Monday, December 31, 2007

Eureka Reporter Starts E- Edition Today

That's probably not the right way to title this. The Reporter has had an e- edition for a while, not to mention their web site. But starting today they won't be delivering the hard copy of their paper on Mondays and Tuesdays. You'll have read the Reporter online on those two days from now on.

Problem is, I just tried to go to their web site a couple times and get one of those "Unable To Connect" messages. Not a good start on this project, huh?

Oh well. Maybe it will be up and running again after I get done reading the Times- Standard.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Green Candidate To Challenge Thompson

Looks like Carol Wolman jumped right on it, filing papers as a Green Party challenger to Mike Thompson's seat as soon as she was able to. I'm wondering if perennial Peace & Freedom/ Green Party candidate, Pam Elizondo, will also be running for that seat. I don't follow her too closely but it seems to me she's been a candidate for one thing or another every election as far back as I can remember.

I haven't voted for Elizondo yet, at least I don't recall doing so, but she's one of my favorites. Any candidate that shows up at a candidate forum wearing a sweatshirt, as opposed to more formal wear, is on my good side.

Next question: What about the Republicans? Will they be opposing Thompson this time around. Joy...Mike...any word on this yet?

As of yet, no libertarian candidate has filed for the position.
In other election news, rumors are growing stronger of Republican Presidential candidate, Ron Paul, running a third party, or independent, race for president should he lose his party's nomination. Latest word I've heard is he's considering seeking the Constitution Party nomination. That's just rumor, at this point, remember.

I think it would be a mistake for Paul to align himself with any particular third party. If he decides to run, after losing the nomination, I think he should run as a strict "independent", although I'll admit to not knowing just exactly how the "independent" thing would work.

Reason I say that is that, if he runs under a third party banner, he'll pick up all the garbage of that particular third party might have with it and that could turn a lot of people off. I think many people might vote for Paul as an independent, but not if he's the Constitution or Libertarian Party candidate. I count myself among those (although, sure, I while I would vote for him as a LP candidate, there's probably just as many that wouldn't because he's the LP candidate).

If he runs as an independent, people won't have to worry about crossing party lines to vote for him, so to speak. I wouldn't have any problem voting for him. If other third parties decide to support Paul in his independent bid, so much the better.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Regional Cancer Center Proposed

I guess great minds think alike. This is the first I've heard of plans to build a regional center for cancer treatments up here, but I've been thinking along the same lines. My idea was probably a bit less ambitious construction- wise but a bit more ambitious treatment- wise.

I think the idea of building an entirely new facility, at least to start off, is a bit much. I have no doubt that there is a need for more space. I know the waiting room(s) at Eureka Internal Medicine have often been standing room only when I've been there. I have no doubt the radiology lab at St. Joe's is just as packed.

But why spend millions on a new building that might not do anything not already being done up here? Couldn't some existing space be utilized?

Word is that some, if not a lot, of the offices at the St. Joseph's Annex at the old General Hospital will move to St. Joseph's once the renovation at St. Joseph's Hospital is done.

Capdiamont, mentioned over at his blog a while back that nearly all of the business done now at the General Hospital annex will be moved to St. Joseph's Hospital. According to the [rumor] he heard, some are talking of putting a Safeway where General Hospital is now. [ Bloggers note: NOT!]

But if there's any truth to these rumors of everything moving to St. Joe's proper, why can't the old General Hospital be used for a cancer center. If not there, certainly there must be some other places available.

My dream was actually to find space at St. Joe's before or after the renovation. I guess I was out in left field with that one, since everybody else seems to be in front of me in line.

But, wherever it goes or how it's done, it will be good to see a regional cancer center happen.
I think I might be being more ambitious than the rest in what I was thinking of:

My idea, at least for treatments , was more grandiose. I was thinking of not just consolidating all current cancer services in on location, but expand the services available- my main motivation being to try and have treatments done up here where patients currently have to leave the county.

I was thinking, if you could add services like that, we might be able to get patients from other areas of the state to come here rather than UCSF or Stanford for such treatments. I know I've seen people from up near Redding at UCSF. Whether they'd prefer to come here for treatments (and whether medical protocols would allow it), I don't know.

But a drive over 299 might beat going all the way to UCSF.
I would think, if I was from Redding, I'd rather come to Eureka for a monthly check up than drive all the way to San Francisco. I guess there's no way of knowing who'd do what without trying it.

The biggest problem would be communication with the other facilities down south where we'd have to go for expertise. I've already seen some problems with communication in that regard. Telemedicine can only go so far.

I was thinking about the only way to really make that work is some kind of merging between our facility up here and, for example, UCSF Oncology- perhaps even to the point where we make our facility a branch campus of UCSF.

That may sound like a long shot. It probably is. Besides, a merging between St. Joseph's Hospital and UCSF doesn't sound like something either side would go for.

Still, that would probably be what it will take to spread higher up expertise around the state- and give us our own regional cancer center- as opposed to the centralized system we have now . What we need to work away from is this centralized system where people all have to travel to the center of the state to get their medical needs taken care of.

Whether those behind this current proposal have that in mind remains to be seen.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

They Don't Get Paid Enough?

I can't help but like this guy. He's actually "working" on Christmas Day by choice.

Note that he's returned to the Eureka Police Department as a reserve officer. He retired from regular duty after 28 years with the department.

Not sure how many other old timers Eureka P.D. has, although I know Captain Murl Harpham has been with the department something like 50 years. He enjoys the work, and the department, just like Butch Manos.

I guess it's like past Eureka Police Chief, Ray Shipley, told my police academy class. He claimed there was never a day he didn't look forward to going to work. He also pointed out that there are a lot of people that do the job without getting paid (as reserve officers).

Sure, as I've said before, some may move on to other departments for one reason or another, but to say we need to keep increasing pay and benefits for police officers will end us up in a vicious circle of one- upmanship with other police departments we can scarcely afford.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It's Over

Ok. Christmas is over. Time to dump those trees. Let's do it quickly, now. Those dried out trees are a big fire hazard.

Yeah, I know. Some people feel they have to wait until after January 1 to dump their trees but, might I suggest you think about the safety of your home and family and get rid of the tree today?

You can get rid of your tree for free in most areas. I know Eureka's City Garbage takes them for free up until January 6. If for some reason you can't take it there yourself, they'll pick it up for a fee, as will various charitable organizations.

No excuse for not getting the tree to a recycling center. You got it to your house, didn't you? Amazing how people seem to have no problem getting the tree to their house but for some reason seem unable to get rid of it. Do it now, folks, before too much time goes by.

I got nailed once because someone took too long in getting rid of a Christmas tree. I haul off my customer's trees for free, at least while they're still being accepted for free by City Garbage.

One time I went by a gal's house on Carson Street in Eureka. She'd finally hauled her tree out and it was laying beside her house. I figured I'd make her real happy by hauling it to the dump for her.

That tree probably wasn't over eight feet tall but it was REALLY heavy. Took me by surprise because it sure didn't look that heavy. But I managed to get it into the back of my truck and drove straight to City Garbage with it. It was so wide it took up the whole bed of the truck so I had to get rid of it ASAP.

I drive up to City Garbage and didn't see the bin they were supposed to have out for Christmas trees. I went to the scale and asked about it. They stopped accepting trees for free the day before. Eeeghads!!! Now I was stuck with this big, heavy tree.

I drove home trying to decide what to do with it, trying to come up with some creative solution. In the end, all I could do was take it back to City Garbage and pay to dump it as green waste. Talk about adding insult to injury to a guy that hates Christmas anyway.

So, take heed and get rid of your trees today or by the end of the week at the latest.

Oh, and while you're going to dump the tree, have the rest of your housemates take down all the lights and other Christmas decorations. Please. Enough is enough.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Support Open On X-Mas Businesses

I thought this was a pretty good idea: A list of businesses that are open on Christmas Day. The Times- Standard should try and improve on it next year.

Sure, I hate Christmas, but I'm sure I'm not the only one that hates having everything close down on holidays. It's nice to know you can still buy groceries, beer or whatever on days like today. In fact, I think I'll make a special effort to stop by at least a couple of businesses I notice that are open today and buy something. Those places deserve our support.

I think the Times- Standard should devote possibly a full page to the Open On Christmas business listings next year. Maybe towards the end of November they could announce the project and invite local businesses that will be open to send a notice to the T-S and the paper could list them all free of charge on Christmas Eve. Free advertising for businesses that deserve it.
On the other hand, I'm not sure how far I want to go in punishing businesses that support Christmas and close on Christmas Day. Some, like Pierson's Building Center, really piss me off. Come Christmas time, they turn what is arguably the best garden center (in Eureka, anyway) into a disgusting display of Christmas. They gut the store of nearly all the garden stuff and replace it with all those ugly Christmas trees. Yuck!

I wish there was some sort of action I could take against Pierson's for that. Problem is, I hardly ever go to Pierson's, anyway, so they'd never notice it even if I did do something.

Then there's those stupid theme stores that change their inventory depending on what the closest holiday is: Long's Drugs and Rite- Aid are the first that come to mind. As Halloween approaches, they fill the aisles with Halloween stuff. Christmas and Easter, same thing. I hate that. I wish I could boycott them just for that.

Kinda tough, though, especially with Rite- Aid. They're close by and have decent prices on beer. It would be hard to avoid them as often as holidays occur. There always seems to be one holiday or another coming up.

But I'm thinking of boycotting Rite- Aid next year if only because they allow those pesky Salvation Army bell ringers to hang out in front of their store. I hate those bell ringers.

I usually develop a mental block to all the Christmas, Easter and Halloween stuff in their aisles. After the first day or two of the new holiday theme I hardly notice that stuff. Not so those damned bell ringers. You can't ignore them.

Don't get me wrong. I support the Salvation Army's work and appreciate their need to raise funds. I just hate the bell ringers because I hate Christmas and those bell ringers kind of rub your nose in the fact that Christmas is on its way. They're also kinda like approaching a store and seeing a panhandler out front. Nobody likes that, do they?

That's not to say I didn't give any money to the bell ringers this year, but I'll admit it was only because the first one that showed up in front of the Henderson Center Rite- Aid store was someone I knew.

She used to be my next door neighbor not long ago. I was surprised to see her doing that and stopped to speak with her briefly. She said the Salvation Army had helped her out before so she was volunteering as a bell ringer. I can't say for sure but I had the feeling that, truth be told, she was probably doing it as court ordered community service.

Still, she is cute and I threw all my spare change in her red bucket. That was the last time I did that this year and it's good to know those pesky folks will be gone until next year.

So, I don't know if I have the fortitude and energy to do it, but I'm thinking of boycotting Rite- Aid next year from the day after Thanksgiving- when the bell ringers first show up- until the day after Christmas, when they'll be gone.

I don't expect anyone to join my boycott. In fact, I hope you don't. The Salvation Army does good work and needs to raise money. Still, I'm sure my fellow Christmas haters, few of us that there are, might consider joining in.

The most important thing, though, is to support businesses that stay open on Christmas Day. We need more of them, if for no other reason than, the more businesses that are open on Christmas, the easier it will be for some of us to ignore Christmas altogether.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

An Offbeat Look At Presidential Candidates

Some of them, anyway.

I use the term "offbeat" because not many people consider a presidential candidates view of relations with Cuba when considering who to vote for. The Latin American Working Group does, though. They've rated some of the presidential candidates, from both parties, on Cuban policy, at least according to what they feel is good Cuba policy (and I agree, for the most part).

Looks like my favorite, Ron Paul, came out looking good to the LAWG, scoring an A. A few other democrats also scored As, but none of them are considered main contenders for the nomination. All other Republicans did horribly (depending on one's point of view) scoring Fs, but some of the other democrats didn't do all that much better.

Still, an offbeat issue, but one where I suspect many libertarians might join with the Left in scoring the candidates, although probably for different reasons.
Speaking of offbeat looks at candidates; The Orange County Register's, Steve Greenhut, takes a somewhat light- hearted, libertarian look at the presidential candidates. I don't know that I agree with all his assessments, but I won't nitpick them here.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Crime Wave A- Coming?

I'm sure some think so. It looks like the Governator is considering (keep that in mind: he's CONSIDERING this. It isn't cast in stone, yet) the early release around 22,000 inmates from prison early as part of the solution for easing the state's budget crunch. These prisoners will supposedly be low- risk offenders with less than two years left of their sentences.

This could be a good or bad thing, depending on how it's handled. The main concern I have with it is what exactly they're considering low- risk? A burglar or car thief, or someone caught growing pot. If they end up releasing mostly non- violent, drug offense only convicts, it might work out well and show that we can move forward from beating ourselves over the head with imprisoning people who just like to get stoned.

Then again, there's so many variables that make up the cause of crime, I'm sure all sides of the drug war issue will be claiming victory, regardless of the results, if all these people are released. One thing for sure: It will save a lot of money, assuming they don't all end up being arrested again.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Stepped Up Enforcement" Here?

Last month I commented on the City of Eureka's plan to "step up enforcement" of their abandoned vehicle abatement program. I was wondering just what "stepped up" meant, as I think they handle the issue fairly well now, from what I've seen.

Well, what goes around comes around. It must be because I turned in the abandoned vehicle along the Trinity Street side of my house a while back. They came and picked it up the other night. Now they're after me.

After sitting in my house for days on end because of the rain I went outside today to try get some work done. I go down to load my mower in my trailer and, lo and behold, there's a yellow sticker on the back of it with a notice it's been sitting there too long (since the last day I worked) and might be subject to removal under vehicle abatement.

I've said before abandoned vehicles are one of my pet peeves. I also worried about how this supposed "stepped up enforcement" would work and how far it would go. Well, here's some indication of what the future might hold.

Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it.

Humboldt Growth Slowing?

At least over this last year, according to the Times- Standard. Doesn't look like we have to worry about turning into another Santa Rosa, at least for a while, if this becomes a trend. Whether we get more, or less, people over the years to come is anyone's guess.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports more people moved out of the state last year than moved here from other states. The population still grew, though, as a result of births of current California residents and the influx of immigrants from other countries.

Libertarian though I may be (or as some suggest I claim to be), I've never been an open- borders libertarian and I find it a bit disturbing that so much of our population growth comes from immigrants of other countries.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Winter Is Here

I suppose it's to be expected, this being December. Our first snows are on the way although it doesn't seem likely they'll end up down on the coast. Seems to me we usually get our coldest, snowiest weather in February, not to say we don't get some snow earlier. Anyone else remember things being that way?

Still, February is a little ways off so we'll have to wait and see how cold and snowy it will be, but it seems to me it's been a little colder than usual around here the last few weeks. I just hope it doesn't get real cold as has happened elsewhere this year. I like radical weather, even cold, cold weather, but not if I have to work in it or when my heating bill comes due.

Involuntary Manslaughter

Yet another charge of involuntary manslaughter, this one out of Trinity County as a result of the shooting death of Michael Goth, next door neighbor of our very own Richard Marks.

This certainly sounds like a tragic accident. The shooter, Goth's uncle, is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter but I'm glad to hear he's out of jail.

I can't help but have mixed feelings about things like this. The guy's uncle blew it, but accidents happen to us all. You feel like there should be some legal consequences for blowing it, but wouldn't you think the guy would feel bad enough for what he did?

I wonder if any sort of criminal punishment could punish the shooter as much as he'll likely punish himself emotionally?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Watch The Bridge Being Built

I was fooling around and went to a web site I had bookmarked and mentioned here before. This Caltrans site lists all the web cams they have on our roads. Kind of fun seeing what's going on around the county in this rain.

I'd never noticed before that they had this camera covering the Confusion Hill bypass so we can watch the progress of construction. I either missed it or they added it since I last visited. Fun stuff.

Pot Petitions Are In

I mentioned here a short time ago a ballot initiative to decriminalize marijuana in California had been cleared by the Secretary of State's office for circulation. I'd about given up on getting any of the petitions as their volunteer coordinator seemed to be difficult to contact.

Well, he finally e- mailed me back this last Saturday asking for a mailing address, which I sent to him. I received a pretty good stack of petitions in the mail yesterday so I've got plenty if anyone else wants to pass a few around. You can post requests here, as a comment, or e-mail me privately.

Ok...ok. Calm down. Don't everyone respond at once!

If you'd like to order your own petitions, here's the contact info from the petitions themselves. I'll assume the phone number must be the place to call:

California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative 2008

CORRECTION: The last four numbers are 6227, not 6327 as I originally wrote.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Salon Looks At Libertarianism

That lefty magazine, Salon, takes a trip down libertarian memory lane and compiles a chronology of [modern day?] libertarian developments. Hat tip to Austin Cassidy's Third Party Watch blog for the heads up.

Ooops. I forgot: Austin Cassidy isn't running the TPW blog anymore. Libertarian, Stephen Gordon, is.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Blood Bank Does Transplant Stuff

There's something I didn't know: The local blood bank is actually doing some of the preliminary work for typing of bone marrow transplant donors.

Well, mresquan, you said you might be interested in being a bone marrow donor. Now you know where to go.

I was also surprised they seem to emphasize the old style bone marrow transplants that actually involve going into the donor's bone and drawing out marrow as opposed to simply taking the stem cells from the blood.

I was under the impression they didn't do much, if any, of the old bone marrow draws anymore. I must have been wrong. I'll have to ask next time I'm at UCSF. I believe they only do the stem cell type transplants, but I'm sure they'd know who does the old style and why.

Anyway, kind of nice to know that, even though we don't do transplants up here, at least we're involved enough to help with the donor search part of it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sorry: More Ron Paul.

Just ran into this video:

Berg Backs North Coast Rail

Not Patty Berg. Sid Berg, one of our local union guys.

You have to give the rail supporters credit for their never say die attitude, but I suppose it shouldn't come as any surprise Sid would support getting the rail lines up and running again. It would be beneficial both to him and at least some of his union members if work on rail restoration actually took place.

It's kind of like Sid equating getting the rail lines up and running to the project to land a man on the moon back in the sixties. Yep, it worked. I'm sure we can even count on some technology gains as a result of that project, although I'm not sure the lunar project got our economy going as Berg suggests.

Truth be told, I suspect that those who gained the most as a result of our landing on the moon were the ones who were working on it, just as it seems will be the case if the railroad restoration project finally comes to pass.

Still, nice to see yet another person come forward and challenge what seems to be the majority opinion around here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Get 'Em While They're Hot!

How funny. Get your Ron Paul Hemp t- shirt here. From Arcata, of all places.

Not sure just what they mean about "Ron Paul legalizing hemp under state law."

Times- Standard Kicks Off Revamped Blog

As Heraldo pointed out a few days ago, the Times- Standard is trying to get their old blog page going again. A good thing, as the T-S pointed out themselves their old blog page had "withered on the vine".

In case you tried using the link on the T-S web site to get there, they got the url wrong. You can check out the new blogs
here. Looks ok, so far. They even have links to some of us other bloggers.

Only complaint I have is the white lettering on black background our very own James Durant decided to try out. That's hard on the eyes for me. CORRECTION: That's James Faulk, not Durant!
On a related note, K.C. Meadows' blog that she runs through the Ukiah Daily Journal has been down for a few days now. I e- mailed her earlier in the week about it and she wrote back that she is aware of the problem and is trying to fix it. Hope it gets up and running again soon. I enjoy her blog.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gallegos For The Prosecution?

How weird. Why do I find Gallegos deciding to prosecute the Douglas/ Zanotti case weird?

It must be because, in the past, it seems most folks in Gallegos' position in an incident usually recuse themselves from participating in its investigation or prosecution. Gallegos was there right in the aftermath of the shooting. I would think that might be cause for him to stay away from this case under normal conditions.

I can't help but wonder if he's hoping somewhere during the process that he'll be forced to recuse himself from the trial? That way he comes out looking like the hero: He tried to take the case to save someone else in his office from a difficult trial, but the powers that be wouldn't let him take the case. What a guy, huh?

What is he thinking?

But, then I have to wonder what will happen if he ends up staying on and no one interferes? From what I understand, Gallegos was a mediocre lawyer when he was in private practice. Then again, it has been pointed out he's won all the murder cases he's taken on since he's been D.A. (although I'm not sure that means all that much).

While I suspect having Gallegos remain the prosecutor might benefit Douglas and Zanotti, it might be that the make up of the jury will the most important thing in the case outcome when all is said and done.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Humboldt Gets Telemedicine Grant

But just exactly what will it do? I can't help but wonder if the money spent will be worth it.

Don't get me wrong. I have a personal interest in seeing that medical information and procedures be expanded using long- distance technology. I don't want anybody to be forced to drive hundreds of miles for consultations. I just wonder if the medical community, or more specifically the medical culture, is set to embrace it.

I have had personal experience with this, as some of you may know, having to have made frequent trips to the UCSF Medical Center over the past couple of years. I believe our very own Jennifer Savage is in the same boat.

I've even recently had the experience- one which dragged out through this last summer- of seeing a little of how doctors up here inter- relate with doctors down there, as opposed to simply driving to UCSF to deal with medical problems.

To make a long story short, the wife was hospitalized numerous times beginning early this summer. There was a great deal of coordination between her local physician, Dr. William Bonis, and the staff at St. Joseph's Hospital. However, coordination between St. Joseph's and UCSF seemed to leave much to be desired, especially at first.

I got the impression much of the problem relied on territorial concerns. Each entity in the equation felt certain limits as to what they could do. I hesitate to comment further in regards what the local and distant doctors did since I wasn't closely involved in their interaction.

Bottom line was, maybe I was expecting too much. I was kind of hoping doctors up here could get information from doctors down there and apply it up here as necessary. But things just went the same way time after time. Finally, the wife was airlifted to UCSF with little to show, it seemed to me, after her return, and then sent down to UCSF, again, a month or so later.

Suffice it to say, the wife made a somewhat miraculous recovery after the second trip to UCSF and she seems to be recovering even more to this day. I would of hoped, though, that we could have been to the point of not having her made yet another trip to UCSF. That would be my dream for everyone up here: That they could have their medical needs- even advanced ones- taken care of up here, with the use of telemedicine.

We certainly don't seem to be to that point yet, and I really wonder if telemedicine could ever play the kind of part we'd like it to play in medicine, especially urgent medical care?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Eureka Reporter Starts Weekly Straw Poll

I almost forgot to mention the Eureka Reporter's latest innovation: a weekly poll. Well, not really an innovation as others- the Times- Standard for one- have run polls of one sort or another before. Still, for those of us that like to cast their vote and comment on issues of the day, this might be fun, at least until the spammers get the best of the E/R staff and they give it up.

This week they're asking if you support mandatory garbage and recycling collection in Eureka. The perfect avenue for you Vote Local Control! folks from outside of Eureka to take part in the people of Eureka's affairs once again.

I'll be sending in my NO vote, although at this point I'm not sure what comment I'll include. I might say something along the line that, while we may not be meeting the state's criteria for diversion from landfill rates, I don't know that places where garbage and recycling collection is required are meeting the states criteria, either.

I can't say that for sure, but it seems to me I was reading about waste diversion in a local paper some time back. If memory serves me correct, I was surprised Humboldt communities didn't reach the 50% goal, but other places were behind us, San Francisco being one (I THINK). Don't quote me on that. That's just what I have vague recollection of.

I'm not sure, maybe Eric knows, but I think garbage and recycling in San Francisco is required city service and you get three receptacles: One green, for green waste. One blue, for other recyclables like plastic and paper, and one black, for garbage. If they're not doing any better than us with mandatory garbage and recycling collection, why should we follow their example?
As an aside, I know somebody must have done a study on just what it is that makes up the majority of what goes to landfills- or at least the items that usually take up the most space in the landfill. I would suspect it would be building materials like shingles, sheetrock and such.

My second guess would be appliances and/or furniture.

Does anybody know of any such studies having been done? If so, please point me in the right direction.
Update: I did find this web site that shows some diversion rates from 2005, but I don't have time to read through and figure if I'm reading the right stats. They show Arcata at 63% diversion, Blue Lake at 84%, Eureka at 22% and Fortuna at 3%.

Does Blue Lake do mandatory garbage and recycling? If so, it would be a point in proponents' favor. I don't know that they do, though.

And I must have been wrong about San Francisco as the web site shows them at 66% diversion which clearly beats Eureka but not Blue Lake.

So what's Blue Lake's secret to success in this? Why is Fortuna doing so poorly? I'd say it's just a community mindset, differences in the way the cities are recording and formulating their rates, or a combination of both.

I Hate It...

Christmas, that is. Always have and always will, but this time of year there just seems to be no getting away from it.

I'm not going to go on and on about it like I did back in 2005 on the day after Christmas. I was thinking of rewriting that piece this year and posting it again but thought better of it.

All I'll do is my traditional ignoring of the holidays and special events so many people seem enamored of. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter...I hate them all, so you won't find anything here about them except an occasional hateful post.

But no so with everyone else. We already have at least a couple bloggers posting what they must feel are their obligatory posts on the special event of the season.

At least Richard Marks was able to come out a little bit negative. His post of December 7 asked what the five worst Christmas songs are. At least he's moving in the right direction. I don't think there are any good Christmas songs.

Hold on a second. I think I'll take that back. There are actually two Christmas songs I actually enjoy. I actually don't mind listening to either of these any time of the year. Good stuff.

This first one I think would be obvious why I like it as it's done by one of my favorite of all time music groups.

This second one I actually heard the first time years ago on the old Simon and Simon TV series (remember that one?). For years I never knew who wrote it until I heard it on a local radio station a month or so ago and the DJ identified who it was.

Not to say that those two songs make Christmas any more acceptable. I just like the songs, despite their connection to Christmas.

Ok. Back to finding more reasons to hate Christmas now. Don't worry. I won't post those new reasons here, at least not now. Maybe next year.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pot Legalization Initiative Approved

I haven't been paying much attention to potential upcoming ballot initiatives lately, so I was glad the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat made mention of a ballot initiative that's recently been approved for circulation. This one will legalize possession and use of marijuana for adults, 21 years and over.

I haven't done any signature gathering in some time but this sounds like a fun one. I tried to find a source for the petitions, assuming they're available, but came up blank. I did find one of the sponsor's web sites, though, and e- mailed him for more information. If I hear back from him, I'll post that info here.

This sounds like something everyone can get behind, despite some of the backlash we've been seeing over Prop 215 (medical marijuana), right? Democrats, Republicans, Greens and, of course the Libertarians can now join together for a common cause. Greg and Carol [Conners], Mike [Harvey], Joy [Finley], Marc [Matteoli] Bill [Barnum], David [Cobb] and Jake [Pickering] all with me?

Ok, let's all join hands and work on this together. I'll let you all know when the petitions are available.

Mckinney Makes Green Party Presidential Bid

I wouldn't of brought this up except Richard Marks stopped by the house yesterday. During our conversation I mentioned that I'd recently read on the Third Party Watch blog, former democratic congressbabe, Cynthia Mckinney, was looking at running for president on the Green Party ticket.

Those of you at least vaguely familiar with Mckinney will know she's known as being to the far, if not fringe, Left. The most recent headlines I recall regarding her were when she slapped some cop during a confrontation at a security checkpoint while entering a congressional building.

Some are scoffing at any sort of libertarian/ green alliance for this run but, as libertarian blogger, Tom Knapp, points out:
According to Freedom Democrats, McKinney voted with Ron Paul 80% of the time on key civil liberties issues—more than any Republican, and more than any Democrat except for Barney Frank.

It will be interesting to see how far Mckinney makes it with this run, assuming she follows through with it.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Our Tourist Train Future

I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one who enjoyed John Murray's My Word piece published earlier this week where he takes a look at what a tourist train around the bay might be like. I'd meant to comment on it the day it was published but, once again, the piece wasn't included in the Times- Standard web site.

Taking a look at the T-S site again this morning, I noticed the letter to the editor someone else sent in who also enjoyed the Murray piece and I got to thinking about it again. Still, the piece hasn't been added to their web site.

What to do, says I. Then I remembered the e- edition of the T-S. I knew it should be there, and it was. You can't really link to the stories on the e- edition, or even the e- edition itself, as far as I can tell, but you can copy and past the text of whatever's on it, so I broke tradition (I try not to paste whole news stories or commentaries) and did that here.

I've included Murray's piece in its entirety below for those who might have missed it. I felt it was not only a fun read but also right on the money.

All aboard the scenic tourist train

Welcome aboard! We appreciate your paying $15 to ride this steam excursion train to Samoa and back. I will be your host and point out sights and answer your questions.

Yes, that is an oft-asked question. No, that is not graffiti. Someone actually was paid to paint the restaurant that way.

Now hold on as we get up to our full speed of 15 mph. This is the Old Town portion of the tracks.
No, you cannot see the place where Councilman Glass and Mr. Arkley got into their altercation from the train.

If you look to the left you will get glimpses of the bay and the marina. Now coming up on your right is a 20-foot retaining wall. At the top of this wall where it is not visible from the train is the Ingomar Club and the picturesque Humboldt County Library.

As we proceed, you will note on the right the backs of many buildings that you normally don’t see.

Now we are crossing the Eureka Slough. If you look out to the right you will see Highway 101, and on the left mud flats.

We are further along, and if you
will look out the right you will see Highway 101, and to the left mud flats.

Here is a break in the scenery. On the right is Highway 101, and to the left is California Redwood’s plant.

Yes, sonny, I know you can ride your bike faster than this train travels, but probably not for two hours straight.

Now up ahead we are breaking into the open and you will notice Highway 101 on the right and mudflats on the left.

Now this is really interesting. On the right is Highway 101 and Resale Lumber, and on the left is Bra-Cut Lumber.

We are now approaching a real eye-popper. On the left are a series of billboards that you can see close up rather than from Highway 101 which, by the way, is still on our right.

If you have seen enough of Highway 101, you will be pleased to know that we are leaving it, and that is South G Street on the right. Coming up on your left is the Arcata sewage plant. We lose our
scenery for a while as we wend our way through Arcata.

Yes, sonny, I know those people are jogging faster than we are traveling.

We are leaving Arcata now, and on the left is Samoa Boulevard. On the right is some pasture. Please keep the windows on the right side up, as that giant sprinkler is spraying a collection of barnyard waste mixed with water.

We are now traveling through downtown Manila. When we clear Manila, you will notice the mud flats to the left and Samoa Boulevard to the right.

Here we are at Samoa. You have 20 minutes to look around and then be back on board for the return trip, where 101 will be on the left and the mud flats on the right.

No, madam, it is not mandatory that you ride the train back. Yes, you could probably walk across the bridge faster. Yes, it would probably be more scenic that way also. Do me a favor and take that snotty kid with you.

-John Murray lives in Arcata.-

Opinions expressed in My Word pieces do not necessarily reflect the editorial viewpoint of the Times- Standard.

John Murray

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Comment Problems

Rose gave me the heads up comments aren't being posted. Reason for that is I haven't been receiving them as e- mail for some reason. Checking my comments moderation page, there were about 15 in que, most of which have been posted. I'll see if I mistakenly changed some settings.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ukiah To Clampdown On Commercial Grows

The Ukiah Daily Journal takes a look at how the City of Ukiah might deal with commercial pot growers while still protecting medical users. I'm sure their process will evolve over time. It will be interesting to see where they go with this.

Meanwhile, down Sacramento way, a supposed medical marijuana user gets popped with eighty pounds of pot.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Screwed Again.

I can't believe this happened again. My trailer got smashed.

Apparently, some gal from Arizona blew the stop sign at our corner, ran into someone driving by, and took off.

She actually stopped and gave some info, but blew the police guy, that called her later, off.

So, looks like now, I might have to buy yet another trailer, without dealing with the insurance company.

I've been ripped off by yet another Lefty.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Storm

Almost an inch of rain, so far. This is what I call RAIN!

The Great Poker Raid

Drew Carey tells us of more government (and police) silliness in the latest episode of Reason T.V.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Water Needed

And not just in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties. I was reading in the Sacramento Bee the other day that the low snowpack levels around the state have the state's dams thirsting for water. I don't recall them mentioning Humboldt in that article. I assume we're doing better than most since we've already received above average rainfall, although not as much rain as we received last year at this point.

Nonetheless, most of the rest of the state, including Mendocino and Sonoma counties, are already talking mandatory water conservation. It looks like Redwood Valley, in Mendocino, is going to declare a water emergency as a result of being told its share of water from Lake Mendocino will be cut in half.

This really sucks, which has me wondering just how well Humboldt is doing. I couldn't find any information on Ruth Lake levels in the short time that I spent looking. But I did find this page that has all kinds of info on river levels around the state. Hard to make my way through all that info.

I was wondering how the Eel River is doing? Doesn't look like there's a whole lot of water flowing in it, yet it seems to be normal flow for this time of year according to the river forecast map.

I know they cut diversions from the Eel to Lake Mendocino earlier on, or at least they were talking about it. I was wondering, since we have this storm coming in this weekend into next week, if we get enough rain, maybe we could divert a little bit more water to Lake Mendocino to help out those folks?

I'm not saying making it a permanent thing, just when we have an excess from a storm or some such. Sound like a plan or am I way off base with this? Is that easier said than done?

Either way, unless we start having wetter years down south, it looks like extreme water conservation measures in Mendocino, Sonoma and other counties around the state are here to stay.

Then, of course, there's the other side of the picture like in down in Orange County. They finally get some rain to help with the fire danger and now they're facing landslide and flash flood problems. They can't seem to win for losing lately.