Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Stirring The Pot On RFRA

Trying to end this subject, but yet another short piece in Reason magazine by Jacob Sullum on the Indiana fiasco. It includes this quote:

"But University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, an expert on religious liberty who supports gay marriage but is sympathetic to the claims of conscientious objectors who do not want to facilitate it, notes that "nobody has ever won a religious exemption from a discrimination law under a RFRA standard." Laycock hopes that people who run "very small businesses providing wedding services or marital counseling services" can use laws like Indiana's to avoid being conscripted into work that violates their religious beliefs. But he says he is "not optimistic," noting that "so far, the religious claimants have lost all of those cases."

Which raises the point someone else asked in the comments: What is the purpose of the law if it won't protect anyone's religious freedom?

A Lesbian Agrees With The Freddy

I was kinda stoked earlier today. Went by a place to mow the lawn. A married lesbian couple own the place. I've been working for them for years. Kathy comes out and I feign going off on her:

"You damned LGBT types really piss me off! Blah, blah, blah &#!%/?###! Grrr...". Then I got back to normal and explained I was really pissed off about the reaction, specifically from the Left and LGBT types, over the Indiana RFRA. I went on to say nobody tells me who I associate or do business with. 

I was surprised she seemed to agree so quickly. She replied that at ******* **** (their business), they "...reserve the right to refuse service to anyone". I told her we need to reaffirm that right and that the Indiana thing doesn't go far enough, especially since it only offers protection to religious types. She agreed again, making note of the religious part. 

Not a total victory, though. I was told by one of their neighbors a short time later they were planning a long cross country trip and would be passing through Indiana but not buying anything. Kathy had said something about that, but not about their little boycott. Oh, well. You have to appreciate the small victories.

Jen Savage Attacked By Craigslist Blogger

Our very own Jennifer Savage seems to have annoyed one of those anonymous Craigslist bloggers. I'm not sure why. About all I can figure after reading the rant in the CL Local News and Views section is she supports working for The Man. Even the article the fellow links to doesn't explain much to me.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Indiana RFRA Q&A

An attorney over at the Federalst does a question and answer session on the recent religious freedom bill passed in Indiana. A few things he points out:
  • Nineteen other states and the federal government already had similar laws, known as Religious Freedom Restoration Act(s). The federal one signed by Bill Clinton in '93.
  • The words "gay", "lesbian", or "sexual orientation" don't appear in Indiana's, or any of the other RFRAs.
  • No RFRA has ever been used to deny service to LGBT types in restaurants or other public accommodations after 20 years.
Someone commenting the other day here mentioned the religious use of peyote, although I believe it was in sarcasm. The author addresses the peyote vs. federal issue, as well.

One thing he doesn't address is whether the states that had the lawsuits we've heard about (wedding cakes and photography) had RFRAs and how that played out, or might have with an RFRA, in the end.

Historical Lunar Eclipse on April 4

Earth Sky News advises us of the shortest lunar eclipse of the century taking place on April 4. You may be able to see it here if you wake up early enough and it's clear out.

I've had Earth Sky News bookmarked for years, but rarely went there until a month or so ago to check on the location of planets in the night sky. That's when I noticed they had a daily e-mail you could subscribe to.

Be the first in your neighborhood to find out if a life destroying asteroid is going to smash into the earth by signing up today!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Public Accomodations/ Civil Rights Analogy

I wanted to let the thread on the Indiana Religious Freedom law die. I've got a time limit on how much I care to argue- usually after 24 hours I'm done. But, I got to thinking and came up with an analogy of sorts:

Let's say you owned a local restaurant in town that happened to have a banquet room. Let's also say a group that believed in white supremacy or separatism wanted to hold their annual convention there- Ku Klux Klan, or whatever. Would you accept their reservations and allow them to hold their convention in your establishment?

Let's say a black supremacy or separatist group (Yes, there are blacks who believe in separatism as well as supremacists) decided to hold their annual convention there. Would you accommodate them?

If so, why? If not, why not? 

Lost Horizon

We were watching a TV show last night. One of those History Channel ones dealing with ancient astronauts. They got into a thing for a while about caves and how some believe aliens might have lived in them. Seems a rather odd idea to me, but they showed a bunch of caves believed by locals to have mystical powers at least in part because of ancient aliens.

For some reason that got me to thinking about a movie I saw a long time ago where some travelers were trekking through the snow, found a cave, entered it and came out on the other side where there was a utopian hidden valley. Fun movie, from what I remember, but what was it called? The name Shangri La came to mind so I did a search on Shangri La this morning and it turns out the movie was called Lost Horizon.

Looking at the Wikipedia entry it seems the original movie was filmed in 1937. Wikipedia also lists a number later releases and remakes. I wonder which one I saw? It might have been the 1942 version, The Lost Horizon of Shangri La, if only because I remembered the Shangri La part. 

Anybody else see this one? I'm gonna have to keep an eye out and watch it again. Don't remember much except enjoying it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Meet Your New Senate Minority Leader

Well, maybe, but the Washington Post just sent out notice that New York nanny stater and U.S. Senator, Charles Schumer, is looking like the top choice to take over Harry Reid's spot after he leaves office.

Reason magazine takes a look at Schumer, a man I've passionately hated for years. I don't know that I ever felt much hatred for Harry Reid. He just seemed like a stupid old man to me. Schumer? He's the worst in both people and politicians.

There would be plenty more just as bad as Schumer if he wasn't vying for that spot, so he's nothing for me to lose sleep over.

That Indiana Religious Freedom Law

Those of you who pay attention to such things have probably heard the Governor of Indiana signed a law the other day protecting businesses from being forced to serve folks of gay and lesbian persuasion should they have religious objections for doing so. The problem as I saw it wasn't what some might expect, although it should be no surprise to readers here I support the right of non- association as well as association.

My problem with the law is it doesn't go far enough. One's religious beliefs are certainly an adequate reason to not get involved in business with someone, but there might be other reasons, as well. The law shouldn't be limited to just religion. My internet buddy, Tom Knapp, agrees.

I read a few comments yesterday from folks calling the move "bigoted" and so on. Some even seemed to think it was the same as saying LGBT folks aren't allowed to be served in Indiana. The law did no such thing and it wasn't bigoted. It simply provided protection for those who might object to serving LGBT folks for religious reasons. 

It did NOT force anyone to serve or not serve those same people, unlike the wishes of some within the LGBT community, many of whom who think businesses should be forced to serve them. It simply allowed religious folks to opt out of doing business with certain people.

Back in the day those signs that read, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" were fairly common, although I can't think of anyone ever taking advantage of them. We need to reaffirm that right for everyone again, but not only for religious folks. All people should be able to do business, or not, with whomever they choose.
Just as an aside, the only place I can remember seeing one of those signs in recent memory is the Bluebird Cafe in Hopland,CA. We stopped by there once years ago and I pointed out the sign, asking the waitress if they've ever refused service to anyone. She said they hadn't. 

I couldn't let that go and suggested maybe they should. Perhaps snag every tenth customer that comes through the door and tell them they won't be served, pointing to the sign for justification. After all, what's the point in having a sign like that if you're not really using it?

She didn't like my idea.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A GMO Labeling Plan I Can Agree With

Yahoo News reports House Republicans have introduced a GMO labeling proposal, although it doesn't label GMOs. It creates a new food certification similar to the USDA "organic" for foods that don't contain GMOs. It will be voluntary and supposedly only used by food companies that choose to use the label.

Who'da thunk my idea of years ago would be proposed in congress? I've wrote here and elsewhere umpteen times it makes little sense to label normal foods as being different- most foods contain GMO- 80% or more by anti- GMO folks' own admission. That makes them normal as I see it. 

It makes more sense to label those that aren't normal. Non- GMO food producers could use that as a selling point, it would seem to me, just as they do with organic food labeling.

What I don't understand is why this new law is needed in the first place? Can't non- GMO food producers already label their products as non- GMO? In fact, I've seen at least one can of beans at Winco that was labeled as having no GMOs. Anyone know?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Racist or Politically Incorrect?

I was chatting with my sister on the phone the other night and was disappointed to find out she is one of those politically correct types. I forget just how we got to the subject, but at some point I mentioned the word "negro"- mostly just to see how she'd react. 

She didn't get all pissed off but sounded kind of embarrassed. So I asked her if she thought negro was a racist term. She wouldn't answer that but acted uncomfortable: "Oh, Freeeeeed! I can't believe you...".

I've gotten more hostile responses using the word in the past. I recall playing Aces High some years ago when one of the other players got his panties in a wad over something another player mentioned in a text message. He claimed that fellow was racist by his comment. I didn't see the comment as racist, so asked the guy if he was a negro. He then goes off on me saying I'm racist for saying negro. Whatever. He never did answer me. 

So the question today is how many of you think the word negro is racist:

Is the term "negro" racist?
pollcode.com free polls

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Inbred Humboldt

Humboldt County has been named the "most inbred county in the country", according to this Craigslist ad. I had no idea!

"The root cause of the inbreeding is fear of outsiders. Our county government works relentlessly to keep new people from moving to Humboldt. Several local businesses are afraid new people will bring new competition. Virtually all of our local officials are closely related.

Can this be true??? A guy told a joke on my online game, Aces High, a year or two ago:

"If mom and dad get divorced, does that mean they're still considered brother and sister?". Might that actually be a Humboldt joke?

Monday, March 23, 2015


One of those things that showed up on Facebook that had me going, for a minute anyway. I don't take much stock in that silly reality TV show In Search of Giants, but this a pretty good picture. The first thing to raise my suspicion was the title of the accompanying article where it mentions a CIA coverup. 

But, maybe it's true? All kinds of neat pictures on that page. Then I went back to Facebook and noticed a related article beneath the first. It was Snopes saying it was a hoax. Awww...shucks. Would have been nice if it could have had me wondering about this a little bit longer.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

That "Kill The Gays" Initiative

Some of you may have heard of an initiative submitted by a Southern California lawyer that would provide the death penalty for homosexual acts and, I presume, simply being homosexual. A lot of eyebrows have been raised with many people being rightfully offended. 

I'm not really offended as I know the initiative isn't going anywhere. There's all kinds of nutty initiatives that have been proposed before, and likely will be again. What's the big deal?

What does concern me is the sentiment I'm reading, such as in this Sacramento Bee article, that suggests such unpopular opinion shouldn't even be allowed to be submitted as a ballot initiative in the first place. A law professor, of all things, is quoted in the article for his reasons to nullify such unpopular thought before it's given a hearing:

“I could see a reason for wanting to kill it right now. ... I don’t want to go to a BART station and have some idiot with a clipboard put this in front of me and say, ‘Hey, do you want to sign this to put it on the ballot?’ But that may be something we have to just deal with.”

Ok, he does admit that it may be something he'll have to deal with. Still, he doesn't want to be inconvenienced or offended by someone approaching him with something he adamantly disagrees with. Sorry, I can't feel his pain and find it appalling that a law professor uses being annoyed as an example for squashing an initiative.

And if we come up with certain qualifications for ballot initiatives, what will be the next unpopular opinion to get thrown out before it gets a public hearing? Scott Shackford over at Reason magazine seems to agree with me. Referring to the California Secretary of State who clears initiative proposals, he wrote:

"The issue is who should make the call that a ballot initiative is illegal. As an elected official embroiled in state politics, letting the attorney general make that choice could create serious problems in less clear-cut situations. As it stands, Harris has been criticized (and sued) for writing slanted summaries of ballot initiatives that affected the possibility of their passage. It may have to be up to a judge to make the call, if needed."

There are good and bad proposals for ballot initiatives. Making it harder for any initiative to get approval means it's that much harder to put good initiatives on the ballot. That's akin to throwing the baby out with the bath water. Again, what's the big deal? It's not going to make the ballot, anyway. 
I do wonder what this guy's real intent is. I did read some reference to a proposition he submitted earlier that was religious in nature- making some version of the bible part of state school curriculum or some such. Or, maybe he just figures even bad publicity is better than no publicity at all?

I'm sure this fellow on the east coast doesn't feel that way. A lawyer with the same name, you know he's probably hatin' it with some of the phone calls he's getting over this.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article15394181.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, March 21, 2015

AT&T U-verse Internet (and TV)

I'm trying to figure out what AT&T's new offer is. I got an e-mail from them and, just the other day, a letter in the mail about this. Anybody else?

Both of them said they'd just upgraded internet service in my neighborhood with their "advance digital network" and that I am eligible for "this new technology". They go on to say I can sign up for it and get $10 off my "new internet service" for 12 months when I upgrade to AT&T U-Verse high speed internet with no equipment fees for that period.

WTF are they exactly talking about? How is this U-Verse different than what I'm already using, and how much does it cost? They never say that in any of the stuff they've sent me. I think I saw something saying it was $39.00 a month in the e-mail, but I'm already paying that much each month for DSL, plus they're raising the monthly rate $3.00 next month.

I can't make heads or tails of it checking their web page, but it does look as if this has something to do with AT&T getting into the streaming TV. In fact, I just noticed a link on the top of my Yahoo Mail page for U-Verse and most of what it shows on the first page is stuff for some streaming TV program they're selling.

If it's the same cost as my current internet, why do I have to switch? Or, is the $39.99 they mentioned after the $10.00 is taken off each month? If their streaming TV is cheap enough, I might consider it, but I'm getting the impression it might be less expensive to just stay with what I have and mix and match things together. Has anyone else looked into this further?

Not Quite True: One Year of Water Left

Seemed believable to me, but I still thought they might be hyping it. Recent headlines suggesting California may only have a year's worth of water left were a bit of an exaggeration, says the fellow they based that story on. The Los Angeles Times reports:

  "...Famiglietti said he never claimed that California has only a year of total water supply left.
He explained that the state's reservoirs have only about a one-year supply of water remaining. Reservoirs provide only a portion of the water used in California and are designed to store only a few years' supply. But the online headline generated great interest. Famiglietti said it gave some the false impression that California is at risk of exhausting its water supplies."

Which isn't to say the state isn't still in a dire situation, but here in Humboldt we're still better off than the rest of the state. You'll recall that last year the water folks said Ruth Lake had enough to last another two years, and that was with less water than we have now.

We got a bit over a quarter inch of rain last night, with more expected Sunday. Let's hope for the best, but they need the water inland more than we need it here. And snow, of course, but that doesn't seem likely to happen.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Mandatory Voting?

The White House has since walked back on President Obama's suggestion that voting be mandatory in this country. We hear the outrage over low voter turnout time and again. Ironically, the vast majority of the complaints seem to be from those who think they would have won if only all the people who pay scant, if any, attention to politics voted.

I've wrote here more than once I don't care how many people show up to vote, so long as they vote as I do. Reason's Scott Shackford attacks the idea of mandatory voting from a different view:

"Casting a vote is speech. It is showing support or opposition to a candidate or proposal. Making voting mandatory means voting is no longer a right. It's an obligation.".

He's got a point but doesn't address how silly it would be to force people who have no idea what the issues are to vote. A guy who commented on Facebook wrote it best:

"Voting takes work and those who are not willing to invest the time are better left away from a ballot."

Eureka and Trinidad Make CNN

Eureka, Trinidad, and long missing Karen MItchell seem to get the most mention in this CNN story on Robert Durst.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Open Humboldt: Measure Z Priorities

The current subject for the County of Humboldt's Open Forum discussion is how Measure Z funds should be allocated. Measure Z, you'll recall, was the county wide sales tax increase passed last election. Comments made in this forum are supposedly read by the supervisors and others in county government.

I find their new(?) format a bit confusing. It has an overview of the issue, then a button below that you click on to see comments made (57 comments last I looked). I would have expected to be take to a page of just comments but was taken to a page with the same overview. Then I noticed at the bottom of the overview it asks "Do you have any additional feedback". Beneath that question is a comment.

Apparently each comment made has an overview of Measure Z above it, so you need to click to see each comment individually using the numbered list at the bottom of the page. Makes it a bit cumbersome to use, imo.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cops Need To Protect Us Better?

I'm reading the comments to a story just posted on the Lost Coast Outpost. Apparently a couple people got shot this morning in a suburb of Fortuna. One commentator writes, "If the cops don't start protecting the citizenry MUCH better, then its time to form a tough-assed neighborhood watch and stop the BS group!".

I've read similar comments there and elsewhere before, usually after a murder or serious assault. I have to ask: How do you expect the police to protect you better?

We're not sure what happened in this particular incident, but when someone gets into a fight, the cops generally aren't around. They can't be everywhere at once and, in the case of gun play or fisticuffs. it often starts and ends with no cops nearby.

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat reports this morning on a killing that occurred on Monday. Police were called to the scene after the first shot was fired and supposedly witnessed the fatal shot, but they couldn't stop it. They couldn't get there in time.

How are the police supposed to prevent such things from happening and thus "...protect the citizenry much better"? And how could a "tough- assed neighborhood watch" do any better? I have no idea, but I'm open to suggestions.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

2015 Reader's Choice Awards

The Times- Standard has started their 2015 Best of the North Coast nominations. It's only available online this time. You'll remember that's where you vote for you favorite local business and recreational facilities. T-S, managing editor, Kimberly Wear explains. The link is at the top left of their home page.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tomcat Update

I put two cubes of that Tomcat rat/ mouse poison under the house yesterday. They were gone this morning. Probably hauled off to somewhere as I couldn't see so much as a crumb in the bait tray. I'll put another two out today. 

Connie says she didn't recall hearing any rats yesterday. I thought I did early this morning. A few knocking sounds from the kitchen area while I was in bed 2 or 3ish am. Something obviously took the bait. If not rats, maybe we have ghosts???

Eureka's South Entry Project

I saw a show last night on one of those public access channels. It was a presentation about Eureka's South Entry Project. Some of you have likely seen the proposals for a Willits type sign in front of the Herrick Avenue overpass. I might not have seen mention of that sign in the 20 or so minutes I watched, but I wasn't much impressed with some of the rest.

Seems to me this project is going way beyond just a sign. They were talking about planting trees (not that we don't have enough trees already) and even changing the freeway design, the purpose being to slow cars down as they enter Eureka. They even have a map made up. It shows the area in front of Kmart having 4 accidents in the last three years. A real bloodbath, huh?

Sorry. I don't see any problem with the speed limit on South Broadway as it is. We certainly don't need to make it take longer to get from one end of Eureka to the other. Most people are passing through, you know? It's as if this project has become more of a front for progressive "change" ideas such as tree planting, traffic calming and giving the people working on the project jobs rather than just a pleasant greeting for people coming to Eureka.

I don't mind the sign idea. We don't need the trees. The traffic calming suggestions are a solution in search of a problem. Anything more than just the sign is going beyond what's necessary, at least from what I've seen so far. Even the sign itself- considering we'll likely be paying more than it's really worth- will be like putting lipstick on a pig. You can't hide Eureka behind a sign.

The Latest Earthquake Warning

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat's Pete Golis takes a ho-hum look at the latest earthquake warning. The Geological Survey warns us that chances for The Big One- an 8.0 or higher- in the next 30 years have increased to 7%.

Oh, NO! I'm sure my reaction was the same as many in thinking this was awful. Then I got to thinking and realized I was getting a bit carried away. In fact, when you look at it, I kinda wonder why that was considered newsworthy?

As I pointed out to Pete in comments to his article, those odds are just a guess. Yep, a guess. Maybe an educated guess but still just a guess. Besides, if the odds are around 7% that we'll have a major earthquake in the next 30 years, that means there's also a 93% chance we won't. Don't you feel better now?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Off To Shafer's for Rat Poisons

Second morning and my chicken broth/ borax mixture appears untouched. I haven't heard any rats, either, although the wife claims she did. Maybe the cookies worked? Hard to say, but time to try something else and mixing stuff up is a hassle. Off to Shafer's Ace Hardware in Henderson Center to see what they have.

I know they no longer carry D-Con. Last time I went there they had some white pellets that seemed awfully pricey for the size of the container. I didn't even bother trying that stuff as it said the active ingredient was Sodium Chloride. That's salt, for those of you in Arcata. I couldn't help but be skeptical about that. More on that later.

I don't believe I'd seen the Tomcat brand of rat and mice poisons before. Green cubes that come with a "safe" bait station that keeps non- target animals out of it. They had all sorts of combinations from a single bait station with just a few chunks of bait, to a one pound bag with a lot more bait. The active ingredient is listed as bromethalin. Sounds a little better than salt, anyway.

One unpleasant surprise I got when I got home and looked at the bag was it says "mouse killer". Did I grab the wrong one? They had both mice and rat killers. Shouldn't matter. The bag says one bait chunk should kill up to 12 mice. That should easily equate to at least one rat. Either way, if they eat all the bait, I'll make sure I get the rat specific stuff next time.

I'll take the borax mixture I have out, throw it away and replace it with these bait blocks. Good thing about these commercial baits is they don't go bad very fast. I should be able to just leave them out there until rats show up again. If I hear rats and they're not eating the bait, I'll know they're not particularly attracted to it.

Another bait they had there was the RatX brand. The pellets reminded me of an almost red slug and snail pellet. Looking at the active ingredient, it was once again Sodium Chloride- salt. Nope. Not gonna try that, especially since it cost nearly $20.00 for a small bag. 

When I got home I checked to see if there was any mention of salt being used as a rat poison. Didn't look long but did find this piece on the effects of salt on humans. It looks like the symptoms of large amounts of salt are worse than what I've read for borax. Maybe that stuff would work, if they ate enough of it? I'll still not likely buy it as it just seems too expensive.

If that Tomcat stuff seems to work, I'll buy that in the larger quantities. If not, I'll look for something else, or keep trying borax. They have all kinds of stuff for rodent control at Shafer's, including the standard and more modern rat traps. 

They even have those sticky traps where rats walk on it and get stuck until they die, or you throw the live, stuck rats in the garbage. Those things seem unnecessarily cruel to me so I won't use them.

Eureka #10 In Pensions

The Times Standard reports the City of Eureka ranks tenth of cities across the state in pension costs. That means over 11% of the city's revenue will go to paying pension obligations. San Rafael comes in #1 with over 17% of it's revenues going to pensions.

Wow! I'd always wondered about that and broached the subject here before. I can't believe they beat me to the punch with that information. I guess I'll have to satisfy myself with having first raised the issue.

Kirby Company Coming To Your House?

Another one of those young kid sales things I guess. You know, "Vote for me!", but not quite. I answer a knock on the door yesterday to find two good looking, well dressed young teenagers starting to walk away. The guy turns back, gives me his flier and says they'll clean any room in my house for free.

I told him I was busy and wasn't interested right at the moment. He made a last ditch attempt at a sale by saying it costs me nothing, but he still gets paid to clean a room. I just told him I was too busy right then and he and the gal left.

I took a look at the flier, sub titled Dry Foam. It's the way to clean your carpet. So, I'm guessing they'd clean the carpet, not the whole room? Whatever. At least it had a phone number, unlike some other shady fliers I've seen. Not our area code, though.

I showed the flier to the wife. She pointed out it was the Kirby Company, the door to door vacuum cleaner sales folks. I hadn't seen that at the bottom. They likely clean the room and then try to sell you the appliance. Not for me, but maybe they'll be by your house this week?
Just as an aside, and I'm not inferring these kids aren't on the straight and narrow: Years ago, heck decades ago, a friend of mine who was a retired sheriff's deputy told me they had a strong suspicion about a couple guys going door to door in Myrtletown selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. 

Many of the houses they visited ended up being burglarized shortly thereafter. They suspected the guys- one of whom I was very vaguely acquainted with- were getting inside the house and would open an window or some such while there to allow entry later. I don't think they were ever caught.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Rat vs. Borax Update

I started this project last Sunday and I'm not sure how well it's worked. You'll recall I made cookies with borax and placed some under my house. The intent being to kill the rats living with us as borax is supposed to be poisonous. They seemed to enjoy the cookies as I ran out of them the other day. Whether any rats died, I'm not sure.

I believe it was Thursday morning I went out and for the first time they'd only eaten one cookie, leaving the last one outside the bait tray on its edge. That's how I'd know D-Con was working back when that was available: the rats would stop feeding. The last cookie was gone the next morning, though, so something was still alive.

As far as hearing them anymore, it's hard to tell. They're certainly not as noisy as they were, but I still keep hearing, or think I'm hearing, little knocks and other noises that generally mean rats. I'm just not sure, but at least they're not running up and down the length of the attic, or chewing on the floor under the back door now.

Having seen the last cookie gone and knowing something was still feeding, I decided to try the chicken broth/ borax combo. You mix the broth with the borax until you can make doughballs out of it. Then you just drop the doughballs where the rats are feeding.

Connie bought some broth, but also mentioned we had an old rusty can of Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup sitting in the pantry. I'm not going to eat anything in a rusty old can so decided to use that instead. We'd be throwing it out, anyway, if we didn't use it.

Put a little in a plastic bowl and started mixing in borax. I kept putting more and more borax in but it never got to the consistency of dough. I got tired of adding more and more borax so just satisfied myself with the paste I'd come up with. I put maybe a half cup of the paste in the bait tray yesterday afternoon. I haven't checked as of this writing to see if any was eaten.

This new stuff should be pretty toxic. If they eat it, it's pretty much all borax. But Connie said it didn't smell very good so not sure the rats will eat it.

If they do eat it and keep coming back for more, I'm almost of the mind of giving up on the borax route and trying something else, perhaps the plaster of paris or powdered concrete mixture. Either that, or break down and call an exterminator. Or try the old fashioned Victor rat trap routine, but I've gotten a bit squeamish in my old age for that.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Streaming An Aletnative To Cable and Satellite?

The Washington Post reports on the growing number of Americans switching from satellite and cable TV to streaming via the internet. I'd like to think this is a good thing, having written here before about wanting to make that change myself. I'm not so sure things will change all that much in the end, though, at least as far as saving money.

I stumbled on to a notice from AT&T yesterday announcing they're raising their monthly fee for high speed internet by $3.00 next month. You can bet as more and more people replace their cable and satellite with streaming the phone companies will raise their rates to take full advantage of it. It wouldn't surprise me if streaming, and internet in general, becomes as expensive as satellite and cable is now.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Stupid Airport Name

I agree with Jack Durham over at the Mad River Union. The Board of Supes needs to change the goofy name they gave the Mckinleyville Airport. How did they come up with California Redwood Coast Humboldt County Airport, anyway? I'd say Humboldt Redwoods Airport, or something along that line, would suffice.

Superhero Politics

Make what you will of this look at the politics of some of our superheroes. Spoiler alert: Superman is a Republican. Batman is a Libertarian. Wonder Woman a Democrat. Green Arrow a Democrat. Iron Man is a Libertarian. Spiderman a Democrat, and Flash is a Republican. Some of the comments to the article disagree.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Oklahoma House Passes Gay Marriage Bill

I mentioned a short time ago that Oklahoma was considering legislation to protect county clerks from officiating marriages, much to the dismay of some viewers here. Basically, all the couples would have to do is file a certificate with those clerks after everything else- a ceremony, if desired- is done.

Oklahoma's State House has passed that law. Whether their Governor signs it remains to be seen. 

Reason magazine's Scott Shackford supports it, as do I. He also addresses some of the criticisms- most of which seems to be coming from Democrats and gays.

Senator Tom Cotton: YUCK!

I keep hearing this guy's name come up in all the squabbling over Iran, but hadn't paid much attention until reading Reason magazine's brief look at him. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark) seems like a real d-bag, and he's the Republican's new rising star?

Can anyone point me to anything the guy stands for that won't keep him on my s- list?

Borax Cookie Update

It might be too early to tell if my borax cookies are helping control our rat problem. 

Monday morning I got up and it seemed awfully quiet, then after about 25 minutes I could hear a rat, or rats, in the attic. I checked my bait tray and all the cookies were gone so I put out more cookies. 

Tuesday morning I didn't hear any rats and, once again, they'd eaten all the cookies. I put more cookies in the tray yesterday afternoon. Makes me wonder. If they'd died, when did they eat the last cookies? Or maybe it was some other critter?

This morning it's been pretty quiet, until I went into the bathroom. I could barely hear it but here was something in the attic. Maybe too sick to move around much? I haven't checked the bait tray yet today,  but I wouldn't be surprised if they're all gone again. 

That makes me wonder if I didn't put enough borax in the cookie mix, or maybe it just takes time? 

If they've eaten the cookies I put out yesterday, I'll put the last ones out. If I can still hear rats after that, what does that mean? Probably not enough borax, so next step with be trying the chicken broth/ borax doughballs. If that doesn't work, who knows?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Amber Alerts Gone Haywire?

Anyone else as annoyed as we were last night with the overkill Amber Alert? Amber Alerts, to refresh your memory, are those statewide alerts for abducted children. This one was about some one year old in Southern California, if memory serves me correct.

I first heard it listening to the radio. I only heard it once there. No biggie. Then I'm watching the Channel 3 News and it comes blaring on 3 or 4 times. It starts with a loud- I guess you'd call in a "claxon" type- sound. Blasts maybe 3 times and you can't hear the TV. It's followed by one of those recordings from the highway patrol akin to Weather Service severe weather alerts.

Once is fine, although one of those scrolling text messages without the noise would probably have sufficed. They did it at least three times while I was watching the news. Overkill, as far as I was concerned. I wonder who you call to complain about that sort of thing: Suddenlink, or the TV station?

Calbike Anti- Helmet Law Petition

The California Bicycle Coalition has an online petition you can sign opposing the mandatory helmet proposal recently proposed in the state legislature.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Finger Monkeys

 One of those things that showed up on Facebook. Ever seen one of these? They're known as Pygmy Marmosets or Finger Monkeys. They sell for up to $3000.00. Pretty neat but not something I'd want. I'd be too afraid of accidentally squishing one.

Ten Years of The Freddy

It was ten years ago today I made my first post on this blog. Pretty awesome, huh? I'm expecting a brass band to show up in front of my house as soon as the sun is up, and maybe even the Mayor coming by to give me a key to the city. But (sniff), I'll probably be disappointed.

You can read my first post here.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Cookies Anyone?

Mmmm...everybody loves cookies, huh? These are some I made yesterday. Actually, I didn't make them, except to mix the borax in. I'm using them to, hopefully, kill rats. 

Since D-Con rat poison isn't being sold in the State of NO anymore, I was looking for alternatives. I brought it up here before and at least a couple readers offered some homespun suggestions for rat poison. Borax seemed an easy one to try since we already had some out in the laundry room. Other suggestions are using plaster of paris or powdered concrete.

I tried a borax/ cornmeal mixture some months ago. Equal parts borax and cornmeal, mixed together with milk. I didn't cook it, just setting the little doughballs in a tray under the house. Rats didn't seem interested first few times I tried it and I threw them away after they got all rotten. Then the last few doughballs disappeared the night after I placed them out. Not sure if it killed any rats, or not.

Gave up on it for a while, until we started hearing rats underneath the house and in the attic. Yesterday I asked the wife to get some cookie mix at the store so I could try that with borax. She already had a small package so we used that and baked up some up.

Just a quarter cup or so of borax with the small amount of cookie mix in the package. It made maybe a dozen cookies. Hope that's enough borax.

Put three of the smaller ones in the tray under the house yesterday afternoon. They were gone by 10am this morning. I just put two larger ones in. Let's see if they disappear, too. Then we'll see if the joyful sound of rats prancing around the house stops.

I'm not sure if they live here all the time. I didn't hear them consistently until the last few weeks- well, maybe months. I'd usually put D-Con out and it would sit undisturbed for weeks. Then you'd see them feeding on it and I'd replenish the bait until they stopped feeding. You wouldn't hear any rats for some time after that. I get the impression they rove around until they find a nice place to stay. 

What gets me is we have four cats that frequent our yard. You'd think they'd get at least some of them, but I've never found a cat killed rat, with maybe the exception of one many years ago.

I was just reading this morning of a recipe of just mixing borax with chicken broth. Then you just lay the doughballs out where the rats frequent. I'll probably try that next time. In the meantime, cookies anyone?

U.S. Mine Corp Bails

It should be no surprise. Lost Coast Outpost reports that U.S. Mine Corp has given up on its plans to build an ore extraction mill on the North Jetty. Unlike what at least one comment to the story claims, I don't think the Harbor Commission can be blamed for their departure. The Mine Corps' statement read in part:

 “In our final analysis of the proposal, we determined we could not accept the risk involved with the significant effort and substantial cost it would have taken to receive agency and public approval.”

Keep in mind the Harbor Commission gave them exclusive right to negotiate for 90 days. I can't say for sure how the commissioners themselves felt about the idea, but they did at least meet Mine Corp part way for starters. It's more just a California thing.

Yep. California: the State of NO. Never mind all the voices raised locally when any sort of industry- other than pot related- tries to start here. The only surprise for me is that U.S. Mine Corp didn't foresee that problem before they even made the proposal. I wouldn't have even bothered with California if I were them.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Squires and Housing

The Rev. Eric Duff wrote yesterday about his early experiences in getting his first rental in Eureka. He rented first from Floyd and Betty Squires, the supposedly evil landlords we read about time and again. His experience, as was mine, wasn't unpleasant. He goes on to give some suggestions as to how we can improve living conditions for the less than desirable rentals in town.

The first place we rented when coming to Eureka back in '73 was also from the Squires, but from the parents, Floyd and Ruth Ann. They had a nice set of apartments up on Pigeon Point Road. We rented a five bedroom which might have been a mistake as it was $500 a month. That was our total monthly income between the two of us.

They were always nice to us. They'd even hire us starving college kids to do painting at their various rentals. We appreciated the opportunity. That's how I met Floyd Jr. He and his wife needed some painting done so we ended up working for them on a job or two. The one I remember was on the corner of California and Harris in Eureka. They were nice enough and treated us well.

As has been mentioned elsewhere, the Squires often rent to people no one else would rent to. Not sure if I fit that category, or not, lol. I also can't help but think there's lots of truth to Floyd Jr. claiming the poor conditions of some of his rentals are the result of tenant abuse but, as Eric Duff suggests, there's probably plenty of blame to share.

Still, some people just don't care enough to keep things up. I got a little peeved with recent coverage of the Blue Heron closure where they published a picture of the floor of one of the rooms with either urine or something else in a puddle on the floor- the suggestion being Floyd Jr. was responsible. Floyd and Betty didn't put that there. The tenant did. 

Eric Duff gives some suggestions on how to provide decent housing, including forming public/ private partnerships. That's fine, but I think he's not giving enough consideration to the kinds of people that tend to run places down no matter how good the place was to begin with.

End Daylight Savings Time

My obligatory end Daylight Savings Time post. I'll try to do one every year to rid ourselves of this nonsense. Here's a link with some arguments against DST. One of the comments there suggested making DST all year long. Fine with me, so long as we're not switching from one time to another.

"Only the white man would think cutting one end off a blanket and sewing it on the other end gives you a longer blanket."- supposed old indian saying

Friday, March 06, 2015

Obamacare Confusion

I wrote a month or so ago about going to the doctor and them saying something about accepting Covered California health insurance now. They told me the time before that they don't even bother billing Covered California. Any claims made were between Anthem/ Blue Cross and me.

Covered California is the California version of Obamacare. They must have been serious because they only asked for a $25.00 co- payment last time as opposed to the $80.00 I normally pay out of pocket.

Then, a week or so ago, I get an e-mail from Redwood Family Practice followed by a regular letter saying I owe them $45.00 more for that last visit. There was an itemized list showing Anthem/ Blue Cross only paid nine dollars and change for the visit. Wtf? Not that it matters as I think people should pay for routine visits, but it was kinda nice saving some money.

But what's the deal here? I thought Redwood Family Practice was an in- network provider now?

Then yesterday I get a letter from Anthem/ Blue Cross itemizing a claim Redwood Family Practice sent to them for my last visit. A/BC says I should have paid the whole $80.00, although it would be applied to my deductible. What???

I go up to the Anthem/ Blue Cross web site and see if my doctor is listed on their network provider list. Nope, at least not yet. They also showed a claim of $80.00 applied to my deductible.

It seems I'm back at square one with this Obamacare policy although I'll have to wait and see if they're just slow acknowledging RFP is an in- network provider now or maybe they got into another squabble and quit on each other? I suppose I could call and ask.

In Defense of Robots?

I found a couple articles by guys who think the increase in robot applications is a good thing. This guy in Forbes magazine claims robots will be the biggest job creators ever. This fellow in Reason magazine...well, I'm not sure I got his point, but he does think robots improve the human condition and will continue to.

I think they're both full of crap. That's not to say robots (along with artificial intelligence) haven't improved things in many ways and will continue to. I still say robotics will continue to be a large and growing threat to human jobs.

The guy from Forbes says they'll create jobs we haven't even imagined yet. How? Sure, even 60 years ago we didn't imagine the computer and cell phone industries creating the number of jobs they have, but that can only go so far. More and more of those jobs are becoming automated, or face the possibility of automation. The same could be said of just about any other job- all threatened with automation, eventually.

The Forbes guy is falling back on the past to predict the future. I think he's wrong. I'll go so far as to say the only new jobs (the ones he writes that we haven't yet imagined) in the next 100 years will be jobs that were created simply because a robot could do them.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Here, Yeller!

Come back, Yeller!

We watched most of the old Disney movie Old Yeller last night. I'm not sure I've ever watched the movie before. I might have, but was too young to remember if I did. I did know the story from one of those old sound track records from back in the day. Couldn't watch it, but they'd have the voices and sound effects. Back then that was about the same as watching the movie.

Even listening to the record would bring tears to your eyes at the end. That's why when we got to the point in the movie where Yeller ends up fighting with a wolf, and we knew he was going to get rabies, Connie asked if I wanted to keep watching or switch to something else. She didn't want to see Yeller get shot. Neither did I, and we watched Jeopardy instead.

Best doggone dog in the west!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Common Sense on Marriage

I like a guy who thinks outside the box. In this case, Paul Jacob talks about marriage- gay marriage, by extension. He suggests government is too involved in marriage as it is. Why should government be involved in officiating marriages, or requiring someone to officiate, when all the two people in question need do is testify they've met the requirements, sign a form and that's it?
A man and a woman pay the government $60 to get a government-approved marriage license. Why should they then have to visit another government office and pay the government another $20, or hire a government-designated third party for a fee or donation,to finalize their marriage contract?
Granted, he doesn't get into changing the terms used- marriage for churches, civil unions for government- as I have. This also might not necessarily get around the problem of some county clerks not wanting to fill out forms for gay couples, but he does have a point.

Check Your Standing Water

We have a bunch of 5 gallon buckets just outside our back door. Yesterday I noticed there were live critters in one of them. Not sure if they were mosquito larvae but I dumped the water out. Probably a good time to check all the standing water near your house for mosquito larvae. Heck, might be a good time to dump out the water regardless. It's mosquito breeding time.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Freddy Gets Flagged

I made a comment on that Nextdoor Neighborhood e-mail list yesterday that someone flagged as being inappropriate. My comment??? Yes, my comment. How can this be? Except, yes, I did go a bit far at the end of it. At least for the purposes of that list.

They'd been discussing abandoned or improperly parked vehicle policy as per my last post here. I was really surprised at the number of people who said EPD was a bit aggressive with their abatement policies. They cited cars parked that nobody complained about, yet EPD would tag them and come back again for the same car. I replied that my experience has been pretty positive with one slight exception.

I've reported four or five cars over the last few years. One parked next to my house was eventually towed. The others were gone next time I was in the area or had been moved. No problems with that, at least on my end.

I once had the abatement officer come by my house and ask about my smashed trailer that had been sitting on Trinity Street for a few days- not so much the time, but the condition of the trailer which I think got his attention. He asked if the trailer was mine. I told him it was. He said that was all he needed to know and left before I could even explain. He never came back.

The last incident I feel was something not so nice but not much of a deal, and that's where my comment aggravated at least a couple people.

I came out to load up my truck and trailer one morning to find one of those warning tags on the back of my trailer. This was shortly after former EPD Chief, Garr Nielsen, announced his crackdown on derelict and illegally parked cars. I felt this was an obvious provocation by someone within EPD. 

The truck and trailer in no way met the definition of vehicles under that abatement ordinance. Cops drive up and down the street all the time and see that truck and trailer. They know it was regularly used. My feeling at the time- and it hasn't changed- was they tagged the trailer to get me pissed off at Nielsen over his more aggressive approach to abandoned and illegally parked cars. 

I don't know if they only tagged me, being a famous blogger, in an attempt to get me to join their efforts against Nielsen, or if I was just one of many who were tagged. If there were more than me I would think we would have heard of it. Either way, I'm convinced it was a targeted attack, political in nature. In fairness to them- although it does reinforce my feelings- they never hassled me over that trailer again.

I mentioned those suspicions on my post on the Nextdoor list. Former blogger, Joel Mielke, pointed out the list shouldn't be used for unfounded allegations like that. I agreed and apologized. I figured that was the end of it. Then, some hours later, I get notice that someone flagged my post as inappropriate and that notice had been sent to all neighborhood "Leads" (bosses) and they could remove the comment if they see fit. It's still there as of this morning.

I'm just wondering who flagged it, not that it matters that much. My guess is a certain representative of EPD that is on the list and has given some useful comments and tips. Hey, just curious.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Parking & Abandoned Vehicles

A gal living near Carson Park made the following complaint/ comment on the Eureka Nextdoor Neighorhood e-mail list:

"I am extremely frustrated at the moment. I know our police force does a good job. However, the fact that we have so many crime riddled neighborhoods, ours specifically , and yet a vehicle that hasn't been moved in 3 days received ticket 2 times in one week? Now, I get it. I know there are rules about unregistered vehicles on the roadway. However, I live on the corner of F and dollison and I don't feel that the Hyundai Santa Fe that our son parked there require so much policing. The fact of the matter is, we are doing everything we can to get this immobile unregistered vehicle off of our corner..."

She went on some more after that. My first comment was I wasn't sure what the problem was. As it turns out, sounds like the vehicle is unregistered and immobile. Didn't catch that the first time, but I still wonder what the problem is. How hard can it be to move a vehicle onto your own property where you don't have to worry about it being tagged?

I haven't seen her particular location, so maybe they can't just push it into their garage or driveway. I wonder though, if it's that big a problem, if they should even bother trying to keep the vehicle? It's neither working or registered and the owner seems to be a son who is out of state. Maybe they should just have the vehicle hauled to John's Auto Wreckers out on Jacob's Avenue?

For some reason some people just won't let cars go. I can't help but wonder if this is one of those cases. I've seen it time and again in Eureka. Cars just sitting there, sometimes for years, when there's no reasonable expectation of the car being driven again.

I know of one car that's been sitting in a carport for over 23 years. I know that because I used to work there and the car was there- albeit looking better than it is now- way back then. Now, there it sits and looks yucky, but it's in her carport so nothing can be done in the normal course of things.

Bumped into another car in a driveway not too far from that car. An old station wagon that had obviously been there for some time. Long enough that the windows had so much mold and mildew on them you couldn't see inside the car. Flat tires, the whole nine yards you get with abandoned cars. This was in the lady's driveway so, again, not much can be done. I was so grossed out by the car I didn't even bother giving the lady a bid on the job I was there to check out.

This happens all the time and I'm not sure why people insist on hanging on to cars like that. In the case of the gal who complained on that e-mail list, my suggestion to her was to let EPD haul it off for free. If you haven't even the wherewithal to pay $10 for a non- operation fee, is the car really worth the hassle to you?

As far as cars parked on private property as I cited above, I'm not sure what to think. I'm sure you could get the city to take action. Joel Mielke wrote something about the city charter not allowing things that could endanger property values. I suppose that's good, but I don't like bothering people over how they run their own affairs.

I was wondering if some of these cars could be disposed of by simply asking the people who own them if they'd have any objection to the car being hauled off at no charge? About the only problem with that is I hate everyone else having to pay for the car owner's lack of personal responsibility. But, we might be surprised at how many people would jump at an offer like that, and maybe even more surprised at the number that refuse. 

It still might be worth a try.