November 25, 2005

Mikey Likes It

Former F.E.M.A. head, Mike Brown, is starting a disaster preparedness consulting firm. Brown said he wants to "help clients avoid the sort of errors that cost him his job".

"If I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses — because that goes straight to the bottom line — then I hope I can help the country in some way,"

Brown said companies already have expressed interest in his consulting business, Michael D. Brown LLC. He plans to run it from the Boulder area, where he lived before joining the Bush administration in 2001.

I find it amazing that Brown, who resigned as the F.E.M.A. head for his part in the Katrina blunder was given a contract to stay on with F.E.M.A. in a consulting capacity.

Brown told congressional investigators Monday that he is being paid as a consultant to help FEMA assess what went wrong in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to a senior official familiar with the meeting
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November 17, 2005

President Bush Goes A Huntin...

Sacred Cow Burgers has a great post about President Bush and a Crawford Thanksgiving.

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November 16, 2005

Eric Hogue Weighs In

As most of you are aware, there has been an uproar in the Blogosphere regarding a post made by fellow blogger (and good friend) Sacto Dan. Sacto Dan wrote a post entitled "Republican State Senator Cox Backs Mileage Tax". Sacto Dan issued a correction and then during an interview on The Eric Hogue Show, Senator Cox stated his position and a few shots were taken.

I put up a post on this issue and the comments have been flying.

In a very well written post, local talk show host Eric Hogue gives us his take on the Sacto Dan and Senator Cox situation.

When you bloggers, (and that includes me, as a blogger and a radio talk show host), decide to 'enter the arena' and offer opinions, comments and judgments on elected political officials - and they are wrong - you must expect the venom that comes in return, you must eat crow, crow that is cooked by someone may not taste good!


Dan's headline should have asked a question, rather than make a statement. The question that should be asked, why didn't Sacto Dan call the Senator's office and ask for a clarification? Dan's headline was 'misleading', and he knows it know...and to Dan's credit, he posted a correction immediately Monday morning.


I told Dan, ''you'll have to grow thick skin my friend", and I believe Sacto Dan will. Sacto is determined to be relevant, and being such means you may not be liked, but you will be respected. In the end, the Senator needs to offer no apology.

My final word:

Should Sacto Dan have phrased the title of his BLOG differently? Maybe.

Should Senator Cox have made it personal? No.

But the wonderful thing about this country, everyone can have their own opinion and the ability to voice it...

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November 14, 2005

California State Senator Questions Sacto Dan's Literacy

In what I thought was a very petty display of leadership, Senator Dave Cox-R
questioned the literacy of local fellow blogger Sacto Dan.

Sacto Dan wrote a post entitled "Republican State Senator Cox Backs Mileage Tax". In the post there is an excerpt of the Senator's November 2005 Newsletter. I read the excerpt and it certainly sounds to me that Cox supports the Mileage Tax.

So today on the Eric Hogue Show, I hear Eric interviewing Senator Cox. I
must tell you that I have two issues here:

The first issue is the simple fact that Senator made this personal by
attacking Sacto Dan's literary skills. The second issue is how Eric Hogue
bowed down to Cox. I have always been a fan/supporter of Hogue, but I was
shocked to hear Hogue's comments.

Here is a brief transcript (to my best recollection) this morning on The Eric
Hogue Show:

EH: "You're simply looking for input here, this is not an endorsement"

SC: "...It's regrettable that some people do not have the ability to read and

EH: "Well, and once again, we put Sacto Dan out in the hallway and we're
beating him with a wet noodle. And he will be making a statement here short

Well I think the Senator did a very poor job of choosing his words. Sacto
Dan simply made an observation based on the comments in the Senator's
Newsletter. Hogue led the Senator by his "You're simply looking for input
here, this is not an endorsement" comment.

They go on to discuss the Governors $50 billion dollar bond issue.

In closing Hogue and Cox fire off these comments:

EH: "State Senator, anytime you want me to bang on the Blogosphere, you call my show. I got your back"

SC: "Well, you know. Listen, I think, I just give enormous credits to the bloggers and the work they do. But it's disappointing when you have someone
who can't read and then makes assumptions about what you said. I have real
problems with that."

After searching the Internet, I finally found a copy of Senator Cox's
November 2005 Newsletter. Hearing the passion in his voice this morning
when he was talking to Eric Hogue, and reading his newsletter, I too believe
he the supports the tax.

Sacto Dan has the same letter on his blog as I am showing here. Comments the Senator made in his November 2005 Newsletter:

Financing Transportation Infrastructure

For several years now, experts in transportation finance have been talking
about the antiquated way we finance transportation infrastructure, both roads
and transit. Basically the problem is that we rely on a combination of sales
and gasoline taxes to provide funds, but the taxes do not keep up with
inflation -- especially in the cost of construction of transportation
facilities -- or with the increased fuel efficiency of cars. It also makes no
sense if we decide that we want to reduce the use of fossil fuels such as
gasoline to improve our air quality.

I recently read an interview with Professor Martin Wachs of U.C Berkeley, a
respected expert on transportation issues. He is the former Director of the
Institute of Transportation Studies. Professor Wachs points out that in order
to increase transportation funds, we currently are in the position of
advocating for increased sales of gasoline. He advocates a switch to a more
direct user fee based on the number of vehicle miles driven by each vehicle
registered in the state. There are technologies being tested which would
report a vehicle's miles driven and collect a fee while not maintaining a
record of overall usage. This would satisfy privacy concerns. He also
advocates the use of High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes, which would create
additional highway lanes and charge for their usage based on the time of day.

The leaders in the Legislature are talking about ways to increase funds for
our state's infrastructure needs. There will be large bond proposals
introduced in the Legislature early next year.

I am interested in your reaction to these types of proposals. Should we sell
more bonds? Should we raise gas or sales taxes? Or should we consider more
innovative approaches? Send me your thoughts on the different methods of
financing this critical need.

It sounds to me like the Senator is asking for input and at the same time
voicing his support of this Mileage Tax.

I think Senator Cox needs to issue an apology to Sacto Dan and display it on
the Senator's website. But that's just my opinion.

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November 10, 2005

Is Sony Invading Your Computer?

I was reading a blog a few minutes ago and just came across this. It appears that Sony BMG is installing a program called "Rootkit". It happens when you listen to a music CD on your computer. Apparently there is a stipulation in the EULA.

Sony CD protection sparks security concerns

By John Borland
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: November 1, 2005, 2:15 PM PST

Mark Russinovich was doing a routine test this week of computer security software he'd co-written, when he made a surprising discovery: Something new was hiding itself deep inside his PC's guts.

It took some time for Russinovich, an experienced programmer who has written a book on the Windows operating system for Microsoft, to track down exactly what was happening, but he ultimately traced it to code left behind by a recent CD he'd bought and played on his computer.

The SonyBMG-produced Van Zant album had been advertised as copy-protected when he'd bought it on, and he'd clicked through an installation agreement when he put the disc in his computer. What he later found is that the software had used a sophisticated cloaking technique that involves a "rootkit"--something not dangerous in itself, but a tool often used by virus writers to hide all traces of their work on a computer.

"We're still trying to find a line between fair use and digital rights management, and it is going to take issues like this, with discussions between lawmakers and industry, to come up with what's fair and honest," Russinovich said. "But I think this has gone too far."

Russinovich posted a detailed step-by-step account of his findings on his blog, drawing immediate criticism of SonyBMG's technology from some inside the security software community. The passionate response underlines the power copy protection retains to inflame emotions and spark bitter debate, despite the growing string of chart-topping albums that have been released over the past year with the protections included.

A handful of security companies weighed in on the issue, saying the rootkit could present a possible--if still theoretical--risk to computers.

I am not supporting or condoning music piracy, but Sony BMG has no right doing this.

Sony's mess keeps getting bigger

November 10, 2005 7:08 AM PST

Sony's PR woes just keep coming.

The media giant has taken heat recently for a bit of software included on its music CDs that was intended to prevent users from copying songs. But that software came with a little item called a rootkit, which installs itself on a user's hard drive and hides from view. Besides being sneaky, the rootkit can pose a security risk for users, since malicious software can use it to hide from antivirus detectors.

An uproar ensued, and while Sony tried to repair the damage by issuing a patch, not everyone was appeased. This week some antivirus companies said they were issuing tools to identify, and in some cases remove, the software.

In the latest developments, a class-action lawsuit has been filed by consumers in California who claim their computers have been harmed by the software. And the Electronic Frontier Foundation has taken a fine-tooth comb to the company's end user license agreement, pointing out some of the more outlandish claims.

Blog community response:

"Probably the most damning part of this spyware definition are the following sentences: 'Includes mechanisms to thwart removal by security or anti-spyware products. Cannot be uninstalled by Windows Add/Remove Programs and no uninstaller is provided with application.'"
--Things that...make you go hmm

"To me, this seems as convoluted as anything I've seen. Why would Sony have to make sure you can only uninstall from the PC you send the original request from? Why the hoops? Why not a big 'Uninstall your DRM HERE' link on their Sony BMG front page or at least a link to a FAQ? It seems like they want to make themselves look worse and worse."
--Real Tech News

"The folks at the EFF went through it and pulled out some of the more ridiculous terms. By far, the absolute best term in the EULA is that if you file for bankruptcy, you need to delete the music."

"The music companies are like high-strung obnoxious rock-stars -- they need a buffer, like an agent or a retailer, to sit between them and the people who pay them. If we were to have to deal with the music oligarchs directly, the experience would be so toxic that 100 percent of the world would turn into Kazaa downloaders in 30 days."

Posted by Margaret Kane

If you have recently played a Sony BMG cd on your computer, you need to be aware of the potential security concerns.

Read More:


C|NET News

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November 08, 2005

It's Voting Day


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November 07, 2005

France Rioting...It Needs to Stop

It amazes me that President Bush received enormous criticism over the lack of federal response to hurricane Katrina (I too had criticism for him). Yet France President Jacques Chirac is catching very little flack from what I have read in the MSM.

These riots need to come to an end. I have a very simple solution:

1. Go on television and inform everyone that in four hours there is going to be a mandatory curfew imposed.

2. Activate the military.

3. Instruct the military to use rubber bullets and that anyone caught outside
after the curfew is in effect, they are to be instructed to go inside. If they decline, they are to be shot and arrested.

4. If rioting continues, have the military reload with real ammunition. Instruct them to shoot the individuals in the knees or legs. Alert the local hospitals there will be casualties.

5. Replace President Jacques Chirac.

If you think this is being overly aggressive, then read some of the stories below. I think the family of the man who died from injuries he received during a riot, or the people that had their cars destroyed may disagree with you.


NY Times


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November 04, 2005

Prop. 73

I think my fellow bloggers have done an excellent job of covering the special election here in California. But, there is one proposition that as a parent I must endorse.

Proposition 73:

What can I say...

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Crushing the American Dream

Is The United States Supreme Court responsible for single handedly destroying the American Dream? What do I mean you ask? Two words; Eminent Domain. There are more and more stories coming out where cities are using eminent domain to steal hard working Americans properties.

I think this is preposterous. Taking property away from hard working americans, it really furstrates me. I think SCOTUS needs to over turn their own decision.

In Oakland, CA, there is a tire shop that was claimed by the City of Oakland under Eminent Domain and a family owned business closed. Revelli Tire has been serving customers in downtown Oakland for the past 56 years.

The council's argument: One landowner should not impede the progress of a city on the move.

"I am being forced to give up and give away all I have worked for all these years," Revelli said.
"It is a compelling story, but it is not correct because we offered far and away more than what the land value was," said City of Oakland redevelopment director Dan Vanderpriem.

The former site of Reveilli's shop is in a part of Oakland that is slated for redevelopment. I must also state that Revelli's property is not the only property being seized.

On the opposite side of the block, the city again used their powers of Eminent Domain to take a persons property only to give it to the retailer Sears who has plans to build its own tire store.

Huh? Did I really just say that? The City of Oakland is taking one persons land and give it to a commercial retailer.

"Sears is our only major retailer," said Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid. "We have a responsibility in terms of being able to keep Sears in downtown Oakland for what we hope will be a strong viable retail base."

"We have a situation where Sears is being allowed to stay in the project with their existing tire shop while the city wants us out of there. It doesn't make sense to me," Revelli said.

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November 03, 2005

President Bush's Three Step Plan...

Well, I have been listening to everything that has been going on lately with the President, and I really think he needs some advice from someone that he can count on, me! It's obvious that the Presidents on the right track, he just needs to step up the pace a little.

He is has currently started the process on the first step as you will read.

Step 1: Nominate a Conservative to SCOTUS that can get Senate confirmation.

So far Bush's nomination of Samuel Alito seems to be heading in the right direction. He has rallied the support of the Republican party while managing to fire up Democrats.

But Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned that a nomination of Alito, or any other candidates too far to the right, could run into trouble. "This is not one of the names I've suggested to the president," Reid said. "In fact, I've done the opposite," he said. "I think it would create a lot of problems."

Learn more about Judge Alito here:Who is Judge Alito

Step 2: Control Unnecessary Spending (Budget Control).

The President needs to work with Congress to further reduce unnecessary spending and cut programs that are not working. The President’s budget calls for cutting the deficit in half over the next five years. His plan is to continue with pro-growth policies that will increase revenues into the Treasury while holding the line on Federal spending. While this could prove to be difficult for the President, he must get Congress to support this.

Step 3 (and the most important): Securing Our Nations Borders

This issue will be the President's hardest to achieve, but is so important to the American people that the President must make this happen. President Bush has directed DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff to "make this a priority".

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff's comments before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee:

The ability of undocumented individuals to enter our country represents an obvious homeland security threat. Flagrant violation of our borders undercuts the rule of law, undermines our security, and imposes particular economic strains on our border communities. When we do not control our borders, we also risk entry into the U.S. of terrorists or others wishing to do us harm.

We also must consider the migrants who rely on “coyotes”- human traffickers and smugglers – and are often robbed, abused, and left for dead on their illegal trek across our borders. We must do more to prevent these situations from continuing.

Read more of Chertoffs comments before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee: Chertoff's Comments

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff promised to end the "catch and release" policy that has allowed tens of thousands of non-Mexican illegal aliens to disappear within the United States.

"Return every single illegal entrant - no exceptions," Chertoff said. Chertoff said that the nearly 900,000 Mexicans who are caught entering United States every year are returned immediately to Mexico, "but other parts of the system have nearly collapsed under the weight of numbers." In the budget year that ended in September, the Border Patrol apprehended more than 160,000 non-Mexican nationals, but only 30,000 were removed from the United States. The others were released, often on their own recognizance, because there is no place to hold them. Few return for immigration hearings, he said.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., back a bill that would let illegal immigrants apply for a temporary work visa for up to six years, after which they must return home or apply for permanent residency.

I fully believe that if Bush achieves the above three steps, he can watch his approval ratings go up!

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November 01, 2005

Senate Closes The Doors

In a rare session of Senate, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid demanded the doors be closed. Citing "misinformation and disinformation" by the Bush administration. Reid also said his decision was also prompted by the recent indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff.

"The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really about: how the administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions," Reid said. "As a result of its improper conduct, a cloud now hangs over this administration."

Reid made the motion, and received an immediate second by Dick Durbin (like thats a surprise).

Republicans, who were clearly caught off-guard by the maneuver, called the move "gutter" politics. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (search) of Tennessee said the chamber was "hijacked" by Democrats.
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