Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Gmail Invitations

I still have Gmail accounts to give away, Email me, with first and last name with re replyable email address if you would like an invite.

Stern Bounces Back

Stern Back is back in 4 0f the 6 markets that Clear Channel had dropped, and 5 new markets. Clear Channel took the cowardly way out and refused to take on the FCC. Perhaps what they feared more than the FCC was their decidedly Right wing audiance. Fearless Communications Czar Michael "Whose my Daddy?" Powell is sure to respond at any further testing of the 1st ammendmend with his Megadollar fines.
Stern said his program would air on stations in Houston; San Diego; Tampa, Fla.; Pittsburgh; Orlando, Fla.; Austin, Texas; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Fresno, Calif., all owned by Infinity Broadcasting.

Scary idea

Two frightening thoughts. Atrios and I aggree on something. An NC Times article tells about the fed election commission wanting to reschedual ellections in case of terorism.

WASHINGTON -- The government needs to establish guidelines for canceling or rescheduling elections if terrorists strike the United States again, says the chairman of a new federal voting commission.

Such guidelines do not currently exist, said DeForest B. Soaries, head of the voting panel.

Soaries was appointed to the federal Election Assistance Commission last year by President Bush. Soaries said he wrote to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge in April to raise the concerns

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Hillary has her eyes on the wealthys money

San Francisco rolls out the red carpet for the Clintons as she speaks at a $10K a plate dinner and warns them she wants even more:
"Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you," Sen. Clinton said. "We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."

She sure gives me the warm and fuzzy's

Comments on Comments

Instapundit laments
I GOT AN EMAIL THE OTHER DAY slamming me for not having comments on my site. I get those occasionally, and they're usually nasty enough that they're self-refuting -- yeah, I really want to give you a platform, buddy. . . .
But, as Eugene Volokh noted in a discussion of this topic a while back (read it, as I agree entirely and he said it better than I could, as usual), the worst part isn't the flaming by people who don't agree with you, it's the nasty comments by people who generally agree with you.
For example, Q&O made a perfectly reasonable point about James Rubin, only to see the comments degenerate into nasty remarks about Rubin's wife, Christiane Amanpour. I don't like Amanpour, whom I regard as excessively agenda-driven, but I wouldn't want her called names like that on my blog. Which means I'd either have to edit such comments out, or live with it. I don't have the time for the former, and I'm not willing to do the latter.
Some blogs, like Daniel Drezner's or Roger Simon's seem to avoid that problem most of the time, but I think it's a scaling issue -- up to a certain level of traffic it feels like a conversation, past that it degenerates into USENET. At any rate, I'd rather blog than deal with comments.

I was concerned when I first set up comments, and Instapundant expresses thos concerns pretty well. So far, commenting has proven useful. Comments have made it clear if I make too loose with facts, or misunderstood them. Comments have cheered me on, and expressed disaproval, but mostly they have been appropriate.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Houston Chronicle Headlines

I was very surprised to see as a headline on the front page of the Houston Chronicle Smoking ban fails to clear air outside doorways. With all that is going on, this is what they find most important in the day. They are trying rally the tobacco police and get enforcement on these dastardly acts. Maybe, those folks at Chronically Biased have a point when they note that the Chronicle doesn't seem to have any capability of reporting on Enron's Ken Lay. I suppose they need something for their reporters to write about and this one is pretty easy. No searching for victims, and the story is just downtown. Secondhand smoke victims are a lot easier to interview than Ken Lay

Sunday, June 27, 2004

A scary ride on the SpaceShipOne

New Scientist reports that there were a few frightening moments aboard SpaceShipOnes first private spaceflight. There were a couple of glitches the most serious one was:
The problem struck at the end of the rocket engine's firing time of about 70 seconds, just as Melvill reached space. "As I came out of the atmosphere I no longer had any attitude control," Melvill told New Scientist and other reporters. "If that had happened earlier, I would never have made it and you all would be looking sad right now."

The mishaps remind me of the early X plane flights where the earliest astronauts experianced simular incidents.

Radio Free Galveston [WiFi]

The Folks in Austin seem to have taken wifi availability seriously. As a report has shown, In the mean time Galveston has a Beautiful convention center with no conventions. Starbucks is proud of offering T-mobile who wants 30 bucks a month. The Mitchell and Frettita hotels in Galveston haven't caught on, they provide WiFi for a fee. The Library is has free WiFi though so there are some people who understand. has set up a hotspot and plan on setting up more.

The first Wi-Fi Zone was recently launched at the corner of 23rd St. and The Strand - near Saengerfest Park. The current signal is available for wireless-enabled computers within a 5-block radius of that intersection. Soon, the signal will be boosted to greatly expand the reception area. A " Wi-Fi Zone" sticker will be displayed in the windows of operations where the free wireless internet signals are available.


Future Wi-Fi Network development phases will include the Postoffice Street corridor, sections of Seawall Boulevard, and points west.

I haven't found any other free hotspots yet, but I'm going looking. Please if anyone knows of any Free hotspots please let me know. I will put together and maintain a list when there are more than just a couple of places.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Blill Gates conciders Blogging

Instapundit notes that Bill Gates might start his own blog. Microsoft has been talking about getting into the the blogging bussiness, as an attempt to take on Googles own It my guess that Bill will be Beta testing the system. Microsoft has some pretty tough competion, and they won't win many bloggers if they take the attitude of creating their own standards. Perhaps they will follow Google's example and use cheap, but high powered Linux powered computers. One of the reasons Microsoft has deceloped the interest is hinted at by Brier Dudley
Now 44 percent of U.S. Internet users contributed content to the Web, and 2 percent maintain their own blogs, according to a February study by the Pew Internet & American Life research project. With about 128 million adult Internet users in the country, that would mean there are more than 2.5 million blogs.

2 percent is a lot of people with yet a huge potential for growth. Blogging is one of the easiest ways. to publish web content. Google is finding that Bloggers are loyal to Google branding have been some of their stauncheest defenders in the Gmail contoversy, and have given them lots of publicity. Microsoft certainly could use some of that enthusiasm for their branded products.

Moonie leader 'crowned' in Senate

Moonie leader 'crowned' in Senate
The US Senate was used for a bizarre ritual in which the Rev Sun Myung Moon, the head of the Unification church, was "crowned" and declared himself the messiah in the presence of more than a dozen Republican and Democratic members of Congress, it was reported yesterday.
"Emperors, kings and presidents ... have declared to all heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity's saviour, messiah, returning Lord and true parent," the 85-year-old Korean "Moonie" cult leader told several hundred guests at the meeting in one of the Senate's office buildings on March 23, according to the Washington Post.

He also claimed endorsement from Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Hitler, who had all been reformed and reborn through his church's teachings - an idiosyncratic version of Christianity which rejects the use of the cross as a symbol and denounces homosexuals as "dirty dung-eating dogs".

Moon has money and influence and the press. One can only expect that the Congessman would be kissing up. Why should a little intolorance get in their way?

Drinking Age

Instapundit comments on Pete Coors critisizm on the fedral goverment coersing the states into raising the drinking age from 18 to 21. Its is/was a dumb idea for lots of reasons, but was a Politically Correct idea at the the time even if it was stupid.

The Big Rain

Yesterday it rained in Galveston, I barely escaped. I was at the intersection of 61st St. and I45 at 6:45, but it was raining so hard I didn't notice that Home Depot had collapsed. In a few minutes the roads would have been impassable due to flooding and I wouldn't have been able to get off the island I was on my way to Corpus Christi, and by the time I got into Lamarque the rains had let up. Equality stayed home, but made some errands and made some observations

Home Depot was only opened a few months, and the Front of the building collapsed. They can blame the tremendous amount of rain, but there are lots of old buildings in Galveston with flat roofs that are still standing. Design error, inferior materials, or defective workmanship is certainly to blame. Storms like this are to be expected, and they should be built to survive. No one was killed .The store wasn't open yet and the workers were gathered in another part of the building.

This morning there are crews already there, with some heavy equipment, probably to secure and investigate just how and where the failure occurred

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Comdex 2004 is cancelled

Organizer cancels Comdex 2004 :
Computer trade show Comdex, once the biggest event on the tech calendar, has been canceled this year, a victim of the growing interest in shows emphasizing consumer electronics and specialist IT gear.
Its the end if an era. Maybe November will be a good time to go to Vegas after all. I'm going to miss the the comdex reports. It was pretty exciting seeing whats new for the comming year.

Vatican condemns Chinese arrests

Vatican condemns Chinese arrests
A strongly-worded statement demanded an explanation from China, which has long sought to control religious expression.
Its millions of Catholics are split between followers of Pope John Paul II and members of a state-backed church.

They persecute, and we continue to give them most favored nation status Wally world makes big profits, and the world still goes around.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

AOL Employee Sells Entire Email List

Pair Nailed In AOL Spam Scheme: An AOL employee sold the entire list to a spammer in Las Vegas Who used the 92 million email adresses to spam his online gambling bussiness. He then sold it to other spammers who are selling "for purposes of marketing herbal penile enlargement pills"
An AOL software engineer was arrested today for stealing the company's entire subscriber list--totaling 92 million screen names--and selling it to a 21-year-old Las Vegas spammer. According to the below federal criminal complaint, Jason Smathers, 24, last year illegally accessed the highly confidential AOL list by using another employee's identification codes. Smathers, who worked in AOL's Dulles, Virginia office, then allegedly sold the list to Sean Dunaway, who used the AOL database to promote his own online gambling business and who also sold the list for $52,000 to fellow spammers, one of whom used the names 'for purposes of marketing herbal penile enlargement pills,' according to the complaint. AOL's subscriber base is about 30 million individual customers, who account for 92 million different screen names. Prosecutors also contend that Smathers subsequently sold Hathaway an updated AOL customer list--this one with approximately 18 million names--for $100,000. Both men have been charged with conspiracy, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

L.A. police beating under investigation

MSNBC - L.A. police beating under investigation but Fox news who showed the brutal beating live as it unfolded is not covering it. One would think that a story they covered live, would be worthy of exposure when it unfolded in such a surprising way. The full video of the beating hasn't been shown again. Yet California coverage of Scott Peterson is unrelenting. I wonder if they are underplaying it because the victim was black. Fox has yet to respond to our email about their lack of coverage.

L.A Cops wail the crap out of suspect

Itwas almost like the famous OJ chase. Recorded live on from a news chopper. The chase was on for about an hour. The suspect finally turned down a dead end. He then ran. The cops took chase and when the suspect finally saw that he wasn't going to get away he stopped, went to his knees and then laid on the ground spread eagled. Instantly he was surounded by cops, covering him like ants on a sugar cube. Suddenly to a shocked national television audiance 1 officer pulls out a big night stick and starts wailing on this guys head and shoulders. There was no way the suspect lying face down and litterly covered by cops was going to get away at this point. There was no way in this position and overwhelmed by at least 7 officers he could be a threat. what shocked me most though wasn't the Police brutallity, because this is what we have learned to expect from Los Angeles Police. Police abusing the their office seems to be the norm in LA. What shocked me was that E.D Hill of Fox and friends defended such obvious abuse. The L.A police are notorious for being abusive and fabrications in court. Maybe because they are so brutal suspects are just more likely to flee, to avoid the beatings, and courtroom deceptions. This story will unfold. The only correct thing to happen would be for this one police officer to get immediatly fired and procecuted. Given thier past performance this isn't likely to happen.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Save the earth don't take the train

Maybe light rail isn't such a great idea. Instapundant reports:

THE INSTADAUGHTER AND I finished watching the latest Simpsons DVD collection yesterday. My favorite episode is Marge vs. the Monorail, which features this memorable Homer line: "Doughnuts! Is there anything they can't do?"

What's more, Marge's steadfast belief that the city would be better off funding road repairs than mass transit turns out to be environmentally sound:

Encouraging travellers to switch from cars and airlines to inter-city trains brings no benefits for the environment, new research has concluded.

Challenging assumptions about railways' green superiority, the study finds that the weight and fuel requirements of trains have increased to the point where rail could become the least energy-efficient form of transport. . . .

Assuming the continuing dominance of fossil fuel-based electricity, the study indicates that suitable French-style rolling-stock would require twice as much fuel per seat as a Volkswagen Passat, and more than a short-haul aircraft.

Or, in other words: "Save the planet. Jump into your car."

Maybe I should print up a bumper sticker with that slogan, and put it on my Passat!

However, what isn't concidered is that reduced congestion helps the cars on the roads run more efficiently.  Although most electricity is created with fossil fuels, some is made with nuclear, wind and water. The Fossil fuels used tend to be those in wich are less utitilized than petroleum.  Lignite and coal resources are not fully utilized, vast natural gas resources are yet untapped. Natural gas is also lean, and low in Greenhouse emisions.

Jon Matthews pleads guilty to indecency

Kuff found this one Radio's Jon Matthews pleads guilty to indecency
: "RICHMOND -- Former radio talk show host Jon Matthews pleaded guilty today to a charge of indecency with a child in a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Matthews, 59, who resigned from his position at KSEV-AM 700 last year, was to go to trial June 28 but decided to accept the agreement after rejecting it last week, said Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey.
In a pre-trial hearing this morning in the court of state District Judge Brady Elliott, Matthews' attorney, Stephen Doggett, said he wanted to speak with prosecutors about reconsidering the offer.
Healey said prosecutors were surprised by Matthews' decision.
'It was a possibility, but it was not anticipated,' Healey said.
Matthews left the courtroom with his attorney and declined to comment.
The judge deferred the official finding of guilt and the sentencing until Aug. 2.
According to court documents, Matthews is to be placed on deferred adjudication for seven years.
Criminal defendants who successfully complete the terms of deferred adjudication avoid final conviction, but the fact that they were charged remains a part of their record.
The arrangement calls for Matthews to register as a sex offender, perform community service and move from his Sugar Land house.
Prosecutors said Matthews can no longer reside at the house on Rolling Mill because it is too close to Sugar Land Middle School. State law prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school.
Matthews also must make a $5,000 donation to Crime Stoppers.
He was indicted Nov. 11 on a charge alleging that he had exposed himself to an 11-year-old girl at his home on Oct. 9. He was arrested two days later and released on $10,000 bail.

The conservative talk show host resigned from his position at KSEV-AM 700, where he had a program on weekday mornings, and also stopped writing a column for the weekly Fort Bend Star.

Sugar Land police began their investigation in October after the girl's parents contacted them through an intermediary.

Matthews was indicted one day after he spent about 90 minutes in the grand jury room at the Fort Bend County Courthouse.

The charge is a third-degree felony with a range of punishment from two to 10 years in prison and a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Before his resignation, Matthews had been on the air on Houston radio stations since at least the mid-1980's, working at KSRR-FM and KPRC-AM before moving to KSEV-AM in March 2001.

I was willing to bet Matthews was going to cop a plea. To bad the DA didn't take me up on it. By pleaing it out Matthews avoids the trial and the publicity involved. This involved an 11 year old girl. We can all be glad its over with.

UpDate: Dan Patrik has his say on this

Monday, June 21, 2004

Aviation History

It was amazing to watch, The graceful White Knight and Spaceship One secured to her are not only Engineering Marvels, but they are works of art. Rutan not only creates aircraft that perform well, but look pretty darn good too.

The media seems to focus a lot on personalities their deeds and misdeeds. There is a story here involving 3 different personalaties. Pilot Mike Melvill a South African born pilot achieved just about every pilots dream. Burt Rutan who has once again has done the impossible. Visionary dreamers are the folks that push mankind ahead. His crowning achievement could have been his Voyager which cicled the the earth non stop. Thankfully he didn't rest on his laurels. And then there is Paul Allen, he provided the money. Enterprauners. He saw fit to invest in another man's dream. I suspect he will never make any money on this venture, but we are richer today because invested in America's the world's future.

Smart sneakers

Embedded developers do some sole searching Are you ready for a computerized Sneaker?

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Sweatiest City

Kuff bemoans the fact that El Paso was named "America's Sweatiest City". Perhaps its even warmer there today. Someone won $145 Mill in the lottory last nite in El Paso, we suspect that there is some pretty feverish excitement somewhere in town.

Gmail Ripoff scam.

Its reported that there is Gmail fraud on eBay:
It has been reported to us that some of the Gmail sales on eBay may be less than legitimate. According to one poster on the Blogger Forum, he purchased what he thought was a Gmail invitation and all he got was a link to us here on the Gmail Exchange forum.

Not a very good purchase since probably only about 10% of the requests for Gmail can be filled. Some people will do anything for a buck.

Incidentally, there are about 4800 listings in eBay under "Gmail" at the current time.
People are buying Gmail invites on eBay for a while now. While we have been giving them away just for the asking. So far we haven't had to refuse anyone. There should be less demand now because the invites should be growing expedentially. We first were given 2 invites then three, last week they offered 5 invites per account. I expect that it won't be to much longer before it is completely open to the public.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Some words on what the war on terror is about

Senator Joe Lieberman Speaks to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy's Symposium on “Iraq's Future and the War on Terrorism”. He minces no words describing the issues.
The terrorists can never defeat us militarily. But they can divide us and defeat us politically if the American people become disappointed and disengaged, because they don't appreciate and support the overriding principles that require us to take military action. The same, of course, is true for our allies in Europe, Asia and throughout the Muslim world. They need to better understand and embrace our purpose and what it means for them.

What we are fighting for in Iraq and around the world is freedom. What we are fighting against is an Islamic terrorist totalitarian movement which is as dire a threat to individual liberty as the fascist and communist totalitarian threats we faced and defeated were in the last century.

What we are fighting for is an expanding worldwide community of democracies. What we are fighting against is the prospect of a new evil empire, a radical Islamic caliphate which would suppress the freedom of its people and threaten the security of every other nation's citizens.

Lieberman goes on to explain what motivates the Moslem extremist and their logic(?) better than the White House ever did.
There is no better way to know this enemy than to read their words. The father of the jihadist movement, Sayyed Qutb [KUH-tahb] of Egypt, wrote in 1952, “The death of those who are killed for the cause of God gives more impetus to the cause, which continues to thrive on their blood.” The cause of which he speaks is to “establish a [Muslim] state” that “sets moral values,” “abolish[es] man-made laws” and that would impose, by force if necessary, the Islamic system on “all human beings, whether they be rulers or ruled, black or white, poor or rich, ignorant or learned.”

This is a radicalized, violent vision of Islam, as yet embraced by only a minority of Muslims. Pluralism of any kind – a diversity of views or faiths – affronts this radical minority's absolutist vision. Their theological totalitarianism leaves no room for individual freedom.

Restoring the caliphate – the seat of secular and ecclesiastical power that existed for centuries across a wide territory – is their goal. You can read it in their writings: They would create a new evil empire, stretching from Istanbul to Islamabad, from Khartoum to Kabul, from Kuala Lampur to Bangkok, and beyond.

Osama Bin Laden is the leading advocate of this jihadist view in the world today, the current mastermind of this malevolent movement. Every American should carefully read his clearly stated words of intention to know why we must defeat him.

In his “Declaration of the World Islamic Front for Jihad,” issued in February 1998, Bin Laden says that “to kill Americans and their allies, both civil and military, is an individual duty of every Muslim… every Muslim who believes in God and hopes for reward [must] obey God's command to kill the Americans and plunder their possessions wherever he finds them and whenever he can.”

In his November 1998 “Letter to America,” Bin Laden condemned the United States because, he said, like all democracies, it is a “nation who, rather than ruling by the Sharia of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, chooses to invent your own laws as you will and desire.” After September 11th attacks, he gloated triumphantly that “the values of Western civilization… of liberty, human rights, and humanity, have been destroyed.”

In this war of ideas and values, Bin Laden is the quintessential anti-American.

Instapundant wishes Joe Lieberman would run on the Kerry ticket. I find myself wishing he was on the Bush ticket.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Rumsfeld Was Bypassed in 9/11 'Shoot-Down' Order

A remarkable conversation was recordedbetween Rumsfeld and Cheney. What is amazing is that it was Cheney who gave the order. I never head of a vice president with any power to give any type of order.
Here is an excerpt from the conversation between Cheney and Rumsfeld:

Cheney: "There's been at least three instances here where we've had reports of aircraft approaching Washington -- a couple were confirmed hijack. And, pursuant to the president's instructions, I gave authorization for them to be taken out. Hello?"

Rumsfeld: "Yes, I understand. Who did you give that direction to?"

Cheney: "It was passed from here through the operations center at the White House, from the (shelter)."

Rumsfeld: "OK. Let me ask the question here. Has that directive been transmitted to the aircraft?"

Cheney: "Yes, it has."

Rumsfeld: "So we've got a couple of aircraft up there that have those instructions at the present time?"

Cheney: "That is correct. And it's my understanding they've already taken a couple of the aircraft (hijacked airliners) out."

Rumsfeld: "We can't confirm that. We're told that one aircraft is down, but we do not have a pilot report that they did it."

Rumsfeld, who had earlier been outside the Pentagon helping in rescue efforts after one hijacked airliner smashed into the Pentagon, was referring to another airliner that crashed in a Pennsylvania field after the hijackers apparently lost control when passengers tried to take back control of the plane.

"He (Rumsfeld) told us he was just gaining situational awareness when he spoke with the vice president, and that his primary concern was ensuring that the pilots had a clear understanding of their rules of engagement," the report said.

But it added that the White House shoot-down order was passed too late to Air Force fighter jets scrambled by the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The best Gmail Enhancement.

Competition is a wonderful thing. Yahoo! delivered on promised enhancements and increased its mailbox from 10 Megs to 100 Megs, and increased the size of the deliverable emails to 10 Megs, there is also a search function. Its a pretty slick package, along with the POP mail and their Intellisync software it is a hard combination to beat. Right now most of mail is being routed into my Gmail account, mostly because its fun watching it develop. The Conversations and true ease of use make it pretty useful. Still when all is said and done Yahoo! mail with the very usablw PIM utilities make it a hard service to beat.

I still have a couple of invitations left for any readers, who would like one. Just make sure you email me with a real email address and a first and last name.

More on Outsourcing

John C. Dvorak Reports.on local goverments Outsourcing to India.
City governments are continuing to take local taxpayer money and send it overseas into a different economy where no tax benefits are recovered. Ironies always abound. For example, Tempe, Chandler, and Peoria, Arizona have all chosen to outsource core IT functions to India. According to the press release issued by Mumbai/Bangalore-based Tata Infotech, Tempe will send $1.5 million of taxpayer money to India for tax-collecting software! Is this a hoot or what? Tata will also handle the maintenance of these systems, a job that was previously done by Arizonans.

Taking jobs away from the local economy doesn't make any more sense for municipalitys than it does for the Federal Govt.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Who is Quanell X?

Who is Quanell X? Its pretty obvious that Owen Courréges doesn't think much of Quannel X, but Houston Police would have saved themselves a lot of unwanted attention if they just let him come in and not arrested him.

Kerry's Wife Explains Switch From GOP

Theresa Hienz Kerry Explains Switch From GOP She claims she became angry boutthe wat Max Clelend got treated by the Republicans in a hotly contested race.

Heinz Kerry says anger, not ideology, prompted her to become a Democrat. The wife of Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites), the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, says her emotion stemmed from the way the Republican Party, to which she had pledged allegiance, treated Democratic Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia in 2002.
Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm as an Army captain during the Vietnam War, lost his re-election bid in a bitter campaign against then-Rep. Saxby Chambliss. The GOP had raised questions about Cleland's patriotism because of his position on legislation to create the Department of Homeland Security. Cleland supported the concept behind the department, but insisted that a workers' rights provision be part of the bill.

I wasn't there, I don't know the wording that was used in the political stumping, but it seems to me me as though he was pork barreling and trying desperatly to stuff an unrelated bill into one that had Urgency and importence in the eyes of the American people. It seems pretty coincidental that her timing was right about the time that Her husband decided to get into the presidential race. She might have come across a little less hypocrytical if she spoke in more generalized reasons and didn't come off with such a sour grapes explaination.

Patrol uniforms 'made in Mexico

Border Patrol uniforms 'Made in Mexico'
New Border Patrol uniforms, ordered in the wake of the agency's transfer last year to the Department of Homeland Security, arrived this month and some agents are not very happy: The new uniforms were "Made in Mexico."
"I'm embarrassed, not only as a Border Patrol agent but as an American citizen, that our government has decided to outsource the production of these uniforms with no regard for the safety of the process or the security of our country," said Joseph N. Dassaro, president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Local 1613 in San Diego.


Patricia Todaro, CBP's director of logistics, said the agency purchases new uniforms, along with jackets, shoes, hats and other equipment, from those suppliers from whom the government can obtain the best possible value for the taxpayer's dollar.
"Our contracts allow us to seek out the best value for the government and that means we use vendors who might not be located in the United States," Mrs. Todaro said. "In the end, we end up getting the best price and the best value."

Isn't it a better value for our goverment to make its purches from Americans who create American jobs, and pay American texes? Its hard to critisize Industry for outsourcing, but our goverment really needs to think about American Businesses, and jobs when they concider purchases.

Serb Atrocities unfold

Evil is evil and Northstar reflects on the Serb war massacres.
These atrocities took place about 125 miles from where I was living in Kosovo at about the same time I was there. Even though it was (relatively speaking) right next door, it might as well have been a world away.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Gas prices Dip

U.S. Gas Prices See First Drop of Year It looks as though it is now official, although we noticed a drop over a week ago.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A boost in gasoline production and a dip in oil prices have led to the first nationwide drop this year in gas prices at the pump, an industry analyst said Sunday.

The weighted national average price for all three grades of gasoline was $2.04 per gallon on Friday after rising more than 59 cents since mid-December, said Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the biweekly Lundberg Survey, which regularly polls nearly 8,000 gas stations across the United States.

The average price for all grades on the last survey in May was slightly above $2.10 a gallon.

"Whether for the rest of the summer gas prices will continue to trend down depends on OPEC's follow-through to increase oil output and how strong our gasoline demand turns out to be," Lundberg said Sunday. "We always consume the most in June, July and August."

The drop at the pump also reflects an effort by refiners to maximize their gasoline production and increase supply to meet summer driving demand.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies more than a third of the world's crude, announced earlier this month that it would raise its official daily production quota by more than 2 million barrels to 26 million barrels and, if necessary, by an additional 500,000 barrels on Aug. 1.

Crude oil prices, which have been hovering above $40 a barrel in recent weeks, settled at $38.45 a barrel Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The national weighted average price of a gallon of gasoline at self-serve pumps on Friday, including taxes, was about $2.01 for regular, $2.11 for midgrade and $2.20 for premium.

Tulsa, Okla., had the lowest average price of any city, with self-serve regular selling for about $1.75. The highest prices were found in the San Francisco Bay area, at $2.32, Lundberg said.

Getting a new PDA

Equality is getting me a PDA. Its ordered and in the mail. Its fast, and has lots of super features. I had one for about a year, but some one went into my unlocked car and relieved it from me about a year ago. It was a low end Handspring and I found it pretty useful, although not particularly essential. I think I'll find the new one no more important, but perhaps more useful and fun.

I'm reading reports though that PDA's might be reaching the end of the line. Laptops are geting lighter, and cell phones are getting smarter.My own cell phone has most of the functiuonality of of my old Handspring, if it weren't so dificult to key in data, I might forgo the new PDA, but I'm a sucker for techy toys and this looks like fun. Hopefully it will be help with blogging, I'm hopping to get a good aggrigator for it, and making notes while I'm away from a computer might be a big help. The new PDA is WiFi capable and should be compatable with my home network. Kuff's article aboutWi-Fi on the highway is interesting and hopefully Texas will be able to offer free wireless connections on the hiway. I am amazed at how much money they get get for a Wi-Fi connection at Starbucks. it cost more than a month to connect in a coffee house than it cost fore my DSL or a cable connection. I don't believe I'm going to be able to count on many free WiFi connections while I'm on the road.

The PDA is using a Microsoft OS, maybe that should frightem me. The software venders seem just as mercenary as Microsoft. My Handspring had lots of free software available. Not much is for free for this MS handheld. On the bright side this thing play MP3's I'm pretty excited about that.

Google mulls RSS support

Web feeds are an impotant part of the blogesphere. It is a method of publishing and pulling the latest postings from a variety of sources without having to hit all the webpages directly. There are 2 major formats in which are commonly used now RSS and Atom. RSS is broken down into 3 different versions. RSS and Atom both perform the same fuction and from a users perspective they are equivilant in in strebgth. Although Blogger had at one time offered RSS for its paid service they had dropped support for new users when they eliminated the paid service. Later on they offered Atom.

Most aggrigators have been modified to read both formats, and from I understand there isn't much difficulty invilved to read both standards. It is a matter of confusion, and there is some concern as the 2 formats diverge it will not be as easy two impliment both standards at once. Google though seems to be concidering RSS support again. Although this is a good sign, It would be better if RSS and Atom developers would work with making the feeds compatable with each other.

One of the milestones in this blog was generating a feed and using Boglines to collect feeds from a variety of sites. I really need to thank Kuff for the gentle prod that he gave me to start taking advantage of this technology.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Kerry 'Flips Off' Vietnam Vet

This is another story that everyone seems to have missed.
Democratic senator - and certain presidential nominee - John F. Kerry gave the middle finger to a Vietnam veteran at the Vietnam Memorial Wall on Memorial Day morning, has learned.

Ted Sampley, a former Green Beret who served two full tours in Vietnam, spotted Kerry and his Secret Service detail at about 9:00 a.m. Monday morning at the Wall. Sampley walked up to Kerry, extended his hand and said, "Senator, I am Ted Sampley, the head of Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry, and I am here to escort you away from the Wall because you do not belong here."

At that point a Secret Service officer told Sampley to back away from Kerry. Sampley moved about 6 feet away and opened his jacket to reveal a HANOI JOHN T-shirt.

Kerry then began talking to a group of schoolchildren. Sampley then showed the T-shirt to the children and said, "Kerry does not belong at the Wall because he betrayed the brave soldiers who fought in Vietnam."

Just then Kerry - in front of the school children, other visitors and Secret Service agents - brazenly 'flashed the bird' at Sampley and then yelled out to everyone, "Sampley is a felon!"

Kerry was referring to an incident 12 years ago when Sampley confronted Sen. John McCain's chief aide, Mark Salter, in a Senate stairwell after McCain repeatedly offended POW families at a Senate POW hearing. Sampley, whose father-in-law at that time was MIA in Laos, followed Salter into the stairwell and, when they emerged, Salter had a bloody lip and a broken nose.

Sampley's group, Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry, has garnered huge national attention and has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post and on MSNBC's "Scarborough Country." Tens of thousands of Vietnam vets have registered their opposition to Kerry through Sampley's group.

Clearly Sampley has gotten under Kerry's skin once again.

It seems as thought being even tempered isn't in Kerry's charactor.

Horse-drawn wagon denied entry on Boliver Ferry

At first sight of this story I was a little irritated at the inflexibility of TXDOT, but it does have a happy ending thanks to the Sheriffs Dept.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Web Site Shows Photos Of Prostitutes' Alleged Customers

Web Site Shows Photos Of Prostitutes' Alleged Customers
Dallas police hope a little exposure will get "johns" to think twice.

The DPD is posting pictures on its Web site of people busted for allegedly soliciting prostitution.

The Internet page not only has pictures of the alleged Johns, but their names, birth dates and hometowns, too. The photo gallery is under the heading of "indecency related offenses," and police officials said it's pretty popular.

Lt. John Dagen said in the first 24 hours alone, the site had more than 4,100 hits. He said they even had two women call the department, after hearing their husbands' pictures were posted on the Web site.

Aren't Americans supposed to be innocent until proven guilty?

Galveston Trolley Expansion

Galveston is moving to expand its . trolley service
The new rail line will eventually run from The Strand, past the University of Texas Medical School campus to Stewart Beach and then back downtown. Currently the route is between downtown and 25th Street and Seawall Boulevard.

“This is ostensibly designed to help UTMB,” Cook said. “That way all the doctors, students and nurses will have an easy stop to go to UTMB and back.”

It's intresting because the expanded trolley line is not as contriversial as the Houston light rail system. Some reasons why:

  • Its mostly state and federally funded. Maybe because Tom Delay isn't interested in it.

  • The folks in Galveston are used to the trolley

  • Most of all the drivers seem to have more control of the trolley, than there is with Houstons light rail. The safety record is there

  • Metro isn't directly accountable to voters. The Galveston City Council is going to be held accountable for the success or the failure of our little light rail system

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Kuff's Balancing Act.

Congradulations to Kuff on the newest member of his family. His one handed typing has us a little concerned and has us wondering how he his typing and holding the new baby, Just how is he manipulating that coffee mug? I received an email with some intresting attachments which might interest the new mom. You might want to check it out.

Clear Channel Caves on Indecency Settlement

Radio Giant In Record Indecency Settlement
The Federal Communications Commission has reached a record-setting, nearly $2 million settlement with Clear Channel Communications Inc. that would clear the radio giant of all charges of indecency lodged against it, including on-air remarks made by shock jock Howard Stern, according to government and radio industry sources.

Clear Channel is buckling in to the new heavy handed FCC. Clear Channel only has 6 stations that Broadcast Stern, but dropped Stern's show. Infinity who originates the broadcasting, and and continues to broadcast to 35 stations isn't being punished. Perhaps Clear Channel is a victim of hosting conservative talk radio, such as Rush Limbaugh. Their listeners might be more apt to complain. Infinity/Viacom can play Rap with all kinds of Offencive lyrics and they will get away with it because the conservatives that are so sensitive never listen to those channels. There is a lot inconsistancy, Oprah, is able to get away with it despite complaints. How about soap operas? Is it because if smut is aimed at women than it can't be smut? Clear Channel is being punnished and punished hard because they dare to be contriversial. The FCC isn't going after Oprah, the Soaps, or Rap because Howard appeals to unmarried young white men, anyone else is entitled to a free pass. One might expect Libral Democrats to speak up in favor of first ammendment rights, but ...
The deal is likely to be criticized by Democrats who draw links between the Republican-controlled FCC, the White House and Clear Channel. Executives at the San Antonio-based company have been large contributors to the campaigns of President Bush and other Republicans.

Gmail revisited

Gmail is expanding its Beta testing. Email me if you would like an invite.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Democrats are people too.

My sister Deb is coming to visit. I'm pretty excited its been a while since I have seen her. She lives in Kerryland, a place far away from this State of Bush. She is a socialworker in whats been called the most Liberal State in the Union. A state that I had left years ago, because I felt the goverment was represive and stilted oportunities. She believes in what she does, and I know she makes the world a better place. Deb is employed by the Government, and believes that her work is important. She is a liberal Democrat.

I work in an enterpranaural environment. My welfare and future depends on a growing healthy economy. If the businesses I work with are healthy I benefit, If the stock market grows, I might be able to live in my own home in my age. If I make enough money, I can pay my own heath insurance. I am a Libertarian, and take a conservative view on my government.

Our experiances, and goals in life are part of what shapes our being. Our core beliefs are determined in a large part by what life throws at us. Deb is a good woman and Equality and I love her because she is who she is. We are also proud of her. Her political leanings are a part of her, as well as mine are of me. They come from our life experiances which are different. We love her not despite her politics, but because of who she is.

This posting isn't about my Sister Deb.

Ronald Reagan died Saturday. I happenened to vote for him, twice. He dramatically changed the world in which he lived in. Some claim he made it a better place, others claim he just about destroyed the place. Many people around the world loved the man. There is a true loss amongst his millions of admirers. There are even people that although they don't care to much for the things he had done. Admire the man just because of who he was, and the character that he had. Others are bitter and hateful, and do what they can to spread the hate.

Some things actually are more important than politics. Ronald Reagan is dead, One can admire the man and not been enthralled by his politics. Good taste should dictate that even if one has no respect for the man, that one could respect those who are in mourning. Sadly this isn't the case and many of my fellow bloggers don't se it this way, and can't hold their tongues,(errhhmm typing fingers? ) until President Reagan is at least buried.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Aventure Mail. The worlds largest inbox.

The worlds largest inbox. is claimed by Aventure Mail. For those who are tired of waiting for Gmail it might be worth looking into. 2GB is a big pile of mail. Its free and they claim spam and Virus Protection. I don't know how good it is, I haven't signed up, but I would be very surprised if it was as well implimented as Gmail is.

Beached Mammal Report

Beached Whale is reported in Galveston
The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network is caring for a female melon-headed whale that stranded over Memorial Day weekend near High Island, TX.

Named for the holiday weekend, the whale, “Memory”, is nearly 8 feet long and weighs just over 310 lbs.

She has numerous healing and new shark bites on her body, but the cause of stranding is being determined.

The melon-headed whale is covered with shark bites.

Volunteers and staff of the TMMSN have been providing round-the-clock care to nurse Memory back to health. Her condition is considered guarded, but she continues to show daily improvements. Initially she was being tube fed but is now accepting whole herring, capelin, and squid 5 times a day. The staff is cautiously optimistic of her prognosis.

High Island is known for its nude bathers, maybe Memory was curious.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

The Gipper has left us.

Ronald Reagan died a few hours ago. I will always remember him as a leader with great convictions and honor. He used charm and humor as tools for persuasion. He was uncompromising in his principles, and respectful to his adversaries. All this made him a great leader. Thanks Nancy for maintaining his dignity, you have our hearts and prayers.

Web Cruising

I linked to the The Flophouse today its an intresting read, but I must warn potential readers, it isn't for the purient, but its all in good taste. There I found a useful site for those who find need to transfer large files. YouSendIt is a free service that allows you to send a file to anyone that has an email address. The file can be up to 1GB and it will email a link to the intended receipient. Pretty cool!

Perspective on Gas Prices

Northstar notes that British Gas Prices Top $5.79 a Gallon. Meanwhile local gas prices in the Houston/Galveston area seem to have droped a penny or two this week. With good news from Venuzuela and OPEC, it looks like prices have peaked.

Friday, June 04, 2004

StarBucks assaults small business in Galveston.

"Kuff" Reports on the the legal battle between Starbucks and a Galveston brewpub over its "StarBock" beer.
Bell operates the Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe. He sells the beer from one of bar's taps.

"That is pretty much all he does with it," Egbert said of the beer Bell has sold for about a year. Egbert told the Galveston Daily News in Thursday's editions that Bell obtained U.S. Trademark Office approval for his beer's name.

Bell came up with the name after he combined Lone Star beer and Shiner Bock beer into a glass for a customer, suggesting he try a "Starbock." Egbert said Bell's beer is brewed in Texas from a "special recipe."

"The name just stuck in my head, and I knew I was onto something," Bell said.

Seattle-based Starbucks claims Bell's beer has infringed on its brand.

I'm not a lawyer, nor do I lack the morality to qualify, but it seems a stretch that anyone could confuse Star Bock Beer with Starbucks coffee, and seems is though a Large company light Starbucks might get a better turn around for its buck than harrasing local small business'. I like Starbucks Coffee, usually I'll visit the one in Randells. Maybe this weekend I'll grind up a pound of 8'O Clock instead, and with the money saved I'll get myself a nice frosty Star Bock instead.

He slept through the whole thing.

At the Peoples Republic of Seabrook, Northstar wonders if it was all a dream. "Not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, are we?" he ponders.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Rutan Scheduled to launch June 21st

Historic Space Launch attempt scheduled for June 21. Investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and aviation legend Burt Rutan have teamed to create the program, which will attempt the first non-governmental flight to leave the earth’s atmosphere.

We hear so much about the likes of Michael Jackson, Brittany Spears and other such idiots that we hold up to our children, These guys are the heros that we can learn some lessons from.

Rightous neighbors of the North

Instapundit Reports

MEGAN MCARDLE: "Guess who lags the US in curbing toxic emissions? No, really, you'll never guess."

Hmm. Here's a possibility:

The annual Taking Stock report, drawn from submissions by more than 20,000 polluters in the United States and Canada, shows that Canada is lagging the United States in curbing toxic pollution. Although total North American emissions declined by 18 per cent from 1998 to 2001, Canadian emissions rose three per cent.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Parks Board makes makes move without notifying City

Galveston County Daily News reports on how the parks board shifted 200 parking places without notifying thecity.
City Planning Director Wendy O’Donohoe said the switch would not affect the details of the plan, but said the park board should have contacted city officials before making the change.

“It’s the city’s beach access plan, so the city does need to be involved,” O’Donohoe said.

The Parks Board once again shows its arogence. By not involving the City, they are showing no respect to the voters and taxpayers, whom they don't seem to be accountable

veterans group protest Kerrry

Anti-Kerry veterans group protests ad - Jun 1, 2004 apparently the veterans which serve with Kerry, don't like the idea of being associated with him.

A group of Vietnam veterans opposed to John Kerry's presidential campaign demanded Tuesday that he remove a photograph that appears in one of his television advertisements.

In Tuesday's "cease and desist" letter, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth called on Kerry's campaign to stop what it said was the unauthorized use of the images of some of them in a 60-second biographical spot titled "Lifetime." The ad began running nationwide in early May.


After his discharge in 1970, Kerry became an outspoken critic of U.S. policy and a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, testifying in April 1971 against the conflict before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Kerry's comments at that time that U.S. soldiers had committed "atrocities" have angered the group.

The letter charges that Kerry "tarred the entire serving military in Vietnam with his black brush." In April, Kerry expressed regret for his choice of words in 1971.

He characterized some of his comments as "over the top" and said he never intended to cast a negative light on the men with whom he served.

So he accuses his buddys of war atrocities, then uses their pictures without their permission in order to paint himself as a war hero.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004


Somehow this Herald-Coaster story dated on May 18th escaped me. Media coverage of this story has been pretty thin. It is peculiar that the Houston Area media covers Michael Jacksons coverage to every detail, yet It ignores our celebrity caught with a child scandal.
Judge Brady Elliott of the 268th District Court Monday rejected a plea to push back the June 28 trial date of former KSEV radio host Jon Matthews, who stands accused of indecency with a child by exposure.

Attorney Stephen Doggett, who represents Matthews, filed a motion for continuance with the 268th District Court on May 6. Doggett argued Monday he would not be ready to try the case by June 28 due to conflicts including several upcoming trial cases, a two-week vacation and the need to research "two or three" extraneous offenses to be admitted by special child prosecutor Suzy Morton.

Hmm... Just what are these "two or three extraneous offenses

Morton could not make the appearance, but first assistant district attorney Fred Felcman argued for the state, saying he is "not opposed to the motion of continuance nor do I support the motion of continuance."

Felcman said the prosecution is ready to try the case, regardless.

Elliott, noting an April 5 court appearance, said he recalled all attorneys of record saying "yes" when asked if they could be ready for the June 28 trial date. He denied Doggett's request, but set a Friday deadline for the state to turn over its allegations of extraneous offenses to Doggett. A Fort Bend County grand jury indicted Matthews for third-degree felony indecency with a child charges in November, following an investigation led by Sugar Land Police Detective Marshall Slot. The indictment alleges Matthews intentionally exposed himself to a neighbor below the age of 14.

Matthews lives in Sugar Land and commented for over 15 years on KSEV before resigning. He also wrote columns for the Fort Bend Star until his November arrest.

I'm not a lawyer, but it does sound like Blogget is dragging his feet, and the state is raring to go. If I were to bet, I would wager on Matthews copping a plea for probation, and settling this quietly just before the trial. We will see what develops on the 28th