Thursday, May 28, 2009

Third hand report is disturbing, BATF taking gun inventories?

I was speaking with a coworker this morning and was told a story that, if true, is disturbing. My coworker had been invited to a corporate pigeon shoot and was talking to the rangemaster of the club where it was held. One of this man's jobs is to buy shotguns to be used as loaners for invited corporate participants in such shoots and sporting clays tournaments. He buys a number of shotguns a year for these activities. He is not an FFL, he is a regular citizen who fills out the same NICS background check form that the rest of us do. He says he had a visit from two BATF agents who claimed to have a stack of ATF form 4473's (which he was not allowed to see.) and they wanted permission to look at and record serial numbers from all of his guns. He declined their request. They were reportedly cordial about it and left without the information they sought, but I have a suspicion this will not end here. They will be back with a court order I'm sure. This is supposedly part of Obama's crackdown on Mexican gun smugglers and agents from all over the country have been brought to Texas to take part in these "visits".

What gets me is, I thought this information was supposed to be destroyed after the check was completed on the government's end of the inquiry. I know the dealer is required to keep the 4473 forms for something like 20 years. I suppose they may have obtained copies of the forms from the dealer involved, but the simple fact that the BATF is now going around and verifying your ownership of a gun is disturbing. Can confiscation be far off?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

NOW we have a horse race!

KXAN Politics reporter Jenny Hoff reports that State Rep Leo Berman, has announced he is contemplating a run for Governor in the upcoming Republican primary, going head to head with both Governor Goodhair and Kay Bailout Hutchison.

Red Ink: Texas is going on record right now that if Berman does toss his hat in the ring, RIT is endorsing him.

Friday, May 22, 2009

METRO and it's little trademark infringement problem.

Seems that METRO is bringing back the TC Flyer route between Ranchester and The Medical Center. But instead of sticking to a name they already owned the rights to and had some name recognition of, they have decided to call the route by a new name. A name that unfortunately is already owned by someone else. That someone else happens to be Wells' Dairy Inc. who are the owners of the "Blue Bunny" brand of ice cream as well as an image of a racing blue rabbit logo.

Wells' Dairy has been informed of this and I expect them to be contacting METRO any time now....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lone Star College gets a shout out from the Wall Street Journal

LSCS's recent purchase of the old Compaq campus is big news. Apparently it is the second largest office/commercial deal in the US this year so far. (Who Knew?)

I guess timing IS everything.....

Back in Sept. 2006, Fred Blanton suggested this very deal to the (then) NHCCMD board and John Pickelman dang near laughed in his face. Granted by waiting the college got $100 million knocked off the price, but they had no way of knowing that would be the case at the time. This was the impetus for Fred running for a board position twice. It is good that common sense finally broke out in the halls of LSCS, but it certainly took a while for it to take root.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our Marching Orders

The blog "Not One Red Cent" has published a breakdown of which "Republican" senators need to be shown the door.

You all know what to do next. Vote early and vote often, you can be sure that ACORN will be...

Senator John Whitmire has a problem

Sen. Whitmire, I'm sure at the behest of the City of Houston, has been fighting eminent domain reform legislation tooth and nail in the Texas Legislature. Of the hundreds bills that have been introduced in an effort to counter various implications in some form or fashion of the Kelo v. New London ruling as well as abuses by the city and METRO over the last few years, only two major ones have survived so far and it's passage is far from certain. I must give Whitmire some grudging respect for his ability to kill bills he and his supporters don't like, but that talent might just be coming back to bite him in the ass.

You see, the CoH and the Houston Airport System plan on expanding IAH with at least one, possibly two more east/west runways. There are two possible locations for these runways. One is to put them between the two existing east/west runways, and the other is to condemn a bunch of houses, close a section of Lee Rd. and buy all the land between JFK and US-59 from Rankin to Greens Rd. and put the runways there. Each plan has it's pluses and minuses, but one stands out as the clear winner from the airport's POV.

Option one, putting the runways between existing runways:
  • Does not require the purchase of additional land.
  • Places the runways close enough together that simultaneous takeoffs/landings are no longer possible (runways must be a mile apart under FAA regs.), requiring takeoffs and landings on the three or four parallel runways to be staggered. this increases the workload of ATC and increases the risk of planes getting too close to each other, and possibly increasing the possibility of planes inadvertently trying to use the same runway due to confusion.
  • Puts all the east/west runways close together forcing all aircraft to use the same already congested taxiways, thereby increasing ground congestion, increased taxiing time, fuel consumption, and pollution. Planes will spend more time waiting to take off and land. Taxiing a 747-400 cargo variant just half a mile can cost upwards of $45K in fuel and maintenance costs alone.
These are all the things that are driving the expansion to begin with, which makes this option unattractive.

Option two, southern alignment:

  • Does not increase congestion of the existing taxiways and runways.
  • Closer to the cargo terminal which shortens the distance planes must taxi to take off. Cargo is a major driver for airport expansion.
  • Does not force staggered takeoff/landing operations. If both new runways are built, IAH could handle up to four planes taking off and/or landing at once most of the time since the prevailing winds are east to west.
  • Would require the condemnation and purchase of two subdivisions worth of land, and would require the closing of and/or rerouting of a section of Lee Road which is a major air cargo artery.
Therein lies Senator Whitmire's problem. All of those residents will get pennies on the dollar of the market value of their homes, that is pretty much a given. That will not sit well with many of them. They will be asking their elected politicians why they were left to twist in the wind under the eminent domain reform legislation. They will be unhappy to learn that Senator Whitmire was one of the chief opponents of eminent domain reform. Senator Whitmire is up for re-election next year. His seat might not be as safe as he would like as a result.

Ain't Karma a bitch?

Update/Addition: The Mighty Wizard takes a look at the City of Houston finances and draws some conclusions about the ability of the City to fund this expansion.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fighting Dirty

Ladies and gentlemen, John Hawkins has a column up over on Pajamas Media that I missed when it came out due to an encounter with a lithotrypsy machine I had. I am sorry I missed it when it first came out because it touches on something I've been saying for a while now. There is only one rule that counts in any war. That rule is simple. WIN, and it really doesn't matter how either. If you are following the "rules" and your opponent isn't, he's going to mop the floor with you every single time. Just as warfare is diplomacy by other means, politics is warfare by other means. And we conservatives are locked in a age old battle between good and evil. Evil is insidious, it masquarades as good, but it is evil just the same and we must be constantly vigilant to that. It does us no good to fight evil if we are not willing to do whatever it takes to defeat it. Liberalisim in it's many forms is evil, all of us conservatives fundamentally know and understand that.

Liberals have taken to using their house propaganda organs to attack those who espouse the conservative message personally instead of engaging in honest debate of the issues. By failing to take the fight to them on their own terms, we conservatives have abdicated any right to victory.

That must change.

When James Pinkerton writes a boo-hoo sob story about those poor put upon illegal aliens, we need to dig up the dirt on him. When Jack Sweeney writes an Op-Ed espousing socialized health care, we need to bury his ass in inconvenient truths. When Jeff Cohen has one of his flunkies write a "Chron eye for the death row killer guy" we need to bury him and his wife Kathryn Kase in their dirt.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Greasing the slope......

When the push started to make same sex marriages legal a few years ago, many conservatives made the argument that if we open up the marriage definition to include same sex couples, before too long, we would be faced with calls for the legalization of polygamy, incestuous marriages, marriages between humans and animals, marriages between adults and children.

And of course the gay marriage crowd insisted that would never happen....

Well, Guess what...

Monday, May 11, 2009

A question of privacy

How would you feel if you were forced to change clothes and shower in front of a person of the same sex who you believed to be gay? How would you feel if your minor child were forced to do the same? Suppose your daughter was required to change clothes and shower in a girl's locker room under the watchful eye of female coaches who give every outward appearance of being lesbian. How would that make you feel? How would it make your child feel? Is the school guilty of promulgating the sexual performance of minors? How does the fact that the coach is physiologically female alter the fact that she is sexually attracted to other female bodies? Why does the coach's sexual orientation (perceived or known) not play a role in her ability to get a job in which she is required to watch young girls disrobe? How do you resolve this issue without infringing on either the coach's or the student's rights? How do you enforce discipline without infringing on student modesty? And most importantly, how do you get a school administration that is extremely liberal to do anything about it?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Better late than never..

That title actually has two meanings this context. You see, something happened back on the 30th that I meant to blog about and I never got around to it. And that something was proposed way back in 2005 and at the time it was dismissed as unworkable. Lone Star College has announced that it is buying the old Compaq facility out on SH249 and Louetta. Long time readers may recall that this facility was originally proposed as a satellite campus for UofH in conjunction with North Harris Montgomery County College District to offer 4 year degree plans. But the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board nixed the idea because Prairie View and Sam Houston State complained. It was suggested at the time that NHMCCD should buy the property, but they declined. Well in the interim a deal was struck with someone else, and then the financing fell through and the property went back on the market. Mind you, the facility was practically brand new. Well, LSCS (formerly NHMCCD) has agreed to buy the property and turn it into a University Center more or less what was planned to begin with.

From: Carpenter, Richard
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2009 2:53 PM
To: All Employees
Subject: Announcement
Importance: High

After many months of research, planning and negotiations, it is my great
pleasure to announce that the Lone Star College System has completed the
purchase of the core of the Hewlett Packard North Campus (formerly
Compaq Computer Corporation World Headquarters) at SH 249 and Louetta Rd
in Northwest Harris County. The purchase includes approximately 1.2
million square feet of buildings as well as parking garages and other
support infrastructure.

This facility will serve multiple purposes for our system as we continue
to grow and expand; however the center piece of the campus will be a new
University Center to serve north Harris County that is expected to
include at least eight university partners. In addition to the
University Center, the campus will also house an instructional satellite
center, Corporate College conference and training facilities, LSCS
office space, as well as room for new program development and expansion.

Further information will be available in the coming days, but I wanted
you to be the first to know of this exciting new chapter in the history
of this storied facility and of the Lone Star College System. We are
working on planning an event to allow interested employees to tour the
facility in the near future.

Richard Carpenter, Chancellor
Lone Star College System

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

With all the subtlety of studded leather gauntlets...

Obama has made it clear he doesn't like guns, for that matter he doesn't like people with guns, at least not people who he can't control. His fervent desire to re-institute the AWB is a lost cause. Too few people support such a plan. So in order to accomplish his end, he is getting sneaky. Were YOU aware he signed the UN gun ban treaty? I certainly was not informed of that. I'm pretty sure I would have noticed if I had been. Well there is a report that he did. This is consistent with his usual modus operandi.

Make sure your Senators know you do not want this treaty ratified.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Don't just do something! Stand There!

There is something that Pilots are taught that is an important lesson for everyone, but especially for politicians. When you have no idea what the best course of action is, your best option is often to do nothing. Often crises come along and the electorate scream for the government to "Do Something!" even when nobody is really sure what that "something" should be. Back when the banks were failing before the election, many people insisted that the best course of action was to let the banks that had made poor decisions fail, and let them go into recievership and let the healthy banks buy up the assets. The pain would be short and resolve quickly. But no, Bush decided that he had to throw money at the problem and McCain agreed. That was the thing that clinched McCain's defeat in my mind. Then comes along Obama and he has done the same thing, but many many times bigger and faster. He no longer has a money catapult, he has a money Gatling Gun.

Again the voices of conservatism spoke of restraint and letting the market fix itself. Nobody listened. We told everyone that would listen (and many who would not.) that the market would correct itself and the recession would end before the end of 2009. Obama and his ilk insisted we had to spend 3 trillion dollars of our great grandkids money to fix the problem. The voices of reason insisted that we could not borrow and spend our way out of this crisis, but Obama and Reid and Pelosi refused to listen. So here we are today, halfway through the second quarter of 2009. We have yet to spend the lion's share of the "stimulus" money. Bernanke now says that the recession is now nearing an end and that the economy should be in positive territory by year's end. JUST AS WE PREDICTED IT WOULD. We have time to turn back and prevent the indentured servitude of our great grandkids. All we have to do is repeal the "Stimulus" or as much of it as we can, because if we allow this to move forward we will be throwing the country into a much deeper and longer lasting DEPRESSION.

Monday, May 04, 2009

John Cornyn needs to butt the hell out.

Last week, Arlen Specter took off the mask and showed just how much of a Jackass he is. Why did he do that instead of remaining a closeted turncoat to his publicly espoused party? After all, by remaining a quisling, he actually had far more power than he does by being just another democrat. Simple, he was about to be beaten like a red headed stepchild in the Republican Primary by Toomey. So, now Toomey is sitting there all by himself looking to take on Specter in the general election and meanwhile he can be building up his war chest and digging for dirt to use against Specter. Sounds like a plan right? After all, he is still outpolling Specter by wide margins. Toomey is poised to win in a walk. Well along comes Senator Cornyn and the National Repulican Senatorial Committee. Apparently, this situation is not good enough for him, no, he has to try and find a republican primary opponent for Toomey. Why? Who the hell knows? Maybe Toomey is too conservative for his tastes or something (apparently that is not hard to be.). but he's trying to talk to Tom Ridge and Jim Gerlach about running against Toomey.

Senator, just shut the hell up. Unless you have dirt on Toomey or know he's under investigation by the Feds or has been caught in an airport bathroom stall with a "wide stance" or something, then you need to shut the hell up and stay out of it. If there IS dirt, then you need to quietly go to Toomey and ask him to step aside before the dirt surfaces elsewhere "for the good of the party". If he responds in the negative, and ONLY if he responds negatively should you be looking for an opponent.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Billy Allen Fletcher's get out of jail free card.

In the previous post I talked about Billy Allen Fletcher's small problem with the feds investigating his business partner's alleged pump and dump scheme. Well Billy Allen Fletcher has introduced a bill to specifically target Ponzi schemes in the State of Texas, but there is a loophole in the bill that you can drive the Federal budget through. It would seem that it places a statute of limitations of six months on how far back the Attorney General can go prior to the date of an indictment in order to identify and seize money and property in association with a ponzi scheme. Currently the AG's ofice has four years in which to go back as I understand the law. So in other words, if it takes more than six months to put together indictments since the last transaction, the AG's office hands are tied. Billy Allen Fletcher as much as admitted in the Texas Monthly story that he had been borrowing money from Peter to pay Paul, which is a textbook definition of a Ponzi scheme.

Now, was this his intention when he wrote the bill? Neither you nor I can say, he has to answer that question himself. But it does look suspiscious that he would introduce a bill with such a glaring problem when his business transactions have been the subject of legal scrutiny since May of 2007.

This bill has been voted out of committee unanimously. I urge you to contact your representative and urge them to either ammend the bill with a longer siezure window, or to vote against it.