A Lecture Worth Watching

I saw this linked over at Maggie's Farm and decided to give it a look. Despite the video's title - The State of White America - Charles Murray's lecture it is not about race but about culture and increasing economic separation between social classes in America.

It's not really about politics, but he does mention American principles, American Exceptionalism, and what is required for a self-governing citizenry. "Self-governing," of course, has a dual meaning.

A lot of it is about class and "social capital" in America.

One quote from him: "The upper middle class seems to be keeping all the good stuff to itself: religion, marriage, morality, civic and social engagement, industriousness, and long work hours..." 

While it is well over an hour long, it is definitely worth the time to watch.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The warmer weather has returned, and with it, more outdoor activities.

BeezleBub and I spent part of this morning clearing away more of the brush we cut back last weekend. I also started removing debris and dead weeds from the ornamental vegetation in the front of The Manse.

One sure sign the weather is good – the Official Weekend Pundit Clothesline got its first workout for the year. With a few exceptions, the need to use a clothes drier will be eliminated.


The farm's retail operation opened this weekend, meaning summer is fast approaching. While there will be some greenhouse-grown vegetables for sale, it will be mostly flowers, bakery goods, and some dairy products that are being offered to the public this early in the season.

Even though the farm stand is now open, BeezleBub still has two weeks of classes until the end of the semester. But he's already been ramping up the amount of time he spends working at the farm. Once classes end he''ll be at it 6 days a week, 12+ hours a day.


The trend of parents not vaccinating their children due to an unfounded (and disproven) belief that vaccines cause autism has claimed yet another victim.

In this case a baby died from whooping cough, a preventable disease. There has also been an increase in cases of measles and rubella, all due to the lack of vaccinations.

When uninformed parents respond to unscientific claims about something that has been used for over 200 years to help prevent debilitating or deadly diseases by denying their children the benefits of vaccinations, it should be considered child neglect. And should their child contract one of those otherwise preventable diseases and die, they should be prevented from suing anybody except the idiots that sold them on the idea. (I hope Jenny McCarthy's liability insurance is paid up.)


At first I thought it was just incipient old fogeyism creeping up on me, but now I see that my observations about some members of the younger generation refusing to grow up were not unfounded.

When I look at BeezleBub, soon to be 19 years old, and compare him to others 5 or more years older than him, he comes out far ahead in regards to maturity, responsibility, and fiscal smarts. (This isn't just a thoroughly biased dad speaking as I've heard that observation again and again from a lot of others. It might explain why some “older” women – those in their early to mid 20's – find him so appealing: he's a grown up.) While it's true that he still lives here at The Manse, he pays his way including paying for his tuition and books when he's attending college.

The extended or never-ending adolescence certainly isn't helping our younger generation learn about coping with the adult issues the rest of us deal with every day. And whether they realize it or not, it also makes them less suitable as potential mates, the “hook-up” culture notwithstanding.

The authors point out that even young people who appear to be succeeding by conventional standards wake up in their mid-twenties clueless about how to find a job, manage money, cook, or live on their own. They are educated but unable to care for themselves. “Twenty-five is now becoming the new fifteen.”

According to the authors, teens are living in a “bubble” that is undermining their development. They have their room at home, school, the shopping mall etc. but it cuts them off from meaningful roles in the adult world, cuts them off from close day-to-day contact with adults, and it hyperexposes them to peer relationships, which become their primary socializing influences.

There are a whole host of reasons why this is happening, but I can point a finger at one of the major contributors: the push to eliminate competition during childhood because it isn't “politically correct” or because it doesn't help build their self-esteem.

If I had to make a wild guess, I'd bet that most of those endless adolescents were raised by liberal parents.


The liberal gun grabbers in New Hampshire are trying hard to make it illegal to defend oneself with a firearm unless the situation meets a bunch of darned near impossible set of conditions. They're trying to repeal the state's Stand Your Ground law, implying that it will lead to blood flowing on the streets because it will be used as an excuse by drug dealers and other criminals for killing their rivals.

Liberals love to ignore inconvenient facts. Stick fingers in ears, close eyes and yell, “La-la-la-la-la!” Franklin [NH] resident Craig Moses was acquitted under the Granite State’s “Stand Your Ground” law.  Moses was arrested nearly a year ago in Nashua outside a nightclub and charged with criminal threatening with a deadly weapon after he and his cousin were severely beaten.

I attended the Senate hearing on HB 135 this week. As I sat there in that hearing with Attorney Penny Dean, I marveled at how the left who advocate for repealing Stand Your Ground worked tirelessly to make this exclusively a bill about gun use. Countless leftist, anti-freedom Kool-Aid slurpers step up to the table, many with pre-canned scripted arguments, sounding like a broken record, same theme, same concept, different verbiage. “We have to focus on the ridiculous level of gun violence in our country,” one Salem woman testified. I scratched my head with confusion.

I think I would have, too. If they want to deal with the “ridiculous level of gun violence” best that they see to it the perpetrators are arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced. It isn't law abiding citizens causing the problems with gun violence. It's the effin' criminals who should have guns in the first place. If more of an effort was made to make sure these miscreants were properly treated by our justice system and the powers-that-be actually enforced the laws already on the books, much of the gun violence problem would disappear.

But the bill in question, HB 135, actually has nothing to do with guns, the liberal lamentations notwithstanding. It has to do with tying the hands of law abiding citizens by making illegal to defend themselves with force, not just with guns. In effect, it's saying, “If you fight back against an assailant, we'll arrest, try, convict, and imprison you for doing so.” It's just like Great Britain, where if you are assaulted and effectively fight back, it is you who will be facing charges, not the criminal who actually committed the crime. We don't want that silly nonsense here as I see it as just another step towards repealing the castle doctrine as well.


This has gone beyond farce and well into psychosis.

Apparently a UConn feminists is afraid of the new Huskies logo because she believes it will lead to rape. I. Kid. You. Not.

This freakin' wacko has got to get a life! As Bob Owen opines: If you see a cartoon dog and immediately think of violent sex, you’re the one with issues.

She should seek help immediately...and stop watching Cartoon Network.


Is it time to scrap Affirmative Action? I'd say that after 40+ years the answer is yes. Using racism to 'cure' the effects of racism doesn't work, and never has. All it says is that non-white races are incapable of attaining the same level of achievement as white without special treatment and lower standards. How is that not racist?

Like Martin Luther King stated, “I have a dream that one day my children will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.” I think that time is long overdue. Now if we can only get those crypto-racist liberals to see the light.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where post-winter yardwork continues, some boats are already in the water, and where the honey-do lists are getting longer by the minute.


Doctors Getting Ready To Leave Medicine

While supporters of ObamaCare have claimed that the possibility of doctors and nurses fleeing the medical profession are overblown, the doctors and nurses themselves are saying otherwise.

Once the details of ObamaCare became known, courtesy of Nancy “You have to pass it to see what's in it” Pelosi, the motivation to stay in the profession disappeared. Why would someone spend years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to become what will in effect be 'medical factory worker'? After all, medical decisions will not be made by doctors but by bureaucrats using spreadsheets and poorly wrought statistics. That's not how to run the medical profession. That's why Dr. Jeffery Singer, MD, is pulling the plug on his private medical practice.

I am a general surgeon with more than three decades in private clinical practice. And I am fed up. Since the late 1970s, I have witnessed remarkable technological revolutions in medicine, from CT scans to robot-assisted surgery. But I have also watched as medicine slowly evolved into the domain of technicians, bookkeepers, and clerks. 

Government interventions over the past four decades have yielded a cascade of perverse incentives, bureaucratic diktats, and economic pressures that together are forcing doctors to sacrifice their independent professional medical judgment, and their integrity. The consequence is clear: Many doctors from my generation are exiting the field. Others are seeing their private practices threatened with bankruptcy, or are giving up their autonomy for the life of a shift-working hospital employee. Governments and hospital administrators hold all the power, while doctors—and worse still, patients—hold none.

Under ObamaCare it will get even worse. Whenever you add yet another layer of bureaucracy upon any organization or government entity, its ability to perform its function decreases. The already overregulated and marginally efficient medical industry will become far less efficient even as ObamaCare creates an artificial shortage of medical care, and ration it. And with that rationing will come bureaucratic oversight of every medical decision made for the treatment of patients, something that will do nothing other than decrease the quality and quantity of treatment for everyone. To ask the redundant question, how does this help anyone?

Government has already exceeded the size limits that govern its effectiveness. As it grows bigger and more intrusive it becomes less able to perform the functions it is supposed to perform. (Everything else is wasteful surplusage that helps no one.) Trying to be all things to all people means it becomes nothing to everyone because they know it isn't capable or competent enough to do so. And so it goes with health care in the US. The government, in a misplaced effort to 'help' people gain access to medical care, will do just the opposite. (Not that it had to help people get access to medical care because they already had access to it well before ObamaCare.)

ObamaCare will take over one-sixth of the entire economy and, in the end, will run it into the ground. And rather than providing adequate health care to all, it will deny it all in the name of “fairness”.


Add To The Bill Of Rights?

An interesting piece by Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic asks “What would you add to the Bill of Rights?”

The responses were numerous, but most made mention of the right to privacy. I have a few of my own, some of which are near and dear to my heart. Here they are, in no specific order:

Repeal the 17th Amendment. Making the office of US Senator an elective office no different from that of the House of Representatives has made them nothing more than 'super-representatives'. Because they have to campaign they are as open to corruption as any other elected official. They no longer represent their states as was the case in the past. Instead they represent those who helped them get elected – the lobbyists for the special interests. Move the election of senators back to the state legislatures as it was in the beginning. It's time they started representing their states again.

Limit the power of the Commerce Clause. It shouldn't be able to be used as a club to force anyone to purchase some service or good. Heavier restrictions should also eliminate any possibility that it would be used to stifle intrastate commerce.

Eliminate unfunded mandates. This basically allows the states to tell the federal government to “piss off” if it tries to force the states to participate in some program that the state itself will be required to fund, even if it doesn't want to participate.

Enact a line-item veto. This will allow the president to veto bills in part or in whole. The “all-or-nothing” approach to vetoes has caused the failure of otherwise good legislation because of odious riders added to ensure a bill would be vetoed. If there is too much distrust of this, then limit it to budget bills only.

Strip federal agencies or departments of the ability make rules and regulations that go outside the enabling legislation. This would stop rogue agencies, like the EPA or Department of Education, from enacting regulations that have not gone under congressional review or that are, on the face of it, unconstitutional.

Those are the most serious changes I would like to see enacted. Here are a few more that might actually make things better, even though they may seem facetious or trivial.

Shorten the time Congress is allowed to be in session each year. At the moment Congress is in session almost year round. This makes it too easy for the Congresscritters to propose and pass legislation that makes it look like their actually doing something. But most bills are fluff, paybacks, graft, or otherwise useless and expensive legislation that merely adds greater burdens to the taxpayers. Limit the maximum time Congress can be in session to 4 calendar months, breaking it up to 2 months in the spring and two months in the fall. Most truly important legislation can be taken care of in those 4 months.

Ban heating and air-conditioning in the Capitol Building and all Congressional offices. This ties in with the proposal above by making it too uncomfortable for the Congresscritters and their staffs to remain in Washington except in the spring and fall. That means they can go back to their home states for eight months of the year and keep in touch with their constituents. It also means they have less time to get into trouble.

Create a means of reviewing all laws and regulations and “sunsetting” them if they are no longer relevant. This will help get rid of laws and regulations that conflict with others or that no longer apply. (This would likely chop the existing tax code from thousands of pages to less than a dozen....maybe.)

I could go on and on, but I'd like to retain a few for future posts on the subject.


The Decades Long War On Men Continues

I mentioned this piece a few days ago, but other posts took priority.

Judith Grossman, an attorney, self-described feminist, and mother to a college-age son attending a “small liberal arts college”, has found her decades long support of “progressive candidates committed to women's rights” and “unqualified support for Title IX and for the Violence Against Women Act” coming back at her in an unexpected and eye-opening manner.

It appears her son ran afoul of the government sanctioned “Dear Colleagues”-style kangaroo courts when his ex-girlfriend accused him of non-consensual sex acts a few years prior to her making the accusation.

It began with a text of desperation. "CALL ME. URGENT. NOW."

That was how my son informed me that not only had charges been brought against him but that he was ordered to appear to answer these allegations in a matter of days. There was no preliminary inquiry on the part of anyone at the school into these accusations about behavior alleged to have taken place a few years earlier, no consideration of the possibility that jealousy or revenge might be motivating a spurned young ex-lover to lash out. Worst of all, my son would not be afforded a presumption of innocence.

In fact, Title IX, that so-called guarantor of equality between the sexes on college campuses, and as applied by a recent directive from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, has obliterated the presumption of innocence that is so foundational to our traditions of justice. On today's college campuses, neither "beyond a reasonable doubt," nor even the lesser "by clear and convincing evidence" standard of proof is required to establish guilt of sexual misconduct.

How does this campus tribunal proceed to evaluate the accusations? Upo
n what evidence is it able to make a judgment?

The frightening answer is that like the proverbial 800-pound gorilla, the tribunal does pretty much whatever it wants, showing scant regard for fundamental fairness, due process of law, and the well-established rules and procedures that have evolved under the Constitution for citizens' protection. Who knew that American college students are required to surrender the Bill of Rights at the campus gates?

To answer Ms. Grossman's last question, most of us with a conservative or libertarian bent have known that for quite some time. We've seen civil rights being whittled away in the halls of academia as political correctness, a fascist means of silencing dissent, has replaced the the rights delineated by the Constitution of the United States.

We've seen free speech stifled by draconian and unconstitutional speech codes implemented by institutions of higher learning that are supposed to be fostering open and free dialogs about all subjects, great and small. There have been civil rights lawsuits filed against many of those colleges and universities to overturn those speech codes, many of those by FIRE (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education). In every case that actually went to trial, the speech codes were found to be unconstitutional and were struck down by the court.

We've seen students subjected to disciplinary 'hearings' that resemble nothing more than Star Chamber inquisitions, where the only evidence of guilt is the accusation, the defendant has no right to examine or question the evidence (if there is any), and where far too often the accused will never know who it is who made the accusation. Lives and careers have been ruined by these college tribunals, based on nothing more than accusations. What's worse is that in some of these cases the local police have investigated the alleged assaults and found no evidence whatsoever to support the allegations. In some of those cases charges were filed against the accuser because the police found them to have filed a false police report. But even this was not enough to spare the accused from disciplinary actions by the colleges, up to and including expulsion. How does any of this protect women?

Much of this hostile climate on college campuses can be laid at the feet of those like Ms. Grossman, where after years of pushing women's rights and, more disturbingly, special treatment for women under the law, any male student is automatically assumed to be guilty of sexual assault, either in the past, present, or future. All male students (particularly white male students) are assumed to be rapists or potential rapists.

As more than a few of those commenting to Ms. Grossman's WSJ opinion piece, “You are reaping what ye have sown.” What would she think if what had happened to her son happened to the son of an acquaintance? Would she still have been 'aghast' at the actions of the college, or would she have figured that he got what he deserved because he must have done something? Unfortunately we may never know.

The hostile environment on college campuses may explain why fewer men are attending college.

When I was speaking to men about college for my book, I found that many did not want their names used and were afraid that there would be repercussions if their identity was known. I use the word afraid because that is what it is. Men don’t want to think of themselves as fearful, many deny that anything is happening and don’t feel the need to fight back. Instead, they stick their head in the sand and call this “bravery” or “not wanting to seem like a victim.” But they are victims of kangaroo courts and angry feminists regardless of their denial.

More than a few commenters to both Grossman's piece and Dr. Helen's post linked above have noted that much of this kangaroo court mentality can also be seen during divorces when it comes to custody of any children. While custody has usually been awarded to women in the past, it has gotten far nastier over the past few decades with allegations of spousal or child abuse committed by the husband. The courts tend to take the word of the aggrieved wife, even with little, if any corroborating evidence. Too often it is up to the soon to be ex-husband to disprove the allegations, just the opposite of criminal proceedings. The standards of evidence in family court are almost as bad as those seen in the academic kangaroo courts, but the penalties are far worse.

During the 2012 election season, the Left claimed there was an ongoing War On Women. It was a lie. It has been a War On Men and it doesn't look like it's going to end any time soon.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The warm weather that graced us with its presence last week has fled, leaving us with cooler than normal temps over the weekend and over the upcoming week. If this trend continues I expect we'll see a cooler and wetter than normal summer, something we dealt with three or four summers ago.

Does someone want to tell me about global warming...again?


I must admit my surprise when I heard one of the Sunday GMA host say in regards to the Boston Marathon bombers, “We shouldn't be speculating about whether they worked alone or with others. It's too soon to make any assumptions.”

Could it be that at least one person at ABC gets it?


BeezleBub and I spent part of the afternoon cutting back the sumac that infests the grounds of The manse. (I say 'infests' because sumac is really a weed, a really big weed.) It tends to drive out the other vegetation so every year or so we have to go out with loppers or a chain saw and cut out every sumac we find.

We put the sumac in piles in order to make it easier to haul it off to the brush pile at the very rear of The Manse's grounds. (It's in the woods out back, meaning you can't see it from the rest of the property.) I'll be spending time after work over the next few days hauling those piles to the big brush pile.

At least hauling that stuff isn't all that difficult because the brush pile is down hill from the rest of the property.


If you want to know what some of the left really think of immigration, take a gander at this.

Need I say more?

Then there's this, showing that the wave of immigration from Mexico ended years ago. It makes sense to me. After all why would they want to come here where there are no jobs when there are plenty of them in Mexico?


Glenn Reynolds comments upon and links to a piece that asks whether Obama is losing control of his Middle East policy. My question is whether he ever had control of it to begin with?


It appears Georgetown University has been caught up in a racial and gender discrimination scandal, where it is alleged admission applications from white males were trashed, regardless of their qualifications.

The background of this story is pretty disturbing. [Arianna] Pattek, who clearly has issues with sexual and racial bigotry, decided she would not only trash the applications of white males on sight, she also decided to blog about her activities under what she assumed was anonymous conditions.


Apparently the prejudicial screening criteria she employed were not limited to just white males who played chess and were interested in mathematics.  She also targeted a man of Arab descent because of his stand on Israel.

It goes to show you that bigots can be found anywhere, even in prestigious universities. Had the perpetrator been a white male trashing applications from minority women, the media would have been all over it and Georgetown would have been bombarded with discrimination lawsuits. It's possible even the Feds would have gotten involved in something that could be considered a civil rights violation.

The leftist double standard raises its ugly head yet again. It also illustrates that it is the left that are the racists and sexists.

I have a post I've been working on that deals with the unintended consequences of things like Title IX and the Justice Department's “Dear Colleague” letter that have made colleges a mine field for men.


Scary Yankee Chick has her take on the media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt for the perpetrators.

I have to agree with her on this one.


I have to follow SYC's link with this one from The People's Cube which delves into the logical fallacies used to push for banning assault weapons.

In my opinion none of the things displayed in the various misleading ads should be banned, including 'assault' weapons.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


“Our belief in individual freedom makes us inconvenient.”

I plan to be as inconvenient to President Obama as I possibly can. While I respect the office of President of the United States, I do not have respect for the person presently occupying that office. He's wasted any good will he might have had pursuing petty agendas, trying to get around the constitutional limits of his office, and acting like a petulant child when he doesn't get his way.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where it's been too cool, the spring yard work is running behind schedule, and yet again Monday has returned too soon.


The Gun Control Debate Continues

I feel I must follow up on my last post, delving deeper into the gun control debate. The differences between the two camps can be boiled down into a single sentence: It is between those who feel we have to “Do Something!” and those who think the focus of the solution is on the wrong group of people.

The “Do Something!” camp are all about emotion, using the latest tragedy to stir up support for their solution, even if the solution is the wrong one and won't accomplish what it is they think it will. The two most often used phrases from this group are “If it only saves one life!” and “It's for the children!”.

The other camp doesn't trust either the solution or the motives of the first camp, seeing them as working to whittle away at yet another right so hard won starting at the battles of Lexington and Concord. They cannot understand how it is that the first camp believes that by punishing law-abiding citizens that their world will become safer. This second camp also has the government's own crime statistics to prove that the world will not be a safer place.

But what really brought a lot of this into focus was the defeat in the US Senate of seriously flawed gun control legislation that had been pushed hard by the “Do Something!” camp. Even the President got into the act after the Senate vote, lambasting the Senators who dared vote against the proposed legislation.

'A pretty shameful day for Washington," President Obama called it, with "pretty" being the only remnant of his famous cool. In the Rose Garden, he blamed the failure of gun control in the Senate Wednesday on three causes: "The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill." The Senators who voted against it are cowardly and had "no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn't do this. It came down to politics." And finally "a minority was able to block it from moving forward" through "this continuing distortion of Senate rules."

Never mind that the senators were doing what their constituents voted them into office to do. Never mind that his claim about “the continuing distortion of Senate rules” is disingenuous, considering Harry Reid (D-NV) has laid waste to most of the Senate rules during his tenure as majority leader.

For a sitting president to call opponents to the legislation, including members of the Senate, “liars” and “cowards” shows Obama has hit a new low. His reactions were that of a spoiled child who didn't get his way. That is not how one goes about getting legislation passed. All he managed to do is damage the case for the “Do Something!” camp and destroy what little good will might have still existed between him and members of Congress.

This isn't an issue that will go away any time soon. It is an issue that is not nearly as important to the American people as are jobs and the economy, but then jobs and the economy haven't generated any emotionally laced crises that can be exploited by the “Do Something!” camp even though they are far more important than gun control.

If you can't figure out where I stand on this issue, then let me enlighten you. For me, gun control means “hitting the target in the 'X' ring” five times out of five.

'Nuff said.


Historical Ignorance And The Second Amendment

I had planned a post about a self-proclaimed Progressive feminist getting her comeuppance when her college-age son ended up on the wrong end of a college PC tribunal. But something more interesting and closer to home came to my attention while perusing our local newspaper's Letter's to the Editor, so that post will wait until tomorrow.

One of our local liberals had his diatribe against the Second Amendment in April 17th edition of the Laconia Daily Sun. I can only describe as being long on 'feelings' and ignorance and short on fact. Here's part of what the fellow had to say:

The 2nd Amendment is a racist piece of legislation that should have been removed with the abolition of slavery. Only the most irresponsible gun owners believe that the 2nd Amendment actually “protects” our freedoms.

The fellow goes on to disparage the NRA, equates Glocks to drones and tanks, and believes private ownership of guns is a “hindrance to human progress.” He also labels the Second Amendment as “a piece of legislation”. It is not. If it were, then merely passing a law in Congress would suffice to repeal it. He is showing his ignorance of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

What a putz.

Here is what I e-mailed to the newspaper in response to this fellow's ignorance-laced rant:

I am writing in response to George [M's] letter about the Second Amendment being racist. It was apparent to me that Mr. [M] has little understanding of the Second Amendment, the 1860's, or the history of gun control laws.

First, when the 13th Amendment that ended slavery was ratified, there was no possibility that the 2nd Amendment could or would be repealed. Most of the populace of the United States was armed, it being just after the Civil War. Many were veterans of that war, both Union and Confederate. The frontier was still open, territories will still being settled, and law enforcement was spotty at best. There was no way the states would have ratified a repeal of the 2nd Amendment under those conditions, Mr. M's contentions to the contrary.

Second, gun control laws were first prevalent in the South after the Civil War. These laws were aimed at keeping the former slaves from being able to arm themselves. This was done in order to head off possible retaliation by blacks against whites, or at least that's how the idea was sold. A less openly known reason was that it prevented blacks from being able to protect themselves against the predations of whites trying to "keep them in their place."

Mr. [M], the 2nd Amendment isn't racist and never has been. It is the gun control laws you seem to love that are racist at their roots. Perhaps you should do a little more historical research before making such ill informed accusations.

I find that the folks who make claims about the racism of others are often the only racists in the room. But their racism is more subtle and backhanded, and therefore a more dishonest form of racism. What's worse is that they often don't realize that they are indeed racist.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Old Man Winter gave us a little reminder that he wasn't gone yet, dropping sleet and freezing rain across much of New Hampshire on Friday. The roads got so bad that my employer sent us home at 2PM Friday afternoon. Most of what fell of Friday was melted away by the end of the day Saturday, but it still had a chilling effect one some of the weekend activities.


It appears Bogie had even less fun with the snow/sleet we received on Friday.


It's bad enough when we have private citizens trying to tell us what we can and cannot say, but now a US Senator is trying to dictate to a television network who it can and cannot allow to sponsor a NASCAR race.

Apparently this senator hasn't learned the lesson about starting an argument with someone who buys ink by the tanker car and has one of the more popular TV news channels in the US.


My family has been using Netflix now for about a month and I can say that, for the most part, I like it. There are connectivity issues from time to time, usually when I'm first trying to load the video I've selected, but other than that it works just fine.

For the $7.99 a month, it's worth it.


Here's a story of a former leftist who came to the realization that the Left was wrong and that his belief about the Right was seriously skewed.

Welcome to the fold, brother.

As Neo asks, “Would this be a good video to send to liberal friends who seem amenable to persuasion?”

(H/T neo-neocon)


Why do Liberals want to impose draconian gun control laws upon law abiding citizens?

They want to instill fear into people, hence making it easier to make them even more dependent upon the government. But who will protect us from the government? Certainly not Liberals.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Gee, for a newspaper that thinks everyone in the GOP are nothing but war-mongering capitalists getting rich off war profits, the New York Times thinks it's perfectly OK to call for the bombing of North Korea.

However I have no doubt they would be the first to condemn such a bombing if the US government – headed by their savior, Barack Obama – were to follow their advice. And they'd still find some way to blame George W. Bush for the whole thing.


And that's the (abbreviated) news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the winter weathers has retreated again, spring cleaning has started in earnest, and where better weather is on its way.

Is the Ethanol Mandate Dead?

There's a glimmer of hope that America's bio-fuel boondoggle may soon come to an end?

While on the face of it the bio-fuel mandate may have made sense back when we imported a large percentage of our petroleum from nations that weren't exactly our friends, leaving us open to petro-extortion, the conditions have changed and we now know that bio-fuel, specifically ethanol, is a loser on many fronts.

To this point, US farmers have been diverting more and more of their corn crops towards ethanol refineries to satisfy EPA mandates stemming from the 2007 Renewable Fuels Standard. In 2006, before that standard went into place, just 23 percent of America’s corn crop went towards producing ethanol. That number rose to 43 percent last year.

Corn ethanol fails every test a biofuel could hope to pass. It doesn’t lower emissions; it raises them. It also raises the global price of corn, starving the world's poor and possibly inciting riots. But EPA mandates are propping up this boondoggle. Producers are scrambling to snatch up biofuel credits to meet the federally-mandated quota this year because neither supply nor demand will be sufficient to produce the more than 13 billion barrels of ethanol required.

The EPA is also pushing to raise the ethanol content in gasoline to 15%, but both auto manufacturers and refiners are pushing back, each for different reasons. Ethanol already causes all kinds of problems in vehicles with 10% blends. Those problems will get worse if the content is boosted. The refiners have no love of ethanol either because of many of the same problems, though their biggest gripe is that it raises the cost of fuel. So why is the EPA pushing for even more ethanol in gasoline?

Because gasoline demand has fallen and there are numerous tank farms filled with ethanol they can't sell. It has nothing to do with 'saving the environment' or 'weaning us off foreign oil'. As to the latter excuse, we now import most of our foreign oil from one of three countries – Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela. Very little if any comes from the Middle East or Africa. And with the oil boom in the US it is likely that our foreign oil imports will fall even more until it virtually disappears...unless the EPA or the President step in and strangle domestic oil production (unfortunately, a likely scenario).

If you've read any of my other posts about ethanol, you know I have never been a fan of its use in fuel. It has caused all kinds of problems with my boat, my lawnmowers, chainsaw, brush saw, and a host of other gas-powered small engines. It decreases fuel economy in vehicles, has all kinds of storage problems, and in the end serves no useful purpose other than to give the EPA more control and feed the coffers of the ethanol and rent-seeking corn producers. It doesn't do what 'everyone' said it would do. It's a scam. It's time to end it.


FDR Got It Wrong

It seems that FDR learned the wrong lessons form history when he tried to 'fix' the economy during the depths of the Great Depression, his efforts extending the length of the economic collapse by years.

While the ideas he tried sounded good on the face of it, in practice they overlooked critical factors that ended up bring the Law of Unintended Consequences into play. In this case the only thing that truly helped us begin our climb out of the Great Depression was the start of World War II, with the Depression ending on December 7, 1941.

One of his actions artificially raised wages, which in turn led to higher consumer prices and lower employment, just the opposite of what was intended. Sound familiar? It should, considering every time Congress or the individual states raised the minimum wage, unemployment went up, particularly among those with entry level jobs. Prices also went up to reflect the increase in labor costs.


The War On Poverty Has Been Lost

I remember when Lyndon Baines Johnson declared his “War on poverty” back in 1965. Here it is, 48 years and $15 trillion taxpayer dollars later and poverty is still with us. It looks like poverty won.

It doesn't help that our present president has done nothing about it except make it worse, with 16 times the number of people on food stamps today than in 1969, a lower percentage of people in the work force today than back in 1960, along with an actual unemployment rate of close to 15%. (The 'official' U3 unemployment rate only includes the number of people receiving unemployment benefits. Once you stop receiving them you are no longer counted in the U3 stats, but in the U6 totals which are rarely mentioned by the MSM or the Obama administration.)

Since 2007 Congress has worked tirelessly to make sure poverty gets worse by proposing measures that place a greater burden on businesses and individual taxpayers. Since January 2009 President Obama has doubled and tripled down on those efforts and has succeeded in choking off economic recovery, though he'll keep telling you the economy has recovered. (It's like that old aphorism - Don't piss on my back and tell me it's raining.)

It doesn't help matters that there are also companies out there making a ton of money on poverty, administrating EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards, kind of like an ATM card used for benefits. The more people receiving benefits, the more money they make. There's something perverse about that situation.
What makes all of this worse is that before LBJ made the War on Poverty the mainstay of his administration, poverty was already on a decline. Then when he instituted his Great Society platform, of which the War on Poverty was a part, poverty rates reversed and poverty started to grow again.

Talk about the Law of Unintended Consequences raising its ugly head!


Maggie Thatcher Is Gone

Another great icon of the 1980's has fallen with the death of Maggie Thatcher, the Iron Lady of Great Britain.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The warmer weather has returned, the effects seen as the snow cover diminishes and the frozen snow banks melt away. Much of the ground here around The Manse is still too soggy to allow much in the way of yard work, so much of what I've planned to do may have to wait a little while longer.


Plans for returning the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout (aka The Boat) to the lake are in progress. The winter storage cover has been removed and if the weather holds over the next week or so I'll be spending time cleaning the interior and getting everything set before it makes a trip to one of the local marine service shops for a tune up and a few other maintenance items I have neither the tools or expertise to perform.


I have been watching the self-inflicted implosion of the case for AGW as increasing scrutiny has been applied to the various studies, computer models, and 'scientists' who have been beating the Global-Warming-Is-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans drum for years.

Between data massaging, faulty algorithms, fluid 'explanations', and sleight-of-hand with impressive graphics, none of the dire predictions made by the various AGW proponents have been coming true. Their computer models have been so faulty they couldn't even predict present climate conditions using over a century of climate data, so how can anyone possibly believe their projections 100 of 200 years into the future?

One of the more impressive sleights-of-hand were perpetrated by Mann and Marcott, the first being the creator of the famous 'hockey-stick' graph and the second recreating the same graph. The problem with both of these graphs is that towards the end of each the resolution of the temperature measurements changed, making the apparent shift in global temperatures more dramatic. When the resolution on any data changes from a long term average (over multiple decades) to a yearly or monthly average, the swings in temperature look greater and the long term averaging is ignored. That's not good science, that's fraud.

If I had turned in work as defective as many of these scientists I would have been fired years ago. At least if my prototypes fail to perform as calculated and designed, I can usually determine why and offer a rational explanation. Sometimes all it takes to set things right is to determine if there was a factor that was overlooked or whose effect was greater (or lesser) than originally calculated.


Here we are, five years into the Obama Recovery from the Great Recession, and we're still flat-lining on jobs. As Glenn Reynolds asks, “What could’ve happened five years ago to disrupt the American economy’s traditional ability to create jobs?” Glenn also shows us that the only age group with higher unemployment than a year ago is the 20-somethings.

So to quote the learned professor again, “How's that hopey-changey stuff workin' out for ya?”


I find it ironic that the economies of Canada and Mexico, our closets neighbors, are in far better shape than our own. Then again, they don't have to deal with economically ignorant leaders or legislatures trying to push economic ideas long discredited and unwise.

In Mexico's case they also don't allow illegal immigration. Heck, they don't often allow legal immigration.


Somewhat related to the above, I guess the some of the brainwashed college campus fossil fuel divestment activists are finding out that being rude and confrontational during college orientation sessions isn't winning them any converts. Instead, parents of visiting high school students took matters into their own hands, telling the 'activists' to stop wasting the visitors' time because the forum wasn't the place for such discussions and to “shut the hell up.”

Kudos to the parents who now have a better idea of what's happening on our college campuses. It might make them less likely to blindly allow their kids to attend the more radical schools.


Oh, this is going to turn out well...

New York's recent hike in the state minimum wage is going to be subsidized by taxpayers.

The "minimum wage reimbursement credit" is spelled out at the bottom of a revenue bill in the budget separate from the minimum wage measure. The credit would reimburse employers for part of the difference in wages from the current $7.25 minimum wage as it rises to $9 an hour by 2016.

Once it reaches $9 an hour, employers would pay 40 cents and taxpayers $1.35 of the extra $1.75 an hour workers are paid.

What this tells me is that the Democrats in New York really have no idea how economics works and that the 'win' they've managed is going to come back to hurt everyone, particularly those in minimum wage jobs. The state's taxpayers are also going to take it up the butt as well. It isn't up to taxpayers to subsidize private business wages, particularly when at the end of it all there will be a larger negative balance in the state's coffers once this takes full effect. If a job isn't worth more than $7.25 an hour before the subsidy, what makes them think it will be worth $9 an hour with it? It will also take more money out of the economy than it adds, meaning that for every dollar's worth of subsidy, the state will have to collect $1.25 in more revenue.

The other downside? It gives state government even more control over businesses, large and small, by way of tax extortion.

(H/T Scary Yankee Chick)


What's this? Obama wants to spend an additional $100 billion on pre-K schooling that we already know doesn't work?

Unless of course it isn't go to be for actual schooling and more for pre-school leftist indoctrination, something I find to be much more likely.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


This is just stupid, but then again it comes from Brokeifornia which explains everything.


Why is it that nothing this man does surprises me anymore?

Barack Obama wants to limit IRA's to “reasonable levels” for pensions. I guess he figures we should be limited to how much we're allowed to sock away for our own retirement because somehow it's not fair to those who failed to do so. After all, he's all for 'fairness'...as long as he's the one who will be defining fairness. It's not like he uses the definition one usually finds in a dictionary.

I figure it's just a matter of time before he turns his sights on everyone's 401(k)'s in an effort to loot...umm...err...make sure that no one has unfairly saved too much money for their retirement.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where ice still covers the lake, the snow is receding every day, and where thoughts of warm summer days out the lake are intruding.


America - Where Common Decency Has Fled

I have to admit to having hit a period when I wasn't sure what I should post about. I found there were so many things I could comment upon that I didn't know where to start.

I got to thinking about how it is our nation has gotten where it is today, with political divisiveness having driven so many of us into to diametrically opposed camps that discussion has become almost impossible as one side insists only its viewpoints are valid and that their opposite side's viewpoints are wrong, or worse, evil. It's as if we've become two different nations.

I don't care what your political beliefs happen to be. I doubt very much that you care about mine. But one thing I can assure you of is that if this artificially created division is not healed, we won't survive as a nation. What makes this particularly painful is that this divide was something created by the very leaders we've elected over the past decade or so. (The problem started earlier than that, but it finally came to a head during the Bush Administration.)

Ronald Reagan, one of the better presidents we've had during the 20th century, knew how to reach across the aisle and work with the opposition party. While Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill (D-MA) didn't agree with some of the things Reagan was promoting, the two were able to work together and get our ailing nation working again. But that kind of bipartisanship is missing these days and even though the President keeps making mention of working with House and Senate Republicans, that hasn't happened in the almost 5 years he's held office and it appears it might not happen over the next three years. The political divide has poisoned relations in Washington DC and has been doing likewise in a number of states. The so-called Blue States vs Red States has set two opposing viewpoints to clash head to head, with much of the same rhetoric being thrown around as that in Washington. It helps no one and makes us even more divided.

The Fourth Estate certainly hasn't helped the situation, become less news oriented and more opinion oriented. They used to be the guardians of truth, but have since abandoned their role and become less interested in truth (based upon verifiable facts) and more in the “Truth” (defined by ideology).While in the past the media reported the news - the Who, What, Where, When, and How that was their forte – and letting opinion reside in the editorial sections of newspapers and newscasts, today much of the media has become a de facto propaganda organ for the government. Opinion now masquerades as news, with reporters presenting their opinions within their reports. Factual reporting need not apply.

Our problems are many. It doesn't matter who's at fault. All that matters is that we figure out a way of our problems and the only way to do that is to stop listening to those who have a vested interest in keeping us divided, those who see themselves as our 'betters', those who believe that we cannot think for ourselves and have to be told what to think. It's time to tell them to “Piss off!”, to roll up our sleeves, and get back to making our nation what it once was.


School Bullying To An Extreme

It's bad enough when kids are bullied by other kids in school. It's worse when they're bullied by their teachers.

As a 15 year old, I never imagined my activism in politics would translate into controversy for me at school.

 I attend a public high school in Appleton, Wisconsin. I have always supported the public school system and plan to do so for the rest of my life. Many Americans who stand up for the public school system and the unions believe there is no attempt to sway opinion or that students with opposing beliefs are singled out. Unfortunately, experiences I have had with harassment and bullying prove that wrong. This is a timeline of the most extreme cases of harassment and indoctrination I have had in the three different public schools I have attended over the last three years. 

I am currently in my freshman year of high school and the incidents are happening more frequently and I believe are more severe.  As you can imagine, the ongoing pressure and bullying has been disturbing to me, my friends and my family.

And so begins a litany of endless attempts by a number of education 'professionals' to force this 15 year old into believing in the morally bankrupt and historically ignorant leftist ideology of the Progressive movement. It is apparent that too many of our educators aren't really educating our kids but trying to indoctrinate our kids so they won't question the motives of the Progressive Left as they work hard to dismantle this nation, weaken our constitutional rights, and put themselves up as the only ones who know “The Truth”, meaning they're the only ones who are capable of ruling us.

But we've seen this before. Should it continue unchecked our great nation will go down the same path to ruin so many other leftist nations have. I find it ironic that many of those former leftist nations abandoned that nonsense after the Soviet Union collapsed and turned themselves into free nations much like America used to be while we are becoming more like they were in the past. It is this corruption the Wisconsin teen is fighting against and why he is being punished by his supposed betters – he won't conform to their mind-numbing education and he dares to question authority.

More power to him.