January 2010 Archives

Thoughts On A Sunday

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While the South has been suffering from heavy snowfalls and freezing rain we up here in New England ave been enjoying sub-zero wind chills and below zero night time temperatures. That's worked out well for us here at Lake Winnipesaukee because this is the weekend of the Rotary Ice Fishing Derby. It's also been a problem because it requires a lot more firewood to keep The Manse above 60°F when the temperature outside is -10°F with a wind chill of -35°F.

It was cold enough that last night BeezleBub's boss, Farmer Andy, messaged him to let him know it was going to be too cold to spend the day outside splitting wood. (It might have also had something to with the difficulty of getting the diesel on the John Deere 5510 started when it's below zero in the barn.)

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With the thaw/freeze/thaw/freeze cycle we've been though the last couple of weeks the frost heaves have appeared in large numbers, making traveling down roads and side streets an exercise in preservation. In this case I'm talking about the preservation of automotive suspension parts and front end alignments.

We usually don't see frost heaves quite this early, which bodes ill for the 'regular' frost heave season in March.

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If you think the TEA parties are nothing more than a tool of the GOP, you're wrong. Instead it's the TEA parties taking over the GOP, replacing the faux fiscal conservatives with the real thing.

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If anyone should know whether the US is moving towards socialism, it's Lech Walesa. After all, he lived it and was one of the driving forces overthrowing it in Poland.

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Bogie's had her new Jeep for a month now ans she's still loving it. There were a few minor things she found wanting, with the worst being the air vents won't work unless the blower is on. That's been one of my pet peeves about Chrysler products since I had my trusty '95 Neon.

As Bogie says, "If the vents are the worst thing I have to complain about in the next 5 years...then I will consider myself truly lucky."

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And the hits keep on coming....

It appears the IPCC quoted an article in a mountaineering magazine and a master's dissertation, calling both of them 'papers' proving another facet of global warming. The only problem with them is that neither were based upon scientific study. Instead they both quoted anecdotal evidence from mountain guides in the Andes, Alps, and Africa.

The case for AGW is falling apart, as is the apparent severity of global warming in general.

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Robert Mitchell points out an important point which far too many Americans are ignorant: The US Constitution does not grant rights to anyone.

As recent events have clearly amplified, the average American's grasp of the content and purpose of the U.S. Constitution is woefully inadequate and too often inaccurate.

Ask a friend, a family member or a co-worker about the Constitution and what it does. You are likely to be told it grants Americans their rights and assures democratic elections and fair trials, or something along those lines. You'll also learn these things belong only to individual Americans. Foreigners and corporations are not covered. The Constitution does not permit. It does not dispense rights. It grants limited powers to the various branches of government and then provides checks and balances. Such as Article 1, Section 8: "The Congress shall have power to ..."

The Bill of Rights does not grant rights, either. Those 10 amendments limit the power of government to encroach on the rights presumed to belong to all of us. (Emphasis added.)

I am constantly amazed at the ignorance of our citizens when it comes to the Constitution and our rights.

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It appears Obama has solidified his newest political strategy: blame the other guy if he doesn't get his way.

Unfortunately his call for bipartisanship still sounds too much like his original definition of bipartisanship: Sit down, shut up, and vote the way we tell you to vote.

It sounds like he still doesn't understand that compromise means that both sides end up giving up something to get something they want. Over the past three years the Democrats have seemed unwilling to compromise on key issues, making the Republicans the only ones needing to compromise. And that means it isn't a compromise.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice fishing hasn't been great, the temps have been really cold, and where the fire in the woodstove is keeping us warm.
Daniel Hannan, who received Internet fame for his impassioned upbraiding of Prime Minister Gordon Brown last year, has a brilliant sentence in his dissection on Michael Moore and his new attack film on capitalism:

The trouble with the Michael Moore view of the world is that it elevates motive over outcome.
Robert Heilbronner, a lifelong socialiist, was able to admit that capitalism is a success where socialism has every where proved to be a failure. He famously wrote in 1989 that "Mises (the ardent free market economist whose books form an intellectual bulwark against socialism) was right." He even admitted the following:

Capitalism has been as unmistakable a success as socialism has been a failure. Here is the part that's hard to swallow. It has been the Friedmans, Hayeks, and von Miseses who have maintained that capitalism would flourish and that socialism would develop incurable ailments. All three have regarded capitalism as the 'natural' system of free men; all have maintained that left to its own devices capitalism would achieve material growth more successfully than any other system. From [my samplings] I draw the following discomforting generalization: The farther to the right one looks, the more prescient has been the historical foresight; the farther to the left, the less so.

He also noted then that "democratic liberties have not yet appeared, except fleetingly, in any nation that has declared itself to be fundamentally anticapitalist."

As I mentioned in my regular Sunday post, ClimateGate is the gift that keeps on giving.

The type of data and computer code manipulation committed by climate scientists at the CRU apparently has also been committed by NASA and NOAA as well, with non-global warming supporting temperature readings being eliminated, in turn showing a false increase in temperatures.

We don't dispute the fact that there has been some cyclical warming in recent decades -- most notably from 1979 to 1998 -- but cooling took place from the 1940s to the late 1970s, again after 1998, and especially after 2001, all while CO2 rose. This fact alone questions the primary role in climate change attributed to CO2 by the IPCC, environmental groups, and others.

However, the global surface station data is seriously compromised.

There was a major station dropout -- and an increase in missing data from remaining stations -- which occurred suddenly around 1990. Just about the time the global warming issue was being elevated to importance in political and environmental circles.

A clear bias was found towards removing higher elevation, higher latitude, and rural stations -- the cooler stations -- during this culling process, though that data was not also removed from the base periods from which "averages," and then anomalies, were computed.

The data also suffers contamination by urbanization and other local factors, such as land-use/land-cover changes and improper siting.

There are also uncertainties in ocean temperatures. This is no small issue, as oceans cover 71% of Earth's surface.

These factors all lead to significant uncertainty and a tendency for overestimation of century-scale temperature trends. A conclusion from all findings suggests that global databases are seriously flawed and can no longer be trusted to assess climate trends, or rankings, or to validate model forecasts. Consequently, such surface data should be ignored for political decision-making.

Many of the warmists say it doesn't matter if the data was cooked because they 'know' we're all doomed unless we impoverish the world and return to agrarian level energy usage. They believe no more debate or study is needed, only action.

But with more respected and credentialed scientists calling AGW into question and pointing to the fraudulent data and the incomprehensible and questionable computer code, neither the debate or the science is settled. Before we spend trillions of dollars on a theory of questionable validity, shouldn't we go back over all the data and modeling software and verify it's accuracy?

To add to the debate, it appears that if we look at just rural US MSS station data going back to 1900, there is no evidence of global warming.

Using data downloaded from NASA GISS and picking rural sites near, but not too near, to urban sites, a comparison has been made of the temperature trend over time of the rural sites compared to those of the urban sites. 28 pairs of sites across the U.S. were compared. The paired rural site is from 31 to 91 km from the urban site in each pair. The result is that urban and rural sites were similar in 1900, with the urban sites slightly higher. The urban sites have shown an increase in temperatures since then. The rural sites show no such temperature increase and appear to be generally unchanging with only ups and downs localized in time. Over a 111 year time span, the urban sites temperatures have risen to be about 1.5C warmer than the rural sites. So, the much touted rising temperatures in the U.S. are due to the urban heat island effect and not due to a global warming such as has been proposed to be caused by human emissions of CO2 due to the combustion of fossil fuels.

It's not just rural US stations seeing this non-trend. Canadian ground station in Ontario are seeing the same thing. If global warming were happening to the extent the warmists claim, wouldn't rural weather stations data show it as well? Or might we make the assumption that global warming is only an urban phenomenon? By positing such a hypothesis, might we also state the cure would be to do away with all urban areas (cities) and move everyone back into the countryside? (Yes, it is a ridiculous hypothesis and equally ridiculous 'cure', but both have as much validity as the present AGW theory and proposed cure.)
It appears that for once in a long while, the New Hampshire Supreme Court got it right in the case of the Georgia Tuttle, MD et al vs. the New Hampshire Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriters Association et al, where the state legislature tried to raid $110 million of JUA premium surpluses to fill a budget deficit.

The state failed to make its case during its first attempt, the Belknap County Court deciding in favor of the plaintiffs, clients of the JUA, stating the State of New Hampshire had no rights to those funds even though the state created the JUA to begin with because the JUA is not a state agency. The state provided no tax monies, no state personnel, and no facilities to the JUA. The JUA was a state sanctioned private entity created in 1975 to ensure malpractice insurance was available to all physicians and other medical personnel in New Hampshire. All funding came through premium payments to the JUA. The law that created the JUA clearly states that surplus premiums balances must be returned to the policy holders past and present or used to reduce premiums to those it served.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court decided 3-2 that the state could make no claim and had no rights to the JUA funds, upholding the lower court decision and denying the state the right to take the funds. (The complete text of NHSC decision can be found here.)

The basis of the decision dealt more with the Legislature's passage of the bill that would have 'acquired' over two-thirds of the JUA's surplus funds in violation of the contracts the JUA entered into with their policyholders, stripping from them the disbursements of surplus funds as guaranteed in their policies. And since both the lower court and the Supreme Court agreed the JUA is not a state agency, the state had no rights to the proceeds of judicious investment and policy disbursements by the JUA, particularly in light of the fact that even state agencies cannot violate contracts with private individuals at the behest of the Legislative or Executive branches of government.

While the dissenting opinion was strongly worded, I believe the Supreme Court made the right decision. Had the decision gone the other way it would have possibly opened the door for other state seizures of surplus finds from insurance companies (they are all licensed by the state) or other state licensed businesses without due compensation as guaranteed in both the New Hampshire and US constitutions. And don't believe for a minute the Democrat-controlled Legislature wouldn't do exactly that if they thought they could get away with it. After all, they have ever more profligate and wasteful spending to fund.
Here's a quote by one of my "fusionist" (combining conservatism and libertarianism) intellectual heroes, Frank S. Meyer in his The Conservative Mainstream:

Competition [in education] would have made educational opportunities as common as it has made the automobile. (p.431)
Is there a human right to clothing like some are arguing for health care? Well, notice that the free market helps a lot more than any other organizing principle. Even in far-flung places in Africa it's common to see folk wearing our cast-offs, even if it strikes us as odd to see a Ugandan boy wearing a Michael Jordan shirt.

I still can't get over the chart Andrew Coulson posted at Cato's website.

The State Of Obama Address

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Glenn Reynolds linked to a number of bloggers live-blogging the State of the Union address last night.

One of his readers brought up an interesting point:

Reader Rob Lain emails:

Others have probably done this already, but I just ran these numbers:

Obama SOTU 2010 First Person Singular Pronoun Count

"I" - 96 times
"me" - 8 times

Bush SOTU 2008 First Person Singular Pronoun Count

"I" - 39 times
"me" - 2 times

Think this may wind up correlating to their relative contributions to the national debt, when all is said and done?

I dunno, but what's funny is that I think Obama was restraining himself here . . . .

I went back further and looked up Ronald Reagan's first State of the Union Address in 1982. His First Person Singular Pronoun Count is as follows:

"I" - 36 times
"me" - Once

Quite a difference between Obama's first SOTU Address and Reagan's. Both faced similar economic problems. Both faced foreign policy difficulties. But it appears to me that the focus of Obama's first SOTU Address was himself and not the rest of the nation, unlike Reagan.

The other big difference between the two? Obama is an orator. Reagan was a communicator.

STFU SOTU Address

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I have to say the opening statements of the President's State of the Union address were on target, talking about the problems that we, as a nation and as individuals, are facing. But once he started addressing the main issue we face - the economy - he lost me.


He talked about tax cuts, but only the temporary tax cuts. The somewhat more long term cuts, the Bush tax cuts, expire next year, meaning everyone will see a tax increase once they're gone.


On the stimulus bill - blah blah blah blah blah blah. (At least that's what I heard.)


As much as I agree that jobs are an issue, I have to disagree with the president that somehow it's up to the government to stimulate them with our money. Better that government get the heck out of the way. We don't need it to take $30 billion of the repaid TARP funds and spend it again.


I agree with Obama that we need to upgrade our infrastructure to help American businesses compete in the global marketplace. But what do high-speed trains have to do with that? Better that electrical systems and broadband communications networks be built, which will do far more to support American businesses than trains.


And while the president says he "won't accept second place for America", he's been doing what he can to make sure that's where we'll end up, if not third or fourth place.


After that I started nodding off as he started mouthing the same old platitudes but in different wrappers. (Make energy less expensive by taxing the hell out of it. Punish all the banks for the actions of a few. Spend billions more on education even though study after study after study shows more money doesn't equate to better education. Destroy our health care system in order to save it. And so on and so on.)


I. GOT. BORED.


ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz........


UPDATE 1/28/10: Going back and watching the address again, I saw that as time passed he shifted more and more blame for all our troubles on to others. He laid all the blame for the failure of health care reform and cap-and-tax squarely on the Republicans, saying they now owned the blame. Senator John Kyl rebutted that allegation today on NPR, stating the Senate Republicans were following the will of their constituents, blocking bad legislation that would do little more than cost the American people untold hundreds of billions of dollars with nothing to show for it.

Cato's Andrew J. Coulson has devastating graphs, showing an absolute avalanche of increased spending (in inflation-adjusted terms) in education. Where the improvement? Not surprisingly, there is none. It's like the news recently that Head Start doesn't have a long-term benefit.

Yet, it's a liberal shibboleth. That so many still think there's a connection between spending and education quality is mind-boggling.

Since the establishment in 1979, for example, of the federal Dept. of Education, things have improved, right? Au contraire.
Today's UL story makes me remember this entry I have yet to publish:

I wonder how that could happen. One word: leniency. In Europe they pull you over and forcibly extract blood if a reasonable suspicion--really just any suspicion--exists about alcohol being in the system, impairing driving.

One case fairly recently of a drunk Charlestown, NH, woman, Marilyn Demond-Surace, who plowed into a motorcycle while turning into their lane. The bike was carrying two young people, Justin Aiken and Robin Flaig, got my attention when sloppy policework and lax county prosecutors let much of the evidence just slip through their incompetent fingers of the suspect police at the scene described as "calm and sarcastic." Yes, blogger, your indignation is well placed.

She got one year for vehicular manslaughter "assault." One year for killing two young people? We're obviously not serious about this grave crime, and their are lawyers like hers--Robert Stein of Concord--who are skilled in using technicalities to get people who cause mayhem and death on the highways and byways to get very little of a sentence.

But in this state don't get caught harming an animal. Then people will really come out of the woodwork to prosecute in a more serious way. At least this disturbing story though the evidence doesn't seem to be more than a "he said/ she said" dispute between alienated neighbors. Notwithstanding this, the man received three and a half to seven years in jail. Which strikes me (no pun intended) as about right, if the DWI killer had received seven to 15 years in jail.

Fourteen days for a DWI conviction of vehicular manslaughter (one death) in Kansas for a guy's second DUI? You've got to be kidding me! I wonder if the defending attorney in that case, Terry Campbell, would have fun swapping stories with Robert Stein about the wonderful tricks they used in getting guilty clients off the hook.

Meanwhile the deaths keep piling up, thousands each year. Rachel Leek, may you rest in peace.

The Truth About Iraq

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While we're building or have built a gargantuan embassy in Baghdad larger than the entire Vatican State, one soldier speaking truth to power says we don't know what we're doing. Yep. I concur.

Read the soldier's remarkable letter, a real cry from the heart, here.

You [the incomparable Diana West] correctly assessed that we have not gained anything positive from our efforts in Iraq and that the nation is not our ally. (The same is true for Afghanistan.) I will go as far as saying that the Iraqis are our enemies--enemies better equipped to wage jihad against us than they have ever been. We will regret what we have done. We will regret that we created this officially Islamic nation. And we will regret that we created an officially Islamic Afghanistan. We will regret that we have placed ourselves in the service of Islam, waging jihad worldwide as we advance the Religion of Peace and eliminate Christians in the process. (So much for the accusation that the U.S. is on a "Crusade.") It is a shame that so many people refuse to recognize how horrible Islam is, and that the U.S. made a fatal mistake when it refused to declare war against Afghanistan and Islam--when it refused victory by binding the greatest military force of all time.

Baby Israel Born in Haiti

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As a philosemite this makes the hair stand up on my arms. Jews being the light to the world once again, as is normal (when they're not trying to survive). The Israelis ran circles around us, having two jumbo jets taking off from the Near East six hours after the horrible Haiti earthquake. And the IDF were the first soldiers on the ground there.

If Bush had been President, it'd be Katrina racism all over again.
I've seen all kinds of reports and so-called exposés about the TEA party movement in MSM. Many were derisive, a few tried hard to be neutral, a few more were big supporters, and some were outright hostile.

But then, out of nowhere, comes a piece that even a cynic like me has to admit was pretty well balanced, and from a source I never would have thought of as fair.

Ben McGrath does a pretty good job covering the rise of TEA party activism for the New Yorker, resisting the urge to paint everyone involved with the TEA party activities as inbred right-wing rednecks beholden to Big Oil, Big Finance, and Big (place name of latest scapegoat du jour here).

My first immersion in the social movement that helped take Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat away from the Democrats, and may have derailed the President's chief domestic initiative, occurred last fall, in Burlington, Kentucky, at a Take Back America rally.

About a thousand people had turned up at the rally, most of them old enough to remember a time when the threats to the nation's long-term security, at home and abroad, were more easily defined and acknowledged. Suspicious of decadent élites and concerned about a central government whose ambitions had grown unmanageably large, they sounded, at least in broad strokes, a little like the left-wing secessionists I'd met at a rally in Vermont in the waning days of the Bush Administration.

If there was a central theme to the proceedings, it was probably best expressed in the refrain "Can you hear us now?," conveying a long-standing grievance that the political class in Washington is unresponsive to the needs and worries of ordinary Americans. Republicans and Democrats alike were targets of derision.

Addressing McGrath's last point, more than a few Republicans have made the mistake of thinking the TEA party movement is a phenomenon automatically supportive of the GOP. They're wrong. Most Americans are sick and tired of being ignored or marginalized by both political parties. TEA party activists like me see both the Democrats and Republicans as being part of the problem, so GOP congresscritters, governors, and state legislators are no more immune from our displeasure than Democrats. (It's just that there are so many more Democrats in office these days that they're taking the brunt of our pushback.)

McGrath credits Rick Santelli, a CNBC reporter, as being the spark that started the TEA party fire with his rant on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange last February. The rant, reminiscent of Peter Finch's portrayal of Howard Beale in the movie Network, expressed the frustration so many of us were feeling at being ignored by the very people we put in office to serve us. Instead, they decided that we served them, and as such, all that was ours was theirs to use or misuse as they saw fit.

They were wrong.

And so the movement grows, as McGrath has shown.
Yet another topic about which I can say "I'm shocked!!"

NOT.

The trend of men opting out of marriage has been growing, with more of them deciding it isn't worth all the hassles that go along with a modern marriage. I started seeing this about 10 or 15 years ago, particularly among those men who have been married before. They had no desire to "put themselves into that position again."

This is a phenomenon seen most among younger men (35 and younger). There are a number of reasons for this. Two of the most prominent causes: money and education.

Part of the answer is found in a Pew Research Center report released this week: A sea change in relationships is taking place as everyone adjusts to the new reality of women being better educated and in some cases more preferred than men in the workforce. Especially unsettling to some men is their role as second-best earner in the family. As the Pew report documents, 22% of men with "some college" are now outearned by their wives, up from 4% in 1970.

Personally, whether my spouse makes more or less than me hasn't been a concern. Growing up there were times when my mom made more than my dad and vice versa. None of us thought anything about it. (Maybe my parents did, but they never voiced opinions about it one way or the other to any of us that I'm aware of.) Maybe that means my folks were ahead of their time.

With the greater financial resources of today's single women, a long standing dynamic has shifted, and not necessarily for the better for such women.

Understanding this change requires dipping into the personal. "I've found a lot of Mr. Almosts, but I can't find Mr. Right," Ms. [Rachel] Downtain says. "I've been dating forever. Where is he?" When she brings men back to her very nice, four-bedroom home, they often comment about her success. A few flat-out say they're uncomfortable with her salary advantage, education advantage (master's degree), or both. The final blow comes when she tells them about all her prominent volunteer work in the Kansas City area. "I'm being honest and telling them about my life, but I feel like I'm coming across as too good for them. That is never my intention."

It may not have been her intention, but whether she realizes it or not she's sending out the wrong signal. Two commenters brought this up, too, and I have to agree with their analysis. The first one wrote:

I always find that interest in the other party is a good way to start off and maintain a relationship. Perhaps whatshername can remember this the next time she talks about herself and all her "accomplishments" on a first date. It sounds like bragging to me, which is a turnoff in either sex.

Followed by this response:

I liked the line about her being concerned the men might think she's "too good" for them. It comes off as conceited and high maintenance which isn't very attractive. Even if that first impression is wrong, not many people would want to stick around to find out.

More than a few of my younger male friends and associates have voiced the opinion that there's no way they'd get married as they see marriage as a losing proposition. Some few of them realized they could never measure up to their prospective mate's expectation of perfection and didn't want to be emotionally or verbally beat up because they failed to meet an unrealistic and unreachable standard. More than one stated too many women they've dated have the expectation that the men would have to change who they are without a reciprocal change on their part.

Their griping may be over the top, but there's a kernel of truth in it. I've seen too many relationships go down in flames because expectations or demands on one side were far out of proportion to the other, with the men being on the losing end of that imbalance far too often.
Skip has pulled farther ahead this week. As I thought might happen, I hit my first plateau, dropping only 1 pound over the past week. Skip is expecting the same thing to happen to him (probably this coming week). That seems to be the pattern with this kind of regimen and is not unexpected.

dual thermometer - pounds large - Week 3.jpg
Click on image to enlarge.
President Obama speaking to sixth-graders armed with the duo of TelePrompters. Are they his "binky," or baby blanket? Apparently they go everywhere with him.

Ain't democracy grand? I'm laughing, but I'm sad at the same time. What harm will this guy go to the country, but be too ignorant to realize it as it unfolds?

Thoughts On A Sunday

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Apparently we are receiving a slight reprieve from winter over today and tomorrow, with warm temps and rain rather than snow through tomorrow. This will have the effect of clearing away the last of the snow and ice from the driveways and roads...making room for future snow and ice.

Such is the nature of New England winters.

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BeezleBub, Deb, and I got the remainder of our last delivery of firewood stacked in the garage today. That gives us about a cord and a quarter stacked in the garage, with another four cords outside. One cord of the fire wood still outside won't be ready to burn until next year as it's mostly oak. For those of you unfamiliar with heating with woodstoves, oak takes two years to dry before it will burn well. Maple is like that, as is elm. Elm must be dry before you can split it otherwise it just splinters. (Yes, we still burn elm up here. A number of them survived Dutch Elm Disease and were to the point where they were too old and too big to survive much longer, so down they came.)

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Roger L. Simon lays a smackdown on President Obama, and rightfully so.

The scary thing is that many of us believe the President hardly knows much of anything, certainly not economics, and is surrounded by an increasingly paranoid and defensive group of advisers. It's shades of Nixon, but worse. Tricky Dick, at least, knew what he was doing and could accomplish things.

You know it's bad when Dick Nixon at his worst is seen as far more competent that the present occupant of the Oval Office.

I have to agree with this as well:

Obama is the biggest windbag to ever ascend to the presidency. He has no idea what he is doing and now things are getting rough. Frankly, I'm worried for our country because this man doesn't really understand what the public is telling him. He just thinks we're "angry." He's wrong - we're furious and we're furious because he blames everyone but himself and seems psychologically incapable of taking responsibility.

Yeah, I'd say that sums it up pretty well. It also points to someone who has never needed to deal with the consequences of failure. Once someone like that is forced to face failure that is of their own making, they either 'freeze up', break down, or run away (figuratively speaking).

You know it's getting bad for Obama when even the Canadians are saying he's an incompetent narcissist. But wait, there's more!

Even the Left is piling on The One.

(H/T Instapundit)

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ClimateGate, the gift that keeps on giving, and giving, and giving.

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Being the TEA party supporter that I am, I am doing more than just attending rallies, protests, and town halls, or writing about TEA party activities or posting on my blog.

I am running for office.

In this case it is a town office (I've got to start somewhere). It is not the first time I've run for office, having run for selectman twice. (I lost both times, but the second time I had a pretty darned good showing.)

Being the cheap...uh...frugal Yankee that I am, I figure I can keep an eye on town spending, one of the few places where the citizen can have a direct effect on a government budget and, of course, the taxes that fund it.

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In the Super Bowl race, the Indianapolis Colts beat the New York Jets for the AFC Championship. The NFC Championship game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints starts later this evening (as I write this).

I'm hoping the Vikings beat the Saints as I'd love to see them take on the Colts and beat them.

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Don't worry. Obama has just the program to help create jobs.

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Now these are dedicated teachers, willing to take one for the team.

Where do these public servants teach? Vermont, of all places.

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Something that almost escaped my attention: Air America Radio has shut down and its corporate assets are being liquidated.

The liberal talk radio network was never successful, with dismal ratings, high salaries and expenditures, and just plain piss poor (and sleazy) management. The fact it lasted as long as it did was surprising.

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As if California doesn't have enough problems, now Democrats in the state want to impose a single payer health care system.

Where exactly do these morons think the money to pay for it will come from? California is broke, in hock to the tune of $40 billion (and growing). Residents and business owners are leaving in droves as taxes keep rising (and revenues fall). These guys must be reading from the Obama play book. And they'll have just as much luck.

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I have to agree with Glenn Reynolds on this one: Welcome to Harrison Bergeron High.

The school officials in Berkeley, California aren't doing their minority high school students any good by holding them to lower scholastic standards in science.

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Chris Christie, New Jersey's new Republican governor has already taken the bull by the horns and has put lawmakers on notice that it won't be business as usual in the Garden State.

The encouraging news is that Mr. Christie has ruled out raising taxes as a means for solving this problem. He has done so publicly and repeatedly. People close to the new governor say he has done this deliberately, as a message to the legislature and even his staff not to come to him with the same old solutions that have people fleeing the state. And he has done so knowing full well that if he reneges on so public a pledge, he will be crucified for it.

[Chief of Staff Richard] Bagger says that one thing that drives the Christie team crazy is the reigning assumption in too many quarters that taxes have no effect on business decisions. "If you are an entrepreneur," he says, "are you going to set up your business outside the University of Texas in Austin, where the income tax is zero, or outside Rutgers in Piscataway, where you face income tax and capital gains tax over 10%?"

History has shown again and again, both here in the US and the rest of the world, that high taxes always have a negative effect on business and that once they reach the trigger level, businesses and capital leave for greener pastures. It's a lesson the tax-and-spenders have either been unable to learn or have chosen to ignore, which is why they keep making the same mistake again and again and again.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the firewood is stacked under cover, the rains are coming, and where Monday has returned all too soon.
Doug Bandow explains why without mincing words:

Only in government--monopoly public services--are unions advancing.  Which is what one would expect from organizations which typically promote inefficiency and waste as a means of enriching their members.
I have to say that I've seen that first-hand. At my Teamsters job people with more seniority--and much higher pay--actually are usually no more productive than people earning much less. In a few cases they are less productive. So it's totally unlike the unfettered private sector where one's pay is contingent on one's productivity. There's one woman who can walk only slowly but has over thirty years with the company and probably makes over $30 per hour. She doesn't do much in the otherwise hectic environment.
or you may cause goyim to think you've got a bomb in those small boxes. Pretty remarkable story, makes me think of the novels of Chaim Potok that had a lasting imprint on me in high school:

On Thursday, a flight from La Guardia was diverted after a bomb scare. One of the passengers, a Jewish teenager, was doing his morning prayers and it alarmed the flight attendant. Not because of the prayers, per se, but because of the tefillin he was using. Based on passages from Exodus and Deuteronomy, Orthodox Jews use two small square boxes with straps attached to them and place on on the head and tie the other to the arm. Inside the boxes are parchment with Scripture.

Like Cathy Grossman at USA Today, I think this is a good example of the need for religious literacy than this unfortunate incident.

I found the New York Times piece about this story fascinating. The article is incredibly sympathetic to the flight attendants and pilot who decided to ground the plane.
They did scoop the entire media on John Edwards's bastard illegitimate or "love" child.
...within twenty thousand people the population of...Trinidad and Tobago. Are you kidding me? 1,315,809 versus 1,229,953. Aren't those two tiny little islands in the Caribbean?
I'm not sure if he ever left the Left, merely seeing Islamic terror after Sept. 11 for the threat it truly is. But Charles Johnson, one of the "Four Horsemen" on this blog's left, is no longer read by me. In 2004 and '05 I'd check out Little Green Footballs almost every day. Back then he had to fight its being characterized as a hate site.

Surprisingly, the long NYT Mag piece isn't over-the-top sympathetic to Johnson, according a lot of space for the comments of Pamela Geller.

The whole story hinges on a Belgium political party and its leader--Flip Dewinter of Flaams Belang. Probably 99.9 percent of Americans don't have a clue about him or it. But one of our Cassandras--I just finished re-reading _The Death of the Grown-up_ by Diana West--goes all out for him in her MUST-READ post today, calling Mr. Dewinter "one of the true heroes of our times."

Who exactly is this man? Neo-Nazi bogeyman as Johnson characterizes him, liberally applying unsavory tactics himself? Or is he the Ricard the Lionheart figure dying Europe needs in order to muster its resources, which includes the quiescent spiritual, to defeat the rising tide of Muslim ferocity increasingly doting the landscape?  Time will tell.

But my sympathies are clearly with people like Diana West and Flip Dewinter.
Rex Ryan consumes 7,000 calories a day.
I'm shocked, but here it is. That's feminism run its full course. My brother's wife won't be taking his last name--just like her mother didn't do. Surprisingly, however, they're getting married in a traditional Catholic ceremony even though he's a left-wing Quaker. (Sorry, I am being redundant right there.)

And the young woman has that curious--increasingly common--hyphenated last name that's a mark of selfishness on the parents' part.

Dennis Prager argues convincingly to my ears that women shouldn't do that. I can't find a reference to what he's said, but Luke Ford comes to the rescue. I hope he's having a good Shabbos. I'm a bit worried about him.

McDonald V. Chicago

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I'm hopping in my seat in excitement, esp. in response to the new-found conservative activism of the Roberts court. Unlike the incrementalism of the past, the Chief Justice must realize time is not on the conservatives' side. Unlike my Buddhist way of minimizing or not having expectations, I do with this momentous Second Amendment decision, which is a logical outgrowth of Heller. I plan on exercising my Second Amendment rights for my brother's DC wedding next year. 'Nuff said.

McDonald V. Chicago or, "The Chicago Gun Case," even has its own website, chicagoguncase.com. A town prohibiting handguns, huh? Funny how that works in the bad guys' favor.

If I'm disappointed, esp. grievously so, you'll suspect how I'll act.

The Cato Institute issued a fine brief, according to Dave Kopel. Not surprising since the legal director Roger Pilon is top-notch. I saw him intellectually demolish Marcus Raskin, a notable lefty given a hagiography in a Boston Globe piece shortly after for his lifetime work. I mean Pilon _demolished_ him in August 1990 at American University in DC. I hadn't seen such a thing since Immanuel Kant dispatched the Ontological Proof for God's Existence so thoroughly.

Monday, Jan. 18, G. Gordon Liddy spoke with Alan Gottlieb, of the Second Amendment Foundation, on this podcast about the Second Amendment. It's patently ridiculous the games the District of Columbia has been playing in preventing citizens from exercising their rights in response to Heller. Heel dragging all the way.

Gottlieb's organization is on the offensive to repeal municipalities' draconian and un-Constitutional efforts to stamp out the Second Amendment.
I'm sorry to link to a story Matt Drudge links to, but when I heard about it on the BBC NewsPod a day or two ago it is remarkable to understand that the UN's IPCC used as its source a 1999 mass market magazine. Hardly a reputable scientific source. The parallels are eerie to the breathless report I heard on Good Morning America by Charlie Gibson in 1993 on the reported forty percent increase of violence perpetrated against women. When the source of that was unraveled, it was found to be utterly bogus. Advocacy statitics. Like ten percent of people are gay or lesbian. Advocacy statistics. Like the glaciers are melting in the Himalayas because of man's spewing out of carbon dioxide, that beneficial plant food.

Man-made global warming increasingly looks to be on the ropes. It's time to debate, Algore! He won the Nobel Prize, after all.
It's definitely worth a look. Some people on TV are more deranged than I thought was possible without being a lunatic. Maybe that's what they are.
the guy seems to me to be an anti-semite. And he still acts aggressively, at least here with a LA tv guy with an identifiable Jewish name of Sam Rubin.
Well, judging from their jumping jacks...not so well.

Another AGW Skeptic Is Born

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Late yesterday afternoon, the phone on my desk at work rang. Answering it I found my son on the line, seething in barely suppressed anger.


Apparently one of his teachers had assigned a paper dealing with global warming and its effects on coral reefs. In and of itself, that was not why he was angry. What pissed him off was the paper had to be written using only the information in a packet given to each student in his class.


It was as if Al Gore had handed him a copy of An Inconvenient Truth along with background materials and other propaganda pamphlets. The 'data' was that biased.


He wasn't sure about what to do. I pointed him to a number of information sources including NOAA, MIT, and NASA, and let him do the digging. In the end he decided he would do the assignment, but add a counterpoint to the original assignment.


Like me, he is a skeptic about AGW, but his skepticism comes from a source that is not me. While I am naturally a skeptic about anything grandiose that demands that we "do something NOW before we all DIE!!!", he comes into his AGW skepticism by way of his employer, Farmer Andy.


I haven't come across another profession that is more in tune to weather and its cycles and patterns than farmers and, of course, meteorologists. Weather can make or break a farmer, so they tend to be far more aware of it than the rest of us. Farmer Andy has weather records going back decades and those records make him skeptical about the dire claims about global warming.


Seeing BeezleBub's dismay at having to write about something he knew was bogus only confirmed my belief that our local school system is more interested in indoctrination - teaching kids what to think - rather than education - teaching them critical thinking. Fortunately BeezleBub has had plenty of examples and help from family to learn how to think critically, to take apart statements, claims, and "settled science" and look at it dispassionately and discover the truth or falsehoods behind them. That could be why some of his teachers see him as troublesome because he questions them and others see him as bright.


I told him this time, as I have many times in the past, that I would have his back should any of his less open-minded teachers decide he was "too disruptive" or "contrary" or "too much of a smart ass". Better that he speak out and contradict things he knows to be in error (or just outright wrong) than go along to get along and become nothing but another drone.

Onion link here. Brilliant stuff.

Massachusetts Senate Race

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With 86% of the precincts in Massachusetts reporting, WBZ-TV reports that Scott Brown appears to have won the US Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy, beating Martha Coakley with 53% of the vote.


UPDATE: Martha Coakley has conceded to Scott Brown.


Now the question begs, what happens now? Will the Democratic machine in Massachusetts work to prevent Brown from being seated in the US Senate in a timely fashion?

There's something terribly wrong with this whole concept.

How is it the President can impose a tax (a fine fee) on responsible financial institutions that wisely and carefully shepherded their depositor's/client's money through the financial meltdown, required no TARP funds, didn't have to declare bankruptcy, nor required any other government 'help' because they were solvent and didn't get involved with the financial shenanigans? Yet the irresponsible institutions and corporations that squandered hundreds of billions of dollars get a walk and won't have to pay the fine fee?

Doesn't this send the wrong message? The President is saying, in effect, "If you do well and make money for your clients/depositors/shareholders while also providing sensible and responsible financial services we will punish you!. But if you are spendthrift and get involved with high risk financial strategies and investments and lose all of your money, will give you all the taxpayer money you need to stay afloat."

Like that will help stimulate the economy in any kind of sustainable fashion. But then, the looters never look at such things from an economic point of view. It's always about being "fair and just". But who decides what is fair and just? The looters, or course.
Two weeks gave gone by since Skip and I started the Great New Hampshire Blogger Weight Loss Challenge, and here are the results of yesterday's weigh-in:

dual thermometer - pounds-percentage large -week 2.jpg
Click on image to enlarge


Skip still has the lead, but I'm closing in. However, if things hold true to the last time I went on this particular diet (about 8 years ago), I expect I'll probably hit a plateau either next week or the week after. Then again, maybe not....

Hitchens the Inconsistent?

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I thought of the following this morning at my manual labor Teamster jog.

Hitchens, reviewing the brilliant book by Oriana Fallaci on Islam written when she was stricken with cancer, famously called it in his Atlantic review (look just past the large, drop case "H"), "a sort of primer in how not to write about Islam," just before he began writing a book that one could describe similarly--but about Christianity. Ggod Is Not Great? Sheez!

The arrogance and inconsistency, Mr. Hitchens! It's all right for you to spit at Christianity, but when a fellow atheist--a journalist who was even braver than you, and you are indeed brave (though my military training indicates I'd have lasted longer being waterboarded than you)--does the same to Islam in a manner you find disconcerting. Well, what of it?

I like Michael Medved's review of  Hitchens's book better than the well-known Michael Kinsley one in the NYT. Medved, a man of probity and wisdom, asks a devastating rhetorical question:

1. Some 24 years ago Hitchens abandoned his British homeland and chose to make his life in the United States. This April, he proudly took the oath as a naturalized American citizen at the Jefferson Memorial. He has written movingly and persuasively of his love for his adopted country--despite the fact that throughout its history the people of the United States have proven notably more committed to their predominantly Christian faith than their Western European counterparts. A previous visiting journalist named Alexis de Tocqueville described America as "a nation with the soul of a church" and Hitchens conceded that to this day more Americans engage in regular prayer and Bible study than do the citizens of any other advanced Western nation. If religion indeed "poisons everything" then why has it so pointedly failed to poison the United States - producing, instead, a nation that Hitchens himself openly prefers to any other? [emphasis min]
He summarizes the book, which I have read, as follows:
Rush Limbaugh was taken to task to his operation chaos. Jonathan Adler rightfully brings up MSNBC wingnut Ed Schultz and his desire to inspire Massachusetts Dems to vote ten times.

Adler, the Case Western Law Professor (and a former Cato Institute intern with me in 1990), is excellent at bringing up double standards in the media.

What Limbaugh argued for wasn't illegal, but Schultz has crossed the line. MSM? Anyone home?

Thoughts On A Sunday

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We've had a respite from the usual winter weather, the so-called January thaw, with temperatures above freezing, even overnight. A lot of the ice and packed snow on the driveway melted away, leaving bare pavement. The warmer temps also allowed us to keep the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove dialed all the way back, meaning the interior of The Manse was toasty warm while burning very little firewood. But it looks like our brief reprieve will be coming to an end later this evening.

Snow is forecast to start late this evening and last through the night until some time tomorrow. That means I'll be up a little earlier than usual tomorrow morning to clear the driveway so I can make it to work. At least BeezleBub doesn't have to worry about getting to school because of the MLK holiday. That doesn't mean he won't be getting up early to help clear the driveway.

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And speaking of woodstoves and firewood, BeezleBub as been splitting and stacking firewood at the farm, putting up next winter's cordwood. He's managed to go through a few cords so far, with only a hundred or two left to go.

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More guns in the hands of law abiding citizens lead to lower crime rates. Some people have been acting as if this is some kind of joke or an anomaly in the crime statistics. But for those of us living in states with lax gun laws (meaning those states with a real understanding of the Second Amendment, like New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wyoming, just to name a few) have understood this effect for a long time. When even little old ladies are packin' heat and are more than willing to "bust a cap in yo' ass" should a criminal miscreant make the mistake of thinking they're an easy score, criminals think twice about committing crimes. Well, at least the smarter ones do. The dumb ones end up wounded or dead.

Besides, the average gun carrying citizen tends to be a better shot than criminals because they actually spend time at the range practicing.

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Speaking of gun laws, one New Hampshire legislator has obviously been drinking the gun-control kool aid. She has proposed a law to ban guns from the State House, going farther than the gun ban rule imposed by a legislative committee without hearings. Personally, I don't like the idea. She hasn't thought of the actual cost of implementing the law, which would require metal detectors and x-ray machines at each of the 14 entrances and the personnel to man them.

But listening to her on the local TV station, she repeated the gun-grabber claim that reducing the number of guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens will somehow reduce gun-related crimes. Crime statistics say otherwise (see post above).

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Powerline informs us the The Cape Cod Times has endorsed Scott Brown for the US Senate.

While not a big paper with nationwide reach, its endorsement is telling. After all it's located in Ted Kennedy's back yard (figuratively), and it has little use for Martha Coakley.

There are many people who would like to make this race a referendum on the current health care debate, but the election is more than one issue, no matter how important that issue might be. This election is about representing the people of Massachusetts on all issues.

While we have common ground with Coakley on some points, we have our concerns about her ability to be effective in Washington based on her underwhelming campaign. With the luxury of being the front-runner since the first day of this race, Coakley has done little to demonstrate her passion for the office and commitment to the people. She squandered an opportunity to show vision but instead has run a campaign that seemed intended to run out the clock.

It's more likely she will be nothing but a rubber stamp senator for Harry Reid, whose agenda doesn't have the best interests of the average American as its focus.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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There's been lot's of speculation about what happens if Brown is elected to the Senate on Tuesday. Will the Democrats, both in Massachusetts and in Washington DC, will try to delay Brown from taking his office as long as they can in an effort to force through a vote on health care reform? The big question: Can interim Senator Paul Kirk, appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to fill the seat left empty with the death of Teddy Kennedy until the special election, can constitutionally vote after Tuesday. If the answer is no, the 60-vote super-majority the Democrats have enjoyed is gone and a cloture vote would likely fail.

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If you need to see examples of class versus no class one need go no farther than Maui.

Apparently the paparazzi were so obnoxious that Sarah Palin and her family were forced to cut their vacation on Maui short. The photographers were so obnoxious that other hotel guests complained to the resort management.

Before departing the Palins apologized to the resort staff and patrons about the disruptions caused by others. To me (and many others) that tells me the Palins have class. The paparazzi, on the other hand, have none.

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I watched the Vikings-Cowboys game late this afternoon/early evening (DVR's are wonderful things!) after moving almost a cord of firewood into the garage of The Manse.

It was a game that paralleled the Patriots-Ravens game last weekend, with the Cowboys taking the role of the Patriots. The Vikings pounded the Cowboys, winning 34-3.

I'd like to think the Vikings can go all the way, proving that Brett Favre isn't too old to be playing the game and heralding the return of the Purple People Eaters.

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Jon Stewart uses Rachel Maddow to prove that Bush Derangement Syndrome is still alive and well, slamming her (rightfully so) for using the situation in Haiti to bash former President George Bush.

Earth to Rachel: WTF?

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where ice-in has been declared, the ice fishing derby will start in a couple of weeks, and where winter has returned with a vengeance.
The race for the US Senate seat formerly held by Teddy Kennedy is heating up. While Democrat Martha Coakley first thought it would be a cakewalk to the Senate, Scott Brown worked hard to disabuse her of that notion. The support he's received via fed up Massachusetts Republicans, independents, and Democrats has been amazing. So has the campaign's fundraising, pulling in about $1 million a day since the blogosphere kicked into high gear on his behalf. While Coakley has had to rely on lobbyist and special interests to raise campaign funds, Brown's funding has been grassroots, with the average donation being approximately $77 per contributor. Small donations have been pouring in from all over the country.

Coakley has shown how out of touch she is, blasting Scott Brown for taking all that "out of state" money...while standing outside the Washington DC fundraiser held for her by out of state lobbyists. The worst thing? She probably doesn't realize just how hypocritical she really was. And this is someone the people of Massachusetts should send to the US Senate?

Coakley knows her campaign is in trouble when even the Massachusetts SEIU locals are supporting Scott Brown, campaigning for him even though they aren't being paid $50 par day to hold one of his signs. Does this mean the Dems will have to bus in out-of-state SEIU members to carry signs for Coakley? Or will they be used to...umm... encourage voters heading into the polls to vote for Coakley, much like the New Black Panthers did during the Presidential elections in 2008?

The Democrats are pulling out all the stops, using every dirty trick in the book in order to get Coakley elected. The problem is that every time they do, Brown's poll numbers go up. I guess that means the folks in the People's Republic of Massachusetts have come to realize the state's Democratic leaders don't really have their best interests at heart, particularly when they keep pushing the worst possible candidate the party could have fielded like she's the second coming of Teddy.

If Brown pulls off an upset, that will give voters in other states some hope. Goodness knows we could use some here in New Hampshire, where the Democrats hold both chambers of the General Court and the Governor's office and have been doing their darnedest to push the state into insolvency with profligate spending and higher taxes at a time when no one can afford them.
Kudos to Dr. Starner Jones.

I had thought candidate Bush was the man to bring this to the nation's attention, being influenced by Marvin Olasky's superb The Tragedy of American Compassion. But, alas, I was wrong.

Connecting the Dots

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Give the Community Organizer time. He was only a college professor before he became a state senator with a marked propensity to vote "present" time and time again. He doesn't really know his history--his American uncle (on the white side) helped liberate Auschwitz? Um, the Soviets did that.--or geography.

Boy, did the dominant media have to carry water for that horrid gaffe. They certainly earned their salaries--those who are still employed in the dwindling market.

When will the dots be connected? HT: Paul Nichols's brilliant cartoon blog, Catholic Cartoon.

Friday Night Twofer

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Today was Deb's birthday and BeezleBub and I took her out to our all time favorite restaurant to celebrate. (In case you're wondering she had a great time and we had great meals...but that isn't entirely germane to the story.)

One thing that can make or break the dining experience is the person waiting upon you. Some are merely adequate. Others are not in any way, shape, or form. And yet others can be exceptional. In our case, the waitress serving us tonight, Alicia, was one of the exceptional ones. On a scale of one to five Wes's, she scored a four and three-quarters!

That being said I should explain our rating system to you. The "Wes Scale" is named in honor of our dear friend Wes. Other than being a good friend and an excellent real estate agent, he was also known for being a heck of a waiter in his day. He knows the trade inside and out and is far less forgiving of poorly performing waitstaff than either Deb or I. Hence, we decided that if we were going to rate our dining experiences, we would use Wes as the standard to measure against.

The fact that Alicia rated 4 and three-quarters on the Wes scale means she is indeed exceptional. I believe even Wes would agree with us on our assessment.

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Sometimes it's easy to forget that New Hampshire is a multi-season tourist destinations.

On our way back to The Manse after the wonderful repast we experienced, we noticed the heavy traffic on the northbound side of Interstate 93. The skiers from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York were heading to the White Mountains for three days of skiing over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. I'd forgotten what it was like on the highway during ski season weekends, having moved from the foothills of the White Mountains to the heart of the Lakes Region of New Hampshire some eight years ago. Living within a stone's throw of one of New Hampshire's fine ski areas, it's easy to overlook the other, much larger ski resorts like Waterville Valley, Loon Mountain, Attitash/Bear, Cannon, Wildcat, and Bretton Woods, just to name a few. The heavy traffic seen heading north at 8PM on a Friday night is testament enough to the popularity of skiing in New Hampshire.

Just One Question

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Joe Huffman asks,

Can you demonstrate one time or place, throughout all history, where the average person was made safer by restricting access to handheld weapons?
It seems as though Michigan proves his point.
It's a must-read exploring the insane witch trials against day care owners and their trials in which children were obviously coaxed into saying the most outlandish things by social workers who believed the traditional family can often be the setting for the most grotesque abuse.

Coakley is such a poor candidate, she sucks in fact, maybe she can be defeated, after all. I hope so.

The fact she still defends her actions and characterizes the nonexistent evidence against the Amirault family as "strong" is baffling to me. I think it shows her disposition to be so flawed she shouldn't be Massachusetts' AG, let alone its national senator. Where are our standards for these numbnutzis?

That's my neologism. Is it any good?

Betcha didn't know Janet Reno has a similar past of destroying people. In Jewish ethics the death of a person and his name are almost equated. I wish people would tread lightly in such cases; yet, when one is a self-appointed guardian of justice and civil liberties watch out!

When people have a love for humanity, or "the children" in the abstract, it's a fairly good indication they feel free to screw over actual people. The model for me is Jean-Jacques Rousseau, so in love with humanity that his five children--well, couldn't be bothered with 'em. Sent them to an almost certain death in the medieval (in both senses of the word) orphanage system.

I was googling Alexanderplatz Tower in Berlin, looking for an image of it, when I came across Miss Andersson's beautiful website where I wrote about her not expressing even the faintest hope of doing what I thought came naturally to women, having a family. So I'm not like stalking her. I guess Ivy League blondes will leave the breeding to the Sun People. What a shame!

Reagan made a beautiful mention of Alexander Platz (the spelling in the speech) at the end of his wonderful speech--Commies desperate to paint out the image of a reflecting cross--and where he caused massive bed-wetting in the State Department with his "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

They and the dunderheads in the CIA were vociferous in opposition to that line. It's at the end of the speech, you should check it out. And Peter Robinson's new book gives a fascinating background to the famous speech; he was the writer for it, I believe. Here's Anthony Dolan with corroborrating info in the WSJ. This is truly fascinating stuff. So opposite what we have in the Oval Office now, that purple lipped Community Organizer and his disdain for rank and file Americans.

Should We Be Paranoid Yet?

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First it was wired microphones planted in rooms to listen to what the occupants were saying. Then it was radio bugs or shotgun mikes to eavesdrop on conversations. After that it was a laser beam aimed at a window record the vibrations of the glass caused by people inside of a room talking.

And now they use just the laser beam itself to listen to distant conversations. Such a system will be able to listen to your heart beating even from a distance.

Some technically savvy people know that light can be used as a tool for eavesdropping: if a beam from one arm of an optical interferometer is reflected off a window, the interferometer can sense sounds--including human voices--that make the window vibrate. But not only is it hard to separate voices from other sounds sensed by the interferometer; the setup must also be very precise, and in many cases there is no window conveniently nearby.

Researchers from Bar-Ilan University (Ramat-Gan, Israel) and the Universitat de València (Burjassot, Spain) have developed a different way to sense sound remotely--one that doesn't rely on either an interferometer or a window. Instead, a single laser beam is shone on the object to be monitored (for example, a human or a cellphone) and the speckles that appear in an out-of-focus image of the object are tracked, producing information from which a spectrogram or temporal sound signal can be constructed.

Unlike the development system described in the article, future systems won't need to use a visible laser beam to perform their magic. Instead they will use an infrared laser, invisible to the eye (but not the camera).

Am I worried about the government listening in on my conversations? No. Well, maybe. Kinda. Oh, heck, yeah I am. But what concerns me even more is ordinary people listening in on their friends, neighbors, and adversaries. The phrase "out of earshot" could become meaningless.

I'm not sure I'm ready for anyone desiring to do so becoming privy to my private conversations. I doubt you are either.

But still, it's neat technology.

But What About Babies?

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She's beautiful, talented, educated, large-souled with a webpage filled with hundreds of wonderful pictures. But what are her goals? All lovely but with a conspicuous absence from my traditionalist heart: breeding.

You know...having a baby or two? Is that so hard to do, Eve Astrid Andersson?

When the best and brightest white girls can't even entertain the hopes of one day being a mother, is there any hope? It's a paradox that those who are most able to provide are least likely to choose to do so. Meanwhile, the opposite is true.

No pride in blood. Who's an aristocrat? No hope for the future. I guess all that traveling that Miss. Andersson does--it's good to be a Google employee--will have to be a surrogate for the foreseeable future.

My family is my treasure. A wife and four children. I wouldn't trade them for anything. Anything.

Even if I just had to wipe Brendan's butt. The four-year-old demanded I do it three times, "Like Mommy."

Poop is a part of it.
Walter Williams writes the obituary of man-made global warming, connecting the dots. Don't forget the read the H.L. Mencken quote at the end.

It may very well be time to start considering the 1970s all over again with climate: the coming mini Ice Age. I should have stuck with that. Now I'd be looking like a genius.

JP of Warner, NH, has a great point in the Union Leader story about the gun-grabbers trying to get an ovary of steam going. He writes:


There have been plenty of times throughout our lives when we've done something we thought was a good idea that, in the end, had some unintended consequences. Sometimes those consequences have been good, sometimes neutral, and far too many times bad to varying degrees.

We see this all the time when it comes to laws, budgets (personal and public both), relationships, and a whole host of other areas too numerous to list.

And so it also happens with new energy saving technology.

I doubt anyone out there reading this hasn't seen the LED traffic signals that are seemingly ubiquitous these days. It makes sense for municipalities to use them in place of the old incandescent lights because they use a fraction of the electricity of the old lights. The LED traffic lights also last longer than the incandescent lights, meaning less maintenance is required because they don't need to be replaced very often. These two factors save towns and cities lots of money, both in energy and labor. But there's also a downside that didn't become apparent until this winter.

They don't produce enough heat to melt the snow which can block the traffic signal's red, yellow, and green lights.

"We had a snow storm here [in Utah] that got piled into some of the exterior traffic light shields.  These lights use LEDs. Not long ago, the traffic lights used 60-W incandescent lamps that gave off enough heat to melt any snow that blocked the colored lenses. I guess the LEDs just don't generate enough heat. An unintended consequence of using LEDs, at least in areas that get snow."

Oops.
Doug Bandow has the details on the Near East political movement away from democracy, notwithstanding our very expensive and thankless efforts in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan. Quite devastating, actually.

When are we going to gain some humility and modesty when it comes to foreign policy? We're a republic, not an empire. I went to West Point with a great guy who is third generation. His grandfather and father were both alumni and Army generals. Is this the way it's going to be? Like in ancient, decadent Rome?

Harry Reid Gangpile

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I attack him for his pushing the awful health care bill through, not for comments that make conservatives look idiotic when they gang-up on him. Mainly because these comments happen to be true. (Though with the obligatory "crudely put." How can truth be put such? I guess with William Wordsworth's dictum that "a truth told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.")
I may teach Greek and Shakespeare, buy my sympathies are definitely with red-staters, even if I have metrocon sensibilities. For example, I'd like to check out that performance this weekend.

But it turns out the NYT's so-called man of the right, David Brooks, is bemoaning the fact that the "educated classes' ideas are now unpopular" with the country at large. Boo-hoo.

Maybe he should have seen that coming when candidate B. Hussein spoke in Berlin, Germany, about being a citizen of the world. Shields and Brooks on the NewsHour thought he was great; meanwhile, the country didn't and his approval went down. At least those areas between San Francisco and Boston.

Noemie Emery writes further of this. It doesn't help when the weather patterns over the past decade and the palpably obvious fraud of the Big Gubmit climate scientists are giving the lie to global warming or whatever they're calling it now.

One can see this skepticism with socialism with Ford's sales vis-a-via GM and Chrysler. Chan has written about this recently. No more Chryslers for me, either. And I've had fantastic luck with my 2001 Voyager.

And indeed it appears President Obama is our first post-American president. I know that must sound like an oxymoron.

Speaking of the Bay State, I think it's fun that a Republican might win. Don't hold out hope, though, folks. Sounds like he blew it by apologizing for being a conservative and not talking about illegal aliens being granted automatic citizenship as his rival advocates. He blew it. I don't know about you, but after the compassionate conservatism of W I am more in the mood for the red meat stuff.

And if you are really ambitious this morning, John Bolton lays out the next three years of Obama's foreign policy.

I gotta say, "Don't blame me, I voted for the American." TelePrompter POTUS.

 
We hear more about ClimateGate as time goes on, particularly from many professionals. One group we've been hearing from on a regular basis has been engineers. Maybe it's because we depend upon verifiable data and reproducible results as part of our jobs. No amount of wishful thinking will make what it is we design work if the scientific principles upon which it is based are false. This is something the so-called climate scientists involved in the ClimateGate scandal seem to have forgotten.

One of the latest engineers to speak out about ClimateGate is Ken Johnson, a registered Professional Engineer, retired professor of Mechanical Engineering, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, and Metrology (that's metrology, not meteorology, a similar sounding but unrelated scientific field).

The appearance of [the websites that first made the ClimateGate data public] was probably the fruit of either a diligent hacker or the guilt easing effort of an honest, science dedicated, whistle blower who became disgusted with the dishonest actions of their employer at the East Anglia University's Climate Research Unit (CRU), in Britain, who supplies global temperature data to the UN. The material contained on the sites verified what many climatologists and meteorologists have been claiming for many years, i.e., there is no legitimate scientific data which indicates any unusual long term increase in the global temperature ('Global Warming'). Further, although carbon dioxide (CO2) 'greenhouse gas' in the atmosphere could have a small effect on global temperatures, it is kept in check by the massive amounts of CO2 loving vegetation on land and in the oceans (like kelp), which convert the CO2 into our life sustaining oxygen and food.

The e-mails revealed there has been an organized "cabal" of politicians and others calling themselves "Climate Scientists" who for years have been supplying falsified global temperature data to the UN to promote their efforts at worldwide wealth redistribution through CO2 emission rationing and taxing schemes, such as the US's upcoming 'Cap and Trade' (industrial CO2 generation allotments), with a tax on all CO2 releases. Following the first announcement that their scheme had been uncovered by the e-mails, the major players were on the Internet commanding file deletions, hard drive erasures, and demanding prosecution of those responsible for the releases. This whole episode was dubbed by some journalist as "Climategate". It has been an example of the radical environmentalists demanding the 'foot' must be made to fit the 'shoe'.

To base policies, taxes, regulations, and laws on patently bogus data used to 'prove' a theory not much more than scientific quackery is madness...assuming the theory wasn't designed for just that purpose.

UPDATE 1/13/10: Sorry, I forgot the link when I posted this last night. All fixed now.

A Little Bach

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Because I found myself watching the original Rollerball from 1975...


About a year ago I wrote a rant about something that has always peeved me, that being the highly variable volume between within TV shows and between TV shows and commercials. The swing in volume can be dramatic and, far too often, demands constant attention to the volume which in turn requires us to keep the remote handy at all times.

You're watching a show you like, but at times the dialog has very low volume. You can barely hear a word anyone is saying. You turn up the volume on the TV so you can hear the dialog. Then a scene changes or a commercial break comes up and suddenly IT'S THIS LOUD!!

You scramble to turn the volume down to a dull roar. The action scene or commercial break ends and now you can't hear the dialog...again. It's a never ending cycle.

For me it's worse in the late evening when BeezleBub or Deb are trying to get to sleep. I have to stay right on top of the remote to chop back the volume every time it comes booming out of the speakers. It becomes tiresome.

I have a couple of questions for the various TV and cable networks: Why the hell do you jerks do this? Do you really think it makes your shows that much more watchable or your sponsor's commercials more likely to sell their product?

Let me clue you in - It doesn't. All it does is piss us off.

With the state of the art what it is when it comes to sound engineering you'd think the TV and movie folks would be able to keep the difference between the softest and loudest sounds a bit narrower than they do now (that's what's called dynamic range).

That battle has not ended, meaning we spend more time turning the volume up and down to keep it at a reasonable level than we do actually watching the show.

But now a solution to the problem may be at hand.

Loud commercials have always been an annoyance to TV viewers, but this is the first time a concerted industry effort has led to a positive outcome.

The work of the experts has been published as "ATSC Recommended Practice A/85: Techniques for Establishing and Maintaining Audio Loudness for Digital Television." You can download this document for free at www.atsc.org.

In concept, it's simple. Measure the loudness of a typical segment of dialogue in a program and assign that value as the dialnorm of the program. Measure the average loudness across an entire commercial and assign that as the dialnorm value of the commercial. When you insert the commercial (which is now a digital file) into the program, if the dialnorm value of the commercial is not equal to the dialnorm of the program, apply an overall gain correction to modify the commercial's dialnorm value to make it equal to that of the program.

In effect, that means that commercials will no longer be a lot louder than the TV shows the merchants are sponsoring, but only if the bill laying out these requirements, H.R 1084, actually passes in the House. If it passes we won't have to constantly adjust the volume to keep from going deaf!
Here it is, a full week since the Great New Hampshire Blogger Weight Loss Challenge started, which means it's time to show our progress.

dual thermometer - pounds-percentage large -week 1.jpg
Click on image to enlarge


While Skip has the lead this week, I have a feeling I'll catch up by week 2. Of course I have a somewhat longer row to hoe, he having been somewhat less enthusiastic in his caloric intake than I was over the past few years.

Thoughts On A Sunday

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If there were any doubts winter has arrived, they were dispelled with the arrival of sub-zero weather this weekend. Another unmistakable sign: bob-houses showing up on the frozen bays and coves of the lakes here in central New Hampshire.

While Lake Winnipesaukee has not frozen over entirely (a section in the widest part of the lake called The Broads is still open water), the ice is growing and thickening rapidly in the cold temperatures. Some of my fellow employees ave already ventured out onto the ice, placing their bob-houses in preparation for ice-fishing (and the upcoming Ice Fishing Derby).

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Speaking of freezing temps, one of BeezleBub's former classmates moved to Florida late last summer to "get away from the cold". It's ironic she's been seeing colder temperatures in Florida than we experienced here the other day.

It must be global warming.....

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Bogie has noticed a bigger tax bite out of her first paycheck of 2010.

I haven't received my first 2010 paycheck yet (that will happen later this week). It will be interesting to see if my taxes have gone up as well. (Yeah, like that won't happen!)

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Don Surber points us to a Rasmussen poll that tells us 45% of voters would replace Congress with names drawn randomly from the phone book. Not a bad idea. However I think our Modest Proposal to reform Congress - not all that different from the Phone Book idea - would work better.

Glenn Reynolds adds "Only 45%?"

From one commenter:

Preferably the Yellow Pages!!! At least they can run a business.

Hmm. Not a bad idea.

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It's been confirmed: Sarah Palin will be speaking at the first TEA Party convention in Nashville starting February 4th and running through the 6th.

One downside I can see about this convention: the 'party' will be highjacked and start sounding too much like the Dems and the GOP, taking the movement in the wrong direction and putting the brakes on the growing momentum.

But then again, that's just what the Left wants and is doing everything it can discredit the TEA parties, even if it means lying about the movement and manufacturing controversies about its members and platforms.

As if that's anything new.

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How can US health care be both the worst and the best in the world at the same time? It's either one or the other.

The WHO believes that we could have done better because we do not have universal coverage. What apparently does not matter is that our population has universal access because most physicians treat indigent patients without charge and accept Medicare and Medicaid payments, which do not even cover overhead expenses. The WHO does rank the U.S. No. 1 of 191 countries for "responsiveness to the needs and choices of the individual patient." Isn't responsiveness what health care is all about?

Does gaining universal health insurance coverage in exchange for much poorer service mean we'll have the best health care system in the world? No, it means we'll truly have the worst health care system instead of a rhetorically poor health care system. I don't see how that would be attractive to anyone.

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The New England Patriots played the Baltimore Ravens in Foxboro in the Wild Card playoff game.

The Patriots' heads weren't in this game, allowing the Ravens to score two touchdowns in less than 5 minutes. Brady was stripped of the ball during the Patriots first possession, allowing Baltimore to score their second touchdown. On the kickoff after the second Raven touchdown the Patriots kick returner lost the ball in the sun and darn near gave it back to the Ravens.

The Patriots defense was non-existent. Rushing defense couldn't keep the Ravens off of Brady. Brady got picked three times, fumbled once, with the Ravens able to exploit each turnover into a score.

Somehow the Patriots managed to score two touchdowns, but they still got crushed by the Ravens 33-14. This was the first Patriot loss at home since 2006.

The painful Patriots season is now over, with too many star players lost to injuries, too many rookies trying to play at a level they really wouldn't reach for another season or two, and a quarterback still trying to get back to where he was before he was injured last season.

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Despite record cold temperatures and widespread snowfall in Great Britain, the UK Met Office insists this winter is the warmest on record. That certainly isn't true here in the US, with most of the South seeing record low temps and, in some cases, recordable snowfall in places that have never seen snow before. The rest of northern Europe and Asia have also been seeing extended below normal temperatures and above normal snowfalls.

This is looking more and more like the Fallen Angels scenario.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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And speaking of "warmest winter on record", maybe Britain can once again look forward to wheat fields and vineyards across the island as once existed when the weather was warmer.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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Can the GOP win Kennedy's US Senate seat in the special election January 19th? It's looking like the tide is shifting and GOP contender Scott Brown has evened things up with Democrat Martha Coakley just 9 days before the election.

Should Brown win, will Massachusetts Democrats stall his swearing in just long enough to keep him from voting on ObamaCare? Considering previous Massachusetts succession law shenanigans to ensure no Republican could ever be appointed by a GOP governor to fill a senate vacancy, I have no doubt they'll find some way to keep him from taking the senate seat for as long as they can get away with it. There's also the question about Senate Democrat machinations to delay Brown's certification as a US Senator to prevent him from voting on any health care bill that may come before the Senate.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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George Will tells us more about the failed state of California that liberalism built. What makes it worse is that the very people that helped create the crisis in the first place believe that more of the same will somehow solve the problem.

Haven't we seen the same thing from Obama and Congress in regards to the federal budget and the exploding deficit?

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice is getting thicker, the snow isn't melting, and where more cold weather is on the way.
Ah, the things that go on in Washington, including a palpably obvious violation of the Tenth and Fourteenth Amendments in order to corral a wayward Sen. Ben Nelson. Here's a Union Leader story on it, drawing interesting reader comments including yours truly.

Why didn't Shaheen play hard to get? The story is that she's a lackey to Chuck Schumer the uber liberal NY senator. I was going to call the female senator a numb-nuts. Is that worse than Schumer calling a stewardess a bitch?
Here. She's good, as always. I agree with her.

And It Starts

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One might argue that twenty-five years ago banning guns in a NH town hall was the beginning in a response to a shooting at one. But now it's in earnest.

It's amazing that NH is making moves to turn away from gun rights and hasn't embraced the Castle Doctrine--AG Kelly Ayotte seemingly dropped that ball on that--when other states are moving in the opposite direction. Just check out this interactive map of the United States and realize the revolution--or the fruition of the right contained in the Second Amendment, my view and Ted Nugent's--that has taken place.

Do you think Senator Jeanne Shaheen voted for allowing one state's concealed weapon's holder to be recognized by all the other states like a driver's license? But she is all G. Gordon Liddy when it comes to "reproductive rights" found in some penumbra emanating from somewhere in the Constitution.

It must be living in the Northeast or something. And it was so clear NH benefited by being different than its statist neighbors. Bye, bye, NH Advantage. Guns, taxes, excessive regulation. Another ruined state in the making.

Why is all this happening? Because we've turned away from the view of rights the Founders held. Some could be bargained away--alienable--while some couldn't and if a court, executive, or legislative body attempted to take these away--the inalienable (typo in the Declaration, calling the unalienable. Previous drafts used the "in" suffix.) rights--they'd be by definition a tyranny. Great tapes to listen to if you want to know more about this.
I just finished reading Sarah Palin's Going Rogue. All I can say: She's one tough lady.

Many of the episodes Sarah describes that took place during the 2008 Presidential campaign I was already familiar with, though her description of the way she was handled by the McCain campaign staffers filled in a few gaps.

One big reason the McCain-Palin ticket lost the 2008 election: the infighting between the McCain staff and the lack of communications between the McCain campaign 'headquarters' and Sarah Palin's campaign staff. The campaign lost their focus and practically handed the election to Obama. I have a feeling that if John McCain had fired some of the senior staffers and told the rest to "let Sarah be Sarah", we'd be talking about the McCain Administration and Obama would still be "Senator No-where Man".

But that's water under the bridge, something that can't be fixed. However, the animosity towards Sarah Palin by the campaign staff has translated itself into a lack of support of Palin from GOP insiders. I have a feeling it's because she refuses to fit into the mold they see as acceptable. But acceptable to whom?

Frankly, I have a feeling the insiders of both the Democrat and Republican parties choose to ignore what a large portion of Americans want, particularly what Americans want to see in their leaders. The growing momentum of the TEA parties has certainly shown anyone paying any kind of attention that the average Americans are tired of being marginalized and ignored, of being looked down upon by those considering themselves our betters. That Sarah Palin appeals to the great unwashed masses out there in Middle America pisses them off to no end.

A poll of GOP insiders suggests that ex-AK Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has little support among the party's professional class -- and maybe that's just how she wants it.

In a survey of 109 party leaders, political professionals and pundits, Palin finished 5th on the list of candidates most likely to win the party's '12 WH nomination. Ex-MA Gov. Mitt Romney (R) was the overwhelming choice.

--snip--

And Dems are even less convinced Palin is a serious candidate. Just 3% of Dem insiders said she would be the candidate running against Obama in '12.

Then again, Palin fans can take heart, given just how long candidates have to go until the first nominating contests. In '06, insiders predicted that ex-Sen. George Allen (R-VA) would be the GOP nominee, and that Sec/State Hillary Clinton would easily win the Dem nomination.

Palin had little support from Alaska GOP insiders as well when she ran for governor, but she beat the incumbent Republican governor John Murkowski in the primary, receiving 51% of the vote (in a five way contest), and defeated her Democrat opponent by almost 8 percentage points, receiving over 48% of the votes cast in the six-way general election.

Not bad for someone with little actual support from the GOP insiders.

As one commenter to the post linked above put it:

Governor Palin is exactly right to distance herself from the GOP establishment. These are the same people who thought John McCain was a serious candidate and who hired Michael Steele to run the RNC. If Palin hadn't been running with him, McCain would undoubtedly have lost to Obama by 16 points instead of 6.

Assuming she wants the job, there are very few Republicans out there who can command the type of following among independents she does, and she's positioned herself exactly right if she decides to run.

I think we'll find she'll also garner support from a number of disaffected Democrats as well. Reagan certainly did.

If she decides to run, she'll certainly have my support.
Michelle Malkin has the details how the State Department, totally corrupted by liberalism, allowed the groin-patch semtex Islamic nutjub a coveted temporary visa:

Like Abdulmutallab, not a single one of the unmarried, rootless Muslim male nomads who secured student and business visas to commit mass murder on American soil should have ever obtained a temporary visa in the first place.
 
But the reckless customer-service mentality prevails under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The department continues to operate the dangerous "Diversity Visa Lottery" program--handing out permanent residency visas (green cards) randomly to some 50,000 foreigners from "underrepresented" regions.
We could be smarter like Israel and not allow any male under forty without a family into the country who is identifiably Muslim.

Evidence is here. That she can say the new giaganto health bill won't add a penny to the deficit shows her to be an empty suit merely parroting the Democratic party line.

How's it we go from pro-life libertarian John Sununu to this? It's like dating Christine Brinkley and switching to Bette Midler.

I am not enjoying being represented by such a person in DC. I sorely miss the only engineer in the Senate whom the former governor replaced. Didn't she do a good job on health care for the state, though? One word: SB 711.

If people knew as much about politics as about sports box scores a lousy candidate like Shaheen would be on the B team, not the A team as she is now. Most politicians in Washington DC are only good at getting elected. They lack intelligence and don't have a conscience. I am sorry to say that NH hasn't deviated from the general path with Shaheen who felt it acceptable to feed her family on Domino's pizza almost every night when a state senator from Madbury. I briefly worked at the Durham franchise in the early 1990s and was stunned when a call came in almost every night for a home delivery to be made. The manager described her "as our best customer."

She had three young daughters at the time. One of the drivers, a high school classmate, said the pizza was going to feed them. Her husband was a lawyer in York, Maine, or nearby. It's amazing that the Pizza Mom is now senator.

But that's how it is with politics in our decadent country. If you don't think we've been in decline you should read this Pat Buchanan column or John Derbyshire's new book We Are Doomed.
"A lot of the same people who are stating 'global warming' were saying [in the 1970s] 'ice age.'" ~ Meteorologist Joe Bastardi

The short, powerful video by Mr. Bastardi who says the above line, complete with lots of Algore-refuting graphs, showing we're as cold as it was in the 1970s when Newsweek's cover was about the coming mini ice age. I remember that well. As a youngster I liked to regale the adults, Lisa Simpson style, of what the "experts" were predicting.

Culture changes, folks. I think we've learned from Chan who has been outstanding on this, that the global warming movement is a charade.

HT: Fran Smith at Global Warming.org

My local weather website says it's 0.8 degrees Fahrenheit with the windchill. I'm actually disappointed as I'm one of those crazies who like to cover his body with the latest clothing technology and brave the elements. When one don't have an inch of flesh exposed in proper arctic clothing, one doesn't even feel it. But after below -25 to -35 I start to get worried--which is why I'm terrified of hiking Mt. Washington during a cold snap like much of the country is experiencing.

UPDATE: Ross Kaminsky at Human Events has an excellent blog posting, "Global Warmists' Mouths Frozen Shut."

It all leads me to believe that this issue is the greatest boon for small government types since the fall of communism. I remember as a subscriber to Conservative Chronicle in the early 1990s, a Townhall.com on paper--a collection of conservative commentary from syndicated columnists--how guys like Walter Williams and Paul Craig Roberts (now a little off the reservation with his paranoid anti-Israel stuff) referenced mainstream college economic texts and highly regarded liberal economists and their projections of the strength of the Soviet economy. It briefly opened up a wonderful teaching moment in the morass that's American education. The idea that the bien pensant view among the MSM elites of the day was to tout the socialist state's economy when it was so obviously moribund was precious to say the least.

It's too bad Republicans are the stupid party and can't drive home the killing stroke when the opening's there. I almost used another French expression coup de grâce.
I. Neal Boortz has the transcript of an interesting hotel conversation. I had to read it a couple of times, but I was laughing as I did so. He's such a bad boy, the Naples golfer!

II. The poem today on the Writer's Almanac (shouldn't it be a plural possessive?) is remarkable. You may want to check it out. I said, "Wow. Wow." Best poem I've heard on that show since Billy Collins's poem about disrobing and making love to Emily Dickinson.

III. I love this guy; another Martin Gross podcast of a man who is truly the second most important American living--after the smartest man in America, Thomas Sowell. His podcasts are a treat: he pulls no punches.

Here Dennis Prager, a wonderful talk show host and Jewish theologian, gently reprimands Gross for his stridency, reducing the rhetorical effectiveness. It's funny because Prager then goes on to agree with every single premise Gross gives.

We truly have two political parties today, the destructive Demoncrats and the stupid Republicans. One thing Gross said that's very interesting is the buy-off of Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, where that particular state is given an exemption of Medicare costs for Nelson's reluctant support of the health care bill is a clear violation of the Tenth and Fourteenth Amendments, says Gross. He says Republicans should call for an emergency meeting with the US Supreme Court to have them rule, as could be done..

Notable Quote

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As if this doesn't get to the heart of the matter:

"The United States does not have a security system; it has a system for bothering people."

-- Shlomo Dror, an Israeli air security expert


(H/T Maggie's Farm)
For the longest time the major players in the MSM have either ignored or trivialized the TEA Party movement. But no more.

Tonight, ABC's World News had a report about the 'phenomenon' of the TEA parties, showing the effect they've been having and how the movement is growing. As political analyst Matthew Dowd put it:

"I think Republicans definitely dismiss this at their peril. I also think Democrats, by trying to marginalize it, underestimate the anger out there," political analyst Matthew Dowd said.

There are a lot of angry people out there. I'm but one of them.

I find it interesting that one of the favorite politicians among TEA party supporters is former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. But it isn't all that surprising considering she implemented many of the TEA party core beliefs while she was governor, rooting out corruption, cutting profligate state spending, and scaling back the reach of state government until it was performing only the duties expected of it as laid out in the Alaska State Constitution.

The TEA parties aren't aiming their anger at any one party so much as the actions of those in Congress and the various statehouses, showing their anger at being ignored and seen as nothing more than a source of revenue for the tax-and-spenders in both the Democrat and Republican parties.

Maybe ABC started payi8ng attention when TEA party actions started bringing down politicians and party leaders who made the mistake of ignoring their constituents.

The most recent victim of "tea party' activists was Florida Republican Jim Greer, who resigned from as state party chairman this week, in part because of the activists' objections to his alliance with Florida's Republican governor, Charlie Crist, who is running for the U.S. Senate. The activists are vocally supporting Crist's opponent -- a young, outspoken conservative, Marco Rubio -- and some believe the tea party group may bring down Crist, too.

The message is getting out: Politics as usual aren't going to work this time, at local, state, or federal level. You ignore us at your own peril for we have no problem firing you come next November, if not sooner. To quote Howard Beale from the great movie, Network, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!"

It's time those in both parties pay attention because the TEA parties aren't going away.

Sam Answers The Question

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Imagine my surprise (not) when Sam Champion, ABC's Good Morning America meteorologist, answered Diana Sawyer's question during her evening news broadcast about the effects of global warming on the unusually cold weather we've been experiencing. When asked if those below normal temperatures and above normal snowfalls might be attributed to global warming, Sam answered (as best I can remember):

If this were only happening in North America, it might be an indicator. But it's happening in Europe and Asia, too.

The few meteorologists I know do not believe global warming has anything to do with human activity. In fact a couple of them seem to think we're in for a prolonged period of cooling.

"The problem with people in the West is they do not want to understand Islam"

 "Islam by itself is radical"

Give it a try. Listening to this heroic woman makes me feel better about humanity. That it can produce an individual such as Wafa Sultan is impressive.

Eliminating those pesky entrance exams for the police force? Yeah, of course! Minorities don't do as well as the Ice People--whites and asians.

So whatever it takes, baby!

As I've already written, DC so watered down its entrance exam that math was excluded. No need for that, right? Well, perhaps. When the chalk drawing needs doing and the yellow plastic needs putting up, I guess they can just wing it like Picasso. Reconstructing accident scenes? Maybe with Lego's.

 Maybe the blogger is on to something . Liberalism's twin pillars of radical egalitarianism and excessive individualism are destroying the country. We're slouching to Gomorrah, in Judge Bork's apt book title. 

It's like what they're planning on doing with science labs in Berkeley. Excellence out; equality by any means.

What happens in Berkeley and Chicago reverberates all over. Even in quaint New England towns where a 21-year-old gets hired who apparently has no experience, no prior military service, and no college degree.
Why doesn't this surprise me?

December auto sales showed that while GM and Chrysler sales fell, Ford sale increased 33%.

The difference between GM/Chrysler and Ford? That's easy: Ford didn't require any bailout money and therefore, is still a publicly owned and traded company with little debt and independent of the Feds. GM and Chrysler, on the other hand, are partially owned by the Feds, having received billions in bailout funds, stiffing the bond holders in the process, and handing a portion of GM over to the UAW.

I've been a Mopar man all my life, having owned a number of great Chrysler Corporation cars and trucks, including my present 2000 Dodge Intrepid. But sadly, that love affair has ended. I have a feeling my next car will likely be a Ford, or maybe a Toyota if I can't find a Ford I like (which is unlikely).

It doesn't help either GM or Chrysler that a number of their better performing dealerships were closed at government insistence. If the allegations are true, most of the closed dealership were owned by Republicans (a little payback from the Obama Administration, perhaps?), and some of the surviving dealerships weren't all that good - not having the sales or the good reputation the closed dealerships enjoyed - or in locations that weren't convenient for potential customers.

A comment to a related post over at the Volokh Conspiracy says it all:

I was in a Ford dealership last week, and saw a car on display with a big "NO BAILOUT NEEDED" sign in the windshield. Sounds like they realize it resonates well with customers.

(H/T Instapundit)

Run, Carol! Run!!

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It appears the New Hampshire First Congressional District Representative Carol Shea-Porter (D) is considering a run for the US Senate to replace retiring Republican Senator Judd Gregg.

Second Congressional District Representative Paul Hodes (D) doesn't appear to be drawing the support he'd hoped for, with polls showing him behind the two front-runner GOP candidates.

Personally, I hope Shea-Porter runs.

I have two reasons for this.

First, it means she won't be running for re-election in the First Congressional District and, second, she's likely to lose the Senate race because the Second Congressional District is more conservative than the First, Hodes presently filling that seat in the House notwithstanding (he's far more responsive to all his constituents, unlike Shea-Porter).

Shea-Porter has shown her condescension towards her constituents, particularly her Republican constituents, more than once and quite publicly. She has also shown us she's arrogant, ignoring the wishes of her constituents because "she knows better". She follows every dictate of her fearless leader, Nancy Pelosi, voting against the best interests of the State of New Hampshire far too often. That won't play so well in the Second District.

So, "Run, Carol! Run!"
First, it was the now-heating-up race for Ted Kennedy's vacant Senate seat. Then Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) announces he wouldn't be seeking re-election (no doubt because he knew he was going to get his head handed to him in the general election). And now it's Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) pulling the plug as well.

Dems must know it's getting bad when even the Boston Globe is dissing Democrat Senate contender Martha Coakley. GOP candidate Scott Brown's campaign is picking up steam and momentum, closing the gap while Coakley seems content to keep her campaign "in the station". If Brown wins the January 19th special election in Massachusetts, Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will have lost his filibuster proof majority and gained yet another senator hostile to ObamaCare. Seeing as Brown has first hand knowledge of the abomination that is MassCare (call it ObamaCare Lite), there's no way he would support a national version of that program.

Even in state government Dems are seeing a fall off. The latest? Colorado governor Bill Ritter (D) is ending his re-election campaign. Like Senator Dodd, it appears he realized he would get clobbered in the general election this coming November.

How many others Democrats will decide not to run for re-election by November, knowing they're likely to take a drubbing in the polls?

Only time will tell.

The Threat of Islam

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A gay man with a Ph.D. in English who had just published a book critical of American Christianity leaves for Amsterdam to live in the freer air of a more liberated Europe. Who's that guy with the oversize jaw in the TV show? Jim Nabers, "Surprise, surprise!"



The far, far greater threat to Bruce Bawer--he suddenly realizes--is not evangelicals in America but Muslims flocking in large numbers to Europe.

Under Sharia he'll be a dead man. Here's Bruce Bawer today, talking about the sneering libs of Europe who will dismiss those who are the modern-day Jeremiahs.

For me, though, the preeminent such person sending out the clarion call is the wonderful Diana West. A brunette babe with a brilliant brain who thinks in macro terms! Here's a must-read posting in regards to the attack on the Danish caricaturist's house.

Don't say you aren't being warned...if you're bothering to listen to the few brave souls like Bawer, West, Robert Spencer, Brigitte Gabriel, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bat Ye'or, Andrew Bostom, Lawrence Auster, et al.
It must be tough to be politically correct (PC) these days. Events can change respectable opinions faster than a weathercock being turned by the wind. Luke Ford reporting on what Dennis Prager said on his nationally syndicated radio show, "So Now We're Profiling?"

For all of my lifetime, the very notion that person X from background X might be more likely to commit a certain crime was considered racism. Not common sense. Racism. Now all of a sudden a dictate has gone out from the White House and it's no longer racism.
Now all the terrorists have to do is recruit a white grandmother from Missouri to blow up an airplane, and the rules go out the window.
That's where the easy work, large pensions, and low stress is. John Derbyshire is right. The government people have won.
d70c41ee4675214bf0fad60fb84e6963.jpg The Derb writes:

Let's face it, in the great 20th-century struggle between the State and the individual, the State has won, game, set and match. By the time my kids hit the workforce, the "A" in "USA" will stand not for "America" but for "AFSCME."
Looks as though many are heeding this advice. How people in gubmit think of those in the private sector: You're saps! You exist to feed us! HT: Instapundit

We bemoan public education; yet we send our children there.

We have a horrible opinion about Congress; yet we like our particular representative.

We think taxes are too much; yet when programs that are obvious failures (federal Dept. of Education) are on the chopping blocks we go nuts.

We revere the Founding Fathers; yet we have aren't courageous enough to do what they did.

We want our children to be readers; yet they rarely see us read.

All right, all right. We may hate being pushed around by the feds, Hugh Hewitt, but we also love the security from gargantuan entitlement programs the feds have been giving us. Even if the day of reckoning is hurtling towards us faster than many think.
The WSJ's William McGurn writes an article praising Woo Poo, mentioning
Doug DiCenzo, the Plymouth, NH, native who was killed several years ago in Iraq from an improvised explosive device (IED). Make sure to read it.

HT: Hugh Hewitt

The new bridge in that town spanning the Pemigewasset River is named for him.
Hmm. I feel a strange almost eerie sense of kinship--only he's no doubt the better man. There for the grace of God could have been me. (I attended Woo Poo from '86 to '88.)

Both elected captain of our football and wrestling teams and on the short side and stocky, I was never president of my class, just secretary or something, and I got dropped from National Honor Society for scoring a substandard grade in physics my senior year. What a loss to lose a guy like this on our foolhardy and thankless Iraq Attack. Nature and nature's God sure don't make many Doug DiCenzoes, that's for sure.

A Bit Under The Weather

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I came home early from work today, feeling the growing effects of one heck of a cold. I had a number of topics I planned to post about today, but it's going to wait until tomorrow instead. Frankly, I'm not up to it.

I'm going to turn in early.
DaTechguy reminds us of the heyday of the blogosphere when the Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse rode the 'net.

Of the four, the only one I still read is Glenn Reynolds.

Steven Den Beste pulled the plug on USS Clueless some years ago and now blogs about anime at Chizumatic. He still appears now and then out on the rest of the blogoshere, making poignant and well thought out political commentary on other people's blogs.

As most folks know, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs has gone over to the dark side. Unfortunately, so has Andrew Sullivan, though the Sullivan that was still comes through from time.

I still have the original Four Horseman links near the top of the blogroll, though I may have to change them. For the Best of Den Beste I'll change the link to a zipped archive of all his USS Clueless posts. Even after all this time his commentary still has its original bite and clarity of thought.
Listening to this BBC History Magazine podcast this morning I thought of this horrific crime when a store clerk is gunned down after he gave the perp the convenience store's cash. Utterly senseless. Be armed, people. I'm reminded of the late WBZ talk show host David Brudnoy who several times over the years mentioned how the barbarians are within for us when in historical terms they'd be without

The BBC discussion--and those accents are utterly delightful, esp. on the women--is of the Vikings and how they engaged in "overkill," not just settling for merely robbing people or monasteries, but in chopping them up, like at Iona where all 68 monks and priests were massacred.

"From the fury of the Norsemen Deliver Us, O Lord."
As I mentioned yesterday, today starts the Great New Hampshire Blogger Weight Loss Challenge.

Skip of GraniteGrok and I presently weigh within a few pounds of each other and have an identical target weight. So what better way to spur each other on to drop a few pounds of pork and get back into fightin' trim than to make a contest out of it? So the first thing we did this morning is weigh in, with Skip reporting 244.4 lbs of avoir dupois. I tipped the scale at 248.3 lbs. As you can see from the graphic below, we have set a target weight of 195 lbs. (According to the height/weight charts I'm supposed to weigh around 180 pounds for my height, but the last time I hit that weight I looked like a recovering inmate from concentration camp and felt like crap all the time. I decided it wasn't in my best interest to follow the chart. I know I look and feel good at between 190 and 195 pounds, hence my target weight.)

We will update the graphic once a week, adding a second one showing what percent of the total weight we've wanted to lose.

Dual Thermometer - Pounds  Large - Start.jpg
Click on image to embiggen it

Thoughts On A Sunday

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The Weather Guys™ predicted up to a foot of snow here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, but as often happens here in New England, they weren't even close. In this case they overestimated the snowfall, at least in this part of the area. If we got more than 5 inches I'd be surprised.

I'm not disappointed because I know we'll have lots more snow to deal with before winter ends.

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Charity giving: who cares? A visual guide to giving.

I found a few surprises.

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Starting Monday morning fellow blogger Skip Murphy from GraniteGrok and I will start the Great Blogger Weight Loss Challenge. We both tip the scales at over 240 pounds (I won't say how much over...at least not until after the official weigh-in tomorrow).

My goal is to return to my normal weight of 195 pounds, a place I haven't been since just before Deb and I were married about four and a half years ago. (No, I am not blaming her. Well, not much. It isn't like she forced me to eat what she cooked, is it?)

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Here are a few more reasons to like Sarah Palin.

I'm becoming more convinced she should run for President in 2012. I bet she'd be able to get more done in a half term than many other presidents have managed to get done in two. If nothing else she would make more than a few heads in both the Democrat and Republican parties explode.

I'd pay a dollar to see that!

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I've wondered about this, too.

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I like the idea of this proposed constitutional amendment:

Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.

Go to the link and let Glenn Reynolds know what you think about it.

Our representatives in Congress should abide by the same laws as the people they represent. To do otherwise makes them believe they can walk the halls of power with impunity, knowing the laws they pass do not necessarily apply to them and further separating them from the very people that elected them.

Could it be this is the reason such an amendment was proposed?

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Bogie tells us about her sweet new ride, replacing her increasingly problematic Nissan Xterra.

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Apparently Republican Scott Brown's run for Teddy Kennedy's vacant seat in the US Senate is picking up speed and support.

It looks like Democrat Martha Coakley isn't going to have the cakewalk she thought she was in this race. If nothing else Brown is running to be "the 41st senator to stop" ObamaCare. In Massachusetts that might be a winning strategy considering the record of MassCare, with major cost overruns, higher taxes than projected, and more expensive insurance premiums than promised. (Many, including me, look at MassCare as a preview of ObamaCare, and we don't like what we see. Neither does Brown.)

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The New England Patriots played the Houston Texans in Houston today. This was a must-win game for Houston, as a loss today would lock them out of the playoffs and end their season.

Unfortunaly the Texans prevailed, handing the Patriots a 34-27 loss. But the Texans are not assured a playoff spots because it requires the loss of two out of three teams other teams playing today.

At least the Patriots already had a playoff spot secured before this game.

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California: Like, it is so over.

Unfortunately Californians have only themselves to blame, voting for an increasingly liberal agenda, more onerous regulation, higher taxes, and tying the hands of the state legislature and the governor to adequately deal with budget shortfalls.

Is it any wonder people and businesses are leaving in increasing numbers? Of course some of those leaving are taking their liberal Californian beliefs with them, endangering the states to where they move with the same damn foolishness that condemned California to its fate.

(H/T Ed Driscoll)

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Is it any surprise to find out Obama's presidential campaign wasn't as grassroots as claimed? Instead it was no different than any other modern campaign, depending upon big money donors to fill the campaign coffers.

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From Bob Parks comes this bit of hypocrisy from the Left:

Remember when dissent was supposed to be patriotic? Well, it seems that only applies when a Republican is president. Now that Barack Obama is in the White House, criticism of him is "un-American" and "traitorous."

Not even when it's richly deserved?

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I've noticed this too, and it's become quite annoying. The problem is that legitimate comments get buried in the noise.

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Over time it has become evident that ObamaCare is unlikely to pass the constitutionality test While the Democrats may argue the commerce clause allows Congress to force this on the American people, there is plenty of precedent that says just the opposite.

First, the Constitution does not give Congress the power to require that Americans purchase health insurance. Congress must be able to point to at least one of its powers listed in the Constitution as the basis of any legislation it passes. None of those powers justifies the individual insurance mandate. Congress's powers to tax and spend do not apply because the mandate neither taxes nor spends. The only other option is Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce.

Congress has many times stretched this power to the breaking point, exceeding even the expanded version of the commerce power established by the Supreme Court since the Great Depression. It is one thing, however, for Congress to regulate economic activity in which individuals choose to engage; it is another to require that individuals engage in such activity. That is not a difference in degree, but instead a difference in kind. It is a line that Congress has never crossed and the courts have never sanctioned.

In fact, the Supreme Court in United States v. Lopez (1995) rejected a version of the commerce power so expansive that it would leave virtually no activities by individuals that Congress could not regulate. By requiring Americans to use their own money to purchase a particular good or service, Congress would be doing exactly what the court said it could not do.

On the other hand we have to remember that Congress has had no problem with ignoring the Constitution since it came under the control of Pelosi and Reid, particularly since Obama took office. They see it as an inconvenience to be circumvented when and where they can in order to reach their goal of turning the US into a Euro-socialist state, and a failed one at that.

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Gee, don't you hate it when people won't cooperate with your superior knowledge about what is and is not real? How about when Earth's climate refuses to cooperate with the now-discredited warmist theory of AGW? How rude!

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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Is this another preview of the future in regards to the effects of Obamacare? If the Mayo Clinic in Arizona can no longer afford to take Medicare patients at the present poor reimbursement rate, what does that imply should the proposed 21% cut in Medicare reimbursements take effect?

This is making concierge medical practices look more attractive all the time. The patient pays an annual retainer to the medical practice that covers a certain number of office visits and treatments/procedures per year. Those retainers are far less expensive than top to bottom insurance coverage, meaning almost everyone can afford them. The only health insurance anyone would need to buy would be for catastrophic care, and I think we'll find the cost of that would be a fraction of what health insurance costs today. A visit to the doctor will generate no insurance paperwork, the cost to provide the service is far cheaper than it is for the insurance company to cover, and the doctor can actually spend time with the patient because he/she isn't providing fee-for-service, which usually limits the doctor's time per patient to 5 or 10 minutes, tops.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the snow has finally stopped falling, the snow blowing is done, and where it's inevitable that more snow will fall soon enough.
Jonathan Adler links to this:

A lunatic tries to blow up an airplane, so now my two-year-old daughter can't sleep on her pillow. If this is how we respond as a nation to terror threats, then maybe the terrorists really are winning.
HT: Instapundit
Well, I stayed up way past my bedtime to watch an exciting Valero (What's that?) Alamo Bowl, Texas Tech 41, Mich St. 31. We surprisingly had the lead going into the fourth quarter and were moving the ball effectively notwithstanding all the suspensions.

Michigan State football since 2001--17 blown fourth quarter leads, with only six come from behind fourth quarter victories. It's designed to give one gray hairs. I was seeing an upset in the making until the tide went against us. But interminable discussion about the fired Texas Tech football coach by the ESPN crew was a bit much. At least they mentioned the former walk-on now team captain who has already been accepted to dental school. Blair White is one of the greatest class acts in college football, a place where thugs have been known to prowl.
When I saw this over at Instapundit, I wondered if he was linking to Time magazine. Instead, it turns out he linked to a far better place.

Don Surber explains why he's selected Sarah Palin as Man Of The Year.

While each of the finalists was deserving, there can be only one man of the year -- Sarah Palin. In the pantheon of people who stood up this year for that which is right, no one else stood taller or looked better.

She endured the most and came to symbolize the majority of American citizens who are stunned by the attempt to rapidly dismantle this great nation of ours and transform it into another Euro-weenie socialist country that apologizes for trying to save the rest of the world over the years.

The cynic in me said I should honor the person most responsible for reviving the conservative movement -- Barack Obama. His arrogance and over-reach gave people pause. The plunder of the treasury in February caused even apolitical people to question his true motives.

But conservatives make lousy cynics. Skeptics yes. We refuse to act now, think later.

Indeed.

Though Sarah is no longer in office, she has not let that stop her from becoming a symbol for many of the frustrated people of Middle America (and I'm not talking about fly-over country, but about those of us stuck between the "gimmee-gimmees" and the looters..er...members of the political elite). We're sick and tired of being talked down to or being told we have to give up even more of our hard-earned money to a government that apparently has no scruples in regards to pissing it away on things most of us don't want, has no understanding of the real worth of those hard-earned dollars, and no understanding of how the economy works in the real world. It has become evident to more and more Americans that Sarah Palin gets it because she is one of us.

She understands the problems with profligate government spending, government corruption and how it costs the taxpayers, the poison of the so-called "Old Boys Network", and has a firm grasp on the concept of frugal spending (i.e. don't spend what you haven't got and don't go into hock just to spend it). Is it any surprise she draws large crowds at book signings and speeches?

Will she run for president in 2012? Who knows. Even if she decides not to run, she will be someone those aspiring to the office will have to measure up to. If they cannot appeal to Middle America, they will not get the votes they need to win.

I can understand why Don chose Sarah Plain as Man of the Year.
Here's an important IBD editorial about socialism and Barack. Pretty devastating. How could the media have dropped the ball so badly on properly vetting this candidate for the presidency? I know I'm being somewhat facetious in asking that, since it's obvious they're water carriers for him.  But check out this "the dots are right there for connecting" excerpt:

We wrote that in 1995, South Side Chicago pol Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Obama, to a few of the district's influential liberals at the home of two well-known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, self-described Marxists and ex-leaders of the terrorist Weather Underground.

"I remember being one of a small group of people who came to Bill Ayers' house to learn that Alice Palmer was stepping down from the Senate and running for Congress," said Quentin Young, a prominent Chicago physician and advocate for single-payer health care. "(Palmer) identified (Obama) as her successor."

We asked the following: "Before old-style Chicago politics as practiced by an ambitious Obama doomed their friendship, he thought Palmer was a good public servant, and Soviet admirer Palmer thought he was a worthy heir. Why?"

Well, now we know.
If one wants gubmit employment--where the action is--it's time to party on. I've thought of my high-ranking GS buddy who anticipates retiring at $125k a year in about ten years' time. He'll be in his early fifties. A lot better deal than mine in the private sector. Working as a layman for the Catholic church has got to be the worst financial decision one can make.
Here.

And the state universities help produce such specimens by the hundreds. All at taxpayer expense, of course.

How are those women's studies doing to help the state's economy?
This is a bit of a (one time) change for today's post. Rather than picking a single topic, I'm borrowing from my usual Sunday post and covering a whole bunch of them in a single post. It's a good way to start 2010 and allows me to pop in a few New Year's resolutions in there here and there.

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I, for one, am happy to see 2009 behind us. While there were a few positive things that happened to this branch of the WP clan, there were many more times that number of negatives, the biggest one being the precipitous drop of the stock market, the climbing unemployment rate, the pay cut I and my fellow employees took in March in an effort to stave of layoffs, Deb's income falling to zero at the beginning of August, and the resulting family budget crunch.

We were more fortunate than many others because we were still able to pay our bills, the mortgage, and buy food, clothes, and fuel. There was very little left after that, meaning that discretionary spending dropped to just about zero. (The government is blaming us - not us personally, but the collective 'us' - for the slow recovery from the recession because we aren't spending enough, or worse, not putting ourselves deeper in debt to 'stimulate' the economy. Too bad.)

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One of my first resolutions is to get back into fighting trim, meaning dropping back to 195 pounds where I belong. (I had no problems controlling my weight until I got married. Deb is that good a cook...and she likes using lots of pasta, something that packs weight on me faster than anything else I've ever eaten, sugar included.) I'd also fallen into the habit of snacking on things that were bad for me in so many ways. But that ended today, Deb's good cooking aside.

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We know the Left can be contrarian (read that hypocritical). A perfect illustration of that hypocrisy: the same folks that want to control your health care also want Rush Limbaugh to die.

So tell me again, which party is the tolerant, compassionate one?

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If we need any more proof there's a correlation between taxes and happiness, here's another example. (Yes, I know correlation does not imply causality, but from personal experience I know higher taxes make me unhappy.)

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Our friend Skip points us to the 40 best political quotes of 2009.

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We have a series of snowstorms getting ready to blanket the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with a foot of snow (or more) over the next two days. I wouldn't mind that too much but I have to get up early Saturday morning to get the trusty Intrepid to the mechanic's so he can mount the snow tires. I have to clear the driveway before I can head to the shop.

Usually I've had this done during the first or second weekend of December, but Deb's car took priority and the aforementioned lack of funds for discretionary spending delayed the job until now.

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Speaking of getting up early on Saturday, why is it I regularly have to get up earlier on weekends than I do on work days? There's something very wrong about that.

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My second resolution? Get out onto the lake far more often next summer as compared to last summer. Of course the lousy weather last June and July didn't help things much.

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So much for the first day of 2010.

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