All It Takes Is One

I briefly covered this a little over a week ago – an unidentified man counter-protesting against members of the Westboro Baptist Church protesting at the funeral of Captain Jonathan Grassbaugh.

The unidentified man has since been identified.

Frank Downs, Jr. of Wilmington, Mass., a former Marine, was the man who held aloft a large American flag and stared down a trio of Kansas protesters who came to town for the April 18 funeral of Army Capt. Jonathan Grassbaugh.

"My first reason for being there is that kid in the box," Downs told the Sunday News. "My second reason is to empower these other people who should be standing there with a flag like me."

And that's exactly what he did.

His story has struck a chord with many people, many of whom left comments at the original blog post of the woman who witnessed Downs' actions outside her office.

Frank Downs, Jr. is someone we should all know.


Thoughts On A Sunday

BeezleBub has returned from the WP In-Laws, having spent a good portion of his school vacation with them this past week.

Tomorrow he returns to school.


Ed Mosca comments about how the so-called battle of New Hampshire's funding of education is nothing more than a confidence game run by the Democrats and RINOs (Republicans In Name Only).

I fear he's right.


Lorie Byrd asks the question, “What is conservatism?”


An poignant editorial in today's New Hampshire Sunday News (Manchester, NH) backs up my assertions from this post.

They might as well send engraved invitations:

"Dear terrorist,

"You are cordially invited to Baghdad on March 1, 2008, for a farewell party for U.S. armed forces. By that date the last U.S. service member will be withdrawn from Iraq, and you are invited to celebrate as you see fit. There will be plenty of unsecured weapons to hoard, unguarded borders to cross and defenseless infidels to slaughter."



"The Democratic Congress"

"* Bring Your Own Bomb"


It's not surprising to anyone that has used both WindowsXP and Windows Vista why Dell is again offering WindowsXP on it's Inspiron and Dimension lines.

While Vista is pretty, it is a resource hog and has a number of hardware and applications compatibility issues. XP is familiar and works quite well. Vista is not a quantum leap as XP was over Windows 95/98/ME.

Another strike against Vista is that 30% of businesses have no plans of upgrading to Vista, according to an Information Week survey.

A number of major federal agencies, including NASA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Federal Aviation Administration, have all decided to forego -- at least for now -- moving their desktop systems from Windows XP to Windows Vista, in part because some of their current business applications won't function properly on the OS.
Some prestigious universities, such as MIT and Stanford, have also shelved Windows Vista upgrades until compatibility issues can be resolved.

It goes to show you, just because it's new doesn't automatically mean it's better.


Tom Bowler actually put it together better than I could, so I'll link to his post about Al Qaeda, Iraq, and Afghanistan and how the Democratic leadership in Congress is a couple of years behind when it comes to which county is now the prime factor in destroying Al Qaeda's influence. A hint: it's not Afghanistan.

Tom also wonders why George Tenet is puzzled about the whole thing.


Here's someone who says that global cooling is coming. Soon.


Pam has some comments about John Voight's views on things political and a link to his appearance on The Bill O'Reilly Factor on Fox News. Says Pam:

To update what I've said before, it's nice to know that not everyone in Tinseltown wears a tin-foil hat.

Amen to that, Pam.


Raven has an answer for dealing with gun wielding nutjobs like Cho, and it's not running away. This is one woman you don't want to mess with. Oh, and don't mess with her daughters either. They'll kill you.


With the problematic weather today BeezleBub and I got little yard work done. Dead vegetation was removed, old mulch raked out, some new mulch added, and that was about it. The on-again/off-again rain made it difficult to get much more than that taken care of today.

Sometimes that's just the way it is.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where a few of the summerfolk have made an appearance, marinas are working feverishly to get boats prepped for launching, and where Monday has come again all too soon.


Do Democratic Legislators Think That We're Children, Or Just Stupid?

During today's Meet The New Press, I took the opportunity to call in during the 'lightning round', the chance to offer thoughts on one of the subjects discussed during the previous hour and 50 minutes. One of the topics discussed was the sleight of hand that Democrats, both here in the New Hampshire House and Senate and the US Congress, have pushed through legislation and/or spending that was never mentioned during their campaigns prior to the November elections.

I commented about how the Democrats our legislature seem to think that the rest of us living here are incapable of making our own decisions, therefore they're going to make them for us. It is apparent that they think of us as children. (I'm including everybody in the editorial “we”, Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike.)

Some Democrats in the legislature think that the recently passed civil union law was the most important issue facing the New Hampshire House and Senate. Not state spending. Not the upcoming constitutional crisis dealing with state funding of education in our state. But civil unions. What kind of horse manure is that? The discriminatory civil union law affects a small minority of the citizens in New Hampshire. Spending and education affects everyone in the state. Yet these two issues are considered far less important. Does anyone see a problem with that perception?

In regards to spending, Democrats in New Hampshire and Washington have gone a spending spree. Here in New Hampshire we're looking at a 16% budget increase. Sixteen percent! Gee, I wish I could get that kind of an increase in my pay! It looks like the Democratic led legislature and governor have decided that New Hampshire's frugal ways are destined for the trash heap. One can almost hear the broadbase tax proponents licking their chops at the prospect of taxing New Hampshire's economy into oblivion.

In our nation's capitol, the Congressional Democrats are piling on the pork, doing their best to make their Republican predecessors look like pikers in comparison.

Hold on to your wallets, folks. It's going to get scary....

...and expensive.

First Democrat Debate - Why?

With the first debate among Democratic presidential hopefuls having been analyzed to death, I think it's safe to add my 2¢ worth.

First, why was the first debate so damn early? The first caucuses and primary won't be for nine months. I doubt that there aren't one or two other possible candidates that are considering a run that haven't declared yet. At this point, why bother? I think it's safe to say that many of the existing candidates will be adjusting their campaigns over the next few months in an effort to gain wider support.

What purpose did this debate serve? I'm not sure, other than it seemed more of a showcase for the candidates and wasn't meant to be a serious contest. But I can safely say that it showed that Barack Obama has a lot of work to do to be better prepared for future debates. He appeared unsure of himself, not something he can afford if he wants a shot at the nomination.

Who was the “winner”? Does it matter at this point? I think not. But one thing it did do was get former Senator Mike Gravel into the public eye. Will it help him in his bid for the nomination? Nobody knows right now..


Democrats Shortsightedness Endangers Us All

After reading this WSJ Online editorial about the Democrats taking ownership of our “impending defeat” in Iraq and a warning about the consequences of premature US troop withdrawal from Iraq, I am more convinced than ever that too many of the Congressional Democrats truly have no inkling of the consequences of their proposed actions. They have a fatal affliction: shortsightedness.

To quote the Michael Totten piece (second link above):

“If America pulls out of Iraq, they will fail in Afghanistan,” Mam Rostam said.

Hardly anyone in Congress seems to consider that the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan might become much more severe if similar tactics are proven effective in Iraq.

“And they will fail with Iran,” he continued. “They will fail everywhere with all Eastern countries. The war between America and the terrorists will move from Iraq and Afghanistan to America itself. Do you think America will do that? The terrorists gather their agents in Afghanistan and Iraq and fight the Americans here. If you pull back, the terrorists will follow you there. They will try, at least. Then Iran will be the power in the Middle East. Iran is the biggest supporter of terrorism. They support Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Ansar Al Islam. You know what Iran will do with those elements if America goes away.”

Here it is you have someone in Kurdish Iraq, thousands of miles away, that understands something that Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats in Congress seem incapable of understanding or believing. Failure to complete the mission in Iraq will, in the end, bring the enemies we fight there to our own shores. The suicide bombings, beheadings, mass killings, or worse, use of weapons of mass destruction will be happening here. 300 million Americans will be imperiled because the the present Democratic leadership has decided that making brownie points with their supporters is far more important than ensuring the safety of their fellow Americans. And should such a thing come to pass you can bet they will point their fingers at everyone but themselves.

It is apparent that they haven't learned the lessons of Vietnam, where another Democratic Congress made the decision to walk away from a war we were winning. The price for that was the lives of millions of innocents. But since they weren't American lives they didn't count.

It makes me wonder where their loyalties really lie.

McCain Announces In New Hampshire

Senator John McCain (R – AZ) made it official today:

He's running for the Republican presidential nomination.

In a speech in the first-in-the-nation primary state, McCain stressed the wisdom he's acquired over time rather than the decades as he sought to make the case that he's the most qualified to succeed President George W. Bush amid challenges at home and abroad.


The announcement, seven years after he lost the GOP nomination to George W. Bush, was no surprise; McCain's intentions have long been clear as he has spent months campaigning in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and elsewhere.

McCain has been spending every spare moment drumming up support for his candidacy, courting GOP conservatives in an effort to prove that he is exactly who they need in order to keep the White House.


I Kill You!

I saw this over at Wizbang a few days ago. I couldn't stop watching it, nor could friends of mine at work. It certainly is timely!

Other of Jeff Dunham's routines can be found here.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It's not often I'm surprised, but I was yesterday.

I turned on the local AM talk radio station expecting to here Skip, Doug, and Pat doing Meet The New Press. However, all I heard was Pat. A quick phone call to the radio station confirmed that he was on his own and could use a little help. Ten minutes later I was in the studio.

Of course it might have helped if I was a little more up to speed on the topics for the day's broadcast. Still, I think we had a pretty good show.


The last vestiges of winter are slowly melting away as the weather has made a dramatic shift into much warmer temperatures. BeezleBub and I started work on The Boat, getting it ready for the upcoming boating season. We also made a trip down to a couple of the local marinas to get some bits and pieces we needed to continue our work. We even made time to visit the public docks with BeezleBub's R/C boats for a little fun time.

While there we made the acquaintance of two escapees from the People's Republic of Massachusetts, John and Laura. The four of us had the chance to talk about the upcoming boating season and tell stories about the dumb stuff we've seen while boating on Lake Winnipesaukee.


There is no longer any doubt in my mind that Harry Reid is the biggest defeatist scumbag in the US Senate.


Hate is such an ugly emotion.

Apparently some members of the Westboro Baptist Church decided they were going to protest at the funeral of Captain Jonathan Grassbaugh of Hampstead, NH, an Army Ranger killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. The were going to show their hatred of America, of those who fight to protect it and our rights, including their right to spew their venomous filth.

However, their protest was met with a spontaneous counterprotest triggered by a single man with an American flag. Others from the community soon joined him, quickly outnumbering the protesters from the WBC.


Mark Steyn writes about those who will teach their children “to fear guns”, as if such fear will ever prevent violence. All it does it make them more likely to be victims of violence.


One of the big question here on Lake Winnipesaukee has been “When will Ice Out be declared?”, Ice Out being defined as when the MS Mount Washington cruise ship can make all five of its ports of call on the lake.

Ice Out is considered the unofficial beginning of the boating season on the lake and is eagerly anticipated by all of us that enjoy it. So far the consensus is that it will be declared on April 25th.


Today was also the first day we've used the Official Weekend Pundit Gas Grill. BeezleBub grilled up some very nice steaks, cooking them to perfection. Not bad for a twelve-year old!

We would have used the grill over this past winter, but we didn't get it cleaned sufficiently before winter arrived, so no winter steaks. We won't commit that error again.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where dreams of boating abound, yard work has begun in earnest, and where BBQ grills were running all weekend.


Fred On Gun Control

The more I hear from Fred Thompson, the more I am convinced he's the right man to hold the Oval Office after George W. Bush.

If anyone had any doubts about where he stands on the Second Amendment, particularly in light of the mass murder at Virginia Tech, then this piece ought to set their minds at ease.

The statistics are clear. Communities that recognize and grant Second Amendment rights to responsible adults have a significantly lower incidence of violent crime than those that do not. More to the point, incarcerated criminals tell criminologists that they consider local gun laws when they decide what sort of crime they will commit, and where they will do so.

Still, there are a lot of people who are just offended by the notion that people can carry guns around. They view everybody, or at least many of us, as potential murderers prevented only by the lack of a convenient weapon. Virginia Tech administrators overrode Virginia state law and threatened to expel or fire anybody who brings a weapon onto campus.

In recent years, however, armed Americans -- not on-duty police officers -- have successfully prevented a number of attempted mass murders. Evidence from Israel, where many teachers have weapons and have stopped serious terror attacks, has been documented. Supporting, though contrary, evidence from Great Britain, where strict gun controls have led to violent crime rates far higher than ours, is also common knowledge.

But that doesn't stop the gun-grabbers from trying to take our guns away from us. They see guns as an object capable of committing evil acts when in fact it is the evildoer committing the evil act. If they didn't use a gun they'd use something else. The fact is they'd still commit that same evil act. A perfect example of this is the UK. They have very restrictive gun laws. Supposedly these laws would help decrease the number of violent crimes because guns wouldn't be available. However, just the opposite has happened. Violent crimes have skyrocketed and the only people carrying guns other than the police are criminals. The UK citizenry aren't safe in their own homes. They aren't even allowed to defend themselves against criminals breaking in to their homes.

If you want an example closer to home all one has to do is look to Washington, DC. The number of violent crimes per capita is very high. Again, the only 'citizens' carrying guns there are the criminals. Again, the citizens aren't allowed to defend themselves against these thugs. Again and again, Washington. DC has the on-again/off-again distinction of being the murder capitol of the US. Tell us again how the gun laws have protected the people of our nation's capitol?

Fred certainly understands this. He also knows how ludicrous the so-called gun-free zones are.

Whenever I've seen one of those "Gun-free Zone" signs, especially outside of a school filled with our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, I've always wondered exactly who these signs are directed at. Obviously, they don't mean much to the sort of man who murdered 32 people just a few days ago.

Nor to drug dealers, psychopaths, or just plain bad people.


US Patent Laws To Be Revised

Just as a change of pace, I decided to write a little something about patents. You know, those things that inventors get to protect their intellectual property, the fruits of their labors?

Frankly, patents are a good thing...except when they're not.

In more recent history patents have been issued for some very strange things, including the genes in our bodies. (How the hell can someone patent genes, particularly those I was born with long before someone decide to patent them?) Some patents cover such broad and ambiguous territory that it becomes difficult to tell whether someone else's invention violates it or not. Some try to patent common sense things that have been in use for decades, if not centuries. And others have tried to patent international standards created by others.

What is the purpose of all of these tangential patents? Simply put, greed.

Some companies exist merely to buy and sell patents, and in particular to use those patents in order to squeeze money out of companies that inadvertently brush up against some of those vague patents.

Hopefully that is about to change.

U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday (April 18) aimed at overhauling the patent system by weeding out bad patents and reining in excessive litigation while preserving the rights of inventors.

The bill, backed by many software and technology companies, would give parties more leeway to question the validity of patents before and after they are granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, without going to court.

The US patent system is seriously out of date. Oh, heck, it's broken. It needs to be fixed before some of these patent mills bring the economy to a screeching halt.

I can say from personal experience that some patents that have been granted are so defective that they should never have seen the light of day. One in particular comes to mind.

A company I am familiar with through a third party was notified that it was being sued for patent infringement by a competitor. Once the lawyers looked over the competitor's patent, they found a major flaw: it incorporated a standard created by Bell Labs (Telcordia), in effect, patenting something that belonged to Ma Bell. Needless to say, Bell Labs was informed of this and they in turn went after our competitor. The competitor tried to say they had every right to do so, but Bell Labs had a lot more money for lawyers and over 20 years of what is called “prior art” to back up their claim.

The competitor's patent was invalidated and the infringement suit against the company was dropped.

Unfortunately that kind of scenario is becoming all too common. Someone includes someone else's patent or intellectual property into their own patent, claiming it as their own. Then they sue the other companies that have already licensed the rights from the original patent holder or intellectual property owner. Far too often the companies named in the suit pay up in order to keep their legal costs down.

It's nothing more than piracy.


Another Misguided And Uninformed Call For Gun Control

I wondered when someone was going to bring up gun control yet again in light of the mass murder that took place at Virginia Tech. I now know the answer: today.

Robert Reich, former Clinton Secretary of Labor, made the move, calling for gun control to keep such a thing from ever happening again. And again, Reich and his fellow gun control advocates have got it exactly wrong.

Anti-depressants are enormously beneficial to millions of people, but they're also potentially dangerous if used improperly. So, you have to see a doctor and get an assessment before you can go to a drug store and purchase one.

But in the United States, in places like Virginia, a seriously depressed or deranged person can walk into a store and buy a semi-automatic handgun and a box of ammunition.

All you need is two forms of identification. You don't need permission from a doctor or counselor or anyone in the business of screening people to make sure they're fit to have a gun.

We can debate the relative benefits and dangers of anti-depressants and semi-automatic handguns, but if 30,000 Americans were killed each year by anti-depressants — as they are by handguns — it seems likely that anti-depressants would be even more strictly regulated.

So why aren't handguns?

I can answer that last sentence with three words: The Second Amendment.

Nowhere in the US Constitution does it state that the people have a right to unfettered access to anti-depressants. Nowhere. I've looked.

Next, of those 30,000 people killed by handguns, how many were criminals killed by their potential victims? How many of the others were killed by those wielding illegal firearms? How many were killed by a criminal using legal firearms? I'll bet that a majority of those murdered were killed by criminals carrying firearms they weren't legally allowed to carry and that many of those killed by them were themselves criminals. In my mind that 30,000 number is almost meaningless unless it's broken down into the individual categories. It's so easy to throw that number out there as if that's all that was needed.

Now let's take a look at another example of playing the moral equivalence card.

Look abroad and you have another useful point of contrast. In the United States, many people who are seriously depressed can't afford to see a doctor, let alone get a prescription. Unlike every other advanced nation, we do not provide universal health care, or ready access to mental health services.

But unlike every other advanced nation, we do allow just about anyone to buy a handgun.

Taking a look at the other nations that provide universal health care, I see no reason to go the same route. Every nation that has such a system has a health care system that has an artificial shortage of medical care, with waiting times for routine treatments or surgeries measured in months, not days or weeks as is the case here. Reich is not helping his argument by using this as a metric.

I see no problem with allowing “just about anyone to buy a handgun.” Frankly, it's one reason why our violent crime rate has been falling while countries that have very restrictive guns laws have been seeing their violent crime rates soar. The main reason for that is that potential victims have no means to protect themselves, making them easy prey for criminals. Thugs go after easy pickings. They won't go after someone capable of defending themselves.

If students and faculty had been allowed to carry concealed weapons on the Virginia Tech campus, 30 people might still be alive today. One armed citizen could have dropped Cho in his tracks and prevented the slaughter. But Reich and those that believe as he does will try to tell you otherwise.

Don't buy the lie.


Thoughts On A Sunday

BeezleBub and I made the rounds to a number of open houses held by some of the marinas here on Lake Winnipesaukee. While everyone was talking enthusiastically about the upcoming boating season, quite often I'd see them looking nervously at the ice still covering the lake.

Between the late snow storms and colder than normal temperatures, the ice is not receding at a normal pace. If anything, some of it is reforming. The snow on top of the existing ice is insulating it, keeping any melting to a minimum.

Even though many marinas allow those renting their slips to launch their boats as of May 1st, it could be that many won't be able to because there may still be ice in the slips.

Want to tell me about global warming again?


Megan McArdle wonders whether we have artificially created 'adolescence', keeping young people stuck in childhood and causing a host of problems in the process. A number of those commenting expanded on her thoughts, agreeing that we have created an incompetent 'underclass' that cuts across all social, racial, and economic lines.

I have seen examples of that far too often. One example of someone not falling into the adolescent category is BeezleBub. I can take absolutely no credit for that at all as I have only been a part of his life for the past three years. Instead, it was his mom and grandparents that had such a large influence on his life and not his peers.

Deb keeps saying he was born 40 years old. He disdains the childish behavior of his peers in school and gravitates towards adults in social interactions.

(H/T Instapundit)


We had the chance to try out steaming audio from Meet The New Press during yesterday's radio broadcast. I was fortunate enough to be one of the five beta testers for the feed, giving feedback for adjusting the volume level and so on. It is so much better than the noisy low power AM broadcast. Let's hope that this will lead to wider listenership! It is conservative talk radio at it's best...but then I'm biased when it come to this show.

It also helped that Hugh Hewitt was a guest on the program and will be talking about both GraniteGrok and Meet The New Press.

In fact. Here's some audio of Hugh Hewitt commenting upon Meet The New Press and the melding of grassroots conservative radio and streaming technology and how it is bypassing the old media, giving the average citizen a voice they didn't have before.

Can “Shlubcam” be all that far behind?


And speaking of conservative talk radio, a Union Leader (Manchester, NH) editorial says that the Imus brouhaha may be merely the forerunner of the Left's efforts to silence the conservative voice.

How did this offensive but comparatively tame comment get a major radio host pulled from the air? Fellow syndicated radio host Neal Boortz has a theory.

Boortz thinks that the Left has finally figured out how to bring down talk radio: accuse the hosts of racism. Unable to compete with talk radio, the Left has opted to play thought police. Racial prejudice is the last free speech taboo in America. Peg a broadcaster as racist, and you can bring him down.

It makes sense considering that liberal talk radio has failed so miserably (Air America anyone?)


Something that I've done in the past will be coming back soon – The Paugus Diner Poll©. As we get closer to the presidential caucuses and primaries the poll will start asking the hard questions. But this time it will cover a wider part of central New Hampshire. After talking it over with the guys at GraniteGrok, they have agreed to join me in order to expand the poll to cover a number of local diners in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.

As always, the polls we run will not in any way, shape, or form be scientific in nature. The questions asked are not carefully worded to elicit a preplanned outcome like so many of the 'professional' pollsters. We're just going to ask people's opinions about stuff.


Fred Thompson writes about taxes and how Presidents Bush, Reagan, Kennedy and Coolidge lowered the tax rates, which always increased the revenues collected. It's a shame that the lesson must be taught again and again and again.


The Nor'easter bearing down on New England is going to be a nasty one, particularly in light of the heavy precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, or all three) and the high winds expected to accompany it.

Personally I'm hoping that most of it will be rain...but the Weather Guys™ are saying that central New Hampshire will be getting 5” to 10” of snow before it changes over.

It's a good thing that I filled the gas can for the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower, hopefully for the last time this year.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the storage covers are still on the boats, the lake is still frozen over, and where winter refuses to leave.


Housing Becoming A Problem

Though this particular housing problem is raising its ugly head here in New Hampshire, I have no doubt it is also an issue elsewhere in the US as well. What am I talking about?

Workforce housing. Or should I say the lack of it.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? But it is becoming a big problem in New Hampshire.

The economy in the state's southern tier is already starting to feel the effects of this particular type of housing shortage.

Most of the housing construction that has taken place here over the past few years has been for more upscale homes (2500+ sq ft, multiple car garages, an acre or more of land) because that's where the profit was. There was a large demand for this type of housing. To a point, there still is, though not nearly to the levels we saw only a year or so ago. The next highest demand was for what is called senior housing, age restricted developments for those 55 years of age or older. But that's not the only reason that type of housing was built. A lot of it came down to community preferences, with many towns making it difficult to build any other type of housing. As I wrote in the post linked to towards the top of this post, it is basically nothing more than “snob zoning”, something that has been illegal in New Hampshire for years.

Such zoning has a curious side effect – lower tax revenues. It also causes jobs that might otherwise be created here to move elsewhere because potential employees can't find affordable housing. According to the Union Leader article New Hampshire loses between 1300 and 2600 jobs and from $21 million and $33 million in state and local taxes annually. It's one thing if jobs were being lost because of an economic downturn, but to lose them because there's no housing available for low or moderate income families is stupid, if not criminal.

That's as true now as it was when I wrote that two years ago. In fact, it is more so today. Much of the incentives for home ownership in four of the five southern counties are aimed at the wealthier and more senior home buyers.

In the southern tier of New Hampshire, predominantly Rockingham and Hillsborough Counties, jobs are already going begging for people to fill them. The problem is only going to get worse.

Since 2000, Hillsborough County has lost 10,400 people between the ages of 25 to 39. The reason young people are leaving...is that financial incentives to live in the county are being offered to senior citizens, while its younger residents are facing higher tax burdens and very little affordable housing stock.

"We subsidize old people very heavily in this state," said [demographer Peter] Francese, "and we penalize families with young children. A basic rule is that you get more of what you subsidize and less of what you tax." While many young people have flown to cheaper pastures, 14,400 people aged 55 to 69 have flocked to Hillsborough County in the same period. In the past seven years, 410 units of age-restricted housing have been built in the Souhegan Valley.

The creation of elderly housing is a direct result of the commonly held belief that regular houses attract children and children drive up education costs and taxes. But Francese, and other experts in the state, say that belief is a myth.

And that is the crux of the matter. The younger and less well off residents of the state are left hanging, and many of them leave the state to look for work and affordable housing elsewhere. This is not a good thing. It is but one reason why more and more jobs in the southern part of the state are going unfilled. We're also starting to feel it here in central New Hampshire as well, though not to the same level. But it's only a matter of time.

Starter homes are not easy to find. One reason is that no one is building them any more. Another is that, as mentioned above, many of the towns don't want that kind of development taking place anywhere within their borders. Even condo communities are frowned down upon unless they are for senior housing.

Here's a true story that will illustrate how the workforce housing market has been overlooked for too long:

An engineer I used to work with ended up working with his father building houses after he was laid off from our company following the telecom bubble burst six years ago. I've kept in touch with him over the years. In fact, he and his father bought some land from me two years ago for one of the homes they wanted to build. During a conversation some time ago, I asked if his business had slowed down like many of the other construction firms. He told me that they're busier than ever. How was that even possible? It was simple, really.

All they were building at that point were starter homes/workforce housing, one house at a time. Even though their profit margin was much smaller, they had no lack of buyers for the houses they built because they were building homes specifically for that large untapped market.

Even though they couldn't do an entire development of that kind of housing, the did what they could with a house here, a house there, and so on. It took some imagination on their part to legally get around some of the restrictions some of the towns had that made that kind of construction less than easy to accomplish, but they managed. They also sell every house they build, in many cases before they've even finished construction. That tells me that they're filling a large unmet need.

Maybe it's time for others, including the towns, to make it easier to meet that need. In the long run, we'll all win. Otherwise we can look forward to an ever shrinking state economy and an ever older population.


Imus Versus Sharpton

Listening to the hew and cry about a comment made by Don Imus intended to be humorous but racist/sexist in nature, you'd think he'd clubbed baby seals on live TV. In the end, it got him fired.

Many spoke out against him, including Al Sharpton, one of the biggest racists in the US (I think he ties with Jesse Jackson). This is the same Al Sharpton who had no problem making inflammatory and racist comments about the alleged Duke lacrosse team rapists, since cleared of all charges.

Don Imus made a joke in very poor taste, but didn't mean to hurt anyone and apologized profusely. He got fired.

Al Sharpton made slanderous accusations and racist comments about “rich white boys”, saying they were guilty as hell long before any evidence had been presented. He prejudged them entirely on the basis of their race. That is racism. Unlike Imus, Al Sharpton has never apologized for his remarks. He's kept his radio show, kept his job. No one is calling for sanctions against him. Al Sharpton has never apologized for anything he's ever said, including his posturing during the whole Tawana Brawley hoax. He did his best to stir up racial outrage and hatred and, once Brawley's alleged rape was found to be a fabrication, did nothing about the accusatory and racist remarks he made.

At first I thought I was the only one that made any notice of this dual standard. But a little Google search while I was looking for Al Sharpton's comments about the Duke Rape Case pointed me to someone else that noticed the same thing.

The difference between Imus and Jackson/Sharpton --- Jackson/Sharpton were being serious, claim to believe what they said, and were trying to influence a process that could have ultimately ended with innocent kids serving major jail time. Seems very different and much more serious than the Imus miscue. Ramifications of Imus = offended players. Ramification of Jackson and Sharpton = Duke players receiving death threats, Duke campus invaded by activists, inflammation of race and economic relations in Durham, property damage, threats of retaliatory rape against white female Duke students, etc. Will Sharpton, Jackson and other inciters be publicly criticized a la Imus?

Not likely.


Should Fred Thompson Declare Now Or Later?

In today's WSJ Online, Christopher Cooper makes a good pitch for Fred Thompson declaring his candidacy earlier rather than later.

Egged on by a campaign to draft him and buoyed by polls that suggest he would be a serious contender even though he hasn't declared, the conservative and blunt-spoken Mr. Thompson has said he is considering jumping in and may make a decision as early as next month. But in a presidential campaign that is likely to be the most expensive yet -- three candidates have already banked over $20 million in donations -- dithering would seem to be a liability.

It could be that Cooper is right, but it also appears that Thompson could end up raising as much money as the others have and in less time. He still has the 'pull' from his Senate days and he has a host of Reagan Republicans behind him.

Another group is looking at Thompson as the next Ronald Reagan and are urging him to run. These folks may not be all that far off.

Bill Hobbs has also been keeping up with All Things Fred Thompson. He also answers the question about whether Thompson needs to declare now in order to raise the funds he needs to compete against Romney, McCain, and Giuliani. The answer is No.

The WSJ's Chris Cooper focuses on how top Tennessee Republican fund-raiser Ted Welch has already committed to Mitt Romney, and how waiting to announce means Thompson is losing potential campaign staffers to other campaigns.

Let's deal with the latter first: Campaign talent is an abundant resource and Thompson's entry into the race may well help "clear the field" of some other, lesser-known and under-funded candidates, freeing up some of that campaign talent. Plus, if you're working for Huckabee or Brownback or Gilmore or the other Thompson and worried if your meager paycheck is all that assured, and Thompson jumps into the race, might you be tempted to jump? Of course. Provided Thompson has money to go with his momentum.

And that's where the Ted Welch factor comes into play. Welch is a superstar fund-raiser - he helped Romney raise $6.5 million in one day a few months ago - and I have no doubt Thompson would love to have Welch in his corner. For that matter, Welch would love to be working for Thompson - he told The Tennessean newspaper repeatedly that if Romney drops out, he'll back Fred, a not-so-subtle way of telling his Rolodex full of wealthy contacts that they have his blessing to help Thompson.

And with Thompson out-polling the Six-Million-Dollar Mitt, don't think for a minute that Welch wouldn't love to engineer a deal in which Romney drops out in order to run as Fred's running mate. That way Welch could back horse he prefers, and still keep his commitment to Romney.

There are others that also believe that Thompson could easily raise the finds he needs even if he declares his candidacy some time later, such is the power of the Internet.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We're still watching the early April snow melt away, hoping that it will be gone soon enough to get the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout – aka The Boat - down to the shop for the last bit of pre-launch maintenance. The Weather Guys™ have been saying we may see a repeat of last week's snow storm sometime this coming week.

Yesterday morning BeezleBub and I stopped by the marina where The Boat will reside during the boating season. It seems that we will be in a different slip this year and I stopped by to check out The Boat's new home. It turns out that the new slip is in a better location than last year's, with an easier straight in approach. Sometimes delaying a renewal works for you!


Fred Thompson writes about what he calls The Pirates of Tehran and how Iran got away with piracy on the high seas.


And Rightly So has an interesting post about the Democrat's machinations in creating a shadow government that usurps the powers of the three branches of the US Government as laid out in the US Constitution.

And the Democrats say the GOP is arrogant!


Our friends over at GraniteGrok received an Instalanch today on this post, a great look at the fallout from the Congressional Democrats vote to cut and run from Iraq. In this case Democrat Congressman Paul Hodes (NH2 – D) got a dressing down by members of military families.

I just hope the traffic didn't crash their server!


This is absolutely awesome! Bob Parks gets it so right. He's going into the blogroll.

(H/T Ace Of Spades)


Watching the 5 day weather forecast for northern New England makes me wonder about global warming. We sure as heck aren't seeing it here, with record low temperatures (colder on Easter Sunday than on Christmas Day) and the possibility of yet another Nor'easter dumping heavy snow on Thursday. The ski areas around here are seeing some of the best conditions all year, with some of them pushing back their closing dates another couple of weeks.

At this rate we won't see summer weather until some time in late August.


John Stossel continues his battle against the Fear Industrial Complex, letting us know what it is we should be worried about, the MSM not withstanding.

For the past two weeks I've written about how the media -- part of the Fear Industrial Complex -- profit by scaring us to death about things that rarely happen, like terrorism, child abductions, and shark attacks.

We do it because we get caught up in the excitement of the story. And for ratings.

Worse, because many reporters are statistically illiterate, personal-injury lawyers get us to hype risks that barely threaten people, like secondhand smoke, or getting cancer from trace amounts of chemicals. Sometimes they even con us into scaring you about risks that don't exist at all, like contracting [auto]-immune disease from breast implants.

Newsrooms are full of English majors who acknowledge that they are not good at math, but still rush to make confident pronouncements about a global-warming "crisis" and the coming of bird flu.

That's the biggest problem: reporters and editors without the requisite knowledge making judgment calls about what's dangerous and what's not. They have no way of actually figuring out whether a particular activity, medical treatment, food stuff, or other 'thing' is as much of a risk as some may be saying.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where winter is still hanging on, political rhetoric is heating up, and where were still trying to get our boat ready for summer.


Ignoring The Consequences

While listening to the Diane Rehm Show on NPR yesterday morning, one of the guests, Jeanne Cummings from The Politico made a series of statements that got my blood pressure to crest at just below Vesuvius levels. Her comments were in response to an e-mail read by Diane Rehm from a listener in St. Louis.

Diane: “Redeployment, cutting funding, non-binding resolutions, cut-and-run all add up to one thing: defeat at any cost. In the eyes of the anti-Bush Left, Iraq cannot and must not succeed. It would vindicate him and the hatred runs so deep that they will sacrifice anything to ensure that Iraq does not succeed. It doesn't matter what is best for the US. It doesn't matter what's best for Iraq. It doesn't matter what's best for the Middle East. And now a Democrat controlled Congress is doing everything it can to ensure defeat at any cost.”

Jeanne: “Well, I'm..I'm...there may be folks that feel that way. Personally I think that's a little too cynical. I don't think that the Democrats voted for this and hoped it failed and now they're trying to make it fail and turn it into, you know, that they have some control to turn this into a train wreck. I mean, events over there in Iraq are going to take place whether we're there or not. So much of the success or failure in Iraq depends upon the Iraqis themselves and...so I just don't see how you can...could believe that the Democrats have so much power that they can in the blink of an eye, or with a phrase or a vote turn events one way or another.”

And that's exactly her problem. She can't see what's happening even though it's out there in plain sight. The Democrats have made no secret of their plans to abandon the Iraqis, much as they abandoned the South Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians in 1973-74. To think that our presence in Iraq will have no effect on what goes on there is just so wrong on so many levels I can't even begin to enumerate them. But there's one thing I can say with confidence that we are preventing by our presence: genocide.

Were we to withdraw before the Iraqi government can take full control of their internal affairs, there will be a bloodbath of the likes that haven't been seen since the killing fields of Cambodia. It won't be hundreds of deaths, nor thousands of deaths, but millions of deaths that will occur because we weren't there to prevent it. Once that kind of killing starts, it is very difficult to stop. It won't stop at the borders of Iraq. It will spread throughout the entire Middle East. Maybe not all at once, but it will spread from country to country. And should it ever spill over into Israel, the game will be over, for Israel will not go down without a fight. They will exercise the Masada Option, turning most of the Middle East into a radioactive hell. (Do you think I'm exaggerating? Could be, but it isn't the first time such an outcome has been voiced, mostly by people far more knowledgeable than I am on the matter.)

It is a deadly myopia that infects the Democrats and the BDS-afflicted Left. I've found that far too often they cannot look into the future any farther than the next election cycle...assuming they can even look that far ahead. Three, four, ten years might as well be an eternity when it comes to projecting the outcomes of actions taken today. Looking back at past actions also appears to be beyond their scope, learning the lessons of history in order to prevent history from repeating itself.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.


Is Fred Thompson Going To Announce Soon?

It appears that Fred Thompson is getting closer to making an announcement one way or the other as to whether he will run for the Republican nominations for President.

Fred Thompson, the “Law & Order” actor and former senator from Tennessee, has moved beyond pondering a bid for the White House and begun assembling the nucleus of a campaign should he decide to run, according to people involved in the effort.

Thompson has not yet decided to seek the Republican presidential nomination. But “he is getting more serious every day,” said an adviser familiar with Thompson's plans.

Thompson’s coming-out as a candidate-in-waiting will be a May 4 appearance at the 45th annual dinner of the Lincoln Club of Orange County in the heart of Ronald Reagan country in Southern California. The invitation was widely sought by aspiring Republicans, and his advisers expect considerable media attention around the visit. But there are no plans now for an announcement then.

A number of those commenting on the post linked above seem to think Fred can bring a lot of the disaffected moderate and conservative Republicans back into the fold, giving the GOP the possibility of retaining the White House.

I hope they're right.


Nuclear Power Resurging In the US

While many prattle on about alternative energy technologies as one solution to reducing our dependence upon foreign sources of oil while reducing carbon release, while simultaneously working to prevent them from being implemented anywhere near where those very same 'proponents' happen to reside, one organization is actually doing something to expand the electricity supply. What's more, they won't be releasing any more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere while they do it.

The TVA, or Tennessee Valley Authority has refurbished and brought four of its nuclear power plants back on line, with another just finishing a $1 billion overhaul which is due to restart in late May.

Apparently the TVA has seen the wisdom of restarting its nuclear power plants. It's also planning on restarting yet another as well.

TVA shut Browns Ferry-1, along with all of its nuclear units, in 1985. It has gradually brought four units back online and completed construction of a fifth, but rehabilitation of Unit 1, the oldest and the one needing the most work, was in question until the TVA board approved a five-year plan in 2002.

Despite all the hoopla and hype about alternative energy projects, too many of them will never be built due to local opposition because “they're an eyesore/will kill too many birds/are a conspiracy by Big Wind/etc.” The TVA has led the way by dusting off and rebuilding existing non-polluting power plants, planning even more plants, and in the mean time added thousands of megawatts of needed capacity to a nation using ever more energy to fuel our high-tech society.

It makes me wonder whether the present owner of the Seabrook, New Hampshire nuclear plant should consider completing the abandoned Unit II. Goodness knows we could use the energy.


Fred Thompson In The Polls

The buzz about Fred Thompson continues. This time it's Robert Novak singing his praises, saying “he is filling the conservative void in the Republican field of candidates.”

While I have thought that Rudi Giuliani was a decent enough candidate, there were some very big holes in his platform that have made me believe he's not the best candidate. If Thompson were to run, then I must admit that I would support his candidacy. It seems I'm not the only one.

In the first Gallup poll that listed Thompson (March 23-25), he scored 12 percent -- amazing for someone out of public life for more than four years who has not campaigned. More important than the polling data is his backing within the political community. Buyer's remorse is expressed by several House members who had endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Romney.

Thompson's popularity reflects weakness among announced Republican candidates, as reflected in the Gallup survey. Sen. McCain, no longer an insurgent but still not accepted by conservatives, is stuck in the 20-25 percent range. Former New York City Mayor Giuliani has dropped precipitously from 44 percent to 31 percent, amid attacks on his ideology and personal life. Most startling, despite a well-financed, well-organized campaign, Romney has fallen to 3 percent.

Thompson isn't even in the race, at least not yet, and he's scoring better the Mitt Romney and in a statistical dead heat with Rudi Giuliani. It makes one wonder what would happen if he announced his candidacy. Would he quickly overtake John McCain? I get the feeling he would.

I've felt that he could become the next Ronald Reagan. Novak comments about certain parallels between the two.

The principal complaint about Thompson concerns not his ideology but his work ethic. The rap is that he does not burn the midnight oil -- the identical criticism of Reagan, before and during his presidency. That carping may betray resentment that Thompson has emerged as a full-blown candidate without backbreaking campaign travel and tedious fund-raising.

Sometimes it happens like that. The front runner(s) look like they're gaining momentum and then out of nowhere comes a candidate that throws all of the carefully laid plans into a spin, someone that can effectively communicate with disaffected or cynical voters. The next thing you know the others have have fallen to the wayside. And so it could be with Fred Thompson.

And here I thought that the race for the Oval Office was going to be boring. If Fred gets into it, I think it will be anything but boring.


Thoughts On A Sunday

I wasn't really awake despite the fact that I'd been up for about half an hour and was showered and saved. As is my habit, I listen to NPR on Sunday mornings while attending my morning ablutions.

After a short series of news stories during Weekend Edition came the usual announcements about organizations and companies sponsoring NPR. It wasn't until this particular round of sponsorship blurbs finished that I realized what it is the announcer had said.

“Soylent Corporation, providing edible protein in a variety of colors. Remember, Soylent Green is people.”

It's a good thing I didn't have my razor to my neck!

Then I remembered that today is April Fool's Day.


During “Meet The New Press”, the question of the day was “Should Condi Rice run for president?”

In my opinion, she should. I see her as America's own Maggie Thatcher. She's extremely intelligent, well versed in foreign policy, and she knows how Washington works. She would also be a counterbalance to both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Should she decide to run, then my ideal Republican ticket would be either Rice/Thompson or Thompson/Rice. Either way I could see them defeating the Democrat ticket, hands down.


Speaking of Meet The New Press there are two big changes coming up that I believe will help the show gain a wider listening audience. First, starting next weekend the show will run from 11AM to 1PM on Saturdays. Second, sometime in the next 2 or 3 weeks, Meet The New Press will be live streaming on the Internet. They're goin' global!


My favorite mythbuster, John Stossel, is at it again, this time about child kidnapping. To hear the media explain it, you'd think that children were being snatched off the street by the thousand, if not the millions. Such 'reporting' does nothing but create hysteria over something that really is very rare. But as Stossel explains it, that hasn't stopped the media from scaring the heck out of parents and kids.

In television public-service announcements the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children warns, "Every day 2,000 children are reported missing." Center president Ernie Allen told me, "Our goal is to reach into every home and to generate that key lead that leads to the recovery of a child. We need to send a message to the American public that this is serious."


Scaring kids might be justified if abductions were common. But the media makes the problem look far bigger than it is. The stereotypical kidnapping, where a child is abducted by a stranger and murdered, ransomed, or kept for a significant period of time, rarely happens. In fact, there are only 100 or so such cases every year.

Most 'kidnappings' are usually triggered by custodial disputes, meaning that the non-custodial parent of a child takes them from the custodial parent, either by deception, outright 'snatching off the street', or something in between, and flees out of town, out of the county, across state lines, or even out of the country. But it hear the media, you'd think that the opposite is true.

As Stossel explains it, “The Center for Missing Children is a piece of the Fear Industrial Complex. It raises money by scaring us.”


With gas prices heading up again, some folks are already making plans for dealing with it during their upcoming summer vacations. I know I am. Some won't travel as far and others won't ravel as long as they might otherwise. In some places in the East gas is already approaching $3 per gallon. On the Weest Coast gas has already hit $4 per gallon and it's not even summer yet!

Last summer gas prices on Lake Winnipesaukee ran well above $3 per gallon, with most I saw being between $3.35 and $3.57 per gallon at the peak, about 20 to 30¢ per gallon higher than at a gas station. A lot of people with gas guzzling boats spent a lot less time out on the water and more time tied up at their slips last summer. I think it will be a repeat this summer. So does the manager of one of the local marinas that I ran across earlier today.

During last year I saw what I can only describe as a reversal of envy. In the past it wasn't uncommon for me to see some really nice fast/big boats out on the lake and wonder what it would be like to have one. Last summer a lot of the folks with those big boats looked upon my 20 foot runabout with envy, knowing that I could run around all week on the 30 gallons of gas my boat carried, while that same 30 gallons would last them all of half a day and was but a third of a tankful on their boats.

I expect the same treatment this year.


There's more on a possible Fred Thompson run for the presidency. The one thing that Thompson has going for him over the other GOP candidates is name and face recognition, both among political groups and television/movie viewers.

Many political pundits think he'll announce sometime this summer should he decide to run.


BeezleBub, Submarine Tim, his boss, Dawn, and I went to see The Last Mimzy at the local mega-multi-cineplex.

The critics hated it. We loved it.

The stuffed rabbit, Mimzy, was designed and made by Daphne Blau of the Sunapee region in New Hampshire. She usually makes teddy bears, but she was tapped to create the stuffed rabbit for the movie.


The whole Iranian blunder of seizing the 15 British sailors and marines has become, quite frankly, farcical.

You know something's not quite right when the Iranians gave the coordinates of where the British were seized and they were in Iraqi waters. Once informed of this, they changed the coordinates to make it seem as if they had been in Iranian waters. That right there convinces me the Iranians are lying.

If the coordinates that both the British Navy and the Iranians gave as a location where the sailors and marines were seized were the same, then it seems that the Iranians knew they had taken the hostages – that's what President Bush called them and that's what I believe they are – in Iraqi waters.

They have committed an act of war, no different than the one they committed back in 1979 when they invaded US sovereign territory, i.e. the US Embassy in Teheran. Maybe it's time we started treating their actions for what they are – war.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice continues to melt, snow tires are coming off cars, and where Monday will arrive all too soon.