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Religion, Politics, & Culture: Defined and Explained


Monday, February 19, 2018

Limits of the Digital Age

I wish to begin this discussion today with two propositions:

Rush Limbaugh says that for most people, history begins when you are born. In a sense that is true because you remember best what you experienced.

We have also been admonished that those that don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

My subject today touches on both propositions.


In recent times, the Internet has revolutionized the availability of information; however, I don’t mean this in the way you think I do. We have made everything transient and disposable. One such casualty is “Truth”. Our culture often speaks of “what is true for you” as opposed to “Truth” as an objective, absolute standard. Liberals have their “truth” and conservatives have theirs, too. Most of the time the intersection of the facts in any discussion is tangential to the discussion and not central to it. We talk past each other not to each other. Look at the news of the day and how CCN or the old gray lady covers it as opposed to Fox or World Net Daily or Breitbart. How do folks witness the same events and come-up with this stuff?

I love the ease of finding things on the Internet but try finding the same event or article six months or a year later. There is a good chance the link (URL) is gone or broken. It could be moved, purged, or the website is just gone. If you are lucky, the article might be behind a pay firewall—and thus out of reach anyway.


Example: Rita Crundwell “The Crooked Comptroller: Poster Child for Segregating Duties”
I took a college level class a few years ago and we had to read an article about a particular person that was written by a particular author. The subject was business ethics. The required article was owned by a company that wanted $595 for a membership just to access its contents. I wrote the company and they made an exception and allowed me to get a copy to write my report. Ironically the instructor had no copy of the article and didn’t seem to know that it costs money just to get it.


I dislike the current practice of allowing school children to compose reports solely from “research” conducted on the Internet. We all know that search engines put their thumbs on the scales when it comes to getting results. This can be to promote a particular political viewpoint or to promote one advertiser over another. Furthermore, research on the Internet only goes back for a few years. The farther back you go, the less you will find. Much prior to the “digital age” is unavailable.


Another factor that affects search results is that companies and people are employed to “scrub” the internet of unfavorable reports. This is particularly true of politicians and large companies and institutions. Here are two examples. 

The University of California at Davis tried to scrub any references to an on campus protest in which students were maced by campus police. They were “busted” doing this and mercilessly raked over the coals by local media. The story eventually went national and lives on in infamy on Wikipedia.

Local Coverage: Sacramento Bee newspaper
UC Davis spent thousands to scrub pepper-spray references from Internet

National: CNET News
UC Davis spent $175K to hide pepper spray cop on Google, says report

Living in Infamy on Wikipedia
UC Davis pepper spray incident


While on Elk Grove’s City Council, Jim Cooper, ran for Sacramento County Sheriff. At the time, the department was facing budget cuts and layoffs. Candidate Cooper said that his solution would be to make the department more financially stable by the wide scale use of traffic cameras to fund the department. (Cooper by his statements admits that cameras are not about safety but revenue.) I heard Cooper say this while I was attending a candidate forum but I dare you to find a written report of his comments via an Internet search.


The Internet has other limitations as well. Ever buy music on Apple or Amazon or some other service? Here’s what you are missing.

• Who wrote the song?
• Who produced it?
• Who are the musicians?
• What inspired the artist to record it?
• Where was the track recorded?
• When was it recorded?

All this and more was once common on the jacket of a vinyl record and less so on a compact disk. Now you get no context to the song.


Electronic documents such as Adobe PDF files and EBooks are another area of concern when limitations of the digital age are concerned. With the click of a mouse or push of a remote button, these documents can be disabled in their entirety or edited without any user input. Paper books are better for sharing anyway. The thought that Amazon can edit, disable, or delete any book that you’ve purchased from them should give you some cause for concern. If someone modified or disabled, the PDF file extension then anything in that format would become unreadable. If you drill down into the licensing agreement, you will find that you really don’t own the software, music, or book that you think that you purchased. No, in reality you have only bought a use license and ownership is actually retained by some faceless corporation not you. The digital age has its benefits but don’t overlook the limitations as well.

It doesn’t take an EMP weapon from North Korea to end the “information age” as we know it. Buyer beware. Clearly I like the digital age but I like parts of the “old school” ways as well. In my mind physical media is always better.


Lastly, for your reading and amusement I present a technology called B.O.O.K. Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge.

BOOK is a revolutionary technological breakthrough: no wires, no electric currents, no batteries.  Nothing to be connected or switched on.  So easy to use, even a child can operate it!  Compact, portable, it can be used anywhere—even on a beach, yards from a power point.  Yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc!  Here’s how it works:

BOOK is constructed of literally hundreds of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information.  The pages are locked together with a custom fit device (a “binder”) which maintains each sheet in its correct sequence.

Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows the manufacturer to utilize BOTH sides of each sheet, thus doubling information density while cutting costs.  Sheets are scanned optically, registering information directly to the brain—the most efficient interface yet developed!

Read the full description of B.O.O.K.

Posted by william on 02/19 at 01:51 PM
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Friday, February 09, 2018

Thoughts on California’s Housing Shortage

Happy Friday!

I’m just wondering what things are like in your corner of the world? Here in the shadow of California’s capitol, I keep hearing how great the economy is but I think its wishful thinking. Prices of food and energy keep going up due exclusively to government policies. In my town, Elk Grove, the city council is spending money faster than a drunken Congressman with a new girlfriend.

The only fault here that any politician will admit is a housing shortage. What shortage? The only thing in short supply is affordable housing. Ten years ago, at the peak of the housing boom, it cost about $100,000 per lot just to get a building permit. Wages, taxes, and utilities cost much more than ten years ago, but real estate prices in my area have never recovered their peak values of the last decade.

Nevertheless, single people that I know at work are paying apartment rental that is double what my monthly mortgage is costing me. What is worse is that there is plenty of housing available. I have three empty homes in my neighborhood that are within a two minute walk of my driveway. Two of the three are not even listed as being for sale. Yep, they are just sitting there. One has been empty for about two years and another for six months, and the third for about four months. Another family on my street is closing up shop and heading out of state later this year. If this is a common occurrence then things are worse than I imagine.

I fear that by the time Gavin Newsom and the gang in the “bill mill” are done with this state, we will be comparing ourselves to Haiti or Puerto Rico. That’s when you know that California has achieved its goal of being the worker’s paradise that we have been promised.  Oh, and then government will have created affordable housing to boot. Until then, buckle-up.

Posted by william on 02/09 at 03:04 PM
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Thursday, February 08, 2018

Comments On Learning How To Think Straight

Bob Dylan released a track on his Grammy winning Slow Train Coming album called Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking but I’m not sure the article below is what he had in mind.


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At first glance you might think this is the prison version of My Fair Lady but we are not talking about which fork to use at the fancy dinner or “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain”. Neither is this a redux of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten where rules such as “don’t hit others” and “share” were the life lessons that folks used to learn.

No, the article below is a target rich environment for an alien way of thinking. We are in fact looking at a religion of self-improvement and behavior modification which yields no improvement in the human heart; thus there is no real moral or ethical basis why the prisoner should change.

Inmates at Corcoran learn how to think straight

By Lt. Edward Sanchez, AA/PIO
California State Prison, Corcoran

Thinking for Change recently congratulated its second graduating class on Facility 3B at California State Prison, Corcoran. The inmates in the class learned social skills such as active listening, apologizing and responding to anger.

The next subject the class learned last fall was, Cognitive Self-Change: paying attention to how their thinking affects their responses, recognizing risky thoughts and behaviors that are likely to get them into trouble and how to identify new and different ways of thinking and acting that will help them avoid conflict.

After practicing these skills, the next subject was Problem Solving: learning to take problems they experience every day, such as conflicts with cell mates, family members and staff and develop a more constructive way of dealing with those difficulties.

Members of the class learned by observing the group leader and one of their own members who had already completed the class demonstrate the specific skills they were learning.

They then identified their own problem situations, worked through the process of identifying potential solutions, chose one and acted it out in front of the class with another inmate.

For Inmate Harris, this was the second time through the class, this time as a teacher’s assistant who helped demonstrate the various skills and worked with some of the other inmates to help them complete assignments in between classes.

“This wasn’t just book learning,” said another inmate. “We actually did what we were learning about.”

“The experience I got out of this class was the most helpful thing I have received in all my years in CDCR,” said another inmate.



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Graduates of Think for Change

Folks let’s face it, the guys in prison are those that are more logically consistent than the rest of us. If Darwin is true—which is what we teach from elementary school on up—then taking what you want and exploiting the weak is proper behavior. Rape, murder, theft, and other “crimes” are just survival of the fittest in action. What these inmates learn the hard way is that society for the most part doesn’t really believe Darwin.


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You see, we want the morality of Christianity—the fruits if you will-without the consequences of the reality of God. We latch onto Darwin to explain our existence apart from God and justify abortion on demand but otherwise we don’t really have much use for him.

Inmates acted like animals (per Darwin and evolutionary theory) and subsequently got caged. Thus the society that caged them is now trying to train them to behave better. Acting according to nature got them in trouble so now somebody decided that the problem was their lack of nurture. Sorry but even with Siegfried and Roy, the animals were still wild, they just acted tame in a controlled setting for short periods of time; their fundamental nature is not changed.


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Siegfried and Roy

Likewise, this prison program cannot effect the type of change that these men really need, only the Gospel of Christ can have lasting change. Why? Because when God saves us, he gives us a new heart, a new nature, His nature.

From a biblical point of view, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation can’t really do either correct or rehabilitate. God is in the business or redeeming people from their sins. (Imprisonment is not a biblical punishment anyway.)

When the government gets into the business of trying to redeem people, they have left their God given sphere of responsibility and strayed beyond their mandate. These eight guys were able to get out of their cells and interact with others but sadly they were not given the antidote to their real problem just a placebo.

Posted by william on 02/08 at 09:16 AM
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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Sacramento Gets Another Area Code

Back when I was a kid, most of northern California was in the 916 area code. In 1997, the area code was split so that the metro Sacramento area remained 916 and the outlying areas became 530. Starting in the next few days (February 10th), a new area code will be overlaid on top of the area currently served by 916. Thus folks in Sacramento will be required to dial both area code and seven digit number—even for local calls. The new area code is 279.


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Further Reading

California Public Utilities Commission: 916 Area Code

Area codes 916 and 279

Posted by william on 02/06 at 07:51 AM
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Monday, February 05, 2018

Washington Post Warns about California

For those that haven’t believed me or aren’t paying attention (Rush’s low information voters), even the east coast Liberals see the trend.

Think California politics is on the far-left fringe? Just wait for the next elections

SACRAMENTO — For those who think California politics is on the far-left fringe of the national spectrum, stand by. The next election season, already well underway here, will showcase a younger generation of Democrats that is more liberal and personally invested in standing up to President Trump’s Washington than those leaving office.

Here in the self-labeled “state of resistance,” the political debate is being pushed further left without any sign of a Republican renaissance to serve as a check on spending and social policy ambitions. Even some Republicans are concerned about the departure of Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who proved to be fiscally cautious after inheriting a state seven years ago in deep recession.

Normally I don’t recommend the Post as reading material, but this is worth a look.

 

Posted by william on 02/05 at 07:16 AM
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Friday, February 02, 2018

San Francisco DA Gives Middle Finger to Law Abiding Americans

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By “X” the man with no name

Welcome back loyal readers, sorry for the long hiatus but I was convinced of a CRA led Coup-de-tat to take over the Presidency of this country so I had to batten down the hatches and look for shelter.  Well, IM BACK! And suffice to say my rage is now firmly directed at the DA of San Francisco County, one George Gascon, who will now be referred to as George Gascan.  Gascan the DA that “prosecuted” and I’m using that term very loosely; Jose Zarate, the illegal 5 times deported, 7 time convicted felon, and still on probation in Texas at the time of murdering Kate Steinle.  Gascan lost the case on all serious charges, thankfully CRA hated, President Donald J Trump is having his justice department charge him federally.  It is of the opinion of William and X that Gascan never wanted to try, charge or convict Zarate, thus a half assed trial occurred, with Zarate being only found guilty of 1 lesser charge.  This blog post is not to focus on Zarate.  It will focus on the policies recently enacted by the chief law enforcement officer in San Francisco County, George Gascan.

Gascan, for those of you in the CRA, or related by blood or incest to Aaron Park, has extreme amounts of voter given power.  For example, run a red light or get caught speeding, a police officer gives you a ticket, and you will pay a hefty fine in court.  Gascan on the other hand, has latitude to overrule police officers, and sheriff deputies.  Kill someone in cold blood, instead of murder 1, you could get manslaughter charges, charges can be enhanced or dropped all together.  I am of the belief power of law enforcement should be given to 1 elected partisan, and Gascan’s next move will prove my point.

On Tuesday, while the unwashed masses were watching President Trump give his brilliant State of the Union speech, Gascan issued an edict saying all prior marijuana convictions will be set aside if they are misdemeanors, and reclassified if they are felonies.  Setting a conviction aside means removing it and sealing it from their record.  Reclassifying a felony as a misdemeanor is far more troubling in my eyes.  With my background in Human Resources I can tell you, if you had a misdemeanor in your background, you check letters of recommendation and you could hire the person in some circumstances, a felony was the electric third rail and was never even considered.  This changes everything, because there is no way to tell if the misdemeanor was a reclassified felony, and for what the felony was for.  Example, felony narcotic trafficking, could be reclassified as misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.  See how Gascan is making a serious crime look very petty?  Word to the wise, a felony conviction almost always carries significant jail time, now these crimes are being labeled as not serious.

I would not have as big of a concern if Gascan implemented this retroactively to when the initiative qualified for the ballot (recently passed in November) but he is going back all the way to 1975!  Circa the time the war on drugs was being fought.  This is why I have a strong dislike for executive type orders, it takes one do-gooder like Gascan to wipe records clean and create a new liberal voter universe.  Orders like these should be voted on by the people, not enacted by an elected partisan hack looking for higher office down the road.  Think about it, if you’re Gascan, you are instantly a hero to the anti-police, pro-drug, pro-crime liberal base of the party.  Looks great on your resume if you desire to be Governor, or Mayor, or Supervisor in the near future. 

However the future of your state/city will look bleak.  The downside about San Francisco is what was a flourishing nice tourist mecca, has turned into a crime and filth ridden skid mark on the underpants of society.  Seriously, would you go visit San Francisco?  Does it even matter if during the day or at night?  San Francisco is great if you are into crime, drugs, prostitution, the smell of human waste and urine, and apparently now anarchy is allowed.  Remember it’s a sanctuary city now.

Now thanks to George Gascan in addition to prop 47 letting criminals out of jail early and de-criminalizing certain crimes, now we are retroactively removing convictions from people’s criminal records. 

Til next time,

X

PS if you’re a member of the CRA you shouldn’t like Gascan, but I heard he might be against smart meters so I guess there is that.

Editor’s Note: When applying for employment with the State of California (STD Form 678), all questions related to criminal convictions have been purged from the job application form.
Question 10 used to read: “Have you ever been convicted by any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?
Question 11 used to read: “Have you ever been convicted by any court of a felony?

Also in the last few weeks, any information on salary history has been forbidden on the form. It has been replaced with the words, “No Longer Required”.

Posted by william on 02/02 at 08:59 PM
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Thursday, February 01, 2018

Trump After One Year

Donald Trump is working wonders in Washington DC. People in Congress are “self-deporting” as Trump has forced them into the spotlight and begun to expect results from them. Trump gets Liberals (and some Conservatives) all upset about what he says on Twitter—as if it mattered—when it’s really a distraction to let him accomplish things behind the scenes. Trump is rightly being compared to Ronald Reagan. Please understand that I love Reagan but Trump may far exceed his accomplishments.

Following the State of the Union speech, I heard some “watercooler talk” at work about what Liberal people thought. They don’t understand that Trump is a negotiator. Much of what he asked for was his opening position to negotiate. Democrats give some ground. Trump gives ground, and they meet in the middle with each side getting some of what they want. This makes senses to a guy who once authored a book called “The Art of the Deal” however, in Washington, the definition of bipartisan is when Republicans capitulate and agree with the Democrats without getting anything in return.

The best thing about Trump as President is that nobody under age 50 has ever seem what a vibrant economy is capable of doing when government gets out of the way. This epiphany for the American people is the weapon the will transform the American electorate. When Trump succeeds, America succeeds.

When I was young, the difference between a politician and a statesman was that a politician was only interested in the next election, a statesman in the next generation. Today, the difference could be defined as a statesman will pay for something with existing dollars while a politician will pay for it with your grandchildren’s economic freedom.

If you want further reading on Trump, start with these articles:

Here’s How Many Times Trump Said ‘I’ in His First SOTU Address… Compare That with Obama’s

Lone Democratic Senator Who Applauded Trump’s Speech: ‘Just to Sit There and Frown Is Not Going to Fix Anything’

Rep. Trey Gowdy announced Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the year, becoming the ninth Republican chairman of a congressional committee to decide to leave Congress at the end of this session.

Trey Gowdy Is Leaving Politics

Tray, please take Paul Ryan with you.

 

 

 

 

Posted by william on 02/01 at 08:06 AM
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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Folding Tablets Are New Cell Phones

Later this year two design concepts will converge to create a new category of devices.

Always Connected
Windows 10 devices will be entering the market which run on ARM chips. ARM chips are the same ones that power smart phones. This is not Windows RT or Mobile but the same Windows 10 that runs on your desktop and laptop. These always connected devices will hold a charge measured in days not hours and can run most programs that you use at work or home.

Foldable Tablets
In addition to laptops and tablets, a new set of foldable devices will also be marketed beginning later this year. This new technology category is the folding tablet that just happens to be a smart phone. Several Android and PC manufacturers are entering this market space.

Combining Both: Andromeda
I’m particularly interested in Microsoft’s Andromeda devices. These foldable tablets are always connected, run Windows 10, and support touch and pen. Andromeda is believed to be the mythical “Surface Phone”. Now that the top brands of cell phones routinely cost more than one thousand dollars, Microsoft can market this tablet without the sticker shock that would have occurred a few years ago. Also the technology has become both powerful enough and efficient enough to be practical.

Here is are sketches of the Microsoft Andromeda concept.

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Sketch from Patent application


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Render of Andromeda from Engaget

Microsoft ‘Andromeda:’ Everything we know about the rumored foldable device

I’m looking forward to seeing these gizmos at my local electronics retailer later in the year. (and hopefully under the Christmas tree too)

Posted by william on 01/31 at 07:51 AM
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Saturday, January 27, 2018

When Hyper-V Attacks

A coworker has an old program that he couldn’t get to run on his computer, so he asked me to help. From the description of the program it sounded like it was probably written with 16-bit code, so I told him about DOSBox. He had never heard of the program; nevertheless, I convinced him to try it. (I like D-Fend Reloaded mod)  Once he got it installed he tried to run his program. It gave him an error because he didn’t have Windows installed.  After several text messages, we agreed that he would bring the program CD to work, give it to me, and I could try it at home the next day.

In the meantime, I pulled out my old Windows for Workgroups 3.11 CD and tried to figure out how to install it on DOSBox. Yes, I know there is no such thing as a Windows 3.11 install CD, I made it myself almost 20 years ago. The CD is also bootable, I tweaked an image of a Windows 98 (or ME) rescue floppy and added some improvements. It can install WFW and Norton Desktop—a product that looks suspiciously like Windows 95 but is much older. It makes 3.11 have a different desktop experience and features portions of Norton Utilities as part of a graphical interface. It’s really cool software. After fiddling with DOSBox for a while I was able to get Windows installed. Oh, nice thing about having it on CD is no prompts for inserting the next floppy disk.

I then had to configure the sound card and video. Sound was easy, just select SoundBlaster and set Interrupt and IRQ—typical old school stuff. Video was a big problem. I picked Living Books “Arthur’s Teacher Trouble”. Believe me it was trouble too. The video in DOSBox just wouldn’t go. I changed the settings within Windows to every size and shape monitor but they all failed. Finally, I found a complete answer which I’m happy to link to HERE.
Having conquered Broderbund, I decided to revisit Microsoft virtualization in Hypervisor. I clicked on Hyper-V Manager in my Windows 10 machine and found a treasure—or so I thought; a relic of Windows 7, I found Windows XP. I tried running it and it errored out. One error was that the network settings were invalid. I was forced by Windows into a reboot after each failure. Unable to get it running, I decided to use the same virtual hard drive but use it in a newly created session of Hyper-V. I accepted the defaults and tried to create a new virtual PC. After letting Hyper-V run for about ten minutes I aborted to program. I knew something was wrong, it should only have taken a few seconds.

While messing with the virtualization software, I noticed that the virtual network card was running but my regular network card was dead. It said no network cable was attached to my computer. I tried many things, but none worked:
• At elevated Command Prompt: netcfg -d
• Help in Hyper-V had no content when I tried to use it
• Restore Point from a week before
• Delete all network cards in Device Manager
• Delete Hyper-V
• Reinstall NIC drivers
• USB network card (which said no ethernet cable attached to PC)

All these ideas and a few more failed. But things got worse.

In the midst of this, the Wi-Fi for our whole house went down and despite several reboots, nothing happened. I checked with a friend in the area and his connectivity was normal. On my phone, the ISP website assured me that there were no outages in my area. I ended up having to do a factory reset of the cable modem to get anything running. More than three hours after I tried to run my virtual hard drive, I finally admitted defeat and went to bed.

This morning, I was contemplating running a cable from another part of the house to my computer until I could get a wireless dual band NIC. Just for fun, before I left for work, I unplugged my computer from the hub in my wiring closet and plugged the cable into an unused port and immediately the green light came on and my computer was connected. I was glad to have my computer connectivity back but…

Folks think about it, a malformed piece of software on my desktop computer had the power to kill a port on my gigabit hub and my cable modem/router at the same time. Port 8 on my hub is dead and buried and a factory reset was needed to recover connectivity to the Internet. It sounds like I may have stumbled onto a bug or potential exploit. Whatever happened, I hope the boys in Redmond get this fixed. A simple message that this is not a supported operating system would have saved me a few hours of inconvenience.

Posted by william on 01/27 at 12:30 AM
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Thursday, January 25, 2018

State of the CRA

The CRA has graciously invited me to their annual convention in March; an honor that I must respectfully decline.

They will be gathering in once Republican Orange County to considering such weighty topics as:
Battle for Congress—Which seats are at risk
State of our State
Why be activists?
How to engage Non-Republicans?

Also they will vote to endorse candidates for Governor and U.S. Senate.


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However, I must respectfully rip this confab as a relic of a long dead age. The CRA, and Republicans in general, living in California are much like zombies. They move around, make noise, occasionally mumble about brains, and can occasionally be herded about totally unaware that they died long ago.

Conservatives blame Pete Wilson and Charles Munger Jr. while Liberals blame pro-lifers and religious Conservatives for the Party’s demise; however, both are wrong. Two factors deserve the lion’s share of the blame for the decline of the Republican Party in the once Golden State, George Herbert Walker Bush and demographics.

• In 1973, Los Angeles County alone had 270,000 aerospace jobs, mostly due to the military. The aerospace industry was one of the biggest employers in California. While the number of jobs in this industry was declining due to the decrease in spending for the space program and end of Vietnam as well as improvements in materials and manufacturing, it was still an important industrial sector in the state. 
• In the late 1980’s, then San Francisco Mayor Diane Feinstein refused to allow the USS Missouri to be stationed at Hunter’s Point as a permanent museum.
• A year after Ronald Reagan left office the Berlin Wall fell.

George H.W. Bush created the military base closure commission to celebrate the mythical “Peace Dividend.” This “Blue Ribbon” commission decided which bases would be closed and Congress agreed that no amendments would be allowed, it would be a straight up or down vote, that way if a base in someone’s district closed it was the commission’s fault not theirs. Furthermore, Bush agreed to sign the commission recommendations into law before it ever saw the light of day. This commission stripped most military installations from California. Ironically, the money from the base closures ultimately went to bailing out the Saving and Loan Crisis that was solely created by the same Congress.

Demographics in California changed for a number of reasons but the mass exodus of conservative and Republican voters from the state due to the base closings sealed the fate of the state. This change in the electorate coupled with the influx of people arriving from other countries changed the face of California forever.

It was during this era that CRA saw two things, a precipitous decline in membership and the rise of Barbara Alby and the Christian Right. CRA went from north of 100,000 members to about 20,000. Today CRA numbers less than 2,000 members in a state of 38 million.

For CRA to hold a convention about Republican victories is like the survivors of Pearl Harbor or Civil War reenactors gathering to honor the good old days of a bygone era. They can pound their chests and drink a beer in honor of their fallen comrades but other than being armchair quarterbacks to current events they are as irrelevant as Pete Wilson to contemporary politics.

Posted by william on 01/25 at 08:34 AM
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Oprah Not Interested

Well this didn’t take long.

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey has no interest in running for U.S. president in 2020, she said in an interview with InStyle magazine published on Thursday after weeks of speculation and calls to run fueled by a speech she made at the Golden Globes.
Oprah says ‘not interested’ in 2020 U.S. presidential run

 

Posted by william on 01/25 at 07:04 AM
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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Oprah Winfrey: Savior of the Left?

Oprah Winfrey’s name is being floated as the Democrat candidate that can rid the political world of Donald Trump and reestablish the Democrat brand in Washington. Under her leadership, we will get a person much like Hillary but with a reputation of making us feel better about being a second rate people.

In the wake of her Golden Globes speech Sunday night, Oprah’s people were talking up the prospect. Her longtime partner Stedman Graham told the L.A. Times, “It’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it.”

And NBC seemed to be on board. “Nothing but respect for OUR future president,” the network tweeted…
The pundits swoon over Oprah for 2020 – but running for president is brutal

My wife came home from work yesterday and I asked her about this and the Liberals at work were joyful that Oprah would be their candidate. They were ready to go vote now. The lunch room was ecstatic at the prospect of Winfrey in 2020 and retaking the White House.

However, would Oprah subject herself to the scrutiny of a campaign?

Truthfully, I think it will never happen no matter how good a friend and supporter of the Obama or Clinton clans that she has been. She has much baggage that will haunt her. Below are a few reasons that she will never run.

After Oprah Winfrey’s highly publicized speech at the Golden Globes sparked speculation of a presidential run, actor James Woods tweeted three pictures of her with disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
After Golden Globes Speech, James Woods Shares 3 Photos From Oprah’s Past


Here is one photo that actor James Woods shared on Twitter



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Oprah loves Harvey Weinstein

Another factor that would kill her candidacy is her residence. Lest you forget, Oprah lives in Chicago. Yes, the murder capital of America.  This place is owned, lock, stock, and barrel by Liberals. The guys running this place into the ground are her friends and supporters. Most of the violence is blacks murdering other blacks. Where is Oprah while this carnage is occurring? What has she done to help in her own backyard? She has armed security, drivers, and doormen to care for her. She can never claim to be “one of us” even if she came from an impoverished background.

Oprah is just the latest generic candidate.  Remember Colin Powell? Everybody liked him until he started taking positions on issues and then his political stock fell like a rock. He lost my interest when he came out for abortion on demand and defended Roe v Wade. Powell was just another RINO in a shiny uniform. Likewise, Winfrey is just another Liberal in a different package. If she is really as smart as people claim that she is, she won’t run but will bask in the praise of the moment.

Liberals can’t beat Trump this easily. Besides we just got rid of one President named “O” from Chicago, I don’t think we need another.

 

Posted by william on 01/09 at 10:26 AM
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Monday, January 08, 2018

Elk Grove Teacher’s Union Busted

Congratulations to the Sith Lord on being vindicated about his claim of illegal electioneering by the Elk Grove teacher’s union back in 2016. Unfortunately, at the time he would not put in writing his claim that the union’s Pac was making illegal campaign contributions. However, the local paper reported that the FPPC has given the union their day of reckoning with a fine of $11.5K.

A local political action committee was fined $11,500 after a state watchdog group last month determined they broke a state campaign law several times .

The Elk Grove Education Association (EGEA) has a political action committee that reportedly failed to file campaign documents by deadline during the 2016 election year.

This committee supported three Elk Grove school board candidates and the Measure M school bond campaign in 2016.


The EGEA represents more than 3,000 teachers and other school employees in the Elk Grove Unified School District. Their political action committee received more than $65,000 in contributions and spent more than $110,600 during the 2016 election year, according to a California Fair Political Practices Commission report.

EG teachers union fined for campaign law violations

Folks this is a slap on the wrist considering what these guys could have received. They willfully broke the law and then pleaded ignorance. This is the FPPC version of a “fix-it” ticket. Sadly, this isn’t the only part of this union that’s broken.

Posted by william on 01/08 at 07:15 PM
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Thursday, January 04, 2018

New Year with Teenager

The wife and I have decided to do a course correction in the life of our teenager. We have come to the opinion that both his older siblings have holes in their upbringing that we don’t wish to replicate in his life. Our son is not allowed to use electronic devices including computers, phones, and television during school nights—defined as Sunday evening thru Thursday night; however, this rule has not been enforced in any meaningful way because if we watch television, he is right there with us. This is not just to insure that he does homework but electronic stuff can end up being too much of a good thing.

We are trying three new changes this year to move in what we hope will be a better direction.

First, once a week, our son is responsible to fix dinner. We have set this as a Friday night event with three caveats; first, he can pick a night earlier in the week to complete this task but not later; second, if we eat out on Friday he is off the hook for the week; lastly, he must make a balanced meal. Chocolate cake and milkshakes is not a balanced meal.

Second, Wednesday night is reading night. We can either read by ourselves or aloud but reading is good and we need to do more. I’m thinking about doing a read aloud of a chapter a week from Paul Harvey’s Rest of the Story because my son has no idea who that is and I can’t get him to read the darn book.

Third, Sunday night is daddy school. For one hour a week, we will spend time with various aspects of the Christian faith such as doctrine and apologetics. Our son has spent his life in Christian schools but much of their theology is shallow (the Apostle Paul rightly called it, “the milk of the Word”). A few books we will be dealing with include Walter Martin’s Kingdom of the Cults and James Sire’s The Universe Next Door. I want him to have an answer for the hope that is in him and be able to discern truth from error. I also want to make an effort to get him to make the faith of his parents his own. Nothing I’ve seen other parents do seems to insure that result and arguably it is in God’s hands but I want to know I did my best in my primary duty as a father.

This week will be our first attempt at these goals. We have some good ideas, I’m hoping that the implementation will bear some positive results even if it needs some modifications along the way.

Posted by william on 01/04 at 09:39 AM
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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Review: The Last Jedi

Note: This review contains spoilers as well as commentary that you won’t read anywhere else.


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J.J. Abrams has done for Star Wars the same thing he did to Star Trek; namely, burn the franchise to the ground  and substitute a different worldview in its place. Unfortunately, while the grittier sandbox looks better in CGI, the morality at its core is gone. Any concept of right and wrong has been done away with and replaced with varying shades of gray.

Before I go on, I can hear you asking the question, “Who cares? Why does this matter anyway?”

Look I know these two franchises are just make believe but within them is a view that is optimistic and hopeful of the future and both hold to an idea of right and wrong, the tension of which the franchises are built around.

Star Trek has one big commandment called the Prime Directive which often gets in the way of Captain Kirk doing the right thing. The world of Trek is hopeful and in the past many Post Mil Christians have seen Gene Roddenberry’s world as one where Christianity is triumphant. One episode in the original series is built around the idea that Christianity triumphs but good luck finding it in syndication. Roddenberry was horrified to learn that Christians liked his show because he intended the future to be a religion free universe. Gene didn’t understand that only with Christianity could humans be optimistic about the future. Belief in Progress is a result of a Christian worldview; other belief systems have no basis for such a concept.

Star Wars borrows philosophically from many views and is infused with strong doses of pantheism and duality. George Lucas borrows Christian concepts and morality without attribution  and instead attributes them to impersonal means. The god of Star Wars is impersonal but omnipresent (pantheistic). Like the Chinese idea of Yen and Yang, Star Wars is Light versus Darkness. Mastery of The Force requires training from early youth to keep its followers in the Light or else they will be seduced by evil; the Dark side. (Salvation by works?) George Lucas spent his second trilogy in the franchise showing us that breaking the rules of training will only produce an evil outcome; in the person of Darth Vader. Those outside of the Jedi Order were forbidden to exercise The Force. Lucas based the franchise on “balance” of opposing forces not good triumphing over evil. Nevertheless, good leads to redemption for Mr. Vader; something duality cannot rationally offer.

Star Trek claimed to be a vision of a possible future for our world while Star Wars was always set in “A Galaxy Far, Far Away…”

When Disney bought the franchise, they promised to produce one Star Wars movie per year for the rest of my natural life (or longer).

Link: Disney will release a new ‘Star Wars’ movie every year starting in 2015

In order to do this they brought in J.J. Abrams to “reboot” the franchise so they could have the freedom to use new characters and stories. Abrams had the choice of going to some future period in the Star Wars universe and simply write an off screen epilogue for the original cast or let fans have one last adventure where the old is replaced by the new with Disney reaping the profits all the way.  Disney chose the latter. In the course of the last two movies of this third trilogy, they have killed-off Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill. Carrie Fisher was the only remaining cast member left and as Episode VIII was winding down, she died. Fisher’s death will clearly necessitate a major rework of Act 3.

To the careful observer, J.J. Abrams did much more than kill-off the old cast in exchange for a quick dollar, he killed the world of Star Wars as well.  Upon purchasing the franchise, Disney declared virtually everything except Lucas’s movies as null and void as far as the cannon (or mythology) of Star Wars was concerned. Every non-Disney property was nullified by proclamation. All novels, comic books, cartoons, etc. were invalidated by fiat.

Link: Why Disney Blew Up More Than 30 Years of Star Wars Canon

By the end of episode VIII, J.J., killed-off everything in the first six movies as well.


George Lucas modeled the original Star Wars in arch types of a western set in outer space with the theme of good versus evil. The story was designed to have a beginning, middle, and end. How well Lucas thought the whole thing out is questionable in light of some obvious holes in the second trilogy but the basic idea of good and evil permeates all six Lucas films.

J.J. Abrams began his course correction with Episode VII The Force Awakens but the seeds that he planted didn’t bear much fruit until the next and most recent installment, The Last Jedi. Abrams begins with the familiar arch type of Sith Lord and apprentice on the side of evil and a young girl that for no apparent reason has really strong ties to the good side of The Force. Abrams takes these themes and proceeds to violently overthrow the whole structure erected by Lucas.

Abrams took the fairytale-like world of Star Wars and in the course of one movie, did a gut-and-amend that would make Willie Brown blush with its boldness.
• In this movie, the apprentice kills his master, which is no big deal since he killed his father (Harrison Ford) in the last movie. The dialogue in this part of the movie is crucial in understanding what J.J. is doing. The interaction between the two main characters is important to the Disney version of the franchise going forward. The heroine says there is still good in the bad guy and surprisingly, the bad guy says that the heroine has evil in her and she should fully embrace it. The “good” girl and the “bad” guy then team up for a major fight scene and then go their separate ways. Folks here is the new paradigm. No characters are totally good or bad, there are just varying shades of gray. People just live for the moment and do what is in their self-interest (or right in their own eyes). However, if there is no right or wrong, then the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker (episodes 1 thru 6) is impossible. Lucas may have lacked a proper philosophical framework for his world, but he did keep the Christian ideals of good being the superior value and winning over evil and redemption of the vilest being possible—even at the moment of their death.
Luke Skywalker and Yoda destroy the Jedi temple and all their teachings (scriptures). They repudiate thousands of years of the Jedi religion and have no substitute for it. They create their own version of Pascal’s heart shaped vacuum with nothing to fill it. Yoda states the heroine has no need of training but already knows everything that she needs to. Excuse me but we spent six movies debating the premise of training and age; whether Jedi or Sith, they both agreed on this point and now with one simple comment we do away with it?! Luke and Yoda further agree that the Jedi Order is to be abolished (somehow, they seem to imply that this will do away with the Sith too, but this is never explained). Gary North’s words about you can’t beat something with nothing come to mind. Abrams’ switcharoo is totally without foundation. Only Christopher Hitchens would praise such hubris with a straight face.
• Luke sacrifices himself in a selfless way that seems contrived because all he does is use astral projection or a Force-made hologram to toy with the bad guy to allow the last of the Rebels to escape. This sacrifice—which visually harkens back to Alec Guinness in the first movie—seems to serve some greater purpose—likely the next movie. I can hear high school literature teachers screaming about Luke being a Christ figure in this story, but I think Abrams and company sacrificed young Skywalker just for shock value. Mark Hamill expressed his disapproval about how his character was portrayed in the movie but once his comments lit-up the Internet some suit at Disney pulled him aside and put him in his place. 
• At the end of the film, the Jedi Order is abolished, and regular people begin to exercise The Force. Somehow no training is required anymore.


I could mention many more plot points but the Galaxy Far, Far Away was replaced with the angst of secular humanists struggling to find meaning in a world without morality or God. The world of Lucas was dismantled and replaced with another right before our eyes…one that looks eerily like a modern day Liberal worldview.

As I watched this movie, a few thoughts were going thru my head.
• The words of Gary North saying that a change in law is a change in religion certainly applied.
• Also, a line from Pixar’s Incredibles, “If everyone is Super, no one will be.”
• After the movie, my military son was furious because it was clear to him that there was no overarching story, everything from here on out will be character arcs and nothing more.

Star Wars was ripped from a fairytale-like story of good versus evil and thrust headlong into our morally relativist world of self-interest where everyone does what is right in their own eyes and the only taboo is absolutes.

Disney did to Star Wars what other malcontents in our society have done to other things in America, destroy what made them good in the name of making them relevant. So, to a long list of things including marriage, clergy ordination, Boy Scouts, patriotism, capitalism, American Exceptionalism, Western Culture, Christmas, et al, you can now add yet another; the cultural icon Star Wars.

Posted by william on 12/30 at 10:52 AM
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