend, and where preparations for storing the boat for the winter are being made.

Playing The Race Card...Again

I knew that with all of the acrimony and accusations flying back and forth about ObamaCare that it was only a matter of time before someone on the Left used the race card. They didn't disappoint.

In this instance it was one of our local New Hampshire Leftists – a fellow who constantly proves by way of letters published in one of our local papers that he hasn't an effin' clue – who came right out and made the accusation that “we don't want to help people without insurance because of race.”

Why don't they [the GOP -ed.] want to help the citizens of our country is beyond me. One reason, I believe is, is that most of the people covered will be low income and people of color and we know from the treatment of our president the last four years how much they like people of color.

You see, the reason we don't prostrate ourselves before the Left's savior, Obama, is because we're racists. It couldn't possibly be because he's an incompetent empty suit unable of actually governing, unwilling to negotiate, and incapable of making a compromise.

My response to the deluded leftist's diatribe:

Over the past couple of decades I have come to realize that many people like you who use accusations of racism as a tool to dismiss dissent are quite often the actual racists. The racism is not blatant. Rather it is subtle and insidious, and colors your thinking in ways you may not realize. You do not see American minorities as being capable of doing the same things everyone else does without the guiding hand of guilt-ridden liberals such as yourself. And more often than not, that "guiding hand" does not help them, but instead holds them back. Call it yet another form of backhanded racism.
That is the worst form of racism because it is difficult to defend against. Not because there's a grain of truth to it (there isn't), but because this particular stripe of racism is practiced by those doing it “for the good of the downtrodden.” An outright racist can be confronted, ridiculed, and marginalized. But a stealth racist uses all of the appropriate words and tries to sound concerned, but in the end they end up trying to keep the “minorities” under their control by making it difficult for them to succeed without their help. More often than not that help is nothing more than a trap to keep them in their place. Who needs that kind of help? Of course if the downtrodden managed to pull themselves up out of poverty the Left would lose a good portion of their base, and they can't have that, can they?

10/03/2013

Yet Another Example Of Zero-Tolerance Idiocy

As the government shutdown continues, life goes on. (I am not going to go on about it ad nauseum as the MSM is doing such a good job of it.) So instead I am going to cover another topic near and dear to my heart: the stupidity of zero-tolerance policies in schools.

It appears that yet another school system, in this case a high school in Orange County, California (of course), decided that an NRA tee-shirt worn by sophomore Haley Bullwinkle “promoted gun violence”, leading her to be hauled into the Canyon High School principal's office. Looking at the shirt (seen in the video at the linked article), I find it hard to fathom how the clueless powers-that-be concluded the shirt would entice fellow students to commit violent crimes with guns. It looks pretty benign to me. But then I know guns do not get up all by themselves and start shooting randomly, something these politically correct incompetents do not seem to understand.

I have to admit that were I a friend of Haley's I would be tempted to wear a tee-shirt that stated (quite truthfully), “Guns don't kill people. I kill people” just to see these same PC idiots have vapors and swoon from the horror. It would serve them right.

This idiocy also makes it quite clear why need to help our children escape from our increasingly mediocre and less capable public...err...government schools.

10/01/2013

The Gummint Has Shut Down And We're All Gonna Die...

or not.

The deadline has come and gone and we’re still here. The President and the Senate has done everything it could to make sure it would happen, claims by them and the media to the contrary.

One fact lost in the Democrat-inspired and media-fueled confusion: The vote is not about passing a budget. It is about passing yet another in a long line of continuing resolutions to keep government funded. There has been no budget passed by Congress, or at least by both chambers of Congress, since April 2009 (and that one was a holdover from the Bush Administration). With one exception, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been the architect of Congress’ failure to do so. (That one exception was when both the House and Senate unanimously voted down the only budget Obama has submitted because it was so overblown, incomprehensible, and deficit-ridden.)

Every budget passed by the House since late-2009 has been stonewalled by Harry Reid. The Senate has not been allowed to vote on any of the budgets passed by the House, even those passed by a Democrat majority House, because Harry Reid would not bring them to the floor for a vote. For Reid to now start pointing his finger at House Republicans for this crisis is an act of hypocrisy that must have Tip O’Neill spinning in his grave. (Yes, I know O’Neill was Speaker of the House, but it still applies.)

Both Congressional Democrats and the President keep insisting the House must compromise, meaning they want the Republicans to capitulate and vote for what the President demands. (As I have stated before, Obama’s definition of compromise is “You Republicans should sit down, shut up, and vote the way I tell you to vote!”) It has become apparent that he is incapable of compromising, incapable of negotiating anything even when it would benefit him and the country to do so.

What I find even more hypocritical is Reid’s rejection of the repeal of the Medical Device Tax as a condition for the House passing the continuing resolution, something Democrats in both the House and Senate have said they want as well. Why not now? I can see a couple of reasons for this.

First, Reid and the Democrats don’t want a repeal of the tax to be seen as a Republican idea (and victory). Second, he doesn’t want to be seen as caving in to Republican demands even though they align with his own party’s view on the Medical Device Tax.

Like either of these reasons is a good one to prevent passage of a continuing resolution that shouldn’t be necessary if Reid actually did his job, followed the Constitution, and allowed the Senate to vote on passage of the many budgets passed by the House.