7/13/2024

Heroes

I was planning to post this new music video from Tom McDonald for tonight's post. Now it seems it may be even more appropriate considering the extraordinary event that took place earlier today - the attempted asassination of Donald Trump - as heroes, some being just ordinary people attending the rally in Pennsylvania and others being the Secret Service agents, EMS personnel, local police officers, and a whole host of others who were there.

Trump Wounded At Rally In Pennsylvania

I am not going to delve deeply into this incident as the news coverage is ubiquitous. It appears Trump was grazed either by a round from the sniper's rifle or from shrapnel caused by one round hitting another object. One rally attendee was killed and two others wounded. The sniper was neutralized by the Secret Service.

Apparently the sniper was on the roof of a building outside the rally venue. There has been a lot of speculation about the sniper, but I am not going to add to that speculation as we'll (hopefully) find out more about him/her/it soon enough.

Instapundit has been covering this story since shortly after it occurred and has been updating information as it has become available.

7/12/2024

Friday Funny - Uh Oh

It seems that Blogger has got problems as it won't let me upload this week's picture. It asked me to log out and log back in...but I couldn't even log out as it keep telling me it can't access my account in order to log out. So something is indeed "busticated" or Google doesn't like me any more. I will attempt this post this again tomorrow.

7/07/2024

Thoughts On A Sunday

It’s the post-Fourth of July weekend and it’s been quite busy, something that was not exactly unexpected. Lots of fireworks just before, during, and after the Fourth, with some last night on the lake just below the Gulch. There’s been a lot of traffic, again not unexpected. At least it’s been heavy, but there have been very few people driving stupid, at least from what I’ve seen and from what I’ve been hearing from neighbors, friends, and townsfolk. It has been one of the better Fourth of July holidays over the past few years, even with the spate of showers and thunderstorms that graced us here and there. The only thing we have to deal with is the exodus as visitors head for home, something that started late this morning. It’s one reason I handled all of my Sunday errands early and had them done before 9am which means I shouldn’t need to head out onto the roads for the rest of the days.

One of the other things that has been different this summer also has something to do with traffic, but not in the way you might think. In this case the one that that stands out is the unusual number of deer I’ve seen lying dead on the side of the road that passes by The Gulch. Over a ~2 mile stretch the state road that can have a lot of traffic I’ve seen at least 8 dead deer over the past month. Eight. I haven’t seen that many dead deer along that stretch of road over the 20 years I’ve lived in my town. I don’t know if it means there’s been more traffic which could lead to more road kill or that there are just a lot more deer around this year. Perhaps it’s a combination of both. But it is disturbing to see a surge of deer being hit and killed along a road that hasn’t seen that many in the 20+ years prior to that.

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After the Debate Debacle I posted about last week the shockwaves about Biden’s disastrous performance at the debate. It has the Democrats scrambling, with some trying to explain away Biden’s poor outcome and others trying to find a replacement for the top of the ticket because they know Biden is only going to get worse. You know it’s really bad when even the usually Democrat-friendly media outlets – the NYT, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, and others – are making noise about Biden needing to drop out of the race.

Those pushing for Biden to drop out are also scrambling to find a replacement. The problem is that no one, including poison pill VP Harris, is likely to draw as many votes as Biden. Harris isn’t popular, even among Democrats, because she’s an idiot and everyone knows it. California’s Destructor – Gavin Newsom – isn’t a viable candidate because of the damage he’s done to the Pyrite State and wants to do to the rest of the US. Neither is Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer, one of the biggest reasons being that she isn’t well known. One possible replacement isn’t liked by the Democrats, RFK Jr., as he isn’t Progressive enough for the DNC.

Can the DNC come up with a candidate to replace Biden that won’t be buried by Trump in November and allow them to retain the White House? I haven’t a clue...but then, neither do the Democrats.

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On more than one occasion I have made mention of the problem with the locations of weather stations which record temperatures, humidity, wind speed and direction, rainfall, and so on, that problem being poor siting. A perfect example of this is the difference between two weather station locations seen here. Both of these locations are in the UK, but one is for the UK Met Office and one for the University of Hull’s Environmental Department.

The Met Office site reads two degrees Celsius warmer than the University site. Take a look at the photos in the linked post and I think you’ll be able figure out which site belongs to the Met Office and which belongs to the University.

This is a problem in the US to an even greater degree. I know one of the weather stations near The Gulch is located at the local airport amid the runway, taxiways, and aircraft ramps. In other words it’s surrounded by large areas of paving. That means any temperature readings from that weather station are suspect. The same is true of weather stations located on building roofs, next to parking lots, near HVAC equipment, and near buildings on the same side of the building with sun exposure. The number of stations with ‘pristine’ sites, meaning sites that aren’t anywhere near any of the influences listed above, has been shrinking as urban and suburban sprawl surrounded those locations over the years. That makes all of the readings from those stations suspect, something that has been devoutly ignored for years. After all, it helps sell the narrative of global warming.

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This can’t be repeated enough:

46% of American electric vehicle owners are considering returning to gasoline-powered vehicles for their next purchase.

So much for EVs being The Next Big Thing.

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In a related subject, it looks like the $7.5 billion set aside to build 500,000 EV charging stations across the nation has seen only seven stations built so far. It must also be stated that this is the second year of the program, yet only seven stations have been built so far. To quote the post, “At this rate, it will require thousands of years to build all 500,000 charging stations, assuming there are sufficient funds to do so.”

Global consulting firm McKinsey and Company estimates that the U.S. will need 28 million charging ports by 2030. There are just two million charging ports today. To meet the goal, about 12,000 new public and private charging ports will need to be added every single day to reach the goal by 2030.

It is true that significantly more government funded charging stations are in the works and will be opened. The stations completed so far cost significantly more than what has been promised. With retailers contributing land to the projects opened so far, the cost of each station has averaged one-million dollars, with the government participation of 80% of the cost. Eight-hundred-thousand dollars for each station is significantly more than the $15,000 committed by the administration. At this rate, the 500,000 charging stations will cost the government $400 billion, not the $7.5 billion the President has promised.

As it goes with any government mandated program, it always costs more and is always over budget. This is something that should be handled by the free market, not by government, and particularly through mandates. The government is ‘stupid’ when it comes to what is needed for some types of markets. EVs is one of those markets.

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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the Fourth of July crowds have been departing, the lake is ours again until next weekend, and where Monday is coming up to ruin yet another weekend.

7/06/2024

Restaurant Closings Increasing

I saw this over at Instapundit and I thought I had to comment on it, particularly since I live in a semi-rural area in New Hampshire that has a lot of seasonal tourist traffic. “This” is the increasing number of fast-food chain restaurants closing as a result of inflation/Bidenomics (aren’t they the same thing?) and California’s ill-advised increase in fast-food worker minimum wages to $20/hour.

While some of the focus of the post covered the issues in California, it isn’t just California seeing issues. It’s a nationwide problem which signals economic problems, not just ‘policy’ issues.

They have been putting up prices over the past two years – as they pass on higher costs to customers. But these price hikes have led to a fall in visitors.

Bigger chains like Applebee’s, TGI Fridays and Boston Market have have all recently shuttered restaurants, as have smaller chains like BurgerFi.

Red Lobster filed for bankruptcy in May and also shuttered almost 100 restaurants.

Chains have been worst hit in California where the minimum wage for fast food restaurants jumped to $20-an-hour from April 1. In early June, Mexican chain Rubio’s shut 48 locations in the state and also filed for bankruptcy.

Two weeks ago, it emerged that almost 150 Pizza Hut restaurants are set to close due to an ongoing financial dispute with one of its major franchisees.

McDonald’s is abandoning menu changes that were made in an attempt to turn it “into a ‘modern, progressive burger company’”, something that has seriously hurt their bottom line as no one, at least in the US, has been buying the new menu items.

‘And so if people really want salads from McDonald’s, we will gladly relaunch salads. But what our experience has proven is, that’s not what the consumer is looking for from McDonald’s.’

At the same time as he said the chain was ditching salads, [McDonald’s USA president Joe Erlinger] said that McDonald’s had given up on its bid to sell meat-free beef burgers in America.

He said the McPlant has been ditched because customers did not want fake meat.

The chain had been testing the McPlant at several hundred restaurants in California and Texas since trials began in late 2021.

Developed with Beyond Meat, it was made from pea and rice proteins.

At least McDonald’s is going back to a more traditional menu which may help slow or reverse the decline. If they really wanted to boost sales they should dump using vegetable/seed oils to deep fry their french fries and go back to using beef tallow. I remember when a number of McDonald’s franchises somewhere Down South offered such french fries for a limited time and they had lines out the door.

One restaurant chain that is in trouble that surprised me?

Hooters.

As one commenter put it:

Even Hooters is shuttering locations en masse. Hooters, for pity's sake.

If it's possible to lose money, in the United States of America, with a USP of wings, beer, sports on the tube, and curvaceous waitresses, you know the economy is officially going t*ts-up.

Indeed.

While I haven’t seen any of the chain restaurants closing in my part of New Hampshire, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened elsehere. I haven’t seen any of our locally owned restaurants closing either, but that also doesn’t mean much as it must be remembered that this part of my state is a popular tourist area, so we might not see much in the way of closures as might be seen in other parts of New Hampshire.

However, that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen here if our economy can’t get out from under the destructive effects of Bidenomics.