Supreme Court Commies?

Posted in General with tags , , , , on June 12, 2008 by musist

Okay, help me here… The US Supreme Court just ruled that foreign nationals being held in GITMO have constitutional rights!  Oh my God!  Are they US citizens?  Since when does the US Constitution guarantee rights to anyone other than US citizens?

Is the US Supreme Court reflecting an American public desire to rule the world by extending the US Constitution to cover all people, everywhere?  Is that what Americans want?

If you can help me understand the logic behind this ruling, please enlighten me.  (But please keep your comments clean and civil.)

Many thanks!

Where’s the beef? (Between the cable isp’s and their customers.)

Posted in Rants with tags , , , , , , on June 3, 2008 by musist

If you subscribe to Comcast or Time-Warner Cable services for your Internet connection, you’re about to be screwed.  Here’s the background and story…

Comcast, as you’ve probably heard, recently got their asses hands slapped by Congress, because they (Comcast) were illegally throttling back their service to their customers that used peer to peer connections (also known as bit-torrent).  Bit-torrent was a method used by many folks that illegally (according to copyright law as interpreted by music and movie company attorneys) downloaded or otherwise shared music and video files where ownership or the right to transfer ownership was or might be in question…  Okay, it was a common method used by folks (kids young people, mostly) to rip music from a single CD and share it with gazillions of other kids young people without having to buy the CD.  Well, that is a pretty smart way to get to listen to music you like without having the ability to buy it, like most kids young people.  (In my day, we just went to the library and checked out the album, taped it, then took it back…  How is that different?)

However, the music and movie industry didn’t think it was too smart of them, because they thought they were losing gazillions of dollars in revenue from the purchases that these kids young people would otherwise have had to make.  (Well, don’t tell anyone, but most of these kids young people didn’t have the money to buy the CDs in the first place, or they wouldn’t have used bit-torrent to download copies of music they didn’t own.)  Nonetheless, there have been many expensive legal cases brought against some rather unsuspecting mothers, college students, kids young people, and websites producing ridiculously enormous judgments for the music and movie industry, against the people that couldn’t afford to buy the damn durn CD in the first place…  much less hire the legal eagles to properly defend themselves.

I’m not trying to make a judgment here (yeah… right…), however, it was really stupid on the part of the kids young people to illegally copy the music, and really, really, really stupid on the part of the music and movie industry to go after the kids young people.  If they really want to get some revenue from recovering their stolen material, go after the Chinese CD forgers that press millions of hard copy CDs and sell them throughout the world.  Anyway, I digress…

So, back to the current issue.  Comcast was recently found to have been throttling back the connection speeds on those customers they found were using peer to peer connections (bit-torrent).  Now, pay close attention here… Comcast customers buy a connection service for a particular price, expecting a particular transfer rate for their Internet connection (call it “speed”).  This is not unusual, all cable customers purchase their Internet service under similar, if not identical conditions.  If you’ve noticed, all cable companies will allow you to purchase a faster “speed” for more money.  (If you don’t understand any of this, call your cable company and ask them to explain it to you.)  You’ll also find that your download “speed” and your upload “speed” is quite different from each other.  I have no issue with this, as it’s plainly described in the advertising/marketing materials from all cable companies.  What they don’t tell you…

The physical cable and equipment that is used to pump TV, HD-TV, music, Internet phone service, and Internet service to your house, has a maximum capacity. Normally, that capacity would not be a problem, if 80% of the subscribers used their computers and their Internet connections in the manner that was anticipated when the cable companies strung cables and fed their signal through them (oh, about 20 years ago).  But, times change and so do our computing habits…  Now, we stream radio, TV, You-tube, massive games (Yea, World of Warcraft), and other Internet uses that are not intermittent demands on the Internet connection.  So, while you may be paying for a set “speed”, so are all your neighbors.  What’s wrong with that?  Well, when the cable was strung, no one (not even you) was streaming data over the cable.  Now everyone is doing it.  And here’s the problem…

Since no one was streaming data when the cable system was designed, it was designed with as many intermittent connections as it could comfortably handle.  Well… by streaming data, we put considerably more traffic on the system then it was designed for.  Now, no one is going to lose a connection, but if you live in a neighborhood where a lot of folks are using their computers as telephones, or play Internet games, or stream radio, or You-tube videos, you’re going to see a slow down in your connection speed.  Because the cable companies didn’t couldn’t foresee the huge increases in Internet traffic, they inadvertently ended up advertising, marketing, and selling you a particular connection speed at a particular price, and now they find they can’t produce!

So, being the greedy pigs they are, Comcast went after the folks that used peer to peer connections… incorrectly putting the blame for slower connection speeds on the backs of the kids young people that used to illegally download CD music.  They (Comcast) started to throttle back the connection speeds of their customers using peer to peer connections, without telling those customers!  That’s why Congress slapped their asses hands.

While they may be pigs, Comcast is also smart.  They have devised a way to monitor the Internet traffic and they are going to throttle back the connection speeds of “neighborhood Internet hogs”… who’s calling whom, a pig?  And it seemed like such a good idea in the isp barnyard, that Time-Warner has announced that they would also become a pig and follow the example set by the barnyard chief pig, Comcast.

If you have Internet service provided by Comcast or Time-Warner, then go google this issue, get smart, and start talking to the folks that regulate your cable service.  That’s usually some sort of group related to your city government… which probably won’t help you at all, because a lot of cable companies get exclusive rights to “serve you” with a service they can no longer provide, by providing that same service throughout your local government buildings and offices for free!!  So, I’d recommend forgetting about your local government and going straight to the local TV stations…  Oh, wait.  They’re owned by each other.  Forget that.  Go to your national representatives… Anyone forget this is an election year?  They’d be happy to jump on your bandwagon.  Send emails, make phone calls, and write letters (quick before the postage goes up again) to your national representatives and let them know you’re not happy with the greedy pigs that aren’t providing the connection speeds and service you thought you purchased.

By the way, I’m not a customer of either Comcast, or Time-Warner, but their piggish greed just pisses me off upsets me to no end.  And if they get away with it, well, it won’t be long before my Internet provider does the same thing.


Sweet Memories of Memorials…

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on May 27, 2008 by musist

This was another year that I didn’t go to a graveyard, or other service to pay public tribute to those that have given the ultimate sacrifice for our way of life. And I regret that.  Consequently…

I’m embedding a video from YouTube, since I believe that it is one of the finest musical tributes to those that sacrificed their lives for the rest of us. I hope this will make you consider that sometimes the sacrifices of the survivors may be the greatest sacrifices of all. It’s a sacrifice that lasts a lifetime.

Enjoy. And give thanks to those that are serving the ultimate sacrifice, the loss of a loved one.

The song is called: “Silver Medals and Sweet Memories”, and is performed by The Statler Brothers.

Memorial Day – Take a moment to remember

Posted in General, Raves with tags , , , , , on May 25, 2008 by musist

The Memorial Day holiday is tomorrow, May 26, 2008. As most of our thoughts are concentrated on the coming election, the economy in general, and the price of gasoline (touching $4/gal in Florida), and how it affected our holiday plans, let us not forget the fine men and women that have served the rest of us…

I’ve had the privilege to meet many extraordinary men and women serving as airmen, sailors, and soldiers. Some serve because it’s the best job they can get, some serve because family members served, some serve because they love our country and what it represents, some serve simply because they feel it’s the right thing to do. But whatever the reason they serve… they serve so that we can go about our daily lives, praising the good things that happen to us, and complaining about the bad things that happen to us.

Take a moment to remember those men and women that are serving, or have served for all the rest of us.

I’d like to finish with a quote from the Commander, Pacific Air Forces, General Chandler, as posted on the Air Force News website (

Memorial Day: Remembering our heroes

Commentary by Gen. Howie Chandler
Commander, Pacific Air Forces

5/24/2008 – HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii (AFPN) — On this Memorial Day, we take time to remember the men and women who have selflessly given their lives — some more than 200 years ago, some just last week in the Middle East  — defending freedom.

When called upon to defend the rights and liberties of this nation, American Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines have responded courageously. For more than 233 years our military has protected our nation. Our world and our armed forces have changed over time, but certain elements of our armed forces remain constant; the selflessness, sacrifice and dedication to duty displayed by men and women in a United States military uniform.

From Bunker Hill to the Solomon Islands Campaign and Linebacker II to Iraqi Freedom, the can-do spirit of American servicemembers has been a part of our nation’s history. That spirit is alive today as Airmen defend our nation with courage, honor and dignity around the world.

In the past year, more than 1,200 brave Americans and hundreds of coalition military members have given their lives to foster freedom. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten and their achievements will forever be woven into the history of the United States.

Daniel Webster said, “Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, their remembrance will be as lasting as the land they honored.”

Our thoughts go out to all our great Americans standing freedom’s watch, as well as their families.

Florida Power and Light… Isn’t!!

Posted in Rants, Raves with tags , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2008 by musist

That’s it! Florida Power and Light did it again – We had another 1/2 second power outage. This happens once or twice, every one to three days! And it’s been going on for the three years that I’ve lived in Florida! I can’t imagine the degree of incompetence that must exist within their management, and that of the Florida politicians and/or agencies that regulate such an important part of Florida’s infrastructure. Everyone one of them should be voted out of office, or fired.

I can’t imagine any other state in this country that tolerates the frequent power outages that occur in the state of Florida. I don’t even see any references to it in local news media. Have the residents of this state become so accustomed to it that they expect it is part of normal life?

I encourage every reader of this blog to contact their local city, county, and state representatives and demand that these costly power outages end.

UPDATE – June 12, 2008 (Rave!)

After getting the governor’s office, and the Florida Utilities Commission involved, the problem hasn’t recurred!  Now, neither of the agencies I attempted to contact did anything for me.  In fact, they threw up so many roadblocks, that I was ready to go to a “consumer help” TV show.  However, since they were contacted, there have been NO problems with power!  There have been two short events that occurred since, but they were obviously a result of really nasty thunderstorms with plenty of lightening.  Kudos to whatever brought about the improvement.  I’ve even been impressed (in a positive way) with the reliability of power during some really nasty thunderstorms.  Good job, FPL!

Credit Crisis?

Posted in Rants with tags , , , , , , on March 14, 2008 by musist

Sure, we’re in a credit crisis, in fact anyone that doesn’t acknowledge that we’re in a recession is deeply in denial.  There is a fix, and it can be done by the same folks that caused the problem in the first place.  Congress…

We all know that the American consumer (along with Congress) is woefully too far in debt and buried under various loan payments.  We are talking about expensive cars, mortgages, and excessive credit card debt.  This huge debt load is also bringing about the destruction of the family unit that made this country so fabulous.  Everyone has to work and bring in some income.  It’s rare that I meet someone whose spouse is not also holding down a full-time job, in fact there are some families where one spouse is holding down two jobs (that’s three incomes, if you have trouble with the math).  All right, so what did Congress have to do with this?

There was a time when all loan interest was tax deductible, sadly, I don’t know the history of that, so I don’t know how long it was in effect.  However it was used to spur the economy.  You could deduct your car loan interest, credit card interest, mortgage interest, and virtually any other interest you paid to borrow money.  This certainly spurred the economy – we bought all kinds of stuff.  It wasn’t long before the marketing gurus got involved and pressed the public with all kinds of ideas about what they needed to be successful and beautiful.  We began to borrow more, spend more, and worked very hard to “keep up with the Joneses.”  It was a nice environment, really… you could treat loan money as free.  After all, who was paying the interest?  Congress!  Well, as you can guess, it wasn’t long before our elected officials wanted the same treatment.  I can just picture them asking each other, “Who do we get to pay the interest on our excessive spending?”  “We can’t tax the public, they’ll throw us out of office.” “I know… let’s let the IRS take the blame.”  And the interest tax deduction was removed for all interest except mortgages.  Congress got their income, and families took on two jobs.

So, here’s the easy credit crisis fix:  Restore the tax deduction on all loan interest.  Cars, homes, credit cards, RVs, planes, trains, whatever you can get a lender to loan.  We’ll have a lot more spendable income (certainly more than the silly $600/person relief program that is coming your way).  The only bad part is that the government will lose a lot of tax income.  Well, that’s not so bad, here’s the fix for that…

Congress… eliminate pork barrel spending.  And that’s not hard to do, just stop promising your campaign contributers that you’ll send money their way!  There’s nothing that I would like better than to have a legislator that will promise to do nothing, and that no new laws would be implemented without first removing two stupid laws in it’s place.  Need more ways for the government to cut back on spending?  Eliminate the IRS through the adoption of Fair Taxation legislation.

Of course, for any of that to work, all of us need to be a little bit less greedy.  We need to stop doing business with companies with unfair business practices… like raising your credit card interest rate whenever you add a credit card, or default on someone else’s card.  Banks should only adjust rates based on your performance with their card.  Ah well, that’s another post, someday… Greed.

Democrats and election shenanigans

Posted in Rants with tags , , , , , , , on March 11, 2008 by musist

Okay, I’m not a fan of Obama (who the heck is he, anyway), and I’m certainly not a fan of Billary, but please… Do these people running for President of the United States have any honor? Are they above the law? Or suffering from some sort of psychosis, where they don’t realize that their actions cause a perception of being above the law?

This country was founded on democratic ideals, the most important of which is the ability of the people to choose their government through elections. Well… Michigan and Florida certainly did that in their respective primaries. Isn’t it interesting, that since the people of both states chose (voted) to have their primary elections earlier than demanded by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democrats said, “It’s my ball, and if you won’t play by my rules, I’ll take my ball and go home!” OH MY GOD! Children… running the electoral process without regard for public choice.

Even funnier, the democrats decided that they would not campaign in either state. Now, isn’t that a hoot? Vote for me, but not when you chose to, and do it without knowing anything about the candidate you’re voting for! In fact, let’s take this to the extreme and NOT EVEN PUT OUR NAMES ON THE BALLOT! Oops… forgot about Billary. She put her name on the Michigan primary ballot… the only stupid democrat to violate a stupid agreement. Of course, the highlight of this shenanigan, is the response from the DNC where they are refusing to seat the duly elected delegates of the States of Michigan and Florida at their national convention. Result…

The candidates are struggling to win and really need those delegates. (Especially the sole Michigan candidate (Billary). So, the question now is, how do we seat those delegates without looking like fools? (Oh, wait, we already look like fools.) Well, lets have those states vote again! Why not? Surely it’s a common practice, somewhere in the world, to keep voting over and over, until the vote is what the recipients want. Isn’t it? Like Cuba? Maybe? Russia? Hmmm, no, they just “nominate” one candidate, so there is no need to rig the election. After all, a single candidate only needs one vote…. (Do the math, Maynard.)

Oh, there are lots of discussions about how we can redo the election process (as long as the state doesn’t have to foot the bill). Dumb. DUMB. Dumb. (Can you hear me?)

How can we possibly expect to elect a person worthy of the Office of the President of the United States, if they can’t even adhere to a simple, right to choose, electoral process. We have refined the electoral process to one of choosing an idiot to represent idiots. Anyone that does not demand the DNC revise it’s process to one of due elections, is an idiot.

There was a time when I could feel sorry and sad for Obama and Billary… now I just feel sad for those that support them without regard to correcting the poor process.

Now, before everyone flames me… Here’s one very easy way to solve it. Have a single, nation-wide primary on the Tuesday following July 4th in an election year. Any and all candidates can campaign their heart out, up to that primary. On one night, the nation turns out to choose the candidate from each party with the highest number of votes. Those persons identified in the primaries go on to campaign nationally for the office, of which the current election process would not change. (Vice Presidential running mates can be announced by the winners of the national primaries.)

I’m certain this is not the best method of choosing a President, but it’s certainly better than the manipulated shenanigans we’re experiencing now.

Let me know what you think, but please don’t use this as a forum to advocate a candidate. We’re talking process here, not candidates. I don’t care who wins, as long as the majority of this country properly votes the candidate into office.