Thoughts On A Sunday

Winter reminded us that it isn’t quite done with us despite it being spring. We had some snow yesterday, though not much. We got about and inch and most of that accumulated on the bare ground (what there was of it), rooftops, and the remaining snow. There wasn’t much on the roads themselves as much of the snow melted when it hit the relatively warm pavement. We have a little more that might fall late Tuesday/early Wednesday, but again not much is expected.


Though winter is trying hard to hang on, spring is starting to win out.

While out running errands this morning I saw a lot more open water on the big lake, a sign that the warmer temps and longer days are working their magic. The snow banks have been melting away, evidenced by the two at the end of my driveway having shrunk from almost 6 feet in height a week and a half ago to about half that height today.

It’s hard to believe boating season is a little over 6 weeks away.


I got to some maintenance here at The Gulch, having to replace the gooseneck faucet on the kitchen sink. The failure of a push-on quick-connect coupler meant we had no water coming out of the faucet. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a replacement coupler from the manufacturer, something that would have taken me all of 5 minutes to swap out. From the costs of similar couplers the repair would have cost me all of $19. Instead, I had to shell out $179 for a complete gooseneck faucet assembly.

I wish I could say I was able to take care of it myself, having done so in the past, but I can’t. I found I couldn’t reach the large nut that secured the old assembly to the sink as the space under sink was taken up by the garbage disposal and related drain plumbing which made it difficult to find a position where I could reach the underside of the faucet. I had to call in reinforcements in the person of BeezleBub since he was smaller and could fit in the space I couldn’t. He swung by after finishing his day at the farm and in a couple of minutes we had the old faucet out and the new one in.

One thing I can say about my old home - The Manse - was that there was a lot more room under the kitchen sink which made it easy when I had to change out a faulty faucet about a year before we sold it.


Is the electrical grid collapse being seen in Africa a precursor to what the Democrats have in store for us here in the US?

The problem in Africa is that the grid failures are getting even worse.

From Zimbabwe, where many must work at night because it’s the only time there is power, to Nigeria where collapses of the grid are frequent, the reliable supply of electricity remains elusive across Africa.

The electricity shortages that plague many of Africa’s 54 countries are a serious drain on the continent’s economic growth, energy experts warn.

In recent years South Africa’s power generation has become so inadequate that the continent’s most developed economy must cope with rolling power blackouts of eight to 10 hours per day.

What has driven this accelerating collapse of the grids in Africa?

Con artists...with government credentails.

So what do Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and South Africa all have in common? A couple of years ago, Zimbabwe agreed to a UN plan to mandate more renewable energy and move away from coal and natural gas. At roughly the same time, Nigeria signed on to the UN Clean Energy Demand Initiative and John Kerry showed up in person when Nigeria’s president signed the mandate. And as we’ve discussed here before, South Africa started its “transition” to renewable energy years ago, dumping $8.5 billion into the plan in a move the New York Times described as a “Breakthrough for the World.” A few years later, people are sitting in the dark with no heat over wide regions of each country. But I’m sure that’s just a coincidence, right?

It was all done on purpose. Many of the same people who pushed this on Africa are trying to the same thing here. We’ve already seen some of the effects, with coal plants being shut down with no other sources replacing the lost power, natural gas plants being affected by artificially limited gas supplies, and a politically driven and irrationally emotional ‘ban’ on new nuclear power plants, even though the new generation reactors are better, safer, and less expensive to build and operate.

But wait! There’s more!

Do you know who isn’t worried about having enough power? China. They’ve been issuing construction permits for an average of two new coal plants per week for the past couple of years. China’s carbon output is more than double that of the United States, where the energy industry has been slashing emissions for years. And yet you didn’t hear a peep out of John Kerry and the rest of the climate hecklers who flew their private jets to Davos so they could scold everyone else. China can apparently do what they like because they’re a “developing nation.”

The Chinese are laughing their butts off at us right now. We’re tanking our own power grid and our economy to placate the climate gods. I somehow doubt Beijing is too concerned about potentially getting into a hot war with a country that can’t keep its lights on...

So we have been ‘making up’ for China’s expanding CO2 emissions by dismantling our electrical grid and crippling our energy production by being forced to change over to inadequate and unreliable ‘renewable’ energy sources? No wonder China is laughing at us.


Since I’ve brought up the subject of electricity, I am going to delve into electric vehicles, and more specifically why they are more ‘smoke and mirrors’ rather than a solution to a problem that has been vastly overstated and oversold.

One of my biggest problems is something everyone notices and can’t deny – They’re too damn expensive. When an equivalent electric vehicle costs $15,000, $20,000, $30,000 more than an ICE or hybrid vehicle, and then add the cost of the support equipment – a fast charger, being but one – and you can add up to another $10,000 - $15,000 in costs.

Then there’s other issues like higher insurance costs, higher repair costs, and higher likelihood of the EV being declared a total loss for accident damage that if it had occurred on an ICE or hybrid vehicle would have been repaired.

And then there’s the “carbon footprint mythology”, the claims that EVs are no/low carbon when in fact they are nothing of the sort. It’s more virtue signaling and “economically debilitating and environmentally irresponsible.”


This is a perfect example of “The legal profession [being] among the many institutions that have been subverted by leftism.” What is ‘this’?

The High Price of Low Bond for Lowlifes.

Jonathan Welch, the Detroit man who was released on a low bond after being charged with several felonies including torture, has now been charged with a fourth murder that happened prior to his original arrest in June.

This victim was 24-year-old Natayla Morse, whose head Welch allegedly bashed in before stealing her car and setting it on fire. The June arrest was for torturing his ex-girlfriend for 4 hours straight in the presence of their child.

Previously Welch had allegedly killed this same ex-girlfriend as well as his mother and step-dad and then killed Morse. Why was this guy released on such low bond ($10,000)?

There are plenty of examples of violent criminals with low/no-bond release from previous crimes committing more crimes, sometimes only hours after being released. When re-arrested, they are again released with low/no-bond.

Does anyone else think low/no-bond release is a stupid idea?


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice is breaking up, the snow banks are melting away, and thoughts of boating are coming to the forefront.


Not A Living Document

At first I thought it was just my imagination, the surly curmudgeon in me thinking “Everything is going to hell”, that thought being driven by what I’ve been seeing.

What is it I’ve been “seeing”?

An increasing disregard for the law and the US Constitution by the Left.

It has been increasingly apparent the Left has no use for the First, Second, Ninth, Tenth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Too many of them also think Article V can be ignored and that the Constitution can be amended by the courts, more specifically the Supreme Court because the Constitution is a “living document”. By that reasoning, any of the Articles and Amendments can be ‘reinterpreted’ to mean the opposite of their original intent by judicial decree. That means any our our rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights can be eliminated by judicial decree, something I think even the Left would see come back to bite them in the butt.

Some possibilities of ‘living document’ judicial amendments:

Reinterpret the Fourteenth Amendment so American citizenship cab be revoked, even the citizenship of natural born Americans. Non-citizens can be afforded all of the rights of citizens, including the right to vote. House reps could be apportioned by lot or by the majority political party rather than by population.

Reinterpret the Fifteenth Amendment to bar white males from voting as a form of ‘racial reparations’ to right previous wrongs.

Reinterpret the Fifth Amendment to make it possible to imprison political prisoners without benefit of trial. The Miranda decision could be overturned and the right to remain silent stricken. The government at all levels could take private property for any reason and tell the owners they’re out of luck because they won’t be compensated.

Reinterpret the First Amendment to outlaw some religions or to establish a government religion – Marxism, for example. Or they can squash the freedom of speech, something that already is being destroyed on college campuses, and if you don’t toe the government/Progressive line you’ll be imprisoned. Your right to protest will also be eliminated.

Reinterpret the Second Amendment so only the government/criminals will have guns.

Reinterpret the Ninth and Tenth Amendments so only the federal government had power and the states would have no jurisdiction at all.

Are these extreme examples of what could happen if the Constitution were truly a living document? Yes, but they are not something that wouldn’t happen. We’ve seen such tyranny before, even here in America before the Revolution. We see it today in other countries.

The first thing I think of when I hear the phrase “Living Document” is “Not worth the paper it’s written on”, be it the Constitution or federal and state laws. It leaves the decision in the hands of the judiciary and Congress and the state legislatures be damned.

What would such a “Living Document” version of the Constitution and the laws lead to outside of a tyranny?

Revolution, and a bloody one at that.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We had the slow-moving Nor’easter pay us a visit this past Tuesday which dumped up to 3-1/2 feet of snow in some parts of New Hampshire. Here at The Gulch we saw about a foot though other parts of our town saw 20 inches or more. The storm disrupted all kinds of things including school and the annual Town Meeting/Elections in a number of towns. My little town was one such, with Town Meeting/Elections postponed until March 28th.

Looking around this weekend you’d think the Nor’easter had been a small storm because so much of the foot of snow that fell has already melted away. The same can be said of the snow piles created during snow removal. The roof of The Gulch and surrounding homes are bare, the snow having melted away in a couple of days. Then again, March snows tend to melt away pretty quickly because of the warmer temperatures usually seen this time of year.

I have to wonder if last week’s snowstorm was my fault. After all, I did renew my lease for the boat slip where we berth the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout during boating season and asked the boatyard where I store it to have it ready by the second week of May. It’s the late winter version of washing your car in the summer – it rains.


Watching the collapse of a number of banks, many heavily leveraged into both crypto-currency and being woke, does not fill me with the dread so many others are feeling.

This isn’t a repeat of the banking meltdown during the first years of the Obama Administration where banks were heavily invested in mortgage-backed securities, most of the mortgages being risky sub-prime, interest-only, and NINJA mortgages, i.e. ‘junk’ mortgages. Mortgages were handed out like toilet paper in a high-end restroom to people who really didn’t qualify for them, the banks having been pressured into doing so under the Community Reinvestment Act. When the toll of the recession started making itself felt, a rapidly increasing number of those mortgages defaulted because people couldn’t make their payments. Mortgage-backed securities collapsed and took a lot of investment banks, commercial banks, and other financial institutions with them.

The only thing that will be a repeat of last time is the unethical (and probably illegal) privatization of profits and socialization of risks. If these banks and other financial institutions make profits, their shareholders make money. But if those same banks and other financial institutions make bad investments or other financial moves, they are made whole by the the taxpayers. To all intents and purposes, there is no real risk to investors because Uncle Sugar will make sure they get paid. That isn’t supposed to be how it works. The American taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for other people’s bad financial decisions.


I find it interesting that a New York D.A. is going after Trump for allegedly paying hush money to Stormy Daniels and a number of other women. But when Bill Clinton did the same thing – in his case paying off Paula Jones – there was nary a peep from anyone about Clinton’s illegal act.

Former President Bill Clinton paid Paula Jones a whopping $850,000 to keep her quiet over sexual harassment claims — but was never arrested for it.

The case stands in stark contrast to reports that former President Donald Trump will be arrested on Tuesday for an alleged $130,000 hush money payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 over an alleged sexual encounter that the two had in 2006.

Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to charges over the payment in 2018 and was sentenced to three years in prison.

In 1998, the Washington Post reported, “President Clinton reached an out-of-court settlement with Paula Jones yesterday, agreeing to pay her $850,000 to drop the sexual harassment lawsuit that led to the worst political crisis of his career and only the third presidential impeachment inquiry in American history.”

Double standards much? But then that’s all we’ve come to expect from the Democrats these days.


How do we correct deficiencies in Math and English in our schools? There are a number of tried and true ways to do so, but it looks like New York State is trying something different:

Lowering the minimum scores for proficiency in Math and English.

Yeah, that’s going to work out well for the kids who are struggling to become proficient.

New York will change what it takes for students to reach “proficiency” on state math and English language arts tests, calling last year’s lower scores the “new normal.”

A scoring committee that reports to the Board of Regents said Monday that they must take into account the results of last year’s tests for students in grades three through eight to determine whether schools are showing improvement from year to year. On Thursday, the committee wanted to clarify that they must also reset scores because the tests will have new performance standards.

Last year some schools posted shocking results — in Schenectady, no eighth grader who took the math test scored as proficient. And the scores for the third through eighth grade tests throughout the state were much lower in 2022 than in 2019, a result no doubt of the absence of in-person learning during the first year and beyond of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lowering the minimum scores doesn’t fix the problem. It hides them. How the Board of Regents thinks this is going to help anyone escapes me. What it’s going to do is push more kids out of the public school systems and leave the kids stuck in the public schools nowhere to go, nowhere to get the help they need in order to become more proficient.

Yet again, the “state” pushes a policy that pushes everyone to the lowest common denominator, i.e. equity.


From comments I posted elsewhere in the net come this, something that is becoming ever more important in light of SloJoe’s ill advised push to make washing machines even worse in their ability to actually get clothes clean:

As I have commented elsewhere and in public, increasing energy efficiency reaches a point of diminishing returns, sometimes quicker than most people realize. Whether one is talking about lighting, heating, appliances (washing machine, clothes drier, refrigerator, dishwasher, etc.).

My employer went through an efficiency upgrade program in our facility a few years ago, changing all of the lighting over from fluorescent, sodium vapor lamps (for outside) and incandescent lamps to LED lighting, replacing 40 and 50 gallon electric water heaters with point-of-use demand heaters (including timers to disable them when the building is unoccupied overnight), using automatic switches to turn interior lights on only when rooms are occupied, increased ceiling insulation, and replacing seals on exterior doors and windows.

Our electrical usage for lighting decreased by over 30%. Our heating/cooling costs dropped by 20%.

While we could have done even more to reduce energy usage, we had reached the point of diminishing returns, that point where any additional monies spent would not see a return on investment, costing us more than anything we would save.

It isn't much different with the washing machines that SloJoe wants to make so efficient that they won't work. We saw this already during the initial Energy Star push for energy efficiency. It got to the point where the machines used a fraction of the water and electricity of pre-Energy Star machines...but clothing was coming out of those machines as dirty as when they were put in.

Consumer Reports tests all kinds of appliances and there was an issue the then-missus and I read through that had tested a plethora of Energy Star rated machines because we were in the market for a new washing machine. For the first time in their history they couldn't recommend any of the 35+ machines they tested because none of them were able to clean the test loads of dirty clothing CR used to evaluate machines. With one or two exceptions, none of the machines provided enough water to get the interiors of the test loads of clothing wet. If the clothing isn't wet, then it isn't getting washed.

It looks like SloJoe wants to go past even that level of 'efficiency'. The machines will cost even more money, will not last nearly as long as old machines, and you'll still have to wash your clothing by hand.

Spending a lot of money for a minuscule increase in energy efficiency doesn’t make sense on any level, particularly if that increase energy efficiency comes with a large decrease in the ability of that more energy efficient appliance to do what it’s supposed to do.


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where temperatures are going to in the 50’s this week, where preparations for the new boating season are already being made, and where the snow is rapidly melting.


What's The Problem?

The first step to solving a problem is admitting there is a problem. The second and most important step is identifting the problem.

Yeah, I'd say we've identified this particular problem.


Something To Ponder

This certainly sounds true. If it is true then we have something important to talk about, don’t we?


Thoughts On A Sunday

I don’t know about you, but I am not really having any issues with the switch back to Daylight Savings Time, at least not yet. While some folks have said we won’t have to do this anymore as we’ll be staying on DST for the foreseeable future, the only reference I have seen to this change deals with year-round Daylight Savings Time legislation being stalled in the House.

I hate the twice-a-year change which really serves little purpose these days. Some of this dislike is due to New Hampshire (as well as Maine and Massachusetts) being on the extreme eastern side of the Eastern Time Zone. We should probably be in the Atlantic Time Zone and remain on Standard Time year-round. More than a few studies have shown the time changes cause a number of physical and psychological problems for a week or so after the change.


We have another big storm headed this way, something the Weather GuysTM are calling a “slow Nor’easter”, with the snow starting sometime late Monday and continuing until Wednesday. At this point they are predicting 12 inches of snow here at The Gulch, but as is usual, they are hedging their bets by telling us local snowfall amounts may be higher.

I’ll be all set to go as the tank on the trusty RAM 1500 will be topped off, the Official Weekend Pundit Generator will be pre-positioned, and the various snow removal implements checked and within easy reach.

As this is supposed to be heavy snow, a number of officials are warning homeowners to remove any snow remaining on their roofs as the added snow load from this storm could cause them to fail. I don’t have to worry about that as most of the snow on our roof is gone.

What’s going to make this storm even more problematic is that Tuesday is Town Meeting/Election Day for a number of towns here in New Hampshire, including mine. I’ll be spending all day at the polls, performing my duties as an election official. This won’t be the first time we’ve run elections during a snowstorm and it won’t be the last. It will mean that I won’t be home to shovel the snow or run the generator should the need arise during the day.

Such is Town Meeting in New Hampshire.


At least one liberal has come to see the light, particularly when it comes to the January 6th “insurrection” that wasn’t. And now she’s apologizing for believing the BS.

Writes Naomi Wolf:

There is no way to avoid this moment. The formal letter of apology. From me. To Conservatives and to those who “put America first” everywhere.

It’s tempting to sweep this confrontation with my own gullibility under the rug — to “move on” without ever acknowledging that I was duped, and that as a result I made mistakes in judgement, and that these mistakes, multiplied by the tens of thousands and millions on the part of people just like me, hurt millions of other people like you all, in existential ways.

But that erasure of personal and public history would be wrong.

I owe you a full-throated apology.

I believed a farrago of lies. And, as a result of these lies, and my credulity — and the credulity of people similarly situated to me - many conservatives’ reputations are being tarnished, on false bases.

The proximate cause of this letter of apology is the airing, two nights ago, of excepts from tens of thousands of hours of security camera footage from the United States Capitol taken on Jan 6, 2021. The footage was released by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson.

While “fact-checkers” state that it is “misinformation” to claim that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi was in charge of Capitol Police on that day, the fact is that the USCP is under the oversight of Congress, according to — the United States Capitol Police.

This would be the same Congress that convened the January 6 Committee subsequently, and that used millions of dollars in taxpayer money to turn that horrible day, and that tragic event, into a message point that would be used to tar a former President as a would-be terrorist, and to smear all Republicans, by association, as “insurrectionists,” or as insurrectionists’ sympathizers and fellow-travelers.

The deeper we dig into the January 6th Insurrection hearings the more it becomes apparent that they were an excuse for a witch hunt, something Naomi Wolf now sees to be the case.

Now if some of the other ‘sleepers’ will awaken to this truth.

What makes this even more poignant is the revelation from the Chairman of the Select Committee on January 6th, Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., claiming the panel never analyzed the blockbuster footage Fox News aired this week.

So they were using only cherry picked video for their hearings and didn’t look at any of the exculpatory videos as they should have. But then that wouldn’t have fit the narrative and have worked worked against the aims of the witch hunt.


Just when I thought the Biden Administration couldn’t be any more clueless, they prove me wrong. The latest bit of buffoonery?

Biden’s Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm praising China’s response to climate change. China’s ‘response’ to climate change?

Increasing their already large carbon dioxide generation by building and bringing more coal power plants online. They are already the largest emitter of anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the world and are working hard to emit even more.

Somehow I doubt Granholm meant to praise their response...or is totally ignorant of the facts when it comes China’s environmental record, particularly when it has anything to do climate change.

There is very little that an American should find praiseworthy about China. The Communists are lying, thieving, secretive, paranoid, oppressive, murderous thugs.

But Biden’s Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm couldn’t stop praising Communist China during a recent interview at the annual SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. Granholm showed her admiration for the Butchers of Beijing for the way they’ve shown the world how to deal with climate change.


The problem is that China doesn’t give a whit about climate change. They care about appearing to do something about climate change.

In fact, China is building more coal-fired electric plants at three times the rate of the rest of the world combined.

That our own Energy Secretary has fallen hook, line, and sinker for Chinese propaganda isn’t surprising. Biden’s cabinet members have a particularly hard time hiding their misplaced enthusiasm when it comes to China.

What else can you expect from an administration bought and paid for by China?


In last week’s TOAS I mentioned the plans to ‘geoengineer’ our way out of climate change by affecting the level of insolation – the amount of sunlight entering the atmosphere – as one means of doing so. However, there’s something the proponents of doing such a foolish thing have chosen to ignore, that being the concern that rich nations will be controlling the amount of sunlight while ignoring the input from, or the needs of, poorer nations.

Concern grows over rich nations controlling sunlight.

Radical climate interventions — like blocking the sun’s rays — could alter the world’s weather patterns, potentially benefiting some regions of the world and harming others.

That possibility, climate scientists say, means any research on such methods must consider those risks and involve the countries that already bear the greatest impacts from a warming planet.

“If you’re actually talking about actively deploying technologies to alter the climate, then you need to engage all of us in the discussion,” said Andrea Hinwood, chief scientist at the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya. “And that means those who are the most vulnerable to these effects need to be able to have a say.”

The push for inclusive research comes alongside growing interest — and debate — over solar radiation management, a little understood way to avoid catastrophic climate change by injecting sunlight-blocking particles into the stratosphere or changing the density of clouds.

Such control could also be used as a weapon in the wrong hands, those wrong hands being those who have no problems justifying their actions as being “for the common good”. Such justifications have been used in the past to excuse all kinds of horrifying actions, including genocide.

It is my opinion that none of this should even be considered until we have a much better handle on the atmospheric physics that drive our climate. Anyone who says they understand those physics to the point they where they understand the semi-chaotic system that is our climate is either deluded or lying.


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where it’s sunny and warm today, will be snowing to beat the band on Tuesday, and where tomorrow will be used to get ready for everything happening on Tuesday.


From The Archives

As I do from time to time I peruse the Official Weekend Pundit Archives to see if there’s something I should do a follow-up post on. Other times I find posts I wrote years ago that surprise me, mainly because I find it difficult to believe that I wrote something like that. I sometimes feel like a fraud, as if I plagiarized it in it’s entirety because I doubt I could write something so prosaic or profound or humorous. Yet there they are.

The post below dates back to January 2012 and covers two topics I have to deal with now and then, both with my job and in my life – Diminishing Returns and the always fascinating Perceived Risk.

Note: A little over 11 years have passed since the original post. Unfortunately the links below are now dead.


One of the most difficult concepts that many people have problems understanding is that of diminishing returns. This applies to many different areas in our lives and in our society. I don't know whether it's a lack of education, a failure in their upbringing, or something inherently lacking in the people themselves. Perhaps it's a little of all three.

Going hand in hand with this concept is one that has many of the same roots - perceived risk – something that has driven some folks into action to get the government to “Do Something!” about something that is a minor issue at best.

In case you're wondering, however briefly, how this particular subject came up, it was during a discussion at work about this post from FuturePundit dealing with the declining return on investment from electrical power efficiency.

My employer is always looking for ways to reduce our energy usage, something that appeals to the frugal Yankee in me. Over the past five or six years a number of measures have been taken to reduce our electrical usage, including the use of more efficient lighting at all levels, timers on our existing electric water heaters to shut them off when no one is in the building, on-demand water heaters replacing the older tank-type water heaters as they wear out, more energy efficient refrigerators (used for both food and for storage of certain manufacturing substances...though not in the same refrigerator!), and motion sensors to shut off lights in rooms when no one is in them, just to name a few of the improvements undertaken. All of this has helped reduce our electricity usage by over 20% as compared to 6 years ago. Will further investment reduce our electrical usage any more than it has? Sure it will, but (and it's a big 'but') we won't see anywhere near the savings we already have unless we spend a lot more money than has already been spent. We have reached the point of diminishing return. We'd need to spend many times more than we already have in order to achieve a small fraction of the savings already made. From a financial point of view the return on investment makes no sense, meaning further investment in this effort will not result in energy savings equal to what was spent to achieve them. Or put more simply, we'll spend more than we'll save. It's not worth it.

OK, back to the subject at hand.

We've seen more than a few times where some project has reached its original goals, whether it's a cleanup of some Superfund site or the closing of a municipal landfill. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the contaminants were cleaned up or the landfill might leak 0.001% of the liquids or decomposition products from the landfill. But for some folks that isn't good enough. They want 100%. Never mind that achieving that last little bit will cost as much, if not more, than what has already spent. Never mind that it will likely be the taxpayers footing the bill. Never mind that in the end it won't make one bit of difference. The project has blown past the point of diminishing returns and spending any additional money won't help...other than to make the folks bitching about it feel better. (It would be cheaper to give them some mood-elevating drugs to do that than wasting taxpayer dollars to 'fix' the last little iota of the problem.)

We see this lack of understanding about diminishing returns in all kinds of places and situations. It is also where the problem with perceived risk comes into play.

One of the biggest disservices ever perpetrated upon the public is the notion that life should be totally risk free. This meme started some time in the 1960's. (Yes, I know drives to improve safety started long before that, but the 100% risk free crap started in the late 60's/early 70's.) There's nothing wrong with reducing risk. But to think life can be made 100% risk free is ludicrous. It can't be done. But that doesn't stop people from trying to do so anyways. I wouldn't mind that so much if those same people understood the difference between real risk and perceived risk. The problem is that they don't and because of that lack of understanding money is wasted on slight risks while major risks are ignored.

An example:

Which entails more risk to life and limb: Driving a car or flying on a commercial airliner?

The answer is, of course, driving a car. (There were over 32,885 traffic fatalities in 2010, with many times that number of injuries. As an aside, that number is the lowest number of fatalities since 1949 despite more miles being traveled then ever before, giving us the lowest fatality rate ever. [Update: In 2021 there were 42,915 fatalities, the highest number since 2005] .) But people perceive flying as more dangerous. Yet how many fatalities have the been in the US due to commercial airliner crashes over the past few years? None. A person is far more like to be injured or killed driving to or from the airport than they are by flying on a commercial airliner, but they're more afraid of dying in a plane crash. It's all perception, not reality.

Let's try another:

One person lives near a nuclear power plant. Another lives near a coal-fired power plant. Which one is at a higher risk of cancer, injury, or death?

The answer is the person living near the coal-fired plant. The effluvia from the smokestack and any runoff from the ash pile are a far greater hazard than anything coming from the nuclear plant under normal circumstances. Yet people perceive the nuclear power plant will cause them to get cancer and other illnesses. Even after the Three Mile Island accident there were no increases in cancer or other radiation related illnesses. (Some initial studies stated there were, but review of those studies by the CDC found some creative editing of the health statistics to 'prove' the case. Once all the raw data was reanalyzed those alleged increases in cancer cases disappeared.)

Over the years it seems to me the the perceived risks have received far more attention (and money) than actual risks. Efforts will be made to reduce risks that have little actual impact, but large risks will be ignored.

For instance, the NHTSA wants to ban the use of cell phones and other electronic devices by drivers of cars and trucks. All kinds of efforts are being made to codify that ban in to law across the nation despite the fact that the actual percentage of accidents caused by these distracting gizmos is unknown. The perception is that these devices are leaving a swath of death and destruction along the highways and byways of the nation to rival those caused by drunk driving. The NHTSA reports that 3092 traffic deaths were caused by distracted driving in 2010. That's one out of every eleven fatalities. How many of those were due to cell phone use or texting? The NHTSA doesn't actually say, though the article linked implies all of them were (but there was no actual number cited). The implication is that this is a major risk and that the government must “Do Something!' even though the actual risk is quite small. (Update: There is a lot more data on distracted driving accidents, mainly due to drivers trying to use their smart phones when they should be paying attention to the road. Some years have seen more ‘smart phone’ distracted driving accidents than DUI accidents. That’s why many states have so-called “Hands Free” laws on their books to address this problem. My home state of New Hampshire is one of them.)

But will the government spend a dime on something like removing homes from flood plains or barrier islands, obviating the need to constantly pay out to rebuild them again and again after they are destroyed? (Disclaimer: The gubmint did do that after the Mississippi River floods in 1993, relocating a number of towns to higher ground because it was cheaper to do so rather than paying out the flood insurance claims again and again and again and again, ad infinitum.)

Or will money be spent on things like crumbling roads and bridges, things that endanger us all? We must remember incidents like the Mianus River Bridge collapse on I-95 in Connecticut, the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, or the Nimitz Freeway collapse during the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 , all of which killed and injured motorists. (The Nimitz Freeway collapse occurred because necessary upgrades to the highway support pylons were postponed.) How many other others are out there waiting to happen because we haven't spent the necessary funds to reduce a very real risk? Maybe this is due to the opposite of perceived risk, where people see no risk and therefore think nothing needs to be done, yet the risk exists and is higher than many of the perceived risks people waste time and money dealing with. How much did these real incidents cost compared to what it would have cost to fix the problems in the first place? Do I really need to answer that?

The people need to learn how to discriminate between real risk and perceived risk, and to understand the relationship to diminishing returns. Otherwise we will continue to ignore real risks and waste ever more money on things that are minimal risks at best.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The latest snowstorm to visit us departed last night, but not before depositing around around 14 inches of heavy snow. It helped that neither the WP Mom or I had to go anywhere yesterday. About the only thing I had to do was shovel snow from around the trusty RAM 1500 and pull some of the snow down from the roof. We were fortunate as there were plenty of others who had to venture out, some of which experienced misfortune in the way of traffic accidents, including one of our little town’s plow trucks. (Fortunately no one was injured but the plow truck did suffer suspension damage.)

The size of the snow banks in our neighborhood is daunting as we are literally running out of space to put the snow. I didn’t think we’d had that much snow, but the evidence can be seen right outside The Gulch’s front door.

And to think I made arrangements to rent the boat slip for the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout just last week.


Yeah, like this is going to work out well.

Solar Geoengineering 'Only Option' to Cool Planet Within Years, UN Says.

Messing with the insolation level for Earth to ‘cancel’ out warming will have all kinds of effects, with some of them being catastrophic. Yet there are actually some folks who think this is OK because it will “Save The Earth”. Not that Earth needs saving as it has been both colder and warmer on Earth, even during the last 12,000 years, and the Earth did not become uninhabitable.

At least the UN isn’t proposing anything other than studying the prospect at this point.

Research into sun and heat-deflecting technologies to tackle climate change are proceeding at a rapid pace around the globe, prompting the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to investigate their potentials and dangers while stating that these controversial interventions are humanity's "only option" to quickly cool the planet within years.

In a report published by UNEP in February, an independent panel describes what’s currently known about so-called solar radiation modification, also called solar geoengineering, and concludes that, despite its great potential, it's not viable or even safe right now. Nonetheless, amid growing calls from governments to find an emergency brake for climate change—and ongoing, independent efforts to develop solar geoengineering technology—the UNEP is calling for a full-scale global review of the tech and eventual multinational framework for how it should be governed.

My only problem with such geoengineering is that they really don’t know what the effects will be. I have to wonder if proponents understand what the unintended consequences could be.

Ask any atmospheric physicist and they’ll tell you Earth’s atmosphere, and by extension its climate, is a semi-chaotic system. How does anyone factor in the chaotic elements of the atmosphere in order to come up with an even semi-representative model of what will happen? We certainly haven’t seen that with the climate models the so-called ‘climate scientists’ have been using to push their agendas. They haven’t even come close to predicting what is happening and were dismal failures when tested by hindcasting - using the models to ‘predict’ climate starting a few decades or a century ago and seeing how the predictions match the data of what actually happened – which fills no one with even a modicum of understanding with any kind of confidence that these same folks will have any understanding of what their efforts will reap.

If they trigger a premature Ice Age will their only response be “Oops! We didn’t think this would happen. Sorry!”


Watts Up With That has been posting a tutorial addressing reliable versus intermittent power generation. It deals with the issues of ‘traditional’ power generation systems – coal, natural gas, hydro, biomass, and nuclear – versus intermittent power generation systems – solar and wind – and the problems with providing power where and when it’s needed. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

This two-part post is a follow-up to Robert Bradley’s recent IER article, “Wind, Solar, and the Great Texas Blackout: Guilty as Charged.” His article discussed how regulatory shifts and subsidies favoring Intermittently Variable Renewable Energy (IVRE) producers resulted in prematurely lost capacity, a lack of new capacity, and upgrade issues with remaining (surviving) traditional capacity. These three factors–“the why behind the why”–explain the perfect storm that began with (or was revealed by) Storm Uri.

It seems it’s primarily folks who have little or no understanding of how electrical grids work and the delicate balancing act required to keep the grid up and running in order to meet demand are the ones pushing solar and wind. Their ignorance, honest or willful, drives them to push for renewable energy in place of reliable and well understood generation systems. What’s worse is that when it is shown the renewable sources aren’t reliable and add to grid instability, their answer is to push for even more renewable sources as if they will magically fix the problem...which only makes the problem worse.


Last week I wrote about how social media is hurting our kids.

Legal Insurrection has a follow-up, focusing more on how social media is contributing to the mental illness epidemic among teen girls.

When impressionable teenage girls become ensnared by social media, the real world being subsumed by social media – a make believe world that tantalizes, beguiles, tempts...and lies. Is it any wonder those same teenage girls can be wrecked emotionally and mentally by such a place?

A big story last week was the partial release of the CDC’s bi-annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which showed that most teen girls (57%) now say that they experience persistent sadness or hopelessness (up from 36% in 2011), and 30% of teen girls now say that they have seriously considered suicide (up from 19% in 2011). Boys are doing badly too, but their rates of depression and anxiety are not as high, and their increases since 2011 are smaller.

As one commenter to the LI post asked, “By “mental illness epidemic,” are we including the trans craze, or… too soon?”

It is a legitimate question because it seems much of the ‘trans craze’ is hawked heavily on social media. It is a major source of influence among teens and many of the ideas and memes being pushed there are damaging to the mental health and well-being of our teens.

Limiting teens’ access to social media is one possible means of reducing this epidemic, something we can no longer ignore.


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where we’re still moving snow, Winter Break is ending, and the kids have to go back to school tomorrow morning.


Will They Destroy This Too?

Just when I think they can’t make it any worse I am proven wrong.

An American institution, one that has existed for 100 years, is being whittle down, eaten from the inside, and being destroyed by people who have nothing but contempt and hatred for American culture and traditions. Of course they are doing so because in their twisted and nihilistic ideology anything they disagree with must be evil and needs to be canceled. Their target?


The latest gripe they have with Disney are lyrics to a song from a movie they deem racist.

Cover the kids’ eyes. “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” after the bit about it being a wonderful, sunshine-filled day, continues: “Mister Bluebird’s on my shoulder / It’s the truth, it’s actual / Ev’rything is satisfactual / Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay / Wonderful feeling, wonderful day, yes sir!” That’s basically it. There is nothing in the song about blacks or whites or anything having to do with race at all. The Left hates the song because it is joyful, which Leftists never are, and because it was sung in the movie Song of the South by a black man, James Baskett, in a context that suggests that human beings could still be happy even amid circumstances of oppression and injustice. That kind of thinking blunts the revolutionary ardor, and that will never do.

Above all, Song of the South has frequently been denounced as racist, and so even though there isn’t anything remotely racist about the song “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” itself, it is associated with a racist production, and so it has to go. One wonders how the wokesters who run Disney came to this conclusion. Were they inundated with complaints from black Americans and their Leftist “allies,” who found themselves weeping at the collective memory of the chains of the slaver and the lash of the overseer whenever they heard that it was a wonderful, sunshiny day?

Were the Disney offices overwhelmed with angry emails from people berating the sinister media giant for reminding them of the awful Song of the South (of which Disney is so ashamed that it doesn’t offer it for sale, despite the critical acclaim it received upon its release and its historical and cultural significance)? Or (and this is, of course, much more likely) did no one express any offense at all, but the woke censors prevailed anyway?

Of the two possibilities I have no doubt it was the second. Only the twisted wokerati could find offense and they had to do a lot of digging to find yet something else to be offended about. Of course they are the only ones offended. No one else cares because no one else is offended.

It’s time to purge these self-important narcissists from Disney - and from any organization, business, or institution - because they serve no useful purpose. They exist solely to throw monkey wrenches into the machinery of our society, destroying it. Should they succeed all they will leave behind is the proverbial smoking wreckage and they will replace it with…nothing.

Am I being over the top? I wish I was, but I have a feeling that if anything, I am understating the case.