ClimateGate 2.0 Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The History Of English

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

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


Thoughts On A Sunday

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

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


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


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

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


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

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



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

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

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


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

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

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

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

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

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


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

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


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

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


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

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


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

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


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

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

Go see this for yourself.


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


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


Some Parting Thoughts About OWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ClimateGate 2.0 - Here We Go Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so it goes.


Thanksgiving In New Hampshire

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

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

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

Everyone had a great time!


First Run

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

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

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

All in all, I like it.


It Has Arrived!

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

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

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

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

Washington Is An Addict

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

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


Monday Night Football

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


Thoughts On A Sunday

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


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

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

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

(H/T also Maggie's Farm)


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

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

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


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

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


I wish these guys would make up their minds.

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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


A Night Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still, Deb and I had a good night out.

And so goes another fall evening in small town America.


UK Bureaucracy Kills Woman After Fall

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

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

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

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

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Good App/Bad App - Part 2

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

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

As Bogie writes:

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

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

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

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


Thoughts On A Sunday

It was firewood stacking time at The Manse yesterday.

Deb and I moved a pile of of our first cord of seasoned fire wood from next to the garage, stacking it inside the garage and out of the weather. We have three more cords to be delivered and then stacked before winter finally closes in.

There is one change I made inside the garage in order to make for a more orderly stack of cords wood. Rather than ending the stack with what is called a 'cobb house' (wood stacked crosswise in a 'tower' to act as a support at the end of a stack). This year I put together three floor-to-roof 2X6's crossbraced with a few 2X4's to act as a support for the end of the wood stack. This made it easier to stack the fire wood and allowed us to stack it higher than we otherwise would be able to using a cobb house. With this new end brace we can to stack two rows of fire wood up to the roof joists, allowing us to put almost all 4 cords of wood inside. That means we won't have to go outside to get wood for the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove during the heating season.


More and more it seems there's less and less to the Herman Cain sexual harassment allegations. This is particularly so if one takes a close look at the accusers and their mentor, David Axelrod. Another suspicious thing – all of the accusers are from Chicago.

This looks to be just another chapter from the Axelrod Book of Dirty Tricks – The Chicago Edition.

Herman Cain has spent his life living and working all over the country — Indiana, Georgia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Washington, D.C. — but never in Chicago.

So it's curious that all the sexual harassment allegations against Cain emanate from Chicago: home of the Daley machine and Obama consigliere David Axelrod.

Suspicions had already fallen on Sheila O'Grady, who is close with Axelrod and went straight from being former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's chief of staff to president of the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA), as being the person who dug up Cain's personnel records from the National Restaurant Association (NRA).


And now, after a week of conservative eye-rolling over unspecified, anonymous accusations against Cain, we've suddenly got very specific sexual assault allegations from an all-new accuser out of ... Chicago.

Herman Cain has never lived in Chicago. But you know who has? David Axelrod! And guess who lived in Axelrod's very building? Right again: Cain's latest accuser, Sharon Bialek.

Curiouser and curiouser...


It appears the Atomic Nerds blog has been hacked. I wasn't able to reach it yesterday and it wasn't until I visited Scary Yankee Chick that I found out why.


The more I read this guy's blog, the more I like him. Stop by and say hello to Wirecutter at the Knuckledraggin' blog. He's going directly to both New Finds and Regular Reads.


I took a tumble this morning stepping out of the shower, spraining my wrist when I landed.

The cause of this mishap?

A poorly designed bathroom mat.

Generally a mat with non-skid properties has a textured rubber-like backing to prevent the mat from slipping even if there is water on the floor. But this one has a flat untextured backing. If/when water gets underneath it it acts like a lubricant, making the mat act more like a stereotypical banana peel in cartoon. It was this mat that dumped me on my butt when I stepped out of the shower.


Have you ever wondered why McDonald's McRib sandwich appears and disappears at random intervals? Well wonder no more as Willy Staley has the answer: arbitrage.

Looking further back into pork price history, we can see some interesting trends that corroborate with some McRib history. When McDonald’s first introduced the product, they kept it nationwide until 1985, citing poor sales numbers as the reason for removing it from the menu. Between 1982 and 1985 pork prices were significantly lower than prices in 1981 and 1986, when pork would reach highs of $17 per pound; during the product’s first run, pork prices were fluctuating between roughly $9 and $13 per pound—until they spiked around when McDonald’s got rid of it. Take a look at 30 years of pork prices here and see for yourself. Also note that sharp dip in 1994—McDonald’s reintroduced the sandwich that year, too. Though notably, they didn’t do so in 1998.

So when pork prices fall by a certain percentage, McDonalds brings back the McRib.

Makes sense to me.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Also by way of Maggie's Farm comes this post by Martin Luther King's niece, decrying the Left's smear campaign against Herman Cain. As she writes:

There are two reasons the liberal media can’t get enough of the Herman Cain smear campaign:

-They would rather report unsubstantiated allegations and gossip than report the real issues, because talking about the real issues would not be in the best interest of the president.

-The establishment is threatened by a strong conservative with such a large platform.

For many years, the Democrats have had a 90% stranglehold on the black vote. This is because many blacks feel that Republicans are racist and only care about the rich, while Democrats love them, give Blacks welfare, etc. When a strong, charismatic, BLACK conservative goes head to head with Obama, many blacks who have not yet done so will actually listen to both sides of the political argument.

Indeed. And that scares the bejeezus out of the Democrats and the White House.


Will online public/private schools be the answer to the ever decreasing quality and increasing expense seen in public brick-and-mortar schools?

Like any educational institution, it depends upon those running it and the support given by parents. I can certainly see such online schools supporting the efforts of parents home-schooling their children.


Glenn Reynolds and a number of others don't like the idea of regionalized federal income tax rates, primarily because it ends up subsidizing states with high cost of living to the detriment of low cost of living states. It might be germane that many of the high cost of living states are blue states and low cost of living states are red states.

Could it be envy, the mainstay of leftist ideology? After all, the blue states are running out of other people's money to finance their socialist agenda and now want to take money away from those living in states that have kept their fiscal houses in order.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where we're in that in-between period where there are no tourists, political campaigns are heating up, and where Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away.


A Small Town Gala Event

Yes, I know there was no post last night, but I have a good excuse.

I was attending one of the rare gala events in our small town: the opening of our new supermarket.

Well, it's not really new so much as it's in a new location, with more retail space, more selections, a new sushi bar (must be for the tourists as most of us up here at Lake Winnipesaukee prefer our fish cooked), fancy new coolers (the lights turn on in the coolers only when there's someone actually in front of them). There was all kinds of food at the gala, with everything from cheese and crackers to prime rib, lobster bisque, scallops, and clam chowder. Drinks ranged from ice cold cider, locally bottled soft drinks, and coffee. Of course there was also a large selection of desserts. (I hit the dessert table before partaking of the other delightful foods as I live by the credo “Eat dessert first. You never know when something will come up and take you away from the dinner table!”)

The gala was attended by all kinds of important folks, like two of our three selectmen (the third selectman and his wife work for a rival supermarket chain so his decision not to attend was unsurprising), members of the planning board (that's why I was there), various business leaders (Farmer Andy and his missus were in attendance, just to name a couple), and civic organization representatives.

The old location closed at 8PM last night and the new one opened at 7 this morning.

I think it will be quite popular, ayuh.

My missus showed me this video, stating quite accurately that it depicts exactly what we go through every morning with Cole, with one exception: Cole can't wield a bat...yet. I figure it's only a matter of time.

For more cat cartoons, videos, and pictures, head on over to Simon's Cat.


Refusing To Learn The Lessons Of Other's Failures

It is said the truly smart will learn from the harsh lessons of others' failures. I can say that one member of the WP clan is that smart, that being the youngest of the WP sisters. (As she says, she made her own mistakes while growing up that our parents never found out about.)

It would be great if the political class presently ruling the US was as smart as my youngest sister. Unfortunately they are not.

They see the economic meltdown occurring in the Euro-zone, yet refuse to learn the lessons countries like Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain are teaching us, the primary one being that eventually you will run out of other people's money to fund all the wonderful social programs that have been used to bribe the electorate.

Italy is the latest to teeter on the brink of insolvency, and should it go over the edge it is quite likely it will pull the rest of the Euro-zone with it. Greece's default damaged the European economy yet it has only a fraction of the GDP of Italy. Should Italy default Europe will take an additional $2 trillion hit it cannot afford. Is it any wonder Germany is considering abandoning the Euro and going back to the mark? Can anyone deny that this problem has been driving the British public to demand a referendum about whether or not to remain in the EU? At least those two countries see the problem and realize they'll have to bankrupt themselves in a doomed effort to prop up economic policies from Brussels.

But too many of our own politicians at the state and federal level, regardless of party, seem oblivious to the fact that unless we make some drastic changes in how our federal government taxes and spends we will be headed down the same path. Labor leaders ignore the fact that neither businesses or taxpayers are a bottomless source of funds, shortchanging their own members by making promises no one can keep.

Should the US fail to put its financial/economic house in order, and right quick, it will pull the world economy down with it into a depression unlike any we've seen before.


More American Quirks

A busy night tonight, so to cheat a little bit here's some more on American quirkiness.

One astute observation:

As you can read here in the comments: “The” United States may exist as a political entity, but for every strange (or quirky) behavior you will find another American who makes fun of it, generally so spot on and convincing that they beat every foreigner who may try the same.

Spot on.


American Quirks

I came across this indirectly by way of Maggie's Farm. If nothing else it illustrates the quirkiness of America and Americans as seen through the eyes of folks from outside the US.

Some of the observations are amusing, some poignant, and a few quite condescending. Some provide us with some of those “Gee, I never really noticed that before” moments. Some are valid and some are totally friggin' clueless. In other words, they aren't much different from our own observations about ourselves.

Some of my favorites:

I was startled to find out that "God Save the Queen" has alternate lyrics.

The fact that so much American cheese is coloured orange surprised me. ( Orange cheese is most likely a cheese-like product and not actually cheese. - ed.)

People using checks is antiquated in terms of other developed countries.

Everyone eats with one hand and keeps the other hand on their lap all through the meal. Also, sometimes they go through an elaborate switch-fork-to-left-hand-pick-up-knife-in-right-cut-up-food-then-switch-fork-back-to-right-hand dance.

Leave your money in the mailbox. You drive onto a persons home property and they are selling something (small bundles of fire wood, home grown produce, or home made Adirondack chairs) and a sign tells you "If no one is home just leave the money in the mail box."

That they probably have the best customer service culture in the world, but can rapidly descend into being the most aggressive if challenged.

One language - I noticed in Europe most people speak more than one language and usually even 3 or more ( Who needs to speak more than one language in a place like Kansas or Idaho or Ohio? Here in northern New England a large number of people speak French due to our proximity to Quebec. In the Southwest it's Spanish, Navajo, Hopi, or Zuni. In Florida it's Spanish. In the Dakotas it's Lakota. In Europe you might cross through more than one country in a single day. In the US you might be able to make it across a single county in a day. Scale is everything. - ed.)

My girl friends from Ireland and the UK find it strange that the bathroom stalls have such wide gaps between the wall and door. I never noticed it until they talked about how bizarre it was. To this day, my only guess for why is that maybe it's so that you can tell a stall is occupied. Hmmmm.

American lemonade is brilliant stuff. In the UK if you ask for lemonade you get Sprite. Bleh. In the US you get something close to proper cloudy lemonade.

American drivers are far more likely to stop and let a pedestrian cross the road, even when there is no marked crossing. Possibly due to the novelty of seeing someone on foot.

I was shocked to find that hired help is not the norm in such a wealthy nation. When I was a kid I thought all Americans had a butler, a housemaid and a cook.

There is a huge culture of self-help / self-improvement.

My Spanish friend was amazed at all the houses made out of wood in New England.

Checkout clerks in the grocery store do their work standing, not sitting.

Americans waiting in line is just preternatural! Recently, waiting for a bus from DC to Philly, there was no waiting area or anything foreseen (one of those bus companies that doesn't use stations). It was Friday night and the buses were all booked solid. Tons of people were showing up, and yet everyone was till queuing up perfectly politely, waiting their turn, inquiring where the line started and how far it stretched back. It gave one faith in the waiting process, brought the stress of the situation way way down.

The pervasiveness of religion. Europeans know that Americans are religious, but you don't get a sense for how pervasive it is. Everyone mentions God all the time like it ain't no thing. People would lose their jobs over that in France!

The thing I've seen non-Americans struggle over the most is the scope of influence of local government. Our local (state, and even city or other municipality) governments have a lot of power and influence over day to day life, so there's no one standard for how US law enforcement, zoning, city planning and traffic management, utilities, animal control, and public works are run. Liquor laws, trash pickup, and even criminal laws might seem just as bizarre and foreign to someone from the next state or city over as they are to someone living halfway across the world.

Buy a coffee, have it endlessly refilled for no money. This is like magic heaven stuff to Brits. (I can attest to this. My British ex-fiancee thought it was a wonderful thing every time she was here and made the best of it. - ed.)

There are literally hundreds of observations about American quirks, many which caught me off guard even though I've spent quite a bit of time in Europe. Many are amusing. Some are offensive (that might show the observer's prejudice). Nonetheless, the list is quite informative.


Thoughts On A Sunday

You did remember to turn your clocks back, didn't you?

Personally, I think this semi-annual clock change has outlived its usefulness. I don't have a problem with getting up when it's still dark out to start my day. I'd prefer to have the extra hour of sunlight in the afternoon during the short winter days, but that's just me.


Almost all the snow that fell last weekend is gone, with the exception of some of the snow piles left over from plowing. Hopefully we won't see any more snow until just before Christmas, but I'm not holding my breath.

One thing I did this weekend was go back to the BBH/A/L/GS store to see if they had replenished their supply of snowblowers. They had indeed, but by a very small amount. So I talked with the OPE guy (OPE – Outdoor Power Equipment). I told him what I wanted, knew they'd had some there prior to the surprise Nor'easter, and wanted him to order another for me. After 30 seconds I knew this was going to be a long drawn out process.

To make a lengthy and boring story a lot shorter, I told him that if I didn't hear back from him or one of his co-workers by end of business Monday that I would take my business to one of their competitors even though it means a considerable drive towards the New Hampshire seacoast.


I brought Bagheera's remains home from the vet's office late Friday. I didn't think taking the box with his ashes from the hands of the veterinary tech would affect me. But I almost lost it as I carried him back to the truck, and back home.

I miss him.


Andy Rooney died on Friday.


Some folks merely complain about the OWS protesters, and others actually do something about them, this time in Modesto, Kalifornia.

The best line in the post: “Better get used to that s**t son, if you want to be a real revolutionary.”

Gotta love it...

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Ineptocracy, indeed!

(H/T Instapundit)


Skip Murphy reminds us about the strength of the “Army of Davids”.

Indeed - an "Army of Davids" which is the name of the book that Glen[n] Reynolds wrote in describing how technology is shifting such that individuals can band together for a purpose via the 'Net, accomplish a voluntary goal, and then disband in ways that never would have been possible before. In fact, many Conservatives and TEA Partiers used the Internet to get their message (visual: Skip waving his hand!) out and coordinating with others in a joint movement.


What the Left did was to finally push Conservatives "to the edge"; having tolerated behavior contrary to those above points, and not having ever gone "the protest route" before, we did not have the organizational baggage that the Left had. Thus, having no "legacy systems" in place, we utilized the newer ways of organization.

It is because the Left has that baggage, dating back to the 60's, that they couldn't conceive of the idea that the Tea Parties weren't organized by some overseeing organization or political party. Hence their claims of “astroturf” (artificial grass roots movement paid for by someone else). But their claims didn't hold water. And though the left has tried to 'create' its own grass roots movement – the so-called “coffee party” - their efforts failed and their movement disappeared. Now they've tried to co-opt OWS into their own astroturf movement, but the “Army of Davids” have exposed those efforts and made them look stupid.


Daniel Foty looks into the story of who really broke the banks and the ensuing blame game that points the finger at everyone except those who actually caused the problem. (Hint: it isn't the banks or Wall Street.)

It's been rather unsettling to watch the various counter-factual attempts to heap all of the blame for the "financial crisis" onto "Wall Street" and "bankers." This sort of scapegoating requires willfully selective amnesia about a number of events going back years (and even decades) - and willfully lets a variety of major contributing actors off the hook. Even uglier have been calls for arrests and prosecutions without any indication of actual breaking of the law; even people you may not like are entitled to due process of law... and like free speech, in the case of due process, if you're not in favor of due process for people you happen to dislike then you are not in favor of due process.

As the saying goes, Read The Whole Thing.


Just a reminder: The 2012 national elections take place one year from today.

This means we'll have to put up with yet another 12 months of campaign ads and gladhanding politicians seeking our (monetary) support and votes.

It can't be over too soon.


The New England Patriots play the New York Giants today in Gillette Stadium starting at 4:15PM. I'm just hoping they won't let their defeat at the hands of the Steelers affect their game today.


Bogie has two related posts on smart phones, one dealing with what she calls Good Apps/Bad Apps and the other with smart phone drop tests.

On the first, she tells us she got suckered in to downloading a new version of an app that allows her to listen to the streaming audio from a couple of her favorite local radio stations. She had used the older app because radio reception where she works is spotty at best. The old app worked quite well.

Once she downloaded the new app all of that changed. Now she gets nothing because the app doesn't work. It doesn't even load properly, hanging up once it reaches a certain point.

She adds this warning:
Anyway, this is a word of warning for anyone contemplating downloading this particular app on an Android phone- stay away, it sucks!



Cap'n Teach gives us observations by the NYPD in regards to OWS. As one officer put it:

“Every single night it’s the same thing. I mean, some guy was a victim of rape!” an officer snarls. “There comes a time when it’s over. This is a disaster. It’s all we’re doing, every two seconds, is locking somebody up every time. It’s done.”

“It’s done,” he repeats. “Occupy Wall Street is no longer a protest.”

I'm not sure what it is either, other than a bunch of ignorant wanna-be revolutionaries trying to recreate the worst part of the 1960's radicalism, and failing. Or worse, maybe they're succeeding and we've just forgotten how nasty it was back then.

Cap'n Teach adds:

In all seriousness, I want the Occupiers to keep their little slice of insanity (violence, criminality, etc) up for another year and 2 days. The longer this goes on, the more people get an eyeful of what the Left, especially the Progressives, stand for, and, by extension, what Obama, Pelosi, and a good chunk of elected Democrats stand for.



Posting might be non-existent tomorrow as tomorrow evening I have a public hearing to attend in another town here in the Lakes Region.

A number of towns are in the process of renewing their franchise contracts with the local cable MSO and I am a technical adviser for the consortium handling the negotiations. I attend the meetings should there be any technical questions about the cable system and the services they offer or are planning to offer.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where Eastern Standard Time has returned, most of the 12”+ of snow that fell last weekend has all but disappeared, and plenty of outdoor work awaits as the warm temperatures have returned for the next few days.


Useful Idiots

I saw this the other day but waited until I had a chance to show it to a friend who, like the fellow in this video, grew up in the old Soviet Union. His opinion of the people advocating the elimination of capitalism and replacing it with socialism: “Useful idiots, just as Lenin and Stalin labeled them!”

As my friend pointed out, these people are insane. Because they have allowed themselves to be brainwashed about the so-called “evils of capitalism” and are no longer capable of thinking for themselves, they should be put away into an asylum. When I asked why he thought them insane, he said this:

You would agree that Albert Einstein was a brilliant man, yes? He said that insanity is doing the same thing again and again, hoping the results would be different this time. What these folks want has been proven not to work, time and time again. It has killed millions upon millions of people. Yet these crazy people want to do it again. See? Insanity!

What these folks don't realize is many of those socialist paradises only lasted as long as they did because of capitalism, not in spite of it. Without funds from the capitalist countries and the thriving underground capitalist economies operating in those socialist worker's paradises, they would have collapsed far sooner than they did. Why do they think China has abandoned socialist economics and embraced capitalism? It's simple: socialism doesn't work, and the Chinese knew it.

If these useful idiots want to try living in a socialist society, there are still enough around for them to go to to give it a try. I suggest Venezuela or Cuba, two bastions of socialist paradises.

Venezuela, a country with the wealth of abundant oil, has devolved into a poverty-stricken socialist dictatorship where infrastructure has broken down. The only ones benefiting from Chavez's socialist ideologies are his cronies. Everyone else there has suffered, seeing their livelihoods destroyed all in the name of socialism.

Cuba is an economic basket case and has been since Castro took over. It became even worse once the Soviet Union collapsed because there were no more socialist subsidies flowing from the always almost empty socialist coffers (usually filled by way of aid from capitalist countries).

Socialism is an ideology of envy and greed, as history has proven more than once. Many claim it is an egalitarian ideal, but the only thing shared equally in those egalitarian socialist societies is misery and terror. Some of the more radical socialists say that unless everyone can have X, Y, or Z, then no one should have X, Y, or Z. The problem with that is that it is an unrealistic vision because no one will ever have anything new, except misery and terror. (Actually, I must correct myself. Only the ruling elite will be able to have X, Y, and Z. Everyone else is screwed.)

If nothing else the Occupy Wall Street protests are showcasing the radical beliefs of these fringe lunatics and showing them to be the insane purveyors of unrealistic and totalitarian ideologies.


A Checklist - The Tea Party Versus OWS

The Jawa Report has a handy dandy checklist comparing the Tea Party folks to the #Occupy folks. Again, it's no surprise the OWS folks come out on the short end of this one.

There are also a couple of related links at the bottom of the list you should check out.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Yet Another Step Closer To Star Trek

As time passes we get closer and closer to what has been called The Singularity. I call it getting closer to Star Trek.

The latest step towards that vision is something called biophotonic instrumentation . Now that we've named it, it's time to learn what it does.

At the moment when it's necessary to monitor a patient's heart rate, blood pressure, or blood glucose level a nurse or technician is required to attach a heart monitor, a blood pressure cuff, or to draw blood for testing. It's time consuming and requires a number of different pieces of equipment. But what if it were possible to monitor all of those parameters at the same time using nothing more than a laser beam and a camera?

Now it is.

When human skin is illuminated by a laser beam, the movement of blood under the skin manifests itself as vibrations at the skin’s surface. These vibrations create a secondary optical speckle pattern that correlates to the blood flux, which depends on blood viscosity (related to glucose concentration), blood pulse pressure, and heart rate.

A few-milliwatt infrared (IR) laser at 1550 nm is used to illuminate the wrist of a patient at an oblique angle (see figure). The vertical-reflection speckle pattern is collected by an optical system that consists of a fast camera to record the reflected intensity pattern.


Although the distance between the light source and the subject’s skin was approximately 50 cm in the measurement setup, the researchers say they can also extract these biological parameters when the laser-skin distance is several-hundred meters. In addition, the parameters could be obtained not only from wrist-skin reflections, but also from chest and neck reflections.

The system could be located above the patient's bed or off to one side in one corner of a room, yet allow unobtrusive monitoring of the three medical parameters. That means less need to tether a patient to the monitoring equipment, greater comfort for the patient, and less effort for medical personnel.

There could also be certain security applications for this technology, such as monitoring passengers in an airport. A raised heart rate and blood pressure could trigger closer monitoring of some passengers as it's likely both parameters would be elevated in someone “up to no good.” Of course it might also mean a passenger is a nervous flier. But it would be another covert tool for use by airport security personnel in screening passengers before boarding a flight.


Bagheera The Magnificent: 1999-2011

It is with heavy heart that I must announce the passing of Bagheera The Magnificent. He died late this morning in the arms of my wife Deb.

He was an opinionated, stubborn cat, a leader of the feline members of the Weekend Pundit Household. He was also an occasional contributor to this blog, covering topics of import...to him.

As snooty as he was, he was also a great companion, a comfort during troubling times, and generally an all around “Gu' Boy”. He helped Deb raise BeezleBub from the age of 5. He managed to decimate the chipmunk and mouse population around The Manse over the past 6 years. He lulled us to sleep with his purring, curling himself around the tops of our heads like a cat hat as we fell asleep. He would dry BeezleBub's hair after his bath because “he couldn't do it hisself!” He tolerated the other felines in the house, but personally I think he liked having the others around if for no other reason than to show his magnificence by comparison.

It's never easy losing a member of the family, even if they have four feet and fur. Bagheera was a sweet lovable cat, his curmudgeonly online persona notwithstanding.

Sleep well, old friend. May your supper dish always be full and your bed filled with catnip, Big Kitty.