A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for SPAM!

Despite my efforts to be removed from the Hillary Clinton mailing list (a list I never signed up for) , the unsolicited e-mail continues to roll in.

From: “Clinton Campaign, Press Office” press@hillaryclinton.com
To: jay@geekradio.com
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 11:04:51 -0500

For what it’s worth, I have not been spammed by the Obama or McCain campaigns.

Don’t Shoot!

If you’ve been paying attention to the news at all this week then I am sure
you have heard about the recent shooting at KPFT, the station I broadcast Technology Bytes from each Wednesday from 8-10 pm.

To recap (from the KPFT site):

At about 1 AM Monday, August 13 a gunshot was fired
from a passing car into the KPFT control room. It penetrated thru both
panes of the outer window, entered the room and smashed into the control
room door on the far side of the room. Police were summoned and have begun an investigation.
Fortunately, Mary Thomas and John Orr of “Zydeco Pas Salé” were not hurt.

I have sat in that control room many times in the last 20 years of programming at KPFT. Only in the last few years have I had an engineer working the board (thanks phliKtid!) which allows me to sit in the windowless on-air studio.

I’m truly grateful that no one was hurt during the incident

This is not the first violent episode at KPFT.

The station’s transmitter was bombed and destroyed on May 12, 1970,
two months after going on the air. The new station was off the air for
three weeks until repairs could be made.

Five months later, on October 6, 1970, while the station was broadcasting Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant,” the transmitter was bombed yet again and
the damage was significantly more extensive. The second bombing took
KPFT off the air for three months.

Check out this rare video:

The bombing was at the transmitter and the actual station was unharmed, as were the programmers and staff of KPFT.

There’s a piece of the destroyed transmitter on display at the radio station.
It’s upstairs so you have to know about it or ask to see it if you are just
a casual visitor.

Then there was the time not too long ago that the guy who has been ranting and raving all over the Internet about Technology Bytes and KPFT conspiring with Microsoft to exploit the American public showed up at the station brandishing a shotgun.

As to the recent shooting, I have no idea what the motivation might be.
It could have been someone upset with our left leaning programming, it could
have been random, it could have been a disgruntled volunteer…heck,
it could have been someone upset with Rick Heysquierdo for playing one
too many Billy Joe Shaver songs on Lone Star Jukebox for all I know…

The Freepers are going back and forth from accusing us of shooting ourselves as a publicity stunt or a
conspiracy to suggesting that we were “asking for it” …

One thing’s for sure, this event has the opportunity to galvanize
support for KPFT in this community.

No matter your political leanings, no matter your spiritual beliefs
or taste in music, everyone (sane) can agree that shooting a
radio station is just crazy and, quite possibly, a REAL symbol
of the threat to freedom of speech and expression faces each
and every day in this country.

If anything, the recent shooting might bring some much needed
attention to the plight of our little public radio station. Maybe more
people will be motivated to get involved. It’s times of crisis that seem
to bring out the best in people.

I don’t see my show as a lightning rod for controversy, but I sometimes
lose site of the fact that KPFT can be.

I’ll be doing my show tonight. Business as usual. But you can bet I will be a little more on the wary side than before.

Links of interest:

Rolas de Aztlan (kpft.wordpress.com)
Notes from KPFT Program Director Ernesto Aguilar

The Texas Observer (www.texasobserver.org)
KPFT’s Close Call

Charles Kuffner (offthekuff.com)
KPFT targeted for “alternative” programming?

Considerations practical and personal

It sets off a nerve every time I hear someone rant about the loss of personal liberties when it comes to something like a law requiring drivers to wear safety belts. There is a long running debate in this country as to whether driving is a right or a privilege. Arguments for either side are both passionate and compelling.

Regardless of which camp you fall into, to say that the government has no right to tell you to wear a seat belt is short sighted and naive as is the belief that not wearing your seat belt harms no one but the person who chooses not to buckle up.

From the Arizona DPS:

The cost of unbuckled drivers and passengers goes beyond those killed and the loss to their families. We all pay for those who don’t buckle up ““ in higher taxes, higher health care and higher insurance costs.

On average, inpatient hospital care costs for an unbelted crash victim are 50 percent higher than those for a belted crash victim. Society bears 85 percent of those costs, not the individuals involved. Every American pays about $580 a year toward the cost of crashes. If everyone buckled up, this figure would drop significantly.

By reaching the goal of 90 percent seat belt use, and 25 percent reduction in child fatalities could save $8.8 billion annually.

Those are some pretty amazing numbers.

While it may be a valid concern that government is whittling away at our personal liberties, I think that fighting over whether or not you should wear seat belts is a wasted effort. There are certainly bigger fish to fry and since seat belts save lives and have the potential to save us some money I feel the law is justified.

Besides, I know from personal experience that you simply cannot count on your fellow driver to “do the right thing”, not when death is on the line.

Case in point:

It’s circa 1987 and a younger, more naive Jay Lee is driving his brand new Honda CRX to Temple, TX to visit family for the holidays.

At this stage of my life I’m young, I’m stupid (more so than now, I believe) and rather cocky in that young, invincible, live forever woo-hoo kinda way. Still, I don’t like getting hassled by the man and I know full well that the Texas Highway Patrol is out in force on the holiday weekend looking for speeders, drunk drivers and GASP!, those who may be driving sans seat belt so I buckle up. Not because I believe in the safety it provides, not because I give a tinkers damn about health costs or insurance rates. I buckle up because I don’t want to get a ticket.

The Honda CRX is sporty two-seater and I am enjoying the drive as I wind my way north and west away from Houston. I’m not speeding or, if I am, it’s a few miles over the limit but nothing extreme. I have a healthy fear/respect of law enforcement and don’t really want to be pulled over in a small Texas town.

At that time I was dating a woman named Shari and she was riding in the passenger seat with me for holiday family visit. I recall at some point she didn’t have her seat belt on. Maybe we had pulled out of a gas station and she forgot or she had to get something from the behind the seat I don’t remember exactly. I do remember reminding her to buckle up, which she did.

Shortly afterward, I drove into a curve and there was some road work. I noticed the loose gravel sign and thought to decelerate when it became very obvious that we had already driven into the loose gravel. I could feel the rear end fish-tailing and I struggled to control the car, but to no avail. The car went into a spin and proceeded to go backward across the highway and off the road and flipped onto it’s roof.

I remember us both hanging there, upside down, firmly strapped in place and looking at each other as we marvelled at our predicament and realized we were both unhurt. Something I am sure would not be true had we not been wearing seat belts.

So I owe my current well being not to my ability to make a choice to protect myself from physical harm, but rather to my desire to obey the law and not pay a fine. And am I ever grateful for that law? You bet your sweet bippy I am!

On top of that we had no health insurance. Had we been injured the tax payers of this great nation would have footed the bill for our medical treatment.

So yea, it’s personal for me. Buckle up!