Fred's Humboldt Blog
I'm a Libertarian living in Humboldt County, CA. I've lived here in Eureka since 1973 and joined the Libertarian Party in 1992. This blog will mostly focus on local political issues, but I may stray into state and national issues as well, when I can't help myself. Please post your comments by clicking on the "comments" link at the bottom of each post. Although I do moderate comments, you need not be a registered user to post them.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Get Rid of Road Rules?
J.D., over at the Disloyal Opposition blog, takes a look at Drachten, Holland where the powers- that- be decided to eliminate road signs, rules and markings in order to promote traffic safety. I believe I posted on this idea here way back when. Looks like they've had some experience with this and, so far, it seems to have worked.
Kind of hard for even me to believe that would work well here, but I thought about it the other day when I saw the road crews in Eureka doing street painting for the umpteenth time. Do we really need to spend money on painting lines down the middle of the street? The thought of not having street lines and such makes me a bit nervous but, seems to me, I've driven on many a road without them and there wasn't any problem.
One argument against road anarchy would be how I've seen so many people handle blind intersections (I failed my first driving test for driving through a blind intersection too fast). The corner of Huntoon and D streets in Eureka was a perfect example, back before they added stop signs to it.
I spent a fair amount of time at that intersection before the signs were added and never ceased to be amazed at how many people would blow through those intersections without even looking if there might be cross traffic- never mind bothering to slow down. I can't help but think the collision rate at intersections was reduced when the blind ones were controlled.
Then again, people run stop signs fairly often. And I can't help but wonder if, as suggested in J.D.'s commentary, people tend to be more reckless because they figure traffic controls automatically make them safer?
Would removing all those signs, lights and markings make driving safer in this country? I don't know but I'll admit the thought of trying it makes me a bit nervous.
Coming to a town near you
Radley Balko reports on at least one result of laws limiting purchases of pseudoephedrine: A grandmother arrested for buying cold medicine for her grandchildren.
You can be sure we'll be seeing more of such silliness as time goes on and more and more things in our lives are restricted, if not banned.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Matteoli On Humboldt Real Estate
For those that might have missed it, Marc Matteoli had a piece in yesterday's Business Section of the Times- Standard telling us how "unbelievable" Humboldt's real estate market is. At least some of the Topix comments on his piece disagree, but that's to be expected.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Firefox Freaks Out
Anybody been having a problem with Mozilla Firefox the last couple days? I don't know what happened to mine but it sure spazzed out.
It got slower and slower to open since at least yesterday. Then, this morning it was all I could do to get it to open. Even right- clicking and using Open on the desktop shortcut wouldn't open it. When it was opened, I found it wouldn't open an extra window, even if I clicked on the "Open New Window" command in the File menu.
So, I'd close the browser and, assuming it would open at all, I'd get a message that my last browser session ended unexpectedly and it would ask me to restore the previous session or start a new one. Pretty strange since I simply closed the browser without any apparent problem.
So, after restarting the computer probably four times, I decide to uninstall/ reinstall Firefox (after first shutting down my firewall- anti virus program in case that was causing the problem). I tried to start the browser one more time. It wouldn't start, so I go to uninstall it and get a message that I need to shut the browser down before I can uninstall.
So, I minimize all windows to see if Firefox has opened while I was unaware. Nope, just my desktop there. So I try uninstalling again and get the same message that I have to close the browser.
I restarted the computer after that and was able to uninstall and reinstall with only a slight problem that I've since solved. Anyone else had a similar problem? Must of been something I did, or neglected, like an update, I'm guessing.
Now, on to Aces High. This is cutting in to my game time.
Voting Records: Who Cares?
I'm referring to those who point fingers at those who haven't voted in the past as is being done with Republican gubernatorial wannabee, Meg Whitman, now.
I suppose that could show a lack of concern by someone who seeks public office and I guess that might be true. I tend to look at it as someone who has been minding her own business over the years instead of trying to attack others through the ballot box as everyone else does.
Of course, it might be helpful to examine a candidate's past voting record as it could tell quite a bit about how that candidate might act in the future. Still, I won't dismiss a candidate just because they haven't always voted. Big deal.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Most Corrupt Congresscritters
I just stumbled on to the web site of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and their list of the most corrupt congressmen. Didn't have time to find out more about the organization so don't know how valid their ratings are. Good to see Jesse Jackson Jr. on the list, though.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Eureka's Ward System
Tom Hannah has a My Word piece in today's Times- Standard. He's asking us to not sign the petitions being circulated that will change the way city councilcritters are elected. Quite frankly, his argument makes about as much sense as Greg Conners' arguments supporting the petition. Neither makes much sense to me. I don't think this is that big of a deal.
As I suggested on Eureka City Council Dude, Jeff Leonard's, Open Town Hall forum some time ago when this issue was being discussed, it does seem weird that a candidate has to live within a certain ward but is elected by all the city's voters. If that bothers some people, maybe we should change it.
You have at least two choices: Make it so a candidate from a certain ward can be elected from only those voters that live in the ward or, get rid of the ward system altogether with its residence requirements and let candidates live and be elected at large. It really makes no difference to me and I think you'd be hard pressed to find any substantial benefit from one system over the other in how the city is run.
There might have been problems with the true ward system of yesteryear, as some have alluded to, but I'm sure there would have been similar problems had some other system been in place at the time.
Again, this isn't that big of a deal, but since Greg C. decided to turn it in to a Republican vs. Democrat issue (and how changing to a true ward system would change that in any way is beyond me) I think I'll pass on signing the petition. As to how I'll vote for this should it make it to the ballot, I'll decide that later on. I might just end up standing aside on this one.
Eureka Gets Stimulated?
So, Eureka gets some millions of dollars to help get the planned Fisherman's Terminal started. This supposedly being "...the last of 11 city-approved projects aimed at turning a dilapidated waterfront into a thriving fishing port."
I suppose I shouldn't be so cynical but I can't help but laugh at the suggestion that Eureka will become a thriving fishing port as a result of this terminal. There's hardly anyone fishing here as it is.
Monday, September 21, 2009
North Coast Travelogue: 9/20-9/21
Left for another trip to UCSF Medical Center again on Sunday. I was worried about reports of some sort of heat wave developing over the next few days. Then again, we'd suffered through a pretty bad heat wave a couple years ago while making the same trip so I figured, while we might be uncomfortable, we shouldn't have too much a problem with it. Still, being the worrier, well...you know.
I was surprised at the amount of water in the Eel River. From all the water shortages I'd been hearing about, I figured the river bed would be almost dry. It didn't look too bad to me all the way down, or at least as bad as I would of expected. Same with the Russian River. Didn't look anywhere near as bad as expected.
Driving through the Richardson Grove area I was pleased to hear the guy on KMUD say it was something like 74 degrees, although it was predicted to get into the 90s. Maybe this heat wave will be a flash in the pan?
I wondered if maybe they were painting the turf to make it look green (yes, that sort of thing is done by some green grass fanatics). I finally got a chance to take a close look when we stopped in Cloverdale on the way back.
I checked out the lawn area next to the Starbucks on the south end of Cloverdale. It didn't look painted, but the soil was bone dry and it was very hot there at the time. I couldn't see how that grass could be so green and the soil so dry. Even with underground irrigation, I would think the soil would be a little damp. Maybe not?
Anyway, I've been reading so much about their water problems I can't believe that they still see fit to water at least the commercial lawns. Oh, on our way back home, I noticed the One Log House in Piercy also had a green lawn. Have they no shame?
Oh, and as I mentioned on my Facebook page, Wyndham Rewards burned us out of a free nights stay. I'd read earlier we need 10,000 points for a free night's stay there. We finally accumulated just over that amount. When I contact Wyndham to set up the free night, I find out it now requires 14,000 points! We won't live long enough to acquire that many.
Got to UCSF on Monday about an hour earlier than we normally would have as we had an additional appointment at their Mt. Zion facility. Good thing we got there early because about the time we normally would of gotten there the parking garage was filled and they closed it. As it was we got a prime parking spot.
I hate those masks. Makes it uncomfortable to breath. Still, we weren't there all that long so it wasn't too big a deal and with people with compromised immune systems present, they should take every precaution.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Explorer vs. Firefox: One difference
Interesting difference that might demonstrate security of one browser over another although I'm not quite sure how these things work so I can't say for sure:
Went to download the latest version of Roboform to my laptop. For some reason, although I had Firefox already opened, Internet Explorer opened to the download site for Roboform. I went ahead and tried to download the upgrade but Explorer opened the site to some other kind of software- one of those supposed registry cleaners. I didn't want that and finally realized I was being taken to an additional site I didn't want to go to. I got back to the main site and downloaded the proper upgrade.
Tried the same thing on my Alienware computer. This time I made sure and use Firefox. I went straight to the download site and never got diverted to the other one. Score one for Mozilla Firefox, I'd say.
Penn Pounding The Pavement
The last of the candidates for Harbor Commissioner (4th district), Susan Penn, was canvassing my neighborhood yesterday. I only spoke with her briefly. Her main talking point seemed to be that she's the one candidate that has attended all the Harbor Commission meetings. From the flier she handed out, hard to say just how she might differ from the other candidates on policy issues as many of their interests seem to be the same. I think we'll need to wait for the candidate forums to figure that one out.
One interesting thing about Penn in the neighborhood was the interaction with the guy across the street who manages the rooming house (I think). She approached him and I heard her say, "Oh, you're the plumber guy!". They seemed to be acquainted. They spoke briefly and, as they get ready to part company, the guy pulls up the John Ash for Harbor Commissioner yard sign that was already in his front yard and hauls it down the alley. I'm guessing that sign will be replaced with a Susan Penn sign soon enough.
It will be interesting to see if we see any of the vitriol against candidates in this race that we saw develop in Southern Humboldt during the last Board of Supes election. They had three fine candidates in that race but partisans from all sides got really nasty towards candidates they opposed. Totally unnecessary, I thought, and it looks similar to what we have in this 4th district Harbor Commissioner race- three fine candidates. Let's hope it stays nice as it's been so far.
Addendum: Both 3rd District candidates, Dan Hauser and Mike Wilson are featured in today's Times- Standard.
Your Papers Please!
I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that I was asked for my driver's license at the Eureka City Garbage recycling center yesterday. There's been talk for some time about some way to clamp down on people selling stolen scrap metal such as manhole covers and copper wire. Still, at a time when there's a glut on recyclables you wouldn't think it would be much of an issue.
But they asked for my id when I took my aluminum cans in for redemption. I had to ask the girl running the scale what the reason was for the policy change. She said they'd had instances of people not using their real names when signing the receipts for the stuff they brought in. I can't imagine how they would even of known someone used a fake name unless the police came by asking for information about someone.
I suppose I shouldn't mention this but the system they use for checking id probably doesn't accomplish their goal anyway. The girl at the scale looked at my id, but the cashier gal was the one who had me sign the receipt and paid me. She had no way of knowing whether I signed with my real name. If you're going to do it like that, what's the point?
Hey! Mums a word. I didn't write anything about this. Probably best to let sleeping dogs lie or next thing you know they'll require us to be photographed with the recyclables we bring in.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Hacked 3 Saturdays In A Row
This is the third Saturday in a row that I've gone to the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat web site and had some hacker try to get me to install his supposed anti- virus software. The only difference today is he also went after me on one of my sweepstakes sites just about an hour earlier so maybe it's not exclusive to the SR P-D web site? That's the first time I've been hit with it away from the SR P-D site, though.
Update: It just hit me at the S.F. Chronicle site, too. It's getting hard to read my news on Saturdays.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Newsom Proposes Soft Drink Ban
Ok, maybe not exactly a ban, but that's pretty much where this is headed if someone doesn't slap some sense into Newsom, or the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, Gavin Newsom, is proposing a fee be levied on grocery stores that sell soft drinks. Rather than a tax on individual cans of soda, he's going for the fee on stores because he doesn't need to put it on the ballot as he would if he levied a tax.
From the looks of the thumbs up and down in the comments to the article, looks like his idea isn't faring very well amongst readers. Hopefully, that's a sign of how well he'll do when the primary election comes around. We don't need a shitbag like Newsom for mayor of a city, much less governor of this state.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Special Weather Alert
Not for Humboldt, but I just stumbled into this special weather alert on Weather.com. Low pressure over the next few days will bring real hot weather to the Bay Area. It says some interior locations might get temperatures as high as 110. Yikes!
I have Willits and Ukiah listed as locations to watch, too, but there doesn't seem to be any alerts for them. Hard to believe this high pressure zone wouldn't heat up Ukiah if it's gonna scorch Novato and southward.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Sending A Message?
Reason Magazine's, Radley Balko, takes a look at how prosecutors trying to look tough on crime often feel compelled to prosecute cases in which there might not be any value in doing so. I'm not sure I can think of any such cases recently around here off the top of my head but that one in Trinity County where a guy accidentally shot and killed his nephew(?) comes to mind.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Isn't this a treat? For those of you from out of the area, we just had a real gully washer move through the area. Looks like there's more to come, according to doppler radar.
Earlier this morning it didn't look like much was going to happen up here but, by the time I turned off the computer just before 3pm, it looked like we might actually get a little rain. I still didn't think it would amount to much.
I guess I was wrong. After about a half hour of rain I checked the rain gauge. I thought I saw water up to the quarter inch level but that seemed a bit much and I wondered if the gauge might of already had some water in it. I haven't paid much attention to it over the summer.
Then a little while later I looked again and it looked like water was up to half an inch. I was wondering why the colored float wasn't showing. Was it stuck? Yep. I went out to the rain gauge and there was, indeed, a half inch of water in the gauge. The float was stuck. Shaking the gauge brought the float to the surface.
As I write this the gauge shows that about 3/4" of rain fell in about an hour. Not bad. Sorry for Connie, though. I told her it probably wouldn't rain much, if at all, earlier on. She took me at my word and left her car window open. She didn't realize it was raining so much, being across the street, and only closed the window after the driver's seat of her car was soaked. Bummer.
Love that rain, though.
Stancliff Taking Heat
As I would of expected, our very own Dave Stancliff is taking some heat over his commentary advocating more gun control laws in today's paper. Well deserved, I should think, as he did spread a great deal of misinformation. Not unexpected, though, as his commentary is typical of those proposing more gun control- just one example being that it's neither easy or inexpensive to buy fully automatic weapons anywhere in this country.
I expect we'll see some letters to the editor in rebuttal.
Addendum: I've been trying to find a news article I read a few weeks ago but I've been unsuccessful. That article was about Washington D.C. being on track to having its lowest murder rate in decades- this, after their nearly complete gun ban was ruled unconstitutional. Instead, here's an old 2005 commentary I found on D.C.'s gun ban.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Ash and Marks: Pounding the Pavement
What was it: Yesterday, or the day before, that Richard Marks stopped by? He was going door- to- door campaigning for Harbor Commissioner. Today, John Ash stopped by doing the same thing. They both even have similar campaign brochures.
I'll give John one point I won't give Richard: John's campaign web site is a .org site instead of .com. Drives me nuts when people use .com instead of .org on political sites, but I've already gone over that here, haven't I?
Who'll stop by next?
Santa Rosa Mulls End To Water Conservation
Alert: Same thing happened to me twice this morning on the SRPD web site as happened last Saturday. My browser minimized and some hack tried to get me to install their anti- virus software. Don't download their software.
This story in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat really burns me up- at least some of the comments made on it do. It seems that some in Santa Rosa think it would be ok to end the water conservation efforts put in place to help maintain water levels in local lakes and rivers. One commentator points to this weekend's forecast of possible showers as reason to stop conserving.
How anybody can base a decision on a one- weekend weather forecast of showers is beyond me. We'll likely get little water on Sunday and Monday (although I'm hoping we get a lot) but, even if we did have a healthy rainfall over the next few days, we need to remember we had some halfway decent rainfall totals last winter and the southern counties still ended up short of water.
I suppose it's none of my business (remember: VOTE LOCAL CONTROL!) but seems to me they should at least maintain water conservation measures until we get some real rain, not a one time sprinkle. Maybe we should be doing the same thing up here?
Labels: water conservation
Those "Fish Killing Dams"
Seems like a crappy salmon season around here but up on the Klamath it sounds like they're doing pretty darn well, according to The Triplicate.
Friday, September 11, 2009
All Dogs Biscuit Bakery
A new business has come to Eureka's Friendly Henderson Center. Well, it's not really new, it's been around for years but she's moving it out of her house and into an actual building.
Linda Reed's All Dogs Buscuit Bakery makes doggie treats. She started it back in 2000 and, from what I know, worked mostly out of her house. She seems to have done well over the years from the list of locations that carry her products.
Her new location is on E street in Henderson Center, between Hunan's and that Asian foods store. What I'm not sure of is whether this new spot will serve as a retail store, although I can't imagine it just being used as a processing facility.
So, stop on by or order online. Even if you don't have dogs you could always munch on a few yourself.
Update: Ooops! I misunderstood Linda. Drove by the place this morning and the building is empty. She's planning on leasing the building but hasn't moved in yet. I was under the impression she was in the process of moving in.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Before The Drug War
Monday, September 07, 2009
A Constitutional Convention
I won't be signing any of the petitions calling for a constitutional convention. I'm a bit leery of that idea if for no other reason than I think most people calling for a convention are doing so just so they can make it easier to raise taxes.
Besides, California voters share a great deal of responsibility for the mess this state is in. I can't see how a relative handful of voters can get together and fix the mess they helped make. As Einstein pointed out, a problem can't be solved by the same mentality that created it.
Saturday, September 05, 2009
The New Grow Houses?
Here's something I'd never heard about before: Growing psilocybin mushrooms. I know people go looking for them in cow pastures during certain times of the year but I never thought about growing them. Sounds like fun.
SR P-D Site Hacked?
Can't say for sure but it seems someone or something is messing with the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat web site. I've been there twice this morning and each time, after a minute or so on the site, my browser minimizes and I get some pop up that says my computer is infected with a virus and it tries to get me to download something to supposedly fix it. It took some doing to get away from that thing. It hasn't happened anywhere but that site.
I checked my ZoneAlarms anti- virus log and it doesn't show any alerts. There's probably a name for this sort of skullduggery but they're basically trying to get you to install their own spyware or malware, whoever is doing this. Head on over to the Press- Democrat web site and see if you get the same alerts. Don't download their supposed fix, though.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
They're Everywhere- Addendum
I was just having some fun when I tried to make people think I'd be selling pot plants at a plant sale a few days ago. Looks like I wasn't being too nutty, though. This guy in Arcata is selling pot plant starts on Craigslist (215 only, of course- wink, wink). He even has a picture of them. I guess pot is everywhere!
As an aside, posted to Craigslist lately? Just posted an ad there. You have to open an account with them to post ads now. They even require phone verification. It's not too big a deal. You just supply them with your phone number. They call you and give you an authentication code that you type into the online form. Wonder what we'll see next from Craigslist?
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Recycling To Get More Expensive?
I'm sure it will, regardless, if only from the glut of recyclables on the market right now but I'm not sure what to think of this new development. Looks like the Governator wants to levy a charge of 25 cents on plastic shopping bags. The reason supposedly being to fund recycling efforts.
What isn't said is that the state's Beverage Container Recycling Fund went bust and it wasn't just because of lack of revenues from the recession. They looted the fund to help close the state's deficit.
So, seems to me, they've tasted blood. Now that the state has used recycling money for general funding, I can't imagine they won't be looking again at this source of revenue. Now they're working on plastic bags. Will an extra dollar fee be added now and again to our mandatory recycling rates? It won't surprise me at all and you can't help but wonder if this is one of the reasons so many are pushing for mandatory recycling in the first place: A new source of revenue.