A Pile Of Firewood

It is a truism that firewood heats you twice – once, when you're cutting, splitting, and stacking it; and again when you burn it. Goodness knows I've proven that enough times over the past 50 years.

And so it is here at The Manse.

BeezleBub, the WP Father-In-Law, and I spent today putting the last of the firewood up. We now have enough to last until next spring. It's all been cut, split, dried, and almost all of it has been stacked in the garage and basement.

There's just something about a pile of firewood. To quote the WP Father-In-Law:

“Seeing stacked firewood somehow makes you feel secure about the coming winter. You don't get that with a full tank of heating oil or propane.”



The Army Is Goin' Green

When I read this in last month's Design News, I thought it was the coolest thing. Even the military was getting into 'going green', using hybrid drive systems for their heavy trucks.

But then a reader commented on the article, saying that it was a contradiction.

I read the article regarding the "Green" army truck. When I finished, I felt like we, as a society have totally lost our minds. War is, without a doubt, the most resource-wasteful process on Earth. We win wars by destroying resources. So, if we are going to build mechanisms to destroy resources, why are we worrying about being "green" while we do it? The goal should be to make the truck as simple (this one is not), reliable (proportional to simplicity — so, not), and as easy to repair in adverse conditions (definitely not) as possible. Why worry about that fact that we could save a few dollars of fuel while we destroy resources which will eventually take millions of dollars of resources to rebuild? This is taking the "green" mentality to the point of insanity.

It makes a twisted kind of sense. We'll be environmentally conscientious while we're blowing the hell out of stuff. I'm sure our enemies will appreciate it.


Offending Muslim Sensibilities

One by one, those overly sensitive progressives are backing away from our own cultural entertainments and arts in an effort to not disturb “Muslim sensibilities.” How often do these “ever offended” Muslims worry about not disturbing Judeo-Christian sensibilities? If I had to guess, I'd say never.

As the saying goes, “Screw 'em if they can't take a joke!”

But in this case I think we can make an exception. The Berlin Deutsches Opera has decided not to perform Mozart's Idomeneo because they fear reprisals for offending Muslim sensibilities. Of course it doesn't help that this particular production has twisted Mozart's original libretto into something unrecognizable, with an ending far different from the one Mozart scripted.

In Mozart's version, the opera, set on Crete in the aftermath of the Trojan War, is a play about sacrifice and reconciliation. The opera ends with King Idomeneo issuing a "last command. I announce peace," before ceding power to his son.

Mr. [Hans] Neuenfels's version is Modern German--i.e., gratuitously offensive. It is more Neuenfels than Mozart. Instead of appearing as the harbinger of peace, Idomeneo ends the opera parading the severed heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and the Prophet Muhammad. How do you spell "anachronistic balderdash"?

It doesn't offend just Muslim sensibilities, it offends everybody's sensibilities. But still, it illustrates the lengths to which some will go in order not to offend someone who is offended by our very existence. How far do we go to prevent offending a vocal minority among the world's Muslims?

Frankly, I believe we've gone too far. For some of these so-called offended Muslims, everything we do offends them. The fact that we're even drawing a breath is offensive to them. My advice to them is “Lighten up.” If they can't manage to do that, then perhaps “Piss off!” will do the trick. And if that doesn't do the trick, then a well spoken “Shut the f*** up, butthead!” might.


Another Misguided Call To Dismantle The Electoral College

The issue of the Electoral College has come back again.

It seems that some folks are hell bent on turning the presidency in to a plebiscite rather than a reflection of the states' will.

The latest proponent for doing away with the Electoral College tries to use history to justify his call. Unfortunately it appears that he's twisting history to fit it to his purpose.

It was probably inevitable that eventually an academic would rewrite the history of the American Founding in his own image. Bruce Ackerman, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, has selected, molded, distorted, and recreated the events of the 1800 election and its aftermath to suit his view of what the Constitution ought to be. It's a pity. Written with a vibrant narrative style, "The Failure of the Founding Fathers" highlights such overlooked or underappreciated facts as the framers' lack of judgment in putting the vice president in charge of counting electoral votes, and the truly heroic efforts of Federalist Congressman James Bayard to break the famous impasse between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.


At bottom, Ackerman simply does not understand the full reason for the Electoral College. He correctly points out that one of its purposes was to distance the selection of the president from the passions and intrigues of faction; and he claims that with the rise of parties, this "filtering" function was largely vitiated. But not entirely. One of the post-1800 Electoral College's salutary accomplishments is that it provided a clearly legitimate president when the party system had broken down, e.g., in 1860 and 1912. Moreover, political scientists have long demonstrated that the Electoral College, with the developing tradition of winner-take-all in each state, works against a multiplicity of parties. The mechanism actually forces parties to seek coalitions among factions, thereby mitigating faction's deleterious effects and fulfilling the original purpose that the framers had in mind.

The last thing we want to do is devolve our government into a mirror image of so many parliaments, multiple parties fighting among themselves in an effort to form a government. We've seen it many times in Europe, with the worst example being Italy. Since the end of WWII there have been well over a hundred administrations that have come and gone, many lasting only months before the coalition that formed them fell apart.

The biggest problem with doing away with the Electoral College is that the voters in many states would be silenced, their votes becoming meaningless as the more populous states would be choosing the president. That's something that the founders wanted to prevent. They wanted the states to elect the president, not the individual people. Were it to become a plebiscite, then states like California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Virginia would dominate the election of the president and the other 44 states wouldn't count. The Union would be in danger of coming apart because so many states would be disfranchised. The House and the Senate are where the plebiscite works, just as it was designed to do. (Yes, I know that the Senate used to be selected by the governors and legislatures of the various states, but that was changed back in 1913 with the adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment).

The drive to do away with the Electoral College has more to do with gaining power when the more conventional and constitutional means have failed. The left will do anything to gain control of the White House, even if it means pushing a constitutional amendment to achieve it. Of course if they actually had a plan or program or platform that appealed to American people they wouldn't have to go this route, would they? Maybe that's something they should focus on rather than changing rules that have worked for the Republic for over 200 years because they haven't been able to win.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The weekend has been a washout, weather wise. Rain and/or high winds have kept us off the lake or from continuing our efforts to finish painting the decks on The Manse.

Today wasn't as rainy, but it was pleasantly warm. It was also quite windy. So all of our activities have been limited to indoors.


The Happy Carpenter offers an interesting analogy to explain why illegal immigration must be stopped.


In the “Do as I say, not as I do” department, I still find it unbelievable that many of the politicians that publicly support alternative energy technologies are some of the first to protest when such a project is proposed anywhere near where they live. This cuts across party lines as both Democrats and Republicans have become members of the NIMBY support group.

Such has been the case of the Cape Wind project, a wind farm planned off the coast of Nantucket. One of the most vocal opponents has been Senator Ted Kennedy (D- MA), because the wind farm might disturb his view from he family compound in Hyannisport.

Both present Republican Governor Mitt Romney and Republican gubernatorial candidate Kerrie Healey have come out against the Cape Wind project.

For all of these supposed supporters of alternative energy sources, no one wants to bite the bullet and actually allow them to be built.

I wonder what the hullaballou will be like when a utility actually proposes a new nuclear plant?


Charles Krauthammer comments upon the hypocrisy of Muslims protesting about the Pope's quoting a 14thcentury Byzantine emperor about Islam's violence.

It all comes down to “Take back what you said about Islamic violence or we'll kill you!”

Their violent response proves the point.


As the winter heating season approaches we've received on bit of good news: heating oil prices are falling.

Unlike most parts of the US, the Northeast is depends primarily on oil for heat. While natural gas and propane are also used to heat homes, neither is used nearly as much as #2 heating oil.


As a kid I remember elm trees being as plentiful as any other kind of deciduous tree. But then Dutch Elm Disease ended up killing of most of the beautiful elms. Many a town and city with an Elm Street no longer had elms on them.

But the elm is making a comeback.

Due to careful breeding a disease resistant elm, the American Liberty elm, has been created and has been used in an attempt to repopulate the species.

The effort has been spearheaded by the Keene, New Hampshire-based Elm Research Institute. It seems fitting somehow, considering that Keene is known as the Elm City.

Let us hope that they succeed in bringing this wonderful tree back into our towns and cities.


The New England Patriots folded like a cheap suitcase in the rain in their game against the Denver Broncos, losing 17-7. They made lots of mistakes and the large number of penalties didn't help them either.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the wet weather has finally left, TV premier season is in full swing, and where fall foliage will soon be upon us.


Global Warming Lawsuit

Every so often something comes along that gets me laughing while at the same time gets me to thinking. In this case it was a verbal diatribe on a radio show about the state of California and its lawsuit against 6 major automakers. What's the basis of the lawsuit?

Global warming.

California is suing the automakers because their vehicles contribute to air pollution even though they have bent over backwards to meet every requirement laid down by the California Air Resources Board. But that wasn't good enough. Now California wants a pound of flesh from DaimlerChrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan because of their products “have contributed to global warming constituting a 'public nuisance' that has cost [California] millions of dollars.” (A PDF of the complaint filed by the Attorney General of California can be found here.)

The lawsuit itself surprises me for a number of reasons, one of them being that human-caused global warming is a theory, not a proven fact, despite the protestations of the It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans climatologists and their hangers-on. The fact that California is the plaintiff is no surprise at all. Nothing much coming out of the Left Coast surprises me any more.

What do they think they'll get out of it? Are they expecting a huge windfall like the tobacco lawsuits? Or if they win, will they make it that much more attractive for those six automakers to stop selling their products in the Granola State?

I hope that, should California win the suit, the Court of Appeals will dismiss it out of hand. But one must remember that California is the home of the Ninth Circus...uh..Circuit Court, the most overturned federal court in the nation.


An Interview

It was an interesting experience, being interviewed by one of the local papers here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.

It wasn't for anything I'd done or because I'd won some kind of award or lottery prize. Believe it or not, it was because I was, to all intents and purposes, a cipher.

Small town politics are always interesting if for no other reason than there are always a small group of people that are at the center of the political goings on. So when someone not known to that group or the townspeople - a newcomer to town or someone just now getting involved - shows up, it's news. People want to know who this stranger is. In this case the stranger was me.

We went over the usual stuff, got into the why and wherefore of this blog, my reactions to the task which I and six of my fellow townspeople have taken upon ourselves, and life in general.

As nice as it all was, I decided that I wouldn't show the intrepid reporter the two cells in the dungeon down in the sub-basement. You know the ones I'm talking about. After all, I couldn't afford The Manse and its amenities without the subcontracting work I'm doing, interrogating jihadis for the CIA.

Of course my methods might be considered inhumane: forcing them to watch endless reruns of The Gong Show. After a week of that, they always talk.....


Impending Doom

Many of you out there may not realize it, but we are headed for a fall.

No, I'm not talking about civilization falling or the end of the world. It's nothing so dramatic. But to some folks it may seem like the end of the world when it happens.

What am I talking about?

Something called RoHS.

RoHS is an acronym for Restriction of Hazardous Substances.

You may be asking what this may have to do with the disaster I've been skirting around. After all, RoHS sounds like something that everybody would want.

RoHS was created by the European Union in an effort to remove toxic substances from consumer and commercial electronic and electrical devices. At the moment there are six substances banned by RoHS: lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chrome, PBDE, and PBB.

The first four are heavy metals, each toxic in its own way. The last two are fire retardants used in certain plastics. I think that just about everyone can agree that it would be nice to be able to remove these substances from products that we use every day. Obviously there are exemptions that allow the use of these substances, but they are few and far between, usually for critical equipment where an acceptable substitute hasn't been found.

Again, all of this sounds like something that everybody could get behind. But as happens with many good things, sometimes there are unintended consequences.

One of the banned substances, lead, is in the solder that is used to put electronic parts onto circuit boards. Most electronic solders have between 37 and 40 percent lead. The rest is usually tin. But with RoHS, lead has to be removed from solder. The solders used for lead-free soldering are mostly tin, usually 96 percent or more, with the rest if the solder being silver or gold and copper.

This new solder mix has two problems. First, it requires higher temperatures to melt the solder. The higher temperatures require newer materials in the circuit boards and electronic components that will withstand the higher soldering temperatures. Second, and probably most important, solders with a high tin content have the unfortunate tendency to grow whiskers.

Yes, whiskers. Over a period of time, depending upon conditions like temperature, humidity, vibration, and so on, can promote the growth of tiny tin whiskers thinner than a human hair. Given enough time they can grow long enough to short out against an adjacent component, causing a failure. An expensive TV, computer, cell phone, dishwasher, or clothes dryer will become just another paperweight, and all because of a tiny tin whisker.

“But surely there must be some way of preventing such a thing from happening?” you may ask. The answer is, regrettably, no. While there are ways of delaying such an event, there is no guaranteed method of preventing it. That's the problem with RoHS.

While the EU was smart enough to provide exemptions for mission- and life-critical electronics such as medical, aviation, military, and some telecommunications equipment, I believe they made an error when it came to consumer and commercial electronics.

Much of this came about because consumer electronics over the past decade or so have grown so common with the advent of cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, and computers that a lot of this type of equipment was going into the waste stream as people upgraded to the newest/latest/greatest gizmo. This meant that hundreds of millions of electronic products were being dumped into landfills every year. Along with those products were a number of toxic substances. It is because of this that the EU implemented RoHS. But it's one thing to implement such a directive and yet another thing to live with the effects of the directive.

What will happen as millions of electronic and electrical devices start failing due to tin whiskering because of the RoHS compliant solders and electronic components? For those folks that routinely change cell phones every year or so it may make no difference. But the rest of us will have to deal with electronics that likely will not be reliable after a year or two. For businesses that depend upon reliable electronics to fulfill their functions it will become a nightmare. For manufacturers it will be a living hell as they will suffer the fallout from the compromised quality of their products, something they will have little control over in this instance.

With this in mind, many are starting to question the wisdom of including lead in the list of banned substances. As alloyed with tin in solder, the lead won't leach out while buried in a landfill. That means it won't contaminate the soil or the ground water, so that argument won't fly. The removal of lead from electronics has more side effects than letting it remain, including requiring more energy to produce RoHS compliant products because of the higher temperatures required to manufacture them.

While RoHS is limited to the EU for now, it will expand its reach over the next few years. China's version goes into effect next year. A small number of states in the US have passed RoHS-like regulations and more are expected to do so.

This is going to be ugly.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Summer weather is still with us even if most of the summer folk are gone until next year and many of those that cater to their needs have closed and shuttered their businesses until next May.

A few are still open, mostly on weekends, having just enough customers to keep them going until foliage season ends, sometime around Columbus Day. Then the last of the summer businesses will also shut down until next year.

Today BeezleBub and headed out on to the lake rather late in the day, about 6PM. At the height of summer there'd be plenty of sunlight left, but this time in September the sun hangs just above the horizon. There were still a number of boaters out on the lake with us, but nothing like we'd usually see. Whether that's because summer is 'over' or because the NASCAR folks have gathered this weekend just south of us for the Nextel Cup Sylvania 300 won't be evident until next weekend. If the traffic level on the lake is the same as this weekend , we'll know it's because the summer folk have abandoned the Lakes Region until next summer.


In case you haven't noticed, Jay and Deb of Accidental Verbosity have switched their blogging efforts over to their new blog, Dispatches from Blogblivion.


For those of you out there that happen to be fans of ABC's Lost, here's a link to information about what the sequence of numbers means as well as what the Hanso Foundation's Dharma Initiative is all about.

Scary. And all too cool.

Other interesting links about Hanso and Lost can be found here.


Individ has an interesting piece on uranium, the latest upsurge in demand, and how it might not be such a bad idea to buy uranium stocks.


It turns out that George Will wasn't the first one to editorialize about why liberals – and academics – hate WalMart.

Thomas Sowell wrote back in May of 2005 in Capitalism Magazine about The Crusade Against WalMart, citing a long article in the New York Times that asked if the retailer could pay its employees more.

Sowell's response:

Of course they can pay more. The New York Times could pay its own employees more. We could all pay more for whatever we buy or rent. Don't tell me you couldn't have paid a dime more for this newspaper. But why should any of us pay more than we have to?


Should people be paid according to what they "need" instead of according to what their work is worth? Should they decide how big a family they want and then put the cost of paying to support that family on somebody else?

If their work is not worth enough to pay for what they want, is it up to others to make up the difference, rather than up to them to upgrade their skills in order to earn what they want?

Are they supposed to be subsidized by Wal-Mart's customers through higher prices or subsidized by Wal-Mart's stockholders through lower earnings? After all, much of the stock in even a rich company is often owned by pension funds belonging to teachers, policemen and others who are far from rich.

This is something the anti-WalMart folks seem to forget.

(H/T Individ)


Omar at Iraq The Model asks “[W]hat part of France's policy had lead to this, and what made al-Qaeda consider France an enemy that must be fought and brought into submission?”


Have temporary restraining orders become too easy to obtain? While the original idea behind them is a reasonable one, now they have become ridiculous. Is it merely the extension of the ever expanding litigious nature of America, or is something else driving it?


BeezleBub and I got some of our outside pre-Fall domestic chores taken care of today. All it required was a paint scraper, a gallon of Behr deck stain, and a few paint brushes.

Both sets of front steps on The Manse now look pretty spiffy.


The New England Patriots won their second game of the season, beating the New York Jets 24-17.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer weather still lingers for yet another day, foliage reports have started appearing on local TV, and where there are still plenty of boaters out enjoying the lake.


Gas Prices And Politics

It was only a matter of time before somebody mentioned it. I thought it wouldn't happen for at least a couple more weeks. But then I ran across my friends, MJ and R.

I hadn't seen them for a couple of years, though I had kept touch with them via phone and e-mail.

As we were catching up on things the subject turned towards politics. None of our discussion was partisan as we all agreed that politics in general is a dirty business, regardless of one's political leanings.

And then MJ said it.

“You have to wonder about gas prices falling only a couple of months before the general election.”

She wasn't voicing anything I hadn't thought about, but my take on it was different than hers. So I did the only thing I could do to stop this train of thought.

“Ah, I see my plans to control the economy, and hence, the elections, are coming to fruition! Bwuh-ha-ha-ha!!”

She had no response to that other than laughter, so we were able to move on to more mundane matters.

Thank goodness....

Let The Campaigning Begin

Now that the state primary in New Hampshire is over, the proper political bloodletting can begin. No, I'm not talking about the upcoming national elections in November.

I'm talking about the 2008 Presidential campaign.

The potential candidates are already jockeying for position. A number have already made or are planning to make visits to New Hampshire in order to get in front of the cameras and get some name recognition. Some will give stump speeches for the local candidates for state or federal office. Others will do some of the local talk shows on TV or radio. All of this will be to set themselves up for running in the 2008 New Hampshire Primary. Soon you won't be able to walk down the street without running into one presidential hopeful or another.

It's gonna be a long campaign season....


Why Liberals Hate WalMart

George Will looks at why liberals hate WalMart and how it is they don't understand why very few others feel the same way.

While Will uses the recent Chicago anti-WalMart bill as an illustration, he could have also used Maryland's since struck down anti-WalMart legislation. Many of the same type of players were involved, particularly organized labor.

In 2004 [John Kerry] tested what has become one of the Democrats' 2006 themes: Wal-Mart is, he said, ``disgraceful'' and symbolic of ``what's wrong with America.'' By now, Democrats have succeeded, to their embarrassment (if they are susceptible to that), in making the basic numbers familiar:

The median household income of Wal-Mart shoppers is under $40,000. Wal-Mart, the most prodigious job-creator in the history of the private sector in this galaxy, has almost as many employees (1.3 million) as the U.S. military has uniformed personnel. A McKinsey company study concluded that Wal-Mart accounted for 13 percent of the nation's productivity gains in the second half of the 1990s, which probably made Wal-Mart about as important as the Federal Reserve in holding down inflation. By lowering consumer prices, Wal-Mart costs about 50 retail jobs among competitors for every 100 jobs Wal-Mart creates. Wal-Mart and its effects save shoppers more than $200 billion a year, dwarfing such government programs as food stamps ($28.6 billion) and the earned-income tax credit ($34.6 billion).


Liberals think their campaign against Wal-Mart is a way of introducing the subject of class into America's political argument, and they are more correct than they understand. Their campaign is liberalism as condescension. It is a philosophic repugnance toward markets because consumer sovereignty results in the masses making messes. Liberals, aghast, see the choices Americans make with their dollars and their ballots, and announce -- yes, announce -- that Americans are sorely in need of more supervision by ... liberals.

Yeah, like I need people that have problems running their own lives making decisions for me about mine. They don't know me, my needs or my wants. They don't know me from Adam, but they want to run my life. That's the problem with the Anointed. They assume they're smarter than everyone else, can make better decisions than we can. I wonder, are these the same kind of folks that backed Neville Chamberlain in an effort to secure “Peace in our time”? That was a brilliant decision on their part. But I digress.

While there have been a few cases of anti-WalMart sentiment here in New Hampshire, for the most part they've been quite welcome. The doom and gloom predicted by so many of the liberals when WalMart announced they'd be coming to one town or another never materialized. And if people were able to stretch a buck a little farther, so much the better.

Our neighbors to the west, Vermont, have taken a different tack on this, successfully keeping a number of WalMart stores from being built. How this was supposed to help the residents of the Green Mountain State I have no idea. But then, Vermont's traditional Yankee character has been supplanted by those with a much more liberal bent.

Many of the laws that have been passed and taxes levied over the years have the earmarks of liberalism. There has been wholesale redistribution of wealth, usually to the detriment of all. Those few pockets of traditional Yankee conservatism in Vermont have made noises about seceding from Vermont and joining New Hampshire. They are sick and tired of being treated as low level morons with big pocketbooks to be rifled “for the good of all.”

But that's the liberal mantra, isn't it? They know better how to spend your hard earned money than you do. And heaven forbid if you should complain about your betters. After all. don't you understand the evil inherent in being able to save a few bucks by shopping at WalMart? They're trying to save you from yourself.

Yeah, and pigs can fly.....


A Twilight Zone Trip To The Bathroom

Received via e-mail:

Imagine you're at a party.

You've been drinking.

And now you have to go to the bathroom.

You open the door....

Airy Bathroom Large.jpg

Now remember, the bathroom floor is a painted floor.

Talk about taking your breath away! It would mess up anyone's mind, drunk or sober.


Thoughts On A Sunday

BeezleBub and I made it out on the lake yesterday afternoon. The weather was gorgeous, the lake not all that crowded now that a large portion of the summer folk are gone, and the water was calm.

We had a great time out on the lake.

It's a shame it was ruined at the very end of our time on The Boat by one of the last of the “summah people” just as we were approaching our slip.

We were inbound and this guy was outbound. As we passed each other in the channel he says to me in a nasty manner “Why the hell don't you learn how to drive that thing, buddy!” His wife then chimed in, saying pretty much the same thing. They continued on this vein even when they were long past us, their obvious Boston accents carrying across the cove. I have no idea what his problem was, but he ruined an otherwise nice day on the lake. One of the other boaters across the channel from our slip who witnessed this shook his head and shrugged, as puzzled about the incident as I.

One rejoinder came to mind, but as Deb always tells me, I am far too nice to stoop to their level. But if I'd had my druthers, I would have used this quote from Monty Python's Holy Grail:

“I fart in your general direction!”


We here at Weekend Pundit will be guest blogging over at Dodgeblogium, adding our political commentary about the New Hampshire State Primaries this month.

While there are only a couple of days before the primary, we will attempt to give the folks out there a little taste of what is happening and the possible consequences as candidates make the grade or fall by the wayside.


The protests by former Clinton Administration officials about ABC's upcoming Path To 9/11 is making them sound petty and foolish. While there was little political brouhaha over a critical and overly fictionalized miniseries about Ronald Reagan by members of the Reagan Administration, one would think that ABC had fabricated the Clinton Administration's part in failing to bring down Al Qaeda when it had the chance. But much of what is being said about it in tonight's miniseries is a matter of public record.

Even so, I wouldn't take anything shown in Path To 9/11 as gospel.


BeezleBub has asked me more than once why it is that we can't seem to get Osama Bin Laden. My answer to him has been that it isn't like we haven't tried, but that he's pretty darn good at hiding out and appears to be in the Waziristan section of Pakistan, an area not truly under control of Pakistan's government. Many of the Waziri are supporters of Al Qaeda and aren't likely to help outsiders capture him.

On the other hand we have taken Bin Laden out of the command loop because he can't use electronic communications, something we're very good at tracking. This has left him to using hand carried messages, a very inefficient means of command and control and not anywhere near real-time. This has left him as more of a figurehead and not as a real commander. That's almost as good as capturing or killing him.


Even though the New Hampshire Presidential Primaries are still over a year away, a number of presidential hopefuls have visited the Granite State, pressing the flesh and speechifying. Most of them have been Democrats, including former Senator/vice presidential candidate John Edwards. His running mate from the 2004 election, John Kerry, has also made a number of appearances.

So far I can't recall any Republican hopefuls making appearances any time in the recent past, but that will change once we get past the 2006 elections in November. Then I expect that we'll be seeing plenty from both parties making the rounds.


Speaking of the New Hampshire Presidential Primary, many are still wondering about the DNC's efforts to dethrone New Hampshire as “First in the Nation”, supposedly in an effort to make the primaries and caucuses more...umm...ethnically balanced.

Their efforts will have effect of compressing the primary schedule even more than 2004, heavily front-loading them, something that worked against them last time. They still haven't glommed on to the fact they've disfranchised less well funded candidates in the process, meaning that many otherwise better candidates may never make it out of the primary cycle. John Kerry was a beneficiary of the front loaded primaries in 2004, but he was also the worst possible candidate the Democrats could have put forward. The only thing he really had going for him was large amounts of cash, particularly that of his extremely wealthy wife, Theresa Heinz.

That's a piss poor way to select a party's presidential candidate.

One-on-one, retail political campaigning will go out the window only to be replaced with sound bite campaigns. How the heck can anybody decide whether a candidate is someone they can support if the only thing they ever hear or see of them is 15 to 30 second TV or radio ads?


The NFL season began for the New England Patriots. It didn't help that 12 seconds into the first period the Buffalo Bills ran a blitz and caused Tom Brady to fumble the ball, allowing the Bills to pick it up and get a touchdown.

At least the Patriots came right back from that and scored a touchdown, making it 7-7.

Unfortunately Buffalo scored twice more before the half, making it 17-7.

But all was not lost as the Pats pulled it off by tying the game in the second half and then forcing a safety, giving them the lead and the game 19-17.

Not a bad start.


The New Hampshire state primary is on Tuesday, September 12th. It is expected that the voter turnout will be light, predicted by New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner to be approximately 14%. Could this be because there are few really interesting races for those wishing to go against the incumbents in November?

Only time will tell.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where a little fall weather has settled in, a last few lingering “summah people” are still around, and where there are still a few good weeks of boating ahead.


First NH State Primary Candidates Out Of The Running

With the New Hampshire state primary only 4 days away there have already been candidates that have lost their battle at the polls.

Eight candidates names were ordered stricken from the ballots by the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission because their voter registrations did not match up with their party affiliations. One candidate was not registered to vote at all. This made them ineligible because by New Hampshire law, they aren't qualified to run in a party primary unless they are a member of party and a registered voter.

While it is not illegal for an undeclared voter to run for office, they cannot run in a party primary unless they have declared their party affiliation with the Town Registrar/Town Clerk.

This has affected both the Democrat and Republican primaries as of the eight candidates, four were on the ballot as Democrats, three as Republicans, and the last candidate's status was unknown.


The Housing Boom Is No More

It's official: The housing boom is dead. It certainly has cooled here in New Hampshire.

Figures released by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, based on data from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on repeat sales and refinancings of single-family homes, provided the latest indication that the housing market is cooling substantially.

In New Hampshire, home prices rose just 0.04 percent from the first to the second quarter of the year. Prices fell 0.50 percent for the same period in the Manchester-Nashua metropolitan statistical area, while prices rose 0.74 percent for the Rockingham County-Strafford County MSA division.

Nationally, average home prices rose 1.17 percent in the April-June period, compared with 3.65 percent in the second quarter of 2005 - the biggest decline in price growth since OFHEO started keeping track of home prices in 1975, the new report showed.

Anecdotal evidence has shown me that while more homes appear to be on the market, they aren't moving very quickly. More price reductions are showing up in real estate flyers and publications as owners try to sell off their homes.

The house next to us has been on the market for almost a year. It's assessed at $252K, but listed for $319K. Maybe that's why it's still on the market.

Another house just up the street from us is on the market for the same price we paid for The Manse. It is similar to the Manse in floor space and lot size, but there's been no interest in the place at all. A year ago it would have been gone in less than a month.

I guess that's an indicator that the market has cooled.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a trip down to the WP In-Laws today for BeezleBub and I.

It was a perfect day for this kind of road trip – rainy, windy, and very few people clogging up the roads.

We had the WP Parent's trusty minivan because we wanted to bring a few things back up from Gilsum, like my bicycle, some of BeezleBub's summer stuff, and part of a cord of firewood.

We fired up the wood stove before we left on our road trip to take the chill off because of the rainy day. It was an opportunity to give it a good run and to work out any bugs that might pop up. Deb kept an eye on it while BeezleBub and I made the trip down to Gilsum and back.

I think we're going to cut our propane consumption to a small fraction of what we used last winter.

That suits us just fine.


The “summah people” just up the road from us have been learning an expensive lesson this summer. These are the same folks who have a tendency to light up their property like Fenway Park at night.

On at least four occasions the local gendarmerie have had to break up loud late night parties, on one occasion at 3:30AM!

Thursday night it came to the breaking point when their latest party led to the arrests of a number of partygoers for being drunk...and underage. Two of them were only 14 years old.

The hosts may well be facing charges of enabling underage drinking, a serious offense in these parts. This may give the owners of the property the means to break the lease for their present tenants.


We have a new member of the WP family here at the Manse.

We adopted a 14 week old kitten from the local humane society shelter a short while ago. His name is Cole (also called “Coley” and, on occasion, “Nat the Cat” in honor of Nat King Cole).

Pictures will be forthcoming.


It seems that Capt DMO over at And Rightly So has come to the same conclusion as my dear brother and I: Lawyers are the worst people to make law, particularly in legislatures.

Maybe it's time to resurrect our Modest Proposal.


I've gotten into an interesting debate with commenter TJ about this post. While I could go back and forth in the comments, I decided a separate post might be better as my response to TJ's last comment was going to be quite lengthy. It's yet another go around with a true believer in Al Gore's “Inconvenient Truth.”

Stay tuned.


I've been toying with the idea of adding a regular feature similar to Thoughts On A Sunday, in this case covering new and promising technologies one day a week. I'll probably call it something like Techno-Tuesday, Geek Wednesday, or something wittily alliterative.

My infrequent technology posts seem to be rather popular....well, popular if the subject is interesting.

What do you think?


This is the last unofficial weekend of summer. Many children have already started school and the rest will be starting after the Labor Day weekend.

That means that much of the weekday traffic out on the lake will disappear, though the weekend traffic will probably stay elevated for a few more weekends.

The usual 'last gasp' boating weekend tends to be Columbus Day weekend. The foliage is near or just past peak and the weather is still relatively good. After that the big exodus from the lake begins as people close up their island and shoreline camps and cottages for the winter and pull their boats out of the water in order to prep them for winter storage.

The Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout will be one of those boats pulled from the waters of the lake on or just after that weekend, bringing another summer to a close.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer is holding on, the “summah people” will soon be gone, and where we have six weeks of boating left.....


Teaching The Teacher

The start of the new school year always brings new experiences and new opportunities to learn. Sometimes our children learn exactly what they're supposed to (the Three R's, fer'instance), and sometimes they end up teaching the teacher.

That's something that happened today in BeezleBub's Social Studies class.

At one point during the class his teacher started spouting the typical liberal line about the widespread war in Iraq and how everyone ignored the war in the Congo and Sudan and a number of other places.

At this point BeezleBub raised his hand and, once called on, informed the teacher that the fighting in Iraq was limited pretty much to one relatively small area – Baghdad, Ramadi, and Hillah – and that the news media was making a lot more of it than it really was.

The teacher's response was that the Coalition is slowly moving troops into Baghdad to deal with the problem.

Obviously this teacher has been buying the tripe the MSM has been spouting and not doing his homework.

That's my boy!