USPS Honors Harvey Milk with a stamp

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Available May 22, Harvey Milk Day in California.

California’s Drought Spurs Watering Restrictions

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Visalia’s City Council recently invoked severe water use restrictions for landscaping and car washing.

Here’s the info on the rules, now in effect in Visalia, brazenly appropriated from the City’s own website:

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 6.21.28 PM

Odd = Addresses ending in an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7, 9)
Even = Addresses ending in an even number (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) 

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The ‘Trophy Wall’ has an addition

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On Saturday, September 21, 2013, the local newspaper, The Visalia Times Delta, published in the print edition an article I wrote on September 18 and posted to my blog “Alternating Currents” (where I post as one of three community bloggers on their website.  You can read “Hate in a small town” here).  Partially visible is another Times Delta article from 1996 that mentions me and other HAM radio operators as we were preparing for Field Day.  The two identical looking plaques are the 2012 and 2013 proclamations issued by the City of Visalia, proclaiming June LGBT Pride Month in the city.  These proclamations were signed by the Mayor Shuklian and the four other City Council members.   (Take that, Porterville!)  Also on the wall is my certificate from the Visalia Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy, issued in May 1999.  Down in the corner is my Starfleet Academy diploma, certifying my status as an officer in good standing in the Federation Starfleet.  Not visible are documents and diplomas that are work related, including POST training certificates, Dispatcher of the Year (2005), my HAM radio license, and other work related items.

A Tale of Two Cities

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

visalia_porterville_logos

What a difference a day makes!  On Monday, June 3, 2013, the City of Visalia‘s City Council issued it’s second LGBT Pride Month Proclamation.  On Tuesday, June 4th, the City of Porterville issued it’s first.  The two events could not have been more different.

Both cities provide online applications for proclamations, with instructions on how to turn them into the city.  Such requests are routinely handled by cities across the country, and are ways for cities to recognize citizens and groups.  Here’s Porterville’s “Request a Proclamation” page.

Visalia’s proclamation resulted in applause and friendly chatter in a standing room only crowd that overflowed into the hallway.  This year’s proclamation went mostly unnoticed by the greater community in Visalia.  Last year it provoked some media coverage and talk-radio interviews with the Mayor of Visalia, Amy Shuklian.  Porterville’s proclamation, in a meeting room at least twice the size of Visalia’s, also with standing room only and overflow into the hall, resulted in boos, catcalls, the arrest of a anti-gay protestor, and at least two calls for the death penalty for homosexuals.

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Jim Reeves:

My satirical look at the Pope’s resignation got over 500 views at Queerlandia on it’s first day. It’s already trending to be another busy day, with early traffic hits continuing to build. This is my third largest single day hit count since I started writing these blogs. I may have to start writing more “investigative” reports! ;-)

Originally posted on Queer Landia:

FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

Upon the announcement of the impending resignation of Pope Benedict XVI at the end of February, QueerLandia immediately contacted our secret Vatican correspondent, Pompous Erroneous (not his real name), and directed him to find out what was REALLY going on.  After hours of diligent digging, we can now report why the Pope is leaving, and what his plans are for the rest of his life.

In an unbelievable report, QL’s highly placed source in the Catholic Church has discovered a truth that dare not speak it’s name….

View original 623 more words

Texting to 9-1-1 is just around the corner

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Sending text messages to 9-1-1 is something few PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) are ready to receive.  The ability is in the works, however, and the FCC is working with carriers and 9-1-1 centers to roll out the service beginning this year.  If you attempt to send a text message to a 9-1-1 center that is not capable of receiving it, after June 30, 2013  you will get a “bounce back” message telling you to use other means to reach 9-1-1.  Prior to June 30, you will receive no notice that your message did not go through.  Equipment upgrades and policy decisions must still be implemented in most PSAPs before they will be able to respond to text based 9-1-1 calls.  If you intend to use text messages as a way to contact 9-1-1, you should check with your local PSAP to find out when they will be able to receive and act on your message.  Until then, use voice, TTY, or relay services to reach 9-1-1.

Hobnobbing with the stars

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This afternoon I attended a gathering at the Tulare County Democratic Party’s office in Visalia.  The event was hosted by Otto Lee, who ran against Devin Nunes for the office of Congressional Representative for the 22nd District of California.  Nunes won, but Otto made a respectable showing, even with Nunes refusing all offers to debate or appear together to discuss issues.

I spent two hours at the event, meeting a few people, talking with Otto and others, and came away hopeful for the future.  In a very red area, there’s real potential for putting a bluer hue on the picture.  The future may surprise Nunes, especially if he continues to discount competition for his seat.  Nothing in politics is guaranteed, and taking your constituents for granted is never wise.  Next election, Nunes will have been in office for 12 years, and his district has next to nothing to show for it.  It’s still one of the poorest in California, with some of the highest unemployment, and that has not changed during his tenure.

I don’t know if Otto Lee will run again in two years, but I hope he does.  This district could use new ideas, and a fresh perspective.  Sometimes, it’s possible to be to close to a problem to see a solution, and having the viewpoint of someone new to the area might just be the fresh air we need.  Regardless of whether the next election sees Otto run again, or some other Democrat steps up, the demographics of the region are rapidly changing, and the GOP has been doing everything in it’s power to run from the very groups that will dominate the future.  If they don’t change, their party faces a future of marginalization and irrelevance.

Otto Lee 2014!  ;-)

The Definition of Insanity

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… is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.

For almost ten years, voters in the Visalia area have elected, and re-elected, Devin Nunes to be our congressman in the House of Representatives.  In at least one election, Nunes ran unopposed.  In those ten years, we’ve seen a dramatic jump in the number of dairies in Tulare County and the surrounding area.  Tulare County is now #1 in dairy production in the United States.  Tulare County is also consistently #2 or #3 in overall agricultural production in the United States, usually hot on the heels of Fresno County.  Despite this leadership in the dairy industry (Representative Nunes’ family business) and agriculture, Tulare County is also one of the poorest counties in California.  Nearly a quarter of the population live in poverty, and one in three residents receives state aid.

One has to ask, in the midst of such wealth, why is the poverty level so high, and what has Devin Nunes done in his tenure in Congress to alleviate that poverty?  The answer, based on continuing high poverty levels, would seem to be “not much”.  Republicans love to talk business, and clamor for government to be run “more like a business”.  Well, we’ve had ten years of Mr. Nunes’ being in our employ, and we don’t have much to show for it (unless you’re a dairyman or farmer).  It’s time we seriously considered firing Mr. Nunes for his lack of success in solving the problems that have been plaguing Tulare County for years.  After all, that’s what any business would do, right?

On Sunday, August 12, 2012, I attended the grand opening of the Otto For Congress office in Visalia.  Otto Lee is a Commander in the Navy, Bronze Star recipient, private business owner, and former Mayor and Council member in Sunnyvale.

Otto Lee brings a fresh perspective to the needs of the new 22nd District.

Sunday’s office opening was a chance for people to meet the candidate, and talk to him about his goals and plans for the future.

There are many different groups that fall under the banner of what might be called Democratic “special interests”, and my interests are, of course, in the area of LGBT issues.  I had an opportunity to sit down with Otto for a few minutes, and discuss those subjects.

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7 Minutes of Terror – landing on Mars – by Sky-Crane

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This is the best video I’ve seen so far explaining how Curiosity was designed to land.  I’m just amazed that it worked.  Twelve year old Space Cadet Jimmiejoe was bouncing up and down, telling me it was going to work no sweat, but I really didn’t believe him.  I worried that the parachute would fail, or the heat shield would get hung up, or the retro-rockets wouldn’t fire correctly… and I really sweated the whole sky-crane thing.  That was just crazy writ large!  Hover 60 feet in the air, and drop this huge thing down on a tether?  Are they nuts??  Then the tethers had to be cut, allowing the rocket frame to fly away.  If that hadn’t worked, it would have dropped on top of the lander once it’s fuel ran out.

BUT IT WORKED!

Congratulations to NASA and JPL!

You know what would be cool?  I know it can’t happen, but wouldn’t it be something if Curiosity could, at the end of it’s science programs, drive to one of the other lander’s locations, just to visit?  Too far, over terrain that would probably be impossible, and the mechanisms of the machine would likely never survive, but that would be something to see.

Space Cadet Jimmiejoe is a happy boy – Curiosity safely on Mars

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Photo illustration by NASA

Here’s what it might look like if you were there right now.  Curiosity is safely on the surface of Mars!  After a 7 minute landing program that took the lander from 13,000 MPH to a soft landing, the first pictures have been downloaded.  Science starts soon!

 

Photo: Mars Curiosity/NASA

The parachute popped exactly right.  The retro-rockets fired perfectly, bringing it to a hover over the ground, then dropped it to the ground on a sky crane system that has never before been attempted.  Now the rover begins at least two years of science work.

Space Cadet Jimmiejoe is jumping up and down like crazy.  I’m glad to see he’s still around.

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