Monday, December 27, 2010

It's All The Chinese Fault!

Oh this is rich:

Our now unemployed former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter doesn't believe the voters in her Congressional district (NH-1) really wanted her out. Instead she blames the Chinese for her defeat.

Gee, it couldn't be because she treated her constituents with disdain and contempt (at least those of them that were registered Democrats), totally ignored those constituents who were registered Republicans, denigrated the Blue Star/Gold Star Mothers of New Hampshire, and in her arrogance believed the rules were only meant for “the little people” and not for the progressive wing of the Democrat Party?

Carol, you got fired because you weren't representing the interests of the people in your district and instead representing the interests of Nancy Pelosi and the other Marxists in Congress. The people knew that and figured they'd had enough of your smug condescension and decided to replace you with someone who would actually represent them.

The Blizzard

We managed to escape the worst of the so-called “Blizzard of 2010”, receiving less than 8” (20cm) of snow here at The Manse. Nearby Laconia received over 12”, but I think the disparity can be attributed to the fact that The Manse is located on the western side of a hill which shielded us from the direct onslaught of the storm and reducing our snowfall total somewhat.

Not that the 8” of snow didn't require removal. That meant firing up the snowblower and tackling the job of cleaning up the driveway. The high and gusting winds didn't help things much, making it difficult at times to see what I was doing. After 75 minutes the job was done and Deb would be able to make it out to get to work. (I did insist she take the trusty F150 4x4 if for no other reason I could be reasonably sure she'd be able to make it up the driveway and out to the state road.)

I know I'll have to go out again either sometime tonight (before Deb is due home) or first thing tomorrow morning to clear the snow the winds have drifted back onto the driveway.

And so ends the first 'real' snowstorm of the Winter of 2010-2011.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Random Thoughts On Christmas Eve

BeezleBub and I were out Christmas shopping yesterday, heading out around 3:30 in the afternoon. (Yes, I took half a vacation day to duck out of work early. So sue me.) I knew that we would probably miss the evening shopping crowd as we would be hitting the local outlet center just as most folks were heading home for dinner. It turns out we timed it just right.

I though we'd have to park out in the boonies at the outlets, but that wasn't the case. While there were plenty of cars in the lot, there weren't that many. We managed to park all of two rows back from the central section, meaning we didn't have to walk far at all. BeezleBub picked up most of what he needed within 30 minutes and we were on our way to the next stop – WalMart. Another 20 minutes there and we were done.

After a brief dinner stop at Wendy's we were on our way home, and just in time. The moderately heavy traffic we'd seen while heading to the outlets had turned into very slow moving bumper-to-bumper traffic heading towards outlets and other shopping centers.

= = = = = = = = = =

One of the most difficult things to find while shopping? Shirt and sweater boxes. Deb needed them so she could wrap some of the clothing she'd bought as gifts. Do you think I could find them anywhere? Nope.

That's one downside to shopping online. When you buy something like that at a store they'll provide boxes to make it easier to wrap them. (Yes, I know some stores will charge for them, but many don't.)

= = = = = = = = = =

Something I saw that got me smiling on my way home from last minute Christmas shopping this morning:

Out in front of Funspot, a local year-round amusement center, their electronic sign was flashing it's not unexpected season's greetings messages. Sandwiched among them: “Who is John Galt?

I wonder how many people driving by there understood the question or its context?

= = = = = = = = = =

Driving around various parts of the southern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee this morning I was able to see how much of the lake has frozen over.

Paugus Bay was frozen from its southern-most part to just past Christmas Island. Above that it was all open water. Weirs Beach and Meredith Bay didn't show a bit of ice anywhere. By contrast, all of Alton Bay is frozen over. It could be the wind is stirring up the water enough to keep wide areas of the lake from freezing over.

Considering the annual Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby is a little over a month away, the lake had better hurry up and freeze over.

= = = = = = = = = =

Another thing I've noticed while shopping during the past couple of weeks: most folks are either paying cash or using debit cards for their Christmas purchases. Very few are using their credit cards. I did ask a few retailers over the past week or so and they confirmed my observations.

I don't know if this is because of the higher interest rates being charged by card issuers or because card holders nearing their credit limits. Or it could be that people just don't want to see those bills hitting their mailboxes next month. Regardless of the reason, people are using cash and debit far more than they have in quite some time.

Deb has done likewise, forgoing the credit card as much as possible even though she did almost all her shopping online. Not that we didn't use ours, but we kept our use of it to an absolute minimum.

= = = = = = = = = =

The Manse is not adorned with its usual level of Christmas lights. Instead we opted for something simpler and more traditional: small white 'candle' lights in each window. The only other adornment is our Christmas tree inside which can be seen through our front windows from the road.

Not that we've ever gone over the top in regards to outdoor Christmas decorations. But we didn't put up the usual outdoor lights outlining The Manse. It wasn't a conscious on our part. Rather our respective work/school schedules left us little time to put them up this year.

= = = = = = = = = =

We are heading over the river and through the woods to the In-Laws first thing tomorrow morning.

BeezleBub had hoped to go down there today, but we disabused him of that notion, reminding him we'd have to use two vehicles (Deb is working tonight) and that the sleeping accommodations would be less than optimal. In the end he figured we were right and that going down first thing Christmas morning would be just fine. (Of course his idea of 'first thing in the morning' is 7AM. We'll see.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Food Court Flash Mob

We've all heard of flash mobs and the like. This is one I think you'll enjoy, particularly in light of the coming Christmas season.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Have We Forgotten The Lesson Of Thanksgiving?

I could have gone with my traditional Thanksgiving Day post, a repost of one of Andrew Sullivan's Thanksgiving Day posts from long ago, but this year I felt I needed to take a different tack and remind you of the forgotten lesson of the first Thanksgiving.

Had today's political class been in power in 1623, tomorrow's holiday would have been called "Starvation Day" instead of Thanksgiving. Of course, most of us wouldn't be alive to celebrate it.

Every year around this time, schoolchildren are taught about that wonderful day when Pilgrims and Native Americans shared the fruits of the harvest. But the first Thanksgiving in 1623 almost didn't happen.

Long before the failure of modern socialism, the earliest European settlers gave us a dramatic demonstration of the fatal flaws of collectivism. Unfortunately, few Americans today know it.

The Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony organized their farm economy along communal lines. The goal was to share the work and produce equally.

That's why they nearly all starved.

Is this Thanksgiving Day message a politically motivated one? Of course it is. After all, the history of the first Thanksgiving gives us much to ponder about present day conditions and those wishing to repeat the failed social experiment tried by the first English settlers in New England.

One of the reasons the Pilgrims nearly starved to death was because unlike today, they had no one else's largess to 'appropriate' in order to survive. It wasn't like they had the means to take what Indians had from them. (Yes, I wrote 'Indians'. I refuse to use politically correct terms just to not offend those who would gladly be offended on behalf of the original indigenous inhabitants of the North American continent.)

This experiment in socialism/communalism proved the innate falsehood of “From each according his ability, to each according his needs,” as well as hard proof of the tragedy of the commons. The first illustrates the shortsightedness of Marx and his followers who, either by chance or choice, ignored the one thing that made Marx's theories totally unworkable – human nature. The second defines that shortsightedness. If nothing else, the Pilgrims were the first society to try living under what would later become part of Marx's theory. Because they were an insular society at the time (there were no real neighbors to go to for aid as there are today), the falsity of the theory was there for everyone who survived the famine to see.

But do the modern day socialists/communalists/communists take a lesson from that failure? Of course not. Over the past 100 years or so they have tried to run the experiment again and again, which always ends with the same tragic results, but at the cost of millions of lives. Members of our own government seem to think they can make it work when history proves otherwise. They have refused to learn from lesson of the first Thanksgiving. I have no doubt they will continue to ignore it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Let The Budgeting Begin!

The budget season has started here in New Hampshire, with towns, cities, and the state working to put together budgets for the upcoming fiscal year.

It may be the recent win by self-declared fiscal conservatives in state and national elections that have driven home the point that the taxpayers have had enough of profligate spending and will be watching their elected officials much more closely than they have in the past.

Our little town has been way ahead of the pack, with the selectmen and the budget committee scrutinizing every penny and making cuts to keep spending in check during these difficult economic times. Should both entities get their way, our town's budget for the next fiscal year will be smaller than this year's, the third year in a row for that trend. The same is true of the school budget. (Like most towns and cities in New Hampshire, the municipal and school budgets are entirely separate. But in towns like ours with an elected budget committee, the committee reviews and votes whether or not to recommend the warrants articles from both.)

At the state level the governor has already warned state agencies to prepare for tough choices they'll have to make.

The previous two budgets increased spending by more than 30% over the past 4 years (New Hampshire has a two-year budget), but this time around the Democrat governor has to deal with an overwhelmingly Republican legislature (74.5% of the seats in the 400 seat New Hampshire House are in the hands of the GOP, as are 79% of the seats in the state Senate). During the previous two budgets the governor had a Democrat majority in the legislature to back up his spending plans. Assuming the Republicans in the legislature follow through on their promises to keep spending in check, if not roll back some expenditures and the taxes that go with them, it can be expected that state spending will remain flat, if not decrease from the present biennial budget. And should the governor veto a lean GOP budget, both chambers of the legislature have the votes to override it.

It will be interesting to watch the budget deliberations at the local and state level and compare it to what will be going on in Washington during the 112th Congress. Our Representatives and our Senators in Congress know we will be watching closely and will be more than willing to throw them out if they don't do as so many at the state and local level have done: keep spending and taxes in check.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bruce Wins!

I am pleased to announce that one of our better known New Hampshire bloggers, Bruce (MacMahon) of No Looking Backwards fame, won a seat in the New Hampshire House, representing the town of Brentwood in Rockingham County District 10. Bruce defeated incumbent Democrat Don Petterson.

Not bad for someone who just 4 years ago fled the tyranny of the People's Republic of Massachusetts, smuggling his family across the border to freedom.

Congrats, Bruce!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's All George Bush's Fault

Now it's official: It's all George W. Bush's fault!

Just one year ago, fresh from his inauguration celebrations, President Obama was flying high. After one of the nation’s most inspiring political campaigns, the election of America’s first black president had captured the hopes and dreams of millions. To his devout followers, it was inconceivable that a year later his administration would be gripped in self-imposed crisis.

Of course, they don’t see it as self imposed. It’s all George Bush’s fault.

George Bush, who doesn’t have a vote in Congress and who no longer occupies the White House, is to blame for it all.

He broke Obama’s promise to put all bills on the White House web site for five days before signing them.

He broke Obama’s promise to have the congressional health care negotiations broadcast live on C-SPAN.

He broke Obama’s promise to end earmarks.

He broke Obama’s promise to keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent.


Yes, it’s all George Bush’s fault. President Obama is nothing more than a puppet in the never-ending, failed Bush administration.

Read. The. Whole. Thing.

(H/T Instapundit)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tax Day Tea Party - Manchester, NH

Thursday I attended one of the hundreds of TEA party protests held around the nation. Turnout was around 1000, which was similar to last year's Tax Day TEA Party protest.

Of the myriad of speakers at the protest, only one was a sitting member of the House of Representatives and he was visiting from Michigan. A number of Congressional hopefuls were there, but none spoke, preferring to press the flesh and speak one-on-one with TEA party supporters. Not surprisingly, only GOP candidates showed up even though invitations were extended to candidates from all parties.

Three of the more inspiring speakers included former US Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH), Thom Thomson – son of the late New Hampshire governor Meldrim Thomson, and former New Hampshire Senator Greg Lovejoy.

Senator Humphrey related his experiences of serving in the Senate for two terms. (He promised when he was elected that he'd only serve two terms, then come home. He kept his promise.) The one thing he said that stuck in my mind was his comparison of Congress to “a pit of vipers.” He also warned that even those with the best of intentions when they arrive in Washington are eventually seduced by the power their office confers. It doesn't happen quickly, but it does happen, which is why he has supported term limits. He also led the call to “Throw the bums OUT!”, something the crowd quickly picked up and chanted with increasing volume. Humphrey said we shouldn't discriminate as there were plenty of Republican bums deserving to be thrown out as much as their Democrat colleagues.

Both Thom Thomson and Senator Lovejoy spoke about the fiscal problems visited upon the people of New Hampshire by both the legislature and the governor, with legislative Democrats willing to spend money the state doesn't have, implementing tax hikes that hit the people most affected by the recession, and attempting to 'appropriate' private funds from a medical malpractice fund in an effort to fund the runaway budget. The governor also failed to protect the taxpayers in the state by refusing to use his veto pen to stop the 30% increase in state spending over the past 2 budgets.

While other TEA party protests drew some number of infiltrators/agitators, the Manchester protest drew only one 'visitor' from the New Hampshire Democrat Party, and he pretty much just watched the activities.

All in all it was a great gathering with appreciative crowd all sharing the same message: “We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more!”

Saturday, March 13, 2010

How To Fix It

Being an engineer and a long time amateur radio operator I have always liked seeing an interesting innovation used to fix a problem, whether the fix is temporary or permanent. I've used unorthodox fixes in both my vocation and avocation over the years. It's also fun seeing how others have dealt with solving problems with only the materials they had on hand.

That being said, I found a blog devoted entirely to showing interesting jury-rigged fixes to everyday problems.

(A big thanks to Eric the Viking)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another Verizon Deal That Should Be Turned Down

It appears Frontier Communications has fallen further under the spell of Verizon's sales pitch, with the sale of Verizon's Oregon assets to Frontier being OK'd by Oregon's PUC.

But not everything is rosy. At least someone in one state is questioning the wisdom of the sale in light of the fate of other small rural-service telcos that bought what Verizon was selling.

The State Journal-Register newspaper in Springfield reports that [Administrative Law Judge] Lisa Tapia said in a 46-page report that allowing Frontier to purchase the Verizon lines in Illinois “will diminish Frontier’s ability to perform its duties to provide adequate, reliable, efficient, safe and least-cost public utility service.”


Unfortunately for Frontier, they are caught up in the back wash of Verizon’s other local exchange divestments. Both FairPoint and Hawaiian Telecom completed similar transactions, and are both now in bankruptcy.

Both FairPoint and Hawaiian Telecom paid far too much for the assets they bought.

In northern New England FairPoint bought an increasing share of a decreasing market, always a formula for disaster. Wireline customers have been shedding themselves of traditional landlines and using either cell phones or VoIP services from their local cable companies for some time, both of which have been competitively priced compared to FairPoint. FairPoint lost over 13% of their customers since they took over operations from Verizon. And because of FairPoint's financial difficulties, its promise to expand broadband service to at least 95% of its service area has fallen by the wayside.

The best thing Illinois could do for telephone customers is to run from the Verizon-Frontier deal. In the end the only one such a deal helps is Verizon. Everyone else will be screwed. Frontier doesn't have the financial wherewithal to handle such a deal and will end up in the same situation as FairPoint and Hawaiian Telecom – in bankruptcy. That helps no one...except the lawyers.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gun Control: Hittin' What You're Aimin' At

While I understand the Brady Campaign's goals, namely gun control, I have a real problem with the premise of their campaign, that being heavily restricting ownership of guns by law abiding citizens will somehow stop gun violence. There are far too many examples both here and overseas of why this premise is false, showing that where the citizens are banned from owning guns crime goes up, and particularly violent crime. The other flaw in their premise is that criminals will abide by gun laws, which is naïve at best.

The Brady folks recently came out with their list of states and their gun control ratings, with '0' being the worst and '100' the best. New Hampshire scored a 6, meaning the Brady folks believe our state's gun laws are too lax. The socialist paradise of California scored a 79. Utah scored a 0, supposedly with the worst gun restriction laws in the nation. But one thing the Brady campaign has chosen to ignore: crime rates in those states as compared to the laxity of their gun laws.

As Bogie states:

Hmm, last I checked, there was less gun deaths in those scoring lowest as to highest (NH is #8 lowest for [percent] by population with a 6.1 versus 10.2 US average). Oh look, as of 2008, NH was the second lowest in murders at 50 (out of 51) versus California being a 12 (51 is lowest, 1 is highest on the scale). Also, last I checked, pointy objects were the cause of as many deaths as guns in NH (4 a piece with general beating deaths just behind at 3).

Around here gun control and registration means something entirely different from how the Brady Campaign defines it:

Gun Control (New Hampshire Dictionary): Hitting what you're aiming at.

Gun Registration (New Hampshire Dictionary): 1.) Making sure the trailer you use to haul your gun collection is registered. 2.) Ensuring your scope is aligned properly so your round goes where it's supposed to at 500 (or 1000) yards.

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Hampshire Supreme Court Tells State "Keep Hands Off Of Private Funds"

It appears that for once in a long while, the New Hampshire Supreme Court got it right in the case of the Georgia Tuttle, MD et al vs. the New Hampshire Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriters Association et al, where the state legislature tried to raid $110 million of JUA premium surpluses to fill a budget deficit.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Run, Carol! Run!!

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

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

Personally, I hope Shea-Porter runs.

I have two reasons for this.

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

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

So, “Run, Carol! Run!”