Tuesday, July 31, 2007

From the "War Is Peace" File

Condoleeza Rice says that pouring more than $63 billion in arms into the Middle East will promote peace and stability there.
"This effort will help bolster forces of moderation and support a broader strategy to counter the negative influences of al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran," she said.
In what way? Where is the cause and effect there? So the Middle East is ravaged by war, threatened war, and terrorism, and the best course here is to send more arms.
Burns said the sales to Saudi Arabia are in the U.S. interest because they serve to keep stability in the region.
Yes, and that is obviously Saudi Arabia's primary motivation:
The Saudi monarchy has methodically focused its military on pomp and equipment and spiffy uniforms, ensuring that it not acquire any real offensive capacity or the ability to operate as a coherent force. It does not want a competent, independent military contemplating a coup. These toys are really for the battalions of princes to play with.
I... really just can't stand it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Again with the Executive Privilege

Just a funny note on something Tony snow said yesterday when talking about Congress's attempts to get members of the administration to testify about the U.S. Attorneys firings:
And so now we have a situation where there is an attempt to do something that's never been done in American history, which is to assail the concept of executive privilege, which hails back to the administration of George Washington...
Regarding Washington, that's true as far as it goes, but I don't think that particular case is really helpful for the administration, since Washington actually gave the information to the Senate because of their role in formulating treaties, which would seem to indicate that the administration should give the Senate the information for which they are asking because of the role of the Senate in confirming U.S. Attorneys.

But that's not really what I wanted to talk about.

Instead, it's the mind-bogglingly retarded statement that "assail[ing] the concept of executive privilege" has "never been done before in American history." As Steve Benen notes, Nixon's claims of executive privilege were pretty well "assailed". But more than that, we don't even have to go back as far as Watergate, nor back to Democrats (who clearly don't understand how our leaders are trying to protect open discourse within the administration) trying to bring down Republicans (protectors of the right to free speech in service of this great nation). No sir, assailing executive privilege was all the rage amongst the current "sanctity of internal administration debate" crowd.

It's funny how perspective changes over time, even for the "strict constructionist" crowd.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

John Yoo on Executive Privilege

I think I've made it pretty clear in the past that I'm not a big fan of John Yoo, to put it mildly.

Glenn Greenwald has a nice piece today on Yoo's take on executive privilege... then and now. The Reader's Digest version (without the right-wing slant, of course) is: against it for Clinton, for it for Bush.

This has always been my argument with supporters of the various statist and powerful executive powers claimed for Bush nowadays: change the name of the President to Clinton and tell me how much you support these powers then. It's pretty simple.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More solutions for Golden Gate Park

In the Chronicle today, Nevious says:
[I]f you are in Golden Gate Park, a far greater danger [than coyotes] is that you, or your child, or your pet, will step on a dirty hypodermic needle. Step off the paths, and you'll have plenty of chances.
Which is true. I lived in the Upper Haight for quite a few years and the little grungy groder kids were always a blight on the park. I'm not a big fan. So.

My proposal is that we use the same solution as with the coyotes. Whaddaya think? Groders are too hard to trap (plus then you have to give them habeas corpus and who's got time for that?). I say issue licenses and have groder hunting season in the park. It'll be awesome.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Good for the NFL

Mike Vick has been barred by the NFL from attending training camp. Strictly logistically this had to be done, but morally I think it was required too. No, Vick hasn't been proven guilty in a court of law, but you don't have to be proven guilty of a crime to be fired from your job, just found to be unsuitable for your employment. Mike Vick is now unsuitable for his job as the face of the Atlanta Falcons and one of the ambassadors of the NFL.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Let's clarify what we mean by "nature"

OK, first some background. There were a couple of coyotes in Golden Gate Park who attacked some dogs and stalked a dog walker. The Department of Fish and Game eventually opted to kill the coyotes. In response, the citizens of the city of St. Francis played their duly appointed role and wept and gnashed their teeth over the barbarity perpetrated on these noble canines.

I hang out most days on a private IRC channel with a number of friends of mine, most of whom I know from my days in the Bay Area, with a number of them ex-roommates from one period or another in San Francisco, the heady days of the dot-com period. I commented on this IRC channel that this very reaction is exactly why many people think that people in the Bay Area generally but San Francisco specifically are, for lack of a better word, dipshits. They're not stupid, by a long sight. But as Paul Kantner never tires of saying (although I do get tired of hearing him say it), "San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality."

So my friend John has replied to my assertion that many people in San Francisco are dipshits. I'm not going to respond in the comments section, because it requires you to register with tribe.net and I'd just as soon gnaw my own leg off (get it? It's an "animal in a trap" reference, plays off the whole coyote thing!). So I'll just do it here. Let's fisk the fucker.
I felt bad for the coyotes.
Considering that the meat of this post is about John's desire to blast raccoons into visceral mist in spite of city firearms laws and the overwhelming population of raccoons in the area as well as his various experiments in drowning and other extinguishing the life force of various rodents, I have to wonder as to the genesis of his sudden affection towards and respect for the life of some varmint species. My guess? Its sheer exoticness. In San Francisco at least, coyotes aren't rats or raccoons or gophers, NO! They are a symbol of the free and wide open Wild West, a noble totem of the Native Americans whose appearance in Golden Gate Park heralds the return of the spirit of Gaia to displace the emptiness of our modern world.

Of course, if you live or have ever lived anywhere where there actually is a coyote population, you'll know that they're just as fucking annoying as raccoons and rats and any other vermin. They're considered a pest to be controlled. They are not threatened or endangered.
A friend of mine, Rick, from LA was on IRC and posted the article where San Franciscans were pissed that who ever the fuck just killed those two coyotes in Golden Gate Park and he said, "This is why people make fun of San Francisco."
First, I'm not "from LA". I've only visited Louisiana a couple of times. But I'm assuming he actually means "L.A." or Los Angeles. I do own a home in Long Beach, which is in Los Angeles County, but I'm not from there, as he well knows. This comes up again later, which is why I mention it.
Hmmm, well, first off, they didn't need to kill the coyotes, they could have trapped them and relocated them.
Why? To what end? To save the dwindling populations of coyotes in the American West? As noted, there is no dwindling population of coyotes. They're doing fine. Why doesn't John support the trapping and relocation of his raccoons and gophers? If he's so squeamish about killing animals nowadays, why doesn't he divest himself of his sizeable collection of animal skins and body parts, become a vegetarian, and working on living alongside of as opposed to instead of his rodentine and ursine neighbors? Because raccoons and gophers piss him off. He hasn't been bitten on the ass by a coyote yet, which would change his tune, I betcha.

The issue with trapping is that it's not particularly easy to trap a particular animal. Reggie the Alligator lived in a lake in Harbor City (right across the ports from Long Beach). It took two years to catch him and then he basically had to walk into their arms. This is an alligator. In a lake. And it's not a big lake (compare that to Golden Gate Park at the same zoom level).

So it'll take a while to trap the coyotes and in the meantime they're still loose in the park. According to the spokesperson for DFG, "animal officials had been receiving calls reporting the aggressive pair for about a week." So for a week these animals have been reported, they have physically attacked dogs in the park, and DFG and the city are just supposed to let them wander around, saying, "Hey, we set some traps, we're doing what we can do, wouldn't wanna hurt 'em, y'know."
Secondly, those coyotes were probably protecting some pups who are now long dead.
Nope: "Experts had theorized Sunday that the pair may have been acting so aggressive because they had a litter of pups. But today, [the DFG spokesperson] said no pups had been found and the female coyote was not lactating." So that wasn't it. And even if it was, what's that matter? We have a problem with two coyotes in the park, so we want to make sure that they can have some more? That's stupid.
Oh, and there was a line, "God Forbid, they'd have attacked a child..." well, that's the breaks people. A Dingo ate my baby. Watch your kids. How DARE nature come back to some place where it was millions of years before we built our artificial society and where it will return once we've killed ourselves off.
OK, now here's where John descends into pure dipshittery. Our "artificial" society? This from a guy who works QA for an Internet search company and lives in the Sunset? I have to say that it's hard to take this kind of back-to-nature bullshit from someone who lives in one of the densest urban environments in the country and just wrote an entire post about snuffing small animals. Give me a fucking break, my friend.

Furthermore, coyotes wouldn't be returning to nature in Golden Gate Park. Golden Gate Park itself is an artificial environment, a faux sylvan woodland erected by human ingenuity and enterprise in a place where only sand and seagrass once flourished. There were no lakes. There were no waterfalls. There were no trees. There was dick-all, and that's about it.

This is not nature, red in tooth and claw. Golden Gate Park is a park, the third most visited city park in the country. I have little sympathy for someone who wanders around in Yosemite or any truly wild area and has a run-in with a wild animal that ends badly: that's the damned deal with "wild". Golden Gate Park, though, is not wild: it's a park and it's generally accepted that parks are exempt from the "baby dragged into the bushes" part of the wild animal equation. That's not the breaks and, if you don't believe me, speculate on what sort of jury award would have resulted if the city had known about threats from these animals, had equivocated and tried to trap them in the name of humane treatment of animals, and then the animals had injured or killed a pet or kid (or, if the animals had been or become rabid, infected an adult). Can the city really afford to pay out in a case like that?
Fuck LA, Fuck Michael Vick and fuck Fish and Game for killing the Golden Gate Coyotes instead of trapping them. Fuck LA mostly for the traffic, their shallow reality broadcast across the universe, the smog, and most of all the Dodgers.
I'm not really certain how L.A. is to blame for this. I agree with the traffic part, which is one of the reasons I'm ready to abandon southern California. The smog sucks, but I've seen plenty of brown days in the Bay Area too. And absolutely fuck the Dodgers. They are the most hated franchise in sports to me.

But the complaint about the "shallow reality broadcast across the universe" rings pretty hollow coming from a guy that watches American Idol and Project Runway. Give me a fucking break. This is one of those little short-hand things that everyone "knows" about L.A.: "Oh, everyone's so shallow." No, you're shallow because you mistake the idiocy that you see broadcast about celebutards for the entire depth of a region of 24 million people.
So anyway, I've got Gophers and fuck them.
So here we see the truth: it's all relative. If it's goring John's ox, well, fuck it. If John doesn't have an issue with it, well you shouldn't either, so fuck you. Sure, fuck Mike Vick. But there's a huge distance between getting entertainment value out of the suffering and death of animals and exterminating animals that have exhibited threatening behavior in the middle of a densely populated city.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tony Soprano's Outro

Have you seen this? I had heard a few references to this post (or at least one similar, but I'd guess it was this one) in the immediate aftermath of the Sopranos finale, but I just dug it up and read it myself today. I have to say that I find it pretty convincing. When the various references and allusions are dug out and presented, it's hard to argue with the point.

Whither now for Mike Vick and the NFL?

So in case you hadn't heard, Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons was indicted on charges (PDF) of being involved with a dog-fighting operation run out of his house in Virginia.


Now, as a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, I will admit to being what is known as a Michael Vick "hatah," in the parlance of our times. I hate the Falcons, maybe not with the white-hot heat of a thousand suns as I do the Dodgers, but like about 999 suns or something. 998 suns. A lot of suns, a lot of heat. They are my most hated team in the NFL. OK? Just so that's clear.

And Michael Vick has irritated and annoyed me his entire career because he sucks. Oh, he's a great athlete: he's just a shite quarterback. So I love every game between the Bucs and the Falcons where we're told that this is the game where Vick's speed and developing passing acumen will tear up the Bucs' defense and... then he gets bitchslapped. And before bringing up the fact that the Falcons did much better last year, it's worth noting that the offense in the September 16 was primarily run yardage. Vick passed 10/15 for 92 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. That's a passer rating of 77.6. Not exactly evidence of becoming a feared passer. He fared worse in his next game against Tampa, with a rating of 62.7 on 14/23 passing for 155 yards, no TDs, and an INT.

And before any accusations of racism arise against me... that's not the issue. There are a number of black quarterbacks I really like. McNabb, Culpepper (whether he'll be able to come back from the knee injury remains to be seen), Leftwich (ditto on his injuries), Cunningham, Moon, Steve McNair, guys that are good athletes and smart quarterbacks, whether they fit the "athletic" mold or not (Mcnabb did, but doesn't any more, Leftwich never did, etc.). There are also black quarterbacks that suck: Aaron Brooks, Quincy Carter, Kordell Stewart (the latter of which I blame for the momentary fascination with quarterbacks that double as running backs and consequently the immediate fascination with Vick when he was drafted). Black quarterbacks are, in other words, much like quarterbacks in general: some are great, many are good, and some suck.

So now that my complete lack of impartiality is completely established...

The NFL should suspend Michael Vick. Now. Yes, he's only been indicted, not convicted. But it's worth noting that Pacman Jones was suspended before being indicted, meaning that Vick was vulnerable even before yesterday. The league doesn't really have a leg to stand on to not suspend Vick other than they'd rather not have to suspend one of their superstar players. But then they'd rather one of their superstar players was not associated with this disaster in the first place. To remove the onus from the league, Roger Goodell needs to suspend Michael Vick now.

Len Pasquarelli provides a potential rationale for not suspending Vick right away:

It should be pointed out, however, that, unlike the players suspended by Goodell to this point, Vick is not a repeat offender in the eyes of the NFL. His actions at times have been offensive, but have never earned him a demerit under Goodell's stewardship. So the Tuesday indictments, in and of themselves, may not be grounds for action by the commissioner.

It's a fair point, although even Pacman Jones wasn't a "repeat offender" since he'd never officially legally offended, because, again, he had not been convicted or even indicted at the point at which he was suspended. But let's remember that Vick's had a few episodes (Ron Mexico, the airport water bottle incident, and I believe a few other minor fracases.

But to me, that's not the most compelling reason to suspend Vick. Instead, the fact is simple: even the best case scenario for Michael Vick shows negligence and a lack of personal responsibility on Vick's part. Even if his culpability is limited to owning the property on which these dogs were raised and trained (because at the very least he's guilty of that), he has to take responsibility for that. This should be an object lesson to every player in the NFL: what you own, what you enable your posse to do, your property is your responsibility.

There is no dispute: Michael Vick owned that property. An on-going criminal enterprise used that property. You can't just have a place and let your crew run roughshod over it, then just proclaim ignorance. And that's the least worst possibility in this scenario for Vick.

And from what I've seen thus far, there's little reason to think that the least worst possibility is the actual truth. My guess at this point, my belief, is that Vick was in this stuff up to his eyeballs. He trained and sold fighting dogs, hosted fights on his property, and gambled big money on dogfights. It's absolutely reprehensible activity, he was fully involved, and any support given by the league or team to this guy now that these activities have come to light can only be considered complicity or implicit acceptance of his activities. Neither is acceptable.

I'd suggest contacting the Falcons and the NFL until they've taken action against this guy (and no, it's not just to keep him from playing against the Bucs; if I had my druthers, we'd get to play against him and knock the slobber out of him).

To contact the Falcons, you can write:

Atlanta Falcons
4400 Falcon Parkway
Flowery Branch, GA 30542

You can also contact them through their Web site.

To contact the NFL, you can write to:

National Football League
280 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017

And again, you can also contact them through their Web site.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Speaking of travel (which I wasn't, but writing about Paris always makes me want to travel there or wherever), one of my big travel porn fantasies is to go to Wulingyuan. The Times had a nice write-up on it the other day. The name of the place may not be familiar, but the images of stone towers floating above the top of misty clouds certainly should be.

Just a nice thought as I hunker down for another hot humid day in St. Louis...

Monday, July 16, 2007

La ville des bicyclettes, redux

As per this post, it's begun. Pretty sweet. If anyone tries these out and cares to report on the experience, please drop me a line!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Executive privilege end game

John Dean has written an article that I think would be very interesting to anyone who's wondering about what will happen in the current struggle over executive privilege between the administration and Congress. I confess to not having a clear picture about what Congress's recourse may be if the administration continues to stonewall and ignore subpoenas, etc. The fact that this may fall into the hands of the current Supreme Court frightens the hell out of me.

In 2000, when I argued with people who claimed there wasn't a jot of difference between Gore and Bush and they were both in the thrall of their corporate paymasters, blah blah blah, I emphasized repeatedly that the biggest difference between the two was the justices that they would appoint both to SCOTUS and other federal courts. Now, I think that many other legs on which the "not a jot of difference" angle stood have fallen to the wayside (does anyone really believe that Al Gore would have been so massively incompetent or such a whore to corporate interests? Or really Bush isn't even a whore to corporate interests, he simply embodies them to his core...). But the justices angle has proven, on many occasions in the thus-far short tenure of the Roberts court, to be a disaster and will continue to be a disaster for literally decades.

And it is that federal judicial level of authoritarians who will rule on these issues of executive privilege in the light of the "theory of the unitary executive". I mean, does it make anyone else queasy that this decision essentially rests in the hands of Justice Anthony Kennedy and that the votes of Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas are pretty much already written in stone? Scary.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Nowhere in the Anals of History... Or uh... Annals...

OK, I understand that there are some engineering reasons for this design, but come on, they can not seriously think that this thing should be built.

I thought the proposed design for San Diego was bad, but wow. I'm quite open minded, but that thing is obscene.

Semi-related: Have you ever seen the original cover art for the Little Mermaid video? Regardless of any of the explanations given by Snopes as to why this particular "urban legend" is false, those things are cocks. I had never heard of that "urban legend" when I was at a friend's house and saw the cover. I don't go looking for dicks in things, but I was shocked, handed her the cover of the video, and just pointed. She looked and did a double take, seeing what I was pointing at as soon as she looked at the details.

Is It Possible... (DSL Question)

I currently have Charter cable internet access. I'm thinking about switching to DSL of some sort. Verizon is an evil demon from hell, so I don't want to use their DSL. In fact, I'm trying to become un-Verizoned, cell phone and home phone-wise, so I want to get DSL from someone and get Vonage.*

So is there a DSL provider where:
  • I don't have to have a home phone that's NOT VOIP
  • Good broadband speeds and high reliability
  • Decent customer service and tech support

If not DSL, is there some other broadband access means I'm missing? We're restricted to Charter cable in our area, so much for free market competition...

* Or some other VOIP? What's the Vonage's status? Note that the problems with Vonage are all caused by Verizon, witness again Verizon being evil demon from hell.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Did Bush Commit A Felony?

A friend of mine poses the question. To me, the short answer is, yeah, duh. But he raises some good points:

Did Bush Commit A Felony?

  • 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1505: ... Whoever corruptly ... influences, obstructs, or impedes ... the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress ... [s]hall be fined under this title, [or] imprisoned not more than 5 years ... or both.
  • 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1515(b): As used in section 1505, the term "corruptly" means acting with an improper purpose, personally or by influencing another, including ... withholding, [or] concealing ... information.

Well, I think so, but...

As a legal matter, of course, the argument of executive privilege is that they're not influencing anything, just keeping the world safe for democracy, literally, in that if the executive branch can't have frank discussions then they won't be able to adequately discuss all policy options, blah blah blah. They are not obstructing, they're merely preserving their right to have open policy debates without fear of penalty or judgment in hindsight (some call "judgment in hindsight" learning from your mistakes, but this is another matter). And of course they would argue the application of the adverb "corruptly" in that they debated in good faith and are protecting themselves in good faith.

Is it bullshit? Of course. Just like the commutation of Libby's sentence is bullshit (the man who executed a record number of people getting all a-twitter at the injustice of some poor undeserving soul spending a whole 30 months in the hoosegaw...). The issue is getting that charge of bullshit to do anything worth a goddamned while. Bullshit is like hearsay: you may trust the charge, but that doesn't make it admissible in a court of law (and impeachment proceedings are basically a court of law).

There was recently an impeachment kerfuffle between me and a group of friends (which includes the person who asked the felony question here) and I don't think I made this clear enough when I argued against impeachment in that discussion (or not really against, but lectured as to the infeasibility and impracticality of that procedure at this point in time): I yearn for impeachment. I long for Bush and Cheney to be paraded down the National Mall on rails, tarred and feathered. I especially long for Cheney to suffer some kind of justice for the wrongs, for the evils, that he's wrought upon the world.

The only problem is that the practical part of doing this is not yet there. It's getting close, God knows. Even after our e-mail uproar over this, there was yet more shit to come out about the horrific dishonesties, dissembling, disgusting mess of practices that these fuckers have brought about.

And it's not as if I didn't always think that the Bush Administration was doing this type of thing anyways. But it's like junkies in the Mission: I always knew they were there, but that doesn't mean I didn't come close to puking when I stumbled across some dudes shooting up in an alley and saw the needles and the blood streaking their arms and one guy digging at his crotch because his veins were so collapsed elsewhere that the only place he could shoot up was behind his scrotum.

And every day and week that passes, the hope of achieving justice, or at least throwing these fuckers out before they can do something desperate and terrible (more so than already, e.g. war with Iran), becomes slimmer because their time in office becomes slimmer. Remember, Clinton was impeached in '97, with well over three years left in office. The only gilding on this sow of an administration is that it's thankfully close to being writ in history as the worst administration in the history of the United States of America.

File under "Duh..."

So apparently another former Bush Administration official has claimed that the administration maybe wasn't quite as concerned with facts as it was with political considerations:

Former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona told a Congressional panel Tuesday that top Bush administration officials repeatedly tried to weaken or suppress important public health reports because of political considerations.

I mean, I'm not sure what to say. The guy did come into office in 2002 and describes himself as "politically naïve," so I'd give him the benefit of the doubt. But for those who have followed the administration's course on such matters, this is not a surprise. It's just discouraging because this is the lead health official in this country. If someone can't let a damned doctor operate with concern only towards the truth, that shows the regard (or disregard) they have for the people of this country. It's not about us: it's all about them.

Satellite Internet Service: What's Up?

Speaking of broadband access in rural areas, I ran into an interesting issue out at my folks' place this summer. I was staying with them during Bonnaroo and stayed on afterwards to work from their house for the next week. Well, as mentioned, they live out in the boondocks, so they can't get DSL or cable internet. After a nightmarish ordeal with Verizon's wireless broadband service (basically the Verizon EV-DO card ate their Mac... twice), they finally went with Hughes Net. It's a little expensive, $60 per month as compared to about $30 to $40 for most cable and DSL services. But if it's all you got, it's not too bad a deal.

And, wow, smoking speed! I did a speed test to see how fast the connection was. I got 1,000 kbps downstream and 640 kbps upstream. That's great!

But when I connected to my work VPN, it just got miserable. Top downstream speeds of 124 kbps, down to as low as 14 kbps. Like, almost dial-up modem speeds.

So what's the deal with this? Partly there was a geographical thing going on: I was in Tennessee, but my link point to the rest of the world was not. Since it's satellite, of course, my gateway to the Internet so somewhere else. I got a little bump up when I switched from the Northridge (Southern California) VPN gateway to the Seattle gateway. But even then it was still miserable (that's the gateway on which I got the scorching 124 kbps).

No, there's something else going on there. My mom had run into an issue where her access had slowed to a crawl. The customer service person tried to tell my mom that there was an FCC regulation that each user has a 300 MB or 400 MB download quota before their access is throttled. This is bollocks, as far as I can tell: the FCC does have jurisdiction over Internet access pricing of sorts, but I know they don't control the amount that I can download or upload.

But maybe there's something about the traffic being on satellite? In that milieu, limiting the amount of traffic per user might make sense. Or maybe it's just some jabber to limit Hughes's costs. The problem is not limited to my mom, as these posts show, editorial and grammatical flaws notwithstanding (and obvious bias towards complaints as opposed to kudos).

Or, as opposed to limit costs, maybe it's to drum up some more money from subscribers' pockets? Because look at this:

Stated speeds are not guaranteed. Actual upload speed will likely be lower than speed indicated during peak hours. Click here for more info on typical speeds. Download speeds may also be temporarily slowed in cases when patterns of system usage exceed the download threshold for an extended period of time. See the HughesNet Fair Access Policy for more information. If you choose to run VPN over satellite, your data speeds may be reduced by as much as 50–75%. Despite the high speeds, time-sensitive applications, such as multi-player “twitch” games, are also not recommended over HughesNet.

Now here's their "Fair Access Policy". Note the "it's not us!" exception: all high-speed Internet Service Providers utilize “Shared Bandwidth Technology." This is that old chestnut about the web geek or teen-aged porn freak sucking up all the cable access in your neighborhood. Said chestnut has never affected me in all my years of cable internet access, which includes various stints with AT&T, Comcast, Cox, and now Charter (which has been the weakest of them, limited mainly by crap upstream speeds, although for a while my router was actually the most limiting factor in my upload capabilities).

Also, I like that VPN qualifier on there: why is VPN access in particular slowed down? There's a constant data heartbeat, yes, and the traffic is encrypted, where the rule of thumb is that that adds 20% to the size. But why? And it's high-speed access, but not high speed in the sense that... it's fast?

Are there any other satellite providers (Hughes was DirecTV, so that's the only other provider I've heard about)? Do or would they have these same restrictions? Is Hughes just predatory or are there good reasons for this crap-tastic "Fair Access Policy," even with the 50% premium over cable or DSL for basic broadband access?

Wi-Fi Mobile Phone from T-Mobile

This was lost in the iPhone rush, but is pretty neat, I think. My parents live in a rural area and have Verizon because that is the only provider that has service out there. This would make that omission inoperative.

It's been a long long time, but...

I'm going to try to pick up posting again. Yay, my mom rejoices. Maybe. If she ever reads this. Oh well.

It's been a busy summer thus far. My wife has a summer associate position with a law firm in St. Louis, so I've been splitting my time between there, Long Beach, and Tennessee. My daughter's been splitting time between Long Beach, Phoenix, Tennessee, and St. Louis. My wife's been, y'know, working, so that keeps her busy. We've done a lot and it's kept me from having any time to write, play music (although I've been fitting in more mandolin play than usual), or much else!

But once again, I try to rededicate myself. Look for upcoming posts on music, baseball, football, politics, and technical issues. Like, right now, I have to figure out my .Net web application isn't properly loading a class instance from an external assembly. Grrr...