Monday, October 31, 2005

Free Coffee!

Yeah,
The Texans won, and I get a free cup of coffee this morning

Sunday, October 30, 2005

A Facelift

Kevin gave Publius TX a new facelift, Greenish, but i like it. I just noticed that this important Texas blog isn't on my Blog list. I've been trying too list more of the nicer blogs in the area.
Update:
It's listed now.

Our Night on the Town

Sometimes I'm asked, why do I insist on living in Galveston. Yesterday was a good reason why. The weather was beautiful and Equality and I decided to go to the Lutheran Church's Oktober Fest. Good food, good bier, and we got to meet some friends we haven't seen in a while. I think we spent a total of $20.00 dollars, for the 2 of us, so it was pretty cheap. On our way out we met up with this fella. Although he wasn't real thrilled about giving me a ride, He does have a liking for chocolate oatmeal cookies.


Afterwards we went to Stuart Beach where the Parks Dept Arranged a makeshift drive-in theater. They set up a big makeshift screen and the sound came over the car's fm radio.The featured movie was "Jaws" A great movie to see at the beach on Halloween weekend. The leader film was a locally made documentary "Miles to Surf" It was about an hour long and about inventiveness of surfers. Although unlikely that I'll ever get on a surf board, I would love to go and watch these guys surf a wake for 20 minutes at a time. Its called tanker surfing, and Galveston Bay is where the action is.
Next weekend is Biker Weekend, and the island will host lots of expensive motorcycles and their owners. It had to be postponed last month because of Rita, and the evacuation. The venders and visitors all had a good time last year, and hopefully it will be just as successful this year.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Dennis Hastard's New Blog

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastard, started his own blog. Pretty cool,

This is Denny Hastert and welcome to my blog. This is new to me. I can’t say I’m much of a techie. I guess you could say my office is teaching the old guy new tricks. But I’m excited. This is the future. And it is a new way for us to get our message out.

Most of you know me as a coach by nature so I hope this gives you some inside access to the Republican playbook.

The internet is changing the way we share information. My office has been talking a lot about some of the conversations going on in blogosphere. So I thought, hey, I should start one and give you unfiltered updates on Capitol Hill.

Let me start by first saying that we need to keep our thoughts and prayers with the victims of Hurricane Wilma. There has been a lot of damage. It’s in the billions of dollars I’m told. But we were better prepared this time so the loss of life and property damage was not as bad as it could have been.

You know, we’ve had a rough hurricane season. All of our hurricanes have dealt a serious economic blow to the U.S. And that means we’re going to have to do some belt-tightening – throughout the federal government.
Government leaders are going to find that the best way to get their message out to their constituents is through blogging. The advantage of blogging is that ones views can be expressed unfiltered, and well thought out. The disadvantage is that ones words can be subject to close scrutiny and critisism. The voter though is well served. Hastard did get some critisism and reponse by Matt Bramanti of The Lone Star Times. Hastard critisizes the oil companys expencive fuel prices, yet excellent 3rd quarter profits.
This is America. And Republicans don’t believe in punishing success. But what are these oil companies doing to bring down the cost of oil and natural gas? They haven't built a refinery here in America since the 1970's. They've built refineries overseas, but nothing here at home.

We want some answers and you folks out there in the blogosphere do too. When are new refineries going to be built here in America? When is the Alaska pipeline deal going to be signed so we can get natural gas to consumers quicker? Conoco Phillips has reached an agreement with the state of Alaska on the pipeline. Exxon Mobil and BP need to do the same. These companies need to invest in America’s energy infrastructure and resources. Until they do, we're going to be asking some tough questions.
The last sentence sounds pretty threatning, and Matt responds;

Hastert, you’re a Republican. Try rewording that statement with other commodities.

  • "But what are these farmers doing to bring down the cost of sugar?"
  • "But what are these lumber mills doing to bring down the cost of two-by-fours?"
  • "But what are these gold miners doing to bring down the cost of gold?"

The speaker ends by threatening promising to send us more pearls of wisdom:

Matt has a valid point, What strikes me is that what is overlooked is that the oil companys are reluctant to go through the permit process which is an expencive process that can take 7 - 10 years, in that time market conditions can change dramatically. A government that complains about profits, and encourages reducing fuel usage is not going to get anyone to invest in building a refinary that could easily take 10 years before the first gallon of gasoline is produced.

Friday, October 28, 2005

League City willing to Fight to win at All Costs.

League City has hasn't found enough places to spend the taxpayers money so they are doing a fine job losing suits and now they wish to appeal in federal court their stand against evil newspaper hawkers at the intersections. You've been Left .NET asks?
What's the point here? Why spend more money and time on this? Are they just pissed off that a judge told them what to do, and they're trying to prove a point? This seems like such a HUGE waste of time. Most observers will readily accept, League City council members aren't shy about spending taxpayers money.
It looks like they are going to fight this untill the bitter end. No matter what it cost.
The city council may appeal a recent court ruling calling League City’s solicitation ordinance unconstitutional, Mayor Jerry Shults said Monday.

Police had used the ordinance to ticket Houston Chronicle vendors for selling papers on medians near FM 518 and Interstate 45.

The Houston paper and The Daily News sued this summer, claiming that the ordinance restricts freedom of speech rights.

U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Kent’s order, issued Friday, permanently prohibits the city from banning newspaper sales at intersections.

The Chronicle has been able to sell papers to vehicles at stoplights since Aug. 19, when Kent temporarily enjoined the city from ticketing newspaper vendors.
Outsiders who are not familiar with League City and its City Council probably wonder why a town would object so vehemently about newspaper hawkers. Although the city claims its about safety at those intersections, they haven't offered any statistical proof that these vendors have caused any problems either in League City or any of the many other cities where the newspaper vendors work unharrassed. In fact League City children have been at these same intersections collecting money for Boy Scouts and Little League, I myself have been out there with the volunteer fire department collecting money for MDA. To understand why League City would object so much too the newspaper venders, yet allow its firefighters to anually hit the intersections to collect money, one has to understand the social makeup of the city. League City is predominatly young white and afluent . The good folks are proud of being well kept and looking their best. We all know "those type" that sell newspapers. The unkempt, with holey pants, and greasy baseball caps. Its all about appearance and looking good. The city fathers just don't want "those kind" in the city out for public display. The City never has much respect for Freedom of Speach issues, A business can't even put a sales banner on their own building without getting a special permit Again, its all about appearances.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Fast-track to Offshore Wind Power

Louisianna based Wind Energy Systems Technologies first choice to build the first wind powered electric generation plant off the shore of the United States was in Louisanna, but decided to build 7 miles off the beaches of Galveston. Projects have been bogged down off Cape Cod and Long Island with the application process. W.E.S.T was able to get a lease agreement fairly painlessly and the State of Texas gets a pretty good deal at the same time.

Once construction is complete, the 30-year production phase will begin. The lease royalty structure is designed to encourage early production of energy and will create an entirely new stream of revenue from state-owned, submerged lands.

For the first eight years of production, W.E.S.T. will pay the Land Office a 3.5 percent royalty from the wind energy development’s total production. Years nine through 16 of the 30-year lease will earn the state a 4.5 percent royalty. Years 17 through 30 will earn a 5.5 percent royalty.

The state should earn a minimum of $26.5 million in royalties over the 30-year lease. Like royalties from oil and gas produced on state lands, this money will flow into the state’s Permanent School Fund.

Since taking office in 2003, Patterson has pushed to make Texas a leader in sustainable energy. Already, the Land Office has earned more than $782,000 in royalties from the Delaware Mountains wind farm in West Texas.

“This is important, because while oil and gas have been good for Texas, we need to think long-term and find new ways to put money into the Permanent School Fund,” Patterson said. “Oil and gas won’t last forever.”

The reason this all happened is because of some foresight of Sam Houston.

Other wind energy companies have expressed an interest in Texas, in part due to the unique benefit the state offers in the competition to secure offshore wind development. In 1836, after securing independence from Mexico, Texas claimed the offshore boundaries observed under Spanish, then Mexican rule. Sam Houston, president of the new republic, successfully maintained sovereignty over all submerged lands in the Gulf out to 10.36 miles, or three marine leagues. Texas entered the Union in 1845 with its boundaries intact, and defeated an attempt at federal control of the tidelands in the 1950s.

For this reason, there is only one entity in Texas for an offshore wind developer to deal with — the Texas General Land Office.

Also, development within the 10.36 miles offers proximity to the state’s electrical grid to carry wind-generated power to customers.

Coastal winds also tend to rise during the day when the state’s electrical generating capacity faces peak demand, therefore generating power when it’s most needed. Plus, the gentle slope of the Texas Gulf Coast makes the development of an offshore wind farm easy.

Texas’ natural assets, plus the foresight of its founders, make the Gulf Coast an ideal place to build a wind farm, Patterson said.

“When Texas entered the Union in 1845, we came in on our own terms,” Patterson said. “Because of Sam Houston’s foresight we now have the regulatory authority to move forward with less federal red tape. Who would have thought that the hero of San Jacinto would help bring wind energy to Texas?”
Texas gets to determine what to do with the lease money, not the federal government. Money won't be earned off the coast of Texas to build $223 million bridges to nowhere, but to help fund Texas education.

Stephen Austin gets ahead,

They attached the head of Stephen Austin to the giant statue, and Banjo Jones has pictures.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Proposition 2

I don't understand at all why folks are getting behind this proposition 2 ammendment. As I've mentioned before it is the married folk without children who are getting screwed by the goverment. We pay the highest taxes and get the least in return. The reason that we straight people choose marriage is because its our claim to commitment, this commitment results hopefully in strong stable relationships. Strong stable relationships are a benefit to society, this is the basis of every stable culture. On the other hand promiscuis behavior is causes unstability, which all society pays the price. Marrried folk are more likely to own homes, build build real futures, and take care of each other in times of duress. They are less likely to commit crimes, spread sexually diseases, and live day to day. Proposition 2 on the Texas balot is a bad idea on many fronts.

  1. Constitutional ammendments is a serious change in law, many times with unintended consequenses. Marriage between same sex partners is not now legal, nor is it likely to become legal within the next few years. There are questions about how clear this new ammendment is and that it could effect conventional marriages.
  2. It will prevent the state from creating intruments that would protect couples, The only reason I can see for preventing a legal arraingement simular to marriage is meanness and vindictiveness. Legal arrangments declaring domestic parterships will allow folks to make there commitments and the same promises to each other that married couples make.
  3. Passing this amendment will do nothing to limit homosexuality,What it will serve to alienate a certain element of our citizenship.
  4. Contrary to what the proponants say, The prposed amendment does nothing to strengthen traditional marriages. Restricting it for some cannot enhance any one elses marriage.
I understand that to many folks homosexual relationships is distastful, but it doesn't make it right for us to strike out at them. This whole amendment smells of vindictivness, and that just wrong.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Off the Coast Wind Power

Wind Energy Systems Technologies is planning on constructing 50 wind powered generators about 7 miles off the coast of Galveston.


The state, which has jurisdiction out to 10 miles along the Texas Gulf Coast, has agreed to lease 11,355 acres to Galveston-Offshore Wind, LLC, about seven miles off of Galveston Island. The company is a division of Wind Energy Systems Technologies, or W.E.S.T., of New Iberia, La.

Construction of the Texas project is expected to be completed within five years and cost about $300 million. W.E.S.T. plans to build about 50 wind turbines, expected to produce 150 megawatts of wind energy - enough to power about 40,000 homes.

The first phase will be construction of two meteorological towers to collect wind data, which already have been permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Patterson said.

Data collected by the towers will help pinpoint where in the lease area to construct the turbines.

The 30-year lease agreement is expected to generate at least $26.5 million for the state's Permanent School Fund for public education. The project also will help fulfill the state's new goals of increasing the percentage of energy produced by renewable resources, Patterson said.

The appeal for a Louisianna company to build in Texas is about the lack of red tape and a smoother application process. The Houston Chronical explains:
Meanwhile, Texas has 17 wind farms generating 1,407 megawatts of energy — enough to power 375,000 residences — and six more in various stages of approval, according to the American Wind Energy Association. And unlike in most other states, the General Land Office controls coastal waters out 10 miles, limiting the number of federal agencies needed to sign off on the proposal.
Red tape caused delays in building the generation plants on old oil platforms off the coast of Louisianna . The good folks here in Texas also recognise that that we need electricity and aren't expected to give rise to a large outcry of these things. A few windmills 7 miles away will hardly noticable.

"When we found out we would have considerable delay in building our first wind farm in Louisiana, we went to Texas," Schellstede said.

Controversy over coastal views, along with jurisdiction issues, has delayed the wind farm in Nantucket Sound, first proposed in 2001.

"Aesthetics has been the major issue," said Mark Rodgers, a spokesman for Cape Wind Associates, the company behind the project, under review by 17 federal and state agencies. "I don't know if (Texas will be first). They have a much simpler permitting process than we do"

Texas coastlines also are no stranger to industry. The issue of turbines destroying the view is unlikely to be a problem in this state, where platforms and other industrial structures can be seen from most beaches, state and company officials and environmentalists said.

"If you were having a drink at the elevation of the Seawall, you wouldn't see them," Schellstede said of the turbines. "On the top floor of a hotel, you may see the very tips of them"

Schellstede might be a little fiull of crap, because one can see a good size boat at about 10 miles away . One should be able to see them at beach level. Birds getting tangled with the blades is the major enviormental concern. If migratory birds are attracted to roost on them it could be disasterous for some species.

Studies have shown that birds can be killed by becoming trapped in the large rotating blades of a wind turbine, although recent modifications to the structures have reduced the kill. But little research has been done on the impact of wind farms to coastal and migratory bird species in Texas, which is at the crossroads of numerous flyways that draw millions of tourists — and tourist dollars — to the coast each year.

By studying the rhythms of the migration for a year or more, Schellstede hopes to avoid the potential controversy. In an interview late last week, he said he would consider shutting down the turbines at peak migration and build the structures in a way that would not give birds places to roost.

"With respect to avian migration and coastal birds, we are putting it on the forward burner because we know we have to discuss this to bring the activists in that field as fellow travelers with us on this project," Schellstede said.
would be the company's first wind farm, but Schellstede has 37 years of experience in building platforms, pipelines and drilling rigs offshore.

The electricity generated by this will go into the grid that supplys Galveston. Via the Substation on 51st st. I won't count on it reducing my electric bill. We in the Galveston-Houston area pay among the highest in the country for our electricity. The higher price of fuels is what makes projects like this economically feasable, and can only help contain the rising costs of electricity.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Taking a Stand

At The Truth Laid Bear they are asking for bloggers to state their opinion on the Miers nomination. OK, Here it is:

I oppose the Miers nomination.

Regrettably though. I am not crazy about giving the Democrats a victory, and find it disgusting the way that the nominees are inquisitioned, but I have to be honest, it's really disgraceful that Bush would nominate a candidate for the Supreme court that wasn't the best that this nation has to offer.

Update: Although the poll may not be scientific as a poll of Americans. It can be said that it reflects the thoughts of some politically active, influentual, conservative, bloggers. These are
mostly folks that are looking for excuses to support President Bush. So far:

218 blogs 69.9 % oppose Miers Nomination
48 blogs 15.4 % are neutral
46 blogs 14.7 % Are Supportive

The liberals aren't going to like her either.

Its About Betrayal

Tom DeLay might be in trouble not because of his legal problems, but because he has betrayed the ones that have voted for him. The left is all giggily about his legal troubles, but I believe they know the indictment and charges are nothing but a lot of stinky smoke with no substance at all. his troubles are going to be with Republicans or right leaners. His remarks about budget trimming have left most of us fumming, and even his most ardent supporters are going to have a hard time backing up his claims. Laurence Simons doesn't sound particularly happy with ole Tom in his statements at the Pundit Roundtable.
Tom Delay recently said that there was no more room for cuts in the federal budget. I don't care if he's a saint that makes campaign money fall from the sky or if he rapes and murders puppies to raise money from perverted psychopaths with big checkbooks - it takes a special kind of asshole to say such a thing and that kind of asshole doesn't need to be in Washington representing any portion of this country.

So beautifully stated.

In the meantime there is a Blog orientated movement, called Porkbusters, inspired by Delays statements.

Where in Texas Are You?

The Confabulator asks "Where in Texas Are You?" He discovered and set up this mapping thing where bloggers, can stick a pin in the map of Texas stating where we are posting from. Pretty kewl! Check it out.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Wima Moves Off the Yucatan

Wilma is moving off the Yucatan, and drawing a bead onto Florida. Eric Berger believes that wilma followed the worst scenario, by stalling over the peninsula.

My worst fears for Wilma are being realized in Mexico. The storm's going to bring 36 hours of category-4 hurricane winds to the eastern half of the Yucatan peninsula. The storm has almost stopped, which will compound the problem by adding more rain. The wetter ground means virtually no trees will be left standing.

And don't look now, but Alpha may form in a couple of days over the Eastern Caribbean. Even if the system does develop, it's not expected to threaten the United States.

He is a little off the mark about Alpha though. At 5:30 CDT the depression was upgraded to a tropical storm. They ran out of names!

ABNT20 KNHC 222115
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
530 PM EDT SAT OCT 22 2005

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON HURRICANE WILMA...LOCATED 25 MILES NORTHWEST OF CANCUN MEXICO AND ABOUT 405 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF KEY WEST FLORIDA...AND ON NEWLY UPGRADED TROPICAL STORM ALPHA...LOCATED ABOUT 210 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO AND ABOUT 125 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF SANTO DOMINGO IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL STORM FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED THROUGH
SUNDAY.

PUBLIC ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL STORM ALPHA ARE ISSUED UNDER WMO
HEADER WTNT35 KNHC AND UNDER AWIPS HEADER MIATCPAT5. FORECAST/ADVISORIES ARE ISSUED UNDER WMO HEADER WTNT25 KNHC AND UNDER AWIPS HEADER MIATCMAT5.

FORECASTER BEVEN

Friday, October 21, 2005

Wilma, Looking Pretty Bitchy

Pretty scary and nasty storm, The tiny Island of Cozemel took it full force, and Cancun is about to get the full fury.

Senate Reluctant to Cut Pork

Tom Delay claims that there is no fat to cut in the budget. Senator Tom Coburn found some stuff, that looks like some lard that could be trimmed, Yet the Senator's ammendment got shot down by a 86 to 13 vote.

The U.S. Senate voted 86-13 against three anti-pork spending amendments offered by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK. The Coburn amendments would have repealed $500,000 previously authorized for a sculpture park in Seattle, Washington, $200,000 to build an animal shelter in Westerly, RI, and $200,000 to build a parking lot in Omaha, Nebraska, and re-directed the funds to help pay instead for Hurricane Katrina recovery.

It appears the majority of senators think it is more important to shelter dogs and cats in Rhode Island than people in Louisiana and Mississippi made homeless by Hurricane Katrina.
Is it possible that our Senators believe that it is more important to buy parking lots in Omaha, than to pay for some of the Hurricanr Katrina costs? Tapscott has the vote breakdown.

Here's how each senator voted. A Yea vote was to kill the Coburn amendments:

Grouped By Vote Position
YEAs ---86
Akaka (D-HI)Alexander (R-TN)Allard (R-CO)Baucus (D-MT)Bayh (D-IN)Bennett (R-UT)Biden (D-DE)Bingaman (D-NM)Bond (R-MO)Boxer (D-CA)Brownback (R-KS)Bunning (R-KY)Burns (R-MT)Byrd (D-WV)Cantwell (D-WA)Carper (D-DE)Chafee (R-RI)Chambliss (R-GA)Clinton (D-NY)Cochran (R-MS)Coleman (R-MN)Collins (R-ME)Conrad (D-ND)Cornyn (R-TX)Craig (R-ID)Crapo (R-ID)Dayton (D-MN)DeWine (R-OH)Dodd (D-CT)
Dole (R-NC)Domenici (R-NM)Dorgan (D-ND)Durbin (D-IL)Enzi (R-WY)Feinstein (D-CA)Frist (R-TN)Grassley (R-IA)Gregg (R-NH)Harkin (D-IA)Hatch (R-UT)Hutchison (R-TX)Inhofe (R-OK)Inouye (D-HI)Isakson (R-GA)Jeffords (I-VT)Johnson (D-SD)Kennedy (D-MA)Kerry (D-MA)Kohl (D-WI)Landrieu (D-LA)Lautenberg (D-NJ)Leahy (D-VT)Levin (D-MI)Lieberman (D-CT)Lincoln (D-AR)Lott (R-MS)Lugar (R-IN)Martinez (R-FL)
McConnell (R-KY)Mikulski (D-MD)Murkowski (R-AK)Murray (D-WA)Nelson (D-FL)Nelson (D-NE)Obama (D-IL)Pryor (D-AR)Reed (D-RI)Reid (D-NV)Roberts (R-KS)Rockefeller (D-WV)Salazar (D-CO)Santorum (R-PA)Sarbanes (D-MD)Schumer (D-NY)Shelby (R-AL)Smith (R-OR)Snowe (R-ME)Specter (R-PA)Stabenow (D-MI)Stevens (R-AK)Thomas (R-WY)Thune (R-SD)Vitter (R-LA)Voinovich (R-OH)Warner (R-VA)Wyden (D-OR)

NAYs ---13
Allen (R-VA)Burr (R-NC)Coburn (R-OK)DeMint (R-SC)Ensign (R-NV)
Feingold (D-WI)Graham (R-SC)Hagel (R-NE)Kyl (R-AZ)McCain (R-AZ)
Sessions (R-AL)Sununu (R-NH)Talent (R-MO)

Not Voting - 1

Corzine (D-NJ)

But it is getting nasty, as
Senator Patty Murray threatens even.
I hope the Senate will not go down the road of cherry picking individual projects that Senators have come to us and championed on behalf of their constituents, that don't live here in Washington, D.C. And I hope we don't go down the road of deciding that we know better than home state Senators, about the merits of the projects that they bring to us. You know, as the old saying goes, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, and I tell my colleagues, if we start funding for individual projects, your project may be next. And so, Mr. President, when members come down to the floor and vote on this amendment, they need to know if they start stripping out this project, Senator Bond and I are likely to be taking a long, serious look at their projects, to determine whether they should be preserved during our upcoming conference negotiations.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Flock Unveiled

Flock has arrived, the new social browser. Its still pretty rough, and crashes a bit, but at version 0.5.0 its not claimed to be ready for prime time. This version is called Flock Developer Preview, aka the Flock 0.5 pre developer snapshot. Its only going to get better. So far the best feature I've found so far is that I can blog directly from it. So far flock isn't completely open to the public but it is hinted to be open within hours. (whatever that means)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Hurricane Wilma is Now Most Powerful Ever

Wilma is now rated the most powerful hurricane ever in the Atlantic Basin. I haven't paid real close attention, but last I knew they were expecting it to become a cat one or 2, not much more. Earlier today they measured 175 MPH winds and 882 millibars, the lowest minimum pressure ever measured in a hurricane in the Americas. Later this evening it weakened to 892 millibars and a mere 16o MPH. It looks pretty bad for Cancun, Cozemel and Playa Del Carmen. Its suposed to miss us, and head off to Florida. Hope fully the outside forces that cause this thing to make u-turns will cause it to weaken. ENOUGH ALREADY!

Galveston considers a Smoking Ban

It looks like they are going, to make a no smoking ban, but the city council seems open to being a little less restrictive than earlier conciderations according to Daily News.
The city council is planning a town meeting on a proposal to ban smoking in bars, restaurants and other public spaces.

However, council members made clear Thursday they are likely to settle for an ordinance that does considerably less.

They hope to use public comments from a meeting next month to fashion an ordinance.

Months ago, the council began tossing around an ordinance banning smoking indoors in all public spaces.

But as members began hearing from business owners and others, they began to soften their stance.

“"I think having a zero-tolerance policy would be harmful to some small businesses",” Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas said Thursday.

Councilman Danny Weber said: "“I think a total ban is a bad idea at this point in time."

Most of the other members of the council said they agreed.

Except Jackie Cole.

"“Less than 20 percent of the population smokes,"” she said. "“So you'’ve got 80 percent of the population, — if they choose to go out, they have to be exposed to this."”

Thomas proposed to allow smoking in stand-alone bars. In restaurants, smoking areas would have to be in areas separated from nonsmoking areas with walls and their own air-handling systems.

"We need to give people time to do this,"” she said.

The rest of the council seemed to agree, but that raised doubts about the necessity of a new ordinance.

"“I don'’t know if what you'’ve got right now is any different,"” said Assistant City Attorney Mike Miller.

I don't see the need for all of this. If it becomes important to customers, then it becomes important to the proprietors. I don't understand why the bussiness owners can't make these decisions. Those who visit this blog and pay any attention to the little photo on the right hand side, might figure out that I enjoy a good cigar now and then. I won't go to a watering hole if I can't enjoy a cigar with my my beverage. The two just go together for me. Now if a bar doesn't want people smoking in their place of business, thats perfectly fine with me. I just will not go there. If some doesn't like smokey bars or restraunts they shouldn't go to smokey bars or restraunts, let the market dictate. We don't need Mayor Thomas' City council telling busineses how to operate. I do think we need to remember Jackie Cole come election time.

There will be a public meeting at the gymnasium at the Island Community Center, 4700 Broadway in Galveston.
6 p.m. Nov. 1. Its an opportunity to let the city leaders know what you think.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Best Seller not yet Printed.

Glenn Reynolds' new book, An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths is already a best seller even thoiugh it will be months before it will be available. The cover art hasn't even been done yet. The reason? Glenn knows what he is talking about, and knows how to explain it. Even though he is a prodigous bloggerand it looks to me that some can't get enough of his writings.

You're Kidding. Wilma?

Sheesh! A new Huricane in the Gulf. Eric Berger, the Sci Guy, tells us we shouldn't worry much about Wilma here in Texas.

But even though the three-day track for Wilma may look a little dicey for the Lone Star state, the storm's almost certainly not coming here. Don't believe me? Our local office of the National Weather Service is saying the same thing.

There's really two possibilities for Wilma. The storm could move into the Gulf and curve east, likely toward Florida.

Alternatively it could keep moving west, hit the Yucatan or points south, setting up a miserable rain event for Central America, like Stan or, gulp, Mitch. The most-recent model runs certainly support such a scenario.

Enough already. I'll be glad when this season is over.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Real Victory for Houston

Toledo's riot was a reaction, by a buch of thugs looking for an excuse to run over other peoples rights and property. Race nor legitimate protest had nothing to do with it. If they had just ignored the skinheads they would have hardly have been noticed. By looting and, destroying public and private property the rioters just played into the skinheads hands.

Today the Houston will play what could be the final game in the NLCS and earn their ticket to the World Series. Hopefully Houston proves to the world that we are better people than those cities that erupt into violence as means of celebrating victory. Real victory will be celebrating a win peacefully with no property being damaged and no one hurt. Senseless violence has no place either in protest or in victory.

Go Astros!

Run Condi Run

Condoleezza Rice spoke clearly about her intention not to run for President in 2008.

In response to questions from host Tim Russert on NBC News' "Meet the Press," Rice said she is "flattered" by groups pressing her to run, but, "I don't know how many ways to say no ... I don't know how many ways to tell people that this -- I have no interest in being a candidate for anything."

Russert pointed out that Republican supporters are already running advertisements for her candidacy in New Hampshire and Iowa. "Should they stop running that ad?"

Though Rice refused to say whether the ad should be stopped, she again said she is not running.

"I appreciate and I'm flattered that people think of me in those terms," Rice said, "but it's not what I want to do with my life. It's not what I'm going to do with my life."

She has a job she is concentrating on now, and we can not afford for her to be distracted. There are many of us who feel she needs to run and that her reluctance to run is what makes her so desirable as a presidential candidate. Greg at Rhymes with Right is unabashed about her running.

But what you must realize is that the movement we have here is a Draft Condi movement -- and we will settle for nothing less than a spot for you on the 2008 GOP ticket, preferrably at the top. And I have no doubt that, when you hear the call of your nation to high elected office, you will respond to that call and fulfill your duty to the American people.

It is a call to greatness, Dr. Rice -- and a call that I believe you must, in the end, heed for the sake of America.

There is a movement, and support for Dr. Rice is not hard to find on the net. Americans for Rice and Rice 2008. Dick Morris has a book whose whole premise is that Condi is the only candidate that can stop Hillary. She is the obvious choice for Republicans, and is too many of us Americas best hope.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

White Trash Survival Kit.

Found this in my email.

White Trash Survival Kit

Toilet Paper.....................................check

Bud Light........................................check

Keystone Ice...................................check

Budweiser.......................................check

Red Dog.........................................check

Misc. other bottles of alcohol............check

Piece of plywood to float your chick and booze on...check

Next time let's all be more prepared.




With apologies to any white trash that might be offended.

Other Peoples Blogs.

This web log isn't perfect. Not by a long shot, but there are some things about some blogs that make some sites better than others.


  1. Feeds. Many bloggers try to track a bunch of blogs and newsfeeds. Checking each one can be tedious. Getting other bloggers to link to means you need to get them to read your blog. Links mean a more hits and better search engine results. Laurence Simon prefers that blogs he reads have feeds also. Most blogging software support RSS or Atom feeds. Bloglines is a good web based reader, and Thunderbird is not a bad client based reader. Some bloggers prefer to provide a partial feed, only allowing a partial copy of the post to be read through the reader. The intent is to cause the user to click through to the actual site. This is annoying, and cause me not to read the whole posting, and not link to what could have been an interesting post.
  2. Blogger info. A site should give a little info about the blogger. A little insight into the person who is helpful to understand where he/she is coming from. I realize that email spam is the bane of all of us, but it would be nice to be able reach a site owner sometimes. Reasons to email a blog owner can vary from giving him a tip on a potential great posting, or warning him of a broken link.
  3. Don't insult the reader. I enjoy reading opposing points of view. But being insulted while trying to find something well stated is tedious. This why I won't read Echaton. Its tough reading an opposing point of view, while the poster is calling the reader a "f*cking idiot". Spirited discussion is fun to read, but when it degenerates into insulting someone because of their political or religous beliefs, it loses me. There are some blogs where the main postings are very fair, but the comments sections degrade to lows as deep as Hell. I don't bother reading the comments on these blogs.
  4. Lots of pictures. This is something I don't do enough of. A few pictures make a blog more interesting. If one post lots of pics they might concider reducing the number of posts on the main page to help reduce load time.
  5. Long posts. Some bloggers post some very long postings, and will lose their reader part way through the post. Such post might be better if split up into a few shorter postings. Sometimes a long well thought out is what is needed to make the point, but When its a habit those of us with short attention spans tend to wander.
  6. Be nice to your fellow blogger. Link often, be respectful, speak well of your fellow blogger. Blogging isn't competive but rather a cooperative venture.

I haven't really discussed content, but that is what it really is all about, isn't it?

Lyda Anne Speaks her Mind.

I thought I had blogged enough about the Rita evacuation and the following blame game. Mayor Lyda Thomas had something to say about it at the Sept. 30th council meeting.

When Galveston citizens left the island of Galveston, we had trouble. Since last spring, I have been meeting and Steve (LeBlanc – City Manager) and others have been meeting with the State of Texas Emergency Management Commission. And up until the time that I called for a voluntary evacuation of the island, we were assured time and time and time again, that we would leave the island and we would travel to Huntsville, and there we would find shelter. That is not what happened.

When our buses left the island between 6am and 10:30 on September 21st, it was smooth sailing. As things progressed on Wednesday, things began to happen in the Houston area that caused our good citizens to say on buses 12 hours, 16 hours, 2 days.

The plan called for a 3 to 4 hour trip from Galveston to Huntsville with stops along the way. It didn’t happen. As I asked our citizens to leave Galveston Island in order to get out of harms way, I am very distressed to say that I put them in harms way. That was never meant to be and I apologize to the citizens of Galveston who got on the highways based on my decision to take them out of harms way.

I will not accept the responsibility or the blame for what happened when our citizens hit the Houston area and I would urge those of you who had such a miserable trip to let the Governor of the State of Texas and our representatives know how you feel and what happened to you. I will not shoulder that responsibility.


I agree with her. She, our city, and our county goverment responded responcibly and and effectively. There was clearly lack of foresight in the planing and execution of this huge evacuation. The planing should have involved the all municipalities involved. It sounds like the state simply told the municipalities how it should work. They need to get input and work with the cities and agencys.

Our buses were not prepared for long trips. And after all, the state assured me, as your Mayor that it would take 3 to 4 hours to get to Huntsville and all would be well. Our citizens suffered indignities that no one should have to suffer. The buses had to pull over to the side of the road so that our citizens could get off the buses and relieve themselves. That works well if you’re a man, you picture it. Women had to be held in order to relieve themselves. People were dehydrated. Children without diapers and without food, it should not have happened, and I assure you that it will not happen again if I have anything to do with another evacuation.

Instead of taking you out of harms way, you went into harms way. Lives were threatened and people died on that trip, and dog’s died and cat’s died. People arrived in towns who needed dialysis and thank God there were some kind people along the way who helped our people go to a local hospital and receive the medical care that they needed. So, your lives were threatened. Your lives were threatened by a catastrophic hurricane coming in off the gulf and one of the biggest transportation foul-ups that I’ve ever witnessed and I look forward to the Governor of this state to correct what happened to our citizens and many others as they fled from the storm and ended up in life threatening situations along our Texas highways. I think that the best way for me to describe what happened is to use the phrase, what we witnessed as we tried to find shelter was nothing other than “man’s inhumanity to man.” The State of Texas is a fault here ladies and gentlemen and as your Mayor I ask you to make your considerations and your concerns and your criticisms known to your
representatives, in particular the Governor of the State of Texas.

I will accept the fact that the storm didn’t come here and I will tell you that we were very, very lucky . We’re not out of harms way. Storm season is still on and I have spent the last five days here in city hall working with Mr. LeBlanc, with the police, the firemen, with everyone concerned, to find out what was right and what was wrong about our evacuation. It will be improved, it will be better.

I suspect there are many people who are saying, “I’ll never leave this island again, no matter what the Mayor says,” and I don’t blame you. But I will say, be careful of that decision, because we could, as I’ve said for weeks, look like we did in 1900. Don’t say no that you won’t leave yet, but do let the Governor know what happened to you on our highways. It is unconscionable how our people were treated and I expect the State of Texas to make the necessary changes and to make them as soon as possible. All of the assurances that I was given, as Mayor, by the State of Texas, failed. They failed me and they failed the citizens of this great state. Again, I will apologize to the Galveston Island citizens who were put through the hell that they were put through. But I will not accept the blame from those of you who went through that hell for what happened to you on a highway. I had no control over it, no one in this city had any control over it and I trust, actually, I expect the Governor of the State of Texas to make the changes necessary so that this never, ever happens again.

When our people arrived in Huntsville, Texas with assurances from me and others that they were going to have shelter, “you can’t stop here, you gotta keep going.” They went to the next town, Centerville, “you can’t stop here.” “Well,” says the bus driver, “can we let out people off so they can go to the bathroom and have a drink of water?” State officials said, “no, you can’t get off the buses, you gotta keep going.” This is a matter of record from the committed men and women who drove our buses to Huntsville, Texas. We were shuffled from Huntsville to Sam Houston State College, to Buffalo, to Centerville and finally the buses (12 buses) that had been on the road close to two days, ended up in a town called Fairfield, Texas where they asked someone for help and the county Sheriff there said, “you need go no further.” They took our people in. They sent two people to the hospital who needed dialysis. Fairfield did not expect us and we didn’t expect to be in Fairfield but here we were. Because of that, Mr. LeBlanc and I, yesterday, spoke with the City Manager in Fairfield, Texas, and later today I will speak with the Mayor, and we are asking the City of Fairfield to let the City of Galveston set up our own shelters for approximately three thousand Galvestonians in case we ever have to leave again.

The Galveston Housing Authority, lead by Sharon Strain, did exactly what we are going to do. Sharon Strain and the Galveston Housing Authority, arranged for their own shelters in Bryan-College Station. The Galveston Housing Authority personnel manned those facilities, took care of their own. They went on our buses and our buses brought them back. Ladies and gentlemen, the City of Galveston is going to do the very same thing because I am not going to put our citizens in harms way again.


What bothers me in all this, is Mayor Thomas is speaking for the 3,000. There were around 50,OOO evacueee, who didn't take the buses and had just as miserable of a time. The city and the state neeed to take into concideration those who are leaving with their own transportation. Many of these people not only had no specific place to go, but couldn't get there.

Zero Tolorance - No Common Sense.

Greg believes they may be lacking in common sense in Washington D.C.

... DC police and prosecutors are bringing charges against folks with a BAC of .03, .01, and even .00, based upon breathalyzer results, on the basis that their alcohol consumption had impaired them. In one case, the basis for a determination of impairment was the driver’s failure to turn on her headlights soon enough in the twilight to suit the police officer. Another case involved a woman who answered her cell phone while driving.

Drunk and drugged driving is a serious offense. Let’s not trivialize it by making every driver who has had a single glass of wine guilty of a criminal offense.

Given laws that provide police and prosecuters an opportunity to abuse the citizens, someone inevitably will be abusive. Relying on officials in places like Washington to use common sense is like expecting a 3 year old to use discretion with a Magic Marker.

Udate: 10:50
Looks like The DC City Council has seen the light.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Rocky VI at 60

Its more than rumor now. Sly is going to do Rocky VI . Maybe Stallone feels its just a story that needs telling. Letterman wonders if the Stalone's will be fighting incontinence. All I know is, don't plan on meeting me at the premier.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Hanging on to Old Reliable

Those of us who have owned computers since the early days, are slowing down in our computer buying habits. I have owned a computer since the late 70's, and until about 4 years ago I've pretty much upgraded or bought a new computer every 18 months. My main home computer is about 4 years old running 2000, and I haven't concidered upgrading it. It runs 24 /7 on a UPS and been through a harddrive and a few fans, but so far its been reliable. Equality has upgraded, from her el'cheapo WIN 98 computor of 5 years, to a new laptop within the last month. She also has traditionally upgraded to a new computer every 18 months to two years since around 1989. Her older computer is still at a desk connected to the nework and usable even if not used very much. It looks to me as technology has matured we have found that we just don't feel the need to upgrade as much. One reason is that most users aren't that demanding about speed, the most common usages of email, web surfing, and word processing aren't particularly cpu intencive. Those who have intrest in gaming and video proccessing, are still likely to upgrade more often. The biggest issues of upgrading are software issues. Our software represents a big part of our computing investment. finding serial numbers and chasing down those little utilities. Registry issues prevent us from just coppying folders to move a program from one computer to another. The time involved in installing some software is conciderable. It took me the best part of a whole day to install Visual Studio .NET. The reluctance of users to upgrade our computers result in lower sales for both software and hardware providers. John C. Dvorak had a say about this.

Even with the Internet, which is seen as a subsystem that requires little or no processing power, try surfing the Net with a sub–100-MHz processor and see how slowly those JPEGs uncompress.

The problem is the leap of faith. You just have to assume that good will come of faster and faster microprocessors. AMD now seems more intent on proving this than Intel, whose dual-core and 64-bit strategy now seems to be permanently lagging behind that of AMD and will continue to lag if the company actually believes all the Valley talk that the microprocessor business is dead.

One data point that would confirm this is the lengthening of the upgrade cycle. People keep their computers longer. From the mid-1980s to 1995, people were buying machines every 18 months at least. Now it's stretched to three years or more. I think that this change has most to do with the increasing difficulty of upgrading caused by Microsoft Windows and its architecture. You used to just port over all your apps, but if you do that today, only a few programs will work. You must reinstall most by hand. Good luck finding that serial number. The longer you keep the machine, the more these programs accumulate, making it worse.

One solution is migration tools that transfer the Registry and everything to the new machine. This creates two problems. The first is that the OS may not boot, since you've changed your configuration radically. The other is that you've moved a junked-up Registry from one machine to another. One reason to move to a new computer is to have a fresh machine with a clean Registry. You can't win.

Even though computers have gotten cheaper and faster, We are quite content with our 3 year plus computers. We might spend out money on a nice LCD monitor, or a new DVD recorder, but faster-newer doesn't always make sense to a lot of users.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Difficulties Face Legal Aliens

There is lots of talk and press about illegal aliens, and the efforts and lack of effort to contain a widespread problem. There is very little discussion and press about the root causes of illegal border crossing. The truth is its very difficult to get a legal entry visa to work in the US, and more perminent green card has a five year waiting period. Some of these jobs are high skilled positions that employers can't find within our borders. The Financial Times expounds.
Scientists, engineers and other skilled professionals seeking emigration to the US could face waits of a decade or more before receiving the coveted “green card” that allows them to remain permanently in the country.


This month the annual quota even to apply for employment-based green cards was exhausted for highly skilled professionals from China and India, and for less-skilled workers from all other countries, according to the State Department. The wait to apply for a green card has now grown to more than five years in many cases.

The exhaustion of the annual green-card quota is the latest headache facing US companies trying to recruit scarce talent from abroad.

Visa restrictions imposed after the September 11 attacks had already made it much more difficult for students and researchers to enter the US. And in 2003 Congress allowed the annual quota of temporary H-1B visas for skilled workers to drop from 195,000 to 65,000.



It is no wondwer that illegal immigration on trhe rise when we make it more difficult to do it legally. While making it more difficult to come into this country won't encourage skilled Europeans to enter illegally, the Mexican laborer will be more apt to give it a try if he doesn't have a legal opportunity, and he sees border jumping as a way to improve life for him and his family.


A study released last month by the Pew Hispanic Center shows that legal immigration to the US has fallen 24 per cent since hitting a peak in 2000.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

How did I miss this One?

League City Blog, You've been left .net. I try to include all regularly posted local blogs. Some how I've missed this one, I'll update the blogroll soon.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Media Blackout

It looks like at least one blogger at CBS is wondering about the silence of big media, on the Oklahoma University suicide bomber.
Has there been more happening at the University of Oklahoma than hazing and all-nighters? The blogosphere, led by Michelle Malkin, has been chronicling the suspicious explosion at the University of Oklahoma just over a week ago, and wondering why the big media doesn’t appear interested.

According to most reports, Joel Hinrichs III was a young man with a history of depression who used a homemade explosive device to commit suicide just 100 yards or so from the school’s football stadium, which was filled with over 80,000 people at the time. Officials were quick to call the incident a suicide, but rumors and reports of Hinrichs’ attempts to buy large quantities of ammonium nitrate and ties to the Muslim community have raised a lot of questions and the answers thus far are not forthcoming.
The silence is weird. but Vaughn Ververs gives hope for more covereage and maybe investigation.
Many, Malkin included, have wondered where the MSM is on this story. As the Oklahoma Daily editorial notes, local television has covered it and a quick Google search turns up (sometimes conflicting) reports in local and regional newspapers but no major media outlets appear to have picked up the story yet. We asked CBS News national editor Bill Felling, who told us the network is looking into the story. Let’s hope so, it’s one worth airing, whatever the facts are.
We have been the Google route, and it seems that there is some stirring and and curiosity growing about all this. Not just in the bombing and bomber, but in the medias silence as well.
In the meantime Kevin offers some insight on the "why?" as a comment to an earlier posting.

Boren is the most popular pol in Oklahoma history, and was regarded as a "moderate" Dem during his career, but this ridiculous press release suggests that he's been completely captured by the liberal loons who surround him in the Ivory Tower, and has himself lost touch with reality.

One reason crazy speculation grows is that university presidents and others clamp down on information that might dispel (or confirm) crazy speculation, and thus bloggers, media, and other interested parties are left to do the best they can, hoping to prompt authorities into confirming or denying various theories.

So, President Boren, we're looking forward to hearing more information that can set us straight and keep us from being "intolerate!" How about helping us out?

Police in New Orleans at it again.

As if the the New Orleans Police weren't under enough scutiny, They got caught manhandling a a guy on Bourbon St. with what seems to be accessive force.

"We have great concern with what we saw this morning," Defillo said after he and about a dozen other high-ranking police department officials watched the APTN footage Sunday. "It's a troubling tape, no doubt about it. ... This department will take immediate action."

The assaults come as the department, long plagued by allegations of brutality and corruption, struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the resignation last month of Police Superintendent Eddie Compass.

The APTN tape shows an officer hitting the man at least four times in the head Saturday night as he stood outside a bar near Bourbon Street. The suspect, Robert Davis, appeared to resist, twisting and flailing as he was dragged to the ground by four officers. Another of the four officers then kneed Davis and punched him twice. Davis was face-down on the sidewalk with blood streaming down his arm and into the gutter.

Meanwhile, a fifth officer ordered APTN producer Rich Matthews and the cameraman to stop recording. When Matthews held up his credentials and explained he was working, the officer grabbed the producer, leaned him backward over a car, jabbed him in the stomach and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade.
The problems in New Orleans just seems systematic and engrained into their system. It looks as though there is more that needs fixing than the levys. One has to also to wonder how the police officers behave when there are no cameras.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

When the Police are the Looters

Via Instapundit. nola.com has a report on the New Orleans Cops copping a few Cadillacs.

Acting New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley said Thursday that as many as 40 officers from the department's 3rd District, including the commanding captain, are "under scrutiny" for possibly bolting the city in the clutch and heading to Baton Rouge in Cadillacs from a New Orleans dealership.

They not only desserted New Orleans in its tome of need. They set a great example by stealing a few Caddilacs.

Last week, after reports surfaced that the Louisiana attorney general's office was investigating the alleged theft of about 200 cars from Sewell Cadillac Chevrolet, possibly by NOPD officers, Riley revealed his own internal investigations. All told, Riley said 12 officers were under investigation for looting or failing to combat looting in their presence, four officers had been suspended and one had been reassigned.

He acknowledged then that an unspecified number of officers were being looked at for their alleged involvement in the Sewell incident, which took place in the first four days after Katrina ripped through town.

Riley said he was surprised to learn that "at least 40" 3rd District officers were in Baton Rouge after the hurricane. Riley said that at some point after a number of 3rd District teams were rescued from the Louisiana State University Dental School he spoke to clumps of them at the Hampton Inn and Suites on Convention Center Boulevard.

"At that point they were just settling in for the evening," he said. "A day or so later we learned they were in Baton Rouge, and they were immediately ordered to return to the city."



The City is in shambles, looters are cleaning out anything of value, and the police are busy, stealing Cadillacs so they can abandon the city. The City of New Orleans wants Hundreds of millions of dollars. Are we to trust a city goverment that is so corrupt with the stewardship of these tax dollars.

BackLinks Bug.

Blogger presented us with a new feature, similar to the TrackBack function that we've been so envious of. It was sorta OK. It is sorta slow picking up links, but works as advertised. I noticed the error was mentioned by Richard Chappel but this one might take a while before folks notice it. In the meantime it could cost some bloggers some quoted links. The problem is that with Backlinks enabled, one can't highlight and select from that page while using Opera or FireFox. I suppose when/if a fix comes out, I'll re-enable it. In the meantime I will be happy enough using Technorat.

Update: It looks like Blogger fixed the bug, it now looks like its working fine and I've re-enabled it.

And, the Winner is [...]


There is a winner for the DARPA competition. They just haven't announced who will get the $2 Million prize. 4 vehicles made it to the finish line in this grueling 131.2-mile course all with no human drivers. It appears that Stanford University Racing Team with the Volkswagen Touareg named "Stanley" apparently has won the prize, but we hope that success will be found to all these competitors who have helped pushed the limits on what we can accomplish with todays technology. The technology here doesn't just have military applications, but could help us make safer cars for all of us.

A winner, based on travel times, would be declared on Sunday, said DARPA director Tony Tether. "We have a winner, we just don't know who it is," Tether told reporters.

Last year, in the inaugural race sponsored by DARPA, called the Grand Challenge, every machine failed within sight of the starting line. The Pentagon decided to double the prize and hold the event again this year.

Twenty-three modified Humvees, SUVs, pickup trucks and dune buggies were sent into the mountains and valleys in the Nevada desert to navigate man-made obstacles, tunnels and a dry lake bed just after sunrise on Saturday.

One broke down at the starting line.

A blue Volkswagen SUV, "Stanley", built by a Stanford University team, overtook an automated Humvee, "Highlander", built by Carnegie University students at the 164-kilometre mark and arrived at the finish line first.

Shortly afterward, that Humvee and another, "Sandstorm", also built by the Carnegie Mellon team, finished the race.

The rugged, twisting Mojave desert course, about 64 kilometres southwest of Las Vegas on the Nevada-California border, was chosen because of its similarity to terrain where the US military is currently most active, Iraq and the Mideast.

At one point, the vehicles had to climb through a steep valley that organisers said was "reminiscent of a mountain pass in Afghanistan."

DARPA designed a much more difficult course this year, saying at least a third of the contestants would be able to cross the finish line given the level of technology demonstrated in qualification events earlier this week.

But many of the vehicles simply stopped running on the course. One stopped after a tire went flat and another hit a bridge. Still left on the course was a huge six-wheeled truck called "TerraMax" and a modified SUV called "GrayBot".

Friday, October 07, 2005

Robot Challange


The NFL season is well underway, and the Major League Baseball playoffs are in full swing, but there is a competition underway that is just as exciting. DARPA the military agency that gave us the internet is sponsering a $2 Million prize to the first team to complete the course in in less than 10 hours. EETimes has this story,
Tires spun, bales of hay caught fire, and robots crashed, but 23 unmanned ground vehicles have qualified for the Defense Advanced Research Agency's Grand Challenge this weekend.

The robots, built by teams from New York to California, will race across 150-miles on an undisclosed route, traversing dry lakebeds, speeding over steep mountain terrain, and ambling around obstacles on the desert route. The route is being kept secret until two hours before the race, expected to begin at 6:30 a.m., PDT, Saturday, near Primm, Nev.

The professors, students, engineers and other experts who designed the robots aren't just competing for the pride that victory bestows.

DARPA, the agency that launched the federal government's effort to build the Internet, is offering a $2 million prize to the group whose robot is the first to complete the route in less than 10 hours.

These aren't remote control cars. These vehicles are autonomous, and rely on sophisticated sensors, computers and software. Most of the teams have have web sites so that we can follow their progress. I copped the photo of the current leader and one might notice its a little banged up. This is rough terrain they are running through.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Where is the MSM.

Not much being reported still about the Oklahoma University suicide bombing. Michelle Malkin is doing a great job keeping tabs on whats happening. Maybe there isn't more to the story than a loner killing himself, but it does seem wierd that a bomb goes off while 84,00o fans are watching a football game and it barely gets noticed. There are still lots of questions. Its still not clear whether it was act of a single individual, or a part of a larger action gone bad. Some bloggers are noting the peculiarties. Here, here, and here. While some of the local MSM is reporting. There is very little on the national front, very wierd.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Cronyism and Miers

George Bush's legacy is going to be noted with some accomplishment, some good handling of bad situations, and by lots of nepotism and cronyism. Elizabeth Cheney, Michael Powell and disgraced former FEMA Chief Michael Brown. Its been pretty obvious that president Bush doesn't have a problem appointing poorly qualified people if they are well connected to people he likes. In fact it is sorta how he got his job. This time he has got some attention over his tendency to select the well connected over the talented. Its not as though there is a lack of talent out there. Rhymes with Right has a few suggestions.

Come to think of it Bush wasn't that qualified when he ran for president The governer of Texas isn't exactly a powerful leadership positition. His main qualifications were that he was well connected, and that Daddy was once a fairly decent president. Maybe its only natural he feels this way about his friends and family its worked for him personally pretty well.

Saudi Arabia blocks Blogger

The Saudis Arabians blocked access to blogger.com, thereby silencing bloggers within the kingdom. Apparently there is still access to blogspot.com which is where many Blogger blogs are published to. The folks at Reporters without Borders are following this.

Reporters Without Borders today called on the Internet Services Unit (ISU), the agency that manages Web filtering in Saudi Arabia, to explain why the weblog creation and hosting service blogger.com has been made inaccessible since 3 October, preventing Saudi bloggers from updating their blogs.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that censors the Internet the most, but blog services had not until now been affected by the ISU’s filters,” the press freedom organisation said. “The complete blocking of blogger.com, which is one of the biggest blog tools on the market, is extremely worrying. Only China had so far used such an extreme measure to censor the Internet.”

Reached by Reporters Without Borders, the ISU recognised that it had blocked access to blogger.com but did not give any reason. Blogger.com is the point of entry to the management interface for all the weblogs hosted on this tool. In other words, this is the webpage bloggers need to access to update their blogs. According to our tests, names under the blogger.com domain (for example, www.myblog.blogger.com) are not however being filtered. This means that Saudi Internet users can still access the blogs hosted on this service.

The Saudi authorities acknowledge blacklisting more than 400,000 websites. A very wide range of sites are affected, including political organisations, non-recognised Islamist movements and publications containing any kind of reference to sexuality.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Google makes Taiwan a Red China Province

Google maps now show Taiwan as province of China. I'm sure the Red Communist leaders of one our most favored trading nations appreciates this. I would think that the people in Taiwan are feeling a let down. Google has built itself on good will, but this latest action spells sellout. This is the latest bend to pressure from the Chinese by a large American Corporation. Yahoo turned in a disident to the Communist regime just a couple of days ago. The promise to the American people when we opened up trade to China was that it would open communications with China and help bring a free and more democratic sociaty. Its looking like we are more like coconspirators to the repression and eventual take over of Taiwan. The BBC has a report on this:
Taiwan has asked the internet search engine Google to stop referring to the island as a province of China on its map web site.

The foreign ministry is demanding a correction, saying it has had no response to an earlier call for an amendment nearly a month ago.

Legislators from the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union are urging the public to e-mail Google in protest.

They want the company to refer to Taiwan as an independent state.

Such a move which would provoke China, which considers Taiwan as part of its territory.

Legislators say they have been inundated with telephone calls from the public and say they may announce further steps this week if they do not get a correction from Google.

The politicians say many international media companies, eager to expand their presence in the Chinese market, are succumbing to pressure from Beijing.

Last month another internet search engine, Yahoo, was accused by the media watchdog, Reporters without Borders, of behaving as a Chinese police informant in order to further its business ambitions.

The media group said the company had provided the Chinese authorities with information that led to the jailing of a journalist charged with divulging state secrets.

A Yahoo spokeswoman said it had to abide by local laws.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Comming Soon, Rocket Racing

Rocket Plane racing done on the scale of NASCAR. X Prize founder Peter Diamandis and race car capitalist Granger Whitelaw announced a grand scheme to bring Rocketplane racing to race and sapcetech fans alike. Diamandis and Whitlaw seem to have the credentials to pull this off. The x-racers will be fueled by a kerosene-liquid oxygen mixture and will trail a 20 foot flame plume. It all looks to be quite a spectacle, the pit stops in particular. More can be found here:

The first rocket racers would be built by XCOR, with a second generation based on an airframe provided by Velocity Aircraft of Sebastian, Fla., the league said in a statement. Individual teams would own the racers and be able to customize them.

Diamandis said the souped-up racers would burn kerosene fuel rather than alcohol. "These vehicles will literally sport a 20-foot bright brilliant flame out the back," he said.

He asked journalists to imagine "10 of these fire-breathing dragons" racing in competition.

Whitelaw traveled to Mojave last month to watch an EZ-Rocket test flight and said the experience "really blew me away."

"It is nothing like NASCAR or Indy car," he told the journalists. "It is 10 times louder."

In Monday's statement, the Rocket Racing League said the races would operate much like auto races, "with the exception that the 'track' is up in the sky."

"Courses are expected to be approximately two miles long, one mile wide, and about 5,000 feet high, running perpendicularly to spectators," the league said. "The rocket planes, called X-Racers, will take off from a runway both in a staggered fashion and side-by side and fly a course based on the design of a Grand Prix competition, with long straightaways, vertical ascents, and deep banks. Each pilot will follow his or her own virtual 'tunnel' or 'track' of space through which to fly, safely separated from their competitors by a few hundred feet."


Update: Rand Simburg has more: He is gloating a bit over an older prediction. The Comments are pretty interesting,

Sunday, October 02, 2005

An Explosion in Norman

There was an explosion at the University of Oklahoma Last night. Apparently a suicide bomber. The MSM press seems to indicate it was just a suicide and no one in the stadium was in danger.

One person was killed in an explosion near a packed football stadium at the University of Oklahoma on Saturday night in what authorities said appeared to be a suicide.

The blast, in a traffic circle about 100 yards from Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, could be heard by some in the crowd of 84,000, but university President David Boren said no one inside the stadium was ever in danger.

"We are apparently dealing with an individual suicide, which is under full investigation," Boren said in a statement. There was no information about the person who was killed, and no reports of any other injuries.

Bu there is more. Apparently there was second explosive device.

A police bomb squad detonated explosives found at the site of the blast. The area near the stadium was searched by bomb-sniffing dogs.
Then there is this report from a witness:

To: bahblahbah

I just got home from the game. They are calling it a suicide bomber and they found another bomb unexploded. One of my son's fraternity brothers was within about 30 yards of the blast and felt the heat on his face outside the science hall which is also near the stadium.

The police were interviewing him and one of the girls that was over at the fraternity (I park there) because she saw two men run in the stadium after the explosion and separate.

It was so loud. I told my son and daughter along with my son's friend that it sounded like a bomb. We didn't have any confirmation until the girl behind us got a call as it had scrolled across the screen.

Last I heard, they were looking for two more suspects, they blew up the second bomb, have bomb dogs all over campus going through the buildings that were open, and they couldn't tell if the person blown up was a man or woman.

Our news has very few details other than FBI is on the scene. Think every Norman cop from the looks of it is on the campus. We had to exit through the east and north sides and walk around as they had the south oval closed off from Lindsey to the Library.

What a scarey situation -- it was so freaky to hear that loud explosion and then absolutely zero news but we could see police cars all around from where we sit in the stadium. Didn't hear a word until the 4th quarter when the lady behind us received a call!

Two people fleeing the scene this information coupled with the second bomb makes it look like its more than a simple suicide. Then there was this guy who pleaded guilty last week.

On September 26, 2005 an Oklahoma University student pleaded guilty to bringing an explosive device to the airport. In August he was arrested after police found an improvised pipe bomb in his backpack. He told officials he had forgotten the device was in his bag. He faces up to a year in prison and up to $100,000 for the charge
Lets see if I got this right, A bombing with multiple bombs, apparently involving 3 people. Very Little MSM coverage. Is this a coverup?
Update:
The Oklahoma Daily releases some more information. There was only one bomb, and they identified the suicide bomber. The Oklahoma Daily is the school paper. I am still left to wondering why a suicide bomber in Iraq gets more attention than one at a collage campus during a football game.

4:05 p.m. — Joel Henry Hinrichs, 21, engineering junior and Triangle fraternity member, was identified as the individual killed in the bombing at a 4 p.m. press conference with Boren at Evans Hall.

...
3: 15 p.m. — OU President David L. Boren released a second statement Sunday confirming that there was no second device. Early reports that there was a second device were incorrect. The second detonation was the bomb squad making sure there was no second device in the area.

OUDaily.com has also learned that as of 3:15 p.m. Sunday, class will be held Monday as scheduled. More information will be posted here as it becomes available.

One person was killed Saturday night in an explosion during the second quarter of the OU/Kansas State game.

The thing that is so unusual about this story is the lack of MSM press.

Gross

Anyone notice Rob's new tagline?
I enjoy reading comments, but sometimes they play out to ridiculous single mindedness, and personal attacks. Sometimes they're pretty funny.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

It wasn't Just Me:

I thought Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas presented herself well and did a great job communicating with the citizens of Galveston. She is a small town Mayor who mostly has deal with a crotchity city council, tight budgets, and issues of people putting their trash out to early. Her 15 minutes of fame came as she was facing a crisis of her town being potentially wiped off the map. She got out the information that needed to get out, she spoke clearly and with authority. She displayed leadership.

Kevin Moran of the Houston Chronicle also noticed along with many others.

In individual interviews on such shows as the Today Show, Nightline and on CNN, as well as during televised, twice-daily briefings for dozens of journalists covering the storm, Thomas appeared cool and collected. She was forceful in her pleas that citizens evacuate Galveston, poised to handle any question and genuinely concerned about the safety of all citizens, rich and poor.
The performances resulted in a flood of e-mails from around the world from people complimenting Thomas and other city officials for their handling of the emergency, particularly for the preparation and execution of an evacuation on publicly owned buses of more than 3,200 poor and disabled people who had no
easy way to get out of town.

I get the feeling New Orleans wished they had this sort of leadership.