12/28/2014

Thoughts On A Sunday

Monday fast approaches and the long holiday weekend is coming to an end. The coming workweek is a short one, just like last week, but that still doesn't mean I (or anyone else) is looking forward to returning to work yet.

The weather has been less then winter-like, meaning warm temps and rain rather than snow. I'm not complaining as it's meant using very little firewood to keep The Manse warm.

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I watched a little college football yesterday and both of the teams I like – Boston College and Nebraska – lost against their opponents. Neither game was a blowout, but still I wish the outcomes had been different.

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Stacy McCain quotes Friedrich Hayek, showing us that social justice is a mirage.

The term social justice has no real concrete definition, meaning it can be used to justify all kinds of actions, up to and including things like the Holocaust. Social Justice Warriors use the elusive concept to justify the violation of our constitutional rights in order to cure some perceived wrong, not understanding (or worse, not caring) that the cure is far worse than perceived wrong. But then, they're totally into the feelings, not facts mindset.

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Eric the Viking is bugged by the latest Geico commercial, seeing as it shows a nasty fire code violation.

I'm bugged by that same commercial because I have always found Salt-n-Pepa annoying.

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Self-proclaimed communist Mayor Bill deBlasio has managed to offend the very people he needs in order to maintain the peace in New York. Despite his conciliatory words after the deaths of two assassinated NYPD officers, his actions and words before hand generated a huge rift between Hizzoner and the NYPD. Is it any wonder a large number of police officers turned their backs upon the mayor at the funeral of one of the slain officers?

There hasn't been this kind of division between the mayor's office and the NYPD since the bad old days of the 1970's, something de Blasio is working hard to do: return New York to the failed policies of the 70's.

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I watched the New England Patriots play their last regular season game against the Buffalo Bills in Foxborough. It seemed to me the Patriots were just going through the motions, with poor execution by both the offense and defense. It didn't help the Patriots that they have 15 players on the injured reserve list.

The Patriots were down 17-6 in the first half. They pulled Brady as QB and let Jimmy Garappolo take snaps for the second half. Not that it did any good as the Patriots lost 17-9.

If the Patriots play like this in the playoffs they'll be out after their first game in two weeks.

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If anyone needs yet another example of how raising the minimum wage, particularly to unrealistic levels, will adversely affect local economics, then all one has to do is look to the city of Los Angeles.

While LA's geography is different than most cities, many businesses there will feel the negative effects just like San Francisco and Seattle. But then that's the problem with Progressive economists as they assume businesses and customers will gladly pay the higher prices most businesses will have to change now that their labor costs have been artificially increased beyond all reason. A clue to these idiots: They won't.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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Here's yet another thing Sarah Palin has achieved that Obama has not.

Of course I expect those afflicted with PDS will not even acknowledge such a feat.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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Anyone paying attention knew that Medicaid roles would swell under ObamaCare, and that's exactly what's happened. That doesn't automatically equate to access to health care for those new enrollees as many doctors either don't take Medicaid patients or they already have enough and can't afford to take any more. Of those doctors that do, they are going to see cuts in the amount the government will reimburse for each patient seen. That means more doctors will stop seeing Medicaid patients as it costs more to see them than the government will pay.

Call it yet another example of Progressive economics coming into play.

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I must agree with David Starr on this one: I find it interesting that with the closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant that the local NPR station is more concerned with the jobs being lost with the plant closing rather than the electricity generated by the plant being replaced by another source. (It isn't.)

As per usual, they are focusing on the wrong part of the story. I have no doubt people will bitch, moan, and complain about rising electric rates and shorter supplies. But what do they expect when they won't let anyone build the capacity needed to maintain things as it is? Too many NIMBYs and BANANAs are effing it up for everyone else. Of course they will be the first to complain when their electricity bills go up 20%, 30%, 50% or more.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where Christmas has come and gone, the New Year awaits, and where we're still gorging on Christmas fare.

12/27/2014

Feelings More Important Than Facts

I have to say I am becoming heartily sick of the Left's “feelings, not facts” philosophy. We've seen it applied in so many situations, the most recent being the Michael Brown and Eric Garner incidents and the whole “rape epidemic” narrative being played out on college campuses. That they are willing to support such an immoral take on events shows me they have no regard for reality.

The campus rape epidemic caused by the so-called “rape culture” amply illustrates that they aren't really serious about the truth because it doesn't fit their narrative. If they hewed to the truth their narrative would disappear and they would have nothing to protest against. Therefore, it must be ignored, or worse, discredited through propaganda.

On more than one occasion I have lambasted those of a leftist bent during a debate by stating, loudly: “I don't care what you feel about (insert topic of debate here). I want to know what you think about it!” More often than not the response I receive is “What's the difference?” It has become that bad.

I think we must consider it some form of mental illness when they can't differentiate between reality and what they “feel” is reality. What's worse is that this form of dissociation is catching, something not usually associated with mental illness.

12/25/2014

Merry Christmas

We here at Weekend Pundit wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

Now shut down your computer and go spend time with your family!

12/21/2014

Thoughts On A Sunday

This last weekend before Christmas (and first day of winter) has been a busy day, between getting The Manse ready for the holiday (a more thorough top-to-bottom cleaning).

BeezleBub is working on Horse Girl's Christmas present and hopes to have it done some time later today. All of the presents he's giving this year were hand made by him.

I have one last little bit of Christmas shopping to do – picking up Deb's gift down in the state capitol. (It's already set aside, I just have to go get it, something I plan to do after work Tuesday.)

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I caught this from a Dennis Miller special – America 180 - I watched on Netflix last night:

I don't mind paying taxes to support the helpless. However I do mind paying taxes to support the clueless.

Indeed.

BeezleBub watched Miller with me and I don't think I've seen him laugh that hard before. Maybe it's because Miller speaks some hard truths, but does it in such a way as to make the idiots out there look as ridiculous as they truly are.

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If this is true, I'm gonna live forever!!

Ibuprofen use leads to extended lifespan in several species, study shows.

I use ibuprofen on a regular basis, it being my pain reliever of choice. (I don't use it every day, but I do come close.)

As Glenn Reynolds states, “Faster please.”

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I think this is going to come back to bite them in the ass.

The National Labor Relations Board, a wholly owned subsidiary of Obama, has opened the door for unions to go after McDonald's corporation for the actions of its franchisees.

The National Labor Relations Board took another step toward eliminating the franchise business model on Friday, opening the doors for unionization at some of America’s largest employers.

“The complaints allege that McDonald’s USA, LLC and certain franchisees violated the rights of employees working at McDonald’s restaurants at various locations around the country by, among other things, making statements and taking actions against them for engaging in activities aimed at improving their wages and working conditions, including participating in nationwide fast food worker protests about their terms and conditions of employment during the past two years,” the agency said in a release.

Franchisors such as McDonald’s charge employers fees to operate under its corporate umbrella, but individual entrepreneurs manage business decisions, such as scheduling and pay, individually. Holding McDonald's liable for the actions of other actors threatens to undo the entire business model, according to Robert Cresanti, vice president of the International Franchising Association.

“Put yourself in the shoes of a small business person who has just invested their life savings in a new franchise,”Cresanti said. “Now they no longer own their business as a group of unelected government bureaucrats have just jeopardized whether they control their employees or not.”

If the unions get their way, they're going to see the results of the Law of Unintended Consequences kicking in, that being that many of the new union members will lose their jobs after being replaced by ordering kiosks and kitchen automation. In some cases it will drive some of the franchises to close because they'll go from making a profit to generating nothing but losses.

As too many of these union goons forget, the reason for any of these businesses to exist is to make money for the owners, not to provide jobs. That jobs are created is a side effect.

As the saying goes, better a job at $7.25 an hour than no job at $15 an hour.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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I find all kinds of “microaggressions” claims are in themselves a form of aggression, trying to make everything some form of aggression against someone.

Anyone who feels they are surrounded by all kinds of microaggressions against them or other protected classes of “victims” should seek psychiatric help. It's obvious to me they are suffering from some form of paranoia, most likely originating in the bastions of indoctrination once known as our education system.

These folks have got to get a grip on reality because no one else is going to do it for them. And once reality intrudes on their lives, they're likely to be traumatized and the folks who showed them all of these microaggressions will not be around to 'help' them.

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Tom Bowler reviews Michael Davison's America's Suicide.

To America's citizens he says, grow up!  Sound advice to be sure, and if more Americans would take it to heart the country will be the richer for it. But Mr. Davison is quite pessimistic about that actually ever happening.

Indeed. It seems too many of the American electorate have been lulled into a false belief that our nation could not be converted into a dictatorship, one run by the Progressives who so want to recreate the old Soviet Union, though they may not realize that's what they would end up creating.

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I've watched the New England Patriots playing the New York Jets today and I have to say the Patriots haven't been getting g it done. What's worse is that the Jets are 3-11 and the Pats are 11-3 for the season. I don't know if the Patriots thought it would be a cakewalk or the Jets are trying to play the spoilers, but either way both the Patriots offense and defense struggled throughout the game.

In the end they did manage to hang on and beat the Jets, 17-16.

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Jazz Shaw is calling for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to resign, and rightfully so. Explains Shaw:

When you are the mayor of a city you have many responsibilities, but one of the most vital (in terms of maintaining a functional societal structure) is the mandate to enforce the laws and maintain social order. It is the same for mayors everywhere, as well as governors and presidents. But currently, the state of relations between City Hall and the New York Police Department has devolved to the point of complete dysfunction, and criminals are well aware of this state of affairs. The fault for the creation of this toxic atmosphere is essentially found solely at the feet of Mayor de Blasio.

Even former New York governor George Pataki weighed in.

Sickened by these barbaric acts, which sadly are a predictable outcome of divisive anti-cop rhetoric of #ericholder & #mayordeblasio. #NYPD.

As Shaw commented, the relations between the mayor and the NYPD has deteriorated to the point that when “de Blasio arrived at the hospital yesterday, the uniformed officers literally turned their backs to him as he walked by. And this was at a moment when, in more normal times, they should have been rallying to the leadership of the executive.”

That doesn't bode well for de Blasio. He has shown that he has no respect for the NYPD and that disrespect is now being reflected back upon him.

It couldn't happen to a nicer communist.

(H/T Viking Pundit)

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I'm sure we'll see lots of spin from the White House on this.

It appears the Taliban leader recently released from Guantanamo by Obama was involved in the massacre of 130 children at the private school in Pakistan.

Gee, I remember more than a few people in Congress and elsewhere in the government warning Obama that it was a bad idea.

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This reminds me of the petitions out there wanting to ban dihydrogen monoxide.

George Washington University students were willing to sign a petition that would have the US Government deport one American for every illegal alien. From what Cap'n Teach tells us, it appears that “the more Progressive the student, the more willing they were to sign the petition.”

I have a suggestion: start the deportations with the students who signed the ridiculous petition. Let's see how they like it.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where preparations for Christmas continue apace, the weather is turning warmer, and where a white Christmas may be iffy.

12/20/2014

Two NYPD Officers Slain In 'Revenge' Killing

It appears two NYPD officers were killed “execution style” in revenge for the death of Eric Garner.

Of course I expect the race hustlers and critics of the NYPD to claim they didn't know the outcome of their invective would result in more deaths...at least not deaths they couldn't exploit. We've certainly seen this result before, one such incident in the past being instigated by Reverend Al Sharpton that resulted in a riot and some deaths. Now some gunman decided he would take matters into his own hands, murdering the officers and then later killing himself.

It didn't help that Mayor Bill DiBlasio threw the NYPD under the bus after the death of Eric Garner, in effect turning his back on the department. That's something the New York Patrolmen's Benevolent Association representatives didn't take sitting down, lambasting the mayor for his perceived batrayal of the department. The animosity between the mayor and the NYPD has grown, with the mayor being a less-than-welcome guest at Woodhull Hospital, where the two slain officers were taken after being shot.

“We’re all in this together,” the mayor told grieving cops, according to a cop who was there.

“No we’re not,” one officer said tersely in response.

Just last week cops began signing a “Don’t Insult My Sacrifice” waiver, distributed by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, that warned the mayor and speaker to stay away from funerals of cops killed in the line of duty.

The race hustlers and the permanently offended Progressives may be getting more than they bargained for after stirring up the populace and helping to set back both race relations and faith in the NYPD decades. But then wasn't that Mayor DiBlasio's goal? From the beginning he wanted to undo many of the successes of his predecessors and return New York to the economic malaise and crime-ridden era of the 1970's, though he claimed he wanted to “set things right” in regards to 'social justice' and welfare.

Some cops are afraid that this is just the beginning and that copycats will be emboldened to go after more police officers. I'm sorry to say that I have to agree and that things may only get worse from here on out.

12/18/2014

A Wankel Variant To Revive Rotary Engines?

I've always been fascinated by engines, be they old steam-driven behemoths, internal combustion engines, or turbines. Whether they are used in locomotives, ships, cars, trucks, or planes, I've always be interested in what makes them tick.

One engine that I've come to greatly admire is the Wankel, a rotary engine that is relatively small in size, light in weight, has few moving parts (a two rotor Wankel has only six moving parts) and has a lot of power for its displacement (between 100 and 225 hp from1.3-liters).

Mazda was one of the first automakers to produce vehicles employing Wankel engines, with the first one I remember being the RX-2, followed by the RX-3, and then later by the RX-7 and RX-8 sports cars. Yamaha fielded a Wankel-powered motorcycle, the RE-5, from 1975 to 1976.

I've read about boats re-powered with a marine version of the venerable Mazda 13-B two-rotor Wankel. (The repowered boat had incredible power – about 225 hp, normally aspirated – in a small package.) I had hoped at one point to replace the bulky 4.3-liter V6 in my boat with one of those Wankels, but it was not to be – too expensive and the marine Wankels were one-offs.

As far as I know, no one is producing automotive Wankel engines any more, with Mazda ending the production run of its RX-8 a few years ago. But that hasn't stopped anyone from trying to improve upon the design.

The latest spin on this venerable engine design has been developed by an MIT start-up, Liquid Piston. Unlike its previous configurations, Liquid Piston has created what looks nothing more like an inverse Wankel. While the standard Wankel has a roughly triangular rotor contained in what looks like a pinch-waisted oval chamber, the inverse Wankel has an oval-shaped rotor in a triangular chamber.

LiquidPiston's 70-cubic-cm engine, the X Mini, produces about 3.5 hp at 10,000 RPM; at 4 lb, it's also about 30 percent smaller than the four-stroke, 50-cubic-cm piston ICEs it aims to replace. When fully complete and optimized, Shkolnik says, the X Mini could churn out about 5 hp at 15,000 revolutions per minute, and weigh 3 lb.

Initial applications will be handheld lawn and garden equipment, Shkolnik says. But the engine can be scaled and modified for other applications, including mopeds, drones, marine power equipment, robotics, range extenders, and auxiliary power units for boats, planes, and other vehicles. The company has also demonstrated proof-of-concept for high-efficiency diesel versions of the engine, including the 70-hp X1 and the 40-hp X2, for generator and other applications. The company hopes to eventually develop small diesel versions of the X Mini engine for military applications.

"If you look at a 3-kw military generator, it's a 270-lb gorilla that takes five people to move around," Shkolnik says. "You can imagine if we can make that into a 15-lb device, it's pretty revolutionary for them."

I figure it can be scaled up even more to the point where it can power the same kind of vehicles standard Wankels have powered.

12/14/2014

Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been a quiet weekend here at The Manse, with BeezleBub at the WP In-Laws and Deb having returned to work after a six-week medical leave.

About the most exciting thing I did this weekend was to order a DVD/Blu-ray copy of A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott. Our VHS copy was getting a bit ratty and I didn't know how much longer our VHS deck would continue to operate, so I figured it was time to get a replacement. We watch it every Christmas Eve, a part of our family Christmas tradition. Frankly, I've long believed Scott's portrayal of Scrooge was one of the best I've ever seen.

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I don't think we're going to have to worry about a white Christmas this year unless we get a long stretch of warm weather or a lot of rain between now and then. Considering we've had snowcover since the two days before Thanksgiving, more snow earlier this week, and on again/off again snow flurries just about every day, I think it's a safe bet there will be snow for Christmas.

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As if I needed a scientific study to know this.

A study proves high-heels do have power over men. I know I've always liked women in heels.

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It's not surprising to me and many others that the UVA gang-rape story has fallen apart.

Frankly, it sounded too good to be true, at least in regards to how it served the feminist “rape culture” narrative. That there were no reports or criminal investigations in regards to such a brutal gang-rape made me skeptical. I had grave doubts that the alleged victim's 'friends' would convince her not to go to a hospital or report the assault to the police. Either it was made up or her friends weren't really friends at all. Who does that kind of thing to a brutalized friend?

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Here's yet another piece that ties in with my piece about the madness infecting the Obama Administration and the rest of the Progressive movement in the US.

Gee, who knew that Mitt Romney was right? I certainly did.

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Then there's this take on the Madness Of King Leftist from The Camp Of The Saints.

He is, once again, delusional; he is self-deceiving, mentally disturbed.

When such a person and his fellow self-deceivers gain Power And Control, they end-up bringing about pain and suffering and misery and Death.

The Leftist Way Of Thinking now dominates in America. And America is sliding into enslavement.

Soon, of we do not vanquish Leftism from this land, we will find ourselves prisoners of madmen.

Indeed.

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Cap'n Teach links to and comments upon the seven psychological reasons why we aren't tackling Hotcoldwetdry.

Teach adds a few of his own:

Why should I take action when Warmists won't in their own lives?

Why should we take action when 95% of computer models have failed?

Why should we destroy economies and hand over our liberty based on junk science, emotionally based arguments, and disingenuous data?

I have to correct Cap'n Teach's second point: 100% of the computer models have failed. Not one has correctly predicted the 18+ year pause, nor has one correctly hindcast global temperatures, telling us the models are seriously deficient.

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From the “This Would Be Funny If It Weren't True” files comes this from the Rumford (Maine) Meteor:

Bangor Winter Carnival Cancelled Because Of Winter.

One slightly more ironic headline under the same heading:

Common Core Prepares Students For Lucrative Future In Fields That Require Sitting On The Floor And Expressing Your Opinion About Addition.

Indeed.

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Bird Dog answers ten questions that have been bugging all of us for years.

It's about time.

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How much White Privilege Do You Have?

As much as I can grab in order to piss off those who are so obsessed with White Priviliege. That's how much I have.

Morons.

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Talk about cutting your nose off to spite your face!

One problem New England has had for some time is the lack of natural gas pipeline capacity. That has led to a roller coaster of prices for both gas and electricity. As the demand for gas goes up in the winter, the price of both natural gas and electricity skyrockets. This is because the supply cannot meet the demand, mostly because of that lack of pipeline capacity. The gas prices affect electricity prices because there have been quite a few NG-fired dual-cycle power plants built in New England, some replacing the capacity of coal-fired plants and one nuclear plant taken off-line. Some customers have seen their electric rates go up by 40% to 50% for the winter in anticipation of the rise in natural gas prices.

One would think that a proposal for a new natural gas pipeline through parts of southern New Hampshire would be met with approval. You'd be wrong.

Reading some of the articles and watching the news reports, I have to conclude the virus that causes overly emotional NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) and BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) responses has infected the populace in some of those towns. Over-the-top 'reasons' for opposing the pipeline appear to dominate, including how the pipeline will adversely affect drinking water and that all of the natural gas will be sold overseas, just to name two. (While the second complaint almost makes sense, one has to remember that there are no natural gas cryo facilities in New Hampshire or Maine which are needed to supercool the gas into liquid form for shipping in LNG tankers. The only such facilities capable of doing this on the East Coast are located in Everett, Massachusetts, just north of Boston, and that facility has been closed for years.)

One has to wonder who will scream the loudest if the pipeline isn't built and electric rates skyrocket again or rolling blackouts are required because of the lack of natural gas to generate electricity? If Ihad to guess (and I will), it will be those same folks protesting against the pipeline.

If people are going to protest such a pipeline, I would find them far more credible if they were arguing against it based upon facts and evidence that such a pipeline would cause the problems they say it will. But basing their dissent upon an emotional response makes their protests ring hollow.

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Related to the story above, a local politician - a representative to the New Hampshire House - discussed the pipeline protests, talking about how his town voted 419-1 to oppose the pipeline. Despite his personal belief that it might be a good thing, he stated he will do the bidding of his constituents and propose legislation that will make such a pipeline more difficult to route through his town.

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Has the release of the Senate CIA torture report backfired on the Democrats?

After reading this, I'd have to say it has.

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It seems California is battling the worst whooping cough epidemic in 70 years.

An epidemiologist with the state's Department of Public Health doesn't attribute the epidemic to the lower rate of vaccinations but rather that the existing vaccine is not nearly as effective as past vaccines.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where Christmas is less than two weeks away, folks are being frugal with their gift-giving, and where people are nervously eying their wood piles.

12/13/2014

They First Make Mad

This piece is timely considering my previous post.

It seems we have been inundated as of late with contradictory and paradoxical claims about cause and effect, human motivations, and plain history. That has been part and parcel of the Obama Administration, the Democrat Party, and the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming alarmists, just to name a few. Call it the perfect storm of insanity, something visited upon them by the Gods in order to eventually destroy them. My only qualm about it is that these nutjobs just might take the rest of us with them when they finally implode.

It used to strike me as impossible for global warming to cause cold weather.  Then I realized that I could chill a soft drink in the oven if there were no room left in the refrigerator to bake a cake.

Up until then I did not know that the same cause can have opposite effects.  In my unenlightened state, it never occurred to me that carbon dioxide could cause both excessive heat and excessive cold, both drought and flood.

After all, we calm hyperactive children with stimulants and cure addiction to drugs with addicting drugs.  When the government goes too far in debt, it borrows more money.   We achieve diversity through uniformity.  We overcome racism with racism.  When children don't learn, we send them to schools that don't teach.  We question authority by believing the authorities.

Barack tells looters and arsonists that he too is angry.  Michelle tells single mothers on welfare that she too has it rough.  Heads they win, tails we lose.

Obama thinks that siding with our enemies against our friends will leave us with no enemies and lots of friends.  Hillary Clinton thought that the way to protect Benghazi was to send security away and hire people who hate us.  Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

The last part is due to Obama’s willingness to ignore history, which has shown us appeasing enemies merely encourages them to make even greater demands, or worse, goads them into even more hostile acts because they know we won’t fight back. Even children come to understand that standing up to the playground bully ends the bullying and abuse. Too bad for us Obama and his administration never learned that lesson.

…the scientific establishment believes, or at least pretends to believe, that warm weather, cold weather, floods, and droughts are caused by carbon dioxide released into the air by the burning of fossil fuels, that, in other words, human beings control the weather.  They think that we can prevent the climate from changing on a planet that has had billions of years of changing climates.

Of course, these scientists believe that hot, cold, wet, and dry are great evils, more deadly than nuclear warfare and nerve gas attacks according to the Secretary of State, who for some bizarre reason is in charge of pipeline safety, and they believe that enemies of science deserve the blame for these evils, implying thereby that the reverence once reserved for God belongs to Tea Partiers, Pro-Lifers, Fundamentalists, Big Oil, Texans, Red Staters, the One Percent, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh.

Carson forgot to mention the Koch Brothers, the supposed source of all evil in America. (So believes my brother-in-law, who didn’t care that during the mid-term elections that multibillionaire Tom Steyer spent more than an order of magnitude more money trying to keep the Democrats in power than the Koch Brothers did to unseat them.)

Unfortunately I have run into more than a few of the “true believers” of that stripe. No amount of evidence, facts, or direct observations will sway them from their self-contradictory beliefs. Their entire belief system is based upon sound bites from biased MSM outlets and cribbed from talking point memo-type propaganda campaigns. No real facts or evidence need apply. It doesn’t matter that even plain logic dictates their beliefs are based upon overt falsehoods. Hence the only explanation is that they have become mad, quite mad, I tell you!

That many of these types of folks populate government and, even worse, our schools and colleges, means this madness can spread. (It’s the only reason I can think of that explains the push for Common Core, something that has no redeeming value and leaves our kids incapable of reasoning or thinking critically.)

12/11/2014

Make It So, Make It So, Make It So!

A little something for all those Star Trek fans out there while I work on a more serious post.

12/09/2014

Is Another Major War Looming?

George Santayana's axiom about history still rings true: Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

It seems we have been ignoring history and are once again entering a perilous time. What is looming before us is the possibility of war.

Writes Victor Davis Hanson:

The world is changing and becoming even more dangerous — in a way we’ve seen before.

In the decade before World War I, the near-100-year European peace that had followed the fall of Napoleon was taken for granted. Yet it abruptly imploded in 1914. Prior little wars in the Balkans had seemed to predict a much larger one on the horizon — and were ignored.

The exhausted Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires were spent forces unable to control nationalist movements in their provinces. The British Empire was fading. Imperial Germany was rising. Czarist Russia was beset with revolutionary rebellion. As power shifted, decline for some nations seemed like opportunity for others.

The same was true in 1939. The tragedy of the Versailles Treaty of 1919 was not that it had been too harsh. In fact, it was far milder than the terms Germany had imposed on a defeated Russia in 1918 or the requirements it had planned for France in 1914.

Instead, Versailles combined the worst of both worlds: harsh language without any means of enforcement.

The subsequent appeasement of Britain and France, the isolationism of the United States, and the collaboration of the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany green-lighted Hitler’s aggression — and another world war.

America's diplomatic and military strength has waned, not because of our country's inherent weakness but because our leaders wanted it that way, assuming that by appeasing our enemies that they wouldn't hate us any more. But history shows that appeasement encourages our enemies to take more drastic measures because they know we aren't likely to stop them. All one needs to do is look up Neville Chamberlain to see how well his efforts to appease Adolph Hitler worked to stem the tide of war. (Hint: It didn't. It merely bought a few months time for Nazi Germany to complete their preparations for the invasion of Poland, kicking off World War II.)

We are allowing weak adversaries to dictate terms to us as if by doing so they'll make nice. They won't. They will demand more, and if we don't give it to them, they'll take it by force. Think Putin's moves on Ukraine along with his threats to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and previous actions against Belarus and Georgia. What did we do? Nothing. China is also becoming more aggressive, as is Iran. This despite the fact that even with our shrinking military we are far stronger than any of them.

Should war come and we end up on the receiving end, we will only have our own leaders to blame, with a lion's share going to President Obama for all his efforts to cripple the US all in the name of some deluded idea of “fairness”. (Not once has TOTUS ever explained what he means by “fair”. I have a feeling it's far different from anyone else's.) The problem is that should war come, he won't be able to explain to the millions of dead why he sacrificed them all in the name of some twisted ideology that has no relation to reality.

12/07/2014

Thoughts On A Sunday

Yet another snowfall blanketed New Hampshire, though not to the extent it had prior to Thanksgiving. We did lose power, but only briefly. This time it wasn't caused by falling tree limbs but by a traffic accident just down the road.

Snowblowing the 3+ inches was problematic seeing as the snow was very wet and heavy, something the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower didn't handle all that well. (We had to replace one shear pin and clean out the clogged discharge chute over a dozen times.)

With the sun out today we got some more melting of the ice/frozen slush left after clearing the driveway.

I'm just hoping this isn't setting the pattern for snowfall for the rest of the winter, something my grandfather always talked about. He was firm believer the first couple of snowfalls indicated the pattern of storms for the rest of the winter. If that is indeed the case then this is going to be a long arduous winter.

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It's not surprising to me that the White House has refused to release any documents relating to the IRS targeting conservative groups for 'special' scrutiny. After all, the Obama Administration has a lot to hide.

This from an administration that touted itself as “one of the most transparent presidencies in history.” The Nixon White House was more transparent than this administration, and that's saying something.

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Mary Landrieu can add a new title to her collection: ex-US Senator.

Landrieu lost her runoff election against GOP challenger Bill Cassidy, losing by almost 12 percentage points, handing the Republicans a solid 54 seat majority in the US Senate.

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I have to agree with many who think the only way to rein in the federal government overreach is for the state legislatures to wrest power away from Washington, exercising their Ninth an d Tenth Amendment rights, and if need be, call for an Article V constitutional convention.

Washington needs to be reminded that it serves us and not the other way around.

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In line with what I wrote above, I think we should consider adding a Sunset Committee to Congress whose sole purpose will be to review all older legislation and programs and decide which of them are no longer germane, duplicative, or are at cross-purposes with other laws. It will then create a list of those laws and programs and generate legislation to “sunset” them, i.e. repeal the no longer needed laws or shutdown the useless or redundant programs. A number of states have them, so why not the federal government? (New Hampshire used to have just such a Sunset Commission, but it did away with itself some time in the late 80's. I think it's time to bring it back.)

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Glenn Reynolds comments upon the fake UVA gang-rape scandal and links to previous posts and comments about how college campuses are now hostile environments for males. Some of his previous posts date back to 2002, so it isn't as if this anti-male hostility on campuses has sprung up just recently.

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There seems to be some truth in this.

“Contemporary liberalism is a scheme for the already affluent and influential ti increase their power.”

In other words, Liberalism is a hoax.

Liberal myths propagated to generate outrage and activism, to organize and coordinate and mobilize disparate grievances and conflicting agendas, so often have the same relation to truth, accuracy, and legitimacy as a Bud Light commercial. Marketing is not limited to business. Inside the office buildings of Washington, D.C., are thousands upon thousands of professionals whose livelihoods depend on the fact that there is no better way than a well-run public-relations campaign to get you to do what they want. What recent weeks have done is provide several lessons in the suspect nature of such campaigns.

Then again, most of the American people have known that for a long time.

(H/T Eric The Viking)

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It seems an Arizona police officer was recorded on video “brutally attacking” a 15-year old girl during a traffic stop.

The problem?

The video tape in question shows no punches being thrown by the officer despite claims to the contrary by the girl's mother and the person who recorded the video.

So who are we to believe? Our lying eyes watching the video tape or the two 'witnesses'?

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Regular readers know I have no love for labor unions, particularly in light of my almost 20-year membership in one. It appears I'm not the only one who feels animosity for unions, particularly their own unions. This is particularly true of public-employee unions.

In Wisconsin it has become evident that 15,000 teachers have no love of their union, with 25 more unions decertified by their 'members' votes. When the unions are nothing more than a fund-raising organ of one particular political party (Hint: it isn't the GOP), their reason to exist is gone. They really don't represent the rank-and-file and as such shouldn't expect to retain any loyalty of their members. Once the union members had the power to decide whether or not their union should survive, a lot of them saw decertification as a path to freedom and took it.

If others are given the opportunity I expect to see similar results.

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I've put off my annual flu vaccine, not because I didn't think I needed it but because I just plain keep forgetting to get it. Now it looks like I probably won't bother this year because the vaccine that is available is a poor match of this year's flu virus.

Each year epidemiologists make educated guesses about which flu strains will be making the rounds. For the most part they get it right. Just not this year.

The season has only just begun, but 91 percent of the approximately 1,200 samples tested thus far are of the H3N2 subtype of influenza A, Dr. Frieden said. Almost all the rest were influenza B. There were almost no samples of the H1 subtype, a descendant of the 2009 swine flu strain.

Years in which H3 subtypes are more common than H1 subtypes tend to lead to more hospitalizations and deaths.

Moreover, about half of those H3 subtypes — or about 45 percent of all the samples tested so far — are of a new H3 subtype that this season’s flu vaccine does not protect well against.

The new subtype showed up early this spring and in the US early this fall. That meant there wasn't any time to create an updated vaccine so we're stuck with the one we have.

Great. I guess I'll have to do like Glenn Reynolds has suggested and lay in a supply of Tamiflu.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the temperatures are plummeting, more snow is forecast for the middle of the week, and where we're already getting a good case of snow fatigue...and it's not even yet.

12/06/2014

Local Progressives Unminded By Midterm Election Results

Since the mid-term elections, our local Progressives have been going out of their minds. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say their mental states have deteriorated even farther than most of us even thought possible.

One of our more vocal and emotional progressive academics has deteriorated to the point where he is no longer able to differentiate between reality and the delusions from which he suffers. This delusional state has him libeling an entire group of people he doesn't know, has never met, and will never lower himself to meet. (Then again, he's an leftist academic, and in his mind no one with contrary viewpoints can ever offer him insight into the real world.)

His latest target: the Tea Party.

Not all conservatives, even extreme conservatives, can be called fascist. However, the Tea Party and similar movements which have infiltrated even traditionally moderate state Republican parties often possess certain characteristics that make may make them the closest thing we have seen to an American fascist movement in decades.

I don't know about you, but I am not aware of any “fascist” movement that wants the government to leave the people alone, to follow the law, not spend money it doesn't have on things the people don't want, and to perform the function it is supposed to. But then, fascist is a term used by this close-minded jerk to describe anyone who dares to disagree with his totalitarian ideology.

Like many on the Left, he accuses his opponents of deeds and actions that he himself would have no problem supporting as long as they were used against those he saw as “enemies of the state”, in this case the state as defined by Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. How do I know this? Because of his false accusations about Tea Party activities.

The Tea Party has not yet taken to extreme acts of violence. But, why is the movement arming itself?

He implies the Tea Party has already resorted to violence, just not “extreme acts of violence.” But he doesn't cite a single act of violence committed by Tea Party members. Not one. And the reason why he won't is because there are none.

More than a few people responded to this crank's claims, showing for the jerk and propagandist he is.

One suggested that if he really wanted to find out what the Tea Party was all about that he should attend a meeting. His response: silence.

Another suggested he check the definition of fascism in the dictionary as it was quite evident he didn't have a clue what it means. That's a surprise considering he's an academic. His response: silence.

Another dinged him one the lies told by his fellow travelers in support of Obamacare. His response: silence.

Yet another reminded him that most people merely want life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, a concept that appears to be foreign to this academic jerk. He also sets this fellow straight, slamming him for his derogatory and libelous language. But what does he expect from a willfully ignorant, indoctrinated drone incapable of expressing an opinion that wasn't programmed into him by his progressive handlers?

12/05/2014

A Ferguson Truth

Received via e-mail:


Heh.

12/03/2014

The High Political Cost Of Cheap Oil

We always complain when the price of oil goes up, seeing how it affects the price of gasoline and heating fules, and by extension, the cost of everything else. But there are those who bemoan the falling price of energy, not because they are oil producers but because they have everything they can do to artificially raise the cost of energy. Who are “they”?

The White House, of course.

While it seems that we will never run out of oil, something that is anathema to Obama's push to price energy until it is out of reach of everyone not in the top 10% “for our own good”, the glut in oil supplies is driving prices down and causing ripples across the world's economy. In the US, lower oil pries and expanding supply have put immense pressure on the bio-fuel industry, making it less attractive economically and an expensive alternative to a cheap, plentiful fuel. It will continue to require government mandates to remain viable even though there is no real need for its existence.

Elsewhere, the drop in oil prices is putting the squeeze on governments dependent upon oil revenues for funds. One of those now in financial trouble is Russia, which requires oil to be at $100 per barrel in order to assure it will have the money to fund the government. With oil under $70 per barrel, Russia's government is in trouble. Iran is also in similar financial straits, as is Venezuela. (Venezuela's problems go beyond the drop in oil prices, with one of the biggest being the fall-off in oil production due to its failing petroleum infrastructure.)

Lower prices may also affect the dollar's power since there appears to be a shift away from the dollar as a pricing measure for crude oil. Some of this is driven by the sanctions laid upon Russia and Iran, which means they have great incentives to find ways of not using dollars for their oil sales. The rest may be laid at the feet of the US Federal Reserve's monetary policies that have made the dollar less attractive as a reserve currency.

It will be interesting to see what the lower prices will do to the shifting power structures throughout the world.

11/30/2014

Thoughts On A Sunday

It's taken days but most of the power has been restored to the over 200,000 homes left without it after the Great 'Day Before Thanksgiving Day' Nor'easter. We were fortunate that our power was out for inly 2 hours. Others didn't have theirs restored until today.

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Deb and I have been cleaning up around The Manse, continuing with both the post-Thanksgiving Day cleanup and our continuing fall cleanup. That has included cleaning the oven (it really stinks when we run the cleaning cycle) and finishing the last of the dishes before they are returned to their owners or to storage in one of our kitchen cabinets.

A trip to the dump and the recycling center helped do away with a the piles of unserviceable bits and pieces we've accumulated. We are also gathering clothing we no longer wear because they are too big, too small, or just unwanted, and will be bundling them off to the local Goodwill. Some last shoveling and snowblowing also opened the ground for some melting over the next few days.

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I find it hypocritical the media is slamming RNC staffer Elizabeth Lauten for posting comments about Malia and Sasha Obama's reactions during the annual Turkey Amnesty, yet remained absolutely silent when the DNC and the media went after Sarah Palin's kids with a viciousness that took many people by surprise, including many Democrats.

It just yet another example of the double standard and an indication that much of the media are merely Democrat operatives with bylines.

What Lauten wrote was a mild rebuke. The abuse heaped upon the Palin children was orders of magnitude worse than that.

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This quote brought me up short:

“How come looters never steal work boots?”

By way of Maggie's Farm.

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Ashe Schow reminds American radical feminists of Five Things To Be Thankful For As A Woman In America. For sure most, if not all of those things would be denied them in places like the Middle East and the Asian sub-continent.

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For those who have been paying attention, it's no surprise that more Americans than ever are delaying medical treatment due to the skyrocketing cost of health care caused by Obamacare. This was not an unexpected side-effect of the misnamed Affordable Care Act.

The hardest-hit: the middle-class. Americans with an annual household income of between $30,000 and $75,000 began delaying medical care over costs more in 2014, up to 38 percent in 2014 from 33 percent last year; among households that earn above $75,000, 28 percent delayed care this year, compared to just 17 percent last year.

It isn't just affecting the cost of treatment but the cost of pharmaceuticals. In the past 18 months I've seen the cost of one particular pharmaceutical increase by over 121%. When I asked our pharmacist why the cost had gone up so much, she stated that all the drugs of that type had gone up because of certain provisions of the ACA.

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David Starr adds his 2¢worth about the rising costs of health care in the US, showing we aren't getting our money's worth and why. He offers four solutions to the problem. I happen to agree with all of them.

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Oh, yay! Yet another hate hoax at one of our institutions of higher learning.

I expect the perpetrator will be severely dealt with...or not. At least previous perpetrators of these types of hoaxes have not had anything more than an admonition from the administrators of those colleges not to do it again.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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This doesn't bode well for fast food workers in the US.

Due to a labor shortage in Singapore, one restaurant is using robots to fill the jobs normally taken by humans, in this case delivering food orders to their patrons.

How long before US restaurants start doing the same thing, but in this case to replace very expensive and overpaid waiters and other food service personnel?

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The New England Patriots lost to the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, 26-21.

It wasn't a blow out and the Patriots managed to seriously limit Green Bay's ability to score touchdowns from the red zone. In the end the Patriots didn't get it done.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where power has been restored, the madness of Black Friday has subsided, and where all of the Thanksgiving visitors have departed for home.

11/28/2014

Not "Star Wars" Tie Fighters

This is something I saw on Jimmy Kimmel the other night and enjoyed it immensely. Consider it a way to take your attention away from some of the more distracting minutiae for a few minutes.

11/27/2014

Thanksgiving Day In The Aftermath Of a Nor'easter

Thanksgiving Day started early here at The Manse, beginning with a text from the youngest WP Sister at 5:44AM: “Power out as of 3AM. Turkey in precarious state. Do you have power?”

Thus began the Great Nor’easter Thanksgiving Day ‘adventure’.

I had to roust BeezleBub out of his slumber to fire up the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower to clear the snow that had fallen since last night, making it possible for my sister to make it down the driveway. I got the oven prepped and cleaned up the of last of last night’s dishes before the WP Sis and the turkey arrived.(Note: We had over 12 inches of wet, heavy snow, hence our problems with over 200,000 power outages all over New Hampshire .)

The youngest WP Sister, aka ‘Bean’, packaged up our 36lb turkey and brought it to The Manse. At 6:45AM the turkey was in the oven.

At 8AM the power here at The Manse went out. A call to the power company and we found out power wasn’t likely to be restored until 11AM.

Texts back and forth and a few phone calls later and the turkey was on its way to the WP Nephew’s home on the other side of town and into its third oven.

Because of the lack of power, Bean and the WP Mom were at one of our local eateries for breakfast. It turns out it was the same eatery from which we had ordered some pies for our Thanksgiving feast, so they picked them up on their way out, saving us a trip.

At 10AM the power came back on! That meant the turkey needed to come back here since the WP Nephew had a turkey to cook for his family, too. So once again the 36lb bird traveled from one oven to another.

All of our plans were for Thanksgiving dinner at the WP Mom's. But the lack of power at her abode made that impossible, so all of our celebrations had to be moved to The Manse. The problem: we'd made no preparations to receive the dozen or so guests, the house was not set up (or cleaned) to accommodate guests, and we lacked the tables and chairs needed. We had quite a time picking up the needed items and getting them to The Manse.

The WP clan was able to move the feast location, ensure the huge turkey was cooked to perfection along with all the trimmings, all while making accommodations for extra guests who were forced to abandon their original Thanksgiving plans, and do this in less then two hours.

As more than one family member stated at the end of the festivities, this will be one of those Thanksgivings that will be remembered by all for years to come.

11/26/2014

On Thanksgiving Eve...And After

The snow is piling up outside The Manse, here on the eve of Thanksgiving, making travel treacherous for those attempting to get to their Thanksgiving destinations. As I write this there is over 5” of wet, heavy snow piled up outside. I have already been required to pull out a ladder and climb up a few steps to clean the snow off the satellite dish to allow proper reception.

Like many of you out there, I am looking forward to tomorrow's Thanksgiving gathering. It is one of my favorite holidays, surpassing even Christmas and the Fourth of July.

I will admit to dreading the Black Friday shopping traffic that will abound even up here in central New Hampshire. I, for one, will do my best to avoid the retail shops and malls on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. About the closest I will get to any of them will be as I take the back roads to the dump on Friday and Saturday.

One place that will not have to worry about Black Friday traffic will be one the few malls in central New Hampshire, specifically the Steeplegate Mall in Concord. Seeing it has become yet another of the many so-called 'ghost' malls in the US, I doubt it will see all that much in the way of the Christmas retail sales.

When Steeplegate opened Aug. 1, 1990, plenty of people said it was a good idea. The mall would create jobs, attract tourists on the way to Lake Winnipesaukee and provide shopping for state workers toiling in the area. The Sears on Concord’s Main Street became Steeplegate’s main anchor. The local J.C. Penney and Steinbach, a regional department store based in Asbury Park, N.J., followed suit.

About half of Steeplegate’s 80 spaces were vacant when the mall opened. In the coming years, the proprietors struggled to fill them.

It didn’t help that Best Buy, Target, Home Depot and Toys “R” Us opened nearby. The big boxes siphoned off the mall’s customers. Chain restaurants like Olive Garden and Applebee’s emptied out the food court. Meanwhile, regional malls stepped up their game, including the Mall of New Hampshire. In 1994, an outlet mall opened about the same distance to the north.

While the idea sounded great when it was proposed, and a number of stores in Concord's downtown area moved to the mall on the other side of the city, it never really generated the buzz so many other malls within the state did. Over the years a number of the retailers who made the move to the mall moved back to the city's downtown and saw their sales rebound.

The mall is gorgeous. It's clean. It has easy access to one of the Interstates and a major state highway. And it's virtually empty.

There's something sad about such a mall. It's as if it's slowly fading away from neglect.

11/23/2014

Thoughts On A Sunday

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and preparations for Thursday's celebration are ongoing.

The WP clan will be gathering at the WP Mom's abode to celebrate, with much of the food preparation taking place here at The Manse or at my dear brother's place. After this past week we didn't want to burden her with the stress of having to coordinate anything, considering the goings on over this past week.

While it will be bittersweet, it will be a celebration nonetheless.

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The fallout from President Obama's decree on immigration continues. You know it's bad when even leading Democrats have been saying it was the wrong thing to do.

Then again, Obama has shown himself to be a hypocrite – stating at an earlier time when he was still a US Senator the President should stay within the law and work with Congress to hammer things out, then turning around and issuing an imperial decree when things don't go his way. Then again we've seen all throughout his administration that he has no use for the Constitution and will go around it when he doesn't get his way.

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Oh, this is going to sting!

Does anyone remember those 'missing' e-mails from Lois Lerner's 'crashed' computer that could prove that the IRS targeted GOP and conservative political groups for special scrutiny at the behest of the Democrats and the White House? They are missing no more.

Thirty thousand e-mails to and from Lois Lerner have been recovered.

The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) informed congressional staffers from several committees on Friday that the emails were found among hundreds of “disaster recovery tapes” that were used to back up the IRS email system.

Committees in the House and Senate are seeking the emails, which they believe could show Lerner was working in concert with Obama administration officials to target conservative and Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status before the 2012 presidential election.

I have a feeling this news will have a lot of Obama operatives and supporters diving for cover.

Let the subpoenas begin!

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A reader asks Dr. Helen whether “geeks are on strike.” This question was brought up due to the two most recent 'geek gaffes', namely the Shirtstorm and Gamergate scandals.

I probably have a unique perspective on it due to my connections to the young guys in the gaming industry. It’s bizarre how some of them are in their twenties, have graduated from good schools, and have simply zero interest in women. They just have literally nothing in common with them and no interest in them.

The biggest communication problem is that most women see “relationship” as a positive thing. Most men see it as an ambiguous thing. So, when the selling point of Little Miss Real Life over Jane Pornstar is “relationship,” you can see where it’s not going to be very appealing. I don’t think there’s much of a “fuck you” element, though. The guys who think that way tend to be the players, particularly the Sigma players. A lot of the guys who opt out aren’t particularly angry at women, they just don’t see much point to pursuing involvement with them.

Perhaps what the reader is observing in Gamergate and Shirtgate is that the geeks involved not only don’t have the social conditioning to “make nice,” but that they have less to lose than conformists such as the media or feminists who need other women and men to join their worldview.

The conformists hate that their groupthink doesn’t extend to everyone and are taken by surprise that the geeks don’t care if they are invited to the party. They learned long ago that they weren’t invited in the first place and many made their own world that didn’t depend on being popular. One thing about being on the outside is that it can be freeing and allow one to fight back without restraint. The conformists can’t forgive that. When you see people on Twitter and in the media calling these guys names and bellyaching about them, it just shows that the geeks have won.

Exactly. So it's not surprising the geeks are telling the perpetually offended feminazis to “bugger off!” I only wish the poor sod at the ESA who was the target in the #Shirtstorm debacle had told them the same thing.

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The University System As The Village Of The Damned indeed!

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A UC Berkeley alum shares his disgust for his alma mater, illustrating just how much worse it has become, illustrating just how bad it's become in a video, showing how it has become an anti-semetic and even more deeply anti-American institution of indoctrination.

If you support Palestine or other radical Islamic nations or causes, you are directly supporting genocidal, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-American, anti-Western, incredibly violent, sadistic regimes. Ask yourself what that says about you. I can assure you without any hesitation that you would be the same person who would have supported Stalin in the 1930s, Hitler in the 1930s and 1940s, and Genghis Khan in the 12th and 13th centuries. You are a person utterly bereft of any decency or morality, and this is true no matter how you try to use the battle cries of “imperialism” and “oppression” to dress up your perverse cultural predilections and moral vacuum.

What many of the Berkeley students don't realize is that if those same powers they support ever took control here in the US they would be the first ones to be imprisoned and, even more likely, beheaded.

Heh.

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Judge Janine Pirro slammed Obama on Fox News Opening Statement last night, comparing him to a mobster with contempt for the law.

Beginning her segment with a series of clips showing Obama himself declaring the action he took Thursday to be illegal, Pirro noted the president has been on the record stating at least 12 times that the solution to American immigration’s problems was to be found in Congress, not the Oval Office.

“This is not about the audacity of hope, Mr. President,” Pirro said. “This is about the tenaciousness of your lawlessness, the imbalance of your moral code, and the imposition of your political agenda.”

Actually, gangsters respect the law more. At least they don’t pretend they’re following it.

Has Obama ever had any respect for the law? Not that I can tell.

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The News Junkie expounds upon the infantile relationship we have with government.

Over 100 years, government trained the masses to think "government should do something" whenever life presents them with obstacles, challenges, heartaches, bad luck, and expenses.

Is it any wonder government, or at least those in government, believe they should be running every aspect of our lives?

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where we're getting a break from the chilling temperatures over the next few days, finishing up on the last of the yard work, and where preparations for Thanksgiving continue apace.

11/20/2014

I'm Gonna Do It My Way!

I listened to President Obama's speech about the executive action he will be taking in regards to the illegal immigration problem we have. As expected he laid the blame at the feet of the GOP. He also kept emphasizing that his actions were “lawful”, maybe not so much to convince the American people but to convince himself and his sycophants. He tried to sound reasonable, but then he always sounds reasonable, even when he's pushing damaging legislation or foreign policy decisions that come back to haunt us.

I've said it before and I'm going to say it again: What a putz.

11/18/2014

What They Really Think Of Us

Between David Gruber's admission in front of a camera that he thinks the American people are “too stupid” to make decisions for themselves, and stating outright that the Obama Administration had no problems lying to the American people in order to pass legislation that no one in their right mind would support, it gives us a snapshot of just what our political elite - our self-anointed “betters” - really think of us. That in itself should give us pause to reconsider what we think of them.

They do not have our best interests at heart despite their claims to the contrary. They think of us as incompetent children who need to be led down the right path in life, that being obeisance to the state and perpetual dependence upon it. They really don't like us very much. But the thing is that we outnumber them. As such we have the power to tell them to “shove it”, take their power away from them (either by the ballot box or the gun), and then get back to our lives and our work undisturbed by these 'intellectual' know-nothings. When one compares the lives of Americans in fly-over country to the lives of the political elites, you'll find that the elites' lives are no better than anyone else's. The big difference is that they have more money – usually ours rather than theirs – but their lives are little different. They experience they same ups and downs, joys and sorrows, triumphs and failures as the rest of us. However their worries tend to be different as they rarely have to deal with the effects of government over-reach into the economy and our lives. They have in effect carved out exemptions that allows them to skirt the effects of the actions they've taken to control the rest of us.

Socialists are one of the more hypocritical groups within the political elite. Have you ever noticed how many of the most vocal and adamant socialists all have one thing in common? That commonality: wealth. Their wealth insulates them from the effects of the very socialist agendas they're pushing. (The wealthy generally aren't socialists, but all of the more prominent socialists are wealthy. That's one of those examples of cognitive dissonance for which the Left is so famous.)

So the next time we hear the Obama Administration or the Democrats in Congress say they're trying to “help” the American people we'll know they only thing they're trying to do is help themselves to our money, our health care, and in the end, control over our lives.

11/16/2014

Not My Usual "Thoughts On A Sunday" Post

Normally I start my Sunday post with some reference to the goings on around The Manse or in our town, usually covering something mundane or mildly humorous. But I can't this time.

You see, my father - the infamous Weekend Pundit Dad - passed away Friday morning. His passing was not an unexpected event seeing as he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma. He was given two to three months before the cancer would kill him. It took a little over three weeks.

He wasn't afraid of dying per se. It was more that he was afraid his mental faculties would be seriously affected, leaving him non compos mentis for weeks before he finally shuffled off this mortal coil. Just last weekend he was hale an hearty, at least for him, enjoying a visit from two of his nephews from Connecticut.

He hated being fussed over and there were times when he said he felt smothered, but that was just Dad expressing his need to show he was still capable of doing things for himself. Thursday that all changed.

My sisters, my brother and his wife, and me along with BeezleBub were there to help rearrange things in the house to make it easier to take care of him, including a hospital bed to make it easier for him to get in and out of bed. He looked drained, as if he'd spent all day laboring at some great task. He dozed now and then, but would fully engage when anyone spent time talking with him. When it was time for me and BeezleBub to leave, he took my hand in a shake and I said “I love you, Dad. I'll be by tomorrow.”

Just a little before 7AM the next morning one of my sisters called to tell me that Dad had just passed away. He went in his sleep, his mind intact, just as he wanted.

One can't ask for more than that.

I love you, Dad.

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My normal Thoughts On A Sunday post will resume next weekend.

11/13/2014

"I'll Grind Their Bones To Make My Bread..."

One of my favorite quotes seen today on Instapundit in regards to Scott Walker::

Does Walker sizzle? Not exactly. Is he a particularly charismatic speaker? No, he isn’t. But does he sit upon a throne made of the skulls of his enemies? Yes, yes he does.

Every time Wisconsin Democrats and their union cronies think they have Scott Walker on the ropes and on the way out, he proves them wrong. Every time they lose to him they become weaker and less relevant. Every time they go up against him they lose even more support, and more imprtantly, they lose more money.

You'd think they would have figured this out by now, but it's apparent they haven't. They also don't have the support they thought they did. Those public employee union members who used to have their money taken from them non-voluntarily in the form of union dues have repudiated them, gladly giving up union membership now that the unions can no longer force their employers (the state or local governments) to collect dues for them. They haven't realized the voters have derailed their gravy train, a long overdue event.

11/12/2014

At The End Of The Day....

It was the end of my work day. I was heading out the side door to our building when I looked over towards the Belknap Mountains and saw something that stopped me in my tracks.

The mountains were illuminated by the setting sun, something I've seen many times before. But what had me stopping and gawking were the juxtaposition of some of the lower clouds flowing over the tops of the mountains, lit up by the setting sun, and the darker sky above that, providing a contrast that is very hard to describe.

I stopped long enough to pull out my cell phone and take a few pictures, knowing even as I was did so the quality of the photos would be poor at best. (Indeed, they were. No amount of working on them with my photo editing suite could make up for the poor image quality.) With the flowing of the clouds over the mountains I knew that if I went back inside to grab the high-res digital camera from our engineering lab, the beautiful scene would be gone. Instead, I stood there for a few minutes longer, imprinting the scene upon my memory until the clouds drifted to the other side of the mountains and the light from the sun faded away.

It was the perfect way to end the work day.

11/09/2014

Thoughts On A Sunday

Winter preparations continue here at The Manse.

One thing I had to do was remove the blowers on the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove again to take a second crack at cleaning them out. While first attempt did increase the airflow, it wasn't enough, so a second and more thorough cleaning was warranted. After it was done the airflow was restored and the blowers were much quieter than they have been in quite some time.

A lot of stuff went to the dump on Saturday, consisting mostly of unwanted and non-repairable items from the basement as well as some items from the WP Parents' abode as well. There was also a trip to the recycling center as well.

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Even though we haven't had any significant snowfall here at The Manse yet, there was some the other evening, giving us a small preview of what's coming over the next 4 months. If the Weather GuysTM are right, we're due for some bone-chilling temperatures later this coming week as a northern Pacific hurricane pushes the jet stream, creating a large dip well into the south and east. I have no doubt there may be some snow to go with that.

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After the killing of Honor Guard Corporal Nathan Cirillo in front of the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa, a retired United States Marine felt he had to do something to honor Corporal Cirillo's sacrifice.

On October 31st, Major R.E.G. “Fox” Sinke, Jr. (USMC Retired) with dual American and Canadian citizenship, donned his dress blues and stood guard by himself at the Memorial until a Canadian honor guard joined him. Sinke is a much decorated war veteran, having been awarded five Purple Hearts.

Sinke received death threats for his actions. His response: “If they're looking for a fight, they came to the right guy...I promise you this: If they come here, they'll die here.”

Ooorah!

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Gee, yet another one of Obama's favorite green energy projects, in this case the $1.6 billion Ivanpah Solar Electric Power Plant, is bankrupt, can't pay its bills, and wants a $539 million government bailout.

Hmm, where have we heard that before? Solyndra, anyone?

(H/T Instapundit)

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Of course he'll ignore the polls showing huge opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants. After all, he's supposedly smarter than everyone else in America and he knows better.

Yeah. Right.

On the other hand that gives him and the Democrats a built-in constituency for the next couple of generations. He must be pulling a play from the LBJ playbook.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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Mike Hendrix shows us how badly deluded some of the Democrats are in regards to the mid-term election results, acting as if it's their party that won at both state and federal level, denying that the voters have shown their displeasure at Obama's policies, as well as being totally wrong about which party has been obstructive in regards to getting legislation passed. (Hint: It wasn't the GOP. Just ask Harry Reid about all of the votes on House-passed legislation he's quashed over the past 4 years.)

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David Starr asks a truly important question in regards to the just-completed election season: Should TV stations air deceptive ads?

Down at the bottom, the local station owners can decide to air, or not to air, any ad.  Is it ethical for them to air ads that they know, and everyone knows, are deceptive? Like half the political ads aired this last election (like just this week). Most of the ads accused the other side of illegal, improbable, and unprovable crimes. If you bothered to watch, most of 'em were so far out that anyone knew they were false.

But none of that stopped the TV stations from airing them. After all, the money was too good to pass up. During this particular election cycle millions upon millions poured into our state to help decide the US Senate race and those in the two Congressional districts. Just about every negative ad was untrue, twisting statements made by the candidates into something other than what they were, or taking quotes and/or actions out of context as a means of painting a political opponent as an unindicted quasi-criminal. I expect it will be worse for the 2016 campaigns.

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The announcement of the death of the TEA Party is premature, particularly in light of eleven TEA Party Republicans being elected to Congress – two in the Senate and nine in the House.

It odesn't help that far too many people have absolutely no idea what the TEA Party platform is, assuming it has something to do with all kinds of social issues. Instead, it breaks down to three defining principles: Fiscal frugality, government staying within its constitutional limits, and free markets. If anyone else claims the TEA Party is working towards limiting women's rights, access to contraception, abortion, and a whole host of other social issues, then they are lying, either deliberately or due to being seriously misinformed by those who have lied to them.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the last of the boats have been removed from their berths, leaf raking is continuing. And preparations for winter continue in earnest.

11/08/2014

Is Obama Incapable Of Negotiating?

The question that has been percolating on the right-leaning web asks whether Obama even knows how to negotiate.

Unfortunately for everyone the answer is a resounding “No!”

There's a simple reason for that: He's never had to negotiate anything in his life. Despite the stories of his 'disadvantaged' upbringing, he was anything but disadvantaged. Many things in his life were handed to him and he never had to meet anyone's expectations. We've seen that just during his political life, where every time he was elected to office he rarely performed the duties of that office because he was preparing to run for the next higher office. To him, negotiation, which at times includes compromise, is something others have to do. As I've stated more than once, to him compromise means telling his opponents “Sit down, shut up, and do what I tell you.” That's no way to negotiate and it isn't going to work with the new GOP majority in the House and Senate.

It’s a little late in the president’s career to learn the fine art of making deals with people who fundamentally disagree with you, but might be willing to work on whatever small goals you might share. I suspect it feels more comfortable to go along with the strategy that has worked decently well over the last four years: hold your ground, complain about Republican intransigence, and hope that Republican legislators give you another opportunity to play long-suffering adult in the room.

I’m not sure that it’s wise to go back to the well. Mitch McConnell has already announced that he is not going to allow shutdowns, impeachment, or other theatrics that will hurt his party in the eyes of swing voters, even if doing so would please the base. Maybe he can’t make good on that promise. But what happens if he does? What happens if Obama signs his executive order, and voters decide that he’s the one who’s acting like a toddler?

He's been acting like a spoiled child since he took office, starting with his first inaugural speech. (In case you've forgotten, he slammed hes predecessor and his administration while he was standing behind him. A real class act, I tell you. It was all down hill from there.)

The next two years are going to be interesting, at least for the GOP. I have a feeling it's going to be a nightmare for Obama and his administration.

11/07/2014

Saudi Play To Regain Control Of Oil Market May Backfire

The global price of oil is dropping, causing ripples in economies all over the world. For some, the lower oil prices are a good thing. For others, the lower oil prices mean falling revenues. Russia's oil income has dropped to the point where it no longer provides enough funds to run the government. Venezuela's already pathetic economy is getting even worse as its oil income decreases and its ability to even provide oil diminishes. For some countries, like Saudi Arabia, oil is its only material export and when oil prices fall the Saudis can't keep paying for its inhabitants benefits. Under those circumstances the Saudis tend to do something that at first seems counterintuitive: pump more oil and force the prices even lower.

What this accomplishes is that it makes it unprofitable for oil producers requiring use of more expensive means of pumping oil to dial back production or to stop producing oil at all because the cost of producing it is higher than what they can sell it for on the open market. This has the effect of crippling other oil producing nations' petroleum sales and reducing the number of competitors in the world oil market. This isn't the first time the Saudis have done this. It's worked for them in the past. But there may be two problems with such a strategy this time that could just as easily cripple the Saudis, too: Even though the supply of oil has increased many fold, demand has not, at least in the US; and the cost of fracking is dropping at an increasing rate even as its ability to increase production goes up which in turn means the cost of producing oil from the shale formations will drop as well.

As more nations start to embrace fracking as a means of producing oil domestically, the downward pressure on oil prices will continue which would force the Saudis to try to produce even more oil. This would force oil prices into a downward spiral the Saudis might not be able to survive particularly, as their oil fields are older and their ability to produce more oil may not exist. When its competitors may have more oil reserves than they do, such a strategy can be a loser. With just the US now having oil reserves many times that of Saudi Arabia and that total going up every day, the Saudis are going to find their window of opportunity to take control of the oil market is closing. As other nations like Russia and China resort to fracking, the Saudis' grip on the oil market could end. That could leave them as minor players and their ability to buy off the more radical citizens could end.

This is one of those “Good News, Bad News” scenarios that could have effects far beyond the Middle East. It could be that over the next decade or so we will be living in “interesting times”.

11/05/2014

Ungracious In Victory

Like many others in America, I was glued to the TV last night, checking election results. While some of my picks won (Frank Guinta in NH’s First Congressional District, to name one), others didn’t.

I had hoped we’d replace Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D) with Scott Brown (R), but after a very close race, Shaheen edged out Brown. Of course if the IRS had responded to Breitbart News’ FOIA request in a timely fashion, Shaheen would have likely lost because the information released showed that Shaheen had worked with Lois Lerner to target GOP, conservative, and Tea Party organizations for ‘special’ scrutiny. When was that information released? Tuesday morning after the polls had opened.

Our Democrat governor, Maggie Hassan, survived against GOP newcomer Walt Havenstein, but it wasn’t a blowout.

However the results of those two races didn’t bother me nearly as much as the aftermath of the results in New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District. I had hoped GOP challenger Marilinda Garcia would unseat Democrat incumbent Annie Kuster, but the numbers were against Garcia. Of all the races, this one was probably one of the dirtiest I have ever seen, with ads run by Kuster and those supporting her making all kinds of claims that a little research proved again and again weren’t even close to true. Ads run by Garcia and those supporting her were tame by contrast.

Watching the various victory and concession speeches, almost all were gracious. Almost all.

Kuster, always looking and sounding polite in her ads and at campaign speeches, is known to be condescending, rude, and confrontational under other circumstances. During her victory speech she didn’t waste any time slamming her opponent and those who supported her. It was one of those “Nyah nyah nyah…nyah nyah nyah!! I won, you loser!!” types of speeches. It could in no way be considered gracious. It was a poke-in-the-eye kind of speech, something beneath the dignity of the other candidates of either party.

And to the think we’re going to have to put up with this self-important condescending jerk for two more years.

11/04/2014

It's Finally Over...

...but for the counting.

The polls close in our state at 7PM, bringing the 2014 elections to a close.

It also means no more campaign ads of any kind for about 12 months. That's when the campaign for the New Hampshire Presidential Primaries will kick into high gear.

I. Can. Hardly. Wait.

11/02/2014

Thoughts On A Sunday

There was snowfall here in New Hampshire, though barely enough to cover some of the grass. The ground still hasn't frozen, nor do I expect it to before Thanksgiving.

I fired up the woodstove for the first time today. There were a number of small tasks I had to perform prior to firing it up, the first being reattaching a small portion of the door gasket that had loosened over the heating season last winter. The gasket itself was in good shape so there was no need to replace it.

Next, I had to pull the blowers off the front of the stove and clean out the vents and the vanes on the fans, then reattach the strain relief on the electric cord, then remounting them on the stove before getting the tinder, bits of cardboard, and wood loaded into the firebox.

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I always forget how different the heat from the stove feels compared to that from the baseboards. I also forget just how noisy the blowers can be when they run at full speed and they aren't balanced!

I think we have to make plans to replace either the blowers or the stove. I thinking it's time for the stove to be replaced as we've had it for nine winters now and it was used when we got it. It's always been undersized and isn't capable of heating The Manse well when the outside temperatures get below zero Fahrenheit. It has served us well but it doesn't owe us anything.

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Bogie's small pellet stove on the upper floor of her home, on the other hand, died a premature death when its combustion motor died. As Bogie wrote, “Okay, I can take a hint (I left out a few exciting details - let's suffice to say we all survived and the house did not burn down).”

Ouch.

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The Deep Blue State conspiracy in Wisconsin targeting conservative groups and Republican Governor Scott Walker has received yet another condemnation, this time from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Jr.. Sheriff Clarke, a long time Democrat, says the ongoing “John Doe” investigations are nothing but a “witch-hunt” for the purposes of intimidating and silencing any opposition to the Democrat agenda in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. has accused District Attorney John Chisholm, a fellow Democrat, of "abuse of prosecutorial power" in the relentless criminal investigation of Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and 29 conservative groups.

Clarke's forceful public criticism is of Chisholm and the so-called "John Doe" investigation that Chisholm has pursued since 2010 against Walker, his staff and virtually every conservative advocacy group in the state.

Chisholm denies there's any malicious intent, but as anyone in the public sector should know, perception is reality, particularly when both state and federal judges have ordered the John Doe investigations to cease because they see a pattern of abuse and misconduct.

Sheriff Clarke has also endorsed a petition filed that asks for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the partisan John Doe investigations.

You know it's getting bad when even other Democrats are condemning the actions of the the various DA's involved with these special investigations and persecution of state Republicans and their supporters.

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Ann Althouse delves into the latest bit of eliminationist rhetoric from the New York Times which asks the question many of the more radical feminists have been pushing as a meme: “Does 'mankind' really need men?”

This has a familiar ring to it, something from one the darker periods of European history. I'm thinking something along the lines of Mein Kampf.

Perhaps the rad-fems would like to try an experiment: They will be given some territory – preferably an island, maybe in the Caribbean - to set up their 'perfect' society. There will be no men allowed in their new society, though perhaps “burly men” will initially help them off-load supplies and construction materials. They will not do business or trade with any male-owned/run businesses elsewhere in the world. They will not receive any kind of aid from countries or organizations that are run by men. They will be allowed to have their own sperm banks, but the supply will not be replenished from outside. Then we will leave them alone for 60 years and see how they do.

My prediction: abject failure.

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Assistant Village Idiot comments upon the N'Hampsha accent.

Ayuh.

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Most people think there are three states of matter (solid, liquid, and gas). A few think there are four (add plasma to the other four). But there are dozens.

These are but one set of scientific facts that we all know, but that are wrong.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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One unintended consequence of ObamaCare is the growing number of small businesses are dropping health insurance coverage for their employees.

That isn't the downside. It's that we, meaning the taxpayers, will be subsidizing most of those employees now forced to purchase health insurance through the exchanges. The cost of ObamaCare continues to rise and the White House still insists it's 'good for us' to make health insurance more expensive.

Just wait until the Employer Mandate kicks in on January 1st.

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This doesn't surprise me in the least. The Pew Research Journalism Project conducted a survey about political polarization in the US and came up with a surprising (to them) conclusion: Liberals are far less tolerant than conservatives when it comes to opposing political viewpoints.

I know that just from my own observations. But having a liberal leaning organization find the same thing merely confirms what so many moderates and conservatives have known for some time – the oh-so-tolerant Left is anything but tolerant.

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Tell us something we don't already know!

From Nice Deb comes the observation that the Democrat Party is nothing more than a criminal organization masquerading as a political party.

Their latest outrage? Threatening people if they don't vote. Yeah, that ought to go over well.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where colder weather has arrived, Halloween has passed, and where preparations for Thanksgiving have already started.