Wednesday, September 28, 2016

War With Gore?

I wrote here earlier that it was arguably true that we might not have invaded Iraq had Al Gore won the presidency back during that disputed election. Reason magazine seems to make a good argument against me in an article that starts out describing efforts by the Democrats to discredit LP candidate Gary Johnson.

More specifically, pointing to the Gore/Bush election to show how voting third party can lead to war. I'm glad Reason staff recall Gore's warlike history, which isn't unlike Clinton's. He voted to invade Iraq and has a history of threatening Iraq:

 "In September of 2002, Al Gore, then still a possible Democratic presidential contender, warned of the perils of acting unilaterally against Iraq. He urged Bush to take his case to the Security Council and ask for a resolution demanding "prompt, unconditional compliance by Iraq within a definite period of time." And if the Security Council failed? "Other choices"—Gore meant force—"remain open." After all, "Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."

In other words, Bush did pretty much what Gore recommended in seeking a Security Council resolution and used Gore's "other choices" after the resolutions failed.

Al Gore, as well as Democrats in general, have proven to be anything but dovish in world affairs. 

Conspiracy Theories

I like the way this fellow, Paul Rosenburg looks at conspiracy theories. He thinks they're intentional, at least to some extent:

" The powers that be – the elite, the deep state, whomever – want wild conspiracy theories to spread. Because after these wild theories set the “outrage meter” very high, they can get away with almost anything below that line."

But, he doesn't think conspiracy theories are worth obsessing over:

"I can’t think of a single conspiracy theory that’s worth majoring upon. Aliens at Roswell or the Kennedy assassination may be fun speculations – and I’d love to know the God’s-honest truth about both – but they’re simply not that important."

I've always wondered about such theories in general and felt current dialogue makes them more believable. For instance, if it was true that 9/11 was an actual conspiracy- and I mean for real- what would we be hearing now? 

Exactly what we're already hearing: "No way they could pull that off", "it would have taken thousands of people to do that. Someone would say something", and so on. I guess we'll never know for sure since even if it was true, we'd be hearing the same things.

Elon Musk's Mars Vision

Fascinating ideas from Elon Musk who wants to start a human colony on Mars. He thinks to make it self sustaining could take up to 100 years. He thinks big, though.  The spacecraft he's planning to use could carry 100 people or more.

It's believed the first flight to Mars could take place in 2022.  That leaves me out as I might be dead by then, but I wouldn't likely go even if I could. Seems kinda scary and there's a lot of questions I have that are unanswered. 

Neat stuff, though. I hope I'm alive to watch it on TV.

Press- Democrat: No On Prop 61

I was leaning against Prop 61 anyway so don't have a problem posting the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat's argument against the measure, which would supposedly keep a lid on prescription drug costs. They seem to agree with my feelings that it may end up having unintended results:

" Casting a protest vote against Big Pharma might feel good, but it won’t get at the source of high costs, and it’s unlikely to deliver any real savings, but it may drive up costs."

Sacramento Bee Blasts Stop and Frisk

In one of the Sacramento Bee's more clear headed opinion pieces, they attack Donald Trump's support and advocacy for New York's Stop and Frisk policies. They're spot on and go on to look at police transparency and other "law and order" issues in the Sacramento area. 

You can be sure this was intended to be blatantly anti- Trump. They wouldn't have written something like this about Clinton but, when you're right you're right:

" When a political candidate puts forth a strident “law and order” message with few specifics, we should all be afraid."

Read more here:

Eureka's Measure P- Frue Ward Voting, or Citywide?

The inlaws across the street have one of these signs in their yard. I haven't had the chance but want to ask my brother- in- law- a self described conservative, what his- the conservative- argument against Measure P is. 

I'm voting No on P and will post my reasons here soon. Can anyone give me the gist of the arguments local conservatives have against the measure?

I'm mostly wondering what sort of argument we'll be hearing when this gets on the ballot. Feel free to post them as comments. Keep in mind you can make comments anonymously.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Reason Takes On The "Great" Debate

Reason magazine's Nick Gillespie took a look at last night's debate. He cuts through mainstream thought and points out little, if anything, was learned about the candidates by viewers:

"let's simply focus on the brutal reality that after 90 minutes of back and forth, nobody knows anything more about either candidate than he or she knew going in".

That's more the sort of thing I was hoping to see from libertarian pundits, although Stephen Cox's piece in Liberty wasn't bad.

Gillespie spends most of his time criticizing the format of the debate and makes a good point:

" It would be far better if the two candidates were forced to interrogate one another on whatever issues or topics they want to. That way, we'd not only get a sense of what they stand for from their answers but also from the questions they felt compelled to ask of one another."

Had they done it that way I might have even tuned in.

Cheap TV?

I was out of the room last night but returned to have Connie mention some ad she saw on TV. She said you could get television service for $25.00 if you signed up for Sling TV. Sounded great to me. I don't have a problem with Suddenlink except for the monthy price- a bit pricey for us at almost $80.00.

So I wrote it down and put it on the computer table to remind me to check it out further this morning. I just got done with the SlingTV web site after trying their free one week trial and then canceling.

Turns out this Sling TV is just one of those internet stream things and it looks like you might need a Roku box, or something to make it work. They said you needed to install their app on your "device". So what device? I assumed that meant our TV and I had no idea how to do that.

Then it looked as if I might have to get one of their boxes- they had a Roku box, I think, featured on their web page. 

I'd entered my credit card info to get the free trial, then got a bit uncomfortable as I didn't know how to go further to set up the free trial. I also couldn't see anywhere on the web site to cancel the trial even though the site said you could cancel at anytime.

What did I get myself into, I wondered?

I finally called their 1-800 number and the lady on the other end said I could cancel by signing back into the site and there would be a link for cancelling. I did that, found it and cancelled. Whew! Close one.

It didn't look like that bad a deal to me. The $25.00 plan had a bunch of channels with one plan for $40.00 that included all their channels. The deal breaker for me was I didn't see MeTV or BBC among their choices. Connie didn't seem to care and she's the big TV watcher so I figured we'd go ahead and try it anyway.

I'll keep SlingRV in mind and maybe one of these days check back and reconsider, but I know there's other ways to get streaming internet TV.

The Great (?) Debate

No, I didn't watch the Clump debate that everyone else watched last night. That would have been beneath me. It turned out to be a good decision as I got to watch two episodes of Star Trek- The Next Generation I hadn't seen before. What a treat!

I did want to check this morning and see what various observers thought of the goings on- hopefully some objective viewpoints and not those of partisans who already favored one Clump over the other. I figured a libertarian viewpoint might be the most best as we generally consider ourselves above the Republican vs. Democrat fray. 

I wasn't disappointed, although it took me some time to find a debate review by Stephen Cox over at Liberty magazine. He called the debate a draw:

 "I’ll agree with Charles Krauthammer’s instant analysis and call the thing a draw, although I’m not quite sure what I mean by that." 

I'll take his word for it.

Local Candidate and Issues Forum

From Matt "In the middle" Owen on behalf of the Rotary Club we have notice of an upcoming forum at the Elk's Lodge in Eureka featurning candidates for local office and discussion of some local ballot measures:

We will be hearing from Heidi Messner who won her Eureka City Council, Ward 2 race unopposed, telling us a little about herself.

We will also have John Fullerton and Austin Allison, the two candidates for Eureka City Council, Ward 4.

In addition we will be hearing the pros and cons of Measure P, the true ward system of voting.

 Monday, October 10
The League of Women Voters will again be hosting this election forum, this one focusing on the Humboldt County ballot measures.

We will be hearing the pros and cons of:
Measure S, the cannabis excise tax
Measure U, the county road tax
and Measure V, the mobile home park rent control in the unincorporated county areas.​Both these events will take place at the Elk's Lodge in Eureka at 12:00 noon.Lunch is $14 and on us if you're one of the speakers.

For those unfamiliar with the Elk's Lodge, it's out on Herrick Avenue on the edge of Pine Hill. Drive south on F street through the Eureka Muni Golf Course. As you climb the hill leaving the golf course, Elk's Lodge is at the top of the hill to the right.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A New Law For The Dogs

The Sacramento Bee reports on a new law just signed by Governor Brown. This law allows people who find a dog suffering in a car that's too hot to break the windows to free the dog without facing civil or criminal penalties. I actually support the law but wasn't aware this was an issue. I assumed that, due to exigency (emergency circumstances), anyone would be able to help a dog suffering from being left in a car that became overheated.

And some people don't really care much about their dogs. I recall some time ago a neighbor walking her dog across the street. One of the gals that worked at the group home across the street had just parked her car in front of that house and went to go inside leaving her dog inside the car with the windows rolled up. My neighbor walked by the car and mentioned to the girl it wasn't safe to lock her dog in the car like that. The girl replied, " Don't tell me how to treat my f******g dog", My neighbor just walked off. The dog stayed in the car.

It wasn't that warm that day so I didn't think the dog was in any danger, but sometimes people leave dogs in hot cars out of ignorance. I did myself once years ago.

Right before I moved up here I was living in Costa Mesa, CA. A guy was staying at our house with us. I forget his name but he had a beautiful Alaskan Malemute he named Chad. I had a husky dog, too, but nowhere near the size of Chad.

I took both dogs with me to the beach one day. For whatever reason I took my dog, Nika, with me down to the beach but left Chad in the car with the windows rolled up. It never occurred to me what might go wrong with that. 

When I came back to the car, Chad had torn all the rubber seals out from around the windows. I couldn't figure out why, aside from thinking maybe he just wanted to go down to the beach with us so was trying to get out of the car. And this was in June in southern California.

I wasn't made aware, and had never considered, the heat build up in a car until fairly recently when news items and TV commercials pointed it out. That incident with Chad is one that haunts me to this day as I could have killed him. This new law might help others avoid the same situation I put myself in back then. There's much more awareness now of the danger of overheated cars to pets and kids, but some people just don't care.


Tiny Houses

Some pictures of unique tiny home ideas here. Probably too expensive for use with Eureka's homeless problem, but neat nonetheless. I do think that one on a rock in the middle of a large river is probably a bad idea. At least its location.

This reminded me of something my brother in law's grandparents built in their back yard on Glatt Street in Eureka. 

They had a mother- in- law unit of sorts just outside their back door made of those sheet metal storage sheds you can buy at Sears. It was actually two adjoining rooms with one being a storage room and the other made for living, with most of the amenities as I recall. Really cute and I thought it would be a fun place to be in the rain with the aluminum roof.

Not insulated at all so probably real cold in the winter.

That idea is probably too expensive, too. I bought one of those sheds back in the '80s to use for storage at my place when I lived in Myrtletown. I recall it seeming pricey at the time but sitll less expensive than building a shed from wood. 

Not sure I'd recommend building one as construction required screwing in more screws at one time than I ever had before in my life, but that was before powered screwdrivers were commonplace.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

You Only Have Two Choices?

The Times- Standard reports on Clinton's Vice Presidential Tim Kaine telling us we'd best keep our presidential choices limited to the major party candidates. That should come as no surprise. I'll agree with Kaine that we might not have suffered through the biggest foreign relations gaffe in perhaps our lifetimes- the invasion of Iraq- had Al Gore won, but there's no way to say that for sure. 

Then, over at the Sacramento Bee, Dan Walters looks at our U.S. Senate race,  making it seem as if the only two candidates in that race are Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that he makes no mention of Libertarian Party candidate Gail Lightfoot who is also in that race. I had to point out in the comments to that story that, with so- called independents being the fast growing voter segment in the state, a third party candidate might be able to shake that race up a little. But, no, I"m sure Dan likes the horse race aspect of a two party race.

Hey, I'm used to it, having been pretty much a third party voter since '92. It is frustrating being ignored and always losing but that goes with the territory. What I'm curious about is everyone else. Do all of you like being told your choices are whoever the powers that be say they are? If there were actually only two choices in this race, I'd likely not vote at all as I've done before.

Maybe it's just my nature, but that sort of attitude would just piss me off. I don't like being told what to do or having my options limited. I realize most others aren't that way but if someone told me I had to vote for either Clinton or Trump and that was it, it woud piss me off enough I'd take the third choice. And, as I've written here and elsewhere, this is the perfect time to vote third party with two horrific candidates being forced upon you.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sacramento Bee Does Humboldt Nursing Homes

The Sacramento Bee picked up on the looming nursing home crisis up here and wrote a story on it. I found their story a bit more readable than ones done locally.

Friday, September 23, 2016

And The Keys say....Trump Wins!

The Washington Post chats with Professor Allan Lichtman who has correctly predicted presidential election outcomes for the past 30 years. He has a system based on what he calls Keys. This year the Keys give Trump the edge, although he admits Trump is such a wild card he may throw his system off.

"Donald Trump has made this the most difficult election to assess since 1984. We have never before seen a candidate like Donald Trump, and Donald Trump may well break patterns of history that have held since 1860."

A Democrat For Trump

I can't help but like this guy, Democrat though he may be. He's voting for Trump as he sees Trump as the peace candidate. He goes on to write about the past with much mention of the Kennedys. Kennedy used to be a dirty word to me. Maybe not so much anymore after what he wrote about them. Lengthy, but I thought a good, inspiring read.

Election 2016

The Lost Coast Outpost covered yesterday's Eureka City Council candidate forum featuring John Fullerton and Austin Allison. Seems to me Fullerton is the best choice.

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat comes out against Prop 57, another one of those sentence reduction deals. They make some good points, although I won't say I'm convinced:
"Creating a credit system that encourages inmates to take advantage of evidence-based rehabilitation programs is a good thing. California’s prisons are focused too much on correction and not rehabilitation. But where Proposition 57 goes astray is in the details — such as its failure to make clear what nonviolent felonies qualify for the program."

The Los Angeles Times' George Skelton looks at Prop 55- the extension of the supposed temporary tax increases of last election's Prop 30. He doesn't seem pleased with it, nor am I.

Dan Walters wonders what's up with all the tax increases on the ballot, pointing out many of them really just cover public pension shortfalls.

The Sacramento Bee reports the California Association of Police Chiefs has come out opposing Prop 63. That's Gavin Newsom's gun control initiative. Good for them, but not too much of a surprise to me as police I've known aren't generally big on gun control

This doesn't mean the police chiefs have become advocates of civil rights. It could be a one- time thing. The same article also reports those same police chiefs oppose the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Then again, some pot use advocates oppose AUMA. Whad'ya do?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Trip to the S.F. V.A. Medical Center

As I wrote earlier, I recently "enlisted" in the Veteran's Administration's health care system, or whatever it's called.
Tuesday we made our first trip to their San Francisco medical facility. I was told I kinda had to in order to be officially processed into the system.

Since we also had a pending appointment at the UCSF medical center, we tried to coordinate the two appointments. That was easier said than done, although the V.A. clinic was easier to contact. Easy to contact but they're pretty well booked up, too, so good luck getting the ideal time and day to match the two appointments.

The V.A. center is about two miles from UCSF as it turned out. Last time we were in San Francisco we drove by it in order to get an idea of where we'd be going. Monday night,  while at the Villa Inn, we looked at the appointment cards they'd sent us and noticed slightly different directions to the V.A. than we'd taken the first time. We decided to try their instructions.

The V.A.'s instructions worked better. The center is on Clement Street, which is what we drove down the first time, but going one street further down to Stanyan is a lot less hassle- less stop and go, so quicker.

We had a 10am appointment, but they recommended getting there a half hour early, which we try to do anyway, especially it being somewhere we'd never been before. We made it in plenty of time. In fact, maybe a bit too early.

A bit confusing at first, but we found a parking spot- free parking, unlike UCSF, although it doesn't look as if they have the capacity for cars UCSF does. We went inside the building and had to ask passersby where we needed to go. Friendly people pointed us in the right direction. I liked this place better than UCSF already.

Going to the first floor to check in, the clerk was helpful and the waiting room not very full. The clerk even laughed a bit with us. That's not something you see often at UCSF. She had me fill out a form I gave back to her when completed. 

Then I had to try out the I.D. kiosk I'd been told about. That's how you officially show you were there so they can mail you your travel money. It's like a big ATM. I was a bit confused at first with what option to pick but I picked one, ran my V.A. ID card through the slot and finished the process fairly quickly. Or did I? There wasn't any "Thank You" or other indication I'd done it correctly. The screen just went back to the starting page.

I told the wife I wasn't sure if it worked. She suggested trying it again to see what happens. Maybe it would tell me I already checked in if I'd done it right the first time? We went on to our first appointment, planning on dealing with the check- in kiosk before leaving.

We sat in the waiting room and I was quickly called to a small room where they took my blood pressure and other vital stats. Then we were called to another room where a pretty gal- a nurse practitioner- greeted us. She took us into an office for an interview and even gave me a cursory exam. 

She was also fun to speak with as she had a sense of humor. Again, not something you find often at UCSF. Who'da thunk humor at a V.A. facility?

After an hour or so we left her office to places I don't recall, mostly just checking the place out. I'll have to admit I was confused and had no idea how to get out of the place had I the need to.

The nurse practitioner did order a prescription for me, though, so we went in search of the pharmacy. We found it and I was impressed with their system. you take a number and wait, except I just picked my number when they called it. I went to the counter and they told me it would take about 20 more minutes for my prescription to be ready. 

The gal pointed to a digital screen on the waiting room wall with a list of names. Those screens seemed to be in just about every room we passed by. When your prescription was ready your name would show up on the screen. Rite Aid pharmacy could take a hint from their system.

We went and wandered around getting back to the pharmacy just as my name showed up on the screen. I picked up my prescription- no charge- and we went on our way.

Time for lunch so we had to find the cafeteria. We followed some signs and eventually found it. Crowded, but not too bad. You order you meal at a counter much like a Subway sandwich shop. Yell it to the cook. 

They had a bunch of stuff, with much of the usual: hamburgers, french fries, salads and such. I just ordered some french fries. I ordered a vegie burger for the wife and the cook said something about no vegie burgers available. Something about substituting black beans instead. I couldn't really hear him over the din so just nodded my head.

After five minutes or so we had our meals and went to find a seat in the dining room. It was packed but we found one spot not far from the big picture windows that overlook the ocean and beach outside. I mentioned to the wife the next day that at least the UCSF food court wasn't so crowded. She pointed out it might well be as crowded if it was lunchtime. Good point.

We got done with lunch and left, fumbling our way to the exit. I was so mixed up I wasn't even sure which direction the parking lots were once we got outside. But it all came together. We found our car and drove back to the Villa Inn.

I much prefer that place to UCSF for the ambiance if nothing else. One thing that kind of disturbed me was when the nurse practitioner was interviewing us. She kept referring to us switching my care to the V.A. That wasn't what I had in mind, at least to start with. I just wanted the V.A. as an alternate or back up. I tried to explain that to her but she didn't seem to get it.

Oh, well, If I do end up switching care to the V.A. center, I could probably do worse. Easier to get to and friendlier people.

Bad Move By Eureka City Council

I've been out of town the last few days but was disappointed to read, either in the Lost Coast Outpost or somewhere else, that the Eureka City Council ignored the advice I gave here previously about staying out of that oil pipeline fray in the Dakotas. But, nope, from what I'm reading they voted to send a letter in opposition to that pipeline. To whom, it's not clear.

As I wrote then, this isn't a city issue and they should stick to city issues. How would they feel if other cities wrote letters to whomever objecting to our desire to improve our harbor capabilities? We don't need an "activist" council meddling in other city and state affairs unless it directly affects the City of Eureka. This sort of thing makes me wonder why so called progressives complain about the current city council. Looks to me as if they're pretty progressive already.

The Humboldt Consequential has stronger words on this so I'll let his rant suffice. He wrote in part:

 "At the end of the day, this just seems like some extreme politically correct social justice warrior bullshit. Maybe they should start a Facebook petition, too? Then they can go back to doing nothing while feeling even better about how socially progressive and groovy they are."

  Point well made. The bottom line: Shame on the Eureka City Council.