With the always fickle New England weather playing its part, I've spent far too much time dealing with its aftermath over the past few days. Frankly, I'm beat.
The hours spent since Friday clearing away snow and ice have left me little time to do more than piece together barely cogent posts, something that has never been a struggle in the past. You know it's bad when I nod off sitting in front of the TV or computer for more than few minutes. I go to bed aching and wake up the same way. No amount of ibuprofen or other pain killers does more than take the edge off the ache.
So rather than rambling on for a few more paragraphs, I'm going see about going to bed .
It was another day of dealing with snow, with another 3 inches having fallen overnight here at The Manse. I was out late this morning clearing it off from the driveway, parking areas and decks. Normally I wouldn't be in such a hurry to get it all done but both Deb and I had to get to work today and there's a follow-on storm that will be dropping sleet and a lot of rain sometime Monday. That meant making sure as much snow was cleared away and off of everything we didn't want weighed down with wet soggy snow.
Things might have gone quicker, but as I mentioned yesterday BeezleBub is spending a few days down at the WP In-Laws with Twirl Girl. That meant I was doing this all by myself. At least there wasn't a lot of snow to deal with...except on the decks.
What makes it worse is that just before I finished (just after dark), the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower broke down. I had to finish the last of the clean up with a shovel. Not that having a running snowblower is going to help all that much because we also ran out of room to put snow, at least any of the snow in front of The Manse's garage.
Watching coverage of the nationwide union protests supporting the state workers in Wisconsin only proved to me the unions really don't get it. They talk about how preserving the unions will somehow preserve the middle class, totally ignoring the irony that they are the ones placing an increasingly heavy burden on the middle class by demanding less affordable pay, benefits, and pensions, all of which are paid for by that same middle class they say they want to 'protect'. The taxpayers are already struggling to make ends meet, most cutting back on their own expenditures in order to be able to keep paying their mortgages, bills, and to meet other day-to-day needs. Many haven't seen a pay raise in years, and some have seen their pay cut in exchange for keeping their jobs.
It's starting to sound more like their attitude is less "I'm doing this for you!" and more like "I got mine, buddy, so screw you!"
Over the years I've heard more than one friend or acquaintance lament the construction of modern cars, saying "They don't make then like they used to," usually following up with the claim that they were made like tanks. All I can say is, thanks goodness they don't.
Below is an IIHS video of a crash test between a 1959 Chevy Bel Air and a 2009 Chevy Malibu.
UPDATE: I've found the video doesn't display properly on some browsers, so here's the link to the YouTube page where it can be seen.
Of the two, which car would you rather be in during a crash like that? In another video posting of the same crash test, the IIHS reported the occupant of the Malibu would have suffered a knee injury. The occupant of the Bel Air would have died on impact.
A former co-worker always talked of his dislike for the more modern powertrains, saying he preferred to work on them himself. Never mind the old ones required a lot of routine maintenance, with far more frequent oil changes and tune ups, and that they didn't last nearly as long as the modern ones. (It wasn't uncommon for vehicles to be ready for the scrap heap at 100,000 miles. Nowadays 100,000 miles is considered barely broken in and some car manufacturers warranty their power trains for 100,000 miles!) This is something BeezleBub has learned the hard way, seeing as his 1975 Jeep CJ5 requires a lot of work to keep running.
In light of the recent disclosure of a measles-infected passenger possibly infecting hundreds of her fellow passengers at 4 US airports, the anti-vaccine hysteria of the past decade shows one of the major perils of not having children vaccinated: old diseases are making a comeback and are once again killing.
There are two factors playing a role in this matter: pseudoscience and perceived risk.
Much of what many anti-vaccine parents know is true about the link between vaccines and autism (and a host of other ills) just isn't so. While there appeared to be correlation between the administration of vaccines and the onset of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders), one must remember that correlation does not imply causality. Children who were not vaccinated showed no difference in the numbers who developed ASD versus children who were. None. But pseudoscience claims there is, despite there being clinical proof showing just the opposite.
Anti-vaccine parents see the risk of vaccine-caused ASD as being astronomically higher than the risk of their unvaccinated child being affected (or killed) by the diseases the vaccines are designed to protect against. They're wrong. Their child may still develop ASD and then be sickened or killed by the very diseases the vaccines would have prevented.
Being of the Boomer generation, how can I possibly neglect mentioning one of the funniest film producers/directors/actors of the mid-to-late 20th century - Mel Brooks.
One of the funniest routines of his I remember is the song Springtime For Hitler from the movie (and now Broadway hit) The Producers.
Even as our friends on the left side of the aisle have been muddying the waters of the national debate with iterations of the tired Greedy-Republicans-vs-poor-but-honest-workers narrative, those same workers have been eating high off the hog at the expense of the "forgotten man."
And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the snows have ceased for the moment, the ski areas are busy, and where the wood pile is getting smaller every day.
I decided it would be a good time to take a break from political commentary for one day and cover some of the more mundane day-to-day doings here around The Manse. Not that anything of great import takes place here, but I think more than one of you will be able to relate to more than one of the activities with which I am about regale you, to whit:
We had yet another snowstorm yesterday which dumped about 10 inches of snow here. Schools canceled and ski areas prepared themselves for a somewhat larger crowd than they would usually expect on this particular Friday (schools in Massachusetts were closed for February vacation this past week, so we've had lots of skiers up from there spending time on the slopes).
BeezleBub managed to clear a good portion of the driveway before I got home from work, making it a little easier to pull the trusty F150 into the garage. Then we spent the last of the late afternoon clearing the rest of the snow before calling it a day. I was out again early this morning to clean up the last of the snow that fell overnight.
After our little tasks dealing with snow were done, Deb took the trusty F150 to one of our neighboring towns to open our business. I took Deb's car to take BeezleBub and Twirl Girl to meet up with the WP Mother-In-Law at a place we call The Golden Donut, a donut shop that is just about half way between the Manse and the WP In-Laws place. (That's not its real name, but we call it that because of another establishment that used to occupy that site in the past, which is a story for another time.)
He and Twirl Girl will be spending the next few days there during their school vacation collecting sap and boiling it down to make maple syrup. (Most of New Hampshire's schools are closed for vacation this coming week). It will be Twirl Girl's first experience sugaring, meaning she's in for an education.
I took stock of our supply of firewood and, assuming we don't have a lengthy blast of sub-zero weather between now and spring, we'll have enough to make it to the end of heating season.
There's something else I did today that most folks would consider neighborly, but up here in northern New England it's considered a prank: I took the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower and snowblowed a neighbor's driveway while they've been away on vacation. While I didn't clear everything (I'm not sure where the borders of their driveway happen to be), I did manage to clear about 90% which will allow them to get into their garage without having to trudge through the snow first.
Another guilty pleasure in which I've been indulging is reading, in this case Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville. Though written in the late 1830's, his observations still ring true and give us a foreigner's perspective of our country and our government at all levels, from small town New England to Washington, DC. Though the book is a bit dry, I've found a number of gems that remind me that our nation is unique among all others.
Have unions finally shot their wad, meaning are they becoming irrelevant? If the latest events are any indicator, the answer is a conditional yes.
The long, drawn out battle between unions and the state of Wisconsin have shown they aren't as powerful as they once were, with the governor calling their bluff and refusing to budge on his demand that state unions give up the right to apply collective bargaining to benefits and pensions, one of the most expensive portions of the state budget. Ohio governor John Kasich is doing likewise, trying to end the corrupting grip of the unions on state government and insatiable demand for taxpayer dollars.
We're seeing a retrenchment even among the one of the larger teacher's unions - the AFT - where the union leadership is willing to give up tenure, knowing it has been a sticking point for many communities because underperforming or incompetent teachers cannot be removed because of tenure.
Before labor laws came into being, unions had their place. It was unions that pushed for the legislation that now protects American workers in regards to working conditions, safety, discrimination, pay, and a host of others. But once those protections were made law, the unions became less a means of protecting workers and more like a protection racket. In the case of public sector unions, they extort money from the taxpayers which is then used to work against those same taxpayers by way of union campaign contributions to politicians, almost always Democrats, to keep the taxpayer dollars flowing in to union coffers. These days, the taxpayers are wise to this racket and are demanding a change.
It's about time. And maybe it's time for unions, at least public sector unions, to go the way of the dodo bird.
After looking at the ongoing protest by public sector union members in Wisconsin over the past week, one has to come to the conclusion that they really don't get it. And it's apparent they really don't care.
They have to face the facts that the gravy train promised to them by long departed Democrat politicians is gone. The state of Wisconsin doesn't have the money to keep supporting their unrealistic benefits and the governor is not going to take even more money away from the already struggling taxpayers in order to keep funding them. To quote New Jersey governor Chris Christie about the same issue facing his state, "It stinks, but it's reality. Other politicians made you promises they couldn't keep. I'm the guy who has to be here when the party's over." And so it is with Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.
Dealing with a looming $3.6 billion deficit for the coming fiscal year, Walker has had to face reality and attempt to make the public employees unions do likewise. Unfortunately the unions have decided to put their fingers in their ears and chant "La-la-la-la-la-la-la! We can't hear you! Give us your money!!"
During the past eight days or so they have tried every trick in the book, used every canard there is, resorted to Godwin's law (bringing up the Nazi's by equating Walker to Hitler), and made the ultimate plea - "It's for the children!" - in order to make sure they won't have to make the sacrifices so many of the rest of us have already made in order to keep our jobs or our benefits or our homes. Somehow they've come to believe they are owed their jobs and benefits and the people actually paying for their salaries and benefits be damned.
Walker isn't helped by the fact that 14 Wisconsin state senators - all Democrats - decided to run away and thwart the will of the people by making sure there was no quorum, thereby blocking any votes on the matter. They may see themselves as heroes but what they are is cowards. To quote their mentor, "Elections have consequences." The most recent elections held just last November have proven that. Now that things aren't going their way they decide to bail and flee across the border into Illinois in order to frustrate the democratic process they swore to support? So much for democracy.
Perhaps the Wisconsin Secretary of State could declare those 14 state senate seats as having been vacated since those senators decided not to fulfill the oaths they took upon taking office. I'm not sure what Wisconsin's state constitution says about quorums when so many senate seats are vacant or whether the governor has to call a special election to fill them before a quorum can be considered. Either way, the office holders have abandoned their seats as they have abandoned those who elected them and their seats should be forfeit. If nothing else it would be an object lesson to those who would throw a wrench into the machinery that is the legislative process. They will learn that actions have consequences, too. And so will the thousands of closed-minded public sector union members protesting at the Wisconsin state house.
If nothing else, this action at Columbia University shows the rest of the nation what kind of scumbags are attending that bastion of hate-mongering leftist ideology.
Never mind the veteran they were jeering is just like the others that have gone before him and made it possible for these brainwashed, indoctrinated, self-important anti-American 'students' to express their disdain.
WSJ columnist John Fund asks the most important question about the budget battle going on in Wisconsin: Who's in charge of our political system - Voters or unions?
To hear the unions tell it, the rest of us should shut the hell up and fork over our hard earned dollars to fund their unsustainable pensions and benefits.
Myron Lieberman, a former Minnesota public school teacher who became a contract negotiator for the American Federation of Teachers, says that since the 1960s collective bargaining has so "greatly increased the political influence of unions" that they block the sorts of necessary change that other elements of society have had to accept.
The labor laws that Wisconsin unions are so bitterly defending were popular during an era of industrialization and centralization. But the labor organizations they protect have become much less popular, as the declining membership of many private-sector unions attests. Moreover, it's become abundantly clear that too many government workers enjoy wages, benefits and pensions that are out of line with the rest of the economy.
Again, it's the unions demanding the rest of us give more when there is nothing more to give. The voters are not an bottomless ATM machine for the legislature to tap whenever they need more money to reward their union cronies.
Fund's piece is telling if for no other reason than it's generated more than 700 comments (when this was written), a very large majority of which are not supporting the public sector unions. If nothing else they delve deeper into the confrontation taking place in Madison, tearing apart one union claim after another and showing them for the prevarications they are.
Probably one of the more cogent observations made compares private sector unions with public sector unions, showing how private sector unions know they can only push so far before they cripple the very companies they work for, forcing them to shut down or relocate because they can no longer compete. Public sector unions have no such self-limiting mechanism because there is no competition, no immediate consequences if costs are too high...until now.
The voters of Wisconsin elected Scott Walker to trim the bloated budget because they have grown tired of the profligate spending by the state and aren't willing or able to give another penny to the state to fund something that does nothing more than take ever increasing amounts of their hard earned money from them. The Democrats and their union masters..err..sponsors...ehh...contributors don't see it that way and figure they can safely ignore the will of the people as they have for decades.
In a matter of only a few days we have gone from temps in the upper 50's down to the 20's, with some over night sub-zero temperatures expected later this week.
And so it goes for winter in New England.
Considering we didn't have our usual January thaw, the one we experienced this past week was welcome, giving us a chance to clear away some of the ice and frozen snow from the driveway, pathways, and decks around The Manse. For the first time in weeks I haven't had to put the trusty F150 into 4WD to make it up the driveway.
Despite the melting we saw from Wednesday through Friday, we still have a lot of snow on the ground and expect a few more inches later this week.
"Democrats believe in democracy - except when they lose."
And then when they lose, they resort to Godwin's Law and call for the overthrow of the duly elected official(s) with whom they disagree. In the case of Wisconsin, it wouldn't surprise me (or anybody) if they wanted to oust the governor and take over until a new election can be held, allowing them to make sure the correct candidate is elected this time (meaning a fellow tax, spend, and borrow Democrat). Never mind that a majority of Wisconsin voters have already told them 'No'.
About the only think more annoying than this is when every answer or declarative statement is inflected like a question, as if the person isn't sure of the answer or the validity if what they're saying and is seeking confirmation from the questioner.
My wife is a public sector employee and she really doesn't like the state employees union in the least. If she had the choice she wouldn't be a member. (Of course that might change if New Hampshire's Right-To-Work law passes.)
While Sarah Palin has remained low-key about any possible 2012 presidential run, Dan Tuohy makes an observation about the possibility.
Frankly, I think she will run. And should Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) decide to enter the race, it's quite possible we could see an Bachmann-Palin ticket in 2012.
Union brothers and sisters: this is the wrong fight at the wrong time. Solidarity doesn't mean making Wisconsin taxpayers pay for benefits that are not sustainable and affordable at a time when many of these taxpayers struggle to hold on to their own jobs and homes. Real solidarity means everyone being willing to sacrifice and carry our share of the burden....
In the romantic liberal vision of this union uprising, determined workers are standing up to the powerful. But there's no fat-cat owner wanting to pocket more profits here. The unions' target in Wisconsin is the taxpayer.
At bottom, this is the unions versus the people.
Not that the unions care. Instead they want to make sure they keep what they've got, regardless of the taxpayers' ability to pay for it all.
Here we are, in the second decade of the 21st century, and we still don't have nuclear powered flying cars. But we do have some pretty nifty laser weapons!
If the Navy can make them work reliably fleet defense takes on a whole new meaning.
Jay Tea may have hit upon the means to end the standoff between the union thugs and the governor in Wisconsin.
Winston Churchill once said "jaw, jaw is better than war, war." Well, the Wisconsin jaws fled and sent in the warriors. Politicians out, thugs in.
My answer: answer thuggery with thuggery. But the left's idea of thuggery is huge masses of people making threats. My idea of "thuggery" is to use the system against the other side. No physical threats, no violence, but no "mercy" or "compassion" or "understanding." Just brutal rule of law -- and the occasional mild and carefully-chosen circumvention of same, with the intent of restoring the rule of law.
First up, the teachers who walked out did so in violation of their contract and state law. They're fired. Period. End of discussion. They can re-apply, but their previous conduct can and should be held against them.
Second, the doctors handing out phony absentee notes? Report them to the state medical boards for fraud. If they filed for insurance compensation, toss in insurance fraud. If their political beliefs trump their professional standards and duties and integrity, then so be it. Far be it from me to deny the logical consequences of their choice.
And that's just for starters. Jay goes on to say that the state senators who fled to prevent a vote should also pay a price, like suspending their pay and benefits. (The governor has already taken that step with their staffs because, as Jay tells us "If their bosses aren't around, then they aren't really necessary."
As the saying goes, Read The Whole Thing.
Now for a change of pace, there's this paean to one of our favorite winter people, the Plow Guy.
And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weather is schizophrenic, the woodpile is getting smaller, and where we have to get ready to move more snow.
There's an entry at my favorite blog from a long-time correspondent, one I know is honorable, about an un-named hamlet in New Hampshire where a Skip Murphy-type is serving on a town budget committee and is criminally harassed in appalling ways for fighting against the local public sector unions raping taxpayers.
I wonder where this allegedly occurred. My curiosity is piqued; this would make good newspaper fodder at the Union Leader.
The budget battles have started ay both the state and federal level. In Washington, Congress is dealing with the soon-to-expire continuing resolution that has funded government operations up till now. The GOP representatives are trying to trim $100 billion from budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, and moving to trim the bloated budget proposed by President Obama for the coming fiscal year.
Here in New Hampshire the governor put forth a budget that will bring spending down to pre-2008 levels in FY2012, trims the state workforce by 1100 jobs (10%), though only 255 jobs actual will be lost (the balance are jobs unfilled due to a hiring freeze), lowers the amount of state aid to towns and cities, pushes back the retirement age for state employees, and delays funding for hospital expansions. The new proposed two-year budget is $800 million lower than the present biennial budget, which helps fill the $800 million deficit created by the formerly Democrat majority legislature over the past 4 years.
To read some of the comments about the slimmer budget, you'd think the governor and the legislature is proposing stealing bread from the mouths of the poor at the behest of the rich. Some are proposing a state income tax or sales tax to fill the budget gap despite plenty of history showing the tax monies raised would only be wasted and, in the end, leave the state even more vulnerable to economic downturns. (All one needs to do is look at the states with such taxes to see what an unmitigated financial disaster was created by dependence on those taxes.) Far too many of the economic ignoramuses seem to thing we have a revenue problem when the truth is we've had a spending problem. As one commenter put it, "This is less than a 10% reduction in state spending. I know families that have reduced their spending by 10%, and some by as much as 40%." If we can do it, so can the state.
Other states, like Wisconsin and Ohio are seeing pushback by their state employees despite the fact that both states are facing huge budget deficits and raising taxes any further would cause far more economic harm.
In Wisconsin, state employees protested at the state capitol building, decrying Governor Scott Walker's push to limit the public employees unions' grip on state payrolls in an effort to deal with an $8.3 billion budget shortfall. Listening to some of the protesters you'd think they believe they have the right to a job for life and that the state's taxpayers had better come up with the cash to pay their salaries and benefits, or else. They complain about measures the state has taken that private businesses have had to take in the recent past in order to survive, like increasing the the amount employees pay towards their health insurance. What makes them think they are somehow immune from the effects of a bad economy and state cash flow problems? As if that isn't bad enough, Wisconsin State Senate Democrats have fled the state and hidden themselves in Illinois in order to prevent any further legislative action from being taken on the matter.
Similar scenes are taking place in Ohio as well, where the state faces a similar $8 billion budget shortfall.
The question is, when will the state legislatures and employees start listening to the taxpayers, who have said "Enough! We can't afford any more!" The answer? Not any time soon.
It's no surprise the unions are spreading all kinds of gloom and doom stories. From reading some of the comments made to the article linked above by union members/supporters, you'd think we're headed back to the days of sweatshops, child labor, and slavery. Most of them show their ignorance of labor law and history (or maybe they've been well indoctrinated over the years). Some of the most supportive comments to the legislation came from former union members (like myself) who've come to see unions as the quasi-criminal, socialist organizations they have become.
It's highly likely the bill will pass in the New Hampshire Senate. The question is whether Democrat Governor John Lynch will veto it, and if he does, whether there will be enough votes to override his veto.
...when the center is not holding and the hordes forcibly enter. Confidence in one's native culture is gone, and the atheists have taken away our God. There's no there there.
And nature abhors a vacuum.
This just in: the Netherlands joins Britain, France, and Germany--Belgium is going to be onboard soon--in saying that the practice of multiculturalism, a state religion at our public universities, is an abject failure.
In this case it looks as though outbreaks of civil war are looming on the horizon. I remember David Brudnoy talking about Jean Raspail's _Camp of the Saints_ in the early 1990s. We're now seeing it enacted before our eyes.
From the perversion of the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, we have the dubious practice--almost wholly unheard of in the rest of the world--of babies being granted automatic citizenship when born to mothers here illegally. Think about it for a second.
Howard Sutherland has the background, and it has got to stop. Ann Coulter's colorful op-ed is also worth a read, called "Justice Brennan's Footnote Gave Us Anchor Babies."
Yes, I'm a day late posting this. It wasn't that I forgot, but because I wasn't at work yesterday. I use one of the image editing programs on my machine at work to create the graphic we use every week and since I didn't have direct access to it until today, this is late.
Ahem. As you can see, Skip and I are neck and neck on the percentage of goal measure, though I have no doubt he'll blow by me (again) by next week.
Here's this week's results:
Click on image in order to actually see it without a microscope
Just for the record, then state senator--now U.S. Senator--Jeanne Shaheen fed her family of three young girls a steady diet of Domino's pizza from the Durham franchise where I worked in 1992.
I knew of her back then, her Clintonesque triangulating ways. She did this while her attorney husband brought home the bacon working in York, Maine. No time for cooking, though.
But I was astounded how often the call came in for a delivery to her Madbury home. I went to high school with one of the drivers who told me it was for her family. The manager said she's "one of our best customers."
Just to let you know that she saw fit to feed her family pizza five or more nights a week but has voted to control what your kids eat at school with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. In a press conference, President Obama supported the legislation, saying it's important to steer kids' school lunches away from a steady diet of "tater tots and pizza."
Cuts, my arse. Don't listen to the media--they lie or are stupid/lazy.
Dan Mitchell, a policy wonk who has long been at the Heritage Foundation and has in recent years migrated to the libertarian Cato Institute, does a splendid job showing that the "cuts" are more in name than substance.
Just look at the massive increase in spending a multiple gubmit programs!
His excellent blog is worth several looksees a week.
As our local TV outlet has been reminding us of late, the New Hampshire Primary for the 2012 Presidential campaign is scheduled for one year from today. (That date may change as other states try to horn in on New Hampshire's First in the Nation status.)
While no one has announced their candidacy as of yet, we have seen plenty of activity from many of the hopefuls as they have been making visits to the Granite State for some time now. Among those have been Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Rick Santorum. (Romney has a summer home on the north side of Lake Winnipesaukee so he and his family are here on a regular basis as it is.) Others have plans to visit, like Newt Gingrich and Rudi Giuliani.
So the long run to the 2012 Presidential campaign has already started, meaning it's going to be nothing one candidate after another traipsing through the state for the next 12 months, pressing the flesh and making speeches.
Some folks are just too mean and ornery to be allowed out in public without someone watching them.
A case in point: a nut with a rifle walks onto a man's property in Swanzey, New Hampshire and shoots the man's sleeping dog. Then, when confronted by the dog's owner, makes a claim "It's only a pellet gun," as if that's the only explanation needed. He then runs away. The gun was not a pellet gun as claimed, but a hunting rifle (the shell casings recovered by the police prove that).
The dog was shot in the leg and badly wounded, requiring the vet to amputate the injured leg in order to save the dog's life.
What type of a sick, twisted a**hole does something like that?
While we have seen a dusting of snow a few times since yesterday morning, at least it didn't amount to anything near the amount where we needed to go out and remove it. However, that doesn't mean I wasn't out removing snow and ice.
Last week's snow/sleet mix require some plowing and sanding on the part of our town. Unfortunately that meant the plows also piled that mix up at the top of the driveway, seriously narrowing the width of the entrance. That same pile froze solid before either BeezleBub or I could get out there to remove it. So yesterday I spent a couple of hours with the ice chopper and shovel to cut it down to size and remove as much as I could. Even after that time there was still a considerable amount of ice that no amount of chopping would remove easily, so it's going to stay there until the sun can work its magic upon it. Unfortunately I will have to wait a few days for the sun to reappear as we'll be dealing with cloudy/snowy weather for the next couple of days.
As if we need a reminder (and some people do), this is one rule you should remember: Don't mess with a Gurkha, even if there are 40 of you against one of them.
A 35 year-old Gurkha soldier named Bishnu Shrestha was riding a train when he suddenly found himself in the middle of a massive robbery. 40 men armed with knives, swords and guns stormed the train and began robbing the passengers.
Bishnu kept his peace while the gang snatched cell phones, jewelry and cash from other riders. But then, the thugs grabbed the 18 year-old girl sitting next to him and forcefully stripped her naked. Before the bandits could rape the poor girl in front of her helpless parents, [he] decided he had enough.
He pulls out a kukri (i.e. a knife) and proceeds to kill 3 of them, injure 8 of them, and causes the rest to flee. During the battle, he suffered a severe knife injury to his left hand, from which he's now recovered.
During World War II, there was little the Japanese army feared. The one thing they feared above all others: the Gurkhas. Experts in guerrilla tactics and psychological warfare, it wasn't uncommon for them to sneak into Japanese camps at night, kill every other man, and sneak out again. Imagine the effects of such attacks on those troops when the survivors would wake in the morning only to find that the man sleeping on either side of them was dead.
Betsy links to and comments upon the unions' demand for "more." The biggest problem? There is no "more" to be had without destroying the very engine that drives the economy. But don't try to tell the unions that.
Having been involved with the defense industry for 20 years, I can safely say that this is a very sophisticated weapons system capable of doing things no other aircraft has done before (taking on the roles of the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, and AV8-B Harrier jump jet on one airframe). The hardware isn't the issue at this point. It's the software, and it has to be perfect before it's deployed. (In my experience software always takes longer than hardware, and the more sophisticated the hardware, the longer the software takes to get right.)
As I mentioned here last weekend, the trusty Ford F-150 failed its emissions test. The OBD gave two fault codes showing both banks of cylinders on the mighty 4.2 liter V6 were running lean. A week after resetting the fault codes and putting 200 miles on the odometer since then, the 'Check Engine' light has not reappeared. So yesterday I took the trusty F-150 back to my mechanic to be retested and it passed.
Blame it on the effin' ethanol in the gasoline.
(As an aside, ethanol does nothing to reduce emissions from fuel-injected engines. It only affects carburetored engine emissions.
One major effect of ethanol in gasoline? Poorer fuel economy. Add to that the problems when the ethanol settles out of the gasoline and ethanol is a loser all way round.
President Obama may be wondering why the business community isn't investing any of their cash, implying they haven't been paying attention to overlooked investment opportunities. Unfortunately for him, just the opposite is true.
But another theory is that the business community has been paying very close attention -- most particularly to the president himself -- and what it sees is cause for concern.
Under this theory, businesses may not see the president as having made a gentle suggestion that they reconsider investment opportunities that are attractive on their own terms. Instead, they may fear he's made a demand that they deploy their capital or face consequences.
This viewpoint is the most likely one, considering President Obama has gone this route before. No business wants to be ordered to invest their hard-earned cash under questionable economic conditions. Businesses invest when they see an opportunity to expand their business and make more money. To do otherwise will be like pouring that money down the drain with little hope of seeing a dime of it again. That's a sure way to go out of business. That's something the Community Organizer In Chief needs to understand.
Glenn Reynolds links to and comments upon the $100 billion in GOP proposed spending cuts for the current fiscal year. As Gay Patriot put it: "With deficits like those we've been running, a $100 billion-dollar cut is little more than a rounding error."
A better idea proposed is an across the board 10% cut. As commenter John Hyer wrote:
When some guy from the EPA comes out and says that cutting their budget by 10% will lead to massive poisoned water supplies, everyone will roll their eyes. I don't know a single family that hasn't cut their budget by 10% and most by 40%, and none of us had to sell our children!!!! Someone in Congress has to learn to address these issues frankly like Christie in NJ. Tell the brutal truth, and let the other guy explain that it's not fair that his pay only went UP 2%.
His keynote speech at CPAC certainly brings it home, "capturing the spirit of the Tea Party and the conservative movement..."
Check out the two videos of his speeches at the post linked above.
One last chore taken care of today: BeezleBub changed out the kitchen faucet. The one we replaced two years ago was leaking and it was a real pain. What's worse is that it started leaking not 6 months after we installed it. It wasn't until that happened that we found out it was one that attained a poor rating from Consumer Reports, something surprising considering the manufacturer of said faucet.
Friday Deb and I picked up a new one (a Moen) with a extendable spray head. BeezleBub installed it today. And now all is right in the (kitchen) world.
And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the Ice Fishing Derby and Sled Dog Races ran all weekend, Daylight Savings Time returns in three weeks, and thoughts turn towards getting The Boat ready for late spring.
There's a gubmit lie supported by its backers in the lamestream media
that gets my goat: 90% of the guns obtained from Mexican narco
criminals originate here in the United States. When discussing the Second Amendment with a British national living here, he brought it up as evidence how the Second Amendment is bad.
Nope. Not true. It's a myth, even if reported by the GAO and latter endorsed by the BATF.
Stratfor--HT: Volokh Conspiracy--breaks down the numbers, and it's eye-opening the deception, where the reality is nearly opposite what's stated:
It appears the claims about how global warming is causing the heavier snows is being disputed from a number of disparate groups, including, of all things, the IPCC, Al Gore's claims to the contrary.
Every bit of weather that we have experienced lately - above normal, below normal, or absolutely normal - has been blamed on global warming and global warming has been blamed on human activity. They, meaning those making such claims, are wrong.
Last week a severe storm froze Dallas under a sheet of ice, just in time to disrupt the plans of the tens of thousands of (American) football fans descending on the city for the Super Bowl. On the other side of the globe, Cyclone Yasi slammed northeastern Australia, destroying homes and crops and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.
Some climate alarmists would have us believe that these storms are yet another baleful consequence of man-made CO2 emissions. In addition to the latest weather events, they also point to recent cyclones in Burma, last winter's fatal chills in Nepal and Bangladesh, December's blizzards in Britain, and every other drought, typhoon and unseasonable heat wave around the world.
But is it true? To answer that question, you need to understand whether recent weather trends are extreme by historical standards. The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project is the latest attempt to find out, using super-computers to generate a dataset of global atmospheric circulation from 1871 to the present.
As it happens, the project's initial findings, published last month, show no evidence of an intensifying weather trend. "In the climate models, the extremes get more extreme as we move into a doubled CO2 world in 100 years," atmospheric scientist Gilbert Compo, one of the researchers on the project, tells me from his office at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "So we were surprised that none of the three major indices of climate variability that we used show a trend of increased circulation going back to 1871."
So the warmists say one thing, but historical records say something entirely different. Which one do we believe? To quote the late great Groucho Marx, "Who are you going to believe? Me? Or your lying eyes?"
It's like the media hype we have to deal with every time we get a snowstorm. They build it up to be a killer storm that will cripple everything and everyone for days or weeks, making it seem we'll all be re-enacting the conditions and outcome of the Donner party, eating our frozen dead to survive. But in the end we all survive quite nicely and the snowstorm ends up inconveniencing us for a day or two. And so it is the the AGW hysteria.
As I wrote here, town meeting is American democracy writ small. Our town meeting was this past Tuesday evening, but it wasn't the end all and be all in regards to how our town is going to spend the taxpayer's money. (The biggest controversy was probably the addition of $750 to the budget for the community band.) The second part took place tonight when we had our school district meeting, which echoes the town meeting in that the voters in our town debated how much money will be spent on our schools over the coming fiscal year.
While there weren't nearly as many warrant articles to debate, they were more important because the school portion of our town's budget is two-thirds of all the monies that will be spent. And, unlike the town meeting, there was a lot of lively debate over two of the three warrant articles presented. In fact, the school district meeting lasted longer than the town meeting even though the town meeting had 20 warrant articles to address.
In the end, the final decision will be made by the voters on March 8th when all the warrant articles will be on the ballot and the voters will have their final say on the direction our town will take during the coming fiscal year.
There are only three surgeons in all of the Sudan? A new country is on the cusp of being born there in the south.
Cooling "warming" global temperatures...because over half the Siberian (Russian) temperature stations were taken off line? I saw this crap displayed at the Smithsonian. Chan's been great debunking this leftist religion. A must-listen-to podcast with Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, author of Red Hot Lies, and G. Gordon Liddy.
Bangladesh--where so many annually die from the monsoons--has a population of 160 million. Wow!
My home state of New Hampshire has pretty liberal gun laws, where gun control is defined as hitting your target. Law abiding citizens can carry their sidearms openly without the need for a permit. To carry a concealed weapon requires a CCW permit. But that may change soon as two bills are making their way through the New Hampshire legislature that will remove the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. While both bills address concealed carry, only one stands a chance of making it through committee and out onto the House floor.
Republican leaders are urging House members to back House Bill 330. It would allow constitutional carry and extend gun-carrying rights to vehicles. But it specifically keeps guns out of courtrooms and courthouses.
Sunapee Police Chief David Cahill, president of the New Hampshire Police Chiefs Association, said his organization does not have a firm stand against constitutional carry. But he sees a benefit to concealed-weapons permits, and he has concerns about loaded weapons in vehicles.
Should HB330 become law, New Hampshire will become the fifth state that would allow what is called "constitutional carry", meaning no CCW permit is required. The other four states allowing constitutional carry are Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, and Wyoming.
Is it possible New Hampshire might get a twofer this year? Between the bill to remove the requirement for a CCW permit and another to make the state the only Right-To-Work state in the Northeast, the Granite State could be sitting pretty.
Tonight was our Town Meeting, an annual affair where the voters and other interested parties gather to exercise their constitutional rights and decide how things are going to be done, how much money our town will spend during the upcoming fiscal year, and how much money will need to be raised through property taxes to pay for it all.
It is American democracy writ small, on a level with which even the most jaded progressive will be hard pressed to find fault. While not perfect, it serves the purpose for which it is intended - the People deciding how those governing us at the most basic level will do their jobs.
There is also this caveat that comes with this form of local government: "If you don't attend town meeting and vote, then you have absolutely no right to complain about anything."
Here we are at Week 5 and Skip and I are neck and neck, having lost exactly the same amount of weight. However, he is ahead in percentage of weight goal. (It helps that he started out 10 pounds lighter than me and that we both have the same target weight.)
Unlike last weekend, this one was busy. Most of my day yesterday was spent pulling snow off the roof of the garage and mudroom of The Manse with a snow rake. The main part of The Manse has pretty steep slope to the roof and large amounts of snow generally don't accumulate on it, obviating the need to remove it.
The Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout also required cleaning off as the snow did build up on it far more than I had expected. It was necessary to fire up the Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower to move all the snow removed from The Boat. That was also true of the snow removed from the garage and mudroom.
Just as it started snowing (again) I ran out of gas. (No, not the snowblower. Me.) After all, I'd been at it for over 5 hours - not including a 1 hour lunch break - and I moved a lot of snow. Some of that included shoveling off two of our three decks and cutting back the snow bank just outside the garage and at the end of the driveway. I'm still not done.
This morning was spent clearing off the 2" of snow/sleet that fell overnight. With temps in the upper 30's/lower 40's there was a lot of melting and I spent a good 2 hours scraping down the driveway and chopping now-thawing frozen snow and mushy ice and removing it from in front of the garage. I also had to cut a water channel for the melt water to drain away from the driveway, preventing it frm turning into one big field of ice once the temps fall below freezing tonight.
The last of the 'dangerous' snow was removed late this afternoon. BeezleBub had to shovel off the last of our three decks to gain access to the backside roof of the mudroom and garage, where the snow accumulation was greater than anything I removed yesterday.
The trusty Ford F150 went through its annual state inspection yesterday.
Fortunately it passed the safety inspection with flying colors. Unfortunately it failed the OBD (On Board Diagnostics) emissions test.
The "Check Engine" light came on about a week ago. I figured I'd have it checked out when the F150 was inspected. Unfortunately the fault had something to do with emissions. Bill, my mechanic, checked the codes. He recalled there had been an issue with this particular fault, that being the ethanol in the gasoline sometimes tripping a false fault code. After checking a few of the Ford forums, he found this particular fault was quite common, and rather than delving deeper into the diagnostics, he reset the codes and told me if they didn't reappear after 100 miles or so to return to the shop and he'd sign off on the emissions.
Call this Reason #4792 for hating ethanol in gasoline.
"Police charged the 7-year-old with possessing an imitation firearm in or on an education institution - a misdemeanor and a minor juvenile offense in New Jersey." This "was a $5 toy gun, similar to a Nerf gun, that shoots soft ping pong type balls, according to the school's superintendent"; the video attached to the story suggests the toy looks like a real gun, but it didn't show the toy, so it's hard to tell.
Why all the administrative measures the school system could take are insufficient, and the criminal law has to respond, is beyond me. Nothing in the story suggests that somehow the 7-year-old had, in past incidents, proved himself unwilling to respond to administrative measures: "School officials described the child as 'a nice kid' and 'a good student.'"
Zero tolerance policies are nothing more than crutches for the lazy and the stupid. No one in authority wants to make a decision so they create policies that let them off the hook. Unfortunately such policies tend to hurt the innocent and do nothing to stop the truly dangerous kids in situations like this.
We aren't the only ones suffering from this problem. Quite a few towns and cities are also having to deal with towering mounds of snow, narrowing streets, and ever shrinking parking lots. Some have been removing the snow and dumping it in fields or unused lots, but even these measures have a limit.
Ironically, we haven't seen nearly as much snow as a couple of winters ago (we had 150" of snow fall here at The Manse that year), but with what storms we've had coming so often there has been little if any time for melting to occur in between. The sub-zero temps haven't helped the melting either.
Frankly, I think it would do us a world of good, and that's speaking as someone who was a union member for 20 years (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers). With RTW, it's more likely we'll see more industry come here to our state. Should RTW come to pass that would make New Hampshire the only state in the Northeast or the "Rust Belt"with RTW.
As a side note, most of the states with RTW have done better during the recession than the closed-shop states. Gee, I wonder why that would be?
Renewable energy isn't all it's cracked up to be. In the long run it requires substantial subsidies, destroys jobs, and doesn't produce the energy promised in the amounts needed where needed.
Is it any surprise the autism/vaccine hoax has done nothing to help prevent autism and has, in some cases, killed the children of parents who bought into the hoax and didn't have their kids vaccinated?
Considering the whole thing was driven by avarice and greed, the answer is a resounding 'no'.
They accuse conservatives and Tea party supporters of such rhetoric when it is the very thing they themselves are spouting. That sounds like projection to me.
How is it we never hear conservatives or Tea party supporters actually saying the things the progressives have accused us of saying? Because as a rule we don't. But the progressives sure as hell do, and they do it often and loudly.
[Christian Hartsock's] coverage of the rally opens with an ingenuous twentysomething white woman holding forth: "There's a devastating influence in our country, and it's coming from fear and anger and widespread misunderstanding of what's actually causing the problems in our society. And I think that the racist Tea Party is one example of that, and it makes me feel ashamed to be an American."
That said, it appears from [Hartsock's] video that the violent and racist sentiments originate with the Common Cause supporters; Hartsock prompts them with relatively innocuous cues about [Clarence Thomas's] impeachment and Anita Hill. And there is no question that the Common Causers express their ugly sentiments with great relish.
So much for dialing back the intensity of the rhetoric and being more civil. I guess that call was meant just for the Tea partiers. For the progressives, anything goes and civility be damned. What's worse is that the MSM has been complicit with the progressive agenda, "reporting uncorroborated claims as if they were established fact."
My first job of the day is with the Teamsters. UPS.
After nearly 11 years I've learned several things. One is the magnificent quote from John Milton in his Paradise Lost:
The mind is its own place and in itself Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.
I could be like most and piss and moan about the time of day, the amount of work. Instead, I put in the earbuds fed by the iPod such podcasts as Mark Levn's, the BBC NewsPod, the NYT Frontpage and Book Review, Town Hall columnists, IBD Editorials, Moby Dick audiobook, various audiobooks, Noahide Nations, Hand Gun Podcast, BJ Harrison's Classical Tales, American Conservative Union, the Cato Daily, and the like. It's like receiving my master's degree.
The only problem with my co-workers is I go into my own world and world harder than they. I make them look bad. Not all the time, but generally.
Sen. Eric Adams, you mean well. But I'm afraid you are speaking from another culture than mine. And, dude, I believe the rights against illegal searches is an amendment other than the First.
Guns are not illegal where I live, and children who "secrete" drugs have to be given more than a discussion. If they're over 18, it's the boot.
But I'll cut you some slack since I know how tough it's been in the past, having seen first hand the crack scourge in the late 1980s in the metropolitan New York area. That, and guns used in crimes is not a white thing where you come from. Ninety-eight percent of all shootings in metropolitan NYC are done by blacks or hispanics. A violent criminal is 13 times more likely to be black than white.
What your community needs, Sen. Adams, is for the out-of-wedlock birthrate to drop. I believe 72% of black babies born today in this country--probably higher in your neck of the woods--are what was once called "bastards."
But we don't do that anymore since we don't do marriage anymore. A teenage mother is a recipe for disaster on the personal level, and, when done in large enough numbers, on the macro level, too.
I don't think you people, the two or three readers of this entry, understand the chasm of the stupidity coming out of Washington versus the wisdom of Caroline Glick. HT.
Here in a paragraph is more wisdom than you'll find in the White House and the Dept. of State. Put together.
But [Bush's] belief that free elections would solve the problem of Arab
radicalism and instability was completely wrong. At base, Bush's belief
was based on a narcissistic view of Western values as universal.
As Judge Vinson took pains to emphasize, the case is not really about health care at all, or the wisdom--we would argue the destructiveness--of the newest entitlement. Rather, the Florida case goes to the core of the architecture of the American system, and whether there are any remaining limits on federal control. Judge Vinson's 78-page ruling in favor of 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business, among others, is by far the best legal vindication to date of Constitutional principles that form the outer boundaries of federal power.
ObamaCare mandated every citizen must buy health insurance in order to remain a citizen on good standing, in effect forcing people into an economic activity - buying a service from a provider whether they want to or not - and justifying it under the Commerce Clause. The judge wasn't buying it, nor the governments claim that even inactivity is really economic activity, particularly in light of the fact that citizens can't buy health insurance across state lines, therefore the activity isn't considered interstate commerce. (In case you aren't aware, the Commerce Clause in the constitution deals with regulating interstate commerce as a means of preventing one state from putting up barriers to trade with other states.) The government really tried to stretch the meaning of the Commerce Clause into areas it was never meant to cover.
Ironically, congressional Democrats of the 111th Congress may have laid the foundations of the law's own destruction.
Judge Vinson also went beyond the Virginia case in striking down the entire ObamaCare statute--paradoxically, an act of judicial modesty. Democrats intentionally left out a "severability" clause if one part of the bill was struck down, and the Administration repeatedly argued that the individual mandate was "essential" to the bill's goals and mechanisms and compared it to "a finely crafted watch." Judge Vinson writes that picking and choosing among thousands of sections would be "tantamount to rewriting a statute in an attempt to salvage it."
As such, severability allows for one portion of a statute in question to be struck down as unconstitutional without affecting the rest of it. Without it, if one portion is struck down, the entire statute is struck down. Should Judge Vinson's decision survive appeal, and if required, Supreme Court review, ObamaCare will be dead.
So much for Nancy Pelosi's dismissal of ObamaCare's constitutionality.
Judge Vinson flatly rejected the administration's attempt to escape the restrictions of the Commerce Clause by appealing to the Necessary and Proper Clause. His decision acknowledges that, while reforming an insurance market is a regulation of commerce, Congress cannot artificially create its own "free rider" crisis in the insurance market and then use that crisis to justify an otherwise unconstitutional mandate as "necessary and proper" to save the market from collapse.
So, in effect what the government was trying to do was create a health care crisis, and then use that crisis to implement control over the health care system. It sounds almost like the old Mob "protection" racket: "Gee, that's a nice health care system you've got there. It would be a shame if anything were to happen to it...." It's almost like something out of The Untouchables. (Hey, didn't that take place in Chicago? And isn't Obama a creation of the Chicago political machine? I'm just sayin'....)
The decision has affected at least one state not part of the suit.
...Gov. John Lynch (sic) press secretary Colin Manning said the council may not get the chance to take up the contract at their meeting -- it could be pulled from the agenda by Lynch or withdrawn from consideration by Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny.
"My understanding is that it will not come up for a vote," Manning said late Tuesday.
If the council does vote to reject the contract, Lynch cannot override the vote.
While the previously Democrat majority legislature and Executive Council would have likely gone along with this effort, the present legislature - a heavy GOP super-majority in both the House and Senate - and the all Republican Executive Council, are likely to block any action or funding for such an effort, particularly in light of Judge Vinson's decision. With a return to fiscal sanity in Concord, it is highly unlikely the legislature or the council will go along with something that will eventually lead to millions being added to the budget deficit already facing the state.
It seems ObamaCare is on the path to a well deserved death.
Co-opting conservative terms like "judicial activism" is a cute way of trying to turn the tables on those who have some reverence for the original intent of the Founders.
Vinson may be overruled, but his decision is cogent and persuasive and doesn't seek out excuses for abuse. His ruling asks for the kind of government restraint that judges rarely have the appetite to call for, even though, need I remind you, "judicial activism" in the defense of liberty is no vice.
Apparently judicial activism is only proper when a decision expands the power of progressives working to weaken individual rights in favor of more control by the state, ignoring the Constitution or creating new rights out of thin air.
Last night my seven-year-old daughter threw up several times in the middle of the night. She's so cute that even her throwing up sounded cute.
And Quality Insulation of Meredith is blowing insulation between the 2" by 4" wall joists. The home is not up to code. Since the whole thing was gutted, it needs to be brought up.
I'm thrilled that the home will become even more insulated than what it was. And I paid thousands to blow in attic stuff.
Plumbing, electric, the ridiculous 2" by 6" roof rafters have been strengthened. I'm feeling good, even if my wife is stressed out by all the confusing billing, paperwork, and itemizing that causes daily headaches.
My home was burned out Nov. 19--which happens to be my brother's birthday--by my five-year-old playing with matches. It was my bad.
Listening to the local and national media, yet another "monster" snow storm is about to hammer the Northeast.
They're acting as if this has never happened before, as if it's something new no one here has ever experienced. (It might be if this were happening in July.) But we've had plenty of snowstorms equal to to or even greater than this one, and not all that long ago.
Perhaps we should clue the media in on this one: It's winter. It snows in winter. And up here in New England it snows a lot in the winter.
One thing I will admit is unusual for this coming storm - our operations manager decided our facility will be closed tomorrow (Wednesday) due to the heavy snowfall expected here. That's never happened before.
We've been closed because of the indirect effect of inclement weather (power was out due to a widespread ice storm that knocked out power to over 400,000 in New Hampshire alone) and because of a local power outage that we were told would last most of the day. But we've never been closed because of a snowstorm.
Not that being closed will absolve me of working. I still have a conference call and a web seminar tomorrow. At least I can do both in my pajamas!