With Republicans Like These…

06/28/2007: Anyone who reads these pages knows that I’m no fan of Sean Hannity: at best, he is the jock-washer for the GOP agenda. On the other hand, he occasionally helps expose the idiocy of some of our enlightened leaders. Last night, he helped show the world why the GOP is in shambles.

Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) is not only an imbecile, he’s also an enemy of freedom.

His support of “comprehensive immigration reform”–read: Amnesty For Criminals (AFC)–shows that he hardly respects the rule of law. Immigration reform is not about passing new laws that will create more bureaucracy and require more tax dollars; it is about enforcing the laws that we already have.

Hannity was right to grill Voinovich about a bill that–if passed–will cost Americans in the upwards of $2.5 trillion. We already have enough government; if we cannot shut down the borders with what we have, then shame on us.

Making matters worse: Voinovich was fighting for a bill that he hadn’t even read.

Topping it all off, on the so-called “Fairness Doctrine”, Voinovich sounded more like Hugo Chavez and less like a Republican:

Fairness Doctrine – I’m all for it, whatever it is…I think everyone should be open to show the other side. That’s what you do every night on Fox. That’s great!

That’s not the issue, George; the Fairness Doctrine is about government controlling political dialogue in the free market. We have countries whose leaders do exactly that. They are called dictatorships.

Earth to George, come in George!

For all my gripes with Rush and Hannity, they are where they are because the market has embraced them. I almost never listen to Rush or Sean, but millions of others do.

And it’s not like the left has not tried to carve a niche in the same market; many liberals have tried their own shows, and none have succeeded as Rush and Sean have.

It is ludicrous–suicidal–to expect the government to come in and sack a market entity just because you don’t like that market entity.

A government with that much power will rule more than the airwaves.

I just hope the voters in Ohio are taking notes.

ARRL Field Day 2007

06/25/2007: This year, I decided to take part in the annual Field Day event, promoted by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).

While I have been a ham radio operator for several years, I haven’t been as active in ham-related events as I should have been. Some of that has been due to my preoccupation with other issues; i.e., my health, other hobbies, work, etc.

Well, after having moved to a house this April–which affords me more room to operate than did my 1-bedroom apartment–I have made a deliberate attempt to become more active in my ham operation, even getting involved with the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) in my community, and volunteering as a storm spotter (that puts me one rank ahead of a crash-test dummy, but I digress!)

My ham station is relatively modest and–after field day–became even more modest (more on that later). I have three radios: an ICOM IC-V8000 2m radio, a RadioShack HT (also a 2m radio), and a Ranger DX2950 10m radio.

The Ranger rig is a piece of crap–I traded a cheap handgun for it. It doesn’t work on the ham frequencies, but I can use it for the CB channels.

The ICOM was a great radio (more on why I use the past-tense to describe it later),

The RadioShack HT is perfect for quick low-power operation. My favorite activity with that one is going to the top of Iroquois Park in Louisville, and getting contacts all over the place.

My antenna is a very reliable Buddipole, which allows me to set up very quickly work on a variety of frequencies. For 2m (144MHz), it’s perfect. I also have a solar array with two 12V batteries for my portable power supply.

In all, I can set up and transmit within 5 minutes, giving me a very portable radio station in the event of an emergency. Everything–including my chairs–fits into the back seat of my Chevy Aveo.

Anyhow…for Field Day–June 23 to June 24–I set up shop with the Anderson County (Kentucky) Amateur Radio club. These folks were first-class, and very impressive–jaw-dropping!–in their technical expertise.

Their high frequency (HF) antennas ranged from Yagis (directional antennas with which satellite communications is facilitated) to dipoles and verticals, allowing them to work a range of different frequencies conducive to long-distance (DX) communication.

Their modes of operation ranged from CW (continuous wave, better known as Morse Code), packet (computer-driven communication), and voice. The CW operator was the most impressive; he was racking up contact after contact after contact, all in rapid succession. When I headed home at midnight, the CW operator had well over 100 contacts.

Unlike voice communication–where trying to understand voice inflections and dialects can be very difficult–CW is a lot easier to pick up. If you know Morse, communicating with it is far easier than voice.

The Anderson County folks put me to work on their 40m station, and I enjoyed the heck out of it. I’d not had any prior experience working the HF bands–all of my experience had been at 2m (VHF)–but it was very enjoyable. I made contacts in Maine, Texas, and Delaware, in spite of difficulty picking up some voices.

The Field Day was not without some hitches, however.

For the afternoon, I decided to use my 2m ICOM radio. I had it set up well, using my solar array to listen to conversations. Then, at about 1pm, I decided to move my station to a shady area under a tree. As I was hooking up my rig, I suffered from a momentary case of cerebral flatulence (better known as a brain fart). I hooked up the radio with the polarity bass-ackwards.

End-result: I fried an electrolytic capacitor, which leaked all over the circuit board, destroying a $200 radio!

Needless to say, I committed several off-the-air FCC violations, describing the accident using terms rooted deep in our carnal heritage. On a lighter note, I intend to frame that circuit and mount it in my office at work, as an example of what can go wrong, even with the most innocuous error.

Takeaways:

(1) I will need to design a circuit that protects from reverse polarity. Engineers must often design against Murphy’s Law, and since the ICOM has no such protection in what was otherwise a great radio–my HT does have reverse-polarity protection–I will need to ensure that I make such a circuit. This will save my pocketbook, not to mention keep those off-air FCC violations to a minimum.

(2) I need to learn Morse Code so I can communicate in CW. CW tones are a lot easier to pick up than voice inflections. Plus, as I move onto HF operation, CW will make establishing contacts much easier.

(3) Speaking of HF, I need to improve my electronics skills. That way, I’ll be able to buy an Elecraft K2–a nice radio that is inexpensive, but must be assembled–and get into HF communication without spending really big bucks on a radio.

(4) Those folks at the Anderson County Amateur Radio club were great to work with. I can learn a lot from them.

(5) I wish there were more hours in a day so I could do everything I had an interest in doing.

(6) When I head down to Florida this fall, I will make it a point to apologize to my aeronautical engineering professors for all those bad things I said about electrical engineering when I was young and stupid.

Atlantis Touches Down in Lakebed

06/22/2007: After one of the longest shuttle missions in history–which included several space walks, a heat blanket repair, a near-catastrophic computer meltdown on the Space Station, and re-entry delays due to inclement weather, the Space Shuttle Atlantis finally touched down at Edwards AFB.

This is an example of a mission that had many chances to go wrong, but–thanks to great efforts on the ground and in space by top-class engineers and specialists–was successful. No injuries. No fatalities.

I’ll be drinking a nice, cold adult beverage tonight in honor of a great job by our space program.

I pull no punches when managers–especially bureaucrats–get it wrong, but I also believe in giving credit where it is due.

This is engineering done right. Great job, guys.

Media Bias and Campaign Contributions: What’s Really News?

06/21/2007: I cannot understand why MSNBC’s report on media political activity–which shows that the overwhelming majority of the news media support left-wing causes–is “news”. This has been a gripe of the right for several decades.

Fact is, right-leaning political candidates are used to it by now. For all my differences with Bush, what made his 2004 victory over Kerry so impressive was that he had to defeat the Fifth columnists in almost every major news network (except Fox News), and the sixth column that is Hollywood. That he proceeded to flip off his conservative base does not help the GOP, however.

As for journalists creating the veneer of impartiality? Puhleeeze! To deny media bias is on the same level as holocaust denial: only true imbeciles would accept that there is no media bias. And yes, that bias is left-leaning.

On the other hand, most of the problems of the Bush administration have less to do with the media and more to do with his own failure of policy. The field of GOP candidates will need to distance themselves from the President in order to have a chance at election.

School Crossing Guard Busted for Child Molestation

06/20/2007: Dale Hutchings even kept videos of many of his encounters. He has been charged with over 300 counts of child molestation. In every case, the victim was under 13 when the molestations began.

He was a crossing guard for the school district.

That’s okay, I’m sure your kids go to a really good public school, where teachers don’t rape their students. And if you want to believe that, I have a bridge in Baghdad to sell you.

Pilgrim and I would love to do the taxpayers a great favor. We’re waiting for the government take us up on the offer.

Call it Wild Boar therapy. We could give these lowlifes a stomach-opening session in self-discovery.

Cost to taxpayers: $0.

GOP Facing “Perfect Storm”

06/20/2007: In 1992, multi-billionaire Ross Perot made a valiant run for President. But for a few strategic errors–embracing abortion rights, picking a running mate who could not articulate effectively, and exiting the race before getting back in–he would have won. He still took 19% of the vote and killed the Bush Presidency.

That dynamic could play out in 2008, with neither political party fielding candidates who are strong. This time, it is New York mayor Michael Bloomberg–a multi-billionaire–who could throw a complete monkey wrench into every politico’s model.

And–if both major parties are sufficiently split–he could win.

Fact is, the conservative base is pissed at the GOP. Bush has sold us out, and none of the top Republican candidates are true conservatives. The base knows this, and this is why Fred Thompson–an overrated former Senator from Tennessee–is showing strong in the polls in spite of not being in the race.

On the other hand, the Democrats are not much better. Hillary Clinton alienates more voters than she attracts. If she had her husband’s charisma, her coronation would be a foregone conclusion. Barack Hussein Obama can raise big money and will be a strong candidate, but not this time.

All major candidates are underwhelming.

Enter Bloomberg.

Sure he’s a huge liberal–pro-abortion, pro-gay, and anti-gun. But he knows how to talk the right talk. And that makes him worse than Hillary: where the First Bitch scares off voters, Bloomberg can tell you to go to hell, and tell you in such a way that you would look forward to the trip.

The kicker: he does not need to carry a lot of states; he needs only to split the vote enough to garner a plurality.

End-result: if he doesn’t win, Hillary does.

This is because the Republican Party has abandoned its principles, and therefore has all but lost their conservative base. The base can’t guarantee a victory, but they can guarantee your defeat if they stay home.

THAT is the scenario that the GOP dreads, which is why they are pulling all the stops to scare people into voting against Hillary (and Bloomberg if he gets in) rather than for the GOP nominee.

The anti-Kerry forces won in 2004, but that was without a viable third party candidate. Also, Bush still had significant positives going for him at the time.

Now, however, it’s a different ballgame. The base is tired of the GOP Kool-Aid.

After 14 years of talk about balancing the budget and paying off the national debt, we are in more debt now than we were in 1994.

After 14 years of talk about smaller government, we have a federal behemoth that would make FDR look like a libertarian.
After 4 years of talk about how “we are making great progress in Iraq”, we are sick of seeing that turn into chaos while the neocons talk of war with Iran. We are sick of a President who cross-dresses as a conservative while presiding over a military that prosecutes chaplains who pray in Jesus’ name.

They may not vote Democrat–I certainly won’t. But they may not vote at all.

Perhaps four years of Bloomberg–or Hillary–might be what America needs. We are better off if we see unvarnished evil, as opposed to evil cross-dressed as good.

The Gates of Hell Attempt to Advance on the Church

06/19/2007: Unfortunately for Hamas, they will find out that Jesus meant what He said: the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.

Forget about American–or even Israeli–retaliation. Let’s face it: the United States is as much a “Christian” nation as Britney Spears is a “family” entertainer. And Israel–with the highest per-capita abortion rate in Western civilization–could care less about the plight of Christians.

(In fact, I would submit that many Israelis privately celebrate the demise of Christian missionaries at the hands of Hamas, given the evils perpetrated against Jews by faux–or in some cases misguided–Christians over the centuries. But I digress.)

And Europe? Aww…they threw God off the cliff a century and a half ago. The continent that gave us the reformation is now in need of missionaries.

And Asia? China could probably offer some pointers to Hamas, although their efforts to stamp out Christianity–from Mao to now–have met with staggering futility. Come to think of it, no Totalitarian regime has ever won against the Church.
I have no doubt that the Church will prevail.

Not because we have armed people who will fight wars–we’ve established that neither America nor Israel have the moral clarity or the national resolve or the economic capital to fight such conflicts.

However, the Church will prevail because Jesus–the head of the Church–already won the war that mattered. All else is details. The Messiah will vindicate His name, just as He is doing in China. Just as He is doing in North Korea. Just as He did in the old Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain.

What can we do here in the United States? President Reagan proved–in his two terms–that you hardly need large-scale military confrontations to stand for what is right and be effective. Would that we had a President with sufficient moral clarity.

Such a one would be welcome.

As for me, I’ll pray for those believers behind the Islammunist veil. And I’ll back it up with my checkbook.

Mom Sentenced in Contract Rape Case

06/19/2007: A “mother” who–via a written contract–allowed her boyfriend to have sex with her 15-year-old daughter has been sentenced to 12 to 22 years in jail.

I’d say the bitch got off easy.

Her “boyfriend” had a sterling track record: he was busted for two other instances of sex with a 12-year-old girl. He’ll get 12 to 25 years for each of those (hopefully consecutively and not concurrently) in addition to the possible 15 years he will get for the four counts of raping the 15-year-old.

I know this is mean, but he will find out–the hard way–how it all feels. His fellow inmates will provide that special insight for him. It is also my hope that her fellow inmates will provide some candid instruction to the broad who sold out her own daughter.

As I have always said, Pilgrim and I would be happy to provide appropriate lessons, and at a great discount to the taxpayers.

A Day Late and Millions of Dollars Short: Crocodile Nifong Resigns

06/16/2007: [Soon-to-be former] Durham County DA Mike Nifong–in a last-ditch effort to save his legal career–has finally offered to resign amidst a deluge of crocodile tears.

He is now attempting to tear a page from the Clinton playbook, apologizing for the consequences of his actions rather than the actions in question.

Fact is, he intentionally withheld exculpatory evidence that clearly exonerated the Duke lacrosse players. He refused to accept verifiable alibis from Seligmann’s lawyers. (While any prosecutor would be right to be skeptical of such evidence, it would be appropriate–obligatory–for a prosecutor to evaluate its veracity.) He used the media to orchestrate a character assassination of the three defendants in spite of what he knew about the DNA evidence.

One must question his rush to judgment. Given that he was in the midst of a re-election campaign, pandering to the black community by frivolously accusing three white Ivy-leaguers of raping a black woman scored some political points for him.

Given that he played the race card in accusing–falsely–the lacrosse players, one could perhaps consider if Nifong should be prosecuted for violating federal civil rights laws. After all, he trod all over the civil rights of the Duke lacrosse team by piling on a racial motive that exposed them to civil rights prosecution.

(That the North Carolina AG declared them innocent–rather than not guilty–is hardly insignificant. Otherwise, the three players would still be in jeopardy in the event a race pimp like Jesse Jackass Jackson decided to pursue the matter).

His lack of regard for civil rights cost a lacrosse coach his job, three players their reputations and hundreds of thousands of dollars, and scarred an entire team beyond any shame they deserved.

Disbarment would be too light a punishment for Crocodile Nifong.

Nifong Gives 10% of Lawyers a Bad Name

06/15/2007: Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong is a scumsucker of the first order. Given his propensity for making false accusations, he is damned lucky we aren’t enforcing Biblical mandates on that matter; the proscribed punishment for the false accuser is the same penalty that the falsely accused would have faced.

His conduct merits disbarment; disembowelment would be even more appropriate.

Now don’t get me wrong: the Duke lacrosse team is hardly a model of pristine citizenry. Hiring a stripper was beyond dumb.

On the other hand, they did nothing illegal, and they deserved not to have their reputations dragged through the mud as they were accused of a rape, the alleged motivation of which exposed them to potential federal civil rights charges in addition to the rape charges.

Today, Nifong is taking the stand in his last-ditch attempt at CYA. He almost certainly will be disbarred–if he is not, then we might see mass-lynchings of lawyers. Come to think of it, that might be a good thing!

On the other hand, this is not merely about Nifong; this is about a government apparatus that encourages frivolous prosecutions. And don’t give me the crap, “Well..the system worked here.” That’s only because they came from families that had the wealth–and generated sufficient publicity–to mount an offensive against Nifong’s cacophony of fat-assed lies.

People are losing confidence in the system because the system is run by crooks. Nifong is but the tip of the iceberg.

And don’t get me wrong: I’m all for aggressive prosecution of sex criminals, especially child molesters and those who commit rape.

That said, I’m for the prosecution of criminals, not innocent people for whom exculpatory evidence is hidden. We must not conflate sympathy for victims with the notion that all accusers are legitimate victims. People can and do lie about having been raped, just as people–including Presidents–can and do lie about sex.

Responsible prosecutors owe it to the accused, and the public, to approach evidence Constitutionally–with the presumption that the accused are innocent, until proven guilty.

Anything else is Stalinist.