Thursday, May 31, 2012

Biggest California Political Spenders

Dan Morain wrote yet another Pro- Prop 29 commentary yesterday in the Sacramento Bee. At least he tried to. Once again he focused on the tobacco companies despite the fact it's smokers who will pay the tax. He went on and on about tobacco companies contributing to politicians. 

Most of us had to laugh when this graph of major contributors was posted in the comments. Notice the top 3 contributors, by far, are the California Teachers Association, Service Employees International (government workers) and the pharmaceutical industries. Has Dan ever went after them?

Click on graph to enlarge.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

End of Bush Cuts Means Higher Taxes

I hadn't paid much attention to all the ballyhoo over Bush's tax cuts. I assumed it was just more of the class warfare we've seen so much of lately. They're scheduled to end at the end of this year.

Turns out, when those tax cuts expire, everyone's taxes are likely to go up. No more 10% tax bracket. The lowest will be 15%. I'm wondering how I'll fare? My income taxes already more than doubled this last year so this could be a big problem for me.

More on what's expiring and what's not from Yahoo News.

Monday, May 28, 2012

June 5 Predictions

Matt Owen sent out an e-mail the other day asking bloggers and pundits for primary election predictions. I don't know that I've ever made those predictions here before and don't have any desire to change. I don't even stay up to watch the early results on election night. After all, it's usually just bad news so why rub my nose in it.

I'll make a halfhearted attempt at it today if only because I've got nothing else to do. That, and once I do this I can dump Matt's e-mail from my inbox:

1st District, Board of Supervisors- I feel fairly safe in saying Rex Bohn takes the 1st district seat. Without a runoff? Hard to say, but enough people in the district know him and like him to make that happen. Annette DeModena is the wild card.

Between Bohn and Seidner, I'll give the contest pretty easily to Bohn. DeModena is in third place, from the yard signs and endorsements, but how many votes will she get? Will she get enough to force a runoff?

I'll go out on a limb and call it for Rex Bohn with no runoff.

2nd District, Board of Supes- Too close to call. Haven't been in that district lately so can't judge support from the yard signs. From what I've read in the newspaper and the blogs, support seems pretty even for both Cliff Clendenen and Estelle Fennell.

3rd District, Board of Supes- I haven't been to that district in some time so I have no idea whose winning the yard sign wars, but I feel safe in throwing that one to Mark Lovelace. No way I see Karen Brooks- a Tea Party gal- winning that district. I have no problem with the Tea Party affiliation, but those in the district certainly will.

Aside from that, I can't think of anything Lovelace has done to piss off his constituency.

How close will it be? Lovelace wins it with room to spare. 60% of the vote wouldn't surprise me.

2nd Congressional District- Being an authoritarian state and district, it's no surprise that most of the money and support goes to Jared Huffman. He'll certainly be one winner on June 5. I'll give 2nd place to Republican Dan Roberts.

Roberts has the most support of the Republican candidates, such as it is. With the Republican registration numbers in this district- assuming they vote party line-, he should get most of those votes. With so many other candidates in race diluting the rest of the vote, that should give Roberts enough to place him the a runoff with Huffman.

2nd District, State Assembly- Matt didn't include this race on his list for some reason, but I'll do it, anyway. With 4 candidates in the race, 3 democrats and 1 green, there could be a runoff. It won't surprise me if Chesbro gets enough votes to take it June 5.

I'm guessing the Green Party gal, Pam Elizondo, gets the usual 4 to 5% of the vote given to third parties. The question is how many votes Tom Lynch(?) and my favorite, Firenza Pini, get. I'd like Firenza to get at least 5%. I suspect Lynch will do much better, but probably not enough to get over the district's appetite for incumbents and Chesbro wins June 5. I hope I'm wrong.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Golden Gate Bridge Closing

I'm sure they've done it before, but I can't imagine them closing something like the Golden Gate Bridge for anything other than maintenance. They're closing it from 9 to 10pm Sunday night for the fireworks celebrating the bridge's 75th anniversary.

It sure would suck to be unaware of the closing and happen to be driving through about then. What a mess that would be. That's why I'm posting this info. I'm here to help!

Another Presidential Quiz

Here's another one of those quizzes that matches you to a presidential candidate. The "No Courage" comment for most of the candidates seems to mean the candidate didn't respond to their written questionnaire.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

SacBee Going Pay Site

Dam. It looks like the Sacramento Bee web site will be switching to some sort of pay system in the next couple months. I figured it was probably just a matter of time. They haven't figured out the exact details yet but I'm sure I'll be disappointed no matter how they do it.

Too bad the papers can't come up with a system that some porn sites use where you sign up with some outfit for a certain price a month and get to read all the web sites that are partnered with it for free. I might go for something like that.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Super PAC Woes From Kentucky?

Radley Balko reports on an election win from Kentucky that should make both progressives and libertarians happy, except a supposed progressive isn't happy with the infusion of cash the winner got from out of state.

A Tea Party supported candidate who is opposed to the PATRIOT Act, warrantless wiretapping, the police state, the drug war, and military adventurism won the primary over a candidate who took opposite stands, in part due to a generous donation from Texas. At least one progressive thinks that's a bad thing.

The best of the two- as far as progressives go- wins but that's a bad thing because of the out- of- state money? Radley Balko doesn't think so:

"Kilgore is right on one point. Without the half million dollar infusion from the super PAC, it’s doubtful Massie would have won. And that of course is precisely the point. Strict limits on campaign contributions only further entrench the two major parties. If your views aren’t in line with establishment thinking, if the party machinery has backed a more traditional candidate with predictable positions, you start your campaign in a hole. They have the phone lists, the existing office holders and the perks of their offices, name recognition, and campaign infrastructure. It takes money to overcome all of that. It takes money to merely be heard. Take all the money out of politics (assuming you could) and the two-party machinery advantages don’t go away. It just makes it more difficult to challenge them."

"So I’d ask Ed Kilgore: Let’s assume the GOP nominee wins this seat in November. Aren’t progressives better off with Thomas Massie in Congress than with Alecia Webb-Edgington? And if super PAC spending is the reason why that’s now likely to happen, how is this particular race an example of the perils of unlimited campaign spending?".

I've made pretty much that same argument here and elsewhere, so I naturally agree.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Satellite TV Wars Hit Eureka Streets

Many of you might know we signed up with Dish Network a couple years ago.

Had a guy knock on my door yesterday. He had a clipboard with a "Dish Network" decal on it. He said he was with Dish and came to upgrade our satellite dish- no charge, he said. Hmmm...that seemed strange. First I'd heard of it. Then he asked what receiver we were using. He said some receivers might have to be upgraded, too.

I was a little apprehensive as I figured the guy should already have that info if he worked for Dish Network, but I let him inside the door (the TV was just a few feet away) and showed him our receiver. He says, "Good, that's a 211. That should be fine".

Then he starts asking questions: "How do you feel about the cost of your satellite service? The folks we've spoken to in the neighborhood complain about the high cost". To make a long story short, I told him I didn't like paying $45.00 a month, either, but it's still cheaper than cable.

He then goes on and points to the shirt he's wearing. On one sleeve it says Dish Network, on the other it says Direct TV. He says "Makes no difference to me but you might want to take advantage of switching to Direct TV...blah, blah, blah". His point being he can switch me over to yet another starter deal that will give me more channels for less cost.

He went on for a while and I could see he just came to our house to get us to switch satellite networks. I ended up telling him that I never use anywhere near the channels we do have and was thinking of just switching to Dish Network's budget plan of around $25.00 a month as soon as we're eligible.

He tried one more time, telling me Direct TV might be $5.00 more but I'd get more channels. I finally just asked him if he had a business card. He seemed unprepared for that but found one, gave it to me and left.

Looking at his card after he left, I noticed it says "Provider- Direct TV". He never did come back to give me my supposed dish and receiver upgrade. Oh, I guess I would have gotten it if I'd signed up for Direct TV?

I wonder if he does the same thing for Dish Network and just goes down the street looking at satellite dishes, switching his paperwork and sales pitch to match the homeowner's TV network?

Monday, May 21, 2012

L.A. Times Web Site Mystery Solved

I've been wondering what was going on with the Los Angeles Times web news access. You'll recall a while back they switched to pay mode and only hard copy subscribers could read the site without paying. Then all of the sudden I could access the site. Then I couldn't.

I wrote an e-mail this morning asking what was up. Just got a response. I guess if you're a non- paying reader you can read up to 15 stories a month. After that you have to get a paid membership.

Funny I couldn't figure that out on my own.

Drug Dogs Help Seize Bail Money

Radley Balko reports on what seems to be a scam in Wisconsin where police are seizing bail money. They have a drug dog alert on the money. Declare it "drug money", and seize it using asset forfeiture laws.

Once again, hat tip to The Agitator blog for a good story.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


I'll never understand how Obama gets away with his incessant verbal attacks on Iran when even his own people say Iran gave up their nuke weapons program some years ago. To be fair, Romney doesn't take much heat for his verbal attacks on Iran, either.
There's a BIPARTISAN effort in congress to repeal the ban on U.S. propaganda being used in this country. You could have fooled me, but apparently it's been illegal  for years for the U.S. Government to use propaganda it uses abroad on citizens here at home.

Hard for me to understand why such an effort is necessary when the regular mainstream media, including National Public Radio, usually disseminate whatever the government wants released, anyway. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Firenza Pini For State Assembly

The more I learn about Firenza Pini, candidate for 2nd District, State Assembly, the more I like her. I wrote up a quick letter to the editor in support although I realized the deadline for election letters was near, if not already past. Sent this one to the Times- Standard yesterday only to be told it was three days past the deadline so I'll post it here:

I write in support of Firenza Pini for 2nd District, State Assembly. Her priority is taking care of the budget deficit above all else. She's fiscally responsible yet socially tolerant, something rarely found in today's office holders. It's usually one or the other, not both.

For those of you who want money out of politics, Firenza has run her campaign with no contributions to date. It can't get any better than that, can it? If you really want campaign finance reform, how about setting an example and voting for the candidate with the least money.

Find out more at Please join me in voting for Firenza Pini on June 5.

I've sent the letter to a few other papers, but don't know if I made their deadlines.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Firenza Xuan Pini Gets My Vote

I changed my mind after watching the League Of Women Voters 2nd state assembly district candidate forum on KEET TV last night. You'll recall a few days ago I was considering voting for perennial Green and Peace & Freedom Party candidate, Pam Elizondo. Not now.

I started watching about 15 minutes into the show. Wes Chesbro was a no- show. The candidates present were Democrat Tom Lynch, Green Pam Elizondo and Democrat Firenza Xuan Pini.

Tom Lynch seemed most in control of the situation and most comfortable with the camera. To his credit he brought up the state workers' pension problem at least twice, saying it was an unsustainable system that needed fixing. He wanted to "rework" government, or something along that line, and come up with a system that worked.

Maybe that's why Chesbro didn't show up as he holds a fair share of the blame for that pension crisis? That might have been an awkward subject for Chesbro to deal with.

Overall, I'd say Tom Lynch "won" not so much for points made but for the way he handled himself.

I'm always amused by Pam Elizondo. This time her "save the earth" line got tiresome, if not scary, after hearing it over and over again. She frequently went off- topic with her answers, giving the same generic "work to save the planet" line no matter what the issue.

She seemed the most familiar with the Richardson Grove alignment, albeit from the wrong side. She said she'd actually participated in protests at the Grove and thought it was horrible they were going to cut all the trees down, or some such. She obviously has no idea what the project really entails but I'll give her credit for at least being there.

Her closing statement went off- topic, as usual, with a rant about the military industrial complex, war, and such- not exactly a state assembly issue. I decided I wouldn't be voting for her although I suppose we could do worse than have her in the state assembly taking up time discussing international relations.

My favorite turned out to be Democrat Firenza Xuan Pini. I was surprised to see what seemed to be a mostly white girl with a name like that. If she was asian at all, it must have been just a small part of her.

Firenza was a disaster in handling herself and making points. I'd say she was probably the worst I've seen as far as candidates stumbling in a forum. She had trouble articulating her response on just about every issue, often forgetting her line of thought entirely. At least once she couldn't recover and ended her statement rather than trying to continue. I wouldn't have blamed her for getting up and leaving the forum as bad as she was at maintaining her train of thought.

But she did manage to say some neat things. On some medical oriented question she said she didn't want the government coming between doctors and their patients. That was good. What really caught my attention was when she said she thought the state legislature should be part time. Yikes! This, from a Democrat?

Despite her barely making it through the forum, I'd prefer her over any of the others. After all, public speaking is just one aspect of the job. Aside from her public speaking issues, it's hard to find out anything else about her.

She doesn't seem to have a campaign web page. A cursory search of her name came up pretty much empty. She hasn't even taken advantage of the free Smartvoter candidate web pages the League Of Women Voters offers. One of the more amateurish candidacies I've seen in my time.

Firenza Xuan Pini gets my vote for 2nd district, state assembly on June 5.

Addendum: I finally found a campaign web site for Firenza. Short and sweet. Still looks good to me. Perhaps a closet libertarian?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Neat Quote

Neat quote in the header of a new blog I stumbled upon called Dissident Thinker:

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."

Open The Debates Petition

You can sign this online petition to open the presidential debates to more than just the Reps and Dems. They're hoping to get a million or more signatures to convince the Commission on Presidential Debates, or whatever it's called, to allow more than just two candidates into the debates.

I'm a bit skeptical of online petitions in the first place. This one is really weird in that all they ask for is your name and e-mail address. Not only that, but there's no tally on how many others have signed or any information on who it is that's responsible for the petition. Still, I signed it a few days ago and I haven't noticed any increase in spam so no harm done.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Word: John Moore & Tree Lined Cities

It was like a breath of fresh air reading John Moore's My Word in today's Times- Standard. He's criticizing the nutty idea of tearing up sidewalks and planting trees along Eureka's streets. I couldn't agree more and have written the same arguments here. Good to finally feel I'm not totally alone.

I believe the funding mechanism for this boondoggle might have changed, although I'll admit my information comes second hand from someone who fell for this idea:

I pulled up in front of a customers rental unit in Eureka some months ago only to see three squares of pavement torn up. I figured it had to be for tree planting and was furious that this fellow- a fairly conservative guy- would have fallen for it. Next time I saw him I made sure to ask him about it.

He told me that, unlike the offer I received in the mail offering to do the work at $75.00 per tree, the city offered to pay all costs. He called down to City Hall to find out more. They told him the project was being financed by state and federal "grant monies" and that he might as well take advantage of it if for no other reason than " get back some of your tax money".

What got me is he fell for it and had them tear up his sidewalk and plant the trees. This, despite cutting down a tree in that rental's front yard just a month or two prior. To add insult to injury, when we finished up our conversation he said, "The government shouldn't be in the business of planting trees anywhere". Whatever.

Hopefully, enough people will agree with Moore's My Word and we can put some pressure on to stop this madness. If people want to plant trees, fine, but the city shouldn't be encouraging it and government certainly shouldn't be paying for it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Right Wing Extremists!

Right wing extremist Senator Rand Paul is at it again, reports Radley Balko. Pretty damned uppity for his first term, isn't he, trying to hold back an attack on Iraq or Syria?

The Wasted Vote?

"Not voting third party will only increase our chances of getting either Obama or Romney in the Oval Office."- Derek Fletcher, Gary Johnson's 2012 Facebook page

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

First Look At The Ballot

Got my sample ballot in the mail yesterday. Took my first look and figured out how I'll vote in all but one race:

U.S.  President: A no- brainer, obviously, with Gary Johnson getting the vote. He already won the Libertarian Party's nomination this last weekend.

U.S. Senate: There must be 25 or more candidates listed for senate under this new blanket primary. Just looking at the ballot gives an impression of how silly this idea is. With that many candidates who knows who might end up in the runoff?

I'll stick with principle, go with what I know, and vote for Gail LIghtfoot, perennial Libertarian Party candidate for what seems like forever. Who knows? With that many candidates running, maybe she could get enough votes to make the runoff.

U.S. Congress, 2nd district: Here's one I'm unsure of. Obviously Huffman won't get my vote. I want to vote for whoever has the second most popular support behind Huffman. That might be Republican, Dan Roberts, assuming all the Republicans rally behind one candidate. But I don't think Roberts has much chance of beating Huffman in this authoritarian district.

I'll likely hold out and see who the polls say is the leader for second place and vote for him or her. I suspect it will be Adams or Lawson.

State Assembly, District 2: I finally get a chance to vote for perennial Green Party and one- time Peace and Freedom candidate, Pam Elizondo. I've written here before that any candidate that shows up at a candidate forum in a sweatshirt is ok by me and, despite being a bit goofy, I like some of what I've heard her say in past forums.

Should she make the runoff against Chesbro, I might well vote for her then, too. If it's Chesbro vs. one of the other Democrats in November I'll likely stand aside- as the Greens put it- and not vote.

Prop 28- Term Limits: NO. Just another juxtaposing of legislators' terms of which I can't find any benefit to. Never mind that I'm ambivalent about term limits in the first place. I'd stand aside on this one, normally, but since the majority of skuzbags supporting this also support the tobacco tax, I'll vote NO on this one, too.

Prop 29- Tobacco Tax: NO, and an explanation shouldn't be necessary. A highly regressive tax paid mostly by the poorer in the state, not tobacco companies. More importantly, I'm appalled that anyone would vote for a tax that won't apply to themselves. I would never vote for a tax on someone else that I wouldn't have to pay.

It just goes to show how corrupting democracy has been on Californians. Most of those supporting this tax might never consider beating up some poor guy walking down the street and taking his wallet, yet they think that it's more than ok to do the same thing via the ballot box. Sick, sick, sick.

Measure Y- Abandoned Vehicle Fees: Who'd a thunk this libertarian would support the extension of a tax? I figure what the heck. It's just a dollar and, hopefully, goes for a good cause- abandoned cars being a pet peeve of mine. If someone can come up with a good argument against this tax extension, I may reconsider.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Bohn "Wins" LOWV Candidate Forum

I'd wrote elsewhere I was leaning towards supporting 1st district supervisor candidate Rex Bohn- this despite not living in the district thus not able to vote for him. I've run into him a few times before and always enjoyed it. Still, I'd like to think I have an open mind and didn't write off either of the other candidates. I wanted to hear what they had to say.

I got my chance last night when I stumbled onto the League Of Women Voter's forum for the 1st District Supervisor candidates on TV. I missed about the first 20 minutes.

While the candidates didn't seem to differ much on issues, Bohn seemed to be the most up to speed on what was going on. All of the candidates seemed unused to the camera and stumbled to some degree or another while trying to make their points. Bohn stumbled a bit less than the others from my view.

I'd give Annette DeModena second place. She seemed familiar with most issues and handled herself fairly well. I'll admit to not thinking much of her answer when asked about WalMart coming to Eureka (not really an issue for the supervisors in the first place).

She insisted on criticizing WalMart's business practices and such. I suspect that was to appease the Humboldt Herald crowd. Didn't work for me, although towards the end she just suggested shopping at locally owned businesses. That's fine. I preferred Bohn's "WalMart is coming. If you don't like WalMart, don't shop there", or however he said it.

Cheryl Seidner seems like a fine gal, but not very up to speed on the issues. She admitted that at least a couple times. She might be more in control of things once she got used to a seat on the Board but she seemed least in control last night and the least sure of what to say.

All in all, not a whole lot of specifics on the issues with a lot of generic answers by all- much, if not most of the answers generally in agreement with each other. I'll give Rex Bohn the win for the night and he'd get my vote if I lived in the district.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Anybody But Huffman!

It should be no surprise that I hate Democratic congressional hopeful Jared Huffman's guts. If there's a piece of nanny state legislation in this state, Huffman's been either a sponsor of, or at least voted for it.

His crowning achievement is probably the "Egg Safety Act", or something along that line, that essentially shuts off the flow of eggs from out of state unless they meet California's "cage free" standards. When Prop 2- that cage free egg initiative- fully takes effect and the price for a dozen eggs goes to $4.00 or more, you'll have Jared Huffman to blame.

I don't know that North Korea even does that sort of thing. We should be in a shooting war over this, since it literally takes food from people's mouths.

Huffman must be defeated. A tall order as he seems to be the favorite in this Authoritarian state and district. The only chance for defeating him lies with the Republicans, but not in the way some might think: The Republicans need to come together in force and back another Democrat in the primary.

A fairly prominent local Republican pointed out to me a while back they have a good chance of getting their candidate into the general election, despite the new blanket primary. With so many Democrats in the race, their vote will be split. With 30% or so of the registered voters being Republicans, that might well be enough to get Republican Dan Roberts into the November runoff. Except Dan Roberts has little, if any, chance against Huffman.

The Republicans need to join together and support the other Democrat most likely to win. That looks to be either be Susan Adams or Stacey Lawson. If they do, perhaps we can get one of them into the runoff. Then there's a decent chance of winning if the Republicans all back the anti- Huffman candidate.

The only downside to my proposal is that it assumes the Republicans won't back a proven authoritarian like Huffman. It also assumes Republicans would be willing to put aside their fraternal ties to the party and think of the bigger picture.

Those downsides are pretty big as I've found Republicans have their fair share of Authoritarians who might support Huffman because he "gets things done". I've also found most Republicans- at least the ones I know- are fraternal above all else, including issues.

Things don't look good under even my proposed scenario and the bad guy will likely win again.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Humboldt Pot Makes the SacBee

The Sacramento Bee ran a story on falling pot prices that centers on Eureka and Arcata. I'm sick of hearing about pot so this post is simply FYI.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Since Bin Laden's Death

Much of the media taking their obligatory look at the killing of Osama Bin Laden lately- the anniversary of his death being just the other day. Here's another one of Glenn Greenwald's hard- hitting pieces from Salon talking a look at what's happened to the country since Bin Laden was killed.
Another good read is Pat Buchanan taking a look at Obama's declaration that the war in Afghanistan (and elsewhere) is almost over.

Hat tip to for the stories.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Judge Jim Gray Seeks LP V.P. Slot

Former superior court judge and marijuana legalization advocate, Jim Gray, is seeking the Libertarian Party's nomination for Vice President. LP Presidential hopeful, Gary Johnson, encouraged his nomination earlier on. My guess is that both of them will easily win.

 The LP nominating convention starts today in Las Vegas. We should know the results by Friday.

You'll all want to "Like" Jim Gray's V.P. Facebook page.