Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Weintraub Disagrees

This just in: The Sacramento Bee's Dan Weintraub disagrees with my assessment of the Governer's choice for Chief of Staff. He may be right but I still feel that someone who used to be one of Gray Davis' aides and also worked for Dianne Feinstein is someone to be leery of.

Ahnold May Be Toast

The latest word is that the Governor may be picking some lefty Democrat for his Chief of Staff, this a result of a shake up of his administraion. My gut feeling is that he's toast if he does such a thing and might well blow any chance he has for re- election. The lefty Democrats aren't likely to vote for him regardless, they'll vote for whoever the Democrat is, most of of them anyway. He might well alienate a lot of Republicans that would support him by such a choice. The key is how the "independent" or Decline to State voters would take such a choice. No way to say how they'll vote since they tend to be pretty wishy washy and fickle in their choices. Only time will tell how it will end up. As for me, if he reacts to his losses in the special election by moving to the other side, he'll lose a lot of the respect I had for him. Of course, I might well vote for the Libertarian Party candidate anyway.
Speaking of shake ups, looks like local GOP Chair, Lori Metheny, resigned as a result of all the brouhaha with the local Republicans. I'm surprised she didn't resign sooner. Not taking sides here but when you generate such turmoil in an organization, it's probably best to get the heck out of Dodge.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I'm Back...

and a bit fried after leaving early yesterday and driving to the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center for a consultation for the wife then driving back. Got into Ukiah about eight last night. Decided to spend the night there. I'm glad we did. It was hard enough getting up early and trying to drive through three hours of rain and fog with some sleep. If we tried it last night, that would have been a mistake.

So, I leave you with some commentary by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer's Association's, Jon Coupal, on the Governor (and others') proposal to float a massive new bond for state infrastructure. If interested in more reading on the subject, there's a couple more links on Dan Weintraub's blog, November 28 entry.

I'm amazed, although not surprised, that anyone is considering a bond that large for this state. We've already saddled California with enough debt. I guess some people just can't get away from it and feel, to paraphrase what a wise man once said, " The first thing you do when you find yourself in a hole is to keep on digging." Yes, I meant it that way.

Monday, November 28, 2005

No Thoughts Today

Don't have time to blog today. Heading out of town, early in the morning, as you might have noticed. Might be back later tonight. The niece will be taking care of the cats for us but I can't trust her to blog for me. She's a Green.

In the meantime, you might want to head over to Leonidas' new blog and read Part 1 and 2 of his account of a visit to Cuba some years ago.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The California Army National Guard

I spent fifteen years in the Army National Guard. Seventeen, if you count my two years Individual Ready Reserve time. All of those years were spent here locally: Six years with A Company of the 579th Engineer Battalion and nine years with the Military Police Detachment that started out as a component of the 570th Military Police Company and then bounced around to, if memory serves me correct, the 870th MP Company today. I even spent six months full time, filling in for a full timer that went to training back east. I enjoyed the Guard and have no regrets. I retired in '92.

That aside, I've thought off and on about what a financial drain the Guard is on taxpayers and was actually thinking about it earlier this morning when, to my surprise, the Sacramento Bee ran a story on our top heavy, free spending California Guard. No surprised there, as far as the content of the story. It just deals with the higher ups, for the most part. They're a lot like our state legislature as far as handing out favors to cronies. They don't mention the cost of the Guard all the way down to the lower levels.

Contrary to what supporters of the Military Industrial Complex claim, as far as I'm concerned, National Guardsman get paid quite well. The most money I've ever made in my life was while on active duty with the Guard. What gets me is when I think of all the money I've seen go down the tubes. At the time I didn't think much about it. Some examples:

Myself and a few others taking a five ton truck out to the Samoa Coast Guard Station to fire off 5000 rounds of M-16 ammo. Not for training. We had to fire all the ammo so we could send the cases back. If we didn't use the ammo, we couldn't put that into our budget request for next year, or so I was told.

Meal tickets, that while they were a blessing, were quite extravegant. One time we were at a pizza place in Concord and ended up getting pizzas for a number of civilians there cause we had the meal tickets to pay for it.

Going to Annual Training one year on a chartered bus. No problem except there were only five of us, as I recall, for an entire greyhound size bus.

In Saudi Arabia, the powers that be, basically boarded the entire company and everyone got a promotion whether they deserved it or not, or even if the soldier wasn't in a position warranting such promotion. That's a lot of money being sucked from the taxpayers with the increase in pay.

While it might have changed since my day, there used to be a number of guardsmen that would just hang around the armory during drill, never really doing much of anything. Getting paid for sitting around drinking coffee.

And when you think of the gasoline we burned up in just an average weekend drill, it boggles the mind. The Guard is a very expensive operation to run and not all those expenses are justified. That's the norm in such organizations, though, I suppose.

All that said, in fairness, that was over ten years ago and some things have changed. I know they started weeding out some of the "hangers on" that found the Guard and attractive way for easy money, at least in the lower ranks. And as we see in the news, since the President declared war on the world, the Guard has taken a very active role in that war. Still, it gets to me every time I hear of another mobilization or even see military people around town, how much this is all costing us. Yet this, even to libertarians like me, is deemed within the constitutional role of government and the proper use of taxpayer money.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

GOP Steps Up To The Plate

I'm actually kind of surprised the local Republicans were the first to jump on the anti- gay marriage resolution bandwagon. You'd think they'd want to be a little more low key in order to not come off as such a far right wing bunch. But, no, they jump to the forefront with the "marriage is under attack..." line. I'll never understand why some folks think their marriage is under attack simply by allowing others to get married. This will further put the Republicans, in the eyes of many around here, as the home the hard right wingers.

That said, it's probably a pretty safe bet as far as politics go. Legislation that attacks minorities is relatively easy for voters to get behind. Prop 22, the anti gay marriage initiative on the ballot years ago, passed by a fairly wide margin. Taxes on smokers and the rich seem a fairly safe bet, as well, although the last tax on tobacco in this state barely passed. Maybe that's a good sign that people in this state are coming around to the fact that what goes around comes around? That when you tax one group, the next group won't be far behind? I hope so, but I won't hold my breath waiting for people to become enlightened in this state.

"I don't smoke so I don't care about that one...". Comment made to me when I was gathering signatures to get prop 10, repeal of the last tobacco tax, on the ballot.
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.Then they came for me but there was no one left to speak out for me.
- Pastor Niemoller

Friday, November 25, 2005

Supes To Mull Gay Marriage Resolution

The Humboldt County Human Rights Commission will be proposing a Resolution in Support of Gay Marriage, or some such thing, to the Board of Supervisors. Despite being a strong proponent of the gay community being allowed to marry, I've said before I'm uneasy with such resolutions if only because the Board of Supervisors supposedly represents the community and not all in the community might agree with such resolutions.

That said, it might seem unprincipled, but I hope the Supes pass the resolution. I'm curious how the Supes, especially Roger Rodoni, will vote on the issue? I suspect they'll end up sweeping it under the carpet and tabling it, never to be heard from again.

You can be sure there'll be some strong words spoken in opposition to the resolution. I wonder who the main opponents will be? Will they be from the religious community, the Republicans, or perhaps some other local gadflies that take a stand on any issue that comes up? I'll be watching.

Jill Stewart has a pretty right- on commentary on the future of the state's finances in today's SF Chronicle. You may have heard that state revenue has been better than expected as of late. Kudo's to most of the commentaries I've read in the papers cautioning against excess optimism. I think Jill takes it a bit further and that she's right on the money.

And speaking of student enrollment declines around the state, as is happening locally, the Sacramento Bee ran a column today on how the Sacramento area schools are dealing with declining enrollment. It seems some schools, albeit not all, are hiring administrative staff even while they lay off teachers. Wonder if they're doing any of that up here? I know someone who works at the County Office of Education and he's expressed worries about being laid off on occassion. I told him it's not likely to happen.

Some administrators rationalize the hiring of administrators over the hiring of teachers as a result of more initiatives and regulations at the state and federal level that require more administrative work. Whatever. Sounds like a problem with government to me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Next Race For Governor

Probably a bit early to bring this up. Heck, it's probably waaay too early to bring this up, but I will anyway: Any predictions on who ends up on the slate for the next race for Governor?

Arnold has already said he'll run, which isn't to say some scandal could erupt to cause him to drop out. It looks like a given that Phil Angelides and Steve Westly will try for the Democratic nod. Then there's talk of Warren Beatty and Rob "meathead" Reiner throwing their hats in the ring, along with current Attorney General, Bill Lockyer. Quite frankly, I don't like any of the potential Democrats, but if I had to chose one I guess it would be Westly. I'll admit to knowing next to nothing about him, though. A moot point, I suppose, as I wouldn't even think of voting for any of them.

As disgusting as it is, I almost look forward to all the dirty tricks the candidates use against each other in the primaries, trying to get themselves the nomination. Then, after one wins the primary, all the other candidates do an about face and say how great the guy is they were running down the day before and throw their support behind him. They have no shame.

So how will this play out? Some will point to Arnold's current low approval ratings. That can be overcome, I think, although there's no guarantee. As the Sacramento Bee's, Dan Walters, points out in today's column, The potential Democratic candidates don't fare so well in public opinion, either, much less name recognition.

I suspect the race will be close, but give the edge to the Governor. Who wins the Democratic nomination? I suspect it will be pol scuzbag Phil Angeledes. I don't see how anyone could vote for him but, then again, I don't see how anyone could vote for Dianne Feinstein or Barbara Boxer and they regularly win re- election.

Another related question: Will the Libertarian Candidates for statewide office get more than 2% of the total vote which guarantees the Party a place on the ballot for the next election? Hard to say. At least one of our candidates, usually at least the one running for Insurance Commissioner, usually gets 2%. I suspect we'll do so again but with the LP looking to me like it's in such disarray, I won't hold my breath waiting for those results. In reality though, I think we often get the 2% of the vote, despite of ourselves, rather than because of anything our candidates did or didn't do.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Right Splits Up?

The Times- Standard covered the local Republican's infighting today. As mentioned before, looks like most (at least the ones being quoted) are blaming their new Chair, Lori Metheny, for the problems. I spoke with someone that knows the inside scoop and he felt the same way. Seems Lori came up here and tried to rearrange everything to her way of doing things, ignoring the established way and alienated a bunch of the regulars. Not a good way to do things. But, hey, they elected her and will just have to wait until next election to replace her. Some may blame the Republicans for electing her in the first place but it's been my, albeit limited, experience that a Chairmanship is not something a lot of people really go out of their way to work for. Often whoever is voted into the position is simply the only person willing to accept it.

One of the old timers says they're mulling a way to support the Republican effort through a different venue so, as one person commented earlier on in this blog, we might well have two different Republican orgs here in the county, at least for a short while should that come to pass.

I don't know that that will accomplish much as the Republicans don't really have much to be proud of, as of late. The Bush Administration is not something that would be wise for any less government conservative to tout as what the Republicans represent and should be working for. Our Governor's agenda is certainly salvageable, though.

Local issues? Seems to me they've attached themselves to the developers in the fight over county land use issues. That certainly would be an uphill fight, I think, to get most people around here behind. About all that I can think of that they could work on locally is tax resistance, which the Republicans have done to at least some extent. Opposition to Measure L, the proposed 1% sales tax, being the latest example. Any other issues anyone think should fall under the auspices of the local Republican Central Committee?

Let's hope they do remain some sort of political force in the county. We need something to counter the Left's momentum up here. I'm not saying I oppose the Left on every issue. I just want to see equal forces at play when politics take place around here and not have all the activism taking place on just one side of an issue and the Left seems to be running with the ball now, at least as I see it. We need some entity to run the opposition and it's certainly not going to be the Libertarian Party.

Monday, November 21, 2005

School Closings

Local school enrollment is declining. It's due to demographic changes, some say. Naturally, school officials worry this will mean less money for the schools since the revenue they get is based on enrollment. You never hear the end of it. First they need more money cause the classrooms are overcrowded. Then they need more money cause they don't have enough students. One thing's for certain: The schools will always say they need more money no matter how many students they have.

I think it would be in everybody's best interest if parents around here would join the Humboldt Homeschoolers and say to heck with the Education- Industrial Complex.

"Do not rage against The Machine. Quietly flip it off."- Jeff Kelley

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Only Two Choices?

More and more people are reading my hard hitting commentary, or so it seems. After I put out yesterdays post on the proposed Humboldt Hostel the Left wing PAC, Local Solutions, sent out an e-mail notice to its membership calling for everyone to lobby the members of the Eureka City Council in favor of the Humboldt Hostel over the alternative proposal, Hampton Suites.

The Times- Standard responded by running a piece on the front page covering the two proposed projects. Boy, it sure is exciting to have such an influential blog.

Quite honestly, I don't know that I could say I'm really in favor of either of these projects. Too bad there aren't some other choices. With the Hostel we slide deeper into the pit of the Education- Industrial Complex- a government project simply for the sake of the high paying jobs it provides. With the Hampton Suites we get yet another hotel for the limited number of travelers that come to Humboldt. While the Suites would be more along the line of a private enterprise project I would likely support, I'll grudgingly admit that the Hostel would likely attract more visitors to the county but will they be the kind of visitors we want?

Unless I'm mistaken, either of the projects fall under the auspices of the Redevelopment Agency so that ties up much of any potential tax revenue coming from either project for decades. Not that tax revenue is a big concern of mine except for when they tie up that source of revenue, they need to make up for it by taking more from everyone else.

I hate to sound negative again, but I'd just as soon they leave the parcel in question the way it is unless they can come up with a better idea. Seems to me there's something to be said for an empty lot. They're becoming a rare commodity in just about any town nowadays.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hostel Takes Shape

I see the proponents of the Humboldt Bay Hostel now have a web site to plug their cause. Nice looking project. Too bad this redevelopment business, at least in this case, seems to be focusing on the sell- trinkets- to- tourists and Education- Industrial Complex mentality. That aside, this looks like an interesting idea. I'm just wondering when the city and/ or county will be asking for another sales tax increase to make up for the money this project will suck up?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Northcoast Broadband vs. the NCRA

Some don't know we only have one main broadband line coming into the county that was only recently completed. Now, some folks are looking into getting another one up and running since the current one is seen as vulnerable to disruption as it runs through the Eel River Valley and thus subject to landslides and flooding. At first I thought this might just be another one of those cases of people with too much time on their hands but, actually, it does sound like a good idea to have a back up.

Funny how the North Coast Railroad line goes through the same area and was constantly getting shut down from flood damage and landslides yet the NCRA keeps wanting to rebuild that line rather than maybe looking for an alternate route as the broadband folks propose for a back up.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results."- A. Einstein

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

CAMP vs. Meth?

Captain Buhne makes another great post about the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting in his Monday blog (No, I'm not the Freddy that made the second comment). Kudos to him for the link to this somewhat horrifying page about methamphetamine addiction. Check out the before and after pics. Yecchhh!

Liberatarians pretty much agree that the drug war causes more problems than it solves. I've said before I'd rather see at least pot decriminalized. What about methamphetamine,though? As an acquaintance suggested, with all the damage caused by meth addiction, should we really consider legalizing it? It seems hard to make a case for that.

I used to dabble in meth, speed, crank or whatever it was called back in the mid '70s. Spent quite a bit of money on the stuff. Never screwed me up like it apparently did to the people in the pics on that web site. I don't believe I was ever addicted to it either. I just moved on to other things at some point in time. Makes me wonder if we're talking about the same drug. Was that "crank" I snorted 30 some years ago the same stuff that's causing all these problems today? I don't know, as I've been absent from the drug crowd for many years.

So what to do about meth? I don't know that I'd advocate legalizing meth labs, at this point. But one has to wonder if at least part of the reason meth is so popular is because it's illegal and thus so profitable to make and sell. We never really had the problems with drugs we have now before they were made illegal, according to some.

Like everything else, my musings don't really mean squat since the powers that be, whether they be Democrat or Republican or just plain bureaucrats, don't indicate any let up in even the war on cannabis.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Another Redevelopment Hack

Isn't Robert Fasic the same guy that almost won an appointment to the Eureka Planning Commission? I guess he's on the Eureka Redevelopment Agency now and wrote this My Word column published in today's Times- Standard. I suppose if you're on the Redevelopment Agency it goes with the territory to believe in redevelopment efforts. I hope this is the highest this guy ever goes in politics.

First, to get my ire, is his blaming the Humboldt Taxpayer's League for having people question the legitimacy of the Eureka Redevelopment Agency as a result of their lawsuit against the City. Well, as I've said before, I opposed the lawsuit but the Taxpayer's League should be commended for whatever attention they brought on the subject of redevelopment. That might be the only good thing that comes out of that lawsuit.

Fasic then goes on to encourage redevelopment efforts that consist of distinctive and high quality architecture. That sounds nice but it's also another way of saying more expensive than usual architecture. So, not only does the redevelopment effort suck money out of the general fund, it also pays more than a private person might to put up a structure in the same place. The County Library might be used as an example: Sure, looks real nice but there's no money left to keep the place open, at least from what I understand.

I don't have a problem with someone who wants to see Eureka look nice. I do have a problem with people that seem to think, if we just keep spending money on redevelopment projects (especially expensive ones), utopia will find us, eventually.
Hey, who is it that keeps coming to this page by doing a search for Fred, Arcata on that blogspot search thing? I keep getting hits from someone doing that search over and over again so I assume it's a regular visitor. Don't you know how to add this page to your Favorites?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Local GOP Stumbles?

With the Left making efforts to increase their stranglehold on Humboldt County, looks like the local Republicans are falling into disarray, with some of the long time GOPers resigning from the County Central Committee. Sounds to me like some personality conflicts going on here. Wonder how widespread the discontent really is? I'll have to ask some of the people in the know just what really is going on.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

What's Kerrigan Up to?

So what's Eureka City Coucil Dude, Chris Kerrigan up to? He's become the point man for some anti- Wal Mart movie that's showing in Eureka. To my eyes, this makes him more of a left wing activist than simply a local pol who leans to the left. Only time will tell if this is some effort to increase his presence in the community in preparation for a run for higher office. He's told me he isn't interested in higher office and just wants to finish a second term on the city council. I won't hold him to that because one should never say never.
But, they say most politicians gain office by being seen as more of the moderate types, so if Kerrigan is actually working towards higher office by increasing his activism and presence with the Left, his strategy may backfire. Then again, this is the state where Senator's Boxer and Feinstein repeatedly win office so anything's possible.

Along that same line, lefty Supervisor Bonnie Neely has declared her intent to run again for the Board of Supervisors, which comes as no surprise. Also, as no surprise, Chris Kerrigan has already said he'll endorse Neely. Is it just me or does it seem like the Left has gotten real active up here the last few years?
I found yet another one of those online political quizzes. This one was a bit hard for me to take as the possible answers are some form of agreement or disagreement. Not sure or other aren't given as options. Give it a try.

I ended up scoring in the Libertarian sector but about two blocks down and to the right of center. Thanks to the San Francisco Liberal blog for the heads up on this one.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Left Gloats Over Election Results

Lefty PAC, Local Solutions, sent out a post election e-mail celebrating their success in the November 8 election. I find it hard to understand how anyone could be happy about that Dunk character being elected to the Mckinleyville Community Services District, him being the worst of all the candidates in that race as I saw it. They also took self proclaimed communist, Shane Brinton, under their wing and he won over what was arguably a much more qualified candidate. I guess there's nothing wrong with gloating over a win, no matter who the winners are.

What got me was Democrat Chair, Pat Riggs', victory message included at the end of the e-mail:

We had a tremendous victory here in Humboldt last night, rejecting the far right's attacks on our democracy and our American values by overwhelming margins, margins that would have been even larger had more people been clear on the details included in 73-77.

Fortunately we also prevailed statewide on all of these by decent margins. California sent a clear message that Karl Rove and Tom Delay style attacks on our constitution stop at the California border. Now we can take the fight to them, and look to beginning the restoration of human rights and democracy in our country in 2006.

Thank you all so very much for all your hard work. The community really stepped up, especially in the last two weeks of the campaign. This victory was truly a team effort. I am so grateful to everyone of you. We needed everyone's help. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Patrick Riggs

Admittidley, this sort of message is sent out by all sides of the political aisle by whatever side wins. Heck, even when they don't win, powers that be try to send out some sort of uplifting message to their rank and file. I found Pat's message as shameless as much of everything else he said during the campaign. Most shameless of which was his suggestion that the "far right was attacking our democracy...". This, from someone who believes politicians should pick their voters rather than the other way around and that the current system of incumbent safe districts is acceptable.

I also find it annoying, if not insulting, that he says his victory margin would have been wider if more people would of just understood the issues better. I suggest if more people understood the issues, his side would of lost, at least on the reform oriented initiatives. I guess I'm like Pat, and everyone else, in that regard: We all think we're right and everyone would agree with us if they just studied the issues more thoroughly.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Another Lousy Election

Not that it would of made that much difference if any of the reform propositions actually won. Some are saying the results of the election are a repudiation of the Governor in some way, shape or form. Well, maybe. I suspect, more than anything else, it was people being opposed to the special election in the first place and thus voting NO on everything. If it was an indication of some lefty uprising then the two inititatives backed by the Left wouldn't have fared so poorly. For the most part, people just went and voted NO on everything chosing to bite off their nose to spite their face.

I guess I predicted the results of the Harbor Commissioner race backwards. I figured Hunter would be the one to take the fall but, instead, the other incumbent lost. I guess, if I really thought about it, that would make more sense since this district would be less inclined than the other to elect a Lefty. Not saying a Lefty couldn't win in this district, just that it would be less likely.

On the bright side, locally, libertarian candidates won two out of the three races that I know libertarians were running in. One school board candidate won and one lost. Will Wennerholm retains his seat on the Mckinleyville Community Services District which is great. What I don't understand is how that Dunk character could come in first in that race? Looks like Mckinleyville might be working its way toward becoming an Arcata clone. Let's hope not.

Also of interest around the state was Sonoma County squashing the anti- Genetically Modified Oganism proposal. I figured it might be close but felt it might just win with the lefty paranoia makeup of the Bay Area and surrounding area mentality.

On the down side, San Franciscans, in their infinite idiocy, voted to ban possession and sale of handguns and handgun ammunition within city limits. San Francisco now joins Chicago and Washington D.C. in having the only such bans. It will serve San Francisco right if they end up with the same homicide rate as Chicago and D.C. after this ban takes effect. Hopefully it will get thrown out in court, though, for the sake of the people that own handguns and believe in self defense that live in San Francisco.

As interesting as it can be, I hate Election Day and its aftermath.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Nothing Today

No comments today, at least not yet. Got my Alienware computer back yesterday and had it up and running in a couple hours, after my brother in law stopped by and helped me put the hard drive back in. This is so cool, if for no other reason than being able to use this Logitec wireless keyboard and mouse again. What a relief. So, I'm busy squaring everything away. This one's pretty well set up but I need to figure out how to get my old standby e-machines computer to the same level as this so it will be all ready to go should I have problems with this one again.

Got so carried away with getting everything restored to the way it used to be I almost forgot today is election day.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Dreading November 9

I'm not looking forward to Wednesday, the day after the election, since the candidates or issues I support usually lose. I suspect most of the "good" initiatives (Props 73 thru 77) on the ballot will fail. I say good initiatives only because I'm voting for them. I've said before I don't think any of them will do much in the short or long run to straighten this state out.

As far as local races, too many of the small offices and boards to keep track of. We have three libertarians running for three different boards. I'll only identify one, Will Wennerholm, publicly since he's already identified himself as a libertarian to the North Coast Journal. The other two are running for separate school boards and no way of telling how well they'll do although, historically, LP candidates do best in non- partisan races and especially if they run for office on their own initiative, as all three of these candidates have done. I'm rooting for all three.

I'll only make one prediction for one local race and I hope I'm wrong, although it's probably no big deal: My gut feeling is that Maggie Herbelin wins over incumbent Dennis Hunter in the Harbor Commissioner race if only cause a lot of people will vote for a change of face in at least one of those seats. I'm not a strong supporter of Hunter but will likely vote for him if for no other reason than Herbelin seems very government oriented- her vision of the future of the bay being more government institutions to bring jobs to the county and, of course, her vision of our private economy focused on selling trinkets to tourists.

So I'll be dreading Wednesday but I'll have to admit to a little bit of anticipation just to see how things turn out. Frustrating part is that, with so many people voting by absentee ballot, it will likely be some time before the results are known. I'll be waiting.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Almost Forgot

Got carried away earlier on and forgot to post the link to this cool commentary by the Sacramento Bee's Dan Weintraub. Dedicated to Jeff and his Rant and Rave blog. This ought to REALLY burn him up. :-)

Cool Movie: The Siege

The History Channel is probably my favorite TV channel. I don't watch much TV anymore, but when I do, I find I can just about leave it set to the History Channel and stay fairly well entertained all night. This is despite the fact that sometimes it seems to be produced as a joint project between the Pentagon and the White House. There seem to be a lot of shows that try to stir the martial leanings in us, kind of along the line of the old "Why We Fight" propaganda series we had during WW2.

I figured that was what was happening last night as I started out watching some documentary on how the mafia was busted up because of the introduction of wiretapping and how beneficial wiretapping of criminal types is. I had to wonder if it was some effort to make us more comfortable with certain provisions of the PATRIOT Act? Interesting show though, it was.

I started wondering if the same thing was going on when the next show started at 8pm. The Siege, starring Denzel Washington. Anyone else seen this one before? I never had.

It started out well enough. At first, though, I wondered if it was some pro- war/ anti- arab piece, although it didn't seem too out of line. I just thought that was a weird movie to show after a documentary on wiretapping.

This movie came out two years before 9/11, amazingly enough. Washington is an FBI agent that gets involved in anti terrorist efforts in New York City. He ends up meeting a female CIA agent involved in the same sort of thing. Together they go after four terrorist cells that are on a bombing campaign in the City. Things take a different twist when the President declares Martial Law and the military takes over NYC and starts interning all the muslims they can find. The military ends up getting out of control, at least almost out of control, and the FBI and the military end up at each others throats. At the end of the movie the citizens of NYC are staging demonstrations against the military occupation and Denzel Washington gets the last terrorist, the lady CIA agent being killed in the process. Then, Denzel goes and arrests the General in charge of the occupation, after a near gunfight with the military, for a number of civil rights violations.

It was pointed out by one of the commentators that accompanied the host of the movie during the commercials that the reality is probably different now, post 9/11, than what's depicted in the movie: The movie had the military ultimately getting out of control and the FBI eventually saving the day from the evil military guys whereas, nowadays the military is held in higher esteem than the FBI by most folks, for whatever reasons.

Anyway, good flick although it lasted three hours and I didn't want to stay up that long. I see History Channel doesn't have it scheduled again but maybe it's out in video?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I Can Hardly Wait

My high speed Alienware computer is on its way back from Florida, now a proud veteran of hurricane Wilma. I've been tracking it using its FedEx tracking number and it supposedly left the FedEx depot in Sacramento early this morning. It will be nice to be back to full capacity, so to speak, once I get that thing up and running again.

Actually, this old 600mhz E-Machine isn't all that bad once it actually gets booted up all the way, but it's always a toss of the coin whether it will boot up right each time. Getting a bit weary of that.
Not much in the local political arena to comment on today but I noticed this story in the Sacramento Bee. It talks about the possibility of warmer than normal winter storms having the potential to wreak havoc on the state. I was surprised to see, for probably the first time in recent memory, no one trying to link these "Pineapple Express" pattern storms on human caused global warming. They aren't, but I'm sure that if we give it a day or two someone will try to make a connection.

In case you're wondering, no, I don't think global warming is caused by human activity. Oh, sure, maybe on the local level a given area might be warmer due to human activity. Smog, paving and other such things might cause local temperature changes- an area that's been mostly paved over is certainly going to be at least a little warmer than an unpaved area a mile away during the summer, everything else being equal. While many agree that the earth seems to be in a warming trend, it's caused by solar activity, not people driving cars. That's why, according to some, the ice caps on Mars seem to be receding a bit along with ours.

Credit to Jeff's Rant and Rave blog for mentioning global warming and giving me something to post here today.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Is There A Riot Goin' On?

I'm sure everyone's asking why I wasn't down at the anti- war rally by the old Federal Courthouse in Eureka the other day. Actually, I forgot all about it, besides having to work.

Would have liked to go, though, to get my own impression of what happened. Some are saying the police over- reacted. Some even suggest the relatively heavy show of force was an attempt to intimidate the protestors. As usual, I take the middle of the road view, at least from what I've read in the papers.

I suspect there were a few protestors in the "I'm doing God's work, so I can do no wrong..." crowd. The same kind of folks that act all shocked and imposed upon when they're forceably removed from their tree sitting perches in the local forests. These are likely some of the ones who were arrested for refusing to follow police directions to stay in the bicycle lane of U.S. 101 and various infractions on the streets of Eureka. I can understand the police dealing with them as they did, assuming my view of what happened is correct.

Was it a overly large police presence? I suppose so as I don't recall hearing of that large a presence at the real big peace rally in Eureka years ago with a lot more people. No problems that I know of developed at that rally, so what would give police the idea that such a strong presence was warranted at this, much smaller, demonstration?

Well, seems to me they had problems with bicyclists on the freeway at a previous demonstration, so they were right to anticipate that. Nothing would explain the presence of U.S. Marshalls, and the rest in Eureka at this latest one, though. But I'll go out on a limb and suggest what might have happened. One of two things:

(1)Either someone new in charge, locally, decided on a higher profile approach for whatever reason.

(2)More likely, someone at the state or even federal level- perhaps one of the Homeland Security type agencies, sent out memos warning of possible violence related to the demonstrations and urged local agencies to prepare accordingly. I'm talking about the same agencies we owe all these wonderful color coded terror alerts to that never seem to amount to anything.

I think that's probably more along the line of reasoning for the large police presence. It wasn't so much to intimidate the protestors, it was just another overreaction to some Homeland Security alert system broadcast, as we've all seen in one form or another before. No way I can prove it, though.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Some Snippets and a Green Blog

Two articles I found interesting in the Sacramento Bee, today, regarding or related to a couple of the upcoming ballot initiatives:

Here's a story on a judge not allowing the State Controller to release money a government employee union took from non- union employees. The union apparently was going to use the money to fight some upcoming ballot initiatives. You can bet Prop. 75, which requires unions to get permission from its members before spending their money for political purposes is one of the initiatives they were going to spend the non- member money on.

Dan Weintraub gives opponents of Prop. 77 (that's the one that deals with redistricting) a well deserved slam in this commentary.
Unfortunately, the Eureka Reporter didn't update their opinion page along with the rest of their web site on Wednesday, so I can't link to the guest commentary written by local Greenie, David Giarrizo. It might have been updated by the time you read this as I e-mailed their editor asking what gives.

Anyway, he wrote in response to Stephen Lewis' letter, commented on earlier here. He brushes off suggestions that the Greens are teaming up with the Democrats but his commentary seems to be mostly a plug for the Green Party, at least to me. Nothing wrong with that. I always look for an opportunity to plug the Libertarian Party while reading the news or letters to the editor.

The most interesting thing I found in his commentary was mention of the Eureka Greens Blog, which I was unaware of until now. I knew there was some Eureka Greens group but didn't know they had a blog. Interesting thing about the blog is that they seem to be using it more as an informational web site for local party news, press releases, meeting announcements and the like. If you scroll down you'll see they have their legislative agenda for the City of Eureka there- a pretty lengthy agenda.

I didn't read every part of it but some of the agenda seems ok and some is surprising. For instance; something in there on cutting back on smoking restrictions in town. As I mentioned in my sole comment there, that's a pretty hefty agenda. Likely to scare a lot of people if only because it's so all encompassing. The main problem I had, from what little I saw, was some of their building related items. I'm sure I'd find more to be concerned about if I gave their agenda a little more attention.

No comments on the blog, other than mine, so far. Pretty strange use for a blog, though, seems to me. I've added it to my list now if only to keep track of what they're up to.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

New Arcata Blog

Just noticed this new Arcata oriented blog, eyesonarcata, advertised in the Humboldt Advocate newspaper. Another one of those blogs run anonymously and with infrequent posts. But, maybe with a little traffic to his site he (or she?) will pick up the pace.

This blogger takes what seems to be a 180 approach to what's going on on the Plaza compared to the Plazoid's blog, at least from the looks of the second post he/ she made back in mid October. I've added this blog to my personal blog list and will check back on it to see how it does.

Supes Mull Redevelopment...Again

The more I hear of this County Redevelopment Agency proposal, the less I like it. Looks like the Board of Supervisors got an earful on the issue the other day, from both sides of the issue. I tend to agree with those on the opposing side who, for the most part, are saying it will cause financial hardship to their communities along with a sort of "if it aint broke, don't try and fix it.." feeling.

I find the most of the proponents arguments somewhat troubling, if only because they seem bound and determined to go ahead with these redevelopment schemes no matter what the consequences. But, in fairness, at least from my viewpoint, all sides seem to be getting a fair hearing on the issue and it looks like Redway might be removed from the plan due to opposition from that community.

I wonder if all this redevelopment stuff would be getting the attention it's been getting if it hadn't been for the Taxpayer's League lawsuit against Eureka and the Eureka Redevelopment Advisory Board (which I opposed and still do, for the most part)?