Thoughts On A Sunday

It seems winter is reluctant to loosen its grip, with below normal temps, a bit more snow, and the possibility of a Nor'easter some time on Wednesday.

Even though I am a hardy northern New Englander, even I'm getting tired of this seemingly endless winter! At this rate Ice Out won't be declared on Lake Winnipesaukee until July 3rd!


While some folks are worried sick about anthropogenic global warming, there are much bigger things to concern ourselves about. One such thing?

A massive coronal mass ejection in 2012 that, if it had hit Earth, would have shut down and severely damaged electrical and telecommunications systems worldwide.

What's a little warming, natural or man-made, compared to that?


Eric the Viking has this one right.


Need a perfect example of how perverse tax incentives can have unintended consequences? Then all one needs to do is look at New York State and the high incidence of cigarette smuggling.

Raise the taxes, and hence the costs, high enough and the black market will find a way to exploit them, in this case by smuggling in less expensive cigarettes, usually from a nearby state with lower taxes but sometimes it will be untaxed cigarettes from somewhere down South.

It's the economic principle of supply and demand.

Looking at the chart in the linked article, it doesn't surprise me to find that New Hampshire has a very high outflow of cigarettes to nearby states. Cigarette taxes here are much lower than other states in the Northeast. If those charts also showed the inflow/outflow of alcohol, you'd see that yet again New Hampshire has a high outflow of booze because of the lower costs. Heck, we even have state liquor stores right on two of the major highways: I-93 and I-95.

As Glenn Reynolds calls the cigarette smuggling, “Irish Democracy.”

(H/T Eric the Viking)


If you're using Firefox as your browser, you may have noticed that at times it gets slow, and in some cases freezes. Sometimes you have to use the Windows Task Manager to shut it down so you can restart it. I noticed this problem when version 27.0 came out and was installed on the Official Weekend Pundit Main Computer. I thought I was going to be stuck with this problem until the next version was available. (I don't consider V27.0.1 to be a new version...and it doesn't fix the problem.)

Fortunately there's a solution to the problem, courtesy of David Starr.

A side note: The solution to the problem also speeds loading of websites!


The search for MH370 continues in the India Ocean, about 1500 miles southwest of Australia.

At this point the search for debris is taking a backseat to the search for the aircraft itself. Between the winds, ocean currents, and waves, any debris would be scattered far and wide.

If the black boxes can be located before the batteries in their pingers die, they can be recovered at a later time as conditions and equipment allow. The big problem with the section of ocean being searched is the depth of the water, which at some points is thousands of feet deep. That means either a manned deep submersible or a deep diving ROV will be needed to even attempt retrieval.

Until then, MH370 will be one of the great unsolved mysteries of the century.


The Democrats keep trying to float the “There is no voter fraud” meme as a means of deflecting any efforts to require voter ID in various states. But as more than a few investigations have shown, that claim is nowhere near true.

One such investigation run by a Florida news station certainly pokes holes in the “no voter fraud” meme.

(H/T Raised on Hoecakes)


By way of Cap'n Teach comes this John Hawkins piece on how we are creating a generation of wimps.

Americans rode in wagon trains across this country, tossed the Brits’ tea in the Boston Harbor, outfought the superpower of the 18th century to get our freedom, pounded the Indians, Mexicans, and Spanish into the ground to fulfill our Manifest Destiny and then for an encore, we saved the planet in WWI, WWII, and the Cold War. Our pioneer-pilgrim, hard-fighting, gold-mining, wagon-training, gun-fighting ancestors were so hard, Kid Rock’s American Bad Ass should have played when they walked into a room. We conquered a continent, built the Hoover Dam, went to the moon, and not only did our Olympic athletes refuse to dip our flag to Hitler during the 1936 Olympics, we made the most evil man who ever lived kill himself in fear before we could get to him.

That’s the stock that Americans come from, which begs an obvious question: What the hell happened to us?

As the saying goes, Read The Whole Thing.


Cap'n Teach also delves into the issue of the motivations behind French investors and entrepreneurs fleeing France.

It can be summed up with a single short sentence: Mostly taxes and regulations.

Between overbearing and stifling regulations and a “seemingly endless parade of taxes”, is it any wonder those who want to make a go of it in business are leaving for greener pastures?

If we aren't careful we could end up in the same position as Obama's business hostile taxes, regulations, and rogue government agencies increasingly take a toll on our economy.


Steve Macdonald delves into the potential evils of Regional Planning Commissions, equating them to the twisted 'health care' system that is ObamaCare. (There are scary parallels, for sure!)

I agree with Steve on some points, the biggest one being RPC's should have absolutely no power over the towns within their area of coverage. But I partially disagree with the idea that they aren't needed. If structured properly (and there's the proverbial fly in the ointment), they can be an asset to towns in a region, making it easier to exchange information and ideas between the towns. They can help towns coordinate efforts to deal with issues negatively affecting their towns. But they should have no regulatory power in any way, shape, or form. They should be an asset, not an overseer, period.

I am speaking from the point of view of someone who is a member of our town's Planning Board and deals with the local Regional Planning Commission from time to time. For the most part I deal with our local RPC on one issue only, that being better broadband coverage for the residents and businesses here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. The group dealing with this issue are trying to find ways to entice ISPs to expand broadband to everyone who wants it. Even if the RPC is just a place for all interested parties to meet, then it is fulfilling it's reason for being.


A quote Governor Rick Snyder (R – MI) worth remembering in regards to government and jobs:

It's not government...that creates jobs. Small business owners, entrepreneurs and innovators are the engine of job creation. It's up to government to help create the environment where jobs can grow.

This is something President Obama should have tattooed on his forearm.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where sugaring isn't going so well, the winter temps are returning, and where a possible Nor'easter is going to remind us that Old Man Winter isn't quite done with us yet.