Last Thoughts On 2013

It's the last day of 2013 and I figured it wouldn't hurt to offer a few thoughts on the year that was.


One thing that didn't change over the course of the year is the invective and ad hominem attacks flowing from the Left. If nothing else this shows they've run out of ideas and the only thing left in their arsenal is to dehumanize anyone disagreeing with their ideology of envy and greed. The level of both increased throughout the year, with far too many of the Left willing to forgive transgressions made by their brethren while at the same time condemning the same behavior from anyone else.

Frankly, I think just about everyone is getting tired of it, left, middle, or right.


I think ObamaCare is on the way out.

After its disastrous website launch in October, delays in implementation by the President (a power he doesn't have, by the way), and the revelations that it won't provide either care or affordability, a growing majority of Americans want it gone. Not that a solid majority didn't like it to begin with.

This has been the most unpopular government action since Prohibition and it's likely to suffer the same fate.


It has become increasingly apparent that Washington DC hasn't a clue what the American people want or need. The folks there are far too insulated against the realities the rest of us throughout the country deal with every day.

Decisions made in the White House, Congress, and the numerous government agencies and regulatory offices go against economic and social realities at many levels. What else can explain regulatory overreach by the EPA, as one example? How is it that the “Dear Colleague” letter from the Department of Education can have greater power over people's lives than local, state, or federal law, or even more inconceivable, the Constitution?

Why does the President think that his word is law and that he can ignore the Constitution, the laws, or the courts? He isn't a king. He isn't a tyrant (at least not yet). He is bound by the same laws as everyone else, or at least he should be. For that fact, so should Congress.


The trend of states taking back power from the federal government continues.

There have been cases where states have told government agencies to go pound sand when it came to intrastate activities, operations, and business. This may be what will save the Republic as states push back and start exercising their rights under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

The Federal Government has to learn is doesn't have free rein over the states, particularly when it comes to state issues. The time of federal overreach must come to an end.


With the boom in natural gas and oil reserves here in the US and America's decreasing CO2 output, I wonder how long it will take before the bloom will finally fall off of the “We've got to increase our renewable energy sources even if we have to bankrupt Americans to do it” tree.

Renewables, with the exception of hydro, haven't lived up to their hype and aren't economically viable without the assistance of government subsidies. If the technology is viable it should be able to stand on its own. If other sources of plentiful and cheap energy are available why should anyone be forced to rely on expensive and sporadic energy sources?


So far no one has been able to prove to me what is the 'correct' level of atmospheric CO2. No one.

I have heard some of the AGW faithful tell me that “no level of CO2 is an acceptable level”, showing me that they have no understanding of science and the part that CO2 plays in Earth's ecology. These are the same people who have the gall to tell the rest of us what we have to do in order to Save The Earth.


And so we close out 2013.

It's Time To End Zero-Tolerance Lunacy

Anyone who has been reading this blog for any lengthy of time knows of my disgust for zero-tolerance policies, particularly when they're being applied to our schools. Such policies remove any need by administrators to make decisions about infractions, real or imagined, and let's them make the lame excuse about it being “policy”, thus relieving them of any responsibility to make decisions.

As we have seen again and again, zero-tolerance policies tend to punish the innocent, 'criminalizing' behavior that even 10 years ago would have been seen as being normal among school-aged children. As most of these policies focus on behavior seen mostly in boys, we have to look at many such policies as being programs that are aimed at neutering males. For the most part they fail because, quite rankly, human nature tends to be stronger than the pseudo-intellectual “policies” that were designed to reprogram boys into being more like girls. (Is this a bit of a stretch? Sure it is. But looking at the long term goals of such policies, one has to wonder if there isn't a kernel of truth in that speculation.)

Push-back against zero-tolerance policies has been growing as more innocent children are caught up in it, usually to the detriment of the very children they are supposed to protect.

Even Glenn Reynolds has gone national on this issue with his latest USA Today column on the growing zero-tolerance stupidity in our schools.

[I]s this steady stream of incidents an indication of widespread mental deficiency among America's K-12 educators? In a word, yes.

It's already well-established that education majors have the lowest test scores of any college major, but nonetheless tend to graduate with high grades. That certainly suggests a lack of critical faculties. But the constant stream of stories of zero-tolerance stupidity suggests that there's something more lacking here than just academic smarts: There seems to be a severe deficit of the very sort of critical thinking that the education industry purports to be instilling in kids. One might dismiss any one of these events as an isolated incident, but when you have -- as we clearly do -- a never ending supply of such incidents, they're no longer isolated: They're a pattern.

This is a serious PR problem for the American education establishment, but underlying the bad publicity is a serious substantive problem: When your kids attend schools like these, they are under the thumb of Kafkaesque bureaucrats who see no problem blotting your kid's permanent record for reasons of bureaucratic convenience or political correctness.

At some point, voluntarily putting your kid in such a situation looks a bit like parental malpractice -- especially if your kid is a boy, since boys seem to do worse in today's nearly-all-female K-12 environment. A private industry that generated this much bad publicity would be in trouble already.

The last point Reynolds brings up is something I've been saying for some time.

With the increasingly politicized educations system becoming less about education and more about indoctrination it isn't surprising more parents are turning to home schooling, online schooling, or private schools in an effort to protect their children from the abuses being perpetrated by the public education system. I know a number of families that have pulled their kids out of public schools and have home-schooled them.

The one thing I've noticed about home-schooled kids is that they are better educated and reason better than their public school counterparts. They tend to be ahead of publicly-schooled students academically, with more than a few of them graduating from high school a year or more ahead of public school students. They are also better prepared for college...and for the real world. They haven't had their heads stuffed with PC bulls**t, esteem-building activities, or gender politics crap so often imposed upon kids in public schools.

OK, I've gotten a little off-topic, but it seems that zero-tolerance policies are just another symptom of the decay of our public education system, where schools are less about education and more about indoctrination and securing teaching jobs for union members. (Notice I didn't say “teaching jobs for teachers”. In my experience true teachers don't like the unions, as unions tend to foster mediocrity. We've seen that in Wisconsin where large numbers of teachers unions have been decertified as teachers have abandoned them. Why? Because they never wanted to belong to the unions in the first place.)

It's time for us to address the zero-tolerance policies that have had such widespread negative effect. It's time to do away with them and the 'administrators' who depend upon them.

It's time to restore sanity to our public schools.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Here it is, the last Thoughts On A Sunday post of 2013, closing out an interesting year. (Notice I didn't say 'good' year.)

I spent yesterday down at the WP In-Laws for a belated Christmas gathering with the rest of Deb's family, hence no post from me last night.

We are also preparing for snow starting some time later this afternoon, with the Weather GuysTM predicting anywhere from 3 to 9 inches here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. This means I'll be out some time around 11PM tonight wielding the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower in an effort to clear away the snow in anticipation of Deb's arrival home from work. (The last thing she needs is being blocked out of the driveway by a snowbank left behind by our town's highway department.)

Those same Weather GuysTM are saying we're in for more snow late on Thursday.

This makes me wonder if we're going to see a repeat of a few years ago when we had over 150” of snow fall over the winter. That winter saw very few big storms (12 inches or more of snow) but instead snowfalls of 3 to 6 inches every few days. That let us keep the roads and driveways open but left us with very little room to put the snow towards the end of winter.


Gee, it's only taken them four generations to figure out they've been programmed from birth to vote for the very people who have been holding them back and lying to them about who was really keeping them in poverty.

All that 'free' money was nothing but a con and they've found out they sold themselves back into slavery to their supposed community leaders and congressional masters, something a lot of us have been telling them since LBJ's Great Society came into force.

(H/T Instapundit)


Also by way of Glenn Reynolds comes this about the popularity of Gadsen Flag (Don't Tread On Me) license plates in Virginia.

Apparently they're popular in the five other states that also offer them as an alternative to the standard license plates.

I don't know if we need them here in New Hampshire as our license plates already state “Live Free Or Die”, a quote from General John Stark 's address to his men. However I could see where a Gadsen plate festooned with both the Start quote and “Don't Tread On Me” might be very popular here.


ObamaCare continues to unravel as more people, businesses, and industries find out that they were sold a bill of goods and that it won't do most of the things promised. Instead of providing health insurance coverage to the 10-30 million without it (a number that was pretty fluid and changed constantly), it is stripping many more people than that of their health insurance they liked or could afford, or both. Replacement polices are much more expensive and don't provide the coverage the old 'inadequate' polices did. So how is that supposed to be better?

The illogic of the reasoning behind ObamaCare never ceases to amaze me.


I like Jeff Goldstein's reply to that asshat Louis Black's diatribe against voter ID, where Black made all kinds of unsubstantiated charges and spoke outright falsehoods (OK, I'll call 'em what they are – LIES) about how voter ID will act as voter suppression.

Writes Jeff:

By propping yourself up as some sort of champion of the poor, downtrodden elderly and people of color who can’t possibly navigate the draconian (and free) maze preventing them from getting their hands on an ID card of some sort — even while they are expected to run the gamut of red tape to pick up food stamps, entitlements, tax credits, and most recently, ObamaCare, using a website (funny how the poor, elderly, and downtrodden are expected to hook up w/ Ocare through their wi-fi networks and DSL routers) — you prove yourself to be nothing more than a knee-jerk, unthinking leftwing propagandist and, even worse, a limousine liberal who attaches his name to causes he doesn’t really think through, taking positions that make no sense when view logically, socially, or even pragmatically.

That's been my argument for some time, that the ID needed to collect welfare benefits, travel on airliners, cash checks, receive medical care, and a whole host of other activities many of these 'downtrodden' partake of every day is the same ID required to vote. What is it that these knee-jerk liberals don't understand? Or is it that they do understand and they know that voter ID will short-circuit the voter fraud that too many Democrats seem to rely upon to get elected or re-elected?

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


Here's a bit more by way of Cap'n Teach:

What? You mean there were still liberal talk radio stations on the air?

It appears that liberal talk radio shows are going off the air in three major markets in 2014. That's three major markets in deep blue cities - Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

If liberal talk radio can't survive in the bastions of liberal-think, then does that indicate that the self-important leftists have a seriously skewed idea of how many people actually agree with them? Or is it merely a matter of market saturation and the other liberal media outlets are doing a better job of it? Or could it be that it's just boring as hell and no one wants to listen to boring “Leftist Talking Point Radio”?


Is Camille Paglia one of the few feminists that understands that the War on Men is already having negative effects on society and that if this war doesn't end that our society is in danger? From reading her latest in the Wall Street Journal I'd have to say yes. She brings up a number of trends that point to American society being in trouble.

She starts by pointing to the diminished status of military service. "The entire elite class now, in finance, in politics and so on, none of them have military service—hardly anyone, there are a few. But there is no prestige attached to it anymore. That is a recipe for disaster," she says. "These people don't think in military ways, so there's this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we're just nice and benevolent to everyone they'll be nice too. They literally don't have any sense of evil or criminality."

Ms. Paglia argues that the softening of modern American society begins as early as kindergarten. "Primary-school education is a crock, basically. It's oppressive to anyone with physical energy, especially guys," she says, pointing to the most obvious example: the way many schools have cut recess. "They're making a toxic environment for boys. Primary education does everything in its power to turn boys into neuters."

The softening doesn't stop there, seeing it in even more dramatic fashion on our college campuses, with the “PC gender politics thing” being very anti-male. And she says that it isn't just men being hurt by it.

Women, particularly elite upper-middle-class women, have become "clones" condemned to "Pilates for the next 30 years," Ms. Paglia says. "Our culture doesn't allow women to know how to be womanly," adding that online pornography is increasingly the only place where men and women in our sexless culture tap into "primal energy" in a way they can't in real life.

With the penalties for being men being manly increasingly draconian and for women to be feminine being looked down upon by the cultural elite, is it any wonder relationships between men and women, particularly younger members of both sexes, have broken down and that men are increasingly going on strike?

As the saying goes, Read The Whole Thing.


The New England Patriots pulled off a win against the Buffalo Bills in Foxborough with a score of 34-17. The win gives the Patriots a first week bye in the playoffs.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the snow is falling, 2013 is winding down, and where the woodpile is starting to look smaller.


Yet Another Victim Of The War On Men

Despite increasing scrutiny from the public and the ballooning number of lawsuits being filed, it appears our institutions of higher learning have been loath to review their decisions to impose kangaroo courts upon their male students, throwing out even appearance of impartiality and treating even vague allegations of sexual misconduct as all the proof that's needed to 'convict' a defendant (and I use that term loosely).

Call it institutionalization of the War on Men.

What these institutions have yet to realize is that the coming backlash is likely to hit them where they live, meaning their bank accounts. Between declining enrollments due to the already over-priced costs of getting a college education, increased disincentives for men to enroll, reluctance of patrons to endow their alma maters due to their increasing intolerance and unpopular political correctness, and millions in damages they are likely going to have to pay out because of their actions in supporting these kangaroo courts, more money will be flowing out of their coffers than in. Every bit of their financial problems will be laid at the feet of the administrators, faculty, and the overreach by government bureaucrats bypassing due process in order to fight a problem that is a fraction of what they've been claiming.

One evening in February 2012, Vassar College students Xialou "Peter" Yu and Mary Claire Walker, both members of the school's rowing team, had a few drinks at a team gathering and left together as the party wound down. After a make-out session at a campus nightspot, they went to Yu's dorm room, where, by his account, they had sex that was not only consensual but mainly initiated by Walker, who reassured her inexperienced partner that she knew what to do.

The next day, according to documents in an unusual complaint that Yu filed against Vassar last June, Yu's resident adviser told him some students had seen him and the young woman on their way to the dorm. They had been so concerned by Walker's apparently inebriated state that they called campus security. Alarmed, Yu contacted Walker on Facebook to make sure everything was all right. She replied that she had had a "wonderful time" and that he had done "nothing wrong"-indeed, that she was sorry for having "led [him] on" when she wasn't ready for a relationship. A month later Walker messaged Yu herself, again apologizing for the incident and expressing hope that it would not affect their friendship. There were more exchanges during the next months, with Walker at one point inviting Yu to dinner at her place.

What happened next is something right out of the McMartin preschool scandal that rocked the nation decades ago.

Last February, one year after the encounter, the other shoe dropped: Yu was informed that Walker had filed charges of "nonconsensual sexual contact" against him through the college disciplinary system. Two and a half weeks later, a hearing was held before a panel of three faculty members. Yu was not allowed an attorney; his request to call his roommate and Walker's roommate as witnesses was denied after the campus "gender equity compliance investigator" said that the roommates had emailed him but had "nothing useful" to offer. While the records from the hearing are sealed, Yu claims his attempts to cross-examine his accuser were repeatedly stymied. Many of his questions (including ones about Walker's friendly messages, which she had earlier told the investigator she sent out of "fear") were barred as "irrelevant"; he says that when he was allowed to question Walker, she would start crying and give evasive or nonresponsive answers. Yu was found guilty and summarily expelled from Vassar.

It sounds to me like Walker was convinced by someone on campus that she wasn't the initiator, that Yu somehow forced her to write the messages on Facebook be causing her to fear him, aqnd that he was a rapist.

Remember my mention of the McMartin case? That scandal, one of the most notorious trials about child abuse perpetrated by day care personnel, caused a heck of a sensation and fostered a witch hunt. What made it even more notorious is that all of the parties accused of committing the abuse were innocent. The children were badgered by police, 'facilitators', and their own parents to tell them that they had been abused. Eventually the children gave in and started telling stories about being abused, guided by child abuse 'experts'. But the tales they told were so outrageous and bizarre and not backed by physical evidence of any kind that eventually the defendants were acquitted on most charges and remaining charges were dropped . (A number of kids talked about being abused in car washes, airports, and in secret tunnels and rooms underneath the day care center, just to list a few of the stories told by the children prior to the indictments and during the trial.)

Is the Vassar case an updated version of the McMartin preschool scandal? Was Walker convinced by 'facilitators' well after the fact that she didn't know what she was doing (even though numerous messages she sent proved otherwise), that she had been assaulted, and that Yu was guilty and she should file charges? Or was she pressured – directly or indirectly - by others within Vassar in order to get her to change her story and to play the victim? From reading the piece in Reason I'd have to say the possibility is high that one of these two scenarios is the case.


One European Welfare State Calling It Quits

It seems that as the Obama Administration and its congressional cadre keep pushing us towards becoming a European welfare state, at least one of those European welfare states has discovered their model isn't working and will soon be bankrupt. To me (and a host of others) that means they've found out that they're going to run out of other people's money.

The Dutch have just announced a massive reform of their welfare system, designed to reduce dependency and put a new emphasis on work. For example, welfare applicants will now be required to prove that they spent at least 4 weeks actively searching for a job before they become eligible for any assistance. And once they begin to receive benefits they will either have to work or perform volunteer community service. Dutch welfare recipients would be required to take available jobs even if they had to move or commute up to three hours per day.

That sounds familiar. Where have we heard that before? Oh, yeah, during the Clinton Administration, when the first major welfare reform since LBJ's Great Society took place. “Welfare as we know it” ended and was refocused upon those who really needed it. Generations of welfare dependence ended and people actually went out and got jobs to support themselves.

Much of those reforms have been wiped away the Obama Administration, all in the name of “helping” those in need. That was the same argument used by LBJ while selling his Great Society reforms, something that ended up trapping millions in poverty who would have otherwise gotten themselves out of poverty.

At least the Dutch have come to realize that their liberal welfare policies and benefits were doing nothing but fostering government dependence and creating an increasingly heavy tax burden that would eventually bankrupt their government, and with it, their nation. The Dutch are learning a lesson both we and the British learned over two decades ago (and have since forgotten).

If nothing else we should pay attention to what the Dutch are doing, look back into our own history, and break the cycle of more entitlement spending followed by increasing numbers of citizens/non-citizens becoming dependent upon the government, which in turn means more spending and more taxes.


Merry Christmas To All!

The Weekend Pundit Team wants to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!

We will be spending time with our families and hope you will, too. (You should be with them now rather than reading this!)

Regular blogging resumes on Thursday.


Old Soviet Era Jokes A Harbinger Of America's Future?

I have to admit that I was taken aback in delightful surprise when I read this, an old Soviet era joke, in Glenn Reynolds' USA Today column covering Obama's 'average' 2013.

Ivan: So how was your day?

Boris: Average.

Ivan: What do you mean, average?

Boris: Worse than yesterday, better than tomorrow. So, average.

That pretty much sums up the President's year. I'm hoping we don't experience the reality of two other Soviet era jokes that appear to be likely to come true.

Ivan: Welcome to the Soviet Union, the Land of Make Believe!

Boris: What do you mean?

Ivan: They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.


Ivan: Is this this the line for the store that has no shoes?

Boris: No, this is the line for the store that has no bread.

Once funny, these may instead be harbingers of things to come should Obama and his Progressive brethren ever get their way and turn the US into yet another socialist dystopia.


A Little Holiday Humor...Very Little

This is something only we techies and geeks would understand.

A joke heard in our engineering lab today:

“A reminder to our mathematician friends during this holiday season – Don't drink and derive!”


Thoughts On A Sunday

I figured I best start writing this Saturday as I hoped to post early, getting ahead of the ice storm forecast to hit the area starting some time around midnight Saturday night.

The last time we had such a storm we lost power here at The Manse for 16 hours, making us one of the fortunate ones because some folks were without power for two weeks. We didn't get Internet access back for a couple of days, leaving it up to my dear brother to relay updates until our access was restored.


Pigs must be flying today!

The New York Times has an article slamming ObamaCare as being unaffordable to a great many middle class families, an unintended consequence of one of the most poorly constructed and managed laws in decades.

One by one the serious flaws and weaknesses of ObamaCare are coming to light and the list of American's being damaged by it grows by leaps and bounds.

It's time to kill this ill-conceived and deceitful legislation.


Is it time to break up California into two or more new states?

One Silicon Valley investor has a plan to create six states from what is presently California and has submitted a ballot initiative to do just that.

I can see the appeal as far too often state politics punishes some of the inland and northern sections of California as it caters to many of the coastal cities and counties.


David Starr reminds us of the upside of increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere: more green and less brown showing in satellite images.

If increased CO2 is supposed to be causing devastation then why are we seeing increased plant coverage in places that were previously poorly covered by vegetation?

People are still acting as if there is only one correct level of CO2, that being barely above that required to keep plants alive. (Historically we are suffering a CO2 drought as CO2 levels have been much higher than they are today, even during mankind's existence on Earth.)


Staying with the climate meme for a moment, it looks like 2013 will go down as one of the 10 the coldest year since 1895.

It must be global warming and it's all George W. Bush's fault!


The Men on Strike meme has been becoming more into the public eye. The latest trend is MGTOW – Men Going Their Own Way – because they have discovered they don't want or need to put up with the crap from modern day feminist groupthink.

MGTOWs have “gone Galt”, after the titular character John Galt in the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (in the hood, we call it “going Ghost”...); a growing, and quiet, group of Men in early 21st century American life who have come to the conclusion that said society is increasingly hostile to them in myriad of ways, and as a response, they have decided to withdraw in varying ways. That includes pulling back from any social interaction that involves Women, first and foremost, and then decreasing any involvement with society that indirectly involves Women – so, for example, there is a growing cohort of Men who don’t even bother getting involved in the mating game anymore; and either the same or yet another cohort of Men who have deliberately limited their participation in “on the books” working arrangements, where they rightly surmise their tax payments will go to subsidize Women as a group in some way (a good example of this is the Obamacare program, and most notably the “Sandar Fluke” aspects of it, to say nothing of various welfare programs that subsidize unwed mothers and the like, etc.). (Formatting changes made by yours truly – dce)

Considering social conventions, laws, and the courts lay the blame for all of women's ills upon men, is it any wonder a growing number of men at all age levels have decided to pack it in and to withdraw from social interactions with women unless absolutely unavoidable? If this trend continues we're going to see some real changes in society and they won't be for the better.

If you need a little taste of what men are increasingly putting up with, this scene from American Beauty should do the trick.


Here are the 30 best political quotes of 2013.

My favorite:

#14 - What is going on here is that a cadre of people who have a very narrow skill-set -- primarily law or some public policy degree which featured very little math, and that math was Math for Liberal Arts -- have decided that they can comprehend the workings of everyone else's job in America, simply because they went to a Good School.

Well, actually, most of them didn't go to a Good School (by which I mean a truly elite school like Harvard or Princeton); most of them went to lesser schools. But they have Harvard grads in their social circle, so they now count themselves as part of the club.

They do not know what they don't know.

They believe they are masters of the universe, but in fact are masters of almost nothing at all, not even the narrow range of material they studied before immediately going into a career of government work or government agitation.

They believe themselves to be transcendentally hypercompetent, a delusion that they are permitted to cling to only because they've never been in positions of actual responsibility where their decisions will result in well-defined failure or well-defined success.

Obama is of course the apotheosis of this type. He not just their high priest, but their demi-god, a half-god born upon the earth.

But they are all just like him -- sky-high on personal estimation of their capabilities, and yet scandalously short on actual accomplishments.

And these are the people who presume that they can run the world for us, and do our jobs better than us. -- Ace

Yeah, that pretty much sums up the Progressive mindset and where Obama is coming from.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


I saw this over at Jawa and I knew I had to share it.


Sultan Knish reminds us that Gay Rights do not trump Freedom of Speech, as much as many on the Left seem to believe it does. Writes the Daniel Greenfield:

What do a reality show star, a cakemaker and a photographer have in common? They're all victims of a political system in which the mandate to not merely recognize gay marriage, but to celebrate it, has completely displaced freedom of speech.

The issues at stake in all three cases did not involve the Orwellian absurdity of "Marriage Equality". The cases of a Christian cakemaker and a Christian photographer whom state courts have ruled must participate in gay weddings or face fines and jail time were blatant violations of both Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion in the name of outlawing any dissent from gay marriage.

The only way the Left will allow you free speech is if you agree with them, which isn't free speech but is coerced 'agreement' with positions one may find disagreeable or repugnant. The Left also seems to think there is a Right to Not Be Offended somewhere in the Constitution, but I've never been able to find it.


I've been watching the New England Patriots play the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore. At least the first half belonged to the Patriots, who outscored Baltimore 17-0. One thing that marked the first half was the huge amount of penalties, particularly against Baltimore.

The second half didn't change anything for the Ravens as the Patriots scored 24 points in the second half while the Ravens managed only one touchdown, giving the Patriots a 41-7 victory.

Next week the Patriots play Buffalo at home.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee where we dodged most of the freezing rain, Christmas shopping has the parking lots full, and where I only have to work one day this week!


Why Can't College Grads Write?

I had though to link to this in tomorrow's Thoughts On A Sunday post, but the more I thought about it I came to realize it deserved a post of its own.

The Barrister links to and comments upon an article in Forbes that wonders why so many college graduates are incapable of speaking or writing clearly.

Writes the Barrister:

Is it a college's job to teach people to write a coherent, legible, well-structured adult essay? It's not rocket science. In my job, I have to do two or three daily.

Colleges are admitting unprepared students. It's about the money. Follow the money.

In my comment to this I wrote:

I deal with people all over the globe in the course of business (I'm an engineer). You know it's getting bad when people who speak, read, and write English as a second language write much better than their American counterparts.

On more than one occasion I have received e-mails from 'colleagues' here in the States that included so many spelling and grammar errors as to make their e-mails almost incomprehensible. I have also received e-mails that include more than a few "text-speak" abbreviations that I find to be quite annoying. From what I understand this phenomenon exists in our schools where students turn in homework or essays loaded with "text speak". The better schools reject this out of hand, but too many are willing to let students get away with it, not understanding or caring that they are crippling the students' abilities to communicate clearly.

Even when I text I will rarely use “text speak”. I write in plain English even if it means I have to send two text messages to get the message across. I will use abbreviations when I am communication with fellow amateur radio operators using Morse Code, but those abbreviations are universal and are understood by everyone and greatly shortens the time needed to communicate. (A side note: many of the “text speak” abbreviations have their origins in telegraphy going back to the mid 1800's. Telegraphers used abbreviations to speed communications because Morse Code is a relatively slow medium. Ham radio operators have used them since radio came into being.)

Back to the subject at hand.

From George Leef's article in Forbes:

Many students enter college with amazingly poor writing ability, owing to the fact that no one paid much attention to their writing while they were in their K-12 years. Once I had a student come to my office with her test in hand, a test on which she had scored very poorly on all three of the essay questions. “But I never had to write essay answers before,” she complained. Throughout her previous years of schooling, she had taken almost nothing but true-false and multiple-choice tests.

...[Professor “X”] observes that good writers have read a lot of quality writing over many years, but unfortunately, few high school graduates have to read much of substance. Thus, they enter college with very poorly developed writing skills. That creates jobs for adjunct writing instructors like Professor X, but it is extremely difficult to make much progress in a short time with students who have suffered from years of educational neglect and malpractice.

That neglect and malpractice goes back to what I wrote above, with teachers letting students get away with using incorrect or incomplete English. Once they get into college, a professor's “diligence in evaluating student papers can lead to unpleasant conflicts with students who take umbrage at having their work corrected. Most of them have been told by previous teachers that they’re good writers (often by teachers who themselves can’t write well) and they take offense at any opinion to the contrary.”

I have to wonder whether the “self-esteem” track implemented by so many public schools has something to with this. If kids never fail they never feel the need to improve. If teachers never say “This is wrong, try again,” the kids never really learn how to do it correctly, whatever “it” is. Then it follows that when they reach college age they haven't a clue about how to put together a cogent thought on paper. Assuming they graduate their poor skills will work against them when they're out looking for work.


Kids Not Being Allowed To Be Kids

It never ceases to amaze me to find out how low our public educators will stoop to enforce the PC bulls**t being used against our children. The latest outrage?

A 5-year old boy being suspended for “playing army” on his school's playground.

Every time I've come to believe these PC putzes couldn't get any stupider they prove me wrong.

It's getting to the point that parents who put their kids into public schools should be considered child abusers.


Yet Another Unintended Consequence Of ObamaCare

As we have seen, ObamaCare has had a number of unintended consequences, the biggest being many people finding their health insurance policies being canceled because they didn't meet ObamaCare requirements. The only policies available to them now have been more expensive and more restrictive than the polices they replaced. In most cases these same people have lost doctors they've been going to for years because the new policies do not include them in their narrow network. Call it the health care equivalent of the Vietnam era “We had to destroy the village in order to save it” justification.

It's only going to get worse.

The latest unintended consequence to come to light may make the others pale by comparison, that being that once you travel out of your usual network for work, vacation, or after retirement, you won't be covered by your ObamaCare compliant policy. Do you think that won't have an effect on people's lives as well as the economy? Think again.

As Americans realize they must pay for all non-emergency medical care when they leave their home county, their decisions may have a profound impact on the real-estate market, particularly the second home sector, and on the travel business.

Americans already know that ObamaCare means higher premiums and a shrinking roster of doctors. But they have not yet realized that ObamaCare plans are not portable and will impede their ability to travel.

What happens to those plans to send the kids to live with the grandparents for the summer, when little Josh needs to keep up with his allergy shots? What decision will a family make when Dad needs to move to start his new job, while the kids stay behind to finish up the school year? What kind of financial pain will be inflicted on American contract workers, who rent a hotel residence for three months while they complete a project? And who will buy a vacation home when the costs include out-of-pocket medical expenses?

ObamaCare was designed to take over a sixth of the American economy. But it turns out it will affect a far greater portion of the economy and those effects will be negative.

The more we learn about the details of ObamaCare the more those who originally supported it are finding out they'll be the ones who will be negatively impacted.

One more thing to remind all of you ObamaCare supporters out there about: Just because you have health insurance is no guarantee you'll have access to health care. You've come to believe that just because someone has a health insurance card that it is the equivalent of having health care, and Obama and his followers have conveniently forgotten to tell you that.


Is Our Universe Really A Hologram?

Is it possible the universe we're experiencing is really a hologram projection from a lower-dimensional universe?

If the calculation performed by Japanese theoretical physicists are correct, it's possible everything we experience, our reality, is in fact a hologram. If this is indeed the case, we may find new and better ways to mathematically express our universe. This in turn could solve a number of presently insurmountable quantum physics problems and resolve the connections between quantum physics and general relativity. One of those 'problems' deals with the properties of black holes, something that has puzzled physicists and mathematicians for decades.

One other possibility that may come about should the hypothesis be found to be so: A warp drive that could pave the way for us to explore the stars.


Friedman On Socialized Medicine

Here's a video of Milton Friedman talking about the poor economics of socialized medicine as well as its other downsides and weaknesses. Call it prescient because Friedman was talking about it back in 1978.

Between the broken promises made, bureaucratic overhead (and incompetence), higher costs, lower quality of care, and artificial shortage of care, socialized medicine fails on all fronts. The truths of socialized medicine apply just as much to ObamaCare, which is a bastardized version of socialized medicine with even higher costs, less care, and an overreaching bureaucracy incapable of doing anything more than denying care and pissing through even more money we don't have.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Our first 'major' snow storm arrived last night, dumping a lot of light, fluffy snow on us through the night and well into early afternoon. I started make preparations for it early on Saturday morning, taking care of a few last minute outdoor chores and running a number of errands. Two of the most important chores: getting some shear pins for the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower and picking up a new snowshovel.

While there was nothing wrong with The Snowblower, the acquisition of the spare shear pins was preventative, meaning that if I didn't have any I would surely need them, but if I had them then I wouldn't need them.

The new snowshovel was needed because one of our older ones “folded like a cheap suitcase in the rain.” The shaft kinked and bent mid-span, turning the shovel into nothing but an ornament. Due to its construction it wasn't possible to replace the shaft and handle easily, and there would have been no guarantee the repair would have lasted beyond the first few shovelfuls of snow. Hence, the new shovel.

I also made a run to our town's highway department to fill some buckets with sand, something that will be needed on The Manse's driveway once the last of the snow has been removed. With an almost 23% grade on the driveway the use of sand becomes mandatory unless we want to 'chain up' just to go less than 100 feet.


Here's a list of the 100 Best SciFi Movies Of All Time.

I've seen all but three of them.


The damage being caused by ObamaCare has been spreading, and now it's hitting the very people who were most supportive of it: New York's cultural and professional elite.

To yet again quote one of my favorite action movies, “Welcome to the party, pal!”

It's interesting to watch those who gave no thought to what it was they were supporting see it come back to hit them where it hurts the most. Call it yet another unintended consequence of being low-information voters.

These folks should have been much better informed than the captive Democrat constituencies. It just goes to show you that a true flim-flam man can pull one over even on the nation's “best and brightest.”


If we need more evidence of global warming, all we need to do is look at the 2000 new cold and snow records set in the USA this past week as well as the first snowfall in Cairo, Egypt in 100 years.

It must be George W. Bush's fault!


I have to admit being amused while watching the local TV news reports as the snow storm wound down this morning. Many of the reporters seemed at a loss for words as they tried to “make a mountain out of a molehill”, trying to make the aftermath of this storm seem far worse than it really was. Maybe they felt the need to use their ominous “Storm Center” theme music and the only way they could justify it was to oversell the snowfall.

Were there power outages? Yup. Happens almost every time there's some kind of storm. But they tried to make the few hundred people without power seem like it was unexpected and widespread.

One of the lamest comments made by one of the reporters standing in eight inches of snow dealt with Christmas trees and how those trees might not be able to be sold because they are snow covered. Say what? All that's needed to make those trees 'sellable' is to bang the stump against the ground and most of the snow will fall off.

You know they're grasping at straws when the worst thing they can come up with is a “snow on Christmas trees” meme. This whole thing was a typical non-Nor'easter snow storm of the type we get in winter, not a snow-storm-of-doom or a gee-we-haven't-had-snow-here-in-100-years storm. It's winter. In New England. It snows during winter in New England.


Powerline shows us a list of the organizations and corporations funding one of the more vile leftist websites – Think Progress – by way of the Center for American Progress.

I doubt that there is any conservative organization that can boast a remotely comparable list of corporate supporters. CAP’s disclosure is a timely reminder that large corporations are not, in general, supporters of free enterprise. Many of them love to partner with government to suppress innovation and competition.

To me this illustrates that the Left is a firm believer in cronyism, the bane of free market capitalism. What's worse is that such cronyism is often portrayed as capitalism when in fact it is not, further pushing forward the greed and envy-driven agenda of the Progressives. That's their modus operandi, accuse their opponents of the very thing they themselves are doing.


The local TV news program, the same one that tried to make the snowfall we had overnight into a major media event, aired a segment that dealt with ObamaCare and its effects on New Hampshire. I found it interesting to see that 17,234 residents have selected a plan through ObamaCare. Notice the term “selected”. At no time during the segment did they use the word “enrolled”. Not once. It seems they're trying to imply that selecting a plan means the same thing as being enrolled in a plan. It does not.

By that same criteria Amazon could say a customer purchased an item merely because it was in their shopping cart even if the customer hadn't yet paid for that merchandise. “Selecting” and “paying for” are two entirely different things. It is no different with “selecting” and “enrolling”.

It never ceases to amaze me how far the ObamaBots will go to sell the unwilling American public on the idea that all is well with the steaming pile of manure that is ObamaCare.


I've always liked Mike Rowe, both on his show Dirty Jobs and the narration he does for a number of other shows, including one of my favorites, Deadliest Catch. I've heard him speak, seen his TED lecture, and read or listened to a number of his opinions about every day subjects. He's basically a down to earth guy with a wide range of experience.

Recently he spoke on Reason TV, talking about the high cost of college and the insanity of mortgaging a student's future “in order to train them for jobs that clearly don't exist.”

"There is a real disconnect in the way that we educate vis-a-vis the opportunities that are available. You have - right now - about 3 million jobs that can't be filled," he says, talking about openings in traditional trades ranging from construction to welding to plumbing. "Jobs that typically parents' don't sit down with their kids and say, 'Look, if all goes well, this is what you are going to do.'"

Let's face it, there are far more job openings for welders than there are for someone with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Urban Graffiti or a BA in Gender Studies. (That's true of any degree program that ends in the word “Studies”.) To ignore where the jobs are and go into a course of study that won't qualify a student for anything other than working in the fast food industry or retail while racking up a debt that rivals that of most family's mortgages is indeed insane.


I spent a little over two hours removing the 12 inches of “not a snow-storm-of-doom” snowfall. It was a bit tougher to move this light and fluffy snow than it is to move regular snow as the light stuff tends to fly all over the place and will not necessarily go where one is pointing the discharge chute of their snowblower. This is usually a 1-hour job, including shoveling out the doorways and stairs, cleaning snow off of The Boat's winter storage cover, and cutting a path to both the wood ash pile and the propane tank filler cover. But with the foot of light fluffy snow I had to go over some of the same ground more than once to remove snow that drifted back onto areas I'd already cleared.

At least I finished well before the New England Patriots game!


Uh-oh, this doesn't bode well for ObamaCare.

In a WSJ/NBC poll that asked uninsured people whether they thought ObamaCare was a good idea, only 24 percent though it was while around 50 percent thought it was a bad idea.

If you've lost a solid majority of the people that ObamaCare was supposed to 'help', you know it's really in trouble.


If the Obama Administration can't get ObamaCare right, what does it say about them if they can't even get appeasement to the Iranian mullahs right?

So much for Smart DiplomacyTM.

One has to wonder how many more such blunders will occur before Obama leaves office in January 2017? (That's assuming he actually leaves office, if you know what I mean.)

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


While we're piling abuse on the Obama Administration, we must add this from Sister Toldjah.

As she writes:

No, Mitt Romney wasn’t the rock-ribbed conservative we wanted in 2012 but on key issues, especially the disastrous impact he predicted Obamacare would have on the American people, and his emphasis on how Russia and Syria were NOT our friends, he was absolutely right.

Mitt was right about a whole bunch of things during the 2012 campaign, however his message was drowned out by the MSM and the wide ranging ObamaBots.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where we're still digging out after the “not a snow-storm-of-doom” snow storm, the ski areas are busy, and where Monday is looming over the horizon all too soon.


Are We Driving Less?

The debate about our use of fossil fuels has been a long and contentious one, with some wanting to do away with our dependence upon them entirely (not really possible) and others pushing to go full steam ahead into the large untapped reservoirs of oil and natural gas (not necessarily desirable). The 'answer', if there is one lies somewhere between those two extremes. However, I am not going to get into that debate, at least not directly.

One of the arguments made by both sides of the debate is that gasoline and diesel are one of the biggest driving forces for fossil fuel demand, at least here in the US. While that may have been true until about 2004, that hasn't been the case since then. Both the number of vehicle miles traveled per year and per capital has been falling, with per capita vehicle miles traveled having fallen off starting in 2002.

The driving boom is over in the United States.

True or false?

For anyone who grew up thinking the United States is the epicenter of the world's car culture, this is a possibility hard to swallow.

Moreover, Americans who live in the suburbs, drive to work, and heavily rely on cars to haul kids around where they need to go, the notion that we are driving less simply feels false.

It turns out there is plenty of data from the US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that shows that we are indeed driving less, own fewer vehicles, and that fewer people between the ages of 16 and 39 are getting a drivers license.

What has caused this drop in driving by the motoring public? There are a number of theories.

Some think it might be a result of the recession, but looking at the statistics the fall-off in miles traveled started before the recession. The recession was a contributing factor, but I doubt it was the major cause. People with jobs aren't traveling as far to and from their jobs as they did in the past. Some relocated to get closer to work while others changed jobs and the new jobs were closer to home. There may also be another related factor which I will get into a little later.

Another one of the biggest causes of the fall-off might be that teens and young adults are driving far less and are less likely to own cars or trucks like they have in the past. There are two factors that are driving this: the prestige of owning a car has been replaced by that of having the latest wizbang does-everything-but-burp-the-baby-but-there's-an-app-for-that smart phone/tablet; or the teens and young adults don't have the income necessary to own and maintain a car. It's more likely to be a combination of the two. After all you don't see lines of young adults waiting to buy the latest trendy car – new or used. But you'll see them line up for days ahead of time to get the newest smart phone when it comes out. Those smart phones aren't cheap, nor are the plans covering them.

In my mind one of the biggest factors affecting the drop-off in miles driven is the now ubiquitous Internet. Many actions that in the recent past required us to travel in order to perform them have been replaced by going on-line. Even things as simple as registering our cars, renewing our drivers licenses, or extending the time we're borrowing a book from our local library no longer require us to go to Town Hall, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or the Public Library. We don't even have to go to our local news shop to pick up a copy of a local or national newspaper. More of our shopping is done on the 'Net. Even some of our work is carried by the 'Net, meaning telecommuting. Every day someone can work form the comfort of their home is one less day that they have to make the drive into work.

One of the side effects of the fall-off in miles being driven has been a drop in demand for gasoline and diesel. That adds on to the fall in demand for motor fuels in general due to the greatly increased fuel economy in cars and trucks over the past 10 years or so. The overall demand for oil in the US has fallen to levels last seen back in 1997 and is still dropping. With our new reserves the need for oil from foreign sources has almost disappeared. Call it a win-win for those wishing to keep the drill rigs running as well as those wishing to see us weaned off of fossil fuels entirely.


Another Casualty Of The War On Men

As a follow on to this post about yet another zero-tolerance debacle comes this from Dr. Helen about how the young boy has become another casualty in the War on Men.

Psychologically, I wonder what the culture is telling little six-year-old boys like Hunter Yelton when they accuse him of sexual harassment for kissing a girl. This used to be normal. Now, the PC police have taught him that girls are dangerous, that he is some type of pervert and that as a male, he is always suspect. This is a very bad lesson to learn. As boys grow up, more will opt out and decide not to get involved when women are present.

[Opting out] takes the form of men not wanting to marry as often, go to college where they are seen as some type of rapist, or even stop to help a child for fear of being charged as a pervert.

As time has passed and men (and boys) have be portrayed as idiots and rapists, or seen as nothing more than oppressors and an ATM, is it any wonder that men have taken themselves off the market? Why would any sane man put himself into a position where he's automatically classified as as one of the above? And how often have we seen various articles in women's magazines or relationship websites where the refrain from women is “Where have all the good men gone?” The answer is simple: They're in hiding.

My son is fortunate in that he's dating a girl that has not been polluted by all of the feminazi propaganda. But I also fear that once she starts attending the local state university their situation may change for the worst. My fear may be an overreaction because she is a level-headed girl. On the other hand many girls before her were just as level-headed when they started college but they ended up radicalized and became something unrecognizable. After all the “men are the cause of all problems..and they're [place the blame du jour here]” propaganda is all around, all day, every day.

I know that if I were a young man today I would want to stay as far away from women as I possibly could. After all, who needs that kind of grief? On the other hand, it seems that most of that crap is seen in urban and suburban areas and not quite so much in Flyover Country. (I consider much of my home state of New Hampshire as part of Flyover Country as we don't cotton to the damnfoolishness of the flatlanders from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.)


This Is Just Plain Stupid

To quote Squidward, “Just when I though they couldn’t get any stupider.”

As more than a few of my dozen or so readers may remember, I have a special dislike for zero-tolerance policies, especially those implemented in our schools. I have always thought them to be a sign of laziness, incompetence, or a major case of CYA. As I have mentioned to one of our local school administrators that since such policies have no leeway, administrators in schools burdened by them could easily be replaced by a computer programmed with all of the school policies, and by using a simple checklist interface the offending students could be sanctioned per those policies. Since no actual decision-making is required, a computer could do the job of overreacting more quickly and efficiently than a human administrator, and for a fraction of the cost.

What brings this to the forefront again?

Yet another case of zero-tolerance idiocy being perpetrated upon a six-year-old.

The offense for which the six-year old is being punished? Kissing a girl’s hand. For that action he has been suspended from school for two days.

Hunter Yelton is an energetic first-grader who has a passion for science and P.E., but it's his love of a classmate that now has him labeled as a "sexual harasser."

Hunter's mother, Jennifer Saunders, told CNN affiliate KRDO the Canon City, Colo., 6-year-old has a crush on a girl in his class. Hunter told KRDO he kissed the student on the hand during reading group. That landed him a two-day suspension from school and an entry of sexual harassment in his school file.

Hunter and his mom admit this isn't the first time Hunter has kissed his classmate. He's been suspended before for kissing the same student on the cheek, but Saunders insists the two are "boyfriend and girlfriend" and that the attention isn't unwelcome. Saunders is outraged that her son has been labeled a "sexual harasser," a label that will stay in his file as long as he is in the Canon City school district.


These zero-tolerance PC jerks have taken this crap too far. They should be fired, every single one of them, and they should be banned from being within 500 yards of schoolchildren for the rest of their lives. Do they honestly think they’re helping anyone or preventing some future offense by criminalizing youngsters who can’t even grasp the concept of sexual harassment?

I can remember when kissing a girl’s hand was considered to be good manners and proper etiquette. Now it’s a sexual offense.


Extending Unemployment Benefits Is Not Such A Good Idea

I have to admit that when I heard the Obama Administration was considering extending unemployment benefits again, I thought it was someone pulling my leg. But then I read it in the WSJ I knew a bad idea was about to be compounded.

Maybe it's time to consider whether the big expansion of unemployment insurance has increased joblessness. In 2009 the Obama Administration and Congress extended jobless benefits for up to 99 weeks. The point was to help people through the recession, but now the jobless rate is 7%, down from 10%, and the White House still wants another extension.

There are two side effects to consider should the White House get its way: a higher U3 unemployment rate because more people would have their unemployment benefits restored and they would once again be counted among the unemployed; and less incentive to actually go out and look for work. Once those extended benefits expire the U3 rate would again drop, but the U6 rate would remain the same.

Another downside: a bigger deficit.

That would add some $25 billion to the deficit with no compensating economic benefit. The Administration claims that every $1 of jobless benefits creates $1.80 in economic growth, based on the notorious "multiplier" in Keynesian economic models. This is the theory that you can increase employment by paying more people not to work, and that you can take money out of the private economy by taxes or borrowing without cost. If that theory worked, the government should pay everyone not to work.

One factor that a lot of modern day Keynesians ignore is that the multiplier has little effect when applied over a long term. The multiplier effect has shrunk and is now on the negative side, meaning we get less back for the money the government spends. Doubling down on a loser means we lose even more money that we don't have which in turn adds even more stress to the economy.

Instead the Obama Administration should be trying to stimulate the economy by getting the hell out of the way. For the past 5 years it's been trying to regulate and tax the economy back to health even though anyone with a lick of sense knows such actions have just the opposite effect. Ronald Reagan knew this and once he and Congress get the government out of the way the economy boomed and we saw the biggest sustained expansion of the American economy in history.

Instead the current system provides as much as two years of benefits for not working and raises payroll taxes on employers even as some 20 million Americans are still unemployed, underemployed or discouraged from looking for work. None of this will help the economy create more jobs, which is what the jobless need far more than another government check.

True, but then the government would have no control over their lives and the Democrat's built in constituency would shrink because they would no longer be dependent upon government largess, and the Democrats can't have that.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It looks like the first 'winter' storm is headed this way, with a couple of inches of snow and maybe some sleet or freezing rain following. It will make the morning commute interesting, meaning I might actually have to put the trusty F150 into four-wheel drive...to make it out of the driveway.

At least the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower is ready if we need it. But if the Weather Guys TM are right, we probably won't need it, at least this time.


As the sleight-of-hand that is the ObamaCare website continues, the Obama spin machine is trying very hard to convince us all is well with it. Almost anyone versed in web design knows this is a crock, seeing it for what it has been dubbed - a Potemkin website. It's all facade with nothing behind it. The website doesn't actually transfer enrollee information to the insurance companies or the state exchanges and no one seems to know if or when that will happen.

If something as 'simple' as a website is too much for the government to handle (at the cost of over $600 million) then how can we trust these incompetents to handle something as complicated as health care? From what we've already seen by way of Medicare and Medicaid, we shouldn't. As we've been learning for some time (at least those of us who have actually been paying attention) government has passed the point of diminishing returns, meaning as it has grown over the past couple of decades it passed the point where any additional growth meant more inertia and less competence to deal with issues big or small. And now we're having over a sixth of our economy handed over to them against our will.


In light of ObamaCare and a whole host of other failures promoted by our bloated government, it's time to bring back two old traditions – tar and feathers, along with stocks and pillories. At the moment there is little fallout for abject failure within government. With no consequences there is no motivation to do well. Government has become bogged down by the bureaucratic mindset and a refuge for the incompetent, the criminal, and the lazy.


Glenn Reynolds highlights yet another case of an educational institution's denial of a student's constitutional rights, where a student cleared of all charges for two different criminal acts – assault and sodomy – was expelled from that institution and banned for life from ever stepping foot on the campus again.

As we have seen in other cases like this, all that's required to 'prove' guilt is the accusation. The law and the Constitution need not apply.

As I wrote above: tar and feathers.


To quote the good professor again, “How's that hopey-changey thing workin' for ya?”

In this case with the changes in the Rules of Engagement laid upon our troops by the Obama administration, more American troops are being wounded or killed.

If they aren't going to be allowed to defend themselves then what the hell are they doing there? Or does Obama want to destroy the morale of our troops by painting targets on their backs? It seems that's his aim because we know he and his wife really dislike the military. But then again most of the Democrats we've had in the presidency after LBJ have had no use for the military.


I watched/listened to the New England Patriots/Cleveland Browns game and I have only one question to ask: What the hell is going on with officiating in the NFL this season? I have to say it has reached a low point, seeing missed calls, erroneous calls, greatly delayed calls, and incomprehensible calls by the referees. It hasn't been happening just at the Patriots games but a lot of football games.

As one of the radio commentators stated, the quality of the officiating this season has been dismal and has seriously affected the outcome of a number of games. I think the NFL has got to find a way to fix this problem or they're going to start losing fans.

BTW, the Patriots beat Cleveland, 27-26. It also looks like they may have lost Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the season after one of the Browns defenders, Ward, took out his knee after a pass reception.


Legal Insurrection shows us yet another case of a politically correct zero-tolerance policy gone awry. In this case a 10-year old boy is likely to be expelled from his elementary school for shooting and imaginary arrow like that seen in Hunger Games at a classmate.

Not a real arrow. An imaginary arrow. Using an imaginary bow.

These school officials need to lose their jobs. They are punishing kids for being kids and employing draconian punishments that far outweigh the seriousness of the supposed crime. And these a**holes are teaching our kids.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


It was moving day for Bogie as she made the move to her new home.


I received an unpleasant surprise when I went to the local pharmacy to pick up medicine for one of the feline residents here at The Manse. When I had the prescription run up at the register I found the cost of the medicine had gone up over 30% in less than four months. What had cost us $150 back in September now cost $208 today. Even the pharmacist didn't know why the cost had gone up so much.

I have to wonder whether the cost increase was a direct or indirect result of ObamaCare kicking in.


There is such a thing as too much tolerance. We're seeing that in Britain where incidents of Muslims trying to enforce sharia even on non-Muslims have been increasing. Three men were recently sentenced for doing such a thing but they received minimal sentences because the prosecutor decided not to prosecute them as religiously aggravated offenses.

If someone like the three fellows mentions in the article linked tried something like that here where I reside they would likely find themselves on the wrong end of a firearm aimed at center mass.


Are we suffering from a lack of trust, particularly when it comes to our government?

Yes. Yes we are.

Is it any wonder considering we have leaders who are willing to lie to us to push forth agendas and programs that do nothing but harm to the American people and the economy?


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where snow is on its way, the wood box is full, and the stove is stoked.


Will The Government Seize Our Retirement Funds?

Is Obama planning to pull “a Cyprus”, taking away money in individual retirement accounts and funds to help finance even more out-of-control government spending? It appears that might be the case, where people with IRA's and 401(k) retirement accounts will be forced to use some portion of their retirement funds to buy Treasury bonds. Of course such a move will move billions of dollars out of the hands of present and future retirees and give it to the government interest free with absolutely no guarantee they'll ever see a dime of the money they've 'invested' in Treasuries. Call it yet another across the board theft of private property at the hands of a Hugo Chavez wannabe. This isn't the first time the leftists in government have tried to confiscate private savings.

The left has had its eye on retirement savings for years, but so far takeover attempts have been rebuffed. One egregious attempt was the proposal, following the 2010 financial crisis, to "safeguard" retirement savings by requiring that they be rolled over into Treasury bonds. Had this legislation succeeded, it would have appropriated all or part of the retirement savings of millions of Americans. The funds would have been used to finance further expansion of government. In return, savers would have received a promissory note from the federal government similar that issued by the Social Security Trust Fund.

Needless to say, most investors were not keen to convert their savings into Treasury obligations -- or, to be more precise, into an unsecured note promising a return approximating that of Treasury bonds. That is because, as with every other endeavor, government's management of retirement savings (aka Social Security) has been a disaster.

They haven't been able to handle the funds used for day to day operations properly, so why should we give them money we earned, saved, and invested and give it an organization we know will piss it away and will, in the end, return pennies on the dollar (if anything at all). This is just another way to kick the financial can down the road and to leave the younger generations holding the bag when they run out of our money. After all, they (meaning LBJ and congressional Democrats) robbed Social Security in the 60's to pay for the Vietnam War and they haven't made good on the billions of dollars of IOU's they left behind. Why should we trust their descendants to honor their word to pay us back? Only a fool would do so.

Wiping out retirement funds isn't the only downside to forcing us to 'invest' in government bonds.

Despite its 2010 failure to take over retirement savings, the left has not given up. As reported in WND, officials at the U.S. Treasury and Labor Departments continue discussions aimed at channeling private savings into Treasury obligations via a so-called "Automatic IRA." Once it has forced workers and employers to contribute to Automatic IRAs, and eventually forced existing savings into government obligations as well, government would control much of the investment capital in America. The free market will cease to exist.

This sounds like it's right out of the Marxist Economic Handbook, which it is, as well as one of the nightmare scenarios depicted in Atlas Shrugged. Again, the political class seems to think they know how to spend our money better than we do, an arrogant belief with no basis in reality. As we have seen throughout the past hundred years or so, they are in no way wise enough or competent enough to run other people's lives as in most cases they can't even run their own.

If we let them do this to us, our nation is finished as an economic power. We will suffer the fate of any other socialist economy – government bankruptcy and economic ruin. The Powers-That-Be are suffering from insanity if they think they won't make the same mistakes as their predecessors. The only difference this time is that the damage will be much worse, much wider, and will last a lot longer. Atlas Shrugged will be a best case scenario if these arrogant bastards get their way.


Minimum Wage Protest Illustrates Economic Ignorance

It isn't surprising to anyone with a modicum of economic sense that the nationwide 'protest' about fast-food wages is both misguided and 'much ado about nothing.

The level of economic ignorance about what jobs are worth is appalling. Do these 'protesters', mainly members of the SEIU who don't even work in the fast food industry, really think that by raising the minimum wage will somehow lift people out of poverty? Do they really fail to understand that if they got their wishes and minimum wage was raised to $15/hour for what is in reality unskilled labor will result in a lot of those fast-food workers ending up on the unemployment line when they are replaced by computers and industrial robots. Think it won't happen? Ask some of the folks in counties like France what happened to them when minimum wage was raised to artificially high levels along with draconian labor laws: they were replaced by ordering kiosks and automated kitchens. Fast-food restaurants that had employed full crews of 10 to 30 people were able to reduce the number of workers to just a few to oversee the restaurant, deliver the food to the customer, and keep the place clean. All the rest ended up without jobs.

With the increasingly sophisticated levels of automation becoming available at lower costs, why wouldn't franchise owners replace human employees with machines that won't demand raises, won't call in sick, and won't goldbrick?

On one of the TV news reports I heard one union leader state that the increased wages were needed in order for the workers to support their families and that the traditional fast-food workers, meaning teens, were a minority when it came to employment by fast-food joints. But that statement showed this union goon's lack of understanding about economics. The reason the number of teens employed in fast-food has been dropping is that they've been priced out of the market. No one will hire an in experienced teen with little or no work history for the wages they now have to pay. And the older workers they do hire are a better bet. But, and this is a big but, the work they're doing is still unskilled and isn't worth the kind of wages many are demanding.

One of the other side effects if either Congress or President Obama raises the minimum wage while we're still in the depths of the recession? Prices will rise which in turn means that even less people will patronize fast food joints. How many such places will end up becoming unprofitable and will close their doors? How many people will end up on the unemployment line because of that little unintended consequence?

Too many.


Manufacturing Intolerance Where It Doesn't Exist

It's bad enough we have to deal with the intolerance of the 'tolerant' Progressives, but when they seem to thing they have to stoop to manufacturing intolerance in order to push their agenda forward.

The Intolerance Pimps have realized that nobody really cares much about what other people do as long as they leave them alone. That's real tolerance. However, like global warmist alarmism, lots of people have a stake in perpetuating victimhood alarmism. Most turn out to be fakes going back to even before Al Sharpton.

Remember all those church burnings during Clinton's election? It was made into a big deal to promote black turnout. Turned out to be nothing. Small churches burn down regularly, it was shown after the election.

Looking back over insurance and fire investigation records proved the incidence of church fires was not any different before (or after) the election and that the causes were no different than any other fire. Yes, some fires were arson as arson is the cause of some percentage of fires. But that didn't stop the Democrats from blowing church fires all out of proportion.

There are plenty of other 'intolerance' incidents that turned out to be hoaxes or were blown out of proportion.

By now everyone knows that Dayna Morales, the lesbian waitress who claimed to have been denied a tip over her sexual orientation, was lying. It's not the first politically correct receipt hoax and it won't be the last. These hoaxes happen because leftist activists promote them and the media picks them up. The world is full of liars and con artists, but it's revealing to see which of their lies and cons succeed.

They are engaging in a fraud much bigger than a forged receipt; but they are doing it for the same reasons.

An identity defined in terms of victimhood needs fresh injections of oppression to sustain its existence. Those African-Americans who define "blackness" not in terms of positive values but in terms of negative values, need white racism, the real thing or the fake one, to remind them of who they are. And the same holds true for other oppressed minorities who define themselves not by their culture or values; but by their resentments.

This is the result of decades of activism to 'help' oppressed minorities of all stripes: turning anyone who might be offended by anything said or done by someone else into yet another victim of intolerance. There is, of course, one group that by definition can never be victims of anyone else's intolerance – white heterosexual men.


Another Delusional Useful Idiot

It seems one of our local leftists is at it again, this time saying the lies and deceptions used to create ObamaCare was justified, i.e “the end justifies the means.”

Along comes Obama who accomplished what five presidents before him couldn't do and gave us health care that "almost" puts us in line with the rest of the civilized world. Okay, so it took some fancy slight of hand to accomplish it. I don't think either political party seriously believes this is going to be repealed.

In the final analysis, "the end justifies the means". I really try to attribute good motives to our presidents . Trying to ease the burden of 40 million people and give them a decent chance in life in spite of all the Republican opposition to me is honorable.

So lies and deception are perfectly OK, particularly when the lies and deceptions are aimed at the American people?

My response:

In your contention that "the end justifies the means" you have shown your true colors, meaning that to you anything goes as long as you get what you and the other leftists think we need (or that you want). It doesn't matter if your intent is good as such a path always leads to hell (and I'm not talking about biblical hell, but Hell on Earth). While the context of your letter deals with Obamacare and the lies that were used to justify its passage and implementation, you expanded on it to show that you would have no problem expanding "the end justifies the means" reasoning to cover other actions you and your fellow travelers deem necessary.

For instance, would you use it as an excuse to round up those who oppose your political beliefs and put them into re-education camps in order to push your political agenda? Would you make it a thought crime to question the brilliance of your ideology? Would you be willing to kill millions of your fellow citizens in order to ensure "ideological purity" and to bring about your Progressive Utopia (the aforementioned Hell on Earth)? How far would you take "the end justifies the means"...? Would you be willing to become the next Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, or Saddam in order to ensure your ideology triumphs? Really, how far would you go?

Your kind of thinking is dangerous...as it shows a willingness to start down that slippery slope to totalitarianism. Either that or you are nothing more than what Lenin once called "a useful idiot".

I'm not the only one to respond to this useful idiot's delusional missive.

...he opined that "the end justifies the means" and indicated that it's just hunky dory for the president to lie and connive if that's what it takes to achieve his goals . . . whether we the people like it or not. He also indicated that it's naive on our part to expect otherwise. Oy vey!

Now, isn't that just hunky dory, too, for one of those erudite, condescending types, who teach our young people, to tell them it's okay to lie or deceive as long as it gets you what you want. That's some lesson plan!

Oh, yeah. I forgot. The useful idiot teaches at one of our local state universities. That certainly explains his total disconnect from the real world as he's shielded by the ivory towers of academia.

And so it goes.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We have survived another Thanksgiving, or rather should I say another Black Friday. Thanksgiving Day itself was great, with a gathering of the WP clan at the youngest WP Sister's abode. Even the trip down and back was quite pleasant with traffic being moderate.

Unlike many others, I decided I wasn't going to venture out on Friday unless it was absolutely necessary (which it was), and then only to make a trip to an ATM and then to our Village Store to pick up important stuff, that being lottery tickets for the MegaMillions and PowerBall drawings on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

I did venture out to WalMart to pick up a few necessaries for the next two weeks, but limited myself to that task and nothing else. Even though it was now Saturday the WalMart parking lot was packed, as was the store itself. It took me far longer to check out than it did to pick up the few items I needed. I expect that will be the case for the next few weeks as Christmas shopping is in full swing.


I have to agree with Thomas H. Kee, Jr. that the Dow is “outrageously overvalued.”

Earnings and revenue simply don't support the Dow's 22 percent increase this year, he maintains in an article for CNBC.

The Federal Reserve's asset-buying stimulus has a huge impact on stock prices, he warns.

"If you are buying the Dow Jones industrial average, make sure you know what you're doing because when the music stops, when changes to policy actually become a drain on liquidity, you do not want to be left without a chair."

Between three rounds of quantitative easing – that means printing money like crazy – the Dow has reached new heights. But it is an illusion. The economy isn't anywhere near that strong as we have seen between high levels of unemployment (the U6 rate, not the U3 rate), a continuously declining labor participation rate, and an increasing number of workers going on to disability (yet another form of unemployment that pays better, particularly for older workers permanently displaced from the work force).

Like all illusions, the Dow will eventually return to reality and I expect there will be a major correction. While I am no expert I am going to predict there will be at least a 3,000 to 4,000 point drop in the Dow when that correction comes and it's going to be ugly.


The false story that will not die. Call it a sign of chronic Bush Derangement Syndrome.

The only other story that still lingers on is the bogus “I can see Russia from my house!” claim made by the Left, another case of chronic Palin Derangement Syndrome. (For those of you out there who still believe it was Sarah Palin who uttered that phrase, it was Tina Fey portraying Sarah Palin in an SNL skit who said that line.)


You know it's getting bad when a Canadian tourist is denied entry into the US because was once hospitalized for clinical depression. She was supposed to be going on a 10-day Caribbean cruise departing from New York, but was refused entry unless she received medical clearance from a DHS approved doctor in Toronto before she was allowed entry into the the US.

But that's not the worst of it.

One has to ask the question, how is it that DHS had access to confidential medical records in Canada?

This crap has got to stop.

(H/T Instapundit)


Is this a precursor for taking Detroit private?

Will the Detroit Police Department come under the auspices of the Security Concepts Division of Omni Consumer Products?


Was Obama's efforts to propagandize Thanksgiving into yet another effort to sell the increasing unpopular ObamaCare a #FAIL?

Umm, yes.


One question many of those who support ObamaCare have been unwilling to answer: Who will be treating all of the new Medicaid patients?

Most of those Medicaid patients will end up in Ers because they won't find doctors who will take any more Medicaid patients than they already do, if they take any at all.

One of the biggest failings of ObamaCare is that it did not in any way make more health care available. All it did was add more patients with health insurance, and as we should all know health insurance does not automatically equate to access to health care. In fact with many of the disincentives built into ObamaCare it's likely there will be less access to health care for everyone...but it's 'fair', at least according to the President's definition of fair.


The late Doris Lessing had no use for Political Correctness or any of its offshoots, seeing it as nothing more than a leftover of communism.

Over 20 years ago, I heard Lessing speak at a conference on intellectuals and social change in Eastern Europe at New Jersey’s Rutgers University. It was 1992, the dust still settling from the collapse of the Soviet empire. Lessing opened her memorable talk with a warning: “While we have seen the apparent death of Communism, ways of thinking that were born under Communism or strengthened by Communism still govern our lives.” She was not talking about the East but the West, where coercive “social justice” had reinvented itself as “antiracism,” feminism, and so forth. “Political correctness” had become, Lessing said, “a kind of mildew blighting the whole world,” particularly academic and intellectual circles—a “self-perpetuating machine for dulling thought.”

As Lessing stated, it is a blight, trying to change the language of thought so thoughts that are antithetical to socialist 'ideals' will be difficult, if not impossible to express. While seen by some as a means to reduce offending stereotypes, instead it is an insidious means of stifling dissent. It is just another form of fascism used to impose the disease that is socialism on humanity.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


If we need yet another example of end-stage socialism all we need to do is look south to Venezuela. When El Presidente Madura accuses 99 percent of businesses of price gouging and vows to punish them, you know the end is near.

All he will manage to do is drive them out of business and there will be no other businesses around to pick up the slack. All this shows is a stunning lack of understanding about economics, a usual fault with socialist societies. It isn't until their economies collapse that change away from oft-proven wrong socialist/Marxist economic theory takes place. Once capitalism re-establishes itself and the economies are once again thriving, the socialist economics disease reasserts itself and the same downward spiral starts again.

You'd think that after almost a century of this foolishness that the anti-capitalists would realize their economic theories don't work. But then again, such theories have more to do with power and very little with economics. As long as 'they' get theirs they don't care about anyone else.


Is it any surprise the White House has insulated itself from reality when it comes things like health care, the economy, and foreign policy?

Not really.


The New England Patriots played the Houston Texans down in Houston, beating them 34-31. It was another come from behind win for the Patriots.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weather is warming up (a bit), Christmas shopping is in full swing, and where sanity will be returning to shoppers tomorrow...I hope.