Check your brains at the door

As mentioned previously, up in the mountains where I live, there is no mail delivery to street addresses.  We all have PO boxes.

On Friday I went down into the city to renew my driver’s license.  After waiting for over 90 minutes for my number to be called, while subjected to some idiot in the waiting area who was clearly very sick and coughing up a lung, I was informed that I needed proof of my address.  They suggested I go out to my car and get my registration.

I come back with registration in my hand and the guy shakes his and says “no” because it has my PO box on it.  I need something that shows my physical address.  They recommended I bring in my utility bill.

This morning (Monday) I drive back down there with utility bill in hand.  I take a number and wait all over again.  I get called.  The guy asks me for my address and I state it for him and he checks it against the bill.  The bill lists my address as 123 Elm St.  But the address I gave him was 123 West Elm St.  It doesn’t exactly match.  No, the utility bill won’t work.  I’ll need to bring my rental agreement.

I started yelling at the guy.  He was defending himself saying it was federal law.  I told him I didn’t give a shit what fucking law it was.  The point was, I had followed their instructions and brought my utility bill and I had waited in the fucking waiting room two days now.

He then suggested I go over to the county vehicle registration office and see if they would print a registration with my physical address on it.

The county office is less than a mile away.  I took a number and waited. Fortunately, there weren’t many people there.

I told the woman I had a strange request and explained the situation to her.  She was extremely helpful.  She pulled up my registration info and asked me what address I wanted on it.  She changed it, printed the registration, then changed it back to my PO box.  The funny thing is I could have given her any address.  No verification at all.

So back over the driver’s license office.  I handed the guy the registration and walked out of there 10 minutes later with my temporary license.

Since 9/11/2001, this country has lost all sight of the constitution, all sight of logic, added so much needless bureaucracy, and instilled in us that the boogie man is out there to get us.  It’s the Cold War all over again.  There will forever be a war on something.

Below is a link to a well written article about the state of the political circus in this country.  The guy writing claims to be a republican “30-year career as a professional staff member on Capitol Hill.”  It’s a very worth while read:  “Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult“.

Thanks to Besty for the link.

What to do with ourselves?

An interesting editorial over at Investors Business Daily:  Despite Growth, Still Not Enough Jobs

Unfortunately, at the end, the editorial bashes the president without offering solutions, which is tiresome. The other party has no answers either.  (I am not affiliated with either party.)

I think the country is undergoing a fundamental shift in what it can provide in terms of jobs. Many jobs have gone overseas, never to return. The population continues to grow as well. Almost nothing is made in the USA anymore, and I keep trying to figure out what’s going to fill that void in terms of jobs.  It’s a huge void.

Many readers may not know that in the 1940’s and 1950’s, we made everything.  In the 1970’s much of our manufacturing moved over to Japan.  Now it’s China.

My career is directly linked to manufacturing and it’s going away. Even the engineering is farmed out overseas as evidenced from various engineering forums I’m on where native English speakers are a minority. That pretty much leaves the service industry, healthcare and construction as the only fields where jobs can still be had.

Those are the fields that support a country that does nothing.

I have the radio blues

When I was a kid, I broadcasted music into my youngest brother’s room. A little later, I broadcasted to the neighborhood kids who were within about 100 feet of where I lived. When I got out of high school, I applied for a job at a radio station (didn’t get it). Later I became a DJ that played for parties and for evening cruises on a boat. Now I want to start a small radio station here in town. It’s apparent to me it’s been a life-long ambition.

A couple of weeks ago Congress passed the Local Community Radio Act of 2010. The original intent of the bill was to reverse the changes that Congress did with the Radio Broadcast Preservation Act of 2000 (which of course sounds very charitable, like a good thing, but really just preserves Big Radio).

To recap this tale, the FCC started a new radio service in the late 1990’s called Low-Power FM (LPFM). These types of stations have a broadcast range of about 5 miles. In 2000, the big radio corporations convinced our Congress that these tiny stations were causing undue interference with them. Congress reacted by drastically reducing the number of stations that could fit on the radio dial. This effectively prevented any new LPFM stations. The interference claims were later found to be false. For the past 6 years, there have been bills introduced in Congress to reverse the preservation act, and finally an amended version has passed.

The amended version is only a slight improvement to the preservation act that existed before. Yet everyone is patting themselves on the back for a job well done.

Today, I was ready to get the ball rolling. The odds of actually getting a license are slim, but I decided that it’s worth a try. I wrote a letter to the local newspaper, inviting those interested in starting a radio station to contact me. After I wrote the letter I read the text of the final bill that passed. Now I think I’ll wait before sending it until I can do some more research into the technical caveats of the bill.

LPFM licenses are only granted to community non-profit groups. So the first thing that has to happen is a non-profit corporation has to be formed. Then some engineering work has to be done to figure out the location of the transmitter, choose the frequency and power levels. Then an application is submitted to the FCC, where it’s either accepted or rejected. All of that can be done without much monetary investment.

But my big concern with this bill is what happens next. We get our license and our organization goes out and raises money for studios and transmitting equipment. We begin transmitting. And with a single day’s notice, we can be shut down by the FCC for a bogus interference claim filed by one of the Big Radio stations. What’s worse is that the bill provides for “informal” complaints, which sounds to me like unsubstantiated claims of interference. Now look at all of the time and money wasted.

This is the final bill that passed both the House and the Senate: HR 6533 (the third link down).

I had read an earlier version a couple of weeks ago, and was troubled by much of the language in the bill. The final bill is even worse, particularly sections 3 and 7. Congress isn’t qualified to be setting technical/engineering policies for the FCC. It’s obvious that most of the language in the bill was created by the National Association of Broadcasters and other Big Radio lobbyists. The FCC already has plenty of applicable interference resolution rules and procedures, but this bill needlessly makes those even more convoluted and does whatever it can to favor Big Radio.

I need refresh my knowledge of the distance requirements between stations with the caveats listed in section 3, and do at least a preliminary analysis of whether it’s even possible to have a station here.

Why am I doing this? Oh yeah. The dream.

Is radio dead? Does anyone listen anymore? That’s the subject of another post.