Thoughts On A Sunday

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The weather has been a little schizo over the weekend, with sun, high clouds, borderline humidity (almost dry but not quite), and no wind. Not that it's affected any summer weekend activities with the exception of hanging out laundry to dry. Under those conditions it takes hours to dry. It certainly put a crimp in my usual laundry routine.

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It was 45 years ago today that man first landed on the Moon.

I remember watching it on my grandmother's big 25-inch console TV at her home on the Connecticut shoreline. Our whole family was supposed to have been well on our way home from there after having spent three weeks there. But because Armstrong and Aldrin were going to step out onto the Moon, we ended up staying to watch the whole thing.

I had always been a big fan of space exploration. I even had a model of the Saturn V rocket in my bedroom. The whole thing stood over three feet tall and the various stages could come apart just like the real thing. The Apollo could even dock with the LEM. I spent countless hours playing with that thing. But on this day back in 1969 I didn't have to imagine anything. I could see it all on TV and listen to the commentary of Walter Cronkite as everything unfolded.

The memory is as clear to me as the day it happened all those years ago.

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Russia's propaganda war over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 continues. Russia still insists it was Ukraine that shot down the airliner even though that makes no sense.

Considering the flight was coming from the Netherlands and was on a East South Easterly course, there's no reason Ukrainian air defense would have engaged the airliner, particularly after it had already overflown most of the country. But if the Russian separatists saw an aircraft on that course coming from central Ukraine that might conclude it was a Ukrainian Air Force aircraft and shot it down.

More than one TV news report showed a Russian mobile SAM transporter leaving the area from where the missile that shot down the airliner had been launched. What made it unusual was that two of its missile were no longer on its launch rails. That implies the missiles had been expended, possibly with one or both of them having destroyed the airliner.

Frankly, it would have been better for Russia if Vladimir Putin admitted up front that the 'separatists' had shot it down in error and expressed dismay that such a horrible event took place. But by using the same old Cold War tactics of deny and accuse, it makes Russia appear to be complicit in the downing of MH17 and that they're covering it up.

One would think that Putin would learn from our history that the act itself may be bad, but the cover-up is even worse.

Of course this just backs up the impression that Russia has become dangerous again, just as Mitt Romney predicted.

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The Greens are at it again, this time setting their sights on New England and its electricity supply.

The delusion that all of the electricity that we need can be generated by 'green' means is just that, an illusion. A number of power plants have been shut down because they no longer meet the even stricter EPA regulations. The problem is that not much in the way of new capacity has been built to replace them even as demand for electricity grows. Natural gas-fired plants are in abundance now, but the problem is that there isn't a single pipeline that brings that gas into New England and plans to actually build one have been opposed by the Greens at every step. That makes the supply iffy at best. Wind and solar are a bust because they aren't always available when needed and they cost a hell of a lot more than traditional means of generating electricity. Wind also has a downside in that the turbines kill a lot of wildlife, specifically birds, including a number of endangered species, and the infrasound generated by the blades as they turn has deleterious health effects on animals and people.

An abundant supply of clean, renewable hydropower is available just over the border in Canada, but the Greens don't want anyone building the transmission lines needed to get it into New England.

Of course there is nuclear power, one of the greenest supplies of energy around, but the Greens have a hatred for nuclear that borders on the pathological.

No matter what, the Greens, and most particularly those "upper-educated elites snugly ensconced in the digital economy or sitting in Washington writing regulations telling everybody else what to do," are against anything that might actually bring reliable power to New England. They don't have to deal with the consequences of their actions. We do, which is why these idiots should be the last people making decisions that affect us negatively while they are safely insulated from damage they are causing.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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Remember how the claim that ObamaCare would drive up costs was called "a lie" by supporters? It turns out it was the truth, at least in Louisiana where health care premiums are expected to are expected to increase by between 15.5 and 24 percent.

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Gateway Pundit gives us a comparison between Elizabeth Warren's 11 Commandments of Progressivism and Adolph Hitler's 25 Points of the Nazi Party and points out the eerie similarity between the two.

Cap'n Teach has his own take on the matter.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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Eric the Viking offers a twofer in regards to the national debt and the nation's unsustainable deficit spending. He explains it with a simple three word phrase: "We're Going Broke."

You know the problem is getting bad when even the Washington Post is slamming Congress, the White House, and the rest of the Washington naysayers for not addressing the problem now before it becomes bad enough that it can no longer be ignored, or worse, it becomes to late to do anything about it and country goes bankrupt.

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Why do liberals think "profit" is a dirty word? They certainly seem to use it in their efforts to disparage or discredit people, corporations, and even court decisions. If a business isn't profitable how is it supposed to survive? Or do they think all businesses should lose money and become dependent upon government to survive? (That's my take on it.)

They are hinting that profit is different from other motivations. Less noble. Maybe even wicked.

As Glenn Reynolds so aptly put it, "A company that turns a profit is self-sufficient." Aye, and there's the rub. They don't need government to survive and can choose their own course.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weather is going to get hotter and more humid, the sound of corporate jets leaving the local airport is building, and where yet again Monday has returned too soon.

Summer In The 603

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As Bogie writes: Money quote in my book: The Devil Went Down to Georgia because Daniel Webster kicked his ass!

Indeed.
As if we need even more evidence that socialism is a system of failure, ignorance, and envy, there's this experiment run by the University of Munich and Duke University to determine people's willingness to lie for personal gain.

Some 250 Berliners were randomly selected to take part in a game where they could win up to €6 ($8).

The game was simple enough. Each participant was asked to throw a die 40 times and record each roll on a piece of paper. A higher overall tally earned a bigger payoff. Before each roll, players had to commit themselves to write down the number that was on either the top or the bottom side of the die. However, they did not have to tell anyone which side they had chosen, which made it easy to cheat by rolling the die first and then pretending that they had selected the side with the highest number. If they picked the top and then rolled a two, for example, they would have an incentive to claim--falsely--that they had chosen the bottom, which would be a five.

Honest participants would be expected to roll ones, twos and threes as often as fours, fives and sixes. But that did not happen: the sheets handed in had a suspiciously large share of high numbers, suggesting many players had cheated.

The authors found that, on average, those who had East German roots cheated twice as much as those who had grown up in West Germany under capitalism.

All the same, when it comes to ethics, a capitalist upbringing appears to trump a socialist one.

None of that surprises me. I've known more than my share of dyed-in-the-wool European socialists, and very few of them displayed what I would consider ethical behavior, particularly in regards to those who might not be of the same political bent as they.

That also brings up the question: Would they lie for political gain? From my experience, the answer is 'Yes'.

(H/T Instapundit)

Tax-Eaters Cometh

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According to Wayne Allyn Root, a classmate of Barry Soetoro's at Columbia--the mysterious student he nor any one else remembers seeing--we have significantly more tax eaters than tax payers.

There are now 70 percent more Americans collecting entitlement checks than working in the private sector (148 million "takers" vs. 86 million "makers").
As Ben Stein's dad is famous for saying, what can't last, won't. We're doomed.

California Catch-22

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This could only happen in California.

Considering the once Golden State is in the midst of a severe drought, the drive to conserve water has been taken up by local municipalities and residents. But what happens when the actions homeowners are taking to conserve water under the direction of state government mandates conflict with local ordinances that require residential landscaping be kept looking healthy and green? They get stuck in a Catch-22 situation: no matter what they do they'll be fined $500 either by the state or their home town. The state will fine them for watering their lawns during the water restrictions and the town will fine them for not watering their lawns.

How is it that the folks running these towns and cities can think it's a good idea to use what little water is available to water lawns rather using it for drinking, cooking, bathing, or doing laundry? These nuts need to get a clue and focus on what's really important, and it ain't lawns.

Quote Of The Week

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There's nothing I can add to this:

immi.jpg
Indeed.
The only fact I feel is necessary to add to this wonderful contrast is that Vermont is the only state, with the possible exception of Alaska, where conceal carry is not licensed. So anyone, regardless whether he or she is from Vermont, can have a concealed handgun on his person.

In Chicago, a city of 2.7 million people, fewer than 8,000 people are licensed to own a gun - less than 0.3%. The city's gun-homicide rate is about 18 per 100,000. In Vermont, by contrast, where 42% of the population are gun owners, the rate of gun murders in 2010 was 0.3 per 100,000. So Chicago has a gun-homicide rate about 60 times Vermont's, despite Vermonters being 150 times as likely to own a gun. To put that another way, in Chicago the ratio of the gun-homicide rate to the percentage of citizens who legally own guns is nine thousand times higher than it is in Vermont.
So I once packed a full-service sidearm in Vermont that a mere empty casing in Massachusetts would likely cause me to be in legal trouble. States like California, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are dreadful when it comes to the Second Amendment. See what I mean?
I first learned how a bill sponsored by then state senator Jeanne Shaheen, aka, "Pizza Mom," was a nuclear bomb in the NH health care insurers' market on a Free State forum only five or six years ago. She's gotten a free pass on being Godzilla to the NH health insurer market. Exaggeration? Read on.

Do the television journalists bother to do their homework in asking her when she will be presumably running for re-election what the deal was? They should when 21 health insurers left the state apparently in response to the disastrous SB 711,the legislation that drove off up to two dozen health insurers in the state, leaving NH with two and a half providers, according to Skip Murphy at Granite Grok.

Google it with her name, and there's actually a small list of sites attempting to hold her accountable: Granite Grok, the Union Leader (3 Dec 2011 editorial below the fold), Americans for Prosperity, a few others like Gleach, who writes:

The FACT is that when you force companies to lose money, they will stop doing business with you. That lack of competition (driven out with good intentions of a utopia where everyone has access to million dollar care even if they can't afford it) results in higher prices - that is economic FACT. Insurance is risk-mitigation and the companies who provide it are calculating gamblers; when they see a losing horse, they won't bet on it; SB711 branded NH a losing horse.
Is the Tea Party a religion as the Daily Beast claims? Or is it something else?

Says the Daily Beast's Jack Schwartz:

America has long been the incubator of many spiritual creeds going back to the Great Awakening and even earlier. Only one of them, Mormonism, has taken root and flourished as a true religion sprung from our own native ground. Today, however, we have a new faith growing from this nation's soil: the Tea Party. Despite its secular trappings and "taxed enough already" motto, it is a religious movement, one grounded in the traditions of American spiritual revival. This religiosity explains the Tea Party's political zealotry.

But when religion is thrown into the mix, all that is lost. Religion here doesn't mean theology but a distinct belief system which, in totality, provides basic answers regarding how to live one's life, how society should function, how to deal with social and political issues, what is right and wrong, who should lead us, and who should not. It does so in ways that fulfill deep-seated emotional needs that, at their profoundest level, are devotional. Given the confusions of a secular world being rapidly transformed by technology, demography, and globalization, this movement has assumed a spiritual aspect whose adepts have undergone a religious experience which, if not in name, then in virtually every other aspect, can be considered a faith.

By that definition the Democrat Party is a religion, and the Progressives within that party are a cult, a deluded and deadly offshoot that "knows the Truth Revealed!" One of those commenting to Breitbart piece covering this particular view from Schwartz nails it perfectly:

The DB is also using V.I. Lennon's dictum: "Call your enemy what you are." Liberalism is a designer substitute for revealed religion. It has an apocalypse called "climate change". It has a system of indulgences called "carbon credits". It has a messiah named Obama and an enemy it holds to be demonic known as the Tea Party. Liberalism has a blood sacrifice called abortion and an inquisition known as political correctness. Liberalism has a tithe known as the income tax and and a confession called criticism of privilege. In every respect, and in every way, the corrupt religion of Liberalism serves it's jealous and devouring god of secularism such that no competing faith is allowed in the public square. So the acolytes of Liberalism seek to defame and destroy all who refuse to bow before their religion and all who refuse to give them the pinch of incense.

Isn't that always the case with the Leftist "faith'? - Turn truth upside down, make what was considered to be good to be bad, do away with the concept of good and evil and replace them with vaguely defined concepts that are nothing but shades of gray, and profess tolerance for other's beliefs while at the same time doing their best to silence those very same "others"? They profess to care for the poor, yet do everything they can to keep them poor and enthralled to the government all while pointing their fingers at the ones who truly care and have better ideas (and means) to lift the poor out of poverty and declaring them to be "greedy business owners whose only concern is making a profit."

Oh, yeah, give that ol' time religion!

The list of grievances against the Religion of Leftism is long and could easily take up pages and pages, but I have better and more productive things to do.
Matt Drudge links to Pat Buchanan's piece on the country losing its historical roots, which he demonstrates using John Jay's Federalist Number Two. I think he's persuasive, especially in showing how when we severely restricted immigration from 1924 to 1965 the natural process of Americanization occurred. Something in short supply now.
 
Our society seems to be disintegrating. Over 40 percent of all births now are illegitimate. Among Hispanics, the figure is 52 percent. Among African-Americans, 73 percent.

And among children born to single moms, the drug use rate and the dropout rate, the crime rate and the incarceration rate, are many times higher than among children born to married parents.
When my grandmother came over from Germany just after the Great War--in which she was almost starved to death, something thousands of Germans suffered as Great Britain kept up the strict naval blockade of Germany for _months_ after the hostilities ceased, a blatant attempt at killing large numbers of civilians and thus a WAR CRIME--she was a sixth-grader by age. (I'm sorry to link to a Holocaust-denying site, but it does do a good job showing the horrors of the campaign to starve Germany.) She was put in Kindergarten. After six months when she had become fluent in English, she was put in the sixth grade, finding the academics easy. (Europe then like today is about a year ahead academically.)

So she became trilingual: German, Swedish (the language of her parents), and English.

Today these immigrants from Mexico and Central America take a much longer time to acquire a decent proficiency in English, probably because they are less intelligent--if Jason Richwine's research is to be believed--and forked tongue policies like bilingualism muddy the waters.

The solution? Build the high-tech fence, and slam the door for two generations, allowing only a quarter of a million to half a million of high-quality individuals with an English proficiency to enter annually. This would discriminate in favor of IQ, meaning more whites and Asians. Change the law about birth-right citizenship and get rid of Teddy Kennedy's disastrous Family Reunification Act, which he thought in 1965 would permit a few thousand families to be re-united. Because of the Law of Unintended Consequences, it enables chain migration.
The USA Today puts a figure on it for a family of four: $130,000. Seems overly generous with a big annual expense for a vacation, substantial savings, and exorbitant cell phone use. My family of six doesn't have this level of comfort--we spend a lot more on pets with all our multiple critters--and take a big family vacation only once every four or five years.

I'm trying to pay off our debt except for the mortgage and build up a three- to six-month emergency savings. We were there before our house fire several Novembers ago but still haven't fully recuperated.

I've noticed that food prices, which aren't factored into the inflation rate, are going up rapidly. The $350 weekly budget is no longer that. More like a hundred added on.

It's tough to keep one's head afloat. My wife and I do it the old-fashioned way by each working multiple jobs. But that gets old, too. It doesn't seem to be paying off, and I see most people who don't bust a gut getting by. How is that? Debt, welfare, family help? Probably all the above.

And since the money will be running out the handouts may too. It's no doubt harder to maintain a comfortable living than it was for my parents' generation. Tyler Cowen has a viable theory on that.

One of my biggest policy recommendations is to increase the child deduction for the tax forms. It is the case that the childhood deduction used to be several factors higher in the mid twentieth century than it is today. It's been eroded by inflation. That would be an excellent, easy-fix start.

Goodbye, Dukey

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A cancer-stricken lab's last day. Goodbye, Wonderful Boy. I'm partial to ice cream, though, over cheeseburgers. Both are a winning combination.

Gaytopia Is Here

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I worked for several years as curator/attendant of the Meredith Historical Society (1995-'96) working with an officer of that organization who was Bob Montana's widow. Mr. Montana created the famed Archie comic strip, largely of real-life acquaintances from the town of Haverhill, Mass.

He died snowshoeing a long time ago. The current progressive conglomeration producing this strip is trying _too hard_ to be cutting edge. It's A Prayer for Owen Meaney meets Brokeback Mountain. Good grief.

People just thirty years ago would not recognize what we've become.

Thoughts On A Sunday

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For some reason MT isn't allowing me to post this particular week's TOAS post. I keep getting an error and the only thing I can think of that's causing it is some HTML coding in the post that's effin' everything up.

However there was no problem posting it at the Backup Site, so if you want to see my usual Sunday ramblings, you can find it here.
The Marxist-influenced, French Revolution-inspired egalitarianism, which I consider a secular religion founded absurdities equal to any found in religion, is predominant among our social elites. That is that the sexes (I refuse to use genders.) and races differ principally because of cultural influences.

This has been and will continue taking the whoop-ass beating it has--and deserves--since the Minnesota twin study by Thomas Bouchard, a luminary born in Manchester, NH, which unleashed bizarre similarities in twins raised apart from one another. This received more headway, and had more influence, than The Bell Curve, the carefully researched book by RJ Herrnstein and Charles Murray that stands only stronger today than it did twenty years ago.

The new book by Nicholas Wade challenges the noble, and utterly unscientific, notion of the egalitarians that the influence of natural selection magically was exempted on homo sapiens sapiens' brain lo these last 50,000 years, ice age/harsh environments be damned.

Here's the latest drip: reading and math abilities linked by same genes.
More guns, less crime. I know Skip covers this at GraniteGrok--and his math of the percentage increase in CCW is correct rather than the posted figure of the indispensable AWR Hawkins.

In 2007 4.6 million concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit holders (not required in Vermont).
In 2013 11.1 million CCW permit holders, a 130 141 percent increase.

During that span violent crime dropped 22 percent. Violation of media narrative; if it were the opposite story gleeful media saturation would certainly follow.
Yes and no, answers Rabbi David Berger in a compelling 2002 address.

Although violating logic--something can't simultaneously be A and not A, as Rabbi Berger is arguing--I think it can nonetheless be valid. There's that remarkable story in Jewish lore when the two founding fathers of Phariseeism, Shammai and Hillel, who came to opposite conclusions about what a woman lacking pulchritude could be told on her wedding day: Was she beautiful or not? The truth (Shammai) or a gentle white lie (Hillel)?

A heavenly voice is reported to proclaim:

The words of both schools are the words of the living God, but the law follows the rulings of the school of Hillel.
The mentally disturbed shooter with the multiple reviews to obtain a top-secret security clearance was bad enough to warrant a DrudgeReport top billing shortly after the shooting that left 12 dead. I know why--affirmative action in BRA.

But the final police report shows more than just the typical confusion and panic. Downright incompetence. One hundred sixty cameras covering every inch of the building in question. Only problem? The private security guard with the access locked his door and went into hiding, leaving cops in the dark, who didn't know where to go but decided like something out of John McClain in the Die Hard franchise to run in the opposite direction of the people.

Twitterer writes, "Holy cow. If you think more government is the answer, read how they handled the Navy Yard shooting."
It's been no secret Earth's magnetic field has been shifting. A few years ago both maritime and aeronautical charts had to be revised to include new magnetic deviation lines (the difference between Magnetic North and True North) and some airports had to have their runways renumbered because of the shift. (Airport runways numbers are derived from their magnetic compass headings.)

I has also been understood by scientists that Earth's magnetic field will 'flip' every so often, reversing the north and south magnetic poles. It happens about every 200,000 to 300,000 years, but the last time it shifted was over 750,000 years ago, so we're long overdue for the next one. It also appears that it's going to happen again sooner than scientists had originally predicted.

Earth's protective magnetic field has been weakening at a faster rate than expected, according to data from newly launched European Space Agency satellites. The finding may indicate that Earth's poles will switch sooner than scientists thought.

It was previously thought that the field was weakening by about 5 percent each century, LiveScience reports, pointing to a flip in about 2,000 years. But the new data shows a much more dramatic weakening, at a pace of 5 percent per decade -- 10 times faster than previously thought.

So rather than taking place in about 2,000 years it will be around 200 years. That's certainly going to make it interesting to use magnetic compasses over the next couple of centuries. But then there's also the issue of how such a thing might affect life on the planet.

Though a magnetic flip sounds dramatic, no evidence indicates that it would cause any harm to life on Earth, according to Wired. Past flips are not associated with any mass extinctions or radiation damage. But changes could disrupt power grids and communications networks, which have been damaged by strong solar storms in the past.

I'm sure someone will find a way to blame this all of this on Anthropogenic Global Warming, too. Is there nothing it can't do?

RIP, John

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John Spinks, 60, of the vastly underappreciated 80s rock group The Outfield, has passed away after a long battle with liver cancer. I have always loved their music. RIP, John.

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