Showing posts with label Cheating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cheating. Show all posts

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Beware False Prophets and Republican Strategists

Republican strategist Rick Wilson puts his country ahead of his party. I will grant that concession because this is not a post about bashing him for being temporarily sane. 

There's a danger in thinking that there are a lot of people like Wilson scattered throughout the Republican Party who are, all of a sudden, going to put country ahead of their political ideology. This assumes too many facts not in evidence. Republicans vote for Republicans and that's why we have Trump. This past year, they didn't stay home like they did in 2012. They turned out in strong enough numbers to keep Hillary out of the White House. 

My thinking runs like this:

1. The so-called "sane Republicans" are the ones without power or influence so why bother listening to them?

2. No matter who the Democrats pick to run in 2020, they will be History's Greatest Monster and people like Rick Wilson will go back to being Republicans and attack them in any manner they see fit.

3. Why on Earth is anyone listening to a Republican nowadays? They gave us Trump. Fuck them.

Anyway, Wilson seems to be trying to normalize having generals in charge of things:

There was a palpable sigh of relief when General John Kelly was selected as White House chief of staff and when National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster finally began purging the nationalist Pepe-fanboy Bannonites from the NSC. Combined with the presence of SECDEF Jim Mattis, Nikki Haley’s star turn at the UN, and a more assertive Rex Tillerson, there was almost a sense that the Axis of Adults would help mitigate the crazy.  When news broke that North Korea was close to mounting a miniaturized warhead on an ICBM capable of reaching U.S. territory, there was a hope that the experienced military team around Trump would turn this crisis into a foreign policy win.

Then came “fire and fury.”

It is dangerous to think that three generals are the perfect antidote to institutionalized chaos. We are close to abandoning the idea of civilian control of the military because of the fact that Trump isn't interested in learning how to do his job. And I am very leery of any Republican strategist trying to set it up so that, years from now, we are forced to run against one of these three generals as the GOP's presidential candidate. The mere act of serving in an appointed position in the Trump cabinet should disqualify each and every one of the people who are there now from serving in any capacity anywhere in the public sector for the next fifty years or more.

I think the general consensus is that Trump didn't all of a sudden do something that made him unfit for the presidency when he used that phrase. He was unfit from day one, and far too few Republicans put country ahead of party. In overwhelming numbers, they voted against their economic self-interest. They voted for a con man. They voted for a man who has broken so many laws, he came into power with more attorneys in his employ than any president we've ever had. They voted for him knowing full well that he was never, ever going to act presidential. A certain Democrat named Hillary told you this again and again but all y'all could come up with was "but her E-mails!" and "Benghazi!"

The other dumb mistake pundits are making is thinking Chief of Staff John Kelly is his own man. He's not. He's only the latest sycophant to sell out his country and work for Trump. Plenty of other generals said no to this shit-sandwich and voted with their feet. Mattis, Kelly and McMaster have sold out their country in order to pretend they can run things. They amount to little more than a tin-pot junta without the slightest idea of what to do when the economy craters or when a reporter asks them a straight question. This country was never intended to be run by generals. It was meant to be run by the occasional general who knew when it was time to hang up the stars and deal with a world full of compromises and negotiations. 

I truly believe we have abandoned democracy and the rule of law. This junta is what we have in its place. If the law says Trump is guilty of collusion with Russia, will the Republicans rediscover the notion of having an actual loyal American in charge? Or will they shrug like they do every day right now and go about the business of ignoring the fact that the President of the United States is under an active counterintelligence investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation? I can tell you with absolute certainty that if any Democrat sitting in the White House had just had the home of his presidential campaign manager raided at zero dark thirty by the FBI, they would pull down the fences and run him or her out of town on a rail, rule of law be damned.

And what the fuck is all of this anyway? Generals are good at telling people what to do. They do not handle things very well when creative civilians come up with ways to not do what they've been told. The Mattis/Kelly/McMaster junta has been outclassed by a disheveled hobo who used to deal in conspiracy theories. McMaster's so-called purge means what? Nothing. Bannon is still Bannon. Who's running things? Trump is running things based on chaos and what they tell him on Fox & Friends. This is not a recipe for success. This is what it's like when people start thinking there's a reasonable Republican hiding in the fifth slot in front of Anderson Cooper.

I put no faith in anti-Trump Republicans. They're just working the edges, looking for suckers who will buy what they're selling. Once this fever passes, they're going to go back to doing what they know how to do, and that's undermine everything decent about this country. I'm sorry, but I was awake and paying attention to the Reagan years. I'm never trusting these bastards, ever.

I like Rick, and I think he's entertaining as hell. I like Steve Schmidt, and I have a certain fondness for the whimsical Republicanism of old Arne Carlson, the former governor of Minnesota. But, no. I don't sit around waiting for any of them to come with something that's going to make me forget that the only thing standing between us and oblivion are a handful of weatherbeaten Democrats who take way too much shit from people who ought to grow up.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Basically, Hillary Clinton Should be President Right Now

I mean, when John Brennan starts throwing around words like "treasonous," I don't know what other outcome there would be right now. Hillary Rodham Clinton was elected president last year, but the Trump campaign's collusion with Russia stole the election outright and subverted the will of the American voter:

Former CIA Director John Brennan told House Russia investigators Tuesday that Russia "brazenly interfered" in US elections, including actively contacting members of the President Donald Trump's campaign -- but he stopped shy of dubbing it "collusion."

"I saw interaction that in my mind raised questions of whether it was collusion," Brennan told Rep. Trey Gowdy, saying that he supported the FBI digging further. "It was necessary to pull threads."

Brennan was speaking to the House intelligence committee on the extent of Russia's meddling in the 2016 elections and possible ties to the Trump campaign, where he was asked about how Moscow recruits sources "wittingly and unwittingly." 

"Frequently, people who go along a treasonous path do not know they are on a treasonous path until it is too late," Brennan said.

The "collusion" part has to be proved in court, and there is ample evidence out there to support that narrative. What you need to pay attention to is the fact that Brennan introduced a new word today into the lexicon of this scandal. He used the word "treasonous" because that's apparently what the evidence shows. And if members of the Trump campaign committed treasonous acts in order to win the 2016 election, that disqualifies Trump from being president.

Don't give me any bullshit about how we will end up following the presidential line of succession. Nobody voted to make Paul Ryan or Orrin Hatch president. They voted--by a margin of 3,000,000 votes--the make Hillary president. There isn't anything legitimate about a Donald Trump presidency anymore.

If the roles were reversed, Trump, the RNC, the clowns at Judicial Watch, Antonin Scalia and his army of ghost lawyers from hell would be standing shoulder to shoulder in a ring around the goddamned Supreme Court right now, ready to litigate this into oblivion. Where are the Democratic Party's lawyers? What the hell are they doing right now? None of them have jobs in the government, so, what say we round up a hundred ex-U.S. Attorneys and whatnot and start the legal challenge to overturn the 2016 election?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Who Needs People Who Don't Vote?

Supporters of Bernie Sanders failed a very basic but important test of citizenship this year:

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ enthusiastic legion of young, independent and progressive supporters turned out to be way better at jamming rallies and concerts than they were at actually voting.

The whole thing at the San Francisco Chronicle sits behind their subscription wall; suffice it to say, this does not really add anything new to the analysis of what happened during the Democratic Primary season. In states where there was a caucus, the Sanders campaign performed disproportionately well. In states where there was a primary, the Sanders campaign literally fell apart. Washington State, in particular, showed that his caucus win was meaningless when he was trounced in the Washington State primary. His vast "army" of support was an illusion that won't materialize this fall. They are far more likely to be disaffected and irrelevant to the overall results.

Since Sanders cannot bring actual voters to the polls, why is there so much focus on what he wants? There is this narrative going around that is centered around the idea that Hillary Clinton has to win over his voters, kiss his ass, and beg everyone to give her the money they were going to give Sanders. A big part of that narrative includes the nastiness that was thrown at Senator Elizabeth Warren for endorsing Hillary. How do you reconcile that with making concessions to a candidate who doesn't even know it's over? After today's DC primary, is it over? Or will we really see a fight at the convention?

The bottom line is, the Sanders "voters" turned out to be much louder online than they were at the actual polls. He had made some very damaging claims of corruption and I don't think that they can be easily forgiven. If he thought the whole process was corrupt, why did he rely on it for his own legitimacy in the campaign? And if you can look at Donald Trump and vote for him over Hillary, you were never a Democrat in the first place.

If the last week has taught us anything, it is that no one is really thinking about Bernie Sanders anymore. In fact, I'd be willing to bet you no one reads this post and few, if any, readers will get this far. Sanders is finished.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The No Accountability League

The New England Patriots are a team of cheating liars who lie. So they're just like any other NFL franchise that wins. They'll do anything to make good things happen. They're terrible at getting away with it.

So, when it comes to Ballghazigate or whatever they're calling it, please. Nothing will happen and nothing will be done that will have any significant impact on anything that matters:
The season that began with the NFL not knowing what to do about Ray Rice will end with one Super Bowl participant being suspected, not for the first time, of cheating. Commissioner Roger Goodell likes to say his job is to Protect The Shield, meaning the longstanding NFL logo. We’re about to see if he means it.
You wouldn’t think the New England Patriots, winners of three Super Bowls this millennium, could be considered a rogue outfit, but they are. In 2007, they were found to have filmed other teams’ defensive signals in violation of the rules and their coach was fined $500,000, and it’s widely accepted in league circles that the Patriots and Bill Belichick aren’t above anything in their pursuit of victory.
Bob Kravitz of WHTR reported after Sunday’s AFC championship that the Indianapolis Colts believed the footballs had been underinflated. (The suspicion took wings after D’Qwell Jackson intercepted a pass thrown by Tom Brady, who has said he prefers underinflated footballs.) Late Tuesday, ESPN’s Chris Mortensenreported that the NFL has found that 11 of the 12 footballs used in open play were inflated below league specifications — this after the balls were inspected by the officiating crew barely two hours before kickoff.
Now, they could tell the Patriots that next season is completely off limits and that they are banned and that the NFL will reinstate them in a year, but that's not happening, either.

Forget the fans, by the way. The gamblers must be furious. You can destroy the integrity of the game, but don't you dare fuck with the spread.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

North Carolina's Foundation of Lies

For 18 years, thousands of students at the prestigious University of North Carolina took fake "paper classes," and advisers funneled athletes into the program to keep them eligible, according to a scathing independent report released Wednesday.
"These counselors saw the paper classes and the artificially high grades they yielded as key to helping some student-athletes remain eligible," Kenneth Wainstein wrote in his report. He conducted an eight-month investigation into the scandal, which has plagued the university for nearly five years.
Four employees have been fired and five more disciplined because of their roles. One other former employee had honorary status removed, Chancellor Carol Folt said Wednesday.
Wainstein is the former federal prosecutor hired by UNC to independently investigate the academic fraud brought to light by CNN, the Raleigh News & Observer and other media outlets.
In all, the report estimates, at least 3,100 students took the paper classes, but adds the number "very likely falls far short of the true number."
Given that this was a pervasive, institutional fraud of a magnitude that is difficult to believe, the death penalty is well warranted for Division I athletics at North Carolina. At a minimum, all victories and championships should be invalidated.

That would mean Roy Williams, for example, would have to look elsewhere for a legitimate national championship title. 

If they find the same thing at Duke, I would invalidate everything accomplished in the whole ACC forever. I mean, damn. How do you get away with cheating like this? I expect this sort of thing out of Kentucky. I didn't expect to find out that a degree from the University of North Carolina isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dr. Oz is Just Another Grifter

Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of "The Dr. Oz Show," was grilled Tuesday by senators on Capitol Hill about the promotion of weight loss products on his show.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of the subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, led the panel that looked at false advertising for weight loss products. Subcommittee members took issue with claims Oz has made on his show about products that don't have a lot of scientific evidence to back them up, such as green coffee beans.
"The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called 'miracles,'" saidMcCaskill, a Missouri Democrat. She said she was discouraged by the "false hope" his rhetoric gives viewers and questioned his role,"intentional or not, in perpetuating these scams."
The Subcommittee on Consumer Protection could meet every day for the next year and still not put a dent in the widespread fraud and abuse committed against American consumers. Dr. Oz is a telegenic reminder that the practice of fleecing people and using their hopes and fears to separate them from cash money is alive and well in the modern age. He is using the elusive promise of a miracle drug to make people skinny--something that should have been outlawed outright as a marketing practice decades ago--to steal money from desperate people.

What kind of theft will send you to jail? Dr. Oz is rich because he has a platform with which he can lie to people. Who gave him that platform and how do we sue the worthless hacks who empowered him to be the face of weight loss grifters everywhere?

Put them in jail and take away the money they made selling useless products to consumers. That would be a great start.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Wrong Priorities

I realize that the intent of this story was to indict many of the college basketball programs out there, but this story falls pretty hard on Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tarheels:
Early in her career as a learning specialist, Mary Willingham was in her office when a basketball player at the University of North Carolina walked in looking for help with his classwork. 
He couldn't read or write. 
"And I kind of panicked. What do you do with that?" she said, recalling the meeting. 
Willingham's job was to help athletes who weren't quite ready academically for the work required at UNC at Chapel Hill, one of the country's top public universities. 
But she was shocked that one couldn't read. And then she found he was not an anomaly. 
Soon, she'd meet a student-athlete who couldn't read multisyllabic words. She had to teach him to sound out Wis-con-sin, as kids do in elementary school. 
And then another came with this request: "If I could teach him to read well enough so he could read about himself in the news, because that was something really important to him," Willingham said.
First of all, let's all just grow up, shall we? If this falls on coaches from previous eras, their coaching records could suffer because of this revelation. If this has been handled, fine and dandy.

If it is still going on, holy hell--we have a problem (obligatory eye roll here). I'm not saying that it's an immediate issue, but it does require an NCAA evaluation of literacy among student athletes--a test that can't be faked or taken for them. In this case, you have to panic a bit because, for example, say Old Roy has a kid playing basketball for him who can't read or write. You know the drill. Someone is taking this kids classes, taking his tests, and falsifying the academic records for him so that he can remain eligible to practice or play. Uh oh is right. This is what ruined the University of Minnesota men's basketball team, and sent Clem Haskins to...another job at another school. See how the system perpetuates itself over and over again? Slap on the wrist, optional.

Without realizing what she has done, Willingham has exposed the University of North Carolina's basketball program as a sham for illiterate athletes. If this student athlete, whose anonymity needs to be addressed, was a part of a championship team, then that championship should disappear into the ether. Yes, that means that you're going to have to strike a lot of achievements from the records of other teams and coaches as well. In the case of North Carolina, someone ought to be yelling "oops" about this story. As in, "oops, someone just pulled back the wrong curtain."

It's really not complicated. They are cheating when a kid who can't read and write plays basketball.

Second, is it 1983? Is it 1994? Is it 2001? I can't tell what year it is from reading the article because you can find similar ones going back to the dawn of college basketball as a money printing machine for universities all over the country. I mean, it's what Coach Bobby Knight fought against when he was at Indiana and had to go up against Big Ten teams stocked with academic frauds in tight shorts. Graduation rates, please?

Hello? Is this thing on? In other words, what we're talking about isn't even news. It's how the game is played. For decades, the wrong priorities have ruled over things, and it all comes down to using students to make money hand over fist.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

You're Still Talking About the End of the World

Why are we talking about the ruin of the Democratic Party? Is it because it is a political party bent on losing as often as it can because winning looks like the other guy isn't worth fighting anymore?

Every major initiative comes with problems, and when you are trying to take people from an ever-increasingly expensive and ineffective health care system to one that provides for the uninsured, you're going to see sabotage and frustration. This is the sabotage and frustration phase of Obamacare. Don't worry--we're going to live through it and come out for the better on the other side.

Anything that provides more and not less health insurance coverage for the American people is an improvement. I'd love it if it were better (like a public option) but I'm not going to lose my shit because a website doesn't work perfectly right off the bat. The battle to improve the health care sector of America's public life is going to take decades to wage and there will be peaks and valleys. There will be battles of a regulatory and a policy nature for another generation and then, when all is said and done, we'll be fighting again and again to stop the losses and exploit the gains of controlling something that is practically uncontrollable. We'll be fighting to lower the age where people can cover their kids--we'll be fighting over costs and we'll be fighting the states in order to expand or improve care. As soon as you stop fighting, we're all done and the insurance industry will grow and have more power and more influence and they'll make more money.

The fight worth fighting is the one where you make life better for as many people as possible. The Affordable Care Act makes life suck for people who have a lot of money and power and privilege in order to make life better for a lot of people who have seen everything spiral out of control for the last twenty years. I'm not going to panic and throw my support to people who still think triangulation, compromise and negotiation with crazy people is the way to go.

Nobody fucking lied to you:
the insurers didn't tell their clients that the new plans would only be available for a short period of time, the blame would seem to rest with the insurance companies, not the ACA. After all, President Obama did not promise people that he would keep insurers from developing new plans that will not comply with the provisions of the ACA. 
In addition to the new plans that were created that did not comply with the terms of the ACA, there have been complaints that the grandfathering was too strict. For example, insurers can only raise their premiums or deductibles by a small amount above the rate of medical inflation. As a result, many of the plans in existence at the time of the ACA are losing their grandfathered status. 
In this case also it is wrong to view the insurers as passive actors who are being forced to stop offering plans because of the ACA. The price increases charged by insurers are not events outside of the control of insurers. If an insurer offers a plan which has many committed buyers, then presumably it would be able to structure its changes in ways that are consistent with the ACA. If it decides not to do so, this is presumably because the insurer has decided that it is not interested in continuing to offer the plan. 
As a practical matter, there are many plans that insurers will opt to drop for market reasons that may or may not have anything to do with the ACA. It's hard to see how this could be viewed as a violation of President Obama's pledge. After all, insurers change and drop plans all the time. Did people who heard Obama's pledge understand it to mean that insurers would no longer have this option once the ACA passed? 
If Obama's pledge was understood as ensuring that every plan that was in existence in 2010 would remain in existence, then it would imply a complete federal takeover of the insurance industry. This would require the government to tell insurers that they must continue to offer plans even if they are losing money on them and even if the plans had lost most of their customers. This would at the least be a strange policy. It would be surprising if many people thought this was the meaning of President Obama's pledge.
This is happening for one reason and one reason only--because if you make Obama=Bush, you've made the day of someone who wants America to fail.
Seriously, what do Republicans have for ideas? They have nothing. Their idea to shut down the government and stop Obamacare is the FAIL of the year. Why not laugh in their face and go back to trying to fix this thing?

If it were easy, we would have done this twenty or thirty years ago. The fact that we did it now should inspire people to have more courage, not less. The corporations and entities arranged against any overhaul of the health care system are going to stamp and scream as much as possible in order to try and make it look like government can't do anything right. If they're allowed to win, then government isn't worth fighting to improve.

This is a fight to improve what government is supposed to do. Lose this fight, and we're fucked.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

No Respite For Hucksters

Kevin Trudeau is an American success story. He lied, he stole, he cheated and he would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for the fact that our reckless government is out of control and harbors an intense hatred of success and entrepreneurship. Or, you could look at it realistically and note that a proven liar and fraud should be subjected to an international auditing of all of his bank accounts so that everyone he stole from can have a chance to get their money back.

I guess it depends on whether or not you think a fraudster should be allowed to walk away with the money he has stolen. I do not.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Healthy Living and Phony Cures

This is misleading and is not backed up by any evidence worth mentioning...

This kind of thing is worth a comment or two:
"The Sour Sop or the fruit from the graviola tree is a miraculous natural cancer cell killer 10,000 times stronger than Chemo."
Another phony cure for cancer. Where is the evidence to back up that claim? Where is the accountability for whoever spreads this garbage and then doesn't have the ability to back it up?

This is exactly the kind of marketing-driven pseudo-science that gives people false hope and kills them when they make an ill-informed choice.

Claiming that "...It's because some big corporation want to make back their money spent on years of research by trying to make a synthetic version of it for sale." is a clever dodge. Who is doing this and why?

If you put you health in the hands of an unproven "miracle" plant, all you are doing is lining the pockets of the people who are counting on ignorance to help them sell garbage to desperately ill people. Over 25 years ago, we were told to take a relative off chemotherapy medicine and go on Herbalife. Thank God we ignored that kind of bullshit.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cycling is No Longer a Legitimate Sport

Chalk this up to frustration. People who want cycling to actually be a sport again want it to be legitimate and clean. It is neither. There are no cycling champions anymore. There are a group of people who inject drugs in their system on a scale that is so rampant that if you don't try to cheat, there is something wrong with you.

The idea of a human being getting on a bike and powering it to victory in a race seems absurd now. They have cheated so much, how could anyone accept a real star and a true talent?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Of course they're listening in

It's really not that difficult to intercept wireless signals--any idiot can learn how to do it. One of my favorite things in the world is to sit with all three of my police scanners on the back porch and adjust frequencies in order to pick up as much information as I can:
Integrity of the game dialogue often focuses on player conduct. But several NFL coaches and executives enter the 2009 season with wider inspection practices and more paranoid eyes.

Growing, probing technology is causing some in the league to consider if cheating is reaching unprecedented sophistication. They are on guard. They are insistent that NFL leadership be as vigilant.

This goes beyond old-school and novel concerns. They know that some teams hire personnel to scour the hotel rooms of visiting teams' coaches and players and postgame locker rooms in search of any scrap of game-planning that can be pilfered -- They can beat that. It has little to do with opponents continuously seeking ways to survey sideline coaches in hopes of cracking their signals and intended personnel groupings -- They can outsmart them there.

Even familiar charges of artificial crowd noise pumped into stadiums are relatively tame compared with the type of cheating that new technology can provide. So, too, are fresher concerns that some teams are focusing cameras on quarterbacks during his calls at the line of scrimmage, playing the images on jumbo, in-stadium screens, and seeking an advantage for the defense whether instant or later after analysis.

How about home teams showing replays of controversial calls instantly and repeatedly when they work to their advantage -- and never showing them when they do not?

None of this alarms NFL coaches and executives as much as this issue: Are communications involving coaches' headsets and those involving players' in-helmet radios being intercepted by opposing teams?

Some coaches and executives say they have heard enough cracking sounds, enough interference, enough odd feedback and experienced enough times when the technology simply did not work that they believe this issue is a paramount one that must constantly be examined in the 2009 season and beyond.

Static or interference really is not an indicator of being eavesdropped upon. Intercepting a wireless signal transmission from point A to point B isn't going to interfere with the signal unless active jamming is taking place.

Here are the basics:
Home intercom systems. Baby monitors, children's walkie-talkies and some home intercom systems may be overheard in the vicinity of the home in the same manner as cordless phones. Many operate on common radio frequencies that can be picked up by radio scanners, cordless phones, and other baby monitors nearby. If you are concerned about being overheard on one of these devices, turn it off when it is not in use. Consider purchasing a "wired" unit instead.

Speakerphones. If your standard wired phone has the speakerphone feature, be aware that some models may emit weak radio signals from the microphone even when the phone's handset is on-hook, (that is, hung-up, inactive). For short distances, a sensitive receiver may be able to pick up room noise in the vicinity of the speakerphone.

Wireless microphones. Radio scanners can intercept wireless microphones used at conferences, in churches, by entertainers, sports referees, and others. Fast-food employees at drive-through restaurants use wireless systems to transmit order information. Their communications can also be received by scanners in the vicinity. Scanners can also pick up conversations on some walkie-talkies.

Wireless cameras. Wireless videocameras have been installed in thousands of homes and businesses in recent years. The camera sends a signal to a receiver so it can be viewed on a computer or TV. These systems are advertised as home security systems, but they are far from secure. While they are inexpensive and relatively easy to install, they are also easy to monitor by voyeurs nearby who are using the same devices.

Images can be picked up as far as 300 yards from the source, depending on the strength of the signal and the sensitivity of the receiver. Before purchasing a wireless videocamera system, ask yourself if you want to be vulnerable to electronic peeping toms. Research the security features of such systems thoroughly. You might want to wait until the marketplace provides wireless video systems with stronger security features at an affordable price.

Air-to-ground phone services. Conversations on the phone services offered on commercial airlines are easily intercepted by standard radio scanners. They are a favorite target of hobbyists.

Essentially, all you need to know is the frequency that the helmet devices work on, and then you need to have someone monitor that frequency with a scanner. Attach it to a laptop, and you can then pull in the signal and decode it, if necessary, or even make audio files and retain it.

I own several police scanners, the kind that scan EDACS and trunked radio networks. I can sit at home and listen in as camera men, producers, and local television staff sit in their trucks throughout the Washington D.C. area and chat about things. I can listen to virtually anything, and I have a 75-foot antenna wired up at the home in order to help me pull in signals. The Washington D.C. area is a hotbed of signal activity, and your uncle Norman loves to write things down and keep records. All of it perfectly legal, of course.

I'll have to acquire NFL tickets, should we end up near a stadium this season. I'll take my handheld scanner and see if I can pick up some signal calling.