Monday, April 30, 2012

Obama: Warrior President

Ouch! A scathing commentary here by Glenn Greenwald taking a look at how left wing types seem pretty impressed with one of the most " ...militarily aggressive American leaders in decades", Barrack Obama. Either that, or they just blow the military stuff off.

Don't expect Romney to use that piece for his campaign, either. From what I've heard from Romney so far, he claims he'll be even "tougher" on other countries than Obama has been.

This seems the perfect opportunity for the peace vote to go third party.

Hat tip to for the link.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The George Zimmerman Story

Here's a story the Reuter's folks put together that tells more than just a bit about George Zimmerman, the guy involved in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. I agree with Radley Balko that it's long past time the story should have been told.

I'd like to say we should be appalled at the way media manipulated this story, but it's probably more the rule than the exception. It was surprising to me that the news editor who (deliberately, in my opinion) edited a prior 911 call by Zimmerman got fired. That editing making it look like Zimmerman was the one that brought up a suspicious person's race first.

There's probably more fire with that smoke. I was listening to National Public Radio last night. I forget the show but they were interviewing some guy about the Zimmerman case. He pointed out the editing I mention above, then mentioned something about the 911 call the night of the killing. He said, If I recall correctly, that when the dispatcher suggested Zimmerman not pursue Martin, Zimmerman replied, "OK".

I believe that's the first time I heard that. Unless I missed it, most news reports have been saying he ignored the dispatcher and continued following Martin. Even the Reuters story I linked to above suggests Zimmerman ignored the dispatchers. I don't recall hearing anywhere that he replied "Ok", until today. Doing a quick net search I found at least a couple other references to Zimmerman saying "Ok".

I might be going out on a limb here, but seems to me omissions like that- if deliberate- should be considered criminal.

Lastly, I found once again a blurb about there being a witness that claims he saw Zimmerman on the ground with Martin on top of him. I've heard that at least three times but can't pin down an official source. Could be a hoax, but I wonder if that's true?

We'll have to wait and see what turns up in the trial. Until then, the lesson to be learned is don't go flying off the handle over things you read in the news.

Addendum: One of the best comments I've ever read on any blog, but this one happens to be from Radley Balko's blog and about the Zimmerman case.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Maria Matteoli's Movie

Some of you might have read The Journal's cover story last week about a locally produced movie (partly local, anyway). Here's the long awaited trailer for the The Wine of Summer, written, produced and directed by locally grown, Maria Matteoli.

It's probably best to let the video fully load before watching it. It gave us fits by breaking up as we watched while it loaded. Once fully loaded, it worked fine.

Please don't forget to click the heart shaped "Like" button on the upper right of the screen when done. The more Likes it gets, the more likely others will want to watch it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Are We A Police State Yet?

I think for most intents and purposes we are. As this commentary points out, the Transportation Security Administration's size and job description is growing by leaps and bounds, with no end in sight. I don't think it's a stretch to think that even up here we'll be feeling its effects.

I'm sure supporters of the State will point out police aren't rounding up people and throwing them in jail without cause. Actually, we hear more and more of that happening, especially involving citizens recording video of police. If you follow Radley Balko's blog you'll find more on that.

Of particular concern should be Obama's recent signing of a bill that allows indefinite detention of American suspected of supporting terrorism. It's a valid concern that the definition of supporting terrorism will soon be expanded to the government's convenience. Mouth off to TSA agents during one of their surprise sweeps? You must be supporting terrorism. Off you go to the hoosegow for who knows how long.

This isn't all George Bush's fault, either. Sure, he made the mistake of acting hysterically and creating the TSA in the first place, but Obama is right in there with him in supporting the continuing and strengthening the American Police State.

The sad thing is, so many folks being the partisan types they are, all most people will do is blame it on the other party and probably not complain at all when their party is in control.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How Not To Talk With Others

I recently signed up for the Pajamas Media mailing list. I have a tough time following some of the things they publish, but this piece on the 7 Deadly Sins of Conversation sure hit home. I'm probably guilty of all seven of them on the rare occasions I get to speak with someone. I should just mind my manners and keep my mouth shut.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

First They Came For The Plastic Bags...

A little while ago, over at the Humboldt Herald, there was some discussion of a local proposed ban on plastic shopping bags. I pointed out that the same people who propose banning plastic shopping bags often propose banning paper shopping bags, as well- Los Angeles is in the process right now of trying to ban both.

Well, just as with first going after the socialists, now they want to ban even more things with the San Jose City Council seeming pretty much determined to ban styrofoam food containers. My guess is the next target will be the #1 clear plastic cups many beverages are sold in. After that, who knows?

What's remarkable in all this is none of the proponents of these bans give a damn about how many manufacturing jobs will be lost as a result. Thousands of jobs lost just from the plastic and paper bag bans alone. I'm sure thousands more likely lost as more and more cities ban polystyrene. But that's ok, we're told, they can all switch to making other food containers...until we decide to ban that one.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Blasting Killer Asteroids

This Popular Science article was almost what I was looking for. I've been thinking a bit lately about whether it's really possible to blast an incoming asteroid to smithereens using a nuclear weapon.

The article didn't explain it to my satisfaction. For one thing, the research is all done with computer models. I'm not set very much at ease by computer models. I think they should try it with real missiles. Maybe send one to the asteroid belt and pick a small one to blow up? I'm not sure it would cost all that much. We already have thousands of missiles and warheads we might be able to use.
Speaking of comet and asteroid doomsday movies, you might enjoy this one I saw some years ago. Actually, I'm not sure Doomsday Rock is the one I saw as I don't recall the acting cast being quite the same. William Devane kind of looks like the main character, but I remembered it as being someone else.

It sounds about right, though, with the scientist enlisting some people to take over a nuclear missile silo with intent of taking out a comet, or some such, that's going to impact earth. Problem is, he needs two missiles but everyone thinks he's nuts. The Russians get all jittery when they hear about it and realize he might really be some nutcase that wants to launch on them.

Made for a great movie for me and the end turned out to be a real feel- good, if not a downright tear jerker. That assumes this is the same movie I'm thinking about. Keep an eye out for it should it be on TV again.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Walking To School

How many of you remember doing that? Fewer and fewer, I suspect.

CLS, over at Classically Liberal reminded me of it with his post on walking to school and how so few kids do it anymore. I'd wondered the same thing for some years now, having watched kids being driven to school that was only a few blocks from home.

What's with that? Why... when I was your age I used to walk 20 miles through...! But seriously, I did walk to school and enjoyed it. Maybe not always. I know when we lived in Mexico we took buses. I can't recall how far school was from our house then. I was real young.

Back in California, I walked to school for a number of years. In Tustin, Sycamore Elementary School was less than half a block up the street. No big deal. Once I got to jr. high school, it was further, but I walked and didn't think much of it. In fact, it was usually pretty decent social time as I'd either walk with friends or meet some along the way.

We'd often play games of one kind or another while walking to school. I remember one morning I met up with my neighbor, Mark Sanchez. We started up a little game of "honking loogies" at each other as we walked- We'd get up a big snotty one and spit it at each others leg while still keeping our walking pace. The idea was to come as close as possible without hitting the other guy.

I honestly didn't mean to but I hit Mark- about the biggest pile of yuck you could imagine splattered about 3 inches- across his thigh. We were both grossed out. He was holding his thigh just above the loogie going, "No, no, no". He didn't have the guts to touch it. It was so gross. Then he actually threw up.

We both laughed at that, scraped the snot off his leg with a branch from a nearby tree and went on our way to school. Fun stuff.

I remembered the route to C.E. Utt Jr. High School as being maybe a couple miles. It took about forty minutes one way. I wasn't sure, though. Once I had Google Earth available I actually retraced my route using that "ruler" application that lets you measure distances. Sure enough, it was just about two miles. How many kids walk that far to school nowadays, and how many parents would allow them to?

My mother also made me a lunch to take to school then. How many do that anymore?

Once University High School in Irvine opened, we used to walk there, too. Eventually, I got a driver's license and a car so that came to an end. I was one of the relatively few guys- for the time- that regularly drove to school. Probably more because I could rather than necessity. I don't think the walk was much more than a mile had I chose to continue walking.

Then I weaseled my way into continuation school. Hillview High School was all the way back in Tustin. That was five miles away. Maybe ten. Driving was about the only way I could go, although I might have hitchhiked a few times. Since I managed to get my credits done about 6 months early, no more worry about walking or driving to school.
We've seen kids walk by our house on the way to school since we've moved to our current home, but there's never been many. When the elementary school was next to Eureka High we used to see a lot more.

Over the last ten or 15 years I could probably count the number of high schoolers walking to Eureka High each year on one hand. Kind of hard to understand as I'm sure they don't all have cars. How do they get to school now?

Friday, April 20, 2012

North Korea Does Cafe Press

Who'da thunk? The Democratic People's Republic of North Korea now has a Cafe Press store. Who will be the first to buy a t- shirt or coffee cup? Eric? Joel?
Hat tip to Radley Balko for the heads up.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pitts Disses Obama's Drug War

This scathing commentary by Leonard Pitts about Obama's dismissal of drug legalization was nicely done. Perhaps scathing isn't the right word as he still gives due respect. Maybe hard- hitting would be more appropriate?

I've written here before I'm not sure exactly how we should deal with illicit drugs. Legalize, decriminalize... some or all of them? I don't know. I do believe no one should lose their freedom simply for eating, drinking or smoking anything- or providing someone with the same.
The San Francisco Chronicle's Debra Saunders has a slightly different take on Obama's version of the drug war. She focuses on policies treating drug abuse as a disease.

The 12 Worst Supermarkets

I was almost disappointed in the results of this Consumer Reports survey on U.S. supermarkets. Here's the slide show. Of the 12 worst, Wal- Mart is the only one I'm remotely familiar with although I don't think I've ever actually been inside one. Most seem to be in other states.

I was hoping they'd list at least one I'd been to so I could have some personal reference to the complaints made. Some people will complain about anything. I can't think of any supermarket I've had anything other than minor complaints about.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Stuck On Dial- Up Again

Lost my DSL connection yesterday morning. Out of the blue, just before 8:30am, my connection went dead. About the only warning something was wrong was my computer's battery pack clicked a couple times, which usually indicates we've lost power, or are about to.

I was hoping it was an area outage if for no other reason than somebody else would fix it. Checked with the Matteolis across the street. They hadn't had any problems. Bummer. Checked with the Stubs behind me. They were fine, but Laura mentioned they were with Suddenlink. Then I realized the Matteolis are, too. I'm with AT&T so there was still hope.

I call AT&T, hoping to find out it's an area outage but have to go through the whole troubleshooting procedure before I even talk to a real person. Finally, the real guy starts going through the troubleshooting routine with me and the battery on my phone goes dead. He calls back but I can't answer.

I come back from work hoping to find my DSL back up. Nope. Still down. I call AT&T again. Spend some time with a gal before the battery on the phone goes dead again. Connie had already bought a new phone but it wasn't fully charged yet. I'd warned the phone gal ahead of time so, when the phone started beeping, I had her call back to my cell phone.

After at least an hour of trying just about anything she could think of, no DSL connection. She finally says she's pretty sure it's my modem, offers to sell me one for $75.00 and says it could be here by Tuesday. I'm thinking now I should have accepted the offer.

Went up the street to Cornerstone Computers. They didn't have any hard wire modems in stock, but said they'd have some on Monday. That wasn't soon enough so I went to Staples. Staples didn't have any modems I was interested in. I went home figuring I'll just buy the one from Cornerstone on Monday, but what to do in the meantime?

Got dial- up working on the laptop last night. It was slow, slow, slow this morning when I tried to do my regular computer stuff. Took me as long just to enter my sweepstakes as it normally takes to enter sweeps, do the blogs and read my news and everything else.

Then I thought maybe I could figure out why dial- up wasn't working on this tower. It sure would be nicer to use this one, even if it was just as slow. Hooked the phone line into the modem and, wala, dial- up worked. Must have had the line hooked up wrong before.

Much nicer sitting here, and it seems quite a bit quicker than the laptop. It's probably because the web cache needs to be built up on the laptop that it took pages so long to load. It seems pretty quick on this tower.

I just hope it is the modem. I've had problems with the phone lines before their tests didn't pick it up until I snagged a phone guy I saw outside and had him check the lines. Almost makes me feel like switching to Suddenlink or even Satellite DSL but, when you think of it, all the big internet providers are pretty much the same when it comes to customer service and repairs.

Can't wait for Monday... or Tuesday. Whenever the modem comes in.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Who Are The Likely Anti- Totalitarians?

I have to disagree with this fellow's suggestion that religious folks are most likely to oppose totalitarianism in government. I think it's a bit simplistic, if anything.

My own experience has been that most folks support big government so long as it's run by those they like. For instance, you won't hear much complaining about the Obama administration by Democrats and you won't hear much complaint of the Bush administration by Republicans.

I've also notice a disturbing trend where more and more people assume government should be involved in every aspect of people's lives simply because it already is. Those kind of people won't be any help.

I've wrote here not long ago that lefties nearly always tend to lean totalitarian (or authoritarian, depending on how you use the terms). I still think that's true, but the bottom line is most groups of people- with the exception of philosophical libertarians- seem generally willing to put up with any sort of government involvement in their lives if it's done under the auspices of their own fraternal politics. I can't see how religion mixes into the equation at all.
As an aside, this couldn't help but remind me of something that took place some years ago.

A guy came over to my house briefly. He's a fairly well know local Republican. I consider him among the "Religious Right", and have told him so. I was on the computer dealing with some political stuff at the time and came up with the idea of having him take the World's Smallest Political Quiz.

While I knew he was at the least fairly conservative, I was hoping maybe he'd score up in the Libertarian area of the quiz. Perhaps that might open some doors with him and pull him a bit from his conservative roots.

It didn't work. He began scoring Authoritarian from question #1. He was about half way through his way to scoring completely Authoritarian when I gave an excuse to quit the test and we moved on. It would have been contrary to the purpose of me having him take the test only to have him identify himself as an authoritarian so why continue?

That's at least part of the reason I had a hard time going along with the idea that religious folks are most likely to oppose totalitarian governments.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Lovelace Does Taxpayer's League Wednesday

County supervisor, Mark Lovelace, will be the special guest at the Humboldt Taxpayer's League meeting this month. He'll be discussing the recent proposal for the county to subsidize local air service.

I've read some complaints about that already. If you're one of those unhappy with the idea, here's your chance to get the whole scoop and perhaps voice your opinion to both Mr. Lovelace and The League.

The meeting starts with lunch at 11:45 and the general membership meeting beginning at 12:30 at the Samoa Cookhouse. The full meeting agenda is available at the Humboldt Taxpayer's League web page.

Addendum: The Lost Coast Outpost has a good explanation of what this is all about.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

House Hunting?

This new chickadee house I put up on one of the apple trees in our back yard didn't look so dark when I took the picture, but I'm still excited. There's chickadees going in and out of it now.

I think they're just house hunting right now. There's more consistent traffic when they're actually building a nest or have chicks inside.
Right now their visits can be hours apart.

A friend gave me a big flat one inch board. Remember the real 1" boards? This was one of them. Real rough cut- lots of splinters. I figured I'd try making a chickadee house with it. I was worried they might not like it because of all the shiny screws I used to put it together, plus I thought they might not be happy with the thick board. Maybe it would be too difficult for them to go in and out of with the thicker wood?

Sounds silly, but I just wondered. After we got into March and I didn't see any chickadees around it, I thought maybe my concerns were justified. Then a few days ago I saw a pair sitting on, and going in and out of it. I was stoked. Now we'll just have to wait and see if they decide to nest, but I just saw one fly out of it a short time ago so they're definitely interested.

This is my second serious attempt at making a chickadee house. The first one was a success from the start. I put that one up on the chestnut tree on the south side of our house. Chickadees nested in it the first year. I even got to see the baby chicks fly from it. Hopefully, that's what will happen with this one.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Obama vs. Republicans On The Drug War

The San Francisco Chronicle's Debra Saunders suggests President Obama is tougher than his predecessor on medical marijuana.

Steve Greenhut suggests the Republicans aren't much better than Obama.

Friday, April 06, 2012

What He Said (about the courthouse):

The Mckinleyville Press' Jack Durham gives what should be the final word on free speech, the county courthouse and recently enacted rules for protest there. Well done, Jack!

L.A. Times Goes Pay Site?

What the heck is going on with the Los Angeles Times?

I'd read a few weeks ago that they were changing their web site to pay- only. That's a bummer if only because I read stuff on their site fairly regularly. Sure enough, after a week or two you couldn't get to any of their news stories unless you "joined" the site, although they said it was just $1.00 a month to start.

I wasn't gonna pay it. After all, if I paid a dollar for every news site I frequent that would add up to some money. But I was bummed, especially when I'd see a title and a link that looked interesting only to click on it and get the "pay first" message.

Then a couple days ago that message went away. Now it's back to the way it used to be and I can read to my heart's content, unless this is just a temporary glitch. Or, maybe they decided the pay scheme wasn't working? I'm hoping for the latter.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Occupy Opinions Wanted

Interesting ad on Craigslist here. They're soliciting opinions about the Occupy movement. I get the impression they want them from people within the movement, but I suppose they'll take whatever they get. Let them know what you think!

The ad says you have to agree to have your opinion published. Published where, I wonder?

To Hail With It

Since we had a smattering of hail in Eureka a little while ago, here's a slide show of larger sized hail that's fallen around the country. Courtesy of the Weather Channel.

Monday, April 02, 2012

A Reasonable Look At Bullying

Reason magazine's, Nick Gillespie, takes a refreshing look at recent concerns about bullying.

Hat tip to Radley Balko for the link.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Traffic Stops, Drug Dogs and Probable Cause

Radley Balko has a nice piece up on the Huffington Post about a traffic stop that results in what should be an illegal search. I feel safe in saying this same sort of thing probably happens hundreds, if not thousands, of times a day in this country.

In this incident the out- of- state driver is pulled over for one of those catch all reasons: crossing the yellow line a few times. The officer seems about to let him go but then questions him. After a minute or so he comes up with the all too predictable, "Do you mind if I search your car?". After the driver refuses the search, the officer uses his dog to fabricate cause for a search.

A couple things make my blood boil over this sort of thing:

First, the idea that so many cops ask to search people's cars for no particular reason. It's as if they figure, "Why not? All they can do is say no". They shouldn't be asking to search vehicles unless they have probable cause to begin with.

Second, the courts really need to lower the level of faith given to drug dogs. I'm reading more and more about how dogs can read signals and feelings from their handlers that encourage dogs to give the response the handler wants.

If nothing else, it seems to me totally out of line that a drug dog can alert on a car thus giving police probable cause to go through the whole car. If the dog alerts on a car- as I've written before- that dog should go inside the car and find the supposed drugs. The police shouldn't be able to search everything in the car because a dog alerts.

If he's so good at what he does, he should be able to pinpoint the drug location immediately. If he can't, it's a false alert and the search should be aborted.

I often don't have the time or desire to watch videos that accompany news stories. In this case I'm glad I did as the driver of the car put together a nice account of the incident. He even includes some footage of drug dog training with false alerts. Some of you may enjoy the slightly over 17 minute video. About the only downside is the voices are a little hard to hear during the traffic stop.

The bottom line is the courts really need to reclassify the validity of probable cause they give to drug dog alerts.

Addendum: As an aside, this sort of thing makes me wonder about all the locals we've heard about getting busted, especially out of state, for transporting dope? They're usually stopped by police for some traffic infraction. I know I'm not the only one who thinks "How could they be so stupid to be speeding while carrying a bunch of pot?".

Maybe they weren't?