Category: Uncategorized

SOPA/PIPA And Government Regulation

This is the age of increasing government intrusion into our personal lives. Today, Wikipedia went dark, and Google, the webs most popular search machine blacked out their logo to protest impending legislation that would give the US government control over content on the internet.

PIPA, Protect IP Act, and SOPA, Stop On-Line Piracy Act, are two bills  that would result in exactly that. PIPA is a Senate bill, and SOPA is a House bill. Both would force search web sites and other web sites to embargo so-called pirate web sites that sell or give away US copyrighted content like music and movies.

The Motion Picture Association if America is the primary driver behind this legislation, and they managed to get a lot of legislators behind the bill. This is big Hollywood money driving legislation that forces enforcement of copyright laws onto US companies and consumers. This is nothing but censorship by another means. It opens up government regulation of web content, and is such an obvious Trojan Horse that anybody can see it for what it is.

If the legislation comes to pass, Google would have to know all the pirate web sites in the world, and keep them from coming up on searches. Likewise, other web sites would be held responsible for links to the pirate sites, and the government could shut the sites down. This means you, friends, could be shut down and run out of business if somebody complains to the government about a link on your site.

We need strict enforcement of our intellectual property laws, but these bills are not the answer. Why cannot the government do its job by negotiating treaties and taking advantage of international laws to stifle the pirate sites? Why can we not with hold our foreign aid from those countries who shelter those scofflaws?

The solution to the problem is not simple, but that is no reason to make me responsible as a blogger and web site developer for the sins of others. We have enough bad laws.

Who Owns Your Representative?

Every election cycle we hear screams and shrieks about all the money going into the election process. President Obama is poised to launch a One Billion Dollar campaign. Instead of standing by and wringing my hands about the rivers of money in our political system, please allow me to say the following.

So what?

Let’s put forth a fundamental relationship:    MONEY = POWER = POLITICS

These three concepts are so intertwined that you can never separate them.  The sooner we recognize this definition as equivalent to the law of gravity in the physical world, the better we can order our lives. Our election funding laws should be predicated on these basic principles.

Instead of restricting what people give to their political candidates, let it go. Let people give as much as they want. After all, this is one of the definitions of free speech. There have to be some conditions, though, and I will try to flesh these out in the following lines.

1.  Allow individuals to give as much to a candidate as they want. No corporate entity, either profit or non-profit, union, association, or other organization is allowed to contribute money to any candidate for any US government office.

2. Individuals contributing to a politician must reside within the political subdivision for which the election is being held.

3. All donations to a candidate’s political campaign must be published on an internet web page within 24 hours of the donation. The donors name, city, county, and state of residence will be disclosed along with the amount.

The most important thing about my plan is that you know who has bought your representative. If the district is a poor district, the Koch brothers cannot make a donation to a candidate if they don’t live there. Likewise, George Soros can buy a President, but can only contribute to a Congressional candidate in the district where he lives.

Is George Soros a US Citizen? Does he reside in the US? Any individual contributing to a candidate may be compelled to demonstrate the requirements for residency of that state, or political subdivision.

My plan may not be perfect. Maybe it would be a good beginning.

Blog Moved To WordPress.Com

This blog has been moved from blogger.com, a Google free service, to WordPress.com, a free service of WordPress. I am paying a little extra to have WordPress.com host the domain name, but that’s OK.

The real reason is to be able to go back to WordPress blogging software, simply the best. On the other hand, I found blogger.com to be less than good.

Please pardon any problems this move may cause. If there are problems, please contact me.

A Hero And Friend Dies

There are fewer and fewer veterans of World War II. They are old, and are dying of all the maladies that age brings. This last weekend, we said goodbye to my wife’s Uncle Bill. He was one of those people who lived during interesting times, and had wonderful and engaging stories to tell.

Uncle Bill was born in 1921, and enlisted in the US Army at age 17. We all agree that he most likely lied about his age, but he wanted to learn to fly. He went to flight school, and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Air Force on June 22, 1943. He spent the rest of the war as a test pilot, and was headed to the South Pacific to fly fighter planes when the war ended.

After World War II, Uncle Bill used his new knowledge and maturity to go to Georgia Tech, finishing his Industrial Engineering Degree in just three years and nine months. He financed his education with the GI Bill, and money he won playing cards. He was the state Bridge champion, and put that skill to good use

While in the Reserves after the war, he took the opportunity one day to buzz his home town, a small town in West Tennessee. The story goes that he flew his B24 bomber about 100 feet above the town, and his mother’s house. The whole town was much abuzz with that buzzing, but they knew Bill. I don’t think anybody had to tell his mother who that crazy pilot was that almost took the roof off her house.

Uncle Bill’s brother tells the story about the first car Bill bought. It seems that he didn’t know how to drive, but he figured that since he could fly an airplane, driving couldn’t be that difficult. He bought the car and learned how to drive it on the way home, running off and on the road until he got the feel of the machine. From then on, he drove a car like he was flying an airplane, pretty well attacking everything in his path.

While maintaining his flight status in the Reserves, he was put on active duty at the start of the Korean War. This time he flew reconnaissance missions in propeller driven airplanes with no guns for protection. Flying low and slow, this job was not a picnic, and was as dangerous as they came.

He loved flying like some people love coconut cake. He had stories that would curl your hair about his days as an Air Force pilot. In addition to his experiences in the wild blue yonder,  his life was filled with a lovely wife, two beautiful children, seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. He was a much loved man.

He was my wife’s Uncle, and he was my friend.  I miss him.

That Old Dog Don’t Hunt

Nor does he do anything else. I am talking about Sam, the ancient canine we inherited from my daughter when she married and moved out. Parents always get the dogs and cats of their children,  and this speaks highly of the intelligence of our son’s in law. They married the girl, but not her mistakes. Parents get to pay for those.

Because of this, I am stuck with the laziest hound in the country. The little guy is 15 years old this month, and is starting to look every bit of it. It has always been obvious that poor Sam is not the brightest bulb in the scoreboard.

His bathroom habits are amazingly random. That’s why I take him outside every couple of hours. Not even Sam knows when it is time to do his thing. This dog knows no season, and will answer nature’s call whenever and wherever he happens to be, inside or out.

Sam is sort of clever when it comes to finding his way out of the area I have gated for him. We use a child’s expanding gate to keep Sam out of the den whenever we are not there. The old boy will sometimes find a way to push the gate out of the way if it is not secure, or to batter the gate down. Like all dachshunds, he is infinitely stubborn, and once he starts pushing, he will not stop.

Friends and neighbors think it is cute when I take Sam out for his constitutionals. We look like two old men, enjoying life, and taking care of each other. If only they knew! Poor Sam. He can’t even hike his leg anymore. Recently, he made a heroic try, but lost his balance and rolled down the hill. Poor Sam.

I am Sam’s Medicare program. The poor pup has thyroid problems, and a prescription to be administered twice per day. That’s why I feed him twice daily. Those feedings are the only time Sam will voluntarily wake up and prance around like a puppy. He has amazing energy around food.

Now that you know the bad side of Sam, surely you would think there is a good side. You would be right. Sam is the most loving dog in the world, and has never bitten an adult of child. It is even rare for him to growl.

That’s why I keep taking care of the old boy. He is still a loving hound, and one of this man’s best friends. Plus, if I am mean to him he may testify against me on Judgement Day.

Capitalism Is A Moral System

I have always been fascinated by the subject of economics. Some of my most enjoyable graduate school classes were in economics, and I pay rapt attention to economic news and Federal economic policy. The interview linked below is with John Allison, former CEO of BB&T, who articulates what has gone wrong with the US financial system, and why we are not in free market. His conclusions are compelling.

Mr Allison is now on the faculty at Wake Forest University. The interview is by Glenn Reynolds, Law Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Allison Video Link

H/T to Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds blog.