Obama Surrenders Honduras To His Leftist Pals

Now that Obama has gotten his way in regards to Honduras and the return of Chavez protege Zelaya to the presidency, I have to wonder what he will do should Zelaya impose a Chavez-like socialist dictatorship, abolish the Congress, eliminate freedom of speech, muzzle the press, tear up the Honduran constitution, and 'disappear' his political opponents?

I have no doubt our own Chavez fan will praise Zelaya's actions and make some kind of noise about “correcting past American wrongs” by allowing a representative democracy to fall into the hands of his socialist brethren.

It Can't Get Much Worse, Can It?

Here's yet another non-surprise in regards to FairPoint Communications and their ongoing financial and operations difficulties: The New York Stock Exchange delisted FairPoint today. Their stock fell to a little over 10¢ per share after the NYSE's action.

And the hits keep on coming.

Let this be a lesson for Frontier Communications, a firm that spent far too much money for some more of Verizon's rural wireline assets. That's what caused FairPoint's problems. I have a feeling Frontier end up in the same boat.


Don't Blame Wall Street - Blame Congress

Professor Russ Roberts of George Mason University gave the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform an earful earlier today when he testified in front of the committee about executive compensation and the serious imbalance that exists in regards to over-the-top compensation given to high level executives of failing or failed firms.

While I have a problem with the government setting the pay scales and other compensations for corporations and financial institutions, Roberts does make a case for reining in giving incompetent or corrupt executives excessive pay and perks while everyone else takes it in the wallet.

Americans are angry about executive compensation.

Rightfully so.

The executives at General Motors and Chrysler don’t deserve to make a lot of money. They made bad products that people didn’t want to buy.

The executives on Wall Street don’t deserve to make a lot of money. They were reckless with other people’s money. They made bad bets that didn’t pay off. And they wasted trillions of dollars of precious capital, funneling it into housing instead of... a thousand investments more valuable than bigger houses.

Everyday folks who are out of work through no fault of their own want to know why people who made bad decisions not only have a job but a big salary to go with it.

No wonder they’re angry at Wall Street.

But if we keep getting angry at Wall Street, we’ll miss the real source of the problem. It’s right here. In Washington.

We are what we do. Not what we wish to be. Not what we say we are. But what we do. And what we do here in Washington is rescue big companies and rich people from the consequences of their mistakes. When mistakes don’t cost you anything, you do more of them.

(Emphasis added – ed.)

For far too long we have taken a path that privatized profits but socialized risks, meaning the risks businesses were willing to take became greater because they knew they really wouldn't have to pay the price if things didn't work out. All we need to do is look at the housing crash, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the string of failed banks holding non-performing loans, mortgages, and mortgage backed securities. And we have Congress to thank for that, Barney Frank's protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

The question is, have we learned anything from this? Probably not.

Capitalism is a profit and loss system. The profits encourage risk-taking. The losses encourage prudence. Is it a surprise that when the government takes the losses, instead of the investors, that investing gets less prudent? If you always bail out lenders, is it surprising that firms can borrow enormous amounts of money living on the edge of insolvency?

I’m mad at Wall Street. But I’m a lot madder at the people who gave them the keys to drive our economy off the cliff. I’m mad at the people who have taken hundreds of billions of taxpayer money and given it to some of the richest people in human history. I’m mad at Bush and Obama and Paulson and Geithner and Bernanke. And I’m mad at Congress. You made sure that risk-takers continue to expect that the rules that apply to the rest of us don’t apply to people with the right connections.

You have saved the system, but it’s not a system worth saving. It’s not capitalism but crony capitalism.

And therein lies the problem. If we were truly a capitalistic economy, the meltdown we experienced never would have happened because the banks, investment firms, and mortgage lenders would never have floated the amount of tainted paper that caused it all. They would have been prudent because they knew no one would bail them out, would get canned (without the golden parachute), and possibly go to prison. But the government intervened with “incentives”and gave them a license to be foolish, to push the edge of the envelope, and to waste money that wasn't theirs to begin with. They knew that if they lost it the government would bail them out, which means that we – the taxpayers – would ultimately foot the bill.

While a “pay” czar may sound like it would stop the insanity, it is merely window dressing that does nothing to solve the problem. Dictating what salaries and other perks high level executives will receive may be a sop to those calling for the government to “Do something!”, but it doesn't address the underlying cause of the problem: the government itself.

The regulations and laws passed by Congress that forced lending institutions to make loans to people unlikely to pay them back was merely one aspect of what led to the economy into a deep recession. Changes in lending practices at the behest of the government and government guarantees for sub-optimal loans merely added fuel to the fire that was the banking/credit and housing market collapse.

From what I've been hearing, seeing, and reading, Congress seems disinclined to actually do something substantive about it. They will make the appropriate noises, tell the media that they'll be tackling the issue(s), pass some legislation that sounds like it will take care of it but in the end will do very little to actually fix the problem, and then they'll move on to making sure they get re-elected in 2010.

Thus endeth the lesson.

Michael Jackson Tribute Medley

I saw this Michael Jackson tribute medley on ABC News and checked it out. This guy is talented.

All but one of the guys on stage is him. The fellow off to the left beat-boxing is a fellow student at Yale and the producer of the video.

Who Is John Galt?

Who indeed?

(H/T Instapundit)


Color Me Surprised...NOT.

The question was only in the timing: How long until FairPoint Communications files for bankruptcy?

Now we know.

FairPoint filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing its $2.7 billion (that's billion with a 'b') debt. It hopes to reduce that debt by $1 billion.

The three states most affected, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, are likely to seek protection as well. New Hampshire has already said it will intervene in the reorganization of FairPoint to protect New Hampshire's interests.

On more than one occasion I and others have warned that the deal that sold Verizon's wireline assets in northern New England to FairPoint was a bad idea. Even the three state's utility regulators had doubts. But the deal went through and now we'll all be paying for it.

Can you hear me now?


Thoughts On A Sunday

For the first time in a long time Beezlebub did not have to get up early on a Saturday to get to the farm first thing in the morning. It wasn't that his job has ended for the year. It hasn't. Instead it was due to the heavy rains falling starting Friday night. With few vegetables left to be harvested and the expected lack of customers due to the rain BeezleBub was told he didn't need to show up in the morning.

Next weekend will likely be the last for the retail operation, meaning the farm stand will close next Saturday. The farm will still have some operations, including delivery of firewood cut and split last year. They will also be felling tress, cutting them to stove length and splitting them in preparation for next year.


Is the luster fading for Obama? He can't even fill a room in Boston at a fund-raiser for governor Deval Patrick.


What good are crop-based bio-fuels if they contribute more CO2 to the atmosphere than the fossil fuels they're supposed to replace?

(H/T Instapundit)


The New England Patriots played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London, England at Wembley Stadium. At least one NFL game a year is played in London because of the large number of NFL fans in the UK. (Speaking from personal experience I can tell you the British fans are just as passionate about American football as any fan in the US.)

The Buccaneers were definitely the underdogs in this game, coming into it with a 0-6 record. Like the Titans last week, the Buccaneers have a dismal record compared to last season.

The Patriots beat the Buccaneers 35-7.

The Pats are off next week, taking their bye week.


BeezleBub and I spent the late morning down at the lake working on The Boat, trying to get it started. As I related last week, the plan had been to pull The Boat out of the water last Sunday, but I couldn't get it started.

This morning we headed down to drain out the fuel system, replace the fuel filter/water separator, and if need be, drain the carburetor bowl. The first thing we did was remove and drain the fuel filter/water separator. To say the liquid-like substance we poured out of the filter was disgusting would be an understatement. But it explained why the engine wouldn't start – there was no fuel was reaching the carburetor. We also found another minor problem: the choke wasn't engaging properly because it was sticky.

After cleaning out the fuel system, we got a new filter/separator installed, manually set the choke, and cranked it over. Success! After taking The Boat out for a sedate trip around the cove, we went back to the dock, satisfied everything was working as it should. As long as the weather holds The Boat will come out of the water sometime late tomorrow afternoon.

Another boating season will come to an end.


Shawn Mallow has some thoughts on the upcoming gubernatorial race in New Jersey.

Incumbent John Corzine has dumped millions of his own money into the race, yet he is behind Republican challenger Chris Christie in the polls. Christie is limited in the funds he can spend because he is using public funding for his campaign.

I'm hoping Corzine will lose if for no other reason he has helped turn New Jersey into an economic basket case, increasing taxes and state government jobs while at the same time discouraging new businesses from locating in the Garden State and encouraging existing businesses to leave.

New Jersey doesn't need any more of Corzine's destructive and demoralizing policies.


Clarence Page piles on Obama about his ongoing war with Fox News.


Past Weekend Pundit contributor Brent Anderson has returned to the fold. As he told me, “I'm amped and ready for blogging!”

Welcome back, Brent!


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where we were able to let the woodstove go cold today, the last bright foliage colors are fading away, and where the last of the die hard boaters are getting ready to pull their boats out of the water.


Speaking One's Mind

Pat Condell has yet another excellent rant, this one being about speaking one's mind and how it is now seen as being 'anti-social', at least by the Left. This is one that should be watched more than once.

(H/T Wizbang)


Maybe They Need A Medium

The war against Fox News has made it quite apparent the Obama Administration is channeling the late Richard Nixon.

Obama Is Not Hitler. He's Worse.

For some time now I've seen protest signs, blog posts, and comments in a number of forums equating President Barack Obama to Adolph Hitler. As I was reminded the other day, there's no way Obama is an incipient Hitler. Such claims are demeaning and insulting. But that's only because President Obama is...

...Neville Chamberlain.

As Bill Whittle tells us, “It is the men Liberals label as warmongers that make the peace, and those they call peacemakers that bring the wars.”

And so it is with Obama, abandoning our allies in Eastern Europe with his cancellation of the missile defense shield, leaving them to the predations of Russia and Iran, while coddling up to those same adversaries in the hopes of peace.

Chamberlain, seen as a peacemaker, did the same thing back in 1938, handing Czechoslovakia over to Nazi Germany in return for promises of peace. A little over a year later the Nazis invaded Poland and the world was at war. Hitler's promises meant nothing. Chamberlain's assurances of “peace in our time” became the ashes of a funeral pyre piled with bodies of over 50 million war dead.

Obama may come to learn the same thing, only this time it could mean the nuclear annihilation of Israel and a good portion of the Middle East. He's also dithering on Afghanistan. In the mean time American troops and those of our allies in the area are fighting and dying while they wait for him to make up his mind.

At this point Obama needs to be a hawk, not a peacemaker. The situation demands it.


An Engineer's Guide To Cat Yodeling

When I saw this all thoughts of any kind of serious post ceased. Like its predecessor, this video gives you, the general public, some insight to engineers and how they relate to their cats. Trust me on this, cats are very important to engineers. After all, I am an engineer and I have seven cats sharing The Manse with me and my family.


Jobs Created Or Saved In New England

How's that $787 billion stimulus workin' for ya?

For three New England states it's not helping all that much.

So far the stimulus has saved or created 20 jobs in Connecticut, 28 jobs in Vermont, and 22 jobs in New Hampshire. As Jim Hoft put it “Obama would have done better if he would have opened a McDonalds in each state.”

The most I've seen of the billions in stimulus spending so far are the signs along a couple of highways touting that certain projects have been paid for via the ARRA stimulus bill.

At least the sign makers are making a buck from all this stimulus money.

Anita Dunn's Confession - Her Own Words Come Back To Haunt Her

The folks over at COTErack have gathered a number of videos of Anita Dunn confessing to Obama's control and manipulation of the Lame Stream Media during his Presidential campaign, her disdain of Fox News, and her abiding love for “philosopher” Mao Zedong. (Scroll down)

I know I'm a bit late piling on to Ms. Dunn, but she hasn't received anywhere near the abuse she deserves.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The plan was to prep the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout – aka The boat – for being pulled out of the water today. Yes, indeed. That was the plan.

All I had to do was put the fully charged batteries back into The Boat, start it up, motor across the cove to the gas dock, fill the gas tank, then motor back to the slip and tie up.

Unfortunately, the only part of the plan completed was putting the fully charged batteries back into The Boat. The second part didn't happen, meaning the engine would turn over, but wouldn't start. After a couple of hours of troubleshooting it became evident there was some water in the fuel system. As a result of the time spent trying to find the problem, the late time of day, and lack of the necessary tools and parts on hand, The Boat did not leave the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee today. So it looks like it will be yet another week before we can pull it out and prep it for the winter.


Weekend Pundit is adding a new (and hopefully regular) contributor, Nathan Jones. He's already authored two posts, both which asked some long overdue questions. You will see his posts under the nom du blog of TNJ. (I think it stands for The Nate Jones.)


Gee, now they're saying the 2009 budget deficit will be “only” $1.4 trillion.

That makes me feel so much better.

Of course the huge size of the remaining deficit will still put a crimp in Obama's plans for more big-spending programs.

Yeah. Right.

(H/T Viking Pundit)


You know the local police were all over this.

What were these idiots thinking?


The 19th Annual Keene (NH) Pumpkin Festival saw a city record 29,068 jack o'lanterns in the downtown area last night. Keene has held the world record for most pumpkins eight times since 1992. The present record is held by the city of Boston, with 30,128.

As Keene officials remind everyone, Boston has a population of approximately 600,000. Keene has a population of approximately 25,000. I have a feeling Keene will regain the world record sometime in the next two years.


It's stories like this that strengthen my resolve to oppose single-payer national health care. While some will say it wouldn't happen here, that's true...for now. But once single payer comes into existence it will be an all too common occurrence.


This is yet another example of the deterioration of the once great UK, where the nanny state has outdone itself in regards to babysitting.

Unfortunately I've been seeing some of that same nonsense happening here, too.


Are Democrats suffering from Post-Bush Stress Disorder? Jonathan Alter seems to think so.


As David Carr writes, the White House has brought a knife to a gun fight in its “war against Fox News.”

As the old, but still relevant saying goes, “Don't start an argument with someone that buys ink by the barrel.” Or in this case has a satellite/cable channel of their own.


The Democrats have found out it's one thing to win the election, but it's another to actually govern.

A number of them are finding out that it wasn't so much a vote for them that put them into office as much as it was a vote against their Republican opponent. Under those circumstances they're finding out they don't have as much support from the electorate as they thought.


Looking out the window here at The Manse, I see it's snowing. It's October 18th at 1:15PM (as I write this), and it's snowing.

Here's Skip's take on our weather. (His home is on the other side of town from The Manse.)

Does anyone want to tell me about Global Warming again?


Well this makes sense...NOT!

Disgraceful! There’s no other way to describe Senate earmarks diverting military funds in the midst of 2 wars:
Senators diverted $2.6 billion in funds in a defense spending bill to pet projects largely at the expense of accounts that pay for fuel, ammunition and training for U.S. troops, including those fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an analysis.

And color me shocked, shocked I say to see John Forbes Kerry participating in this earmark scandal. Padding Ted Kennedy’s legacy with a shiny new building is more important than properly equipping the troops.

That's quite a turnabout from Kerry's stance back in 2004.


The New England Patriots played the Tennessee Titans in Foxboro this afternoon on a snowy, slippery field.

The teams were wearing their 'throwback' uniforms again, with the Titans wearing the old Houston Oilers uniforms. This time it appears the “old uniform” curse affected the Titans, with the Patriots beating them 59-0. In the second half the Patriots pulled Tom Brady out of the game and used their second string QB, Hoyer.


After decades of sponsoring terrorism, Iran is finding out the hard way that turnabout is fair play, being on the receiving end of insurgent attacks against the Revolutionary Guard.


Also from Right Thinking comes this idea for reducing greenhouse gases: plug the leaks in natural gas lines.

We leak some three trillion cubic feet of gas into the atmosphere every year. Eliminating these leaks would not cripple our economy—it would save money. And it would reduce global warming by about a third within ten years. That’s a bigger impact than all the hybrid vehicles, dim CFC bulbs and outlawed TVs combined. And it would happen now, not in 2050. This is such a good idea that even the Bush Administration was quietly pushing it. Obama is hesitating a bit but looks like he’ll move forward on it.

That seems to be a much better place to spend money rather than the cap-and-tax scam that is Waxman-Markey. It saves energy and reduces GHG's. And in case you've forgotten, natural gas (methane) is a far more efficacious greenhouse gas than CO2.


Ann Althouse slams ever more irrelevant economist Paul Krugman for blocking comments on his global warming post.

What is the theory here, economist guy? You don't want too many people on your webpage? The obvious theory is that you don't like what people are going to say on your post that demands that we all bow to the scientific consensus on global warming. As Barack Obama likes to say the time for debate is over. We need to shut up now.

Yeah, I think that sums it up pretty well.


Louisiana Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell has been painted as a racist because he refused to marry an interracial couple. The Left immediately pointed out that Bardwell was a Republican, as if that was all the explanation was needed. But it turns out Bardwell had been a Democrat between 1996 and 2008.

So did he become a 'racist' because he became Republican, or was he always a 'racist' that changed his party affiliation for one reason or another?


Getting back to the Global-Warming-Is-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans theme, I have to remind you we've been using the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove since mid-September, and continuously since October 5th, far earlier than we have in years. I'm beginning to think I should call Al Gore and tell him to get his a** over here to help us stack our firewood.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the snow has already fallen, the woodstove is keeping us toasty warm, and where The Boat is still in the water.


If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

This is yet another great post from Nathan, in this case covering a subject near and dear to my heart – the Land of Fruits and Nuts.


Upon reading this, my emotions are mixed.

Sacramento - The influential lobby group Consumer Electronics Assn. is fighting what appears to be a losing battle to dissuade California regulators from passing the nation's first ban on energy-hungry big-screen televisions.

At first, what I felt was disgust: yet another way for (soon to be) Uncle “Big Brother” Sam to control me, an American citizen, and force me to do/have/buy what he wishes. However, a second later I had a brilliant thought. Perhaps this really was for the good of the people. After all, California is in the midst of just about every crises known to the modern US state, so much so, that it has been referred to as a possible “failed state”. Clearly, “desperate times call for desperate measures”, right? The old adage must have some meaning to be passed down through all those parental lectures. But then, I came across this in the article:

On Tuesday, executives and consultants for the Arlington, Va., trade group asked members of the California Energy Commission to instead let consumers use their wallets to decide whether they want to buy the most energy-saving new models of liquid-crystal display and plasma high-definition TVs.

What? What is this? Let consumers decide with their wallets? What revolutionary concept is this? But of course, instead of banning a product, why not just tax the product? No one will argue that these large televisions are “better” (in terms of power consumption) than these smaller, more energy efficient ones. However, if an individual works a hard, honest days’ work and wishes to use the proverbial fruits of his labor to watch the Pats take the Super Bowl in 55” of HD glory, by all means, I say we let him. Does this mean I am advocating a tax on these “power guzzlers”? In all honesty, no. I think the only “tax” this man should pay for his “power guzzling television” should be to his electric company. In any case, far be it from me to question the all-knowing lawmaker. Clearly, this idea of consumers deciding with their wallets must not be happening, right? They must be spending every last penny they have to make sure they get the least energy efficient model possible, right? That’s why we need Uncle “Big Brother” Sam to step in and save the environment and the stupid citizens from themselves. Oh, wait…

"Voluntary efforts are succeeding without regulations," said Doug Johnson, the association's senior director for technology policy.

Oh? Odd. Does this mean that the “stupid consumer” may not be so stupid after all? Could we, as citizens, possibly be capable of making an environmentally friendly choice completely on our own?! Clearly, this is an age of miracles. Again, I believe represents another piece of “Trojan Horse” legislation delivered by our government management team. Sure, saving the environment is a good thing. Whether or not one believes that global warming exists is irrelevant here. This is just about being good stewards and taking care of what we have. Even those that do not believe in global warming cannot argue that it is good to save energy when we can, to invest in cleaner, more efficient technologies. The consumers have shown that they do, in fact, care about their environments, and have already shown that they are capable of making an “eco-friendly” choice without any government intervention. Why, then, do they insist on making more and more laws to govern what clearly is not in any need of governing? Again, from the article:

Too much government interference could hamstring industry innovation and prove expensive to manufacturers and consumers, he (Doug Johnson) warned.

Another novel concept brought to us today. Of course too much government involvement can hamstring an industry, and for those who “don’t know”, once you come out of your rock, I invite you to go to that glowing thing with a keyboard and type in “General Motors”. Read for about five minutes, and I’m sure you and I will be on the same page. This isn’t about helping the environment, or even “solving the energy crisis”. This is about power, plain and simple. There is no other reason for legislature to be passed on this issue. The populous is already moving in the direction that has been deemed “good”. It would be one thing if these were causing widespread black/brown outs, etc. But they are not. Simply put, Uncle Big Brother Sam wishes to take one more freedom away from the citizen. As previously mentioned, I firmly believe that if you work an honest day’s work, you should by all means be able to take your check and buy that 55” inch behemoth. As to Uncle Big Brother Sam, I’d offer you this bit of advice: Focus your powers on the ones that are spending other people’s money, not the ones that are spending their own. (I know, one’s own money. Such a concept). In closing, I believe I could sum up my view on this entire article with this one good old fashioned New England quip:

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.



Dow Reaches 10,000. So What?

Unless you've been entirely incommunicado, you've probably heard that the Dow closed above 10,000 yesterday. For many it was a reason to celebrate. But not for me.

Reaching 10,000 is a great psychological boost, but it means asking a hard question, that being what is the Dow when the value of the dollar is taken into account? As compared to the last time the Dow reached 10,000, the dollar has weakened considerably, meaning that in constant dollars we aren't really anywhere near 10,000.

With gold at an all time high, oil futures above $75 per barrel, the dollar's fall in relation to the Euro, British Pound, and the Yen, it isn't looking all that attractive.


More Zero-Tolerance Nonsense

As I've written before, zero-tolerance policies, particularly when it comes to public schools, are the refuge of the lazy. Such policies fall under the Law of Unintended Consequences, punishing the innocent far too often while generating bad feelings and lawsuits.

Zero-tolerance policies have claimed more victims, in this case a six year-old first grade student (and a Cub Scout), a high school student (and an Eagle Scout), and a 14 year-old student.

The first two were 'busted' for carrying 'deadly weapons', the six year-old for bring in his Official Boy Scout eating utensil kit (with spoon, fork, and knife), and the high school student for having a 2-inch pocketknife...in his car.

The six-year old was suspended and was 'sentenced' to spend 45-days in the county reform school. How stupid is that?

The high school student was suspended for 4 weeks for his major infraction of carrying that huge weapon of mass destruction in his car. How stupid is that?

And the 14-year old was suspended for wearing a wristband. A wristband. How. Stupid. Is. That?

As long as zero-tolerance policies like these exist, no one will be willing to actually make a decision, to take responsibility for making a decision, and kids will suffer for this lack. How stupid is that?


State Employees Union Shoots Self In Foot

It's amazing how union members will vote against their own best interests, particularly when a 'yes' vote will preserve the jobs of fellow union members. In this case the State Employees Association of New Hampshire voted to turn down a two year contract that would prevent the layoff of 250+ state employees by requiring state workers to take 19 days of unpaid furlough over a period of 2 years.

With the rejection of the contract, layoff notices will be going out before the end of the month. At a time when the state has financial problems and needs to reduce spending, taking a course of action that ensures the loss of jobs seems counter to the union's purpose, doesn't it?

What did the union want that caused the union leadership to urge a 'no' vote on the contract?

A guarantee there would be no layoffs.

Excuse me?

Since when does any state provide guaranteed employment? Since when can any union tie the hands of the state, particularly when the economic situation is unstable and there's no way to forecast the state of the economy 6 months, a year, or a year and a half from now? If the economic situation worsens and the state needs to make further cuts, why should their hands be tied, preventing them from balancing a budget in deficit?

Such is the arrogance of the union that they think they should be immune from the effects of a bad economy.

Just When I Thought They Couldn't Get Any Stupider.....

I'm not sure what's stupider; the two miscreants in this story or some of the commenters lamenting the fact these two idiots were arrested for breaking the law.

Two men were arrested this morning after police said they gave officers a lot of attitude, cranked up the volume on a car radio after being asked to turn down the blaring music and challenged police to a fight.

"You want some of this?" passenger Nicholas Gamache, 23, of 5 East Haverhill St., Apt. 2. Lawrence, Mass., told the officers. He allegedly followed that up with a string of profanities.

The incident happened about 1 a.m. at a red light on Elm Street. Officers on patrol heard extremely loud music coming from a car and pulled up along side it at the traffic light.

That's stupid thing number one, compounded by the fact the idiots were in possession of cocaine. Stupid thing number two was this comment:

At what point did playing music too loud become a crime? Just curious. Glad that policing noise is what our public servants are paid for. Thank God they were on the job.

Maybe the fact that it was 1AM in a heavily populated area might have had something to do with it.

Need I say more?


Make Them Catch Up

I find it interesting that with all the noise I've been hearing from the Democrats and the rest of the Left about health care reform, not once have I heard any of them mention that we should see about raising the level and quality of medical care, not pulling it down to the lowest common denominator. They like to point to Europe as an example of how it should be done, but all I ever see (and read in a number of publications and medical journals), is how the quality and quantity of care has gone down. But shouldn't we be seeing them trying to catch up to us rather than we trying to pull ourselves down to their level?

The next time you see one of these oh, so morally concerned politicians, academics or book-hustling authors preaching on TV that we really ought to catch up with the rest of the advanced world on health care, talk back to the to the set, shout out that it's mostly lies, and make the opposite case.

The rest of the world ought to catch up with us.

Despite what almost seems a conscious effort to keep the facts properly subdued and tucked out of sight, the truth has been worming its way to the sunshine. Now it's clear, as one example, that longevity is only partially connected to health care in the first place and that when you subtract homicides and accidents, we in America live longer than anyone, despite President Obama's constant reiteration of the reform-encouraging and utterly deceptive thesis that we do not.

We know that our treatments of serious disease produce better outcomes than elsewhere in the world, that everyone can get treatment at least in emergency rooms, that most Americans are satisfied with their care, that insurance net profits are a relatively low 3.3 percent and that the actual number of citizens without access to insurance is closer to 10 million than the 46 million number so often heard. We also know that Medicare and Medicaid have accumulated trillions of dollars in obligations to future recipients that we have no way of paying.

But let us not confuse the issue with anything as mundane as facts. Instead, let us cast all caution into the wind and base the destruction of the American health care system on feelings, something which the Left is very good at doing. They feel it's unfair that not everyone can get the same level of health care, therefore something must be done to ensure egalitarian treatment, even if it means tearing down an effective, though flawed system, and replacing it with something that will come to resemble those like the UK's National Health System, which provides poor care at best. Let us make sure that the incentives to treat ill health will be destroyed and replaced with an “I don't give a s**t, where's my paycheck?” attitude. Let's make sure that all the truly dedicated and effective physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals are driven out of their careers by an ineffective, heartless, compassionless bureaucracy, and let them be replaced with people we wouldn't care to have take care of our pets, let alone our loved ones. (You think it won't happen? Then take a look in countries where many of the truly gifted health care professions went after their governments 'saved' health care. Or better yet, look at how many medical practices no longer take Medicare or Medicaid because of the exorbitant costs of providing care versus what they are paid for said care. It's a losing proposition.)

Health care 'reform' is something that must be handled carefully, with logic, reason, and in the end, an eye on the economics of reform. It must not be based on emotion or some fantasy egalitarian 'ideal' that can never be achieved unless countless millions are made to suffer because the government says they must, all in the name of equality.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The fall foliage has reached its peak in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the 'leaf peepers' have arrived in droves. This year's colors are spectacular, even for those of us living here. Both Deb and Bryson have commented on the brilliant colors we're seeing here in the Lakes Region even though they haven't reached peak yet.

It's going to be an awesome fall!


Our first cord of firewood arrived Friday, augmenting the three and a half cords we had left over from last year. We plan to use the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove for all our heating this winter, unlike last winter where we split heating between the woodstove and the furnace. We used a little over 400 gallons of propane and 3+ cords of wood last winter. With this winter forecast to be colder than normal I have no desire to use anywhere near the propane we did last winter. I have no doubt we'll have a colder winter seeing we've already had to use the woodstove to heat The Manse far earlier than we usually do.

BeezleBub and I will stack the first cord some time over the next few days in preparation for the additional two cords to be delivered later.


Somehow this revelation does not surprise me in the least:

Psychologists in Canada have revealed new research suggesting that people who become eco-conscious “green consumers” are “more likely to steal and lie” than others.

No kidding.


At least someone within the US government has a handle on the situation in Honduras and understands the removal of former President Manual Zelaya was legal and constitutional under Honduran law.

Unfortunately it isn't the American ambassador to Honduras.


You can add yet another name to the list of actual scientists expressing the opinion man-made carbon dioxide is not the cause of global warming.

[Geologist] Leighton Steward is on Capitol Hill this week armed with studies and his book Fire, Ice and Paradise in a bid to show senators working on the energy bill that the carbon dioxide cap-and-trade scheme could actually hurt the environment by reducing CO2 levels.

Much of the global warming debate has focused on reducing CO2 emissions because it is thought that the greenhouse gas produced mostly from fossil fuels is warming the planet. But Steward, who once believed CO2 caused global warming, is trying to fight that with a mountain of studies and scientific evidence that suggest CO2 is not the cause for warming. What's more, he says CO2 levels are so low that more, not less, is needed to sustain and expand plant growth.

Trying to debunk theories that higher CO2 levels cause warming, he cites studies that show CO2 levels following temperature spikes, prompting him to back other scientists who say that global warming is caused by solar activity.

When the 'scientists' on the IPCC panel aren't in fields like climatology, geology, physics, or other related science fields, and anthropogenic global warming skeptics are specialists in those fields, one has to wonder who has the facts and the science to back their findings and who is indulging in wishful thinking.

(H/T Libertarian Leanings)


Even the BBC is questioning the premise that Global-Warming-Is-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans. Considering the BBC was one of the major media outlets trumpeting AGW, the turnabout is that much more telling.


More than a few voters are expressing their regrets about voting for The One.


Do you need yet another example of how Obamacare will penalize American families? Then take a look at this.

Do you think it won't happen, then you need to start taking your meds again.


End User Blog asks “Will there be a place for Linux on the desktop?”

While I'd like to see Linux take a bigger share of desktop OS's, I understand the limitations when compared to Windows 7 and OS-X, On the other hand, being the frugal Yankee that I am (and a techno-geek), I have no problem using and tweaking Linux to make it do what I want it to do. Besides, the price is right.

(H/T Instapundit)


Is it education or indoctrination?

Seeing the curriculum being offered in BeezleBub's high school, it's more of the latter and ever less of the former.


Eric the Viking tells us the truth about U-Haul truck rental rates.

If you're heading to a economically distressed state you can get a truck for very little. However if you're leaving such a state and relocating to a place with jobs you're going to pay through the nose for that same truck.


Illiteracy. Yeah, that's the real reason newspaper readership is dropping like a stone.



Is it any surprise California is on the financial brink? Tax revenues are $1.1 billion short of projections (no surprise because every time they raise/add taxes revenues fall), and state spending wasn't cut enough.

The only question we need to answer is how long before California declares bankruptcy?


Wizbang has a nominee for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, perfectly combining “raw idealism and cluelessness, and such a strong sense of left-wing political priorities.”


National League Playoff Game #3 between the Denver Rockies and the Philadelphia Phillies was canceled due to below freezing temperatures and snow.

It was a record-breaking 17°F (-8°C) the morning of the game.

Does anyone want to tell me about global warming...again?


The last thing you want to be in the UK is elderly and sick, considering the National Health Service has found a round about method of euthanasia.

And if they found a way, what makes anyone think the same thing won't happen here under ObamaCare?


It's amazing how the removal of a single sentence can change the entire meaning of a Letter to the Editor.

The question: Was the removal accidental or intentional?

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


There's an interesting debate going on over at Dean's World about why the cost of medical and dental care have been increasing at well above the rate of inflation since the 1980's.

I have my own theories including, but not limited to, a wider number of people covered by insurance, more mandates, and the increasing percentage of the population above the age of 65.


Bob parks points us to a true hypocrite in regards to the Second Amendment, specifically North Carolina State Senator R.C. Soles. Soles, a long time anti-gun activist shot and wounded an intruder in his home.

Bob adds “Oh, and guess the party affiliation....”


From the Jawa Report: Islamic hackers forum hacked.


The New England Patriots played the Denver Broncos in Denver this afternoon. The Patriots lost in overtime, 20-17.

During the first half the Pats dominated, but during the second half they fell apart, with neither offense or defense being able to stop the Broncos.

One thing I've noticed about their losing games this season: they've been wearing the old 'Pat the Patriot' uniforms. Maybe it's a coincidence. Maybe it's not.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the fall colors are brilliant, the leaf peepers are here in droves, and the sound of cash registers being filled resound throughout the land.


One Versus The Other

Received via e-mail:

If a conservative doesn’t like guns, he doesn`t buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn`t eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how to defeat his enemy.
A liberal wonders how to surrender gracefully and still look good.

If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a black man or Hispanic are conservative, they see themselves as independently successful.
Their liberal counterparts see themselves as victims in need of government protection.

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a conservative doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don’t like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it’s a foreign religion, of course!)

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a conservative slips and falls in a store, he gets up, laughs and is embarrassed.
If a liberal slips and falls, he grabs his neck, moans like he's in labor and then sues.

If a conservative reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A liberal will delete it because he's "offended".

Yup, I guess that covers it.


Avarice And Ignorance In Detroit

One of my co-workers alerted me to this, and reading it (and later listening to it), the ignorance and avarice displayed here does not surprise me. Via Rush Limbaugh (No, I'm not one of his listeners. As I said, a co-worker sent this to me. Really ! She did!):

Cobo Hall, Detroit. Listen to this. Now, we had audio out of there yesterday. We're going to repeat that. We got new audio today from Ken Rogulski of our affiliate there, WJR. Detroit Free Press: "'Cobo a Scene of Desperation' -- Social service agencies are bracing for more troubles. The economic tsunami washing over metro Detroit swept its casualties to the doors of Cobo Center on Wednesday in the form of 35,000 people so desperate for help with mortgage and utility bills that threats were made, fights broke out and people were nearly trampled." This is Obama's America.


[H]ere's a portion of Ken Rogulski reporting on WJR in Michigan, two people here in line for Obama cash.

ROGULSKI: Why are you here?

WOMAN #1: To get some money.

ROGULSKI: What kind of money?

WOMAN #1: Obama money.

ROGULSKI: Where's it coming from?

WOMAN #1: Obama.

ROGULSKI: And where did Obama get it?

WOMAN #1: I don't know, his stash. I don't know. (laughter) I don't know where he got it from, but he givin' it to us, to help us.

WOMAN #2: And we love him.

WOMAN #1: We love him. That's why we voted for him!

His stash? Really? Does she really thing this money is coming from Obama's own bank account? While some truly needed the aid, far too many were there to get “free government money”. Never mind that they weren't entitled to it.

Read on for more incredulity.

ROGULSKI: Did you get an application to fill out yet?

WOMAN: I sure did. And I filled it out, and I am waiting to see what the results are going to be.

ROGULSKI: Will you know today how much money you're getting?

WOMAN: No, I won't, but I'm waiting for a phone call.

ROGULSKI: Where's the money coming from?

WOMAN: I believe it's coming from the City of Detroit or the state.

ROGULSKI: Where did they get it from?

WOMAN: Some funds that was forgiven (sic) by Obama.

ROGULSKI: And where did Obama get the funds?

WOMAN: Obama getting the funds from... Ummm, I have no idea, to tell you the truth. He's the president.

She wants the money, but she doesn't know where it's coming from. For her and those like her it just magically appears. They don't realize the money they want comes from the pockets of their fellow citizens, or worse, was borrowed from the Chinese. And they probably don't care.

But because the Obamessiah is providing for them, they don't care. They don't care that the money must be taken away from someone else to be given to them. Money earned by others will be used to 'help' them, in turn helping Obama stay in office because these same people will vote for him come the next election. It doesn't really matter that his 'gift' is really a trap, one that will keep far too many of these people beholden to him and the government for the rest of their lives.

I hope they enjoy their re-enslavement.


What's Next - House Police?

This is a guest commentary by Nathan Jones, a well spoken young fellow I met via my wife, Deb. I've asked more than once if he'd be willing to post something for Weekend Pundit and here's his first offering (with more to follow, I hope).


I came across this seemingly stupid story out of Dallas, TX today. It chronicles the tale of a mother and daughter who had the misfortune of living next to a smoker.

In an age when smoking has been outlawed in most public places – government buildings, bars and pool halls – a person's home is one of the few places you can puff in peace.

Cary Daniel and her mother Chris Daniel no longer live in the townhome, and said they need to wear respirators and goggles when they return to the townhome to retrieve their belongings.

A Dallas woman has filed a lawsuit seeking six figures from a former neighbor and landlord for damage she says was caused by cigarette smoke wafting through adjoining walls of her high-end townhome

I personally believe that, based on what I have read in this story, their argument is completely ridiculous.

First and foremost, the amount of smoke that would need to pour out of their neighbor’s apartment to actually affect their apartment would be impressive. Even a “pack a day” smoker would lack the output to cause harm to their neighbor's dwelling. Sure, there may have been the familiar “cigarette smell” in their apartment, but that is far from a health risk. Nuisance, absolutely. I personally hate the smell of cigarettes. However, there is a huge gap between nuisance and health endangerment. If we could sue over nuisance, Kanye West would have been bankrupt a long time ago.

Secondly, I believe that this is merely a publicity stunt on their part, and maybe some long-shot hopes at getting some easy cash. For the benefit of this argument (and believe me, this is quite a stretch), let’s say the smoke did cause a hazard. Would it not be the responsibility of the landlord alone? There is no need to sue the smoker, as I could assure them she (a middle aged lady named Rebecca) took far more damage from said smoke than they shall ever encounter. It was not as if she was intentionally trying to harm them by blowing smoke in their house. It is also the landlord's responsibility to make sure the houses are adequate to live in, and I would think that one of the larger “adequacies” required would be sufficient separation of me from my neighbor.

In summary, I believe this article to be important because it is one of the most blatant signs I have come across recently that shows the lack of personal action. People today do not wish to act, but rather they wish to have the government do it for them. The story states that this mother-daughter duo suffered a year of “stinging eyes, sinus pains”, etc. My question to them is why stay?

Clearly if things are that bad then moving out is the way to go, not filing a lawsuit. A suit would be necessary if this was a public living space, but it's not. These were decent mid- to high-end apartments. I do hope the courts throw this case out, as this could set a scary precedent for a police state. Clearly, one is not allowed to break the law in one’s own home, but who is to decide what is “damaging” to one's neighbors? Today, smoking may be considered damaging. If the courts uphold this theory, then who is to say that tomorrow, my religious paraphernalia may be considered “damaging” to another. Let us hope the courts exercise wisdom and tell these two ladies we’re very sorry they chose to live in those conditions for a year, but in the end, it’s as much the smoker’s choice to smoke as it was their choice to live there.


Tech Tuesday - Fiber Optics 101 - Part I

As I've mentioned here a number of times, I work for a small fiber optics firm in New Hampshire. When I first joined the company I knew very little about fiber optics. My background was in radar and microwave. I knew about electrons and waveguides and frequency sources and transmitters and receivers and magnetrons and traveling wave tubes and phased array antennas and phase discriminators and YIG filters and microwave striplines and DROs. I also had some exposure to infrared target tracking systems as well as hybrid IC construction and test. But I knew squat about fiber optics other than it used glass fibers thinner than a human hair.

The past twelve years have been an education.

I got into fiber optics just as the Internet really started its boom and the need for more and more bandwidth climbed. I've learned so much, and yet I still know not nearly enough. But I know just enough to clue the curious amongst you in to how the whole thing works. I won't delve deeply into theory, but I will try to include as many links as I can for those of you wanting to know more than I will cover here.

-Optical Fiber-

There are many kinds of optical fiber, though we are more interested in fiber made from glass.

There is optical fiber made from plastic, much like the ones used to hook up DVD players or satellite tuners to Dolby Digital Surround receivers, for those of you fortunate enough to have them. Plastic optical fiber is also used for illumination.

There are also specialty fibers used for such things as temperature sensors, strain gauges, fluid level sensors, and high power laser waveguides. Many of these are made from sapphire or are metal coated in order to withstand high temperatures or other harsh environmental conditions.

With glass fiber, there are a number of different applications. Most are used for telecommunications, be it voice, data, or video. Others are used for imaging. One such imaging application is the medical field. Sometimes diagnosis or surgical procedures require taking a look inside the body without cutting it open. Fiber optic imaging scopes make this possible, though sometimes a small incision is necessary to allow the fiber scope access to the area in interest. Other imaging applications include use for inspection of machinery in tight spaces where one would not normally be able to look without dismantling the machine. Some glass fiber is also used for illumination, much like plastic fiber, but it gives better overall spot illumination than plastic.

So what is it about glass optical fiber that makes it so useful to carry communications? There are two answers to that question.

First, bandwidth.

Optical fiber can carry incredible amounts of data, more than any other technology being used today.

Bandwidth is the big attraction of fiber optics. The technology to allow this large amount of bandwidth has already been deployed. A single fiber is capable of carrying up to 16 terabits of data per second. That's 16 trillion bits of data every second, enough to transmit the entire contents of the Library of Congress in less than a tenth of a second, or in excess of 250 million phone conversations simultaneously. That's a lot of phone calls.

I will delve into how this bit of technological legerdemain is done later in this post.

Second, it has minimal signal loss over distance as compared to copper wire, coaxial cable, or wireless technology (i.e., radio).

The big attraction to using fiber optics for communication is that an optical signal can travel a long way before it needs to be amplified or regenerated. It's not uncommon to have fiber optic links hundreds of miles long that don't require the use of amplifiers or regenerators. Copper wire or coaxial cable, on the other hand, require amplifiers and repeaters every couple of miles or so in order to maintain signal integrity. They use a considerable amount of equipment and power to run signals between two points. That's one reason why the phone companies and other telecommunications companies all use fiber to connect their central offices together. Copper wire is primarily used to connect what is called the 'last mile' to their switching systems. It's what connects you to your phone company's central office, using the same technology as one hundred years ago.

So how is it that optical fiber has such low loss? The simple answer is chemistry. Though the fiber is made from glass, it isn't the same as the window glass in your home or in your car. Optical fiber glass is a very pure formulation that exhibits incredible clarity, particularly at wavelengths of light used in fiber optic communications. In comparison, dry air is a murky, hazy curtain. And just to complicate things a little, optical fiber actually uses two different glass formulations – one for the inner 'core' and a different one for the outer coating, or cladding. The reason for this is something called refraction.

Refraction is defined as the bending of light as it passes between materials of different densities. (For a good demonstration of refraction, click here or here.)

Do you remember looking into a pool of water, poking a stick into that pool and seeing that the stick 'bent' where it entered the water? The apparent bend was due to refraction, the bending of light at the interface between the air and water. Different materials will bend light to different degrees. How much a material will bend light is defined by the index of refraction. The index of refraction is a ratio between the speed of light in a vacuum and the speed of light through the material in question. The index of refraction is almost always a number equal to or greater than 1. (Unless Einstein and Hawking are wrong, light cannot travel faster through a material faster than it can through a vacuum. Therefore the index of refraction can never be a number less than 1 unless the material is something called a metamaterial, a man-made substance that exhibits negative refraction, but we won't go into that now.)

Refraction is this property fiber optics exploits in order to keep the light traveling down the fiber contained in the fiber. The inner core has one index of refraction and the outer cladding has a slightly different one. This difference is what guides the light down the fiber and keeps it from escaping even if it is bent somewhat. However, there are limits to how much one can bend an optical fiber. Bend one far enough and it will break. For the kind of fiber used in telecommunications, a bend tighter than a certain radius will allow light to leak out of the fiber core and cladding but generally won't harm the fiber itself.

-Optical Transmitters and Receivers-

Okay, we have a medium that can be used to carry optical signals a long distance without the need for amplifiers or regenerators. But what is it that generates or detects the optical signal in a fiber?

Transmitters and receivers, of course.

In fiber optics, transmitters primarily consist of a laser and a modulator. The laser generates the light and the modulator changes some characteristic of the laser light in order to couple the data to be transmitted. In effect, the modulator piggybacks the data on to the laser light.

Many of us are familiar with lasers because we see them in use almost every day. The checkout at your local supermarket uses a laser scanner to tally your purchases (that's the 'doot doot' sound you hear at the checkout line). Those red lines you see flowing over the package of Pop-Tarts you wanted as it passes over the scanner come from a red laser diode. You're probably also familiar with the pen-like red or green laser pointers lecturers and teachers use.

The lasers used in fiber optic communications are similar in many ways to those used at supermarkets and lecture halls. Both types are made in a similar fashion, using semiconductor materials much like the silicon used to make most electronic IC components. However, the one big difference between them is that communications lasers do not generate visible light, but rather infrared light. The 'colors' of the infrared spectrum lie just below that of visible light, below the color red. Coincidentally, optical fibers of the type mentioned above actually pass infrared light far better than visible light.

The light from the laser diode is coupled into the optical fiber by means of a miniature lens that focuses the light into the core of the fiber. From there it travels along the fiber to the modulator (assuming the modulator isn't built in to the package). The modulator is usually a crystal that has properties that make it absorb laser light or shift its phase when an electric current is applied to it. The digital data stream that consists all of the phone calls and Internet traffic and so on is what actually controls the electric current feeding the modulator crystal.

Data can be transmitted by a laser by directly modulating the laser by turning it on and off, but there are limitations to how fast a laser can be switched like that. Therefore, most high speed systems use an external modulator. Most external modulators run at a data rate of up to 10 gigabits per second (10 billion bits per second). There are some modulators that can run as high as 40 or even 100 gigabits per second, but they are not as numerous or as widely deployed as 10 gigabit systems.

Now that you have all of that data modulating the laser, you need to have some way of detecting it and turning it back into an electronic data stream. That's where receivers come in to play.

At their most basic, a fiber optic receiver is made up of two parts: a photodiode and an amplifier.

A photodiode is a semiconductor that does one of two things, depending on how it is used. It either generates an electric current when illuminated by light (i.e. photovoltaic effect), or it allows a current to flow under the same conditions (i.e. photoconductive effect). Both configurations are used in fiber optic receivers.

The amplifier is connected to the output of the photodiode and amplifies the signal detected by it. In most cases, the amount of light being detected by the photodiode in a fiber optic receiver can be as little as 10 microwatts (that's 10 millionths of a watt). The amplifier raises the level of the detected signal so that other circuitry can shape and clean up the signal and turn it back into data that can be read and routed by the switching systems, whether they switch data or phone calls. Sometimes the data is turned back into an optical signal and sent down another optical fiber to yet another switching system.

-Optical Amplifiers and Regenerators-

For fiber optic communications over relatively short distances (less than 80 km), there is rarely a need to amplify or regenerate an optical signal. But for longer distances or instances when there is higher than normal loss, optical signals need to be restored to their original strength and the pulse waveforms corrected. This is done in one of two ways – optical amplification and regeneration.

The first is optical amplification. An optical signal comes into one end of the amplifier and comes out the other end many times stronger than the input. How is this accomplished?

Simply, it's magic.

Well, not really magic, but it might seem that way to the uninitiated. Optical amplifiers use something called laser pumping in order to amplify optical signals in a fiber. There are three different methods used to achieve amplification via laser pumping: Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifiers, or EDFAs; Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers, or SOAs; and Raman Amplification.

EDFAs and SOAs use similar methods to achieve amplification. Only the medium used differs.

The Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier uses an optical fiber doped with erbium atoms as the amplification medium. Lasers with wavelengths below those being amplified are coupled to the doped fiber, causing excitation of the erbium atoms in the fiber (the erbium atoms absorb energy from the pump lasers), charging them to a higher energy state. The optical signals enter the doped fiber at one end. The excited erbium atoms donate their energy to the optical signals as they pass through the fiber, and the energy level of those signals increases. Depending upon the length of the doped fiber and the power of the pump lasers, the optical signals leaving the doped fiber can be anywhere from 10 to 50 times stronger than were when they entered the EDFA. All of this amplification takes place without the need to convert the optical signal to an electronic signal, and back again. All of the amplification is done in the optical domain. Neat, huh? EDFAs are used primarily on long haul fiber optic links like undersea cables and long run terrestrial links.

The SOA works on a similar principle as the EDFA, but rather than using a doped fiber as the amplification medium it uses an optical waveguide. The SOA doesn't provide nearly as much amplification as an EDFA, but then it isn't designed for that. SOAs are used in shorter fiber links, usually in what are called MANs, or Metro Area Networks.

The third amplification method uses something called Raman Amplification. Like the EDFA and SOA, it uses pump lasers to generate the 'donor' energy for amplification. But in this case no special amplification medium is used, just the fiber in the communications link. A high powered laser operating on the same wavelengths one would use in an EDFA is coupled into the communications fiber. The energy from this laser couples to the photons of the communications laser pulses also in the fiber, and the power of the comm laser pulses are amplified. One of the big advantages to Raman Amplification is that it generates less noise than an EDFA. The downside is that it doesn't provide as much amplication as an EDFA. In some cases, EDFAs are used in conjunction with Raman Amplification in long haul fiber links which combines the best of both – high amplification with lower noise.

The second method used to extend range in a fiber optic system is regeneration. A regenerator is basically a fiber optic receiver coupled to a fiber optic transmitter with control, filtering, and sometimes switching electronics in between. The filtering and 'shaping' circuitry can correct for signal defects created by the characteristics of the fiber being used. The regenerator receives the optical signal and converts it to an electrical signal. The electrical signal is then filtered to clean up any noise or pulse distortions in the signal. It is then amplified and the amplified signal is used to drive the optical transmitter.

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. One big advantage of optical amplification over regeneration is that it can be used to amplify multiple optical signals simultaneously.Remmeber, a single optical fiber can carry multiple wavelengths, or colors, of infrared light at the same time. Optical amplifiers amplify all of those wavelengths at the same time. Regenerators can do this too, but it requires separating each wavelength and sending each one to its own regenerator. That's a lot of receivers, electronics, and lasers, as well as power to run them all.

-Wavelength Division Multiplexing-

As mentioned earlier, one way to increase the amount of data a single fiber can carry is to use more than one wavelength of light as a carrier. This is called Wavelength Division Multiplexing, or WDM. The more wavelengths in a fiber, the more data that can be transmitted. There are a number of different versions of WDM being used today – simple, coarse, and dense. All of them use multiplexers and demultiplexers. These devices allow multiple wavelengths to be coupled to and from a single optical fiber.

Simple WDM is the oldest form of WDM. It uses only two wavelengths, 1310nm and 1550nm, to transmit data through a fiber. This form of WDM uses inexpensive uncooled lasers and inexpensive multiplexers and demultiplexers. In some cases specially tuned optical couplers are all that is necessary for this function. Simple DWM has been in use for well over a decade.

Coarse WDM uses up to 18 wavelengths between 1270nm and 1610nm. CWDM is inexpensive compared to DWDM. It can use uncooled lasers and inexpensive multiplexers and demultiplexers.

Dense WDM packs up to 160 wavelengths into a fiber, allowing up to 16 terabits per second of data to be transmitted on a single fiber. DWDM systems presently deployed use nowhere near this many wavelengths, but the capability is there. DWDM is rather expensive to implement because of the tight wavelength tolerances required by the lasers. The lasers are temperature controlled, which minimizes wavelength shifts due to temperature changes. The multiplexers and demultiplexers are also quite expensive and have to exhibit the same tight tolerances as that of the lasers. DWDM is used primarily for long haul connections, particularly in undersea cables.

A good tutorial for DWDM and all of the subjects covered so far can be found here or downloaded in PDF form here.


And so ends Part I. Part II will cover how fiber optics is used to connect the various telephone switching systems, cable TV systems, as well as undersea fiber cables and the technology behind Fiber To The Home.


Sarah Palin Is Not Fading Away

It's been just shy of a year since the 2008 elections, Barack Obama has been in office for a little over nine months, and what are those on the Left and The right talking about?

Sarah Palin.

For someone part of the losing presidential ticket last year, she's been getting a lot of attention.

The Left is still apoplectic about her, wishing nothing more that she'd go away and fade into obscurity. Their hatred of her is almost pathological, with so many of them trying their best to destroy her, as Bill Whittle sums up most eloquently is one of his latest video op-ed pieces:

For someone the Left sees as “stupid”, “out of her depth”, and a “Wasilla hillbilly”, they're spending a lot of effort to crush her. If their characterizations were true, why would they need to expend so much time and energy to do so?

Because they fear her, seeing her as a threat to their Messiah, the Narcissist/Teleprompter/Apologist-In-Chief.

He's an empty suit. Sarah Palin is the real deal, someone just about everyone (except the elite in both parties) can relate to.

It doesn't matter that she doesn't speak eloquently. There are plenty of poseurs capable of doing that, including President Obama. But she gets to the heart of the matter, speaking plainly, something Obama seems to be incapable of doing. Instead, he speaks in broad, general terms, dancing around the issue, implying much but not actually saying anything. His followers hear what they want to hear, not what it is he actually said. With Sarah Palin you pretty well know she means what she says and says exactly what she means.

Despite the Left's machinations, Palin has survived manufactured scandal, personal attacks against her, personal attacks against her family, bogus ethics complaints (everyone was found to be without merit), disparaging remarks about her education (she didn't graduate from an Ivy League school, but at least her transcripts are open to the public), lack of experience (How many states did Obama run before he became President?), and an endless list of complaints from a number of less than honorable leftist organizations because she's not a neo-fascist feminist, baby-aborting, agnostic/atheist, hire-the-nanny-to-raise-the-kids, career comes first modern woman.

Palin's survival has frustrated the Left (and the inside-the-Beltway Right) to no end. It is a subtle form of revenge for her, for she is going forward, outlasting her enemies and living better than they are, which is one form of revenge most of us can relate to. She's been willing to make decisions most politicians would be afraid to even think about.

Well, just who is looking out of touch and foolish now? Hint: It isn't the Killa from Wasilla.

What is the real story here is that given a set of singularly difficult circumstances, Governor Palin made a counter-intuitive and gutsy decision that has already proven right for all parties involved. We call that brilliance. We call that effective leadership.

Perhaps inside the beltway, those measures of wisdom and intelligence and instinctive leadership are out of date. All too often in that world, decisions are made by what is the safe play and by what will play well with the pundits. Damn the consequences to others, just pull that focus group report and make sure we look good to the media.

That was not how Palin measured her decision. She was willing to look outside the box for a possibility, and when she found an idea that worked for everyone she grabbed it. Quickly. And she never looked back. Why Dan Rather might call that "...courage..."

She has that in spades, far more than a lot of other our so-called leaders could even dare to show.

Freed from the specious and endless ethics complaints being filed by a small but well supported group of Democrat activists in Alaska, she can now move about and speak freely about topics local, national, and international. Should she ever gain the White House (she hasn't announced or even hinted about any future political ambitions), she would be far better prepared to fill that office than the present occupant could ever dream of being.

That scares the hell out of the Left.

Too bad.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a night out last night for the WP clan, a gathering of the family including Deb, BeezleBub, the WP Parents, two of the three WP sibs, and yours truly. We headed out to one of the local eateries to celebrate the fourth anniversary of my adopting BeezleBub. There was great food (including wonderful desserts), and great company. We don't get the opportunity to get out with the clan all that often.


Best headline of the week, from Drudge: The Ego Has Landed.

Could the IOC decision for the 2016 Summer Olympics host city be the biggest blow to Obama's ego since he's taken office because it turns out it's only the MSM that loves him?

What will he do when he finds even the MSM love affair is turning cold?

Goodness knows the Europeans aren't nearly enamored of him. Much of that can be blamed on the disrespect he showed during his pitch. He was the “Ugly American” writ large.

What will he do when he finds even the MSM love affair is turning cold?

Of course all of this is really George W. Bush's fault.

Eric the Viking also piles on, and rightfully so.


The Guardian, a very liberal UK newspaper, asks the question Will California become America's the first failed state?

When liberal newspapers are questioning the viability of America's leading socialist 'utopia', you know it's in trouble.


Sarah Palin's book is still #1 on Amazon. C4P has the details about her book.

Also, why the Left hates Sarah Palin beyond any reason.


It has become apparent the $787 billion stimulus bill is a failure, with unemployment edging towards 10%.

Some claim the actual unemployment rate is closer to 17% because many unemployed have stopped looking for work or have taken part-time jobs paying a fraction of their previous positions.

If early retirements (meaning “retire now or be fired”) are taken into account, the 9.8% unemployment rate is optimistic at best.


Is a climate change bill dead until next year? Obama's energy advisor, Carol Browner, says there's no way Congress will get a bill passed this year.


Some more reality for President Obama.

What Obama doesn't want to accept is that the Democrats' scheme for government takeover of health care is deeply controversial. In fact, most Americans oppose it, many bitterly--as, in my view, they should.

Obama also doesn't seem to understand that he is a not-very-popular President with a poor track record of accomplishment who is not in a position to demand anything from Congress. At the end of the day, the Democrats may or may not have the votes to pass a radical "reform" bill. But whether they do or do not have the votes will not be determined by empty threats from President Obama.

Charisma and eloquence can only take him so far. He actually has to do something other than talk and campaign for a change.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Also via Maggie's Farm, Wretchard's commentary on the Death of Liberalism.

...[T]he unpopularity of Bush to some extent masked the real weakness of the Left. While still enormously powerful from a political, economic and cultural standpoint, their racket had become irremediably transparent and nowhere was this manifested more clearly than in the rejection of the mainstream media, which, last we checked, had a credibility about equal to that of used car salesmen. The loss of authority was irreversible and not even the election of Barack Obama could alter that.

Obama after Bush was therefore a “false dawn”. The evidence for this lies precisely in the unseemly haste of the Left and collaterally conveyed by the precipitous drop in Obama’s popularity. It turns out that there was nothing underneath him and therefore nothing underneath them.

And so it goes.


A fellow by the name of John L. Perry writes a piece posted on Newsmax supposedly advocating a military coup to overthrow Barack Obama and the Left goes nuts, railing against the “GOP wingnut” proposing such a coup, saying he should be tried for treason.

But there's only one problem: Perry is a Democrat, a veteran of the Johnson and Carter administrations, and a fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, a think tank not known for its conservative leanings.

So how does that make him a GOP wingnut?


Here's an excellent quote of the day, courtesy of Bruce.


The New England Patriots played the Baltimore Ravens in Foxboro today, beating them 27-21.

It looks like the team is shaping up and coming together, looking better than the first two games.


I've been looking over the vast Weekend Pundit Archives, focusing on last summer and fall and the posts about the political conventions and presidential campaign. After reading a few months worth of posts, I realized that quite a few of them were prescient, predicting exactly what the Obama Administration would be attempting. The predictions lend themselves to a couple of posts looking back and comparing what was predicted versus what's come to pass.

Talk about a target rich environment!


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the leaves are turning, the leaf peepers are arriving, and where the chimney sweeps will be cleaning our chimney tomorrow.


Nuclear - Greener Than Wind/Solar? - Part III

One thing we hear again and again is how alternative energy sources will somehow “save” us and that all other forms of energy are bad/dangerous/icky and aren't green. But that view is shortsighted, ignoring far too many other factors that determine whether a particular energy source is truly green. For instance, what good is a green alternative energy source if it uses materials that are extremely toxic in the manufacturing process or is far less efficient than traditional energy sources meaning more of them are needed to produce an equivalent amount of energy? What if making the shift of more energy production to alternative sources in an effort to save the environment ends up destroying it instead?

The House of Representatives has passed climate legislation that started out as an attempt to reduce carbon emissions. It has morphed into an engine for raising revenues by selling carbon dioxide emission allowances and promoting "renewable" energy.

The bill requires electric utilities to get 20% of their power mostly from wind and solar by 2020. These renewable energy sources are receiving huge subsidies—all to supposedly create jobs and hurry us down the road to an America running on wind and sunshine described in President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address.

Yet all this assumes renewable energy is a free lunch—a benign, "sustainable" way of running the country with minimal impact on the environment. That assumption experienced a rude awakening on Aug. 26, when The Nature Conservancy published a paper titled "Energy Sprawl or Energy Efficiency: Climate Policy Impacts on Natural Habitat for the United States of America." The report by this venerable environmental organization posed a simple question: How much land is required for the different energy sources that power the country? The answers deserve far greater public attention.

This is something too many alternative energy proponents have overlooked in their zeal to move the US towards more sustainable energy production. They've ignored the actual impact of some of those alternative sources on the surrounding environment, ignored the amount of land these alternative energy sources will take up to provide the amount of energy to meet the needs of the people. Simply put, alternative energy sources of the type most are talking about are what would be called low density sources, meaning the amount of energy produced for each square meter of space taken up by those sources is very low as compared to the more traditional sources of energy like coal, gas, oil, and nuclear plants. And of the more traditional sources, nuclear power has the highest density of energy produced per unit of land, above that of the other traditional sources and well above that of the alternative sources.

By far nuclear energy is the least land-intensive; it requires only one square mile to produce one million megawatt-hours per year, enough electricity for about 90,000 homes. Geothermal energy, which taps the natural heat of the earth, requires three square miles. The most landscape-consuming are biofuels—ethanol and biodiesel—which require up to 500 square miles to produce the same amount of energy.

Coal, on the other hand, requires four square miles, mainly for mining and extraction. Solar thermal—heating a fluid with large arrays of mirrors and using it to power a turbine—takes six. Natural gas needs eight and petroleum needs 18. Wind farms require over 30 square miles.


Renewable energy is not a free lunch. It is an unprecedented assault on the American landscape. Before we find ourselves engulfed in energy sprawl, it's imperative we take a closer look at nuclear power.

One must also consider the up-time and maintenance requirements of the various energy sources. Both wind and solar are primarily daytime sources (yes, wind also blows at night, but generally not as much or as steadily as it does during the day). The maintenance required is higher for alternative sources. Solar collectors, PV panels, or mirrors must be cleaned constantly to maintain efficiency. Wind turbines undergo mechanical stresses that require constant inspection and repair, with such duties often being more difficult due to the size and height of each turbine.

Traditional power sources can run 24 hours a day. Nuclear power plants can run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for two or three years at 100% power. The traditional combustion-based power plants (coal, oil, and natural gas) have higher down time and require more maintenance, usually of the boiler systems for coal and oil and the combustion turbines of the natural gas plants due to the corrosive nature of high temperature combustion.

Maybe it's time to seriously look at new nuclear plants as a green source of energy and avoid the 'energy sprawl' common to alternative energy sources.


Thugs And Other Disparagements

It appears Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH1)has caught a bad case of history revisionism.

While decrying the tone and tenor of a number of town hall meetings around the nation and the mood of the electorate, it appears she's forgotten some of her appearances at similar events before she was elected to the House of Representatives.

At one particular event that took place back in 2005, she and another woman were removed from event by Portsmouth police officers. But she denies she and her friend were ever asked to leave.

Two officers of the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Police Department removed Carol Shea-Porter and Susan Mayer from a February 2005 town hall event hosted by then-President George W. Bush at the request of the owner of the property, a spokesman for the Police Department tells NowHampshire.com.

The revelation contradicts statements made by Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter as recently as this week that she was not removed from the event.

“[T]here were no disruptions and no rudeness and I wasn’t removed. If it happened, don’t you think there would have been photos or video or news stories from that day? There aren’t because it didn’t happen,” Shea-Porter told the Portsmouth Herald this weekend.

According to Capt. Tim Brownell, who responded to a Freedom of Information request from NowHampshire.com, Detective Sergeant Michael Ronchi and Detective Tom Grella removed the two women from the Pan Am hanger of the Portsmouth International Airport in Portsmouth, NH after being asked to do so by a representative of Pan Am.

You mean she lied about what happened? Say it ain't so!

But wait, there's more!

“My friend (Mayer) and I sat respectfully and quietly though the whole event. After it was over and we were leaving, I was grabbed by someone, a thug,” Shea-Porter the Portsmouth Herald this weekend. “My friend told the person to stop grabbing me and he let go. It may have been a security person, but to this day we don’t who it was. I was there, so I know what I’m talking about.”

Capt. Brownell declined to comment on Shea-Porter’s characterization of the officers involved in the incident as “thugs”. But not all members of the law enforcement community were silent. Retired Manchester Police Sergeant Lloyd Doughty reacted with astonishment.

“For someone of her stature, as an elected official, to say that about members of law enforcement is so distasteful and so disrespectful I can’t even think of a word that describes how I feel. It’s ridiculous,” Doughty told NowHampshire.com.

So police officers doing their jobs are “thugs”?

Let's remind ourselves where Carol Shea-Porter stands on a number of issues, some which I've covered before: the only people allowed to protest are those who agree with Carol Shea-Porter and are against anything Republican; those of us within her Congressional district that did not vote for her are not her constituents; she holds the Blue Star and Gold Star Mothers of New Hampshire in contempt; town hall meetings are only for those of her constituents that agree with her; she's afraid to face any us that may not agree with her leftist philosophy in an open town hall meeting where we can actually ask her questions; she thinks police officers are “thugs”; and she walks lock step with Nancy “Tea Party protesters are Nazis” Pelosi.

I can't wait until 2010 when we can finally fire her.