Britain's Future Tied To North America?

Is the UK on the verge of abandoning the EU? It's looking more like a more attractive option as the monetary/finance crisis deepens and threatens to pull the UK irrevocably into a bankrupt and less democratic European superstate.

What options does it have to preclude this out come? Only two variations on a theme, that being withdrawal from the EU. That leave them with two possible options once they've done so: Go it alone or seek alliance elsewhere. Going it alone may seem attractive at first, but it does leave them open the vagaries of the world market with no one else backstopping them. So perhaps they should seek an alliance elsewhere. But with whom?

Well, how about NAFTA? After all, the UK has far more in common with Canada and the US than they do with France, Germany, or Belgium.

Britain does have other choices. To find the country's new role, British leaders should look to North America.

Alone among EEC members, Britain narrowed some of its major trade networks when it joined. It also traded ordinary Britons' right to virtually bureaucracy-free movement, temporary or permanent, between the U.K. and British Commonwealth nations.


While much trust was lost between Britain and the rest of the Commonwealth because of this move, strong personal, cultural and economic ties remain and could be revived. Ask the average Briton where he'd feel more at home, Paris or Toronto.

Canada and Australia have well-managed, vibrant economies. Both countries sit on huge deposits of natural resources of ever-increasing value. Britain's top-tier financial sector and still-excellent technical capabilities already play a role in Canada's economy. These ties could be much strengthened.

Britons also feel at home south of the Canadian border. Contrary to an oft-repeated myth, links between Britain and the United States are not reducible to the personal relationships between presidents and prime ministers. The U.S. and the U.K. have always been each other's primary financial partners. A few simple measures could substantially deepen this relationship, especially once Britain no longer needs to adhere to EU rules.

The only thing the UK has in common with the rest of Europe these days is proximity and a centuries long history of armed conflict with a number of countries there. Perhaps it's time for Britain to remember the rest of the Anglosphere and to consider re-aligning itself it with it. I have no doubt it would help both the UK and the other nations of the Anglosphere.

And the UK's trade with the rest of the EU? I have reason to believe that while there would be some fall off in trade, in the end it won't be all that much. And increased trade and relations with the rest of the Anglosphere would certainly help make up any shortfall from the rest of Europe.

Frankly I see little if any downside to the UK withdrawing from the EU and realigning itself with its former colonies and Commonwealth members.


Monitor News

As you dozen or so regular readers know, the LCD monitor on the new Official Weekend Pundit Main Computer went on the blink 14 days ago. According to the fine folks at HP, I was supposed to receive the replacement monitor by yesterday. (I even have the e-mails with the expected delivery date stating the December 28.) Last night around 8PM I received an e-mail from HP stating my monitor was shipping today. That means it won't get here until January 5th at the earliest.

Almost three weeks to ship a replacement monitor under warranty? I can order a new one from them and get it here in less a week by ground! HP has to do more work on its customer service, particularly in regards to warranties on new equipment.

Ethanol Subsidies & Tariffs Finally End

I know, I'm a few days late on this, but I'm still trying to catch up. Gimme a break. I've been sick.

Now that government subsidies for ethanol have ended, as have the tariffs on Brazilian ethanol, what will the effect be fuel prices? In the end, probably not a whole lot. After all, ethanol is only 10% of the volume in E10 gasolines. Assuming Brazilian ethanol becomes more popular with blenders, you might see an approximate 5¢ per gallon drop in gasoline using it. For blenders using US corn ethanol, you might see an equivalent rise in price. But the main thing is that you and I and everyone else will be paying for it up front rather than having the cost of it buried by taxpayer funded subsidies (to the tune of $6 billion a year).

As many of you know, I am not a fan of gasoline/ethanol blend fuels. They cause too many problems, particularly in small engines (lawnmowers, snow blowers, chainsaws, etc.) and in marine use, where nominally humid conditions can cause the ethanol to settle out and clog the fuel systems of boats, something I've had to deal with over the past couple of years. And while the end of subsidies and tariffs are a good thing, that will not make me like the blended fuels. There are still too many downsides. (One of the 'benefits' of ethanol sold to us by the EPA was that it would make gasoline burn cleaner. And it does..for carbureted engines. But it has no effect on fuel injected engines other than decreasing fuel economy by 5%. This is a benefit?) Of course the EPA wants to boost the ethanol content in fuels to 15%, but so far the Congress has said “No”. Even Congress understands the downsides to such a move and the EPA has not shown the move will be beneficial to anyone but the EPA and ethanol producers.


Housing Cost Surprise...Or Not

Some of the latest housing news shows that home values are still falling. That's not really a surprise, is it? But prices are rising in 2 cities, Washington DC and Detroit.


Yes, Detroit.

When you think about it it makes sense. Its real estate values plummeted to the point where the median price for a house was less than $7000. (The large number of abandoned homes and buildings in the Motor City helped suck down property values for years.) Many neighborhoods have been abandoned entirely and the city has been tearing down empty homes for some time. The population of Detroit is less than a third of what it was at its peak. In effect, property values hit rock bottom. There's only one way for them to go: up. So is it a surprise that home values are starting to climb? Some folks see an opportunity and are snapping up empty homes for bargain basement prices and fixing them up. Unless the city dies entirely the chances are the value will go up.

Damn, It's Back!

Here it is, I thought I was past the effects of the stomach bug that hit on Christmas night, but early this morning I was up again paying a visit to the bathroom about every 15 to 20 minutes. This precluded me from joining Deb and BeezleBub for a trip down to the WP In-Laws.

This being sick shtick is gettin' old real fast.

UPDATE: Deb and BeezleBub got home from the In Laws around 8PM. Deb informed me that just a few miles from home BeezleBub asked her to stop the car, whereupon he exited and vomited. Once home he did that some more and has been suffering diarrhea since then.

Poor kid. I know exactly what he'll be going through for the next 24 hours or so.

UPDATE 2: We ended up having to take BeezleBub to the ER at the local hospital. We couldn't keep him hydrated and the cramps were excruciating. (As bad as I was during my bout with this, he was far worse. I got alarmed when his lower back started aching, a symptom that he was so dehydrated that his kidneys were shutting down.) After 2 liters of saline, dilaudid, anti-nausea/vomiting meds, and 3 hours on a bed in the ER, he was feeling much better. We got him home about 3:30AM.


Thoughts On A Sunday - Tuesday Sickroom Edition

We pretty much managed to make it through Christmas unscathed. (One exception. See below.)

Deb had to work Christmas day and BeezleBub had animals to feed at the farm, so we did not travel on Christmas Day. However we do plan to pay a visit to the WP In Laws this coming Wednesday, one of the rare Wednesdays that Deb has off (her schedule was juggled around because she worked Christmas Day).

BeezleBub scored a real haul for Christmas this year. Unlike other kids, he actually likes getting clothing. He's not a clothes horse by any means. Rather his tastes run to the practical, with a good portion of his wardrobe coming by way of Duluth Trading Company. Much of it leans heavily towards the plaids, with heavy duty work pants being a close second. (He really likes the Fire Hose Canvas jeans [this year] and work coat [last year], both of which are perfect for working on the farm during the winter.)

He did end up with one non-clothing gift – a laptop – something he can use for school for the next few years. (I have to admit to scoring a real coup on that one, getting a discontinued model that had been hidden away by newer laptops. The retailer cut us a heck of a deal just to get it off their inventory.)

We spent part of the morning getting it all set up. I figured he'd be off surfing the 'net or checking out his Facebook account. Nope. Instead, he loaded Farming Simulator and spent hours on his virtual farm.


The New England Patriots cinched a first week playoff by on Saturday be defeating the Miami Dolphins in Foxboro, 27-24. If the Pats can beat Buffalo next weekend then they'll have home field advantage for their playoff games.


After almost 40 years of affirmative action the results have not been what proponents had hoped. It turns out it has hurt the very people it was intended to 'help'.

That's not surprising considering its stated purpose was to level the playing field in academia to promote minority achievement, but as it was practiced it let unqualified students into college.

Call it yet another example of liberal policies coming under the sway of the Law of Unintended Consequences.


NOTE: This was written much later (Tuesday). As you've seen, there was no post on Sunday or Monday. It wasn't from lack of trying. What happened was an unexpected 'gift' from the WP Parents, who previously received it from one of the WP nephews.

Late Christmas evening I came down with a stomach bug that has been making the rounds. Between the vomiting, diarrhea, and severe dehydration, I was left totally bed/bathroom ridden. I was not a pretty sight (not that I am under normal circumstances). Even now I am not 100% and feel as if I've been through a boxing match...and losing.

All I can hope is that neither Deb or BeezleBub will come down with it. I took what precautions I could, in effect isolating myself by sleeping in a different room and using a different bathroom (which shall be disinfected from floor to ceiling sometime later today or tomorrow).


This story begs the question “How many more crimes will become capital crimes as the demand for transplant organs increases?”

It's right out of the pages of Larry Niven's Gil “The Arm” Hamilton series.


As conditions in Egypt continue to deteriorate and Christians there come under increasing harrassment and persecution, is it possible they will seek asylum in the US?

As Glenn Reynolds writes: “I predict a chilly reception from the Obama/Clinton State Department.”

Unfortunately, so do I.


Ed Driscoll covers the decline of civilization in California, between increasing thefts of things like wiring in street lamps and bronze plaques on public buildings to the ever more confiscatory taxes and anti-business regulations.

It seems that through our history that what happens in California tends to migrate to the rest of the nation, whether it is a fad, new educational theories, or outright lunacy. Let us hope that this dissolution of the miracle that was California doesn't spread like a cancer to the rest of the nation. (We've already seen some of the disease in places like New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.) Unfortunately it is likely to do so unless state and local governments are willing to make some hard choices and the changes that go with them.


David Starr makes the case for open primaries, where non-declared voters can declare for a party at the polls and then vote. We have open primaries in New Hampshire, with one addition- after voting we can “undeclare” upon exiting to return to our independent status.


Jeff Soyer tells us about proposed gun rights legislation in Utah, an open carry state. Apparently otherwise law-abiding citizens carrying their firearms within the guidelines of Utah's open carry statutes have been harassed, arrested, charged with “other” offenses like disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct solely because they had their weapons. The proposed legislation would hopefully reduce such incidents.

We'll see.

New Hampshire is an open carry state and I've never had a problem wearing my sidearm. But then I haven't gone places where I am unknown to the local gendarmerie while wearing it.


And that's the much delayed news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where I am still feeling the effects of the stomach bug, people are still recovering from Christmas, and where New Year's is just around the corner.


Merry Christmas!

We here at Weekend Pundit want to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Now shut off your computer and go spend time with your family and friends!


Mercury (Scare) Rising

Yes, I know it's Christmas Eve. I could easily do a feel-good Christmas story since there are appear to be a plethora of them out there this year. But that smacks far too much of me-too-ism. And while I am just as guilty as many bloggers out there of doing that from time to time, I don't want to do that today. No siree. Instead, I'm going to focus on something incredibly stupid that only a government bureaucracy could pull off.

To which government bureaucracy am I referring?

The EPA.

Let's face it folks, it has become a force for interfering in the business of America, which is business. Nonsense rules with little scientific backing or study have done more to harm our economic revival than just about any other Obama mechanism. It is one of the few federal agencies that can promote two contradictory views at the same time, all in the name of “protecting the environment.”

One of the latest B.S directives deals with mercury, specifically mercury emitted by coal-burning power plants. Never mind that the amount of mercury emitted at present is miniscule and that to reduce it even more has reached the point of diminishing returns. But then the EPA also has no concerns for the mercury contained in CFL bulbs which can expose the populace to levels of mercury magnitudes of order higher than what comes out of the smokestack of a power plant.

See? Two contradictory stances at the same time. But then the EPA has an agenda that us purely political, one that ignores science. It's all about feel-good rules that do nothing to protect the environment from real threats while harping on minutiae.

One of the other things the EPA ignores about atmospheric mercury: most of it reaching the ground in the US comes from China. We have no control over Chinese emissions and I doubt very much they'll listen to Obama's EPA. (Obama lost credibility with the Chinese quite some time ago.) China will do what it needs to do to expand its economy and if that means ignoring mercury emissions that affect countries on the other side of the Pacific.

This isn't the first time the EPA has tried to control effects of emissions from outside the US with ridiculous rules that have little effect of the environment but cost businesses in the US millions, if not billions of dollars to implement. This kind of useless bureaucratic incompetence (or malfeasance) must end.


Snow Tires Are The Way To Roll

By way of Instapundit comes this piece about all weather radials versus snow tires.

I can say the results were not surprising. From personal experience I can tell you snows make all the difference here in the snow belt.

With the exception of the trusty Ford F150 4X4 (my present form of transportation), I have for the most part driven cars with front wheel drive. With one exception, I always put snows on all four corners come winter. (The one exception was my 1988 Dodge Daytona Shelby Z. Proper sized snows were expensive and really didn't do all that well, so I stopped using them.) Over numerous winters I have found that snows make all the difference, with my car(s) handling snow far better than cars with all season tires. Both the Intrepid (now Deb's car) and my much missed Neon were great in the snow with proper snow tires. (My all time favorites are the Nokian Hakkapelittas, probably one of the best snow tires I've ever come across.)

One more than one occasion my car with snow tires did better than many SUVs and 4X4's with all weather tires. Let's face it, all weathers are a compromise at best and will help should you find yourself dealing with an unexpected blast of snowy weather.

While I wish I could say the trusty F150 was shod with straight-up snows, it sports a set of mud & snow tires which are better than all weather tires (barely), but not as good as a set of aggressive snow tires. Should I have the wherewithal to pick up a spare set of rims for the truck I will spend the money for real honest to goodness snows for next winter.


O'Leary Goin' Galt On The EU

We've been hearing about the financial turmoil in the EU, with Greece just this side of total bankruptcy, and Portugal, Italy, Ireland, and Spain no too far behind. There's lot's of finger pointing, with very few pointing the finger at Brussels and he unaccountable EU Parliament.

One of those doing willing to do so is the CEO of Ryan Air, Michael O'Leary. He slams the EU bureaucracy, the politicians, the rent seekers, and those trying their hardest to kill off any innovation that might make things better rather than maintaining the status quo, as bad as it is.

O'Leary tells them some hard truths, truths they'd rather not hear. But then he's helped create more jobs than all of the EUcrats combined.


Ten (Or More) Things Obama Got Wrong

Don Surber gives us a list of the Ten Things Obama Got Wrong, though I think he could have easily gone well past ten to fifty or a hundred.

A few of my favorites:

2. He got Obamacare wrong. Along those lines, President Obama saw how Hillarycare went and decided to do the opposite. Or likely more accurately, the president heard that Hillary lost on health care because it was written in the White House. He decided he would do it differently and have it written by Congress. This was a formula for failure because he lost control of the bill. This meant he was putting his name and reputation on the line for something he never wrote. And what was written was a mess.

Don acts as if this were unusual for the Presdient, but it's not. Most of the programs and ideas and other acts he should have handled himself he handed off to his czars or Pelosi & Reid. In effect, he phoned it in, voting 'present' when his position doesn't really allow him to do that. Then again, that's how he's handled things most of his adult life. Why change now?

3. He got the economy wrong. He overestimated its strength and went full-speed ahead with spending. Budgets for agencies were doubled as liberals wanted to have a field day regulating everything. But tax revenues tanked. That $400 billion deficit he campaigned against tripled. Guess what? The public noticed. So did S&P. He is now President Downgrade.

No argument there. But then he has no real understanding of how an economy works, only how it's supposed to work according to Leftist ideology. Too bad for him the economy itself shows just how wrong Leftist economics can be. Not that I expect him to learn that lesson as he's not exactly known for being open minded, particularly when it come to anything that conflicts with his beliefs.

4. He got the stimulus wrong. The $787 billion stimulus was a grab bag of political kickbacks papered over with an unnecessary, ineffective and ill-advised tax cut. The unemployment rate would have gone to 9% if we do nothing, he said. We did something and it hit 10%. Again, people noticed.

If every penny of that stimulus had been spent on upgrading or repairing infrastructure, then it's. possible the economy could have been turned around. (I still have doubts about that, but I'm willing to admit I could be wrong.) But of all that money, only $55 billion was spent on infrastructure. That's just under 7% of the total stimulus. Seven percent. Where did the rest go? To cronies and supporters who had more to do with creating this lengthy on-going recession than helping us get out of it.

One last one:

10. He got TV wrong. It’s called overexposure.

I think just about everyone is sick and tired of seeing him read from his teleprompter, particularly since he's not really saying anything new. It doesn't help that he's now been on the presidential campaign trail for 4 years since he really doesn't know how to do anything else.

Tech Support Hell

After spending an hour and a half on the phone with tech support yesterday I convinced them that the Official Weekend Pundit Main Computer's monitor was indeed malfunctioning, they decided that it needed to be replaced (under warranty, of course). I received confirmation via e-mail today that a 'new' monitor is on its way. (By new, they mean a reconditioned monitor. If I had to guess the 'new' monitor probably had the same problem and they've since upgraded the firmware for the microcontroller that runs the monitor.)

Since I'm too cheap..uh...frugal to spend any more money on something I already own, I declined their offer to ship it overnight or second day for a not-so-small fee. I'm willing to wait a few extra days for it to arrive.


An Abbreviated Thoughts On A Sunday

The computer problems continue, with the monitor on my machine unwilling to display anything other than the power up screen before going to sleep. Even the forums have been unable to help me figure out how to wake it up. I think it's going to require a call to HP Tech Support, meaning I'll be in phone tree hell.


As Christmas approaches I have to admit to my annual Christmas anxiety/angst. While I love Christmas Day itself, it is the time leading up to it that I find so disquieting. It's like everyone around me has unminded themselves are driven to get their Christmas shopping done to the point where they are no longer sane.

It's scary.


The New England Patriots played the Denver Broncos in Denver today. The Pats record against Denver has never been stellar and they struggled against them during the first quarter, but turned it around during the second and blew them away in the second half.

Tim Tebow had a heck of a game despite the Broncos loss, proving he's someone to contend with.


While the rest of us are struggling to make ends meet, Obama has no problem with taking ever more costly Hawaiian vacations. Funny that the MSM rarely makes a big thing about that as compared to the heat Dubya took for his vacations to his ranch in Crawford. (At least while he was on his ranch he was working, cleaning things up and getting the chores done.)

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Also by way of Maggie's Farm comes this from Glenn Reynolds, covering the exodus of people and businesses from Illinois.

As Glenn warns, “If you want to come to Tennessee, fine. Just don’t come here and then vote for the same policies, and clowns, that ruined the state you came from.”

We have the same attitude about people from Massachusetts fleeing the high taxes and social engineering experiments and relocating to New Hampshire. Here we usually have to school the folks about how things work, particularly in regards to taxes and spending at the local and state level. We work hard to break them of the “back where we come from” syndrome.


I have to agree with Tom Bowler in regards to Mitt Romney: “This is no time for Republican or Libertarian purity and no time for tossing away the good in a futile quest for the perfect.”

There is no perfect candidate, regardless of party. What we need is someone good enough. I'm coming to believe Romney just might be it.


And that's the computer-problem caused abbreviated news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where it was a whole lot colder than Denver, the lakes isn't showing any signs of ice, and where Christmas is fast approaching.


Computer Problems

It isn't that I have had nothing to blog about or haven't wanted to do so. On the contrary, I have wanted to but have had to deal with computer related problems since yesterday afternoon.

First, there was a UPS failure that caused problems because of issues with bypassing it. I had the choice of running the cable modem and router or my computer. The modem and router won that one.

Then, after replacing the defective UPS, I found that my monitor would no longer work.It would turn on, the menu showing the which input was active would display (and it did detect the computer and show the DVI input was active), and then it would go to sleep because as far as it was concerned there was no reason to remain on. I cannot even call up the monitor's menu to force a reset to factory defaults, nor have I been able to find any information on the 'net about how to do that. (Unless HP decided to forego that option, almost every piece of equipment containing a microcontroller has a means of forcing a reset to its default setiings in case it unminds itself and gets stuck in a configuration that makes it useless.)

I had this problem with the monitor once before but I can't for the life of me recall what it is I did to restore it to a useful state. Until I do blogging might be light as I have to share the remaining operational computer with Deb and BeezleBub.


Wealth - Ostentations Or Frugal?

By way of the Barrister at Maggie's Farm comes links to two related posts dealing with wealth and how the wealthy actually deal with it.

One has to admit that the wealthy handle their wealth in different ways, running between over-the-top ostentatious displays of how much money they have to being frugal and appearing no different than any other middle income family.

An example of the second: Sam Walton, founder of WalMart. The man was worth billions yet lived in the same ranch-style house he'd lived in for years and drove his old pickup. Perhaps the only display of his wealth was that both his home and pickup were in good repair.

Another example (though not quite so humble in comparison to Walton): Mitt Romney. About the only time he'll spend a lot of money is to spoil his wife, Ann. Otherwise he takes the attitude of “Just because you can afford something doesn’t mean you should buy it.”

The flip side of the coin are those who revel in the wealth very few can understand, with multimillion dollar mansions, private jets, yachts, exotic cars, and vacations to all the “right” places. It is this group that has done more to fuel the fires of class warfare. What's worse is that many of them have no problems promoting social agendas from which their wealth will insulate them. Talk about hypocrisy!

Then there's those who believe that wealth is a Zero Sum game, meaning they believe that in order for one person to become wealthy that someone else had to be impoverished. It's an oft repeated myth.

As P.J O'Rourke writes:

They believe in the Zero Sum Fallacy -- the idea that there is a fixed amount of the good things in life. Anything I get, I'm taking from you. If I have too many slices of pizza, you have to eat the Dominos box. The Zero Sum Fallacy is a bad idea -- dangerous to economics, politics, and world peace. It means any time we want good things we have to fight with each other to get them. We don't. We can make more good things. We can make more pizza -- or more tofu, windmills and solar panels, if you like.

As I have argued on more than one occasion, wealth has not been measured by how much gold, silver, jewels, or other valuable items you have managed to steal from your rivals since the Industrial Revolution. The size of the proverbial pie is not static. It grows and shrinks as the economic conditions dictate. Everyone can get more pie if their willing to work for it.

That still doesn't mean that I'm all right with those clueless low-class wealthy who seem to think that the only way to win the 'game' is to be even shallower than their neighbors and to dazzle the 'little people' with overpriced and, in the end, useless gewgaws, doodads, and dreck.


ABC Gets It Wrong On The Dollar Coin

After watching this ABC News story about how the Treasury has come to its senses and stopped minting dollar coins no one wants, I had to ask this question: Why did ABC come to the wrong conclusion about these coins?

On more than one occasion I have posted about how the government has gotten it wrong when dealing with the dollar coin. I've posted about it three separate times this year alone.

The problem isn't that the Treasury is making coins no one wants. It's that it's still printing dollar bills that last for a small fraction of the time that a coins lasts. The cost to print a bill is half that of minting a coin. A dollar bill lasts between a year and a half and two years. A coin lasts between 25 and 30 years. In the long run the coins costs less. But as long as the government keeps the dollar bill, no one will want or use the dollar coin...except maybe for commuters on certain public transit systems. (The 'T' in Boston uses dollar coins as change in its “Charlie Card” dispensers.)

The US taxpayer could save billions of dollars by getting rid of the dollar bill and switching to the dollar coin. But no one seems willing to make the switch, particularly when the vending machine companies start bitching about how reconfiguring their machines to accept the dollar coin will be expense. But expensive to whom, even if the claim is true? Why should the taxpayer subsidize that particular industry (for that's what it is if we stay with the dollar bill)? When Canada switched to Loonie (their dollar coin) and the UK switched to the pound coin, the vending machine companies did not fail. (Of course this part of the story is but a small part of the non-decision to stay with the bill.) All it takes is for someone in government to finally step up and say “Sorry folks, but it's costing everyone too much to keep printing this small denomination so we're switching over the the coin.”

Oh, there will be the typical hew and cry by those who just don't like change of any kind (no pun intended). But eventually they'll use them just like everyone else.

The time to retire the dollar bill is long overdue.


Another Country To Bail On The Euro?

It seems yet another EU country is reconsidering its reliance upon the euro. This time around, it's France.

Not that France's economy was all that great before they switched from the franc to the euro. The issues with the euro has merely made it worse.

The French have growing reservations about the euro: 36% want to withdraw from the eurozone and go back to the franc, the old national currency; 4% have no opinion, which means that they don’t warmly support the single European currency; 44% say it is a handicap in the present context of a world economic crisis; 45% say it doesn’t serve the national interests of France; and a staggering 62% say it is damaging the average French family’s standards of living and purchasing power.

With the economies of Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain teetering on the edge due to steep sovereign debt with little means of paying it off. These nations are depending upon the rest of the EU and the IMF to bail them out even though some of them haven't managed to trim their government spending to sustainable levels. A bailout will only delay the inevitable, not prevent it.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The impromptu Christmas party at The Manse was a success. I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

I dealt with the aftermath this morning, cleaning up the leftovers, washing dishes, and getting everything else squared away.


The New England Patriots played the Washington Redskins in Maryland, defeating them 34-27.

While I hope the Patriots keep winning, I don't think they're ready for a playoff season with all the players they have out injured, particularly in their secondary.


Is the Eurozone finally tipping over the edge? The idea of the Eurocrats taking even more control over member nations' economies are causing Britain, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Hungary to back away to take a second look at where the EU is headed.

I don't blame them. Why would they want to tie themselves to an economic system that is increasingly being run by Brussels, and poorly at that?

Maybe it's time for these 4 nations to pull the plug and get out of the EU while they still can.


Ace of Spades asks, “What has Obama learned in office?” The answer: not much.

Obama is supposedly a learned man. We are told he is a rara avis, in Chris Buckley's dribblings, a true intellectual.

When was the last time Obama actually learned something about the world?

Did he, as the book's title might have it, Learn Everything He Needed To Know By Second Semester Sophomore Year?

Rather I'd say he hadn't learned enough then and stopped learning since then.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Let's hope that more progressives will take the red pill.


Scary Yankee Chick unfriended a dyed-in-the-wool closed minded vegan uninterested in any studies or evidence that contradict her Eating-Meat-Is-Evil/Bad-For-You/And-So-On rants.

I have to agree with Ruth on this one. Why waste your time on someone so closed minded?


Bogie tells us about seeing a Boeing Dreamlifter, used to haul 787 Dreamliner assemblies to the Boeing factories for final assembly.


Only in California...

Apparently Glendale, California has banned the use of artificial turf on front lawns “due to the potential for hazardous compounds, such as lead, that are used in the making of the fake turf.” But it's perfect OK to use on back lawns, the very same back lawns where children play and would be more likely to be exposed to the potential hazardous compounds.


(H/T Pirate's Cove)


To quote Cap'n Teach, here's a little traffic bait: leaked pictures of Lindsay Lohan's Playboy shoot.


By way of Instapundit comes this Frank J. Fleming opinion piece making the case for anti-intellectualism, particularly as it applies to those who think that because they're 'smarter' they should be the only ones allowed to run the country.

Now, I don’t ever want to be accused of arguing that any politician is anything other than a useless nitwit who gets in the way of people who do real work, but there does seem to be some trouble in this country in judging who is smart and who isn’t. The main problem may be confusing “simple” with “dumb.”

If something is simple, then dumb people will believe it. And if dumb people believe something, then soon some conclude that smart people should believe something else. There’s a flaw in that philosophy.

Why shouldn’t you touch a hot stove? There’s no complex, smart answer to that. You’ll get roughly the same answer from Stephen Hawking that you’d get from Forrest Gump: It’s hot, and it will hurt.

But say you were going to argue that you should touch a hot stove. That would have to be a very complex answer, since it defies basic logic. And some people could run with that, talking in detail about pain receptors and the brain’s reaction to stimulus, and come up with a very smart-sounding argument on why touching a hot stove is a great idea.

Others will go further and mock all those ignorant people in the flyover states for their irrational fear of hot stoves and announce, “The most enlightened thing to do is to press one’s face against a hot stove.” Those people are what we call intellectuals.

Not very flattering, is it? But then I've come across far too many of that kind of intellectual. Unfortunately a lot of them were in government or education.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where cold temps have arrived, people are still scrambling to get the Christmas shopping done, and where the end of the year is approaching too quickly.



It's Christmas party evening here at The Manse, with friends of Deb, BeezleBub and yours truly in attendance. Therefore today's/tonight's post might be late in coming.


Two More Strikes Against AGW

Call this one a two-fer, covering two different aspects of AGW skepticism.

First, comes a peer reviewed article in Science that covers a study questioning the sensitivity of Earth's climate to CO2 concentrations.

In particular, the study suggests that the probable sensitivity of the earth’s climate to increases in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is far lower than the assumptions traditionally used by the (already discredited) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Not only that, the authors find that the existence of a so-called “fat tail” — the notion that extreme temperature changes in response to increases in atmospheric CO2 are likely — is illusory.

If this is indeed the case, then many of the defective climate models being used to predict climate catastrophe just became even more defective, and therefore, even less predictive of what future climate might be like.

Then, comes a follow up on the discrediting of the Mann 'hockey stick' graph.

You may be asking yourself “Why is he covering this again?” It's simple, really: far too many true believers still cite the Mann graph as incontrovertible proof of AGW.

I've had more debates with a number of them bringing up the graph as if it were holy writ despite the fact that once Mann allowed both his data sets and the algorithms used to analyze the data to be evaluated, both were found to be so profoundly flawed that the results were meaningless. When random data was used with the algorithms, the hockey stick was still there (though to a different amplitude), meaning the graph was built into the formula. That's not science. That's fraud. (Or possibly it's incompetence, but I'm learning more towards the former than the latter.)

The text of the ClimateGate 2.0 e-mails quoted in the linked post question the validity of Mann's work, with some lamenting their decisions not to question his work. One in particular tested Mann's algorithms, finding them wanting.

4241.txt: Rob Wilson again: “ The whole Macintyre issue got me thinking…I first generated 1000 random time-series in Excel … The reconstructions clearly show a ‘hockey-stick’ trend. I guess this is precisely the phenomenon that Macintyre has been going on about. ”

4369.txt: Tim Osborn says “ This completely removes most of Mike’s arguments… ”  and Ed Cook replies “I am afraid that Mike is defending something that  increasingly can not be defended. He is investing too much personal stuff in this and not letting the science move ahead.”

When colleagues of Mann's are questioning the validity of his work and his emotional investment in his results, then we must question whether they are the results of science or just wishing it were true. In this case it is the second rather than the first.

And so dies the “incontrovertible proof”.


Verizon Wireless Spectrum Purchase A Death Blow To DSL?

Verizon has shed itself of many of its less profitable operations, specifically landlines, with sales to HawaiiTel, FairPoint, and Frontier. It appears Verizon did not let the money they received for those assets sit idle. The billions they got for the sale of of their more rural landline systems were put to good use, expanding their wireless and FiOS offerings.

With Verizon's recent purchase of additional wireless spectrum (to the tune of $3.6 billion) from a number of cable companies, they expect to be able to provide 4G LTE services to just about everyone in the US. The cable companies owned the wireless spectrum but hadn't done much with it. How better to provide such services than selling off the unused spectrum and then partnering with the buyer to bundle cable services (video, Internet, digital phone) with wireless services (phone, Internet, and video). The cable companies get to offer wireless services without having to put a dime into wireless infrastructure and Verizon gets to offer cable services, again without having to spend a dime on cable infrastructure. It's a win-win situation for cable and wireless.

But maybe not so much for some Verizon landline customers, particularly those also subscribing to DSL.

DSL has become the red-headed stepchild of Verizon, with little investment being put into it. Verizon DSL subscriptions have been declining as competitors like cable and fiber have been able to offer data speed many times that of DSL. DSL technology has been running out of steam, just about reaching its speed limit due to the limited bandwidth of the installed copper phone lines.

That doesn't mean the DSL is dead as a number of other telephone companies, mostly small independents and rural telcos will offer it for some time as it's “the only game in town.” The WP In-Laws have FairPoint DSL, something that became available in their small rural town about a year and a half ago. Before that they were using Verizon Wireless Broadband. For them DSL provides a consistently better and faster connection. Cell site congestion would often slow the Verizon Wireless Broadband connection to speed barely better than the dial up connection they'd used before that. But who knows who long that will be true once Verizon starts offering 4G LTE services? At that point DSL might be seen as a less desirable service and customers will start dropping it in favor of the wireless service.

It will be interesting to see where all of this will take us and how long it will take before the remaining landline operations start feeling squeezed even more than they have been.


Indecision About The Remaining GOP Candidates

Now that Herman Cain has dropped out of the race I must admit to not being sure who, if anyone, I will support for the New Hampshire Primary, just a wee bit over a month away.

I don't particularly care for Newt Gingrich one way or the other. I have no love of Romney as he seems a little too bland for me. (He was governor of the People's Republic of Massachusetts, and had to deal with a perpetual Democrat majority in the Massachusetts House and Senate, something that takes a lot of compromise. Perhaps too much compromise, like RomneyCare..er..MassHealth.) Michelle Bachmann is no Sarah Palin. Both Rick Santorum and John Huntsman are non-entities as far as I can tell. The only one I've been taking a closer look at has been Ron Paul.

While I agree with many of his points, there are a few that make me a little uncomfortable. One in particular is his almost isolationist view of what America should be in regards to foreign affairs. I can agree with him that the time is long overdue to bring the troops back home...from Europe. World War II has been over for 65 years. The Cold War for 20. Why are they still there? It seems most of Europe has decided they don't need to spend much for their own defense because we're doing it for them and sticking us with the bill. Maybe it's time for them to deal with their own defense. (About the only EU nation still maintaining it's own defense forces is the UK, and even they aren't at the level they were 10 years ago.)

In any case there's no one candidate that is at the top of my list. That might change the closer we get to the primary in January. Then again, it might not and I'll end up voting for the candidate that offends my sensibilities the least.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Yesterday BeezleBub experienced the trial most college-bound students must endure: taking the SATs. While he doesn't think he did all that well, we really won't know until we get the results. I did tell him that he can take them again if he doesn't like his scores from this one.

Frankly, the SATs aren't as important as they used to be as more colleges no longer require them. The school BeezleBub is planning to attend doesn't require the SATs. He won't be going the Big State University until his junior year because he'll take his freshman and sophomore prerequisites at the local community college, which is part of the state university system here. (It helps that by the time he graduates from high school he'll already have a number of college credits from the community college.) It will save us and him $30,000 or more compared to going directly to the BSU.


The Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove needed a few repairs this past week. We were having problems getting a draft going, so the local chimney sweeps/woodstove guys came to fix the problem. It still isn't perfect, but BeezleBub and I know what we need to do to put it right, something we'll do when the next batch of warm weather arrives (tomorrow and Tuesday). This will allow us to let the stove go cold so we can reinstall the damper assembly that was removed. Without it we don't get nearly as much heat and we have to stoke the stove every 3 hours rather than every 6.


The New England Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-24 today down in Gillette Stadium.


I have to say I was dismayed to see Herman Cain 'suspending' his bid for the GOP nomination. (I think in this case suspend means “dropping out.”)

In the end, I'm not surprised. I have to hand it to David Axelrod - it was a perfect smear campaign. After all, there's no way the Dems, and particularly Obama, want a black Republican running against him.

I have a feeling that some time down the road the allegations will be found baseless, or they're just going to fade away and no one will remember them a year down the road.


Staying on the Herman Cain theme just a little longer, John Hindraker gives us his view on the moral of Cain's story. It all boils down to this:

What happened to Herman Cain is what the Democrats intend to do to whoever the Republican nominee turns out to be. They know they can’t win a debate on the economy or on President Obama’s record, so they will do everything they can to distract the voters’ attention from those matters, which should be decisive, and instead turn the focus to the GOP candidate and his or her alleged foibles. If Republican voters allow that to happen by nominating a candidate with baggage that permits the Democrats to turn him into the next Herman Cain, it is all too likely that President Obama will be re-elected, with consequences that can hardly be overestimated.

We saw that as soon as the allegations starting flying, all debate about Cain's stand on the economy ceased. The problem is that no candidate of either party will ever be perfect. Not one will be squeaky clean. Not one will have nothing in their past that might be embarrassing should it come to light.

Of course we know nothing about Obama's past, at least those things that give us a view of him that hasn't been heavily massaged, twisted, or outright buried. Obama is the only president in my memory that has been such a complete cipher: No school transcripts. No papers written or articles authored. No in depth looks at his accomplishments. (That could be because he has none.) He's the 'perfect' Democrat candidate because he's an empty suit. We've seen how that works for us.


Even the Canada Free Press is saying the Democrat Party is likely to go the way of the dodo, considering its political shift away from American ideals and towards statism.

In decades past, the Democratic Party was the party of the working man. It was the party that fought to even the playing field with unscrupulous and an all-too greedy American industry. Over time, real progress was made and working folks were paid a decent wage and afforded a lifestyle that many today would envy.


Today the Party of the working man has become the Party of the non-working class.  The Democrats have devolved to become the Party of moochers, leeches, and victims. And this Party of hope and change has morphed into a Frankenstein that would turn FDR in his grave. The Democratic Party is an abomination that is slowly strangling the greatest country in the world: The United States of America.

While the author of the article resides in California, the fact that someone in Canada sees fit to post it must mean something.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Also by way of Maggie's Farm comes this post about the “Eight Warning Signs of Junk Science.”

AGW certainly fits the list of those signs, meaning to me that it is junk science. So far none of the theories are verifiable, most are not falsifiable, far too much of the publicly funded research data is being withheld or buried despite FOIA request both in the UK and the US, algorithms used to crunch data showing temperature averages over the past few hundred years have been found to provide similar results even when random data is applied to them, and the all so sacred climate computer models have been unable to predict past climate trends using even earlier climate data.

Check out the list and tell me if you think AGW doesn't fall under at least three of those signs.


Why doesn't this surprise me?

It appears a 7-year old boy attacked by another boy that had been bullying him for some time. A t some point the bully tried to steal the boy's gloves by choking him. The boy resisted and defended himself by kicking his attacker in the crotch.

Now the Boston School System is saying the 7-year old boy is guilty of sexual assault. Excuse me?

The boy's attacker is guilty of assault & battery and attempted robbery, but the bully's victim is the one being up for discipline?

I'll say it again: The nanny state's justice system is seriously broken when it defends criminals and punishes victims.


I missed this one from a couple or three weeks ago.

Apparently some know-nothing Harvard students in Greg Mankiw's Economics 10 class demanded that he stop teaching economic theories with which they disagree.


So, they don't like Adam Smith and are only interested in Keynesian economics? Never mind that Keynes was covered later in the course. They didn't want to hear a valid economic theory that has proven itself correct far more often than the overused/misused Keynesian model. (I think even Keynes would be horrified to see how his economic theories have been twisted into something so damaging.)

Talk about being close-minded, arrogant, entitled pricks! It is elitist jerks like these who helped cause the economic malaise from which this country suffers in the first place. Who the hell do these kids think they are?

One commenter to Tom's piece nailed it.

So some Harvard students went there to have their prejudices confirmed rather than to learn anything. The professor is better off without them.

As Tom Bowler writes, “Scary thought, that students like these might someday have a major impact on public policy, free from the encumbrances of unwanted and distasteful economic theory.”

Scary thought indeed.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the warm(er) weather is returning again, the woodstove has been dialed back, and where our Christmas shopping is almost done.


OWS Rant - Adam Corolla

I promised myself I wasn't going to give any more coverage to the Occupy Wall Street protests, but this was too good to pass up. This came by way of my friend at work, Cathy.

Adam Corolla nails it when it comes to the OWS protesters. As Cathy writes, “This is what happens when you have a generation of 'No one is wrong, no one loses, and we all get trophies.' ” (Warning: Strong Language.)

A few highlights of Adam's rant, all of which with I happen to agree.

“They're feeling shame. They've been shamed by life because they haven't been prepared for life. They've had so much smoke blown up their...collective asses, by the time they get out in the real world and they realize the real world doesn't give a f**k about where you're from or about what your mommy said you were, or how pretty you are, or what you do.”

“All those lies that were told to you by your parents about how special are and how no one was created like you...doesn't mean s**t when you get to the real world and you're just looked at as Peon #27 who's putting in an application.”

“Now your plan is to come back and throw a brick at my window. That's your plan...it's this envy and shame and there's going to be a lot more of it.”

“We are creating a group of self-entitled monsters.”



NLRB To Drop Suit Against Boeing?

Is it possible Booing might get its way in regards to the NLRB action trying to block it from opening its new Dreamliner plant in South Carolina? If this AP report is accurate, the answer might be yes.

However, this 'win' for Boeing might be a Pyrrhic victory as it was contingent upon a new four year bargaining agreement with the Machinists union.

The National Labor Relations Board filed a lawsuit earlier this year alleging that Boeing violated labor laws by opening the South Carolina line. The agency claimed that Boeing was punishing Washington state workers for past strikes and said the company should return the work to Washington. Boeing has vigorously denied the charges, claiming it opened the South Carolina plant for valid economic reasons.

The agreement would call for the new 737 Max aircraft to be built at union facilities in Renton, Wash., said Tom Wroblewski, president of Machinists Union District 751.

Wroblewski said that if union members vote to approve the deal in the coming weeks, the union would inform the NLRB that it has no further grievances with Boeing.

The article goes on to say that since the union no longer has a grievance against Boeing, the NLRB would likely stop pursuing the case. (Even if it does, that doesn't mean the NLRB wouldn't pursue it some future time should the “need” arise...like another negotiation for a union contract.)

I have to ask whether the lawsuit filed on behalf of the union by the NLRB was nothing more than leverage for the union to get a better deal. After all, two of the three sitting members in the NLRB are staunch union supporters, with one of them a former administrator for the SEIU.

Something stinks about this whole thing, something legally actionable if it turns out the NLRB acted against Boeing at the behest of union leaders in order to gain an advantage at the bargaining table. Since we can't count on either the Department of Labor or the Justice Department to investigate this matter, maybe it's time for Congress to step in. It would have to be the House rather than the Senate as a majority of the Senate is beholden the the unions and would be unlikely to allow such an action to take place.


ClimateGate 2.0 Commentary

I could write volumes about the continuing ClimateGate scandal, but more than a few people have beaten me to it. One of them is James Delingpole in a WSJ opinion piece. But as good as his piece is, it is in the comments we find a few gems. Probably one of the better ones was penned by Michael Rivero as he reduces it to a few salient points as well as illustrating the actual motivation behind so many of those who want to push us back to a hunter-gatherer existence. Here is his comment in its entirety with a few formatting edits to make it easier to read (WSJ doesn't allow HTML tags in comments):

For more than ten years we have watched for "Carbonazis" try to do to Earth with CO2 when ENRON did to California with electricity; make themselves very rich with lies and deceptions about a non-existent crisis. Along the way we have seen data manipulation, siting of temperature sensors near sources of heat (in one notorious case right next to a trash incinerator), collusion with the corporate media to keep opposing data from the public, even as the former head of Greenpeace admits making up claims about Greenland losing its ice cover, Phil Jones admits warming stopped 15 years ago (which anyone living through the last four hard winters already knew) and Al Gore insisting that the temperature of the Earth's core is "millions of degrees" while he uses computer generated images of collapsing arctic ice for his "documentary" (which has already been denounced by the British courts for containing numerous lies and misrepresentations.)

The global warming cult is not interested in saving the Earth, and shamelessly exploits the public's desire to save the Earth to enrich and empower themselves, living like royalty as they tell the rest of the people they must live more poorly.

"We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public's imagination... So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts... Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest." - Prof. Stephen Schneider, Stanford Professor of Climatology, lead author of many IPCC reports

"We've got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy." - Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

"No matter if the science of global warming is all phony... climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world." - Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment

"I believe it is appropriate to have an 'over-representation' of the facts on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience." - Al Gore, Climate Change activist

"It doesn't matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true." - Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace

"We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis..." - David Rockefeller, Club of Rome executive member

"The goal now is a socialist, redistributionist society, which is nature's proper steward and society's only hope." - David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth

"If we don't overthrow capitalism, we don't have a chance of saving the world ecologically. I think it is possible to have an ecologically sound society under socialism. I don't think it is possible under capitalism" - Judi Bari, principal organiser of Earth First!

"Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsiblity to bring that about?" - Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme

"A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation." - Paul Ehrlich, Professor of Population Studies

"Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs." - John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal

"Humans on the Earth behave in some ways like a pathogenic micro-organism, or like the cells of a tumor." - Sir James Lovelock, Healing Gaia

"The Earth has cancer and the cancer is Man." - Club of Rome, Mankind at the Turning Point

I don't think we need any more proof of the Left's intentions in regards to AGW, do we?


The History Of English

I was going to wow you with a punched up version of “Why all your wireless stuff doesn't always work” as well as a few other related tidbits. But then I stopped by Fred Lapides' site (NSFW) and realized I had to chuck that idea until tomorrow. Instead I will be regaling you with a video that explains The History Of English...In Ten Minutes.

I couldn't have done any better myself. But he did miss two very important variants of English: Spanglish and Japlish.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The warm weather here in New England has helped melt away the pre-Thanksgiving snow we received, leaving the roads, driveways, and rooftops clear. Not that all of the snow is gone. It's not by any means, but there is a lot more bare ground showing around here.

The ski areas up north are certainly happy, seeing as the 10” plus snowfall certainly helped them during this long holiday weekend.


Cole still wanders around looking for Bagheera, something I didn't think would last this long. He's also become quite 'clingy', requiring constant attention when we're home. I don't know if this is insecurity on his part or some other feline condition that makes him appear emotionally needy. He's also been more affectionate, if that's possible.


Wirecutter presents us with an interesting table showing the percentage of cabinet members under each president with experience in the private sector. The list goes back as far as Teddy Roosevelt up to present day. One of the commenters links to information for the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations.

Care to guess which president's administration shows the lowest percentage, by far?


Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist – VT) wants to further burden those who help finance new jobs by increasing the capital gains tax from 15%to 20%, a 33% increase.

Yeah, that makes sense. Let's create even more disincentives for people to invest in businesses by punishing them for doing so. That ought to help the unemployment numbers.



Now the SEIU is stealing Medicaid money from Michigan families with disabled children. If it weren't a state employees union doing this they would be considered mobsters and prosecuted under the RICO Act.

Unions served a useful purpose in their time. Public employee unions have served no other purpose than to siphon taxpayer money into Democrat campaign coffers. It's time for them to go.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Some people are just too damn stupid or too damn corrupt to hold public office. One of them is Grant County (Wisconsin) District Attorney Lisa Riniker, who is pressing felony sexual assault charges against a 6-year old boy for playing doctor with the 5-year old daughter of a well know political figure. (The girl's brother, who was also playing doctor with them, has not been charged.)

Should the boy's family knuckle under to prosecutor's demands he will have to register as a sex offender once he turns 18.

Riniker's defense for going forward with the charges? "The legislature could have put an age restriction in the statute if it wanted to. The legislature did no such thing."

To me (and many others) this proves the legal system is seriously broken as common sense no longer exists within it.

Were I the judge involved with this case I would dismiss the charges out of hand and censure the District Attorney for wasting the court's time with something that should have easily been handled by the parents.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


It's not all that surprising to me that jobs are going unfilled despite the high unemployment rate. It all comes down to applicants having the required skills needed to fill the jobs. Unfortunately there appears to be a dearth of workers in the trades needed to fill those positions, but plenty of people with college degrees in subjects that do no make them any more employable than someone without any education beyond high school.

My soon-to-be ex-brother-in-law is having problems finding experience machinists for his shop. That means he ends up taking on inexperienced people and training them on the job. That takes time and money and raises his costs. What's worse, as soon as someone is trained to a level that allows them to work independently there's nothing stopping them from leaving and going to another machine shop. It can be a lose-lose situation for someone like him.


Being an RF kind of guy, the fact that Smart Meters may interfere with other wireless devices in a home is not surprising by any means. Seeing as they use a couple of what are called ISM bands (Industrial/Scientific/Medical), basically radio frequency bands that allow low power unlicensed operation of various transmitters for a variety of purposes, interference is to be expected.

Considering one of the bands being used is 2.4GHz, interference to some cordless phones, home wireless networks, and other wireless devices like computer keyboards and mice is inescapable. One solution is for the phones and wireless routers to use a different ISM band, like 5.8GHz, a band that for the moment is underused. (There are plenty of these devices available and most laptops of recent vintage, tablets, and smart phones are capable of using this band.)


I had no intention of writing or posting anything more about the OWS protests, but I'll make an exception in this case, where the unhappy, miserable souls have decided it's perfectly OK to disrupt Christmas shopping at Union Square in San Francisco.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


There are more shenanigans coming from the NLRB branch of the AFL-CIO, with a new rule that subverts the right of employers to have adequate time to respond to unionizing efforts. The lone Republican on the NLRB has considered resigning in order to force the two Democrats (and former union officials) to stay within the law while denying them the quorum required for them to pass the new rule. (One of the two Democrats was a recess appointment by Obama and that appointment expires at the end of the year, hence the haste to ramrod the rule change.)

We must also remember that this is the same NLRB contingent that has decided Boeing doesn't have the right to build new factories in right-to-work states even though such a move has not affected union employment in their factories in Washington state. In fact, Boeing hired an additional 2500 employees in Washington even though they're opening a new plant in South Carolina.


You may have seen the story about a New Hampshire soldier's death in Iraq and the puppy he'd adopted on ABC's 20/20 this past Friday night. The soldier's family worked to bring the puppy to their home and with the help of then Congressman Paul Hodes, succeeded in doing so. They named the dog Hero. But that's not the crux of this story. Rather, it's this.

As ABC reporter Kimberly Launier wrote, the photo she took of Hero was not Photoshopped.

Go see this for yourself.


The New England Patriots play the Philadelphia Eagles late this afternoon. It will be interesting to see if the Patriots can handle the Eagles despite the long list of first-string defensive players out due to injuries.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the warm weather continues, the shopping centers are mobbed, and where our long holiday weekend has ended all too soon.


Some Parting Thoughts About OWS

After weeks of hullabaloo about the various OWS protests across the nation, it appears the whole thing was much ado about nothing.

Between unfocused or contradictory messages, hypocrisy, mob violence, rape, murder, theft, drug overdoses, totalitarian 'councils' confiscating donated money, and just plain foolishness, the Occupy Wall Street protesters have proven one thing to the public at large: they're spoiled children filling the role of useful idiots, showing the worst side of society, not the best as they have claimed.

What have they accomplished other than showing the rest of the country that they're mean-spirited wackos with little understanding of history, economics, or human nature?

It shows in hundreds of different ways, with one of the overriding themes I noticed being “We want you to pay for our stuff even though we could pay for it ourselves, but we don't want the rest of you freeloaders to take our stuff that someone else paid for!” This theme has recurred at more than one protest location, with the protesters not recognizing the hypocrisy of their demands.

Some want to replace capitalism with socialism, even though the socialism they're promoting has never lived up to the promises made and usually end up creating nothing but poverty, misery, and terror. It isn't until countless lives are sacrificed that the socialist utopias implode.

Some seem to think that anarchy is the answer, but all that ever leads to is destruction, lawlessness, and in the end, tyranny.

They claim they represent the 99%, but 99% of what? 99% of the spoiled privileged children of the 1%? 99% of the clueless drones feeling entitled to what others have earned through hard work? They sure as hell don't represent 99% of the American people.

In the end, OWS has been about nothing but selfishness, greed, and a sense of entitlement. In other words, a world class FAIL.


ClimateGate 2.0 - Here We Go Again

I think it's time to buckle down and get back to some of the allegedly more important doings around the world. In this case we'll delve back into the It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans Anthropogenic Global Warming shtick.

I have to admit that I was goaded back to this subject by the WP Brother-In-Law as we discussed the matter post-Thanksgiving dinner. He had moderated his viewpoint quite a bit, particularly in light of the original ClimateGate scandal and further investigation on his own. While he no longer automatically assumes any climate change is automatically our fault, he's still on the fence about what to do about it.

With ClimateGate 2.0 making the rounds, as well as more data showing the climate models being used to predict future global climate seriously underestimate the effects of some factors while overestimating others, making the models useless (most are so defective they can't even predict past climate, meaning using data sets that encompass several decades of weather data up in to the 60's and 70's they weren't able to 'predict' the climate we actually experienced in the 80's and 90's), the debate is heating up again.

I won't delve deep into the controversy as I have expressed my opinion about the “settled science” more than once – that there is no such thing. New data, new observations, disproved theorums, and new hypotheses can unsettle the settled science at any time.

One of the latest blows against the warmist claims is this report that CO2 may not warm the planet nearly as much as everyone thought.

The climate may be less sensitive to carbon dioxide than we thought – and temperature rises this century could be smaller than expected. That's the surprise result of a new analysis of the last ice age. However, the finding comes from considering just one climate model, and unless it can be replicated using other models, researchers are dubious that it is genuine.

I find the last sentence to be hypocritical. How many of the claims made by the IPCC, UEA, and a host of other climate researchers are any more valid than the one from this analysis? Many of the critics of this report used cooked data, algorithms which give the same answers regardless of the data fed into them, and outright fraud to 'prove' their theories. Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?

Another instance of hypocrisy: data from NASA satellites show the radiation of heat from the Earth into space is higher than many of the warmists believed. You would think that information would have some effect on their predictions, but all we've heard from them has been a muted “It doesn't make a bit of difference” and then silence. New data and observations in contradiction of 'settled' science are supposed to lead to further investigation and modifications to or scrapping of theories that are not supported by that data. Instead, it is ignored in order to preserve the theories so many have staked their reputations (and funding) upon. That is not how science is supposed to work.

And so it goes.


Thanksgiving In New Hampshire

It was Thanksgiving dinner here at The Manse, with a good portion of the Weekend Pundit clan in attendance, including my dear brother, his missus, one of this three offspring. (Another of his kids, the oldest, stopped by before dinner to show off his new offspring before heading off to Thanksgiving dinner at his girlfriend's father's home.) Two of the WP sisters made it as well, the oldest with her youngest son, and the youngest with her two girls. The WP parents were also here, assisting with food preparation (Mom made one of the three turkey's we consumed. More on that later.) The WP In-Laws were also here, arriving late yesterday morning.

I had a bit of work to do outside The Manse before everyone arrived, scraping down the walkway and sanding the steep incline on the driveway to assure maximum traction for those braving the treacherous slope.

I won't go into the details of our repast other than to say we tried something other than the ubiquitous Butterball-style turkey, in this case range fed Narragansett turkeys. Though smaller than the supermarket turkeys with less breast meat, they were quite tasty, more so than the usual turkeys. (We got these turkeys from Farmer Andy.)

Everyone had a great time!


First Run

We didn't have to wait very long, that's for sure.

We got about 6 inches of snow here at The Manse overnight, giving us an opportunity to try out the new Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower.

I have to admit it took a little getting used to because its controls are so different from the previous Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower. For instance, the positions of the traction control and auger control are reversed compared to the old one. Also, the auger control locks in the 'on' position as long as the traction control is engaged. (I see that as both a plus and a minus.) The electric discharge chute controls were positioned so the can be controlled with the thumbs without the need to remove hands from the handles. The old one required me to release the auger control, reach down to a crank to change the azimuth of the chute, then re-engage the auger control, something that was a real pain-in-the-ass at times.

All in all, I like it.


It Has Arrived!

It only took a few weeks, but we finally took possession of the new Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower. The local BBH/A/L/GS finally called, informing us the snowblower we purchased three weeks ago was finally ready for pickup.

The timing couldn't have been better considering we're under a Winter Storm Watch at the moment, with a still unspecified amount of snow expected tomorrow.

I know how this works – now that we actually have the new snowblower not one flake of snow will fall. (Not that I mind it. Any snow I don't have to move during fall is good snow...at least not until the end of December. Then it's OK.)

Since we weren't sure how much snow we're going to get and we didn't want to chance having to dig our firewood out from under the snow, BeezleBub and I moved about a cord of wood into the garage and covered the rest still outside with a tarp. I still have to stack the wood we moved into the garage, but at least it's under cover.

Washington Is An Addict

I saw this ad on TV for the first time the other night. It's to the point and describes our fiscal problems in language even Congress and Obama can understand.

Our government is addicted to spending money we don't have, the same disease that has been such a big affliction in the EU.


Monday Night Football

No post tonight: the New England Patriots are playing the Kansas City Chiefs in Foxborough tonight!


Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been more firewood stacking here at The Manse.

Farmer Andy delivered another cord of wood yesterday afternoon, meaning we had two cords to stack in the garage today. That leaves one more to be delivered, probably next weekend.

If nothing else we'll have enough to keep us warm until next April.


Last night was the final performance of our local high school's rendition of Sound Of Music.

I know BeezleBub is glad it's over, with the only thing left to do is strike the sets and clean up the detritus of this fall's performances.

Next weekend he gets back to work at the farm..at least until the spring drama program starts.


It's no surprise to me that Connecticut is what the Institute For Truth in Accounting calls a “financial sinkhole.”

It's like Governor Malloy is taking pages out of the California Financial Meltdown Playbook and upping the ante to make sure the Nutmeg State/Constitution State (when I grew up it was the “Nutmeg State”) follows down the same path to increasingly unsustainable tax burdens and state spending, particularly when it comes to public employee salaries and benefits.

The WP Parents abandoned our family beach house - their retirement home - 7 years ago when it became too expensive to stay there, between the growing income and sales taxes, and exploding property taxes. It's only gotten worse since then.

While my home state of New Hampshire is fairing much better, there have been times over the past few years when it looked like it was going to go down that same sinkhole. Fortunately sanity returned (for the most part) and the state has been working hard to put its financial house in order.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


It seems wind turbines aren't all they're cracked up to be. Why else would there be over 14,000 abandoned turbines in the US alone? Once the subsidies run out or the turbines need heavy duty maintenance they're either shut down, cannibalized to repair other turbines, dismantled, or abandoned as is.

The costs of these things is far too high for them to be a viable alternative to existing 'old fashioned' energy technologies, and artificially raising the costs of existing energy sources will not promote the use or construction of these unreliable and expensive sources, particularly since they cannot be counted on to carry base load electricity demands.

I see no problems with smaller wind turbines of the types used to help power individual residences, but the power of scale doesn't seem to apply very well to wind farms.

(H/T also Maggie's Farm)


It's bad enough the Eurocrats in Brussels have been mishandling the dire economic issues facing the Eurozone, they've also been meddling in internal British affairs, demanding that Britain let in more migrants from around the world.

Who the hell do these ass-hats think they are? Oh, yeah. I forgot. These unelected pseudo-intellectuals believe they know better than the British government and have decide they'll make them submit to their better judgment.

Is it any wonder more within the UK are demanding a referendum about their membership in the ever more heavyhanded EU?


As if we need any more proof the EU is doomed let's add this to the list of stupid edicts, rules, and regulations strangling the Eurozone economy: EU bureaucrats forbid claim that water prevents dehydration.

The UK may be able to save itself if it divorces itself from the EU, but the rest of the EU is doomed if it puts up with this nonsense.


I wish these guys would make up their minds.

Cap'n Teach shows us that the so-called Warmists are now claiming that AGW will cause fewer hurricanes to hit the US, just the opposite of claims they were making just a couple of short years ago.

It's still all conjecture based upon a very short time line and computer models so defective they can't even predict the past.


As Mike over at Cold Fury laments, “The Constitution – nice while it lasted.”

Mike is concerned that the latest decision by the U.S Court of Appeals in the D.C Circuit to uphold the ObamaCare mandate requiring citizens to purchase health insurance may seriously affect the US Supreme Court once it hears the case. It appears to me the three judge panel at the Court of Appeals has decided the Constitution no longer applies and that the federal government can no run roughshod over the states and the American citizen. This does not bode well for any of us.


No Patriots game today. Rather they'll be playing Kansas City Monday night.

We'll see if they've got things figured out.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weather has been gorgeous, the tourists have been gone, and where preparations for Thanksgiving are proceeding apace.


High Fuel Economy Leads To "Unexpected" Fall In Fuel Tax Revenues

As Cap'n Teach reminds us, no good deed goes unpunished. And so it is in regards to one of the biggest unintended consequences of more high fuel efficiency vehicles hitting the roads: dropping revenues from fuel taxes.

Another thing driving decreasing fuel consumption and fuel tax revenues is high fuel prices. This one-two punch has left both the federal and state governments scrambling to raise funds needed for road maintenance and construction.

So what is government to do about the revenue shortfall? Believe it or not, a per-mile tax is in the offing. No one has explained much about how it's going to work other than it will likely use GPS technology to track the miles driven by each vehicle.

Basically I have no problem with such a thing as long as the system only keeps track of the miles driven and not the routes taken or locations visited (the technology is easily modified to allow miles-only readouts). It smacks too much of Big Brother keeping track of where we go and when, something most of us feel uncomfortable about. There are already constitutionality questions about law enforcement using GPS trackers on suspects without warrants. This goes an order of magnitude beyond that.

Some don't like the idea at all, seeing as it means they'll be billed directly and in the open for their use of roads rather than the hidden fees they pay at the gas pump. Again I have no problem with this as long as the per-mile taxes lead to abolition of fuel taxes as they are applied now. Otherwise, no deal.


A Night Out

Deb and I had a night out, something we don't have very often considering our conflicting work schedules.

In this case we had a chance to eat out at one of our favorite local pubs, something that's pleasurable this time of year because the only patrons are locals now that the tourists are gone until the ski season starts next month. We didn't have to wait to be seated and the food was delivered to our table not too long after we placed our order. In fact, we were in the pub for less than 45 minutes, yet we didn't feel rushed.

From the pub we returned home briefly before heading back out to see our high school's drama department put on their rendition of The Sound Of Music.

Yes, I can see your eyes rolling at the mention of one of the most performed musicals in history. Between Deb and I we've probably seen it in one form or another dozens of times. (I must make full disclosure at this point: BeezleBub was the crew manager for this musical, did most of the set design, and headed the set construction crew. The sets were awesome. No prejudice showing there. None.)

I wish I could say the performance we saw was superior, but it would be a lie. (Sound of “play critic hat” being put on my head.)

The biggest problem was the casting of the female lead (Maria): she couldn't sing very well. And because of her register, the male lead – someone who we know can sing quite well – was forced to sing outside his register, which made anything he sang sound forced. The singing of the two leads were difficult to listen to and I cringed with every flat note sung by the female lead.

There were a number of others in the cast who would have been right for that role which would have made the performance so much better.

(Sound of “play critic hat” being removed from my head.)

Still, Deb and I had a good night out.

And so goes another fall evening in small town America.


UK Bureaucracy Kills Woman After Fall

It's only a matter of time before this kind of nonsense kills someone here (assuming it hasn't already):

In Scotland, fire officials who were so hidebound to official health and safety procedures allowed a woman who'd fallen down a collapsed mineshaft to die rather than allow rescue personnel to retrieve her and get her to treatment. Her fall had given her life-threatening injuries but if she had been rescued and transported to a hospital she would likely have survived. Instead, she died due to severe hypothermia because she was partially immersed in water for hours. It wasn't that they couldn't reach her. Firefighters already had, one of them staying with her for over four hours before being ordered to abandon her.

Why have rescue services if they aren't going to be allowed to rescue the very people they're trained to serve? It seems the chief in this case was too much of a paper-shuffling bureaucrat and not enough of a firefighter.

Think such a thing won't happen here? Don't bet on it. It's only a matter of time before someone like the fire chief in question allows something like regulations, budget restrictions, or union rules to kill someone that might otherwise have been saved.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Good App/Bad App - Part 2

I had a little bit of a malfunction with the Official Weekend Pundit Main Computer yesterday (I lost connection to the network), but I think I've got it all squared away.

Speaking of getting things squared away, it appears Bogie's problem with the iHeartRadio app for her Android phone that was misbehaving after being upgraded has been resolved, or at least partially resolved as a newer version has been released that allows it to work again.

As Bogie writes:

Haven't used it but a couple of minutes (am listening to it now), so can't say it works as well as the old version did, but it is a huge leap forward over the version I couldn't get to load at all!

That's what happens when the software folks don't or can't test the new versions thoroughly. It's obvious they missed something that brought the app to a screeching halt. Whether it was conflict with another application or background routine is irrelevant. The fact that they didn't catch it means someone wasn't doing their job and the app was released before it was ready.

Was it the coders who wrote the app software who are to blame for the problem, or was it someone in a marketing position who pushed to 'get it out the door' even though it really wasn't ready?

Based upon my years of experience in engineering, I would have to guess it was the latter.