Sometimes Life Intrudes

I could comment upon all kinds of political, technical, or scientific doings around the world.

Instead, I'm going to talk about...me.

As some of you have probably noticed, blogging has been sporadic. I haven't lost interest. In fact there are all kinds of topics I could write about, something I could do all day. But as everyone who blogs knows, sometimes real life intrudes and something must give.

Between a number of family matters – the passing of my father last fall and my wife's ongoing battle with breast cancer – as well as the demands of work as we try to complete a project on that is on a tight deadline, and time I must devote to another endeavor that is taking more time than I thought it would, the time and wherewithal to blog as been in short supply,.

I am not putting aside the word processor as there are still plenty of things to blog about. But until some of these matters are resolved, blogging will continue to be a little sporadic.


Obama Finding Out He Does Have Limits

It seems that Obama was surprised by the backlash garnered when he announced plans to tax withdrawals from 529 education savings plans. What did he expect?

He said during the State of the Union address that he was going to change the regulations governing the savings plans and treat any interest as taxable income, gutting the intent of the plans: to help save for post secondary education. What makes his idea even more laughable is that he would use the revenues to pay for “free” community college, meaning he was taking money from the very people he said he was going to help, in this case the middle class. This sounds almost like the old “Gimme your lunch money!” extortion pulled by the school bully. How is it the President thought there wouldn't be a hew and cry from those who were about to have their savings accounts raided to help pay for someone else's education? Or did he know and just not give a damn?

Of the two, I'd say it was more likely the latter as we already know he has no love of the middle class, indicated by the actions he's taken over the past six years that have decimated it.

While he claimed this would really only affect the rich, the rich generally don't use 529 plans to pay for their kids' education. They usually pay it out of pocket. The biggest users of the 529 plans are the middle class, not that that little detail bothered him in the least.

At least now that he's backed away from the idea, seeing the huge negative reactions to it by both parties in Congress, and knowing he would never get away with imposing such a tax by executive order. (If I remember the Constitution correctly he has no power to do so, which could lead to a constitutional crisis and either intervention by the Supreme Court or impeachment by Congress.)

Obama is finding out rather late in the game that he isn't omnipotent and that elections have consequences...for him.


Snow Storm Thoughtlessness

To prove just how crazy folks have become since the news media has been trumpeting the impending doom that is the coming blizzard, I have this little tidbit that I experienced personally.

I had finished work for the day, went home to pick up the gas can so I could get some fuel for the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower and to check what Deb might need to help her diminish the symptoms of her cold.

With the gas can in the back of the trusty F150, I headed off to Walmart to pick up their generic version of Nyquil. Twenty minutes later I had the cold remedy in hand and my wallet was 6 dollars lighter. From there it was off the gas station near the local airport, and then home.

I pulled into the gas station, and due to a few vehicles already occupying the pumps, I waited patiently for one of them directly in front of me to finish and then pull away. Finally, the fellow in the car at the pump I was going to used finished, got into his car and pulled away.

Just as I started moving forward towards the now vacant pump, a car pulled into the station from the road, cut in front of me and pulled in next to the pump I was going to use.

I admit to being a bit steamed that someone would pull such a rude and stupid stunt. I came inches from colliding with their left rear quarter as they made their mad dash for the pump. (I'd had to wait a small distance away from the pump because the previous car was facing towards me and needed the room to pull out.)

As the driver of the offending vehicle got out of her car, I honked my horn and gave her a “What the heck?” shrug.

Her response: “F**k you! I'm in a hurry!” It figures, considering she had Rhode Island plates.

My response was to pull up behind her car, put the F150 in park, roll down my window and say, “Here in New Hampshire we try to be polite. You might want to consider that while you're here.”

Her response: “F**k you, pops! First come first serve!” She then proceeded to pump her gas.

While she was doing that, the truck in front of her finished, pulled away, and another vehicle pulled in, facing towards her. It was big Ford F350 diesel and if it was like most of those I know, it was going to pump a lot of fuel, meaning it was going to take a while.

She finally finished, got the receipt printed out by the pump, and started to get into her car when she realized she wasn't going to be able to pull out until the F350 in front of her was done. She then has the gall to tell me that I have to move my truck so she can get out. By then there were a couple of other vehicles behind me, meaning backing up was not an option.

So I did the only thing I could do.


To say she was peeved would be an understatement. That she thought that I had to do anything for her, particularly after her actions and her expletive laden retorts and threats, had me wondering if she was plain crazy, storm crazy, or perhaps a little of both.

It took another ten minutes for the fellow in he F350 to finish filling his tanks before he finally backed out away from the pumps and left. With squealing tires and a flash of an upraised middle finger, she was off, too.

I was able to fill my two gallon gas can in less than a minute and I was then on my way as well.

It was just a mile or so from the turnoff from the state route on to the road to The Manse that I again came across the woman from Rhode Island. She was making the acquaintance of one of our local police officers who must have decided that she'd broken one traffic law or another.

As I drove by I waved. The officer who was standing beside her driver side window waved back and then continued talking to woman in the car. (I must confess at this point that I know most of the police officers in this town and this particular one was a neighbor of mine until recently.)

I have to wonder just how late she was to wherever it was she was in a hurry to get to?

All of this illustrates one universal truth: Karma is a bitch.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We're still cleaning up after the snowfall we got as a result of the first of two Nor'easters (the second is supposed to hit this area starting some time Tuesday morning).

For the relatively small snowfall in this area from the first storm, the effects were bigger than I expected. The roads turned slick very quickly and 4WD was an absolute necessity to go anywhere. Sand didn't help all that much and getting out of The Manse's driveway was iffy at best.

BeezleBub and I cleared away the last of snowfall this morning, spreading sand and some snowmelt (calcium chloride) to melt away some of the ice and compacted snow. Once the sun hit it much of the big slope on our driveway was down to pavement for the first time in over a week.


The second Nor'easter headed this way is supposed to be a doozy, with anywhere from 10 to 24 inches expected to fall here in central New Hampshire. Normally that wouldn't concern me, but the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower may not be up to the task of clearing away the snow.

Two earlier snowfalls with heavy wet snow with the consistency of soggy mashed potatoes put a heavy strain on it, causing the drive belt for the auger and impeller to stretch to the point where it no longer engaged when needed. BeezleBub managed to make an adjustment to take up some of the slack on the belt, but it doesn't look to be in good shape. All we can hope for is that it will last long enough to take care of the coming storm (it should all be very light, fluffy snow, something we think the snowblower should be able to handle. I haven't yet found a part number for the belt in question, but hopefully I can find it on the Web later and call our local supplier to see if they have a new one in stock.

As a back up we did talk with our neighbor, asking if we might be able to use her snowblower should ours break down. Since we have taken care of her driveway when she's away, she had no problem with the request. So we do have a Plan 'B' if out snowblower fails.


I see that Obama is yet again going to snub our allies, in this case he won't lower himself to attend the 70th anniversary remembrance of the liberation of Auschwitz. I guess he's got a golf date that conflicts with this solemn event.

All I can say is that the next president, Democrat or Republican, is going to have to do a lot of fence mending to undo the eight years of damage caused by Obama's total lack of competence in regards to foreign relations.

What. A. Putz.


I can state with absolute certainty that I agree with Sarah Palin 100% on this:

“Screw the Hollywood Left!”


Frankly, I'm hoping she runs for the GOP presidential nomination. If nothing else it will cause heads to explode in Hollywood.


Juliette Ochieng tells it like it is: Dumb equals death, particularly in regards to black lives.

As the saying goes, Read The Whole Thing.


Obama says he's for the Middle Class. But if that's so, then why is he going to take away even more money from them? In this case, he is apparently eying the money many middle class families put aside into 529 savings accounts, money that will be used to pay for post-secondary education.

Though millions of Americans have been putting money into "tax free" 529 plans to save for their children's increasingly expensive college educations, President Obama would change the law so that withdrawals from the plans to fund college would be taxed as ordinary income. So while you used to be able to get a nice tax benefit by saving for college, now you'll be shelling out to Uncle Sam every time you withdraw to pay for Junior's dorm fees.

BeezleBub has had a 529 account for a long time and it's the reason why he hasn't had to borrow a penny to pay for school. But if Obama gets his way the result will be that he won't have as much money set aside as he thinks he does because up to a quarter of that money will be taken away when he withdraws it to pay his tuition and to purchase books.

And where will that tax money go? To pay for other people's “free” education. So once again Obama wants to punish the productive and thrifty in order to buy votes from his base, i.e. the takers.

It's yet another action right out of Atlas Shrugged. By the way, it was meant to be a warning, not a how-to manual.

Taxing the 529 plans isn't the only target Obama has his eye on.


In light of Obama's plan to tax the hell out of the Middle Class, the News Junkie delves into the so-called Death Tax, where the government can confiscate some or all of the estate of the deceased even if it will leave the surviving family destitute.


Unlike our Teleprompter In Chief, Governor Scott Walker does just fine without one.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the day was spent cleaning up after the last snowfall, getting ready for the next one, and where Spring can't come soon enough.


Leftist Idiocy Should Have A Color

In my previous post about the Left, I called them maroons, a play on words from a Bugs Bunny cartoon used to signify the object(s) of derision were morons. That got me to thinking.

Maybe the idiocy of the Left and their moronic view of the world should be assigned a color. That color should be maroon.

It would signify to the rest of the world that anyone wearing maroon should not be taken seriously because they are morons, a people to be pitied. Any ideas or demands being put forth by these poor souls should be devoutly ignored because experience has shown them to be dangerous, unworkable, and in the end, deadly to hundreds of millions of people over the past 100 years or so.

So the old Bugs Bunny admonition applies well here: What a bunch of maroons!


Showing Their True Colors

Witnessing the meltdown by the Left over American Sniper merely illustrates to anyone paying attention (and not infected with the Leftist 'virus') just how disconnected they are from the realities of life outside their cloistered and imaginary world.

The one thing the Left seems incapable of understanding is that the only reason they have the freedom to be the pathetic delusional idiots they are is because of the very people like Chris Kyle they vilify.

They see their fellow Americans as barbarians and the radical Islamists as kindred souls.

They revere people who would be more likely to enslave, rape, and kill them in the same horrific manner as Al Qaeda did to Nick Berg or ISIS did to Daniel Foley rather than embrace them as their brethren. (A little hint to our resident Leftists: The Islamists see you as corrupt infidels with no morals, no faith, and with little, if any value other than as an object lesson to other corrupt and amoral infidels. They won't care if you're a supporter of the LGBT community because they will kill all the members of the LGBT community due to the perversion of their practices in the eyes of Allah. They will silence you because the one thing they do not believe in is freedom of speech. You will submit or die.)

I think one of my biggest gripes is that so many of the Left condemning American Sniper have neither seen the movie or read the book. But somehow they feel qualified to comment upon it. They are depending upon the opinions of other Leftists who also have not seen the movie or read the book. It's all one big kneejerk reaction to something someone else felt. (Remember, with the Left it's always about feelings, not facts.)

What a bunch of maroons.....


SOTU 2015 - Same Old Same Old

OK, I've read the State of the Union address and I saw nothing new. It's the same old rehashed stuff the President has said before. He stated some outright falsehoods, the biggest one being that unemployment is lower than it has been since just before the Great Recession. The actual unemployment rate, meaning the inclusion of those whose unemployment benefits have run out or have taken jobs that pay far below what many earned before, is almost three times higher than the 'official' rate. Nice try, Mr. President. He is going to raise taxes on the “rich” to pay for even more social programs that will do nothing but eat up taxpayer dollars and give nothing in return. It's right out of the Tax and Spend handbook.

You say everything is better than it was, but 60% of Americans disagree with you. It's not better for far too many Americans, specifically Middle Class Americans. Much of what you've done to fix things helped the very richest and the very poorest, but it screwed over the everyone in between. That isn't progress, Mr. President, that's willful destruction of an entire class of people, the backbone that made America great.

He also used I/I've/Me/My only 79 times during his speech, a record low for him, but still more than 10 times the number used by his four previous predecessors during their SOTU speeches.


Thoughts On A Sunday

There are all sorts of things happening around Lake Winnipesaukee, yet the only thing anyone is paying attention to or talking about is the playoff game between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts this evening.

Never mind that I had a small accident that damaged the garage at The Manse. (Note to self: don't wear the big-ass snow boots when driving the trusty F150, even if all you're doing is pulling it into the garage.)


Hearing the news about the crackdown and arrests of terrorist sleeper cells across Europe evokes only one response from me: It's about time.

The virtually unrestricted of Muslim immigrants and their refusal to assimilate was a formula for disaster. All one has to do to see the bad effects of that is Sweden, where the crime rate has skyrocketed, particularly sexual assaults, almost all of which were committed by unassimilated Muslim men.


A 25-year old “Gender & Migration Consultant” working for the city of Boston was fired by the mayor after she took part in the I-93 protests that blocked traffic into the city the other morning.

Two questions brought up about this consultant:

What the hell is a “Gender & Migration Consultant” from Finland doing working for the city of Boston?

Don’t we have enough Barnard graduates with useless degrees born in America who can do this job?



Glenn Reynolds comments upon a Washington Post article that reports a majority of children in public schools are in poverty, stating that “[T]he WaPo has missed the big story — it’s not that so many students are poor, it’s that the non-poor students, and parents, are exiting the public schools.”

I wonder what the teachers unions have to say about that?


That the US is not building more really tall skyscrapers is not a sign of American decline, but rather an indicator of maturity, specifically when it comes to performance versus cost, according to Coyote Blog.

Many of these super-tall building projects make little economic sense, but are completed to validate the prestige of emerging nations, like teenage boys comparing penis sizes.

I discussed this in the context of rail a while back at Forbes.  In that case, it seems everyone thinks the US is behind in rail, because it does not have sexy bullet trains.  But in fact we have a far more developed freight network than any other country, and shift of transport to rail makes a much larger positive economic and environmental impact for cargo than for [passenger] rail.  It comes down to what you care about -- prestige or actual performance.   Again choosing performance over prestige is a sign of maturity.

Performance over pretty is a good metric for any kind of economic activity.


I watched Senator Rand Paul (R -KY) on our local TV station's Close Up program and I have to say I think he has a good view about what is needed in the way of a GOP presidential candidate, and it isn't the 'same old, same old' the GOP has put up over the past two election cycles.

That Romney is considering a third run for the Oval Office has generated some buzz, particularly since everything he predicted would happen in regards to the economy, foreign relations, and terrorism has come to pass. But I think he may be past his 'expiration date'. On the other hand Ronald Reagan didn't win until his third run for the White House.


Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) describes herself as “always an outsider”, but looking at her history I'd have to say that's a delusional viewpoint. While she is keeping the pressure on Hillary and the Democrats in regards to 2016 and the Obama Administrations close ties to Wall Street, she is not really an outsider but a stealth insider. She just hides it better than most.


While the EPA is tasked with protecting the environment, will it be the cause of a increasingly unreliable electrical grid as it forces more of our power generation stations offline?

With the EPA pushing new mandates and deadlines that are impossible to meet, more generating capacity is going offline just as demand is increasing. With shrinking capacity margins it may be only a matter of time before demand exceeds supply and utilities will be forced to employ rolling blackouts, something we usually see in Third World nations, not here. Then again the EPA has become less about protecting the environment and more about taking more control of the populace be strangling our energy supplies. Then again we've known the EPA is a rogue agency under control of no one. It ignores court decisions, congressional regulations, and even some executive decisions.

Maybe it's time to defund the EPA and start with a clean sheet of paper to create a new EPA that is severely limited in its scope and understands that it exists at the discretion of Congress.


While both the wealthiest and poorest Americans have fared better over the past few years under Obama, the middle class has taken it on the chin and isn't likely to fare any better of over the rest of Obama's term. It explains why Obama's lost the middle class.

One of the emerging ironies of the Obama presidency, in fact, is the sagging fortunes of the American middle class while those on either end — rich and poor alike — have arguably fared better under Obama.

It’s no surprise, then, that Obama is most popular with the lowest earners, with an approval rating of 52% among people earning less than $2,000 per month. That’s the highest approval rating of four income brackets. Obama’s lowest marks come not from the wealthy, as conventional wisdom might suggest, but from middle earners with incomes between $5,000 and $7,499 per month, who only give Obama a 44% approval rating.

As much as Obama claims he's trying to help the middle class, his actions have been proving just the opposite. But that's not surprising considering a strong middle class is anathema to his beliefs because they don't need him or his cradle to grave help and therefore not beholden to him. That's why he really doesn't care about them because the poor are easy to please and the rich will give him all kinds of money. The middle class will give him nothing so he has no need of them.


David Starr comments upon the possibility the UK may leave the EU should the United Kingdom Independence Party, or UKIP, gain enough seats in Parliament in the upcoming elections.

I certainly understand the UKIP's stand in regards to the EU bureaucratic strangulation of the economy. They see the UK being slowly wiped away by unelected government officials in another country and they're having none of it. Frankly I would welcome them into a NAFTA-like agreement that opens the entire North American market to them and the UK market to us. They would likely do better considering the North American market is much larger than the EU market and not burdened by nearly as much bureaucratic inertia as in the EU.


With somewhat warmer temperatures forecast for the next few days I've taken the opportunity to let the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove to go cold, allowing me to perform some needed maintenance.

Unlike some forms of heating, woodstoves require more maintenance. In this case I've had to remove the air tubes and fire bricks at the top of stove's interior to clean out the accumulated ash. Without this bit of work the stove won't heat as efficiently as it did at the beginning of the heating season. So once during the winter, usually during the January thaw, I let the stove go cold and clean out the not so easily reached parts to remove the accumulated ash. It also allows me the time to apply more adhesive to the door gasket to ensure it remains in place for the rest of the heating season.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the lake has mostly frozen over, freezing rain is making the roads slick, and where I'm making final preparations to watch the Patriots-Colts game.


Fox News Viewers Are More Informed Than The Left Wants To Believe

I am constantly amazed at the obsession the Left has with Fox News. Despite their claims that it is thoroughly biased and close-minded, more than few on the Left have made the observation that Fox does air contrary views while the balance of the MSM does not.

But that the Left decries Fox's 'bias' proves that more than a few of them are watching it, unlike CNN and MSNBC.

Kevin Williamson delves into this issue, deconstructing a PunditFact 'study' that was neither a study or in anyway unbiased and the many Alternet claims about Fox's viewers and just how stupid they are to believe a number of “outrageous” things that they believe are in error. However Alternet's beliefs are themselves proven to be in error. Here are a few Williamson mentions.

91% believe that the stimulus legislation lost jobs. [Some highly credentialed academic economists believe exactly that; economists at large remain sharply divided on the effect of the stimulus.]

72% believe that the health reform law will increase the deficit. [It almost certainly will, if you believe the Congressional Budget Office and the (ho, ho!) Government Accountability Office. Here, Fox News viewers were hardly alone: The majority of respondents answered the same way.]

49% believe that income taxes have gone up. [They have -- the top rate in 2009 was 35 percent; it’s now 39.6. Assuming that 39.6 percent is still more than 35 percent, 49 percent of Fox News viewers are bulletproof here; one wonders why the number isn’t higher.]

Williamson goes on to show how poorly Alternet interpreted the study they cite as proof that “Fox News makes you stupid,” attributing much of it to confirmation bias, meaning they ignored anything that disagreed with their beliefs.

No surprise there.


Yet Another Victim Of Institutional Cowardice

The whole “campus rape” meme got old very quickly, particularly since it has been hurting a lot of innocent people. The whole thing has been blown out of proportion, with much of the justification for the actions taken by colleges and universities based upon a poll that even those who ran it understood was flawed because most of the participants were self-selected. The study was limited to two public schools and was never meant to be used as the basis of an overreaching and, in the end, unconstitutional policy from the Department of Education.

The result has been the railroading of numerous college students, specifically male college students, charged with sexual assault and disciplined or expelled based solely upon an accusation with absolutely no corroborating evidence, no investigations, no means for the accused to defend themselves, without even the appearance of due process. This has left an increasing number of colleges the targets of lawsuits filed by those students summarily 'convicted by accusation'. However that hasn't stopped them from continuing with their persecution of students based entirely upon their gender.

The latest victim of this witch hunt atmosphere is an autistic student who hugged and kissed another student on the top of her head that he had mistaken for a friend of his. His punishment for the mistaken identity?


It was an honest mistake. No one was harmed, molested, mussed up, or raped. But that doesn't make a bit of difference. So a special needs student has seen his academic studies terminated because the college isn't brave enough to call it an honest mistake and to let it be.

People need to be fired from this supposed institution of higher education because they are incapable of being able to discriminate between a case of mistaken identity and a sexual assault.



Are We Going To Become A European "Gimmedat" Nation?

Our leftist brethren must be reminded now and then that even though they admire European socialism, even as it's running out of other people's money, is that America is not Europe, and no amount of cajoling, manipulating, and outright threatening the American public is going to change that.

America has no history of respect or trust in government, a history of defiance of the State, no history of serfdom, no homogeneity at all. And except for the (fortunate, in retrospect) Africans sold by their brethren and the Muslim slavers into slavery to Americans, America's traditions are based on its eager settlers, pioneers, and immigrants and are all about "leave me alone."

JFK spoke for all immigrants with his "Ask not..." speech, which stood in bold contrast to the Euroland of his time and, perhaps, in contrast to some of America today. As we say, America was not made for sissies, but for the few and the brave. Not for farm animals.

Too much of European socialism and its ersatz American cousin are more about the “Gimmedat” nation, where government beneficence is seen not as something bestowed by a caring government but as something owed to the recipient without the need to actually contribute anything towards the benefits they receive. Again the problem is that eventually such a system runs out of the money its been taking from the productive members of society and the “Gimmedat” nation collapses.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been relatively quiet here at The Manse. It's been just the regular chores needing doing, and that's suited me just fine.

We did go have breakfast with the WP Mom down at one of our favorite local eateries, something we haven't been able to do very much over the past year.


Tom Maguire delves into Islam, al-Sisi's speech calling for Islamic reformation, and the New York Times finally taking notice, though it is still clueless.


It's amazing what happens when one has nothing to lose.

In this case Dr. Terry Hughes, professor emeritus of earth sciences and climate change at the University of Maine, feels free to speak his mind about climate alarmism and the financial incentives driving it.

Apparently when science professors retire, they finally get to say what’s really on their mind.

“You will never read or hear any of this from the scientific and political establishments,” [said Hughes]. “I’m now retired, so I have no scientific career to protect by spreading lies.”

He said he thinks dire global warming predictions are really all about lassoing federal research funding and votes.

“Too many (the majority) of climate research scientists are quite willing to prostitute their science by giving these politicians what they want,” the glaciologist added.

How long have those of us amongst the “We're NOT all gonna die” camp been saying this?

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


The New England Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens yesterday, 35-31, advancing them to the AFC championship. They'll be playing the Indianapolis Colts next week at home.


We hear about the murder of French citizens and police officers in France by Islamic extremists, but not a word about the massacre of 2000 people by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram in Baga, Nigeria. They destroyed the town and 16 other surrounding villages and there hasn't been a mention by the MSM in the US except for Fox News.

I guess as long as it's only black people killing other black people, it's perfectly OK with the Lame Stream Media.


Bogie tells us of the sleeping arrangements she and her cats, Tory and Fuzzy, have. That both of them appear to like settling down with their 'ma' was a peasant surprise for Bogie.

Minnie and Miss have similar arrangements with me, though occasionally Cole, Henry, and Pip will also hop up on the bed and settle in for sleep. That makes it interesting some mornings because I'll have as many as six cats on the bed, making it difficult to get up.


It appears the hacker group Anonymous is seriously pissed off at the jihadists for the Charlie Hebdo attack and has vowed to shut down every jihadist website it can find in response.

That the jihadists are trying to kill free speech pisses off Anonymous more than just about anything else. If they can kill off the jihadists means of communicating with their followers by the Internet, it may lessen their ability recruit.

More power to 'em.


Skip Murphy gives us a visual that certainly explains the applicability of certain college degrees in today's job market.

It's funny, too.


Reliapundit has a take on Obama's proposal to make community college 'free': “It's not about what's affordable for students or the federal government. It's about proposing something that will make the GOP look mean when they oppose it.”

BeezleBub and I discussed this and he his thoughts on the matter took a somewhat different tack, that being that if it did indeed become free, then those without jobs who do not avail themselves of the opportunity to learn a new trade or earn a degree should lose any government benefits they're collecting. It has to be a carrot and stick approach otherwise there's no real incentive to better one's self.

But then we know the whole thing is nothing but a front, a cheap way to make Obama appear beneficent knowing it will never come to be. Then again, that's how he's been since he took office – make great promises but carry through with very few of them. It's easy to make promises, particularly when there's no intention of keeping them.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)


David Starr reminds us that Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) really sucks at economics and business, particularly in regards to the Keystone XL pipeline. We must remember this is the same Chuck who caused a California bank to fail overnight by incorrectly stating it was in trouble, triggering a run on the bank and withdrawals of over a billion dollars in deposits.

Chuck should learn to keep his mouth shut when he doesn't know what he's talking about. But then that's never been his strong suit.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where winter continues, the woodstove is running 24/7, and we'll have to break out the snowblower again.


A Bad Day

It wasn't a great day today.

Nothing went wrong at home, always a blessing.

But I had to do something I never thought I would have to do at one of the organizations with which I am involved.

I had to fire a friend.

While I understood the necessity, at least academically, I felt like I was the poor sod heading up the steps of the gallows to a certain doom.

It's never easy to be the cause of a major disruption in someone's life, particularly if it hits them out of the blue with no warning. But sometimes it must be done. I now understand the adage about being a boss that my dad told me years ago: Be friendly but don't be a friend to the employees. (I don't agree with that, but I certainly appreciate the logic behind it.) It certainly makes it harder when it becomes necessary to take an action like firing a friend. I can understand why some businesses will hire a so-called hatchet man to do the deed – it's easier for the boss, but the employee still has their life turned upside down in an instant.

Sometimes it sucks being the guy in charge.


What Good Are Climate Models When They Get The Math Wrong?

Considering the temperatures outside The Manse are well below zero at the moment, it seems almost contradictory to be writing about global warming. But I'll make an exception in this case.

And “this case” deals with the simplistic nonsense that is the climate modeling used by the warmists to 'prove' we're all doomed unless we take drastic action. (More often than not the actions they want us to take will impoverish everyone...except them, and force us to live under a green dictatorship.)

As an engineer, my first experience of a computer model taught me nearly all I needed to know about models.

Some people suggested I make use of the acoustic coupler to input my design and optimise it with one of the circuit modeling programs they had devised. The results were encouraging, so I built it. The circuit itself was a dismal failure.

Investigation revealed the reason instantly: the model parametrised parasitic capacitance into a simple single value: the reality of semiconductors is that the capacitance varies with applied voltage – an effect made use of in every radio today as the ‘varicap diode’. for small signals this is an acceptable compromise. Over large voltage swings the effect is massively non linear. The model was simply inadequate.

I have used and continue to use modeling software much like that to simulate the performance of circuits we use in our designs. It is always understood the models are an approximation and may not reflect the actual performance of the circuit. That's why we build prototypes to test the design under real world conditions.

While the modeling software we use is very sophisticated, the components in the models are represented by a limited number of parameters, far less than are used in climate models. The electronic parameters are well understood and have been refined over the years, and still the modeling software will get it wrong (though not grossly wrong).

The climate model software should take into account many more parameters, many of which are poorly understood, yet we are supposed to believe they're right. The biggest problem with the models?

They get the math wrong.

Most of engineering is to design things so that small unpredictable effects are swamped by large predictable ones. Any stable design has to work like that. If it doesn’t, it ain’t stable. Or reproducible.

That leads to a direct piece of engineering wisdom: If a system is not dominated by a few major feedback factors, it ain’t stable. And if it has a regions of stability then perturbing it outside those regions will result in gross instability, and the system will be short lived.

So called ‘Climate science’ relies on net positive feedback to create alarmist views – and that positive feedback is nothing to do with CO2 allegedly: on the contrary it is a temperature change amplifier pure and simple.

If such a feedback existed, any driver of temperature, from a minor change in the suns output, to a volcanic eruption must inevitably trigger massive temperature changes. But it simply never has. Or we wouldn’t be here to spout such nonsense.

[Climate is] a massive non linear hugely time delayed negative feedback system. And that’s just water and ice. Before we toss in volcanic action, meteor strikes, continental drift. solar variability, and Milankovitch cycles…

The miracle of AGW is that all this has been simply tossed aside, or considered some kind of constant, or a multiplier of the only driver in town, CO2.

When all you know is linear systems analysis everything looks like a linear system perturbed by an external driver.

When the only driver you have come up with is CO2, everything looks like CO2.

Engineers who have done control system theory are not so arrogant. And can recognise in the irregular sawtooth of ice age temperature record a system that looks remarkably like a nasty multiple (negative) feed back time delayed relaxation oscillator.

It also doesn't help that our climate is a semi-chaotic system, something that is extremely difficult to model. More often than not many of these models average the hell out some of the data inputs which has the (supposedly) inadvertent effect of minimizing some of the feedback mechanisms, particularly the negative feedback mechanisms. This can result overestimating the effects of the positive feedback or the sensitivity of some factors, like CO2. Hence you come up with model results that do not match the real world data. What should that tell us?

The models are seriously defective and should not, under any circumstances, be used to predict the future climate. This also implies they should also not be used to create climate policy because the predictions are crap. In other words, they got the math wrong. If my math was as wrong as theirs, I would be fired. Too bad they haven't been.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The snow started falling some time late last evening/early this morning, leaving a few inches behind. Not that it will prevent anyone from going anywhere. The temperatures later in the day are expected to be close to 50ºF, assisting with any melting. However the temperatures are expected to plunge into the single digits overnight and be in the lower 20's and upper teens fof the rest of the week.

It's good thing we got the rest of our firewood put away yesterday.


It looks like France has fallen under the sway of the Thatcher Axiom: It ran out of other people's money.

Taxing the heck out of the wealthiest citizens didn't generate much but a small percentage of the revenues Socialist President Francois Hollande had believed and the plan is being abandoned.

Some folks can't be told so they have the learn the lesson the hard way.


The campus kangaroo courts continue, not just addressing 'sexual assault' cases but politically incorrect speech. One would think they would learn the lesson of so many other colleges and universities where they have lost free speech suits in state and federal courts. They still seem to think they are not required to abide by our Constitutional rights and can arbitrarily violate them at whim and besmirch the reputations of students with impunity.

As Glenn Reynolds suggests in cases like this: Get a lawyer.

But until you cost people jobs and reputations — that is, do the kind of damage to them that they’re perfectly happy meting out to others — you won’t bring this to a stop. You won’t see justice in this setting without a healthy measure of fear.



And they wonder why I don't like large wind turbines beside the fact that they act like large bird-slicing machines?

You never hear about conventional power plants (oil, gas, coal, nuclear) having problems like this.


The “Great Hiatus” in global warming has been going on for 18 years and 3 months.

How do the warmists explain it away? Simple: They plug their ears and chant loudly “I'm not listening! I'M NOT LISTENING!!!”, as if that will somehow make it all go away.


Capitalism Is Freedom has the top 10 things scientists used to believe were true. I expect that anthropogenic Global Warming will some day be added to the list.


Sarah Palin dumps on PETA's idiocy and hypocrisy.

All any of this proves is that Palin Derangement Syndrome still infects the Left and has not weakened a bit since 2008.


It seems that every time the economy shows a glimmer of recovery, the Obama Administration throws a monkey wrench into the works, telling us it's for our own good.

It's latest move to torpedo the economy? It will issue a number of new major rules meant to kill off the resurgence in the oil and gas industry.

The rules would, among other things, curtail methane emissions from natural gas and oil, place new restrictions on fracking, impose further limits on Arctic drilling and impose new safety standards on rail tanker cars.

Never mind that the oil and gas industry has to rely on rail to transport petroleum because Obama has blocked the far cleaner and more efficient alternative of moving oil and gas through pipelines.

The oil and gas industry has carried the rest of the economy on its shoulders for the last six years. But with prices falling, drillers are struggling to keep operations running. Thanks to the boom in shale oil and gas, oil prices have dropped by nearly 50% since the summer. New drilling permits are falling and some marginal wells are already shutting down.

Could there be a worse time for new EPA regulations to raise the cost of producing our domestic energy? Obviously, the answer is no, but this isn't collateral damage; it's the very point of the regulatory onslaught.

OPEC and Vladimir Putin will just love the EPA's sabotage of our economy.

Frankly I think the EPA should change its name from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Economic Prevention Agency. After all most of its rules over the past six years or so have been aimed at killing off any economic recovery, exceeding its charter, ignoring science as well as court orders issued against it.


If we need any more evidence that the government doesn't really care a fig what the American people want, all we have to do is look at something as simple as automobiles. The government mandated smaller more efficient (and more dangerous) cars. The people wanted SUVs and the carmakers gave them SUVs.

As usual, technology is leading the way, not politics. That certainly explains why operations like Uber are very popular with the people, but the government is suffering from apoplexy because they didn't ask for official permission to exist.


David Starr provides some much needed advice for the incoming Republicans in Congress.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the last of the firewood is stacked, the snow has been plowed, and where we're preparing for the arctic blast heading our way.


Fire Wood Heats Twice

I spent a good portion of the daylight hours yesterday stacking firewood.

The second load of dry cord-wood was delivered yesterday morning and I spent the day and part of this morning moving it into the garage and getting to stacked away. That brings our store of firewood back up to snuff, giving us enough to last through April and ensuring we won't need to burn any of our still expensive propane to keep the house warm.

Despite the chilly temperatures and gusty winds, the work moving the wood kept me plenty warm with no need to wear a jacket. What they say about firewood is true: It warms you twice (or thrice).

While heating with wood may seem like a throwback, I have always found it preferable to just cranking up the thermostat. It doesn't really feel like winter to me without heat pouring out from the woodstove. It also wouldn't be Christmas without the woodstove. (I remember more than one Christmas at my grandparent's home, with a fire in their Franklin stoves keeping their house warm.

While heating with wood requires more work, there are a number of upsides to it, the first being that it can be a lot less expensive to heat with than either oil or propane. For what it costs us to get four cords of wood we can heat The Manse for the entire winter plus, meaning from late October thru early April. The same amount of money would pay for only two months worth of heating oil or propane.

A second plus is that during the inevitable power outage during an ice storm or Nor'easter we still have heat. (Some folks are using wood pellet stoves to heat their homes, but they also require power in order to function. No power, no heat.)

The WP In-Laws heat their home with wood, it being built to maximize the heating effect of their stove. They also have an oil furnace as a 'back-up', but they rarely use it.

The Barrister over at Maggie's Farm had an excellent post about firewood, one that he's reposted from time to time. He covers the reasons for heating with wood, the pluses and the minuses, and those commenting have also added their experiences with it as well.

One of the minuses covered, and one I deal with once or twice a year, is the need to have the chimney swept to clean out the creosote. That is something we usually have done twice a year – once before the heating season and once during, usually mid to late January. Regardless of how dry the wood being burned is, it can still leave creosote built up on the sides of the chimney or stove pipe. If it isn't removed it can catch fire and you end up with a chimney fire, nothing you ever want to experience.

Another minus, sort of: ashes. One of the by-products of burning wood is wood ash, which has a powdery gray appearance. It is most often mixed in with unburned coals, something I am loath to dispose of as they will burn if given the chance. Some wood stoves have a built-in shaker grate that makes it easier to remove the ashes, usually doing a pretty decent job of separating the ashes from the coals. Unfortunately ours does not have such a contraption so I end up using a modified ash shovel, a standard model with some slots cut into it to allow the ashes to fall through while retaining the coals. The coals I put to one side and the ashes I remove with an unmodified shovel. While it does take a little extra time to clean out the wood stove, it reduces the number of unburned coals to almost zero and makes sure all of the wood is burned. As to the ashes themselves, they get dumped on to a large pile out behind The Manse and later used to fertilize some of the soil at the farm where BeezleBub works. (They use the ashes from the wood-fired boiler that is used to heat the greenhouses during the winter.)

One plus I almost overlooked is that heating with wood is generally carbon-neutral, something that is not in any way, shape, or form important to me but it is to others. The downside to that is that the EPA has decided that wood stoves must meet expensive emissions standards and have implemented their own versions of Cash for Clunkers, but without the cash, banning the resale of non-compliant wood stoves. Little do they realize is that it is a disincentive to trade up to a new woodstove because there is no trade-in/resale value to their old stove.

In any case, I'm glad we got our firewood squared away considering we have yet another arctic blast headed this way for the coming week. I have a feeling we'll be using more than our fair share of wood to keep things warm here in The Manse during that time.


Zero Tolerance Idiocy Of 2014

As any of you regular readers know zero-tolerance policies, particularly for schools, are one of my major pet peeves. As always they end up hurting the very children they're supposed to protect while still leaving many of the true miscreants untouched. Almost always these policies are not for the benefit of the kids but for the administrators, teachers, and school board members. It absolves them of ever having to make decisions of any kind other than which zero-tolerance policy (or policies) some poor kid has unwittingly run afoul.

By way of Reason's Hit & Run blog comes this list of the Ten Outrageous 'Zero Tolerance' Follies of 2014.

Here are a few that made the list:

A 13-year-old boy at Weaverville Elementary School in California shared his school lunch (a chicken burrito) with a hungry friend. For this, he got detention. Superintendent Tom Barnett explained, "Because of safety and liability we cannot allow students to actually exchange meals.”

Really? A kid can't share his lunch with a hungry friend? But wait, it gets worse!

A letter home from the Harley Avenue Primary School in Elwood, New York, read, in part: "The reason for eliminating the Kindergarten show is simple. We are responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills and know that we can best do that by having them become strong readers, writers, coworkers and problem solvers."

So, if the kindergarten kids take part in a year-end show it will some how prevent them from getting into college? This is something I would call “Bullshit!” on. My take: they just didn't want to be bothered so they cancelled it and gave this lame excuse.

Da'von Shaw, a Bedford, Ohio, high school student, brought apples and craisins to school for a "healthy eating" presentation. When he took out a knife to slice an apple, his teacher told him he was not allowed to use it. He immediately handed it over to her. Case closed? Nope. Later that day he was suspended for a week because he brought a weapon to school.

Hmm. I have to wonder whether the school kitchen staff or the home ec teacher have also been suspended for using 'weapons'?

And last:

After the fire alarm went off in Como Park High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, everyone evacuated, including Kayona Hagen-Tietza, 14, who had been swimming in the gym pool and didn't have time to change. School policy forbids teachers from having students in the car, so she stood outside, barefoot, for 10 minutes in 5-degree weather until a teacher obtained "permission" to let her sit in her car just this once.

If the poor girl had suffered from hypothermia, frostbite, or other cold-related injuries I suppose the school administrators would have cited their rigid inflexible policies as necessary to 'protect' this child from the predations of one of the teachers?

Unfortunately none of this nonsense will end until someone is severely injured, or worse, is killed by one of these insanely stupid zero-tolerance policies. I would expect should this happen the administrators involved will use the “But it's policy!” excuse to explain it away.

Read The Whole Thing.