All posts by Liberty

Blogging is something I do for myself. I've been blogging since Sept. 2003, mostly about politics, guns, and observations about the word around me.

The Port of Houston Boondongle

What if they built a cruise terminal and no one came to play? In  the Port of Houston’s big field of dreams the Port of Houston  commissioners built the Terminal as part of a $387 million bond package. They didn’t even have to pay for the property because Judge Lynn Bradshaw-Hull’s stole the land for The Port of Houston.  Kevin Whited isn’t surprised at the failure.

Hard to believe, we know, that the mere thought of Pasadena, TX hasn’t attracted the eye (or several eyes, even) of the cruise-ship industry!

There isn’t much to offer near the terminal for vacationers except perhaps a view of the industrial vessels and tanks can be viewed on the way over.   The barbed wire fencing is what the Port of Houston has to offer for hospitality at the entrance. The port of Houston Commissioners now understand that to compete they need to compete with Galveston, where we have a very successful cruise terminal business.

More than 30 miles away from where those travelers gathered, the Port of Houston Authority’s $81 million cruise terminal is shuttered, with no cruise ship ever making regular stops there. And no cruise line has announced plans to call on the 2-year-old Bayport Cruise Terminal.

“I’m optimistic that we’ll end up with a cruise line,” Port of Houston Chairman James Edmonds said.

The port is offering to work with cruise lines to develop 40 acres of land near the terminal, hoping that will encourage one to base a ship at the Pasadena property. Restaurants, hotels and other attractions could be built on the land and turn the spot into a destination point, Edmonds said.

They might try, but Galveston is more than just a place to get on the boat, it’s a vacation destiny in itself, with many restaurants, hotels, resorts, beaches, fishing, and even a water park.  One thing is certain is Pasadena isn’t Galveston, and a little restaurant colony isn’t gonna make it Galveston.

Pelosi Calls for Investigation of Ground Zero Mosque Opposition

Speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi wants to investigate those who oppose the Mosque at ground zero.

“There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded,” she said. “How is this being ginned up that here we are talking about Treasure Island, something we’ve been working on for decades, something of great interest to our community as we go forward to an election about the future of our country and two of the first three questions are about a zoning issue in New York City.” (h/t Kristinn)

Calls to investigate the funding for those proposing the $100 million “Cordoba House” have fallen on deaf ears, though, as New York’s Mayor Mike Bloomberg has described such an investigation as “un-American.”

I would be surprised if there were a money a trail to be found. The objections are pretty much  grass roots objections, and those on forefront don’t need money to make their voices heard.  Democrats and Pelosi in particular have demonstrated that they have hard time understanding grass roots though.

The real truth though is that these investigations are to be used as a weapon.

One has to ask, “Does the 1st amendment apply to some and not others?”

I guess that only the First Amendment rights of Muslims are sacred to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — not the rights of the 65-70% of Americans who find placing a mosque on the site of a building rendered unoccupiable by debris from the 9/11 attacks to be insensitive and inappropriate.

Ray Bradbury has some thoughts.

Ray Bradbury reaches 90 years on the 22nd of this month,  He still has a lot to say about the world around him. He speaks out against Large government and not being accountable to the citizens. I find it interesting that he lashes out against technology.

…  despite his passion for more national space projects, he is not  technology obsessive by any means.

“We have too many cellphones. We’ve got too many Internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now.”

Bradbury wrote darkly about bookburning in “Fahrenheit 451,” but he sounds ready to use a Kindlefor kindling. “I was approached three times during the last year by Internet companies wanting to put my books” on an electronic reading device, he said. “I said to Yahoo, ‘Prick up your ears and go to hell.’ “

I guess at age 90 he isn’t real worried about the loss of sales by ignoring Kindle.   Oddly, I find myself pretty much agreeing with him..

Oracle Sues Google

The only certainty on this one is that some lawyers are sure to make money.

Lets see if I explain what this is all about. Sun Systems created Java, and released it to the world under the GPL license, GPL says the software is free, but after modifying it, it must remain free. and it must have the official GPL license attached to it.

The GPL is the first and foremost copyleft license, which means that derived works can only be distributed under the same license terms. Under this philosophy, the GPL grants the recipients of a computer program the rights of the free software definition and uses copyleft to ensure the freedoms are preserved, even when the work is changed or added to. This is in distinction to permissive free software licenses, of which the BSD licenses are the standard examples.

Google decided to use Java and to modify part of it called the run time virtual  machine to use in their Android mobile operating system. They licensed it under  the Apache License agreement. Which allows software developed using the new VM to be less than free and open sourced.

Like any free software license, the Apache License allows the user of the software the freedom to use the software for any purpose, to distribute it, to modify it, and to distribute modified versions of the software, under the terms of the license.

The Apache License, like BSD licenses, does not require modified versions of the software to be distributed using the same license (in contrast to copyleft licenses). In every licensed file, any original copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices in redistributed code must be preserved (excluding notices that do not pertain to any part of the derivative works); and, in every licensed file changed, a notification must be added stating that changes have been made to that file.

If a NOTICE text file is included as part of the distribution of the original work, then derivative works must include a readable copy of these notices (again, excluding notices not pertaining to any part of the derivative work), in at least one of three places: within a NOTICE text file distributed as part of the derivative works, within the source form or documentation, or within a display generated by the derivative works (wherever such third-party notices normally appear). The contents of the NOTICE file do not modify the license, as they are for informational purposes only, and adding more attribution notices as addenda to the NOTICE text is permissible, provided that these notices cannot be understood as modifying the license. Modifications may have appropriate copyright notices, and may provide different license terms for the modifications.

This breaks GPL agreement. Sun knew this but decide not to act, I believe they just didn’t see any reason too. Google must have realized they exposed themselves to litagation.  Red monk speculates:

In estimating the risks of such action, Google could have reasonably assumed that the probability of Sun suing them was near zero. Sun may have been unhappy, and may even have suspected that Google’s cleanroom reimplementation was anything but. The Vegas line would still have been decidedly tilted against Sun turning to legal action.

Maybe Sun’s reluctance to sue was financial. I’m personally skeptical of this claim – companies with failing financial fortunes in my experience are generally more inclined to seek legal remedies to their problems, not less – but Shankland’s sources are always good. Even if this were the case, however, Google couldn’t have assumed that would suffice as a shield. Instead, the search giant would have expected Sun to behave consistently with its past behavior and future interests. …

Sun, in other words, was not going to sue Google. And Google knew it.

After a while Sun who has been in financial trouble for years was bought up and taken over by Oracle. Oracle decides to sue. Why is  not exactly clear. Oracle is going to lose of confidence with Java users , who are likely top shy away from using Java at least until this is settled Oracle isn’t going to win any good will. Maybe there is some kind of arrangement with Apple hinted at by SiliconANGLE :

In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement…”

This unexpected move by Oracle sends a strong and threatening message to Google and the entire Android community—specifically that Oracle will use its intellectual property rights to get compensated for innovations around the exploding mobile marketplace. Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison is inserting himself in the middle of an ever-evolving battle between Google CEO (and former Apple Director) Eric Schmidt, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, a long-time friend of Ellison’s.

Like they say, “I am not a lawyer.”, and I don’t even begin to understand all thats going on.

Righthaven Victims Organize for Support

Website operators  are being sued for copyright infringement. They aren’t getting cease and desist letters no warnings just a suit.  Blogs and other websites will often cut and paste portions of an article from news sources and expound on it to make a point or inform their readership.  It is legal with permission or under provisions of “Fair Use” Fair use allows the usage of small portions of   copyrighted material that is clearly identified as quoted and sourced, or to use content for parody, or review.

The Las Vegas Review Journal, a newspaper located in Las Vegas, Nevada, has hired lawyer group Righthaven LLC, to basically sue any and all web site owners who they accuse of copyright infringement over improper use of their news articles. These lawsuits are being issued without ANY previous contact or cease and desist orders as far we know. This is a blatant money making venture, not simply an attempt at copyright protection.

Many web content providers love being quoted and linked to. Links and quotes are what drive the search engines and is what ultimately drives traffic.  The term the “Web” is a visual of how links are the connecting threads that tie it all  together.

The defendants and victims of Righthaven LLC have found support and advice by uniting and sharing resources.

Fortunately, its seems that the victims and those opposed to RightHaven’s tactics have started to organize. Realizing that information is key, a new website has been established called RightHavenLawsuits.com. They say their mission “is dedicated to gathering together and posting for the public information about Righthaven LLC.” They have links to some of the lawsuits as well as articles on RightHaven LLC.

Another website called RightHaven Victims lists every individual, business, and blog that has been sued by RightHaven LLC for copyright violations. It encourages those sued to work together to share information and to unite to form a collective front against RightHaven LLC. They realize that one of the keys to RightHaven’s success will be the use of a “divide and conquer” strategy. This website is also sharing defense strategies being used by the defendants.

BTW: I don’t care how much I’m quoted as long as the context isn’t changed. Of course links are appreciated, but not always expected. 😉

Texas over Illinois for new Caterpillar factory

In this economy the competition for Jobs is tough, This is true on a larger scale, company’s find that different places and different states all have something to offer.Victoria TX has  hot steamy summers and  work force that doesn’t rely on unions.  Chicago has Unions and their bosses, a corrupt political machine, cold nasty winters, high taxes and a high cost of living.  Caterpiller made their decision,

The new plant will employ about 500 when it opens in mid-2012. Aurora isn’t expected to lose jobs, however, because of Caterpillar’s recently announced plans to build hydraulic mining shovels there.

It’s the second time Caterpillar has shuffled some work from Illinois to Texas. Two years ago, the company chose Seguin, Texas, to make engines that previously were manufactured in Mossville, near Cat’s Peoria headquarters.

Government takes oversight of Texas City Refinery

Texas City Explosion Kills 15

BP is getting tagged by OSHA for a 50 Million dollar fine, and OSHA will be taking  oversight of its process safety management. I would love to see  Feds in charge bunker up and charge at BP’s next fire.   The Galveston Daily News explains.

TEXAS CITY — BP will pay $50 million and must allow more direct oversight of its process safety management in an agreement with federal regulators for failing to correct safety problems at its Texas City refinery, Occupational Health and Safety Administration officials said.

BP will also spend $500 million over the next six years to improve process safety systems at the Texas City facility, company spokesman Scott Dean said.

The record fine was issued today after an OSHA investigation last year found BP had failed to correct hazards it had agreed to fix after a March 2005 explosion that killed 15 people at the Texas City refinery.

While this isn’t related to the oil spill in  the gulf, one is reminded of BP’s less than sterling safety record, while we also wonder if the government isn’t just bent on destroying a powerful oil company.  Us Labor Secretary Hilda Solis isn’t shy about telling how she feels.

OSHA will also have direct access to BP’s Process Safety Management System and will conduct regular inspections of the refinery, Solis said.

Much of the expanded oversight would include the United Steelworkers Union, which represents the bulk of the BP workforce. BP will also spend $500 million by 2016 to make the safety improvements required by OSHA.

“The size of the penalty rightly reflects BP’s disregard for workplace safety and shows that we will enforce the law so workers can return home safe at the end of their day,” Solis said.

Without Respect.

We in Texas understand that Obama really doesn’t like us. We cling to our guns, balance our budgets, and all kind of other reprehensible things.  Greg sums it up pretty well:

Gov. Rick Perry’s meeting at the Austin airport with President Barack Obama on border security lasted a mere 34 seconds, and Perry had to hand a letter on the issue to presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett because Obama declined to personally accept it.

I do think this says everything that Barack Obama was more than willing to accept a book from the hands of banana republic dictator Hugo Chavez — but he won’t accept a letter from the hands of the governor of one of our own states.

President Obama has stopped pretending to care, and has attempted to hurt us in any way he can, by attacking the oil and gas industry, having us subsidize the the poorly run states, and letting the illegal aliens overrun us with their drugs and criminals.