Sunday, May 30, 2010

Unsure of Title

I don't normally tolerate gratuitous insults here, but I thought this was a pretty clever and funny use of a sign. Photo taken by Zombie as she covered the anti- Obama and Boxer protests in San Francisco earlier this week.

HOPE Voting Summaries

Humboldt Organized for People and the Environment (HOPE) has their summary of the various political party, organizations and newspaper recommendations for the June election online now.

It looks like the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and CA Nurses Association are closest to the exact opposite of my positions on the initiatives. The only surprise there is I expected more groups would take exact opposite positions from mine.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friendly Fire?

I try to avoid foreign affairs here but I can't help but mention I've been wondering the same thing as was brought up in this news item: Was the sinking of that South Korean warship the result of an American (or other nation's) mine?

The official story being spread around by the South Koreans sounds a bit odd to me and, even before the sinking, I was reading there's still mines from WW2(?) and the Korean War in those waters the are found on occasion.

It does seem odd that an aged submarine could get in and fire a torpedo right in the back yard of an anti- submarine warfare base.

I do think the North Koreans are capable of just about anything, but why would they sink the ship and then deny it? I would think if they did something like that they'd boast about it for propaganda purposes.

Why would South Korea lie about it if they knew the North Koreans didn't do it? Well, any number of governments, including our own, has fabricated stories about foreign aggression for any number of reasons.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Costco= Home Depot

Looks like there's an argument brewing down in Ukiah about a proposed Costco coming to the area. I've heard some rumblings about this in the Ukiah Daily Journal before but I believe this letter to the editor is the the first I've seen in opposition. Does his argument sound familiar?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stossel: Freedom of Association

Kudos to John Stossel for pointing out that 8 of the 10 provisions of the Civil Rights Act outlawed government mandated discrimination. The problem with the CRA is the other two provisions forced mandatory association.

I'm certainly with Stossel and Rand Paul on this one.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Oil Spill Map

Not as exciting (couldn't think of a better word for it) as I expected, but the folks at Intellicast added the Gulf Oil Spill to their weather radar map.

Addendum: Spectacular. That's more along the line of what I wanted to say. Not as spectacular as I would of expected.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Updating Modem

Ok. After apparently being hacked and having spam sent out from my e-mail account, I've changed my password. Problem is, AT&T told me I needed to update my modem settings with the new password or I wouldn't be able to access my mail. It said to click on "Update Modem". I didn't see any such link. Anyone know how to do that?

I'm gonna restart the computer now and might not have e- mail for some time if I can't figure this out.

Minutes later update: Restarted the computer and it seems to work without doing the "Update Modem" thing, whatever that was. No thanks to Yahoo/ AT&T Mail and Help.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Press- Democrrat NOTA Recommendation?

Don't know that I've ever seen the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat recommend None Of The Above before. Still, I'm not sure their editorial on the 2nd State Senate primary would qualify as a strict NOTA recommendation. It seems obvious to me they'll be recommending Noreen Evans in the general election.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

How Did This Happen?

Link deleted

Early Morning Excitement

I got to see my first ever felony car stop this morning. Well...kind of.

We're in bed about 1:30'ish. I heard what seemed to be a police car siren start up maybe two blocks north of our house on E street. The siren stopped at what seemed to be almost in front of our house. About that time I hear another siren start and stop in the same general area.

Then I hear something I haven't heard in person since I was in the Police Academy in '84: "DO NOT MOVE!...". That was the only command I could make out but there was some other loud shouting going on. It sounds like a guns drawn, felony car stop. I get up and look out the front window.

There's an EPD car stopped on the other side of the street, blocking the alley next to the boarding house. It has its spotlight trained on a red car stopped in front of it. The red car, unless I'm mistaken, was the car of the manager of the boarding house. He's supposedly spent some time in prison.

The other EPD car is stopped just behind and to the left of the first one. I can't really see much behind the cars lights because of the darkness, but I hear the same cop telling the person(s) in the car to not move and keep her hands in view, or some such. I can't really make out anyone in the car, at first, but then notice at least one girl in the front passenger seat. She looks like the boarding house manager's girl friend.

Within a minute or two there's probably 6 or 8, heck maybe even more cop cars all over the place. One even pulls in from Trinity Street on the side of our house and stops on E Street next to Connie's car. By this time I can see a number of cops with guns drawn, pointing them at the red car. Must have been over 10 cops out there.

After commanding the girl to open the passenger car door what seemed to be a number of times, somehow she finally ends up standing in the street (missed it as I switched windows for a better view). They handcuff her and lead her back to a patrol car.

Didn't see her boyfriend, the ex- con boarding house manager, so don't know how much he was involved, or not. I'm pretty sure that was their car, though.

I go back to bed but couldn't sleep. After a while I hear something that sounds like a big truck driving up and see flashing lights. I go take a look. It's a tow truck taking away the suspect vehicle and there's still at least one cop car parked behind it.

Wonder what all that was about?

Friday, May 21, 2010

My Ballot

I've had my absentee ballot sitting on the table here for some time. I guess it's about time to fill it out and send it in. It looks like there will be more blank spaces than votes on it this time around.

Starting off with the state wide offices, that's a rather boring one, being a registered Libertarian Party voter. No contested primaries for any of the offices. I'll go ahead and check the box for the candidates that are running, though, and the LP has candidates for all the statewide offices.

Superintendent Of Public Schools is one race that I've paid no attention at all to. I'll Stand Aside, as the Greens put it, on that one and not vote for anyone.

County Tax Assessor- Mari Wilson: No bad candidates in this one. I felt sorry for Johanna Rodoni as she was walking around my neighborhood campaigning all by herself. She even came back alone to put a couple signs in my yard. But, I think I'll be voting for Wilson, the current Assistant Assessor.

No real strong reasoning for that choice except that I do like to see someone who has put in a lot of years in a department be able to make it to the top, assuming there's no reason she shouldn't and I've heard nothing negative about her.

Auditor- Controller- Joseph Mellet: An important position but, again, another one of those races I've paid absolutely no attention to. Since Mellet is currently working with that department, I'll let him take a shot at the top position.

Coroner- Uncontested, so Stand Aside.

County Clerk- Uncontested, Stand Aside.

District Attorney- Allison Jackson: I feel she's the most qualified with the most experience and has a prosecutor's mindset. I say that with some trepidation as overzealous prosecutors can be as big, or worse, a problem as incompetent ones.

Still, when you're looking to fill a District Attorney slot you want a prosecutor. It seems a bit strange to me that some local defense attorneys are backing the incumbent. Maybe he makes their jobs easier for them?

That said, I think Gallegos' heart is in the right place, albeit misguided at times. I simply can't get myself to vote for someone that I feel is of average to below- average ability. Not for District Attorney, anyway.

- Mike Downey: No question in this one at all. Downey is a humble, live and let live, unassuming type guy who fits in well with the county. He's worked for the county for decades and wants to continue doing so. He's definitely the best fit for the office.

Mike Hislop is all about Mike Hislop. He just wants the job to fill his rather large ego. He's never worked for the Sheriff's Office and knows next to nothing about it.

Treasurer- Uncontested so Stand Aside.

Board of Supes, District 4- Unsure: This is clearly a Stand Aside or None Of The Above contest, from a libertarian standpoint.

I'm thinking of going ahead with a Bass vote if only to punish Bonnie Neely for actively campaigning for George Clark in the last Eureka City Council race. That was a race she needn't have gotten involved in but chose to in order to pander to the fringe left. Very poor judgment on her part which deserves at least some response from me.

See? My reasons for voting can be as frivolous as the next guy's.

State Measures:

Prop 13, Limits of Property Tax Assessment: Yes.

Prop 14
, Blanket Primary: NO. This is downright silly. I'm not sure that voters should be able to vote in another party's primary in the first place. That said, I can see how some would want a better consensus or middle ground than the current system, but this makes no sense.

Putting all the candidates on one ballot and then only being able to vote for one of them? That makes no sense to me although it would probably save me the hassle of voting in the General Election since the two candidates likely to end up winning the primary would also probably be crapola to a libertarian.

It would make more sense to me, assuming we're gonna cross party lines in a primary, to have the voter choose their favorite candidate in each party. So, I'd pick my favorite Dem, Rep, Green and so on. That assumes those parties were having contested primaries. If you did it that way it might make sense and we might arrive a little closer to some middle ground in who ends up being elected. The way they're doing it on this one is just plain stupid.

Prop 15, Publicly Funded Elections: NO. This would require candidates for Secretary of State to demonstrate voter support by raising a certain amount of money. Then the state would finance their campaign.

I don't like the idea of the state restricting campaign finances to only state monies. It leaves elections too open to manipulation by politicians.

Prop 16, The PG&E Thing: Stand Aside. I'm awfully tempted to vote Yes on this one but I'll let it go. It doesn't ban local governments from getting into the power business, but it makes it more difficult for them to. That might be a good thing, though. Still, a 2/3 majority requirement seems a bit much. If it only required a simple majority of voter approval, I'd definitely vote Yes.

Prop 17, The Car Insurance Thing: Stand Aside. This is one of those glass half empty, half full ones. You folks can vote on it and I'll just watch.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Not Quite Stealing

Interesting variation of the election sign wars: Woke up this morning to find that during the night someone had bent the wire sign posts on the Bass sign in my front yard, then pulled it up and dropped it on the ground about five feet from where it originally was. The two Downey signs in the yard were untouched.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Local Ballot Measure= $30,000.00?

I haven't seen this question answered yet: In regards putting the Balloon Tract zoning issue on the ballot, why would that cost the City of Eureka $30,000?

I could see it costing that much and perhaps a lot more if this was to be a special election, but this would be for a regularly scheduled election. I don't see why it would cost that much.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Not Happy With These Two Incidents

I wonder if this sort of thing goes on up here?

An Alcoholic Beverage Control agent cites a guy for a city ordinance prohibiting alcoholic beverages in parks. The guy supposedly wasn't drinking alcohol. The fine is $100. He can contest the fine but only after paying a $200.00 fee.

Sounds bogus to me. Even the supposed fix they refer to sounds bogus: No fee if you win your appeal. Pay both fees if you lose. Both ways would tend to encourage a person to just accept guilt and pay the $100 fine to cut their losses.

As an aside, I wonder about the ABC agent supposedly saying his professionally trained nose told him the beverage was alcoholic. When I went through the police academy back in '84, we were taught that alcohol is odorless and that, when testifying in court, we were to testify we smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage (beer, wine, etc.).

I'd say if the agent can't say what kind of alcoholic beverage the guy supposedly was drinking, the guy should get off. Heck, since the agent refused to give him a test for alcohol the guy should get off.

Not sure I like this one, either. I know we're supposed to be happy when bad guys are captured but I'm not sure I like them saying they're going to give someone amnesty just so the guy or gal will show up so they can be arrested.

Don't have a problem with the way they used to do it, though, when they'd contact a fugitive and tell him he won something, then bust him when he shows up to pick up the prize.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Another Disaster

Speaking of disasters, check out this incredible video of a landslide in what I'm guessing is Italy. Wish there was more info on where this is and what actually happened:

Thanks to Radley Balko for the link.

A Deeper Oil Spill...

from long ago. I don't remember hearing about this one:

Back in 1979 and even deeper exploratory well in the Gulf of Mexico had a blowout. Two miles deep and it took 290 days to cap it.

Good thing about it is that at least they were able to cap it and I'm guessing the area has recovered for the most part. I was trying to see what the area looks like now using Google Earth and it kind of looks like the bay still has an oil slick on it. Not sure what's making it look that way. Check out Bahia de Campeche on Google Earth and see what you think.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Colbert Does Gary Johnson

A fun clip of Colbert interviewing Gary Johnson on the subject of marijuana legalization. Funny as it might be, I just wish Colbert would let Johnson talk a bit more.

For those that don't know, Gary Johnson is the former Republican Governor of New Mexico and a perennial favorite among Libertarians. He's supposedly contemplating a White House run next time around. Check out and join his Facebook page.

Hat tip to Radley Balko for the heads up on the clip.


Fred: Traffic Nazi

Headed to San Francisco again Sunday. The drive, as would be expected, brought out the traffic nazi in me. I've been trying to come up with a proposal for a new traffic law but not sure what to name it or just how it would be enforced. I guess I could call it the Asshole Merging Law.

It's been discussed either here or on Eric's blog before: One traffic lane comes to and end but a lot of drivers stay in the closing lane and run up to the lane closure, hoping to slip in and cut in front of everyone else.

You see it all time on northbound 101 in Willits, where the two lane turns into a one lane- the right lane being the one that ends. People stay in the right lane and race up to the front of the line figuring someone will let them slip in front of them.

Having experienced this yet again in the Santa Rosa area on Sunday, I decided it's time to make some of you assholes pay for such rude behavior. And, yes, I say you assholes because so many people seem to do it, I'm sure there are at least a few of among those of you reading this.

So here's what happened Sunday:

We're somewhere near the south end of Santa Rosa. Heck, maybe we're were in Rohnert Park. Traffic is moving pretty smoothly. Suddenly a sign on the right side of the road indicates the left lane closes in half a mile and vehicles should merge into the right lane.

I was in the middle lane and immediately slow down enough so there's maybe 40 yards between my truck and the car in front of me. The car behind me backed off a bit, too. There was more than enough room for a number of cars to merge into the right lane way ahead of the lane closure. But they don't.

I would guess maybe 40 cars passed by me on my left before we hit the end of their lane. None of them took advantage of the opening I left them. I did see a couple, though, pull in behind me in the spot the guy behind me opened. All the cars passing me headed straight up to the end of the lane before trying to squeeze their way into the right lane.

I'd like to see those of you that do that get a hefty ticket. Two to three hundred dollars per violation would be good for starters.

I realize you'd have to change a few things first to make this enforceable and effective. At the very least you'd have to extend the warning time for merges to probably at least a mile before the merge. You might also have to modify existing law or create a new law in regards how far apart cars can be as they come within a mile or two of a lane merge.

Then, there's enforcement itself. You couldn't have CHP cars pulling people over for waiting for the last minute to merge. That would exacerbate the situation. Cameras (I know. I know about red light camera problems) would have to be used, and you'd have to probably have to use more than just one.

The idea would be to show that a driver in the closing lane had ample opportunity to merge before, say, a quarter to an eighth of a mile before the closure. If the camera shows the car passing by an open space between cars- as I created Sunday- and keeps going to try to cut in front of everyone else, one camera records the license records the license number and another shows the position of the car in the line of traffic. The Asshole Merging driver gets a ticket in the mail a week or so later.

I'm sure there'll have to be some defenses for honest screw ups, like people from another state that don't know our traffic laws and might be overwhelmed by the traffic in places like Santa Rosa. We can work those out.

Wouldn't it be nice to see at least some of these rude and selfish people get their just rewards for their behavior?

Lots of work yet to be done on this so suggestions are welcome but, when we get it all ironed out and working, it should be something to make a lot of us happy.

And libertarianism be damned. If Assemblydude Chesbro wants to pick up this proposal and introduce it as a bill, he has my blessing. All I ask is that its unofficial title be Fred's Asshole Merging Law.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Balko Does Kagan

Radley Balko, over at The Agitator blog, takes a look at Elana Kagan, Obama's current nominee for the Supreme Court.

A few more comments by Balko here.

I appreciate Balko doing this. It's nice to have an even- handed Libertarian who has paid attention to the details in question throw in his observations. It kind of combines the left and right wing opinions into one.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

More Bottlenecks Needed!

Interesting response made to an opinion piece in last week's Humboldt Beacon. I hadn't thought of it this way before but, if the Richardson Grove bottleneck is good for the county, shouldn't we make more of them?

Benbutchie wrote, "If a bottleneck at Richardson Grove actually has benefits to the local economy, then why not cheaply install them on 299 and 199. If you limit the truck size to maybe that of a biodiesel VW bus then think of all the new local trucking jobs and environmental benefits we could create. Not to mention how it would enhance our 'uniqueness'."

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Oil Spill Perspective

No, I'm not trying to downplay the significance of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. I just find it kind of nice to read something that goes above the hysteria we often hear when something like this happens.

I'm sure the enviros won't like it, but I enjoyed this short editorial in the Washington Examiner that takes a look at this incident compared to some others.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Straw Poll: Sheriff's Race

Eric Kirk is running a straw poll on the Sheriff's race over at his blog. Right now, with 87 people having voted, Downey is in the lead by over 70%, about what I've been predicting for the results in the actual election.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Lopez on Driving and Cell Phones

I thought the Los Angeles Times' Steve Lopez made a fun read out his following around a traffic cop giving out tickets for talking on cell phones while driving.

I'll take issue, though, with some of the "facts" he lists about distracted driving. We need to remember that those facts, if true, are referring to "distracted" driving. There's all kinds of distractions involved in driving and driving is supposedly getting safer, while cell phone use is increasing.

As annoyed as I am with those of you that think you have to have a cell phone to your ear all the time, we should at least be fair about the facts. If cell use phone is increasing and driving is statistically getting safer, I'd say it's a bit unfair make it sound like cell phones are responsible for all Steve's "facts".

I enjoyed the story, but I thought the best part was about three paragraphs from the top where they inserted a link for an ad: "Receive breaking news alerts on your mobile device. Register".

Fits right in with the story, doesn't it?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

MJ Prosecution Moratorium?

Not a bad idea by Jeffrey Shwartz in this weeks Arcata Eye: He suggests we suspend marijuana prosecutions at least until after the November elections. If the marijuana decriminalization initiative passes, then we can drop them. If not, then we might have a slightly bigger problem with the backlog.

Makes sense to me. Why keep beating ourselves over the head over this?