10/31/2015

The Gaslighting Of The American People

“We're not nuts. He's nuts!”

The above is Bill Whittle's take on Barack Obama and he gives us a fairly convincing argument that he and those who support him have been gaslighting us for years. The one thing that keeps them from getting away with it is the hours and hours and hours of video that show the Sociopath-In-Chief lying to us and then denying he said any such thing, or taking one position and, at the drop of a hat, taking the opposite position while stating with a straight face that was their position right from the beginning.


Is it any wonder those of us who have managed to avoid drinking the Obamabot Kool Aid fully understand that the president is not to be trusted on anything? He lies even when the truth would serve better, giving us an indication just how deeply his sociopathy runs. And like many sociopaths, he is also a narcissist, something he displays without even thinking twice about it.

Yet with all of that, I wouldn't mind it all that much if he was at least a competent sociopath, but he doesn't even have that going for him.

10/30/2015

Firewood Prices On The Rise Even As Oil Prices Fall

Talk about an unintended consequence!

Fracking has allowed the US to become the largest producer of natural gas in th world as well as made oil reserves available that previously had been uneconomical to extract. With fracking oil and natural gas prices fell to levels not seen in years. In turn that dropped the prices of gasoline, diesel, heating fuels and host of other petrochemical products to levels not seen in years.

Yet despite the drop in prices, particularly those of heating fuels like oil, kerosene, and propane, the prices are still quite high for some us. Like many others here in the Northeast, we use wood to heat our home. In general we will go through somewhere around three and four cords of wood to heat The Manse from October through April. One would think that with heating fuel prices being less than half what they were two years ago that the demand for cord wood would fall off. But the demand has remained steady, at least here in New England. Some of that could be because some folks like heating with wood, be it through a woodstove or something fancier like a wood-fired furnace. There's nothing homier to me than to coming home and seeing a fire burning in the woodstove, pouring out heat that keeps almost the entire house nice and warm. The problem?

Firewood prices have gone up around 30 percent over the past two years.

One would think they would stay the same or even fall a little seeing as all of the other heating fuel prices have plummeted. But the demand for wood is high and growing. Why?

Because of fracking.

A timber industry representative in New Hampshire said hydraulic fracturing well sites in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale formation to suck natural gas out of the ground are using construction “mats” made of hardwood logs to get heavy equipment over mucky ground, wetlands or soft soils.

That increased demand has crept down the chimney into fireplaces. Prices in parts of New England are averaging $325 a cord and can even push past $400 for a seasoned, delivered load. That’s anywhere from $50 to $75 more a cord than last year — or an increase of 18 to 23 percent.

While fracking is a big part of the demand, other construction project are also driving the prices higher.

Jasen Stock, executive director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, said it’s not just fracking sites that are hogging the logs. Pipelines and transmission wires — really any large-scale construction project — have in the past three years ramped up the appetite for the perfect mat log: a hardwood trunk, 16 to 20 feet long and 8 to 10 inches in diameter.

As a result, the cost of cordwood on the stump (that is, live trees) went from $10 in 2012 in northern New Hampshire to $15 this year, Stock said.

With two large projects slated for construction here in New England – a new natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania through Massachusetts and New Hampshire and the Northern Pass powerlines through New Hampshire bringing hydropower from Quebec – there's going to be a high demand for logs.

Who'da thunk that something that would bring lower energy prices would raise energy prices in another sector of the energy market?

For now heating with wood is still cheaper, at least here at The Manse, even with our four cords of firewood running us around $1400. Propane, our other heating fuel, would still run us about $2400 even at the low prices were we to heat with it exclusively.

10/25/2015

Thoughts On A Sunday

This was a fifty-fifty weekend, with cold temperatures on Saturday and warm ones today. Not that I'm complaining, but I almost wish the order had been reversed because most of my outdoor activities were yesterday.

One thing that took place yesterday was the 25th Annual New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival which, for the first time, took place in the city of Laconia. In previous years the festival took place in southwestern New Hampshire in the city of Keene, but the riot in one of the local state college's off-campus housing areas not far from where the festival took place caused Keene's city council to not license the festival for 2015, hence the move.

There were a few glitches at last night's festival, but minor in nature and to be expected for the first one held there. That Laconia has plenty of experience in handling large events, specifically the annual Motorcycle Week held in June, made organizing for the Pumpkin Festival easy in comparison.

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Zero Hedge has a post that tells us how to stamp out cultural Marxism in a single generation.

There are very few legitimate cultural divisions in the world. Most of them are arbitrarily created, not only by political and financial elites, but also by the useful idiots and mindless acolytes infesting the sullied halls of academia.

It is perhaps no mistake that cultural Marxists in the form of "social justice warriors", PC busybodies and feminists tend to create artificial divisions between people and “classes” while attacking and homogenizing very real and natural divisions between individuals based on biological reality and inherent genetic and psychological ability.

We've certainly seen that done by the present occupant of the White House, saying one thing - “I'm a uniter, not a divider” - while doing everything possible to create rifts within our society which he then exploits to justify more draconian measures, usually by fiat rather than legislation.

It's time to stop the madness.

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Gee, could it be the changes we see in climate has more to do with the sun, specifically the Gleissberg Cycle, than anything we Evil Humans are doing?

Of course I expect it to be ignored by the Warmists because it doesn't fit their narrative and upsets the “Science Is Settled” apple cart.

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Speaking of climate, it's been 10 years since a hurricane Category 3 or higher has made landfall in the US.

And, no, you can’t deflect to Hurricane Patricia. Even NPR knows that it really had nothing to do with “climate change”. It virtually mirrored a storm from 1959, when CO2 was at a “safe” level of 315ppm.

That little fact will be ignored because once again it doesn't fit the narrative. An example: Slate's article stating just the opposite.

You know it's coming apart when two different media outlets on the Left take diametrically opposed viewpoints on the same issue.

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What if I told you....

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Those who believe in our First ans Second Amendment rights can strike another restaurant off their list of places to go, that being K. O'Donnell's in Phoenix, Arizona.

Apparently one of their 'tolerant' patrons didn't like the topics of discussion at the local “Breitbart's Meetups” held at the restaurant and prompted a call to the local PD. Both the Phoenix and nearby Scottsdale police showed up, including a police helicopter. The police were confused as to why they had been called to what was by all accounts a peaceful gathering.

I guess the PC disease has so infected the Phoenix area that a single patron can dictate to 200 others what they can and cannot discuss. Any establishment that allows a few 'tolerant' PC buttheads to dictate who they will and will not tolerate deserves to see its number of customers dwindle away as they take their money elsewhere.

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Ed Driscoll delves into the dearth of affordable housing the San Francisco Bay area, pointing to a number of initiatives pushed by environmentalists that took a lot of land off the market and severely restricted construction of new housing. It's the same type of feel-good crap that infected Portland, Oregon and choked off the housing market by making it impossible to build any new housing.

We have a descriptive term here in New Hampshire that explains the phenomenon: drawbridge mentality. Once the folks move in they don't want any changes to be made, in effect raising the drawbridge to prevent change or anyone else from moving in and 'ruining' things. The difference here is that we don't tolerate any such foolish notions and make sure they die aborning.

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This is yet another sign that the New York Times is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Through twisted logic the Paper of Record is implying that people are advocating for non-consensual sex, something no one can take seriously. Do they really think there are people out there supporting rape?

“Students advocate for consensual sex,” reads the current subhead of a New York Times article. The article’s URL indicates this was originally the main title, but was changed to “Making consent cool.” The implication from the original title is that there are those out there advocating – or at the very least, tolerating – non-consensual sex.

This is simply not true. No one is advocating for non-consensual sex. The fact that that even needs to be said shows just how extreme and dishonest activists have become.

There are those out there, however, who are advocating against a narrow definition of consent that defines nearly all sex as rape by default unless a specific and unworkable set of rules are followed. High school students can’t figure out those rules. The person teaching those high school students can’t figure out those rules. Vice President Joe Biden can’t figure out those rules.

And yet, those rules will be used to brand as rapists those students who fail to adhere to them perfectly. The Times article even addresses the difficulty students are having in parsing the new rules.

Many of these so-called consent rules and laws are nearly impossible to enforce and are so narrowly defined as to make any form of sex, consensual or not, a form of rape.

I could have sworn the Left, who supports these non-nonsensical requirements, fought very hard decades ago to get government out of our bedrooms. Now we know what they meant was to get government other than that run by them out of the bedroom. Frankly, many of the Left I know are some of the biggest prudes I've ever come across.

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Related to the above, Margaret Wente asks the question: “Why are young feminists so clueless about sex?”

Ironically, today’s feminists are serious about consent but casual about sex. And to their shock, they’ve discovered that there’s an awful lot of bad sex out there. They did not expect this. They’ve been told they are supposed to be having a super-positive sex life – unconflicted, joyous, casual and abundant. They’ve been told they should be able to have as many partners and initiate sex just as often as men do. And they’ve tried that. And it hasn’t worked out very well. Instead of feeling super-positive, they feel sexually dissatisfied, emotionally disconnected and more than a little used.

The surprise is that so many young women are surprised by this.

The trouble isn’t men, of course. Nor is it the culture. The trouble is that these women have been sold a lie. They’ve been told that the profound sexual and behavioural differences between men and women are merely matters of individual preference, which would largely dissolve if we ever managed to shed our noxious cultural baggage.

Much of this expectation ignores the hard truths of biology, that being no matter what drivel has been pushed by Third Wave Feminists, men and women are different and no amount of propaganda and close-minded ideology will change that. I'm not claiming one sex is better than the other because each has its strengths and weaknesses. It's merely that they are different and always will be.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where warmer temps have returned for a while, the leaves are still turning (and falling), and where Halloween is less than a week away.

10/24/2015

10/23/2015

Modern Day Salem Witch Trials

The ongoing battle on college campuses between those who fervently believe there is an epidemic or rape and those who are firm believers in the rights enumerated in the Constitution rages on.

It seems that ever decade or so some new social evil comes to light that must be addressed “by any means necessary” and the usual suspects – our so-called Social Justice Warriors – go into full combat mode. This in and of itself is not the problem and never has been. It is the “by any means necessary” mindset that takes them down the wrong path.

We've seen examples of this over the past 323 years just in America, the first being the Salem Witch trials starting in 1692. Hundreds were accused during the hysteria and 20 were put to death. Then there was the Red Scare in the 1950's where innocent and guilty alike were accused, blacklisted, and in some cases, imprisoned. Then there were the daycare child abuse witch hunts in the 1980's and early 1990's that destroyed reputations and sent innocent people to prison.

And what do we see today? The Campus Rape Culture where the Social Justice Warriors claim that 1 out of every 5 women will be sexually assaulted on college campuses even though the study cited as proof doesn't claim that. (Most people misread or chose to ignore the study's authors' disclaimer about drawing any conclusions based upon their study because the respondents were self-selecting and the number of respondents was small.) What's worse is that a bureaucrat within the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights took it upon herself to issue a directive – the so-called “Dear Colleague letter – that instructed our institutions of higher learning to start trying and convicting more students of sexual assault or lose federal funding.

It was a call for a modern day witch hunt, something right out of Arthur Miller's The Crucible. All that was required was the allegation. No proof. Little or no investigation, and any 'investigation' was performed by someone not competent to do so, and in many cases, by someone who would also stand in judgment of the accused. No right to legal counsel. No right to cross-examine witnesses or the accuser. And worst of all, in many cases no right to even know what charges were being brought against them or by whom. But it led to numerous suspensions and expulsions, something the colleges and universities to point to and tell the OCR that they were now doing something about the 'problem'.

What made this even worse is that the definition of sexual assault was so broad on many campuses as to be meaningless. But it made it easier to accuse and convict all of the rapists running around on campus.

What's ironic is that this Department of Education bureaucrat had no power to issue the directive, no actual means of enforcing it, and didn't care that it was not within the scope of Title IX, outside the Department of Education's charter, and thoroughly ignored the Bill of Rights. But that didn't stop colleges from running their tribunals and kangaroo courts and convicting students, male students, based purely on accusations and very poor definitions of sexual assault. This same bureaucrat is also responsible for the growing total of lawsuits against colleges and damages being paid out to many of these 'convicted sexual assailants' because of the hostile and prejudicial tribunals that violated due process and damaged the reputations of these students.

Even the few cases where these tribunals found the accused was not culpable, the accused student was still harassed, libeled and slandered as a rapist, which made continuing their studies difficult, if not impossible. Call it the “Guilty until proven innocent, and even then still guilty” mentality that pervades many campuses.

With time this latest witch hunt will end, leaving behind large numbers of innocent victims and destroying any trust between students and college administrators as well seriously dampening trust between the male and female students on campus. Eventually another round of hysteria will bring about yet another witch hunt and the cycle will start all over again.

10/21/2015

Mike Rowe Compares The "Modern Man" And "Man's Man"

The derision heaped upon the New York Times for their piece on what it means to be a “Modern Man” was well deserved seeing as it described an emasculated man that no woman would want to have in her life as anything but a friend. (I can't speak for Third Wave Feminists, but I have a feeling even they would not be inclined to have such a wimp in their lives because 'he' isn't really male despite having a 'Y' chromosome.)

As much as I wish I could have had the time to do a thorough fisking of the the NYT piece, I find that Mike Rowe has done a far better job of it than I could.

A few of my favorite excerpts:

New York Times: When the modern man buys shoes for his spouse, he doesn’t have to ask her sister for the size. And he knows which brands run big or small.
Mike Rowe: A Man’s Man would not buy shoes for his spouse, or be familiar with the vagaries of various female footwear brands. He might offer to pay for them, and he would definitely compliment her choice. And if he knows the size of her feet, it’s only because he rubs them from time to time.

NYT: The modern man never lets other people know when his confidence has sunk. He acts as if everything is going swimmingly until it is.
MR: A Man’s Man feels no shame in admitting uncertainty, because he knows that doing so will make him more certain. He’s transparent about his flaws and shortcomings, and makes no attempt to be more secure or knowledgeable or competent than he actually is.

NYT: Before the modern man heads off to bed, he makes sure his spouse’s phone and his kids’ electronic devices are charging for the night.
MR: A Man’s Man knows that self-reliance is born of experience. He encourages his kids to look after their own stuff, and suffer the consequences when they do not. The wife is another matter.

This last one is something all kids should learn. It is something both his mother and I have instilled in BeezleBub from the get go. Does he still forget to take care of things now and then? Sure, but he doesn't do it nearly as often as he did when he was younger and he rarely makes that mistake twice. That's sign he's grown up.

Another:

NYT: The modern man uses the proper names for things. For example, he’ll say “helicopter,” not “chopper” like some gauche simpleton.
MR: A Man’s Man is less worried about using the right word, and more concerned with being understood. But under no circumstance, does he “dumb down” the language.

I have always disliked it when people dumb down their language because they think we won't or can't understand. When they go too far it's condescending and doesn't win them any friends. While I won't often use terms, phrases, or slang that someone not in my line of work would have no way of understanding, I will put them into plain English that, even if they don't fully understand, won't leave them feeling ignorant. That isn't dumbing down the language. That's courtesy.

A few more:

NYT: The modern man doesn’t get hung up on his phone’s battery percentage. If it needs to run flat, so be it.
MR: A Man’s Man prefers his gas tank full, his weapon loaded, his pantry stocked, and his checkbook balanced. He also likes his phone sufficiently charged, and takes the necessary steps to accomplish that.

NYT: The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn’t own one, and he never will.
MR: A Man’s Man owns at least one firearm. He knows how to use it, clean it, and store it properly. He understands it’s importance, and sees it for what it is - a tool that can protect him and his family.

That last one almost had me cringing, but Mike explained the reality well enough. Then again I had to force myself to remember that the Modern Man more than likely lives in a high rise with a doorman and armed security guards. A Man's Man lives where he wants, more often far away from anywhere the Modern Man lives, and he doesn't depend upon someone else he doesn't know to defend him and his family from criminal miscreants. A Man's Man also makes sure his missus and kids learn how to handle firearms and use them properly.

Mike has the right of it.

As the saying goes, Read The Whole Thing.

10/18/2015

Thoughts On A Sunday

Very cool weather has arrived in New Hampshire, motivating me to fire up the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove for the first time. It wasn't until early evening the temps dipped below freezing and the time to fire it up arrived.

There were a few last minute tweaks needed to ensure everything would work correctly, then I laid in the firewood, newspaper, and kindling, set the damper, and then set the newspaper alight. Within a very short time the popping sounds of expanding cast iron could be heard and the first rays of radiant heat could be felt.

Enough wood was brought in to keep it going overnight and to stoke it first thing in the morning.

The feline contingent here at The Manse were happy to see it working again as they arrayed themselves around 'the warm box' and soaked in the heat it provided.

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There's poor. And then there's “poor”.

It's ironic that the poor here in the US are wealthier than the middle class in much of Europe.

Another factoid: The poor in the US today are wealthier than much of middle class in the US back in the 1970's and early 1980's. They have material wealth unimagined back in the Old DaysTM.

'Poor' is a relative term. No matter how wealthy a society has become there will always be those at the bottom of economic ladder. That they might be wealthier than Croesus* means nothing because the SJW's will find some way to make them out to be victims of the “greedy 1%”.

*For those of you who might be products of our modern educational system, Croesus was the King of Lydia from 560 to 546BC and was known for his extreme wealth. If you need more info, there's always Google. It must also be understood that my comparison of our 'poor' to Croesus is rhetorical, not literal. There, glad that I cleared that up for you?

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The Democrats/Leftists/Progressives are always preaching about diversity to we poor deluded greedy racist conservatives. But the message might have more of an impact if those same Democrats/Leftists/Progressives practiced what they preached.

So far it appears they have far less diversity than the GOP, particularly in regards to their presidential wannabes.

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Why carry a gun?

I agree with every single one.

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After watching the Gop debates and the recent Democrat debate on TV, I have to say I agree with David Starr on this one: The Parties should not let TV people control the debates.

Writes David:

The newsies are hugely partisan, and they rig things to help their candidates and hurt the other sides candidates. I see no reason why such poorly educated, biased, and ignorant people should be allowed to influence the elections.

Indeed.

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By way of a commenter on today's Day By Day cartoon comes this quote from Vox Day's SJW's Always Lie: Taking Down The Thought Police in regards to Marvel's changes to some of its characters to make them more politically correct and appealing to SJW's.

They are the Social Justice Warriors, the SJWs, the self-appointed thought police who have been running amok throughout the West since the dawn of the politically correct era in the 1990s. Their defining characteristics:

• a philosophy of activism for activism’s sake
• a dedication to rooting out behavior they deem problematic, offensive, or unacceptable in others
• a custom of primarily identifying individuals by their sex, race, and sexual orientation
• a hierarchy of intrinsic morality based on the identity politics of sex, race, and sexual orientation
• a quasi-religious belief in equality, diversity, and the inevitability of progress
• an assumption of bad faith on the part of all non-social justice warriors
• an opinion that motivation matters more than consequences
• a certainty that they are the only true and valid defenders of the oppressed
• a habit of demanding that their opinions be enshrined as social custom and law
• a tendency to possess a left-wing political identity
• a willingness to deny science, history, logic, their past words, or any other aspect of reality that contradicts their current Narrative.

After reading the list would those symptoms be found in the DSM under dissociative disorders or perhaps some kind of psychotic break.

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I would have thought that cases of Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) would have fallen to almost zero after all this time.

Apparently that's not the case.

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A survey run by Chapman University has the gun-grabbers swooning as it shows that Americans are more concerned about gun control than mass shootings.

That makes sense to me because if there is less gun control, and particularly if that lessening of control makes gun-free zones illegal, the incidents of mass shootings are likely do fall, if not end altogether. A potential mass shooter would be met with deadly force meted out to him by his potential victims. You can't have a mass shooting if the shooter is shot dead by the armed citizens he intended to kill.

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The New England Patriots are playing the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis. The game won't finish until close to midnight so no results are available.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee where the leaves are at peak, the woodstoves are keeping us warm, and where preparations for winter continue apace.

10/17/2015

From A Dictionary

Seen in the comics section of our local paper:

Silence: The logical conclusion of politically correct speech.

Indeed.

10/16/2015

"I Do Not Consent To Being Called A Rapist"

The push-back against the hysterics driven “campus rape culture” is growing, particularly from male college students. While the first line of resistance was created when college men found themselves being suspended or expelled due to nothing more than an accusation, many times with absolutely no corroborative evidence, the second line is college men refusing to be involved in any way, shape, or form with so-called “consent classes” that pander to the well-discredited 1 out of 4 women will be sexually assaulted on campus statistic.

As one college freshman in the UK has made perfectly clear on this matter, “I do not consent to being called a rapist.”

I am not a rapist. But I’m in my second week as a university student, and already modern feminism and “consent culture” is trying to pin that label on me.

The University of Warwick Student’s Union has set up classes called “I Heart Consent,” apparently aimed at teaching young people about how to get it on without accidentally raping their partner. I say people, but what I mean is men, because as all of today’s mainstream leftist ideologues know, men cannot be raped by women. When women do it it's called “non-consensual sex.”

How many rapists are going to stop raping people because some pretentious student told them that “Yes means Yes”? Any at all? And why would any normal, right-thinking man attend a class that demonises them and normal, healthy male sexuality by pretending that all men are latent rapists who would take advantage of women if they thought they could get away with it?

Consent classes aren’t compulsory — yet — but it is heavily implied that attending them would be A Good Idea.

Anyway, I’m not going. I think we all know what goes down at these things anyway, don’t we? The male students will be bombarded with stats about “1 in 4 women,” bogus and offensive conspiracy theories about “toxic masculinity,” and suggestions that yes, all men are potential rapists.

Well, I’m sorry, but in case you didn’t know, pre-crime is sci-fi. Having a penis does not make me a rapist. In fact, the highest volume of domestic violence and sexual abuse is found in lesbian couples – you know, the ones that don’t actually involve men.

With this kind of crap being pushed as the truth on campuses, is it any wonder there's a growing push-back by men? The smarter men on campus are doing their best to stay as far away from the women. Why? To paraphrase “It’s just not worth the risk of jail time, expulsion, and a permanent blot on one's life because some batty, vindictive, or remorseful person decides the next day that maybe she wasn’t really into it after all.” It's better to stay away from all social contact with campus women and, if sexual relief is needed, use masturbation. While lonely and not nearly as satisfying, it's infinitely safer.

The spate of “Yes Means Yes” legislation meant to combat this non-epidemic is merely feel-good lawmaking that will do far more harm than good and will more often than not have dire unintended consequences. It is also virtually unenforceable because there are gaping holes that, in the end, will end up causing the law to be overturned in courts because the terms are so ambiguous and any evidence of consent will be totally lacking unless one of the participants in an intimate sexual encounter decides to record the entire encounter, even without the other participant's knowledge or consent. Of course that opens an entirely different legal can of worms.

Unfortunately the various “Yes Means Yes” laws won't be struck down or repealed until after it has hurt a lot of people, primarily men. And as the line in a movie whose title presently escapes me states so eloquently, a lot of the victims of these laws will be asking “Where do I go to get my reputation back?” Once branded a rapist, always a rapist. Even if one is found not guilty because there is absolutely no evidence of sexual assault, they will still be guilty and will be treated as felon.

All any of this will do is further poison relationships between men and women and for no other purpose than to bolster the egos of the latest bunch of batshit-crazy Social Justice Warriors.

10/15/2015

Women In Combat - One Story

The issue of women in combat has come to the forefront again, with some saying “It's about time” and yet others opining “It's not a good idea.” I must admit that I am of two minds on this issue.

Part of that comes from the fact that one of those women who have been in combat situations was one of the WP nieces, serving a tour in Afghanistan in hostile territory and working as a buffer between Special Forces and Afghan women. The story of such missions can be found here.

Included is this TED talk video covering this program.


We kept a candle lit in our window for our niece until she came home safe. One of the happiest and proudest days of my life was the day we were able to take it out of our window because she had returned home to us.

10/11/2015

Thoughts On A Sunday

Here it is, Columbus Day Weekend, and the leaf peepers are here in force.

While the Lakes Region of New Hampshire is nowhere near peak color, the White Mountains to the north are very close to peak and the Great North Woods are at full peak. Between the foliage and the holiday weekend the traffic hereabouts resembles that seen during a summer weekend, but with a lot more folks from farther away than southern New England or New York. In fact the number of tour buses being seen make it seem as if that's all that exists!

A stop at the farm yesterday saw the parking lot at the farm stand full and then some, with a lot of vehicles parked along the side of the road and at the edge of one of the farm fields. Between the corn maze, the large crop of pumpkins, and some of the fall specialties, the place was packed. Talking to Mrs. Farmer Andy let me know the place had been very busy from the time it opened that morning and that reservations for the night-time corn maze were full.

Welcome to fall in New Hampshire!

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Is the 'Thanksgiving' pumpkin doomed? So say the folks at Scientific American.

To what do they attribute this doom? Why climate change, of course!

As Cap'n Teach writes about this whole debacle, “By Monday they'll be telling us Halloween is doomed.”

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Another from Cap'n Teach blows the “1000 year flood” meme in South Carolina out of the water, so to speak.

USGS research has shown no linkage between flooding (either increases or decreases) and the increase in greenhouse gases. Essentially, from USGS long-term streamgage data for sites across the country with no regulation or other changes to the watershed that could influence the streamflow, the data shows no systematic increases in flooding through time.

A much bigger impact on flooding, though, is land use change. Without proper mitigation, urbanization of watersheds increases flooding. Moreover, encroachment into the floodplain by homes and businesses leads to greater economic losses and potential loss of life, with more encroachment leading to greater losses.

Anyone paying attention would have known that as we've seen that effect over the years – changes in land use altering runoff patterns, particularly when wetlands were drained and/or filled.

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As the number of victims of the Department of Education's “Dear Colleague” letter start adding up, more people are waking up to the fact that the kangaroo courts run by our institutions of higher education are both incapable of dealing with the issue and are unconstitutional as well.

The kicker is that the “Dear Colleague” letter does not have the power of law, is in no way binding or enforceable, and that the bureaucrat who issued the letter had no power to do so.

Unfortunately the damage has been done and has fueled the continuing War on Campus Men. Too bad it will be the colleges and their insurance providers bearing the brunt of the lawsuits and payouts to the victims of this illegal mandate.

Sexual assault should be handled by the police, not untrained and clueless college administrators.

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The EPA has been slapped down again by the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, issuing and injunction against the agency from enforcing its new rules based upon the Clean Water Act that to all intents and purposes was a land grab.

This isn't the first time a federal court has stopped the rogue agency. More than once courts have stopped implementation of new rules that have gone far outside the agency's charter, and in some cases, in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

It's gotten to the point where I think the agency should be abolished because it appears that it is so far outside its charter that it can now be considered a criminal organization.

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Allen West's opinion on the new bill signed by Governor Brown in California that allows automatic voter registration?

State sanctioned voter fraud.

This law is supposed aimed at raising voter turnouts after a number of election cycles with dismal voter turnout. It also opens the way to all kinds of fraud because a lot of people who are allowed to get a drivers license in California are also ineligible to vote, but that doesn't seem to be a concern in the once Golden State.

I have two questions for the California Assembly and Governor Brown: 1) Did any of you ever think the reason for low voter turnout is because there's no one worth voting for during those elections? 2) Isn't this in effect Voter ID, something so many Democrat politicians and their handlers are against because it supposedly disfranchises minority voters?

Just asking...

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Sultan Knish has the right of this:

Of all the Alinsky rules, the most relevant one is, "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." But he simply codified and made pragmatic the most destructive of the left's rules which is, "Make the enemy live up to his ideals." Even if those ideals are often the invention of the left.

Ideals are by definition impossible to live up to. Human societies aren't ideal, they're real. Ideals are absolutes and an unflinching attempt to live up to them destroys individuals and societies. More subtly, the failure to live up to them justifies hatred and self-hatred toward nations and peoples.

Forcing your enemy to live up to impossible-to-meet ideals makes it easier to paint them as something less than human and allows you to take actions that would otherwise be considered barbaric and inhumane.

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Last weekend it was me and my friend Ev moving and stacking two cords of firewood inside the garage.

This weekend it's Bogie moving 5 tons of wood pellets into her basement and garage.

Both of us are ready to heat our homes without using the dreaded (and still expensive) fossil fuels. Of course that's just a misdirection because both the firewood I have and the pellets Bogie has relied on fossil fuels for processing (kiln drying for the firewood, grinding/shaping/packaging pellets, and the fuel needed by the trucks to transport it all).

Still, I like the heat from a woodstove even if it isn't as convenient as turning up the thermostat on the wall. And unlike pellet stoves, it doesn't require electricity to work.

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Women in Blue are not Blue women!

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the leaves are staring to show their fiery fall colors, boats still ply the waters of the lake for leaf peeping, and where some of us still have to work on Columbus Day.

10/09/2015

More Follies...Of The Congressional Type

The 'Speaker' follies continue, but Glenn Reynolds has had a splendid idea of a possible candidate to fill the slot, and it's someone we know who doesn't mind taking on a dirty job.

The problem? He'll probably turn down the job because it may be too dirty, even for him.

10/08/2015

Recycling Follies - It Just Doesn't Pay

While the aims of recycling appear to be beneficial to the environment and the bottom line, decades of experience show that it is more a feel-good measure than an actual boon to the environment and has little if any return on investment.

Materials like glass, plastic, paper, and cardboard have very little real value in regards to recycling. They take up space, aren't in demand (except that demand generated by subsidies or 'feel-good' companies that have the money to waste on them). The only recycled materials that have been successful in generating high demand along with financial motivation are metals. The two most recycled materials in the world are steel (including iron) and aluminum, and it's been that way for over 100 years.

What I find amazing is that tipping fees for garbage - what landfills or trash-to-energy plants charge for taking your trash - are about $150 to $180 a ton (at least here in New Hampshire) but tipping fees for recyclables can run two to three times that much! So right out of the gate recycling costs more. If the recycler permits single stream recycling which means all of the recyclables do not need to be separated into metals, glass, plastics, and paper/cardboard, the processing cost is higher.

What's worse is that if the recycler cannot sell the paper, cardboard, or plastic it will likely end up in a landfill or trash-to-energy incinerator so it's likely that yet another tipping fee will have to be paid.

So between higher tipping fees, separation costs, and possible disposal fee if the recycled material cannot be sold, plus the added energy costs to haul all this stuff around, recycling seems to be a loser to me. Better to focus on recycling the metals because there's always buyers for it and we know it will be reused, unlike the other recyclables.

But if it makes you feel better to recycle, don't let me stop you. Just understand that it's really just a feel-good gesture and it really doesn't help the environment all that much.

10/04/2015

Thoughts On A Sunday

The weather has certainly been cooler over the past few days. We've managed to dodge the “Joaquin” bullet, with the hurricane passing us far to the south and east. The leaves have started changing in noticeable numbers and the leaf-peepers are arriving in larger numbers.

The change has also brought about our first load of firewood, with two cords being delivered Friday morning and a second two cords schedule for delivery in early January.

One of our family friends, Ev, helped me move and stack those two cords yesterday. We got a late start because there were a few repairs needed in the garage, mainly the back wall which was damaged by yours truly when my big LL Bean boots hit both the brake and accelerator pedals at the same time, causing the trusty F150 to fracture a couple of the 2 x 6 studs. But once the repairs were finished, we knocked of those two cords in a little over 3 hours. If memory serves, that's the fastest I've ever been able to complete that task in all the time we've resided at The Manse.

So we're almost set to weather the winter cold. All that's left to do is to remove and clean out the blowers on the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove and we'll good to go. I figure we're probably a couple or three weeks away from having to fire it up for the first time this heating season.

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David Starr relates 'Halt and Catch Fire' incident with his DVD player.

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If the economy is so great after The One has supposedly led us from the depths of the Great Recession, then how can Democrats reconcile the fact that over 94 million Americans aren't in the labor force, creating the lowest labor participation rate in almost 40 years?

As I've heard more than one Democrat state, “The unemployment rate is down.” That's true, but only if you look at the U3 rate which tells us how many of the unemployed are receiving unemployment benefits. But once those benefits run out, the unemployed are no longer counted. One has to look at the U6 unemployment rate which includes both those collecting benefits and those who are no longer collecting benefits, as well as those who are underemployed (taking part-time jobs or jobs that are far below the level of job they held before, like a welder now working for just above minimum wage at the local 7-11). That rate stands at around 12%. During seven of the eight Bush years that rate ran between 7 and 10%, averaging around 8.9%. The U3 over those same seven years rate ran between 4 and 7%. The difference between the U3 and U6 rates over all eight years of Bush's presidency was about 3 percentage points. The difference during the Obama years so far: around 7 percentage points. That is not the sign of a healthy economy.

Despite what the White House says, most Americans know the economy still hasn't recovered and we're still feeling the effects of the recession.

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It appears the Europeans are kicking our ass when it comes to weather prediction models. (Notice, I wrote weather not climate prediction.)

In this case the European model predicted the correct track for Joaquin, just as it did for Sandy and a host of other tropical storms and hurricanes in the western North Atlantic and Caribbean.

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OK, first George Zimmerman was described by the media as a “White Hispanic.” Now they're calling the mixed race shooter in Oregon a white supremacist. Does that mean he'll be called a “White Black” by the MSM?

I expect nothing less.

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David Shribman opines that the three front-runners in the GOP presidential primary are proving that “It's amateur hour, again” for the Republican party. He certainly backs up his opinion with plenty of examples from the past, but he also wonders whether the days of political expertise as a requirement for higher office may be coming to an end.

The experts believe that Mr. Trump, Dr. Carson and Ms. Fiorina will fade as political forces. But the whole basis of the three candidates’ campaigns is that political expertise, like political experience, is a remnant of a time swiftly passing. If so, then one of these three may possess the face of the future, and the change they personify may represent a profound transformation of our politics. 

I happen to agree with him. At the beginning of our Republic, very few of those who held office in Congress or the Presidency had much in the way of political expertise, and they seemed to find a way to handle the nation's requirements. As time passed the need for such experience grew, but it didn't really solidify until the first 25 years or so of the 20th century. When mass communications became the norm, those in office had to be more than just a representative of the people, they had to become actors on a stage. Such acting took experience.

But these days with mass communications orders of magnitude beyond what they were through the balance of the 20th century and corporations that are larger than many countries and states, the experience needed to hold office no longer comes just from having run through the political gauntlet. Candidates can speak directly to the people without the traditional media. They can show that they do understand America's problems, understand the needs of the people, and all without ever having have served in political office prior to their decision to run.

Frankly, the people are sick and tired of the Same Old Same Old candidates mouthing the same political platitudes and making the same promises over and over again. Whether that leads to better candidates and, possibly, better performance of their duties in office remains to be seen.

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Does moonlight make things colder? An experiment shown on a video seems to show that it does.

However, after watching the video of the experiment, a few things become apparent, to biggest being that the IR thermometer being used to measure the temperature isn't just measuring that of the object in the experiment, but that of the near background as well which will be colder than the object being measured, giving a colder than expected reading.

Nice try, guys.

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Why does nuclear power still rule? It all comes down to this: E=mc2.

This is why a nuclear reactor sitting on one square mile can generate 1000 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply a large city. To generate that same output from a wind farm you would need 40 square miles of windmills – and that would only work the 1/3 of the time when the wind is blowing. The same numbers govern hydroelectricity. The two biggest dams in the country – the Hoover Dam and the Glen Canyon Dam – each back up a reservoir of 250 square miles to generate 2000 MW and 1296 MW respectively. No one has yet figured out a way to harness tidal energy but if they do it is easy to calculate to calculate the territory that would be involved. To generate the same 1000 MW will require some kind of energy-capturing device deployed over a stretch 25 miles of coastline.

This “energy density” is what differentiates nuclear from the so-called “renewable” sources. Solar has about the same density as wind and would require the same 40 square miles or more to generate the output of one nuclear reactor.

No matter how good solar becomes or how many windmills are built, they cannot actually compete against nuclear, especially on the total cost per kilowatt-hour basis. Nuclear power has the energy density to power our increasingly technological civilization. With the newer Generation III and IV plants being built or developed, nuclear can become even better and cheaper while generating little nuclear waste as compared to the present Generation I and II plants presently online.

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What's ironic about the above is that so many people here in New England are vehemently against a new natural gas pipeline being built that will supply abundant and cheap natural gas. Instead, they'd rather pay many times the national price by importing it from Yemen on huge LNG tankers.

Every winter natural gas prices spike in New England because the tankers can't supply enough natural gas fast enough to meet the high demand in winter. It costs a lot to heat a home in New England and it's all because of the NIMBY's and BANANA's in the six New England states who don't want a cheaper and, in the end, safer means of bringing natural gas to New England.

I was listening to a group of anti-pipeline activists from some of the towns in southern New Hampshire where a portion of the pipeline would be built. One of the most ignorant comments I heard: “They want to build the pipeline just so they can make a profit!” Well, yeah. That's the point. Why would they build one to lose money? They want to be able to provide much needed energy to a region lacking it and they want to make money doing it. Otherwise, why bother?

Another thought: These same folks will be the first to complain when their heating bills and electric rates skyrocket, or worse, when they flick the switch and the lights don't come on.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the fall colors are starting to appear, the temps have cooled off, and where we don't have to worry about Hurricane Joaquin.

10/03/2015

Science Fiction's Fall From Grace

David Starr and I share a love of science fiction. Then again, we're both engineering geeks and we both grew up on authors like Asimov, Dickson, Heinlein, Pournelle, Niven, and a host of other sci-fi greats. Too bad sci-fi has been reduced to a shadow of its former self, with the politically correct, the third wave feminists, and the Progressive Left trying to force more 'inclusive' science fiction.

The problem is that most of it stinks and a lot of it is boring as hell. Who wants to read a 300 page tome about some poor transgendered humanoid who is misunderstood and never really does anything of note? Who gives a rat's ass if the society where we find ourselves reading about is politically correct and so tolerant that nothing ever happens? Who cares how many lovers the lesbian protagonist has had over the years if it adds absolutely nothing to the story? Nobody...except them, of course.

As I mentioned to David, I've been checking out a lot of the indie sci-fi authors on Amazon and have found a lot of it is pretty good. Some of it is really good. And, not all that unexpectedly, some is awful. (Most of the 'awfulness' comes from poor/non-existent proofreading and editing.) One of the other niceties of the indie sci-fi is that it costs a lot less. I've been downloading some of it to our Kindle for between 99¢ and a couple of bucks.

Such are the renegades of sci-fi.

10/01/2015

The One Shows His True Stripes...Again

The bodies weren't even cold yet in Roseburg, Oregon and The One was on TV, bloviating about how the US is the only country in the civilized world that has mass shootings on a regular basis (not true) and that we simply must “do something” about guns in the hands of killers. He denigrates those who, with plenty of evidence behind them, state that what we need is more people with guns even though it is a well-proven fact.

The place where the latest shooting took place, Umpqua College, was a gun-free zone, meaning no one had the means of stopping the gunman. The One mentioned a series of other mass shootings in the US and the one thing that they all had in common? All were gun-free zones. Every. Single. One.

What did that mean to the shooters? Simple – a free-fire zone where they had little to worry about because everyone there was unarmed.

So what does the Idiot-in-Chief want to do? Make sure even more law abiding citizens will be unable to defend themselves and others. And he goes so far as to call it “common sense” that somehow it will make everyone safer. Decades of history prove otherwise, but that won't stop The One from trying again.

The One even challenged the media to do a comparisons between how many Americans die in terrorist attacks versus in gun homicides. It sounds like a fair comparison, doesn't it? But what he fails to mention is that most of the people killed by gun violence are killed by people who aren't legally allowed to possess guns to begin with. He has a perfect example of that right in his back yard – Washington DC.

It still has the most restrictive gun laws in the nation (despite the Heller vs District of Columbia Supreme Court decision) and one of the highest number of gun homicides in the country. The people committing those homicides aren't the law abiding citizen carrying their firearms for their own protection, but people who don't care about the law and will carry guns and shoot people they don't like regardless of the fact they shouldn't have guns to begin with.

If the President really wants to lessen the problem of mass shootings, then all he has to do is one simple thing: outlaw gun-free zones and let the law abiding citizens carry their firearms wherever they go. As the good Professor Reynolds has stated more than once, “People don't stop killers. People with guns stop killers.”