Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sacramento Bee Teaches Pot Growing

I was almost appalled to find an article in the Sacramento Bee yesterday on how to grow pot. Not quite appalled but I did wonder if I should leave a comment to the story: Do you really think it's appropriate to have instructions on how to grow pot in what's supposed to be a family oriented newspaper? After all, we don't want everyone growing pot, do we?

Nothing too specific or revealing in the article. Mostly just comparing advantages of indoor vs. outdoor growing with a little info on indoor growing needs. Nothing of much use to me other than being a fun read.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Trump Derangement Syndrome

I read Justin Raimondo's commentary on Trump Derangement Syndrome over at yesterday. I was planning on posting about it here, then forgot about it. I noticed the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat also ran it today and figured if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me:

"The country is in the throes of a major epidemic, with no known cure and some pretty scary symptoms. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome, or TDS, and it’s rapidly spreading from the point of origin — the political class — to the population at large."

Julie's Pissed!

Our very own Julie Timmons got her letter to the editor of the Times- Standard published today. She seems really pissed they published a letter she disapproved of. I must have missed that one. Either that, or I read it and wasn't bothered by it. 

She sure told them!!! With the scolding Julie gave them, I bet they don't do that again.

Abolish The Popular Vote?

Yep. A writer over at Reason magazine suggests we needn't abolish the Electoral College but rather abolish the popular vote in presidential elections. Instead, voters would either elect Electors or select Electors through some sort of lottery system. I'm not sure but I might prefer the former as I  don't trust Democrats to not try and manipulate a lottery system to their advantage.

I think he makes a good case:

" Yes, get rid of the popular vote. For all the money, time, and attention paid to the presidential race, the actual votes cast on Election Day are basically meaningless. In non-swing states, votes are literally meaningless. Even in states where a small number of votes could change the outcome of the election, your vote and mine are still so insignificant as to be practically worthless, as Reason editor in chief Katherine Mangu-Ward explained in detail in 2012."

 "Undemocratic!" you might be tempted to cry out.
Well, yes, but not really much less democratic than the system we currently use and, arguably, more democratic than the original design of the Electoral College, in which Electors were not bound in any way to the results of the popular vote in their states. The Founders envisioned a system in which well-read elites would be responsible for choosing the president, in theory as a check against the masses. With a lottery-based system, we'd be returning to that original idea, but with a populist twist."

  Hey, I enjoy voting perhaps more than most, but wouldn't it be nice to have all eyes on down ticket races rather than two presidential candidates? Such a system might have made this last election a bit more tolerable for all. I'm sure many will be concerned such a system wouldn't be "democratic" but, as I've written before, democracy be damned.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Total Solar Eclipse, August 21

Earth/ Sky News tells us there will be a full solar eclipse this August 21. They have a map that shows the best opportunities to see it and it looks like Oregon, would be closest fpr us. Oh, well. Probably be all foggy here anyway.

The 2016 Gun Rush

The Lost Coast Outpost looks at a big rush on buying guns locally. This the result of recently passed gun laws coming into effect with the New Year. I see this as a good thing- the more guns in private hands the better.

The cost of guns nowadays leaves me out, although I still have a few I've owned for decades. I actually used to co- own a federal firearms license back in the early '80s. A friend- him now retired from the Casa Grande, AZ police dept.- I worked with were really into guns and, for whatever reason, decided to apply for an FFL. It only cost $10.00 back then. 

We got the license and opened up a home spun gun store in the garage of his house on Central Avenue in Eureka. We had to have Eureka P.D. approve the location and our method of securing the guns, which they did. Steve's wife, Vicki, came up with the name for our shop: Garage Sale Guns, a name that probably wouldn't pass muster in this state nowadays.

I think we sold one gun, a 9mm pistol, the whole time. When Steve and Vicki moved to Arizona, Steve suggested I keep our license up to date, thinking they might open up a shop in Arizona and we could be a multi- state company of sorts. I chickened out, though. I'd heard too many stories of the Bureau of Alchohol, Tobacco and Firearms going after dealers for minor paperwork violations ending up with hefty penalties. I wanted no part of that so let the license expire. Steve and Vicki opened Casa Grande Guns shortly thereafter and ran that store for something like 30 years until he retired.

Funny how a state like California with already some of the toughest gun laws feels the need for more of them. I got a factoid in my e-mail a while back pointing out the U.S. was ranked 4th in the level of gun violence world wide. But, when you took the cities of Chicago (with 800 firearms deaths over the xmas weekend) and New York (?) out of the equation, the U.S. dropped to 14th. It was either New York or L.A., I forget. Regardles, it's almost funny that the cities with the equivalent of gun bans put the country into 4th place because of the violence that goes on in spite of their laws.

Just goes to show the old saying is true: Peaceful societies don't need gun control and gun control doesn't work in violent ones.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Redwood Community Health Center

The Times- Standard reports on progress with the morphing of Eureka's Redwood Family Practice into what will be known as Redwood Community Health Center. Call me the stick- in- the- mud but I have bad feelings about this.

I'm glad those of us who use Redwood Family Practice will not only still have some place to go, but it also being at the same place. I do wonder if this effort will end up along the lines of North Coast Family Practice being bought out by Doctor Badgley's Downtown Medical Group, or whatever that was called, some years ago?

I used to go to Northcoast Family Practice. Went there for probably decades, although not frequently as I"m not one to go see a doctor every time I have a runny nose. It was a fine place back then with an attractive office and waiting room and long time, experienced staff. I used to feel good in the waiting room alongside all the soccer moms with their kids.

Then Badgely bought them out and things went downhill fast. He moved it to a bare office space on the corner of Lucas and Harrison over by the General Hospital campus and had problems keeping staff on board. It seemed every time I'd go in there would be new nurses. The only long time employee I recall being the receptionist.

I felt Dr. Badgley a competent doctor, but the new practice left me feeling my health wasn't in good hands. The waiting room alone seemed cheap: a couple potted plants with leaves turning brown from lack of water. No reading material to speak of, mostly medical stuff, pamphlets like Diabetes and You, and the room full of the obvious not well off folks, including asians with their umpteen kids taking up all the space in the room. It was like going to the welfare office. But that's what happens when you're one of the few doctors that accepts poor people's insurance like CMSP or MediCal. I suppose that's to Badgley's credit. as he pointed out, "If I don't take these patients, who will?"

Never mind the long wait times there- my record being an hour in the waiting room and 2 hours in the exam room before I saw the doctor for ten minutes. I'd generally take the whole day off just to see the doctor back when I was going there.

Redwood Family Practice was a breath of fresh air when I started there. I can't help but wonder if it's going to turn into the same mess N. C. Family Practice did once Badgley took over?

That Pearl Harbor Thing

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat has a nice touchy, feely story on the Japanese Prime Minister's visit to Pearl Harbor with President Obama. They covered it on the TV news last night, too. Nothing wrong with that but it bugs me they lost the chance to point out President Roosevelt knew of the impending attack but let it proceed as an excuse to get us into World War 2.

I know. Some will say it's just another conspiracy theory but more and more I'm hearing we had broken the Japanese codes so knew what was going to happen. Americans need to know about this sort of deception that's likely been used pretty much since the country was founded to lure us into war.

If nothing else, maybe the silence by media in this regard shows they're more than willing to take part in such deceptions?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

E.P.D.'s Transparency Portal

The Lost Coast Outpost covers a press conference with Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills that includes a working link to EPD's "Transparency Portal". The Transparency Portal link I tried on the Chief's blog still doesn't work. I made a comment on that blog noting the dead link but it never showed up. I'm guessing they don't accept comments.

The Calexit Web Site

I was reading this article in Liberty Unbound explaining how we came up with the Electoral College. The writer brought up the California Secession movement (Calexit) and linked to the Calexit web site. You can go there if you want to help with the effort.

I've written before I think California should be thrown out of the country. The article pointed out that Clinton only won the popular vote in California:

 "If you leave California’s votes out of the tally, Trump won 1,436,758 more votes nationally than Clinton."

A good enough reason alone for the U.S. to force California out of the union and certainly reason enough for the rest of the country to support the Calexit effort.

As for me, no, I won't help with Calexit, especially after reading arguments in favor of it on the Calexit web site. Their arguments assume California is the great state progressives think it is, rather than the authoritarian shithole it really is. Nope. You folks go ahead. I'll sit on the sidelines with that one.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Petition Against New Law

Legislators in Washington State have proposed a new law that would supposedly allow authorities to arrest and charge protesters with "economic terrorism". There's an online petition to sign in opposition:

"The outrageous proposed bill would make any form of protest that causes an "economic disruption" a class C felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. It wouldn't just apply to people who engage in illegal acts or vandalism, it could be used to prosecute any person or group who organizes a protest that authorities deem as "disruptive." Broadly interpreted, this law could apply to time honored traditions of nonviolent dissent like boycotts and civil disobedience:

Not sure how accurate that description is. I'm hoping we're not saying it's ok to do anything so long as it's part of an act of civil disobedience. It seems to me we're getting closer and closer to that after hearing comments from people that protesters who block traffic and such should be excused because they're supposedly practicing free speech.

I'll sign the petition anyway and hope for the best. 

LIberal Survivalist Gun Nuts?

The BBC News reports on a relatively new phenomenon in the country: Liberals buying lots of guns and some even moving into survivalist mode. This all in fear of a Trump presidency. Good to see them buying guns but I doubt we'll see them supporting gun rights for all any time soon.

In discussions of a possible civil war I'd always point out it's not the Left that has the guns. Maybe that's changing now? It will still take them a while to catch up with all the previous gun owners.

I should go hang out at Pro Sport Center and see if I can catch our very own Julie Timmons trying to buy a gun.

Free Xmas Tree Disposal

The Times- Standard reminds us City Garbage of Eureka will be accepting your used Christmas trees until mid January. Mad River Compost, Arcata High School, Humboldt Santitation and Eel River Disposal also accept the trees for a certain time. I usually take them from customers yards for free until they're no longer accepted for free by City Garbage.

Some awkward situations have developed with that policy. One time I picked up a large, heavy tree and drove down to dump it at City Garbage only to find out the deadline for drop off had passed. Then I had to pay to dispose of the tree as green waste by weight.

I told myself I wouldn't let that happen again so told a customer (was it last year?) if they'd bring their tree out I'd haul it off- no charge. The homeowner- being a Christmas bunny- said she wanted to keep it a bit longer. The next time I stopped by there- after the free disposal deadline had passed- the husband comes out and asked me if I'd haul the tree off. I told him No because the deadline for free disposal had passed. I explained why, so no hard feelings, but they'd had fair warning.

So they had to dispose of it themselves. Funny how that works and I've seen the trees thrown in back yards until they pretty much rotted in place. As former property manager for Century 21 Real Estate, Alan Gunn, pointed out when I was discussing it with him, "They have no problem getting a tree to their house, but getting rid of it seems too much to ask."

As the girl at City Garbage pointed out, those trees pose a fire hazard, even before time to get rid of them. I often think how fun it would be when I see people that feel they have to display their trees through their front window, to just touch those trees with a burning match and watch them light up. Not that I'd want anyone's house to burn down, but it would be nice to see their Christmas ruined.

So, no, I'm not hauling those trees off for free out of any sense of Christmas spirit. I just want to eliminate all signs of Christmas from the neighborhood as soon as possible.

When I lived in University Park in Irvine, people would dump their trees in the empty lot next to the shopping mall. Then, on a certain day, the fire dept. would come out and light the pile of trees on fire. It was a community event and it seemed most would come out to watch.

Something like that might be ok here, but I'm not sure I'd enjoy it unless I could go door to door and catch the trees on fire while they're still in the house. That would be fun. I'd kick open the front door holding a torch in my hand and yell, "HERE'S FREDDY!".

Sunday, December 25, 2016

I Love Cloverdale

I recently wrote of my love for Cloverdale. It looks like I'm not the only one with the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat featuring Cloverdale in a story today. Good things happening there according to the P-D. As I wrote in the comments there, the only downside to Cloverdale is it's in Sonoma County, but I'll still enjoy staying there when we get the chance.

We can now expect HOJ to pipe in and run Cloverdale down since he doesn't like anything.

Our New Ministry of Truth

It almost seems like a scorched Earth policy to me, some of what President Obama is doing to finish of his term of office. Zero Hedge brings news of a recent bill that will help the U.S. government shut down on web sites, or any other source of what they feel is fake news.

I find this very troubling as it seems imperative we have access to all sources of information, up to and including the Kremlin's Russia Today, which is likely to provide us information our government, and thus mainstream media, won't:

 "Long before the "fake news" meme became a daily topic of extensive conversation on such discredited mainstream portals as CNN and WaPo, H.R. 5181 would task the Secretary of State with coordinating the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors to “establish a Center for Information Analysis and Response,” which will pinpoint sources of disinformation, analyze data, and — in true dystopic manner — ‘develop and disseminate’ “fact-based narratives” to counter effrontery propaganda.

Fast forward to December 8, when the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" passed in the Senate, quietly inserted inside the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report.
And now, following Friday's Obama signing of the NDAA on Friday evening, the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act is now law."

Who will they come after first? You can bet Zero Hedge, which posted this story, will be one of government's targets.

Green Butts

I've always wondered, with all the bitching over cigarette butts being left all over the place, why the tobacco companies don't come up with a cigarette butt that's readily degradable? With that in mind I was pleased to see such a development in progress. These Green Butts folks are making filters that break down into nothingness fairly quickly. The idea being manufacturers of popular brands of cigarettes will adopt them thus putting an end to a common complaint about smoking.

It certainly won't put an end to all complaints, as most seem to enjoy bashing tobacco companies for reasons real or imagined. That could be why the tobacco companies didn't come up with this product on their own. No matter what they do, they know there will still be complaints.

Power Outages In County

It looks so far as if that big electromagnetic pulse, or whatever it was, from the sun hasn't caused any major problems. That's a good thing or else I'd have nothing to do right now. The Lost Coast Outpost, however, reports power outages in Arcata and Garberville- causes unknown, but doubtful it's from the sun. If nothing else, I can be glad that at least some people's Christmas has been ruined, if only temporarily.

A Case Against Russian Hacking

This fellow over at makes his case for why he believes the Russians didn't hack our election. It's a bit complicated for me so I'll just take his word for it. So much as I can understand it.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Candidates and Tax Returns

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat's editorial today supports recent efforts by Congressman Jared Huffman and on the state level by assemblydude Mike McGuire to require candidates to disclose their tax returns as a requirement of running for office. It should be no surprise the Press- Democrat would get behind it, believing we can clean up politics through legislation. I disagree.

I suggest leaving it as it is. If voters care about such things, they can vote for the candidate that releases his or her returns, and not vote for the one that doesn't. Simple enough and everyone is left to their choice.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sonoma County Pension Costs Skyrocket

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat looks at the recent decision by the California Pension and Retirement System to lower their earnings expectations. They include a rather startling fact about their county's pension costs:

"Sonoma County has seen its annual pension costs increase from $20 million in 2000 to $113 million last year."

That's millions of dollars that could be spent on filling potholes or other county functions but now go to county employees no longer working, or won't be. You have to wonder where Humboldt's pension debt stands?

I notice Richard Rider made a comment to the story that's worth a read, pointing out California will likely surpass the state with the biggest pension debt- Alaska- within 18 months:
"Correct. Indeed, according to my analysis, we'll pass Alaska in less than 18 months, becoming THE worst state for pension debt per household."

Rider Likes CalExit

Richard Rider likes the idea of CalExit. That's the progressive effort to have California secede from the country. He has some good reasons. I like the idea, too, and have written elsewhere it's long past time for the rest of the country to dump California. America doesn't need this state dragging the rest of the country down.

I am a bit apprehensive, though, as I'd seriously consider leaving the state if it came to pass. I don't like living in a progressive state. I'd hate living in a progressive country. Rider says he and his family would move, too, but they're in a better position to pull up stakes and move than we are.

Solar Storm Cancels Christmas?

Let's hope so, or maybe not. The Daily Sheeple reports a solar storm is making its way to Earth and could disrupt things for Christmas. You can bet when I read the beginning of their title: "Christmas Cancelled", I had to check that out. Maybe some good news for a change?

But, nope. What would I have to do on Christmas if the internet was down or, God forbid, we lost power because of that storm? All I could do is sit here smiling knowing everyone's Christmas was ruined. That would be nice, but little consolation if I couldn't enter my morning sweepstakes or do all the other things I spend all day doing while sitting here. I hate to admit it, but I hope this storm doesn't do much.

Funny thing is, how come no word about this in my daily e-mail from Earth/ Sky News? Maybe it's fake news?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Protecting Your Bank Accounts From Hackers

Some tips here on protecting your bank account from hack attacks. They start off telling of recent multi- million dollar hacks, then get more into how you can protect your own accounts. Some good tips, I suppose, but mostly they explain how you can be recompensated for someone ripping you off. 

One thing they don't mention, that I've read elsewhere, is using a credit card is safer than a debit card. Not only can they clean out your checking account if they hack your debit card, credit card companies will often take care of losses due to illegal activity.

Some of the recommendations seem to me easier said than done, at least if you're one who does most of your banking or shopping online. Read the tips and decide which ones would be best for you.
I'm actually going through a bit of a hassle over online banking right now, although whether I was ripped off remains to be seen. 

Earlier this month I went to pay my monthly Obamacare premium with Anthem/ Blue Cross. I was surprised when I got to their web site to see not just the $83.00 I owed for my premium listed, but some other account for $800+. No mention on the site of what the over $800 was for so I e-mailed them and was told days later it was for my 2017 premium. I wasn't planning on making that payment.

A few days later I checked my bank account to find my checking account empty and we would have bounced checks had I not had overdraft protection. Looking closer, I saw a withdrawal for $800+- the same amount as Anthem wanted for that other account, except I didn't make that payment, unless I totally screwed up and made a mistake.

I e-mailed Anthem to ask what gives. They never really answered so I e-mailed again, explained that if I made a payment of $800+ it was a mistake and asked for a refund. I also e-mailed the credit union for advice and they said for $20.00 they could stop any further payments to Anthem but not much they could do about one already made.

Anthem e-mailed back and said I had to call Covered California (Obamacare) as it was an Obamacare account thus was in their hands. I called Obamacare and the girl said they couldn't legally accept a payment for a year in advance like that and it was solely Anthem's responsibility to refund my money. I went back, e-mailed Anthem and told them that. They told me I'd be getting something from them via postal service.

I get their letter and it said something about my case being in the hands of their grievance committee, or some such, and I needed to call them. I called the guy yesterday. He seemed to understand but said he needed a "second tier" agent to handle something of that order, that my case was in que with the Grievance Committee and it would normally take a couple weeks to resolve it.

So here I sit waiting for my refund. I'll call them back after two weeks if I haven't heard from them. If they don't refund my money, I will have been ripped off.

Obama: Looking Back

At least two bloggers are looking back at President Obama. Bill K., who seems to think Obama was the best president ever and is quite upset over his replacement, gives his view of the Obama presidency.

Gary Kittilsen, over at Libertarian Galatians, has a different view.

Highest Paid Public Employees

Click on the image to make it larger.
If true, most of the highest paid public employees are involved in sports, something I don't think government should be involved with in the first place. I'd just as soon we get rid of college sports, at least the paid staff. I brought this up to a brother in law years ago- him being a football aficionado. He strongly disagreed saying, if nothing else, football brings in money to the schools. Pathetic.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Willits Bypass Causing Business Slowdowns

The Willits News reports on loss of business in the town since the freeway bypass opened. One business already closed its doors. There's no doubt that even proponents of the bypass such as myself saw some loss in business when people weren't forced to drive through the town, but I offer no apologies. We love Willits and will continue to stop there when passing by.

The consensus seems to be that more signs are need along the bypass to let people know what they're missing. I agree, and noticed the lack of signs last time we drove through. How would anyone, especially someone new to the area, know what is offered in Willits without some signs.

Hopefully, they'll get signs up soon and they'll be effective. I suspect, though, we'll see the same people who opposed the bypass claiming it would ruin business in the town, objecting to any signs put up to advertise those businesses. We've seen that same sort of objection to signs up here with the safety corridor.

California Pension Funds Lower Earnings Forecast

The Sacramento Bee reports the California Public Employee Retirement System has lowered its earnings expectations from 7.5% to 7%. That may not seem like much except when we're talking about billions of dollars, never mind the funds being underfunded already. 

what this means is cities, counties and the state might have to get more more money from taxpayers to cover the shortfall. That tax money, instead of being used for current government services, will be used to pay pensions. All of this, though, assumes their estimates of lower earnings are accurate.

The pain won't be felt by communities right away as payments will be phased in starting next year:

" The state will start to absorb the impact of higher rates with the start of the new fiscal year next July. Municipalities and school districts won’t start feeling the effect until a year later. All told, the higher contribution rates will be phased in over eight years."

The public employee unions will continue to tell us nothing is wrong with the situation. I actually sympathize but am like most people who would rather my tax money pay for current programs than for employees that aren't working anymore. This situation has been festering for some time. It doesn't seem anyone in government at either the city or state level has the courage to deal with it effectively.

Happy Solstice

About the only event remotely considered worth celebration that I acknowledge, Earth/ Sky News reminds us today is the Winter Solstice. That's when the sun reaches it's lowest point in the Northern Hemisphere and we have our shortest day and longest  night. That is reason for celebration. I just wish it would start getting warmer, but we've likely some time before that happens. Seems to me February usually brings our colder weather and snow up here. After that I'll look forward to it getting warmer. As I wrote elsewhere, every year I get older, it feels a degree or two colder.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Trump's Education Secretary Pick A Good Choice

My colleague (we both blog) and Facebook Bud, J.D. Tuccille, looks at Donald Trump's latest cabinet position pick. From a libertarian viewpoint, Betsy DeVos, nominee for Secretary of Education, looks like a good one, believing in parents having control of their kid's education and, thus, school choice. No, she's not a big fan of government schools but, as the article points out, there's a good reason for that.

Stop CBD Schedule 1 Scheduling

Another one of those petitions. This one to stop the powers- that- be from scheduling CBD- an ingredient of marijuana that's being found useful for medical purposes to a Schedule 1 drug, which would mean it has no medical use but great potential for abuse.

E-Cigs Help With COPD

Over at The Rest Of The Story: Tobacco News, Analysis and Commentary, Dr. Michael Siegel reports on a study that showed e- cigarettes improve the condition of those suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. More evidence e-cigs provide a harm reduction alternative and more evidence the British Royal College of Physicians were right then they declared a while back substitution of e- cigs for regular cigarettes would be a boon to British people's health:

"...smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who switch to electronic cigarettes experience an improvement in their symptoms and have fewer COPD exacerbations."

We can be sure this will be ignored by our Food and Drug Administration and others intent on the war on e- cigarettes.

A Liberty Cartoon

This cartoon is over at Liberty Unbound. I'm guessing it's supposed to be funny, but I don't get it. Can anyone enlighten me?

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Let The Birds Inside

I just reminded Julie Timmons that once you start feeding birds, they become dependent on you, thus you've pretty much become responsible for their wellness. On cold mornings like this- 30 degrees, according to, you should let your flock in the house to warm up. I don't think she'll take up my suggestion, but I tried.

As was pointed out on the e-mail list yesterday, you should also bring dogs and cats inside. They get cold too. Our kittens are already inside cats so that's taken care of here. They may not like it, but we've had two kittens run over in the street so we try and keep these two inside.

I'm always pleased to see people walking down the street with their dogs. The dogs always seem to have a smile on their face as if they're thinking, "Oh, boy! Life is good. I get to go for a walk". So nice to see, but that always makes me wonder: For every dog well cared for and attended to, how many do we not see that are victims of neglect if not abuse? And repeated neglect can amount to abuse. I suspect there's a lot of that and I've seen some of it myself.

If you're the kind of person that considers your dog or cat a lawn ornament and you leave them alone in the back yard all the time, please bring them inside now.

Moving The Earth?

Earth/ Sky News looks at the possibility of our sun swelling to a red phase and maybe encompassing the Earth. Apparently some scientists think the answer to saving life on Earth in such a situation is to move the Earth(!). There's a video that explains it which I didn't bother trying to watch since I still don't have sound on this computer.

I don't see how they could do it.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Uber's Lame Excuse

Speaking of self- driving cars, KQED reports on Uber's efforts to defy the DMV and run their fleet without permits the DMV insists are necessary. I cringe whenever I hear what seems like Uber's excuse for doing so, pointing the finger at Tesla: 

"Levandowski likened the Volvos’ abilities to those of Tesla cars that have the Autopilot feature allowing them to keep their lane, brake and accelerate without a person touching the wheel. He wondered why the thousands of Teslas on California roads don’t need a permit if Uber’s cars do"

I've heard that used umpteen times in my life without success. "If they can do it, why can't we?" All that accomplishes is getting the other person in trouble. Just you watch. Before we know it, the DMV and who knows who else, will go after Tesla, too. Happens all the time.

Winter Flying

I'm not one who enjoys flying and have no plans to fly anywhere, hopefully in my lifetime. Those of you who do enjoy flying may want to read this article by a pilot over at lewrockwell dot com about hazards of winter flying, which mostly consists of icing on the wings and runways. He points out flying in cold weather- icing aside- is actually more efficient as the cold air is more dense, thus providing more lift. I have read previously that flying in very warm air is problematic in the opposite way- less lift, since the air is less dense.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Sacramento To Be Self Driving Car Test Site

The Sacramento Bee reports the new mayorof Sacramento's first official action was to set up Sacramento to be an official test site for new driverless cars. Good for them. Better there than here. Which doesn't mean we won't see driverless cars in Humboldt. Just maybe not as soon, or as many.

I like to think I'm open minded about driverless cars. There's much to be said for the idea, but I'm still leery and imagine myself being chased down the sidewalk by one. Maybe it's my experience with the robots at UCSF medical centers? They have these robots on wheels that buzz around delivering blood and other samples from one place to another. They're about the size of a dishwasher, albeit thinner. As they go down the hallways you'll hear them say, "Crossing the hall", or some such, to warn people of their movement.

I had a more personal experience with one once while trying to escape the floor I was on. I was headed to the elevator and saw a robot ready to enter one. I hurried to try to get on board the elevator with it, but the doors closed on the robot and wouldn't reopen. I stood there trying to push the robot through until a nurse saw me, came over and indicated I needed to go back to my room. Pissed me off but I have no idea what it would have been like in the elevator with the robot. Would it have attacked me?

That sort of thing, with an unthinking robot, makes me leery, although the cars are supposed to be much better. I still say it's better to test them in Sacramento than here.

The Downside of Legal Pot

I'd never really considered it to be a potential problem with legal pot but the Lost Coast Outpost reports on an automotive business being thrown off its property to make way for a cannabis based business. It seems the price of warehouse space has skyrocketed since the passage of Prop 64 which legalized recreational marijuana so it puts landlords in the position of choosing between existing tenants or higher paying new ones.

But, the article reminds us that's the way capitalism can work: one business fades away to be replaced by another. I'm not sure you can see evidence of that being all that good of a thing in Eureka. With the exception of Winco taking over Sears' old space in the Eureka Mall, I can't come up with any relatively new businesses that were an improvement. Well, maybe Les Schwab Tire coming to Eureka was an improvement, but that's probably it.

As far as automotive service businesses, I'm not sure we'll ever have enough of them. Let's hope no more of them are pushed aside by pot businesses.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Unique Gilligan's Island Photo

Here's a picture from the pilot episode of Gilligan's Island. Most didn't notice the American flag in the background at half staff. That was because President Kennedy was killed that day or the day before and the pilot was filmed in a real harbor.

I get this stuff from various things I find on Facebook. This one was called "20 Surprising Secrets About Gilligan's Island". Warning, should you decide to read them all: It seems to take forever to get through these things.

That Eureka Shoot 'em Up

The North Coast Journal has a great account of the police shooting in Eureka the other day. I'm not criticizing Eureka P.D. at all over this but think it important to remember the whole thing started with a perceived seat belt violation. Sure, it could have also been anything else, but discussing seat belt laws the other day with libertarians, I pointed out this is the sort of thing that bothers me about seat belt laws: Just one more thing that can lead to bigger things, and seat belt laws are pretty much a he said (the officer) vs. he said ( the driver) as to whether the driver had his seat belt on to begin with.

For what it's worth, I've been a seat belt fanatic since before the Buckle up for Safety campaigns of the 60s. As soon as seat belts became regular in cars, I wore mine. I do question whether people should be compelled to wear them.

Along the line of the "bigger things" aspect, I recall being in traffic court years ago. Some guy was there who was stopped by the highway patrol in Mckinleyville for a seat belt violation. The driver said he had his belt on. The highway patrolman insisted he didn't. As it happened, as a result of that stop the driver ended up with fines of something like $300.00 plus various fix it tickets. All over a his word vs. his word and a law that is questionable in the first place.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bernie Sanders: Why Trump Won

Reason magazine reports on Bernie Sanders' appearance on a recent TV show where he gives his impressions of why Donald Trump won:

"Donald Trump won the presidency in part because he channeled populist resentment toward political correctness into a winning issue."

I'm not sure I'd agree with what seems to be his idea of political correctness:

"What it means is you have a set of talking points which have been poll-tested and focus-group-tested and that's what you say rather than what's really going on." 

That's kinda right but, to me, political correctness is just not saying things that might offend our ever growing victim class. Not sure that's what he's saying. The one thing I did like about Trump was he was willing to say things without worrying about pissing people off. In other words, he went against the grain of common thinking and wasn't politically correct.

Psylocybin For Cancer?

The Daily Sheeple reports on a discovery that psylocybin, a mushroom with psychedelic properties when ingested, has been shown to be effective in treating depression resulting from cancer. They actually did a story on this one of the major news networks I was watching the other night. As one would imagine, when diagnosed with a life threatening illness, many people suffer from anxiety and depression. The British have found psylocybin might be what's needed to alleviate the psyche problems associated with cancer. Of course, the British, just as with Americans, have to go through all sorts of hoops to do such studies since psylocybin is considered a dangerous drug with no medical value. Government is the obstacle, as usual.

Would I like to try it? Not while at home. I don't suffer depression or anxiety up here. When I'm in the hospital at UCSF I most certainly do and might try anything to get me out of that slump. Last time down there I talked someone into providing marinol, the synthetic form of marijuana, and it really did help. When I pointed that out to medical staff, they didn't seem to care, so I'm not expecting UCSF to jump on the psylocybin bandwagon.

Maybe I should try growing some since I'm gonna grow pot? Nah. Let's not get carried away with this. Besides, I'm told those mushrooms grow wild here and during the Fall people are out prowling the farm fields in search of psylocybin mushrooms. I'm not sure I've ever seen what I thought was that happening in my 40 plus years here. I've just been told they do.

Then again, while illegal, it does provide an opportunity if someone wants to take the chance. I recall back in the '80s ordering a mushroom kit from a gardening catalog. It was a box maybe a foot square and 10 inches deep filled with mushroom spawn. You open the box and open the plastic bag the spawn was in, then sprinkle water on the spawn and put the box in a dark place. That's what I did and a week or two later I had a box of mushrooms. I was  bit leery about eating them, though, and most just seemed to dissolve. Neat idea for an entrepreneur though huh? A do- it- yourself psylocybin farm.

So, if I end up in the UCSF hospitals again, maybe I'll ask for psylocybin? No harm in trying.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Seedless Pot?

I've decided to grow pot in my garden next year, thanks to prop 64. Towards that end I've been checking with pot head friends and acquaintances to see if they'll save their seeds for me. Back in the day when I was into it, pot usually came with a bunch of seeds in the bag. One pothead friend hasn't answered yet. The other says her pot doesn't come with seeds and it's supposed to be that way.

Yeah, I get that, as when we were kids we usually considered seeds a nuisance more than anything else. But I wonder if the lack of seeds is from growers wanting users to keep their dependence on the growers?

I checked for online instructions on growing pot. The sites I found made it seem too complicated- telling about having "organic" soil and even going so far to tell which way up the seed should be planted. That's bs. When I was a kid I just poked a hole in the ground and threw a seed in. After a few days a plant would pop up but I usually had to pull them up lest they be discovered.

When we lived in Irvine I planted pot seeds in my mom's clay pots out on our patio. I should have kept my mouth shut but, in case my mom thought they were weeds, I worried she might pull them up so I proudly told her I had tomatoes growing in her pots. I don't think she believed me. Shortly after that she said she had a friend coming by to look at my tomatoes. More likely someone she knew that knew what young pot plants look like. I quickly pulled those plants up. She never said a thing about it after that.

I had my best luck back then when we lived in Tustin. I planted a seed in the garden area out front of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. My mom made us attend that church so it wouldn't look out of place for me to be seen there. After a few days it sprouted and I checked on it daily. Then one day I went by and it was laying on the ground, chopped off at ground level as if someone took a miniature chain saw to it. I've come to believe since then it was likely a cutworm as that's what they do.

When I first moved up here around '73ish we rented a flat out on Pigeon Point Road in what was known as the House of Squires, owned by Floyd and Betty Squires. I soon noticed the closet in my bedroom had a false wall of sorts. If you pulled aside the sheetrock, there was  space maybe 3 or 4 feet square behind it. I thought that might be a good place to grow pot.

I took an unused crisper drawer from our refrigerator and filled it with potting soil. Then I went to Montgomery Wards and bough an 18" grow lamp. Within a few days of putting the seed in it was up and growing. I was quite proud of myself with that one.

After it got to maybe 2 1/2 feet high, though, I started getting paranoid about the Sheriff coming in and arresting me. I pulled the plant up, dried it up and smoked it. Yep, I got a buzz from it.

So it shouldn't be that hard to grow some in my yard unless some of you come and rip me off. I'll probably start the seed in late April or May, assuming I can get the seeds. I see Craigslist usually has people offering already started plants. That's a possibility, albeit an expensive one for me.

The one thing I'm not sure about is any pruning with regards flowers and buds. Johnny Maniac probably knows. I'll ask him, but it all comes down to needing seeds. Seedless pot, huh? Another modern change I don't like.

Fake News

Over at, Pat Buchanan looks at false information throughout history used to lure the U..S into war. I have wrote about my similar sentiments in the past. I'm skeptical of just about any news report of international affairs nowadays. Time and time again I think we're being fed stories by those wanting to incite us into war. 

The problem is, something must be true, so who do you believe?

Need A Kidney? Call China

The National Center for Policy Analysis reports laws against selling human organs in "free countries" may have the perverse result of supporting the selling of human organs in those not- so- free. They look to China where, if true, human organs are taken forcibly from prisoners and sold to "transplant tourists".

This is one of those things I'm not sure I understand: Why should government tell me I cant sell one of my kidneys should I chose to? Not that I'd want to. It just seems it should be my choice, although the idea of it pretty much creeps me out.

The Left Goes After Electors

Richard Rider reports on efforts by the Left to convince members of the Electoral College to vote against the will of voters in their states. Below Rider's rant is an account by the Chair of the Kansas Republicans- an Elector herself- giving her account of being harassed by phone and e-mail over it:

 "The majority of the notes called for the elimination of the Electoral College because it was undemocratic. As an elector, I can’t do anything about this, but I still don’t buy the argument. There are many provisions in our constitutional republic that allow for a departure from direct democracy. The Electoral College ensures that Americans from throughout the country can be represented"

Tme will tell if this effort succeeds. I'm of half a mind that maybe it's time for bullets to start flying over this. I've long felt divisions in this country are too wide to be settled peacefully. That's not likely to happen, though. Americans have no problem killing people in other countries. They're too complacent to do it with any effect here. Besides, Syrian style civil war would take many of us, out of our comfort zones.

The big question for libertarians? Which side should you be on?

Addendum: Probably everything you've ever wanted to know about Electors here.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Another Argument Against Instant Runoff Voting

Over at Cato Unbound, Jason Sorens gives his reasons for opposing Instant Runoff Voting, recommending instead Approval Voting. I'll have to admit I had a hard time following his explanation, especially when he demonstrated numbers. Maybe some of you could do better.

Sorens is founder of the Free State Project. I'm surprised to see him associated with Cato, which I'm assuming he would be if they're publishing his stuff.

Info On The Drought

The Sacramento Bee asks whether the wet start to the winter has the state out of the drought. Eureka even gets a mention:

"North of Sacramento, some places have seen huge jumps over last year’s rainfall totals. In Eureka, the 20.7 inches of rain received since Oct. 1 dwarfs the 9.97 inches that fell during the same period in 2015. At 14.83 inches, Redding has seen nearly 10 more inches of rain since Oct. 1 than during the same period last year."

It looks like the south part of the state is still parched, but what we really need is snow, as the article points out:

 "State water officials are expected to have a better sense of the drought outlook after they conduct the first snowpack measure of the season, later this month or early next. Sierra snowmelt typically constitutes about a third of the state’s water supply, replenishing reservoirs throughout the spring and summer."

It almost seems to me they're hesitant to say some areas are no longer in a drought. My guess is because their hysterical environmentalist mindset has them wanting water conservation regardless of circumstances.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Hate Trump? Don't Pay Taxes

The Daily Sheeple reports on threats by some anti- Trump forces to withhold taxes while he's president. That was earlier on and I must have missed it. I think it's a good idea, though. After all, that's the way to attack government: Starve the beast! The Daily Sheeple makes a good case for it:

"If the goal is to put an end to the injustice and corruption of a government, anybody who’s dissatisfied is morally entitled to stop paying taxes. After all, voluntary transactions among individuals are only carried out if both parties are satisfied with the product. Once dissatisfaction becomes a factor, you cease the transaction — why can’t we do the same with the government?"

Ok, Trump hating Democrats (looking at you Julie T. and Eric K.), I'll be waiting to see if you'll put your money where your mouth is.

FeTV: Our New Favorite?

We're still struggling with our recently installed Dish Network despite having used it for two or three years some time ago. The main problem being the channel numbers are different than commonly known, at least a number of them, so it's hard to figure out where to find shows you might want to watch. You have to use the Dish guide which takes some time depending on what you're looking for and what you find.

Last night we stumbled on feTV, which I found out this morning stands for Family Entertainment Television. They had a Little House On The Prairie marathon so we had to watch that. But, you can only watch that for so long before your teary eyes cause dehydration so I went to bed and the wife switched to some other show. It sounded to me as if she found Mary Poppins on some channel, at least from the music.

I've mentioned before that absence of the MeTv network would be a deal breaker for us and Dish doesn't have MeTV. It does have feTV and TVland, though. Maybe those will suffice, but it will still be a bit of a hassle to find whatever channels we want.

As an aside, I see from feTV's program guide they have the Roy Rogers Show on today at 1pm. Not one of my favorites. Even as a kid I thought it lame they'd have guy- whatever his name was- driving around in a jeep in a cowboy show.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Richard Rider Warms To Donald Trump

It's not a complete surprise to see past Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate, Richard Rider, has nice things to write about Donald Trump. I am a bit surprised at how many good things he has to write. He's more than just a disinterested observer. He's gone from being an opponent, to a fan:

 "I've been a vehement opponent of Donald Trump."

"I'm becoming a HUUGGGEEEE Donald Trump fan.... since being elected, Trump has acted far more responsibly than most people anticipated.  His post-election "60 Minutes" hostile interview was a perfect example.  He crushed it.  Without insults, without snide comments, without meanness -- he kicked ass."

I didn't see the 60 Minutes interview so I'll take his word for it since I agree with most of the rest he wrote. Go check it out. I'm sure many of you will have your blood boiling by the time you're done, but he's right:

" The progressives' worst fears are being realized -- and that's a GOOD thing."


Yep, I'll be loving it...until he does something to piss me off. It might not take too long.

New Zealand Earthquake Pictures

Earth/ Sky News has some pictures of the effects of last month's (Nov. 13) earthquake there. The quake apparently added land to the island. I'm a bit underwhelmed with the first two pictures as it's hard to really tell how the shoreline changed, but the third one showing how the land heaved upwards is pretty impressive. Probably pretty creepy living there now with a visible reminder of what an earthquake can do.

Friday, December 09, 2016

PG&E Gives Anti- Scam Tips

The Willits News tells of Pacific Gas and Electric Company joining with other utilities to raise awareness of scams by people falsely representing themselves as company employees. This is somewhat timely as I've seen numerous reports on the Nextdoor Neighborhood e-mail list of guys going door to door around Eureka and asking to see resident's utility bills, claiming they could save that resident money. In the reports  mentioned the guys were sent packing.  I wonder how that scam works?

PG&E offers a number of tips in the article, many of which seem common sense to me, but you never know. A lot of it depends on how good the scammer is. A couple of instances come to me. I wrote back in 2008 of a guy who called me with a telemarketing scam. Everyone says "Just hang up!". I say now as I did then, NO, don't hang up. Keep them on the phone to waste their time.

Then there was the guy- I think it was last year- who came to my door purporting to be a Dish Network represntative. He even had a Dish patch on the sleeve of his shirt that he made sure to point out. He said they were going to upgrade my satellite dish and went on with some Dish sounding talk. I even let him step in the door to look at our receiver box. Then he tried to get me to sign a contract of some kind. I'm not sure it was a ripoff. I think he was making money flipping accounts- getting a Dish customer to switch to Direct TV and such. Also, maybe getting me to sign up for a more expensive plan. I sent him packing.

One of the tips in the article is something we might not think of:

"Never dial phone numbers scammers provide or assume caller ID is accurate. Scammers use sophisticated systems where they can mimic caller ID that appears to be PG&E’s number."

I still say don't hang up, unless you're the kind of person that just can't say No.

College Too Expensive? Yes, For What It Is

Calwatchdog reports a majority of Californians think a college education is too expensive. I like to point out that's likely only because of demand and people thinking college is necessary to begin with. I suggest that's a cultural problem and a college education isn't necessary for many, if not most jobs. If someone learns to read, write and do math in high school, that should be all they need to learn and handle most jobs. 

I might have presented my two examples of the non- necessity of college here before:

I have two nephews, both from the same parents. The first one wanted to be a "rock star" and forego college. His father insisted he attend college, saying it was a necessity for a sound future. I walked in on their argument and took the nephew's side saying if he wanted to do something that didn't require college, why waste his father's money and his time? My opinion carried the day my nephew told me later.

The second one went to HSU at his father's urging and subsidizing. He graduated with his father's help. He's 42 now, has no job, no plans to get one and can't even feed himself, usually eating at his parents house.

I have yet to make my previous point to their father but, if and when I do, I'll point out that he, being a real estate guy, could have been where he is now after taking a six month class at College of the Redwoods and some hard work. I'd also point out his college graduate son is pretty much a bum, but his non- college brother is making his own way...without a college education.

Case closed, but Richard Rider gives us some other facts regarding higher education in California. As far as community colleges go (which I support):

"California, a destitute state, still gives away community college education at fire sale prices. Our CC tuition and fees are the lowest in the nation.  How low?  Nationwide, the average community college tuition and fees are more than double our California CC’s."

"In addition, because of grants and tax credits, up to 2/3 of California CC students pay no net tuition at all"

 "Complaints about increased UC student fees too often ignore a key point — all poor and many middle class CA students don’t pay the UC “fees” (our state’s euphemism for tuition).  There are no fees for most California families with under $80K income. 55% of all undergraduate CA UC students pay zero tuition, and another 14% pay only partial tuition."

Of course, Richard is simply looking at costs, not whether college is something that should be considered in the first place. 

I don't have a problem with going to community colleges to learn a skill. My brother- in- law could be where he is now with simply a community college education and saved himself the time and expense of his university studies. Wasting four years of his life at a university seemed to me a waste of time. 

Matt Owen Gets Tough

Ahoy! Our very own Matt Owen has another one of his must read Matt In The Middle columns in the Lost Coast Outpost today. He looks back at the recent election with some hard hitting commentary. Among other things, he suggests the Eureka City Council get tough on various things around the city, most notably the homeless. I guess the panhandling really bothered him. He wants the city council to have all the bums arrested for one thing or another. I was under the impression they already were being arrested for everything.

He does get in a well deserved hit on Austin Allison's campaign for Eureka City Council:

"I couldn’t believe it when I read on Austin Allison’s campaign website, “Why not make building within Eureka attractive to local developers?” Does your base know you just pimped developers? Remember “developers” is a bad name with the Regressives."

I hadn't noticed that at the time but he's got point. Local lefties are always harping about government being developer friendly and unchecked development, although they've never been able to point me to an existing example. At the same time they want more housing. They can't have it both ways.

Overall, I'll have to admit I find Matt's tough on crime and enforce existing ordinances thing somewhat troubling. It reminds me of speaking with the late Tish Wilburn during her last run for Eureka City Council. She told me her campaign theme was "Enforce existing ordinances", pointing out existing examples, most of which I don't recall because they didn't bother me. She wanted the Libertarian Party of Humboldt's endorsement. I had to tell her I didn't think most libertarians, myself included, wanted the city cracking down on anything and that wasn't something I felt we could get behind.

She didn't seem to understand that. I suppose Matt might not, either.