What Doomed Detroit

Both Brent and I have our opinions as to why Detroit has gone from being one of the wealthiest and most productive cities in the world to a Third World hell-hole rife with crime, political corruption, and cronyism. Regardless of our opinions, the fact is that Detroit is a shadow of its former self, poverty is widespread, and the city government is corrupt and ineffectual. City services have been cut back to a bare minimum, fire and police protection are there in name only, and large portions of the city resemble the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse.

Kevin Williamson lays out what caused this once great city to fall.

...Detroit has two major problems. One is that it has what I suppose we have to call a ruling class — you know, a political establishment that is so entrenched, so corrupt, so greedy that it essentially looted the city and drove out all the productive people, enterprises, businesses, that sort of thing. And this came along with things like high taxes. Detroit was one of the first cities to institute a city income tax and that sort of thing, which didn’t drive people out of Michigan, necessarily, but it certainly drove them out of the city of Detroit.

And then the second thing you have in Detroit, which is, if not unique to Detroit, at least expressed in a more fully poisonous form there than most other places, which is this horrible, horrible racial politics they have there, which goes back to the transformation of the city in the early part of the twentieth century, where from 1910 to 1929 it goes from having something like 5,000 black residents to 120,000. They’re met with hostility by the local Democratic authorities, as African-Americans tended to have been all over the country, whether they were in the south or elsewhere. And these were your, sort of, old-fashioned, white, ethnic, Irish and Polish American Democratic city machines, and they just simply didn’t want blacks living in the city.

From there it went all downhill. It came to resemble a kleptocracy just like any you would find in the Third World, only it was more organized and effective at stealing from the city and its citizens for decades until there was nothing left to steal. Today we are left with a bankrupt and decaying city that some think will be looking for a bailout by the American taxpayers.

Should we bail out the once-great Motor City? No. There's no way we should foot the bill for the long-running corruption that has been endemic in Detroit for decades. To bail them out will not fix the problem. It will only delay the inevitable and make it even more expensive in the long run because the corrupt politicians and their cronies are still in power. Any bailout money will merely go down that same rat hole into which the previous tax revenues disappeared unless things are changed.

Another take on Detroit's fall from grace comes right from Atlas Shrugged as it adequately describes what was in the hearts of those who set it on its course to decay:

Look around you: what you have done to society, you have done it first within your soul; one is the image of the other. This dismal wreckage, which is now your world, is the physical form of the treason you committed to your values, to your friends, to your defenders, to your future, to your country, to yourself.

Nothing more need be said.


The War On Human Nature Continues

As a follow up to yesterday's post, I offer a piece from Victor Davis Hanson that gets into the one thing that always trips up our Progressive brethren and ensures the failure of their grand dream – human nature. They either try to ignore or re-engineer it, but in general they make war against human nature, and constantly lose. And so it is with the Obama administration.

At some critical point, everyone makes choices based on incentives and his own perception of self-interest. Somehow the Obama administration has forgotten that natural law.

A therapeutic sense of self-sacrifice is fine in the abstract, but in the concrete such magnanimity causes far more harm to the innocent than does a realistic appraisal of self-interest and a tragic acceptance of the flawed nature of man. The theme of the present administration is that it possesses the wisdom and resources to know better what people should do than they do themselves. From that premise arose most of catastrophes that have befallen this administration.

It is not just the Obama administration that has made this mistake, but many other nations have done so as well, most of which no longer exist as a political entity.

A couple of simple examples of how the Obama administration's efforts to 'help' the people has backfired because it has ignored human nature.

Do we operate on the T-ball philosophy that effort and happy talk can substitute for achievement?

Do the unemployed more eagerly seek employment when they are provided increases in food stamps, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and assorted housing, legal, and education subsidies, or are they more likely to remain on public assistance, to become more indifferent to full-time employment, and to augment their subsidies with off-the-books cash income?

If Americans receive essentially zero interest on their passbook accounts, are they more or less likely to save?

Does assuring the country that the successful businessman did not really build his own operation encourage others to take such entrepreneurial risks, or does it dissuade them? If someone makes profits in business or a profession, can he expect to be praised for his success or targeted as making too much more money than others? And what effect on the general economy does such an attitude portend?

The problem with ignoring the role of unchanging human nature is that usually someone other than the utopian gets killed, runs out of money, or must live with the chaos brought about by the actions of the better-off, who are permitted by their money, leisure, power, and influence to dream that we are something that we are not.

Ignoring human nature has almost always caused grief and misery, particularly when those discounting human nature are the government.

One of the longest running experiments to re-engineer human nature failed spectacularly when the Soviet Union ceased to exist. It tried to create “The New Soviet Man” who would give of himself to the good of the state even to his own detriment or to that of his family. The Soviets tried to engineer a perpetually altruistic human but found out it wasn't possible as human nature was stronger than their Marxist ideology. For the most part Soviet citizens wanted nothing to do with the experiment as they were too busy trying to provide for themselves and their families.

Anyone in government who believes they can get around human nature is living in a world of self-delusion. What's worse is that there are plenty of others who believe the same thing despite hundreds of years of evidence to the contrary.


Equality Isn't Always Equal

This is probably one of the better analyses of the differences between Liberals and Conservatives. In particular it delves into how Liberals think Conservatives see the world, particularly when it comes to the concept of equality.

For Progressives, “Equality” seems to be the driving force – everyone MUST be equal no matter what area of life is being viewed.  Anything that promotes or allows “inequality” must be stamped out.  Freedom is reserved for the realm of “free from bad consequences”.

It's equality of outcome versus equality of opportunity. Of the two, the former is the worst as in every society that has tried to make everyone equal the usual outcome is misery and poverty imposed by a government that is almost always a tyranny. “Equality” as Liberals define it does not exist in nature, nor is it a part of human nature. Yet that has not stopped them from trying to impose it over and over again through the past few centuries. And every time they do it ends badly, sometimes at the cost of millions of lives before their experiment fails. More often than not they become victims of their own tyranny when their 'subjects' put them up against a wall and end their delusions of what defines equality once and for all.

However those failures haven't stopped following generations from trying again. And again. And again. And every time they end in failure. One would think they would learn from history that it won't work. Instead the lesson they 'learn' is that their predecessors weren't as competent as they see themselves to be and they assume they'll get it right this time. Imagine their surprise when they do just as bad a job as those who went before them, if not a worse one.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Here we are, the weekend before Thanksgiving, and we've had our first measurable snowfall. What's ironic is that BeezleBub, Horse Girl, and I spent part of the day yesterday assembling the winter storage frame for the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout, aka The Boat, and getting it into place. However the gathering darkness, decreasing temps, and increasing winds made it impossible to install the cover that goes over the storage frame.

Less than two hours after we decided to call it a day, it started snowing.

While less than an inch fell here at The Manse it did play havoc with road conditions. As BeezleBub stated when he got back from Horse Girl's home, the roads were very slick and some of the road crews were out sanding the roads.

We had hoped to get the cover on The Boat some time today, but the high winds with gusts up to 50mph made that impossible. It also made it very cold as the wind chill was easily in the single digits.


You know ObamaCare is really in trouble when even Al Franken says the individual mandate should be delayed.

The Democrats are jumping ship in increasing numbers and I expect a lot more will as we get closer to the mid-term elections next year.


I thought this description of President Obama was right on target:

Obama is and always has been a “give a speech and all is well” kind of guy. He was sure that the force of his speeches combined with his personality was indeed enough to calm the seas and have them recede. In his world, saying is doing. He had no need to have actually done anything or run anything. He was an intellectual who knew how things should run and be done. All he needed to do was enlighten the masses. And that’s what he’s attempted to do.

Except reality keeps biting him in the keister.

As The One is learning, reality is a bitch.


The purge of high-ranking military officers has a lot of people asking “What's going on?”

While a number of 'retirements' may be legitimate, there are multitudes more that have as their basis questionable causes. As one commenter asked, is the Obama Administration “applying a litmus test of would these officers fire on Americans on American Soil?”

If Obama's trying to get rid of officers that wouldn't fire on their countrymen, does that mean he's positioning himself to make himself President-For-Life?

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


With the high winds we've been seeing all day the power has been glitching, going out for a fraction of a second to twenty seconds. At least the winds died down a little bit once we got into late afternoon.


With the dump on Abama theme seemingly running through the news cycle and the blogosphere, it seems fitting to add Eric the Viking's take on the latest Smart Diplomacy debacle, that being giving Iran what it wants in return for turning our backs on Israel and common sense.

I didn't think it was possible, but Obama is making Jimmy Carter look good.


Tom Bowler also delves into the mess that is ObamaCare, calling it what it really is: Crony capitalism at its worse.


Rachel Lucas gets into the joy of watching her dog Primo, whom she acquired while she was living in Italy, enjoy being able to run around the grounds near one of the rivers that runs through the area. One of the things Primo really likes is sticks, the bigger the better.


Brit Hume explains ObamaCare with a single picture:


Bogie's work on her new house continues apace. She has some photos to show what's what.


The New England Patriots faced off against the Denver Broncos in Foxborough this evening. With cold temps and high winds facing the teams, some of the commentators have given the edge to the Patriots.

We'll see.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where we're getting a preview of the coming winter, the winds are howling again, and where woodstoves are cranked up to keep the chill away.


Incapable Of Seeing The Truth

I saw this in our local paper, a letter to the editor from one of the ObamaBot faithful putting forth the claim that Obama stated he had a 3.7 GPA while attending Columbia.

My response:

There's only problem with Obama's statement – there's absolutely no proof his statement is true. None. All of his college transcripts have been sealed, as have any papers or articles he may have authored while attending Columbia and Harvard Law School. We have to take his word for it, and as we have come to see over the past 5 years, his word isn't good enough. He's the only president in the modern era that has worked so diligently to bury parts of his past that previous presidents and presidential contenders have made readily available to the American public. So until he makes his transcripts available I'll take any claim Obama makes about his grades with a huge grain of salt. His saying it's so doesn't make it so.

The level of devotion the local O-bots show to their Dear Leader borders on the fanatic. No amount of incontrovertible evidence that he is not what he appears to be will sway their belief that he is infallible and that the only reason he fails is due to the dark forces of the Republicans, the Tea Party, the Koch Brothers, the alignment of the stars, fluoride in our drinking water, and racist extraterrestrials. (OK, I'm exaggerating. They have never laid the blame on fluoridated water.)


Black Friday Spinoff Stupidity

On Jimmy Kimmel last night he went off about the obsession with Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving Day where shoppers looking for great Christmas bargains go out of their minds and hit the stores and malls in the wee hours of the morning.

Some stores have decided to get a jump on their competitors by opening their doors late afternoon/early evening on Thanksgiving Day, which has somehow earned the sobriquet “Brown Thursday”.

Kimmel showed one newscaster after another saying the phrase Brown Thursday and then closed by saying something along the lines of “It's not Brown Thursday. It's Thanksgiving Day!”

Right on, Jimmy!


Obama's Learning Curve Is Flat

Here we are, almost 5 full years into Obama's presidency, and he still doesn't understand what the job of President means.

While every president has to deal with a learning curve when the enter office, no two are the same. Some take to it quickly, either because they have previous experience as head of government (a state governor or city mayor), a military commander, or previously served as Vice President. Others take longer because of limited time in an office with this kind of responsibility. And yet others never really get it and the learning curve never really bends towards competence.

Of these three types, it appears President Obama is among the third group. This far along into his presidency and he's still making rookie mistakes. is learning curve is very long and at this rate he still won't “get it” by the time he leaves office in 2017. At least those are the indications many are seeing and it isn't making anyone feel that's he'll get any better at his job.

What deficiency of Obama’s education and of the education of those who surround him accounts for administration officials not knowing what is perfectly well-known to most ordinary Americans?

While this quote pertains to his failure in regards to ObamaCare, it applies equally to a broad range of issues Americans have to deal with every day. This has to be one of the most disconnected presidents we've had in a century. (Woodrow Wilson wasn't exactly enamored of the American people and disdained the Constitution at every turn as he saw it as more of a hindrance to his agenda than the foundation of our nation.)

Obama's errors illustrate his disconnection with the realities of governing and his response to those errors show that he didn't understand why his efforts failed.

Contrary to the president’s breezy attitude suggesting that these drastic miscalculations were not knowable in advance, we know that all were foreseeable because all were perspicaciously foreseen by critics from the beginning. (The only possible exception is the staggeringly inept rollout of the HealthCare.gov website, the magnitude of which caught even the president’s toughest critics off guard.)

It’s a cliché that democracy is messy and difficult; it’s a truism that politics demands the cutting of deals and the hammering out of trade-offs; it’s common knowledge that implementing public policy and conducting diplomacy involve unforeseen obstacles and intricate maneuvering that are hard to grasp from the outside.

Yet all this keeps catching Obama and his aides by surprise. Team Obama’s surprise, however, is really not all that surprising.

It isn't like Obama has been proposing anything new as on more than one occasion he's merely repackaged initiatives and programs that have been tried before and failed, figuring that they would work this time merely because he wants them to. That will be his downfall as more than a few people in this country understand what he's doing and why he'll fail. Much of that understanding comes from common sense, experience in the business world, an understanding of history, or straight up arithmetic.

For all the time he's held the office of president, he's actually learned very little about how things work in the world. Whether it is willful ignorance or egoism on his part is irrelevant. The end result is that he's still a minor league rookie in a major league contest and he's losing. Unfortunately we're losing with him.


Quotes Of The Day

By way of the WSJ opinion pages come these two quotes which I found to be quite poignant.

“A liberal is a person whose interests aren’t at stake at the moment.” - Willis Player

“A liberal is too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.” - Robert Frost

Yeah, I'd say that sums it up pretty well.

The first certainly seems top be true, particularly when the liberals in government seem bent on spending everyone else's money in order to right wrongs that aren't of their making. But once it comes time for them to pay up they change their tune.

I find the second quote to still be timely. Being “too broadminded” is just another way of describing an “anything goes” mindset. There is no right, there is no wrong, it's all relative. What makes this even more interesting (and contradictory) is that at the same time they can also be intolerant of other people's ideas and actions.


Thoughts On A Sunday

As if we need yet another harbinger of the approaching winter.

While out running my Saturday errands I drove by the pond that lies at the end of one of the runways or our local airport. Upon its surface I saw a thin skim of ice covering about a third of the pond. I haven't seen ice on that pond quite as early as this before.


Another slightly unusual occurrence yesterday: Charlotte, one of our less social felines in residence who usually relegates her self to overseeing her domain – the kitchen – stepped out of her comfort zone and explored the living room, dining room, and office, finally making her perch in one of the south facing windows to take advantage of the sun's warmth.

She's been with us almost 3 years and I've never seen her make a foray so far from her usual haunts. Not that it's likely this is her first time, but it is the first time I've seen her do so.


Will yet another cable customer be 'cutting the cord' after the cable company raised its rates yet again?

My dear brother contacted me about alternatives to cable for television programming after he got his latest cable bill. It was a case of sticker shock when he opened it and found out how much the cable company wanted for video portion of his bill, so he decided to look into less expensive alternatives. Hence, his call to me.

I gave him a number of options that would let him do away with his video subscription yet still get much of the programming he and his family liked, including installing an outdoor antenna to allow reception of over-the-air broadcasts so he can still watch local TV. (Where he lives he can get the New Hampshire and most of the Boston channels over-the-air.)

I have to reiterate this one thing in regards to cable rates: In most cases the video portion of your cable bill goes up not because of the cable company's 'greed', but of the content providers boosting the costs of carrying their programming. As they raise their rates the cable companies have to raise theirs as well because the profit margin for video for most cable companies is less than 2% and falling. They have very little cushion left to absorb rates increases as they have in the past. These days the cable companies make most of their money from Internet and phone. It would certainly explain why video subscriptions have been falling as Internet and phone subscriptions have been increasing.


Here it is, President Obama has been in elective office in one form or another for something 10 years or more, and he's just now finding out that life is complex?

Heck, I knew that back when I was in my early teens. (Not that it assuaged the usual teen angst that almost all of us go through in that stage of our life, but still.)

The entire of Obama press conference today played out like some Hayekian cautionary tale where a befuddled central planner complains about the complexity of real life. As the president put it: “What we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy.”

As if that's news to most of us out here in the real world.

To quote from one of my favorite Bruce Willis movies, “Welcome to the party, pal!”


It's bad enough when individuals lose the health insurance plans because of the thrice-bedamned ObamaCare, but when an entire town loses it's health insurance, that's something to bitch about.

All the town employees of Bel Aire, Kansas received letters from BCBS informing them their policies were being canceled because they didn't meet the requirements of the badly misnamed Affordable Care Act. The replacement polices greatly increase their premiums in exchange for less coverage and much higher deductibles.

Yet the White House keeps insisting that everyone will like ObamaCare once it's fully implemented. We know that ain't gonna happen.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


And the ObamaCare hits keep on coming.

Now students at Bowie State University have found out they're losing their health insurance as well because of ObamaCare.

What makes this even more ironic? Bowie State is a traditionally black university. To say the students aren't pleased would likely be an understatement.

(H/T Instapundit)


Wesley Smith compares ObamaCare to another historical disaster, in this case the sinking of the Swedish warship Vasa in 1628.

The Vasa was so poorly designed and top-heavy that it foundered mere minutes and less than a mile after setting sail on it's maiden voyage.

It sounds like a perfect metaphor for ObamaCare.


Eric the Viking shows us a graph that lets us know what everyone is doing.


Here's a story about what happens when someone decides that rather than using their health insurance benefits for routine stuff pays cash instead.

I tried something new at a doctor's office today.  I'm trying out a new GP in a nearby community, someone with great patient ratings.  I went to see him today, not because I needed anything, but to put myself in his office system so that if I do need something, there's some chance of my getting an appointment before I die of whatever it is.

The really new thing is that I told the office staff to treat me as self-pay.  I told them I have insurance, but I'm not going to burden you with the knowledge of who it is, so you won't have to worry about whether you're complying with your contract.  Just tell me what the prices of things are going to pay, and I'll pay you cash.  If I get remotely close to my deductible, I'll gather up my bills and send them in and see whether my insurance company will acknowledge them, but you don't ever have to fool with that part of it.

Like magic, for the first time I can remember, I got a prompt and unequivocal answer to my question "How much is this visit costing?"  It was a very reasonable fee, which I paid on the spot by check.  The doctor recommended a standard blood panel, which would cost about $400 if I went through Blue Cross, but will cost only $84 if I self-pay.

As the saying goes, Read The Whole Thing.



Now the EPA wants to more heavily regulate woodstoves than they do now?

It's time to either RIF most of the EPA staff or to eliminate this rogue agency altogether.


Jay Solo has coined a new word: Polifodder.

Definition: Political cannon fodder.

I like it.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the cloudy and rainy weather put a damper on Sunday activities, there was a waiting line for clothes driers at the laundromat, and where I was able to let the fire in the woodstove go out.


Dennis Miller Lets Loose On ObamaCare

The always witty and erudite Dennis Miller has made his opinion about ObamaCare quite clear in a Twitter storm rant. A few of his better tweets:

Obamacare is Prohibition if they had been drinking when they crafted Prohibition.

Obama's now trying to stop the bleeding. I liked the old days (last month) when Doctors stopped the bleeding.

This thing's so fucked up there are people whose surname is "Care" who are legally changing it.

They just mistook the Obamacare rollout in Florida for yet another sinkhole.


No Free Speech For You!

As the Barrister notes, it seems that today's college students have no desire to hear fresh ideas, something they're supposed to be exposed to in our institutions of higher learning. As the Barrister writes, “Fresh, thought-provoking ideas are threatening.”

Many decades ago colleges and universities were places where students expanded their horizons, were exposed to new and different ideas, concepts, and knowledge. Instead they have become centers of indoctrination, intolerance, and closed-mindedness.

As such, free speech no longer exists on many campuses because such speech might just open minds and cause students to start questioning their Progressive mentors and the ideology of hate they have been force-fed masquerading as enlightenment.

Students are willing to listen to radicals spout their hatred, but are intolerant of speakers who extol the virtues that made us a great nation and will work actively to silence them. They are willing to support mass murders who use their religious beliefs as an excuse to kill, but will shout down and threaten those who would lay bare the truth about those fanatics and their aims.

It seems that to many students and faculty, our First Amendment rights end once anyone crosses on to the college campus. The only speech tolerated is that which supports the Progressive goal of world socialism and all of the ills that come with it. Reality and truth need not apply.


Backpedaling On ObamaCare - A Lesson From History?

As the ObamaCare debacle continues to unfold, the abuse being heaped upon the President and the Democrats in Congress is increasing. Even the President's non-apology apology and unilateral backpedaling in regards to the elimination of millions of insurance polices because of some previsions in the law that bears his name has not deflected the criticism from both Republicans and Democrats.

One comment posted in response to the opinion piece linked above uncovered a truth that applies to ObamaCare, something that goes back almost 40 years that should have stood as an example of how not to do something as important as health insurance.

I have seen this type of insurance 'scheme' before.

Way back in the bad days of the 1970's, then member of the Massachusetts House Michael Dukakis submitted legislation that made auto insurance 'no-fault', meaning that whether you had no claims or a lot of claims, everyone paid the same premiums. It looked good on paper but the reality was that bad drivers had no incentive to change their behavior, claims against policies went way up, insurance premiums skyrocketed, and some insurance companies decided it was a money-losing proposition and pulled out of providing auto insurance policies in the Pay State.

After years of abuses and insurance premiums increase at many times the rate of inflation, 'no-fault' auto insurance was killed by the legislature when almost all of the insurance companies threatened to pull the plug and no longer offer auto insurance.

ObamaCare seems to be structured much like Massachusetts' failed experiment with progressive auto insurance regulations.

That the failed insurance law was crafted by a Democrat should have been a warning sign in and of itself. But like Albert Einstein once famously stated, “History doesn't repeat itself. It rhymes.”

I'd say ObamaCare certainly 'rhymes' with the disastrous 1970's Massachusetts experiment and I have a feeling it it will end much the same way, but at a much higher cost.


The Concept Of Federalism Smacks Obama Across The Face

There is a silver lining in the storm clouds that are the big-time government overreach also known as ObamaCare. Well, actually two of them.

First, that the debacle has forced President Obama's hand, driving him to once again violate the law that bears his name by announcing a one year insurance policy cancellation reprieve, something that neither the insurance companies or the various state insurance commissions are ready to handle. Call it a publicity stunt because something like this takes more than a few weeks to implement. It's too little too late and those whose policies are scheduled to end on December 31st will still likely have their policies canceled because their insurance companies aren't set up to extend the deadline.

Second, Obama's belief that he and the federal government are the only source for 'relief' from problems that most Americans do not have, or are of the making of that same government (an president). Most 'problems' are better handled at state and local level because local problems require local solutions. What works in my home state of New Hampshire might not work in Arizona. But Washington seems to think that one-size-fits-all solutions are all that's needed. As the ObamaCare debacle illustrates, that “just ain't so.” It is a hard lesson for Obama and certain members of Congress that federalism works much better and its virtues outweigh those of the top-down approach taken by statists.

Barack Obama's health care plan hit nerves that are still radiating pain among many people. But being a federal program, it couldn't accommodate the many Americans who want a different approach. It's a zero-sum game. One side has to win, and the other has to lose.

It didn't have to be that way. Why is same-sex marriage, which was once politically preposterous, faring so much better than health care reform? Why has liberalization of marijuana laws happened without provoking threats of secession? One simple reason: Those changes have taken place at the state level -- and only in states that chose them.

They're the product of an ingenious but often unappreciated ingredient of our system of government: federalism. In a nation with 317 million people spanning a continent, there are great differences in culture, politics, religion and barbecue. What allows us to be united states rather than warring ones is that on many things, we can agree to disagree.

Just because Vermont and New Hampshire are the Mary-Kate and Ashley of states doesn't mean they want the same things. One has a state income tax, and one never will. The people of Maryland wouldn't want to live under the laws that suit Mississippians, and vice versa. Decentralization allows peaceful coexistence.

Indeed. As we have seen again and again throughout our own history, one-size-fits-all solutions tend to cause more problems than they solve, generate mistrust, and have on more than one occasion fomented rebellions, large and small.

The US is not a monoblock, with everyone in the nation thinking the same way about issues that matter. Not everyone has the same solutions to problems we all face because a solution that works here is entirely inappropriate there. That is the beauty of the federal system set up by The Founders because they understood this issue. (This understanding led to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the US Constitution which enumerated in no uncertain terms that the federal government had only those powers granted to it by the Constitution and all the rest belonged to the states and the people.)

The ObamaCare debacle shows everyone that things as important as health insurance should be handled by the states because they have a much better handle of what their citizens need than some bureaucrat in Washington. We've certainly seen that with things like gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, gun rights, gambling, and a whole host of other issues better handled locally. The federal government is neither smart enough or wise enough to know or understand what any of us need. (Not to be confused with nice-to-haves.)


Once Conquered Diseases Making A Comeback

What happens when know-nothing celebrities decide they know better than almost two centuries of medical knowledge that show vaccinations can prevent crippling or deadly diseases?

Those once rare diseases have made a comeback. Call it the Jenny McCarthy Effect.

In this case, deadly diseases like mumps, measles, rubella, and pertussis that we thought we would never see again have come back with a vengeance and they are once again killing people, mostly children. I figure it's only a matter of time before other once conquered diseases like polio reappear. We've already seen tuberculosis resurface, in many cases drug-resistant strains that do not respond to antibiotics that once cured it. (Some of the blame can be laid upon infected immigrants or foreign visitors bringing it in to Western Europe and North America, exposing others.)

If the people exposed aren't vaccinated they are at risk.

So why aren't parents vaccinating their children?


In this case it is fear blown out of all proportion by those same know-nothing celebrities who tell you your children will get autism if they're vaccinated despite decades of clinical studies that say otherwise. However there is one failing on part of the government that might help resolve this issue one way or the other: Run an impartial study to prove one way or the other whether unvaccinated children become autistic at the same rate as vaccinated children. The same kinds of studies should be run to look at all of the other ills supposedly caused by vaccination.

There have been 'studies' performed by not-disinterested parties wanting to prove all kinds of harm is caused by vaccination. One has to look askance at such studies because they are not impartial and were performed with one thought in mind: prove vaccinations are the cause of all childhood ills.

Impartial studies are the only way to end the debate once and for all, otherwise the results will be suspect and the debate will go on. All the while people who might otherwise have been saved by proper vaccination will sicken and many will die. At that point the argument about vaccination becomes moot, doesn't it?


Thoughts On A Sunday

There were two firsts for the year over the weekend: we fired up the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove and we had our first snowfall that actually covered the grass.

As to the first, BeezleBub felt it was cool enough to warrant the start of the carbon-neutral heating season, so while I was out with my dear brother for a Guy's Afternoon At The Movies yesterday(we saw Ender's Game) he took care of the last little bit of pre-burn maintenance, put kindling in the stove, and fired it up. When I got home from my movie outing the first thing I heard when I walked through the door was the blower on the woodstove doing it's best to move hot air around the first floor of The Manse.

In regards to the second, it was almost good timing on my part to attempt one last effort to cut the lawn to a reasonable pre-winter length yesterday. (The last mow usually includes setting the mower to half the usual cutting height on the few flat portions of the lawn.) I had repaired the Official Weekend Pundit Weed Whacker and used it to trim the growth along the edge of the flats and to cut back the growth on one of the steep slopes to a reasonable length. Of the two actions, only the second took place. The Official Weekend Pundit Lawnmower refused to start, most likely due to a gummed up carburetor because of the ethanol in the gasoline. (This isn't the first time we've had to tear it down to clean it out and I doubt it will be the last.) So even with the abortive attempt at a last mow of the year, the snow wasn't covering an untrimmed lawn.


The New England Patriots have a bye week this week, so no game for them today.


In yesterday's post I delved into the Weekend Pundit Archives to show that even back in 2008 many of us knew Barack Obama would be an unmitigated disaster as president.

Once again I am looking through the lens of the Official Weekend Pundit WAYBAC Machine to show that nothing much has changed in regards to President Obama's almost pathological inability to be gracious, particularly to his predecessor and his opponents in Congress. We must also remember how he blatantly dissed the Supreme Court to their faces during his first State of the Union address.


First, Obama and his progressive brethren want to make sure all of us get to share misery and poverty equally. I figure the next move is to forcibly create the world of Harrison Bergeron.


Is South Africa headed for the same fate as Zimbabwe? If the radical EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) get their way, the answer is yes.

With the EFF working to drive out or kill all the remaining white people in South Africa, the economic powerhouse that was South Africa will fall back into abject poverty, exactly as happened in Zimbabwe.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


By any reasonable person's definition, Presdient Obama lied to us when it came to ObamaCare in regards to keeping our existing insurance policies and our doctors. But it is apparent that President Obama believes he didn't lie to us at all, and as NBC's Chuck Todd said, that thought “is unnerving.”

If Obama has convinced himself he didn't lie, that borders on pathological. We now know that as far back as 2010 the president knew eight to nine million people would lose their health insurance.

Isn't that part of Narcissistic Personality Disorder?


This is just stupid.

The school principal involved in this bit of stupidity should be fired, or at least suspended until she completes remedial courses in the US Constitution and can prove she understands what a stupid twit she is.


At least one country has put aside AGW foolishness and the attendant draconian measures the AGW faithful have been pushing on us for over a decade.

Australia has decided to send a diplomat rather than one of its senior ministers to the UN climate change talks in Warsaw, Poland. As Environment Minister Greg Hunt says, “he'll be busy repealing the carbon tax in the first fortnight of parliament.”

The carbon tax was very unpopular with the Australian electorate as were other radical “save the Earth” efforts by the previous government. It's no wonder they were kicked out bag and baggage in favor of a more conservative parliament which promised to undo the damage done by the previous government.

Good for them.


You know ObamaCare is on the ropes when even the Washington Post is dumping on it. In fact, they give six reasons why ObamaCare will only get worse for Democrats.

There will be more canceled insurance plans.

If you like your doctor, you can't keep your doctor.

Sticker shock.

ObamaCare ads.


Security breaches.

Basically, the problems have barely begun and the website meltdown is merely scratching the surface. It's only going to get worse from here, particularly once ObamaCare starts its destruction of employer-provided health insurance plans.


The debate about the Washington Redskins name continues. What I find interesting is that it's mostly out-of-touch Washington DC liberals making a big fuss over this, and in particular Eleanor Holmes Norton. As one commenter wrote, “Eleanor, you must'nt obey your White Progressive masters and tell native American Indians who are not offended and/or support the Redskins name how they must act.”


Now for something really stupid...

This is almost as silly as the UC Berkeley student government banning the use of the term illegal immigrant, “deeming the phrase racist, offensive, unfair and derogatory.” Frankly I find the phrase UC Berkeley student government to be far more offensive as it has been an intolerant, closed-minded, bunch of totalitarian wannabes for decades. The only response to such a stupid, and in the end, meaningless move is endless ridicule.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where preparations for winter continue, yard work still needs to be done, and the time to mount snow tires is quickly approaching.


Back To The Future

Watching the slow motion train wreck that is ObamaCare has been interesting. It certainly has been illuminating to those who thought it was going to be the coolest thing ever. Seeing the shock of disbelief upon their faces when the reality of ObamaCare hit them square in their wallets would be highly amusing if it wasn't so tragic, and so predictable. That it's also about to start affecting employer provided health care as well makes it even more tragic. It got me to thinking about how it was possible that these poor souls didn't see it coming when the warning signs had been there all along. The more I thought about it the more I realized much of it went all the way back to the 2008 presidential campaigns. That in turn had me going through the Weekend Pundit archives and re-read some posts I wrote back then that look prescient today. Care to guess which topic these posts covered?

Barack Obama, of course.

Reading what I thought about then-candidate Obama gave me shivers because almost everything I thought he would do as president he's done. Some excerpts from a few of the posts I made back then that struck me:

-In the October 2008 issue of Town Hall magazine in an excerpt of an interview by Michael Medved, Obama biographer David Freddoso paints Barack Obama as anything but a reformer, and repudiates his claims that he will 'reach across the aisle' in bipartisanship once he gets into office. His actions over the years speak louder than words, and he has been neither a reformer or bi-partisan.

-By now everyone has heard of Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher from Ohio and the question he asked Obama during a swing through his neighborhood. The question was nothing Joe had planned and, despite claims from many Obama supporters, he wasn't put up to it by the McCain campaign. (It's unlikely they could have even if they wanted to unless they had some means of forcing Obama to walk past Joe's yard.) Obama's answer to Joe's question about taxes on small businesses shows his socialist beliefs unfiltered. It was a crack in the image Obama has worked so hard to craft, and one that should give anyone a reason to question the rest of Obama's claims and campaign promises. And as most of you out there know, Obama stated outright that he intended to "share the wealth", meaning a plan to redistribute the hard earned money of working people and give to those he believes are worthy of the fruits of someone else's labor.

-For an Ivy League educated man, Barack Obama shows in incredible lack of understanding of taxes and how they affect the economy. He has also shown he is no math wiz, making claims about providing 95% of “working families” a tax cut. There's only one problem: a large portion of those working families already pay no income taxes. So how will he cut their taxes? He hasn't really explained that as far as I can recall.

Time has proven these observations to be accurate. Most of the posts made in October 2008 dealing with Obama have been proven by time. Obama is still as much of an empty suit, a con man, and without the needed experience to hold one of the most powerful elective offices in the world. What makes it worse is that in the 5 years since then Obama has learned nothing.


Telling It Like It Is

This is something you won't see from the Lame Stream Media.

In this case it's Dr. James D. Manning telling it like it is when it comes to Obama.

A Warning to Our Overly Sensitive Liberal Brethren: There is some politically incorrect language at the end of this video.


This Might Explain Everything

For the longest time I've tried to figure out why and how Obama's many rabid supporters and apologists could possibly justify their unwavering support. Was it some form of psychopathy which affected those folks with undying loyalty to someone inadequate for the task of leading the nation? Was it a form of mass hypnosis? What kind of psychological condition would cause this to happen?

Then I came across something that might explain it all, including Obama's delusions of adequacy. It's called the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes.

Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University conclude, "the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others".

Obama and many of his supporters most likely suffer from this effect, automatically assuming they have superior knowledge and skills to those surrounding them when in actuality they are less capable and competent than others. Conversely we operate under the assumption they have an undertsanding similar to ours when in fact they don't.

That explains a lot.


Thoughts On A Sunday

As the saying goes in New England, “If you don't like the weather, just wait a minute.”

Over the previous two days we had nice warm temperatures in the upper 60's. Today we'll be lucky to break 40 degrees. There were even some snow flurries in some parts of New Hampshire this morning. Ironically we'll be back into the upper 60's later this week. In other words, it'll be normal for early November in this part of the country.


Now that the farm stand is closed for the season BeezleBub has a somewhat more normal work schedule, meaning he has weekends off between now and January when he starts the spring semester at college. This schedule gives him more time with Horse Girl as well as for working on his projects, including restoring a 1948 Ford F5 stake body truck he and his grandfather bought from Farmer Andy.


When it comes to working in a union shop, I can empathize entirely with Brent's experience with union labor practices in the workplace.

I don't know how many times I heard the same question over and over again, “Hey, what are you trying to do, kill the job?”, meaning they believed I was 'working too hard'. I never truly understood that, even when more than a few of my fellow employees asked whether I was trying to make them look bad. My usual retort - “Only you can make you look bad” - was usually derided as some form of union busting. My follow on reply was usually something along the lines of “They pay me to work, so I work. What do you do?”

The day I left that employer was one of the better days of my working life.


Could be headed for another Grand Solar Minimum? If what Mike Lockwood a space physicist at Reading University (UK) has concluded is accurate, we could see the lowest solar activity in 400 years.

If history is any indicator this could lead to much cooler temperatures worldwide.

Want to tell me about Global Warming again?


Will Providence, Rhode Island become the next Detroit?

With over-the-top pension costs, high taxes, employee layoffs, skipped pension payments, loss of state aid, and the need to ask for donations from non-profit organizations in order to keep running, Providence has become yet another example illustrating that “at a certain point the extensive social programs and public services...simply become unaffordable.”


Chevy Volt sales dropped 32% in October, with GM blaming falling sales on lower gas prices. However, sales of GM's competitor's hybrid, the Toyota Prius, rose 7% at the same time.

Somehow I don't think gas prices are the reason Volt sales are in the crapper.


This bodes well for the survival of our society.

It's bad enough when the Left works hard to eliminate the idea of deviancy in regards to our social constructs, just as they have a number of behaviors that in the past would have gotten someone arrested or committed to a mental health institution.

Now these geniuses are working hard to eliminate pedophilia as a damaging deviant behavior, with the latest version of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM V) trying to lessen the 'stigma' attached to this perversion.

As one of the commenters reminded us, “A nation that is unwilling/incapable of protecting it’s young does not deserve to survive.”

This goes back to the radical 1960's mantra of “Anything Goes!”


I don't know about you, but I admit that I don't like this change back over to Standard Time. It leaves too little daylight at the end of already shortening days and the adjustment can be a pain in the butt. There has been some argument made for eliminating Daylight Savings Time altogether, but I think I'd rather stay with it rather than switching back to Standard Time. As it is we stay on Standard Time for a little over four months and are on DST for almost eight months. Isn't DST really more of a standard time for us than 'Standard' Time under those circumstances?


Bogie shares her story (and pictures) of the new home she just purchased only a couple of miles away from her present domicile.


Skip over at Granite Grok has the right of it: We aren't suffering from shoddy health insurance so much as from shoddy government.

Writes Skip:

What DO we call a government that cannot be honest with its Citizens, that denies the truth of its publicly stated “truth” to cover up its “intended” truth – the latter so poisonous to itself, it could not speak of it while passing the legislation that implemented it?

Hmm. I'm thinking “dishonest”, “criminal”, “flam-flam operation”, and above all “arrogant”. We already know it's incompetent.


The New York Times is returning to form, making excuses for Obama's repeated promises that we could keep our insurance plans and our doctors by stating that he merely “misspoke” when he made those promises.

Someone misspeaks when they make those kind of promises once, or maybe twice. But “The One” repeatedly made those promises over weeks and months. That's not misspeaking. That's lying.


Sultan Knish slams the government and the changes in our culture that no longer allows us to do the things we used to do competently and quickly even four decades ago.

For all our nice toys, we look like primitive savages compared to men who could build skyscrapers and fleets within a year… and build them well.

Those aren’t things we can do anymore. Not because the knowledge and skills don’t exist, but because the culture no longer allows it. We can’t do them for the same reason that Third World countries can’t do what we do. It’s not that the knowledge is inaccessible, but that the culture gets in the way.

We used to be able to combine the two by competently implementing grandiose visions, but our “modern” culture is the roadblock that prevents us from working together to make the great things that we can still envision individually.

Our modernity is style rather than substance. It’s Obama grinning. It’s the right font. It’s the right joke. It’s that sense that X knows what he’s doing because he presents it the right way. There’s nothing particularly modern about that. In most cultures, the illusion of competence trumps the real thing. It’s why so many countries are so badly broken because they go by appearances, rather than by results.

I've seen that, too, where appearances rather than results matter.

One of the former directors of the company where I am employed had a big thing for college degrees, as if that was all that mattered. It didn't seem to matter to him what people knew rather than what diplomas they had hanging on their walls. More than once he stated he wanted me to get another degree, that my lack was holding me back. In response I asked him how many patents the two PhD's we had in our R&D lab held, particularly patents related to our business. His answer: “One.” I then told him that I had many more than that, with more going through the mill at the USPTO. Every one has made money for our company. The one from one of our PhD's hasn't made a dime. So how was yet another degree going to increase my worth to the company?

I am still with the company. That director was “asked” to leave. What good did all his paper do for the company or his employment status? He had the appearance of success but it didn't translate into actual success.

(H/T Instapundit)


The New England Patriots played the Pittsburgh Steelers in Foxborough today, beating them 55-31. From what the game commentators said, this was the most points scored against the Steelers in the team's history.

The Patriots are off next week.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weather has grown considerably cooler, the traffic has dwindled to a shadow of what it was just a few short weeks ago, and where it will soon be time to fire up the woodstove.


Support For Obama Fading Away

It has become increasingly evident that President Obama's support has been slowly melting away and his credibility is approaching zero, both overseas and here at home. Between the ongoing ObamaCare debacle, the government shutdown precipitated by his refusal to negotiate with a justifiably hostile Congress, his incomprehensible and destructive economic policies, and his efforts to transform the US into a Progressive dystopia, is it any wonder former President Jimmy Carter is hammering Obama for his ineptness?

As Peter Wehner of Commentary magazine asks, “What exactly are the impressive achievements of President Obama?”

The revival of the American economy? Surging job growth? The success of the stimulus package and the number of “shovel ready jobs”? Moving us toward energy independence? Reducing the debt? Reducing poverty and the number of Americans on food stamps? His oversight of agencies like the IRS? The Fast and Furious program? Ending America’s political divisions and unifying his countrymen? Perhaps his skillful handling before, during, and after the terrorist assault on the American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi? His successes in Syria? Egypt? Iraq? Iran? Peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis? And don’t forget his signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act, which may rank among the worst major government programs in modern American history, a failure in both conception and implementation.

From my vantage point it appears that President Barack Obama has what can only be described as the “Reverse Midas Touch”, because everything he touches turns to crap. Yet he expects adulation from the masses for his achievements and brooks no dissent from anyone.

That is not the mark of a great leader. Instead it is the standard psychopathy of a dictator, or dictator-wannabe with delusions of adequacy.