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Liberal InTexas's Journal
Posted by Liberal In Texas in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Aug 31st 2009, 07:29 PM
The myth that you can rise from poverty to "achieve the American Dream of wealth and success through hard work, courage, determination, and concern for others." (wiki)

It was of course all horse twaddle as Alger came from an upper class family, attended Harvard and traveled in Europe as a young man. Like some of the Republicans and Libertarians of today who admire him, he resigned his position of minister in a Unitarian Church "following a pederastic scandal involving two teenage boys." (ibid) We'd probably call him a pedophile today.

This idea that you're poor or sick because of something that you've done or haven't done is one of the most bizarre of a host of bizarre beliefs the RW propounds.

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Posted by Liberal In Texas in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Thu May 21st 2009, 06:38 PM
Let me preface this by saying that I don't watch that much TV. We don't have cable or satellite. I can't see paying as much as $100/mo. for something we don't use much. But when I want to watch PBS or the news, HD is great. Other than that, we do watch movies on DVD and the 16x9 format is much more conducive for that.

I spent over 30 years in broadcast TV and still work producing video. (Which may be why I don't find watching TV as entertaining as most people.) So, when someone wants their new converter box hooked up, guess who they call? The following are some opinions gleaned from fairly recent experience.

Not all converter boxes are created equal.

After setting up different brands I have come to the conclusion that your success with over-the-air reception depends on the quality of the converter box you have, even more so than antenna type and placement. There is scant information out there in the form of reviews found via the Google. Many reviews give you their take on sound and picture quality and the kind of hook-ups a box has, but I have yet to see one on how good the box does in actually receiving the signal.

One box I set up looked OK initially. But after watching for awhile, every few minutes the signal would glitch causing a drop out in the picture and sound. Usually this started with the picture tearing with those digital boxes and then a freeze up of the video and audio drop out. Then everything would return to normal without messing with the antenna. Very annoying.

The box that worked best, ironically was the cheapest. The store I bought it from had it on sale for about $40 and with the government coupon it was almost free. This one was the Channel Master CM7000. It has a metal case, not plastic and is made in Eastern Europe, not China. That said, the first one I pulled out of the box didn't work at all and I had to return it to the store for an exchange. The second one worked as it was supposed to.

The other boxes I have purchased were the Apex and AirLink, both of which seem to have weak tuner reception.

For several years, I also have had a Humax box which is a DTV receiver with an HD output (not a down converter) I used on for an older HDTV as it didn't have an internal digital tuner, only analog. It also had dicey off-air reception capabilities. Changing channels meant changing the antenna position, sometimes to a different part of the room. Again, annoying.

I don't know of any good way of determining what box is best other than trial and error. Asking friends how theirs work or electronic store employees could be helpful if they're somewhat savvy about these things.

An antenna is an antenna is an antenna.

Basically, any antenna should work fine with the DTV converter boxes. Powered antennas might be a little better, but I have gotten good reception from non-powered rabbit ears. As with standard definition (SD) analog broadcast signals, your proximity to the towers and obstacles such as buildings or mountains will affect reception. Attic or outside antennas will improve reception over downstairs inside antennas. Also, the "more antenna" you have (like a bigger one) the better chance for uninterrupted reception. Don't be fooled by advertising hype that says that you'll need to buy a special HD or DTV antenna. It's just not so.

Digital is on-off-on-off so you either have the signal or you don't -- for the most part. There are no ghosts or snow like with analog. Marginal digital signals will give you an in and out pixeling and freezing and cause you to keep adjusting the antenna.

Here's an interesting little blog about making a large DIY antenna for the attic: /

Unfortunately, the best results I get for receiving DTV is from the internal tuner on a new TV.

I now have two HDTVs with internal tuners. A Sharp and a Samsung. With rabbit ears I get great reception. It seems the tuners in the TVs themselves are "stronger" than the converter boxes. On the newest one, I get all the local stations here with rabbit ears that I set once and haven't had to readjust as I change to a different channel. My guess is that TV manufacturers are probably putting in better electronics than what's being produced in the external converter boxes.

The big advantage, of course, is that your new TV will be giving you an HD picture instead of SD.

Of course, the big disadvantage is you have to go out and fork out money for something new when your old TV seems to be working just fine. The prices are coming down and will continue to, but it still is a significant hit to the bank account for most of us in these uncertain econominc times.

One last thing. All the digital tuners (external and internal) I have come in contact with require that you plug it all in, set up an antenna, and then scan the spectrum before it will receive anything. If one or two stations aren't recognized because the antenna isn't in the right place, they won't be recognized and you have to keep re-scanning after changing the antenna around by trail and error. If say, channel 4 didn't get recognized on the scan, you can't just add channel 4 via the menu without re-scanning. If you finally get channel 4, you may find channel 11 didn't get recognized. This is a real PIA.

These are just some opinions I came to from working with this stuff, your experience may be different, but I hope it may help some before they shut off the analog next month for good.


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Posted by Liberal In Texas in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Jan 12th 2008, 02:04 AM
We've had a lot of practice.

As Will Rogers once said, "I Don't Belong To Any Organized Party: I'm A Democrat."

But that disorganization gives us our strength. The other "party" acts like Nazis, walking in lock-step and marching off the cliff like lemmings. We quarrel and get pissed off and sometimes walk away. But our strength is that we don't have one "talking point" that we have to rely on.

We think. We read. We listen.

We are democrats that sometimes sabotage ourselves. But if we didn't, we wouldn't be democrats and we wouldn't be looking out for the best for our fellow man and ourselves.

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Posted by Liberal In Texas in Texas
Fri Oct 19th 2007, 07:30 AM
I can't believe the lies the "No" camp is putting out, aided by the DMN.

I got push-polled the other night by them, and went off on the pollster. I probably shouldn't have, but I was taken by surprise and it just made me mad.

I encourage reading the Oberver mentioned above.

Plus, I'm against building more toll roads for any reason, and this one is really a bad idea.

Please vote YES on this grass roots effort to keep the Trinity project sane.

Check out: /

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Posted by Liberal In Texas in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Oct 16th 2007, 08:57 PM
Here is a handy guide to carry around about the rights of photographers. Any photographer, not just the media.

Obviously you can't read it here. The PDF:
From this website:
(Mr. Krages deserves a big credit and thank you for having this available.)
As the flyer states, there are not very many legal restrictions on what can be photographed when in public view. Most attempts at restricting photography are done by lower-level security and law enforcement officials acting way beyond their authority. Note that neither the Patriot Act nor the Homeland Security Act have any provisions that restrict photography.

The Photographer’s Right is a downloadable guide that is loosely based on the Bust Card and the Know Your Rights pamphlet that used to be available on the ACLU website. It may be downloaded and printed out using Adobe Acrobat Reader. You may make copies and carry them your wallet, pocket, or camera bag to give you quick access to your rights and obligations concerning confrontations over photography. You may distribute the guide to others, provided that such distribution is not done for commercial gain and credit is given to the author.

There are other websites that discuss photographer's rights (just google) including the NPPA which is more media specific.
(ed: spelling)
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Very interesting comment.

I remember walking into a bar with my wife when this started to shake out. I hadn't ever heard about the "typeface" BS. But this "friend" had all the talking points lined up to assail me with. "That fake type on the Rather documents... etc etc."

"What are you talking about," I asked. He preceded to tell me that Rather had put some docs out that were such obvious forgeries.

"What are you talking about," I asked again. Mr RW friend told me that the typrwriters did not exist at that time period, and it was obvious that word processors of the computer age were used. Man, he heard talking points rather quickly from somewhere. I was stunned. I had nothing to come back with.

That night, I got out the old internet and looked up what I could find. RW, LW, everybody comparing fonts. I compared with the best of them. Like I said, I've used these old Selectrics, a lot, and to me it was a typewriter, not a word processer.

But the bell had been rung. The talking point meme was out. My "friend" at the bar had heard it before me. I had no ammo when I had walked in.

Now I had to disprove it. Much after the fact. Who remembers after the fact?


This is what we are up against all the time.

Lies that take on the patina of truth. History now rewritten by liars.
The RW Hate Radio guys like to quote Churchill (who would hate them)..."History is written by the victors."

They take it to mean, like Hitler, you can rewrite history for your choosing. Churchill was more inclined to mean that despots would not have their history memorialized.

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All we can do is be ourselves. The TexMex population here in Dallas is like any other. They go where their best interests are. We have to show to EVERYBODY (Mexican, black, white, whatever) that the dem viewpoint is much more adventageous than the rep one.

I have a good friend here in Dallas who was the first judge of Mexican decent to be on the bench in Dallas. He says that, "We Mexicans are taking over Texas one baby at a time."

And it's true. The popuolation here is exploding with first, second, and third generation Mexican groups assimilating even faster than the Irish, Germans, or Italians of the last century (19th not 20th).

It's kind of fun to watch as the sons and daughters of these emmigrants become civic leaders. The lawyers I work with. The business owners. My new neighbors. The city councilmen or county commissioners that are on the news.

The times, they are a changing. And I think it is for the good. The white-bread good old boy network is now suddenly challenged. Good!

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Unfortunately, there no rapture, or tribulation, or any of that crap.

(I almost wish there was, to get rid of them.)

They've been trumpeting this meme for about 200 years or more, like maybe 500 or a 1000. They're Apocalyptics. They're just nuts. They've been around for a long time.

It's just that they've never had this kind of power before.

It really is like being in Nazi Germany when the Party was seizing power. Only this time, they're religious nutbags intent on overthrowing our government with their Christo-Fundo fachism.

Be afraid.

Be very afraid. Not about 757s flying into skyscrapers, but to the takeover of our democracy, our republic, by jack-booted Christo-Taliban corportists.

We are on the verge of losing our freedom, ironically in the name of it.

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength.
Oceania was at war with Eurasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia

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They also think WMDs are either buried in the desert or were secreted out to Syria.
They think that Kerry and Cleland were cowards.
They think that corporations and corporate religion should control our government.
They think Clinton is responsible for 9/11. Even though they warned them. Even though the Repukes defied his anti-terrorism initiative.
They think "fighting them over there" will keep them safe.
They think that the Canadian or European system of health care does not work.
They think the Bush tax cuts actually affect them.
They think there is a "death tax." And it will impact them.
They think that Rush, Sean, Neil, and the rest of the rabid RW radio pack speak the truth.
They think that Global Warming is a made up meme to make corporations toe the line.
They think that it's OK to cheat on taxes, hire illegal immigrants, and in general screw the gov't as long as it lines their pockets.

They hate you and ...
They think YOU are a traitor.

If you have a bumper sticker they don't like, they think it'll be OK to run you off the road.
They are good Germans.
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a few times.

He's OK. But.

He's no Edward R. Murrow. He's more like Ted Baxter than most DUers would like to think.

He's a bit pompous and egotistical. (Most anchors are. This is not unusual.)

He reminded me of when I met William Shatner. A bit above it all. Not stupid, but not really on top of what was going on either.

It was in sharp contrast to when I met Walter Cronkite at the Democratic National Convention (more years ago than I care to think about) at the CBS canteen off the floor of the convention. Eyes that would look into your soul. A nice man, easy with jokes and small talk. Tie undone, lounging back in a plastic chair to sip his Coke and eat his rubber sandwich with the rest of the crew. Expand the belly a bit. Roll his eyes and ask, "How are you liking Atlanta?"

Dan always had an entourage. Like Fergie did when I met her, or (as I assume) Madonna does. Dan was a STAR. And make no mistake about it, he wanted you to know that. It was rumored that in "Broadcast News" Jack Nicholson was doing a parody of Rather. I think that is a correct assessment.

Did Rather actually stand for journalistic beliefs? Does he still?

I think the answer is probably yes. Almost 99% yes.

Is he another Cronkite or Murrow. No. 100% no.

But we take our heros, even with clay feet, where we find them.

(edited to say...I'll bet nobody reads this, but I kind of had to let someone know that might be interested...)

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1) Compose the message.

2) Run it through spell check.
----The DU spell check is good, but I have some sort of problem with it I can't figure out, so is always at the ready. If it's long, I copy it and run it through a word program with a spell checker.

3) Preview it.
----The layout that will be viewed by others is now apparent. See if it looks like something you would want to read. (Ex: Big blocks of text are uninviting and hard to read on a computer screen, try breaking them into smaller pieces.)

----Read the whole thing. Word for word. Proofreading will help pick up the odd word that the spell check didn't catch. (There instead of their, to instead of too, etc.) It will also give you more of a sense of how someone reading it will perceive it. The whole idea is to convey your exact thoughts and feelings to other people. Reading it over will let you have a pretty good idea if you've done that or not.

5) Post.
----Sometimes I'll go away after posting for a few minutes, read some other posts, and come back. I read it again and use the edit function to make myself more clear or to correct the mistake that eluded me in the other steps.

I know this seems a bit time consuming. But if you have gone to the trouble to sit down and write something you feel is important enough to share with the world, a little extra time might ensure someone might actually read and understand it.

I can't tell you how many posts every day that I just skip over because it looks like it will take until lunchtime to wade through it. Or that if the first few sentences are too hard to understand, I'll just give up and move on.

And finally, I know not everybody was an English major. I don't think we expect Will Pitt caliber exposition from everybody. And mistakes will sometimes get through no matter how much care you put into the process. If you proofread and it makes sense to you, it will probably make sense to others.

(LOL, edited for 3 mistakes!)

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