Archive for the 'Current Events & Politics' Category

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Local Unlicensed Radio Station Fined $10,000 by FCC

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

 

Last summer I was driving down MoPac when I noticed a hand made sign that said something like ‘Radio Liberty 90.1 FM’.

I tuned it in and found a station that was interesting in a train wreck sort of way.  Besides the insane ravings of a local demagogue they  had a lot of shows offering legal advice that seemed to consist of providing magic words that would deflect civil and criminal convictions.

There was never a station identification.

Via a ham radio mailing list I learned that the FCC has fined Raymond Frank, the alleged operator of this station, $10,000.  Specifically

In this Forfeiture Order (“Order”), we issue a monetary forfeiture in the amount of ten
thousand dollars ($10,000) to Raymond Frank for willful and repeated violation of Section 301 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended (“Act”).1 The noted violations involve Mr. Frank’s operation
of an unlicensed radio transmitter on the frequency 90.1 MHz in Austin, Texas.

I have no idea if this Mr Frank is related to the former Travis County Sheriff.

According to the FCC

Mr. Frank asserts that, as a citizen of the Republic of Texas, he is not subject to the laws of the United States or the Commission’s Rules. Specifically, Mr. Frank asserts that the Commission lacks jurisdiction over his actions, because he operated a radio station solely within the boundaries of the state of Texas. Finally, Mr. Frank justifies violating Section 301 of the Act, because he claims the Commission’s licensing policies violate the First Amendment.

I’m mainly a software developer, but I’m also what’s called an ‘Enrolled Agent’ and own part of an income tax service.  We sometimes see people who tried to evade taxes with magic words and silly arguments propagated by snake oil salesman. These poor folks sometimes lose everything and face jail time thanks to their misplaced faith in a slick talking guy selling books and dvds.

Good people with highly legitimate concerns about the size and power of the government buy into these ridiculous ideas sold by snake oil salesmen.  In the process they harm themselves and their families, and they discredit real conservatives in the process. 

This kind of thing makes me sad.

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What If George Had Done It?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

This is making the rounds among us right-wing wackos.  It makes some good points.

 

If George W. Bush had been the first President to need a teleprompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

If George W. Bush had spent of thousands of tax payer dollars to take Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan’s holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly narcissistic and tacky?

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia , would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent “Austrian language,” would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to “Cinco de Cuatro” in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have winced in embarrassment?

If George W. Bush had mis-spelled the word “advice” would you have hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and potatoe as proof of what a dunce he is?

If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he’s a hypocrite?

If George W. Bush’s administration had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?

If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans, would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?

If George W. Bush had created the position of 32 Czars who report directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is happening in America, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

If George W Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?

So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive?

Can’t think of anything? Don’t worry.

He’s done all this in 10 months — so you’ll have three more years to come up with an answer

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Is Obama Following LBJ’s Path To Defeat?

Monday, September 28th, 2009

 

I was born in 1952, making me old enough to vividly remember Viet Nam. 

When I joined the Air Force in 1974 all of the instructors and supervisors I had were combat veterans of South East Asia.

Words cannot convey their bitter frustration with the civilian leadership during that conflict.  President Johnson and the incompetent SecDef McNamara feared adverse headlines worse than they feared losing American lives.  They lacked the will to win, and also lacked the courage to withdraw.  The LBJ administration could not have chosen a more disastrous path for war they inherited than the one they followed. 

 

lbj obama

 

It’s my perception that President Obama is now going down LBJ’s path to disaster.   His recent change in the rules of engagement in Afghanistan hugely restricts indirect artillery and close air support to American forces engaged by the Taliban.  This very LBJ-like decision trades American military lives for fewer unfavorable headlines. 

President Obama campaigned on the theme that Afghanistan was the ‘good war’.  On the rare occasions when he mentions Afghanistan it is usually in the context of telling us what President Bush did wrong, with little or nothing about what he plans to do in the future.  Like LBJ, he has ruled out victory as an option, babbling something about the Emperor of Japan surrendering on the deck of the Missouri.  Which of course serves to show how little he knows of American history beyond what he learned from Preacher Wright and his colleague Bill Ayers. 

I’ve been thinking about Afghanistan a lot because my son, a Texas Guardsman, came back from his tour in Iraq in April.  He’s been told to expect to deploy to Afghanistan in a year or two.  If he’s need to help win he should go. If he is being sent because the Administration doesn’t think victory is possible but is afraid to cut and run then I don’t think he should be sent at all. 

This post, my first since April, was directly precipitated by a highly insightful blog post by The Skipper.  

Captain Lex posses a tough challenge to the Commander-in-Chief:

He’s got to believe it’s possible to forge something like a victory, and that the cost of doing so is less than the consequences of outright retreat and failure. He’s got to commit not just forces, but his presidency.

If he can’t – if in the depths of his soul he can’t – then he would be right to ditch the whole project before any more damage is done, before even one more soldier or Marine dies in a cause their commander in chief does not believe in. He can even blame it on Bush, if that gets him through the night.

It’s a tough place to be for a 47-year old half term Senator with a background in community organizing. But this is the job he fought for, and these are the choices he faces.

But he needs to remember that he’s not facing them alone. That his actions – and even his inaction – has consequences

It’s time to man up and pull the trigger, Mr. President. One way or the other.

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Put Our Obit Where the Sun Don’t Shine!

Monday, March 30th, 2009

 

These are the darkest times for this country that I can remember since 1972. 

Economically we seemed destined for Carter-style stagflation at best, East German style socialist poverty at worst.

Our foreign policy, based on apologies and appeasement, has given new heart to enemies that were on the ropes just a couple of months ago.

President Obama hides his weakness and incompetence behind a veneer of self righteous anger, so transparent a child could see through it.

It would be easy to count America out.  Easy, but wrong.  We’ve had incompetent government before, and we’ve recovered.  We’ll recover from the coming dark times again, I’m certain.

I’m a motorcycle rider, but I don’t really consider myself a ‘biker’ as the term is commonly used.  Harley-Davidson motorcycles have little appeal to me.

But I’m with them 100% on this point:

 

Screw it. Let's Ride!

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For The Record: I Support Israel

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

I want to be on the public record as a strong friend of Israel. The current conflict in Gaza is another battle in the war between modern humanity and middle age despotism.

Israel is completely justified in taking whatever action they might require to stop the unprovoked and cowardly rocket attacks being launched by dead-end loser terrorists.

Israel did not want this war, they showed extreme patience in trying to stop the rockets peacefully.

It is up to the terrorists and the larger Islamic community that supports them to decide when this war will end. The war will end the day the terrorist quit attacking Israel. The terrorists will quit their attacks when the world’s Islamic communities withdraw their overt and covert support for terror.

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A Quick Election Day Prediction

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

The Presidential race has been so discouraging I haven’t said much about it. Today is election day, and I thought I’d take a little lunch break time to make a prediction.

People are going to be happy no matter who wins, just because the long race is over. This will raise the stock market and loosen up consumer spending.

If Obama wins, the post-election bounce in the economy will be large. The media will immediately stop reporting bad economic news, replacing that with ‘happy-days-are-here-again’ reporting. This will cause Christmas sales to be much stronger than expected, which will lift the Dow-Jones average well over 10,000.

Sadly, an Obama victory post election bounce will be the economic equivalent of a sugar high. The devastating effects of his big government tax/spend/regulate/sue programs will begin to take effect by summer time.

Besides his job-killing economic program, Obama’s election will re-energize Islamic terrorists around the world. There’s a real chance that Obama will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq. Iraq may well replace Pakistan and Afganistan as a base for terror, since it would be politically impossible for Obama to re-engage the battle in Iraq.

Obama will certainly release many of the hard core terrorists now held at Guantanamo. Obama doesn’t need to wait a fiscal year to stop the intelligence collection programs that have done so much to keep us safe since 2001. Taken together it’s clear to see why Obama is the choice of most Islamic terrorists.

Expect a major terror attack on the Continental United States in about a year to eighteen months if Obama is elected.

By two years into an Obama administration we’ll be faced with a real Carter-style recession, if not outright depression. Expect gas to be well over five dollars a gallon, if you can buy it at all. For a preview, ask one of us old guys about buying gas during the Ford and Carter years. Expect high inflation, double digit mortgage rates, high unemployment, and total chaos in the middle east.

By winter 2010 we’ll miss the good times of October 2008.

You read it here first.

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VOTING MACHINES SHOULD NEVER, EVER, NEED ANTI-VIRUS!!!!!

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Last January I said that ‘No rational person can have any confidence in unauditable game console voting machines‘.

Today I find out that these horrible voting machines are even worse than I thought. Calling them ‘game consoles’ gives them too much credit.

I find it staggering that these voting machines are running Windows, and predictably, have problems with their antivirus software!

Every politician involved in buying these devices is an idiot. Period. You with the tinfoil hat, don’t tell me that this is the result of some kind of diabolical conspiracy to change the outcome of elections. These devices are too unreliable to be used by even the most dim-witted evil mastermind.

A better word for these devices would be ‘election randomizer’.

Let me say that since 1994 I have made my living writing programs that run on Windows. Windows is a great operating system for a general purpose computer. If you want one computer for word processing, internet surfing, networking, graphics, games, etc then you can’t beat windows.

The problem is that Windows must make many compromises to ensure that it can support all these different type of applications. Windows is pretty much a monolith. Unlike most other computer operating systems end users of Windows cannot remove many of the parts of it not required for their applications. Windows is pretty much a take it or leave it OS. The monolithic property of Windows is the result of a sensible design decision by Microsoft that every flavor of Windows will run just about every application ever written for Windows, and that one Windows machine can run many different types of applications. Microsoft did a great job writing this multi-purpose OS. It is the software equivalent of a Leatherman Tool. It can do lots of things decently, but almost nothing as well as a tool designed for a single purpose.

You don’t do brain surgery with a Leatherman!

Using any flavor of Windows for a single purpose application like voting is totally insane!!!!! Making a single purpose console like a voting machine run windows is like using a locomotive to push a shopping cart!

The ‘designers’ (I use the word laughingly) of this ‘Premier Election Solutions’ outfit would have been far better off using an X-Box, Wii, or Playstation for their voting device. These game consoles have strong security to prevent the running of unauthorized software. Compared to Windows, they have cleaner and much simpler operating systems.

Of course a sensible, responsible software engine would never use Windows for a single purpose dedicated console type application requiring high security.

Again, I’m a 14 year windows application developer. I like Windows a lot. But Windows is not suitable for this kind of single purpose device!!! Words cannot describe the horror of these types of voting machines. It takes an artist:

XKCD

The next time you vote, see if you are using a ‘Premier’ or ‘Diebold’ device. If so, then accept that your vote is meaningless.

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Is the Bear coming out of the woods?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

This business between Russia and Georgia has me very worried. You’d have to be blind not to see the parallels with the start of World War II.

Where are the human shields? Where are the million Moms now that we need them? When will Dennis Kucinich start impeachment proceedings against Putin?

There seems to be nothing to do but stand by and watch our friends get kicked in the teeth. Oh, I did hear on the radio today that we hope to persuade the U.N. to issue a strong denunciation. I’m sure Putin is quivering with fear of the U.N.

This week will go down in the history books I’m sure of it. We can enjoy the Olympics and try not to think about this. But the bear looks to be on a rampage and there’s nothing the West can do. There isn’t a Western nation left with the will to oppose Russia. Or Iran for that matter.

You know the crazies in charge of Iran are watching with interest. It’s just one more data point showing them that they can do any damn thing they want and nobody will oppose them. They are holding the other shoe, and I expect it to drop soon.

At a minimum we in the United States must vote for McCain. Obama just got the 3am phone call, and he’s afraid to pick up the phone. Can you imagine Obama trying to stand up to Putin? It is to laugh.

It’s time for McCain to dust off the famous ‘Bear in the Woods’ ad. It’s more relevant today than when it first ran in 1984:

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A Look Into My Crystal Ball

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

Today is primary election day here in Texas.  For the first time in my life I voted Democrat.  Rush advised me to vote for Hillary, so as to keep the Dems at each others throats for as long as possible.  That’s probably good advice, but I didn’t take it.

I cannot stand the sight of that power mad, crooked, witch.  I can’t take any chance that she might get elected dogcatcher, let along President.

I voted for Obama.  He’s even more socialist than Hillary, but he doesn’t make me want to puke.

I’d like to go with the conventional wisdom, which seems to be that tomorrow a stake will be driven into her political heart.  Just like we heard before New Hampshire.

Isobel T's picture of a crystal ball

Prediction, based on gut feeling: 

Texas:  Hillary by low single digits, due in part to her operatives taking over the caucuses. 

Ohio:  Hillary by a comfortable margin

Result: Hillary is very close to Obama in delegates, but still a little behind.  I’ll be upset, but the pundits will be happy.

 

Image by Isobel T, used in accordance with a CC license.

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In which I find Ann to be persuasive

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

When I first heard that Ann Coulter was going to support Hillary over McCain my reaction was “The apocalypse is here!”.

But the more I thought about it, the more I see her point. McCain is an open borders RINO. He makes President Bush’s domestic policies look conservative. I think the one thing that pushed me into Ann’s arms was McCain’s crack in the recent debate that he ‘served for patriotism, not profit’.

Only an asshole liberal with no private sector experience would say something that stupid. Who does McCain think bought the several airplanes he crashed? Who does he think generates the ‘jobs jobs jobs’ in this country? It’s clear McCain completely shares Hillary’s view that the private sector is evil and must be crushed.

I think Ann nails the reasons for me to stay home next November if McCain wins the nomination:

If Hillary is elected then we face at least four more years of internal fighting, four more years of civil war just short of bullets. Hillary and McCain put Americans in one of two groups: supporters or enemies.

If we are to have a fight, I want the fight to be a clear cut battle between socialism and freedom. We can have that fight with Hillary.

If we elect McCain we still have a fight, but it will be desperate rear-guard attempt to slow the advances of ever expanding government tyranny.

I am desperately hoping for Obama to win the Democrat nomination. He’s just as left wing as Hillary, but I don’t think he hates those of us who disagree with him. I think he really wants to try and reach out across party lines and heal the country. Under President Obama I have dreams of a civil battle of ideas, rather than the kind of civil war that Hillary or McCain would incite.

Lastly, let me give Obama credit for having the best political ad I’ve seen since ‘Morning in America‘: