Crony capitalism has always been a problem, both here and in other countries. As much as I would like to think that here in the US that it's primarily a problem involving Democrats, I know that it cuts across all political lines. The latest example of that is the recent singing of a bipartisan bill by Michigan's Republican Governor Rick Snyder that makes it illegal for any automaker to sell vehicles through any outlet other than franchised dealers.

The so-called Anti-Tesla Bill, named after Elon Musk's Tesla Motors, prevents Tesla from selling its cars in Michigan unless the purchase and delivery is made by a dealer. In other words, they have to use the same old tired method all of the other auto companies have used since the dawn of the mass produced car. The problem: the old way of doing things is inefficient, adds cost, and requires middlemen to handle all of the sales. Tesla wants to sell through company owned showrooms, much like Apple sells most of their products. The legacy automakers are using legislation to prevent newcomers from taking a piece of their pie by forcing them into using the old and inefficient method of selling cars. It's a perfect example of crony capitalism. Rather than beating them through competition they beat them through lawmaking.

The Michigan bill, originally focused on franchise-dealership fees, included a last-minute amendment addressing direct-to-consumer auto sales through manufacturer-owned showrooms. That amendment, added by Republican State Senator Joe Hume, was tossed onto the bill at the very last minute, a procedural loophole that meant the amendment never underwent public comment or debate on the State Senate floor. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder just signed the bill into law.

Snyder, also a Republican, is up for re-election in a couple of weeks. If he didn't sign the bill, he would have likely faced an immediate onslaught of attack ads paid for by Michigan's auto dealers--something that would not have helped his cause in a race he leads by a slim margin.

"Not content with enshrining their ability to charge consumers dubious fees, on the last day of the legislative session, the dealers managed to make a last-minute change to the bill in an attempt to cement their broader retail monopoly," Tesla said in a statement. "Using a procedure that prevented legislators and the public at large from knowing what was happening or allowing debate, Senator Joe Hune added new language in an attempt to lock Tesla out of the state." Tesla's statement goes on to point out that the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association is one of State Senator Hune's top financial backers.

The auto industry isn't the only businesses trying to prevent new ways of doing things. All one needs to do is look at the tactics of the taxi industry in their efforts to kill competition from companies like Uber and Lyft. Heaven forbid someone comes along that can do the job better, faster, and less expensively than the existing taxi companies. Rather than making changes to compete with the newcomers they're trying to get cities and states to ban these competitors entirely. That alone tells me that any such legislation should not be passed, and if passed, should be vetoed. The taxi companies have no inherent right to continue to exist if competition enters the market and provides better service. If the taxi companies can't evolve in order to stay in business, then they shouldn't stay in business.

These are but two examples of the rent-seeking and crony capitalism that infests government at all levels. Unless we can find a way to do away with it, we will become no better than so many other nations where cronyism runs rampant and cripples economic growth.
There's voter fraud, and then there's voter fraud.

We've heard of stuffing ballot boxes, but it's usually done in a back room somewhere. Apparently this jerk in Maricopa County, Arizona either didn't know that or didn't care, doing it in front of a poll monitor and mouthing off at him while doing so.

An Arizona county party official said he saw a man stuffing "hundreds" of ballots into the ballot box and later told a local news outlet the entire incident was caught on surveillance video. 

"A person wearing a Citizens for a Better Arizona T-shirt dropped a large box of hundreds of early ballots on the table and started stuffing the ballot box as I watched in amazement," said A.J. LaFaro, chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party.

Here's the video of the miscreant committing voter fraud. He's committing a felony. He's also wearing a tee-shirt emblazoned with Citizens for a Better Arizona across its front, an organization that has worked to marginalize Republicans in the state.


Survivability of the body, perhaps,is in question, but not the death of the wonderful spirit of a young lady whose last dream is to play one college basketball game. Terribly emotional story guaranteed to make one cry.

Good luck, Lauren!

Thoughts On A Sunday

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The last of the foliage is changing from green to yellow and orange, meaning we're at or just past peak color here on the south side of Lake Winnpesaukee. The on-again/off-again sun and rain certainly made performing yesterday's chore a little problematic, but it didn't stop them from getting finished.

I believe with this on/off weather that the last of the warmer weather is gone and the cooler fall temps will now prevail.

At least we get our first delivery of firewood in a little less than two weeks. It will be about that time I'll start sealing up some of the windows in preparation for winter.

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Talk about cognitive dissonance!

After decades of promoting equal rights between the genders, and having de facto achieved it, the radical feminists are now claiming in a backhanded manner that women aren't really equal and never will be because they're too weak to say 'No" to sex.

Really? Almost 100 years of progress towards equality between the sexes and now they're saying, in effect, that women aren't equal and are incapable of being equal.

These crazies have got to get their stories straight.

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I agree with Ron Fournier on this one: We don't need an 'Ebola czar'.

All of this should be handled by the President, and if not him, his national security advisers, his cabinet, the CDC and/or FEMA. We don't need yet another unvetted Obama yes-man to further muddy the waters. There is an already established chain of command when dealing with such issues, but it appears that yet again the President doesn't want to deal with the explicit duties of his office. Instead he's doing the equivalent of outsourcing the work to a crony with no security or medical background.

And he wonders why nobody trusts him anymore.

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First we have to worry about low information voters. Next, we have to worry about low information media employees, in this case CBS staffer Katy Conrad.

From the Instapundit post linking to this comes the best comment of all: "The sad part of it all is that Dr. Paul is more qualified to talk about ebola than the administration's ebola czar."

Heh.

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It appears some of our less mature residents here in the southwestern corner of New Hampshire decided it would be a good idea to party hearty, consume too much alcohol, and then riot.

The annual Keene Pumpkin Festival is usually an excuse for Keene State College students to party, and for the most part things do not get out of hand. This time was different.

While visitors were in the downtown area enjoying the festivities, a few blocks away hundreds of college students turned an otherwise festive event into a violent confrontation with police, hurling rocks and battles at both police and each other.

All it takes is immaturity with an added dash of illicit alcohol and things turn ugly.

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The always insightful KC Johnson asks and answers the question "Is Left Losing Its Mind Over Campus Sex?"

Unfortunately the brief answer is "Yes."

Basically the colleges should tell the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights to "bugger off", stating as a reason that they will not be a party to the denial of constitutional rights of students accused of vaguely defined sexual assault just because some self-important bureaucrat in Washington is telling they have to.

As we have already seen, an increasing number of colleges and universities are running afoul of the Law of Unintended Consequences, being sued by male students who were expelled or otherwise sanctioned without due process and no recourse for appeal. This will cost those institutions of higher learning millions and further damage their reputations.

(H/T Instapundit)

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From direct experience I know this to be true.

According to a Pew Research Center study, Republicans are more informed than Democrats.

What makes this even more interesting is that the Pew Center is a left-leaning organization.

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If you think Obama is bad now, wait until after the midterm elections.

Between immigration, increasing health insurance premiums, more health insurance cancellations, naming a new Attorney General, the release of the Army's Bergdahl investigation findings, and telling us jjust how dangerous ebola really is, the President is going to drop a ton of these after election bombs on us and Congress.

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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Considering the black vote is very important to Democrats, the only hope they have of retaining a majority in the Senate, many believe the Democrats will turn the race-baiting rhetoric up to "11".

I'm not sure, but I think their race card has hit its limit and can no longer be used by the Democrat Party. But that won't stop them from trying to inflame racial tensions, even if it means making stuff up.

One example of that is the latest NYT piece about the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO that has so many holes in it that if it were a boat it would sink right to the bottom. It is an inflammatory piece whose sole purpose is to stir up racial tensions.

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Another tactic being used by the Democrats to get out the vote is the now long-in-the-tooth "War on Women" meme. The problem is that very few are buying it, particularly women.

Are women wising up to Democrats? Certainly, they must understand just how bad Obama's policies have been for them, particularly economically. It's all nice and good to push the "pay gap", among others, but like so many other memes Obama and the Democrats push, it has become extremely patronizing, showing a belief that women aren't competent enough, are too delicate and fragile, are simply hot house flowers who need to be Taken Care Of by government. The rhetoric emanating from Obama and Democrats positions is unempowering for women. The economy under Obama has been less than good for women (well, most Americans).

Women still tend to do most of the shopping and cooking. They see the price rises. They see the buying power of their money decreasing. They have real world concerns. Yet, Obama and the Dems patronize them, and apparently think things like free contraception, sterilization, and abortion are the top issues for women.

The Democrats haven't quite figured out that the facts have overcome their rhetoric and that the very people they're trying to get to vote for them aren't listening anymore.

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David Starr has a small bit of advice for those of you out there with built-in webcams on their laptops (this also applies to tablets, phablets, and smart phones: cover the camera with tape when you're not using it.

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By way of a rather convoluted series of links starting at Maggie's Farm, the Assistant Village Idiot, and finally to the Wall Street Journal comes this quote from Roger Scruton's new book, HowTo Be A Conservative:

Conservatism starts from a sentiment that all mature people can readily share: the sentiment that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created. This is especially true of the good things that come to us as collective assets: peace, freedom, law, civility, public spirit, the security of property and family life, in all of which we depend on the cooperation of others while having no means singlehandedly to obtain it. In respect of such things, the work of destruction is quick, easy and exhilarating; the work of creation is slow, laborious and dull. That is one of the lessons of the twentieth century. It is also one reason why conservatives suffer such a disadvantage when it comes to public opinion. Their position is true but boring, that of their opponents exciting but false.

Yup. I'd say that's pretty much spot on. While I don't usually agree with Scruton on many issues, on this particular one I do.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the fall weather has finally arrived in spades, the temperatures are falling, and the last of the boats are being pulled from their summer berths.
This was my response to a dyed-in-the-wool progressive academician's treatise on how the GOP has succumbed to the ideology of Ayn Rand in a recent edition of our local newspaper.

George, I may just as easily make the case that the Democrat Party as I knew it in my youth has been suborned by the followers of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. The actions taken by Democrats at all levels over the past five or six decades and the deconstruction and rewriting of American history by 'progressive' academics to make it seem that America is the source of all the world's ills is right out of Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto. The push to make everyone except the nomenklatura slaves to The State, to make them less human and nothing more than cogs in an authoritarian state has been slowly coming to fruition. While many of the people who have been working towards this goal won't call themselves Marxists or Communists, or worse, don't even realize that's what they've become, they seem perfectly fine with the idea, not understanding that it once the downfall of America is completed, they will become redundant and will join the ranks of 'cogs'.

Ayn Rand warned of the dangers of this backhanded push towards Karl Marx's 'dream'. She had lived under socialism and saw it for what it was: a jealous, capricious, and psychopathic god who would brook no dissent, did NOT have the best interests of the citizens at heart, and had no problems killing millions to 'cleanse' the land of dissenters. She saw the creeping spread of government control over all aspects of our lives here in the US as a danger and tried to express those dangers in books like The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

All that aside, these are some of things I have learned from direct observation during my decades on this planet:

-Government isn't the answer to all our problems. More often than not, it is the cause.

-Government, particularly at the national level, isn't competent to deal with regional issues.

-Government at the national level has made the mistake of forcing one-size-fits-all solutions to problems that exist in only one area of the nation or in one segment of our society, usually to the detriment of far more people than it's trying to help.

-Government is an inertia laden monster, inefficient, and quite often working at cross-purposes with itself.

-Government at the national and state level becomes beholden to cronies and lobbyists, regardless of the parties in power. The Left always likes to decry the 'influence' of the Koch brothers, but conveniently ignore the even greater influence of George Soros - a convicted felon and self-proclaimed socialist - and Tom Steyer, each who have spent many times the amount of money to push candidates and legislation that benefits them. The Democrats are merely their errand boys. At least the Koch brothers have created thousands of jobs and have supported candidates in both parties. That can't be said for either Soros or Steyer.

-Whenever someone makes the claim "The government simply MUST do 'X'!" it is usually a sign that it's something the government shouldn't do at all, or should at least take the time to look closely at it and then decide some time later if it should do anything at all.

-Government, particularly at the national level, is no more smarter or wiser than the average American. So what makes people, specifically Progressives, think that government is competent enough or wise enough to run anyone else's lives? The people in government have a tough enough time running their own.

-Government, at all levels, usually makes the mistake of ignoring human nature and at times tries to change it. By doing so, it will always fail. Then the Law of Unintended Consequences comes into play, usually to the detriment of the people.

I could go on ad nauseum, but I doubt that any of it would change your mind or entice you to explore your own beliefs, away from like-minded folk who will merely inhibit your ability to question those beliefs and look at them dispassionately and with logic.

So endith the lesson.

NOTE:This response won't appear in the local paper until either Tuesday or Wednesday next.
While it's chic for some actors and actresses like Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz to spew hateful nonsense in condemning Israel, Robert De Niro swims against the tide.
In a surprising piece that appeared in The New Republic, a staunchly liberal publication, Judith Shulevitz, a senior editor at TNR has penned a piece that looks at the tidal wave of college sexual assault policies that are denying college students, particularly male college students, due process when it comes to allegations of sexual assault.

Writes Shulevitz:

This August, Columbia University released a new policy for handling "gender-based" misconduct among students. Since April, universities around the country have been rewriting their guidelines after a White House task force urged them to do more to fight sexual assault. I was curious to know what a lawyer outside the university system would make of one of these codes. So I sent the document to Robin Steinberg, a public defender and a feminist.

A few hours later, Steinberg wrote back in alarm. She had read the document with colleagues at the Bronx legal-aid center she runs. They were horrified, she said--not because Columbia still hadn't sufficiently protected survivors of assault, as some critics charge, but because its procedures revealed a cavalier disregard for the civil rights of people accused of rape, assault, and other gender-based crimes. "We are never sending our boys to college," she wrote.

Columbia's safeguards for the accused are better than most. For instance, it allows both accuser and accused to have a lawyer at a hearing, and, if asked, will locate free counsel. By contrast, Harvard, which issued a new code in July, holds investigations but not hearings and does not offer to obtain independent legal assistance. But Steinberg, like most people, hadn't realized how far the rules governing sexual conduct on campus have strayed from any commonsense understanding of justice.

This isn't the first time someone who should know better finds the rules being put forth due to pressure from the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights violate long established constitutional protections. The college procedures are tantamount to kangaroo courts where the verdict is already known before any formal hearings have taken place and the accused has no right to defend himself, to view any evidence, or question the accuser or any witnesses.

Now that the cognoscenti are becoming aware of the unconstitutional madness that is infesting college campuses across the nation, I have a feeling more of them are going to be rethinking their donations and endowments to their alma mater. I think they will come to believe as I and many others that sending your children to college is tantamount to child abuse.

Will it end the madness? Not any time soon. As long as the Obamabots still fill many of the positions within the various levels of the administration, it will continue. Or worse, someone will end up seriously hurt or dead due to the Dear Colleague letter and the push by the White House to solve a problem that doesn't really exist. College administrators and government officials behind this will need to go to prison before this idiocy ends. Or colleges will have to see enrollment drop off and the tuition funds that go with them disappear before they realize they went along with this witch hunt (that's what it is, after all) and it's going to cost them millions in lost revenues. Heck, some might even have to close their doors. They certainly won't be the first to have done so.

Thoughts On A Sunday

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The foliage season is in full swing, with hordes of leaf peepers crowding the roads all throughout this part of New Hampshire.

On Friday morning while on my way to attend a meeting in a neighboring town I counted almost two dozen sightseeing buses making their way along the southern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. (You can see a wide expanse of foliage on the opposite shore and covering the mountains on the north side of the lake, with reflections from the water enhancing the effect.)

I don't mind seeing the leaf peepers as they're only here for a week or two, tops, leaving millions of dollars behind them when they leave. They generally aren't annoying like 'summah people' (not to be confused with summerfolk). They love being here. They aren't overly demanding. They go home.

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I've thought right from the get go that bringing Ebola patients back to the US for treatment wasn't necessarily a good idea. That a US health care worker has apparently been infected with Ebola while taking care of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas. Despite all of the precautions taken, a nurse has been diagnosed with Ebola.

Frankly, that it is happening, both here and in Africa, tells me the precautions being taken aren't enough. Either there has been a breakdown in the procedures being used to prevent infection or the means of transmission has shifted. Of the two, the second is the scariest because if there's a new means of infection we're unaware of this could easily spread despite our best efforts.

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With ISIS making gains in Syria, threatening to overrun yet another town near the Turkish border, it has become apparent the air campaign isn't the solution to the problem.

As the military has been saying again and again, the only way to deal with ISIS is on the ground, meaning boots on the ground. Anyone with any understanding of military history understands this. You can't win a ground war from the air.

I must back up a little bit to clarify one point. It is possible to win a ground war from the air, but the means of doing so is brutal and the cost in human lives very high: bomb every stronghold, every village, town, and city to rubble, and then bomb it again, then again. Kill every living being in the area. Leave no stone standing upon stone. Leave nothing and no one alive. But that means killing all the innocents along with the ISIS combatants. Are we willing to do that? Or should we get boots on the ground and dig 'em out street by street and house by house?

I have a feeling that at some point (after the election) the President is going to come to that conclusion and we'll be sending our men and women yet again into harm's way.

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The OECD has found that my home state of New Hampshire is the safest state to live in, with one of the reasons being its low crime rate. Then again, many Granite Staters are armed and know how to use their firearms.

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I have been trying to stay away from our local TV channels because the deluge of campaign ads have gotten worse, something I thought was impossible. These days we DVR everything we want to watch and then skip through the ads.

Most regular TV ads are OK, but the campaign ads are annoying, condescending, outright lies, distortions, and..umm...annoying. (Yes, I know I listed annoying twice, but that's how bad they are.)

November 4th can't get here soon enough.

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Yeah, like this was a bright idea.

If this 17-year old idiot had damaged the quarterback's vision one has to wonder if his parents would have to sell everything they own to pay off the damages from a lawsuit? Then again, not too many 17-year olds think about the consequences of their actions, do they?

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This is my kind of salad!

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Smitty delves into the Lefty worldview. It all boils down to this:

(a) You are stupid meat.
(b) You can be controlled by hormonal appeal.
(c) If not (a) or (b), you must be silenced.
(d) Because #Power.

How long before they "fire up the ovens and kick in some doors"?

As one commenter opined, "Look at what they do and how they live, not at what they say and you can never go wrong."

Indeed.

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Two Austrian teen girls who decided to join ISIS have found out it's not all fun and games. Now they're stuck in Syria, married, pregnant, and under the control of extremist Muslims who will have no problems beheading them once their children are born and weaned because they want to abandon their husbands and return to Austria.

As they're learning, actions have consequences, particularly actions that have no thought or knowledge behind them.

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The Warmists are still claiming AGW will cause all kinds of extreme weather and that it already has. Too bad NOAA has demolished that claim with, of all things, actual data showing just the opposite has been occurring.

Don't worry. I'm sure the warmists will come up with an explanation, just like they've been explaining the the now 18 year+ pause in global warming.

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The A/C units were pulled out of the windows in The Manse, a next-to-the-last concession that the warm weather is pretty much done for the year. The last concession will be when I pull the screens from the storm doors and replace them with the glass. I figure that day will come soon enough.

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While many Democrats keep trying to push the idea that Obamacare is "working", a Gallup poll shows nearly half of Americans believe it will make health care worse in the long run.

Once the employer mandate kicks in after the first of the year, I expect those numbers to climb. We haven't seen anywhere near the pain Obamacare is going to inflict on the American public, and once the employer mandate kicks in, everyone will know for sure Obamacare was a godawful law and will, like Prohibition, push for its repeal.

(H/T Viking Pundit)

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the leaves are getting close to peak color, the leaf peepers are leaving piles of cash behind, and where the last vestiges of summer past are fading away.
As we know from history, it is true that quite often that trends and fads that start in California spread to the rest of the nation. Sometimes this has been a good thing. Other times it has been a bad thing. And at yet other times it is neither good or bad, merely benign.

Unfortunately, one trend that started in the Golden State is threatening to infect the rest of the nation, trying to legislate the elimination of common sense and bringing know-nothing and deluded 'do-gooders' into the dorm rooms and bedrooms of college students.

In this case it's New Hampshire State Representative Renny Cushing (D- Rockingham County District 21) has proposed legislation almost identical to California's Affirmative Consent law that governs the sexual activity of college students on and off campus.

I'm sorry, but that's just plain stupid.

How Rep. Cushing thinks it's a good idea escapes me. It's certainly bad legislation and the fact that California was stupid enough to pass it is a strong indication that it should die aborning here. This type of law is crossing the line and getting directly involved in an issue that is not as important or pressing as some of the perpetually offended gender-hustlers have been trying to tell us it is. I go by the philosophy of Robert Heinlein when he stated that anything that someone claims "Must be done now!" is something that usually needs not be done at all. Goodness knows we've seen that from the present occupant of the White House when he's emphatically stated that "This, that, and the other thing must be done 'Right Away'."

There are a couple of things that may prevent this incredibly ignorant piece of legislation from ever seeing the light of day: the state legislature does not reconvene until January, meaning it's possible Cushing won't be re-elected to the New Hampshire House on November 4th,or; if he is re-elected it will die in committee being deemed as "inexpedient to legislate" because it's incredibly intrusive and, quite possibly, unconstitutional, at least under the New Hampshire State Constitution.

But should the worst happen and this bad law pass, then that indicates to me that my home state is doomed to become nothing but another bastion of liberal groupthink and the perpetual victimization of one group of people after another as a means of erasing our rights "for the common good."

Batten 4.jpg

A Palate Cleanser

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I needed to take a cuteness break, and this certainly qualifies.

These People Are Nuts

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There's so much I could write about this story I'm not sure where I would start.

The one thing the Left likes to use as a sledgehammer is the Precautionary Principle, using it as an excuse to severely curtain or outright ban activities they deem as risky. The problem is that there's little they don't find risky, whether it's truly a risk or merely perceived that way.

A perfect example of this: Schools ban swings because everything is dangerous.

Swings? Seriously?

Let's face it, kids like to play. They always have. The want to get dirty. They want to swing from jungle gyms. They want to go down slides. The want to see how high they can get on a swing.

However, under the Precautionary Principle, all of those activities can lead to possible injuries, whether it's a slight bruise, a scraped knee, or some other kind of boo boo, and because of that they must all be banned "For The Children."

But being a kid is risky. No matter how much the Left thinks we have to remove all risk, it is impossible to do so. That doesn't stop them from trying. However the downside is that by doing so they create other risks they choose to ignore, the two most prevalent being childhood obesity (no play = no physical activity) and neurosis, where children may come to fear everything which will also make them fearful adults. (Hmm. Maybe that explains it all. The Left are all children of parents who saw danger at every corner and didn't let them play like other kids. Now that they're grownups they're getting even with Mommy and Daddy by making sure no one can ever play again. Yeah, I know it's a psychological shot in the dark, but maybe there's a kernel of truth in there somewhere.)

I'm wondering how long it's going to take before these Nervous Nellies make it impossible for kids to be kids. Not long is my guess.

Please Don't Vote

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This was inspired by David Harsanyi's piece in Reason with the same title. His reasoning for encouraging people not to vote is different from mine, though there are a few common threads.

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We're not far away from Election Day and there's one topic I must discuss that can have an effect on us all: voting.

I am not going to harangue you to exercise your constitutional right and vote. Nope. Not me.

Instead I am going to ask you to think about the upcoming elections in your/town/city/state, about the candidates running for office, and to ponder any ballot initiatives that may also be on the ballot. Then after taking all of those things into account I want you to consider a drastic action: Don't vote.

"But....but, but why?" you may ask.

It's simple, really. It's not that I think you should boycott election day. I don't.

It's not that I think it's a waste of time. It isn't.

It's not that I think you don't have the right to vote. I believe you do.

It's that far too many voters don't have a friggin' clue about who or what they're voting for or against. They don't know the candidates running, particularly for city, county, or state offices. They don't know anything about the various ballot initiatives that may be on the ballot and a few moments pondering them in the voting both can't possibly impart any knowledge about the pluses or minuses about them or any of the unintended consequences of such initiatives. They go in blind, vote, and feel better about themselves for a few minutes before moving on with their lives. They have little idea what or who they've voted for and then they're surprised when the candidate they elected hoses the electorate or the initiative they voted on has consequences that cause problems far beyond its intentions.

What it comes down to is ignorant voters cause havoc far beyond anything anyone could possibly imagine. People we wouldn't otherwise trust end up in office and then screw things up. Ballot initiatives cause problems or costs money that wasn't allocated or boosts taxes in unexpected ways.

It comes down to this: If you don't know who to vote for, then don't vote for anyone. If you don't know how you should vote on a ballot initiative because you don't know about the issue, then don't vote on it either way. If there's only one race you're interested in or you know who you want to vote for , and more importantly why, then vote for that person. Otherwise leave the rest of the ballot blank. There's no law that says you have to cast a vote for every office or ballot initiative.

When Election Day arrives and you haven't followed the campaigns of anyone running for office or don't have a clue about any of the ballot initiatives, then I must make this appeal to you: Please don't vote. You're not doing yourself or anyone else any favors and you'll just screw it up for everyone else.

Thoughts On A Sunday

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For the first time fall is feeling and looking like fall here in central New Hampshire. Cooler temps and bright foliage have rung in the season and the need to get to the fall chores has come upon us.

There are still a lot of things I need to get to before the colder weather, frost, and snow arrive.

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It is becoming increasingly apparent the US government hasn't been taking the Ebola outbreak seriously enough. Between greatly delayed response to a case in Texas that has led immediate family members and medical staff treating the patient at risk and the refusal to implement a travel ban on people coming from the areas where Ebola has spread, it tells me that either the government is underestimating the threat being imposed or that the thrice-damned political correctness is getting in the way by proclaiming that any such restrictions are 'racist'.

Of the two, I have a feeling it's a bit of both. We certainly have enough examples of that from the almost six years of the Obama Administration.

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Darn it! I missed National CB Radio Day!

I remember the heyday of the CB radio craze. It really took off when the dreaded and much hated National Maximum Speed Limit became law, the so-called "double nickel" or 55 MPH. CB helped get around many of the speed traps. (The NMSL was the most ignored law in the nation since Prohibition. It also went the way of Prohibition, too.)

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Tell us something we don't know.

Everything single thing the President has tried has failed.

A short list of his failures: the $787 billion stimulus; "Cash for Clunkers"; Solyndra, Obamacare; leaking the names of the SEALs who killed bin Laden (three of which have since been killed); premature troop withdrawal from Iraq. Need I go on?

His only real success? Fundamentally transforming America. Too bad that transformation has made us weaker, untrustworthy, and an even bigger target for our enemies.

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It looks like Bird Dog is going through the same process we are here at The Manse: Fall Cleaning.

Like BD we've been going through things in our kitchen, basement, garage, and closets to find items we no longer use or need and getting them to relatives and friends who have use for them, to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, set them aside for our local church's annual winter sale, or take them to the dump.

Some folks go through Spring Cleaning, but like BD and his missus, we find that Fall Cleaning is more comprehensive, during nicer weather, and allows us more time to go through things to make sure we don't dispose of something we truly need.

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It's been 18 years and 1 month since there has been any global warming, something not a single climate model has predicted or been able to explain.

All of the various AGW supporters have been scrambling to explain this, calling it a "pause" or "hiatus". But so far no one has been able to explain why average global temps have been trending slightly downwards even though atmospheric CO2 levels have increased. This is what happens when 'scientists' hang all of their hypotheses on a single factor despite a wide range of evidence pointing to other causes for climate change.

As more than one actual scientist has explained, CO2 levels lag behind temperature changes, not lead them. There are a couple of hundred thousands of years of data collected from ice cores and sediment that prove this. This time round it's no different.

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Is it time to kick California out of the Union? Writes J.D. Tuccille, "I stand second to none in my astonishment at the degree to which Californians have managed to render almost uninhabitable one of the nicest stretches of real estate on the planet."

Indeed.

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There's plenty of evidence Democrats hate free speech and are doing their darnedest to kill the First Amendment.

They're using the "Hate speech isn't Free Speech" ploy, meaning any speech they don't like will be considered hate speech and therefore be banned. Of course they will be the only arbiters of what constitutes hate speech which will give them total control of all speech. Anyone who dares disagree with them can then be silenced.

Welcome to Soviet America.

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Jeff Soyer reminds us of another assault against the Constitution by the Progressives, in this case against the Second Amendment. They keep selling the lie that all we need to do is ban guns and everything will be fine. But what they never mention or choose to ignore is that criminals don't care of guns are banned, they'll still have them and they'll use them, even against the Progressive idiots that banned them.

Why aren't the Progressives going after the real lawbreakers rather than trying to create a new class of 'lawbreakers'? It's simple really: it's easier for them and lets them feel good about themselves for 'solving' yet another problem that never really existed.

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It's time for me to go see if the New England Patriots can return from their pasting by the Kansas City Chiefs last week. They're playing Cincinnati tonight and, quite frankly, if their offensive line can't keep the pass rushers off of him for a few seconds there's no way they're going to win.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the fall foliage is still a week or more away from peak color, the temps are running below normal, and where our first delivery of firewood isn't until the end of the month.
This was a letter I sent to one of lour local newspapers and I thought it was good enough to make it into a post here as well. The only difference between the original letter and this post is some formatting.

After spending weeks reading the back-and-forth between supporters of various political candidates during this, the political silly season, one thing has become immediately evident to me (and to anyone paying attention): Too many folks on both sides of the political aisle are basing their support or denunciation of the various candidates upon sound bites, highly deceptive negative campaign ads, or upon third/fourth/fifth-hand hearsay. This is disturbing on many levels.

How many times have we heard those decrying "low information voters"? Many times, from my recollection. But what about "too darned lazy voters" or "single issue voters" or "closed minded, do what they're told voters"? It appears to me that these types of voters have become all too common. This is a problem that plagues both political parties and has undermined the integrity of our elected officials across the board because in some cases candidates none of us would otherwise trust with our money or our children are elected to office where they can do a lot of damage.

When I watch the various attack ads from all of the candidates, more often then not they will contain a small kernel of truth, but that 'truth' is blown all out of proportion or distorted to such an extent that the truth is lost, or worst, deliberately buried. We hear the smarmy voice-over that claims "Candidate X voted for/against 'this, that, and the other thing'. Candidate X is wrong for (place state name here)." If anyone bothers to look more deeply at the claim, it usually falls apart because the legislation referenced had numerous other parts that made the bill desirable to vote for or against. The problem is that very few people are actually willing to take a closer look, preferring to let others think for them. They buy the claptrap passing as political dialogue as gospel and no amount of evidence to the contrary will persuade them to change their minds. The bigger problem is that the leaders of both the Democrat and Republican parties want it that way. Heaven forbid voters should actually do their homework and base their votes upon their own findings. That is supposed to be the basis of the American republic.

However it's been perverted into nothing more than a scripted popularity contest where the popularity has no relation to what the candidate will actually do once in office. (We've seen that with the present occupant of the White House: very popular with a portion of the electorate, but not necessarily competent in the performance of the duties of the office.)

Unless this trend by eligible voters is reversed, our republic is in trouble. We will end up with office holders who do not have the best interests of all their constituents in mind, much as we do now.

Do I believe it is possible to reverse this trend of know-nothing voters deciding the fate of the nation? Yes, I do. But I also understand the possibility is slim at best. Unless there is a major shakeup to get the electorate more involved with the process, we are doomed to end up like the America seen in the movie Idiocracy at best or as another totalitarian state not unlike the old and now defunct Soviet Union at worst. Neither outcome is desirable.

Turkey is welcoming the very group they're aiding us in destroying? Something's very fishy if this report is true, which I first heard Mark Levin state on his syndicated radio program this week.
Here's the a good one from one of my favorite outspoken Brits, Pat Condell. His target this time: Progressives and the new Inquisition.


'Nuff said.
With the campaign season now in full swing, the number of attack ads far outweighs positive ads by at least 4 to 1. Here in my home state I see the Democrats and the various PACs supporting them are doubling down on the so-called "War on Women" meme, making all kinds of claims that a little bit of research usually show to be questionable, out of context, or entirely fabricated. In one case a candidate was castigated for voting 'the wrong way' on a bill some years ago. But looking at the roll call of that vote, it turns out the incumbent voted exactly the same way. (At the time both candidates were in different districts.)

Another favorite meme that ties in to "War on Women" is "Tea Party extremist", yet another bugaboo used to frighten low-information voters into pulling the 'D' lever come election day on November 4th.

I have asked a few folks I know who are buying into the accusations what they understand about "Tea Party extremists". Not one of them came anywhere close to the actual Tea Party platform or the stated positions of the candidates in question. All they know is what they've been told. But the fact that what they've been told is a lie doesn't seem to bother them one iota. They don't want to be confused with the facts and seem more than willing to take a biased source's word rather than look up the information themselves. (Hmm, does that make them low-information voters, too-damn-lazy voters, or both?)

One of my favorite 'bad' ads accuses a GOP US Senate candidate of "voting to deny women access to birth control." Really, this candidate voted to make sure women will no have access to birth control at all? Or was it that the candidate voted to keep taxpayer dollars from paying for birth control? They aren't the same thing.

As insane as it's gotten here, I have no doubt it isn't any different in the rest of the US. Just watching the campaign ads from neighboring Massachusetts shows it's even worse there, with candidates that aren't all that far apart in their beliefs and political views running 'scorched earth' campaigns.

And people wonder why I will never run for any elective office outside of our town...if I ever decide to run for any office again.
The elitists are still pushing the idea that Common Core is somehow a cure for our educational ills, that it will magically 'equalize' all children. I do not believe the former, but I do believe the latter.

It will indeed equalize our children. It will make them equally ignorant, equally incapable of doing things like simple math and English, and will give a slanted, incomplete, and false view of our history. It will be a race to the bottom, to the lowest common denominator, and it create a nation of ignorant sheep.

It comes down to the pernicious belief by self-anointed 'betters' that equality of outcome is an achievable and desirable goal. But as hundreds of years of history have proven, it is unattainable and unwanted because the results have always been the opposite of what was claimed: misery for all...except the elite, of course.

Such a belief that equal outcome is possible ignores one big factor that always comes back to slap them in the face: human nature. It is far stronger in the end than any of their grandiose beliefs and it always wins. The problem is that this truth doesn't deter these folks from trying again and again.

But no one is being fooled and anyone with a modicum of intelligence and reasoning skills knows Common Core is a lie, is based upon ridiculous theories that have been disproven again and again. It assumes all children learn the same way when decades of studies show just the opposite is true. Common Core perates under the assumption that all children are equally adept at all things and the differences don't exist. Maybe on their home planet that's true, but that isn't the case here.

Even porn stars know Common Core is a crock as does a father who was a math major. He wasn't the only one as others who replied to his tweet were just as stumped on a 2nd grade Common Core math problem.

As one commenter to the piece linked at the top wrote:

Paging Harrison Bergeron. Harrison Bergeron, please pick up the white courtesy phone.

Harrison Bergeron indeed. That is, after all, what Common Core is really meant for - to lower everyone to the lowest common denominator.

Thoughts On A Sunday

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Though the calendar says it's fall, the weather hasn't been paying attention, awarding us with summer-like temperatures and clear skies all weekend. I'm certainly not going to complain. The warm temps made it a little easier to do some of the never-ending yard work, particularly the kind that requires dry grass. I even got to hang up a couple of loads of laundry on the Official Weekend Pundit Clothesline rather than running them through the drier.

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I've been reading a slew of opinion pieces about Obama's handling of ISIS, and one common thread running through many of them from both the Left and the Right has been that Obama made a major mistake by withdrawing our troops from Iraq prematurely. More than a few blamed that action on Obama's need to be seen as a peacemaker even though his actions have had just the opposite effect.

As much as he wants to avoid putting boots on the ground, he may have no choice, particularly if ISIS digs in amongst friendly civilians, precluding the use of airstrikes to take them out. It will be like Fallujah all over again, fighting these extremist assholes by digging them out street by street and house by house. Of course I expect he'll wait until it is almost too late and then he'll do it badly.

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Bill Whittle gives us some good news to help offset the rest of the news we're usually bombarded with.

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Bill's video piece reminds me of something I had posted some months ago, a simple experiment that anyone can try that just might change their view about the world. It's worth repeating here.

First, for one week read or watch only science and technology news. Then on the following week read or watch the rest of the news.

Which one gives you hope that the future is going to be a wonderful and interesting place to live? I'll give you a hint: It isn't the second.

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Now we turn our attention towards Seattle, whose city council passed a new policy 9-0 that forces Seattle residents to compost or face a fine.

One excuse put forth by one of the council members for this decision: "...composting food waste reduces emissions of methane, which is a strong cause of climate change." Nice try, but no cigar.

As Cap'n Teach points out, composting creates large amounts of methane and nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is also one of the major components of smog and when it decomposes it can create ozone, another gas that has deleterious health effects at ground level.

Remember, with these folks feelings matter more than facts. But that's OK because their intentions were good, right? Then again we know where that road leads, don't we?

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The fall foliage is making itself seen here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, though we're still a couple of weeks from peak color. We're hoping the colors will be spectacular this year, but the warmer than normal temps may dull them slightly from what we usually see.

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I wouldn't mind adding this shotgun to my arsenal. It's good for 'close in' work in a home defense role. I would, of course , want to switch out the standard magazine tube which can only hold 2 or three rounds for something that holds more.

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Has America's 19th Century Progressivism finally hit a wall? It certainly appears to be the case as its progress has stalled because the American people are finally waking up to its costs.

In recent years American governance has been afflicted by an apparently systemic crisis of overcommitted objectives and declining effectiveness. This is hardly unique to the United States. Mounting welfare costs, debt, recession, and debate over whether austerity or stimulus is the proper remedy flourish in Europe and Japan as well.

On the domestic front, the travails of Obamacare suggest that for the first time in recent memory Americans are coming face to face with a new entitlement they don't like. And a political storm has been gathering over the budgetary costs and pension entitlements of state and city workforces.  In three very different policy realms--foreign affairs, social welfare, state and local entitlements--a similar discontent is evident: an anti-progressivism that is in some ways the antithesis of the Progressive movement of a century and more ago.

A growing number of Americans are finally saying "Enough!" and pushing back against the creeping totalitarianism, poverty, misery, and arrogance that is the Progressive movement.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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I blame Jenny McCarthy. She should be flogged in a public square for the damage she's done.

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The hypocrisy of the Hollywood elite is never so visible as when they start harping upon climate change and the actions that we must be forced to take in order to 'save the world'. A perfect example of this hypocrisy is Leonardo DiCaprio, spouting off about how the only solution is to force changes at the point of a gun. That is especially hypocritical considering the number of homes, cars, and jets DiCaprio owns.

Then it's understandable as Leo is a disciple of that other climate hypocrite, Al Gore.

About the only one from Hollywood for whom I have a smidgen of respect is Ed Begley, Jr.. Even though I don't agree with his positions, at least he walks the walk...for the most part. Some of the things he's done to help prevent the still unproven anthropogenic climate change do lower his carbon footprint, but the costs of doing so are out of reach for most of the rest of America.

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Speaking of climate change, I'm still waiting to hear from the We're-All-Gonna-Die-If-We-Don't-Impoverish-Ourselves-Because-The-Evil-Humans-Are-Causing-Global-Hotcoldwetdry as to why if global warming is going to kill us all there have been a record number of low maximum temperatures throughout the lower 48.

Or are they going to choose to ignore the data, just as they have over the past 18 years?

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Is this a case of do as I say and not as I do?

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Believe it or not, I agree with Bill Maher on this one.

If we're giving no quarter to intolerance, shouldn't we be starting with the mutilators and the honor killers?

Indeed. But it seems the oh-so-tolerant Left would rather go after soft targets like celebrities who say something offensive to no one but them or a bakery owned by a devout Christian that refuses to make gay wedding cakes rather than tackle cases of intolerance that actually hurt or kill people.

What a bunch of lightweights.

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It appears reality is now intruding upon Obamacare.

On more than one occasion I and others have noted that access to health insurance does not automatically equate to access to health care. Fast forward to today and many of those who enrolled in Medicaid under Obamacare are having a hard time finding doctors who will take them on as patients.

That's not surprising for two reasons: a lot of practices have maxed out on patients and aren't taking new ones; many practices can only afford to take so many Medicaid/Medicare patients because reimbursement is usually below the cost of providing care. Take on too many patients like that and the practice goes bankrupt.

Call it yet another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences coming into play.

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Skip over at Granite Grok brings up the issue of Right To Work in New Hampshire, something he believes will once again come before the state legislature during the next session. (It passed once before, but then-governor John Lynch vetoed it and there legislature was just a couple of votes shy needed to override the veto.) He also makes a suggestion that may or may not help make it through: Borrow a lesson from Wisconsin and "let the unions deal with getting their rightful dues monies directly from their members." In other words, don't make the state collect the dues on behalf of the State Employees Association. Let the SEA collect them directly. How many 'members' would willingly cough up part of their pay to a corrupt organization that fosters mediocrity at all levels? My guess is not a whole lot.

Even if Right To Work doesn't pass or make it on to the legislative schedule during the next legislative session, doing away with automatic collection of dues from employees paychecks might be one way of creating de facto Right To Work, at least in regards to state employees.

As a former labor union member, I can say I hated seeing my 'dues' being collected right off the top of my paycheck because, quite frankly, the union wasn't representing my best interests, but those of the union leadership. My wife is a non-voluntary member of the State Employees Association, and she doesn't care for it either, particularly in light of the abuses she's seen over the years by union members 'playing the system' that would get anyone else fired, and rightfully so.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer weather has come back, fall foliage is starting to appear, and where winter isn't too far off.

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