Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ron Paul On The Wall

Congressman Ron Paul tells what he thinks of Trump's plan for The Wall and offers his alternatives.

I was watching NBC News last night with stories of those caught in the immigration crackdown. That certainly stoked my empathy with some being left homeless when their plans to come to America were dashed. 

That got me to thinking of one of my best buddies; She's a British citizen, although has lived in this country for decades. I wondered if she'd heard from immigration authorities as a result of all this. She's told me before she has to check in with immigration every six months or year, or some such. 

She said they run her through the ringer, grilling her with questions for quite a while every time. She also said that doesn't seem to be the case if you have dark skin. If you're Mexican, she said you're in and out of there in fifteen minutes. Wonder if that's still the case?

Why To Dislike Hillary Clinton

Times- Standard columnist Tim Martin tells us of men he interviewed about their feelings toward Hillary Clinton. He seems to assume the complaints are gender specific, I'd suggest women, aside from "vagina voters"- those who vote for someone simply because she's female- probably share the same complaints. 

Heck, vagina voters probably share the same complaints but consider gender above issues or personality.

One word showed up that I've neglected in describing my hatred of Hillary Clinton: Condescending is what I haven't used. Her condescending way of presenting herself and referring to others really irks me. Thanks for the reminder Tim.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Immigration Complaints

John Hardin Does The Drug War

Lost Coast Outpost commentator and fellow blogger, John Hardin, looks at the drug war and what the drug trade has done to southern Humboldt. I had to take issue with one thing he wrote: "Cannabis consumers deserve safe, reliable cannabis products". 

I don't get that one. Just as I commented to our very own Sally when she recently commented that the mentally ill deserve good treatment, or whatever it was she wrote. I don't see how the mentally ill or cannabis consumers deserve anything. That reads like it makes it a right, or something we owe them. I suppose cannabis consumers deserve a decent product if only for the large amounts of money they pay, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's their right and I owe it to them to make it that way.

If I'd gotten someone addicted to pot, maybe I'd feel some responsibility that amounted to them deserving something from me, but that's not the case. They don't deserve good dope anymore than I deserve good beer for my money. It's not an entitlement. At least shouldn't be.

California Nightmares

I read quite a few comments from others asking about Calexit- the plan for California to secede from the union. I always try to point out, truth be told, if the rest of the country knew what was best for them, they'd throw California out of the country.

With that in mind it's nice to see this fellow on lewrockwell.com do a California hate- fest. I think he's being too nice, but he's heading in the right direction.

Ten Things That Shouldn't Go Down The Drain

Time magazine tells us of things that shouldn't be disposed of by pouring, or putting, them down the drain. I didn't see anything we put down the drain, but it's especially important in our house and the kitchen drain is naturally slow due to its old fashioned design and a pipe below the sink that is almost level for a couple feet causing slow drainage in even the best of times.

Apologies for the Time magazine web page. As with pretty much all magazine web sites, it's poorly designed, slow to load and often difficult to read.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Neat Tracking Device

Found this link on the Weather Channel web site. The TrackR is about the size of a quarter. You can set it up to track where just about anything is. As they suggest: Lose your car in the parking lot? Use Track R to find it on your cell phone. I especially liked the idea of having one on pets. Hook one to your dog's collar and never lose him again.

I'd buy one, but the $29.99 price is a bit too much right for me now.

That Damned Abortion Thing

I'm not sure I've mentioned here that one of two things I never try to get involved in are discussions about abortion and/ or Israel. I've never understood how abortion came to be the number one issue for many people in regards politics. I've seen many times, when plugging a candidate, when the first question the other person asks is where the candidate stands on abortion. Ugh!

Along that same line, someone wrote a letter to the Times- Standard complaining about the lack of pro- life expression at the recent anti- Trump march in Eureka. I had to point out there was a pro- life presence at the march, albeit a small one. Below is a photo of my niece (on the left), Joelle Shively and a friend carrying pro- life signs at the march.
No surprise there as she has Catholic blood running through her veins, but I still don't understand why it's such a big issue with everyone else.

Years ago, while running a Libertarian Party table at a local gun show, I struck up an acquaintance with a sweet young girl from Redway. I think her name was Dianne, but am not sure anymore. We seemed to get along famously the first day, talking non- stop about politics and the time flew by.

When I was driving home that day, for some reason abortion entered my mind, even though we hadn't discussed it. I wondered to myself why abortion is such a big deal to so many. After all, it's not like everyone is going out and getting abortions.

The next morning I made the mistake of bringing that up to Dianne and she sure told me! I told her, "I was thinking last night, wondering why abortion is such a big deal. It's not like everybody is going out and getting abortions." She wheeled in her chair, swung around staring at me and said something like "If you needed an abortion and couldn't get one....". She was pissed. I backed off and dropped it.

We didn't speak much most of that morning. Later in the day she seemed to come out of it and we were back to being best buddies. Lesson learned: I'll never bring that subject up again....except maybe here.

Eureka's New Packing And Bottling Plant

Kiem TV's news quiz of the day asks whether you'd like to see a packing and bottling plant come to the area. This being related to a recent news segment they had on a packing and bottling plant being started on the north spit in one of the old mills, if memory serves me correct.

What's not to like about that idea? Yet as I write this 12% of respondents voted No. I'm well aware that most who answer those quizzes lean left, judging from prior answers, but I still don't see why anyone would oppose the idea of such a plant that would package not just locally produced products, but those from elsewhere.

Certainly most readers here lean left. Perhaps some of you could enlighten me as to why someone would oppose this idea. I realize most lefties oppose nearly anything that would develop commerce and the only good jobs to support here are government ones.

Fortunately, this plant seems to be in the works regardless of local opinion. I'd just like to see some reasoning as to why we shouldn't support it. Seems to me what this area needs is industry, whether light or heavy.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Hillary TV?

I'm a bit surprised to read in this article that Hillary Clinton might be planning her own TV show. I knew we hadn't seen the last of her. She's so enamored of herself there's no doubt she'd find a way to stay in the limelight, but a TV show? She obviously  thinks that will help her in her next presidential run. Then again, it could just as easily work the other way around and give people an even lower opinion of her. But not me. I already have an opinion of her that couldn't get any lower. I can't think of anyone off the top of my head that I dislike more.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Weather Channel Web Site Is Back

I never realized how much I go to the Weather Channel's web site until it stopped working a few days ago. The page would come up, but without information. That's where I'd normally go for current temperatures and other conditions. I felt lost without it. 

But how to fix it? Best I could figure was send an e-mail to info@weather.com. That works with some web sites but my e-mail bounced as undeliverable. Then I think I tried support@weather.com and that one seemed to go through. I just explained the problem I was having but I never got a response.

I used Accuweather.com as a substitute but it didn't provide all the information I was used to. Yesterday it occurred to me a different browser might help and Google Chrome did get the site working again. A few hours later I tried it with Firefox and it seemed to be up an running.

I feel whole again, although I'm ashamed to admit I became so dependent on one web site, especially a somewhat lame one like weather.com. It used to be better, at least a lot faster. Then they did an upgrade and their "new and improved" site wasn't anywhere as good as the old one, as is often the case with web sites.

Coast Guard Rescues Stupid Guy From Jetty

The Times- Standard reports on a rescue of some stupid guy who drove out on the North Jetty despite high surf crashing over the rocks. As one witness pointed out of the truck, "“It was just stopped on the part you shouldn’t even be driving on,”. 

This is the sort of thing I was referring to when I asked the question here not long ago as to whether there should be "stupid fines" for people that get themselves in trouble and have to be rescued when it was fairly obvious their actions might get them in trouble to begin with.

I suppose it's easier said than done but this is why I think it would behoove the Coast Guard, or whoever is in charge of the North Jetty, to use signs and barricades when surf conditions are dangerous. That might keep some idiots from having to be rescued. If they go around the barricades to danger areas anyway, that's all the evidence we should need that they were brazenly doing stupid things, were warned, and should be fined if rescue is needed.

California Democrats Trying To Control News

Calwatchdog reports on efforts by Democrats in the state legislature to get control over what news we see and hear. Sure, they suggest it's only to put "fake news" into perspective for those in school, but we all know where this is going. It shouldn't be surprising but should be disturbing to all. As Richard Rider points out in the comments to the story, "Naturally this effort will turn into propaganda from the left. “Rely on reputable sources,” they will say — without questioning the trustworthiness of such sources — like CNN.". 

Yep, we'll see the Left telling us which sources of info are reliable and which ones aren't- those reporting news favorable to them being the most reliable. I'm not sure what the answer to "fake news" is, or if one is even needed. We would be better off if Democrats would just leave this alone.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Fortuna Joins The Nanny State

Keim TV's online survey today asks whether you think e- cigarettes are as dangerous as regular cigarettes. That question being pertinent because the station had a segment yesterday night on the City of Fortuna and e- cigs. I already cast my No vote.

The news segment was about Fortuna adding e- cigs to their no smoking ordinances. So, wherever you can't smoke cigarettes, e- cigs are out, too. They even showed the Mayor of Fortuna telling how great their city council is because they care. What a bunch of crap.

I've probably wrote here before I don't know how Fortuna came up with that silly "Friendly City" thing. I worked some places down there years ago and didn't find it that friendly at all. Just a bunch of back- biting people that seemed like something out of that movie Children of the Corn

Now Fortuna jumps completely into the role of nanny state. Despite my feelings about Fortuna, I'm  disappointed. I'd expect this sort of thing from Arcata or Eureka. Not Fortuna. Despite my feelings, I still felt Fortuna should have a fair number of people with common sense living in it. Apparently not.

I don't know that we have the means to do so, but I've thought it would be nice to move somewhere a little warmer than Eureka. Fortuna came to mind, but no longer. The way they're going, I might as well move to San Francisco.

If you haven't already done so, you'll want to bookmark and visit Dr. Michael Siegel's blog where he dispels the myths about e- cigarettes. Too bad the Fortuna City Council hadn't done so.

Schutt's Hope

I thought I knew all the Humboldt's Republican big- wigs, or at least who they were. I don't believe I've ever heard of John Schutt who is described as Chair of the Humboldt Republicans in his commentary in the North Coast Journal this week. Nicely written piece on what he's hoping to come from a Trump Administration. I particularly liked the reasons he felt people voted for Trump. He's actually quoting Brendan O'Neal- someone else I don't believe I've heard of, who wrote it elsewhere:

 "Because you (society) turned 'white man' from a description into an insult. Because you treated dissent as hate speech and criticism of Obama as extremism. Because you cried when someone mocked the Koran, but laughed when they mocked the Bible. Because you turned politics from something done by and for people to something done to them, for their own good."

Wish I'd have written that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Virginea Bass' OpEd

I just noticed county supe Virginia Bass wrote a column for the Times- Standard. Nicely done. It seems like she has a lot to say. Might this be the beginning of a blogging career? How about Virginia's Humboldt Blog?

A Constitution Test

From Hillsdale College via Reason magazine we have a short test of your knowledge of the Constitution. I got one wrong- the one about what branch of government is supposed to interpret the Constitution. I should have taken more time and considered all the answers.

Progressives Go After Eureka

Newly installed Eureka City Council member Austin Allison has started swinging his wrecking ball. He wants to pay Eureka's fire fighters even more. The Humboldt Consequential's post on this is a must read.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Trump: Pot Supporter Proposed For FDA Chief

More good news from the Trump Administration with Jim O'neil being considered to head the Food and Drug Administration:

"O’Neil is not only a strong supporter of legalizing marijuana, he has actively worked towards it as a Board of Directors member for the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, which helped legalized cannabis in California."

The FDA sorely needs someone like this. As far as Trump's nominations so far, I'm not sure if this will nullify his poor choice of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, but it shouldn't make things worse. 

I can't help but wonder where Trump got Oneil's name from?

City of Eureka Goes After Floyd Squires Jr.

Disclosure: I rented my first place up here from Floyd Squires Junior's parents back in the '70s after moving up here. Floyd Jr. used to hire us to work on his properties, painting and whatever. They always treated me nice enough.

The Times- Standard reports on an escalation in the ongoing feud between the City of Eureka and rental landlord Floyd Squires Jr. They finally went ahead and condemned one of his properties on G street that was the scene of a recent shooting:

"“Collectively, the conditions we found there were, in my opinion and the fire marshal’s opinion, immediately dangerous,”

Let's not fool ourselves into thinking this was done in the interests of Squires' tenants. It was done more in the interests of the neighbors. No, those tenants aren't at risk of a house fire for now, but they face the risks of living their lives on the street, assuming they can't find somewhere else to live, and most will admit the Squires rent to people other landlords would rather not.

This seems akin to me to people calling animal control about an animal they think is neglected or abused. Animal Control comes out, removes the animal and takes it to the dog pound. If a home for that animal isn't found soon enough, that animal might be euthanized. And we feel like we're doing that animal a favor by calling Animal Control.

Same sort of thing with the Squires' tenants. We try and make it sound as if we're acting in their best interest by throwing them out on the streets. I'd be surprised if the tenants feel that way.

How to appease the neighbors that might be fed up with both the conditions of the property and the tenants? I don't know, but I recall reading of a landlord of a property down near 8th Street that was sued by neighbors over conditions there and he finally cleaned up the property. Whether that's been tried with the Squires and whether it might work, I don't know, but when Squires' tenants are thrown out, where will they be sleeping next? In your front yard?

Monday, January 23, 2017

I Want Lavabit E-mail

Word is out that Lavabit, the encrypted e-mail system favored by world hero, Ed Snowden, is back up and running. I'd be interested in using it. Not so much because I'm worried someone's snooping my e-mail, but in honor of Ed Snowden. If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me. My way of tossing him a salute, not that he'd ever know.

I followed some links to try and find out how to sign up for it and found this site that says their standard service costs $15.00 a month. Nah, not gonna do it. I guess I'll be like my bum nephew and only use online stuff that's free. Shame on me.

Running On Empty

Interesting table over at lewrockwell.com that might set your mind at ease, or not, when your Low Fuel warning light comes on in your car. It tells how far you can expect to drive after that light comes on.

I can expect to drive 35 to 80 miles in my Ford F-150. That's little comfort as it drives me nuts just having the light on to begin with. Plus, once I hit a quarter tank, the needle seems to drop very quickly toward empty. I'm guessing that has something to do with the shape of the gas tank?

The wife's Hyundai Elantra can expect 30 more miles after the light goes on. Again, little comfort there as I wouldn't be keeping track of the miles after the light goes on.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

How To Stop Robocalls

Ahoy!!! The Sacramento Bee tells us how to stop those annoying robocalls. They point to a free service, nomorobo, that blocks calls if it determines it's a robocall. I must have misread the article as I thought it said AT&T supported nomorobo. When I tried to add my number, it said AT&T didn't support it, but maybe it's our particular type of phone line not supported- they differentiate between Uverse and such. I'll try again later.

They also have a link to the national Do Not Call registry.I think we might already be on that one, but when you try to add your number, they e-mail and let you know if you're already on it. I haven't checked my inbox yet.

The robocalls drive the wife nuts as she seems to feel driven to pick up the phone when it rings. I don't, and generally let the answering machine handle calls. Robocalls seem to usually hang up if they get the answering machine. But, since I've been having so much fun answering the phone with my new greeting: "Ahoy!", I've been grabbing the phone when it rings, too. It's no fun answering with "Ahoy" to a robocall.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Civil Disorder In Eureka

The Lost Coast Outpost reports on an anti- Trump demonstration in Eureka that seems to have gotten out of hand...or did it? I actually heard it first on KMUD radio. Sounded to me like the girl who called KMUD seemed proud of the goings on. Protesters have blocked 4th Street and maybe 5th by the courthouse. Going exactly to plan, I would think.

I'll say (or write) the same thing I wrote when the Occupy d- bags took over the courthouse way back when: It's too bad enough of the townsfolk don't have the courage to take matters into their own hands and go down there and kick some ass...or worse. It's called civil disobedience for a reason, and there are limits, and sometimes consequences, to free speech. 

I'm tired of Eureka Police being put in the position of being the bad guys. Those of us who live here should have the guts to take back our town. I hesitate to write that because I don't know that I have the courage but, while listening to accounts on KMUD, I thought it might be time well spent to go downtown and use a Wrist Rocket ( a heavy duty slingshot), or whatever, to nail some of the protesters. That might teach them that supposed free speech can have its price. Plus, maybe they'll think twice about doing it again.

But, shamefully, I don't have the guts, aside from being too lazy. Hey, I have to wash the dishes. Some of us actually have responsibilities. 

Let the flaming begin!

Trump Redux

Reason magazine has some observations regarding the Trump presidency. This first one tells libertarians why they should be worried about a Trump regime. Second, Nick Gillespie feels we might have a libertarian future whether Trump likes it or not:

Donald Trump is nobody's idea of a libertarian but his presidency provides a tremendous opportunity to advance libertarian policies, outcomes, and aspirations in our politics and broader culture.

Then there's all the gnashing of teeth over Trump's choice for Education Secretary. We've seen some of that here. David Harsanyi explains why school choice is a good thing, especially for minorities, and opposing school choice is immoral.

Want to know how Trump might govern? Anthony Fisher says we need look no further than what Trump wrote in his books.

That should be enough for now. Let's not beat a dead horse.

Addendum: I almost forgot; My internet buddy, Tom Knapp, looks at the "Women's Marches" we're hearing so much about:

 "If Hillary Clinton had won the election and a Men's March on Washington had been called for the day after the inauguration, that event would have been rightly recognized as what this kind of thing is: The most base form of identity politics."

So Long To Botts Dots

The Sacramento Bee tells us CalTrans is going to get rid of Botts Dots- those being the raised plastic bumps between lanes on freeways that alert you if you inadvertently drift into the wrong lane. I'm not sure I've ever seen them- the picture showing them to be white and red. I couldn't figure out how to put a picture of them on this post since Sacbee has them on video. As the wife pointed out when I showed her the picture: "I thought they were yellow". Yep, I always thought those things marking lanes were yellow. Maybe they don't use Botts Dots on 101?

So we'll see how that switch works. The story didn't answer a question I've had for some time: What are those strips CalTrans cuts into the pavement on the right side of the freeway that warn you you're drifting off the right side of the road?. I'm sure most of us have been brought back awake when we run over those things. No getting away from the noise the car makes when you go over them.

Friday, January 20, 2017

LNC Vice Chair: Why I'm Not Marching

A nice statement just released by Libertarian National Committee Vice- Chair, Arvin Vohra, explaining why he's not joining anti- Trump protest marches despite living right where the marches will take place. Glad to see someone pointing out what matters and what doesn't:

"This Saturday, I will not be attending the protest march on Washington, although I live only a few minutes away from that location.

This march suggests that Donald J. Trump's inappropriateness is somehow worse than the government abuses under Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

I won't support that kind of value reversal. I will not engage in the fantasy that idiotic locker room humor is worse than bombing civilians, or hypocritically refusing to pardon people for marijuana use after admitting to marijuana use. I will not pretend that Trump's election antics are worse than warrantless wiretapping, or the Patriot Act, or the Wall Street bailout.

If and when Trump bombs his first wedding or hospital, I will happily march in protest. If and when he refuses to scale back or end the drug war, I will march in protest. If and when he supports a Wall Street bailout, or a program as diseased as Common Core, I'll gladly march. If he wastes money on a wall, I will march. If he refuses to pardon Snowden or dismantle the Patriot Act, I will march. If he creates a Muslim Watch List, I will march.

But this protest is not about that. It is about people acting as if every kind of abuse is fine, except for social rudeness. These are the same people who refused to protest war, the War on Drugs, the Patriot Act, or warrantless surveillance under Obama. They tacitly approved all of those things, and now are further extending that tacit approval in this march.

They are saying that Trump's rude humor is worse than all of that. After all, they didn't lift a finger to oppose those inexcusable actions, but they came in from all over the country to oppose Trump's rudeness.

For a political movement to be taken seriously, it must consider more important issues as...more important. Bill Clinton's continuation of the War on Drugs and signing of the Defense of Marriage act was far worse than sexual infidelity. The fact that the media and public focused on the latter just made them look silly. This march is no different.

I will not support a political ideology that suggests a whiff of sexism or racism is worse than the blatant abuses of government power over the last years. Because when you march against the former, but excuse the latter, that's exactly what you are saying.

I am keenly aware of the political and personal advantages in attending the march. But logic, sanity, and conscience will not permit me to support the fantasy that impolite behavior matters more than blatant government abuse."


Arvin Vohra
Vice-Chair, Libertarian National Committee

Walters: Anti Trump Politicians Playing Trump's Game?

The Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters is one of my favorite political writers if only because he's pretty neutral politically. He just calls it the way he sees it. Today, he takes California politicians who are trying to ride the anti- Trump bandwagon to task, suggesting they're doing pretty much falling in line with him:

"One doubts that Trump is paying any attention to California or its politicians, but if he did, he’d probably be laughing himself silly about how he’s pulled their chain so effectively – and how political media, which intrinsically love conflict, have gone bananas over the supposed war."

Yep. Our state politicians think way too much of themselves. I'd be surprised myself if Trump is paying much attention to them.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/dan-walters/article127598229.html#storylink=cpy

Expand Our Oyster Industry

After reading the Times- Standard story on last night's Harbor District meeting where the district rejected Coast Seafoods' environmental impact report submitted in support of expanding their oyster farms in the bay, I'm still not sure why they rejected it. Maybe simply a procedural issue since one commissioner was absent? The story itself says there was a lot more oysters being raised in the past. I fail to see how more oysters would be a problem now.

Some of you might recall a year or two ago when hysterical environmentalists in Marin County shut down the Drakes Bay Oyster Company because it wasn't deemed natural enough. I'm wondering if maybe the same hysterical big city types are up here trying to do the same thing?

 I see Stan Brandenburg testified in opposition to the expansion. Is he any relation to local gadfly, Sue Brandenburg, who's usually against everything?

Whether it would be profitable to expand the oyster farm is Pacific Seafoods' problem. I fail to see what harm would come from trying. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Trump Inauguration

The Sacramento Bee reports California has the largest block of lawmakers boycotting the inauguration of President- elect Trump, as if that's something to be proud of. I'm not suggesting it's something to be ashamed of but, suffice it to say, let's hope we've heard the last from The Left about how bad conservatives treated Obama since he was elected.

I see on TV NBC and the other networks are already announcing their pending coverage of the inauguration. I don't get that. Politics aside, why would anyone want to watch a stuffy event like an inauguration. I've never been interested enough to watch one. I don't plan on watching this one. I can't help but think I'm not alone in that regard. You'd think the television networks would know nobody really cares about this. Then again, as with most things, television tries to turn events into news.

But maybe I'm wrong. Does anyone else care enough to watch this inauguration? I'm sure a handful will  watch just for any fights that break out. I read something yesterday about progressives recruiting people to attend and disrupt the event. I'll admit I might want to watch those fights myself, but I'm not going to make a point of watching the event because of them.

To gauge interest in the inauguration, I've started the below. Let us all know if you're gonna watch it. I've already voted No:

Will you be watching President Trump's inauguration?

pollcode.com free polls

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Robots= Universal Basic Income?

I haven't written about robotics and artificial intelligence in a while, but I couldn't pass up this article from CBS News about what's going on in Europe. It seems robots are increasingly replacing human workers, especially those in the most menial jobs. What to do when it's more cost effective to hire a robot than pay some bum to sweep a floor? Many in Europe seem to think they should pay the bums to do nothing.

I keep reading bits and pieces about universal basic income with some libertarians seeming to be in favor of it although I never was able to read the arguments in favor. As for me, I wrote here some time ago I wasn't sure there was any alternative of what to do with the unemployed when automation takes over most jobs, short of a final solution type deal where everyone is disposed of with the exception of the handful left with jobs.

I'm not sure I like the idea of it being universal, either, meaning everyone gets paid the same regardless of ability. I don't know I'd have the guts if I was in charge of it but I'd prefer to see people of worth- those who were capable of holding a job- getting paid more than those who aren't capable. Again, not sure if I'd have the guts and I'm pretty sure making those decisions will be part in my future. More likely, I'd be one of those targeted for disposal.

Oh, shame on me. I used the self- checkout at Winco last Sunday.

BATFE To Be Disbanded?

At last some good news from the Republicans and, maybe, the Trump administration: A congressman has introduced legislation that would disband the scandal ridden Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Good news for libertarians, anyway, as most of us feel those substances needn't have their own police force to begin with. 

A hiring freeze will take place first, then current agents will be reassigned to existing federal agencies such as FBI and- although not mentioned in the article-probably the U.S. Marshalls and such.

Finally some progress in downsizing government. Now we'll see if what Reagan said is true: "... a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!"

Let the battle cry for this be...Remember Waco! Let's let the downsizing begin!

More On Life Lock

Interesting comment from that web site that looked at Life Lock. Beware:

Two days ago in reviewing my credit card statement I found a charge for $17.99 from LifeLock Advantage. I never engaged this company. I called them to inquire how on earth they had gotten my credit card number and they would give me no information. They told me they were unable to look up the transaction by the reference number. They asked for the last four digits of my Social Security number, which I did not give them.
I then called my credit card company and told them it was a fraudulent transaction. There were no other fraudulent transactions on my account. H owever, LifeLock had attempted to post another $17.99 transaction which my CC company declined because some number submitted was incorrect. I canceled the card and they are issuing me a new one.
It is extremely disturbing that is supposed identity theft protection company engaged in this fraudulent billing and would give me absolutely no information about it.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Bright Winter Stars

Earth/ Sky News explains why stars seem brighter in the winter time. It has to do with us facing neighboring galaxies and them being closer. I figured it had something to do with atmospheric conditions such as colder air but no mention of that, unless I missed it.

The Future of Obamacare

Someone commented here earlier on that I should be worried over Republican threats to repeal Obamacare. That's a valid concern since my Anthem/Blue Cross health policy comes through Obamacare and, yes, I was concerned. For good reason since I have a chronic and serious illness requiring frequent medical consultation and considerable cost.

This Time magazine article explains the likely Republican moves with Obamacare and, as they've pointed out, it's not a complete shutdown of OC but "repeal and replace" or "repeal and delay". In either case it doesn't appear changes would take place immediately. As the article explains:

"The repeal-and-delay approach would repeal Obamacare as soon as possible, giving Republicans a symbolic victory. But it would delay the effective dates of key aspects of the repeal for a number of years. That way, consumers would not lose coverage abruptly, and lawmakers would not bear the political fallout of constituents’ outrage before the 2018 Congressional midterm elections. Under this scenario, the current system would continue largely as-is for a few years until a replacement plan is passed."

 " The repeal-and-replace route, by contrast, would see Congress repeal Obamacare and pass a replacement bill soon thereafter. At his news conference on Wednesday, Trump spoke in favor of this approach, saying that an Obamacare replacement would come nearly simultaneously with repeal."

What would those replacements look like?

" The proposals would generally favor younger consumers over older consumers—the former would likely pay less for coverage than they currently do, while the latter would pay more. Insurers would also be able to charge women more than men for coverage, a practice that the Affordable Care Act banned. Replacement plans would generally be less friendly toward people with pre-existing conditions."

So, it might be a little worse for people like me. I'll likely pay more, but my premiums have been going up anyway. My main concern is how much costs go up. But it's better than nothing and does put my mind at ease a bit. It looks like for now I just stay the course:

Consumers should take the [incoming] administration at its word that there will be no interruption, and go about their business,” says Dan Mendelson, president of Avalere Health, a health-care consulting firm based in Washington."

I've been fairly content with my Obamacare plan. Even if I wasn't, some libertarians, like to poke fun at those of us on government subsidized health insurance. I have no beef with it, my own case aside. You do what you have to do, and I've reminded my fellow libertarians that LP Presidential candidate, the late Harry Browne, recommended subsidized accounts of private health insurance- which is what Obamacare is- as a way deal with the health insurance issue. Regardless, I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Chinese Smog

NBC News looks at China's horrific smog problem, including pictures that try to tell the story. I've been in Los Angeles back in the '60s on a bad smog day and that seems to pale in comparison to China today. Last time I was in L.A. was during the riots and the air seemed quite clear in comparison to the '60s.

What I don't get is all the Chinese in the pictures wearing dust masks. I don't see how that would help as smog is more chemical based than anything else. I could see it if it was more along the lines of dust. In that case a dust mask might help.

I've also always wondered about authorities telling people to stay inside during severe smog alerts. It would seem to me the air inside comes from outside so what's the difference? Then again, I remember L.A. back in the day with my eyes stinging from smog and it being sometimes hard to breath. But once inside a house, it seemed better. I've since come to think it was the air conditioners that cleaned the air in the homes. The air is run through cooling coils and it condenses the air to water. the pollution going into the condensed water. Makes for a nice air filter. Seemed to work back then, anyway.

The Chinese are going to have to do something to clean their air. They're killing themselves. I'm surprised their government hadn't taken stronger measures as their government has the power to do it. Look how far we've gone in this country cleaning up smog. Wouldn't it be easier with a slightly more authoritarian government than ours?

Then again, that could be easier said than done. I recall reading that something like 6 weeks before the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government pretty much shut down every factory within 100 or so miles of Beijing in order to reduce smog for the Olympics. It didn't seem to do much good.

Life Lock

A commercial on TV last night piqued my interest. Life Lock supposedly monitors your credit card use for illegitimate charges, but also actually helps you out if someone steals your identity. As much as I use my credit and debit cards, I figured it might be prudent to sign up for something like that. It's only $9.99 a month for their cheapest plan.

I was all set to sign up this morning but the wife walked in and complained Life Lock might well be a scam in itself, since you're giving them all the sensitive information about yourself. I'd thought of that, but it still seemed fairly legit. At her request, though, I tried to find some reviews of Life Lock from people that might have used them before. I tried Yelp but came up blank. Then I tried Google and came up with this site that seems pretty informative. They seem to think it's legit but question whether it's worth paying for. That's what I wanted to know.

They point out your chances of being a victim of identity theft are 1 in 15. They then go on to point out Life Lock has had its own share of trouble:

"Yet the company got in trouble about 5 years ago for deceptive advertising and having done, ironically enough, a poor job protecting the info they had on you. They entered into a settlement with the states and the feds and restitution followed.

 Recently, they reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that will see them pay up to $116 million in fines and penalties."

That doesn't look good. They point out you can also do a "credit freeze" which , "... will shut a criminal down cold when they try to apply for new lines of credit in your name." That sounds as if it could be useful. They also seem to recommend Credit Karma which also advertises on TV. I added their app to my cell phone some time ago but haven't used it yet. I think I'll go there now and see how that works and how lousy our credit is now.

Addendum: Just tried CreditKarma and it says my credit is excellent. Kinda strange, though, as they asked who I owed money to and the options I was given for answers weren't any business I was aware of.

Any of you had any experiences, good or bad, with these credit protection outfits?

Beach Hazard Today

Here's the link to the Weather Channel's beach hazard alert for today. Stay away from the water please.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Exorcist Priest Dead

This is the fist I've heard that the real life priest that the movie The Exorcist was based on had died...under peculiar circumstances according to the Daily Mail. That was back in 1999, so nothing really new. I'm just surprised I hadn't heard of it earlier. Looks like a documentary will be coming out over this, available on Sunday.

Find Anyone?

The Sacramento Bee asks if this site, Family Tree Now, makes it too easy to find someone. It does seem to work and, unlike similar sites, didn't ask me for money to complete the search. Searching for myself, it listed places I've lived all the way back to when I lived on Beechwood Drive in Cutten. Also had the wife listed as a relative, but didn't have my brother and sister. Might be a fun thing to play around with but many seem concerned, such as the girl quoted:

“I have a stalker, and my ... address and phone number are listed on this site,” one wrote. “It is a danger to many in society. As if i didn’t have difficulty sleeping before! Doors double locked. Thanks family tree ... this might be the last thing i ever say.

I appreciate her concerns but am not sure what to say to those who might want such sites made illegal. It does seem to me in this day and age if someone wants to find you, there's more than enough ways to do it. One web site might make it easier, but I'm not sure it makes that much of a difference. After all, all these sites do is compile information that's available elsewhere.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article126534709.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, January 13, 2017

Galt's Gulch Online

I stumbled on to this Galt's Gulch Online site via Facebook. I've added it to my blog so I can check it out and see if it's somewhere I want to hang out. The Libertarian Party Facebook pages drive me nuts, but this doesn't look too bad from what I've seen.

For those that don't know, Galt's Gulch was the place where all the wise and rich men hid out when society collapsed after Altas Shrugged. An old Ayn Rand thing you'll mostly hear about from libertarians, and in negative terms from the progressives, of course.

Watch This Year's Second Space Walk

Earth/ Sky News tells us this year's second space walk outside the International Space Station is taking place from 7 to 11am Eastern Time today. That means now, if I have the times right- Pacific Time being four hours earlier than Eastern (or is it three hours earlier?). You can watch it online on NASA TV here. I can't since I keep getting some message I need an update to my Adobe player, or whatever it is, and I can't seem to update successfully. 

Addendum: Silly me; I mentioned this to the wife when she got up and she suggested maybe we could watch it on our regular television since we have the NASA channel. Yep, that works, and the spacewalk is on our TV as I type this.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Story About Seal Team 6

I found this story linked to at antiwar.com yesterday something I just couldn't put down, to put it in conventional reading terms. The Crimes of Seal Team 6, by its title, certainly has the intent of putting members of the team in a bad light- those crimes generally having to do with mutilation of enemy corpses. I didn't have a problem with that, though, even if true. It covers many of their more widely known operations, including first hand accounts of Bin Laden's killing.

I suppose you'd have to have interest in military history and stories of war as I do to find this interesting, or maybe not? A fun story for me, regardless. I wish there was more of it to read. 

Addendum: In the Ozy mail today is a story about a SEAL who is working as a technical consultant for the new TV series Six. Short read.

Sacbee: Drought Over For Northern CA

The Sacramento Bee reports that most of Northern California seems to be over its drought:

"The U.S. Drought Monitor reported Thursday that 42 percent of California is now considered out of drought conditions. That includes practically all of Northern California, including the Sacramento region."

Congrats to everyone who has been driving their cars. We likely owe this to you. Now, if it would just warm up...

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article126087609.html#storylink=cpy

Our Overreaching Adult Protective Services

The North Coast Journal reports on an appalling local case where our county's Adult Protective Services is accused of interfering with the End of Life directive of a dying man. Apparently the man, feeling his end of life was near, filled out a directive he didn't want medical care that wouldn't cure him if it only continued to just to keep him alive.

His wife and everyone in the family seemed happy with that, but Adult Protective Services got involved somehow and then seems to have made up claims the man had been, and was being abused. As the article points out, Adult Protective Services seemed the odd man out in the situation: 

"Everybody here is on board except an outside third party, and they're not even family members,"

The man in question has since died. The APS workers just walked away and are thus likely to do this again. They deserve more sanction than simply being berated by courts. They shouldn't be able to just walk away.

I'm approached by hospital staff to complete an End of Life Declarations, or whatever it's called, every time I'm anywhere close to the hospital. This story encourages me to actually fill one out next time, although it also shows those declarations don't mean much when government rears its ugly head and gets involved.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Signs of Trees Getting Ready To Fall

I suppose this would seem common sense to most of us, but some of the warning signs might not be noticeable on a forest floor. With falling trees in the news recently, The Sacramento Bee warns us of some things to look for when trees are going to fall:

There are warning signs (before a fall),”. “We’ll see cracks in the soil around the base of the tree; that means something’s happening (with the roots below). Or the tree will have a little lean to its trunk, and it starts leaning more.
“You may see the ground raise up around the base of the tree,” he added. “When the wind is blowing, you can see the ground actually move. That’s scary.”

Fortunately, we just have one chestnut tree on the south side of our house to worry about, but I remember a big windstorm back around '76 when I was living on a ranch out in Maple Creek. My cabin had big pine trees right next to it. I could hear trees snapping and falling up and down the mountain and was of the mind it wasn't if the trees near my cabin fell, but when. I was scared to death, but the big trees I was worried about never fell. The tips the Bee gives us wouldn't have helped as the trees I saw next day that had fallen had snapped off a few feet above the ground and fell over. No roots involved.

As is obvious, I survived with only a story to tell.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/entertainment/living/home-garden/article125937214.html#storylink=cpy

Hospital Grades

Stumbled on to this hospital grading web site on another libertarian oriented blog. Here's the results for the hospitals within 50 miles of zip code 95501. For some reason that hospital in Fortuna is left out.

I suppose such things are nice to know, but I'm not sure I put that much value on ratings like this. If a certain hospital regularly got Fs, that might be cause for concern. I just seems to me, shit happens in hospitals and you can't always cover all the bases.

I spent some time last year in St. Joseph's. My personal annoyance with some things at St. Joes aside, it seemed a fine hospital to me.

That Obama Speech

President Obama gave his farewell speech last night. Believe it or not, I watched. Heck, nothing else on TV. I thought he did a nice job and have always felt him a good public speaker- I'll give credit where credit is due. 

I do wonder how some others fared with the speech? I knew Bill, over at Dreaming Up Daily, would be watching as he's idolized Obama from the get- go. No doubt in my mind he was likely bawling his eyes out over the whole thing. But, no evidence of it on his blog.  How about the rest of you? Any of you have to run to the store for a new box of Kleenex?

Anyway, that's the end of Obama's presidential activities, but we haven't seen the last of him.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Should There Be "Stupid Fines"

Some in Sonoma County are expressing discontent over careless actions by those who have been warned yet still driving across flooded roads and end up having to be rescued by authorities, including local fire departments and the Sheriff's helicopter. Some say those careless folks should be fined to pay for their rescue. I'm not so sure, although I agree, at least in part, but where do you draw the line?

We see time and again instances of people disregarding warnings and getting into situations where rescuers end up putting their lives on the line to save them. One that comes to mind for me is high surf warnings on our jetties, yet we see people out there romping around in front of large waves. Granted, I can't recall any recent rescues out there but there have been some in the past, one being some college students who drove a car out on the south jetty during high surf and had their car washed into the channel. One of those kids drowned. Another managed to make it back onto the rocks.

So, no fines in that case since nobody had to rescue them. Plus, I don't think warnings had been posted in that instance, either. Maybe common sense should have sufficed as a warning but, for legal purposes, it would seem a sign warning of dangerous conditions should be available.

I'd like to see the Coast Guard post signs on access points to the north jetty when we have high surf warnings. I'm almost of the mind that if someone goes past the signs designating a dangerous area, they should be ticketed for that alone. But while that might save people from getting washed into the sea, it seems a bit too nannyish for me. If they get washed into the channel and survive after being pulled out of the water, a fine seems appropriate since they had fair warning.

There's any number of other situations in which fines are appropriate. I was surprised to read in the comments to the Press- Democrat article that there's insurance that can be bought to help pay for those who require helicopter rescue from situations they've gotten themselves into in the outback.

My main concern is if those fines end up considered a source of revenue for agencies and end up being raised simply to bring in more money. That, and the tendency to increase restrictions once we have them in place. Then we might see signs everywhere warning us about the danger we face in driving and having to pay when we get in what might seem an unavoidable accident.

Am I being paranoid about that? I don't think so, because when you give the government a hammer, it doesn't take long for everything to look like a nail.

State Replaces Parents In California

Many parents are rightfully concerned about a bill introduced recently in the California legislature. SB18 by Doctor Richard Pan requires "all children have "“parents, guardians, or caregivers who act in their best interest” and to “form healthy attachments with adults responsible for their care and well-being." Does that really need to be said? That might not sound too ominous to Democrats who have total faith in The State, but it's a real concern when that State wants to let itself decide which basic parental decisions are right and good for the child. Never mind we already have laws of that regard to a great extent.

Other parts of the bill seem of even more concern:

It also stipulates that the child is to “live in a safe and healthy environment

We can just imagine what will be deemed a safe environment by The State. After all, we know progressives think eating red meat is unhealthy and contributes to global warming. Will children be taken from homes where red meat is eaten since it's deemed unhealthy? What about homes when parents smoke tobacco or pot? Will kids be removed?

It's frightening to think about the slippery slope this law leads to. Perhaps even more frightening that the Democrats think they can easily introduce such a bill and no one will resist. 

Seem far fetched? I don't think so. It's not unlike every other stupid law Democrats make into law. They pass it, figuring they'll deal with the fallout later. Bad law introduced by bad people. No question about it.