Newspapers – A Love-Hate Relationship – 2

Newspapers – The Orange County Register

This is the second in a, hopefully, short series of posts having to do with the spotty delivery of my “morning” newspaper (OC Register – not the LA Times, which is “always” on time).

  • Sunday, November 9 – in the wet gutter at the foot of our driveway and delivered sometime between 11.03 am and 12.12 pm
  • Monday, November 10 – delivered by 6 am (a second copy was on my driveway by 6.40 am—I assume that the delivery person passed by my house after I picked up the first copy and thought s/he’d missed it earlier)
  • Tuesday, November 11 – Saturday, November 15 – all papers delivered between 8 am and 12 noon
  • Sunday, November 16 – NO paper delivered
  • Monday, November 17 (today) – no paper delivered, as yet (9.21 am – I just went outside to check)

I do wish the Register would get its act together.

– – – – –


I received a reply from Sandy Banks, LA Times columnist, on my comments about her article on marijuana. (I emailed them to her.)

Her reply: “Thank you, Joe.  You raise an important issue.  Colorado has seen a big increase in the percentage of DUI drivers who are under the influence of marijuana, not alcohol.”

I do believe, however, that she missed the following point: “But making a socially acceptable, mind-altering drug legally available on a widespread basis is, in my opinion really, really stupid. Kids in junior high already have access to alcohol and tobacco through friends, acquaintances and family members who can legally purchase them. And we now want to add marijuana to the list?”

It is nice to know that the people whose articles you read in the newspaper read your replies and comments.
– – – – –


The weather here in Southern California is beautiful. High 60s to low 70s at the beach with sunny skies. I’ve got a salad and chocolate milk to take to the beach for lunch later. The cats are sleeping: Smoke in a south-facing window soaking in the warm sunlight and Mist on their sofa-blanket across the room from me.



This morning’s issue of the LA Times contained a commentary by Sandy Banks entitled “Clear thinking needed on pot.” In the article she offers her thoughts about its legalization, including the problems and pitfalls.

Bicycle - Motor Vehicle AccidentPersonally I see a few added dangers: for everyone who travels by car, motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard or walking. When I first started driving in the 1960s, we worried about drunk drivers, drivers fooling around with radio buttons and parents paying too much attention to children in cars without seatbelts (including one who took off the front end of my car as she ran a stop sign).

Kids are belted in today, but they still distract parents. In addition we also have cell phones, texting and in-car navigation systems adding to the list of distractions facing users of our roads.Bicycle - Motor Vehicle Accident
While bicycling to the beach for lunch yesterday I passed an accident involving a motor vehicle and a bicyclist. It was on Pacific Coast Highway approaching Beach Boulevard in Huntington Beach. There is a left turn lane, two traffic lanes, an increasing in size separation divider and a right turn lane. I don’t know exactly what happened but I can guess that the driver of the motor vehicle and the bicycle rider collided in the right turn lane while the bicyclist was moving across the lane to get into the separator in order to be in the right spot for crossing Beach Boulevard.
Bicycle - Motor Vehicle AccidentThis was in the middle of the day. Do we really need to add alcohol or legal pot to the mix? Isn’t life out there dangerous enough as it is?
I don’t believe we need to add another legal and widespread drug to the list of things distracting drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Legalize the recreational use of marijuana and you, I believe, will see, maybe slowly, a real rise in accidents caused, at least in part, by marijuana.
Marijuana may, indeed, have a documented and valid use as an analgesic. Regulate it. Standardize dosages and prescribe it through our system of pharmacies so those who need it can obtain it legally and be sure of the efficacy of what they are purchasing.
But making a socially acceptable, mind-altering drug legally available on a widespread basis is, in my opinion really, really stupid. Kids in junior high already have access to alcohol and tobacco through friends, acquaintances and family members who can legally purchase them. And we now want to add marijuana to the list?


ContainersYesterday, on Facebook, I posted the following:

Had about 0.01 inches of rain last night. Almost perfect day Containerstoday, rode my bike to the beach for lunch – Attention Walmart shoppers and other looking for cheap foreign goods – counted seven (7) container ships off L.A. / L.B. coast – their goods were not being unloaded.

ContainersHere are the images to go with that post:Containers

Oh, Yeah, we also need a cat picture.
Mist and Smoke in Box

Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Today is the day we put aside to honor those who serve, and have served, in our armed forces—those who have put their lives on the line to protect us and ours. While I have never served in those armed forces, quite a number of my relatives have done so.

During the Second World War, my father’s three brothers served in the US Army: Andrew, William and Charles AuBuchon. All three survived. My father wanted to enlist but the military would not take him. His first wife had died prior to Pearl Harbor and he was raising a young daughter (my half-sister Joyce) alone. He never talked about it; the story comes from others in the family.

My mother, Gladys, served in the Navy and was stationed at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Although she never met him, a gentleman I later taught with was also stationed there while my mother was there.

One of my mother’s cousins, Clayton Roberts, perished in the Pacific as his submarine was sunk by the Japanese.

My wife’s father, FFH Charlton, served in the RAF. He was, of course, British, but flew an American B-24 Liberator.

My brother and I were in high school and college during the Viet Nam War. I still remember reporting to the Selective Service Office when I turned 18, and I still remember my eight-digit draft number. I went directly from high school graduation to college and had a 2-S – Student Deferment. At about this time they introduced lottery numbers and the one I drew (my birthday number, that is) was 342. They weren’t drafting people with numbers higher than the 100s so I dropped my deferment and was later placed in a 1-H holding category—no more worries about being drafted for me.

My best friend in college wasn’t so lucky. His number was low, and he decided to enlist in the army. He ended up being stationed at Fort Hunter Liggett, Jolon, California.

My little brother, John, had an even higher lottery number than mine—347. He, however, decided to enlist in the Air Force following a year in college. Part of the time he was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Lompoc, California. He spent time in Viet Nam and was evacuated from Tan Son Nhut Air Base by helicopter at the end of April, 1975. Although he was not an official causality of that war, he did pick up the habit of smoking while in Viet Nam and died of lung cancer in 1991, leaving behind a widow and two young children.

Uncle Charlie, Uncle Billy, Uncle Andy, Cousin Clayton, Ferrier, Preach, Bill, John, Mom and all of the rest of you who have served—Thank You

Newspapers – A Love-Hate Relationship


When my wife and I left on vacation last summer, I was forced to cancel my subscriptions to the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times. Neither of them would allow an indefinite suspension of delivery so I canceled my subscriptions. I did not re-activate my subscriptions when we returned several weeks later.

The Los Angeles Times

LA Times newspaperBoth newspapers called, repeatedly, asking if I’d like to renew my subscription. Well, yes I would, but not at the full rates they were offering. Eventually the Times offered an introductory rate for a full year—good enough until our next vacation. Which may go longer than our last one because my wife is retiring from teaching at the end of this school year (June 2015).

The Times has been delivered on-time (before 6 am) every single day since, although a couple of copies have been wet/damp because they were thrown into areas covered by our sprinklers.

The Orange County Register

The OC Register kept calling but not offering a rate as low as the Times‘ rate. I told one of their salesmen this and he told me about their bankruptcy. I told him that he would not sell me his newspaper by telling me bad things aboutOrange County Register newspaper his competitor and, then, I hung up. I ignored the Register‘s calls for the next couple of weeks until one evening I was in a “different” mood.

I actually behaved in a polite manner to a sales caller who called during the dinner hour. (I had already eaten.) She offered a “special” rate even lower than that offered by the Times, but she could only guarantee that rate until the end of the year. I said that was OK; I could cancel my subscription at that time. She went on to tell me that she would see what she could do and call again in December. I even got two $5 Target gift cards for signing up for automatic bill pay. Chuckle, Chuckle, Chuckle.

. . . and so it goes

Since signing up to get the Register in the second week of October, I’ve actually gotten both Target gift cards and six copies of the newspaper. Yes, that is right—six (6) copies of the newspaper.

Speaking with a woman in Customer Service one weekend I found that my subscription was supposed to have started on October 9th, 2014. She also said that since I hadn’t gotten my copy that morning she would see to it that I got my copy later that day. (Promises, promises, promises—didn’t happen.)

Dates and times of Register delivery:
  • Tuesday, October 28 – after 12 noon,
  • Thursday, October 30 – between 8 and 10.30,
  • Monday, November 3 – after 6 am but before 7 am.
  • Thursday, November 6 – between 8 and 12 noon,
  • Friday, November 7 – after 6 am but before 7 am,
  • Saturday, November 8 (today) – after 8.45 am and before 11.15 am.

Great record, huh?

From the OCR FAQs:

Home delivery subscribers can expect to receive their newspaper no later than:
Monday-Friday – 5:45am
Saturday-Sunday – 7:00am
Holidays – 7:00am

Not a single newspaper has been delivered on time. Not one.

I sure hope they don’t expect me to pay for this.

The Times is a good general interest newspaper for the Los Angeles area but ignores Orange County. Several years ago they closed their OC bureau and don’t even give lip service to covering the county. I’ve lived in Orange County, except for a one year stint in Riverside, since 1972. The Register does a very good job of covering events in Orange County, especially high school sports. Politically they seem to be to the right of Attila the Hun but that is OK—they’re consistent and I just vote for a candidate/proposition they did not endorse.

I just wish they’d get their act together—I do so miss the NYT Crossword Puzzle.

California Politics—Follow the Money $

Money in Politics

Mid-Term elections are coming up in another week—Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 and we are currently being bombarded by, what seems to me at least, an obscene number of ads. These ads appear on almost every street corner, in newspapers and magazines, on radio, television and the internet. All of these ads take money. This money is contributed by individuals, organizations and corporate entities.

Seal of California
Seal of California

These individuals and others do not contribute money out of the goodness of their hearts but because they hope to get something from that contribution.

Many individuals spend their own money to get elected. Why? Ego? Impose their own standards/beliefs upon others? Think they’re better/know more than others? Gain an economic advantage by voting for things that they think will help them and those like them? (Yes, I know I’m a bit cynical, but haven’t you ever had these thoughts about, at least, one politician?)

Organizations, through their individual members, contribute money to further their own aims. The Democratic and Republican parties funnel millions of dollars to election and re-election campaigns in every state and (nearly) every election. Unions (teamsters, teachers, electricians, etc.), associations (nurses, doctors, dentists, etc.), the ACLU, LLPs (limited liability partnerships-many of them lawyers), etc.

Sometimes you will find an organization contributing money to opponents running against each other. Perhaps, the organization wants to influence the winner, no matter who that is? (Yeah, I know, more cynicism, but can you really believe they do it out of the goodness of their hearts?)

“California” Money

For the current election in California the California Secretary of State’s (Debra Bowen) office maintains a website delineating those organizations and individuals who have spent a large amount of money trying to influence the November 4th, 2014 election. This is the Cal-Access website. It contains quite a bit of information on who and what groups are spending money trying to influence the election.

By clicking on the link to the Top 10 Contributor Lists you can find the Top 10 Contributors to Statewide Ballot Measure Committees and the Campaign Finance Data for All Ballot Measure Committees as well at the same data for individual candidates.

Proposition 1 – Water Bond. Funding for Water Quality, Supply, Treatment, and Storage Projects.


Proposition 2 – State Budget. Budget Stabilization Account. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.

18 individuals and groups listed for supporting and none listed for opposing the above propositions. (Remember, this does not mean that no one opposes these propositions.)

Proposition 45 – Healthcare Insurance. Rate changes. Initiative Statute.

For: Consumer Watchdog Campaign, California Nurses Association, Kathryn Taylor, Consumer Watchdog, Thomas Steyer

Against: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Wellpoint, Inc. and affiliated entities, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, Inc., UnitedHealthCare Insurance Company

Follow the money: could it be that the healthcare/insurance industry doesn’t want the state Insurance Commissioner to veto their increases of rates and charges?

Proposition 46 – Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute.

For: Consumer Attorneys of California and its sponsored committees, Kabateck, Brown, Kellner, LLP; Brian S. Kabateck, Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Davis, Inc., Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, Shernoff, Bidart, Echeverria, Bentley, LLP

Against: Cooperative of American Physicians IE Committee, The Doctors Company, Norcal Mutual Insurance Company, California Medical Association Physicians’ Issues Committee, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and The Hospitals

Follow the money: maybe the lawyers do want more lawsuits for larger amounts of money and higher fees, and the doctors and insurance companies don’t.

Proposition 47 – Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties. Initiative Statute.

For: American Civil Liberties Union, Inc., Open Society Policy Center, Hughes, B. Wayne, Atlantic Advocacy Fund, Munger, Molly

10 individuals and groups listed for supporting and none listed for opposing the above proposition. (Remember, this does not mean that no one opposes this proposition.)

Proposition 48 – Indian Gaming Compacts. Referendum.

Against: Table Mountain Rancheria, Brigade Capital Management, LLC through affiliated entities, Chukchansi Economic Development Authority, United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria, Riva Ridge Recovery Fund LLC

10 individuals and groups listed for opposing and none listed for supporting the above proposition. (Remember, this does not mean that no one supports this proposition.)

Follow the money: could it be that other Indian tribes (and maybe Nevada casinos) don’t want the competition?

Other Information

There is a tremendous amount of information available on this site. All state-wide offices, the Board of Equalization (what a name), the State Senate and Assembly are included. For much of that information you have to dig through several layers, but, if you are interested in following the money, it is well worth the effort.

Be sure to read the fine print.

There is plenty of information about the contributors cited above on the Cal-Access website. Other information is available if you just copy the name and past it into your browser or search engine.

Please, if you are going to vote, cast an intelligent ballot. Do not just rely on television advertising or on the biases of others (or your own biases). Vote to bring about the greatest good or the least harm.

California Flag
California Flag
In the interests of openness:
  • I am a lifelong Democrat, who on occasion votes Republican
  • I am liberal to moderate on social issues
  • I am conservative on most economic issues
  • I was a teacher in California public schools for forty years and, for most of those years, I was active in my local union
  • I am retired

POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage. (From The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce)