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.