More Subscribers Dumping HBO

As I commented upon earlier this month, people have been dropping HBO and switching over to streaming video because of HBO's support of an increasingly misogynistic Bill Maher and the political hatchet job they did on Sarah Palin.

In the two weeks since that post the number of people doing that has grown. In a Glenn Reynolds post about the failure of the Media Matters driven Rush Limbaugh boycott, Instapundit reader Kirby Angell comments about a bit of anecdotal evidence the “dump HBO” phenomenon is continuing.

“I was at the cable store dropping all of the movie channels, but I told them I specifically wanted to drop HBO because of Bill Maher and objectionable content. Then I found out if I got a new cable modem I could get a faster internet connection. Yesterday the cable guy was out with the new modem and while testing it he said ‘lots’ of people were dropping cable service and going with streaming only. He said he would drop it at his house but there was one show he would miss and that’s the only reason he keeps it. I’ve never seen Game of Thrones which he would miss, but I love Walking Dead and would still wait until I can stream it at my convenience than pay for cable. Soon the cable companies’ only product may be the pipe.”

At the moment “the pipe” is the only service we have from our local cable company. We never had the video service (we subscribe to satellite, but don't have any of the movie channels) and dumped our phone service almost a year ago when we realized our home phone was redundant. We haven't subscribed to one of the streaming video services yet, but I figure that's coming. I do use Hulu to catch up on episodes of shows I might have missed.

The WP Parents use a Sony Media Player to stream stuff from Netflix. They'd never go back to HBO. I know a number of my co-workers have also dumped their movie channels in favor of streaming video, with two of them specifically mentioning HBO as their reason for dropping their service.


The Climate Models Are Wrong...Again

It seems I get drawn back to the subject of AGW again and again. Over the past couple of years there hasn't been anything new from the “We're-All-Gonna-DIE-And-It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans” warmists. On the other hand, between ClimateGate 1.0 and 2.0, more scientists questioning the “settled science”, and gross failures of climate models to even come close to predicting the actual temperatures over the past 10 years or so, AGW has been losing its luster, except for the few diehards who still choose to keep pushing their agendas.

One of the most recent setbacks is the more recent failure of climate models to predict the present decade long halt to warming, and particularly their lack of correlation between predicted effects of increased CO2 concentrations and their effect on climate.

Some may point to the recent warm spell we enjoyed in the US over the past week or so as proof of AGW. But I recall more than a few really mild winters (and equally bitter cold winters) since I've trodden this earth. It's called weather and it happens all the time.

But back to the main point.

During a fundraiser in Atlanta earlier this month, President Obama is reported to have said: "It gets you a little nervous about what is happening to global temperatures. When it is 75 degrees in Chicago in the beginning of March, you start thinking. On the other hand, I really have enjoyed nice weather."

What is happening to global temperatures in reality? The answer is: almost nothing for more than 10 years. Monthly values of the global temperature anomaly of the lower atmosphere, compiled at the University of Alabama from NASA satellite data, can be found at the website http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/. The latest (February 2012) monthly global temperature anomaly for the lower atmosphere was minus 0.12 degrees Celsius, slightly less than the average since the satellite record of temperatures began in 1979.

The lack of any statistically significant warming for over a decade has made it more difficult for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its supporters to demonize the atmospheric gas CO2 which is released when fossil fuels are burned.

Many of the warmists point to the increase in global temps and their correlation with increased levels of CO2 as the only proof they need. But they choose to ignore that global temperatures started increasing well before the CO2 levels stared rising. So unless CO2 has some kind of temporal effect, meaning that its effects somehow travel through time to cause warming before the levels rise, then we have to look at the possibility that CO2 levels rose because of rising temperatures. Antarctic ice cores showing 400,000 years of climate data suggest just that scenario.

Perhaps my biggest gripe about the ongoing AGW doomsaying is that all they predict is calamity, yet they have no way of telling us exactly how they came to that conclusion. It's like they assume that any change is a bad change and that there's no way that conditions on Earth might actually get better rather than worse. Paleoclimatology suggests things will be better with a warmer climate. Better that than trying to usher in a another Ice Age.


The Supreme Court Arguments On Obamacare - Day 1

Today was the first day of arguments about the constitutionality of Obamacare in front of the Supreme Court. The entire thing comes down to whether the federal government has the power to force its citizens to purchase goods and services against their will. It is the individual mandate within Obamacare that is attempting to do just that. The government contends that both the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause within the constitution give it just that power. Opponents claim they do not.

The best hope that we have is that the Court decides the individual mandate is unconstitutional. If it does not it opens the door to even more federal abuses as the government will be forcing its citizens to engage in commerce or actions the populace does not wish to do.

Should the Court decide in the federal government's favor I expect there to be immediate calls for a constitutional convention to address this issue as many of the states will see even more if their sovereign powers being usurped by an even more overreaching and uncaring socialist government. Or, worst case, some states will see their very existence as separate sovereign entities threatened and will secede from the Union, perhaps forming their own nation. I expect a lot of states in the so-called “flyover country” would be the first to threaten such action. I would like to think that my own home state of New Hampshire would do likewise, being the Live Free or Die state.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The above normal temperatures we experienced over the past couple of weeks have been affecting the vegetation. Sugaring season ended early as with warm nighttime temps the sap doesn't flow as well and starts to thicken up. Buds have appeared on trees, and in some cases, leaves have started appearing. (A black birch tree just behind The Manse already has leaves showing as are a number of white birches elsewhere on our property.)

Ice Out on Lake Winnipesaukee occurred the earliest date on record, though BeezleBub reminded me that the only reason for that is because it is a leap year. If not for that then Ice Out this year would have been on the same day as a previous early Ice Out. (Ice Out was declared on March 23rd, but if would have been March 24th if this was not a leap year.)

Over the next week or so we'll be experience cooler temps, though they might still be above normal for this time of year. Today we had some much needed rain as with the warm temps the fire danger was quite high.


Glenn Reynolds links and comments about the Trayvon Martin shooting, pointing out that all is not as it appears to be. Witnesses are now saying that things did not go down the way the media has been claiming and that Zimmerman did act in self-defense.

Glenn also makes references to the Bonfire of the Vanities and the Richard Jewell case.

No matter how this turns out Zimmerman is going to have a target on his back.

Oh, one more thing to add fuel to the fire: a Florida Democrat operative has somehow linked the shooting to the Koch Brothers.

Is there anything the Koch Brothers can't do?


Wirecutter explains why he got into blogging. While his reasons are different from mine, they aren't all that different.


Jim over at Parkway Rest Stop is seeking some advice about a computer problem he's having dealing with not being able to see some types of streaming video. He's done some checking online and come across a couple fixes, but he's asking whether he should download and install these 'fixes'.

Anyone out there want to tackle his question?


I was sitting here in front of the Official Weekend Pundit Main Computer when I heard the distinctive 'beep' of someone pushing the power button on one of the UPSes here in the office.

I turned around and saw that Hilda was standing on top of the UPS connected to Deb's computer, looking quite pleased with herself. Unfortunately when she stepped on the power button she shut off the power to Deb's computer.


Top Industry Leader: “Obama is the most anti-business president in my lifetime.”

Gee, ya think?

It seems every time the president comes up with a new “plan” to revive the economy, it usually entails either tax increases on the rich and businesses, more onerous regulations on businesses, or tax incentives that sound good to the media but won't do squat to increase employment. An example is his plan to create tax incentives for businesses to hire more workers. He obviously doesn't understand that businesses only hire when they need more workers. They won't hire anyone if they have nothing for them to do, tax incentives or not. That's a good way for businesses to go out of business.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Ten things you didn't know about Mister Rogers.

Very cool.

(H/T Scary Yankee Chick)


Cap'n Teach links us to the top 15 signs at a religious freedom rally that you'll never see in the media.

It's amazing how many of those supporting the government's edict that religious organizations must fund birth control choose to ignore the First Amendment when it comes to religious freedom.


Cap'n Teach also schools us in regards to debunking a number of Obamacare myths. I particularly like Myth #3, where supporters seem to think that even of the Supreme Court shoots down the individual mandate, the rest of the law will still apply. However the suits brought by 27 states do not include severability, meaning that if the Supremes decide the individual mandate is not covered by either the Commerce Clause or the Necessary and Proper Clause, and therefore unconstitutional, the entire law is struck down.

In light of the recent 9-0 decision by the Court that slapped down an on overreaching EPA, I have a feeling the Justices will strike down Obamacare as well, seeing it as yet another overreach by the federal government trying to force citizens to purchase a good or service in order to maintain good standing with the government.

I've seen some comments and letters to the editor trying to equate the individual mandate in Obamacare to laws requiring drivers to purchase auto insurance, but it's a straw man argument. First, a number of states do not require motorists to have insurance. Second, driving is not a right, but a privilege. Third, neither the federal government or state governments force anyone to get a driver license or purchase a car if they have no desire to drive.


David Starr brings up an important point that too many people in the power industry are ignoring: the power grid is becoming increasingly vulnerable to hackers.

He points out where some power operations are connected together by way of the Internet, and far too many power operations use Windows for their computers. This is a formula for disaster. All power grid networks should be separate from the 'net and the really important computers should be using anything but Windows. There are too many vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers to shut down or damage our power grid.


Assistant Village Idiot looks into the Grandfather Paradox and other related alternative history ideas.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer weather has fled, leaves are popping out on trees, and where the ice is gone from the lake.


Ice Out 2012

Ice Out was declared on Lake Winnipesaukee this morning, the earliest Ice Out since records have been kept starting in 1887. The previous early Ice Out was March 24th, 2010 and March 28th, 1921. The latest Ice Out was May 12th, 1888. The latest Ice out recently was May 2nd, 2001.

Ice Out is defined as when the ice that has covered Lake Winnipesaukee in central New Hampshire since December or January has melted enough that the M/S Mount Washington cruise ship can make all five of its ports of call, those being Alton Bay, Center Harbor, Meredith, Weirs Beach, and Wolfeboro.


Local Leftist Drone Gets Well Deserved Fisking - Part I

Every so often someone comes along in our life that deserves a righteous fisking, and so it is with a fellow by the name of James Veverka of Tilton, New Hampshire.

Mister Veverka shows up regularly in the Letters section of our local newspapers, and in particular the Laconia (NH) Daily Sun.

For the most part I ignore Mister Veverka's leftist rants as almost everything he writes is right out of the left's talking point templates. I doubt he's had an original thought of his own in years. But it was one of his latest rants about the GOP in the March 17th edition of the Sun that goaded me into deconstructing yet another of his emotion-filled unthinking rants.

Let's get started, shall we?

Some things to consider.

First, religious liberties do not trump equality under the law. If one wants to be a religious fanatic, a bigot, a sexist, or a homophobe , they can do it in their own home, church, or private affiliation. People have used religious beliefs to support wars, cruel and unusual punishments, beating children, religious oppression, slavery, miscegenation laws, segregation, anti-semitism, anti-suffrage, polygamy, homophobia, and its all a failed Medieval argument.

Ooh, I love this guy! He trashes the First Amendment as if it means nothing because he's been told it does not trump “equality under the law” and then builds a strawman argument about why anyone who believes they should not be forced to go against their religious beliefs about the sanctity of life due to an unconstitutional governmental edict is automatically a religious fanatic who wants to return us to Medieval dogma and the auto de fe. How far would he take this? Would he demand Christian Scientists abandon their faith and beliefs in the power of prayer to heal and force them to support his “beliefs” against their will? (After all, Mister Veverka's deep religious faith in the power of an oppressive government to make sure everyone is equal is no different than the very religions he besmirches.)

Basically, Mister Veverka, you have libeled and slandered those of faith who have no designs to create a theological dictatorship. They just don't want to be told by an overreaching government that they must pay for medicines and medical procedures they see as no different than murder. After reading a number of your diatribes over the past few years, it has become quite evident that you have a deep seated hatred of religion or those who profess to religious belief. Who is the intolerant one here, Mister Veverka?

Let's move on.

For a bunch of tea bags who are concerned with abortion and welfare, they sure haven't thought this one out in the slightest. If one wants fewer abortions and less welfare families, family planning, sexual health care, sex education, and contraception are the only answers. Making contraception unavailable and abortion illegal is as about an intelligent a solution as the drug war is for drug use or banning guns is to end violent crime.

Here, right off the bat, he aims a sexual slur against Tea Party supporters, implying they are homosexuals. (Who's the homophobe, Mister Veverka?)

His statement also shows he is woefully ignorant about the Tea Party and what it stands for, and from earlier rants he's written, it's clear he doesn't want to. He'd rather stay within his own narrowly defined 'reality' so he can convince himself he's the only one who knows “The Truth!” If he even bothered to find out what it's all about he'd know that for the most part the Tea Party isn't interested in social issues he brings up. They just want the government to stop spending money it doesn't have on things we know don't work or is a waste of taxpayer dollars, stop passing laws and imposing regulations that do far more harm to the American public than any of the things Mister Veverka has accused the the GOP of trying to do, and for the government to stop its increasing meddling in our lives and our businesses.

If he wants fewer people on welfare, it isn't the GOP or the Tea Party (they aren't the same thing) that have trapped millions in poverty or want them to remain there. It is the government, and particularly the Democrats, starting with LBJ and his “Great Society”. More people on welfare means more control by the government, something the Democrats love because it gives them a captive constituency.

He brings up that the only answers to this problem are “family planning, sexual health care, sex education, and contraception.” He assumes these are the only solutions to the welfare problem. But the best way to get people off of welfare is to make it harder for them to get on it and easier for them to get jobs. But most of the programs created over the past 50 years and the rules and regulations handed down by the government have done just the opposite. And who created most of those programs and have been heavy handed in creating economy killing regulations? Hint: It's not the GOP.

To Be Continued...


Wisconsin Public Employee Union Shaft Their Private Sector Brethren

How is Democrats can claim to be the “friends of the working man” when legislation they pass make thousands of good paying jobs disappear? In this case the 16 Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate shot down a bill that would have brought over 3000 mining jobs to their state and given an economic boost to related businesses also located in their state.

How is these supposed “friends of the working man” justified killing this bill?

They did it at the behest of the public employee unions (SEIU, etc) because they wanted to make sure that Governor Scott Walker wouldn't get a 'win' that might make him even more popular with Wisconsin voters. So these corrupt public employee unions urged their bought-and-paid-for Senate puppets to sacrifice jobs their union brethren wanted and needed. The labor unions supported the bill, showing up to rally at the state house rotunda to plead their case. But their supposed public union allies shafted them all in order to 'get' Scott Walker.

With the failure of the bill, a new $1.5 billion (that's “billion” with a “b”) iron ore mine operation disappeared as the owners of the company wishing to open the mine decided to take their money and their jobs and go someplace more inviting. Yet somehow the public employee unions see this as yet another win for their cause. These are the same folks whose bought-and-paid-for Democrats in the Wisconsin legislature have created an increasingly hostile business environment. Is it any wonder jobs have been leaving the state? You'd think these fools would learn the lessons of California, Illinois, and New Jersey and do everything they can to promote more business and jobs in their state.

If this isn't a good reason to bust the public employee unions then I don't know what is. This action shows the these unions are nothing more than corrupt influence peddling criminal organizations using taxpayer dollars to to bribe Democrats at all levels of government to ensure they maintain control of the public purse and their ever less sustainable benefits packages, and the taxpayers be damned. Perhaps a few RICO prosecutions might help break their hold on the legislature.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Though the Weather Guys™ didn't exactly come through for us yesterday (it barely broke 50ºF here), it still wasn't all that bad a day.

I didn't get done nearly what I'd hoped yesterday, but more than made up for it today. It was nice being able to open the windows and air things out. This also let me clean the windows, which now let in even more sunlight!

With today's warm weather (70ºF!) I was able to hang my first loads of laundry out on the Official Weekend Pundit Clothesline. This is the earliest I've ever been able to do that since we've had it up. And if I recall correctly the last load hung this past fall was in late October just before our Halloween snowstorm.


With the warmer weather we've been enjoying I've let the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove go out and go cold. No need to run it or the propane furnace if it's above 65ºF in The Manse. I am certainly not complaining about the mild winter we've had as it's meant less work for me and BeezleBub and less firewood burned to keep things warm.

If this is global warming, then bring it on!


Bogie and her WS went shooting yesterday, trying to “get back into the groove.” They tried out some of those 2” X 2” reactive targets, the kind that go “BOOM” when you hit them dead center.



Adam Minter may have a solution to the problem of Asian carp invading US inland waters: catch them and sell them to China.

To the US they are an invasive species causing havoc in a number of major US rivers and lakes. To the Chinese they are a much in demand delicacy, preferred over farm raised carp.

It would certainly help balance the trade deficit with China. As the saying goes, the Chinese word for “trouble” is also the same word for “opportunity”. Best that we take the opportunity to make the best of the trouble we have with a certain Asian fish.

(H/T Instapundit)


A new Rasmussen poll shows 58% of American adults believe in an across the board income tax rate. I do, too. Everyone should have skin in the game. The fact that just under 50% of American workers pay no income tax is not a good thing as they have nothing to lose if those who are taxed are burdened even more.

While the Left cries that the rich should pay their “fair share”, they have never defined what that fair share is other than “more than they do now.” It's a moving target and no matter how much the rich pay it will never be enough. Eventually there will be no more rich to tax because one of two scenarios will occur: the rich will be impoverished and the economy will collapse, or the rich will flee and take their wealth with them which in turn will cause the economy to collapse. Either way we all lose.

A flat rate lets everyone feel the pain.


Cap'n Teach explains that because we drove cars, Alaska suffered from record snowfall and record cold.

As the Cap'n comments, “In the past, back when there were more sane people, this would simply be “the weather.” ”

The Cap'n also links to a Scientific American blog post that outlines a solution to the problem: a worldwide tyranny that will kill you if you don't stop trying to live your life in the 21st Century rather than the 14th Century.

But then that's what the Progressives want for us. They'll be the only ones allowed to enjoy the fruits of 21st Century technology. After all they have to keep an eye on us and it's hard work oppressing the masses and keeping them in their places.


Glenn Reynolds links to and comments about how batteries are the limiting factor for all these new 4G phones, tablets, and other connected technology.

That's been a problem with some of the equipment I help design. We try to use every power saving technique and technology to ensure the instruments we make will last for an 8 hour shift when used out in the field. Sometimes we've been able to use a bigger battery, but even that solution quickly reaches the point of diminishing returns as the battery becomes more expensive and is almost as large as the instrument it's powering.


And that's the abbreviated news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer weather is here in spades, we've been outside enjoying it, and where I still haven't gotten all the work around the house anywhere near done.


Spring Cleaning And Schizophrenia

Though spring is still a few days away, spring cleaning has already started here at The Manse. While the ground outside is still too soft and mushy to do much in the way of yard work, there's been plenty to do inside, including scrubbing the floors, cleaning windiows, and making a few repairs in the mudroom. (One of the coat hook boards came off the wall when an overenthusiastic WP nephew decided to toss his coat onto one of the hooks rather than placing it. Apparently the board carrying the coat hooks was held in place using drywall anchors rather than being screwed into the wall studs.)

Now you may wonder why I've mentioned this. It's simple.

The contractor who built this house must have been schizophrenic.

The Manse, as well as the homes on either side, were built by a contractor who is presently enjoying a stay at one of our fine state institutions...as an inmate.

The Manse shows signs of the same kind of personality as the contractor. Some things were really well done and the craftsmanship shows. Others leave you scratching your head wondering what the hell they were thinking when they were building this place. (I seem to recall that I've covered this subject some time in the past, but no matter. It's still kind of interesting.) Some examples of this dichotomy:

There are aforementioned coat hook boards. The rest of the mud room is well done, but they were too lazy to use a stud-finder to put the mounting screws into the studs.

Another mudroom issue: the door leading to the front is solid metal. The door leading to the rear has glass to let light in. Both the front and the back door should have glass (at least that's what was on the plans I saw). Glass on both doors would let the maximum amount of light in during the day, doing away with the need to turn the lights on when the sun is up. (The back door only lets light in only during the late afternoon or early evening, depending upon the time of year. Otherwise it's dark in the mudroom.)

The arrangement of the light switches is strange. Generally, when someone turns on the closest switch just inside the door of a room, it turns on the lights, either ceiling lights of a lamp plugged into a wall socket on the other side of the room. Not in The Manse. Instead, in more than half the rooms the switch turns on the ceiling fan. I guess they figured the ceiling fan was far more important than lights.

If there are more then one set of lights that are controlled by a series of switches on the wall, you'd expect the closest switch would turn on the closest lights and the farthest switch would turn on the lights farthest away. Nope, not in this house. (This is certainly the case with the switches just inside the kitchen next to the mudroom entrance.)

Then there's the 'phantom' switch. It's next to the triple light switches at the front door. In all this time I haven't been able to figure out what it's supposed to control. I've taken off the cover to see if it's even connected to the house wiring and it is. But in the seven years we've resided in The Manse we haven't been able to figure out what it's supposed to do. (After talking to friends and family about this I think that everyone's home has at least one phantom switch.)

Staying with the electrical system theme, there's the outside lights. The two lampposts at the top and bottom of the driveway and the floodlights on the side of the garage all have the same flaw: they have to be plugged in to turn them on. There are no light switches. (No, the phantom switch doesn't control the outside electrical socket into which the lampposts are plugged.) The lampposts do have light sensors on them, meaning they'll turn on automatically when it gets dark out. But we don't use them all that often. In fact they're on primarily during the winter when BeezleBub and I are clearing snow from the driveway at night. The floodlights are usually on for the same reason. (The floodlights are plugged in inside the garage, but it's a tight squeeze between the wall and the trusty F150, making it difficult to reach the plug at times.)

Another quirk: the plumbing. While the plumbing system is exceptional – PEX tubing running to both cold and hot water plenums, each tube with its own shutoff petcock – the routing leaves something to be desired. In two instances the plumbing contractor could have done a better job of routing some of the tubing. In the master bathroom it is not uncommon for the water lines to the shower and bathtub to freeze during below zero nights. Occasionally the lines to the sink also freeze up. It wasn't until we suffered our little water leak debacle last year that we discovered the tubing had been run along an uninsulated exterior joist below the bathroom.

Then there's insulation. There's plenty in the walls and the attic/eaves/roof. There was none along the rim joists (that's where the frame of the house meets the foundation), something I took care of the first year we were here. But after our water leak debacle, we found there's none between the first and second floor, something that has become de rigeur since the 90's. I think the only reason we hadn't noticed it before is because the second floor has thick wall-to-wall carpeting. (That could also be the reason the contractor didn't put any insulation in between floors.)

That's just a few things we've found that are quirky about The Manse. I could easily go on another few hundred words describing the schizophrenic nature of this house before I even got to the dumb/weird things around the outside. Maybe that's a topic for another post.


Online Video/TV Is Becoming The Norm

As I and other bloggers have noted, a number of subscribers to HBO can canceled their subscriptions due to HBO's blatant political pandering and support of misogynistic 'comedians'. Some have commented that they now use Netflix, Hulu, or a number of other online video providers rather than HBO.

For some time now I've been using Hulu to watch episodes of some of my favorite TV shows that I've missed for one reason or another and have considered signing up for Hulu Plus which gives access to movies, TV shows, and more. The WP Parents have been using Netflix with their Sony Media Player and have found it both convenient and cost effective. (It helps that our local cable MSO has reasonable download speeds which makes the use of these services attractive.)

I have a feeling I'll be using the online video services more often as cable/satellite TV becomes more expensive and less convenient (even with a DVR).


Adding Insult To Injury

Evergreen Solar, a company formerly based in Devens, Massachusetts, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, closed it's plant, and moved its production to China. To add insult to injury, now Evergreen wants permission from the court to walk away from it's plant in Massachusetts. This is after it had received over $31 million grants, tax, lease initiatives, and other considerations from Massachusetts.

The Bay State taxpayers pony up the cash for yet another “green” company, and in the end the company takes the money and its assets and heads to China. I figure $31 million is just the beginning. As one commenter opined:

It's always fun and easy to spend other people's money. Now the state can spend $20mil on investigating what happened, $30mil on lawyers pressing charges, and then lose the entire case.

That's really adding insult to injury. But then, it's the Obama Way. (See Solyndra.)


Town Meeting - Part 2

Town meetings have been in full swing since late last week here in New Hampshire. Many take place this week, this coming weekend, and next week.

It is American democracy writ small.

My little town had its town elections today, where our townspeople elected some town officials, voted on the the town and school budgets, and approved or disapproved various warrant articles that dealt with everything from buying a new fire truck to funding some non-governmental agencies to changing how the town sets up default budgets to imposing a property tax cap.

This election has probably garnered more voter attention than some I've seen in the past. I had to wait in line for a voting booth to open up, as did a number of other townsfolk. When I voted (just after work) over 1400 ballots had already been cast and there was still a couple of hours left until the polls closed. The parking lot outside our middle school, the town's polling place, was rapidly filling up as I left after voting.

It will be interesting to see which warrant articles passed and those that didn't.

One last thing -

As the saying goes here, “If you didn't vote at town meeting, then you have no right to complain about how things turned out.”

Just sayin'....

Lord Monckton Leaves 'Environmentalists' Speechless

Probably one of the best proponents of the “skeptics” view on AGW, Lord Monckton, gave his “Climate of Freedom” lecture at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Monckton, being no fool, was well prepared to parry the claims and fallacies put forth by the indoctrinated “watermelon” environmentalists (green on the outside, red on the inside) either attending the lecture or protesting outside the lecture hall.

One of his better encounters was with Erin Delman, president of the Environmental Club at the college and one of the unthinking indoctrinated.

As they filed in, Lord Monckton was chatting contentedly to a quaveringly bossy woman with messy blonde hair who was head of the college environmental faction. Her group had set up a table at the door of the auditorium, covered in slogans scribbled on messy bits of recycled burger boxes held together with duct tape (Re-Use Cardboard Now And Save The Planet). “There’s a CONSENSUS!” she shrieked.

“That, Madame, is intellectual baby-talk,” replied Lord Monckton. Had she not heard of Aristotle’s codification of the commonest logical fallacies in human discourse, including that which the medieval schoolmen would later describe as the argumentum ad populum, the headcount fallacy?  From her reddening face and baffled expression, it was possible to deduce that she had not. Nor had she heard of the argumentum ad verecundiam, the fallacy of appealing to the reputation of those in authority.

Ah, yes. The ever popular appeal to authority, the usual device of those who know their argument is a losing one. It's certainly one of the more used tactics of the warmist camp – if the facts don't support your beliefs, then make the appeal to authority as if that's all one needs to do to prove the unsubstantiated claims.

But for the moment let us return to to Erin Delman's refrain - “There’s a CONSENSUS!” Monckton blew the consensus argument out of the water with a few examples of consensus that were anything but proof.

[Monckton] said that, unlike the IPCC, he was going to speak in plain English. Yet he proposed to begin, in silence, by displaying some slides demonstrating the unhappy consequences of several instances of consensus in the 20th century.

The Versailles consensus of 1918 imposed reparations on the defeated Germany, so that the conference that ended the First World War (15 million dead) sowed the seeds of the Second. The eugenics consensus of the 1920s that led directly to the dismal rail-yards of Oswiecim and Treblinka (6 million dead). The appeasement consensus of the 1930s that provoked Hitler to start World War II (60 million dead). The Lysenko consensus of the 1940s that wrecked 20 successive harvests in the then Soviet Union (20 million dead). The ban-DDT consensus of the 1960s that led to a fatal resurgence of malaria worldwide (40 million children dead and counting, 1.25 million of them last year alone).

You could have heard a pin drop. For the first time, the largely hostile audience (for most of those who attended were environmentalists) realized that the mere fact of a consensus does not in any way inform us of whether the assertion about which there is said to be a consensus is true.

And there is the crux of the argument. Consensus, particularly when the term is applied to science, means absolutely nothing. It is merely a tool used to push unsubstantiated and, in some cases, wholly unprovable “scientific” gobbledygook. Consensus means nothing in regards to the validity of a scientific hypothesis. All it takes is one person outside the consensus to prove it wrong.

What made Monckton's lecture even more eye opening was using the IPCC's own data and conclusions to prove them as nonsense. As Monckton stated, the IPCC's reports were not peer reviewed, something the warmists claim ad nauseum is the only thing that is the measure of whether something is true or not. (Never mind that the only peers the AGW folks want reviewing anything are those who are firmly in the warmist camp. The open-minded need not apply.)

In the comments to the post linked above, Lord Monckton replies personally to some of the warmist trolls who tried to discredit his claims by making strawman arguments, misrepresenting what he stated, or trying to attack his data. Ironically, much of the data he used came from the IPCC itself, which he goes to great lengths to explain in his reply. Using their data he shows a number of faulty or unsubstantiated assumptions made by the IPCC to make their grossly overestimated projections about AGW. He shreds every one of the trolls' accusations and shows them for the indoctrinated and unthinking drones they are.

As more than one commenter opined, they'd love to see Lord Monckton debate Al Gore about AGW. Too bad we'll never see that happen. Monckton would bury him.


Obama Still Running Against Palin

As Glenn Reynolds notes, here it is, four years later, and Obama is still running against Sarah Palin.

There's only one problem: She's not running for office. Seems like a waste of time, money, and effort, but then they've really got nothing else. They certainly don't want to run on Obama's record.

During the 2008 campaign the Democrats kept making comparisons between Obama and Palin, trying to paint her as not capable of being vice president while at the same time claiming Obama was eminently qualified to be president. They almost totally ignored McCain. I always thought that was strange, the Democrats comparing the GOP vice presidential candidate to their presidential candidate. Could it be that even then they were scared of her? Four years later and they still go after her and her family, putting them under the kind of scrutiny Obama and his family would never survive.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Once again winter has tried to reassert itself, dumping around 4 inches of snow here at The Manse early yesterday morning and greater and lesser amounts around the Lakes Region.

BeezleBub fired up the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower and cleared the driveway so the sun could melt off the remaining snow. By mid-afternoon the snow on the driveway and the roads was gone.

Spring will return this coming week with temps expected to be in the mid 50's and low 60's.


Adjusting to better vision is still taking some time. One of the first things I noticed when I started driving again was that my depth perception is off a bit.

Another thing: I thought I was doing a decent job cleaning the house, but now that I have close to normal vision I can see a number of areas where I was less than effective.

Yet another thing: Standard analog TV looks so much better and sharper. I wonder what HD TV will look like?

And one last thing: Now that can see better I've noticed that I've aged far more than I thought I had.



Something I've been kicking around for some time is the idea of a semi-regular political cartoon or comic strip. I've had a lot of ideas or thoughts that would have been better presented visually rather than with lots of words. I have already approached an artistically inclined friend of mine (heretofore referred to as GG) with the idea and GG was quite receptive.

We still have some details to work out but I hope to get the ball rolling by the end of April.


How messed up is this?

First, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) sponsors the “Healthy Food In Schools Act” which promotes the availability of more fruits and vegetables in our schools, then works to kill a bill that would make it likely those fruits and vegetables will come from her home state? Without the bill those healthy foods will likely come from outside the US.

After large cuts in the water supply to farmers in California's Central Valley, most farms have had to cut back on their farming activities, if not shut them down completely. The proposed House Bill (HR 1837) would restore the water supply to the San Joaquin Valley, voiding the arbitrary decisions by state regulators caving in to radical environmental groups.

California used to have the most productive farms on the planet. But since the water cuts, the US went from being a net vegetable exporter to a net vegetable importer. In the process the prices of vegetables have skyrocketed, adding even more strain to family budgets.

I have an idea about how to address this issue: Cut off all food to the radical environmental lobbyists behind this debacle and let them go raise their own food....in the Mojave Desert. After a year most of them will have either starved to death or died of thirst, leaving the rest of us to get on with our lives and our farmers to once again become the most productive in the world.


By the way, you did remember to set your clocks ahead one hour (in the US), right? Daylight savings time kicked in today, meaning that many of us woke up at our 'usual' time only to find we were an hour late for church, etc.

Penn Gillette sounds off about Daylight Savings Time, saying it's an idea whose time has passed and that it's really not necessary any more. He also explains that it's a government conspiracy and yet another example of overreach.

It wouldn't bother me if we did away with DST altogether..or instead did away with Standard Time and stayed on DST year round, just so we wouldn't have to be bothered with changing our clocks and getting our schedules all confused twice a year.

(H/T Maggie's Farm and Moonbattery)


Is the Chinese economy sliding into recession? If one looks at declining electricity consumption and aggregate financing, as well as increasing unemployment, then the answer has to be yes.

It doesn't help that hundreds of billions of government money went into building cities and buildings that are still empty and aren't likely to be occupied any time soon, adding to the financial crush and impending implosion. When it comes will China be able to handle it as they've never had to deal with the end of a business cycle before? I have my doubts.

Welcome to the party, China.


Bogie picks up Stu's Old Vinyl Albums meme and is running with it. Bogie's two choices: Fleetwood Mac's Rumors and Boston's first album.

I have to agree with Bogie's choices on this one. Both albums were hits as were most of the songs on them. In the case of Boston's first album I could walk around campus and hear it being played in most dorm rooms along with ELO's New World Record. The campus radio station also played those two albums constantly, along with Yes and Jethro Tull.

I think I'm going to have to do likewise. I have a lot of old vinyl albums dating back to the late 60's and early 70's. Most are pristine as the only time they were played was to record them on tape or cassette. (I was one of those music geeks that would play the albums constantly and recording them and using the tapes kept them from being damaged.


Is HBO seeing a falloff in subscribers because of Bill Maher's misogynistic slurs? If so, I hope those canceling have been explaining why they're doing so. I think that if enough people start doing this Maher's days on HBO are numbered. Ann Althouse also adds her 2¢ worth, giving Maher a well deserved fisking.


Bring up the subject of Bill Maher's ire, HBO's hit piece on Palin shows the left is still terrified of her. This is yet another reason to cancel your subscription to HBO. It seems a lot of people are doing just that according to a number of e-mails received by Glenn Reynolds on the subject.

You know HBO is going to start noticing when even the customer service reps are commenting upon the cancellations.

Another thing to consider to hit 'em harder: cancel Cinemax as well as it's owned by HBO.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where spring weather has returned, the ice is melting on the lake, and where many of us are considering getting the snowblowers ready for summer storage.


I Can See The Light...

It's been a few days since I've sat down in front of the keyboard. I have a good excuse.

In reference to my previous post, my post-op status is good. The surgery I had was to remove a cataract from one eye. The surgery went well, however the adjustment from my previous 'just OK' vision to my new and improved vision has taken longer than I expected. While before I was severely myopic I now have clear distance vision. My close-in vision, however, has changed. This was not unexpected.

In order to be able to see the computer monitor correctly requires a new set of glasses, something I have not yet acquired. Until then I am using a set of not-all-that-great reading glasses that let me see the monitor well enough, but not so well that I want to sit in front of the computer for more than 15 minutes or so. That won't stop me from blogging. It's just that I may not go into as much detail (or semi-polite invective) as I might otherwise.


Blogging Note

Blogging may be non-existent over the next day or two as I am due for surgery Wednesday afternoon. It's not major surgery by any means, but my ability to think straight and/or type may be impaired until the meds wear off. Then again, that might be a feature and not a bug!

Super Tuesday - Ho Hum

The results of Super Tuesday show that no single candidate has a lock on the GOP nomination, meaning all of them will have to put in maximum effort over the next four months to even have a chance.

I'd like to think this turn of events means we have more than one viable candidate for the nomination, but it seems to me it's more of a sign that none of the candidates are generating the kind of buzz that can guarantee a win at the GOP convention.

And whoever the nominee ends up being I think it's going to be the choice of running mate that will make or break the chances of the GOP retaking the White House in November.


The Double Standard

I see the double standard as applied to conservatives by liberals still stands.

Rush Limbaugh calls an advocate for employer provided birth control a “slut”, and the leftist media goes nuts and he loses 9 advertisers. Bill Maher calls Sarah Palin a c***, and not one word of protest is uttered by the Left, nor do his sponsors abandon him.

So by their rules, the Left and their minions are free to disparage any conservative woman, using the most offensive language. But should someone on the Right use a disparaging term that is orders of magnitude less offensive against a liberal woman, it's tantamount to rape and the tar and feathers come out.

These a**holes need to grow up.


Thoughts On A Sunday

I got some great news from BeezleBub late yesterday afternoon: his FIRST robotics team alliance (along with teams from Manchester, NH and South Portland, ME being the others in the alliance) took First Place during the regional FIRST competition held in Manchester, NH yesterday!

The team got a police escort from the highway to the high school last night. Students and parents helped unload the equipment from the bus and get it safely packed away at the school.

Onward to the national competition in St. Louis!


It seems timely that after yesterday's post about March coming in like a lion that Bulldog over at Maggie's Farm posts audio of the late great John Belushi explaining the phrase “In like a lion and out like a lamb” is true only in the US.


Just a blogroll note: Scary Yankee Chick has moved, leaving Blogger and moving to a new site.

(I gotta remember to change her URL here, too.)


No further explanation needed.

(H/T BogieBlog)


Also from BogieBlog is Cheryl's take on the snow we received over the past few days.

She got a lot more than we did here at The Manse.


I think Parkway Rest Stop has the right of it when it comes to the accidental burning of the Korans in Afghanistan. We have to stop “appeasing the Seventh Century Savages and their “Religion of Peace.” ”


The 'big paper' here in New Hampshire, the Union Leader, took a survey of New Hampshire residents to find out how many of them use snowblowers, shovels, or plows to clear their driveways.

According to the survey almost 60% use snowblowers, 24% use shovels, and 13% use plows. The balance hire local kids to shovel their driveways.

I'll bet that even 10 years ago the number hiring local kids was a lot higher.

On the other hand snowblowers are kinda cool. I know the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower fits the bill, with electrically driven chute position and angle, and handle warmers! I actually used the handle warmers this past week and they made a big difference, keeping my hands toasty warm when usually they get rather numb from the cold.


I should probably mention that sometimes my job requires me to visit our lab over a weekend. In this case I've been going in two or three times a day to change over environmental tests on lasers that are used for calibration purposes. This allows me to fit a week's worth of testing time into two and a half days. (The environmental test chambers are being used during the regular work week, meaning that I sometimes have to work around other test schedules in order to get my tests completed. Under other circumstances I just want to get the results that much faster. This is one of those times.)

Come Monday morning I'll have a full series of tests completed and I'll be able to analyze the data by mid-morning. That's a lot better than having to wait another week to get all the results.


Cap'n Teach posts the Fine 15 Apology Edition of his regular Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup feature.

Quite often I'll find something interesting in his SBSP feature and link to one or two of them. This time around all of them are good enough that I had difficulty choosing, so I figured I just link to the whole thing and let you pick and choose your favorite(s) instead.


This is the first of a twofer from Wirecutter.

Somebody up there really loves the owner of this car.


And then there's this, with Wirecutter asking “Why does the Department of Energy need to buy urban combat weapons?”

Yet another move by big government to control even more of our lives.


An d that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where winter has reminded us it isn't over yet, spring is just around the corner, and where really warm temps will be returning later this week.


In Like A Lion

The remnants of the weather system that devastated the South made its way through New England over night and through the morning.

Here at Lake Winnipesaukee we got between about 2 inches of snow before it changed over to freezing rain (briefly) and then full on rain.

I was out at 7 this morning with the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower removing the 2 inches of snowfall. I didn't want it left on the driveway when the rain arrived. All it would do under those circumstances is turn into a slushy mix that would later freeze into a solid mass of ice, making the driveway impassable.

Right around 11AM the first rumbles of thunder were heard and the light drizzle turned into a downpour. Normally I wouldn't have cared one way or the other, but I was just leaving The Manse on my way to the dump. It made driving the first couple of miles...interesting.

About 20 minutes later I was at the dump and just as I started unloading the trash barrels bags from the back of the trusty F150 another thunderstorm started dumping both rain and hail. It made for a miserable time emptying the truck of the trash and recyclables. By the time I was done – a little over 2 minutes later - my jacket was soaked through. It made for a miserable ride back home.

As Deb commented earlier this morning, she hates March because the weather is so crazy. We went from below freezing temperatures and snow fall to 'tropical' downpours with lightning and thunder in less than 4 hours.

About the only upside to this story is that with all the rain and now warmer temps most of the ice and snow left behind on the driveway after using the snowblower had melted or was washed away by 1PM. I never had to break out the sand to ensure good traction.

From what I understand we're in for some well above normal temperatures later this coming week. That suits me just fine.


Lying For The Cause Serves No One In The End

As the furor has started to die down over Peter Gleick's use of identity theft in order further support of his cause, that being Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, I have to admit to thinking about both the immorality of the act and the casting aside the ethics that someone like Gleick should have strove to uphold.

Some have tried to rationalize his act, proclaiming his intentions were good. But that's an old excuse that has been overused and does not excuse his actions. We also know where that road leads: Hell.

The debate rages on about whether “lying for the cause” excuses the lies or is merely an excuse for something that an unethical or immoral person would have done anyways.

We've seen so much in the way of lies and deceit in regards to AGW that it's becoming hard to discriminate between facts, wishful thinking, and outright fabrications. And in that regard I have to say the award for the most deceitful actions must go to the supporters of AGW. As the ClimateGate e-mails have revealed, those who should have been pursuing the truth instead put their efforts towards burying it. (Please notice that I use the lower case 't' in truth, as science is supposed to search for the truth. Use of the upper case “T” in Truth tends to signify that whatever is designated using that word tends to be anything but.) Dissenting viewpoints were quashed. The word 'peer' in “Peer review” was redefined to mean “only those who agree with us”, which destroyed the credibility once attached to that phrase. Publications which dared to publish dissenting views were targeted for trivialization or forced to fire editors who refused to toe the line if they wished to survive.

Such is the power of lying for the cause.

In this case the lies are allegedly to force courses of action that are supposedly necessary to save the planet. Never mind that there is tenuous evidence at best that any such actions are required. The true believers know they are right and are willing to put forward any story, use any lie, any fabricated evidence to advance their cause. The thought that they might actually be wrong has never crossed their minds. And should there be any facts that contradict their belief system then it must be suppressed and those presenting them discredited.

When these kinds of actions are applied to science, then it ceases being science. It becomes dogma and requires no proof. We saw that in Nazi Germany (racial science) and the Soviet Union (Lysenkoism), where political beliefs overrode the truths provided by science. And because of it millions died.

CAGW is no different. And while it's not likely to lead to extermination camps and gulags, millions (if not a couple of billion) will pay the price for the lies put forward “for the good of the people.” Scientific truth need not apply.