Thoughts On A Sunday: April 2009 Archives

Thoughts On A Sunday

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The warm temperatures we've been experiencing have been welcome, allowing us to shut off the furnace and allow the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove to go cold. The windows were opened, the screen doors put in, and the patio furniture returned to the main deck behind The Manse.

Despite the warm temperatures, BeezleBub and I spent a few hours moving firewood from the Official Weekend Pundit Woodpile into the garage. While mostly dry, it still needs some time to be properly seasoned. The warm, dry conditions in the garage will speed the last of it and ensure we'll have a least two and a half cords of perfectly seasoned wood for next winter. The last two or so cords will continue drying outside. We expect to get two more cords before fall to ensure we have enough for next winter.

But until then we'll focus on getting things ready for the coming summer.

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Speaking of the coming summer, we have secured a new slip for the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout, aka The Boat. Unlike last year, The Boat will once again be berthed close to The Manse, just across the cove where we'd berthed in previous years. Last year we returned to a slip located outside the Original Official Weekend Pundit Manse. While inexpensive, it was not a convenient location, taking over 20 minutes to get there from The Manse and another 40 minutes to get out onto the main part of Lake Winnipesaukee. The new location is only 5 minutes away and it takes only a few minutes to get from there to the big lake. The great thing is that it costs only a tiny bit more than the slip we had last year.

We still have work to do to The Boat to ensure it will be ready for the upcoming boating season, but nothing major. It should be ready to return to the water sometime in the next two weeks.

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Now there's another debate about global warming..er..climate change. With the sun at a solar minimum not seen for over 100 years, global temperatures falling, and increasing doubt about Man's part in climate change, the battle is centering on the Sun's effect on climate. If I had to guess, I'd say it has everything to do with it.

There are plenty of records showing a strong correlation between solar activity and global temperatures. (Yes, I know correlation does not imply causality, but it does mean we need to explore this correlation to determine if there is another mechanism driving the phenomenon.) During the last solar minimum, titled the Maunder Minimum, solar activity was very low. It coincided with the "Little Ice Age", which brought far colder temperatures worldwide. Some solar scientists believe that Cycle 24 (the 11-year sunspot cycle) has not started its upward swing. In fact it is over 18 months overdue and not showing any signs of starting any time soon.

Gee, could it be the warmists are wrong and that climate variation over time is natural?

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Obama's first 100 days...and his first 100 mistakes.

(H/T Michelle Malkin)

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Via Maggie's Farm: "President Pantywaist does not know who the Enemy is."

You know it's bad when even the UK press is lambasting President Obama's policies.

If al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the rest of the Looney Tunes brigade want to kick America to death, they had better move in quickly and grab a piece of the action before Barack Obama finishes the job himself. Never in the history of the United States has a president worked so actively against the interests of his own people - not even Jimmy Carter.

President Pantywaist's recent world tour, cosying up to all the bad guys, excited the ambitions of America's enemies. Here, they realised, is a sucker they can really take to the cleaners. His only enemies are fellow Americans. Which prompts the question: why does President Pantywaist hate America so badly?

Said one commenter, "It's a sad state of affairs when this opinion is published in the UK, rather than being trumpeted in the MSM by the Republicans, Libertarians and Independents in the US."

Nothing more need be said.

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Is it a surprise to anyone that federal tax receipts have plummeted, particularly in light of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy? As Tom Blumer puts it, tax receipts are down because Americans are 'Going Galt'.

Even more importantly, they started doing so last summer with good reason.

Starting in June and all the way through to Election Day, Pelosi, Obama, and Reid -- but especially presidential nominee Obama -- told the country that they were ready, willing, and would soon be able to punitively tax the 5% of the nation's most productive so they could redistribute money to everyone else. Enough high producers to make a difference believed them and abandoned their previous guarded optimism[...] not because of then-current economic conditions, which were at worst mediocre. They did so because of their assessments of what economic conditions would be in the not-too-distant future, based on the perilous pronouncements of Pelosi, Obama, and Reid. Many of those who didn't catch on during the summer did so after observing the reckless September-October actions of the Washington establishment.

As a result, they took steps that businesspeople, entrepreneurs, and investors ordinarily take when a serious recession takes hold -- not hiring, not expanding, letting people go and not replacing them, making worn-out equipment last longer instead of buying new, and others -- before the serious recession took hold. They deliberately downsized in response to stated promises by powerful government officials Pelosi, Obama, and Reid to penalize and punish them and the economy as a whole, if and when they gained power.

In other words, enough high producers to make a difference preemptively "went Galt."

The end result? A recession of the likes we haven't seen since the 1970's. The cause? The socialist punish-the-rich plans put forth by the Democratic triumvirate.

This shows two things: First, that George Santayana was right. Second, that Pelosi, Obama, and Reid never took (or passed) an economics class in school, or even worse, have had no real world experience running a business and understanding what motivates business owners to do well.

Coming across as a government sanctioned protection racket is not how one spurs business owners to do well.

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Just to break up this Obama love-fest, I must relate this Sunday morning experience that illustrates what happens when you can't get good help.

My lovely wife and I decide to have breakfast out this morning, so we went to one of the local eateries, one I happen to frequent once or twice a week. As we entered we could see it wasn't busy, with maybe a third of the booths/tables/counter stools occupied. We thought it wouldn't take long for us to have breakfast. We were wrong.

We sat at one of the booths, which still had dirty dishes from the previous occupants. After 15 minutes of being totally ignored and seeing other diners entering and being treated the same way, we decided to seek our breakfast elsewhere.

The diner was not undermanned by any means. But even with all the apparent activity, I came to realize they really weren't getting anything accomplished. Tables were not being cleared, orders weren't being taken, and patrons had to wait to pay their bills.

This is not a model for success.

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From Bruce comes this story about the People's Republic of Taxachusetts and their plans to raise their sales tax from 5% to 6%...or maybe even 7%. As he points out, all this will do is induce even more Massachusetts residents to make the drive to New Hampshire to shop, which has no sales tax. It will also induce Rhode Island residents to spend their money in their home state since Massachusetts sales tax will now equal Rhode Island's.

It appears no one in the Massachusetts legislature or the governor's office has ever heard of the Laffer Curve.

As Bruce says, the alternative title to his post should be "The Great New Hampshire Stimulus Bill Rolls On."

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Raven let's us know the danger of having a narcissist for a president. For one thing, he misses things like the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, which has now made its way into the US. He is also unaware of the protests symbolized by the Tea Parties.

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Bob Parks slams Shane Murphy, second in command of the Maersk Alabama, for his diatribe against Rush Limbaugh's reporting about the rescue of Captain Phillips and the death of the three pirates. Murphy believes Limbaugh's characterization of the pirates holding Phillips was racist. Never mind that Limbaugh's identification of the pirates was 100% accurate.

As one commenter to Bob's post wrote, "[Murphy] is just a tool."

He'll get no argument from me on that one.

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Fred First over at Fragments From Floyd reminisces about the loss of his dog Buster six years ago. The memories came flooding back when he came across a wonderful picture of Buster he'd misfiled on his computer.

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Rachel Lucas gives us some insight into the European view of Americans, particular those of us too darned ignorant to not vote for the Obamessiah.

Rachel also lays a smackdown on Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and her complete ignorance about matters dealing with national security.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weather is more like summer, thoughts of boating intrude on a regular basis, and where work to put up firewood for next winter continues.

Thoughts On A Sunday

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It was definitely a mixed bag for weather this weekend, with temps in the 70's on Friday, in the 50's with clouds and intermittent rain on Saturday, and sunny and in the low 60's on Sunday.

BeezleBub worked at the farm all day Saturday, getting back onto the swing of farm work with most of his day spent out in the field pulling plastic 'mulch' from the soil in preparation for plowing. He'll be spending most of his April vacation working at the farm, getting things ready for the farm stand's opening on May 1st.

Today we took a drive around the lake, checking out the scenery and the preparations being made for the upcoming summer tourist season. We also stopped at the Old Country Store in Moultonboro to pick up some Vermont sharp cheddar cheese and some homemade chocolate.

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While there has been wide coverage of the Tax Day Tea Party protests on blogs like Instapundit and blog media like Pajamasmedia, two New Hampshire blogs have links to the Tea Party activity in the Granite State - GraniteGrok and Amy Kane's Atlantic Avenue. Both also have extensive coverage of the Tea Parties, and Amy's blog has links to Tea Parties in Boston as well.

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Pam Meister explains why she, I, and so many others are now considered radical right wing extremists by the Obama administration.

I wear the title proudly if it means someone who stands for the freedoms hard won by our forefathers and paid for with the blood of patriots. I wear the title proudly if it means someone who stands for the United States Constitution and understands it (particularly the Ninth and Tenth Amendments). I for one cannot stand idly by when tyranny comes to us in the guise of a charismatic socialist incompetent with delusions of adequacy.

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To add more fuel to the fire: It looks like Obama is taking some pages from Atlas Shrugged. Unfortunately, he's taking the wrong pages and working to cripple the economy, not free it.

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Here's a picture gallery of Philadelphia's Tea Party.

(H/T Instapundit)

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Via Sissy Willis comes this observation by Andrew Klavan:

Zombies are dead creatures that don't produce anything and must devour the lives of others, even though once everyone becomes a zombie, there'll be nothing left for anyone to eat. Government is exactly the same. It doesn't start businesses, it doesn't create wealth, it doesn't invent anything. It devours all the stuff that you make.

You bar the door against property tax, they come in through a sales tax. You board the windows against income tax, they reach in through an energy tax.

Now, there are some differences between the movie zombies and the government kind. In the movie the zombies didn't try to tell their victims that being devoured was good for them ... or, my favorite, let me devour your flesh because I know how to use it better than you do.

Thus it is always with the self-proclaimed elites. Too bad they're always wrong.

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Despite claims to the contrary, the Tea Parties are far more diverse than the Leftist Anti-War/Anti-George Bush protests ever were.

(H/T Instapundit)

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Yet another story via Instapundit, this time dealing with the poor protection our infrastructure possesses against Electromagnetic Pulse attacks. A perfect illustration of the effects of EMP on the US was the TV series Dark Angel, showing a post-'pulse' America.

While some telecommunications is becoming a bit less susceptible (more is switching over to optical fiber every day), the electronics that runs it all is still vulnerable. The same is true of our power grids for there is little built in protection to help the systems survive EMP, whether man-made or natural (massive solar flares can also generate EMP).

There may be some measures homeowners can take to protect their home electrical system and electronics from EMP.

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Dr. Helen Smith points us to a new blog with a John Galt theme. Go check it out.

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From the aforementioned Galtslist blog, a picture I wish I'd had for the Tax Day Tea Party protest last week.

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A larger version of the picture can be found here.

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In case you've never read Atlas Shrugged and don't understand the phrase "Going Galt", the Atlas Society has posted an explanation.

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There must be something in the water down in Texas because they've got a lot of beautiful women...and most of them appear to be conservative.

That certainly is true of Texas blogger RightWingSparkle.

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Anyone that has a basic understanding of economics and the law of diminishing returns already knows this: Even if Obama taxed the rich at 100% the revenue collected won't even come close funding his planned spending.

Gee, ya' think?

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Don Surber tells us of a smart move by the Montana legislature exempting Montana-made guns from federal gun laws within Montana. As Surber writes, it's "a move which underscores a state's right to legislate commerce that occurs totally and exclusively within its own borders."

New Hampshire should do likewise. Two companies - Sturm Ruger and Thompson/Center Arms - manufacture guns in the state. It's time to exercise our Ninth and Tenth Amendment rights.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where boats have already been making their appearance, businesses are already gearing up for the summer, and where we can still find ammo for our guns.

Thoughts On A Sunday

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The first real sign of spring finally arrived.

It's not the first robin, nor the first shoots of perennial plants making their appearance. The real sign of spring is when BeezleBub goes back to work on the farm.

Yesterday was his first day back, spending most of the day setting seeds in the plug trays as part of the weekly plantings. While this is something just about every member of the field crew has to do, BeezleBub is one of the first of the crew called back, so he's the first to deal with this rather tedious but vital task. He also had to stoke the wood-fired boiler used to heat the greenhouses used to give the various flowers and vegetables an early start.

He was tired, but tired in a way that a good day's work gives one.

Spring has indeed returned.

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One thing I've found is a number of people that are aware of the upcoming Tax Day Tea Party aren't aware that it's more than a local phenomenon. As I mentioned to one of them, the protests are scheduled to take place in more than 300 cities across the country. He was incredulous, happily so.

I for one will be attending the Tax Day Tea Party protest in Manchester, NH.

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Does Obama's arrogance know no bounds? Apparently not.

During his recent European jaunt, Obama called America's past attitude towards Europe arrogant. He failed to offer any particulars, and with his concomitant criticisms of predecessor George Bush, my guess is that he's referring at least in part to that cowboy swagger Europeans so loved to hate.

But [my own observations] of Obama is as least as much (if not more) in line with the defintion of the word "arrogant", which has always seemed to me a perfect description of the man: "overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner toward inferiors."

George Bush may have been cocky. But I don't recall him having an air of looking down on others. This is precisely the attitude Obama conveys, and it's all the more strange since he is relatively devoid of real world experience other than the academic. But arrogance is a trait I've often noticed in academics, as well.

As have I. It has become quite apparent our President does indeed look down upon those he considers his inferiors, including the four still-living former Presidents.

What an arrogant jerk!

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Even the Washington Post is now saying there's no way Obama won't be raising everybody's taxes. It will be unavoidable given the massive deficit spending he has planned for the next 10 years.

When even Obama's MSM supporters are calling him on his claims, you know there might be a paradigm shift in progress.

(H/T Viking Pundit)

Thoughts On A Sunday

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I've been 'bach-ing' it since yesterday afternoon, with Deb and BeezleBub off to visit the WP In-Laws over the weekend. It's too quiet with them gone, even with our six feline family members keeping me company.

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It's been some time since I started using Linux on a couple of the Weekend Pundit computers. A new release of the Ubuntu distribution, version 9.04, will be coming out in a couple weeks with some new features that look really neat.

With a few minor exceptions, I have found Linux to be more than adequate for almost 95% of the tasks I need to perform. The 5% of the tasks Linux can't handle are work related, using specialized software with Windows specific security keys. But it's rare I need to bring that kind of work home, so Linux does what I need it to do and does it well.

About the only negative I can report is that what anti-virus software is available for Linux (Clamav and AVG) isn't user friendly. One, Clamav, requires recompiling the kernel in order to enable a graphical user interface rather than using a command line. But viruses that affect Linux are few and far between...so far.

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Even though the warmer weather has arrived, we're still using the woodstove, though only in the evenings. We'll still have almost 4 cords of firewood left by the end of the heating season, enough to get us through most of next winter, if not the entire winter. We haven't used nearly as much wood as we did last year.

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President Obama has learned his charisma doesn't have any affect on other heads-of-state, being limited to the suckers that voted him into office back on this side of the pond. His pimping for other members of the G20 to pump trillions of dollars into the world economy as a "stimulus" has been rebuked. As German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded:

"I will not let anyone tell me that we must spend more money...We must look at the causes of this crisis. It happened because we were living beyond our means...We cannot repeat this mistake." Germany has set aside about 4% of GDP for stimulus so far and has resisted increasing that to the extraordinary American level of about 8% of GDP.

The President is learning his oratory has little effect on those outside the US. Could it be because people elsewhere have a better read on Obama and realize he's a poseur, in over his head?

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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This morning's Good Morning America reported on the killings in Binghamton, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, and Oakland, CA. Part way through their report they made the statement that there are "renewed calls for more gun control."

How disingenuous is this? Who is calling for more gun control? They haven't told us this. Could it be it's mostly the MSM making these calls? Are they being joined by the usual suspects?

Without a doubt.

I have to ask them this: Why is it that states with very minimal gun laws also have very low crime rates?

That's a question they haven't answered to date, nor do I expect to receive one because it flies in the face of what they've been preaching all these years.

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More people in the Obama camp are wising up to the sleight-of-hand being pulled by the President and Congress when it comes to the historically large and deficit-ridden $3.5 trillion budget. A number of lies have been told in an effort to get support for the economy busting spending plan of the Socialist-In-Chief.

Congress has agreed to spend $3.5 trillion of American taxpayer money -- 34 percent of it borrowed -- for the purpose of economic recovery. Or so we are told.

Speaking of the President's budget, which both the House and the Senate passed on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "It's going to take a lot of work to clean up the mess we inherited, and passing this budget is a critical step in the right direction."

That was a deliberate lie, exposed as such by the budget itself. The bulk of its so-called recovery spending occurs years down the road, well after the administration predicts the economy will have begun growing again.

It's smoke and mirrors, folks. The present administration figures it can spend your money better than you can. Never mind the fact that you earned it. They want it, and the money your children and grandchildren will earn for the next few generations or so.

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To give you a preview of what the future holds should the unions get their way and EFCA passes, Mayor Frank Guinta of Manchester, New Hampshire has been handed an ultimatum by the city's unions, making it very difficult for him to make necessary budget cuts in order to prevent an unaffordable rise in property taxes. Somehow the unions have come to believe they are immune from layoffs and pay cuts, and can dictate to the mayor and aldermen whether or not there will budget cuts or tax increases.

I could have sworn our elected officials were supposed to control spending and taxes, not the unions.

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Another Obama tax pledge bites the dust.

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The real reason the government doesn't want banks to repay TARP funds?

They want to control the banks directly.

The government wants to control the banks, just as it now controls GM and Chrysler, and will surely control the health industry in the not-too-distant future. Keeping them TARP-stuffed is the key to control. And for this intensely political president, mere influence is not enough. The White House wants to tell 'em what to do. Control. Direct. Command.

If the banks are forced to keep TARP cash -- which was often forced on them in the first place -- the Obama team can work its will on the financial system to unprecedented degree. That's what's happening right now.

If I didn't know better I'd swear Obama and his advisors are acting more like a Chicago mob crime family, taking control of legitimate businesses and skimming money off the top.

The government is even threatening healthy banks, forcing them to take TARP funds they don't need, don't want, but can't give back, giving it control of those banks. In effect Barack Obama is nationalizing the banks through threats and subterfuge, bypassing the legislative process and oversight by the legislative and judicial branches of the government. It's an extortion racket, plain and simple.

There is simply no authority in the U.S. Constitution for Congress to exercise the level of control it now seeks over private industry. In fact, this level of control will wind up costing the businesses that took TARP (voluntarily or involuntarily) money since they will lose key employees who will go to work elsewhere and because the reporting requirements will take time and time is money. The Constitution basically says that if the government wants to take time or freedom or money from someone or something, it must sue for it. It cannot just give itself the authority to do so via legislation.

I wonder if or when the MSM will wake up to the fact that Obama has fooled them all, made them willing dupes in a campaign to radically make over the US into a socialist hell run by a creation of the Chicago political machine. Hopefully they'll realize it before he actually controls them, too.

Are you scared yet?

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More on narcissism.

Sound like anyone we know?

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Here's an indicator of "bipartisanship" in Congress.

Not one Republican in the House, not one, voted in favor of Obama's $3.5 trillion budget. Twenty Democrats also voted nay. Can you blame them? They know this budget is an economy-killer and want nothing to do with it.

Will this be setting up a mid-term election sweep in 2010, removing a large number of spend-and-tax Democrats from the House? I hope so. It may be the American taxpayer's only hope to undo the damage Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are doing to the economy.

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There's no way we should let Obama control the Internet. He's been seizing too much power that isn't his to begin with. The last thing we need is to give him the ability to shut it down during an ambiguously defined "emergency". Knowing his proclivities, "emergency" could be defined as too many blog posts criticizing him and his plans to create a socialist America.

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Sales of Atlas Shrugged now ranks #18 at Amazon.

What do you think that means? (As if we didn't know.)

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If the government takes control of the health care system, will they withhold treatment for otherwise healthy elderly citizens because it would be cheaper to make sure they die? Glenn Reynolds argues the point that if life-prolonging medical treatment keeps the elderly healthy and active, they are more likely to keep working and paying into the system rather than being paid by the system.

I can see where that would be the case, knowing quite a few retired folks that wish they were still healthy enough to keep working. (No, I'm not kidding. As more than one person put it, being retired is great for the first month or so. After that it can get boring.)

If life expectancy increased by twenty or thirty years, I doubt very much people would still be retiring at 65.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where mud season is upon us, thoughts are turning to the upcoming boating season, and where the ice is quickly disappearing from the lake.

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