Sunday, November 30, 2014

US College education is too expensive

I'm on a roll.  What do you do to slow the rise of college tuition?  Which has been way higher than the general inflation rate for decades.
1.  Fire the useless mouths.  The only people who should be on salary are real professors, who teach three full credit (meets three times a week) courses per semester..  Administrators should be fired on general principles.  Administrators do not contribute to the student education, they just steal student's tuition money. 
2.  Fire the janitors, the dishwashers, and the groundskeepers.  Let the students mow the grass, sweep the halls, do the dishes, and shovel the snow.  Tell the students if they don't like doing the chores, find another college.
3.  Coaches should not be paid more than professors. 
4.  Insist on Saturday classes.  That way you can schedule Mon-Wed-Fri classes AND Tues-Thurs-Sat classes and fit more classes into the same classroom space.
5.  Stop constructing frills.  Fancy student unions, gyms, pools, theaters, dorms, anything not used for instruction.  Students can rough it, or private enterprise will step forward and fill the gap.
6.  Drop the worthless courses and majors.  Gender studies, racial studies, film criticism, art history, journalism, theatre, sociology, political science, anything that does not lead to gainful employment upon graduation. It's fraud to take a student's money are not equip him to earn a living.
7.  Drop graduate education.  The masters and doctorate and post doctoral programs lead only to jobs as college faculty, and there are virtually no job openings for college faculty.  Students going for graduate degrees are getting fleeced by the college. 
8.  Be fair to athletes.  Make sure that they graduate, in four years, with a useable degree.  If they cannot do the work, they cannot play. 

I hear UNH is warming up to cry for more taxpayer money this year. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

US health care is too damn expensive

The United States pays put 19% of GNP providing health care to its citizens.  That is a staggering sum of money.  All the rest of the world gets by pays 8% of GNP, less than half.  And, for paying all that money, US health is just fair, we rank about15th or so.  Which means 14 or so countries manage to give their citizens better health care for half the money.  Note that not one of our intrepid newsies has ever run a story explaining how that happens.  Here is my list of what we ought to do to get the price down.
1.  Competition.  Allow insurance companies to do business in every state of the union.  Right now to sell insurance in a state, the company has to do 100 tons of state paper work, and bribe a lot of officials.  It's so bad that a lot of companies just don't bother.  That's why we only have two health insurance companies up here.  Pass a federal law that says any licensed insurance company has the right to sell policies in all 50 states whether the state insurance commissions like the idea or not.  The Commerce Clause of the Constitution oughta cover this.  This will bring some choice, and perhaps some better pricing to the private insurance market.  Insurance companies will hate this idea, but companies don't have the vote.
2.  Curb the lawyers.  The lawyers should not be allowed to advertise for plaintiffs on TV.  We need a law to prevent mal practice suits for proscribing, manufacturing, selling, anything, of any FDA approved drug or device.  Even if the FDA later dis approves said drug or device.  Everyone knows that the FDA has been super cautious about approving anything, ever since the thalidomide disaster back in the '60s.  After they do approve something, it's reasonable for any man to assume it's safe.  We should not allow suits against those men just because they did something reasonable.  The lawyers will hate this, but there ain't that many lawyers in the electorate.
3.  More competition.  Allow import of drugs from any reasonable first world country, say Canada, Britain, Germany, France.  People should be able buy anything in Canada that the Canadian authorities allow on their market.  US companies often sell drugs for much lower prices overseas, mostly because the overseas authorities insist on more reasonable pricing.  Which is why drugs are often much cheaper from Canada.  People ought to be able to take advantage of this.  The drug companies hate this idea, but again, companies don't vote.  The FDA hates this idea, but that's just a turf battle.
4.  Drop the "electronic medical records" scam.  Insisting that every provider keep your medical records on his computer, just means your medical records are visible to every hacker, every employer, and every enemy.
And it costs money and is driving the smaller providers out of the business.  Large providers like this "feature", but again, companies don't vote.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Clearly Ferguson has a lot of very unhappy campers.  Questions that the TV newsies aren't asking.  Does the black community of Ferguson get out and vote?  Is Ferguson a real town, with a mayor, a town council, police department, fire department, and school department?  Or is it merely a district of St. Louis?  How many blacks and how many whites live in Ferguson?  Census data ought to show it.  Are there black candidates for municipal office?  Do they get elected?  What sort of turnout do Ferguson's black districts show, compared to the white districts?  
   The TV suggests that Ferguson's police force is mostly white, which is problematic.  Is this because Ferguson's blacks don't come out and vote?  The newsies would do the country a favor if they looked into this, rather than riot mongering.
   The riots, burning down stores, reduce employment opportunities as well as retail opportunities in Ferguson.  Hopefully the burned out store owners have insurance that will make them whole again.  But I bet a lot of 'em don't.  Certainly any businessman will think twice, maybe three times before setting up to do business in Ferguson.  Which costs jobs.

Snow just started up here in Franconia Notch.

Follow up to the non stop weather forecasts.  It's just at freezing, and light snow has started in the last few minutes. 

Why do I bother to read them?

You gotta wonder about the Economist.  A London based weekly news magazine with a long history and pretensions of seriousness.  The end-of-the-year special edition just came in, thick with ads, and lots of speculation and prognostication about next year.  Lots of good opining with little factual content, a sort of writer's delight. 
   Lead article, bylined "From the Editor".  second sentence reads "Two grand gatherings toward the end of the year, the UN's meeting to set 'sustainable development goals' and a get together in Paris to combat climate change, will show whether countries can agree on way to tackle some of the planet's biggest issues. "
Wow.  With Europe's economy tipping into recession, ISIS on the march, Ebola spreading, Putin taking over Ukraine, and China making moves all over the South China Sea, the Economist calls "sustainable development" and global warming  some of the planet's biggest issues?   Can you spell obsession?  Can you spell liberal lightweight?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

National Guard

The TV newsies have been pointing to the lack of the Guard on the streets of Ferguson last night.  The Guard was called up, but was not sent out to confront the rioters face to face. 
   This might be a decision by the governor to allow down town Ferguson burn rather than accept the casualties that might result from sending in the Guard.  Kent State must have been on the governor's mind. 
   The National Guard are part time soldiers, and have a much more practical attitude toward opponents than professional police officers do.  Guardsmen tend to believe the best way to deal with opposition is to shoot them before they get you.  If necessary call in some air and artillery strikes to soften them up before sending in the infantry.  This is a good attitude for soldiers in combat.  It is a little bit harsh for domestic law enforcement purposes.  

Oz, the great and powerful, Disney

As a dyed in the wool Oz fan, I had to watch it.  I first saw the original at age 5, my grandmother took me into Boston on the train, (Grandmother didn't drive) in a snow storm.  That was back before we had TV.  And we had a lot of Oz books around the house and I read them.   
   Any how, this is the second Disney attempt to revive the Oz franchise.  It isn't actually bad,  but it lacks something.  The cast are all people I never heard of.  A much younger wizard gets blown to Oz in a balloon by a cyclone.  Once in Oz he has difficulty figuring out what he is there for.  The wicked witch of the east doesn't seem all that wicked, despite wearing black and flying a broom that leaves a trail of black smoke.  He teams up with a cute blonde Glinda the Good, but the relationship never seems to get to the boyfriend-girlfriend stage, let alone into proposals of marriage.    There is a CGI china doll who tries to fill the role of Dorothy but CGI doesn't have the stage presence of a Judy Garland.  There is a CGI flying monkey in a bell boy uniform who winding up carrying the Wizard's bag and cracking a few jokes. 
Over all,  Meh. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Chuck Hagel, Defense Secretary is OUT.

Obama will make a formal announcement in an hour or so.  I, and many others, wonder how this happened.  Is Obama firing Hagel?  Or is Hagel resigning?  Who will ever know? 
I also wonder what Obama will do for a replacement.  Taking on the Defense Secretary job with serious budget cuts, sequester, ISIS on a roll, no boots on the ground, Iran building nukes,  and various other S.H.I.T.F things going on is not career enhancing.  Obama has driven foreign policy and the military so far down the drain that I cannot imagine anyone being able to do good or look good trying to fix things. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Nature on PBS, still into Global Warming

Watched "Nature" on channel 6, Vermont Public TV.  Interesting show on the Arctic.  Interesting shots of a school of killer whales driving narwhales into the shallows and chowing down on them.  The voice over kept emphasizing that global warming was melting off the Arctic ice cap, allowing the killer whales to hunt farther north.  And it sympathized with the fate of polar bears.  The traditional bear hunting tactic involves walking out on the ice, finding a breathing hole in the ice and waiting for a seal to come up for air.  No more ice, no more seal hunting on the ice.  We did get to see a couple of polar bears going after spawning arctic char, with variable luck. 
    Of course, this year's arctic ice report shows more arctic ice than usual.  That happy talk about the arctic ice going out and  allowing steamships to make it thru the NorthWest passage has died down.
   That didn't seem to affect the Nature voiceover bewailing the onset of global warming.   

Words of the Weasel Part 42

"Such and Such is broken."  For example, the immigration system, the Congress,  the education system, the tax system and on and on.  And we need to "fix" it.  Fix it my way, of course. 
   More honest would be to say specifically what is wrong and how you want to "fix" it.  For example, "The immigration system has allowed too many (11 mil) illegal immigrants into the country.  We want  reduce the number of illegals, by turning illegals into legals. "   
   Just whining that something is broken is essentially deceitful.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

NPR was pushing rail travel, Concord-Boston

Heh, I'm a rail buff too.  I even have an HO train running around my down stairs guest room.  But, the price tag was stunning.  NPR was talking about $250 million capital investment in fixing up the track from Concord to I assume the Massachusetts state line.  That's about 25 miles, so we are talking about $10 million per mile.  Which is ridiculous.  Back in the day (19th century) there were plenty of railroad tracks running Nashua-Concord, and Nashua-Boston.  Those right of ways are still there.  The state could get them back from who ever owns them now thru eminent domain.  The track will need some work, but $10 million a mile for track work is a rip off. 
   NPR did not furnish any ridership estimates, fares, and travel time, which you would need to estimate revenue and losses.  Right now we have medium good bus service Concord to Boston.  Will the incredibly pricey train be faster?  or cheaper?
   Sounds like the NH taxpayers are expected to foot the bill and all the operating losses.   We would be ahead putting the money into finishing up widening I93. 

The Company Turkey

Years ago I worked for Bernie Gordon at Analogic on Rt 128.  Analogic company tradition was to furnish each employee with a turkey for Thanksgiving.  At that time Analogic had grown so large, that it required a semi-trailer full of turkeys to serve all the employees.  I can remember standing in line to get my turkey, and then lugging it across the parking lot to my car and stashing in the trunk.  The whole affair gave everyone a fine Bob Cratchett / Tiny Tim feeling.  That year we did Thanksgiving upcountry at the chalet, which had a tiny 24 inch studio apartment stove.  The oven was barely large enough for a  12 pound turkey, this was a 14 pounder.  Lot of fiddling around, thawing out, and finally pulling the broiler heater element out of the oven, and it finally went in. 
   The other amusing turkey story was the kosher turkey.   "Dave, let me put you in for a kosher turkey.  They taste better." urged a fellow employee.   Bernie was Jewish and Analogic was a fairly Jewish company.  So I nodded OK, and my name went to the keeper of the kosher turkey list, old Ivan Kirsh (Ivan the Curse some called him).   Once on the kosher turkey list, you stayed on.  Ivan was efficient and kept the turkey list up to date.  So we enjoyed kosher turkeys for the duration of my stay and Analogic. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Substance vs Process

The substance of the matter is making half the illegal immigrants in the country into quasi legal immigrants.  Call it 4.5 million amnesties.
   The outrage on TV is all about process, the fact that Obama plans to do this by executive order, rather that going for an act of Congress.  They don't talk about what Obama is going to do, they object to how he is going to do it.  They don't talk much about the fact that Congress isn't going to pass a big amnesty law because the voters don't want it.  Just two weeks ago the voters made it very clear what happens to Congressmen who fail to vote their districts.
   The polls show maybe 60% of voters are against the idea, but 40% are all right with it.  At that rate, Obama can probably get away with it, I don't see support for impeachment in those poll numbers.  The lawyers will natter back and forth about legality, but I'll bet the Congress passed enough loosely written laws over the years to allow nearly anything.

What should the Republicans do?

About Obama's threatened mass amnesty by executive order?  According to the TV news, Obama will go on TV tonight and announce amnesty by executive order for 5 million illegals already in the country.  He is going to issue green cards, driver's licenses, and everything except health care.  Needless to say this does not meet with approval from the voters, the Congress, state governors, or Republicans. 
  Now that the Republicans control Congress they can retaliate, if they want.  Question:  What can they do to a lame duck president that doesn't anger the electorate? 
  Shutting down the government or refusing to hike the debt ceiling, have been tried in the past, and have damaged the reputation and electoral chances of those who tried it. 
   Strongest power of the Congress is the power of the purse.  If Congress does not appropriate money, the activity dries up and blows away.  There are a lot of things that Obama likes, that are not really essential to operation of the country.  We could do just fine without the EPA, the Federal department of Education, the Highway Trust Fund, the Agriculture department, the SEC, the Davis Bacon "Hire only Union Workers" law, the Dodd Frank "Big bank bailout law", NSA telephone snooping, and the Sarbanes-Oxley "drive mergers and acquisitions to London" law. 
   Congress could simply refuse any funds to these worthless and parasitic operations.  That's veto proof too.
   To exert the power of the purse, Congress must stop passing 1000 page "Fund the entire government" continuing resolutions.  It's too easy to hide money for anything in 1000 pages of government certified gooble-de-gook.  Congress needs to pass separate appropriation bills, one for for each federal activity, that yields a smaller bill which energetic activists have a chance of understanding, and finding the slush funds.  And, each one can be debated and politicked without shutting down the entire government. 
   When the one big continuing resolution comes close to the deadline, Congressmen get asked "Do you wnat to be responsible for shutting down the whole government just to get your petty item on page 754?"  Most Congressmen cave at that point. 
   Whereas if it was just say the EPA appropriations bill, the Congressman could say "Hell yes.  I want this pernicious activity defunded.  If I don't get it, I''ll shut to whole EPA down."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Just one more favor to call in.

The Senate turned down Keystone XL by just one vote.  All the Republicans and 14 Democrats voted for it, but that's one short of 60 votes.  You'd think that an old Senate hand like Mary Landrieu,  who has been there for 18 years, would have been able to scrape up that one last vote.  Surely in 18 years she has down some favors for people.   You'd also think that fellow Democrats would give her a vote she needs for survival just out of party feelings of solidarity.  I guess not.   Joseph Stalin once said "Gratitude is a disease of  dogs."  Looks like Democrats feel the same way. 
   Instead of throwing a life ring to a living breathing fellow party member, Senate Democrats let her drown in favor of the Greenie mythology of Global Warming.  Nice people. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When is the sun over the yardarm?

Old family tradition.  You aren't supposed to start drinking until the sun is over the yardarm.  Which, in my old age, I interpreted as 5 o'clock.  Because nothing much gets done after happy hour begins.  Especially nothing down in the shop, where I have edged tools. 
  Well, now that we are off daylight saving time, the damn sun is setting at 4:30.  I mean by sunset, the sun is over the yardarm, no matter where you sling your yardarm.
   So, maybe I can start happy hour at sunset. 

I wonder what's in it

The Obama  administration says all the House need do, to solve the immigration kerfuffle, is to pass the immigration bill that the Senate passed a year ago.  Sounds good. 
  But I wonder what is in that Senate bill.  Lots of amnesty?,  guest workers?  more H1B visas?  More immigration overall?  Border security?  How many pages is it?  Another 1000 page monstrosity which basically lets the bureaucracy do any thing it wants? 
  Not even the Fox newsies are saying anything about the contents of the Senate bill.  They don't even mention it's number. 
  If there is any life left in American constitutional Democracy, the reps will vote their districts.  And the districts are dubious to hostile toward amnesty.  And toward letting more people into the country.  We voters have turned out of office plenty of reps who voted for Obamacare.  You would think that would get the message across. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

NPR must be feeling some heat.

They were on the air this morning, defending their Sunday hit piece on Bill Cosby.  They threw out a few names, none of which meant anything to me.  According to NPR there was a civil suit against Cosby back in 2006 which was settled out of court.  What with all the feral lawyers running around the country loose, I'd expect every celebrity gets hit with civil suits all the time.  Why NPR chose to bring that matter up again yesterday was not explained. 
   Keep the heat on, Cosby fans. 

Cannon Mountain ski weather.

WE got another sprinkle of snow last night.  Not much, less than an inch, but enough for the town plow to rumble by my place at 7 AM this morning.  Every little bit helps.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

NPR. Doing Bill Cosby no favors

So I'm driving down to Rochester NH with the car radio on.  Early morning.  NPR playing as usual.  All of a sudden they start doing a piece on Bill Cosby, he and his wife had donated some artwork to the Smithsonian and the interview with Cosby was ostensibly about this fine charitable contribution.  So, next question NPR lays on Cosby is about some allegations of sexual assault.  Cosby says nothing.  Wow.  First I ever heard of this story.  The NPR newsie says "I'm a news man. I have to ask this question."  The hell you say. 
   I'm thinking, if you are a real newsie, then you ought to do a story on this, based on some real sources, like sources with names.  Just popping a "have you stopped beating your wife" question on Bill Cosby, on the air, isn't journalism. it's a vendetta. 
  I know nothing of the facts of the case.  All I know is I have been watching Bill Cosby on TV since he was doing "I Spy" back in the 1950's.  He has done a lot of good stuff since.  200 Miles an Hour, Mother Jugs and Speed, the Huxtable/ Cosby show.  I always thought Bill was a helova nice guy. Much nicer than any TV newsie.
   Dunno why NPR is out to smear Bill Cosby.  Unless they just want to destroy any black guy who says some conservative things now and then.  Note to NPR, if you have any real evidence, produce it, otherwise keep it zipped.

Day of Ill Omen.

Musta got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.  I find the front door had blown open during the night allowing a hurricane of wintery air to blow thru the house.  My mantle clock, a 100 year old windup Tiffany inherited from my grandmother had stopped.  The cable was out, no TV, no broadband.  And it was starting to snow. 
   All was not lost, I closed the door, the furnace brought the house up to living temperature.  I wound the clock and set it and it's still running.  The cable came back to life.  It's still snowing. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Allow sale of US oil world wide.

Back in the fuel crisis of the 1970's, and with the opening up of the Alaska North Slope oil fields, Congress passed a law forbidding the export of US oil.  What with everyone sitting in lines at the gas station just to fill the family car, it seemed like a quick short cut to making more oil and gasoline available to US consumers.
  Now, 40 years later, the industry has managed to radically increase domestic oil production.  They want to sell some this new oil production abroad. 
  Let 'em.  The oil companies are far better equipped to figure out the best way of turning oil into cash than any set of  inside the beltway bureaucrats. 
   The price of oil is set by international markets, the domestic price will be the same whether we sell abroad or not.  If anything, American oil sales will depress the international price of oil.  Which will reduce the domestic price, since the domestic price is the international price.  

Fast Track Authority for OBAMA?

They are talking about it.  Fast Track authority means the administration can negotiate a trade deal, or any other sort of deal, with foreign countries, and submit the treaty to the Senate for an up or down vote, no amendments. 
  If you think about it, fast track is the only way to get anything done.  What foreign country, after negotiating some favorable clauses into the treaty wants to see all their hard won concessions go away when the US Congress rewrites the deal before ratifying it?  Hence fast track.  But fast track is not a constitutional power of the president, Congress has to vote it in, for a limited time.  Right now, Barack Obama doesn't have it.
   Basically, I believe in free, or at least freer trade, it reduces prices for us poor consumers, and it increases exports, which provides more US jobs. 
   But, you gotta look at Barack Obama's negotiating skills.  He just negotiated an energy deal with the Chinese.  We cut our CO2 emissions by 27% starting now, they let their CO2 emissions grow with out limit until the year 2030.  That kinda deal we don't need.
   Far as I can see, Obama is such an incompetent negotiator, that giving him fast track authority is like giving matches to a two year old.  It's a bad idea. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Gruber calls American voters stupid

I don't think so.  Gruber and the democrats concealed the contents of the Obamacare bill.  Even so, the voters in deep blue Massachusetts sent Republican Scott Brown to the senate to fill Ted Kennedy's seat, and that denied the Democrats enough Senate votes to ram thru new versions of the law.  And, the voters remembered who stuck them with Obamacare, and have voted truckloads of them out of office.  Somehow Jean Shaheen survived, but we got a lot of the rest of 'em. 
  The fault did not lie with the voters.  It lies with the administration, who lied repeatedly, with Congresspeople who deceived their constituants and voted against their interests, and with the newsies who slanted their stories in favor of Obamacare. 
   American democracy is based upon the idea that office holders are honest, that newspapers tell the truth, and that Congressmen vote their districts.  In the Obamacare disaster we had a president who said "If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.  We had a Speaker of the House who said "You have to pass it to see what's in it."  We had a national press that pumped out nothing but favorable stories about Obamacare. In short, the executive lied, the newspapers lied, and Congress did not vote their district. 

Cannon Mt Ski Weather

It snowed last night.  We got 2.5 inches.  It stuck and covered the grass and lawns.  It's melting off the roads 'cause the ground still is not frozen.  It's not enough to open Cannon, but it puts the snowmakers 2.5 inches ahead. 
  For those who care, my deck, where I measure snowfall, is within easy walking distance of the Peabody slopes bunny lift.  What I get is pretty much what Peabody slopes gets.  Figure the top of Cannon gets a bit more snow than the bottom. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Speaker of the NH House

The new Republican majority in Concord gets to choose a speaker of the house. They are talking about a vote next week. Candidates are Gene Chandler (from Bartlett), Bill O'Brien (Mont Vernon) and somebody I never heard of and cannot remember right now. I know both Gene and Bill, they are good people, who have the voter's welfare at heart.
Bill O'Brien has served as Speaker before. Back in 2011-12 Bill managed to trim 11% off the budget, got it to balance, avoided a tax hike, and despite continuing screams from Democrats and bureaucrats, nobody was thrown out into the snow. We are talking 11% real cuts, as opposed to the fake cuts so popular with politicians. There was intense opposition from Democrats, do gooders, bureaucrats, and the media, all of whom like increasing taxes and increasing the role of government. Somehow Bill was able to find the votes for his budget and bring it to a vote, saving us taxpayers a bundle.
Bill had time for voters. I remember a little Tea Party meeting in Ashland years ago. It wasn't much, maybe a dozen people, meeting in someone's living room on a weeknight. None of us were well known, or influential, or in command of other votes. But, Bill took the time to drive up (probably and hour and a half). He explained what was going on in Concord, listened to our concerns, and convinced everyone in the room that he and the Republicans knew what they were about. I'll bet he didn't get home to bed before 11 PM that night.
Gene Chandler is a decent guy, a nice guy, I like him. But I don't believe he would be able to push thru an 11% budget cut.

Maidentrip, An Indie film 2013

14 year old Laura Dekker, a Dutch girl, wanted to sail around the world, single handed.  She does it.  She also narrates the film, and took all the at sea video.  It's a heartwarming tale.  Laura films scene after scene, of good weather, of her ketch foaming along with a bone in her teeth, of a cheerful sunlit cabin, of threatening thunder heads, of glorious sunsets, and of running the lee rail under in heavy weather.  Clearly Laura loves to sail and loved the trip.  It takes a while, she sets off at age 14, and is 16 by the time she finishes.  You can see her growing up in the video, she looks a lot more grown up at the end of the trip than at the beginning.
   There were a few technical details that I would have enjoyed knowing, like about her boat.  I never did catch a name for it.  She did mention that it was forty feet long, which makes it a big yacht.  I never saw it sailing under Genoa job, the sail of choice of modern yachts.  Did Laura know celestial navigation or did she rely upon electronics to guide her from port to port?  There are no shots of Laura holding a sextant or consulting a chronometer.  No comments upon how well the autopilot could hold course at night while Laura was sleeping.  No comments upon what her yacht did for electric power during 18 day passages off shore.  Did she have to run the auxiliary engine once a day to charge the batteries?  Did she carry solar cells or a wind driven generator? 
   Anyhow, a heartwarming film.  I enjoyed it.  The photography is very good, especially for an indie film.  Netflix has it.   

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

International Aviation Market Forecast for 2015

Interesting chart in Aviation Week about commercial aircraft production.  Comercial being jetliners, regional jet liners, utility aircraft.  No biz jets.  No military aircraft and no helicopters.  Sales forecasts are all for the next ten years. 
First thing that comes out in that there are only two real makers of full sized jet airliners, Airbus and Boeing.  Airbus is projected to build 7000 jet liners.  Boeing is projected to build 7400.  When you think that each aircraft sells for $50-100 million, that's a lotta business. 
  Then there are builders who are pretty much dead.  Ilyushin is projected to build just two IL-96 wide body jetliners.  At that production rate, they are losing barrels of money on each plane.  And we have Tupolev's TU 204/214 single aisle jet liner with a forecast of a mere 9 aircraft.  Let's guess the Russian government is subsidizing Ilyushin and Tupolev to keep the production lines open just in case they can line up some orders.  Good luck with that.  I hear the Aeroflot is advertising that they fly western built aircraft on all their overseas routes. 
   Then we have the regional jet liners.  These look like regular single aisle airliners, but they are smaller and seat few passengers, less than 90, as compared to a 737 which seats 150-180 depending upon model.  The regional jet liner makers are new comers, Embraer (Brazil) , Bombardier (Canada), and Comac (China).  Presumably it is easier to break into the jet liner market at the bottom, and perhaps small jets can be sold to the various puddle jumper airlines still flying small turboprops.  Sales projection are a hundred or so for each maker.  This market doesn't look all that hot.
  And then we have some surprisingly strong utility aircraft.  Beech King Air is forecast to sell 1302 aircraft.  That's more than all the regional jet makers put together.  The Pilatus PC-12 is forecast to sell 846 aircraft.  Even though utility aircraft don't bring in the money that regular jet liners do, that's still a nice bit of business. 

Telephone Scam, Second Edition

So I answered the phone.  I think it was the same scammer as before.  Had the same foreign accent as the guy last month.  .  So I told him I thought he was a scammer.  So he claimed he was calling from Microsoft.  I told him Microsoft never calls anyone, in fact, Microsoft doesn't even answer the phone if you call them.  So he blew me a couple of feeble insults and hung up. 
   The scammers are out there. 

Ultra Pricey

The Christmas catalog rush is warming up.  Exhibit A, "Chefs, Best Kitchen Starts Here".  Cookware, counter top appliances, baking dishes, pots and pans.  Nice stuff.  I cook a bit, and am partial to decent kitchen stuff. 
  Well, the stuff in this catalog had better be decent.  They have  $500 toasters, $500 mixers, $100 fry pans, $140 knives, and $200 soup pots. 
   Too rich for my blood.  Even as gifts. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What is Net Neutrality?

What ever it is, Obama is in favor of it.  Especially when he gets to make the rules.  What ever it is, the FCC will gain control over the internet, a control that the Supreme Court has denied them earlier this year. 
   The current internet works pretty good for me.  I get broadband for $14.99 a month.  It's fast enough for movies.  I can go to any site I please.  Email goes thru, it's nearly as dependable as snail mail.  What's not to like?  And lets not mess it up. 
   There is some controversy about streaming video.  the video outfits (Netflix) love streaming video.  The service providers are luke warm, video sucks up fantastic amounts of bandwidth. requiring expensive new lines to be buried in the dirt.  The service providers, given their druthers, would charge extra for streaming video, and assign it a lower priority to allow email, web surfing, googling, and other net services to run at regular speed and streaming video to run when it doesn't interfere with other services.  They don't do that now, but they have been muttering about it. 
   Obama has messed up so many things, the economy, international relations, Iraq, healthcare, Solyndra, and my electric rates.  He has the reverse Midas touch, everything he touches turns to garbage.  With a record like that, lets keep his hands off the Internet. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Norks are making nice.

I wonder why.  They have released three American prisoners, which is better than average for the Norks.  I haven't heard of any negotiations, over say nukes, or economic aid, or lifting of sanctions, or anything like that.  There are the "six power" talks about nukes which have been stalled out for quite a while.  I haven't heard anything from the South Koreans, who often know more than we do about the North. 
   Has Obama made an under-the-table secret offer to the Norks?
   I think the Norks have a greater need to keep on China's good side than they do for us Americans.  China is subsidizing the Norks, to keep 'em running, fearing that a worse breakdown of Nork economy might kick off a revolution that ends up with the new North Korean government joining South Korea, a development that the Chinese cannot approve of.   

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Immigration, comprehensive reform

Obama is on Face the Nation right now.  He wants "immigration reform" and is saying that if Congress doesn't do it, he will do it by executive order.  He isn't saying what kind of reform he wants.  In fact there are a lot of angles to immigration, some of them acceptable to the voters and a lot of them not acceptable.   A whole bunch of voters see immigrants as competitors for jobs, education, and wages. They fear immigrants will work for less, and depress their wages.  Unions see things this way.  "Progressives" see immigrants as potential democratic voters. 
Angle 1.  Legalizing the 10 or 11 million illegals in the country right now.  Or legalizing some of them.  Or just letting them alone, give up trying to deport them.  Or legalizing the kids, or college graduates or veterans.
Angle 2.  Allowing more workers, farm workers, programmers and high tech workers in.  Industry and growers are all in favor of this.  There is a shortage of farm workers who will do the hard work for little money.  There is always a shortage high tech workers.
Angle 3.  Revise immigration policy to favor the young, the educated,  over family members.  Current policy favors the elderly parents of citizens over young workers who can man our industries.
Angle 4.  "Securing" the border.  Nobody has said just how secure they want.  Do they want to build something like the Berlin Wall across the Mexican border?  Me, I'd settle for a chain link fence, a perimeter road, and daily patrols.
Angle 5.  How many immigrants will we accept each year?  10,000? A million?  3 million?

A comprehensive immigration bill might say something about all the angles.  Which requires Congressmen to come to agreement as to what angles go into the "comprehensive" bill.  It might be easier to pass a "non comprehensive" bill which just addresses the few angles that we can get some agreement on.   

Farewell to Campaign Promises

Neither side made any promises this time.  They didn't promise the voters squat.  Modern politicians fear to say anything of substance, 'cause on any issue there are pros and antis.  For some reason, the antis remember and pros forget.  So politicians say nothing because saying ANYTHING just gains enemies, never friends or allies. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Should TV stations air deceptive ads?

Down at the bottom, the local station owners can decide to air, or not to air, any ad.  Is it ethical for them to air ads that they know, and everyone knows, are deceptive?  Like half the political ads aired this last election (like just this week).   The ordinary voters get their info from the TV.  The "news" programs are complete pablum, with no context, no examples, not even speeches by the candidates.  And the ads.  Most of the ads accused the other side of illegal, improbable, and unprovable crimes. If you bothered to watch, most of 'em were so far out that anyone knew they were false. 
   Should TV station owners air this stuff?  Does the money they gain outweigh the pollution of the public airwaves? 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Snow in Franconia Notch

It stopped falling.  We got two inches on my deck.  I'd expect the summit of Cannon got a bit more.  Not enough to open Cannon, but it helps. 

If you have the votes, do it.

TV is full of happy talk about "bipartisanship" and "cooperation", and other psychobabble. Let's be real, the Republicans now have the votes in Congress to pass anything reasonable.  They ought to do it.  Some of it Obama will sign.  Some of it he will veto.  Make sure the issue is framed clearly so that you can bash Obama for the veto after he does it.  Might as well start off easy, with some medium duty issues that Obama might sign, just to get things warmed up.  Then press on with some heavy duty stuff, immigration, tax reform, EPA reform, budget, deficit, and other stuff. 
   What  John Boehner and Mitch McConnell (expected Congressional leaders next term) ought to be asking is "Do we have the votes to pass this bill?"  And by how solid a margin?  Passing a bill by a mere single vote looks flaky and can make you look dumb, when some other single vote turns against it unexpectedly.  If you don't have the votes, change the bill to attract more votes, or drop it.  Don't waste time on losers. 
   Don't waste time trying to be "bipartisan".  If you have the votes, pass it. If you don't, drop it.

Snow in Franconia Notch

It is coming down as I write this.  It's beginning to stick on the grass.   The ground has not frozen yet (we haven't had but one or two nights with frost to do the freezing) so the snow is melting on the road. No where near enough for skiing yet, but it is a good sign.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Names have been changed to protect the guilty

That Wallops Island rocket crash last week.  The one they are blaming on Russian built engines.  The company called itself "Orbital Sciences"  and the failed rocket they called "Antares".
   Funny, up until the disaster at Wallops Island, the company was known as "United Launch Association" or "ULA" and the vehicle was called "Atlas".   ULA was formed some years ago when Boeing and Lockheed decided to stop competing for NASA business, and spun off their space divisions.  The two spun off divisions promptly merged, creating ULA.  Their vehicle,Atlas, despite the Russian engines, has a pretty good record launching commercial comm sats, and military payloads (recon sats probably).
   Up until last week, Aviation Week worried about the Russian engines, and the possibility of the Russians cutting off the supply of engines in a tit for tat over Ukraine sanctions.  And they said, several times, that the cost of developing a US built engine would be prohibitive.  Well, last release to the popular (low information) press blamed the disaster on the Russian engines and announced that they would be replaced, with a yet to be named, US engine.  Nothing like an explosion filmed in full color to expedite the decision making process. 

Update:    Nov 7 20014.  Aviation Week came in this morning.  Apparently I am wrong, there ARE two US rocket operations, both using Russian built engines.  Aviation Week discusses both.  ULA and Atlas use a big Russian engine still in production, Orbital Science and Antares are using an old Russian engine, going back to the 1960's.  Sorry about the misinformation. 


That's what they called Scott Brown the day he joined the campaign.  I heard it said, over and over again.  I think that is the thing that tipped the election against him.  Jean Shaheen didn't campaign much, she hasn't done much except vote in Obamacare.  But she pulled it out in the end.  Too bad.  She is pretty much a do-nothing senator.  I'm afraid I live in a no-think blue state.   With yellow dog democrat voters that vote a straight party ticket no matter what, and no matter who is on the ticket. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Blue Hampshire

NH re elected three big spender, do-little democrats at the top of the ticket, despite a Republican year, good GOP candidates, and plenty of money.  Looks like the takers are out voting the makers in NH.  The rest of the country was smarter, although just barely.  After six years of really awful democratic rule, the democrats still nearly won everywhere.   Although the the national Republicans took control of the Senate, it's a thin majority, just two seats last time I looked, with Virginia still too close to call on the morning after.  And few of the Republican victories were more than a couple of percent.  I don't see a permanent and lasting change in the political complexion of the country here, the democrats could make a comeback just about anytime. 
  Especially if the Republican Congress fails to do anything about jobs, about the economy, ISIS, Keystone XL, Ebola, the VA, the IRS, the budget, taxes,the Ukraine, the deficit, and a lot of other stuff that has the voters hot and bothered.  We have to survive a lame duck session of Congress where the Democratic Senate will likely try to pass a lot of stuff that will be dead when the new Congress convenes next year.  Fortunately the House will be able to block a lot of this stuff if it keeps it's cool.
   Congress ought to start in January on the Federal budget.  They ought to pass appropriation bills for each executive department (Defense, State, Agriculture, Commerce, and so on).  The democratic practice of letting appropriations slide until it's too late, and then passing one humungous continuing resolution, results in a stack of paperwork so thick that no one understands what's in it.  The few savvy inside staffers who do understand what is going down have all the opportunity in the world to slip in pet pork spending that no one will every see, 'cause it's buried so deep. 
   The bennie of separate appropriation bills is the voters can tell how much money is getting spent on what.  With the one humungous continuing resolution nobody knows how much money is going where.
  Then Congress ought to pass a bill that says "Build Keystone XL pipeline now."   Obama will hate it, but will he have the stones to veto it? 
  Then they ought to do something about ISIS, not sure just what, but we ought to figure out just what we are trying to do over there.  Right now we are just putting on fireworks displays, which does nothing for our relations with anyone in the world.  Makes us look stupid. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day.

We won't know much until the polls close and some results trickle in.  It was cold, 42F, at 8 AM when the polls opened.  I wore long woolen underwear, Smart Wool socks, a ski sweater and parka, and it was still cold.  I stood at the polls with signs for the Republican candidates till afternoon.  It had warmed up a little, 52F, by 12:30.
   Turnout was surprisingly heavy.  As heavy as any presidential year, maybe higher.  Constant stream of voters all day. 
  We won't know anything until much later tonight. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Does Money in Politics Really Matter?

Closing out an election year with unbelievable amounts of outside money up here in NH.  Never have I seen such a blizzard of TV ads.  Now they go Democrat, Republican, Democrat, back to back.  Mail box stuffed full of political ads, email box overflowing.  Even state reps can afford four color 5 by 7 mailers this election.  A whole lot of it is from out of state organizations, so stated right on the ad.  Besides, even if you took the entire state of NH, held it upside down, and shook it like a piggy bank, you wouldn't get a tenth of the money that has been blown on this election. 
   Question.   Does all that money really matter?  Or are NH voters more influenced by face to face encounters with the candidates?  Which are cheaper than TV ads.  And we have had plenty of face to face contact, at least with Republican candidates.  They have been turning up at small scale rural clambakes and cookouts and VFW halls and town and county party events.  Democrats not so much, and the Democrats tend to screen the attendees at their affairs to keep hecklers away.
   So, why all the hubbub about campaign finance laws?  It's a free country, or at least it used to be, and free means a man ought to be able to spend his money anyway he pleases.   Groups ought to be able to make political movies and show them.  The really rich donors tend to even out, Warren Buffet vs the Koch brothers comes out roughly even. 
I'm thinking the people in favor of "campaign finance reform" are more interested in making sure that the other side gets less money.  And they also like bossing people around, and setting up a Federal Election Commission to do the bossing suits them just fine.  These are the people who are up in arms about the Supremes and the Heller decision, which overturned a lot of restrictions on political giving.
   I now believe the whole campaign finance reform thing ought to go away.  Let everyone put as much money into getting their guys elected as they please.  

Who wants Windows on a phone?

Win 8 is clearly an attempt to make Windows work on a phone or tablet.  The Microsofties put a lot of work into the concept.  Trouble is, after they built it, nobody came.  Who in their right mind would want Windows to come within 10,000 feet of their phone.  We all know Windows, we know it's slow, flaky, fat, and insecure.  Who wants that in their phone?  And in fact, sales of Windows phones has been dismal. 
   To become phone worthy, M$ has placed their core market, traditional desktops and laptops in some jeopardy.  They blew away the start menu, confusing the bejesus out of users, bestowed the "start" name upon the new touchie feelie  screen to the confusion of documentation, and  spent a lot of time renaming things and hiding them. 
  It's so bad, that I, old windows user going back to version 3.1, am thinking about Linux.  The only reason I stick with Windows is to run Word and Excel.  I'm told I can get OpenOffice to work with all the M$ Office documents, and I suppose I ought to. 
  Essentially, M$ felt that getting onto phones and tablets was worth loosing their traditional business.  Had it been me, I would have produced a phone and tablet product, and a separate desktop laptop product and not tried a one size fits all product.  I guess all M$ is software guys, who will do anything to reduce maintenance by reducing the number of products.  This is why back in the late '90s M$ scrapped the popular Windows 9X line and moved everyone over to fatter slower Windows NT.  All the programmers working on 9X support could be put on other work. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Vote for Walt Havenstein

I used to work at BAE, the old Saunders Associates in Nashua. They are a defense contractor. It was a pretty well run place. The shops all understood what they were making and took pride in doing it right. Most of the work force were veterans, and none of them wanted to ship substandard or defective equipment to soldiers in combat. Everyone was connected. Even the junior assemblers had a computer on their bench, on the network. The big project in house was the Common Missile Warning System, a rig of TV camera's and computer that detected the flash of a missile launch, and got on the aircraft intercom and cried "Missile, Missile, Missile", using a female voice. This got the pilot's attention. Most of the shops had pictures of big helicopters, with the full aircrew standing in front, and hand written letters for Iraq saying "Your equipment saved our lives".
I was at BAE after Walt Havenstein's time as CEO. But, Walt certainly left a high morale, efficient, competent company behind him. It speaks well for Walt's leadership and management.

   I am voting for Walt Havenstein for governor.  He is a much better leader and manager than Maggie Hassan.

Winter is coming. First Snow

Not much, it didn't stick anywhere except on the car.  Ground hasn't frozen yet.  In fact, this is our first hard frost of the season. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Reconciling Darwin's evolution and the Big Bang with scripture

I have known the creation story from Genesis for a long long time.  It's a great story and I shrink from gainsaying it.  I have also known of Darwin, and of the Big Bang theory of creation for a long time.  There are a few points of difference between these stories  (to put it mildly).  I never was able to reconcile the stories in my own mind.  I simply accepted both stories as valid in their own place and time, and let it go at that.  The modern day attempt to blend scripture with Darwin, "creationism" never appealed to me.  Creationism didn't jibe well with Genesis, and was worthless as science. 
   So I was pleased the other day, to read that the Pope, a man far wiser and far more spiritual than I will ever be, had come out and said Darwin and the Big Bang were compatible with scripture.  I was unable to follow His Holiness's arguments, partly from the extremely brief Internet posting and partly from my lack of familiarity with philosophical concepts involved.  But it was pleasing to hear that I could continue to believe in both.