Monday, May 30, 2011

Just Because You're Paranoid...

You always hear stories about the F.B.I. following people around for political activities. Here's one about a guy the F.B.I. was (and is?) still watching, and he knows it.

I've often wondered if anybody is watching me? I've never noticed any actual surveillance being done but maybe monitoring my e-mail or phone traffic? One of these days I'll have to figure out how to file one of those Freedom of Information Act requests and see what kind of info the F.B.I. has on me.

Hat tip to Anti- for the link.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Stuff

LinkGary Johnson talks politics with Sean Hannity in this 20 minute video.

In his May 28 post, Classically Liberal debunks suggestions that global warming is causing an increase in tornadoes and their resulting damage.

The Los Angeles Times reports 19% of sport fish in Southern California waters are so contaminated they shouldn't be eaten by pregnant women and children. I've wondered about the fish up here for decades. Unfortunately, results from the next portion of the survey- the Northern and Central Coasts of California- aren't going to be released until next year.

I wrote here some time ago I always wondered about the fish in Humboldt Bay as I used to fish in the bay fairly often back in the 70s and 80s. When I was working at Humboldt Bay Power Plant there was a biologist doing fish surveys there for a while. I asked him if the sharks and other bottom fish here might be polluted.

He said they weren't and you could tell just by looking at them. I'm wondering if that's true?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cell Phones and Brain Cancer

As Dr. Gupta writes, it's too early to tell if cell phone exposure contributes to the incidence of brain cancer. It takes something like 20 years of exposure before a tumor would likely develop.

Still, not having to worry about it myself (I use my cell phone maybe one or two minutes over 3 months) I still think it would be fun to see the expression on many people's faces if science did conclude there is a direct link. I'll be there'd be a lot of you looking like you just found out you had unprotected sex with someone who has AIDS.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy Doomsday!

Well, we've made it so far and the internet is still up, but I read yesterday it's supposed to start at 6pm New Zealand time and spread across the world along with 6pm. They say a watched pot never boils so maybe you'll want to watch this Doomsday related video (Warning: Some adult content) to entertain yourself until something happens.

Hat tip to Radley Balko for the link.

Update: Someone told me it's already late in Germany.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Good Bye

Since tomorrow is supposed to be Doomsday, this might be my last post, depending on how long this takes to play out. I'll bid you all adieu now in case the internet isn't available tomorrow morning. Not sure if I look forward to not hassling with this blog anymore but it's been a fun few years.

In [likely] my last post here, I'll leave you with a neat quote I found in this article on Obama's latest speech on the Middle East:

"Before we congratulate people on their freedom, we should see what use they make of it."- Edmund Burke

Damn! I wish I'd written that.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

What goes around...

Comedian Stephen Colbert gets a taste of his own medicine when he tries to start his own political action committee to parody the Citizens United decision.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Inflation & Gas Prices

I'd heard that inflation- the decline in value of the U.S. Dollar- had something to do with rising gas prices. I finally found some actual numbers.

These guys say that inflation has added a bit over 56 cents to the price of a gallon of gas since 2008. As the article says, that doesn't explain it all as there's many factors that go into the price of gas. That's obvious as the price of oil has risen 150 percent since 2008 but the value of the dollar has declined only 14 percent.

Still, yet another reason to get our national finances in order.

Oh, in case you haven't heard, the folks in Washington are mulling yet another gas tax. This one would be a driver tax and would tax be based on how many miles you drive. The idea being that miles driven cause more wear on infrastructure than simply how much gas one buys. Doesn't really make sense to me since one generally drives more the more gas they buy.

There's some talk of replacing the current federal per- gallon tax with the driver tax. My guess is, if they go ahead with this, we'll likely end up with both.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Humboldt Rudeness

Had a couple things happen over the last month I thought were rude:

First, Last month I received a notice from the welfare office it was time for me to renew my application for CMSP- MediCal for those of you working people. It said I had to reapply by the first week of May. I was somewhat confused as I'd received a notice late last year saying someone in the household only had to apply once a year now due to his or her age. They didn't specify who but the wife already only needs to apply once a year so I was guessing it meant me.

Regardless, I waited a week and then called the social worker and left a message on the answering machine asking to send me the reapplication forms unless the last notice was a mistake and I didn't need to reapply but to let me know my status. I didn't receive a reply.

I called the last Friday of last month and again left the same message. Again, no reply by phone and nothing in the mail.

The beginning of this month I broke down and sent the worker a letter with the same message, again asking to let me know if I only had to apply annually. I suggested just calling and leaving a message on my phone if that was the case. As of yet, no reply. How rude!

Day to day it doesn't make any difference as I have to pay all my medical expenses out of pocket, anyway, but if I have a heart attack it would be a drag to have them tell me I didn't reapply so didn't qualify for CMSP. Not sure what to do now.
Then yesterday I was going through the Craigslist Farm & Garden classifieds. Saw an ad by someone that included a picture of a rose in her yard. She was asking for help in identifying the rose.

I called Connie in since she's into that. She got one of her books out and found a rose that looked to be the one in question. I e-mailed whoever it was telling her what rose it might be including a link to a picture of the rose.

As of yet no reply. How rude! Then again, it hasn't been very long and I have to realize most people don't live at their computer as I do. But, if she doesn't acknowledge our e-mail, that will be rude, indeed!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wanted: Iron or Concrete Weights

The kind used for weight lifting. Not begging, just asking if anyone has any standard iron or vinyl covered concrete weights they're not using anymore and want to get rid of. I need standard weights, not Olympic.

Hey, I've given away at least two sets of weights in my lifetime and the weights I have now are ones that were given to me years ago, so it's not like this doesn't happen.

I'm looking for weights ten pounds and up. I'd like to get a pair of at least 25 pounds as that would let me free up some of the smaller weights for other things. Will pick them up in Eureka if you have some you want to get rid of.

Thanks in advance for any leads.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Drug Dogs: No Warrant Necessary

Yet another drug dog search and arrest in the news, this time from Crescent City. I'm finding these stories more and more disturbing if only for the fact they're widespread and most people seem to find them acceptable.

In this case a couple people are stopped in a car for traffic violations. A police dog is brought to the scene which is considered "
...routine that he would do that.". Naturally, the dog alerts to drugs in the car and the officers search the car. And, naturally, the dog isn't used to pinpoint the supposed drugs, but gives officers cause to search the whole car.

What do they find first? Some prescription drugs, which I feel safe in saying aren't something dogs would normally alert on. If they are, that means many of us are open to having our cars searched at any time for no reason. Almost as an aside, the article mentions a couple bags of methamphetamine that were also supposedly found after the prescription drugs are found.

Fair enough with the meth since I would think dogs might be trained to alert to methamphetamine. Still, the cops once again search the whole car because of a vague alert by the dog and that leaves the whole car open to search without warrant.

And these dogs don't seem to be reliable as some might think. I've written before about one guy who was stopped by police and a drug dog alerted to drugs in his car. No drugs were found. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

A few weeks ago Radley Balko did a post about a police search of a couple middle schools using drug dogs. The dog alerted to drugs in student's lockers over 20 times, yet no drugs were found.

This is commonplace and it seems to be getting worse with no indication that I've heard of the courts questioning the validity of these searches. It seems the situation will only get worse, and the vast majority of us will respond with a simple shrug of our shoulders.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Scroll down for latest post

I made a new post and, since I started it before the recycling post, it ended up below that post. Just a heads up for those that do as I often do and just check the post at the top of the column to see if anything new is up.

I hate the way Blogspot does that. I even added things and made a number of changes to the gardening post after posting the recycling one hoping it would show up at the top of the column. It did show up at the top when I first posted it, but now it seems to have been bumped down to second place. I hate that.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Defeating The Recycling Scavengers

I'm actually with Andrew Bird on this one, reading his comment to the letter- to- the- editor in the Times- Standard this morning. I don't have much of a problem as some folks do with the bums going around and scavenging recyclables from wherever they can. After all, they're just trying to make ends meet.

But I'll agree it can be a problem when they get into the recycling bins and leave a mess. I'm sure that happens, although I have yet to see an actual instance of it. There's also the issue of them basically stealing what legally belongs to Recology and which is used to help pay for the curbside service. Point well made. That is a problem.

I haven't had any of those problems yet and I don't know that anyone has ever gone through my recycling bin. Why? First of all, as City Garbage asked when the program was first started, I only put the bin out on the sidewalk when it's full, which means every 5 or 6 weeks.

Not to digress and I'm not sure how it is now, but I noticed when this first started many people placed the bins out every week with only a handful of recyclables in them to pick up. It's not cost effective for City Garbage to be picking up just a handful of recyclables. Wait for the bin to fill up as I do. It's usually the paper side that fills up first and that generally takes about 6 weeks.

Second, I don't leave it out overnight. I take it out before I go to work in the morning so there's less time for the scavengers to find it. You have to have an idea of when the recycling truck generally comes by for this to work but, since they come by towards the afternoon in my neighborhood, I place my bin out between 9 and 10am. Doesn't give anyone a lot of time to find it that way.

Lastly, I generally take crv aluminum to the recycling center myself for redemption so there's not much of value in the bin, anyway. We might have a plastic bottle or two, but there are so few of them they're hard to find.

Simple enough. Give it a try.
Oh, as an aside, I've noticed a lot of people don't know that cold pack paper isn't recyclable. Cold Pack, or whatever it's called, is paper and cardboard type material that's used to package items that are refrigerated. Twelve pack boxes that soda and beer comes in, frozen pizza boxes and stuff like that should NOT be put in with the newspapers and office paper. It goes in the trash.

Just FYI.

Keeping Up With The Strubs(es?)

Or are they trying to keep up with us?

I wondered what the neighbors behind us were doing a couple weekends ago with the truck in their backyard. They finally mentioned it on Julie Strub's blog. They were putting in a couple raised beds for growing vegetables. Was this a coincidence, or were they trying to keep up with the Freddies?

A couple months ago I ended my ten or so year hiatus and decided to try and get our old vegetable garden back to some semblance of order. There used to be about 400 square feet of raised beds in our back yard.

The bed in the picture above is what the rest of them used to look like except this one was made out of something other than redwood. Oddly enough, it lasted longer than the others.

Working in maintenance gardening I lost my desire for outside work years ago and ignored the garden more and more. Finally it became completely overgrown with berry bushes, grass and morning glory. I finally decided to try and clean it up if for no other reason than it was a mess and a shame to see such a nice old garden in such a state.

Connie and I had pulled some of the bad stuff out over the last few years. Back in May, almost on a whim, I took my weed whacker and cut everything down in the area nearest to the house. Then I spent an hour or so for maybe four days turning over the soil where the old raised beds used to be. There's only a trace of the old redwood I used for the borders of the beds left, most of it rotten.

So here's what it looks like now. There's one area you can't see off to the far right that's cleared as well giving us between two to three hundred square feet of the garden back, but it's nowhere near done yet.

You can't tell from the picture but the morning glory and berry bushes keep popping up daily and I have to go back and dig them out as they emerge.
If you look real close you'll see four broccoli plants in the bed on the right. They're not doing too well and I'm not sure if they'll survive my daily digging up of emerging weeds.

I've put one tomato plant in the bed to the left already and am planning on planting a few more from six packs I'll buy locally. I usually start everything from seed but I started too late this year, aside from the fact there may not be much room with all the bad stuff still popping up.

The picture to the left is the area towards the back fence, still overgrown, where we used to grow tomatoes in years past. Also on the right was another bed we used that's covered with old dead brush that's going to be a real hassle to clear. Those areas are the next part of the project and I'm not looking forward to it. It's going to be nasty, but I have to do it if only to keep up with the Strubs.

The picture to the left is the garden area from the second picture years ago. It was quite a thriving garden at times back then. I'm not sure if we can get it back to what it used to be but, if we can, it will probably take years.

Saturday, May 07, 2011


I'm surprised to hear in this day and age that a someone local would get rabies. I would think it's common knowledge that if you're bitten by some critter that's not known to have been vaccinated against rabies, you get a series of shots and you won't get rabies.

Apparently this person didn't, and I can't help but wonder why? I realize there's personal and medical privacy issues involved, but I'd be interested in the circumstances. There might be a lesson to be learned for the rest of us and we might be able to keep our eyes open for similar circumstances so it doesn't happen to someone else.

Any guesses as to what might have happened?

Friday, May 06, 2011

Nobody's Business back in business

I used to visit the Nobody's Business blog regularly up until a while back. Then the posts got less and less frequent until I gave up on it. I was checking the links in this blog's sidebar today to see if I needed to get rid of any of them and noticed Nobody's Business started up with a new crew and picked up their posting pace at a new location. I've added it back to my daily reads.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Story of Frank Finkle

Those of you who aren't old west aficionados will want to ignore this but I saw a cool TV show on the History Channel last night. Custer's Last Man was a 2 hour show about a guy that supposedly survived the Battle of Little Big Horn. Frank Finkle died around 1930 and a lot of people seem to believe he really was there.

The show left me skeptical, although if it was balanced either way I'd say it was in favor of him being there. After reading
some comments from other people I almost can't help but feel the same way but, nope, you can still paint me skeptical for a number of reasons. I still have a lot of questions, some of which just can't be answered.

The show will repeat this Saturday (History Channel). If any of you old west fans out there decide to watch it, let me know how you feel about Frank "August" Finkle having actually survived the Little Big Horn fight.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Libya: What He Said

I was listening to Democracy Now on NPR a little while ago. This Alan Kuperman fellow that Amy Goodman had brief interview with tells it exactly the way it is in regards to our intervention in Libya. Too bad they ran out of time. They had to cut him off when the show ended:

AMY GOODMAN: We move on to Libya.


We’re going to go right now to Alan Kuperman, professor at the University of Texas, Austin, author of the book The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention and co-editor of Gambling on Humanitarian Intervention.

Your response to this latest news, the killing of Gaddafi’s son and his three grandchildren?

ALAN KUPERMAN: Obviously, tragic, but it’s not good for international politics. It’s not good for resolving this conflict. You know, the first thing I thought of when NATO said that, well, this is a legitimate target, is I thought, well, how would President Obama feel if some country which didn’t like the way he was waging war, if they had decided, "Well, the White House is a legitimate target, he’s the commander-in-chief," and they bomb the White House? And let’s say they killed his wife, or they killed one or both of his daughters. Would President Obama say, "Well, that’s a legitimate target"? I don’t think so.

So, this war in Libya is really starting to get out of hand. The U.N. resolution authorized action to protect civilians, and it seems that more civilians are dying as the result of the intervention than would have died without intervention, first of all, and that there’s this mission creep. How is hitting a residential compound and killing the children of the leader of Libya—how is that protecting civilians? It also undermines international norms. I mean, there’s norms. You don’t go after the children of leaders and the grandchildren of leaders. And if you hit them by mistake, you should say it’s a mistake and apologize. So, I mean, I think this is a violation of norms and counterproductive for the goal of protecting noncombatants.

AMY GOODMAN: You have written, Alan Kuperman, that the U.S. and NATO have attacked Libya under false pretenses. Can you explain?

ALAN KUPERMAN: Well, the argument that was made by the President in his address to the nation is that he supported intervention and NATO intervened because there was going to be a bloodbath. In that speech, he talked about, quote-unquote, "preventing genocide," and that that’s the kind of mission that justifies U.S. and NATO military action. But the reality is that there was no genocide underway, and there was no genocide threatening. What was happening is that a very, very weak rebel force had attacked his government, and his government had very quickly driven back the rebel force to one last city and was about to defeat the rebels in that city. And because the rebels didn’t want to be defeated, they concocted this notion that, "Oh, there’s going to be a genocide," and they announced that there would be a bloodbath unless there were intervention. And then President Obama, a few days later, said that he was intervening to stop a bloodbath.

And so, the only question for me is, did the rebels trick President Obama into believing there would be a bloodbath, or did President—was President Obama essentially in on the trick and declared that there was going to be a bloodbath when he knew that there would not be, because he wanted to intervene for other reasons? And those reasons might have been that he just wanted to overthrow Gaddafi for other reasons or that he thought that by helping the rebels, he would give some momentum to the Arab Spring that was underway elsewhere. But the bottom line is that there was no bloodbath. Gaddafi was targeting mainly rebels. This comes out of the—this is, you know, proved by the data that comes from Human Rights Watch, which showed that in the main city under siege in the center of the country, Misurata, of the people wounded there, only three percent were women. So, if Gaddafi were really just indiscriminately targeting residential buildings, apartment buildings and so forth—

AMY GOODMAN: We have five seconds.

ALAN KUPERMAN:—you would think that the percentage of casualties would be about 50 percent women, but it was only three percent women. So it clearly wasn’t a genocide, and he’s fighting rebels.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to have to leave it there. Professor Alan Kuperman, thanks for joining us.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Bin Laden: Balko's Word

I'm not often one to post on subjects that everyone else is already commenting on. I will, however, point everyone to Radley Balko's observations on the Bin Laden killing if for no other reason than I appreciate a somewhat contrarian view, especially after reading feel good news items on the killing like this.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

More Libya Lies

The lies continue in the Libyan civil war but I'll have to admit to being astonished reading this old viagra hoax being recirculated- the story being that pro- Ghaddafi forces are being given Viagra to encourage them in raping opposition women. Anti- is right. This is simply another attempt at an incubator babies hoax that was created to get the world behind our attack on Iraq.

History repeats itself and I can't help wonder how many lies have been tossed out in this war that I haven't caught yet? I know I am curious how the news reports on Ghaddafi forces supposedly shelling cities held in opposition hands yet I've yet to hear the same about the opposition attacking loyalists. I won't hold my breath waiting.

In the meantime, keep a skeptical eye open.

As an aside, for those that don't know, Viagra does nothing for a guy's libido. It doesn't make men any more sex driven than they already are. That's the first thing that should open such claims to scrutiny.