Sonic Caves To Gun-Grabbers

Yet another food chain has capitulated to the gun-grabbers, with Sonic announcing it is “against customers carrying guns at their restaurants.” It's ironic considering that on the same day Sonic made the announcement one of their employees, a carhop, was robbed at their Topeka, Kansas store.

On the other hand one of their competitors, Chili's, has taken just the opposite tack even though they aren't outright banning carrying of firearms in their restaurants.

Chili’s, owned by Brinker International, said in a statement, “We kindly ask that guests refrain from openly carrying firearms into our restaurants and we will continue to follow state and local laws on this issue.”

Judging from Chili’s statement, customers are still permitted to carry a concealed firearm as long as they are complying with the applicable state laws.

As Cap'n Teach states, “You know why places like doughnut shops are rarely robbed? Lots of armed law enforcement. Gun shops are almost never robbed during open operating hours. Why are shootings, including mass shootings, more likely likely in gun free zones?”

The question answers itself.


More Unsettling Economic News

As a follow on to this post, there's this report about the US economy, showing that it's contracted at an annual rate of 1% during the first quarter.

If you're not clued in about economics, this is a Bad ThingTM.

On top of that there's the decreasing job participation rate and the U6 unemployment holding somewhere around 12 to 14%. (The U3 unemployment rate falling is a false signal that things are getting better. All it does is show that more people are falling off the unemployment roles not because they've gotten jobs but because their unemployment benefits ran out.) Any of these things by themselves signal that our economy is not recovering. Taken all together along with the falling retails sales numbers it means our economy is stagnant at best and falling back into recession at worst. (Not that we every really exited the Great Recession. It only paused for a while.)

If these aren't indicators that the Obama Administration has done everything it can to make sure our economy remains weak, I don't know what is. It appears to me that it's pulling every trick out of a jar labeled “DOESN'T WORK” and giving it another try rather than using programs and methods that have worked well in the past. One would think that even committed socialists like those presently in the administration would be able to see that everything they've done so far has only made things worse. Then again history shows they won't. That's certainly been the case in Cuba and Venezuela.

If the Obama Administration doesn't stop trying the same old failed economic policies soon, there won't be much of an economy left to save.


An Economic Twofer

I think we have to call this a two-fer because while the topics of the two posts I'm linking to are different, they are related, at least when it comes to their effects on our economy.

First, it 's the downturn in retail sales, particularly for some of the large retail chains like Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, JC Penney, Kohl's, Costco, Staples, Lowes, Home Depot, and Macy's, just to name a few. Some are calling it the “death rattle” of retail as we have come to know it over the past 14 years or so.

The absolute collapse in retail visitor counts is the warning siren that this country is about to collide with the reality Americans have run out of time, money, jobs, and illusions. The exponential growth model, built upon a never ending flow of consumer credit and an endless supply of cheap fuel, has reached its limit of growth. The titans of Wall Street and their puppets in Washington D.C. have wrung every drop of faux wealth from the dying middle class. There are nothing left but withering carcasses and bleached bones.

The implications of this long and winding road to ruin are far reaching. Store closings so far have only been a ripple compared to the tsunami coming to right size the industry for a future of declining spending. Over the next five to ten years, tens of thousands of stores will be shuttered. Companies like JC Penney, Sears and Radio Shack will go bankrupt and become historical footnotes. Considering retail employment is lower today than it was in 2002 before the massive retail expansion, the future will see in excess of 1 million retail workers lose their jobs. Bernanke and the Feds have allowed real estate mall owners to roll over non-performing loans and pretend they are generating enough rental income to cover their loan obligations. As more stores go dark, this little game of extend and pretend will come to an end.

It's not that retail sales will end by any means, but the big chains are in trouble and a lot of them are going to either shrink to a fraction of their former size or they will disappear altogether. (Does anyone remember Bradlee's, King's, or Ames, just to name a few?) The “build it and they will come” days of retail expansion is dormant, if not dead. There will be few, if any new malls built. Existing malls will either have to shift their focus to become something other than what they have been or they will wither away and die, to become nothing more than yet another empty or abandoned monument to conspicuous consumption paid for with money that wasn't really there.

Retail at the mom-and-pop level will survive, perhaps better than their chain store competitors. Online sales will also survive as they don't have the infrastructure costs the chain operations do. (It's here that the mom-and-pop stores may also thrive, offering local products not readily available elsewhere in the nation to those wanting them.)

Second, it appears our self-anointed betters have failed to learn the lessons of history, particularly when it comes to the subject of centrally planned economies, that lesson being “They Don't Frickin' Work!”

There are so many past and present examples showing the failure of the planned economy concept, with the Soviet Union being one of the biggest and Cuba and its socialist relative Venezuela filling the roles of present day planned economy disasters. But like most of our 'betters' they have somehow come to believe that they'll do it better this time because they won't make the same mistakes. However the problem is that they'll make exactly the same mistakes as their predecessors but they'll be blind to them because, quite frankly, they really aren't as smart and as wise as they think they are. They're trying to rein in a self-sustaining self-organizing semi-chaotic system and make it fit into their version of reality. However it won't react in ways they think it will and they'll find that all they can do is damage or destroy the economy, causing it to stagnate, or worse, to collapse.

F.A. Hayek won the Nobel prize in economics in part because of his prescient warning about what he called "the fatal conceit," of intellectuals, who tend to believe that they are capable of centrally planning life for everyone.

This fatal conceit is at or near the epicenter of nearly every crisis of recent times in America. Start with the housing bubble. A vast over allocation of resources by the federal government seduced Americans into buying a home, whether they could afford it or not.

On the eve of the financial meltdown in 2008, nearly the entire mortgage industry was subsidized By Uncle Sam. This over allocation of resources into homes caused housing prices to explode and it also rewarded massive speculation and fraud.

It all went downhill from there when the housing market collapsed, making hundreds of billions of dollars just disappear from the economy, taking banks, people's homes, and their credit ratings with them. That started a cascade that rippled through the rest of the economy here in the US and then across the globe. Rather than letting the market (and the banks) decide who could and could not afford to buy a home, the 'planners' stuck their hairy little pinkies into the economic bowl and short-circuited the normal feedback mechanisms that would have stopped the housing market bubble cold.

These same 'planners' also created the “Too Big To Fail” fallacy that justified hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts to the financial institutions who bought into the BS sold by these elite planners.

Here it is, 7 years later, we're still feeling the effects of that fiasco, and our 'betters' want to double down on stupid, digging an even deeper financial hole that we may not survive. What the hell is wrong with these idiots? Oh, yeah. I forgot. They know better than everyone else how things should run.

Not from what I've seen, they can't.

It's likely these are the same geniuses who also helped bring about the first issue I wrote about above.

And the hits just keep on coming....


Thoughts On A Sunday

The unofficial start of Summer has arrived with the arrival of droves of summerfolk over this Memorial Day weekend. Traffic has been very heavy since Friday afternoon and it hasn't really fallen off as one might expect.

The weather has been semi-cooperative, with a mixture of sun and showers throughout each day.

From here on out every weekend is going to be busy as we're close to full summer activities. Once the schools let out next month it will be full time summertime fun.


Another bit of zero-tolerance BS has struck, this time a bit closer to home as a local high school's prom was canceled when two seniors attending were discovered to be in possession of alcohol.

While the school administrators had warned students ahead of time about alcohol at the prom, it seems they didn't really think about the precedent they were setting, meaning they would punish everyone for the actions of a few. If they thought that would stop anyone from doing something stupid like sneaking booze into a dance, they thought wrong. Irresponsible teens will be irresponsible regardless of what they see as meaningless threats. Even I know that the two perpetrators either thought they wouldn't get caught (the most likely scenario) or they really didn't care one way or the other. By punishing everyone for the actions of these two morons, all they have managed to do is generate animosity towards the administrators. Yes, there will likely be some recriminations pointed towards the two girls who effed it up for everyone else, but it will be the administrators who will be the target of most of the anger.

Zero-tolerance polices do nothing but hurt the innocent, do little to prevent the very thing they are supposed to prevent, and lets school administrators off the hook when the policies backfire because they use the policies to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the outcome.

Rather than dealing solely with the two perpetrators, the administrators decided everyone had to pay the price. Did they really think the other students would somehow prevent the two idiots from bringing alcohol to the prom? If so, then they really don't understand the adolescent mind.

Even though school officials have said they will make it up to the students who were not involved, there's no way they can. Literally thousands of dollars were lost when the prom was shut down as the class had started fundraising for the prom since their freshman year. Will the school reimburse them for that? Obviously not. What should have been a night to remember has instead been turned into one the students would rather forget. List them as yet more victims of zero-tolerance policy madness.


I have to agree with the premise that radical feminism will breed itself out of existence.

It seems a lot of the radical feminists hate the idea of having children. As a result they'll have no daughters to whom they can pass on their pathological misanthropy. Since many of them see heterosexual sex as 'unnatural' and 'nothing but another form of rape', it is unlikely they will ever procreate. As such, much of their ideology will die with them. (Not that radical feminism will entirely die out, but its ranks will be greatly diminished as its adherents die off.)

My personal experiences with radical feminists is that they have a deep seated hatred for people in general (their misanthropy), even other women. Their hatred is even deeper for women who refuse to adhere to their radical view of the sexes and their roles, at least those assigned by evolution and biology. But time alone will see them disprove their own ideology as one by one they die, leaving no progeny behind them.


Personally, I blame the schools for failing to teach economics at an earlier age.

If our younger generation had a good grounding in economics, there's no way they would have supported Obamanomics because they would have been able to figure out it's a loser, particularly for them.

An intelligent young person should be able to figure out that Obamanomics (zero or slow economic growth combined with a deliberate effort to make as many people as possible dependent on government) has been a disaster for young Americans; Obamacare has raised the price of individual insurance by requiring lots of coverages that young people don’t need; young people are getting shafted by the entitlement state, and so on. But it seems that most young people have not yet figured out even these basic elements of their own self-interest. They are too caught up in gay marriage. Or something.

Unfortunately too many of our younger generation have been indoctrinated for so long it is difficult for them to think outside the intellectual box they've been stuffed into by our schools. It isn't easy for them to figure it out for themselves...until it's too late. By then they've been handed the bill and they don't have the means of paying it.


Bob Parks lays his much deserved Bitch Slap Of The Day upon Harry Reid.

It seems Harry is once again delving into areas where he should just stay the hell out of. His latest foray into cluelessness – Pushing the NFL to force a name change on the Washington Redskins.

I agree. The Washington Redskins should change it's name because it is offensive. They should heretofore be known as just the Redskins. I find tying in the word Washington with that venerable football team to be highly offensive, considering that our nations' capitol has decayed into nothing more than a pit of vipers for sale to the highest bidder (particularly rent-seeking pseudo-socialist supporters of the Democrat Party).

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


Yeah, I think this poster explains the insanity of the Left's opposition to Voter ID.

It should be posted at every polling station and voter registration/town clerk's office across the nation. If nothing else it will remind everyone why we should ridicule anyone who says Voter ID will deny the right to vote to any citizen, particularly the poor and minorities.


Can this be considered yet another nail in the coffin of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming?

NOAA has predicted the number of tropical storms and hurricanes in the North Atlantic for 2014 will be below normal. The prediction includes the number of storms actually making landfall. This follows their previous predictions – all wrong – that we would experience above normal number and severity of hurricanes. None of those prognostications came to be, with well below normal levels and severity of storms. (Some might point to Sandy, which did widespread damage to the New Jersey and New York shorelines, but the storm itself was not the sole cause. A cold front that swept out of the west blocked the storm and wrung out an inordinate amount of rain that might not have otherwise fallen.)

We keep hearing about how Global Warming will create bigger and more severe hurricanes and tornadoes, but the reality is showing just the opposite. Some of the MSM coverage of thunderstorms and tornadoes throughout Tornado Alley over the past couple of years might make you think things are worse, but we have been seeing numbers well below average for a number of years.


I got around to some much needed work her inside The Manse.

The Official Weekend Pundit Clothes Drier bit it quite some time ago and we didn't have the wherewithal to replace it immediately. There were a number issues with it including the fact that it never really worked all that well, had a tendency to scorch clothing, and on more than one occasion wouldn't dry the clothes because the electronic igniter failed (it was a gas drier). I've had both gas and electric driers in the past, but this was the only one that ever gave me trouble.

Finally the means to replace the defunct drier became available and the search for a new one started. But two things needed to be addressed before actually purchasing a new drier – gas or electric, and replacing a section of the drier exhaust ducting that had been Mickey Mouse'd when The Manse was built.

Some of the places where we looked for a new drier stated right up front that converting a gas drier to run on propane would cost extra, anywhere from $30 to $300 more than the purchase price. So we expanded our search to include electric driers and figured in the cost of adding a 220V outlet in the laundry niche. However, when I checked with the retailer from whom I've bought from in the past, they said they only charged $30 for converting from natural gas to propane, regardless of the model. While gas clothes driers tend to cost more the electrics, they aren't that much more than comparable electric driers. So the change over to an electric drier has been abandoned and we're going to stay with gas.

When it comes to the venting, the builder put in a long stretch of the flexible metal accordion fold vent from the basement into the laundry niche rather than installing rigid vent pipe like the did out to the exhaust vent. I am working to remedy that by cutting out a bit more of the drywall where the venting comes through the wall and installing actual vent pipe. Once this is completed I can go an actually buy the new drier.

It will be nice not having to make the drive down to the laundromat or over to the WP Parents to dry the wash when the weather doesn't allow use of the clothesline.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the summerfolk are here in force, the traffic is insane, and where I'm still working on getting the lawnmower running again.


Computer Software, And Therefore Computers, Are Broken

The old saying goes, “If it ain't broke, don't fix it.” Unfortunately it appears that the saying has been modified, mashed, and rearranged for use in the software age to read “It's it's broke, we'll fix it in a later release, maybe, and we'll break other things when we apply the fix.” At least that seems to be the case with the operating systems and software we use on our desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smart phones.

Let's face it, software is broken and it has been for a long time. There are some programs that are damned near bulletproof, but they are used in things like the old Space Shuttle and other military and aerospace equipment that absolutely must work right every single time. The Shuttle is a good example of that reliability.

Even though computer technology made leaps and bounds since the first Shuttle flew, NASA didn't want to upgrade the computer hardware because the software was rock solid and had thousands and thousands of testing and and flight use. Upgrading the computers would have required rewriting all of the software with no guarantees it would work properly with the new hardware. All of the work the software engineers put into the original software would have thrown out. So even though the computers on board the Shuttle were the equivalent of the old Radio Shack TRS-80 in computing power, they were proven designs and it was known with certainty that they would work with the software and work every time.

Another example is our land-based nuclear arsenal. The computer systems are an ancient design, using 8” floppy disks for launch programming and authentication. Their very age means that it isn't likely a new programming bug will show up and it also means it's impossible to hack. (There are no Internet or other network connections to the launch computers and it's unlikely any of the present day hackers even know the programming language used for those systems.)

The two examples above are the extreme, but they show that it is possible to create 99.999% flawless programming code. The downside: it's very expensive to do so.

Does that mean we're doomed to a life using barely adequate software in the rest of the world?Probably.

I have seen the “It works good enough for now, so ship it!” attitude at my place of employment. The engineers usually want to spend more time making it right, but the marketing depart wants the product out there yesterday. That has come back to haunt us more than once over the years as both known and unknown software bugs reveal themselves in the field, making our product more difficult, if not impossible, to use properly.

That attitude also seems to exist with many of our more critical computer systems that control everything from banking to traffic control to utilities.

It’s hard to explain to regular people how much technology barely works, how much the infrastructure of our lives is held together by the IT equivalent of baling wire.

It was my exasperated acknowledgement (sic) that looking for good software to count on has been a losing battle. Written by people with either no time or no money, most software gets shipped the moment it works well enough to let someone go home and see their family. What we get is mostly terrible.


This is because all computers are reliably this bad: the ones in hospitals and governments and banks, the ones in your phone, the ones that control light switches and smart meters and air traffic control systems. Industrial computers that maintain infrastructure and manufacturing are even worse. I don’t know all the details, but those who do are the most alcoholic and nihilistic people in computer security. Another friend of mine accidentally shut down a factory with a malformed ping at the beginning of a pen test. For those of you who don’t know, a ping is just about the smallest request you can send to another computer on the network. It took them a day to turn everything back on.

It's kind of scary to think that just about every computer on the 'Net, either directly or indirectly, is vulnerable. About the only machines that aren't are those isolated from the 'Net. And that still doesn't take into account the gawd-awful operating systems and programs that don't work the way they're supposed to. As Glenn Reynolds puts it, “If houses were built like software, one woodpecker could destroy a city.”

I do have two computers here at The Manse not on the network that I use for such things as word processing and a few amateur radio applications. They both use Linux for an OS. Even then they aren't entirely secure because I use USB keys to move files from them to other machines that are on the network. Even when the USB keys are 'erased' or reformatted after I use them, that is no guarantee that some bit of malicious software didn't make it's way onto the non-networked machines by way of these keys. It's just less likely. The risk still isn't zero, nor will it ever be.

Still, I would be willing to wait longer and pay a bit more to get software that actually works well, isn't buggy (at least for the features I use), and doesn't leave my computer vulnerable to exploits by crackers.

Further Debunking The 97% Claim

The Warmists keep citing the long discredited “97% of all scientists agree global warming is caused by humans” mantra as if that's all that's needed to justify taking draconian measures to 'stop' global warming. They choose to ignore that even if we did everything they want us to do, their own projections show it would have little effect on the global average temperature in 2100, maybe decreasing the overall temperature rise by less than 0.1ºC in that time.

Getting back to their sacred “97%” mantra, it appears a group of over 31,000 US scientists disagree with the premise and believe climate science is still unsettled and have signed a petition stating so.

"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will in the foreseeable future cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate," the petition says.

"The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of 'settled science' and an overwhelming 'consensus' in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong," the petition asserts. "No such consensus or settled science exists."

Over 9,000 of the petition's signatories have a Ph.D. in a scientific field.

Unlike some of the 'scientists' involved with the IPCC reports, many of whom were in Political Science, something that cannot be equated with actual science fields and does not use the Scientific Method which must be fully understood by anyone in the sciences or related fields.

The origins of the “97%” figure are many, including a non-scientific poll sent out to over 3,000 people involved in the climate debate. Of the respondents, only 79 were actual climate scientists and out of those 79, 77 responded that they believed global warming was caused by human activity, hence your 97%. (The poll questions were leading, meaning it was what is called a 'push poll' which elicits the responses the poll was designed to evoke. True opinion polls ask a wide range of questions and should be designed to reflect the actual opinions of respondents and not lead them towards any particular response.)

Others were derived from analyzing numerous papers on the subject, looking for certain key words, and using the analysis to justify the 97% claim. Some of the authors of those papers protested, stating their conclusions do not match what the analysis reports.

Regardless, the so-called consensus about global warming is meaningless as “consensus science” isn't science, as more than one great scientist has stated. (Albert Einstein is reported to have stated, “It doesn't matter if a thousand scientists agree with me. It only takes one to prove me wrong.”)

As anyone versed in science knows, the science is never “settled” as new discoveries and new experiments can disprove or modify what is presently known about any scientific principle, theory, or hypothesis. And so it is with climate science.


Obama Foreign Policy An Abject Failure

It's bad enough that the Obam Administration's domestic policy stinks, being one of the most opaque “transparent” administrations in history. (Even the Nixon Administration wasn't as secretive and authoritarian as this one.) Other than the True Believers®, no one sees the Obama Administration as either effective or truthful.

When it comes to foreign policy, it's even worse. (At least the Nixon Administration's foreign policy was quite competent and engaging.) In the almost five and a half years Obama has held office, their isn't a single foreign affairs 'win' his administration can claim, but dozens of mis-steps and outright disasters trailing in his wake.

Not than any of the liberal members of academia will ever admit it, but the 'moderate' members of academia aren't so close-minded. ('Moderate' as defined by the Chicago Tribune, so take the description with a grain of salt.)

Charles Lipson, a professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, asked two simple questions of a group of two dozen Chicago leaders, described by him as “some Democrats, some Republicans”, and the response he received was telling.

I asked a simple question, “Can anyone name a significant American achievement in world affairs over the past five years?”

The room was completely silent. Since the group had traveled widely, I posed a second question, “Have any of you visited countries where relations with America are better than five years ago?” Again, silence.

These were people who zip all over the globe and deal with senior officials. Many had backed Barack Obama’s historic presidential candidacy in 2008 and his re-election in 2012. Yet they were stumped when asked to name any recent achievement in American foreign policy.

With a foreign policy that seems to designed to disengage us from the rest of the world, is it any wonder our allies no longer trust us and our adversaries see us as weak and vulnerable and are working to fill the vacuum that has been left by our 'withdrawal' from the rest of the world? It has been apparent right from the beginning that Obama's plan was to 'act nice' and hope our enemies would stop seeing us as a threat and in turn would also play nice. But the only the first half of that plan has worked, meaning our adversaries no longer see us as a threat and are making moves to expand their influence to the detriment of us and our allies. All it has done is emboldened our enemies because they know our response will be in the form of words and not actions.

Assuming Obama doesn't find some way of remaining in office after January 20, 2017, any president following Obama, Democrat or Republican, will have a lot of work on their hands to repair America's image, regain the trust of our allies (assuming we have any left by then), and to bring the fear of utter destruction back into the minds of our adversaries. If the adolescent foreign policy of the present occupant of the White House continues after he leaves office, our nation will find itself standing alone because we have alienated our allies and emboldened our enemies.

This is what happens when you elect a clueless, incompetent politician who is good at campaigning running the country. Our President has found that campaigning is easy and that governing is not...and he's been incapable of making the switch from campaign mode to governing mode. We see it every time he speaks in public – his speeches always sound more like he's still campaigning rather than running the country. The electorate became so enamored of this cult of personality that they ignored Obama's real accomplishments, which were few enough and nothing worth crowing about.

One has to wonder what would have happened if it had been Hillary who had been elected president rather than Barack. I have a feeling we would have been in a much better place in comparison, both economically and diplomatically, and that's saying a lot considering I have little liking for Hillary in any way, shape, or form.


Another Member Of The Oh-So-Tolerant Left Reveals His Hypocrisy

How many times have we seen members of the “Party of Tolerance” prove that they are anything but tolerant? How many times have we seen members of that same party who profess hatred of racism show the world that it is they who are racist, both subtle and blatant? Too many times to think that it's anything but an aberration.

The latest example of this hypocrisy is provided by Joshua Bigger, a white Texas liberal and a blatant racist showing his racism and intolerance towards a conservative black man in a series of tweets that revealed his true feelings about minorities, particularly those who refuse to stay on the progressive-run plantation.

You can always count on the tolerant Left to set a fine example for living in harmony with all races — as long as certain races think and act like they’re damn well told.

Tweeter Joshua [wishes he was] Bigger perfectly illustrated how leftists feel they can be as vile as they want to be when it comes to racial epithets, as long as they’re attacking politically disobedient minorities. Writer Robert A. George and friends were having none of it though.

Unlike Bigger the Bigot, George and his friends didn't resort to invective, slurs, or other foul means of expressing their displeasure at Bigger's actions. However, that seemed to egg Bigger on and he became even more foul-mouthed.

One of the best responses to Bigger's racist rant came from D.W Robinson, who tweeted:

"The inner child typed naughty words to strangers as the super ego drooled quietly on itself in the corner"



The Commencement Speech They Need To Hear

In light of the various protests by the perpetually offended few and the disinvitations proffered by a number of institutions of higher learning, maybe it's time for some of those wackos to get a lesson in real life. If all they ever hear are those who they agree with they will never learn anything new and they will be living within a fragile cocoon that, when shattered, will leave them incapable of dealing with the harsh realities of life.

Perhaps the best person to give these willfully ignorant and close-minded jerks a lesson is P.J O'Rourke who has offered his services as a commencement speaker. Here's a small preview of what he would tell the graduating students of one college – Rutgers - whose administration has shown to have no backbone by not telling the local variety of the perpetually offended to “piss off”.

I hear Condoleezza Rice stood you up. You may think it was because about 50 students—.09 percent of your student body—held a “sit-in” at the university president’s office to protest the selection of Secretary Rice as commencement speaker. You may think it was because a few of your faculty—stale flakes from the crust of the turkey pot pie that was the New Left—threatened a “teach-in” to protest the selection of Secretary Rice.

“Sit-in”? “Teach-in”? What century is this?

It’s shame she was busy. You might have heard something useful from a person who grew up poor in Jim Crow Alabama. Who lost a friend and playmate in 1963 when white supremacists bombed Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Who became an accomplished concert pianist before she tuned her ear to the more dissonant chords of international relations.

O'Rourke goes on to list Rice's achievements, most of which the graduating Class of 2014 could only dream of accomplishing, and even then not nearly as well as she. Yet somehow she's undesirable as a commencement speaker. At one point she was probably the most powerful woman on the entire frickin' planet, but these know-nothing ass-wipes decided she wasn't good enough because they disagreed with some of her beliefs. This gives the rest of us yet another example of the morally bankrupt and murderous ideology being spoon-fed to gullible students without the means to understand they're being lied to by people who do not have their best interests at heart.

In any case, Read The Whole Thing.


Thoughts On A Sunday

For once the Weather GuysTM got it wrong, at least compared to the weekend forecast they made last Wednesday.

While we did have rain, it was only in the morning and by 10AM it was done. Sunny skies and warm temps were the rule for the rest of the weekend.

The WP Parents and I made the trip down into the People's Republic of Taxachusetts to celebrate the graduation of one of my nieces from college. Unlike many of her peers, she's graduated debt free. While her parents helped defray some of the cost of college, she covered the rest herself, between scholarships, grants, and working part time during school and full time between semesters.

It helps that she's “wicked smaht”, matriculating with two degrees, one in economics and the other in mathematics.


The WP Parents have been having problems with their computer, in this case it's been acting up and refusing to boot. I'm headed over a little later today to see if I can resurrect it.


I have to confess that I have not really been paying attention to what's been going on around the country, let alone the rest of the world. I've been busy with other things, primarily making a living and taking actions to ensure I can continue to make a living. I have also been paying a lot more attention to what's been happening here in my home town as well as some of the surrounding towns as we approach summer. Frankly it's a lot more appealing to focus locally than having to deal with the BS in Washington or on the other side of the world. It's a lot less complicated and has a more immediate effect than something taking place in Nigeria, Ukraine, or East Nowheristan.


It's amazing what you'll find when you open up an exterior wall to do some renevations, or in this case what you won't find.


The News Junkie is willing to take bets whether or not Miami will be under water in 10 years.

Considering the 'prediction' is based upon some of the same models that have so far turned out to be woefully inaccurate, I'd be willing to wager Miami will be just fine in 10 years.


This is something I've known for some time, courtesy of Farmer Andy: Organic farming is not sustainable, at least not outside of First World nations. Because crop yields are anywhere between 20% and 50% less than 'standard' farming, it puts a greater strain on the soil and water supply, meaning you get a lot less food for the input of labor, water, and 'organic' fertilizer. If everyone went back to organic farming there would likely be a worldwide shortage of food and what food there was would be much more expensive.

But there is one upside to organic farming the proponents fail to mention: there would be fewer poor in the world because they would have all starved to death. I'm surprised they haven't mentioned that considering many of the same folks seem to be for reducing the human population on Earth. Then again, it would be politically incorrect for them to do so.


I've mentioned the ever increasing rates cable TV companies have been charging for video programming and that they have little control over those rates. That lays entirely in the laps of the video content providers. But what I didn't know is that rate of fee increases charged to the cable companies, and hence to subscribers, has gone up at four times the rate of inflation.

Somehow I find it hard to believe the quality of that programming has increased by that same factor of four. Is it any wonder there's a push by consumers to go to á là carte programming? It should surprise no one that the content providers will fight that tooth and nail as the present system provides them with one heck of windfall. But the down side to the present system is that the number of subscribers has been falling as prices increase and that trend isn't likely to change unless prices come down.


Jeff Carter asks “Why is there such high unemployment in Illinois?” The answer is simple, something Carter tackles with ease, that being state government. As he puts it, “Sometimes Illinois even goes out of its way to shoot itself in the foot,” passing legislation that everyone except the legislature and the governor knows will stifle economic recovery.

One might say the same malaise has infected California as well, with over-heavy regulation of every aspect of life and business.

The next question is whether either will realize it is the cause of the very problems they are trying to solve.


Why is it the media thinks it's only Republicans who have mansions? From the series of reports from the Washington Post, the AP, Politico, and the San Francisco Chronicle, David Boaz posts that it appears the Democrats do not lack for mansions of their own. Or is the media just conveniently ignoring the multi-billionaire Democrat donors hosting fundraising parties at their mansions because, after all, they're supporting the correct political party?


Like David Starr, I remember back when you could pull into any gas station and up to the air pump, dial up the pressure you needed, and connect it to your tire(s), and it was free.

Those days are long gone and now you'll be lucky to find a gas station that has an air pump, free or otherwise.

We have our own air pump here at The Manse, obviating the need to find one out there. But there will still be times when one will be needed at a moment's notice and we'll fun trying to find one.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the good weather has returned, yard work is never-ending, and where once again Monday has returned to screw up the weekend.


They're Still Using The "Appeal To Authority" Ploy To Silence Dissent

As a follow up to yesterday's post, there's this by way of James Taranto where the usual suspects fall back on “appeal to authority” to justify their non-reality based faith in anthropogenic global warming.

Of all the silly things written on the subject of global warming, Marcus's and Lapidos's offerings are surely among the most recent. Apart from that they're entirely typical of the genre of global-warmist opinion journalism, in which ignorant journalists taunt politicians for their ignorance but have no argument beyond an appeal to authority. Lapidos: "Does Mr. Rubio think scientists are lying? Or that they don't know what they're talking about? Either way, what leads him to believe that the 'portrait' of climate change offered by scientists is inaccurate?"

Appeals to authority aren't necessarily fallacious, except in the realm of formal deductive logic, where they entail adopting the unfounded premise that the authority is infallible. In informal logic--such as political debate at its best--an appeal to authority can be a sound argument if the authority is both relevant and trusted. And when dealing with complicated matters in which one lacks specialized expertise. As Michael Gerson puts it in the Washington Post: "Our intuitions are useless here. The only possible answers come from science. And for non-scientists, this requires a modicum of trust in the scientific enterprise."

Do you see the subtle problem with Gerson's formulation? The injunction have trust after tossing aside your intuition is at best a contradiction in terms, at worst a con.

So we're supposed to ignore that little voice inside us that tells us “There's something that's not right with their claims,” and instead trust someone “in authority” that has already been shown to be untrustworthy in this regard?

Then there's the close-mindedness often shown by the AGW proponents, making sure to punish any who might stray from the faith, pressuring them to recant their blaspheme or to silence them, destroy their reputation. The most recent victim of the “Climate Inquisition”, Professor Lennart Bengtsson, a climatologist and former director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany was so concerned with his work as well as his health and his life that he stepped down from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think tank whose purpose was to question the assumptions being made about climate change and promote open discussion about the issue. The climate Alarmists will brook no defections, no questioning of their orthodoxy, so the pressured the 'defector' to step down. So much for open discussion about a science that has far more questions than answers.


Colder Means Drier

The AGW Powers-That-Be are still hawking the “We're all gonna DIE!” line, refusing to change their litany despite temperature data showing that the models they've been using to 'prove' their point are full of crap. Maybe they believe that if they keep chanting the same mantra about warming temperatures again and again that it will actually come true. They also make the mistake of automatically assuming that warmer temps are a bad thing despite plenty of historical evidence proving just the opposite.

David Archibald points us to papers that show that cooler temperatures driven by a less active sun will actually make for a drier climate and extended drought, particularly in western North America.

“Ah-hah!” you say, thinking you've found a flaw...except that you haven't. The cooler sun that leads to lengthy droughts is upon us again. A number of solar astronomers and physicists believe our sun has entered a lengthy period of low activity, also referred to as a minimum, one that will last decades and will lead to generally colder temperatures.

It will be interesting to see how the AGW faithful will explain away the reality that finally slaps them in the face. But somehow I think they'll still find a way to blame global warming AND George W. Bush.


Just How Delusional Are They?

The intellectual disconnect that seems to infect some of the more rabid leftists in this country never ceases to amaze me. Between the almost fanatic recitation of the canon that is the modern day leftist and the devotion to dystopian ideals would be amusing if it weren't so scary. We've seen this again and again throughout history, particularly during the 20th century.

The modern version seems incapable of taking part in honest debate, mistaking repetition of the same talking points ad nauseum as debate and resorting to ad hominem attacks when their opponent refuses to recognize the brilliance of their rote memorized manifesto. Facts aren't important, nor is logic. Ideology trumps experience, and their favorite 'argument' to end debate is to state “the matter is settled,” as if that's all that's required to 'win'.

I see examples of this all the time in the comments section of various opinion pieces published in the Wall Street Journal, with these very witty and erudite leftists putting us in our place, [/sarc]

One of the more illuminating examples was seen today in this piece about the Keystone XL pipeline and how Obama is doing what he can to stall it, perhaps at the behest of his buddy Warren Buffett.

One of Obama's defenders immediately started the vitriol, slamming anyone who didn't agree with him as “right wingers” who “are junkies” who have been “cowed by the control of Big Oil.”

One claim he kept hammering us with was how the pipeline would “destroy American agriculture.” When asked to explain he lays out such a fantasy about a massive crude oil leak that will poison the entire aquifer in short order. Even though a few of the other commenters tried to point out the amount of crude required to do that was well above the capacity of the proposed pipeline and that it would take years to dump that much crude, but he was unconvinced. Apparently he believes that the amount needed to wipe out agriculture in the Midwest would take only a few hours to leak from the pipeline.

I could quote him directly, but I figured it would be more entertaining if you go read it for yourself. There will be no problem identifying him as all you have to do is read the comments. You'll see him again and again....and again...and again. He loves using copy and paste as if all he has to do to convince anyone is to repeat the same crap over and over again. He has absolutely no concept of science or the scientific method, and resorts to ad hominem attacks at the drop of a hat.

I wish I could say that folks like him are few and far between on the WSJ opinion page, but they are all too common. At times it's scary to think that people as delusional as this fellow are out there in large numbers. What's even scarier is that they are true believers, and true believers are always the most dangerous people because they can find ways to justify anything to prevent their ideology from being challenged.


Spurious Correlations And Other Statistical Tricks

I know this has been making the rounds on the blogosphere, 'this' being the subject of spurious correlations, by which two entirely unrelated statistics appear to have some kind of correlation, with the trends of one appearing to some how affect the other.

We've seen this before over the years where politicians, activists, and/or media will use these correlations to 'prove' some point or another and using that correlation to justify the need to “Do Something!” (I generally find that the furor generated by such folks to “Do” that “Something” is inversely proportional to it's actual importance.) As has been stated again and again, correlation does not imply causality, meaning that just because two sets of data appear to track each other does not automatically mean that one causes the other. In other words one set of data implies the cause and the other set implies the effect.

Something that illustrates this concept are the charts shown at the link above that show correlation of a series of unrelated data that could be used to imply all kinds of tenuous links, such as the divorce rate in Maine being affected by the per capita consumption of margarine in the US, the import of oil from Norway tracking the number of drivers killed in a collision with a train, or how the number of honey producing bee colonies in the US ties in with the number of juvenile arrests for possession of marijuana in the US.

Another bit of statistical legerdemain is to use two correlating statistics and arranging them such that statistical cause and effect are reversed.

One of the most recent and most blatant use of this statistical trick is the link between global average temperatures and CO2 levels. When AGW proponents try to prove their case, they show the upward slope of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere 'matching' the upward slope of temperatures. They point to the graph and proclaim “See, the increasing CO2 levels are causing a rise in temperature!” and demand the world does something to stop it. But what these same folks don't show you is the beginning points of both sets of data, where the downward slopes of both datasets level out and then start their upward swing. Those points are the references one should use to determine cause and effect. If the AGW proponents included those points in their graphs much of their arguments would be blown out of the water because their graph would show that temperatures started rising well before the CO2 levels did so. But because their charts show at best a couple of hundred years of data and ignore the reference points they give a false impression that effect is really cause. The chart doesn't show the offset of the two reference points that show the implied cause of rising CO2 levels is rising temperatures and not the other way around.

Another little statistical trick sometimes used to justify some 'cause' is to take two sets of correlating data and claiming that the first caused the second when in fact both were caused by a third factor totally ignored by those trying to create a certain impression. A perfect example was the much hated and maligned National Maximum Speed Limit imposed by the government at the behest of a bunch of busybodies who decided they were going to save our lives even though it wasn't necessary.

The proponents of the NMSL took two statistics, the number of traffic fatalities and the average speed limits and 'proved' that the lower speed limits imposed during the Arab Oil Embargo back in 1973/1974 led to lower traffic fatalities in the US. But what they conveniently ignored were the number of passenger miles traveled during that time which had greatly decreased because of the scarcity of fuel. Taking a look at the traffic fatality rate – the number of fatalities per millions of passenger miles – there was no statistically significant change seen, meaning the real reason for the drop in traffic fatalities was the decrease in the number of miles traveled. The 10% fewer fatalities correlated directly with the 10% decrease in the number of miles traveled which in turn meant there was no change in the fatality rate.

So the next time someone tells you that statistics show that X correlates with Y, and therefore X must be causing Y, take it with one heck of a huge grain of salt because they're probably lying to you...and maybe themselves.


Thoughts On A Sunday

More summer-like weather has arrived, with warm temps and higher humidity. I'm not complaining as it has allowed me to open up all of the windows around The Manse and motivated me to put the screens in the storm doors. It has also meant cutting back some of the brush and saplings along the driveway as yet another season of growth will mean they will impede the passage of cars. (I should have cut them back last year, but I ran out of round tuits.)


This teacher should have her teaching credentials revoked and she should be forced to spend time with WWII veterans and survivors of Nazi predations.

Then again, she's a perfect example of what Lenin called “useful idiots” and should be used as such, with people ridiculing her in public and laughing at her whenever she opens her mouth. Her revisionist history of the war against the Nazis in Europe is so disconnected from reality that perhaps she should be examined for some underlying psychiatric condition. Oh, wait, she's a self-avowed Leftist! That explains everything: she IS mentally ill!


David Starr analyzes the two options congressional Democrats have in regards to the Benghazi investigations, neither which will play very well with a public that thinks the real cause of the death of four Americans in Libya, including the US ambassador, is being covered up by the Obama Administration.

Neither option will serve the Democrats well. One makes them look like a spoiled child who takes their ball and goes home. The other makes them look like they've got something to hide. Either way it makes them look like losers.


Here's a second piece by David Starr that lays out the means of reforming Congress and doing away with omnibus bills, riders, and obscure language within bills used to obfuscate the meaning and scope of legislation.

One suggestion I like: Restrict bills to a single topic.

A suggestion I'd like to add is to implement a modest proposal my dear brother and I have been promoting for over 30 years as a means of returning Congress to the people.


In the search for a link to the modest proposal I mentioned above, I reread many of my Sunday posts from over 10 years ago and came to realize that I used to generate my own commentary to a much greater extent and linked to other blogger's posts sparingly. Reading those posts from years ago made me wonder who wrote them because, quite frankly, they were much better and more cogent back then.

It took a while for me to figure out why the quality and content of my writing shifted so much – life changed.

Back then I was single and the only one I had to take care of was me. I didn't have any immediate family obligations that kept me away from the keyboard. Today I have a family which takes up a large portion of my non-work time, as it should. That leaves much less time to think about things great and small which in turn means I am more dependent upon what other people write. That has certainly degraded the level of commentary I write and it shows.

I'm beginning to think I should get back to that even if it means less posting. As I have come to realize, more posting doesn't automatically equate to better posting. I have to admit to falling into the “I have to post just about every day or no one will like me!” trap.


What's next? Dogs and cats sleeping together?

It appears that at least one Syrian rebel now understands that the problem in Syria and other Middle Eastern Arab nations has not been Israel, but their own governments and the militant Islamic groups they support.

Once, Israel was blamed for everything. But Israel is not our enemy anymore. We see how Israel opened its doors to our injured. We see how Syrian children are treated in Assad’s prisons and how they are treated in Israeli hospitals. Israel gave food while Assad starved his own people. Syria has only one enemy now: the Assad regime backed by Iran and Hezbollah. I meet with Syrian dissidents and military leaders daily and have seen how, after decades of brainwashing, their mentality has begun to change.

It's amazing to see when someone's eyes are opened and they come to realize they've been lied to for years.


I've been seeing large numbers of summerfolk this weekend. The winter storage covers are being removed from boats and they're being prepped for another boating season. Many of the seasonal restaurants are open, at least on weekends. I've been seeing a lot of work being done around homes, repairing the damage from the long harsh winter, including docks along the lake's shoreline. (They took a particularly hard beating from the ice this past winter.)

Once the rains pulled away early yesterday afternoon the local motorcyclists were out in droves, as they have been today.

I have partaken of the farm's retail store, specifically some of their baked goods. I have forgotten how good their oatmeal raisin cookies are, being highly addictive. (That's why I only by a single package of two at any one time, and then only twice a week.)

I can only hope the summer weather will be good all season long, making up for the rough and lengthy winter.


We're still around six months away from the midterm elections and the campaign rhetoric and attack ads are already cranking up.

Former Senator Scott Brown (then R-MA) relocated to New Hampshire a few years ago and is now running against incumbent Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen. While some of the anti-Shaheen ads have been pretty tame, dinging her for supporting and voting for Obamacare (funded by Americans for Prosperity), the anti-Brown ads have felt slimy right from the get go. Then again it isn't surprising considering they're being funded by Majority PAC, Harry Reid's organization created to keep him in his position as Senate Majority Leader.

Considering the vitriol we see being spewed by Reid on the floor of the Senate against anyone he doesn't like (this also gives him cover against slander suits as anything he says there is not actionable as slander), particularly the Koch brothers, is it any surprise Majority PAC has already started using sleaze to try and sway GOP voters in the Granite State? Maybe they figure if they can keep Brown out of the race Shaheen will be a shoe-in for re-election. That tells me they're afraid Brown will clean Shaheen's clock at the polls.


I was watching the morning news on our local ABC station when a story about college graduations came up. In and of itself that's not surprising. But what the news anchor said about the story caught me off guard and I had to back it up a bit (DVRs are a wonderful thing), and make sure I'd her heard correctly. It went something like this:

“...and now that they've graduated they can start worrying about paying off all that loan debt.”

It wasn't until later I realized why she added that comment: her daughter is in college and she knows first hand what it's costing to send her there.

It's the higher education bubble, local edition.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the summerfolk are here in droves, a lot of work is getting done around winter ravaged homes, and where we really need one more day of weekend to get everything done.


Some Thoughts About Television And How It's Changing

The not-so-old joke runs “We'll have a thousand channels cable TV and there will still be nothing on!” What's really funny is that it's closer to the truth than many realize.

According to Nielsen, the average American home receives 189 channels of TV by way of cable or satellite. (Here at The Manse it's closer to 270 channels.)

But of all those channels, how many of them does the average American family watch? 75? 50? 100?

The answer: 17.

At first I thought that number was way too low, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it's probably spot on. Here at The Manse I reviewed the channels that we actually watch on a regular basis and came up with a total of 22. If I include those we watch on an occasional basis, meaning only a few times a year, then the total bumps up to 27. We watch 27 channels but are required to pay for an additional 243 channels that we never watch just to get the ones we want. Our satellite bill runs about $79 per month. Subtract out the rental fee for the satellite receiver and it comes to $74 per month for the 270 channels we receive. That means we're wasting $66.60 per month on channels we don't watch and never will. That's $799.20 per year we're wasting on programming we don't watch. For others it's even more.

That sucks. That's an awful lot of money to pay to watch only a few channels.

Is it any wonder why people keep asking about á là carte programming, meaning they only pay for the channels they watch? It's the one question I heard again and again when I was acting as a technical advisor to our local cable TV consortium as they negotiated a new contract with the cable TV company.

It's no wonder more people are cutting the cord, using the Internet to watch the TV shows they like, or going old school and putting up outdoor TV antennas to watch the over-the-air transmissions from the broadcasters.

There have been attempts to make á là carte programming a reality, the last one being by Senator John McCain (R-AZ), but his bill died aborning as the content providers (not the cable companies...with the exception of Comcast who is both a cable company and a content provider because it owns both NBC and Universal Studios) lobbied hard to kill it, and succeeded. But if something isn't done soon, the falling number of TV subscribers will become one heck of a deluge as the content providers price themselves out of the market. That's already happened to Viacom, with a number of smaller cable companies dropping the Viacom channels because they were now too expensive to carry. (Viacom asked for a rate increase that was 40 times higher than the rate of inflation, meaning well over 30%.)


Quote Of The Week

This is one of the better quotes I've seen in a while.

Political correctness is an admission of intellectual frailty.
Call it yet another version of 'appeal to authority' when your opponent's position is weak.


Little Big Kittehs Go For A Swim

Call this a palliative post, something to get you smiling.

This is a video of four lion cubs undergoing their swim test in preparation of being presented to the public. The cubs have to prove they can swim and get out of the pool by themselves before they're allowed out into the lion compound.

They seem much less bothered by the water than seven of the felines under our roof. The eighth likes water, just like most Maine Coon Cats. But she's still smaller than the lion cubs seen swimming in the moat above!


The National Climate Assessment Has Some Major Problems

As one goes over the National Climate Assessment it doesn't take much reading to realize that it isn't a scientific document, but a political one.

It overemphasizes the possible negative effects of a warmer climate and gives little if any mention of the positive effects of such a change. It takes as gospel the predictions based upon admittedly flawed climate models that don't even come close to matching the observations over the past 17+ years. (It isn't the model that's wrong, it's the observations!)

Considering national policy that will affect everyone in this country is going to be based upon this skewed report, it behooves us to take a close look at what it really says, which has nothing to do with reality. What's worse is that even if we were able to cut our carbon emissions to zero it would have no effect on the climate as developing nations like China and India would increase their emissions enough to wipe out any decreases in our emissions in just a few years.

Am I denying that the climate is changing? Nope. Not even close. But do I believe we are the major cause of climate change? No way in hell. We're aren't even a minor cause except locally. The supposed correlations between CO2 levels and temperatures has the effect and cause backwards as historically CO2 levels have lagged temperatures by a few hundred years. We must remember the First Law of Correlation, that being “Correlation Does Not Imply Causality”, something the AGW faithful choose to ignore because it puts a big hole in their belief that It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans. If CO2 rise is caused by a rise in temperature then all of their snake oil 'cures' for global warming will be proven as a con game writ large.

And so it is.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Things are greening up in this part of New England, with trees budding and grass turning from brown to green. The process is running a bit behind schedule as we usually see this during the last week of April.

Even planting season is running behind at the farm, between the colder than normal temps and very wet ground delaying tilling. Some crops that would normally be seeded in the fields are instead getting a head start in the greenhouses.


One thing that has to be taken care of shortly is removal of the carburetor on the Official Weekend Pundit Lawnmower.

The crappy fuel the government calls gasoline (E10) does real number on small engines, causing corrosion or, if the ethanol settles out, clogging the jets and choking off the flow of fuel to the engine. That is what I believe has happened with the lawnmower, meaning it doesn't run. (This occurred at the end of the mowing season last year and I didn't have the time to deal with it then. My bad.)


Hey, if you've got a spare $27.5 million laying around you can buy Ron Howard's place down in Greenwich, Connecticut.


The backlash against the thoroughly intolerant, close-minded racist Left on the Rutgers University campus has been building.

While the #NoRice fascists got their way and Condoleezza Rice has decided not to speak at the Rutgers commencement, much of the student body has been slamming both the faculty and students behind #NoRice protest, saying they have hijacked the graduation and imposed their will upon the majority who were looking forward to hearing Rice speak. Most see it is yet another bit of backhanded racism for which the Left is so famous, that being that one of the most accomplished “Woman of Color” is an unsuitable speaker because she thinks for herself and refuses to follow the script the Left demands of minorities.

Reading some of the tweets supporting Condoleezza Rice it appears that quite a few graduates will have nothing to do with their soon to be alma mater because of the actions of the radical Left on campus. The alumni association had best not expect any donations from these disgruntled grads. Maybe it's time for those who have endowed the University who disagree with the actions of the #NoRice dips**ts to withdraw those endowments to show their displeasure. Let the leftists on campus know there are consequences for their actions.


Did the Robert's Court set up the ACA – aka ObamaCare – for a fall when it found in favor of the respondent stating that the ObamaCare penalty for non-compliance was a tax?

George Will tells us about the upcoming case in the U.S Court of Appeals that is preparing to hear arguments that the ACA was really revenue legislation and as such, violates the Origination Clause of the Constitution which states “All bills for raising reveornue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.”

The argument goes that the version of the ACA that became law was created in the Senate, and the Speaker of the House stated it was “deemed as passed” and therefore is invalid because such bills can only originate in the House.

If the U.S. Court of Appeals agrees with the plaintiffs, this could set off a constitutional crisis that would have to be heard by the Supreme Court. Should SCOTUS decide the legislation violated the Origination Clause, ObamaCare would be dead.


Granite Grok has a video of a great speech by Dr. Duke Pesta that addresses the abomination that is Common Core and how it will destroy what is left of our public education system as well as private education.

How anyone, except Leftists, can think Common Core is a good thing totally escapes me.


Fellow Granite Stater Tom Bowler delves into Benghazi, giving us a two-fer, with revelations about Benghazi and the broader policy failures that have been an earmark of the Obama Administration since the beginning, particularly in regards to Benghazi and the needless deaths of four Americans at the embassy, including the ambassador.


The latest jobs numbers seem a little funny, with 288,000 new jobs reported. The only problem is that there were 344,000 new unemployment claims during the same period.

So how is it the unemployment rate declined?

It didn't really. It merely reflects the number of unemployed who have dropped off the U3 unemployment rolls because their benefits have run out. If you look at the U6 rate, you'll see it's unchanged, as it has been for the past few years.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the rains have been coming and going, local folk have started getting their summer places ready, and where we have at least a few more weekends before the summerfolk arrive in earnest.


A-10 On The Chopping Block Again?

I think that almost everyone out there knows what I mean when I say “Warthog”, particularly if you are of a military bent. If you're not familiar with that, then what about the A-10?

It has been one of the most effective platforms for close air support ever created and has been proven again and again in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. While originally designed to counter Soviet armor in Western Europe, it turned out it was equally adept at taking out SAM and anti-aircraft artillery sites as well as laying down a world of hurt against enemy troops. It is one of the toughest aircraft in the US military arsenal, being able to survive in combat environments and take damage that would bring down its flying brethren, be they fixed or rotary wing aircraft.

Yet the Air Force, in its infinite wisdom, has decided once again to kill off the A-10 in favor of much more expensive, more vulnerable, less capable, and untested aircraft that is still in development. I guess the A-10 just isn't 'sexy' enough despite its stellar combat record and its effectiveness on the battlefield. (This isn't the first time the USAF has tried to get rid of the A-10, it having wanted to use the F-16 in the attack role even though it was far more vulnerable to ground fire and moved too fast to be nearly as effective in a close air support role. But its performance during the Gulf War earned it a reprieve.)

J. Furman Daniel, III, gives us 10 good reasons to save the A-10 from the chopping block.

I won't reiterate them hear as I've already mentioned two of the most important reasons above. But if those two aren't good enough, how about the bottom line?

At present there are 340 A-10's in service. It would cost about $3.7 billion to keep them flying. But the cost of their supposed replacement, 300 of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, will cost ten times that much to acquire - $37 billion – and have much higher operating costs. Where are the cost savings the Pentagon is using to justify retiring the A-10? Even if new A-10's were built they would cost a fraction of the F-35's and still be far more capable in close air support and AAA suppression than the F-35 could ever dream to be.

This sounds like a combination of the Warthog being too ugly, too “unsexy” for the USAF to keep flying and a case of “penny wise, pound foolish”.


We Have Met The Enemy And It's The IRS

During the late 1920's and early 1930's the most feared and reviled organization wasn't the Mob, though the Mob had a reputation for ruthlessness. During the Cold War the KGB and GRU weren't all that concerned with the FBI or the CIA. Today, one of the most feared organizations isn't the NSA.

Which organization was it that garnered fear in the hearts and minds of mobsters, Soviet moles, and the average American citizen alike?

The Internal Revenue Service.

Think I'm kidding?

Today the IRS is yet another rogue agency that believes itself to be outside the law, beholden to no one and nothing, including the Constitution. It can ruin the innocent and guilty alike with the stroke of a pen, and the IRS doesn't discriminate between the two. It has little oversight but it can become the tool of whoever is in power, being used to damage or destroy political opponents.

It's corrupt nature has been exposed before during hearings detailing its abuses of honest American citizens, their families, and their businesses. Then Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) was one of the inquisitors who delved into the institutional abuses and exposed them to the American public. One might think that the IRS would have learned its lesson, and it did. Unfortunately it learned the wrong one, becoming even more out of control and capricious.

One of the latest outrages is its use of civil forfeiture laws and creative interpretation of the law in order seize the assets of small businesses that even the IRS admits have done no wrong.

So why does it continue to do so?

Because it can. It appears it has a pass from Attorney General Eric Holder, which means it will do what it damn well pleases because it knows no one is going to stop them. What the IRS has become is a government sanctioned crime organization, no different than the mob of old. Even IRS insiders like William Henck, an attorney in the IRS Office Of Chief Counsel, calls the agency for which he worked for over 26 years a corrupt organization fraught with misconduct. Writes Henck:

IRS executives are confident in their lack of accountability because the decision makers in Washington will not hold them accountable. Ordinary people understand that misconduct and corruption in the national tax collection agency are a critical problem. They also understand the difference between right and wrong. Ordinary people, however, are not running things.

Henck's observations of the operation of this corruption-laden organization should have had the media frothing at the mouth. But all he got in response was the sound of crickets. Apparently the media had no problems with the IRS's blatant flouting of the law and its willingness to use its power to destroy anyone with the temerity to challenge it.

All this means to me that it is time not just to investigate the IRS, but to abolish it outright. I see that as the only safe means of routing out the corruption that pervades that agency.

Note: I had left out a link to the post that covered Henck's experiences due to an oversight on my part.