Government Does Not Make Jobs Possible

Harking back to my earlier post about clueless “you owe everything you have to the government” US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, here's an object lesson about how government is not the leading 'agency' when it comes to roads, utilities, housing, and so on being the only thing that allows entrepreneurs to create anything, including jobs.

To take a look at her lunatic vision and how it is so wrong all we have top do is look to China to see how absolutely wrong she is about the whole thing.

China, anticipating the need for more housing, schools, and recreational facilities for all the people who will be working for all of the new businesses have built entire new towns and cities to provide all those things. The only problem? They're empty. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Some have been empty for ten years and the only people living and working in them are the government employees tasked with maintaining these ghost towns.

I'm sure Elizabeth Warren would think such a venture is exactly how things have been done in the US. But that isn't the case. History shows that businesses arrive, build factories and the roads that lead to them. They pay to have water, sewer, and gas lines run to their businesses. The same is true of electrical and telecommunications lines. The government doesn't pay for any of that.

Well, that's not entirely true.

Some states, cities, or towns cut deals in order to entice new businesses to come to their areas. Some even go so far as to take private property by eminent domain to hand over to them all in the name of increasing the chances of having new jobs come into being. (That worked out so well for the city of New London, Connecticut after they won their case in the US Supreme Court – the infamous Kelo vs New London decision.)

But to attribute all of the infrastructure needed for businesses to even operate solely to government is being disingenuous at best and irrational at worst. For the most part developers pay the cost of adding to the infrastructure need to support new construction, not the taxpayers. And then the businesses pay utilities bills for the electricity, water, gas, and sewer services, sometimes to the municipality and sometimes to private utilities. But none of that is paid for through taxes. So Warren's claims that government is the one who provided all those things is only partially correct, end then only peripherally. Government may be the agent for some of those things, but they generally don't use taxpayer dollars to provide those things.

Roads are different, but even then it isn't as if roads were built just for the businesses she's demonizing. They were built for everyone, including her and the businesses that provide the jobs for the people she says she wants to serve.


Why Waste Four Years In College?

A number of bloggers have covered the controversy over the University of Wisconsin – Stout in regards to Professor James Miller and his First Amendment rights to free speech on campus. Apparently the campus police chief doesn't believe in them. Neither does the interim Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The U of W has beclowned itself on this matter and I'm not going to belabor the asininity of the powers-that-be at that fine institution of..ahem...learning. Instead, I am going to address the continuing destruction of our colleges and universities and the concomitant higher education bubble that is about to burst. Or rather, I am going to let Penn and Teller do it for me. After all, I have work to do and money to make so that someday I too can retire a year or so before my employer involuntarily “retires” my ass me because they believe I'm too damn old to do the job anymore. So sit back, relax, and enjoy their expose (in three parts).

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

That basically covers it.

I particularly liked the part when they talk to the supposedly smartest man in academia, Noam Chomsky. All he did for me is prove that he's a clueless, out-of-touch putz. (Frankly, the smartest man in academia is probably Stephen Hawking, at least in my opinion.)


New Lithium-Ion/Silicon Batteries Closer To Commercialization

It seems the work to commercialize the use of silicon in lithium-ion batteries is proceeding apace.

The folks a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have been working on a process to easily use silicon nanowires to greatly increase the capacity of Li-Ion batteries. LBNL has been testing batteries made with the silicon anodes for over a year now and found the new cells maintain their capacity after “many hundreds of charge-discharge cycles.” The cells have approximately eight times the capacity of existing Li-Ion cells.

If this process holds up and is cost effective to implement, electric cars will become more of a reality as battery packs capable of giving cars extended driving range (400+ miles) will become available. It also means the physical size of battery packs used in hybrid electric cars, laptop computers, and a whole host of other devices using these batteries will shrink even as the capacity increases. Imagine a laptop, tablet, or smart phone that will give you a full 24 hours of use before its battery needs to be recharged.

Can We Please Make The Dollar Bill Go Away?

It seems yet another attempt to do away with the dollar bill is in the works, something I have advocated since the Sacagawea dollar coin made its appearance.

Proponents of keeping the dollar bill cite the unpopularity of the coin because no one is using them. But the reason they don't use them is because the dollar bill is still being printed. It also wastes billions of taxpayer dollars to keep printing bills that wear out in 18 to 24 months. Coins last at least 20 years.

Two of those working against doing away with the dollar bill? Senators Scott Brown (R-MA) and John Kerry (D-MA). This doesn't surprise me because the sole company that makes the paper used to print all of our paper currency is located in Massachusetts. Without the dollar bill they won't make nearly as much income as they have been, meaning they'll probably have to lay off some employees. So the two senators from Massachusetts are working to protect a small number of jobs in the Pay State at the cost to the taxpayers of $183 million per year.


Elizabeth Warren Living In A Socialist Dream World...And Our Nightmare

If this wasn't taking place in Massachusetts I'd be more surprised.

We've all been hearing about Elizabeth Warren's beliefs and opinions about such things as the constitutionally defined limits on government, taxes, spending, and now, such fundamentals as private property rights. In a nutshell, she's against them. She believes that no individual creates businesses and jobs, that it's all The State. I'm sorry, but the state is too stupid and too corrupt to create anything other than more stupidity and corruption.

"You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for," Warren says. But the flip side of that equation is that it's the need for markets and goods that helped get the roads built in the first place. It's that need which makes cities and towns, more than public servants do.

The government cannot make towns and cities, China and North Korea have proven that with ghost towns. It is those factories and market that make them.

And the public benefits from having goods and jobs, much more than it does from people like Warren. That is and has always been the black hole in the left's argument. Warren treats the factory as a net benefit for the factory owner-- when it's actually a net benefit for everyone.

She gets cause and effect backwards. Roads won't be built unless there's a reason for them.

Her Marxist colors are showing. I'm expecting her to start talking about the proletariat of the workers and how capitalism is a disease and how it's necessary for the workers to rise up against the bosses.

Little does she realize (or even care) that it's been tried before and it has never worked. It's even been tried here and failed. Does the UAW versus the Big Three provide enough of an example of how not to let “the workers” run the show? (“Workers” in this context refers to the union bosses who work very hard to maintain mediocrity among the rank and file union workers while demanding ever increasing wages and benefits far above what the workers are worth.) I'm not sure shouting her philosophy from the rooftops is going to be a winning strategy in her efforts to wrest away the Senate seat now held by Scott Brown.

We'll see how that's all going to work out for her. It seems the People's Republic of Massachusetts isn't as blue as it used to be, indicated by Scott Brown's election to the Senate seat once held by Ted Kennedy, and the growing failure of RomneyCare as it takes up even bigger chunks of the state budget while returning less and less care.

UK Labour Party Wants To License Journalists, Including Bloggers

I just hope this doesn't give the Left here in the US any ideas, but I'm not holding my breath:

UK Labour Party wants journalism licenses, will prohibit non-licensed journalists.

Oh, yeah, that will go over well. But considering the “shellacking” Labour took during the last election, I'm not all that surprised.

The UK Labour party's conference is underway in Liverpool, and party bigwigs are presenting their proposals for reinvigorating Labour after its crushing defeat in the last election. The stupidest of these proposals to date will be presented today, when Ivan Lewis, the shadow culture secretary, will propose a licensing scheme for journalists through a professional body that will have the power to forbid people who breach its code of conduct from doing journalism in the future.

Given that "journalism" presently encompasses "publishing accounts of things you've seen using the Internet" and "taking pictures of stuff and tweeting them" and "blogging" and "commenting on news stories," this proposal is even more insane than the tradition "journalist licenses" practiced in totalitarian nations.

So the scheme would even ban unlicensed blogging or Internet posts. Of course I can understand why the socialists in the UK would want to do so – control the dialogue and you control the thought of the “proles” and the results of elections. Truth and fact would become a thing of the past because the socialist/statist/authoritarian Left believe they are the only arbiters of the truth.

You know statists like Obama, Biden, Pelosi, and Reid would love nothing better than to control all of the media rather than just the portions of the MSM already in their pockets. If they could silence their critics then everything would be just perfect for them because they'd be able to sell any lie as the truth (Freedom = Slavery, Collective Good/ Individual Bad, and so on).

But there is one big difference between the UK and the US – we here in the US still have our guns and the Left knows it. Our brethren in the UK have been all but stripped of their means to fight back if it ever came to that unless they were willing to emulate the faux Guy Falkes in V for Vendetta.

(H/T Instapundit)


Thoughts On A Sunday

It's NASCAR weekend up here in New Hampshire, with the second of two Sprint Cup races taking place today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

While I am a NASCAR fan, I am also a New England Patriots fan, and there lies the problem. Both the race and Patriots game are taking place at the same time. I could easily record one while watching the other, but for events like these the last thing I want to do is watch a recording when I already know the outcome. So this time around I dumped NASCAR in favor of the Patriots.

I should have watched NASCAR. The Patriots tanked against the Buffalo Bills 31-34, after having held a 21-0 lead. The two biggest problems – rookies pulling down major penalties and a Bills defense that intercepted 4 Brady passes.

Once the Pats lost the momentum they couldn't get it back and the Bills stomped all over them. They won because they wanted it more and prepared better than the Pats had.


We're only into our second full day of fall and already the foliage is starting to change. I noticed during my drive between our small business and my 'regular' job late yesterday morning that the ferns along the sides of the roads were already browning and the swamp maples and birches were starting to sport more red and yellow leaves, respectively.

It won't be too long before the hoards of leaf peepers will arrive to take in the fiery fall display.

At least these folks tend to be far more polite (and better tippers) than the now departed “summah people”.


Glenn Reynolds has a number of links about the whole Solyndra debacle and how it seems the White House is playing a game of CYA, with the help of the most disliked man in Congress, Henry Waxman.

Glenn also quotes an e-mail received from one of his readers that asks:

“The question I have not heard asked is, How many Solyndras are there? How many have already failed? Or on the brink of failure? How many are still being planned?”


And then there's the LightSquared scandal.


Charles Krauthammer writes about “the return of the real Obama” - the redistributionist, share the misery, but not the power – socialist.


To paraphrase Art Linkletter, “Liberals Believe The Darnedest Things.”

One has to wonder whether at times they are looking into a parallel universe where the laws of that universe are different from ours rather than seeing what is directly in front of them.

Some of the things they believe that aren't so:

Myth #1: Conservatives are outside the American mainstream.

Myth #2: Conservatives represent special interests.

Myth #3: The Republican party is moving to the right.

Myth #4: The Tea Party is dangerous and extreme.

Myth #5: Ethnic minorities must be liberals.

Myth #6: Women are naturally liberals.

Myth #7: Liberals take the country forward and conservatives take it backward.

Myth #8: Liberals have moved beyond old-fashioned religion.

Myth #9: Good intentions are enough for liberals.

Myth #10: No logical arguments need be made against conservatives.

The rebuttals to each myth are quite good, though I don't necessarily agree with all of them.

I find myths 5 and 6 to be the most hubristic as they assume things that just aren't so and they always catch liberals by surprise during election season. Myth 9 is an arrogance of biblical proportions, considering where that road leads (and has led in the past). And myth 10 is self-contradictory since it is a rare thing when liberals of the type we're talking about use logic for anything.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Though not exactly breaking news, I was gladdened to hear that Heathkit is returning to the kit business.

I've written before about Heathkit and its influence on a few generations of electronics and amateur radio enthusiasts. It's nice to see they're making a comeback. I wonder if at some point they'll bring back some of their amateur radio kits? They used to have a wide range of them from relatively simple meters to full-blown transceiver and power amplifier kits.



Scary Yankee Chick is looking to buy a new snowblower for the upcoming winter and is looking for some comments and suggestions. She links one model she and her husband have been looking at as one possibility.

We here at The Manse are also in the market for a new Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower as the old one finally broke down and would have cost more than it was worth to repair. We've decided on one from John Deere, the 1330SE. As I wrote in my comments to SYC, it will throw snow farther than our old machine, something that is quite important for those winters with lots of snowfall, and will allow us to clear our rather treacherous driveway in less time.


You can't tell me this isn't going to have unintended consequences, bad unintended consequences.


While some in the GOP are hoping Chris Christie will change his mind and run for President, I don't think he will. As he's said more than once there's too much left to do in New Jersey and he wants to see it through.

I agree with him wholeheartedly. Better he finish the job in the Garden State and then maybe consider a run for the White House, but not one minute sooner.


The Official Weekend Pundit Satellite Receiver/DVR has been getting a workout since the new fall TV season started. There are a couple of new shows that look promising, one of them being Person Of Interest. Of course the fact that I like it means it's probably doomed as the Gods of TV Networks like to be ironic, canceling good shows and keeping really trite dumbed down shows on the air.

At least the cable networks tend to give shows more of a chance than ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, or the WB.

I expect the first shows to hit the chopping block will be announced in the next few weeks as TV execs quickly kill off shows that don't immediately become smash hits.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the NASCAR folks have departed in their jets, summer weather has returned, and where I'm fighting off a cold...and losing.


PDS Alive And Well - Part 326

One would think the level of PDS would abate after a while, but it hasn't. The vitriol aimed at Sarah Plain hasn't done anything except grow amongst the leftist shills and drones, at least to judge by the comments made to this article at the Daily Caller wondering if Sarah was on the verge of announcing a run for President.

One would think the shills would at least come up with new claims, but they've been reduced to recycling the same old (and disproven) fabrications. You know the ones:

She's so stupid that she said she could see Russia from her house!

The only reason she's doing what she's been doing is because she's lazy and wants the money.

She's a quitter. She couldn't handle the job of governor.

Trig isn't her kid.

She's in the pocket of Big Oil.

Bristol got pregnant in retaliation for Sarah not aborting Trig.

The list goes on and on, ad nauseum.

One particular commenter kept making the point again and again that she quit her office as governor just to make money. I saw her comment at least a dozen times, meaning she was “pulling a Harrop”, named after a regular commenter on the Wall Street Journal opinion section who used copy and paste again and again and again as if repetition would somehow make his words true.

This was the comment I wanted to post, but Daily Caller's comment system, Disqus, was having issues and I wasn't able to post. So here's my response:

Some of the commenters keep calling Palin a quitter because she stepped down as governor. Not once have you mentioned the real reason why she stepped down, have you? Let me refresh your memory since yours appears to be defective.

She quit because her legal fees were bankrupting her and her family. Frivolous ethics lawsuits were filed by a group of thirteen Alaskan Democrats (with help from the DNC). Under Alaskan law she had to cover her own legal fees. Answering those lawsuits took up almost 100% of her time and the time of her staff, meaning she couldn't govern. Those lawsuits were filed just for that reason – to make it impossible for her to govern. It doesn't matter that every single one of those lawsuits were found to be without merit and were eventually dismissed. Every single one of them. But that didn't mean she didn't end up with legal fees exceeding $500,000.

Since then Alaskan law has been changed which now covers the governor's legal fees for such legal proceedings. That didn't help Governor Palin as she still had to pay the fees she accrued during that time. Were you in that position would you have stayed in office even though it would leave your family destitute? Somehow I doubt it.

I have no doubts my words will in no way sway you true believers in Palin's laziness and greed because you have proven yourselves again and again incapable of independent thought. You can only think along those lines your programmers allow. Heaven forbid you should stray from the party line and think for yourself.

Basically, they've got nothing new while Plain has been showing she's far smarter than much of the left has ever given her credit for and has better handle on how things work than the present occupant of the White House. And that scares the Democrats to death.

Too bad.


Albert Einstein Proven Wrong

I think we're going to have to rewrite a few bumper stickers.

This one in particular is going to need a change: 186,000 Mile Per Second. It's Not Just A Good Idea, It's The Law.

It seems the folks over at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland have discovered that neutrinos, massless and chargeless sub-atomic particles, can exceed the speed of light, something Einstein's special theory of relativity says is impossible.

At first researchers didn't believe what they had measured, so they asked other researchers to independently verify their results. So far no one has claimed CERN's findings are in error.

Does this mean that we'll also have to edit Albert Einstein's formula to read E=mc2±1dB?

This isn't the first of Einstein's theorems dealing with relativity that have been found to be in error. Others have been found wanting or weren't as complete as Einstein thought they were.

We must also remember Einstein's words when it came to any of his theories: “It doesn't matter if ten thousand scientists agree with me. All it takes is one to prove me wrong.”

These are words that 'climate' scientists should take to heart, too. (This means you, Al Gore.)


Different Climate Outcome, Same 'Solution'

I find it interesting that the AGW faithful aren't using new data to conclude climate change is All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans. Much of the same kind of data they're using to 'prove' global warming is due solely to human activity was used back in 1973 to prove the same thing about global cooling, proposing many of the same 'solutions' to fix the problem.

In 1973 I attended an Ecology Symposium at Ohio State University meant for faculty and graduate students in the auditorium of the engineering school. I was an undergrad, but I sneaked in among the several hundred attendees, an got a seat in the back of the auditorium before the doors were shut. I heard several presentations and lectures by a distinguished panel of professors and researchers from other universities speaking on the approaching perilous demise of planet earth by global cooling. The earth was literally beginning to freeze because mankind was using too much fossil fuels so that the pollution was blocking the suns rays and its warmth.

The consensus of the distinguished panel was that our end was certain by 1980, or 1985 at the latest. The northern polar ice cap was going to expand rapidly, devouring first Canada, then the upper half of the United States. Canadians were going to flood the U.S. and they, and Americans would then flee south to Mexico and Central America triggering a bloody war as those Latinos would have to fight off the invasion. In the midst of this bloody war, America's bread basket would be gone as our fertile land could no longer feed the rest of the world as it would be under ice. The end result would be the loss of at least 75% of the planet's human population.

The solution offered by this august group of distinguished experts: Americans, and only Americans, would have to surrender their cars, single family homes, all of their electric gadgets, and their individual liberties to a strong central government which would hire these, and like-minded experts who would forever manage our society. The rest of the world could be permitted to press on as they were because they were not guilty of our over-consumption of the world's resources.

I also have copy of the Jan 13, 1972 issue of the Columbus Dispatch with lead editorial on the demise of mankind from over-population. It recommended the implementation of the President's Commission on Over-population. . . . president Nixon's commission. According to this AP editorial, we had mere months to get moving on this matter or face extinction. The solution: Americans had to surrender. . . . etc.

You get the point.

Funny how regardless of whatever crisis conjured up by our ruling elites the solution is the same.

I've noticed that, too. Just about any crisis, even a faux crisis, will be used as an excuse to expand the power of our self-defined and self-delusional ruling elite. After all, they know much better how to run our lives than we do. And because they do, they will be exempt from the restrictions placed upon the rest of us because of the 'burdens' they bear on our behalf.

Yeah. Right.


Moral Cowardice

We've seen a few articles dealing with false accusation of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct on college campuses and the rather lax criteria for determining the 'guilt' of the accused by college administrations, in many cases ignoring the evidence presented and even the findings of police investigations that show the accused is innocent. It elicited a response from a Dartmouth alumni who suffered under just such an accusation even though the accuser was found to have lied about the alleged assault.

That in and of itself is a miscarriage of justice. But it was his experiences and observations that were more telling, especially observations about those who chose to judge him guilty despite overwhelming evidence that no such assault ever took place.

Dartmouth is one of the Ivy League schools, institutions of higher learning that supposed to be a cut above the rest. However, as we have seen over the years, their reputations for churning out the “best and brightest” are showing themselves to be less deserved than in decades past.

One observation of Gonzalo Lira's that struck me as being dead on.

What I didn’t realize at the time—because I was too young—and which I would slowly come to realize over the years, was what the episode taught me, about America’s elite. About the cowardice of the American elite. A moral cowardice that, I understand now, is far more significant than practically anything else that I learned at Dartmouth College.

The members of the Committee On Standards who sat in judgment of me in the Fall of 1991 were not some lofty group of my “betters”, draped in gowns and wearing the wigs of English jurists: They were my peers—run-of-the-mill students of a small liberal-arts college in New England.

But that particular group of run-of-the-mill students is exactly the sort of individual who winds up running the United States. The current Secretary of the Treasury is a Dartmouth alum—Geithner ‘83. So was the last Treasury Secretary—Paulson ‘68—as well as a whole boatload of his partners at Goldman Sachs. The current head of General Electric (Immelt ‘68), the most influential Surgeon General in American history (Koop ‘37), the current junior senator from New York (Gillibrand née Rutnik ‘88), the senior White House correspondent for one of the major networks (Tapper ‘91), the soldier/writer who’s experiences in Iraq formed the basis for a major television series on HBO (Fick ‘99)—

—all Dartmouth alums.

The kind of men and women Dartmouth enrolls and graduates are the bright men and women who find places for themselves in the gears of America society. The men and women on the COS hearing in the fall of 1991 were no different.

And they showed me how fundamentally corrupt the American leadership class really is.

Moral cowardice. I think that sums up the problem we have with those in power. It's more about feelings that about what's right or wrong. They are not willing to take a stand against something that is wrong because of how someone else might feel about it. It seems feelings have replaced morals, have replaced critical thinking. But what do we expect when over the past few decades education has twisted the meaning of right and wrong and replaced it with how one feels about something. (And if you notice, it's never about what someone might think about some event or issue, it's how the feel about it.)

Millions of American young people have been raised by parents and schools with “How do you feel about it?” as the only guide to what they ought to do. The heart has replaced God and the Bible as a moral guide. And now, as Brooks points out, we see the results. A vast number of American young people do not even ask whether an action is right or wrong. The question would strike them as foreign. Why? Because the question suggests that there is a right and wrong outside of themselves. And just as there is no God higher than them, there is no morality higher than them, either.

Could this be why Gonzalo Lira was 'convicted' and suspended by the Dartmouth Committee On Standards for an offense he didn't commit? Was he being punished for the alleged misdeeds of Clarence Thomas against Anita Hill (the Thomas confirmation hearings were ongoing at the time). Did they see him as a proxy for all of those out there that had committed such offenses and gone unpunished because they felt it was right thing to do, regardless of the fact that an innocent man was going to pay the price for others' transgressions?

Along this line are the replacement of morals with feelings which is the reason behind such odious things as political correctness, college “speech codes” that violate the First Amendment in an effort to prevent anyone from being offended by anyone else (except of course those on the Left being allowed to offend those on the Right because they feel it's necessary to show them their place), and a whole host of other actions that cast aside traditional notions of right or wrong. By extension, this also means they have no way of recognizing evil because to them it's all relative. (“There is no right or wrong.”) It appears they do not believe that some act or some one can be so totally effin' evil that they do not have a right to exist. They explain away the atrocities of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Kim Il Sung, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and a host of other outright evil persons by claiming others drove them to it (the blame usually laid upon Western Civilization). They truly have no inkling that evil does indeed exist, that it can exist in the form of a single person willing to kill as many people as necessary to get their way. It is that moral cowardice that allows many of the aforementioned genocidal despots to do what they do with nary a protest from the enlightened, “feeling” ruling elite.

And we somehow expect these very same people to have our best interests at heart?


Easy-Bake Oven Escapes Extinction

Welcome to another edition of Tech Tuesday, though in this instance we're not dealing with high tech so much as retro tech.

How many of you out there remember the Easy-Bake Oven? It's been around for decades – since 1963 (I remember when one of my sisters got one. It was the coolest thing because you could make cakes and brownies with it!) It was a simple piece of technology – a plastic outer case that looked like a miniature version of a kitchen stove, an inner case made out of some kind of sheet metal, a 100 watt incandescent light bulb, and an electrical cord. That's all there was to it.

It came with small packages of Betty Crocker cake and brownie mix, no different from the larger boxes our mothers bought to make their cakes and brownies. It helped that you could use mix from the larger boxes to make the small baked goods. (No, I am not being sexist. You have to remember that many of us grew up in the 50's and 60's before gender roles were redefined. But as a side note, the WP Mom was never a traditional homemaker. My folks were well ahead of their time as the 'traditional' roles didn't really apply in our family.)

So what makes me bring up this bit of retro tech?

It's being redesigned.

Because the gubmint, in its self-delusional wisdom, decided to ban incandescent light bulbs starting with the 100 watt bulbs, the Easy-Bake Oven could have gone the way of the eight track tape.

Hasbro has redesigned it to do away with the need for the soon-to-be-defunct 100 watt bulb, replacing it with a more traditional heating element. The Easy-Bake Oven also gets a new, 'swoopier' look in it's eleventh revision of the classic toy. Unfortunately the redesign also includes a much higher price: $49.99 versus the last model's $29.99, a 66% increase.

I'll bet the geniuses in Washington never realized the negative effect their light bulb ban was going to have on the next generation of bakers. Call it yet another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences.


This weekend brought a bit of fall, weatherwise, with temps near freezing at night and only reaching the 60's during the day. At least we'll get back to the 70's and maybe 80's during the week.


The corn maze at the farm opened last weekend, meaning BeezleBub will be busy on weekend evenings until the end of October. He'll also be working a few evenings during the week the closer we get to Halloween.


Another change: BeezleBub has been seeing a college girl since just after school started. He met her at a high school drama competition this past spring and has kept in touch with her since then. She's attending one of the local universities and visited The Manse a couple of weekends ago and again this weekend. I have not yet been able to come up with an appropriate nom d'intimité to describe her, but I'll work on it. (Deb has suggested “Polliwog”, but I'm going to have to think on that one.)

If nothing else he's having to learn how to prioritize his time as both Deb and I have told him neither one of us will be playing the role of facilitator for this relationship. He's been trying to get us to drive to the Big State University to pick her up while he's at work, but as we've told him more than once it's up to him to make this work, not us.


One bit of news that will make the 2012 silly season a bit more interesting, at least here in New Hampshire: Incumbent Governor John Lynch (D) has announced he will not be running for an unprecedented fifth term. He figured 8 years was enough time in the corner office. (New Hampshire's governor has a term of office of 2 years.)

It will certainly open up the field for both parties and will make it more of a race than it has been the past few election cycles.


Apparently someone knew giving Solyndra $535 million was a bad idea. Who, you may ask?

MIT...back in 2009.

In regards to the Solyndra banruptcy, MIT's Technology Review had this to say: “We told you so.”

As Dave Rotman wrote:

The downfall of Solyndra does point to some fundamental mistakes made in conflating job creation and clean-tech development.

Yeah, that about sums it up.


An old problem has raised its ugly head again (or at least the ghost of an old problem).

After working to clean the XP Anti-virus 2011 malware from the computer at our small business this past April, one important function that usually runs automatically no longer worked.

Windows Update Agent, a program that allows the Windows OS to update or install security patches wouldn't run, even when started manually or triggered from the Microsoft Update Center website. I tried to reinstall it with a fresh copy from Microsoft but it wouldn't install, saying Update was already installed and running on the system. I couldn't even delete it because every time I did it would reinstall itself after 20 or 30 seconds.

Apparently this is a a little leftover gift from the folks who created the XP Anti-virus 2011 malware. None of the usual programs can even identify it or find it. So I've been checking the forums and found little help. I finally turned to my dear brother who made a few suggestions that I'll try the next time I'm working at our business (usually Saturdays).

Aren't computers fun?


The Barrister over at Maggie's Farm posts about something I've understood for years: We New England Yankees, more specifically the menfolk, never seem to want to retire.

As the Barrister explains it:

It's a point of masculine pride in a part of the country where work and masculine pride and vigor have traditionally been equated.

Our tradition has always been a little suspicious of, and uncomfortable with, leisure. Perhaps "ambivalent" is the right word. People with Yankeeland roots tend to find some work to do when they find spare time on their hands. Idleness is a sin, and "relaxation" is not in the lexicon. I am not saying that this is right or wrong - it's just a cultural thing hereabouts.

I think it can be explained with one phrase: Puritan work ethic. On more than one occasion I've had folks “from away” comment upon how it is we always seem to work, even when we don't have to. I've always explained it as something we inherited from the Puritans who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and worked hard to attain success. It's carried forward almost 400 years and is still with us today.


The New England Patriots played the San Diego Chargers at Gillette Stadium late this afternoon, coming off their 38-24 victory over the Miami Dolphins this past Monday night.

The Patriots proved it wasn't a fluke by beating San Diego 35-21, forcing 4 turnovers during the game, the last one with 1:02 left in the game.


Joe McGinniss's book about Sarah Palin, a hit-piece of innuendo, unattributed “quotes”, and stories long proved to be nothing more than fabrications, shows how low McGinniss has sunk.

For no discernible reason other than blinded hatred of Palin (and no doubt to make some money) McGinniss moved to Alaska in 2010 and rented the house next door to his subject. This stunt – and his synthetic indignation at the understandable ire it prompted from the Palins – is given extensive treatment.

Yet the worst aspect of the book by far is its racial angle. By stating that Palin and her two sisters had a “fetish” for black men, McGinniss raises that deep-rooted American taboo of white women having interracial sex.

Ah, even here the die-hard Obama supporters are trying to play the race card. But then it's always been the Democrats playing it. At this point, it's the only one they've got left and it's looking very tattered.


I was talking to one of the owners of our favorite breakfast/lunch joint and she was remarking how much things have calmed down since the “summah people” have left. Now she sees mostly the locals and some of the die-hard summerfolk. (If you've never read any of my previous screeds about the difference between summerfolk and “summah people” it boils down to this: Summerfolk are here to have a good time, to relax, and mingle with the rest of us because a lot of us used to be summerfolk at one time. Summah people on the other hand tend to be rude, look down upon those of us who live here year round as well as the other summerfolk, and have a whiny tone to their words.)

It isn't money that defines the two because I've seen that both groups contain regular working folk, the wealthy, and everyone in between. It's all about attitude. Summah people have a lousy attitude, in spades.

For the most part we'll be dealing with the last of the summerfolk until Columbus Day weekend. That's when most of them finally close up their camps and cottages, pull their boats out of the water, prep them for winter storage, and say their goodbyes to their local friends.

As foliage season approaches we'll see the crowds of leafpeepers arriving to take in the fall foliage. The 'peepers' tend to be different from the summerfolk and summah people, being of a more widespread national and international flavor. As our friend says, they also tend to tip better, too.


Our friend also mentioned that business was good this summer, despite the continuing recession. That was probably due to the fact that so much of her summer customers are summerfolk and summah people. It's generally too crowded for the locals during the summer and money has been tight for a lot of us.


It appears that the American people aren't all that interested in AGW any more, at least if the CBS/NYT poll is even halfway accurate. It seems they're far more interested in the economy, jobs, and government spending.

Who'da thunk it?

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


I know this has been making the rounds, but I couldn't resist the urge to add my 2¢ worth.

At least we know of one Congressional Democrat who believes we don't deserve to keep the money we earn – Jan Schakowsky (IL-9). I guess she believes the government can better spend that money than the folks who actually earned it. Spoken like a true statist.

It's telling that she also believes “the American people are waiting for the government to come up with a plan.” The only plan we want from the government is how they're going to get out of our way and let us bring the economy back to where it should be. After all it is we who drive the economy, not the government. The only thing the government is good at doing in regards to the economy is making it more expensive to do business and getting in the way.

The Left still fails to see one of the biggest flaws in their claim that the government knows best. Government is not an all-knowing, all-seeing infallible deity. It is made up of people, just as flawed as the rest of us. No one in government is either wise enough or smart enough to run our lives (or the economy) for us. Those in government have the same problems as the rest of us. If they can't solve their own problems, how can they solve ours? It's simple: they can't.


Rob Sama has a couple of interesting ideas for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts about ways for it to raise more revenue without the need to raise taxes. His post is in response to the Pay State's move towards legalized gambling (they plan to license three casinos which Rob says will “become a source of graft and corruption in the state.” He believes if they're going to legalize gambling it should be an all or nothing proposition, allowing every bar in the state to offer video poker and slot machines.

Rob's suggestions for a couple of state-run vices: marijuana and prostitution. As he says, “State monopolies on vice are nothing new,” and backs it up with examples such as liquor sales and lotteries.

He may have something there.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where quiet has returned with the departure of the summah people, the nights are cool, and the weekend is quickly winding to a close.


What We Did Right

Bill Whittle has another as always excellent editorial, this time covering what it is we did right in regards to Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

As he reminds us, Osama bin Laden saw his dreams of a new caliphate come true on September 11, 2001 at 8:46AM. He saw it end 109 minutes later in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

"Osama is dead. We're still here."



Dubya And Me

Over the years I wrote about George W. Bush that he wasn't to be taken lightly. His “aww, shucks” persona hid a sharp mind, constantly leading people to underestimate him.

As Walt Harrington mentions in his piece, Dubya and Me:

As he talked, I even thought about an old Saturday Night Live skit in which an amiable, bumbling President Ronald Reagan, played by Phil Hartman, goes behind closed doors to suddenly become a masterful operator in total charge at the White House. The transformation in Bush was that stunning to me.

As I've written more than once that Dubya's like that good ol' boy who will invite you into his home for a couple of cold ones and some poker, and you'll leave some time later a little drunk and lot lighter in the wallet.

As time has gone by and Obama has been put his stamp on the presidency, George W. Bush's image has been rehabilitated. Those highway billboards picturing a smiling and waving Bush and the tag line “Miss me yet?” may have been a bit of satire, but somehow I think more than a few people, including some Democrats, do indeed miss him.

Though Harrison had known Bush for a number of years, he didn't really understand him until he had the opportunity to have dinner with him at the White House one evening, an informal meal with just Bush, Harrison, and Mark McKinnon, Bush's campaign media adviser. As Harrison described it:

I left the White House in a daze. I even got lost in the pitch-black darkness and had to drive around the small parking lot for a few minutes to find my way to the gate. I called my wife, and she asked how the evening had gone. I couldn’t answer.

“I’ve never known you to be speechless,” she said, genuinely surprised.

I finally said, “It was like sitting and listening to Michael Jordan talk basketball or Pavarotti talk opera, listening to someone at the top of his game share his secrets.”

It wouldn't surprise me in the least to find others have found themselves feeling exactly the same thing after spending time with Bush, even now, despite the fact that he's been out of office for over two-and-a-half years.

One of the things that surprised Harrison: Bush is a voracious reader. Most of what he read was historical non-fiction. As Harrison tells us, his understanding of history, particularly those parts made by his predecessors, helped him understand the broader context of what he had to deal with as President. It's a shame the present occupant of the White House lacks even a modicum of that understanding.

Is it any wonder George W. Bush is looking better every day as we look back upon his presidency?


Another Example Of Idiot Educators

And now for another exciting episode of Is This Stupid, Or What?

I'm sad to say that this episode takes place in my home state of New Hampshire.

= = = = = = = = = = =

Shawn Stevens, a seventh grade student at Dover Middle School, had received an American flag from the mother of a US Marine getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan.

Imagine his surprise when the moment he stepped of his school bus carrying that flag it was taken away by a school staff member because “because it can be considered a weapon.”

Excuse me?

Co-Principal Kimberly Lyndes said the spear point of the flag's stick was the problem.

"A student came to school yesterday with a flag that was rather large and didn't fit inside the backpack," she said. "A staff member felt that it could potentially be dangerous because of the pointy end and took the item and let the student know and the parent know that they took the item and could pick it up.

"It had nothing to do with patriotism or it being a flag. It was about potential danger and school safety."

I saw video of the “weapon” and I have one question for Co-Principal Lyndes: Are you kidding me? That “pointy” end was as about as pointed as the eraser at the end of a pencil. As Shawn's mother said, there are plenty of everyday items at school that are far more dangerous than Shawn's flag.

This is what happens when school administrators stop being educators and instead become bureaucrats. They take something that no one else would think twice about and turn it into a situation that makes them look stupid. And we trust people like this with our kids?

No wonder more parents would rather send their kids to private school.


Microsoft Bitch Session

It's been no secret that I have recently purchased a new computer to replace the old Official Weekend Pundit Main Computer, a 6-year old machine with an Athlon 64 CPU, 1GB of RAM, an ATI video card, and two 100GB hard drives. The old machine runs Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux. It also makes use of interesting and useful programs like Firefox and Thunderbird (both from Mozilla), Open Office, Lview (image editing) and Snaggit (image capture and editing), and a host of other utilities and fun stuff.

While the machine was never perfect, it did its job and did it pretty well.

The new machine has a multi-core 64-bit AMD CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 1.5TB hard drive, and an ATI video card. It runs Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) and I have plans to add Ubuntu Linux this weekend. I doubt anyone can argue against the fact that in so many ways it is better than the old machine.

It has been an interesting but carefully paced adventure, using Windows 7. So far there's little I find I dislike about it, and those things I have found less than optimal (in my opinion) are minor annoyances. It boots quickly, it runs quickly, as do all of the programs I have run so far. Some of that I have to attribute to the hardware, and some to the software. But I do have a major complaint, and not about the hardware or the operating system.

It's that damnable Microsoft Office 2010. To put it into simple terms, it SUCKS. (Yes, I know I've written about this before, but after struggling with Office 2010 at work, and now at home, I can't say enough bad things about it.)

First, I want to remind you that I am a techno-geek. I live, eat, and breathe electronics and optics. I have a pretty good handle on programming (usually used to test something we've designed to make sure it works the way it's supposed to), but I'm no code wizard. I use computers at work and home every day. I understand user interfaces to the nth degree because the equipment my employer builds and sells lives or dies by the ease of use of the equipment I help design. If the user interface stinks it doesn't matter how good the piece of equipment it goes with performs. (I've seen and used too many of our competitors' equipment that have been well designed and perform well, but are difficult to use because the user interface requires the owner to open the user manual to figure out how to turn the darned thing on.) A poor user interface will cause more dissatisfaction with a product than buggy software or barely adequate hardware.

All of that being said, the user interface on Office 2010, and its predecessor Office 2007, is awful.

I don't care what the folks at Redmond, Washington say, the new interface has failed. It is not intuitive. It requires seasoned users to spend lots of time trying to figure out where Microsoft moved the features they've been using for years (this is a major indication the user interface design has failed).

Functions that used to take one or two clicks now take up to seven. It doesn't matter if the interface is customizable if it takes the user a long time to figure out how to do so. And like earlier versions of Office, it tries to do things for you even when you don't want it to. But with 2010 it's even more annoying, if that's possible. Undoing something it has 'fixed' for you is more difficult (the old Control Z or the Undo button doesn't always undo it whatever it is it did for you).

I get the impression that the folks at Microsoft spent a lot of time and money asking users what they liked and disliked about Office some time after Office 2003 was released. The problem is that I think they asked the wrong people. It seems to me the changes they made were more at the behest of power users, those few folks who will use the 90% of the Office features no one else does, assuming they even know they exist.

Another fail: the 'ribbons' that have replaced the long-used toolbars take up a lot more space on screen. I mean a lot more. I now have less usable working space on my screen than under Office 2003. This is supposed to help productivity?

I've been playing with the crippled version of Office 2010 that came installed on my new machine and it has merely confirmed what I've seen at work. I hate to say it, but whoever thought a redesign of the Office interface was a good idea should be FIRED. Whoever actually designed the new interface should be FIRED. Whoever it was that tried to sell this godawful UI to the public as “the greatest thing since sliced bread” should be FIRED.

I know if I had created a user interface for a piece of our equipment as awful and defective as the one on Microsoft Office 2010, I would have been FIRED, and I wouldn't have blamed the company for doing so. I would have fired me, too.

So until Microsoft fixes the piss poor user interface on Office, I'll stay with Open Office at home (and even if they do I'll still stay with Open Office). Unfortunately I won't have a choice at work.


Is There Anything Carbon Can't Do?

It's another Tech Tuesday!

As the price of copper has been rising, researchers have been looking for a replacement that is less expensive but would have the conductivity of the copper it would replace.

For some applications, the use of fiber optics has replaced the copper wiring and coaxial cabling used by telephone and cable companies. Both use optical fiber rather than copper for new builds due to its higher bandwidth and lower cost.

But for things like carrying electricity something else is needed. Enter carbon nanotubes.

Researchers from Rice University have managed to produce a cable using carbon nanotubes for carrying electricity.

Enrique Barrera, a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Rice, said that highly conductive nanotube-based cables could be just as efficient as traditional metals at one-sixth of the weight. He added that such cables may initially find use in applications where weight is a critical consideration, such as in airplanes and automobiles. In the future, he said, it could replace traditional wiring in homes.

The university's release continued, "The cables developed in the study are spun from pristine nanotubes and can be tied together without losing their conductivity. To increase conductivity of the cables, the team doped them with iodine and the cables remained stable. The conductivity-to-weight ratio beats metals, including copper and silver, and is second only to the metal with the highest specific conductivity, sodium."

The mention of doping the carbon nanotubes with iodine reminded me of an article I read years ago about conducting polymers, specifically polyacetylene. When doped with iodine the polymer's conductivity increased dramatically. Such a polymer would have all kinds of uses, particularly where weight was a factor (like in aircraft, as mentioned above). If I recall correctly from the article Plastics That Conduct Electricity (Scientific American, February 1988, no link available), the polymer would be used for carrying control and other signals throughout the aircraft, but not power as its conductivity wasn't quite good enough for that purpose. But nothing came of it, at least in the aircraft industry, as optical fiber has supplanted it due to its light weight and virtually unlimited bandwidth.

But carbon nanotubes can carry the required power and do it with less weight. The raw material used to create the nanotubes is limitless, as carbon is one of the most abundant elements on earth, not far behind hydrogen. Depending upon the structure of the nanotube cable, they could carry more current for a given size. This means smaller gauge wiring to carry the same amount of power.

Is there anything carbon can't do?


Thoughts On A Sunday - Special Monday Edition

The first half of the weekend was busy, as usual. The second half, not so much.

There were a number of appliances we've had to replace, beginning with a microwave oven that started acting up after the power outage caused by Irene and some subsequent power glitches. It's not good when something like that will start running all by itself for no reason. After 20 years of faithful service it was time to replace it.

We also replaced the old (around 20 years old) but semi-serviceable vacuum cleaner. There were a number of annoying problems that finally drove Deb to the point where she just didn't want to deal with them any more. (It didn't really bother me and I used it far more than she did.) It wouldn't have been a big thing except for the fact that there wasn't anywhere that would service it because repair parts, specifically the electronic control module, weren't available. You see, you couldn't shut it off. As soon as it was plugged into the wall it would start to run, but at a low and varying speed. Once a speed was selected (low, medium, or high) it would run normally. Hit the power button to shut it off and it would run at the aforementioned slow but variable speed. (For you techno types out there, that tells me one of the MOSFETs used to control the speed was leaking, probably due to damage caused by a power spike.) One thing I found ironic is that the new vacuum cost about a fifth of what the old one costs, and if inflation is taken into account, it's probably closer to a tenth. Whether the new one will last as long as the old one is something we won't be able to answer for a while.


Solyndra isn't the only solar power company to go under.

Solar Shop in Australia is in bankruptcy, apparently because government subsidies dried up and it wasn't able to meet expenses without them. What does this tell us?

Green energy isn't able to stand on its own because it isn't profitable. Until then green energy will always be a money loser, particularly when it comes to the so-called “green jobs” that goes with it.

(H/T Powerline)


This just in: Osama bin Laden is still dead.


Did I watch the coverage of the 9/11 Memorial in New York City? Yes.

Did I watch it from beginning to end? No. I couldn't. I felt too much sorrow and too much rage and had to leave the living room more than once to regain my composure. I tried to busy myself with domestic chores. But I have to admit being drawn back again and again during each of the six moments of silence denoting the events of That Awful Day.


Glen Reynolds links to a Discovery Channel article instructing people how to extend the range of their wireless router using a beer can to create an antenna reflector. (Note: If you don't imbibe in the elixir of civilization, then a Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, or other soft drink can will do.)

This kind of innovation appeals to ham radio operator in me, where on more than one occasion I've had to improvise with materials on hand to fix/build/support antennas during emergencies.

Who says American ingenuity is dead?


Don Surber has found someone out there willing to state the obvious: “We're being led by a group of college kids with no experience in the real world.”

Ironically this wasn't said by someone here in the US but in the UK, in this case Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party. But his words apply equally here in the US, for that's who Obama has serving him as his advisers, cabinet members, and agency heads – inexperienced college kids. (Yes, I know they aren't really 'kids', but their lack of real world experience makes them so.)


If we need any more proof that the so-called elite don't get it, all we need to do is look back at the post-9/11 reactions of many of the Left.

Stella Paul explained it thus:

Despite the "United We Stand" posters plastered everywhere, Americans almost immediately divided into two irreconcilable camps: those willing to understand the nature of our enemy and those who wanted to deny it, at all cost.

Within days of the attacks, a friend coolly informed me, "the people in the Twin Towers deserved it."  Still reeling from that shock, I almost lost it when another friend admiringly compared bin Laden to George Washington. Soon thereafter, a well-known academic in my circle complained that the sudden outpouring of patriotism made her sick.

This utter madness, which I thought would be confined to the fringe, rapidly spread to every corner of elite society. The more we learned about the savagery of the Islamist world, the more our moral and cultural superiors turned their wrath on us, instead of the enemy.

Their obvious hatred of America, specifically of the majority of Americans, and willingness to embrace our mortal enemies as if they were the aggrieved proves to me they are not fit to lead anything, let alone make decisions for the rest of us. And if you think they have moderated their outrageous support of our barbaric enemies over the past ten years, you'd be wrong. Of course I would expect them to change their tune should the barbarians start killing them off once the useful fools have served their purpose. But I could be wrong.


One bright spot on this Monday – the New England Patriots' season opener is tonight. They'll be playing the Miami Dolphins, the traditional first opponent of the season.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee on this special Monday edition, where the weather has been gorgeous, the somber mood lightened, and where the people waiting in anticipation for the Patriots game tonight.


8:46:40AM - That Awful Day

Like many of you, I've been watching some of the various TV shows commemorating That Awful Day. I've recorded more than a few, being unable to watch more than a couple of minutes before feeling the pain and the rage I felt back then.

As more than one person has told me it feels like it was only yesterday, not ten years ago. It was only yesterday America found itself at war with an intractable, brutal enemy that recognizes no innocents, sees murder as a way to some vaguely pornographic glory, and holds life cheap.

The words that follow I wrote a few years ago and they still are fitting, expressing what needs to be said about That Awful Day.

It's hard to believe it's been years.

It still hurts, that heartache that never really goes away.

Remembering That Awful Day still brings tears to my eyes.

So many gone.

So many died.

So many hearts broken.

So many families torn asunder.

So many heroes that never thought twice about their own safety working hard to save the lives of so many others.

Other heroes whose last words were “Let's roll.”

Let us never forget that day of thunder, fire, smoke, heroic deeds, tearful goodbyes, and at the end, mournful silence.

Let us never forget.



Come In, Obama. Do You Read Us?

I'm beginning to wonder how many times Obama and his advisers will have to hear this message before they come to understand it, if at all: the American Jobs Act won't induce employers to hire new workers.

I've discussed the issue of tax incentives as a goad of hiring a number of times with some of my more liberal friends or acquaintances, few of whom don't seem to understand the reason why businesses hire more workers. They can't seem to grasp the concept that no amount of tax cuts will induce any business owner to hire an employee they don't need. Adding an worker who adds nothing to the bottom line, meaning one who does not create more income for the business than it costs to employ them, makes no sense and causes the business to lose money even with the tax cut incentive.

Message to Obama et al: Businesses hire workers when they can't meet the demand for goods or services with the employees they already have. Period.

So endith the lesson.


FairPoint Laying Off 400 Employees

Gee, this is a shocker.

FairPoint Communications is laying off 400 workers across its service areas, with 190 of them in New Hampshire. The company cites decreasing revenues and a decline in customers as its reason for the layoffs.

This is not a surprise to anyone paying even a little attention to the telecommunications industry.

FairPoint's purchase of Verizon's landline operations in northern New England was a disaster from the beginning. The number of landline customers had been declining for some time and Verizon saw an opportunity to divest itself of an operation in a declining market. FairPoint was stupid enough to buy it despite protests from many that it was paying too much for assets that would continue to decline in value. Once FairPoint took over operations from Verizon the problems multiplied, with a loss of 10% of its landline customers in less than 6 months. The continuing hemorrhage of customers and problems with its operations finally forced it into Chapter 11 bankruptcy and its delisting on the New York Stock Exchange.

Even after reorganization its customer base continued to decline as competitors like cable companies and cell providers undercut it in price and services. Ironically one of its biggest competitors is Verizon, whose wireless operations were winning over an increasing share of customers.

FairPont isn't the first company to see its landline operations become a money losing operation. And in yet another bit of irony, Verizon has seen its own landline services suffering, prompting it to demand concessions from its union employees. This led to a strike by both the CWA and IBEW against Verizon last month. The unions figured since Verizon was making billions in profits that they were somehow entitled to a share. But it was their wireless and business operations making the profits, neither of which are unionized. The landline operations were shrinking and losing money, and Verizon wasn't about to use profits from other operations to fund higher pay and benefits for their landline workers.

Is it any wonder FairPoint is shedding excess employees as its fortunes decline?


...Pass This Bill Right Away

I sacrificed otherwise useful time and watched the President's speech to a joint session of Congress. Did I hear anything unexpected? Not really, except for...

“...pass this bill right away.

Claims that everything in his plan would be paid for rang hollow, particularly when he explained where the money would come from: thin air. The so-called “savings” from the debt-reduction boondoggle, really a reduction in the amount of money the government was going to spend that it didn't have, can in no way be considered as a means of paying for the American Jobs Act.

Unfortunately his speech sounded more like a campaign speech than a policy speech, slamming Congressional Republicans for being obstructionist. I think I would be obstructionist too if I knew the 'plan' the President has put forward won't work and will cost too much. (I think Obama defines 'obstructionist' as Republicans who won't do what he tells them to do.)

One thing that clued me in that Obama really doesn't understand why businesses hire was his plan to reduce taxes on small businesses, one cut mentioned being payroll taxes paid by employers, citing the tax reductions as a means to induce businesses to hire more employees. But businesses don't hire employees to get a tax break that won't cover the cost of hiring. Businesses hire when they need more people to meet increased demand for goods or services, period.

While I agreed with him that our infrastructure needs a serious overhaul, I believe it's too little too late. Stimulus 1.0 should have put almost all $878 billion towards infrastructure improvements, not the measly $55 billion actually spent on it. Stimulus 2.0 will be throwing more money we don't have after the original money we didn't have and I think it will have an even smaller effect, except for expanding the deficit.

On more than one occasion he made mention of fairness and fair play. Unfortunately I think his definition of those terms is far different from just about everyone else's. It has nothing to do with equal opportunity and everything to do with equal outcome. Unfortunately he will get his equal outcome if he gets his way, all of it bad.

I think it's about time I start drinking heavily....


Santayana On Liberals

By way of Maggie's Farm comes this quote from George Santayana, he of the “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it” fame. In this case Santayana was addressing the issue of the modern Liberal, though his quote comes from 100 years ago.

His ultimate satisfaction in his work is not founded on any good done, but on a passionate willfulness. He calls the things he wants for others good, because he wants to bestow it upon them, not because they naturally want it for themselves. Incapable of sympathy, he has momentary pleasure in policy.

Even back then they understood that Liberals, meaning the modern definition, feel good only when it is done on their terms, and the heck with what the people may really need.

Gee, that sounds an awful lot like ObamaCare, doesn't it?


Seamless Computing

It's another Tech Tuesday.

This time around we're talking about truly seamless computing. This video gives a demonstration of what may become routine in the near future as most of the technology to perform seamless computing is already in use.

There was a WGBH/BBC series that ran on PBS in 1992 called The Machine That Changed The World which was all about how computers came to be and became such a big part of our lives. One point that was brought up by someone from Xerox PARC was that eventually computers would become ubiquitous. If we haven't already reached that point (and I think we have) we will soon enough. Seamless computing might be that last little bit to ensure ubiquitous computing becomes a reality.

Violent Labor Day Union Rhetoric

Way to go, Mister Hoffa! Let's see about bringing the unions back to their head-bashing, leg-breaking hey-days, shall we?

I guess he didn't get the memo about being more civil during political discourse. But then the unions are on the ropes and not finding much in the way of support from the public these days, so perhaps violent rhetoric is the only tool he and other union leaders have left.

It didn't help that Obama's Labor Day speechifying took place in that bastion of decades long Democrat machine politics and union hegemony, Detroit. As one wag put it, it appears Obama wants to do for the rest of the country what has been done for/to Detroit.

Thanks, but no thanks. I think we'll do much better without that kind of help.


Other than a short trip to the dump yesterday, I've been sticking close to home. With the summerfolk trying to squeeze out the last vestiges of the summer vacation season, the traffic around the Lakes Region has been crazy. Even my trip to the dump was eventful, with people in a hurry to get wherever it is they're spending their last summer weekend.

It seemed to me that driver impatience was at an all time high, with some people honking their horns the instant a traffic light changed to green and others taking risks passing other motorists they thought were going too slow, too slow being defined as only going 10 mph above the speed limit rather than 15.

These folks have got to get a grip.


BeezleBub started school this past Thursday and he was glad of it. School means he gets to sleep in until 6AM rather than the usual 5AM when he's working on the farm. He's also putting in a few hours after school, but with the caveat that if his grades suffer he has to dial back the number of hours he puts in during the school week.


Is it that the White House it totally clueless and really doesn't get what's going on? I'd have to say yes.

After their attempt to upstage the GOP debate with a speech to a joint session of Congress fell flat on its face, the spin doctors went to work and failed again. It didn't help things that Obama's “peeved foot stamping” made him look like an immature child who wasn't getting his way. He still hasn't figured out that his position does not make him a monarch that can rule by fiat and that, in the end, he has to answer to the people, be it directly or through Congress.

Michael Barone has his own take on the fiasco and Obama's repeated protocol 'mistakes'.


Bill Whittle has new Afterburner covering the differences between beliefs and truths, how they apply to Progressives and everyone else, and how ideology cannot change the truth, only co-opt it.


Bogie covers the aftermath of Irene in her part of New Hampshire, including links to several videos.

The WP Family has been anxiously awaiting word from friends down on the Connecticut coast line, particularly from the neighborhood where the former Official Weekend Pundit Family Long Island Sound Beach House is located. Checking out the Facebook page for that town shows damage was extensive along the shoreline and power outages were widespread. A lot of places I remember are no more or heavily damaged.


It figures.

BeezleBub and I had taken the air conditioners out last weekend as part of our preparations for Irene. After the storm passed it looked like we weren't going to need them again so we didn't put them back in. Now here we are, Labor Day Weekend, and we have temps in upper 80's with dew points in the 70's forecast for today.

So we had to put back the “big iron” A/C unit into one of the windows on the first floor to keep the interior of The Manse reasonably comfortable. BeezleBub put the unit in his bedroom back in yesterday.

I think today's weather also is a good excuse for me to head to the town beach for a swim.


I have to agree with Scary Yankee Chick on this one: One of the dumbest ideas ever.

While places that are far more tolerant of this would still get you looked at, in places where the people (and the cops) don't have much of a sense of humor (mostly blue states/cities) it's likely to get you pushed face down on the hood of a police car, handcuffed, and thrown into jail.


Eric the Viking is right on this one: There is no plan. It looks like the President is going to vote “present”...again.

Big surprise.


When I read this in one of our local papers, I thought it must have been a joke. Turns out I was wrong.

The Feds are going to sue a number of big banks for the housing bubble debacle.

At first glance this seems to be something that isn't unreasonable until you realize those same banks were caught in a Catch-22 situation.

Under the Community Reinvestment Act and follow-on lawsuits (one of them by then community organizer Barack Obama), banks were forced to give mortgages to those not really qualified to receive them. The banks did what they normally do with mortgages, bundle them and sell them, either as mortgage backed securities or other investment vehicles. The fact that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were the biggest guarantors of them is not the banks' fault. They were doing what they were ordered to do.

When the housing market collapsed, and with them the MBS's, it was somehow the fault of those very same banks? Talk about a no-win situation.

One must also remember it wasn't just banks issuing mortgages, but mortgage brokers. How many of them ended up fudging income numbers and playing with financial statements to make it seem that wholly unqualified people ended up with mortgages they couldn't pay? It seems no one wants to address that issue.

If we need an example of how banks should have been allowed to handle mortgages all we need to do is look back at this post I made back in April 2009, where a bank was being punished by the Feds for only giving loans to those who could actually pay them back. If more banks had been allowed to do likewise, I doubt we would have even had a housing bubble and the following collapse.


By way of Maggie's Farm comes this list by Ace of Spades of why California is doomed.

A Requiem for California

On it's way to being the most perfected yet bankrupt and unlivable state in the nation.

CA Legislature Passes The Dream Act. Now illegal aliens get in-state tuition and financial aid.

CA Assembly Trying To Kill Parents' “Date Night”. So you'll need a babysitter AND a backup babysitter.

CA Law To Require Hotels To Use Fitted Sheets, Long Handled Mops. (I've got nothing to add to this – ed.)

New CA Law Would Ban Styrofoam From The State. (Again, I've got nothing to add to this – ed.)

A Final Word from VDH: Strangers In A Familiar Land. ...A contemporary culture that cannot finish a forty-year-old planned three-lane freeway from Sacramento to Bakersfield has no business borrowing tens of billions to attempt a new high-speed rail corridor.

Like I said, doomed.


From the same Ace of Spades post comes this list of five laws Texas Governor Rick Perry has signed into law.

1. It will be legal in Texas to shoot feral hogs from helicopters.
2. The government will no longer fine you for catching fish with your hands.
3. It's OK to bring your gun to work.
4. I can drive 85.
5. Want to have a beer and see a naked lady? Pay the government five bucks.

Isn't the dichotomy interesting?


Let's add more fuel to the fire, shall we?

A voter initiative in California called the “Foreclosure Modification Act” has been approved by the California Attorney General, allowing the petitioners to start gathering the 800,000 voter signatures they need to get the initiative on the 2012 ballot.

This initiative would make home ownership a fundamental right, prohibit lenders from foreclosing on any Californian's personal home, require lenders to 'assist' borrowers not making payments, automatically reduce mortgage principal and interest on properties whose value decline, refinance at minimal cost on demand, and force local municipalities to provide back property tax assistance to homeowners.

I have a feeling the morons who put this initiative together have no understanding of the consequences should it pass. The first thing that comes to mind: Lenders would stop lending. As Charlie wrote in his post:

What lender would ever agree to loan a homeowner in California money to buy a home, if it’s quite likely that the loan amount could be reduced through no fault of their own? What interest rate do you suppose a lender would have to charge to make up for the potential to have their assets reduced in value by a third party? With the ability to foreclose taken away, why would any home owner pay any of their loan back? This is so stuck on stupid, that it just might pass.

And if it looks like it will pass, I'd expect banks to start foreclosures immediately and stop working with borrowers trying to refinance. I'd also expect an exodus of banks from California to safer economic climes, like Texas.


Spoken like the truly economically clueless Leftist mobster she is:

Maxine Waters advocates taxing banks out of business.

Apparently she thinks banks are in business for her and her fellow Leftists' convenience. Never mind that they have to at least break even to stay in business. What' she's advocating will only ensure a repeat of the banking meltdown her friend Barney Frank helped create, only it would be worse this time.


Do we need any more examples of what kind of people a lot of the public sector union people are showing themselves to be? As Brother Bob Smith, director of Messmer Prep School said about the union protesters, “Stop acting like children.”

The unions don't like Messmer Prep School because it's not a public, i.e, union school, and it's quite successful. 85% of the students go on to college. And from what I've seen in the video, most of the students are black.

As one commenter stated:

This video is prime example of why I loathe teacher's unions. I guess they would prefer black kids go to shitty schools in the ghetto and not learn a damn thing so they can be dependent on welfare their whole lives just to preserve the interests of the union.


(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Even some of Obama's staunchest supporters in the media are abandoning him, Maureen Dowd being one of them, wondering whether his presidency will be a Carteresque One and Done. She no longer has any illusions about Obama, particularly about his speeches.

Obama is still suffering from the Speech Illusion, the idea that he can come down from the mountain, read from a Teleprompter, cast a magic spell with his words and climb back up the mountain, while we scurry around and do what he proclaimed.

The days of spinning illusions in a Greek temple in a football stadium are done. The One is dancing on the edge of one term.

The One Term Wonder, indeed.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer weather has returned, the summerfolk are trying their darnedest to cram one week of vacationing into three days, and the waters of the lake are beckoning to me even now....


Job Numbers For August

The August jobless numbers came out yesterday and for once the results were not unexpected (at least not to anyone not in the Obama Administration).

Job growth for the month of August was zero. Nada. Zip. A Goose Egg. Nil. Bupkus.

The stock market reacted negatively, again not unexpectedly, dropping over 200 points and wiping out the week's gains.

Obama and his 'advisers' wonder why the job numbers are bad when anyone with a lick of sense could tell them that everything they've been doing has discouraged job growth, just the opposite of what they claim they want.

I expect the final job numbers will actually be worse, with a negative growth and an increase in the official unemployment rate to 9.2%. (Remember, the unofficial rate – approximately 19% - includes those who have run out of unemployment benefits or have given up looking for work altogether.)

That ought to help Obama get re-elected.

The Labor Day Weekend Arrived Early

It was easy to tell the holiday weekend had arrived.

I had to make trip to my employer's Massachusetts facility Friday morning to conduct an interview of a candidate to fill one of our many open positions. I was done by 11AM and headed back to our home office. As soon as I hit the north side of the highway heading towards New Hampshire I knew my trip back was going to take longer than usual.

The traffic was heavy. Very heavy. And it wasn't even noon yet.

On more than one occasion on the trip back north traffic came to a standstill. This is something you usually see on the evening commute, not at noon. Once I crossed the border the ratio of out-of-state license plates to New Hampshire plates on northbound vehicles didn't change. Most of the out-of-state vehicles had obvious signs of people heading to vacation spots – lots of luggage in the back or on top, bike racks filled with bicycles, canoes and kayaks on roof racks, and lots of camper trailers.

It's the end-of-summer vacation blowout.


On Its Way

The first half of the new Weekend Pundit Official Main Computer arrived earlier in the week, that being the new LCD monitor. I wasted no time removing the old 19” CRT and replacing it with the new monitor. It was far better than I had thought it would be, with even illumination and crisp, clear images.

Poor Minnie misses the old monitor as she is used to jumping up on top of it and keeping warm from the heat generated by it. Imagine her surprise when she tried to jump up on the new monitor and there was nothing but thin air behind the screen!

A check just a few minutes ago on the FedEx tracking website shows the second half of the new Weekend Pundit Official Main Computer has made its way all the way from El Paso, Texas to Willington, Connecticut in four days and is presently on it's way to a FedEx facility closer to The Manse. With the holiday intruding upon normal business hours, it looks like FedEx's estimated delivery date will be correct, which means it should arrive here shortly after Labor Day.

Woo hoo!!


What The President Needs To Do...

Listening to the plans President Obama has made to address the jobs problem, it is no surprise to anyone that he really doesn't have a plan, or at least not a new one.

If his $878 billion stimulus program had been used to actually address a number of problems within the country, those primarily being our crumbling infrastructure, rather than using it for political patronage, we might not have as much of an economic problem as we presently face. But far too many of us knew very little of that money would be used to stimulate anything but the growth of the federal government.

Will Obama's September 8th speech try to make a case for spending even more money we don't have to pay for more political patronage? If history is any indication, then the answer is likely yes.

What the president really needs to do (but won't) is to rein in his renegade agency heads (NLRB or EPA, anyone?) who are making sure it's damn difficult for anyone to create jobs...except for government jobs.

What the president needs to do is to get the government out of the way of free enterprise to let it do what it does best – create jobs.

What the president needs to do is fire all his czars and advisers because, quite frankly, they have no idea what they're doing. Most of them are academics with little, if any, real world experience doing things like running businesses or meeting payrolls or dealing with an ever increasing avalanche of government regulations and paperwork that does nothing but cost time and money to deal with yet add little of benefit to anyone except bureaucrats.

What the president needs to do is realize that one of his predecessors, Ronald Reagan, was right when he said to America “Government isn't the solution. Government is the problem.”

What the president needs to understand that no one in government, and I mean no one is either smart enough or wise enough to run the American peoples' lives. After all, everyone in government is having a hard enough time running their own lives, let alone those of 300,000,000 other people in this country. Every government that has tried to do so has ultimately failed, resulting in widespread misery. Quite often those governments end with fatal results for members of those governments.

What the president needs to understand that no one in government, and I mean no one, is either smart enough or wise enough to run the American economy. History is littered with plenty of examples to show this is true. Unfortunately the president and many in Congress have ignored this truth, figuring that this time they'll get it right. (They won't.)

All I expect from the president during his speech is more of the same old crap he's taken from the FDR, LBJ, and Karl Marx playbooks, just put in new wrappings and hyped by the Lame Stream Media.

In other words, “There's nothing to see here, folks. Move along!”