Wednesday, September 8, 2010

We are getting testy

Today's mail brought TWO 8 by 10 inch postcards. One from Bill Binnie saying bad things about Kelley Ayotte and one from Kelly Ayotte saying bad things about Bill Binnie. Primary is almost here. Gotta get the slams in before the polls close...

Programming the car

New (new to me anyway) Mercury came with a couple of built in annoyances. An aggressive seat belt warning buzzer, and the automatic door locker. Although I do wear seat belts on the road, it's nice to be able to just move the car into the garage or over to the next driveway without listening to the buzzer nagging at me.
I googled for "Mercury seat belt buzzer" and sure enough, an answer came up. There is a disable procedure, it's printed in the owner's manual. The owner's manual is only 200 pages or so thick, and I need Google assistance to find anything in it. Wait til I need to lookup proper tire pressure...
Any how, the seat belt buzzer defeat only requires you to buckle and unbuckle the seat belt 9 times inside of 30 seconds. And the nasty noise goes away.
After this bit of wisdom from the owner's manual, I decided to press my luck and see what it said about disabling the auto door locker. Yes, it can be done. Press the power door unlock button three times in a row with the ignition on, and three more with the ignition off and it's gone.
Just a little programming and I have a nice polite car that doesn't bug me any more.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Repli Cars. We NEED a repli MG

Given that the worldwide car industry is clueless, they have been reviving great cars from the past. Call them replicars. We have a replica Beetle from VW, a replica '39 Plymouth from Chrysler, a replica T-bird from Ford, a replica Morris Mini from BMW, a replica Mustang from Ford, a replica Camaro from Chevy and a replica '49 Carryall from Chevy.
What the world really needs is a replica MG. MG was the car that introduced Americans to European sports cars. It was a cool little two seater, wire wheels, convertible top, four speed on the floor, in red or British Racing Green, decent gas mileage on a four banger engine.

The grass roots are rooting for candidates

North Grafton has been a hotbed of political activity this last week. There was a tea party by the Irving station in Littleton, a meet Ovide Lamontagne event in Franconia, a meet all the candidates event at the Littleton Opera House, and an all candidate lunch at the Gold House. Each event was put on by a different group of volunteers. The amount of political spirit is impressive. Attendance by busy candidates was outstanding.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Using Global Warming to raise taxes

Back a few years ago, New Hampshire joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI for short) along with the rest of New England, Quebec, Ontario, New York and Pennsylvania. RGGI put in a carbon cap and started "selling" licenses to emit CO2 to the utilities. The proceeds from the "sale" would be spent on energy efficiency improvements. I put "sale" in quotes because the utilities had no say in the matter, it was "buy 'em or we shut you down".
Back in January this year, NH budgeted $50 million dollars to "Greenhouse Gas Initiative".
Somewhere between the budget and the legislature, the $50 million from the RGGI fund was diverted to more pressing needs, namely closing the state budget gap. The legislature plead poverty.
Bottom line, the environmentalists used the global warming scare to slip in a new state tax. It was carefully camouflaged, the money comes from your electric bill, so the ill will gets directed to the electric company, rather than the politicians who slipped one over on us.
NPR did a program on this , here. If you listen to the discussion, you will note that the outrage about the diversion of RGGI funds from energy efficiency programs. None of the commenters on the program notes the job killing effects of the RGGI tax. Businesses planning a new plant ALWAYS check the local electric rates. RGGI jacks up NH electric rates and makes the state less attractive to new industry.
Perhaps a Republican state government could repeal the RGGI tax next year.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Federal deficit

Just finished watching a union economist on TV spreading dis information about deficit spending. Just to set the record straight, here is what deficit spending really does. To keep the US government checks from bouncing, the treasury sells bonds to Wall St. The buyers give Uncle dollar bills, cash, and Uncle gives the investor a treasury bill, a piece of paper promising to pay back the money in the future. To the buyer, the T-bill he receives is nearly as good as cash. He can keep it, sell it, use it to back loans. Samuelson, (my college economics text) called T-bills "near money". You can use a T-bill for nearly all the things you use money for, and so the buyer of the T-bill feels as wealthy holding the T-bill as he did when holding cash. In short, selling T-bills is just about the same as printing new dollar bills.
We don't like to print too many dollar bills because that causes inflation. For the same reason, we should not be printing so many T-bills, it causes inflation for the same reasons as printing too many dollar bills does.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The joy of driving to Brooklyn

School is starting. Youngest son is ready for his senior year. He had the car packed and ready a day in advance. Trip down was a white knuckle affair. Youngest son speeds, tailgates, and changes lanes so roughly as to set heavily loaded Subaru into scary fishtails. We were ahead of schedule until we hit the bridges of Long Island. The are working on both Throgs Neck and Whitestone bridge at the same time, so no matter which way you go you get stuck in traffic. Then Long Island is the usually traffic snarl, it took an hour to get from the bridges to Brooklyn. The State of New York is competing for the "World's worst traffic signage" award and looks like a sure winner. Sign reads "Eastern Long Island Midtown Tunnel". So which one is it? One is east the other is west, which way does this off ramp go? And they don't bother to post the toll on the bridges, you have to ask the toll taker how much, and then fumble for it. Best part of the trip, we found a parking space right in front of the apartment.
The "micro mile post" madness is taking hold in MA. They have shiny new expensive little signs calling out each 0.1 mile of progress, just like we did on I93. The sign making companies love it, but it doesn't do a thing for us motorists.