tvm's blog

The answer is blowing in the wind?

Maybe not so much.

A proposed wind farm project "will include about 50 to 70 wind turbines that will be placed throughout the towns of Dix, Hector, Catherine and Catlin."

...Officials in the four towns met with each other to discuss a plan of action Tuesday. They say they have not been faced with any opposition to the project...

Oh, that'll change.

Because meantime, not very far away, in the Town of Enfield, Tompkins County

The proposed 12.6 megawatt Black Oak Wind Farm received support at a public hearing, but some concern was expressed about wildlife and feared residual effects of turbines...
...The 9-year-old project has shrunk from 15 to 20 megawatts, and its total cost is down to $35 million, from $40 million to $45 million...
Even in ultra-alternative energy Tompkins, folks have started to realize that no energy source is ever an unmixed blessing—in this instance, people are already starting to talk about flicker, the likelihood of cuisinarting birds and bats, various impacts on personal health, interference with "viewscapes," and so on.
Perhaps there should be a five-year NYS moratorium so we can study this properly.  March on Albany with placards reading
...which of course would happen of its own accord sometimes anyway—that's a problem with intermittent energy sources.
There's nothing inherently wrong with so-called alternative energy.  We should have an "all of the above" energy policy.  But we should also learn from other people's mistakes—and successes—regarding energy development.  
And whatever we do has to make sense, both environmental and economic.
h/t Henry

It ain't easy bein' green

Or creating "green" jobs least not if you're the gubmint..

Steve Maley at Red State notes that "In the first four years of the Obama Administration, the Department of Labor spent $595 million training workers for the New Green Economy that President Obama promised," and then goes on to quote from an article in—of all places—the WaPo:

Four years later, it’s still not clear what all the cash for green jobs achieved–and a Government Accountability Office report issued last week illustrates the difficulty of trying to foster an emerging industry by pumping money into it.

Ah. Read the rest, especially the part about the definition of "green" jobs. You will snort.

Closer to home, the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council (STREDC), that body of appointed experts from academia, government, and some token businesses, who is going to pump taxpayer dollars into who knows what in the name of revitalizing the economy of the Southern Tier, has as its first strategy:

STRATEGY 1. The Southern Tier…New York’s leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy technology
Action Item. Southern Tier Renewable Energy and Efficiency Initiative: Residential and Small Scale Commercial Retrofit
Action Item. Southern Tier Renewable Energy and Efficiency Initiative: Large Scale Institutional and Commercial Projects
Action Item. Energy Development Alliance for New York—EDANY Action Item. Energy Workforce Development Initiative
Perhaps the council members need to read the WaPo article as well as the latest unemployment figures for the Southern Tier:
...Schuyler County saw its unemployment rate drop to 7 percent, down from 7.2 percent reported in May. In June 2012, Schuyler County’s jobless rate was 8 percent. With all other job sectors remaining flat, Schuyler saw gains in its leisure/hospitality sector.
In Chemung County, the natural resources/mining/construction, retail trade and leisure/hospitality sectors all saw gains during the month. Job losses were reported in manufacturing (200 jobs) and education and health services (200 jobs). Overall, Chemung County’s jobless rate in June was 8.1 percent, versus 8.2 percent reported in May and 8.8 percent recorded for June 2012.
The Elmira region was the only upstate metropolitan area that lost private-sector jobs in June. Elmira had a net loss of 200 private sector jobs from June 2012 to last month...
...Steuben County’s unemployment rate was 8.7 percent, compared with May’s 8.8 percent figure and the 9.6 percent rate for June 2012...
Unemployment rates that high may be the new normal as far as the government is concerned, but no one else regards it as normal—or acceptable.
But wait! Isn't there really good employment news from another county that's included in the STREDC? In the Ithaca Journal:
Tompkins jobless rate below 6% 
Tied with Saratoga for state’s lowest, but work force also declines
Tompkins County’s un­employment rate in June was 5.7 percent, down from 7 percent a year ear­lier and tied with Sarato­ga County for the state’s lowest, the New York De­partment of Labor report­ed Tuesday...
...Tompkins County’s civilian labor force stood at 54,200 in June, down 700 people from a year earlier. The number of unemployed declined by 800, or 20 percent, while the number of people em­ployed grew by 100. By sector, gains were in natu­ral resources, mining and construction; manufac­turing, leisure and hospi­tality; and other services. Losses were in financial activities, education and health, and local government....
So Tompkins, home to Cornell University which employs roughly 9,500 people, is looking really good with an unemployment rate of under 6%.
The view from here at Redneck Mansion is that apparently everything is relative.
Now the kissin' cousin to the REDCs is Cleaner Greener NY, another Cuomoism that surfaced when our fearless leader (over there to your left) was running for governor the first time:
As Governor, Andrew Cuomo will expand the NY Green Jobs Corps to maximize green job training and the creation of green jobs. The program will:
(1) Look for additional federal and private funding sources to bolster the dollars available under the Green Jobs/Green New York Act;
(2) Strengthen the partnership with our public and private universities to provide green expanded jobs training; and,
(3) Organize and centralize the existing programs to better maximize green training and job opportunities.
According to a report from the Apollo Alliance; Green Jobs or Green-Collar Jobs are, “good paying, career track jobs that contribute significantly to preserving or enhancing environmental quality. Like blue-collar jobs, green collar jobs range from low skill, entry level positions to high skill, higher paid jobs. New York currently has a Green Energy Workforce Training infrastructure supported largely by initiatives funded through NYSERDA...
How interesting.  And just who is the Apollo Alliance?
...AA describes itself as “a coalition of labor, business, environmental, and community leaders working to catalyze a clean energy revolution that will put millions of Americans to work in a new generation of high-quality, green-collar jobs.” “Inspired by the Apollo space program,” adds AA, “we promote investments in energy efficiency, clean power, mass transit, next-generation vehicles, and emerging technology, as well as in education and training. Working together, we will reduce carbon emissions and oil imports, spur domestic job growth, and position America to thrive in the 21st century economy.”
Van Jones describes Apollo Alliance’s mission as “sort of a grand unified field theory for progressive left causes.”
What could possibly go wrong with anything the Apollo Alliance considers a good idea?
And the green jobs initiatives are funded through NYSERDA, which is evidently an exotic species of backyard money tree.  No, actually
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a public benefit corporation created in 1975 under Article 8, Title 9 [PDF] and Title 9A [PDF] of the State Public Authorities Law through the reconstitution of the New York State Atomic and Space Development Authority. NYSERDA’s earliest efforts focused solely on research and development with the goal of reducing the State’s petroleum consumption. Today, NYSERDA’s aim is to help New York meet its energy goals: reducing energy consumption, promoting the use of renewable energy sources, and protecting the environment.
...Currently, NYSERDA is primarily funded by state rate payers...
In other words, all of us—or at least those of us who actually, you know, flip a light on from time to time.
So a charge—a tax—on our utility bills funds NYSERDA. Then money from NYSERDA as well as money appropriated by the legislature—taxpayer dollars—gets doled out by an appointed council to the "winners" of regional competitions (where there's a heavy emphasis on greenness) or given to green workforce training initiatives, a favorite of progressive left causes.
Then there's the governor's most recent nonsense, Tax-Free NY Start-Up NY (it was re-christened when it must have become apparent even to the governor that it was laughably misnamed):
START-UP NY will foster entrepreneurialism and job creation on a large scale by transforming public higher education through tax-free communities across the state, particularly upstate...
But Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R-Melrose) has a different take:
Apparently Cuomo's plan is to have tax-paying businesses that are expanding despite his policies and laws move out of state and have new businesses locate on college campuses and have them, along with their employees, pay zero taxes for 10 years. Progressive Nirvana.
Q: If "tax-free communities" are so great, why not make the entire state tax-free, for everybody? Businesses would be tripping over themselves to locate here.
A: Because then there would be a lot fewer goodies for "experts" and other morally and intellectually superior types to give to their favorites.
There's no difference between the supposedly evil Wall Streeters, insurance companies, etc., so reviled by progressives complaining of crony capitalism, and the beneficiaries of the largesse of unelected regional economic development councils or of Albany folk picking winners and losers. You'll never hear progressives complain about that brand of cronyism, however.
The way to attract private business and the concommitant jobs to NYS, thereby lifting everybody's boats, is to lower taxes, do away with unnecessary regulation, make it easier for employers to hire non-unionized employees, and not play favorites.
The proof is in the counties' unemployment stats: government never actually creates anything, much less jobs—green or otherwise.
Cross-posted at It's All Downhill From Here

Mathematical impossibilities

I'm always mystified by the folks who have no trouble spotting the problem with this:

or who can appreciate the humor behind this:

Chicago fans on both sides of town will have to wait until next season to see their favorite team in the playoffs after the Cubs and White Sox were mathematically eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday...

but who are utterly unable to wrap their minds around this idea (emphasis mine):

...Even now, frantic liberals are gibbering that Republican austerity measures somehow killed Detroit, even though Democrats held absolute power for fifty years.  You’ll hear the same things right before the end at the national level too.  In the very near future, you’ll be told your Social Security and Medicare benefits are being cut because evil rich people don’t want to pay enough taxes to fund them.  It won’t matter that there literally isn’t enough money in the entire world to cover Uncle Sam’s long-term liabilities...

Read the whole thing.


One set of rules for me...

...and another set of rules for thee. That's the anthem of the left.

At least one Ithaca Journal commenter experienced a Captain Renault moment on Saturday:

For yea, verily, the local Gannett newspapers (the Ithaca Journal and the Elmira Star Gazette) had the audacity to publish a piece over the weekend by Jon Campbell, an article that points out the role that Ithaca's Park Foundation has played in anti-gas drilling activism.

Predictably, hypocritical hilarity ensued in the comments at the Journal.  An example:

I'm frankly shocked that Jon Campbell, who has been covering this issue for Gannett for many years, could have put his name this shoddy, obviously biased, article. It makes me wonder just who is behind it, and how far up in the Gannett chain that person is. The very idea of questioning the authenticity of the strong, effective citizens' grassroots movement in NY is absurd. Nothing but sour grapes by the industry. And that doesn't qualify as journalism.

I can't tell you how many times some of us have been accused of being shills for the gas industry because obviously NO ONE could be part of a "grassroots movement" in favor of safe, regulated energy development in NYS.  Such a notion is patently ridiculous to folks like the woman who wrote the above comment. And yet she clearly expects the kid-glove treatment when it's her pet "grassroots movement" that is the subject of discussion.

And on a related note, a little blurb from the same edition of the Star Gazette:

Model legislation is topic of movie

CORNING — The League of Women Voters of Steuben County will show the film “The Unit­ed States of ALEC” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Southeast Steuben County Library in Cor­ning. The screening is free to the public. Calling itself an edu­cational charity, the American Legislative Exchange Council devel­ops what it calls “model legislation” for state legislators to introduce in their own name into their respective state legislatures.

But detractors claim it is a group of corpora­tions and wealthy indi­viduals who push their agenda, which ranges from privatization of education to ending collective bargaining.

As I've noted in past posts, the League of Women Voters is not some group of kindly, non-partisan blue-haired ladies—more of a red-headed league. Yes, they have an agenda.

And ALEC has been a target of the left for quite some time. Why? ALEC is about—gasp!—"limited government, free markets, federalism." 

So assuming that, as its "detractors claim it is a group of corpora­tions and wealthy indi­viduals who push their agenda," where's the problem exactly?  Don't Adelaide Gomer of the Park Foundation, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, et al—including corporate entities—fund and push leftist agendas?

Hypocrisy is the hallmark of the left.

Brushfires of freedom

That is not a concept that Boston Brewing Company has.

I was reminded of this whilst buying a six-pack of Saranac Shandy yesterday (as the cashier remarked: "Beer and lemonade...what could be bad?), and thought to share it while it's still July—or Independence Month, as I like to think of it.

There was a time when I would have been buying Sam Adams Shandy. Not any more.

Here's the relevant part of the transcript of Boston Brewing's "Independence" ad. What's missing (besides the video of the ad itself, which was conveniently removed from You Tube)?

Why name a beer after Samuel Adams? Because Samuel Adams signed the Declaration of Independence. He believed that there was a better way to live. ‘All men are created equal, they are endowed with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness….’

Oh, are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.

Whatever possessed the Boston Brewing Company to edit the Declaration of Independence (that irrelevant founding document signed by, you know, Samuel Adams and 55 more old white guys) in an Independence Day ad? They were just following orders:

The Beer Institute Advertising Code says, “Beer advertising and marketing materials should not include religion or religious themes.”

Well, that settles it then.

And while there may not be a lot of overlap in customer base between Sam Adams beers and Hobby Lobby (with some exceptions  wink), this customer wonders how it is that Hobby Lobby can push back successfully against the monolith that is Obamacare, but Boston Brewing can't bring itself to fight back against...the Beer Institute.

But but but the ad ends with this statement: "We bow to no kings." Right.

Samuel Adams must be spinning.

Please, sir, may we have some more?

Some more Ronald Reagan, maybe?

It would be nice to find SOMEBODY right now who could articulate Republican principles as clearly as Ronaldus Magnus.

His counterpart across the pond was pretty good at making the case, too.  Hillsdale College's president, Larry Arnn, spoke about Mrs. Thatcher earlier this year:

...I happened to live in England when Mrs. Thatcher’s party won the 1979 election and she became prime minister— the first woman to do so. It was better than watching sports on television. There was nothing like it. Every day she would do something big, and every day she would not apologize for it, even when reporters would press her. You just never saw anyone so direct or clear of speech...

... I’ve thought about this most of my adult life, and much of what I think about it is informed by having watched Mrs. Thatcher. We live in an age when a new kind of government has been invented, and it’s not so much that it has different aims, although it does have many different aims, but that it proceeds by a different method—through rules made by so-called experts, who gather the forces of government over themselves...

...And the weight and scale of the government run by this new method means that there’s some chance that the government is going to overwhelm the society. That is the very abnegation of liberal politics—liberal in the sense of a free people managing those who govern them because human beings are born equal, with equal rights.

The greatest defender and servant of this principle of liberal government that I have seen in my lifetime is Margaret Thatcher, and I pray that we will see the likes of her again, because the battle over this kind of government is upon us again...
Read the whole thing (scroll down to read Arnn's remarks, although Ted Cruz's commencement address is worth reading, too).
Here are some Thatcherisms that can be found in Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage by Nicholas Wapshott (available in the Finger Lakes Library System and the Chemung County Library District):
“If a Tory does not believe that private property is one of the main bulwarks of individual freedom, then he had better become a socialist and have done with it.”
“Indeed, one of the reasons for our electoral failure is that people believe too many Conservatives have become socialists already….”
“If every Labour Government is prepared to reverse every Tory measure, while Conservative Governments accept nearly all socialist measures as being the ‘will of the people,’ the end result is only too plain.  Any why should anyone support a party that seems to have the courage of no convictions?  We lost because we did not appear to stand firmly for anything distinctive and positive."
“Most of [the voters] want to do a fair day’s work in a job that gives them satisfaction --- and strongly resent what they regard as state subsidies to shirkers.”
“My kind of Tory party would make no secret of its belief in individual freedom and individual prosperity, in the maintenance of law and order, in the wide distribution of private property ….”
[I stand for] “compassion and concern for the individual and his freedom; opposition to excessive state power; the right of the enterprising; the hard-working and the thrifty to succeed and to reap the rewards of success and to pass some of them on to their children; encouragement of the infinite diversity of choice that is an essential freedom; the defense of widely distributed private property against the socialist state; the right of a man to work without oppression by either employer or trade union boss.”
If someone of the stature of a Reagan or a Thatcher arose and began articulating our principles clearly and without apology, would the fishwrap of record—or even the WSJ—bother to cover the story?
Stay tuned.
And perhaps, like Hilsdale's Larry Arnn, pray.
h/t's Henry & Tom


I asked a friend once if he would vouch for my character.  He said, "I'll vouch you ARE a character!"

On the eve of Independence Day, a story about Mad Anthony Wayne, a genuine character in the War of Independence and afterwards, and the men under his command in the Hudson Valley in mid-July, 1779...

...Wayne's successful attack on British positions at Stony Point, New York in the Battle of Stony Point was the high point of his revolutionary war service. On July 16, 1779, Wayne personally led a bayonets-only night attack lasting thirty minutes, wherein his three columns of light infantry stormed British fortifications at Stony Point, a cliffside redoubt commanding the southern Hudson River. The success of this operation provided a boost to the morale of an army which had at that time suffered a series of military defeats. The Continental Congress awarded him a medal for the victory...

That's fine as far as it goes. But it's the rest of the story that's relevant today:

...A portion of the troops crossed the causeway, and formed in two columns, the van of the right, consisting of 150 volunteers, led by Lieutenant-Colonel De Fleury; that of the left, 100 strong, also volunteers, commanded by Major Stewart. These composed the forlorn hope. They moved to the attack at two different points simultaneously, with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets, followed by the two main divisions, the left led by General Wayne in person.

Stony Point FortThe Americans were undiscovered until within pistol-shot distance of the pickets on the height. The pickets fired several shots. The advanced guard pressed forward with the bayonet. The garrison were aroused by the roll of the drum and the cry "To arms! to arms !" Very soon musketry rattled and cannon roared in defence of the fort, but the Americans forced their way through every obstacle, until the van of each column met in the centre of the work. Wayne had been hit on the head and stunned by a musketball (ed. note: Wayme received a severe scalp woundnot quite as minor as it sounds here), but speedily recovered. The garrison soon surrendered, and not a life was taken after the flag was hauled down. Wayne wrote to George Washington: "Stony Point, 16th July, 1779, 2 A.M. Dear General, —The fort and garrison, with Colonel Johnson, are ours. Our officers and men behaved like men determined to be free."

Are we still "determined to be free"?

You may want to give that some thought whilst you're grilling hamburgers and hot dogs and enjoying a brew or two.

And here's a brief reading assignment for the day.

Taking a Bath

You mean pollution can result from something besides fracking? Who knew?

In the Elmira Star-Gazette:

Cleanup efforts continued Tuesday in the spill of 5,000 or 6,000 gallons of liquid cow manure Saturday afternoon in the Town of Bath.
Bath firefighters were sent to a tractor-trailer rollover at the intersection of Shattuck and Emerson roads in the Town of Bath, where they found the truck on its side, blocking the intersection. It was also split open, and spilled about 5,000 gallons of liquid cow manure and about 25 gallons of diesel fuel, firefighters said....
...T&R towing and T&R Spill Response of Bath were called to the scene to remove the truck and to use booms to contain the spill, which flowed into a ditch and then into a small stream...
Quick!  Ban manure!  Mandate constipation!  Forbid farming!

Even an atheist gets it right from time to time

Despite the snarky post title, I have a great deal of respect for Brit Pat Condell.  He tells it like it is, nowadays at great personal risk to himself.

Speaking of that, when I bring up things that don't exactly portray Islam or certain Muslims in a particularly positive light, I tend to get little love notes like this:

How many more jews do we have to kill before you mother fuckers will get on your knees and suck our dicks?

I apologize for the language, but I didn't write it.

Suffice it to say that I'm not remotely suicidal and the brakes on my car work just fine.

And now, Condell on the atrocity last week in Londonistan (h/t Trevor Loudon):

To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved

Back in the day, children and other child-like people—and I mean that in a very good way—were inclined to read the fairy tales and fantasy works (such as The Princess and the Goblin and At the Back of the North Wind) of a Scotsman named George MacDonald. He influenced more well-known writers who came after him, including C.S. Lewis, and it's a MacDonald quote that serves as the title of this post.

I thought of that after voting in a local school election yesterday and again whilst reading a letter to the editor in this morning's Ithaca Journal.

Do you think that all school elections look like this?

Or perhaps this?

You know, with lists of elegible voters and that sort of thing?

Well, think again.

Those are larger school districts in the photos—Ithaca and Elmira.  Smaller school districts don't need to use machines for voting and pretty much anyone can show up and vote.  Many districts don't keep a voter registration book or use the voter roll book from the board of elections. You just show up, fill out a line on a sign-up sheet as though you were simply attending any old meeting, and bob's your uncle. Oh, yes—you'll probably be asked for ID, which proves absolutely nothing, particularly when the poll workers have no idea what roads and streets fall within—or without—the school district.  
Pretty sloppy, to put it kindly.
So the letter in this morning's Ithaca Journal seemed timely. Of a proposed merger between two small, rural school districts in the Southern Tier, the author writes:
...If both school boards vote to move forward beyond the study phase, taxpayers in both districts will vote on the potential merger, and both must approve the measure for it to proceed...
And the integrity of the election process in a small school district is unimpeachable, is it not? Nothing to see here, move along.
Even in a nearby large school district where school votes follow the familiar pattern of a general election complete with voter roll books and the need to match signatures, e.g., the ballot reports come in to a sealed room and are tabulated by the Superintendent and his staff.  If the vote were close, as it may well be in the case of a merger, well...
In the second half of the nineteenth century when George MacDonald was writing, having someone's trust was something to be both admired and envied. So, school districts, which would you rather be—loved or trusted?


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