July 2012 Archives
So other than doing some laundry and a little cleaning up inside and outside, not much got done this weekend.
************I think the President can no longer blame Bush for anything taking place on Obama's watch, particularly the budget deficits. The latest projections of shortfalls exceed $1.2 trillion (that's "trillion" with a "T"), which is still greater than seven Bush budgets combined. (Yes, seven budgets. His last budget never saw the light of day due to purposeful foot-dragging by congressional Democrats, waiting until after Bush left office before passing a budget $600 billion out of balance, which President Obama signed. Perhaps we should label that last budget the Pelosi budget as it was hers and not Bush's.)
Of course it might help if the Senate Democrats would ever get off derrieres and pass an Obama budget, something they haven't done in over 3 and a half years.
As Glenn Reynolds constantly asks, "How's that hopey-changey stuff workin' out for ya?"
************Let's add yet another bit of abuse upon the Obama administration for its lack of understanding about economics.
It appears the feds are ready to commit the same stupid act that helped usher in the housing bubble and mortgage crisis: use the Community Reinvestment Act to force banks to give mortgages to low-credit-rated blacks and Hispanics. The feds are already threatening banks refusing to do so. But wait, there's more!
Moreover, this time they're going even further. They're going to take over the credit rating agencies and force them to change their standards to accommodate blacks and Hispanics so that nobody will have any idea who is a bad credit risk and who is not. In so many words, the government is about impose its will on the whole home-lending market and force another round of bad loans so that the banks are going to be looted once again so that even the federal government may not be able to bail them out this time.It's bad enough the CRA was used as a bludgeon before (with the help of community organizer Obama who was part of a class action suit that forced banks to lend to unqualified borrowers). Now they want to do it again as if the results will be different this time. And rather than being pushed by the Justice Departent or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, it's a side effect of the that damnable Frank-Dodd Act which created the Consumer Finance Protect Bureau, with the emphasis on "Protection", Chicago mob-style) , which has had nothing but negative effects on the economy, consumers, and the banks.
These idiots still don't understand the concept, have no inking that the results won't be any different than the last time, except maybe worse. And if there's no way for banks to check the creditworthiness of a potential borrower then they probably won't lend to anyone, black, Hispanic, Asian, or white. (That isn't discrimination if they won't lend to anyone, is it?) And I have to wonder if taking over the credit bureaus will end up tying up the feds for years as the bureaus take them to court.
Yeah, that ought to help the economy recover. Yup. Really. Uh-huh.....
(H/T Maggie's Farm)
************Another argument that can be put forth to stop the nonsense explained above: We can make the claim the government is putting forward a racist policy, giving preferential treatment of one or more races over another at the expense of that 'other'. Maybe we can con the ACLU into filing a class action suit if we frame the argument that non-blacks and non-Hispanics are being discriminated against.
But then the Democrat Party was always the party of racism, discrimination, and Jim Crow laws.
************There are all kinds of indices that give us a feeling for how the economy is performing (or more recently, not performing). Some look at the stock market, others at bonds, and yet others at costs of commodities and consumer goods. But there's one that is overlooked that has a pretty decent record (82% correlation) in showing us what's happening with the economy. Call it the Garbage Index.
Despite all the claims made by the Obama administration how the economy is getting better, the Garbage Index says otherwise.
When you think about it, it makes sense. As the article linked states, "This should be pretty intuitive. The more you produce, the more you throw out." And the more you buy in way of goods, perishable or durable, the more you throw out. We've certainly seen that here at The Manse, with the amount of garbage I've been taking to the dump having dropped off by ~20%. (I make the trip to the dump every 5 weeks now rather than every 4 weeks. It takes that long to fill the garbage barrels.)
As one of Glenn Reynolds readers comments, "That waste car load chart also hints there may have been some creative accounting regarding GDP numbers during "Recovery Summer", after pretty decent correlation in previous years."
************Skip at GraniteGrok warns us about a move by outgoing Democrat Governor John Lynch to take away our water rights here in New Hampshire.
The argument put forward by the commission overseeing this property grab? It's for the common good. Isn't that always the answer by those who think they know better than you do how to run your own lives or control your property?
There has been no legislative oversight nor much in the way of public input (meetings on this subject by the commission are usually scheduled when most folks concerned with this issue are at work).
I remember when a previous Democrat governor thought it would be a great idea to take control of all shoreland along the various lakes, ponds, and rivers in New Hampshire "for the common good" until it was pointed out that since it would deprive property owners of their land the state would have to buy it from them (eminent domain, don'cha see) at the cost of over a $1 billion, something the state didn't have and that the taxpayers would balk at spending.
Could water rights be the same thing, with the state taking away 'property' from land owners without just compensation?
************Pat Austin gives us Twelve Reasons Not To Vote For Obama times two point eight three.
Reasons 1 thru 12 can be found here.
Reasons 13 thru 24 can be found here.
Reasons 25 thru 34 can be found here. (H/T Pirate's Cove)
************If we need further examples of how almost every plan Obama has for the economy falls under the Law of Unintended Consequences, here's one by way of Cap'n Teach.
A medical equipment manufacturer has scrapped plans to open five new plants in the US because the taxes imposed by ObamaCare has made it financially impossible to do so without taking a sustained loss. No business is in business to take a loss.
With those factories now canceled, the potential 1500 jobs that would have been created by them have also gone by the wayside. Also, with the additional taxes the business in question, Cook Medical, the actual impact will reduce after tax earnings by the company by an additional 15 percent. This is supposed to help the economy how?
************The Chick-fil-A scandal continues, in this case with a good dose of Palin Derangement Syndrome thrown in.
You have to hand it to the Progressives, they really know how to hate. They also show how truly intolerant they are, but then we already knew that.
************There's also this on the Chick-fil-A brouhaha: Apparently a number of city mayors seem to think it's up to them to decide who can and cannot sell chicken sandwiches based entirely upon the business owners' personal political and/or religious beliefs.
Call it yet another version of Chicago mob-style thuggery.
************And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the rain is falling, yard work has stopped, and where there's still so much to do.
Watching the various campaign ads from both the Obama and Romney campaigns it's no surprise that the Obama ads are more negative than the Romney ads. After all, there's little in the way of accomplishments for Obama to campaign on. Even his "I got Bin Laden" claim doesn't really help. George H.W. Bush can attest to that as his popularity after the Gulf War was as high as any President, but he lost against Bill Clinton because he broke his promise on "No New Taxes". That's small potatoes compared to Obama's litany of broken promises.
For the most part Romney's negative ads are far more low key and sedate, with one run by the RNC closing with the statement "It's OK to make a change" after listing Obama's failures in office appear subtle compared with the Obama campaign's ads trying to pin all kinds of supposed inequities and crimes on Romney, all of which have been debunked by one of Obama's biggest supporters in the media, the Washington Post.
If Obama's lost the Post, then he's lost the campaign even before the two conventions have been held.
But as Glenn Reynolds has been reminding Romney and the GOP, "Don't get cocky!"
Then the band played. Not so well, actually. But that only adds to the charm of the scene.
One hopes Mali can have peace and stability--at least in the South. The Islamic "Blue Men of the Desert," or the Tuareg, have created a problem in the North that seems far more intractable.
There was no post by yours truly last night as the power went out in a good portion of town. At first I thought it was just in our neighborhood, but Deb later informed me she'd seen the power was out all along the state route from the highway bypass to The Manse, a stretch of over 4 miles. I know I wasn't able to see the lights down near the lake well below The Manse, so the outage was widespread.
So, no power, no post.
Notice a bunch of people, sheeple I should think, call into to the police simply because a man without a badge or state-issued uniform has the effrontery to be openly armed--permitted in both Maine and NH--creates "a cause for concern" for the officer to ask for ID.
But the law student doesn't hand it over. And he's well within his rights to refuse to do so.
Deb and I ventured into the Halls of Justice today, getting our day in traffic court. (Deb got a parking ticket for parking out in front of The Manse in the midst of a snowstorm last February. She couldn't make it into the driveway after getting home from work after midnight.) Yes, the wheels of justice do grind slowly, but we still got our day in court.
Deb wanted to fight the ticket on principle as she felt there was no way she should have gotten a ticket for that.
We arrived at the local court house, waited until we could meet with the police officer from our local PD (they often act as prosecutors for traffic court), going over the facts of the case. There were two things that helped us out: the officer was quite familiar with our part of town, understanding the problems we deal with in regards to the effects of winter weather on our roads and driveways; he and I were well acquainted.
After reviewing the facts of the case he simply said "This is dumb. There's no way a citation should have been issued. A warning would have sufficed under the circumstances." And just that quickly we were done, other than a brief appearance before the presiding judge to get his blessings on the resolution of our case.
The advice the officer gave before we left: "If you have to park where you did the last time due to the weather, give the PD a call and let them know you're leaving the vehicle there. There should be no problem."
And so ended our latest venture into the legal system of the state of New Hampshire.
Somehow I doubt the strip clubs in Charlotte are looking for any Debby Wasserman Shultz look-alikes for the DNC convention....though I might want to see her rather than Octomom Nadya Suleman. But at least Nadya is off of welfare now that she's stripping and doing porn.
How many idioms that were quite common in the not-so-distant past have become obsolete or at least refer to obsolete technology? Quite a few. PC World magazine has compiled a short list of some that may still be used, but many of those using them have no idea to what they refer.
A couple of my favorites:
2. "Kodak moment"There are plenty more in the article and commenters suggested a few of their own.
You know it when you see it. Nope, I'm not talking about porn: I'm talking that picture-perfect moment you wish you could capture on film, the Kodak moment. But with Kodak filing for bankruptcy and shuttering services, it seems like we're going to need a new name for those photo-ready moments. Hey, I hear the name Polaroid is available...or maybe not.
11. "Drop a dime"
The phrase "drop a dime" has a couple of different meanings. It can be used as a way of saying "get in touch," but it also can be used to describe betraying someone, or turning them in to the cops. However you use the phrase, though, know this: It originated from a time when you had to drop a dime into a pay phone in order to make a phone call. If you don't know what a pay phone is, well, I can't talk to you.
One of my favorites goes back to World War II, that being "The whole nine yards", referring the 27 feet (or nine yards) of belt-fed ammo used by Allied fighter aircraft machine guns. A pilot saying "I gave him the whole nine yards" meant he emptied his machine guns at his target until he was out of ammo.
Enough of that as I don't want to end up sounding like a broken record (#1 on the list). After all, the list is nothing to write home about (#10) and is definitely not front page news (#5).
A women writes to advice columnist Emily Yoffe, aka Dear Prudence, asking about her sex life with her husband. In effect, she seems to think that spontaneous, if drunken, sex with her spouse is some kind of sexual abuse - a crime - and wonders whether she should divorce her husband. "Prudence's" response:
But even a married couple who have had sex hundreds of times can enjoy that alcohol might ignite a delightful, spontaneous encounter. Your approach, however, seems to be to treat your sex life as if it is subject to regulatory review by the Department of Health and Human Services. Your prim, punctilious, punitive style has me admiring your put-upon husband's ability to even get it up, given the possibility he'll be accused of rape--or turn himself in for it!--if one of you fails a breathalyzer test. Living in terror that expressing one's perfectly normal sexual desire could end one's marriage, and freedom, is itself a form of abuse. Stop acting like a parody of a gender-studies course catalog and start acting like a loving wife. If you can't, then give the poor sap a divorce.And women wonder why men are becoming more gun-shy about sex and marriage. Who needs that kind of misery and fear because a woman has bought into the feminazi tripe that no sex is ever consensual, even when it is...unless maybe it's lesbian sex?
This young woman is still stuck in the college "Mother may I?" paradigm. I agree with Prudence on this one, but will take it one step farther by advising this young woman to divorce the poor suffering bastard now and let him find a real woman. The last thing he needs is an indoctrinated, self-victimizing neurotic like her.
Nine died, but the six killed during what is known as the Tucson "Gabby Giffords" shooting around the same time (five months later) received many times the publicity. Who decides these things?
Shareef Allman? No one remembers this shooting in which six died in Cupertino, Calif.There's a reason Steve Sailer calls him Omar Thornton II.
Life is precious, people. Act like it by getting your CCW and being armed where you legally can do so. And, yes, I usu. go to the movies armed--but I avoid big crowds like the plague.
I finally finished sanding the floor of the main deck, making it comparatively smooth to what it was after pressure washing it to strip off the old stain and surface dirt. There's still plenty of trim to work on, mostly sanding to remove the last of the old stain, but that won't prevent me from staining the rest of the deck next weekend, weather permitting.
************I had brunch with the WP Parents this morning at one of our favorite eateries, allowing us time to catch up on news about old friends and exchanging observations about the goings on around the Lakes Region. One of the WP Dad's observations was about how easy it is to forget what traffic is like during the summer with all the summerfolk around. Saturday mornings are particularly busy followed closely by Sunday late in the morning.
I've certainly noticed it Friday afternoons on my way home from work, with traffic on the highways and byways much heavier than we see during the rest of the year. But even knowing it will happen still doesn't make us any less grouchy about it.
************I've read this piece by James Taranto a couple of times and I have to agree with his assessment: Obama resents success by others because they earned it.
I can see where that might gall someone who's unearned success has been the central theme of their life story.
************Why do women quit science? Maybe it's due to a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Essentially, the article is about a study that tracked female science professor's discussions at work (using some very cool/mildly creepy in ear recording devices), and came to the conclusion that women left science fields not because they were being overtly discriminated against, but because they're scared that they might be. (Emphasis added. -ed.)So it's not about actual discrimination against women in science so much as it's about the anxiety about the possibility of being discriminated against.
************Two interesting factoids:
The number of fires in the US has fallen by 40% over the past 35 years, but the number of firefighters has increased by 40%.
Incidents of school violence has dropped as well.
************I tried something new for dinner tonight, something from our local butcher shop:
Steak House marinated sirloin burgers.
The butcher said they'd be the best burgers I've ever had.
He was right.
They also offer Grillmaster marinated burgers as well, something I'll try later. If they're anything like their Grillmaster sirloin tips, they'll be awesome!
************Cap'n Teach tells us about the latest AGW believers' talking points, meaning they believe all of us SUV driving humans are making weather worse than it should be, except where it's not, and even then it's still all our fault.
Climate change, an unscientific phrase in itself, is making the current natural warm period worse than it should be. Essentially, this poop against the wall is attempting to create a position that "sure, Mother Nature has created this warm period, but all those Other People who live modern lifestyles have made it much, much worse, because weather never happened before."Yup, it's because weather never happened before.
************These are three names that we all should remember: Joe Blunk, Matt McQuinn, and Alex Teves.
These three did what real men are supposed to do - protecting the women they love, even at the cost of their own lives. Somehow I doubt beta male "metrosexuals" would have done such a thing.
Of course I expect the feminazis to push out some excrement about how it was somehow unfair that these men didn't let the women die, as is only fair because, after all, they are nothing but victims of the men who saved them.
************And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer is still here in all its glory, the work around the house is getting done, and where I have Monday off!
But once that kind of claim is made in the MSM, it becomes fact, at least for many of the evidence deficient Left. And as of yet there has been no apology for smearing Tea party member Holmes' name other than a brief editor's note on the ABC News website. Too many folks believing the "yet another mad dog Tea party member has been shooting up Colorado" meme will never see that note. Better that ABC News made the apology on the air.
And the hits keep on coming, even from left-leaning blogs, and rightfully so.
OK then! There's some guy on the internet with the same name. That is literally all Ross had--no other connection, not one reason to even remotely suspect that it's the same Holmes. Just that there is a guy with that name, on the internet.But the media in general has to take some of the blame, particularly television. Their obsessive need to be "first with the story", the ongoing 24-hour news cycle, and the search for ratings has been behind a lot of the problems. With these kinds motivations is it any wonder why Matt Welch has dubbed them as "half-assed media"?
That astonishingly stupid speculation led the geniuses at Breitbart to rebut the calumny with their own guy-named-James-Holmes, this one a registered Democrat. So there! "There are certainly more facts in our documents than in ABC News' irresponsible speculations," Joel Pollak wrote, hilariously and maddeningly.
Point being: Never, ever listen to anything Ross reports unless and until it has been confirmed by another, better, reporter.
Undeterred by how wrong they got the Columbine shootings 13 years ago, or how disgustingly politicized they turned Jared Loughner's 2011 rampage, the humans who work for and talk with journalistic outlets are again rushing to speculative judgment about Jim Holmes, the suspected Batman murderer in Aurora, Colorado.It's the old "If it bleeds, it ledes" mentality magnified. Take a tragedy, sensationalize the hell out of it, skip fact checking (or minimalize it at best), fling out all kinds of unsubstantiated theories and speculation, and then move on to other stories before the facts of the tragedy come out. They leave it to others to pick up the pieces of the truth they so blithely shattered in their need to get the story out before their competition. It doesn't matter to them that they may have damaged or destroyed the reputations of people unconnected to the tragedy.
We see this again and again and it's always the same. Too often the news operations try to make the news rather than just reporting the news. Along with that many reports resemble editorials rather than actual reports, with reporters and news anchors offering opinion as if it were fact. (I actually remember when the local TV stations here in New England aired editorials by their news directors and editors, labeling them as editorials. There was no confusion about them. That practice has all but disappeared, and with it, the viewing public's trust.)
And the MSM wonders why an increasing number of people have little trust or faith in them to report the news?
Writes Frank Martin in response to our Marxist In Chief:
Just want to be clear Mr. President, in the three years of your Administration, you haven't built a goddamned thing.And should the President continue to provide such moments of clarity to the voting public, he can count on losing the election in November and being booted out of the White House bag and baggage.
My father was self employed all of his post-military service life. My father made furniture. He interviewed his customers at their home, sketched their desires on a piece of paper and then went to his workshop and created the piece from scratch. No one taught him to do this, he figured it out on his own. He took the time, the initiative and applied it to the task. He didn't apply for a job, he became the job. He was both artist and engineer. He was also his own man. He taught me that there is a dignity to work that no amount of good intentions can replace.
He was never rich, but he was free and that was the point of it all. It was never about the money. If people want to sit in envy my father, envy the freedom he had and not the money he made from his labor. He came and went as he pleased, he answered to no man but himself.
He used to say that at the end of the day what we all want from money is to be able to say "Screw you" and suffer no negative consequences from the act. Money simply buys the ability to walk away. My father never had a lot of money, but he was free.
In my 52 years of life, I have never heard anything from any politician that has left me filled with rage as the words the President has used to describe men like my father, the men of this world who live their life with the goal of being dependent on no one and only wish to be left alone.
I want to thank the President for providing me with a moment of clarity.
"Plunge In CO2 Output Due To Natural Gas Fracking"
With a dramatic decline in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, many of the arguments being made by the greens have been undermined. But you won't see reports like this in the MSM.
The most underreported recent environmental story has been the dramatic decline in energy-related carbon emissions -- nearly back to mid-1990s levels, and falling.That which does not fit the narrative must be ignored, at least when it comes to Gaia-huggers and watermelons and their beliefs.
Maybe it's because that story just doesn't fit the left's mantra that traditional energy sources are destroying the environment.
I loved it. I am very sad to hear of bladder cancer that is terminal. I love his Christmas music.
On the other hand I spent my time working on the decks here at The Manse. The prep work prior to staining has taken far longer than I had anticipated, but seeing how good the wood looks now I can say it was worth it. While I could have taken a shortcut by using a chemical stripper, the lengthy precautions required before I even applied it made me rethink that strategy. Not that I'm not going to use it, but I will apply it only in places where other means are too lengthy or too difficult to achieve the results I desire. And even had I used it I still would have had to sand the deck surfaces to smooth them out considering how much of a beating they've taken over the past three years.
************It's also NASCAR Weekend here in New Hampshire, with the first of two Sprint Cup races this season taking place at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. To say the traffic has been insane would be a major understatement. Just running a simple 20-minute errand to the local hardware store yesterday turned into a 45 minute ordeal with bumper to bumper traffic on the major thoroughfares. Even the local airport was jammed, with numerous bizjets from the NASCAR teams and their sponsors taking up every available space on the ramp.
************Eric the Viking gets into a little linky love showing just how awesome our President really is!
************David Starr has been doing his part in northern New Hampshire, manning a political phone bank and making calls to potential voters. His take? People's minds are already made up.
Says Dave: "[T]here are a LOT of ardent Democrats out there who are gonna vote Obama no matter what." Just like the good little Obamabots they are.
************There's also this from David as well, where his local cable company has stopped carrying the local TV station (WMUR), meaning he has no means of watching the local (meaning New Hampshire) news.
This is something that has been happening all across the country as TV stations that were once glad that cable systems were carrying their signal at all (it meant more viewers without the need to spend any money) are now charging cable systems and satellite carriers to rebroadcast their signals. In some cases the demands were too high and the cable companies stopped carrying them. (One of the latest has been DirecTV pulling all of Viacom's programming from their lineup because Viacom wanted way too much to carry their channels. Viacom's lineup includes such popular channels such as MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon.)
This is something that will be happening more often as content providers ask for more money from cable and satellite companies.
************In line with what's been happening in northern New Hampshire (as well as a number of other places around the country) and the dispute between Viacom and DirecTV, a lot of customers are asking why they have to pay for channels they don't watch just in order to get the channels they want. They'd prefer a la carte programming, allowing them to choose and pay for only the channels they want. However, as appealing as that sounds (even the cable companies like the idea), content providers like Viacom, Discovery, and so on offer their channels in bundles, meaning it's an all-or-nothing contract. The content providers even dictate which of their channels go on to the various programming tiers offered by the cable and satellite carriers. The argument has been made that by doing so niche channels that would not otherwise survive can remain on the air. Maybe the content providers are looking this the wrong way.
If a niche channel cannot survive on its own, then maybe it shouldn't, at least not on cable or satellite. I can see providing some start-up capital to get going and some kind of support for a limited period of time. But if it can't survive after that time then it's likely there isn't enough (if any) viewership to allow it to continue. Or maybe it should be a narrowcast, using the Internet and operations like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, or iTunes to provide the program to those who really want to watch the 'channel'.
Something has to change in the business model presently being used by content providers and carriers or they won't survive.
************As Scary Yankee Chick asks, "Remind me again why putting corn in everything was a good idea?"
With the drought being worse than predicted, corn harvests are expected to be off. In turn we can expect higher food prices across the board and corn-derived ethanol prices will rise as well.
************Earlier I had commented upon how NASCAR weekend has been playing havoc with traffic. I thought it would have settled out once the race itself was under way. Nope. Not even close.
The clueless and inattentive drivers were still out there this afternoon as I had to run yet another errand to the local Wally World. Folks just weren't paying attention to what they were doing, where they were going, or the various traffic signs (including speed limit signs, with some folks driving 30mph in a 55mph zone). This inattention also extended itself to parking lots where I saw almost a half dozen almost collisions on my walk in and out of WalMart.
These folks have got to get a grip.
************It looks like the Obama campaign is hedging its bets when it comes to speech venues.
Rather than going to some of the larger institutions of learning like George Mason University, he's been stumping at places like Centreville High School in nearby Clifton, VA.
As one of Glenn Reynold's readers e-mailed:
The Obama supporters who came to the rally at Centreville High School in Clifton, VA (Fairfax County) came from outside the voting precinct. Many drove cars with Maryland license plates and none of them were recognized by the 100′s of neighbors who turned out to protest Obama's tax increases. The Obama rally was a terrible inconvenience as streets were closed and traffic stacked up, preventing residents from leaving or returning to their homes. And it appeared there weren't even enough Obama folks to fill the high school gymnasium.That does not bode well for Obama.
************Speaking of Obama, it seems he's caught the Elizabeth Warren disease. You know, the one that makes people like Warren claim that no one ever built a successful business without the helping hand of government. Hmm. I always thought they built successful businesses in spite of government.
Government isn't necessary for anyone to build a successful business. However the Left will claim that without government there would be no roads, no electricity grid, no water, no sewer, no nothing. And while technically correct, those are the expected functions of government. They weren't doing the businesses any favors. And in more recent business expansions the developer usually pays for infrastructure to be added (those self same roads, electricity, water, sewer, etc), not the government.
And it's true that no business succeeded without the help of others, but those others were usually private institutions or businesses like banks, venture capitalists, consultants, and so on. Not one government agency is involved in any of that (except to take their cut, of course).
************And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the roar of Sprint Cup cars and bizjets have faded away until September, the warm and humid weather is back, and where our big deck is one day closer to being stained.
The first question is whether the home is a gun-free home, along the lines of is it a smoke-free home. Then, failing that question, they want to know if the guns are locked up at all times.
Seemingly fair enough.
Yet, not so fast.
One of Glenn's biggest suggestions for the brick-and-mortar shops: "I do feel, though, that brick-and-mortar stores ought to be trying harder to make the shopping experience pleasant. Instead, I often get the feeling that the staff views me as a disturbance to their texting-their-friends time."
I've gotten that same feeling, too.
Around here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire there are lots of shops that cater more to the seasonal visitors and many of the items they sell probably wouldn't do so well online. Sometimes you've got to be visceral about what you're buying. I find they also tend to bend over backwards to serve their customers.
Unfortunately that effort does not extend to many of the chain stores out here. On more than one occasion I've had problems finding anyone in some of these stores with at least a modicum of knowledge about what they sold. Probably the worst examples can be found at some of the big box stores and electronics retailers.
On more than one occasion I have needed help at one of the big box home improvement stores. I won't name them, but I will tell you they like using signs in Spanish...even in areas where French is the second most spoken language behind English. Trying to find someone who knows anything about what I'm looking for, particularly where I can find it, can be frustrating. That's why I rarely go there and frequent one of the locally owned hardware stores instead.
The same is true of both one now defunct electronics chain, Circuit City, and another chain which shall remain nameless. After Circuit City laid off their more experienced sales staff (supposedly as a cost cutting measure), the remaining staff was too inexperienced and not very knowledgeable about the equipment and accessories they sold. It was no wonder they ended up going under. The other chain is still in business, but they're struggling. Only their online sales operation seems to be doing moderately well. Again, it all comes down to their staff and how they treat their customers.
Is it any wonder online retailers are doing so much better than brick-and-mortar stores?
But then I came across this over at Maggie's Farm and it struck such a chord in me I had to watch it again and again. And every time I watched it I became both angrier and sadder at the same time.
While this video did not come from a real debate (it's from a new HBO series The Newsroom), the fact that this character spoke his mind rather than act like a gladhanding politician by giving a 'safe' answer in order to at least not lose ground to his competitors shows that at least in some screenwriter's mind, someone recognizes the problem we have with this nation. (I am not a fan of HBO, particularly after the hatchet job they did on Sarah Palin.)
It all comes down to this, as expressed by one commenter on the original YouTube page:
We WERE the greatest country in the world until socialism, lawyers, unions, and television lulled us into mediocrity. They convinced us to give up our lofty pursuits for the security of never failing.While the sentiment is a little simplistic, it does get to the heart of the matter. Over the last 5 decades we have been told by our supposed 'betters' that by merely being American that we are somehow inherently evil, that we must pay for the crimes of our long-dead forebears and that we must apply late 20th/early 21st century 'sensibilities' to 18th, 19th, and early 20th century actions, laws, and morality. How incredibly stupid is that?
But we've seen this kind of stupidity multiplying over the years and the fact that it no longer surprises me brought me up short. When did I get so jaded that I no longer point out such stupidity?
It's been a while since I've pointed it out and ended up looking through the Weekend Pundit archives and came across something I posted a little over three years ago. It illustrates just how much damage we have allowed to be done to this once great nation, how we've been fooled into becoming nothing but a mediocre nation more concerned with feelings and not about facts.
Unless we change that this nation will go out with a whimper, and woe to us if that is the case.
For quite some time now scientists studying lightning have been able to trigger strikes using pulses from medium power lasers aimed into the sky. (The lasers ionize the air, creating a low resistance path for lightning to follow.) This new means follows the old method of using rockets trailing wires to achieve the same effect.
Now Army engineers are using the concept to channel man-made lightning bolts to destroy targets.
The Laser-Induced Plasma Channel, or LIPC, is designed to take out targets that conduct electricity better than the air or ground that surrounds them. How did the scientists harness the seemingly random path made by lightning bolts, and how does a laser help? To understand how the technology works, it helps to get a brief background on physics.Considering the efficiency of lasers converting electrical energy to light energy isn't all that great, using lasers to direct an electrical charge to a distant target would likely be far more efficient. The laser itself doesn't need to be large or powerful. It only needs enough power to generate a brief high-power pulse in order for the "lightning bolt" to hit its target.
"If a laser beam is intense enough, its electro-magnetic field is strong enough to rip electrons off of air molecules, creating plasma," says [George]Fischer, [lead scientist on the project]. "This plasma is located along the path of the laser beam, so we can direct it wherever we want by moving a mirror."
"The plasma channel conducts electricity way better than un-ionized air, so if we set up the laser so that the filament comes near a high-voltage source, the electrical energy will travel down the filament," Fischer says.
A target, an enemy vehicle, or even some types of unexploded ordnance would be a better conductor than the ground it sits on. Since the voltage drop across the target would be the same as the voltage drop across the same distance of ground, current flows through the target. In the case of unexploded ordnance, it would detonate, explains Fischer.
One step closer to Star Trek.
It seems that all of the weather we've been experiencing over the past few months is all our fault. So says a report from US and UK researchers. (No link available at the moment.) So says a news report on ABC's World News this evening.
Supposedly the report says all of the extreme weather we've been experiencing the past year is due directly to human generated greenhouse gases and that no other explanation is probable. Despite reams of data to the contrary, they're sticking to the predictions of disastrous sea level rise, massive killer hurricanes by the hundreds, and a whole host of other calamities that will be brought on by AGW. They have presented no further data, projections, or evidence that what they're claiming is true.
Really? It looks like these folks have fallen under sway of the Correlation Fallacy, ignoring the myriad of forces that affect weather (even the most rabid climate scientist admits they can't possibly know a majority of the factors that affect climate). So how is it that these scientists can state with absolute certainty that the only possible cause is human activity?
It's simple: they're nuts. What's worse is that they're lying to themselves.
At this point I am highly skeptical of anyone who says they know "without a shadow of doubt" that we are the end-all and be-all in climate change. Our atmosphere is such a chaotic system that anyone who says they can predict with high accuracy what the climate will be like next year, let alone 30 or 100 years from now, is a quack. Unless they have a climate model whose algorithm takes into account every factor that affects climate then all they're doing is gazing into a crystal ball, and a cracked one at that.
This isn't science. This is politics, period.
While I have not yet completed the task, I have made a pretty good dent in the work. The main deck and the steps leading up to it have been washed and are in the process of being sanded to smooth out the rough spots. That leaves the smaller second and third decks to be done as well as the stairs out in front of The Manse.
What I had thought would be a one or two weekend task has stretched out to a full month as I worked out the best means of stripping the old stain without the need to use caustic chemical strippers. (For the most part I have succeeded though I will still have to use the stripper on spots where the other methods failed.)
At this rate I won't get this job done for a couple of more weekends.
************Cap'n Teach points out that Obama has unintentionally blamed himself for the "crummy economic conditions."
[O]ver the past decade, Obama has been president for 3 1/2 years. He was a junior Senator who was supposed to be getting Bill Clinton coffee for 6 of those years. Democrats controlled the Senate for 5 of those years. Democrats had full control of Congress during his first two of being President. So Obama just unintentionally blamed himself and Democrats for the poor economic conditions and poor economic security.As they say in the political game, "Oops!"
************I think it's interesting when one of the leading Democrats in the state of New Hampshire, Ray Buckley, warns Mitt Romney that he has to be careful who he picks as a running mate otherwise he's likely to lose the vote here in New Hampshire and will in turn lose the national election. This comment was made during a report about Ohio Senator Portman visiting the Granite State to stump for Romney.
I know New Hampshire can be a pivotal state during the primary season, but during the general election? I'm not so sure. But as one commenter to the report put it, "[I]f Obama and Romney split the big battleground states (MI, OH, FL, etc) then it is entirely possible that our 4 electoral votes will be the ones to push one or the other to 270."
If Buckley is right, then I have to ask this question: Why is one of the state's leading Democrats giving advice to the presumptive Republican presidential candidate?
Just something to think about.
************I suppose this is one way to make sure you have a great view from your home. It must be nice to have that kind of money.
(H/T Scary Yankee Chick)
************This just too cute! I think even our dear departed Bagheera would admit he liked this little kitty....after grumbling for a while about yet another interloper wanting to eat from his supper dish.
************An "angry white dude with a beer in hand yells obscenities at a black politician" but there's not one mention of it on the national news! It must be because the MSM is racist, right?
Oh, wait a minute, the angry white dude is a Democrat and the black politician is a Republican! Well that changes everything. Nothing to see here folks. Move along....
************When will Obama own the crappy economic conditions that have continued (or worsened) under his watch? If he had his way, never. But Ed Morrisey says it's about time that he stop using the "I inherited a bad economy" excuse and own up to the bad moves he's made that have short-circuited the economic recovery. Even dyed-in-the-wool Democrats are saying enough is enough, with Robert Reich slamming Obama on the matter.
In Ohio yesterday, Obama reiterated that he had inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression. That's true. But the excuse is wearing thin. It's his economy now, and most voters don't care what he inherited.The chances of Obama taking responsibility for his errors? Between slim and none. After all, it doesn't fit the narrative of the Narcissist-in-Chief because it's always "someone else's fault."
Gay Patriot compares the Obama Recovery with the Reagan Recovery. Not surprisingly, the Obama Recovery comes up short. And if I recall correctly, not once did Reagan ever blame his predecessor for the lousy economy. Reagan also had a plan, that being "get government out of the way and the economy will fix itself."
(H/T Pirate's Cove)
************One question for African-Americans and Hispanics: "How's Obamanomics working out for you?"
Looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the answer is "Not at all."
************In light of this news about oil shale reserves in the US, as well as natural gas and coal reserves, why are we paying so damn much for petroleum products?
Because The One has decided it should be so and screw the economic consequences, preventing us from developing those resources. But then The One has never understood the connection between the cost of something used in the economy and the prices everyone pays for the end products.
************And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer is in full swing, the weather has been delightful, and where it's expected to stay that way for the upcoming week.
But since the law recently passed, making Indiana the twenty-third state to have Right to Work, look how the jobs have come flooding in, surprising even a free market guy like me (NH, are you paying attention?):
In its first few months of operation, the right-to-work law has, by almost any measure, helped to attract new businesses to Indiana. Indiana has only 2.2 percent of the nation's population. In April, the first full month after the law took effect, more than one in eight jobs created around the country were created in Indiana - more than in states several times the size of Indiana. According to the state's economic development arm, almost fifty out-of-state companies cited the right-to-work law as one reason that they were considering opening a location in Indiana.
I just caught a report by ABC's Good Morning America covering the dismal jobs report for June. It was another almost-softball report for Obama, with economics commentator Matthew Dowd stating the American people no longer trust politicians to fix the economy.
The truth, however, is more likely that it is the President they no longer trust.
Throughout our history it has been shown again and again that both Congress and the President have the power to damage the economy, but can usually do little to fix it by any other means than getting out of the way and letting the economy fix itself. Time and again it has been shown that by getting out of the way the economy rights itself, growth returns, and all is right with the world. Then someone in Congress or the President decide that things "aren't quite right" and they start tinkering with one tax, regulation, rule, incentives, subsidies, and law after another, each of them adding burdens that puts more pressure on the economy. In turn the economy slows, falls into recession, and then the Powers-That-Be wonder why this happened, not understanding that they are the ones causing the problems.
This recession, the longest in US history, was fostered by job-killing, finance-twisting, illogical regulations, laws, and "incentives" that short-circuited the usual feedback mechanisms and allowed economic bubbles to be created. Once those bubbles burst, the economy fell and fell fast.
The Powers-That-Be keep ignoring history, keep doing the same thing over and over again, and then wonder why their various 'fixes' for the economy didn't work this time.
It's called insanity.
To say that people between the Carolinas and New Jersey are upset that power hasn't yet been restored would be an understatement. But then Mother Nature wreaked destruction over such a wide area that even with the help from out-of-state and out-of-country (Canada) work crews, it will take time to make all the repairs required to get the power back on. But this outage has given the people affected a lesson of what their lives will be like on a permanent basis should the aforementioned We-Gotta-Save-The-Earth wackos succeed in their efforts.
In regards to the widespread outages, more than a few people have suggested burying all of the power lines. While it makes sense in some circumstances, I doubt it's practical for all power lines. Most of the residential developments over the past 20 years or so have buried the low-voltage and medium-voltage utility lines, doing away with all of the overhead wires and cables. But burying other medium and high-voltage distribution lines or long-haul high-voltage lines may not be practical from a technological or financial point of view. However it never hurts to take a look at something like that.
Another possible solution: small self-contained nuclear power plants with between 50 and 100 Mwe generating capacity. More plants spread out over wide area might make the electrical grid less vulnerable to inclement weather, terrorist actions, or alien attack. I don't know if it would help against an EMP attack or massive solar flare, but it might. Call it something to think about.
It's time to party like it's 1776!
But Randall Parker has a great idea: publish by major the rates that recent graduates are able to live on their own. He asserts that this will make for many more computer programmers and engineers.
The failure to generate electricity for all on a steady, continuous basis will be a terrible political blow to politicians who, like Prez Obama, follow the green agenda. Like the bogus Global Warming claim.
A note: one of the links in the original post points to a blog that is no longer in existence, so I removed it.
The post still stands because the problems I wrote about a little over three years ago still exist. Obama has been one of the most divisive presidents to ever serve, inciting class warfare, envy, and greed amongst his followers and trying to do likewise with those he's 'helped' remain among the unemployed. He and his minions are no different from the looters portrayed in Atlas Shrugged.
For those of you who have never had the opportunity or haven't made the time to read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, it is a perfect descriptor of why socialism is a dismal failure, as history has shown us time and time again. It gets to the root of why socialism is such a bad economic model, particularly when it comes to the denigration of those in society actually producing the wealth (it's not just the rich, but anyone that works creating things everyone needs and uses). The government then confiscates that wealth "for the good of society". The government, at the urging of the non-producers, also punishes those creating the wealth, calling them greedy, evil, and selfish. In other words, in a socialist society success is punished and sloth is rewarded. This is why socialism always fails.
Why bring this up now? In light of the AIG bonus flap (one of Congress' making), it seemed that some words of caution be used to explain why Congress has got it all wrong. Though bonuses paid out by AIG may not have been the smartest or most ethical thing they could have done, it was legal and justifiable. But that's beside the point.
What it comes down to is you don't punish the innocent along with the guilty. Not that it seems to matter to Congress, the MSM, and the aggrieved taxpayers. All they talk about is how corporate greed by AIG caused this problem.
They are totally wrong.
For one thing, the employment contracts required that bonuses be paid. No one, not even Congress, can get away with breaking a legally binding contract without consequence. AIG, and perhaps Congress, would have been dragged into court for breach of contract by those employees that had nothing to do with the failure of AIG's division handling the default credit swaps that put them $120 billion in the hole. AIG's other divisions are still bringing in billions, performing well despite the meltdown in the housing market and the resulting mortgage defaults, but executives in those divisions are being targeted as well.
The purpose of this tax is a work around to the contracts that were legally binding and also approved by Congress and the President. However, it targets a extremely small, politically despised, group of people and takes away their money that they were legally entitled to. Is this not the same as Congress finding them guilty without the benefit of a jury trial and simply instituting a fine on their earnings, albeit called a "tax". A rose by any other name and all of that...This sound eerily familiar, doesn't it? Oh, wait! Of course! It comes back to Atlas Shrugged...again.
Some quotes from Atlas Shrugged illustrates just how wrong Congress, the MSM, and many of the less understanding or less informed taxpayers are when it comes to pay, bonuses, and compensation for one's hard work. The excerpts below are from Francisco D'Anconia's speech about money and its worth.
"Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions--and you'll learn that man's mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth."Are we to that point yet? No, but we're close to reaching it. If we let Congress and President Obama carry through with their plans for the economy, including tightly regulating the creation and legal transfers of wealth for goods and services, then we as a nation are doomed to servitude and privation.
"But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made--before it can be looted or mooched--made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he has produced."
"But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires. Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality--the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind."
"Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it."
"Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another--their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun."
"Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion--when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing--when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors--when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you--when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice--you may know that your society is doomed."
I said it way back when and I'll say it again: Obama was in over his head then and even after three-and-a-half years he's still in over his head. It appears in all that time he's learned nothing about actually being a president, learned nothing about how the economy works, and is so stuck in his narrow-thinking ideology that no amount of evidence proving he's wrong will sway him from his course.
This is merely the latest in a series of municipal bankruptcies plaguing the Golden State. Far too many of the municipalities believed the good times would never end and promised things to their citizens and employees based upon that belief. However reality has proved them wrong, the bills have come due, and their coffers are empty.
State finances aren't in any better shape, with a projected $16 billion budget deficit in the offing. Unfortunately, unlike the cities and towns in California, the state cannot declare bankruptcy, meaning the taxpayers (what's left of them) are obligated to pay off the state's deficiencies. But as the state assembly and the governor are learning the hard way, raising taxes any more than they already have will not raise more revenue because the state is already on the wrong side of the Laffer Curve. The last round of tax hikes caused revenues to fall, leaving the state even deeper in debt.
How they believe yet another round of tax hikes will solve their problem makes me wonder if there is anyone sane left in the upper echelons of state government. Unfortunately the answer appears to be 'no'.
The summerfolk are here and in large numbers. I made a quick stop by the town beach yesterday to see how many people were there. The lot was full and cars were parked along the road leading to the beach. From what I could see from the road the beach was packed, though most of the folks there were congregated along the northern end close to the restrooms and concessions.
While I didn't get to all my chores yesterday, I did get most of them done. Depending upon the weather later today, I should be able to finish the rest of them. I might even get down to the beach late this afternoon or early this evening for a quick dip in the lake.
************Bird Dog rehashes the ObamaCare decision and the fallout from it, including analysis of what ObamaCare really means as well as the financial realities that, in the end, dooms it to failure.
************At least White House staffers are "doing just fine" in regards to pay. Too bad those of us the private sector aren't doing so well, particularly when we're paying even more we can't afford to help support those three White House calligraphers making between $86,000 and $96,000 per year.
Seriously, calligraphers? I thought there were computer apps for that now.
************Getting back to the ObamaCare decision, Pat Austin comments and links about a couple of the good side-effects: Increased donations to the Romney campaign and more folks joining or supporting their local Tea Party organizations.
************Villainous Company covers the Washington Post fact checking the...umm...Washington Post in regards to the highly deceptive attack ads the Obama campaign is running against Mitt Romney.
I guess the Obama's campaign staff has decided to use the Big Lie concept first used so well by Goebbels in Hitler's Germany. (Yes, I know it appears I've come under Godwin's Law, but I'm not equating them to Nazis, merely stating a historical fact. That the Obama campaign has decided to go there was purely their choice and not a matter of opinion.)
(H/T Pirate's Cove)
************"Privilege for me, but not for thee."
Apparently that's the mantra from Eric Holder's DOJ when it comes to the Texas state executive and legislative branches of government. It's okay for the Feds to cite executive privilege to keep documents secret, but not for the individual states to do so.
I don't know about you, but that looks an awful lot like a double standard being applied. But then Democrats are known for applying that kind of double standard where only they and theirs get a pass while everyone else has to follow the law.
************Here's a two-fer from David Starr way up in the Northwoods of New Hampshire.
First, he explains how he found it impossible to watch a movie he Netflixed, explaining it was too darned depressing.
Second, David delves into the conspicuous consumption of the past and today's realities when it comes to consumer spending.
As David writes:
In short, Americans are consuming less, durable goods are more durable, the hot new electronic toys are fairly cheap and as consumer demand drops off, so does employment.That's certainly true of automobiles. It used to be a car or truck was ready for the junkyard at 100,000 miles. These days, they're barely broken in. Replacing cars every two or three years is a rarity when in the past it was a regular thing.
Here at The Manse, the newest vehicle we have is the trusty 2004 Ford F150. BeezleBub's Dodge Dakota is a 2003 model. His Jeep CJ5 is of 1975 vintage. And Deb drives our 2000 Dodge Intrepid which has almost 140,000 miles on it and has been quite reliable to date. (One side note: the A/C compressor on the Intrepid has failed and we're waiting for a new one to be delivered to our local mechanic's shop.)
************Scary Yankee Chick has a timely customer relations tip.
I think this could also be applied in a few more places, like the AGW or ObamaCare debates, just to name a couple.
************Stingray also has some timely advice for meteorologists in his little part of New Mexico (Los Alamos):
Current reporting claims 45% cloud cover. Please, for the sake of us all, open the window and let the bong smoke out, you've clearly mistaken it for atmospheric conditions again, as the only thing covering 45% of the sky at the moment is heat, along with more heat and a side of dry. The remaining 55% happens to be covered by the same thing, but small details like that are easy to miss in the fever of inventing fictional climates. I imagine this fantasy Los Alamos which has been the subject of your reports and forecast for some time now to be quite a nice location, and while I'd like to consider the notion you're merely reporting on what the weather will be in late September, instead of the end of June, I'm not sure I quite buy that level of prognostication.This reminds me of an old promo for one of the Boston TV stations' weather forecasts. Their chief meteorologist talks about how forecasting the weather is still as much of an art as it is a science when there's a sudden flash of light and rumble of thunder. He runs over to the widow, throws it open and stick his head out to look at the sky. He then looks at his watch, frowns, and then comments: "Hmm. 20 minutes late!"
If only that were the truth.
************Eric the Viking makes this prediction: "You absolutely will not see another press conference by this president. Everything will be carefully scripted and loaded onto TOTUS for delivery."
I have to agree.
************And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the summerfolk are enjoying themselves, BeezleBub's farm is busy, and where we're enjoying reasonable summertime temperatures.
It's remarkable that I've never forgotten the major, decade-long $540 million study conducted at the behest of the late NY Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan that found the acid rain problem was NOT the problem the media was portraying. Less than five percent of lakes and rivers had acidity. And most of that was from leeching from the ground where the water was standing on.
But when Congress approved the [1990 Clean Air Act], it ignored the results of its own $540 million study, commissioned a decade earlier and completed in 1990.
In one of the most thorough analyses of an enviromental problem ever conducted [emphasis mine], researchers checked acidity levels in more than 4,000 lakes and thousands of miles of streams. Their tests showed that acid rain, while a problem, was certainly not a crisis for this country. While a few hundred lakes and streams were shown to have high levels of acids, the study also said that thousands of others had not been affected.
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the New York Democrat who voted for the clean-air law, said the Congressional study was ignored because it would have upset the delicate regional political alliances that had been formed to push through the acid-rain protections.
"That's the way it happened," Mr. Moynihan said in an interview. "It was not a pretty way to make policy." (LINK)