Archive for December, 2005

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Am I just OLD?

There’s a new law on the books in Florida… it’s an anti-noise law that prohibits “boom cars” from blasting their stereo for more than 25 feet away.

Motorists playing a car radio or stereo loud enough to be plainly heard from 25 feet away could wind up with a $70 ticket. The old buffer zone was 100 feet.

The crackdown is sweet music to the ears of many Floridians, who routinely bombard law-enforcement agencies with complaints about so-called “boom cars.”

“We have people complaining that they can’t hear their own TV sets when some of these vehicles go by,” said Warren Van Vuren, spokesman for the Titusville Police Department, which just this month launched “Operation Silent Night” to crack down on drivers who blatantly defy the law.

“It’s a quality-of-life issue,” said Sgt. Mike Grigsby of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. The agency issued 392 noise violations to drivers from Aug. 2 through Dec. 12, the only period for which numbers are available.

“It’s also a safety issue. If someone has their music playing, they can’t hear an emergency vehicle coming . . .,” he said.

Motorists who like to drive with the music up high concede that they can be annoying. But they argue that 25 feet is too strict, making it possible for even standard-issue car stereos to violate the law.

It might just be me… but I don’t think this is tough enough. Not just the fine, but the distance. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat at a traffic light with my windows visably shaking and my steering wheel vibrating because of some car behind me or beside me that feels the need to “share” their music. When you can’t even speak to the person sitting next to you without shouting… there’s something wrong.

I appreciate the laws of free speech, and I appreciate the freedom to express oneself with clothing or jewelry or music… but where is the line between your right to express yourself and my right not to have to listen to it. When one impeeds on the other… it’s a tough call.

Personally, I’d like to rip out the subwoofers and make these jokers eat them…. and watch. Maybe I’m starting to show my age. Maybe I just like to carry on a conversation with the person in the car with me without being drowned out by a bass that’s so loud my fillings in my teeth rattle.

Updates.

In Orlando Weekly this week their Happytown column updates two important local stories. It first mentions the story of Joe Wilson, the proprietor of a website that contained, are you ready, porn. *Gasp* Because as we all know porn is the last thing we all want to find on the internet. Okay I admit, at first I spoke out against Mr. Wilson, but that was before I had all the facts of the case. As things are unfolding it is clear that Mr. Wilson’s rights are being horribly violated and our local enforcement officials are acting like gestapo.

In late Nov-ember, Copley asked Judge J. Dale Durrance to revoke Wilson’s bond and send him back to the slammer. Copley complained that Wilson still had porn up on his site, which violated the requirement that Wilson “refrain from criminal activity” while out on bail. Wilson reluctantly removed the porn and blocked any new postings, but the prosecutor still demanded a revocation hearing on Dec. 16. Judge Durrance ruled there was probable cause to believe Wilson’s site is obscene and yanked Wilson’s bail. Now Wilson will sit in jail awaiting a pre-trial conference on Feb. 7, 2006.

There’s one problem with Copley’s argument: No one has determined that Wilson’s site is obscene, and therefore illegal. That’s for the trial jury. To convict Wilson, they have to make a determination of obscenity. So Copley is asking a judge to jail Wilson for a crime that no one besides Polk County law enforcement has said is a crime.

There are so many things wrong going on here it is mind-boggling. Free Joe Wilson!

Happytown also gives their latest word on another story mentioned here, the Sentinel layoffs. It seems they aren’t pleased with MoveOn.org’s reaction to Tribune CEO Dennis FitzSimmons’ answer to their request to a meeting regarding the layoffs.

So this is what MoveOn.org considers a victory? On Dec. 12, Happytown

Money Well Spent?

Two Local Lawmakers Spent Over $250,000 In Taxes On Mailing Brochures

Channel 9 has discovered that taxpayers have spent more than a quarter of a million dollars in the past six months mailing out brochures for two Central Florida lawmakers.

Orlando congressman Ric Keller and congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite, from Lake County, spent more money than any other congressman from Florida.

Keller’s chief of staff was unapologetic about the cost of the brochures, even when other Florida congressmen spend far less on mailers.

Keller has kept the post office busy in 2005. His office mailed out 10 brochures to inform registered voters, letting them know he was “cutting wasteful spending” and “working to make sure Central Florida receives its fair share of tax dollars.”

According to records just released to Channel 9, in six months time, Keller managed to spend $115,000 on printing and postage, more than any other of the 25 congressmen from Florida. Brown-Waite came in a very close second, spending nearly the same amount. She represents part of south Lake County. But many other Florida congressmen were far more frugal. Ten of them spent less than $15,000 on mailers. One spent only $1,300.

“We place a premium on communicating with our constituents,” explained Keller’s chief of staff, Brian Malenius.

He said all congressman get about a million dollars to spend on everything from travel to rent to postage. They choose to spend money on mailers. Others spend elsewhere. He said a bi-partisan commission approved all of the brochures.

“The notion that it’s campaign material is simply not true,” he said.

Linda Albert was familiar with the glossy brochures with the messages about cutting wasteful spending. “I tear ’em up and throw ’em away,” she said. She had a message of her own for congressman Keller.

“Stupid, it’s ridiculous. They can spend that money on something else,” she said.

A spokesman for Brown-Waite sent Channel 9 a statement saying she has to communicate with people who are spread across eight counties and that her constituents deserves that level of communication.

This is where our tax dollars are going? Keller could have just as easily sent out a few press releases for free to get out the same message. Or they could have just sent out mailers that didn’t look like an issue of Axis and saved a buck or two-hundred thousand. Just a thought.

Merry Christmas, folks!

Well, it was a short trip to the Orlando area this year… but I promise I’ll be back in 2006.

(And keep an eye on the Appliance Direct guy.)

Pet pics with Santa

At the local mall you can get pet photos with Santa. And Santa has to wear a (nearly) full-body PVC bib… you can imagine why…
…creepy.

I wish you a holly jolly body fluid.

Watts, watts, watts!

I don’t know how many nuclear power plants there are in Central Florida… but I’m sure Mullinax Ford of Central Florida is using all the energy of (at least) one of them.
How many hyperwatts of electricity is this company blowing to light nirvana?

mullinax.jpg

Mullinax Ford of Central Entropy

Captain Morgan

I keep returning to Apopka and the Orlando area now for fifteen years…
and I know your face, Captain Morgan… by God!
Every time I return this guy is still around… and he is still “for the people”!
And he is gaining weight.

morgan.jpg

Fast food?

I tend to rate the quality of corporate fast food by comparing the side dishes they offer…
and although I’m not a regular fast food consumer, here’s my US ranking:

KFC / Winner
Why? Corn on the Cob, Baked Beans, Clow Slaw

Wendy’s / Second Place
Why? Chili

Burger King / Third Place
Why? Twister Fries

What a useless post… whatever…

Be Careful Pizza Drivers.

4 Orlando Pizza Delivery Men Robbed In Hour

Just a little warning to all local pizza delivery drivers. Be on the alert, there are some scum out there.

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