Thursday, November 29, 2012

Obama Closes Point Reyes Oyster Farm

Yep. I'd say this lies squarely at Obama's feet. The Sacramento Bee reports the Secretary of Interior decided not to renew the Drakes Bay Oyster Company's lease on the Point Reyes National Seashore. The company produces about 40% of California's oysters.

He hasn't closed down all other commercial activities in the park, but you can bet it won't be long before he decides otherwise. The few environmentalists commenting to the article are already saying this doesn't go far enough.

I'll have to admit this could well be one instance where having someone else in the White House might have made a difference.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Marijuana State's Rights Bill Introduced reports a Democratic congress gal from Colorado has introduced a bill to congress that will end conflicts between states that legalize marijuana and the Controlled Substances Act. H.R. 6606, the State's and Citizen's Rights Act of 2012 has only 9 co- sponsors, so far.

You may want to call our local congresscritter, Mike Thompson, and ask him to sign on. The phone number for his Eureka office is 269-9595. Personally, I don't think he'll do it, but I'll be glad to be proven wrong.

State Economic Freedom Index

I would have never imagined California would rank as high as 25th in this index. I haven't read the full report yet to find out why. And who would have thunk that for the first time in 8 years the Canadian provinces would outrank U.S. states in economic freedom? More info here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

California: Authoritarianism Defined?

I was reading this piece from the Orange County Register the other day. It questions whether at least some of California's election results are consistent with the state's reputation for liberalism.

I had to point out that one mistake made was judging political views as either liberal or conservative. A more appropriate way would be the four point scale as illustrated in what's commonly called the Nolan Chart. I've suggested here before that California isn't a liberal state but an authoritarian one (Populist or Totalitarian on the chart above).

So what's the definition of liberal? According to this online dictionary it is, 
  1. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
  2. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
I don't think modern liberals fit either a or b. I'd suggest they're very much limited to at least contemporary dogmas. While we might concede they favor "reform", those so- called reforms usually involve restrictions on human behavior in some way or another.

Perhaps a better definition of liberal is that being they tend to favor personal freedom, but not economic freedom? That seems a better as it's more easily understood but, assuming that defines liberal, that doesn't describe California.

California does have a reputation for being pro- tax and anti- business, so it fits the economic definition of liberalism. I'd argue, though, contemporary liberals aren't all that favorable towards personal freedoms, either. Just look at attacks on smokers, gun owners or those that like junk foods.

Some will say, "But, Fred. At least some of us want to legalize pot...". I'd suggest that's a fluke, will be short lived and many of those who supposedly support legalization often suggest tobacco, or even alcohol, be made illegal instead. Not exactly what I'd consider support for personal freedoms.

Thus I'd argue that contemporary California "liberals" support neither economic or personal freedoms. To me, that defines an authoritarian.

 But how do we define authoritarian? The online dictionary defines it as, "Characterized by or favoring absolute obedience to authority, as against individual freedom: an authoritarian regime. Of, relating to, or expecting unquestioning obedience.".

That definition doesn't work all that well. I'm not sure that authoritarians favor absolute obedience to all authority- just obedience to their authority when they're in charge.

The definition I usually use is someone who believes government should be involved in every aspect of one's life. That no matter what the issue, those decisions should be made by a politician, bureaucrat or a 51% majority vote, not the individual.

Taking it further,  you can break it down to both functional and philosophical authoritarians. The difference being mostly in one's actions vs. actual beliefs.

For instance, many of my neighbors are at least functional authoritarians. They might not personally care about a lot of things other people do with their personal lives, but they consistently vote for candidates that do. By supporting authoritarian candidates and thus interfering in others lives, they are functionally authoritarian.

Then there are the philosophical authoritarians. These are the ones that either come up with, or support, laws that affect every aspect of our lives. I can think of at least one local blogger that is philosophically authoritarian, defending every government intrusion into our lives no matter what the issue.

California voters often overwhelmingly vote for candidates that not only support government control over our lives, but want to increase it. Witness the strong support for incumbents Chesbro, Huffman and Feinstein last election. There's no question that California is an authoritarian state with a majority of people that support neither economic or personal freedom.

You heard it first from me, folks!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Joy of Hate

Reason T.V.'s Nick Gillespie does a short interview with Greg Gutfeld, the host of Fox's Red Eye show and author of the book Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage. Video runs about ten minutes.

Kind of funny, but I'm not sure I understand exactly what he's trying to say. Well... some of it, not all of it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

U.N. Official Calls For Marijuana Vote Nullification

Not sure if nullification is the right word but, according to the story...

"The head of the U.N. drug watchdog agency is urging U.S. federal officials to challenge ballot measures in Colorado and Washington that decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults 21 and over."

Goes to show what happens when you get involved with the United Nations.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Credit Report: California Moves Up To 47

That's up 3 points from 49 (or would it have been 50?) according to this credit report (.pdf file) on the states by the Conning Municipal Credit Research Group. That's 47 out of 50, with 50 being the lowest rating. They take into account various things like employment, tax revenue and debt, among other things.

If you decide to look at the pdf report itself, the state listings begin on page 4. For those that don't want to go there, here's the top and bottom five rankings. The top five:

1. North Dakota
2. Wyoming
3.South Dakota
4. Nebraska
5. Texas

All five of those states were within one point of that ranking six months ago.

The bottom five:

46. Kentucky (down 8 points from 6 months ago)
47. California
48. New Jersey
49. Illinois
50. Rhode Island

They even have a list of the top five improving states and five most declining states. Check out the pdf file for those if interested.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Quibbling Over Klamath River Flows

I'm still an opponent of taking down the Klamath River dams. The dams provide water storage we might not otherwise have available for, among other things, raising water levels for fish migration if deemed necessary.

Still, the one thing left out of this most recent discussion over Klamath River flows is how the salmon managed to survive through the millennia before man was around.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

World Class Port OTW?

I was talking on the phone with a guy from Redding a few hours ago. He works in freight hauling. He suggested that pretty soon this area should be hopping with the port being rebuilt and expanded.

I told him I thought that was more of a pipe dream, citing the difficulty of getting rail in here and, besides, this is California- The Land of No. He countered that he thought it was already in progress as his company has been shipping a lot of port type industrial stuff here, cranes and such. He seemed to be under the impression that something was already going on.

After hearing my skepticism, he did at least agree that being in California is probably the biggest obstacle. Still, I'd be interested in just what has been shipped here and what its purpose is. It could just be replacing or upgrading port equipment for our normal port operations and not any big expansion.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Driving With Headlights On Safer?

Nice to see someone express some of the same frustrations I have in regards careless pedestrians. Larry DePuy of Eureka echoes some of the concerns I've written about here before. Among them, people walking across the street without looking for approaching traffic.

He makes a few recommendations, one of which I'll have to disagree at least in part with: Driving with your headlights on.

I appreciate the sentiment as cars with lights on are certainly more visible to pedestrians. However, my own experience suggests it might have the opposite effect in improving safety. As we become more accustomed to cars having headlights on, we also tend to only look for those headlights and not the car itself.

Just a few days ago I was crossing the street going to my house. I usually check the street more than once. I took one look and didn't see any cars within blocks. As I walked across the street I looked again and noticed a car about a block away. I hadn't noticed it the first time because it didn't have its headlights on.

No biggie that time, and it might not be for a paranoid guy like me that crosses the street constantly looking for oncoming traffic. The same can't be said for the so many distracted (and careless) pedestrians that are on the streets nowadays.

I'm not saying we shouldn't drive with headlights on. I just don't know that we should feel obligated to. It might be making the problem worse as it makes the cars with headlights off harder to see, and there's still plenty of those on the road.

The Other Lincoln

I've seen a lot of  advertisements lately for the new movie, Lincoln. Since NBC Nightly News had a glowing "review" on the movie last night, I thought it fair to show the other side. Tom DiLorenzo has his say about Lincoln, with Chris Rossini following up. Both courtesy of

I was reminded while reading DiLorenzo of hearing the same sort of stuff back in the early 70s. Any of you older folks remember the TV show, Room 222? It was about a Southern California high school with a black history teacher.

One episode had a black student write a report on Abraham Lincoln that cited many of the things DiLorenzo does in his piece. His report concluded Lincoln was no friend of the black man. The teacher accepts the report but the school principal, a white guy, wants the report changed. It wasn't politically correct and Lincoln is supposed to be a hero.

I don't recall exactly how that episode ended, but it is funny how the two different versions of Lincoln survive with Lincoln the hero remaining dominant. America needs its heroes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Urgent Care Charging E.R. Rates?

A heads up about St. Joe's new Urgent Care Clinic: As I posted on Saturday, it's been made part of St. Joseph's Emergency Room Dept. According to a letter from a nurse in the Times- Standard today, Urgent Care visits are now being charged the same as Emergency Room visits. Yikes!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Men Who Built America

Anybody else been watching the min- series The Men Who Built America? It's on the History Channel. It covers the lives of Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Morgan, Rockefeller and Ford- dreamers and capitalists that built empires, and the country.

It covers all the goings on with industry, politics and capitalism back then- the good, bad and the ugly. Ruthless fellows these guys could be. They even include short segments with current tycoons like Donald Trump, that Apple computer guy and some others giving their perspective on capitalism and entrepreneurship.

I was surprised to learn a few things I must have missed in History class:

I didn't know that J.P. Morgan pretty much bailed out the U.S. government at one point. Apparently the country was about to go bankrupt and he came to its aid by helping arrange and finance loans to keep everyone solvent. I don't believe they mentioned the year in the show, but reading Wikipedia I'm assuming it was the Panic of 1907  Panic of 1893 he helped stave off.

I'd also never paid attention to how Theodore Roosevelt became president, at least his first time. It seems Morgan, Carnegie and Rockefeller schemed together to get William Mckinley elected. They feared his competitor, William Jennings Bryan, would interfere with business too much. They were successful and Mckinley was elected.

The three also didn't trust an up and comer, Theodore Roosevelt, who spoke of breaking up monopolies. They certainly didn't want him for President so, when Mckinley ran for his second term, they managed to get Roosevelt to run for Vice President- a basically powerless position where Roosevelt could no harm.

They never anticipated Mckinley's assassination, which left Roosevelt to ascend to the Presidency. After that, he became a real problem for Morgan and his friends.

Last surprise for me (I went to bed for I could finish watching this part) was about Henry Ford. Back when he wanted to develop his automobile that everyone could afford. He had to essentially get permission from an association of the then current auto manufacturers to produce his car.

It's not mentioned in Wikipedia, but that association eventually denied his permit, putting the quash on his immediate plans. He went to court over the right to produce his automobile and won. I was under the impression that back then anyone could produce anything they wanted with much less hassle than today. Guess not.

Fun show. In fact, I found the wife watching it first (surprised that she'd be interested in it), which was what got me started. Once I started, I couldn't stop, except when it got too far past my bedtime. I can't find a current schedule of when it's running on the show's web page, but it should be in the various TV guides. Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Reason: Why Romney Lost

Nick Gillespie, of Reason magazine, has a rather long winded commentary on why Mitt Romney lost- and why the GOP continues its slide into irrelevance. The way I read it, is the GOP needs to become more libertarian. I agree and have long felt the same way.

Still, the only fiscally responsible and socially tolerant candidate on the ballot in most states was Gary Johnson and he got barely 1% of the vote. That doesn't bode well for fiscally responsible, socially tolerant candidates.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Be Nice To Vegetables

Shouldn't we all? Maybe this should have been the Yes On Prop 37 campaign song?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

St. Joes E.R. Takes Over Urgent Care

It's good to see St. Joseph's isn't totally getting rid of their Urgent Care Dept. The Times- Standard reports the Urgent Care Clinic is being closed but their new Emergency Room will have extra beds to handle urgent non- emergency cases. This is good.

However, as I've pointed out here before, Urgent Care is still quite expensive and is sure to remain so. Certainly not as expensive as emergency care, but much more expensive than a regular doctor visit.

I forget exactly how much I paid when I went to Urgent Care a couple years ago. I think it was over $300.00 for a one hour visit, even after the early pay discounts. As I wrote back then, I wouldn't have done that if I'd known it would be so expensive. Best to wait for your regular doctor if you can.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Is Expensive California Gas Better?

This article on gas prices in the Times- Standard got me to thinking about something I've asked elsewhere but never got a satisfactory answer to:

Is the more expensive California- only gas really any better than the gas the rest of the country uses?

I'm getting to think not as I've asked the question a number of other places and have yet to receive even a hysterical environmentalist's response. I've yet to hear anybody say, "Well, we may have more expensive gas, but at least our air isn't as bad as Oregon's (or Nevada's, or Mexico's).".

I'm wondering if, after all is said and done, the gas we pay so much more for isn't all that better for the air than the gas sold outside of California?

Greenwald on U.S. Drone/ Iran Incident

For those that haven't heard, the U.S. is accusing Iranian fighter planes of firing on a U.S. drone. Glenn Greenwald says all that needs to be said about that report.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

War Partier Really Pissed The War Party Won

Eric Dondero is pissed! Publisher of the Libertarian Republican blog, Romney supporter and hard core War Party member, he is not happy with Obama's win (despite Obama being War Party himself). He's quitting his blog and giving up on electoral politics as a result.

I had hope with the title of his last post: Only Course of Action Now is to Fight Back. I've felt for some time civil war is the only way to turn this country around. Not having the guts to bear arms in defense of liberty myself, might Eric be ready to lead the charge?

Sadly, no. Apparently his "fighting back" will consist mainly of insulting Democrats and shunning any friends or family that are Democrats. More of us should probably do the same, although from a libertarian perspective I should be shunning Republicans, too.

Then I wouldn't have anybody to talk to.

A Little Bit of Good News

About the only good news I can find this morning is that Crescent City voted to stop fluoridating their water. So reports the Triplicate.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


I agree at least in part with Jeff Greenfield that those who are still undecided as to how they'll vote should just stay home. I'll take it one step further, though: Don't vote unless you vote the same as I did.

I mailed my absentee ballot in last Monday. Here's how I voted:

U.S. President: Gary Johnson- No question the best choice, with a great track record of executive experience. If you'd like to vote for one of the other third party candidates, that's acceptable and there's no better time than now since Obama has the state locked up.

U.S. Senator: Elizabeth Emken- What's to say? Anybody but Feinsten, the authoritarian's choice.

State Assembly, Dist. 2: Tom Lynch- Clearly a better pick than Chesbro if for no other reason than Chesbro holds a good share of the blame for running this state into the ground. Lynch has also expressed interest in reforming state pensions which Chesbro is ill- equipped to do since he helped create that mess.

Eureka City Council, Ward 2: Wrote in Charlie Bean- Hey, it's just one seat on the council, but Bean deserves it for staying out of the Us vs. Them, Red vs. Blue fracas. The world won't come to an end regardless of who wins.

Eureka City Counci, Ward 4: Didn't vote- No reason to vote with only one person in the race. If I the incumbent had done something good, I might well vote for her as a sign of support, but nothing comes to mind so I'll leave that one blank.

Prop 30, Tax increase: NO- The Governor and state legislature have shown little, if any, sense of fiscal responsibility. Voting Yes would be akin to patting them on the back for a job poorly done and asking for more of the same.

Prop 31, Budget stuff: Didn't vote ?- I actually don't remember if I voted Yes, or didn't vote on this one. My Yes vote would have been in support of a two year budget cycle. Whatever.

Prop 32, Union dues paycheck withholding: YES- I was going to stand aside on this one but opponents convinced me to vote for it when they affirmed that union members wouldn't donate to their cause unless it was taken from their paychecks. If passed, union members get more of a choice but unions are still involved in the political process through varous PACs and such.

Will the unions still have as much money to spend? That depends on their membership.

Prop 33, Auto Insurance: Didn't vote- Six one way, half a dozen the other. I'll let everyone else decide.

Prop 34, Replaces death penalty: YES- If only to save all the money we spend enforcing it, although other reasons as well.

Prop 35, Human trafficking: NO- A solution in search of a problem. Main reason is this will clutter up sex offender list with yet more people that shouldn't be on it. Current penalties suffice.

Prop 36, Modify three strikes: YES- We need to do all we can to separate the wheat from the chaff in regards who spends life in prison, although I'm not sure this is really needed.

Prop 37, GMO Labeling: NO- More of an anti- business initiative than anything else. Also, crony capitalism could be argued as it's sponsored by organic and natural food producers trying to put the screws to non- natural producers.

Prop 38, Tax Increase: NO- We certainly don't need any more ballot box budgeting, which is what this is.

Prop 39, Out of state corporation taxes: Didn't vote ?- Here's another one I can't recall if I voted, or not. If I did, it would have been NO as all arguments I heard for it amounted to dragging out of state business down to the level of state owned businesses.

Prop 40, Referendum on redistricting: Didn't vote- Even proponents dropped their support of it. No biggie and no reason to vote one way or the other.

If you voted even close to how I voted above, especially for Gary Johnson and against the tax increases, I urge you to vote today. If not, stay home and stop ruining this state and country.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Worst Civil Liberties Presidents

Glenn Greenwald took a look at U.S. Presidents to try and determine which one is the worst in regards support for civil liberties. He points out that it can be difficult to sort through as there's a number of standards to go by. For example, could James Madison be considered a defender of civil liberties since he owned slaves?

Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt deliberately violated American's civil liberties, but those actions were taken during war and ended once the war was over. Greenwald points to Bush and Obama as the worst, with Obama taking the edge for first place.

His reasoning, in part, being because they violated American's rights in response to an open ended war with no end in sight. They also not only passed laws, but extended and expanded them. Obama (or Romney) will likely continue to do so in the years ahead. Something to keep in mind  amidst all the campaign hype.
This post dedicated to Plain Jane, over at the Humboldt Herald, whose dedication to Obama knows no bounds. Also, kudos to Anti- for not only the Greenwald piece but another one on civil liberties they featured today.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Experts: Prop 37 Could Encourage Lawsuits

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat has a story on the potential for lawsuits if Prop 37- the genetically engineered foods labeling initiative- passes and survives legal challenges. Just think Jason Singleton.

The primary targets, Muller said, would be the giant food makers, but retail grocers also might find themselves in the crosshairs.

"It's easier to win," Muller said. "It's easier to convince the mom-and-pop stores to settle than to convince Monsanto

More On McGovern

Another look back at the late George McGovern from the Future of Freedom Foundation. I love this part:

 There was a joke in the 1960s that went something like this: “In ’64, I was told that if I voted for Goldwater, we’d be at war in Vietnam. And they were right; I voted for Goldwater, and we went to war in Vietnam.” Well, a similar joke could have been made regarding the ’72 election: “In ’72, I was told that if I voted for McGovern, we’d retreat from Vietnam, the welfare state would expand, and the economy would tank. And they were right; I voted for McGovern, and we retreated from Vietnam, the welfare state expanded, and the economy tanked.”

For those that don't get the joke, both Goldwater and McGovern lost. Goes to show that campaign claims can meet reality in ways we might not expect.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Supreme Court Mulls Drug Dog Cases

The Supreme Court is considering the constitutional aspects of two cases involving drug dogs from Florida. Radley Balko's look at the cases might well be titled All You Ever Wanted To Know About Drug Dogs. He covers a lot of ground.

Suffice it to say, this could have some important ramifications depending on what they decide. I'm not very optimistic. The Supreme Court seems to rule more and more often in favor of the power of the state, even if just a little at a time, regardless of who sits on it.