12/04/2022

Thoughts On A Sunday

We’ve made it through our first week-and-a-half with our new cable provider and so far so good. While Internet speeds aren’t quite as advertised = are they ever? - they are still a lot faster than our previous provider. They allow me to wait just that much faster than the old speeds!

It’s taking a while for the WP Mom to get used to the different TV channel numbers, for the most part she doesn’t have too much trouble as she uses the voice remote to navigate.

One thing that’s no different is the bombardment of Christmas movies on Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, WE, and a number of other channels the WP Mom frequents. (I am more of a streamer.) I don’t need to indulge in any sweets when those are on because they’re already too sugary and sweet. If I truly paid attention to them I would probably go into a diabetic coma from the sugary sweetness.

I figure I can put up with it for the few more weeks. Once we get past New Years I expect the Valentine’s Day movies to start. I can hear my pancreas screaming just at the thought.

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It doesn’t surprise me in the least that when our institutions of higher ‘learning’ talk about diversity, they are only talking about diversity of race and/or culture, not diversity of thought or ideology. That kind of diversity is strictly verboten. That kind of diversity will be punished.

Colleges and universities are obsessed with racial diversity. But a new analysis provides even more proof that our higher education system has a different and arguably more important diversity problem: a woeful dearth of intellectual diversity.

The College Fix analyzed a sample of 65 academic departments across seven universities and found that more than half of the departments had zero Republican professors. All told, 92% of the professors at these departments identified as Democrats, meaning there was an 11-1 ratio of Democratic to Republican professors.

This analysis can’t necessarily stand in for all colleges, but it’s quite similar to the figures other analyses have come up with. The general takeaway is clear: Higher education is overwhelmingly dominated by ideological liberals, with a real shortage of differing perspectives on most campuses.

“These results should be another wake-up call that higher education is severely biased and broken,” concluded College Fix editor-in-chief Jennifer Kabbany. “Higher education is one of the most important battlegrounds for the heart, soul and mind of this nation.”

Colleges and universities should be encouraging diversity of thought and ideology, not suppressing it. At that point they are no longer institutions of higher learning but centers of indoctrination and any thinking outside that allowed by such indoctrination will not be allowed.

(H/T Instapundit)

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By way of PJ Media comes the continuing saga of Twitter’s subservience to government, more specifically to the Democrats/Deep State in the US government, delving a deeper into Twitter acting as an agent of the government.

Friday night, journalist Matt Taibbi provided the first installment of internal Twitter communications. The first dump focused on the suppression of information during the 2020 Election, specifically the censorship of Hunter Biden’s laptop. According to Twitter CEO Elon Musk, there is more to come about shadow banning and other forms of censorship as thousands more pages are released. Still, taking what we have already learned at face value, some former Twitter executives have quite a bit to answer for.

--snip--

Let’s begin with the premise that suppressing the content of Hunter Biden’s laptop affected the outcome of the 2020 Election. The Media Research Center (MRC) conducted one of the only polls about how the information on the computer would have affected the way people voted. MRC’s analysis found that full awareness of the Hunter Biden scandal would have led 9.4% of Biden voters to abandon the Democratic candidate. This would have flipped all six of the swing states Biden won to Trump, giving the former President 311 electoral votes.

The linked post includes other incidents where Twitter’s suppression of free speech had major consequences, not just for the US but other places in the world.

This illustrates the Law of Unintended Consequences coming into play yet again, creating distrust, havoc, and at its worst, death and destruction.

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My thoughts when I heard there might be a walkout by personnel in the New York Times newsroom over a pay dispute?

Would anyone notice...or care?

Probably not.

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As an engineer one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to test equipment, computers, smart phones, tablets, and other equipment is the user interface.

Some are great, are easy to use, and don’t require looking in the user manual to figure out how to turn on the power. Others are awful, make little sense, have circular work flows that mean you can get from one screen to another eleventy-eleven different ways, but never the same way twice in a row.

Our engineering department has a UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) engineer, someone who designs, develops, and tests the user interfaces for functionality and ease of use. In her I have a kindred spirit because she dislikes poor user interfaces as much as I do and we have, one more than one occasion, evaluated user interfaces on competitors’ equipment and rated them. Some have been very good, in some cases intuitive and easy to use. Others have been awful. Yet others have been somewhere in-between those two extremes. When we have disagreed about one element or another, it’s usually been a matter of degree, not magnitude.

This is an interesting treatise on user interfaces which delves into the good, the bad, the ugly, and the deceptive, and not just in the interfaces on equipment, but in places like retail shops and ads.

It doesn’t get too technical, looking more into the psychological aspects of UI design, but it does give a good look into why UI’s work or don’t work.

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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee where preparations for Christmas continue, decorations abound, and where Christmas will arrive all too soon.

12/03/2022

Was Twitter An Instrument Of The Government?

One of the elements of fascism is that industry is subservient to the State. We saw that in both Germany and Italy prior to and during World War II. While industries were still privately owned, meaning they weren’t property of the state, they knew they existed only at the pleasure of the State. (In the Soviet Union all industry was owned by the state.) Both fascism and communism are instruments of the Left. Fascism and communism still exist. What’s frightening is that we see some of that here in the US.

A recent example of this presence:

The revelation that Twitter suppressed free speech under the orders of the government.

As Elon Musk tweeted:

Twitter acting by itself to suppress free speech is not a 1st Amendment violation, but acting under orders of the government is.

That blows the “Twitter can block misinformation/disinformation and not violate free speech because they are a private corporation” claim out of the water. It wasn’t misinformation they were blocking, but free speech and they were doing so as an agent of the government. What did the government want to keep the from public?

As such, the folks who were running Twitter and suppressing free speech should be prosecuted for Civil Rights violations as should those in government ordering them to do so. They willingly violated the First Amendment, knew they were doing so, and did it anyways. They deserve time in a Federal Take-It-Up-Butt Prison...or maybe worse for them, in a SuperMax prison where they are locked in their cell for 23-1/2 hours a day and the only people they see are the guards delivering their meals or escorting them to and from an isolated exercise ‘yard’.

Such consequences would be a warning to others who think things like the Bill of Rights apply only to our supposed ‘betters’ and can be ignored without consequence.

12/02/2022

This Can Never Be Stated Enough

By way of Nitzakhon over at GraniteGrok comes this reminder about the Second Amendment and what it actually says and means:


I have to constantly remind our Progressive brethren that the Bill of Rights does not grant rights, but enumerates inherent rights the citizens already have and that government does not.

11/27/2022

Thoughts On A Sunday

It’s the wind-down from Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday is on its way.

I have survived a week off from work. I haven’t been idle by any means, putting the finishing touches winterizing The Gulch – thermal drapes being put up, installing heat shrink on two windows whose seals have ruptured (they’ll be replaced next summer), pulling out the humidifier (used to keep the air inside The Gulch at a comfortable humidity level once winter arrives), cleaning the lint out of the clothes drier vent, and swapping out the summer stuff for winter stuff.

The trusty RAM 1500 has new tires, the proper type this time - Passenger, not Light Truck tires like last time...which were the only ones available at the time – which ride better and restore the fuel economy lost with the Light Truck tires. It is scheduled to have its undercoating touched up and an oil change/lube later this week. Then it will be ready for the upcoming winter.

About the only thing left to do is perform an oil change on the Official Weekend Pundit Portable Generator, something that will be performed next weekend.

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By way of Instapundit comes this prognostication about the upcoming winter:

Snow extent in the Northern Hemisphere at the end of November represents an important parameter for the early winter forecast. This year snow extent is running much higher than average and according to existing global estimates, it is now beyond the highest ever observed so far. Winter forecast, especially in its early phase and in Europe, might be strongly influenced by such a large snow extent, although many other factors need attention.

Northern Hemisphere snow extent is currently indeed very high, now at about 41 million square kilometers, according to the NOAA/Rutgers Global Snow Lab.

While we have very spotty snow coverage here at The Big Lake, there’s plenty up north. I don’t know if it’s a normal amount or not. I do know the ski areas have been liking it.

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Somewhere, Skynet smiles.

It seems the Kalifornia Totalitarians have no problems with authorizing the San Francisco Police Department robots to kill.

San Francisco authorities proposed a new “dystopian” policy heading for approval next week that would license department robots to kill suspects who threaten the lives of citizens and police officers in the crime-ridden city.

This would be just the first step, knowing how the Progressives in Kalifornia think. I hate to think this, but I have to wonder if they would eventually give those robots autonomy about the decision to kill or not. We know The Powers That Be don’t really like the police and if they can replace them with robots they can make sure they aren’t “rayciss” or transphobic or misogynist or homophobic or whateverist.

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You know what’s even scarier than killer robots?

Fidel Trudeau’s discussion with his cabinet about using tanks to “crush the Freedom Convoy” protests.

I find it disturbing that our Canadian neighbors have leaders that are thinking more like the leaders of the old Soviet Union every day.

Despite the fact that the Convoy “at no time” posed a threat to Canadians, Trudeau and his cronies were so hostile to it that his cabinet went so far as to discuss “crushing Freedom Convoy with tanks.” This should scare all Canadians, since it leads to the inevitable question: what does Trudeau have in store next for those who oppose him?

Canadians are at serious risk of losing their freedoms under the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau.

First we see the Aussies surrendering more of their rights to an increasing totalitarian and hostile government. Then another nation of the Anglosphere is going totalitarian, in this case Canada.

We already know WRBA here in the US would like to bring the US into the Progressive totalitarian fold. Goodness knows we’ve already seen efforts to choke off one right after another – Freedom of Speech; Freedom of Association; Freedom of Religion; The Right to Keep and Bear Arms; The Right to be Be Secure in Their Persons, Houses, Papers, and Effects, just to name a few.

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This is something all of us bacon lovers have known for forever.


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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where we’re still recovering from Thanksgiving, the weather is trying to make up its mind between fall and winter, and where actual Monday has returned all too soon.

11/26/2022

A Return To Politics

I have no doubt my couple of dozen readers have noticed I haven’t been blogging about things political quite as much as I usually do. It hasn’t been because I’m no longer interested in doing so. Rather it’s been a bit of post-election burnout, between the various campaigns and prepping for and manning the polls on election day which included manual vote counts due to a voting machine malfunction that did not separate ballots with write-in votes. I needed to take a little bit of a break before delving back into politics, and particularly political nonsense being peddled as “The One True Way To Paradise (For The Progressive Elite, You Peasant!)”.

My discussions with the WP Niece on Thanksgiving Day cinched our conclusion that political dialog needs to be done face-to-face, at least in our case, because we find a lot more common ground when we do so than when we debate via texting or e-mail. We miss too many of the subtle nuances when doing so. We find that some of our political differences are not, in the end, profound. It’s easier to explain our viewpoints (and why I am right).

There is no doubt the next two years leading up to the New Hampshire Primary and the Presidential election will be far more contentious than the year leading up to the mid-terms. We’ve already seen some possible 2024 Presidential contenders visiting New Hampshire...yet the Primary is still about 14 months away. I figure the campaigns will start up some time right after the first of the year and we will be increasingly inundated with TV, radio, and print ads the closer we get t over the nexthe Primary in January (or February) 2024.

If nothing else I and the rest of the political bloggers will have an abundance of fodder to report, analyze, and tear apart over a period of 22 months. It will be a target rich environment.

11/25/2022

It Is Done

As I brought up last Saturday, we made the switch from our old cable TV company to a new one, a competitor that entered our town over the past year or so. They’ve spent that time building out their network and finally come into our neighborhood here at The Gulch.

The changeover was painless, taking less than an hour to achieve. Setting up the new e-mail addresses took longer, something I hade to deal with, but it was just time consuming as there were a number of verifications required to activate our new e-mail addresses. That was the easy part.

Do you have any idea just how hard it is to close an existing cable TV account? I’m finding out.

The list of requirements for closing an account is long and daunting. About the only thing they don’t require is a DNA swab and a retinal scan. Opening an account it easy...and it’s designed to be that way.

The folks in the ‘Loyalty Department’ (Yes, that’s what they call it) asked me why we were making the switch and I gave them my litany of reasons why I no longer wanted to do business with them which included:

- Lack of tech support. I’ve been dealing with a Internet service problem for two years and in that entire time I haven’t been able to speak to a human being in Tech support to fix it, something that had to be taken care of on their side of the cable modem.

- Service outages. Quite often we would lose Internet service, usually requiring restarting the cable modem. It was an almost daily occurrence. This was a particularly bothersome and inconvenient on those days I was working from home.

- Loss of TV channels. There would be outages of a number of different TV channels, most lasting for only a few minutes, but there have been times when we’ve lost them for hours.

As I mentioned in my previous post on this matter, it’s like they’re trying hard to lose as many customers as they can. If that is their aim, they’re succeeding. I know of at least six of my neighbors who have also made the change and a few more contemplating doing so.

And so it goes.

11/20/2022

Thoughts On A Sunday

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, something I am trying to wrap my head around. Wasn’t the Fourth of July just a couple of weeks ago?

As I have stated more than once over the years, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, even more than Christmas. While I have always liked Christmas, I have found it to be trying, capable of generating anxiety that I don’t experience with Thanksgiving. While both holidays often require travel, it isn’t the travel that is troublesome. Rather, it is the different expectations that go with those holidays. (I don’t need to go into them, do I?)

As is rare for me, I am on vacation this week. It isn’t often that I take more than a day off here and there, usually extending a holiday weekend by a day or two. In this case I am extending the Thanksgiving holiday by three days! As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I will not be idle during my time off. Other than Thanksgiving Day, I will be busy here at The Gulch finishing some winterization and repairs as well as getting the trusty RAM 1500 squared away for the upcoming winter.

==++==


Is Joe Biden actually going to run again in 2024? While he says he is running again, one has to ask if will he be in any (mental) condition to do so?

My guess is ‘no’.

On every subject, confusion abounds, and it’s only getting worse.

On the campaign trail, he forgot the name of the governor of New Mexico. (She does have three names). He lauded Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, then seconds later couldn’t recall his name and instead described Wyden as “that other guy that I just talked about.”

He talked about his visit to Florida in the aftermath of “Hurricane Ivan.”

He wished a speedy recovery to Nancy Pelosi’s husband “Bobby.” (His name is Paul.)

The list of his mental lapses is getting longer and being added to at an increasing pace. This is not someone we want in the White House, even as a figurehead. But WRBA also doesn’t want Kamala taking office as President. So it makes me wonder if she’ll be induced to resign, replaced by someone more palatable, and then we’ll see SloJo removed from office under the 25th Amendment.

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It seems we’re seeing yet another in a series of attempts to “get” Trump. We’ve seen the politicized Department of Justice fail again and again to “get” him. We’ve seen the DNC fail again and again. It seems to run something like this:

2016 – “We’ve got him now! He’s goin’ down!” Results: Nada.
2017 - “We’ve got him now! He’s goin’ down!” Results: Nuthin’.
2018 - “We’ve got him now! He’s goin’ down!” Results: Not a damn thing.
2019 - “We’ve got him now! He’s goin’ down!” Results: Nil.
2020 - “We’ve got him now! He’s goin’ down!” Results: Zip.
2021 - “We’ve got him now! He’s goin’ down!” Results: Zilch.
2022 - “We’ve got him now! He’s goin’ down!” Results: Zero.
2023 - “We’ve got him now! He’s goin’ down!” Results: To Be Determined...but likely as productive as the previous 7 years.

If the DOJ had been as diligent digging into Hunter Biden’s activities as they have Donald Trump’s, Hunter would be in federal prison...and his dad might be in the cell next to his.

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I’ve noticed this, too.

There are a lot of wild turkeys here in New England. Fifty years ago there weren’t. So why are there so many here now?

In suburban New England, gobbling gangs roam the streets. Wild Turkeys, each weighing in at 10 or 20 pounds, loiter in driveways, trapping residents inside their homes. They lounge on decks, damage gardens, and jump on the car hoods. Flocks of 20 or 30 birds roost in backyards, while particularly plucky turkeys chase down mailmen and the occasional police cruiser.

Even when I relocated here to New Hampshire 42 years ago there weren’t all that many wild turkeys around. I spent a lot of time hiking around New Hampshire during the 80’s and I saw very few wild turkeys back then. Today, I see them everywhere. We would see them all the time at The Manse. I see them quite often here at The Gulch. I see them crossing the roads I use going to and from work, to town hall, to the local Walmart plaza, and going to the dump.

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By way of Power Line comes this warning from the Halls of Science:


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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the cold has been more than making up for the unseasonably warm weather we had earlier in the month, the snow from Buffalo has not made its way here, and where I don’t care if it’s Monday tomorrow because I’m on vacation!

11/19/2022

Random Stuff On A Saturday

While we haven’t seen the extremes experienced by the folks in Buffalo, the difference a week makes in weather here is amazing.

We had temps in the 60’s with some evening temps in the upper 50’s a week ago.

This past week we were in the upper 30’s with evening temps below freezing. We also got snow mid-week, though only about an inch of a slushy mix here at The Gulch. It will be in mid-teens over the next couple of nights. This has driven me to take care of the last few ‘winterization’ chores here, specifically heavy winter drapes over the slider leading out to the porch and heat shrink over a couple of windows on the north side of the house.

The trusty RAM 1500 will have its ‘winterization’ completed this coming week, between new tires and updated undercoating. (I might have been able to squeeze out another winter with the existing tires, but the tread is a bit thin. The last time the trusty RAM got new tires I had to settle for Light Truck tires because the tires I needed weren’t available. The LT tires have a much harder ride which also caused a loss of almost 4 miles per gallon in fuel economy. The new tires are the correct ones for the truck so I expect I’ll gain back the better ride and fuel economy.)

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One of the other changes taking place here at The Gulch over this upcoming week is a change to a new cable provider.

Our town now has two cable TV companies, with the newer one having just finished installing their cable infrastructure in our part of town. (Call me a cynic, but as I have stated more than once, “Now we have two cable companies to hate!”) The new cable company - who shall remain nameless...but owns NBC - offered a great two-year deal for less than half of what we have been paying our existing provider, with slightly higher Internet speeds.

Our existing provider went from being a pretty darned good cable company to being totally unresponsive to customer needs. This change took place during Covid as they closed local offices and moved their customer/tech support out of state. I know I have been trying to resolve an issue with my Internet service for almost two years now, an issue I know how to fix but takes the actions of the tech support guys on the “other side” of the cable modem to resolve. Do you think I can reach them?

Nope.

There are only two paths for tech support: going to their web page and reading the various FAQs, or invoking the chat function and waiting for 4, 5, 6 hours or more to deal with an actual human being. Their phone number points to the web page and doesn’t connect to an actual human being. My problem cannot be resolved via the FAQs, and I have more important things to do than hang around online for hours on end only to be disconnected and leaving my problem unresolved.

There have been other issues as well, with one of the most annoying being losing the video in the middle of a show for no apparent reason (and finding related channels have also disappeared). It’s been happening with increasing frequency which has certainly peeved the WP Mom to no end.

It’s as if the C-level execs are doing what they can to shed themselves of their holdings up here, pushing towns to dump them as a provider. (If they don’t want to provide services up here any more I would think they would sell their assets to another provider and be done with it rather than letting them just wither away.

All cable companies have franchise agreements with the towns they serve which generally run for 10 years and which are reviewed and then renewed at the end of existing agreement. If a cable company doesn’t meet the terms of the agreement – a contract – the town may decide not to renew the agreement and the cable company has to leave. (This doesn’t happen overnight. Usually the decision not to renew is made a year or two before the agreement expires which allows the town to find a new cable provider.)

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We’ll be off to the youngest WP Sister’s for Thanksgiving, the largest gathering of the WP Clan on Thanksgiving for some time. I’m looking forward to it after the Covid-driven hiatus kept us apart for three years.

11/13/2022

Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a bittersweet day today at church for the WP clan, it being a remembrance of the passing of three members of the family, all of whom passed away on the same day – November 14th – though years apart. One of the WP Uncles passed away back in the late 1960’s, the WP Dad eight years ago, and one of the WP nephews four years ago.

The oldest WP sister and her S.O. came up to join us (and to help with some work around The Gulch). It was a nice seeing them as we don’t get together nearly as often as we’d like.

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More than a few folks have mentioned more than once that the ‘woke’ Disney is going to pay the price for going woke, yours truly included, and now it looks like that is just about to happen in the form of mass layoffs.

Woke Disney isn’t cutting it these days. While they continue to groom and sexualize children with their woke agenda, people are starting to boycott Disney. They missed their earning by nearly a billion dollars and are expected to announce mass layoffs before either Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Disney has fallen under the sway of “Go woke, go broke” trap and is paying the price as have so many other corporations. If they don’t reverse course I expect they will also suffer the same fate so many other ‘gone woke’ businesses have.

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Michael Shellenberger delves into how ‘woke’ is being used to generate profit from victimhood.

We tend to think of the people, and businesses, supporting Black Lives Matter, LGBT rights, and climate change advocacy as altruistic. They aren’t doing it for fame or fortune. They’re just doing it because they care about victims of violence, prejudice, and environmental degradation.

And yet over the last year, all three movements have been caught profiting from creating victims. BLM’s founder bought a $6 million home using donations intended to protect black lives from police violence. A British medical clinic is being sued by parents who allege that their gender dysphoric children were rushed into puberty blockers that can harm health. And climate activists funded by the heirs to the Getty and Rockefeller fortunes have staged protests on roadways that have caused several deadly traffic accidents.

Such behaviors shouldn’t surprise us, argues psychologist Sam Vaknin, who I interviewed at length on Monday. “Victim movements go awry when they are appropriated by the elites and become integrated into existing power structures, including profit-motivated power structures,” he argues. “Suffering becomes a commodity. The minute you monetize suffering, you have a vested interest. Victimhood becomes a permanent fixture because that's your product line. You're going to produce victims and suffering.”

This isn’t the first we’ve seen the like happen. How many times did we see leaders and organizations from the Civil Rights era corrupted by the money and power inherent in such movements? It is not different today.

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It seems even more rural cities in the Northeast aren’t immune from the effects of the “Defund the Police” movement, the city in question being ultra-blue Burlington, Vermont.

Burlington is starting to resemble places like Portland and San Francisco with homeless and drug-addled derelicts increasing in number as the number of its patrol officers has declined by 70% from 50 to 15 officers. That supervisors and detectives have had to step in to fill those open patrol slots is not a good thing.

Defund police departments and crime goes up. Does that surprise anyone? No. But the real problem isn’t the lack of police but of the tolerance of drug addled transients. They know full well if they get arrested they’ll just be out the next day. They’ll never pay a fine and never do more time. There are no consequences whatsoever. That’s the real problem.

As one commenter wrote in the linked Instapundit post, “As per usual they ignore human nature and are then surprised when human nature slaps them in the face...so they try to ignore it even harder and get slapped harder in return.”

As Glenn Reynolds warned us back in 2020, “When “defund the police” fever was in full bloom in latte towns across America, “the breakdown of law and order won’t go as [leftists] hope. Ultimately, the police are there to protect criminals from the populace, not the other way around. Get rid of the police, and armed vigilantism is what you’ll get. And what you’ll deserve.”

We’ll see the return of so-called vigilance committees since neither the police or justice system are capable of doing their jobs. Like vigilantes of old, punishment is likely to be harsh with many crimes being punishable by death. There will be no appeals, no extenuating circumstances, no “He’s just a poor boy from a poor family” excuses. There will probably be no rehab offered, particularly to the drug-addled miscreants defecating and urinating in the streets or the doorways of homes and businesses and accosting residents minding their own business.

That won’t bode well for those on the wrong side of the law, at least in the eyes of the vigilance committees.

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Then there’s this point to ponder, courtesy of Nitzakhon over at GraniteGrok.



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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee where the warm weather has fled, colder weather is replacing it, and snow might be showing itself later this coming week.

11/12/2022

A Family Day

It's been a busy day here at The Gulch with family up visiting for the weekend. It has left me little time to do my usual Saturday scribbling. We are headed out to dine at one of our favorite eateries shortly.

In its place I offer this image shamelessly stolen from PowerLine. I present to you the Addams Family...of Pennsylvania.