Saturday, December 31, 2011

Greenhut's 2012 Freedom Forecast

Steve Greenhut takes a look at freedom's prospects in the year ahead.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Civil Liberties Update

Nice piece from here on the state of your deteriorating civil liberties.

The Recycling Nazi Gets Spanked

Yep, me. Despite being outspoken against mandatory garbage and recyclables pickup, I call myself the Recycling Nazi. I can't help but look in everybody's recycling bins as I go around town and scold those who have non- recyclables mixed in. Either that, or those with bins out for pick up when they're nowhere near full. You're only supposed to have them out on the curb when they're full enough to be worth picking up.

But yesterday I was so embarrassed. Recology- I guess that's the new name for Eureka City Garbage- called and scolded me for not having my recycling bin out on the curb in time. I was late. The pick up guy had already come by but noticed it as he looked down the street from a block or so away. Lucky for me he came back and picked up my stuff.

I actually had the best of intentions. First of all it was supposed to be raining. I don't like to put the bin out when it's raining, especially when I have a bunch of cardboard hanging out the top as I did. When I got up, it was raining so I figured I wouldn't put the recyclables bin out despite it being stuffed full. Then I forgot about it.

I usually don't place it out until about 8:30 or 9am, anyway. That lessens the chance of the bums rummaging through it. That usually works fine as he normally comes by later in the morning, or that was the impression I'd had. It's always worked before.

So it was probably 9:30am or later when I realized it wasn't raining and maybe I should put the recycling bin out for pick up. I checked doppler radar. It didn't look like it would rain so I rolled the bin out to the sidewalk hoping I wasn't too late. I figured it might be close. If it was too late, I'd just have to roll it back into the garage and wait for next week.

I saw the guy picking up later on D Street as I was working. I almost went over and asked him if he'd already done my house but decided not to. When I got done working I drove by the house, saw the bin had been emptied and patted myself on the back for getting it out in time.

Nope. When I came home the wife said I had a message on the answering machine. That's unusual enough. Nobody ever calls me, but the way she said it gave me pause.

It was a gal from Recology telling me- ok, asking me- to be sure and take my bin out earlier as the guy had been in the area much earlier. I guess he came by around 7:30 when my bin wasn't out. Later on he saw it from down the street from blocks away and went back to pick it up. He told the office gal he wouldn't go back to pick it up next time so I'd better have it out there on time from now on.

Ok. So I've been spanked. How humiliating!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gary Johnson's Announcement

I'm not sure if this is what he said at his formal announcement today, but this piece from his web site must be pretty much the gist of it and tells where his head's at.

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Gary Johnson Switches to Libertarian Party

Former two term Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, has officially switched to the Libertarian Party. He'll be seeking their Presidential nomination. There's a live feed of the press conference on his web site as I write this but the audio didn't work well for me.

There's been speculation about this move for some time. Some are already trying to turn this into a Johnson vs. Ron Paul match with some of the bottom feeders within the LP apparently trying to match the main stream media in throwing out anti- Ron Paul hit pieces.

I've already wrote that regardless of how one feels about Ron Paul, they're really getting a bit ahead of themselves in trying to start this fight now. There's next to no chance Ron Paul will win the Republican nomination and it's highly unlikely Paul will switch to the LP after he loses that nomination. There shouldn't be an issue of one vs. the other.

If he surprises me and does seek the LP nomination, then would be the time to start throwing stones, if one is so inclined. In the meantime, the bottom feeders are simply working to alienate any Ron Paul supporters that might be willing to support Gary Johnson. Typical of way too many LP activists.

A number of people have criticized Johnson for his switch. Most suggesting he'd be losing the power and publicity he "gained" by being a Republican candidate. Others were upset at the idea of him taking votes from whoever the Republican candidate is. I disagree.

Johnson has been ignored by both the media and the Republican Party from the beginning. As I write this CNN has no word about Johnson or his switch. I don't expect to much in the way of change, although he might get a mention after the primaries should the media do any "wasted vote" stories.

As far as taking votes from the Republican candidate, so be it. I don't see any significant difference between Obama and the current Republican front runners now so lost votes shouldn't be an issue.

I'll admit Johnson doesn't have much to gain from his switch to the Libertarian Party, but he also has nothing to lose.

Addendum: I need to remind myself that Johnson still needs to win the LP's vote at their next Presidential nominating convention. In the almost 20 years I've been with the LP, they've always nominated the candidate I thought was best but you never know.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Powers- That- Be Go After Ron Paul

This commentary posted on the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat web site this morning is at least the third hit piece in the mainstream media aimed at Ron Paul over the last few days. ABC/Yahoo News ran a couple similar ones that they left up on their main page a couple days each.

That's just the three I've seen. Never mind that anti- Paul pieces by the smaller commentators and bloggers. They're scared to death Ron Paul might end up polling in the top three, or even winning, the Iowa GOP caucus.

Love or hate Ron Paul, it really is something watching the media and other powers- that- be absolutely beside themselves over someone they feels threatens the power structure of the status quo.


Uh, oh: Now It's Sears & Kmart

The bad news just never seems to stop. CNN reports that Sears is planning on closing a number of its stores around the country, Kmarts included. Sears owns Kmart.

We can only hope our local Sears is doing as well as Pay-n-Pak used to do here. Supposedly the Eureka Pay-n-Pak was the only store they had that made money. We'll have to keep our eyes open for which stores get the axe.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Have A Crappy Christmas

I'll continue with my off and on tradition of trying to ruin as many people's Christmas as I can. You can read my past rants here. My favorite is probably the December 26, 2005 post. Suffice it to say, I hate Christmas. Always have.

No need to go over the same old stuff, but I will mention a few updates:

It's bad enough that Christmas still exists. Even worse that I seem to have noticed more houses with decorations than last year. Maybe it's just me? If not, it's a real disappointment as I was under the impression that practice was on the wane.
I've thought off and on over the years about donating a few bucks to the two radio stations I normally listen to. Both are non- profits: KMUD and KHSU. I gave up with KMUD for their politics, but now it's reaffirmed as they were playing Christmas music today. I'll never donate to KHSU, either, as they've been playing Christmas related music just about all week. I'll never donate money to a radio station that plays Christmas music.
I tried something new this year and did a Google search for "I Hate Christmas". I was hoping to find some like minded souls out there. The results looked promising at first glance. Taking a closer look, though, showed most the web sites are just the usual comedic spoofs of people trying to be funny or those complaining the holiday is simply too "commercialized".

This site here came pretty close but she seems to focus on the usual complaints of commercialization and a bunch of other lefty things such as killing trees. Even with that, if I thought she was serious I might have enjoyed it more.

I thought I found Hate Christmas nirvana with this forum. The first post wasn't all that good and when I tried to read the second it told me I had to register to go further. The registration wouldn't even accept the username I tried to use so I gave up. I'll give them credit for a nice try.

I finally found a home on the I Hate Christmas Facebook group. Yes! Finally some like minded Christmas haters. Ok, maybe not all of them. Some seem to be complaining about the same lame stuff others already have, like its association with shopping and Christianity.

Still, looks like there's at least some of my mind set there and I've been surprised at the number of women in the group. I've noticed what seems to be at least one soulmate there. She posted, "This day is fucking ridiculous.... And christmas shoppers are scary. Every year is getting worse and every year I have a bigger urge to just give some people shit wrapped in a newspaper as presents. Show them how much fuck I really give about them and this fucking day.".

My kind of gal, except I don't bother with Xmas presents. That shit wrapped in newspaper sounds like a fun idea, though. I'd love to figure out a way to sneak a bunch of those under someone's Christmas tree.

Maybe she could make a Hate Christmas guest post here next year? Now that would be something about Christmas I could enjoy!

One of the folks on that Facebook page also reminded the group that, according to that Mayan calendar issue, there's a possibility the world will end next December and this might well be the last Christmas we'll have to suffer through. That certainly places the end of the world into a much better light with me.

So, have a rotten Christmas, and let's hope the Mayans are right and it's the last one.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Freezing Your Ass Off

Ever done that? I have at least a couple times. That's why I can't help but be a bit skeptical about the story of the 14 year old kid that supposedly got lost a couple days ago and spent the night in the woods outside Fortuna in these freezing cold temperatures. From what I could see, he fared pretty darn well.

One time I remember really freezing my ass off was back in the early 70s. A couple friends and I went camping in the Cleveland National Forest in Southern California. We drove up the Ortega Highway after dark, pulled off the side of the road and walked a short ways down a ravine by flashlight.

After the obligatory joint or two, we tried to sleep, but it was freezing cold. Not sure what the temperature was but all we had was those old square dacron sleeping bags that were never much good for anything other than using for covers when you're sleeping on someone's couch. It was too cold to sleep and we froze our asses off.

It wasn't until two days later I felt normal again. I was chilled to the bone the whole next day- even in the Southern California sun- and felt absolutely miserable.

That's why I'm a bit skeptical after watching the TV news clip last night of the kid in Fortuna having been found. He supposedly spent the night out with temperatures in the 30s, maybe low 40s, and he seemed in pretty good shape. I would think he'd almost be comatose from hypothermia after spending all night in those temperatures wearing only a T and sweatshirt.

Never mind what I think are some inconsistencies in the story. Something seems fishy just from the good condition he seemed to be in.

Addendum: I just watched the KIEM News video regarding this that ran last night and noticed something rather strange:

Never mind the rest of the stuff. Just notice that the kid seems to be the only one shown who has his outergarment unzipped. Everybody else has their sweatshirt or jacket zipped up. Some even have their hoods on. The kid doesn't.

Don't you think if someone spent an entire night in low 30 degree temperatures they'd at the very least have their hoodie zipped up? With those kind of temperatures we're talking life threatening hypothermia, yet he seems comfortable enough to not have his sweatshirt zipped up or his hood on after a whole night supposedly outdoors. Doesn't make sense.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"It's not who votes that counts...".

It should be no surprise to anyone that Democrats were working behind the scenes to manipulate the recent redrawing of congressional district lines. It's as I suspected it would be.

It's not how the districts are drawn that counts. It's who draws the districts.

I opted out of voting on that initiative as I saw no point in voting on it one way or the other. Once again, I was right.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ron Paul: Isolationist?

Nice piece from Reason magazine on claims Republican candidate for President, Ron Paul, is an "isolationist". One quote sums that claim up: "This is like calling him a recluse because he tries to avoid fistfights."
Speaking of the Republican candidates: My choice, Gary Johnson, is rumored to be giving up on the Republican nomination and seeking the Libertarian Party's instead. This fellow from CNN claims he's confirmed it.

I certainly don't blame Gary as he's pretty much been ignored by both his party and the media from the start. I realize he'll probably get no more votes running as an LP candidate than their candidates normally do but that's still more than he will if he sticks with the Republicans.

And, at least that would give me someone to vote for.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NTSB Misleads on Cell Phone Driving

The National Transportation Safety Board has been in the news lately advocating a complete ban on cell phone use while driving. They focused their case on an auto vs bus accident in Missouri where a couple young people were killed. The NTSB was at the very least misleading in some of their claims as this piece from the Cato Institute points out.

First of all, they stuffed their figures for the number of deaths that result from cell phone use while driving. The writer also points out that vehicle accident rates have been decreasing over the last ten years despite the ever- increasing use of cell phones in the car.

Lastly (is that a word?), it's pointed out that the young driver's behavior in the fatal accident was already illegal under Missouri law and there were other factors that contributed to the accident. But we won't let that get in the way of calling for a ban, will we?

For those new to this site, I'll reiterate that I opposed cell phone bans from the start. Now that they are law I hope those of you who think you're so important you need to be talking on the phone all the time become proud owners of a traffic ticket should you get caught blabbing away while driving.

Hat tip to Radley Balko over at The Agitator blog for the link.

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Political Party On The Ballot

Americans Elect has gathered enough signatures to be on the ballot next year although there's no way of telling what their candidates will stand for. Seems like a dumb idea to me if only because we already have more than enough political parties in the country. Why start a new one?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Car Stereo Installer Needed

Anybody know of a good place to get a radio installed in our '95 Geo Metro? It doesn't have a radio now and I'm looking to get one.

I figured Eureka Car Stereo might be the place to go but, after reading the few reviews I found, I'm having second thoughts. Connie says she thought it was supposed to be a good place. The reviews have me wondering.

I realize online reviews have to be taken with a grain of salt. There's a number of people that will complain about nearly everything. Many times you can tell by reading a review that the reviewer is just such a person. I'm not sure about the ones I've read here and here, but none of them are good.

Any suggestions?

Addendum: Taking a look at Fortuna Audio Concepts, mentioned in one of the reviews, they look pretty good. I'd rather stay in Eureka, though.

Fewer Auto Oil Changes Now

I guess it's true, although I'm not sure I understand the concerns about "wasting millions of gallons of oil".

The L.A. Times reports it's no longer necessary to follow the old guidelines for changing your car's oil. It used to be recommended oil be changed every 3,000 miles or 3(?) months. Now even vehicle manufacturers are saying you can go up to 10,000 miles between changes on many cars. Wow! I guess I was right.

I've thought for some time that I needn't change my truck's oil as often as was said. I don't drive that many miles and I never saw the point in changing oil based on a certain period of time. It just didn't make sense, especially when the oil doesn't look dirty.

Nice to know there's no hurry now. I'll probably still keep doing what I've been doing since I bought my '97 Ford F150 and have the oil changed maybe a couple times a year when I take it in for its mechanical check- up. That's probably still early, but it works for me and no harm done.

This concern by the state that we're "wasting millions of gallons of oil" seems kind of dumb. A lot of businesses have sprung up over the last few years that provide oil changes. It may be a waste of money when people change their oil unnecessarily, but it's probably not a waste of oil and people get paid to change that oil. Should the state interfere with that?

Engine oil isn't like gasoline. When you drive somewhere that gasoline you use is gone forever. When oil is changed nearly 99.9% of it is recycled nowadays. Other than whatever bad stuff is filtered out of oil when it's recycled, seems to me it's not an ecological problem to worry about. It seems akin to phone book recycling: Old phone books are recycled into new ones as your old dirty oil is made into new, clean oil.

I just don't see oil changes being that much of a problem, with the exception of money spent needlessly, but that can be said about a lot of things we buy. So don't feel bad about changing your oil. Just don't change it quite as often.

Thanks to Radley Balko for the link to the story.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

5th Amendment Shredded by Pres & Congress

Looks like Obama is going to sign the bill that allows indefinite detention of American citizens without trial. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but I did think it would be a class act on his part if he vetoed it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Iraq War Over?

So says the Pres', but you have to wonder with at least 16,000 people that will be working at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. That's larger than the population of Fortuna.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Eureka's Indoor Archery Range

I had no idea until I saw this Craigslist ad that Eureka has its own indoor archery range. They even have a web page, although it needs some work. I'll have to head down there and take a closer look at it one of these days.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Debit/ Credit Card System Shift Needed?

We seem to keep hearing more and more about debit and credit card scams lately. Nearly 500 Bay Area Lucky supermarket customers just got hit for big bucks by card skimmers. Hundreds more Ukiah area folk got hit by what seems to be a separate but similar operation.

I'm thinking maybe we need to change the way we, and the businesses we deal with, use debit and credit cards? Or maybe just switch to using cash? Nah. Not sure I could handle cash only anymore.

I'm wondering if more businesses ought to develop their own debit or credit cards? Many already do. Renner Petroleum has their own cards. The good thing about theirs is they can't be used anywhere but Renner cardlock stations. Bad guys can't use the card info to access ATMs, or even for gas from other branded gas stations. I would think that makes the card inherently safer and also makes Renner cardlock stations a much less desirable target for skimmers.

I noticed the other day while I was at Antich Automotive in Eureka there was an offer for a NAPA auto repair credit card- no interest if you pay off the balance within six months. I actually thought about getting one as I was running my debit card through their scanner and telling the Antich gal about the Lucky supermarket rip- offs.

Seems to me it would make sense, although I'm not sure how much of a hassle and expense it would be for a supermarket to have their own cards. Regardless, my guess would be that, had those Lucky customers used a Lucky credit or debit card for their purchases, maybe they wouldn't have had hundreds of dollars taken from their accounts via ATMs?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dan Roberts For Congress Blog

He's the only announced Republican in our upcoming congressional race (what district are we in now?). I was checking out his campaign web site the other day and noticed he has a blog of sorts. One of his first commentaries was regarding the California Public Employee Retirement System (CALPERS).

I'm not making any judgement as to Dan's viability as a candidate, but I think it's generally a mistake for him to bring up issues that aren't within the purview of the office he's seeking. I thought the same thing when Libertarian Party Candidate for Congress, Emil Rossi, sent out a release criticizing then State Assemblygal, Virginia Strom- Martin, on some state education related bill.

When you make a statement regarding an issue, you're opening yourself up to conflict not just with opposing candidates, but the voters as well. That's inevitable in a race for congress but, if you're going to raise the potential of having people disagree with you, you might as well limit the potential disagreements by keeping those topics related to the position you're running for. Why pick a fight when you don't need to?

If Dan wants to bring up an opponents' past state legislative record that shows a particular pattern of behavior such as heavy spending or restricting people's freedom, that might well be appropriate, but the caveats still apply.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


I've been wondering about people who leave their front porch lights on at night. Looking out my window in the early morning, I notice less than half, maybe as low as a third, have their front porch lights on.

Some leave them on all night. Some turn them off when they go to bed. Some have them with motion sensors so they turn on when someone approaches the door. Why?

I noticed for some time the house across Trinity Street has hers on all the time. I just recently noticed the neighbors behind us, the Strubs, also have their light on. I finally asked them why. Julie said she guessed it made them feel safer.

I guess that's it for most of the porchlighters. Doing a quick Google search confirmed many people feel safer with the porch lights lit. I suspect it also comes back to many people's primal fear of darkness. That would account for the even fewer people I've seen who leave their living room lights on all night. I've noticed our next door neighbor, Jane, does that.

It's not for me. I do anything I can to keep my electric bill low, although we have thought about installing a motion detector light to the side of our house near the back gate where the creeps in the night sometimes come in to prey on us. Problem is, I suspect the motion of all the bushes near the walkway would set the light off so often we might as well just forget about the motion detector and leave it on.

No front porch light on for us. If nothing else it saves money and keeps trick- or- treaters from bothering us on Halloween. That is a good thing.

What lights do you leave on all night
Porch light, all night
Porch light, only until I go to bed
Living room light
Lights near all doors and gates
No lights
Free polls from Pollhost.comLink

Friday, December 02, 2011

Free Car Removal For SoHum

So that's how they're doing it. I've noticed someone on Craigslist offering to haul old cars away for free in Southern Humboldt. The Redwood Times tells a little about it. I guess scrap metal values have risen making the metal in old cars profitable. It still seems hard to believe it's worth the drive all the way up from Willits for scrap vehicles.

I wonder if those guys might be interested in removing some of the old buses and RVs you can see down off the side of the road in North Leggett?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Jim, Rene' and Jerry

We were watching Nature on KEET last night. The show was titled Why We Love Cats and Dogs. One of the couples featured on the show seemed familiar to me. I told Connie, "I think those two are from Eureka". The more I watched the show the more sure I was.

As soon as it was over I turned on the computer and, sure enough, I was right:

I'm sure at least some here remember Jim Nelson and Rene' Agredano. They used to write the Times- Standard's Tech Talk column every now and then. I remembered the two if only from the names and their photos that would accompany that column. I also remembered them writing that they'd be leaving the area for some reason or another.

The show covered their journey in an RV as they spent time with their dog, Jerry, who was dying of cancer. A touching show if you get the chance to see it and Jim and Rene's segment probably got the most time of all the people and animals featured, including their own spot on the PBS web page linked to above.

Just noticed after reading their interview on the PBS page that they also wrote a blog for Jerry.

The SacBee Does The Freddy

The Sacramento Bee published my letter yesterday about removing the Klamath Dams. Hooray! I realized a couple days ago the letter was probably too long for that paper. They limit letters to 150 words, as opposed to the 200 the Press- Democrat accepts. Forgot about that but they fixed it and, by removing the last sentence, cut the letter from 165 words to 145. Nicely done.

Funny thing about those letters to the editor (LTE). One of the reasons I started blogging was to improve my letter writing skills so I could fire off a decent LTE in a few hours as opposed to days. Not sure I've improved what little skill I had but I hardly ever send letters to the editor anymore since I started this blog.