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.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An update on Peter Watts' boot lesson

Dr. Watts has been bound over for trial by jury:

A March 16 jury trial has been scheduled for a 51-year-old Toronto author charged with assaulting a Customs and Border Protection officer Dec. 8.

Peter Watts’ last chance to plead guilty to a charge of assaulting a police officer is March 5.
The Times Herald: Trial scheduled in Watts case

I would give a great deal to be there for the trial. In fact, if the fates and vacation Gods allow, I might even do that very thing. That way I can experience the trial first hand and then read about it on Boing Boing and other blogs.

It will be interesting to see if we all attend the same trial. That alone is worth the expense and vacation time.


There are three sides to every case. The plaintiff's complaint, the defense response and what really happened.
- Judge Robert. F. Phipps

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Then take the bus!

Islamic leaders, in their infinite wisdom, issued a Fatwa against Muslims entering the new body scanners used in airport passenger screening. A Fatwa is basically a religious order that all Muslims are expected to follow. They object to the candid body outline displayed by the machine.

The Fiqh Council of North America — a body of Islamic scholars — issued a fatwa this week that says going through the airport scanners would violate Islamic rules on modesty.

"It is a violation of clear Islamic teachings that men or women be seen naked by other men and women," reads the fatwa issued Tuesday. "Islam highly emphasizes haya (modesty) and considers it part of faith. The Quran has commanded the believers, both men and women, to cover their private parts."
USA Today: Airport body scanners violate Islamic law, Muslims say

No Problem, take the bus!

Until I see a few strongly worded Fatwas forbidding fun filled Islamic extremist pass times like suicide bombing, hostage taking, public beheadings of infidels, targeting civilians, honor killings, etc, I don't want to hear from these clowns.


There is a rule of Sharia: If the enemy wants to suppress you, you are supposed to put up a strong resistance.
- Akhmad Kadyrov

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Was part of your vote for Obama based on warrant-less wire tapping?

Many people, some who might even be reading this blog, based some part of their 2008 presidential vote on objections to President Bush's warrant-less collection of cell phone call records, location data and taps on international calls. No matter how misguided and misinformed those perceptions were, that was one of the Left's chief complaints and rallying cries against the Evil Right Ring Overlords (tm).

The following is for all those aggrieved when the New York Times (a/k/a/ Al Queda's US Intelligence Arm) exposed the up-till-then remarkably effective counter-terrorism surveillance operations:

Even though police are tapping into the locations of mobile phones thousands of times a year, the legal ground rules remain unclear, and federal privacy laws written a generation ago are ambiguous at best. On Friday, the first federal appeals court to consider the topic will hear oral arguments (PDF) in a case that could establish new standards for locating wireless devices.

In that case, the Obama administration has argued that warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their--or at least their cell phones'--whereabouts. U.S. Department of Justice lawyers say that "a customer's Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the phone company reveals to the government its own records" that show where a mobile device placed and received calls.

Those claims have alarmed the ACLU and other civil liberties groups, which have opposed the Justice Department's request and plan to tell the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia that Americans' privacy deserves more protection and judicial oversight than what the administration has proposed.
CNET: Feds push for tracking cell phones

So when will we see mass protests against President Obama and the Justice Department? Everything that was thrown at the Bush administration needs to be thrown at the new bosses now. We need to hear the shouted calls for impeachment, criminal proceedings, banishment to Hell, etc. We need to see protesters at every Obama event complete with signs and fliers. The Daily Kos needs to write an article a day condemning Obama and his efforts to secure the country. The Huffington Post must eloquently detail their indignation at the invasion of their rights. Where are the comparisons with Hitler?

I'm waiting…

Fair is fair, right?

Come on…

Heh… I didn't think so.


There is no better illustration of that crisis than the fact that the president is openly violating our nation's laws by authorizing the NSA to engage in warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens.
- John Conyers

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Great time for a debate

Yesterday, Washington DC was under 30+ inches of snow. Mother Nature is expected to deliver another 15 inches by the end of the day. Trees are down. Power is out. Flat roofs are collapsing. The city is paralyzed.

This would be a great time to hold a congressional debate on global warming.


The sky is not burning, and to claim that it is amounts to journalistic malpractice... the press only promotes the global warming alarmists and ignores or minimizes those of us who are skeptical.
Mark L. Campbell

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Here's what's wrong with the way history is taught in the United States

While perusing audio books to restock my supply of driving companions, I came across Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History by Dr. Margaret MacMillan

Allow me to quote the Publisher's Summary:

The winner of many prestigious awards for her scholarship, historian Margaret MacMillan is also the New York Times best-selling author of Paris 1919. In Dangerous Games, she illustrates how history should never be presented as a series of facts, but instead as a framing device for understanding the past.

As professional 21st-century historians cede the literary field to the popular amateur, history and its meanings become muddled - especially in the punditocracy championed by modern media. Copious amounts of cherry-picked facts and manufactured heroes are used to create a narrative rather than give any insight into past events. MacMillan offers an antidote to this by providing the necessary tools to help interpret history in constructive ways.

Let me repeat the important part of that: "history should never be presented as a series of facts, but instead as a framing device for understanding the past." I hope and pray those reading this blog can see what is wrong with that idea.

This is the same problem with today's versions of journalism. We no longer get the unvarnished facts. Instead we get a patch work of facts designed to be a framework to better our understanding of the reporter's, producer's and managing editor's point of view.

The only difference between history and news is that one is far more recent then the other. I want both of those things in their raw, unvarnished form. I don't want key points glossed over or left out. I don't want other things blown way out of proportion. I damn sure don't want someone else to tell me what I should think about these facts.

This just keeps getting worse and worse…


"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."
- George Orwell

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