Who Are The Deniers?

The case for the “incontrovertible” and “settled Science” of AGW has suffered yet another series of blows. First, it appears there has been no warming over the past 15 years, claims by the warmists notwithstanding. The the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, home of ClimateGate and ClimateGate 2.0, reports that there has been no appreciable warming in that time period.

None of that stops the AGW faithful, who aren't letting things like actual data get in the way of their beliefs.

Then sixteen prominent scientists sign a letter saying there is no need to panic about global warming. The letter pokes holes in some of the claims made by AGW proponents and questions the motivations of those who have abandoned any pretense of scientific objectivity.

Why is there so much passion about global warming, and why has the issue become so vexing that the American Physical Society, from which Dr. Giaever resigned a few months ago, refused the seemingly reasonable request by many of its members to remove the word "incontrovertible" from its description of a scientific issue? There are several reasons, but a good place to start is the old question "cui bono?" Or the modern update, "Follow the money."

Alarmism over climate is of great benefit to many, providing government funding for academic research and a reason for government bureaucracies to grow. Alarmism also offers an excuse for governments to raise taxes, taxpayer-funded subsidies for businesses that understand how to work the political system, and a lure for big donations to charitable foundations promising to save the planet. Lysenko and his team lived very well, and they fiercely defended their dogma and the privileges it brought them.

Cui bono? indeed.

As more evidence points to climate change being a natural phenomenon one has to ask this question of the AGW proponents: Who are the 'deniers'? The AGW faithful who pick and chose data that backs their claims while ignoring data that contradicts their beliefs? Or those who look at all the data and find it does not support the claims for AGW?


Thoughts On A Sunday

The winter weather pattern continues, with snowfalls ranging between 2 and 6 inches followed by sleet, freezing rain, and/or rain. It makes for one heck of a mess on the streets, and particularly driveways.

Here at The Manse this mixture has made it difficult to keep the driveway passable. Thursday night's snowfall, though totaling only about an inch and a half, was followed the next day by rain and freezing rain. This turned the snow into a slushy mixture with the consistency of soggy mashed potatoes. It also made it very difficult to remove, something that needed to be done because once the temperature fell below freezing overnight it would leave an icy mess that would make the driveway nearly impassable. No amount of sanding would help at that point.

This has been the pattern since late December and frankly I think we're all getting tired of it. A straightforward snowstorm would be a relief because then all we'd have to do is move the snow, something easy to do with the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower.


Two of the big winter events here at Lake Winnipesaukee have been disrupted due to the mild winter weather.

The annual Rotary Ice Fishing Derby is questionable this year because the lake froze over only last week, meaning the ice is very thin and won't support vehicles, bob houses, or people. If we have a few weeks of below freezing temps the ice might be ready by mid to late February.

The annual Pond Hockey Tournament has been moved from Meredith Bay on Winnipesaukee to nearby Lake Waukewan. At least Waukewan has been frozen over for some time and the ice is thick enough to support the tournament.


Scary Yankee Chick has this one right:

Calling mommy cause you don't know what to do when your dorm catches on fire may be a sign that you're not ready to live on your own.



This is scary. A man was held for two years in solitary confinement in New Mexico's Dona Ana County Jail after a drunk driving arrest. No arraignment. No trial. No conviction. Jail personnel denied him medical treatment. At one point he had to pull his own tooth in his cell when he was denied dental care.

A jury awarded him $22 million after he filed a civil rights suit against the county in federal court.

It took them two years to figure out he wasn't even supposed to be there, let alone that he never saw a judge or went to trial? $22 million isn't enough by half!


Gee, it seems the MSM can't even get their hit pieces right. In this case Reuters went after Sen. Marco Rubio, trying to paint him as unfit to even be considered for a vice-presidential nod. The only problem with the article is that none of it was fact checked and glaring errors were found by a number of readers, including the Daily Caller's Matt Lewis.

One of the most telling:

“Rubio also voted against Sonia Sotomayor, Obama’s Supreme Court nominee who is of Puerto Rican descent…”

There's only one problem with that claim, that being Rubio didn't enter the Senate until the year after Sotomayor was confirmed.

A number of other claims were made about financial difficulties or improprieties and investigations by the IRS, all of which were proven to be false.

Is it any wonder why more people have a growing distrust of the MSM?

As one commenter to the Lewis post wrote, “This kind of hit piece is just more evidence that Rubio is someone the left fears. And it's pretty pathetic, really. Rubio owes more on his home than it's worth? Welcome to the collapsed housing market! If anything, this smear piece makes Rubio come off more as a regular joe than anything.”

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Why doesn't this surprise me?

The most popular online newspaper read by Americans is not the New York Times or the Washington Post but the Daily Mail in the UK.

This does not bode well for the US print media. They had better change their ways and actually start reporting the news rather than editorializing under the guise of reporting or they're likely to go the way Oldsmobile, Studebaker, and the dodo.


The National Association of Realtors seems to be think the housing market will recover in 2012. But Megan McArdle points to a StreetTalk Advisors piece by Lance Roberts that begs to differ with that assessment. Even with historically low interest rates, too many Americans do not have the wherewithal to get financing due to their debt-to-income ratio.

That's not the only thing that can put the kibosh on a housing market recovery.

With the large amount if shadow inventory waiting in the wings, there are far more properties waiting to be listed than there are buyers with the means to purchase them.

Shadow inventory is properties held by banks or other institutions that have been foreclosed upon but not yet listed for sale or auction. No one really knows how much shadow inventory is out there, but some have estimated it could be quite large. If all of the shadow inventory were to hit the market over a very short period of time, the already weak real estate market would collapse and with it, property values. Just about everyone with a mortgage would end up being underwater.

When will the shadow inventory hit the market? Nobody knows.


Go see Wirecutter's Quote Of The Day.

'Nuff said.


Dems to Republicans: Do as we say, not as we do, at least when it comes to financing campaigns.

But then the Dems have always been more than willing to apply a double standard to everything their opponents do.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice still isn't thick enough, last week's snow and ice have melted away from our driveway, and where I refilled all eight sand buckets just in case.


Sometimes Violence Does Solve Problems - Redux

Some times great minds think alike.

In this case Gerard Vanderleun attacks one of the “insidiously deceptive lines of the socialist-liberal agenda” which is “Violence doesn't solve anything.” As the story he links to states:

Pacifism is a sickness, an actual moral perversity, and dangerous when its effects spread to anyone else beside the pacifist. You may choose to walk to the cattle car, but damn you if you let your children be led up the ramp. You must never allow any group or government to steal your right to exercise armed lethal force in a just situation.

This is a subject I've covered in the past, showing the old leftist saw to be nothing more than a pipe dream.

Violence does solve things. It has ended brutal dictatorships, saved citizens from the predation of criminals, prevented injustices on a small and large scale, and prevented wars.

Perhaps the old saying needs to be modified. Instead, it should be "Violence never solves anything if it is used at the wrong time in the wrong place." Violence in and of itself solves nothing. It is the proper use of violence under the right circumstances that solves problems.



"You Use That Word A Lot..."

"...but I do not think it means what you think it means.”

And what word would that be but the favorite accusation hurled by the Left at the drop of a hat whenever someone dares disagree with someone from one minority group or another?

Racism. The Left bandies that word around like a bludgeon, figuring that by making the accusation they'll be able to stifle any disagreement with their agenda. Of course they'll claim that they're merely protecting an oppressed minority from the depredations of white people, but what it really is is a tool for a subtle form of extortion.

But first we have to ask “What is the real definition of the word 'racism'?” The Left's definition is too skewed and has little, if anything, to do with reality. So what is a definition that reflects the true meaning of the word? Let's try this one:

Racism is not thinking you are better than others. It is thinking that you are innately and forever better, that others cannot better themselves for reasons eternally set by biology. Racism is not thinking your society is superior. It is in failing to understand that others can take the elements that have worked for you, adapt them for themselves, and combine them with the best indigenous elements.

By that definition, it is the Left who are the racists because they do not believe their favorite minorities can succeed without their 'help' or 'protection' because they are incapable of doing so. And those who do succeed without 'help' from the Left are seen as “race traitors” who betrayed their cultural heritage by becoming something other than what the Left wanted them to be: dependent and subservient to their betters. After all, who knows what the minorities want or need better the the Leftist elites? (Not that they've ever actually asked them. They just assume they do.) They also assume that it is only whites who can be racist, when there's plenty of evidence to the contrary (think Sheila Jackson Lee or Reverend Jeremiah Wright).

In case you're wondering where that definition came from, it's from here. Seems apropos.


CFL And LED Lamps Not All They're Cracked Up To Be

Now that the manufacture of 100W incandescent light bulbs has been banned in the US, with 75W, 60W, and 40W bulbs to follow, we must look at the history of the allegedly “better for the environment” replacements, primarily compact fluorescent lights (CFL) and LED lighting.

The scorecard for CFLs isn't all that great, with far too many of them failing to live up to the hype, specifically in regards to their service life. Claims of 10,000 hours have been made, but too many of them have shown to have far less than that, sometimes no better than the incandescent bulbs they're supposed to replace. That wouldn't be so bad if they didn't cost many times that of an equivalent the old fashioned Edison bulbs. Disposal is also an issue because the contain mercury, meaning you aren't supposed to throw dead CFLs into the trash. They have to be disposed of as hazardous waste. (Our town has an annual hazardous waste disposal day. Town residents can bring all kinds of waste that can't be thrown into the trash, like cleaning chemicals, unused pesticides, and of course fluorescent lights which include the older tube-style lamps and CFLs.

CFLs do use less electricity for the amount of light they produce as compared to incandescents, but the less than stellar service life for some CFLs doesn't justify the cost. (The extra money you pay for them is never returned in regards to the lower cost to run them.) Another issue with CFLs is that they don't reach full brightness for a minute or two after they are turned on. That's not exactly convenient.

LED lights are still in their infancy, but are getting better all the time. Claimed service life is 50,000 hours, but there have been too many of them that fail well before their time, in some cases only hours after being installed.

It isn't the LEDs in the lights that fail. In most cases the LEDs that make up the lights work just fine when the correct current is applied to them even after the lamp stops working. Instead, much like CFLs, the problem is in the power supply circuits that take the house current and convert it to a voltage and current that are required for the LEDs to operate properly. In some cases the power supplies were poorly designed and built (usually the case with cheap Chinese made LED bulbs). The most common failure mode for these supplies is poor solder joints on the components in the supply. As the article linked above explains, failed LED bulbs start working again after the bad solder joints are resoldered. It's a workmanship issue. Not all LED manufacturers have this problem. Probably one of the better made LED bulbs out there now is manufactured by Philips. They have minimized the number of solder joints and where wire would normally attach to the supply to connect the house AC or the LEDs, Philips uses connectors which greatly reduces this problem.

A second power supply issue is the use of components that aren't rated for the conditions they'll under which they'll be operating. So after operating for some period of time, they fail which turns your expensive LED lamp into nothing more than an ornament. (A more detailed and technical explanation about this topic an be found here.)

Another downside to LED lamps – their price. They cost a lot, with a (good) 60 watt equivalent priced at about $25. It would take a long time to recoup the cost of the bulbs from the savings achieved by reduced electricity usage.

And another downside to LEDs to consider is that as LEDs age with usage, the amount of light they produce decreases. For most people this won't be an issue. But for others it may cause problems.

Am I advocating the continued use of incandescent light bulbs and abandoning the use of other lighting technologies? No. But I am saying is that we should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of lighting before deciding whether or not to make the switch.


State Of The Union

I just finished watching the State Of My Chances To Get Re-Elected The Union address. It sounded pretty, full of all kinds of hopeful rhetoric and broad promises.

In other words, typical of an Obama campaign speech.

One of the things I did to amuse myself during the 1 hour and 5 minutes of the speech was keep track of how many times the president uttered certain words. I have three main word groups I tracked, those being I/Me, Fair/Fairness/Fair Share/Fair Shot, and We. Here are the totals with one caveat: I may have missed a few.

I/Me: 52

Fair/Fairness/Fair Share/Fair Shot: 7

We: 74

I did not include such words as 'My' in the I/Me group, though perhaps I should have as it could have easily pushed the total well past 70. And as I was listening I had to ponder whether it would have been prudent to split the 'We' into to separate groupings, with the first grouping being the plural noun and the second the royal 'We'. But then I would have had to pay even closer attention to the speech and I was too damn lazy to do that.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We dodged a bullet, weatherwise. It snowed yesterday in New England, but for the most part we were on the fringes of the storm and got about an inch of snow. But because it was so fine (due to the well below freezing temps), the roads got pretty slick in a short period of time. The few errands I had to run yesterday required me to use 4WD most of the time while I was out on the road.

The small snowfall didn't mean I didn't have to clear off the driveway as the few inches of snow we received Friday was still there.

Call me lazy, but I didn't want to clean the driveway twice. Clearing off 4 inches of snow is actually easier than clearing 1 inch, so I waited until the snow stopped Saturday afternoon before finally firing up the snowblower.


It appears Chicago-style politics has made its way to Iowa, with a former Obama staffer and Democrat Party apparatchik arrested for identity theft. In this case the identity he tried to steal was that of Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz. His plan was to use the stolen identity to frame Schultz (a Republican) for unethical behavior in office.

It sounds like a play right out of David Axelrod's Chicago politics playbook.

As an aside, I have to wonder whether it might be fun to start a betting pool whose sole purpose will be to bet how many Obama staffers, czars, and cabinet members will be investigated, indicted, or convicted and sent to prison.

Nah, probably a bad idea. It will be a sucker bet.

(H/T Instapundit)


Victor Davis Hanson likens Greece to a modern day Cassandra, showing us the future but being ignored.

The United States should pay heed to the modern Greek Cassandra, since our own rendezvous with reality is rapidly approaching. The costs of servicing a growing national debt of more than $15 trillion are starting to squeeze out other budget expenditures. Americans are no longer affluent enough to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars to import oil, while we snub our noses at vast new oil and gas finds beneath our own soil and seas.

In my state, Californians for 40 years have hiked taxes; grown their government; vastly expanded entitlements; put farmland, timberland and oil and gas lands off limits; and opened their borders to millions of illegal aliens. They apparently assumed that they had inherited so much wealth from prior generations and that their state was so naturally rich, that a continually better life was their natural birthright.

It wasn't. Now, as in Greece, the veneer of civilization is proving pretty thin in California. Hospitals no longer have the money to offer sophisticated long-term medical care to the indigent. Cities no longer have the funds to self-insure themselves from the accustomed barrage of monthly lawsuits. When thieves rip copper wire out of street lights, the streets stay dark. Most state residents would rather go to the dentist these days than queue up and take a number at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Hospital emergency rooms neither have room nor act as if there's much of an emergency.

And his list goes on and on. These scenarios are being played out in Greece today, and California is following not too far behind. To say the Greek/Euro debacle can't happen here is just another form of denial, one we cannot afford to ignore.


R.L Polk reports the average age of a car on the roads of America is just under 11 years.

This is not as much as a surprise as it might have been considering cars are better built than they were in the past, meaning they last longer than they used to. The ongoing recession hasn't helped things either because people are less likely to buy a new car when they can't be sure whether they'll still have a job six months down the road.


The New England Patriots played the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC Championship in Foxboro today. The hype leading up to the game kept mentioning it was the #1 offense (Patriots) against the #1 defense (Ravens). Most folks would agree that it's defense that wins championships.

But as more than one commentator has mentioned, even though the Patriots have the #31 defense in the league due to the amount of yards they have allowed, passing and rushing, they don't let their opponents score very often. As some of those same commentators have said the scoreboard doesn't show the yards, only the points scored.

From watching some of the press conferences over the past week, neither team has been taking anything for granted. Both teams appear to have great respect for the other, knowing the game would likely be a tough one.

In the end the Patriots won it, 23-20, in a squeaker of a game. Only a missed field goal attempt by the Ravens with 51 seconds left in the game kept the game from going into overtime.


Bogie shares a picture of her three cats enjoying a treat of canned cat food.

We do something quite similar here at The Manse, with all 63/4 cats sharing a can of “wonderful food” in the late afternoon/early evening. It's not meant to be a meal, just an appetizer before their regular evening meal.


John Stossel makes the case for his claim that everything we know is wrong, at least when it comes to trusting our instincts in regards to our increasingly complex world. As he says, simple answers are satisfying, but often wrong.

Simple answers are so satisfying: Green jobs will fix the economy. Stimulus will create jobs. Charity helps people more than commerce. Everyone should vote.

Well, all those instinctive solutions are wrong. As Friedrich Hayek pointed out in The Fatal Conceit, it's a problem that in our complex, extended economy, we rely on instincts developed during our ancestors' existence in small bands. In those old days, everyone knew everyone else, so affairs could be micromanaged. Today, we live in a global economy where strangers deal with each other. The rules need to be different.


It's not what people don't know that gets them into trouble. It's what they know that isn't so.

That certainly seems to be the case today, where more often people will support programs, laws, ideas, spending, and “revenue enhancement” without having a clue about the effects of any of them, intended or otherwise. That's true from the local level all the way up to Congress. That's why we're in the trouble we're in now.


You can't say we didn't see this coming.

Labor union quits alliance with greens over Keystone pipeline.

While some unions still support the greens opposition to the pipeline, a number of large labor unions see Obama's decision against it as costing jobs their members badly need.

Some unions, like a couple of the transit workers unions, support the green position. (There's no word whether the SEIU supports the greens or the laborers, at least not yet. But I expect they'll end up supporting the greens on this one because they have no real skin in the game.)


The Obama Administrations plan to destroy the economy continues apace, with the closing of the oil refinery at St. Croix, USVI, and the continuing delays and increasing legal maneuverings upon at least one new refinery slated for South Dakota.

By destroying the energy infrastructure and reducing the supply of crude and refined products by fiat, Obama's EPA is doing a great job dismantling the US economy one power plant, one refinery, one pipeline at a time. If I didn't know better, I'd say this was a long term plot by the old Soviet Union to destroy the West. But then we've had far too many of their programmed “useful idiots” getting involved with government for decades. So even though the Soviet Union is gone, their drones are carrying on with their mission.


Democrat racist wacko Shiela Jackson Lee is at it again, claiming Newt Gingrich is using “secret racist encryption” because he called Obama the “food stamp president”.

As Doug powers writes:

And “Sheila Jackson Lee” is poorly disguised code for “pathetic race baiter.”

Yeah, I'd say that about sums it up.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


Somehow California's Governor Jerry Brown thinks that more of the same failed policies of the past that have brought his state to the brink of failure will miraculously fix the Golden State's economic problems.

He's rightly earned the long running sobriquet of “Governor Moonbeam” because he's still living in the past.

I wonder when that acid he dropped back in the 70's will finally wear off?


At least someone in New York is paying attention to the coming state pension debacle. Believe it or not, it's (Democrat) Governor Andrew Cuomo.

There may be hope for the Empire State yet...but I'm not holding my breath.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where winter has finally arrived, snow is covering the ground, and where the lake has finally frozen over.


Let's Steal A Building

We've all heard news reports about thieves stealing things like copper pipes and wiring from empty or abandoned buildings. It's not all that surprising considering the price of scrap copper and other metals. (Some thieves have gone so far as to steal bronze plaques from grave yards and buildings.) We've heard about Darwin Award nominees trying to steal electrical cables from power poles (usually frying themselves in the process). But this bunch of thieves have taken it to a higher level by stealing an entire building.

(The thieves] first apparently called the owner of a business next to 18400 Frontage Road along I-55 and told him the structure was being dismantled that day because the property had been sold, the Will County Sheriff’s office says.

They then pulled up two semi-trucks to the building — and tore it down. They removed the steel from the structure and then carted it away in the trucks.

The audacity of this crew! This is a crime that took a lot of planning. It was not a spur of the moment “Gee, that building is mostly metal, let's steal it!” kind of plan. They pulled off this large scale theft in less than a day and got away clean. That means a lot of organization and the use of an experienced crew.

While still a crime, it's success has me admiring the crew that pulled it off.

(H/T Scary Yankee Chick)


We Need To Fix Our Roads, But...

I caught the end of tonight's World News on ABC. Since it was Friday their usual last feature is Person of the Week.

This week it was the three mayors of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Mesa, Arizona. What is it that moved ABC to select them as Persons of the Week? They want the federal government (specifically Congress) to stop dickering around and do something about America's crumbling roads. After all, the US used to be number one when it came to the quality of our highways and byways. But no longer. We now rate 20th in the world behind Malaysia and Cypus.

"If they pass the surface transportation bill and America Fast Forward, it will allow us to accelerate the building of that 30-year project in a 10-year period of time, creating 166,000 jobs," Villaraigosa said. "These are the kinds of innovative things that the Congress has an opportunity to do that they haven't done up to now. ... Their failure to address the No. 1 issue in America, the jobs issue, is akin to the captain of the Concordia jumping off the ship before the passengers had been rescued. This Congress needs to get back on that ship and do their job."

I have to admit that I agree with these mayors that our highway system has been seriously neglected over the past few decades. Some states do an admirable job keeping their roads in good shape but they have to struggle to do it, sometimes sacrificing other infrastructure programs to keep the roads open.

But there's something I must point out that the mayors have conveniently forgotten: the ~$800 billion stimulus package put forth by President Obama in 2009. If every penny of that money had gone to fixing roads and other infrastructure they wouldn't have had to try to cajole Congress into dealing with the issue now. We would be almost 3 years into the 10 year rebuilding effort and plenty of people presently unemployed would be working. But no one mentions that out of the entire stimulus package less than 10% went to infrastructure, and not just roads. The rest of the stimulus went to expanding government and lining the pockets of Obama supporters.

Do we really want Congress to drop another trillion dollars on projects that won't do anything but waste taxpayer dollars we don't really have? If we're going to drop a bundle of tax money on roads, then the appropriations will need to be specifically targeted to each state and limited to use on roads only. No “bridges to nowhere”, no side projects that have nothing to do with improving roads, and provisions to do away with the Bacon-Davis Act restrictions (saving tons of money in the process).


SuperBowl Ad Preview

Thought the SuperBowl is still a little over two weeks away, some TV ads slated for the Big Show are already making an appearance on YouTube.

This one will probably be one of my favorites.

I'm glad that Volkswagen and Lucasarts were able to come to terms over the use of some of the Star Wars music and imagery. It's worked out for both of them.


Chinese Real Estate Bubble About To Burst

As bad as the real estate bubble and subsequent meltdown was here in the US, the bubble in China is worse and the meltdown will be far more spectacular. Unlike the one in the US, the Chinese meltdown includes entire cities built in anticipation of demands for housing, manufacturing, and consumer spending. It is this last that shows just how badly the Chinese government has overestimated the demand, particularly in light of the highly inflated prices for housing.

One other difference – while shopping malls in the US have been struggling remain open as retailers either fail or decide to move to another location (sometimes to the web), many new malls in China never had the retailers to begin with. One mall, called the South China Mall (also known as the Great Mall of China), was supposed to be the biggest retail mall in the world, with over 1500 shops under one roof. Instead it sits virtually empty, with few operating shops and even fewer customers.

To see how bad it is, an Australian news crew visited one of the new cities. Thousands of apartments sit empty, as do many of the retails shops.

Billions of dollars spent on ghost cities where very few live. This is what happens when the government decides what the demand will be rather than letting the private sector figure it out and build only what they can sell.


California Declares War Against Vampires?

We know the strangest things come out of California, including social fads, weird fashion, even weirder laws, and totally FUBAR'd educational theories.

But going to war against vampires?

But not all is as it appears to be.

California has declared war on vampires, but this time it's no Hollywood monster flick.

The state will be the first in the nation to target so-called vampire battery chargers that suck up and waste as much as 60 percent of the electricity they consume. The California Energy Commission voted 3-0 on Thursday to regulate such power-sapping chargers despite objections by consumer product makers.

So there won't be vampire hunting squads out there trying to eradicate the bloodsuckers, just lawmakers and bureaucrats trying to eliminate phantom power loads. Wouldn't that make them ghostbusters and not vampire hunters?


Thoughts On A Sunday

BeezleBub spent the weekend split between work at the farm and his high school's FIRST robotics team...for the most part.

He tried to do some work at the farm this morning. With temps well below zero he couldn't get any of the tractors started even with the block heaters plugged in overnight. No tractors meant no work. He was home from work this morning by 9:15AM. After warming up and indulging in a couple of cups of coffee he was off to robotics for a couple of hours.

At least it keeps him off the streets.


Today was Deb's birthday and BeezleBub and I split the cost of her birthday present: a Kindle Fire.

I think she really likes it!


The New England Patriots pounded the Denver Broncos down in Foxboro last night, 45-10.

The Patriots face the Baltimore Ravens next weekend.


Apparently the New Hampshire League of Women Voters didn't care very much for the voter fraud sting run by James O'Keefe's Veritas Project. From reading their reaction it appears they really didn't understand the problem O'Keefe was exposing. It doesn't help their cause that they keep repeating the oft debunked claim that requiring voter ID prior to voting will disenfranchise the poor and minorities. The poor and minorities already have to provide proof of identity for a whole host of other activities in their lives, so we have to ask why this is any different?

It's simple, really: It isn't.

Then there's this – Dead Voters Of New Hampshire Unite!


The so-called PissGate scandal has assumed the mantle of an event of great significance. However, it isn't. As Col. Allen West says, ”Shut your mouth. War is hell.”

As I recall a commenter on another blog (I can't remember which one) put it in perspective, stating “Our enemies behead people they don't like, including Americans. What is this compared to that?”


I have to agree with Gerard Vanderleun on this one: “This is not a "Vote-For" election. This is a "Vote-Against" election. This is not a "Sit-It-Out-And-Pout" election. This is a "Get-Obama-Out" election. That is what it is about and that is all it is about.” (emphasis original)

(H/T Instapundit)


Is the fact that more cities in the US are shutting off or removing streetlights because they can no longer afford to run them a sign that they have their priorities wrong?

As Glenn Reynolds comments, “...it’s either that or lay off some drones working in City Hall. Guess which one they pick . . . .”

It's always about protecting those patronage jobs, isn't it?

Another reader at Instapundit adds “I seem to recall a president who told us that our electric bills would necessarily rise. This is just another consequence, though I’m not sure it was unintended.”


In light of the snowfall we had last week, I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with Bogie on this one.


Is the answer to the “problem” of income inequality really a rehash of something that has been tried before (and failed)? I think Eric the Viking has the right of it:

What can be done to reverse this, short of a modern-day techno-Luddite movement? People really seem to like their iPads.

Income inequality can't really be solved by government except by impoverishing everyone. Even Maggie Thatcher understood that and wanted no part of it.


This is wrong on so many levels.....


Pat Austin has a nice blog roundup for the weekend despite her Saints losing to the 49'ers yesterday.


The American Perspective gives us a list of a number of 'firsts' achieved by the present occupant of the White House.

A few of my favorites:

First President to have a social security number from a state he’s never lived in.

First President to Require All Americans to Purchase a Product From a Third Party.

First President to Spend a Trillion Dollars on ‘Shovel-Ready’ Jobs– and Later Admit There Was No Such Thing as Shovel-Ready Jobs.

First President to Abrogate Bankruptcy Law to Turn Over Control of Companies to His Union Supporters.

And the hits keep on coming...

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


Apparently Tammy is craving some sugar cookies.

I think I could go for a few of those as well!


Steven Hayward makes the case for the need for a new “Laffer Curve”. The existing Laffer Curve shows the relationship between tax rates and tax revenues in the form of a non-linear parabola. While many (primarily on the Left) have criticized it, it is an accurate representation of that relationship.

What Hayward wants is a Laffer Curve that shows the effects of government regulation.

Here’s where we need the regulatory equivalent of the Laffer Curve. Take the Keystone pipeline as an example. The pipeline is likely to be approved eventually, but only after more years of review and litigation. Certainly measures will need to be taken to reduce the environmental risks of the pipeline, but is there any safety measure that we will eventually impose that we didn’t recognize in the first six months of the review process? It’s not like we’ve never built a pipeline before, or learned from previous pipeline accidents (like the one in Montana last summer). Are there really any potential environmental impacts of deepening a harbor in South Carolina by five feet that require six to ten years of review and litigation, and a three-thousand page Environmental Impact Statement?

Clearly the review process we have now is largely deadweight loss, just as high marginal tax rates discouraged capital formation, investment, and productivity improvements in the high-inflation 1970s. We can arguably afford the extravagance of regulatory suffocation when the economy is booming at 4 percent growth a year or better (as in the late 1990s) and unemployment is 5 percent. We cannot afford it under the current stagnant circumstances. A Laffer Curve for regulation will explore just how much economic growth and how many jobs were are sacrificing for this artificial punctiliousness.

I think a lot of the problem can be laid at the feet of the BANANA environmentalists. (BANANA = Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.) They want zero risks and want project proposals to estimate the effects of those projects up to 100 years in the future. That 'need' is an automatic loser because no one is capable of making those kind of projections.

How many needed projects will die or have died due to bureaucratic red tape foisted upon project developers for no legitimate reason other than someone somewhere didn't like it?

As the saying goes, Read The Whole Thing.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the cold weather has finally arrived, the ice in the lake is starting to form, and where keeping warm is going to be costly.


Diminishing Returns And Perceived Risks

One of the most difficult concepts that many people have problems understanding is that of diminishing returns. This applies to many different areas in our lives and in our society. I don't know whether it's a lack of education, a failure in their upbringing, or something inherently lacking in the people themselves. Perhaps it's a little of all three.

Going hand in hand with this concept is one that has many of the same roots - perceived risk – something that has driven some folks into action to get the government to “Do Something!” about something that is a minor issue at best.

In case you're wondering, however briefly, how this particular subject came up, it was during a discussion at work about this post from FuturePundit dealing with the declining return on investment from electrical power efficiency.

My employer is always looking for ways to reduce our energy usage, something that appeals to the frugal Yankee in me. Over the past five or six years a number of measures have been taken to reduce our electrical usage, including the use of more efficient lighting at all levels, timers on our existing electric water heaters to shut them off when no one is in the building, on-demand water heaters replacing the older tank-type water heaters as they wear out, more energy efficient refrigerators (used for both food and for storage of certain manufacturing substances...though not in the same refrigerator!), and motion sensors to shut off lights in rooms when no one is in them, just to name a few of the improvements undertaken. All of this has helped reduce our electricity usage by over 20% as compared to 6 years ago. Will further investment reduce our electrical usage any more than it has? Sure it will, but (and it's a big 'but') we won't see anywhere near the savings we already have unless we spend a lot more money than has already been spent. We have reached the point of diminishing return. We'd need to spend many times more than we already have in order to achieve a small fraction of the savings already made. From a financial point of view the return on investment makes no sense, meaning further investment in this effort will not result in energy savings equal to what was spent to achieve them. Or put more simply, we'll spend more than we'll save. It's not worth it.

OK, back to the subject at hand.

We've seen more than a few times where some project has reached its original goals, whether it's a cleanup of some Superfund site or the closing of a municipal landfill. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the contaminants were cleaned up or the landfill might leak 0.001% of the liquids or decomposition products from the landfill. But for some folks that isn't good enough. They want 100%. Never mind that achieving that last little bit will cost as much, if not more, than what has already spent. Never mind that it will likely be the taxpayers footing the bill. Never mind that in the end it won't make one bit of difference. The project has blown past the point of diminishing returns and spending any additional money won't help...other than to make the folks bitching about it feel better. (It would be cheaper to give them some mood-elevating drugs to do that than wasting taxpayer dollars to 'fix' the last little iota of the problem.)

We see this lack of understanding about diminishing returns in all kinds of places and situations. It is also where the problem with perceived risk comes into play.

One of the biggest disservices ever perpetrated upon the public is the notion that life should be totally risk free. This meme started some time in the 1960's. (Yes, I know drives to improve safety started long before that, but the 100% risk free crap started in the late 60's/early 70's.) There's nothing wrong with reducing risk. But to think life can be made 100% risk free is ludicrous. It can't be done. But that doesn't stop people from trying to do so anyways. I wouldn't mind that so much if those same people understood the difference between real risk and perceived risk. The problem is that they don't and because of that lack of understanding money is wasted on slight risks while major risks are ignored.

An example:

Which entails more risk to life and limb: Driving a car or flying on a commercial airliner?

The answer is, of course, driving a car. (There were over 32,885 traffic fatalities in 2010, with many times that number of injuries. As an aside, that number is the lowest number of fatalities since 1949 despite more miles being traveled then ever before, giving us the lowest fatality rate ever.) But people perceive flying as more dangerous. Yet how many fatalities have there been in the US due to commercial airliner crashes over the past few years? None. A person is far more like to be injured or killed driving to or from the airport than they are by flying on a commercial airliner, but they're more afraid of dying in a plane crash. It's all perception, not reality.

Let's try another:

One person lives near a nuclear power plant. Another lives near a coal-fired power plant. Which one is at a higher risk of cancer, injury, or death?

The answer is the person living near the coal-fired plant. The effluvia from the smokestack and any runoff from the ash pile are a far greater hazard than anything coming from the nuclear plant under normal circumstances. Yet people perceive the nuclear power plant will cause them to get cancer and other illnesses. Even after the Three Mile Island accident there were no increases in cancer or other radiation related illnesses. (Some initial studies stated there were, but review of those studies by the CDC found some creative editing of the health statistics to 'prove' the case. Once all the raw data was reanalyzed those alleged increases in cancer cases disappeared.)

Over the years it seems to me the the perceived risks have received far more attention (and money) than actual risks. Efforts will be made to reduce risks that have little actual impact, but large risks will be ignored.

For instance, the NHTSA wants to ban the use of cell phones and other electronic devices by drivers of cars and trucks. All kinds of efforts are being made to codify that ban in to law across the nation despite the fact that the actual percentage of accidents caused by these distracting gizmos is unknown. The perception is that these devices are leaving a swath of death and destruction along the highways and byways of the nation to rival those caused by drunk driving. The NHTSA reports that 3092 traffic deaths were caused by distracted driving in 2010. That's one out of every eleven fatalities. How many of those were due to cell phone use or texting? The NHTSA doesn't actually say, though the article linked implies all of them were (but there was no actual number cited). The implication is that this is a major risk and that the government must “Do Something!' even though the actual risk is quite small.

But will the government spend a dime on something like removing homes from flood plains or barrier islands, obviating the need to constantly pay out to rebuild them again and again after they are destroyed? (Disclaimer: The gubmint did do that after the Mississippi River floods in 1993, relocating a number of towns to higher ground because it was cheaper to do so rather than paying out the flood insurance claims again and again and again and again, ad infinitum.)

Or will money be spent on things like crumbling roads and bridges, things that endanger us all? We must remember incidents like the Mianus River Bridge collapse on I-95 in Connecticut, the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, or the Nimitz Freeway collapse during the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 , all of which killed and injured motorists. (The Nimitz Freeway collapse occurred because necessary upgrades to the highway support pylons were postponed.) How many other others are out there waiting to happen because we haven't spent the necessary funds to reduce a very real risk? Maybe this is due to the opposite of perceived risk, where people see no risk and therefore think nothing needs to be done, yet the risk exists and is higher than many of the perceived risks people waste time and money dealing with. How much did these real incidents cost compared to what it would have cost to fix the problems in the first place? Do I really need to answer that?

The people need to learn how to discriminate between real risk and perceived risk, and to understand the relationship to diminishing returns. Otherwise we will continue to ignore real risks and waste ever more money on things that are minimal risks at best.


First Winter Weather Arrives

Winter weather finally arrived, albeit about a month late.

We got about 7 inches of snow here at The Manse, and unlike the first two snowfalls we experienced at the end of October and just before Thanksgiving, this was pretty much all powder. It made for slick roads, snow drifts, and the occasional white out. It required the use of 4WD to make it up the rather steep driveway this morning.

If nothing else it gave BeezleBub an excuse to fire up the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower and give it a try.


More Stupid Moves By The Obama Administration

Very little surprises me about the ever more nonsensical, illogical, and incompetent Obama Administration. Two of the latest examples of this dysfunction: federal fines placed upon fuel companies for failure to blend certain biofuels in gasoline and diesel even though those biofuels don't exist; and new regulations imposed by NOAA that seriously cripple the New England fishing industry even though the need for those restrictions cannot be justified.

With every move Obama and his minions make we move closer to the dystopian hell of Atlas Shrugged. I figure it's only a matter of time before something like Directive 10-289 is handed down by executive order from Obama. (Don't think it won't happen. One clueless leftist on the WSJ Forums suggested stopping the economic abandonment of California by otherwise viable businesses by making it illegal for them to relocate out of state or to trim jobs. Others on the forum informed this idiot that such a thing is tantamount to slavery and illegal seizure of private property without due process or just compensation – the 13th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution, respectively. But then the Left doesn't really like the Constitution, does it?)

Because stupid things like this have been happening a little bit at a time, most of the people in the US don't realize it's happening. But if Obama tried to shove his agenda down our throats overnight there would be armed rebellion by the states and a Second Civil War could result. Except this time it wouldn't be North versus South but Red versus Blue.


It's Romney

With about 54% of the districts reporting, it looks like Mitt Romney has won the New Hampshire GOP primary with ~37%, with Ron Paul coming in second with 24% of the votes.

New Hampshire Primary 2012 - Voting Experience

After work I headed down the our local election polling place, in this case located in the gym of our middle school. One thing I noticed right off was not so much something that was there but something that wasn't: volunteers holding election signs. There were none.

It wasn't until I got to the entrance to the school that I saw a few campaign signs lying side by side on the ground. But no one was outside holding the signs of their candidate. That is something I haven't seen in all the years I've been voting. It could have been the time of day as I got out of work a little earlier than usual as I wanted to avoid the post-work crush at the polls. The volunteers may have shown up after I had already voted and headed home.

While there was a lack of campaign volunteers, that was not the case for voters.

When I finally entered the gym there were moderately long lines at voter check-in. And while I didn't have to wait more than a couple of minutes in my line (the lines are separated alphabetically), others had more than a dozen or so people in front of them waiting to check in and get their ballots.

Voting itself took all of 30 seconds, with the most of that time spent looking for my candidate's name. (The candidates are listed in random order chosen by lot rather than in alphabetic order, a change made to New Hampshire's election laws some time ago.)

On my way to drop off my ballot in the ballot box I asked the town clerk if it had been busy. Her response: “Since the moment we opened the doors!” Apparently that's been the case just about everywhere across the Granite State, with a heavy turnout, particularly for the Republicans.

As I write this the last of the polls should be closing and we should start hearing the results any time now.

New Hampshire Primary

It's voting day in New Hampshire, where the voters will make their preferences for president known. More to follow later!


Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been a quiet weekend here at The Manse, with the most exciting thing being the kickoff for the annual FIRST robotics competition. BeezleBub is participating again this year, and he and some of his teammates made the trip down to Manchester to attend the kickoff activities. About the only other excitement was the trip Deb and I took to Center Harbor yesterday to do some yarn shopping. (Yes, I did enjoy the trip. The place we stopped was amazing. I learned more about yarn than I ever thought possible.)


The big GOP debate before the New Hampshire primary took place last night at St. Anselm College in Manchester.

The top three performers last night in my opinion: Romney, Paul, and Gingrich, with Romney and Paul edging out Gingrich.

The losers: Santorum, Huntsman, and Perry. These three needed to do well last night and as far as I can see, they fell short. I expect at least two of them to drop out after Tuesday's primary.


I have to agree with Steve MacDonald on this one.

As he writes:

You are more than welcome to visit us on weekends. We’d love to have you stop buy, spend a few bucks, and enjoy what we have to offer. But if you were thinking about turning New Hampshire into another progressive wasteland, no thanks. We’re all set. We’d rather you didn’t.

So that is what we mean when we say, “Welcome to New Hampshire. Now Go Home.” The water is fine, and everyone is invited for a swim, but if you have come to pee in the pool, we are going to have to ask you to leave.

Over the past 30-plus years I've seen people move here from away and enjoy the low taxes and lack of government bureaucracy. But then they start asking for the same things they had 'back where they came from.' When they found out they would have to pay for them directly through their property taxes, they rebelled. Where did they think the money to pay for all that stuff was going to come from? If they expected the the state to pay for it, they found out it wasn't going to happen. (There were a few close calls when the Democrats held majorities in both the New Hampshire House and Senate, but common sense finally reasserted itself and the voters kicked out the tax-and-spenders lock, stock, and barrel.)

We'd love to have you come visit. But leave your nanny-statism back home. We neither need it or want it.


Bogie tells us about a break-in at her place of employment. From what she describes, it had to be an inside job.

And they did something odd, which points to it possibly being an inside job; they broke into the IT guys desk, which had been locked. The IT guy had just moved over to that building the previous Friday. The IT guy had no sign pointing to which was his desk (and no, he doesn't have an office), so it is rather odd that someone would pick his desk at random to break into. They didn't try to break into any of the other locked desks.

I think that certainly narrows down the list of suspects. It goes to show you, criminals really aren't all that smart. That's why so many of them get caught.


As I wrote earlier this past week, gas prices have taken a big jump recently. The prices have gotten higher since then. Yesterday I filled Deb's car and paid $3.329, up an additional 3¢, giving a total increase of 25¢ per gallon since just before Christmas.

I still believe it's the end of the ethanol subsidies driving the price. I wonder how long it will be before Brazilian ethanol starts making inroads into the fuel supply chain? Considering it costs a lot less than our corn-derived ethanol, it probably won't take long. But the question begs, how will it affect gas prices. If the past is any indicator, fuel prices will go down very slowly, if at all.


Is the Green movement dead? If Amanda Carey is right, it's breathing its last gasps.

While the original intent of the environmental movement was good, it has devolved into a purely political operation that has little to do with environmental issues. These days it's more about control of the populace through environmental 'protections' rather than the environment itself. Many of the proposed protective measures will waste hundreds of billions of dollars yet add little actual benefit to the environment. (Many of these proposed measures deal with issues that have already reached or passed the point of diminishing returns, meaning spending more money will have little if any impact on anything but your wallet.)

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Both Bogie and I agree: George Foreman Grills are awesome. Right now Amazon has them for 40% off.


Obama as Pharaoh. “So let it be written. So let it be done.”

Heh, indeed.

(H/T Instapundit)


Scary Yankee Chick laments the lack of real winter weather. Not me.

Though I am a hardy Yankee through and through, I am not missing the traditional northern New England winter weather. Not one bit. While it is true that we scrambled to get the new Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower into the garage this fall, we've had occasion to use it only twice – once at the end of October and again just before Thanksgiving. Since then it's been sitting in the garage unused. The fact that I haven't had to go out at O'dark thirty in the morning to clear our rather treacherous driveway doesn't upset me one bit. I also haven't had to do much in the way of sanding the driveway either, something else that is not upsetting to me in any way.

While there has been a few brief blasts of frigid temps, with only one night getting below zero, I'm not missing them. With the warmer than normal temps I haven't had to stoke the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove nearly as often, meaning the supply of cordwood will last just that much longer and will let us get by on just three cords rather than the more normal four cords for the heating season. That's $250 that stays in our bank account, thank you very much.

There is a downside to this, I admit, that being the ice is not forming on Lake Winnipesaukee as it usually does. During yesterday's trek up to Center Harbor I was able to look at many of the bays and inlets to the lake. For the most part all I saw was open water. There were a few rafts of ice in one or two of the bays (Paugus Bay had a few sheets of ice at its northern end and Meredith Bay had a little ice along the shore of Hesky Park). What happens if the ice doesn't form? The annual Rotary Ice Fishing Derby may be postponed, if not canceled. No ice means no ice fishing.

Before someone goes off on how this mild winter (so far) is obviously a sign of global warming, let me remind you that last winter was bitterly cold, with a lot of snow and ice. This is merely a mild winter (as predicted by the Old Farmer's Almanac), something that has happened numerous times since people have been living in this portion of North America. It's weather, not climate.


One little leftover from our Christmas decorations that will be remaining for the time being: a candle in the window.

While Deb, BeezleBub, and I were taking down the Christmas tree and other decorations last weekend, the subject of the WP Niece came up. (She's presently deployed in Afghanistan.) We decided we would leave one of the candles that usually grace the windows of The Manse during Christmas in place for her. It burns 24 hours a day and will remain there until she is safely home.


The Lonely Conservative tackles the spin the White House has applied to the 'recess' appointments to the NLRB. As he says, the White House's claim they were necessary due to obstruction by Senate Republicans is a blatant lie.

There wasn’t even enough time to conduct routine background checks on the individuals. But I’m sure the media will continue to give Obama a pass as they tout his “We Can’t Wait” power grab.

“So let it be written. So let it be done.”


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the temps are above normal, the ice is below normal, and we're not minding it at all.


The Left's Fears And Moral Bankruptcy

Over at Ace of Spades is a list of the things the Left fears should Obama lose the election come next November. Are their fears unfounded? In some areas, yes. But for the most part they are right to fear that much of the damage done by the Congressional Democrats since 2007 and President Obama since 2009 will be undone should Obama lose in November. When you come right down to it, the upcoming elections are about the wholesale damage perpetrated by the Left's minions over the past 6 years. Will the American people allow the ongoing dismantling of a great nation all in the name of some vague sense of “fairness”? And just who defines what is fair? (Of course the Left believe they are the only arbiters of fairness, even though many I have debated with really have no idea what 'fair' really is.)

The problem is that many on the Left don't see the actions that have damaged the economy as bad. They only see it as 'fair'. (I'm still waiting for someone on the Left to show me where it says life is supposed to be fair. So far, they haven't, nor do I expect them to.) Through observation over the years I have come to see that the Left's ideology is both economically and morally bankrupt. Never mind history's lesson showing it to also to be a murderous ideology, in the end.

There are plenty of examples of the fairness of socialism going back over 400 years to show just how bad their ideology can make it. One of their first forays into 'fairness': the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts.

During the initial years of the colony, the Pilgrims tried a social experiment, one that predated Marx by almost 300 years, that experiment being “From each according to his ability. To each according to his need.” The results? Famine. Everyone wanted from the common larder, but no one wanted to work to fill it. In the end the colonists abandoned the experiment as a failure and from that point on the colony thrived.

Did the Left learn from that experiment? No, of course not. They've tried that experiment again and again (Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Cuba, Cambodia, Laos, Venezuela, etc.) with the results being the same: economic and social collapse, and in some cases, mass murder. Such failures haven't dissuaded them from trying to pull that here. I have little doubt their reasoning is something along the lines of “But we'll do it better this time because we're better than the others were!” They've become a living example of Einstein's axiom about insanity.

So now we come back to present day and the Left's push to drive America in a direction of oft proven failure. Again we return to the so-called fairness doctrine as an excuse to justify large scale theft and interference in our day to day lives. Where does this call for fairness derive?

I figure it goes back to the egalitarian movements that drove things like the French Revolution. An egalitarian society sounds like a great thing, in theory. But in practice, such societies tend to be anything but, usually devolving to the lowest common denominator – mob rule. The French Republic after the Revolution didn't earn the sobriquet “Reign of Terror” for nothing. Of those that did not devolve into mob rule, it was a totalitarian government that drove everyone to be equal – equally poor, equally miserable, and equally terrified of their government. I doubt that was the dream of the egalitarians, but that's what their dream ended up being – a nightmare.

The problem with such egalitarian ideals comes down to this: they are based upon two concepts that are poor at best and base at worst, those being human emotion and a false understanding of human nature. Let's take a look at both of these to see where the Left got it wrong and continues to do so.

The first of these two, emotion, is the most troublesome. While a sense of fairness may be an admirable thing and something to which we can aspire, it should not be something based upon envy or greed. Unfortunately the Left's sense of fairness is derived from that very source. All you have to do is listen to their rhetoric in regards to fairness and I think you'll find it has nothing to with actual fairness and everything to do with envy. Oh, they won't admit to it, but when you think about it it makes sense. It all comes down to “Hey, that guy/girl/person has something I don't and can't afford right now! That's not fair! We/I should take it away from them because they don't deserve it!” But if they earned the money to pay for it then why shouldn't they be allowed to have whatever it is? Again, envy comes into play, this time in regards to the money earned to pay for whatever it is. Why should one person make more for their job than someone else for their job? Never mind that one job may be worth far more than another, may create more goods, services, or jobs than another. It just doesn't seem fair. But it is. Too bad far too many of the Left are incapable of seeing this.

The second of the concepts that lead the Left astray is their decision to ignore human nature. Or perhaps I should say their decision to ignore it as it happens to be rather than as they wish it to be. Of the two, the second is based upon pure fantasy. It seems one of the biggest fantasies that endure on the Left is that you can change human nature with enough education, indoctrination, or terror. It's been tried in a number of places, but has never yielded the expected results. The USSR tried for over 5 generations to create the New Soviet Man, a human with none of the ideological weaknesses attributed to capitalists. They wanted someone that would put the needs of The State (or The Good Of The People) ahead of those of their own, ahead of those of their own families. But that way lies slavery, where the individual is merely a replaceable cog in the machinery of state, without free will, to be sacrificed at whim and without a thought to their own welfare. But that goes against millions of years of existence, against millions of years of human nature. You can't overturn something so basic to human existence with education, indoctrination, or terror. Human nature wins out in the end. And in the end that's why Leftist 'paradises' have collapsed and disappeared into history. We're watching that happen now in Venezuela, a once prosperous nation turned into a land of want, broken down infrastructure, and the inability to even feed itself, all done in the name of 'fairness'. And this is what the Left wants to do here?

Thanks, but no thanks.


The Campaign Intensity Is Rising

The GOP primary madness in New Hampshire is starting on its upward swing, with so many media people in the Granite State that you can barely go anywhere without running into someone from the multitude of media. I figure we've just about reached saturation, with the peak to come some time Tuesday after the polls open.

One thing I have noticed is the very large number of campaign signs, specifically GOP signs, in places you wouldn't necessarily have seen them in previous election seasons. This is something that has also been noticed by Andrew Boucher, and as he writes, it means trouble for Obama.

With the exception of a few die-hard Obama-Is-Our-Savior brainwashed Leftists, most folks in the Granite State know he's been a dismal failure. A lot of them are unabashed Republicans, Libertarians, or contrary independents and they are making their displeasure with the president known. Some are disillusioned Democrats. All one has to do is look out on lawns and along streets to see the signs everywhere.

In any case, many of us here in New Hampshire are waiting to get past the campaign insanity and get back to living our lives. We're waiting for the media hoopla to die down and the myriad campaign volunteers to move on to other venues. We'll have a respite until the full blown presidential campaigns start early next fall.


Back In Business

Deb called me on her way to work this afternoon, telling me the news.

My new monitor was here!

Once I got home I unpacked it, checked it out for any damage, swapped it in for the malfunctioning monitor, then hit the power switch on the UPS, computer, and monitor.

And once more the Official Weekend Pundit Main Computer System is whole!

Now I've got to package up the 'old' monitor and drop it off at FedEx so it can make its way back to the manufacturer for repair/refurbishment.

It's nice to be back in business with my own machine.


Gas Price Jump

I got a bit of sticker shock today when I pulled up to the gas pump at our local BJ's Discount Club.

The Thursday before Christmas regular was $3.079 per gallon. Today, just a day shy of two weeks later, it was $3.229, an increase of 15¢. Asking around it turns out the price went up just yesterday by 7¢. Other prices around the area had jumped as high as $3.279.

It made me wonder why, considering oil prices haven't gone up nearly enough to generate that much of a price increase. Heating oil prices haven't increased as they would have had there been a crude oil price increase. Then I remembered: no more subsidies for the ethanol used in gasoline.

Gee, it didn't take long for that little gem to work its way through the supply chain, did it? Of course if it were the reverse, with subsidies starting, we wouldn't see a price drop at all, would we?


The Focus Shifts To The Granite State

Now that we've made it past the first of the year, the focus here in New Hampshire turns in two directions: the upcoming Presidential Primaries and annual town/state budgets. Of the two, the primaries are receiving the most attention by both the populace and the media.

With the New Hampshire primaries scheduled for January 10th, the media attention has been cranked up to “11”. The various presidential wannabes have been spending every free moment in the Granite State, minus time in Iowa in preparation for tomorrow's Iowa Caucuses. (The one exception seems to be Jon Huntsman, who sees New Hampshire as the key to his moving forward.) There will be one last 'big' debate amongst the GOP candidates on the 7th, with national coverage by ABC.

It's going to be intense for the next eight days.

The lesser of the two events, the annual battle of budgeting for the towns also start in earnest. Not that there hasn't been a lot of behind the scenes work on assembling proposed budgets for the various departments and schools.

Here in my small town the town and school budgets have been undergoing a lot of scrutiny by the board of selectmen, school board, and the budget committee. Everyone wants to cut spending, but of course it's always “someone else” who should cut their budgetary requests. It's never a pretty process and at times emotion can get in the way of logic and reason. When a position is cut in one of the town departments, many of us realize it means that someone we know, perhaps a friend, will lose their job. (That's happened to a friend of mine in the planning department. Her full time position - with benefits - was cut to part time. She couldn't justify staying there under those conditions and left for another job.) In some cases open positions have been eliminated for the time being, leaving some departments short staffed. But those are the choices that have to be made in order to keep spending in check when everyone is having a difficult time making ends meet, particularly those on fixed incomes within our town.

Once the various boards and committees have done their thing it will be up to the voters in each town to vote on them, either at town meeting or during the town elections in March. (A few towns hold their town meetings in April or May.) Towns with a board of selectman/town meeting form of government fall in to two categories: traditional town meeting and SB2.

The traditional town meeting is usually held in some time in March, and all registered voters are encouraged to attend. The voters will discuss and vote on all of the articles presented on the town warrant, some covering budgetary items and other with changes in zoning ordinances (assuming a town has any zoning at all). A second town meeting, usually called the school district meeting, deals will warrants pertaining to the towns school expenditures.

SB2 towns do things a little differently, with two different sessions for both the town and school portions of the warrants. The first session deals solely with discussion and amendments to the town and school warrant articles. The second session of each meeting takes place on election day in March, with the voters deciding whether to approve the various warrant articles discussed the previous session.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems, but they seem to work pretty well. In any case, the tax money that will be spent in the upcoming fiscal year is vetted by the very people that will be paying those taxes. (There are a few taxes which the town voters have no control, those being the county and state assessments levied upon them to run county operations and for some education funding, respectively.)

The state will be dealing with some supplemental budget items during the upcoming legislative session (the state runs on a two-year budget cycle). Sometimes adjustments are made if there's an unexpected expenditure needed to deal with unforeseen circumstances. Sometimes it's the other way around, with some line item that was approved but never implemented, meaning there are surplus funds that can go to other purposes to fill shortfalls someplace else. Sometimes the surplus goes towards the state's so-called rainy day fund, a savings account that can be used to fill revenue shortfalls under very specific circumstances.

All we can do is hope they folks in the state capitol don't go on some kind of a mindless spending binge. But then it does help that the GOP holds supermajorities in the state Senate and Executive Council and a majority in the state House.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We here at the Weekend Pundit Manse celebrated the New year's quietly, with Deb arriving home from work about 10 minutes before midnight.

For the most part New Year's Day has been quiet, with the most exciting thing being watching the New England Patriots overwhelm the Buffalo Bills, 49-21 in Foxboro.

The rest of the day was pretty mundane, with laundry and taking down the Christmas tree being the most ambitious things we tackled today.

All in all, not a bad start to 2012.


We get a two-fer from Bogie to start out the new year.

First there's this First Cuteness of the New Year with two Whack-A-Kitty videos.

Then there's her Happy New Year post that includes her first use of her new George Foreman Grill.

I have one I received for Christmas years ago that I use on a pretty regular basis when it's too inconvenient or time consuming to fire up the gas grill out on the deck, particularly if I'm cooking just for myself. I'll keep using this one until it wears out or breaks, and then get a new one. That's how much I like it.


Eric The Viking gives us his reason(s) for not going to the movies as much as he used to: cell phone users.

He also bring sup lack of quality, and I have to agree with him. The graphics are flashier and the action is greater, but for the most part the movies just aren't that good. Far too many of them these days are remakes of classics (many times under a different title) and the remakes aren't very well done or lose the point of the original entirely.

About the only movie I have any intention of seeing any time soon is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Both Deb and I have read the book and are curious to see how well it translates to the screen.

The last movie I saw in a theater was the final Harry Potter flick (Imax in 3D), and then it was because Submarine Tim and his bass Dawn took me to see it for my birthday.

Unless Hollywood get's it s**t together, it's going to keep heading downhill and soon be replaced by something else.


Speaking of remakes, it appears TV isn't immune from this phenomenon.

We've seen resurrected versions of 90210, Charlie's Angels and Hawaii Five 0. Dallas will soon be coming back. There's even a remake of Bosom Buddies coming soon (retitled, but I don't recall it off the top of my head). For those of you too young to remember, Bosom Buddies was one of Tom Hanks' first regular starring roles before he became a movie hit.

That which is old is new again.

I'm just waiting for them to drag out the old scripts for Dragnet, Emergency, and maybe Have Gun Will Travel. I figure they've just about run out of original ideas.


So it looks like the Powers-That-Be in Connecticut are about to pull a Granholm.

Former Michigan Governor Susan Granholm basically allowed the SEIU 'organize' day care providers and babysitters into the SEIU with no vote by the affected 'employees'. They had to start paying union dues even though they had no say in the matter and are not public employees. It was a pure power and money grab by the ever more criminally minded union bosses.

Now Connecticut's wholly union-owned puppet, Governor David Malloy, is about to allow these SEIU thugs to pull the same thing in the Nutmeg State.

These folks do not belong in power. They belong in prison, just like many of their mob predecessors.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Cap'n Teach has a New Year's prediction challenge for Climate Alarmists.

Writes the Cap'n:

For a long time, the alarmists have been making predictions as to what the climate will do. They say in 10 years, 50, 100. Instead, why not, say, make predictions for……2012! What I want for them to do, from the biggest of big climahypocrites, such as Al Gore, James Hansen, Barack Obama, and Leonardo DiCaprio, to the smallest climate dupes, is tell us exactly what the climate will do this year. For some of these questions, I’m using the USA, but, alarmists from around the world can use their own country/region, if they like.

Read the whole thing.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the unseasonable warm weather has been hanging on, Lake Winnipesaukee is still mostly open water, and I'm not caring as I see the woodpile shrinking very slowly.