Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been an uneventful weekend so far here at the Weekend Pundit Manse, with just the 'normal' stuff going on. We're still cleaning up from the last two snowfalls - chopping ice forming on the decks as snow melts on the roof and drips onto the decks below, cutting back the snow bank on either side of the driveway to enhance visibility when pulling out, scraping the frozen snow and brittle ice off of the driveway and parking areas outside the garage, and moving some of the snow piles back to make room for future snowfalls. (It seems there are two storms forecast for this coming week, a small one for Tuesday and a second much larger one for Wednesday.)


For the first time in some time I am not running for office for one of the elective positions in our town. Not that I've given up on the idea. It's just the opposite, in fact.

I realized I don't really know enough to be good elected official. I presently serve on one of the town committees and it's given me far more insight than I thought it would. It's also made me realize that I didn't know enough about our town government, so I'm working to correct that lack.


It looks like a little bit of New Hampshire wisdom is making inroads in Washington.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has proposed changing the federal budget from an annual to biannual process, just like is done here in the Granite State.

In New Hampshire all budgetary items must be passed during the first year of the two year legislative session. That decreases the chance of legislators 'buying' votes with budget gimmickry that benefit the folks in their home districts.

At the federal level it could save both time and money as the budget would only need to be done once every two years and it removes the temptation of the party in power to play games with the budget - such as continuing resolutions – just before elections.

From reading some of the comments to the article linked above it is apparent some folks out there have no idea how the budget process works, or worse, they do and they want to exploit the existing process to push forward bankrupt progressive policies regardless of the consequences.

Tie the two year budget process in with some kind of balanced budget amendment and the level of financial shenanigans should decrease considerably.


I remember this SNL skit, and I always thought it might contain a little bit of truth, more than most people realize, Michael Reagan's book notwithstanding.


Despite all the controversy about Obama's State Of The Union speech, primarily that being it was highly plagiarized (it seems he borrowed from a number of other speeches, including New Hampshire governor John Lynch's State of the State address earlier this month), it also delivered a less well recognized message: “We're broke.”

(H/T Viking Pundit)


Bogie has some photos from Mount Washington, which has the world's worst recorded weather. As I have mentioned more than once I have been at the summit numerous times (primarily at the Observatory, but occasionally at the Yankee Building). I've only 'visited' once. All the other times there I was working. It's an awe inspiring place regardless of the time of year.

As Bogie mentioned, the Mount is also a deadly place. I know from personal experience as a friend I worked with died there when hiking along the Headwall one winter. A gust of wind literally blew him off the trail and over the edge, where he fell almost 300 feet to his death.


While I have not suffered some of the problems mentioned here, I have certainly seen others afflicted by the “connected”, meaning those blabbing on their cell phones, texting, or be-bopping to the music on their iPods.

It's bad enough when we have to deal with distracted drivers, but distracted walkers are even worse. Some are a danger to others, but most are a danger to themselves, so engrossed with what they are doing on their smart phones they forget to pay attention to where they're going.

While legislation banning such activities while walking might seem to be the answer, I must disagree. Instead, it might be better to make any injuries these people might suffer entirely their own responsibility. Ban such 'victims' from suing anyone, any municipality, or any company for any injuries they received because of their distracted walking. And make them liable for injuries to others because of those same activities.


A major downside to all those wonderful electric cars all the “green” folks seem to be in love with?

They don't work nearly as well in the cold.

Most battery chemistries work fine until you get below freezing temperatures. After that the effective battery power decreases as the chemical reactions inside the batteries slow down. On top of that, some batteries, specifically Lithium-Ion, have a relatively narrow charging temperature range – 0ºC to 45ºC. Outside that range either the batteries won't charge completely or the charge cycle will damage the battery cells, greatly reducing their service life.

That's something the hybrid and electric car folks don't advertise.


Now it's official.

Reuters claims Republicans are at fault for climate change.

Yeah. Right.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the sun has been melting the snow and ice off the local roads, snow piles are being moved by the local towns, and preparations are under way for more snow later this week.


Christie Gets Real

New Jersey governor Chris Christie gets real when talking to a police officer complaining about the raise he received.

Policeman: “My salary went up 2%. And after the increase in my healthcare costs went in, do you know how much my check went up Sir? $4. How am I supposed to live on that?”

Gov. Christie: “Here’s the difference. You’re getting a paycheck. And there are 9% of the people in the state of NJ who are not.”

Christie also hammered home the point that many of those still employed in the private sector in New Jersey haven't received pay raises of any kind for years, but their costs and taxes have kept going up. And he added a truth many in the public sector have yet to recognize.

“Other politicians made you promises they couldn’t keep,” Christie said. “I’m the guy who has to be here when the party is over.”

What's telling about the video linked above is that as Christie was answering the police officer, many of those attending the town hall meeting applauded. At least they get it. He talked about the layoffs of police officers and firemen in cities like Trenton, Camden, and Newark, forced upon the cities because the unions were unwilling to compromise and the cities had no way to pay all of their employees.

Christie isn't saying anything earth shattering. Nor are the problems he outlines limited to New Jersey. Many states are facing the same financial crisis – too many promises made by politicians with no way to pay for them. It's a shame California doesn't have a Christie, someone willing to stand up to the public employee unions and tell them some very hard truths.


I Really Needed That Super Snowblower Today

It seems yesterday's post was timely as we experienced yet another snowfall last night. Not that we had all that much snow – about 3 inches – but the aftermath meant a lot of extra work the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower couldn't handle.

After this morning's clean-up by the road crews in our town, the Department of Public Works must have decided it was time to push back the snow banks lining our roads. That in and of itself isn't a problem. But when they do that and it dumps 12 inches of mixed snow and ice along 30 feet of our driveway it becomes a problem. My problem.

When the plows inevitably pass by and leave a snow bank at the end of the driveway some people go ballistic. Not me. I always expect it. But when I got home from work late this afternoon and saw my driveway was absolutely impassable it pissed me off.

The Manse is located on a hillside, down hill from our road. Because of the steep slope of the hillside the driveway approaches the road from a shallow angle, meaning it almost parallels the road above it. When the plow crew pushed back the snowbank today it dumped all of the mixed snow and chunks of ice down the hill and filled our driveway. The snowbank they left at the end of our driveway was almost 3 feet high and the same mix of snow and large chunks of ice. There was no way the trusty F150 was going to be able to punch through it and make its way down the driveway and to the garage, four wheel drive or not.

The F150 got parked at the top of the driveway and I made it to down to the garage, got the snowblower and shovels out, and started cleaning up the mess. A little over three hours later and I was done. (It usually takes an hour to clear the driveway and the parking area around in front of and to one side of the garage.) Much of the snow and ice had to be broken up moved by shovel as the snowblower was incapable of chewing through the mix without breaking the sheer pins on the auger. (The auger still got pretty beat up, not that it was in all that great shape to begin with.)

In the six years we've resided at The Manse, this is the first time I've had to deal with this problem. I'm gonna make darned sure it's the last.


Canada Needs A "Castle Doctrine"

You know the Canadian justice system is screwed up when a homeowner confronts three men throwing Molotov cocktails at his home and is arrested for defending himself.

It seems the Canadian government has got some seriously screwed up people in their Parliament, making it illegal for their citizens to defend themselves against dire threats to them, their families, and their property.

The incident began six years of trouble for Mr. Thomson that culminated early one Sunday morning last August when the 53-year-old former mobile-crane operator woke up to the sound of three masked men firebombing his Port Colborne, Ont., home.

“I was horrified,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what was happening. I had no idea what was going on.”

So Mr. Thomson, a former firearms instructor, grabbed one of his Smith & Wesson revolvers from his safe, loaded it and headed outside dressed in only his underwear.

“He exited his house and fired his revolver two, maybe three times, we’re not sure. Then these firebombing culprits, they ran off,” said his lawyer, Edward Burlew.

What's ironic is that Thomson had surveillance video of the incident, showing the arsonists setting Thomson's house ablaze and Thomson exiting his home and firing the two or three gunshots. When Thomson showed the video to the police, they arrested him on the charge of careless use of a firearm.

It must be noted Mr. Thomson is an expert marksmen, meaning if he wanted to hit and wound or kill the miscreants, he could have. Instead, he showed restraint, aiming to miss and to drive the arsonists off. I would say that he wasn't careless at all. Instead he was exercising his god-given right to defend himself.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Frigid arctic air has made its way to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, with this morning's low measuring below zero (-3ºF), as it will over the next couple of days. Such low temps aren't all that unusual here in New England, seeing as it isn't uncommon to have such cold temperatures any time between Christmas day and the middle of February.

While we won't see temperatures as low as seen at International Falls, Minnesota (-46ºF) the other day, we expect to see at least -10ºF here at The Manse before Wednesday rolls around.

Such cold weather puts the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove to the test. It isn't capable of keeping The Manse warm when it gets that cold, so we usually have to turn up the thermostat on the propane furnace to help it along. This is a deficiency we hope to correct before next winter.


Seeing the frigid temps on their way to New Hampshire I spent a good portion of Saturday afternoon snowblowing, shoveling, and scraping to make sure the driveway was clean to the surface and allowing the sun to melt the snow and ice I couldn't remove easily. We still have the decks to shovel, but other than it being really cold outside it shouldn't be a problem...I hope.


Speaking of being really cold, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) was forced to withdraw a global warming paper from the Universal Ecological Fund that claimed we would see an increase in global temperatures of 2.4ºC by the year 2020, something even other AGW proponents see as impossible.


And since I'm piling on the AGW folks, I have to add this:

Analysts predict freezing winters in Europe will be the norm for the next 20-40 years.

I've been in touch with my ex-fiancee who lives in the UK and she told me she hasn't seen such winter cold since she was here in New Hampshire with me 14 years ago.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Tom Bowler has some links and thoughts about Keith Olbermann's departure from MSNBC.

My thoughts on the matter? Good riddance to bad rubbish.


David Starr points out a Wall Street Journal writer who is obviously not an engineer writing on a topic about which he doesn't really know much.

Unfortunately this happens far too often in the media, even in the WSJ.


Gee, could there be a link between the declining level of investment in plant and equipment, heavier regulation by government, and the leveling out or decline in jobs in the US over the past decade?

I'd have to say the answer is “Yes”.


By way of Instapundit comes two Americans from history breaking down the definitions of political parties, each reducing them to two: Those who think the people must be controlled in all aspects of their lives and those who don't.

Like Heinlein, I am far more comfortable with the latter.


I caught a bit of both the NFC and AFC Championship games today, but didn't watch more than a few minutes of either.

What I find ironic is that of the four teams playing today, the New England Patriots beat all of them during the regular season.


You know it's not going well for Democrats when even their own pollsters are telling them it's time for them to shed their public-employee union ties or risk becoming a permanent minority party.

In the November midterm elections, the Democratic Party lost its congressional majority. The far graver threat to the party, though, is that its base is made up disproportionately of public-employee unions, liberals, trial lawyers and other special-interest groups.

Working-class families are fleeing the Democratic Party en masse, a trend that is likely to continue if their own economic situation remains weak in the face of ever-higher taxes, deficits and debt. These working-class voters see that public employees are continuing to receive more generous benefits and enjoy greater job security than they are. Support for the Democratic Party is now well below 40% with working-class voters who are unionized, and as low as 33% with whites who are not college educated.

The question is whether the Democrats can shed themselves of their incestuous union entanglements? At the moment the answer appears to be No.

(H/T Granite State Pundit)


Chris Christie on Chuck Schumer's claim his decision to cancel the Trans-Hudson train tunnel project was “ a terrible, terrible decision”:

In response to Schumer, Christie noted the difference between a governor and a senator. “Their job is easy,” he said of lawmakers like Schumer. “They get to sit in front of microphones and bloviate. I’ve got to balance budgets.”

In the long run it was cheaper to cancel the project and pay $200 million in fees and penalties than to cough up over $5 billion New Jersey doesn't have to pay for a project that is already almost 50% above the original cost estimates and likely to go even higher.

I'm liking Christie more every day.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the lake is finally frozen over, the bob houses are out on the ice, and where it's going to be below zero for the next couple of days.


New Hampshire GOP Leadership Taken By Tea Party Activist

In yet another First-In-The-Nation moment, the New Hampshire GOP selected Tea party activist Jack Kimball as its new chairman, replacing outgoing chairman former governor John H. Sununu.

After a sweeping GOP victory in state-wide elections this past November with both chambers of the state legislature seating GOP super-majorities and the Executive Council being 100% Republican, Tea party supporters worked had to seat Kimball as the new chairman, hoping to make sure New Hampshire returns to it's traditional fiscal frugality after 4 years of deficit-ridden rule by Democrats.

Anti-Gun Organizations Trying To Use Loughner Rampage As Excuse

As expected, the anti-gun organizations have been trying to use Jared Loughner's shooting rampage as a rallying cry to cripple the Second Amendment. They've tried re-interpreting the intent of the Framers of the Constitution to make it appear the Second Amendment is a collective rather than individual right (Heller vs DC notwithstanding) or have made efforts to weaken it in other ways, including redefining the original definition of “regulated” as in “a well regulated militia” or even the definition of “militia”.

Not surprisingly, some of those commenting to Rachel Alexander's piece linked above had more insight in the matter, refuting claims of not knowing the intent of the Framers made by the anti-gun groups. One of the best is a series of quotes dating back to the early years of the Republic, making known in no uncertain terms the intent of the Second Amendment.

"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." - George Mason, co-author of the Second Amendment during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …" - Richard Henry Lee, writing in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic, Letter XVIII, May, 1788.

"The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them." - Zachariah Johnson, Elliot's Debates, vol. 3 "The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution."

"… the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms" - Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789, Pg. 2, Col. 2 Article on the Bill of Rights

"And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; …" - Samuel Adams, Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, August 20, 1789, "Propositions submitted to the Convention of this State"

"Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." - George Washington, First President of the United States

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." - Richard Henry Lee, American Statesman, 1788

"The great object is that every man be armed." and "Everyone who is able may have a gun." - Patrick Henry, American Patriot

"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?" - Patrick Henry, American Patriot

"Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not." - Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States

"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that … it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; … " - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Justice John Cartwright, June 5, 1824. ME 16:45.

"The best we can help for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." - Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8

"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks. - Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1785. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson

"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them." - Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson

"We established however some, although not all its [self-government] important principles . The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed." - Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824

"No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms." - Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776

Gun control advocates always point to the word "militia" in the Second Amendment as proof that the Founders would support gun control laws. That contention is not supported by the historical documents. As the Founders continually acknowledged, A MILITIA IS THE WHOLE OF THE PEOPLE. In fact, in the Second MILITIA Act of 1792, ALL able-bodied, white men over the age of 18 were required to possess a gun.

As to the term “well regulated”, too many of the anti-gun organizations have no understanding of the term as understood by the Framers. In the 18th century it had a somewhat different meaning as explained by another commenter.

The term "well regulated" in the Second Amendment had nothing to do with the present-day definition of the term "regulated" (regulation by law).

In the 18th century, the term "well regulated" meant "well disciplined", (being able to hit your target consistently).

What good was a militiaman if he couldn't hit his target? It all boils down to having an armed populace who were also proficient in the use of their firearms.

Can it get any simpler than that?


Loughner Insane, Not Political

While I stopped watching CBS 60 Minutes quite some time ago, I made an exception for the piece linked below.

While the Left immediately went into attack mode against the Right shortly after the Tucson shootings, blaming everyone from the Tea parties, Rush Limbaugh. Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin as the instigators of Jared Loughner's deadly rampage, far cooler heads knew that no such link existed. They knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Loughner's actions were those of a madman and not those of a political assassin.

Who are 'they'?

The United States Secret Service.

According to studies performed at the behest of the Secret Service, assassins like Loughner kill or attempt to kill not because of politics, but from some twisted perception that by killing the subject of their obsession – which their victim is – their problems will be solved.

Their descent into madness follows a specific pattern, one that Loughner fit perfectly.

Not that this revelation will stop the Left from pinning the blame on everyone but the shooter, but it lets everyone else know Loughner was a psychotic paranoid with delusions of persecution.


The Founding Fathers' Hidden Check And Balance

Here's another post by guest blogger Bill:

Our Founding Fathers believed that since all government structures inherently seek to consolidate more and more power into itself, a government’s powers separated into distinct branches could potentially keep each branch in check. In the construction of the U.S. Constitution, the Congress was likewise separated into 2 houses for similar reasons. There is another check and balance that does not receive any attention, and should not only be recognized, but genuinely understood.

In the Declaration of Independence, there is an establishment of another balance, that between Humanism and Godliness. A great many people believe that God is not only mentioned in our founding documents, but is Present in them. Undeniably so too are distinct Secular Humanist elements. Our Natural Rights are primarily an embodiment of looking at man as having innate affirmative claims in this physical world. The juxtaposition of these two elements, I contend, has within it a place that is the optimum for human existence. Neither strict humanism nor strict religion bodes well, but when tethered together, keeping each other in a check and balance, greatness can be the result.


Another View Of Tucson

It seems guest blogger Bill has some thoughts about the shootings in Tucson.

The shootings in Tucson have given me yet another reason to be very angry. Not because an obviously unhinged nut job got his hands on a gun and took a further step into his dementia. Not because there appear to have been warning signs across the board and no one in a position of responsibility acted as though they did. Not even for the fact that a Memorial that is singularly meant to be a reflection on those that have died and the lives they led was turned into political ideological masturbation. What is angering to me, is how the Congress reacted.

Violence of more egregious intent and scale occurs regularly in America, yet nothing is heard from Congress but crickets. How many large scale shootings, in Arizona to boot, have occurred as part of drug gang posturing just in the last few months? No, that's OK, that’s to be accepted as “one of those things” and disregarded accordingly.

So what’s the difference? What has really gotten these people so animated?

Someone dared pierce the veil of Politician's Insulation.

I’d love to be proven wrong, that Congress's dramatic reactions are little more than the gut reflex to the simple realization that they are actually part of the real world the rest of us little people live in every day. Only because this happened to one of their own do they act and react as they have. And what is that reaction? Attempting to pass laws punishing everyday Americans, in turn increasing the gap between Representatives and the singular source of their power. Among the many parts of this whole event that are deeply disappointing is the reinforcement of the reality of Political Elitism, something anathema to genuine Americanism.



The Days Of The Unions Have Passed

Just when the economy seems to be showing signs of turning around (but slowly) there comes the news from the UAW and the AFL-CIO that they will be working to stop that recovery in its tracks. Of course they aren't selling the idea the plans they've put forward will do that, but they will.

First, the UAW tells the foreign automakers with plants in the Southern states that they will be unionizing them. Never mind that most of those states are right-to-work states. (That means there is no such thing as a closed shop, where it's mandatory to be a union member in order to work there.) Never mind that the UAW has done such wonderful things for the domestic automakers, like driving two of the three of them into bankruptcy. Never mind that the union leadership really doesn't give a damn about the rank and file rather than the union dues they collect from them which allows them to buy votes at the state and federal level.

Second, the AFL-CIO has targeted groups like the Girl Scouts, the American Red Cross, and the Salvation Army in an effort to force small business owners and their employees into labor contracts neither wants. In effect they want to ban those groups from fund-raising through those businesses unless the unions can launch unionizing efforts without restraint (with the only restraints being laid entirely upon the business owners).

While in the past unions had their legitimate functions and did indeed protect workers, those days are long gone. What the unions fought to achieve has been codified in labor law. Now their only function seems to be extorting businesses into increasing their costs with no benefit to either the business owners or their employees. The only benefit comes to the union leadership.

Far too many unions seem to have the attitude that jobs are 'owed' to their members and that anyone coming along capable of doing the same jobs more efficiently and cost effectively are anti-union, or worse in their eyes, 'scabs'. Both my wife and I have seen this attitude first hand.

I worked in the defense industry for 20 years, all of it with one employer and, unfortunately, under the same union. My first hand view of working under a union contract left me with a distaste for all things union. Far too often you'd hear some of the more rabid union members or shop stewards admonishing someone for working too hard, being accused of “killing the job.” On more than one occasion I was told that and my response to them was invariably “Screw you. They pay me to work, so I work. If you can't keep up that's your problem, not mine.” That attitude was endemic in every facility where I worked. That is not the attitude of success or a means of keeping a job. You kill jobs by not performing, period.

My wife works for the state of New Hampshire and by default she's a member of the state employees association (i.e. the union). On more than one occasion she's heard the stewards come around trying to get their fellow employees to sign petitions against reforming the state pension system (in order to make sure it stays solvent) or allowing the state to outsource some functions (groundskeeping, housekeeping, laundry, etc.) as a means to save money. They seem to have the attitude that the state jobs are theirs for life and that it's wrong for the state to take measures to balance the budget by cutting costs. The act as if they are entitled to what they have. They're wrong.

If we need yet another example, all one needs to do is look at Detroit to see how unions have made a bad situation in the Motor City even worse. In this case the city has been closing schools and greatly increasing class sizes (up to 60+ per class) in order to cut costs. But the cost cutting isn't being done to save the taxpayers of Detroit (or what's left of them) any money. Instead, the savings will be used to pay pensions and benefits to the city's union employees. The city is committing economic suicide at the behest of the unions. Without a decent education system, the city is condemning its own children to economic doom, shortchanging them before they even finish school (if the even manage to do so).

As one commenter wrote:

Unions breed selfishness, undermine education, and destroy initiative, wherever they roam.

I'd say that's just about right.


Thoughts On A Sunday

While BeezleBub and Deb had a somewhat normal Saturday, yours truly spent late morning and all afternoon at work, installing new networking equipment and testing the speed and functionality at each computer to make sure the new connections actually work.

I actually like that kind of work as the time passes quickly. There's also a side benefit, that being I now have a pretty good handle on how our network is structured. That can come in handy if we ever need to change or fix anything.


At the end of the day yesterday BeezleBub and I had a couple of errands to run. That in itself isn't really news worthy. But that we headed out just as a snow shower started is, sorta.

In just a few minutes the roads went from being clean down to the surface to being snow covered and slick. Both of us had to switch to 4-wheel drive. (He was in his Jeep because he needed to gas up before running our errands and he was going to Twirl Girl's after we finished.)

Twenty minutes later the shower ended and shortly after that the main roads were again 'clean' (mostly due to the passing traffic blowing the snow off to the sides of the road). The side roads were still slick and I had to use 4WD to drive the last mile to The Manse.

In other words, it was a typical January New England evening.


Speaking of snow and January, it looks like we are in for another storm starting Tuesday. Unlike the last one, this will start as snow and change over to freezing rain, always a bad combination.

This type of storm pattern creates a dilemma for us: Do we remove the snow while its still 'dry' (it's easier to move then) while creating slippery conditions once the freezing rain starts? Or do we wait until after the freezing rain stopped to move the snow knowing it will be more difficult to do so because it will be heavier and crusted over, but leaving the driveway cleaner and much less slippery?

It's all going to depend on how much snow versus how long the freezing rain will fall. Get it wrong and there will be twice as much work to do to make the driveway passable.


Since we're on the subject of snow and weather, is it any wonder why no one is listening to the AGW crowd any more?

As time has gone on, we've seen more and more of their dire predictions fail to materialize. They attribute every weather event, whether it's above normal, below normal, or normal, being attributed to global warming. We've also been exposed to the systemic fraud perpetrated by supposedly reputable climate researchers. We've also seen media outlets working more as propagandists for AGW rather than just reporting the news. The kind of hysteria stirred up the the We're-All-DOOMED! crew wasn't sustainable.

It all comes down to people being sick and tired of being told AGW will roast them in their homes while they're busy trying to stay warm during one of the coldest winters many of them have seen in their entire lives.


Staying on the subject of snow and weather, Bogie has her own story and observations about the Nor'easter this past week.

As she says, “One Weathercaster on the Nightly News (national, not local), called it a "Snow Bomb". Er, no, this is New England, it snoows, we get Nor'Easters on a regular basis.”



How is we can count on our elected officials to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” when they don't even know what it says? (That might explain Nancy Pelosi's answer when asked whether ObamaCare was constitutional.)

That's pathetic.


Is it possible Sarbanes-Oxley contributed to the financial meltdown? Professor Bainbridge has the scoop.


Col. Bunny links to and comments upon a Dr. Sanity post dealing with socialist delusions.

As Col. Bunny writes:

What I take from her piece is that socialism thrives on greed and envy as much as capitalism but it requires belief that greed and envy will disappear when the evils of capitalism are done away with. Unfortunately for socialists what they supposedly hope will appear is a version of homo sapiens that has yet to walk the earth. Socialism adores the idea of The New Man who rises or is forced or guided to rise above his former base self to take a seat in the realms of heavenly perfection. At least, that’s the theory. Believe in the perfectibility of man and it’s a trifle to believe in socialism and all the pleasures of collective life, even though it’s quickly demonstrated that this means widespread misery.

The Soviets were always talking about the “New Soviet Man”, the ideal Communist who would be immune to the wiles of capitalism and would live by the creed “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Unfortunately the Soviets overlooked one small detail in their quest to foster the creation of this ideal man: human nature. When you think about it socialism is merely a human attempt to recreate a insect hive society. The only problem is humans are not insects and they refuse to be treated as such. That's why the Soviets (and the Nazis) failed and anyone else attempting to do so will also fail. But that won't stop the socialists from trying again and again...and again.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Is 2011 The Year of Chris Christie?

Seeing how he's stood up to the teachers union, killed off an $8 billion+ train tunnel boondoggle, been working to further reduce the huge budget deficits and wallet-busting taxes, and trying to bring some sanity to the overly generous and grossly underfunded state pension system, I'd say the answer is yes.

Despite some criticism he received for being on vacation in Florida when the blizzard hit New Jersey (as if he could have gotten back in time to do any good considering airports were closed all up and down the Eastern seaboard), he's done exactly what he said he would do during his campaign. If he sticks to the agenda he's laid out, he'll do just fine.


It seems quite a few states are balancing their budgets by using accounting gimmicks and one-time sources, like the sale of state-owned properties. My home state of New Hampshire is no different.

Our governor claims we'll have a $73 million surplus by the end of the fiscal year. That's true. However, and this is a big however, the next fiscal year will have over $200 million in deficit spending. How did this happen?

First, New Hampshire uses a two-year budget cycle, meaning the legislature budgets for two years rather than one. Second, the first year of the biennial budget was balanced by pushing a number of expenditures into the second year of the biennium, putting that fiscal year deep in the red. The over all budget is at least $130 million in the red. So the balanced budget is really an illusion.

See how easy that is? Other states have done similar things to make it look like their finances aren't as bad as they really are. Eventually this will stop working and the true size of their fiscal woes will become known, but there will be little the states will be able to do to stop it without draconian measures that will hurt the state and its residents even more than if they had taken care of the problem up front.


I had hoped the New England Patriots would be able to beat the New York Jets today, but it didn't happen.

It's obvious the Jets had prepared for the game and the Pats had not. The Patriots defeated the Jets back in December 35-3, but they must have thought they could do it again without bothering to adjust their own game. They were wrong. The Jets beat them 28-21, and they deserved to win.

Ironically the Patriots still have a better win/loss record this season than the Jets.


While a number of conservative pundits and Tea party supporters have talked about the tax increases/creation contained in ObamaCare, Bob Ellis has listed them for us.

The two stupidest:

#6 Medicine Cabinet tax

#14 Excise tax on charitable hospitals

Why tax charitable hospitals? Aren't they already providing free health care to those without means to pay or without insurance?

It's no wonder 26 states are suing to overturn ObamaCare.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the first bob houses have appeared on Alton Bay, mores now and ice is on the way, and where it's going be be very cold tonight.


Left's Attempt To Blame The Right For Tucson - FAIL

Amidst all the hoopla over the Tucson shootings and the Left's efforts to paint them as a politically motivated assassination attempt by the Right (namely Sarah Palin and the Tea party) there's something these hate-mongers/fear-mongers have overlooked: violence in the US is is much lower now than it was in 1992. But you wouldn't know it to hear the media and the Progressives talking about it. So many people seem to think violent crime is a greater problem now than it was 20 years ago, but it's not.

I wonder how many Americans know that the country has never been less violent. Yet the establishment keeps telling us that we are under constant threat from violent elements among us and from abroad. We don't feel safe in this country because it doesn't serve the political power agenda.

So another sickness this incident draws attention to is how, in the absence of rampant violence, those with the microphones and who drive the national narrative insist on magnifying and manipulating every single act by a few nuts, especially white nuts...

Crime statistics the violent crime rate is almost half of what it was back in 1991, but it's still higher than it was 50 years ago. And one must also remember one particular violent crime – rape – was greatly under-reported due to the stigma laid upon rape victims 30, 40, or 50 years ago.

But none of this makes any difference. The Left will still make the accusation that the Tea party, the GOP, conservative talk radio, and particularly Sarah Palin are to blame for what's happened. Fortunately for us, Sarah Palin has a response to that canard, extending her condolences to the families who lost loved ones and condemning those libeling her, the Tea party, and others by saying they are responsible for the madman committing such a heinous crime.

Sarah Palin: "America's Enduring Strength" from Sarah Palin on Vimeo.


Blizzard Of Media B.S.

To hear the media spin it, the Nor'easter that visited New England today was going to be a disaster of epic proportions. But to those of us actually living here in New England it was a normal part of winter.

While I did get up a little earlier than my usual time – about 15 minutes early – I still at my normal time. Or at least I attempted to.

I took the trusty F150 4X4 and started up The Manse's driveway, but only made it up about a third of the way before I realized I was going to have to do some shoveling. That took about 5 minutes as I only cleared enough to find the strips of sand still covering the driveway from last weekend's snow and made a path for the F150's wheels. After that it was up and out onto our road.

The trip to work was uneventful for the most part. The road conditions weren't great but that wasn't the biggest problem. It was the poor visibility. Along the 4 mile stretch of road that leads to one of the state highways visibility hovered between 100 feet and barely past the hood of the truck. It made for slow going. (At this point we had maybe 4 inches of very dry, fluffy snow.) What would normally be a 15 minute trip lasted 25. But I made it to work without incident.

At 2PM the word came from the lone manager at our lab: Go home.

After 10 minutes cleaning off the trusty F150 and digging out a bit from in front, I was on my way home. At least I had the foresight to call BeezleBub (he had the day off because school was closed) and asked him to fire up the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower and clear the driveway. The last thing I wanted to do was slide down the drive way and slide into his Jeep or Twirl Girl's Blazer.

The trip home was another 25 minute drive with nary a vehicle to be seen. On my way home I counted about a half dozen snow plows, two cars and a pickup truck. One of those two cars and the pickup were off the side of the road about a mile and a half from The Manse. I stopped just long enough to see if either of them needed help. After being assured they were both alright and that a two truck had been called I continued on my way.

When I arrived at the top of our driveway, Twirl Girl was poised on her new snowboard preparing to slide down the semi-cleaned surface. She motioned me to go ahead and I did, pulling into the garage.

I was home.

BeezleBub had cleared enough of the driveway to allow the trusty F150 to get to the garage and no more. Not that I'm complaining since I know we'll have to go out again in a few hours and start all over again once the snow stops.

And so ends another run-of-the-mill Nor'easter, the media hype notwithstanding.


Now For A Brief Intermission...

I had thought to make more comments upon the shootings in Tucson and the Left's push to pin the whole thing on Sarah Palin and the Tea party. But something that was a heck of a lot more fun came to my attention and I decided for once go with it.

All I can say is that I want one of these:

Very, very cool!


The Tucson Shootings And Blood Libel

Glenn Reynolds has a column in the Wall Street Journal decrying the use of “blood libel” to lay blame for shootings in Tucson on Sarah Palin, the Tea party, and a whole host of other conservatives.

With only the barest outline of events available, pundits and reporters seemed to agree that the massacre had to be the fault of the tea party movement in general, and of Sarah Palin in particular. Why? Because they had created, in New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's words, a "climate of hate."


There's a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn't derive from the innocuous use of political clichés. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source.

I have to ask this: How many times have we heard eliminationist rhetoric from the Left? Too many times for me to count.

The Left paints us as hatemongers and gun-toting knuckledraggers yet fail to recognize that they are the ones using language that incites hatred for and violence against those who disagree with their statist ideology. Such hypocrisy!

A great tragedy has occurred. Do you think these mouthpieces for the Left express sympathy for those wounded and killed? No. Instead they have to start trying to blame conservatives and Fox News for the shootings rather than the Left-wing nut-case who actually pulled the trigger. I'm beginning to think the only place we'll find sympathy from them is in their dictionaries between the words s**t and syphilis.

How pathetic can they get?


Thoughts On A Sunday

BeezleBub was back to his usual schedule this weekend, working at the farm splitting and stacking firewood yesterday, and hanging around with Twirl Girl, taking down the 'snowy village', and doing his homework today.

Deb was working a 'scheduled' off-shift last night into this morning, meaning I was sleeping alone last night. (I don't sleep nearly as well when she isn't beside me. Go figure.)

All I was up to was the monthly dump run, cleaning house, taking care of laundry, and moving more firewood from the garage to the wood box next to the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove. In other words, my usual winter weekend line-up.


With a third lawsuit about bedbugs filed against the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, one would think “Maybe [Mayor] Bloomberg should focus on sanitation instead of transfats,” says Glenn Reynolds.

The problem has gotten so bad some people are losing everything they own as measures are taken to deal with the problem.

Of course there is a means of dealing with the bedbug problem without the need to take such drastic measures, but no one dares mention its name: DDT.


By way of Maggie's Farm comes the 10 Dumbest Tech Predictions Of All Time. The one I'm most familiar with is number 2:

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943. “The world potential market for copying machines is 5,000 at most,” IBM executives to the eventual founders of Xerox, 1959.

Blew that one, eh?


It took me a while to decide which NFL playoff game to watch, considering the New England Patriots have a bye during the first round of the playoffs. But in the end I took in the Green Bay Packers/Philadelphia Eagles game.

The Eagles have been my favorite NFC team for years. (At one point in my youth we lived near Philadelphia and I had the opportunity to meet Eagles quarterback Rich Arrington and wide receiver Ben Hawkins.) The best outcome would be a rematch between the Eagles and the Patriots in the Superbowl. (They last faced each other in Superbowl XXXIX.)

One shocker: Both the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts are out of contention as they both lost in their playoff games yesterday.


Dr. Joy Bliss links to two timely pieces about the War on Doctors.

This phenomenon has been seen in other countries adopting socialized medicine or parts thereof, where health professionals are marginalized, every decision is scrutinized by bureaucrats who then go on to override the decisions, in the end forcing those professionals out of practice. You'd thing the Obama administration would have learned that lesson, but no, they'll have to learn it the hard way. Too bad it's all of us who will end up paying the price.


Some good news for a change.

Global spam levels have fallen dramatically. A number of spam botnets have been taken down or are otherwise inactive.

The not so good news – the volume has fallen from 200 billion spam e-mails per month to 50 billion but is not expected to stay that way long as new botnets are established by spammers.

On the other hand, the e-mail filtering system where I work and here at home does a pretty decent job keeping that crap from reaching my Inbox.


I think I have mentioned more than once that I am a former pilot. (I don't fly these days due to a problem with vertigo...and the fact that aviation gasoline is very expensive!) While I miss flying, I don't miss what's happening now, namely the shift in the magnetic poles.

One problem this shift is causing is the need to renumber runways (the runway numbers are based upon their magnetic compass headings). Runway/taxiway signage has also had to be redone because of this shift.

While not all airports are affected, enough of them are that it's causing disruptions of air travel because runways have to be closed while they are remarked. Aeronautical and marine charts will also have to be updated to show the new magnetic deviations from true north.


In regards to the shootings in Tucson, it seems the foreign media is taking a less confrontational view of the nutjob shooter, wondering why the rush by the Left to blame Sarah Palin, the Tea party, and Republicans for the actions of a paranoid loner.

Folks here have got to get a grip on reality.

And then there's this.


Skip Murphy has his own take on the Left's reaction to the shooting, lambasting them for blaming the whole thing on the Tea party, the GOP, and the Right in general. Never mind the shooter was a Left-wing head-case.


As many on the Left must constantly be reminded, there's no constitutional right to not be offended. One of the tenets of the First Amendment is that even offensive speech is protected.

It's time the Left understood that.

The right to offend is also a reason I am so opposed to politically correct speech, it being nothing more than a new term for Orwell's Newspeak (from his novel 1984). If my my words, spoken or written, offend you, too bad. You can either stop reading them or close yourself away so you will never be exposed to them. But do not try to stifle my right to offend. If you do, you're likely to see how well I exercise my Second Amendment rights.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Eric the Viking goes over the numbers of ObamaCare and shows us the claim it will cut the deficit is bogus on the face of it.


Verizon is hoping to put 4G everywhere. It would certainly help provide more broadband to rural locales where there is no DSL, cable, or FTTH. (Don't get me started on HughesNet as there are latency problems associated with it with certain online activities.)

The WP Mother-in-Law had only dial-up in her rural New Hampshire abode. Then a couple of years ago Verizon put up a new cell tower nearby she availed herself of Verizon Wireless broadband (3G), which required her to plug in a USB modem to her laptop. The Verizon set up gave her up to 1.5Mbits/second (speed was dependent on the number of users on the cell site at any one time). It was a huge improvement over her (sometimes) 56K dialup modem. Then last year FairPoint brought DSL to town and she switched, which gave her better than 3Mbits/second bidirectional data speed at a much lower price than Verizon Wireless.

If Verizon goes to 4G across the board (which is supposed to offer much higher data speed than 3G), then I can see more rural users making the change as long as the costs are reasonable.


Is it time to rein in rogue federal agencies? I think the answer to that is an unqualified “Yes!”

Both the EPA and FCC have decided they don't need to abide by the laws of this nation and can ignore court rulings with impunity. It's time to prove them wrong.


By way of Instapundit comes this demonstration of an EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) bomb. If you want to grasp the possible widespread consequences of such a device being used over the continental US all you need to do is watch the first few episodes of Dark Angel.


Jay Tea over at Wizbang gets into the "Liberals think conservatives are evil, conservatives think liberals are stupid” meme. While he believes it has run its course, there are still times when he falls back into that mindset.

I find myself wanting to grab certain folks by the shoulders and shake them, shouting in their faces. I want to yell "[Your] theories don't work! They never have, and they never will! That's been proven time and time again, each time with a huge cost in money, freedoms, and even lives! Stop saying that this time will be different if we just try a bit harder! Grow the hell up and learn how to deal with the world as it is! You're too goddamned smart to be this stupid!"

I have to admit to being tempted to do likewise, but realized it would be counterproductive and fought to suppress the urge to do that.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the lake still isn't frozen over, the F150 needs some new tires, and where we're still waiting for a 'real' snowstorm.


Gabrielle Gifford's Shooting - Blaming "Teabaggers"

After today's shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), federal judge John Roll, and others attending her public meeting at a Tuscon, it didn't take long for someone to blame “right-wing, gun-toting teabaggers” for the shooting.

One of my wife's friends on Facebook made that comment earlier today. There were quite a few comments echoing that sentiment in the article linked above.

But from the shooter's MySpace page and a number of YouTube videos he's made, it's apparent he's a paranoid nutcase given to ranting about the government and low literacy rates.

Second Amendment Wins Again

First, it's the New Hampshire legislature changing its rules to allow legislators and staffers to carry their guns inside the Statehouse.

Next, it's the District of Columbia's highest court deciding people who pled guilty or were convicted and jailed for violating DC's unconstitutional gun ban (overturned in DC vs Heller) have their convictions set aside.

“A conviction for conduct that is not criminal, but is instead constitutionally protected, is the ultimate miscarriage of justice,” and a defendant can therefore ask to have it set aside (via a petition for coram nobis relief) even many years later.

Despite the fact of DC vs Heller, the District of Columbia still has difficult roadblocks to gun ownership, in effect restricting gun ownership by law abiding citizens. If I recall correctly, there are a number of suits in progress dealing with DC's procrastination and obstructionism in regards to the Second Amendment. The city's government doesn't seem to care that it has one of the highest violent death rates in the nation, doesn't care that it has left its law abiding citizens without the means to defend themselves. They also ignore the Justice Department's own figures showing violent crimes of all kinds are miniscule in states allowing citizens to own and carry guns compared to those states and cities that don't. You'd think they'd get a clue. But then again, it's really about power and controlling the populace and not actually protecting them (or letting them protect themselves).

Washington DC is trying to buck the trend seen in the rest of the country, where gun laws are being struck down or modified to allow citizens to arm themselves. As this has been happening the crime rates in those states have gone down. Yet another lesson that will be ignored by the Powers-That-Be in DC.


Five Hours

One of my favorite quotes from the blogosphere this week comes from Don Surber by way of Glenn Reynolds:

“Yes, House Republicans have been in power for 5 hours and they have not passed their entire agenda. The New York Times thinks they should be canned and Democrats put back in charge.”

I figured the Lame Stream Media would do something like that, so it's no surprise.


The Tea Party- From Fringe To Mainstream

What had been only a slim chance turned instead into a rout, with Tea party backed candidates winning a number of seats in both the US House and Senate. And today those candidates took office.

What had once been derided (and still is) as a fringe “astroturf” political cult became a force to be reckoned with as more Americans, disgusted with the way both Congress and the White House ignored them, took to the streets and the polls to register their disgust and mistrust with their representatives in statehouses around the country and in Washington DC. Both the states and the federal government went on spending binges and those who would be stuck with the bill said “Enough! No more!”

This group so changed the political landscape that Front Page named the Tea party their Person of the Year.

Over the past few years, while atrophy of the welfare state system has spurred violent protests in Western Europe, the United States has experienced a parallel, but remarkably distinct phenomenon. In early 2009, desperate Greeks rioted in the streets to demand that their overextended government do more for them in the face of financial crisis. Americans, at the same time, rallied across the nation for their government to do less. More than any one individual alone in 2010, this movement, the Tea Party movement, wrought tremendous change over the political landscape, realizing a historic election and revitalizing the American zeitgeist. The title of FrontPage Magazine’s Person of the Year, therefore, must be bestowed collectively on these individuals, the formidable torchbearers of our beloved liberty and prosperity.

And they aren't the only ones paying close attention to the new Tea party members of Congress. ABC News ran stories about them and interviewed ten of them just before they took office.

Something that caught Diane Sawyer off guard was their answer when asked about their future in Congress:

Whether these new members survive the next election cycle remains to be seen. Not a single one, however, said they expect to be in Congress 10 years from now, a remarkable statement given Congress's ability, with all its power and perks, to make a career politician out of just about anyone.

What I think is remarkable is Diane's disbelief that these ten legislators just want to do their jobs and go home. (This is not a new precedent. Two previous members of the US Senate from New Hampshire, Gordon Humphrey and Warren Rudman, promised to serve only two terms and go home. They kept their promises.)

What makes the Tea party even more interesting is that its 10 basic beliefs as laid out in the Contract from America have spurred citizens in other countries to follow their lead, working to restore fiscal sanity to the governments of their nations. The Gadsden flag, a Revolutionary War era flag carrying the image of a rattlesnake coiled to spring and the words “Don't Tread On Me”, has become a symbol of the Tea party movement has appeared in the UK and Australia.

Basically the hardworking taxpaying people have had enough of the profligate spending and economy-killing policies embraced by government and are saying “Enough!” and doing something about it. When a movement crosses borders and garners support from small businessmen and working families, you have to start taking it seriously. Unless one considers these people fringe elements -a claim hard to make after the November mid-term elections - the Tea party has become mainstream. It is “fringe” no more.


Homeless Man With A Golden Voice

Now this guy's got a voice made for radio and TV. I saw a brief clip of him on Good Morning America and found the YouTube video.

Without further delay, here's Ted Williams.


Most Celebrity Health Tips Are Bunk

If you ever needed an excuse not to buy into all of the 'miracle' weight-loss or detox foods or dietary supplements, then this may be what you're looking for.

In an annual list of what it sees as the year's worst abuses against science, the Sense About Science (SAS) campaign group debunked diet and exercise suggestions made by actors, pop stars and others in the public eye in an effort "to help the celebrities realize where they are going wrong and to help the public make sense of celebrity claims."


To try and counter the effects of some of the wildest health and fitness tips, SAS published its own "easy-to-remember pointers for celebrity commentators":

* Nothing is chemical-free: everything is made of chemicals, it's just a case of which ones.

* Detox is a marketing myth: our body does it without pricey potions and detox diets.

* There's no need to boost: bodily functions occur without boosting.

* Energy and fitness come from...food and exercise: there are no shortcuts.

Whenever I see some of these miracle products being hawked by celebrities I have to wonder just what they're thinking, assuming of course that they're thinking at all. Not that all celebrity endorsed products or programs are bunk, just those promising miraculous results without effort.

Gas Prices Rising Due To Goverment Interference

I have no doubt you've noticed gas prices have been going up. The last time I filled the tank on the trusty F150 I paid $2.979 per gallon for regular. From what I've been seeing and reading elsewhere, that's cheap.

Then I hear it's quite possible we could be paying up to $5 per gallon by next year. Is it due entirely to the price of oil on the world market? Or could it be because our own government is making fuel more expensive because they really don't know what the hell their doing, or worse, are doing it because of of a hidden agenda? Somehow I have a feeling it's more the latter than the former.

Years ago when Clinton won the Presidency, I asked a friend of mine in the oil and gas industry if he was upset. He said, "Not really. Democrats usually do things in such a way that always benefits the oil industry. It's never good for Americans though. They try to limit what we do, which only makes demand higher. Oil prices always go up, which is always good for us. Sadly, not so good for everyone else." It turns out he was right. And Obama is doing exactly that. The drilling bans, poor planning, and Obama's total ignorance of the oil industry in general has brought us here.


I've noticed that this is a pattern with the Obama administration. They put a policy in place based on a "misrepresentation." But by the time it's discovered to be a lie, the policy or law has been passed. Done.

Now, along with record high unemployment, we will have record high gas prices.

I've already seen the effects of $5 per gallon has on certain economic activities, and it's not pretty.

A few summers ago marine gas prices hit $5 on some parts of Lake Winnipesaukee, with the average price around $4.50. To say there were very few boats out on the lake would be an understatement. Automotive gas prices were around $4 as well and tourism in the state fell off and was well below normal. Everyone felt the effect of the higher gas prices and they weren't good. But somehow the Obama administration will try to tell us it's actually good for us.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Right up front I must admit to cheating just a little bit this weekend, having actually written some of this, 2011's first T.O.A.S., on Saturday. It doesn't happen very often but this weekend I figured why not? I could have tried to put everything I wanted to cover into five or six separate posts, but this weekend there were all kinds of things going on I figured keeping it down to two or three by way of TOAS would be easier...on me.


BeezleBub, his girlfriend Twirl Girl - if you met her you'd understand - and I spent yesterday making repairs to the electrical system in his Jeep. It seems one of the previous owners had replaced the steering column. Since the electrical connections on the electrical system weren't the same as the one on the steering column he spliced in a mating connector. That in and of itself wasn't a bad thing. But it was the method he used that caused problems.

Rather than using butt connectors or a new Molex connector, he either used wire nuts to hold everything together or just twisted the wires together and covered them with electrical tape. Wire nuts work just fine on electrical connections that are static, but putting them in something that vibrates, jounces, and shakes is a formula for failure. The same can be said for twisting wires together. And so it was for BeezleBub's Jeep.

After a couple of hours of work (including a quick trip to the local hardware store to get the right sized butt connectors), success was ours.

He still has a few minor things to take care of before everything is 100%, but for now he's good to go and can drive himself to school and work.


I have to agree with the folks from Powerline about public employee unions: It's time to rethink them.

Frankly, it was a bad idea to allow them in the first place. We've seen the outcome and it isn't pretty. Maybe it's time to ban them altogether because they really serve no useful purpose other than to enrich public employees at the expense of the folks paying their salaries. The biggest problem? We aren't getting our money's worth.

As if we need more evidence public employee unions are a bad idea, there's this.

(H/T Instapundit)


David Paul Kuhn is calling 2010 “The year that humbled the DC establishment.

But there was a particular irony to the chasm between the excessive rhetoric that greeted this president and the electoral rebuke that closed the year. These were, nearly, the best of liberal times. The most progressive legislation passed since at least the Beatles broke up. But it was also the worst of liberal times. Liberalism's most historic midterm defeat since the radio broadcast of Orson Welles' adaptation of "War of the Worlds."

Indeed. And it wasn't just the liberal Democrat establishment that got slapped up the side of the head. The GOP establishment saw their power diminished as upstarts in the form of the TEA party told them to lead, follow, or get out of the way.


Have you gotten the feeling that Global Warming explanations are made up as they go along?

Yeah, me too.

(There's a nice little poll at the end of the linked article that asks about the cause of Global Warming. I think you'll be surprised at the poll results.)


I have to echo Glenn Reynolds on this one: Is the GOP going wobbly on Fannie and Freddie?

Lord, I hope not. F & F were two of the major players in the housing bubble and the following meltdown that dragged the housing market and a large number of banks down with them. While it must be understood that neither Fannie or Freddie can be reformed or abolished overnight, GOP Congresscritters had better stop trying to channel Barney Frank on this issue or suffer the consequences in 2012.


Bogie gives us her report on the blizzard that struck New Hampshire the day after Christmas, commenting on the difference in the response to the storm between her old place of employment and her new one. It's not surprising considering her old employer manufactured a tangible product and her new one does not.


David Starr has a series of posts about ending the Great Depression 2.0.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

And Part 5 is here.

He comes up with a number of valid points. While I may not agree entirely with all of his solutions, for the most part he's right on.


Matthew Continetti draws some interesting parallels between present day and December 1931.

Some of them are uncanny.

(H/T Granite State Pundit)


I like this: a sports hybrid! And it figures that it's from Honda.

The CR-Z is reminiscent of the original CRX, a two seat sports compact that got great gas mileage and performed well at the racetrack.

One thing I really like about the CR-Z? A six-speed manual transmission. How many hybrids have you heard of with a manual transmission? As far as I know this is the only one. After all, a sports car is supposed to have a manual transmission. None of those CVT slush-boxes for me!

I want one. I really want one.


Famine is a bad thing. Famine in America due to government caving in to watermelon environmentalist groups is even worse.

And so it goes in central California.


The last of the Christmas decorations in The Manse came down today. BeezleBub and Twirl Girl spent the latter part of this morning undecorating the tree and getting the ornaments and lights packed away until next Christmas.

My only rule for them in regards to getting it done was that they had to finish before the Patriots game. After all, it's my job to clean the house over the weekend and I didn't want my chores to overlap into game time.

Call me crass, but it's my house so it's my rules.


Oh, now he gets it!

On his last day in office, New York Governor David Paterson decided it's time to sound the alarm about the state's upcoming pension debacle. As if no one else was aware of this economy killing crisis waiting in the wings?

There's a Yiddish term for Paterson's decision to reveal this last minute revelation: chutzpah.

(H/T Viking Pundit)


After this last snowstorm BeezleBub and I came to the conclusion that the Official Weekend Snowblower was on its last legs. Even though it's only 11-years old it has seen a lot of action and been used heavily. Despite regular maintenance and repair on our part it's wearing out. The auger and the impeller have seen better times and have been in better shape (one impeller vane is bent and we have no idea how or when that happened), we're having problems keeping things bolted together (this past storm we lost 4 bolts, two of which hold the gas tank in place), and the transmission needs readjustment again...and that's after one use!

BeezleBub has been on the 'Net researching our next snowblower. His pick: the John Deere 1330SE.

It has a larger engine (13hp vs 10hp on the present snowblower) and a 30” cleaning width, which is 6” wider than our present machine.

We will put off the purchase until late in the winter to take advantage of the end-of-season sales, assuming our present machine lasts that long.


The New England Patriots are playing their last regular season game today in Foxboro against the Miami Dolphins. The Pats have already clinched their division title, won a first week playoff bye, and home field advantage for follow on playoff games, so this game is the icing on the cake.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee on this first weekend of 2011, where our (early) January thaw has been melting away most of last weekend's snow, the woodstove has been dialed all the way back, and where the first work Monday of the year is arriving all too soon...again.


The 800-Pound Gorilla

I've listened to some of the talking heads over the past couple of days and more than a few have predicted a strong economic recovery during 2011. But there's still the 800-pound gorilla they're all ignoring: the housing market.

With a large shadow inventory waiting in the wings, housing prices aren't likely to be heading up any time soon. Banks are holding on to a huge inventory of foreclosed homes, hoping to dispose of them in a manner that will allow them to recoup some of their losses. But if they were to put all of them on the market over the next year the already fragile housing market would collapse and many people whose homes are still 'right-side up' would end up being upside down, meaning their homes would now be worth less than the unpaid principal of their mortgages. That in turn might encourage more homeowners with upside down mortgages walk away from them, leaving the banks or other mortgage holders in the lurch.

I've been checking the real estate listings here in central New Hampshire and one thing that stands out is the tumble in prices. (Both Deb and I like to look through the monthly/quarterly real estate slicks the various realty groups make available at the local supermarkets and banks.) Homes that had listed for $250K to $300K are now on the market for between $190K to $240K. Even some of the high-end homes on Lake Winnipesaukee listed in the millions have dropped the asking prices by up to 30%! (One property with which I am familiar was originally listed for $301,000 last year. It just recently sold for $69,000.)

The new lower prices can be seen as a long overdue correction. The housing bubble drove prices up at well above the rate of inflation for over 6 years. Maybe the most recent listings are showing a return to sanity and a more realistic value of the properties up for sale.

It is unfortunate for some of those selling their properties because unless they have owned them since before the bubble they are likely to lose money on the sale.

Unless the economic pundits take this 800-pound gorilla seriously, their predictions for the economic recovery this year can't be taken seriously either.