Saturday, April 30, 2011

Coastal Voices:

Nice libertarian oriented letter from Crescent City that appeared in The Daily Triplicate recently. About the only beef I'd have with his letter is that he starts out saying we're not responsible for the state being broke- it's the politicians (copy and paste screwed up the formatting. I'll fix it later).

Like so many others, he seems to forget those politicians were elected by the voters, and elected again even after the damage was done and they had a chance to vote for someone else:

Over-government everywhere

Do you wonder why California is broke? It’s not you and I who are running the state into the ditch. It’s the politicians and their out-of-control spending. All the major political offices, including the governor’s office, are held by the Democrats. Almost two-thirds of both the Assembly and Senate are held by the Democratic Party.

I did a little research and was astounded to learn there are over 500 California state agencies overseeing every aspect of our lives. I painstakingly counted 571 different agencies, each with countless employees, all who earn a more than fair wage and enjoy health and pension benefits that you and I would not find in the private sector.

Last weekend, I traveled across the border to Oregon to buy some plants from a nursery I recently learned about near Brookings, about five miles north of the state line. I purchased about $250 worth of plants, paid zero sales tax in Oregon, and returned toward home.

At the border, I complied with a mandatory stop at the State of California Agricultural Inspection Station. I declared my purchase and was detained nearly a half-hour as two inspectors and one supervisor were unsure whether a rhododendron plant I was transporting across the border was legal.

I kid you not. I sat in my vehicle while three California state employees determined if they would have to confiscate my questionable purchase. I displayed the necessary paperwork for the trip back to the Golden State. After what seemed to be an eternity of time, my vehicle was allowed to proceed into California with all my plant purchases.

I illustrate this point because it is all too common that we are hassled by the intrusion of over-government, in this case, the state of California. What a colossal waste of time and resources!

This story is not unique. Waste and the heavy hand of government are omnipresent. One cannot avoid this invasion.

Those 571 state agencies are all engaged in some kind of law enforcement, extracting fees and permits. Take any area of state government/enforcement and you will discover countless agencies overlapping their services to the point of insanity. All have an agenda to separate you from some of your money through a license or permit.

Let me name you just a few... The following is a list that starts with … “California Office of…”

California Office of Administrative Hearings; California Office of Administrative Law; California Office of AIDS; California Office of Binational Border Health; California Office of Child Abuse Prevention; California Access of Deaf Access; California Office; California Office of Emergency Services, California Office of Environmental Health Assessment; California Office California Office of Fiscal Services;

California Office of Fleet Administration; California Office of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Implementation; California Office of Historic Preservation; California Office of Homeland Security; California Office of Human Resources; California Office of Legal Services; California Office of Legislation; California Office California Office of Lieutenant Governor;

California Office of Military and Aerospace Support; California Office of Mine Reclamation; California Office of Natural Resource Education; California Office of Privacy Protection; California Office of Public School Construction; California Office of Real Estate Appraisers; California Office of Risk and Insurance Management; California Office of Spill Prevention and Response;

California Office of State Publishing; California Office of Statewide Planning and Health Development; California Office of Systems Integration; California office of Inspector General; California Office of the Ombudsman; California Office of the Patient Advocate; California Office of the President; California Office of the Secretary of Education; California Office of the State Fire Marshal; California Office for the State Public Defender; California Office of Traffic Safety; and California Office for Vital Records.

These are just a few examples of government in our life. Plus, there are city, county and federal agencies controlling every aspect of our lives.

Is it any wonder California is going broke?

Roger Gitlin is a Crescent City resident, a retired teacher and a member of the Del Norte County Tea Party.

Friday, April 29, 2011

War On Wal- Mart

See if you can pick out Heraldo in this Reason TV video on the War on Cheap Groceries.

Thanks to Radley Balko for the link.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What Would You Do?

Photo of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama tornado stolen from Yahoo/AP News.

It can happen here. We've come close to it before.

I remember back when I was working at the Humboldt Bay Power Plant. A bunch of thunderstorms and rain squalls were coming through the area. I saw a weird cloud formation just over the bay. Clouds were churning. It made me nervous.

Fred Salinas, who grew up in Texas, was on patrol up on the hill at the time. When he came down he said, "Back in Texas, you see something like that, you head for the cellar". I replied that I thought that looked like a tornado forming. Luckily, nothing came of it, although at least at the plant we had places to seek shelter.

Then there was the time decades later we had a bunch of violent squalls moving through Eureka. I was living where I do now at the time. It would be calm one moment, then a squall would move in and all hell would break loose. I was standing in the living room during one of them and the whole house shook. I was thinking, "Are we going to have a problem here?". Tornado weather, but it never got too bad although my plastic greenhouse in the back yard got pulled up and blown over the fence.

I've wondered every now and then just what I'd do if I actually saw a tornado bearing down on my house. This house would likely be ripped to shreds and there's really nowhere to hide, unless maybe I could run to the Matteoli's and hide in their basement. I'm not sure I like the idea of their house collapsing on me, though.

About the best I can think of is to drop down outside at the bottom of the retaining wall next to the sidewalk. I might get smashed by a car or other debris there but I can' think of anywhere else to try and hide. At least the sidewalk and retaining wall wouldn't get blown away.

What would you do?

As an aside, I've always wanted to see a tornado live, from a safe shelter, of course. But I think I might have survived one as a child, back when we lived in Illinois. I was about 3 years old at the time.

I remember my parents were gone somewhere and we had a baby sitter tending to us. I remember her being real nervous and her wondering where our parents were. I could sense the baby sitter was nervous, if not downright scared, but I didn't know why.

I remember at one point looking out the front window and seeing a tree completely arched over in a strong wind with the tip almost touching the ground. I'm pretty sure that was tornado as I recall the seeing the neighbors old 50'ish woody station wagon laying on its back the next day, having been blown over. I probably have pictures of it back in the rear storage room.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

County Garbage Rates Increasing

Unincorporated areas of the county will see their garbage rates go up at least in part to "... minimize illegal dumping", according to today's Times- Standard. You gotta love it: Increasing rates will ensure everyone dumps their trash where it's supposed to be.

At least they're not suggesting mandatory garbage pick- up as they did in Eureka, although I suspect that's in the works. Their thinking seems to be along the same line, though: Increasing rates will allow pick up of recyclables which, in turn, should mean less illegal dumping and garbage.

Apparently they never bothered to take a look at Eureka's failed experiment with mandatory garbage pick up- Eureka's streets, by many accounts, having more trash on them now than ever.
As an aside, you'll want to pick up a hard copy of the Times- Standard today if only to read Hank Sims' My Word piece on the Richardson Grove debate. It's not available online. Let's hope his is the last word as he summarizes the issue nicely.

Golden Crowned Sparrow

I'm surprised I never noticed these birds before. They must have been around as it seems to be their normal range. It wasn't until a week or two ago that Connie said something about some strange birds at the feeder with gold caps on their heads.

She looked in the bird book and identified them as Golden Crowned Sparrows. Funny thing is, we're regular bird watchers and neither of us recall seeing them before and we've been watching backyard birds for decades.

Anyone else who hasn't seen these birds around here before now?

Photo stolen from Wikipedia.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

That Damned Oxbow Incident

I find myself constantly reminding others to try and withhold judgment in criminal cases but find my own judgment often fixed after seeing or hearing one thing or another about a given crime. One that came to mind the other day being the killing of Caylee Anthony, a 3 year old girl from Florida. Her mother has been arrested for her murder.

It's a case that's gotten national attention but I don't recall hearing about it until I saw it on a TV documentary a week or two ago. I think it was on 48 Hours: Hard Evidence, a show I've been trying to watch lately. Quite a compelling show and I came away convinced of the mother's guilt. I'm still trying to tell myself to remember the Oxbow Incident and give her a chance.

Wikipedia gives a decent account of the facts of the case. The TV show went over the facts, including an appearance by the mother's defense team. They insist she's innocent, as does Caylee's grandmother. There's just one issue I have with the mother's claim of innocence:

The mother avoids letting the grandmother see her daughter for about a month. When the grandmother finally insists on seeing the girl, the mother claims she's with some nanny she dropped her off with a month ago and she's not sure where she is at that point. A search entails and they find the supposed nanny who has no idea who the mother is and wasn't a nanny for the girl at any point in time.

During this time, by nearly all accounts, the mother is out partying it up and having a great time. It just seems impossible for me to believe that a mother that supposedly loves her daughter so much wouldn't see her for a month and wouldn't know or seemingly care where she is.

In the meantime, Caylee is nowhere to be found. Her body is found months later near the mother's home.

There's more evidence, but not any strong physical evidence that directly ties her to the murder. Sorry, I have a hard time accepting the girl's absence for a month. It would take a lot to get me to swallow whatever story the mother's attorneys are going to come up with.

But what if the defense is right?

Regardless, I have to wonder about these TV shows that profile criminal cases before the trial has taken place and Caycee Anthony's trial doesn't start until the beginning of next month.

Speaking of TV hatchet jobs, Debra Saunders picked up on a 60 minutes show I watched last Sunday, as did the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat. 60 Minutes went after Greg Mortenson, a guy that wrote a book about his travels in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He ended up starting up a charity to build schools for girls in those countries.

While I often find 60 Minutes entertaining, I also know they usually produce their shows having an axe to grind. I was privileged to see a video years ago called "60 Minutes: Our Side". It was about a nuclear power plant in Iowa or Ohio. 60 Minutes wanted to do a story on it and the power company agreed, so long as they could record alongside the 60 Minutes cameras.

The power company's cameras showed the parts that 60 Minutes cut out of the final segment. It was remarkable, showing 60 Minutes certainly had an agenda in producing that story.

As far as this Mortenson guy, yeah, he seems kind of creepy, especially when you hear 60 Minutes tell the story. But he did build some schools. It seems to me most, if not all, of the criticisms leveled against Mortenson- spending most of the money on himself and promotional efforts- could be said about most other private charities. I've heard similar stories about worldwide charities, some as big or bigger than the Red Cross.

No, Mortenson may not be as great a guy as he likes to paint himself to be and his charity may not be nearly as effective as he claims, but neither are most others.

I was a bit beside myself after they spent 20 minutes or so bashing Mortenson when, in closing, they had Jon Krakauer, a former supporter of Morenson, make one of the closing statements. To paraphrase, as best I remember, the guy says, "He's a good guy who has done some good things. I just wish he'd keep better track of his money".

Doesn't sound like too bad a guy to me. Funny thing was, they started off the Morenson bashing with the Krakauer guy saying he was a former supporter but changed his mind because he made up or embellished some stories. Then they turned Morenson into a scamster.

I've got the feeling he's no more a scamster than anyone running a charity.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

PG&E: You've Absolutely Won...!!!

Received the following e-mail from PG&E the other day. In part it read:

You’ve earned a bonus credit of 20%. Look for it on your

March 14, 2011 bill.

Thanks so much for participating in Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s

Winter Gas Savings this January and February.

By conserving gas this past winter, you saved money two ways. You saved once on your monthly gas costs and now a second time with this bonus credit.

Your efforts not only saved you money, they also helped save the environment.

I'm just wondering if anybody else got one of these? Is this something that they're doing with everyone and making it seem like we're special? Just wondering.

We always try to save energy but I don't know that we used less power or that our bill from last month would be any less than it would normally be.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gary Johnson In 2012!

Past two- time Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, formally declared his candidacy as a Republican nominee for President today. How refreshing to have a straight talking guy in the race.

No, I don't think he'll win the nomination. I think he'll probably be treated worse than Ron Paul was by the mainstream Republicans, but that doesn't matter. He's got my vote.

Whether I'll switch parties in order to vote for him in the primary remains to be seen. Probably not, since you can bet the vast majority of Republicans will vote for a more statist candidate.

Now it's up to all of us to head to his
campaign web site and donate. You'll also want to go to his Facebook page, like him, and get everyone else you know to do the same.

I realize this is a bit early but let's get this show on the road!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Science Is Settled

I guess there's no use arguing about global warming anymore if even Charlie believes in it.

Does anyone know if any of Charlie's ATWA folks have been protesting at Richardson Grove?


Monday, April 18, 2011

Obligatory Tax Day Post

Since so many others are doing a Tax Day post today, I guess I will, too. About all I can do is direct everyone to the Tax Foundation's Tax Freedom Day post. Other than that, Radley Balko pretty much says it all with his obligatory Tax Day post.

Oh, and if you didn't look at your Tri- City Weekly that came with your Times- Standard today (is it still delivered on Tuesdays for everyone else?), there's a story on page 18 about local film producer and mover and shaker, Maria Matteoli, that you'll want to read.

Other than that, anything that needs to be said on just about any issue has already been said or written so we'll close with The Beatles:

I've got nothing to say but it's O.K.
Good morning, good morning...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Skunks: They're So Cuuute!!!

Yes, I'm serious. I've always thought skunks would be fun pets as they seem like such friendly little critters. Apparently some think the same thing, as this Daily Mail story reports, the gal featured in the story is very pleased with her little skunkster.

What I didn't get, and isn't mentioned in the article, is what these people do to vaccinate them? Skunks are supposedly big time carriers of rabies, but I understand you can't vaccinate skunks for rabies because vaccination gives skunks symptoms of rabies.

Doing a quick search on vaccinating skunks I found this page on skunk myths. I guess skunks can be vaccinated against rabies, but you have to use a "dead" vaccine. So much for the vaccination problem.

From what I've read so far, though, skunks demand a lot of attention and can be a handful to deal with. That might be a bit much for me as one of our cats, Miss Kitty, tries my patience more than enough. Maybe I'll hold off on getting a skunk?

Oh, there's a comment posted on that Daily Mail story from some gal in Arcata.

Thanks to
Radley Balko for the link to the story.

Libyan Lies

I'm with Pat Buchanan on this one, although he doesn't go far enough. He doesn't address the propaganda campaign against the Gaddafi loyalists anywhere near as strongly as he should have.

I've felt this way from the beginning of this fiasco. Supporters of the rebels (and their media cheerleaders) were trying too hard to demonize the loyalists. I'm not saying Gaddafi isn't a bad guy, but we can't say for sure those seeking to overthrow him aren't just as bad. I wondered early on if Gaddafi had a lot more support than the media was giving him? After all, it seemed to me he couldn't have done as well as he has if the whole country was against him.

I'm not sure I can think of one instance of anti- loyalist propaganda that's been confirmed to be true and I feel safe in assuming the recent story about loyalist snipers targeting children is akin to the Iraq War stories of baby incubators being thrown out in the streets of Kuwait.

I'm still thinking we may be backing the wrong horse, assuming we should be involved in this mess at all. The one question I have left is one I saw in the comments to a Yahoo News story on Libya : Who will protect the loyalists from massacre should the rebels' fortunes change and they win?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What He Said About "Cellies"

I've used stronger words to describe cell phone addicts and their habits but this guy, who made the first ever cell phone call, says it well enough.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

...but killing him is ridiculous?

I'll keep the Oxbow Incident in mind, but I have to wonder about this guy that's already been convicted of killing his ex- girlfriend's dog. Now he's suspected of killing at least two other dogs.

Consider this statement he supposedly made. If quoted correctly, and not taken out of context, I'd say it's a signal of a screw loose in the guy just by itself:

I have a dog of my own that I love like a kid, but killing the animal is ridiculous.”

But killing the animal is ridiculous? Makes it sound like regularly beating the dog would be considered normal but killing it might be going a bit far.

I'd be interested in knowing if the guy ever did have a dog and, if he did, whatever happened to it?

Friday, April 08, 2011

It's Cold

I asked earlier if anyone knew when the latest recorded frost for Eureka was. No one seems to know. I just looked and I can't find a date, either, but I did find this one table that shows the record highs and lows for Eureka by month.

According to, it's 30 degrees in Eureka as I write this and we have the remnants outside of a light frost. I'm not sure if that meets the criteria of a "latest frost". The table I linked to above shows the record low for April as being 31 degrees in 1895. Looks like we might have beat that. The forecast is for a high of 54 degrees today which will be below the average of 57 degrees for this month.

I hope they're wrong and it's warmer. I hate this cold weather. My biggest concern now is we'll have a cool, if not cold, summer. I don't know if I'll be able to handle that. I can't take any more of this constantly cold weather. At least it seems really cold to me.

As an aside, it really makes me feel old when I'm outside freezing my ass off and I see teenagers walking around in t- shirts. At least yesterday, with that damned wind, I saw the younger folks were also wearing coats.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Mosquito Warning #2

Since the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat ran a story today about mosquitoes, I'll make this my second alert.

I wrote earlier
that I'd found mosquito larvae in a back yard I was working in about a month ago. I looked around my back yard for larvae after that but didn't find any. I suppose it's time to look again.Link

Sunday, April 03, 2011

A C.A.R.B Video

Reason T.V. has a nice video about science and the California Air Resources Board. It runs just over 9 minutes.


CA High Speed Rail= Bankruptcy

I agree with this San Diego Union- Tribune editorial on the high speed rail proposal. The sad, but predictable thing is, there's a number of people in this state that think we should try and get the money for high speed rail the other states have refused so we can keep working on our boondoggle.Link

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Arcata Eye Covers Gallegos

This Arcata Eye piece is the first mention of Paul Gallegos I've seen in the news for some time.

Friday, April 01, 2011

A Civics Test

I got 3 out of the 33 questions wrong on this civics test. My mistakes were the ones on the Lincoln/ Douglas debates (right answer would have been my second choice), the Puritans and the "wall of separation" quote. I thought I might have gotten some of the other ones wrong, too, so I'm happy. Let's see how you do.

I found the link on Richard Rider's blog. He has more information on the test and how various people do on it, specifically, holders of public office.