12/04/2019

Yet Another Close-Minded Leftist Troll

I was surprised to see that a comment I made to a post at Intellectual Takeout over a year ago has garnered some new replies. The post deals with the fact that most Americans, particularly younger Americans, have “almost entirely forgotten their history.” As George Santayana said, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” Or as Robert Heinlein once wrote, “Those who do not study history have no past...and no future.”

In America, we celebrate democracy and are justifiably proud that this nation was founded on the idea that the people should rule.

That’s why it is so important that Americans be informed about their government. They are partakers in it. In fact, they control it.

Under tyrannical systems, it matters little if the people are informed about political life. Autocrats make decisions for the people whether they like it or not. But in our republic, we rely on the informed decision-making of citizens to judge policies and the leaders who will implement them.

Unfortunately, we are not very well-informed.

According to a recently released survey, Americans are woefully uneducated about the most basic facts of our history, to the point where most couldn’t even pass a basic citizenship test.

Therein lies the problem. It isn’t just a lack of understanding of our history that’s a problem, but the related ignorance of our laws and of the Constitution that also pervert and twist American’s perception of what’s legal and what’s not. This was amply displayed by a series of exchanges in the comments of that year-old post, where one part, a self-described “70-something female that grew up in Virginia and I know our history.” This same female then went on to prove she doesn’t understand our laws or our constitution, or worse, that she does and wants to see both changed beyond recognition in order to fit her view of what should and should not be legal. Heaven help us if she ever gets her way.

Here are her comments and some responses to her comments:

Her: Liberals started this country.

Him: Yes, classic liberals who believed in the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, that government that ruled least ruled best, and so on. "Liberal" doesn't mean what it used to and is in fact the antithesis of its original meaning. Liberals today are anything but liberal in their beliefs, the term having been suborned by the regressive Progressives.

Her: And you are expert on what liberals believe since you are one?? LOL. From my view most conservatives don't really believe in liberty. They are the real regressives. I am a 70 something female that grew up in Virginia and I know our history. Our forefathers are rolling over in their graves from the perversions of the right now.

Him: As compared to the Left doing everything it can to strip Americans of their rights while telling us to "trust" them because they know better what the people need than the people themselves? That's what has the Founding Fathers spinning in their graves, the very thing they fought against over 200 years ago.

Her: What rights are the Left trying to strip from you? Seriously? Please give specific answers, What I think is old guys are seeing the country getting more diverse and browner along with women becoming more powerful and it scares them. You do realize that when this country was formed there were no restrictions on immigration. Funny, the right wants gun rights with no restrictions yes wants to limit immigration. Why does the right think they define what being liberal is?

Him: Let's see:

Freedom of Speech is a big one. All one has to do is look what is happening on college campuses which has spilled out into society. You can only speak if you agree with us, otherwise you will be silenced, made an un-person. Owners and staff of social media do that day in and day out. Only viewpoints of those they agree with will be seen. Those with opposing viewpoints (most often conservative viewpoints) are blocked, taken down, removed or accounts are suspended because they disagree with the Leftist narrative.

Right to Keep and Bear Arms is another one. Strip law-abiding citizens of the right to defend themselves against miscreants and tyrants (these days often the same people). Certainly the government is incapable of protecting the citizens. And who protects us against the government? You?

How about the Rule of Law in general? The Left consistently wants laws that stand in their way to be re-interpreted to greatly weaken them or eliminate them entirely. An example: immigration law. It seems these days that illegal immigrants have more rights than citizens. Leftist judges block implementation of long standing laws or executive orders, often without stating what law or constitutional article/amendment is being violated.

If need be I can go on and on (after I get out of work). But those are the top three that come to mind. There are plenty of others.

Her: You need to read the Heller decision. Gun ownership is not unlimited.

Him: But states/cities legislating gun control laws that make it darned near impossible to buy or own a gun go too far. Then again, those states tend to have very high rates of violence and property crimes and it seems the Powers That Be want to keep it that way by making sure citizens will be incapable of defending themselves. Only the criminals seem to be allowed to own/carry guns there.

Heller has been studiously ignored by Washington DC, making law abiding potential gun owners jump through all kinds of hoops just as a means of denying them the right to own a weapon, something that Heller was supposed to eliminate. Heller also stated that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right, not a collective right.

McDonald was supposed to stop the abuses by the city of Chicago in regards to gun ownership by law abiding citizens. That city has also ignored the ruling by dragging its feet when it comes to following the SCOTUS decision.

Her: The current administration is ignoring the Rule of Law and our Constitution. Impeachment is constitutional. It is not a hoax or witch hunt. The left is not trying to strip you of the right to own guns. They just want better gun controls and gun control enforcement. I own a gun. Many liberals do. You seem to think if anyone on the left disagrees with you, exercises their freedom of speech, it is somehow an attack on your freedom of speech. It is not. Seems the right is guilty of that more so. The right is very quick to start name calling and being demeaning in my experience. I agree that younger Americans are not being taught history as well as I was. What is really astounding is the number of older Americans that do not really know the history of this country, or worse, twist it. I am very grateful my two sons have studied not only our history but world history. I promise you they can easily pass a citizenship test, as can I.

Him: Ignoring the rule of law? OK, you made the accusation, now provide proof. (Sorry, links to TPM, HuffPo, or CNN don't count.)

Or is this just your opinion masquerading as fact because you want it to be so?

Her: Link here This administration doesn't follow our asylum law. Asylum seekers can be IN THE COUNTRY BEFORE they ask for asylum.

Second example, calling the impeachment hearings a hoax. Impeachment is constitutional.

Third obstruction of justice by intimidation of witnesses and blocking witnesses testimony

For proof of these simply listen to Trump.

Him: To address your second point first, since when is opining about a law unlawful? Maybe on your world, but not mine. Calling the impeachment a hoax may indeed be the truth, but that doesn't mean it's breaking any law. If it is, then cite chapter and verse.

There is a thing such as executive privilege that every President can exercise. Until a court rules that the privilege doesn't exist in specific matters, it does exist. If anyone was intimidating witnesses it was Schiff, making all kinds of threats against potential witnesses, holding closed door interviews which the inquiry process does not authorize as all testimony is supposed to be public. (Star Chamber, anyone?)

Presidents can issue executive orders that suspend existing laws. Obama did that when he created DACA out of thin air, something that violated existing immigration law. By your lights, Obama should have been impeached for that bit of legal legerdemain.

Think executive orders can't overturn established law? Think again. Lincoln suspended habeus corpus during the Civil War by executive order.

That Trump modified the asylum process temporarily by requiring asylum seekers to apply for asylum from outside the US rather than within its borders is minor by comparison. With the borders having been leaking like a sieve and activist judges blocking implementation of existing immigration laws, the President was well within his power to modify the asylum process temporarily. It did not ban anyone from seeking asylum, but changed the process on a temporary basis.

Her: When the one opining is President and should be aware it is constitutional and then proceeds to obstruct justice by demanding non compliance with lawful subpoenas. He took an oath "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." This violates his oath of office.

Him: Your first sentence in no way represents what you wrote earlier.

You stated, and I quote "...calling the impeachment hearings a hoax." It doesn't matter that impeachment is constitutional. Calling the present impeachment efforts a hoax, meaning its only purpose is to mollify those who didn't like the fact that Felonia Milhouse van Pantsuit is not in the White House, is not against the law, is not unconstitutional. I know you desperately want it to be.

A president stating his opinion about anything is legal, is constitutional. It's covered under that whole First Amendment thingy. It doesn't matter who is opining about the impeachment circus. They have every right to do so. You do. The President does. I do. Everyone does. That you don't like it is significant of nothing and doesn't change the fact that the President has every right to declare the whole thing "a hoax".

There has not as yet been a response nor do I expect there will be other than some kind of clueless off-topic comment or irrelevant comparison or appeal to authority. She tries to make it all about the constitutionality of the impeachment process while at the same time trying to twist the meaning of the Constitution to agree with her ideology, something that does not reflect reality.

12/01/2019

Thoughts On A Sunday

It’s been great to have time off from work over the week of Thanksgiving. It’s given me a chance to decompress a little, visit family, deal with some work around The Gulch, and to bring up my ‘new’ laptop.

This week’s TOAS is being written on the aforementioned new laptop, something I salvaged from work (after removing the hard drive and giving it to our IT guy). $99 for a new 1TB SSD, a copy of Ubuntu Linux (version 19.10), a USB thumb drive, and the laptop was up and running. It has an Intel i7 8-core CPU and 16GB of RAM. It was pretty fast running Windows 7 Enterprise and it’s a screamer running Linux.

I have been using Open Office on my home desktop for years. The laptop uses Libre Office and I find it to be as useful as Open Office. (I believe Libre Office was created by a bunch of folks who originally created Open Office which is now owned by Apache.) So that the two Office suites are very similar is not surprising. It will be fun putting Libre through it’s paces.

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As much as the Congressional witch hunters are trying to keep their inquisition of President Trump at the forefront of the people’s interest, it hasn’t worked out so well for them. It seems more of the American electorate’s response to it is “Meh” or “Who cares?” or “Don’t you have something more important to do?”. They understand the Democrats are desperate to “get” Trump even if they have to make something up.

Do they realize the American people really don’t care for their posturing or endless bloviating about things that, in the end, aren’t important? Even Democrat voters are tired of it and becoming more so. So why do they keep pushing a busted narrative?

Because they have to or they lose face...and maybe their elective offices.

If they back down now they believe they will be voted out of office. What they don’t understand is that they are likely to voted out of office because they started this nonsense in the first place.

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Who are the racists in this country?

Hint: It’s not the GOP, Trump, or a large majority of white Americans.

The guilty white Progressives are a good example of racism hiding in plain sight, employing the “soft racism of low expectations”, seeing racism under every rock, behind every door, in every glance or gesture, in every turn of phrase, as part of every historic event, and only committed by whites. As far as they’re concerned, only white Americans can be racist despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.

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Glenn Reynolds asks “Remember when it was all about consent, which could be revoked or withdrawn at any time for any reason?” It appears the only ones not allowed to change their minds when it comes to sexual relations are heterosexual males.

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Go woke, get fired.

That’s what a woman in San Francisco found out after harassing an elderly man wearing a MAGA hat at a Starbucks. What makes this story more remarkable is that she was fired by the music store where she works.

When the video of her harassment of the religious Jew and Trump supporter went viral, showing her calling the elderly man a “Nazi” and lambasting him for supporting President Trump, the music store where she works fired her.

Apparently there are still some sane people left in the San Francisco area. Too bad they appear to be few and far between.

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Ashe Schow has a thread about “commercials she hates”. While I agree with some of her choices, the comments delve into most hated and most beloved ads.

My all time favorite? The Domino’s Pizza ad that paid tribute to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

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We are awaiting the first snowstorm of the season, with between 8 and 14 inches of snow forecast for this part of New Hampshire and 16+ inches for the southwestern part of the state. It’s going to be a slow moving storm, starting some time around 7 this evening and lasting until Tuesday morning.

While the TV stations have had a chance to use their ominous sounding Storm Center music and intros, they haven’t been pushing the “We’re-all-gonna-DIE!” meme. No one is rushing out to clean out the supermarket shelves of milk and bread. No one is stockpiling gasoline for their generators. About the only concessions I’ve made in the way of preparations for the upcoming snowstorm is filling the gas tank of the trusty RAM 1500 and taking the snow brush out of the truck and leaving in the foyer of The Gulch. (I won’t have to use my hands to clear away the snow from the trusty RAM 1500 in order to open door to get the snow brush out of the truck.)

I did have the trusty RAM 1500 undercoated last week, about a week earlier than I usually do, and had the front rotors and brake pads replaced while I was at it. It’s all set to go for the winter.

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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the snow will soon be falling, decorating for Christmas has started, and where I am glad Monday is returning for once.

11/30/2019

Trump Makes The Media Look Like Chumps - Again

The headline reads “Afghanistan Thanksgiving: Trump makes the press look like boobs.

For the U.S. troops abroad, President Trump made a major personal sacrifice by skipping his own Thanksgiving in order to surprise them by helping to serve them theirs. Under cover of secrecy, he flew nearly 7,000 miles, met with them, praised and cheered them, took selfies with them, served them in the chow line, and generally gave the brave fighting men and women in the world's most forlorn hellhole something to smile about. It was a lovely presidential gesture, well in keeping with past presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who also made holiday trips to cheer the troops.

But unlike them, he also had a goodie for us back home: he managed to expose the press as presumptuous boobs.

Newsweek meant to criticize Trump for golfing on Thanksgiving, which actually would have been an acceptable thing for him to do, given that it was a holiday and every chief executive needs what project managers call "maintenance time."

What’s so remarkable about this? Nothing, really. Hasn’t President Trump been doing this since before he took office, making them report one thing as ‘fact’ when what they reported was nothing of the sort. This time it led to the firing of the Newsweek reporter who originally published the report stating Trump “spent Thanksgiving tweeting and golfing rather than visiting troops in Afghanistan.”

How many other news reports have been of the same caliber as Jessica Kwong’s? How many reporters and/or editors have been sacked for reporting like this? Is Ms. Kwong merely the latest to be canned by her employer? Or has she been the only one because there was no way Newsweek could spin Ms. Kwong’s fake story to mean something different?

I doubt we’ll see too many others “losing their situations” because of sloppy reporting. Otherwise we would have seen most of the staff of the New York Times and Washington Post losing their situations over the past few years.

11/27/2019

A Reminder That Socialism's 400-Year Experiment Keeps Failing

It was around 399 years ago that the first known experiment in socialism started at Plimouth, Massachusetts. (No, that is not a typo. That’s how they spelled it back in 1620.) This is something I’ve referenced more than once in numerous posts in the past. The linked post goes into more detail than I ever have, so it seemed appropriate create a separate post to cover the topic in more detail.

In the diary of the colony’s first governor, William Bradford, we can read about the settlers' initial arrangement: Land was held in common. Crops were brought to a common storehouse and distributed equally. For two years, every person had to work for everybody else (the community), not for themselves as individuals or families. Did they live happily ever after in this socialist utopia?

Hardly. The “common property” approach killed off about half the settlers. Governor Bradford recorded in his diary that everybody was happy to claim their equal share of production, but production only shrank. Slackers showed up late for work in the fields, and the hard workers resented it. It’s called “human nature.”

The disincentives of the socialist scheme bred impoverishment and conflict until, facing starvation and extinction, Bradford altered the system. He divided common property into private plots, and the new owners could produce what they wanted and then keep or trade it freely.

The first socialism experiment lasted only two years, brought death and poverty to the people of the colony, and proved during that first experiment that human nature was stronger than the ‘ideal’ the Pilgrims tried to live by. This was a small group, not a nation, brought together by common cause and persecution back in England. These were people of faith, isolated from the other colonies with no “outside interference” so often blamed by socialist nations that fail to achieve their “utopia”, and they couldn’t make it work.

Over the centuries, socialism has crash-landed into lamentable bits and pieces too many times to keep count – no matter what shade of it you pick: central planning, welfare statism, or government ownership of the means of production. Then some measure of free markets and private property turned the wreckage into progress. I know of no instance in history when the reverse was true – that is, when free markets and private property produced a disaster that was cured by socialism. None.

Why supposedly smart people think they can make it work when people even smarter and wiser than they are couldn’t baffles me. Whether it’s because they have never studied the history of socialism (most likely), were indoctrinated by ‘true believers’, or have chosen to ignore because the truth is inconvenient, arm-chair socialists push to do away with the capitalist system because they don’t like it, or just as likely, don’t understand it and don’t want to.

Almost 400 years of failure and yet some folks still think they can make it work. They fall under Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results this time.

Need I say more?

11/25/2019

Real Life 101

On more than one occasion I have suggested that one course that needs to be taught in our schools and colleges is Real Life 101, aka Life Isn’t Fair 101. It is sad that so many of the kids in our schools have not been taught the harsh realities that entail life. This is something that parents and teachers should have been instilling in the children from day one. But teaching these truths has been sadly neglected to the point where students have come to believe that they should never have to deal with life’s unpleasantries such as receiving poor grades for poor work, having to listen to ideas or beliefs that disagree with theirs, finding out that their way isn’t the only way, and most important, the truth about Rule #51, that being that sometimes they are wrong.

As I have mentioned in other posts recently, I have been perusing the 17-and-a-half years of Weekend Pundit archives and have come across something from 2015 that is even more important today.

Were I a professor at one of these institutions that used to provide higher education rather than coddling these self-made 'victims', this is the what I would say to them on their very first day in my class:

“Welcome to Real Life 101. I am Professor Pundit and I'm going to tell you right now that I don't believe in trigger warnings.”

“You will be hearing and seeing things you should have been exposed to earlier in life, but that your misguided and ignorant parents chose to shield you from, meaning you arrived here unprepared to deal with life as it is.”

“I also expect that a good portion of you were told all through school that you were special and never had to worry about losing because 'everyone gets a trophy for just showing up'. Unfortunately, you were lied to because very few of you, if any, are special. Instead, you're average. No, strike that. You're below average because you have no idea what it's like to fail. When you do, you'll have no idea how to deal with it and you'll fall apart. You aren't prepared for failure and that's one of the biggest failings of your parents and teachers.”

“One of the first things I'm going to teach you is this one solid and perpetual truth: Life isn't fair. It never has been and it never will be. Get used to it. If you can't handle this, then I strongly suggest you drop this course and salve your wounded psyche by taking Basket Weaving 100 or Bunny Hugging 110 and leave real life to the rest of us.”

“I intend to flush out all of the crap that has been force fed to you over the previous 12 years of your scholastic life and teach you how to think, not what to think. I will help you develop the skills you need to survive out there in the real world where there will be no trigger warnings, no safe spaces, no college tribunals to take your side because you were offended by what someone said, wrote, or did that everyone else in the world sees as trivial and not worth mentioning.”

“I am going to shove reality in your face. I'm not going to sugar coat it or make it easy for you to coast through this course. I'm going to show you that not everyone can be reasoned with. I'm going to prove to you that there are people out there who don't give a good goddamn about you or your feelings, nor should they. I'm going to show you that there are evil fucking people out there who wouldn't think twice about raping you and then slicing your head off with a knife because it pleases them to do so to someone they see as sub-human. (Yes, this means you, Miss Sorority Pledge.)”

“I'm going to prove to you that the only person you can count on is you when you're out there in the real world. Your mommy or daddy won't be able to bail you out and none of the teachers from your schools will lend you a helping hand once you leave this place. You'll be on your own. If you fail to learn these lessons and the others I hope to teach you, then you will be truly and totally fucked. The only way you'll survive is to move back in with your mommy and daddy and live in their basement. At worst, you'll be curled up on your bed down there, stuck in a semi-catatonic state because you were set up by your parents and your teachers to fail, being totally incapable of dealing with real life as it is, not as you want it to be.”

“Any questions before we begin? No? Good. Then let's get started....”

I feel the need to add a list of a few topics that would be covered in such a course to bring this up to date: .

Grades are earned, not owed. They are based upon the work you do and are not based on your race, ethnicity, political leanings, gender, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. This is particularly true out there in the real world. Employers expect you to do the work they hired you to perform and none of those things listed will matter to them, period.

Feeling is not the same as thinking. Too often you equate one with the other. They are nothing alike. Basing all your decisions upon feelz rather than facts and reasoning will lead you to make the wrong decision most of the time.

Opinions abound and everyone has their own. Your opinion is no more valid than that of anyone else. Get used to it. A lot of folks will have opinions that differ from yours, but that doesn’t automatically mean yours is valid and theirs are not. They may know things you don’t and have had experiences you cannot fathom.

Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they’re racist or any other kind of ‘-ist’. It just means they disagree with you, period. If you try to push the ‘-ist’ narrative, you’ll prove that you are willfully ignorant about the subject at hand and can be ignored because your opinion isn’t based upon anything but ‘feelz’.

Freedom of speech includes speech you may find offensive. The First Amendment also applies to speech you disagree with, even ‘hate speech’, a concept that is so vague that someone saying “hello” could be defined as having used hate speech. Get used to the idea that hate speech is constitutionally protected speech, not just the speech with which you agree.

Respect is earned. It is not owed nor can it be demanded, no matter what you may believe. If you show no respect, don’t expect to get any in return. If you demand respect, don’t be surprised if you receive only ridicule in return.

I could go on, but then I’d need a bigger blog.

11/24/2019

Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a dark and stormy…day. It started with a little freezing rain which then turned into heavy rain later in the morning. Since I was driving the WP Mom to meet up with the youngest WP Sister at the half-way point between her home and The Gulch. The WP Mom will be spending a few days with my sister helping to get my sister’s place ready to host Thanksgiving this coming Thursday. In the mean time I’ll be ding some work here at The Gulch, getting Christmas items out of the attic and putting the last of the summer items away.

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By way of Pirate’s Cove comes this from Irons In The Fire:

This kind of crap is what happens when a group has no actual problems to deal with, so they have to create something.

Students at a Virginia law school are asking the administration to remove 'controversial' figures George Washington and Robert E. Lee from their graduation diplomas.

That seems problematic considering the Virginia law school in question is at Washington and Lee University.

This is something I have noticed for a considerable number of years: Most of the problems we’ve struggled against have been solved, or at least minimized. With very few “Big Things” needing to be dealt with, the Social Justice Warriors have to find something to justify their continued existence. If that means taking small matters and blowing them way out of proportion, then they’ll do just that. Examples abound. Otherwise how do you explain:

Transgendered bathroom/locker room access?

Math being redefined as racist?

Preaching the Gospel being defined as hate speech?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. being called an “oreo”?

All this “pronoun” nonsense using made up words no one can pronounce?

Using the wrong “pronoun” being either a firing offense or a criminal act?

The idea that there are eleventy-eleven genders even though biology only recognizes two?

All the silliness about “cultural appropriation” being bad when all successful and thriving cultures have appropriated all kinds of things from other cultures?

Demanding “reparations” for slavery committed by no one alive for almost 100 years and making claims that it didn’t even exist until America created it in the 1600’s?

Western Civilization has never created anything good…except everything being used by the SJWs including things like modern medicine, smart phones, automobiles, denims, TVs, iPods/MP3 players, modern philosophy, computers, the Internet, the U.S. Constitution, and an endless list of other concepts and items?

The idea that arresting underage shoplifters stealing alcohol from a local bakery is somehow racist?

I could go on because there is so many examples of this nonsense. The whole thing is silly, wastes time and money, and lets people who think they have all the answers feel better about themselves briefly before being offended by something new.

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Gee, the barking moonbats can’t even leave Mr. Rogers out of their delusional hatred of Donald Trump.

That’s sad. They really need to get some help.

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From the Weekend Pundit archives:

“I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.” - Thomas Sowell

That's because the folks who believe it think they know how to spend your hard-earned money better than you do. They are wrong, of course.

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If for some reason you feel the need to visit San Francisco you might want to consider reading this item from Legal Insurrection first.

As distasteful as it may be to discuss, complaints to SF 311 about feces on city streets increased again in 2018, including a surprising surge in Glen Park.


The site also notes that so far for 2019, the count jumped to more than 25,000 calls, up seven percent compared to the same time in 2018.

I have only two words to add to this: Poop map.

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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where it’s raining very hard, the lake was showing big white caps, and where I don’t have to go to work tomorrow because I’m on vacation.

11/20/2019

Weekend Pundit's Guide To Country Living - Part IV

Here we are, the fourth in a series of knowledge and a little advice for those contemplating a move away from suburbia or “The Big City” and out into the country. I've covered a few subjects including such things as neighborliness, winter survival skills, a few hints here and there on small town politics, and more importantly, how not to act.

Now we get into something that most folks in urban and suburban areas rarely have to deal with.

Critters.

I'm not just talking about the cute little furry animals that you might see around town, like squirrels, chipmunks, or the occasional raccoon, but others like skunks, porcupines, bats, weasels, fisher cats, coyotes, ferrets, deer, moose, and bears.

Let's start with some of the smaller but no less troublesome animals you'll come across if you decide to relocate to the country.

Squirrels and chipmunks, though 'cute and furry' can be both a real nuisance and quite entertaining at the same time. One of the biggest problems they pose is when they decide that your house also makes the perfect home for them, too. Squirrels are particularly good at chewing away at boards and beams in order to make an entrance. Here at The House the upstairs neighbors were surprised to find a family of squirrels had managed to chew their way into their kitchen and tried to set up housekeeping. The were quickly evicted with the appropriate amount of force and their entryway was boarded over.

Chipmunks can be almost as tenacious, but they tend to limit their forays into human habitation to cracks and holes close to the ground.

Raccoons, another animal of the 'cute and furry' category, are quire clever and can wreak havoc with your trash cans and their contents. It's not often that they cannot find a way into even the most 'secure' trash can in their efforts to score a meal. They also have a propensity for carrying rabies, something you don't want to mess with.

Skunks pose their own set of problems, the most obvious one being their ability to spray the unwitting person or pet with their noxious, odious, sinus-clearing weapon. Should you have a run in with one, you'll learn that one of the few things that will help remove the smell from you or your pet is tomato juice. Your clothing, however, may be a lost cause. Skunks are another of those critters that seems prone to carrying rabies, so there are two good reasons to avoid them. In any case should you inadvertently come across a skunk, back away. Make no sudden moves and back away. Usually a skunk will stamp its front feet as a warning before resorting to spraying. Take it to heart and back away.

Porcupines are not something you'll see all that often except as road kill. For the most part they're reclusive. More often than not it will be your dogs that will run afoul of porcupines, if at all.

Bats are one of those animals that people either love or hate. There doesn't seem to be an in-between when it comes to these furry insectivores. My advice to you - get used to them. They help keep down the bug population which means you'll have fewer bugs trying to dine on you.

Bats are nocturnal and come out shortly after sunset so it's not often that you'll see or hear them. In a few places you'll find people have built bat houses to encourage bats to take up residence near their homes. If nothing else they're far less expensive than running a bug zapper...and quieter, too.

Weasels and fisher cats are related, but the fisher is a nastier animal. It can make a meal out of your lapdog or kitty cat. They are voracious and vicious. Weasels on the other hand, tend to be quieter and don't show themselves all that often. While also predators like the fishers, it's rare that they'll go after other predators (like dogs and cats).

Coyotes are more numerous than most folks would think. When people think of coyotes they think of them as being primarily a western animal. But you'll find plenty of them around here. It's not uncommon to hear them barking and howling off in the distance on summer evenings. They are also another critter that will think nothing of helping itself to your trash can, assuming you actually make the mistake of leaving it outside. They will also have no problem making a meal of your dog or cat if they come across them.

There are also coyote hybrids to look out for, such as coy-dogs and coy-wolves. These are mixed breed animals, much as their names suggest. Of the two, the coy-wolves are probably the most dangerous as they combine the characteristics of the coyotes and wolves, and are bigger than coyotes. While not as numerous as the coyotes, there are plenty of these hybrid breed running around.

Wolves have been making a comeback, something obvious considering the presence of coy-wolves. While not numerous and more likely to be inhabiting the less settled areas due to the abundance of game, they still make their presence known at times. Like coyotes, they'll have no problems going after you pets, chickens, or other domesticated animals you may have around.

Many people think of deer as another member of the 'cute and fuzzy' club. It's what I've heard called “The Bambi Factor.”

For the most part deer tend to stay away from people, but there are always exceptions. As some with vegetable gardens have found out, deer will be more than happy to strip their gardens of anything edible. They can also do a great deal of damage when you hit one with your car or truck.

Since most of their natural predators have been wiped out, that leaves only us humans to help keep their populations in check. That means hunting.

Mmmm. Venison....

Moose, a relative of deer, are big. I mean reallybig. A full grown bull moose can top out at over 1000 pounds (454 kg). And unlike their smaller relatives, moose do not run away when they face anything they consider a predator. They stand their ground. That means if you come across one standing in the road while out driving, don't honk your horn. You'll only piss 'em off and make 'em try to flatten your car like a pancake. Moose can be particularly dangerous under two conditions – during mating season (also called rutting season), and if cow is protecting her calf from a perceived threat.

One of the biggest dangers that moose pose is collisions. Moose tend to blend into the background, making it more difficult to see them. This is particularly true near dawn and dusk. It is also when most moose versus automobile collisions take place. Picture hitting a thousand pound moose at 30 or 40 miles per hour. Now picture having that same angry, hurt moose crashing through your windshield and ending up in your lap after you've hit it. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Bears, as slow and as cute as they may seem are damn dangerous. For the most part bears are shy and don't usually come near human habitation. But if they are hungry enough they get over their shyness.

During the spring months bears are particularly hungry and will go through trash cans and pull down bird feeders looking for a meal.

The one thing you never want to do is feed them. Once they know that you're a soft touch for food they will always come back expecting more. If you don't continue feeding them once you've started they may invite themselves into your home by pushing in a door or window. Once that happens they have to be put down. If they learn that there is food to be had inside a house they will break in whenever they're hungry enough. And they won't care if you're inside when they do it. So don't feed the bears!

Another thing to avoid is bear cubs. Every so often hikers come across what they think is an abandoned cub. Trust me when I say that it ain't so- Mama bear is somewhere nearby and the last place that you want to be is between Mama and her cub. So if you're ever taking a walk through the woods and come across a cub, turn around and walk away or it's possible you could become bear food.

The other thing you never want to do while taking your constitutional is to startle a bear. It can have a similar deadly outcome. If you're out walking in the woods make sure you make some noise. This will alert the bear to your presence and give them enough time move away. Remember, bears tend to be shy of humans.

And then there's the mountain lions making the presence known again....

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That about does it for this round. There's not a whole heck of a lot more that I can cover about critters at this point. Maybe I'll have more later. Maybe I won't.

11/19/2019

Cuomo Blaming Utilities For His Failings

Just when you think New York Governor Andrew Cuomo couldn’t get any worse, he says “Hold my chianti,” and proves us wrong.

After banning fracking in the Empire State, then banning construction of pipelines in or through New York, then blaming the natural gas companies like National Grid and Con Edison for their inability to connect new customers in the greater New York City area because they don’t have the supply capacity to do so, Cuomo quadruples down on stupid and threatens to yank National Grid’s public franchise and get someone else to provide natural gas to New Yorkers. (Link may be paywalled.)

Yeah? Who? No one else can supply any more gas than either National Grid or Con Edison if they can’t build the pipelines they need to get the gas from the Pennsylvania gas fields to their customers. Using trucks, trains, or barges is a non-starter because too many New York watermelon environmentalists are against building the facilities to make any of that feasible. Those methods are also quite inefficient compared to pipelines as a lot more infrastructure is needed for the other methods. They can also be more dangerous.

But that doesn’t concern Cuomo. He really wants to make sure one of the cleanest and most efficient fossil fuels (which he hates with a passion) will become less available and more expensive for his constituents.

The Governor’s response: Who cares?

--snip--

National Grid already plans to deliver compressed natural gas by truck during the winter, but what if a snow storm closes roads? Perhaps “heat pumps and renewable sources” could alleviate the gas shortage, Mr. Cuomo says.

Heat pumps? Really? Considering what electricity costs in New York and that Cuomo has no use for nuclear power, where is the electricity to run those heat pumps supposed to come from? Renewables like wind? Yeah, considering renewables aren’t reliable, costs many times what electricity from nuclear, coal, and natural gas-fired plants costs, and hydro-power is committed elsewhere, heat pumps aren’t the answer.

On has to wonder what the anti-fossil fuel governor is going to ban next and do so without spending even a microsecond pondering the side-effects. He certainly didn’t waste any time thinking about the bad effects of the fracking and pipeline bans on his constituents.

Is Cuomo trying to out-California California?

11/17/2019

Thoughts On A Sunday

The early deep freeze has continued, with temperatures we usually see in January making themselves felt. We didn’t see above freezing yesterday, the overnight temp was about 16°F, and we reached just over freezing (34°F) today. While the Old Farmer’s Almanac says we’ll have a milder winter, I have to ask “As compared to what?” If -20°F is cold, is -15°F ‘milder’?

The cold temps did make it a little more difficult to make repairs to The Gulch’s front stoop. It was necessary to strip the decking from the stoop and the Trex planking had loosened and rather than refastening it, the decisions was made to lay down some new Trex to give the stoop a fresh look. (The old Trex was looking tired, had rust marks where the nails that were used to secure it to the frame were located, and the color no longer complemented the color The Gulch.) But now the stop looks pretty good and should be good for another 15 years or so.

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Considering the colder than normal temps we are experiencing, it seems like it would be a good idea to post a link to an important article that tells us how to tell if your firewood is seasoned.

I received a phone call from the folks who bought The Manse from us, asking for some advice about firewood. The Manse has a decent woodstove and they were planning to use it but weren’t sure whether the firewood they had was ready to burn. Fortunately for them the firewood they had was seasoned well enough for them to use. I did suggest that in the future they spend the extra money it would cost to get kiln-dried firewood as it is always ready to burn and gave them the phone number of a local supplier. Fortunately, the garage of The Manse had a rack built in to store firewood inside, keeping it out of the weather. The nice thing is that it could easily hold 3-½ cords of wood.

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Ken Lane (aka Wirecutter) over at Knuckledraggin’ relates the heartrending story of the unexpected and sudden passing of his beloved dog, Charliegodammit.

As I wrote in the comments, “They do work their way into our hearts, don’t they? I know there will be a Charlie-shaped hole in your life, much as anyone that has lost a four-footed and furry family member experiences. Bring him home, WC. Bring him home.”

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The Barrister is running an unscientific Scientific Survey for Guys.

The topic of his survey? What do you sleep in, if anything?

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I like this description of the Lord High Inquisitor Adam Schiff (D-CA): “Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff isn’t a constitutional scholar, but he plays one on Impeachment TV.”

His latest trick? Trying to redefine “bribery” so he can impeach President Trump. The problem is that his definition of bribery doesn’t even come close to the definition in the dictionary or the law books.

What a putz.

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Why doesn’t this surprise me?

The California legislature is working hard to make the Pyrite State a Third-World nation by further dismantling its energy infrastructure.

With its green dreams of an emission free state, California has not even been unable to generate enough of its own electricity in-state and imported 29% of its needs in 2018. The bad news is that imported electricity comes at higher costs and those costs are being borne by residents and businesses alike. California households are already paying 50% more, and industrial users are paying more than double the national average for electricity.

The future of electricity in California does not bode well as the State has chosen to not challenge the closure of the States’ last nuclear zero emission generating plant at Diablo Canyon, and 3 natural gas generating plants in Southern California.

With NO plans for industrial wind or solar renewable intermittent electricity projects to generate “replacement” electricity in-state, especially with the huge land requirements for those renewables, there will be a need to import from other states greater percentages of California’s electricity needs in the years ahead. And as you guessed it, more costs to the consumers and businesses who are already infuriated with high costs.

Making the cost of energy unsustainable and the supply unreliable helps no one. As the problems get worse, I have no problem believing that eventually even the high-tech elite will abandon California because remaining there will no longer make economic sense. Once they leave, California is done.

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Who’s next on the #Resisters hit list?

Attorney General William Barr.

Why? Because he said something they didn’t like.

So, what’s the problem? Are Democrats upset that Barr is describing them to a T? The article features multiple tweets by multiple unhinged Democrats being unhinged, forgetting what happened January 20, 2009-January 19, 2017.

Deranged, all of them.

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And that’s the news from, Lake Winnipesaukee, where it feels more like January rather than mid-November, ice has been forming 4 weeks early on some of our ponds, and where the Trusty RAM 1500 will be getting its annual undercoating a couple of weeks early.

11/13/2019

Weekend Pundit's Guide To Country Living - Part III

I find I must continue to impart my extensive knowledge to those considering a move to “the country.” While this advice is aimed more towards those considering a move to rural New England (particularly northern New England), some of it pertains to almost any rural area that experiences harsh winters. Some of this knowledge and advice will be new and some previous advice given in Parts One and Two will be repeated because it fits in better with this post.

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It gets cold around here. That means you will need to dress appropriately for the conditions. There are a number of things to keep in mind when thinking about winter apparel, one of them being this simple rule – layers. Buy your winter clothing with dressing in layers in mind. This is a far better method of staying comfortable over the cold and dark winter months. Wearing a number of lighter layers is far more efficient and comfortable than wearing one or two heavy layers of clothing. It also also allows you to add or shed clothing in order to stay comfortable as either indoor or outdoor temperatures change throughout the day.

Footwear should be warm and dry. Ditch the fashionable high heel knee boots with faux fur trim or your Rockport shoes and go for something that will keep your feet warm and dry. Winter fashion dictates utility and not looks. Always figure that you're going to be standing outside for quite some time even if all you're doing is making a run to local Dunkin' Donuts to pick up a dozen donuts and some coffee. You can never tell when you'll be forced to wait outside in less than great weather. If you aren't sure where to look for such things, check out L.L. Bean.

Think polar fleece. Also called Polartec, polar fleece is one of the warmest materials out there. You can find everything from sweatshirts, sweaters, hats and gloves, to longjohns and jacket linings made from polar fleece. It's warm, light, and inexpensive. Some Polartec clothing even looks fashionable.

Wear a hat. It keeps your head warm and your body doesn't have to work quite as hard to keep it warm, which means that your hands and feet will stay warmer. Why? Because the body will send more blood to the head to maintain the proper temperature and in order to do so will decrease blood circulation to the extremities. Keep the head warm and the feet and hands stay warm.

Use mittens rather than gloves when you're going to be outside for any great length of time. If it's bitterly cold outside, mittens will keep your hands warmer. If you're going to be exerting yourself, then gloves will probably do just fine.

Flannel sheets. One of the easiest and more comfortable ways to stay warm in bed. You immediately feel comfortable and don't have to wait for them to warm up. Far better than an electric blanket and they work even without electricity.

Seal windows and doors to keep the cold air out and the warm air in. Newer homes usually have decent windows and doors that seal properly when closed, but older homes (like the old lakeside house where I once resided) have old wooden double-hung windows that don't seal very well and require sealing with things like Mortite or heat-shrink plastic sheeting. It can make the difference between staying toasty warm on even the coldest winter nights or being chilled and using a prodigious amount of fuel trying to keep the indoor temperature above freezing.

Use a humidifier in your house. Believe it or not, this inexpensive device can actually make you feel warmer. During the winter the air inside can get quite dry. This can make it feel colder than it actually is. By increasing the humidity inside, a given temperature feels warmer, meaning the thermostat can be left at a lower setting, saving fuel and money. If you have forced hot air heating or a wood stove, then a humidifier is an absolute must. Without it the air can get so dry you might actually suffer nose bleeds because the sinuses dry out so much. You don't need to by a fancy (read expensive) humidifier to do the job. I have used something as simple as a $16 Vick's warm mist vaporizer to do the job. They're readily available from places like Walmart, which means you can easily afford more than one to keep the humidity high enough in your house. Even if they only last one winter they are worth the price.

Keep an emergency kit in your car/truck/SUV. You never can tell when you might get stranded during a snow or ice storm. It's usually a good idea to stow a few essentials in your vehicle just in case. A good basic kit includes a shovel (collapsible is OK), food (something that doesn't require cooking and is individually wrapped), a flashlight with extra batteries, an empty container of some sort (can be used to melt snow for drinking water), a blanket or sleeping bag, and, above all, jumper cables. You might also want to consider adding a towing strap, just in case you or someone else needs a tow. I also keep a change of clothing in the truck (mostly underwear and socks, and sometimes a Polartec pullover and pair of pants).

Keep the gas tank full. It's usually a good idea to not let the fuel in a vehicle to go below half a tank during the winter. This serves two purposes – it prevents condensation in the gas tank if your car/truck/SUV is prone to such a thing (which can lead to a frozen fuel line), and it gives you a comfortable reserve should you get stuck out on the road in bad weather. You'll be able to run the engine from time to time to keep the interior of your vehicle warm. If you do get stuck, make sure to keep your exhaust pipe clear to prevent carbon monoxide build-up inside your vehicle (that's one use for your collapsible shovel).

Listen to the weather forecasts. If forecasters say a major Nor'easter is headed your way, believe them. In New England, Nor'easters are the worst kind of snowstorm, not so much because of the winds but because of the amount of snow they can drop. The blizzards of 1978, 1993, and 2003 were all Nor'easters and they dropped feet of snow in a single storm. Nor'easters can kill, so pay attention and plan accordingly if one is forecast.

If you must travel during a winter storm, let someone know. Check in with them when you leave and again when you arrive at your destination. Think of it like a pilot filing a flight plan. If nothing else if you find yourself stranded you won't have to wait so long for someone to start looking for you.

Get a two-way radio. Whether it is a CB radio or you go the route of getting your amateur radio license and installing a ham radio, you 'll find that quite often it will let you call for assistance when your cell phone has no signal.

In light of the early blast of winter weather we've seen this week, these next two are repeats, but well worth mentioning again.....

Snow tires, your winter friend. Despite having your car/truck shod with all-season radials, you'll find that a good set of snow tires is worth the investment if you live in a part of the country where annual snowfall is measured in feet rather than inches. All-season radials are a compromise at best. Snow tires just plain work better in the snow. They can mean the difference between making it home safely or ending up in a ditch waiting for someone to (hopefully) pull you out before you become a corpsicle. If you are driving a pickup, consider a good set of all-terrain (AT) tires. They serve well for off-roading as well as driving through heavy snow. You can also leave them on year round if you so desire. Just be aware there is likely a gas mileage penalty for having your truck shod with them. Also, consider investing in a good set of tire chains if you regularly receive heavy snowfall or are prone to ice storms. (No, they aren't cheap, but even if you only have to use them once you'll believe they were worth the cost.)

During a heavy snow storm there is no such thing as a short trip to the store. If you know a storm is coming, get everything you need well beforehand. A trip that normally takes 10 or 15 minutes can take up to 2 hours if the roads are covered with a foot or more of snow. Of course that assumes you don't get stuck somewhere along the way to or from the store. If you do get stuck you might be lucky and they'll find your frozen corpse before the spring thaw.

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I think that's enough when it comes to surviving with winters in “the country.” While some of the above may seem overblown, I and family and friends have all experienced one or more of the scenarios outlined above.