Have Satellite Truck, Will Travel

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Location: Sitting inside a TV truck, Somewhere, more then likely in the Southeastern region, United States

I am a grouchy, bald headed old fart filled with opinions and not the least bit shy about sharing them.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Judge Sotomayor: Her decisions, her words and left wing pundits.

Tallahassee, FL - While wondering when life would grant me the time to do some digging into Judge Sotomayor's record my cousin produced this piece on his blog: Sonia Sotomayor: a Primer

Rather then reinvent the wheel, I refer my readers to his writings. His analysis is even handed and well referenced. While you're at it, check out the rest of his writings. I wish I could research and write like that.

In addition to this link I would point out some of the noise coming out of the opinion pages. Margery Eagan's petulant column in the Boston Globe tells us the only reason people are concerned about Judge Sotomayor's nomination is that she is female and Hispanic.

It’s been such fun watching the right-wing white boys sputtering over the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, a Hispanic woman nominated by a black man!

“Our world domination’s slip, slip, slipping away,” you can almost hear them whimper. “What to do?”

Well, you can’t dump on the woman thing. That’s more than half the country. Can’t dump on the Hispanic angle. They’ll be more than half the country soon.

What’s left?

Boston Globe: Men in throes of Supreme panic

There are lots more editorials and pundits putting out the same message with different words. They vehemently attack Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Sean Hannity and just about anyone else that speaks up against Judge Sotomayor. To an article each one calls them all racists while ardently defending Sotomayor's "white male who hasn't lived the life"  comment.

Can you imagine the media storm that would come down around the ears of any white male in public life that said he would hope a white man could come up with a better decision because of their better up bringing? It would be loud, long and very ugly.

And yes, Judge Sotomayor's comments were racist. No amount of verbal spray paint will cover that fact. Whether that statement was stupid phrasing or a glimpse into her real state of mind is something we may not find out until we see how she behaves on the court.

The underlying message from the majority of the pundits and Democrat machine is loud and clear: You are either for Judge Sotomayor or you are a white racist not worthy of being heard let alone considered.

It makes sense. It worked on the last election, so it will probably work again on the Supreme Court pick.


"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
- Judge Sonia Sotomayor

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Speaker of House and CIA Briefings

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's weekly press briefing and photo op went off as usual today. But new information on her disagreement over when and what the CIA briefed her on was not forth coming. Reporters tried to press Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on the matter. The petulant Speaker of the House responded to questions with non answers.

"I have made the statement that I'm going to make on this. I don't have any more to say on this," she said at her weekly news conference. "I stand by my comments. And what we are doing is staying on our course and not being distracted from it."

Fox News: Pelosi: 'I Stand By' Accusation Against CIA

With that, she ended the press conference.

The political and media storms is building around the Speaker since her turbulent press conference when she flatly stated that the CIA lied to her about enhanced interrogation techniques. Republicans wanted to create a bipartisan panel of house members to investigate the matter, but that proposal was voted down 252-172. 

So House Republicans turned to the FBI to get answers.

FBI Director Robert Mueller, when asked if a probe was under way, told Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., on Wednesday that he needed a referral before launching an investigation into the allegation.

So Issa offered one.

"If the CIA is lying to any of us -- and I've been briefed many times by them as a member of the Intelligence Committee -- it puts me in a position of not being able to do my job properly," he said.

Fox News: Republicans Push for FBI Probe into Pelosi's Accusations Against CIA

Most the media is still pursuing this because if it is true there are Federal Crimes that need to be prosecuted. If it is not true, the Speaker of the House, second in line for the Presidency, has demonstrated her complete and utter contempt for the men and women charged with keeping the United States safe. Either way, there is a story to be told.

The point of all this is simple. Nancy is following a bad play book. No matter how much the speaker plugs her ears and pretends not to hear, this is not going to go away. When the Speaker of the House publicly accused the CIA of lying to her, she effectively charged the people briefing her with Federal crimes.

For better or worse that snowball is on its way down the hill. It will be interesting to see how gets picked up on the way and who gets splattered at the bottom of the hill.

- 30 -

"The CIA and other American defense and intelligence agencies cannot trust Nancy Pelosi without national secrets, let alone our national security, until this matter is resolved. We need an investigation into the basis of Speaker Pelosi's very severe accusations. If true, there has been a serious violation of federal laws. If false, American national security requires a new speaker of the House. The severity of Speaker Pelosi's accusations leaves no middle ground."
- Rep. Steve King (R-IL)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Microsoft is not my conscience

Recently while trying unsuccessfully to view a video on a blog it came up that I was using an older version of Windows Media player. It was suggested that I upgrade Windows Media Player to view the video, but I declined. The reason for this is simple. I can no longer trust Microsoft not to cripple my machine with some form of Digital Rights Management (DRM). And I don't know enough about computers to roll back any damage Microsoft might do to my machine.

In a nut shell, DRM is software that restricts or prevents you from making digital copies of anything from music to videos to software to e-books. I do not agree with locking down a product that I legally purchase, especially when it restricts my Fair Use rights allowed under the law. However with the current moral standard that seems to be prevalent in today's society I can understand it.

However, Microsoft has taken DRM to an extreme. Starting with Vista (and it is rumored to be even earlier) Microsoft took it upon themselves to not only protect their own product, but to act as the copyright police over everything on the user's computer. For example, It appears that Microsoft doesn't believe there is any such thing as fair use for music or video files.

Early beta testers of Vista were frustrated to find legally purchased and licensed software disabled due to a DRM hook in the operating system. A friend testing Vista on several machines in the graphics department at a major television network suffered the software lockout problems with high end software packages. Vista would not allow the software to run, even with the original CDs.

He was also running a beta test on the computer in his office. That afternoon he went to rip his latest music CD to MP3. Vista refused to do it. To get around that he installed a free CD Ripper called Audio Grabber. This time the Vista operating system intercepted the attempt and stopped it, displaying a dialog box stating he did not have a license to do that. All the machines under going beta testing in his division were back on XP Pro by the end of that day.

I am told that these problems were corrected with the general release of Vista. But the point is the code that did these tricks was in the operating system at one time. For all we know it may still be laying dormant in the operating system. Who is to say that Microsoft won't turn it back on sometime in the future.

Windows 7 turned up similar problems. An article in Slashdot discusses numerous DRM headaches including disabling legally installed software, allowing other software vendors internet access through firewalls regardless of user settings, degraded quality on audio/video inputs and locking the user out of the registry file on his own computer.

Microsoft publicly acknowledges anti-piracy measures in Windows 7, in theory placed there to improve the customer experience.

"Counterfeit software delivers a poor experience and impacts customer satisfaction with our products, particularly if users do not know that their software is non-genuine."

Williams gave the example of one piracy exploit that caused more than a million reported system crashes on machines running non-genuine Windows Vista before Microsoft was able to resolve it.

"Customers running genuine Windows Vista Service Pack 1 are protected from that experience. And there is an even simpler reason: if you pay for something, you want to know that you got what you paid for," he said.

PC Authority: Microsoft outlines Windows 7 anti-piracy measures

What a complete load of crap. Again, I can understand Microsoft wanting to protect their own product. But that is where the line of understanding ends. How does degrading quality when I want to rip my bought and paid for music improve my user experience and satisfaction with their product?

The point of this rant is that Microsoft is not my conscience. Nor is Microsoft a law enforcement agency, federal judge, or my mother. Microsoft is my software vendor, nothing more. Not only that, but their software is running on my computer. Note the emphasis on the word "my."

When I tell my computer to do something, it doesn't need to check with Redmond, WA first. You see that is my computer so what ever I tell it to do, right or wrong, is my decision and my decision alone. The boys and girls at Microsoft don't get any say in the matter. When Microsoft takes it upon themselves to interfere in that decision, they cross a line into a roll that I cannot live with.

Unless Microsoft can loose their delusions of Godhood, my next machine will not be running any version of Windows newer then XP Pro. In preparation for this possibility, I am already researching Apples and testing Linux on an older laptop computer. 

The decision is purely up to Microsoft: Mind their own business or lose mine.

- 30 -

"I think Microsoft will have to change. I think that the business of Microsoft, the company of Microsoft, is going to continue to succeed. But I think the business model of Microsoft is going to have to change. "
- Tim O'Reilly

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Political suicide on live TV

Tallahassee, FL - Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) held a press conference Thursday. The majority of the press conference centered around whether or not Speaker Pelosi was briefed on enhanced interrogation methods (waterboarding) used on terrorists. As luck would have it, I got to watch the entire presser live.

The Speaker spoke from a written statement. In fact, at one point during questions from the press this exchange took place:

Q: If I may, you said that Mr. Sheehy did tell you, that your staff did tell you.

Speaker Pelosi. He informed me that the briefing had taken place. We were not in a place where he could -- that was all that he was required to do. We were not in a setting, we weren't -- I mean, I was no longer the Ranking Member of Intelligence. He just informed me

Q: But he did tell you?

Speaker Pelosi....that the letter was sent. That is the proper person to send the letter, the Ranking Member of the Intelligence Committee. So my statement is clear, and let me read it again. Let me read it again:

I was informed that the Department of Justice's opinions had concluded that the use of enhanced interrogations was legal. The only mention of waterboarding in the briefing was that it was not being employed. When my staff person -- I'm sorry. The pages are out of order.

The Chicago Sun-Times

It strikes me as odd that The Speaker needed to go back to her written statement to see exactly who briefed her and what they briefed her on. It strikes me that this matter is so near and dear to her heart and her political survival, she would be very clear on who, what, when, where and how by this point in the process.

But The Speaker's story is that she did not know and she is sticking to it. In fact she is so determined to stick to that she uttered these words.

That's right. We were told -- in the briefing that I received, we were told that they had legal opinions that this was legal. We were not told that it was -- that there were other legal opinions to the contrary in the Administration, and we were told specifically that waterboarding was not being used.

When my assistant told me that the committee had been briefed -- now, I'm not on that committee anymore, I'm now out of it. We have a new -- that that Ranking Member wrote the appropriate letter to protest that. And then we find out, just slightly more subsequent to that, that perhaps they were using waterboarding long before.

The point is I wasn't briefed. I was informed that someone else had been briefed about it. I'm only speaking from -- I'm only speaking from my own experience. And we were told that it was not being used. Subsequently, the other members of the committee were informed.

The Chicago Sun-Times

That was followed up with the question, "And so were you?"

She answered in part, "No, I wasn't. I was informed that a briefing had taken place. Now, you have to look at what they briefed those Members. I was not briefed that. I was only informed that they were briefed, but I did not get the briefing."

Can't you just hear echoes of President Clinton saying, "I did not have sex with that woman" in those words?

The best part of the press conference has to be this exchange:

Q: Madam Speaker, just to be clear, you are accusing the CIA of lying to you in September of 2002?

Speaker Pelosi. Yes, misleading the Congress of the United States. Misleading the Congress of the United States.

The Chicago Sun-Times

Madam Speaker, that is one very powerful statement. As of that statement she picked a fight she simply cannot win. For one thing we already have a pretty good ides that Rep. Pelosi was thoroughly briefed on what we were doing and who we were doing it back in 2002.

The Speaker seems to have forgotten that she is dealing with an agency that probably knows more about her then she does. There is one thing the Speaker's words do guarantee though. Those briefing memos are going to leak and fast. We are talking a screen door on a submarine here. I am willing to bet there are reporters and producers doing background and fact checking on information from CIA sources as I write this.

I recommend going to The Chicago Sun-Times and reading the entire transcript. It is very enlightening. In fact, it would be fun to have a contest to see who can spot the most number of times she contradicts herself just within the context of this press conference. The transcript does not do justice to the real thing. Before it was over, she was visibly shaken.

Even The Speaker's staff knew she was digging a political hole. Several times before The Speaker actually ended her duel with reporters, you could hear staffers loudly saying "thank you" which is press conference code for "we're done here."

Next week is going to be very interesting news week.

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“Nancy Pelosi has more integrity in her pinky than Karl Rove and Dick Cheney possess in their entire body,”
- House Democratic Caucus Chairman, Rep. John Larson (D-CT)

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If I ever get this bad…

If the time should ever come that I will be confined to a nursing home or rehabilitation center (the physical kind, not the drug an alcohol kind), my brain is pretty much mush and there is no reasonable hope that I will leave that place alive, it is my sincerest wish that someone will put me out of my misery.

I might add that I hope that this small favor is accomplished before my medical bills clean out what ever pittance I manage to leave behind for my survivors.

- 30 -

I'd rather rot on my own floor than be found by a bunch of bingo players in a nursing home.
- Florence King

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Live TV of people making TV

Romulus, MI - An acquaintance in the broadcast industry put up a web-cam of streaming the activities inside the interior of one the production trucks working the Kentucky Derby.

Check it out: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/kentucky-derby-135

I love it!

- 30 -

Live television is a harsh and unforgiving mistress.
- Uplinktruck

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