August 2009 Archives

You know someone's in deep doo-doo when even Glenn Reynolds is piling on.

In this case Representative Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH1) is on the receiving end of tactics she used against her predecessor, former Congressman Jeb Bradley. Her reactions show she can dish it out but obviously can't take it, having a constituent arrested at one of two town hall meetings she held recently.

This is a curious re-election strategy, especially for a Representative who made her name by bird-dogging her former Congressman at his town-hall forums. Consistency isn't Carol Shea-Porter's strong suit, apparently, as she demonstrates in [a] clip from the meeting she finally held with constituents after dodging them for most of the month. When one of her constituents challenges the presence of union enforcers in the crowd, Shea-Porter asks for police intervention.

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I've watched this video a couple of times, and I still can't figure out why the police took this man out of the room. He was actually less disruptive than the woman behind him. He challenged Shea-Porter on the appearance of SEIU protesters in the room, one of whom got up and disrupted his question. When the first man then challenged the residency of the SEIU rep, police swooped in and removed him.

Now Hampshire also reports that the man they removed is Carl Tomanelli -- a retired policeman.

Shea-Porter has also shown her true stripes, disparaging protesters outside her town hall meeting venues as "tea-baggers", a sexually explicit term no member of Congress should use to describe constituents. She has also made known she didn't consider military families that support the war in Iraq as her constituents, nor those of us that didn't vote for her. So much for representing the people in her congressional district. (She's made the mistake of pissing off the Blue Star and Gold Star Mothers here in New Hampshire. That won't go over well come the 2010 elections.)

I'm sad to say this condescending effete snob is my representative. On more than one occasion I have written to her (using both snail-mail and e-mail) with my viewpoints on certain issues going before Congress and not once has her office responded. I guess I'm just one of "those people", one she figures she can ignore because I'm not really one of her constituents. I didn't vote for her and I support the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, which means she figures she can safely ignore me and those like me.

She's wrong.

Thoughts On A Sunday

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The two-and-a-half weeks of summer we've experienced came to an end yesterday, with cool temps and heavy rain that started early Saturday morning. At least today is supposed to be warm and sunny, meaning there's a possibility we might actually make it out onto the lake later today.

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This past week was BeezleBub's last full week of work at the farm for the season. From here on out he'll only be working on Saturdays until the farm closes its retail operation some time in November (the farm stand closes at the end of October, but the firewood business continues until November). He'll also work a few evenings at the farm's corn maze during October.

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The entire PC vs. Mac debate has been dragging on for some time now. The misconception about the differences between the two platforms has been that it's about the hardware, implying that PC hardware is somehow inferior to Mac hardware. But the debate is really about the differences between two operating systems, Windows versus MacIntosh OS-X.

Ironically, the both operating systems will work on PC and Mac hardware, showing it isn't the hardware.

I've been using Linux on some of the machines here at The Manse for some time now and haven't had any problems with the operating system. While still not quite as user friendly as either Windows or Mac OS-X, Linux has been a solid performer. It has never crashed. Unless there are updates to the Linux kernel, updates do not require system restarts, which is not true of Windows. (I don't know enough about OS-X other than it's UNIX-based to comment one way or the other on this issue.)

If nothing else, the PC vs. Mac ads are amusing.

(H/T Instapundit)

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Town Hall meetings around the nation are still contentious, as Congressman Rush Holt found out at the meeting he held in his district in New Jersey.

While Holt's meeting wasn't as restricted as Rep. Carol Shea-Porter's (D-NH) town hall meetings when it came to the number of people allowed in to the meeting, it was limited to a little over 230.

At least Holt's meeting wasn't packed with bused-in ObamaCare supporters as has happened at other town hall meetings.

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The Barrister makes the case for not sending a majority of high school grads to college, but sending them trade schools instead.

I've always believed far too many college students really don't belong there, spending time and money on courses of study that have little to do with actually getting a job after graduation. At the link in the Barrister's post is one quote that makes perfect sense to me:

One of my readers, Penny Alfonso, of Glendale, California, shared a conversation she had with her daughter. "I told her I won't pay the tuition for any classes that end in the word "studies."

Can anyone tell me what majors such as those mentioned above actually provide?

America will always need nurses, plumbers, carpenters, glaziers and mechanics. What nobody needs is some 21-year-old schnook who's wasted four years and most of his inheritance majoring in black, Hispanic or lesbian, studies. And, then, to make matters worse, because like the Scarecrow of Oz, they have a sheepskin, they're actually convinced they're smarter than their parents.

I've run across that particular conceit on more than one occasion over the years. And over those years it's gotten worse. I've come across far too many college grads with their degree in hand and large student loan balances that don't really know anything.

To quote from Good Will Hunting, "You dropped 150 grand on an [effin'] education you could have gotten for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library."

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Let's hear it for liberal talk radio and their latest smear campaign: The Right is responsible for the deaths of JFK and RFK.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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Gee, could it be global climate is influenced by solar radiation variations?

Who'd a thunk it?

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Why are Nancy Pelosi's lies about the CIA going unchallenged by the MSM?

Oh, that's right. The CIA is always evil, always wrong, and always at fault. My bad....

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The fallout from the failed Massachusetts cross-border tax grab is still being felt.

When the state, knowing it doesn't have the facts, nonetheless tries to tax you on "circumstantial evidence" and "presumption," how is that anything short of tyrannical?

Blessedly, even if Massachusetts changes its law to allow tax collections based on the "presumption" of in-state use, New Hampshire vendors are protected.

This summer legislators passed a law barring businesses from revealing customer information to other states that seek it for the purpose of collecting taxes. So Massachusetts might eventually be able to collect sales taxes in Maine or Connecticut, but not here.

Maybe it's time for sales tax free states to take the same measure as New Hampshire to protect their vendors from cross-border tax grabs as well.

If nothing else this whole thing has made for interesting theater.

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Barack Obama and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin: two sides of the same coin?

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Dick Cheney lets us know what he thinks about Attorney General Eric Holder re-opening the investigation of the CIA.

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Rasmussen poll: 57% of registered voters want to replace the entire Congress.

Count me as one of them.
Representative Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH-1)finally worked up the courage to actually face her constituents in two town hall meetings today. (Earlier 'town hall meetings' she held were actually teleconferences with AARP members where other members of the public were not invited.)

Shea-Porter's town hall meeting in Manchester today might have better been called by what it really was: a town room meeting. The meeting was limited to only 100 people, leaving out most of those wishing to question their representative to the House. Despite the limited number of people allowed in to the meeting, Shea-Porter did not escape unscathed, with more than one attendee calling her on her support for health care reform many believe is seriously flawed.

In her second town hall meeting held in the seacoast city of Portsmouth, attendees there continued to question the wisdom of the health care reform as laid out by President Obama.

In Portsmouth, the demonstrations were much more subdued, but the questions were no less contentious.

"How can you look me in the eye or anyone else and tell me health care won't be rationed?" one questioner asked.

Shea-Porter said there is a lot of misinformation still being spread about the bill, and she said the bill will reduce costs, but some weren't buying it.

"They'll increase the cost of anyone who's not going to be highly subsidized by that bill," one questioner said.

Shea-Porter said health care reform comes down to fairness and responsibility, but audience reaction was split with boos and cheers, indicating that many are not convinced.

In all my years I have never seen one single government-run program that has managed to reduce costs for more than a quarter or two. Government, by its very nature, is incapable of being more efficient than the private sector. The incentives to keep costs under control don't exist because the government doesn't have to worry about losing 'customers' or going out of business should they fail to provide the services they're supposed to deliver. The bureaucracy that runs the program expands until it is incapable of delivering cost effective service, mainly due to bureaucratic inertia, contradictory rules and regulations, and sometimes, political infighting. To think they can reduce health care costs is ludicrous on the face of it.

Shea-Porter's contention that reform " comes down to fairness and responsibility" rings hollow with me. If "fairness' is defined as destroying the health care system of over 85% of Americans in favor of covering the 15% that aren't covered by insurance, then I'm against it. Again, she and many other Democrats see health care as a zero-sum game, meaning that in order to provide it to the underserved they must take it away from those already covered. Instead they should be looking at ways to see those lacking health insurance to be covered, either by removing the restrictive laws and regulations that limit choice of insurers by the public, allowing even more competition (which always brings down prices), or changing how health insurance covers medical care (do away with the top to bottom coverage and limit it to catastrophic and chronic care).

The big problem is that Congressional Democrats are unable to see their form of health care reform has been tried before and has failed miserably. But that won't stop them from trying it again...with the same results.
Massachusetts Democrats want it both ways.

During the 2004 presidential campaign, the Massachusetts Legislature - led by the Democrat majority - changed the state law that delineates how a Congressman or Senator will be replaced should they leave office. This was done to prevent then-governor Mitt Romney from naming a Republican to replace Senator John Kerry should he win the White House. The new law required a special election to replace the vacant seat in Congress.

With Senator Ted Kennedy's passing, the Dems want to change the law again to allow Governor Deval Patrick to name a successor to fill his Senate seat rather than waiting until January for a special election. This empty seat means the Democrats no longer have a 60-seat majority in the Senate and that makes them nervous. Also, there's no guarantee the Massachusetts electorate will elect a Democrat to replace. A lot of voters are pissed off at the state Democrats for the complete disaster that is the state budget, MassCare, and the increased taxes the legislature laid upon the taxpayers of the Pay State.

This shows the lengths the Democrats will go to to maintain power, even if it means changing laws on a whim to prevent the electorate from making a decision they believe only they are capable of making.

How arrogant. How typical.

A Night Off

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Like the title to this post says, I'm taking a night off.

Regular blogging resumes tomorrow.

He Has The Right Of It

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When it comes to the awful health care reform bill (HR3200), Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI) actually gets it.


(H/T Granite Grok)
Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy has died. He was 77.

UPDATE: I suppose I could follow the lead of many other bloggers and go on ad nauseum about the passing of the "Lion of the Senate", but there are far more fitting tributes out there than I could possibly write.

While I did not often agree with the senior Senator from Massachusetts, I did not dislike him. There were times when he rightly earned his sobriquet, being able to hammer out compromises between Democrats and Republicans. He was far more adept at that than just about any other member of the Senate.
It appears there are still some common sense jurists still presiding in the People's Republic of Taxachusetts.

Earlier today the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled the Commonwealth could not force New Hampshire retailers to collect Massachusetts sales tax on tires sold in New Hampshire to Massachusetts residents.

The court's decision was another shot fired in a long standing 'feud' between the two states, one specifically dealing with sales taxes. Massachusetts has a 6.25% sales tax while New Hampshire has none. The recently raised sales tax (from 5% to 6.25%) has goaded even more Bay Staters to cross the border into New Hampshire when they make purchases of higher priced goods to avoid paying the tax.

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue filed suit against Town Fair Tire, demanding the new Hampshire outlets collect Massachusetts sales tax on all sales to Massachusetts residents. Both Town Fair Tire and the State of New Hampshire responded, with the state legislature passing legislation making it illegal for other states to force New Hampshire retailers to collect taxes on sales to their residents.

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue's argument before the court used as evidence 313 sales invoices from the 'offending' Town Fair Tire outlets as proof of tax liability. But the court, in its wisdom, said the invoices "weren't enough under state law to presume the tires were used in Massachusetts."

The text of the court's decision, minus footnotes and case citations, can be seen below the fold.
FairPoint Communications is in the news again, and not in a good way.

Local news outlets report an anonymous e-mail from a FairPoint "insider" alleges FairPoint "misrepresented test data" showing they were ready to take over operations from Verizon in northern New England.

FairPoint's cut-over to its independent systems began Jan. 30, 10 months after it acquired the landline business from Verizon in the three northern New England states. It leased computers and equipment from Verizon during the transition period leading up to cut-over. After the cut-over, FairPoint experienced delays in answering consumers' phone calls and processing orders for wholesale customers. There were also billing problems and other concerns.

An e-mail to the Vermont Public Service Board alleged that tests observed by Liberty Consulting Group on behalf of the three northern New England states were fakes -- not real-time, live demonstrations.

The attorney general offices of all three northern New England states are investigating the allegations.

Considering the troubles FairPoint customers have suffered since the cut-over from Verizon I have little problem believing the allegation. Customers haven't been receiving bills, have been unable to add, change, or terminate their phone service. Service calls takes weeks, if not months to complete. These problems have caused FairPoint to lose 13% of their customers over this past year.

The anonymous e-mail states FairPoint wasn't really ready for the cut-over.

In his original e-mail, sent Aug. 14 to regulators, the writer, who called himself "David Unavailable," wrote:

"As January neared and it appeared to everyone on site in Atlanta that there would be another delay, suddenly Peter Nixon (FairPoint's president) and Gene Johnson (its then-CEO) made the announcement that the cut to the new systems would take place at the end of January and the relationship with Verizon would end. Most people were stunned as it did not appear feasible."

In his later note to the AP, the writer said FairPoint had a strong incentive to complete the cutover: It was paying monthly fees to Verizon for continuing to use its system after the sale between the two companies closed. This was confirmed by a report filed by Liberty with state regulators.

If these allegations are true, then the people of northern New England were taken for $2.3 billion (the sale price of Verizon's landline assets) and will end up paying the price for the duplicitous actions of FairPoint's executives.

Thoughts On A Sunday

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Friday night Deb and BeezleBub headed down to Meadowbrook to see Joan Jett and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Despite the wet and stormy weather they experienced the had a great time. Both of them thought Jett kicked ass. Not bad for a 50-year old rock chick!

I declined to go because I'd seen Skynyrd and Foghat down at Meadowbrook last summer and didn't feel the need to see Skynyrd again. (I like Skynyrd, not just so much that I want to see them two summers in a row.)

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I've been on Facebook for a while now and it must be that I'm too damn old because I'm not drawn to spend hours every day surfing for friend's names and getting involved in a long list of online activities. Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I have better things to do with my time.

I do spend an hour or two every week catching up with friends, but I figure that's more than enough time.

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Just like Obama's vaunted health care reform, the Cash For Clunkers program is also causing problems.

It appears the government is very slow cutting checks for the rebates, leaving auto dealers in the lurch. Of the over $3 billion allocated for the program, only $145 million has been disbursed. The rest is in limbo, causing real cash flow problems for dealers. The dealers 'give' the customer the $3500 to $4500 rebate for turning in their clunker and buying a new, more efficient vehicle. The government is supposed to reimburse the dealer to pay for rebate as well as the immobilization and destruction of the vehicles.

But what happens when the government fails to reimburse the dealers? It leaves them holding the bag for the rebate and the cost of destroying the trade-ins.

If the government can't handle a simple program like Cash For Clunkers how can we possibly trust them to run a complicated and expensive program like health care?

From Hotair comes this revelation:

Percentage of dealer claims that had been reimbursed by the feds as of Thursday: Seven. How bad does a program have to be to goose sales as much as C4C has and still be badmouthed by the industry? This bad, I guess:

Laura Sodano, a sales manager at Curry Chevrolet in Scarsdale, N.Y., said dealers were not told why their applications had not been approved and were having to review the entire form to determine what went wrong.

"I don't know one dealership that's gotten paid yet," Ms. Sodano said. "If they run out, we're in trouble. It's bringing us a lot of traffic, but it's not a very good program."...

If the funding is exhausted before all reimbursements are made, some dealers -- and possibly G.M. -- could end up having to write off the unpaid credits.

There's actually a serious risk here that the feds are going to mismanage a simple car-rebate program into bankruptcy.

Ironically, it's the foreign automakers deriving the most benefit from the program as most of the new car sales have been going to Toyota, Honda,and others rather than Ford, GM, and Chrysler.

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Could it be that Obama's stimulus program has actually hurt the economic recovery rather than help it?

Meanwhile, in Brazil, India, China, Japan and much of Continental Europe the recession has ended. In the second quarter this year, both the French and German economies grew by 0.3 percent, while the U.S. economy shrank by 1 percent. How can that be? Unlike America, France and Germany had no government stimulus worth speaking of, the Germans declining to go the Obama route on the quaint grounds that they couldn't afford it. . . . And yet their recession has gone away. Of the world's biggest economies, only the U.S., Britain and Italy are still contracting. All three are big stimulators, though Gordon Brown and Silvio Berlusconi can't compete with Obama's $800 billion porkapalooza. The president has borrowed more money to spend to less effect than anybody on the planet.

Hmm. Government intervention in the economy actually made things worse rather than leaving it alone and letting it fix itself. Where have we seen that before? (Think FDR.)

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Heard on Meet The New Press radio yesterday from guest Jennifer Horn:

Whenever we hear about violence at health care reform protests, it turns out it's started by someone from the pro-Obama side, someone from the SEIU, ACORN, OFA, or MoveOn.org.

And they call us hatemongers and racists!

It appears these actions aren't random, but well organized.

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This isn't news to me.

Obama is governing based on his belief the American people are incredibly dumb.

What he's finding out is that far too many of us are a lot smarter than he is.

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Tom Bowler points us to a number of quotes and links showing Obama's contention the health care system is broken is nothing but a lie propagated to ensure a government takeover of health care, a means of taking more control of people's lives.

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Even though this is Sunday, Edward Teach gives us some Saturday Random Awesomeness.

It is awesome indeed!

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You've know the government has gone too far when they want to crack down on garage sales.

What's next? Some kid's lemonade stand? Oh, wait! That's already happened!

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Eric the Viking wonders whether making it mandatory to have health insurance is constitutional or not. He, like me, believes it is not constitutional to do so.

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Chris Muir nails it, again.

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The peasants are revolting and our Democratic 'elites' don't know what to do about it.

Payback's a bitch, ain't it?

(H/T Instapundit)

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I've read most of Orson Scott Card's novels over the years, and am just now reading Ender In Exile, a relatively new book in the Ender series.

On page 35 the main character, Ender Wiggin, brings forth a small piece of wisdom that applies to the situation today, particularly in regards to President Obama and the Democrats.

Eloquence didn't imply intelligence or deep analysis. True believers in a cause often behaved in self-defeating ways because they expected other people to see the rightness of their cause if they stated it clearly enough. As a result, they tipped their hand in every game and couldn't understand why everyone ganged up against them.

And so it is with Obama and his devout followers. They can't see that people's opposition to their plans has less to do with our misunderstanding his goals and his means of achieving them and more with completely understanding his goals and his means.
It's not a stretch of the imagination to understand that on occasion one might receive mail addressed to their neighbor as the mail carrier scooped up the errant piece of mail along with that destined for our mail box. It happens and it's no big deal. And when it happens we drop the misdirected letter/post card/magazine into the neighbor's mail box or hand deliver it, giving you a chance to chat as you get that piece of mail where it belongs.

But once in a very great while mail ends up not just in the wrong mailbox, but in the wrong state.

When I got home yesterday there was the stack of mail on the island in the kitchen. A quick look at the mail found a letter addressed to a court clerk's office...in Illinois. I'm in New Hampshire.

I can understand the error if the name of the town here and in Illinois were the same, but they weren't even close. The street address is similar, but not exactly the same. Yet here it was.

A phone call to the name on the return address to let the sender know how their letter was sidetracked, and then a trip to the post office to make sure the letter was sent on to its intended destination ended this little diversion from life's regularly scheduled program on this Saturday morning.
As if we need yet another example of a failed "public option" plan, there comes this one from Maine.

Want a preview of ObamaCare in action? Sneak a look at what has happened in Maine. In 2003, the state to great fanfare enacted its own version of universal health care. Democratic Governor John Baldacci signed the plan into law with a bevy of familiar promises. By 2009, it would cover all of Maine's approximately 128,000 uninsured citizens. System-wide controls on hospital and physician costs would hold down insurance premiums. There would be no tax increases. The program was going to provide insurance for everyone and save businesses and patients money at the same time.

After five years, fiscal realities as brutal as the waves that crash along Maine's famous coastline have hit the insurance plan. The system that was supposed to save money has cost taxpayers $155 million and is still rising.

It only took five years to show taxpayers the public option doesn't work, costs far more than governor and the Democrat majority legislature promised, and is in deep trouble, requiring an increasing amount of scarce tax dollars to support.

Many of the same arguments used to promote Maine's DirigoCare are being used to promote ObamaCare. As far as I can tell the differences in the economics of the programs are small other than the size of the programs, which means the shortfalls experienced by ObamaCare will likely be proportionately larger than the deficit being experienced by Maine. The Congressional Budget Office has already come right out and said Congress and President have seriously underestimated the cost of implementing and running ObamaCare. That members of Congress haven't learned the lessons of TennCare, MassCare, and DirigoCare is disturbing. What's insane is that these same members of Congress want to do the same thing on a national scale, ignoring that they are likely to end up with exactly the same result as the other programs - less care, higher costs, scarce medical resources, and an ever increasing amount of taxpayer dollars to fix the problem of their own making.

There Is A Difference

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One thing I hear again and again during the health care reform debate is how Obamacare will ration health care. Proponents of Obamacare counter that opinion with a claim health care is already rationed by the insurance companies. I think it's time to clear up that canard.

First, government-provided and controlled health care is always rationed. That's how they save money on health care costs.

Second, insurance companies do not provide health care, they merely pay for their policy holder's medical claims. Coverage depends upon the health insurance policy. They are not obligated to pay for treatments or procedures not covered by the policy. But the patient still has the option to undergo the treatment or procedure on their own dime. They are not denied care by the insurance company.

Another misdirection used by the Obamacare proponents is that the free market has failed in regards to health care costs. The only problem with that claim is that the free market has little to do with health care costs because for the most part it hasn't been a free market for over 40 years. Both the states and the federal government skew free market signals with regulations and mandates, which makes them totally useless for setting the market value of various medical services. The prices are, in effect, set by the government, state and/or federal and not by the medical practices or the insurance companies.

The only exceptions to this are those medical practices that do not take insurance. They are the only free market health care practices operating in the US, be they small single physician family practices or certain medical specialties (like plastic surgery and LASIK). Their costs are known, under their control, and their costs are far smaller than the health care industry in general.

That ought to tell us something.
FairPoint Communications is sinking deeper into the abyss, with complaints skyrocketing even as it is losing market share.

All three northern New England states have been having problems with FairPoint after control of Verizon's landline assets were transferred in full to FairPoint early this year. So far FairPoint has lost 130,000 customers since it purchased Verizon's northern New England assets last year. Regulators in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have already held hearings about FairPoint's problems and next month they will hold a joint session to get answers from FairPoint executives about its ongoing and seemingly unfix-able problems.

When insurance companies like AIG and institutions like Bank of America got in financial trouble Congress deemed them too big to fail.

Perhaps on a smaller scale, regulators in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire may be confronted with a similar dilemma. What happens if FairPoint is shut down or fatally fails to deliver promised services?

And that's exactly the problem. What happens if FairPoint loses its right to provide phone and data services in Vermont? What happens in all three states in FairPoint goes under and there isn't another provider waiting in the wings to take over? A state-financed bailout certainly isn't in the cards as all three states are financially strapped.

When I first heard about the potential sale of Verizon's sale of their northern New England assets, I thought it might be a good move because Verizon had already informed all three states they would not be further deploying their FiOS Fiber To The Home (FTTH) technology. FiOS had made some inroads in the more densely populated southern tiers of New Hampshire and Maine, but Verizon abruptly stopped construction of their network and put their wireline (landline) assets up for sale. I'd hoped a new company would pick up where Verizon had left off.

But once details of the sale became available I became skeptical, seeing a much smaller and undercapitalized company - FairPoint - taking on the assets of a much larger company. FairPoint also announced they would not be deploying FTTH broadband but would instead deploy DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line, an older and less effective broadband technology. This told me they didn't have and weren't likely to get the capital necessary to deploy FTTH. This meant that northern New England could easily become a broadband hinterland, being left behind the rest of the nation (with all due respect to the cable companies, even they can't match the capabilities FTTH provides unless they also deploy some form of FTTH).

As time when on it became quite apparent FairPoint was going to pay far too much for Verizon's assets - $2.7 billion - and the three states agreed, forcing a renegotiation of the selling price to $2.3 billion. It was my belief then, as it is now, that FairPoint still paid far too much for what they got.

Now they're having problems paying their bills. It's quite possible they will default on a loan interest payment due this coming October.

This not how a telecommunications company should operate.

(Cross-posted to One Voice In Gilford)
From a comment to this piece about Michigan's financial straits:

"You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

- by Adrian Rogers in 1931

This parallels much of what Jefferson and Franklin wrote about in their day. The truth of their statements haven't changed in all that time. It's just that those who believe that government can cure all ills and is the spring from which all flows have chosen to forget them, if they ever knew them at all. Knowing the state of our education system, I'd say it was the latter.

Thoughts On A Sunday

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It looks like New England is experiencing its first (and maybe only) heat wave of the summer. This is the first time temperatures have been in the 90's since May (there were two three days where temps reached 90 degrees, but the humidity was only 15%, which meant it didn't feel like it was 90).

The beaches have been crowded for the first time in a long time.

Ironically, school starts here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire in two weeks.

So much for summer.

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The first two Atlantic tropical storms have made their appearance, again quite late as compared to most years.

Tropical Storm Ana is expected to remain a weak storm and will likely pass over Puerto Rico, Hispañola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), and possibly Cuba.

Tropical Storm Bill is expected to strengthen into a hurricane but its path and strength is still unknown.

I seem to remember when the Global-Warming-Is-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans alarmists predicted more numerous and powerful hurricanes due to the warmer climate. Instead we've had less and weaker storms. But the alarmists say it's also an indicator of global warming.

So global warming causes both more and fewer storms that are both stronger and weaker than 'normal'.

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I was listening to a recording of Obama's speech at the Portsmouth, NH town hall meeting that took place this past Tuesday. While I disagreed with his talking points (I thought most of them were fluff meant as sound bites to make it sound like he knew what he was talking about), there was one thing he said I agreed with wholeheartedly.

He talked about the chain of visits and tests a patient might go through: you go to your doctor, he orders tests. Once the results are in he refers you to a specialist who in turn orders many of the same tests as your doctor. The specialist wants to admit you to a hospital for treatment, and the hospital runs the same tests as your doctor and the specialist. There's little sharing of information between your doctor, the specialist, and the hospital. That's wasteful and expensive.

I agree. But one thing Obama failed to address is the prevalence of defensive medicine, where physicians and medical facilities run tests to gather evidence to defend themselves if/when they are sued for malpractice. That practice won't stop until there is tort reform and that isn't likely to happen as long as the President is beholden to the trial lawyers lobby. That's not going to change any time soon.

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Best anti-Obama protest sign ever.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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RightWingSparkle has her own take on Obama's crumbling image and the American people's growing lack of trust in him.

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Here's yet another story of union thugs assaulting an anti-Obamacare protester, in this case a handicapped woman using a walker.

Gotta love all those tolerant, caring Democrats, don't you?

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Wizbang gives us a view of how the Left views dissent, particularly in regards to protests against Obamacare, cap-and-trade, and the stimulus.

It's no surprise they look upon anyone questioning the Obamessiah as obviously deranged.

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Also from Wizbang: Obama admits he'll have to raise taxes for the 95% of taxpayers he said he wouldn't tax in order to pay for Obamacare.

And yet another major campaign promise bites the dust.

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Was the Cash for Clunkers program really nothing more than a stealth program to bail out the auto industry? It really doesn't make sense from an economic point of view, costing ten times more than it would save in carbon credits and skewing used car market prices.

(H/T Viking Pundit)

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It appears our two representatives to Congress, Carol Shea-Porter (D-1NH) and Paul Hodes (D-2NH), have decided they won't bother holding any town hall meetings with their constituents.

Instead they'll spend time with friendly crowds, meaning union members and Democrats. Shea-Porter is taking it one step further, not wasting any time in New Hampshire but instead spending time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Netroots Nation liberal blogger enclave.

I guess she figures she doesn't need to spend time at home. After all, on more than one occasion she has expressed the sentiment that her only constituents are those that agree with her. Republicans need not bother contacting her office.

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BeezleBub and I made it out on the lake late in the day, heading over to Ellacoya State Park and anchoring just off its beach. We managed to get a good half hour of swimming in before heading back, cruising into the setting sun. It was a nice sunset on a calm and almost empty lake.

This was the first real summer day we'd had the chance to experience as it should be since last year, and long overdue.

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At least someone thinks Sarah Palin made an important point about the so-called "death panels".

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There's nothing wrong with looking at other states to see how they handle one issue or another, either as a way to solve some pressing policy problem or to use as an example of how not to do something. But to use laws from other states to justify court decisions in your own state where such laws do not exist or apply is something to be avoided at all costs.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer is finally in full swing, people are debating health care, and where school starts in two weeks.
Is it possible Obama's carefully crafted image is starting to come apart? Could it be his personal charisma is no longer enough to carry the day when it comes to his ambitious plans to do LBJ one better and surpass the breadth of his Great Society experiment? Could it be his first legislative victory (the $787 billion stimulus bill) after taking the oath of office back in January could end up showing the nation how ineffective he really is?

It would appear so.

But rather than being remembered as some one as great or better than LBJ, FDR, or Ronald Reagan, could it be he'll be remembered as this generation's Jimmy Carter?

The president seemed like a man long celebrated as being very good at politics--the swift rise, the astute reading of a varied electorate--who is finding out day by day that he isn't actually all that good at it. In this sense he does seem reminiscent of Jimmy Carter, who was brilliant at becoming president but not being president.

One thing Obama is very good at is getting elected. But his record shows that once in office his performance was more often than not less than adequate. Voting "present" on a large number of bills and initiatives at both the state and federal level does not point to someone good at actually performing the duties of their office. It appears he liked the prestige his office afforded him but rarely lived up to the demands his office placed upon him. I find that now that he's achieved the highest office in the nation he's following the same pattern, though he has a lot more staff to carry the load that is rightfully his.

He creates ambitious goals to be met, but never actually tells us how he plans to meet them. Instead he hands those tasks to the Democratic leadership in Congress. We've seen how well that's been working for him.

His popularity is dropping, and not just among the independents and Republicans.

As I wrote back in January, "There are too many parallels to Jimmy Carter's policies in regards to those being put forth by President Obama. While the economic problems we're facing today are nothing as compared to the ones Carter was facing when he took office in 1977, the are just as daunting. Unfortunately if Obama follows the same course as Carter, the economy will not recover any time soon and he could end up being a one-term president like Carter."

It didn't seem like this was a real possibility back than, but as things have been unfolding over the past 8 months it appears I may have been far more accurate in my prognostication than I thought. The real indication will be the mid-term elections in 2010. If the Democratic majority is seriously weakened or swept aside in one or both chambers of Congress, then Obama's chances for re-election in 2012 may go with them.

Bumper Sticker Wisdom

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I guess I must be in a lazy, borrowing mood tonight.

The following bumper sticker 'ideas' came from two commenting to neo's post about the radicalization of the Center/Right by the Left.

Rational = Congressmen Who Support 1000-Page Bills They Don't Read
Irrational = Citizens Angry At Congressman Who Don't Read 1000-Page Bills

Troublemakers = Those Who Know More About Proposed Bills Than Their Congressmen Do

Obamacare: Good Enough For You But Not For Your Congressman

Congress: If We Wanted Your Opinion, We Would Have Asked For It

Support Faith-Based Legislation! Vote For It But Don't Read It

If They Disagree With Obama, They're A Mob. If You Disagree With Obama, You're Divisive.

Obama '08
Poverty '09
Fascism '10

Consult an Expert: Ask a Cuban How Socialism Works

Change, Hell! Obama Took My Whole Wallet!

Vote Democratic - It's Easier Than Getting A Job

1984 - Published In 1949... Public Policy In 2009

One Who Confuses Change With Progress Will Get Too Much Of The One And Not Enough Of The Other.

Purple...It's the new Brown (Insert SEIU logo here)

Democrat Utopia = Detroit

Cemetery Residents for Obama!

More gems such as these can be found here.
Received via e-mail:

(Whoever wrote this one deserves a HUGE pat on the back!)

Like a lot of folks in this state, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes, and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test, with which I have no problem. What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test.

So here is my Question:

Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check, because I have to pass one to earn it for them? Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their rump - doing drugs, while I work. Can you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check? I guess we could title that program, 'Urine or You're Out'.

I have no idea of the origin of this e-mail, nor could I find any mention of it at Snopes.com. But I must admit I agree with the sentiment.
Do you want a preview of what's coming in California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and quite possibly the nation? Then all one need do is look at the mess that is Michigan.

Writes native Michigander Michael Barone:

Things are pretty bad in my native state of Michigan, which has the nation's highest unemployment rate and is the headquarters of government- and union-owned General Motors and Chrysler. Conditions are so bad that they seen to have sent some Michiganians (we used to say Michiganders when I was growing up) over the bend.

Case in point: Democratic State Chairman Mark Brewer. Ordinarily a pretty savvy political operator, Brewer is now suggesting five ballot propositions for the 2010 ballot. Their aim apparently is to improve the lot of Michigan citizens. But the result, as anyone with an iota of sense can see, would be to inflict horrifying damage on an already staggering state economy. They include:

● Mandating all employers to provide affordable health care for all their employees and dependents or pay a penalty.

● Raising the minimum wage from $7.40 per hour to $10 per hour and covering all workers with no exceptions.

● Increasing unemployment benefits by $100 a week, making all workers eligible and adding six months to the time one can receive benefits.

●Cutting utility rates by 20%.

● Imposing a one-year moratorium on home foreclosures.

[O]verall this is a program to pillage the private sector and drive it out of Michigan.

It sounds almost like Directive 10-289 from Atlas Shrugged. It certainly contains some of the elements of the directive.

The state government seems totally disconnected from the facts of the economy. All their efforts have done nothing more than make things worse. It's as if no one in the legislature or the governor's office has ever taken an economics and/or sociology course. The proposed ballot initiatives are based on nothing more than the need to "Do something!" even if that something is wrong. It may make then feel better to propose it, but they clearly haven't thought out the consequences of those initiatives should they ever see the light of day.

Residents and businesses have been leaving Michigan at an increasing rate. The number of people leaving is greater than the number of people moving into the state. Cities like Detroit and Flint are emptying out. In the case of Flint, entire neighborhoods are being torn down and returned "to the wild" because no one lives there. It's not too often city populations shrink at the high rates being seen in Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, and a number of other cities and towns in Michigan.

If California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and a handful of other states don't get their fiscal houses in order by slashing all but necessary spending, get the nice-to-have social programs under control or even eliminated, and roll back confiscatory taxes and fees, they will suffer the same fate as Michigan. And should the federal government fail to do the same, the entire country could end up looking like Michigan.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)
The Democrats have been decrying the hostility being experienced by House and Senate members during their town hall meetings about health care reform and other topics of importance. But rather than looking at why the hostility exists, they'd rather point their fingers at alleged GOP conspiracies funded by the health insurance companies as the cause. They cannot conceive of the idea that their constituents might actually be angry with them for supporting or voting for spending and programs John and Jane Q. Public know will bankrupt the country and raise taxes to unsustainable levels. And rather than facing their constituents to go over health care reform, they cancel town hall meetings or don't show, change them over to "invited guests only" meetings (meaning fellow loyal Democrats or union stooges need only apply), or convert them to teleconference 'meetings', in effect shielding themselves from tough questions by an angry and frustrated public. That's no way to treat the people paying for your salary, perks, and benefits.

"Town halls have become town hells," says Mark McKinnon, a former adviser to President George W. Bush who supported Barack Obama in the November election. He was referring, of course, to contentious meetings between members of Congress and constituents on the subject of changes to America's healthcare system. [...] But deep concern about the government's healthcare activity is nothing new, and politicians who believe that the opposition to the Democrats' plan is a put-up job are deceiving themselves and imperiling their own careers.

Those Congresscritters brave enough to confront their constituents are far too often just glossing over the talking points, mouthing platitudes, making claims not backed up by facts or disputed by the Congressional Budget Office, or worse, giving explanations that the people just aren't buying. They're having their heads handed to them by members of the public better informed about the details of the health care reform bill (HR3200) than they are.

No doubt, many House Democrats wish they could skip town-hall meetings with their constituents this summer. Their explanations in defense of a proposed government health care system have fallen flat, and lawmakers are getting hammered for the embarrassing revelation that the bill exempts Congress from the system they would foist on the rest of us.

With members dazed by angry protests, the Democratic House leadership put together a list of suggested responses to constituent questions about the health care plan. The spin machine isn't working.

It isn't working because enough people know how to use the Internet, know how to find a copy of the proposed legislation, and actually spend time reading it. They know when they're being sold a bill of goods and they don't like it. Is it any wonder members of Congress are not getting the kind of welcome they expected during this recess?

When there are plenty of examples in the the US to show how the proposed health care reform will work, or in this case won't work, then perhaps Congress should go back to the drawing board. Better yet, they should start with a clean sheet of paper and forget the steaming pile of manure that is HR3200.

What doesn't help their case is the President insists it's necessary to burden an extremely large number of people in order to cover a small percentage of people not covered by an employer's health insurance. Many of them are covered by individual health insurance policies. Others would be covered by Medicare or Medicaid if they bothered to apply for it. And yet others aren't eligible because they aren't legal citizens of the US. There are some few that aren't covered by health insurance of any kind for one reason or another, but again the number is quite small. So why tear down a health insurance system that, while not perfect, works and is seen by a majority of those covered as quite satisfactory?

There have been a number of suggestions to fix the problem of rising health care costs, including rolling back the extensive coverage of such insurance and making it for catastrophic care or long term chronic care instead. The rest would be covered out of pocket. Most visits to the doctor's office are for routine care: checkups, minor illnesses (colds, flu, sore throats, ear infections, etc.) and so on. Paying a retainer to the local physician's practice would give you access to such health care without further expenditures. It would also eliminate the increasingly high overhead of dealing with the insurance paperwork (one of the main drivers of rising health care costs). It would also keep the need for government to get involved to a bare minimum.

But none of these suggestions have even been considered by the majority party in Congress or dismissed out of hand as not "practical". (As if what they've proposed is practical by any sense of the word.)

Congress had best wise up and start listening or a good portion of its members could be looking for work as of January 2011.
It's ironic that Governor John Lynch is touting New Hampshire to other states as an example of fiscal responsibility. Ironic because it isn't true.

In the face of a deep national recession, New Hampshire stands as an example for other states in crafting a budget that makes tough cuts and lowers spending, while protecting essential services and avoiding major new taxes.

Instead, the Legislature raised existing taxes and fees, in some cases adversely affecting 45,000 small businesses in the state at a time when they could least afford it. (Hey, there's a recession on and business is way down, meaning income is down.)

The state did not lower spending...unless you call over $1.2 billion (~13%) in additional spending compared to the previous budget "lowering" spending.

We produced a budget that makes cuts by making changes to just about every area of state government and sets state government on a path to greater reform. Overall, state spending is down about 1 percent.

"Down 1 percent"? Maybe compared to the original proposed budget (an increase of 13% instead of 14%), but not when compared to the previous budget.

The governor and the legislature had more than enough opportunities to truly trim the budget and minimize the burden to the taxpayers in New Hampshire. They had more than enough time to look at the projected revenues and to craft a budget that fit within the constraints of those revenues. Instead they reversed the order, putting together a budget and only then looking to see if there would be enough money to pay for it. When it became apparent the revenues wouldn't come close to being able to fund the proposed spending, the legislature raised taxes and fees that hit the taxpayers at a time when they could least afford it.

Both the governor and the legislature failed the people of New Hampshire. We expected an austere budget, even if it meant laying off state employees and a reduction in services. What we got instead was a crap sandwich that we were expected to swallow whole and then say "Please, sir, may we have another?"
One of the charges one hears made most often about the uprising of angry Americans against Obamacare is that it is funded and coordinated by the GOP or health insurance lobbyists. You see it in the various blogs, forums, newspapers, and so on. And it is, if course, the Democrats making such charges. But why is it something that they do on a pretty regular basis entirely off limits for those on the Right?

In Denver it became quite evident the "bought and paid for" protesters weren't from the Right, but from the Left.

The anti-Obamacare protesters arrived by car, public transit, or shank's mare. The counter-protesters arrived by chartered bus.

The anti-Obamacare protesters made their own signs.

Anti-Obamacare MG_01021.jpg
The counter-protesters carried professionally designed and printed signs and banners.

Pro-Obamacare MG_0007.jpg
The anti-Obamacare protesters were there because they had a stake in health care reform and showed up on their own time. Some even took time off from their jobs to be there. The counter-protesters were there because they were paid to be there.

The anti-Obamacare protesters understood what they were protesting against and what they were for. Some of the counter-protesters didn't even know what the signs and banners they carried said because they didn't speak a word of English.

This clinic [outside which the protest was taking place] is adjacent to Denver's day laborer pickup street, Park Avenue. Being fluent in Spanish, El Marco asked these guys "¿hablan ingles?" "casi nada" was the reply from our amigo on the left. I asked him if he could tell me what the signs said. "¿Quien sabe?" (who knows?) was all he said to me, with a big grin. I'm kicking myself for not asking them how much they were getting paid to support the grassroots.

The irony of their lack of comprehension of the signs they were holding was heightened by the fact that they were the most elaborate and detailed signs of either group.

This is yet another example of the double-standard being applied to moderates and conservatives.
Continuing on the same subject of health care reform and the resistance by the public to it that's been building, let's look at more reports on activities around the nation. This is a compilation of links from Instapundit and other sources, making them a little easier to find.

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In Simsbury, Connecticut a crowd confronted Representative Chris Murphy (D-CT) during one of his 'supermarket town hall meetings', making known their displeasure with Obama's health care reform and their current Senator, Chris Dodd.

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In Raleigh, North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller had a number of protestors across the street from his office. The protesters had to resort to the across-from-the-office location because Miller had decided he wasn't going to hold any town hall meetings to discuss and shill for Obamacare.

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In Atlanta, Georgia the questioning must have gotten to Representative David Scott (D-GA) when he lost his temper after a constituent asked him a question about health care reform during general purpose town hall meeting.

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John Dingell's (D-MI) Health Care Reform town hall meeting didn't go all that well, with attendees deriding his claims that the bill as written would solve health care problems across the board. Anyone that's taken the time to read the bill would know that isn't even close to the truth. As one of the authors of the bill he should know that.

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Even the Washington Post is having questions about the health care reform bill, particularly Section 1233, which deals with so-called "end of life" counseling.

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Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) has been avoiding her own constituents, being a no-show at one of her own events.

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In Memphis, Tennessee a town hall meeting hosted by Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) was less than cordial as approximately 500 attendees loudly debated the health care reform bill with Cohen and each other.

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More to follow.

A big tip of the hat to Instapundit for the links I've consolidated here.

Thoughts On A Sunday

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It's been nice weather up here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, with highs in the mid 70's yesterday and today. The warmer and more humid weather arrives on Monday, bringing with it the chance of thunderstorms later in the day.

We had tried to get out on the lake late this past Thursday and Friday, but high winds made it less than nice out on the water. Yesterday BeezleBub finished work quite late, not getting home until after 8PM, meaning a trip out onto the lake wasn't in the cards. The weather didn't cooperate today either, with clouds coming in around noon and a list mist starting around 2PM.

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BeezleBub outdid himself on the farm yesterday. The reason he didn't make it home until 8PM because he was busy catching hay bales as they came off the baler and stacking them in the hay wagon. During the day he caught 687 bales of hay. Not bad for a 15-year old.

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It appears Democrats can't seem to come to grips with the idea that the anger they're seeing at town hall meetings meant to promote Obama's health care reform is spontaneous, not some organized campaign by GOP activists.

Many Democratic lawmakers say these protests against health care reform have been ginned up by right wing groups that are arming people with agressive (sic) tactics and talking points. But Matt Kibbe, the president of Freedomworks, one of the groups organizing the movement, says there is a double standard.

"It almost seems to me like when the left does this it's celebrated as the best of democracy, community organizing," he says. "When conservative, free market activists show up, they're called mobs."

Looking at the comments to the ABC piece one can see the double standard as it applies to this issue.

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Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has a lot of support from voters when it comes to health care reform. Unfortunately those voters supporting her efforts are from Massachusetts. Her own constituents aren't nearly as supportive of the idea.

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Why should we believe anything Obama says? So far he's broken a large number of major campaign promises and done so blatantly and with little or no explanation. It shows us the contempt he feels for the American body politic.

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It's bad enough Congress wants to lay even more taxes, fees, and control of our lives upon us, now there's a bill that would require GPS tracking systems on every vehicle in order to assess taxes based upon the miles driven rather than depending on fuel taxes.

There are at least two big problems I can see with this:

First, there's no way the government would merely replace the fuel taxes with mileage taxes. We'd end up with both, meaning we'll be hit twice for the same thing.

Second, it's yet another step towards a totally controlled population, allowing the government to know exactly where you go, and with some modifications, allow them to hear everything that's said in the vehicle, to shut down the engine, lock the doors and disable the windows.

That's too damn much control for anyone.

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It's bad enough when reporters fail to report the whole story. It's worse when they're too lazy to even research what they're writing about. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call or an e-mail. Instead they depend upon the narrative from other news sources rather than doing their own work.

That's not reporting. That's sloth.

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To quote Squidward: "Just when I thought they couldn't get any stupider..."

I know California has its share of fruits and nuts, particularly when it comes to local government, but this is just plain stupid.

Eight-year-old Daniela Earnest has made lemonade out of lemons in more ways than one this week.

Hoping to raise money for a family trip to Disneyland, the Tulare girl opened a lemonade stand Monday. But because Daniela didn't have a business license, the city of Tulare shut it down the same day.

Geez, kids can't even set up their own lemonade stands any more! I wonder how long before some bureaucrat somewhere will make it illegal to sell Girl Scout cookies door-to-door. That's got to be next.

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I like the idea of these - TruFocal glasses - that adjust through a wide range of focal lengths. This means that folks like me won't need bifocals/trifocals/progressives in order to be able to focus at distances near, far, and in between.

Now if they can get the price down and make them look a little less like a thick frame version of Harry Potter's glasses.

(H/T Instapundit)

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Glenn Reynolds asks the question "Remember when protest was patriotic?"

"Protest  is patriotic!"  "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism!" These battle-cries were heard often, in a simpler America of long ago -- that is, before last November.  Back then, protests -- even if they were organized by the usual leftist apparatchik-groups like ANSWER or ACORN -- were seen - at least in the media - as proof of popular discontent.

[...]

Funny how fast the worm...has turned. Now that we're seeing genuine expressions of populist discontent, not put together by establishment packagers on behalf of an Officially Sanctioned Aggrieved Group, we're suddenly hearing complaints of "mob rule" and demands for civility.

Civility is fine, but those who demand it should show it.  The Obama administration -- and its corps of willing supporters in the press and the punditry -- has set the tone, and they are now in a poor position to complain.

Whether they like it or not -- and the evidence increasingly tends toward "not" -- President Obama and his handlers need to accept that this is a free country, one where expressions of popular discontent take place outside the electoral process, and always have.  (Remember Martin Luther King?)

So unless the protests come from the Left or one of their sanctioned organizations, they want to quash them? So much for the First Amendment.

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It's déja vu all over again.

Some say history repeats itself. Others say it merely rhymes.

This time around I think it's a little of both as Obama seems to be channeling his inner Dick Nixon.

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Megan McArdle writes about the high cost of innovation and the rewards for doing it well, and how removing the rewards for innovation kills innovation. With Obama's health care reform plan innovation will not be rewarded, which means innovation will stop.

Think it won't happen? All one needs to do is look at how medical innovation tailed off in Canada and the UK once health care was socialized.

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You know it's really bad when there's a toilet paper shortage in the socialist heaven that is Cuba. At least they still have free health care!

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Want to see what those on the Left are saying about Obamacare and the mistakes he made in pushing it, then point your browser here.

Make sure to read the comments as they are most enlightening about the liberal mindset. If nothing else it shows they've been well indoctrinated and haven't had original thought in a long time.

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It has become quite clear Nancy Pelosi is suffering from a bad case of selective CRS (Can't Remember S**t) when it comes to Nazis and swastikas.

Nancy Pelosi is shocked by the presence of some swastikas at protests against Obamacare. Who ever heard of such a thing? Well, any mildly alert American old enough to remember the anti-war protests of 2003-2007. Images of George Bush with a Hitler mustache and a Nazi uniform was everywhere at swastika-choked marches and rallies. "Stop the Fourth Reich-Visualize Nuremburg," said one sign at a Hollywood march. "The Fuhrer already in his bunker," said another. Lots of Nazi regalia appeared at protests in Pelosi's San Francisco as well.

I've seen videos and pictures of various Tea Party and anti-Obamacare protests and I must have missed all the swastikas, Brown Shirts, and Geheim Staats Polizei agents. I've also attended a few and again I must have missed them.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weather is schizophrenic, the boating totals are down, and where school starts in three weeks.
As members of Congress hold town meetings about the heath care reform bill (HR3200), many of them are getting an earful from angry constituents, both Democrat and Republican. Some meetings became so raucous people attending them were removed by police or meetings were curtailed. In some cases union 'representatives' resorted to intimidation and even violence to silence critics of reform.

Even Speaker of the House Pelosi has been defaming American citizens who have been rightfully questioning the wisdom of the HR3200, portraying them as Nazis.

Here's around up of posts and reports covering town hall meeting confrontations, union thugs doing the bidding of their messiah, and a host of other events going on around the nation.

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First, it appears our president thinks that those of us expressing our opinions about health care reform are nothing more than an angry mob. Well, Mr. President, you're half right. What we are is angry, and with good cause. You and your Democrat cronies in Congress treat us as if we're idiots, incapable of understanding legislation that affects our lives, or making our own decisions about anything in our lives. Most of "us" have a better handle on how the economy works, how your health care reform is nothing more than a naked power grab, and your push for cap-an-trade is merely another means to control the American populace through heavy taxes and restriction of energy sources.

If you want to see what Obama's "angry mob" looks like, here are some examples.

Seriously, to call the American people voicing their concerns an angry mob, particularly those that do not support the Obama agenda, is disingenuous. To see what an angry mob looks like all one needs to do is look at how the Left has done far worse, including breaking and entering, violence, and other intimidation tactics long before the "GOP directed angry mob" ever came into being.

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Apparently the American people aren't buying Obama's line about how great health care will be once the health care reform bill is passed. When polls from NPR, the Wall Street Journal/NBC, the Washington Post, Gallup, and Pew all show Obama does not have the support of a majority of Americans, then health care reform is in trouble.

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As mentioned before, many members of Congress are being called on the carpet by their constituents for their support of the odious health care reform bill.

First there's this from Little Rock, Arkansas, where two Democrat Congressmen were faced with a group of angry constituents, many whom mocked and derided them for their support of Obamacare.

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In Mardela Springs, Maryland, people gathered at the local middle/high school to meet with their congressman. Despite claims made by ThinkProgress.org about a vast GOP conspiracy to undermine health care reform, none of the people attending the town hall meeting were from anywhere except Mardela Springs. There were no "lobbyist-funded buses" offloading people (from wherever the GOP conspirators had found them) to fill the auditorium with 'ringers' to harass and ridicule the Congressman (a tactic used by the DNC and their affiliated organizations on more than one occasion). The only ones attending were folks living in the town.

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Elsewhere in Maryland, Steny Hoyer got an earful from Democratic voters about Obamacare, and none of it was supportive.

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An AARP meeting in Dallas, Texas didn't go all that well for AARP organizers when many of the attendees - AARP members - refused to applaud Democratic talking points about health care reform. Apparently the AARP members were having none of it, showing that just because they're retired doesn't mean they're stupid.

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Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) obviously doesn't understand that what's good for the goose is good for the gander. She apparently believes anti-health care reform Tea Party protesters are violating people's rights, but pro-Obama protesters are merely exercising their First Amendment rights. I guess she's another one of those that believes the First Amendment only applies to those that agree with the Left.

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Apparently the town hall meeting in Tampa, Florida to discuss health care reform was open the public, but only if that member of the public was also a member of the SEIU. No non-union members of the public need apply.

I wonder how many of those SEIU members were even residents in Congresswoman Kathy Castor's district?

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An interesting point brought up today during the Meet The New Press radio show: Obama says he'll fix the health care system in the US. But there isn't a national health care system to fix. It is the states that regulate the various health insurance carriers and medical providers. If Obama gets his way he will wrest control away from the states and turn it over the the ever more inefficient and bloated federal bureaucracy. Do we really want that to happen?

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There will be more to follow.

A big tip of the hat to Instapundit for the links I've consolidated here.
"...Is Obedience To God" - Thomas Jefferson

Join The Resistance!


obamaresistance3.jpg
Click on image to enlarge.
If you want to see one view of the financial side of health care reform as being pushed by the Democrats, Arthur Laffer has a breakdown of the costs and why the reform measure won't save a dime. Instead it will cost the American public trillions of dollars and won't provide the health care promised.

Consumers are receiving quality medical care at little direct cost to themselves. This creates runaway costs that have to be addressed. But ill-advised reforms can make things much worse.

An effective cure begins with an accurate diagnosis, which is sorely lacking in most policy circles. The proposals currently on offer fail to address the fundamental driver of health-care costs: the health-care wedge.

The health-care wedge is an economic term that reflects the difference between what health-care costs the specific provider and what the patient actually pays. When health care is subsidized, no one should be surprised that people demand more of it and that the costs to produce it increase. Mr. Obama's health-care plan does nothing to address the gap between the price paid and the price received. Instead, it's like a negative tax: Costs rise and people demand more than they need.

That's been a problem with health insurance from day one. Once it started covering even routine care it drove the price of providing that care through the roof. Even an office visit for a cold, sore throat, or the flu cost many times the actual price of providing the service because of the added paperwork needed for the insurance company and patients started making more frequent visits to their doctors because it wasn't like they believed they were really paying for them. From that point on costs rose many times faster than the rate of inflation. An example from one commenter to Laffer's op-ed piece:

In 1968 an Admiral 23 inch Color TV cost $349 and the Average Hourly Wage in the US was $3.02. A Good TV cost 115 hours of work. In 2009 a Sony 26 inch LCD TV cost $449 and the Average Hourly Wage in the US is $18.41. A Good TV (A vastly superior TV) cost 24 Hours of Work.

A private patient hospital room was typically $72.00/day in 1968 or 23 hours work (average worker). A private patient hospital room today (Per diem expenses) is typically $5,180/day (MEPS) or 281 hours of work.

Has the quality of care increased during that time frame? For the most part, yes. But has the quality increased by a factor of 12 in that time? No way. While the technology available today is far superior to that of 1968, for the most part it costs less than it did back then. And while some of today's technology didn't exist 40-some years ago, it does make care and diagnostics far quicker and less expensive on an actual cost-per-patient basis. Monitoring equipment keeps tabs on a patient without the need to have a nurse or doctor to check the patient, saving the costs of manpower. But once other costs are figured in, those primarily being paperwork for the insurance companies, carrying costs over for the uninsured or under-insured, and CYA approaches to diagnostics by physicians to procure evidence in case they are sued by a patient, it's no surprise health care costs have risen many times the rate of inflation.

While Obama and the Democrats are right that health care must be reformed, their means of doing so will merely make things worse. Instead they should look at what Laffer has suggested and ask their constituents what they think about it. I think they'd be surprised at the response they get.
Is it a surprise to anyone that federal tax revenues are down, seeing the biggest drop since the Great Depression?

I guess Congress and the President still haven't learned that there is such a thing as too many taxes. Maybe they need to take an economics course. Then again all they really need to do is listen to Arthur Laffer as he explains his curve.

We already know the present Congress is incapable of actually reducing spending (hence the $1.2+ trillion deficit for the coming fiscal year), so we should expect nothing but more taxes to be laid upon the rich (newly redefined as "anyone with a job").

In all 50 states revenues are down as well. In New Hampshire, where the Weekend Pundit team resides, state revenues in July were down compared to July last year. Somehow I doubt the Democrat majority in the state legislature planned for that, figuring with all the tax and fee increases revenues would rise.

The question is what will they do if revenues continue to come in under projections? I'd like to think they'd finally get around to making some tough decisions and start trimming the state budget. I'd really like to think that. Even 10 years ago that might have happened. But today, they'll merely decide that they need to raise even more taxes and fees or, even worse, institute a broad-based tax (income or sales tax) and drive the final nail into the coffin of the New Hampshire Advantage. Then we'd be no different from any other state in the Northeast, with poor economic outlook, a crushing tax burden, and nothing to show for it but empty store fronts and factories and higher unemployment.
Something I find interesting about Thomas Daniel, the so-called "investigator" looking into the ethics complaint against Sarah Palin and the legal defense fund created for her by supporters, who determined her legal defense fund violates Alaskan ethics laws, happens to be tied in with a number of Democrat Party heavy-hitters, including John Kerry, John Edwards, and the Democratic National Committee. You can't tell me this guy has no ax to grind.

By the way, this is the same "investigator" who leaked his findings to the Associated Press, which ran with the story. As was asked at American Thinker, "Will someone please teach AP how to Google?" One would think they'd want to check their source for possible bias or underhanded dealings. But then, the AP isn't up on these newfangled things like the Internet, search engines, and such.

No partisan bias here, folks! Move along! Nothing to see here! Move along....
I was a bit lazy tonight, so I'm going to borrow some words of wisdom from people far more wise and foresighted than I. These came from someone commenting on a WSJ piece about Pelosi's Health-Care Payroll Tax.

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship" --Alexander Tyler

"Our democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not" -- Thomas Jefferson

"The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money" -- Margaret Thatcher

"We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle" -- Winston Churchill

Much what we have been warned about by these great people is coming to pass. The Congress and the President denigrate and disparage the people actually making the money, creating the wealth and the jobs that go with it, pandering to the Have-Nots, many whom Congress and the President have created, and they expect the producers of the wealth to take it silently, in other words to "pay up and shut up."

Should they succeed, then we will be living in the hell that is Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, a hell of our own making because we voted these glad-handing looters into office based upon their promises to 'stick it to the rich'. But these same thieving elite never bother to let us know that they define the rich as anyone with a job. They may not tax us today. They may not tax us tomorrow. But they sure as hell will tax us to the point of bankruptcy and tell us it's for our own good.

Thoughts On A Sunday

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Last night Deb, BeezleBub, and I went to our local concert venue, Meadowbrook Farm, to see Gordon Lightfoot perform. While his voice isn't as powerful as it was in his heyday, we still enjoyed his music.

The only downside were the pair of obnoxious...umm...chemically impaired concert goers seated directly behind us. All they did was bitch, moan, and complain. Their not so sotto voce diatribes pissed us off to no end, making an otherwise enjoyable evening less so.

Why did these folks even come to the concert? They didn't care for Gordon Lightfoot, didn't care for the venue, didn't like that there was no seat side service (meaning they had to get up to hit the bar themselves). If they didn't like the place or the artist, why bother coming? I suspect this couple were a pair of the dreaded 'summah people'.

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The US Navy paid one of its highest tributes to a fallen hero, christening the USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), the newest destroyer to enter the fleet.

Corporal Jason Dunham USMC gave his life to save those of his fellow Marines while serving in Iraq. Dunham received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions. The newest addition to the Navy fleet was christened at the Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine.

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Chris Muir has nailed it.

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It appears Obama believes medical care and wealth are both zero sum games, meaning there's only so much to go around. He's wrong on both counts...unless he interferes with either and makes it so.

Like many on the Left he believes the size of the pie that is health care and/or wealth is a fixed size. But the truth is that the pie's size can change, meaning everyone can win or lose as it changes. Unfortunately it seems Obama is working hard to shrink the size of those pies, whether he realizes it or not.

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If you think health care in America is so horrible, you'd be wrong. Health care in countries with 'universal' health care is far, far worse, particularly when it comes to treating potentially fatal diseases like cancer or chronic diseases like high cholesterol which lead to heart disease.

But once Obama and the Democrats take control of health care it will be just as bad as everywhere else.

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The Tea Party protest in Columbus, Ohio drew over 7000 people, showing us there are a lot of pissed off people in Ohio. Given the state of the economy and rising taxes at the federal and state level, is it any surprise the number of Tea Party protests and the number attending them is growing?

Here's another report from the local Columbus newspaper.

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From Brussels Journal:

These are not happy days for Americans, particularly if raised on traditional American values of Northern European provenance. Conscientious work as redemptive virtue, thrift, self-reliance, self-restraint, Biblical ethical principles, modesty, high-minded civic culture, love of liberty, distrust of centralized power.

America's ruling elite - once the embodiment of such values and now a putrid trench running from Wall Street to Madison Avenue to Washington DC to Hollywood -- has debauched and upended them as thoroughly as though it has been teleported directly from 3rd century Rome. It has deployed the full arsenal of Roman degeneration: unsustainable spending, shaving the coins of the realm, excessive taxation, disincentives to work and saving, wanton waste, corruption on an enormous scale, opulent narcissism at the top, lax borders, importing foreign populations, degrading the value of citizenship, promotion of sexual deviations and excesses, undermining the family unit, trampling on traditions, inuring the populace to "free" handouts and soul-corroding entertainment.

Scary, ain't it?

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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Eric the Viking gives us three examples why expanded government programs and more government spending doesn't work and creates economic hardships: Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maine.

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Massachusetts has another problem with taxes: they've just raised their sales tax 25% from 5 to 6.25%. This increase also includes a broader range of products covered by the sales tax. One of those products is alcoholic beverages, something that had not been covered in the past.

The sales tax increase is having a not unexpected side effect - more people are crossing the border from Massachusetts into New Hampshire to avoid the sales tax (New Hampshire has no sales or income tax). Massachusetts' loss is New Hampshire's gain.

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The MSM is at it again in regards to Sarah Palin. This time Alaska CNN stringer Dennis Zaki has been spreading the rumor that Sarah and Todd Palin are divorcing. Zaki's 'source' is the same anonymous blogger that reported on Trig Palin's 'questionable' parentage.

It's one thing to report on events and facts, it's another to take unsubstantiated rumors or outright falsehoods and report them as fact. It's a darn good way to end up in court for defamation.

If CNN were smart they'd fire Zaki and distance themselves from this loose cannon. But then CNN hasn't exactly been concerned with truth for some time.

There's also this from Wizbang:
 
ObamaCare Fail + Bad (Worse) Economy + Louis Gates Race Baiting Failure = Palin Divorce Rumor

(H/T Atlas Shrugged)

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Pirate's Cove links to two reports raising questions about global warming.

The first asks if global warming is indeed happening why the Falkland Islands are seeing record snowfalls and below normal winter temperatures?

The second wonders why the UK is deleting publicly available climate data at the Hadley Climate Center? Could it be the data refutes public statements and forecasts made by the UK Met Office?

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I saw this over at Wizbang and started nodding. It is profound in its simplicity and scary in its accuracy.

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It looks like the New Hampshire lawmakers are still eying $110 million of surplus malpractice insurance premiums being held by a state-created underwriter association to fill a budget gap despite the fact a judge has ruled the state is not entitled to those funds.

The Democrats in the state legislature expect to win an appeal of the court decision at the state Supreme Court. But the may be counting the dough before they get their hands on it because there's no guarantee the court will rule their way.

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Despite domestic violence being an equal opportunity problem, prejudices still exist, particularly those that as a matter of course believe only men can be perpetrators and women only victims.

[T]here's a double standard when it comes to charging men. "Now, isn't that strange? When she had a fat lip, it was a felony and I was going to jail. But when they finally realized that she tried to stab me in the neck, it stopped being a crime, and instead it was a mental health issue."

It's a prejudice that must be overcome. I've become aware of it through two sets of friends. Both couples were in dysfunctional marriages and in both marriages the wife was abusing the husband, emotionally at first, then physically. In both cases the husband was arrested on more than one occasion even though they were the only ones showing signs of abuse. Eventually the truth came out, particularly after one of them was nearly beaten to death by his enraged spouse out on the front lawn of their home. In the other case the police arrived just as an argument turned physical and they witnessed the wife attacking the husband. But these cases are the exception rather than the rule. Far too often the husband suffers in silence, having nowhere to turn for help.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer is finally in swing, July was the sixth wettest on record, and local corn is now coming in.
As Mark Rwain Twain once said "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics." For quite a long time I've known statistics can be manipulated to prove or disprove any claim. I was reminded of this truth when I came across an editorial covering the very topic of Twain's quote while perusing an industry publication.

What do the issues of so-called Climate Change, Intelligent Design, Cold Fusion, and Gun Control have in common? Answer: Ignorance.

I think Twain meant that certain people can force both correlated and uncorrelated data to support any conclusion that they wish to draw. But the scientific method for analysis and synthesis depends on logic (common sense?), facts, and accurate and reliable data. Unfortunately, many non-technical savvy people (and some technical people) tend to fall into a trap set by the purveyors of false information (sometimes mixed with a little truth) to convince you of their agenda. Every day, as human beings, we have to resist the temptation to force relationships and draw conclusions among false or unrelated sets of data, which could lead to making some disastrous decisions. Our conclusions seem to naturally lean more toward intuition or emotion (not always reliable), personal biases, and false data correlation rather than on facts and first-hand observations.

I first became aware how statistics could be manipulated when the universally hated National Maximum Speed Limit was imposed on American motorists back in the 1970's. The proponents took two statistics, the speed limit imposed following the Arab Oil Embargo in late 1973 and a drop in the number of traffic fatalities, and drew the conclusion that lower traffic speeds equated to a lower number of traffic deaths. While it was absolutely true that there was a solid correlation between the two, it flew in the face of the old saying "Correlation does not imply causality."

What the NMSL proponents overlooked (or chose to ignore) was there were other statistics that had far more of a bearing on the number of traffic deaths than the speed limit, in this case the number of people driving. If one added both the number of people driving and the traffic fatality rate (the number of deaths per 100 million passenger miles traveled), it could be shown the reason traffic deaths dropped was because there were less people driving. This was caused by a scarcity of fuel due to the oil embargo.

And so it is with a number of other 'causes' put forth by a host of special interest groups and political parties, including the aforementioned climate change, intelligent design, and gun control. Each group will quote statistics, statistics, and more statistics as if that's the only thing needed to prove their claims. They carefully ignore, bury, or minimize statistics that contradict their cause even though they may be far more telling than the ones they've used to sway the public.

One of my recent favorites was used by the World Wildlife Foundation in a TV ad trying to convince us the polar bear populations are endangered and have been declining for decades because of global warming. Because of that there's been a push to put the polar bear on the Endangered Species List. What they don't bother to tell anyone is that there are now five times more polar bears than there were 40 years ago, meaning the populations hasn't been declining but increasing.

Gun control advocates are another group thoroughly versed in using statistics to lie to the public. They'll quote the number of gun deaths and the number of guns in the hands of American citizens as if that's the only thing needed to prove their point. But what they don't tell you is that most of those gun related deaths were either committed by criminals using guns they weren't legally supposed to have in the first place (usually illegally obtained) or by citizens legally defending themselves against criminals attempting to harm or kill them or family members. Never mind that if gun ownership were banned, the criminals would still have guns.

I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the point. Whenever you hear someone quoting statistics that prove their point, remember to be skeptical and check out their figures for yourself. You may find you've been lied to.

Expatriate New Englanders

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