Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Pug Report: ‘What’s with Millie? We had to take a new route today!’

CapturekkOkay. Something is up.

After two years of walking the same route every day, Millie refused to go that way today! Say What? She was fine with going in the opposite direction – and we did end up taking a good walk in new territory, but that’s not the point.

Why? Is that “Supermoon” today/tonight a Bad Moon rising?

 “Even more than a normal full Moon, this “super Moon” gets a bad reputation for triggering natural disasters thanks to stories posted on the Internet. NASA says the facts don’t back that accusation. They point to the “super Moon” of March 1983 and the “almost super Moon” of December 2008 that resulted in no natural disasters occurring. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)  states that lunar gravity at perigee will only pull tide water nor more than an inch or so higher though local geography could result in a pull of up to six inches. That may be alarming if you’re an insect living on the beach, but it shouldn’t be to humans.” Source

I have to admit that I’m still mystified by her behavior. What was suddenly different today? Or, was it something simple like just being tired of the same old walk and she opted for a change? Maybe I’m wasting my time wondering what a pug is thinking. Especially a female pug! Like her human counterparts, she reserves the right to change her mind…anytime.

Now if it wasn’t for this guy’s prediction: “Earthquake forcaster Jim Berkland warns of a 'high risk' seismic window and potential for a massive quake poised to strike somewhere in North America in between the dates of March 19th and 26th,” I’d be fine and would think no more on the subject. Does Millie know something I don’t? I guess I’ll have to wait and see.



Humboldt Bloggers should thank Sal at Planet Tapperass for his clever introduction of their websites

Gotta hand it to Sal at Planet Tapperass

This is his second year of introducing Humboldt Blogs in a quasi-competition based on mystery methodologies. It’s a great way for outsiders to get glimpses of our Humboldt Blogisphere

If you haven’t already checked out Sal’s website, then please do. We need more humor in this world and it’s a lot of good fun.

Thanks again Sal, and maybe next year I’ll get in the finals!

image source

Utah Rep. Mike Lee: Federal Child Labor Laws Are "Unconstitutional"

Utah Rep. Mike Lee: Federal Child Labor Laws Are

First Missouri considers a bill that would repeal child labor laws in the state, calling it an interference with how parents choose to raise their kids. 

Now freshman Republican Congressman Mike Lee of Utah is lecturing that federal child labor laws are unconstitutional, and it really should be up to states to pass rules.

Via Raw Story:

"Congress decided it wanted to prohibit that practice, so it passed a law. No more child labor. The Supreme Court heard a challenge to that law, and the Supreme Court decided a case in 1918 called Hammer v. Dagenhardt," Lee said. "In that case, the Supreme Court acknowledged something very interesting -- that, as reprehensible as child labor is, and as much as it ought to be abandoned -- that's something that has to be done by state legislators, not by Members of Congress."

Lee's reasoning was that labor and manufacturing are "by their very nature, local activities" and not "interstate commercial transactions." He added: "This may sound harsh, but it was designed to be that way. It was designed to be a little bit harsh."

The key Congressional law that addresses child labor is the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which placed a series of restrictions against the employment of people under 18 in the public and private sectors.

The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the law in the 1941 United States v. Darby Lumber decision, overturning Hammer, on the basis of the constitutional authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce. It has hardly run into controversies since.”

Is Lee's lecture on giving child labor laws back to the states an opening for more states to consider repealing their own laws, and allow young children into the workforce?  Or is the GOP simply back to calling everything they don't like -- unemployment insurance, health care, public education, and apparently federal law -- unconstitutional?    VIA Care2

A Passion for Skateboarding: Creative Art Sculptures by Haroshi

If you have never heard about a Japanese wood sculptor named Haroshi, then read on:

“As a creator of amazingly beautiful wooden sculptures out of old, crashed and broken skateboard decks, Haroshi passed for a man of considerable resourcefulness.

His multicolored and meticulously sculpted art pieces simply astound with lifelike affinity, so in whichever way it’s even possible to mistake them for being real! In his works he stacks many layers with all piece elements being connected either in their original form or in shapes to form wooden mosaic, dots, and pixels. After that they’re cut down to size, shaven to get rid of the debris, and afterwards coated with a final glossy finish. And with a long-term passion for skateboarding, Haroshi even puts a broken metal skateboard piece in the center of each sculpture to give soul to the statue. You’d better see this bewildering craftsmanship and planning involved with the unrolling showcase:” GO HERE TO SEE MORE        Photo source

Enron whistleblower gets $1.1 million from IRS

Anonymous tipster alerted the feds to $600 million tax-evasion scheme. Yes, the bounty is taxable.

“A whistleblower who exposed a tax fraud scheme by Enron and Wall Street firms has been awarded a $1.1 million reward by the Internal Revenue Service.

The payout came from the new IRS Whistleblower Office, but was made under prior, less generous guidelines. Those older rules, which still apply in some instances, call for a reward of up to 15% of the money that the IRS recovers based on the information.

The whistleblower office was revamped in 2006. Now when whistleblower information about alleged tax cheating leads to IRS collection of unpaid taxes and the subsequent recovery amount exceeds $2 million, the whistleblower can pocket up to 30% of the recovered money.”  Rest of Story here

Expert explores possibilities: What was the Sphinx?


There has never been a satisfactory answer to what the Sphinx actually is or was.

“Anyone who goes to Giza can see for himself or herself that there is something ‘wrong’ with the Sphinx. It only takes an instant. The body is gigantic and the head is just a pimple. The Egyptians never did anything like that, they were always meticulous about proportions in their art. So how is it that we have this monster with a tiny head sitting there in the sand, then?”

There are several other things wrong with the Sphinx. They are: GO HERE

Friday, March 18, 2011

Corporations Versus Individuals: The End of the Left/Right Paradigm

Looks like the New World Order isn’t going to be a global Big Socialist Government (unless, perhaps, you count corporate socialism).

“This may not be a brilliant insight, but it is surely an overlooked one. It is now an Individual vs. Corporate debate – and the Humans are losing.


• Many of the regulations that govern energy and banking sector were written by Corporations;

• The biggest influence on legislative votes is often Corporate Lobbying;

• Corporate ability to extend copyright far beyond what original protections amounts to a taking of public works for private corporate usage;

• PAC and campaign finance by Corporations has supplanted individual donations to elections;

• The individuals’ right to seek redress in court has been under attack for decades, limiting their options.

• DRM and content protection undercuts the individual’s ability to use purchased content as they see fit;

• Patent protections are continually weakened. Deep pocketed corporations can usurp inventions almost at will;

• The Supreme Court has ruled that Corporations have Free Speech rights equivalent to people; (So much for original intent!)

None of these are Democrat/Republican conflicts, but rather, are corporate vs. individual issues.

For those of you who are stuck in the old Left/Right debate, you are missing the bigger picture.

Excerpts above from Barry Ritholtz at this website

Oxycodone on Ice?: Ice cream seller accused of dealing drugs

Momma watch your babies…

“A New York man has been arrested for allegedly selling illegal prescription drugs from his ice cream truck, making more than $1 million in a year, prosecutors said.

Louis Scala sold ice cream to children from his "Lickity Split" truck and would allegedly make stops at prearranged spots where customers knew they could buy pills, according to the New York Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor.

Scala, 40, is accused of selling more than 40,000 prescription oxycodone pills from his ice cream truck in the borough of Staten Island and heading up a 30-person drug ring that included more than two dozen runners to fill fake prescriptions, prosecutors said.

Another suspect, Nancy Wilkins, is accused of using her position as an assistant at a Manhattan orthopedic office to steal blank prescription pads and allegedly sell them for $100 a page, prosecutors said.

The phony prescriptions would be filled by runners who would be paid in cash or in pills, they said.

The ring earned more than $1 million in the past year, sometimes charging up to $20 for a single pill.”

Read the rest of the story here.

In Japan, the Mormon network gathers up the flock

The only thing that rivals the Mormon church’s ability to spread the word is its ability to cope with emergencies.

Within 36 hours of the earthquake striking off the coast of Sendai on March 11, the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that all 638 of its missionaries in the country -- 342 Americans, 216 Japanese and 80 from other nations – were safe.

Within a few days, the church also had accounted for all but about 1,000 of its 125,000 members in Japan.

Photo - Fukuoka Japan Temple is the 88th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints        

Full Story

Experts say ‘Don’t worry’ as tiny amounts of Japan's radiation reachs California

First readings are 'about a billion times beneath levels that would be health threatening'

Call me paranoid, but I think our media is covering up some information about what’s really happening, while spoon-feeding us facts very slowly.

That part about “first readings” has sinister implications for the future. Maybe it’s just me, but I have an uneasy feeling that before this crisis is under control there will be health-threatening levels of radiation hitting up and down the entire West Coast.

Forget ‘Bad Moon rising’: It's a 'Supermoon' rising, the biggest in 18 years

It'll hit closest point to Earth of year Saturday, bigger and brighter than ever

“Thanks to a fluke of orbital mechanics that brings the moon closer to Earth than it has been in more than 18 years, the biggest full moon of 2011 will occur on Saturday, leading some observers to dub it a "supermoon."  Full Story

PHOTO - The dazzling full moon sets behind the Very Large Telescope in Chile's Atacama Desert in this photo released June 7, 2010, by the European Southern Observatory. The moon appears larger than normal because of an optical illusion of perspective

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Back in the USA: Nuclear industry lobbyists' clout felt on Hill

Steny Hoyer, Fred Upton and Henry Waxman are shown in a composite. | AP Photos

Nuke lobbyists clutter the halls of Congress like hyenas ready to spring into action if any legislation results from Japan’s Nuke crisis.

Twist this senator’s arm, pull that one’s finger. It’s shameful how some lawmakers are being lavished with thousands of dollars to turn their head the other way when it comes to the Nuke industry’s practices. 

                             Hoyer (left), Upton and Waxman have all accepted donations from the industry. AP Photos

“Facing its biggest crisis in 25 years, the U.S. nuclear power industry can count on plenty of Democratic and Republican friends in both high and low places.

During the past election cycle alone, the Nuclear Energy Institute and more than a dozen companies with big nuclear portfolios have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions to lawmakers in key leadership slots and across influential state delegations.

The donations and lobbying funds came at a critical moment for the nuclear industry as its largest trade group and major companies pushed for passage of a cap-and-trade bill.

While that effort failed, the money is sure to keep doors open on Capitol Hill as lawmakers consider any response to the safety issues highlighted by multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns in Japan in the aftermath of last week’s monster earthquake and tsunami.”   Full Story

Thoughts on Japan’s triple crisis, what other bloggers are saying about it, and how to maintain some normalcy in these trying times

I’m finding that Japan’s crisis is overshadowing everything else around me.

 Suddenly the rest of the news in the world and nation seems irrelevant. Everywhere I look on TV, and in the blogs, there’s something about what’s happening in Japan and anything remotely related to it.

That’s very understandable. We may be standing on the brink of a disaster that will make all other recorded disasters pale in comparison. The radioactivity levels escaping into the atmosphere, even as I write this, are spiking. No one knows for sure how high they are and we can’t trust the Japanese government or the company that owns the stricken reactors, or the world press – for 100% accurate information.

I remember the Cuban missile crisis and the run on supplies in stores. Even my normally unflappable father went to the nearest grocery story and stocked up on water and canned goods.

The atmosphere was a lot like it is now with the panic run on Iodine (for more information go here.) The same uncertainty. The same lack of accurate reporting. The same suspicions that we have now. The only exception is there’s more access to news sources worldwide to the average American today because of the Internet. (PHOTO - Empty shelves at a supermarket in Hiraizumi in Iwate prefecture.)

Humboldt bloggers who normally talk about all things Humboldt, are now covering the unfolding events in Japan as well as any news source you can go to. Here’s several good examples; Redheaded Blackbelt; Tom Seaborn Blog; and SoHum ParlanceII. I’ve been posting, off-and-on, about Japan’s triple crisis, but part of me has been thinking, “I need to get on with my life. I can’t do anything about what’s happening, so why stress myself out over it?”

The other part of me, the journalist, can’t get enough information on the subject and I’ve been reading headlines from around the world from the moment I wake up, till I retire at night.

Today, I’ve decided to ratchet my Japan crisis reading down. Just a few headlines and maybe an hour of news on the boob tube at 6:00 p.m. It would stress me out if I didn’t know what was going on. Not that I really have all the facts, but anything on the subject is better than nothing.

(PHOTO - An official checks a man at a radiation screening center in Koriyama, some 60 km away from the Fukushima nuclear facilities, on March 17)

Meanwhile, for those who have just been glued to the events in Japan, there’s some other pretty serious stuff going down regarding Libya! In shift, US now urges airstrikes on Libya (US urges UN to approve Libya airstrikes, no-fly zone) If we go though with the No-Fly Zone it’s an act of War!

 That’s right. The last thing in the world our nation needs is another OIL WAR!

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking to lawmakers in recent weeks, has cautioned a no-fly zone would be a risky operation requiring air strikes to cripple local air defenses. A draft U.N. Security Council resolution is going to be voted on today at 6 p.m. ET.

UPDATE 6:15 PST UN OKs 'all necessary measures,' no-fly zone to protect Libyans

This can’t be good. I’m not surprised however. Big Oil (draped in an American flag) will do anything to protect it’s worldwide assets. 

Last known photo of missing New York Times photographers

PHOTO - New York Times photographers Tyler Hicks (right, in glasses) and Lynsey Addario (far left), run for cover during a bombing run by Libyan government planes at a checkpoint near the oil refinery of Ras Lanuf on Friday, Mar. 11. The other photojournalists pictured, starting from second left are John Moore of Getty Images, Holly Pickett and Philip Poupin. Hicks and Addario, along with NYT correspondents Stephen Farrell and Anthony Shadid, were reported missing near lines of advancing Gadhafi forces two days ago, the NYT announced on Wednesday. Paul Conroy / Reuters

Does it make it easier reading or viewing the rest of the madness going on in this world? No. But it’s necessary (for people like me) in order to keep a perspective on what’s happening all over this planet.

In my overview, I try to balance the negative with the positive news – because both are always happening somewhere. With that in mind, here’s some stories that might even bring you a smile:

 This hapless sheep has become a real life ‘Ram-bo’ after inadvertently abseiling down a hill when its horn became snagged on an electricity wire.

I’m happy to report he wasn’t reduced to roast ram and walked away from this experience.

Read the whole story here. 

Ireland Exposed! St. Patrick Was Really French -

Erin say what?

St. Patrick may be the patron saint of Ireland... but he never even set foot on the Emerald Island until he was 16, and he was dragged there kicking and screaming.


1. Sailor fighting U.S. Navy discharge after getting caught in bed with another male sailor says he's not gay -- they just fell asleep watching "The Vampire Diaries." Dude, you need to stop talking

2. Tennessee would like its own currency. But is meth a stable enough standard?

3. St Patrick's diet similar to today's health foods

4. Huge lobster saved from the pot

Why do hangovers seem so much worse as we get older?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

We all know that means it’s a day for green beer and cabbage. There’ll be parties in bars and on the streets. Better wear green today or get pinched (where did this ritual get started?).

“Sometime tomorrow, around the time your alarm clock rings, you will hate yourself for trying to keep up with your college self this St. Patrick's Day. You used to be able to bounce right back from hangovers; now, if you have more than two pints of Guinness tonight you know you'll feel it in the morning. What happened?

It's not your imagination. Our bodies really do start to lose the capability to process booze as we get older, an alcohol expert explains.”  Full Story

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

EPA adds seven more monitors, boosts radiation-sniffing system

Federal agencies are beefing up their radiation-monitoring capabilities at home and abroad, even as they insist that significant amounts of fallout won’t waft from Japan onto U.S. territory.

At home, the Environmental Protection Agency said it's adding seven monitors in Alaska, Hawaii and Guam to its RadNet radiation-tracking system, which operates about 100 air-sniffing stations nationwide. Putting in those extra stations "allows us to gather data from a position closer to Japan," EPA said in an online question-and-answer guide.

Looking beyond America's borders, the U.S. Air Force is sending out a high-tech aircraft to sniff the air over Japan for radiation. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration are also sending experts to Japan to help counter the growing crisis at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant complex.

The NRC and the NNSA have teams who track how hazardous materials spread through the atmosphere, based on computer modeling and other methods. It was the NRC's revised analysis that led to today's advisory telling Americans to evacuate the area within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the Fukushima reactors, or stay indoors if they can't get out of the area.

White House spokesman Jay Carney acknowledged that the NRC's advice goes far beyond what the Japanese government is telling its own citizens — that is, to keep indoors within a 19-mile (30-kilometer) radius of the plant.

"The advice the Japanese government is giving — based on information it has — is different from the advice that we would be giving if this incident were happening in the United States of America," Carney said. "It is not about the quality of information. It is about the standards set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission here in the United States and the kind of advice it would be giving should this incident happen in the United States."

For what it's worth, the NRC calls for protective action when projected doses exceed 10 millisieverts (1 rem) or 50 millisieverts (5 rem) to the thyroid. Radiation levels at the damaged plants rose as high as 400 millisieverts per hour.

How the calculations are made and the rest of the story.

A weak Japanese government is out of the information loop –company controls media releases

Companies controlling the media. Sound familiar? BP basically tried to pull the same trick after the DeepWater Horizon disaster – and succeeded to a point.

Flaws in Japan’s leadership deepen sense of crisis

No strong political class has emerged to take the place of bureaucrats and corporations


“Left-leaning news media outlets were long skeptical of nuclear power and its backers, and the mutual mistrust led power companies and their regulators to tightly control the flow of information about nuclear operations so as not to inflame a broad spectrum of opponents that include pacifists and environmentalists.

“It’s a Catch-22,” said Kuni Yogo, a nuclear power planner at Japan’s Science and Technology Agency.

He said that the government and Tokyo Electric Power, or Tepco, the operator of the troubled nuclear plant, “try to disclose only what they think is necessary, while the media, which has an antinuclear tendency, acts hysterically, which leads the government and Tepco to not offer more information.”

The wariness between the public and the nuclear industry and its regulators has proven to be costly during this nuclear emergency. As the problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant unfolded, officials from Tepco and the Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency have at times provided inconsistent figures or played down the risks to the reactors and the general public. No person from either side has become the face of the rescue effort.

Politicians, relying almost completely on Tepco for information, have been left to report what they are told, often in unconvincing fashion.”  Full Story

FULL STORY       Image source

Talk about Tsunamis: Lost city of Atlantis believed found off Spain

Archaeologists and geologists use imagery to find site ravaged by tsunami

Image: Atlantis

With all the talk about tsunami’s right now, I thought this news story seemed appropriate to share.

The tsunami in this article went 60 miles inland!


“A U.S.-led research team may have finally located the lost city of Atlantis, the legendary metropolis believed swamped by a tsunami thousands of years ago, in mud flats in southern Spain.

"This is the power of tsunamis," head researcher Richard Freund told Reuters.” FULL STORY HERE.

Conference on Future of Marijuana Reform in California set March 19


"Next Steps for Marijuana Reform in California," is a day-long gathering of marijuana reform advocates.

In the wake of Proposition 19's remarkably strong showing at the polls last year, this conference will address ongoing efforts to end failed marijuana prohibition in California, steps to reform the state's medical marijuana laws, and priorities for marijuana reform in the coming years.

The conference is presented by California NORML, Drug Policy Alliance, Marijuana Policy Project, Americans for Safe Access, and VibeNation MultiMedia. Confirmed participants include leaders of the Proposition 19 campaign and other ballot initiative proponents, Latino Voters League, California NAACP, United Food and Commercial Workers, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and California Church Impact as well as political consultants, attorneys, medical marijuana advocates, and public officials.

The event is open to the public, and the audience will have the opportunity to comment and weigh in on competing proposals. A party and reception, featuring live music, other entertainment and refreshments, will be held at the Montalban Theater immediately following the conference until 10 pm.

The conference follows up the sold out "Next Steps" conference in Berkeley in January (

What: "Next Steps for Marijuana Reform in California"

When: Saturday, March 19th, 9 am to 6 pm

Where: Ricardo Montalban Theater, 1615 Vine St., Hollywood


Conference Schedule:

Admission: $20 for the conference; $20 for the reception. A $30 discounted ticket for both events is available online in advance only.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ask yourself – ‘Why is there no looting going on in Japan?’

People walk along a flooded street in Ishimaki City, Miyagi Prefecture in Northern Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area.

I can’t help thinking about natural disasters in America and what usually follows in their wake. A lawless atmosphere that includes looting.

How has Japan managed to maintain order in the aftermath of last week's earthquake and tsunami?

The chaos and theft that have followed many earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis have been noticeably absent in the wake of Japan's 8.9-magnitude quake. Instead, people have formed long, orderly lines outside grocery stores, where employees try to fairly distribute limited supplies of food and water. "Looting simply does not take place in Japan," says Gregory Pflugfelder, an expert in Japanese culture at Columbia University, as quoted by CNN. "I'm not even sure if there's a word for it that is as clear in its implications as when we hear 'looting.'" How has Japan managed to avoid this common after-effect of disaster?

Flooded Streets in Ishimaki City (Kyodo Kyodo/Reuters)

PHOTO - People walk along a flooded street in Ishimaki City, Miyagi Prefecture in Northern Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami struck the area.

Japan isn't superior, just different: “Japanese people are "taught that conformity and consensus are virtues," says James Picht at The Washington Times. To Americans, who prize individualism, "those virtues sound almost offensive." In normal times, "concerns about appearance and obligation" may be stifling, but in adversity they may be what trumps "the urge to smash and grab." Japanese culture isn't "superior," it's just "well suited to maintaining public order immediately after a major disaster."   STORY HERE

New Study Says Gay Families More Accepted Than Single Moms

Image: Christopher Green, left, and Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, show with their twins Beckham and JuliaPew study find Americans are split evenly overall on accepting 'non-traditional families' but disparage single moms

“When Steve Pougnet was sworn in as mayor of Palm Springs, Calif., in 2007, his husband, Christopher Green, was at his side. In Pougnet's arms was his then 2-year-old son, Beckham, while Green held the other twin, Julia.

It was a moment neither man could have imagined possible when they met 19 years ago. Even then, they knew they someday wanted to have children, but they didn’t know if it would be possible and couldn’t be sure how their family would be viewed if they did.”

PHOTO - Christopher Green, left, and Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, right, shown with their 5-year-old twins Beckham and Julia, say gay families have become more public in recent years. When they first began talking about having children 19 years ago, “we didn’t see any gay couples with kids on the streets,” Pougnet said.


Bottled water largely unmonitored - flush your habit and turn the tap

Image: Discarded water bottles

Bottled water? That's so '80s.

The $14.4 billion bottled-water market has come under fire for being environmentally incorrect as those discarded plastic containers keep piling up in landfills.

Meanwhile, decades of marketing that touted costly bottled water as cleaner, healthier and better tasting than tap water turned out to be a lot of hype. Not only is most good-old-fashioned tap water safe and clean, experts say, but swearing off the bottle also saves you a bundle.

Here's how to turn on the tap and let the savings pour in — without sacrificing flavor: Full Story

Monday, March 14, 2011

‘Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day’ slated for March 30th

vets logo

I’d like to remind my readers that March 30th is the 2nd Annual “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” for all Vietnam Veterans in California.

The following is a list of local cities that will be recognizing this law and honoring Vietnam veterans prior to March 30th:

The meetings will be held at each city hall, and the County Supervisor’s chambers.

The public is encouraged to attend and show their support for the men and women who served during a difficult time in our nation’s history:

   City of Arcata - March 16th at 6:00 p.m.

   City of Eureka - March 21st at 6;00 p.m.

   City of Fortuna - March 21st at 6:00 p.m.

   City of Rio Dell - TBA

   Humboldt County Board of Supervisors - March 22nd at 9:00 a.m.

After March 30th – The City of Ferndale will present a proclamation on April 7th.

On September 25, 2009, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, joined by Assemblyman Paul Cook and WHVVD founder Jose G. Ramos, signed AB 717, making it a law.

  According to latest veteran census statistics, there are an estimated 3,300 Vietnam Era veterans living in Humboldt County. For more information, or updates, contact Carl Young at

Nuclear industry vows that lessons from Japan will make reactors 'even safer'

“Two days after the earthquake and tsunami pushed Japan into a nuclear emergency, the leading trade and lobbying group for the worldwide nuclear power industry has outlined its position on the future of nuclear energy: “When we fully understand the facts surrounding the event in Japan, we will use those insights to make nuclear energy even safer.”

The Nuclear Energy Institute posted 19 questions and answers on Sunday, apparently intended to reassure the public, the financial markets and legislators that "public support for nuclear power should not decline dramatically.”   FULL STORY

Sunday, March 13, 2011

As It Stands: Recognizing when not to 'die' over an issue

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 03/13/2011 01:27:28 AM PST

Have you ever heard the phrase, “It's not worth dying for?” Basically, it means there's no use getting stressed out over things when you're the one who will suffer.

Not that politician who angered you. Not that jerk who cut you off on the freeway. Not that clown who claimed to be pious but was actually a child molester. You're the one who will suffer the consequences of increased blood pressure or heart attack when your anger gets the best of you.

I had to remind myself of that when I heard the Supreme Court's decision to allow the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) to continue picketing Army funerals. Watching that hate group taunt the families of dead American servicemen on TV practically sent me through the roof!

For days, I fumed over the decision, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was the only decision the justices could make. Free speech was challenged and had to be upheld, regardless of how hateful that speech was. It still hit me hard.

As a Vietnam veteran (Army) I looked at the decision with biased eyes. Gut reaction. Those fallen men and women were my brothers and sisters, and the WBC is allowed to mock their deaths. To disrupt a sacred ritual of comfort for the living over their loss. How wrong was that?

Matthew Snyder was killed in Iraq in 2006 and his funeral was picketed by Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church, Albert Snyder, Matthew's father, told Katie Couric on CBS News.

He also said, “When the government won't do anything about it, and the courts give us no remedy, then people are going to start taking matters into their own hands. And believe me, someone is going to get hurt. And when the blood starts flowing, let it be on the Supreme Court Justices' hands.”

I feel Albert Snyder's pain. I didn't lose a son but I felt like the whole world was turned upside down, and wrong was right. The bad guys won. Chaos was creeping nearer. Then I heard Tom Brokaw say something that really struck a chord with me. He mentioned the veteran groups that were attending military funerals to shield the families from Phelps and his minions.

If anything, the WBC has caused attendance to increase at military funerals across the nation. The fallen are actually getting more recognition for their sacrifices than before the WBC started their vile campaign against them.

For years, I've read about low attendance at military funerals. They even had a hard time finding people to play taps and used tape recordings instead. The services were generally confined to immediate family and friends, in spite of being open to the public.

Look at what's happening now. Hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of strangers are going to military funerals to show their respect and solidarity against those who would profane such a sacred event. I wouldn't be surprised to see even more dramatic increase in attendance after the WBC promised to “quadruple” their demonstrations after the court's decision.

The mistake Albert Snyder makes is he's prepared to “die over something” that's not wrong according to our Constitution. The WBC is morally wrong, without a doubt, but the court can't use that as factor in its decision for freedom of speech. Hopefully, Snyder can take some solace since his son's funeral brought about an awareness of military deaths. The public needs to be reminded that Americans are dying in our never-ending wars. Matthew Snyder's legacy is that he died fighting for his country and his funeral became a wake-up call for America.

Violence at military funerals, as Snyder suggested may happen, is not the answer. Violence is never the answer. The Supreme Court's decision was the right one. Threatening the WBC members will accomplish nothing and will only keep them in the spotlight they crave.

To put things in perspective, a small cult/church is spewing hateful messages and will do or say anything to get attention. Most of the country disagrees with them, and the end result is an awareness of military deaths and a reaffirmation of free speech.

As It Stands, few things in life are really worth “dying for,” and the ability to recognize that means a longer and happier life.

Blogger Hits Pause Button

I know.  I just came back from a blog break and now I'm taking another one. Some readers may be saying, "Hey Dave! What's with...