Socialized Medicine Will Be A Disaster For The US

The debate never seems to go away. It may drop off below the radar now and then, but it always pops up, particularly the closer we get to an election year. And so it has come up again.

I am talking about, of course, health care.

To hear the Left talk about it you'd think that all we have to do to solve the health care problem is to socialize medicine, much as it has been in Canada, the UK, France, Sweden, and host of other European countries. The only problem with that scenario is that these countries have found out that socialized medicine doesn't work. Yet here we are, our liberal legislators talking about making the same damn mistakes that other nations have, as if our effort to socialize medicine won't fail as miserably as it has elsewhere. To repeat one of my favorite sayings: “Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting the results to be different this time.” It appears that when it comes to health care, the Left is insane.

But maybe a wake up call is in order, one from a Canadian that can tell them that their idea is indeed mad. As David Gratzer asks, “Who's really 'Sicko'?”

"I haven't seen 'Sicko,' " says Avril Allen about the new Michael Moore documentary, which advocates socialized medicine for the United States. The film, which has been widely viewed on the Internet, and which will officially open in the U.S. and Canada on Friday, has been getting rave reviews. But Ms. Allen, a lawyer, has no plans to watch it. She's just too busy preparing to file suit against Ontario's provincial government about its health-care system next month.

Her client, Lindsay McCreith, would have had to wait for four months just to get an MRI, and then months more to see a neurologist for his malignant brain tumor. Instead, frustrated and ill, the retired auto-body shop owner traveled to Buffalo, N.Y., for a lifesaving surgery. Now he's suing for the right to opt out of Canada's government-run health care, which he considers dangerous.
Ms. Allen figures the lawsuit has a fighting chance: In 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that "access to wait lists is not access to health care," striking down key Quebec laws that prohibited private medicine and private health insurance.

In the U.S., 83 House Democrats voted for a bill in 1993 calling for single-payer health care. That idea collapsed with HillaryCare and since then has existed on the fringes of the debate--winning praise from academics and pressure groups, but remaining largely out of the political discussion. Mr. Moore's documentary intends to change that, exposing millions to his argument that American health care is sick and socialized medicine is the cure.

It's not simply that Mr. Moore is wrong. His grand tour of public health care systems misses the big story: While he prescribes socialism, market-oriented reforms are percolating in cities from Stockholm to Saskatoon.

Mr. Moore goes to London, Ontario, where he notes that not a single patient has waited in the hospital emergency room more than 45 minutes. "It's a fabulous system," a woman explains. In Britain, he tours a hospital where patients marvel at their free care. A patient's husband explains: "It's not America." Humorously, Mr. Moore finds a cashier dispensing money to patients (for transportation). In France, a doctor explains the success of the health-care system with the old Marxist axiom: "You pay according to your means, and you receive according to your needs."

It's compelling material--I know because, born and raised in Canada, I used to believe in government-run health care. Then I was mugged by reality.

Gratzer goes on to deconstruct Moore's assertions that everything is hunky-dory with Canada's health care system. And it's true...but only if you're healthy. If you get sick, you're out of luck. As one Canadian physician put it, “This is a country in which dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week and in which humans can wait two to three years.” It's no different in the UK.

I don't know about you, but that isn't the kind of medical care I want. I doubt that you would either. But that's exactly what the leftist Democrats want to give us – poor or non-existent health care.

We can hope that they will see the folly of their plans. But if history is any indicator, they won't. They will sail full-steam ahead into the waiting minefield of socialized medicine, much to the detriment of us all.


Will Iran Collapse Due To The Mullah's Neglect?

Reading reports about the unrest in Iran brought about by the latest economic setback, in this case gas rationing, has got me to thinking that the days of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mad mullahs may be numbered.

While the government has been saying that the protests and riots have been orchestrated by “ “terrorists”, “enemies” and “American dollars.” ”

Gas stations have been burned, large groups have chanted “Death to Ahmadinejad” and attacked city government buildings to show their anger at the government's inability to keep Iran's economy moving.

Iran's ruling mullahs have managed to ignore the one thing that gives them the funds to spread their revolution: oil.

Years of neglect to the infrastructure that pumps the oil from the wells and to oil terminals in the Persian Gulf or to broken down Iranian oil refineries are finally making themselves felt. Neglected oil refineries is one of the major reasons gas rationing has been imposed upon the Iranian populace. It's putting an even bigger burden upon them than anything the UN or the US could do.

By rationing petrol, Ahmadinejad has just imposed his own sanctions on the people of Iran, which are bigger and more devastating than anything the West could have achieved in the immediate future. The ensuing massive loss of popularity means that the people of Iran will now be less inclined to follow Ahmadinejad’s calls for hardship and sacrifice against further sanctions.

If it goes as many hopes it does, a second Iranian Revolution could take place, this time tearing down the theocratic dictatorship and replacing it with a true democracy.

(H/T Instapundit)


Fred Speaks Out And Plans A Visit

Fred Thompson is making the rounds, both on the blogosphere and in person.

His latest missives have covered some interesting topics.

First, he writes about Queen Elizabeth, Sir Salman Rushdie, and free speech:

In 1989, when Rushdie was first threatened with death by the Islamic regime in Iran, it was for saying far less critical things about Muslims than he’d said about American Christians. Since then, he's become a much stronger critic of Islamic intolerance and authoritarianism. Rushdie defended, for example, the publication of the Danish cartoons and has called for ending the oppression of women in Islam.

While Queen Elizabeth doesn't actually select those who’ll be knighted, lending her name to the honor is symbolically powerful. She and the honors committee who have put the "Sir" before Rushdie's name had to have known that it would provoke anger among those who believe Islam should be protected from criticism. Furthermore, Rushdie had to have known that accepting the honor would prompt renewed and serious calls for his murder -- and it has.

Already, Britain's Home Secretary John Reid has responded to a Pakistani government minister's comment that Rushdie’s knighthood justifies a suicide bombing on the writer. Standing by the knighthood, Reid reminded his international audience that the West tolerates movies made by Monty Python and Mel Gibson even if they offend Christians and Jews. Reid said that, "in the long run, our protection of the right to express your views in literature, argument (and) politics is of over-riding political value to our societies."

And for that, I say, “God Save the Queen.”

Hear, hear!

And then he brings up a subject near and dear to my heart, health care. Or in this case, how not to structure health care in our nation.

Should we try to follow the example of Canada and the UK, as some in Congress have called for us to do, all we will do is wreck our health care system much as it has been in both the aforementioned countries. All a national health care system will do is hurt the very people it is intended to help, increase costs, and make ever less care available to everyone except the very rich, just the opposite effect it was intended to have. It seems that the liberals in Congress are incapable of learning from the mistakes of others. Heck, they're incapable of learning from their own mistakes.

And last, but not least, an inside source reminded me that Fred Thompson will indeed be in New Hampshire this Thursday to speak at the Senate Republican PAC Reception at the Bedford, NH Wayfarer Convention Center. He'll arrive in Manchester at mid-afternoon and attend the reception for a meet-and-greet and then some speechifying.

Welcome to New Hampshire, Fred!


The Democrats Are Afraid. Very Afraid.

It looks like the DNC has already decided which Republican they will be running against in November 2008, so they aren't wasting any time getting ready to attack him.

Their pick?

Fred Thompson.


Thoughts On A Sunday

One would think that it's fall rather than summer with the temps we've seen around here the past couple of days. It barely reached 60°F here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire on Saturday. It felt even colder because it was quite windy on top of everything else.

I don't feel so bad that The Boat is still in the shop. Who'd want to go out on the lake with weather like this? At least I'll be able to pick it up on Monday and maybe take a quick 'shakedown' cruise to check out the repairs.


While much of the US media seems be sharpening their knives in preparation for Fred Thompson announcing his candidacy, the Times in the UK really seems to like the former US Senator. The article about Fred in the Sunday edition points out that even his ex-girlfriends and ex-wife will be campaigning for him.

I think that says something about the man's character.


On the other hand, the Times also believes that John McCain may pull out of the race by September.


It's not often that I disagree with Megan McArdle, but on the issue of immigration, I have a bone to pick.

It appears to me that she's all for immigration. So am I. However, I am against illegal immigration, regardless of where the illegals come from. I may have mistaken her take on this, but she doesn't appear to make any differentiation between legal and illegal immigrants. And that's where we part ways.

Though her two posts on the issue deal more with assimilation of immigrants (or the perceived lack thereof), at no point did I find her saying anything about the problems with illegal immigration.

If we're going to talk about immigration and the problems that have always been associated with it, then illegal immigration should also be included.


Despite being without the services of The Boat, we did manage to sort of get out on the lake today. Well, more like along the edge of the lake. All it took was a visit to one of Deb's friends who happens to live on the shore of Alton Bay.

BeezleBub managed to get some swimming in off the dock, but neither Deb or I joined him. The lake water is still a little too chilly for me.


You know it's getting really bad in California when talk about heterosexual marriage is considered a hate crime.

It's time for the wackos in California to get an effin' clue.


I went to see the new Fantastic Four movie tonight with my pal Jake.

It was far better than the first one, despite what the usually clueless movie critics have said.

I also plan to see the new Bruce Willis picture – Live Free Or Die Hard – next month, along with the new Harry Potter picture.

One thing I love about summer is that the quality of the movies is usually better...though not always.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where school is finally out, the summerfolk are arriving in droves, and the first really hot days of the summer are on their way.


Guilty Until Proven Innocent, And Even Then....

I saw this post over on Daily Pundit and after reading it I have to admit I got pissed off.

It doesn't surprise me to find that the number of men volunteering for a broad array of charities or social organizations has been falling. It's not that men don't want to volunteer. It's more that they're afraid to do so. Why? Read on:

Perhaps men are merely acting rationally. They’ve assessed the risk of volunteering to work with children, and want no part of it. If so, that’s why [Big Brother-Big Sister] rates of male participation are well below national averages, which include volunteering that doesn’t involve children.

That also includes volunteering that doesn't involve women, too.

For so many years men have been demonized by the media, by radical feminists, and anyone else with an ax to grind. Because there have been so many accusations of abuse that have turned out to be false is it any wonder why they no longer want any part of a society that doesn't trust them?

One commenter writes:

Before I got my current contract position, which is low paying for the field and rather boring, I took a local (Central New York) substitute teacher certification program. The staff at the Center were very enthusiastic about my participation, for I was the only “straight” male taking the class, out of about 25.
I was sent to the local High School for teacher shadowing for a few days. Both teachers were very good, although the female math teacher was very discouraging from the start (Having found out that her breast cancer had returned the day before didn’t help), telling the students that they should report any inappropriate behavior from me.

After completing the certification, I registered with a few local districts that are chronically short of subs. I was interviewed by the principals at several schools, but didn’t sub even once, despite strong recommendations from my former professors at the college.

One of them, a [department] chair, finally asked one of her principal friends why I couldn’t get a sub position?

The reason was simple: high liability and faculty hostility to male subs, even though the district is always very short staffed.

I don't know about the rest of you men out there, but I see volunteering under those circumstances as either be an exercise in masochism or foolhardy, leaving one's self wide open for an involuntary lesson in how our legal system works. It's no wonder the number of male volunteers in some areas has fallen off.

Until the perception that all men are potential abusers or rapists goes away, the number of male volunteers, teachers, and, come to think of it, college athletes will continue to fall off (think Duke University lacrosse).

Who needs that kind of scrutiny? Even if we are 'proven' innocent, we will still be guilty in the eyes of those that have already shown a penchant for promoting the mindset that all men are potential criminals merely waiting for the chance to pounce.


Here Comes The Sun

It seems that I'm going to be stuck on a global warming thread for the next couple of days.

After reading the article from which yesterday's post was created, I checked the links that accompanied the article (called “The Deniers”) a series that looks closely at those that have chosen to say “Hey, wait a minute! Something doesn't add up here. Not one little bit!”

Yet another space scientist, Sami Solanki of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research says that theories of human caused global warming are all wet.

In 2004, he led a team of scientists that, for the first time, quantitatively reconstructed the sun's activity since the last Ice Age, some 11,400 years ago. Earth hasn't been this hot in 8,000 years and, he predicts, the hot spell will carry on for a few more decades before the sun turns down the heat.

The 19th and 20th centuries are especially noteworthy. "The sun is in a changed state. It is brighter than it was a few hundred years ago and this brightening started relatively recently -- in the last 100 to 150 years," he says. "The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures."

Dr. Solanki gives cold comfort to those who claim that global warming took off with the Industrial Revolution, and that the warming we've seen over the last century is mostly man-made. To demonstrate how unlikely this is, Dr. Solanki shows an almost perfect correlation between solar cycles and air temperatures over the land masses in the Northern hemisphere, going back to the mid 19th century.

For example, when the length of solar cycle increased dramatically, as it did in from 1910 to 1940, so did the temperature on Earth; when it decreased, as it did from the 1940s to the 1960s, so too did Earth temperatures. Dr. Solanki's startling correlation marked a pivotal point in the climate change debate: Its publication, more than any other single event, caused researchers around the world to examine the role that the sun plays in heating and cooling our planet.

This man is not a global warming denier. Instead he is offering a theory that goes against the so-called “consensus” that all global warming is all our fault. Unlike many of the theories offered about anthropogenic global warming, Dr. Solanki offers some hard to refute data that backs his theory that it is solar activity that has been the cause of climate change. But he hasn't ruled out the possibility that human activity has had an effect on the global climate.

Not that Dr. Solanki discredits the role of man-made greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. These have probably played a large role in Earth's climate, he believes, but only since 1980 or so, when the sun's almost perfect correlation with Earth temperatures ended. He also believes that evidence that greenhouse gases have played a larger role in climate change may some day turn up, because his near-perfect correlation does not constitute proof. To date, however, he hasn't seen anything compelling that undermines his own findings.

I am far more inclined to believe Solanki's figures than those from the anthropogenic global warming camp. Their theories have large holes, they lack the data to prove their theories, or ignore data that disproves them. It seems they and their supporters act more from emotion and the misinformation that stokes those emotions rather than looking at all of the evidence, all of the data, and then coming up with a conclusion. There are too many unanswered questions to say definitively that humans are the sole, or major cause of global warming.

I want facts, dammit! Not half-baked or poorly thought out theories that are difficult, if not impossible to test in any way, shape, or form. Our future actions will be dictated by whichever theory wins out, and heaven help us if it's the wrong one because it means we will waste precious time and money on a solution to the wrong problem and we won't be prepared when reality slaps us in the face.


Global Cooling Is The Danger

For some time I have been a skeptic of anthropogenic global warming. There were too many unanswered questions as well as alternate theories that had a lot of evidence to bolster them. Too many 'scientists' have been too willing to point the finger at humans as the cause of global climate change, even though some of those 'scientists' had no background in climatology or meteorology or any related sciences. Many advocates of the It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans theory of global climate change have been all too willing use seriously flawed climate models, cooked data, or outright fabrications to prove their point.

But there have been scientists that have bravely stepped up to the plate and defied the It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans global warming groups, pointing to another cause, a verifiable cause for global climate change: the Sun.

Timothy Patterson is one of those scientists.

Climate stability has never been a feature of planet Earth. The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually and, at times, quite rapidly. Many times in the past, temperatures were far higher than today, and occasionally, temperatures were colder. As recently as 6,000 years ago, it was about 3C warmer than now. Ten thousand years ago, while the world was coming out of the thou-sand-year-long "Younger Dryas" cold episode, temperatures rose as much as 6C in a decade -- 100 times faster than the past century's 0.6C warming that has so upset environmentalists.

My research team began to collect and analyze core samples from the bottom of deep Western Canadian fjords. The regions in which we chose to conduct our research, Effingham Inlet on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, and in 2001, sounds in the Belize-Seymour Inlet complex on the mainland coast of British Columbia, were perfect for this sort of work. The topography of these fjords is such that they contain deep basins that are subject to little water transfer from the open ocean and so water near the bottom is relatively stagnant and very low in oxygen content. As a consequence, the floors of these basins are mostly lifeless and sediment layers build up year after year, undisturbed over millennia.

Using various coring technologies, we have been able to collect more than 5,000 years' worth of mud in these basins, with the oldest layers coming from a depth of about 11 metres below the fjord floor. Clearly visible in our mud cores are annual changes that record the different seasons: corresponding to the cool, rainy winter seasons, we see dark layers composed mostly of dirt washed into the fjord from the land; in the warm summer months we see abundant fossilized fish scales and diatoms (the most common form of phytoplankton, or single-celled ocean plants) that have fallen to the fjord floor from nutrient-rich surface waters. In years when warm summers dominated climate in the region, we clearly see far thicker layers of diatoms and fish scales than we do in cooler years. Ours is one of the highest-quality climate records available anywhere today and in it we see obvious confirmation that natural climate change can be dramatic. For example, in the middle of a 62-year slice of the record at about 4,400 years ago, there was a shift in climate in only a couple of seasons from warm, dry and sunny conditions to one that was mostly cold and rainy for several decades.

With these cores they were able to track what the climate was like over the previous 5,000 years, finding both gradual and rapid shifts in the climate. They were able to correlate these shifts to changes in the sun's luminosity. Their conclusions parallel that of Dr. Henrik Svensmark, who also found strong evidence that the sun is the driving force in climate change and not human activity.

One of the other conclusions that others have reached is that if the current trends in solar activity continue, the climate will get warmer until about 2020, and then take a sudden downward dive as solar activity falls off. If this is indeed the case, no amount of our tinkering with CO2 emissions will have any effect on that change at all. And, if it is indeed the case, we will have wasted billions, if not trillions of dollars on trying to prevent global warming rather than preparing for a climate shift that will have far more impact on humankind than global warming would. It will be no less a shock than when the Little Ice Age began sometime after 1300.

I have come to believe we are heading in the wrong direction and should be working to mitigate the effects of climate change rather than trying to prevent it. It is likely that it is nothing we can prevent, regardless of how many treaties are signed or how much money is thrown at the “problem”.


Questions About Weather Instrument Accuracy

One of my questions when it's come to claims that temperatures are rising due to global warming has been “Where are the thermometers taking these readings located?”

NOAA has over 1200 surface weather observation stations throughout the US. Many have been at the same location for decades. Others may have been moved from time to time. The problem is that too many of them are at locations the do not give accurate surface temperature readings either due to placement near heat generating equipment, concrete buildings or asphalt pavement that wasn't there when the instruments were installed, or defective instruments. This can cause higher readings than are actually present at the location, which of course skews the results as well as the historical record.

It appears that I'm not the only one asking the question.

Anthony Watts, a former TV meteorologist had questions about the accuracy of the readings from many of the weather stations and decided to do some investigating.

To assure accuracy, stations (essentially older thermometers in little four-legged wooden sheds or digital thermometers mounted on poles) should be 100 feet from buildings, not placed on hot concrete, etc. But as photos on Watts' site show, the station in Forest Grove, Ore., stands 10 feet from an air-conditioning exhaust vent. In Roseburg, Ore., it's on a rooftop near an AC unit. In Tahoe, Calif., it's next to a drum where trash is burned.

Watts, who says he's a man of facts and science, isn't jumping to any rash conclusions based on the 40-some weather stations his volunteers have checked so far. But he said Tuesday that what he's finding raises doubts about NOAA's past and current temperature reports.

"I believe we will be able to demonstrate that some of the global warming increase is not from CO2 but from localized changes in the temperature-measurement environment."

If what he's found is also the case in other parts of the world, then the question becomes “How much have the world's temperatures really increased?”

Unless the accuracy and placement of the weather stations can be verified, then any data gathered by them is suspect, which calls into question the dire predictions of many of the “We're-All-Doomed” branch of global warming activists. If the data is suspect or corrupted, than any climate model using that data is likewise suspect or corrupted. The models will be worthless.

Maybe it's time to check the data, or at least the instruments used to collect it.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It's Father's Day, and around here that has two meanings.

The first is, of course, that it's Father's Day. The second is that it's the last day of the annual Motorcycle Week and that thousands upon thousands of bikers will be departing the Lakes Region and its surroundings and heading home.

With the exception of a couple of days, the weather was perfect. While the number of motorcyclists attending this year's festivities was down a bit, the lower numbers were not unanticipated. Higher fuel prices were probably one of the biggest factors in the smaller numbers this year. Even so, there were probably 300,000 people that visited over Bike Week. Not bad. Not bad at all.


The WP In-Laws departed from The Manse this morning, hoping to beat the homeward-bound motorcycle traffic. When they left they took BeezleBub with them. This will be his first week at what has been come to be called “Camp Grammy”.

He spends about one week in three or four with them over the summer. This is just the first one. It means he'll miss the last day of school tomorrow, but since he's already turned in all of his textbooks and completed all of his assignments, we saw no need to send him on the last day. The last day is what is called “Moving Up Day”, where the kids will meet the teachers they'll have next year. But BeezleBub already knows all of the teachers in his school and who he'll have next year, so we saw no harm in sending him to Camp Grammy a couple of days early.

Besides, it one less trip we have to make to get him there.


The Boat goes into the shop tomorrow to fix the problem I wrote about here. While it will mean a little bit of walking on my part (I'll have to park the car at the boat yard where The Boat resides, move the boat to the shop, which is on the other side of the cove, and walk back around the cove to get back to the car), it will be such a nice day tomorrow that I won't mind that one bit.

After taking care of some medical appointments I have earlier in the day, I figure I can get The Boat where it needs to go before they close up shop for the day.


John Stossel shows us that even with a change in eminent domain laws in many states, a man's home (or business property) may still be taken from him by a town or city wishing to cash in on promises of more tax revenue. At least in one case the property owners were able to convince on big corporation to back away from that kind of deal.


Jay Tea gets into an analysis on the differences between conservatives and liberals when it comes to immigration (conservatives see the difference between legal and illegal immigrants while liberals apparently don't), gay marriage/civil unions, and abortion.

He's stirred up a lively discussion about all three topics.


Jay Tea also discusses another idea that I believe has some merit – an American version of France's Légion Étrangère, or Foreign Legion – that would give immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, a path to American citizenship.

While such a path is available for legal immigrants by joining the US Armed Forces, no such path exists for legal immigration wannabes.


If the Republicans running for President haven't been paying attention to Fred Thompson before, they are now.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the streets and roads no longer reverberate with the exhaust notes of thousands of motorcycles, people can sleep without disturbance, and where the summer folk will soon be here in droves.


Maybe It's Time For Lieberman To Cross The Aisle

The more I hear from and about Joe Lieberman, the more I am convinced that he now resides in the wrong party. With the large leftwards shift in the Democratic Party, Lieberman and his beliefs seem to have been abandoned by them. The first big indication of that was when the Democratic Party endorsed and supported his challenger in the Connecticut state primary because Lieberman had the gall to support the war in Iraq. They showed him that there's no room in the party for a moderate Democrat like him.

His latest piece in the Wall Street Journal's OnlineJournal about what he saw in Iraq during his last visit has many of the lefty bloggers calling for his resignation because he's somehow a traitor to the party of surrender.

Unlike Senator Harry Reid, Joe Lieberman understands what's at stake in Iraq and that the biggest mistake we could make is to abandon the Iraqi people during their time of need, to give up the fight against Al Qaeda.

In Baghdad, however, discussions with the talented Americans responsible for leading this fight are more balanced, more hopeful and, above all, more strategic in their focus--fixated not just on the headline or loss of the day, but on the larger stakes in this struggle, beginning with who our enemies are in Iraq. The officials I met in Baghdad said that 90% of suicide bombings in Iraq today are the work of non-Iraqi, al Qaeda terrorists. In fact, al Qaeda's leaders have repeatedly said that Iraq is the central front of their global war against us. That is why it is nonsensical for anyone to claim that the war in Iraq can be separated from the war against al Qaeda--and why a U.S. pullout, under fire, would represent an epic victory for al Qaeda, as significant as their attacks on 9/11.

Some of my colleagues in Washington claim we can fight al Qaeda in Iraq while disengaging from the sectarian violence there. Not so, say our commanders in Baghdad, who point out that the crux of al Qaeda's strategy is to spark Iraqi civil war.

The precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces would not only throw open large parts of Iraq to domination by the radical regime in Tehran, it would also send an unmistakable message to the entire Middle East--from Lebanon to Gaza to the Persian Gulf where Iranian agents are threatening our allies--that Iran is ascendant there, and America is in retreat. One Arab leader told me during my trip that he is extremely concerned about Tehran's nuclear ambitions, but that he doubted America's staying power in the region and our political will to protect his country from Iranian retaliation over the long term. Abandoning Iraq now would substantiate precisely these gathering fears across the Middle East that the U.S. is becoming an unreliable ally.

That is why--as terrible as the continuing human cost of fighting this war in Iraq is--the human cost of losing it would be even greater.

Lieberman gets it, in some cases even better than many Republicans. He certainly understands why our remaining in Iraq is so important. I think I can better explain the last line of his I quoted by using the tagline from an old Fram Oil Filter TV ad from a few decades ago:

“You can pay me now. Or you can pay me later.”

I think the price to be paid to deal with Al Qaeda now will be magnitudes smaller than if we have to deal with a more powerful and emboldened Al Qaeda in the future if we let them win in Iraq by ceding it to them because our Democratic majority Congress was too partisan, too blind, or too stupid to see what the consequences would be.


Congressional Democrats Crossing Constitutional Lines?

With the Democratic majority Congress going after the Bush administration with a passion not seen since Watergate, it makes me wonder why they've created such a brouhaha over the firing of 8 US Attorneys.

They didn't squawk when Bill Clinton's Attorney General, Janet Reno, fired all 93 US Attorneys. The Dems may say that the firing of the eight was politically motivated. But wasn't that also true of the firing of all 93 during the Clinton Administration?

It's like they've blinded themselves to the fact that no matter what, all of the US attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President of the Untied States, not the Democratic Party.

With Bush Derangement Syndrome having seemingly infected the Democrats in Congress, they have pushed themselves into a possible constitutional conflict that they may come to regret.


One Last Chance To Wrest Away Control Of NH Schools From The Courts

The battle over education funding in New Hampshire is heating up again.

Not one, but two state constitutional amendments about education are in the hands of the state Senate. All that we can do is hope that at least one of them will pass. Let's hope that it comes to pass, otherwise the state Supreme Court will step in and decide for the people of New Hampshire what constitutes an adequate education and the amount needed to fund it.

Never mind that it is damn near impossible to make a one-size-fits-all solution work in this state mainly because the needs of each town's school system is different. Never mind that such a thing will remove all control of the school systems from the towns and hand it over to a state bureaucracy. Never mind that it will inevitably destroy the quality of our school systems and make them equally mediocre and inadequate like so many other states that have taken control of the schools. Never mind that the people will have no say in how much of our tax money will or will not be spent on education.

If the legislature fails to act on these amendments we will have allowed an activist court to step over the line of the constitutionally mandated separation of powers and take on the duties and powers of both the legislative and executive branches to tax and spend.


Another Round Of Browser Wars?

Is a yet another round of the so-called browser wars about to erupt?

First it was Netscape vs. IE. Then IE vs. Firefox. The IE versus Firefox again. Opera also snuck in there as well. But now we're going to see a new entry into the fray:


Apparently Apple has ported its Safari web browser to Windows and is pushing it as faster and better than either IE or Firefox.

Windows may be the punch line for Steve Jobs' jokes, but the world's most popular operating system is getting serious and perhaps unwelcome support from Apple.

Monday at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2007 in San Francisco, Apple's CEO said that his company's Safari Web browser now works under Windows.


Jobs ran a performance comparison between Safari Public Beta 3 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 using VeriTest's iBench Version 5.0. Safari loaded Web pages in half the time it took Internet Explorer.

In the iBench test, Safari loaded Web pages up in nearly half the amount of time the same job took Firefox 2.

Firefox 3 is in alpha release at the moment but is slated for beta release in July. It will be interesting to see if Firefox 3 can match Safari's performance.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Motorcycle Week has arrived in the Lakes Region. While there aren't all that many bikers here yet, the numbers will swell as we approach next weekend. After a brief jaunt out on the lake yesterday morning I headed over the Lakeside Diner for breakfast. It will be the last trip there until after Bike Week because it will be crowded with the motorcyclists visiting the area for the festivities.


Fred Thompson will be visiting New Hampshire on June 28th to speak at the Senate Republican PAC fundraiser to be held in Bedford, just outside of the city Manchester.


Speaking of Fred, the latest AP-Ipsos poll shows him in third place at 17% behind Rudy Giuliani and John McCain and ahead of Mitt Romney. Not bad considering Fred hasn't even declared his candidacy yet.


Are the world's left-wing 'ecologists' really nothing more than closet bigots that have no regard for the very people they say they are supposedly helping? From some of their actions I'd have to say they are. They don't seem to care anything about the people they are 'saving from the modern world' if, by their actions, they end up extending the misery and shortening the lives of these people.

One could justifiably call it eco-manslaughter — or a racist experiment on powerless, impoverished Third World families.

Would any of the greens, politicians and celebrities who clamor to keep the world's poor "indigenous" (and thus impoverished, energy-deprived and diseased) care to live that lifestyle for even one month? Would they exchange their 10,000-square-foot mansions for a hovel, give up electricity and stop globe-trotting in private jets?

Not likely.

It is hypocrisy to a level I haven't seen in years.


George Will warns us that the Democrats want to raise taxes, but know that in doing so they may quash the economic growth that the Reagan and Bush tax cuts helped create.

Somehow some of the Democrats seem to think that the tax system could be more “fair”, but as anyone knows, any tax system is inherently unfair. Somebody somewhere gets taxed out of proportion to everyone else.

Now if we could only get Congress to get rid of the Alternative Minimum Tax, the one that was supposed to “tax the rich”, but is now hitting many middle income families with a heavy tax burden. It was the Democrats that got this into the tax code, but made the mistake of not indexing it to inflation. Now many taxpayers that were never meant to be affected by the AMT are forced to pay it.

Will they fix the problem any time soon? I doubt it. After all, in many of the more radical Democrats minds you're “rich” if you have a job.


BeezleBub, Deb, and I took a late afternoon/early evening cruise out on the lake today. Most of the weekenders were either gone or coming in from the lake as we were heading out.

The one thing that we noticed was the amount of pollen floating on the water, no matter where we cruised. It was like a green tinged lace blanket on the surface.

We made it over to Weirs Beach to check out the motorcycle traffic along Lakeside Avenue. It's really starting to get busy. Hopefully we'll get a chance to spend some time walking amongst the bikers next weekend.


Jeff Soyer illustrates for us once again how disarming the law abiding populace only leads to more gun violence, not less. This time it's Chicago's turn to learn the lesson.


So much attention has been paid to Paris Hilton's jailing and her so-called medical condition. I'm sorry, but this isn't really news. It is something that does nothing more than feed this vacuous, spoiled, untalented young woman's ego. Folks, she's famous for being famous and for having the morals of an alley cat.

That people are actually signing petitions to get her freed from jail merely illustrates how horribly empty their lives are. She's guilty of driving drunk and then violating the conditions of her probation. She has to pay the price, otherwise she will come to believe she is above the law (Oh, wait, she already does!) and that her actions will have no consequences. The 45 days of jail time will certainly disabuse her of that notion. She'll be less likely to pull that kind of stunt again.

Let's face it, if any one of use had been convicted of drunk driving, the chances are we wouldn't have gotten probation. And if we did, we'd be put in the slammer without all the brouhaha and media attention.

We should let her fade away into the obscurity she so richly deserves.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the bikers are arriving in droves, the lake is still not seeing the kind of boat traffic we're used to, and where schools have a little over a week before they're out for the summer.


New Hampshire Refuses To Back Real ID

At least we're seeing some sanity from the New Hampshire legislature from time to time. The latest bit of sanity was the New Hampshire House vote to ban the state from participating in the federal Real ID program.

Calling the federal Real ID Act "repugnant" to the state and federal constitutions, New Hampshire lawmakers have voted to join other states in rejecting the federal Real ID Act as tantamount to requiring a national ID card.

The House voted Thursday to send a bill to Gov. John Lynch that would bar the state from complying with the federal law, which sets standards for state-issued driver's licenses. Lynch's spokesman said Friday the governor will sign it.

Real ID opponents said the state needed to send a clear statement that the federal government went too far in threatening individual privacy.

The first time this kind of legislation was filed it was tabled, but this time around the Legislature had a better idea of what Real ID would cost to implement and maintain and wanted nothing to do with it. Even with a $3 million federal grant for startup costs, it would have cost New Hampshire an additional $10 million per year to maintain the system.

One of the biggest fears expressed by opponents was that the federal driver license database would become “a target for thieves looking to steal identities.”

Real ID was a bad idea. Maybe Washington will finally come to realize it and Congress will do something about it.

I'm not going to hold my breath.

NH Dems Kill Education Funding Amendment

We had a chance to finally settle the education funding problem, wresting control of state education aid away from the courts and returning it to the legislature, where it belongs. While the state constitutional amendment wasn't absolutely perfect, it would have done the job. It was a truly bipartisan effort to get state aid to the school systems that really needed it. But then one partisan hack decided she couldn't make a compromise that would have assured passage of the amendment. She stuck by her guns, thumbed her nose at the governor, who wanted the amendment to pass and had worked hard to make it happen, and at the members of the other party that had worked so hard to come to an accord.

Some may think that the holdout was a Republican from the way she ignored the pleas of the governor. But they'd be wrong. She's a Democrat. In a fit of pique she had undone months of work by Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to take back control of our schools from the state Supreme Court. What's worse is that her fellow Democrats tried to make sure that once the amendment failed that it would stay dead.

It makes me wonder if the Democratic leadership in the state really wants to fix the problem. I can see the fallout of the amendment's being the imposition of some kind of broadbased tax, like a sales or income tax. That would flood the state coffers with even more money they could spend on all other kinds of social engineering projects they have in mind...for a short period of time. But the flood would then turn to a trickle and businesses might consider that the state is no longer quite a friendly place, tax wise, to do business.

Oh, and would any of that tax money actually go to education or local property tax relief? If history is any indicator, the answer is a resounding 'No'.


Fred Thompson - An Analysis

John Fund of OpinionJournal gives us this analysis of Fred Thompson's chances and how thins will change when he moves away from his non-campaign campaign and starts campaigning in earnest. He covers his strengths and weaknesses and mentions that once he announces his candidacy the media will be on him like a pack of wolves.


Could This Be The Answer To The Question Of Fusion?

It seems that energy has been on everybody's minds lately. Oil prices, gas prices, wind power, solar power, nuclear power, NIMBY (Not In My Back yard), BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone), hybrids, ethanol, fuel cells, hydrogen, and a whole host of other energy related topics have been making the rounds in the media and the blogosphere. But rarely have we heard about fusion.

What are the advantages of fusion? Probably the biggest one is the availability of fuel. Unlike conventional nuclear plants, which require highly processed uranium fuel that has to be mined, refined, enriched, then put into fuel assemblies, fusion fuel can be found in a glass of water. That fuel happens to be two heavy isotopes of hydrogen – deuterium and tritium.

Fusion research has been going on for decades. And for decades scientists and engineers have been saying that fusion “is twenty years away.” Even after all this time and with billions of dollars already spent and we're still twenty years away from fusion.

So far everybody that's tried to create a sustained fusion reaction have failed. However, someone else is going to give it a try: Robert Bussard. And he may just have the answer everyone's been looking for.

While DOE funded projects have been trying to use inertial confinement, laser induced fusion and tokamak (toroidal magnetic) confinement techniques to create a sustained nuclear fusion reaction for years, none has been able to produce such a reaction for more than a few fractions of a second. The equipment used is very expensive, very large, extremely complex and requiring precision alignment of every part.

Bussard's fusion chamber, on the other hand, resembles a cube with six cylindrical magnets as the sides. No toroidal chambers designed to handle plasmas with temperatures approaching that of the sun. No massive cooling systems. No residual radiation. No high pressure steam pipes or turbines. No precision alignment required for the laser systems. No lasers.

Bussard figures he can build his full power reactor for about $200 million. If he can pull it off, it would mean a revolutionary change in the energy industry. Fusion power plants could be built for a few hundred million dollars, with siting of such plants becoming a non-issue, and fuel being virtually inexhaustible. And, should Bussard succeed, it's quite possible that the cheap electric power generated by these reactors could also fuel the hydrogen economy, making it economic to use electrolysis to generate hydrogen in copious amounts.

This could be the end of the fossil fuel era.

It's about frickin' time.


Blindsided By The Left In New Hampshire

I thought that it might be just a few of us here in my home town that believed that the voters in New Hampshire were deceived by many of the state's Democrats during the 2006 campaign, with very few of them actually explaining their agenda to the voters. If they had, I believe very few of them would have been elected.

But we weren't the only ones caught off guard by their stealth agenda, and we aren't the only ones who are pissed off by such a deception.

On Thursday Gov. John Lynch signed legislation creating civil unions for same-sex couples and officially recognizing same-sex marriages from out of state as legal unions under state law. It was a dramatic change for which New Hampshire was not ready.


Such a substantial social change should have been made slowly, with greater deliberation and more citizen participation. But the Democrats in Concord knew that the New Hampshire people were not ready for such a cultural shift, and so they denied the people the opportunity to vote directly on this change. Most even avoided campaigning on it last fall or, as with Gov. Lynch, were less than honest about their position.

Some of those commenting on the editorial above seem to have missed the point about it.

"Government is supposed to protect the weak from the strong, not dictate everyone's behavior. When it does so, it moves backwards, not forwards. Progress is the movement toward greater liberty." Do those words sound familiar? They were the words used by this same editorial page (yesterday, in fact) to describe the house passing the smoking ban. However, the civil union law, which extends rights and increases individual freedom, is met with the same disdain and loathing. This law, however, takes nothing away from anyone. No one is restricted in any way.

It isn't so much what was done. It was how it was done. It wasn't out in the open. It was never brought up during the campaigns last year. It was kept very low key. That is not how you are supposed to deal with an issue that Ray Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, called ”the most important issue of the legislative session.” I'm sorry, but there were far more important issues the legislature needs to deal with, and a measure that affects a very small minority doesn't quite measure up to the education funding crisis our state faces, something that will affect everyone living in New Hampshire. The legislature has a deadline it needs to meet and instead it was futzing around with something that should have been more open and could have waited a little while longer.

This isn't the only issue that the state's Democrats have decided that we're either too stupid or too backwards to make our own decisions about.

They want to ban smoking in all restaurants even though a majority of them are already smoke free. The few that are not are a last refuge for those patrons that may be incapable of kicking the habit – a legal habit – but still want to enjoy the ambience of a restaurant or bar. It may be a shrinking demographic, but they have rights, too. Who are the Democrats to say no?

They also want to roll back some of the restrictions on our state's welfare system. One, by the way, that has been very successful in moving people off of welfare and into the work force with decent paying jobs and is a model that other states have been emulating. These roll backs will not make the system better but will instead move us one or two steps back towards the old system, one that didn't work.

They have expanded state spending by 16% but haven't been able to do that without some legislative sleight-of-hand, raising taxes and fees in places that they thought we wouldn't notice.

Guess what? We noticed. And we don't like it.

Their next target is transfats. Like New York City, the nannyists in the legislature have decided that they have to step in to protect us from ourselves, even though we are more capable then they are when it comes to that. The Dems believe that what's good for New York, a downright ban on transfats of any sort in restaurant food, is good for us...except that history has shown us that what's good for New York is usually bad for us. Again they figure they know better than we do.

I have no doubt that at some point they will find a way to create some kind of financial crisis that can only be solved by some kind of broad-based tax, giving them even more of our hard earned money to waste on programs, laws and other things we neither want or need.

Of course they didn't share their plans during their campaigns. They knew the would have lost the elections if they had told the electorate what the had in mind.

Perhaps on election day in November 2008 we can correct that mistake.


Thoughts On A Sunday

I had to pinch myself.

Deb, BeezleBub and I were out on Lake Winnipesaukee late yesterday morning, a time when the lake is usually crawling with thousands of boats. The water is usually very rough because of the wake driven chop.

But we were out at noon on a Saturday when the weather was great and there was nary a boat in sight. I think we came across all of 15 boats in the hour or so we were out on the lake. The water was calm, in some places as smooth as glass.

It could have been the threat of severe thunderstorms later in the day, or perhaps high gas prices on the lake (~$3.58/gallon) that kept people from venturing out. On the other hand, it was probably that schools are still in session so only a small percentage of the usual weekenders made the trip up to the lake that accounts for the light boat traffic.

In any case, we aren't complaining.


The first of the two “First In The Nation” debates takes place here in New Hampshire tonight. The first up will be the Democrats, followed by the Republicans on Tuesday evening.

WMUR's website will have a number of links that are supposed to “enhance the experience”, including a real-time response graph the candidates words, a web-only camera view, as well as 15 bloggers – 5 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 5 Independents – selected by WMUR to live blog the debates.

Frankly, I think it's too damn early to be running debates between the candidates. There are too many of them and they will more than likely give answers that are too vague to be of any use to anyone watching the debates.


I was again a guest/host (ghost?) on yesterday's Meet The New Press. Well, for the last half hour, at least. I talked about Fred Thompson's imminent announcement of his candidacy, the formation of an exploratory committee, and his so-far successful “non-campaign” campaign.

We also discussed New Hampshire's new civil union law, how it is flawed, and how it was nothing that was ever brought up by Democratic candidates for the New Hampshire House and Senate during their campaigns last fall.

The New Hampshire Democrats have been pushing a far left agenda since taking both chambers of the legislature, increasing the state budget by 16%, hiking taxes, passing nanny-state laws (smoking bans, mandatory seat belts, outlawing transfats in restaurants, trying to return our state's welfare system to one that never worked and ensures continuing dependence on welfare just to name a few), and basically trying to bring about the same miserable conditions that exist just south of the border in Massachusetts.

Our two representatives to the US House are no different. Never once during their campaigns did they mention that they would out-spend, out-pork, and out-tax the Republicans they wanted to replace.

The consensus in the studio seemed to be that the many of the Democrats voted in last November may find that they will be voted out in November 2008 because of the under-the-radar agendas that came out into the open once they were in office have pissed off the electorate.


Lorie Byrd tries to answer the question “Who are the real terrorists?” raised by the unlamented Rosie O'Donnell. One of the biggest problems is that too many in America, including many of our own politicians, don't know the answer. Now that's scary.


I don't know about you, but I am tired of the way white males are portrayed on TV, in movies, ads, and more often than not, in divorce court. We are constantly made to look like morons, incapable of tying our own shoes let alone head up a household, or worse, child abusers.

Someone else tired of it as well is Rebecca Hagelin, who expresses her disdain of the practice, as do a number of those commenting on an earlier column about the subject.


One thing I can say with pride is that BeezleBub is pretty handy with tools. He has a mechanical aptitude that goes beyond his years. Now after weeks of reading Glenn Reynolds writing about and linking to posts and articles how so many of our youth have no aptitude with tools and can't seem to fix anything, another voice also chimes in, making comparisons between us old farts and the younger generation.

The Wacky Hermit seems to think the problem stems from the fact that so many things these days aren't repairable, mostly for cost reasons (Why fix a broken VCR or DVD player when the cost of fixing it is more than the price of buying a new one?)

I think she has a point.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the lake is quiet, the “summah people” are not, and where my son and I can actually spend time fixin' things.

Fred Thompson Roundup II

With the buzz about Fred Thompson's formation of an exploratory committee, it's time to see what the various pundits are saying, as well as reading what the man himself has been saying.

First, there's Professor Bainbridge, listing the reasons why he likes Fred.

Then there's what Mike Corallo called “drinking from a fire hose” in regards to the response of Politico's report that Fred was quickly moving towards a presidential campaign.

Jonah Goldberg also chimes in on Fred's imminent run for the White House, saying “Better off Fred?”

Race 4 2008 points out that anti-Southern bigotry might hurt Fred Thompson's chances, according to a comment made by Hugh Hewitt during his radio show.

The Washington Post covered Fred's speech in Richmond, Virginia at the Virginia GOP gala, giving him high marks for covering points that conservatives have held to be dear.

Then there's this directly from Fred, opining about Hugo Chavez's efforts to complete the conversion of Venezuela from a democracy to a socialist dictatorship and how it bodes ill for the US if we take no actions to counter Chavez's support of anti-Americanism and Cuban-style socialism throughout South and Central America.

Last, but not least, there was a segment on Fred on in today's Meet The Press. All of the panelists thought that Fred could be one to make the Republican race more interesting. The consensus was that it is not too late for him to enter, even if he waits another month or so.


NH Senate Kills Mandatory Seatbelt Bill

At least New Hampshire's legislature got something right this session.

The New Hampshire Senate voted to kill the mandatory seatbelt bill (HB802) by a margin of 16 to 8.

It seems that the legislature is hellbent on converting the Granite State into the Granny State, passing laws about smoking in restaurants, bars, and pubs, transfats in restaurant foods, and so on. It used to be that we were a state filled with people willing and able to make their own decisions about their lives. But this legislature, recently turned to a Democratic majority due to the voters dismay with President Bush, seemed to think that they were voted in to pursue a liberal busybody agenda that has so far boosted state spending by 16%, passed a civil union law, and is pointing us down a road where the towns and cities will soon lose control over their own school systems. Somehow these legislators think that they were voted in because we all liked them and their spendthrift agendas. But what rally happened was that voters didn't so much as vote them in as vote against the incumbents. I have a feeling that many of the new Democrats in the House and Senate may find that they won't win re-election because of their “we know better than you” attitudes.

But the State Senate showed some backbone in killing the seatbelt legislation, something that most people in New Hampshire were very much against.

Now if we could get them to repeal the civil union law (flawed) and the 16% state budget increase....


Fred Thompson One Step Closer To Announcing

This was the post I was working on when my Internet connection went away, as mentioned in the post preceding this one. It may not be as timely as it was yesterday, but I'm going to post it anyways, though greatly abbreviated and updated (for tense) as compared to its original form.


If anyone has any doubts that Fred Thompson is serious about making a run for the White House, he's surely removed any doubt.

His announcement that he's forming an exploratory committee is but the first step towards openly declaring his candidacy.

Unlike many of the other candidates, he's not exactly starting at the bottom.

Thompson would join a crowded GOP field, but polls indicate he would start in a strong position. Recent national surveys of Republican voters have shown Thompson with double-digit support, tied with or slightly ahead of Sen. John McCain. In most national surveys former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani leads all GOP contenders.

Thompson has a dedicated band of supporters, many of them former Ronald Reagan activists, who have mounted a determined "Draft Fred" movement over the past several months.

It appears that the “Draft Fred” movement has had its desired affect. It has also had the effect of making it more difficult for some of the less well known or financed Republican candidates. One in particular will have to deal with name recognition issues: Tommy Thompson.

The other day I heard on the radio that “Thompson was visiting in the Lakes Region” of New Hampshire and I immediately thought they were talking about Fred Thompson. It wasn't until later in the day when I caught the evening news I realized they were talking about Tommy Thompson. That's going to work against him, particularly once Fred announces.

Run, Fred, Run!