Six Famous You Might Not Know Were Engineers

I found this article to be rather compelling, that being 6 famous people you may not know are engineers.

Of the six listed, there were two I hadn't known were engineers. And yes, I knew the first on the list was an engineer and inventor.

Others to be added to the list include George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, Gene Pitney (country western music), Michael Bloomberg (mayor of New York City), Robert Altman (movie director), Judd Hirsch (actor), Dolph Lundgren (actor), Erland Van Lidth (actor), Frank Capra (movie director), Howard Hawks (movie director), Ally Walker (actress), Garry Shandling (actor/comedian), Rowan Atkinson (actor/comedian - Mr. Bean), Herbie Hancock (musician), Ashton Kutcher (actor), and, believe it or not, Cindy Crawford.


Marxism In A Minute

I came across this bit on Marxism while reading the comments to a WSJ opinion piece. It was used to describe one of the regular leftist trolls who has nothing good to say about anyone...except Comrade Obama. He hates capitalism, loves socialism (despite numerous examples of why socialism doesn't work), thinks everyone should be paid the same no matter what they do for a living, and believes wealth is a zero sum game and that all wealth should be confiscated by the state.

When I first started reading the troll's posts I thought it was just sarcasm. But as time went on I realized he was serious.

'Marxism in One Minute'

By Henry Hazlitt

The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others.

Never under any circumstances admit that your own failure may be owing to your own weaknesses, or that the failure of anyone else may be due to his own defects — his laziness, incompetence, improvidence, or stupidity. Never believe in the honesty or disinterestedness of anyone who disagrees with you.

This basic hatred is the heart of Marxism. This is its animating force. You can throw away the dialectical materialism, the Hegelian framework, the technical jargon, the ‘scientific’ analysis, and millions of pretentious words, and you still have the core: the implacable hatred and envy that are the raison d’être for all the rest.

We pretty much know that liberalism as it exists today is an ideology of envy and greed, with a view of economics that comes right out of Alice In Wonderland. Everyone worth exploiting becomes a 'victim' of the 'oppressors', 'oppressors' defined as anyone disagreeing with them and more successful than they are. They have also co-opted the term 'racist', used when someone disagrees with their push for racial justice, though that 'justice' is just a hidden form of racism because the don't believe their favorite minorities are capable of doing anything without their help. (Basically they believe minorities are inferior to them, which is why they are willing to impoverish the rest of us in an effort to assuage their subconscious guilt. But the 'oppressed' minorities are more than capable, but only if they are allowed to be by their liberal 'betters'.)

In other words, they pull most of their plays right out of the Marxist handbook even though they may not realize it.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The worst of the cold weather has finally moved out of New Hampshire, with last night's temps in the positive single digits. During this cold spell we did use more firewood and propane than we otherwise would, but that was not unexpected. It helps that the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove appears to be running better than it has the past couple of winters, requiring less stoking and burning longer. The time BeezleBub and I spent making repairs and minor modifications paid off. (The modifications didn't change anything internally. They were made to better secure the air tubes that direct air flow inside the stove which in turn affects how well the stove operates.)


I find it highly misleading when the fawning MSM outlets point to the rising Dow Jones Index as proof the economy has recovered. More than a few state the Dow is slated to reach or exceed its all time high some time soon.

I hate to burst their bubble, but the vaunted 14,000+ is a psychological 'boost', not an economic one. For one thing, in order to reach an equivalent level of what the was the last time it was at 14,000, it would have to reach closer to 19,000 or 20,000. Between the three rounds of quantitative easing (printing a lot of money), the more than doubling of energy prices, and rapidly rising food and commodity prices, 14,000 is more like 10,000 was 'way back when'.

At this point 14,000 is just a number significant of nothing.


At least now we have an answer about Obama's non-recess recess appointments to the NLRB: Obama's 'recess' appointments declared unconstitutional.

Frankly I didn't expect any other outcome. Should the President decided to appeal the decision made by a 3-judge panel of the U.S Court of Appeals, it isn't likely he'd win. This isn't one of those 'grey area's with a lot of wiggle room. There are almost 200 years of precedence that carry a lot of weight.

One of the downside/upside issues with this decision – hundreds of decisions handed down by the NLRB since those appointments will be invalidated because there was no quorum, a requirement in order for those decisions to be valid (that's the upside). The downside (for unions) is that the firmly-in-the-union-pocket NLRB decisions will have to be gone over again, maybe this time by a board that is more evenly balanced and less likely to give the unions a pass.

If nothing else it is a lesson for Obama that the Constitution means what it says.

(H/T Viking Pundit)


David Starr digs into the problems with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. My belief is that Boeing didn't allow the proper amount of time to wring out all of the kinks by setting such an ambitious and wildly overoptimistic schedule (which they didn't meet). Too much new technology implemented at the same time in too short a time is a guarantee there will be problems.


Though this opinion piece came out 11 days ago, it is still worth linking.

Former Washington DC prosecutor Jeffrey Scott Shapiro has seen the effects of draconian gun control laws first hand and in his opinion it badly misfired, leaving law abiding citizens unable to defend themselves while allowing criminals free rein to rob, rape, and murder, free from the fear their intended victim might be able to stop them.

The D.C. gun ban, enacted in 1976, prohibited anyone other than law-enforcement officers from carrying a firearm in the city. Residents were even barred from keeping guns in their homes for self-defense.


The gun ban had an unintended effect: It emboldened criminals because they knew that law-abiding District residents were unarmed and powerless to defend themselves. Violent crime increased after the law was enacted, with homicides rising to 369 in 1988, from 188 in 1976 when the ban started. By 1993, annual homicides had reached 454.

When a prosecutor that hates guns thinks gun control is not such a great idea, it should give the gun-grabbers pause to consider whether they're thinking with their hearts and not their heads. Unfortunately, they won't.


Albert Einstein's definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results this time.

By that definition, the Obama administration is insane, pushing banks to approve sub-prime loans...again.

So it's criminal for the Bush administration to have done so, but perfectly OK for the Obama administration to do something we already know caused a big portion of the housing market and bank meltdown? It's that old double standard being applied...again.

Then again we have to remember that Obama was party to the lawsuits that expanded the 'teeth' of the Community Reinvestment Act back in his community organizer days.


The Saturday edition of the local Laconia Daily Sun asks the question, “What is a payphone?” My home town's board of selectmen voted to remove one of the last payphones in town, located at the town docks on the big lake.

Supposedly the last payphone in town is located at the Gunstock Mountain Resort in the main lodge.

Ain't progress grand?

The phrase “drop a dime” will become all too obscure once the last of the payphones are gone. But then it may hang around just like “the whole nine yards”, still used over 70 years after it first came into being.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the really cold temps are departing (so it will only be cold), the sun is rising higher in the sky every day, and where yet another payphone bites the dust.


Is Obama's Hostility Part Of His Narcissism?

I came across this while perusing the comments section of this WSJ opinion piece by Peggy Noonan, where she pummels the President for his belief that only he has good faith and therefore any program, action, spending, or regulation he wants will only be on his terms, and his terms are always hostile.

While some may call Obama's persistent belief that his opinion is the only one that matters an symptom of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder – which it may very well be – it is more likely the Hubris-Nemesis Complex (not that it doesn't rule out NPD). It is described as follows:

"In other words, they have a “hubris-nemesis complex,” a special and potentially dangerous mindset that combines hubris (a pretension toward an arrogant form of godliness) and nemesis (a vengeful desire to confront, defeat, humiliate, and punish an adversary that may itself be accused of hubris)."

"In such leaders, the complex means more than exhibiting hubris and nemesis as separate qualities. The interaction between, and integration of, the two forces appears to result in something more complex, more pathological, than the description of either force may imply at first glance. To be as powerful as their hubris requires, they must be the nemesis of an external power; indeed, it is part of their hubris to be such a nemesis. At the same time, to fulfill the nemesis role against such a power, they must personally possess absolute power at home and expand their power and presence abroad—they must be capable of hubris."

"A Destructive-Constructive Messianism. A hubris-nemesis leader believes himself to be—and presents himself as being—a virtual messiah or savior who is on a crusade and has a fate, destiny, or mission that is historic, both timeless and time-changing in its implications. All is politicized in the name of the mission and the high principles it engages. Combining constructive with destructive tendencies, he proposes to accomplish monumental projects that will confirm his and his nation’s greatness. Such projects, if achieved, may bring material progress, but their purpose goes beyond that. They symbolize the leader’s desire to direct vast energies at constructing something awesome that commands widespread respect and honor and enhances people’s feelings of pride and dignity, thereby validating his leadership and his conception of his and his nation’s abilities. Meanwhile, he seeks to blame and attack the chosen enemy and its imperious ways for his nation’s weaknesses and failures to live up to its hopes and capabilities"

Sound familiar? Obama certainly fits that description to a 't'. He promises great things and cures to what ails us, but doesn't present any actual plan about how to get there other than tired old platitudes that we already know won't work. He merely wraps it in new verbiage. He dismisses any opposition to his ideas as not being worth wasting his time, particularly when those opposing him are too blind to see his greatness, as far as he's concerned. All triumphs are his and all failures someone else's fault. And worst of all he ignores Rule #51: “Sometimes - you're wrong.”

(H/T Charles Hammons)


Global Warming - Really?

I had more than a few topics to choose from to ponder upon and pontificate about. Because I just came in a few moments ago, having refilled the wood box after arriving home from work, and noticing just how cold it felt, I checked the Official Weekend Pundit Weather Center and found it was just a wee bit below zero. It was -4ºF at 7 this morning and it's expected to be close to -20ºF some time tomorrow morning. And that points me to today's topic – global warming.

First, seeing the impact of one of the coldest winters since 1938 and how it's affecting Russia. For one thing they've been getting snow...lots of snow.

While the snowstorms have caused inconvenience for large population centers in western Russia, they have been life-threatening further east in the country. The polar circle city of Norilsk has been buried under 10 feet of snow – entire apartment blocks, markets, stores and offices were buried under snow overnight.

Banks of snow were as high as two people put together, reaching the second-story windows of some apartment buildings. Cars, stores, garages were blocked. Norilsk metropolitan workers were forced to dig passageways through the snow banks to create access between the outside world and the barricaded city.

It looks like Russia is getting a taste of what Alaska experienced last winter.

But if what a bunch of scientists at the US Solar Observatory and the US Air Force Research Laboratory have said is true, we may be entering a “mini-Maunder” event with decades of below normal solar activity and resultant cooler temperatures on Earth and what we've seen in Europe, northern Asia, and northern North America will become the norm rather than the exception.

The sun could be on the threshold of a mini-Maunder event right now. Ongoing Solar Cycle 24 is the weakest in more than 50 years. Moreover, there is (controversial) evidence of a long-term weakening trend in the magnetic field strength of sunspots. Matt Penn and William Livingston of the National Solar Observatory predict that by the time Solar Cycle 25 arrives, magnetic fields on the sun will be so weak that few if any sunspots will be formed. Independent lines of research involving helioseismology and surface polar fields tend to support their conclusion.

NASA explains that interactions between the sun, sources of cosmic radiation and the Earth are very complicated, and it takes an interdisciplinary team of heliophysicists, chemists and others to quantify what is really going on. And the Earth’s climate is also affected by cosmic radiation.

Danish scientist Dr. Henrik Svensmark's work has led him to postulate that sunspot activity can have a greater effect on Earth's climate than CO2, showing that during periods of high solar activity Earth's climate is warmer and during low solar activity Earth's climate cools.

It's going to be interesting around here over the next few decades.

Sometimes These Things Happen

As you've nooticed, I haven't posted the past couple of days. Unfortunately real life intruded and I had family, work, and other community activities that took precedence. Sometimes that happens. At least regular blogging has resumed!


Thoughts On A Sunday

The weather has been relatively nice over the past few days, sunny with some chilly temps. The local ski area has been making the best of it, running their snow guns as soon as the temperature is below freezing. (I can tell when they're running because I can hear them at The Manse even though the ski area is a couple of miles away.)

We're in for some below-zero nights and days in the teens and single digits. It looks like winter is returning with a vengeance, at least in regards to cold.


Oh, No! Globull Warmening is causing snow and cold in the winter! We're all DOOMED!!


Speaking of globull warmening, just around 1:30PM today the winds picked up here at The Manse and the temperature dropped about 10ºF in about an hour. Our brief warm spell has come to an end.


I have to give this guy some credit for his gall, outsourcing his own job to a couple of programmers in China so he could surf the web and play cute kitten videos all day.

Is this the new American entrepreneurship?


Gee, ya think?

Is there any question that ethanol in gasoline has benefited no one except corn growers and ethanol producers?

I have been an opponent to adding ethanol in gasoline since they first started doing it. It damages engines, causes problems with fuel systems (I think I've covered that problem more than once in regards to The Boat), and decreases fuel economy. It uses more energy to produce than is gained at the back end, meaning it does not decrease the carbon footprint to use it, claims by the ethanol and green lobbies to the contrary. About the only fuel grade ethanol produced that has a net positive energy return is that made from sugar cane, which returns eight times the ethanol per volume than corn and doesn't require fertilizer, constant tilling and weeding, or the applications of pesticides. The only problem is that it doesn't grow in the same climate as corn.

Ethanol is a failure. It's time to pull the plug.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


That the provisions of Obamacare were going to kill jobs was debatable. But now that it has started to kick in, the debate is over. It is killing jobs and it's only going to get worse.

How the Democrats thought this wasn't going to hurt more people than it was supposed to help is beyond me. But then perhaps they weren't thinking, but letting their feelings make the decision for them. That is their M.O., isn't it? After all, it made them feel better once they passed it. Now the rest of use will have to deal with the 'unintended' consequences.

Gee thanks, Democrats!


Glenn Reynolds has a timely essay about how the government is slowly making everything a crime. Why? Simply this: power.

There's even a quote right out of Atlas Shrugged that explains the reasoning behind this trend.

It would be funny if it weren't so true.


Scary Yankee Chick has a three-fer, offering three links to gun related topics. Interestingly enough, she also has a post that has been Google's top of the list in regards to New York's new Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act. Surprisingly she's been getting lots of hits from federal, state, and local government offices.


David Starr slams Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for his blatant lie about cutting the budget. How can the budget have been 'cut' when the government is going to spend even more money this year than it did last year? And how can you cut a budget that doesn't exist? Congress hasn't passed a budget in almost 4 years, something blatantly unconstitutional.


And now I'm off to watch the New England Patriots play the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC Championship.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where winter temps are returning with a vengeance, snow is coming with it, and Monday has yet again gotten here all too soon.


Obama Uses The "If It Only Saves One Life" Canard

I wasn't sure he would do it, but President Obama, while announcing his plans for more gun control, used the old “If it saves only one life it will be worth it” lie.

Why do I call it a lie? Simple: That “one life” will be paid for by the deaths of other innocents who should have been able to protect themselves but were denied that right. No one talks about that aspect of the do-nothing feel-good laws and regulations the president and others wish to impose upon us because it doesn't fit the narrative promulgated by the Left, that being that guns in and of themselves are evil because they can be used to kill people. Most other folks know them for what they are – tools. And like any tool they can be used for good or evil. It all depends upon who wields that tool and for what purpose.

Neal Boortz delves into the issue, showing how the Democrats are incapable of focusing on the truly important issues and wasting time and effort on something that makes them feel better but that in the end will not solve the problem as they claim it will. (Yes, I know Brent linked this same piece the other day, but it's worth linking to again.)

Some excerpts from Neal's post:

2. Democrats find it much easier to push a gun control agenda than they do to deal with issues of true and vital importance to our Republic.  When we are mourning and burying 20 young children the emotions of the people are raw.  It’s time to exploit those emotions for political gain.  Americans, unfortunately, will never be this emotional about the fiscal disaster they face.  And I’m not talking about this meaningless “fiscal cliff.”  I’m talking about our nearly $1 trillion … that’s TRILLION … in unfunded liabilities and our current unsustainable level of spending. The highest in terms of our gross domestic product ever.  But you’ve read all about this in the mainstream media, haven’t you?  Oh, you haven’t?  Well, I’m sure they’re preparing their in-depth stories right now.

3. This year 446 school age children have been shot in Chicago, and 62 have died.  There has been NO push from the left for gun control resulting from the carnage in Chicago.  Odd, don’t you think?  By the way, Chicago has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the country.  I’m sure you’ve seen these statistics on your favorite network television newscast, haven’t you?  Wait!  What?

6. In the past week we have had two stories about a 14-year-old at home without an adult when a burglar entered the home.  In one the 14-year-old knew where his dad’s gun was, and knew how to use it.  The intruder was shot.  In the other the 14-year-old had no means to defend himself.  His father found his body when he came home from work at the end of the day.  He had been shot.   Have you read a juxtaposition of these two stories in your mainstream newscast?  Didn’t think so.

So rather than focusing on truly important, though less emotionally compelling issues, our attention is drawn to a tragedy that is being played to the maximum to elicit an emotional response to something that is a very rare occurrence to push legislation that will do little to prevent a future tragedy of the same kind. They gun control advocates choose to ignore the evidence that it is not 'average people with guns' committing these heinous crimes, but emotionally disturbed, or dare I say, deranged people committing these acts. Focus should be on the people and not the tools. By disarming the law-abiding citizens all anyone is ensuring is higher body counts when such acts are perpetrated in the future.


The Continuing Insanity In The Aftermath Of Newtown

Obama and the gun-grabbers are cranking up the rhetoric, trying to please those suffering from Do Something Syndrome (or DSS).

Already New York Governor Cuomo has signed a tough new gun control law that, in the end, will do nothing but make it more difficult, if not impossible, for law-abidingNew Yorkers to arm themselves. If history is any indicator, it's likely to produce the opposite effects from those intended. (Cuomo and Bloomberg have both stated that New York City hasn't had that problem despite the heavy regulations on guns, but that has be credited to former mayor Rudy Giuliani and his 'broken windows' police tactics, cracking down on crimes large and small.)

Much of this is driven by DSS, which is an offshoot of what Lenore Skenazy calls PTSS, or Post Traumatic Stupidity Syndrome.

Folks in the throes of PTSS are so traumatized by a tragic event that they immediately demand something – ANYTHING – be done to prevent it from ever occurring again. Even if the chances of it happening are one in a million. Even if the “preventative measures” proposed are wacky, wasteful, ridiculous - or worse.

I asked readers to tell me what their districts were doing in reaction to the Newtown shooting and thus I heard about lots of schools reviewing their lockdown drills – which makes sense, like reviewing a fire or tornado drill. But then I also heard from readers whose school administrators seem to have lost their minds.

One school, for instance, proceeded with its first grade Christmas concert…except that all the parents attending had to hand in their car keys to the office before entering the auditorium.

Because guns don’t kill people … people with car keys kill people?

Actually, people with car keys do kill people. In fact, they kill more people than people with guns every year.

By working to disarm the law-abiding citizens the Powers-That-Be are merely making larger free-fire zones for the criminals who will ignore the law (as they already do) and continue to carry illegal firearms. How does that help anyone?

In reality, it doesn't. But it makes the people suffering from PTSS and DSS feel better...until the next time. And then they'll demand even more stridently that someone “Do Something!”

As Lenore concludes:

And so it goes, after Sandy Hook. Distrust. Panic. Terror. This feeling of being besieged on all sides used to be considered paranoia.

Thanks to Post-Traumatic Stupidity Syndrome, now it’s considered proactive.

And that's the problem.

(H/T Instapundit)


The Effects Of ObamaCare Now Coming To Light

As the effects of ObamaCare start to manifest themselves, more people are asking what the hell Congress was thinking when they passed that stinking pile of manure masquerading as legislation. Nancy Pelosi's pronouncement that the House would have to pass it in order for us to find out what was in it showed the arrogance of the progressive Democrats, implying the rest of us 'common folk' couldn't possibly understand what they were trying to do. Unfortunately most Americans understood perfectly what Pelosi and Reid were trying to do, that being taking more control over our lives and crippling a sixth of the American economy all in the name of 'fairness'. (I still don't know what they mean by this as their definition of the term has little in common with that found in the dictionary. All I do know is that it bodes ill for us.)

One of the major downsides to ObamaCare is that it will do little to contain costs and will, in the end, create a shortage of medical treatment as more of those in the health profession bail, seeing their chosen professions turn from a calling into nothing more than a factory job in what will become factory medicine, with treatments decided by 'management' (aka government bureaucrats) rather than the doctors. We've seen this happen before. There have been more than a few examples of this in other countries, the UK and Canada but two instances.

As the government health care bureaucracy expands to take up an ever increasing amount of money, the funds that would normally go to actually treating patients will diminish. We've seen that happen before as well. Costs will go up and care will go down. Something will have to give.

When you make radical policy changes and remove market correctives from functioning, the only outcome following trouble is government takeover. The American citizen is showing a greater willingness each year to borrow from the future and take a step back from personal responsibility while preferring group support. Once that approach gathers steam, it crosses a line from which only the government is big and strong enough to act with a single voice.

And that single voice will demand more and more and more until the people have nothing left, unless we can do something about this horrible program and get rid of it. Otherwise we are doomed to the future the regressive “Progressives” have planned for us, that being serfdom to the all consuming State.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The usual January Thaw has ended up being something of a bust, at least over this weekend.

While it has been warmer, it didn't reach the forecast temperatures, getting to 37 degrees yesterday (45 was forecast) and to 38 degrees today (49 was forecast). Both Saturday and today it was overcast and foggy all day.

So much for our January thaw.


I have to admit the gun control debate has spun out of control, with the gun-grabbers pulling on every emotional string they can find in order to get their way. Probably one of the more specious arguments they've been using is the “If it saves only one life...”. There's only one problem, that being that they may 'save' that one life, but cause two, three, or more innocent lives to be lost because people will no longer able to defend themselves.

I've found that more than a few of the more rabid gun control advocates are incapable of looking at the whole picture, or worse, unwilling to look at what's happened when gun ownership is severely restricted or banned – violent crime and murder rates climb. All they focus upon is gun deaths, whether caused by criminals, police, or heaven forbid, average citizens defending themselves against those who wish to harm or kill them. They try to downplay the use of guns by law abiding citizens defending themselves. (By use, I don't automatically mean shooting a miscreant. Sometimes all that's needed is for the citizen to pull his weapon, thus ending the 'encounter' when the miscreant realizes he's picked on someone who turned out to be hunter, not prey, and he decides to go find someone else to victimize. I include that in the term 'use'.)

If they truly want to diminish the number of gun deaths perpetrated by criminals, then start by cracking down on gangs, both here in the US and across the border in Mexico. Gangs are the biggest contributing factor to violence and murder and are a source of many of the illegal weapons on the street. Disarming law abiding citizens makes no one safe. Goodness knows there are more than enough examples of that just here in the US (Washington DC, Chicago, etc.).


And while we're on the topic of gun control, there's this by way of Chris Muir.


Today's TOAS will be abbreviated as Deb happens to have acquired my computer reading glasses, making it difficult to read the display. I am using my regular reading glasses, but it requires leaning forward to read the screen.


Bogie adds her voice to those calling out for the prosecution of David Gregory for violating DC's ban on high capacity magazines.

As the saying goes, no one is above the law, even liberal media darlings. And Gregory should have known better (and probably did), yet he gets a free pass.

This sends the wrong message to the average American: The courts are not a place where you can expect justice.


Eric the Viking makes a good point about the debt ceiling:

...we're in this perpetual state of crisis because Congress (that is, the Senate) refuses to pass annual budgets.



Tom Bowler comments about the passing of Nobel Laureate James Buchanan, who received his Nobel in 1986 for economics. As Tom comments, “We are watching Buchanan's theories played out right before our eyes,” where he posited why bureaucracies had an incentive to expand their turf.

Then there's this added by Tom:

It's surprising and more than a little disheartening how many people subscribe to the notion that government actors are so much more nobly motivated than the rest of us.

Heh. Indeed.


Assistant Village Idiot weighs in on liberalism, stating that “liberalism is more of a social than an intellectual set of beliefs. Certainly, liberalism is enforced socially rather than intellectually (though the claim of intellectual superiority remains, and is in fact part of the pressure).”

His post certainly describes what I see as the problem with latter day liberal thought and pseudo-intellectualism – it sounds great in theory, but it doesn't work in the real world.


And now I'm off to prepare for the New England Patriots/Houston Texans game.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee,


You Know You Live In A Country Run By Idiots If...

When I first read this the only thing I could think of was Jeff Foxworthy's “You might be a Redneck...”

This would be funny if it weren't so true.

A few examples:

You know you live in a Country run by idiots if...
You can get arrested for expired tags on your car but not for being in the country illegally.

You know you live in a Country run by idiots if...
Hard work and success are rewarded with higher taxes and government intrusion, while some slothful, lazy behavior is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and free cell phones.

You know you live in a Country run by idiots if...
Being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you "safe".

You know you live in a Country run by idiots if...
You can write a post like this just by reading the news headlines.

As the saying goes, Read The Whole Thing. But I must warn you that after doing so you won't be inclined to laugh, but to cry because it's all too true.


The "Best And Brightest" Setting Us Up For Failure And Disappointment

One of the best comments I've ever read on the WSJ opinion pages aptly describes the problem with the beliefs most progressives carry in regards to the Nanny State.

If there's one thing you can say about politicians, it's that they don't let reality intrude on their pandering ways.


Statists of all stripes, but especially modern liberals, tell us we should trust the "best and brightest" to run things for us, protect us and look after us. Lovely little sentiment - very "mommy and daddy will make everything all right."

Of course, the first problem is that abdication of personal responsibility inevitably leads to disappointment and failure. But, another big problem is the implied message that the "best and brightest" are in government.

Time and again, we see that politicians are the "best" at getting elected, and little else. They ignore facts, dismiss history, and eschew rational analysis and empirical lessons in favor of whatever gets them the most attention. With this track record, suggesting that they are the "best and brightest" that we should put our trust and lives in is laughable.

The problem is that many of those “best and brightest” suffer from the same problem most of those running the show in Washington: Beltway Blindness. They haven't a clue about how things work in the real world. And many of those best and brightest have the morals of an alley cat and the depth of a teaspoon. Do we really want such “betters” running our lives? I know I don't.


I've Had Just About Enough. How About You?

After listening to the rhetoric from the President, Congressional leaders, various members of Congress, and the ever chattering media about the fiscal cliff, taxes, and out of control spending, I have to say I've had enough.

It has become apparent to me that no one is really serious about solving the problem of our profligate government spending, shrinking revenue base, economy-strangling regulations and rogue government agencies. Oh, they make all of the appropriate noises about reining in the trillion dollar deficits, but only over a period of ten years (or more). As if we're going to believe them this time. (I certainly haven't the last umpteen times those promises have been made.)

Give me and 5 friends an hour or so and I know we can cut the budget, broaden the tax base while lowering tax rates, shrink the size of government, and get the economy moving again, all while maintaining the more important social programs.

I know the argument will be made by the Powers-That-Be that simplistic solutions are not the answer to the complicated fiscal problem in which we find ourselves, but that's a cop-out. If the fiscal problem is an overgrown forest, then pruning shears won't fix it. We need to use chainsaws.

The problem with letting the 'professionals' deal with it is that there's always some program/agency/subsidy that somebody somewhere wants preserved, even if it makes no sense to do so. (A lot of that comes down to what I call the “But we've always done it that way!” reaction.) The professionals can't be objective because they're beholden to the folks who helped them get elected. (I am not talking about the electorate. They merely voted for the professionals. I'm talking about the folks who provided financial and other kinds of support to help them get elected.)

Maybe it's time to start cleaning house by firing everyone.

First, come the 2014 elections (assuming we haven't already slipped into a depression), we vote everyone out, Democrats and Republicans alike. Get new folks in there who have never held office before.

Second, we push to repeal the 17th Amendment and return the election of senators to the state legislatures. Direct elections makes them nothing more than super-representatives to Congress, beholden the special interests that helped them get elected. (Not that there won't be some of that if legislatures elect senators, but I think their influence will be greatly diminished.) By returning senatorial elections to the state legislatures the senators will have to answer to the legislators back home if they don't represent the best interests of their home state. If they don't do their job they get fired.

Third, any budget or tax bill would have to be reviewed by randomly selected accountants, business people (big and small), financial, and some ordinary citizens. If the bill doesn't pass the smell test it never makes it out onto the floor for a vote.

Fourth, no spending or tax riders allowed on proposed legislation that has nothing to do with either. This helps lessen the “Gee, if you don't vote to pass the rider you're bill is dead and all those starving children will go hungry...” extortion often used in state houses and Congress. (My home state of New Hampshire already has a constitutional ban on such mechanisms and it's worked pretty well for us.)

Fifth, amend the Constitution to limit congressional sessions to no more than 4 months in any calendar year, maybe two in the spring and two in the fall. I don't mean legislative days when the House or Senate are in their respective chambers, but 4 calendar months, period. The other 8 months they should go home. The problem with the present system is that it allows Congress too much time to waste time and tax dollars on things we really don't need or want. If they're limited to 4 months out of the year to get things done, they won't have enough time to do anything but what's needed.

Last, but not least, figure out some way of preventing what I can only call “Do Something!” legislation. There are usually all kinds of unintended consequences to such legislation and it rarely achieves its purported goals, all while costing money we don't have or could use better elsewhere. All it is really is feel-good legislation that in the end does more harm than good.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We've entered the January thaw, with temps projected to be somewhere in the mid 40's by the middle of the week. That doesn't bode well for the annual Rotary Ice Fishing Derby as the big lake isn't frozen over. Driving past one of the lake overlooks yesterday I could see nothing but open water. While there is ice in some of the coves and smaller bays, the main body of the lake is open water from shore to shore. Unless we get a lengthy bout of sub-zero weather after the thaw, I doubt there will be enough safe ice to allow the derby to take place.

It isn't that there hasn't been temps cold enough to form ice, there have been. I think the problem is the winds that have prevented the ice from forming.


It's time to rein in the EPA which has become a dangerous rogue federal agency that somehow thinks it is above the law. We must disabuse them of that notion.


I'd have to say this pretty much nails the Obama Administration's view on unemployment:

Convincing millions of Americans they don’t want a job or compelling desperate workers to settle for part time work has been the Obama administration’s most effective jobs program.

I'm not sure I would call it a jobs program so much as government dependency program. But then that's exactly what Obama and his socialist minions want because it gives them enormous control over the American people's lives. They can always threaten to withhold government largess if the people don't do what the government wants.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


We've entered the 21st Century here at The Manse with an update to our television.

Deb got me a new LCD HDTV for Christmas (she did a great job of hiding it and keeping it secret) and the guys from one of the two DBS companies just upgraded our receiver so that we can watch HD.

I have to admit that watching football games in HD is awesome!

Thanks, hon!


Anyone who paid attention to the 'Cash For Clunkers' program back in 2009 knew is was a non-starter, economically. While stimulating new vehicle purchases over the short term, over the long run the net sales were no different than if the program had never existed. All it did was shift purchases forward that would have been made in any case while weakening the supply of vehicles for the used market, driving up used car prices. In the end no one really benefited, but it cost the taxpayers plenty.

Now comes news that there was another downside to Cash For Clunkers – it hurt the environment.

According to E Magazine, the “Clunkers” program, which is officially known as the Car Allowance Rebates System (CARS), produced tons of unnecessary waste while doing little to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The program's first mistake seems to have been its focus on car shredding, instead of car recycling. With 690,000 vehicles traded in, that's a pretty big mistake.

...automobiles are almost completely recyclable, down to their engine oil and brake fluid. But many of the “Cash for Clunkers” cars were never sent to recycling facilities. The agency reports that the cars’ engines were instead destroyed by federal mandate, in order to prevent dealers from illicitly reselling the vehicles later.

If disposed of properly, almost all of the materials can be recycled. But if shredded then only the metals can be recycled. Everything else goes to a landfill. How does that help the environment?


Obama to Bowles-Simpson: Drop dead.

Yeah, that will work real well. Do just the opposite of what the Obama created commission suggested and expect the results to be anything other than divisive and disastrous.


Talk about the Law of Unintended Consequences coming to bit someone in the ass!

Rick Olson points us in the direction of the Jounal News and its publishing the names and addresses of all the gun owners in two counties in New York.

Now the unintended consequence. Notorious former jewel thief Walter T. Shaw commented that it was the most asinine article he's ever seen.

Having a list of who has a gun is like gold – why rob that house when you can hit the one next door, where there are no guns?” The 65-year-old Shaw told Fox News. Side note: “Do criminals fear citizens with Guns? Sounds like Shaw qualifies that as a “yes”.  Shaw continues, ““What they did was insanity.”

If my house was robbed in one of those two counties, I might consider suing the Journal News for making my home a more inviting target by publishing their list. The liabilities could add up to millions.


Scary Yankee Chick got to live out a fantasy that many of us only dream about.

She told he boss to “Go to hell!” In my book that's right up there with “Take this job and shove it!” As she states it “was so worth it...”

She got fired for it. She doesn't care. She's in a position where she really doesn't have to work to make ends meet. But she's going to start looking for a job anyways.

I think all of us have had a job at some point in our lives where it wasn't worth putting up with the bulls**t and we've wanted to tell the boss to piss off. Some us have done so. There is a certain satisfaction seeing the look on their face when we tell them exactly what we think of them.

There is the downside that sometimes such an action can come back to haunt us, but from those I've talked to who have taken the leap, more often than not their new employer is aware of the previous employer's reputation and it hasn't worked against them.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the January thaw is upon us, the ice and packed snow on the driveway is almost gone, and where Monday has yet again reappeared all too soon.


Are We Headed To A Second US Civil War?

Are we one step closer to a second American Civil War? If the lessons from Argentina show us anything, then we are.

President Obama seems to be taking some pages out of the Socialist Economic Handbook by doing everything he can to further cripple the American economy even as he protests that he's doing what he can to 'fix' it. That kind of claim has been made more than once over the past 100+ years in a number of countries and every time it has led to economic malaise and eventual collapse. In some cases it's led to civil unrest which in turn led to civil war.

Take a look at Argentina if you need a present day example of how not to 'fix' an economy. The more control the Powers-That-Be took over the economic affairs within that nation, the worst the economy became. And so it is here in the US.

It’s true that Argentina’s politicians have been waging class warfare since Juan and Eva Peron–and they aren’t fazed when it turns bloody. Obama and the Democrats are relative newcomers to the game. But Argentina reveals who really suffers when those who create a nation’s wealth get mugged by those who spend it–as just happened this week in Washington.

It’s the poor and the middle class, the very ones big government says it’s trying to protect.


Far from adding to people’s standard of living, government is the number one cause of poverty in this country. It forces those who depend on its largesse to live hand to mouth, with no time or money to plan for the future. They become unable to fend for themselves---and increasingly resentful of those who can.

When the economy tanks and the government checks have to shrink, their only alternative is to take to the streets. That’s what happening in Argentina, and in Greece; and that’s where the growth of government is taking us here, as this current budget deal increases handouts–and more and more Americans are finding that an unemployment or Social Security disability check is their only life line.

Poverty was shrinking in the US back in the early 1960's and if the trend had been allowed to continue, I daresay we would have had an extremely low poverty rate. But then came LBJ's Great Society and the so-called War on Poverty in 1965 and the trend in poverty reversed as the federal government took more control over social services that had once been the purview of the states and municipalities. The poverty rate skyrocketed and economic advances made by minorities were wiped away in less than one generation. Government dependence was the fate to which those seeking prosperity had been sentenced by those who believed only the government had the ability to eliminate poverty. It wasn't until many of the Great Society programs were weakened or dismantled during the Reagan and Clinton years that we saw poverty start to shrink again.

Then came Obama and the push to make even more citizens dependent upon government (and hence under government's control), all in the name of “saving them.” The question is, who's going to save them from the government?

Will it take a second Civil War to break us out of this socialist/progressive/totalitarian delusion that the government is the end all and be all of our existence and show it to be nothing but a new form of oppression by the state, or worse, slavery to the state?

While I doubt it will become something like the first Civil War, it could still be bloody and destructive, particularly when those who are constantly punished by the government for being successful decide to fight back, or worse, decide to go Galt and let the economy collapse, and with it any government legitimacy. And when the government checks stop, those who had been impoverished by and indentured to the state will revolt, just as we've been seeing in Argentina and Greece.


Fair Share

Since President Obama believes that even with the tax hikes, we still aren't paying our fair share, I have to ask the clueless Teleprompter-In-Chief “What is our 'fair share'?” As always, 'fair share' is a moving target, one that moves in one direction - upwards. (I have a feeling the ultimate answer is 'every penny you make.')

While Obama says he's targeting the rich, I get the feeling that 'rich' is a variable, that it changes depending on who it is he's talking to at any given moment. As I have stated more than once, I believe his real definition of rich is “anyone with a job.”

He wants total control over all government spending and no limits on how much he spends..and he wants us to pay for it. The problem is that none of his spending will fix the economic problems facing the nation. The proof of that can be seen with the reckless deficit spending he's already accomplished ($6 trillion so far) which has returned very little, except to his cronies. We're the ones stuck with the bill.

What makes this worse is that our clown of a president doesn't have a clue about how economies work, nor does he want to. He knows he's right and that's all that matters. It doesn't help matters that many of his advisers have no real experience in the real world (not that he listens to them anyways unless they propose really awful ideas that do more to damage the economy than fix it).

The one lesson our President needs to learn that many of his predecessors knew – A president can damage an economy trying to fix it. The only true way to fix an economy is to get out of the way.

(H/T Instapundit)


First 2013 Post - Are Malls Dead?

I could have started my first post of 2013 by looking back at the previous 12 months, but I feel no need to relive the happenings of this past year, considering many of them were something I would prefer not to experience again, even though but a memory.

I could have started my first post of 2013 by making prognostications upon what will befall us over the next 12 months, but I feel no need to unnecessarily extend the feeling of impending doom over the upcoming year. (In case you're wondering, it has more to do with history repeating itself again despite warnings from those in the know that actions being taken to 'fix' the economy will do nothing of the sort and in the end cause more harm. Call it deja vu all over again.)

Instead, I will make my first post about something near and dear to my heart – shopping malls. Or more specifically, the death of shopping malls.

Not that I really have anything against shopping malls, at least not those that have been well designed, well managed, with a broad range of retailers and services, and located in places that make sense. But I do believe that too many malls were built in the wrong places to service the wrong clientele at the wrong time in the wrong manner. You know the ones I mean – malls in the fringes of urban or suburban areas that take forever to get to (only possible if you have a car) with parking that means you still have to trudge a great distance from the lots just to get into the place. They host retailers that you wouldn't normally see any place else, charge far more for their goods than mom and pop retail operations, and in some case, are so sterile and uninviting that no one wants to go there.

We've all seen the failing malls with increasing numbers of vacant storefronts, stores no one has ever heard of carrying merchandise no one has ever seen (or wants), and the signs of genteel decay as the facilities change from preventative to failure maintenance while rent revenues fall. We've also seen the failed malls, totally vacant, with only a few hallway lights still on, and the huge “For Sale Or Lease” signs at the parking lot entrances and plastered on the glass of the doorway entrances to the mall. (We've had a few like that here in New Hampshire. They were either re-purposed or torn down.)

There are few malls I have any desire to patronize (only two in New Hampshire that I can think of), and a few outside of New England that would be interesting to visit (The Mall of America in Minnesota, the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, and the Eaton Centre in Toronto, Ontario.) These days most of my shopping for anything other than the regular day to day items is either done online or at one of the specialty shops located in small towns here in New Hampshire.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)