Fred Makes His Case

If this doesn't make the case to Iowa voters that Fred Thompson is in the race to win the White House, nothing will.

Note: This is a lengthy video, running about 16 minutes. But it's well worth watching.

(Via Instapundit)

A Chicago Lawyer Gives Scumbags A Bad Name

There are lawyers. There are scumbag lawyers. Then there are lawyers like this guy.

Marine Sgt Mike McNulty is on activation orders to Iraq (second tour). On December 1st, 2007, Mike went to visit a friend in Chicago before deploying to say goodbye. In order to get to his friend's residence, and keep in mind that Chicago is a myriad of diagonal and one-way streets, the front entrance (right way) to the one-way street was blocked. Mike, being a Marine, overcame and adapted by driving around the block to the other end of the street and backing up all the way to his friend's place.

While saying goodbye, at about 11am, he noticed a man leaning up against his car. Mike left his friend's apartment and caught the man keying his car on multiple sides.

After caught in the process, the man told Mike, "you think you can do whatever you want with Department of Defense license plates and tags". (In Illinois you can purchase veteran, Marine, or medal plates. Mike has Illinois Marine Corps license plates.) During the exchange, he made additional anti-military comments.

Mike called the Chicago police and had the man arrested. A citation against the man was issued for misdemeanor criminal damage to private property.

As it turns out, the man is Chicago lawyer Jay R. Grodner, who owns a law firm in the city and has offices in the suburbs.

This piece of s**t figures because Sgt McNulty has to deploy and can't show up in court that he will get off scot-free. But readers of Blackfive have turned the tables on this turd and are making his name and his actions known to all who will listen.

This guy is toast.

He's already had his office and home phones disconnected, shut down his law firm's website, and appears to have disappeared off the face of the earth. While the Illinois State's Attorney office has tried to get McNulty to accept an insulting offer from Grodner to cover the deductible of McNulty's auto insurance, they have done nothing about this jerk.

This is not reflecting well upon the legal profession. It doesn't look good when lawyers close ranks in order to protect a lowlife like Grodner.

Read the comments to Blackfive's post and you'll find that Jay R. Grodner, Esq. has a long history of screwing clients, filing false petitions, and a host of other legal shenanigans that would have gotten anyone else thrown into prison.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The Patriots have done it! A perfect 16-0 win-loss record for the regular season.

Next stop, the Super Bowl!


Bagheera is a bit miffed that the Mount Washington Observatory hasn't contacted him yet about the open position of Chief Observatory Cat.

I have told him more than once that he really isn't cut out for life at the Obs, but he denies it. I don't think he really understands what the obligations of the job entail. Frankly, he's too lazy to fulfill the duties of Chief Observatory Cat. Oh heck, he's just plain too lazy, period.


The Christmas decorations gracing the Manse came down today. As always they come down a lot faster than they went up. The artificial (but real-looking) Christmas tree and all of the ornaments that go with it, the snowy village and nativity scene have been returned to their boxes and stored away in the basement have been packed away for yet another year.


It started as an offhand comment from BeezleBub; “I wonder what the living room would look like if we moved the TV from that wall over to the corner?'

Five hours later and we were pretty much finished rearranging the furniture in the living room and the dining room. The new arrangement makes better use of the space in both rooms but has created a problem: I can't run the wires for the rear speakers of the surround sound system where they need to go without cutting holes in the drywall and drilling some holes through a few floor joists.

I'll bite the bullet and do the work the right way, but it might have to wait until spring.


Fred Thompson slams a reporter that reported on one of Fred's town hall meeting in Iowa and got it wrong. In fact she wasn't even there.


John Stossel has Part 3 of his interview with Ron Paul, whom he has dubbed “Dr. No.”


I just happened to catch a YouTube of Michael Jackson's Thriller. It's easy to forget that at one time he was the number one entertainer on the planet. The video of Thriller was one of the most elaborate and expensive at the time it was released. It was an awesome production and stands up to any that followed.


It appears that we are in danger of having the third, or maybe even the second snowiest December on record. With up to eight inches of new snow forecast for early to mid morning on Monday. The “normal” New England Winter is holding up so far this year. Goodness knows the ski areas are loving it, as are the businesses that cater to them and the snowmobilers.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where Patriots fans are rejoicing, New Year's is rapidly approaching, and where even more snow is on its way.


Confession Of A Fred Head...Or Two

As any of you reading this blog on any kind of semi-regular basis knows, I am I dyed-in-the-wool Fred Head. I support Fred Thompson's run for the presidency. I am not a rabid supporter of Fred. I just think that he's one of the best choices for the Republican candidate for President of the United States.

That said, I have a confession to make. Well, more of an admission.

Fred isn't going to win the New Hampshire Primary.

I'm not the only Fred Head that knows this. So does Belknap County chairman for Fred Thompson, Joe McCormack.

As he said on today's Meet The New Press, Fred won't win here. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have a chance of winning the follow on primaries, particularly in the South.

Time will tell.



The first time I heard the ad on the radio I thought I was mistaken. But hearing it the second time removed all doubt. (The quote below is not verbatim. I don't remember the exact words, so bear with me.)

“I will end George Bush's war against science. I will end the ban on stem cell research.”

So which candidate's ad was this?


My problem with the ad? Both statements above are pure political BS.

First, there has been no administration war against science, unless Hillary considers that scientific ethics stand in the way of certain kinds of research as “a war against science”. Of course we could ignore ethics and go the route others have followed, conducting inhumane experiments upon the unwilling much as Josef Mengele did in Nazi Germany. Do we want to follow in his footsteps? Of course not. That's one reason why many condemn stem cell research that requires the creation, cloning, and destruction of human embryos.

Second, there is no government ban on stem cell research. However there is a ban on federal funding for research that creates and destroys human embryos in order to harvest their stem cells. Research with existing stem cell lines is being funded with tax dollars. To say this is a ban on stem cell research is disingenuous at best.

The ad is pure deception. No amount of spin can say it is otherwise.


Thoughts On A Sunday

BeezleBub and I spent a good portion of the day yesterday cleaning up from Thursday's snow storm. There was snow to shovel from the decks, snow banks to cut through in order to reach the front door, snow drifts to remove, and plenty of slush on the driveway to get rid of.

All of this was in preparation of the rain that's forecast for later today and tonight. Removing the snow was necessary to prevent one of two possible problems: the decks collapsing due to the heavy load of water-laden snow, or said water-laden snow freezing and turning into something resembling concrete. Neither is an acceptable outcome, so we spent the day clearing what we could.

As a back up I picked up 100 pounds of calcium chloride (also called Super-Melt) in case the driveway ends up being one big sheet of ice come morning.


The New England Patriots are 14-0. With such success, the Patriots have become universally reviled by fans of the other NFL teams. It's a burden the Pat's and their fans are willing to bear.

The Patriots are going up against the 1-14 Miami Dolphins today at Foxborough.

UPDATE: The Patriots beat the Dolphins 28-7, moving the Pats to 15-0.


There are times when school zero-tolerance policies can backfire, punishing victims of violence as well as perpetrators. I can see where there's no evidence showing which party was the aggressor. But when there's video showing clearly perpetrator and victim, punishing the victim is stupid and unfair.

One parent fought back after his daughter was attacked, beaten by another girl. The incident was caught on the school's video surveillance system. The high school suspended both girls, but the father of the victim informed the school he intending to charge the aggressor with assault and battery and sue the high school for failure to protect his daughter while she was in school. The school backed down, dropping his daughter's suspension.

Frankly, I see so-called zero-tolerance policies as nothing more than a crutch of the lazy.

(H/T Instapundit)


Nuclear power is poised to make a comeback. It seems that the TVA is ahead of the game, with a utility in Texas following not too far behind.

It's about time.

While the article linked above talks about the resurgence of nuclear in the US, it gets some things exactly wrong – nuclear waste. For one thing, the only reason nuclear waste is a problem is politics, not technology. By reprocessing spent fuel, much of the waste is eliminated and what remains consists mainly of short half-life radio-isotopes that require short term storage before they decay into harmlessness.


Michelle Rhee is shaking up the education bureaucracy and taking on the teacher's union in Washington, DC. In the process she's been turning around the school system and making long overdue changes.


If global warming is a fact then why haven't temperatures risen since 2001?

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


John Stossel has Part 2 of his interview with Ron Paul.

I have to say that Mr. Paul is incredibly ignorant when it comes to the motivations of our enemies, particularly the Islamofascists. Our very existence is reason enough for them to plot our destruction for we represent everything they find abhorrent and un-Islamic, or at least in relation to their twisted version of Islam. He makes the assumption that if we leave them alone they'll leave us alone. I can't even begin to list all of reasons why he's wrong.


I've mentioned before how we've used far more firewood than we had thought we would. At first I thought it was because of miscalculation or faulty memory on my part. However, after a discussion with a number of friends and acquaintances it appears everyone has been using more firewood. heating oil, or propane than they had the past few winters.

It's been far colder this year up to this point and we haven't even reached the coldest part of the winter. The colder temps would certainly explain why we've used as much firewood so far as we did for the entire winter last year. In another couple of weeks we'll be heading back to the WP In-Laws with the deuce-an-a-half for another load of wood.


Posting will be light for the next day or two, for obvious reasons.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where last minute Christmas shoppers are making the rounds, families are finalizing plans for Christmas Day, and where this part of the Weekend Pundit Team will be making merry for the holiday.


Holiday Wishes From Fred Thompson

Unlike those of Clinton, Obama, Giuliani, Huckabee, et al, Fred Thompson's holiday video is far more powerful and thought provoking.

No self aggrandizement. No pithy words. No false humility. No reminiscences of childhood Christmases. If only more political candidates were like this.....


The Endless Campaign Goes On And On

It appears I'm not the only one already tired of the Presidential campaigning.

Every four years the campaigns start earlier, run longer, and the primary/caucus schedule becomes more compressed. The madness has got to stop. Even Karl Rove agrees with me.

The Iowa caucuses are 14 days away, with the New Hampshire primary five days later. And what follows from there won't be pretty. The way Americans are selecting our presidential candidates in 2008 is, frankly, a mess.

The first problem is the overall length of the campaign. There are few more demanding physical activities than running for president, other than military training or athletics at a very high level--and this will be the longest presidential contest on record. The first candidate this season announced Dec. 12, 2006; virtually all the Democrats declared by late January, and almost every Republican by mid-March. So next fall we'll elect a president who's spent two years rocketing around the country in an aluminum tube and sleeping in strange hotel rooms on a brutal, exhausting campaign trail.

This gives America the longest leadership selection contest in the democratic world.

The joke making the rounds lately is a number of presidential hopefuls have been trying to make sure they won't miss any of the upcoming debates...for the 2012 elections.

By the time November 2008 rolls around most people will be bored to death with the lengthy campaigns. Most won't really care who's running. They'll just want it all to be over. So will I.


Some Fred Links

I have been remiss in keeping up with Fred Thompson's campaign. Call me lazy. So here are a few links that you might find interesting.


Proving once again that he does indeed have a sense of humor.

While addressing the issue of habeas corpus for Gitmo detainees, Fred said:

“The detainees at Guantanamo are not American citizens, they are enemies of this nation and they do not enjoy the rights of American citizens,” he said. “And they are not entitled to habeas corpus protection.”

The crowd of a little over 100 people in Waterloo applauded the line, as they did several others on the last stop of first day of “The Clear Conservative Choice: Hands Down!” tour across Iowa. Thompson also clarified when he would he would be willing to raise his hand. “When Chief Justice John Roberts swears me in, I won’t mind raising my hand.”


Avoiding a Mike Dukakis moment, Fred decides not to don a fire helmet during a visit to a fire station in Waverly, Iowa.


Fred managed to pick up the endorsement of four major bloggers from the conservative side of the blogosphere. Pejman Yousefzhadeh, Polipundit, Frank J of IMAO, and Jonathan Adler of the Volokh Conspiracy have endorsed Fred's run for the White House.


Fred's campaign appears to be picking up steam now that he's spending far more time in Iowa than in the past.

He won't be visiting New Hampshire again until after the Iowa Caucuses, appearing in a debate with his fellow Republican candidates on January 5th.


More to follow.


NHPUC Raises Questions About Verizon/FairPoint Deal

As the date of the proposed sale of Verizon's wireline system in northern New England to FairPoint approaches, regulators have some questions and some doubts about the wisdom of the sale.

In New Hampshire, the state Public Utilities Commission has serious doubts about the sale as proposed.

Public Utilities Commissioners worried aloud about FairPoint Communications Inc.'s promises of expanded broadband, financial viability and changing terms of its proposed $2.7 billion purchase of Verizon's landlines in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

"One conclusion has become clear, and that is that the petition as filed is not in the public interest," Commission Chairman Thomas B. Getz said.

"Given that conclusion, the question then becomes is there some set of conditions that would satisfy the public interest," he said.

The biggest problem New Hampshire has with the deal is the price of the sale, $2.7 billion, which the PUC believes is too much for the assets being acquired, which will leave FairPoint unable to service their debt, pay expected dividends, and expand broadband access as they have promised.

My problem with this sale? FairPoint is buying an increasing share of a decreasing market. Even with their plans to make DSL widely available, it will be too little to late. DSL is a soon to be obsolete technology. It is incapable to providing the bandwidth that will be needed in the near future. Only fiber optics, in the form of Fiber To The Home, can provide the voice, data and video bandwidth the future demands. FairPoint will not be deploying fiber, meaning they won't be able to keep up because they will be deploying the wrong technology that will quickly leave northern New England behind the rest of the nation when it comes to broadband access. That's not in our best interests.

This is one deal that should die.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It's snowing like hell this morning.

“Stay tuned to NewsNine for our Storm Watch Team coverage of the [add ominous news theme music here] Nor' Easter!

Give me a break.

It's not like we haven't had snowstorms before. It's not like we haven't had Nor'Easters before. And it's not like we really need to see hours and hours of coverage of the storm, ad nauseum. An update once or twice an hour should be sufficient, wouldn't you think?

Frankly, it looks more like we're going to have a real old-fashioned “normal” New England winter.



Speaking of snowstorms, I had thought that BeezleBub and I would be out at least two or three times to run the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower during this storm. But now I'm thinking I want to do it all at once. Maybe it makes me lazy. Maybe it makes me cheap (I only want to run the snowblower once rather than two or three times). In any case we won't be going out to clear the driveway until some time this evening.


The storm certainly hasn't stopped New England Patriots fans from making the trip to Foxborough to watch the Patriots play the New York Jets this afternoon. The aforementioned NewsNine interviewed a number of Pats fans heading south on Interstate 93. As more than one of them said, “What? We're not going to let a little snow stop us from watching the Pats go 14-0!”

UPDATE: The Patriots beat the Jets 20-10.


Our fellow Weekend Pundit team member Brent has been going to town with a number of posts yesterday and today. He'd already posted four times by the time I got up this morning and at least twice since I stared working on this post.

Way to go, Brent!


Yes, I know comments are broken. I'm hoping that they'll be fixed sometime soon.

I've also dropped a note to Matt, our blog host, about the new free version of Moveable Type 4.0. We never did make the transition to MT 3.x on this blog. That was more my fault than anything else. I think it's time to upgrade this blog.


This is no surprise.

Housing prices dip this year in New Hampshire.

Tell us something we don't know.


The move back to nuclear power in the US is picking up more speed and support.

Electrical utilities and environmentalists support the move, seeing nuclear power as a carbon free power source that can replace coal, oil, and natural gas fueled power plants. Advanced Generation IV plower plants will also be able to generate hydrogen in large amounts, allowing a move away from fossil fuels and further moving us towards more carbon neutral or carbon negative technologies.


John Stossel has Part 1 of his interview with Ron Paul.


The Top 10 Economic Myths of 2007.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


It looks like BeezleBub and I will have to plan another trip to the WP In-Laws with Submarine Tim's deuce-and-a-half sometime in the next three or four weeks. We seriously underestimated the amount of firewood we would use to heat The Manse. Last year we used about three cords between late October and the end of March. But last winter was relatively mild, with only a few nights below zero and a number of days/weeks of temps well above normal (January had a number of days in the 60's). With a “normal” New England winter and the temperatures to go with it, we'll have used three cords of wood by the middle of January!

With propane selling for over $3 per gallon, I'm in no mind to switch to using the furnace at this point. I'd rather spend $160 on gasoline for the deuce-and-a-half rather than $1500 to $2000 for propane.

We've been talking about upgrading to a better, more efficient woodstove. Unfortunately it will have to wait until next summer because it will require some renovations in The Manse's Not-So-Great Room in order to properly install it.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the lake is not yet frozen over, the snow is still falling, and where it looks like a white Christmas is guaranteed.


Report From Baghdad

Our friends at Meet The New Press had a very special guest on their show this morning – Major Kirk Luedeke of the Dragon Brigade, stationed in Baghdad.

Major Kirk, the newest contributor to GraniteGrok, brought us up to date on the progress being made by Coalition Forces .

Kirk covered a number of topics, including how the Iraqi populace has changed their allegiances, helping Coalition forces fight against the insurgency, particularly against Al Qaida forces. He related how on one foot patrol soldiers of the Dragon Brigade were warned by a number of Iraqi children and some of their parents about an IED that was located farther up the road they were patrolling. It prevented an ambush and saved the lives of US forces and, as likely, Iraqi civilians.

A link to the audio of the segment will be posted here once it becomes available. It is definitely worth listening to the whole thing.

Sometimes Fear Is A Good Thing

Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Back in the days of FDR, those words range true....until December 7th, 1941. Then fear became a necessary emotion to ensure our survival against an intractable enemy.

The media uses fear to sell themselves and to expand their viewership/readership. The government uses fear to sell this program, that tax, or worse, a softening of our rights. And lately, some in both the media and government have been trying to make us fear our own country rather than our enemies, as if our enemies aren't trying very hard to kill us.

Ron Silver (yes, that Ron Silver) writes about how fear can be a healthy thing as long is the thing we fear is tangible and there is little doubt that the fear is not unfounded.

In February of 2004, NYU held a conference about fear. The conference was called “Fear: Its Uses and Abuses.” In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, posters with crude caricatures of Japanese and Nazis appeared with “Warning! Our homes are in danger now!” Exclamation points at the beginning and close of the warning, in case the message escaped us. It was called propaganda. As reported in the New York Times, in an article by Edward Rothstein, (propaganda’s) “accepted function was to galvanize, urge, justify, remind and yes, frighten.” (italics Ron's)

After September 11, with the emerging threat of Islamic terrorism becoming more manifest in the public mind (many of us took this threat more seriously than others prior to this atrocity), what sticks out most immediately is how, again according to Edward Rothstein, there were “[s]o few examples of graphic American propaganda and none using ethnic or racial caricatures. Yet beginning with Al Gore, who delivered the keynote address at the Conference, the former vice president asserted again and again that the American government is preoccupied with instilling fear.” The conference was essentially about fear being encouraged by our government and exacerbated by the media. It was compared with the irrational fear of Communism and the perversions of McCarthyism.”

The goal of the conference promoters was clear to me. Indeed we now all have reason to be afraid. But apparently we’re afraid of different things. Some factions are less concerned with the folks who have declared war on us and who are determined to kill us, our children and our civilization. These factions have chosen our elected government, chosen by us to secure and defend us, to be their adversary. Evidently my fear was rational. I just had the wrong enemy in my sights. To which my grandfather would have responded, had he been born elsewhere and not in a shtetl, “poppycock.”

So, rather than being afraid of the Islamofascist who have carried out attacks and still plan to do so, some of our progressive “intellectuals” are afraid of our government. The Islamofascists only want to kill us and everything we stand for. Our government is tasked with protecting us against them, yet they are the ones we're supposed to fear? Excuse me? The fear generated by the Islamofascists is something that is tangible, seeing their actions and their cruelty and inhumanity. Fear of our government is intangible and, while a little fear that our government may go too far is not unhealthy, to think that it is the greater evil is stupid, to say the least.

As one commenter to Ron's post wrote:

The Left are more afraid of what enemy might think of us then what they might do to us.

Rings true, doesn't it?


It's A Snowy Night

It's easy to forget that, according to the calendar, it's still fall. The winter solstice won't arrive for another 9 days. But looking out the window you'd think we were in the depths of winter.

The snow started falling here in central New Hampshire shortly after 1:30 this afternoon. While we aren't expecting a large snowfall in this part of the state, maybe four or five inches, it's that very fluffy light snow. It's the kind that makes for very poor snowballs and is no good at all for making snow forts. But it's great for skiing and snowmobiling!

Sometime later tonight I'll be outside, running the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower up and down The Manse's driveway. No reason for me to wait until tomorrow morning as most of the snow from this fast moving storm will have ended well before I go bed tonight. (Besides, I don't want to get up at 5AM to clear the driveway.)


It's on a snowy night like tonight that I think back to a winter many years ago when I was a kid. It was just before Christmas and we all sat in front of the TV to watch one of the first showings of A Charlie Brown Christmas. I remember looking out our living room window and seeing the snow falling. It was a weird kind of synchronicity – seeing it snow on the TV show and outside at the same time. Music from A Charlie Brown Christmas provided a soundtrack for this little part of my life. Since then, whenever it's a snowy night before Christmas I flash back to that night over 40 years ago. I feel like a kid again and Christmas takes on that magical feeling I remember so well.

And whenever I hear Christmastime Is Here by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, I see Charlie Brown walking through the snow on a winter night, carrying the pathetic little Christmas tree.


Know Nukes!

Isn't it interesting that more environmentalists have rediscovered nuclear power and are finding it isn't the bad thing they all thought it was. Many see nuclear power as one of the better solutions to meeting th energy needs while emitting no green house gases.

Third and fourth generation nuclear power plants are being planned to add to the existing second generation plants or to replace some of the decommissioned or soon to be decommissioned nuclear power plants.

Some of the new designs will lend themselves to generating hydrogen on a large scale, something necessary to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels and make a hydrogen economy possible. Gasoline and diesel fuel will slowly be replaced by hydrogen, and the internal combustion engine will be replaced by the fuel cell and electric motor. Most of that will be made possible by nuclear power.

Think where we might have been in regards to reducing carbon dioxide emissions if we hadn't stopped building nuclear plants in the 1970's?


Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a very busy day for this member of the WP team, leaving no time for any blogging. It happens every so often.

Today's post will not be nearly as lengthy due to making up for the things I didn't get done yesterday and getting ready for the New England Patriots game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. We've also been keeping an eye on the weather as it looks like we'll be in for a little more winter weather overnight and into tomorrow morning.


Our fellow New Hampshire blog, GraniteGrok, has added a new member to the team – Major Kirk Luedeke, milblogger. He is presently stationed in Iraq and will be posting as he is able to, given he needs to pay attention to his duty while he is deployed. His posts will be titled “Dragon Soup”. Fitting title, isn't it?

His first post to the 'Grok can be found here.

Welcome aboard, Major Luedeke!


One of the side effects of the lack of affordable housing is the use of more energy because workers are forced to commute a longer distances to their jobs. So, in the end, affordable housing some distance away from the job may not be as affordable as it appears. One must include the costs of commuting, which are only going up.

In the long run it's cheaper to build workforce housing.


The Patriots beat the Steelers 34-13. They are now 13-0!


The proposed sale of Verizon's wireline assets to FairPoint Communications is generating a lot of advertising and op-ed pieces in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Both Maine and New Hampshire's state consumer advocates have voiced their doubts about the viability of the sale, citing the financial details of the deal and questioning FairPoint's capability to carry out their promised upgrades throughout the more rural areas of each state.

If any of the three states involved in the deal vote it down, the deal is dead. However, FairPoint has said that even if Vermont should vote against the deal, it might be possible for the sale in New Hampshire and Maine to go forward.

The decision in each state will be made soon, and I'm hoping they'll decide that the deal is not a good one for the consumers.


Deb and I have been contemplating switching from Verizon to our local cable company for telephone service. Regardless whether the Verizon/FairPoint deal goes though I have no doubt the telephone rates will go up. At the moment our cable company is offering rates for local and long distance service about 60 percent of what Verizon is presently charging. The only downside to the cable company as our phone provider: if the power goes out, so does our phone service, even if we have an emergency generator.

While our cell phone is a reasonable back up there's no guarantee it will work if the outage is caused by inclement weather.

Decisions, decisions!


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where more winter weather is on its way, the Patriots have proven triumphant again, and where we're one day closer to Christmas.


Back To The Future

How many of you out there have ever seen or read predictions of the future? I'm not talking about Nostradamus' predictions but those put forward by futurists, scientists, sociologists, automobile and aviation enthusiasts, and every day people? Have you ever looked back to see whether any of those predictions actually came to fruition?

You could use the 'net to track down predictions made over the years, but how much time would you want to spend doing that?

Now you don't have to.

For a trip 'back to the future' check out Paleo-Future, a blog that lets us Look Into The Future That Never Was.

You can browse by decade or by topic. Predictions run all the way back to the 1890's and cover all kinds of topics from technology, transportation, medicine, communications, and homes of the future.

Some of the links are to things I remember, including the CBS series 21st Century hosted by Walter Cronkite and Mike Wallace, which aired from 1957 to 1970. I remember watching the show from the mid 1960's until the program ended in 1970.

If you'd like to see what people in the past thought the year 2000 would be like, check out Paleo-Future.

(H/T Laser Focus World magazine)


Environmentalists Against The Environment

I find it interesting the schizoid tendencies of a number of environmentalists. They want to 'Save the Earth' - promote alternative energy sources, reduce pollution, and basically help Mother Nature survive. Except when they don't.

They don't like coal-fired or nuclear power plants. No real surprise there. Bit also appears they don't like alternative energy sources like wind, either.

A perfect example of this is a proposed wind farm with 600 turbines just south of Corpus Christi, Texas that will generate a lot of clean renewable power. But the environmentalists are against it because the turbines might kill birds. It's an argument used by those opposing wind turbines all over the country. But domestic cats kill far more birds than wind turbines ever will. Will the environmentalists support killing all of the cats in order to protect birds? Not likely. But if something made by man for man kills a small fraction of that number then it must be opposed by all “right thinking people.”

Those “right thinking people” aren't right in the head.


Election Burnout

It's a little over a month until the New Hampshire Primary and I can honestly say that I am bored out of my mind with the whole thing. Not just the primary, but the whole presidential election season.

In the past I enjoyed the campaigning, the debates, the speeches, the face-to-face electioneering.

But this time around I care very little about the process, the campaigns, the visits by the candidates. It's not that I don't have a favorite candidate. I do. Anyone reading this blog know I support Fred Thompson. I believe he's the best one to take over the Oval Office.

Despite Thompson being 'my man', I can't seem to call up the enthusiasm for this election season. I've puzzled over this malaise I feel. It didn't take me too long to figure out why I'm feeling out of sorts.

The election season is too damn long!!!

This one started all of a day or two after Election Day November 2006. In the past it started sometime during the August or September before the primary. Oh, some of the presidential hopefuls would make low key visits to New Hampshire or Iowa before then, but they weren't in full on campaign mode. This time around candidate visits were more like the full court press one expects just before the election. It never let up. The compression of the primary schedule hasn't helped things either (something that is worthy of a post all on its own). At one point is was possible that the New Hampshire Primary would have been held this month due to other states trying to steal Iowa's and New Hampshire's thunder by moving their contests up on the calendar. And to top it off, the so-called Super Tuesday in early February makes it even worse because it forced a lot of the candidates to start campaigning earlier than ever.

Frankly, I'm tired of the whole thing and I'll be glad when it's all over..


Thoughts On A Sunday

You'd think a major month-long blizzard was coming from the way folks have been acting since yesterday. It's amazing what an impending snowstorm does to folks.

The supermarkets, hardware stores, WalMarts, and big box home improvement stores (Home Depot and Lowe's) were busier than we'd usually see on a weekend. Folks were stocking up on food, entertainment (DVDs), snow and ice removal implements (shovels, ice scrapers, bags of rock salt or calcium chloride, and maybe a snow-blower or two), and for some strange reason, toilet paper. Did these folks really believe that they'd be snowbound for so long a two month's supply of toilet paper was essential? You'd have thought that we've never had a snowstorm up here before.

Then again, the first real snowstorm of the season tends to make folks a little crazy.


Unfortunately we have to wait until Monday night to watch the New England Patriots play the Baltimore Ravens. But I suppose it's better than nothing.

Will they go 12-0?


Why is it the Democrats keep trying to blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigration? Could it be they can't tell the difference between the two? Or are they trying to paint those who want to stop illegal immigration as anti-immigrant?

Whenever a Republican presidential hopeful mentions stemming the tide of illegal immigrants pouring over our borders the Democrats jump all the candidate as if he'd declared an intent to deport all immigrants, even the legal ones.

It could be nothing more than campaign rhetoric. If it is not, the Democrats might actually believe there is no difference between the two.


The Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove has been doing a pretty decent job of keeping The Manse nice and warm. Even with the colder than normal temps and high winds yesterday the temperature inside The Manse was between 68 and 70 degrees.

Of course it might be it was warmer inside than it otherwise might have been because BeezleBub and I sealed most of the windows on the first floor to minimize the heat loss and any air infiltration. The second floor windows have heavy thermal shades that are closed once the sun goes down, keeping the warmth inside where it belongs.


Rachel Lucas (always a favorite of this member of the WP crew) lays a reverse hum-bug on those who worry about and work against public displays of any kind of Christmas celebration.

Says one commenter:

Really? So it’s “impolite” to make non-Christians look at a decorated tree and recognize its religious connotations, but it’s okay to piss off Christians by not letting us celebrate Christmas the way we want to?

This attitude just boggles my mind. When Christian schoolchildren are forced to acknowledge non-Christian holidays like Hanukkah, Passover, and Ramadan, they call it “diversity”. But when non-Christian schoolchildren are asked to do the exact same thing by acknowledging Christmas, suddenly it’s “impolite”.

I plan to be as “impolite” as possible this Christmas season.


Only the Belgians would think of barbecuing as a major contributor to global warming.

And only the Belgians would use a means of surveillance to spot such an activity that generated far more CO2 than the activity itself.


Canadians have been warned that this will be the coldest winter in years. By implication, that means we – 'we' meaning New England – probably will, too. Even the Old Farmer's Almanac is saying the same thing.

I have no doubt that someone will blame it on global warming.


And speaking of cold weather, is it possible that Hell will freeze over?

There's a move by taxpayers in the People's Republic of Taxachusetts to repeal the 5.3% state income tax.

A repeal of the state income tax would remove $11 billion of revenue from the state budget, something the tax-and-spend legislature and special interests say will destroy the Commonwealth.

I recall when so-called Prop 2 1/2 (Question 2) became a ballot issue in Massachusetts. It reduced the property tax rate to 2.5% of assessed value across the board. Doom and gloom became the mainstay of the anti-Prop 2 1/2 forces. They predicted severe cuts in police and fire personnel and a decimation of all public services in the municipalities. Despite this the ballot question passed overwhelmingly. The world did not end. None of the dire predictions came true and the taxpayers regained some small amount of control over their hard earned money.

Should the state income tax be repealed, I'm sure the Commonwealth will survive and the taxpayers will breath a sigh of (tax) relief.

(H/T Instapundit)


This is totally cool! I want one! I want one!

(H/T Wizbang)


The only downside to using a woodstove to heat your home is the extra cleaning around the house it entails. Bits and pieces of firewood are tracked all over the first floor of The Manse, meaning we are vacuuming far more often than we usually need to, often every or every other day. Dusting also needs to be done far more often due to the ash that is the waste product of burning wood. When either BeezleBub or I empty out the ash and clinkers from the woodstove, there is usually a small cloud of ash that rises from the ash bucket with every shovelful we put in there. It goes everywhere, meaning a lot of dusting. Of course I could just use 900 gallons of propane at $3.30+ per gallon to heat The Manse and avoid the extra work.

I'd rather do the extra house cleaning.


We're all prepared for 8-14 inches of snow the Weather Guys™ have predicted for the Lake Winnipesaukee area.

The Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower has been checked out, the oil checked, the gas tank topped off, and the tire pressure checked. Fifty pounds of snow melt has been distributed into the appropriate containers, the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout's trailer has been moved to one side, and both cars have had their snow tires mounted.

The snow is expected to start sometime around 9PM tonight and run through until sometime late tomorrow morning. It's a safe bet that there will be no school for BeezleBub tomorrow. I know he's hoping there will be no work for me as well, but in the ten years I've worked for my employer they've called off work for weather only once and then only because the peak of one particular Nor'easter last winter was during the morning commute hours. So my chances of a day off are pretty slim.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where pre-snowstorm madness has wound down, the road crews are ready to do battle with with snow and sleet, and where we're looking forward to the first real snowstorm of the season.


Speaking English In America

The controversy about using English here in the US appears to be growing. First, it's the EEOC going after the Salvation Army for requiring their employees to speak English when they're working. Now it's the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) chairman Roberto Fonseca giving his report in Spanish. That angered a number of parents attending the meeting.

The obvious question is this: why did Fonseca (who is bilingual) think it was appropriate to run the meeting in Spanish? After all, African-Americans are well represented on the council, and many of the Latino parents speak English. Furthermore, current bylaws stipulate that all parent meetings across the district be held in English.

Apparently Fonseca took the opportunity to challenge those bylaws, motivated by a lawyer’s conclusion that the English-only rule was illegal and impractical and the district’s assurance that it would not be enforced. The LAUSD probably fears the reactions of parents like Guadalupe Aguiar, who told the [L.A.] Times that it is “racist when parents are told that, in America, they have to speak English.”

...Hispanic Democrat [Rep. Charles Gonzalez of Texas] is quoted in the [Wall Street] Journal as saying, “If it is not relevant, it is discriminatory, it is gratuitous, it is a subterfuge to discriminate against people based on national origin.” This type of heated rhetoric made its way to the House Floor on Nov. 8, when Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois called English-only requirements symbolic of “bigotry and prejudice.”

But not all politicians think it’s racist to insist that employees speak English when working in America. In fact, Gonzalez and Gutierrez were reacting to an amendment introduced by Lamar Alexander from Tennessee. Alexander’s legislation would shield employers from federal lawsuits if they refuse to hire non-English speakers. The amendment passed the Senate by 75-19 last month, and, more recently, the House by 218-186, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is determined to kill it.

It figures that Pelosi wants to kill the bill. After all, why should we speak only English when dealing with government, business, or education? Instead, the rest of us should be forced to learn Spanish to make it easier for Hispanic immigrants (particularly illegal immigrants) to succeed in this country? What kind of madness is this?

It's liberal Democrat madness.

It is becoming more and more evident that many of those like the Speaker of the House dislike mainstream America with a passion. After all, all the world's evils are our fault and therefore we must make penance with the slow destruction of American sovereignty within our own country.


A Sure Sign Of Winter

It appears we'll be getting our first real snowstorm of the almost-winter starting sometime Sunday evening.

It's a good thing that Deb got the trusty Intrepid down to the tire store yesterday and had four new snow tires put on. The past three winters I stayed with the all-season radials and, for the most part, they were more than adequate. But the past three winters were below average for snowfall, so that might have had something to do with it. I doubt that I could have gotten away with it this winter as I have a feeling that this winter will more than make up for the lack of significant snowfall the past three years.

The front tires on the trusty Intrepid needed replacement in any case as they were worn to the point where the wear bars would have started showing at any time. So down to the local tire store the Intrepid went, the front tires were thrown away, the rear tires put into the trunk, and four new snows were mounted, balanced, and installed.

Unlike some snow tires I've had in the past or the like the ones on Deb's car, these are surprisingly quiet. There isn't that whine and rumble that one usually associates with snow tires.

Now that the trusty Intrepid is properly shod I can't wait to give the new snow tires a try.


Fred On Gun Control And His Guns

While the 'debate' last night was, to all intents and purposes, more of a Q&A session, there was one topic that was near and dear to my heart: gun control and the Second Amendment.

Fred Thompson had one of the best lines of the night during his answer to a query from a YouTube questioner about what kind of guns the candidates liked and owned.


EEOC Discriminating Against Those Who Speak English

Isn't it interesting that while US Federal Courts and a number of immigrant support groups have all said that English is important for immigrants to get ahead in America, that another branch of the federal government is working against the assimilation of those same immigrants?

The Salvation Army in Framingham, Massachusetts is the latest target of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission , making sure that immigrants won't have to be bothered to learn English in order to get a job.

But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that last year filed over 200 lawsuits against employers over English-only rules, has a different vision. Its lawsuit against the Salvation Army accuses the organization of discriminating against two employees at its Framingham, Mass., thrift store "on the basis of their national origin." Its crime was to give the employees a year's notice that they should speak English on the job (outside of breaks) and then firing them after they did not. The EEOC sued only four years after a federal judge in Boston, in a separate suit, upheld the Salvation Army's English-only policy as an effort to "promote workplace harmony." Like a house burglar, the EEOC is trying every door in the legal neighborhood until it finds one that's open.

So, rather than helping immigrants become part of the mainstream society by ensuring they aren't discriminated against because of their national origin, they coddle them and force businesses to conform to ambiguous and discriminatory practices that serve no one but the EEOC and the anti-assimilationist. They aren't doing the non-English speaking people any good. Instead they are condemning them to lower incomes and fewer opportunities to get ahead because they can't be bothered to learn the language of the country where they now make their homes. If that isn't discrimination, I don't know what is.


Ignorance About Our Democracy Emperils Same

Naomi Wolf is not mincing words when it comes to this warning piece about our younger generations ignorance about democracy and how our government works, from the town level on up to our national government.

It's a scary read:

When I speak on college campuses, I find that students are either baffled by democracy's workings or that they don't see any point in engaging in the democratic process. Sometimes both.

As the Founders knew, if citizens are ignorant of or complacent about the proper workings of a republic "of laws not of men," then any leader of any party -- or any tyrannical Congress or even a tyrannical majority -- can abuse the power they hold. But at this moment of threat to the system the Framers set in place, a third of young Americans don't really understand what they were up to.

Here are some actual quotes from otherwise smart, well-meaning young Americans:

"I show my true convictions by refusing to vote."

"The two parties are exactly the same."

"Congress is bought and paid for."

"Elections are just a front for corporations."

"My teacher says you shouldn't believe anything you read in the newspapers at all," a 16-year-old from affluent Menlo Park, Calif., told me last week.

The United States has been blessed with more than 200 years of a strong democracy, so it's easy to yield to a comforting -- and lazy -- conviction that it's magically self-sustaining and doesn't need to be defended, an idea that would have horrified the Founders, who knew that our democracy would be a fragile thing.

While Naomi couldn't resist throwing some digs at the Bush Administration for these failures, blaming No Child Left Behind for this lack of knowledge, the problem started long before Bush, in this case George Herbert Walker Bush, took office. The problem goes all the way back to the late 60's and early 70's when the radical left blamed “The Man” for everything from halitosis to VD (venereal disease or STD's to those not in the know).

Many of the opinions quoted from Wolf's piece could have been taken right out of the Radical Leftist Student Handbook, circa 1969. Many of the radical leftist students became radical leftist teachers and professors. It is they who have decided that democracy is not something we should be teaching our children. It appears they have succeeded, creating two generations that have little understanding of how our nation's government and laws work. Instead they push the idea that democracy (or at least American democracy) is something that is corrupt and should be avoided at all costs.

An unfortunate side effect of this has been ignorance of the very foundation of our laws – the United States Constitution.

All too often we'll hear many of these indoctrinated young adults act as if the First Amendment restricts the speech of those who disagree with their viewpoints.

How often have we heard of guest speakers being protested, or worse, being attacked because what they'll be speaking about is in diametric opposition to what these 'kids' have been spoon fed? They don't understand that freedom of speech is just that, freedom to speak one's mind. They don't have to agree with what someone might say. They may be offended by what someone might say. But it is everyone's right to speak freely. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say we have the right to not be offended. But to hear these ignorant young men and women, you'd think it was part of the First Amendment. This erroneous belief has led to 'speech codes' on college campuses that have been found to be unconstitutional every time they've been tested in court.

This is but one small symptom of the systematic neglect of our education system to teach our children civics, something they'll need in order to both understand and participate in our society. In this case, ignorance is not bliss. It is a road to tyranny.


A Brit's View On Global Warming

Steven Fry, British documentary maker, author, and sometimes actor, has certainly stirred up a number of people with some observations about global warming, apparently siding with those who believe that all global warming is caused by human activity. He hasn't even entertained the thought that there may be other contributing factors.

As he lays it out in his lengthy 'blessay', there are three groups of people when it comes to global warming.

Type A believes the preponderance of established scientific evidence. Whether Type A believes it because they are equipped to do so, or whether they believe it because they are gullible, or whether they believe it because they are stupid, or whether they choose to/pretend to believe it because they are anti-progress, anti-capitalist, anti-global economy, communist, hippy or anarchist is neither here nor there. They believe or profess to believe that there is a pressing threat to the continuation of human life on this planet such as we have known it since the earliest civilizations began to build harbours and ports on the edges of the land. It’s a big deal.

Then there is Type B. Type Bs do not believe this. They think the evidence is wrong, misinterpreted, flawed, misrepresented, unconvincing, not to be acted upon. Type A will call Type Bs “deniers” which irritates them with that suggestion of holocaust denial, not to mention its accompaniment of that special whiff of sanctimonious self-righteous and political correctness that many Bs observe will always hang about your classic Type A. Type B believes the evidence is either manufactured, ignored or slanted. They believe that the whole eco industry and the thousands of academic departments which have sprung up have a vested interest in those alarm bells. They think it’s political correctness, a new orthodoxy, liberal, bossy and dishonest.

Finally there is Type C, the category into which Jim falls. Type C says: “I cannot possibly know. I hear this from one side and that from another. Both seem convinced, both seem to be marshalling impressive technical figures to their side. I cannot make a judgment.”

Obviously there are views that shade between the three categories but in essence you either believe, deny or sit on the fence.

The problem is he's forgotten that there's a fourth group that doesn't fit into any of the others. Let's call this Type D. Type D's are those who believe that global warming is probably happening, but do not believe that humans are the sole (or major) cause. Instead they have looked at all of the evidence, read the reports, and come to the conclusion that much of the climate change we're seeing is a natural phenomenon. They do not rule out the possibility that human activity has contributed to climate change. They agree that something must be done, but it must be the right something. Throwing billions, if not trillions of dollars on solutions to problems that do not exist, while ignoring the problems that do is foolish. The solution may be to adapt to the coming changes rather than trying to prevent them. The first is far more likely to succeed than the second.

Count me in as a Type D.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Winter-like temperatures arrived Friday, with lows in the teens and highs at or just below freezing. The Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove did its job, keeping The Manse nice and warm. While it has been requiring a little more wood than we had thought it would, it hasn't been too much above what we originally thought. We had to keep in mind that we were home 24/7, which meant keeping the temperatures higher than we would otherwise. Hence, higher consumption of wood. Since we go back to work and school tomorrow, we'll be back to 'normal' use.

However this doesn't mean we won't have to make another trip to the WP In-Law's home to pick up the last of our firewood sometime in late January or early February..


It's another evening game for the New England Patriots tonight. This weekend they're taking on the 5-5 Philadelphia Eagles in Foxborough. It won't help the Eagles that their quarterback, Donovan McNabb, will not be playing. He's still recovering from an injured ankle and right thumb.

Let's see if the Patriots can make their season 11-0!

Note: Even before they've played the game tonight the Patriots have clinched the AFC East division title. Not bad. Not bad at all.


While Fred Thompson hasn't been making many visits to New Hampshire, it doesn't meant he hasn't been campaigning hard.

According to an article in The Tennessean, he's been making numerous campaign stops. In fact he's second only to John McCain in the number of campaign events he's attended over a given period.

While his poll numbers in New Hampshire are the lowest they've ever been, he's doing quite well throughout the South.

Could it be that's he's focusing on the Super Tuesday primaries in February?


Fellow Granite Stater and conservative Skip Murphy has a lengthy essay about deciphering leftist Democratic speech and analyzing what it is they really mean with their election rhetoric.

Read The Whole Thing.


It's not surprising to me that as the number of home foreclosures climb that a like number of predatory and deceptive lender practices have been coming to light. There have been questions about foreclosure procedures that may, in themselves, be deceptive and causing homeowners to lose their homes unnecessarily. Some mortgage servicers have been profiting from foreclosures, which may induce them to put homeowners into default even though they are not.

At least some federal judges handling questionable foreclosures have required lenders to prove they actually own the properties they intend to foreclose. A couple of federal judges in Ohio have dismissed foreclosure proceedings because lenders failed to prove they owned the properties in question.

As we've been hearing for some time, some of the blame for the ever increasing number of foreclosures lies with the sub-prime lenders giving out mortgages that were designed to fail.


Now that the date of the New Hampshire primary has been set I expect we'll be seeing a lot more of the presidential hopefuls and the news media covering them. I figure the week prior to the primary it will be a madhouse around here, much as it has any time there is no incumbent running for re-election. While the local news operations are covering the campaign stops by the candidates for the time being, the national operations will move in shortly after Christmas and the talking heads/news anchors will supplant the stringers and local anchors.

If nothing else it will be amusing to watch the flatlander press flounder about trying to make heads or tails of our ways and our contrariness.


A new batch of young voters in college will be casting their first presidential votes come November 2008. Unfortunately it appears that some of them have a poor understanding of where the money that funds government college programs they support comes from.

Take for example, this round of college-age letter writers touting the plans of Hillary Clinton and others to make college more "affordable."

"Hillary wants to make going to a four-year college easier and have it cost less. She wants to expand the HOPE tax credit so a family can receive up to $3,500 as opposed to $1,650," wrote one student.

Others have touted larger federal Pell Grants, lower interest rates on government-backed loans and even direct government aid to colleges and universities.

None of these letters — and it is worth repeating — none have addressed the question of where this government largesse is going to come from.

What the use of government subsidies means — and what these young, innocent letter writers miss — is that the cost of a college education comes out of someone's pocket, not thin air.

This happens in two ways — greater government debt or higher taxes — and more often both.

As the saying goes There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. It's a lesson they'll learn the hard way.


Thanksgiving is three days past and already BeezleBub has been pulling out the Christmas decorations. His old fashioned snowy New England village was set up on our hutch in the dining room and the Nativity scene on one of the tables in the living room.

He's also made plans for us to string Christmas lights along the front of The Manse, but they will be the plain white miniature bulbs. No multicolored bulbs, no flashing patterns, just plain old white lights.

While the retailers start their Christmas decorating just before Black Friday, I recall as a kid we didn't start decorating for Christmas until a week or two before Christmas. Setting up a full month before seems too early to me, but I'll learn to deal with it.


Will the US Supreme Court finally decide the Second Amendment is an individual right?

I don't know about you, but I hope the Justices decide the right to keep and bear arms is indeed an individual right. Of course such a decision would be a major setback for the gun-grabbers and the liberals who believe we're too stupid and irresponsible to defend ourselves against criminal miscreants.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where winter keeps teasing us, warmer weather will arrive on Tuesday, and Christmas decorations are making their appearance.


Fred Thompson Visits Central New Hampshire

Fred Thompson was visiting central New Hampshire earlier today, making stops in Bristol and Laconia. As much as I wanted to be there I had other duties to attend to that got me back home too late to make to Fred's Laconia venue. However, all is not lost.

Our friends at Granite Grok ventured over to Laconia to attend Fred's visit and have a report about Fred's speech and the follow up Q&A session.

Writes Skip:

You know, I've read and heard other folks talking about Fred's laconic laid back style and the seemingly lack of fire in the belly attitude. While I cannot speak to that sentiment personally, I can definitely say that there was no evidence of that here today. While this was a short stop consisting of a small amount of time for opening remarks and only 3 questions from the crowd, he seemed upbeat in a serious type of way (no, he was not bouncing around the stage) as he brought his defense and strength message to this bastion of veterans.

Look, I was quite disappointed that the time between the "Ask Fred" event and his answers. Further, I thought that the lack of being in NH often kinda let folks go off the cliff as far as expectations were concerned ("Hey, where's Fred?"). This did not, his chances help.

That said, if he does come often and shows the same type of command of details and the speaking presence he did today, who knows? Maybe some of that "uncampaign sparkle and mystery" may return to the Fredster.

Let's hope that Fred will pick up the pace a bit, particularly since the New Hampshire Primary is only six weeks away.


The Forgotten Lesson

John Stossel reminds us of a forgotten lesson of the first Thanksgiving in 1623. It was a lesson that was learned again in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union. It's a lesson that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the rest of the socialists should learn.

But they won't.

As such, they will fall under the sway of the George Santayana dictum:

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

Andrew Sullivan On Thanksgiving

I originally linked to a poignant Thanksgiving post by Andrew Sullivan way back in November of 2002. It has always stuck with me since then and is something I read again as the holiday approaches. I thought I'd link to it again but then figured what the heck and decided I'd post it in its entirety.

Sometimes all it takes is the view of someone not from the US to see the special meaning of Thanksgiving and what it is to live in America.

A THANKSGIVING POST: My old colleague, the legendary British journalist and drunk Henry Fairlie, had a favourite story about his long, lascivious love affair with America. He was walking down a suburban street one afternoon in a suit and tie, passing familiar rows of detached middle-American dwellings and lush, green Washington lawns. In the distance a small boy - aged perhaps six or seven - was riding his bicycle towards him.

And in a few minutes, as their paths crossed on the pavement, the small boy looked up at Henry and said, with no hesitation or particular affectation: "Hi." As Henry told it, he was so taken aback by this unexpected outburst of familiarity that he found it hard to say anything particularly coherent in return. And by the time he did, the boy was already trundling past him into the distance.

In that exchange, Henry used to reminisce, so much of America was summed up. That distinctive form of American manners, for one thing: a strong blend of careful politeness and easy informality. But beneath that, something far more impressive. It never occurred to that little American boy that he should be silent, or know his place, or defer to his elder. In America, a six-year-old cyclist and a 55-year-old journalist were equals. The democratic essence of America was present there on a quiet street on a lazy summer afternoon.

Henry couldn't have imagined that exchange happening in England - or Europe, for that matter. Perhaps now, as European - and especially British - society has shed some of its more rigid hierarchies, it could. But what thrilled him about that exchange is still a critical part of what makes America an enduringly liberating place. And why so many of us who have come to live here find, perhaps more than most native Americans, a reason to give thanks this Thanksgiving.

When I tuck into the turkey on Thursday, I'll have three things in particular in mind. First, the country's pathological obsession with the present. America is still a country where the past is anathema. Even when Americans are nostalgic, they are nostalgic for a myth of the future. What matters for Americans, in small ways and large, is never where you have come from - but where you are going, what you are doing now, or what you are about to become. In all the years I have lived in America - almost a decade and a half now - it never ceases to amaze me that almost nobody has ever demanded to know by what right I belong here. Almost nobody has asked what school I went to, what my family is like, or what my past contains. (In Britain I was asked those questions on a daily, almost hourly, basis.) Even when I took it on myself to be part of the American debate, nobody ever questioned my credentials for doing so. I don't think that could ever happen in a European context (when there's a gay American editor of The Spectator, let me know). If Europeans ever need to know why Ronald Reagan captured such a deep part of the American imagination, this is surely part of the answer. It was his reckless futurism (remember star wars and supply-side economics?) and his instinctive, personal generosity.

Second, I'm thankful for the American talent for contradiction. The country that sustained slavery for longer than any other civilised country is also the country that has perhaps struggled more honestly for the notion of racial equality than any other. The country that has a genuine public ethic of classlessness also has the most extreme economic inequality in the developed world. The country that is most obsessed with pressing the edge of modernity also has the oldest intact constitution in the world. The country that still contains a powerful religious right has also pushed the equality of homosexuals further than ever before in history. A country that cannot officially celebrate Christmas (it would erase the boundary between church and state) is also one of the most deeply religious nations on the planet. Americans have learnt how to reconcile the necessary contradictions not simply because their country is physically big enough to contain them, but because it is spiritually big enough to contain them. Americans have learnt how to reconcile the necessary contradictions of modern life with a verve and a serenity few others can muster. It is a deeply reassuring achievement.

Third, I'm thankful because America is, above all, a country of primary colours. Sometimes the pictures Americans paint are therefore not as subtle, or as elegant, or even as brilliant as masterpieces elsewhere. But they have a vigour and a simplicity that is often more viscerally alive. Other nations may have become bored with the Enlightenment, or comfortable in post-modern ennui. Americans find such postures irrelevant. Here the advertisements are cruel, the battles are stark and the sermons are terrifying. And here, more than anywhere else, the most vital of arguments still go on. Does God exist? Are the races equal? Can the genders get along? Americans believe that these debates can never get tired, and that their resolution still matters, because what happens in America still matters in the broader world. At its worst, this can bespeak a kind of arrogance and crudeness. But at its best, it reflects a resilient belief that the great questions can always be reinvented and that the answers are always relevant. In the end, I have come to appreciate this kind of naivety as a deeper form of sophistication. Even the subtlest of hues, after all, are merely primary colours mixed.

At the end of November each year this restless, contradictory and simple country finds a way to celebrate itself. The British, as befits a people at ease with themselves, do not have a national day. When the French do, their insecurity shows. Even America, on the fourth of July, displays a slightly neurotic excess of patriotism. But on Thanksgiving, the Americans resolve the nationalist dilemma. They don't celebrate themselves, they celebrate their good fortune. And every November, as I reflect on a country that can make even an opinionated Englishman feel at home, I know exactly how they feel.

"My America," first published November 24, 1996, Sunday Times of London

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


New Hampshire Primary

New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner has finally set the date for the New Hampshire primary: January 8th, 2008.

It's about time.

Conservatives Aren't Ignoring Global Warming

The accusations and paranoid bleatings of the It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans leftists/greens/clueless envirofascists about how conservatives care nothing for the environment, deny any possibility of global warming, and eat the children of 'progressives' for supper are getting louder and taking on the screeching tone of the truly insane.

Okay, maybe I've exaggerated a little. Actually we eat the children of progressives for breakfast.

All kidding aside, the claims that conservatives care nothing for the environment are specious, made to inflame the faithful. The second claim that conservatives are global warming deniers is also a canard. I know many conservatives have concerns about global warming (me included). But our concerns deal with the actual causes of global warming, not what the so-called consensus tells us it is.

Conservatives want to make sure that we take the right actions, spend money in the proper places and on the right goals. It makes no sense to spend billions, if not trillions of dollars on efforts that will do little to solve the problems global warming might cause.

Even if the climate is changing, is there anything we can do about it? No one is sure. Lowering emissions may indeed slow down or even eliminate excess global warming. Then again, it may not have any effect at all.

And here is where politics insinuates itself into the debate to the detriment of science as well as the debate itself. Scientists argue whether the Greenland glaciers are growing or shrinking, whether the Antarctic ice cap is melting, whether the cyclical nature of sunspots are to blame for the increase in temperature, even whether polar bears are at risk of becoming extinct or not. But it is politicians and advocates who argue about climate change “solutions” and charge their opponents with being mindless fanatics or anti-science zealots depending on whose ox is being gored.

Where does that leave rational, thoughtful science enthusiasts like you and me who may not have the technical acumen to judge the efficacy of scientific arguments but who try and follow the debate anyway?

On the outside looking in, I’m afraid.

And that's one of the biggest problems with the debates. Though there is some scientific debate still ongoing, it is overshadowed by politics. It is the politics that may end up determining the course of action, if any, that we will take. And because the decision will likely be political and not based on science, it will most likely be wrong. Far too often when politics gets involved in serious scientific discourse, the science becomes lost in the noise of politicians hearing themselves speak about things they know little about.

And here is where you will find the most bizarre collection of anti-globalists, anti-capitalists, “sustainable growth” nuts, and population control fanatics allying themselves with Third World kleptocrats in order to soak the west with “carbon offsets” and other gimmicks without reducing emissions by one single molecule. This was the now defunct Kyoto agreement, the first attempt by this motley coalition to radically alter western industrialized civilization.

At least on the other side of the political coin with the most organized efforts to debunk global warming there is the rationality of promoting an anti-warming agenda based largely on economic interests. Lost profits may not be a very noble reason to oppose efforts to reduce emissions but at least it has logic so sorely lacking on the other side.

This then is the political atmosphere in which charge and counter charge is hurled back and forth, with the global warming cadres spewing nonsense about comparing skeptics with “Nazis” while the skeptics accuse climate change advocates of being Luddites.

Again, at that point polite discourse is impossible and political ideologies take over. The science is lost in the meaningless noise of two or more camps arguing like a bunch of kids on a playground. The purpose of the debate is shoved to the background and the contest becomes one of “who can scream the loudest?”

I thought the idea was to determine the truth about global warming – is it caused by human activity, or is it part of a natural cycle? Or is it a little bit of both? Conservatives are generally skeptical about anthropogenic global warming, want more proof rather than some flawed studies, incomplete data, or outright fabrications. We aren't ignoring global warming. But we aren't willing to swallow the malarkey being peddled by those claiming It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans. There are too many unanswered questions to say definitively one way or the other.


The Black Screen Of Nothingness

Things did not bode well Sunday.

First, a few errors rendering video that caused the occasional freeze. Next, the computer would hang and not recover, forcing a reset to get things going again. This was followed by an upgrade to the video drivers in case there was a problem with the older drivers. For a while it seemed everything was working just as it should. And then.......

.....The Black Screen Of Nothingness.

A reset or restart did nothing but elicit the dreaded long POST beep, telling me the system wasn't seeing the video card. At that point I shut the system down and went into the living room to watch the New England Patriots shred the Buffalo Bills.

Monday's schedule was full, leaving no time for troubleshooting.

After taking care of a few chores upon arriving home to The Manse today, I tackled the recalcitrant computer. When it comes to video problems I've come across in the past, I've been amazed how often the problem can be cured by removing and then plugging the video card back into the motherboard. That was my hope this time. Unfortunately my hopes were dashed.

A few more tries of other tricks of the trade, but nothing worked. It was time to end the agony and put the computer to one side. The Official Weekend Pundit Backup Computer was moved into place, booted up, and hence, this post. It will have to do for the time being.

Tomorrow I hope to score a video card from our IT maven at work, which will allow me to prove once and for all the video card is indeed the culprit. Until then the backup machine (a Linux box) will serve.

There are times when I hate computers.....


Thoughts On A Sunday

We are in full wood-heating mode here at The Manse.

With night time temps below freezing and day time temps in the mid-30's to lower 40's, the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove is running 24/7.

After talking with my immediate supervisor at work about his latest heating oil delivery (at $3.199 per gallon!) it makes me feel warm just knowing that we will be spending very little for petroleum-based heating fuel this winter. With a little extra work sealing some of the windows and finishing insulating the basement, we expect that we'll use even less firewood than we did last year. (We didn't seal all the windows because we do need to make sure we get enough fresh air coming in.)

There may still be those occasional below-zero nights when we'll need to bump up the thermostat on the second floor because the woodstove won't be able to keep up, but we figure there won't be too many of those. With propane now going for over $3.50 a gallon in this area, we'll be working hard to keep our usage to a minimum.


Thanksgiving is coming up and we'll have a full house here at The Manse.

The WP Parents will be here, as will the WP sisters and their families. My dear brother's family will be staying home, hosting his in-laws for Thanksgiving, so he's excused. The WP In-Laws will be partaking of Thanksgiving in New York state at the WP Sister-In-Law's home. Even so, we'll be seeing at least 13 here on Thanksgiving Day.

(I may have not mentioned this before, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, even above Christmas. We're far more likely to get together for Thanksgiving than for any other holiday. I have many fond memories of Thanksgivings past and they have always stood out far more than any other holiday.)


On a more somber note, it appears that at least one part of ABC's news/entertainment operations is firmly in the It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans™ camp of global warming. Bill Weir, one of the Good Morning America hosts, lambasted a Kentucky legislator for his stand that the IPCC report is wrong, flawed, and deceptive.

Weir made it sound as if we failed to take immediate action to stem global warming that we were all doomed. The gentleman from Kentucky responded that may that's so, but which actions should we take? He said that the wrong ones could be far more harmful than any affects of global warming.

You could see that Bill Weir thought this guy was an idiot for questioning any part of the IPCC report.

But that 'idiot' is right.


Forget the high energy particle accelerators. Forget the miles and miles of equations on the blackboard. Forget heavy duty calculations and simulations on a massively parallel processing super computer.

Instead, all one needs to do to figure out how everything in the universe works is to go surfing.

E=mc2, dude!

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


The New England Patriots are playing the Buffalo Bills tonight. It's a late start for the game, 8:15PM ET, if I recall correctly.

It will be interesting to see if the Patriots can go 10-0 tonight. While some of the sports pundits have been saying that the Bills are hot and will beat the Pats, they seem to forget the Pats are even hotter, having beaten the Colts. They were considered the only team capable of beating the Patriots, but they failed to pull it off, even with home field advantage.

What makes Buffalo hotter than New England at this point? The only thing that may work against the Patriots is they're coming off a bye week, meaning they haven't played in two weeks. On the other hand, it isn't like the Pats haven't been practicing and training hard for this week's game. The extra week off has allowed their players to heal up, including those recently returning from the injured list.

I guess we'll know who's right after the game tonight.


Jeff Soyer tells us how some people believe it's racist to defend yourself in your own home.

How screwed up is that?


Another note on global warming:

If what Al Gore says is true, then why is it so friggin' cold in Chile, Argentina, and Brazil? Even the ice on Antarctica is getting thicker. And you must remember this – summer in the southern hemisphere is only a month away.

(H/T Instapundit)


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where winter approaches, Thanksgiving is only 5 days away, and where I need to go out to the firewood stacks to get more wood.


Windows Vista - Hate It Or Hate It

Like many of you out there I use Microsoft Windows, in this case XP. Sometimes my use of Windows has been dictated by my employer, other times by the need to be compatible with others also using Windows.

I definitely have a love/hate relationship with Windows. There are many things that Windows does very well. There are also many things that Windows does poorly. Up until Windows Vista, the good outweighed the bad. But with Vista, that balance has shifted to favor the bad.

Despite what some pundits are saying, corporate America has been shying away from upgrading to Vista because too many computers the corporations already have are not capable of running the new OS or their existing software won't run under Vista. That's a big expense for corporations to undertake just to upgrade to a supposedly improved OS.

My own employer's IT department has already declared that Vista will not be deployed, mainly because it would also require new versions of much of the software we use. While we do have a couple of Vista machines in our engineering department, they are used exclusively to test software we've written for our customers.

The pushback Microsoft has received from corporate customers has caused them to extend the length of time they would continue to support Windows XP as well as extend the deadline when XP could no longer be sold. That does not bode well for Vista.

Some, like John Dvorak, are waiting for Vista to die, believing it is an inferior product with too many flaws, too many versions, and requiring far too many resources from the computer in order to run properly.

So what went wrong with Vista in the first place? Let’s start off with the elephant in the room. The product was overpriced from the outset. Why was it so expensive? What was special about it? All the cool and promised features of the original vision of Longhorn were gutted simply because it was beyond Microsoft’s capability to implement those features.

This failure to deliver what was promised—even after several delays in the product’s release, by the way—did nothing to excite anyone. It made the company look bad. It directly resulted in a no-confidence vote that was manifested in a lackluster reception and low sales. Microsoft should have scrapped the project two years ago and instead patched XP until it could deliver something hot.

Microsoft’s initial approach to marketing this turkey was obviously going to be to put it on just new machines, which would eventually saturate the market, but the PC manufacturers squawked and demanded the continuation of XP sales.

In the past the manufacturers were on board for new releases of Windows. But this time around they didn't like it one bit and that should have told Microsoft that something was seriously wrong.

For the time being I'll stay with XP and expand my use of Linux. At least I know they both work and on the present hardware we have here at The Manse.


Keeping The Internet Open For Everyone

It appears the UN hasn't given up on the idea that the US should give up control over the Internet and hand it over to them. This is such a bad idea that I have no idea where to start listing my objections. I don't know about you, but I trust the US to keep the Internet far more than I'd ever trust that bunch of thieves at the UN. Too many members of the UN would love to get control of the Internet in order to rein in the open nature of the 'net and restrict the freedom it represents.

Some out there may think it's time for the US to relinquish its hold on the Internet because of its international reach. I disagree, if for no other reason than we invented it.

I'm not the only one who believes we should not turn over domain control to the UN. So does Fred Thompson.

More than 1.4 billion people around the world seem to be emailing each other a lot, and those emails get delivered a lot faster and more reliably than “snail mail.” Lots of people are innovating around the Internet – voice calling over the Internet, e-commerce, blogs, education, employment, and healthcare services, music and video streaming and downloads, and such – and lots and lots of people are profiting from those innovations and the websites and companies that operate online.

Despite what Al Gore may think, the Internet was an invention of the U.S. government and a number of universities and other entities a couple decades ago. As the Internet became what it is today, the government created a nonprofit organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to manage what was then a growing network of networks. Today ICANN does things like manage the assignment of Web sites domain names – the .coms, .orgs, .edus – for example.

But countries like China aren’t happy about U.S. control of “the tubes.” They’d rather have the U.N. run it. I wonder how the U.N. would’ve handled the situation in Burma recently when the government cut off all Internet access to all anti-government protesters, or how it would’ve handled the imprisonment in China of dissidents and reporters who emailed news out of the country.

The notion of surrendering management of the Internet – a global, strategic infrastructure for communications and commerce – to the UN is just a plain dumb idea. We shouldn’t be handing over something that works right to an institution that has difficulty doing anything right.

We'd all be better off if management of the Internet stayed in our hands.


Lieberman Speaks Out Against Democrats

First, it was Karl Rove hammering on the congressional Democrats. Then is was Democrat Senator Joe Biden slamming his fellow Democrats. They both laid a hurtin' on the Democrats.

Now it's Joe Lieberman getting his licks in.

“There is something profoundly wrong — something that should trouble all of us — when we have elected Democratic officials who seem more worried about how the Bush administration might respond to Iran's murder of our troops, than about the fact that Iran is murdering our troops.”

“There is likewise something profoundly wrong when we see candidates who are willing to pander to this politically paranoid, hyper-partisan sentiment in the Democratic base, even if it sends a message of weakness and division to the Iranian regime,” Lieberman said in a thinly veiled swipe at Clinton's Democratic challengers.

Two leading Democrats have spoken out against their party and its leaders. If more do so we may find a major split in the Democrat party, with the leftists on one side and the moderates on the other.

Will this happen? Unfortunately it is unlikely. Pelosi, Reid, et al are too beholden to the fringe elements, much to the detriment of the moderates within the party.

(H/T Libertarian Leanings)