Everything Is Amazing, Nobody Is Happy

My wife turned me on to this and after watching it a number of times I knew I had to share it.

This is comedian Louis CK on Conan O'Brien's show, explaining that today's generations are so spoiled and take far too much for granted. I could go on at this point, but better that I let Louis CK explain why Everything Is Amazing, Nobody's Happy...

As yet another indication how long I've been around, I used the old dial phones way back when. In fact, if we were calling within our town we only had to dial 4 or 5 digits (5 were needed if there was more than one exchange prefix covering a town).


A Divorce Agreement

Received via e-mail:


Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, et al:

We have stuck together since the late 1950's, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has run its course. Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.

Here is a model separation agreement:

Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.

We don't like redistributive taxes so you can keep them. You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU. Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military. You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell (You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them).

We'll keep the capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street. You can have your beloved homeless, homeboys, hippies and illegal aliens. We'll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO's and rednecks. We'll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood.

You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we'll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us. You can have the peaceniks and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we'll help provide them security.

We'll keep our Judeo-Christian values. You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism and Shirley McClain. You can also have the U.N. but we will no longer be paying the bill.

We'll keep the SUVs, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Subaru station wagon you can find.

You can give everyone health care if you can find any practicing doctors.

We'll continue to believe health care is a luxury and not a right.

We'll keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the National Anthem. I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute Imagine, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing, Kum Ba Ya or We Are the World.

We'll practice trickle-down economics and you can give trickle up poverty your best shot. Since it often so offends you, we'll keep our history, our name and our flag.

Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like-minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you ANWR which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.

John J. Wall
Law Student and an American
P.S. Also, please take Barbara Streisand & Jane Fonda with you.

I wish I had written this. It seems it borrowed a number of ideas from Atlas Shrugged, but that doesn't make it any less poignant.

I have no idea whether the alleged author even exists. Snopes had nothing. Regardless, this sounds like an interesting idea.


Does Anyone Remember Heathkit?

This may be dating me and showing what a total electronics geek I am by revealing this, but there are more than a few pieces of Heathkit electronics kits I bought and built when I was in my teens and twenties.

While very few of the younger electronics enthusiasts have likely ever heard of Heathkit, they were a staple of a lot of do-it-yourself fans for almost 60 years. For years ham radio operators bought and built all kinds of Heathkit test equipment (VTVMs, oscilloscopes, signal generators, RF power/SWR meters, LCR meters, grid-dip meters, frequency counters), receivers, transmitters , transceivers (the HW-101 – a multiband HF SSB rig affectionately known as the Hot Watter 101, was the most popular and best selling HF transceiver ever; the HM-2036 – a 2 meter synthesized FM mobile rig, was another popular kit), linear amplifiers (SB-200/201, SB-220/221), and a wide range of power supplies. It was a less expensive way to get new equipment while also having fun building our gear. It also opened up the possibilities of expanding the capabilities of our gear with our own modifications or additions.

Non-hams built TV sets (even color TV sets as early as the late 1960's), stereo receivers/amplifiers, and a host of other electronic doodads that kept them busy in their basements or on their dining room tables as they assembled their kits.

Even though it's been nearly 20 years since Heathkit stopped selling kits to enthusiasts, there are thousands of pieces of Heathkit equipment out there still in use, their familiar green crinkle-finished cases and silk-screened front panels still seen in ham shacks and on electronics workbenches all over North America.

I built more than a few SB-200 and SB-220 amplifiers, helped a friend build his HW-101, and I refurbished/rebuilt more than a few HW-101's and SB-102's, as I did a large number of HW-18's (a crystal controlled 4-channel, 4MHz SSB transceiver used exclusively by the Civil Air Patrol for HF communications until about 2001).

There was a Heathkit store not too far from where I lived during my high school years and it was impossible not to stop in whenever I was near to ogle the variety of kits available. A lot of my spare change over the years went to buying kits from Heathkit.

There will always be fond memories of Heathkit and the wonder and joy it brought to a wide number of fledgling electrical engineers over the years.


The President's Speech

Though this evening's address is supposed to be nothing more than a speech to a joint session of Congress, there's no disguising it's really a speech to the American people.

Reading some of the excerpts prior to speech, it sounds more like a campaign stump speech.

An example:
“Now is the time to act boldly and wisely – to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity. Now is the time to jumpstart job creation, re-start lending, and invest in areas like energy, health care, and education that will grow our economy, even as we make hard choices to bring our deficit down. That is what my economic agenda is designed to do, and that’s what I’d like to talk to you about tonight.”
“Build a new foundation for lasting prosperity.” OK, what foundation? We already know he really doesn't like capitalism. Is this new foundation really an old one – socialism? Over the past few decades we've certainly seen plenty of examples of socialism's failure to provide any kind of prosperity.
“In the next few days, I will submit a budget to Congress. So often, we have come to view these documents as simply numbers on a page or laundry lists of programs. I see this document differently. I see it as a vision for America – as a blueprint for our future.”
A budget as “a vision for America”? Hmm. I could have sworn a budget was something that listed what was going to be spent and where the funds are supposed to come from.

President Obama did bring up a number of valid points, including banks' reluctance to lend money to businesses, consumers, and each other. Lack of lending is a choke point for any kind of economic recovery.

But he also slammed CEO's, telling them the days of corporate perks are over. Basically he's telling them that the government will decide what they'll be paid.

When he promised to push Congress to pass new economic regulations to replace the old ones, you could see Nancy Pelosi jump to her feet to applaud this move. Somehow I doubt that these new regulations bode well for our economy, for if Nancy Pelosi is for them we can be sure they will not be business friendly.

Pushing for a restrictions on carbon emissions sounds like a great idea, but it's become obvious he hasn't seen that such a program will end up hurting economic recovery by choking off energy sources. Not a wise move.

He did mention 'comprehensive health care', the high cost of that health care, and the importance of
'doing something'. But he failed to mention that government is one of the driving forces behind rising costs.

He also brought forth his plans for education.

Education is a wonderful thing. But he implied that because half of those attending college never graduate, the education system has failed. In a way, he's right. Many of those that end up going to college don't belong there. Instead many of them should have gone to a vocational school or an apprenticeship program. A college degree is no guarantee of success. We have far too many college graduates that leave school with an incredible amount of debt, yet cannot find jobs in their fields of study.

In general, education is a necessary thing. But we must make sure that the education our children receive is the right one. Just throwing money at the problem doesn't create a good educational system. All it creates is a large bureaucracy that has little to do with actually educating our citizens.

The President made a number of good sounding points, but the question is how many of them were sincere, how many were window dressing, and how many of them will do more damage than good?

Only time will tell.


Thoughts On A Sunday

There was a bit of concern if the WP family this weekend. The WP Father-in-Law was taken ill on Friday which required a trip to the local hospital. From there it was to an O.R. To have his spleen removed.

He spent the balance of Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday in ICU. Now he's in a regular hospital room. He must be feeling better because he's already complaining about hospital food and the lousy selection of TV channels in his room.

We figure he'll be home sometime this week.


With BeezleBub off from school this week, it was decided he'd stay down at the WP In-Laws to help out his grandmother while his grandfather was in the hospital. I have no doubt they're having a ball.


It is no surprise that California is suffering more from the recession than most other states, particularly if one takes into account the state's self-deluding narcissism.

As has been the case with other trends, many start is California. Could the state government's fiscal chaos be merely the first in a series of state or federal fiscal meltdowns? It seems California is trying to do far too much with too little money to pay for it. Raising taxes won't work because California's sales and income taxes have already reached confiscatory levels. Sound familiar?


It seems liberals are not only ignoring history, they're trying very hard to disprove Santayana's axiom “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.”

They're trying very hard to move us into fiscal and social slavery, all for “the good of society.”

Gee, where have I heard that before?


It doesn't matter how many times I watch this, I can't get enough of Rick Santelli's rant on CNBC about the stimulus package and how it does nothing but “subsidize losers”.

Many are calling this the “Rant Of The Year”. I agree.

Here's more about Santelli and his rant from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade.


And speaking of rants, here's another excellent rant from Pat Condell about Europe's capitulation to Islam and the loss of freedom of speech such surrender entails. Basically he's telling those willingly allowing this to go to hell.


(Via Maggie's Farm)


Obama wants to slash the budget deficit in the upcoming budget. That's all well and good, but he plans to do that by raising taxes “on the wealthy.” I think too many will find out that “the wealthy” will be redefined to mean “anyone with a job.” He will also allow the Bush tax cuts to expire in 2011, meaning everyone's taxes will go up.

As the article link states, “Even some nonpartisan observers question the wisdom of announcing a plan to raise taxes in the midst of a recession.”

While the White House claims the amount of tax revenues will rise, I believe just to opposite will occur. History certainly shows the effects of raising taxes to a level known to reduce revenues collected. And that's what will happen when the Bush tax cuts expire and the new taxes are imposed. When Bush cut taxes, the revenues rose because the extra money in people's pockets spurred more spending and growth of jobs. Taking that money away is a sure fire way to slow the economy.

Again, it will be sold by saying “it's good for society.”


This doesn't bode well:

Bailout lament: What about me?

"What about people like me who are playing by the rules, who got a mortgage we could afford?" said Carpenter, 52, who programs building management systems for MIT Lincoln Laboratory. "Maybe I'm too old school, but you sign on the bottom line, and you're responsible for it."

Carpenter is among the vast majority of Americans who work, pay mortgages, borrow responsibly, and now find themselves facing the bill to bail out those who didn't. Over the years they lived within their means. Now they're asking: What for?

The anger underscores the dangers government faces in private sector rescues. While such interventions aim to benefit everyone by preventing severe damage to the economy, they also risk encouraging irresponsible behavior in the future. Economists call this "moral hazard."

In other words, if homeowners believe the government will lower their payments if they fall behind, they won't have as much incentive to keep paying mortgage bills on time.
Far too often those offering such bailouts forget human nature, assuming that everyone will behave the way they should, rather than the way they really will. Call it an extension of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Assuming everyone is altruistic is a failing of many in government, particularly those of a leftist bent. It was a failing of the old Soviet government, forgetting that people will act in their own self interest, looking out for themselves and their families first. They appealed to the people's altruism when they felt none. It's no different with the leftists in government today, particularly those in Congress. With a housing bailout they're assuming those of us that followed the rules of finance and made the necessary choices in order to be able to afford our homes will lightly go along with subsidizing those who didn't.

Absolutely wrong.

And don't assume we want a piece of the bailout. We don't. All we want is for those who made the bad decisions to pay the price for them. If they don't pay the consequences they will merely do it again and expect the government to bail them out again. And when the government doesn't they'll make noises in front of the TV cameras and claim the government is heartless, not responsive to their needs.

It's not up to those of us that took responsibility for our financial obligations to bail out those not willing to spend within their means.

Commentary from David Henderson about the message Obama is sending to those waiting in the sidelines to buy a house: “I don't care.”


Along the lines of taking responsibility, Skip of GraniteGrok graces us with a link to and quotes from Victor Davis Hanson's letter from Mr. & Mrs' Battered American to President Obama, and adds some commentary of his own to Dr. Hanson's letter.

Writes Skip:
Obama and his crew, I believe with this Stimulus bill and the utterances of him and those around him, have stirred the pot and it is now coming to a boil. For years we've taken the guff, we've been hammered for the lack of sensitivity to accusations of political incorrectness. And now, that patience may well be wearing thin as we see our kids, our grandkids, and great grandkids futures clouded by the cost now being incurred (as well as the "social justice") to bail out those that haven't "played the game" straight as we have - politicians on the other side of the country, local governments everywhere but here (OK, my state of NH has not behaved well at all!), and citizens who make bad decisions that now have now claim on my money just because Obama says so.
I spoke with Skip on the phone earlier today and he reminded me of the movie Network, where Howard Beale, played by the late Peter Finch, rants about how we've allowed the media to control what we think.

While dated, the rant includes a huge kernel of truth.


Now that their mentor sits in the White House, ACORN has decided breaking into foreclosed houses to 'reclaim' them for the foreclosed owner is okay.

Never mind that the former owner was an ACORN leader in Baltimore. I guess we can also ignore that “[s]he bought it in 2001 in cash for $87k and did several re-mortgages until the final one in 2005 for $250K. According to court records, the first foreclosure started the year after, in mid 2006 but that stopped for un-noted reasons. Foreclosure started up again in Feb 2008 and was finalized with eviction in Sept 2008.” Her last refinance brought her payments to $1600 per month. The only problem was that she only made $2200 per month. So we have to ask this question: How did she get a mortgage for that amount even though her income was inadequate to pay for it? Even though she worked two other jobs for an additional $1275 of income it would have left her stretched to the limit financially.

Another question: What the heck did she do with all that money she got from refinancing? She pissed away $250,000 in seven years and had nothing to show for it. Is it any wonder the bank foreclosed?

This almost smells like a set up, used to push forth ACORN's agenda.


Yet another attempt to whitewash history in the name of political correctness.

(H/T Raven)


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where it's snowing once again, the kids are on vacation, and the ski resorts are full.


Just "Winging It"?

At first I thought I was the only one that noticed. Then a few co-workers made mention of it. Now even the blogosphere has taken notice, as has the Wall Street Journal.

Is the Obama Administration just 'winging it' or do they actually have a plan? It appears to me it's the former, not the latter. There have been too many 'retrenchments', too many campaign promises broken for expedience sake.
...the administration has scored a major legislative victory in an extraordinarily short period of time. Less than 700 hours after taking the oath of office, President Barack Obama signed the largest spending bill in American history.

Nevertheless, this fast start can't overcome a growing sense the administration is winging it on issues large and small.

Take the vetting of cabinet nominees. Mr. Obama's aides ignored a federal investigation of New Mexico's Gov. Bill Richardson that started last August for a possible pay-for-play scandal. Mr. Richardson had to withdraw after being named to become secretary of commerce.

The administration treated as inconsequential the failure of its choices for Treasury secretary and White House performance officer, as well as its labor secretary-designate's spouse, to pay taxes.

Team Obama promised Gen. Anthony Zinni he'd be ambassador to Iraq, then cut him loose without explanation. After the Bill Richardson fiasco, it romanced Republican Sen. Judd Gregg for commerce secretary -- then ignored his advice on the stimulus and wouldn't trust him with running the department, moving supervision of the Census into the White House.
It isn't a healthy sign when the administration can't seem to make up its mind, can't do a decent job of vetting nominees, and expects some nominees to go against everything they believe in just to get a Cabinet post. It seems the Obama Administration has divorced itself from reality. Obama was elected to govern, but it has become apparent he may be incapable of doing so. As I've written more than once, Obama is very good at getting elected. But he's never really had to do anything once he got into office. This time it's different. He has to perform. He has to lead. And that's his problem.

Passing an almost $800 billion, pork-filled 'stimulus' package doesn't take much thought, particularly when you hand off the actual authorship of the bill to the most partisan, socialist, closet-fascists members of the Democratic majority Congress. That's not leadership, it's laziness. It's the administration voting 'present'.

The people voted for “change”. They're going to get it.

But they aren't going to like it.


The Government Caused The Housing Crisis

Do you really want to know what started the whole housing/mortgage mess? The read Thomas Sowell's take on it, where he deconstructs the claims it was all the fault of the market and, of course, George W. Bush and the Republicans.
From television specials to newspaper editorials, the media are pushing the idea that current economic problems were caused by the market and that only the government can rescue us.

What was lacking in the housing market, they say, was government regulation of the market's "greed." That makes great moral melodrama, but it turns the facts upside down.

It was precisely government intervention which turned a thriving industry into a basket case.

An economist specializing in financial markets gave a glimpse of the history of housing markets when he said: "Lending money to American homebuyers had been one of the least risky and most profitable businesses a bank could engage in for nearly a century."
And then the government got involved and everything went to hell in a hand basket. The government seems to be expert at taking good things and screwing them up. The housing/mortgage collapse is merely the latest example of government incompetence.

With the stimulus bill signed the problem may only get worse as it may end up rewarding those homeowners that got in over their heads because they bought a house that was way too big for their wallets. The homeowners that did things right and stayed within their means will be the ones footing the bill for the rest. Do Congress and President Obama really think that by subsidizing foolish choices made by the first group of homeowners that the problem will go away? Or will they merely be delaying the inevitable foreclosures while making the rest of us pay for it? Either way we and our kids and their kids will be paying for this example of government largess for the next few generations.


My Sentiments, Exactly

Received via e-mail:

Bumper Sticker Of The Year

Former Socialists Warn America - "Don't Go There!"

You know something's screwy with the Democratic regime in Washington when even the Russians and Chinese are warning us not to go down the path of socialism. You'd figure they know better than anyone that socialism doesn't really work. That's why they've abandoned it.

It certainly bankrupted the old Soviet Union. Even the Chinese Communist Party has seen the wisdom of abandoning socialism, seeing it was nothing but a con game foisted upon the people. And now the triumvirate of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid want to put us in a position the Russians and Chinese have struggled so hard to leave behind? How stupid is that?


A Pogrom In America? Don't Bet Against It!

If there was any doubt that members of the Democratic Underground were closet-Stalinists, it has been removed by a thread on DU calling for the elimination of the Republican Party and the prosecution, imprisonment, and liquidation of Republicans.

What the hell?

What's worse there are Democrats in Congress want to institute a Truth Commission. Despite the claims of Senator Patrick Leahy that such a commission would not be used to prosecute anyone, we all know what the word of a Senator known for leaking national security information is worth: nothing. This commission would be yet another vehicle to eliminate freedom of speech, particularly for those having the audacity to disagree with the new leftist regime in Washington.

Should that ever come to pass there can be but one response: the Second American Revolution.


Turn That Damn Thing Down!!

It was while watching TV last night that I finally came to my breaking point. I've had enough. I'm pissed off and I don't care who knows it.

What am I talking about?

It's not politics. It's not the economy. It's not reality TV or the other really crappy shows airing these days.

It's volume.

You know what I mean.

You're watching a show you like, but at times the dialog has very low volume. You can barely hear a word anyone is saying. You turn up the volume on the TV so you can hear the dialog. Then a scene changes or a commercial break comes up and suddenly IT'S THIS LOUD!!

You scramble to turn the volume down to a dull roar. The action scene or commercial break ends and now you can't hear the dialog...again. It's a never ending cycle.

For me it's worse in the late evening when BeezleBub or Deb are trying to get to sleep. I have to stay right on top of the remote to chop back the volume every time it comes booming out of the speakers. It becomes tiresome.

I have a couple of questions for the various TV and cable networks: Why the hell do you jerks do this? Do you really think it makes your shows that much more watchable or your sponsor's commercials more likely to sell their product?

Let me clue you in - It doesn't. All it does is piss us off.

With the state of the art what it is when it comes to sound engineering you'd think the TV and movie folks would be able to keep the difference between the softest and loudest sounds a bit narrower than they do now (that's what's called dynamic range). Going from barely discernible whispers to the ear-splitting peals of thunder or booms and rumbles of high explosives and weapons fire in a matter of seconds is not winning you any fans in this household. The wide range of the background music doesn't help all that much either. While the music itself helps amplify the scenes on the screen, it too gets too damn loud at times, spoiling our enjoyment of what we're watching.

Get a clue. While the home theater systems those of us watching your programs are capable of a wide range of volume, it isn't necessary to exercise that wide dynamic range all the time.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been a 'ballistic' weekend here at the Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Manse, with BeezleBub building not one, but two spud cannons. (One is a cannon, the other is more like a spud 'mortar', with a shorter barrel than the cannon.)

A trip to the grocery store this morning for the ammunition and propellant (potatoes and hair spray) was all that was needed to complete the project.


The Winter Carnival in Alton, New Hampshire appeared to be well attended, with numerous fishermen, snowmobilers, and pilots converging on frozen Alton Bay. (Yes, they land airplanes and helicopters on the ice in the bay!) Deb, BeezleBub, and I drove through the bay area and we could see the large numbers of people gathered on the ice. My only regrets are that I didn't have my camera with me and that we didn't have time to stop and join in on the festivities.


It was also the weekend of the 80th Annual World Championship Sled Dog Derby, held in Laconia, New Hampshire (one town over from where The Manse is located).

Mushers from all over the world competed, making for an interesting race weekend.


If this turns out to be true, we may be able to prevent and maybe cure this terrible disease: Cold sore virus linked to Alzheimer's Disease.

The DNA from Herpes Simplex 1, the virus that causes cold sores, has been found in the beta-amyloid protein plaques that build up in the brains of Alzhaeimer's sufferers.
[Researchers] believe the herpes simplex virus is a significant factor in developing the debilitating disease and could be treated by antiviral agents such as acyclovir, which is already used to treat cold sores and other diseases caused by the herpes virus. Another future possibility is vaccination against the virus to prevent the development of the disease in the first place.
To use a phrase from Instapundit, “Faster, please!”

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


More pundits are weighing in on President Obama's failure to live up to his campaign rhetoric.

Writes Jennifer Rubin:
Consider his tone and lack of bipartisanship: Obama’s election was supposed to end the “politics as usual,” filled with “divisiveness” and all other sorts of bad things. It was on Inauguration Day, as I recall, when Obama proclaimed “an end to the petty grievances … that for far too long have strangled our politics.” We should “set aside childish things,” Obama suggested, and “choose our better history.”

So much for that. The first thing President Obama did was allow Nancy Pelosi to write the egregious “stimulus” bill, effectively making it her own personal wish list. When opposition to the bill began to mount, Obama brought Republicans to the bargaining table — only to snicker “I won” to their faces.

Additionally, President Obama’s recent speech to House Democrats was as snide and sarcastic of a national address as you will ever see. It was laced with flippant, partisan attacks on those who dared to question the logic of this massive bill. His administration went on the offensive, campaign-style, impugning the motives of those who have philosophical problems with the stimulus — what he calls “bickering” — while discarding any semblance of bipartisan spirit or grace under pressure.
It seems he's working hard to further marginalize the Republicans in Congress, all while showing his pettiness.


Even Mark Steyn is getting into the act, wondering when Obama will end his Obamateur Hour and start acting serious about the problems facing our nation rather than wasting time on townhall meetings and acting as if he's still on the campaign trail.


Michael Ledeen tells us “We're all facists now!”

Adds the News Junkie at Maggie's Farm:
Fascism, like Socialism and Communism, assumes that politicians are wiser, more far-seeing, and have more integrity and less self-interest than the average person. Also, that the regular person is a feckless dope. Little evidence for that, on average, thus far in history. Politics is just "Hollywood for ugly people," as they say - but also for many who cannot make it in the real world.
Indeed. I've met more than a few politicians incapable of holding a real job because they weren't competent enough to do so. A number of them had personal lives that were less than 'great'. Oh, heck, their personal lives were a mess. And we're supposed to let folks like these run our lives when they can't even run their own?


You'll get no argument from me on either of these.


Personal and small business bankruptcies are on the rise throughout the country. It's no different here in New Hampshire. But what's different about the bankruptcies during this difficult economy is the kinds of people appearing before the bankruptcy courts.

One of the most telling differences is that many of those filing for personal bankruptcy shouldn't have to.
In the seven years Manchester attorney Malcolm Blackwood has been doing bankruptcy law, he has noticed one sad fact: "The vast majority of my clients have paid back every penny they've borrowed several times over."

But because of high interest rates and fees, they never seem to climb out of debt, he said.
Interesting. They had already paid back many times what they owed, but were still deep in debt. What's wrong with this picture?


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where another sporting weekend has passed, the ice is still thick, and where the ice fishing is still pretty darned good.


A Failed Presidency?

Isn't it interesting that less than a month into President Obama's term that some people are already calling it a failed presidency?

Barack Obama is learning the hard way that it's one thing to win an election, but another thing to actually govern. As even some of his less rabid supporters are saying, his inexperience in actually having to perform the job he was elected to do is showing through.
It is nothing less than extraordinary that, less than a month into the presidency of Barack Obama, the warnings are flying that it has embarked on a course of actions that are a danger to the nation and to the world.

...Kathleen Parker, a columnist for The Washington Post, was lamenting President Obama’s lack of experience and, more importantly, his lack of maturity. “Obama wants too much to be liked…but there’s a price in becoming president. Giving up being liked is the ultimate public sacrifice.” George W. Bush can confirm the truth of that.
While being a popular President might be nice, it isn't guaranteed by any means. Sometimes a President will have to make decisions that will not be popular with the electorate. He or she had better be ready to take the heat for those decisions. It goes with the job. But the more I have watched, the more I have seen that maintaining popularity is apparently Obama's primary focus. If that is indeed the case, then he will become far too focused on the polls rather than taking care of the nation's business. That is a recipe for failure and will lead to more problems for the American people, and especially for the economy.

While many people claim that Barack Obama is a wonderful president, there's nothing I've seen to date that indicates this to be so. While he has experience getting elected, he has no experience actually governing. Even his two years in the US Senate show a record of “not much here” to brag about. Some of his first acts as President show the lack of experience, the lack of understanding of things outside his immediate presence.
...Obama has issued a flurry of executive orders including shutting down Gitmo, but not determining what we do with a bunch of fanatic, stone killers, some of whom have been released and went right back to al Qaeda. Not satisfied with that, he authorized the spending of $20.3 million in immigration assistance to Palestinian refugees—calling them victims—who want to leave Gaza and bring their hatred here.

His first call to a “head of state” was to Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Fatah Party. Abbas is not a head of state and Fatah exists only at the pleasure of Israel who needs to appear to be negotiating something other than its own destruction. His first television interview was with Al Arabia. The Iranian response was to demand that he apologize for the “past crimes” of the U.S.

He has ordered all overseas CIA interrogation centers closed and then withdrew all charges against the mastermind behind the bombing of the USS Cole. Do you feel any safer now?
His actions may become examples of how the Law of Unintended Consequences can play a bigger role than the actions that triggered it.

The President speaks well, makes broad sweeping statements and promises, but to this day hasn't told us how he will achieve all he's promised. That's not leadership. It's salesmanship. To quote an old advertising maxim related in the linked post, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” And that is what Obama has been doing – selling sizzle, not steak. That's all his promises and 'plans' to turn America around happen to be. Unless he can deliver he will end up being a one term president.

Another thing that bothers me to no end is the repeated phenomenon of disappearing promises and speeches, particularly those on his website. To paraphrase Dan over at Riehl World View, “Obama's running for the memory hole.” But one thing the President has forgotten what so many others have learned the hard way is that the web, and particularly the blogosphere, never forgets. The days of being able to sweep past actions and words under the rug are long gone. His own words will come back to haunt him.

It's now up to Obama to fill the role he was elected to fill. The problem is he's following his old pattern – make some speeches, get elected, make some more speeches, and then vote 'Present'.

This is one office where he can't get away with that.

Dems Deliver Heavily Flawed Stimulus Package To Obama...As Ordered

Now that the stimulus bill has passed in the House and the Senate, all without the help of tne Republicans, Barack Obama and the congressional Democrats own this mess.

The bill has got to be the biggest ripoff of the American people ever perpetrated. How the hell could Congress vote for a bill that, as Senator John Boehner (R- Ohio) put it, ”No one has read?”

Despite President Obama's claims that the bill needed to be passed with no further delay or the economic consequences would be dire, this was not so. Instead it was a ploy to keep Congress, and particularly the Republican members of Congress, from going over every line in the 1700+ 1100+ page long pork fest.

To top it off, the Democrats had promised there would be no vote on the reconciled stimulus bill for 48 hours in order to give everyone, including the American public, a chance to make some small attempt to read it. But they lied, bringing the bill to a vote less than 24 hours after the joint House-Senate committee finished reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the stimulus package.

But wait! There's more!

Apparently the Democratic leadership decide that Congressional Republicans weren't needed during the House-Senate conference that hashed out the differences between the two versions of the bill, keeping them out of the conference. So much for the much vaunted “bipartisanship” that was supposed to mark the Obama Administration. This “bipartisanship” ended up with every single Republican in the House voting against it (as did 7 Democrats). All but three Republicans voted against it in the Senate.

As I have stated before, bipartisanship in this Congress and this Administration can be defined thusly:

“Sit down, shut up, and vote the way we tell you to vote, you Republican pigs!”

As much as the Democrats have the upper hand and are maneuvering to cripple the Republican party for the next few generations by taking control of the Census, they may have overstepped themselves.

If this stimulus package fails to deliver, the Democrats won't be able to point to the GOP and lay the blame there. The Dems own this piece of crap legislation lock, stock, and barrel. Of course I have no doubt the Dems will try their darnedest to do just that should the economy remain in this state or, heaven forbid, get worse.

Where is John Galt when we need him?


His Heart Harbors Deceit

One comment from a piece by Tony Blankley in Real Clear Politics about President Obama's first press conference summed up my feelings about our president, his actions, and his words rather nicely:
Thank you for articulating exactly what many of us discern about Obama but are unable to put into words.

When I first heard Obama speak he just seemed "creepy" and I've heard so many others use that same word to describe what they have heard. Obama still seems creepy, but with even more clarity now that I hear him from the position of power.

It seems obvious to me that Obama's hubris and deception cannot carry him through the next 4 years.

Proverbs 26:24-26 (New International Version)
24 A malicious man disguises himself with his lips,
but in his heart he harbors deceit.

25 Though his speech is charming, do not believe him,
for seven abominations fill his heart.

26 His malice may be concealed by deception,
but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

One need not be religious to realize the bible verses above do a pretty good job describing just about any glad handing, corrupt politician. And Obama, being a creature of the Chicago political machine, cannot have been untouched by its long established corrupt culture. He's just hidden it better than most.

The next four years will be interesting indeed. Let's just hope we can afford to keep Obama and his congressional cronies, Pelosi and Reid, in power that long.


Cross Border Tax Grab

I know the economic situation for the state government in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts isn't all that great, but it seems that in their zeal to maximize tax revenues to fill depleted state coffers they probably shouldn't be looking to force retailers in a bordering state (New Hampshire) to collect Massachusetts sales tax from Massachusetts customers.

Needless to say, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch is taking exception to that, moving to block any attempts by Massachusetts to collect Massachusetts sales tax in New Hampshire.
Gov. John Lynch said yesterday he will offer a new law to protect New Hampshire businesses from being forced to collect Massachusetts sales taxes.

"We need to send a clear message that Massachusetts and other states shall not impose their sales taxes on New Hampshire businesses," Lynch said.
How is it that one state thinks it can force a neighboring state to collect sales tax, particularly when the targeted state has none of its own? Times may be tough for Massachusetts, but do they really think they're going to get away with their move to impose Massachusetts taxes on New Hampshire? Such a move is ironic, considering Massachusetts' past in regards to taxes.
How ironic it is that the state that once had the gumption to start a war over unfair taxation imposed from afar is now trying to spread its tax tentacles beyond its own borders.

That's right: Massachusetts, the state that boldly took on the tax-happy British Empire, is now doing a little imperial number of its own. And instead of depending on musket-toting militiamen, this time we're using hapless store clerks as our frontline troops.
This isn't the first time the two states have clashed in regards to sales taxes. Back in the 1970's when Meldrim Thomson, Jr. was governor of New Hampshire, he had the State Police arrest and escort Massachusetts revenue agents sitting in the parking lots of liquor stores just over the New Hampshire border, tracking Massachusetts residents buying alcohol in New Hampshire. He knew they had no jurisdiction in New Hampshire and they were told to get out. (Maine tried to do the same thing in the 1990's, stopping cars with Maine registration and confiscating the liquor bought by Maine residents in New Hampshire once they crossed back into Maine.)

How far will they push this idiocy? As far as they possibly can.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts desperately needs the revenue and they seem to care very little where they get it, as long as they get it. If they win this legal challenge they stand to collect millions from New Hampshire retailers. (I have no doubt that should the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decide in the Commonwealth's favor that an appeal would be filed in the Federal Appellate Court.) Such an outcome would open up a host of other possible revenue grabs by Massachusetts. What would the folks running the People's Republic of Massachusetts plan next? Maybe demand a cut of New Hampshire's Rooms and Meals tax paid by Massachusetts residents vacationing in New Hampshire if they stay at a hotel chain that also has hotels in Massachusetts? What about a portion of the gas tax when Massachusetts residents buy their gasoline in New Hampshire from a gas station chain that also has franchises in Massachusetts? I certainly wouldn't put it past them. Never mind a little thing called the United States Constitution, and particularly the commerce clause.

It's no wonder that at one time New Hampshire's governor, the late Meldrim Thomson, wanted the New Hampshire National Guard to have its own nuclear weapons in order to protect us against the socialist predation of the People's Republic to our south.

It may have not been such a bad idea.

Wall Street Hates The Stimulus Package

If there's any doubt about Wall Street's take on the stimulus package, then the 381 point fall of the Dow Jones today should be a pretty good indicator: they hate it.

The financial people certainly know how to decipher the spending laid out in the bill and they understand most of it will do little, if anything, to 'stimulate' the economy. They see it for what it is - a license to steal from the public and to promote social programs that will merely bloat the government and raise taxes in the long run.


Interest In Sarah Palin Is Still Out There

It seems interest in Sarah Palin isn't going away. At least this time the interest is in the form of a positive article covering everything the media chose to ignore or twisted into something unrecognizable.

One of the more telling paragraphs of the article:
The reaction of the intellectual elite to Sarah Palin was far more provincial than Palin herself ever has been, and those who reacted so viscerally against her evinced little or no appreciation for an essential premise of democracy: that practical wisdom matters at least as much as formal education, and that leadership can emerge from utterly unexpected places. The presumption that the only road to power passes through the Ivy League and its tributaries is neither democratic nor sensible, and is, moreover, a sharp and wrongheaded break from the American tradition of citizen governance.
It is many of those same intellectual elite who were the driving force behind the character assassination of Palin. One example: How many times was mention made by the media and leftist bloggers that Sarah Palin's academic credentials were “not of the right caliber,” meaning she hadn't attended a prestigious institute of higher learning (she matriculated from the University of Idaho), and hadn't taken the right course of studies, meaning law, government, political science, or finance. They couldn't possibly allow someone not of the right crowd to attain the second highest political office in the land. After all, she wasn't “one of them.”

What many of them don't understand is that the American people don't want the intellectual elite to run things because they've done such a piss poor job of it so far. One reason for that is far too many of them lack common sense. Not surprising since none of them consider themselves 'common'. It's only the rest of us who are common.

We also have a better handle on the way things work, just like Sarah. She's worked at jobs many of the elite see as beneath them. She's run a business where a single bad season could lead to ruin, but came through on top. She's had to struggle to make ends meet, where the elite have not. In other words, she's one of us. I know both Deb and I wouldn't feel intimidated to have Sarah and Todd over for dinner. We'd throw some steaks on the grill, get some nice bread and butter corn on the cob, make up some really good slaw, tip back a few cold ones, and tell family tales.

I'd take Sarah and Todd in our home over any of the so-called elite any day. Maybe that's why there's still a lot of people interested in Sarah Palin and her plans for 2012. Count me as one of them.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We were hoping the Weekend Pundit household would be able to avoid the flu this winter, but those hopes were dashed on Friday when BeezleBub woke up with a slight fever. By Saturday morning it was a full-blown case of the flu. This morning Deb is showing symptoms. All I can do is help them when they need comforting...or water, or Alka Seltzer Plus, or whatever will bring them some relief. I'm just hoping the flu shot I got last fall will prevent me from becoming the next victim.


The fight over the stimulus bill continues in Congress. A vote on the package is expected in the Senate on Monday. If it passes it goes to a committee to hash out the differences between the House and Senate versions.

As it stands now, I don't like what I have seen of either version. There's too damn much pork and political payoffs built in that have nothing to do with economic stimulus. It's politics as usual in Congress. Despite calls for bipartisanship, the definition of bipartisanship this time around is “shut up and do what we tell you to do!”

If the stimulus passes and is signed by President Obama, there's one message we should all be sending to Congress and the White House: “Not one penny more!”

The American people are not an ATM to be tapped by the government when they feel the need to “Do something!” Far too often the something they do is the wrong thing. I believe the stimulus package as written is the wrong thing, written large. Therefore we should not allow them to come back for even more money a year or two down the road when the stimulus money is gone.

As Michael Greenspan puts it, “This monstrosity of a bill, and the assumptions underlying it (e.g., "Politicians are wiser than non-politicians," "Citizens don't own what they earn," etc.), are making me consider joining the Republican Party. Not because the Republicans are great, but because they've shown they can be decent. The Democrats are just ravening parasites.”

I'd say that's just about right.


Says Jules Crittenden, “Obama should channel his inner Eastwood.”

That works for me.

(H/T Instapundit)


It appears the glamour that has blinded the eyes of those seeing Obama as The One is fading, and they are finally waking up to reality.

“A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into catastrophe.” - President Obama, Feb. 4.

Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared "we have chosen hope over fear." Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.


After Obama's miraculous 2008 presidential campaign, it was clear that at some point the magical mystery tour would have to end. The nation would rub its eyes and begin to emerge from its reverie. The hallucinatory Obama would give way to the mere mortal. The great ethical transformations promised would be seen as a fairy tale that all presidents tell -- and that this president told better than anyone.

I thought the awakening would take six months. It took two and a half weeks.
We are now seeing the real Obama, not the slick, well packaged media presentation we saw during the election campaign. He promised us change. Unfortunately the change he promised is bringing back the bad old days of FDR and LBJ. The people wanted change, and they're going to get it. But not the way they expected. As the old saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.”

Welcome to reality, Obamabots!


Speaking of reality, Krauthammer (linked above) also brings up a number of other realities far too many people are willing to overlook when it comes to Obama's stimulus package.
And yet more damaging to Obama's image than all the hypocrisies in the appointment process is his signature bill: the stimulus package. He inexplicably delegated the writing to Nancy Pelosi and the barons of the House. The product, which inevitably carries Obama's name, was not just bad, not just flawed, but a legislative abomination.

It's the essential fraud of rushing through a bill in which the normal rules (committee hearings, finding revenue to pay for the programs) are suspended on the grounds that a national emergency requires an immediate job-creating stimulus -- and then throwing into it hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus, that Congress's own budget office says won't be spent until 2011 and beyond, and that are little more than the back-scratching, special-interest, lobby-driven parochialism that Obama came to Washington to abolish. He said.
This is theft on a scale never seen in our history. Even FDR didn't steal on this scale. But we're supposed to applaud the efforts of the thieves and looters in Congress and the White House? Where's John Galt when we need him?


Bruce adds his 2¢ worth about Obama's stimulus package, calling it what it is: a crap sandwich.


Well what do you know! All the hoopla about a link between MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccines and autism are false. The clinician originally making the claim back in 1998 falsified data and fixed reports in order to imply the link existed.

How much damage has that report caused, both in lives lost and millions, if not billions of dollars spent on lawsuits and damages awarded?

And people wonder why science has been suffering such a bad rap lately.


A number of states have sovereignty legislation in the works meant to block any more federal government intrusion into the running of the various states, particularly unfunded mandates that have already placed a dreadful burden upon them. The bases for the legislation are the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which basically state the federal government cannot claim powers not defined in the Constitution, and that the states and the people retain rights and powers even if they are not enumerated in the Constitution. Basically, it means the federal government doesn't have the right to tell the states to do anything unless it is allowed under the Constitution. Unfunded mandates is one of those things the states believe the federal government has no right to impose upon them.

So far eight states have such legislation in the works and twenty others are expected to introduce such resolutions, all in an effort to get the federal government and the US Congress off their backs. It might also be a way to blunt the effects of Obama's stimulus package, which includes the expansion of all kinds of social programs the people neither need or want, or for that fact, can afford.


The gun-grabbers are at it again, this time at the congressional level. At the moment there are no co-sponsors, but that could change at any time. It would also have to meet constitutional muster, which at first glance it appears to fail miserably.


Will the American public be forced to listen to liberal talk radio? The complete collapse of liberal talk radio would seem to indicate the public doesn't want to listen to their drivel. But if the Democrats get their way, the so-called Fairness Doctrine would be reinstated, which would force radio stations that presently carry conservative talk shows to offer equal time to liberal talk, even if doing so would cause the radio stations to lose money. And that may be the point.

If the stations can't afford to host money-losing liberal talk radio, they would be forced to stop carrying conservative talk radio. That would in effect silence the conservative voice. But would the Fairness Doctrine also apply to the television media? For networks like ABC, CBS, and NBC, it would. But for cable/satellite-only operations it wouldn't.

If conservative talk radio is forced off the public airwaves, it could always make the move to satellite radio, which is not considered public. If it worked for Howard Stern it should work for Limbaugh, Beck, Hewitt, and the others. There's also the Internet, as we've seen for Pajamas Media, Meet the New Press, and other online conservative 'radio' talk shows.


The 30th Annual Great Rotary Fishing Derby on Lake Winnipesaukee has come to a close. Over 5400 tickets were sold, up over 300 from last year despite the hard economic times.

The money received from the tickets sold go to charity and to a scholarship fund.

For the first time in Derby history, the First and Second Place winners were the same fisherman, meaning he won both the Grand Prize, a new fishing boat and trailer, and the second place prize, a new ATV and trailer.

Not bad for a weekend's worth of fishing.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where everyone is holding on to their wallets, the winter flu season has made itself felt, and where ice fishing continues even though the Fishing Derby is over.


PDS Alive And Well In Manhattan

I know that sometimes people just can't let go of things in the past. Apparently some have a tougher time than others, particularly when it comes to PDS – Palin Derangement Syndrome.

First, let's put this in perspective.

The national elections were back in November of last year, a little over three months ago. Barack Obama and Joe Biden won. John McCain went back to the U.S. Senate and Sarah Palin went back to the governor's office in Alaska. You'd think that would be enough, wouldn't you?

You'd be wrong.

It seems that Manhattan Federal Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald went postal on Sarah Palin while conferencing with lawyers involved with a suit filed by the federal government on behalf of an 11-year old autistic child and his parents in regards to the presence of a service dog in their Upper East Side luxury apartment.

What does Sarah Palin have to do with this case?

Absolutely nothing.

It appears the judge has an intense dislike for the Alaska governor and decided to air her negative opinion of Governor Palin during the aforementioned conference.

It's bad enough being a sore loser. But being a sore winner? Some people, particularly federal judges appointed by Bill Clinton, need to get a grip.


Why Obama Is Pushing So Hard On Stimulus

As President Obama continues his efforts to ramrod the bloated stimulus package through Congress, opposition to the pork-filled legislation continues to rise. Even the Congressional Budget Office opposes the legislation, stating its long term effects will harm the economy for only a short term gain. But it appears President Obama doesn't care, stating he wants the stimulus package passed by the 15th of February.

It is this arbitrary deadline that has me troubled.

Frankly, what difference does it make if the bill is passed on the 15th versus the 28th, or March 1st, or April 11th? If this stimulus package is so important, wouldn't it be prudent to take the time necessary to make sure it's done right and is as lean as possible? At this point it appears Obama just wants something passed by Congress so he can say “We're doing something!”, even if it's the wrong thing.

The President claims he wants there to be bipartisan support of the bill. I've come to realize, like many others, that by “bipartisan” he means “you Republicans should shut the hell up and toe the line,” voting the way he wants them to. That's not bipartisanship. That's a rubber stamp.

While he claims he doesn't want politics as usual in this matter, that's exactly what he's getting. Except it's politics as usual from the congressional Democrats. They keep harping the same old lines they've used for decades, trying to prove they are the only ones smart enough to know what is good for you. How patronizing is that? With all that pork they've packed in the bill, how can they tell us with a straight face they know better than we do what we need? They aren't the solution. They're the problem. They're the ones that got us into this mess to begin with, refusing to rein in risky lending because it would “help lower income people to own homes.” They ignored the warnings from the Bush Administration for years. Yet once the house of cards they legislated into being collapsed, they pointed their fingers at everyone but themselves. And now they want us to trust them to fix the problem? I guess they figure we're too stupid to realize that we know exactly who is responsible.

While there are a number of other issues the Obama Administration is struggling with, it is the stimulus package that has proved to me that Obama hasn't got a clue what it is that really needs to be done. His inexperience at anything other than getting elected is showing, and he's finding out that winning the White House is different from actually having to do something now that he lives there. He can't vote 'present'. He can't pass the buck, something he should have learned from Harry Truman. Succeed or fail, it will be attributed to him and his leadership...or lack thereof.

He needs the stimulus to pass, good or bad. He needs to point to some accomplishment and be able to say, “See? I did this for you!” Because right now there is little he's accomplished in his time in office, from the Illinois legislature, to the US Senate, to the White House. He can't lay any of this off on anyone else, bipartisanship or no. He owns it, lock, stock and barrel. So he really needs this seriously flawed piece of economic legislation to pass. If it does and the plan fails to stimulate the economy, he can always blame the “partisan” Republicans for sabotaging his great vision.

Or we can just vote him out in 2012.


A Better Economic Stimulus Plan?

As the porkulus bill makes its way through Congress, more people are coming to realize the so-called 'cure' for the economy may be worse than the economy. The Democrats on the Hill are still trying to find a way to spend $1 trillion (that's trillion, with a 't') of our money in a fashion that will not benefit any of us, but will buy them a lot of traction from labor unions, campaign donors, leftist organizations with little love of America, all while piling on the pork to levels unheard of in our history.

As I mentioned in this post, Congressional Republicans are trying to rein in the Democrats spending spree, proposing their own spending bill that is more likely to do what a stimulus bill is supposed to do, but costing less than half of the bill the Democrats are pushing.

A number of people have offered their own ideas for a stimulus plan, some not too different from what either the Democrats or Republicans are proposing, and others that are way out there.

But one of the best came from the last place I ever expected to hear a serious suggestion:

Jump to the 16:00 mark and listen to Jon Stewart's plan. (Yes, that Jon Stewart.) It makes far more sense than any of the other plans I've heard.

(H/T Free Bear And Hot Wings)


What's That Smell?

It must be the stinking carcass of the stimulus package!

The more details I hear about the stimulus bill (or as Rush refers to it, the 'porkulus' bill) the less I like. There's too damn much making it into the legislation that has little, if anything to do with stimulating the economy. It starts to read like a shopping list of things the Dems have had on their wish list but could never passed under normal circumstances.

When you realize that less than 5% of that stimulus bill will actually go to infrastructure improvements, something that Obama had promised would head the list of stimulus recipients, you know the stimulus is more smoke and mirrors than actual help to get the economy moving again.

One of the more insidious parts of the package is what is being called a 'stealth' provision that would undo the welfare reform of the mid-1990's and return it to the bad old days of welfare queens and multi-generations welfare families.
Buried deep inside the massive spending orgy that Democrats jammed through the House this week lie five words that could drastically undo two decades of welfare reforms.

The very heart of the widely applauded Welfare Reform Act of 1996 is a cap on the amount of federal cash that can be sent to states each year for welfare payments.

But, thanks to the simple phrase slipped into the legislation, the new “stimulus” bill abolishes the limits on the amount of federal money for the so-called Emergency Fund, which ships welfare cash to states.

“Out of any money in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, there are appropriated such sums as are necessary for payment to the Emergency Fund,” Democrats wrote in Section 2101 on Page 354 of the $819 billion bill. In other words, the only limit on welfare payments would be the Treasury itself.

“This re-establishes the welfare state and creates dependency all over the place,” said one startled budget analyst after reading the line.

In addition to reopening the floodgates of dependency on federal welfare programs, the change once again deepens the dependency of state governments on the federal government.
Conservatives and moderates fought for almost 30 years to undo the damage created by LBJ's social experiment, the Great Society, which trapped people in poverty and left them entirely dependent on government largess. The War on Poverty was a disaster, creating far more poverty than it cured. And now the Democrats want to return to that failed experiment, expanding their constituency (it seems those impoverished by the government always seem to vote of Democrats, the very people that made them poor), as well as their control over them.

There's plenty of other pork in the bill. The Dems are even being blatant about it, not bothering to hide their actions, hoping that the crisis they helped create will distract the electorate from the wasteful and non-productive spending orgy upon which they're about to embark.
There is so much junk in this economic stimulus package that it is designed to fail. Any hopes that people had that Obama would govern pragmatically and from the left-center are now completely out the window.

On the positive side, he is already overreaching and there is only so much patience that this country will have for far-left policies that don’t work. By 2010 or 2012, the people will be sick of these policies, and Republicans, as long as they offer a better vision of the future and policies that make sense, will be poised to regain power. Hopefully, the damage done by Obama and the Democrats will not be irreversible by then.
Unfortunately it doesn't take much time to wreck the economy and a long time to repair it.

What makes this hypocrisy worse is the Republicans in Congress have offered their own stimulus plan that costs half of what the Democrats are offering and doing it differently. The biggest difference? The Republican plan will work.


Because Republicans would rather provide heavy tax cuts and give the money back to the taxpayers and let them spend their own money to stimulate the economy. All the Democratic plan does is “spread the wealth around”, something that has never worked. (For those less in tune with this phrase, it basically means socialism, a morally and financially bankrupt system that tries very hard to make sure everyone is equally poor and does its best to discourage innovation and hard work.)

How do we know the Republican plan will work and the Democratic plan won't? History. Every time there's been a tax cut, the economy grows. Every time the government sucks billions out of the economy through taxes, heavy spending, and the expansion of the government, the economy shrinks.

Which one do you want to see happen?


Thoughts On A Sunday

Maybe I'm just getting used to the high snowfall totals, but I didn't believe we'd had nearly as much snow this winter as compared to last winter, but the Weather Guys™ say we're on track to equal or surpass last year's snowfall totals.

While BeezleBub and I have been staying to plan in regards to where to put the snow we move with the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower, making sure we will have enough room to put snow should we equal last year.

It was a tight fit last year and if we'd had one more storm with a significant snowfall we would have had no place to put it.

But BeezleBub said we could avoid the problem of where to put snow if we replaced the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower with this baby.

Big honkin snowblower.jpg

We did talk to one of the sales people at one of the local retailers and he told us this puppy will throw snow up to 100'. He even showed us a video he'd made illustrating the power of that monster. If properly applied we could throw the snow over The Manse and into the back lot. And if a neighbor pissed us off we could easily fill their driveway with our snow from a distance.

We would be able to clear the driveway in two or three passes, finishing the job in 10 or 15 minutes as compared to the 45 minutes or more that it takes now.

Well, maybe next winter.....


Shades of Katrina!

FEMA's response to the ice storm and massive power outages in Kentucky has been pathetic. Even the press in Australia has reported on the problem.

As one wag put it, maybe Obama doesn't care about white people.


Will we see a return to trade protectionism and a slide into a chronic EU-like economic malaise? Mark Steyn seems to think that if we allow the 'stimulus' package to pass as written, which includes a lot of “Buy American” provisions, we will be recreating the conditions that will cripple the American economy for decades while allowing big government to be come BIG GOVERNMENT, which in turn will have a stranglehold on the economy.

Atlas Shrugged indeed.


Opposition to the stimulus plan is growing.

Economists are saying it just won't work. Others see it as nothing more than a payoff for political favors owed. As Walter Williams says, “The stimulus package being discussed is politically smart but economically stupid. It's that bedeviling, omnipresent Santa Claus and Tooth Fairy problem again.”

It becomes more apparent every day the Democrats in Congress and the White House never took a history lesson and are trying their darnedest to recreate the Great Depression.

Bruce has his own take on the stimulus bill. As he says to Harry Reid:

Your party owns the "American Bankruptcy Act of 2009".

And, don't expect any Republican worth his or her weight in snot to go along for the ride and give you the political cover you so desperately crave right now, thinking it will save your bony ass once this crapfest goes south.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Is Global Warming the greatest fraud ever perpetrated? I have no doubt it is.

One of the big side-effects of this fraud, besides the billions that will wasted to deal with it, is the reputation of science. No one will trust science again because it was used to push this hoax.

But what worries me most is that the credibility of science may never recover — and perhaps it shouldn’t. Credibility has to be earned, and once it’s squandered may never be recovered. By now far too many scientists have knowingly colluded in an historic fraud, one that would put Bernie Madoff to shame. We are seeing political larceny here on a truly planetary scale.

Why should scientists who’ve gambled their own reputations on this fakery ever be trusted again? They shouldn’t. Would you entrust your life savings to Bernie Madoff? Right.

I’m not a climatologist. Like most scientists I rarely judge what others do in their fields. And yet it’s been flamingly obvious for years now that the hypothesis of human-caused global warming violates all the basic rules and safeguards that protect the integrity of normal, healthy science. That’s why AGW (anthropogenic global warming) looks like a massive fraud, the biggest fraud ever in the history of science.

Someone better tell Al Gore.


The presidential election is three months past but the MSM is still dissing Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Why are they so afraid of her? Could it be they see her as a threat to The One in 2012 and are trying a pre-emptive strike to discredit her?

I'd say it's a pretty good bet.


The brouhaha about bonus payouts in Wall Street financial and banking firms may be much ado about nothing, taking something small and not unusual and twisting it into something appearing ugly and greedy.

A few quick facts about Wall Street bonuses. The pretext for the political outrage was the New York comptroller's report this week on the aggregate data for bonuses in 2008. That "irresponsible" bonus pool of $18 billion was for every worker in the New York financial industry, from top dogs to secretaries. This bonus pool fell 44% in 2008, the largest percentage decline in 30 years. The average bonus was $112,000; bonuses typically make up most of an employee's salary on Wall Street. The comptroller estimates that this decline will cost New York State $1 billion in lost tax revenue and New York City $275 million. Both city and state may have to announce layoffs.
Not quite as nasty and greedy as the media, the Democrats, and the White House have made it sound.


School and Town meeting takes place in our little town this week, with the voters reviewing the warrants articles and modifying them as needed. Then next month we'll vote on them during town election day. It is by this means we decide what the town will spend for services and on the school system.

As I like to tell the people that can't be bothered to attend the meetings or more importantly, tovote on what the town will spend, “If you can't be bothered then you have no right to bitch about your taxes.”


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where town meetings start this week, money will be hotly debated, and where we'll be watching the Super Bowl from the comfort of our woodstove heated living room.

Budget Deficits - A Tale Of Two States

Watching the evening news at 6 tonight, one of the stories was about the problems many states were having with their budgets due to the tough economic times. The approaches taken by them were as different as the states themselves. I thought it might be a good idea to compare the approaches of two of them, New Hampshire (where I live) and California.

Both states are running budget deficits.

New Hampshire's deficit for the biennium ending June 30, 2009 is approximately $100 million. (The state runs under a two-year budget.) If action is not taken by the legislature and governor, the deficit could reach $400 million by the end of the next biennium.This is the first deficit the state has had in decades. New Hampshire has a population of 1.23 million, giving a per capita deficit of $81.30 for the present deficit, and a per capita deficit of $325.20 if the deficit is not addressed for the 2010/2011 budget.

California's budget deficit for the present fiscal year is expected to be over $11 billion, with some officials expecting that number to rise to $40 billion by the end of the 2009-2010 fiscal year. California has a population of 36.7 million, giving a per capita deficit of $299.73 and a projected per capita deficit of $1089.92, assuming the worst-case projections of the deficit for the 2009-2010 fiscal year are correct.

They are taking different paths to solve the problem.

When it was discovered the present New Hampshire budget was $250 million in the hole, the governor immediately ordered across the board hiring freezes and budget cuts in every state department. These actions, plus others made by the legislature and department heads of state agencies, dropped the deficit to $100 million. Most of these actions were additional spending cuts; postponement, scaling back, or cancellation of non-critical state funded projects; and boosting some fees and state taxes. Realizing the deficit could grow to almost $400 million if further measures weren't taken, the governor wants more cuts to be made, including the layoff of state employees if it becomes necessary. New broadbased taxes (income or sales tax) are off the table as the governor has pledged to veto any such measure to reach his desk. (New Hampshire has neither). The governor has also called rare weekend meetings of agency heads, legislative leaders, and the Executive Council to work on the proposed budget, which by law must be presented to the legislature in two weeks.

California, on the other hand, appeared to have a tough time making budget cuts, dialing back state spending. Instead the state assembly raised taxes and fees, while cutting little in the way of spending. To lessen the projected deficit, the governor has proposed spending cuts and tax hikes for the upcoming fiscal year.

The governor's proposed tax hikes will total $4.7 billion, including raising the sales tax from 7.25 percent to 8.75 percent, temporarily, and expanding the scope of the tax. (Does anyone know of any 'temporary' tax that wasn't made permanent?) Proposed spending cuts total $4.4 billion.

The California Assembly has different ideas.

The Democrats want to raise taxes by $8.8 billion and cut spending by $8.1 billion.

The Republicans favor selling off state assets, imposing fees on oil extracted from California oil wells (most states with oil do this), more flexible work schedules for businesses and state agencies, and postponement of new mandatory regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gases.

Which of the two do you think will succeed?

I'd guess it won't be the incipient Worker's Paradise out on the Left Coast.