Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Blog Wars and Dirty Tricks

Blog wars can get nasty, sometimes things get rather ugly and personal. Friday the GayPatriot Went offline. Apparently he identified gay activists and bloggers John Aravosis and Michael Rogers as terrorists. These people have made it their mission to out Republican Gays. Apparently Michael Rogers took offence to being called a terrorist, and went on the offencive.
According to GayPatriot, who is also a client of mine, Michael Rogers called GayPatriot's place of employment on Friday immediately following the post above and spoke to GayPatriot's secretary and boss. GayPatriot had no idea Rogers would go to such measures and shared with me that both he and his secretary were very upset by the calls but that his boss was understanding.

Later on that day, Rogers personally called me and recounted much of the same account, adding that he had also called the police and is working with the authorities on the matter. Rogers expressed feeling threatened by the post and compared it to posts by anti-abortionists who posted the names of doctors performing them.

Rogers also said he asked GayPatriot to remove the post and replace it with a post about non-violence or he would launch a national boycott of GayPatriot's corporate employer and pursue any and all avenues necessary to protect himself. By the time Rogers had called, GayPatriot had already made the decision to remove the post and also remove GayPatriot from the blogosphere.

GayPatriot was silenced.


Now one would think that would be the end of it.
nahh ..
This time he went after Richard Shurbet of LimeShurbet.com, for echoing GayPatriot's earlier post calling Rogers a terrorist for his outing campaign.

Shurbert has a number of posts on the matter up on his site, which was briefly shut down by HostingMatters in response to whining by Rogers. Shurbet also offers this banner for folks who want to protest the misdeeds of Mike Rogers.

Hosting matters did write to the Lime Shurbet folks and let them know that their postings were within the TOS. The net terrorist would not be so effective if providers weren't so quick to pull the plug without investigating.
On a personal note, maybe it is about time I moved to my own domain.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Blog Tweaks

I tweaked the site a little bit added some new links to the blog links section and fixed the comments so that they would date stamp the post.
One of the sites I added was blogHOUSTON.net, a wonderful source of what's happening in the Houston area.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Taiwan Rebels.

Things are happening, and and the little nation of Taiwan is making it clear they are unhappy about the Chinese aggression towards them. A huge one million people protest is underway, over Chinas anti-secession law. Chinas responce is to censor the news about this, and to make new threats. Our media hasn't given it much coverage either.
In Beijing, censors blacked out part of a report on the Taiwan protest by CNN, which is broadcast in China to hotels and apartment complexes for foreigners.

check out the link, lots of pictures and good links to story's.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

BP Texas City Refinery has History of Incidents

BP plant has costly history of safety incidents that predates BP's purchase of the plant. Folks seem to get killed there on a regular basis, fires aren't all that unusual, and explosions aren't so surprising. This latest incident is newsworthy only because of the scale.
The explosion Wednesday at the BP oil refinery in Texas City and another in March 2004 are among a long history of incendiary incidents, some deadly, that have cost the facility's owners millions of dollars in fines and lawsuits.

BP's Texas City refinery and its parent company, BP North America Inc., have been fined more than $172,000 by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for safety incidents — including the deaths of two workers — that happened in the last 12 months.

On March 4, BP North America Inc. was fined $109,500 for safety violations following a Sept. 2 accident that killed two Texas City workers.

The two employees and a third man who survived were burned when pressurized, superheated water was released from a 12-inch check valve.

OSHA said it fined the company for one alleged willful violation and seven alleged serious violations associated with the incident following an inspection by the agency's Houston office. The alleged willful violation was issued for failing to relieve trapped pressure within a pipe.

"BP North America has years of experience in handling hazardous materials," said Houston South Area Director Charles E. Williams of the incident. "If OSHA standards had been followed, this tragic loss of life might have been avoided."

Chinese Crack Down On Student Web Sites

The "Most Favored Nation" of China is cracking down on Student Web Sites (washingtonpost.com).

Universities across China are tightening controls on student-run Internet discussion forums as part of a Communist Party campaign to strengthen what it calls "ideological education" on campuses. The crackdown has caused widespread resentment among students and prompted at least two demonstrations in recent days.

The Web sites, which run on school computer networks, host some of China's largest and liveliest online bulletin boards. They serve as virtual meeting places where millions of educated Chinese across the country gather for discussions about everything from pop culture to politics.

But in recent weeks, universities have started blocking off-campus users from participating, including alumni and students and faculty from other universities, according to students and college officials. They have also begun requiring students to register with their real names when going online, eliminating the anonymity that allowed participants to speak without fear of punishment by the authorities.


In the meantime the FEC entertains campain reform and ways to restrict politicing on the Internet.
Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over.
In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.

Smith should know. He's one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, which is beginning the perilous process of extending a controversial 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet.


Perhaps when our leaders speak of China becoming like us, They really mean that we are the ones to be making the changes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Texas City Refinary Explosion.

This is a disastor, The explosion was felt and heard here in Galveston. Reports of 12 to 20 people dead and over 100 injured. This isn't the first disastor at the refinery, fires, explosions and deaths seem to happen there at an all to common frequency. Making gasoline is a dangerous occupation, especially at BP Texas City refinary. KPRC has a slideshow of the incident

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Where is Wayne Dolcefino?

Wayne Dolcefino one of Houstons unrelenting investigative reporters, has disappeared. The word on the street is that Wayne got the goods on the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and KTRK doesn't like it. There are lots of important people connected to the Rodeo. Lots of important people, and press folks get free tickets.

KTRK might be bringing more attention to this story than it would have ordinarily deserved. Folks are already thinking that this thing must be really, really big For KTRK to try to cover it it up so. Ordinarily news that there is some sort of coruption in the HLSR wouldn't be so shocking.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

We Won't be Silenced.

A lot has been written about the proposed implementations of the FEC attempting to regulate blogs as political contributions under McCain/Feingold, but not by me. I couldn't believe that they would have the guts to try to pull off something like that, nor could I imagine the blogosphere actually caving in.

FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSIONER SCOTT THOMAS unnerved some prominent bloggers last Friday when he spoke publicly at a conference at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. about the agency's plans for regulating political donations online. While the media is generally exempt from regulation under campaign finance laws, Thomas indicated that the agency might nonetheless regulate expenditures to blogs and some online publications. "We have shown at the FEC a willingness to extend the media exemption to some Internet-based news services. But this media exception inquiry will go to the question of: 'What is a periodical publication?' and 'What is a legitimate press function?' It will also get into: 'What is news?'...'What is commentary?'...'What is editorial content?'" said Thomas, according to a transcript of his remarks posted at the blog RedState.org.

Although some listeners believed the speech was intended to encourage members of the blogosphere, a number of bloggers reported that it had the opposite effect. "Although it was supposed to be reassuring, it actually left me thinking that the FEC was thinking more seriously about regulating blogs than I had previously believed," wrote prominent InstaPundit blogger Glenn Reynolds on his site. "I wasn't reassured at all, and the complexity of the reasoning he outlined just illustrated how much discretion--and how little real guidance--the FEC has on these kinds of questions."


A few prominent bloggers have taken a stand. Dan Patrick of the Lone Star Times has offered to credential bloggers if the threats come to light. The common stance of bloggers is a willingness to accept civil disobedience. The precict chair offers this oath which I enthusiastically sign on too:
"We are the blogosphere, brothers and sisters, friends and foes, united together in support of freedom. We are diverse voices united in the pursuit of a multiplicity of goals and ideals, based upon our many divergent sets of beliefs and principles. Despite our differences, we together hold firm to this single unifying principle -- freedom of speech is the cornerstone of liberty, and we reject as tyranny efforts by any entity, be it religious, economic, political, or governmental, to regulate or forbid the free exchange of ideas on the internet. We pledge to resist, to the best of our respective abilities, any regulatory scheme which seeks to inhibit or prevent the publication or dissemination of facts and opinions on any matter of public concern, and promise our support to one another in that resistance. We are the blogosphere, and we will not be silenced."

Indeed ...

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Medicine in Cuba

An interesting commentary on medicine in Cuba. Chheck out the comments also. I had written earlier about infant mortality rates in the US. The claims were that even Cuba has a better rate than the US. The Precinct Chair noted in comments that some of the figures could be a reflection of extraordinary efforts we make especially with premies.

The problem with the analysis, a friend pointed out, is that US medical
technology allows for heroic measures to be taken to save children who would be
counted as still-births in other countries. When the heroic intervention doesn't
pan out in some of those cases, the result is an increase in infant
mortality.

Where would you rather have you 22 week preemie -- Houston or
Havana?


A valid point. I wonder though if the Cuban figures weren't cooked a little.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Chinese Rumblings

We live in a dangerous world, and we are the lamb who sleeps with the lion. Brian J. Young predicts that China will invade Taiwan. He observes that China is building what appears to be an invasion force.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao urged greater development of China's military, saying modernizaton of the army was of strategic importance to safeguard the eventual reunification of Taiwan.
In the meantime Condaleesa, has this to say.

"Certainly, the military spending is concerning because it is taking place at a time when the cross-Strait issue (with Taiwan) is not still resolved and in which the United States has certain commitments to a peaceful solution," Rice said at the start of a six-nation trip to Asia that includes China.

Perhaps China is making dual use of weapon sales first to pay for their build up and eventual invasion, and perhaps to provide further distraction to the US.
The United States has charged that China continues to supply unconventional weaponry and dual-use technology to Iran, despite numerous appeals.

China has transferred components and expertise to Iran's weapons of mass destruction and missile programs, officials said. They said some of the Chinese components have arrived via Pakistan, another key ally of Beijing.

"Unacceptable proliferant activity continues," Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Stephen Rademaker told the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on March 10. "We are particularly concerned about continued transfers of CBW- and missile-related technology by Chinese entities to Iran, despite the imposition of sanctions."

The components were said to have included dual-use missile components, raw materials, and expertise to Iran's solid-fuel missile program. Officials said Beijing has also supplied dual-use chemical weapons-related production equipment and technology to Iran.

Well, I don't get the warm and fuzzys about these going ons. The MSM seems pretty quiet about it, perhaps they are afraid to scare people off from by their cheap Chinese made goods.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Flying Sucks.

The airline industry is going down tubes, and I want to see them all die. Humans weren't meant to fly.

I used to fly a lot more. It seems to me that in years past it was more uneventful, and even a pleasant experiance. Stewardesses ( None of the politically correct "flight attendant" crap) were cute, and always smiling. Ticket desk personal was always smilling and eager to help, if you asked one might even get a free upgrade. Today most flights are just cattle cars, and the meal is a packet of peanuts. The no-smoking policies haven't done much to to improve the air quality, because airlines have cut down on in flight air ventilation. Most airports have no place for a smoker to go. Houston airports make this particularly difficult because one can't smoke just anywhere outside, but only in designated areas that are at least 50ft away from an entry. THen there is the security issues, adding to the cattle herding atmosphere. To get to a terminal one has to stand in endless lines to be inspected and checked and probed. Once one is in a terminal area, one is imprissoned unless they want to go through the security ordeal again.
Last summer my plane filled up with smoke, and had to turn around and make an emergency landing, perhaps it is this experiance that has me so turned off with flying, I vowed never to do it again.
We have a family reunion in April Ruok, Equality and I were schedualed to leave on a Continental flight from Houston Hobby. The only reason we schedualed this particular flight was because it is non-stop and leaves from the convienient Hobby Airport. Two weeks ago Continental emailed us to inform us that they were reschedualling us to leave on a diferent flight. We had to change all our plans because we have arrangements for rental cars, and meeting other family members. Yesterday Continental called telling us they are cancelling service altogether at Hobby and that we must schedual our flights from Intercontinental. Grrr. They offered no compensation, not even a stinking apology. Intercontinental is an additional 40 miles away and parking services are terrible. Last time I used them the parking services tried to double charge me on my credit card.
I have some millage left and Continental owes me some free flights, I think I'm going use up the free flights, and avoid flying. Its not worth the hassle, and driving is that much more pleasant.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Bird Blogging


Coco is is still doing well and has become very integrated into our family. Cat blogging though seems like such a liberal thing to do. To protect Coco's privacy, I introduce Friday Bird Blogging.
Pelican's happen to be my favorite subject. They are plentiful, and don't mind posing. Two kinds are to be found here, brown and white. The two types tend to mingle together.
Liberty

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Some Good Advice for Bloggers

Over at The People's Republic Of Seabrook, Jack has some good advice for bloggers. Some of the blogging related firings we've seen apear a little silly, but compartmentalizing seems like such a good idea

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Cat Blogging The first time


CoCo is the newest member of the Liberty Casa. She is quite the charmer. We picked her out at the Galveston Home and Garden Show. Coco was the biggest attraction there. Equality and I fell in love, and she is happiliy with us now.
Liberty

Leno calls in surrogate to handle Jackson jokes

Jay Leno has been subpoenaed in the Michael Jackson case not because he has some inside information on the case itself, but because he has been aproached by an accuser. Because a gag order has been placed on him, he can not tell jokes on what might be one the silliest court cases of his career. Jay has found a way of express his humor, and the silliness of his predictament. MSNBC - Leno calls in a surrogate to handle Jackson jokes

Jay Leno says he can still write the Michael Jackson jokes, he just can’t tell them.

So while the “Tonight Show” host waits to hear whether he is exempt from a gag order barring potential witnesses from discussing Jackson’s child molestation trial, Leno called on actor Brad Garrett to act as his Jackson joke-telling surrogate.

“As I’m sure you know, I was called as a witness in the Michael Jackson trial,” Leno told his audience Friday night. “I’m going to tell the jury the same thing I’m telling you right now. I only rode that llama once. I didn’t know it was underage.

“I’m not allowed to tell any Michael Jackson jokes. I can still write them,” Leno added before handing the reins to Garrett. The co-star of “Everybody Loves Raymond” then reeled off several one liners, including this one:

“They said this trial will probably last six months, although Michael Jackson asked for some time off to entertain the troops. OK, they’re Cub Scout troops, but they’re still troops.”

Leno, who has been subpoenaed to testify at Jackson’s trial, is seeking an exemption to Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville’s gag order, citing his right to free speech.

Way to go Jay!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

GMAIL Revisited

It looks like the beta period for Gmail might be finnishing up soon, there are zillions of invites available on the net, and the damand seems to have dropped way down. The supply is at least equal to the demand. We still have planty of invites here and anyone intrested can email me , just make sure that you include a first and last name.
The latest enhancement is making the interface work with just about any browser. Although to get full features one needs to use one of the more popular browsers but the new ability works pretty good with my PDA. and allows me to check my email on the road a little easier.

State to Free Us from City Offered WiFi

Municipalities all over the country, have been setting up WiFi Zones. and offering these services free to its citizens, visitors or workers. Afterall, WiFi is cheap to set up, and cheap to maintain. Companies like T-Mobile don't like it at all. After all they can set up at the local Starbucks, where foolish people pay rediculous prices for coffee and Internet access.
website, I was blown away by the cost. Here is the breakdown.

  • $29.99 per month for Unlimited National - Annual(1yr contract)
  • $39.99 permonth for Unlimited National - Month to Month
  • Pay as you go - $6.00 minimum charge for 60 minutes plus $.10 for each additional minute
  • DayPass - $9.99 for 24hrs of service.


Now it just isn't that expensive to set up a wireless connection, those of us who think that $3.50 is too expencive for a cup of coffee would like occassional access. The Texas state legislater believes that the towns need to be restricted, and they know whats best (helping out huge political contributers) . Jack seems to think is a lefty righty thingy and he has a point, but I see it as restricting our City's and muni's unfairly.

It’s a question that has free market Conservatives facing off against
socially-concsious Progressives. Should high-speed Internet access be considered
a basic right that should be protected (and provided) by government? Or does
this place government in unfair competition with private enterprise? The answer
to this question depends very much on exactly where you happen to fall on the
ideological spectrum

.
A battle is brewing now in the Texas Legislature over
this question, and it’s a battle that could get ugly. It’s a case of the
Immovable Object meeting the Irresistable Force. Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford)
has filed an outsized telecommunications bill that will, among other things,
prohibit municipalities from providing WiFi access to citizens. If you believe
in free market economics above all else, this makes perfect sense. You might
argue that it isn’t and shouldn’t be the role of government to function as an
Internet Service Provider


Chuck Kuffner has been keeping us up to date on what's happening.