Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Invocation Compromise

I don't often agree with Larry DePuy but I thought he did a good job in his letter to the editor regarding invocations at city hall meetings. I especially liked the biblical reference he referred to: "...but Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a time to do things and a time not to.". That reflects what I've been thinking about this issue from the beginning.

I came up with a compromise in that regard. I'm not sure I've mentioned it here before.

How about we simply allow invocations just prior to the beginning of city hall meetings? Should the Mayor choose to hold an invocation he can list it on the meeting agenda but before the meeting begins. For example, if the meeting begins at 6pm, the agenda will show "Mayor's Invocation" from 5:45 to 6pm, with the actual business meeting starting at 6.

That way those that want to feel good about themselves by participating in the invocation can still do so. Those of us who don't want to participate don't have to and the city's business won't be interrupted by it.

I realize this likely won't satisfy Ms. Beaton(sp?) who filed the lawsuit, but that should satisfy most of us. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New TV Show: The Hate Boat

I came up with a great idea for a new television show yesterday. It would actually be a spin- off of that old tv favorite, The Love Boat. You'll remember The Love Boat was a show about various relationships on a cruise ship where passengers either fall in love or become even more in love by the end of the cruise.

It would be an hour long show just as the old one was. You could even have the same cheery crew members. You'd have three to four couples or families whose relationships would be exposed during the show.

So, you'd have a newly married couple come aboard anticipating a honeymoon full of romance. At the same time a couple and their two or three kids embarks, overjoyed at their first ever cruise- one big happy family, for now. Add a couple more teams of people expecting to have the time of their lives. Except things just get worse.

As soon as the ship sets sail the families and couples start having problems. One clash in personality after another afflicts them all. Before the cruise is even over they realize not only do they not get along, they actually don't even like each other!

You could even have something along the line of a family that ends up so disruptive with their arguments and fighting the Captain has to ask them to leave the ship. The common ending theme, though, will be the passengers disembarking telling their families or spouses they never want to see them again and having or marrying them was the biggest mistake of their lives, and so on.

Wouldn't that be fun? I bet it would be a prime time hit and once that proves successful I can start on a spin- off from another show back in those days. I'll call it Hate American Style. I should make millions with this idea.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Eureka Does Traffic Education

The City of Eureka will be starting a traffic education campaign aimed at reducing the number of collisions in town. We'll see how that goes. Reading our very own Charlie Bean's My Word column on traffic safety in the paper this morning, it looks like there will be at least some common sense input. He is on the Traffic Commission (or whatever it's called) after all.

Whether this effort will reach drivers and pedestrians, color me skeptical, although I won't argue with the intent. Much of this should be common sense, but you just don't see it that often.

Case in point, although in Santa Rosa, I'm sure we've all seen similar situations here in Eureka as described in today's Santa Rosa Press- Democrat:

A guy is walking his two dogs. He comes to a crosswalk where the light just turned green. Rather than press the pedestrian crossing button, he just heads across the street. A car hits him and his two dogs then speeds off. The guy gets scraped up and his dogs suffer injuries but are still alive.

What gets me is most of the comments to the story seems to focus on the driver not stopping at the crosswalk. The story itself mentions him not pressing the pedestrian crossing button. There's no mention of the guy not looking to see if traffic was stopped or stopping before he crossed the street.

The guy and his dogs got hit but not killed so the car that hit them must have been going fairly slow, yet they got hit, regardless. Did the guy bother looking before crossing the street? He should have easily seen a car that wasn't going to stop.

He could have stood on the curb a few seconds longer when he saw the car wasn't stopping and avoided the whole thing. Heck, it may not be legal but you can cross the street with a red light if you're paying attention and there's no cars coming.

I'm not saying it's his fault, but people run stop signs and lights. He needs to check for oncoming traffic. I'm not sure and education campaign will have any effect on those feet on the streets, but I guess there's nothing to be lost by trying.

Monday, May 27, 2013

My 40th Humboldt Anniversary

Towards the end of July it will be 40 years since I first drove into Eureka. I wrote towards the end of July because I'm not really sure just what day we got here. I do know it was less than 3 weeks before my 18th birthday because I ended up going to the DMV right after we got here to renew my driver's license. They wouldn't let me renew because I wasn't eighteen and needed my mother's signature. I had to wait about two weeks until I turned 18 to get that taken care of.

The guy on the left is Jim (he prefers James) Broughton. He was my best friend and moved up here with me. That's what he looks like now. Back then he had long brown hair that hung down all the way to the middle of his back. Update: Just after I made this post he sent me a picture of him from back then. I've posted it at the bottom.

Just by coincidence, a couple days ago he made a comment on a post I made here back in 2006. I ended up replying, we exchanged a few e-mails and he called me yesterday afternoon. The first time we've spoken in maybe 37 years. Pretty neat.

He still sounded the same to me. He told me I sounded the same but older. He's been living in Arizona for some time now.
Jim and I were living in a small house in Costa Mesa back in July, 1973. For whatever reason I decided I wanted to get away from Southern California and move to "the mountains". I'd thought of just going by myself. When I told Jim of my plans he said he wouldn't mind going either. That wasn't quite what I had in mind but what the heck. In hindsight that was a good thing.

Then we had to decide where to move to, neither of us having been to the far north before. I'd planned on going to school and picked out either College of the Siskiyous, or whatever it was called. I can't remember the exact name but it was just north of Redding somewhere. Either that or College of the Redwoods. Jim said he'd prefer to be near the ocean so College of the Redwoods it was.

We cleaned out the house, rented a Uhaul trailer, a hitch and hooked it up to my 1964(?) Chevy Nova. The next morning we threw my husky dog, Nika, in the back and headed north. Can't remember the freeway we started on but we headed northwest towards Santa Barbara along the coast. We hit the Pacific Coast Highway and headed north, staying the night at some campground in San Simeon.

Next morning we headed north again, passing through Carmel, then turning northeast towards San Francisco. Across the bay we headed toward I-5, then on northward. Why we didn't just head up 101 as I always do now, I don't know.

Seems to me we should have had at least one more overnight stay but I can't remember one. I do remember the car overheating at one point somewhere up I-5. We walked to a gas station, bought a new thermostat, put it in and were on our way again.

Turned left at Redding and headed up 299. Drove into Eureka probably 10 o'clockish, which means we must have stayed somewhere else overnight or we wouldn't have gotten there so early. I recall driving into town and there was scattered low fog along the bay. Seemed kind of neat and not unlike you might see in some beach areas in Southern Cal.

Our first stop was at Sun Harvest Natural Foods on 4th and V(?) in Eureka. It's just a house now but used to be a natural foods store. I believe it was the start of what was to later become the North Coast Co-Op, but I'm not sure.

Then we drove around trying to figure out where to find a place to rent. We had a friend whose ex- girlfriend had moved to Eureka some time earlier. The friend gave us her address and said she'd help us out (easy for him to say). I don't remember just when we stopped by her place. She lived on 2nd Street. Not sure she even recognized us but told us she didn't know of any rentals and kind of blew us off.

Then we stopped by what was then Kacy's Market on 5th Street and asked one of the clerks where we could find a rental. She said to try the Tri- City....something. We weren't sure what that was. I don't recall if she told us. We drove off.

We ate our first real meal at Angelo's PIzza on 7th Street. Then, not having a place to stay, drove south and out Highway 36 until we found a state park to spend the night at. Kinda silly going that far for a place to sleep, knowing what I do now. We could have just gone to the North Jetty or the KOA campground over by Indianola.

Drove back into Eureka the next day and somehow ended up at Three Corners Market out on Old Arcata Road. Asked the old guy working there if he knew of any places to rent. He suggested trying the "...old Squires apartments" back down on Pigeon Point Road. We went to check it out.

Found the place. Got out and looked around. Looked nice enough and the big stand of redwoods across the street was certainly appealing for a couple of city boys wanting to be nature guys.

It just so happened one of the owners, Ruth Squires, was there at the time cleaning some things up. She told us she had one larger apartment- a 5 bedroom- for rent. I think it was about $500.00 a month, the total of both of our incomes at the time. We went ahead and rented the place and thus became official Humboldt County residents. For some reason I felt proud of that at the time.

Jim moved elsewhere after some years. I stayed. Ugh!

Picture at left is of Jim and Michelle back in the 70s. Not sure if Jim had the beard when we moved up here. He shaved it off at some point in time but I can' recall when.

Michelle was Jim's girlfriend in Southern California. She moved up here and stayed with us for a while after we found a place.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Our Bill of Rights: Forgotten, Or Don't Care?

Radley Balko has a nice piece up at the Huffington Post about how many people, including congressman, either don't care or don't know about the Bill of Rights.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Politics of Burial

Some of you may have heard that former congressman Dan Hamburg is being investigated for possible criminal disposal of his late wife's remains. He apparently buried her on the family's property rather than an licensed cemetery. According to the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat, the Sheriff isn't planning on exhuming the remains, as suggested elsewhere.

The P-D goes on to look at burial law in California and elsewhere. An interesting quote: "Despite its progressive reputation, California has some of the nation’s strictest policies on human burial, said Joe Sehee, founder of the New Mexico-based Green Burial Council.".

No surprise that California has among the strictest burial regulations and I'll take issue with the phrase, "despite its progressive reputation...". I'd suggest strict- and even stricter- regulations, are exactly what progressives are about.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Another Strike Against Rand Paul?

The U.S. Senate just passed a very aggressive resolution against Iran. Language in the resolution goes so far as to suggest that the United States will follow Israel should they decide to attack Iran.

The vote was unanimous so Rand Paul obviously voted Aye. This was an issue where he could have stood tall and separated himself from the status quo in congress. He could have voted No, or even abstained, and the resolution would still have passed so there shouldn't have been a lot of pressure to go along with it.

This certainly adds to my growing skepticism of him. He must be much more aggressive in his foreign policy beliefs than some are claiming. Yet another thing to keep in mind should he make a bid for the White House.

Addendum: Reason's Nick Gillespie doesn't seem as skeptical about Rand Paul as I do.

Addendum#2: tells of Rand Paul railing against a U.S Senate resolution to arm Syrian rebels. The enigma continues.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Portland, Oregon Rejects Fluoride

Good news on the individual choice front for a change. A local election held in Portland this week seems to show a vote on fluoridation of the city's water going down to a pretty solid defeat. Apparently voters there rejected it twice earlier on before approving it in 1978. Then that approval was overturned somehow so the powers that be started trying to fluoridate the water again.

It's remarkable that places like San Jose and Sonoma County seem to be insisting on water fluoridation often against the wishes of residents. I can't help but wonder if there's some payola involved?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Drug Testing Would Have Prevented Boston Bombing

Who'da thunk if we just had more mandatory drug testing the Boston Marathon bombing might not have happened. So says Robert Dupont who, coincidentally, is a major partner in a company involved in drug testing.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

EPIC Lawsuit over 199/197 Plan

The Del Norte Triplicate reports on a lawsuit filed by EPIC and other environmental groups over CalTrans' realignment plan for Routes 197 and 199. No surprised there but I did notice what seemed to be an inaccurate statement in the story:

 "Although  no old-growth redwoods would be cut down, like in the controversial Richardson Grove project,....". 

That could read either of two ways: Just as with Richardson Grove, no old- growth trees will be cut down, or, unlike the Richardson Grove realignment, no old- growth will be cut down for the 197/199 project.

I read it as suggesting old- growth will be cut down. Hey, if they're getting their information from EPIC, they probably think old- growth is being cut down. I sent a letter to the Triplicate clarifying that no old- growth will be removed at Richardson Grove. Wonder if they'll publish it?

Addendum: Received a letter from the writer of the story on Tuesday afternoon. He thanked me for correcting the information, changed the wording and added a correction to the story. Am I great, or what?

Arkley Center Closing Indefinite?

The Arkley Center for the Performing Arts is closing for an indefinite period of time, reports the Times- Standard. This is supposedly for repairs and such. Hard to believe that after all the time and money already spent rebuilding it, and it hasn't been open for all that long. I suspect there's more to the story and wouldn't be surprised if it stays closed.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Yikes! Earthquake

Just felt a decent jolt. It frightened me as earthquakes always do. Hope that's all there is.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Rand Paul Enigma

I'm not sure what to think of Rand Paul. He seems a principled defender of liberty one moment, then a waffler the next. Most will agree he's looking at a presidential run in the near future. Should libertarians support him?

I don't know. Especially after he threw principle to the wind and endorsed Mitt Romney for president last time around. If he's willing to do something like that, what might he do next in the name of pragmatism?

I'm also not sure about him saying one thing to one audience and slightly different thing to the next, although I understand that can be consistent with winning hearts and minds. You don't win over people by giving a message they don't want to hear. You try finding common ground and then move them toward your side.

Nick Gillespie has a nice piece at the The Daily Beast  about Rand that really hits the nail on the head. He points out that Rand's apparent inconsistency could come back to haunt him: "It’s far more likely that if Paul continues to send significantly different messages to different audiences, he will end up alienating all his possible supporters." And It would be ironic indeed "... if Rand Paul turns out to be one of the few people left in America not fully comfortable with his own message.".

It will be interesting to see if his message ends up being one many, including libertarians, will support. I don't think I'll have to worry about having to decide whether vote for him. I wrote elsewhere we could do worse than have Rand Paul for President, but he'll more than likely be given the same treatment by the Republicans as Ron Paul and Gary Johnson did. I can't imagine him winning the nomination.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Eureka Crime/Safety Poll Now Online

The Times- Standard had a story on crime and people's safety concerns the other day. The story mentioned a poll readers could take in regards crime in their neighborhood. The only problem was most, if not all of us, couldn't find the poll. I wasn't the only one asking in the comments where the poll was. Did we miss it? Maybe.

Regardless, it's up now. If that link doesn't work just go to the Times- Standard web site. Poll link should be at top left, just above the local news.

My first comment when asked to rate my neighborhood, was to define "safety". Is that safety from violence or crime altogether? I rated our neighborhood 8 overall, with 10 being safest. Had I the choice, I'd give it maybe a 5 for theft or vandalism as we get that on occasion.

I might give it an 8 or higher for safety from violence as I can't recall any violent crime, aside from a few fights at the druggie house across the street, in the over 20 years we've lived here.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bogus Cell Phone Driving Statistics?

I can't help but be skeptical of the statistics being thrown out in this Santa Rosa Press- Democrat article. Referring to a recent crackdown on cellphone use while driving, the Petaluma Police Department is claiming their efforts have been a success. They're saying " the start of the effort, 40 percent of drivers spotted by police were violating the law. By the end of the month, only 4.2 percent were,...".

I don't buy it. As I wrote in a comment to that story, that doesn't jive with my own observations. Sure, I live in Eureka, but we supposedly had an enforcement effort in that regard here, too.

Interesting that they thought 40 percent of drivers were spotted driving while chatting before the enforcement began. That's even higher than my own non- scientific study taken years ago that showed about a third of drivers talking on cellphones while driving. Then they're saying it dropped down to 4.2%??? I don't think so.

I've noticed even more people driving around talking on cellphones lately than usual. I think they're fluffing their statistics somehow.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Counterspin Does Syria Sarin Reporting

I stumbled on to NPR's Counterspin show while heading back from a work site yesterday. I was lucky to catch the segment where they looked at media reporting on the supposed use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.

Finally, at least one media outlet points out how the mainstream media seems to be ignoring the whole story in order to bolster their cry for war. From the summary on the F.A.I.R site:

"Seeing public reticence for another war as a "problem" provides a revealing glimpse into the mindset of so many pundits, who are once again rallying in support of U.S. military action based on sketchy reports about weapons of mass destruction."

You can listen to the whole broadcast (includes all segments of the show) on the Counterspin web site, or read the summary on the Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting web site.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Fun Plane Tracking Site

I often watch the planes flying way up in the sky and wonder who is in them and where they're going. People from places I've never seen heading to places I might never have been. What's going on in the cabin of that plane right now?

I still can't find out what's going on in the cabin, but thanks to Tom Sebourn for posting this link to a new airplane tracking site I can find out where the plane came from and where it's going.

You click on the plane and a small box pops up giving the flight designation, where it took off and its destination, its altitude and a bunch of other stuff. They sometimes include a photo of the plane, although I don't know if it's the actual plane itself or just the same type of plane.

I've been playing a game since I bookmarked it, trying to guess the point of departure and destination of planes without clicking on their icon. Got one half right this morning. Flight CX97 was indeed going to Anchorage, Alaska but I figured it left from San Francisco. It had actually departed from Los Angeles.

Fun stuff.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Future of Eureka Street Trees

A letter writer to the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat helps prove my point about the expense and hazards of street trees. Unlike me, he seems to be a strong supporter of street trees and wants funding restored for their maintenance. He still supports the point I've made here earlier, though. An excerpt from his letter:

"The street-tree situation is even worse. With only three tree maintenance specialists, only emergencies are addressed. Street-tree maintenance has been abandoned to property owners. Instances of poor and dangerous pruning and neglect are apparent everywhere....".

So it will likely be in Eureka- a city without the finances and resources of Santa Rosa. And what's that about "tree maintenance experts"? Will Eureka be hiring more people to take care of the trees when property owners neglect them? Probably. Either that, or contract it out to tree companies at considerable expense.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Tattoos: Growing or Shrinking Fad

This story on laser removal of tattoos got more comments than I expected. I'll agree that doctors doing tattoo removals will be making the big bucks as more and more people get older and want tattoos removed, but some also think the number of people getting tattoos will decline as they realize how hard they are to remove.

I'm not so sure about that. I decided to post a poll and see what you think:

Do you think tattoos are a growing or dying fad? free polls 

As for me, never had a tattoo and have no desire for one. I'll admit to feeling one or two small tattoos on some women can be cute. The sort of stuff you see nowadays, though, with whole sections of the body tattooed, especially on the face, is disgusting to me.

Well, ok. Danielle on the TV show American Pickers is still pretty cute despite her more- than- enough tattoos.  I think of most I see adorned that way as freaks and am probably not alone in that regard.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Black and White Thinking

There's a letter to the editor (page slow to load) in the Redding Record- Searchlight today with the writer bothered by those claiming the biblical version of creation is foolish. Most of the comments to his letter seem to be ridiculing his letter and suggesting evolution is the only valid scientific theory. I'm not religious at all, but I'll side with the writer of the letter on this one.

It's appalling how so many seem to immediately take a black vs. white, us vs. them attitude on such things. I'm sure most of the evolutionists get their knee jerk reaction from being leftists with a strong distaste for religion. But why such a simplistic view of things, especially on something that will likely never be proven one way or the other?

I suppose it's because science and religion, like everything else nowadays is pretty much politicized.

I liked the way my old 7th grade science teacher, Mr. Clayborn, covered evolution vs. creationism. He spent an entire class session presenting views from each side, all the time asking for input and questions from us. He ended by simply suggesting there was no way of knowing for sure, but maybe there's a bit of truth to both beliefs.

I liked that, even back then in 1969. It's a shame to see such even handed and level headed thinking go by the wayside.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The Freddy Does Another LTE

I've been following the water fluoridation controversy in Sonoma County for some time. I wrote a letter to the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat last month in response to someone else's letter on fluoride but never saw it show up. I assumed they decided not to publish it.

I was doing a search on the SRP-D web site this morning trying to find one of my other letters to that paper and stumbled on to that letter. I guess they published it after all. WTG, Freddy!

It's on Page 2 of the letters if this link doesn't take you directly there.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Gas?

I'm not saying this Huffington Post article is proof that Syrian rebels used sarin gas, but it is interesting that the story was posted on May 5 and this is the first I've seen it. Maybe I missed it elsewhere? Or maybe the rest of the news media wants to keep the finger pointed at the Assad regime. Almost like a conspiracy, huh?

We'll see how this develops, but it is nice to see someone reporting another side to the story for a change. We may never know what happened in regards claims of chemical weapons use in Syria. If it does turn out the rebels used sarin in some way or simply created a hoax, you heard it first here.

Hat tip to the Rational Review News Digest for the heads up and, in going to their page for the link, I noticed they just updated the page and The Hill is also reporting this same story. Still don't see it on Yahoo News.

Addendum: Pat Buchanan asks who are the real war criminals in Syria.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Crosswalks 101

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat's Road Warrior column has some pertinent information this morning on driver and pedestrian laws relating to crosswalks. Among all the chatter I've been reading here and elsewhere regarding vehicle vs. pedestrian accidents I've heard at least a few saying drivers shouldn't enter a crosswalk when a pedestrian in one. I wasn't sure if that was true or not. It didn't make sense to me.

Apparently it's not completely true. According to the Santa Rosa Police Dept., you can turn through a crosswalk before and even after the pedestrian passes by you " long as the driver of a vehicle does not impede the stride of the pedestrian". Makes sense to me. RW then goes on to list some things drivers can't do such as passing a vehicle that has stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

I'm sure such laws are subject to local agency interpretation. Wonder what Eureka P.D. would say if asked that question?

Not sure if strict observance to such laws could have prevented the tragic pedestrian fatality at Buhne and S Streets in Eureka a few days ago. Accidents happen regardless of how well everyone tries to pay attention and follow laws. The exact cause of that accident hasn't been released yet but I suspect Connie is right and the driver was blinded by the sun and didn't see the lady.

The bottom line, as I've pointed out here before, is the last line of defense for pedestrians is never assuming a driver will see you and stop, regardless of what laws may be there to protect you. And, no, I'm not "taking the driver's side". That's just the way it is.
A classic example of the "they'll stop" mindset occurred a few weeks ago in Santa Rosa. A legally blind older lady was crossing the street in the crosswalk. For whatever reason, a driver didn't see her and hit her. The lady, though legally blind, could see. She said she saw the car approaching but "....thought he would stop". She was wrong, but lived.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Cooler Weather Ahead?

Damn! It's 69 degrees as I write this at 10am. Supposed to be warm for the next few days according to weather forecasts, but not to worry. Some Russian scientists are saying we should go into a cooling trend that could last for some time.

Of course, it could take a few years to get there but relief from this heat is in sight... if you're patient and live long enough.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Ron Paul Goes Too Far?

Noticed a story on the Yahoo/ABC news feed yesterday titled "Has Ron Paul Gone Too Far This Time" , referring to Ron Paul's criticism of law enforcement actions while searching for the surviving Boston bomber.

My first thought was that sometimes it's best to keep your mouth shut while emotions are still running high.

Then again, I was surprised to see just about every comment to the story being either in support of Ron Paul or critical of what was felt an overreaction by law enforcement and lack of concern for our civil rights. Over 13,000 comments last I looked. Just a couple samples:

Steven: "I'm a pretty hard core liberal and I actually agree with Ron Paul here. Its amazing how many people are willing to let their constitutional rights get tossed out the door in situations like this."

Niclaus:  "Why is it the press labels Ron Paul in the "overwhelming minority," and almost all comments on yahoo agree with him....".

Funny thing is, it's a safe bet the vast majority of those commentators didn't vote for Ron Paul.