Monday, June 29, 2009

The State Needs Money...

...and smoking is bad.

The Los Angeles Times ran an oped this morning by a fellow from the Tax Foundation. I think he makes a good case for why raising cigarette taxes, yet again, is not a good idea nor a good way to try to close the budget deficit.

I think he missed something, though, that I've mentioned here before: Isn't it a bit silly, if not stupid, to say you need to raise a tax to close a hole in the budget that, by that taxes' very design, is meant to get more people to stop smoking and thus lower revenues from that source?

And those people are running this country.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Answering The Phone

So Dave Stancliff reports the feds shut down at least some of the guys calling people on the phone selling extended warranties. Goodie for them, but I still don't understand why people feel they absolutely have to answer the phone every time it rings.

It's kind of like that one guy the paper quoted back when the cell phone driving ban was being discussed. He said, When the phone rings, you just have to answer it....

No, you don't. That's what answering machines and voice mail are for. Sure, telemarketers might be a slightly different subject, but seems to me the answer is the same: Use your answering machine.

I nearly always screen my calls by having the answering machine pick up the call first. As soon as I hear who it is, if it's someone I want to talk to, I'll pick up the phone and turn off the answering machine. Works quite well and I'm always a little peeved at myself when I decide to just answer the phone and it ends up being some guy soliciting for some police and fireman's fund.

Use your answering machine if you don't like dealing with telemarketers. It works for me. It should work for the wife, too, but she's a lot like the rest of you that feels she just has to pick up the phone every time it rings. Then she's all pissed off when it turns out to be a telemarketer.

I keep telling her: Let the answering machine answer the call first. It works.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Protest Against Insanity Today

I understand there will be a protest today against the Cap and Trade legislation passed by the House of Representatives yesterday. Be there or be square. Noon, at the main courthouse/ federal building at 5th and H Streets in Eureka.

Quotable quote: "The future will show fear of supposed man caused global warming to be the biggest case of mass hysteria in the history of mankind. - Fred Mangels


Friday, June 26, 2009

Good News On Global Warming

Good news from the Wall Street Journal. More and more people are becoming skeptical of global warming.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Life With Boopo*

Meet Boopo. He's our new yard guest. He's an immature crow that seems to be hurt.

Last Saturday I was watching some crows that have been hanging around. They were eating stuff they'd found on the sidewalk across the street. Suddenly a crow comes flying down, lands next to one of them and starts flapping his wings with his mouth open towards one of the bigger crows. The bigger crow stuffs something in his mouth and the two bigger crows fly away.

The smaller crow didn't leave and ended up limping around, eventually taking up residence on the front stairway of the Matteoli's house. I went over to take a closer look and he wouldn't fly away. He just limped around like his right foot was broken.

Next morning he was still there but had moved to the lawn and shrub area to the side of the stairway. I'd left some crackers for it to eat but it seemed the bigger crows were its parents and occasionally, after he'd call out and make a fuss, one of the bigger crows would come down and stuff something in his mouth.

Connie went over and put a plastic container of water near him and I was surprised to see him drink from it. We could see other people had thrown pieces of bread on the lawn to feed him, as well. But this isn't a good place for him to be hanging out as he'd be easy prey for cats and dogs, never mind the raccoons, possums and skunks that frequent the area.

Nevertheless, Monday morning he was still there and was either sitting under the bushes or on the lawn. He'd survived two days in a not particularly safe spot. I thought that was about to end later on Monday afternoon when a young kid came by on a bicycle and noticed the bird sitting on the lawn.

He gets off his bike and runs over to the crow to catch him. The bird runs off as best he can with his apparent broken leg, flapping his wings. He actually outruns the kid, but ends up out in the middle of Trinity Street next to E Street. He stops for a second and the kid bends down to try and pet him. Just as his hand is about 6 inches away, the bird takes off again into the middle of E street.

Yikes! The bird stops right where the left wheel of most vehicles heading south go. I figure no way the bird won't get squished as many people won't stop for people, much less animals. I was surprised to see the ten or so vehicles that drove by actually drive around the bird.

I got there and kind of guided the bird back to the Matteoli's yard and told to kid not to chase the bird as it was injured and he could of gotten run over. The kid left.

We ended up calling the Wildlife Care Center later on, leaving a message. They called back and said it was likely just a fledgling that need some more time to be able to fly and take care of itself and we should just let the parents take care of it. Ok.

Tuesday morning I saw him still across the street but then lost track of him. When I go out to load up my truck, there he is in our yard! He was sitting on a pile of wood and would have had to fly across the street to get there (why won't he fly home?). He pretty much stayed in that same area for over a day. We gave him water and put some food out so his parents would have something to feed him, assuming they don't give up on him.

We called the Wildlife Care Center again Wednesday afternoon. The girl came out later on and took a look. She caught him and said he was a bit skinny and she wasn't sure they could do much for him if she took him in to their clinic but she'd ask her associate about it.

This morning he seems to have started moving north. He was sitting in our driveway when Connie went to check on him. Then he started moving around the side of our house towards the back yard. Connie went around back and chased him towards the front as we have two cats that hang in our back yard.

Now it's in our next door neighbor's front yard. I get the impression the crows roost at night somewhere to the north as that's where they seem to go with their food. Might this fellow be trying to work his way back home? I don't know but I'm surprised he's survived all the hazards around here for so long.
* Is it spelled Bupo or Boopo? That's the name I gave the bird. It's the name of that robotic owl in the old classic fantasy movie Clash of the Titans.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another 15 Minutes

Don't know that it will still be up there, but my comment on a Sacramento Bee editorial is currently featured as the "Popular Comment". Look to the right at the top of the editorial. Pretty Cool, huh? Then again, there's only six comments, so far. Let's see how long I last.

Oh, as always, if asked for a login to the SacBee site, you can use humboldtlib as a username and blogspot for a password.

Honeybees On The Mend

We've heard how beehives seem to have been dying off as of late. Most of what I've read seemed to suggest that their demise was somehow man's fault- the result of global warming, or some such.

It looks like some scientists in Spain might have figured the real problem: A parasite infestation. It will be interesting to see if the mainstream media covers this or continues to let people think bees are dying off from global warming.

The World Loves Ron Paul?

It looks like past Republican presidential candidate and current congressman, Ron Paul, isn't fading into obscurity like many presidential candidates often do. He seems to be in high demand across the globe. Go, Ron Paul!


Monday, June 22, 2009

A Brief History of Marriage

CLS, over at the Classically Liberal blog, takes a look at the history of marriage in today's post.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Can Campbell Win The Primary?

I've said before that Tom Campbell's probably my favorite of all the gubernatorial hopefuls in the next election, at least at this point. I'm not really committed to him as there are some things I'm very leery of- his reputation as being weak, at best, on gun rights being one.

Still, he seems like the best of the bunch to me, with Meg Whitman probably coming in second on my list. Don't know much about Steve Poizner, but I'll keep an open mind. As far as I'm concerned, none of the Democratic hopefuls are worth considering, as is often the case.

The San Jose Mercury News takes a look today at Tom Campbell's chances of coming out on top in the Republican primary. They seem a bit more optimistic of Campbell's chances than I am. I'm thinking same- sex marriage might end up being a big issue with the Republicans and Campbell's support of same- sex marriage will be turned on him with a vengeance by his opponents.

At least one Republican leaning libertarian I know says I'm wrong and that Republicans aren't focused on that issue. Well, maybe. I'm just saying with the three having similar stances on most issues, they're going to have to come up with something to differentiate themselves and same- sex marriage will be the issue. Then again, maybe gun rights? Time will tell.

The Mercury News article does point out something I've noticed: That Whitman and Poizner seem to be ignoring Campbell (as a way of making him seem irrelevant, imo) and limiting any attacks to each other. That's happened before and brought about some surprise victories for underdogs.

I'll be keeping an eye on these three with an open mind but, for some reason, I can't help thinking I'll end up voting for whoever the lame Libertarian Party candidate for governor ends up being.


Cell Phone Towers

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat looks at cell phone towers this morning, focusing a bit on the way they're being disguised now. The picture of the tower disguised as a tree looks just like the tower up by the Pine Hill Baptist Church. I never would have noticed that tower if I hadn't been told it was there.

I'm wondering at what point the cell phone companies will think they have enough coverage in a city like Eureka?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Motorcycle Noise Restrictions?

Here's one proposed law I could almost support. Heck, maybe I do support. Well, I'm not sure.

Showing that at least the Democrats in Sacramento have way too much time on their hands despite the budget crisis, one of them has sponsored a bill to limit the amount of noise and exhaust coming from motorcycles. I don't really care that much about the exhaust aspect of it, but I do believe a thing exists such as noise pollution.

Not all motorcycles are noisy to the point they could be considered pollution, but I'm sure we can all cite examples of noisy motorcycles on the road that are annoying to the extreme.

I know last Sunday I was over by the corner of Harris and I Streets in Eureka when some guy in a hog cut loose on his throttle- the noise actually causing me to jump it startled me so much- and that happens fairly regularly. Maybe it's the same guy some of the time?

Just this morning I heard somebody in one of those smaller "crotch rocket" sport bikes racing up the street in front of my house rather loudly. Those little sport bikes always seem to sound loud when they throttle up and makes it seem like they're speeding even if they're going the speed limit.

I find the noise from those things annoying, at best, and there should be some limit to how much noise we have to suffer. I guess I'm unsure of my position because I don't know how far we should go with this.

I can just imagine, if this bill passes, that we'll be using it as an example for reasons to clamp down on so many of the other noises we all make each day. Then we'll start making the new restrictions tighter and tighter- witness the War on Tobacco Smokers for how that works.

So, I'm not sure what I think but, in the meantime, please quiet down or put a muffler on your motorcycles.

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human liberty. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.- William Pitt

Monday, June 15, 2009

User Fees

It looks like the City of Santa Rosa might go ahead with their plan to start charging user fees for those unfortunate enough to have the fire department respond to their homes. I'm not sure if this would only apply to medical emergencies or to any calls that fall with the fire department's purview.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this. I can understand that cities need more money and user fees are totally consistent with libertarian philosophy. It begs the question, though, of what our tax money is already paying for? Are we paying the fire department big bucks just to sit in the firehouse but have to pay extra for them to actually do something?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

SF Chron Looks At The Waste Board

Interesting look at California's Integrated Waste Management Board by the San Francisco Chronicle this morning. Now we know how they're funded:

"Instead, most of the waste board's $235 million cost is paid for by trash and recycling fees the state collects from four major sources: $1.40 per ton collected from landfills; 16 cents a gallon from the sale of motor oil; $1 per new tire sold in California; and $8 to $25 collected on sales of new televisions and computer monitors."

The comments on the story are worth a read, too. Only ten, so far, but I was surprised they were all opposed to the board.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Habeus Corpus For Bradshaw?

I don't know what to make of that guy in McKinleyville being arrested for the murder of his wife even though they can't confirm her death. Not that they actually need a body to convict him, but they do need some corroborating evidence. Do they have any?

No way of knowing from what's been in the papers but, circumstantially, his case doesn't look good. Still, I wonder if the Sheriff and District Attorney's Office jumped the gun in this case?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sell The Parks?

I don't really care one way or the other if they sold some of our state parks to the Fed, as Denver Nelson proposes in the Times- Standard this morning. His commentary does make me wonder if he's using the title of brain surgeon in jest, though.

He doesn't seem to realize the federal government probably isn't in any better financial condition than California is, with the exception that the Fed can print money to cover its debts. And, regardless, taxpayers would still be taking up the tab for the parks.

He closes his commentary with,
"Thus California gets $2 billion to help its financial crisis, the federal government gets a large economic stimulus, the citizens of California, the United States and the world get a larger, well staffed and well maintained Redwood National Park."

Yep, California would get a one- time payment of a couple billion dollars, but I don't get the part about the fed getting an economic stimulus. They're just spending money.

As far as getting a larger park, seems to me we'd be getting nothing of the sort. We'd just have the same state parks under a different name.

So... is he really a retired brain surgeon?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Things To Worry About

The Agitator's, Radley Balko, co- authored this Reason Online article that takes a look at some of Time magazine's more hysterical cover stories over the years.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Credit Cards and Razor Blades

I was listening to the Summer Arts and Music festival on KMUD yesterday. A guy goes to the speaker and announces they'd found someone's credit card and cell phone. He mentioned the fact that the credit card wasn't signed on the back and suggested that wasn't a good idea.

That got me thinking on the subject again as I just received a renewed debit card a couple days earlier and the paper that came with it said, among other things, to be sure and sign the back of the card.

Thing is, I could of sworn I heard somewhere a few years ago that signing the back of the credit or debit card wasn't considered the thing to do anymore. The reasoning being if you sign the card and the wrong person gets hold of it, they know what your signature looks like and can forge it.

I took that for granted until yesterday when I realized that, if you leave the card unsigned, a thief could just enter his own signature in the space and a merchant would naturally accept the card and signature as he'd have no way to know whose signature it really was.

I guess it works both ways and a thief could make out in either circumstance. So what should I do now: Sign the card, or leave it blank? What would you do?
Speaking of razor blades, went to buy some new blades yesterday. Something I don't do very often. What's with the price of razor blades nowadays? The ones that fit my razor cost something like $12.99 for a five pack at Rite- Aid. I didn't remember them being that expensive.

I really didn't feel like paying so much for them so I started looking at all my options. I finally noticed, down below the ones I needed, some Rite- Aid brand blades that I thought were some generic version of the ones I use for around $4.99. Looking closer, though, I realized they weren't the same ones.

Then I noticed, right next to them, a Rite- Aid brand Matrix 3 razor with 2 extra blades for $5.99. The blades I thought were generic fit that razor. SOLD! Heck, I could buy a new razor and four extra blades for the same price of 5 of the blades I normally buy.

I went ahead and bought the new one. What a deal.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Chinn Makes The Bee

Eureka's homeless helper, Betty Chinn, got featured in the Sacramento Bee this morning.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Next Prohibition?

A Republican Senator calls for prohibition of tobacco.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Campbell's Predictions

Republican gubernatorial hopeful, Tom Campbell, recently spoke at a Cato Institute event down south. Among other things, he tossed out a couple predictions.

The most likely end result of the state budget mess:
Dysfunctional partisan “stalemate” returns, the Legislature is unable to pass a budget, and the state starts missing payments on its bills sometime in July. At that point, he believes, some unpaid vendor or vendors would file a class action suit and the state would find itself in court being ordered by some federal judge (Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from defaulting, Campbell asserted) to sell off assets and take other actions to pay the bills.
And when the recession ends he sees inflation increasing to at least 13%.

Let's try and remember this and see if he's right. No way of telling when the recession will end, but we should see whether or not he's right on the budget within a couple months.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

How We Get Regulated

I found this commentary (June 3 post) from the Americans For Limited Government rather disturbing. They seem to be upset that some Senators shelved an amendment that would have had marijuana regulated by the Food and Drug Administration just as they're planning to do with tobacco.

I find this sort of thinking a bit disturbing if only because that's how we've gotten to the point where we are today where everything is regulated. The old, "...if it applies to one thing, it should apply to everything else..", line of thinking. Makes it sound like they don't have a problem with tobacco regulation, they just want marijuana regulated too. That is what they're saying, isn't it?

It would prefer to think that, if marijuana shouldn't be regulated by the FDA, than we shouldn't be having them regulate tobacco, either. With the ALG's approach, nobody wins but the regulators.

Wonder if they'll post the comment I made?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Travelogue: 5/31-6/1

Left for UCSF again Sunday morning. Left a bit later than usual for whatever reason. It was a bit after 11am. That turned out to be a good idea as I was able to listen to one of my favorite KMUD radio shows- Bud Rogers' Edge of the Herd(?). Usually, about the time he comes on, we're heading down into Willits where we often lose KMUD's signal. This time we lost it after the show was over.

Didn't seem to be many of my fellow 55 mile per hour folks on the road as there were earlier. I try to stay at around 55 to save gas. Apparently most others don't care, or don't see any need, to save on gas. People must be better off nowadays than they're making out to be.

The rivers seemed low for this early in the year, as I would of expected. Almost hard to tell with the Eel, as it's been over three months since we'd seen it. Still, looking at it and realizing it's just the end of May/ beginning of June, I couldn't help think that river will be but a trickle come September.

The Russian River was obviously lower than I was used to seeing. Noticed a lot of algae in places I'd never noticed it before. Still, some areas had enough for swimming and there seemed to be a fair amount of people hitting the river judging from the number of cars parked along the side of the road. Must be the traditional beginning of summer outing for them.

Didn't notice as big a spread in gas prices between Humboldt and Mendocino that I seemed to recall. The Willits Safeway had regular unleaded for $2.74- $2.71 with the Safeway card discount. I believe gas was $2.79 at the Renner cardlock when I filled up before leaving. I thought there was a bigger difference than that before.

A big disappointment when we arrive in Cloverdale to buy our night's dinner at Quizno's as we normally do. The place went out of business. No idea why. Now where are we going to buy dinner at? Not at Kentucky Fried Chicken across the parking lot.

I figured we could find some place to deliver to our room when we arrived in Novato- pizza or some such. Connie seemed to want to go find some place to eat but, after driving for over four hours, I had no taste for driving around some town I didn't know to try and find a place.

Checked in to the Day's Inn around 4:30. New guy working there that was friendlier than most front desk folks are, in my experience. I'd asked for a room on the first floor, if possible, and this time I actually got one. I even saw my request written on the reservation form. I guess it depends who takes your reservation as to whether any special requests are noted.

For dinner, we ended up looking through the phone book and found a couple pizza places that delivered. We settled on Red Boy Pizza. Ordered a salad for Connie and a Pizza California for the two of us. It was delivered within the hour.

Pizza California was just a pizza with artichokes and onions on it. It was ok but not anything I can imagine wanting to go back there specifically for. I would of been interested in trying the Pizza Marcelo that had anchovies on it. Call me crazy, but I enjoy anchovies on pizza occasionally. Maybe next time.

Problem was, at around $30.00 for a pizza and salad, that is a bit more than we care to pay for dinner. Buying dinner at Quizno's usually ended up being less than $15.00.

A rather odd coincidence with the TV programming there. We turn on the TV and the same movie is playing on TBS that I watched last time we were there: Sahara. I enjoy action/ adventure movies like that and wouldn't mind watching it again. Connie fell asleep last time and only watched a bit of the beginning. This time she watched the whole thing and seemed to enjoy it as I did.

Got up next morning and noticed the place apparently had lawn sprinklers running in the night. I thought they were under water restrictions down in Marin County? Even saw the maintenance guy watering some of the landscape shrubs with a hose. I guess they know what they can and can't do. Later on I noticed a sign along the freeway saying landscape plantings are watered with gray water. Maybe that's what they were using at Day's Inn?

Went for breakfast at the Inn's breakfast room, as usual. Toast, a couple hard boiled eggs and orange juice is usually all I need to get me going. Problem was, there were no eggs to be had, at all. What was with that? Had to satisfy myself with four slices of toast and orange juice.

Headed in to The City and found myself getting really, really sleepy. So much so I was worried about not paying proper attention to driving. I thought I slept ok the night before and couldn't figure out what was going on with that. But we made it and I was real sleepy the whole time we were there. Rough day.

When we left I seemed to get a second wind and we raced back with only short stops in Cloverdale, Willits and the Leggett rest stop.

We got into Eureka just before 8pm and for some reason I couldn't help but notice all the people out doing their thing when it's essentially night time but it still being light outside. Made me think of Alaska, for some reason, where it stays light most of the day this time of year.

I like being able to arrive at home when there's still some daylight to be had.