Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Darwin Effect?

Plain Jane responded to my comment on Heraldo's blog yesterday,"People did the same thing in Crescent City in the 64 tsunami, Fred. It’s the Darwin effect."

I had commented on people going down close to the water to watch a tsunami arrive.

I'd actually heard some of those same stories about the Crescent City wave, but after actually reading accounts of how people were killed in those waves, it doesn't seem the people who were killed were just curious onlookers.

That said, it's totally believable after reading news reports of yesterday's event from here and around the state. Seems like it was business as usual for a lot of people.

Here in Eureka the powers- that- be went ahead with their Perilous Plunge event which involved jumping off the dock at the foot of F Street and into the bay. It was supposedly business as usual for people living down by the water in places like King Salmon, too.

Hey, I know it would be tough to stay away from the water when you live right next to it, but I don't think I'd be outside casually walking my dog on the beach like a number of people seemed to have been doing.

Unbelievable, the way people just ignore warnings. The worst part about this is the predictions not really coming to pass in places like Hawaii. Now, the next time a tsunami alert is given. people will think it's another false alarm and there will likely be even more people going out and walking on the beach to see what it looks like when the wave hits the shore.

Hat tip to Kym for the links to the info on the '64 Crescent City wave.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

PATRIOT Act Renewed

Parts of it, anyway, according to A few provisions of the act were set to expire Sunday, but congress rushed through the renewal as part of- of all things- a MediCare bill.

No civil rights protections were included in the bill. Just goes to show that once civil rights protections are gone, they're gone. I hope I'm wrong on that but I don't expect any civil rights protections added when this issue comes before Congress again.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another Standing Room Only Event?

Ok. Sheriff candidate Mike Hislop is having another fundraiser on Monday. This time at Babetta's. If it's in the banquet room, which sounds likely as they're selling tickets, it might not be so easy to fill the room.

I'm putting Rose in charge of stopping by Babetta's and seeing how many people show up. Some of the rest of you should also stop by just in case Rose can't make it. No need to pay for a meal. Just peek in the door and see how many people are there.

If none of you show up, then I guess I'll just have to ask Babs herself.

Addendum: Interesting that they shut down the Topix comments on this T-S news story. Was it something I wrote?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The State's Economy: Not over yet

I really don't want to dwell on pessimism, especially at this time in my life, but this editorial in the San Diego Union- Tribune is right in line with the way I see the recession in California: It isn't over yet. In fact, I don't see it ever getting back on the plus side, at least in my lifetime.

It seems to me California has painted itself into a corner and there's no way out. I hope I'm wrong.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Arcata Eye Site

I just noticed the Arcata Eye has an updated and redesigned web site. I like the way they did it.

There's a couple articles you might want to read right now. One, about how much District Attorney Paul Gallegos likes himself. Another, on the new local magazine, Savage Henry, that some local writers are putting together.

Well done!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Irrational Voters?

The Orange County Register took a short look at a lady who has studied voters and their behavior. I suppose much of what she's saying is common sense, if I'm reading her right. She's supposed to be putting some of the points she made in her presentation on her blog, but nothing there yet.

Might make for some interesting reading once she gets going on it. Then again, maybe not? I'll try and keep an eye on it for at least a couple weeks and see if she comes up with any profound revelations.


"Year of the Checkpoint"

Looks like the editorial staff of the Sacramento Bee, while not concerned for exactly the same reasons I am, wants courts to deal with some of the abuses of the drunk driving checkpoint system.

And I still don't think I'm too far off in my belief these checkpoints will not only increase in number, but scope as well. Especially when some local officials are proclaiming this the Year of the Checkpoint. Sounds like they're proud of them.

Sadly, once again, most of those commenting on the editorial don't seem to have any concerns about abuses. One comment even suggests cars should also be impounded for talking on one's cell phone while driving.

Those who would give up liberty...


Thursday, February 18, 2010

I've Been Pranked

I won't say I was completely had because I thought something was weird about the phone call from the beginning. Those of you that are Facebook Friends might have already heard this one:

I get this call the other day and it's "some guy" pissed off that my daughter kicked his dog- except we don't have a daughter. To make a long story short, I hung up and mentioned it on my Facebook page. Cole Machado then leads me to the phone prank web page where there's a recording of the prank.

Except I couldn't get the first recording link to work at the time, so I found another link to the recording and, yes, it was the same one I was responding to.

Go back there today and the first recording link worked. Then I found it recorded the actual call to me and you can hear my response to the guy. You can hear that one here.

Like I said, I thought something was weird about the call because it sounded from the beginning like one of those telemarketer deals where you answer the phone and it takes a while for the guy on the other end of the line to pick up the call. It also sounded a bit like a machine running in the background when the voice wasn't running.

But, I suppose it got me, although after I hung up I thought maybe it was some new telemarketing gimmick where they'd call around and see what numbers they could call where the answerer stays on the phone the longest. Good idea when you think about it.

True Ward Initiative Fails

Too funny. Hee, hee, hee!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cleaning Up Marriage

In honor of Freeman and Teresa Blake's letter against same- sex marriage in today's Times- Standard:

One of the Topix comments suggested working to end marriages of other groups not deserving of it would make more sense than fighting for marriage equality. Maybe we should start with something along the lines of what's they're working on in Minnesota?

Hat tip to CLS over at the Classically Liberal blog for the heads up on the video.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Those who can give up essential liberty...

to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.- Benjamin Franklin

The same story regarding the profitability of DUI checkpoints appeared in at least two different news outlets today. Both written by the same person with the longer version published on California Watch. The condensed version was published in the Sacramento Bee.

Without getting into the efficacy of DUI checkpoints themselves, I still feel the same way about them as I did decades ago: I think they're illegal search and seizure, even with the supposed protections the courts have placed on them. There's also no doubt in my mind those protections will erode over time and more powers will be given to police to stop and search the citizenry.

There's no doubt in my mind about that, especially after reading the comments on the Sacramento Bee version of the article. Most comments seem to be applauding DUI checkpoints, especially when illegal aliens end up in them.

One commentator even suggests we go back to those good old days of the vehicle safety/ maintenance checkpoints of decades ago. Remember those? They'd place checkpoints up where you didn't have advance notice of them, unlike DUI checkpoints are required to do. If they found anything wrong with your car you'd get a fix- it ticket.

So the future seems clear. Eventually police will be able to stop you and search you for just about any reason. Of course, most feel that way because they think the hammer will always fall on the other guy. To those of you, another quote is probably appropriate:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.
- Martin Niemoller


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hislop's Supporters

I feel so special. Really.

Mike Downey, Undersheriff of Humboldt County, stopped by the Matteoli's yesterday. He actually came across the street and chatted with me before going to the Matteoli's. How cool! What a guy.

I found out from Mike that his opponent, Mike Hislop, has a Facebook page. I've been dying to see who Hislop's supporters are so I went to his page to see if I could get any names. I was almost disappointed that, of the 76 "Friends" he has listed, I only recognized two names: Wayne Cox and Bill Honsal.

I was hoping for some surprises, but found none. Then again, it's still early.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Colorado Springs: Libertopia?

Looks like the good citizens of Colorado Springs, Colorado, have had enough. They rejected a recent attempt at a tax hike so it looks like city government will be downsizing to the basics, or so they claim.

The Globe and Mail published what seems to be a more upbeat story on the downsizing. The Denver Post, a more negative one.

Will Colorado Springs prove itself to be the best of Libertopia, or a disaster? We shall see.


A Suzie Owsley Rumor?

I read somewhere on one of these blogs a while back that former Eureka Police Department info gal, Suzie Owsley, had either quit or been fired from her job. I noticed she has a fairly regular cooking column with the Times- Standard now and assumed maybe it was true.

I've seen her in uniform the last couple days driving a Eureka Police Services truck down E street. Suzie, you out there? What's the story? Was this another vicious rumor?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Standing Room Only

Reading the Election Roundup section in today's Times- Standard, I'll give Mike Hislop's campaign some credit. They did something I never would of thought of:

When you have a campaign event, be sure and hold it in a venue small enough that you can claim you had a standing room only crowd no matter how many people show up. Big Louie's Pizza not being a very big place from what I've seen, it wouldn't take many people to fill that place up.

As an aside, they say people from all over the county, including Southern Humboldt, attended the event. I'm wondering if Eric Kirk was there? Nah, he probably would of mentioned it on his blog.

I'm dying to see who Hislop's supporters are.

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Seating Alert: Love Humboldt

It looks like seating at the premiere showing of Love Humboldt is filling up. While admission is free, that won't matter if there's nowhere to sit. Maria Matteoli suggests calling 445-7745 to reserve a seat ASAP.

Saturday, February 13. 6 to 8pm at the Arcata Theater Lounge. You can view the trailer here.

Prohibitionist Junk Science?

I think so. Some are trying to make the case that even third hand tobacco smoke is a health hazard. I'll admit I'm very skeptical that even 2nd hand smoke is all that dangerous if not exposed to frequently. You'd hard pressed to convince me that someone is threatened by me smoking a cigarette 20 or even 10 feet away down the sidewalk.

harleyrider's comment to the story deserves repeating. I suspect the science behind 2nd hand smoke was developed the same way they're playing with the 3rd hand smoke issue:

harleyrider1978 wrote, "This study appears to be wall to wall junk science. They seem to be most worried about "carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines or TSNAs..several hundred nanograms per square meter of nitrosamines" (1)

Guess where Nitrosamines are also formed? Cooking fish, where TSNAs are measured in microgrammes, but in the Berkeley paper nanogrammes a factor of a thousand times smaller. (2)

Nitrosamines are also found in ham, milk, children's balloons and tap water. (3)

Finally the World Health Organization's cancer mouthpiece the International Agency Research on Cancer says on Nitrosamines: "5.2 Human carcinogenicity data. No data were (sic) available to the Working Group." (4)

So we have a dose that is so low, cooking a fish produces 1,000 times more "carcinogens" on a chemical which has not been proven to cause cancer in the first place.

Junk science that insults the intelligence.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Dent Fixers

As I mentioned the other day (January 28), I put a couple nice dents in the door of my truck a couple weeks ago. The DentPro guy I finally got hold of never came by. Friendly fellow, though.

So I saw one of these guys driving through Eureka the other day and decided to try them. Their web site even has an estimate form you fill out and send in, although you also have to send a separate e-mail with a photo of the damage attached.

I filled out the form last Friday and sent it in along with an e-mail and photo. No response, so far. I'm wondering if these dent repair guys are like some gardeners are and prefer the quick and easy jobs as they're more profitable?

Doesn't matter, I suppose. I don't really have the money to get if fixed right now, anyway, but I would like an idea of how much it would cost.

Join Us: We're Almost There!

All same sex marriage supporters need to head over to Facebook and join this group, if you haven't already done so. The "I bet we can find 1,000,000 People who Support Same Sex Marriage" group is up to over 967,000 now. This, after just a few days. Join now so we can break the one million mark by this afternoon.

If you don't have a Facebook account but would like to join the group, they're free and easy to start.

What does this all mean? Probably nothing. It's just a Facebook group. Just something fun to join and watch grow, especially with that cool rainbow flag on it.

Not sure if the link to the group will work. It takes me to my Facebook page. If it doesn't work, just do a group search using the name of the group.

Update: Link seems to take me right to the group now. Didn't the other day.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Libertarian Running For Governor of N.Y.

Looks like a semi- famous Libertarian has thrown her hat in the ring for Governor of New York. Pro- gay, pro- NRA and supports the legalization of pot and prostitution. She'd get my vote!


Eating Local and Sustainable Agriculture

Zombie has another one of her fun reads up at Pajamasmedia looking at the movement to eat only local foods.

She has some fun with school gardening programs, too, although I don't have much of a problem with school gardening programs despite them seeming to be a waste of time.


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Another Fred's Letter

Kudos to Frederick Lee of Arcata for his nicely written letter in today's Times- Standard. In regards to all the brouhaha over the recent Supreme Court decision favoring corporate personhood, he points out that unions and other "special interest groups" contributed more to political causes than businesses. Well done.

I take it a little further than that and say all this crap about corporate personhood is just that: crap. It's simply the same thing we see from The Left time and time again: An attempt to skew the playing field in their favor just as they did with Measure T here in Eureka.

I've written before that I'm skeptical of campaign contribution limits but, if you're going to propose such limits, please at least have the decency to have them apply to all sides.

In Search Of Voting Utopia

We've already read about San Francisco trying to modify its district election system- that system being similar to the True Ward system some are proposing for Eureka. Now we have some prior candidates for office filing suit over The City's Instant Runoff Voting system because it only allows voters to rank the top 3 candidates.

Not sure what to think of this as it might just be another case of a glass half empty or half full. Might it be true that someone ranked fifth by some voters might be able to win if five choices were allowed? I'm not sure, but I suspect they could.

I would think that three choices would be more than enough. I don't know that I would even cast a vote for some candidates if they were fifth in line with me. I might just well vote for the top one or two candidates or maybe just the one I most prefer and leave the other boxes blank. If the candidate is a flake, why bother ranking him as fourth or fifth?

I wonder how many others in the The City are voting the way I would?

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Maybe it's too early to be be jumping and shouting but the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat reports, "...Rain over the last couple weeks has filled area reservoirs to the point where the water supply levels at Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino have topped out at slightly over 100 percent.".

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Saturday, February 06, 2010


I suppose I'll probably be the only one that finds this news item hysterical. It almost seems like something you'd read in The Onion.

You don't see shoes hanging in the power lines around here very often, but I did see a pair hanging over West Buhne in Eureka a couple weeks ago. Not sure if they're still there. They're not too big of a deal to me although I've always wondered how and why the shoes ended up there. I'm guessing it's just kids screwing around.

No big deal to me but it is funny to see all the busybodies and politicos making a big deal out of it. How do you feel about shoes hanging from the power lines?

How do you feel about shoes dangling from power lines?
An outrage. Prosecute whoever put them there.
Outrageous. There goes the neighborhood
I like shoefetti. Leave them up there
No biggie, but they should be taken down
I couldn't care less
Free polls from

Friday, February 05, 2010

Our Kitchen

Right after the January earthquake. Forgot I had this picture on my camera.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

More Recycling Stuff

Sent an e-mail to the Arcata Community Recycling Center last week. They process all the recyclables from Eureka. As I'd brought up here before, I was curious about how much trash they get mixed in with recyclables. I'm constantly going around looking in people's recycling bins and see lots of non- recyclables thrown in with recyclables.

So how much trash do they get? Copied and pasted from Patti Johnson's e-mail:

On to the numbers. For the last quarter of 2009, we had an average residual rate (percentage of tonnage processed that was not recycled) of 3.78% (85.52 out of 2,264.68 tons). December was a particularly high month with 37.99 tons of residual trash representing 5.1% of our processed volume. At the Humboldt Waste Management Authority's tip rate of $155.56/ton, this translates to an additional cost of $5909.72 for ACRC to dispose of trash in December alone. Pretty appalling.

So, December was actually at the lower end of what I would of expected from my personal observations. I was guessing between 5 and 10 percent.

She also wrote that the percentage of trash to recyclables is increasing about 1% a year. That would mean even more increased costs for recycling in addition to lower prices for recyclables because of the glut.

Not looking good for the long run and I can't help but wonder how much mandatory recycling is hurting rather than helping the recycling effort.


San Francisco's "True Ward" System

Interesting look at San Francisco's district election system in the San Francisco Chronicle today. Their district election system seemingly what local proponents of Eureka's True Ward System want. Now, at least some people down there want to modify the district system.

I've written here before a true ward system might make sense in a large city like San Francisco which has specific identifiable districts. Yet, even in The City, it seems to be a case of a half glass empty or half full. Still, the writer claims most people like it better than the at- large system they were using before.

I can see at least a couple differences between Eureka's system and San Francisco:

Unlike San Fran's earlier at- large system, our city council candidates already have to live within certain wards. That ensures all of the city council doesn't live on the same city block, or all in one ward.

While that could be a legitimate concern, I don't see that as all that big an issue with Eureka. I don't see Eureka as having unique culturally or geographically defined wards, or districts. Well, maybe Old Town vs. the rest of Eureka, but not sure there's a divide even there.

Don't know that San Francisco to Eureka is a valid comparison other than, whatever system is being used, there's bound to be good and bad points to any of them. Even San Francisco wants to modify their district system now. I'm sure if they end up changing it, there will be problems with the new system, too.

You're not going to find utopia through that elusive perfect election system. San Francisco, will still be the same place to me, for all intents and purposes, regardless of how they end up electing city officials.

Thanks to Matt Owen for forwarding me the news item.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Putting On Ayers

A while back I mentioned watching the movie The Soloist on TV. Looks like soloist, Nathanial Ayers, isn't doing it solo for his upcoming CD. Reading Steve Lopez' story in the L.A. Times this morning about Ayers' new CD was almost as entertaining to me as the movie.