Thursday, October 31, 2013

Nielsen's Letter

Past Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen wrote a letter to the editor of the Times- Standard with some observations about the arrest of EPD's Sergeant Laird. Can it be true they used 7 or 8 officers to arrest Laird at gunpoint? That does seem a bit over the top.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Recycling: No Pizza Cartons

I'd heard more and more places don't accept pizza delivery cartons for recycling. The reason being just one piece of cheese can ruin the whole lot. I then wondered if Willits Solid Waste accepts pizza cartons since they accept some things City Garbage used to not accept (Humboldt sends its recyclables to Willits Solid Waste).

Turns out they don't, either, according to their recycling brochure (pdf file). I've been putting my pizza cartons in the trash for some time. I guess I'll continue to do so. I'm sure most will continue to put them in the recycling bin. I'm often amazed to see what some throw in their recycling bins, even after being told they shouldn't.

Oh, and just to mention it again: Plastic shopping bags- those supposed "single use" plastic bags- shouldn't be put in the recycling bin, either. You can recycle those bags at the bins in the front of most grocery stores.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Another Political Test

I was looking for some information for my next blog post when I stumbled on to this political quiz. I can't be sure but I don't think I've seen it before. Unlike the other two quizzes I just covered, this one seems to be focused on the Libertarian and Authoritarian sectors with social and economic leanings influencing those.

Their introduction to the test is pretty good. Using an example of both Stalin and Gandhi being leftists, would it be fair to say one was more to the left than the other to account for their differences? Good point. Certainly more than a linear political spectrum is needed in that case.

I'm not sure I like the test itself. At least some of the questions seem to be leading you toward an answer. The first one, for example, asks "If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations.". I guess if you agree that assumes you think interests of international businesses are contrary to the world at large? Maybe that's their point, but still.

Or the third question: "No one chooses his or her country of birth, so it's foolish to be proud of it.". What kind of question is that? I almost feel as if they're trying to start an argument with me.

What if you don't agree with the premise of the question? Or don't really understand its intent from the way it's worded? Then again, I suppose you can always just agree or disagree- or strongly agree or disagree- with the question as I did and let the scores fall where they may.

I also don't like not having "Not Sure" available as an option. With the questions they asked I would have answered NS to a number of them. As it was I only Strongly Agreed or Disagreed with a few questions with the rest just agreeing or disagreeing, even if I wasn't sure I felt that way.

I scored in the upper left area of the right Libertarian quadrant, where I put the X in the illustration. I guess that makes me a Right Libertarian, but I'm pretty close to the center overall. I'd be willing to bet I'd score differently every time I took the test depending on what mood I was in.

A Humboldt Tour

A fun read and some nice pictures of Eureka and the redwoods in the tour this fellow took. Hat tip to John Fullerton who posted the link on his Facebook page.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Real Political Spectrum

Libertarian Dave Bergland was speaking to some school kids years ago. He asked them, "What would someone be considered if he believed in legalizing pot?". The class responded "Left". Then, "What if he believed in gun ownership?". The class responded "Right".

Then, "What if he believed in both legalizing pot and gun ownership?". That left the class with no easy answer using a left/right paradigm.

At that point he said, "Left and right doesn't really fit, does it? How about this?". I'm not sure what he did as I was listening to a recording, but I''m sure he brought out either the Nolan Chart, or the World's Smallest Political Quiz. That's one version of the Nolan Chart below:

In short, it points out the left generally allowing for more personal freedom but not so hot on economic freedom. The right generally believing in more economic freedom than personal freedom. But that's too simple because some believe in even less or more of both. Statists (authoritarians) believe in little personal or economic freedom and libertarians believe in lots of both  economic and personal freedom.

Personally, my feeling is the left generally doesn't believe in personal freedom as much as the charts would suggest- gun control, for example- but I'm sure there are some on the left that actually fit in the left sector than further below.

There's various quizzes available that will show you your place on the chart depending on your answers and, no, I don't score 100% libertarian on the WSPQ. For one thing, I'm not a supporter of open borders.

The World's Smallest Political Quiz seems more likely to move someone more toward what is the Statist section on the Nolan Chart.  The link takes you to a questionnaire that will calculate your score, but you have to add the scores yourself. I'm unable to access the Advocates for Self Government web site whose chart automatically calculates your score as you answer the questions.

The Who Should Decide version of the quiz is more likely to move someone into the Libertarian section if only because most people believe in making their own decisions. I've actually given the same people both quizzes at gun shows and most score more towards libertarian when asked who should decide various things: You or the government?

Does this have any bearing in the real political world right now? Maybe, but probably not. Most people still think of politics in black vs white, good vs. bad, red vs. blue and us vs. them.
As far as my own politics- am I left, center or right?- I like to think of myself as the guy in the middle as I often find myself taking sides with either left or right. Depends on the issue. Have to be careful with that as generally I see "moderates" as adopting the more repressive policies of the left and right, rather than their more permissive ones.

I also have a relatively long history with the right having been a registered Republican for much of my life until I switched registration to Libertarian in '92. I have been registered libertarian ever since with no plans on changing.

As I told someone yesterday, I suppose if I were to align myself with either side it might well be the right since from my personal experience I've found more common ground with some of them than I have with the lefties. That's assuming you can get past their partisan loyalties. 

After all, from which side do we hear the most vitriol regarding either libertarians or the Tea Party? The Left. I've heard a lot of references from lefties lately calling the Tea Party "nazis". One even referred to them yesterday in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat as "authoritarian". This, because the Tea Party calls for less government and taxes (rolling my eyes)? 

Clearly those on the left are more the enemy of freedom overall as a group. Which isn't to say some don't support some freedom oriented issues. And when they support an issue supporting individual liberty, I'm more than happy to stand with them. 

The anti- panhandling ordinance in Arcata, for example. I was fully behind fanatical partisan lefite Richard Salzman's attempt to stop it. He's hated by most on the right, and for good reason. That made no difference to me. On that issue I stand with him.

The Right has its share of authoritarians as well. In fact, one fairly well known Republican was scoring straight authoritarian on the World's Smallest Political Quiz before I had him stop answering the questions (I didn't want him to happily declare himself an authoritarian). Yet, even with him there are some common issues we can stand together on. Not many, but some.

I'm willing to stand with with either left or right on issues of mutual concern. On other issues I may end calling either or both sides "Them".
I actually first registered to vote as a Libertarian back around '73ish after I'd turned 18. Back then you had to write in the party name on the registration card. It wasn't a recognized political party in California yet having just been formed in 1971. 

I'd read about the party in the Los Angeles Free Press earlier on when I lived in Southern CA. They described it as a party of peace, love and hippiness (my words). Sounded neat so I signed up as soon as I could register to vote.

Not long after that I was reading an article in U.S. News and World Report, or some other magazine, about the late Roger MacBride. The article discussed him and the Libertarian Party saying the LP was, to paraphrase, "...composed mostly of ex marxists...". Wanting no part of that, I switched to Republican as soon as I had the opportunity and stayed with them for 18 or 19 years. 

I would have considered myself a moderate Republican during most of that time. You can read how I ended up switching to the Libertarian Party here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I Saw My First UFO!

Anybody else see it? I was standing in my garage on E street in Eureka at 6:30pm tonight. I was looking west, just to the right of the roof on the Matteoli's house. I see three things:

Two small strips of linear clouds- not very long or wide. To the right of the two horizontal strips was a shining dot, like a planet or bright star might appear. Keep in mind this seemed to be quite a way off over the ocean.

The cloud or contrail strips on the left disappeared first. Then the one on the right disappeared. Then the "star" just to the right disappeared after slowly moving a bit down and to the left. That was it.

Keep in mind this seemed to be a ways out and it all happened in about 5 or 10 seconds. I'm guessing it was a rocket, or maybe some air combat exercise. I've seen plenty of military rockets before, but nothing like that one, assuming that's what it was.

Still, a UFO is a UFO. Remember: that means Unidentified Flying Object. UFO does not mean it was extraterrestrial. My first UFO! All the other rockets I've seen I knew what they were.

I'd have no problem finding out it was some rocket or air defense exercise. It was pretty neat, anyway.

Adam Laird: Part 2

I'm a bit disappointed with the Times- Standard's second part of the Adam Laird prosecution. I'd hoped to see a little more regarding the incident he's being charged with. Perhaps some information from the prosecutorial side rather than just the defense. That didn't happen. We just got more along the same line as in part 1, that being claims of the charges being some sort of political retribution.

There's certainly a story to be told about the inner squabbling within the Eureka Police Department, but I'm not sure just how much that has to do with Laird being prosecuted. After all, even if he was set up and treated differently than other officers might have been, that seems a separate issue as far as his guilt or innocence of the criminal charges.

For example; If other officers might not have been prosecuted for doing the same sort of thing, maybe they should have been? Assuming he was treated differently, does that amount to reason for acquittal? Maybe his lawyer can make that case. I don't know.

It does give the defense the advantage of muddling issues and perhaps raising doubt towards his accusers. I'm not sure the prosecution can really counter this. If they try to argue against political prosecution in court, that will just muddle things up more which might benefit the defense.

It does seem from what I've read as if there were, and are, a number of people within EPD that wanted Laird out of there. Whether their reasons are valid or not, we'll likely never know.
Oh, and as far as the second story in the Times- Standard today on the Laird case: A summation of the Laird case "In their own words". Funny thing that it's just a repeat of quotes from the other story- Part 2. Why would they feel the need to summarize all the quotes from the story right next to it? And why no quotes from anyone on the prosecution side? Hmmm???

Tim Martin & the Pledge of Allegiance

Most of Tim Martin's My Word commentaries seem a bit childish to me, but he's wrote one or two I agree with. In today's Times- Standard he complains about the Pledge of Allegiance. I'll agree with him on that one, too.

Of course, his main beef seems to be the phrase "under God" being included, and he goes on with that tired old separation of Church and State argument. He wrote:

"The entire matter could be settled if we just drop "One nation under God" and replace it with "One nation under the constitution." Who could find fault with that?".

I can, for one, and it seems a bit contrary to when he rightfully brings up nationalism a couple paragraphs later:

"Nationalism is a religion, too, and not a very good one. The way I see it, blind obedience to a government/military hierarchy is every bit as objectionable as an unquestioning reverence to an imaginary god."

That's right. And no one should be compelled to pledge allegiance to the State, and that's just what the Pledge of Allegiance is: a pledge of devotion to the State. I'd just as soon we got rid of the Pledge entirely. However, I don't object to anyone pledging themselves to whatever they want, so long as they do it on their own and don't force others to.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Defense Wins....So Far

I'd say the defense is winning after reading the first in a two part series on the prosecution of Eureka Police Sergeant, Adam Laird. It does seem as if he was singled out for prosecution, at least after reading the Times- Standard story.

I'm sure there's more to it. We'll see what Part 2 brings up, but when not even the supposed victim recalls being kicked and he suffered no physical injury, it seems this is more than about that one incident.

And what's with this other story about Laird's hearing in regards being fired? To read that it certainly seems someone on the department had a beef with him, whether real or imagined. According to Chief Harpham "....his department had long intended to fire Laird.". You have to wonder what for, although we'll likely never find out.

But then we're told, "Harpham declined to discuss Laird's case, noting that he will oversee the Skelly hearing and needs to remain neutral and unbiased.". Hmmm...would someone who knows all the reasons they wanted to fire Laird be neutral and unbiased? Doesn't read that way to me. 

Don't get me wrong. I like Murl Harpham. There just seems to be more going on here than meets the eye.

The Never Ending Nanny State

Jacob Sullum has two short pieces in Reason magazine on a couple recent nanny state developments:

First, he looks at attempts to regulate or even ban e- cigarettes. National Public Radio has been covering this a bit lately. I find the whole issue so typical on the nanny stater: Every new development needs to be regulated. Doesn't matter if the regulation helps or hurts anyone. It's the regulation that's important.

Next, the Food and Drug Administration's recent decision to reschedule hydrocodone to make it harder to legally use. To hell with the pain patients. Someone might abuse the drug and they're here to protect us.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Sacramento Bee Does The Freddy

I've been having fits since the Sacramento Bee suspended comments to their online stories and commentary. Takes a lot of fun out of reading that paper because there's only half as much to read now. 

So I couldn't help myself when I read a letter to the editor to the Bee yesterday morning expressing the same sentiments. Since I couldn't write an approving comment online, I sent in a letter right away. It showed up on their web site before 4pm yesterday. Not sure if that means it will be in the hard copy. I'll assume it will.

I think they edited it a bit as it doesn't read quite the way I remember it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Latest Yelp Review

How many of you folks do Yelp reviews? I do them whenever I can and enjoy it. My latest one reviews the Myrtle Avenue Veterinary Hospital which we took our old tomcat, Stinker, to yesterday. 

Be sure and check all my other reviews. I've only done 20. I guess I don't get out much, but if you want a fair, impartial and no- nonsense business review, look no further than mine.

The one thing I still wonder about is the difference between 4 and 5 stars? Five stars should mean absolutely fantastic and head and shoulders above any other businesses. I'm not sure all the places I've given five stars to are that good, but do they deserve a lowly four? Whatever. The written reviews are what makes a useful rating, not the stars.

Update: I just split that review into two separate ones. I started out with the hospital being the same as the store. Despite them being right next to each other, they're two different businesses on Yelp so you can review them separately. The store will be at the top with the hospital next.

Elephant Pee

I never would have imagined that elephants lose about 42 gallons of pee when they urinate. Some other pee facts in this Popular Science story.

A $75K Ride To Near Space

Looks as if before we know it balloon rides will be available to carry passengers to near space. That's 19 miles up. The expected $75,000 price tag might be a bit for most of us, but it's nice to know adventures like this are becoming more available for the little guy

I don't know that I'd take advantage of it even if I had the money. I'm scared of heights.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Living Free

More fun stuff from the Punk Rock Libertarians Facebook group.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Us vs. Them

Reason's J.D. Tuccille takes a look at a writer for Salon magazine who seems to have his panties in a wad over an informal alliance between progressive groups and libertarians protesting NSA surveillance practices.

The writer agrees that NSA surveillance is a problem, but doesn't think progressives should be seen in the company of non- lefties protesting it. Libertarians are the enemy says he. It doesn't matter what issues you may agree on. The enemy is the enemy. Yuck!

Reminds me of years ago when I was a dues paying supporter of Gun Owners of America. I got wind of a situation that developed involving GOA boss- guy, Larry Pratt:

There was some gun control issue being fought over in the Northeast. I can't recall the exact state. A petition was written up and signed by groups who opposed the gun control measure. GOA signed as an interested party as did a number of other groups, including the Pink Pistols- a gay/ lesbian shooting group.

When Pratt heard of an LGBT group with their name alongside GOA's on the petition he had GOA remove their name from the petition- apparently being so worked up over homosexuals he couldn't even sign a petition on an issue he had common ground with them on. Yuck!

I stopped being a dues paying member of GOA because of that. Larry Pratt is one of the best I've heard when arguing against gun control issues, but when he can't even make a short termed alliance with a group because he dislikes that group over a totally unrelated issue, it makes me question not just his efficacy as a leader, but his common sense.

That's especially true when it's a single issue organization such as GOA. You don't get on bad terms with another group for something that has nothing to do with your issue. You get support wherever and from whomever you can.

That's why I like being with the libertarians. We can join with any group on any issue so long as it's in support of individual liberty.

I remember doing a Libertarian Party table at a gun show at Redwood Acres some years ago and having a short chat with the Republican Women's Federation at their hot dog and chili stand. I told them, "The Democrats wouldn't be seen dead doing a gun show. The Republicans wouldn't be seen dead doing a hempfest. That's what I like about being a libertarian: We can do both!".

As expected, mention of the hempfest didn't go over well with them, but that's not the point. The point being we'll join anyone in support of a common cause, even if some might think the other group is one  of Them.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Would You Sign This Petition?

Funny, or scary? Your choice. Kind of a fun video here of a guy talking people in San Diego into signing a petition in support of the "Orwellian Police State". To be fair to the signers, you don't hear what he says to get them started and all people seem to be signing the petition by the time you see him mention the police state, Nazi Germany and the rest.

It's probably not all that far fetched since most people don't pay much attention to politics. I suspect many of those who do might knowingly sign the same petition if explained a different way.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Press- Democrat Opines Public Pensions

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat has as surprisingly lucid editorial today looking at the exploding pension costs of California state and municipal employees. There's even a Facebook comment by past state assembly(?) candidate, Tom Lynch, supporting the statewide initiative by the Mayor of San Jose to reform the state's public pension systems.

I'm still wondering how Humboldt County's pension systems are holding up and whether Eureka's last sales tax increase was covering in whole, or part, rising employee pension costs? It's happening across the state. It must be happening here.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Short Health Care Discussion

I generally stay out of discussions about health care. Being on MediCal- although I pretty much pay all my own medical bills- I feel I should stand aside on those. But, I had a short lived discussion with a neighbor yesterday I found interesting, if not frustrating.

The first thing he said as he walked up was something along the line of "TheTea Party is dead and now we have MediCare for all"- the MediCare reference meaning what he believed to be Obamacare. I replied that I wasn't so sure the Tea Party was dead, but what did he mean by we're all on MediCare, or however it was he put it.

He asked me when I first started working. I replied age 16. He replied he started working at 15 and that he's worked 50 years. He pulled out his newly issued MediCare card and told me "I worked 50 years to earn this. Now just anybody can get it.". I had to tell him Obamacare is nothing like MediCare. He insisted it was.

I went on to tell him about how MediCal works- with income restrictions and all- and how I'd recently tried the new Obamacare web site to see how what they might offer that would fit us. I found a plan that was pretty much along the lines of what I'd checked out on Blue Shield recently. That plan was $83.00 a month with a $2000 deductible.

The one we might have qualified for under Obamacare was pretty much the same thing although it was subsidized depending on one's income. Our cost would have supposedly been $2.00 a month after a tax rebate to cover the hundreds of dollars it would normally cost. It also had various things covered, or not, plus the same $2000 deductible. I told him that was hardly MediCare.

I wanted to take it further and explain a few more things along with asking him some questions about how MediCare works for him. I suspect he thought I'd be more sympathetic to what he was trying to say but he abruptly turned and walked away in a huff.

So much for a chat with someone that seems to have gotten their entire understanding of all things political listening to Sean Hannity.

It turned out we didn't qualify for the Obamacare plan, anyway, as we were already on MediCal/MediCare.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Lynch Mob Returns

Actually, I don't know that it ever went away.

Once again the Lost Coast Outpost reports on someone arrested for a sex crime. This time it happens to be what seems to be an otherwise well thought of Sergeant with the Humboldt Sheriff's Office. Immediately, the hate filled comments start about what a scuzbag the guy is.

I'll never cease to be appalled at the number of people that fly off the handle when they read of an arrest in the newspaper for just about any crime. I see it in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat comments fairly often, too.

Sex crimes really get the hate comments flowing. There seems to be few people that will sit back and wait for the facts of the case to come to light.

In this case, most of the commentators seem to believe the Sergeant guilty even though the only information they have is a short report of him being arrested. Some even go so far and defend their belief even after being reminded that all we have is an initial news report.

I reminded them that false accusations are not uncommon, pointing out the Duke lacrosse team rape accusations. Those accusations were later proven to be false.

I forgot about this one until just now but I recently read in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat of a guy freed after spending months in jail for child molest. He was actually identified by the young victim. Turns out she was wrong and it was the guy's room mate that did it. They figured that out after DNA analysis.

I also pointed out on the Outpost the case of the fellow in Long Beach who was convicted of raping a girl in high school. He denied guilt but pled guilty on his lawyer's advice. He might have faced up to 41 years in prison had he contested the charge. He ended up spending 5 years in prison and 5 on parole before he got out and contacted his accuser. He recorded her confessing to lying about what happened but it still took a while to fully exonerate himself.

I pointed out that you couldn't blame him for taking the plea deal, taking into consideration all those at Lost Coast Outpost who consider an accusation or arrest evidence of guilt. What if he had ended up with a jury that felt the same way?

Scary people in this world, and I'm not just referring to the people actually committing crimes.

On the upside, last I looked, the comment I made suggesting people not rush to judgment over a simple arrest report had 33 up ticks. That's more than twice than any of the dozens of other comments posted there so far.

Maybe there's not as many people foaming at the mouth over this as the LCO comments would make it seem?

Anti- Doomsday Bombs

Interesting story from NBC News about efforts to develop nuclear weapons for stopping asteroids from smashing into the earth. They say they've identified 90% of the larger asteroids and they aren't a threat. Scary subject.

What about the other 10%? Keep in mind that one meteor accompanying that last close asteroid fly- by wasn't detected until it blew up in the sky over Russia.

Update: Oh, NO! Here's an asteroid that could hit us in 2036...maybe.

Another fun, albeit scary, story found for me by the Rational Review News Digest.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Eureka City Schools Election: I Voted

I wrote earlier I might just sit out the election for Eureka City Schools board. It didn't take long for me to change my mind.

First, you have the challenger, Lisa Olivier, who doesn't seem to have any reason for running other than the generic We need change. She can't say just what needs to be changed. Then again, we can't be sure just what she thinks as she's nowhere to be found.

She was invited to discuss issues on a thread over at Eric Kirk's blog but never showed up. Her supporters, such as they were, tried to make some sort of case for her but failed miserably. John Fullerton did show up and kicked ass. 

I've also been led to understand Olivier declined invitations to discuss school board issues in any public forum.

The worst part is the local Democratic Central Committee trying to make this a partisan race. They sent a couple letters to the Times- Standard suggesting people vote for Olivier simply because she's a Democrat, then tried to fabricate some issues to use against Fullerton but those didn't hold much water. They obviously just want to put a stuffed shirt with a D next to her name on the board for partisan purposes.

If nothing else, their complaints would have been more properly directed at the Democrats that maintain a majority on the board, not that it really matters. As John Fullerton has pointed out, the votes taken by board members generally have nothing to do with political affiliation. Votes are often mixed with Fullerton, the sole Republican, voting with or against the Democrats and an Independent.

Trying to turn this into partisan race is reason enough to vote for John Fullerton. After all, the challenger can't come up with one specific issue on which she differs with Fullerton. If there's no legitimate issues involved, then at least the Democratic Central Committee deserves a slap down for trying to turn this into a Democrat vs. Republican thing.

For that reason alone I cast my vote for John Fullerton a week or so ago. I hope many others do the same.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

That Fishing Proverb

More fun stuff from the Punk Rock Libertarians' Facebook Group.

Sacramento Bee Comments Suspended

Comments to stories and commentary in the Sacramento Bee were temporarily suspended a day or two ago, just as the Bee promised. I can't stand it. Even if I don't comment myself I often like to read comments made by others. 

It's kinda like some of us agreed upon back in the days of the Humboldt Herald: A blog that doesn't accept comments is only half a blog, and so it is with newspapers now. Funny that it wasn't that long ago that we wouldn't have even thought about online commenting to news items.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that one SacBee reader is glad the comments are gone. What gets me is I can't comment on his letter!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Like the bold lettering?

Whad'ya think about these posts being done in bold lettering? I like it.

I changed the resolution on my screen yesterday after more than a year of fighting it. Blame it on Yahoo and Google Mail- the new, improved Mail, I should have wrote. It was fine before they improved it.

I switched to Google mail after Yahoo kept bugging me to change my screen resolution to better use their upcoming mail improvements. Then Google followed suit. When the two of them finally did their supposed upgrade it made both systems hard to use without increasing the resolution. Yesterday afternoon I finally switched from 600x800 to whatever the next resolution was. As expected, I didn't like the results.

Yahoo and Google Mail does work better. That is good, but it was even harder to read some things off and online. So, I spent an hour or so going through screen and browser options and preferences, adjusting to larger fonts when I could. That helped on some things but not on others.

Then I came here to make a post and had trouble reading my own posts. Not sure if it was just me or the actual screen resolution. That's when it struck me it would be more readable if I used bold text. I tried it and it works, at least for me.

Anybody not like the bold lettering? Not that I'll likely switch back. Just thought I'd ask.

Americans Want a Third Party?

Politico reports on yet another public opinion poll suggesting a growing number of Americans want a third party to emerge. This one even shows a majority of Democrats and Republicans wanting an alternative:

 "...for the first time in the poll’s history, when broken down by party, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans say a third party is needed."

I have to wonder what these people think this third party is supposed to do? Oh, I know: Get things done, which more than likely means adopting the more repressive polices of both major parties.

Regardless, I'm skeptical of the whole suggestion. Sure, maybe a number of people said they'd prefer a third choice, but they already have plenty of third party choices and they don't vote for them. I'm not referring to all the nut case fringe candidates, either.

As I wrote earlier this year, during last year's presidential election we had very credible candidate in past two- term governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson. Johnson was both fiscally responsible and socially tolerant, with an admirable record as Governor. Yet he only got around 1% of the vote.

I'll suggest the people in these polls don't really know what they want and probably wouldn't vote for that candidate even if they did. Why? Simplicity, as I wrote before. Rather than explain it once again, I'll simply refer you to my earlier post (Feb. 9, 2013) on why the two party system still dominates, and probably will for the foreseeable future.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Most Annoying Phrases

Some time ago I decided to make a list of ten phrases that really annoy me- from a libertarian perspective, of course. I have eight, so far, but can't seem to come up with the last two. Maybe some of you have a phrase or two that would fit on the list?

I'll give one I on my list as an example: If just one live is saved it will be worth it....

That annoys me to no end as it's usually used in justifying one nanny state law or another.

I realize that most who follow this list are lefties so you might not be annoyed by the same sort of thing, but who knows? If there's a phrase that annoys you, post it here and maybe it will get the honor of being added to my list.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Revolutionary War Photos

Since I can't think of anything to rant about today, here's some neat photos- known as daguerreotypes- of Revolutionary War veterans. I don't believe I've heard of any of them before. I'd love to see pictures like this of some of the better known figures.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Earthquake: YIKES!

Pretty good shaker. Hopes that's it.

This site says it's a 5.

My Secession Interview

Eric Black, freelance reporter doing a story for KMUD News, came up the other day to cover the Jefferson State presentation at the Samoa Cookhouse. He contacted me after reading my letter to the editor in the Times- Standard hoping to get some sound bites for his story.

I agreed. He came by the house and we did a short interview. It was fun. It's available online here. Just a short bite from me, which is good. He saved my ass as I'm horrific in interviews and speaking. As it was I came off well enough with him leaving out the bad parts. What a guy!
Meanwhile, Pat Buchanan takes a look at secession movements past and present.

It's For The Children

From California's sister state, New York, comes news of a school that has banned use of footballs, baseballs or anything else that has the potential for kids to get hurt.

On the federal level, the Postal Service is destroying an entire series of postage stamps because the pictures on them illustrate "unsafe behavior" such as kids doing headstands without helmets or "cannonballs".

I feel so much safer now.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Dan Johnson Story

This week's North Coast Journal features a story about local developer Dan Johnson. He's been in the news lately over the Arcata High graduation plagiarism incident. While the story wasn't exactly friendly, it does show him to be a pretty stand up guy in my book. The kind of guy that doesn't ask for jobs, he makes them.

As far as the plagiarism thing goes, yep, so he used something someone else wrote in his speech. Big deal. It should just be embarrassing at worst. I didn't know much about the guy at first, but the story confirms what I suspected from the beginning: He's being targeted for who he is, not the plagiarism.

If anyone else had done the same thing- especially someone left of center or not well known- I'm sure most would have just rolled their eyes during the speech, tried to ignore it and then moved on. The only reason this has gotten so much attention is because Dan Johnson is successful and thus became a political target.
Lest anyone accuse me of playing my own politics over this, I beg to differ. I don't like it when anyone makes a mountain out of a mole hill.

Despite being pretty much a Clinton hater at the time of his Zippergate scandal, I was one who didn't think it a big deal. Clinton lied, and I didn't blame him. The same accusations of Johnson not apologizing enough, or not apologizing sincerely, plagued Clinton back then. I was one of many who felt we should just drop it and move on.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Feds Enforcing The "Shutdown"

Reason's J.D. Tuccille tells us about federal park rangers enforcing the government shutdown even at private businesses in federal parks.

"...a Park Service ranger told the Washington Times, 'We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can...'."

This sort of stuff is way out of line, but should be no surprise.

Breaking Up The United States

Some of you laugh at the idea of Northern California and Southern Oregon forming a new state. A writer at the Wall Street Journal suggests it might be a good idea for many areas of the United States to actually secede from the U.S. and form their own countries.

Hat tip to the Punk Rock Libertarians Facebook group for the link.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

A Colorized Civil War

It's pretty neat the way these two guys colorize old Civil War photos. It really does seem to bring them to life. I just wish there were more. You can find some here and here, but they're Facebook pages so you really have to look for the photos and there doesn't seem to be very many of them.

Hat tip to for the link.

Monday, October 07, 2013

SacBee Changing Comment Format

Yet another newspaper seems to have had enough of nasty anonymous comments to their stories. The Sacramento Bee announced it will temporarily stop allowing comments while they decide how they're going to change the format. Apparently they don't know exactly how they're going to do it but will require some sort of login via social networks such as Facebook or Twitter.

Funny thing is, I read and participate in comments to the Bee regularly and haven't seen all that many outlandish comments. Then again, they say they delete hundreds of them a day (sounds like a full time job) so maybe I missed them. I also usually stop reading comments if there are more than 30 or so.

The comment I left his morning was that I don't mind logging in via Facebook. I just hope they don't switch to anything like the Facebook format for comments as so many papers have done. Facebook comments suck. Disqus comments work fine for me.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

My State of Jefferson Letter

I wrote a letter to the editor of the Times- Standard last Friday. It was in reply to a My Word commentary suggesting Humboldt would be a good addition to the State of Jefferson. They apparently didn't approve of it as it never got published. Since they didn't, I'll post it here, although I've already written pretty much the same thing here not long ago:

I appreciate Phil Elcock's desire for Humboldt to join the proposed State of Jefferson (My Word, 9/27), but there's a problem: 

This is not the Humboldt it was when I moved up here 40 years ago. Now it's become an extension of the Bay Area, both culturally and politically. We're part of the problem those other northern counties want to get away from.

Look no further than recent elections where over 60% of the votes went for Wes Chesbro, Jared Huffman and Dianne Feinstein- three people who have done their fair share of creating the California we suffer through today. Those voters come with the county if we join Jefferson.

Why bring the problem with your when you form a separate state? Let's wish the State of Jefferson well, but they should leave Humboldt out for their best chance of success.

A State of Jefferson spokesman will be addressing the Humboldt Taxpayer's League next Wednesday. I sent a copy of my letter to their Executive Director. Hopefully, he'll have time to show it to him. I'd be interested in what the SOJ fellow has to say.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Economic Freedom Comparisons

Nothing I feel like writing about these last couple days so here's something for you to play with: This economic freedom tool lets you compare the United States to other countries in regards economic freedom, gross domestic product, unemployment rate and average life span.

Of the comparisons I made, most countries with higher economic freedom had longer average life spans than those with less economic freedom. Most, but not all.

Type the name of the country you want to compare against. A menu will open below as you're typing. You can choose a country from that list.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Eureka's New Tank

Like it? It's the new tactical response vehicle Eureka Police was just given by the federal government. How it works is the feds give surplus military gear, guns and vehicles to domestic law enforcement agencies. Even small police departments take advantage of the program.

So they're arming themselves to the teeth while the efforts to disarm the American citizenry continue. Police State anyone?
Hat tip to the Lost Coast Outpost for the picture. As I pointed out there, Radley Balko has been writing about this sort of thing for some time. His book Rise of the Warrior Cop covers it all. I noticed doing a search for his book there's some free YouTube videos available related to the book but I haven't had time to check them out.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Government "Shutdown"

r fellow citizens do not realize, even after 20 years of threats and experiments in this field, that the real effects of the “shutdown” will be minimal. It will mean a short-term lapse of certain “non-essential government services” (there being thousands of such services deemed essential). But I think that most people do realize that.
- See more at:

Wayland Hunger, over at Liberty Unbound, echoes some of my sentiments on this supposed government shutdown ( quote edited for brevity since blogspot isn't allowing copy and paste right now):

 "...the most ominous feature of this political moment is that most of the American people seem to regard 'shutting down the government' as so dangerous, so frightful, so morally detestable, that they will suffer virtually anything to avert those Days of Doom."

"Many do not realize, even after 20 years of threats and experiments in this field, that real effects of the shutdown will be minimal. It will mean a short- term lapse of certain 'non- essential government services' (there being thousands of such services deemed essential). But I think that most people do realize that."
To me, the most ominous feature of this political moment is the fact that most of the American people appear to regard “shutting down the government” as so dangerous, so frightful, so morally detestable, that they will suffer virtually anything, including the horrors of Obamacare, to avert such Days of Doom. - See more at:
To me, the most ominous feature of this political moment is the fact that most of the American people appear to regard “shutting down the government” as so dangerous, so frightful, so morally detestable, that they will suffer virtually anything, including the horrors of Obamacare, to avert such Days of Doom. - See more at:
the most ominous feature of this political moment is the fact that most of the American people appear to regard “shutting down the government” as so dangerous, so frightful, so morally detestable, that they will suffer virtually anything, including the horrors of Obamacare, to avert such Days of Doom. - See more at:
the most ominous feature of this political moment is the fact that most of the American people appear to regard “shutting down the government” as so dangerous, so frightful, so morally detestable, that they will suffer virtually anything, including the horrors of Obamacare, to avert such Days of Doom. - See more at:
the most ominous feature of this political moment is the fact that most of the American people appear to regard “shutting down the government” as so dangerous, so frightful, so morally detestable, that they will suffer virtually anything, including the horrors of Obamacare, to avert such Days of Doom. - See more at:

Except I'm not so sure that most of the American people really care that much. I don't get around much but I haven't met anyone that's upset over the shutdown, save some from The Left that are using it for a generic attack on Republicans. I can't help but wonder if most of the public outrage is a fabrication of the mainstream media?

But, if he is right, and most Americans are upset about a temporary closing of some non- essential government services, that is not just ominous. That's downright scary.

Addendum: Apologies to those that subscribe to this blog but blogspot is on the geek right now. I just received this post in my inbox and it goes on forever with all the things I discarded included, plus all my copy and pastes, even though they didn't show up on the draft.