Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Let it all hang out ladies

This post is more then just a bra story. It is a story of one man trying to have fun. He did, until the f'ing government got involved.

Bra Fence is a infamous landmark in New Zealand. Simply put. It is a fence covered in bras.





So Frank Cooper and Shirley Cleary saw it in NZ and wanted one for themselves. Tada!!! The Montana bra fence was born. One problem. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks decided they did not like it. Now before you ask. The fence was on Cooper's and Cleary's own private property. So the government went onto the private property and cut them down.
The flap over the bra fence began in July, when the Cooper/Cleary family held a "Beer, Brat and Bra Bust" party at the family's Missouri River vacation cabin. Friends provided bras of various descriptions, plus little black lacy things, for the fence.

"We're talking people 50 to 83 years old, all respectable citizens, like attorneys, social workers, retired professors," Cooper said at his home in Helena. "We drank a little wine, ate a few brats and christened the bra fence."
Oh the horror of the criminal element. Assault support girdles and high capacity form fitting briefs. Call Feinstein.
I have a strange desire to mock the government today and this fits in nicely.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Jeff Hagener said in a letter that there was concern the bra fence would "attract many more objects than just bras and become an even greater attractive nuisance and become more offensive to more people...

"If you insist on continuing to utilize and promote this fence as a 'bra fence,' FWP will continue to remove items hung on the fence until we are able to construct some type of screen ..."

What began as a "fun thing" grew serious, Cooper said.

Mike Aderhold, a regional supervisor for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said that "even lawsuits were threatened. I thought 'Oh man, we don't need to go in that direction if we don't have to.'"
Lawsuit? How about we arrest the bastards for trespassing. The fence, shown by a surveyor to be on his land, is his to do with as he pleases. The gall that they feel they have the right to go onto his land because
"We manage those sites for multiple uses and get all types of people, as well as sportsmen, from all walks of life and different ethnicities," said Jim Kropp, enforcement chief for the agency. "We didn't feel that this activity was appropriate for a public site."
Oh. The new PC rules of stopping anything that may insult someone trumps all laws about private property, trespassing. etc. etc.

What a bunch of boobs they have in government today.

I will attempt to stay abreast of this story.

Monday, August 30, 2004

The Tooth

Salutations one and all,

Gunner went to the dentist today and had his broken tooth extracted. He is now lying in bed in a drug induced, pain-free stupor (hurrah for Lortab!!).

I do not believe that he will be posting anything today, or possibly tomorrow.

Perhaps on Wednesday.

Elizabeth

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Busted for chalking?

The activist of New York are really pulling out all the tricks this year to get their message across. Some of the methods involve rather hightech means. To say I am impressed would be an understatement. While some climb buildings, and some block streets, one person has built a neat little machine to get the "message" across.

Joshua Kinberg, the creator of BikesagainstBush was arrested while doing an interview with MSNBC's Ron Reagan, He was showing off his high-tech graffiti bike. It is simply a dot matrix printer type of writer that leaves messages as you ride. Built for only about 200 dollars it is something that can be the source of a lot of fun.



The whole farcical nature of his arrest is this
When Kinberg showed the police sergeant how the bicycle used a non-permanent spray chalk, the sergeant seemed to agree that it wasn't defacement, at which point Kinberg asked, "am I free to go?" After conferring about it, officers decided to call superiors, then came back moments later to place Kinberg under arrest and confiscate the bicycle.

Kinberg cooperated fully with the officers as he was being handcuffed, only asking, "can I ask what I'm being arrested for?" to which no one provided an answer. As of 11:00 PM Saturday evening, he was still in custody without being charged with anything.


Somehow I think this is the last we will see of that bike, unbroken at least.

Right now the protestors are performing acts for the cameras. If the heavy hand of the police keep acting like this I think Chicago68 will look tame to what will happen.
Here is a page with links on the right to videos so you can see it in action.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Assault with spaghetti

It has started. The protests in New York to welcome the RNC convention has started in all of its glory. Who were the dastardly criminals here? Time's-up, a group of Environmental cyclists. Using civil disobedience they blocked several intersections of NY and the police replied in kind.

No. Let me rephrase that. The police seemed to be sitting back and just watching at first then the terrorist struck. Then the police acted like normal with mass arrests and baton lines.(who wants to lay money that they never get the bikes back).
At first, police seemed willing to allow the protesters to have the run of the road as they zigzagged up and down Manhattan from Union Square.
....................................
Some witnesses said the arrests in the Village began when someone tossed some spaghetti at a cop.LINK



Assault with a sharp noodle? Arrest the numb skull who threw it, not 264 protestors. Unless they were trying to deliver a message that skulls can, and will be cracked if need be.
So lets end with this nice quote
"We were standing there, and the police in riot gear came," said Becca Jensen, 22, of the East Village. "It was like it was planned. It was like they set us up." LINK

Friday, August 27, 2004

Ghost voting, the newest four-letter phrase

You learn something new everyday, and this is the vile filthy phrase I have learned today. The legislature of California just voted against a ban on fifty caliber rifles, then they voted again, and the "ghosts" voted also. This time the ban passed.
How do ghosts vote?
It was reported by the Fifty Caliber Institute that the bill lost on the original vote by a tally of 35 yeas to 36 nays (total: 71 total votes.) Then they revoted using what is known as "ghost voting" - that is, a legislator votes using the pushbutton at his or her desk, then gets up and walks over to the desk of an absent legislator and votes again. You know, like the people who are registered to vote in both New York and Florida can. This time the vote was 45 ayes, 32 nays with four abstentions (total 77 votes, 4 abstentions). Now, granted the number of nays dropped by four, but "ghost voting"??
The smallest minority has more on the whole fiasco. He does ask one important question though. Is it time to hit the reset button?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Some words should never go together

Regulate and freedom are two.
Kerry is on the defensive right now and his stories of valor are falling like a house of cards, to his parties unhappiness. While I am happy about this, this post is not about Kerry specifically.

Kerry right now is being hammered by 527 groups. They are soft money, unlimited spending groups who can put out political ads that specifically support or work against a candidate. The problem I have is the fact that the McCain-Feingold, the bill that they all fell over themselves to vote for, that was supposed to correct many laws and abuses(they said abuse, not I) is now causing a lot itself.
The 527 group hurting Kerry has created a true den of thieves(being politicians is there a better word?). They now can agree on one thing, they do not like them.

President Bush, responding to criticism that he should act against groups attacking John Kerry's war record, will pursue legal action against all "shadowy" outside groups on both sides of the campaign's fence that use unregulated funds to finance political advertising, the White House announced today.
Free speech is not shadowy people. The ability to speak freely is so important it was in the first amendment. Any limit on speech is wrong.

So what do they plan to do?

the president is now committed to acting to try to bring 527's into regulations that are appropriate."
Appropriate?
Speech that is regulated cannot be called free, outside of government circles that is. The politicians this year are getting hit hard from people outside of the standard players in politics. This scares them to their regulating core. The FEC already turned down Bush's first complaint earlier this year to a 527 group. Maybe the will again.
I have an idea. Why don't we remove all gags muffles choke collars regulations from peoples right to speak freely and see how politics plays out then?

When looking up the definition of regulate the section called "see also" was interesting. bound, confine, limit, restrain, restrict, standardise, throttle, and trammel were just a few used. Sounds like free speech isn't very free when "regulated". Maybe they know that.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I would like to say I am sorry for the lack of many posts. Life right now is in turmoil and will not end till Monday. That is when I will have the (((drum roll))) oral surgery to cut out a couple of wisdom teeth. Being over 30 this is not going to be fun.
So things will be bare for about a week.
Who is John Gilmore and why should we care?

He might either be an early protestor against government intrusion into our lives, of he might be one of the first legal victims in the war on freedom. John Gilmore has the same issues that Hiibel has, he does not want to identify himself. While Mr Hiibel did not want to identify himself for standing there, Mr Gilmore does not want to show id to fly.
John Gilmore is here today because on July 4, 2002, representatives of Southwest Airlines in Oakland and United Airlines in San Francisco refused to let him board a plane to Washington, D.C., when he wouldn't show them an ID. He wished to fly, he says, in order to personally petition his elected representatives for a redress of grievances. Gilmore thinks the airlines' ID policy is based on a secret demand from the federal government. He committed his act of civil disobedience against the security state on July 4 explicitly for the symbolism. LINK

So why is he bothered by just showing his ID? It seems like such a simple act on the surface that no sane person would object. But a lot of what the government does on the surface has ramifications that we don't like ending up with.
Many can guess what happened when he went into court to fight for his right to travel without being tagged. Dismissed.

But something strange is happening. A coalition of the unwilling is forming. I am not talking about the war on freedom terror, I am talking about groups unwilling to sit quietly by and let our basic rights fall to the side. He is now appealing the dismissal with allies.
This time, he's not alone. Wired News reports that a bevy of privacy rights interest groups are with him, signing on to amicus briefs, although they were not openly on his side when the case was originally filed. These include the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center. LINK

So the battle that Hiibel fought was lost, but there are many others occurring right now. Ashcroft and supporters of the patriot act like to ask where all of the abuses are if it is so evil. The patriot act is simply the lightning rod for the games the government is playing with our right.
While we keep our eyes on the Patriot act, the government is killing our freedom with a thousand cuts.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Latest New York complaint. Not enough abuses.

Seriously. G-Scobe is blogging that the overwhelming police presence is not doing anything like random illegal searches.
This surprisingly perfunctory report by the New York Times on the beefed up security in and around Penn Station and Madison Square Garden seemed to miss the point: what, exactly, are these hordes of police doing?
......................
the majority of the ones I see are not doing: carefully observing their surroundings, stopping people to check bags, or otherwise doing much of anything other than standing around bullshitting with each other.
While the city of New York abuse the 2nd and 1st amendments this guy is upset they are also not abusing the 4th.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated
I guess random searches "for your own good" is reasonable to this clown. Talk about a sick mentality.
Kip Esquire from A stitch in Haste, made a comment on the blog about people bemoaning the lack of abuse. Greg, who runs G-Scobe responded.
To the first point of bag-searches: Sure, it would cause a tidal wave of grief. But again - what is the point of the cops if they're to just stand around? Searching bags would at least signal to would-be terrorists that a Madrid-style atrocity would require far more effort than showing up at the train station.
I guess as long as it keep the bad guys from being bad he will let the police do anything they want. For his own good.

Kip Esquire also posts on this and feels the same way.

Monday, August 23, 2004

It's not the country I remember either

Over on the High Road, The Real Hawkeye said something I would like to share. While the talk was about the police and open carry on your own land it also talked about what used to happen and what changed. Then The Real Hawkeye said this.
You seem not to be aware that this is no longer the America it used to be. Things that are perfectly within your rights will get you killed by government agents, and the law will not punish them. It will be determined that the officer was justified in shooting you for your refusal to disarm yourself on your own property. You will be dead (unless you are faster on the draw and a decent shot) and he will receive psychological services to help him get over the supposed trauma caused by shooting you. You have the right to cut trees down on your property, to build structures there, to drain standing water, but all of these things will ultimately get you killed by government if you don't get the right permits first. I mean literally killed, because if you do not drop your drawers and bend over on demand, our government will quite literally kill you. So it is not so much any longer a question of your rights on your property because, although you have many, the government hasn't been in the business of protecting or respecting your rights in a long time. The days when the phrase, "A man's home is his castle," was a doctrine of law in this country are long since over. I, for one, am in favor of reining our government back in, and making it once again our servant rather than our master. This, however, is highly unlikely to ever happen. It will much more likely, based on the lessons of history, continue to get worse.
I regretfully agree with him to much on this. This is not the America it used to be, and it will get worse. The politicians of today offer me no hope, and the system is broken, yet still drives forward grinding its gears.
American apartheid?

I was raised after the main civil rights movement of the 60's and missed hearing Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.. I never saw personally the second class status that the blacks in America were forced to live in. My mom has told me some eye opening stories from her childhood that were quite shocking.

The closest I ever came to seeing it was what happened in South Africa under apartheid. Most people know of what happened there. You had those in power, those working with the ones in power, and those with no power. One of the ways to control the blacks was limiting there movement. To travel you needed passes, and getting them was hard. Now the reason for them was simple.
The main reason pass laws were started was that it was simply another form of power ...#
The South African government gave many reasons, but the main one was power.
We, here in the "free" United States, are starting to live under pass laws. Small steps each time. You need ID to get on a plane, who gives you ID? The government. You need ID to rent a car, or board a bus, or even take the train. Without ID you are not free to move around freely. So the first steps to pass laws is well in place.
Now we have no-fly lists. A pass law we will live under? It is if you are on the list, or sound like someone on the list like Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat , or Dr. John W. Lewis of Camden, Maine. They are not on the list, but someone with that name is, and thus they have problems.
‘Congressman, I'm sorry we can't give you a ticket, you're on our no fly list,” Lewis recalled. “And then she said, if you're on it, you never get off it.” #

Not having the mighty pull of a Kennedy they each did what they could
The doctor changed his name.
When he arrived for his usual flight in June, airline agents had some advice for him. "They said, 'You're not on the list, but your name is, and if you change your name, it will be okay,' " Lewis said.

So he changed the name on his credit card and his airline tickets to "Dr. John W. Lewis," but it has not eliminated the problem entirely, he said. Airline agents still stop him when he checks in at the ticket counter, he said. But no one raises any questions on the return trip. #
While the politician went and got paper protection
Rep. Lewis said that he filled out the form and received a letter from TSA that verifies his identity but that he doesn't want to use it. "I'm not sure why I would have to go around carrying something like a pass," said the congressman, who is known for his civil rights record. "It reminds me of South Africa." #
It does. But remember that in South Africa you had to beg for your rights, or fight for them.

So today, seeing the razorwire around the protestors, seeing a minority group getting special rights the rest do not have, and even seeing the leaders get special privileges we do not have makes me understand the urgency the blacks felt when they marched, and fought for their rights.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Dear T-Mobile

Kiss my ass. Sorry for the language to my readers but T-Mobile has a horrible system for customer service. My cell phone is on a family plan(unified in bondage in another words) and the primary account holder is not me. Well my dear wife in North Carolina to see her Marine Corp Brother-in-law's retirement ceremony(will post pictures soon) so she is roaming on the Sun-com(?) network. I tried to call her to see how her day is going and I got the following message "Sorry but the number you dialed is no longer in service. Thanks for using Sun-Com".
What the hell???

So I tried to call T-Mobile customer service. This message welcomed me "Thank you for calling T-Mobile customer service (Then repeated in Spanish) To access our service please enter the last 4 digits of the primary account holders social security number, or press pound to get a total of minutes for this number".

That's it. No person, no nothing. I have no idea what the primary account holders social security number is. I hit pound and found out what we have used. Totally useless for what I needed. I tried hitting "O" to bypass and get to an agent. Nadda. I even tried just sitting there to see if I did not enter anything it would kick over. Nope! Repeated the same introductory line again.
What a screwed up system. Unless you know private information that everyone is told not to share, you are screwed.

I tried dialing 0 and talking to the regular T-Mobile operator. All they could say was.. You guessed it. "Try calling customer service at...YADDA YADDA YADDA". The exact number I was using.
Finally my wife called about 10pm. She used to work for Voice Stream before they were bought by T-Mobile. She asked the standard "Did you dial zero to bypass?" and all the other tricks. She then tells me if I had waited through 3-4 repeats in the introduction I would have been kicked over to a person.

3-4 times??? I would have been foaming at the mouth in rage by then. No wonder people get angry in phone system hell. They set it up to anger you.
They need something like this because it would have been quite alarmed at my levels
Some day you need hip boots for the piles of manure.

The government is really on a roll lately screwing with your rights. The latest little fiasco is in New York. Surprised? The lawyers of NY have decided to deny a permit for protests in Central Park and are arguing it in court. Now there are good reasons and bad reasons, then there are reasons so stupefying that you hit your head on the table a few times to try to wake up. This is one of those times.
The city's decision to deny a permit to protesters for a rally on Central Park's Great Lawn on the weekend before the Republican National Convention is about preserving the lawn, not suppressing speech, lawyers for the city said in federal court Friday.
The lawn would be ruined if 75,000 people gathered there for a rally on Aug. 28 and then 250,000 people used the lawn for another rally the next day, said Gail Donoghue, representing the city.



You heard it here. Grass. Grass is the trump card against your rights of speech and protesting. Only one problem. It is Bullcrap.

How do I know you ask? I did a basic google search for central park. I wanted to see if there has been other groups meeting there. One of the first 5 results had this written in the article.
Not when the great Pavarotti sang before 250,000 people in 1993. Not when 130,000 turned out for Pope John Paul's open-air Mass in 1995. Not when another quarter-million showed up for a Garth Brooks concert in the park's North Meadow in 1997, nor when 120,000 came out last fall to hear Dave Matthews.
Now along comes Mayor Bloomberg, claiming he can pick and choose which New Yorkers get to use the Great Lawn for a public event.
If you're the Metropolitan Opera or the Philharmonic, Bloomberg says, you and your fans are okay. But if you are called United for Peace and Justice, and want to assemble more than 200,000 people in the park to protest the Iraq war on Aug. 29, the eve of the Republican
Convention, the Great Lawn is off-limits.
......................................
One of the biggest demonstrations in the city's history occurred on June 13, 1982, when more than 750,000 people amassed in Central Park against nuclear weapons.
Now I cannot say this is all NY's fault. The protestors will be there screaming with all the venomous hatred they can against Bush and the city shows a liking for left wing causes so I see other influences here. I will put this little act of oppression squarely in the lap of the White House.

Maybe the cost of razorwire and chain linked fences all the way around central park is the main reason. That has to be it. It is all a budget issue.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Bugmenot story

Bugmenot is a reaction to the crap registrations being required across the board. While some would say it is cheating I would say bug off.

Bugmenot was dropped from there host recently with no warning and a lot of people noticed real fast. The story of what happened is still vague, but to put it simply he got dumped.

bgm's first comment on the subject said this
Our host pulled the plug. I reckon they were pressured. If anyone has got some secure, preferably offshore hosting in mind then please let us know so we can get the service back up as soon as possible.
I wanted to see who pressured them. I wrote the host and received this curt reply.
Gunner,

Unfortunately, we cannot discuss information of any of our accounts with anyone other than their contacts. Thanks.

Regards,
Amanda Dickens
Total Control Account Executive
The Planet
800-377-6103
Main 214-782-7800
Direct 214-782-7823
Fax 214-782-7898
So I have no details of turmoil and intrigue sadly.

But now there is good news. Bugmenot is going to be up soon with a new host, the good people at nearlyfreespeech.net will be the new home of bugmenot.

This whole story did lead me to one little website that has a lot of possibilities. dodgeit.com. When a single usage email is needed pick a strange combination of letters and numbers and add dodgeit.com. Go to the site and your email will be there for a one time read then it is gone. A very freedom friendly tool to have and know of. A throwaway single usage email.
Run chicken little. Run.

With laughter as my companion I read this article about the future launch of the da Vinci Project rocket. The article is mainly about Ted Llewellyn, a professor of engineering and physics at the U of S, a Canadian Space Agency scientist that the launch of the Wild Fire MKVI rocket will be extremely dangerous and his worries.
"Saskatoon and Kindersley, of course, are going to be within bombing((I like how he throws in the word BOMB!)) range. If he loses control and goes on a ballistic trajectory, Saskatoon is in sight. It's probably on the limit but it's there,"
....................................
He also wonders how the launch will affect air traffic, considering Kindersley is along the main east-west corridor

Nav Canada, the not-for-profit agency that provides navigation services for airlines and airports, has agreed to clear the airspace in the area during the time of the launch and descent. As for the safety of populated areas nearby, Transport Canada is convinced there will be no "human factor" other than Feeney to worry about, said spokesperson Lucie Vignot.
So the only one in danger is the guy in the rocket.

While I will work on the assumption of honest worry, rather then a Canadian Space agency drone worried about the future of NASA and government money for all of his pet projects.

Let's be honest here. There is nothing gained easily in this world. You strap yourself into a homemade plane or rocket then you have the desire to do something with your life, and the knowledge that it is dangerous is a given. Will people die trying to get there without a government leash around their neck? Hell yes. Will some even die? Probably. Will the governments try to stop, or take control after the first death? I would lay money on it.

So is the sky falling? No, but his world of government control just might be.
Sometimes from the sky people may fall too, and for them I will say a ernest prayer. But we will be going, the risk is not going to stop us.

So for the da Vinci crew I end with this small piece.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds-and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace, Where never the lark, nor even eagle flew - And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod The high, untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand and touched the face of God.


John Gillespie Magee (1922-1941)
A Canadian Spitfire pilot in
the Battle of Britian
I found some new information on the foreign election observers..

"Head for the hills, the Blue hats are coming" may have been a little premature, but just a little. A couple of weeks have passed since the furor of the election observers has occurred and I now have a little more information on what is going on, and what they report.

The OSCE was here before and this is what I found

2002 election.
The early reports had about 12 observers in the US during the 2002 election. Since no one really reported on it there was no noise made.

I sent a flurry of emails off to the OSCE and one finally replied with the link I needed. As a bureaucracy they can not do anything without making reports. It is in their nature. So where was the 2002 US election report? I could not find it in the OSCE pages, but turns out it was in the OSCE/ODIHR pages. The main ODIHR page for election field activities for 2002 does not have the US listed, but the report page did.(Here is a PDF link for the 2002 US report)

The mission was in the states from Oct 30 to Nov 07. Mainly, due to the 2000 election issues of course, they concentrated themselves in the Florida area. Lead by Ambassador Gerard Stoudmann (Switzerland), and included Illir Celibashi, Chairman of the Albanian Central Election Commission; Andreas Gross, a Swiss MP, Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; Vladimir Lysenko, Legal Expert of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation; Holly McManus, Assistant Chief Legal Counsel. Elections Canada; Irena Hadziabdic, Executive Director, Association of Election Officials in Bosnia and Herzegovania; John Hartland, Paris University 2- Centre for the Comparative Study of Elections (United Kingdom); Owen Thomas, Executive Reform Ballot services (U.K.); Linda Edgeworth, independent election expert (U.S.); and Andrew Bruce, ODIHR Election Adviser (U.K.). The mission was joined on election day by Alexander Veshnyakov, Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation.

While I count only 11 observers the newspapers said 13 so some assistants may have been counted or a few may have been left off the report.

The report is pretty straight forward. It avoids all politics and deals only with the technical nature of the election and the reforms that have occurred at the state, local, and national level between 2000 and 2002.

2004
The election observers this year is in question, not if they will observe, but the number. The newspapers quoted Urdur Gunnarsdottir saying this
"We don't have any authority. We don't give them a yes or a no, or grade them," said Gunnarsdottir. "But we monitor, we publicize what we see. You can call it political pressure."
The OSCE sent a tiny team of 13 to observe congressional elections in 2002 and assess reforms made since the constitutional crisis of 2000. The group gave a largely favorable assessment. This time, a full-fledged team of 100 or more would likely be dispatched, she said.

While the political pressure comment raised my hackles(Yes I have hackles) it also gave the number 100, but note that it is not in quotes while the rest of what she said is.
The email I got here is slightly different.
Dear Mr. Gunner
Apologies for the late reply,
You can find all election related reports on osce.org/odihr/elections,
choose election reports, sorted by country.
I would also like to note that I have never given any numbers of
potential observers in November, since that will only be decided next month.

Sincerely
Urdur Gunnarsdottir

So for now the true number is not known. The ODIHR schedule for this year, with the title of Indicative Elections Calendar in the OSCE Region 2004 lists Konrad Olszewski, OSCE/ODIHR Election Adviser, in Warsaw as desk officer. But who will be the mission head has not been announced that I could find..

The report is a good read and may set some people worries to rest or show how nicely they package foreign intrusions into our system. Up to you to decide.

OSCE = The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
ODIHR = Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (General organizational mission statement in PDF form)

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Now this is just to funny

While Black list for flying is a sign of a lot of problems I do have to laugh openly at this one. Poor Ted Kennedy found that his name was also on the no-fly list.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard this morning from one of its own about some of the problems with airline "no fly" watch lists. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., says he had a close encounter with the lists when trying to take the U.S. Airways shuttle out of Washington to Boston. The ticket agent wouldn't let him on the plane. His name was on the list in error.

Now I could sit back and watch politicians like him enjoy the same crap we common folk have to for days I do find the article also bothersome for this reason.
Kennedy says it took three calls to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to get his name stricken from the list. The process took several weeks, in all.
There are people who have gone to court and are still on the list. Several weeks? I guess the old saying about "it's not who you know, but who you b**w" is so true in Washington.
I guess they have an expedited method for politicians and friends of Big Brother. Three calls! Looks like us common folk have to use the servant entrance to try to get help. This says more about the system serving itself more then serving security then anything does.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

What can be given as a privilege, can be taken away or limited, as a punishment

The problem with privileges from the state is they are at the whim of the ones who allow them. Driving has become a privilege, and an easy way to punish, and control, people and actions.
Here's a doctor, unlike the one below, who reported a man to the authorities. Maybe he took the readers digest condensed version of the Hippocratic oath? With his report a man lost his license.
judge ruled the state can suspend the driver's license of a man who lost his driving privileges after his doctor reported to police that he drank a six-pack of beer a day.

But the judge also said Keith Emerich may obtain restricted driving privileges as long as he uses a device that tests his blood-alcohol content before starting his car.
How benevolent of them. A man who has not had a dui for 23 years, has a good job, and the article mentions no other problems with the law, is being punished pretty hard. Does he drink to much? I think probably so, but what he does in his own house on his own time is his own damn business. I understand the doctor was following the law.
A Pennsylvania law from the 1960s requires doctors to report any impairments in patients that could compromise their ability to drive safely.
While this is a truly feel-good law, it does have the problem of guilty till proven innocent like this poor guy.

What is funny is that all you have to do is look good for one written test and one driving test and you can drive. The license is not about quality. The license is about control.

So the doctor and the state are acting darn heavy handed here today. But for the state I would expect nothing less.
Another victory against the system

The story of the doctor who refused to draw blood of an arrested DUI suspect is all over the net. The last I had heard he was arrested.. This morning I got good news. They will not prosecute.
Police decided Tuesday not to pursue charges against an emergency room doctor who was arrested after he refused to draw blood from a man suspected in a fatal stabbing.

Erik Lamont Lindsey had been drinking when he allegedly stabbed the victim early Saturday. Police brought the 35-year-old to Hennepin County Medical Center to get his blood alcohol tested.

But Marc Martel wouldn't draw Lindsey's blood without his consent. Martel also refused after police got a judge to telephone the doctor and tell him to draw the suspect's blood, police Capt. Rich Stanek said
Well that's mighty white of them as the saying goes. The whole issue of lawful commands has bothered me. You can be arrested for not obeying a lawful command. But where does the limit of a lawful command to protect a police officer cross over into your right to tell him to "f*** his order"? This doctor was ordered to draw blood. Sorry but that is so wrong and statist(My translation of statist is when the government thinks it can order you around just because it is the state, others would simply call it a bully like behavior).
Police considered seeking misdemeanor obstruction charges against Martel for impeding the homicide investigation.
"impending"? That is so broad that anything, even not giving your id, would be called impending. Broad ranging laws like this should never have been allowed to pass. Hell, most laws should never have been passed.
So thumbs up for the doctor and piss on the one who did cowtow to the man and draw the blood.
Also thumbs up for the hospital
Martel was not on duty Tuesday and did not have a listed phone number. He is continuing to work his regular schedule, Hayes said.
They could so easily punish him to look good, but it seems they are backing him.

A good ending all around. Good job Marc Martel.

Hippocratic Oath
Classical
What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad
Modern
I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Beautiful

Say Uncle asks the important question of the day.
The "Gun Safety" advocates always talk about how "nobody an AK-47 to hunt deer." Well, OK, but how about a mountain howitzer?

Maybe it is the macho nature of the weapon. Maybe it is the desire for a "bigger" gun then the rest. But when someone goes hunting dear with a 12 pound mountain howitzer then I will admit openly to being envious.
For those of you unfamiliar with cannon artillery talk, a 12 pound Mountain Howitzer cannon was a small cannon used during the Civil War. The early mt howitzer cannons were originally designed to be disassembled and packed into the mountains on horseback, hence the name, Mountain Howitzer. The later model Mountain Howitzers, like this one, were built on a carriage designed to be "pulled" by horses.
...........
First, let me start by saying that I'm pretty sure that it may not be entirely legal to use a Mountain Howitzer Cannon for deer hunting, at least not here in Wisconsin. ( I didn't actually ask the DNR about using a Mountain Howitzer, but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't like it ) Check with your own State Hunting regulations, ... or not ... (see hunting with artillery section)
Boom!
I will admit it here.

I am evil. When I was younger we could expect to see "The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" almost everyday. Now that the olympics are here I will admit I miss "him".
You know "him". The poor smuck cartwheeling down the hill and breaking a whole bunch of bones.

I miss the agony of his defeat.
Supply, demand, and greed. They make the world go around.

Greed and demand. Some say free market, some say corporate greed. I think both are right, the issues and the choices.

Supply
Unless you have lived under a rock you have heard of Ipods. The little boxes that have redefined music and the future of many industries. Well I found something out today. There is a little controversy brewing.
If you want to use these popular digital music players to download copy-protected music, though, you have only one source: Apple’s iTunes service, which offers songs at 99 cents a pop in the US, 79p in the UK. If you try to download copy-protected material from any other service, the iPod will refuse to play it.
So Apple has the supply. The only supply. As many know in this country when only one has a supply others will create new supplies, and not to the happiness of the monopoly in power.
We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, and we are investigating the implications of their actions under the DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] and other laws.” What vile thing had RealNetworks done? They had developed a program called Harmony that would allow iPod owners to buy songs from Real’s Music Store and play them on their own iPods.
That's it? So why all the outrage? Because they may lose the corner of their market. It turns out that this little controversy has a lot to teach us about the new economy. Now I do not use real player on my computer because of some personnel issues. I simply do not like how it installs itself. It likes to set itself up as the primary over all others. So I do not use it. But right now I like the company.
Now the question is should someone who has purchased an item, and owns it openly, have the right to "convert it" to do something it could not before? Would you buy a car that can only use Exxon? Would you buy a computer that can only ever use windows? Would you buy a set of cloths that could only be washed in Tide? No!

Limiting us in this way is their choice, finding a way around it is our choice. So I may just buy an Ipod now. But the market is flooded with other models, and they already do not have that limitation. So to Apple I say "scream your heart out". I do not feel sorry for you at all. The limits you installed died the second the bought the Ipod. The fact that companies are using the DMCA like a club is a sign of the future. Hammer all competition.

Small point. When people purchased the Ipod it was a given that the limitation was built in. So I also do not feel sorry for the ones who bought the latest wizbang fashion statement to look "in" and now do not like it. You buy it, you live with it. Does Apple know that more people may buy the Ipods now with the limitation removed?

Demand
At catallarchy a good post on Greed is occurring with heavy references to a Neal Boortz, since the storm in Florida. I could delve into what they are saying but I will simply post this from what Boortz said.
First we have the guarantee in the United States Constitution that the government will not interfere with the operation of valid contracts between individuals. An agreement by one to sell and another to purchase a chain saw for three times its common retail price is a contract between two individuals. As long as that contract is voluntarily entered into, and there is no fraud involved, and the parties are of the legal age to execute a contract ... the government has no legitimate cause to intervene.

With eye opening commentary the issue is dissected nicely.

Greed.
From Wall Street(The movie)
The point is, ladies and gentleman, greed is good. Greed works, greed is right. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed in all its forms, greed for life, money, love, knowledge has marked the upward surge in mankind - and greed, mark my words - will save not only Teldar Paper but the other malfunctioning corporation called the USA


Apple wants to use the DMCA against realplayernetwork, and in Florida the government will most likely hammer the companies using a bad law passed after the 92 Andrews Hurricane. They have already started the paperwork to punish people with a supply of an item, when demand is high.

So supply will be met, demand for supply will push greed, and thus profit. A nice cycle in my view. The government should stay out of the way, in my humble opinion.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Just great

Not sure how well I will like this new toolbar, but it sure beats that horrible blog ad that sometimes pushed stuff that I did not like at all.

Will see how useful it is in the near future.

Right no the spellcheck is not working so it is not getting a good grade tonight.
I spy on me?

Now I will admit that I understand the protection payoffs taxes our government gathers finances the bureaucracy, and it also does that same in Canada. But this little story is beyond funny and enters into the tragic zone.
Canada's police chiefs propose a surcharge of about 25 cents on monthly telephone and Internet bills to cover the cost of tapping into the communications of terrorists and other criminals
......................
Police say they cannot — and should not — be forced to pay the often hefty costs involved in carrying out court-approved wiretaps and message searches, warning that investigations will suffer if they are expected to pick up the tab.
So do you read what I read? They go and ask for a warrant to bug people, then charge everyone for the privilege of being bugged?
Now this is the part that really chaps my ass.
The matter has taken on new urgency as the federal government prepares legislation aimed at preventing criminals from using new digital technologies to shield their communications from police and intelligence agencies.
Authorities argue the measures are needed to keep up with sophisticated criminals involved in such activities as terrorism, money laundering, child pornography and murder.
Why is it every time something new comes out the government goes into hysterics screaming that bad evil people will use it and collapse civilization as we know it? The government is so used to yelling wolf that when something important occurs it will most likely be ignored. Heck, maybe that is the plan.

I think the article itself says more then it wanted to
if subscribers end up funding the surveillance effort through monthly fees, Canadians would “demand a great deal more explanation” about the initiative and how it affects their constitutional and privacy rights.

And should the money come from law-enforcement budgets, the public will be contributing “out the back door” through tax revenues, he noted.

“One way or another, Canadians are going to pay.”
"Canadians are going to pay" Truer words were never spoken.

But the shame of our government is that I expect this to slowly creep south into our system. Honestly! Charging people so they can have money to spy on them.

What next? Forcing innocent people to pay for their own imprisonment?

Sunday, August 15, 2004

This comic is closer to reality then most would think or admit

I would like to draw your attention to today's Herman, a comic strip by Jim Unger.

There is a lot of debate occurring right now about if the act of protection yourself has become a crime in not-so-Great Britain. This strip sets nicely in the middle of this debate for its subject matter. While I do not think there is a direct relationship to what is going on right now because he quit drawing in 1992 and it does not say when this was originally done. But this is worth looking at.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock

One month and the AWB will be dead. Will it stay dead, or will it rise from the ashes like TIA and CAPPS II?

I place my money on a new harsher law early next year right after the swearing in. Maybe five minutes, and that is being generous. My opinion is that they are holding off until the gun owners vote for them, then the right will sell us down the river like human chattel. The democrats learned a painful lesson in 2000 and 2002 that screwing with our rights is not good for their election hopes. But we the people have learned another lesson. The ones who supposedly stood so often for our rights, the ones who let the AWB get voted in, have not reversed one damn gun law. Letting one law die is easy, it is inaction, but fighting the bad laws is hard.

So right now they are hiding in Washington, whispering among themselves that they may have screwed this election big time. I agree. Where was Bush when they were trying to get the firearm manufacturers protection bill passed? Where was he when they tried to get the AWB renewed? Hiding. So yes I understand that there are many Republicans who do not retreat from the battle for our rights, but the party structure is best described as "to thine own self be true, to hell with the rest".

So the Republicans in Washington are trying to look good, and the Democrats cannot pass a rifle range without a photo-op occurring. What does that say to me? They are buying our love until they can get the votes. Then it's 20 dollars on the hotel nightstand with "don't call me, I'll call you" written on it.

UPDATE:
Triggerfinger is more hopeful then I can be in the political process during an election.
'can vote out the monkeys but not the organ grinder'

Michael Badnarik has had an interview published in the Augusta Free Press and it is worth reading. I am not following his campaign as much as I should, but this interview is the kick in the pants that a lot of people need to check him out.
"The Guardian - a British newspaper - ran a column by George Monbiot the other day in which he wrote that we 'can vote out the monkeys but not the organ grinder.' That's as apt a description of the 'major' parties as I've read. The Republicans and Democrats don't differ to any great degree on any important issue. If you vote for either party, you're going to get less freedom and more government. Voting Libertarian is the only way to express your desire for more freedom and less government at the ballot box."
"Monkey grinder" is the best analogy I have heard in a long time for the government system that has grown tumor like in Washington.

What are his odds of winning? Probably not good right now. But the message that was delivered by Perots' and other third party candidates is that there is a need for change. Just hope someone in Washington listens.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Rocky Top Brigade membership update




Tennessee is now home to several new bloggers. While technically one is on a ship in the Pacific, he is from here.

So take a little time to go welcome them to the RTB. The only blog group I know with its own Official Field Load*.

*Winchester Super-X Game 12GA 1 OZ #8

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Sleep protection

Ever been sleeping next to your loved one and the need for one of the following occur?
  • Protection from Bio-Chemical terrorist attack
  • Protection from natural disaster
  • Protection from kidnappers or stalkers
  • Bulletproof "saferoom" protection

Well now you do not have to worry. It is all built in to your new homeland security panic bed Quantum Sleeper bed.

The only reason I believe that this is real is because it is not April fool's day.
What a sad mentality to have

Everyone has heard the old saying "action speaks louder then words". A good view of life to have I feel.
Up in Canada one person is shocked and horrified that people may act. These "hero's" could get themselves hurt. But that is not the horror that bothers one psychiatrists. He is afraid others may do the same.
Two Vancouver men have thrown themselves in front of flailing fists or piercing bullets in recent weeks to save women being attacked, but psychiatrists fear their heroism could spark a dangerous copycat phenomenon that may get someone killed.
What a twisted world this guy lives in, his head, not Canada. To think that people being heroic is bad. Do not teach the Heimlich maneuver, do not teach CPR, do not teach how to use a fire extinguisher. You might be ((traumatized)) if the person dies and that is not acceptable.
In a very rare move, others on the scene drove into the storm of bullets trying to run the shooter down once they saw Don Miller intervene in the Monday morning drama.
See! It's starting. When will the horror end?

Other people getting involved and not first calling dial-a-prayer 911. What next. The horror of people being. Gasp! Responsible?
the police department encouraged Miller to go public with his story because too often cases go unsolved because witnesses are too afraid to even call in anonymous tips, let alone get involved at the scene.
Using the doctors sick logic the people who do nothing are the hero's. They should be applauded for not getting in the way of the police when they get there 15-20 minutes later.

This is what happens when you get your medical certificate in a cereal box.

But while all of this mental suffering is occurring he does begrudgingly admits this.
Miller could have been partially inspired by his frustration over the Brianne Voth case.

The Port Coquitlam teen was murdered and neighbours ignored her cries for help.

"I used to run in the area she was found and it astounds me that people at that time could not do what seemed so obvious, to examine what was wrong at the time," Miller said.

"I come from a community where people stick their head out the door when house alarm goes off. It's who we are and what we do. It's who we all should be."

People who stayed in bed while they heard Voth crying are still suffering guilt over their reaction, something Riar said could stay with them longer than the post-traumatic stress disorders suffered by heroes.
I would rather suffer all the mental anguish of action then passive inaction.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The body politic

Someone asked me why I am so bothered by the AWB, particularly when it has little real effect on the individuals access to firearms. I guess the best way to describe it is using an analogy.

Have you ever gotten the flu? A real crappy sickness. For me it starts with aching joints and muscle followed by weariness. I then have no appetite. About that time the fever kicks in hard and then real fast I will go from 98 to 102 in hours. I then get to lay in bed and enjoy all of the pleasure of the flu for the next several days.

Now the AWB is not the end all. The sky is not falling. But it is a symptom. It is one of many aching muscles I feel right now. The free speech zones, travel lists, and massive government wire tapping protocols are the other aches that I am now suffering. The body politic is sick, it will get sicker unless we stop the disease in its tracks now.

So I support the end of the AWB. I support the end of travel lists. I support free secure communications.

So be an antibody. Fight the sickness now.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Free speech zones are not free

This post, by Jim Hightower, that I just finished reading is a very unsettling post. It goes into detail on how wide spread and abusive the free speech zones are and the victims who do not want to be caged.
Bill was standing in a crowd of pro-Bush people who were standing along the street where Bush's motorcade would pass. The Bush backers had all sorts of Hooray George-type signs. Those were totally okey-dokey with the Secret Service, but Neel's...well, it simply had to be removed.

He was told by the Pittsburgh cops to depart to the designated FSZ, a ballpark encased in a chain-link fence a third of a mile from Bush's (and the media's) path. Bill, that rambunctious rebel, refused to budge. So they arrested him for disorderly conduct, dispatched him to the luxury of a Pittsburgh jail and confiscated his offending sign.

At Bill's trial, a Pittsburgh detective testified that the Secret Service had instructed local police to confine "people that were making a statement pretty much against the President and his views." The district court judge not only tossed out the silly charges against Neel but scolded the prosecution: "I believe this is America. Whatever happened to 'I don't agree with you, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it'?"
What happened was Ashcroft.
Now meet Brett Bursey. He committed the crime of holding up a No War for Oil sign when sensitive George visited Columbia, South Carolina, last year. Standing amid a sea of pro-Bush signs in a public area, Bursey was commanded by local police to remove himself forthwith to the FSZ half a mile away from the action, even though he was already two football fields from where Bush was to speak. No, said Brett. So, naturally, they arrested him. Asked why, the officer said, "It's the content of your sign that's the problem."
If you ever wonder why freedom of speech was mentioned in the first amendment it is because without it the rest fall silently.
Keystone cops of DC

I am a little ashamed to say I find humor in parts of this story, It is a sarcastic humor, but it will do for now. The DC police hassled some reporters and they are doing damage control. But in the best tradition of the keystone cops they seem to be adding humor to the crime.
U.S. Capitol Police officials yesterday said officers were wrong to tell two representatives of a small D.C. newspaper that they could not take photographs of security barricades on Capitol Hill.
Cool. They were wrong. Sounds good to me until another cop talks.
"They did a great job," Sgt. Sellers-Ford said of the Capitol Police officers, who stopped the journalists in separate confrontations Friday. "They did what they were taught to do, and they did it correctly."
Ha! "They did what they were taught to do, and they did it correctly." So either they were taught to do wrong, and I would not put money down that they were not, or they simply make up the rules as they go along.

The government seems play pretty loose with certain aspects of freedom lately. The harassment of photographers is the latest as here and here shows. When the police and government start from a "we are right and you are wrong" approach then things like this will keep occurring.

But the article gets a little more interesting. Here is another issue that bothers me.
Still under dispute is whether Mrs. Sinzinger and Mr. Hoffman, a rising junior at American University, were "detained," as the editor put it in an online update of her newspaper Friday, or simply interviewed, as Capitol Police maintain.
" 'Detained' is if a person is under the impression that they cannot leave under their free will," Sgt. Sellers-Ford said. "That did not happen here. They could have just not provided any information and walked away, and that was advised to both of them."
But Mrs. Sinzinger said that although an officer told her she was "free to go," the officer had requested and taken her driver's license and press credentials after he saw her photographing barricades on First Street Northeast.
When Mrs. Sinzinger asked for her license back, the officer refused for about 15 minutes, she said.
"I asked him again if I was being detained ... and he told me, 'No, you're free to go,' and I said, 'Then can I have my driver's license back?' But he wouldn't give it back to me," she said.
Sgt. Sellers-Ford said she had no comment on those details.
Mrs. Sinzinger contends Mr. Hoffman's rights were violated in an interrogation that lasted nearly an hour, and that officers also did not return her reporter's driver's license until it was "checked out."
So for once they seem to be telling the truth. She could physically leave, as long as she left all of her ID, her credentials, camera and film. I wonder if this little trick is one they were taught in all that training Sgt. Sellers-Ford mentioned?

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Not the UN, but darn close

Before the screams of "the sky is falling" the issue of foreign observers needs to be addressed. With the information that the state department has invited observers from a foreign group to be here for the 2004 elections may be a flash in the pan.
The OSCE describes itself as this.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the largest regional security organization in the world with 55 participating States from Europe, Central Asia and North America. It is active in early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.
The OSCE approach to security is comprehensive and co-operative: comprehensive in dealing with a wide range of security-related issues including arms control, preventive diplomacy, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, democratization, election monitoring and economic and environmental security; co-operative in the sense that all OSCE participating States have equal status, and decisions are based on consensus.
All in all, not to bad on the outside. Looking at this page they seem to be active in the field where new countries are suffering growing pains. The OSCE was here before observing our elections and few, if any, noticed.
The OSCE sent a tiny team of 13 to observe congressional elections in 2002 and assess reforms made since the constitutional crisis of 2000. The group gave a largely favorable assessment. This time, a full-fledged team of 100 or more would likely be dispatched, she said.
The real furor behind this issue today is the fact that the letter written to the UN asked for almost this exact thing. While the letter did ask for UN observers many feel this is an offshoot of that letter. Trying to find if they were here in 2000 or earlier has unsuccessful. I have sent several emails off to the OSCE seeking copies of any reports they may have issued about the last election. I honestly do not hold out hope they will reply, but it is worth a shot.
The State Department has invited an international team to observe the presidential election in November, prompting a group of liberal Democrats(is this redundant?) in Congress to claim partial victory in what last month grew into a nasty partisan battle.
Not sure why they are claiming victory. The facts are that this is the second year they are here. But grabbing at crumbs seems their standard fare.

So is it time to vote from the roof tops? Not sure. But keep your powder dry.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

The race is on

While SpaceShipOne did get a lot of well deserved glory in the news, others also worked for the same goal. Up in the Great White North those pesky Canadians are also planning on going into space, and earn the 10 million dollar prize.

The da Vinci project is a privately financed enterprise that will utilize balloons to get most of the way there, then blast. On a shoe string budget they are on their way.



GALLERY OF IMAGES

While I hope the American team makes it first for the prize, it thrills me that there are so many viable non governmental plans in the works to go into space. I truly think the monopoly the government enjoys is about to be lost. The only thing they have to fear, is regulations**.

I say that with a casino as the main backer they have good odds to make it.

**If you want to see a good movie about how a government can destroy great works of science for political reasons find The Arrow and watch it.
New links

I have changed my layout a little by adding an "about me" section on the right. If you want to know if Gunner is my real name, or why I blog the links are over there.
Some flowers have thorns

In Chechnya a group of terrorist decided to kill a Justice Ministry official. Sadly for his family they were successful. But it did not work out well for the bad guys due to one wife who wanted her pound of flesh. She got it.
According to Interfax, four men wearing masks and camouflage, approached the house of Ramzan Asukhanov"s family in a car. The bandits broke into the house and attacked the investigator and his elderly father. They killed investigator Asukhanov, and then tried to steal VAZ-2109 vehicle being in the yard with no keys.

At that moment, the wife of the killed man, Chechen by nationality, took her husband"s machine-gun, went out to the yard and started firing at the bandits. One of them was killed at once, another one tried to throw a grenade at the lady. Either the woman"s gun bullet hit him first or he did something wrong, but the grenade exploded in his hands. He died.

The third attacker was also killed on the spot. The fourth banded was wounded, and later he died in hospital.
One tough lady and a firearm made this end slightly better then it was going to end.



Her husband was listed in several articles as main investigator, and in this one as 'specialista in interrogatori'(Italian). He was doing a dangerous job in a deadly reagion.
While the above photo was the only one I could find of her I did see her name listed as Lilia. Lilac in Russian.




Even pretty flowers have thorns.

Friday, August 06, 2004

What do you call a car zipping down the road with two wheels?
An accident?!
Nope. A gyrocar.


I will admit a strange affinity for the odd and strange in this world. This vehicle is a prime example of this love.




A car with two wheels, kept upright with a built in gyroscope. Now this is not the technology of today. This is the technology of 1912. Planned and built by Russian Count Peter P Schilovski, an expatriate living in England it was way ahead of its time.
In 1912 the Russian Count Peter P Schilovski, a lawyer and member of the Russian royal family, visited the Wolseley Tool and Motorcar Company, and laid before their engineers plans for a two-wheeled gyroscopically-stabilised car. At that time Wolseley were a sizable manufacturer producing ordinary cars, double-decker buses, taxicabs, lorries and even powerboat engines.
While this was built to early for the technology it did partially work. Others have tried it including Ford with this high-tech plastic looking Ford Gyron.



Now compared to the other one this car is just ugly in my view.

Others gyro vehicles were built including a gyro monorail train. These and other items of the strange can be found here at the Museum of Retro Technology.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

I have no shame


What do you call someone who wants to destroy his own job?

I call him brilliant. I also call him Kakha Bendukidze. In Georgia, Central Asia, the man who has been put into place to privatize and dispose of the giant soviet carcass is doing just that.
Next year-if not sooner-he will cut the rate of income tax from 20% to 12%, payroll taxes from 33% to 20%, value-added tax from 20% to 18%, and abolish 12 kinds of tax altogether. He wants to let leading foreign banks and insurers open branches freely. He wants to abolish laws on legal tender, so that investors can use whatever currency they want. He hates foreign aid-it "destroys your ability to do things for yourself," he say's- though he concedes that political realities will oblige him to accept it for at least the next three years or so.

As to where investors should put their money, "I don't know and I don't care," he says, and continues: "I have shut down the department of industrial policy. I am shutting down the national investment agency. I don't want the national innovation agency." Oh yes, and he plans to shut down the country's anti-monopoly agency too. "If somebody thinks his rights are being infringed he can go to the courts, not to the ministry." He plans, as his crowning achievement, to abolish his own ministry in 2007. "In a normal country, you don't need a ministry of the economy," he says. "And in three years we can make the backbone of a normal country."

I wish there were more like him. The path that he is trying to lead the country is free of outside handouts, with strings, and less government control over everything. I think the greatest threat to him will be the old system not wanting to lose the reins of power. He is selling off everything that a government does not absolutely need to run.
If you want to buy a dysfunctional boiler house, an international airport, a tea plantation, an oil terminal, a proctology clinic, a vineyard, a telephone company, a film studio, a lost-property office or a beekeepers' regulatory board, then call Kakha Bendukidze, Georgia's new economy minister. His privatisation drive has made him a keen seller of all the above. And for the right price he will throw in the Tbilisi State Concert Hall and the Georgian National Mint as well.
So when he is done let's see if we can get him to move here? Our government sure could use a kick in the rear like he is delivering there. I know, I know. Fat chance. But I can dream, right?
Burial at Sea

I am not a milblogger, but this story is a heck of a read. I first saw it posted at Gen Hawk's CM Forum. Originally posted on Sgt Grit American courage newsletter(scroll down).

There are some jobs in this world that nobody should ever have to do for a living.
War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it. Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded there Vietnam was my war.

Now 37 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days in Cambodia, Laos, and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of the North Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:

*The smell of Nuc Mam.
*The heat, dust, and humidity.
*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.
*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.
*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.
*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.
*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.
*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.
*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland.
..........................................
MY FIRST NOTIFICATION

My third or fourth day in Norfolk, I was notified of the death of a 19 year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters Marine Corps. The information detailed:

*Name, rank, and serial number.
*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.
*Date of and limited details about the Marine's death.
*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air Station.
*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or closed.
There is not enough money in this world to make me do what this guy did. But for him it was not money, but duty.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

GUNS GUNS GUNS

It is the beginning of the month and that means there are a few more firearms that are ready for you to win.

Here we have a Winchester model 70 Super Shadow in 25 WSSM . It is the prize in the Great gun giveaway that runs till the end of the month. One entry per person.



Here we have a beautiful Remington 870 Wingmaster shotgun that is the monthly prize from Remington. Membership is required, but it is very simple and easy to become one.



Do not forget the great Barrett sweep that is still running.

Well that is it for new firearms today. Good luck.
ON and OFF

Two simple words that some are incapable of understanding. Mancow is a shock jock on the radio. I have heard him in passing but he is not my cup of tea. So what do I do? I turn the knob to another station. Sounds damn simple to me. Off.

Now some do not like him, heck I could use the word "hate" and not be far off. Now instead of changing channels they have decided to purge his villainous words from the air waves. I call it mob censorship. Why does this guy do it? What is his main beef?
Smith said he monitors Muller's show as a volunteer for Citizens for Community Values of Illinois, an organization that promotes Judeo-Christian values, and will continue to file complaints against any show he believes violates decency standards.
Promotes? I think the correct word should be inflict.
I think the main issue is who controls the airwaves and who defines indecency.
The FCC regulates indecency on public airwaves. The agency has stepped up enforcement since Janet Jackson's breast-baring performance during the Super Bowl halftime show in February.
While they use the word public it is misleading. Public means government owned and controlled. The FCC has decided they own the airwaves. What you own you can regulate. Stern, Mancow, and Janet Jackson's perky right breast have all become victims of the recent crackdown on offensive material. The FCC seems to have become a subdivision of the fundamentalist Christian right.
We now suffer under the all seeing eyes of self appointed guardians of our purity. Cloaking themselves with the title of protectors they are nothing more then little Nazis.



When I look at this picture he reminds me of the class monitor the teacher would pick to snitch on us watch us when she left the room.
Should the airwaves be allowed to carry material offensive to some? Yes. Should the government control what is said on the air? No. Should this self appointed guardian be horse whipped? Repeatedly. Should the FCC die? Yes.

So I end this post with a beautiful rant from Mr Dennis leary.
- I like to think. I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech and freedom of choice. I'm the kinda guy who sits in a greasy spoon and wonders: "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy and fries?" I want high cholesterol. I wanna eat bacon and butter and buckets of cheese, okay! I wanna smoke a cuban cigar the size of Cincinatti in a non-smoking section! I wanna run through the streets naked with green jello all over my body, reading Playboy Magazine! Why? Because I might suddenly feel the need to, okay pal?! I've seen the future, you know what it is? It's a 47-year old virgin sitting around in his space-pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing 'I'm an Oscar Mayer Weenie!'

Monday, August 02, 2004

hypocrite, thy name is ACLU

There are fewer things in life that I enjoy then watching the holier-then-thou's fall upon their own swords.
The latest to fall is the ACLU. The ACLU has taken on the fight against government watch lists and no fly lists. In this regard I support their actions fully.

The watch lists remind me of the security controls that existed in the old Soviet Union to control people. While the paper wall is being built here with new ID's and no fly lists many have taken up the cause and resisted. The ACLU has supported many actions against the TSA and homeland defense department for their actions in this regard.
In the soviet union another way to control people was to keep them from being employed. I had not thought we had gotten that far. But with a swift kick I found out today that we had, and that the ACLU was doing it also.

Now many would ask why the ACLU would do this. Why would they silently support watch lists of this type? Why would they not complain openly about the people they could not hire?

I can give you 500,000 reasons. That is the amount of charity money they would have gotten under the Combined Federal Campaign
The certification has been required since October of all groups that participate in the Combined Federal Campaign, a charity drive for federal employees and military personnel that raised $250 million for thousands of groups last year. The lists, which contain thousands of names, are posted on the federal program's Web site.
So the ACLU director signed off on it. Hey, money is money. To say the shit hit the fan would be an under statement. When the rest of the board found out things turned nasty.
The promise and related subjects were discussed at a contentious, all-day board meeting in San Francisco on July 9, and a motion to rescind the promise was overwhelmingly rejected by a voice vote. A.C.L.U. officials said the debate would continue.
So the best they could do was to reject the idea to give the money back.
Well in steps the NYTimes. On July 31 they had the full story of the ACLU's support and usage of the watch lists.
Suddenly they were able to get the votes to rescind the promise. It is amazing how a little light on a subject will make it look totally different.
The American Civil Liberties Union withdrew from a federal charity drive on Saturday, rejecting the $500,000 that it had expected to receive through the charity this year.
The move was prompted, the civil liberties group said, by an article in The New York Times on Saturday. The article reported that the group had signed a certification saying it would not knowingly employ people whose names appeared on several government terrorism watch lists.LINK
Now this is the best part. Like a kid with its hands in the cookie jar the turned around and issues a statement that just reeks of self righteousness.
The Patriot Act and the government's "war on terror" are threatening the ability of America's non-profit charities to do their essential work and we have John Ashcroft to thank for it. By requiring non-profit charities to check their employees against a "black list" in order to receive donations from the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), John Ashcroft and this administration have created a climate of fear and intimidation that undermines the health and well-being of this nation. Organizations that enhance and promote America's health and education, the arts and the environment, children's services and religious life are threatened by the web of fear that emanates from the Patriot Act and the war on terror, and that is wrong.

Let me be clear. The ACLU will not be intimidated. We will not compromise. We will never check any of our employees against a government list. And we absolutely will not accept any funding that undermines or threatens our principles or our mission. LINK
My comment to the ACLU is that it is hard to reclaim your purity after selling yourself for 10 pieces of silver.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone
Look real stupid and they write about it for the whole world to mock you.

PART VI

When you take the title of ecologically friendly you might not want to do what these people did. While on a eco-cruise to study nature in Alaska they decided to have an Exxon Valdez moment.
A small cruise ship catering to eco-tourists was seriously damaged after running aground in the Aleutian Islands.

Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Roddy Corr said about 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from the ruptured tank, as was some waste water. He said swift currents dispersed the spilled fluid before it could be cleaned up.
While I am really sorry for the fuel leak, I do have to laugh my rear off at the nature of the accident.
It could not have happened to a better group of people.

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V

To damn lazy

I'm a solid firearms enthusiast. I can't afford to be a proper gun nut, but I can hope. The news is filled with a solid effort to ...