Friday, January 30, 2009

Who is driving the bus?

Ultraguy, over at New Wineskins posted a blog yesterday that got me thinking. He's a good friend of mine, in fact he was the one that suggested that I should be blogging myself.

P.S., you should blog some of this! it's too good to be for my eyes only.

As one should try to obey one's blog father -
I submit the following - If as christians we claim to believe - God is in control there are some things to consider:
  1. President Obama is God's chosen instrument - whether for good or ill as we are given to see it - we do not yet see.
  2. There are set limits on President Obama's power to act and to do. This applies to both domestic and foreign policy.
  3. Our role as christians is to pray for those in power that they will do the will of God. In the past we have seen what happens to those who see, hear and obey.
    1. Nineveh after Job preached was saved for a time, yet the weight of their culture eventually sank them.
    2. The children of Israel failed to follow the sabatical rules and the jubilee - Nebuchadnezzar came along and helped them honor God's rules about the land.
    3. Queen Esther, clearly a woman for and defined by her time, thwarted the fixed plan of Haman to erase not only his rival for power in the court, but the entire race of the Hebrews.
A reading from the Gospel of John

Joh 19:1-22 KJV Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. (2) And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, (3) And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. (4) Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. (5) Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! (6) When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. (7) The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. (8) When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; (9) And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. (10) Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? (11) Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. (12) And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. (13) When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. (14) And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! (15) But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
(16) Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. (17) And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: (18) Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
(19) And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. (20) This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. (21) Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. (22) Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

In the ordinary course of Roman justice, the story should end with Pilate's statement in verse 4, because it is a declaration of innocence. Everything from this point on that Pilate does must be understood from this knowledge. To be clear about it I will say it again and the text shows it. Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent. Yet because of the fixed purpose of God from before creation Pilate's options have been limited and Pilate is God's chosen man. His past, has led him to this point, and he finds that he can either honor his conscience or prevent a disastrous riot, but not both.

In verses 10 and 11 Jesus' response to Pilate shows that Pilate does not understand his position, he is like a chess player with only one move that he can take, yet that move is deadly.

In verse 19 we see that after the crisis, Pilate reasserts his authority as magistrate and makes a legal declaration that the accused was in fact who he claimed to be. When challenged on that point by the mob, Pilate holds his ground and attempts to recover some of his moral balance.

Scripture is silent about the rest of Pilate's life after the crucifixion and the traditions are somewhat divergent. What we are given to know is that Pilate when the time came did what God required of him: 1) A judicial finding of innocence, as important to the plan as the finding by the Chief Priest that Jesus was a lamb without blemish; 2) Sent Jesus to the cross; 3) A judicial finding of fact, Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews.

Change You Can Take to the Bank

Apparently as in Orwell's Animal Farm, some are more equal than others. Two major players in the "Danse Macabre" called Global Warming Hysteria have decided that personal comfort trumps, economics and environmentalism.

Nobel Laureate Gore, was seen in our nation's Capitol leaving the engines of three vehicles idling so that they would be warm when he left the Capitol.

From several sources this week comes news that our new President has goosed the thermostat in the White House. The major media have given him a pass on this as apparently the memory hole has eaten this news item from May 2008.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

DTV Hold and Politics of Change (Updated, Revised, Again)

Thought that I owed everyone the article that started me down this path. This one looks at the delay based primarily on the merits and is relatively neutral in tone. DTV Transition encounters Static GCN is a trade magazine targeted at the Federal Computer market - sort of a clipping service.

The current administration was elected on a promise of change. One of the prominently mentioned changes was that the Administration would be transparent. The president has said that lobbyists need not apply for positions in his administration. How has the reality played out?

In at least one area, the administration has failed to as transparent as it needs to be to keep rumor and speculation from running rampant. In 2005 as part of the Omnibus (Ominous) Spending bill S. 1932 Title III Sections 3002, 3003, 3004 bear on the Digital TV transition scheme. (Text of S. 1932) When the bill was passed there was speculation from consumer advocacy groups that the funding level established for the coupon program was insufficient. (FoxNews from 2005)

We now know that those consumer advocates were correct about the funding. That is now being used as a reason to delay the transition by 4 months. But that isn't the real problem facing the administration. Their point man briefing members of the House and Senate is Gerry Salemme who is based on the most recent SEC filings a director of ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Limited. Also based on SEC filings for Eagle River Investments, LLC the board of Eagle River has substantial interlocks with the Board of ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Limited.

-- Cool tool for exploring relationships --

This is the fair and mostly above the board part of the issue. Another item in play is the roll out of Fourth Generation (4G) Cellular Networks. These networks are intended to run in a portion of the commercial broadcast spectrum currently occupied by Analog Broadcast TV signals. Interestingly one major player in the US Sprint is ready to roll out a 4G net work on a segment of the spectrum that is already cleard while Verizon will have to wait for the TV spectrum to contract before rolling out its 4G network. For LTE (Verizon) vs WiMax(Sprint, Clearwire) a very interesting article by Julian Sanchez on Ars Techinca.

Let us say that the timing and team membership are worth looking at carefully. The old latin phrase caveat emptor (buyer beware) may apply here. The new transparency is looking a lot like the old school politics of influence. Its hard to see much difference between this crowd and the S. F. B. Morse Western Union telegraph bunch from the 1850's.

Further reading:

J Sanchez:


Friday, January 16, 2009

Turn About

Many years ago I took several procedural programming language classes. Assembly language and FORTRAN (pre-Fort 77), were the major players. I then spent about twenty years of my life in the US Navy in electronics where periodically I was exposed to some basic computer theory as well as control system applications. Through out all of that I had an unexamined position regarding one of the languages that I had used at a superficial level. I like many of my peers considered BASIC to be a language with training wheels.

In spare moments over the last week I've been building a small application to do a work related task. Writing the application allowed me to learn the basics of the process that I was programming. The language that I wrote this in -- VisualBasic! The ineresting thing is that none of the programmers that I know have used FORTRAN in years.

That is not to say that FORTRAN is dead, just that it is now a niche language, useful in its place but not a general use language like Java or C.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


If we didn't already have all of the evidence needed to draw conclusions about the nature of Democratic Party operations in our State and Federal capitals. The latest revelations on the non-payment of taxes by the Treasury Secretary nominee should provide the last load.

I don't know about the rest of you but, my wife has been self employed at various times, and my IRS filings made with TurboTax(r) have always included the necessary supplemental forms for Social Security Taxes. I find it inconceivable that anyone who makes the kind of money that the nominee makes would be using anyone but a CPA or a Tax Law specialist to file IRS forms. I mean, if TurboTax asks the questions needed to find out that you need to file a Social Security tax schedule with your 1040 it doesn't say much about the professional preparer, that or the nominee has an honesty problem.

Powerline links to a Byron York article at NRO that indicates that Giethner was advised by his employer the IMF that he was required to pay his social security taxes. The act is compounded by a reembursement program by the IMF that paid employees for the cost of the tax. Giethner by submitting a claim to IMF for the tax shows that he knew at the time that he was required to pay the tax. Why are we working so hard to not do something that would have cost nothing to do the right way?

Training - Revisited

New today via Powerline was a link to a just released report on the attacks in Mumbai which being made by experts in security and counter terrorism echoed my thoughts on the role of training, and especially practice in the reactions of the Indian Police and Commando units.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Busman's Holiday II

Quick update, I'm now at my SIL's place. It is in Western NY, but just barely, a few miles south is PA and Maybe an hour west is PA again. North eventually becomes Canada.

Turns out that her computer has been a little slow, and needed some TLC as well as the removal of a really bad infestation of trojans and other viruses. Specifically some really nasty stuff from the vitumonde family of trojans. I've butted heads with virtumonde before and ended up walking away both bowed and bloody. Did a bit better this time. Lucky for me the folks at Major Geeks have worked out a method for killing off virtumonde. The link will take you straight to their page on cleaning your computer.

Tomorrow is more of the same at my MIL's place where I'm setting up a printer, and a dial up account for the in-laws.