Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eureka's Traffic Safety Action Plan

The Times- Standard has a guest opinion this morning regarding Eureka's traffic safety problems. It includes a link to view the Transportation Safety Action Plan online and some information on how to make comments on it.

I've wondered for some time if we're trying too hard to make streets safe. Maybe that's part of the problem? Might people walk, ride and drive safer if they feel more at risk?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

No On Plastic Bag Ban Facebook Group

Someone has started a Facebook group in opposition to the monkey see, monkey do proposal to ban so- called single use shopping bags in Humboldt County. Hope more will join as I have.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Red Arrow Signals: Be Forewarned

 The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat's Road Warrior column reports that a red right- turn signal has been added to at least one intersection in Santa Rosa. I don't believe I've ever seen one in my life.  They're like the green arrowed turn signals we have up here, except they're to tell people not to turn right when it's red. You're supposed to wait when you see them.

Most know that, as it is, you can usually turn right on a red light after stopping to be sure it's clear. These new lights say you can't until the arrow turns green. Just so you know! Who knows what might be added to our stoplights since we've recently had those big fine warnings added to the stoplights on H and I Streets in Eureka.

Yeah, even at the intersection at Buhne and I Streets that recently had the rollover accident despite the warning.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before but, for those that don't know, you can also turn left at a red light so long as you're turning from the left lane of a one- way street onto the left lane of another one- way street and it's clear of traffic. 

An example would be where H Street meets Harris Street in Eureka. If you're in the left lane of H Street and come to a red light at Harris, you can turn into the left lane of Harris as long as it's clear and you can do so safely. I've been behind people a number of times at that intersection that just sit an wait until the light turns green to turn left. You don't have to do that so long as you can turn left safely and there's no sign saying you can't. I'm surprised at how many people don't seem to know that.


Any of you ever have any fun with these? I've never seen any up here but they weren't uncommon to run into when I lived in Southern California. I can't remember what I called them but some of the replies on Facebook say they were called goatheads, larkspurs or sandspurs. Someone said they called them "puncture vines". That rings a bell.

One fellow said sandspurs where a bit different with barbs at the end making them even worse.

It was common when I lived in SoCal to walk around barefoot much of the year. You didn't want to walk into a patch of these. You'd usually have no warning. You'd be walking along, put your foot down and YIKES, the whole bottom of your foot would be covered with them. That hurt, and I recall them making the bottom of my foot itch once they were pulled out.

You couldn't just sit down and start pulling them out because you might sit on a patch of them, too. You'd have to look around for a clear area, then sit down and pull them out of your feet. Ugh!

Sure, shoes protected the feet, assuming you were wearing them, but you still had to pull them out. You can't walk around with two dozen of those stuck to the bottom of your shoe.

They'd get bikes, too. You might not notice at first, but once you got on a hard surface you could hear the noise on the pavement. They could puncture tires, especially the thinner ones like on ten speeds. I don't recall them ever flattening my tires. Maybe because I usually rode a stingray with those wide, knobby, off road type tires.

Whatever they were called, they were quite an adventure. OUCH!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Obamacare Adventures Continue

I have a doctor's appointment next week so figured I'd get a blood test. I've been borderline diabetic for years and at the very least should keep an eye on my blood sugar levels. I got up this morning figuring I'd go back to that Occupational Health and Drug Screening place on Harris and Harrison in Eureka to get a blood draw as I have the last couple times. They do a whole bunch of tests for around $80.00. Cheapest place in town I know of.

After calling to make sure they were open, I drove down there, making sure to take my relatively new Anthem/Blue Cross Obamacare card. Who knows? It might shave a few bucks off the fee, although I had my checkbook and was prepared to just pay cash as I usually do. I figured they might not accept the insurance, but thought I'd ask.

I got there right after they opened, walked to the counter and told the gal I needed a blood draw. She asked if I had insurance. I told her I did and had wanted to ask her about it. She said she was sorry but they weren't doing blood draws for anyone with insurance. 

WTF? I told her that was fine as I came prepared to pay cash as I usually do. She said it didn't matter. If I had insurance they couldn't do the blood draw. She didn't specify any particular insurance except to say they were severing their contract with Anthem/ Blue Cross so wouldn't be doing blood draws for insurance for something like 120 days.

I again offered to just write a check and she said they couldn't. I suggested I probably should have just told her I didn't have insurance. She replied that would have worked, or to come back some time later when she might not recognize me. Oh, well! With that, I tucked my tail between my legs and drove home.

I knew there might be problems with my insurance. I didn't expect that.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cool Big Bang Video

Any other Big Bang Theory fans out there? If so, you'll probably enjoy this YouTube video as much as I did. I always wondered how it worked filming the show before a live audience. You get a taste of that and more on this. I was in Big Bang Heaven! Runs about fifteen and a half minutes.

Here's a shorter video of Big Bang bloopers (7+ minutes). I didn't think these were all that funny, but BBT fans might still enjoy them. They could probably do a good two hour special of Big Bang combining these videos with more bloopers. I bet it would get a lot of viewers. Wonder why they don't do the blooper shows as much as the used to back in the day?

MH17: The Other Side

I've been thinking from the beginning of reports on the downing of that Malaysian airliner over Ukraine that reporting seemed one sided. It reminds me of coverage over alleged chemical use in Syria not long ago. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one. Ron Paul brings up some issues that we haven't heard much of from the mainstream media.

For instance, I was wondering the last couple days if Ukraine had the same sort of missiles that are believed to have shot down the airliner. Apparently they do.

Along that same line, I don't know that I've heard any TV news remind us of Iran Air Flight 655 that was shot down by a U.S. Navy ship back in 1988 killing over 200 civilians. I have read some mention of it online albeit in forums on news sites rather than mentioned in the news itself.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Times- Standard Web Site Problem Solved?

Maybe so. I've written here before that I was having major problems with the Times- Standard web site. The screen froze up so often it would be difficult to read just about anything. One other reader said he had similar problems.

I'd regularly get pop- ups saying Shockwave Flash either wasn't working or was busy. Clicking on the button to stop the plugin didn't seem to help much, if at all. I'd done a quick search for shockwave problems and found others suffering the same malady, albeit on different web sites. The recommended solution was to uninstall Shockwave and Flash players, then reinstall them.

I did that, and it seemed to help a little, but only for two or three days. Then the other day a friend recommended completely uninstalling both Shockwave and Flash players and leaving them uninstalled, citing generic problems he had with them. I decided to give it a try this morning and it seems to have worked.

I can go through the T-S page pretty quick now, at least so far. I do get a message asking if I want to install a plugin to view media on the page. I just choose "Not now". If all goes well I'll choose "Don't ask me again".

I tried a few other Media News Group web sites since I was having problems to some extent with all of them, though not as bad as the T-S. San Jose Mercury News and Fresno Bee worked fine. The Contra Costa Times did freeze up and I got a message some script had stopped running or some such. I just selected "stop plugin" and it worked fine after a minute or so. 

This might be the answer if you're also having problems with Media News Group sites.  I'm happy so far. The only question now is what things I won't be able to do without Shockwave and Flash players?

The Unknown Known

Those of you interested in world affairs and the people behind them might enjoy The Unknown Known. It's a rather long interview with Donald Rumsfeld. I watched probably 2 1/2 hours of it last night on the History Channel. I don't know when it started.

I found it fascinating to hear from a guy whose been instrumental in four presidential administrations. The interviewer focuses on various memorandum Rumsfeld wrote during his time in service. Rumsfeld seemed amiable to me and I couldn't help but like him, at least for the first couple of hours. 

When they get into the last half hour or so and start discussing Iraq War 2 I got a bit annoyed. That's when the "..the gobbledygook, the blizzard of words, the misdirections, the evasions...and ultimately at the heart of it all...the disregard and devaluation of evidence", as the film maker put it, seemed most obvious to me:

Rumsfeld said, " Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know."

I understand what he's saying, but you can justify anything with that sort of thinking.

This isn't a new film. I see Reason magazine discusses it in an April 6 article of this year. Still, if you haven't seen it and enjoy hearing from major public figures, you might want to keep an eye out for it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Humboldt Water Headed South?

There's been talk up here for years of taking advantage of one resource we have a relatively large amount of: water. Sure, not so much right now with the drought, but still more than much of the rest of the state. Why not sell some to places that need it? 

According to the Mad River Union, the powers- that- be are taking a serious look at the idea:

"To save local control of Mad River water, the district is investigating three options: Increased use for environmental benefit, locating more large customers and piping the water to thirsty areas elsewhere."

Hey, use it or lose it, right? The thing is, if we don't have our own plan to make use of the water, the state might make a plan for us. Then we won't have any say in it, just as we see with the Eel River diversions to the south.

One problem I see with this is, once we agree to sell water and build the infrastructure, that will essentially be a contract and we'll be committed to providing the water regardless of changing conditions. The south could then suck Humboldt rivers drier than they already do.

MediCal Screwed Up, Too

There's been a number of news articles and letters to the editor recently dealing with inaccurate lists of health care providers under Obamacare. At least some physicians listed as accepting Anthem/ Blue Cross and other private insurance plans didn't actually accept those plans. We're being told this is some sort of conspiracy by those greedy insurance companies to get people to sign up for their plans.

As I suspected, California Health Report reports that MediCal- expanded under Obamacare- is having the same sort of problems. Their provider lists are messed up, too.
On a related note, I was reading an article the other day castigating Anthem/ Blue Cross for their attempts to rip everyone off by publishing inaccurate provider lists. There was mention of the lists being updated. I went up to the Anthem/ Blue Cross web site to see if theirs had been changed. 

A couple months ago I tried a local search but it came up blank. This time it had a bunch of physicians listed, including some that I believe are from my very own Redwood Family Practice. My doctor, Courtney Ladika M.D., wasn't among them. Hmmm???

Thursday, July 17, 2014

North Coast's Only Biodiesel Plant Closing?

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat reports the "...North Coast's only commercial biodiesel manufacturer has stopped producing vehicle fuel and is preparing to close its retail outlet,...". Leaving aside the merits, or lack thereof, of biodiesel, was that the only biodiesel maker on the North Coast? Didn't we have one here in Humboldt that got in some trouble with the county recently?

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Red Eye Does Anthony Cumia

One of my favorite TV shows is The Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld. I don't get to watch it very often since the wife isn't much interested in it. I do get clips from the show through their Facebook feed, though. 

Here's the most recent one where they discuss something I'd first heard about while watching it: Radio talk show host, Anthony Cumie, who was fired over some angry tweets he sent out after being assaulted. Cumie is a guest and gives his side of the story. I think he does well. A fun back and forth that lasts about 16 minutes.

John Stossel on "Breaking News"

I'm not sure when or if this show is going to run again, but some of you might enjoy it. John Stossel looks at bias in the media, even pointing the finger at himself. I watched it last night and found it one of his more fun shows. On the Fox Business Network if it's on again.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Free Data Switch

Might as well post my latest Craigslist ad here. I'm giving away a Belkin data switch. This picture on Ebay shows what they look like. It's used to hook up a computer to more than one printer. Old printer port type computers and printers only, unless you can find a usb/printer port adapter.

Update: No response to the ad in 24 hours so the ad has been deleted. That's the first time I haven't gotten a response to one of my ads, but understandable since the item is pretty much obsolete.

Shut Down Wildlife Services?

The Times- Standard reports an effort by local animal rights activists to shut down the local Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services. These are the guys that come to your home to remove critters like skunks, raccoons or what have you. I recall Wildlife Services agent Jace Comfort telling me he'd once removed an alligator from the pond at College of the Redwoods.

We called them once. It took a couple of weeks to remove the family of skunks that was living underneath our house. I was grateful for their help and didn't know where else to turn. We'd contacted the Eureka Animal Control officer. She just gave us the usual namby, pampy suggestions of trying to chase the skunks out by making them feel uncomfortable. She never mentioned the possibility of using Wildlife Services to remove them. I felt that was negligent on her part.

We should support Wildlife Services. I hope they stay around. We'll have countless more incidences of animal infestations, along with the related spreading of disease, without them.  If there's any problem with Wildlife Services, it's that they're spread so far and few between. I believe there's just one main guy up here, but he has one or two others that cover for him on occasion.

In fairness, I suppose the services they offer could be provided by the private sector, although that wouldn't satisfy the animal rights folks. I've seen a number of outfits like Pesky Critters on the Animal Planet channel that remove all sorts of animals for a fee. I'm not sure how well that would work, though, as many people wouldn't want to pay the fee so would just ignore their animal problems and let things get worse.

I say keep Wildlife Services.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The LIbertarian Purity Test

Another one of those political quizzes I don't really like because it just offers Yes or No as answers. This one determines your purity as a libertarian, or how much of a non- libertarian you are, I suppose.

I finally just started answering No maybe half way through if only because I didn't like being offered two choices. At least 1/3 to half of the questions I would have preferred to answer "Unsure" or "I don't know". I scored 53 which is only about 1/3 libertarian pure. Any pure libertarians out there?

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Cato Agrees With The Freddy On Pew Quiz

I wrote a post here not too long ago on a political survey by the Pew Research Institute. David Boaz of the Cato Institute seems to agree with me.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Burger King Does The Freddy Right

Went into Burger King on Saturday to get an unsweetened iced tea. Yep, they still offer it, unlike Taco Bell. Go to Burger King now if you want unsweetened iced tea.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Neat Story

This story is about a guy that deals with bullying, and prejudice, at a junior high school. He turns the tables on the bully and ends up kinda regretting it. I love the way the guy tells the story. Nicely done!

If it's too confusing, Ernest Quinonez is the video you want to watch.

Sacramento Bee Does The Eel

The Sacramento Bee takes a look at the Eel River water wars.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Golden Milk

This was from one of those goofy ads you get on Facebook for God knows what reason, but it looks pretty good. A rather convoluted recipe for milk made with turmeric but it seems pretty enticing. I might well try it. What's to lose?

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Drought Threatening State Power Grid

It's unclear to me after reading this Cal Watchdog article whether we could have power shortages in Humboldt. Water restrictions being put in place by the state could affect power generation capabilities, particularly in areas serviced by natural gas fueled plants. They need a fair amount of water to produce power. 

I believe the Humboldt Bay Power Plant runs on natural gas now. I believe the others burn wood but still need water for steam. There's a map of the state in the article showing locations of power plants. I can't get it to expand but it shows three or four in Humboldt County. I'm having a hard time reading the map legend to tell what is what.

I haven't heard any water restriction proposals for up here recently, but the article does say, "...three facilities in Northern California totaling 1500 MW have been identified at being at risk of having water supply curtailments.". Then again, Northern California is considered anything north of San Luis Obispo by many in the state. They may not be referring to ours.

Either way, since we're part of the statewide grid, this could have some effect on us.
“In considering the drought situation for the summer of 2014, the ISO is following the potential impact of thermal (steam) units being out of service due to water supply curtailments.  Among the 260 thermal power plants greater than 20 MW (megawatts), three facilities in Northern California totaling 1,150 MW have been identified to be at risk of having water supply curtailments. … Water supplies to thermal generation will likely be of a greater concern in 2015 if the current drought continues.”  - See more at: http://calwatchdog.com/2014/07/02/water-shortage-could-bring-electricity-grid-failure/#sthash.vypdgija.dpuf
“In considering the drought situation for the summer of 2014, the ISO is following the potential impact of thermal (steam) units being out of service due to water supply curtailments.  Among the 260 thermal power plants greater than 20 MW (megawatts), three facilities in Northern California totaling 1,150 MW have been identified to be at risk of having water supply curtailments. … Water supplies to thermal generation will likely be of a greater concern in 2015 if the current drought continues.”  - See more at: http://calwatchdog.com/2014/07/02/water-shortage-could-bring-electricity-grid-failure/#sthash.vypdgija.dpuf
“In considering the drought situation for the summer of 2014, the ISO is following the potential impact of thermal (steam) units being out of service due to water supply curtailments.  Among the 260 thermal power plants greater than 20 MW (megawatts), three facilities in Northern California totaling 1,150 MW have been identified to be at risk of having water supply curtailments. … Water supplies to thermal generation will likely be of a greater concern in 2015 if the current drought continues.”  - See more at: http://calwatchdog.com/2014/07/02/water-shortage-could-bring-electricity-grid-failure/#sthash.vypdgija.dpuf

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

That Hobby Lobby Thing