Big Labor Against Mandatory Health Insurance...And So Am I

It's quite rare when labor unions and I agree on an issue, but this once Big Labor and I are on the same page. (Before I go any farther I must explain that I was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1505 for 20 years. Then I woke up.)

Seeing some of the efforts at state level to mandate health care coverage, such as RomneyCare in Massachusetts or GovernatorCare in California, just to name two, and seeing them fail strengthens my belief that government run/subsidized health care is a Very Bad Idea™. It just so happens Big Labor agrees with me. Who'da thunk it?

On Monday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's "universal" health-care plan was shot down by a committee in the state's Senate, 7-1. The most vociferous opponents were not fiscal conservatives, but labor unions that launched a last-minute revolt against its most crucial feature: an individual mandate that would have forced everyone to buy coverage.

...[M]any California unions argued that a mandate would force uninsured, middle-income working families to divert money from more pressing needs toward coverage whose price and quality they cannot control.

The unions are correct: This is exactly what is happening in Massachusetts, where Mitt Romney enacted a similar plan two years ago as governor. The experience in the Bay State deserves a lot more scrutiny than it has been getting.

Massachusetts uses a sliding income scale to subsidize coverage for everyone up to 300% of the poverty level -- or a family of four making around $60,000. Everyone over that limit is required to pay for their own coverage if their employers don't provide it. All this has inflated demand, which, combined with onerous regulations on insurance suppliers, has triggered premium increases of 12% for this year -- double last year's national average.

No one is escaping the financial sting. The state health-care bill for fiscal 2008-2009 is expected to touch $400 million -- 85% more than originally projected. Still the state won't be able to fully shield those it subsidizes from the premium increases. But uninsured folks who don't qualify for government help really get pounded. Before the hike, the cheapest plan for uninsured couples in their 50s cost $8,200 annually. Now, unless government bureaucrats hand them an exemption, they might well find it cheaper to pay the penalty -- up to half the price of a standard policy -- than purchase insurance. That is, pay to remain uninsured. This is legalized extortion: TonySopranoCare.

While I may not agree with all of the labor unions objections to such a plan, I agree with their position just enough to support their point of view. Such mandatory care is indeed legalized extortion committed by the state. What makes all of this worse is that Hillary Clinton likes the idea, basing some of her ideas on the already failed Massachusetts model created by Mitt Romney. If you think health care is bad now, just wait until we're all forced to buy health insurance coverage.

It seems we're heading in the wrong direction on health care. Frankly it would probably help of health insurance was done away with as we know it today. It's time to roll things back a bit and rethink the idea of health insurance and what it should cover.

Catastrophic health insurance coverage makes sense, covering those incidents where patients might have a difficult time paying a large medical bill. Routine medical care should be out of pocket. Preventative health measures should be covered, at least in part because preventing poor health is far more cost effective than treating a patient once they have become ill. How does the onld saying go? “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Truer words were never spoken.


Zero-Tolerance Policies Gone Awry

After years of “zero-tolerance” policies at schools I have come to the conclusion they are nothing more a lazy man's way out of actually having to make a decision. A perfect example of how this is so? A school suspended a boy because he had borrowed a pen from his father. How is it a pen could get a student suspended for three days? Simple.

Imprinted on the side of the pen was the word “Glock.”

This shows you how incredibly stupid zero-tolerance policies can be. Mind you, the school's policy mentioned nothing about the names of gun manufacturers being on non-gun paraphernalia. But the vice principal of the school decided to extend the ban to anything bearing the name of a gunmaker.

So what if some kid came in with a small box with the name “Remington” printed on the sides? Would he immediately be suspended? What if, after all the hoopla with the kid being marched down to the principal's office it's found that the box does indeed contain something manufactured by Remington? But it isn't ammo or any kind of firearm. Instead, it's an electric shaver. Does that student get suspended as well? Under the school's 'extended' zero-tolerance policy, absolutely.

How effin' stupid can school officials get? I'm almost afraid to find out.

(H/T Bruce)


A Modern Mystery

We've heard of many legendary mysteries of the world: King Solomon's Mines, Valley Of The Kings, the Sphinx, Macchu Pichu, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Pyramids of Giza, Atlantis, and the Bermuda Triangle. They have amazed people over the centuries, filling them with awe, or stoking dreams of fortune, greatness, or horror.

But now there's a new mystery to pondered, to fill people with awe...or dread. What could it be?

The Empire State Building Circle!

The circle, also called the ESB Circle has a very strange effects on cars, vans, and trucks entering its area of influence.

In the shadow of the Empire State Building lies an “automotive Bermuda Triangle” - a five-block radius where vehicles mysteriously die.

“We get about 10 to 15 cars stuck near there every day,” said Isaac Leviev, manager of Citywide Towing, the AAA’s exclusive roadside assistance provider from 42nd St. to the Battery. “You pull the car four or five blocks to the west or east and the car starts right up.”

Strange, yes? Read on.

The 102-story building, at Fifth Ave. between 33rd and 34th Sts., has been home to broadcast equipment since its opening in 1931, when RCA installed an experimental TV antenna.

Since the 9/11 attacks destroyed the twin towers, the building has regained its status as the leading transmission site for commercial broadcast outfits, with 13 TV and 19 FM stations mounting antennas on its spire.

The Empire State Building Co., which refused to provide the Daily News a list of its antennas, denied it has created any “adverse impact” on automobiles.

“If the claim were indeed true, the streets in the vicinity of the building would be constantly littered with disabled vehicles,” the building’s owner said.

According to many doormen in the area, they often are.

“They park here on the block and when they come back and try to leave, they can’t start their cars,” said Martin Deda, a doorman at 16 Park Ave., which fronts E. 35th St.

“I’ve seen a lot of cars get towed away,” said a doorman at 35 E. 35th St. who gave only his first name, Joseph. “I see it all the time, at least 10 times a week ... I call it the ‘Empire State Building Effect.’”

With the ever increasing number of electronic systems being built into vehicles these days, it's not surprising that there might be greater susceptibility to external electromagnetic interference. What is surprising is that automakers haven't also built in more shielding and filtering to keep these interfering signals out of the vehicle electronic systems. It seems they must relearn a lesson from the 1970's when cars and truck suffered maladies when CB radios became commonplace and electronic ignition and engine management systems were being affected by CB transmissions.

I read somewhere – I don't remember where – the average car in the US has over 40 microcontrollers built into them, running everything from the ignition and fuel injection systems , anti-skid braking systems, audio systems, climate control systems, security systems, and everything in between. It's not surprising then that vehicles might be more sensitive to outside electronic interference.

...some phantom transmission appears to cause the remote keyless entry systems of scores of car owners to go haywire and stop talking to their vehicles.

Abe Quinones was a drug rep in September 2002 when he parked his brand-new BMW 325i on the south side of E. 35th St., just west of Park Ave.

“As I was leaving, I went to click the remote to lock the doors, but it didn’t work. I just thought it was the [key’s] battery,” he said. He locked the car the old-fashioned way, using the button on the door. When he returned, he was locked out.

“I was stuck there for three hours. I had to call for a tow truck,” he said, adding that the driver jimmied open his door. “The minute he stuck the key in the ignition the car started up.”

So beware the Twilight Zone of the Empire State Building Circle. You enter at your own risk....


RoHS Strikes Again

Last September I wrote about our impending electronic Armageddon due to Europe's Restrictions On Hazardous Substances, or RoHS.

As part of RoHS Europe mandated the removal of lead from electronic components and solder, replacing them with lead-free solders, most of which have a very high tin content. The only problem with them is they have an unfortunate tendency to grow tin whiskers which, after some period of time, can cause failures in electronic circuits when they short them out. These problems don't manifest themselves quickly. Rather, it takes two or three years before the problems arise.

You may ask yourself, “If it's such a problem, then why haven't here been any mass failures of electronic gadgets?” The answer is simple: It's been less than two years since this requirement went into effect. Give it another year or so and the problem will become quite evident.

But wait, there's more!

Europe now wants to expand the scope of RoHS, adding more substances to its banned list.

Now before you get on your high horse, let me make something perfectly clear: I have no problem with removing hazardous substances from the electronics waste flow. My problem is with politicians and bureaucrats with little knowledge about such things making decisions about them without understanding the consequences of such actions. The example of lead in electronic solders is just one example of their blundering in order to push through feel-good laws. Before they start adding even more substances to their bans perhaps they should evaluate the effects of the bans already in place. I think they may find that they were too hasty in banning at least one substance.

Will the EU listen to industry concerns? Unlikely. Will they go forward with banning even more substances without regards to foreseeable but unfortunate consequences? Absolutely. The only problem is that it will be you and I picking up the tab for that shortsightedness. In fact, we already are.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We've received a little bit of snow,enough to remind us winter is still here. Ice-In was declared for Lake Winnipesaukee this past week, meaning the entire lake is frozen over.

Though frozen over it doesn't mean the ice is thick enough for people to drive on, as one fellow from the People's Republic of Massachusetts found out the hard way. It became quite evident the ice was still too thin when his 2007 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition broke through the ice 400 feet from shore and sank to the bottom. The poor fellow had driven up from his home in Andover, Massachusetts to test the ice prior to his ice fishing trip planned for this weekend.

I don't know about you, but I think I would test the ice thickness with an auger, drilling holes in the ice and measuring it. The ice is thick enough to walk on just about everywhere, but not thick enough to support a 3-ton truck. Also, it is known by many of the locals and regular visitors that the area he tested rarely gets thick enough to support vehicles due to the water currents that run through there.

I wonder how the poor guy is explaining this to his insurance company?


Am I surprised Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton in yesterday's South Carolina Democratic Primary? Not in the least.

Once her campaign started using tactics out of the old Clinton playbook I figured it was only a matter of time before the voters got wise and would slap her down. It wasn't just a slapdown she got from them, but a body slam, with Obama receiving 55% of the vote and Clinton only 27%. The Clinton campaign seriously miscalculated, for once they started playing the race card they lost the voters.

Maybe it's time for Hillary to muzzle Bill as it seems he's more of a hindrance to her campaign than a help. The question is, will she?


The fans started gathering at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough early this morning for the New England Patriots Super Bowl Rally. The Patriots will be departing for Arizona later today for next weekend's Super Bowl. Can they go 19-0?


I'm gonna get hate mail on this one:

We were watching ventriloquist Jeff Dunham on Comedy Central last night when he brought out one of favorite characters “Walter”, and Walter laid this one on the audience.

“Yeah, I had an argument with my wife this morning. She rolled out of bed, hopped on her menstrual cycle, and rode right over my ass....”


If you GOP voters out there don't like the present field of Republicans running in the upcoming primaries, Bill Quick suggests writing in Fred Thompson. If nothing else it sends a message to the rest of the candidates they aren't conservative enough. As a longshot it could also garner Fred the nomination.

(H/T Instapundit)


Here's yet another example of Palestinian fauxtography used to inflame anti-Israeli forces.

You'd think they'd at least get the proportions right, wouldn't you?


I warned about the unintended consequences of “free” health care as provided by the government. Some of you may have thought I was being over the top with such a prediction. But here's a cautionary tale from the UK showing exactly what will happen here in the US should we go the path of the UK's National Health Service.

Doctors are calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or who lead unhealthy lives.

Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone.

I have no doubt the same thing would happen here should we ever be foolish enough to go to socialized medicine like Europe and Canada. I wonder if euthanasia will be far behind, rationalized as a means to preserve health care resources for the “truly deserving”? And if so, who would make the decision?

Hmm. This sounds familiar. Where have we seen this before?

Ah, yes! I remember now. Nazi Germany, wasn't it?


One of my all time favorite bloggers – Rachel Lucas – tackles the incessant male bashing that goes on, ad nauseum, in this case deconstructing an article called “10 Things You Should Never Say To A Woman.”


Tonight's episode of ABC Extreme Makeover – Home Edition is about a family here in New Hampshire that lost their home to the Mother Day's Flood of 2006. The Voisine family lost everything, their home completely destroyed by the unusual flood waters. All that was left of their home was the lot and a little bit of the foundation.

While we've already seen what the exterior of their new home looks like we'll have to wait until the episode airs to find out what the interior looks like.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the snow has returned, the lake is ready for ice fishing, and the New England Patriots are enroute to Phoenix for the Super Bowl.


Mark Steyn - Internet God

It was an awesome day today at Meet The New Press, with guest Mark Steyn, columnist extraordinaire.

I've been reading him for some time and have found very little with which to disagree, which made out time with him even better.

We covered a lot of ground, including his book America Alone: The End Of The World As We Know It, a tome about our war against Islamofascism and how America (and maybe Australia) may be the last best hope for Western Civilization. Western Europe has already been transformed by Muslim immigration, where Muslim custom and more and more Islamic law, or sharia is supplanting the laws of the European nations without the benefit of legislation. Honor killings have become more common, as have attacks against and murders of those questioning the so-called “religion of peace.”

Steyn's point is that we may must not suffer the same fate.

We also got into politics, and particularly New Hampshire politics in relation to presidential campaigns. He also lamented the present actions of the legislature in Concord, fearing New Hampshire will all to soon become a clone of Maine or Vermont. They are perfect examples of expanding Nanny States, taking more money from their citizens by taxation and taking over more aspects of their lives. Mark also mentioned that states that have become Nanny States see decreasing volunteerism and less charitable giving. Everyone in those states expects the state to take care of what volunteers used to do and to provide funds for charitable organizations that used to come from donations. The people end up becoming less engaged with the people in their own communities and the foundations of our society weaken. After a while the state no longer serves the people, the people serve the state. and the people lose their freedoms a little bit at a time.

He's always worth the time to read.


The Law Of Unintended Consequences - California Style

Who says there is no God?

The following story illustrates the clash of California environmentalists, in this case neighbors fighting over solar panels and redwood trees. (Registration required)

Talk about a clash of cherished green values.

In a case with statewide significance, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office is pursuing a Sunnyvale couple under a little-known California law because redwood trees in their backyard cast a shadow over their neighbor's solar panels.

Richard Treanor and Carolynn Bissett own a Prius and consider themselves environmentalists. But they refuse to cut down any of the trees behind their house on Benton Street, saying they've done nothing wrong.

"We're just living here in peace. We want to be left alone," said Bissett, who with her husband has spent $25,000 defending themselves against criminal charges. "We support solar power, but we thought common sense would prevail."

The only problem is common sense isn't all that common, particularly in the land of fruits and nuts. In fact, it isn't all that common anymore anywhere in this country. To prove that, take a gander at this:

Their neighbor Mark Vargas considers himself an environmentalist, too. His 10-kilowatt solar system, which he installed in 2001, is so big he pays only about $60 a year in electrical bills. He drives an electric car.

Vargas said he first asked Treanor and Bissett to chop down the eight redwoods, which the couple had planted from 1997 to 1999 along the fence separating their yards. Later, he asked them to trim the trees to about 15 feet.

"I offered to pay for the removal of the trees. I said let's try to work something out," Vargas said. "They said no to everything."

He installed the panels.

So this self-professed green installed his photovoltaic panels knowing ahead of time that his neighbor's trees might block the sunlight on some of his panels. I guess he figured he could bully them after the fact using a little known California law that gives precedence to solar over trees.

The [California Solar Shade Control Act] was written by former Assemblyman Chuck Imbrecht, a Ventura Republican, as a way to guarantee, amid the energy crises of the 1970s, that people who installed solar panels wouldn't see a drop in their investment from nearby trees.

Better they should call it the Law Of Unintended Consequences, which has caused The Clash Of The Environmentalists. Cutting down trees in order to “save” the environment? Priceless!

(H/T Instapundit)


A Better Tax Plan

As always, the topic of taxes comes up any time there's an election. This time is no different.

However, the two parties involved in the race for the White House have two different views about taxes. One thinks they aren't high enough. The other thinks they aren't low enough. I think you'll agree that a majority of Americans believe the latter.

Hillary Clinton has already told us that she will be taking money away from us for our own good, as if she knows how to spend it better than we do.

Republicans, on the other hand, say we haven't cut taxes enough. Former candidate Fred Thompson came up with a tax plan that was both simpler and, in the long run, fairer than the present tax code. Since he's dropped out of the race, another has taken up the mantle of tax reformer – Rudi Giuliani.

Rudy Giuliani has proposed the largest tax cut in modern American history and a dramatic simplification of the tax code. His proposal has received broad support from fiscal conservatives in Washington; yesterday it was introduced as legislation by Reps. David Dreier and Roy Blunt, and by Sen. Christopher Bond.

Our Founders drafted the Constitution with fewer than 5,000 words; with later amendments it is about 8,000 words. The federal tax code is more than 9 million words. So the document that created the government is less than 0.1% as long as the tax code that funds it. Such is the state of Washington today.

Mr. Giuliani understands how the tax code frustrates and confuses many Americans, and that's why he will give every taxpayer the option of using a one-page "Fair and Simple Tax Form." Under the FAST Form, there will be only three rates: 10%, 15% and 30%. Taxpayers who prefer to use the existing forms will remain free to do so. Prized deductions for mortgage payments, state and local taxes, charitable contributions, and child tax credits will all be preserved on the FAST Form.

History shows that whenever Washington cuts taxes, revenues rise. The rise in revenue isn't instantaneous, lagging some months after the cuts go into affect because it takes time for the economy to respond. But the revenues rise above the level of income before the cuts. There is a point where further tax cuts will cause revenues to drop, but we're not there yet.

It seems many Democrats understand this principle, yet ignore it, wanting to use taxes as a means to control the economy, and hence, society. It's a matter of redistributing wealth, taking away from the wealthy and giving to the poor. (Of course the money given to the poor has strings, which will ensure the poor remain beholden to the government and will not get out of poverty until the Democrats get out of the way.) As always they'll want to take too much, which in turn will cause the economy to slow down. Then the blame will be placed upon the very people the Dems have been taking money from. Never mind they've created big disincentives to spend money or to invest in business. Because revenues will fall they'll raise taxes to make up the shortfall, creating even more misery in the economy.

Perhaps Mr. Thompson's Giuliani's plan can help prevent that, allowing those earning the money to keep a bigger portion of it and spend it on things that drive the economy.


A Blast From The Past

I saw the link in an online article from Information Week and I couldn't resist. I had to click on the link.

It was a trip to a fondly remembered past.

My first computer – a 486DX2/66 – came with MSDOS. The first thing I did when I got it was wipe the hard drive clean and installed IBM's OS/2 Warp.

Warp came out just before Windows95, if memory serves. It ran many of the Windows 3.x programs better than Windows did, had a great GUI, excellent memory management, and never crashed once in all the time I used it. Despite it being an excellent OS, it never really caught on. A lot of that was IBM's reluctance to promote it, using a series of TV ads that ran for a short time. I guess they thought that was all that was needed to succeed. Unfortunately they were wrong.

With a lot of reluctance I had to give up on OS/2, replacing it with Windows 2000. OS/2 didn't have the support or the software I needed, so I made the switch. It was a sad time for me.

OS/2 faded from the memories of a lot of people and I thought that it did too.

Then I find this article in Information Week and I find that OS/2 is still out there, still alive, with a rather large enthusiast community, including an online forum with links to OS/2 resources, news and other information.

It pleases me to no end that OS/2 still lives.


Taking Control Of Our Lives For Our Own Good

Jonah Goldberg was right on target about how governments want to take more control over every aspect of our lives. It isn't happening just here, but over in Europe as well. In fact, this effort is much farther along in Europe than it is here. If nothing else they may serve as an example of what not to do in order to prevent the Nanny State from coming to fruition here in the US. One example he cites confirms my opposition to “universal” health care:

When government picks up the tab for health costs, it inevitably feels it is responsible for curtailing them through "prevention," which can often elide into compulsion. As Faith Fitzgerald, a professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine, put it in the New England Journal of Medicine: "Both healthcare providers and the commonweal now have a vested interest in certain forms of behavior, previously considered a person's private business, if the behavior impairs a person's 'health.' Certain failures of self-care have become, in a sense, crimes against society, because society has to pay for their consequences."

But there's another factor at work as well. We are seeing a return to the idea -- first championed by social planners in the progressive era -- that government can and should play the role of parent. For instance, Michael Gerson, once a speechwriter for President Bush, advocates a new "heroic conservatism" -- an updating of his former boss' compassionate conservatism -- that would unleash a new era of statist regulations. On the stump, Hillary Clinton refers to her book, "It Takes a Village," in which she argued that we all must surrender ourselves to the near-constant prodding, monitoring, cajoling and scolding of the "helping professions." Clinton argues that children are born in "crisis" and government must respond with all the tools in its arsenal from the word go. She advocates putting television sets in all public gathering places so citizens can be treated to an endless loop of good parenting tutorials.

So, because the government 'pays the bills' they have the right to tell you how to live our lives? Of course the money they're using to pay those bills come from the very people they're trying to control. The only problem is that the people within government making those decisions are no wiser than the people they want to control. They're no less screwed up. But somehow they believe they are better qualified to tell us how to live our lives. What arrogance!

But wait! There's more!

We've seen this before. The original progressives -- activist intellectuals, social reformers, social gospel ministers and other would-be planners in the late 19th and early 20th centuries -- touted "social control" as the watchword of their movement. One reason the progressives supported World War I so passionately was not because they supported the aims of the conflict but because they loved domestic mobilization. John Dewey, the American philosopher and educator who sang the praises of the "social benefits of war," was giddy that the conflict might force Americans "to give up much of our economic freedom. ... We shall have to lay by our good-natured individualism and march in step." The progressives believed that people needed to be saved from themselves. Journalist and commentator Walter Lippmann dubbed average citizens "mentally children and barbarians." "Organized social control" via a "socialized economy" was the only means to create meaningful freedom, argued Lippman, Dewey and others. And by free, the progressives meant free to live the "right" way.

A similar dynamic defined much of Nazi Germany. Nazi Youth manuals proclaimed that "nutrition is not a private matter!" "Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz" -- essentially, all for one, one for all -- was the rallying slogan of the Nazi crackdown on smoking, the first serious anti-tobacco campaign of the 20th century. The first systematized mass murder in Nazi Germany wasn't of the Jews but of the "useless bread-gobblers" and other lebensunwertes leben ("life unworthy of life"). The argument was that the mentally ill, the aged, the infirm were too much of a drain on the socialist economy.

Could we end up following the same path? Oh, it wouldn't happen all at once. It would be a little here (No Smoking!!), a little there (No Transfats!!), and then one day some bureaucrat would make the decision that you no longer contribute enough to society or the economy that supports it. You've become a drain and therefore should be euthanized. After all, the government pays all the bills.

Am I overstating the case? Maybe. But are you willing to take the chance?

Would a national health care system lead to this outcome? Probably not. But it would lead to poor health care for everyone...except the bureaucrats and those who have the wherewithal to afford health care outside the system. That doesn't seem fair, does it? So let's tell the government, and Those-Who-Would-Be-President, to back off.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a busy day yesterday, leaving no time for blogging. It happens now and then, even to someone like me. Deal with it.


When I woke this morning it was 16°F outside The Manse. That's as warm as it was going to be today. The temps have been dropping since then and the winds has been picking up, giving wind chill factors of as low as -20°F. It will make for excellent playing conditions for today's Patriots/Chargers game down in Foxborough.


I'll admit that I was a little disappointed in the results from the South Caroline Republican primary, Frankly, I expected Fred Thompson to do a bit better than he did. On the other hand Mike Huckabee didn't beat John McCain, which pleased the South Carolina Fredheads to no end. To say that there's no love lost between Fredheads and Mike Huckabee, keeping in mind the alleged push-polling done by Huckabee or those supporting him.

One Fred supporter went so far as to write a letter to the Senator.


One thing I forgot to mention earlier – the New England Patriots were 14-point favorites over San Diego for today's playoff game.

I just hope they can pull it off. Oh, and one other thing: we'll be watching over at the WP Parents on their new HDTV! So cool.....

UPDATE: The Pats beat the Chargers, 21-12.


I watched Dirty Harry on the History Channel and flashed back to all of the signature cliché phrases from that movie. Surprisingly, my favorite one is not “You've to ask yourself one question: do I feel lucky? Well, do you, punk?”

Instead it's “When I see a naked man running down an alley with a butcher knife chasing a woman, I figure he's not collecting for the Red Cross.”

There's something to be said for some of the old movies.


George Santayana told us some time ago that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Philo of Alexandria reminds us of that by way of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr's 30-year cycle theory, which states that every generation has to relearn the lessons of the previous generations the hard way. When it comes to politics, and particularly political ideologies, that 30-year cycle comes at a cost of the reduced civil liberties, increased social spending to no good effect, and the crippling of our military might. As Philo noted:

I see echoes of the 1970s all around me, and so far it looks as if those who are succeeding in this campaign are those most likely to repeat its mistakes.

Unfortunately, I see the same thing.

(H/T Instapundit)


Could it be the war against boys has succeeded all too well?


One thing my dentist suggested I buy to help maintain my dental health was a Waterpik. If you've never heard of or seen a Waterpik, it's a device that uses a pressurized water jet to clean between the teeth and below the gum line. It's supposed to work better than flossing, being able to reach places that flossing can't.

After three days using it I have to say it does indeed work better than flossing. It takes some practice to get it right (I got wet more than once while I was figuring it all out), but it's worth it.

My only complaint? It makes a lot of noise.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weather has returned to its winter norm, the ice has completely covered the lake, and where we know the New England Patriots are going to the Super Bowl.

New Hampshire Tax Revenue Shortfall Planned By Democrats?

One problem we're suffering in New Hampshire is a Democratic-majority legislature that passed a budget that grew 17.5% from the previous budget, knowing that the likelihood of a budget shortfall was high. The Republican minority warned their fellow legislators the budget was too fat and that their revenue estimates were overly optimistic. They were ignored. It turns out they were right.

So what do the Democrats in the legislature do? Blame President Bush, of course.

Never mind they were warned about the shortfall a year ago. They ignored it and now the bill has come due. There's a $50 million revenue shortfall to date. It could rise to $75-$100 million by the end of the fiscal year. But somehow it's all President Bush's fault.

The question is will the governor order an immediate freeze on hiring and discretionary spending as well as budget cuts for all departments? He hasn't so far. Some, including me, wonder whether this budget crisis will be used by the broad-base tax proponents to shove a sales or income tax upon the people of New Hampshire. There are a number of Democrats in the state that would love to have billions more dollars to spend on all of the social programs they want to foist upon the taxpayers in an effort to make New Hampshire more like our neighbor to the south – Massachusetts. Never mind that those programs waste billions and solve nothing.

Some may propose the broad-based tax as a panacea for rising property taxes, but previous experience in other states show that such taxes have a very short-lived effect on property taxes and then they start rising again. Too often the legislators find new and interesting ways to spend the extra revenue and funnel less and less of them to their intended purposes, leaving the taxpayers in the same predicament they were in before, but now with even less money in their pockets to pay their property taxes.

Will the governor step up and order spending cuts? Or will he let the tax-and-spenders win the day and destroy what has come to be called The New Hampshire Advantage, the low taxes and local control of spending that makes our state attractive to businesses?

What's your answer, Governor Lynch?


Anti-War Lawyer Gets His Comeuppance

An anti-war lawyer in Chicago made a mistake when he keyed the car of a US Marine who was visiting a friend before he deployed to Iraq.

Attorney Jay Grodner had his day in court. It was a bad day for him.

First, he showed up late for his court date, so the judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest. Second, the judge raised his bail to $20,000. Third, when he did finally arrive, the had him arrested, booked, and made to do the “perp walk”, meaning his tie and belt had been removed and he was given some stainless steel bracelets to wear. Fourth, the courtroom was filled with active duty military personnel and veterans. And last, but not least, the judge hearing the case is a former Marine and a big supporter of the Corps.

It was a very bad day for Attorney Grodner.


There Oughta Be A Law....

While some folks out there think there's nothing wrong with texting while driving, I beg to differ. It is a distraction, and the one thing we don't need is more distracted drivers out there on the roads. There are too many out there as it is. As far as I'm concerned a texting driver is no different from a drunk driver. They have the same reactions times, will exhibit many of the same driving errors, and will end up injuring or killing nearly as many people as drunk drivers.

Some states are trying to do something about it, including passing laws that will make it illegal to text while driving.

Some civil libertarians may feel that I've gone over to the dark side, but when drivers who text are putting my life and the lives of my family on the line because they can't seem to put down their damn phones and drive, I'm all for punishing them for their selfishness and disregard for public safety. If they were only ones being immolated because of their stupidity I'd have no objection to them texting as much as they want. It will only serve to remove them from the gene pool and prevent them from procreating. Unfortunately that's not the case.

Up The Empire!

Why doesn't this surprise me?

Windows Vista/Office 2007 Expelled from British schools.

The agency that governs educational technology in the United Kingdom has advised schools in the country to keep Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system and its Office 2007 software out of the classroom and administrative offices.

"Upgrading existing ICT systems to Microsoft Vista or Office 2007 is not recommended," said the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, also known as Becta, in a report issued this week.

Becta officials said a study the group commissioned found that upgrading school systems from Windows XP to Vista and Office 2007 would increase costs and create software compatibility problems while providing little benefit.

It could be that there's hope for the British Empire. At least their education folks are smart enough to see that Vista and the latest version of Microsoft's Office will do nothing but drain their coffers to little gain. A large number of businesses in the US have come to the same conclusion, including the company where I'm employed.

For the time being Windows XP works just fine. It's still being offered on Dell computers. Microsoft has also extended their support of XP for an additional 5 years, which tells me that business users are staying away from Vista in droves.


Latest PJM Poll Numbers

In the latest Pajamas Media Presidential Straw Poll, Fred Thompson leads on the Republican side, and Barack Obama on the Democrat side.

I hope this bodes well for Fred in South Carolina this weekend.


Is Ron Paul Isolationist?

I have listened to many of Ron Paul's ideas and campaign rhetoric, and while there's a lot to like about some of his beliefs, there is one that fills me with dread.

It appears that Mr. Paul is espousing isolationism, a withdrawal from the international scene, specifically the Middle East. It may sound great to him, but it would be damn near impossible to achieve, and dangerous to boot.

Of Israel's relationship with its neighbors, he argued that if only America got out of the way by cutting off the aid spigot (which, he claimed, favored the Arabs by a 3-to-1 ratio), there would "be a greater incentive for Israel and the Palestinians and all the Arab nations to come together and talk." And of America's relationship with the Arab world, the congressman said in a previous debate that "they attack us because we've been over there."

Dr. Paul's own remedy is that if "we trade with everybody and talk with them . . . there's a greater incentive to work these problems out." But here's a rub.

As historian Michael Oren observes in "Power, Faith and Fantasy," his history of America's 230-year involvement in the Middle East, as early as the 1790s "many Americans had grown dismayed with the country's Middle East policy of admonishing the [Barbary] pirates while simultaneously coddling them with bribes." It was precisely out of a desire to "trade with everybody" that the early American republic was forced to build a navy, and then to go to war, to defend its commercial interests, a pattern that held true in World War I and the Persian Gulf "Tanker War" of the 1980s.

These details of history pose a problem not just to Dr. Paul's views of the Middle East, but to the intellectual architecture of libertarianism itself. Liberal societies are built on the belief in (and defense of) individual rights, but also on the overawing power of government to transform natural rights into civil ones. In the same way, trade between nations is only possible in the absence of robbers, pirates and other rogues. Whose job is it to get rid of them?

As I constantly remind folks promoting ideas that have been tried before (and failed), “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” And so it seems with Ron Paul. All American isolationism would do is promote more attacks upon us, not less. As I have said before, Dr. Paul assumes that our enemies think the same way he does. That belief is delusional and ultimately dangerous.

This is not someone I would want leading the United States.


Thoughts On A Sunday

There was never any doubt the January Thaw wouldn't last much more than a week, and the weather forecast for Monday bears that out.

A Nor'easter is forecast to start sometime early in the morning with snowfall totals in this part of New Hampshire expected to be between 5 and 12 inches. Because we live at a higher elevation we tend to get a little more snow than those living down by the lake, I'm expecting closer to 14 inches here at The Manse. The only question is, will the schools close for the day or will they shorten their day as the storm intensifies? Only time will tell.

Welcome back, winter!


We are still suffering the aftermath of the New Hampshire Primary, feeling wrung out after the non-stop campaigning, the barrage of TV and radio ads, and the endless polls being taken or talked about by the so-called pundits. It was exhausting. At least we've got a break from all of this until October, when the national campaigns will kick into high gear.

Then once we get past the national election in November we can count on a break until...umm...two or three days after the election until the campaign for the 2012 nomination starts.


Speaking of the New Hampshire Primary, our friends over at GraniteGrok/Meet The New Press had some visitors during their radio show yesterday.

Doug and Skip had a crew of film makers filming their radio show as part of a documentary about how the new media has a big effect on presidential campaigns.

Very cool.


Bogie had one of those “What the hell was that noise?” moments the other night.

I can say I sympathize with her plight as BeezleBub and I had a similar experience the other evening while we were stacking our latest pile of firewood.


Bruce gets on Boston mayor Menino's case when it comes to health care.

Apparently Hizzoner believes that only the government should be allowed to provide health care and that for-profit walk-in clinics should be banned. Just because most of these walk-in clinics can provide basic health care faster and cheaper than government run clinics (think Boston City Hospital) is no reason to allow them. After all, they'll be making a profit! Hizzoner can't allow that! It would be against his liberal beliefs that the private sector are nothing by greedy, money-grubbing exploiters of the poor. Never mind that they can do it cheaper and faster than the government.



The New England Patriots managed to squelch the Jacksonville Jaguars' Super Bowl ambitions by beating them 31-20 last night in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Patriots managed to score on all but two possessions, one of them being a missed field goal attempt.

The Patriots will be playing San Diego next weekend.


BeezleBub and I managed to finish stacking the firewood Deb ordered last week. The only downside to this job was collecting and cleaning up of the bits and pieces of wood that are useful only for kindling. There's a lot of kindling, so much so that we had to pile it and cover it outside the garage in order to protect it from the upcoming snowstorm. We have no other place to put it for the time being.


John Stossel continues his interview with Ron Paul. The topic: prostitution, drugs, and gay marriage.


The Times in the UK seems to think that the US is on the brink of financial ruin, with an oncoming recession that will drive the race for the White House. To read Liam Halligan's article you'd think we were going into a recession to rival that of the great Depression.

One cynical commenter made the claim that this recession will be worse than the one in the 1990's because “its not just GM or Ford on the ropes, its the banking sector.” How soon they forget.

During the 90's recession lots of banks failed, particularly because many of them held non-performing mortgages. The housing market tanked as a consequence of the deepening recession. Too many people were upside down on their mortgages, then lost their jobs. Once the banks foreclosed on their mortgages they held billions in property they couldn't dispose of, forcing many of them into receivership. Ford, GM, and Chrysler weren't in trouble the way the banking industry was back then.

This time around the banks are not the ones at risk. It's the investment houses. Banks are not the ones holding sub-prime mortgages. They aren't the ones holding a large number of adjustable rate mortgages. They learned their lessons from the 1990's recession and were careful about mortgage lending. The investment houses, on the other hand, saw an opportunity to develop new income paths. They gambled on the housing market. They lost.


Many on the Left in the US have been pushing multiculturalism as a cure all for all our problems. However practical application of multiculturalism in the UK has proven to be a dismal failure, with some long time residents feeling like unwelcome aliens in their own towns.

Immigrants have failed to assimilate, creating cultural enclaves where residents speak nothing but their native languages, maintaining their native customs, and in some cases ignoring the laws of the UK in favor of the laws/customs of their native lands. It is always a recipe for disaster.

Yet this is something the Left here thinks would be just dandy.


As the deadline for complying with the federal Real ID Act approaches, opposition to it has been growing. One major opponent is Senator John E. Sununu (R – NH), who believes the Act has civil rights problems and represents a $4 billion unfunded mandate for the states. He hes filed legislation to repeal the Act.

Seventeen states, including New Hampshire, have already voted to not implement Real ID because of the civil rights implications, the costs or implementation, or both.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where winter is returning, the firewood has been stacked, and where I still don't need a federally sanctioned ID in order to board a plane.


Both The Extreme Left And Right Are Wrong

I've been a fan of sci-fi author Orson Scott Card for years, with his Ender series being one of my favorites. His political commentary has also made me stop and think more than once.

One of his more thoughtful pieces was originally the afterword to his novel Empire, a story about the next American Civil War. In this case it's a war between the extreme Left and the extreme Right, the so-called “blue staters” versus the “red staters”, with everyone else caught in the middle. It's a cautionary tale.

In the afterword Card does a pretty good job of defining the problem with both the left and the right.

...we have never been so evenly divided with such hateful rhetoric since the years leading up to the Civil War of the 1860s. Because the national media elite are so uniformly progressive, we keep hearing (in the elite media) about the rhetorical excesses of the "extreme right." To hear the same media, there is no "extreme left," just the occasional progressive who says things he or she shouldn't.

But any rational observer has to see that the Left and Right in America are screaming the most vile accusations at each other all the time. We are fully polarized -- if you accept one idea that sounds like it belongs to either the blue or the red, you are assumed -- nay, required -- to espouse the entire rest of the package, even though there is no reason why supporting the war against terrorism should imply you're in favor of banning all abortions and against restricting the availability of firearms; no reason why being in favor of keeping government-imposed limits on the free market should imply you also are in favor of giving legal status to homosexual couples and against building nuclear reactors. These issues are not remotely related, and yet if you hold any of one group's views, you are hated by the other group as if you believed them all; and if you hold most of one group's views, but not all, you are treated as if you were a traitor for deviating even slightly from the party line.

To the extreme Left and extreme Right it's all or nothing. To the rest of us, it's not so clear cut.

In case you haven't been able to figure out from my posts, I am a conservative, though not nearly as conservative as many others. There are a few social issues where I am more moderate than my brethren. But for the most part I am one of those that believe that more often than not government is the problem, not the solution. Many of my liberal brethren believe just the opposite. I'm a firm believer that once taxes reach a certain point they have a negative effect on the economy as they pull too much capital out of the economy and put it towards non-productive ends. Some of my liberal brethren believe there's no such thing as too many taxes. I believe that too many of my liberal brethren think that because I disagree with them that I'm evil. On the other hand I think that too many of my liberal brethren have ignored the lessons of history and keep trying social 'experiments' that have failed again and again, which makes them ignorant or insane.

Other than that, we see eye to eye on some other things. But that doesn't mean I'm not part of the problem.

It is part of human nature to regard as sane those people who share the worldview of the majority of society. Somehow, though, we have managed to divide ourselves into two different, mutually exclusive sanities. The people in each society reinforce each other in madness, believing unsubstantiated ideas that are often contradicted not only by each other but also by whatever objective evidence exists on the subject. Instead of having an ever-adapting civilization-wide consensus reality, we have became a nation of insane people able to see the madness only in the other side.

Does this lead, inevitably, to civil war? Of course not -- though it's hardly conducive to stable government or the long-term continuation of democracy. What inevitably arises from such division is the attempt by one group, utterly convinced of its rectitude, to use all coercive forces available to stamp out the opposing views.

Such an effort is, of course, a confession of madness. Suppression of other people's beliefs by force only comes about when you are deeply afraid that your own beliefs are wrong and you are desperate to keep anyone from challenging them. Oh, you may come up with rhetoric about how you are suppressing them for their own good or for the good of others, but people who are confident of their beliefs are content merely to offer and teach, not compel.

I wholeheartedly agree with Card on this. Unfortunately there are plenty on both the extreme Left and Right that do not. That's scary. Talking with someone who disagrees with me gives me an opportunity to find out their views and, if I think they're mistaken or have been misled, I'll try to lay out my arguments, my evidence, and ask them to think about it before responding. It's not often I'll succeed, but just often enough that I keep trying.

The impulse toward coercion takes whatever forms are available. In academia, it consists of the denial of degrees, jobs, or tenure to people with nonconformist opinions. Ironically, the people who are most relentless in eliminating competing ideas congratulate themselves on their tolerance and diversity. In most situations, it is less formal, consisting of shunning -- but the shunning usually has teeth in it. Did Mel Gibson, when in his cups, say something that reflects his upbringing in an antisemitic household? Then he is to be shunned -- which in Hollywood will mean he can never be considered for an Oscar and will have a much harder time getting prestige, as opposed to money, roles.

How many academic careers have been curtailed or ended because a faculty member didn't conform to the politically correct viewpoints espoused by the Leftist academics? How many times have we seen liberal institutions of higher learning institute unconstitutional speech codes, which do nothing more than stifle free speech and the free exchange of differing opinions? How many times have we heard people talking pr writing about tolerance, yet these very same people tend to be the least tolerant people we would ever meet?

I'm not saying the Right is any less guilty, but it seems to me the Left is far more egregious in trying to impose their beliefs upon people who disagree with them. But then again, I am one of those evil conservatives, so my opinion means nothing......


Election Day Observations

I finally got the chance to exercise my Constitutional rights and vote in the New Hampshire Primary, 2008 Edition.

When I dropped Beezlebub at the middle school at 6:55 this morning there was already a line of people waiting outside for the polls to open. That's the first time I've seen that in a very long time. Maybe it was the warm January Thaw weather. Maybe it was the two close races – Republican and Democrat. Maybe it was a little of both that has turned out a large number of voters.

When I returned to the middle school after work to vote, there was quite a long line waiting to enter the gymnasium, where the voting booths and checklist tables were set up. Once through the door the single line split into four lines, divided alphabetically in order to make it easier for voters to check in and pick up their ballots. Another line that had a large number of people waiting in line was for those wishing to register to vote.

There were a larger number of younger voters than I have seen in a number of years, which pleased me to no end.

New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner expects a record turnout, stating he thought that 500,000 New Hampshire residents would vote today.

Even as I write this WMUR-TV reports that there's still long lines of voters all throughout the state waiting to cast their ballots before polls close tonight.


A Last Push Before The Primary

Today the presidential hopefuls, Democrats and Republicans both, swept through New Hampshire, spending the last few hours before Tuesday's New Hampshire Primary campaigning in towns big and small in an effort to garner a few more votes.

Some may have managed to convince a few undecided voters, others may have lost a few.

Democrat John Edwards pulled out all the stops, campaigning non-stop for 36 hours and bringing with him his own celebrities – Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon – in an effort to bolter his campaign. However a recent WMUR-TV poll shows that his standing haven't changed since after the debates Saturday night.

Fellow Democrat Bill Richardson spent the day out on New Hampshire's Seacoast area, walking the streets and visiting a number of businesses.

The rhetoric level has certainly cranked up to high levels, as have the radio and TV ads. In fact almost all of the ads airing on local television are campaign ads. Since I started watching the evening news all but 3 ads have been political ads. The only non-campaign ads I've seen on the local TV station so far have been for Bowflex, Verizon, and Pfizer. They stood out because they weren't campaign ads.

In my home the number of phone calls from the various campaigns peaked some time yesterday and they haven't leveled off as I write this at 7:50PM Monday night.

Some of the candidates are starting to sound a little desperate. Others aren't staying here for the voting, having already departed for South Carolina in order to prepare for the primary there as they see their chances for success are better there than in New Hampshire.

It's not just the candidates making their presence known. The media is here in droves. Dead tree and electronic media from other parts of the country as well as a good number of foreign media are so numerous that it's hard not to bump into them no matter where you go. It will only get worse on Tuesday.

I can't wait for Wednesday.


More Fred

Fred answers some post-debate questions.

(H/T GraniteGrok)

Thoughts On A Sunday

I made the sacrifice and liveblogged both debates last night. It was painful on two levels.

First, it became quite obvious to me that the top four Democrats haven't got a friggin' clue about how the economy works, how foreign policy works, how free markets work, or the true situation in Iraq. Their answer to every problem was yet another government program that will piss away taxpayer dollars and fail to do what they were supposed to do. They will then suck even more money out of the economy in the form of higher taxes to pay for even more do-nothing government programs.

It also became obvious to me that Ron Paul is living in a dream world. He seems to have little understanding of what motivates people that don't think the same way he does, particularly when it comes to Islamofascist terror organizations. Here's a clue, Ron: They want to kill us. All of us.

Second, my knee was killing me after three hours of liveblogging. Because I was couch-bound with the laptop, my legs were motionless for the most part. I had a tough time standing up once it was all over. Hopefully I won't have to do this again until some time in late October.


It seems weird that there's no Patriots football game this weekend. At least the time off will give them a chance to rest up, practice, and get ready for their first playoff game next weekend.


The January thaw has arrived, which will give us some warmer than average temperatures over the next few days. It is a normal occurrence, happening almost every winter, but I expect that someone will get around to blaming it on anthropogenic global warming.


John Stossel continues with his interview with Ron Paul. The subject this time is immigration.


Voter turnout is expected to be heavy for Tuesday's New Hampshire Primary. The warm weather will certainly help increase the number of voters participating. New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner expects a record turnout as there's no clear frontrunner in either party.


It appears that freedom of speech is quickly becoming a thing of the past in the UK. British blogger Lionheart has been arrested for so-called hate speech due to a post he made decrying the undue influence immigrant Moslems have having, creating a Christian underclass by silencing anyone critical of Islamofascism.

One commenter to a post covering Lionheart's trials and tribulations at Gates of Vienna has the right idea: he should come to the US and seek political asylum. It might be just the right move.


It should be a quiet week for me for a change. No big meetings at work. Only a couple of regularly scheduled meetings for town committees I'm involved with. In other words, it will be a relatively normal week for me. Normal is good every now and then.


And that's the (abbreviated) news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the debates are done, the Primary voting is on Tuesday, and where I received my invoice for my boat slip from the marina for the coming summer.


A Four Day Scramble

The seats in the various caucus precincts had barely gone cold when the remaining presidential candidates were boarding their private jets and winging their way to New Hampshire. Most had arrived in the wee hours of the morning. John McCain was already here, deciding to remain in New Hampshire to campaign rather then spending another day in Iowa.

All of the candidates hit the ground running, either basking in the results from Iowa and hoping for a boost in their poll numbers or trying to make up for their less than stellar showing in the Iowa contest.

To say that there's going to be intense campaigning between now and Tuesday would be understating the case. While many of the TV networks had crews spread throughout Iowa, the networks have their news anchors here in the Granite State, running their nightly news broadcasts from sets in Manchester or elsewhere in the state.

The next four days will be interesting, with so much campaigning be crammed into a very short amount of time. If we aren't tripping over candidates stumping for our votes, will be bumping into the media covering them. To quote Bette Davis, “Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night.”

Indeed it will.

While I haven't covered the campaigns in my usual fashion, I will attempt to add a few insights about the candidates and the issues over the next few days. I admit to a large amount of campaign fatigue, having put up with visits from presidential wannabes for the last 13 months. It's been a long road already and there's still another 11 months to go before the big election in November.


The Beginning Has Begun

The first real contest in the race for the White House has finally arrived.

The Iowa Caucuses started this evening, with much of the media looking on. This is nothing new. However the fact that the caucuses are being held only a couple of days after New Year's is different.

While I haven't written much on the subject of the campaigns, I will be starting on the morrow. After all, the New Hampshire Primary is next Tuesday and I will be so glad when it's all over. It's been a long campaign already and we still have 11 months to go before the November election. So I'll have to hurry and get my licks in while I can.


A Look Back And Forward

It's New Year's and everyone is writing about the past year and hopes for 2008. Who am I to do any different?

First, let's look back on 2007, if only briefly:

The “Iraq War is lost” group in Congress have found that it just ain't so. This is the same group that thought the surge was a failure before it had even begun. And these are the folks that claim to have the backing of the American people, a mandate, despite evidence that the American people didn't so much as vote for them as against those they replaced. There is a difference.

And speaking of Congress, this one has to be the biggest do-nothing Congressional sessions in American history. That may not be a bad thing.

The “juicing” scandals in professional baseball and other sports have finally started having an effect, with pro athletes coming under the proverbial microscope in order to ensure their performance out on the field is due to their skill and ability, not modern chemistry.

The endless campaign for President started in full force just about a year ago. Many people I've talked to are already sick to death with the whole thing and have been tuning out a lot of the ads and rhetoric.

Locally, New Hampshire Democrat Party Chairman Ray Buckley claimed the state's civil union law was the most important piece of legislation dealt with by the New Hampshire House and Senate even though it affects a very small percentage of the population in the state. On the other hand the education funding crisis, which affects darn near everyone in New Hampshire, was ignored. Mr. Buckley has this one exactly backwards.

The housing market softened even further, with foreclosures going up, particularly on homes with sub-prime or adjustable rate mortgages. Fortunately it appears that banks learned their lesson from the housing crash back in the late 1980's/early 1990's and didn't get involved with sub-prime lending.

Global warming seemed to be in the headlines just about every day. Far too many people are calling it a crisis. These are the same people demanding that trillions be spent to deal with a problem that may not be of humankind's making, but rather part of a natural climatic cycle. While many of the “crisis callers” keep saying there is a consensus that humans are the cause of all climate change, far too many respected scientists are saying just the opposite. That doesn't signify a consensus to me.

Also on the global warming topic, New Hampshire had the snowiest December in 131 years. It was also one of the colder Decembers on record, too.

The New England Patriots closed out the regular NFL season with a perfect 16-0 record. If they can make it to the Super Bowl and win that, they would be 19-0.

And now let's take a brief look forward at 2008:

The Patriots will win the Super Bowl, as well as their first few games of the regular 2008 season, breaking their record of 21 consecutive wins over two seasons.

The Red Sox will not win the 2008 World Series, but they will be playing!

The housing market will continue its slump, but only for new homes. Existing home sales will stay neutral for the year.

The organizations fronting sub-prime mortgages will either go bankrupt or will turn to other investment vehicles. Foreclosures on homes will peak sometime late in the year and then start falling off.

Oil prices will continue to rise.

Winter 2008 will be seen as a more normal winter than the past few years, with colder temps and higher precipitation than we've seen in a while. This will be a continuing trend for the next few years. In relation to this, global warming will be blamed for above normal temperatures and precipitation, below normal temperatures and precipitation, and normal temperatures and precipitation.

And that's how I see it. Of course you should take any of my predictions with a grain of salt. They are neither more or less scientific than anyone else's.

Oh, I almost forgot: Happy New Year!