Thoughts On A Sunday

Mother Nature threw us one more curve ball, sending us a little more snow just to remind us that we live in New England. Jere at The Manse we saw less than an inch of the heavy wet stuff, barely worth shoveling. In fact, I let Mother Nature clean up what she sent us rather than going out there with the snow shovel.


BeezleBub is at the WP In-Laws this weekend, collecting sap for his grandfather's syrup-making operation. This is something he looks forward to every year.

The WP Father-In-Law has mentioned expanding his sugaring operation, which would include a new building to hold a bigger evaporator and more taps and tubing in order to tap more maples and collect more sap.

It takes a lot of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. After all is said and done 40 gallons of sap is boiled down to make one gallon of syrup. But it's well worth the effort.


Once again I was a guest on the radio program “Meet The New Press” (podcasts available here). The question of the day dealt with the death penalty in New Hampshire, and particularly with the capital murder trial of Michael “Stix” Addison, who allegedly murdered Manchester, NH police officer Micheal Briggs during a domestic violence call.

New Hampshire still has the death penalty on the books, but it is very narrowly defined. The last execution in the state took place in 1939 and the last time the death penalty was sought was in September 1997, after Gordon Perry shot and killed Epsom police officer Jeremy Charron during a routine traffic stop. Perry escaped the death penalty by pleading guilty to first degree murder.

Of those of us in the studio, three were for the death penalty, one was against it. And of the three of us supporting the death penalty, one wanted the definition of capital murder broadened to include all forms of murder rather than the covering just a few 'protected' classes. The definition of capital murder in New Hampshire under NH RSA 630:1 is as follows:

A person is guilty of capital murder if he knowingly causes the death of:

- A sheriff or deputy sheriff, state trooper, constable or police officer of a city or town, correctional officer, probation-parole officer, conservation officer, judge or similar person, state or local prosecutor acting in the line of duty or in retaliation for their job.

- Another before, after, while engaged or attempting to commit a kidnapping as defined by RSA 633:1

- Another after conspiring with another to commit a contract killing.

- Another after being sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

- Another before, after, while engaged or attempting to commit aggravated felonious sexual assault, as defined in RSA 632-A:2.

- Another before, after, while engaged or attempting to commit an offense punishable under RSA 318-B:26, I(a) or (b) of the Controlled Drug Act.

The list is relatively short. At the moment there are no inmates on death row and there haven't been any since 1939. So it is rare when someone is indicted for capital murder in this state.

I think it's just as it should be.


Now on the international front, it looks like Robert Mugabe may be at the end days of his regime.

It's about friggin' time.

(H/T Viking Pundit)


Wavemaker has a thoughtful post about the brouhaha over the eight fired US Attorneys. Basically it comes down to whether the Congress has the right to subpoena anyone at the White House, especially if there is absolutely no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

What we have instead is a bunch of partisan assholes seeking to abuse their subpoena power to go fishing for evidence they can't obtain through their already quite extensive means (i.e., cooperation of the disgruntled dismissees, for a start) -- in other words, they have nothing, there is nothing.

I am ever more convinced that this is yet another manifestation of Bush Derangement Syndrome.


There's stupid legislation, and then there's really stupid legislation. I'm ashamed to admit that the latest piece if really stupid legislation has come from the New Hampshire House, to whit, banning the release of helium filled balloons into the air.

House Bill 62 would make it a misdemeanor to accidentally or intentionally release a balloon, with a fine of up to $250.

At first this doesn't sound all that bad. Then you realize that it could mean that some poor kid that's just lost a balloon bought at a fair or carnival could be charged under the law. It's legislative insanity.

You'd think the New Hampshire House would have more important things to take care of.


Here's another ringing endorsement for Fred Thompson to run for President. While Kim's post is mostly a verbatim quote from a Patriot Post article, it does cut to the heart of the matter: Fred is eminently electable, a candidate that can beat the Dems in 2008. Many of those commenting on Kim's post see Thompson as the next Ronald Reagan. I'm beginning to think they may be right.


Bill Hobbs also comments on Fred Thompson's chances should he decide to enter the fray.


Matt Koenig, aka Smash, has a lengthy post with lots of pictures covering the activities at the anti-war rally and march in Washington DC last weekend and the counter-protest by the Gathering of Eagles.

During the third and fourth of his posts in the series, he talks about his infiltration into the march by the peace/anti-war activists. One observation he makes is that some of the few so-called veterans against the war he saw and talked to during the march were poseurs and not veterans.

There are really only a dozen or so people who could pass for Iraq veterans in this march -- just enough to fill a single row, standing shoulder to shoulder across two traffic lanes -- and judging from the way they wear their "uniforms," walk, and comport themselves, I'm doubtful that some of them ever served a day in the military. Many of the women appear to be wives or girlfriends tagging along for the march, wearing their partners' jackets.

The only piece of military gear that I'm wearing is a desert boonie hat. A few people ask my name, and where I'm from, but nobody digs any deeper than that. I could have bought this hat online, and they would be none the wiser. There isn't the slightest bit of curiousity [sic] about my branch of service, or whether I've actually been to Iraq or even the Middle East.

For all they know, I could be another Jesse Macbeth. Or worse, an infiltrator.

How pathetic.


The effects of the real estate market deflation are still being felt. New home sales have fallen off across the nation, but existing home sales in the Northeast still appear strong, though at a lower rate than during the peak.

One of the effects of the downturn in the market has been the increasing number of foreclosures. In New Hampshire the number of foreclosures went up dramatically as compared to the same period last year. In January 2006 there were 79 foreclosures while in January 2007 there were 157. In February 2006 there were 41 compared to 130 in February 2007. The trend has been the same across the nation.

If I had to guess, most of those foreclosures have been on sub-prime mortgages. With the deflation of the real estate bubble, holders of sub-prime mortgages couldn't sell their homes when their payments ballooned beyond their ability to pay. If the market had remained somewhat strong they probably could have sold off their homes before they defaulted on their mortgages and we probably wouldn't be seeing the rapid increase in foreclosures.

It's still not as bad as the real estate crash of the late 80's/early 90's. One of main differences appears to be that it isn't the banks that are suffering from non-performing mortgages. For the most part banks learned the lessons from the last crash and were very careful when they did issue mortgages. This time around it's other financial institutions and corporations feeling the pain, many of them being on Wall Street.


Speaking of the real estate market, today I had a chance to talk with the Official Weekend Pundit Real Estate Agent, Wes. We talked about the market in his part of New Hampshire and he pretty much confirmed something that I had thought would be evident to most savvy folks, but wasn't.

Though the market is down, it isn't down everywhere. But the perception the media gives is the market has collapsed everywhere, something that is actually starting to hurt the few regions in the country where the market is still relatively strong.

Wes related the story of one client trying to sell their home in southwestern New Hampshire in order to buy one somewhere on Cape Cod. What they've found is that homes are listed for a very short time on the Cape before they're sold and that home prices on the Cape are a lot higher than in southwestern New Hampshire. That flies in the face of many of the media reports saying that it's a buyer's market throughout the country. It wouldn't be a surprise to learn that most areas where there are recreational attractions – seashores, lakes, etc. - are still doing pretty well.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the snows are quickly melting away, the time to get the bobhouses of the ice is quickly approaching, and where Presidential politics is starting to heat up.

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