8/22/2019

It's Official: Los Angeles Is A Medieval S**thole

This is something that is becoming increasingly evident and more difficult to ignore. That ‘something’ is that Los Angeles is becoming increasingly medieval and more of a s**thole every day. What’s worse is that it’s happening on purpose, driven by city politicians wanting to ensure they remain in power and the increasingly bizarre and unworkable policies and regulations being imposed on Los Angelenos.


(H/T Knuckledraggin’)

8/21/2019

Laser Weapons Being Deployed?

Science fiction has been rife with laser guns and other high-tech weapons like stunners, blasters, phasers, and disruptors.

Here we are, in the second decade of the 21st century, and laser weapons are just now being deployed out in the field in significant numbers, employed by the US Army, Navy, and Marine Corp.

Used mostly to deal with drones, missiles, artillery and mortar shells, aircraft, and some watercraft, they have been changing the complexion and complexity of the battlefield.

Now where did I put my photon torpedoes?

8/20/2019

Breakup Of Canada?

It was while reading the comments to a post over at Instapundit about Trump purchasing Greenland from Denmark that I came across this comment - “Next: Alberta.”

This generated an off-topic thread that dealt with Alberta having threatened to leave Canada and apply for statehood in the US. Another commenter mentioned that 50% of Albertans are for separation from Canada and that the number could skyrocket if Trudeau is reelected.

Yet another commented “Most Albertans are pissed at Alberta as they're footing the bill for Ontario and Quebec's lavish social net. The demographic growth for Ontario and Quebec has been atrocious with a rapidly aging population and a declining working population (factories are disappearing because of it).”

Another comment mentioned the Atlantic provinces applying for statehood if Quebec had succeeded in leaving which would have left them cut off from the rest of Canada.

This begs the question: Just how fragile is Canada? Is what I am reading merely grumbling or wishful thinking, or have Canadians in a number of provinces had just about enough of Ottawa and Trudeau and want out? Would they want to go it alone or would they consider joining the US?

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about disaffected provinces eyeing departure, though it has been years since I last heard anything about it.

8/19/2019

Are EV Charging Stations A New Gateway To Hack The Electrical Grid?

It’s bad enough we must worry about cyber-crackers getting into the electrical grid and bringing down the grid across the nation. There could be a new gateway for hackers to clandestinely gain entry into the grid – Electric vehicle charging stations.

… a new report raises the specter that plug-in electric vehicles — and the charging stations that supply them — could be prime vectors for cyberattacks on urban power grids.

“In simulations using publicly available information about charging station usage in Manhattan and the structure of the island’s power grid, our research team found that a fleet of just roughly 1,000 simultaneously charging electric vehicles would be adequate for mounting an attack whose effects could rival the blackout that affected the city’s West Side last month,” said Yury Dvorkin, assistant professor in NYU Tandon’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

--snip--

Electric vehicle charging stations represent a link between plug-in electric vehicles and the power grid — a high-wattage access point that hackers can potentially exploit to manipulate the grid.

Electric vehicles using public charging station generate data that includes location, charging time, and power draw from the charging station, information that is useful for a cyber-terrorist to wishing to control demand at any specific charging station. All of the data is accessible via the wireless information sent to the EV owner’s smart phone via the appropriate apps.

Together, these elements allow an attacker to use charging stations as portals to remotely manipulate electric vehicle charging and the power grid by causing instabilities that could range from barely noticeable to significantly disruptive.

The number of EVs is quite small at the moment, but as the number of EVs grows the vulnerabilities grow with them unless a way to secure the charging stations is implemented. The question is, will the manufacturers take the time and money to do so?

8/18/2019

Thoughts On A Sunday

We had one of the WP Sisters up for the weekend. We spent the visit catching up on family doings and heading out to one of our favorite local restaurants for dinner late last afternoon. My sister is planning to move up into town after she retires in a couple of years, having had enough of the People’s Republic of Massachusetts to last a life time.

We didn’t get a chance to get out on the lake last evening as we had planned because Mother Nature decided her thunderstorms were more important than out jaunt out onto the lake. She even went so far as to cause the cancellation of the Hall & Oates concert at the Meadowbrook concert venue in our town as the lightning, thunder, and downpours made performing a dangerous thing to do.

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Is the reason health care costs have increased at well above the rate of inflation the always growing size of the health care bureaucracies, be they government, insurance, or hospital/clinic bureaucracies? It all depends upon who you listen to.

My personal experience tells me the number of administrators has increased at a far greater rate than the number of health care personnel. Every additional bureaucrat and paper-shuffler adds cost without adding any additional health care.

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How sick and twisted is the Left that they are actively hoping for (and working towards) tanking the American economy just to get Trump?

If they’re willing to do that, what will they be willing to do to the rest of us to get their way? We already know from history that gulags, re-education ‘centers’, and death camps are in their list of tools to subjugate the non-elite. (That’s you and me, folks.)

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You know it’s falling apart for the Left when Bill Maher slams his leftist brethren by telling them “BDS is a bulls**t purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class.”

Every now and then Bill Maher hits a left-wing dogma squarely on the head and it’s particularly persuasive coming from someone who is on the left. We’ve covered several such occasions, even if most of the time we disagree with Maher.

Maher just did it again with regard to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, setting off a fury of recrimination from Rep. Rashida Tlaib and other anti-Israel activists.

Is this yet another example of Leftist autophagy? Of course it is. Should Maher not fall back in line he will be made an “un-person” in the eyes of the Left.

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Antifa is ‘peaceful’…if you describe an MMA fight as ‘peaceful’. They seem to have no problems with threatening bystanders, using pepper spray on them, chasing them while wielding a baseball bat, and worse, beating them unconscious. At least that’s what they’ve been doing in Portland…again.

For so-called anti-fascists, they are using fascist tactics and espouse fascist points of view. It’s like watching on old film about the SA (Sturmabteilung), the bully boys of the German Nazi Party’s early days. The only differences are that Antifa wears black while the SA wore brown shirts (hence the nickname “Brown Shirts”), and today’s video is shot in high definition and posted on the ‘Net in seconds while SA activities were shot on film in black and white. Otherwise, there’s little difference between them as best I can see.

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The Left needs to get themselves a time machine so they can learn lessons of H. G. Wells’ A Time Machine.

It has become fashionable in recent years to condemn iconic figures from American history because they possessed slaves. “Progressives” wish to tear down statues now, even of Thomas Jefferson, perhaps the greatest contributor ever to the advancement of human liberty, because he had been a slave owner. What they fail to understand is that societal mores change over time. What is acceptable today may not be considered societally acceptable 100 years from now. And they may want to be careful with their retrospective moral outrage, as it may come back to haunt them.

--snip--

I want to offer this mental exercise to those who wish to condemn American giants like Thomas Jefferson and blather on about reparations over practices that took place in our country over two centuries ago: Place yourself into a hypothetical time machine, dial it to the year 2119, and find out what Americans have decided is an odious practice in Future America. I predict that you will find that abortion – that practice in which doctors punch a hole in the skull of a baby in the womb, vacuum out its grey matter, crush the skull, dismember the baby’s body, and extract the parts from its mother’s womb – has been deemed by society to be an outrageous, barbaric practice.

Americans who are down for that procedure, which includes virtually all Democratic politicians today, may find that society has decided they were ogres and, regardless of any great accomplishments they achieved in other fields of endeavor, condemn them as we do slave owners today. Americans may insist that statues of them be torn down, streets named after them be rechristened (as it were), and that any vestige of their existence be expunged from our national memory.

So be careful, and show a little humility.

As the old saying states, “What goes around, comes around.” And so it will be for our oh-so-woke Democrats living in these, the Crazy Years.

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The Sean Spicier parody Twitter account has been active for years and the Leftist tweeters still haven’t figured out that it isn’t the real Sean Spicer, Donald Trump’s former press secretary.

Sean Spicier’s on a roll, hitting the Left for all it’s worth. He hits everything from tariffs, Beto’s umpteenth campaign reset, Fredo Cuomo, Epstein, Russia, to Elizabeth Warren running the Internet. The responses from the Left are comedy gold.

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The gaffe-tastic Joe Biden’s aides are working hard to limit his exposure in order to reduce the number of gaffes he’s making in public.

That he’s making more ‘mistakes’ than I have ever seen him make, along with his advanced years makes me wonder if there’s something else going on regarding his health. If there is, then I must ask whether he’s fit enough to serve as President of the United States. The last thing we need is a president slipping into dementia.

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Uh-oh. This doesn’t bode well.

I wonder when we might be seeing such signs posted on the outskirts of places like Los Angeles or San Francisco, considering what they’re already experiencing in regard to medieval diseases (typhus and hepatitis) that have been making a reappearance and the spreading failure to keep the streets clean from human waste. It’s only a matter of time before diseases like typhoid and bubonic/pneumonic plague return unless they start cleaning the piles of human feces and garbage from the streets and sidewalks.

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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer is quickly passing, boating is increasing the closer we get to Labor Day, and where Monday again ruins a perfectly good weekend.

8/14/2019

Scary "Deep Fake" Video - Portents Of The Future

I saw this over at Powerline and I have to admit that it scared the bejeezus out of me. Not the interview itself as it’s years old, but the technology displayed that means we can trust nothing we see on TV or the Internet. It’s one thing to fake photos, but it’s an entirely different thing to be able to fake video like the one you’re about to see. Hint: Pay attention to Bill Hader’s face.

8/13/2019

EV Hypocrisy Paradox

What’s wrong with this picture?


In case you hadn’t noticed, the EV in the picture is being charged by a portable charging station. But where does the charging station get its power?

From the diesel generator behind the charging station pedestal.

(H/T Maggie’s Farm and Manhattan Contrarian)

8/12/2019

A Good Quote

Seen in a Disqus comment on PJ Media:

“…before you condemn someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Because then you’ll be a mile away from them...and you’ll have their shoes.”

8/11/2019

Thoughts On A Sunday

It’s been a quiet weekend here at Lake Winnipesaukee, with only a few events going on around the area. The biggest thing happening is the Alice Cooper concert at our local concert venue this evening. (Yes, Alice Cooper.)

One ‘event’ that has generated some excitement, at least for the WP clan, is BeezleBub’s purchase of a jet ski, something he’d been thinking about for some time. The numbers finally made sense to him and he didn’t hesitate. He picked it up late last week and has made use of it at least twice since then. I expect he’ll be using the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout less than he has been, particularly if it’s just he and his girlfriend heading out on to the lake for a late day cruise. That means it will be available for me to take out on the lake!

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Uh-oh, one of their ‘hereditary’ constituents has escaped from the Democrat plantation!

On Thursday, Daniel Cameron, the Republican nominee for attorney general in Kentucky, urged his fellow black Americans to think for themselves and reject the Democratic Party's narrative.

"My message is pretty simple: The Democratic Party needs to stop telling black Americans how to think," Cameron told Brian Kilmeade, filling in for Tucker Carlson on Tucker Carlson Tonight.

--snip--

"The black community is told, day in and day out, that they have to speak with one voice and that’s the voice of the Democratic Party. I don’t subscribe to that belief," Cameron said. "I think we ultimately need to have a diverse group of folks that are on both sides of the aisle. I’m a Republican and proud of it, and stand with our president, day in and day out."

‘Nuff said.

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How often have we heard or seen the demand “Do Something!” made by people, trying to prod politicians into acting? All the time.

It turns out “Do Something!” is a dangerous demand to make of politicians. How often does that “something” turn out to be the wrong thing, or worse, has unintended consequences that go beyond the original problem, perceived or real? More often than you might think.

While the linked article focuses on the gun control issue, the elements of the article can be applied to a wide range of issues.

Why do we have states? Why do we elect political managers of them? The elevator pitch is that the state protects us from violent disruptions in our attempt to live better lives in peace with others. This is the bare minimum that has always been asked of the state.

Evidently, the state is not doing its job. People are demanding to know why.

But here is a truth. The state is limited in its competence. Utopia is not born of more laws, restrictions, regulations, and prohibitions. For this reason, not every tragedy has a political solution.

--snip--

Communities, companies, surveilling technologies, punishment, and deterrence can assist in making the world a more peaceful place. Institutions that grant people opportunities in life so that they stop romanticizing death are essential. In the end, however, human evil and terrible tragedy such as we’ve seen have only one solution: a culture of peace and cooperation so widespread and so penetrating that the world around us is thereby made safe. There is no easy path to that place. But we must try.

What is not helping us get on that path is this politics of group-based revenge in which one tribe seeks the demoralization, degradation, and disempowerment of the enemy tribe. No matter how you slice it, such thinking can only lead to more abuse and violence, whether perpetrated by lone actors or whole legislatures.

Too often the “Do Something!” demand has just opposite effect of the one expected. It is time that those along the entire political spectrum to realize that and temper their “Do Something!” demands and seek solutions that do not require ill-advised and possible short-sighted legislative intervention.

How do we do that? I don’t know, at least not off the top of my head. But I bet there are a lot of people out there who do.

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You know it’s time to start questioning the validity of some of these drug field test kits when they identify bird poop as cocaine.

That’s what happened to Georgia Southern University quarterback Shai Werts when he was pulled over in South Carolina for speeding. He was arrested for the cocaine. However, subsequent lab tests of the suspicious substance on the hood of his car showed it was not cocaine, but seagull poop and charges were dropped.

As noted by the Washington Post, "In 2016, The New York Times and ProPublica found that field-testing drug kits, which cost about $2 a piece, are wildly inaccurate. False positives can result from officer errors, the weather or poor lighting, and are so common that as many as one in three tests might come back wrong,

It’s time to come up with better drug field test kits.

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This is what life would be like under Left-wing rule.

During the Obama Dynasty, his corrupt bureaucrats released privileged information to harm political opponents. It is the basis for all “transparency” narratives on the left. Not to make politicians accountable but to keep political opponents in line.

To secure unassailable power and control for the Left.

Today’s lesson comes courtesy of Texas Democrat Rep. Joaquin Castro. He went out of his way to identify Trump’s top donors in El Paso. Individuals who maxed out their contribution to his campaign.

This “member” of congress then publicized the list.

It’s not precisely Doxxing. That information is publicly available. But anyone who has ever waded into the FEC data-mine knows it takes determination (and paid staffers) to do it effectively, which makes me wonder. Did Castro ask his staff to do his political work?

And regardless of who did it, the point of the exercise is obvious. Intimidation. Use the mob to frighten future donors or supporters of not just Trump but any political opponent the Democrats target. As in everyone who disagrees with Democrats.

Is this the direction we want out political system to take? Campaigns won’t be based upon the issues but on who has got what on who, and “Mob”-like intimidation against donors. (“That’s a nice business you got there. It would be a shame if something were to ‘happen’ to it.”)

This is speech suppression, plain and simple.
-Create a culture of fear that prevents people from donating to candidates the left likely opposes.

-Stop folks from publicly (or “privately”) speaking in favor of certain candidates or issues.

-Stifle free speech of any sort that is not aligned with the Left’s ideology.

-Prevent People from showing public support (wear a hat, carry a sign, show up at a rally, you could get beat up).

Not a pretty picture, is it? Yet it’s been happening and too many people (including the MSM) are condoning it.

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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weekend has been quiet, the weather has been cool, and where the summer has been passing all too quickly.

8/04/2019

Thoughts On A Sunday

It’s been a busy weekend up here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, with a visitor staying with us here at The Gulch. A long time friend of yours truly spent the weekend up here unwinding, travelling about, and looking at the some of the available real estate with an eye towards a possible relocation to this area some time in the future.

I did manage to get him out on the lake for a while after a driving trip around the lake for a look-see. He was also able to partake in some of the cuisine in a number of our local diners, something he enjoys.

While it made for a long and tiring weekend, it was still had a great time.

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It seems the economy is refusing to cooperate with the Democrats, stubbornly remaining strong with high employment, a high labor participation rate, high consumer confidence, and a strong stock market, just to name a few factors. It isn’t an issue the Democrats will be able to use other than making lame and unproven claims about how the economy isn’t making everybody rich.

Of course “rich” is a relative term, something the Democrats rarely if ever define other than it’s something bad…unless the person being described is a Democrat.

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Yet another example of Leftist autophagy: More of the 2020 Democrat Presidential candidates are turning on Obama.

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No, the United States does not have the most mass shootings in the world. It ain’t even close.

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Oh, by the way. The Dayton, Ohio mass murderer Connor Betts was a registered Democrat (and has been since 2012) despite what the Left has tried to claim.

One of his victims? His own sister.

Another thing to remember: Betts committed his murders in a gun free zone. Funny that a very large majority (>96%) of mass shootings in the US have taken place in gun free zones is something that is never mentioned by the Left.

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It seems more snowflakes are doing their best to insult first responders, damage their employer’s reputation, and basically leave everyone with the impression that too many of our younger generation do not understand that their feelings do not take precedence at their workplace.

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And that’s the (abbreviated) news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where it was a great weekend, the weather was perfect, and where I wish Monday was still two days away.