Friday, June 29, 2018


This American citizen considers our nation’s values have been betrayed once again by an individual, our U.S. President, who is unable to acknowledge truth and insultingly expects others to believe his lies -- despite the fact that he assumed his governing office with no humility, even though the popular majority did not vote for or support him (of course, he never likes to be reminded of such facts). 

Our leader continues to market divisiveness, lies pathologically, frequently contradicts himself, pettily resorts to juvenile name-calling, expects everyone to always like/respect/agree with him, while being oblivious to the fact such behavior as his does not result in the admiration he so desperately demands.    

That leader continues making knee-jerk decisions defying common sense frequently.  He does so without benefit of consultation with those more knowledgeable -- does so in a manner that doesn’t allow appropriate post planning -- as with the recent treatment of infants and children taken from their parents who were seeking asylum -- to name just a few of his dangerous behaviors. 

This leader and his supporters (some likely well-intentioned) will eventually learn they are being complicit in his effort to alter our form of government – by misusing our constitution to undermine our democracy and reduce our freedoms.   That this leader assumed office in the first place has occurred because of an electoral college voting system (long overdue for reassessment).  Some supporters acquired have been misled and unwittingly influenced partially through their very own social media activity. 

This social media has been subjected to manipulative machinations by a hostile foreign nation led by an autocrat committed to eliminating world democracies by any means possible.  Our leader, reprehensibly, courts this and other dictators he repeatedly praises and has intimated aspiring to emulate.    So, it’s not surprising he seeks to assume similar controls in our country over all branches of our government, continues efforts to undermine and destroy our free press if they don’t parrot his spiel – in his efforts to nullify our constitution’s checks and balances to prevent such a result.  

Some of our nation’s most immoral and despicable traits selected groups demonstrate continue to be exploited by those in the highest leadership positions for political and maybe even personal gain.   One of the most recent evidences of just how dangerous this is, occurs when we consider -- how could anyone even entertain the thought of separating infants and children from their parents?   Parents who should have a legal right to seek safety and asylum in a country other than their own.  Then, this leader deliberately actually issues orders for others to separate them without, at least, assuring reunification plans were in place.   

Might we wonder if those receiving such immoral directions should refuse to follow them?   Might we wonder what more is this leadership capable of doing to each of us if we are not in his favor?

My mind reels with memories of the parallels of just such a similar activity separating children from parents in other countries justified at the time citing other immoral reasons when I was a mere child myself during WWII.   When I became an adult recalling those years I wondered where had been the good people in those countries to resist such despicable actions – refuse to enforce them?  

Similarities were depicted in a haunting mother/children scene in the movie, “Sophie’s Choice” starring Meryl Streep in too horrific a video to post here – and yet, the babes screaming, mother in shock, has now happened in my country! 

Are those who put the leader(s) in power who ordered this travesty of human decency complicit --- fellow citizens -- acted in my and your name – including other of our citizens who followed those immoral orders? 

When does morality, including that of those pointedly pronouncing their religious convictions but who say or do nothing, demand a stand be taken? 

   We are reminded of that famous quote:
        “The only thing necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.”

We also might wonder, based on past behaviors, what plans our leader may have for those of us who see through his schemes – maybe his using for his own gains our military establishment for which he claims to have such a patriotic affinity? 

Or maybe he’s just enamored or obsessed with putting on big military parades, thinking somehow doing so aggrandizes his power and serves as testimony to his virility? 

Has he been ingratiating himself with our veterans, armed services and their families in a systematic effort to obtain for himself, above all else, unquestioning alliance and allegiance as he is known to have attempted to demand from others?  For what purpose? 

Meanwhile, we must demand these children be reunited with their parents!

Friday, June 22, 2018


It's gonna be hotter than Hades all too soon.
Stay cool is the motto!

California’s Net Neutrality bill which a few other states are similarly considering adopting, as mentioned in my previous post, has passed our State legislature, but ….. the bill’s content has been watered down by an Assemblyman in the predominant political party, allegedly to appease commercial donors who will benefit, as described by Tristan Greene here. 

Guess it’s just a coincidence that some of the Assemblyman’s biggest donors are AT&T, Comcast and Charter.   Internet users will still be at risk for being subjected to favoritism to the big boys now.   As if we didn’t already know, there are individuals in both of our major political parties who fail to represent the best interests of the rank and file citizen.   What are their constituents going to do about them come election time?  

My phone rings.  Appears to be a local area number.  Since I’m expecting some calls I chose to answer the phone rather than allow it to go to my answering machine.    I soon discern this is a recording with the female alarmist voice warningly announcing words to the effect, “Your use of electricity has been flagged as using more than your neighbors!” 

Is this the electric company calling me, I wonder?  The recording doesn’t say.  I think it’s a sales pitch from some commercial company, but how do they know how much electricity I’m using?  What do they mean I’m flagged?

I generally turn off the phone mid-sentence as soon as I recognize it’s a recorded call, but I listened this time.   I learned they are selling windows, but I must click on a number to learn more.   I disconnect instead.

I wonder, is there a connection, as I’m reminded that the electric company has been sending letters informing customers that they’re using more power than their neighbors?  I recall being curious after several months of receiving those letters as to just what was the basis of that conclusion?  Which of my neighbors was my usage being compared to?  Also, I wondered, is the utility leading up to some justification for a future rate increase, a usage penalty, or to charge such users more?

Given my inquiring mind, I had phoned that utility to ask what was the criteria they used to determine which neighbors to whom I was being compared?    They didn’t have a definitive answer for me other than just “my neighbors”.   I asked again, who were the neighbors they were comparing me to, or how did they determine which ones to which my usage should be compared?   Well, I was told, they can’t reveal such private information about customers. 

Plus, the utility representative also noted that besides, they can’t ask customers to provide other personal information about their household.   So, it’s not surprising that my further questioning revealed they don’t know how many people are in any of those households which are being compared to one another, much less other specifics, or even what electric power-using devices the households have.  Do any one of them have an electric car, for example?  Does the utility use location, or house square footage, consider tree-shaded houses versus those openly exposed to the sun?  What is the criteria?

My questions to which they had no answer also included:
Which of these neighbors are you comparing my usage to -- You mean the ones who were away for weeks, or the ones who both work and are gone long days during the week?  Or maybe you mean the ones who have long 4 day work weeks, then every weekend take trips, not returning until late Sunday night, so aren’t in their house?   Gee, what a surprise that my household might use more electricity than any of them and if I have a week-long family visitor my household really exceeds the comparative numbers.  And we still have no idea what, how few or how many digital tech devices are used in the comparison homes or mine. 

I did learn our California Public Utilities Commission apparently passed some sort of rule that has required the utility to mail customers these notices.  Mine come separately from my  bill.   I haven’t taken the time to query CPUC to see how they explain the value of this comparison that seems hardly to be providing very realistic data.   

I was told solar companies sometimes also use this sales technique of accosting homeowners by stating they’re flagged for using more of the energy than their neighbors, but, I was assured by the electric company representative, we don’t reveal to them any information about our customers’ utility usage.   So, I said, I guess then that these companies reference to “flagging” they're just making up and it's simply a sales gimmick they're foisting off on everybody as they use a bit of hucksterism. 

I expect the purpose of having the electric company send users such usage comparisons is to increase our awareness for conservation purposes, maybe to imply we should want to conform to using less electric if we want to save money, or maybe they think we’ll become competitive with our neighbors, but I find this particular type of comparison meaningless and invalid. 

Basically, it’s comparing apples and oranges because no allowance had been made for variables like number of people in the household, hours the house is actually occupied.  That’s not to mention the amount of activity occurring in the house, because if someone lives there who is inactive for any one of numerous reasons, including some due to medical reasons, such as poor blood circulation causing the person to feel cold as a relative of mine reported experiencing, they may require more heat or cooling.   

This brings another question to my mind.  How much is all this costing the electric company to create, print, compile, mail these comparison letters, including man hours expended?   Is the expense for this going to be absorbed by the utility users, or will the cost be taken out of administrative salaries or stockholder’s budget?   Don’t hold your breath on either of those charges happening.   Either way, I expect we utility users will absorb this jolt – a shock to our system – small, I suppose, but it all adds up.   

What do you think?  Am I missing something here?  Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill.    Do you encounter any data reports that just don’t seem to add up or make sense? 

Friday, June 15, 2018


We’re edging toward summer here in Southern California, U.S.A.  with temperatures into 90’s F for a day or two, but soon we’ll drop about 20 degrees for another few days.   I enjoy the frequently cloudy mornings, occasional slight, and I do mean slight, moisture that long before noon leaves no traces of having been present during our “May gray” and “June gloom” months. 

California news of interest includes a measure that will appear on our November ballot to divide our state into three states.    Talk of such divisions i.e. to two states has occurred in the past.    I don’t support this separation, but will be interesting to see the voting totals.   Congress might not approve, anyway, since it would allow us more Representatives and Senators.  Given the reputation we wild and crazy Californians have, more of us in government would be risky.     

Network Neutrality may have been scuttled in D.C. but as The Mercury News reports:
California and other states, including New York, Washington and Montana, have established or are working to establish their own net neutrality rules since the FCC voted to repeal regulations prohibiting traffic discrimination by the companies that control the internet’s pipes.”

Living near California’s San Andreas Fault as I do, this Atlantic magazine report of a recent Nature article has been of interest.   As they note in the article, “The widespread practice of extracting California groundwater to irrigate the state’s agricultural belt could be…the straw that breaks the camel’s back…” causing ‘the big one’ -- massive earthquake we’re purported to be past due for having.  

On a more local level, for several years my city has been trying to wrest back our water rights from a large national commercial corporate entity that has been unwilling to sell them back to us.   Many in our city have been most displeased with the rate schedule, seemingly constant rate increases, and the fact we pay more than those in other communities with whom we’re grouped.   Our California Public Utilities Commission has been of little or no assistance many have thought, so an Eminent Domain law suit was filed, lost and appealed only to lose again.   The final result is we’re in debt up the ying yang along with other bonds already on the books.

When I first wrote here of the water situation, some were amazed to learn water rights were not already owned by the public rather than a profit-making commercial company.   The reality is more than ten years ago I recall print articles, TV documentaries alerting people to the fact water rights all over the world were being quietly bought up by commercial businesses.  The prediction then was we could anticipate water shortages -- subsequent climate changes, droughts many places since haven't helped.  Water was said then to be the next oil market in availability and cost.  Pretty serious matter since water is a life sustaining necessity. 

Recent years we’ve defeated two more bond issues to provide our Police Department badly needed new quarters.   The first proposal was judged by many voters to be excessive in every way, including size and cost.  The most recent proposal required winning by a 2/3 majority of the vote but missed that mark.  I wasn’t surprised, since newer homeowners would be paying much more than long time residents whose assessed property value is considerably lower, partially due to protective legislation passed years ago.   Also, commercial businesses were excluded from paying at all as were our six local colleges consortium -- though the colleges did volunteer what many voters thought was only a token contribution to offset the expense.

We definitely need new headquarters for our law enforcement men and women who have always provided exceptional service in my experience.  We're encouraged to call officers if concerned about any suspicious person or situation for them to investigate rather than ignoring -- better to have a false alarm is the philosophy.  Surely, another bond issue will be forthcoming that will, hopefully, meet with citizens approval.  The interest rate will likely be higher than with the previous two defeated bond issues, but our citizens were aware of that fact.  

Consider the irony -- given the wall U.S./Mexico political issue -- that I’ve been involved with wall issues associated with my property since 2015.    My situation has nothing to do with illegal aliens though.   I won’t go into the details except to note there’s presently no lawsuit, but it does involve a neighbor, possibly one or two commercial entities.   This has been one more matter on which I was focused instead of blogging during my absence discussed in the previous two posts.   The good news is construction replacing a block wall corner at the back of my property was completed the day of this writing.  Whether or not my costs will be shared by any of those others remains to be determined. 

Exercising is on my mind now to build up my leg strength.  The legs usually are the first to go, you know.   For some strange reason this activity came to mind, so thought I’d share it here.   A favored fun exercise I practiced periodically well into my sixties to highlight my limberness we called “Going Through The Broom”.  I quite proudly mastered this feat demonstrated by my then middle-aged mother when I was a young girl.  

Unlike the video below we started out holding the broom behind our back.   Successful completion required we never release our grip on the broom handle with either hand, or allow any part of our body other than our feet to touch the floor.   We might have to balance on one foot and then the other, but we had to keep the rest of our body off the floor.  I’m not sure when or why I stopped performing this gymnastic pretzel, but when I’ve remembered it in recent years I’ve instinctively known I probably would be wise to not undertake it, and certainly shouldn't now.  

Have you ever heard of, or maybe “gone through the broom handle”?  
Do you know of any other contortionist type exercises none of us should probably engage in now? 
We should be talking about the type exercise we can do!

This YouTube video with people unknown to me is reported to be the videographer’s 72 year old brother-in-law as they describe...climbing through a broom stick.  I have to applaud him  -- so what if his knee touches the floor.  But about that other guy..............