Thoughts On A Sunday

We were on our way back from the WP In-Laws last night when we got the call from BeezleBub: his FIRST robotics team finished 39th out of 400 teams! Finishing in the top 10% during their first appearance at the FIRST World Championships is not bad at all for a team from a small New Hampshire high school.


A bit of scary news related to BeezleBub:

The tent collapse in St. Louis yesterday was near the hotel where he and his team mates have been staying while at the FIRST competition.


Mark Steyn says the US is headed for a financial crisis that will make that of Greece look miniscule by comparison. What's worse is that the players in Washington know it, but are choosing to ignore the coming collapse.

“We are headed for the most predictable economic crisis in history,” says Paul Ryan. And he’s right. But precisely because it’s so predictable the political class has already discounted it. Which is why a plan for pie now and spinach later, maybe even two decades later, is the only real menu on the table. There’s a famous exchange in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Someone asks Mike Campbell, “How did you go bankrupt?” “Two ways,” he replies. “Gradually, then suddenly.” We’ve been going through the gradual phase so long, we’re kinda used to it. But it’s coming to an end, and what happens next will be the second way: sudden, and very bad.

Steyn points out the fiscal crisis also has its roots at the state level, with many states and municipalities having problems with debt and underfunded pension plans. This only adds to the severity of the coming collapse.

Public employee pension plans are promising returns of investment that would get anyone in the private financial market thrown into prison for fraud. How can they possibly promise 7, 8, or even 9 percent return on investment? Yet the pension plans depend heavily on returns that high. When they don't come about, the plans go bankrupt. That's something that will happen as more boomers retire and the plans have to start paying out even more money than they do now.

(H/T GraniteGrok)


Talk about abuse of power: Brooklyn bodega clerk arrested for selling booze to an under-21 customer even though he refused to sell it to the undercover teen.

Fortunately a security camera video may be this clerk's salvation.

(H/T Scary Yankee Chick)


Have you ever wondered where the money you pay for each gallon of gas or diesel goes? Despite what most people believe, the gas stations themselves get very little, usually between 1 and 4 cents per gallon, depending upon the region of the country and the distributor agreement they have with their supplier.

The biggest portion, up to two-thirds, goes to buying the crude oil used by refineries to create the gas or diesel. The price can vary due to natural disasters or political unrest in oil producing regions.

In case you're wondering, the oil companies aren't making any more profit on a percentage basis than any other business out there, running between 6 and 9 percent. But when you sell hundreds of billions of dollars worth of product every quarter, that 6 to 9 percent adds up.


I tell you, these guys have got to lay off the hash pipe.

Supposedly, the drop in population growth in California is seen by demographers and urban planners as good news.

Say what? If population growth is falling off that means people no longer see your state as a good place to live and work. People, and their money, leave. Yet you expect this drop off will allow you “time to prepare for bigger population than they did in past years...”

If California, at both the state and municipal level, doesn't get its collective s**t together, it won't matter how much planning you do. No one will want to move to a state that taxes the bejeezus out of its citizens, imposes draconian business and environmental regulations on those creating needed jobs, and makes it impossible to build the needed infrastructure for that still pie-in-the-sky “bigger population.”


Here's a bit of bad news/good news, at least if you're a fan of Fox network's Fringe.

The bad news – Fringe will be ending next season.

The good news – Fox could have canceled it after this season, but fans managed to convince Fox to let the show producers to close out the story line with 13 episodes next season.

I don't know if any of you out there have watched Fringe, but I've enjoyed it as much as I did X Files. It's certainly different and entertaining.


And you thought I wasn't going to have any mention of the ongoing AGW battle this time around.

Too bad.

In this case, Dr. Tim Ball reiterates a point made by the late Michael Crichton many years ago – Consensus science isn't science. It's politics.

But then most of us with a modicum of science knowledge know that. But that hasn't stopped the AGW faithful from screaming at the top of their lungs “But we have a consensus! The science is settled!!!” The claim of consensus is the sanctuary of those who know their science won't stand up to scrutiny, as it has always been.


Thomas Sowell delves into the racism that is the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. However this time around the racists aren't the usual suspects. This time it's the media, using creative editing and outright falsification to create a racist incident where there was none.

But the purpose of the narrative they tried to create was to “inform the public” about the ongoing problem of racism in the US. Too bad they forgot to mention that it is they who are the racists, or at least they are the one playing the race card.


Looking at one of the latest Obama campaign ads, it appears that he plans to use the fact that Osama bin Laden was killed on his watch as part of his re-election campaign. That's all well and good.

However, the one thing I don't expect to see in any follow on ads is that while he got bin Laden, he lost the Middle East.

But the killing of one person has been against the backdrop of a complete disaster for the United States throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.

North Africa is or is on the way to domination by radical Islamists. We pushed Mubarak out without any transition, and the Muslim Brotherhood and even more extreme Islamists are nearing control. The same is true in Libya and Tunisia.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban are resurgent, waiting out Obama’s timeline for withdrawal. In Iraq, the Iranians have extended their influence and the nation again is dividing along sectarian lines, with the unifying factor (except among the Kurds) being hostility to the U.S.

In Syria, where for once we could have dealt a crushing blow to Iranian influence, we have helped Bashar Assad hang onto power to the extent that both sides hate us.

Our one true ally in the region, Israel, is in its most precarious position in decades, surrounded by massive Iranian-backed missile bases in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria.

There is almost nowhere in the Middle East that the United State is better off than it was four years ago.

If nothing else this problem has handed the Romney campaign another nail to put into Obama's re-election coffin. All Mitt has to do is ask “Are we better off in the Middle East than we were four years ago?”

Of course he can also ask the same question about the economy under Obamanomics.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where cooler weather will be leaving (again), BeezleBub is home again, and where more yard work awaits.