Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Study: Fluoridation Not Particularly Effective

I've wrote before here that I'm not particularly worried about the health effects of fluoridated water. We've had it in Eureka since the '60s and I can't point to any specific harm myself or others have suffered from. Still, I've become an anti- fluoride zealot over the last few years after seeing how many were scared to death of it and how many others wanted to force it upon them.

This article in Newsweek cites recent studies that show no significant, if any, benefit from fluoridated water. I'm not really comfortable citing "scientific studies" as it seems most nowadays are based on ideology as opposed to objective facts and reasoning. I have no idea whether the the Cochrane Collaboration they quote is objective, but from the way the story reads, they don't sound anti- fluoride.

Even "Dr." Steve Slott shows up in the comments. That says something. He seems to spend his days surfing the web to rebut arguments against fluoride with fluoride industry talking points. He regularly shows up when fluoride comes up in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat, pretty much just saying any evidence the antis have is bogus, then regurgitating the same things we hear time and again about how great fluoride is.

Him and I went back and forth one time at length. I'd ask him, for instance, to rebut the statement that the difference between fluoridated water and non- fluoridated is maybe 5 instead of 6 cavities a year. He ignored that, just getting hysterical. He finally went on some rant about kids in non- fluoridated areas losing all their teeth and facing major costs for dental surgery. When I pointed out that is rare, but even happens in fluoridated areas, he gave up.

As far as I'm concerned, Dr. Slott is reason enough to be leery of fluoridated water. 

The Supreme Court

S.F. Chronicle commentator, Debra Saunders, discusses the SCOTUS decision legalizing same sex marriage:

"The romantic in me rejoices. The lover of states’ — and voters’ — rights mourns. I cannot celebrate five judges imposing their view of marriage by fiat. I cannot ignore that Kennedy waited to do so until same-sex marriage was popular."

You most certainly can have mixed feelings about the decision.
Over at Reason magazine, Ira Stoll looks at recent decisions by the Supreme Court, responding to at least one comment suggesting abolishing it. By no means do I advocate that. I will differ with him at least in part. While he points out both good and bad decisions, at least from a libertarian perspective, he focuses on the positive. Seems to me the Court generally takes two steps backward for each one forward.
As far as consequences of the gay marriage decision, some see it as opportunities available in other areas. Over at lewrockwell.com, a fellow suggests the decision opens up the possibility of national concealed carry reciprocity.  What that means is if someone has a concealed weapons permit in one state, all the other states would have to honor it. 

Most on the Right- at least those involved in gun rights- would like that. The Left would generally hate it. As usual, I have mixed feelings. 
Late News: Some state officials in Texas are gearing up for a defense of religious freedom reports USA Today. They're encouraging county clerks to refuse issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples should they feel it goes contrary to their religious beliefs.

Hmmm??? The religious freedom conundrum, on which I generally side with those seeking that freedom. You would expect that to have me in a bind but, since this involves government officials, I'd say it makes it easy. Since they're expected to abide by state and federal law, I'd suggest they find another job if this part of it makes them uncomfortable.

Then again, I can't help but wonder if they'd have as big an issue with it if marriage licenses were called something else- civil contracts, civil unions, or whatever? But, as USA Today points out:

"Ultimately, it will come down to two fundamental rights – religious freedom granted explicitly in the Constitution, and same-sex liberties, which have been confirmed through previous court decisions – battling for precedence, she said.
"You have these two fundamental rights that are completely at odds with one another," Penrose said. "It will ultimately be up to the Supreme Court to decide which right reigns supreme."

You have to wonder how they'd decide in a case like this?

Another Kid Arrested For Playing

Reason magazine reports on yet another kid arrested for playing at a park. This time across the street from her house. Her mother has been charged with child endangerment. This has got to stop, but I'm sure we'll see it more and more in years to come.

Monday, June 29, 2015

An Old West Show

Any fellow Old West fans out there? If so, you may want to watch Legends and Lies on Fox. Even the wife seems to enjoy it. Historical snapshots and stories focusing on a particular western character such as Billy the Kid or Bill Hickok. Last night they took a look at Bass Reeves, a black U.S. Marshall, born a slave, that apprehended over 3000 bad guys in his career.

Fun show produced by Bill O'Reilly. About the only thing that puzzles me is I'd like to think I have some knowledge, albeit years old, of the history and people involved. Often times with this show they'll bring up stuff I don't think I've heard before. But, there's different versions of many of those old stories. Still, it should be entertaining for old west fans.

Rand Paul: Get Govt. Out of Marriage

Related to my post yesterday about those saying government shouldn't be involved in marriage, Rand Paul just came out saying government should get out of it. Reason's Scott Shackford seems about as impressed as I am with trying to make that case:

"We need high-profile politicians like Paul to stop asking us what would happen if we got government out of marriage and start telling us what would happen if we got government out of marriage."

Not that libertarians necessarily want people telling them how things are going to be, but it makes sense for those in power to tell us what they actually have in mind. In other words, no pun intended, be more specific in your proposal.

Rand Paul Scores Highest On Pot

Reason magazine takes a look at the Marijuana Policy Project's 2016 presidential candidate rankings. Republican Rand Paul gets an A- with Democrat Jim Webb coming in second with a B+. The losers are Republicans Rick Santorum and Chris Christie who both get an F.

There you have it, pot heads. You know who to vote for now. As for me, while I'm tired of hearing about pot, the issue is one that can gauge a candidate's way of thinking. I'll certainly keep this in mind. I wouldn't vote for Santorum or Christie regardless. At this point I'm keeping an eye on Rand Paul, but always have the Libertarian Party's, Gary Johnson, to fall back on.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Same Sex Marriage Stuff

The latest KIEM TV poll asks whether you agree with the Supreme Court's recent ruling legalizing same- sex marriage. I was surprised to see over 40% saying they didn't, although I can see valid reasons for voting No even if you're supportive of SSM- legal aspects, if you will. I would have expected the No votes to be more around 20%. 

As for libertarians, I'm still hearing a few murmurs of dissent. Some are principled, and I respect that. The most common refrain probably being, "Government shouldn't be involved in marriage in the first place". I agree for the most part, but can't help but think those saying that feel nervous about giving more full support to SSM lest everyone else feel they're queer by doing so.

To that I generally reply that government probably shouldn't be involved in marriage but, since it is, it should be available to all. After all, marriage is a legal contract. Anyone of legally determined age of sound mind should be able to engage in a legal contract. Over at Reason magazine, Sheldon Richman generally agrees with me:

"Let’s get something out of the way at the start: the state—even if it should exist—should not be involved in marriage. But libertarians who think that this is all that need be said are wrong. To see this, imagine that the government declared that blacks could not use the interstate highways. Would it be enough for libertarians to say that the government should not own and operate highways, remaining agnostic on the particular policy? Of course not, because that’s not all there is to the matter. Libertarians should say that as long as the government does own and operate highways, it must not discriminate irrationally or invidiously in their use."

I agree with almost his whole commentary with exception to the last part:

"Many same-sex couples want to make that statement. They don’t want to be civilly united. They want to be married. The word matters. (The court has not redefined the word. The concept marriage has evolved.)
It is insulting and condescending to tell them they ought be to satisfied with civil union and its merely material benefits.".

My difference being I think all "marriages", hetero or homo, should be civil unions, at least as far as government is concerned- a legal contract recognized by government. Everyone else, everywhere else, can call it whatever they want.

As far as the SCOTUS decison on this, I voted Yes over at KIEM, but it's like anything else. As a wise man once pointed out, "When you give the government the power to give you everything you want, you also give it the power to take it away"- B. Goldwater.

The next time they make a ruling along this line, we might not be so pleased.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

More Show & Tell

Some of the fun stuff I get from a couple Facebook Friends really into dogs and cats. Awwww...:

Show & Tell

Nothing on my mind right now so I'll do some show and tell. This is a picture my sister sent me the other day. It's our father in WW2. He was a radar officer on an Landing Ship Dock (LSD). This was probably one of those pictures sent home for morale purposes- the old "Our boys over there" thing and published in the home town papers.

He actually brought home a Japanese flag, but not like the one in the picture. The one he had didn't have the radiant stripes extending from the sun. Just a big red ball in the middle. 

I took over his war memorabilia and ruined the flag and all his other stuff in short order. Shame that young kids don't appreciate that stuff until it's too late.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Traffic Fine Amnesty

Some of you may have read they're making changes in the administration of fines being levied for traffic violations. I'm not too clear on the exact details but generally they're talking of reducing fines for poorer folks and giving alleged violators the chance to contest their tickets before paying the fine (it was news to me it worked that way), among other things.

This is a good thing. As the Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters points out, it's often not just the fine itself that ends up causing the problem. It's the additional taxes and fees that are added to the fine, sometimes multiplying the cost up to five times the original penalty. This leaves drivers, especially poorer ones, in sometimes inescapable situations. It can ruin their lives.

Decades ago I used to be big supporter of fines for just about anything. I recall when attending the C/R Police Academy telling others that fines are the way to go. They bring in revenue, and violations are punished- the best of both worlds. But that was likely before they kept adding fees and taxes to pay for any number of things they didn't want to pay for in other ways.

Governor Brown has it right:  “I have found even a $50 ticket unpleasant enough,” he wrote in rejecting a fine increase three years ago. “Upping the fines may satisfy the punitive instincts of some, but I severely doubt that it will further reduce violations.”

That's spot on, and I've seen any number of proposals for increasing fines from average folks. They never consider those fines might end up being applied to them and then their life ruined.

I still support fines, but I'm glad they're taking steps to make this right and a bit more reasonable.

I recall reading comments in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat from those advocating stiffer fines for any number of traffic violations, specifically, talking on cell phones while driving. Raising the fine for a second violation to $1000.00 wasn't out of the question. I had to ask, do you really think ruining someone's life is appropriate for talking on a phone?

There's only one instance where my punitive instincts take hold and I'd go for a fine that high for talking on the cellphone. Niceness be damned: 

Those of you that get done shopping, get into your car, grab the cell phone, start talking and drive off. I've seen that happen more than once. If you really have to make that call, sit there in the parking lot, make the call, then drive off. That's has to be one of the more outrageous things I've seen.

If there was a way to catch people doing that, I'm not sure I'd care how big a fine you get.

Vaping For Sweets

I was reading a comment to a post on Dr. Siegel's blog and was surprised to learn vaping can be beneficial for those with weight problems:

"I Vape wonderful eliquids in order to keep away from the sweets. Why ? Because I have lost 35 lbs and am losing more. And if Diabetic then Vaping is a godsend. It Stops the Craving for Sweets."

I had no idea.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mistakes in Band of Brothers

Any fans of Band of Brothers here? Band of Brothers being that TV mini- series about a company of the 101st Airborne Division in WW2. Just in case there are, you might enjoy this nitpicking of it. It points out 30 mistakes made in the show. 

I don't recall some of the scenes they describe. I guess I'll have to watch it a fourth time.

Evolution Of The N- Word

Over at the Authority blog, Tim Taylor takes us through the evolution of the N- word. It used to be negro was ok, even used by Martin Luther King. Now that's considered not cool, at least by some. What will the next N- word be?

Too funny, as I was wondering the same thing recently after at least one reader got his panties in a wad over me using negro. I got to wondering the same thing as Taylor: When will African- American will be considered a racial slur. I give it no more than 15 years.

The Journal Does Community Choice Aggregate

The North Coast Journal takes a look at the Community Choice Aggregate power option. This supposedly allows the county to buy power at wholesale cost for residents and pass the savings to consumers. I covered the Times- Standard's story on this a while back.

Some of what proponents say has me confused, if not downright suspicious. Arcata's Mayor Michael Winkler: "It's not only good for the environment, but also begins to keep the roughly $500 million per year that we spend on energy in Humboldt County in the county creating local jobs and circulating our energy dollars in our local economy,".

I'm not sure how he can reasonably suggest that. This plan means the entity buying power can buy it from anywhere, not necessarily local. That in itself seems odd to me. Even if you're buying power from an outside company, you're still really using PG&E's power from King Salmon, at least for the most part. You don't have an exclusive power line from some "green" source far away.

How does that really change anything? It doesn't keep our power any more local than it already is. It does offer the chance to buy power from outside the county. How's that keeping the money "local". And his assertion that it's good for the environment? We mostly use PG&E's natural gas up here. Something not green enough about that?

Natural gas is relatively cheap, compared to supposed more "green" power sources such as wind and solar. I have to wonder if the savings here are akin to passing up $1.00 per unit, in favor of other green power at $3.00 per unit, but only paying $2.00 per unit by buying it wholesale?

Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace seems to have the more sober view of the proposal: "What are the community benefits to achieve?" he asked. "Is it maximum savings? More renewable energy? [Incorporating] local biomass? Those could be at odds with each other."


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ruth Lake Dam Failure

The Mad River Union has some interesting information on what a possible failure of the dam at Ruth Lake would involve and plans to deal with such an event.

The Freddy's Mortgage Proposal

I've been thinking about home mortgage loans recently. No problems on this end. Actually good things, but I got to thinking back and realizing how screwed up mortgages are. They're entirely front loaded with interest.

I recall looking at our mortgage statement probably 20 years or more ago. I'd been told about it before but it really brought it home when I noticed how it worked. Of the $650, more or less, that we paid each month, only $50.00 went towards the principal. All the rest was interest paid up front. I didn't think that was right then and still don't.

To be fair, as the years went by, the proportion of principal paid to interest increased, so it does get better over time. 

I know some of you will say, "but, Freddy. How can a libertarian propose telling a private bank what to do?". That might seem like a good question but we all know banks and the government are joined at the hip, and perhaps for good reason. Since the government sets the banking rules, they should be able to make mortgages work better.

I propose mortgage payments be allocated at least 50/50 from the start. When you make a payment, 50 percent of it goes to interest, 50 percent towards principal. No, the banks aren't going to make out as well, but they'll still make a fair amount of money. This would allow homeowners to take full possession of their home much earlier. Maybe even in half the time or less than they do now.

Think of the extra money they'd have to spend on everything else. With most people's biggest monthly expense being a mortgage (or rent), if you pay it off in half the time you'd have all that money to use for many other things. Might actually boost the economy.

I'm sure there could be some downsides. It could be inflationary. The banks will likely be complaining, but they'll survive as they nearly always have. I'm all eyes and ears if anyone wants to suggest this wouldn't be a good idea and, no, I'm not expecting congress to get right on it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Mike Rowe and The Tea Party

Apparently the Tea Party Express used TV personality Mike Rowe's words and image for their own advertising. He had no idea they'd done so, but took some heat from some readers anyway. Some examples:

Jack Grande says, “Seriously Mike? The Tea Party? Adios...
Frances Jacobs writes, “I suggest you hop aboard the Tea Party Express and ride it straight to hell.”
Debbie Porchi observes, “Mike Rowe - “Another Dirty Teabagger.

Gotta love the lefties. Mike Rowe responds here (warning, Facebook). I'd copy and paste but it's too long.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Solar Storm Inbound!

Earth Sky News reports a geomagnetic storm from the sun arriving sometime today. If all the Earth's power grids go down, you'll know what happened. 

Just kidding. Shouldn't be noticeable except maybe some auroras at the poles.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Greenhut On U.C. Political Correctness

Over at the San Diego Union- Tribune, Steve Greenhut looks at the University of California's War On Microaggression. What's that, you ask? I was wondering too but, after reading, it's no surprise:

...everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs or insults” that “communicate hostile messages” to members of “marginalized” groups. These can be unintentional and even “preconscious” or “unconscious” slights."

A fact sheet gives some examples:

" — e.g., asking a person of Asian or Latino descent where they are from, saying that “America is the land of opportunity,” or criticizing affirmative action as “racist.” UC identifies other microaggressions as mistaking a female doctor for a nurse or “being forced to choose male or female on a form."

This is part of higher education today. Greenhut goes on to point out this is based on Critical Race Theory. What's that? 

 ...starts with the premise that race and racism are endemic to and permanent in U.S. society."

Ahhh...we're all racist. Us white folk, anyway. That must be where the folks are coming from that comment here suggesting we'll be back to the days of slavery if we didn't have the Civil Rights Act keeping us in line.

Facebook Has Competition?

The last couple days I've been seeing mention of a new social networking site. Minds.com is supposed to be a step up from Facebook with more privacy and a bunch of protections FB doesn't offer. I might well have already tried it if it was as easy to start with as FB but, as best I can tell, you have to download something to your computer to use it. I'm not comfortable with that, at least not yet.

I have a like/hate relationship with Facebook. The only reason I ever signed up for it in the first place was it seemed the only way I could find someone. I forget who that was. Not sure I ever found him but I've been using FB ever since. 

I don't particularly like a lot of what I find there and I don't like its boss guy, Mark Zuckerberg. I still stop by there many times a day for feeds from magazines and such. Some Friends actually post some interesting links, too. Gives me all kinds of reading and stuff to post here on occasion. Once this Minds thing is up and running with all the kinks out, maybe I'll give it a try.

Friday, June 19, 2015

FCC: Phone Companies Can Stop Robocalls

The Associated Press reports the Federal Communications Commission has told phone companies it's ok to block automated phone calls from your phone. I guess there was some confusion among phone companies as to whether they'd be violating other federal regulations by doing so. Some are saying the phone companies didn't want to bother with those calls to begin with as they were no problem for them.

I've wrote here before, as annoying as those calls can be, they don't really bother me that much. I usually just let the answering machine answer the phone. Robocalls usually hang up when they get an answering machine. If it's a call from someone I want to hear from, then I'll stop the machine and answer the phone.

Not so with the wife. She feels driven to pick up the phone every time it rings. Then she's all pissed off when it's a recording. She'll probably continue to do so.

Interesting tidbit of information in the AP article: 

"When creating the Do Not Call Registry, politicians exempted themselves: Campaigns are allowed to blast your landline with the automated calls, but not your cellphone."

I suppose that should be no surprise. Politicians exempted themselves from a rule. It looks like this new ruling may change that a little, allowing phone companies to block or send pretty much all those calls to voicemail.

And am I the only one that actually enjoyed Rachel, from Cardholder Services? The story mentions her, too:

"One common example of a scam is "Rachel from Cardholder Services." The automated voice recording encourages listeners to press a number, which connects them with someone who might promise to lower their interest rates in exchange for an upfront fee. The FTC traced the original "Rachel" to multiple people inside the U.S. and demanded refund checks, but copycat scams continue."

She sounded like such a hottie. I always wanted to meet her. I bumped into a girl named Rachel a few years ago that lived on Herrick Avenue. I was pretty excited for a minute, but she insisted she wasn't the one from Cardholder Services.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/technology/article24879736.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/technology/article24879736.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Job Replacement By Robot Calculator

The Daily Sheeple web site seems interesting so I'm bookmarking it. It has this article that looks at aspects of human jobs being taken over by robotics and artificial intelligence. Even a test that tells you the supposed chances of your job being taken over by robotics. I say supposed because their estimates seem low to me.

I took the test. Unless I missed it, I didn't find anything along the lines of landscape maintenance. The closest I could find was "Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance". That seems close but for actual jobs the closest was "Janitor or Custodian" (is there a difference?). The test showed the job had a 66.3% chance of being replaced by automation. 

I think the odds are higher than that. Maybe not in my lifetime, but eventually.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Arcata Worrying About Used Oil

I have to wonder if this is another solution in search of a problem? The Times- Standard reports the City of Arcata is offering free oil containers for residents to put their used oil in. 

No mention in the story of problems with illegal dumping to begin with. You have to wonder if someone was dumping oil illegally whether giving them a container for it would solve anything? After all, they had to already have a container to take it somewhere to dump, didn't they?

I'm not sure this is a problem. The only used oil I recall seeing in some years is spots along the streets where it drips out of parked cars. I'm not sure but I would think more and more people are using the "quick lube" oil change places now rather than changing their own nowadays. That, and some places, like the recycling center at City Garbage take oil for free. 

How can there be a problem with this, especially when back in the day lots of us disposed of used oil in ways that are now illegal? Some of you older folks might remember instructions for disposing of used oil 40 or 50 years ago. They'd say to dig a shallow hole, dump the oil in it and cover it with soil. Yikes!

I also recall seeing a movie about mosquito abatement when I was in elementary school. It showed stagnant pools and marshes with a layer of used oil that was poured on them to cover all the water. That would suffocate mosquito larvae and kill them. You have to wonder how many places that was done?

We've come a long way from that sort of thing, but can you think of any long term harm from the way it was done then? I can't, not that I'm recommending we go back to that. I just don't know that there's a problem with oil disposal now that can be helped by giving away free oil containers.

Addendum: I got to thinking after writing this and thought of my situation. I stopped changing oil myself some years ago. I was going to a quick lube place but now go to a regular automotive service to have my oil changed. If there's any issue I have related to used oil now, it's what to do with my old used oil container I never really use anymore.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gutfeld/ The Five, Right On This One

Here's one where I agree with pretty much everyone on The Five. They discuss that gal that went through most of her life claiming she was black. She ended up being some head honcho with the NAACP up north, until her parents exposed her as being a whitey. Even my favorite- the negro- Juan Williams- isn't happy with her. 

As far as I'm concerned, the girl is sick, sick, SICK!

Martian Meteorites?

For years I've been hearing about meteorites found on Earth that came from Mars. Now The Guardian newspaper is reporting on suggestions that those meteorites may be evidence of life- or past life- on Mars. About those meteorites:

"The six meteorites, taken from various museum collections, are the result of asteroid collisions with Mars millions of years ago. When the asteroids hit the planet, they blasted off pieces of surface, some of which made it to Earth as meteorites."

That seems like a stretch. That debris from Mars would escape its gravity and make it all the way here? The moon, maybe. Regardless, how the hell can they say for sure where those meteorites came from? I'm all eyes and ears waiting for better proof but, seems to me, this is simply speculation.

Humboldt Shopping Survey

A survey via the Eureka Chamber of Commerce on shopping. Asks about what you buy in county, out of county and why you shop how you do.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Punk Hippie?

That's me probably a bit before I moved up here. My sister had the picture and says it was taken in '71. I'm not so sure about that as I would have been going to University High School at that time and they didn't allow facial or other long hair. Probably taken closer to '73.

A hippie? Probably. Punk? Maybe not, but who am I to say? I would have probably identified myself as a Yippie earlier on. That came from the Youth International Party, a term coined by either the late Abbie Hoffman or Jerry Rubin back in the day. Kind of a revolution for the hell of it attitude as Hoffman wrote. Hoffman and Rubin were two of my heroes back then.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

NBC News As Usual

Was just watching NBC Nightly News. I suppose it's no surprise they had a few minutes featuring Hillary Clinton, then a few less with Jeb Bush. Those are your choices in the next presidential election, according to NBC. 

In fairness to NBC, they did have a long shot picture/ montage of the other Republican candidates, but it was only up for 15 seconds or so. Gotta love the major media telling you who you should vote for.

Mars Project In Hawaii Ends

This must have slipped by me as I had no idea. The Telegraph reports a simulation of living on Mars has ended with the participants stepping outside their dome for the first time in eight months without space suits. I have no desire to be in a project like that, on Earth or Mars.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

When I'm Not Happy With Gutfeld

I mentioned the other day how one of my favorites, Greg Gutfeld, gets on my bad side now and then. Mostly, as I wrote, when he's on the Fox News show The Five which seems to bring out his more conservative side. Here's an example  from that show. Video runs just over 7 minutes. I'm not sure if he really feels this way, or is just trying to be provocative.

In his monologue, he suggests the reason crime is going up is because of "hyper- scrutiny" of the police, citing Baltimore in particular. He's saying that because police don't feel respected, and every move they make is being watched now, that's why crime is rising and Baltimore's homicide rate has as much as doubled over the last year.

I DON'T THINK SO, and can't help but wonder if he really believes that? And most reports show crime generally going down nationwide.

After his monologue, they show a few minutes of discussion with The Five. I'm with the negro, Juan Williams- one of my favorites from the old Capital Gang show. Both Williams and the white guy to his right, whose name escapes me, make the more sensible points.

Williams points out people of color, in some areas anyway, have reason to be suspicious of police and that crime has many other reasons for rising and dropping. The white guy suggests body cameras be worn by police as they'll make everyone behave better. Can't remember all the details as it's been a couple days since I watched the video.

All in all some good comments by those two. Shame on Gutfeld for downplaying concerns about use of force by police. Overuse of force by law enforcement should concern everyone, aside from those with blind faith in the benevolence of government. Gutfeld should not be among the latter.
Speaking of use of force by police, did I ever tell the story here of when I got hit by a cop? Well, if I had, I'll tell it again anyway. Wouldn't exactly make a compelling video if it had been filmed, but a fun story...for me anyway:

It was back around '70-'71. I was 15 years old at the time. Myself, my girlfriend Cheri, and best friend Mark were in my girlfriend's car going out for a drive. I was driving with only a learner's permit at the time. We decided to go down to the Balboa Peninsula. 

We get down there and drive leisurely west (or is it south?) towards the end of the peninsula. About 2/3 of the way to the end a car that was parked on the side of the road pulls out quickly and drives right up behind us. They're honking their horn but we don't know what they want as we're just driving along.

They're almost touching us they're so close behind. I can see the two guys in my rear view mirror. Maybe late 20s, early 30s. Dark hair and mustaches on both. They're driving a mid- sized sedan. They get more aggressive so finally I say screw it and hit the gas. We're not going too fast. Just trying to get some distance from them.

As we get to the end of the peninsula the road narrows where it turns and you head back the other way toward the mainland. As we get into that tight area, the two guys swing to our left and pass us, just enough so they can get in position to block our car. They edge in front of us and I stopped. Classic cop car stop in hindsight.

The two get out of their car. Big guy was driving. He didn't say anything. The smaller guy was in the passenger side. He gets out and I ask what the problem is and if we did something wrong. At no time did they identify themselves as police. The small guy yells, "Get out of the car!". I ask again what the problem is. He yells again, "Get out of the fucking car!", steps toward the open window and punches me twice through it.

I'm stunned, but ok. Probably more surprised than anything. I jam on the gas, turn a bit to the right of their car blocking us and scream around them and on down the road. 

We get back on the main drag and Mark, Cheri and I are going "What the heck was that about?". We feel we should report those guys to the cops. For some reason they aren't behind us, but we felt we should report them anyway.

Just a few seconds after that, we see a Costa Mesa Police car on the side of the road. We stop. Mark and Cheri get out and go to tell the cop what happened. As I'm sitting in the car, I see the two guys driving up behind us. I honk the horn and point to the rear. Mark sees them and points them out to the cop. The two guys just drive on past.

The cop takes off after them. We continue on our way discussing whether we should just get the hell out of there. A bit further down the road we're passing the Costa Mesa Police Department. We'd kinda decided to just leave, but with the Police HQ right there, it kinda brought home that we'd be leaving the cop that chased the guys hanging with no witnesses as to why he pulled them over.

We decide to drive down to the station. Cheri and I walk inside into a large lobby. About half way to the reception desk, there's the big guy that was driving the car, just standing there. His eyes looked awfully bloodshot to me. He calmly asks, "How are you guys doing?". My jaw probably dropped but I replied, "Ok". He says, "Good. Good", turns and walks down a long hallway next to the lobby.

I go to the receptionist and ask who he was. She says, "That's one of our officers". I say to her, "Well, your officer and a friend of his just chased us down and attacked us". She doesn't seem too concerned. Hey, punk hippies weren't thought well of in Orange County back then. She says, "I don't know what to tell you but, if you'd like, you can report it to the duty sergeant". I told her we would like to.

Within a few minutes he calls us in and we tell him what happened and that one of his people chased after the guys. Just about then the cop that chased after them goes walking by the hallway and Mark points him out the Sergeant. The Sergeant calls him back and asked if he'd seen us before. The officer nods his head and walks off. The Sergeant said something about he'd take care of it and off we went.

 Back in Irvine we dropped off Mark. Cheri and I went to my house where my mom just got home from work. She was a pretty conservative and law and order type lady. I tell her, "Guess what, mom? One of your cop buddies hit me!". She wanted to know what happened and was not happy when we explained it. She said that wasn't right, and we're going back there to make sure a complaint was filed.

Mom drives Cheri and I back down there. Different shift there now so the receptionist has us talk to the watch Lieutenant. We explain what happened, including being in there earlier. He said it was the first he'd heard of it. He called the duty Sergeant as we sat there to confirm. He was visibly unhappy after he got off the phone. If nothing else, I'm sure he didn't appreciate being blind sided with something like this.

He had us both write statements. Cheri's statement said, unbeknownst to me, that she'd flipped the bird to those guys through her window. I said, "Why'd you have to do something like that?". The Lieutenant said, "That doesn't matter. If what you're telling me is true, there's no excuse for this behavior".

And that was it. We never heard from Costa Mesa P.D. again. I found out what happened to the two officers from a waitress where I had a job for a while a short time later.

She was a cop groupie. Always sitting in a cop car on her breaks making out with cops- not always the same one, as I recall. I mentioned the incident to her, including the names of the two guys- Officers Black and Brown (yes, their real names). She said those two were among her best of friends (no surprise she'd say that). 

She went on to tell me because of the disciplinary action one of them was refused promotion to Sergeant. The other one was refused attendance to Detective School. So, they did get in trouble. She went on to say they came into our restaurant fairly often and that if I wanted to talk to them about it, I was welcome to. 

I never did. Probably just as well. What would we say? I'm not even sure if they were on duty at the time. I do wonder if they were drunk, or something, and just looking to pick a fight with someone.

Letter: No On "Sonoma Clean Power"

Another letter to the Times- Standard today tells us to think twice about Humboldt getting into the Community Choice Aggregate option for power. I believe this is Sonoma Clean Power model I brought up here not long ago. It seems at least somewhat shaky to me at first glance, but I can't be sure.

The writer seems to think that buying "renewable power" is a positive thing and you can get more of it through her preferred plan. I question whether so much renewable power is a good thing as our bills have gone up considerably since we've started(?) following the 33% renewable energy mandate as per AB 32.

I just got my PG&E bill this morning. Forty two dollars and change. Three years ago it would have been around $25.00 this time of year. I want the least expensive power available, not the more expensive feel- good alternative.

Whether the proposed CCA would give us the option for more or less renewable power is unclear to me. The writer seems to think it won't. Since she represents the Sierra Club, I'm assuming she knows at least a little more about this than I do. At the same time I'd assume she has a green agenda behind her reasoning. 

I'm not sure we really want green power when we realize its expense. I do know most of us want the least expensive power available. Whether the current proposal, or hers, would give us that, who knows, but I'm skeptical of each.  

Our current energy bills seem to be headed towards a 50% increase, probably in large part of green power mandates. Do we want more of that?

Julie Has Had Enough

Our very own Julie Timmons had her letter to the editor published in the Times- Standard today. She's quite clear she doesn't want any "parklets" in Old Town. Boy, she sure told us!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Politically Correct Campus Rape Procedure

Reason magazine tells the story of a guy expelled from college for the rape of a fellow student, except she performed oral sex on him when he was "blacked out". Evidence seems to support the guy's story.

I agree with the author. We'll be seeing a lot more of this sort of thing in the future, not less.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


The Times- Standard reports on efforts to bring parklets to Eureka. These will be small areas using current parking spaces for gardens, sitting areas, or whatever. One of those monkey- see- monkey- do things, although I suppose there's nothing inherently wrong with taking what seems like a good idea elsewhere and bringing it to your town.

Sounds fun but, as the article pointed out, we did have that concrete bench project in Old Town years ago. Those benches were taken over by the bums and homeless so it wasn't long before they were removed. You can't help but wonder if the same will happen with these?

They'll take up parking spaces, too. If there was a shortage of parking in Old Town I might object for that reason alone, but there isn't. Since this seems to be a voluntary effort depending on business to take responsibility for their own parklets, I'm happy to leave it up to them to see how it works.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Les Schwab Welcomes Everyone

Went down the Les Schwab Tire in Eureka yesterday to get a couple new tires. I'd actually stopped by Monday morning but they were way too busy. After driving by Tony Gosselin Tire and them looking too busy, I decided to try Les Schwab again.

They were busy, but not as busy as on Monday. Went inside, got the work order squared away and the guy told me they'd been averaging about a 45 minute wait. Whatever. I'd decided to get tires at this point no matter how long it took. 

The wait actually turned into more like an hour and a half or so, but it didn't seem all that long. I amused myself by watching the goings on. Specifically, the way the Les Schwab crew handled themselves their customers. Secondly, the customers and their car's particular problems.

I've always been impressed with the Les Schwab workers. Well trained and highly motivated, what more could you ask for? I paid particular attention to the way they'd get to customers as soon as they walked in the door, assuming they could. Sometimes there would be two or more coming in at the same time. They used to come running out as soon as you parked your car. Not sure if they do that anymore.

In the office, they walk right up to customers, no matter what they look like. Even the freakish looking guy with tattoos way up his neck onto the side of his face. He gets treated the same as everyone else. Then the negro walked in. 

The Les Schwab guy walks up to him and asks "How can we help you?". I couldn't hear much after that but vague references to what he needed taken care of. The worker was courteous and took his order, taking his keys after everything was settled. Just as he would with everyone else.

I got to thinking what would I have done if the Les Schwab guy told him, "We don't allow coloreds in here"? I figured I'd probably get up and leave, had my truck not had the front two tires removed at the time. I'm sure many others might have done the same.

That wasn't in the cards with Les Schwab and it was business as usual for the worker, without a second thought.

You can be sure that it's Les Schwab's corporate policy to serve all customers. Regardless of civil rights law, that's where businesses are today. I doubt, as Freakadazoo suggested here recently, that there would be wholesale discrimination in this country today if it weren't for the Civil Rights Act. It's not part of the American psyche anymore. 

Get rid of the Civil Rights Act tomorrow, and I feel safe in saying Les Schwab and 99.99% of American businesses would serve everyone the next day just as they always have. Besides, when you think about it, they'd simply lose too much money if they didn't.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

If Just One Life Is Saved...

Hate that phrase, but it comes up again and again nowadays even if those exact words aren't used. An example being this letter to the editor of the Del Norte Triplicate. The writer asks for an ordinance forbidding the throwing of candy from parades:

"Each year I witness near-accidents when children race to pick up candy in the street. Do we wait until there is an accident or do we prevent that from happening? It is not a matter of “if”  this will happen, it is “WHEN.” Not in 2015, please."

I can understand the concern. I don't understand people that seem to worry 24/7 about something bad happening and come up with laws or restrictions to try and stop any chance of it happening. You can always come up with an excuse for another law.
Which brings to mind that proposal made to our Board of Supervisors to reduce the speed limit near schools in the county to ten miles an hour. I bumped into Supervisor Rex Bohn last Friday over in Myrtletown and spoke with him briefly. Before we parted company I asked him to vote No on the 10 mph proposal. He left me with the impression that proposal had already passed.

And he voted for it. He went on to somewhat defend the proposal, saying it wasn't all schools, just a couple in particular. He also said he believed the new speed limit at those schools was 15mph, not 10. I haven't confirmed the specifics yet.

What got me is the rationale he used for explaining his Yes vote. He told me he was leaning against it but someone- it might have been one of the other supes- gave him an argument akin to the old "...if just one life is saved" line: Something along the line of "How are you going to feel if you vote against this and next week some kid gets hit by a car?". That seemed to really settle it for him.

You could use that argument for just about anything. Never mind there's been only two schoolkid vs. vehicle collisions in recent memory, and one of those was the kid's fault. And never mind the other four supes were going to vote for it, anyway. He could have been the reasoned opposition. But, nope, he fell for that cheap line.

That proposal was a solution in search of a problem and the entire board should have realized it. That they passed it (assuming they did) shows very poor judgment on our Board of Supes. You have to wonder what they'll be willing to do next... if just one life can be saved?

Volunteer Patrol House Checks

Over at the Nextdoor Neighborhood e-mail list there's some interest brewing in volunteer patrols run by Eureka Police and the Sheriff's Office. Specifically, at least one person seemed interested in the home checks those volunteers offer when you're out of town. I wouldn't be too quick to jump on those offers.

As I pointed out in reply to the discussion, our long gone neighbor who lived across the street on the other corner used to regularly take advantage of the volunteer patrols for their frequent trips out of town. We'd never know they were gone until the volunteer patrol would show up and be checking around their property. I'm sure the not- so- nice people around town might notice the same.

Nothing against volunteer patrols at all. Just pointing out a possible downside to using them for vacation checks.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Tariq Aziz, R.I.P.

Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein's long time foreign minister has died, apparently from natural causes in prison. He had been sentenced to death seven years earlier. 

I kinda liked the guy. He was a good representative for his country, at least from what I'd seen of him on television. The one thing I remember him saying, just prior to the U.S. attacking his country was, "We don't want war. Let's trade!". Not that it helped change the minds of those bent on destroying Iraq.

One remarkable thing about this is the report Huffington Post made of his death. Not so much the report itself, but that this is probably the first time ever I pretty much agreed with nearly all the comments to a Huffington Post story.

Rex Bohn Does The Taxpayer's League

From the Humboldt Taxpayer's League. If any of you want to rag on 1st district supervisor, Rex Bohn, now's your chance. More info on their web page:

Humboldt Taxpayer’s League Agenda
Wednesday, June 10, 2015 Samoa Cookhouse
Lunch @ 11:45 a.m.
12:00 Special Presentation – Humboldt County Budget and Measure Z Funded Proposals - 1st District Supervisor Rex Bohn
12:30  General Meeting

Review: The Greg Gutfeld Show

Greg Gutfeld is one of my TV favorites. I liked him best on The Red Eye, which he recently left, but not as much on The Five. On Red Eye he comes off as a libertarian. On The Five he seems to me much more the conservative. That left me wondering how he'd come off on his new gig, The Greg Gutfeld Show?

It started a week ago yesterday on the Fox News channel, but how was I going to watch it? It starts at 10pm, way past my normal bedtime. Then last night I saw it listed at 7pm- obviously a re-run. Now I had my chance and told the wife I really wanted to watch it. She didn't object, pointing out there's not much else on at 7pm on Sunday nights. Watch it we did. I wasn't very impressed.

The hour long show has Gutfeld more in his conservative persona. Some funny stuff- even the wife laughed a few times- but nothing that would have me on the edge of my seat wanting more. He had some guests on, but they didn't add as much fun to the show as the panelists on Red Eye or The Five seem to. All in all, a bit too conservative for me. 

His one "liberal" voice on the show was some animated VCR, or some such that would make a comment on occasion. Not really bad comments, but not all that funny, either. I'm not sure why they even bothered adding that to the show.

I hate to say it but I was underwhelmed. Maybe it will get better as time goes on, but there wasn't enough from what I saw last night to make a point of watching it again. Then again, at 7pm on Sunday nights, what else is on?

I still remain a fan of the guy and enjoy his Facebook feed.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Voting Against "Them"

The Washington Post looks at a theory by two political science researchers who say voters are increasingly inclined to vote against a political party, rather than for one. That doesn't surprise me and jives pretty much with what I've increasingly heard over the years. I'll mention some problems with a certain party's candidate and the reply is often something like, "Yeah, but you don't want that other guy to win".

I'd like to think this doesn't apply to us third party voters who often vote outside the mainstream, but I'm not sure. I suppose we're also voting against both parties, but we're also voting for an idea, or principle. Or so I'd like to think.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Tracfone Glitch

I know there's at least a couple Tracfone users here so thought I'd spread the word. I'm not sure I'd call this a warning as, so far, it looks as if I came out ahead.

I'm sure I'm not the only one that gets frequent offers to renew my time early. Often they'll offer extra minutes if you renew within a certain period of time and use a promotional code they provide. I got one this last Tuesday offering me 150 minutes- 20 minutes extra- if I bought 60 minutes and used their promo code within two weeks.

That was a bit early for me so I just pressed "OK" as I always do when I'm done with a text message and didn't think much more about it. That normally puts the message in my inbox as having been read.

The next afternoon I turned on my phone and got a text message advising 60 minutes, plus 60 bonus minutes had been added to my account. WTF? I also noticed my available minutes had been increased accordingly to over 1400. Except I didn't order anything and I never provided my PIN number as is necessary when you renew your account and order more time.

I checked both my checking and credit card accounts and there's no indication of a new charge on either of them. Some kind of freebie? I'm guessing some kind of mistake and they can't take back the free minutes from their end.

So, next time you get one of those promotion messages, don't press OK when you're done reading it. Pressing CLR puts the message in your inbox. Then again, maybe you'll be lucky as I was and get some free time if you press OK.

Cap and Trade Fees Here To Stay

Interesting account of an interview with Governor Brown via a commentary on the bullet train in the Los Angeles Daily News. A reporter assumes revenues from cap and trade fees on carbon will eventually go down since those fees are supposed to reduce carbon pollution. Nope, as the Governor himself points out:

At a news conference in May, Gov. Jerry Brown was asked about the cap-and-trade spending. A reporter wondered if he had a long-term plan, “because as pollution goes down, the revenues will go down.”

“No, not quite,” Brown answered. “Pollution — we’re not as successful with reducing carbon pollution as we are with what they call ‘criteria’ pollutants, like sulfur, carbon monoxide, NOx, things like that. Carbon pollution is still rising. Worldwide. And so one of the principal strategies is to put a price on carbon. And a price that will rise. To increase the burden of using carbon.”

The reporter asked again, “But these revenues will taper off at some point and begin to go down, yes?”

“I don’t think so,” Brown answered.

“Spending will continue,” the reporter said.

 Spending will continue,” Brown confirmed. “There will be a gradual rise. And I would imagine as, assuming climate change becomes more evident, there will be efforts to ramp up even further the price of carbon.”

As the writer points out, the governor is widening the definition of pollution so the penalty fees can go up.

What's always bugged me about this cap and trade crap is some proponents referring to it as a market based way of dealing with pollution. This has nothing to do with a market- free or otherwise. It's about arbitrary labeling of pollutants so the government can make money.

Dan Walters On Pension Reform Initiative

The Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters looks at a recently filed ballot initiative meant to reform California's public pension system, then goes back to tell us a little about how the problems began.

How many of you knew Dan Walters used to work at our very own Times- Standard decades ago?

Friday, June 05, 2015

Patrick Stewart Defends Gay Cake Refusers

Reason magazine has a short story and video of one of my favorites, Patrick Stewart (Capt. Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation), standing up for some Irish bakery owners who got in trouble for refusing to put words in support of gay marriage on a cake. The video is just over a minute long. 

He's certainly not as strong on the issue as I would have liked. I say the bakery owners should be able to refuse service to whomever they want. He seems to think discriminating because of someone's sexuality is wrong, but it's ok to refuse to write words the bakers find objectionable. it's nice to see one of my heroes believes in at least some individual choice.

Poll: Water Conservation In Eureka

I was going back and forth with Kevin Hoover over at the Mad River Union again yesterday. This time over recent state water conservation mandates that are sure to affect us up here to at least some degree.

I say there's no need for those of us getting water from the Mad River/ Ruth Lake to conserve as it's known we could last up to three years with the water currently in the Lake. As with last time we had at it, Kevin seems to take to government's position. Well, not exactly arguing for that position but essentially saying I don't know what I'm talking about.

But he's not the only one I've heard such things from. I've ran into all kinds of people who have told me they're cutting back water use because of the drought. Even after explaining we have plenty of water in Eureka, they seem very unsure about using any more water than they absolutely have to. Truth be told, I've done the same sort of thing- not planting any vegetables, for instance- in the spirit of conservation, although I know there's plenty of water for that sort of thing.

So I thought I'd post a poll on the subject. If you answer Yes, I hope you'll explain in the comments why you think we need conserve water when water we don't use will just run out to the ocean (I know. That makes it a loaded question.). The poll only applies to those of us who get water from the Mad River, not those using the Eel River or wells.

Actually, I made the poll yesterday. Looking at the wording, it should probably read "Need we conserve water in the greater Eureka area?"

Should we conserve water in the greater Eureka area?

Free polls from Pollhost.com

Final Plant Sale

The Cruz family's last plant sale ever. Friday and Saturday from 9am to 3pm.
3579 Dolbeer Street, across from the National Guard Armory at Sequoia Park in Eureka

All sorts of plants including fragrant roses, succulents, artichokes and more! 
Bring a friend.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Firefox Reader View

Firefox just updated their browser. I noticed yesterday they had added a "Reader View" function. I didn't try it until this morning. Unlike most "new and improved" computer things, I like this one. Takes all the clutter out of the news pages so you don't get all the ads and windows that get in the way of reading. Only tried it twice so far, but I'll likely be using it more in the future. 

You can open Reader View by going to the menu at the top of the window and clicking on "View", then select Reader View. Or, there's an icon in the field where the web site url is.

Addendum: I just noticed it's not available for all web sites. For instance, this blog.

Eureka City Council Budget Meeting

I watched 45 minutes or so of the Eureka City Council meeting on Access Humboldt last night. Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills had a slide presentation of his ideas for budget cuts. Then council folks had a question and answer session with him. 

The only mention I saw made of the pension problems leading to the budget cuts were by Chief Mills towards the end of his slide show. He had a suggestion of switching to defined contribution 401K style retirement plans for new hires with a question mark at the end of it. I don't recall anyone asking any questions about that. 

You'd think that would be of primary interest to the council. Then again, in fairness to the council, perhaps they feel the pension issue is water under the bridge and they have to deal with the resulting shortfalls regardless?

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Sonoma Clean Power, Part 2

With the Press- Democrat running two fluff pieces in the last few days about Sonoma County's relatively new power agency, Sonoma Clean Power, I'm getting even more suspicious. If it's so great, why the need for so much hype? The latest one does indeed seem like an infomercial.

As one of the comments points out, most of PG&E's power in Sonoma County is already pretty darned green. The geothermal geysers down there provide nearly all the county's power. Something fishy seems to be going on, although I suppose it could be just overzealous marketing.

One thing comes to mind, though: All those PG&E commercials we've been seeing for some time now. Maybe they're running commercials in hopes people will stick with them after two counties already formed their own power entities and more being proposed?

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Pension Stuff

Over at the Lost Coast Outpost, Alan Dollison takes a rather convoluted look at Eureka's pension problems. Naturally, one of the first comments to his column says he's spewing right- wing propaganda and that somebody- us, or some rich guy- isn't paying enough.
The Sacramento Bee has an op-ed on pension problems around the state.
Over at the Contra Costa Times, Dan Borenstein takes a look at one of the horror stories of pension spiking: a fire chief making more in retirement than he made on the job:
"His base salary was $194,000 a year. Under the fire district's and county retirement system's policies, his starting pension would have been $201,000 annually.
But three days before Nowicki announced his retirement, fire district board members, knowing he planned to leave, approved changes to his contract enabling him to spike his pension an additional 20 percent, to $241,000.
Today, after cost-of-living adjustments, his pension is about $277,000 a year."

I'm not trying to suggest this is the norm for public employee retirements, but it does happen often enough.  It's only a small part of the problem.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Margaret Hamilton: Moon Computer Gal

Some of you might be interested in this short article about a previously unsung hero. Margaret Hamilton wrote the computer code for the Apollo program. Some are saying the landings might not have happened if not for her work. She's still alive today.

Sonoma Clean Power

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat has a story today about their relatively new Sonoma Clean Power Agency. I thought I'd bring this up since there have been recent proposals for Humboldt County to follow the same route. The Times- Standard reported on it not long ago but I can't find a link to the story.

One thing that bothers me about the Press- Democrat story is it seems a puff piece for the new agency. It starts off suggesting the new agency is set to handle 90% of Sonoma County's energy customers, as if that's a measure of success. Problem is, customers were automatically switched to Sonoma Clean Power unless they made an effort to opt out, and there's a penalty if you want to opt out after the first month.

No surprise that 90% of customers wouldn't opt out. Many probably didn't know they'd been switched. Unless I'm mistaken, their bill still comes from PG&E. The fairly obvious bias in the story makes me suspicious of the whole thing. From reading the comments, I don't seem to be the only one.

So, how does this work, and how would it work up here? I'm not 100% up to speed on it but, from my understanding, it just makes the county agency the middleman in purchasing power. By using bulk purchase techniques- buying on behalf of the whole county- they can buy power at a discount and supposedly pass savings down to the individual household and businesses.

Sounds ok, if it ends up working that way. Some are thinking it will be more expensive in the long run. One gal in the comments to the story says her bill went down $90.00, although she doesn't say when or for how long. I'm somewhat skeptical.

Years ago I signed up with a private middleman for electricity- utility.com. Anybody remember that outfit? They supposedly did the same thing: using bulk purchases from major utilities to give you a discount. They said my costs were 10% below PG&E's. I never saw it. I even crunched their numbers, yet they insisted they were cheaper. Just as well they stopped doing business in California.

As far as them doing something similar in Humboldt, I don't know. Probably a glass half empty/half full type of thing. PG&E is pretty much joined at the hip with state and local governments anyway. I suspect we'll be paying more and more for power now matter how we buy it.