Sunday, September 30, 2012

Leaf Season

Leaves beginning to turn in Crawford Notch (just north of North Conway).  Took this pix on Thursday. 

Overtaxed by Polls

Just finished watching Meet the Press, with David Gregory.  He and his guests talked about little else than polls.  Polls that say Obama is winning.  Depressing stuff, except that the good polls, Rasmussen and Gallup, say it's a tie. 
   Thing about polls, is that you gotta weight them.  If you do telephone polling (and all of 'em do) you quickly find out that people who answer their home phones in daytime are mostly retired elderly.  Every one else is at work.  And everyone knows that the retired elderly are conservative and vote Republican.  So they weight the results by what they think the population truly is.  If the pollster thinks the population is 41% Democratic to 34% Republican, he throws out  excess Republican polls until he gets  down to 41% Democrat and 34% Republican.  And so on for what ever other categories ( age, income, whatever) that the pollster wants to correct for. 
   The better pollsters, the ones with a reputation for accuracy that they want to protect,  are pretty good at weighting.  Rasmussen brags that his polls came out within 1% of the actual election results in 2010.  On the other hand, plenty of polls commissioned by politicians and newspapers come out the way the politician or newspaper wants them to.  Pollsters who merely want to get paid, will produce the results their customer wants.  The customer is always right.
    When I see a headline "Some and so is ahead in the polls by 1%" I know the newsie is flimflamming me.  The polls ain't that good.  When it's within 1%, it's a dead heat, no matter what David Gregory calls it.  It's gotta be more like 5 %, and it's gotta stay there for more than a day before I'm gonna believe it's in the bag for anyone.    
  So I look at the Rasmussen and Gallup websites from time to time, and ignore the newsie's poll chatter.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Peak Leaf Season

It's coming.  Drove over Crawford Notch the other day and a lot of trees have turned.  I still have some green left around the house, and I am pretty high up, so my trees turn a bit earlier than most.  It's pretty colorful already.  I figure by next weekend it will be slightly past peak.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Who makes the most airliners?

Answer, the US and Europe.  The Russians are just about out of the business.  Aeroflot buys western aircraft now.  From Aviation Week we have a few projections of production thru 2021.

Boeing 787     1300 units
Boeing 737     4799 units
Boeing 777     917 units

Airbus 320      5346  units
Airbus 350      817  units

Antonov An148   143 units
Ilyushin  IL-96      12 units
Irkut  MS-21       123 units

Boeing and Airbus plan to crank out thousands of aircraft, where as the Russians are looking at a few hundred aircraft, barely enough to keep their companies alive.

Official Microsoft Antivirus

Microsoft Security Essentials it calls itself.  Came free via Microsoft update.  So I ran it in "full scan mode" overnight.  It reported that it checked 1.8 million things on my hard drive and found seven "threats", all with the name of Java something-or-other.  Upon command it zapped all seven "threats".  It didn't call out tracking cookies as hostile which is nice and keeps blood pressure low among us users.
   My PC survived the experience, so here we have a nice free antivirus scanner.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's in a name?

In Libya a US consulate was attacked, burned and looted.  The US ambassador and three other Americans were slain. In the real world, this is called an outrage.
   The Obama world has tried to call it a "protest" and "a bump in the road".   Recently they have called it "terrorism".   The TV news is now filled with talking heads discussing "terrorism".   It seems that the exact nomenclature used is full of deep inner meaning offering a clue as to the administration's true thoughts.
  Yeah, right.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Debi Warner for NH State Senate District 1

District 1,  my district is the north country.  All of Coos county right up to the Canadian border, and most of Grafton county.  The senate seat is open, John Gallus, the incumbent, is retiring this year.  Debi Warner of Littleton is running for the seat.  Debi is a personal friend of mine.  She is a fine person, caring, intelligent, and with a superior ability to listen to people.  She is very effective, and has already lobbied a bill thru the state legislature to make your medical records private, and prevent the Attorney General's office from requisitioning them when ever they felt like it.
   We should elect Debi.  She would be a most effective voice for us in the North Country.  To accomplish anything we have to get a majority in the Senate to vote in favor of it.  Debi is a wonderful advocate, able to bring others around to her point of view without baring teeth.  When we need something from Concord, Debi is the best person to get it for us. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Food fights

First I hear about an epidemic of obesity  among children.  That has been hot for some time.  Then over the weekend  I hear that school children don't like the new healthy school lunches.  Well, no kid has ever had a good thing to say about school food.  Then  we have been hearing about humungous numbers of people going on food stamps.
  Now, this morning, Vermont Public Radio is bewailing the onset of wide spread hunger in Vermont.  A Green Mountain Famine as it were.
Can all this be true at the same time?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Home invasion. Chipmunks

It was a fine warm sunny day.  Working on the bathroom, going in and out, we left the door open for a while.  Thinking that Stupid Beast, pictured here, would be on guard.
Not a chance.  Turned around and there was a chipmunk, in the kitchen, checking out the cat's dish.  I guess chipmunks are OK with catfood.
Stupid Beast just sat there, chipmunk in plain sight, and did nothing. 
Unworthy of the name of cat.

Tax Hikes

I'm watching Meet the Press, my usual Sunday morning fair.  They get to the talking head part of the show and I hear the democratic mayor of Atlanta, GA say "We cannot have a budget deal without a revenue increase."
In other words, I want a tax hike no matter what.  And I don't want to cut anything.  Just jack up the taxes to meet the bills.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The bathroom tile project moves forward.

In the top photo we have the rotted studs and window sill removed and replaced with fresh new 2 by 4s. 

Next we have installed insulation. Extruded foam board, a two inch piece and a one inch piece to completely fill the space between the 2 by 4 studs.  The foam board is held in lace with just friction, no glue.  This bit of exterior wall is now the best insulated wall in the house.

 And here we have the concrete board (Hardiebacker) up. The fit is pretty good if I do say so my self. 

And finally, the tile goes up.  Had to buy a carbide hole saw to cut the holes for the pipes.  Rented a tile saw to cut the fractional tile pieces. 

Still to do.  Grout the tile and make a new window casing.  We started this job on Monday and got the tile up on Friday. 

Actually, they hate our guts.

The Obama administration has been attempting to blame that anti- Islam movie for the violence against US embassies and the slaying of a US ambassador.  Why?
  Could the real reason be, that they just plain hate our guts? And the movie has nothing to do with it?  Which is an uncomfortable thought for any American, be they leftists or rightists. 
   To avoid such uncomfortable thoughts, the administration is peddling the idea that it's all the fault of some nasty hate thought thinking California movie makers.  Just suppress all such thought crimes and the world will be a better place.  And Republicans will stop asking inconvenient questions about US foreign policy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Things you learn tiling bathrooms

Putting up the backer board for the new tile.  In the old days they used plain old drywall, but, when a leak in the tile lets water thru the tile and into the drywall, it becomes wetwall and just dissolves.   This job is being done with state-of-the-art  Hardiebacker pure concrete board.  It's so waterproof you can immerse it in water for 20 years without trouble. 
  Being pure concrete, how do you cut it?  Two ways.  Score it with a box cutter knife and snap it.  Or cut it with a diamond blade in a skilsaw.  Score and snap is the way to go for most cuts.  For real thin cuts, you gotta use the saw.  Seven inch diamond blade was cheaper than you might think, only $13 at the local Big Box.  Use the skilsaw out of doors, it makes a dense cloud of cement saw dust that is nasty stuff to clean up.  Bad for the lungs too.    Holes for pipes get cut with an ordinary hole saw in an electric drill. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Battle Cry, Movie based upon Leon Uris Novel

It's in Technicolor, it's made in 1955.  I rented it largely to see how things came out.  I started reading the novel way back when (grade school) and the folks objected and made the paperback disappear.  They figured I might learn bad language or something.  Anyhow I thought the flick would be a quick answer to "how-it-comes-out" for a book I never finished in childhood.
  It's the standard WWII movie, we follow the men leaving home, doing boot camp, and into combat.  Trouble is, the flick is just one long, long soap opera centering upon the love lives of our heroes.  They fall in love, some of 'em get married, others get Dear Johnned.  The romantic entanglements are right out of "Days of our Lives" or any other TV soap.  We the audience can guess how it's going to turn out long before anything happens on screen.
   They do get into combat.  We see they marching in formation down the dock to board ship.  And after a very brief and bloodless fight, they are back on board ship heading back to New Zealand to pick up the romances where they left off. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bathroom Tile Project

 The bathroom.  The tile around the shower had been getting soft for years.  Two or three go rounds with silicone bathtub caulk hadn't done much.  Crud and water was dripping downstairs.  Time to do some thing about it.
  Step A is getting the old tile out.  This is youngest son, Jonathan, going at it
This is the original tile that came with the house in 1962.  The insulation batts are fiberglass and original too.  They are in fair shape considering their age and the water that has leaked onto them over the years.

 Water leaking behind the tile has done a number on the studs.  We flushed out a big carpenter ant's nest when we pulled out the last piece of soggy dry wall.  Concrete board or blue board hadn't been inventing in 1962, the tile was laid on plain old paper covered drywall. 
  When the ant's were discovered, I handed Jon a can of bug bomb.  "But this says for flying insects" he objected.   "Give it to 'em anyhow."
And the ants curled up and died in a very satisfactory fashion.

Whacking old tile. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hummingbird Feeder

Hummingbird Feeder. End of Season 
This plant was hung up to dry in June. It gets a quart of water every day (except rainy days) and that's all. It brings in hummingbirds every day. The season, for both plants and hummingbirds, is just about over now. But Plant has been fun to have.  I'll probably get another one for next summer.

Sunday Pundits

Good old David Gregory on Meet the Press.  He is interviewing Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel.  Gregory asks Netanyahu "Aren't you trying to interfere in US elections when you advocate establishing "red lines" for Iran?" 
   Netanyahu politely changes the subject.
Gregory then asks "Don't you think Mitt Romney would make a better president than Obama?"
   Netanyahu politely changes the subject.
Gregory then asks  "Didn't Obama throw Israel under the bus?"
   Netanyahu politely changes the subject.
Far as I am concerned, Gregory was baiting the Israeli Prime Minister, hoping he would say something damaging to Israel on American TV.  Netanyahu is old enough and wise enough to avoid sticking his foot in his mouth, but it was not a friendly interview.  And Gregory is not a trustworthy newsman.  He is partisan, out grinding his axes.  Apparently Gregory is on an anti Semitic kick this Sunday.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Making Trouble

According to the Wall St Journal:
"In Eqypt, some journalists translated some of the footage into Arabic and broadcast it on national television. Several popular preachers in conservative Islamic channels urged people to turn out Tuesday at the US Embassy in Cairo, protestors there said."

   In other words, some Egyptians decided to stir up trouble by dredging an inflammatory bit of film off the Internet and playing it on Egyptian TV.  They got themselves a fine peck of trouble.  For cheap. 


I'd like some.  Burning American consulates and killing American ambassadors just frosts me.
Trouble is, I don't see anyone worth retaliating against.
We have fifty to a hundred thugs who did the actual assault.  We have maybe the same number of Arab mayors, police chiefs, and infantry officers who failed to disperse the mobs, either thru malice or incompetence.  We have the entire population of the country who didn't participate, but who like the idea of kicking Americans.  We have brand new national governments who probably didn't know this was going down and would have stopped it if they had known it was coming.
   Somehow it doesn't feel right to go to war against a third world country over the vicious acts of a very few mutants.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dead Cat Bounce, Rasmussen

That terrible bounce in Obama's poll standing, the one that had the Internet wailing and gnashing its teeth?  Well, it's gone.  Looking at the Rasmussen presidential tracking poll we see the bounce is flat.  Obama popped up a few percent, and then dropped right back down.  It's 46-45 Obama's favor this morning.  Which is dead even, a tie, in the real world.  The Rasmussen poll has a good track record. 

Words of the Weasel Part 30

Protest.  A mob in Benghasi burns the US consulate and kills four Americans including the US ambassador.  NHPR called this outrage a PROTEST. 
We used to call this sort of thing  an act of war.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Once Upon a Time in the West

Spaghetti Western Supreme. With Parmesan cheese.  It came out after Clint Eastwood's "Fistful of Dollars" and clearly borrowed from that flick.  It has some top flight actors, Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, and Jason Robards.  It has pretty much every cliche there ever was.  It moves incredibly slowly.  In the final showdown gunfight between Fonda and Bronson, it takes a good five minutes of flashbacks and closeups before they draw the six guns.  It takes Fonda another five minutes of writhing to die after Bronson plugs him. Plot is confusing.  New bad guys keep turning up, dressed just like the bad guys that just got gunned down, are they returned from the dead or what? We keep encountering scenes of massive violence AFTER it has been done and no clue as to who did it. 
   Claudia Cardinale is knock out cute, even fully dressed is high Victorian style.  The guys are all super scruffy and unshaven, it's hard to visualize any chick wanting to come within fifty feet of any of them. 
   This flick has it's fans on the 'Net who call it the best Western ever made.  I don't agree.  High Noon it ain't.

Primary Day, Poll Standing

It's primary day in New Hampshire.  This is the real state primary where we pick candidates for every office except the presidency.  Polls open at 8 in Franconia.  The alarm clock sounded at 7.  I had time to make a thermos of coffee, put the sign poles in the car, put on Smart wool socks and a sweater, and drive to the polls.  Fall is coming, it got down close to freezing last night.  It was still well below 60 at 8 AM and the warm clothing felt good.
   At 8 AM we had me, the Cumbee's and one lone democrat who I don't know, standing outside town hall.  We had a decent flow of voters in the morning.  Not bad for a primary, even in a presidential year.  I took a mid day break and plan to go back and cover the evening rush.
   In actual fact, we ought to hold the primary earlier.  Primary winners have too little time to campaign and mend fences with the losers before the election hits. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Get the Economy growing again

A short list of things that could be done immediately.
1.  Start building the Keystone XL pipeline.  Running pipe from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico is a big project that will employ a lot of people, use a lot supplies, and keep a lot of heavy machinery gainfully employed.  Once operational, it will lower fuel prices, and attract new industry.  And it's all privately funded.
2.  Repeal Obamacare.  Employers have no idea how expensive new employees health care will be, so they don't hire.
3.  Abolish the SEC.  It was created after Great Depression 1.0 to prevent a recurrence of same.  It has obviously failed, we have Great Depression 2.0, so what ever the SEC has been doing all these years didn't work.  But they do make it harder to do business.  So get rid of 'em.
4.  Approve drilling permits, in the Gulf, in ANWR, off the Atlantic coast, off the Pacific coast, everywhere.
5.  Abolish CAFE.  There is plenty of market pressure on Detroit to raise fuel economy.  We don't need laws. Plus the latest 55 mpg requirements are fantasy,  no car can do that well. Either the Feds will give selected (UAW and democrat) companies a waiver, or everyone will drive used cars, like in Cuba.
6. Pass a tax law that runs for at least five years.  Taxes are a major cost of businesses.  Unless business knows what the tax rate is going to be into the future, they don't know if the business will make money.  If they don't know that it will make money, they don't start that business.  

Romney might do some of these things.  Obama won't.

The Feds have to approve State Voter ID laws

Dunno how this happened.  Running elections used to be a State concern.  But the Feds OK'd the New Hampshire voter ID law and rejected Pennsylvania's.   We New Hampsters must have some in with the Feds that PA lacks. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bad ideas never die, Parti Quebecois rises again

Founded in 1968, Parti Quebecois (PQ) has stood for Quebec's secession from Canada and setting itself up as an independent country. They held a referendum in 1980, which failed, and they tried a second time in 1995 which nearly won.  Parti Quebecois garnered 49.6% of the vote.  Just another fraction of a percent and they would have won, and the separation process would have been launched.
   After the 1995 referendum all outside observers (Americans) figured Canada was toast. They expected the PQ to go back, do some more organizing, hold another referendum, and win it.  Somehow, that never happened.  The third referendum was never held, and the PQ simmered down to being the provincial government of Quebec.  Probably the election of Pierre Trudeau to the premiership of Canada had something to do with it.  Quebecois figured a premier with a French name couldn't be all bad.  Anyhow the Quebec separation issue died down and little has been heard of it since the '90s.
  It's back.  Quebec held elections and PQ won.  Not quite enough to form a pure PQ provincial government, they will have to cut a deal the either the Liberal party or the Coalition Avenir Quebec to form a coalition government.  But, it's a big step up for PQ  from the last election.
  Just to start things off with a bang, a gunman showed up at the PQ victory party and shot two people, one fatally, and set fire to the building. We can expect more fireworks in the future.
   Speaking as an American, whose lights are lit by Quebec Hydro, and whose family came from Montreal, I'm not in favor of Quebec separatism. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Inglourious Bastids

I skipped this movie when it came out, mostly 'cause of some really dreadful reviews.  But it was playing on cable last night and so I watched it.  It's a World War II movie, set in occupied France, with a plethora of nasty Nazi's, doing evil, and getting theirs in the end.  A bunch of really nasty resistance fighters cum OSS agents who are taking Nazi scalps.  A beautiful blond Frenchwoman in the Resistance, who is also Jewish with a mighty score to settle with the Nazis who shot her entire family before her eyes. A lot of of blood, shooting, double crossing, and mutilation, mixed with long and tedious scenes where the point is made in the first 30 seconds, but the scene drags on for 10 minutes of tedium.  A thin plot, too improbable to effect that "willing suspension of disbelief"
  The critics were right, this is a slasher film.  Don't take the children.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Rain in Chicago also falls on Teachers

The Chicago Teachers Union is threatening a strike, starting Monday.  Just what Mayor Rahm Emmanuel needs to make his day.  However, Chicago has only 13.3 students per teacher.  Nearly as bad as Spain.  Rahm could threaten to lay off half the teachers and still have a student teacher ratio of 27 which is better than it was when I did elementary school. 

Fact Checkers on NHPR

This morning I heard the fact checkers had been checking on Kelly Ayotte (US Senator from NH).  At a town hall meeting Kelly compared Obama's deficit to Bush's deficit and gave numbers.  As we all know, Obama's deficit is horrendous, whereas Bush's was merely bad. 
  The "fact checker" admitted that Kelly's numbers were right on, but that she was misrepresenting the case because, "The deficit isn't Obama's fault." 
   And that's a fact, all checked and everything.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Rain in Spain, falls mainly on Teachers

The number of Spanish students K thru 12 is 6.2 million.  Up from 6.02 million last year.  The number of teachers is way down, to 525,078.  Oh woe.  That's only one teacher to each 11.84 students. Over work. 
Of course when I was in elementary school in the good old USA, we had 28 students per teacher.  I can remember parents rejoicing that 28 students in a grade was so much better than 32. 
   Spain is running a bad budget deficit, and no one will loan them money and it's all the fault of the Euro crisis, of German refusal to bail them out, or something, anything. Laying off half those teachers is just not to be talked about.  A 50% layoff would bring the student teacher ratio  up to (gasp) 24.   


So I watched it last night, on C-Span so as to see the speakers rather than network talking heads.  The dems put on a vast array of speakers,  most of them people I never heard of.  They all spoke with great enthusiasm.  Lot of talk about things in the past, some talk about things I didn't quite believe, such as Obama is responsible for the GI bill.  Some women talked long and passionately about the need for free birth control.  Some called for tax hikes. 
  Last speaker at ten o'clock was Michelle Obama.  She spoke well and at length about her husband's marvelous qualities and sterling work ethic. 
   Little talk about jobs, the economy, tax reform, oil exploration, Keystone XL, or the Federal debt.
   Somehow the atmosphere at the DNC wasn't as lively as it was last week at the RNC.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Whither Fannie and Freddie?

Fannie and Freddie are US government "deals" intended to make mortgage money more plentiful, to make house sales easier to do.  (No mortgage, no sale)  Real estate agents, builders, appliance makers, interior decorators, contractors, banks, mortgage insurers, and lawyers all approve of more cheap and easy mortgage money.  
  Trouble is, Fannie and Freddie caused Great Depression 2.0, then went bust, and are still being bailed out by US taxpayers to the tune of $142 billion.  That's worse than AIG or the GM/Chrysler bailout.  After doing all that damage, they ought to be closed down for good before they do anymore damage.
   For four years the Obama administration has done nothing.  They cannot make up their minds.  They have offered three  ideas for consideration.
1.  Government backs off from mortgage lending to merely guaranteeing mortgages via FHA. The Obama folks worry about mortgage rates rising and big banks driving local banks out of the business.
   This ain't all bad.  It would be better if the government got out of the mortgage guarantee business too.  Home mortgages are very sound and profitable deals, (safe as houses).  They don't need a government guarantee.
2. Government creates a "backstop mechanism" to pump out mortgage money during bad times. How this would work is not specified.
   Pretty vague, and they would declare bad times all the time, so the money pump would be on all the time.
3. The government could offer a guarantee on mortgage backed securities.
  This is an awful idea.  Mortgage backed securities are a scam on investors, because investors have no way of knowing if the mortgages doing the backing are any good or not.  Great Depression 2.0 broke when investors wised up and stopped buying mortgage backed securities.

Newsies love conventions

How else can you explain all the coverage of the DNC in North Carolina before the convention even starts?  They are inside the convention hall, giving us video of empty seats, stage hands putting up giant TV screens, but no politicians.  The thing hasn't started yet, but the newsies are so eager to do convention coverage that they are interviewing empty chairs.
   Surely, something more interesting is happening somewhere in the world.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS)

As opposed to a development program for a new weapons system.  Development programs take forever, cost like crazy, and deliver late.  Pentagon cost savers are claiming that COTS procurement will save money.
   So the Navy, needing a replacement for the P3 Orion antisubmarine planes  (The Orions have been flying since the 1960's), purchased Boeing 737s.  Not a bad idea, the 737 has been flying for years and years.  If you flew on a single aisle airliner, it was probably a 737.  Southwest loves the 737 and flies nothing else. Good well proven plane.  Just take out the seats and put in the antisubmarice electronics.  Hang some torpedoes under the wings.  Piece of cake.
  But then the Navy has flown a few test flights.  Just a few.  3000 hours worth of test flying.  That's 125 DAYS , 24 hour days, in the air.  At $10,000 an hour. 
  When Boeing builds a commercial 737, they give it one, just one test flight, and turn it over to the customer.  Who proceeds to fly passengers in it. 
   The Navy, buying the same plane,  does 3000 hours of test flying.   Time for a little sequestration here.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Zombie Attack ads

Not quite sure what has stimulated them, but we have them, all over TV.  There is that one where the hand grenade drops into the roll basket and the who ever he is flees the explosion and winds up chased by Zombies.  That one was for Time Warner Cable. 
  Then we have the Jackie Cilley ad (Jackie is running for governor in the democratic primary).  Evil Zombies push in thru her window.  The Zombies represent "The Pledge" which Jackie is refusing to take.  The ad was good enough to get mentioned this morning on WMUR's "Closeup" pundit show.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Do Conventions still matter?

Well, not like they did back in the New Stone Age.  Back before primary elections, the conventions actually chose the party candidates.  That doesn't happen anymore, the primaries do that now.  But we still do conventions.  Pollster Scott Rasmussen thinks conventions are passe. 
  I differ.  The conventions are now pep rally and TV event.  But lotta people watch them.  I watched the RNC, two nights out of three.  Mostly to see with my own eyes how well (or poorly) various speakers do. 
   I am not alone.  I went to an Ovide Lamontagne event on Friday. Everybody attending had watched the RNC.  Granted the people there were all Republicans and all politically active, but still, the Romney people had them watching, and attitudes had been effected.  Not too shabby for a media event.