Fred On Gun Control And His Guns

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

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


EEOC Discriminating Against Those Who Speak English

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

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

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

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


Ignorance About Our Democracy Emperils Same

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

It's a scary read:

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

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

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

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

"The two parties are exactly the same."

"Congress is bought and paid for."

"Elections are just a front for corporations."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A Brit's View On Global Warming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Count me in as a Type D.


Thoughts On A Sunday

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Read The Whole Thing.


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


Fred Thompson Visits Central New Hampshire

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

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

Writes Skip:

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

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

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

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


The Forgotten Lesson

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

But they won't.

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

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

Andrew Sullivan On Thanksgiving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


New Hampshire Primary

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

It's about time.

Conservatives Aren't Ignoring Global Warming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the outside looking in, I’m afraid.

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Black Screen Of Nothingness

Things did not bode well Sunday.

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

.....The Black Screen Of Nothingness.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thoughts On A Sunday

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

But that 'idiot' is right.


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

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

E=mc2, dude!

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


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

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

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

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


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

How screwed up is that?


Another note on global warming:

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

(H/T Instapundit)


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


Windows Vista - Hate It Or Hate It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Keeping The Internet Open For Everyone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Lieberman Speaks Out Against Democrats

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

Now it's Joe Lieberman getting his licks in.

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

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

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

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

(H/T Libertarian Leanings)


The Stock Market, Free Trade, And Recessions

George Will looks at the anti-free trade leanings of the Democrats and, in the process, points out how we should remember that the stock market has predicted nine of the last three recessions.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It's a bit of a lazy weekend here at The Manse. There's no yard work that needs to be done...at least not right now. The New England Patriots have a bye week, so there's no game to get all hyped up about. There's no snow to shovel and no leaves to rake.

About the biggest thing we've dealt with so far is a trip to Alton to fix a friend's computer and some grocery shopping. There are a few small chores that BeezleBub and I will be tackling during the day today, but nothing that requires a large truck or power tools.

A weekend like this doesn't happen all that often. I'm enjoying it to the max!


One of my pet peeves, a minor one, is when going to one of the local restaurants for breakfast we find ourselves being served by a nice but totally disorganized member of the wait staff.

The other morning Deb, BeezleBub, and I went to one of our favorite diners and sat down in one of the booths. The waitress quickly came over and took our drink order, and delivered it a few moments later. That's the last we saw of her at our booth for well over fifteen minutes. It wasn't that she wasn't out doing her job. Rather she seemed a bit scatterbrained and would suddenly halt in mid-stride, change direction and go off in another direction to do something else while ignoring her primary function. She'd take an order and, rather than taking it to the order window at the kitchen, go off and do something else. The order she'd just written up would stay in her hand for 5 or 10 minutes before she'd remember to drop it off. In the mean time she'd stop by one booth or another, set the patrons up with their beverages, and go off to who knows where.

I watched her for a good 15 minutes, waiting for her to return to our booth to take our order. I said to Deb, “If she's not here by 5 past, we're outta here.”

She finally took our order, walked towards the order window, stopped at the cash register and started tallying some of the paid order slips. Of course she was still holding our order slip in her hand even though she was all of 5 steps away from the order window.

Normally we wouldn't have been in a 'hurry' (I'm using that term loosely), but we did have somewhere else we needed to be. We'd figured that an hour was plenty of time to get some breakfast and then be on our way. But not this particular morning.

To continue, after seeing our waitress continuing her tally work for another 5 minutes without dropping off our slip to the kitchen, I realized there was no way we would be getting our breakfasts in a timely manner. So I got up from the booth, went over to the waitress, and canceled our order. At this point almost 30 minutes had passed since we'd sat down at our booth. (No, it wasn't busy that morning. If anything there were quite a few empty tables and booths, so it wasn't that they were dealing with a morning crush of customers.)

I realize that this waitress wasn't one of the regular members of the wait staff, but that doesn't excuse the total disorganization she displayed. It was almost as if she was suffering from ADD.

Maybe she was.


When I saw this over at Not Exactly Rocket Science I suffered from a severe flashback. What was it?

A 1977 JC Penney catalog.

Head on over and check it out and follow the link Caltechgirl has provided.

I haven't seen that much polyester in one place in a very very long time.


I am not supporting MADD on this one.

I have no problem with members of the US Armed Forces between the ages of 18 and 21 being allowed to drink on base.

Some of those commenting to the post linked above seem to forget the drinking laws are on a state-by-state basis and not at the federal level. Also, military law applies on base.

If they're old enough to vote, old enough to fight and die for our country, I feel they should have the right to tip back a cold one now and then.


Raven has started moderating the comments on her blog, and for a good reason: there are some seriously deranged leftists out there that have the impression free speech is only for them.

Her latest post about moderated comments was inspired by a post by San Francisco conservative Cinnamon Stillwell about the hate mail and hate-filled comments she receives from the supposedly tolerant Left.

After reading the particular Lefty rant left on her blog, all I can say is “How Orwellian!”

We've been fortunate enough here at Weekend Pundit to have avoided the kind of comments or e-mails experienced by Raven and Cinnamon. But I figure that it's just a matter of time.


The lack of affordable housing is making itself felt on the Seacoast area of New Hampshire.

It seems funny to be talking about the lack of housing at a time when the number of foreclosures is increasing nationwide, but it is a problem. The Seacoast area of New Hampshire is one of the most expensive places in the continental US when it comes to the cost of housing. The high prices make it difficult, if not impossible for the average wage earner working on the Seacoast to afford a place to live anywhere near where they're employed. They usually have to live quite some distance from their place of employment because of the high cost of housing, which in turn causes problems for businesses on the Seacoast:

Good customer service seems like a thing of the past in many Seacoast establishments, because commercial operations cannot find quality employees because the employees cannot afford to live on the Seacoast.

Local companies may choose to open new facilities in other areas, rather than expand in the Seacoast area, because of a lack of workers with affordable housing.

New college graduates are finding jobs in other parts of New Hampshire, or out-of-state, even though there are many opportunities in Greater Portsmouth, because the cost of housing is lower elsewhere.

There is a shortage of teachers, nurses, aides, and technicians of all kinds in schools, hospitals and businesses in the area, because people cannot afford to buy a home.

The problem isn't limited just to New Hampshire, but elsewhere in the nation, too. What good are jobs in an area where potential workers can't find housing they can afford? This is something both industry and local governments are going to have to work on to solve the problem. (In many cases local government is the cause of the problem, as described in the article linked above.)


It's not just high housing prices causing problems for the wage earner, it's also being able to afford to heat the homes they've been lucky enough to find.

Heating oil and propane prices have climbed above $3 per gallon in southern Maine and will do likewise in New Hampshire soon enough, if it hasn't already. If a family uses 800 to 1000 gallons of oil or propane to heat their home over the winter, that's $2400 to $3000 they'll have to shell out just to stay warm over the next 5 to 6 months. That may not be a strain for some folks, but they're the exception.

Thank goodness we heat with wood.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where winter-like temps have descended, heating oil prices have ascended, and where we've got enough firewood to keep us going through the winter.

A Democrat Slams The Democrats

First, it's Karl Rove hammering on the congressional Democrats for their get-nothing-done-but-say-we're-doing-things record since they became the majority.

Then, it's the Democrat's own Joe Biden slamming the Democrats because they have “lost their faith in the American people in terms of leveling with them.”

I guess that's because they think that the American people are too stupid to be able to make their own choices.

When [Biden] asks groups of Democrats if they think the American people are stupid because they elected George W. Bush twice, most respond that, yes, they do, he said. He said he thinks that attitude is a real problem for the Democrats, who fail to understand how smart and pragmatic the American people really are.

Normally I'm no fan of Joe Biden, but when someone like him speaks the truth to his own party, it gives me pause. It could be that he sees far better than his colleagues (with the exception of Joe Lieberman) what they need to do and, more importantly, what they must stop doing if they want to remain the party of the people.

He said Democrats would do better if they stopped dividing the electorate by playing to their base and instead brought people together. He criticized the left wing of his party for demonizing the rich and Republicans.

"Rich folks are as patriotic as poor folks, but we don't talk that way," he said.

They also tend to forget that many of the rich became that way by working very hard and building their businesses from the ground up. The days of “the rich” being parasites that live off of inherited wealth are long gone. The rich didn't steal their wealth from the poor, an assumption that too many of the left wing of the Democratic party still make. They assume that wealth is a zero sum game, that in order for someone to get rich that someone else must become poor. That may have been true back in the days when wealth was measured by the possession of precious metals and stones. It's time for them to catch up with reality.


Ron Paul - An Endorsement

It's been some time since we heard from former WorldNetDaily Commentary Editor Tom. He e-mailed me a link to one of his latest pieces, an endorsement for Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul. Even though I am not supporter of Representative Paul, there are a few areas where I agree with him.

However, the fact that I am not one of his supporters does not preclude a friend of the Weekend Pundit clan from voicing his/her support for a different candidate.

Despite long ago repenting from being a Republican and from voting for Republicans, I must confess I am momentarily backsliding: I will be voting for Ron Paul. People from all parts of the political spectrum - including many people from the so-called "third parties," like myself - will be voting for him as well. Because of this, he has a legitimate shot at winning the presidency and doing what needs to be done to fix our nation.

Tom brings up some excellent points, so RTWT.

Paul's recent fund-raising effort took quite a few of the pundits by surprise, raising over $4 million in a very short time. I have a feeling that Mr. Paul may end up becoming far more visible to the voting public than he has up to now. If nothing else, he'll make it interesting.

"The Legend Lives On...."

“...from the Chippewa on down, of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee....”

Today is the 32nd anniversary of the sinking of the ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald, whose story was told by Gordon Lightfoot.


All Smoke - No Fire

As much as Karl Rove has been seen as a Machiavellian influence in the Bush administration, it doesn't diminish his insights into the Democrats and specifically Congressional Democrats. Hes' calling it as he sees it: all smoke and no flame. The Democrat majority Congress has managed to accomplish very little all while making a lot of noise about how much they're getting done.

This week is the one-year anniversary of Democrats winning Congress. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid probably aren't in a celebrating mood. The goodwill they enjoyed after their victory is gone. Their bright campaign promises are unfulfilled. Democratic leadership is in disarray. And Congress's approval rating has fallen to its lowest point in history.

The problems the Democrats are now experiencing begin with the federal budget. Or rather, the lack of one. In 2006, Democrats criticized Congress for dragging its feet on the budget and pledged that they would do better. Instead, they did worse. The new fiscal year started Oct. 1--five weeks ago--but Democrats have yet to send the president a single annual appropriations bill. It's been at least 20 years since Congress has gone this late in passing any appropriation bills, an indication of the mess the Pelosi-Reid Congress is now in.

Even worse, the Democrats have made clear all their talk about "fiscal discipline" is just that--talk.

Democrats promised "civility and bipartisanship." Instead, they stiff-armed their Republican colleagues, refused to include them in budget negotiations between the two houses, and have launched more than 400 investigations and made more than 675 requests for documents, interviews or testimony. They refused a bipartisan compromise on an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, instead wasting precious time sending the president a bill they knew he would veto. And they did this knowing that they wouldn't be able to override that veto. Why? Because their pollsters told them putting the children's health-care program at risk would score political points. Instead, it left them looking cynical.

Of course the situation where Congress has managed to do little may not necessarily be a bad thing. Their inability to carry through on their campaign promises may be saving the taxpayers billions of dollars in higher taxes and wasted taxpayer money going towards needless 'projects' in the form of earmarks.

It also means that the Congressional Democrats have been unable to expand the nanny-statism they so love.

That suits me just fine.


Too Many Unanswered Questions

Though this speech was given almost 3 years ago, it is still germane to the debate about global warming, or more specifically, human-caused global warming.

As Michael Crichton says, there are still too many unanswered questions to be spending billions, if not trillions of dollars to prevent a problem that may not even exist.

This is a very contentious issue, especially in environmental circles where the precautionary principle is popular.

There are some instances in which prevention is obviously the best strategy: oil slicks, radiation leaks, exposure to lead and pathogens. Thus the conversion to double-hull tankers and vaccination. It all makes sense. But inevitably things still go wrong. And when they do, we adapt. Indeed, we're so adaptable that we often demand a crisis in order to address the root cause of a problem.

So, over time, I have actually developed an affinity for adaptation, as opposed to prevention, both as a coping mechanism and as a policy predicate. I believe it's the better strategy. As Mark Twain said, "I've seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it never came to pass."

In addition, I remind you of the work of the late Aaron Wildavsky, who argued, in a very complicated analysis that you can find in "Searching for Safety," that the strategy of prevention favors the elite; adaptation favors the average person. Certainly if you look at who is advocating which strategy, it seems clear that Wildavsky was right.

The debate isn't anywhere near over.


Federalism - Is The GOP Giving It Lip Service?

It's amazing how many in the GOP seem to have forgotten the idea of federalism. You know, federalism, where the states decide what their laws will be and the federal government doesn't intrude unless those laws violate the US Constitution? Yeah, that federalism.

But there's at least one member of the GOP out there who still understands what federalism means and is sticking by his beliefs.

I think people ought to be free at state and local levels to make decisions that even Fred Thompson disagrees with. That’s what freedom is all about. And I think the diversity we have among the states, the system of federalism we have where power is divided between the state and the federal government is, is, is—serves us very, very well.

And the person saying this? Fred Thompson, of course.

That moves him even higher up on my list as far as GOP candidates go. But then he's always been at the top of the list.

Consensus Does Not Imply Truth

Despite Al Gore's claim that the consensus is that global warming is All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans©, the inconvenient truth is that there is no consensus. Too many respected climatologists, meteorologists, and other climate scientists disagree, saying that there is not enough data or that the models used to process the data are seriously flawed. Some dissenters are saying that humans have had little, if any effect on the climate and that what changes have been seen are part of a natural process.

Moonbattery has a number of links that names names of those standing up against the so-called consensus that all global warming is caused by humans. Many do not deny there is some kind of global climate change, but they do not look at humans as the cause. After all, climate change has been an ongoing phenomenon since Earth has had an atmosphere. Too many people seem to think that normal climate is what they've been experiencing during their lifetimes or the lifetimes of their parents or grandparents. But within the past 2000 years the climate worldwide has been both warmer and cooler than it has been over the past 100 years.

So what is considered 'normal' in regards to climate? I guess it depends upon each period of time one is talking about. Perhaps we should be speaking about average climate versus normal. But what would the
response of the It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans cabal if they found out the average climate for any given area on Earth is warmer than it is presently? Would they then be guilty of promoting global cooling to keep global temperatures below the' average' temperatures? It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it?

All of that notwithstanding, Al Gore's claim that there is scientific consensus should be a warning, not the end of the argument for or against anthropogenic global warming. As author and physician Michael Crichton said:

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus…

So consensus as Al Gore defines it means nothing when it comes to science, because science can not be legislated nor defined by ideology, such as Al Gore's. Science must stand on its own, and so it is with the science of global climate change.

Home Heating Costs Rising

It's no secret oil prices are rising. Drive by any gas station and you'll see prices have jumped. As I passed by one of the gas stations where I buy gas for the trusty Intrepid, I saw regular was priced at $2.97 per gallon, up almost 20¢ in about a week's time. (From what I understand prices here in the northeast aren't as high as other areas of the US.)

But as high as gas prices are, it isn't gas prices that are worrying homeowners and tenants this time of year. Instead it's #2 heating oil, natural gas, and propane costs that concerns folks in these parts. The heating season is upon us and with the higher fuel prices some families are having to find ways to reduce their heating costs or cut spending in other areas to pay for fuel.

Pressed to pay rising natural gas energy bills, a middle-aged man from Hillsborough County plans to close off his living room and bedroom to heat fewer rooms in his apartment. He also is relocating his beloved recliner, where he sleeps most nights.

"I'm going to live in the kitchen.”

Home heating oil prices have reached record levels -- an average $2.914 a gallon in the weekly statewide survey done last Monday. That's 56 cents -- or 24 percent -- higher than a year ago.

Propane costs about $2.61 per gallon here in New Hampshire. We use propane here at The Manse and would normally use between 900 and 1100 gallons for heating between mid-October and the end of April. At $2.61 that would cost us $2350 and $2970 over the heating season, or up to $442 per month. An extra $442 per month may not strain some folks budgets, but I know it would put one heck of a crimp in ours. We are fortunate because we have an alternative means of heating that will cost us about $160 to $320* for the entire heating season. It also costs a bit of sweat equity due to cutting, splitting, and stacking. It's a small price to pay in order to save a ton of cash. Unfortunately this option isn't open to a lot of other families out there.

(* That's the cost of the gasoline we've used/will use to cut, split, and transport the 3 to 4-1/2 cords of wood we'll burn this year.)

In the mean time people will bundle up and close off rooms in order to minimize their heating bills.

At least most homes in New Hampshire use less heating fuel than in the past due to upgraded insulation in existing homes and better design and insulation on newer homes. Ten years ago the average home in New Hampshire used about 1800 gallons of heating oil while today it's about half that. Even so, fuel prices have more than tripled since then, meaning consumers are spending more to heat their homes than 10 years ago. Wages haven't increased anywhere near that, so heating costs are taking a much bigger bite out of the family budget today as compared to 1997. I expect the same is true through the rest of the snow belt, though your mileage may vary.


Thoughts On A Sunday

BeezleBub spent the weekend down at the WP In-Laws, which is a good thing for him and them.

Unfortunately both Deb and I have been fighting off colds. She's done a much better job of it than I, or she has a much higher tolerance for the discomforts of a cold than I do. I was hoping that today I would feel better than yesterday or Friday. That hope has been dashed.


Dave Kopel tells us that Fred Thompson got it right and the UN got it wrong when it comes to the UN's declaration that individuals have no right to self-defense.


As time goes on I am becoming more convinced that the best way to rein in health care costs is to do away with health insurance.

Costs didn't start rising faster than inflation until health insurance became common. One good reason for that is the paperwork required by insurance takes up so much time, resources, and money to process. Health professionals must also spend time justifying treatments they believe their patients need. That also takes time and costs money.

There are a number of other factors involved, but the evidence that points to health insurance as the major cause is mounting. Doctors that have turned their backs on health insurance have found they have better control over their costs, charging far less for services than doctors accepting insurance.

(Yeah, I know I'm being repetitive. But sometimes that's the only way to get the message across.)

Proponents of some kind of national health care may cite statistics to prove that we need it, but as Gregory Mankiw tells us, don't be fooled by the numbers. They don't mean what many people think.


It was the New England Patriots (8-0) against the Indianapolis Colts (7-0) in Indianapolis this afternoon. This game has been much anticipated as it is a meeting between two undefeated and evenly matched teams.

Both teams were held scoreless during their first possessions, something unusual for them.

Frankly I think the Patriots were robbed during the first half with a pass interference call that should have been called on the Colts. They were robbed again at the beginning of the second half by a pass interference call that should have been made against the Colts. Even the TV announcers said it should have been called, showing in the instant replay of the Colts defender committing the penalty. Another offensive pass interference against the Patriots was bogus. The commentators didn't see the penalty, nor did the instant replay show any penalty. It makes me wonder about the quality of the referees at this game.

Despite the setbacks the Patriots hung in there, winning 24-20.


Fred Thompson must be doing something right. How can I tell?

The agenda-driven press is trying very hard to discredit him.


Doug Lambert warns us the present crop of Democrat Presidential hopefuls are playing into the hands of the Islamofascists by promising to ensure our defeat in Iraq by withdrawing our troops just when we are on the verge of victory. This is the same thing the Democrats did to us during the war in Vietnam, and we know how that turned out.

As Doug explains in detail, they are giving aid and comfort to the enemy, which the US Constitution defines as treason.

Maybe it's time for the Dems to realize that they're supposed to be on our side, not that of the Islamofascists. Whether they realize it or not, we are in a war for our very survival against these extremists.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where fall is in full swing, the smell of woodsmoke fills the air, and where we have yet to fire up the furnace.


More On Illegal Immigration

Here's another view about why giving illegal immigrants drivers licenses may not be such a great idea, and why the US should consider emulating Rudi Giuliani's no-tolerance policy when he was mayor of New York City, applying it to illegal immigration.

Who Do You Believe? Let's Go To The Video Tape...

Bruce has a follow-up on the NYT blogger/Fred Thompson kerfuffle, where events the Times blogger reported and what actually happened do not resemble one another.

As Bruce writes about one commenter to his original post questioning the veracity of his take on the events:

Translated: Where is the proof that this video footage of Fred Thompson walking out of the Secretary of State's office on the second floor of the State House in Concord to an assembled group of supporters is actually video footage of Fred Thompson walking out of the Secretary of State's office on the second floor of the State House in Concord to an assembled group of supporters, as Ms. Hauser wrote about?

Of course, Bruce does cop to the possibility that the video was staged, as laid out by this commenter:

I don't know Bruce. This person makes a good point. It's much harder to just go to an event than it is to create a life-sized robotic Fred Thompson, hire a bunch of actors to form an "assembled group of supporters" and completely renovate your basement to look exactly like the second floor of the State House in Concord.

What they can do with video editing computers these days!


A Sure Path To Voter Fraud

In their efforts to make it easier for citizens of the US register to vote, Democrats pushed hard for so-called motor-voter legislation. All someone needed was a valid drivers license in order to register to vote. The idea was that if it was easier to register to vote that more people would vote. It appears that they were right.

But there's a hitch. If some of the Democrats get their way, illegal immigrants will be able to get valid drivers licenses. That means under the provisions of the motor-voter law they would also be able to vote.

Sen. Hillary Clinton was asked during a debate this week if she supported New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. At first she seemed to endorse the idea, then claimed, "I did not say that it should be done, but I certainly recognize why Governor Spitzer is trying to do it."

The next day she took a firmer stand (sort of) by offering general support for Gov. Spitzer's approach, but adding that she hadn't studied his specific plan. She should, and so should the rest of us. It stops just short of being an engraved invitation for people to commit voter fraud.

The background here is the National Voter Registration Act, commonly known as "Motor Voter," that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1993. It required all states to offer voter registration to anyone getting a driver's license. One simply fills out a form and checks a box stating he is a citizen; he is then registered and in most states does not have to show any ID to vote.

But no one checks if the person registering to vote is indeed a citizen. That greatly concerns New York election officials, who processed 245,000 voter registrations at DMV offices last year. "It would be [tough to catch] if someone wanted to . . . get a number of people registered who aren't citizens and went ahead and got them drivers' licenses," says Lee Daghlian, spokesman for New York's Board of Elections. Assemblywoman Ginny Fields, a Long Island Democrat, warns that the state's "Board of Elections has no voter police" and that the state probably has upwards of 500,000 illegal immigrants old enough to drive.

Is this what they've been planning all along? Massive voter fraud in an effort to ensure that Democrats will always be the majority at local, state, and national level? They seem to be the ones supporting the push to allow illegal immigrants to get drivers licenses. It's a push to abrogate long standing immigration laws by legitimizing people here in the US illegally. The fact that they are here shows that they already hold our laws in contempt. What's one more bit of illegal activity like voter fraud after that?

Why do I imply that it will be Democrats that will benefit from such voter fraud? If memory serves correctly (and I make no claim to infallible memory), it's been Democrats that have apparently benefited most from voter fraud over the years. Despite accusations that it is Republicans that are the only ones capable of committing this kind of fraud (made mostly be Democrats with an ax to grind), the truth is that the Democrats have pulled of such frauds in the past. It hasn't been uncommon for Democrats to win elections where a considerable number of voters happened to be dead. Some even voted more than once. (Richard J. Daley, late mayor of Chicago, won more than a few elections during his 20 years in office by being a favorite of the dead.)

But if illegal immigrants are allowed to get drivers licenses, the fraud could take place on an unprecedented level, undermining confidence in our electoral system and giving illegal aliens political power they should not have.

This idea of giving illegal immigrants legal ID is a bad idea, one that I believe to be unconstitutional. States are as bound by the US Constitution as any other governmental entity, and immigration is the purview of the federal government, not the states. This is something that New York governor Eliot Spitzer should understand. He's a lawyer. He's also the former Attorney General of New York, so he's more than familiar with the law when it comes to this issue. Yet he proposes a bonehead move that he should know is a bad idea.

Again, maybe that's all part of the plan.

School Vouchers

While I, like many of you out there, am a product of public schools, I think we can agree that the public schools back then (the 1960's and early 1970's) were far different than they are today. For the most part the schools back then actually taught reading, writing, arithmetic, history, and a whole host of other important subjects that prepared us for adult life.

It's a shame that many of today's public schools have lost their focus and seem to be more about indoctrination and 'feel good' policies rather than actually teaching our kids what they'll need in order to make their way in the world.

Is it any wonder that more and more parents are in favor school vouchers, a device that will allow them to send their kids to private schools or to public schools in other towns that still give children the education they need?

John Stossel covers the subject, but I think that you'll like Bruce's take on the matter.


Understanding Economics And Taxation

It never ceases to amaze my how blind or how ignorant the liberal Dems in Congress and a number of state legislatures can be when it comes economics and taxation.

Somehow they believe that by pulling money out of the economy, for whatever reason, such an action helps boost the economy. That's like saying that if someone steals your hard earned money it will somehow increase your ability to purchase goods and services. To just about anybody but those Dems, that statement makes no sense.

That doesn't stop them from trying to convince that the above statement is true. Some are even trying a little bait and switch, saying that they're cutting taxes. But at the same time they're hiking them someplace else, usually to the detriment of the very people they say they are trying to help.

A perfect example is Charles Rangel (D – NY), chairman of the House Ways And Means Committee, has told us he's working to do away with the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT, a tax put in to place by Congressional Democrats back in 1969 to make sure that the government got its 'fair share' from the wealthy. But with inflation and no provisions for indexing the AMT to inflation, the AMT started hitting the middle class and hitting them hard. So it has outlived its usefulness and should be repealed.

But what Charles Rangel isn't telling you is that he has far more onerous taxes he wants to levy on you that will make the AMT look like petty larceny.

Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, last week introduced an estimated $3.5 trillion tax increase that would raise the capital gains tax rate from to 19.6% from 15% and places a surtax of as much as 4.6% on people making more than $150,000 a year. Mr. Rangel applies it not to current taxable income but to adjusted gross income, thus phasing down itemized deductions such as charitable contributions, home mortgage deductions, and state and local tax deductions. Together with the end of the Bush tax cuts, Mr. Rangel's plan would increase the top income tax rate to 44% from 35% for individuals, small-business owners and farmers, who make up about three-fourths of taxpayers in the highest bracket.

While raising taxes on individuals, the Rangel bill would reduce corporate tax rates to 30.5% from 35% and eliminate the alternative minimum tax. That would be "paid for" by increasing taxes on hedge funds and buyout firms by about $48 billion.

So it appears that Mr. Rangel wants to raise taxes on individuals, the people that actually drive the economy, making sure that the economy will slow, if not fall into recession. This will have the effect of reducing tax revenues that the Democrats want so badly to spend in order to bring about their version of utopia, which is in reality a dystopia for everyone else.

Sucking $3.5 trillion (that's trillion with a 't') out of the economy will do nothing more than put some of the very people that the Democrats want to 'help' out of work. Of course, that means all of the new social programs the Dems say we need will be there to 'help' the very same people they put out of work.

And maybe that's exactly what they want.