Volunteer Police Departments

Reason.TV video about volunteer police departments.  This video focuses on Redlands, CA, but there are similar programs around the nation.

Important points about the way the Redlands program works:

  • All volunteers go through the same police training program that regular police do.
  • All volunteers provide their own equipment, including cars.  They usually fundraise to pay for everything.  No money comes from the general fund.
  • The Redlands program includes a new aviation program, also funded through donations.
  • More information at: www.policevolunteers.org


How to Fix California

Very interesting and good interview with Art Laffer on how to fix California by Reason.tv.

“right to work states far out perform non-right to work states”

California State teachers are the highest paid in the nation, but second lowest in testing for 4th and 8th grade math and english.  But it’s not the teachers fault specifically – it’s the system that causes the problem.

“It’s not liberal, it’ not conservative… it’s economics.”

Laffer had praise for the economic policy of politicians on both sides as well as criticism for some on both sides.

He’s published a book called “Eureka! How to Fix California” which I’ll have to read… Sounds like it will have some great insight.

DC’s City Hall vs Record Stores

Reason TV published a story about the “assault on record stores by DC City Hall.”  (Link to video)

There really aren’t very many record stores around any more.  The few that do exist sell mostly used vinyl records, posters, clothes, and other music paraphernalia.  Recently, it looks like DC changed their business licensing requirement and now require these stores to register as pawn shops.  The reason is clear – they want to be able to track stolen merchandise that was sold to the store.  I suppose I see the need, but don’t particularly agree with the methods.  Instead of passing laws and bullying stores into buying new licenses, did they take a more cooperative approach?  Also not sure there is any need to hold inventory and wait for detectives to do whatever investigation.  I think just recording who sold by showing ID would be sufficient.

I don’t think this video, however, is particularly good at presenting the issue.  It sounds more like a one sided story designed to just make people mad without really proposing any solutions.  Just “City Hall is bad.  Granted, governments at all levels are known for making amazingly bad decisions, but if my assumption on the why is correct, what City Hall needs to do is walk away from the strong-arm tactics that government is increasingly enjoying use of and instead use a diplomacy and cooperation instead.

Food Truck Controversy

Food trucks have been making a lot of news in the past couple of years. Just to be clear, we aren’t talking about the usual “roach coaches” that go out to industrial areas and construction sites.  This is a new generation of food trucks that sell gourmet food and are targeting upscale locations, such as downtown or commercial areas – targeting office workers.

The difference between these trucks and the “roach coaches” is that the food being sold is very high quality usually at a lower price compared to surrounding restaurants.  The other difference is that the areas these trucks are going to are usually locations where there are established restaurants (industrial and construction areas don’t usually have nearby restaurants).

So that has lead to cities creating ordinances banning the food trucks from certain areas.  These bans take on a few different flavors.  For example, it can be 1000′ from an established restaurant, prohibited in certain neighborhoods or areas, or (my favorite) 1000′ from a school.  The reason that last on is my favorite is that it would seem that you’re banning good food from being in the vicinity of the school cafeteria (remember, these are gourmet trucks).  It’s also important to note that these trucks are also licensed by local authorities and follow food handling laws.

It sounds like that these laws are being created to protect brick and mortar restaurants.  I think there is also an element of localities ‘loosing’ control since there is no permission required and possibly a loss of local tax (I would guess the last issue is the biggest problem for cities).

Both the Wall Street Journal and The Reason Foundation has published several articles and videos on this topic.  Here’s a link to the most recent video:

Food Trucks vs. The Establishment


Justin Lewis from Choctaw, OK designed and built this flying replica of the Microjet from “Octopussy”.  Link to the article.  The original plane from the movie is a Bede BD-5.  Link to Wikipedia.  Pretty amazing and cool that he designed and build the first one himself.  If you find that you’d like your own micro jet and you have an extra $200k sitting around, you can purchase this kit plane fully assembled!

SCARR in a Fleetwood Evolution

This weekend was the 9th Annual SCARR (South Central Area Rover Rally) sponsored by Texas Rovers. It started on Thursday and went through Sunday. For this weekend, I rented a Fleetwood Evolution E3 for my accommodations that I rented from Campers4Rent in Lewisville. This pop up is designed for off road adventures with plenty of ground clearance.

This pop up camper is much heavier than the rPod that I rented previously, but it was still easy to tow. It’s a wide trailer, blocking visibility from the side view mirrors. On top of the trailer is an air conditioning unit that blocked the view from the rear view mirror as well. This camper has a heater, air conditioner, hot water heater, stove, shower, and toilet.

Setting up took a little time, mainly because I had never set a pop up trailer up before. Same goes for taking it down – I’m sure after doing it a few times it wouldn’t take any time at all.

There are two king sized beds – one on either side of the camper – that were both very comfortable. It was also nice to have the tent part of the camper because it let in a lot of light as well as a good breeze. Overall it was very comfortable.

I didn’t use the toilet in this camper because the cleanup wasn’t as easy as it was in the rPod. The rPod had a drain pipe and hose that could be connected to the sewer. This camper has a cartridge toilet. I didn’t want to experience cleanup on this.

Overall, a very nice trailer, although I wasn’t as big a fan of the setup and takedown. I think my next trailer rental will be a hybrid hard side & pop out.


“Commoner” on Frontier to Denver

I travel mostly on American Airlines, but this time I am on Frontier to go to Denver, mainly because they had a really good ticket price. The airline is fine but got me to thinking about the drawbacks of loyalty programs, which is basically that I thing I’ve been spoiled by Gold treatment on AA, so traveling as a “commoner” on other airlines is just not fun.

That is, of course the point of loyalty programs… incentive to keep traveling with the same airline.

Daylight Saving

Today was a very productive day. I got a surprising amount of work done around the house. Not everything I needed to do, but more than enough for a full day. I even sqeezed in a little time to blog. This blog has no real purpose except for me to write on a regular basis. Nothing interesting to see here. If you actually do find it interesting… Ummm… That would be highly unusual.

Todays activities include installing a screen door on the front and back doors, putting a few plants in pots and placing them around the house, and installing a mirror in the bathroom.

I had a problem with the cats wanting to dig in the plant but found that if i put a layer of gravel on top of the soil, they leave the plant alone. In addition, it actually looks pretty nice.

SCARR is coming up. (website) I decided to rent a popup trailer this year instead of tent camping. The model I’ll be renting from Campers4Rent is a Fleetwood Evolution E3. Over Thanksgiving, I rented an RPod, which was very nice, but had no storage. We’ll see what I think of the pop up vs tent camping vs a hardside camper.

I also want to buy a GoPro camera this year to record SCARR. I was going to wait for the GoPro2 but think I’ll pick up the original so I have time to experiment with mounting options.