Yet Another Costly Inconvenience By The White House

Received by way of a co-worker:

Just a note of reality that our liberal family and friends probably don't know or care to admit.

As a pilot I get e-mail notices from Air Traffic Control whenever there is a significant impact on airspace. The most common is when airspace is shut down due to a presidential visit.

I have never received so many as these past two years during which the current resident of the White House has made multiple trips weekly via Air Force One for campaign/fund raising stops all around the country. I most frequently get notices that impact NY and Boston. These trips involve multiple government aircraft to haul all the staff, security personnel, and accompanying entourage along with the presidential limo and numerous support vehicles - all on the taxpayer's dime. In other words, your dime and mine.

Burning literally tons of fossil-based jet fuel, it costs roughly $180,000 per hour to run Air Force One alone, not counting all the other support aircraft and vehicles. A separate giant C-5 cargo plane burning equal tonnage of fossil fuel always accompanies the presidential 747 to carry the limo and Secret Service vehicles. This doesn't even take into consideration the thousands of unreimbursed state, county, and local man hours and fuel costs for police cars, helicopters, buses, vans, delivery trucks, etc. expended on additional security, traffic and crowd control.

On just Thursday this week, both New York and Manchester/Nashua [New Hampshire] airspace will be shut down for presidential campaign stops. So, let's understand the actual financial statement here - political campaign fundraising (A) going to the president's reelection (B) and party war chest (C) - not the federal treasury (D) or local budgets (E) - is being funded from the federal treasury (D) and local budgets (E). Does anybody here see the obvious disconnect?

So if we're going to talk about deficit reduction and carbon footprints, let's get serious here.

When both George H.W Bush and George W. Bush were in office they would visit the family vacation home in Kennebunkport, Maine, just a hop, skip, and a jump from the former Pease Air Force Base (now a commercial airport and an Air National Guard airfield) in New Hampshire. There was little disruption of commercial and general aviation traffic and security was easier as there was still a military presence at the field and at the nearby Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. I have a feeling the Bushes were far more cognizant of the inconveniences and the cost their presence caused and worked to keep it to a minimum. Not so with the present occupant of the White House.


The Scientific Method - Then And Now

With the ongoing debate about CAGW (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming) heating up again, a commenter on one of the many blogs linked to this comic on the PHD Comics site.

This comic pretty well explains the scientific method as it should be and how it seems to be today (at least in regards to AGW).

Click on image to embiggen
All too true...and sad.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Winter reappeared briefly, with 4 inches of snow falling Friday night/Saturday morning.

I fired up the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower to clear the driveway and got about 95% cleaned off. Then the shear pin on one side of the auger let go. This is not an unusual occurrence considering the type of stuff that can be mixed into the snow (usually chunks of ice, small pieces of tree branches, and other detritus). It's one reason we keep spare shear pins handy.

In this case I didn't stop to replace it because the last bit of snow to be cleared was taken care of with a shovel. (It also would have taken longer to replace the pin than finishing up with the shovel.)

Temperatures will be returning to the low to mid 40's on Monday and Tuesday, helping to melt what's left of the snow and ice still on the driveway.


Watts Up With That provides us a time line on the whole Gleick/FakeGate debacle.

The only think Gleick has managed to do is hurt his 'cause', that being AGW, and added even more fuel to the fire, showing to what lengths the AGW faithful are willing to go to protect their gospel. No facts need apply.


The News Junkie breaks down the whole “angry Muslims rioting because someone burned a Quran in the US” insanity.

As he puts it:

Who is crazier: the ignorant, lunatic, hyper-reactive Muslims, or our pathetic Western governments? Gee whiz, I am so deeply sorry I hurt your sensitive feelings while sacrificing our lives while trying to rescue your freedom and lives.

Frankly, I think the “angry Muslim response” is nothing but an excuse to do what it is they wanted to do anyways.

And then this:

Screw 'em. We gave them a chance, and that's all we can do. On this topic, I agree with Obama and the Russians and the Brits before: Afghanistan is a tar baby. If they aren't one kind of trouble, they're another: heroin, terrorism, tribal warfare, Taliban. Kipling knew this.

Maybe it's time we leave, but leave them with this warning: “If you support those making war on us, we'll be back, but next time we won't be so nice.” Read it as you will.


I knew I had to read this once I saw the header: Intelligence minus judgment equals intellect.

This is something I realized over three decades ago and nothing I've seen or experienced since has changed that realization.


I have to agree with this particular question:

“Is catastrophic global warming, like the Millenium Bug, a mistake?”

The evidence points more and more to that being the case.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


A bit of good news here at The Manse: Deb has been accepted into the nursing program at one of the local colleges. She already has a number of credits towards becoming an RN, so she'll be able to shave off a semester or more from her schooling.

Ironically she'll be attending the same college as BeezleBub when he starts next fall.


And that's the abbreviated news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where winter has made a brief reappearance, the latest snowfall is rapidly melting away, and where warm weather returns on Monday.


Yet Another Scientist Questions AGW

Call it yet another blow against the AGW faithful.

In this case, Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT, whose specialty is atmospheric physics, testified in front of the British House of Commons about the overblown hysteria that is anthropogenic global warming and the dire predictions of catastrophe.

For those of you out there who will try to claim that Dr. Lindzen isn't a climate scientist, I must remind you that climate is atmospheric physics, and Lindzen is an expert.

Lindzen's presentation to the House of Commons can be found here. (PDF)


Another Scientist Questioning AGW

I got into a discussion about AGW with my rather liberal brother-in-law last night. Unlike many other debates I've had with AGW believers, this one was unemotional and, quite frankly, enjoyable. While neither of us convinced the other our particular point of view was the correct one, we both agreed there are still too many unanswered questions that need to be addressed before considering any of the proposed corrective “actions” are taken. (Both of us agreed that some of the proposals are too draconian and, in the end, foolish.)

This brings me to tonight's post.

I linked to the follow-up opinion piece from the “Sixteen Concerned Scientists”, and much like the first there were a considerable number of comments. Unlike the first, many of those commenting were far less emotional (though no less indoctrinated).

One of the best comments I've come across so far came from Mike Koban, a scientist in the fields of geochemistry and dendroclimatology. Apparently he is a professor at the University of West Florida, teaching Basic Hydrology, Physical Geology, Environmental Geology, and Geomorphology.

Writes Mike:
I have a points to make about GW and Environmentalism --

First, it's not even politically correct to say "Global Warming" anymore -- we call it "Global Climate Change." This, I think, reflects the point that most of us naysayers are trying to highlight. And that is that the science is far too uncertain to make any economic, political or social projections, especially those as sweeping as redirecting all energy production towards "green" types.

Second, if the GW movement is about preserving our planet the way it is...that's just silly. No natural system is ever about the status quo. They are ever changing and anyone who tells you that they want to preserve the planet and save all the creatures in it clearly doesn't understand the concepts of geomorphology or evolution.

Third, it is inherently misleading to compare all changes in weather to the time right before the industrial revolution. If you only study the time during which Earth's atmosphere has been receiving anthropogenic CO2, then, chances are, your going to find effects driven by anthropogenic CO2...There is, however a problem with doing this -- it's almost impossible to interpret accurate climate cycles at high resolutions. This is exactly my point -- we cannot focus on 2 centuries worth of data out of 10 million centuries worth of data. Would you invest your life savings in the stock market based on one minute's worth of data?

The point is that we cant possibly know that it is CO2 so why are we saying that there is no possible alternative.

(I have edited the above, primarily to correct some formatting and a couple of spelling errors, and removed some parts that did not add to Mr. Koban's points. However, if you believe I did so to change his meaning or quoted him out of context, feel free to read his full comment linked above. - dce)

Much like my discussion with my brother-in-law, Mike brings up points that should not be ignored by the AGW faithful or the skeptics. There are still too many unanswered questions to say “the science is settled” or that “the evidence is incontrovertible”. There are still too many unanswered questions that cannot be ignored. Until the answers are found we must not take action that will impoverish the developed nations and trap the developing nations into economic stasis and perpetual poverty, all in the name of “saving the planet.”


A Homecoming

The candle that has burned in one window of The Manse for months now will be carefully removed and packed away.

The WP Niece has returned from her tour of duty in Afghanistan and is now with the WP In Laws in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Her e-mails and pictures kept us up to date on the goings on in the small Afghan village where she and two other Army women made their home. Despite the preparation by the Army before they deployed, the culture shock was still surprising to her (and to us).

But now she's home.

Thank god for her safe return!


The Climate Skeptics Strike Back

After the excoriation they received after publishing their letter questioning the validity of the conclusions by some climate scientists as a WSJ op-ed, the “Sixteen Concerned Scientists” have answered their critics with a second piece, asking even more poignant questions about the science, climate models, and what they see as an unreasonable push for draconian measures to combat something that may not even exist.

One of their biggest concerns is the reliance on climate models that have not lived up to their hype, failing to predict the actual global temperatures, including those in the past.

I've mentioned this before. It's called hindcasting and it uses climate data from 70 or 80 years – generally from 1900 onward, for instance – to predict the temperatures for the following 20 or 30 years. To date, every climate model has failed miserably, overestimating the actual temperatures by a wide margin. This means the models don't work and shouldn't be used to predict temperatures over the next 10 years, let alone the next 100 years. Nor should we base any corrective actions based on these seriously defective models. But of course that hasn't stopped the AGW faithful from claiming that we have to “Do Something!” right now or we're all doomed because the climate models say so.

One of the best comments to this second piece came down to a phrase in Latin that is the basis for all scientific inquiries - Nullius In Verba - which means “Take no one's word for it” and is the motto of the Royal Society. And when it comes to the claims that human activity is the major cause of global warming, nullius in verba should be kept in mind until all the work, data, and experimentation has produced repeatable results. So far we haven't reached that point. And until we do I'll maintain my skepticism.

And to quote another non-climate scientist, John Maynard Keynes, whose words should also be kept in mind - “When the facts change I change my mind. What do you do?” That is a question we should be asking all of the AGW faithful. Their answers would be illuminating.


A Regular Guy - Mad As Hell

This guy reminds me of a not-quite-as-well-spoken Pat Condell. He's just a regular guy who's “mad as hell and not gonna take it any more.”

He brings up a number of good points. Ironically he mentions the Howard Beal rant, which is just as germane today as it was back in 1976.

(H/T Parkway Rest Stop)


Thoughts On A Sunday

One of the first signs of impending spring have showed up, that being the ubiquitous “Frost Heaves” signs. For those of you from more temperate climes, let me explain (once again) frost heaves.

They are not, as some might believe, something that happens if you eat or drink something too cold too quickly. It has nothing to do with reverse peristalsis.

Frost heaves are the result of alternating thawing and freezing along the sides of our roads, highways, and byways. As the ice and snow along the sides of the road melts, the water works its way under the road surfaces. Then once the temperatures fall below freezing at night, the water under the road freezes and expands. After a few cycles of this thaw and freeze, ridges appear in the road surface that turn a once smooth road into something with a lot of nature-made speed bumps.

Frost heaves can play havoc with the suspensions on cars and trucks, and garages see a steep uptick in business as drivers have to have their suspensions repaired and/or aligned. I can attest to this as the trusty F150 suffered some suspension damage last month, in this case two broken front sway bar shackles.

Though the calendar says spring starts March 20th, I think it's already here, Punxatawney Phil notwithstanding.


Another sign of an early spring: sugaring started a week or so ago here in northern New England. (Sugaring is another term for making maple syrup.) One of my co-workers made mention that she and her husband started tapping their maple trees two weeks ago and expect start up their evaporator this weekend. I haven't checked with the WP Father-In-Law, but I suspect he's done likewise.

This mild winter and early start of spring may affect syrup production this year as sugaring requires warm days (above freezing) with no wind and nights below freezing. We've had quite a few nights recently where the temps never made it below 32ºF (0ºC). If that continues sugaring will end too soon.

I am not attributing this to AGW as I recall more than one winter over the past 50+ years that resembled this one. It's called “weather”.


This whole brouhaha over the “food police” taking away kids' made-at-home lunches and making them eat only 'approved' foods shows exactly how niggling and small minded the Obama backed bureaucrats have become. In at least one case I read about the substitute lunch the child was told she had to eat was far worse for her than the food provided by her mother.

These incidents also beggar the question whether these same food police require observant Jewish and Muslim kids to eat non-kosher or non-halal foods because the food police decide they aren't 'healthy'?

I see a lot of lawsuits over this governmental idiocy.

What's worse is that I expect to see more of this kind of intrusive idiocy should Obama gain a second term. The biggest problem I have with this is that the bureaucrats themselves believe they are more qualified to run other people's lives when they aren't any more capable of running their own. (I have to wonder whether the food police involved in these school lunch incidents follow their own governmental guidelines. If I had to guess, I'd say no. After all, these kind of regulations are for the little people, not for the ruling class or their minions.)


Have you seen the banner or video ads touting what a great job President Obama has done over the past 3+ years? I saw the first one when I started watching an episode of Body of Proof on Hulu.

The number of outright falsehoods in that 30 second ad made me start in amazement. Do the Dems really believe most of the American people are going to buy it? Is it a matter of “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

I think all anyone is going to have to do is look at their food bills, electric bills, and fuel costs to put the lie to those claims. And those who are no longer counted as unemployed but still want jobs aren't going to buy it either.

One of the maxims I learned a long time ago (I was in my early teen years) was that presidents can't fix the economy, but they sure as hell can damage it. The only way for the present occupant of the Oval Office to fix the economy is to get the hell out of the way and let the economy fix itself. It certainly worked when Reagan did it.


Talk about chutzpah!

Maxine Waters, Democrat Congresscritter from California, will be chairing the influential House Financial Services Committee. Isn't that like letting the fox guard the henhouse?

In case you need to be reminded, her husband had a considerable stake in a failing bank for which Maxine managed to arrange a bailout. Can you say “conflict of interest”? Sure you can.

Yet another example of “Do as I say, not as I do” from the Democrats.


Cap'n Teach adds his 2¢ worth in regards to rising gas prices and the GOPs use of this to slap Obama around.

If gas does indeed hit $5 gallon this summer, you can pretty much guarantee the GOP will use this as a campaign issue, and rightfully so. Obama did state he would like to see higher gas prices during his 2008 campaign, and he got them. Everything he's done has lessened our energy supply and raised energy costs despite the fact that we now have more proven oil reserves than Saudi Arabia, trillions of cubic feet in new natural gas findings, as well as a steady supply of oil from Canada if we want to buy it. (It does require building a new pipeline, which Obama rejected.)

If the report about gas prices on ABC News last night is correct, for every 10¢ rise in gas prices, approximately $9 billion less is spent by consumers on other goods and services.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

So if the average price of gas goes up another $1.50 by summer, the economy will take approximately a $135 billion hit as consumers cut back. (Yeah, I know this is a flat math projection, but I had better things to do with my time than do a curve fit to project the financial hit the consumer market is going to take.)

Yeah, that will get Obama re-elected.


If gas does hit $5 per gallon at the pump this summer, it will be closer to $6 per gallon at the marinas. This means it's unlikely the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout will make it onto the lake this upcoming summer. A $180 fill up for a day out on the lake isn't in the budget. Considering we'll also have to be careful about our regular travel with $5 gas, there are a lot of things we just won't be doing this summer.


Han Solo shot first, and I'm glad he did! Here's the proof:


Although I am a few days behind commenting on Glenn Reynolds excellent WSJ piece in regards to a proposed syllabus for an “Occupy” course, one commenter came up with an alternative to this, one that would benefit many of the OWS protesters and perhaps remove the veil of economic ignorance from their eyes.

I have been thinking lately that the occupy movement (which will surely resurrect itself once the weather gets better in the spring) is a bunch of reasonably intelligent (although misguided) individuals with a lot of time on their hands and a woeful lack of the most basic knowledge of economics. Someone should develop a basic economics curriculum that could be distributed and/or broadcast to the various occupy encampments. Maybe since they don't have much else to do there, they might (in spite of themselves) pick up enough economics education to realize how ridiculous and detached from the real world their ideas are. If it doesn't work on the occupiers, maybe it would attract the attention of normal people.

Another commenter added onto this, stating:

[A] key part of the basic economics course would entail making the student understand that: (1) just because they have checks in their checkbook, there may be no money in their checking account; (2) the use of credit cards creates debt to the credit card company which must be repaid; and, (3) you cannot spend more money than you make without creating debt which eventually must be repaid.

It is #3 that must be emphasized, both to the OWS folks but to our political leaders at all levels. It seems to be a lesson they've forgotten, assuming they learned it in the first place.


At least the Obama administration is doing something right about money, in this case trying to reduce the cost of minting it.

The cost of making pennies and nickels has risen to the point where it costs more to make them than their face value. Obama wants to use less expensive materials to reduce the costs of minting them.

Here's a thought – why not do away with the dollar bill as well and use a dollar coin? The bill lasts a little over 18 months and the coin at least 20 years (though 35 years is probably closer to the norm). While the coin costs more to make (about twice that of printing a dollar bill), it lasts up to 23 times longer.


They have lost their minds in the UK.

Unfortunately that same kind of thinking exists here in the US, as we have seen when it comes to things like normal curiosity between very young (6 years old or younger) girls and boys (“I'll show you mine if you show me yours.”) It's only a matter of time before one of these education bureaucrats plays the race card here.

They should be fired.


Steve MacDonald presents Part 7 of his “If The Economy Is Getting Better...” series. Parts 1 through 6 are linked at the bottom of the post.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice is getting thinner, the maple sap is running, and where we're already starting to get firewood for next winter.


I'm From New Hampshire

By way of Facebook comes this photo which I believe correctly illustrates what many people think of my home state.

Click on picture for larger image


Europe In The Deep Freeze

Keeping in mind that Europe has been suffering yet another bitterly cold winter with some areas seeing snowfalls not experienced in decades, would anyone like to try to convince those living under those conditions that it's all the fault of AGW?

Somehow I think anyone trying to sell that idea would be laughed right out of town, assuming the folks they're trying to convince didn't beat them to death instead.


Detroit: A Perfect Example Of A Failed Socialist Experiment

I've covered the decline of Detroit more than once, covering the various reasons for its precipitous fall from grace.

It's decline continues as the Democrat policymakers continue their experiment to create a socialist utopia. Too bad it's been failing and in such a spectacular fashion that it's impossible to hide. No amount of dissembling and sleight-of-hand can point observers away from the obvious: Detroit is dying and it's the fault of the Progressives who have been running the city for decades.

They have implemented just about every socialist program, regressive 'redistributionist” tax, and punitive business regulation on their wish list upon the city and its residents and the results are clear to see: Detroit has gone from the richest city in the US (per capita) to the second poorest. (Only Cleveland beat them out for that honor.) Detroit can stand as an example of what the rest of the nation will look like if Obama and the rest of the Progressives get their way. The socialist experiment has failed and no amount of window dressing can change that, no matter how hard the MSM tries.


This Would Be Funny If It Wasn't True

Received via e-mail:

I can almost picture this routine when I close my eyes. Too bad that it's all too true.

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America .

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 9%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.

COSTELLO: You just said 9%.

ABBOTT: 9% Unemployed.
COSTELLO: Right 9% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 16% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that's 9%...

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 9% or 16%?

ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.

COSTELLO: IF you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.


ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work, can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.


ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work stopped looking. They gave up. And, if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment rolls, that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 9%. Otherwise it would be 16%. You don't want to read about 16% unemployment do ya?

COSTELLO: That would be frightening.

ABBOTT: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means they're two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an economist.

COSTELLO: I don't even know what the hell I just said!

And now you know why Obama's unemployment figures are improving!

Indeed. It's amazing how many people either don't know or choose not to know the truth about the true unemployment rate.


Thoughts On A Sunday

I was amazed at how quickly the temperature dropped last night, going from 35°F to 7°F in a couple of hours. We escaped the snowfall forecast for yesterday, something that does not bother me in the least. At least the cold temps over the next couple of days will help the ice on the lake thicken a little more.

This is definitely one of those mild winters we get now and then up this way.


The trusty F150 went into the shop this past Friday for its annual safety/emissions inspection.

It failed.

The only issue with safety was that three of the four tires were just above minimum tread. So today I went out and got 4 new tires for the truck, something I hoped I wouldn't have to do until late next fall.

The 'Check Engine' light came on just as they were pulling it into the work bay, something that happened last year when it was in for inspection. And like last time it was an O2 sensor code, something the mechanic says happens a lot more often during the cold weather months because of the ethanol in the gasoline (his claim, not mine...but it wouldn't surprise me in the least). And like last time, they reset the code and said I should drive it a couple of hundred miles and then bring it back to see if it's the same issue as last time. If the light doesn't come back on then, the F150 will be good to go for another year.


Here are two post dealing with the declining demand for gasoline and other petroleum derived fuels here in the US. Both posts show the demand over the past few decades and indicate both boom times and recessions. What's particularly troubling is the rapid falloff since 2007, when the Democrats took control of Congress and the recession started rearing its ugly head.

Both posts state that increased fuel efficiencies cannot adequately explain the falloff in demand, particularly in light of the average age of cars and light trucks on the road is now almost 11 years. Instead, these falloffs are indicators of a deepening recession, contrary to what the Obama Administration has claiming.

I can certainly see that being the case. Looking over the log book in the trusty F150, I can see I've cut back on the miles traveled quite a bit. The first 12 months we had the F150 I put just under 10000 miles on the odometer (9872, to be exact). The next 12 months, which just passed this weekend, I've put just over 8000 miles on the odometer (8098), 1774 less miles than the previous year. That's an 18% drop year to year. Also looking over the log book, I can see that I've been filling the tank an average of every 2.3 weeks this past year rather than every 2 weeks the previous year. Some of that decrease has been because there are some places I no longer need to go, but that's only been the case since last November which means there were about 160 miles I haven't driven since then. It doesn't explain the balance of the decreased miles driven.

Some might be explained by erratic gas prices. I know I carefully think about any trip I take, particularly in light of the F150 having a fuel economy of 17 mpg. When ever the gas prices start edging upwards, particularly just over the past 6 weeks or so, I start thinking about combining trips. The one thing I hate seeing is the total on the gas pump approaching $100 when I fill up the tank on the F150 (it holds 30 gallons of fuel). And with gas prices expected to be around $4/gallon by this summer, you better bet I'll think twice before hopping into the truck to run some errand.


We didn't win the big $325 million jackpot for PowerBall last night. I guess I've got to show up for work tomorrow morning.


Eric The Viking explains why he hates the main stream media. I hate them too for the same reason.


I have to agree with Sarah Palin on this one.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin didn’t come to CPAC to endorse any of the GOP presidential hopefuls, but to encourage that the nomination contest continue as long as necessary to pick the right guy.

She chastised those who panned the process as dragging out too long, “as if competition weakens our nominee …and yet in America we believe competition strengthens us.”

Palin expressed confidence that a nominating contest without an end currently in sight “will lead us to victory in 2012.”

She cautioned against the fight turning too dirty, though. “Let’s make sure this competition brings out the best in our party,” she said.

Unfortunately the best candidate isn't even running this time around, but I don't blame her one bit.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


Also by way of Cap'n Teach is this green who's found out the hard way that living the green life ain't easy. So in order to meet her goal of offsetting the 1858 pounds of carbon dioxide created when she went to visit Texas, she plans to force her neighbors to help her offset the balance from her trip.

Spoken like a true watermelon. (No, this is not a racist term. It is a term used to describe 'greens' who are really red on the inside.)


By way of Maggie's Farm comes this post from Coyote Blog, which finds that Young People Are Being Forced To Work To Support Themselves!

First, this study is great evidence of my “what is normal” fail. There is no baseline. OK, 24% moved back in with their parents. How many did this in good times? How much worse is this?

But the real eye-catcher to me is that somehow I am supposed to be shocked that people have to find a job to pay the bills. Even a job that, gasp, they really didn’t want. I have a clue for you. A lot of jobs 22-year-olds have to take are not that compelling. Mine were not. Despite what colleges seem to be telling them, the world does not offer up a lot of really cool jobs to inexperienced young adults. Long before you are closing deals with CEO’s, you are probably writing sales literature in some cubicle.



And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice has been getting thicker over the pats couple of days, the annual Ice Fishing Derby was held, and where once again Monday has appeared all too soon.


Cool Music Video

It seems it's a video end-of-the-week trend, this time with an unusual music video.

I have no idea how much preparation went into the production, but it looks to me like they spent a lot of time considering the amount of set up required and the unusual means they used to make their music. If nothing else it's quite clever.

Very cool.


Some Lessons Have To Be Learned The Hard Way

Deb told me about this this morning and then showed me this video of a dad showing his 15-year old daughter the consequences of her actions, in this case badmouthing her parents on Facebook.

Apparently Dad is an IT professional and after spending a few hours and a bunch of cash updating her laptop he found her Facebook post. To say he wasn't amused is an understatement. Apparently this video has gone viral and is making the rounds, both on Facebook and in the media.

I discussed this with one of my co-workers and he thought the guy went overboard. But then my co-worker doesn't have teenaged daughters...but he will in a little over 6 years. I think then he'll change his tune.

Do I think he went too far? I can't say. But if this wasn't the first time she pulled something like this, and according to what her dad said it wasn't, then maybe his course of action was the right one.


Town Meeting

It’s town meeting season in New Hampshire, with many towns holding their town and school district meetings over the next 6 weeks or so. (It depends upon the town calendars and whether they hold traditional town meetings or what are called SB2 town meetings. More on that later.)

Ours started at 7PM last night. There were 29 warrant articles to discuss, mull over, and/or amend. While not the largest number of warrants articles we’ve seen, it was still a goodly number.

We finished at after 11PM.

I wish I could say the voters spent the 4+ hours going over each article in detail, showing due diligence and carefully shepherding our constitutional obligations. But I can’t.

Instead, almost 2 hours was spent on what I must derisively call “How many Angels can dance on the head of a pin” triviality. The lost 2 hours dealt with only three of the articles, and two of those were moot.

One article dealt with the purchase of a new fire truck. That topic in and of itself was no trivial matter. Instead, it was an amendment to the article that, when broken down, didn’t do anything any differently than the original, merely changed some language. The proposed language would not change the process or the amount of money spent, nor would it change the plans of the Fire Department in any way shape or form. Yet we spent almost an hour debating an amendment (as well as a follow on amendment) that, in the end, was defeated.

Then there were two petition warrant articles. (Any registered voter in town can get an article placed on the warrant through petition. All that’s required are enough signatures of other registered voters on the petition to have it added.)

The two petitions, while they may have had the best interest of the taxpayers at heart, were horribly flawed. Both violated the constitutional separation of powers, laid out in both the US and New Hampshire constitutions. (The articles dealt with personnel policies, something exclusively the purview of the executive branch, in this case meaning our Board of Selectmen.) This meant that at best they were advisory articles and could not be enforced. These two articles were debated and amended ad nauseum. It surprised me how much time and effort went into debating two meaningless warrant articles. You’d have thought this kind of effort would have gone into debating portions of the budget, something that has a direct effect on all the taxpayers in town. But no, all of this energy and emotion went towards something that was trivial.

I wish I could say this was an unusual case, but in all my years of going to town meetings in the towns in which I have resided, I have seen this kind of scenario played out again and again.

Welcome to Town Meeting!

Tonight is our School District Meeting, where we will do the same thing, but this time dealing with our school system and how much we will spend to support it. Hopefully we won’t be dealing with the trivialities seen at town meeting…but I’m not holding my breath.


There are two forms of town meetings in New Hampshire – the traditional “everyone shows up and votes on the warrant articles” town meetings, and SB2 town meetings. (SB2 means Senate Bill 2, the legislation that created this alternative form of town meeting.)

In SB2 towns there are actually two different town meeting sessions. The first is called the deliberative session, where voters will meet to go over the articles in the town warrant. They can approve them for inclusion on the town warrant as written, or amend them and then approve them for inclusion. But they can’t vote them up or down until the second session.

The second session is Election Day, generally a month later. Voters will elect their town officials and vote on the articles in the town warrant.

Our little town is an SB2 town, which means we won’t actually vote on the warrant articles until next month.


My Favorite 2012 Super Bowl Ad

One of my favorite Super Bowl ads from the latest crop:

Of course there was some controversy about the ad with Ford asking GM to pull the ad because they considered it deceptive and untruthful.

Not that the ad would make me consider giving up the trusty F150, but I still liked the premise. (Pay close attention to some of the 'debris' in the scenes of devastation as it pays tribute to just about every recent 'end of the world' movie. It might help if you view it in Full Screen mode.)


Thoughts On A Sunday

Our non-winter winter continues, with above average temperatures and, for the time being, below average precipitation (we're about 20 inches below the 'normal' snowfall for the beginning of February). In light of this past week's focus on AGW, maybe someone will claim it's global warming. (Never mind that both the Farmer's Almanac and NOAA predicted a rather mild winter and below average snowfall for northern New England.)

We're not complaining all that much. The mild winter has meant we haven't used nearly as much fire wood as we might have and the Official Weekend Snowblower has spent most of its time in the garage. (I think I've used it all of three times this winter.)


It's Super Bowl Sunday and the New England Patriots are playing the New York Giants in a rematch. The Patriots are hoping to make up for their loss against the Giants at their last Super Bowl appearance, one that ruined their perfect season. (The Patriots had a 16-0 record during the regular season, and an 18-1 record overall.)

And again the Giants won. (I still find it difficult to believe a 9-7 team even qualified for the Super Bowl, let alone won it.)

But I have to hand it to the Giants – they wanted it more than the Patriots and worked harder for it.


I have to agree with Bogie on this one: Thank god for AAA!


Here's another favorite blogress I have to agree with, particularly in regards to not learning the proper lessons from the movies. Hasn't anyone down there ever seen The Thing?


By way of Maggie's Farm comes this explanation of the Eurozone bankruptcy.

While it does cover the basics, it does overlook why the Eurozone got into this mess to begin with: promising more to their citizens than they could deliver, particularly in the way of social services they had no means to pay for. Now that the bill has come due they expect others to foot the bill. The problem is that “the others” are reluctant to do so.


It appears income tax evasion increases during times of rising income tax rates, rising unemployment, and/or decreasing per capita real GDP.

Gee, not a surprise to me. How many otherwise unemployed or underemployed folks are willing to work “under the table” in order to feed their families during tough economic times? How much bartering of goods and services takes place under those same conditions?

The underground economy almost always flourishes during tough economic times, particularly when the government itself one of the main causes. (The underground economy in the old Soviet Union was the only thing that let it continue as long as it did, seeing it was thought the GDP of that underground economy was greater than that of the official Soviet GDP.)


Glenn Reynolds links to Russ Douthat's piece on the 'outrage' of pro-abortion advocates due to the decision by the Susan G. Komen Foundation – a private organization – to cease its funding Planned Parenthood. To hear the media tell it, it's tantamount to murder.

The Komen Foundation made it's reasons clear – PP doesn't do mammograms. The Komen Foundation's raison d'étrè is fighting breast cancer by funding research and helping to provide support services, period.

Writes Douthat:

Three truths, in particular, should be obvious to everyone reporting on the Komen-Planned Parenthood controversy. First, that the fight against breast cancer is unifying and completely uncontroversial, while the provision of abortion may be the most polarizing issue in the United States today. Second, that it’s no more “political” to disassociate oneself from the nation’s largest abortion provider than it is to associate with it in the first place. Third, that for every American who greeted Komen’s shift with “anger and outrage” (as Andrea Mitchell put it), there was probably an American who was relieved and gratified.

Ironically, with all the media brouhaha about the Komen Foundation's decision, donations to the foundation increased dramatically.


Also this from Glenn Reynolds: It's takers versus makers and these days the takers are winning.

In today’s America, government benefits flow to large numbers of people who are encouraged to vote for politicians who’ll keep them coming. The benefits are paid for by other people who, being less numerous, can’t muster enough votes to put this to a stop.

Over time, this causes the economy to do worse, pushing more people into the moocher class and further strengthening the politicians whose position depends on robbing Peter to pay Paul.  Because, as they say, if you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can be pretty sure of getting Paul’s vote.

It's a nightmare scenario right out of Atlas Shrugged. The only thing missing is Directive 10-289, but I figure that one is only a matter of time unless we change our course.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice on the lake is still dark blue, warmer weather is on its way, and where we have to swallow yet another Patriots defeat at the Super Bowl to the Giants.


Consensus Science Isn't

Another thing I have found with the ongoing debate about Anthropogenic Global Warming climate change has been the constant claims by the warmist camp about “consensus” in regards to the findings by tens of thousands ten thousand a thousand 99% of climate scientists that It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans. This in itself is enough to discredit their 'proof', as science in no way, shape, or form is about consensus. It means they truly do not understand the scientific method or how proofs are made.

This is something the late author and physician Michael Crichton addressed during a guest lecture at Cal Tech back in 2003.

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results.

The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus: Period.

Crichton went on to list a number of major failures in regards to “consensus science”, some of which caused the loss of many lives. Others destroyed careers, even though later it was discovered that those who went against the consensus were right and everyone else was wrong.

Albert Einstein had his own take on consensus, having once stated “It doesn't matter if ten thousand scientists agree with me. It only takes one to prove me wrong.” One of the smartest men in the modern era understood the fallacy of consensus science.

And this is the weakness of the 'theory' of Anthropogenic Global Warming. At the moment it's all consensus and no hard proofs. People, many of them non-scientists, look at some of the presented data and see a correlation between global average temperatures and the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. They come to the conclusion that the increase in carbon dioxide is the cause of the temperature rise. They've fallen into the Correlation Trap. Unfortunately, so have some of the so-called climate scientists, like Al Gore.

As anyone who deals with data and statistics can tell you, correlation does not imply causality. This means just because two factors correlate to each other does not automatically mean that one caused the other. There may be other factors that affect both and cause the correlation but have not been discovered, or have been discounted through ignorance, bias, or conscious decision.

Another possibility the correlation may show but that the warmists have chosen to ignore: CO2 concentrations have changed because of changing temperatures, something ice core samples from Antarctica have shown to be the case over the past 400,000 years, where CO2 levels have lagged temperature changes, not led them. By why should they let that data change the narrative? After all the 'consensus' is that it's all our fault, meaning no further discussion is needed or wanted.

Yeah, that will work out well for all of us.



2,000 Year Global Temperature Record

It seems I just can't get away from AGW this week.

As a follow on to my previous two posts is this piece about the reconstruction of global temperatures over the past 2,000 years. (Well, actually 1,995 years, but who's quibbling?)

This latest reconstruction used a host of proxies from all over the world, but excluded tree-ring proxies - something used by a number of climate researchers, including Mann – because of their unreliability.

...Loehle notes that many long-term reconstructions of climate are based on tree rings, but “There are reasons to believe that tree ring data may not capture long-term climate changes (100+ years) because tree size, root/shoot ratio, genetic adaptation to climate, and forest density can all shift in response to prolonged climate changes, among other reasons.” Furthermore, Loehle notes “Most seriously, typical reconstructions assume that tree ring width responds linearly to temperature, but trees can respond in an inverse parabolic manner to temperature, with ring width rising with temperature to some optimal level, and then decreasing with further temperature increases.” Other problems include tree responses to precipitation changes, variations in atmospheric pollution levels, diseases, pest outbreaks, and the obvious problem of enrichment that comes along with ever higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Trees are not simple thermometers!

Instead, Loehle used such things as “borehole temperature measurements, pollen remains, Mg/Ca ratios, oxygen isotope data from deep cores or from stalagmites, diatoms deposited on lake bottoms, reconstructed sea surface temperatures, and so on.” Loehle's reconstruction used everything except tree-ring data.

His results show both the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods as well as the Little Ice Age, which Mann's did not. Loehle's results also mirrored those of Svensmark, who used Carbon-14 data to determine solar activity over the past 1,000 years. Others have taken that even farther, going back almost 3,500 years. Loehle's global temperature chart mirrored that of the solar activity plotted by Svensmark and others, giving us further clues into another driving force behind climate change.

Could this be another bit of ammunition to use against the Global-Warming-Is-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans theory of climate change? Maybe.


One of the most bothersome things I've noticed about those supporting AGW as fact is their constant citing of CO2 data as the only thing we need to concentrate on. They seem to think that 'heat trapping' by atmospheric CO2 is a linear relationship, meaning as the concentration of CO2 increase, it's heat trapping increases likewise. But it doesn't. More than a few studies show that after it reaches a critical concentration, further increases have little effect on heat trapping. We're already past that point, meaning the CO2 effects have reached saturation.

The AGW faithful also ignore such things as solar activity, claiming it's variations to be so small as to be meaningless. But they overlook or ignore other effects variations in solar activity can have that has nothing to do with its radiance. Certainly Svensmark's work implies they are discounting a very big factor that affects Earth's climate. (It certainly seems to affect surface and atmospheric temperatures on Mars, the Jovian and Saturnian moons, and Pluto!)

This topic will continue to generate a lot of commentary. I won't say it will create a lot of debate because you cannot debate with true believers, particularly with those of the AGW faith.

And so it goes.


AGW - The Battle Rages On

While not quite as prominent in the media as it has been, the debate about Anthropogenic Global Warming still goes on.

As I posted recently, sixteen concerned scientists wrote and signed a letter stating there is no need to panic about global warming. When I wrote that post I had barely skimmed through the 2700+ comments. Now that I've had a couple of days to look them over, it appears the AGW faithful came out in full force, decrying the sixteen and doing their best to diminish the stature of those scientists. They also kept repeating the same old discredited talking points as if that's all the justification that was needed. Others seemed to pull numbers, 'facts', and statistics out of thin air with no relevant cites to back up their claims about CO2. Some tried to very hard to discredit any AGW skeptics by claiming they had been bought and paid for by the oil companies, again with no corroborating evidence to back up their claims. Far too many of them had no basic understanding of scientific method and what it meant when data sets of climate data were 'destroyed', making it impossible to check the results of “tens of thousands” of climate researchers. (That was another thing that bugged me as well as some of the commenters – claims by the faithful that “tens of thousands” climate scientists all agreed that AGW was fact. Somehow I doubt that there are that many researchers out there studying this issue. It seems like just another 'fact' pulled out of thin air. A few commenters challenged these claims but no backing evidence or cites were ever produced.)

Calls for drastic actions to 'save the planet' were made again and again, but not one of saying they were needed could give us any details about what we puny humans could possibly do to affect the chaotic system that is called climate to save something that needs no saving, other than to 'decarbonize' our civilization, which usually entails impoverishing the West.

Again we have to ask the question of the faithful: Cui bono?