Thoughts On A Sunday

It's the unofficial last weekend of summer, it being Labor Day Weekend.

BeezleBub is laboring, working at the farm yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Deb and I spent a good part of the day yesterday shopping, making our every other weekly supply run to one of the local discount clubs for our bulk items and the supermarket for the rest of our victuals.

Some of our purchases at the discount club included a 30-lb bag of Nasty Dry Crap™ (kibble) for the feline members of the family, a 5-gallon tub of shortening, a half-pallet of toilet paper and paper towels for Deb's business, three 40-lb buckets of kitty litter (we now have six cats living here at The Manse, something I know Bagheera will soon be commenting upon), a couple of 2-lb cans of cashews, a few bags of beef jerky for BeezleBub, and a number of other sundries.

The weather has been conducive to boating, and we will make use of it, trying to avoid the large numbers of weekenders out on the lake trying to get their last bit of boating in before their summer ends for the year. (At least we'll still be boating for another couple of months after most of the summerfolk have gone.)


The amount of vitriol flowing from the left-wing blogs and forums about the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate is stunning. After reading a number of the posts at the Daily Kos, the Democratic Underground, and Huffpo, I have come to realize that many of those on the left are insane. For being “progressives”, many of the posters offered the most sexist and intolerant diatribes I've ever read. These people are anything but progressive. They are troglodytes, filled with such hatred of anyone that should disagree with their view of the world.

These people are just plain sick.


McCain is proving his campaign slogan - Country First - is more than just words, making changes to the Republican Convention plans to deal with the impact of Hurricane Gustav along the Gulf Coast. Much of the pomp and ceremonies, and many of the speeches, have been cut back or canceled altogether. Instead efforts will focus on getting help to those needing it after the storm passes.

It's possible Michael Moore's words are prophetic, but not in the fashion he meant as McCain's efforts could possible ensure his victory in November.


Unlike Hurricane Katrina, both Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal are making maximum efforts to ensure the safety of the residents of New Orleans and the rest of Loisisana's Gulf Coast. Mandatory evacuation of New Orleans has been ordered by the mayor, and Governor Jindal requested assistance from the federal government up front, not making the mistake his predecessor made.

Former Governor Blanco belatedly requested assistance from the feds, so help was delayed until she prodded to do so by the Bush administration. Apparently she didn't realize the feds couldn't just step in, so requests for aid were delayed for days, lengthening the time before it would arrive.

Governor Jindal has already activated the Louisiana National guard and had them deploy to New Orleans and the rest of the coast.


Speaking of Gustav, I find this nauseating.

So much for the Democrats being the party that cares about people.


One question many have been asking about Hurricane Gustav is the effects on New Orleans should it hit the city head on. If the city is again devastated as it was after Katrina, many evacuees have said they will not return. Others are saying they aren't returning regardless. With people not returning will New Orleans ever return to what it was, or will large sections of the city become and remain ghost towns?

It remains to be seen.


Want to see the reaction of Hillary Clinton supporters to John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate? Just go to the Hillary Clinton Forum and read the pages and pages of posts.

I don't know if the responses seen on the forum are truly indicative of feelings and thoughts of Hillary's supporters, but they are eyeopening.


Is it any surprise that summer businesses in tourist areas were adversely affected by the price of gas and other factors, such as bad weather we've seen here in New Hampshire?

Business has been down all summer, with much lower boat traffic on the lakes, vacancies at resorts, and unrented cottages on the lakes and islands. Gas sales at marinas are down 45% from last year, which was down 10% from the previous year.

While the lower lake traffic has dismayed businesses, many boaters like me have found it delightful, with boating conditions far more pleasant than we usually see on weekends. Even so, not many of us have made it out nearly as much as we would have liked due to a cycle of afternoon/early evening thunderstorms that lasted for weeks.

All we can do is hope the good weather we've been experiencing the past week and a half will stick around for a few more weeks as we plan to keep boating until sometime in late October.


NOW has come out against Sarah Palin. No surprise there. After all she's a self made woman that happens to be pro-life, and “because, you know, all women care about is abortion. That's it. Only abortion. Nothing else.”



It has been mentioned that Governor Palin is the Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard, like every governor of the states is CINC of their respective National Guard units. But what few realize is Alaska's National Guard is different from every other, which is why the governor of Alaska, as CINC, has far more duties than governors of other states. Blackfive explains why that difference makes Sarah Palin far more qualified to be Vice President (or President) than Biden (or Obama) when it comes to military matters.


The annual Muscular Dystrophy Telethon started this evening, opening with the national anthem sung by the Cactus Cuties.

The MDA holds a special place in our heart as Deb's brother was stricken with MD and passed away when he was only 8 years old.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the summerfolk are trying to squeeze a week's worth of vacation into a long weekend, the farm stands are having their busiest weekend of the season, and where summer is slowly slipping away.


Obama And Palin, A Contrast - Epilogue

The best line I've read so far regarding the differences between Sarah Palin and Barack Obama, courtesy of Mark Steyn:

Sarah Palin and Barack Obama are more or less the same age, but Governor Palin has run a state and a town and a commercial fishing operation, whereas (to reprise a famous line on the Rev. Jackson) Senator Obama ain't run nothin' but his mouth.

Amen, Brother!

Obama And Palin, A Contrast

It's been less than 24 hours since John McCain made the announcement about making Alaska Governor Sarah Palin his running mate and Obama's Democratic Machine is already sharpening their knives in preparation to flay her alive.

I found it interesting that Obama's campaign spokesman Bill Burton tried to play the “inexperienced and too young” card.

“Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush’s failed economic policies — that’s not the change we need, it’s just more of the same.”

Oh? And Obama is experienced in foreign policy? Hmm. If I recall my geography correctly, Alaska borders two foreign nations, Canada and Russia. I would guess she's had to deal with at least one of them, if not both. That's far more foreign policy experience than Obama's ever had, his overseas junket earlier in the year not withstanding.

Sarah Palin has been the chief executive of both a town and a state. How many towns or states has Obama led? Let's see....how about none. She's the Commander-In-Chief of the Alaska National Guard. Obama has absolutely no experience commanding anything.

On her economic outlook, I'd say it's nothing like George Bush's. She is a true fiscal conservative, and her record as the mayor of Wasilla shows she's always been that way. Her record as governor shows likewise.

When it comes to Big Oil, she is not a friend of the oil companies. All one needs to do is look how she's gone after them for their undue influence in Alaskan politics. That doesn't look like someone in the pocket of “Big Oil” to me.

She's fought against the Alaskan political machines, both Democratic and Republican, cleaning out corruption wherever she could find it. Obama is a product of the corrupt Chicago Democratic political machine.

But the most interesting thing I find about the whole thing is that Obama's campaign is focusing attention on the GOP Vice Presidential nominee, comparing her to their own Presidential nominee. What's wrong with this picture?


It's Palin!

My mother phoned me at work just before 11AM to tell me, “He's selected Sarah!”

I still felt a little down about the bread-and-circuses closing of the Democratic Convention last night, seeing it as a sleight-of-hand effort by the Obama team divert the public away from what he was really selling. But the news of McCain's selection made all of that fade away.

There has certainly been a groundswell of reactions McCain's selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate, most of it positive, even from many Democrats. There are quite a few links to reactions around the blogosphere and from the MSM to be found at Instapundit, here and here.

This selection is something I've been discussing with quite a few of my Republican friends for some time, and even wrote about almost two weeks ago.

McCain can capture the moderate voters in both parties all by himself, but he needs someone with the conservative credentials that will pull in the conservatives of the party while not turning off the moderates and the undecideds. That narrows his choices.

This should make Mitt Romney one of the last people McCain should choose, because too many in the GOP see him as a RINO (a Republican In Name Only), trying to wear the mantle of a conservative. But all anyone has to do is look at his record as governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to see he's no conservative.

McCain must choose wisely. Frankly, by choosing Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, former US Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee, or Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, he'll have a pretty good shot at being able to move into the White House next January.

This is going to be one heck of a race for the White House!


A Quick Note

I haven't posted anything here at the backup site for the past two nights because I've been blogging the Democratic Convention for Weekend Pundit and Dodgeblogium, a UK blog that asked me to comment about the conventions, Democrat and Republican. I decided not to cross-post them here because, quite frankly, posting to three different blogs would have taken too much time. Posting my convention observations and commentary to just two of them was daunting enough, and I still missed things (thank goodness for DVRs!).

I will continue to post regular blog pieces here, just not the convention stuff.

States And Towns Tightening Their Belts

The upcoming budget season for towns and cities here in the Granite State is going to be a tough one. It will be no less difficult for the state, with the governor calling for department heads to draw up two budgets: one tight, the other tighter. I expect it's not much different in other states, many of which are suffering from the same problems being seen here in New Hampshire.

The word is out across New Hampshire: money is tight and it's going to get worse. Town officials know their residents are having a tough time of it, with much higher fuel and food prices. The last thing the people need is to worry about paying higher property taxes or fees. It comes down to a choice of cutting budgets or raising taxes, and towns are looking very hard to hold the line on spending.

But even town officials are feeling the effects of higher oil prices, with the cost of heating fuel, gasoline, diesel, and asphalt going up. Even if the overall town budgets do not increase, the towns will need to change priorities, shifting funds from other programs and departments in order to cover the increased energy costs. Some towns will defer maintenance on roads or other infrastructure for a year, hoping energy prices will fall or that the economy will recover sufficiently to take the strain off of the individual taxpayer's budgets.

One challenge both the state and the towns will have to meet is declining revenues. Revenues from building permits and vehicle registrations have fallen off as the economy has tightened, meaning even more work needed for the budgeting process.

At the state level, revenue projections from the last bloated budget were woefully optimistic, with the revenue shortfall expected to be $200 million by the end of the biennium. (The state of New Hampshire runs under a two-year budget.) With the drop in revenues from the same decrease in vehicle registrations, as well as fuel taxes, cigarette taxes, and a host of other user fees and business taxes, the state must tighten its belt, too. The governor ordered some spending cuts to reduce that shortfall, but more cuts will be needed to erase the rest of the deficit even if those cuts are made for the upcoming two-year budget. At this point raising taxes would be a non-starter, particularly if state legislators want to be re-elected this November.

Some hard choices will need to be made.

At the state level, rolling back the outrageous 17.5% budget increase of the present budget would be a good start. Much of the state revenue shortfall can be blamed on the oversized budget and the unrealistic revenue estimates used to justify the increases. (The revenue projections for 2007-2008 were unrealistic even without the big boost in energy prices and softening economy, so the blame cannot be laid entirely on those two issues.)

At the town and city level, the choices will be harder. The effects of budget cuts and tax increases are felt and seen in very shortly after they take effect. When budgets are cut oft times they lead to lay offs of town employees, reduction in overtime, reduction of office hours, cutbacks in extracurricular activities at the schools, loss of tutors and teaching assistants, and so on. Tax increases, particularly during troublesome economic times, leads to loss of homes by taxpayers unable to pay their property taxes. Businesses will defer paying their property taxes in order to offset increase costs and decreasing income in other areas. This leaves the towns in the lurch because revenues fall off even more. It's a Catch-22, with everyone in town caught in between. The town budgeting process will have to balance the two needs, perhaps erring on the side of caution and making painful cuts to town spending. But it's something everyone can understand, something most of us have had to do with our own budgets when money is tight. Non-essentials, the want-to-haves, are put aside to meet needs. And so it must go with town spending. It's going to be interesting times around here for the next few months.

Now if we could only get the federal government to do the same thing.


And So It Begins....

The 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver begins in a few hours and already opinions are flying fast and furious about Obama, his Veep choice, Hillary, and the love affair that the MSM and the Hollywood illuminati have with the presumptive Democratic nominee. The party's barely started and already I'm staring to feel a bit overloaded and weary. All I can do is hope the actuality of the convention will be far more interesting and entertaining than the hype from both sides.

I am also looking forward to seeing the post-convention polls, as I wonder whether the usual post-convention “bump” will materialize or be a non-event much like the polls following Obama's running mate selection.

Stay tuned....


Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been a busy day here at Weekend Pundit, meaning this will be a rather brief edition of Thoughts On A Sunday.


It was BeezleBub's last day working full time at the farm this summer. As school starts Wednesday and his normal day off is Monday, it didn't seem prudent for him to work Tuesday as he'll be busy enough getting ready for school. He'll still put in a full day on Saturdays until the after the farm stand closes the weekend before Halloween.

As he told me the other day, he's looking forward to starting school so he “can get some rest.”

That's my boy!


Now that the 2008 Summer Olympics Games have come to a close, we can start paying attention to a real circus – the upcoming Democratic Convention in Denver.

I'll be blogging about the convention for Weekend Pundit and Dodgeblogium, the latter to provide some Yankee insight into the convention for the British readers of Andrew Ian Dodge's blog.

This is something I did for the New Hampshire Primary and Andrew asked me to comment upon the conventions as well.

As I wrote to Andrew when responding to his request, “I have a feeling the Democratic Convention will be quite...umm...dramatic."


And speaking of the convention, it hasn't even started, yet there are already anti-war protests. One of those protesting is Cindy Sheehan. She is so yesterday and so pathetic.

There are plenty of Gold Star Mothers I know that would give her a run for her money, particularly since she wouldn't be able to claim some kind of moral superiority over them because they lost children to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, too.


A post-veep announcement poll shows there's been no bounce for Obama, with the presidential race remaining a dead heat.

That's got to be encouraging for McCain.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where school starts soon enough, politics follows close behind, and we're still hoping for another two months of boating.


Obama Chooses

Obama announced his selection of running mate early Saturday morning. I must admit some surprise.

While Joe Biden does have the experience Barack Obama does not, I find it puzzling Obama would choose someone who's been one of his biggest critics during the primary season. Even with Obama's claims he wanted someone who would challenge him, I wouldn't think he'd choose someone that made some interesting charges about the Illinois senator's lack of experience and numerous gaffes. Or that he'd choose someone who claimed there's was no way he'd settle for the vice presidential slot. Yet he chose Biden, and Biden accepted.

I don't know if this gamble will help or hurt Obama's chances. I'd like to think he's managed to shoot himself in the foot with his choice, taking on someone with his own set of well documented foibles and mis-steps, some which prevented him from becoming the Presidential nominee more than once. He's also managed to piss off a large block of potential supporters by selecting someone from the Old Guard of the Democratic Party and not someone 'new', and specifically not someone female, as many Hillary Clinton supporters had hoped. To paraphrase the old Knight Templar in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, “He has chosen poorly.

If nothing else it will give John McCain's campaign plenty of fodder to use against Obama, painting him as not capable of making good, sound choices. It's quite possible Obama has just lost the election, even before the convention in Denver. McCain can seal Obama's fate with a good selection of his own. It will be interesting to see if McCain will make smart choice for his running mate.


Tax Revolt Season Is Upon Us

It seems to be the season of tax revolts around the nation, with one taxpayer group working hard to repeal the Massachusetts income tax. Now another tax revolt is brewing in neighboring Connecticut, where education costs are eating up more tax dollars at a rate far above that of inflation.

Both states are as blue as can be, yet the taxpayers have had just about enough of the profligate spending in each state, with little sign the respective legislatures or governors will curb spending and lessen the tax burden on the residents.

In Connecticut, a state with one of the highest overall tax burdens, education costs are rising far too fast and the taxpayers aren't getting their money's worth. In the past 25 years the student population in the Nutmeg State has grown about 10%, but costs have almost tripled during that time. A state income tax was imposed to help lessen the burden of local property taxes and the state sales tax, which at one point was over 8%. While the sales tax dropped, property taxes continued to rise.

It was the triple whammy of quickly rising property taxes and the double hit of state income and sales taxes that forced the WP Parents sell off their retirement home in Connecticut and relocate to New Hampshire. Too much of their retirement income was being eaten up by the taxes they were paying and it no longer made sense for them to remain there. A home that had been in our family for over three generations was lost because local and state spending was out of control. My parents weren't the only ones forced into taking such actions, nor will they be the last.

A look at the West Coast, specifically California, shows a similar situation, where state and local spending is outstripping the ability of the taxpayers to fund it all. State spending is seriously out of balance, with a deficit of $15 billion and no state budget as of yet, and a proposal by Governor Schwarzenegger to boost the state sales tax. One thing California can least afford is raising taxes at a time when everyone is struggling with making ends meet. This can only fuel a tax revolt.

There are tax cap referendums in Nevada and Florida, where the people have also had enough of the endless tax increases with little to show for all the money those states are collecting.

Even here in New Hampshire the taxpayers have watched the state legislature boost spending by 17.5% while failing to fund the budget increase, seriously inflating revenue estimates to justify the increased spending. The taxpayers aren't in the mood to fund such a bloated budget when they're still dealing with tax increases in their own towns and cities.

The conditions for a tax revolt are ripe. And it's about time the tax-and-spend politicians from both parties realize that...or they may need to start looking for new jobs after November.


An Outside View Of The US Presidential Elections

Received via e-mail:

An interesting view of the upcoming Presidential elections in the US from our cousins in Ireland...a point to ponder regardless of your political affiliations.

We, in Ireland, can't figure out why you people are even bothering to hold an election in the United States.

On one side, you had a pants wearing female lawyer, married to another lawyer who can't seem to keep his pants on, who just lost a long and heated primary against a lawyer, who goes to the wrong church, who is married to yet another lawyer, who doesn't even like the country her husband wants to run!

Now...On the other side, you have a nice old war hero whose name starts with the appropriate 'Mc' terminology, married to a good looking younger woman who owns a beer distributorship!!

What in God's name are ye' lads thinkin' o'er in the colonies?!



The Watermelon Agenda

Why is it this does not surprise me?

With calls for more alternative energy sources, in many cases mandated by state laws, the so-called environmentalists are fighting tooth and nail to make sure that those alternative energy sources will not see the light of day.

Oh, they make all of the appropriate noise about making the move away from the use of fossil fuels, particularly coal, for generating electricity. But once plans for wind farms or solar electric facilities are proposed, those same environmentalists then protest against the power lines needed to get that power to the consumers.

So what is their real agenda?

To control the populace by controlling access to the sources of energy.

In other words, the liberal push for alternatives has the look of a huge bait-and-switch. Washington responds to the climate change panic with multibillion-dollar taxpayer subsidies for supposedly clean tech. But then when those incentives start to have an effect in the real world, the same greens who favor the subsidies say build the turbines or towers somewhere else. The only energy sources they seem to like are the ones we don't have.

They give with one hand and take away with the other.


How Low Can They Go?

It's interesting that Republicans and Democrats have a different definition of the term “Swift boating”.

To the Democrats it's the attempt to smear an opponent with innuendo and straw man arguments.

To the Republicans it's calling into question claims made by an opponent when veterans that served with that opponent debunk claims he made both during Congressional hearings in 1971 and during his presidential campaign.

During the 2004 Presidential race a number of US Navy veterans that served with Democratic candidate John Kerry on swift boats in Vietnam disputed claims he made, including his memories of being in Cambodia quite some time before President Nixon authorized US military personnel to pursue NVA regulars and the remnants of the Viet Cong into countries bordering North and South Vietnam. They disputed claims about how he received his three Purple Hearts. One of those vets was a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. So, who would you believe?

In 2008 the Democrats are trying to turn the tables on the Republican candidate, John McCain, by making claims he plagiarized an incident that he recounts took place while being help as a POW in North Vietnam, saying the scene came right out of Gulag Archipelago by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn.. The problem with the Democrats claim? It's untrue.

First, McCain had a number of other POWs that backed up his claim. Second, Gulag Archipelago wasn't published until 1973. The POWs recall McCain had related his tale in 1970, and other POWs had related the same kind of incident as McCain. So, who would you believe?


Thoughts On A Sunday

It looks like summer has returned, at least for the next few days or so. It figures. There's only a week and half before BeezleBub goes back to school. We have plans to make the most of our mutual day off tomorrow, with as much time out on the lake as we can possibly squeeze in.


I caught Chris Matthews this morning while waiting for BeezleBub to get ready for work.

Matthews brought up an interesting point about Barack Obama's campaign: He's running against George Bush and not John McCain. Even an NBC/WSJ poll shows many of Obama's supporters believe he's running on an “I'm not George Bush” platform. The problem is that he's supposed to be running against JohnMcCain.


John McCain has turned Obama's campaign slogan (“Change we can believe in!”) against him, stating change in and of itself isn't good if it's the wrong kind of change, and that Obama is offering nothing but the wrong kind of change, and too much of it too quickly.

McCain says he's also for change, but for change that will revive the economy, not send it down the tubes as Obama's proposals will certainly accomplish.


John Stossel tackles job discrimination, specifically age discrimination.

Most everyone says anti-discrimination laws are good laws, especially those that protect older workers.

But they're not.

It's one thing if someone is fired merely because of their age (sometimes triggered by the fact they get paid more for a particular job than someone far youger), but what if they're fired merely because their position no longer meets the need of the employer? Should the anti-discrimination laws protect someone under those circumstances? Of course not. But to hear some folks talk, you'd think that no one over a certain age should be fired for any reason because “it's discrimination.”


It seems the ink is barely dry on the cease fire agreement between Georgia and Russia before Russia shows its true stripes and continues to spread its forces through more territory in Georgia. Despite claims that they're there to ensure order in the separatists provinces in Georgia, it's really about control of natural resources.

Georgia has pipelines that carry oil and natural gas from Azerbaijan to the Black Sea that bypass Russia. Putin doesn't like that because it means he can't control the energy supplies to the rest of Europe, meaning he can't control Europe. The answer? Create a situation in Georgia to “protect ethnic Russians” allowimg Russia to seize those oil and natural gas facilities, and hence, control of the flow of energy in to Europe.

It's nothing but theft writ large by an authoritarian kleptocrat that will allow no competition.

(Before you write, I know Putin is no longer President of Russia, but Prime Minister. However, President Medvedev is nothing but a figurehead, a puppet for Putin to control. Medvedev may speak the words, but they were written by Putin.)

But it's quite possible Putin's move on Georgia has backfired on him. It has also been suggested that in order to prevent Russia's use of the “ethnic Russian” excuse, it would be cheaper for Eastern European nations to pay the ethnic Russians in their countries to return to Russia than to spend money to defend themselves from Russian incursions.


Dennis Prager explains why he is not a liberal.

The following is a list of beliefs that I hold. Nearly every one of them was a liberal position until the late 1960s. Not one of them is now.

- I believe that the bigger government gets and the more powerful the state becomes, the greater the threat to individual liberty and the greater the likelihood that evil will ensue. In the 20th century, the powerful state, not religion, was the greatest purveyor of evil in the world.

- I believe that the United States of America, from its inception, has been based on the Judeo-Christian value system, not secular Enlightenment values alone, and therefore the secularization of American society will lead to the collapse of America as a great country.

- I believe that the American military has done more to preserve and foster goodness and liberty on Earth than all the artists and professors in America put together.

- I believe that the trial lawyers associations and teachers unions, the greatest donors to the Democratic Party, have done great harm to American life -- far more than, let us say, oil companies and pharmaceutical companies, the targets of liberal opprobrium.

And those are only a few of the reasons he lists for not being a liberal. I happen to agree with every single one.


Will the four-day work week become more common? Unlike the mandated 35-hour workweek in France, this is something that businesses in the US have been considering in an effort to reduce energy usage and decrease the commuting costs for their employees. Some businesses also see the move as a way to retain existing employees as well as attracting new ones.

The hours worked during the week will remain the same, meaning four 10-hour workdays, but that doesn't seem to be an issue with many workers.

I know I'm more than willing to make that kind of change, my employer having experimented with that kind of schedule during summer months a few years ago. It made for a great summer with more leisure time available without the need to burn vacation time to enjoy it. And while my commute to work isn't all that long – 8 miles one way – plenty of my fellow employees commute quite some distance would be able to cut that commute by 20% each week, meaning more of their money stays in their pockets. That's one heck of an incentive.


Ace of Spades believes John McCain had it all over Barack Obama at Saddleback. To quote Drew, “If I were Obama and his people, I'd be trying to figure out how to get out of the debates. The two of them just aren't in the same league.”

That's not news to me.


The AEGIS weapons system, consisting of the AEGIS radar and Standard Missile series of anti-aircraft/anti-missile interceptors has undergone continuous development since the late 1970's. I worked on some of the radar subsystems and SM-2 guidance subsystems when I was employed by Raytheon. Even then the system was awesome. Today it's even more so, with the ability to intercept sub-orbital warheads and low altitude satellites, giving it the means to provide greater protection to carrier battle groups as well as naval ships operating in littoral waters during close to shore/amphibious operations.

That's a capability we only dreamed about way back when.

(H/T Instapundit)


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer weather has returned, boating is now possible, and where many of us still have lawns that badly need mowing.

My View On The Veepstakes

With the Democratic Party Convention a little over a week away, the hype about the Veepstakes is approaching a fever pitch. While Senator Obama has remained mum about possible running mates, the media has certainly been having a field day, taking odds on who Obama might pick.

On the other hand, the media seems barely interested at this point about who John McCain will pick as his running mate. An informal, non-scientific poll over at Instapundit shows Sarah Palin as the frontrunner for the vice-presidential slot, with Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson showing second and third, respectively.

While Obama's choice may not be all that important (I figure there's no way he'll pick Hillary, for obvious reasons), McCain's choice will be vitally important, because it will make or break his run for the Oval Office. He has to choose someone that can actually replace him should he be unable to continue to hold the office of President. Let's face it, he's no spring chicken. Also, the true conservatives in the GOP only grudgingly support McCain, mainly because he's anything but a conservative in their eyes. McCain can capture the moderate voters in both parties all by himself, but he needs someone with the conservative credentials that will pull in the conservatives of the party while not turning off the moderates and the undecideds. That narrows his choices.

This should make Mitt Romney one of the last people McCain should choose, because too many in the GOP see him as a RINO (a Republican In Name Only), trying to wear the mantle of a conservative. But all anyone has to do is look at his record as governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to see he's no conservative. What proof do I have? That's easy: RomneyCare.

One thing McCain should do is choose someone not already in Congress. That pretty much leaves those holding office as a governor, or that formerly held office at state or federal level. That person will also have to have 'street cred' as an effective conservative that knows how to get things done. That narrows the field even more.

McCain must choose wisely. Frankly, by choosing Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, former US Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee, or Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, he'll have a pretty good shot at being able to move into the White House next January.


Is A College Degree Really Worth It?

This is something I've believed for a long time: for most people college is a waste of time.

Imagine that America had no system of post-secondary education, and you were a member of a task force assigned to create one from scratch. One of your colleagues submits this proposal:

First, we will set up a single goal to represent educational success, which will take four years to achieve no matter what is being taught. We will attach an economic reward to it that seldom has anything to do with what has been learned. We will urge large numbers of people who do not possess adequate ability to try to achieve the goal, wait until they have spent a lot of time and money, and then deny it to them. We will stigmatize everyone who doesn't meet the goal. We will call the goal a "BA."

You would conclude that your colleague was cruel, not to say insane. But that's the system we have in place.

Outside a handful of majors -- engineering and some of the sciences -- a bachelor's degree tells an employer nothing except that the applicant has a certain amount of intellectual ability and perseverance. Even a degree in a vocational major like business administration can mean anything from a solid base of knowledge to four years of barely remembered gut courses.

The solution is not better degrees, but no degrees. Young people entering the job market should have a known, trusted measure of their qualifications they can carry into job interviews. That measure should express what they know, not where they learned it or how long it took them. They need a certification, not a degree.

The CPA exam is one example used to illustrate how certification would serve much better than a degree. Anyone can take the CPA exam. Anyone passing it has proven they know what they're doing. Plenty of people with degrees in Accounting, even from prestigious institutions of higher learning, fail the CPA exam. The degree doesn't mean you know your supposed area of expertise. Certification does.

I've known plenty of people with engineering degrees incapable of designing or analyzing designs worth a darn, and plenty of people without engineering degrees that were the best damn engineers I've ever had the privilege of knowing or working with. Engineering has something similar to the CPA called PE, or Professional Engineer. Like the CPA exam, it is a standardized exam that certifies the engineer is indeed a master in their field. It is not an easy exam to pass. If you pass it, you've proven you know your subject and can add the coveted P.E. after their name. (In case you're wondering, I have not taken the PE. I'm pretty decent engineer and I make a good living from it, but I doubt I'd pass it the first ten or twenty times I take it.)

There are plenty of people out there with college degrees that, once they have them, end up working so far outside their field of study it seems the degrees they have aren't worth they paid to get them. It's like the old joke that goes something like this:

The scientist asks “What laws of nature define why this happens and can I recreate it?”

The engineer asks, “How can I make this work?”

The marketer asks, “How many of these can I sell and for what kind of profit margin?”

The person with the BA in English asks “Do you want fries with that?”

Yes, it's silly, overblown, and does not reflect reality...or at least it didn't only a few decades or so ago. So many people have degrees they spent four years and a lot of money to obtain, yet they haven't necessarily opened the doors to success that so many of us have been told will open once we have a degree. In reality, the degrees mean nothing. It's what you know. It doesn't matter how you came about that knowledge or experience, only that you have it. That should be the real criteria for so many of the so-called professional jobs out there. Certification is one way to prove that you do have that knowledge and/or experience.

Is it likely changing to certification rather than a degree will ever come to be? I doubt it. But it is something worth thinking about. And it might save a lot of people four years worth of time and money that could be better used to actually learn what it is they need to know.


The Pot Calling The Kettle......

The latest McCain-bashing ads by the Obama campaign and the DNC lambastes him for taking campaign money from the oil industry. Of course that same ad mentions nothing about Obama accepting campaign money from the oil industry as well.

Barack Obama...is up with television spots that accuse Mr. McCain of being "in the pocket of Big Oil" before touting a plan for a windfall profits tax.

But wait. According to FEC data examined by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics in a new report released this past week, Exxon executives and employees have broken in favor of Mr. Obama over Mr. McCain this election cycle -- by $41,100 to $35,166. Chevron's and BP's contribution margins also favor the Democrat -- by about $6,600 and $4,500, respectively. Guess those Democratic commercials now could use a footnote or two.

So it's OK for Obama to take oil money, but not John McCain? Talk about a double standard. Of course it could be a case of sour grapes as McCain has received more money from the oil industry in toto than Obama. Then again, McCain hasn't made promises to take away their profits with an ill defined “windfall” profits tax.


Thoughts On A Sunday

While yesterday provided weather we haven't seen in a while – a bright and sunny day – we didn't have as much as an opportunity to enjoy it as we might have.

I checked out the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout to make sure there was no damage caused by the series of thunderstorms that have ravaged the Lakes Region in New Hampshire the past few days. Heavy downpours dropping two or three inches of rain in less than half an hour caused flash flooding in a number of areas, and killing a 7-year old girl at a campground owned by friends of our family. Roads were washed out and tourist areas damaged, including the boardwalk and train tracks at Weirs Beach, one of the more popular summer destinations on the lake. We've had so much rain that we've already had more rainfall than is normal for the entire year.

The spring-like weather pattern given us sun in the mornings and showers and heavy thunderstorms in the afternoons and evenings. It's made for poor boating conditions for the WP family as most of our boating is usually done after work during the week and weekend and on Mondays (the only day off all three of us have off in common). We've managed a small portion of the boating we'd planned for the summer, all due to the weird weather pattern we've been experiencing for almost 2 months.

We had a sunny morning today, but by noon the thunderstorms and heavy downpours swept through the area. Some of the precipitation here at The Manse included pea-sized hail. We experienced a second round later in the afternoon.

So far the summer weather has been a real bummer.


Is Russia's invasion of Georgia the start of an effort to rebuild the old Soviet empire? Or was the decision to do that based purely on being able to maintain an energy monopoly in Europe?

Either way, it appears the bad old days of the Cold War may return...with a vengeance.


Speaking of the invasion of Russia, the responses of the two putative Presidential candidates illustrate one of the major differences between them. McCain's response sounded like something I would expect of a president, while Obama's was a “vapid statement that would ingratiate him with the State Department while not requiring any distraction from his Hawaii vacation.”

John Hindraker concludes his post with something with which I cannot disagree:

It is often said that Obama is not ready to be President, but I don't think this is exactly right. It seems pretty obvious that Obama, given his temperament, his self-regard, his blithe ignorance of history and of the material conditions of life on this planet, will never be ready to be President. He is not unready: he is unsuited for, and inadequate to, the office.

'Nuff said.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Dr. Helen comments about an article claiming men in Scandinavia are being feminized against their will and the fallout from those efforts.

As interesting as her post is, it is the comments where the real action takes place.


Professor Bainbridge reports on further collateral damage from the incompetence of the Prince George County police department and their raid on the residence of the mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland. He also makes mention of the fact that the same kinds of mistaken raids on homes of those with black or brown skin are vastly under-reported by the media.

(H/T Instapundit)


Soulmaster Isaac Hayes has died.


Jay Tea, one of my favorite Wizbangians, gets into the definition of Orwellian, its relation to Obama, the Democrats, and efforts by leftist activists to silence dissent from the Right through intimidation and outright lies.


The Jerusalem Post has a positive article about John McCain, character, honor, and humility...and how other Presidential candidates have little of what McCain in spades.

Is this a partisan piece? You betcha. So what?


We've been watching the Olympics in Beijing. It's been a long time since I've had much interest in the Olympics, but this time around I've been watching whenever I can. Part of it may be the incredibly good coverage provided by NBC, some of the best I've seen in years. The rest might be explained by the location of this summer's Olympiad and the high quality of the competitors this time around.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weather is stuck in a spring pattern, flash flooding is a daily worry, and where we're still waiting to get back out on the lake.


Is Iran Planning An EMP Attack Against The US?

Even while negotiations are ongoing with Iran about their nuclear program, one must wonder what plans Iran has for its nuclear weapons, assuming they succeed in developing them. While some have painted a picture where Islamic terrorists smuggle them into Israel or the US with the idea of obliterating cities in each country, I and others believe there's a much simpler means for Iran to achieve their goal of damaging, if not destroying the US, and ultimately, Israel.

It won't take a number of nuclear weapons in a number of cities to do the damage. All it will take is one. It won't need to be used in Washington, DC in order to decapitate the American government. It won't even need to be smuggled on to US soil.

All it takes is a single missile capable of carrying a warhead high above the atmosphere over the US. It does not need to descend to a designated target. All it needs to do is detonate, creating an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, that will disrupt or damage electrical systems and damage or destroy electronics. With a single high altitude detonation, Iran's nuclear weapon could send portions of the US back to the mid-18th Century. There will be little or no electrical generation, telecommunications will not work, and in short order, people will start dying. There will be no transportation, needed to move food, no electricity, needed to run every aspect of our modern life, and no communications, needed for everything from calling for help to running the government.

The...scenario is the one envisioned by a long-running commission to assess the threat from electromagnetic pulse, or EMP. The subject of its latest, and little discussed, report to Congress is the effect an EMP attack could have on civilian infrastructure.

An EMP attack occurs when a nuclear bomb explodes high in the Earth's atmosphere. The electromagnetic pulse generated by the blast destroys all the electronics in its line of sight. For a bomb detonated over the Midwest, that includes most of the continental U.S. Few, if any, people die in the blast. It's what comes next that has the potential to be catastrophic. Since an EMP surge wipes out electronics, virtually every aspect of modern American life would come to a standstill.

The commission's list of horribles is 181 pages long. The chapter on food, for instance, catalogs the disruptions up and down the production chain as food spoils or has no way to get to market. Many families have food supplies of several days or more. But after that, and without refrigeration, what? The U.S. also has 75,000 dams and reservoirs, 168,000 drinking water-treatment facilities, and 19,000 wastewater treatment centers -- all with pumps, valves and filters run by electricity.

Getting everything up and running again is not merely a matter of flipping a switch, and the commission estimates that many systems could be out of service for months or a year or more -- far longer than emergency stockpiles or batteries could cover. The large transformers used in electrical transmission are no longer built in the U.S. and delivery time is typically three years.

Do you think Iran wouldn't or couldn't pull off such an attack? Think again.

Iran has carried out missile tests for what could be a plan for a nuclear strike on the United States, the head of a national security panel has warned.

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee and in remarks to a private conference on missile defense over the weekend hosted by the Claremont Institute, Dr. William Graham warned that the U.S. intelligence community “doesn’t have a story” to explain the recent Iranian tests.

One group of tests that troubled Graham, the former White House science adviser under President Ronald Reagan, were successful efforts to launch a Scud missile from a platform in the Caspian Sea.

Another troubling group of tests involved Shahab-3 launches where the Iranians “detonated the warhead near apogee, not over the target area where the thing would eventually land, but at altitude,” Graham said. “Why would they do that?”

The answer is simple: Replace the conventional warhead with a nuclear weapon and it's the exact launch and mission profile that would be used for an EMP attack. With their Shahab-3 boosters, all Iran would need to do is launch their missile from a freighter off the coast of the US in order to get a detonation over the central US. What's even worse is that we'd have only a few minutes warning from NORAD of the launch and there'd be little we could do about it except wait for the lights to go out.

While many of the military systems might survive such an attack, there would be little they could do, either. Unless Iran came right out and admitted they'd committed the attack or we otherwise had proof of their perfidy, the military wouldn't have a target to retaliate against. But if they did, about the only satisfaction we might have is to learn our military reduced Iran to radioactive slag.

Hardening our infrastructure to be resistant to EMP is something we must do if we are to take this particular weapon out of the hands of powers that have nothing but animosity towards the US. As a side effect, such hardening would also help protect our infrastructure from electrical and electronic disruption caused by massive solar flares. (A small consideration, but a beneficial one, nonetheless.)

It isn't only Iran we have to worry about. There are other antagonistic nations out there with nuclear capability that would love nothing better than to see America brought to its knees. But at the moment Iran appears to be the biggest threat in that regard.


Maryland Drug Raid Shows Poor Police Procedures And Lack Of Judgment

I can understand when the police make a mistake when it comes to raids, but this one beggers the imagination.

Not only did the Prince George's County Police Department neglect to do any investigation about the home they were about to raid, they failed to identify themselves when they broke in the doors of the home they raided, were dressed in plain clothes, and since they failed to notify the local police department of their raid as they were supposed to could have easily ended up being shot by officers from that department. On top of that, the house they raided was the home of the mayor of the town where the raid took place. The Sheriff's department officers also shot and killed the mayor's two black Labs because they “felt threatened” by the dogs as they were running away from the raiders.

The lack of planning, minimal to non-existent investigation, violation of the conditions of the search warrant (no-knock warrants are not allowed in Maryland), and poor judgment during the raid has prompted an investigation of the County Police Department by the FBI.

So far no one from the County Police Department has offered an apology to the mayor, his mother-in-law, or the mayor's family for their error in judgment.

I have a feeling there will soon be a top to bottom change in the Prince George's County Police Department by the time all of this comes to an end. I also have a feeling a few law enforcement officers may soon find themselves in court, either criminal or civil.


Time For Closet Republicans To Come Out Of The Closet

Neo-neocon writes about the Republican/conservative “underground” in places like California's Marin County, where being a conservative can be the kiss of death for your business , career, and social life. While the ever more intolerant hypocritical leftist Democrats spout their vitriol filled dogma, conservatives must remain silent, otherwise they would become pariahs in their own home towns . Despite this, Neo exhorts conservatives living under those circumstances to come out into the light, to engage the unthinking emotion-driven leftists, to not cede them an inch when it comes to expressing one's own beliefs.

It’s not that I’m unsympathetic to the plight of those such as Bookworm who are Republicans (or Independents, or at the very least non-liberals) living in mega-blue areas such as Marin County, and who choose to keep their mouths firmly shut about their politics for fear of social rifts.

The temptation to “pass” for liberal is very great. I understand; I do. I even feel your pain.

But I have come to believe that the costs of keeping silent are much greater than the costs of speaking up—both for Bookworm and her fellow closet Republicans, and for our country. And yes, even for her liberal friends.

It is the start down the slippery slope, where soon enough even the leftists will turn on their own for not being ideologically pure enough. There's certainly enough historical precedent to show where that path will lead.

Maybe the problem is the closed-mindedness of many of the left, where fact holds no sway, but emotion triumphs over all reason. Goodness knows I've found more than a few of the Left that show no original thinking when it comes to their political beliefs. They parrot the words they've been taught without thinking about what it is they're actually saying. It's a conditioned response.

Not all liberals are as bad as those Neo writes about. I know too many who are dyed-in-the-wool liberals, but can debate and reason and argue with well thought out positions. They are passionate about their political beliefs, but they don't let their emotions sway their decisions. They can change their minds when presented with facts that go against their viewpoints, but are proven valid. I have no problem with that kind of liberal Democrat. (I have a confession: my youngest sister falls into that category. While we do not see eye to eye on a number of social and political issues, we have a great time debating them. Sometimes she changes my mind. Sometimes I change hers.) It is the close-minded type with which I have a real problem.

The comments to Neo's post were fast, furious, and numerous. Some tried to debunk the scenarios painted by Neo and Bookworm. Others cited their own experiences being forced underground in order to remain employed, or to get good grades at university, or to prevent their kids from being shunned. Frankly, I never thought I'd see any part of America become so indoctrinated in such a morally corrupt, neo-fascist ideology. But places like Marin County certainly seem to be havens for such beliefs.

More than one commenter pointed out the definitions of the two factions – leftists and conservatives – need to be redefined. The best one I read about this was by someone going by the nom du wordprocessor Occam's Beard:

“Conservative,” “right-wing,” and “reactionary” originally (19th century) referred to monarchists and pro-clerical movements in France, whereas “liberal” and “left-wing” referred to those opposing them. (Hence the John Stuart Mill quote much beloved of contemporary liberals and now quite anachronistic that “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.”)

So the terms are meaningless today. Let’s use instead the terms “individualist” or “collectivist,” which put the characterizations on a more sound operational footing, and avoid conundra such as having to characterize Brezhnev, Kim Jong Il and Castro as right-wing or conservative (and Che Guevara as left-wing, or radical). They are all collectivist, that is to say, subordinate the individual to the state, rather than the converse.

By that standard, all of the totalitarian regimes naturally fall on the collectivist side, as of course they should. Taking individualism to an extreme would lead to anarchy, not totalitarianism.

Frankly, I believe the new definitions are far more descriptive of differences between the two camps, so I will use them more often from now on.

Political beliefs span the spectrum between these two political ideologies. But at the extremes, specifically the collectivist end of the spectrum, the push for government to control of every aspect of people's lives, except for the lives of those in power, is strong. And so is the desire to quash dissent. That's what's been driving this move to 'blacklist' conservatives in bastions of leftist/collectivist group think. The individualists disagree with the politically correct dogma of the collectivists, and therefore must be punished, whether it's though loss of a job, social status, or even recognition that they are alive. It's no wonder a conservative underground has formed, even though it may not be the right approach to countering the close-minded group think that prevails in places like Marin, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and San Francisco, as well as Portland and Eugene, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, just to name a few places. Hiding away and keeping silent only proves to them that their way, their ideology, is right because there's no one out there saying otherwise. They may be close-minded, but there are plenty of others out there that can be persuaded that the collectivist vision is wrong and should not stand unchallenged. Neo is right. It is more costly in the long run to keep silent. It allows the bastards to win without a fight.


The Royal Navy To The Rescue

One of the arguments made on either side of the anthropogenic global warming debate is there are not enough definitive records about daily, monthly, and annual weather that go back more than a century or two. Beyond that scientists have had to use geological, sedimentary, and chemical studies in order to determine weather conditions over the centuries. But it could be that extensive weather records going back over 400 years may take some of the wind out of AGW proponents' sails, thanks to the British Royal Navy.

Scientists have uncovered a treasure trove of meteorological information contained in the detailed logs kept by those on board the vessels that established Britain's great seafaring tradition including those on Nelsons' Victory and Cook's Endeavour.

Every Royal Naval ship kept a detailed record of climate including air pressure, wind strength, air and sea temperature and major meteorological disturbances.

A group of academics and Met Office scientists has unearthed the records dating from the 1600s and examined more than 6,000 logs, which have provided one of the world's best sources for long-term weather data.

Many scientists believe that storms are caused by global warming, but these were came during the so-called Little Ice Age that affected Europe from about 1600 to 1850.

The records also suggest that Europe saw a spell of rapid warming, similar to that experienced today, during the 1730s that must have been caused naturally.

"British archives contain more than 100,000 Royal Navy logbooks from around 1670 to 1850 alone," [Sunderland University geographer] Mr Wheeler said. "They are a stunning resource. Global warming is a reality, but our data shows climate science is complex. It is wrong to take particular events and link them to carbon dioxide emissions.”

The Royal Navy recordings would have been consistent, using the same units of measure, the same instruments, made by officers trained to observe their surroundings and to record their observations. I doubt one could find more definitive records than those in the thousands of Royal Navy logbooks. There can be no “adjusting” the climate records as has been done by some researchers (anyone remember the Mann 'hockeystick' graph?), no explaining away the measurements made, no way to claim some kind of bias in the data collected. This data was collected through observation and measurements made by trained observers. Should the data show global warming is part of a natural cycle, it could be a major blow against the AGW faithful.

(H/T Never Yet Melted and Maggie's Farm)


What Is A "Windfall" Profit?

Can anyone explain to me exactly when profits become “windfall profits”?

I didn't think so.

Media Bias Guide

New Hampshire Republican activist Ray Chadwick offers us a guide to cut through the media bias he sees in regards to Democrats versus Republicans and the upcoming elections. A few examples:

Communicating one's beliefs: Republicans are "pandering to their base"; Democrats are "articulating their vision."

Sticking to one's beliefs: Republicans are "inflexible"; Democrats are "principled."

Changing one's mind: Republicans "flip-flop"; Democrats "evolve" and "adopt a more nuanced position."

Scandals: Republicans "must resign (for the good of their party)"; Democrats "engage in private behavior" that "doesn't affect job performance."

I have a small issue with the third one, though. To quote John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” Though it seems to me that too many Democrats are the ones unwilling to change their minds when exposed to the facts of one situation or another. Is that really what it means to “adopt a more nuanced position”?

The double standard becomes quite apparent when looking at these few examples. There are plenty more to be seen in Chadwick's op-ed piece and well worth reading.

Yankee Attitude

I stole the piece below from The Barrister over at Maggie's Farm. It pretty well explains the feelings of a lot of us Yankees up here in New Hampshire, particularly those wishing to maintain the N'Hampsha' way of life, the feeling of community that so many other places have lost and aren't likely to regain any time soon. (Note: The Barrister resides in Connecticut, but the same principals apply there as here. We've both seen seen changes in our respective towns that are not to the betterment of the townsfolk, or the town.)

Unless they happen to be in the tourist trade or the mini-mart business, the Yankee native does not tend to welcome visitors to his corners of the woods. Maybe this applies to all of small-town USA.

You get the feeling that the old families don't welcome out-of-towners, much less furriners. And whenever they see a New York license plate in town, they worry and grumble. I'm sorry, but it's just the way the folks are: "Please respect our space and our ways and we will try to tolerate yours as long as you keep them somewhere else."

City people might term it parochial, but it's actually a strong sense of proprietorship and protectiveness towards something valuable - "Our town."

I guess we like things as they are, or, preferably, as they were. The old-timers still refer to my place as "Peck's farm," even though old Amos Peck, the fourth generation on that land and a member of a founding family of the town, ascended to his reward in 1932 and his kids sold the old chicken and dairy farm to a dairy farmer down the road who was looking to expand his herd. One wonders whether there is a covert message in it: "You don't really belong there - you are just a transient with a mortgage."

It takes two to three generations at minimum, I think, to get past being a newcomer. To be an old family, I'd guess five generations minimum. (That makes sense to me. It is an indication that your family might be committed to the town, and not just passing by the way people often do these days, viewing land as real estate rather than as a place to anchor for your future generations.)

Yes, it's about different views of land and of "place". Ideally, your ancestors would have helped build our simple 1742 Meeting House/Congregational Church, which remains the only place of worship for seven miles.

That pretty well explains how it is up here in New England, and northern New England in particular.

I've lived in small towns where change comes slowly, and then only after lengthy discussions and deliberations. I've always been welcomed in every town I've resided, usually because some of the folks in town already knew me through business or other friends, and because of my reputation as a cheap...uh...frugal fellow, not wanting to spend what the town didn't have, and in some cases, didn't need. I've never been one for change for change's sake. But I've also been a proponent for change when it met the town's needs or saved the town money or made the town government or schools more efficient.

While I knew I'd never be a real 'native' in those towns, I was never seen as a “flatlander”, a title that can hang around a resident's neck like the proverbial albatross. No one takes flatlanders seriously, mainly because they bring too damn much of their city foolishness with them, wanting to fiddle with the way things are because they aren't like “back home”. That always beggers the question, “If things were so great 'back home', then why the heck did you come here?”

This gets me thinking I'm going to have to repost some of my instructional scribblings about how things are in small town America, particularly around here in northern New England (Well, more New Hampshire and Maine. Vermont has got problems of its own with all the silly New Yorkers moving in.)


Thoughts On A Sunday

As I mentioned in the previous post, we went to see Styx and Boston in concert last night. Both Skip of GraniteGrok and Bogie of Bogieblog were also in attendance.

BeezleBub said he enjoyed Styx more than Boston, though I liked both. Being a big Boston fan, I liked their set better, but they were both excellent!

Boston's new lead singer, Tommy DeCarlo, absolutely blew me away. They made the right decision asking him to join the band.


We're still seeing this Florida weather cycle – sunny in the morning, cloudy with showers and thundershowers in the afternoon – and I'm getting pretty sick of it. The Weather Guys™ have been telling us it's being caused by a 'trapped' low pressure area in Canada steering the weather into this pattern. This has been going on since June.

So now we know the real cause of Anthropogenic Global Warming: Canadians!


Here's more on MIT's electrolysis breakthrough I posted about earlier that will make residential solar and residential/commercial wind power far more practical and cheaper.


Heard this weekend on NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me (from memory):

Al Gore also admitted to being a space alien. His plans to cool our planet will allow his fellow aliens to colonize our frigid planet...

If it's true that Al Gore is a space alien, then a whole bunch of his Inconvenient Truth claims start to make sense.


Bruce at No Looking Backwards lets us know what he really thinks about Nanci Pelosi, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, Barack Obama, and the Brady Center.


It appears Obama is proposing the Europeanization of America by mandating that everyone here should learn Spanish, since so many people in Europe speak more than one language. As one commenter to the above linked post wrote, “Obama only speaks English - what a poseur.”

I have a number of problems with this idea. One of them is that Spanish wouldn't do us any good here in northern New England where the second language of choice is most often French due to the proximity of Quebec and the large number of residents of French Canadian descent. Another is that multi-lingual capability is necessary in Europe where one can drive through four countries in less eight hours while it would take days to drive from coast to coast in the US without ever needing to speak anything but English.

Somehow Obama seems to think multi-lingual ability equates to sophistication. I'm sure my late grandmother (from Finland) would find it amusing that she would be though of as sophisticated just because she could speak Finnish, Swedish, and English. Not bad for a former housekeeper!

Obama needs to be reminded that the United States is not in Europe. In a country this large, with a historically diverse ethnic population, language becomes a unifier. The fact that English is the one language spoken in a country of this size provides evidence of our independence and unity.

But Obama wants “change we can believe in!” I'm not sure I like his idea of “change”.


The housing slump/foreclosure debacle has claimed another victim, this one close to home.

A neighbor and friend of ours, a single mother of two, lost her house to foreclosure when her mortgage rate reset and her payments rose beyond her ability to pay. Today she and her kids had to move out of the house, being ordered to vacate by Monday, August 4. I was over at her place helping her pack and putting boxes into her SUV. Later in the morning other friends and family arrived with a rental truck, some pickups, and a trailer to help her move her belongings to her new lodgings.

Ironically, the place she's renting is only a little smaller than her house, but she's paying almost $1000 per month less to rent it than she was paying for mortgage and taxes on the place she lost.


I've noticed the number of homes for sale in his area has increased quite a bit over the past two months. More than a few of them are owned by seasonal residents, meaning the urgency of a sale isn't there since most seasonal home owners aren't under time constraints to sell quickly.

Another WP neighbor just listed her home for sale, but she's selling because she's building a new (and bigger) house than the one she has now, a small seasonal camp converted to a year round home.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where rock legends come to play, homes are falling on the auction block, and where BeezleBub and I will be spending Monday out on the lake.


A Good Excuse

No post tonight, but for a good reason:

Deb, BeezleBub, and I are headed down to Meadowbrook for the Styx/Boston concert.

Maybe I'll get some pictures....


That Which Was Old Is New Again

“The beer that made Milwaukee famous” is making a comeback.

Schlitz was the top-selling beer for much of the first half of the 20th century. But recipe changes and a series of snafus made the beer -- in many a drinkers' opinion -- undrinkable, turning what was once the world's most popular brew into little more than a joke.

Schlitz' owner, Pabst Brewing Co., is recreating the old formula, using notes and interviews with old brew masters to concoct the pilsner again. The maker of another nostalgic favorite, Pabst Blue Ribbon, it hopes baby boomers will reach for the drink of their youth, otherwise known as "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous." They also want to create a following among younger drinkers who want to know what grandma and grandpa drank.

I remember Schlitz and the ads that touted the brew that many considered one of the best beers ever made in America. It was also one of the few beers I could tolerate in small amounts (I am not a drinker, for reasons I won't elaborate upon in this venue).

I'm glad to see it return. At the moment it is only for sale in Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, and western Florida, but Pabst Brewing is working to expand the market once some of their other breweries can start making it.

What is old is new again. It's about damn time!