Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Make Idiots Pay!

Libertarianism be damned! I'm proposing a new ordinance, law or regulation. Whatever you want to call it, I'd like to see some of these people pay.

How many times I've heard stories like this in the 34+ years I've lived up here, I don't know, but here we have yet another case of people going out on the North Jetty when the surf is high and a couple of them end up in the drink.

It should be common sense to stay away from the jetty when the water is rough like that but apparently some people don't have common sense. I know as a libertarian I should be more sympathetic to people making their own choices but, in this case, I think some minor things could be done to alleviate at least some future problems on the jetty.

We need to close down vehicular traffic to the North Jetty when the surf is up high. I realize that's easier said than done as people with four wheel drives and other off road vehicles could just drive around barricades. But I'm not necessarily proposing any extended barricades.

First, close the gate at the entrance to the Coast Guard Station when seas are rough. Only official vehicles and people with legitimate business at the station will be allowed in during high water.

Next, put some signs up at the entrance to the Coast Guard Station and a few all the way out to the beach with the notice that the jetty is closed to all unauthorized traffic due to hazardous conditions.'s where it gets iffy: There's no doubt that some people will go ahead and either walk or drive to the jetty anyway and I really don't want anyone to get in trouble just for going out there if they're just going to stay on terra firma and watch the ocean. It's the adventurous fools I want to nail.

So the signs should also mention something about what kind of penalty will be levied against people who end up going out on the jetty and have to be rescued. Maybe something like this:

Violators, who end up washed off the jetty, or have to be rescued from the water in this restricted area face up to $1000 in fines.

or maybe even better:

Violators of this restricted space will be held liable for any and all costs resulting from their having to be rescued from high water...

I don't want to bother people that keep their feet dry and stay away from dangerous waters, I just want the idiots that survive to get what's coming to them.

The main problem with stuff like this is that the I know what's best for you attitude tends to take on a life of its own, as we see in the world today. And where do you draw the line? At what point is the water too rough to be deemed unsafe to allow human access to the jetty? If the jetty is closed off because it's dangerous, shouldn't we close off the rest of the beaches?

But even a simple thing like closing of the main roads to the jetty during rough seas would likely keep out some of the casual visitors. That might have helped with this last incident since three of the kids were from Nevada and might not have felt comfortable going past a closed gate.

I think they should at least start shutting off vehicle traffic to the North Jetty during rough seas as a simple first step.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Don't Hang Up

We're being warned now of yet another phone scam. The usual advice authorities give is to just hang up the phone. Eureka P.D. infobabe, Susie Owsley, goes so far as to suggest a "No thank- you" to the person on the other end before hanging up.

I say nonsense. Keep the scammers on the phone. I may have mentioned this episode before but, just in case I didn't, I'll tell it again. I received a phone scam call some years ago and am proud to this day how I handled it:

I'm hanging around the house one day and the phone rings. The guy on the other end asks for me by name and tells me I have "absolutely won one of four great prizes...". I'm skeptical, of course, and wait for the pinch line when he'll ask me for my name and credit card information. He just goes on quoting me some supposed federal law that's supposed to assure me he can't rip me off.

This guy was good. Real good. He really had the gift of gab. Still, I knew he was trying to set me up but, being the lonely guy I am, it was nice to have someone to talk to and he was a good talker. He knew how to carry on a conversation about whatever the topic might be.

So I'm talking with him for maybe half and hour and he starts trying to get personal information from me little by little- a good strategy. If he'd asked for it all at once some might not notice they're giving away important personal information. First he'd confirm my name, then he'd chat some more and then ask for my address, and so on.

I didn't have a problem with giving out my name and address as that's probably public record, even back then before the internet, but I'm waiting for him to ask for credit card info.

But first he works into the conversation that to receive my "prize" (don't recall just what the prize was, but it was a good one) I just needed to buy something from them to try out. I didn't need to keep it and could return it right away but I had to at least order something. He rattled off four different prizes, the details of which escaped me except for one: Some Jenny Craig diet plan food.

He gives me all the sales details on it. I tell him I wasn't interested in any of the prizes, but if I was, the wife might be interested in the Jenny Craig stuff. He tells me the price is over $900.00 but assured me I didn't need to buy it. All I had to do was return it once it was delivered.

So we chat a little longer about nothing in particular and he finally moves in for the kill and smoothly asks me for my credit card info (even though I hadn't said I would buy anything at that point). He asked for the number, first, in keeping with his clever technique of trying to minimize any appearance of gathering credit info.

That's what I was waiting for. I knew it was coming sooner or later.

I tell him, nicely, that I don't give out credit card info over the phone. He gets a little flustered but keeps his cool and reminds me of the federal law he quoted me some time earlier. He insists he is bound by that law and there was no way he could use my credit card info for nefarious purposes.

I tell him once again I understand that, but I still don't give out my credit card info over the phone. He's getting even more flustered and finally realizes there's not much more he can say, at least at that point, in regards getting my credit card info.

In what seemed to be a last ditch attempt to salvage the situation, he asks me to hold on while he gets his supervisor to come talk with me. I hang up.

Within half a minute, or so, he's calling me on the phone again, but I don't answer. The answering machine picks up the call and I can hear the guy: "Mr Mangels...pick up the phone. Mr. Mangels...I know you're there, pick up the phone...Mr. Mangels, I can't believe you'd be SO RUDE as to hang up on me....". And so on for a minute or two.

Finally he hangs up and it's over.

I was stoked with myself over that. I had him on the phone for at least 45 minutes and he didn't get a thing out of it. Think if everyone did that, assuming they had the time to fool around for that long. The guy could spend a whole day and get...nothing.

Don't hang up!

Called Eureka Police and told them I was hit on by what I believed was a phone scam. They say there's not much they can do and to call the Better Business Bureau.

Called the Better Business Bureau in California. That was a fiasco and I never got through.

Called the Better Business Bureau in Nevada, from whence the call supposedly came, and inquired about Sierra Industries. This is who the guy identified himself as representing. Nevada BBB says the company used to be under some other name with umpteen unresolved complaints but now had a number of complaints under their new name and some had been resolved.

I mentioned to the gal what this guy was doing and she wasn't surprised and didn't feel it was actionable on her part. To paraphrase: "That's what these people do. They get your credit card info and sell you stuff you don't want...". So, what's the problem?

I kind felt like the word needed to get out on this and called one of the local TV stations, KVIQ Channel 6. It's no longer with us but it used to be fairly close by my house at the corner of Broadway and Wabash in Eureka.

I spoke with one of the news gals there. She seemed interested but wasn't going to mention it without some live person to reference and interview. She wanted me to come down to do a segment on the scam with her.

I backed out of that one under the excuse that it wasn't that big a deal. In reality, I just didn't want to do it on camera. I wanted to give my news tip anonymously.

That was it. Except for Channel 6, no one else seemed to care.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Snow #2

Those Caltrans web cams can show you what it looks like in some places. Top is 101 in Del Norte County just south of Cushing Creek Road. Second is 101 south of Drake Hill Road in Fortuna. Next is 101 just north of Willits and last is Ridgewood Summit between Ukiah and Willits. To bad they don't have a cam on Lord Ellis Summit.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Doppler radar from 5:55pm shows snow right down to the coast. Will we wake up tomorrow in white. I doubt we will right at my house, but elsewhere?

Times- Standard: Paper or Plastic?

By plastic I'm referring to the e- version they have available online now. It's just not the same as a hard copy. I'll probably have to decide between the two versions soon as I received my renewal notice from the Times- Standard yesterday.

That notice couldn't have been more timely. I knew I'd have to renew soon and have been going back and forth in my mind what I should do. I like having the hard copy to read with breakfast each morning but, at $145.86 a year, that seems a bit pricey.

So I was thinking of subscribing to the e- version which is something like $ 40.00 or $45.00 a year. It's just not the same, though, and what if the power goes out? Then I'll have no news to read. But it would be nice to not have to take the old newspapers to the recycling center all the time.

Yesterday was almost a good day to see how that would work and how I'd feel if the power went out. We lost power at around 7:30 in the morning. I figured that at least I could read the hard copy of the Times- Standard while the power was out but, coincidence of coincidences, the T-S wasn't delivered yesterday (and wasn't delivered today, either). Luckily the Eureka- Reporter did show up so I had something to read with breakfast.

Still, I missed the hard copy and just have to realize that, sometimes, shit happens and there may come a day when I don't get to read my news at all. So what to do: Paper or plastic?

I noticed on the renewal card mention of a new payment method they have- at least I never noticed it before. You can have them charge your credit or debit card $11.26 each month rather than pay the $145.00 all at once. At least that sounds more affordable. I might go with that but I wonder how they'll credit me for all the missed deliveries?

Oh well. I have about a month to decide.
As an aside, I just noticed the Times- Standard web site has an event calendar on their front page. You can add your own local events to it but you have to register with them to do so. It's between the Entertainment and Business sections. If someone adds an event to the calendar, be sure and come back here and let us know how well it works.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Hotspot

I only mention this here because the Humboldt Hot Spots site seems to have gone by the wayside. At least their "Contact" page seems to have. I can get to the main page, but there doesn't seem to be a way to submit a new site.

I noticed, while at the credit union today, that Happy Donuts had a sign on their window saying they offer free wireless internet. I didn't try it, but I'm assuming it works. Happy Donuts is next to Provident Central Credit Union at the Eureka Mall.

GOOO...Happy Donuts, although I still don't see why everyone needs to provide free wireless access.

Heating Costs Soaring

I noticed from Richard Marks' blog that I'm not the only one freaking about heating costs this winter. By coincidence, the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat had a story this morning on heating costs. One of the comments on Richard's blog was wondering if the prices had been raised. According to the PG&E guy quoted in the Press- Democrat article, the prices haven't gone up. The soaring bills are a result of soaring heater usage.

My last bill was for $132- the highest PG&E bill I've ever received living at this house. Unfortunately, I think that might have been for less than a full month as I changed the way I heat my house a couple months ago and the change was made during the middle of the month. I feel pretty good when I hear what some others have been paying, but I won't be surprised if I end up right up with them when I get my next bill.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Forgive this silly post, but this has been driving me nuts for the longest time. I've been saying that the "Civil War" wasn't about slavery. Sure, that was a part of it, but not the whole thing.

I wrongly quoted a Confederate General, General Johnston, in a quote about how the fight wasn't about slavery. I was wrong. I had the wrong guy.

It was Lieutenant General James Longstreet. At the battle of Gettysburg he said, "We should have freed the slaves, THEN fired on Fort Sumter.".

I got the name wrong. If you want to see the context of it, watch the mini- series, Gettysburg.

It took me the longest time to find this quote, probably because I was using the wrong name.

Animal Deaths From No- Show?

I knew it! Well, I guess it's still too early to say I was right and I guess I can't say I was right, anyway, since I didn't mention my suspicions here.

The owners of all those dead animals have been found and contacted the Sheriff's Office. According to the Times- Standard there's some indication this may have been the result of some foul up in acquiring a house sitter. The T-S doesn't say much more about this, at least not yet, but I wondered if it might be something like that.

As I mentioned earlier, it seemed to me a likely possibility some accident had befallen the family as I couldn't imagine someone abandoning such a collection of critters. Then, I read the other day the Sheriff's Office had a "pretty good idea of where the owners were". So, I figured they weren't dead.

Then I started wondering what else might of happened and I thought that maybe somebody was supposed to take care of the animals while the people were gone and for some reason some wires got crossed and it didn't happen with the owners thinking the pets were being taken care of.

I wasn't sure but that sounded like that might be a possibility. We'll have to wait and see how this develops. I'm kind of bummed I didn't post my thoughts here earlier so I could have been proven right, assuming I end up being right.

Gooo...Don Davis!

It's nice to see Don Davis' letter in the Eureka Reporter this morning. He takes issue with Jim Garvey's earlier letter in regards the confederate flag flying at Ferndale High School.

Hopefully, Don will write another letter in response to our very own Rob Ash's My Word column in today's Times- Standard. Rob Ash seems to agree with Jim Garvey and I'll give Rob credit in that his My Word didn't come off as goofy to me as Garvey's letter.

At least it didn't until Rob started ragging on the confederacy. He seems to think the confederacy was the most evil institution in mankind's history. He suggests the War Between The States was an act of aggression against America by the confederacy.

Rob needs to be reminded that it was the North that invaded the South, not the other way around and that the southern states only wanted to secede from the union, not take over the northern states.

To Rob's credit, he did stop short of accusing the confederacy of causing AIDs and there is one thing I might come close to agreeing with Rob on:

While I don't have a problem with the confederate flag, I also don't have a problem with schools prohibiting items on campus that might be disruptive to the educational environment. We may argue about what items should or should not be allowed, but schools do have the right to establish rules to promote education.

Once again I can't find something I wanted to blog about on the Times- Standard's web site. Rob's My Word is strangely absent, at least for now. Probably some kind of confederate conspiracy.
A few hours later update: Now I see Ash's My Word right at the top of the Other Voices column.

Told Ya So

I told you all it's been colder than usual lately. The picture on the left is from Lake County yesterday, courtesy of the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat. The Press- Democrat reports snow all over the place. The Ukiah Daily Journal reports temperatures in Ukiah are expected to be about 20 degrees below normal this week.

Where's a volcano when you need one?

I'll have to say, though; Yesterday wasn't all that bad in Eureka. I was freezing earlier in the morning but it could almost have been called pleasant here later in the afternoon.

Update: Checking the CalTrans web cams, looks like Ridgewood Summit, north of Ukiah, and Willits have a little snow as I write this.

Monday, January 21, 2008

It's Cold...

..and it's been cold for some time. Maybe it's just cause I'm getting older, since winters seem colder and colder as life goes on.

Looks like there might be some cold rain, slush, and maybe snow down in Sohum from the doppler radar from Exciting, but not always fun when you might have to deal with it on the personal level.

The pink stuff on the radar image is the slush and near- snow. The blue stuff is light snow.

I just noticed John Driscoll wrote a piece in the Times- Standard on the January Thaw. Not sure how true that is but I remember maybe five years ago mentioning to a customer how neat it was I was working outside in a t- shirt in January. Of course, that thaw refers to a let- up in rain, not warmer temperatures.

Still...I think this year is colder than last. Don't know about the rain, although we've had more than the ten year average, so far, I think. I know we've had more than last year, at least to date.

I'll have the call the weatherdude, Jim Bernard, as I did some decades ago, and ask if this January is colder than normal. I hope it's not just me.
Addendum: Maybe we should wish for a volcano to erupt beneath us to warm things up?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Couple Things:

I wasn't going to get involved, at least not too much, in the controversy over the recent Clinton appearance. But, since it's still in the news,with the Times- Standard roasting the parties involved in their editorial this morning, and the editor posting a mildly harsh critique on his blog, I will say a couple things:

Although I didn't even try and attend, I think criticism of the parties involved is mostly uncalled for, at least to the extent some of it has gone.

Sure, things could have been handled better...if the local Democrats had a little more warning and a bit more experience. They had only a day or so to put together their part of the affair and little experience in such a large event. After all, when was the last time they had someone of Clinton's stature visit their home turf?

They did the best they could under the circumstances and given the resources they had.

I'll even stand up for the Clinton folks, despite being a current Hillary hater and past Billy hater.

They had a number of things to look at in putting together the event and very limited time to do it in a place they'd never been before. This wasn't the only event they had to put together that day,either, having left a similar one in Napa County just hours before.

Not an easy thing to do, one appearance after another, hundreds of miles apart, on the same day. They did the best they could under the circumstances and the time they had available.

I'm sure all parties involved will try to do better next time, assuming there is a next time.

Enough said on that.
I'm sure I see red just like most people when I hear of yet another heavy duty case of animal cruelty and neglect. This latest one, where a place out in the Ridgewood area of Cutten had a bunch of dead and dying animals got me going.

Until someone brought up the point that the family involved hasn't been seen since the day after Christmas. What happened to them? Made me wonder if they're one of those families you hear about every now and then that went to go visit the snow and got lost or some such?

Noel Adamson was the one that brought that to my attention, in a comment on the story on the Times- Standard web site. He made a good point that the missing family might be as big, or bigger, story than the the animals they apparently left behind.

Only time will tell what actually happened.

Mixing Up Papers?

That's what I thought might of happened in regards Jim Garvey's letter about the confederate flag controversy after reading this letter in the Eureka Reporter by Judith Peebles. She referred to Jim Garvey's letter and, sure enough, I found it by going through the list of past letters in the Reporter. I was thinking maybe I'd read it in the Eureka Reporter, not the Times- Standard.

Funny thing about the two letters is that Peebles says she agrees with Garvey's letter, at least as referring to this issue as being a civics lesson. If you compare the two letters, though, Peebles actually disagrees- strongly I would think- with Garvey's position.

After reading Garvey's letter again, I think it's even goofier than when I first read it- him equating flying a confederate flag to yelling fire in a crowded theater. I liked the way a comment on the Nobody's Business blog defined free speech:

"I would argue that the only expression that even requires protection is that which offends somebody."

Well said, and sad commentary by Garvey, in my opinion, although I suspect he's just trying to show that he cares.

I actually didn't mix up the two papers in regards this letter, though. I'm sure I read Garvey's letter in the Times- Standard the first time. He just sent the letter to both papers, as many people do. For whatever reason, they still haven't posted that letter online.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Long Live The Stars And Bars?

I've said before I find all this supposed outrage over the flying of the confederate flag both annoying and silly.

The first time I saw it in the recent past that comes to mind was when the Eureka Reporter's editor, Glenn Franco- Simmons, wrote an editorial a year or two ago lambasting people who displayed such flags on their cars.

I must have missed the recent article in the Times- Standard on the brouhaha in Ferndale over some students at Ferndale High School flying confederate flags, but this gal, Rosie Schultz, gave me the heads up on that story in her well written My Word column published today.

Then, to my surprise, even Jim Garvey piped in with an anti- confederate flag letter to the editor in today's Times- Standard (can't find that letter online). His letter told us what a symbol of hate that flag is. That goes to show that just about everyone will try and take a politically correct stance at some time or another if only to show they care.

Even Sonoma County shares some of the controversy with this story appearing today in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat about the Stars and Bars being flown by some students at Camarillo High School. Looks like some are planning a walkout there protesting that flag with others suggesting the school should ban display of politically incorrect flags.

Allow me to cross the line of political correctness once again.

I know some feel the Stars and Bars is a sign of, to paraphrase, "hatred and slavery". I'm sure some that fly that flag actually do fly it for such sentiments. I don't see the flag that way.

I see the flag as signifying, rebellion, as Rosie Shultz put it. I also see it as a sign of state's rights, independence and the right to secession. I guess I'm a rebel, at heart, so I kind of like the Stars and Bars. Long may it wave!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"Good Evening, Weather Fans..."

I didn't notice if KIEM TV weatherdude, Jim Bernard, started off his segment like that last night, but he used to.

In case you weather fans didn't notice, the Times- Standard had an announcement of interest to weather fans today. The U.S. Weather Service has a weather spotter program that uses Joe and Jill Sixpack types to help them gather weather data.

That sounds like fun, although I don't know they'd need a weather spotter right smack in the middle of Eureka as I am. This might be of interest to our very own, Ernie Branscomb, though. Do they have any weather spotters in Southern Humboldt yet?

About the only tough part might be going to the occasional meetings they hold, the first one being this Saturday. I'd go, just for the fun of it, but I'll be working.

So I guess I'm out of the picture, but if anyone wants to know how much rainfall we get right in the middle of Eureka, I do have a rain gauge. As far as the weather spotter program, I hope Ernie takes a shot at it and lets us know how it goes.
Oh...enough said everywhere else about the Clinton appearance at Redwood Acres last night. Here's the news coverage of Clinton's appearance in Napa County. Seems pretty dull the way they write it. I did a short search to see if any Napa or Sonoma County blogs might have some juicier stuff on the affair, as our blogs did for the Eureka appearance, but came up empty.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pay Cut For The Governator?

I suppose we all do this, but we need to be careful when challenging people.

This gal asks the Governor what kind of pay cut he'll be taking after supposedly cutting back on state services due to budget problems. I understand that the Governator opted out of receiving a state salary since he's independently wealthy. He doesn't have pay to cut.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Who's The Best Communicator?

I received my Official Voter Information Guide in the mail the other day. How many of you actually read those things?

I do, but usually only certain sections of it. The main section I've paid the most interest to the last few years is where the political parties are given space to make a statement to describe themselves to voters: The Political Party Statements of Purpose, as they're called.

I checked this year and tried to decide which party did the best job of describing themselves.
These statements are not an easy thing to do by my way of looking at it. You need to be able to put together a statement that covers enough ground to pretty much say who you are but, at the same time, not either waste space or be so specific that someone would find something you stand for objectionable and thus decide your party is not the one for him.

I'm not sure it's possible to do a decent description of a political party within the parameters I've given, but most have tried and done a decent job.

One thing I don't like is where the statement is so vague in its wording you don't know just exactly what the organization stands for, except for one or two issues. Keep in mind I'm not dealing with the factual aspects of the statements, or the partisan. I'm just looking at who communicated their views the best.

I'll give the
American Independent Party the loser's title this year for a fairly generic statement. I will give them credit, though, for allowing me to discern they're against abortion and in the last paragraph they let you know they're strong on gun rights and against illegal immigration. But, bottom line, at least the way I read their statement, is they use a lot of words without saying a whole lot.

AIP comes in #6 out of 6 this year.
I think the other parties did ok, including my very own Libertarian Party, except I think the LP statement could have done without the first paragraph, or at least the first sentence of that paragraph. More on that later.

I originally gave my #1 spot to the
Green Party this time around. They violate my rule and give too many specifics of what they're about, but they put a lot in there within the word limit. That said, I think many of their bullet points might be lost on Joe and Jill Sixpack who may not have a clue as to what the Greens are referring to.

After giving it some thought, I decided to give the Peace and Freedom Party the first place slot this year: A short, concise statement that covers a lot of ground in few words. Problem is, the first statement is so generic to be meaningless, at least from my view. I've heard it elsewhere, but what does pro- democracy mean?

Oh well. Nicely done, anyway.

The Democrats did a nice job, but I don't like the way they started out with what sounds like a campaign statement. Might it just be me? I guess in a sense each party is writing a statement to get votes, but I think the statement of purpose should limit itself to describing the party itself, not attacking other people or parties which is how the Democrats seem to start out their statement.

The Republican statement is so generic it's hard to say just what they're for. For instance: Improving education? How? Democrats said they're for the same thing. In fairness, the Democrats didn't say just what they meant by improving education, either.

I was going to add one of those polls to my blog for this so everyone else could vote for the best statement of purpose but realized most votes would probably be based on partisan preferences so I didn't bother. Still, feel free to leave comments.

Aren't I great, though? I'm sure you all figured I'd give the LP first place, huh? Nope. I call it the way I see it, even though I did have some part in putting together the LP statement.
Speaking of the Libertarian Party's Statement of Purpose, I was reading that one and it struck me for the first time in years how familiar it seemed. Maybe it's because I actually took part in writing it. Not this time but years ago.

I forget how long ago it was but I think it was when Mark Hinkle was State Chair which would put it over five years ago. I was reading the different Statements of Purpose prior to one election back then and was downright embarrassed by the LP one.

That one was written, for the most part, by an LPer in Southern California. He started out with something like "We're neither left or right, liberal or conservative.....we're just like everybody else....blah, blah, blah...".

Nowhere in the statement did he say anything about what the LP believes in. Not even the "
If you describe yourself as socially tolerant and fiscally responsible, you're a Libertarian!", that's part of our current statement. We had a state e-mail list back then and I posted a complaint about that statement and submitted an example of my own, thinking pretty much anything would be better than we we're using.

Much of my statement was taken from a section of the page I put together for the LP of Humboldt Co. and included some bulleted statements stressing some issues.

That started a series of back and forth posts with a number of people around the state editing my statement and then changing around each other's submissions. Seems to me we went back and forth for two or three weeks dealing with that.

The end result ended up being used next time around as our Statement of Purpose. There was still enough left over in the statement that got published where I felt a fair amount of it was written by me (I'd say a third of it or more) and I can still see some of my idea in the statement they used this time.

For instance, where it says, "
We believe that you, not the government, should decide how to run your...". That's part of my original submission. The bulleted list still remains but some of the issues addressed have been changed and some of what remains has been reworded a bit. And, to make things fair for all concerned, they even brought back one sentence about as generic as the first statement I was so embarrassed about. The first sentence in the statement:

The Libertarian Party is America's best choice for government. Like you, we have jobs, businesses, families, and dreams.".

LAME! I'd almost swear that was in the first statement that I was complaining about.

Still, better than the whole statement being like that. Another fifteen minutes of fame for me, or so I felt back then, except there was never any attribution to any of us that worked on the project.

Funny thing is, I'll bet some of you like that first sentence in the statement and probably would have liked the original statement, huh? I guess there's no accounting for taste.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Northcoast Schools Just Like The Rest?

Maybe they are.

I'm sure we've all read the stories of overkill reactions at schools around the country:

A kid getting suspended, expelled or even arrested as a result of some school district's zero tolerance policy on drugs or weapons. Whether it be a kid in possession of a couple aspirin, or even a butter knife brought to school in a lunch box, kids are often dealt with ruthlessly.

I hadn't heard much in the way of that happening up here. I figured maybe we're a little more mellow up here, or maybe we just have a little more common sense and thus avoid overreacting the way some other school districts do.

I guess I was wrong.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ron Paul

Cool Ron Paul clip. Runs about 22 minutes:

Saunders on Prop 93

The San Francisco Chronicle's, Debra Saunders, does a good job of taking on Prop 93, the supposed term limits reform initiative that will be on the ballot next month.

About the only thing I'd take issue with is her supposition at the beginning that without term limits we wouldn't have a 14 billion dollar deficit now.

Lawmakers spent all the revenues (and more) during the dot- com boom of the early 2000s. That's what ended up giving us the first big billions of dollars deficit. The state legislature back then was filled, for the most part, with veteran lawmakers. Term limits had been passed back then, but hadn't taken effect yet, or so I read somewhere.

There's something to be said for institutional memory and a good case can be made against term limits, but it's hard for me to believe we have a 14 billion dollar budget shortfall because of term limits.

You Sure Told Them

Seems I've seen a handful of these types of letters to the editor the last few weeks. Someone gets ripped off so they write a letter to the editor chastising the thief. That's all good and fine, but I have a hard time believing that burglars and thieves read newspapers every day, much less the letters to the editor section.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New(?) Radio Station

Just got back from San Francisco last night. Lucky for some of you there'll be no travelogue this time. However, if anyone has any questions on travel conditions, feel free to ask. I did want to ask if anyone knows anything about this radio station, though?

I prefer to listen to KMUD while traveling to the Bay Area, but it usually fades out just before, or just as I'm entering Willits. Then I spend the rest of the drive to the city trying to find a good station to listen to. This time it seemed like KMUD faded out just for a minute or two and then came back on. As we drove along the signal still seemed strong. I think it faded out around Cloverdale.

I finally realized it wasn't KMUD but some other station I don't believe I'd ever heard from Willits southward before. The guy mentioned something about Mendocino Community Radio, or some such. When I got to the hotel in San Francisco I did a web search and found the web site for KZYX.

I was wondering if this was a new station- the web site doesn't say when they started up, at least that I could find- or maybe just the weather conditions or a new repeater they set up somewhere?

Cool station: Nice music, along the line of some of the stuff they play on KMUD sometimes, and the chat and news was like KMUD's, too. They actually were better with talk than KMUD because I could hear their voices real well. Some of the KMUD people talk so softly I can hardly hear them, especially in my truck.

I was looking forward to listening to that station on the way back to Eureka but I couldn't seem to find them. I did pick up a station, KOZT, in Fort Bragg(?) we listen to fairly regularly. I like that one, too. Really like the other one, though. Anyone listened to it before?

February 5 Ballot Initiatives

Ok. Get your pencils and papers ready. I'm going to going to tell you how I'm voting on the ballot initiatives that will be on the ballot for next month's primary election. I'll have to admit that I paid scant attention to these until recently and it doesn't sound like any of them are all that exciting. I'm taking No Position on most of them.

I went ahead and checked what positions, if any, the Libertarian Party of California had taken on these initiatives. Looks like I went along pretty much with them, as is usually the case. One thing the LP CA still doesn't do, and I've suggested more than once, is give a brief reason for why they choose the position they chose. I'll never understand why they just say Yes, NO, or No Position.

Prop 91- Transportation Funding: No Position

This seems to be another one of those things where a commitment is made as to how a certain allotment of money is spent. Actually, as I read it, this just guarantees money from gasoline taxes is spent on transportation needs as it was meant to be.

That sounds good. I'd almost support it. Problem is, a lot of our budgetary problems seem to stem from trying to commit certain monies from certain sources for certain things. I feel like voting Yes, but think that might ad fuel to the fire. I'll stand aside on this one.

Prop 92- Community College Funding: NO

I have a soft spot in my heart for community colleges but this seems to be another one of those spending mandates with no specific source of funding. We already have too many such mandates and it's caused spending to go into overdrive in some cases.

Prop 93- Term Limits: NO

I've said before that I'm ambivalent on term limits, but I'll vote NO on this just because the people who wrote it are going on as if it strengths term limits. It actually rearranges term limits and allows many current legislators (especially the initiative's authors) a little more time in office.

I'm with [the Sacramento Bee's] Dan Walters: A good case can be made for ending, or at least modifying, California's current term limits law. Go ahead and make the case for changing term limits, then. Don't try and deceive voters with misleading titles to your initiative.

Props 94 thru 97- Indian Gaming: No Position

I'm not even going to bother educating myself on these ones. They're different versions of a referendum to overturn some indian compact the state legislature made a while ago.

I'm getting a little fed up with the way the state legislature seems to be joined at the hip with the indian casinos. At the same time, I don't care all that much what the casinos do, I just don't like how the indians get to do things no one else can.

I'll wash my hands of the whole affair and stand aside on all of these.

Free Gasparas!

I can't help but hope for the best for this guy. He sounds confident in his case, anyway. Problem is, it wouldn't surprise me if the powers- that- be try and make an example out of him regardless of how sound a case he might have. People who challenge authority don't often fare well in the courts.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Voting Starts Today

Doesn't time fly when you're having fun? The Sacramento Bee informs us that today is the first day you can vote, assuming you care to, in the February 5 primary election. You'll have to go to the local Registrar of Voters' office, though, if you want to go ahead and get this over with.

If you're an absentee voter, you should see your ballot in the mail within the next week or so.

There's seven statewide ballot initiatives up for a vote, none of which seem all that exciting except maybe the term limits initiative. According to the Smartvoter web page, that's about all that will be on this ballot. Nothing local appears on mine.

I guess I should start taking a closer look at the Libertarian Party presidential candidates and see if there's any I want to vote for.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Mental Health Called Cops On Moore

A while back Eric Kirk asked a question on his blog something along the line of whether the police ever tried to get some people from mental health to try and help out in the Cheri Moore incident.

I commented that it might likely be the other way around as mental health facilities have been known to call police for assistance with violent patients. I mentioned, back in the days I listened to a scanner regularly, hearing of our local mental health facility, Semper Virens, asking for an officer to respond to deal with an unruly patient.

I knew the mental health people had some involvement in the Moore incident but didn't pay much attention to just what their role was until now. Today's Times- Standard shows I was at least partly right, although once again the items I wanted to link to I couldn't find available on the T-S web site. I'll go ahead and hand type them in for those that don't get the T-S hard copy.

These are from a section on witnesses to the Grand Jury and, specifically, a block entitled "Key Witnesses' Past Testimony":

Witness Craig Pasquini, Humboldt County Mental Health Manager:

Pasquini testified he requested a welfare check for Cheri Lyn Moore after a 16 minute phone call. She said she had a flare gun, was not a terrorist, she was not suicidal and she was not homicidal but was grieving over the loss of her son. Pasquini quoted her as saying she was going to blow up her apartment building and jump out the window, that she had warned neighbors and didn't want to hurt anybody.

Witness Phyliss Wilner, Humboldt County Mental Health Emergency Pyschiatric Nurse:

Wilner described a distraught call from Moore about one hour after the first saying she could see people in the hallway and she would shoot if they came in. Wilner said a co- worker called 911. She told Moore the people in the hall were police.

Well...looks like I was pretty much right in commenting on Kirk's question since the mental health people seemed to think this was a job for police. Either that or they simply didn't want to deal with Moore themselves, at least not in person. Or, in fairness to the mental health folks, maybe it's not in their job description to deal with patients out on the streets.

That testimony from Pasquini is kind of weird, to paraphrase:

[Moore] was not suicidal or homicidal....but she was going to blow up her apartment building and jump out the window....

I can't help but wonder which part of that he believed?

Bottom line, from what I can see, is Eureka P.D. got stuck handling a situation only one other person (Marcus Smith) seemed to want to deal with. Things might well have been handled differently, to an end everyone would be happy with but, bottom line, EPD was the one stuck with it.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Smoke For The Kids

Cute little You Tube video about using tobacco taxes for health care. What isn't mentioned in the video is that it's not just congress that wants to use tobacco taxes for health care. Our state legislature nearly always tries to tap tobacco taxes for their various "for the children" programs. Their latest universal health care proposal relies partially on tobacco taxes.

So, if you really care about the kids, light up!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Indulge Me Again...

The last living brother of the group, unless I'm mistaken, and another one of my favorite songs:

Mandatory Garbage On The Way For Eureka

I'm not even going to put a question mark at the end of the title as I often do since some of the powers- that- be in Eureka seem bound and determined to institute mandatory garbage pick up services in Eureka.

I've commented numerous times on this issue, the last time not being all that long ago, so I won't spend a whole lot of time on this this morning. Suffice it to say, I'm a little put out at the way some are saying mandatory garbage pickup and recycling has proven itself as far as waste diverted from landfills.

Maybe it has in some places, but they cite two communities with mandatory garbage collection as examples of success and ignore places like Blue Lake that, at last count I could find, have even higher diversion rates than San Francisco and Marin County. Blue Lake doesn't mandate garbage pick- up or recycling.

It's something else, guys, not that fact that pick up service is mandatory. I can't help but wonder if we're looking so hard we can't pick out the forest from the trees?

I find it troublesome how this big push for mandatory garbage collection and recycling seems to have taken on a life of its own. Mandatory garbage and recycling seems inevitable for Eureka, regardless of reasons for or against it. That should trouble everyone.