Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bad Week for McCain

A couple of of his pet causes went down in flames this week. The Immigration Bill he liked so much died from lack of support from Republican Conservetives. Those damn bloggers and talk radio shows.

The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) lead by Chief Justice Roberts killed McCain/Fiengold, otherwise known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. The provision which was supposed to limit political ads from mentioning candidates names 30 days before a primary, and 60 days before a general election. The problem with this is that it is unconstitutional. One has to wonder why McCain couldn't understand this before he penned this awefull legislation. I think that Republican primary voter will understand this in 2008.

The first blow came Monday in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life Inc., when the Roberts court struck down as unconstitutional a key provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. The offending provision banned certain broadcast political ads mentioning the names of specific candidates — i.e. incumbent congressmen — during the 60 days prior to a general election and 30 days before a primary balloting.

The chief justice noted in the decision that the First Amendment requires a strong presumption against official censorship of political speech. And in a refreshingly direct statement, Roberts threw out the idea that federal bureaucrats can constitutionally assess the propriety of political speech based on the speakers’ intent.

“Enough is enough,” Roberts said. We can almost hear the founding generation that gave us America saying “hear, hear!”

A Melt Down

Everyone agrees that something needs to be done about the illegal immigration issue. The problem is that the folks in Washington don't understand it as we see it. While President Bush claims to be a Texan he is listening to the the Washington policy wonks congress critters instead of core conservatives who put him into office. Does anyone have any doubts anymore about a supposedly Republican that throws his Support behind the likes of Nancy Pellosi and Teddy Kennedy. ( Ever wonder what makes A San Fransisco Congressman and a Cape Cod Senator experts on border security) While Bush ignores advice from Conservative Spokesman) such as Rush Limbaugh, Fred Thompson, Sean Hannity, "Greg from "Rhymes with Right" , and even the two Texas Republican Senators are opposed:

Still, one of Bush's Republican allies in the Senate said momentum is building against immigration legislation. Senator John Cornyn of Texas cited fellow Texan Kay Bailey Hutchinson, as well as Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia as examples of Republicans who might have supported the measure and are now opposed.

``We're beginning to see some of the people that would have ordinarily voted to proceed with the bill to say, `Hey, this process is not fair, it's not transparent,''' Cornyn said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's ``Political Capital with Al Hunt.'' ``The way this bill has come up has caused it some serious problems.''

Greg thinks there is victory in the Bush defeat.

So this time American citizens win and border-jumping immigration criminals -- and the craven politicians who support them -- lose.

Now it is time for some real immigration reform.

Build the fence/wall IMMEDIATELY. Set up a working system to verify legal status of every employee -- if VISA and MasterCard can verify the validity of my credit card in a matter of seconds, the US government should be able to do the same with regard to eligibility to work. Impose meaningful fines upon those who knowingly hire illegals -- and follow up with prison sentences for repeat offenders.

We are still closer to any solution than we were before the bill came up. It is still the same old Status Quo. There are still folks here illegally and our borders are still wide open for any drug smuggler or terrorist to walk across. In the meantime Glenn Reynolds offers some free advice in case the issue comes up again.

My advice for next time:

(1) Make the process open, transparent, and timely, with hearings, drafts on the Internet, and no last-minute bills that no one has read;

(2) Earn people's trust, don't demand it, and treat enforcement like it matters;

(3) Respect people who follow the law, and make legal immigration easier, cheaper, and simpler, rather than the Kafkaesque nightmare it is now;

(4) Don't feel you have to be "comprehensive" -- address the problems you can deal with first. The trust needed to deal with other problems will come later, after you've shown some success and some good faith.


Sounds good to me.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Comcast and Customer Care.

Comcast took over the reigns. Time Warner is out Comcast is in. So far it has been a disastor, Folks have had their Roadrunner email accounts ripped out from under them without notice. I am wondering if this is a sign of more bad things to come. Glenn of the Instapundit is having trouble with Comcast this week.
I got a cable bill that had, with no explanation at all, gone up by fifty bucks a month. We obviously need more competition in this field. The Insta-Wife called them and they were rude and inept. Plus if we want to quit they say we'll have to drive all the way across town to return the boxes. Regardless of this rather lame barrier to quitting, I think we'll be switching to something else.
Mary McNamara isn't to happy, and finds herself wondering if she is getting her moneys worth.
Yesterday, my long-time cable provider, Comcast, told me to go to hell. Sure, they were nice about it, sort of. I was reasonable, too. I didn't raise my voice and didn't use expletives, in spite of their coercive tactics.

Customer retention? Apparently, not a Comcast priority.

I've put up with a lot from Comcast. I've praised them when they weren't altogether deserving of the kudos. But no more Ms. Nice Blogger. Read on for how they're trying to fleece me by holding my HD channels hostage. It's time to throw the book at Comcast.
Although, so far Equality tells me she is happy with Comcast because we got a couple extra channels. I wonder how long this honey moon is going to last. I understand that that the unhappy people going to be the ones that blog, but I'm really beggining to wonder if Comcast doesn't really suck I don't think I've read about a single happy customer. We still haven't seen a bill yet.

Review HP Officejet 6310 All-in-One


In January last year I bought a Brother MFC-640CW Fax Scanner printer. I liked it, although it did have some things I didn't like about it to much. It used up ink like a drunken sailer, and it was a bit of a pain in the ass to configure. I was able to read faxes from my computer, and store them permanently as a TIF or Gif file. Last May it died on me. I could still manually send and receive Faxes there was no either wireless or hardwired Ethernet. It probably would have worked if connected to my USB hub but that wasn't practical .

I needed to replace it quickly and to be honest I didn't shop to hard. I went to Sams Club and picked out an HP Officejet 6310 All-in-One. I paid about $190 out the door including taxes. It is not wireless. While I thought it was important when I bought the Brother It turned out that I ended up using about 4 feet away from my router. I still have plenty of ports available and even if I didn't a switch is pretty cheap.

Installation was a piece of cake real simple and straight forward. It probably took 1 hour from out of the box, hooking up, and installing software. The software install took forever. its pretty slow although straight forward. I installed it into my desktop and Equality's laptop.

I did have problems. While I was attempting to send a Fax Equality attempted to send out a print job from my computer. Every light on the Fax machine started flashing. Any further attempts to resend the fax caused the flashing light-lock up problem at at page 6. I pulled up the web site and went into chat with the support guy after about 2 hours he had me reset the system by using a magical combination of keys that I wish i had written down. All in all I rate the support as pretty good even though he took me down a garden path. Eventually he did get to the solution and he was persistent. Thats worth points.

My overall impression so far isn't so impressive. With the Brother I was able to view faxes on my computer. This seems to me should be a standard feature and essential to viewing Legal sized documents properly. It's just to bad that HP doesn't understand that faxing is a 2 way communications process. I still have problems sending multiple pages and have experienced the flashing lights when attempting to send pages. When this happens I'm not sure about how many pages did get sent so I send them all over again .. A source of annoyance for the recipients also.

Print quality is pretty good and seems so far to be more economical than the Brother. The scanner is good and convienient. The document feeder seems to handle just about anything. quality, the software/driver software is simple straightforward. The ability to read various camera media and print directly might be a useful feature for some. I prefer to directly view them on the PC , edit and print from the PC. The HP All-in-One does handle most camera media.

There are things I like about the HP. I can read the display. I sometimes had to use a flashlight to read the Brother. The print quality is outstanding, as are the scans. There is a spam blocking feature, I'm sure it would work great if the fax spammers didn't block their caller ID number. Hopefully it will last a little longer than the brother.

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Bush Veto's Stem Cell Research, So What!

I am not opposed to stem cell research using surplus embryos, as long as we aren't using people to intentionally supply embryos. President Bush feels otherwise and vetoed a bill that would authorize government money for stem embryonic stem cell research.
President Bush this week vetoed legislation that would have lifted limits on federally funded research on embryonic stem cells. Angry congressional advocates immediately pledged to override the veto (although they acknowledge they are still shy of the two thirds majority needed) and took new steps to free up federal monies for such research, which holds the promise of new treatments for debilitating diseases from Parkinson's to diabetes.
Now this may seem like a real setback to finding cures for some debilitating and deadly diseases, and while it may cause one to wonder where President Bush's prioritys are. Does it really matter? Private research can still continue, just without federal funding. There is also promising research that seems to indicate that stem cells can be developed from everyday skin cells.

Only a few days ago an article in the leading journal Nature brought amazing news. A Japanese team at Kyoto University has discovered how to reprogram skin cells so that they "dedifferentiate" into the equivalent of an embryonic stem cell. From this they can be morphed, theoretically, into any cell in the body, a property called pluripotency. It could be the Holy Grail of stem cell science: a technique that is both feasible and unambiguously ethical.

"Neither eggs nor embryos are necessary. I've never worked with either," says Shinya Yamanaka. The first instalment of his research appeared a year ago -- and was greeted with polite scepticism by his colleagues. At the time they were mesmerised by dreams of cloning embryos and dissecting them for their stem cells.

The previous head of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, Lawrence S. B. Goldstein, had even dismissed reprogramming as quixotic. "If there are scientists who morally oppose [embryonic] stem cell research and want to devote their energies to uncovering alternatives, that's fine," said Goldstein. "But in no way, shape, or form should we ask the scientific community and patient community to wait to see if these new alternatives will work." Now, however, ten years after Dolly, not one scientist anywhere using a cloned human embryo has created a stem cell line. Not one. And a Japanese Don Quixote has.

This is mainstream research, not an eccentric theory from a Romanian naturopathy journal. Yamanaka's work has been confirmed by two other teams affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and the University of California, Los Angeles -- both of them headed by ardent supporters of embryonic stem cell research.

If this all works out President Bush's veto is just a gesture with no real effect. Despite president Bush's efforts there may be real cures found in stem cell research.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

more intimidation by the RIAA

In an email exchange Andrew Dubber is threatened by Paul Birch of Revolver Records who is a board member of the IFPI, the UK version of the RIAA board.

Andrew, Well I am in regular contact with the RIAA and both they and the IFPI are subject to hate mail as a consequence of hubcap, our litigation against consumers for illegally downloading our copyrights.

This manifests itself into individual members of our RIAA management being singled-out for malicious statements and blogs on the internet. As an example you probably saw the case earlier in the week of a Chinese Laundry in the United States being sued for $54M for loosing a pair of trousers, belonging to a lawyer. If you take a look at the criticism on your blog of the RIAA by one of the contributors, they are engaging in a similar malicious prosecution in the US courts but go further and make a number of assertions through your blog that gives credibility to illegal downloading.

I am not concerned that people decide to take out law-suits against our organisations; we have the resources to deal with that. What does concern me however is the repeating of malicious falsehoods that occur in a number of internet blog, and are re-reported as having validity contribute widely to the assertion that right is on the side of wrong-doing.

You might argue that your professional blog is your opinion alone, however you are interwoven into the views and policy of the University of Central England and I think that puts you in an exposed positon Andrew.

It might not be nice to be sued by the RIAA and potentially put in a position of being made bankrupt; neither is issuing redundancy notices to hard working staff. People don’t have to download; they do however have to work. Consumers that enjoy music have a lot of options and enjoying it free on the radio is at least one of them, with last FM and You Tube there is near on demand service free at the point of use. But stealing isn’t clever, but presumably most people don’t really wish to steal, and only share because it is so easy and seems harmless/victimless. If people need to affirmatively hide their activities, then there is an understanding of wrongdoing. I feel that your blog underpins the misuse of our copyright and attacks our trade associations.

There are very serious allegations made in this anti-RIAA link on your blog, and I don’t think its appropriate that you link to them.

Paul
If these aren't terroristic threats, I don't know what is. Oh yeah the offending link is to the Download Squad. Complaining about a blog linking is almost a guarantee to increase such links a hundredfold. Pretty stupid Paul! Come and get me! and the other hundreds that have linked because of your intiidating tactics

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Clouds Silver Lining


Behind ever cloud is a silver lining.

Hamas has taken over Gaza the last few day. Looting and destruction is pretty much what we would expect from them. There are reports they raided Arafat's home and that they stole his Nobel Peace Prize.

Enraged Fatah leaders on Saturday accused Hamas militiamen of looting the home of former Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat in Gaza City.

"They stole almost everything inside the house, including Arafat's Nobel Peace Prize medal," said Ramallah-based Fatah spokesman Ahmed Abdel Rahman. "Hamas militiamen and gangsters blew up the main entrance to the house before storming it. They stole many of Arafat's documents and files, gifts he had received from world leaders and even his military outfits."

Abdel Rahman said the attackers also raided the second floor of the house and stole the personal belongings of his widow, Suha, and daughter, Zahwa. "They stole all the widow's clothes and shoes," he added. "They also took Arafat's pictures with his daughter."

I hope this makes Yitzhak Rabin's and Shimon Perez's prize all the more precious to their familys.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Impeach Him!

Another call to impeach George W. Bush. The Fashion police show no mercy.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Chinese calling the US Irresponsible

Whether it's poisoned cat food, tainted fish, or contaminated toothpaste, it should be obvious that to any Chicom supporter that the Chicoms have shoddy manufacturing practices. Instead of shutting down the plants and investigating the Chinese are calling fowl. If an American company were poison Americans they would get shut immediately. The Chicoms apparently believe they have a right to distribute tothpaste tainted with diethylene glycol in the United States. Maybe they believe if they have a right to torture and kill their own people poisoning our people just a little bit should be OK.
China has branded a U.S. warning against using its toothpaste as irresponsible, saying low levels of diethylene glycol (DEG) were not harmful.

"So far we have not received any report of death resulting from using the toothpaste. The U.S. handling (of this case) is neither scientific nor responsible," China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement posted on its Web site over the weekend.

"All the toothpaste exported to the United States had been registered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for marketing in the States."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the warning on Friday after toothpaste containing DEG was detected in a shipment seized at the border.

The seizure was the most recent in a series of scares over the safety of locally made products which have put China's food and drug exports under scrutiny around the world.

Similarly contaminated toothpaste has been seized across Latin America, and in Panama, the government says at least 100 people died after taking cough syrup that contained DEG, an industrial solvent used in paint and antifreeze.

The FDA identified products by Goldcredit International Enterprises Ltd., Goldcredit International Trading Co. Ltd., and Suzhou City Jinmao Daily Chemicals Co. Ltd as containing DEG. Brands include Cooldent, Clean Rite and Oralmax and are usually found at discount retailers, the FDA said.

"It is not allowed. There are restrictions limiting its use," said an employee at Suzhou City Jinmao Daily Chemicals on Saturday, when asked about DEG.

Over 100 people died from Chinese cough syrup, and we are accused of overreacting by taking contaminated product off the market. Perhaps just the fact that they believe its an overreaction is cause to embargo any petfoods, foodstuffs, medicines or such. We are perfectly capable of getting by without these toxic Chicom goods.

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The RoadRunner Comcast Shaft.

No one ever claimed that the the Roadrunner-Comcast switch over in this the Houston area was for the benefit of the customer. Apparently the switchover is going real smooth over at Time Warner. They simply pulled the plug on the @houston.rr.com accounts. Real painless... at least for them they aren't even taking phone calls over it. Dwight Silverman explains all.

At the bottom of a May 21 post about the Road Runner/Comcast e-mail changes, I mentioned that several RR customers had e-mailed me to complain that their e-mail service was down. They said they were told by tech support personnel that the outage was the result of the switch from Road Runner to Comcast.

Both Comcast public relations Vice President Ray Purser and regional Senior Vice President Tony Speller said that wasn't true. Someone was giving out bad information, they said.

But today's Computing column about the change has generated more of those e-mails. They have a similar thread, in which customers are told that 7,000 to 14,000 e-mail accounts were affected as a result of the Comcast switch. Purser and Speller say that's not possible, because the changeover won't happen until July.

Another customer who e-mailed said he was told that sub-accounts -- secondary accounts created by the holders of primary e-mail accounts -- were removed by accident as part of system maintenance. In many cases, the accounts and the mail they contained were wiped out. But at least one person followed up to say he had his e-mail restored by Comcast's tech support.

Changing ones email address can be traumatic, notifying everyone is just about impossible. Preventive measures is not a bad idea. I use an email forwarding service from www.mail.com and use the email address liberty.freedom@revolutionist.com Its just a mail forwarding address. I have had this email for 10 years or 2 ISP changes and been pointed to at least 3 different Mail boxes. It's also my oldest email address. It cost me about $25 a year.

There is always a web based email client, these things are pretty good. I use gmail (liberty@gmail.com), but hot mail or yahoo are just fine also. They are free and most can be read with with a regular email reader.

The other option is to buy a domain. Its not that expensive or difficult. Godaddy.com host this blog, and much of my email these days.

The point is not to give anyone your ISPs provided email box. Other than spam, and communications from my ISP all my real email is forwarded into the box. Don't give anyone your ISP provided email address. That way if your forced to switch ISPs you won't lose your incoming email.

Dwight also has some suggestions. If you have a houston.rr.com account the time to start moving accounts is now.

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Fred Thompson

When I first heard of Fred and the Draft movement, I didn't think much of him. One of many. The Republican Presidential wannabee mob is a large club, mostly of wishy washy type moderates. First of all he takes the constitution literally and seriously. He is a true conservative in a race where so for there are no other serious conservative choices. While Ron Paul is libertarian, he's not going to have a lock on the moderate libertarian vote. His stand on Iraq is going to hurt him. Watch him though, he is a maverick and will stick it out until the very end. That leaves only Fred, at least so far.

While much of the media is treating him like a longshot, after all he isn't really an insider. The first primarys are a long ways away and Fred might not look like he is speeding towards victory. He is gaining momentum, and in a two year long race momentum could be everything.

What are his strengths?
He understands the media. He is an actor, blogger, and radio talk show host. He played the Michael Moore / Cuba controversy beautifully. Got himself some free publicity, and showed classic example of left and right. He used the MSM well. He understands the internet well as he explains the guerrilla net video on Hillary:

Guerrilla campaign ads have been around for several years, but this one got noticed. It really got noticed. It might be because it sparked tension between the Democratic Party's two front-runners. Or it might have been because, for two weeks, no one knew who was responsible.

Rumors blamed Obama's staff. Others were sure Republicans were trying to provoke a spat. It turns out that the maker of the ad was just an independent Obama supporter.

He may not affect the Clinton/Obama race, but the message he sent to the political world will probably endure. That message is that anybody, given some inexpensive software and a little time, can compete with the pros..

E-mailed links to the video spread through offices like a bad joke list. Millions watched it on the Web. Millions more saw it on news shows. One cheap, anonymous campaign ad got more attention this season than any expensive, professional commercial.

Over 100 million Americans reportedly watch videos online, at least occasionally. The Websites of citizen journalists, the bloggers, have become truly influential, with an estimated 75 million Americans reading them. Cheap software and computers put tools into the hands of teenagers that used to belong only to networks and studios. YouTube and other video-sharing sites provide a cost-free forum accessible by nearly anyone.

There's no question that this is democratization. Professional journalists and campaign staffers no longer control the political debate. Individuals can now make headlines and directly influence elections -- though some of the accountability that once existed is gone.


The real attraction to him as candidate might be his views on the minutia of everyday politics. Republicans should have no problem understanding conservative values in the grand scheme of things. But he has way about him on some of the smaller issues. He writes about using radio propaganda :

When Ronald Reagan was elected, he greatly empowered the private, congressionally funded effort and handpicked the Radios’ top staff to bring freedom to the Soviet Union. Steve Forbes led the group.

Cynics still say that the USSR fell of its own weight, and that President Reagan’s efforts to bring it down were irrelevant, but Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev say differently. Both have said that, without the Radios, the USSR wouldn't have fallen. The Radios were not some bland public relations effort, attracting audiences only with American pop music. They engaged the intellectual and influential populations behind the Iron Curtain with accurate news and smart programming about freedom and democracy. They had sources and networks within those countries that sometimes outperformed the CIA. When Soviet hardliners and reformers were facing off, and crowds and tanks were on the streets of Moscow and Bucharest, the radios were sending real-time information to the people, including the military, and reminding them of what was at stake.

Then we won the Cold War. The USSR collapsed in 1991, and America relaxed. Military downsizing began and the Radios began to reduce broadcast air time to target countries.

Now, of course, we know that the Islamofascists, many trained by the old Soviets, were making plans and plots of their own. Unfortunately, the plans to broadcast a pro-freedom message into Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Kurdistan and Ukraine were shelved or diluted. Reagan's ideological audacity was replaced with a more "diplomatic" tone.

And see where it's got us? Not only has Islamic totalitarianism spread without a true ideological challenge, many of the freed Soviet bloc countries are slipping back into repression. Russia is making the same old threats and even protecting Iran's efforts to build nukes.


Elegant clarification of a small idea. This guy will be able to sell ideas. He might not have a pretty face, a political insider, but he has what it takes to get there. The conservatives really don't have another choice. yet .... The Newt could spoil this party.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Angry Right.

Lots of people are pretty upset with George W. Bush and the Republican Party these days. The left has always insanely hate GWB but the right wing mob is getting a little rabid itself. The Lone Star Times is salivating over the new immigration bill. Peggy Noonan is clearly irate

For almost three years, arguably longer, conservative Bush supporters have felt like sufferers of battered wife syndrome. You don’t like endless gushing spending, the kind that assumes a high and unstoppable affluence will always exist, and the tax receipts will always flow in? Too bad! You don’t like expanding governmental authority and power? Too bad. You think the war was wrong or is wrong? Too bad.

But on immigration it has changed from “Too bad” to “You’re bad.”

While Greg opines:
I guess he really does wants to alienate the pro-border GOP base in time for the 2008 election. After all, spewing insults at the party's front-line troops certainly isn't a wise move if he has any interest in party-building.
The conservative base is angry, and they aren't about to give GWB's party any more our hard earned money.
The Republican National Committee, hit by a grass-roots donors' rebellion over President Bush's immigration policy, has fired all 65 of its telephone solicitors, The Washington Times has learned.
Faced with an estimated 40 percent falloff in small-donor contributions and aging phone-bank equipment that the RNC said would cost too much to update, Anne Hathaway, the committee's chief of staff, summoned the solicitations staff and told them they were out of work, effective immediately, fired staff members told The Times.
Several of the solicitors fired at the May 24 meeting reported declining contributions and a donor backlash against the immigration proposals now being pushed by Mr. Bush and Senate Republicans.
"Every donor in 50 states we reached has been angry, especially in the last month and a half, and for 99 percent of them immigration is the No. 1 issue," said a fired phone bank employee who said the severance pay the RNC agreed to pay him was contingent on his not criticizing the national committee.
This doesn't fair look good with Hillary looking more formidable, History teaches us that when a President George Bush disappoints his conservative base, they will not turn out for him, and a Clinton can walk in and take right over. Its looking like 1992 all over again.

Ron Paul on U-Tube

This clip is pretty popular with the U-tubers. Its primitive but I think it reaches out to the younger set pretty well.
I might be Libertarian, but I'm not endorsing him for Pres.. ... Not yet anyway. He is a little out there on Iraq for me.

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Lily joins the Sci Guy's world

Eric Berger AKA the Chron's Sci Guy is a new dad, and we join him in welcoming beautiful Lily to his world.