Joke of the Day

One day, a guy went into a store, just browsing.

He suddenly saw a statue of a rat made of bronze, and thought that it was interesting. He decided to buy it.

The guy walked out of the store, carrying the statue in his arms. Suddenly some rats started following him.

He shrugged it off, and continued on his way.

As he walked along, more and more rats started following him, until all the rats in the city were behind him.

He suddenly realized that it was the statue that was doing this.

He headed towards the bay that resided next to the city, and threw the statue in. The rats followed, not caring about their impending deaths.

The guy ran back to the store, and when he reached it, the store owner said, “No refunds”.

The guy shook his head, and said, “No, no, I was wondering if you had any statues like the one I bought, only, shaped like a lawyer.”

Gestapo Marches into Maine

by: Steve Mistler, Portland Press Herald

Gov. Paul LePage used his weekly radio address to blast President Obama’s health care law and described the Internal Revenue Service as the “new Gestapo.”

The IRS description was a reference to a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires Americans not insured by their employers or Medicaid to buy health insurance or pay an annual penalty when filing their tax returns.

The provision, known more broadly as the individual mandate, was the subject of a multi-state lawsuit, but was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. LePage said the court decision has “made America less free.” “We the people have been told there is no choice,” he said. “You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo — the IRS.”

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant, responding to LePage’s remarks, said, “We’ve come to expect a bunch of nonsense from Gov. LePage, but this is a step too far. There appears now to be no limit to the extreme language he will use to misinform, degrade and insult people. Somebody needs to explain to him that he’s the governor of a state, and not a talk radio host. I demand a full apology on behalf of all those who suffered at the hands of the real Gestapo.”

“There is nothing that degrades politics more than purported leaders who so cavalierly invoke the worst in human history when they can’t get their way in legitimate, modern policy disagreements,” Grant said. The Gestapo were Nazi Germany’s official secret police under Adolf Hitler, who imprisoned and murdered thousands of people without cause.

The debate over the mandate has become a political flash point since the health law was enacted. Republicans maintain that the requirement is an unfair tax. Democrats say the mandate was originally a Republican idea born from the conservative Heritage Foundation, which introduced the measure in 1989 as a counterpoint to calls for a single-payer health care system.

LePage also addressed another element of the health-care law that was immediately thrust into the public debate: Medicaid expansion. Originally, Obamacare required states to increase eligibility for low-income residents or pay a penalty. The court decision struck down the penalty; however, the federal government is still offering to pay for the expansion. The federal government will fund 100 percent of the expansion from 2014 to 2016, gradually declining to 90 percent after that.

LePage says he needs more answers before making a decision about the Medicaid expansion, which has been assailed by fellow Republican governors. At least 15 have said they’ll forgo the federal funding. LePage said the state doesn’t know how the federal matches will be paid for and how the newly eligible recipients would be defined. “However, Maine is already a welfare expansion state because of the generous benefits offered,” he said, adding that Maine’s welfare costs are among the highest in the nation because the state had expanded Medicaid prior to the Republican electoral sweep of 2010.

The governor also appeared to preempt potential pressure from hospitals to support Medicaid expansion. Hospitals may end up supporting the expansion because increased Medicaid offerings lower uncompensated, or charity, care levels. Uncompensated care is health-care costs that hospitals absorb because people can’t or won’t pay.

A recent report in the Portland Press Herald showed that uncompensated care by Maine hospitals has doubled over the last five years, from $94 million to $194 million. LePage said that increasing Medicaid may make it more difficult to pay hospitals the $500 million the state already owes in reimbursement.

The governor added that Maine will not move forward the ACA’s insurance exchanges — the marketplaces where individuals can shop for health plans from private companies — until the proposed $800 million tab to pay for them passes Congress. “With these looming uncertainties circling around this issue, Maine cannot move forward right now with Obamacare,” LePage said.

The governor finished his radio address by outlining his ideological opposition to the health-care law, which he said “raises taxes, cuts Medicare for the elderly, gets between patients and their doctors, costs trillions of taxpayer dollars, and kills jobs.” “Even more disheartening is that reviving the American dream just became nearly impossible to do,” he said. “We are now a nation which supports dependency rather than independence. Instead of encouraging self-reliance, we are encouraging people to rely on the government.”

Death By Chocolate

It was a dastardly plan which, if successful, could have meant sweet victory for the enemy.

Secret wartime papers exchanged between MI5 officials reveal that the Nazis’ plans to conquer Britain included a deadly assault on Sir Winston Churchill with exploding chocolate.

Adolf Hitler’s bomb-makers coated explosive devices with a thin layer of rich dark chocolate, then packaged it in expensive-looking black and gold paper.

The Germans planned to use secret agents working in Britain to discreetly place the bars of chocolate – branded as Peter’s Chocolate – among other luxury items taken on trays into the dining room used by the War Cabinet during the Second World War.

The lethal slabs of confection were packed with enough explosives to kill anyone within several meters.

But Hitler’s plot was foiled by British spies who discovered they were being made and tipped off one of MI5’s most senior intelligence chiefs, Lord Victor Rothschild.

Lord Rothschild, a scientist in peace time as well as a key member of the Rothschild banking family, immediately typed a letter to a talented illustrator seconded to his unit asking him to draw poster-size images of the chocolate to warn the public to be on the look-out for the bars.Lord Rothschild typed a letter to a talented illustrator seconded to his unit asking him to draw poster-size images of the chocolate to warn the public to be on the look-out for the bars

 
 

His letter to the artist, Laurence Fish, is dated May 4, 1943 and was written from his secret bunker in Parliament Street, central London.

The letter, marked ‘Secret’, reads:

‘Dear Fish,

I wonder if you could do a drawing for me of an explosive slab of chocolate.

‘We have received information that the enemy are using pound slabs of chocolate which are made of steel with a very thin covering of real chocolate.

‘Inside there is high explosive and some form of delay mechanism… When you break off a piece of chocolate at one end in the normal way, instead of it falling away, a piece of canvas is revealed stuck into the middle of the piece which has been broken off and a ticking into the middle of the remainder of the slab.

‘When the piece of chocolate is pulled sharply, the canvas is also pulled and this initiates the mechanism.

‘I enclose a very poor sketch done by somebody who has seen one of these.

‘It is wrapped in the usual sort of black paper with gold lettering, the variety being PETERS.

‘Would it be possible for you to do a drawing of this, one possibly with the paper half taken off revealing one end and another with the piece broken off showing the canvas.

‘The text should indicate that this piece together with the attached canvas is pulled out sharply and that after a delay of seven seconds the bomb goes off.’

The letter was found by Mr Fish’s wife, journalist Jean Bray, as she sorted through his possessions following the artist’s death, aged 89, in 2009.

She has spent the past two years putting together a book of her late husband’s work – Pick Up A Pencil. The Work Of Laurence Fish.

 

The Germans planned to use secret agents working in Britain to discreetly place the bars of chocolate - branded as Peter's Chocolate - among other luxury items trayed into the dining room used by the War Cabinet during the Second World WarThe Germans planned to use secret agents working in Britain to discreetly place the bars of chocolate – branded as Peter’s Chocolate – among other luxury items trayed into the dining room used by the War Cabinet during the Second World War

 

One of the War Cabinet offices built deep beneath WhitehallOne of the War Cabinet offices built deep beneath Whitehall

After the war, Mr Fish spent several decades as a commercial artist, producing many iconic posters for corporate giants including Dunlop and BP, rail companies, tourist boards and Save the Children.

In his later years, he returned to fine art, producing a breathtaking range of work.

His widow said he had ‘very fond memories’ of his secondment to MI5 and of working with Lord Rothschild in particular.

‘They got on tremendously well and who knows, they might even have saved a few lives,’ said Mrs Bray yesterday from her home in the Cotswolds.

Attribution: Daily Mail

Global Warming Causes Everything

By Michelle Malkin

Good news: The Waldo Canyon fire, which forced 32,000 residents (including our family) to flee, claimed two lives and destroyed 347 homes, is now 100 percent contained. Bad news: Radical environmentalists won’t stop blowing hot air about this year’s infernal season across the West.

Al Gore slithered out of the political morgue to bemoan nationwide heat records and pimp his new “Climate Reality Project,” which blames global warming for the wildfire outbreak. NBC meteorologist Doug Kammerer asserted: “If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this.” Agriculture Department Undersecretary Harris Sherman, who oversees the Forest Service, claimed to the Washington Post: “The climate is changing, and these fires are a very strong indicator of that.”

And the Associated Press (or rather, the Activist Press) lit the fear-mongering torch with an eco-propaganda piece titled “U.S. summer is what ‘global warming will look like.'”

The problem is that the actual conclusions of scientists included in AP’s screed don’t back up the apocalyptic headline. As the reporter acknowledges under that panicky banner:

“Scientifically linking individual weather events to climate change takes intensive study, complicated mathematics, computer models and lots of time. Sometimes it isn’t caused by global warming. Weather is always variable; freak things happen.”

So, this U.S. summer may or may not really look like “what global warming looks like.” Kinda. Sorta. Possibly. Possibly not.

Furthermore, the AP reporter concedes, the “global” nature of the warming and its supposed catastrophic events have “been local. Europe, Asia and Africa aren’t having similar disasters now, although they’ve had their own extreme events in recent years.”

A more hedging headline would have been journalistically responsible, but Chicken Little-ism better serves the global warming blame-ologists’ agenda.

More inconvenient truths: As The Washington Times noted, the National Climatic Data Center shows that “Colorado has actually seen its average temperature drop slightly from 1998 to 2011, when data is collected only from rural stations and not those that have been urbanized since 1900.”

Radical green efforts to block logging and timber sales in national forests since the 1990s are the real culprits. Wildlife mitigation experts point to incompetent forest management and militant opposition to thinning the timber fuel supply.

Another symptom of green obstructionism: widespread bark beetle infestations. The U.S. Forest Service itself reported last year:

“During the last part of the 20th century, widespread treatments in lodgepole pine stands that would have created age class diversity, enhanced the vigor of remaining trees, and improved stand resiliency to drought or insect attack — such as timber harvest and thinning — lacked public acceptance. Proposals for such practices were routinely appealed and litigated, constraining the ability of the Forest Service to manage what had become large expanses of even-aged stands susceptible to a bark beetle outbreak.”

Capitulation to lawsuit-happy green thugs, in others, undermined “public acceptance” of common sense, biodiversity-preserving and lifesaving timber harvest and thinning practices.

Local, state and federal officials offered effusive praise for my fellow Colorado Springs residents who engaged in preventive mitigation efforts in their neighborhoods. The government flacks said it made a life-and-death difference. Yet, litigious environmental groups have sabotaged such mitigation efforts at the national level — in effect, creating an explosive tinderbox out of the West.

Stoking global warming alarms may make for titillating headlines and posh Al Gore confabs. But it’s a human blame avoidance strategy rooted in ideological extremism and flaming idiocy.

Modified Mosquitoes

Huge numbers of genetically modified mosquitoes are to be breed by scientists in Brazil to help stop the spread of dengue fever, an illness that has already struck nearly 500,000 people this year nationwide.

Dengue effects between 50 and 100 million people in the tropics and subtropics each year, causing fever, muscle and joint ache as well as potentially fatal dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome.

The disease is caused by four strains of virus that are spread by the mosquito Aedes aegypti. There is no vaccine, which is why scientists are focusing so intensely on mosquito control.

The initiative in Brazil will produce large quantities of genetically modified male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which will be released into nature to mate with females, the health ministry said.

“Their offspring will not reach adulthood, which should reduce the population,” it said in a statement.

The new mosquitoes will be produced in a factory inaugurated on Saturday in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Four million insects will be churned out per week.

The experiment has already been attempted in two mosquito-infested towns in Bahia, each with about 3,000 inhabitants.

“Using this technique, we reduced the mosquito population by 90 per cent in six months,” the ministry said.

Attribution: UK Telegraph

Pants On Fire

by: the Common Constitutionalist

I was watching Fox News over the weekend. The host was interviewing the governors of both Iowa and Florida. Rick Scott is the republican governor of Florida and Iowa’s Terry Branstad, also a republican.

Both are considered to be fairly conservative and pro-growth republicans.

They discussed the employment situation in their states as well as the other states that most recently elected republican governors. I believe 7 in all. 

They each gave fairly good, straight forward answers as to why, in all seven states that republicans were elected, the unemployment rate actually went down. The answers weren’t as direct as I’d like but they both did a fair job.

Then the topic turned to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion as it pertains to the states. States would have the opportunity to greatly expand their Medicaid roles, ostensibly paid for, in part or whole, by the feds.

More than a few states, run by republicans say they will refuse the expansion, knowing full-well that, after a few years and just like virtually every other federal program, the states would be left holding the bag, as it were.

In other words the feds would cease to fund the program and the states would therefore be financially responsible for the increased membership. Neat trick. The feds do it all the time. After all, they’re just looking for the sound bite.

Anywho, the host asked both of them, one at a time, if reports were true that they would refuse the expansion of the Medicaid program.

I watched anxiously, or should I say, with great anxiety, for what seemed like a painfully long time, just hoping for a straight answer. Neither provided one.

They both, Branstad more than Scott, pontificated and bloviated about jobs, Obamacare and who knows what else.

I found myself leaning ever forward, on the edge of my chair, straining to keep my composure. It was a losing battle.

I finally just began to yell at the TV. “Why can’t either of you just answer the question?! It’s a simple question, requiring a simple answer! All of these politicians are the same! They just won’t answer a question!”

We don’t curse in our house, but I’ll tell you, I sure wanted to.

Evidently I was so loud, I woke my sons up, whom I allowed to sleep in that morning. They were not appreciative.

This just demonstrated, once again, why politicians don’t appear to be trustworthy.

Is there some sort of class or school they attend to learn how to just talk out their collective butts until the clock runs out? That is how it always ends, does it not? The host will finally say, “ Ok, we’re out of time, thanks for coming on”.

Thanks for what? We didn’t learn a dang thing! I still have no idea whether either Florida or Iowa will or won’t sign on to the expansion. (Florida evidently will not participate. Why couldn’t he just say so?)

Through experience, I know this is not a good sign. More often than not, when a supposedly conservative politician won’t give a straight answer, it means they will be voting or siding against the folks that put them in office.

I’ve heard it many times when calling a politician to see how they will vote on an issue or bill. When it’s 12 hours before the vote and their aids say they haven’t decided yet, you can bet it ain’t gonna be good.

For this reason, despite their lack of conservative bona fides, people love “The Donald” (Trump) and also Chris Christie of New Jersey. They tell it as it is and pull no punches and are all the more popular for it. Why is it that other politicians can’t see this?

I can’t be the only one that feels this way!

Just stop lying, hedging, dodging and generally irritating your constituency and you’ll be loved for it.

I thought I might feel better after that, but I don’t.

Those Trees are for the King

by: the Common Constitutionalist

Practically everyone knows of the “Boston Tea Party”, that occurred in 1773. It is recognized as the action which began America’s revolution.

There was an event that predates it, although few have heard the tale.

When the first shipment of masts from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to England occurred, in 1634, England had already suffered deforestation. In order to dominate the high seas, new sources of abundant timber for shipbuilding were needed. No ships, after all, could set sail without as many as twenty-three masts, yards, and spars varying in length and diameter from the bulky mainmast to its subordinate parts.

Although New Hampshire’s white pine was not as hard as Europe’s, its height and diameter were superior. It also weighed less and retained resin longer, giving the ships a sea life as long as two decades.

When granting lands in America in 1690, King William prohibited the cutting of white pine over two feet in diameter. In 1722, under the reign of George I, parliament passed a law that reduced the diameter to one foot, required a license to cut white pine, and established fines for infractions.

This law was basically ignored until John Wentworth became governor in 1767. Appointed Surveyor of the King’s Woods, he recognized the revenue potential and appointed deputies to carry out the law. He conducted his own inspections of mill yards in the Piscataquog valley by having a servant drive him around in his coach.

Before settlers could clear the land or build cabins, barns, or meetinghouses, the king’s sanction, a broad arrow mark, was required on trees reserved for the Royal Navy. The deputies charged them a “good, round sum” to mark the trees and for the license required to cut the rest. Small wonder the law was unpopular. The consequences involved arrest and fines. Contraband white pine already sawed into logs could be seized and a large settlement required; if not paid, authorities sold them at public auction.

In the winter of 1771-72, a deputy Surveyor of the King’s Woods found and marked for seizure 270 mast-worthy logs at Clement’s mill in Oil Mill (now called Riverdale), in South Weare, New Hampshire. He fined the log-cutters from Weare and those from nearby towns where illegal logs were also found. Men from other towns paid the fines, but those from Weare refused. Consequently, the Weare men were labeled “notorious offenders.”

The county sheriff, Benjamin Whiting, Esq., of Hollis, N.H., and his deputy, John Quigley, Esq., of Francestown, N.H. were charged with delivering warrants and making arrests in the king’s name. On April 13, 1772, the sheriff and his deputy galloped into Weare and found “Major Offender” Ebenezer Mudgett, who promised to pay his fine the next day. The officials then retired to nearby Quimby’s Inn for an overnight stay.

News that they had come for Mudgett flew through town, and a plan was hatched. The following morning more than twenty men with blackened faces and switches in hand rushed into Whiting’s room led by Mudgett:

Whiting seized his pistols and would have shot some of them, but they caught him, took away his small guns, held him by his arms and legs up from the floor, his face down, two men on each side, and with their rods beat him to their hearts’ content. They crossed out the account against them of all logs cut, drawn and forfeited, on his bare back….They made him wish he had never heard of pine trees fit for masting the royal navy. Whiting said: “They almost killed me.”

As for Deputy Quigley, the Weare men wrested the floorboards from the room above his, and proceeded to beat him with long poles. With “jeers, jokes and shouts ringing in their ears” the sheriff and deputy rode toward Goffstown and Mast Road (about a mile from my office, I might add), named for the logs that were moved overland to the sea and off to England for the king’s ships.

The Weare men were ultimately arraigned and paid a light fine, but their rebellion against the crown, which preceded the Boston Tea Party (1773), helped set the stage for the Revolution.

And thus the event became known as the Pine Tree Riot, April 14, 1772.

Attribution:  Weare Historical Society, William Little’s History of Weare, New Hampshire 1735-1888 (Lowell, MA: published by the town, 1888), 185-191.
Information about the masting trade came from New Hampshire Crosscurrents in Its Development by Nancy Coffey Heffernan and Ann Page Stecker
(Hanover and London: University Press of New England, 1996), 32-36