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Michael Jackson and Hollywood Boulevard

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Southern California Burning

Devastating fires are burning up and down the southern coast of California. The air is smoky and dry as a bone. Your eyes sting and there’s that little nagging cough. It will probably get worse…

I live far enough away from fire area not to be concerned about the actual fire – just the air quality. One of the saddest things I’ve seen today is a remark from firefighters in San Diego – they just don’t have the resources to fight the fire.

I remember back a few years ago, after the last devastating fires in that county, they put on the ballot a parcel tax to get more funds that firefighters in San Diego desperately need. The homeowners voted it down. The anti-tax hysteria that has infected our country certainly means there is a high price to pay on the other end. I wonder if any of the people who voted against that extra hundred dollars a year are now looking at their burned out hulk of a home wishing they had voted differently.

The Valley Shakes – But Not Everyone Awakes

I woke, bleary-eyed, around 1 am Thursday morning to some gentle rolling – it took a few minutes to recognize it was an earthquake as it has been a long time since any shaking worth talking about occurred here (not complaining, mind you, Northridge in 94 was enough earthquake for me, thank you).

My roommate told me the next day she didn’t feel it. My parrots did though. I went out to check on them, and they were both flustered. My amazon, who usually takes shaking earth a bit harder than my senegal, was flapping around the bottom of her cage. Max, on the other hand, was hanging on the side of his cage looking a bit shell-shocked, but over it pretty much.

I immediately went to the USGS website to log my experience on their “Did You Feel It” form. I love filling out that form. There were no other reports yet though – so I posted mine and tried to go back to sleep. There’s something about even little quakes that makes you brace yourself for the next one – so it’s hard to relax. I remember after Northridge I was perpetually tense and waiting for the next big shake for about six months. I wanted to hang onto something in the shower, because my biggest fear was for the damn thing to start shaking, I go flying, knock my head, and that’s where they find me, unconscious and naked, and hopefully not drowned, hours (or god no, days) later.

Two Jolts on the Inglewood Fault System

It’s been while since we felt the ground move under our feet on the West Side. But today we had two nice jolts. Not much on the Richter Scale but they were pretty much right under us so it was a decent jolt.
Living in Earthquake Country is fun 🙁

Living in Disaster-Prone Areas and Welfare States

Some are proposing not only adding to the national flood insurance program by including other major disasters (earthquakes, tornadoes), but making it mandatory. It could make sense – in a way it is a “disaster tax” – you pay the economic costs of living in high-risk areas. The only caveat might be that insurance companies get to avoid actually paying out the policies they sell even moreso than they do now. It seems their goal is to find people to insure who will never collect.

I did have to laugh at this quote from Joel Kotkin, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation “who advocates environmental or insurance restrictions that would encourage populations to move inland.”

“Why should people in Idaho pay for a house that’s been destroyed and rebuilt 10 times by hurricanes?” he added.

Is he unaware of the fact that Californians get about 80 cents back for every dollar its residents pay in federal taxes, while states like Idaho get to use our money for their pork-barrel projects? In fact Idaho gets back $1.32 for every dollar they pay in.

Maybe California is tired up supporting those inland states. The tax system should pay back dollar for dollar – and if you state suffers, vote with your feet and move to the states that have viable economies. Californians are tired of being picked on while our personal taxes pay for these “welfare states.”

California Special Election: Proposition 75

Proposition 75, if passed, would require unions to get a letter of permission every year from union members in order to make contributions to political causes/candidates.

I would be willing to consider this proposition if there were also a proposition that required corporations to get signed permission from all stockholders every year before giving company money to political causes/candidates. You know, as a stockholder, I don’t like it when a company I’m invested in uses my money to support political causes I might not agree with. Fair is fair.

California Burning

I tried to send a video grab of this melodramatic graphic on a Fox news report from my Palm Treo but the darn thing never makes it from device to email. So a still it is…


The video is much better – the flames move, making it appear that a good chunk of SoCal is in flames. Fox gets its audience – “news” is 9/10ths entertainment.

UPDATE – think I got the video working. Click link below.

OK short QuickTime video shows how Fox’s graphics make it look like half of California is burning. A friend said her relatives called to find out if she was ok – “It looks like the whole place is burning!” So I’m not the only one who noticed…

QuickTime clip of Fox reporting on Cali wildfires

Can’t Believe It Really Happened

Taking bets on how long this will last.