Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Honoring Charlie Hebdo

In honor of the expression of free speech by the team at Charlie Hebdo and everywhere else in the world that supports it:


If you believe in God, you can be sure that He will wreck vengeance on you if you commit murder in His name.

Quoting Salman Rushdie from Time: "I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. Religion, a medieval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms.  This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today."

And quoting Rushdie from brainyquote.com "But there's one thing we must all be clear about; terrorism is not the pursuit of legitimate goals by some sort of illegitimate means.  Whatever the murderers may be trying to achieve, creating a better world certainly isn't one of their goals.  Instead they are out to murder innocent people."

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hands Up, Don't Shoot and I Can't Breath

I can't take it any more.  I've been publicly silent about this too long.  And yesterday (20 Dec 14) the inevitable happened; two officers were assassinated in New York City, officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, and Officer Charles Kondek was killed in the Tampa area early today (21 Dec 14).

Michael Brown (9 Aug 14): A grown man, a large man, a criminal, and a thug.  He's not the "unarmed youth" the press likes to call him.  He's not the innocent youth his family portrays.  Unlike the reports from so many in the community he was not killed while fleeing, he did not put his hands up and attempt to surrender.  He had beaten up a guy that morning with his friend during some petty theft from a store.  He later refused to comply with the orders from the police to get out of the road.  He then punched Officer Darren Wilson in the head and face while attempting to take his gun.  Bad choice.  Everyone now knows that Officer Wilson shot and killed Brown while Brown was bull-rushing Officer Wilson in what anyone would consider an effort to harm Officer Wilson.  Fore more information and references see Wikipedia on Brown's death.  Brown was not killed because he is black.

Why did so many of the witnesses initially report that Brown had his hands up and was just killed by Officer Wilson without cause?  What incredible stories these people reported!  I can't begin to explain it.  Then for months the media and the race hucksters (Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, Gov. Nixon, President Obama) seemed to fuel these lies and incite the violence.  All lies?  All liars?  All responsible for the violence in the community that their words incited?  What a wonderful set of "leaders".

Eric Gardner (17 Jul 14): A habitual criminal who made a living breaking the law selling his black market cigarettes and being a scofflaw.  Despite having been arrested time and time again, on the day of his death he decided to become belligerent and pick a fight with the police.  Bad choice.  The police were threatened, and the effected his arrest.  The choke hold was against police policy, but was not a criminal act.  That officer has been dismissed from the NYPD.  For more information and references see Wikipedia on Gardner's death.

Why was Gardner's death not a matter of national media concern until after Brown's death and the pair of Grand Jury announcements?  Again, how do I know what's in the heads of these media idiots and race hucksters people have been drawn out to the streets to stage protests and engage in unrelated violence.  One day these same people are attcking Phillip Morris for making cigarettes, and they next day  they are giving Gardner a free pass for selling un-taxed cigarettes on the streets.  Gardner was not killed because he was black.

The Police: Please see Chris Rock's comedy bit about how to not get your ass kicked by the police.   His good message delivered with comedy: Don't break the law;  When you are confronted by the police, SHUT THE FUCK UP and do what the police say;  BE POLITE;  SHOW RESPECT.  Only an idiot would do anything else.  When I have been pulled over by the cops, or stopped by them in non-driving circumstances, I see that they are stressed.  I see that they have their hands on their guns.  I shut up, I say "yes sir", I keep my hands in sight.  Simply, I realize that if the confrontation goes badly, it's going to go badly for me, not for them.

Race Hucksters: I can't imagine why anyone gives these people the time of day.  I don't see how they do anything good for people of color or have done anything to help race relations in the USA.  It looks to me like these people make a living out of keeping race relations bad.  If they gave a shit about race, or crime, or black lives, they would do something about the epidemic violence in Washington DC and Chicago.  If they gave a shit about police violence motivated by race, they might give attention to the shooting of Dillon Thomas in Utah (11 Aug 14).

President Obama: Sadly for race relations in the USA, Holder and Obama have shown by their actions that disparate treatment based on race in legal matters is OK.  Sadly, we have learned during the Obama administration that justice is not blind; justice is more willing to give a pass to minority criminal behavior than to non-minority criminal behavior.  Ask yourself: What happens if this lesson is carried forward into a later "white administration"?  Maybe justice never was blind and was always dispensed unevenly.  OK, I accept that.  But instead of improving on that evil the Obama administration seems to have reenforced the behavior.  God help us.


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

2013 NCAA Champions!

Congratulations to the UL Cardinals Men's basketball team.  They won a great game on Monday night, 8 Apr 13, against a very tough and young Michigan team.  The accumulated a 35-5 record, including a 16-game winning streak to finish on top.

This is UL's third NCAA Championship.  Years of championships are 1980, 1986, and 2013.

Here's the season recap, borrowed from our friends at ESPN.COM


Friday, March 15, 2013

More on Gun Rights

I recently wrote to my new freshman congressman, Mr. Scott Peters. I wrote on the issue of gun rights and I was pleased to receive the following reply from him.

Dear Mr. Hughes, 

Thank you for writing to me with your views on the gun violence debate. I appreciate hearing from you.

In the wake of the horrific tragedy in Newtown—and Aurora, Tucson, and Columbine before that—we must do what is in our power to prevent not only these massacres, but the horrific acts of violence that plague families on our streets every day. These events demand that we engage in a rational and nonpartisan discussion that leads to lower rates of gun violence. 


California already has some of the nation's strongest gun laws. We can improve our national laws to promote greater security for families around the country. We should implement an effective system of background checks that gives law enforcement the tools they need to ensure that guns are available only to responsible, law-abiding citizens. We should prioritize improvements to our mental health system. And we should ensure that gun traffickers are punished to the fullest extent of the law. 

We can do this while at the same time respecting Second Amendment rights. Through reasoned discussion and debate, Congress should take steps to improve the safety of our children and families. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to achieve the common goal of a safer America. 

Thank you again for writing to me. In San Diego, we know what kind of results we can achieve when we move past party politics and work together. That is the approach I am bringing to Washington. To stay updated on the gun debate and other matters I am working on, please visit scottpeters.house.gov to sign up for my e-Newsletter, like us on Facebook, or follow me on twitter @RepScottPeters. 

Sincerely, 
Scott Peters 
Member of Congress

I responded to his Email with the following:

Dear Congressman Peters, 

Thank you for your reply to my prior message regarding gun rights. Respectfully, I disagree with many of the positions in your reply. First, you site as justification for action on gun control the "horrific tragedy in Newtown". While everyone is saddened by the deaths of children under any circumstance, it does not justify any efforts by the Federal government to restrict our rights under the Second Amendment. Your argument is strictly emotional, and it is sad that you would react emotionally here rather than reflecting on your duties to the citizens of your district and work to defend our rights. Remember that these are inalienable rights that come to the people from God, and are not the government's to restrict or take away. I hope you were as pleased as I to hear Sen. Feinstein questioned about the "slippery slope" of rights restrictions by her Senate colleague. And she agreed that restricting the First Amendment's right of free speech was illegal, while standing by her conflicting position that restricting rights under the Second Amendment was OK. 

You state that "California already has some of the nation's strongest gun laws." You need look no further than Connecticut, which also has strong anti-gun laws and registration requirements to see that it is a fallacy to conclude that strong control laws makes us more secure. Certainly the death rate in Chicago, and the crime rate in Washington D.C. also demonstrate this sad fact. Regardless, my rights to own guns are not the federal government's to control. 

You state that we need more controls "to ensure that guns are available only to responsible, law-abiding citizens". Need I remind you that in 1935 Mr. Hitler implemented gun control in his country, and that was the for-bearer to the deaths of over 30 million people worldwide. Six million of those were murders of unarmed citizens of countries under Hitler's control in his murder factories. History shows over and over again that gun registration leads to gun confiscation and to tyranny. James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper No. 46 that the reason the US citizens are armed is to defend our rights, ourselves and our States from a tyrannical federal government. It is not to hunt deer. We are guaranteed the right to own guns in the 2nd Amendment, without infringement. 

You state that we "ensure that gun traffickers are punished to the fullest extent of the law". I respectfully suggest that the Congress spend its time getting to the bottom of the "Fast and Furious" scandal as a start, and to the international arms running that was reported to have been taking place in Libya (leading to the deaths of our Ambassador). Please remember that you are my representative. You have sworn to uphold the Constitution (as have I). Please act to preserve the rights given to all men by God, and prevent the government from acting to restrict them. 

Very truly yours, 
Henry Arch Hughes, Jr.

I hope the Congressman changes his minds and votes to leave our gun rights alone.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Newtown, Aurora, Webster, Taft; Gun Control

I am a strong supporter of civilian gun ownership, without restrictions.  My support is based on the US Constitution and the 2nd Amendment: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Just as I would hate to see the First Amendment over-ridden by the President, a State, or local laws. Both are fundamental to the rights expected by citizens of the United States

There has been a lot of slanted reporting in the press lately about shootings, to say nothing of hyperbole from our elected officials. Here's a linked list of some of the more recent well publicized shooting incidents: The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT, the theater shooting in Aurora, CO, the Clackamas Town Center Mall shooting near Portland, OR, the Taft High School shooting near Fresno, CA, the Webster, NY First Responders shooting, and the St. Louis Stevens Institute of Business and Arts shooting.

Certainly all of these make for compelling reading. And together along with other news stories, comprise something that makes you wonder what's going on? What's caused the rash of shootings? Essentially, I have to conclude, no one knows. No one can get into the heads of the shooters. Some of them are labeled as unstable. Some of them are legal gun owners and some of them are not.

The myth of "assault weapons".  There's a great attraction on the part of politicians and the press to label any semi-automatic weapon as an "assault weapon".  To my knowledge, non of the weapons used in the shootings listed above are really assault weapons.  An assault weapon is one that a military will use to arm its troops.  It includes fully automatic and burst mode weapons that are illegal for individual citizens to own in the US since at least 1986.  But just because a semi-automatic rifle has a flash suppressor, a folding stock, a bayonet attach point, or a scope rail, or is made to look like an AK-47 or an M-16 variant does not make it an "assault weapon".  It's not the physical shape, color, or weight that makes a handgun or rifle deadly.

The myth of "large magazines". The press and the politicians are also greatly concerned about "large capacity magazines" and the "thousands of rounds of ammunition" purchased by the Aurora theater shooter. Anyone with a limited amount of training can remove a small magazine and replace it with a full magazine on a handgun or rifle in under 2 seconds. Remember that President Kennedy was killed with a single-shot, bolt action Carcano rifle fired by Oswald with the use of a 4-power scope. It's not the magazine size that makes a weapon deadly.

You don't need a large clip or a cool looking weapon to kill a lot of people. What you need is a mental defect and the will and skill to kill people. There are many incidents of mass killings without the use of rifles and handguns. For example, Oklahoma City, 9-11, the Unibomber, the 2001 Anthrax attacksAuschwitz, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and numerous others.

Sen Gloria Feinstein, one of California's proud products, help create an earlier so-called Assault Weapons Ban, has promised to introduce a bill restricting assault weapons on the first day of the current session of Congress. (It appears she failed to keep that promise.) Her site reports that "A Justice Department study found the Assault Weapons Ban was responsible for a 6.7 percent decline in total gun murders. However, since the 2004 expiration of the bill, assault weapons have been used in at least 459 incidents, resulting in 385 deaths and 455 injuries." I'm sure you can see that her note plays with the numbers to support her case instead of presenting a truthful version of the facts. (She cites a percentage decline without providing the two points being compared, and then makes a false correlation between that claimed decline and some raw numbers post 2004.)

Chicago has a complete ban on handguns, but there were more deaths in Chicago from handguns in 2012 than coalition forces in the Afghanistan war in that same year.

Isn't it obvious that gun bans simply don't work?

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) found the banning of citizen owned weapons to be illegal. And yet the State of New York passed a new ban that flies in the face of the SCOTUS decision, and Washington DC continues to "push back" on the Court's finding. I have to conclude that "the rule of law" is only respected when it is convenient to these highly Democratic-party governments. Hopefully the ALCU will recognize the infringement of rights the common man is facing due to these laws and file cases to overturn these over-reaching laws. The ACLU's mission, after all, is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. In this the ACLU and the NRA (of which I am a member) should be coordinating their court actions.

FactCheck.ORG has an interesting article on gun crimes, ownership, and deaths. I expected it to be one-sided and am surprised that it seems fairly level. It notes that despite increased gun ownership, gun deaths are down, gun suicides are up, non-fatal wounds are up. They say lots of things, and here's one quote I like: "The United States has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world, by far. And it has the highest rate of homicides among advanced countries. And yet, gun crime has been declining in the U.S. Firearm murders are down, as is overall gun violence, even as gun ownership increases. Read our Analysis for more insight on what these statistics mean.". Please read the linked article to get the context. I'm not trying to misquote them here.

Movies and Video Games: Is there any actual correlation between these high-revenue industries and gun violence? Do Dirty Harry and Grand Theft Auto cause gun violence, insanity, or other types of violence? I don't know. It makes an interesting discussion point. But certainly I have enjoyed many violent movies and my son played Halo for years. Both of us have access to guns. Neither of us have used them in a criminal manner.

I hope the madness and grandstanding end soon before we all lose our rights of free speech, assembly, a free press, and our ability to stage a peaceful demonstration to petition the government. These rights come to us from God. They were not given to us by the Government to be taken back. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (US Declaration of Independence).

Update: Here's the URL of an interesting YouTube clip which claims that at least several of the recent killers are registered Democrats.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acu1aB86dBM.  All I can see is that if it's true, you have to wonder, eh?


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2013 Sugar Bowl


I couldn't have been more surprised to see Louisville not only win the 2013 Sugar Bowl, but to win it convincingly.  I had expected a big Florida win.  Time for me to eat crow.  Excellent game by Louisville from the first play to the last.  The UL defense was better than I saw it all year.  And the UL offense was effective against the highly regarded Florida defense.

The UL 11-2 season (from ESPN):

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

What is $16 Trillion?

Today, 4 September 2012, the US National debt climbed past $16,000,000,000,000 (sixteen trillion dollars).  What is that?  How can you come to grips with a number like that?  Maybe this will help.


$16 buys a good lunch
$160 buys some nice shoes
$1,600 buys a very nice TV
$16,000 buys a small car
$160,000 buys most people in the Southern US a house
$1,600,000 is more than what most people make in their entire lifetime of 40 years of work
$16,000,000 is about the cost of one F-16 fighter aircraft or a platoon of 5 M1 Abrams tanks
$160,000,000 (one hundred sixty million) is what the 2008 Obama Inauguration cost
$1,600,000,000 (1.6 billion) is about the GDP of the Republic of Burundi in Africa, population 9 million people
$16,000,000,000 (16 billion) is about what it cost to design, build and fit the latest and greatest US aircraft (USS Gerald R. Ford, still in the docks being made, next to the new USS JFK)
$160,000,000,000 (160 billion) is the total value of the most valuable corporation in the world, Apple Computer.
$1,600,000,000,000: (1.6 trillion) The total goods and services in the state of California per year (GDP), the 8th largest economy in the world, with a population of 37.7 million people (and an unmanageable debt of its own...but that's a different story.)
$16,000,000,000,000: (16 trillion) That’s 1,000 fully equipped brand spanking new top of the line aircraft carriers.  Or, that’s $51,000 for each and every one of the 311 million US citizens.

Here's an article if you want to read the Boston Globe's report on the news.

The world is watching the EU's debtor nations pull the Euro community off a cliff.  With debt levels like this, and growing constantly, how long will it be before the US falls into the same abyss?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fallen Heroes / Cheaters


Now, today, it's Lance Armstrong.  Recently it was Joe Paterno, Barry BondsMark McGwire, Rod BlagojevichYears ago it was Pete Rose.  And many others.  I'm sure everyone can name a few.

Why?  Why do people that grew up to become iconic figures have to achieve it by cheating and in the process, betray us...the fans, the followers, the believers, the public, the country, the world.  And why do we and the press that promotes their achievements fall for their dishonesty time after time?  And despite the overwhelming evidence everyone can see which publicly convicts them, they continue to deny, to deflect, to request reconsideration.  To ask for our trust yet one more time.  Liars all, I think, at least certainly not heroes.  (I borrowed all these pictures from Internet sites.)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

On Joe Paterno

Today Joe Paterno, the (now tarnished) legend, died. Of course, I did not know the man personally. I do not know what was in his heart. I did not know his way of thinking.

But i do know that he spent over 60 years at Penn State. I do know that he deserved more than a phone call from a board member to fire him. The treatment of Joe Paterno brings shame to Penn State. After 62 years and a record 409 wins (before the NCAA took away 11 seasons) Joe deserved a retirement party and a gilded stadium seat for he and his wife, Sue. There are many respectful and classy things Penn State could have done to say goodbye to Joe with grace. They elected not to. And their choice to degrade Joe Paterno has not righted any of the awful wrongs that might have been done by Sandusky.

May God be with you Joe. Thanks for all the dedicated years of service, teaching, and a fantastic program. Joe's death marks the end of an era. And, probably the end of Penn State football.

Update: We've now learned that Joe, probably intentionally, gave Sandusky a pass on his criminal behavior for Joe's own benefit and for the benefit of his friends and for Penn State.  I am, and I'm sure many others are, gravely disappointed.

Update, 17 Jan 15: Yesterday the NCAA re-instated Penn State's and Joe Paterno's full record and restored him as the coach with the most wins in NCAA Football with 409 rightful wins.  Posthumous congratulations Joe.  The NCAA screwed up in their original meddling in a matter of law.  I think they probably changed their decision to protect themselves from Joe's son Jay's civil suit against the NCAA for their defamation of Joe Paterno and Penn State.  Now, Penn State, put his statue back up and show the man the respect for his coaching success he deserves.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

War in Iraq Ends

My most heartfelt thanks to the people of our military, and that of the UK. You stood tall for all the years of this war and served your nation proudly. You have done a great service for the people of Iraq, and for the world. You've freed Iraq from the ravages of a terrible dictator and established the beginnings of a functioning democracy in Iraq. I pray that the people of Iraq prove worthy of all that you, and us, have sacrificed for them.

What was accomplished? We removed Saddam Hussein and his power structure from the backs of the people. We've replaced the tyranny of that one and his vicious police state with a constitutional government. We eliminated a mad-man that sent money to the parents of suicide-bombers. We crushed a paper military that wasn't able to fight a real threat, but only served to support a dictator by murdering his own country-men that questioned his authority. We eliminated a man who used weapons of mass destruction not only in his war with Iran, but against his own Kurdish people.

War isn't pretty. It is the end result of irreconcilable political differences. Saddam played a game of pretending to have WMD's, and his pretence fooled everyone. Much to his own demise. The card he hoped would shield him turned out to be the seed of his own destruction. Good riddance. His hanging was well deserved retribution by a long suffering people.

Time will tell us what happens to Iraq and the people we left in charge of their own futures. They may sacrifice it to Iran. They may replace Saddam with another monster. They may grow a government of, by, and for the people. I don't know.

But what I do know is that I'm proud of what our armed forces accomplished. I'm proud of the way they went about their jobs. I'm proud of their unflinching determination to see the job through. I'm proud of the efforts they made to preserve the lives of the local inhabitants.

Welcome home men and women of the US armed forces! Welcome home! Thank you!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sam and Mariette Wed



14 October, 2011, La Jolla, CA: Sam and Mariette married in a beautiful location along the beach in the company of many family and friends from both sides. It was a well planned event that came off beautifully and with the planned result; a wedded couple. Mariette and Sam are a lovely couple, and we're so happy for them.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kentucky Colonel


Thanks to mom, I've been commissioned a Kentucky Colonel. A hip hip hooray to the Colonels for their charitable work!

Monday, August 02, 2010

My son is engaged?

My son popped the question on Friday, 30 July 10. She said yes. Hard to believe that my first born is at that stage in life. How old does that make me?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Farewell Freedom Hall

6 March, 2010. Louisville, KY. The University of Louisville team, after many, many years, played its last game in Freedom Hall. I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend by my brother Patrick, who arranged with some of his friends to get some pretty good tickets. My thanks to the ticket holders, who I won't name here without their permission. Our seats were two down from the seat occupied by Rick Patino's wife; right behind the U of L bench some 4 rows back.

I attended every U of L home game while I was attending there. I was in the pep band back then, from 1975 through 1979, so getting tickets was easy. The band sat on the floor behind the north goal, and they sat in the same place at this last game.

At this last game in Freedom Hall UL beat the #1 team in the rankings, Syracuse. UL brought back members of many prior teams. Many of those former team members spoke recalling their accomplishments, and those of many others of the many years, at Freedom Hall. Rick Patino made a farewell speech. Rick kindly pointed out that Freedom Hall was, truly, the house that Denny Crum built. It was the excellence of his teams over all those years that made UL's home court, Freedom Hall, a place other teams dreaded to play. Denny Crum was present and made a farewell speech. (The floor at Freedom Hall was named in his honor, "Denny Crum Court", years ago.)

I've got lots of pictures, but none of them really capture the event and the emotion of it. It was a great day for any U of L fan. I haven't cheered at any game so long and so loudly in a long time. The noise from all of the fans, almost the entire game, was deafening. It was great to be a college student again, if only for a day!

U of L basketball is moving to their new downtown arena next year. Freedom Hall, opened in 1956, will continue to host concerts and many other events. Life goes on.

Thanks Bro!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I received this great picture of my niece and her two daughters earlier this week. From left to right its Addi, Sarah, and Stella. Great picture, eh?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Welcome to the World of Sling


Did I mention that Ladan gave me a Slingbox SOLO for my birthday? Nice stuff. She got it off of Amazon, which had the best price by a long shot. One nice feature is that the Slingbox can be tucked away, out of sight. It doesn't use an IR remote control since you control it all from your PC. I put mine in the cabinet behind the TV and ran all the wires behind the cabinets. It's hooked to the component jacks of my HD TiVo so I can stream both live or TiVo'd shows no matter where I am.

I did buy, for $30, the Sling player app on the iPhone. It's a great addition. It comes in handy when I'm traveling around town or around the country. It requires that I be on a WiFi connection, but that's not generally hard to find when I'm in a fixed location.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Restoring Government of, by and for the People

At first, this might sound like an impossible idea, but I think that over a sufficiently lengthy implementation period, perhaps five years, it could be made to happen successfully. Please read this with a long term mind set...

It occurs to me that one way to move our government forward, to make it more in touch with the people again, to make it more responsive to the needs that each of the departments of the government serve, and to increase it's ability to function in a time of national crisis, would be to disperse it.

I propose that each department of the US government be moved out of Washington DC to a new location more aligned with its function.

For example:

Transportation: Detroit, MI (perhaps waning as the best choice?)
Agriculture: Des Moines, IA (heartland of farming)
Interior: Casper, WY (home of Yellowstone National Park)
Energy: Anchorage, AK (our largest energy exporting state?)
Homeland: New Orleans, LA (justice served?)
HHS: Minneapolis, MN (home of the Mayo Clinic)
State: NY, NY (along with the UN)
Education: Louisville, KY (or some place where public education needs help)

I can't even name all of the departments, and I'm sure lots of good thought beyond my thinking ability (and probably graft beyond my comprehension) could be put into the best locations for each department. These are just some examples off the top of my head. Defense should be in the geographic center of the continental US, not sitting on the coast. Why not Minot, ND?

I'm suggesting that the entire headquarters of each of the departments be moved out of DC and to these new locations. There should be a limit of one department per state (or territory). The current employees of each department should be invited to move to the new HQ, or for staff that don't want to relocate, positions would be opened and replacements hired into the new locations. And by HQ, I don't just mean the office of the Secretary of each department, but the entire staff currently working in and around the DC area.

Perhaps their are closed military bases that could be used a centers for the relocation points? The government already owns the land, and there are probably structures that could be used rather than having to start all new construction?

Essentially, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the President should remain in DC. The cabinet secretaries would have offices at the new HQ's of their departments, and they would need to telecommute to DC for cabinet meetings. An occasional trip to testify to Congress or something would be as routine as an occasional trip today out to do the Department's business.

Frankly, I'd hope there would be a lot of turn-over in staff. But I don't suggest that it should be done harshly since everyone would be offered a job in the new location. Relocation benefits might not be offered because of the extreme cost of moving all those people.

I expect that there would be no shortage of states offering to serve as host for a department. It would have an economic impact on each receiver, to be sure. Certainly there would be a negative economic impact on the Washington DC area. But it's been living high off of the largess of the federal government for well over 200 years now.

In addition to the movement of the department workers, there would also be a large movement of the beltway bandits associated with each of those departments. This would strictly be by their choice, and not part of any federal action. But business tends to go where the opportunity is.

The survival through dispersion benefit is more of a "knock off" rather than an important part of the plan. But imagine the impact on our country if DC were to be devastated by attack or natural forces. Sure the government has contingency planning to deal with an emergency, but how crippling would it be if it had to be used?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mobile Phone Wars

Updated on 22 Jan 2012: I now have an iPhone4, for about a year now, and I'm updating this post and my suggestions to reflect the current state of the phone.

I finally took the plunge and moved to an iPhone 3G over the holidays. I've been lusting after one since the first generation came out, then decided to wait for the 3G models to roll out. Since I didn't feel like standing in the lines or pre-pay-ordering a 3G phone when the supply was low I stood back and waited. Then came all of the press about dropped calls and poor 3G coverage and I waited some more. So finally over Christmas my son Sam and my wife Ladan pushed one on to me. I couldn't be happier.

You might know that I had a Palm Treo 650 with Verizon and had been using it for perhaps 4 years. It was a good smart phone in its youth, but its lack of contemporary features was really showing its age. No one in the press had anything good to say about the newer Treo's so I didn't go there. Though I loved the TomTom GPS system that I ran on the Treo and I miss its turn by turn directions. But there's a Google Maps application that's well integrated into the iPhone that, with its GPS location ability, does a worthy job of getting me places.

I looked at the Blackberry Storm that Verizon pushed out onto the world, but I found the touch-and-push screen weird. It seems that it's the worse combination of the cons of a touch screen and the cons of a thumb keyboard. I'm sure users get used to it over time and since they've sold a million of them, I hear, obviously some people must like them.

All of the other "traditional" Blackberry's looked worthy, and my son has a Curve. My brother-in-law has a Bold with a Roger's logo on it (an unlocked phone from Canada). They are not bad at all. But their browser isn't close to the visual quality of the browser on the iPhone and I really enjoy using the iPhone as a MID at home. And then, of course, the WiFi in the iPhone kicks the Curve (which lacks WiFi) into the dust.

The Apple AppStore is just wonderful. For about $53.92 I've decked out the iPhone with several very functional applications and several fun applications. I've gotten an engineering calculator. I added a file transfer utility that lets me connect to the iPhone from my computer over WiFi and that lets the iPhone be an FTP client. I put a free e-reader on it and pulled down a bunch of content from Gutenberg (which the app supports directly) as well as a set of PDF files from my own archives. The big ticket item is the Slingplayer for the iPhone, but even with its WiFi only limitation, it's a great tool. There are so many iPhone apps that the AppStore's structure is just too weak to make finding what you want easy. Apple needs to do something to make the AppStore easier to browse, and it doesn't need to do it by getting rid of a lot of the product. If Apple asks me, I'll give them some ideas.

I've played with HTC's G1, and found it interesting and a good first effort, but it needs a lot of maturing before I'd want to run my life on it. I hope that it and future Android phones help to push the market up the feature curve fast. I have lots of hope for that product. 22 Jan 12: Android is alive and well and a very functional challenger to the iPhone. See below for my main concerns about Android phones.

Also, Palm's new Pre phone looks interesting, and I'm made more curious by the rave reviews it got at CES '09. I've not had my hands on one though. The reviews of it state that its good and it might save Palm, but its not going to displace the iPhone.

Here's my list of what Apple needs to do with the iPhone. I've updated and renumbered the list since loading OS3.0 onto the iPhone. Some of these are well known gripes:

x) Add cut and paste. (in OS 3.0)

x) Added sync integration between Outlook and iPhone Notes. (In OS 3.0, but the notes app clearly needs to support "folders" or what Outlook calls categories.

x) The iPhone lock / light tie was never broken, I just wasn't using it right. Its fine.

x) Email now supports the accelerometer. (In OS 3.0)

x) MMS support is there now. I think it was added in 3.0 and AT&T allows it.

x) The iPhone4 camera is much improved. I've shed most of my camera add-on apps and often use the phone's camera for candid shots. It's no SLR, but it's very handy.

4) There's no CODEC for MPEG2 or for WMV. Most motion video Emails I get use WMV. But I did find an App, finally, that integrates with Email and allows the play of many formats. It's called "OPlayer Lite".

5) You still can't see Flash objects in the browser.

6) Back Button. When you leave an Email message by following a link to a web page, and you leave the web page to follow a link to a YouTube clip, you can't "exit back" from YouTube to the browser then from the Browser to the Email message. The iPhone has multi-tasking, but it needs a back button. Maybe the could overload the volume button?

7) The new Reminder's feature is lame. You need to be able to send them. It would allow someone to send me a grocery list (like on that Microsoft commercial). They need to integrate with Outlook.

8) Finally, a "double press" of the button to get to the running apps menu is very difficult. As often as not, I end up in the wrong place.

9) Siri. How rude of Apple to yank Siri from the App Store and reserve it iPhone4S on its servers. There are a number of jail breaks that let an iPhone4's use Siri by lying to the Apple servers. Just proves that it's Apple being mean to its customers.

10) The navigator needs voice prompts. It's rather dangerous without them.

I could list more smaller things, but those are my key gripes.

Here's my list for Android phones:

1) Outlook integration is poor. There are several apps that say they provide Outlook integration, but do I want to pay the money and take they risk that they come close to the Outlook integration the iPhone offers natively?

2) I despise the features of the native Email client. It really lacks the ability to have it "auto-blind-copy" an address so that I can save a copy of my outgoing Email.

3) Upgrades. The lack of commitment to keeping phones upgrade by the OEM's is sad. I can understand their need to sell new phones, but it doesn't well match the 2 year commitment the phones are sold with. Hear that Samsung? I'm talking about you!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

All BD'd Up!

With the loss of MovieBeam, I've been without good HD content, except that which TWC sends down the cable. To be sure, the NFL in HD, and even the MLB in HD is really nice. And the PGA in HD is beautiful, as anyone that's been to a nice golf course would expect. But HD movies on the cable just don't "pop". So we took the plunge and entered the world of BluRay in force this past week.

First, I got a BluRay burner for the computer. The 50 GByte storage capacity in a disk is impressive, though at today's prices it's probably cheaper to buy what's now a small hard drive and use it for permanent off-line storage.

For a player, we opted to get a Playstation3. Why? Well, when it became obvious that BluRay won the format war, I wanted to join the club. But it was well know that "BD Live", or BluRay 2 was due out soon and that most currently marketing players were not upgradable. But Sam learned that PS3 was BD Live compatible and at a price of $400 its BD feature, game play ability, and other on-line features make it a pretty compelling option today. Maybe I'll get Guitar Hero or something that our family can enjoy later on.

So we got the PS3 this week and watched our first full length BluRay movie last night. It really was awesome. As I'd hoped, there was none of the motteling or contouring that I could see in DVD and cable HD. Sam noted that there was no stall switching between VOB files that we saw on the DVD player.

The negatives are that the PS3 has an RF remote, and my Logitech universal remote will never be able to control it without some RF to IR help. Also, the PS3 runs pretty warm, but not much more than the MovieBeam box did. It does has an "off" button, and there's no reason to leave it on when I'm not using it.

BluRay: good PS3: good

Trap and 5-Stand


With my son having presented me with a Mossberg 535 at Christmas we joined the San Diego Shotgun Sports club. Many weekend mornings now we spend a couple of hours "breaking some clay" at their Trap and 5-Stand ranges. It's a very nice experience. You can look them at on the net at http://www.sandiegoshotgunsports.com/.

Sam is a far better shot than I. But he's a good sport about it, and we have a great time on those mornings participating in the sporting games. They frequently run events and tournaments at the club in Trap and Skeet but neither of us have participated in any of them so far.

Many people there reload their own shells. They report that it costs them about $4 per box of 25 shells doing that. We've found that we can get a box of 100 shells at Walmart for $21 plus tax, which comes to about $5.50 per box. So I think I'll hold off on reloading for now. It looks like a lot of work for very little savings.

Update: The USMC at Miramar closed the range and threw the SD Shotgun Sports club out after 40 years on the base. Thanks for being true jerks, Marines.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Move That Bus!

"Move that bus!" on 14 Nov 07. What a week and a once-in-a-lifetime event for my brother Patrick and his family, Patty, Patrick, Jesse, and Cameron. They were whisked off to England for a vacation while their home in Louisville was razed and replaced by a wonderful new home.
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Shown here is a composite image of the new home under construction, and a local billboard congratulating the family and promoting the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition television show that paid for it all, and the home builder that did the work. The people of Louisville did themselves proud with the tremendous number of volunteers that pitched in to work; so many in fact that thousands were turned away.
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The TV show is supposed to air on Sunday, 17 February, 2008, on ABC.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Only by the grace of God

The 2007 San Diego Wild Fires devestaded our neighborhood. Our house was spared, and is undamaged. Our family got out with minutes to spare, and are all unhurt.

On Sunday, 21 Oct, there was smoke in the air at lunch time. We got updates on the fires during the NFL games through Sunday. At midnight the news reported that the fires would enter San Diego through San Pasqual Valley about 1 AM. Since we live at the far end of the valley we started packing pictures and essential clothes. At 4 AM the sky had turned red and the wind was howling so we decided to get out. Fire engines and police cars were racing down our street. I went out to look and the sky was orange from the fires behind and to the right of our house. We loaded up the cars in a storm of ash and were out by 4:15 AM.
We went to LA knowing our neighborhood had burned. On Tuesday, 23 Oct, we received a report that our house had survived and others around us had not. On Wednesday, 23 Oct we had solid evidence that our house survived from web sites listing house status by address in our area.

On Thursday, 25 Oct, our neighboorhood opened up and we moved back in. It turns out that skylights leak ash. There were piles of black ash all around our house. The pool was full of it. The house behind us burned. The house in front of us burned. Most of the houses with shake roofs burned. Lots of stucco houses with tile roofs burned. Some of Sam's friends homes burned. Having a wooden deck looks like a bad idea. Spreading bark mulch around your foundation and yard looks like an invitation to fire. Having a cement patio is a good thing. Using lots of water to keep your yard green costs a lot, but seems like a good idea.

But mostly, having God decide to spare your place seems to be the key.
Here's a link to the Google Maps page with the fire symbols on or near homes that were destroyed in our area. We're on page 2.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Henry Arch Hughes, 8 Jul 29 - 11 Oct 07



At 3:55 EDT today, 11 Oct, 2007, my father Henry Arch Hughes died. God has ended his suffering and taken him from our presence to be with Him. Dad is now in heaven with his son, and my brother Joe, and my father's brothers and sisters who have gone before him. Dad's illness has caused me to miss him for a long time already. I truly loved him, and he has my thanks for helping me become a person of responsibility and morality.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We Must Win

According to "Der Spiegel", this week "when [US] voters hit the ballot box in November 2008, they will be looking for more than just a candidate charismatic and clever enough to lead the country politically. They will also ask themselves which of the candidates is sufficiently tough, crafty and brutal to win the multi-front war that the Bush administration has begun."

Let's hope so.

Monday, April 09, 2007

A Nation at War?

"The U.S. is not at war. The military is at war." (Brig. Gen. Stephen Mundt) We are brandishing our sword, but we're not putting our might into the blows.

There's no "national sacrifice". The war is a TV event. It's not a war. No one here feels a threat. No one here is asked to pay more money, use less gasoline, work more hours, pack boxes of canned goods to send over seas. Nothing. "...the nation today is spending 3.9 percent of gross domestic product on the military and the war on terrorism, far below the level of national sacrifice during World War II (38 percent), the Korean War (14 percent), Vietnam (9.5 percent), the Reagan-era buildup (6.2 percent), or even the Clinton-era post-Cold War draw-down (4.8 percent)." (DoD)

A military draft, or a national service mandate, would be a good second step. Second to coughing up the treasure needed to equip and grow the services.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Orange Bowl Victory



What a great season for Louisville football this year. Capping it off was a hard fought win in the Orange Bowl tonight, 2 Jan 06. Great job guys!

UL Football Site: http://uoflsports.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/recaps/010307aaa.html##

Here's a re-cap of the 12 and 1, 2006-2007 season:

Date.......Opponent.......Result
09/03/06...Kentucky.......W, 59-28
09/09/06...at Temple......W, 62-0
09/16/06...Miami (FL).....W, 31-7
09/23/06...at Kansas St...W, 24-6
10/06/06...at Middle TN...W, 44-17
10/14/06...Cincinatti *...W, 23-17
10/21/06...at Syracuse *..W, 28-13
11/02/06...West VA *......W, 44-34
11/09/06...at Rutgers *...L, 25-28
11/18/06...USF *..........W, 31-8
11/25/06...at Pitt........W, 48-24
12/02/06...UConn..........W, 48-17
Orange Bowl
1/02/07....Wake Forest....W, 24-13

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Time


It's almost Christmas. The tree is up. There are wrapped packages. The children are home from school. My family and I are living in a free society that has peace and security at home. Thank God for all of our blessings and for our health. God bless all of those people helping to make this happen, including the members of our military, many of whom are not in their homes and with their family at Christmas, and including all those emergency responders that help keep us safe and healthy. All of you have our strong appreciation for all that you do. I hope for your safety, your success in your work, and your safe return to your homes and families. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

US in Iraq Too Long?

I hear we've been in Iraq for almost four years now. People point out that that's longer than our participation in WWII. Interesting.

During WWII the US pretty much destroyed the significant German cities, destroyed its military, and got rid of all of its political structures. It took just over three years to accomplish this. The war ended in 1945.

The last time I looked, we're still have a vast number of soldiers and bases in Germany and Japan. That means we've been there about 60 years.

How about Korea? I guess we're still there, too.

How about Bosnia/Kosovo? Yup...still there.

It took us 3 months to win in Iraq instead of 3 years and we didn't have to drop any nukes on them. Now, just like Germany and Japan, we're engaged in the rebuilding phase and we have some 50-ish years to go.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dear Mr. Blair

"The danger is if they decide to pull up the drawbridge and disengage. We need them involved," Blair said, spelling out his political vision in a pamphlet published by The Foreign Policy Center think-tank. "The strain of, frankly, anti-American feeling in parts of European politics is madness when set against the long-term interests of the world we believe in," he said.

Why is the rest of the world and half of this country, otherwise, so unable to see the need for and value of American leadership during this new cold war?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Citizenship Amendment

Section 1 of the 14th Amendment has been misused for too long now. All of the freed slaves from the Civil War era have been enfranchised. Now is the time to put an end to the automatic citizenship entitlement based on someone happening to be within our borders when their mother pops her cork. So, I propose a new amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:

I. The rights and privileges provided for through this Constitution shall be reserved to its citizens, and to those non-citizens legally within its territories and conducting themselves in accordance with its laws and the laws of the appropriate local governments.

II. Citizenship flows to the natural born children of any citizen of these United States and may never be revoked. Others may make application for and retain citizenship in accordance with the laws and regulations enacted by the Congress.

III. Section I of the 14th Amendment to this Constitution is hereby replaced with "All citizens of the United States shall be citizens of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any citizen of the United States of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any citizen of the United States within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Stella


Stella Katherine Teeters, daughter of Sarah Jean Logsdon and Jaymes Harvey Teeters. Born at 5:30 p.m on 14 April, 2006. She's the catch of the day, weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and measuring 20 1/2 in long. Welcome to the family Stella!

General, please sit down and shut up!

Retired general's calling for the resignation of political leaders? Is this a good thing? While on the one hand any person in our functioning democracy has the right to express political opinion, we have a fundamental principle that our legally elected leaders are in charge of the military and that the military is required to execute the legal orders of their civilian commanders. So while these retired generals have a right to express their opinions, and the media will happily play their statements to entertain viewers, I have far less sympathy for their opinion than I have for the opinion of the political opposition to the elected leaders. I can see and understand the agenda of the political opposition. I have no idea what the agendas of these retired generals are. Perhaps they are simply high minded and want to right a perceived wrong. Perhaps they are positioning for a future political appointment. Perhaps they are malcontents who didn't get their way in the military. But all in all, it just seems wrong for them to have sat on their hands while on active duty to protect their retirement, and then take advantage of their recently retired status to address an issue they failed to take on while on active duty.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The word is "Illegals"

Illegal aliens. I wonder why those that don't want immigration controls object to this term?

Let's see.... Illegal: <http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=illegal> "Prohibited by law. " Clearly a bad thing.

Alien: <http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=alien> "Owing political allegiance to another country or government; foreign: alien residents"

I married an alien, and she became a citizen. I don't have anything in particular against aliens.

Illegal aliens are, by definition, breaking the law. We are a country of law, a country where the rule of law is paramount. It seems some groups in our country were recently upset thinking that the NSA wiretapping circumvented the "rule of law" principle. Maybe it did, and maybe it didn't. I don't have all the facts yet. And don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of the "rule of law" thing. It's served us well.

And why do we want a bunch of people in our country that owe their allegiance to another country? Perhaps all of those Mexican flags flying in my country this past weekend at the pro-Illegal Alien rallies are really showing us that it's not about immigration, but it's about cultural migration and we're just too blind to see it, and to timid to stop it.

Why is it that people from non-Mexican countries (like Guatemala) can come into Southern Mexico, walk all the way to the US, and come into the US, be we can't kick them back across the border into Mexico where they came from? If Mexico doesn't want them, perhaps Mexico should stop them on both of their borders and not just play us for fools?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Patrick Henry's Birthday!

Happy Birthday nephew! See his web site at <http://www.patrickhenryhughes.com/>

More on the MovieBeam Launch


I've been quite busy lately with MovieBeam. When you put a product into the consumer market place, there's a lot to do and a lot of feedback comes back. We visited a local Best Buy store on 2 March, 2006, the day after it was installed there, and saw our product in the store. That's me standing beside our demonstration kiosk in the store.

What a great feeling to see these years of work culminate in the release. People are reporting hearing MovieBeam radio adds in their markets. Sales are taking off.

If you want to see more pictures about MovieBeam, you can visit <http://web.mac.com/armando_santana/iWeb/Site/MovieBeam.html>. I don't know how long this person will leave the photos on-line.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

To my wife, my son, and my daughter. You are my life. You are my joy. I'll always love you all.

Welcome MovieBeam!

Today is the day. After two years of work, The next generation MovieBeam(TM) service is on the market. It's been a great experience, and there's still a huge bow-wave of work that the MovieBeam team will have to push through. (Use the MovieBeam link in the right-hand column if you want to jump to the web site and see the box, read about the service, and buy one.)

To all those at MovieBeam that I've worked with over the years and are no longer there (especially Mark B., Bruce F.) it was great working with you and I wish you were still here for the launch. For those still at MovieBeam and working your tails off to have made this launch happen (too numerous to begin naming) I salute you for your un-tiring efforts and professionalism. It's a great team at MovieBeam, and it's an honor to work with you all!
Here's to a continuing, productive, and challenging future together!

Arab Fury?

I see from the news that the Arabs are furious about the film of the British soldiers kicking the shit out of some kids that were throwing rocks at them. Was it called for? Heck if I know, I wasn't there. But I learned a long time ago that when you throw rocks at someone, there's a risk they are going to catch you, and when they do they are not going to be turning the other cheek.

Where is the Arab fury about the terrorists in Iraq trying to kill anyone they can, be they Suni, Shiite, or something else? Where is the Arab fury about kids throwing rocks at soldiers? Where was the Arab fury over Saddam's paying $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers? Where is the Arab fury over Iran's chase for nuclear technology?

I'm tired of hearing about Arab fury. Let's hear something about Arab leadership in human rights.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Politics at CSK Funeral?

Is it appropriate to bring a political fight to a funeral? If someone came to the funeral of a family member of yours and started making political speaches rather than honoring the family member, would you not want them to stop (or not have started in the first place)? Come on Jimmy, try and get some class!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Welcome to my blog...

Happy Feb 7th. I just created this little blog. I wonder what I might do with it?