What Now?

April 20, 2009

Well, we all had a good time at our local Tea Parties, right? I saw some nifty signs, great costumes, and good t-shirts. We all listened to some speakers tell us what we already knew, got some new bumper stickers, and are feeling pretty darned good about ourselves because we “did something.”

The question we have to ask ourselves now is: “Now what?”

In case you haven’t noticed, nothing has changed since 4/14/09. The same unConstitutional laws are still on the books and being enforced. The same unConstitutional taxes are being extracted from us by force. We are still spending billions of dollars (and thousands of lives) on an unConstitutional war. Local SWAT teams are still armed and dressed like a crack SS unit, and they still breaking down doors (sometimes, even the right door) to enforce unConstitutional laws.

For some reason, it doesn’t seem like our one-day party changed much.

Maybe it’s because all of the party organizers got all the right permits beforehand (got the King’s permission). Maybe those groups who got fined for “polluting” when they dumped tea in the rivers and lakes have all paid their fines. Maybe it’s because all of the party-goers were so thoughtful and kind that no traffic was obstructed and no hallways were clogged by protesters at statehouses around the country. In short, maybe we were too polite. Maybe, by getting our permits and paying our fines, we are showing the tyrants that we are willing to submit to whatever restrictions they place on us – even those limiting our free speech! What would be our situation if the protesters at the REAL tea party had asked King George for his permission first?

What do we expect to have changed from our one-day event? Now that it is over, the media hype has died down, the statist pundits have had their fun trying to marginalize anyone who dares to object to any government program. Those in government can relax, knowing that they will never again hear from 99% of the people who participated, and that if they offer a few sound bites before the next election, most of those people will still vote for them and they will be re-elected.

Those in government know that most of us will go back to watching Americans Idle, and most won’t lift a finger to put any pressure on government officials. Legislators know that they can pretty much do anything they want, and the vast majority of the American public won’t even KNOW, unless the government-sanctioned media shines a light on it, which is unlikely. They know from experience that there are few citizens who will take the time to read the bills introduced; fewer still will make the effort to watch the legislature, either in person, or on CSPAN (or the local equivalent). The few mass mailings of form letters they get from special interest groups can be easily ignored – unless of course, they happen to agree with the position of the legislator, in which case they will be heralded as “proof” that ‘something needs to be done.’ Individual handwritten letters will only be scanned for keywords, and a form letter reply will be mailed back to the citizen, and half the time the keyword scanner will get it completely wrong. Your letter will simply be marked into either the “for” or “against” column for a particular bill.

What if a certain number of people showed up at their state house nearly every day, without warning? What if they refused to leave until their “representative” listened to their grievance, AND reasons? On “Tea Party Day,” everyone knew exactly when citizens would be there, and so it was possible to simply be “out of the office” during those hours? What if every day, as they drove to their office (which is really OUR office), they wondered how many people would be in the waiting room, in the halls, on the sidewalks, and waiting on the phone? Do you think it would be harder for them to put us out of their mind on a daily basis?

As long as they continue to ignore us, they will just do as they please – which is to increase their power and keep their job. When they find out that people are watching what they do, and that people CARE, maybe they will think twice before succumbing to lobbyists and special interest groups.

Are we a “special interest group?” You bet! Our interests are the Constitution, rule of law, and the resulting liberty.

Don’t let them forget it.

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Blago Gets Rewarded?

March 30, 2009

I heard that disgraced Illinois Governor Blago got “six figures” for a book deal. In other words, if you are perceived as enough of a crooked scumbag, you get paid at least $100,000 to tell everyone what a fine individual you are.

This is a disgrace. Talk about selling out the citizens!

Of course, politicians at all levels in Illinois are known for honesty, integrity, and fairplay. (example1)

After all, Blago replaced a governor who inconveniently happened to have been serving a prison term for corruption.

Now it turns out that the person Blago appointed to fill Obama’s vacated seat just happens to have been somehow involved in fundraising for Blago, even though he repeatedly testified to the contrary.

I’m not sure what it is about Illinois politicians; Democrats specifically; but they seem to have all missed the class on “ethics” and “honesty.”


Audio Purists

March 20, 2009

There is a group of sound guys I call “audio purists.” These are people who eschew anything which colors the sound, such as EQ. To them, “purity” of sound is the ultimate goal, above all else.

All EQ colors the sound, not only by varying the frequency response, but also, as a side effect, affecting the phase angle at certain frequencies. This is most apparent when boosting frequencies, and, in extreme amounts causes “ringing,” or resonance at the boost frequency. While this is clearly heard at extreme levels of boost, it is present to some degree at more moderate amounts of boost. This is what purists object to.

Because of this, a “purist” will, when using the 31 band EQ to tune the system, only use it to cut frequencies. In fact, there are a few graphic EQs on the market that are “cut-only.” They do not boost at all. In theory, this should be a good idea. But, what of a situation, where the system sounds pretty good, but has one frequency area that is slightly lower in response to the rest of the spectrum? Most people would simply use the 1/3 octave to boost those few frequencies the 1 or 2 dB needed to smooth things out. The “purist,” however, would prefer to cut all other frequencies, to avoid boosting any band. However, one thing often overlooked is that cutting adjacent bands does NOT result in a flat response. For example, if you cut every band on a graphic EQ by 3dB, the resulting curve would not be a flat response which was simply 3dB lower than the input. Each band has the most affect at its center frequency, and gradual shoulders which boost or cut less and less the further from the center frequency you get. Also, phase shift problems are most apparent in these “shoulder” areas. These shoulder areas are additive, which means that the cut (or boost) of two adjacent bands combine where the shoulders of the filters for those two bands overlap. Therefore, the result from pulling every band down 3dB would be a response which was down 3dB at each center frequency, with ‘ripples’ between bands of lesser or more attenuation. In addition, there would be phase shifts across the entire spectrum. The end result is that, to avoid boosting in one small area of the frequency range, you would be introducing an odd frequency response in the entire spectrum which would be filled with phase anomalies. This in the name of “audio purity?”

A related thought is that they will refrain from using any (ANY!) channel EQ. In fact, they will switch it out of the circuit. This idea actually has some merit, of not carried to the extreme. Their thinking is that EQ is bad, for the reasons I stated above, and since they aren’t going to use the channel EQ, they might as well take it out of the signal path. Since every circuit adds some small amount of noise, you can avoid adding it by not having that circuit in the path at all. Consider that each EQ adds some noise, if you remove the EQs from all 32, 48, 64, or however many channels you are using, this can add up to quite a bit of noise you are avoiding. The thought goes that you should get your sound solely from mic choice and placement. In a situation where you want the most natural sounds possible, and if you are working with acoustic instruments where a “natural sound” is desired, this may be possible. I agree that you should do everything you can to get the sounds you need with mic choice and placement, but in a live situation, it’s not always possible, and you are most likely not working with cellos, violins, violas, etc. So, what is a “natural” sound for a synthesizer, electric guitar, or bass? Odds are, you are going to want to do some EQ to each one, or you will end up with a lifeless and unexciting mix. Can you imagine the average kick drum in a rock mix if you couldn’t have any EQ on it? Cheap EQ sections can sound pretty bad, but if you have good channel EQ, there’s no reason not to use it. Every board sounds different, and the EQ is a big part of this. It is one of the major things you should listen carefully to when shopping for a new mixer.

Another technique that is rather common, or at least was, among the purists,  is to put all of the channel faders at the +/-0 line, and do all of the mixing with the mic trim pots. I’m not real sure where this technique came from, other than the “purists” see a point on the fader where it is neither attenuating or boosting, and they figure that is the “natural” (or “neutral”) spot. However, if you read one of my earlier posts, you may remember that, on instruments that need to be quieter in the mix, this can result in added noise, since you are turning it down at the trim pot, and then running the fader at 0. Whatever noise is added by the channel’s electronics would be better reduced by getting a good strong signal through the channel, and then running the fader at -15dB, or where ever you need it. In my opinion, it is far better to get as hot of a signal as you can coming in to the channel. During sound check, have the player go through his loudest part, and use the PFL meter to set the input level to 0VU and do your mixing with the channel fader. That way, you have plenty of signal to work with, and if you are also sending monitor mixes from the FOH console, makes it MUCH easier to deal with.

A lot of the ideas that the “audio purists” have are based on situations in the mythical ‘ideal situation,’ but don’t often translate well to the real world of mixing a rock band. As always, use your ears and judge for yourself, but keep these things in mind when some “helpful” purist starts making suggestions. Try everything, and keep what works for you – just always consider every aspect and consequence of every technique you try. Otherwise, you may not know what is causing other, seemingly unrelated problems.


Preachers and Smoking

March 5, 2009

Our liberty-impaired state legislators are considering a state-wide ban on smoking in “the workplace.” Our county government, who is equally unfamiliar with freedom, passed such a ban over a year ago, but it exempted bars. The pending state-wide ban would have no such exemption. There can be no “smoking” and “non-smoking” sections as have been typical for the past 20 years or so.  There is just to be “no smoking” in any building used for business.

The hypocrisy is glaring – that those who impose their will upon us want us to be able to go to a bar and drink as much alcohol as we like before we drive home, but we aren’t allowed to smoke while ruining our liver and impairing our judgment before getting in our car.  You can wipe out a family of five because you drive after a few drinks, but you can’t offend anyone in a bar by smoking.

As if it’s the government’s place to decide for us what to do with our bodies in the first place! They claim “it’s for our own good.” Who gave them the authority to decide what is for our own good? The government couldn’t care less about our health, except as it potentially affects our ability to pay them tithes in the form of taxes. It’s not about our health, it’s about power: the power one group of people wants to exert over another group.

To make matters even more ridiculous, a group of local ministers is now lobbying FOR the ban. As is typical of those who must pander to keep their coveted 501(c)-3 exempt status, they will lick the master’s hand and agree with whatever Big Brother wants. After all, that tax exempt status is worth literally MILLIONS of dollars to churches, and is what allows them to gather riches that bank execs can only dream about. So, if the government wants something, there will be a group of ministers who are eager to demand that the government do that, and will hold a media event to show how pious and subservient they are.  For a church to be critical of the government means that it may have its tax exempt status “reviewed” by that same government. Besides, religions have an even longer history of wanting to control citizens than our government does. This is no doubt the very same group of ministers who routinely demand that the government impose draconian gun control measures.

It’s not about safety. It’s not about our health. It’s about imposing their will on everyone else. It’s about control. That’s why the government loves them so. In most matter, the religions fall right in lock-step (or should that be goose step) with the government when there appears to be an opportunity to control citizens.


More Business as Usual

March 5, 2009

Well, it looks like more business as usual. The “Omnibus Spending Bill” now before congress is so bloated with pork, earmarks, and drastic spending increases that even some Democrats are balking.

Note the mention of influence peddling and corruption. Nothing ever changes. As long as the same breed of power-hungry crooks and petty tyrants are in Washington, and as long as they continue to ignore the Constitution, this is how things will remain.


Eric Holder Promises New Gun Bans

February 27, 2009

Eric Holder promises that the Obama administration is going to reinstitute the so-called “assault weapon ban” that Clinton signed into law, and which was allowed to lapse. Oddly, the primary justification he gives for infringing the rights of American citizens is that “I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum.”

Violence and corruption has become so bad in Mexico that the US State Department issued a travel warning, stating that: “Some recent Mexican army and police confrontations with drug cartels have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades,”

Obama/Holder want to ban semi-automatic firearms in America because corrupt factions in Mexico use automatic weapons and hand grenades?

Where in the Constitution is the government granted the authority to infringe OUR rights to make a foreign government safe from that same foreign government’s citizens?

Since the anti-rights crowd always claims that crimes are committed in this country by automatic weapons, maybe we should demand that Mexico ban the sale of automatic weapons.

Is this the “New World Order” Clinton always touted? Are we to be subjected to unConstitutional laws in order that some foreign dignitary will be pleased? Is there any hint of justice in submitting to a ban on semi-automatic firearms because violence in Mexico is committed with hand grenades?

When King George declared that firearms should be confiscated in the Colonies, the citizens were reluctant to submit. Are we expected to be more compliant when Attorney General Medina Mora of Mexico requests it, or when his lackie, Eric Holder demands it?

Is Eric Holder going to write an edict that he expects to be viewed as a legitimate law? The last time I read the Constitution, laws were crafted by the Legislature and put to a vote, then signed into law by the President.  Eric Holder is not a member of the legislature, nor is the position of  ‘Attorney General’ in the legislative branch of the US Government.

If Eric Holder imposes a law on the citizens of this country, it would not only be an unConstitutional law, but would have been created in an unConstitutional manner, and as such, should be soundly ignored, as it is a sign of abject tyranny.

To submit to tyranny is as unpatriotic as it is foolhardy.


10th Amendment Bills

February 26, 2009

Various states have introduced bills which re-affirm the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Oklahoma even passed theirs (HJR1003) by a huge margin, so there’s hope.

Indiana’s version (Senate Resolution 37) appears to be identical to others introduced around the country. It is nothing except a confirmation of the U.S. Constitution and the principles upon which our country was founded. There is no controversial language. In other words, there is NO REASON that this bill should not pass with a unanimous vote.

Keep an eye out for your state’s version of this, and write to support it. Make sure that your “representatives” don’t tack a bunch of objectionable garbage onto it in order to kill it (a favorite tactic of the statists).

Here is an article about this, but the article is 20 days old, so it’s already outdated.

Get on the phone – write letters and emails.