Sunday, November 21, 2010

A 15-year listener to WPHT sadly changes his 1210 radio button

The following is an email I sent earlier today to The Big Talker, WPHT 1210AM Philadelphia.

Dear 1210 Staff,

As a longtime listener to Michael Smerconish and 1210, it's with sadness that tomorrow I will be changing the 1210 button on my car radio dial to a different station, due to your station dropping Beck and Hannity.

While I agree with Mr Smerconish that most citizens don't see political issues purely from a "conservative" or "liberal" viewpoint, that is an entirely different matter than the unquestioning acceptance of such views, from either side, by someone in the role of a radio host.

Some years ago I was an announcer, and later host of my own local program, on an NPR affiliate. Having said that (and as the person who downloaded and listened to the nightly NPR satellite news feed) it has long been clear to me that there is far more open-mindedness on most "conservative" talk radio shows, including a willingness to let the other side speak, than on shows leaning in the other direction.

As an example, while Bush was still president, both Hannity and Beck became essentially persona non grata with the White House press office, for their constant drumbeat regarding the financial irresponsibility of the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans. When has Mr Smerconish shown such a willingness to question the actions of Mr Obama and his friends?

Instead, what I have too often heard is Michael passing along their version of various stories without comment or question. And, very surprisingly from the man who wrote books like "Muzzled!" (of which I have a copy), I hear very little about the erosion of civil liberties under this administration -- including their unabashed contempt for allowing commentators to speak with whom they do not agree.

There are other things about 1210's broadcast philosophy which have long troubled me. One has been the station's willingness to give free airtime to Philadelphia city officials on a regular basis. An occasional interview is fine and appropriate, but not a weekly 30 or 60 minute soapbox. And I could not help noticing that more often than not, these officials have expressed disagreement if not downright contempt for people who (I believe) make up a good portion of your listening audience, and principles they have considered important. I have sometimes heard such callers to those programs (when calls are being taken at all, which is not always the case) shouted down by these people, or their questions not engaged with. While 1210 has no control over the behavior of these guests, once again I think the appropriateness of their frequent appearance on the station should be revisited.

For what it's worth, I think the station started to go downhill after CBS took it over. Considering that CBS also employs the likes of Katie Couric, I am not surprised at this decline. In fact, I have been pleased the decline has proceeded as slowly as it has (other than Mr Smerconish's rapid and obvious shift, around that time, to views that just happen to be more palatable to folks like those who run CBS).

Between the sort of pressure to change content that I can imagine might have come down from CBS, and from various leading citizens in the Philadelphia city government who are most certainly not aligned with the views of much of your listenership, I would think 1210 might be in a pretty tough spot, perhaps without much choice to do otherwise.

Whatever the reason, I think it's a sad come-down for what I once thought was one of the finest big-city radio stations anywhere.

And since you are now cutting way back on the informative and thought-provoking content for which I have long turned to 1210, in favor of the pablum Mr Smerconish has increasingly been giving us (which is one reason I have more and more often been tuning to Imus), I will be changing my current 1210 radio button to another station where this content is available.



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Airport Scanners and Groping and Equal Protection Under the Law

I've been waiting for this shoe to drop, and now here it is.

While most of us are going to be presented with the unsavory choice of being scanned or groped, some people will be exempted from either, because the searches are “invasive” and “humiliating”.

Well, sure they are, but if that stops ONE group from being searched, shouldn't it stop ALL of us from being searched?

Here's a wild thought. How about equal protection under the law? If we are going to have this insane system in place, then EVERYONE uses it. No exceptions.

Alternatively, if exceptions are going to be made because women in burquas are getting their naughties squeezed by the TSA, then EVERYONE is exempted and this silliness is brought to a complete halt.

One way or another. Equal protection under the law is a liberal principle which is at the foundation of our legal system and society.

What kind of principle is its deliberate absence?

Here's another wild thought. What if all passengers claimed they were Muslim, to avoid both the scanners and the groping?

How would the TSA know one way or another? Would they ask for a Muslim identification card?

Would they say, "oh, you can't be Muslim, you don't look like one"? Oh my, that sounds racist. Against the rules for government employees and contractors like the TSA to engage in such discriminatory conduct, surely.

Of course, I suppose our wise government could require people to wear some insignia on their clothes to indicate religious affiliation. If they did, would they have Jewish folks wear little yellow stars on their lapels?

Here is a link to the
We Won't Fly site.

I am not sure I want to give up flying, but there are some good recommendations here.

Rather than give up flying, I'd like to see these regulations rolled back, and the trolls who created them fired or reassigned (if bureaucrats) or removed from office (if politicians).

Otherwise they'll just move on to the next set of transport methods, and try to make those miserable too.

But for now, yes -- Protest is appropriate and required.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The "Big Strong Heroic Men" of Philadelphia's government put a pesky bereaved mother in her place

Once again, we see that a "compassionate, humane, caring" Democrat political machine not only leaves its most vulnerable citizens unprotected, the system is rigged so those people are unjustly punished as well.

The case of Sherderian Sutton: ... d=15585797

The cable people as well as the police and court system have, in my opinion, all behaved despicably in this matter.

In most parts of the US, those which many of us would consider "normal" parts of the country, things might well have gone differently:

Item 1. So what if she had a gun? It's her property, and legal under PA law for her to keep and bear.

Even if the woman was pointing the gun, instead of (as she claims) merely holding it at her side, so what? It seems to me that, under the law being used to charge her, pointing it in this case legitimately falls under "protecting one's self", to which the law does not apply.

Moreover -- if I'm standing on someone's property banging on their back door, even if they put a shotgun in my face and yell "git off mah proppiteh!" (which this woman did NOT do), my response will be "yes ma'am" (or sir) and leave. And most emphatically NOT go weaseling to the cops. It's that person's right to protect themselves and their property, and unless they shoot me in the back while I'm leaving, there's NOTHING wrong, abnormal or reportable about them brandishing a gun as part of that.

Too bad the weasel cable people didn't think of it that way. I wonder if any of them have criminal records, and resent a homeowner having the means to see off an actual intruder?

Could it be that one of them is a racist who dislikes the idea of a black person being armed? There are still a few people like that around, sadly.

Item 2. When the report was made to the police, here's how the conversation should have gone:
"Police desk"

"Yes, I work for the cable company, and [story from article]"

"What did you do next sir?"

"Why, I just worked happily in the backyard"

"You weren't afraid then sir?"


"Sir, if you were in fear, why did you stay on the property?"


"Sir, get the hell off my phone, and if you waste any more of my time I'll book you for filing a false report to the police." [click]
Instead, we have the despicable and wrongheaded response from the police that the article describes.

They COULD have paid a visit to make sure it wasn't a crack house or something, then left without making a charge or an arrest. No charge need have been filed at all.

Instead, they took this mother away from her 2 teenage kids. A mother whose third child had been MURDERED (and the cops never caught the killer). Then sent her home at 2AM (in Philadelphia) unarmed, having confiscated her gun and her permit (which you can't get unless you pass a background check, which tells you she's fairly clean).

Maybe they wanted to respond differently, but were afraid that their illustrious police chief, who along with the mayor has made no secret of his hatred for guns legally in private hands, would have punished them for failing to take this bold action against a bereaved mother.

Item 3. A judge in any sane part of the country should throw the case out. We can only hope.

Item 4. Even if the case is thrown out, or she is found innocent, she still has to petition a court to get her gun and permit back. Huh?

This is nothing more than pure official spite against gun owners, and possibly a law that would not stand up to honest judicial scrutiny.

If you are innocent, you are to be made immediately whole again for anything the state has done to you in the meantime. Period.

Except in Philadelphia, apparently.

The city of Philadelphia has long made its view clear, under several administrations, police chiefs and attorneys general, its venomous hatred of Pennsylvania's "shall issue" concealed carry law, which that city was compelled to begin honoring in 1996 (after which the murder rate dropped considerably, incidentally).

This combination of official vindictiveness, and a system slanted in ways that both benefit criminality and satisfy a particular political ideology, has as usual resulted in official failure to protect, and gratuitous persecution of, the most vulnerable in society -- people that this political ideology is SUPPOSEDLY devoted to protecting the most. Sadly, as seen in places like the USSR and North Korea (run by -- let's face it -- co-ideologues of Philadelphia's ruling party), this claim emanates from Opposite Land, and the reverse is the case in practice.

In the rainbows-and-unicorns world of the Democrats, aren't these Big Strong Heroic Men of the city government and police supposed to be protecting bereaved mothers and their children?

Instead, these Big Strong Heroic Men are persecuting her, and failing to protect her children (one of whom is already dead).

Way to go guys. You give that bereaved mother what for. Make you feel like big men, does it?

The US Dept of Justice (under Clinton no less) estimated in 1994 that in the US, guns are used defensively about 1.5 million times per year. In the vast majority of those cases, no one gets shot. The gun is only displayed (as this woman did), audibly cocked, or simply referred to verbally by the owner.

That's 1.5 million crimes per year deterred, with no one getting hurt.

Apparently that's something the government of Philadelphia doesn't want happening in its town.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A prophetic cartoon from 50 years ago

Remarkably prophetic indeed. "Hope and Change" predicted 50 years ago!

Not only is it prophetic, it illustrates how the same purveyors of snake-oil have been in business for generations.

Incidentally, the system described in the video can work anywhere, not just the USA... if it's allowed to.

When people talk about "American Exceptionalism", it's in the same sense that someone with a Mac running OS10 would try to convince someone running Windows 3.1 or CP/M that they may want think about switching, and telling them about all the cool features.

It's not that Mac users (whether in the USA or in a few other Mac-using countries) are specially blessed by God or have super-DNA, it's that they have a system that, while not perfect, seems to work one hell of a lot better than the other ones.

The only people who stand to lose from that are those who have a stake in pushing Windows 3.1 and CP/M. They do their best to convince users of those systems that the Mac people are "arrogant", "show-offs", even "oppressors", while doing all they can to keep those users in the dark as much as possible, even (sadly) convincing many not even to read anything about Macs published by Apple, or by people who use and like Macs.

Meanwhile, for some reason, in 2008 a bunch of the Mac users elected someone from the Windows 3.1 (or possibly even CP/M) organization to be CEO of Apple. And earlier, in 2006, for some reason they elected a bunch of people from that same organization to a majority on the Apple board.

And now that everyone's Macs are slowing down, displaying a lot of bugs, and crashing more often, some of these same people are surprised.

Well, what did they expect?

And do they think the current CEO gives a rat's ass? He WANTS those Macs to fail, and for their users to give up on them, and settle for his crappy product.

"Sigh...", say the Windows 3.1 purveyors. "It's just SO unfortunate... I guess those Macs just never really did work after all..."

Mac users are supposed to be a little more on the ball than most people. What are the other users who were looking forward to getting Macs themselves someday, and in some cases sticking their necks out to get some immediately, going to think of this strange decision on the part of the Mac users?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Deplorable Day in Denmark,news-comment,news-politics,muslim-extremists-attack-on-danish-cartoonist-is-great-pr-for-panic-rooms

The Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, when threatened by someone trying to smash in his windows, ran, as instructed earlier by his government bodyguards, to his government-provided panic room... leaving his 5-year old granddaughter alone in the house. His govt advisers had told him to leave any family members outside if they could not get in in time.

Fortunately she was OK. But I have to ask what kind of person would leave a small child at the mercy of such an attacker, whatever his handlers had told him?

I also have to ask (rhetorically) what kind of government would insist that potential adult victims of violence hide somewhere while family members are exposed to the attackers RATHER THAN SIMPLY ALLOWING THEM THE MEANS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.

I guess that government would prefer that children are butchered than allow anything to chip away at their carefully crafted and self-serving notion that regular citizens, no matter who they are, have no right to effective personal self-defense.

Adding to the general disgustingness, CNN reports that he brought his granddaughter with him. Dishonest spin to avoid horrifying US audiences too much, who (outside of certain US cities at least) may be less numbed to such despicable official attitudes than some who live in the EU?

No wonder the Islamic extremists feel so empowered to terrorize these poor farm animals, who seem by and large to be voluntarily toothless. 

And who, with a sense of moral purpose (even if evilly twisted as in the case of these terrorists) would not feel a sense of disgust and repugnance at contemplating such a society?