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May 30, 2014

Time Has Stood Still For Texas Republicans

The Texas Republican Party has refused to allow the Log Cabin Republicans to have a booth at the Texas State Republican convention this year.

"Overall, Log Cabin Republicans of Texas has found incredible support within the Republican party — Texans, like the rest of the country, are evolving on LGBT rights issues," said Log Cabin Republicans of Texas Chairman Jeffrey Davis. "The Republican Party of Texas has even welcomed many of our members as delegates to the Texas State Republican Convention. However, the party has denied our several attempts to host a booth in the convention exhibit hall, citing archaic language in the party platform to support their actions. We deserve to occupy a booth just like anyone else, and it's time that the Texas GOP's hypocritical policies and procedures are replaced by new ones that match the general opinion of Texan Republican voters."

Here is the archaic language cited in the Texas Republican Platform:

Homosexuality ― We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country's founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable "alternative" lifestyle, in public policy, nor should "family" be redefined to include homosexual "couples." We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.

This is not simply opposition to marriage or to an anti-discrimination law. The Texas Republican Party wants to roll time backwards a few decades.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | May 30, 2014 at 06:43 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2014

Do you suppose...

...that Donald Sterling is bothered to learn that his L.A. Clippers, which have been in existence since 1970, is worth only two-thirds as much as Dr. Dre's Beats Music which has been around since January?

Filed under California,Music,Sports,Technology | permalink | May 29, 2014 at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

The New 1997 Police Department

Police Dept - Desert Sentinel - June 12 1997
From the June 12, 1997, Desert Sentinel
, courtesy of the Desert Hot Springs Historical Society.

  • Phillip Heald, Lieutenant
  • Chris Roberts, Police Officer
  • James Butzbach, Lieutenant
  • Ryan D. Monis, Police Officer & K9 Unit
  • Larry Gonzales, Reserve Captain
  • Richard Mosely, Sergeant
  • Dave Foster, Police Officer
  • Larry Kington, Police Officer
  • Larry Essex, Patrolman
  • Tom Raso, Police Officer
  • Sigfredo "Fred" Molo, Police Officer
  • Gabino Avila, Sergeant
  • Steve O'Connor, Police Officer
  • James Miyashiro, Sergeant
  • Joe Hensley, Detective

Filed under Desert Hot Springs,History,Public Safety | permalink | May 29, 2014 at 04:04 PM | Comments (0)

"Is that communism?"

That's the rhetorical question asked by TheStreet in reference to (get this!) Costco.

The Glassdoor survey of Costco wages show a pretty flat salary curve, with pay ranging from $10-$23 an hour for cashiers and just $22-24 an hour for supervisors. No position averages much more than $22 an hour, but none averages less than $11 an hour either. Even the guy who checks your receipt and the woman who sells the cheap hot dogs take home a decent wage.

Yes, every time I see that case full of big roasted chickens at only $5 each I say to myself, "This must be communism!"

The article says cashiers at Sam's Club are paid as little as $8/hour while supervisors get an average of $25/hour.

Here are a few of the Costco wage ranges listed in the Glassdoor survey:

  • Cashier: $10 to $22
  • Supervisor: $20 to $24
  • Food Court: $10 to $15
  • Pharmacy Tech: $12 to $22
  • Pharmacist: $58 to $62 (this is the highest pay at Costco)
  • Cashier Assistant: $11 to $13
  • Cart Pusher: $11 to $12
  • Hearing Aid Dispenser: $23 to %$30
  • Licensed Optician: $23 to $28
  • Meat Cutter: $22 to $24
  • Meat Wrapper: $10 to $14

North Korean Chicken
This is what a communist chicken looks like. It takes one Supreme Leader and two high-ranking military officers to kill a communist chicken.

Filed under Shopping | permalink | May 29, 2014 at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

Red Cactus Flowers

Cactus Flowers (2296)

| permalink | May 29, 2014 at 10:59 AM | Comments (1)

Got A Wind Turbine Fetish?

Or just curious?

EBOLI (SA) Italy - 22 May 2014 . Available today, the app Windfarm Locator offers a global wind farm monitoring platform to iPhone and Android users.

Thanks to an algorithm mining info on the internet one of the biggest wind farm database has been created and made available to the apple and android mobile users (iOS 5.1.1 or later and Android 4.1 or later). More than 12,000 wind farms have been listed up until now! For each wind farm site in the database, atmosphere is hourly modeled at wind turbines hub height and wind farm production esteemed at the specific site based on the wind farm technical specs.

App features include:

  • A detailed global map of installed wind farms
  • Wind farm comprehensive technical informations
  • An estimate of how many MWs each plant supplies to the grid realtime, update hourly.
  • Easy to search any location in the world.

"Since we implemented the first algorithm we have thought about a tool everybody can understand. Yes, we maintained a technical description but we converted all the data also in a more readable form such as how many homes each wind farm feeds each year in the specific country the farm is installed," said Francesco Paraggio, core developer of the app.

Further, everybody using the app can contribute improve the database by taking a photo of a wind farm. Each month one of the contributors will be rewarded with a fantastic handheld anemometer.

windfarm locator
"Hey Ma, this app says we're standing right under a wind turbine!"

The Android app is $3.66.

The iOS app is $3.99.

Maybe that extra 33¢ for the iOS app buys you one day of Beats Music.

Filed under Technology | permalink | May 29, 2014 at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

Up In San Jose

Desert Hot Springs' big sister city San Jose is about six months ahead of DHS in developing medical marijuana regulations. Like DHS, San Jose banned dispensaries. In December 2013 the City Council directed staff to begin to put together a plan to permit them. Here's a staff memo that summarizes the history and the issues.

Although there are some differences between San Jose and Desert Hot Springs (we don't have a single Vietnamese restaurant!), one thing we would now have in common is developing good regulations on marijuana dispensaries in the current legal climate with the experiences of other California cities to refer to. It could be that their much, much larger staff and legal team will have already invented some wheels that we could use here.

And to cap it off, the voters of San Jose will be presented with a parcel tax on the June 3, 2014, ballot. Not that that has any direct bearing on marijuana dispensaries, but is an interesting coincidence.

| permalink | May 29, 2014 at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2014

Opulent Temple Wants A New DJ Booth

To help fund that, they've got a Kickstarter where the goal is $30,000. The video gives a little history of Opulent Temple and shows you what it has been and what they hope it will be.

Filed under Burning Man | permalink | May 28, 2014 at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

MSWD Workshop - May 12, 2014

Directors John Brown and John Furbee were absent from this meeting.

Customer Account Policy

One of the principles formulated by the Citizens Advisory Committee was to "Decrease policies and practices that subsidize groups or individuals, or result in unrecovered expenses for MSWD." One of the first steps is to try to streamline customer service at the front desk.

The current policy is to allow renters to open accounts in their own name with their landlord's agreement. The district has about 2,700 accounts like this. This practice consumes a significant amount of time and expense. The district has calculated this work load to equal as much as 2.75 full-time equivalencies per year. 1.5 FTEs are at the front desk and 1.25 FTEs are in service department and accounting time. Tenant accounts consume half of the front desk's work time. This tenant workload costs the district an additional $300,000/year (average $10/month per tenant account) but the district receives no additional compensation from tenants or landlords to cover this expense. Depreciation, vehicle expense and equipment costs are not included in the $300,000 figure.

Alternative #1 would be to maintain the status quo, but implement a new fee on the tenant accounts. That fee would need to be about $10/month to recover expenses.

Alternative #2 would be to change the policy so that accounts would be only in the property owner's name. The district would not deal with tenants at all. This would allow the 2.75 FTEs to be re-allocated to work that is more productive.

Alternative #3 would be like #2, but if the owner also wanted a copy of the bill sent to the tenant, the district would do so for a fee. Anybody can pay the bill, but only the owner can request the water to be turned on or off. The fee would probably in the range of $2 to $3/month.

Whichever method the board chooses, the implementation process would be fairly quick. One idea is to establish a deadline of 6 months (that is, 6 months notice). During those 6 months any new or changed accounts involving tenants would be treated under the new policy. Staff estimated this could be 10% to 20% of tenant accounts. A new application for an account would be requested from the property owners whose units had not already come under the new policy. When the 6-month deadline is reached, all accounts would be switched to the new policy.

Staff considered Alternative #3 to be the most acceptable. The three directors present also supported #3. Staff will prepare the necessary paper work and bring it back to the board as quickly as possible for their review and approval.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs | permalink | May 28, 2014 at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

Got Yer Marijuana Food Truck Right Here

Unveiled at last month's Cannabis Cup in Denver, was MagicalButter's food truck "serving peanut butter and jelly, pulled pork and grilled cheese sandwiches along with tomato soup."

MagicalButter sells a device that makes extractions of marijuana in any edible oil.

Filed under Food and Drink,Marijuana | permalink | May 28, 2014 at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)