Monday, December 29, 2008

Why does Hamas want Israel to bomb Gaza?

Hamas has been firing rockets into Israel. Granted the rockets are home made and not very powerful, but still, bombarding your neighbor has always been an act of war. The Israelis put up with the bombardment for a few days while asking Hamas to cease and desist. They don't, and the Israelis call in their air force to do a little bombing to send Hamas a message.
Hamas has got to know that firing rockets into Israel is always going to provoke Israeli retaliation. That means that Hamas wants Israel to bomb them. But why? Surely the Gaza strip population is as radicalized as they are ever going to get, they don't need another sirstrike to get them psyched up. Unless Hamas is stuck on stupid (really stuck hard) they know Gaza can't beat Israel in any kind of fight. The Israelis out number them and the Israeli population is highly educated, highly motivated, well organized and well armed. Picking a fight with Israel means certain defeat for Gaza and Hamas.
Can Hamas be stupid enough to think that Israeli airstrikes will get other Arab countries, Eygpt, Saudi, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan to come to their aid? Or the Europeans? Do they crave expressions of international sympathy enough to take casualties? Do they think the incoming Obama administration, already up to its ass in alligators, is going to take their side?
So what is really going on?

Flash, Bang, Zap, and the lights go out

Was just sitting at my desk this morning minding my own business when Flash and Bang get my attention. Loud and bright. I look out the window and see the power pole on the road burst into flames. Followed by more flashing and banging. This pole is serious. I dial 911. Franconia Police are first on the scene with Franconia Fire Dept a minute or two later. Pole is still burning, and gives a tremendous flash and another big bang to welcome the firemen. More smoke. Since the juice is still on (my lights are burning even though my service entrance comes off the burning pole) everyone decides to wait for the power company (PSNH) to show up and turn off the power.
PSNH finally shows up after an hour. Pole is still burning on top. They get the juice off, and for extra safety the linemen connect a shorting cable across all three hot wires, before they take the cherry picker up. The linemen borrow a fire extinquisher from the firemen and put the pole fire out. By this time it has burned the pole halfway in two, below the top set of cross arms.
They don't have a replacement pole, that's handled by Fairpoint Communications (the telephone company). So, since the pole is only burned at the top, they decide to just lower all the crossarms below the burned spot. Cause of fire, one of the hot wires came loose from the insulator and touched the pole and arced to ground.
Four hours later we get the juice back on. That does put some life into a Monday.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


"The United States has, for example, had trouble recently with its national leadership. One president was assassinated for reasons not yet known which we prefer not to ask about. Another president resigned to avoid impeachment. A more recent president from Hollywood lived a fantasy life, lying to himself and the public to mek us feel good, while creating an underclass beneath our democracy and ending the Cold War with the Soviet Union".
From the introduction of "China, A new History" by John King Fairbank and Merle Goldman, copyright 2006.
After displaying such a balanced view of their own society, what spin are they going to place on a foriegn society? (I haven't read far enough yet to judge) Both authors are Harvard professors. With flakes like this on the faculty I wonder what kind of education Harvard students get these days?

Global Warming returns to Cannon

It's 55 outside and last week's two feet of snow is melting. There is nothing drearier than a ski resort melting out. Especial during Christmas week.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Save Money, Shut down the SEC

The SEC was created during the great depression to regulate the stock market and prevent the great depression for ever happening again. It has clearly failed in that mission. It failed to investigate the Bernie Madoff swindle dispite allegations of fraud going back ten years. It has created Sarbanes-Oxley regulations onerous enough to drive business off shore to London to avoid them.
Since it doesn't work, harms the economy, and costs $1 billion dollars a year to operate, let's just shut it down.
While we are at it, we could shut down the CIA too. They don't work,they failed to warn of 9/11, claimed that Saddam had nukes, and have harmed the war on terror thru a series of treasonous leaks. And attempted to destabilize the Bush Administration thru the Valerie Plame affair. All the real intel comes from NSA any how. Why do we keep funding those losers?

Stimulate the economy, fund fusion research

Fusion burns hydrogen, yielding helium, an inert gas of some commercial value. The oceans are 20% hydrogen by weight, so we will never run out of fuel. No radioactive wastes. No carbon emissions, if that is important to you. Fusion research has been ongoing for the last 50 years with little success so far.
Now two small projects, the Polywell project and the Fusion General project might produce workable fusion reactors. Both projects are small and cheap. A few million dollars of funding would accelerate both projects.
With the rewards so great, and the costs so small, the funding is worthwhile, even if the odds of success are unknown. It's a better use of taxpayer money than bailing out brain dead banks and auto makers.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The "Don't talk about it in public" issues

Earlier I posted about real political issues and "hot button" issues. Since then it came to me that there is a third class of political issues, the "don't talk about it in public" issues. Second Amendment rights, decriminalization of marijuana, repeal of the Digital Millennial Copyright Act, reform of patent and copyright law, net neutrality, and tort reform, come to mind. There are probably others. These are real issues, that effect citizens directly. But for some reason, fear of offending the interest groups that support them, or journalists too clueless to understand them, or something, you never hear a candidate speak out on these issues at all. There are plenty of voters who care about these issues. Maybe the Republican party should take a public stand on some of them.