Thoughts On A Sunday

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One of the first signs of impending spring have showed up, that being the ubiquitous "Frost Heaves" signs. For those of you from more temperate climes, let me explain (once again) frost heaves.

They are not, as some might believe, something that happens if you eat or drink something too cold too quickly. It has nothing to do with reverse peristalsis.

Frost heaves are the result of alternating thawing and freezing along the sides of our roads, highways, and byways. As the ice and snow along the sides of the road melts, the water works its way under the road surfaces. Then once the temperatures fall below freezing at night, the water under the road freezes and expands. After a few cycles of this thaw and freeze, ridges appear in the road surface that turn a once smooth road into something with a lot of nature-made speed bumps.

Frost heaves can play havoc with the suspensions on cars and trucks, and garages see a steep uptick in business as drivers have to have their suspensions repaired and/or aligned. I can attest to this as the trusty F150 suffered some suspension damage last month, in this case two broken front sway bar shackles.

Though the calendar says spring starts March 20th, I think it's already here, Punxatawney Phil notwithstanding.

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Another sign of an early spring: sugaring started a week or so ago here in northern New England. (Sugaring is another term for making maple syrup.) One of my co-workers made mention that she and her husband started tapping their maple trees two weeks ago and expect start up their evaporator this weekend. I haven't checked with the WP Father-In-Law, but I suspect he's done likewise.

This mild winter and early start of spring may affect syrup production this year as sugaring requires warm days (above freezing) with no wind and nights below freezing. We've had quite a few nights recently where the temps never made it below 32ºF (0ºC). If that continues sugaring will end too soon.

I am not attributing this to AGW as I recall more than one winter over the past 50+ years that resembled this one. It's called "weather".

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This whole brouhaha over the "food police" taking away kids' made-at-home lunches and making them eat only 'approved' foods shows exactly how niggling and small minded the Obama backed bureaucrats have become. In at least one case I read about the substitute lunch the child was told she had to eat was far worse for her than the food provided by her mother.

These incidents also beggar the question whether these same food police require observant Jewish and Muslim kids to eat non-kosher or non-halal foods because the food police decide they aren't 'healthy'?

I see a lot of lawsuits over this governmental idiocy.

What's worse is that I expect to see more of this kind of intrusive idiocy should Obama gain a second term. The biggest problem I have with this is that the bureaucrats themselves believe they are more qualified to run other people's lives when they aren't any more capable of running their own. (I have to wonder whether the food police involved in these school lunch incidents follow their own governmental guidelines. If I had to guess, I'd say no. After all, these kind of regulations are for the little people, not for the ruling class or their minions.)

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Have you seen the banner or video ads touting what a great job President Obama has done over the past 3+ years? I saw the first one when I started watching an episode of Body of Proof on Hulu.

The number of outright falsehoods in that 30 second ad made me start in amazement. Do the Dems really believe most of the American people are going to buy it? Is it a matter of "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?"

I think all anyone is going to have to do is look at their food bills, electric bills, and fuel costs to put the lie to those claims. And those who are no longer counted as unemployed but still want jobs aren't going to buy it either.

One of the maxims I learned a long time ago (I was in my early teen years) was that presidents can't fix the economy, but they sure as hell can damage it. The only way for the present occupant of the Oval Office to fix the economy is to get the hell out of the way and let the economy fix itself. It certainly worked when Reagan did it.

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Talk about chutzpah!

Maxine Waters, Democrat Congresscritter from California, will be chairing the influential House Financial Services Committee. Isn't that like letting the fox guard the henhouse?

In case you need to be reminded, her husband had a considerable stake in a failing bank for which Maxine managed to arrange a bailout. Can you say "conflict of interest"? Sure you can.

Yet another example of "Do as I say, not as I do" from the Democrats.

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Cap'n Teach adds his 2¢ worth in regards to rising gas prices and the GOPs use of this to slap Obama around.

If gas does indeed hit $5 gallon this summer, you can pretty much guarantee the GOP will use this as a campaign issue, and rightfully so. Obama did state he would like to see higher gas prices during his 2008 campaign, and he got them. Everything he's done has lessened our energy supply and raised energy costs despite the fact that we now have more proven oil reserves than Saudi Arabia, trillions of cubic feet in new natural gas findings, as well as a steady supply of oil from Canada if we want to buy it. (It does require building a new pipeline, which Obama rejected.)

If the report about gas prices on ABC News last night is correct, for every 10¢ rise in gas prices, approximately $9 billion less is spent by consumers on other goods and services.

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So if the average price of gas goes up another $1.50 by summer, the economy will take approximately a $135 billion hit as consumers cut back. (Yeah, I know this is a flat math projection, but I had better things to do with my time than do a curve fit to project the financial hit the consumer market is going to take.)

Yeah, that will get Obama re-elected.

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If gas does hit $5 per gallon at the pump this summer, it will be closer to $6 per gallon at the marinas. This means it's unlikely the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout will make it onto the lake this upcoming summer. A $180 fill up for a day out on the lake isn't in the budget. Considering we'll also have to be careful about our regular travel with $5 gas, there are a lot of things we just won't be doing this summer.

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Han Solo shot first, and I'm glad he did! Here's the proof:


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Although I am a few days behind commenting on Glenn Reynolds excellent WSJ piece in regards to a proposed syllabus for an "Occupy" course, one commenter came up with an alternative to this, one that would benefit many of the OWS protesters and perhaps remove the veil of economic ignorance from their eyes.

I have been thinking lately that the occupy movement (which will surely resurrect itself once the weather gets better in the spring) is a bunch of reasonably intelligent (although misguided) individuals with a lot of time on their hands and a woeful lack of the most basic knowledge of economics. Someone should develop a basic economics curriculum that could be distributed and/or broadcast to the various occupy encampments. Maybe since they don't have much else to do there, they might (in spite of themselves) pick up enough economics education to realize how ridiculous and detached from the real world their ideas are. If it doesn't work on the occupiers, maybe it would attract the attention of normal people.

Another commenter added onto this, stating:

[A] key part of the basic economics course would entail making the student understand that: (1) just because they have checks in their checkbook, there may be no money in their checking account; (2) the use of credit cards creates debt to the credit card company which must be repaid; and, (3) you cannot spend more money than you make without creating debt which eventually must be repaid.

It is #3 that must be emphasized, both to the OWS folks but to our political leaders at all levels. It seems to be a lesson they've forgotten, assuming they learned it in the first place.

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At least the Obama administration is doing something right about money, in this case trying to reduce the cost of minting it.

The cost of making pennies and nickels has risen to the point where it costs more to make them than their face value. Obama wants to use less expensive materials to reduce the costs of minting them.

Here's a thought - why not do away with the dollar bill as well and use a dollar coin? The bill lasts a little over 18 months and the coin at least 20 years (though 35 years is probably closer to the norm). While the coin costs more to make (about twice that of printing a dollar bill), it lasts up to 23 times longer.

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They have lost their minds in the UK.

Unfortunately that same kind of thinking exists here in the US, as we have seen when it comes to things like normal curiosity between very young (6 years old or younger) girls and boys ("I'll show you mine if you show me yours.") It's only a matter of time before one of these education bureaucrats plays the race card here.

They should be fired.

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Steve MacDonald presents Part 7 of his "If The Economy Is Getting Better..." series. Parts 1 through 6 are linked at the bottom of the post.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice is getting thinner, the maple sap is running, and where we're already starting to get firewood for next winter.

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