Tax The Poor!

Fellow gun enthusiast and friend Jeff Soyer brings up an non-gun issue that is causing hate and discontent in his home state of Vermont: the legislature imposing a tax on home heating oil “in an effort to show that Vermont is concerned about global warming.” Most Vermonters think this is a bad idea. Even the liberal Burlington Free Press thinks this is an idea that should die aborning. While the feel good legislation might make the socialist legislators feel as if they're 'doing something' about global warming, they are in fact hurting those Vermonters that can least afford to pay even more for heating oil.

Writes Jeff:

Staying warm in the Winter is not an option, it's a requirement for living in the state. Heating oil (and LP for that matter) are already at near record highs and short of tearing down all the big 100-year-old farmhouses in the state, there isn't much that homeowners can do about their heating bills. Sure, a bit of insulation here, better windows there. The fact remains that most can't afford to do even that, much less bear a (estimated five cents a gallon) heating oil tax.

Talk about adding insult to injury.

Jeff adds:

As President Reagan used to say, "Government isn't the solution. Government is the problem."

Of course I wouldn't put it past the Vermont State House putzes to raise a tax someplace else to help subsidize heating oil or propane purchases for those burdened by the heating oil taxes, the very burden that these same putzes created. The logic of such thinking never ceases to amaze or amuse me. And here I thought that the Democratic party was supposed to help the 'little guy'.

Yeah, help him right into the (unheated) poor house.


Thoughts On A Sunday

BeezleBub and I made a trip to the local multi-mega-cineplex last night to see Ghost Rider. Man, we could use a dude like that in Iraq. We'd be scaring the be-Jesus...uh...be-Allah out of the jihadis, harahabis, and Ba'athist insurgents.


BeezleBub started a week of vacation from school this weekend. He'll be heading down to the WP In-Laws for a few days to meet up with his lifelong friend from the southwest part of the state.

With him gone it will be a quiet around here. Too quiet. But it will be a little easier for me while he's gone only because I won't need to get up quite as early as I usually do when he's in school.

He hasn't even left yet and I'm already looking forward to his return.


I expect the number of visits to New Hampshire from presidential hopefuls to ramp up to an even higher level as the warm weather approaches. If nothing else we'll see a number of candidates visiting sugar houses – sheds where sap from sugar maples is boiled down to make maple syrup – in an effort to look countrified for the voters. Frankly, boys an girls, it rarely works. We can tell when they're faking it.


Doug at Granite Grok writes about another scientist that gets it in regards to global warming. Of course poor fellow's job may be in jeopardy because he isn't falling in line with the 'consensus' that It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans.

One thing that I've noticed is that of all of the climate scientists out there, the meteorologists tend to doubt that what global warming is taking place is anything but a natural phenomenon, part of a long cycle that is now on the upswing.


Friday night's 20/20 ran a two hour episode that talked about how the media sells fear, making it seem that we are far worse off than we've ever been in our history. It covered such things as the overweening and overblown fear of immunizations - (“It causes autism!”), terrorism - (“We're all gonna die!”), and fear itself - (“Nobody anywhere is safe from anything!”)

John Stossel, one of my favorite mythbusters, covered a wide range of topics in this broadcast. He even goes over how, when it comes to some people (particularly injury lawyers), science doesn't mean a damn thing. One example he uses is the fear about silicone breast implants and the lawsuits about them that bankrupted Dow Chemical, even though there wasn't one bit of verifiable scientific evidence that they caused any of the health problems attributed to them. Emotion – fear - won out over scientific evidence.


And speaking of 'health problems', the latest effort by Democrats to turn the Granite State into the Granny State made it one step closer to becoming law.

The New Hampshire State Senate passed a law banning smoking in restaurants, bars, pubs, and other such establishments. The vote was 17-7, with the majority Democrats carrying the day. There's also proposed legislation in the New Hampshire House that would ban trans-fats.

Should the Dems succeed in these efforts, I expect these 'do-gooders' will then go after ice cream, hot dogs, fried clams, alcoholic beverages of all kinds, because any and all of these things can cause bad health.

During the Senate debate about the smoking ban one senator, Lou D'Allesandro, stated “If it even saves one life, it will be worth it.” The problem is that they will use that sentiment to justify all of the other measures they want to enact. The problem is that legislation cannot cure stupid, and that's exactly what they want to do. Most folks are smart enough not to do the things the Dems say we need to be protected against. But the Dems figure that we're all too stupid to make our own decisions, so they'll make them for us.

Now that's stupid.


From Kerplunk comes a list of ten signs that prove whether or not you're a Moral Idiot.

The test I like to use for those believing that sign number 3 is true is to say, “So, you're saying that Nazi Germany's culture of state-run genocide and conquest was as valid as ours?” You'd be surprised at how many then backpedal some. You'd be even more surprised at how many answer “yes.”

The argument could be made by some that the US was no different during its expansion west, but the US government didn't set up death camps, gas showers, and ovens to eradicated the Indians. There are parts of our history that we aren't proud of, but we mustn't make the all-too-often made mistake of judging 19th Century actions by 21st Century moralities and standards.

(H/T Blogmeister USA)


There's plenty of other good posts over at Kerplunk, too, including a series on 10 Institutions That Ruin The World. So far 7 of the 10 in the series have been posted.


Blogmeister Pam ( who pointed us to Kerplunk) also has an interesting take on the Democrat's definition of arrogance and how it applies only to Republicans.

According to Hillary, our present President is arrogance personified. However, he is anything but, to whit he said:

"A leader is somebody who is willing to take positions based on principle, not polls or focus groups."

This is something that Hillary has conveniently forgotten: her husband was more of a weathervane and not a man of principle. Give me a man of principle any day. If that's arrogance, so be it.


Now I'm off to watch the Oscars!


Draft Fred Thompson Movement Gaining Support

It seems the support for a “Draft Fred Thompson for President” movement is gathering steam. The other day Glenn Reynolds mentioned this post in one of the Knoxville News blogs, laying out the possibility of a run by former US Attorney/former US Senator from Tennessee. Even if Thompson decides to run later in the campaign season, he won't necessarily suffer from his late start.

The associate also said that Thompson, long a Hollywood star who has played the White House chief of staff and military officers, has such large name recognition that he could stay out for a while and still make waves if he entered late -- or as a vice presidential candidate next year. In the blogs, he's huge.

A number of blogs have been calling for him to run, some of them listed here.

Thompson has media exposure outside his appearances on NBC's Law & Order, sitting in for radio commentator Paul Harvey from time to time.

Compared to many of the other GOP hopefuls out there, Thompson is looking better all the time.

Vilsack Out

The first announced candidate in the 2008 presidential race was also the first casualty.

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack announced that he is dropping out of the race. He cited his lack funding, making it impossible to continue his campaign.

The first of many has fallen.


Flatlander News - Living Dangerously

After a lengthy hiatus our resident flatlander, Brendan Smith is back! It seems fitting that his first appearance in a while should be this one.


My Year Of Living Dangerously

To the sixteen of you who read this column on a regular basis, last week must have been a bit confusing...and I apologize.

Wait, I don't really... I have to stop doing that so much.

That's what this is all about actually.

You see, I've been in a bit of a rut lately. The same old, same old – over and over again.

I decided when 2007 rolled around that I was going to do things different, take some more chances, live on the edge, so to speak. Put some excitement and danger into my life.

Last week was the usual rotation for my column; I have missed a one or two in the past and meekly went about waiting till the next two weeks rolled around until I wrote another one.

This time, with my new attitude, I've decided to break the mold, go against the current, butter my bread on the inside and go out of my usual rotation and write a column this week.

And let me tell you it feels good. It's rather invigorating and I can feel my blood pumping as I shed my boring old skin for some fun and excitement.

Can you feel it too?

I thought so.

But writing my column out of rotation isn't the only chance I've taken since the start of 2007. There's a whole slew of things that I've done.

For instance:

Just last week I ate a bowl of brown rice without even letting it sit for five minutes first and this morning I did a rolling stop through a stop sign (yes, I know it's illegal, but the thrill of breaking the law and getting away with it was strangely exciting).

One day last month I breathed in second hand smoke and ate some trans-fat...and am here to tell the tale.

Last week I threw all caution to the wind and drove 20 mils per hour in a 15MPH zone, window down, the wind racing over my body. I have yet to muster the courage to 30 in a 25 but I know I'll get there eventually. Baby steps.

One big moment that I am very proud of happened just yesterday when I decided to add fabric softener BEFORE the light came on. I admit I was a bit nervous, not sure what havoc this would create with my wardrobe, but if you've never tried it let me be the first to tell you that it really made no difference. It made me realize that everything in this world we perceive as truth should always be questioned and never taken at face value. I think the next time I might forgo the static cling sheets in the dryer, a bold move I know, but without trying I might never understand the vast universe.

One thing I have been contemplating, but can only now attempt, is drinking milk the day after the expiration date. I would have tried this earlier but the remainder of the half-gallon of milk that is sitting in my refrigerator only reaches its expiration date tomorrow, so I will have to wait a couple of days till I can attempt this next dangerous, yet energizing, experiment in this new attitude on life I've developed.

One thing I did that may come back to haunt me was in signing up as a member of a book club on the Internet. This wasn't the first such thing I've ever joined on the information super highway, but this time, instead of spending the usual two to three hours reading the membership agreement, I just went ahead, sweat on my brow, and clicked the “I Accept” button without reading word one. I will admit I am still waiting for the fallout from this but I have, for the most part, put these concerns in the back of my mind, for now.

Speaking of the Internet, I've also decided to be a bit more adventurous in my financial undertakings. Just this morning I entered into a deal with Mr. Bakum Obraca from Nigeria, who has been emailing me for months hoping I would be able to help him transfer some of his funds to my bank in the States in which I would be able to keep tens of thousands of dollars for myself. I'm not sure why he picked me, I just figured that everything happened for a reason, so I took full advantage of it. Not like the old, boring me. I've given him my bank account numbers and am anxiously awaiting my new fortune.

Life is good.

So, as each new day approaches, I look forward to expanding the horizons of my life and taking more chances.

As for my eighteen readers, I hope you'll accept my humble apologies while realizing at the same time that the man you are used to reading has changed. I can't tell what each day will bring. I'll be as surprised as you.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to light a match without first closing the cover.

Brendan Smith welcomes your comments at brendan@weirs.com


Reprinted with permission of the author


Campaign Burnout - All Too Soon

Here it is, a little less than a year before the first presidential caucuses and primaries and already I'm feeling a little burned out about the campaigning. Apparently, I'm not the only one. Already many of those campaigning are starting to sound alike. Their features are starting to blur together and very few of them stand out.

What's it going to be like eleven months from now? Heck, what's it going to be like in November 2008?


We Have To Save Ourselves From Those Who Want To Save Us From Ourselves

First, they want to take away our trans-fats. Next, they want to ensure that everyone succeeds, even if it means that everyone suffers for it. Now, they're trying to make sure that law-abiding citizens will have a harder time defending themselves against some of the criminal mutants that have no problem committing violent crimes upon the innocent.

Three New Hampshire Democratic legislators have decided that it's too dangerous for law abiding citizens to be able to carry concealed firearms. They want to make it a lot more difficult to get a concealed carry permit from the local police departments. My question to these idiots is “Too dangerous for whom?” The answer is, of course, violent criminals.

To quote an e-mail from a good friend:

“Senate Bill 44, sponsored by Senator Peter Burling (D-District 5), and Representatives Lee Hammond (D-Grafton District 11) and John Tholl (R-Coos District 2), seeks to change the concealed carry licensing statute to make it easier for the issuing authority to deny a license. Further, the bill raises the standard by which attorney fees may be awarded in a lawsuit against an issuing authority for a violation of the licensing law to "gross negligence or malice," and removes the personal liability of the issuing officer.”

Sounds like a good idea right? But it's a smokescreen.

First of all, New Hampshire has a high percentage of citizens that own firearms. A goodly portion of them carry their firearms with them at all times. New Hampshire also has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation. The only states with lower crime rates also have rather liberal gun laws, allowing citizens to defend themselves against these criminal scumbags. Leaving the decision as whether or not to issue a permit to carry entirely to the discretion of police chief (usually the issuing authority) means that he or she would not have to justify denying a permit to a law abiding citizen. It could become all too arbitrary, as has happened in other states without “shall issue” protections built into law. This legislation would, in effect, remove those protections.

The proposed legislation is, quite frankly, a solution looking for a problem. It is very rare that one will find someone in New Hampshire committing a criminal act with a firearm that actually has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Criminals don't bother with such niceties. They carry firearms regardless of what the law says, so the legislation will have absolutely no effect on them. It will only harm those that will no longer be able to legally defend themselves. This is something that I find the anti-gun forces have a difficult time understanding, so let me explain it in terms even they can (hopefully) understand:

Taking away the means to defend oneself from the predations of the criminal underclass does two things – it leaves people that were able to protect themselves defenseless, and it lets the criminal underclass know that their potential victims are now defenseless and easily preyed upon.

The law enforcement authorities cannot protect us because they can't be everywhere all the time. In most cases they will be there after the fact to collect evidence, interview witnesses (assuming anyone will be willing to speak up because they know the criminals will likely come after them if the do), take crime scene photos, and in many cases, help the coroner put your body into a body bag for its trip to the morgue.

All one needs to do is look at the UK as an example of why restricting gun ownership doesn't work. Private ownership of handguns is illegal, as is the use of deadly force to protect one's life or property. Violent crime has risen dramatically, including the number of what are called “push-in” burglaries, meaning the burglars break in even if they know the occupants of a residence are home.

That doesn't happen here very often because all too often the result is a dead burglar. Were sanity to return to the UK and its citizens allowed to own and/or carry guns, and be allowed to use deadly force, the violent crime rate would drop rapidly. It is the criminal that will have to worry about ending up in a morgue, not his intended victim.

There Are No Guarantees

It never ceases to amaze me how effin' ignorant some of the bleeding heart Liberals can be. I touched upon this briefly in yesterday's post, mentioning an editorial in the Sunday Citizen (Laconia, NH) that boldly declares that “Government cannot and should not guarantee success.” (Sorry, still no link available. It appears that their website is running a few days behind in the Commentary section.)

Pop quiz: Name the basic human rights.

If you answered Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, you are only partially correct.

If Massachusetts Se, Ted Kennedy has his way, federally mandated sick leave will join the growing list, which according to Sen. Hillary Clinton, should also include the right to a living wage.


Of course, Kennedy makes no offering as to how businesses will pay for this perk or how employees who abuse the mandated benefit will be disciplined, especially of courts wind up holding the right sacrosanct by ruling that it falls under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Of course, Kennedy doesn't see it as his responsibility to actually find a way of implementing such a horrid and, in the end, economically destructive plan. It's not like he or his leftist cronies will actually have to worry about living up to the requirements such a mandate would impose on the rest of us.

You don't believe such a mandate will have a negative effect on our economy? All one has to do is look at France's economy, and particularly their unemployment numbers, to see what a mandate like this will do to us. Yet somehow the so-called do-gooders seem to think that is of little consequence, that it's necessary to “Do something!” The problem is that all too often that something is the wrong thing and then someone else – meaning the taxpayers – has to pay to clean it up, and those that the do-gooders were ostensibly trying to help are now worse off than before.

Of course, if the damn Liberals had their way we could count on even more 'rights' that are nothing but wrong, such as:

- The right to a living wage.

OK, who decides what a living wage is? Should every job be entitled to a living wage, even one that is part time? Would it be adjusted depending upon the cost of living for a given area? Again, who would decide? And who would support those folks that lost their jobs because their employer wasn't willing to pay them a 'living wage' for taking orders at a fast food restaurant or running a cash register at a convenience store? Of course, that could be cured by...

- The right to job security

This means you could never be fired. It has worked oh-so-well in places like France and Germany, which is why businesses rarely hire new employees during an upturn in the economy because they will have no way to shed them should a recession hit. It's also why the unemployment rates in those two countries for younger workers is at 20% or higher. Gee, sounds like paradise to me!

- The right to a home

As the editorial explains, it means more than just fending off eminent domain. “Those who can't afford a home should be given the money to buy one. Just think of the boom to the building trades!”Yeah, and how many of those homes would be in disrepair in short order and uninhabitable in only a few years? All it would be is public housing writ large, and from what I've seen of public housing, I wouldn't want any part of this.

A guarantee of success is a lie. It can't be done. Everyone that has attempted to do so has failed miserably, usually to the detriment of the very people that were meant to be helped.

It may sound corny to the likes of Ted Kennedy, but the United States of America was founded on a guarantee of opportunity, not a guarantee of success.

Few can rightfully argue with the need for safety nets for those who fall through the cracks. But to guarantee success in every phase in life is impossible. History has proven that governments that try are doomed to failure and, in the end, foster oppression and tyranny – the direct opposite of their intended goal.

An unfolding lesson exists in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez is trying to do what so many here think would create a paradise. But if Chavez goes the route of others, like Robert Mugabe, his social reforms will eventually end in a police state and will make Venezuela a living hell. A once wealthy nation will fall into poverty...except of course for those in power. They will still have their Mercedes and mansions and plentiful food and drink. But the regular people will have nothing but memories of how good they once had it before all of the social reforms “saved” them.

It is a lesson to which Ted Kennedy and others like him should be paying attention.

Unfortunately, they won't.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We've had a visitor here at The Manse, and old friend of yours truly. It was nice to see her and catch up on what's going on in our lives as we don't get the chance to get together all that often. Phone calls and e-mail can only do so much. Face to face time is always more 'real' as far as I'm concerned.


I'm glad to see that the anti-surge resolution failed in the Senate.

I am now firmly convinced that Democrats are working their hardest to make sure that we fail in Iraq, despite all of their claims that they support the troops. It is quite apparent that their definition of 'support' differs from that of the troops on the ground, and that's the biggest problem. Many of the Democrats seem to be of the same stripe as those who 'supported' the troops in Vietnam.


The first big event for NASCAR ran today- the Daytona 500.

Frankly, the biggest story of this race was the cheating scandal. A close second is the rules changes for this year, making it preferable to have the drivers actually try to win the races rather than hang back a little in order to garner points towards the championship.

It's about time.


Despite the front loading of the primary/caucus schedule, it appears that New Hampshire is still a presidential candidate's favorite place to visit. Hillary Clinton was here this weekend, her second visit in as many weeks, as was New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Hopefuls from both parties have been making themselves as visible as possible at every opportunity.

Nevada, whose caucus is scheduled in between Iowa and New Hampshire, hasn't seen the candidate traffic that Iowa and New Hampshire have. I think the DNC may find that it has miscalculated by working so hard to usurp New Hampshire's First-In-The-Nation status. The DNC's move to front-load the schedule may also backfire as the American voter will become so tired of the political rhetoric and posturing by the time of the election in November 2008 that many voters may stay home, or worse for the Democrats, vote Republican.

Politics is a fickle thing, something the Dems seem to be trying very hard to forget.


An interesting thing that at least one Democratic representative to the House is learning is that the voters that elected her to office weren't necessarily voting for her so much as voting against her Republican opponent.

It is alleged that, according to two constituents in her district, that Carol Shea-Porter (D – NH 1st District) called them in an effort to silence them after they had written letters to the local newspapers criticizing her stand against the war in Iraq. Shea-Porter denies she did any such thing, but called them merely to discuss the matter with them.

While Shea-Porter ran on an anti-Bush/anti-war platform, it did not necessarily mean that everyone that voted for her agreed with her stand.

Regardless, the one thing that Congresswoman Shea-Porter needs to remember is that she represents all of the constituents in her district, not just those that agree with her.


The push to create a greater nanny state has reached the federal level, with the leftists pushing hard for 'equal outcome' based initiatives rather than 'equal opportunity' based initiatives. In an editorial in the Sunday Citizen (Laconia, NH), the title says it all (sorry, no link available yet):

Government cannot and should not guarantee success

But that's exactly what liberals want, despite the fact that it isn't possible unless draconian measures are used to achieve those aims, much like those used in Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron.

Usually, when someone tries to force equality of outcome, that outcome is defined by the least common denominator. In other words, that 'equality of outcome' pulls everyone downwards. It does not pull anyone up. But that doesn't seem to bother those proponents of such programs.

A perfect example of this is that damned No Child Left Behind. Rather than pulling those children who may be deficient in academic performance upwards to their peers, it pulls the other kids downwards because now teachers are “teaching to the test”. Those kids with above average academic skills are being shortchanged all in the name of equality.

Does that seem wrong to anyone other than me?


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the snow has finally arrived, the snowmobilers and skiers can finally have some fun, and where Daylight Savings Time will arrive all too soon....


Question Ethanol

For some time now we've been hearing about ethanol as an alternative fuel or fuel additive, a biofuel that is supposed to be renewable and eco-friendly. The only problem is that, as the US has been promoting and subsidizing ethanol, it is anything but.

Ethanol in the US comes from corn, That's all well and good. But there are two problems with corn as a feedstock for ethanol production – production uses as much fossil fuels as the ethanol is supposed to replace; and it's driven up commodity corn prices, making it far more expensive for use as food, something that hurts people in countries where corn is a major foodstuff.

There are other crops that could be used as a feedstock that would be far better than corn. Corn requires a considerable amount of work to grow and harvest. It also requires fertilizer and pesticides to ensure a good crop, both negatives when it comes to return on investment, money and energy-wise.

While Brazil uses sugar cane, and quite successfully at that, it isn't a crop that can be grown throughout the US as it can be there. From my reading it appears that switch grass may be America's best bet when it comes to producing ethanol. It requires little work once the seed is spread. It doesn't need fertilizer or pesticides. The conversion process is a bit different that that used for corn, relying more on an enzymatic process, but it requires little external energy in comparison to corn to make ethanol.

While the process hasn't been perfected, meaning that it has not yet been scaled up to produce the millions of gallons of ethanol needed, in the long run it makes sense to use this ubiquitous plant rather than corn. But don't hold your breath when it comes to making the change over.

There are hundreds of millions of dollars to be made from corn based ethanol. Much of that comes from government subsidies and some comes from the ever higher corn prices that diversion of corn to ethanol production has created. Changing over to a non-subsidized crop as a feedstock would cause many in the ethanol business to lose money, and farmers would not see the gains from the subsidies and higher commodity prices. Therefore it is unlikely we'll see a change any time soon and we'll continue to pay higher prices for ethanol, for corn, and see little return from the energy required to complete the corn-to-ethanol cycle.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Watching the various Weather Guys™ over the past two days, I'm hearing from most of them that we might actually get a substantial snowfall on Wednesday. An honest-to-goodness Nor'easter might actually be headed our way!

It's about frickin' time.

With a good amount of snowfall the snowmobile enthusiasts where I work will be able to go out and play with their snow machines. I won't have to hear yet another endless lack-of-snow lament.

Now some of you might think that I dislike winter. That's not the case. What I dislike are the non-winter winters, where unseasonable temperatures and lack of winter weather make it seem more like an extended early spring, with rain, mud, and more mud, and no ice on the lakes and ponds. If it's winter, I want winter weather, dammit!


It sounds more and more like the Spanish Inquisition when anybody dares ask questions about the recently released IPCC report on global warming. Supporters of the report are basically telling everyone “act, not think” about the so-called solutions to the problem, which everybody knows is All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans.


The nanny statists are ever pushing. As I wrote here, they've already gone too far. And they'll push even farther, given the chance.

Trans fats are a source of "bad cholesterol" and therefore can harm you. Eating too much ice cream can also harm you, as can spending too much on lottery tickets, or playing golf during lightning storms.

All of these things should be controlled by the state, the nanny-thinking goes, because some people are just too stupid to control themselves. Makes the libertarian philosophy more and more attractive, doesn't it?

You'll get no argument from me on that point.


Hillary Clinton finishes out her visit to New Hampshire later today. Yesterday she visited both Berlin, a northern New Hampshire city still struggling with economic problems, and the state capitol, Concord. She's scheduled to visit Manchester, Nashua, and Keene today before returning to Washington.

She's working hard to score points with New Hampshire Democrats, though I think that Barack Obama's announcement that he will run for president in 2008 has stolen some of her thunder.

Obama is scheduled to visit New Hampshire starting on Monday.

It's getting mighty crowded around here. There are so many presidential candidates here now that you can barely move without bumping in to one.


Are you as tired of hearing about Anna Nicole Smith as I am?

Yes, her death, and for that fact, her life was tragic. Now the wolves are circling her corpse, hoping to score a windfall by claiming her infant daughter for their own, and the potential millions that will go with her. This is based upon Smith's lawsuit for her share of her late husband's fortune, something that the Supreme Court decided she had every right to do. Should suit go in her favor, all of that inheritance would go to her daughter, and hence to whomever ends up with custody of her.

It's avarice at its worst.


Smash points out the hypocrisy of anti-war protesters who claim to support the troops. This hypocrisy usually shows itself in the form of these protesters spitting on military personnel and veterans, including those that have been wounded in combat.

A real class act, I tell ya'.


Steve Martin may have given many of the jihadis/harabahis 72 reasons not to kill themselves in suicide bombings.

(H/T Glenn Reynolds)


While the debate about Iraq rages on, Ben Stein has written a thoughtful and poignant letter to the troops.


Qualifying for the Daytona 500 began today.

It seems that last season ended only a week or two ago....


Even with the aforementioned Nor'easter heading this way for Wednesday, plans are being made to remove the winter storage cover from the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout, aka 'The Boat'. Though BeezleBub and I did most of the maintenance prior to storing it away for the winter, there were some things that need to be done that required tools that we don't have. So sometime in April the cover will be removed and The Boat will make a trip to one of the local marinas for service. Then, sometime after the first of May The Boat will be returned to the water.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the political rhetoric has been dialed up to '10', more presidential hopefuls are flooding the state, and where some folks here are already tired of the New Hampshire Primary even though it;s still 11 months off.


Going Too Far

It appears that two of my fellow New Hampshire blogs are on this story, where two New Hampshire Seacoast legislators have decided that it would be a great idea to follow New York City's lead and have proposed legislation to outlaw the use of transfats in all restaurants in the state.

Just what we need, more nanny statism.

If it isn't this, it's seat belts. As I commented on Bruce's post:

Another thing that I've found that many of the more liberal lawmakers in the Granite State have a tendency to do - legislate for something that is already happening because the public decided it should be so. A perfect example is seat belts. More adults wear seat belts here in NH than the national average. More wear seat belts here than in states that have mandatory seat belt laws. So why make a law about something that people are already doing voluntarily? I've never understood the logic of that.

Of course Bruce had a thoughtful response, and once I thought about it, it sort of made sense.

And, therein lies your problem. Their life philosophy is nothing more than the culmination of a lifetime of knee-jerk, feel-good responses to imaginary problems, centered around the core philosophy that the citizenry should be eternally beholden to the government for their every want and need. Facts, reality and the recognition if individual dignity be damned.

'Nuff said.


Town Meeting Observations

As mentioned in this post, I attended Town Meeting Tuesday night. It was small town democracy in action.

There were the usual characters in attendance, including the 'numbers guy' (can pull accurate figures from his memory and recalculate expenditures in his head), the vocal curmudgeon (finds it impossible to stay on topic when speaking about the warrant article under discussion and is still pissed off about something that took place over 40 years ago), the earnest charity proponent (“It's for the children!”), and the petitioner with an ax to grind because some town board or another did something that he/she didn't like.

One of the more controversial issues discussed was a petition that called for the town's elected Budget Committee to be eliminated and replaced with a new committee appointed by the Board of Selectman, said committee to be an advisory committee.

A number of the petitioners got up to speak about the article, claiming that the existing committee showed “nothing but contempt for the taxpayers.”

Excuse me?

How is looking out for the taxpayers money contempt for the taxpayers? It was more the petitioners showing their contempt by trying to remove one of the checks and balance mechanisms and replacing it with a toothless advisory board beholden to the selectmen, the school board, and town employees. (It also turns out that many of the petitioners were teachers, town employees, or their spouses. A coincidence? I think not.)

And so it goes in small town New Hampshire.


Thoughts On A Sunday

If you haven't read my previous post, you're unaware that yesterday was my guest appearance on Meet The New Press a local radio show about the new media and how we're changing the face of journalism.

I had a great time with the three hosts, Skip, Doug, and Pat, and hope to join them in the studio for future broadcasts.


Gary of Ex-Donkey Blog fame is pulling the plug on his blog. But despair not, for he's joining the Llama Butchers. As Gary explains it, time constraints and family obligations won't allow him to keep up the pace he'd been keeping with his own blog. By joining the Llamas he can post at a much more leisurely pace .


Glenn Reynolds has a longer than usual post about global climate change with a goodly number of links. He and I are on the same page.


I must claim here and now that I do not, in any way, shape, or form, write what Bagheera The Magnificent posts on this blog. At best I may edit it since he can't spell worth a damn, but it's all him, despite what Skip Murphy may claim.


It looks like we're going to be going through he coldest week of this winter, with temps between now and next weekend staying in the teens during the day and at or below zero during the night. Usually we see temps like these in late December and January, not February.

We'll be keeping the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove stoked all the time during this cold blast.


The excitement for Super Bowl XLI has been building all week and it all comes together this evening. Frankly I'm going to be far more interested in the gee-whiz factor of the TV ads running during the game. The one I'll be looking for in particular is the winning ad that the NFL chose to close out the season. The NFL chose the ad idea from a New Hampshire ad exec who lives and works in the Seacoast area. After seeing his pitch I can see why it was chosen.

It was scheduled to be aired during the 2 minute warning break.


Kin Priestap believes that Nancy Pelosi is letting her power go to her head.

I think she's right. It's one thing to use military aircraft for flights to and from her district or for other official duties, something the Speaker of the House has been authorized to do since after 9/11, but to demand the same for members of her family and other members of the California congressional delegation is going too damn far.


Bruce of mAss Backwards has renamed his blog to reflect that he is now a resident of New Hampshire. Mass Backwards is now No Looking Backwards. Hopefully he'll keep pointing out the absurdities of politicians and government within New Hampshire much as he did while he was serving his sentence in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.


Speaking of Bruce, he has an excellent analysis of a suggestion made over at Blue New Hampshire about how to turn New Hampshire into a clone of Massachusetts. The suggestion was to implement a 5.3% income in order to eliminate the property taxes in the state. Anybody with a sense of history and an understanding of how much politicians love taxpayer money will know that something like that will only add to the tax misery, not cure it. I believe my comment to his post highlighted an example of why it would be a bad idea here.

The "income tax will eliminate/reduce property taxes" argument was used in New Jersey a few years back because education was funded largely from local property taxes and property taxes were rising at a rate well above inflation. The income tax became law, more money was forthcoming from the state for education, and property taxes went up. All the income tax did was increase the tax burden on New Jersey residents with little added benefit.

The same would happen here. Now, if such a tax were implemented here and constitutionally mandated to go to education, it might, just might do as the folks over at Blue New Hampshire suggested. It would take the legislature out of the loop, meaning that they would have no control over those funds, much like the highway funds are protected now. But it would create such a powerful non-governmental group in the form of a state education lobby that in little time the tax burden would become draconian and we'd be right back where we started. We'd also have mediocre school systems replacing good and excellent school systems because all control of education would be held at state level. There would be no local control.

There are plenty of examples of just such a thing happening. All one would need to do is look at the aforementioned New Jersey situation.


The death penalty as it stands in New Hampshire appears to be up for discussion again.

New Hampshire's death penalty has rarely been imposed or carried out, with 24 executions since 1734, the last one being in 1939. One New Hampshire lawmaker is out to do away with the death penalty, saying that life imprisonment without possibility of parole is the same thing. However, there are those who believe that the death penalty should remain on the books as there are some crimes so heinous that death is the only fitting punishment. It also gives the Attorney General's office leverage to use when dealing with perpetrators of capital crimes.

There are only four crimes for which the death penalty can be imposed: murder of a public official during the performance of their duties, murder during kidnapping, conspiracy to commit the prior crimes, including murder for hire, and treason. That's a pretty small list for crimes warranting the death penalty.

Personally I am for retaining the death penalty as it is on the books here in New Hampshire, if for no other reason than that it works, giving that the prosecutors one more weapon against criminals.


For the longest time there was little, if any, ice on Lake Winnipesaukee. A little less than two weeks ago it was open water as far as the eye could see. There was ice in some of the smaller bays and coves, but the rest of the lake was open water. Then we got the cold snap last week. A couple of days into it and the entire lake was frozen over. There was no open water to be seen anywhere from the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Overlook. It happened just that fast.

The ice formed quickly and is now several inches thick just about everywhere, meaning that the ice fishermen are making up for lost time. It also means that the Rotary Ice Fishing Derby will be held next weekend, right on schedule.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the lake is finally frozen over, the bob houses are out on the ice, and where the deep freeze has returned.


Meet The New Press

Yet another first for this member of the Weekend Pundit team – a guest stint on one of the local radio talk shows.

Meet The New Press is hosted by three members of the new media, Doug Lambert, Skip Murphy, and Pat Hynes, local bloggers here in central New Hampshire, Doug and Skip both post to two blogs – GraniteGrok, a blog that focuses on state issues; and GilfordGrok, a blog dedicated to issues in our home town. Pat posts at AnkleBitingPundits.

The show airs on Saturday afternoons on news/talk radio station WEMJ-AM 1490 in Laconia.

This isn't my first time as a guest on a radio show, though it is my first time on a US station. (My first appearance on a radio station as anything other than a DJ was on Isle of Wight Radio in the UK a couple of months after 9/11.)

I think a local show that highlights the 'new media' helps to explain the differences between the traditional media – newspapers, TV, radio – and the new media – blogs - and how they differ and can make a difference in covering local stories and local politics. They have already made a difference in national media, particularly in politics. (Rathergate, anyone?)

It was good to be back behind a mike again.

While I wasn't the center of attention, I did not mind in the least. After all the show is headed by these guys, not me. But it was fun, particularly when we got to comparing the old media with the new media. Where once we followed the MSM, being watchdogs, we now lead and the MSM looks to us.

Local matters were a big focus, with a lot of discussion about the upcoming town budget and the controversy about the town's budget committee. A few townsfolk seem to think that a budget committee should rubber stamp the proposed budget and warrant articles rather than look closely at every expenditure and asking questions. Excuse me? How is it that looking out for the taxpayers' money is a bad thing?

We also touched upon presidential politics. We all bashed Hillary, particularly about her comments dealing with the taxes and oil company profits. We looked over the Republican candidate line up, and none of us were impressed Mitt by Romney. John McCain and Rudi Giuliani topped the list of our favorites of the Republican candidates. I also got a plug in for Fred Thompson, former US Senator from Tennessee, former US Attorney, and TV/movie actor.

One of the other topics the show touched upon was global warming, something that anyone reading this blog knows I am passionate about. Not that I say that it's entirely human driven. On the contrary, I am more in the solar activity-driven camp when it comes to climate change, as were my hosts.

All in all, it was a lot of fun. I'd forgotten how much fun it can be and I hope they'll invite me back.

A podcast of this show can be found here sometime on Sunday.