Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav Stays Away

It looks like we have been spared from Gustv. New Orleans might be spare from a levy smashing event. Galveston is very quiet for what is supposed to be the last summer time hurrah for the year. The biggest casualty looks like it might be the Republican Convention

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gustav Takes Aim

Cuba is now getting pounded. New Orleans and parts of Louisiana have started their evacuations. Folks in East Texas are buying up gasoline batteries and any other emergency supplies they can find. We in Galveston watch closely, the Island is full this Labor Day weekend. The hotels are full and we here in Galveston aren't going to spook the tourist and their hard cash. We at Liberty Casa. are battening down the hatches, packing up food stuffs and supplies, and making ready to run if need be. So far it looks pretty good. A hurricane watch is set between High Island to Florida. All to the West. We watch we prepare. Maybe tomorrow we leave, until then we watch and we prepare.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Squelching of America

Hans A. von Spakovsky a previous commissioner on the Federal Election Commission posts on how the FEC restricts how we might not be as free to speak as we might believe.
You might want to talk to Kirk Shelmerdine, former crew chief for Dale Earnhardt, who races in NASCAR as a field-filler. In 2004 he couldn’t sell advertising on one panel of his car, so he committed the terrible federal crime of putting a Bush/Cheney decal on it. Horror of horrors — he did not report the “value” of that decal to the FEC, thus violating the independent expenditure reporting requirement. After an extensive investigation, the FEC got into a convoluted internal argument about what the value of that decal placement was, i.e., how much would Mr. Shelmerdine have to pay himself to purchase the unsold advertising space on his own car and how much was that worth in the various races he participated in.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In the town of Marlboro Massachusetts Victor Deeb has has his home raided.
Victor Deeb, a retired chemist who lives in Marlboro, has finally been allowed to return to his Fremont Street home, after Massachusetts authorities spent three days ransacking his basement lab and making off with its contents.

Deeb is not accused of making methamphetamine or other illegal drugs. He's not accused of aiding terrorists, synthesizing explosives, nor even of making illegal fireworks. Deeb fell afoul of the Massachusetts authorities for ... doing experiments.

Authorities concede that the chemicals found in Deeb's basement lab were no more hazardous than typical household cleaning products. Despite that, authorities confiscated "all potentially hazardous chemicals" (which is to say the chemicals in Deeb's lab) from his home, and called in a hazardous waste cleanup company to test the chemicals and clean up the lab.

Are there any property rights left any more? Where does ones right to privacy start and the neighborhood nannyness end. From the Worcestor Telegram reports:

Pamela A. Wilderman, Marlboro’s code enforcement officer, said Mr. Deeb was doing scientific research and development in a residential area, which is a violation of zoning laws.

“It is a residential home in a residential neighborhood,” she said. “This is Mr. Deeb’s hobby. He’s still got bunches of ideas. I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation. … There are regulations about how much you’re supposed to have, how it’s detained, how it’s disposed of.

Mr. Deeb’s home lab likely violated the regulations of many state and local departments, although officials have not yet announced any penalties.
Emphasis of the money quote is mine. Apparently they aren't quit sure about rules or laws Mr. Deeb broke, but their must be some. I wonder what the zoning cops would have thought about Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell? I wonder where we would be today if these zone cops had been around in the days of Dr. Goddard.

While all this happened in the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts. Heavy handed code enforcement thugs isn't unique to the liberal leftest states. Here in Galveston, Texas I've had my own run in with the Galvestons backyard Gestapo.

I have a backyard with a pool. I hate my pool and it requires a lot of work and money to keep it up. I had been pretty busy and had been on the road a lot. So I backslid on the maintainance on the pool and my mowing dutys. The pump was circulating and we were tossing in massive loads of Chlorine every other day. I had a busy body neighbor take ofeence when he stepped up and peeked over the 6 ft stockade fence. A visit and nasty letter followed. Yeah, I compied like the good sheep, and chpped down the weeds got the pool into shape, but I wonder what right does the the City of Galveston have over what goes on in my fenced in Backyard. There was circulation and chlorine so it wasn't a mosquito issue.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Going Ubuntu

I've been using ever since the beginning. and MS-DOS since 3.0 days. for the most part I enjoyed and got value from each of the operating systems. Each new version of software would slow the newest of hardware to make any speed advantage null and void. I was pretty happy though with the last operating system I bought for myself. was Windows 2000 Pro. It was the best of win 98 with the speed and interoperativity of NT4. When XP came out with the phone home features when one changed a hard drive or a Motherboard. I knew that I would never upgrade further. Vista is only about protecting the vested interest of Hollywood and the music industry.

My computer is aging and I no longer have faith that it will boot every time. Its earned a respectable retirement.

I've been curious about Linux my friends have been suggesting Ubantu, I think I can be happy with it. I am already using OpenOffice.org and Mozilla exclusively. I ordered the parts to build a new computer Monday and they should be in today. Time will tell. I will report here on how I've made out and at what level of satisfaction I've found with my choices.

Osteen Case Falling Apart

Barbara Shedden changes her mind about the alleged assault. Leaving Sharon Brown holding the bag.

To the shock of even the attorney who called her to the stand, a witness in the trial of Victoria Osteen said Wednesday the Lakewood Church co-pastor did not touch a Continental Airlines flight attendant who has accused her of assault during a confrontation over liquid spilled on a first-class seat.

"It was a complete 180," said Reginald McKamie, who is representing flight attendant Sharon Brown in the civil suit.

McKamie was talking to state District Judge Patricia Hancock about the surprise testimony from plane passenger Barbara Shedden. McKamie said that Shedden told him a different story of what happened on Dec. 19, 2005, and that he expected her to say Osteen was "out of control."

McKamie didn't confront Shedden with alleged prior inconsistent statements while she testified, but tried to call a lawyer who helped interview her. He wanted that lawyer to testify about what Shedden said before coming to court.

Hancock denied the request.

Shedden's statements even surprised Osteen's attorneys, who are expected to repeat the redeeming testimony in closing arguments this morning while recapping an assault trial that before Wednesday had been rife with inflammatory accusations.

Contrary to earlier testimony, Shedden said Osteen pointed at Brown, but never touched her.

"I would have seen it," Shedden said.

"You can tell the jury that this never happened, can't you?" Osteen's attorney, Rusty Hardin, said.

"Yes."

To the shock of even the attorney who called her to the stand, a witness in the trial of Victoria Osteen said Wednesday the Lakewood Church co-pastor did not touch a Continental Airlines flight attendant who has accused her of assault during a confrontation over liquid spilled on a first-class seat.

"It was a complete 180," said Reginald McKamie, who is representing flight attendant Sharon Brown in the civil suit.

McKamie was talking to state District Judge Patricia Hancock about the surprise testimony from plane passenger Barbara Shedden. McKamie said that Shedden told him a different story of what happened on Dec. 19, 2005, and that he expected her to say Osteen was "out of control."

McKamie didn't confront Shedden with alleged prior inconsistent statements while she testified, but tried to call a lawyer who helped interview her. He wanted that lawyer to testify about what Shedden said before coming to court.

Hancock denied the request.

Shedden's statements even surprised Osteen's attorneys, who are expected to repeat the redeeming testimony in closing arguments this morning while recapping an assault trial that before Wednesday had been rife with inflammatory accusations.

Contrary to earlier testimony, Shedden said Osteen pointed at Brown, but never touched her.

"I would have seen it," Shedden said.

"You can tell the jury that this never happened, can't you?" Osteen's attorney, Rusty Hardin, said.

"Yes."

But Sheddon isn't the only one who has changed their mind. Apparently Sharon Brown doesn't believe anymore that Victoria Osteen caused her hemorroids.

In filing her lawsuit, Brown alleged that stress over the incident caused hemorrhoids, but said Wednesday that she no longer believes Osteen was the cause.

In the mean time I've heard no reports of Victoria apologizing to those on the plane that she had inconvenienced because of the flight delay. This stuff is better than anything on TV these days. You just can't make this stuff up.

Well, just maybe you can, it lools like maybe Sharon Brown made some of this up ..

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Recovering fromm Edouard

We are slowly recovering from edouard. Picked up the fallen leaf, moved the lawn furniture and pool chemicals from the living room to the back yard. As one can see the rain was badly needed.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Out of the Blue

Tropical storm Edouard is stirring off the shore of Louisiana and promises to stir things up in Galveston. So far we are planning on hunkering down and riding it out. Last night there was talk of it growing into a hurricane. Today not so much. We will be paying close attention.
AT 4 AM CDT...0900 UTC...THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS EXTENDED WESTWARD TO SAN LUIS PASS TEXAS. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS NOW INEFFECT FROM THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER WESTWARD TO SAN LUIS PASS. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

A HURRICANE WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM WEST OF INTRACOASTAL CITY LOUISIANA TO PORT O'CONNOR TEXAS. A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

AT 400 AM CDT...0900Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM EDOUARD WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 28.1 NORTH...LONGITUDE 90.1 WEST OR ABOUT 185 MILES...300 KM...SOUTHEAST OF LAFAYETTE LOUISIANA AND ABOUT 295 MILES...475 KM...EAST-SOUTHEAST OF GALVESTON TEXAS.


Coco the cat doesn't seem to concerned yet.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A note from Ireland

We, in Ireland, can't figure out why people are even bothering to hold
an election in the United States.

On one side, you have a pants-wearing lawyer, married to a lawyer who can't keep his pants on, who just lost a long ...and heated primary against a lawyer who goes to the wrong church who is married to yet another lawyer... who doesn't even like the country her husband wants to run.

Now. . . On the other side, you have a nice old war hero whose name starts with the appropriate "Mc" terminology, ...married to a good looking younger woman who owns a beer distributorship.

What in Lords name are ye lads thinking over there in the colonies ???"


He has a point!

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Texas City Police Detain Reporter

Galveston Daily News reporter was detained Monday for 45 minutes after he refused to show police the pictures he had taken of workers tending to an oil spill. Most of the pictures were taken from a street corner.
Cpl. Tom Robison of the Texas City Police Department, who is also the city’s contact with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, said the police department’s policy is to detain anyone photographing the city’s chemical plants. Police then review photos to see if they pose any threat but do not confiscate cameras or photographs.

“There’s no law that says you can’t take pictures from a public roadway, but the issue becomes: Are any of the shots compromising security measures?” Robison said.

Daily News photographer Kevin M. Cox said he took all but nine of his 36 photos of the oil leak on Marathon Oil Co. property while standing near 14th Street at Eighth Avenue. The remainder he shot a couple feet within an unsecured grassy field, he said.
There is no law because the pictures were taken from a public place, and we have a constitution that is supposed to provide freedom of the press, and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. Perhaps what was really going on is that the Texas City Police were working harder protect the embarrassment of the big refinery, at the expense of the rights of the photographer.

One might be curious how these things are handled in nearby communities:
Steve Gonzales, director of photography for the Houston Chronicle for the past three years, said his staff has never been stopped by law enforcement asking to see pictures of breaking news events, including the recent crane collapse at a Pasadena plant.

Officials with Houston affiliates NBC, CBS and ABC said police haven’t asked to review video footage and they haven’t shown raw video to police before broadcast.

“We’re pretty strict about that in the newsroom,” said Rick McFarland, assistant news director for KPRC Local 2, the Houston NBC affiliate. “No one from law enforcement can see it without a subpoena, and even with a subpoena, we’ll have our First Amendment attorney fight it in court.”
But the Galveston daily news is a small local paper and can't put up the same big fight that the Houston media can. The Texas City Police know this.

To protect and to Serve? Yeah sure, as long as your a big refiner they will do all they can to protect their privacy in an embarrassing moment.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Its blogspots that is The problem.

A few Blogger blogs are having trouble, the owners can't update them, and Blogger is getting blamed. Must be Brainfarts

Tennessee liberal bloggers Left Wing Cracker, Sharon Cobb, and Vibinc, who all use blogger.com/blogspot.com, have been notified that their blogs were flagged as spam and they were locked out.

Sounds pretty suspicious, but apparently it's not limited to Tennessee blogs, or political blogs. According to the Google blogger help forum, there have been a rash of such incidents over the past week or two from all over. My guess is that they unleashed a "new and improved" spam hunting bot and it had a brain fart.

The problem isn't with Blogger software and publishing, it is with the free blogspot hosting. Get your own domain and these lockout problems will go away. Blogger is actually pretty reliable and very functional once you dump blogspot.