'Millionaires' Move Rather Than Pay

As if we need any more proof that some states are trying very hard to drive away the people paying a good majority of the taxes, there's this cautionary tale from Maryland.

Maryland couldn't balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O'Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were "willing and able to pay their fair share." The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would "grin and bear it."

One year later, nobody's grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller's office concedes is a "substantial decline." On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year -- even at higher rates.

The only thing that surprises me about this is that they were surprised at the results of their 'soak the rich' experiment.


The Waxman-Markey Tax Plan And Why It Must Die

Skip over at Granite Grok does a pretty good job deconstructing the Waxman/Markey plan for the so-called cap-and-trade of carbon emissions.

As Skip puts it “Congressmen Henry Waxman (D-CA) & Ed Markey (D-MA), under the guise of saving the planet, are about to unleash the most sweeping curtailing of our liberties and thinning out of our wallets by taxes ever seen in the history of the US.

Henry Waxman, the most feared man in Congress, has decided we should fear him too. So he and his Massachusetts cohort, Ed Markey, have decided it would be a great idea to cripple the US economy , heavily burden the American taxpayer with higher energy costs, more taxes, and greater government control of our lives.

Somehow this does not surprise me. Waxman has already shown on more than one occasion that he has little if any respect for the American public. All he wants is power over them and this is one way he can do it without the need to run for President. Despite protestations to the contrary, Mr. Waxman does not have our best interests at heart. He wants to tie our hands because of the badly thought out and ever more discredited theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming. He doesn't appear to care if it's true or not. All he knows is that it gives him more control over every aspect of American lives. He wants us to live the way he decides we should (not that I expect him to do likewise). It will be yet another example of a watermelon environmentalist telling us “Do as I say, not as I do,” just like AlGore.


Thoughts On A Sunday

BeezleBub and I launched the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout – aka The Boat – Friday evening. My friend Scott came over with his truck to haul The Boat on its trailer to the town boat ramp and a few minutes later it was in the water and on its way to its summer berth.

There's still some work that needs doing on The Boat, but it doesn't need to be on dry land to accomplish those last tasks.

Let the boating begin!


Via Maggie's Farm comes this horror story: “The Germans could not kill Walter Gibson. But Britain’s National Health Service was up to the task.”

If you want a preview of what our health care system will be like after Obama and Congress get done with it, here it is.


You can tell the 'summah people' are back in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.

Deb and I were making our last shopping stop at the local Walmart yesterday afternoon, entering the shopping plaza via a clearly marked one-way road. Apparently one of the newly arrived 'summah people' decided he didn't want or need to wait at the traffic light at the exit of the plaza, so he went the wrong way down the entrance road to beat the traffic AND DAMN NEAR KILLED US. (Never mind that there were two easily visible signs at the top of the road on either side saying “Do Not Enter”.)

He looked at us as if we were being an inconvenience to him, squeezed past us, and continued down the entrance road and out onto the highway. I know drivers from Boston can be aggressive, but I didn't know they had gotten that bad. (I am making the assumption the driver was from the Greater Boston area, considering the Massachusetts license plates on his Cadillac Escalade.)

I'd hoped that kind of foolishness wouldn't start quite so soon. I was obviously deluded.


C.S. Lewis had the right of it when it came to “tyranny exercised for the good of its victims.”

It sounds eerily like what we're going through today.


Could this new high-speed unmanned tank be the forerunner of a Bolo?

There's also a nice photo gallery.


EMC2 has received another round of funding from the US Navy to build the WB8 polywell fusion reactor.

Polywell fusion is a the brainchild of the late physicist Robert Bussard. Unlike the 'traditional' magnetic containment (tokamak) or inertial containment (laser) fusion systems, polywell fusion research and development cost has been low, costing a fraction of what the other two systems have cost.

So far each iteration of the polywell reactor, labeled 'WB' for 'whiffleball' (the reactor resembles a whiffle ball, hence the name), has matched Bussard's theories and calculations. Each iteration was larger than the previous, and each one's performance scaled as Bussard theorized.

If EMC2 succeeds it will revolutionize the nuclear Navy (as well as the rest of the military) and US domestic power production, moving us past every other energy technology in one leap and releasing us from the grip of foreign oil producers forever.


The difference in interpretation of the First Amendment in regards to Free Speech by the leftists and everyone else is quite telling. George Will calls the leftist viewpoint an end run on free speech. It appears they want to limit speech that criticizes government (or at least government under their control).

A visiting law professor at Duke, writing in the Cornell Law Review ("The Anti-Corruption Principle"), she makes an astonishingly sweeping argument for emancipating government from First Amendment restrictions on its powers to regulate political speech -- speech about the government's composition and conduct.

The next step would likely be a complete ban on such speech, meaning anyone pointing out government misfeasance, malfeasance, corruption, or other bad or unconstitutional actions could end up in prison.

Hmm. I believe that's called tyranny. Why am I not surprised someone from the left is proposing something like this?

As Will says, the leftists proposing this see that “political speech is not a right but a privilege, something granted by government.” So where does it say that in the Constitution?

That's right, I almost forgot. These folks see the Constitution as a 'living document', with no need to go through all the rigmarole of actually amending it in order to define new 'rights' or eliminate old ones.


In regards to the government's 'takeover' of Chrysler, President Obama can blame no one else but himself for the debacle foisted upon institutional investors, particularly pension and retirement funds. He can't lay the blame on speculators this time.


Watt's Up With That has a pretty good treatise by Leonard Weinstein, ScD, disproving the 5 main claims about Anthropogenic Global Warming.

As I have stated on more than one occasion, the AGW theories have major flaws, including the fact that they can neither be proven or falsified, meaning they are nothing more than pseudo-religious dogma. AGW must be taken on faith, and faith is not science. Public policy should not be based upon AGW dogma.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


Jack Cashill at American Thinker asks “Who wrote Dreams Of My Father?” He doubts Obama did it himself and he explains why it matters.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Also from American Thinker: How green is green energy technology? Nowhere as green as you've been told.


Dr. Sanity dislikes Obama's rhetoric, finding it impossible to listen to because he feels as if he's being manipulated and lectured to by someone less virtuous and knowledgeable than himself.

I don't blame him in the least.

Understand that I listen to people for a living. I hear various degrees of honesty, sincerity, and real emotional pain being expressed on a regular basis. I also hear some of the most self-serving, dishonest and completely irresponsible utterings that it is possible to imagine. Yet, in my professional career, I have to freely admit that I have heard nothing like the deceitful and self-aggrandizing utterings of Barack Obama, which seem to get more and more pathological with every speech he gives. His most recent scam, in the National Archives in front of a fake copy of the U.S. Constitution just about takes the cake. This is not irony, so much as it is the grandiosity of tyranny.

Bill Clinton--who I actually liked for the most part; even his amusing narcissism, which seems so childishly innocent in retrospect--was completely harmless compared to the sociopathic statist that is our current POTUS.

Next time you listen to the Obamessiah's speeches, listen to what he doesn't say. Listen to the vagueness, the vacuity. Listen to the lack of specifics and the blatant emotional manipulation. Listen to the cognitive dissonance between what he is saying in his seductive, sedating style; and what he is doing with his deliberate, statist national policies and his foreign policy that not only demeans America by apologizing for her very existence; but severly handicaps her ability to act in the future. Watch how he badmouths the previous Administration, then surrepticiously implements the same policies that kept us safe over the last 8 years.

As Bird Dog at Maggie's Farm comments:Besides his smarmy condescension, what bugs me most about listening to the O is how self-referential he is. He never just talks about a thing: he always talks about himself and the thing. Perhaps he believes his hype.”

Without a doubt.


I have always advocated against those looking at science through a filter of emotion or incomprehension from getting involved in debates about science and technology. They argue from feeling rather than logic and knowledge. They cannot be reasoned with because reason has no place in their minds. This video gives us a glimpse of the problem.



And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the summer folk have returned, 'summah people' have made their presence known, and where our boating season has begun.


Pawlenty Knows How

When it comes to holding spending in check, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty knows how to do just that, especially when the Democrat-controlled legislature decides it isn't going to play along.

The legislature failed to deal with a $4 billion dollar budget deficit, and increased spending for the new budget, and increased or added taxes across the board.

Governor Pawlenty was having none of it.

Using a little known and little used Minnesota law, Pawlenty slashed through the budget with aplomb.

Upon receiving the last spending bill, he announced that he would exercise the power of "unallotment," which has been on the books since 1939 and which has been used four times. Under it, the governor is allowed to "unallot" (take away) any state spending for which there is no money to pay.

Of course the legislature responded with a last minute tax hikes, but Pawlenty didn't let them get away with it and vetoed the tax bills.

Mr. Pawlenty is now free to strip $2.7 billion from state spending to balance the budget. Tax hikes are dead.

These cuts, he says, will position Minnesota to take advantage of the recovery when it comes.

Of course the Minnesota Democrats have gone ballistic, spreading words of doom and gloom and trying to make sure Minnesota voters will know to blame the governor when 'vital' services are cut. ( My definition of 'vital' differs greatly from theirs.) Fortunately the voters aren't buying it.

Voters elsewhere might wish for a little more such show. Mr. Pawlenty's hardball has earned him glowing praise from the state's job creators, in particular small businesses, who are relieved to be spared additional tax burdens in today's economy. The governor's message -- that it is simply "inappropriate" for state legislators to keep spending like lunatics and raise taxes in a recession -- has resonated with cash-strapped voters.

That sort of tax-and-spend governance is precisely what has now pushed California to the brink of insolvency. California voters revolted this week, defeating five budget ballot initiatives. "The sky isn't going to fall," Mr. Pawlenty told reporters on Tuesday, just because Minnesota has to trim 3% to 4% from a $34 billion budget. Oh, to hear such words from a California pol.

I wish my home state of New Hampshire had such a law or something akin to it, like a line-item veto. Goodness knows we could use it now considering our Democrat-majority legislature is ready to spend us into the poor house with yet another unbalanced budget (which is unconstitutional in this state) and a broad slate of tax and fee hikes. Of course our present wishy-washy governor would be unlikely to use it, except to cut out a few minor spending issues for appearances sake. The upcoming biennial budget needs about a $1.5 billion reduction in order to keep spending in check. But that's not likely to happen this time around.

The Fall Of California

Is California (financially) toast? If voter opinion is any indication, the answer is yes.

It's one thing if California's fiscal problems were something unforeseen, occurring overnight due to some calamity. But this is something everyone saw coming. But the state assembly did nothing to stop it. They have allowed state worker unions to dictate what would and would not be done, kowtowed to other special interests, and basically told the taxpayers they would be on the hook because members of the assembly were incapable of saying 'no'. They failed to revamp state spending, cut out “nice-to-have” programs, or cut confiscatory income and sales taxes. This problem is of their own making. It is not up to the rest of us in the other states to help them make ends meet by giving them our money (which they will waste). If we do this once, we'll have to keep doing it because they have shown they are incapable of making the necessary choices to bring their financial house into order.


"Soak The Rich" and Other Leftist Fairy Tales

Arthur Laffer, he of the Laffer Curve, and Stephen Moore wrote one of the more definitive pieces about taxes and 'soaking the rich', opining that if the rich are taxed too much, they will pick up and leave, taking their money with them. The forum related to that piece has been abuzz with those agreeing with Laffer and Moore, and those condemning them for fearmongering, as if Laffer and Moore were trying to justify the rich not paying their fair share.

One of my questions: How much do the rich have to pay in order to pay their fair share? I get the impression that to many of the more leftist commenters, 100% would not be enough. Do you think I'm kidding? Merely saunter over to the forum and read for yourself.

But one of the most egregious comments took me aback, making me wonder if it was a joke or a troll. After reading other comments akin to this one I realized this joker was probably quite serious.

The problem is that big business and greedy rich people are once again finding new ways to avoid paying their fair share. A business or individual should not be able to exploit a loophole in the law by packing up and moving across state lines to avoid taxes. For example, a business or individual who has made their money in California and enjoyed plentiful state services in growing wealth should not be allowed to greedily abandon ship just to save a few dollars.

The solution is to require states like Texas to levy some kind of minimum sales / property / income taxes. Right now the situation is a joke, Texas is basically saying "all greedy tax dodgers, move HERE". If Texas were required by the Federal government to increase their taxes then this incentive to cheat would not exist.

Texas and others have already stolen billions from California, which is why we have such a large budget deficit and such poor schools.

So rather than California putting its financial house in order, this jerk wants to force other states to raise taxes they don't need just to make him feel better and to leave a free people with no place to run. How is it the ability (and freedom) to pack up and leave at will should be eliminated just so the Socialist Dystopia of California can spread the misery? This guy needs to be deprogrammed.

Notice how he blames problems California has with profligate spending and confiscatory tax policies on other states that have exercised fiscal restraint and kept spending and taxes in control? He calls it theft. Psychologists and psychiatrists call it projection. He calls people not willing to stay in California so the state can bleed them dry “greedy”. But it is he who is the greedy one, the jealous one. He wants to enjoy the fruits of someone else's labor, steal the money from someone else's bank account because he figures he's entitled. But we call it something else. Theft. It is he who is the thief.

I tis obvious that, if this individual is serious, he is delusional, uneducated, and a danger to society because of his beliefs. He'd probably feel right at home in the old Soviet Union...until he did something to piss off the KGB and ended up in a gulag.

Unfortunately the opinion expressed by this person, SR, isn't all that different from a lot of other leftists who fancy themselves as some kind of all-knowing economist or sociologist. The problem is that they are woefully ignorant and more than happy to remain that way. That way they don't have to take into account the human factor when it comes to their economic or sociological prognostications.

I've heard more than one economist make a fool of themselves over the years because more often than not they look at just the numbers when making a projection, ignoring what really motivates people to do one thing or another. They wrongfully assume a large portion of the populace will act altruistically rather than in their own self interests, which is why they are wrong such a large percentage of the time. Such is the case with SR, who expects business owners and wealthy individuals to passively accept their lot in regards to confiscatory taxes and onerous regulations and remain in a state that seeks nothing more than their ruination. How naïve is that?

Obviously SR hates the business owners and the wealthy, looking upon them as someone to be exploited. It's no wonder someone like him/her will end up going through life being constantly disappointed.

The present situation (and SR's intense dislike of the producers wealth) reminds me of quote from Lazarus Long, aka Robert A. Heinlein, about society and its attitude against those who actually produce wealth.

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded -- here and there, now and then -- are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck".

Sound familiar?

Taxpayers Are Saying "No". Legislatures Aren't Listening...Yet.

Is the vote putting the kibosh on out of control spending by the state of California merely the first shot in a nationwide taxpayer revolt? I'd have to say the average taxpayer has just about had it with both federal and state governments looking at citizens as nothing but an ATM to be tapped at will.

We've seen tax hikes in New York that will do nothing but make New Yorkers poorer while still failing to fill the revenue gap created by state and municipal governments spending more than the citizens can afford. The same thing is happening or will happen in a number of other states as well, including New Jersey, Connecticut, and, unfortunately, my home state of New Hampshire, just to name a few.

In New Hampshire we have a state legislature that just can't say no to new spending, even in light of an existing budget deficit they have failed to deal with, and an even bigger one projected for the upcoming biennial budget (New Hampshire operates under a two year budget). The last budget increased state spending by 17.5% while fudging the projected revenue figures to make it look as if the state would collect enough to pay for such a huge spending increase. The state ended up taking in about $400 million less than projected. That was not a surprise to most of us in the state as we knew the legislature cooked the books. It didn't help that the governor went along with the charade.

Now, like many other states, the legislature has decided it's a great time to boost the state budget by an additional 13% even though they know the revenues won't be there to pay for it. Even the proposed tax hikes (which will put us back in the same situation that existed back in the late 60's/early 70's when New Hampshire business, capital gains, and other taxes made the state seem hostile to business), won't come close to meeting revenue projections, which means they'll need to raise even more taxes, which in turn will wreck what has become to be known as the New Hampshire Advantage. The Democrat majority legislature will reimpose the very taxes that crippled the state economy back in the 50's and 60's, all while telling us it's necessary to fund state operations. It doesn't help that the governor doesn't have the will to tell the legislature 'no'. Instead he will 'reluctantly' sign the budget, sending the state down the tax-and-spend rathole that has crippled so many other states.

One merely needs to look just south of the border into Massachusetts to see the effects of out of control spending and taxation. Back in the 70's and 80's Massachusetts was derisively known as Taxachusetts. That sobriquet has returned with a vengeance in light of the tax and fee hikes passed or proposed during the present legislative session.

Too many other states are doing the same thing. You'd think the first thing they'd do is tighten their figurative belts, trim costs, cut back on spending and, if needed, lay off workers. But that seems to be the last resort for some. California is caught in a Catch-22 where if they lay off state (union) workers the federal government will cut off billions in stimulus funds promised to the state in way of punishment. Other states have been effectively taken over by state and municipal workers unions, making it impossible to perform layoffs. The unions act as if it's a crime to lay off any of their members. I don't know of any union contracts that guarantee employment for life. But the unions certainly seem to think so.

One bright spot for California because of the vote: If the state goes bankrupt, the union contracts with state workers unions will be null and void, meaning the state can then shed itself of workers it can no longer afford. California will be forced to become more efficient and more fiscally conservative. The days of want-to-haves being seen as need-to-haves will be gone.

Now if only the New Hampshire legislature and the US Congress could be made to see the difference.

Like that's going to happen.


Sometimes Violence Does Solve Problems

How many times have we heard the saying “Violence never solves anything.” It's a nice platitude. Unfortunately it's wrong.

Many people like to use Mohandes Ghandi as an example of non-violent protest winning the day. But the only reason Ghandi's tactics worked is because he was using them against a civilized adversary, the British Empire. Had he tried to use them against some one else, like Nazi Germany, he would have ended up with a bullet to the back of the head or in one of the cremation ovens after being worked to death in a concentration camp.

Violence does solve things. It has ended brutal dictatorships, saved citizens from the predation of criminals, prevented injustices on a small and large scale, and prevented wars.

Perhaps the old saying needs to be modified. Instead, it should be “Violence never solves anything if it is used at the wrong time in the wrong place.” Violence in and of itself solves nothing. It is the proper use of violence under the right circumstances that solves problems.

Am I advocating violence as a cure to every problem? Of course not. Violence should be the last resort, used only when all other alternatives have been exhausted. But when that time comes it should be used without hesitation and without pity. What level of violence to use would be determined by the circumstances. (If it comes down to life or death, make sure it's the other fellow hitting the ground with a bunch of 9mm holes in him and not you.)

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Belief In Science Is Not Religion

Back in March I posted the news about a group of researchers for the US Navy have proven that cold fusion does exist and that Pons and Fleischmann were right. There was quite a bit of buzz about the announcement and peer reviewed paper presented by the research team.

A number of scientific journals and magazines presented articles discussing the claim, and comments ran fast and furious by readers, some asking questions, wanting some clarification, while others claimed fraud or scientific blasphemy. Yet others discounted the discovery as nothing more than another bit of “science as religion” dogma. It is to this last faction that I am addressing today's post.

Perusing an article about the cold fusion research in the British publication New Scientist, I came across a comment by one skeptic that tried to shove science into the same category as religion, showing his Luddite tendencies (and lack of an adequate education in regards to scientific method and history) to all.

However, my question..pertaining to the religion and following blindly expression.....

If we accepted that science is just as far out and WRONG as most religions, would the world be a more united place?

If we didn't have a bunch of people walking around pretending they know what's going on in this world, would there be less of a tendency for those that "understand" to control the the sheep?

If science were indeed as “far out and WRONG as most religions”, would we have the technological and scientific marvels we live with today? Obviously not. The world would likely not be a united place. There would likely be more wars, more death from disease, more misery. And as far as those “pretending they know what's going on in this world”, the folks he's disparaging probably do have a better grasp than he does. But most of them also know something this guy doesn't: They know they don't know it all. They know what they don't know, they know they don't have the answers, and that's probably the most important thing they know. But they're also looking for the answers to questions big (cosmological) and small (quantum). Many of the other commenters lambasted this guy for his ignorance.

But what peeves me is that there are a lot of people out there that believe the same thing as this guy, looking upon science as nothing more than just another religion. But true religion deals with faith, putting trust into a higher being without needing proof. It is something of the spirit, of the soul.

On the other hand, science requires proof, requires testing, requires skepticism, requires review by peers. It is something quantified. Religion is not. Religion cannot be measured, can not be plugged into an equation, because it is something intangible that has no metric.

Science is something that requires updating as new things about our universe, big or small, are being discovered. Something is observed or a thought occurs that makes us ask a question. That in turn has us looking into the how or why of the event or thought, which then leads construction a hypothesis. We then test the hypothesis with experiments, analyze the data, and compare it with the hypothesis. If the experiments show that part or all of the hypothesis is wrong, then it is modified based upon the data collected and analyzed and tested again until the data - all the data - can be predicted by the hypothesis. Injecting a religion-like faith into such a cycle means you are either ignoring data that disproves the hypothesis, or you are running a con game.

We've already seen the effects of just this phenomenon when it comes to those confusing science with religion.

One example is the aforementioned cold fusion. Too many are willing to cast it aside because it doesn't fit into the canon of the knee-jerk deniers. They aren't willing to look at the hypothesis with a critical eye and test it. Instead they'll tell you why it can't work or come up with an alternative theory to explain away the observations that prove the hypothesis. They won't actually test the alternative theory because they have faith they are right and that everyone saying different is wrong.

Another wide ranging example is the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming. A number of hypotheses have been put forth, all quite similar. The only problem? They aren't provable or falsifiable. Instead, we're supposed to take it on faith that the hypotheses are right. That's where it ceases to be science and instead becomes a false religion. And that's exactly what AGW is, a false religion.

Data that disproves the hypotheses are ignored or ridiculed as not germane, while other data is so heavily massaged it magically 'proves' the hypothesis. But that same data is totally unrecognizable as it bears no resemblance to the original data set. Again, that's not science but 'religion' masquerading as science.

Science, on the other hand keeps asking these same folks the same questions: “Can you prove it? Can you show us the experiment(s) you used to prove/disprove/refine your hypothesis? How did you analyze your data?” Far too often the answers do not come close to meeting the burden of proof to show their hypotheses aren't worthless.

Because of this, people start questioning the validity of true science, being unable to distinguish between it and the pseudo-scientific 'religious' mumbo jumbo being peddled as science. It's a con game. What makes it worse is that some of the perpetrators don't even realize it's con job, having been fooled by their own beliefs or passions, abandoning tried and true methods for determining what is and isn't true because they know the truth.

Is it any wonder science has been falling out of favor, seen as nothing but yet another failed 'religion'?


Thoughts On A Sunday

BeezleBub has spent far more time than I have working to get the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout – aka The Boat – ready to launch. With only a few more tasks to complete such as vacuuming and cleaning the cockpit carpet, cleaning the mildew from the cushions, rewiring some of the accessories to upgrade the capacity, and renewing the registration the boat, it will be ready to go before next weekend.


No one has been making a bet about how the upcoming summer season will play out up here on Lake Winnipesaukee. Last year business was down a small amount, but lake traffic was down quite noticeably due to gas prices reaching around $5 per gallon at the marinas.

With gas prices at half what they were last summer, it's anyone's guess how much boat traffic there will be this year, keeping in mind the recession. Last summer there were a number of slips that went unrented, something unheard of in this area. This year the slip rentals are lagging, but apparently not as much as last year. The same is true of cottage and campground rentals and resort reservations.

One positive indicator of the pending summer season is the number of vendor permits being issued by the city of Laconia for next month's Bike Week. So far permits are running about 30% ahead of last year, a good sign.


Yesterday I participated in an on-the-air New Hampshire blogger's forum on Meet The New Press (podcast can be found here), a weekly radio program hosted by the folks at GraniteGrok. The forum continued after the show after moving down to our little town's town hall. Conservative political activism is not dead in the Granite State!


One participant I met was Lori Ingham of ConChrist. She's a former print journalist that is now busy raising a family. She's turned her talents to blogging which, as she says, gives her a bit more freedom than when she was working for one of the local papers because she doesn't have to limit the size of her reports. She was one of two conservative reporters on the staff of the newspaper. The other has moved on to bigger and better things (as has Lori, in my opinion).

Swing on by to ConChrist and give it a read.


Speaking of Lori, she asks: “Now Obama wants to inject himself into state politics as well?”

This does not bode well for us.


Do you really think the cost of government-run health care is free? Think again.

While you may not have to pay directly out of you pocket for that 'free' health care, you may find the reason it's free is because a government bureaucrat will decide you're to expensive to treat and therefore will be denied medical care. In effect, they'll be saying “It's less expensive to let you suffer/become invalided/die than to cure what ails you.” If you somehow believe it won't come to that, all one needs to do is look to the UK's National Health Service or Canada's similar health care system, because that's exactly what's happening there. The folks in those two nations believed the same thing.

They were wrong.

Doing the same thing here may save money, but it will be at the expense of denying treatment to people desperately needing it. President Obama has already stated the only way to cut costs is to cut coverage. That will be particularly true of the elderly, where far too many bureaucrats already see our senior citizens as a drain on our society and its resources (even if it isn't true).

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


I am in full agreement with this: Political Correctness must die.

This is something I've been advocating for years (scroll down to the June 14th post).


Bogie is getting tired hearing how lucky she is to have a “fast metabolism”. As she says, remaining 'skinny' (meaning having normal weight rather than being overweight) takes a lot of work and eating right.


In the matter of Pelosi v. the CIA, I'm more inclined to believe the CIA.


Bruce has a great idea to solve the revenue problem dogging the People's Republic of Taxachusetts:

A 'Suckers and Morons' tax.

They'd be able to collect so much revenue they'll never have to worry again!

Yeah. Right.


Victor Davis Hansen looks back on the disaster of the first 100 days of the President Palin's administration.

(H/T Pun Salad)


Will a proposed piece of legislation become yet another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences coming into play?

The Health Families Act would guarantee 7 paid sick days a year for employees of any business with 15 or more employees.

The unintended consequences? As Raven writes, “My employer offers 12 now and it’s being rumored that if this law goes into effect, they will cut it back to what is…mandated. GREAT. Thanks liberals. I guess this is part of sharing the burden eh?”

I've found that far too often the liberals in Congress don't concern themselves with such things...unless it gains them some political advantage, real or perceived.


If this is any indication, our younger citizens have an interesting, accurate viewpoint about technology they've grown up with, understanding it can be a timewaster, keeping them from sleeping, doing homework, or socializing face-to-face, amongst other things.

On the other hand they've always known laptops, the Internet, smart phones, instant messaging, and a host of other technologies that didn't exist when we were growing up. They take these things for granted. Many of the rest if us still have a sense of wonder about the things we use (or in my case, helped create).


Now the Obama Administration is out to screw the Navajo Nation.

As if they haven't received enough grief from the US Government already.


Obama is carrying on playing the blame game as laid out by Saul Alinsky's Rules for radicals, blaming the previous administration for everything that's happened since he's taken office.


Is Obama voting 'present' now that he's settled in to the Oval Office?

Jonah Goldberg certainly thinks so. He'll get no argument from me on that.


The guy's been in Congress for 40 years and he's just now “getting started”?

Say what?

Maybe it's time to send him home.


From Pirate's Cove comes this great image:

I'd buy it!


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where lake traffic is up, our boat is almost ready, and where we're waiting for the summerfolk to get their summer places ready.


Verizon Selling More Landline Assets - A Bad Deal For Consumers

Where have I seen this before?

Apparently Verizon is shedding itself of more landlines, this time in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington State, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and border areas of California.

The sale of over 4.8 million phone lines will be made to Frontier Communications, a company that specializes in servicing small towns and rural areas. The price tag? $5.3 billion.

This will not be a good deal for the consumers in those states.

Like the sale of its landline business in northern New England, Verizon is selling to a much smaller company that is, quite frankly, not really capable of handing the sudden increase in the sheer number of customers it will find itself dealing with. Frontier will suddenly be three times larger after the sale, much like FairPoint Communications did after taking over operations in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

FairPoint, like Frontier, 'specialized' in serving small towns and rural areas. After spending $2.3 billion to acquire Verizon's landlines in northern New England, it quickly found itself in over its head. Service quality fell, the delays for customers to have service added, moved, or otherwise changed went from a couple of days to weeks. FairPoint has lost 80,000 customers since the takeover. The consumer did not get a good deal with that sale. It didn't help that FairPoint bought an increasing share of a decreasing market, a proven formula for failure.

The regulators in the states affected by the sale of Verizon's landline services to Frontier had best take a close look at the proposal, ask questions about the effects of the sale, and look to northern New England to see how the last sale of Verizon assets has worked out. This is a deal to which the state regulators shouldn't say “No”, but “Hell, no!!” Many of the same conditions apply to the Frontier deal as applied to the one with FairPoint, but costing a heck of a lot more money this time.

How anyone can think buying Verizon's cast offs will somehow make them money is beyond me. Like the previous deal, Frontier will be buying an increasing share of a decreasing market. Unless they update their infrastructure to incorporate things like Fiber To The Home, they will find themselves shedding customers as competitors like cable and wireless offer better service at lower prices, just as been happening here in northern New England.

This is a deal from which Frontier and the affected states should walk away.


A Double Dose Of Government Derived Foolishness

Tonight's post will be a two-fer. In this case touching upon mistakes made by the US government in the past that are being repeated again, as well as the Obama Administration's approach to Constitutional law, particularly in regards to contracts and bankruptcies.

As so many of us know, the present financial crisis can be said to have many fathers, most of whom decided that boosting homeownership was a good idea even though it already stood at close to 66% before the housing bubble started to inflate. Between legislation designed to expand lending to those wishing to own their own homes, and the unwise relaxation of lending standards (mostly at the behest of the government and as the results of lawsuits brought by groups that had absolutely no understanding of why lending standards existed), the dream of homeownership for many turned into nightmares. What's ironic is that this isn't the first time such a thing has happened. I have a feeling it won't be the last because we can't seem to get away from the idea that everyone should own their own home.

In December, the New York Times published a 5,100-word article charging that the Bush administration’s housing policies had “stoked” the foreclosure crisis—and thus the financial meltdown. By pushing for lax lending standards, encouraging government enterprises to make mortgages more available, and leaning on private lenders to come up with innovative ways to lend to ever more Americans—using “the mighty muscle of the federal government,” as the president himself put it—Bush had lured millions of people into bad mortgages that they ultimately couldn’t afford, the Times said.

Yet almost everything that the Times accused the Bush administration of doing has been pursued many times by earlier administrations, both Democratic and Republican—and often with calamitous results. The Times’s analysis exemplified our collective amnesia about Washington’s repeated attempts to expand homeownership and the disasters they’ve caused. The ideal of homeownership has become so sacrosanct, it seems, that we never learn from these disasters. Instead, we clean them up and then—as if under some strange compulsion—set in motion the mechanisms of the next housing catastrophe.

And that’s exactly what we’re doing once again. As Washington grapples with the current mortgage crisis, advocates from both parties are already warning the feds not to relax their commitment to expanding homeownership—even if that means reviving the very kinds of programs and institutions that got us into trouble. Not even the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression can cure us of our obsessive housing disorder.

We treat homeownership as if it were some kind of sacred goal. But it isn't. Treating it like it is the end all and be all of our existence has seriously skewed our financial markets and placed a number of families in jeopardy as they lose the homes they couldn't afford to buy in the first place. That brand of madness has got to stop. Unfortunately I doubt we'll learn our lesson this time, either. For sure, the government won't.

Along with the financial mess as a result of the collapse of the housing market, we also have to deal with the presidential shenanigans in regards to the Chrysler bankruptcy. It appears the Obama Administration feels not one bit of guilt or remorse in ignoring the Rule of Law, particularly when it comes to that pesky US Constitution. After all, why should the government bother itself with making sure a bankrupt automaker's bondholders receive their fair share of the assets? Never mind what the Constitution says about contracts (Article V) and bankruptcy (Article I, Section 8). It's just easier to ignore all that and do what is politically expedient.

The Obama administration's behavior in the Chrysler bankruptcy is a profound challenge to the rule of law. Secured creditors -- entitled to first priority payment under the "absolute priority rule" -- have been browbeaten by an American president into accepting only 30 cents on the dollar of their claims. Meanwhile, the United Auto Workers union, holding junior creditor claims, will get about 50 cents on the dollar.

The absolute priority rule is a linchpin of bankruptcy law. By preserving the substantive property and contract rights of creditors, it ensures that bankruptcy is used primarily as a procedural mechanism for the efficient resolution of financial distress. Chapter 11 promotes economic efficiency by reorganizing viable but financially distressed firms, i.e., firms that are worth more alive than dead.

Violating absolute priority undermines this commitment by introducing questions of redistribution into the process. It enables the rights of senior creditors to be plundered in order to benefit the rights of junior creditors.

Knowing that if something bad should happen they would be stiffed by the government, why would anyone in their right mind invest in any business? You'd have to be a moron to do something like that. But with the precedent the Obama Administration is setting with the Chrysler bankruptcy, they are setting up the very conditions they are supposedly trying so hard to avoid. Investors will shy away, holding on to their cash, and letting the government get away with one of the all time bonehead moves guaranteed to squash economic recovery. They're forcing more people to “go Galt” at a time when the rest of us can least afford it.

Let's see how that will work for Obama.


More Star Trek Technology Becoming Reality

First, it's the communicator, capable of contacting anyone anywhere on the planet, translated into the Motorola StarTAC Flip Phone cell phone. Then it's the medical diagnostic bed in the form of CAT, MRI, and PET scanners. After that it's high energy lasers capable of destroying missiles and artillery shells in flight or performing surgery with little or no bleeding. Then it's the transporter, even if it's only capable of teleporting a photon from one side of a lab to another. There are even cloaking devices and Bird of Prey stealth aircraft.

Many of the technological wonders of Star Trek have become reality, even if not quite in the form many might have liked. So what's next?

How about the Warp Drive?

If you think it's nothing but something from a science fiction movie, think again.

With the latest installment of the Star Trek franchise packing theaters, researchers are again speculating about the feasibility of building a faster-than-light "warp drive" similar to the one powering Star Trek's "Enterprise" star ship.

Researchers at Baylor University (Waco, Texas) claim that dark energy--the force causing the universe to expand--could power a warp drive by expanding the fabric of space behind the ship while simultaneously contracting space ahead of it. The scheme could theoretically enable a ship to traverse light years in distance without violating Einstein's prohibition on faster-than-light travel.

This space-warping mechanism for faster-than-light travel (without actually exceeding the speed of light) was first proposed in 1994 by the Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre. At that time, there was no known mechanism to explain how the effect could be realized. Thanks to string theory, the Baylor scientists claim that dark energy could theoretically be harnessed to realize a warp drive.

To quote Glenn Reynolds (and no pun intended). “Faster, please.”


The Numbers Are In And They Ain't Great

“The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry” indeed.

It appears the Obama team has done it again, this time in regards to the unemployment rate with and without the so-called “Recovery Plan”.

It turns out their predictions for the unemployment rate under the recovery plan were wrong. Again.

Frankly, I think we would have been far better off without the recovery-less recovery plan. Looking back through our history one will see that every time the government has intervened with the economy in an effort to “fix” it, they've only made it worse and delayed the recovery. And this time around they're throwing so much phantom money at the problem they've short-circuited the normal feedback mechanisms, which will in turn delay the economic recovery another year or three. Or four.

Thanks a lot, Mr. President.

That's Trillion, With A 'T'

When I saw the headline, I almost did a double-take. But I realized that it should not have been surprising at all. After all, why wouldn't Obama's first economy-busting budget have a $1.8 trillion deficit?

For those of you out there that are Economics 101 deprived (or are incapable of reading a balance sheet), the projected deficit for the first year is 150% above all of George W. Bush's deficits (6 years worth) combined. Does anyone one on the Left care to explain how Obama's creation of a single year deficit of almost $2 trillion (with a follow on $1.3 trillion deficit next year) is somehow more fiscally responsible than George Bush's now minuscule-by-comparison deficits?

Anyone? Anyone? No?

I thought not.

Again it appears the Left still believes the money to finance this incomprehensibly huge debt will appear by magic. Certainly the Chinese won't buy into it. Neither will anyone else. And we already know the rich don't have enough to pay for it even if Obama took every penny they make (the funds collected would barely cover a fifth of the total deficit). That means he'll go after the businesses that employ us, and then he'll come after us. And still it won't be enough to pay for all of the Left's dystopian programs.

Atlas Shrugged indeed.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a busy day for the WP family, with a couple of different gatherings to celebrate Mother's Day. BeezleBub, Deb, and I made the trip to the WP In-Laws for the day. The trip served two purposes: to celebrate Mother's Day and to take BeezleBub's Jeep down so he and his grandfather could start the restoration work.

Needless to say, the trip has left little time to put the usual effort into the regular Thoughts On A Sunday post, so this one will be rather abbreviated.


Are the chickens now coming home to roost? It appears so as many of Obama's wealthy supporters may now find themselves in the spotlight and end up being on the receiving end of Obama's tax plans.

Wealthy Wall Street financiers and other business figures provided crucial support for Mr Obama during the election, backing him over the Republican candidate John McCain as the right leader to rescue the collapsing US economy.

But it is now dawning on many among them that Mr Obama was serious about his campaign trail promises to bring root and branch reform to corporate America - and that they were more than just election rhetoric.

A top Obama fundraiser and hedge fund manager said: "I'm appalled at the anti-Wall Street rhetoric. It was OK on the campaign but now it's the real world. I'm surprised that Obama is turning out to be so left-wing. He's a real class warrior."

What surprising is that this guy is surprised. Most of those who voted against Obama last November knew exactly what he was and what he was going to do. That Obama has turned on his supporters does not surprise me in the least because he's got a history of doing just that.

My only question: How long before he turns on George Soros?


Discouraging investors with his bullying is just so...so Nixonian. Does Obama really understand what's he's doing to the economy by such actions? If I had to guess, I'd say he doesn't have a clue. That's what's really scary.


Via Instapundit: Are plummeting federal tax receipts an indication individuals and businesses are 'going Galt'? It certainly seems that way to me.


Talk about a Catch-22.

It seems California will be going broke by July, yet the Feds won't let them make pay cuts in order to balance the state budget or they'll cut off stimulus funds.


Via Ace comes this cautionary tale from Mrs. Peel about the insidiousness of evil, particularly when it comes in the guise of making decisions for people for their own good because they aren't seen as being capable of making decisions for themselves.

What's worse is that some of our more naïve citizens actually support the idea, but somehow believe it wouldn't apply to them. But their lack of common sense doesn't excuse making the rest of us slaves to an uncaring and incompetent government that does not have our best interests at heart.


And that's the (abbreviated) news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where we're one day closer to summer, spring planting at the local farms has started, and where Monday has come all too soon.


How Dare They!

It's bad enough people are questioning the validity of global warming theories, now they're actually backing up their skepticism with hard evidence.

What will Al Gore do now?


Gun Grabbers Cooking The Books

I find the following report misleading in a lot of different ways: Hawaii Has Lowest Gun Death Rate.

Hawaii, with its strong gun laws and low rate of gun ownership, has the lowest gun death rate in the nation, the Washington D.C.-based gun control group Violence Policy Center said Wednesday.

The islands had a per capita gun death rate of 2.58 per 100,000 people in 2006, according to the center's analysis, based on the most recently available national data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. The national average was 10.3, it said.

Only 9.7 percent of Hawaii households own guns, compared with 45.6 percent in Louisiana, which topped the nation in per capita gun deaths at 19.5, the center said.

Louisiana was followed by Alabama (57.2 percent household gun ownership, 16.9 deaths), Alaska (60.6 percent, 16.3), Mississippi (54.3, 16.3) and Nevada (31.5 percent, 16.2).

What I find interesting is there is no mention made of cities like Washington DC, which also has had, until recently, the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, very low 'legal' gun ownership, yet was has been vying for the title of Murder Capitol of the US.

Other countries with very restrictive gun laws, like the UK and Australia, have found that while gun deaths have gone down, violent death and crime rates have climbed dramatically. The Violence Policy Center appears to have ignored that little statistic. I guess death by other violent means is OK, just not deaths caused by the use of guns.

Here in New Hampshire we have a high gun ownership rate and relatively lax gun laws. We also have a very low murder rate and low violent crime rate. In fact, New Hampshire has an overall crime rate less than half that of Hawaii (25,466 crimes in New Hampshire versus 57,997 in Hawaii in 2006). How does the Violence Policy Center reconcile that? According to crime statistics compiled by New Hampshire law enforcement, there were 13 homicides in the state in 2006. With a state population of 1,314,895, that gives an overall homicide rate of 1.01 deaths per 100,000 people. According to crime statistics collected by Hawaii law enforcement officials, during that same year the number of homicides were 21. With a population of 1,285,498 at the time, that gives a homicide rate of 1.63 deaths per 100,000 people.

Looking at the Violence Policy Center's stats, they claim New Hampshire had a gun death rate of 6.25 per 100,000 people, or 82 gun deaths in 2006. But how many were due to crime, how many due to suicide, how many to accidental discharges, and how many due to hunting accidents, and so on? They don't break that down in any meaningful form.

I also have to ask this question: How many of the gun deaths being counted were the result of a law abiding citizen killing a violent miscreant intent on harming or killing the citizen? Again, they don't bother breaking down that number.

In effect, they're cooking the books, treating gun deaths as if they were a majority of all deaths not due to auto accidents, falls, other misadventures, or natural causes. You don't hear them decrying the number auto deaths, which kill far more people than guns. The national death rate was approximately 15.2 per 100,000 in 2006, with over 44,600 auto-related deaths. That's 50% above the national death rate for gun related deaths. So shouldn't automobiles and truck be as tightly regulated as they want guns to be?

Is this a valid comparison, looking at the two sets of statistics and drawing a conclusion? Of course not. It's no more a valid notion than that being drawn by the Violence Policy Center, that strict gun laws and low gun ownership rates automatically lead to lower gun death rates. They ignore a number of questions, including whether they have counted just legal gun ownership, or all gun ownership, legal or illegal. If they ignore illegal gun ownership, meaning they've ignored guns owned by criminals, then their argument is flawed. It certainly explains the high murder rate in Washington DC, where gun related deaths are high despite low legal gun ownership rates.


Yet Another Obama Plan Will Hurt The Poor

Here's a follow up to yesterday's post, showing yet another example of the Obama Administration's ignoring the Law of Unintended Consequences to the detriment of the very people Obama claims he wants to help.

In an effort to get 'clunkers' off the road, the proposed the Cash For Clunkers plan is supposed to offer between $3500 and $4500 for people's old cars. This will be done in an effort to induce people to buy new, fuel efficient cars. The only problem is that this program will end up hurting the poor.

The supply of affordable used cars will disappear as the program lays out hundreds of millions of dollars to get them off the road. This unintended consequence will show itself in two ways: Used cars that would have sold for $1000 or $2000 will now be 'worth' $3500 or more and will sell for that much on the open market and; What used cars that are out there will be sold to the government and crushed, depleting the total supply of cheap used cars. The supply of cars for the poorer citizens will have disappeared, leaving them without affordable transportation. How is this supposed to help them?

I can imagine this response from the Socialist-In-Chief:

“At least while you're walking to and from your low paying job you'll have nice fresh air to breathe!”

Yeah. Right.


Economic Ignorance And Thuggery Rule In Washington

Rob Sama points us to this disturbing event, where the true colors of one of Obama's appointees shine through.

This (as yet unproven) yarn goes exactly like this:

Confronting the head of a non-TARP fund holding Chrysler debt and unwilling to release it for any sum less than that to which it was legally entitled without compelling cause, this country’s “Car Czar” berated the manager of said fund with an outburst of prose substantially resembling this:

“Who the fuck do you think you’re dealing with? We’ll have the IRS audit your fund. Every one of your employees. Your investors. Then we will have the Securities and Exchange Commission rip through your books looking for anything and everything and nothing we find to destroy you with.”

Faced with these sorts of threats, in this environment, with valued employees in the crosshairs and AIG a fresh, open wound upon the market, the fund folded.

I wish I could say this surprised me, but seeing the attitude of others in or involved with the Obama Administration, it does not. It shows the willful ignorance of members of the government when it comes to economics and finance, and such ignorance can do incalculable harm to the American economy. Unfortunately I get the impression many of these same people could not care any less about the economy as long as they control things. As Rob stated in his post “ It is truly straight out of Atlas Shrugged.”

I'm afraid he's right.

Another example of the Obama Administration's dalliance with the Law of Unintended Consequences is the President's focus on punishing USA companies doing business overseas by eliminating the many of the tax breaks given to them due to the double whammy of having to pay taxes to both the foreign country and the US. Somehow he believes these tax breaks have allowed these companies to outsource jobs overseas at the expense of American workers, therefore they must go.

Never mind the US already has some of the highest corporate taxes in the world (only Japan's are higher and their economy hasn't been performing all that well since the taxes hit those heights). Somehow he's come to believe that by hitting US companies in their profits that somehow it will help keep jobs in the US.

The problem? He's so wrong, so ignorant of economic cause and effect, I'm not sure where to begin.

His plan would limit the tax deferral on income earned abroad by tightening the rules, limiting allowable deductions and restricting eligibility for foreign-tax credits. This "solution" is antigrowth, job-destroying, protectionist and unlikely to raise the tax revenue Mr. Obama predicts.

Congress long ago created the corporate tax deferral to compensate for this competitive disadvantage. Under deferral, a company doesn't have to pay the U.S. corporate rate until it repatriates its earnings. It can retain them overseas or reinvest them abroad with no penalty. But if it brings them home or pays them as dividends, the tax bill comes due.

Few major U.S. companies pay 35% of their profits in taxes because of the foreign tax-deferral and other deductions, credits and loopholes. But that's precisely why Mr. Obama should want to take the better path to corporate tax reform by reducing the rate and removing loopholes. America now has the worst of both worlds -- a high statutory rate and a tax code so riddled with complexity that it is both expensive to administer and inefficient at collecting revenue. And yet Mr. Obama's proposal to limit deferral only layers on the complexity.

Some of Mr. Obama's advisers understand all this, but then their real goal isn't tax reform or U.S. competitiveness. It's a revenue grab, one made easier by the fact that overseas tax "avoidance" is easily demagogued. To that political end, Mr. Obama conflates tax deferral with the offshoring of jobs -- hence the sly reference to Bangalore, India. With trillions of dollars of new spending, the White House and Treasury are desperate for new tax sources to pay for it all.

Of course they could just decide to forget the deficit laden $3.7 trillion budget proposal and create a new one without all that pork that will have to be paid for by the taxpayers. But we know that isn't going to happen. Therefore the Law of Unintended Consequences takes over.

But even as a revenue raiser, this is likely to fail. Fewer companies will keep their headquarters in the U.S., especially small or mid-sized firms that can slip away without becoming a political target. Those companies that can't flee will sooner or later demand relief from Congress, which will be happy to create even more loopholes.

If Mr. Obama's proposal has a silver lining, it is that he has embraced the principle that tax rates matter to investment decisions. If his new and short-sighted proposal becomes law, he and all Americans will discover just how much.

Those wishing to make investments will decide to invest elsewhere, which will have a negative effect on the economy. Companies wishing to maximize their profits and minimize their tax burdens will move out of the US, taking their money and their jobs with them. Companies wishing to do business in the US will rethink their decision to do so, not wanting to be burdened with such onerous taxes which will reduce any profit they might realize. In effect, Obama's move will stifle job growth, investment, trade, all while reducing the tax revenues collected. In other words, his effort to collect ever penny 'owed' will have the opposite effect, and he'll cripple the economy at the same time. But don't expect that to stop him from going forward with his ill thought out plan. He'll just find someone else's money to take.


When that happens, it will put even more downward pressure on the economy because consumers won't have the money to spend because the government has taken it, which in turn will cause even less revenue to be collected, which will spur even more tax hikes...well, you get the picture.

It is indeed a nightmare right out of Atlas Shrugged.

Dueling Banjos...With A Twist

This was just too good not to post.

Dueling Banjos Played With Hands Only - Watch more Funny Videos


Notable Quotes

Two notable quotes that apply to the situation our nation faces today:

I sincerely believe ... that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” - Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor – 1816

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. ” - Ronald Reagan

Both our financial system and our freedoms are under attack, all in the name of “fairness” and “equality” and “sharing the wealth”, by a President who seems to think the Constitution is something that can be ignored when it is convenient to do so, coddles our enemies, abandons our allies, and diddles with our economic system without understanding how it works, and taking control of some banks because they have been deemed 'too big to fail'.


Huge Natural Gas Deposits Found In US

What will the effect of up to 2200 trillion cubic feet of new domestic natural gas supplies have on the environuts? I expect them to go out of their minds. After all we're supposed to be developing wind and solar electrical generating capability, not wasting our time and (private) monies finding new domestic sources of a clean burning hydrocarbon fuel.

A massive natural-gas discovery here in northern Louisiana heralds a big shift in the nation's energy landscape. After an era of declining production, the U.S. is now swimming in natural gas.

Huge new fields also have been found in Texas, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. One industry-backed study estimates the U.S. has more than 2,200 trillion cubic feet of gas waiting to be pumped, enough to satisfy nearly 100 years of current U.S. natural-gas demand.

We already have the infrastructure to distribute the new supplies of gas, whether for heating, cooking, car/truck fuel, or electrical generation. And none of it will come from foreign sources.

(H/T American Thinker)

Why Do Democrats Still Fear Sarah Palin?

It is obvious to anyone watching from the Lower 48 that the Democrats must fear Alaska Governor Sarah Palin more than any other Republican in the country. Since her campaign as John McCain's running mate last year, numerous ethics complaints have been filed against her in an effort to destroy her reputation and to bankrupt her family with the legal costs of defending herself.

Alaska Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich, who tangled with Palin when both served on the state Oil and Gas Commission before she became governor, said Palin may be more susceptible to attacks on her ethics from opponents because she “raised the ethics issue years before she came into office and made a major point of working to change the state ethics laws and regulation.”

“Some of the complaints over the last several months have been frivolous,” he said, “but others have been brought about by the high level of interest in ethics issues around Palin.”

"Over the past months it became increasingly clear that supporters of Gov. Palin needed to help defend against the onslaught of frivolous attacks against her,” said Trustee Kristan Cole, a Wasilla native and Palin friend, in a statement. “These baseless accusations are designed to inhibit her ability to focus on the issues Alaskans truly care about and force massive personal debt on her and her family.”

To avoid additional accusations of impropriety, the fund set an unusually low, self-imposed cap of $150 per donation. It also volunteered to disclose the names and dollar amounts of each donor, leading Cole to call it “one of the most restrictive and transparent legal funds in history.”

You know it's bad when someone needs to start a legal defense fund in order to deal with the endless number of baseless complaints filed against Governor Palin. But what's worse is that now the legal defense fund is under attack by another complainant.

An Eagle River resident who had recently joined a federal lawsuit against Palin for failing to issue a proclamation commemorating the Juneteenth emancipation holiday in 2007, complained that Palin is misusing her office and receiving improper gifts by setting up the fund, accusing the governor of intending to raise much more than she needs to pay her legal debts.

So a legal defense fund set up with some of the tightest controls and limitations is seen as nothing more than a way to raise cash for personal use? If anyone has doubts about the intent of her opponents to ensure character assassination and bankruptcy, I think this last attempt will remove all doubt. The Dems want to make sure she won't be able to defend herself against their smear campaign and force her out of public life through extortion, intimidation, and frivolous legal actions rather than by the ballot box. Put another way, they're like the Mob of old.

From reading the comments to this article, it appears many of those on the Left are far too willing to believe the allegations, even the most outrageous and frivolous ones.

One commenter, using the name loretta, showed her ignorance by asking this question:

[I]f one is innocent, truly innocent of charges, would it cost this much to prove it?

Honest question.

All I am saying is that a truly innocent person would not have to lay out this kind of cash to prove it. It doesn't make a bit of sense.

This person has obviously never been on the receiving end of a lawsuit or other legal procedure. Defending oneself, whether guilty or innocent, can cost a fortune. If one is constantly accused of things they haven't done and such accusations require a response, as they do in Sarah Palin's case, the legal costs can be staggering. The comment assumes an innocent person wouldn't need to spend a dime to defend themselves. That's a great way for an innocent person to be found liable in a civil case, or guilty in a criminal case.

Many of the comments offered by self-identified liberals were rehashes of long discredited claims about the governor and her family. One kept demanding a DNA test to prove that Bristol's child was not fathered by Jonathan Levi, but by someone in the Palin family (they didn't come right out and accuse Todd Palin of incest, but that's what they were implying). How friggin' low can the Dems go?

One commenter made the mistake of claiming Governor Palin is a moron because she said she can see Russia from her house. At least someone else set them straight, informing the ignorant jerk that it was Tina Fey that said that in an SNL skit and not Sarah Palin.

What is it about Governor Palin that scares the Dems so much they feel the must use every means, legal or illegal, ethical or unethical, to destroy her reputation and impoverish her family? Perhaps they should put their efforts towards cleansing their own party before turning their gaze to the GOP.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The local farm stand opened this weekend, meaning BeezleBub was busy all week at the farm, getting things squared away for the opening.

On Monday he'll be back in school, his spring vacation over for now.

While he loves working at the farm, I think hell be glad being back at school if for no other reason than he won't get as tired as when he puts in a day at the farm.


Another sign of the upcoming summer: our clothesline is back up and in use. Deb ordered one last summer (it's one of those umbrella frame types) and BeezleBub put it up. We got about two and a half months use out of it (it went up in July) and decreased the use of the gas clothes drier and the propane to run it considerably. In the time we had it up last year we used 40 gallons less propane. Since it's up almost 2 months earlier this year I expect we'll save even more propane.

We'll still use the drier, but usually for drying towels or on rainy days.


Rachel Lucas experiences questions about her Texas drivers license while trying to buy hard cider in England. Somehow the clerk didn't think she was over 18. Rachel is 37.

I was standing three feet away from her with no makeup under MOST unflattering lighting. I will not lie to you. No sane person would ever in a million years guess I was a day younger than 32 at that moment, and that may be generous.

She also gets asked constantly about how she's enjoying the weather in England.


In an earlier post I mentioned the White House would start collecting 'protection' money from businesses if Obama kept doing things “The Chicago Way.” It turns out I forgot this gem which basically explains how TARP is being used to skim funds from and take control of the nation's banks.

I'd say that qualifies, wouldn't you?


According to the Boston Globe, Senator Arlen Specter (D..er..R...umm..D - PA) has shown he has shown little courage.

Arlen Specter would never have made it into "Profiles In Courage." Unlike the senators described in John F. Kennedy's book - men who remained true to their principles, even when it meant paying a steep political price - Specter has never been celebrated for his backbone.

Forty-odd years ago, Specter abandoned the Democrats in order to win election to Congress as a Republican; five days ago, he abandoned the Republicans in order to win reelection as a Democrat. As he announced his defection, he all but admitted that he was acting out of naked expediency.

The surprise? That it's the liberal Boston Globe slamming Specter.


From the same article, the tales of two women who stood up for their beliefs despite the probably fallout – Mary Ann Glendon and Carrie Prejean.

Carrie Prejean and Mary Ann Glendon could hardly seem more dissimilar. Prejean is a 21-year-old California beauty queen and model; Glendon is a Harvard law professor and a former US ambassador to the Vatican. What they have in common is a greater respect for honesty than for political correctness, and for the obligations of moral witness than for their own personal prestige.

Glendon made news last week when she refused to accept the University of Notre Dame's illustrious Laetare Medal, the most distinguished honor in American Catholic life. The medal was to have been presented on May 17, when President Barack Obama will receive an honorary degree and deliver the commencement address.

In a letter to Notre Dame's president, Glendon expressed dismay that the university would bestow a high honor on someone so hostile to such a fundamental Catholic principle, in flat disregard of church guidelines. Worse, it was using her appearance to deflect criticism, suggesting in its "talking points" that Obama's address to the graduates would be balanced by Glendon's brief remarks. Unwilling to let her presence be exploited in this way, Glendon renounced the medal.

Unlike Glendon, who had weeks to reflect before making her decision, Prejean had only seconds. In the final round of the recent Miss USA Pageant, Prejean was asked by one of the judges - the gay gossip blogger who calls himself Perez Hilton - whether she thought every state should legalize same-sex marriage.

She gave the honest answer. "I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other," Miss California replied, but "I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anyone out there, but that's how I was raised."

Both stuck to their guns and did not allow political correctness temper their beliefs.

Again, the surprise that it's the Boston Globe reporting on this. Anyone knowing the Globe would think they would have been dragged through the proverbial mud because their beliefs contradict the leftist dogma.

There may be a glimmer of hope for the ailing newspaper.


Raven takes a look back at the now departed winter of 2008/2009. Other than the nasty ice storm that started out the winter, it was not nearly as bad as the previous one.


George Will details California's economic and financial crisis and how it will probably get worse.

For four consecutive years, more Americans have moved out of California than have moved in. California's business costs are more than 20 percent higher than the average state's. In the last decade, net out-migration of Americans has been 1.4 million. California is exporting talent while importing Mexico's poverty. The latter is not California's fault; the former is.

If, since 1990, state spending increases had been held to the inflation rate plus population growth, the state would have a $15 billion surplus instead of a $42 billion budget deficit, which is larger than the budgets of all but 10 states.

A lot of the blame must go to California's Assembly, which never saw a spending or tax bill it didn't like. Too often they chose to ignore the consequences, or worse, never even considered them before moving forward with expanded social programs. They've found the truth of the Thatcher Axiom - Socialism works until you run out of other people's money.

That's where California finds itself now. But there may be a silver lining to this fiscal cloud...but only from those states willing to learn the lesson.

California has become liberalism's laboratory, in which the case for fiscal conservatism is being confirmed. The state is a slow learner and hence will remain a drag on the nation's economy.

California shows how not to do things, and that may be as important as anything else we may learn.


Will President Obama end up making Jimmy Carter look like a bad-ass?


Is the hysteria about H1N1 influenza a greater danger than the flu itself?

I've heard a radio host dub it the Overblown Flu. That may be closer to the truth than many realize.


Skip Murphy explains the differences between internal and external governors of behavior, with the help of Dr. Walter Williams.

As Skip explains:

Dr. Williams is right - in the headlong rush to allow almost everything under the rubric of "rights", we have allowed society to "ungovern" itself. While Liberals whine about their rights; they often have willfully neglected to retain the complementary side of rights - that of responsibility. While rights are God given, the price of those rights and of freedom is self- responsibility. Without the ability and discipline, they willfully will allow their rights to be subsumed by the State in an ever increasing snare of external laws by Government instead of relying on the inward sense of "maybe I just shouldn't do that".

The Left has abandoned the internal governors that have been in place for generations, replacing them with 'rights'. And then they end up having to replace those rights with laws (external governors) because the internal governors no longer exist and behavior becomes unacceptable. None of it would be necessary if internal governors (morality and rules of behavior) were still being taught to children by their parents.


To quote BlackFive: “No words.”


Now Muslims are stoning Dutch girls in the Netherlands. At the moment the clash of cultures is being won by Muslim extremists because they're willing to impose their culture upon others and ignore the laws of the countries to which they've immigrated.

This can be solved by using 12-gauge shotguns loaded with rock salt on these miscreants. If they aren't going to abide by the law, it's time for them to leave. The time for being polite is over.


It appears I'm not the only one that misses Condi Rice, particularly in light of her smackdown of some uppity know-it-all 'progressive' Stanford University students.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


R.S. McCain has declared this week National Offend A Feminist Week.


A great new find for the blogroll: Serr8d's Cutting Edge.

Found through a semi-convoluted route starting at R.S. McCain's. Check out this post.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer preparations continue, boats have been going back into the water, and where summer can't get here too soon.


Voting With Their Feet - Ohio Edition

If we needed any more evidence that high taxes can drive businesses and residents out of a state, there's the example of Ohio. Like California, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, ever rising taxes, coupled with less effective services, failing schools, and a rising crime rate are helping fuel an outmigration from the Buckeye State.

Ohioans have been leaving the state’s large cities for four reasons, only one of which — the natural human desire for open space — is arguably not their fault. The causes the cities have failed to deal with, and which have been within their control, are high crime, lousy schools, and high taxes. For decades, their governments have been asking, “Where else can they go?” Hundreds of thousands have answered with their feet.

While some may claim there are plenty of other factors prompting the flight from Ohio, it still comes down government pulling too much money out of the economy and giving little in return, other than demands for even more money.

Some states have realized having tax rates beyond a 'reasonable' level is the kiss of death to its economic health and have worked hard to live within their means. Others have stumbled now and then and seen the effects of high taxes and were able to pull themselves back from the brink. Others have not. And yet others will fall into the vicious cycle of raising taxes, falling revenues and contracting economy, raising taxes to make up for the falling revenues, and so on ad nauseum, much like California.

'Persuasion' White House Style

As time goes on, evidence of what Glenn Reynolds has labeled White House thuggery has become public, with one incident showing how the Obama Administration has turned the White House Press Corps into a bludgeon used to intimidate opponents. Says attorney Tom Lauria:

One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under the threat that the full force of the White House Press Corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight.

It sounds like Obama is taking a page from the book of another well known Chicago power broker – Al Capone. I wonder if it will come to the point of collecting “protection” money from businesses? Oh, wait, that's already happening! All one needs to do is look at the proposed budget to see how the Obama Administration is going to coerce funds from businesses and taxpayers.

To paraphrase the aforementioned Glenn Reynolds, “They said if I voted for John McCain, the White House would turn to using intimidation against opponents, and they were right!”


If They Ask Run Away!

Is it any wonder Andy McCarthy wanted nothing to do with the President's Task Force on Detention Policy? Under the circumstances, neither would I.

[I]n light of public statements by both you and the President, it is dismayingly clear that, under your leadership, the Justice Department takes the position that a lawyer who in good faith offers legal advice to government policy makers--like the government lawyers who offered good faith advice on interrogation policy--may be subject to investigation and prosecution for the content of that advice, in addition to empty but professionally damaging accusations of ethical misconduct. Given that stance, any prudent lawyer would have to hesitate before offering advice to the government...

Given your policy of conducting ruinous criminal and ethics investigations of lawyers over the advice they offer the government, and your specific position that the wartime detention I would endorse is tantamount to a violation of law, it makes little sense for me to attend the Task Force meeting. After all, my choice would be to remain silent or risk jeopardizing myself.

It seems hypocritical of the government to ask lawyers to do exactly the same thing others have done for the previous administration, something for which the present administration now wants to prosecute them.