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.