Two Examples Of Leftist Mentality

I had planned to post more about Internet access and net neutrality, but two pressing matters induced me to delay that post.

What could possibly be more important than that?

Leftist stupidity.

The first deals with self-avowed communist Mayor Bill de Blasio and his decision to shut down New York City's charter schools. Never mind that most of them serve poor minority students and that they have succeeded where he rest of the city's schools have failed miserably. Never mind that parents are all in favor of the charter schools because for once there's a glimmer of hope that their kids will be able to break the cycle of poor education and poverty.

De Blasio isn't having any of it, particularly because the teachers union is against it big time. The charter schools are non-union and they can fire incompetent teachers, something that is all but impossible in the 'normal' NYC Public School system. After all, they can't have their built-in constituency getting educated and becoming 'uppity', forgetting their places within the leftist social order.

The second is a twofer, with a major MSNBC #FAIL, that being their choice to ignore the Russian incursion into the Crimean portion of Ukraine in favor of exploring the incipient racism in regards to the Oscars with Jamilah King. I'm sorry, but which story is more important?

The second part of the twofer is a reminder by a number of people about that “dunce of a woman”, Sarah Palin, when she warned way back in 2008 that if Obama won it was likely Putin would find some excuse to invade Ukraine.

It's amazing the howls of laughter from the Left when 'idiot' Sarah made a number of predictions about both domestic and foreign policy issues. But now those who considered her an idiot are conspicuously silent now that her predictions have proven to be accurate. Who are the idiots now?


I Want My, I Want My, I Want My High-Speed Internet

I think that any of you actually reading this are like me in regards to one of our favorite topics: Internet speeds. I think we'd all like to have faster connections to the 'Net regardless of the speeds we may already enjoy. At present, I have 16Mbs download/1Mbs upload speed from my ISP, the local cable company. Not bad. Not great, but not bad.

But what if much higher speed were available at a reasonable cost, say 50Mbs/20Mbs? What about 100Mbs? Or 1Gbs? Would you get it? I know I would.

But what if I told you it's highly unlikely that many of you will, at least in the US? (I know some of my overseas readers, all three of you, probably have higher 'Net speeds available than we do here in the good ol' US of A, and at a much lower cost.)

The problem isn't technological. There's plenty of tech out there right now capable of providing those kinds of connection speeds. Most of it is already deployed, at least in some of the more urban areas. Even my rather rural ISP is presently capable of turning up the speed to 100Mbs or higher, or at least the equipment they have deployed is capable of it. But they won't, at least not without the consumers paying a lot more to get it. There are a couple of reasons for that, but it can all be boiled down to one single cause.


Some of the bigger players don't want you to have higher speeds for two reasons: it means they have to further upgrade their systems and they can charge more for the slower speeds they do offer. They do this through means of legislation at the state level, making competition difficult if not impossible which leaves some of them as the only game in town. They do it at a federal level, either looking for regulatory interference which benefits them and hinders their competition, or legislative relief, i.e. rent-seeking, that helps guarantee they maintain their semi-monopolies in their most profitable areas of operation.

Politics is the reason why the US has some of the slowest Internet speeds and highest Internet costs in the world.

I am not saying we need to impose yet another layer of government regulations or more heavy-handed legislation to fix this problem. Quite the contrary. I am saying we need to level the playing field by doing away with the anti-competitive laws and regulations at both the state and federal level.

Some states have laws that forbid municipalities from creating their own telecommunications infrastructure, by which I mean Internet, phone, and video services. They are locked out in order to preserve the quasi-monopolies enjoyed by the commercial entities. But what if these privately owned commercial entities can't or won't provide the services people want? With these kinds of laws in place the people being 'served' by these providers are stuck with no alternative and poor service. The providers have no incentive to upgrade their systems and the services they provide. If the population density is low enough, there won't be much in the way of competitors coming in to do battle with the incumbent. So why not let the communities roll their own if the existing provider won't?

A number of towns here in southwestern New Hampshire have done something along those lines, forming an alliance to bring fiber based high-speed services to their underserved communities. 35 towns in Vermont have done the same thing. Because no private enterprise thought it was worth it to do so, these rural towns banded together to do it themselves. Why can't communities in the states which presently ban such programs do the same thing? Why must they be stuck with inferior and high cost service merely because of rent-seeking by incumbent “providers”? It's stupid.

Do we need something akin to the old Rural Electrification Agency to see that underserved communities get what they need? (Yes, I know there's the Rural Utilities Service fund that's supposed to help do this, but it's far too political and many of the towns who needed the most help getting broadband service of any kind were told “Tough luck!”) I know this is a throwback to the days of FDR, but the REA made sure every town received electrical service, and later helped with making telephone service available as well. If removing the regulatory and legislative roadblocks isn't possible, then maybe something akin to a Rural Broadband Commission might solve the problem. But rather than being staffed with government bureaucrats, have it's seats filled with folks from the areas affected. Let the commission cut through the red tape preventing better broadband services from coming to underserved communities. (This is just back-of-the-envelope thinking. Obviously I haven't really thought out the details of how something like this would work. Hell, chances are I am entirely off-base about the idea!)

But what about those of us not stuck with the problems of the more rural communities? What of those of us paying through the nose for overpriced bandwidth with little hope of seeing our speeds go up and/or our costs coming down? I mentioned above that my ISP provides me with 16Mbs/1Mbs, it having upping the speed recently from 12Mbs/1Mbs. It cost me an additional $5 month. If I want to save $10 I can drop my speed to the next lower speed – 4Mbs/512Kbs – but that would put a serious crimp in our browsing and video streaming. Of course I could also up the speed to 50Mbs/5Mbs for an additional $20 month, but I'm not willing to pay that much extra. Call me cheap, but I know what the ISP is paying for their access to the 'Net. They're more than making their money back, and then some.

And then there's Net Neutrality, something I am of two minds about. It is also something I am not going to address in this post because it makes a good post in and of itself. But I will say that there are both good and bad things about it, and either way, it can affect what we pay for Internet service, the speeds we'll see, and the costs of online subscription services some of us use, like Netflix, Hulu Plus, VuDu, and Amazon Prime, just to name a few.

It's going to be interesting.


Thoughts On A Sunday

With the warm weather I spent a good portion of yesterday shoveling the decks and removing ice and packed snow from the driveway. I managed to get most of the driveway down to bare pavement, leaving only a few patches ice here and there that weren't quite ready to be removed. (I much prefer to let the sun do that work as it requires a lot less effort from me.)

Snow removal has become a never ending chore, a reminder of a winter some years ago where it seemed we had snow every few days or so, and recorded a total snowfall of 150 inches here at The Manse.

It's a small price to pay for living in New Hampshire.

At least we dodged a bullet here, with the forecast that had originally said we were due for some snow today and Wednesday changing to say we weren't likely to get any.

That works for me.


It looks like Bogie has been having fun with our winter weather as well. In this case she's been concerned that is the snow gets any higher/deeper she'll have to resort to using a shovel because her snowblower can't throw the snow high enough to get it over the existing berms.


The events in Ukraine have certainly shown the cracks in areas we may have thought were politically stable, with Western style democracy having replaced the old totalitarian dictatorships of the Soviet era. But with 'strong men' trying to use the ballot box to reestablish the the Soviet-style regimes, those democracies are in peril. Ukraine has shown that the individual people are in truth the power to be reckoned with, willing to die rather than allowing Ukraine to return to being nothing but a Russian puppet. (Many countries that had been democracies became dictatorships by way of the ballot box, not the gun. Remember, Adolph Hitler was elected, as was Peron, Chavez, Morales, Kirchener, and a whole host of other 'saviors' that turned out to be anything but, leading their nations into bondage and economic collapse.)

There have even been some talk of partitioning Ukraine, letting the ethnic Russian population become 'Eastern' Ukraine aligned with Russia, and the Ukrainians to become 'Western' Ukraine, aligned with Europe. But somehow I doubt Vladimir Putin will allow such a thing as I believe he wants control of the entire country and its economy.


Next on the list is Venezuela and the end of Chavismo, the Cuban-styled socialism that has all but destroyed Venezuela's economy, brought even more widespread poverty and misery to the people, all but eliminated the middle class, and led to a cascading failure of the country's infrastructure, including both its electrical grid and wealth-generating oil industry.

Despite it's oil wealth, Venezuela is acting more like a poor Third World nation with nothing going for it. And to think it was all done on purpose by a third-rate Castro wannabe who turned his nation into an even poorer version of Cuba.

Is it any wonder its people have said “Enough!” and are rebelling against the Maduro regime?


Andrew Thomas gives us the ironic journey of two avowed socialists who fled New York for Orlando even as it becomes a socialist “utopia” led by self-avowed communist Bill de Blasio.

Writes Andrew:

These are two otherwise intelligent, educated, and well-spoken individuals, as are many other left-leaning people. The only characteristic that seems to stand out in all of them is a streak of apparent emotional immaturity I would describe as "willful naiveté".

Please do not give me the analogy of rats leaving a ship they helped to sink, only to help sink the lifeboat. I prefer not to think of [them] in those terms, as apropos as they might be.

My only hope is that someday the irony will become apparent to them. That the reason they chose to escape their socialist paradise of NYC is because it doesn't work, and that the personal success and freedom they desire are only achievable in the capitalistic free-market environment they so disdain.

Somehow I doubt they will. Instead, it is likely they will try to spread their poisonous thinking. However, should they finally come to the realization that they have been lied to about the wonders a glories of socialism, I expect they will become more like Main Street Americans who just want to be left alone by government, seeing it as the problem and not the solution...but I ain't holding my breath.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Gee, things didn't turn out so well for the UAW in their bid to unionize the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, with the workers rejecting the unionizing effort by a vote of 712-626.

Now the UAW wants a re-vote, mostly because they didn't get their way, running to the NLRB and claiming there was “interference by politicians and outside special interest groups”.

Considering that VW even helped the UAW in their organizing efforts, the workers “no” vote should stand. It is apparent they saw just how much the UAW 'helped' the Big Three, driving two of them into bankruptcy, and wanted no part of it.

Even with the NLRB being in the hands of Big Labor, I doubt they can find grounds to force a revote. Not that they won't declare the vote null and void and order a new vote anyways, being nothing but an Obama-sanctioned lawless government organization. But should that happen I expect a blizzard of stay orders from local, state, and federal courts as well as law suits to block such a move.

It's funny when a labor organization that borders on being nothing more than an organized crime protection racket doesn't get its way that it “runs home to momma” claiming the other side won because they...they...won!

About the only ones who do not understand that the raison d'etre of the labor unions passed away a long time ago are the unions themselves.


Here's more discussion (and comments) about the proposal to break up California into six separate states.

Reading some of the comments proves to me there are a lot of deluded, misinformed, and/or ignorant people out there who have no understanding why the federal government was set up the way it was, particularly when it comes to Congress.


And that's the news from Lake Winnpesaukee, where the warm weather has helped melt some of the ice and snow from our roads and roofs, the temps are headed back down, and where we're all waiting for the start of sugaring season.


Cable TV Prices Go Up, Programming Choice Goes Down

This isn't the first time I've delved into the whole “Cable TV Is Too Damn Expensive” kerfuffle and I doubt it will be the last. An article in USA Today about what to do about high cable bills only scratches the surface.

The biggest battle looming between cable companies/telcos and consumers isn't about pricing. It's going to be about programming and Internet access.

Remember this: It isn't the cable companies who decide what you'll pay for video programming so much as it is the content providers (A&E, TNT, FX, Discovery, History Channel, etc). They dictate which channel will appear on what programming tier and there's little the cable or satellite provider can do about it. The providers can also say "If you want our premium channel(s), you also have to carry these niche channels, otherwise you get nothing." About the only thing that is negotiable is the pricing, and the content providers are constantly jacking up the price for what they provide. Is it any wonder the number of video subscribers has been falling as they pay increasingly more for less programming?

While some consumers have wondered why the cable companies can't absorb the increasing costs, it must be understood that these days the profit margin on video is small and shrinking. Absorbing costs will take video from barely making money to losing money, something no business should do. We must also keep in mind that cable companies have a much higher profit margin for Internet and phone service as well as Over The Top services like Video-On-Demand. But why should they use the profits from one part of their operation to support the money-losing part, particularly if the losses will do nothing but grow?

Having an insider's view of what goes on in some cable companies (no, I don't work for a cable company, but my company provides equipment and services to cable companies), a lot of them would love nothing better than to provide a la carte programming as it means they won't have to carry channels that no one watches. That leaves more spectrum available for other, more profitable (and less costly) services, like high-speed Internet.

Of course that might change if ISP's like Verizon and Comcast get their way, being able to severely limit data speeds and the amount of data customers will be allowed to use every month while at the same time jacking up the prices for service that is already overpriced. (The US has some of the lowest speed and highest priced Internet access in the world, and it seems like some providers want to make it even slower and more costly. Call it yet another example of blatant cronyism within our economy, but we won't delve into that now as that could stand as a post all by itself.)

OK, I got a little off topic, but this issue isn't going to go away. If content providers continue jacking up costs, the number of video subscribers will continue to fall, and then the whole vicious cycle will repeat itself until the cable companies either 'pull the plug' on providing video or the content providers go broke. The present business model isn't sustainable and too many people are ignoring it. Unless something changes, everyone is going to lose.

Moving The Heavy Stuff

Yes, I know posting has been light over the past few days, but not from lack of interest. Instead, blame Global Warming. (I might as well since so many people out there seem to blame Global Hotcoldwetdry for just about anything.)

In my case, it actually has been the weather, but not necessarily for the reason you might think.

Blame it on the warm temps and rain we had over the past couple of days.

Between the 'surprise' 14 inches of snow we had in the middle of this past week, the follow on temperatures in the mid to upper 40's, and then rain, BeezleBub and I had to spend a lot of time removing snow from the roofs and decks of The Manse.

If the snow we had to remove was the nice fluffy stuff that fell during our last round of snow it wouldn't have been much of an issue. Instead much of it was the heavy compacted snow from a previous storm that hadn't yet melted off, leaving a very heavy and dense snow pack behind. With the rain that was forecast for Friday we realized we had to see about removing as much of it as possible otherwise we could be dealing with ice damming and the subsequent water damage, or worse, a collapsed roof. (We've already seen that happen around New England, including one fatal collapse that killed a young woman when she was crushed under the roof of her car port when it gave way.)

It took us two days of effort, not because there was so much of it but because it was so heavy. Due to the weight of the snow pack we had to use smaller shovels otherwise we would tire ourselves out in short order, not to mention the possibility of straining muscles and joints. Even with all that effort we didn't get it all done. We knew we wouldn't. We had to prioritize.

First, it was removing the snow from the garage roof, which has a modest pitch. At the same time the second of the three decks also had to be cleared because some of the snow from the garage roof would end up on that deck, meaning it had to be cleared twice. I didn't want to see the weight of the snow from the roof being added to existing snow on the deck, perhaps causing a collapse, so the existing snow had to be removed first. Then once the snow from the garage and the deck had been removed the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower was fired up in order to move the snow dumped onto the ground (much of it in front of and to one side of the garage) out of the way.

We didn't have to worry about the roof of The Manse itself because it has a very steep pitch and most of the snow cascades off, usually leaving only and inch or two of snow behind.

Then yesterday the rain and sleet arrived, bringing everything to a halt. Being Friday also meant I would lose any help from BeezleBub because he and Horse Girl departed yesterday for a week in Las Vegas to visit relatives.

Today it's supposed to be sunny and warm, in the mid 40's, so I'll be back outside clearing the big deck and laying out some ice melt - calcium chloride - to clear the rest of the driveway. (I use it sparingly, preferring to lay out sand, but I want to get the slope of the driveway cleared of ice as the sun doesn't hit it until later in the afternoon.) Of course we have some more snow forecast for tomorrow and Wednesday, but better I get ahead of it while I can.

They Weather GuysTM are saying this is the fifth snowiest February on record, but the month isn't over yet and we have at least two more bouts of snow to deal with before the end of the month.


I Am A Ukrainian

A message from a Ukrainian, fighting for the freedom of her nation.

Share her message and help preserve the freedom of the Ukrainian people.


Oh No! It's Snowing! In Winter! Again!!

We've had yet another bit of snow here in New Hampshire, with the meteorologists having predicted between 4 and 7 inches of snow for this part of the state.

We got 12 inches.

I'm not complaining. Not really. At least this time people took the forecast seriously and drivers were more careful. The bad road conditions and poor visibility really kept traffic to a minimum, unlike last week where drivers were doing really dumb stuff.

My usual 15 minute trip home took closer to half an hour, with one small hitch during my trip: a hill about a mile from the turnoff into my road. If people take the hill too slow, or worse, stop part way up, they won't have the traction to make it all the way to the top. That happened today and it seems only those of us with 4-wheel drive made it up the hill with little problem. The rest either had to turn around or back down the hill enough to get a running start for another attempt. It held me up for about 5 minutes. Not bad, considering the road conditions.

Of course this snow couldn't have happened at a better time as most of the Massachusetts schools are out for February vacation, with a lot of families spending their time up here skiing.


De Blasio Goes After The Schools

While it appears that New York mayor Bill de Blasio doesn't have time to deal with the day to day details of running a major American city such as ensuring the snow gets cleared from the streets, the garbage gets collected, and the schools are closed during a heavy snowstorm, he certainly seems to have plenty of time to dismantle one of the best things his city has going for it, that being its charter schools.

But what do you expect from an unrepentant old-school communist? It's all about making sure everyone is equal, even if that equality reduces everyone to the lowest common denominator. Of course, being an old style communist, he also believes that some people are more equal than others, displaying that by pushing “Do as I say, not as I do” as an excuse to shut down a successful education system. Why would he do such a thing? It's simply, really:

He's beholden to the teachers union which wants to destroy something it has no control over.

Their biggest obstacle? Eva Moskowitz, who runs the city's charter school program.

How did Ms. Moskowitz, a hero to thousands of New Yorkers of modest means whose children have been able to get a better education than their local public schools offered, end up becoming public enemy No. 1?

She is the city's most prominent, and vocal, advocate for charter schools, and therefore a threat to the powerful teachers union that had been counting the days until the de Blasio administration took over last month from the charter-friendly Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Assailed by Mayor de Blasio and union leaders, Ms. Moskowitz is fighting back with typically sharp elbows.

"A progressive Democrat should be embracing charters, not rejecting them," she says. "It's just wacky."

"We think one of the sins of American education is intellectually underestimating children," she says. "It's so much more engaging for kids when they're challenged." Her other complaint about many traditional schools: "It's incredibly boring." While those public schools don't have her flexibility to design a curriculum and hire and fire teachers, "engagement doesn't cost any money. It can be done tomorrow if the adults decide that boredom is not acceptable and you embrace a curriculum that's interesting and rigorous."

Such astringent assessments of public education-as-usual are fighting words in New York and other cities where schools find themselves struggling to explain chronic underperformance.

As our history has proved again and again, it isn't how much money is spent on education that defines a good education, it's how it's spent. Unfortunately too many of the teachers unions seem to think the only answer is more money, especially for them. (That's not necessarily true of the teachers, but of the union leadership.)

One has to wonder whether de Blasio will succeed in dismantling the part of his city's education system that actually works. After all, he's a firm believer in equality, particularly when it comes to mediocrity in education.

Let's just hope that New Yorkers will realize they've made a horrible mistake by electing this Marxist wrecker and will make sure he's a one term mayor. If not, then the rest of us will watch New York become nothing more than another Detroit and see most of its boroughs and neighborhoods become a ghost town like the South Bronx of old.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We had more snow fall over night, adding another 1 to 2 inches to the 14 inches we received Thursday and early Friday.

The snow started falling late Saturday morning, very light and at time almost unnoticeable. It picked up in the late afternoon, though it didn't fall nearly as heavily as it had on Thursday.

This makes me feel less guilty about not having finished snowblowing The Manse's driveway and parking area Saturday. It meant I had to go out first thing this morning and take care of it, making sure I got all of the snow off the paved areas and cutting a path out back to the propane tank and the stairway for the main deck.

At least this snowfall wasn't as 'mushy' as the snow that fell early Friday morning, meaning it was easier to move.


A co-worker has been discussing 'cutting the cord', dropping the video from his cable subscription and depending instead upon streaming from Netflix, Hulu+, and other streaming sites. He's watched the video portion of his cable bill climb steadily even as the offerings on his programming tier became narrower. Like many of us, he's been paying for channels he doesn't watch and will never watch and feels like he's being ripped off.

I did remind him that programming tiers weren't set up by the cable company per se, but by the content providers themselves. With video producing shrinking profit margins for cable companies (now around 2% for many cable MSOs), is it any wonder they have been putting more focus on what are called Over The Top (OTT) services like Video On Demand (VOD) and TV Anywhere (allows you to watch TV on any of your devices, whether live or from your DVR). It's also why they've also been pushing better Internet connectivity since the profit margins on Internet services are huge compared to video programming.


The Swedes know socialism doesn't work and are abandoning it, seeing it for what it is: a government run protection racket designed to inflict as much economic damage as possible.

The Swedish economy has been booming since the government has slashed taxes, rolled back social programs, redesigned pension systems, and basically removed many of the overreaching regulations that were stifling the economy.

Perhaps the folks in Washington should take note, since they seem to be so fond of the “Swedish model” of socialism.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Cap'n Teach shows us what the real cause of the drought that has been plaguing California: NIMBY and BANANA watermelon environmentalists, along with help from the TOTUS.

(NIMBY = Not In My Back Yard; BANANA = Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone; TOTUS = you know who.)


Also by way of Cap'n Teach comes this story about assigning responsibility for the numerous accidents in North Carolina due to black ice. In this case I have to agree with North Carolina authorities: It's the drivers, stupid!

[Wake Count, NC DOT engineer Britt] McCurry said officials felt they were prepared to handle black ice on area roads Friday morning, adding that drivers were warned of the dangers.

“They were advised by the governor as well as DOT to maintain their speed, watching where they’re going and what they’re doing, and from what I understand, several of them didn’t,” he said. “I think we did everything we could.”

This goes back to what I wrote about winter driving yesterday, mainly inertia and the coefficient of friction. You ignore both at your own peril.


Obama claims that average wages haven't risen during 'his' economic recovery efforts. He's right. However his reasoning as to why are grossly in error. But one of those commenting upon his speech has the right of it:

President Obama, if you have worked as hard as you can and done everything you can to raise the standard of living of Americans and the present economy is a result (After spending trillions of borrowed dollars), with deference to your position as president, YOU SUCK AT YOUR JOB. May I suggest that you stop your Keynesian economics rush to bankruptcy and try something that worked to create millions of good jobs following the Carter caused malaise of the late 70s. It also worked for Kennedy. Lower taxes, stop with your job destroying and nonsensical regulation and allow more drilling on federal lands including offshore drilling. Oh, and while you are at it, APPROVE THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE. You can thank me later.

To take a quote from one of my earlier posts in regards to Obama, "If this is what you call helping us, then just stop helping us!"



One of my favorite New Hampshire bloggers has suffered yet another computer failure, this time her 1.5 year old desktop machine.

She wonders if it's karma. Personally I think it's an old gypsy curse out on her computer because sometime, somewhere she pissed off an old gypsy.


Some of you out there that regularly read this blog might remember that we suffered a lightning strike last June that took out a number of the electronic products in The Manse, the three most obvious being the cable modem, the wireless router attached to the cable modem, and the A/V Surround receiver in the living room. There was also damage to a light switch in one of the upstairs bedrooms as well.

As time has passed, the extent of the damage caused by the lightning strike has continued to make itself felt as more appliances and other electrical equipment have failed.

Our old analog TV in the guest room was apparently damaged, something we didn't know about until recently. The coffee maker in the kitchen has unminded itself, losing the set time and occasionally shutting itself off entirely, meaning we can no longer set the timer to start the coffee at 6AM and it won't always keep the coffee hot once it's brewed. Our washing machine has also been showing symptoms of damage, with the wash or rinse water temperatures not being what we set them for when running a load, such as getting a rinse with hot water rather than cold or warm water. (Investigation has showed me the controller in the washing machine is commanding the hot water rinse despite the settings shown on the machine.) Our CO monitor alarm also quit on us, giving a error message that translated to a controller fault.

That's one thing about lightning strikes: the damage they cause may not manifest itself until months later, something I've talked to our insurance company about. They've acknowledged that such a scenario is quite common when dealing with lightning strikes.


So the workers in a Tennessee Volkswagen plant voted down joining the UAW despite the company being in the bag for the union. Yet the UAW sees the 'No' vote as somehow being caused by “outside interference”.


The UAW spent a lot of time and money trying to convince the VW workers to join the union, yet they said “Thanks, but no thanks!”

Could it be that the VW workers are smarter than their Chrysler, Ford, and GM brethren and decided it would work against them in the long run to join an organization which is more like an organized crime gang than a representative of the workers?

Unions had a reason for being in the past, but many of the things they fought for are now codified in law. Now it seems that unions exist only for collecting dues from workers and supporting political candidates (Democrats) many of the rank and file wouldn't support on their own.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the snow has finally ended and we'll see a few days of sun, the snow on the driveways still needs to be cleaned up, and where the days are getting noticeably longer.


More Winter Weather Madness

It seems I can't get away from the weather, at least not the news reports about the weather. I'm beginning to think it's a conspiracy because all the reports about our winter weather seem to affect people in negative ways. One of the most obvious effects I've seen: people driving stupid.

I'm not talking about the folks down South dealing with weather that is unusual for them. I expect driving catastrophes because they aren't prepared for those kind of driving conditions. It's what I'm seeing up here in winter wonderland New England that has me shaking my head.

From what I've witnessed over the past few days you'd think that folks around here have never experienced driving in snowy conditions. They're driving way too fast for conditions, tailgating, passing slower traffic which is going slow for good reasons, playing chicken with plowtrucks, and trying to ram through snowbanks that are way too big as they try to force their way in to or out of their driveways. This is the type of stuff I expect from flatlanders, not hardy New Hampshire Yankees.

My drive home from work late Thursday afternoon was one of the most harrowing experiences I've had in years. Visibility was poor, the roads were covered with inches of snow sitting on top of an icy surface, and steering and braking were more like suggestions rather than control inputs. With conditions like that you'd think people would slow down, take it easy, and play it safe.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Some drivers were still trying to travel at the posted speed limit (55mph where I happened to be at the time) and were pissed off that everyone else was traveling at 30 or 35mph. These same clueless dopes then tried to pass the line of cars and trucks preventing them from going faster, in some cases causing them to lose traction and spin out, or in one case, end up in a ditch.

It's one thing if this happened with only one or two drivers, but I'm talking about seeing just under a dozen (11) during my 8.5 mile trip between work and home. Now multiply this by how many other dopes there might be throughout the rest of New Hampshire and we're talking about a substantial number of idiots out there. Or was it possible it was merely a local phenomenon, affecting drivers just in the southern Lakes Region of the state?

I don't know, but this trip had a pucker factor much higher than any other I've had in decades. I'm not a curmudgeonly old fart driver (just a curmudgeonly driver, thank you very much) thinking everyone else is a bad driver. I do my share of 'above the limit' driving, but only when the weather and traffic conditions allow. I am fully cognizant of the laws of physics as they pertain to vehicles, the two biggest being inertia and the coefficient of friction. That's why I slow down under adverse conditions, particularly when the coefficient of friction is a fraction of what we usually see on a dry road, because if I don't I know inertia will prove itself to be a bitch and will take me someplace I don't want to go.

Too bad some of the drivers I saw on Thursday afternoon (and Friday morning, come to think of it) chose to ignore physics and paid the price for their folly.


We're DOOMED!!!...Again

It’s Snowmageddon...again.

To watch the morning news you’d think no one had ever experienced snow, ice, and cold during the winter, even down South.

Once again the media are taking something that occurs during most winters – well maybe not quite so much in the South – and tries to turn it into a full blown media event with neato computer graphics, the obligatory ominous sounding Storm Center music, and reporters out in the field to show that, yes indeed, it is snowing.

I can see setting aside maybe 5 minutes of air time to cover this kind of weather, and then getting back to the more important happenings around the world. But to spend hour after hour covering a normal winter weather event just makes it boring. After watching GMA for 5 minutes this morning I had to shut it off because the weather seemed to be the only story they were interested in covering.

If I want continuous coverage of the weather I can always watch The Weather Channel.


95% Of Climate Models Agree With Each Other, But Not With Reality

What is the conclusion of AGW proponents when 95% of the climate models used to predict what the climate will be 5, 10, 50, or 100 years from now doesn't match weather observations?

The weather observations must be wrong.

This flies in the face of scientific method, which states that if the observations and/or experimental results don't match a hypothesis, then the hypothesis is wrong. But in the case of Anthropogenic Global Warming, if the observations don't match the hypothesis, then the data must be changed to fit, disregarded, or explained away. One thing ClimateGate showed us is how the AGW faithful have tried to do all three. But with all of that, the actual observations are showing warmists that they have to rethink their their vaunted climate models.

These are all interesting exercises, but they miss the most important point: the climate models that governments base policy decisions on have failed miserably.

Whether humans are the cause of 100% of the observed warming or not, the conclusion is that global warming isn’t as bad as was predicted. That should have major policy implications…assuming policy is still informed by facts more than emotions and political aspirations.

The accusation is often made that AGW skeptics are “in the pay of big oil” and that their only motivation is to collect a fat check to dispute warming. But looking more closely at where many of the warmists receive their funding, you find that many have a financial interest in crippling our existing sources of energy in favor of ineffective, expensive, and heavily taxpayer-subsidized 'alternative' energy. So who is it in this debate that are being bought and paid for? It's not the skeptics.

But that won't stop AGW supporters from using a “variety of emotional, misleading, and policy-useless statements like 'most warming since the 1950s is human caused' or '97% of climate scientists agree humans are contributing to warming', neither of which leads to the conclusion we need to substantially increase energy prices and freeze and starve more poor people to death for the greater good,” in an effort to convince people who are even less informed about the reality of climate change to give up more of their hard earned money, greatly reduce their standard of living, and hand over their freedoms to people who supposedly know better how to Save The Earth.


The Real Problem With The Second Amendment

This is probably one of the best comebacks I've seen for folks who seem to think the Second Amendment is outdated and no longer applies:

Shamelessly stolen from GraniteGrok. (Thanks, Skip!)


Quote Of The Week

By way of Watts Up With That commenter Nigel comes this quote from Mark Fournier:

If it takes force to impose your ideas on your fellow man, there is something wrong with your ideas. If you are willing to use force to impose your ideas on your fellow man, there is something wrong with you.

While Nigel used this quote in reference to the nutjobs protesting protesting against the Keystone XL pipeline, it applies equally well to the post I wrote about the Left's need for hatred to bolster their morally bankrupt ideology.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It was another quiet weekend here at The Manse, with BeezleBub visiting his grandparents and Deb working all weekend. Not that I did a lot other than a little housecleaning and some laundry. This time of year there usually isn't a lot going on that require my attention, but that can change whenever there's a snow storm. Then I get plenty busy.

About the most exciting thing going on around here at the Lakes Region this weekend is the annual Rotary Ice Fishing Derby.


Just a quick note for those of you using Mozilla's Firefox browser.

Apparently there's a bug in version 27.0 (the most recent release) that is causing problems with the browser locking up. When it happens it 'eats up' CPU resources, and depending upon your particular computer, can slow everything down. For those of you with computers containing multi-core CPUs, you'll notice one or two of the cores at close to 100% usage while the others are normal. The only way to close the browser when this happens is to use the Task Manager to kill the firefox.exe process.

Go to the Processes tab to close Firefox. If you go to the Applications tab and try to kill it from there it either takes a really long time to close the browser or it won't close at all.

I have Firefox on all of our computers here at The Manse and I use it at work as well. For some reason I have the options for Firefox on the Official Weekend Pundit Main Computer set to download and install updates automatically, always a big mistake. I probably forgot to change it . All of the other machines are set to check for updates and to notify when a new one is available. I always wait a while after a new release and check the Mozilla forums to see if any issues pop up that may affect my use of Firefox. If there is nothing that appears to be a show-stopper in the newest release, then and only then will I install it.

I have noticed other bugs that can be annoying but are more related to the Flash Player Plugin, and when that happens all of the CPU cores will show high usage, ~50% or higher on all of them. This is particularly prevalent if you have a lot of tabs open. Restarting the browser usually fixes the problem.


As if the government isn't nosy and overreaching enough, now the EPA wants to ban wood stoves unless they are EPA approved. This is going to have one hell of an unintended consequence.

As more than one news story or blog post has mentioned, this is going to have one heck of a negative effect on a lot of people who use wood to heat their homes.

The way the regs are written, it is a watermelon environmentalist version of Cash for Clunkers, except there is no cash for the clunker. Old wood stoves cannot be traded in for upgrades, but must be rendered inoperable and then broken up for scrap. They can't be resold.

I have to admit that my first thought was that these environmental idiots have no idea of the negative effect this will have on those of us who have no choice but to heat with wood, particularly because heating with fossil fuels will strain household budgets past the breaking point. (It costs us about $1300 to heat The Manse with wood versus $4000 to $6000 to heat with propane. Wood is a renewable source while propane, kerosene, and heating oil are not.) Some folks can't afford new wood stoves, which can run $2000 plus. Used stoves can go for as little as $500, particularly in private sales.

From more than a few sources it appears this EPA overreach occurred due to the old “Sue and Settle” collusion tactic used by the EPA and watermelon environmental groups to create ever more draconian regulations, many which wouldn't pass muster in Congress.


Have any of you out there been watching the Winter Olympics? Nah, me neither.

About the only news of interest coming out of Sochi is how effed up things are, a sign of the cronyism that rules in Russia. It appears the Russians can't even pull off modern day Potemkin Villages any more.

I have to admit I was fired up over the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but this time I've had little if any interest. I don't know if it's the times we live in or whether everyone, including many of the networks, have just lost interest. Then again, the athletes themselves have changed from being world-ranked amateurs to professionals in too many of the sports. For instance, how many NHL players are competing in Olympic hockey? If I want to watch them play I'll tune in to or go see an NHL game.


Raised on Hoecakes revisits the “97% Consensus” claim made by the CAGW faithful, a figure that has long been discredited. But that hasn't stopped them from still using it.

It's almost as bad as the South Coast Today, a Cape Cod newspaper, claiming that they will no longer cover contrary views of climate change because “100% of scientists” attending a UMass-Dartmouth conference agree AGW is real. But nowhere do they list who attended, how many attended, or their bona fides. Were they actual climate scientists? (I include geologists, atmospheric physicists, meteorologists, atmospheric chemists in that group, to name but a few, but not political scientists, economists, or other useful idiots.)


Something some of the Blue states are still unwilling to acknowledge despite plenty of evidence: More people are voting with their feet, leaving high cost/high tax/high regulation states for less costly, less taxed, less regulated states.

That has certainly been the case with New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and, of course, California. These states and a few more have been experiencing net out-migration to less restrictive states. Yet it seems these Blue states are unwilling to make the changes necessary to halt it. Instead, they tighten their economic grip with even higher taxes and more regulations, as if that will somehow slow or stop the loss of people moving to states with more jobs, more opportunities, and lower costs.


Is there a right time to raise the minimum wage? As Glenn Reynolds answers, “No. Next question?”

So many across the country seem to think this will somehow magically solve the problem poverty and/or joblessness. But as we have seen time and time again, all it tends to do is cause the loss or elimination of entry-level jobs, and pushes others with higher wage jobs into the lower pay tier.

About the only time I've seen where a rise in the minimum wage didn't cause this problem was when the unemployment rate was around 4% and employers were offering above minimum wage to get the workers they needed. That isn't the case now as we are still in the grips of a recession, claims by the White House to the contrary notwithstanding. All raising the minimum wage will do is drive unemployment up and depress wages elsewhere...except of course for those labor unions whose contracts are indexed to the minimum wage. But I expect a number of union laborers will lose their jobs when their wages go up, not because of increased productivity, but because of an artificial increase in the cost of labor.


Question of the Week: Why does global warming look so white?

Do the words Fallen Angels mean anything to you?

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


At first I thought I was seeing things.

As I was unloading a couple of baskets of laundry from the trusty F150 and carrying it too the laundromat in order to use one of their clothes driers, I saw it.

The trusty Dodge Intrepid.

Our old car now being driven by its new owner. I knew it the instant I saw it.

The dead giveaways were the now bare antenna mount on the rear glass and a parking sticker from Deb's place of employment on another window.

I walked over and introduced myself to the woman driving it, explained that the car she was driving used to belong to us before we traded it in, and told her how I knew it to be so. I thin k she was a little astonished at first, but as I went over some of the things that were unique to that specific Intrepid, she started nodding her head.

She did tell me that she was pleased with it as it ran quite well, but that it was going to need a new power steering pump. I knew that. I also knew that it would need more than just the pump to correct the power steering issue, but I didn't tell her that. I only mentioned that it would probably be a good idea to check the entire system as some Intrepids were known to have bad hydraulic actuators on the steering rack as well.

It was nice seeing it again.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where it's started to cloud over, the Ice Fishing Derby has finished up, and where we're watching the fuel gage on the propane tank go down.


Churchill Was Right

Reading the derision-filled drivel coming from the Left, seen in blogs, various forums, Twitter, and most regularly the MSM, one has to wonder what it is that generates such anger. Daniel Greenfield takes a stab at getting to the bottom of the Left's animus, explaining it with one simple sentence:

Hate is the force that gives the Left meaning.

That's it in a nutshell. It is hatred of anyone who is not them that gives them a reason to live. I can see no other explanation. Even when they're trying to do good, at least good in their eyes, there is some kind of base motive behind it. As one commenter to Daniel's piece stated:

The left, in general, is also quite self absorbed and selfish. Their policies are meant to make themselves feel good. "Look what we did, we gave money (usually not theirs) to the poor"....they assign success on intentions and don't really care about outcomes. Never mind their policies often have the reverse effect to the problem they are attempting to address, it does not matter. What matters to most of them is "they care".

Exactly. Too many of the Left aren't doing it to help the downtrodden feel better, but to make themselves feel better. It doesn't matter to them whether they actually achieve something good as long as their intentions were good. (We all know where that road leads, don't we?) The help they give isn't long lasting, the effects which fade away not long after the cameras are turned off and the reporters leave. Then they want to come back to give even more money that isn't theirs, to make it seem they're helping. But it doesn't work, ever.

Heaven forbid they actually help anyone get back on their feet, because if they do the people they helped will no longer need them and then the Left can't feel good about themselves anymore.

There is a pathology to the Left that has, over the years, lead to the deaths of millions at the hands of the very people that were supposedly going to help them...unless of course they ones they killed were convenient scapegoats for all the ills the Left themselves have afflicted upon the populace. Goodness knows we've seen that in the USSR, China, Cambodia, Nazi Germany, and a whole host of other nations suborned by the Left.

Not everyone on the Left is like this, of course, as many are merely clueless dupes. It is a generalization of the more rabid and activist members of the Left, those who believe the ends justifies the means, no matter how horrific the means. But it is this part of the Left that drives the beliefs and actions of the rest, using every trick in the book to divide the populace into 'Us' versus 'Them' and then use that division as justification for minimizing or dehumanizing Them, who ever 'Them' may be. (At the moment it appears 'Them' is us, meaning anyone who is not walking lockstep with the Left's dogma or are capable of making our own decisions based upon facts and not feelings. After all, if we can think for ourselves they know we won't buy their bulls**t because we can see the fallacy behind it and the bankruptcy of their ideas and their morals.)

Daniel brings up another good point about the Left and it's use of anger and hatred, one that in the end can have major unintended consequences.

The left is more comfortable being angry than being anything else; it finds it easier to rally the troops against something than for something so that even its triumphs only lead to more anger. (emphasis added – dce)

I have to agree with Danial on this.

From my experience it seems that all too often the Left proclaims they are against some perceived wrong or inadequacy, will rally the troops to protest against it, will motivate their faithful to vote to address that something, but will not often tell anyone what they are for, at least not directly. When they succeed, it is often the case that there's nothing to fill the gap now left by the 'elimination' of that something they were against...unless it's more state control over whatever it is that pissed them off. They offer no other solutions. And as history has shown us, the more control over the populace, the economy, and other social institutions within a nation the state has, the less effective it becomes and the less wealthy the entire society becomes. (I am not talking about just material wealth, but spiritual and societal wealth as well.) However that doesn't bother the Left as long as they are the ones in control. That wouldn't be so bad, but as history has shown, the Left has never been smart enough, wise enough, or competent enough to run other people's lives. Heck, no one on the Right is either. It is better left to people to control their own lives, even if they're going to screw it up.

That won't stop the Left from trying to take control, as we have seen over the past 100+ years.

Perhaps the best way to address them on this matter is to tell them to mind their own business, to piss off, or to get lost. Better yet, it might do better to ridicule them, to point and laugh at them when they espouse their socially and morally bankrupt ideology in public, on the air waves, on the web, or in their local newspapers. Make them the objects of endless, but tasteful humor. Don't minimize them. Don't dehumanize them. Instead make them someone to be pitied, as if they weren't quite cognizant of the mental deficiencies that allow them to believe things that just ain't so. It might be far more effective that trying to lower ourselves to their level in order to debate them, something of which I have found them be incapable, because it always comes back to what they feel about something and not the facts.

A lot of the Left's beliefs can be summed up in this quote from Winston Churchill, who understood the evils of socialism as espoused by the Left for what it was: "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy."



Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory

Talk about the Law of Unintended Consequences coming around to bite someone in the ass, there's this little example from Portland, Oregon.

Trader Joe's, a grocery market chain wishing to create a presence in a Northeast Portland neighborhood, had plans to build and open a new store in the area in an effort to both help beautify a struggling part of the city and to create much needed jobs.

But then one of Portland' “community organizer” groups caught wind of Trader Joe's plans and everything changed, and not for the better.

The company selected two acres along Martin Luther King Blvd. that had been vacant for decades. It seemed like the perfect place to create jobs, improve customer options and beautify the neighborhood. City officials, the business community, and residents all seemed thrilled with the plan. Then some community organizers caught wind of it.

After a few months of racially tinged accusations and angry demands, Trader Joe’s decided it wasn’t worth the hassle. “We run neighborhood stores and our approach is simple,” a corporate statement said. “If a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe's, we understand, and we won't open the store in question.”

Hours after Trader Joe’s pulled out, PAALF leaders arrived at a previously scheduled press conference trying to process what just happened. The group re-issued demands that the now-cancelled development include affordable housing, mandated jobs based on race, and a small-business slush fund. Instead, the only demand being met is two fallow acres and a lot of anger from the people who actually live nearby.

What makes this even more ironic is that the “community organizers” weren't even from that community. They swooped in, made the project unpalatable to Trader Joe's which then went Galt, and left it up to the community they were there to 'save' to pick up the pieces. That's how these a**holes work.

The community would have seen new jobs and news sources of goods come into their neighborhood, but then some loudmouth jerks come in at the last minute to throw a monkey wrench into the works, and then the jerks wonder why the members of the community they 'saved' are pissed off at them.

Talk about being friggin' clueless!


Small Town Democracy 2014

Small town democracy is expressing itself in my small town as our School Meeting and Town Meeting deliberative sessions take place over the next two nights.

Voters and other interested parties will convene tonight and tomorrow night at our high school auditorium to go over, debate, and maybe amend the warrant articles that make up the budgetary items and other issues of import that will affect our town and its schools over the next fiscal year. These issues will also directly affect our property tax rate as what we spend defines what we pay.

The actual vote to accept or decline the various warrant articles won’t take place until March, giving voters a chance to review and further debate the merits of each warrant article.

Some articles are ‘no-brainers’, meaning they are usually housekeeping items to correct errors made in previous town meetings, to clarify vague or meaningless definitions in things like zoning ordinances, or an annual money allocation to various capital reserve funds that are used to purchase new vehicles and equipment for various town departments or to pay for road or bridge improvements and repairs, just to name a few.

Others are serious and require a lot of thought, particularly those tied directly into the school or town operating budgets, or large capital expenditures for things like renovation or new construction of municipal facilities that require bonds to finance. An example of such an expenditure is the request for funds to renovate and expand our town’s police station, something that has been badly needed for years. The cost will be over $1 million, a very large chunk of change to a town our size. To say that it will be hotly debated is an understatement.

One thing that makes this small bit of American democracy so important to us? It directly affects everyone in our town. It also harkens back to something I and others have been saying for years about Town Meeting: If you can’t be bothered to vote then you have no right to complain.


Christie Knew...Well, Maybe Not

At one point it looked like the Democrats had a smoking gun that would finally kill off any chance Chris Christie might have had for higher office, with one of his former aides saying he knew all about the bridge lane closures and had proof. The New York Times was all over the story.

That was yesterday.

Today, if you look at the NYT story you realize the article went on to prove absolutely nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

No proof whatsoever of the “evidence” (which was highlighted by the weird wording “had the evidence” — does that mean he no longer “has” it?) Still, the claim was shocking. And it directly targeted a sitting U.S. governor, who just happens to be the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president in 2016.

And one might wonder why the newspaper didn’t ask the very first question nearly anyone else would ask when presented with such a claim: “Uh, OK, you say you have evidence, can we see it?” Then, if said evidence didn’t pan out, it’d be Spike City for the big scoop.

But no, The Times ran with the piece, which made the follow-on media follow on the story throughout the day. But few noticed the way the lede was changed — in less than 20 minutes.

It seems as time went on the so-called evidence became a much smaller part of the story and then seemed to disappear. Not that the original story won't still plague the governor even if it is found that the former aide lied. It will be the first report that every one will remember and that will color their perception of Christie.

But then again, that's how the LSM's character assassination machine works – come out with some story that makes all kinds of accusations without a shred of proof, let the other media outlets run with it, and then quietly print a less damning article later that is, for all intents and purposes, a retraction, and bury it somewhere on page 27. By then the damage is done and now “everyone knows” that the subject of the smear campaign is a crook/lowlife/not-a-nice-guy even though there's not on shred of proof to back it up. What used to be the news is now nothing more than gossip or propaganda pushing an agenda, and one that is more often than not something that isn't good for the American people.

And so it goes with Governor Chris Christie.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We've hit a bit of warmer weather which means we're having a day or two where the highs might reach above freezing, even if only barely. It still made for a nice day as I went about my errands yesterday – making a run to the recycling center and getting the trusty F150 inspected – and observing other folks having a good time.

One such group of folks were a bunch of people on their motorcycles racing on the ice covering one of the local ponds. While I've seen the 'track' out on the ice before this is the first time I've actually seen anyone actually using it.


Glenn Reynolds is always mentioning that he's married to a cyborg. Now I can make the claim that my dad's a cyborg, having undergone a similar procedure to that performed on Dr. Helen Smith.

If this keeps up we'll be surrounded by them in no time!


Here it is, Super Bowl Sunday, and my enthusiasm for the game is lacking. I haven't even decided whether I am going to watch the game as none of the teams in which I have any interest are playing. (There are teams beside the Patriots that I like, those being the Eagles, 49ers, and the Browns. If any of those teams were playing I would have more interest in watching the game.)


One of our local Leftists is at it again, this time blaming poverty in America on Republicans. In this case she writes about how since 1964 poverty has been rising in the US. But she conveniently overlooks the one big event that took place that reversed the downward trend in poverty rates: LBJ's Great Society reforms that instead of helping people out of poverty trapped them into government dependence, all in the name of the mis-titled War on Poverty. Trillions have been spent trying to 'combat' poverty, but after almost 50 years poverty is still with us and the numbers aren't going anywhere...except maybe up.

She seems to think that the GOP, or more specifically, Conservatives want to keep people in poverty. But that makes no sense because if Conservatives are the evil wealth-mongering horde she seems to think they are, poverty-stricken Americans will decrease the wealth of the nation, and hence the wealth of the greedy business owners. It goes against all reason. (Then again, no one has ever accused the Left of having any sense of reason. It's always about feelings.)

It is the Left that has managed to keep so many Americans in poverty because they know that is their voter base. Without them, it is likely the Left would lose almost all of their political power. As such, it makes perfect sense for the Left to keep the poverty-stricken poor even while claiming they're trying to 'help' them. It has, after all, been their modus operandi since FDR.


As a follow up to write I just wrote above, there's this little tidbit about LBJ that allegedly shows the mindset of the President and his fellow travelers back in 1964/1965.

What's even more interesting is this video linked in the comments showing the reaction of grassroots Chicago residents to President Obama's recent State of the Union address.

My favorite comment made by one resident: “If this is what you call helping us, then just stop helping us!”


(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Cap'n Teach points us to a study that shows that liberals drink a lot more alcohol than moderates or conservatives.

The study concludes:

In this study, we show that liberal ideology has a statistically significant positive association with the consumption of alcohol in the United States even after controlling for economic, demographic, and geographic differences across states.

Could it be as Cap'n Teach reminds us, that liberals are less happy than conservatives? That has certainly been my experience.


It turns out there was no 'there' there.

Claims about SuperBowl sex trafficking have been overblown and are nothing more than “dishonest marketing by sleazy non-profits and their political cronies.”

The problem is that there is no substantiation of these claims. The rhetoric turns out to be just that.

No data actually support the notion that increased sex trafficking accompanies the Super Bowl. The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, a network of nongovernmental organizations, published a report in 2011 examining the record on sex trafficking related to World Cup soccer games, the Olympics and the Super Bowl. It found that, “despite massive media attention, law enforcement measures and efforts by prostitution abolitionist groups, there is no empirical evidence that trafficking for prostitution increases around large sporting events.”

Even with this lack of evidence, the myth has taken hold through sheer force of repetition, playing on desires to rescue trafficking victims and appear tough on crime.

As Glenn Reynolds writes, “Lying profiteers, posing as saviors.”



Since the election of Bill de Blasio as mayor of New York City, I've been saying he will undo much of the progress that has been made in the city over the past few decades and will return New York to the bad old days of the 70's and 80's, with high crime rates, widespread poverty, and rampant drug use and dealing.

If we need any more evidence that this is indeed de Blasio's goal, then this is it.

As Heather MacDonald writes, de Blasio is “rebreaking the windows” that his predecessors worked so hard to fix.


The News Junkie has some interesting takes on New Jersey's Un-Super Bowl.

As he asks, Cui bono?


It appears that the gridlock that took place down in Atlanta wasn't caused by the two inches of snow that turned the roads and highways into skating rinks, but by racism.

Huh? From the crap MSNBC is spewing it appears they believe even inclement weather is yet another form of racism. It must be because snow is white.

Yeah. Right.


One thing that Obama mentioned again in his SOTU that I should have mentioned, that being the long discredited canard about the wage gap between men and women. As this piece in The Beast tells it, it's purely statistical manipulation of the “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics” sort.

The 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, or hours worked per week. When all these relevant factors are taken into consideration, the wage gap narrows to about five cents. And no one knows if the five cents is a result of discrimination or some other subtle, hard-to-measure difference between male and female workers. In its fact-checking column on the State of the Union, the Washington Post included the president’s mention of the wage gap in its list of dubious claims. “There is clearly a wage gap, but differences in the life choices of men and women… make it difficult to make simple comparisons.”

The fact is that men take on the more physically demanding and more dangerous jobs than women, tend to put in longer hours if they have a family to support or child support to pay, and also tend to cluster in high-paying professions that have a much higher percentage of men than women participating. The Beast article also goes on to show the differences in college majors and the pay scales between those majors. When men and women work in the same jobs the pay gap shrinks to almost nothing, and for certain jobs, women make more than men.

Basically it's much ado about nothing...except for firing up the Democrat base using statistical manipulation and outright falsehoods. In other words, for them it's business as usual.


And that the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where we're welcoming the slightly warmer weather before the coming Wednesday snow storm, the size of the woodpile is shrinking, and the where Rotary Ice Fishing Derby will be taking place next weekend.


The Economic Recovery That Isn't

Despite the President's claim of economic recovery in his State Of The Union address, there are plenty of indicators that his claim just ain't so.

One of the biggest is retail sales, particularly over the holiday season just passed. Brick-and-mortar store sales were down, but some analysts attributed that to shoppers shifting their buying to on-line venues. But if the earnings report from Amazon is indicative of anything, that wasn't the case.

The title of the company's news release is cheerily optimistic: "Amazon.com Announces Fourth Quarter Sales up 20% to $25.59 Billion." And its operating income actually beat estimates -- $510 million, compared with $489.9 million. But fourth-quarter sales of $25.6 billion were considerably below estimates of $26.08 billion, and earnings per share were 51 cents instead of the 69 cents that analysts had been expecting.

While it's sales were up as compared to the same period the previous year, those sales as well as sales from other on-line retailers came nowhere near making up for the drop in sales from the brick-and-mortar stores. Over all, holiday retails sales were nowhere what they should have been if the economy had truly recovered. When chain retailers such as Sears, K-Mart, JCPenney, and Best Buy are scaling back by closing under/non-performing stores, that is an indication that consumers aren't in a buying mood. Much of that is driven by the fact that consumers are reluctant to part with cash they will need to purchase necessities should the economy remain flat, or that they don't have any spare cash to begin with.

I can certainly attest to both as my family's personal experience with this past holiday season proved both. We cut back our Christmas purchases dramatically, limiting ourselves to one gift among ourselves and very few if any purchases outside our immediate family. We didn't have the spare cash we've had in the past and we had major expenses coming up that we needed to cover.

It's one thing if ours was the only family in this situation, but discussions with friends, co-workers, and extended family proved this to be the rule rather than the exception. Most cut back on their holiday purchases for many of the same reasons cited above. So while the government says things are better, our personal experiences say otherwise. For the same reason we should also take any unemployment numbers the government releases with a grain of salt.

Anyone paying attention should realize that the unemployment numbers used cite only those unemployed who are still collecting unemployment benefits. If the unemployment numbers also included those whose benefits have expired or have given up looking for work that isn't there, then the number is somewhere between two and three times higher than what the government claims. That is not the sign of a recovering economy, but of a stagnant economy, something no one should be celebrating, with Barack Obama's assurance to the contrary.