Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stumbled on to a new blog via Richard Rider's blog. Calwhine looks like it will be a fun blog to follow once he squares away his formatting. Right now it looks like all his posts are in the left sidebar, at least to me (browser incompatibility?). Not sure what's going on with that. I e-mailed the guy and mentioned it but never received a response and it hasn't been changed. Still, it looks like it might be a fun read and I've added it to my blog list.

Buy Real Gas

I was reading this article from on the benefits of pure gasoline which led me to this directory of gas stations in the country that offer ethanol- free gasoline. I was surprised to see that Humboldt County has 3 of the 5 gas stations in the state that offer pure gasoline. Stations that have been added to the database, anyway.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Press- Democrat Does The Freddy

That was fast. I sent a letter to the editor in on Sunday to the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat in regards their editorial supporting removal of the Klamath Dams. I was surprised to see it already published and the second of today's letters. Edited just a bit, but pretty much the same as I sent it in.

Now let's see if the Sacramento Bee publishes a slightly different letter I sent in on the same subject.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Klamath Agreement: A Compromise

The plan to tear down the Klamath Dams has been in the news again. The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat seems to think it's a great idea all parties agree on. No surprise there. The Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters takes a more cynical view, focusing on who would end up paying for it.

I found the comment by an Oregonian to the SRPD editorial enlightening. He claims polls and votes taken in the Klamath Basin show 70 to 82% disapproval of the agreement. Seems to me even some so- called progressives should disapprove of the way the planned dam removal is funded with the owner of the dams, PacifiCorp, paying for only a small portion of the removal. Taxpayers, some through a California water bond, pay for most of it.

I offer a compromise: Why not leave the dams in place and, rather than spend at least a billion dollars on a questionable removal, just spend a few million and install fish ladders to allow salmon migration? That way we'd be able to pretty much have it all: The fish can migrate. We get the water storage capacity of the dams, their power generation and save millions of dollars, as well.

Seems to me everybody wins under an agreement like that, even if we use part of the California water bond to pay for it.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

North Coast Travelogue: Nov. 20&21

Headed to the Bay Area again Sunday morning.

I was surprised at the Van Duzen and Eel Rivers. They looked like it might have been summertime. The water was fairly low and very clear. I would have expected them to at least have some mud from the recent rains but driving over the bridges I could see right through the water to the bottom of the river. Weird. Looked good enough to go swimming in.
I guess people aren't really as bad off as they like to complain about. At least they don't seen interested in saving gas by lowering their freeway speed to around 55 mph. In the past I've had a few similar minded people seem to follow me as I drove south- the result of keeping roughly the same speed. This time the only vehicle that I saw for any length of time was the Amtrak bus.
A remarkable first, once we got south of Cloverdale. For the first time ever I managed to stay on cruise control at around 56 mph almost all the way to Novato. I didn't know that was possible but, with the new lanes added and most cars seeming to keep a fairly consistent speed, I was able to sail right on through the area.
We stayed at the Villa Inn in San Rafael again and were pleasantly surprised by our room. It was good from the start: As I drove in to the parking lot I saw a bottom floor room, Room 15, I thought would be perfect. "That room would be perfect", I thought to myself. Easy to get to and real close to anything we might need. I didn't say anything when I went to check in but the guy gave me room 15, anyway. A stroke of luck.

The room was nice, too, with no water stains on the wall paper as there were last time we stayed and some of the missing amenities from last time were there this time, including the TV remote control. It was cool with a light rain falling when we arrived and the room's heater worked quite nicely in keeping us comfortable.

Overall, a nice stay. We'll be back.
We left UCSF close to 3pm, Monday which was a bit later than usual and I figured we only had a couple hours of daylight left. I hate driving at night, although it does make the time seem to go quicker for me. We made fairly decent time all the way through the Santa Rosa area, although I wasn't able to repeat my feat of using cruise control the whole way. Not even close, in fact.

By the time we were passing Ukiah it was dark. I wasn't hungry so was thinking of not making our usual dinner stop at the Willits Taco Bell. Instead, I picked up a Toll House ice cream cookie when we stopped for gas at the Willits Safeway. Connie picked up some other ice cream goodie for herself and off we went.
Stopped at the Legget rest stop to use the bathroom. I'd been wanting to do the #2 for hours but couldn't get myself to do it in a public restroom. There wasn't anybody at the Leggett rest stop but those places are so creepy at night I didn't want to spend any more time there than I had to so I did my #1 and raced out of there.
Heading north from Leggett, we got into that curvy road section. I actually drove about my normal daylight speed and was surprised to see headlights far behind me closing up on me rather quickly. They must have been going 50 mph, or so. Seemed fast even for daylight conditions. As they pulled in behind me I'd wait for a turnout and let them pass. I had to say to Connie, "No matter how fast I go there always seems to be a bunch of people that have to go faster". What is it with you speed freaks? And there was more than just one or two of them.
As we got a bit south of the Humboldt County line a light rain started up and my wiper blades were dirty or something. They squeeked real loud and didn't keep the windshield very clear. Now that could be a problem, but we weren't too far from Piercy so I figured I'd stop there and see what I could do about it.

We stopped at the Renner cardlock in Piercy and I tried wiping the wiper blades clean. That was about all I could think of doing so we started to leave and I felt a tummy ache from not doing my #2. I didn't think it a good idea to drive the last hour and a half feeling like that. I'd seen a porta- potti on the far side of the Renner cardlock and figured as disgusting as it was, I'd best try and relieve myself there. I did. It was disgusting, but I did feel better.
My work on the windshield wipers seemed to help (need to remember to use Rain-X on the windshield next time) and we drove straight through to Eureka, parking the truck at 8:28pm. About the same time we usually do. I guess forgoing the Taco Bell dinner stop made up the difference for leaving late.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Greenhut on the U.C. Davis Incident

My colleague (hey, he's a libertarian writer, too) Steve Greenhut over at CalWatchdog pipes in on the pepper spray incident at U.C. Davis. No surprise that he calls it "brutality" as he's always seemed to me to have strong feelings towards any suggestion of police misconduct.

I have a slightly different take on it. As I wrote in a comment to his piece, I wouldn't go so far as to call it brutality. If the police attacked them with batons and beat the pulp out of some of the students, I'd call that brutality. As it was it was pretty much a temporary application of pain which the students had to have been expecting and could have left at any time to avoid.

I do think it's illustrative of how cavalier police have become in the use of both pepper spray and tasers. I realize tasers weren't used in this instance but it's the same thing: Police have a tool that isn't considered to cause lasting harm so they use it more and more, often in cases that defy explanation. When they're used when the target didn't ask for a confrontation, as Radley Balko reports, I think that certainly is brutality.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Give them an inch and...

I can't help but laugh at what's going on at Santa Rosa City Hall.

You'll recall the Santa Rosa City Council, sympathetic to the Occupy movement, decided to issue camping permits to at least some that wanted to camp on the city hall lawn. That wasn't good enough for those that didn't feel enough permits were being issued, among other things.

So, some are backing out of the permit process and the city stopped issuing additional permits. To add to the entertainment, it's reported at least a a couple fights have broken out: A fist fight over a camping space, and a scuffle by a couple guys over a food bowl.

It might be fun to watch this Santa Rosa camp play itself out.

Addendum: Much to my surprise, the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle supports removing the campers in San Francisco.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Zombie Does Occupy Oakland

Photojournalist Zombie took a tour of Occupy Oakland. I'm getting to think the same people participate in all the events she covers. They certainly look like the same crowd, anyway.
I had some business in Old Town, Eureka yesterday so decided to drive by the county courthouse to see what was going on, not having heard anything about the encampment there for at least a couple days.

I was surprised to see not only tents on the courthouse lawn, but tents that seemed to cover just about every inch of the lawn with only a handful of people standing around. As with Zombie's photo essay of Oakland, the people standing around were what I'd have expected.

If it weren't the courthouse lawn I'd have been amused.

As it was I found myself surprised that the tents were there to that extent. I was also a bit angry as this seemed to me to be an obvious attempt at provoking a confrontation with police. And for what purpose?
To add insult to injury, I was listening to KMUD radio at the time. The radio guy announced that more campers were needed at the courthouse. I might have heard "Occupy" used once, but no word about why they were camping and no word about it being illegal- at least while I was paying attention.

I thought that was shamelessly irresponsible. If he was going to support an illegal encampment he could have said why they were camping and that there could be legal ramifications for doing so.

I enjoy KMUD radio and listen to it all the time. Still, I'd be more than happy to see someone who ended up following that radio guy's advice- and ended up in trouble because of it- suing either the radio guy, the station, or both. It would be their just reward for, as we called it when I worked at Juvenile Hall, contributing to a difficult situation.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pot Growers: Look out!

Congressman Mike Thompson wants federal spy agencies to assist in the war on pot. What could possibly go wrong with that idea?


Download Your Petition

I think this web site is pretty slick. It has a list of current petitions that are circulating to put initiatives on the ballot. Click on the link and there's links to download and print out the initiative and the petition itself.

For starters, I've just downloaded #1512, which would repeal the death penalty in California. There's more on the list to consider, including one to make public pensions more sustainable and three legalizing or reducing penalties for marijuana.

I'll start with the death penalty one and sort the other ones out later. Each petition takes only 3 signatures so it won't take long to get them filled out. You could also just sign it yourself (as long as you're a registered voter) and send it in.

Petitions also available from other states so check yours out.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Illegal Camping Is Not Free Speech

More and more cities are getting fed up with the illegal camping associated with the Occupy Wall Street protests, Santa Rosa being one. I'm getting a little fed up with the cry by many- some who should know better- that the illegal encampments should be protected as free speech.

It may seem strange to hear from a libertarian, but free speech has its limits. You certainly should be free to criticize government, which is why we have a first amendment in the first place, but you can't do it anywhere you please. Cities and counties have the same right as people to set limits on how their property is used.

When a city or county removes illegal campers from a property, that doesn't interfere with those campers rights to free speech at all. Those same campers can still march down the street, start a blog or make a Facebook entry making their point and not be subject to arrest.

When you cross the line of legality, that's known as civil disobedience. In the past, direct action through civil disobedience has been credited with various reforms, but most who engaged in it often acknowledged they were engaged in it and the acts themselves were often directly related to the issue they were protesting- blocking munitions shipments in protest of the Viet Nam war, for instance.

I don't see how setting up an illegal camp on city or county property furthers the OWS cause. In fact, now it seems the issue has switched to the illegal camps themselves as opposed to whatever this was about in the first place. How illegal camping, or confrontation with the police, is going to get the supposed rich 1% to give up their money is beyond me.

In any case, this is not about free speech and never was.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Shoplifting In The News

I've seen a couple notable shoplifting items in the news lately. One, reported by Radley Balko, was about a couple apprehended at a Safeway in Hawaii and accused of eating two sandwiches without paying for them. The intent of Radley's bringing it up was to expose what seemed to be heavy handed tactics by Safeway management and law enforcement.

It was interesting to see the comments center more on whether the couple intended to eat without paying, although most seemed to think the matter might have been blown out of proportion by all parties. I've since read that Safeway won't be following through with prosecution. Only the couple knows for sure whether it was simply an oversight not paying for the sandwiches.

Next we have State Assemblygal Mary Hayashi who got caught leaving a Neiman Marcus store without paying for over $2000.00 worth of clothes. She also claims it was an oversight and that she had intended to pay for the items.

I'll try to withhold judgment but you have to admit the fact she brought at least one Neiman Marcus shopping bag to the store with her, went into a change room and put the items in question into that bag in the changing room certainly doesn't look good.

Regardless of how Hayashi's case is adjudicated, I'll bet she won't let that happen again. I know I didn't.
I actually had a short lived career as a shoplifter when I was around 6 or 7 years old. I'll blame it on a guy who later on turned out to be my best friend for a while. I don't know if he ever got caught. I did.

It started out one day in Tustin, CA back in the '60s. I was riding my bike around town and stopped by a small local drugstore. Just as I pulled up an acquaintance, the late Doug J., came out of the store. As he walked toward me he proudly pulled a huge Hershey bar out from inside his pants.

I didn't make the connection with him pulling it out of his pants, I just asked, "How'd you get that?"- us young kids never having enough money to buy a big bar like that- He replied, "I kiped it". Me: "Kiped it? What's that mean?". He says, "Here. I'll show you".

I follow him back inside the drugstore and he goes over to the candy rack. Stands there, looks around and when he thinks no one is looking, grabs another large candy bar and stuffs it inside his pants. We walked out the store and I was amazed. Wow! All the candy you want and not having to pay for it.

I immediately went back inside the store and kiped my own candy bar. I was hooked.

I soon showed a few other friends how to do it and, while I don't remember most of the specific details, I'm sure we raised hell amongst the stores for at least a month or so...until I got caught.

Some friends, Steve and Brian, and I went to the small store next to the original drug store where it all started. I think the small store was called Tiny Tim's- a small mom and pop type store that sold a little of everything kind of like a Circle K. We went on a shoplifting rampage, mostly focusing on toys.

Of special interest were some small stamped metal, double barreled cap guns and the caps we could use with them. We got a whole bunch. That night we had a sleepover at my house and had a blast with those cap guns, firing them off all night. They were kind of semi- automatic and the roll of caps would load as fast as you could fire them. And all of that for free!

Next morning we went right back to Tiny Tim's to get some more. We went to the toy rack and started loading up again. We were getting quite brazen about stealing at this point and had our pants, socks, pockets stuffed with caps, cap guns and whatever else we fancied. Steve and Brian figured they were done and left to stand by our bikes. I told them I'd be out in a minute.

I just couldn't get enough of it and taking one last look saw one more thing I wanted: A pea shooter kit. It was a small bag with a 6" straw with a paper package containing not only peas for ammo, but the outside of the package was a target so you could shoot peas at it. I wanted that pea shooter.

I looked to the right over towards the checkout and didn't see the store guy. I went for my one last grab and started stuffing it into my pants. As I stuffed it into my pants I looked over toward the checkout again and there was the store guy, standing at the edge of the aisle staring at me.

Yikes! I put the pea shooter back on the rack and started walking out of the store- the exit being on the opposite side of the store guy- and he grabbed me by the arm as I passed by him. "You're not going anywhere!".

Me: "Let me go. I'M SORRY". Him: "Give me everything else you have", and I emptied out my pockets and all the stuff I had stuffed down my pants. The only thing he didn't get was some caps I'd stuffed in my socks. I'd forgot about them.

Him: "Give me your mother's phone number or I'll call the police". Me: "No". Him, "Ok. I'm calling the police", and he picks up the handle to the telephone next to him. Me: "NO. NO!!!". Him, "Ok, then give me your phone number". Me: "NO, NO!".

We go back and forth for a while with that and me crying and screaming at the top of my lungs. At one point Steve comes back in the door and asks what's wrong. I tell him to go back outside and wait. He goes back outside. Some lady comes in with a son younger than I was and I yell at her, "Don't come in here. This man is mean!". She just walks on by.

Finally the store guy gets tired of the back and forth and after five or ten minutes of it says, "All right. Get out of here and I don't ever want to see you in here again!". I run outside where Steve and Brian were waiting on their bikes. Steve asks again, "What happened?". I said something like "Nothing. Let's get out of this stupid place", and off we went.

I never did that again!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

High Desert Barbeque

My collegue, J.D. Tuccille (Hey, he's a libertarian blogger, too.), recently wrote and published his first novel. It's called High Desert Barbeque. If my soul mate, Claire Wolfe likes it, it must be good. I'll buy my first copy as soon as I can figure out how to read it on this computer.

You can get either the Nook or Kindle version for just $2.99, or in paperback for $11.99. Buy one for yourself and a friend today!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Legalize Homemade Food Sales!

How about legalizing sales of home made food? The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat reports a number of people trying to sell home made foods are trying to get a law passed to allow them to do so. Sounds like a plan to me and something the state's Republicans ought to jump on.

Removing government burdens on people should be right up their alley. Right?

Reverse 911: Broken Eureka Water Lines

We just received one of those reverse 911 broadcast alerts from some agency advising that a couple of main water lines in Eureka have broken and they're being worked on. No word on where this happened but they ask you not call 9-1-1 should you come across it.

Nothing on the Times- Standard web site about it as I write this.

Friday, November 04, 2011


It hasn't been too long but I'd better post something. I don't want anybody accusing me of cluttering up cyberspace with a dead blog so here's one of my favorite and most memorable skits from Sesame Street.

Anybody else remember that one? I've remembered it since I first saw it but either my memory is faulty or there's two versions of it. I remember it being a bit different than the one shown.