Thursday, June 26, 2008

Justice John Paul Stevens needs to quit. Now.

The Supremes in Washington today finally declared that the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution protects an individual's right to own guns. Unfortunately, as cut and dry as this should be, the justices split 5-4.

Writing for the dissenters, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons."

That is exactly what the Framers had in mind, Johnny. Exactly.

The 2nd Amendment was added to the Constitution to protect our right as US Citizens to posses firearms to protect ourselves from others that wish us harm, and to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government.

For the Supreme Court, the Constitution is their instruction manual. Their bible. John, you should know that document and the history behind it inside and out.

If you don't, you need to retire. Right now. If not, you need to be impeached.

Retire, John Paul Stevens. You don't deserve to wear the robe.

Innocent until proven guilty--then what?

Many of you, my friends, know that one of my best friends stands accused of a brutal murder in northern lower Michigan. Out of respect for his family, and the family of the victim, I won't name names or link to news stories or describe the crime or anything like that -- there has been plenty of news about this in Michigan. I grieve for the victim, someone who I have met a few times, and I grieve for the victim's family. Nobody should have to have a loved one killed and abused in that manner. I also grieve for my friend's family, who will probably all but abandon him this time, as they are rightfully sick of him getting into trouble.

Things don't look good for my friend. I can't say if he did or did not commit the crime -- I simply don't know. Some of our friends, at times, have questioned his mental state or perhaps questioned if he has or has had a chemical dependency of some sort. But, since I have known him, he has always been a good friend to me. We've gone on business trips together, we've drank beer together, we've gone gambling together (he's lots of fun at the blackjack table). He's had words of comfort and prayer when my wife and I lost our son. In fact, right about the time the murder allegedly occurred, my dad had a heart attack and he called frequently to make sure that he and my family was OK.

He has been in trouble in the past, the most recent experience being about five or six years ago. He was set up to take the fall for a particular crime and languished for nine months in jail before the correct perpetrator was caught. I was one of the few people who would take his collect calls from jail, and he and I would write to each other. He always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and can't seem to stay out of trouble.

I am a firm believer in the fact that we are innocent until proven guilty in this country. I will wait to judge him until the verdict comes down. I will say that the evidence that has been released doesn't look very good for him. As much as I want to believe that he didn't have anything to do with the crime, I have to admit that it seems possible, if not likely, that he did. The question I am posing to myself is, if he is proven guilty, will I turn my back on him because he is a monster for doing what he [allegedly] did? Because whoever committed this crime (my friend or someone else) definitely is a monster that needs to be put away.

I don't know the answer to that question. Yet.

I'd like to think that I could no more turn my back on him than I could my own brother (if I had one). Because he is a brother to me. We are all brothers and sisters. We all need to forgive. His life is not over -- the rest of it could be lived out in a concrete and metal room provided by the state of Michigan, but it won't be over (Michigan does not have the death penalty). Guilty or not, if I had a brother, I could not imagine him having to live out the next 30-50 years in the misery of a jail cell, whether he deserved it or not. But all is not lost for his soul. I don’t know much about the Bible but I do recall a story about David (the same one that killed Goliath) and BathSheba and Nathan. The gist of the story was that if you commit a sin, you will be forgiven by God but must still face punishment on Earth. He can still get to heaven, but he needs to face his earth punishment first.

Would my faith be strong enough to pray for him and his soul, to help him seek forgiveness from God, and to visit him (if I am allowed) in his misery, while all the while knowing what he [allegedly] did? Then, will I be able to accept that I am a hypocrite, who believes that criminals like that deserve to rot in a bath of battery acid while being forced to watch reruns of The Brady Bunch and Judge Judy until they check out and catch the non-stop express train to Hell?

This is what is tripping up my mind right now.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

"It's Him"... or, "ooh-ooh that smell! Can't you smell that smell?"

I spent this morning and afternoon at Ham-Com, the largest hamfest in Texas. Saw lots of people (mainly vendors) that I got to see at Dayton last month (see my Dayton Hamvention post from May). Gordon West WB6NOA was there, as well as good ol' Russ from Batteries America. Rick the SignMan from Baton Rouge, and my friend Allen from Link-Comm, makers of the finest repeater controllers. And, although the always cute Laura wasn't there from The Ham Station, her equally hot sister was, and yes, I did tell Laura's equally cute sister that she was cuter than Laura, like I promised to in my Dayton post.

If you are a fellow ham, you know that, although most ham radio operators are relatively clean folk that enjoy showering and smelling and looking relatively presentable, there are a select few that, well, don't. And a representative number of these unwashed hams were at Ham-Com today. It always reminds me of my annual trek to the Fort Wayne Hamfest each November. Each year since we were in high school (except for a couple of years, probably including, unfortunately, 2008), my best friend Kevin N9IAA and I have made it a tradition to go to the Fort Wayne swap, and then enjoy a nice meal afterwards (Hooters, or some sushi place).

And, invariably, we smell "him." We don't know "him" personally but "him" smells bad. It's a unique smell, with nuances that neither of us have smelled at any other time of year. Each year we have gone to Fort Wayne, without exception, we smell "him". It'' a game, really. We could be looking at somebody's junk table, or possibly some expensive test equipment, or we could even be snacking on nachos at the snack bar. And then, one of us will smell "him" coming. And then the one who smelled "him" first says those two little words that have become famous between the two of us... "It's him." And then the other will acknowledge, "Yes, it definitely is him." We then take a look, and sure enough, it's "him". The same "him" that it has been every year. We always smell a number of smelly people. But we can always recognize "him" when he comes on walking past.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bill's Presidential Platform, Part 1: Immigration

It's official. We now know that Hilary is out (yay!), and Obama and McCain are going to be battling it out for the next, oh, five LONG months. So, it is also official that this is going to be a battle to see who is the lesser of two evils. I trust Obama to make good on his promises more than any politician I have ever trusted in the past, yet I don't like his promises. On the flip side, I don't trust John McCain. And I think he is waaaay too liberal on some things (global warming, immigration, etc). So I will probably vote for him. Or not at all.

I am too young to run for President but, when I am old enough to do so in four years, my wife would kill me if I tried, so I guess I will never be president. So I am laying out my presidential platform, in hopes that someday some person will pirate it off of me.

First lesson for that person? At a debate, actually answer the questions. Don't dance around them, don't be politically correct, don't diss your opponent, just ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTION. You will most likely really impress people who like your platform.

So, follows my Immigration Plan:

1) Everybody who is here illegally, GO HOME! That doesn't mean we don't want you back (see below), but if you GO HOME now, you will increase your chances of being able to come back and not have to worry about looking over your shoulder all day.

2) Mexicans (IN MEXICO) and other non-Americans (IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES) who want to work in the US can apply at the US Embassies IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES for a two year work permit. They will fill out the application IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES. They will submit the fingerprints IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES. They CANNOT do this once they are in the US. They MUST GO HOME!

3) Based on current employment conditions, the US will pick applicants via lottery to come in THROUGH A BORDER CHECKPOINT with their PURPLE CARD (work permit) for their two year work term. They have ONE MONTH (generous) to find a job. If they lose their job, they have ONE MONTH to find another one. During their work period, they have NO access to social services (welfare, food stamps, education). Medical care will be provided by a fund that is funded by a special tax on them

4) At the end of their two years, they may apply again on their way BACK HOME. Or, they can also apply for the citizenship process at this time.

5) Anybody EVER found here illegally will be removed from the country and will NEVER be eligible for citizenship. State, county, and local governments will be required to process illegals through their court system. Failure to do so will result in losses of federal funding.

6) All persons wanting to apply for US citizenship will be required to have gone through one term as a guest worker, to learn English, and to take a citizenship exam that requires a few months of study.

7) While here as a guest worker, instead of social security taxes, they will pay a guest worker tax to cover medical care for guest workers.

8) Guest workers will be allowed to drive if they purchase AMERICAN car insurance.

9) Conviction of any crime resulting in a jail or prison sentence will result in deportation after the sentence is complete, and a permanent ban from the US. Conviction of ANY drug crime or sex crime that results in a non-jail sentence will result in an IMMEDIATE deportation and lifetime ban.

10) ENGLISH will once again be the official language used in the USA. No business or government agency or form or sign will be required to be bi-lingual.


See, the plan is beautiful in it's simplicity. It gives everybody a chance and removes the riff-raff.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Just read "Ten Ways to Save Money in your Bathroom" ( by Trent Hamm.

A few points that stuck out (and my comments):
Shower Install a low-flow shower head - or at least an adjustable one - and stop dumping water down the drain. I generally use a pretty light water flow for washing everything except for my hair - all I need to do is wet myself down, then scrub without the water, then just rinse myself off. There’s little need for strong water flow for that.

Whether from someone who simply wants to save money, or a treehugger that wants to save every drop, I hate hearing that I should go out and buy a low flow shower-head just about as much as I hate people telling me that I should swap out all of my perfectly fine light bulbs for those crappy little fluoroescents. Anyway, EVERY shower head sold for the past 10 years (probably longer) is a low flow shower head (2.5 gallons a minute). In the past I have been known to remove the flow restrictors so I could get a better shower but in recent years the low-flow heads have gotten much better. But I aint gonna take a shower with a light water flow and do it like this joker. A 20 minute high pressure shower is my morning coffee--it's responsible for waking me up, as well as helping me smell good. And my water bills are actually quite reasonable.

Laundry At home, I typically use one towel for every two showers. I’m essentially just wiping clean water off of my clean body, so the first time around I just hang the towel on a towel rack. This reduces the bathroom laundry by half.

I typically can get away with using one towel for a whole week. After all, when I get out of the shower I am the cleanest object in my house, which means a towel should theoretically last forever. But this guy? He doesn’t use enough water from his showerhead to rinse off properly, so his towels probably only last him a day or two. But this is also the guy who makes his own detergent for real cheap… so he can afford every two days.

Toilet bowl cleaner Never buy store-bought toilet bowl cleaner unless you have exceptionally hard water. Instead, just sprinkle some baking soda all over the inside of the bowl, add a little white vinegar, leave it for a few minutes (it’ll foam a bit and such), then scrub it down with a toilet brush and flush it. No blue water, either.

Wasn't this a typical elementary-school volcano science project? I bet you could really talk the kids into cleaning the toilets for you now! I'd miss the blue water though, especially the part about re-discovering how yellow and blue make green… (we men are entertained by the simplest things)

Razors If you’re a guy and are using disposables or an electric razor, take a serious look at shaving with a traditional safety razor. Over the long run, they’re cheaper than both the electric razor and the disposable razor and I feel they give a better shave once you’re used to them.

I may be willing to try this. I only shave every four days because of razor burn. The safety razor may actually get me more days between shaves as it will probably remove both the dermis and epidermis as well, and most of the hair follicles.

The sink Master the fine art of using the plug. Instead of letting the water run while brushing your teeth or shaving or washing your face, instead just plug the drain, let enough water run so that your needs are met by the water in the basin, and do your thing. When you’re done, just let the water out. By letting the faucet run while brushing or doing similar tasks, you waste a substantial amount of water.

OK, so I am to plug the drain, put some water in the sink, wash my face (thus turning the water soapy and dirty), then rinsing the washcloth in the filthy, soapy water, and then rinse off my face with it? It's the same reason I don't take baths… I don't like marinating in my own filth.

And finally…
Toilet paper Buy it in bulk from your local warehouse store, then know how to minimize usage. It only takes a few sheets to do the job, so when you use big wads of it, you’re basically flushing money down the toilet.

Define a few sheets? I don't really want to get into this too deep, but, really now… Each wipe takes a minimum of six sheets, gently folded into a square… although most of the sheets never touch the poo, they are there to add strength to the TP so that your finger doesn't pop through. Although if Sheryl Crow can get away with only one sheet per sh!t, and this guy uses a "few" sheets, he probably smells a little bit better than Sheryl does.