Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Enviros Duping the Supes?

Anybody know what environmental group Wilberta McCarthy is referring to in her letter to the Times- Standard today?

The Board of Supervisors recently approved a "sea level rise study". My eyebrows raised a bit at how much the study will cost: $250,000.00. Not to worry, though. Turns out some environmental group is paying for the study. Makes you wonder why the supes need to approve the study if the county isn't paying for it? It also makes you wonder why the group is paying for the study?

I suspect it's pretty simple: The enviros want to pay for the study so that they can add their own hysterical spin to it. They might even be able to include some "green" solutions to global warming and convince the Board of Supes to implement them.

That doesn't seem far fetched to me. Our Board of Supervisors already proved themselves naive enough to come out in favor of Prop 37 (an initiative that doesn't involve county business) after listening to a one- sided presentation on it. I wouldn't be surprised if they fall for this study's conclusions and any "solutions" the enviros suggest.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Here Comes Sandy

Wouldn't it suck to have to sit there knowing a big hurricane is coming right at you and all you can do is wait? Which is worse: storms, that come with warning, or earthquakes, without them? I'm not sure which I'd choose if I had the choice. Problem is, we can't choose and there's nothing saying some freak storm won't come out of the Pacific and attack us some day. We might well end up with both!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bush & McCain vs. Obama

 This reminded me of a neighbor stopping by while walking his dog a few weeks ago. He saw the signs in my yard. After asking who Gary Johnson was, we talked a bit about the presidential race.

He went on to say something along the line of, "...don't you think we need someone that will really make other countries think twice about messing with us?". I reminded him that Obama has killed more people than Bush, if that's what he was referring to.

So much for that conversation. Never got around to discussing whether we should be attacking other countries in the first place.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lawrence O'Donnell Talks Third Parties

Great video by Lawrence O'Donnell. What a breath of fresh air. It runs about eight minutes. He starts off talking about the recent third party presidential debates and the issues they covered that Obama and Romney ignored. Then he gets into third party voting (he's a third party voter) and the "wasted vote".

One of the better commentaries I've seen on mainstream television. I appreciate his plug for the "safe state strategy". That being, there's no reason not to vote third party in states where one candidate is expected to win by large margins. I'll differ a bit with his suggestion voters should feel obligated to vote for either Romney or Obama in battleground states.

I'm assuming that's what he's trying to say. Maybe he's just saying he understands why many would feel compelled to vote for one of the major candidates in states where the race is too close to call?

I prefer David Boaz' way of putting it: "It's better to vote for something you want and not get it, than vote for something you don't want and get it". I could see choosing one major candidate over the other if there were clear differences between them but I don't see that as the case this time. 

If I lived in a battleground state I'd still vote Gary Johnson in this race.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reason's Presidential Preferences

Even Romney and Obama fans might find this Reason piece of interest. Staff and writers for the magazine give their preferences in the Presidential election, including who they voted for in 2000, 2004 and 2008. They also opine on who will be best or worst between Obama and Romney in regards various policy issues.

It's lengthy, with up to 18 opinions (I didn't count). I found it a fun, sometimes infuriating, read. The most infuriating coming from otherwise libertarian oriented guys who aren't voting. There's also some whose thinking I don't follow such as the two or more that voted for Bush in 2004. I could see a Bush vote in 2000, but after Iraq? And, yes, there's a few that voted Obama.

I found some quotable comments. For example: "'s better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it."- David Boaz (he's not saying who he's voting for, but it seems like an easy guess).

I would have collected more if I'd thought of it when I first started reading. Feel free to paste any good ones you find in the comments.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Prop 32 Opponents Argue Yes on 32?

Sounds like it to me. Just about every argument I've read opposing Prop 32 (prohibits payroll deduction of union dues for political purposes) says the same thing as this gal's letter to the Times- Standard: If this passes, the only political voices you'll hear are those of big business. It will silence the unions.

She's essentially saying that union coffers will be decimated if they can't take dues directly from member's paychecks. In other words, if members had a real choice, they likely wouldn't pay dues. That's the unions saying it, not just me.

I was thinking of not voting either way on Prop 32 as there did seem to be some inequity to it. Now I think I'll vote on behalf of member choice and vote Yes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Drug Expiration Dates

Dr. Joseph Mercola answered a question I've been wondering about for some time: How long do stored medications remain effective? Is it okay taking a medication if it's two years past its expiration date?

Some of you might recognize the name. Joseph Mercola is the guy who started and bankrolled Prop 37- the GMO labeling initiative. A contrarian who often preaches against commonly held medical doctrine (he rants against vaccinations, as I recall), his advice needs to be looked at closely. Still, he told me pretty much what I wanted to know.

I'd get a cold and go look for my favorite cold remedy, Alka Selter Plus Cold. I usually hadn't taken any in some time. The last time the expiration date was two years earlier. Should I be taking this? Will it work? Hard to tell even after you take some. Sometimes it seems to help and sometimes it doesn't.

I ended up asking the pharmacist at Henderson Center Rite- Aid that question: Is it ok to take something like Alka Seltzer Plus Cold that's two years past its expiration date. I wanted to know if it would still be effective. He didn't really answer the question. He just said, "You really should buy some fresh". About what I would expect.

Turns out, according to Mercola, drugs are often useful for years after their supposed expiration date and the expiration dates are arbitrarily set by the drug companies. There are some exceptions: Nitroglycerin, insulin and liquid antibiotics are three that don't keep well. Many other drugs still had effective amounts of their active ingredient left even after decades of proper storage.

That's not cast in stone as there is varying degrees of degradation with various drugs, but at least I can take my two year old Alka Seltzer Plus Cold without feeling as though I'm doing something wrong.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Letter: No On Prop 37

My letter to the editor of the Times- Standard was published yesterday, much to my chagrin...kinda. I wrote last Monday how I'd sent it in and got a confirmation call just a couple hours later. I assumed that meant it would be published in the next few days.

By Saturday I still hadn't seen it and figured they decided against publishing. I wrote up a nasty blog post about the T-S and how they wouldn't publish my letter. I almost posted it Sunday but decided to wait for a full week (today) before publicly bashing them.  Then it showed up. Whew! Close one.

So here it is. Don't know that it will change many minds but I still pointed out what wasn't being said. Let the flaming begin!

I was undecided on Proposition 37, the genetically modified organism labeling initiative. Now I'm voting against it. 

70 percent to 80 percent of our food contains at least some genetically modified ingredients. Since the vast majority contains GMOs, we can assume they're GMOs unless told otherwise.

Isn't it backwards to label the majority of foods with something we should already know? Makes more sense to label foods that are different. Some producers already label their products “GMO free.” Let them expand that practice and let what's already working, work. 

Proposition 37 is also ripe for lawsuit abuse. Grocers would have to know where their products came from, what's in them and have paperwork to back it up. You can bet certain lawyers are taking a close look at how to make a fast buck with this. 

Proponents' arguments usually include an attack on companies that produce GMO ingredients and that's what this is really about: a slap at big business. They cite many issues with GMOs -- some real, some imagined -- but this initiative does nothing to address those. It's simply to harass businesses. Vote NO on Prop 37.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

George McGovern, Libertarian: 1922-2012

George McGovern died this morning. I'd been hearing recently he'd become more libertarian in his views over the years, becoming quite the advocate for individual freedom. This Bloomberg article takes a look at his life and politics.

As J.D. Tuccille wrote about him on Facebook this morning, " A politician who evolves toward a respect for freedom and diversity is a rare bird". Indeed.

Product Review: Lux TX500E Thermostat

My first ever product review... maybe. I decided to do one this morning since I'm sitting here rather chilly. I could almost say I'm freezing! 40 degrees outside but the thermostat says it's 58 in here. No way!

I was thinking of doing this review a week or so ago on They have over 40 product reviews for this thermostat. The majority seem to give it 4 or 5 stars. I won't be nearly so generous.

I held off installing the unit for over two months since it recommended turning off power to the room while doing so. I didn't want to hassle with that. Finally I gave it a try without turning off the power. That worked ok, except the tiny screws were a pain to deal with, as this amazon reviewer explained. I must have dropped those screws 30 or 40 times myself, and lost some of them.

Once installed, I put 2 AA batteries into the back of the face piece and popped the face piece on to the wall mount. Then we had to figure out how to program it.

The instructions, as with most things nowadays, were in print so small I couldn't read them with my naked eye. I even had difficulty with reading glasses. Connie could read them easier so she took charge of that.

One mistake we made was trying to program it while it was mounted on the wall. It was too high and was over a table making it hard for her to read and adjust it. We should have just popped the face piece off, programmed it, then popped it back on. Didn't think of that until much later.

Once we thought we had it programmed, we had to test it to see if it would go on as I still wasn't sure I had the two wires attached properly. Both wires were black, instead of colored as the instructions suggested they would be. After some tinkering with the temperature settings, the heater came on so I knew I had it right.

Then we started hassling with the main problem we have with the unit: The temperature gauge- or thermometer- doesn't read the temperature right. I don't know it's ever gone below 58 degrees since we installed it, and we'd still feel quite chilly in the house at times.

We have a thermometer/ barometer on the wall just below the unit and it always shows the room temperature four degrees lower. A soil thermometer we placed next to it shows the temperature as 10 degrees cooler. We don't know which one to believe, but I know it's not 58 degrees in this room when it's 40 outside, we haven't had the heater on since the morning before and I'm still cold.

As I sit here, the heater should be on, maybe. I believe Connie set it to 60 yesterday morning. It should start the heater when the room goes below 60, but it shows the temperature at 57 right now and no heater. I'm guessing that's because we might have it set lower for the morning hours or the weekend? I'll have to check that. I forget what times I had it set for.

The reason I bought this unit was it allowed you to set night and daytime temperatures, with special settings for weekends. It's kind of hard to figure those times out when we're still trying to figure out what the comfortable temperature ranges are with the unit.

One other thing I noticed while reading some of the Amazon reviews, is these units don't seem to last very long. Some say just a couple years. Some say up to eight. How soon will we have to go through this hassle again? I hope it doesn't stop working in the winter!

I'm wishing now that I didn't bother buying this thing and just stuck with the old style manual thermostat we used without hassle since we bought the house. Unfortunately, I threw that away as soon as we had this unit up on the wall. Maybe I'll give this unit 3 stars, if we can ever figure out the right temperatures and get it programmed right.

I'll probably give it 1 star if it stops working within the next 2 years.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Four More Years

In honor of Eric Kirk:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Reason Magazine: Presidential Foreign Policy

Jacob Sullum takes a looks at the similar foreign policy positions of Obama and Romney. Wouldn't it be nice to have at least one voice in the debates offering something different?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fluoride Up For Vote Again In Crescent City

The Triplicate reports the fluoridation of Crescent City's water is on the ballot again. This is the second time in just a few years. Last time it lost.

The Triplicate's report sounds a bit pro- fluoride to me. My concern about individual choice is rarely brought into the picture . As I pointed out in my letter to the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat earlier this year, there should be alternatives.

I guess nowadays it's all or nothing: if you think something is good you have to force it on everybody. If it's bad, nobody gets to do it, or those that do get penalized somehow. That's a way of thinking both the Left and Right often share.

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Latest Letter Is In

Sent my latest letter in to the Times- Standard this morning. E- mailed it around 7:30 and was surprised to get a phone call from them just after 9am confirming I sent the letter. Wow! That was fast. Maybe it's because I work hard to keep my letters short.

Did they really need to call me? Doesn't anybody who is anybody around here know who I am and the kind of stuff I write?

I'll try and surprise you with the subject, but I'm sure my hard- hitting commentary won't be any surprise. I had second thoughts after I sent it. Not that I changed my mind on the issue. I just thought maybe a couple of other subjects might have been better.

I was thinking of maybe writing in support of Tom Lynch for 2nd Assembly District, or Charlie Bean for Ward 2, Eureka City Council. Too late now, unless they don't publish this one.

Tom Lynch is kind of iffy, as my support for him is only based on his feelings the state hasn't shown spending discipline and he's concerned about the public pension problems. That's something Chesbro is ill- equipped to deal with. My problem being I don't know much about his stand on other issues. Still, Lynch stands above Chesbro on those issues alone.

I've wrote elsewhere I don't see any big changes in the goings on in Eureka regardless of who wins the Ward 2 race. Eureka has pretty much moved along the same as long as I've lived here regardless of who sits on the city council. It would be nice to have the one person win in that race that's above the Left vs. Right, us vs. them squabble. Charlie Bean is clearly the one not involved in that fray so he should get the nod.

Too late to write those letters as you're only allowed one per months at the Times- Standard.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Where To Send PayPal Scams

When you receive an e-mail supposedly from Paypal like this, send it to This is a pretty good one as they included the PayPal logo and even have some links that might go to PayPal. Note that the "Unlock Your Account" link does not go to PayPal:
8:19 AM (7 hours ago)

to me

Confirm your account with PayPal

Dear Member,
You account has been temporarily Iimited if you want unlock it
please check it from here
Unlock Your Account

  • Receive cross-border payments from the many countries that PayPal serves.
  • Withdraw your payments to the bank account you selected.
  • Become verified and remove your spending limit.
Yours sincerely,
Please do not reply to this email because we are not monitoring this inbox. To get in touch with us, log in to your account and click "Contact Us" at the bottom of any page.
Copyright © 2012 PayPal Inc. All rights reserved.
Consumer advisory: PayPal Pte Ltd, the Holder of the PayPal™ payment service stored value facility, does not require the approval of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Consumers (users) are advised to read the terms and conditions carefully.
PayPal Email ID PP1629

You should end up receiving an e-mail back like this telling you that it was, indeed, a phishing e-mail. I've only had one come back saying it was a real PayPal e-mail:
10:41 AM (4 hours ago)

to me
Hello Fred Mangels,
Thanks for forwarding that suspicious-looking email. You're right - it
was a phishing attempt, and we're working on stopping the fraud. By
reporting the problem, you've made a difference!
Identity thieves try to trick you into revealing your password or other
personal information through phishing emails and fake websites. To learn
more about online safety, click "Security Center" on any PayPal webpage.
Every email counts. When you forward suspicious-looking emails to, you help keep yourself and others safe from identity
Your account security is very important to us, so we appreciate your
extra effort.
This email is sent to you by the contracting entity to your User
Agreement, either PayPal Ince, PayPal Pte. Ltd or PayPal (Europe) S.à
r.l. & Cie, S.C.A. Société en Commandite par Actions, Registered Office:
5th Floor 22-24 Boulevard Royal L-2449, Luxembourg RCS Luxembourg B 118

Gun Rights Group Candidate Endorsements

I got to wondering how the two main gun rights groups would handle endorsements this time around. Their candidate ratings are usually no surprise. If there's anything interesting it's the two groups having different ratings for the same candidate.

Starting with the state assembly race, the National Rifle Association didn't see fit to bother rating either candidate (???). The NRA state affiliate, California Rifle and Pistol Association, doesn't seem to have any election information of any kind that I could find.

Gun Owners of California(pdf file), the state affiliate of Gun Owners of America, did rate them with Democrat Wes Chesbro getting his usual F and Democrat Tom Lynch apparently not returning their questionnaire.That earns him the quizzical ?.

It's not unusual for candidates to get the ? or, as the GOA does it, N/R. Sometimes it's deliberate. Why answer a questionnaire when you're not going to fare well on it? Sometimes they claim to have not received it.

For Congress, the NRA rates Democrat Jared Huffman an expected F and Republican Dan Roberts a surprise ?. GOA a gives Huffman a D and Roberts another N/R. Hmmm??? Wonder why GOA would give Huffman a better grade than NRA did? Usually they're tougher with ratings.

As far as Roberts' N/R, maybe he felt getting a good rating on gun rights might hurt him in this district so didn't bother? Maybe he just never saw it, but hard to believe he missed both surveys.

In the U.S. Senate, long time gun rights opponent Dianne Feinstein earned another F from both the NRA and GOA. Republican Elizabeth Ekmen scored an A from the NRA based on her questionnaire answers but an N/R from GOA. Looks like she tried to make an effort at responding, anyway.

And now the question we've all been waiting for (and the main reason I was curious about the gun rights ratings), how did they rate the candidates for President? I didn't find what I was looking for. I couldn't find any rating for Presidential candidates on the GOA web site. The NRA simply posted that they endorse Romney/Ryan.

What??? They didn't even give either of them a grade and no mention of Obama as they've done in the past. What's with that?

If memory serves me correct, Obama received a D or an F from one or both of the groups during the 2008 election. That was based on his voting record as a U.S. Senator. Obama hasn't signed any anti- gun legislation as President, but Romney has signed anti- gun legislation as Governor of Massachusetts.

Maybe that's the reason for the NRA is trying to rush right over any comparison between the two? As a Life Member of the NRA, I can say there is an unwritten loyalty agreement between the NRA and the Republican Party. Same with GOA, but usually the GOA is a little better about being honest in comparisons.

No mention of either of any pro- gun third party candidates, either. Both Gary Johnson and Constitution Party candidate, Virgil Goode, are strongly pro- gun rights. Then again, this is par for the course with those groups. I'm disappointed as usual, but not surprised.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Chesbro/ Lynch Race

I've been wondering about the state assembly race. I certainly won't vote for Wes Chesbro, but do I vote for Tom Lynch or not vote at all? After reading the yesterday's Times- Standard story on the race, I think I've decided.

Lynch looks like the clear choice to me. First of all, he committed what amounts to heresy among Democrats by opposing Prop 30- the sales and income tax increase. He feels he "...hasn't seen changes in the state's spending practices" to justify it. That's pretty much along the lines of what I've been saying.

He also wants to work on public worker pension reform, something he brought up more than once during the League Of Women Voters candidate forum a while back. That's something most Democrats balk at, as well. Chesbro, of course, not really wanting to bring the issue up publicly because he helped create that problem.

As Einstein supposedly said, "A problem can't be solved by the same mentality that created it". Seems to me Lynch is the obvious choice in this race. I'll likely vote for Tom Lynch on November 6.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

VP Debates: Why Bother?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Police State: Coming To Your Neighborhood?

Here's a troubling video (a bit over 13 minutes) about New York City's Stop and Frisk policy. I realize it's one- sided for the most part, but I also think it's pretty much spot on. It wouldn't surprise me these sorts of policies spread around the nation sooner than many of us expect. It could be argued they already have.

This is a massive civil rights violation by any department involved and they should be investigated and prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. I highly doubt either Obama or Romney would be willing to get involved in stopping this sort of thing.

As this writer points out, Obama's record is nothing to brag about. Romney hasn't given any indication he'd be any different. Gary Johnson has gone on record in support of our civil liberties.

Addendum: Ooops! I forgot to thank Radley Balko for the heads up on the video. I also noticed a link on his post to The Nation that tells a bit more about the video.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Scary Health Care Stuff

J.D. Tuccille has a piece up on Reason magazine about some aspects of health care to look forward to. They're based on a recent survey of physicians by The Physician's Foundation. Among the troubling statistics:
  • 60.6 percent of physicians say they would retire today if they could (up from 45 percent in 2008)
  • 33.5 percent of physicians say they wouldn't go into medicine if they had their careers to do over (up from 27 percent in 2008)
  • Physicians are seeing 16.6% fewer patients per day than they did in 2008, a decline that could lead to tens of millions of fewer patients seen per year.
  • Over 52 percent of physicians have limited the access Medicare patients have to their practices or are planning to do so.
  • Over 26 percent of physicians have closed their practices to Medicaid patients.
  • In the next one to three years, over 50 percent of physicians plan to cut back on patients, work part-time, switch to concierge medicine, retire or take other steps that would reduce patient access to their services.

I don't know about my current physician, Dr. Courtney Ladika. I haven't asked her. Then again, I didn't ask my last two doctors, either. They brought it up first.

They both volunteered that they thought health care should be a right and government should pay for it. This, despite the fact that doctors that accept MediCare and MediCal patients are increasingly hard to find, especially around here. Didn't make sense to me, but maybe that's why both of them recently retired?

Saturday, October 06, 2012

My Treatise On Two Party Dominance

I've been thinking a lot lately about why the two main parties dominate American politics. With one poll or another saying a lot of people would prefer a third choice, why do they always dismiss the other choices they already have? Why are people so reluctant to abandon the two major parties?

I know a lot will say it's because of money. Money has corrupted politics and blah, blah, blah. There's certainly some truth to that, but I think money comes more into the equation after other factors. I'm wondering if those other factors are psychological ones that most human beings share?

My list, so far comes down to four factors. I'll only elaborate on the first one now as I don't want to prematurely release my treatise, although the way it's going maybe I never will!

To start, we have #1. Simplicity: Most people have a simple view of most things in both life and politics and prefer to keep it that way. They see things as Good or Bad. Us vs. Them. Black vs. White, Red vs. Blue and so forth. They like their politics nice and simple and limiting it to Republicans vs. Democrats accommodates that. I'll go so far as to say it makes them feel safer.

The others I've come up with are, #2- Being Part of a Crowd, #3- Fraternalism and #4- Pragmatism. Fraternalism and Pragmatism aren't so much the reason people are drawn to the 2 parties, but reasons that system got so strong and most feel uncomfortable abandoning it.

I suppose I could add Money as #5. Fair enough, but there's plenty of evidence money doesn't always win elections. Still, it does allow the two parties to maintain dominance.

I'll elaborate on factors 2 through 4 or 5 should I ever come close to finishing my treatise. I'm wondering if any of you out there have any observations or suggestions regarding the dominance of our two parties as I've alluded to here? If so, feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, October 05, 2012

California Newspapers: No On Prop 37

I stumbled into this blog of sorts on the Sacramento Bee this morning. Hopefully, you can view it without being a paid subscriber.

It has a table that shows the various recommendations a few newspapers around the state have made in regards the upcoming ballot initiatives. Much to my surprise, even the papers whose ballot recommendations usually lean strongly left came out opposing Prop 37- the GMO labeling initiative. All eight papers oppose it, in fact.

He doesn't list the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat but their editorial board also came out opposing Prop 37 the other day. It's nice to be on these papers' side of an issue for a change.

LA Daily News Y N N N Y
MercNews/BANG Y Y N N Y Y Y N N Y Y
Press-Enterprise N N N N Y Y
SacBee N N N Y  N Y N Y Y
SFChron Y Y N N Y
UTSanDiego N Y N Y Y N N N

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Another Business Gone

I was not just shocked but bummed to drive by and find Finnegan & Nason Auto Supply, in Eureka's Henderson Center, had closed its doors. How can this be? It seemed that place had been there forever- 23 years to be exact. One of the last remaining friendly neighborhood auto supply stores.

A sign on the door said the owner had "semi- retired". That doesn't make it sound too bad, but I've heard a lot of business owners say they retired when business just got too tough so they threw in the towel and called it retiring. I wonder if he tried to sell the business?

Monday, October 01, 2012

Radley Balko Goes Prime Time

Some of you might remember a post I did on traffic stops and drug dog searches back in April. That post involved an illegal traffic stop in Illinois that Radley Balko reported on.

Looks like a writer from the prime time TV show, The Good Wife, picked up on it and used most of that stop as a scene for the show. The clip even includes the issue of citizens recording police, which Balko has dealt with quite a bit. Pretty cool, someone using stuff from your blog for a TV series, huh?

There's a clip of the tv show stop on Balko's post, plus links to the original Huff video on which the clip is based. When I have more time, I'll watch the whole show.