5/15/2022

Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a trip to New Hampshire’s Seacoast for me and the WP Mom yesterday.

We attended the 80th birthday celebrations of my Dear Brother’s In-Laws since their birthdays were only a couple of days apart.

Traffic down and back really wasn’t bad considering the hot day and the open beaches. Then again, not too many people were partaking of swimming since the water temps are still in the 40’s.

All in all, it was a good day and it was nice to see some family members we hadn’t seen for a while.

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Katy informed me that she had pulled her convertible out of storage Thursday morning in order to take advantage of the great weather. I have to admit that I am a little envious of her seasonal set of wheels. On the other hand I have the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout...and she doesn’t.

It all balances out in the end.

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Dr. Helen has been promoting a dual camera dash cam via Amazon on and off for the past month or so and I can say I ordered one.

Why did I order a dashcam?

I guess I have to blame watching the plethora of dashcam videos on YouTube as a motivation. Seeing the accidents, dumb moves by clueless drivers, dangerous conditions created by dangerous drivers, and road rage incidents convinced me it was time to break open the Official Weekend Pundit Wallet and obtain one. It is now ensconced in the trusty RAM 1500.

Laissez le bon temps rouler!

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I stopped at my local “reference” gas station/convenience store to pick up a few items (including a couple of lottery tickets) this morning on my way back from my “before church” run to Walmart. Imagine my surprise to see Regular was now $4.699 (up 40¢ since last week), Mid Grade was $4.899, Premium was $5.099, and Diesel $6.399. It is prices like this that make me glad I can work from home two or three days a week – reducing my commuting mileage by 40 to 60 percent. Not that I have all that long a commute – just under 10 miles one way – but the trusty RAM 1500 isn’t exactly fuel efficient. Then again, it is a work truck and is used to haul all kinds of stuff.

Seeing the prices at my reference gas station I had to check the price of gas at the gas docks around Lake Winnipesaukee and what I saw confirmed what I expected: even higher gas prices. (It must be understood that marinas tend to sell only one grade of gas, either 89 octane mid-grade or 93 octane premium.) Two of the marinas I sometime use for fueling up the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout listed 89 octane for $5.099 on the south side of the lake and $5.799 on the north side of the lake. It isn’t often that I buy gas at a gas dock as I tend to fuel my boat using a couple of gas caddies I filled up at a local gas station (but not my “reference station”), using 87 octane since that’s all my boat requires and saving anywhere from 40¢ to $1.50 a gallon. That’s anywhere from $10 to $45 I won’t have to shell out to fill the tank. That may not seem like a lot to some folks, but to this cheap...er...frugal Yankee, that’s a lot of my money I don’t need to give to someone else.

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The following story certainly falls under the Treacher adage: “When Republicans screw up, that’s the story. When Democrats screw up, the Republican’s reaction is the story.”

AP Is Aghast That the GOP Would Use Biden's Failures as a Political Weapon. Aghast!

We already know if the parties were reversed we would not see such a story from the AP. Instead, the AP would be slamming the GOP for the failures of an under-performing GOP president directly, and not the Democrats’ reactions.

Double standard much?

The Associated Press is well known — and rightfully so — for writing long, detailed articles on “what it all means.” They’re called “thumbsuckers” in the news business, and the AP has perfected them.

A thumbsucker article presupposes that the reader is an ignorant rube and needs to be guided from Point A to Point B of a topic in order to have it explained to them. The problem for the reader is that the AP reporter writing the story — or most other mainstream reporters writing the story — almost always allows his or her own bias to permeate the story, making a “what it all means” story into a “what it should mean to you, you ignorant wretch.”

But the AP’s latest thumbsucker — “GOP’s new midterm attack: Blaming Biden for formula shortage” — makes a silly attempt to guide the reader to the conclusion that the Republican attack lines are politically motivated.

OMG! Really?

As long as one keeps in mind that much of the media are nothing more than part of the propaganda wing of the DNC, the AP’s reports make sense.

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Speaking of the media, Powerline delves into just how much the American public distrusts the “credentialed media”.

...Rasmussen finds that “[e]ighty percent (80%) of voters believe ‘fake news’ is a serious problem in the media, including 56% who say the ‘fake news’ problem is Very Serious.” Not surprisingly, 89% of Republicans think fake news in the media is a serious problem, but 75% of Democrats also say that fake news in the media is at least a “somewhat serious” problem.

Did Donald Trump ever say that the news media are the enemy of the people? What I remember him saying is that the “fake news media” are the enemy of the people.

One thing Rasmussen found that surprised some people is that 58% of the poll respondents agree the media are the enemy of the people. “It is hard to imagine how any industry could so disgrace itself in the eyes of the American people.”

What does the media expect when they stop reporting the news and start ‘creating’ the news or generating spin that changes the meaning of events until they no longer resemble what actually took place or why?

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This isn’t exactly new, but the story is still telling and points to problems the have created for that Utopian bastion of environmental wokeness, California. One of the biggest problems?

Lack of sufficient generation capacity to meet demand, particularly if there are any “heatwaves, wildfires, or other extreme events” this summer.

The update from leaders from three state agencies and the office of Governor Gavin Newsom comes in response to a string of challenges with the ambitious transition away from fossil fuels, including rolling blackouts during a summer heat wave in 2020.

California has among the most aggressive climate change policies in the world, including a goal of producing all of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045.

In an online briefing with reporters, the officials forecast a potential shortfall of 1,700 megawatts this year, a number that could go as high as 5,000 MW if the grid is taxed by multiple challenges that reduce available power while sending demand soaring, state officials said during an online briefing with reporters.

The plans to go green looked great on paper, but as often happens reality doesn’t care what anyone’s plans may say. The plans make assumptions that should not be made, many of those assumptions requiring suspension of disbelief in order to make them come to fruition. Some of those assumptions included wholly unrealistic projections about how much energy would be available if energy production switched to green sources. California is a living example of how not to make the transition. It is also an example of how wrong the definition of green energy is as it is applied by the Green Energy True Believers as they ignore sources like modern nuclear which emit no carbon dioxide, are reliable and unaffected by weather or time of day, and can even be used to dispose of nuclear waste from older reactors, ‘burning’ that so-called waste for fuel.

And so it goes.

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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer has arrived, my boat still isn’t in the water, and Monday has arrived all too soon...again.

5/14/2022

Russia's Missteps

Depending upon which media reports you believe, Ukraine is kicking Russian butt or Russia is about to bury Ukraine with a massive offensive.

Of the two, I am more inclined to give credence to the former rather than the latter. Unless Russia goes nuclear, I am becoming to believe it has “bitten off more than it can chew” and may need to look for a way out.

It is seeing increasing losses, seems incapable of taking more territory, has been bogged down in Mariupol trying to take a steel mill still held by Ukrainian forces, and can’t even seem to be able to cross a river without losing men and equipment.

As if that isn’t enough their leadership feels the need to motivate two otherwise non-NATO countries (Finland and Sweden) to seriously consider joining NATO as a defensive move, threatening them with military action and other hostile acts when they started debate within their respective governments to do so. Is the threat of military action by Russia real? Most think it isn’t likely, particularly in light of Russia’s military failings in Ukraine.

All we can do is hope it doesn’t all turn to s**t.

5/10/2022

Using Less Energy Creates More CO2?

From the “Just When I Thought They Couldn’t Get Any Stupider” Department comes this gem.

One of the things I thought the move to working from home during Covid lockdowns brought about was less CO2 emissions because people weren’t commuting to and from work and burning all those nasty fossil fuels, offices were closed which meant lights weren’t needed, heat would remain set to overnight temps if not lower, A/C didn’t need to run in empty offices, and computers weren’t being used on site. But according to the usual suspects, 2 emissions were higher because of home offices, something that doesn’t make sense.

Tech and financial companies leading efforts to cut climate changing emissions are finding a new challenge from remote work: the CO2 spewing out of home offices.

A few companies have begun counting what happens when employees boot up computers at home, turn up gas furnaces and ignore the world’s most energy-efficient corporate campuses. It turns out that home setups popularized by the pandemic are eroding some of the climate benefit of abandoned commutes.

“Emissions didn’t go away,” said Amanda von Almen, head of emissions reduction at Salesforce.com Inc. “They just shifted to another area.”

That emissions shifted isn’t in question. But to ignore the emissions from commuting is disingenuous. Assuming workplaces are far more energy efficient than homes is something one cannot automatically take as truth. They also assume everyone’s home office (or at least their home) is unoccupied during the day. They also make certain assumptions about the workplace energy usage.

Climate experts say those solutions scratch the surface: After pouring billions of dollars into traditional offices decked with rooftop solar, bathed in natural lighting and equipped with water recycling, employers transitioning to hybrid work need clear plans to make every location just as green.

I am not sure exactly where you find all of the offices/campuses mentioned above, but it sure as heck isn’t anywhere near here. I have no doubt it is more prevalent in places like California where energy prices are high, much of those high costs attributable directly to actions taken by the state government and not market forces.

Since I can only relate what I have experienced directly at my place of work, there is no rooftop solar, no large amounts of natural lighting, or water recycling...unless you’re talking about the septic system that treats and returns water to the aquifer that feeds our well. The “large amounts of natural lighting” can make our location even less energy efficient, particularly taking in mind the weather conditions and temperatures we experience from late fall to early spring. Windows do not insulate nearly as well 6 or 8 inch walls filled with insulation. (It can quite often reach temperatures well below zero Fahrenheit, even during the day, during the depths of winter.)

Then there’s this:

One roadblock to counting home office emissions is that there is no standard on how or what to count. Microsoft Corp, trying to solve the problem itself, concluded that remote staff work eight hours a day using a laptop, two monitors and three lightbulbs.

--snip--

But if heating a home office requires heating an entire house, how are emissions counted?

And if they are using a laptop, two monitors, and a bunch area lighting (or maybe task lighting), how much does that change emissions? I know that when I work from home here at The Gulch, I generally don’t need more than a single LED lamp in my office first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon, and then mostly during late fall through early spring. As long as the sun is above the horizon I don’t need a light in my home office. I also don’t need to heat the entire house to heat my home office as we have zoned heating. (Even then, the heat from my computer helps maintains the temperature in the office as long as I keep the door closed.) It also turns out the heat is turned up on the first floor around 7am because my mother lives here and she doesn’t like to be cold.

Yes, I understand the conditions in my home aren’t all that common, at least not in whole country, but it’s pretty common around most of the northern tier of the US.

I think the folks mentioned in the linked article need to rethink their assumptions about energy consumption by corporate offices versus home offices. Using Salesforce, Microsoft, and Meta as their models isn’t realistic or representative of most businesses. It’s too small a sample.

This is just as bad, if not worse than the claims that science, specifically astronomy, contributes to climate change. Considering a lot of science uses energy, that claim could be made about science in general...even climate science.

5/08/2022

Thoughts On A Sunday

There’s plenty of activity around Lake Winnipesaukee as we see the boat yards and marinas shifting into full summertime mode as they continue to prep boats for launching, and summerfolk opening their cottages and vacation homes and getting them squared away for the upcoming summer. I saw quite a few folks ‘from away’ at our dump...er...solid waste center dropping off the detritus of post-winter cleanup. (Property owners in our town, even if from away, have access to our dump since they are taxpayers.)

With the warmer weather forecast for the upcoming week, I expect we’ll see even more such activities leading up to Memorial Day weekend. We have certainly seen some of the seasonal businesses open on weekends, one of them being one of our local ice cream/take-out food joints, a sure sign of the upcoming summer.

The only question is how much the stumbling economy is going to affect the summer considering inflation, gas prices, and some supply chain issues. Some folks are predicting summer gas prices might exceed $5 for regular and prices much higher than that on the lake at the gas docks, both of which will put a damper on an otherwise busy season.

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I have to wonder about the reports of a hepatitis outbreak infecting children. After looking at a number news sources about the outbreak, I didn’t really find any that didn’t try for some kind of sensationalism. So I stopped by WebMD to see what they had to say about it.

The worldwide outbreak of acute hepatitis in children totals nearly 200 cases in 16 countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified more than 20 severe cases in the United States, specifically in Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, New York, and North Carolina. In Wisconsin, one infant died of the disease. Of the worldwide cases, 17 have required a liver transplant.

While severe hepatitis with acute liver failure is rare in healthy children and the odds are greatly in your child’s favor should they get hepatitis, your best defense right now against the current, rare cases is information.

The cause is presently unknown other than it is not the usual strains of Hep A, B, C, or E. That there are less than 200 cases worldwide – at least as of May 3rd – so it doesn’t count as a major outbreak. Some have made the claim that it is a side effect of the Covid vaccines, but many of the children affected weren’t vaccinated against Covid.

My question is “Where did this start and how did it appear in so many places at roughly the same time?” I have no idea how much contact tracing has occurred to this point, but it is something that should be addressed if this at present small outbreak explodes.

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Seen in the comments at Instapundit:

Leftist/Elitist/Journalist/Influencer: “Abortion is a right. It is in the Constitution.”

Normie Person: “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is in the Constitution.”

Leftist/Elitist/Journalist/Influencer: “That’s different. A gun may kill an innocent person!”

Normie Person: “An abortion WILL kill an innocent person.”

Leftist/Elitist/Journalist/Influencer: FASCIST! RACIST!

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Yeah, I can agree with this:

Ex-spies and diplomats say the Biden administration needs to 'shut-up' after NYT report about US intelligence helping Ukraine kill Russian generals.

"Shut up about it," John Sipher, a former CIA officer who served in Russia, said in a tweet on the Times report.

Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to Russia, in a tweet responding to Sipher said, "Exactly. No one should be talking to press about such things."

Striking a similar tone, former US diplomat Aaron David Miller tweeted that the "whole shift in tone" following Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's visit to Ukraine is "worrisome."

"Weakening Russia; winning; and now stories @NYT about killing Russian generals. Why can't we just shut up?" Miller said.

Some may ask why the NYT even published such a report. All one has to remember that the NYT is not a friend of America. It seems to work to dismantle America, kowtowing to America’s enemies and working to destroy its friends. Then again, it is not much more than one part of the propaganda operation for the Progressive DNC-MSM.

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It seems this must be repeated again and again until it sinks in: Organic farming cannot meet the food needs of the world.

By now everyone should know that the Biden Administration is a ship of fools. When you choose officials in order to fulfill diversity quotas, it’s what happens.

Among the idiots running the administration is one Samantha Power. She is the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

Now, what does this serious nitwit have to say about the pending worldwide famine, caused by the absence of nitrogen based fertilizer? Why she has declared that this absence will facilitate the transition to more organic fertilizers.

Anyone who knows anything knows that this is a formula for mass starvation.

As I have written elsewhere, it has been shown again and again that organic farming doesn’t scale well. It works fine for your backyard vegetable garden or small truck farm. It doesn’t work so well for large scale farm operations.

The farm where my son has worked since he was 13 tried going organic on just under a quarter of their fields. After 3 years they abandoned organic farming because they couldn’t make it pay. It took more labor, more organic fertilizer (compost) and more water, but provided lower yields, a losing proposition.

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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer-like weather is on its way, my boat will be ready to launch this week, and where the upcoming Monday is already harshing my mellow.

5/07/2022

The System

It’s been a while since I’ve touted any of Tom MacDonald’s music videos, but his latest one – The System – is worthy of viewing. This one, like many of his other more popular videos, tells us some harsh truths which people on both sides of the political divide can agree.

Without further ado, here’s Tom’s latest.

5/05/2022

This Explains It

Seen in a comment to an Instapundit post:

Biden is a dictator.

Half dick.

Half tater.

'Nuff said.

5/01/2022

Thoughts On A Sunday

We’re finally back into a warm weather cycle after dealing with days of temps just above freezing, including a few days with high winds which made it feel even colder. A portion of the day today was spent on the first round of spring cleaning here at The Gulch, dusting off the window screens and washing the windows – inside and out on the first floor and inside on the second floor – dusting the blades on the ceiling fans, and cleaning the filters on the A/C units. (Not that we need the A/C very often up here in N’Hampsha, but when we do it’s great having it.)

We’ll also be spending a little bit of time storing our winter apparel away – parkas, heavy gloves, winter boots and the like - and pulling out our summer stuff, including the boating gear.

Speaking of boating gear, the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout is scheduled to to be pulled out of storage this week and prepped for the boating season. If things go according to plan and the weather cooperates we’ll be able to launch the boat next weekend.

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Work was very busy last week, though not so much with actual work. We were moving.

A couple of years ago our division went through a reorganization which saw our production and shipping operations moved to another underutilized facility. Our engineering department remained which meant a building designed to house a business with up to 140 personnel now had 12 full-time employees and another dozen ‘floaters’, employees who primarily work from home but come to the facility now and then for one function or another. Our building went up for sale about the same time with the idea of leasing back some of the space from the buyer unless they were going to occupy the entire space.

Two years later and the building finally sold.

The new owner had no problem leasing space to us, but since we didn’t need the entire facility, we chose to lease part of the second floor. That meant moving surplus equipment, furniture, and other gear we didn’t need someplace else. This usually meant selling it and letting the buyers move it out rather than disposing of it or storing it. The things we did need were moved up stairs over a period of a month. Old files that were no longer needed were shredded and disposed of, old prototypes and samples were recycled, offices and labs were moved, test equipment and lab benches were relocated and set up. There’s still some electrical work that needs to be done as part of the move, but for the most part we finished the move before the end-of-the-month deadline.

At least we didn’t have to fill moving trucks.

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I have to agree with Elon Musk on this one.

And then there’s this from Elon: The far left ‘hates everyone, themselves included.’

It seems the Left is doing everything it can to try to paint Musk’s purchase of Twitter as a move to ‘silence free speech’ on the platform. That’s ironic considering Twitter as it presently operates doesn’t believe in free speech. It only believes in Leftist disinformation and propaganda. Based on their actions on Twitter, actual free speech is tyranny, particularly if such speech disagrees with them or their narrative.

Hypocrites.

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Today is Victims of Communism Day.

I think it should be amended to be called Victims of Socialism Day. Socialism has killed untold millions, directly and indirectly. Communism is just another form of Socialism.

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Yup. I’ll call it what it is – The Student Loan Scam.

Currently there is somewhere around $1.6 trillion outstanding in unpaid student loans. That is approximately twice the amount of all credit card debt. And many thousands of college graduates and dropouts find themselves unable or unwilling to repay their student loans.

How did we get into this mess? It goes back to the Higher Education Act of 1965, but, as with so many government programs, the senators and representatives who voted for it never imagined how it would transform higher education, in part by driving costs relentlessly higher. Now the Biden administration is trying to buy votes in the midterm elections by promising to cancel the entire $1.6 trillion outstanding debt.

While student loans to pay college tuition may have sounded like a good idea, in practice they have devolved into something that indebts students to pay for college degrees with values far less than the value of the loans taken. The loans created a ocean of cash from which colleges and universities hungered to drink. Tuitions increased well above the rate of inflation. New courses of study were created, with far too many of them ending in the word “Studies”. To me, such courses of study are useless since the only thing they seem to provide is resentment and intolerance towards a specific group or groups who are seen as the reason(s) for the troubles, real or imagined, being experienced by the subjects of the “Studies” courses. (Yes, this is a bit of hyperbole...but only a little bit.)

In short, Biden threatens (or promises) to take patently illegal action in order to buy votes, in the expectation that his wrongdoing won’t be checked until after November–and perhaps not at all. We live under a scofflaw government.

Canceling student debt would be a bad idea. It sets a bad precedent. It will also give future students the idea that they can get a ‘free’ education by taking out student loans and then not having to pay them back.

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Geez, now you can’t even go on vacation without worrying squatters will break into your home, steal all of your belongings, and attack you when you get home.

A Maryland woman returning from vacation got a nasty surprise when she walked in her door. Her residence had been emptied of everything but her bed. And on the bed, she found two squatters.

The unidentified woman apparently tried to leave but was tackled by the male squatter. There followed a bizarre sequence of events where the male squatter gave the woman advice on how to keep people from breaking into her home.

“Not only were they in my home, but everything in my home was gone except for my bed because he details how he loved my bed so much. And I’m like who are you? And he says my name. He’s like you didn’t pay your rent. I’m like what are you talking about? I paid my rent.”

The victim left for vacation on March 28 and returned on April 5. The woman says she doesn’t know where her belongings are and doubts she will ever recover them. As for the criminal squatters, they’re still at large after they promised they were going to do the same thing to another homeowner.

In some states (like California) it can be a lengthy and expensive process to evict squatters. In others all it takes is a call to police. In yet others simply showing your sidearm is enough to get them to leave. Of course, the folks in the story weren’t just squatters, but thieves. They took $50K of her belongings, leaving her apartment bare.

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I’d say this is a fair statement.

The Democrats have become the party of miserable, whiny grumps.

The hatred, anger and resentment of liberals is not exclusive to the extreme Democrat. It’s now the entire party.

When was the last time anyone encountered a happy Democrat? They don’t exist. They’re perpetually miserable, annoyed that normal people have moved on from COVID, offended that anyone objects to public schools teaching 7-year-olds about sexual identity, and frustrated that their fetish with “critical race theory” (also known as “how to properly hate whites!”) isn’t as widely shared as they thought.

Consider the response to a Florida judge recently striking down the Biden administration’s loathsome air-travel mask mandate. Social media was immediately flooded with videos of flight attendants and passengers overjoyed that they had unfettered access to oxygen again. Liberals could only sulk.

Similarly at The Washington Post, columnist Kate Cohen wrote Wednesday how awful it is to see Americans ditching their masks in celebration. “I still planned to wear a mask while COVID circulated in my community because I was afraid of spreading the virus to vulnerable people,” she said. “Surely we can personally be ‘done’ with this pandemic while respecting the fact that others are not.”

What she means is something more along the lines of: I don’t like that I can’t morally nag people about masks without the backing of the State anymore.

“I don’t like that I can’t morally nag people about masks without the backing of the State anymore.” Hmm, almost sounds like a description of a state-sanctioned Karen. As if we need even more Karens than the ones we already have to deal with.

I have found that even when some Democrats get their way they are still unhappy, are “sore winners”. I have found them to be particularly annoying.

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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee where the warmer weather has returned, more boats are showing up at slips, and summer cottages are being prepped for opening.