Religion, Politics, Culture: Defined & Explained

Monday, September 15, 2014

Isis 1970’s v 2014

When I was a kid, this was the face of Isis.

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Today, this is the face of ISIS: Jahadi John
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Who in this country thinks a few drone strikes will stop these guys?

Isn’t he wearing the same outfit that they want all women to wear?

How will Obama screw up this threat to civilization?

Posted by william on 09/15 at 09:56 AM
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Buying a New Car

Buying a new car is not something that I was looking forward to doing; however, the 22 year old daughter finally decided that depending on others to get her around town was not working. As I told the wife many years ago, “As long as mommy will drop everything to taxi her daughter around, she will not be interested in getting a license. Only when she is inconvenienced enough will she be motivated to learn to drive.” Well that day is finally upon us. The daughter is paying a professional instructor to learn to drive. The target for her to get the license was mid-September. I had told the children that they can have my Jeep Liberty whenever they get their license. It is clear the day was at hand so a week and a half before Labor Day, I set out to get a new vehicle for myself. I had not planned to blog on this but I think others can learn from my experiences.

I spent much of my time on the Kelly Blue Book http://www.kbb.com/ website. I also utilized J.D. Powers and YouTube for supplemental information.
My initial parameters were: a price near $22 K and better mileage than the Liberty which gets 13 City & 17 Highway. In addition I wanted something like my wife’s Ford Sync and navigation.
From my research I compiled the following list of vehicles to look at:

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Once I had a list, I began to test drive various vehicles. This is where things began to get strange. I am listing my experiences in chronological order.

Elk Grove Ford (Wednesday)
I like my wife’s Ford C-Max both for its mileage and technology. The Ford Sync system is really great. I started at the Ford dealer where we had purchased the C-Max about a year before. I walked on the lot about 90 percent ready to buy a Fiesta or Focus with the Titanium options package. (This is the high end option package and the only one offering both Sync and navigation.) The sales guy that I got was new. You can tell by how he acted and the fact that he was on the lot a 7 p.m. on a weekday which was when I arrived. He could not locate the vehicle that I has seen online prior to visiting their lot—this occurred many times during my visits at various dealerships. The lot was poorly lit and the vehicle that I finally was allowed to sit in had no lock cylinder in the steering column; thus it was not drivable. I left the lot without ever test driving anything. The sales guy said that they had “loss leaders” in the Saturday paper so check there and I might get lucky. Had he shown me what I wanted to see and then let me drive it, I probably would have purchased it that night. I went home and spoke with my wife about the experience and that is when the above list was created.

Elk Grove Kia (Thursday)
The following day after work I went to Elk Grove Kia. The salesman there was nice and knew his product much better than the Ford guys. The test drive was good and the inside was roomy. The Kia Soul also had the options that I was looking for without having to buy their highest end options package. My wife arrived after work and was able to go on a second test drive in the vehicle. Later we looked up the J.D. Powers rating and a video review on the Internet, this car was moved to the top of my list.

Sacramento Hyundai (Friday)
The day after completing the Kia test drive we went to look at the Hyundai Veloster. But first we had to find the dealership. The map on their website was their old location—which they had left about three years ago; however, the physical address was correct and about three miles away. The fact that they couldn’t even update their website was a harbinger of things to come.  On paper the Veloster vehicle looked unique and sporty. The three door feature and overall exterior seemed like it was worth a look. The Hyundai is one of several vehicles that I had trouble getting into. When seated behind the wheel, my head hit the roof. I’m only 5’ 10” and this was never an issue in the past. (It was several times during my vehicle search.) The interior dimensions were incredibly small. The manufacturing materials and design quality were poor. The car felt cheaply done. The drive was by far the worst of any vehicle. I’ve run lawnmowers with more horsepower than this car. I had trouble getting the car up to the 45 mph speed limit of the road in front of the dealership. The other turn-off we found out about Hyundai is that their navigation system is not free; it is one of several subscription services that you must have to keep things working. They have a service comparable to GM’s OnStar which also requires a subscription.

Elk Grove Honda
We fled the Hyundai dealer for another trip to the Elk Grove Auto Mall. We then visited the Honda dealership. The Fit was much smaller than Kia’s Soul. It also had a small engine and noticeably less power. Once seated in this car, I also hit my head on the roof of the car. A seat adjustment was able to correct this somewhat but one would think the sale folks would stage the car so this is not even an issue for buyers. The sales guy did a good job of demonstrating the various configurations of storage in the Fit; however, the part about the passenger seat lying flat so you could sleep in the car was a feature only unsupervised teenagers would enjoy to the fullest. (To do this the headrest was not attached but laying behind the seat.) The Honda dealer was the first of several that we encountered that would not sell us the vehicle at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. On a separate piece of paper right next to the factory label was another label with options added by the dealership. We were told that all vehicles sold by the dealer included these options. The options were not necessary and added several thousand dollars to the sales price. The entertainment/navigation system was very Apple centric and the video display was very small. The salesman was nice but their business model of additional mark-ups and Apple centric cars were a turnoff.

Elk Grove Nissan
Again, going to a dealership after sunset proved to be a surreal experience. This time my wife and I were greeted by the Wonder Twins. We were interested in seeing the Nissan Juke. We were greeted by a female who asked if we wanted sales or service. We were directed to a male sales person. The young girl that had greeted us was also trying to help us. We told them what we were interested in which was 2014 with rebate, navigation, etc. We were directed to a 2013 model Juke; there were no 2014s on the lot and 2015 models had not arrived yet. We test drove this vehicle only to find out afterwards that it was not even a front-wheel drive—which is what we asked for—but an all-wheel drive. So after doing all the research online and telling the sales folks what we were wanting to see, we were shown the wrong model year, with the wrong transmission and the wrong features. As we were experiencing this Nissan dealership, I kept whispering to my wife that this was the automobile equivalent of Hotel Hell. These folks could use the intervention of Gordon Ramsey or Mike Holmes to turn this place around. Dysfunction Junction should be the address of this dealership.

Roseville Auto Maul (Saturday)
On Saturday morning, my wife got up about 6 A.M. and for the first time in our eleven year marriage; she bought a copy of the Sacramento Bee…just to see the auto ads. Elk Grove Ford did have some “loss leader” cars as I was told, with a few offered with “one at this price” disclaimer, but none had the features that I was looking for. We decided to see what we could find at the Roseville Auto Mall. We ate breakfast and piled into the car with our nine year old and drove up to Roseville. We found the Kia dealer on the car’s map; however, trying to get into the auto mall was our first challenge. We headed down Lead Hill Rd and ended-up doing a complete circle around the whole area before finding the entrance—there is only one way in and out of the Mall.

Roseville Mitsubishi Kia
We went first to the Kia dealership to see a Soul with the features were looking for; namely, an Exclaim with sun roof and upgraded stereo package with navigation but NO leather seats. We actually test drove two different Souls. The cars on the Kia lot however were not for sale at the manufacturer’s suggested retail (sticker) price because once again there was an additional sticker next to the factory one. The additional sticker said, “Dealer markup” and added almost three thousand dollars to the vehicle price. We asked about the sticker and were told it was for rent, sales commissions and advertising. The implication was Kia was leaving them penniless without the additional money garnered from this markup which by the way Elk Grove Kia does not have on their cars.

Future Nissan
We next went to the Nissan dealer to see the Sentra. I actually sat in three different cars at the dealership. The cars on the lot were so packed together that the first ones I looked at were not able to get to the street for a test drive. Like the Hyundai, these were cheap looking and the interiors were not well constructed. All three cars had visible defects in the plastic parts of the interior. The cars were cramped. If I recall correctly my head was hitting the roof or close to doing so. This was not my recollection of my 1980 Sentra that got 48 mpg Highway. As for features, I could duct tape my cell phone to the dash and have a better navigation experience—including screen size—than that offered by Nissan. I was disappointed.

Future Ford
Next we went to the Ford dealer at the Roseville Auto Mall. By the time it was over, this was by far the most miserable experience and biggest waste of time of the entire car shopping adventure. Our visit was in two parts separated by a very nice lunch at the Squeeze Inn in Roseville.

Visit #1 we had a nice sales person who was probably in his 50’s. We initially asked to look at the Focus that I had been denied test driving in Elk Grove several days before. After further examination, the sales guy had us talked into looking at a Fusion. We took the Fusion for a test drive and wow. This car had the best acceleration and smoothest ride of any car I drove. The interior was roomy to boot. It was not equipped as we wanted and did not come with the rebates we had hoped for since it was a 2015 and not a 2014. I had decided my list had been reduced to a Fusion or Soul. Since by now it was lunch time, we agreed to meet after we took a lunch break. When in Roseville, we typically eat at the Squeeze Inn; mostly because they have good food and also because they are right down the street from Fry’s Electronics.

Visit #2 started an hour and a half later with us meeting up with our salesman only to find he was with another customer that had previously made an appointment with him. He briefed another sales guy and handed us off to him. This new sales guy was a kid in his mid-20’s. All this kid had to do was find a 2014 with the features that we wanted and tell us about the great rebates that we knew Ford was offering for the Labor Day holiday and he stood a 95 percent chance of closing the sale. As we talked with him, we learned that he had played football at San Jose State. As badly as he dropped the ball on this sale, I can see why he is no longer playing football. He wandered aimlessly around the lot looking at stickers to find us a 2014 with the features that we asked for. Not once did he consult another sales person or a computer to check inventory. Previously we learned that in addition to this lot they had another one nearby with another 500 cars on it. Not finding the car we wanted, he led us inside the dealership and he and this other guy tried to flip us into considering a used car. In the course of this discussion, they asked us for a twelve thousand dollar down payment knowing full well that we had no car to trade because the old one was going to our college aged daughter. We were repeated insulted and finally walked out. Once they saw us get up to leave, they continued to ignore what we had asked for and offer us other vehicles we were not interested in. Never once did the offer us a 2014 with the features we wanted and furthermore they never offered us any rebates when I know for a fact that the rebates available totaled over $4,500. These guys were abusive and rude. If Yelp does car sales I would give them a zero.

On the way out of Roseville, we called our Kia salesman in Elk Grove. Much to our surprise and delight—in the few days since we has been there—they had received a new car shipment that included a Soul with the Exclaim package and no leather seats. We headed over to the dealer and took it for a test drive. We began filling out papers for purchasing the car. At 5 pm, our credit union’s loan approval folks were all gone and we could not get approved for 2.9 percent as we were promised. The dealer wanted us to complete paperwork for 4.9 percent with the promise that once we were approved we could have the lower rate of 2.9. We rejected the idea of completing the paperwork at the higher interest rate and said we would wait for the credit union’s approval. Shortly after 10 A.M. on Sunday, we got the call that our loan was approved at the 2.9 percent rate. That afternoon we returned to the Kia dealership and finished the paperwork. Finally, on Sunday evening I was able to drive home in a new 2015 Kia Soul.

The Kia Soul is a wonderful vehicle and fun to drive. I have yet to see anything close to the 31 mpg Highway that the EPA puts on the sticker. I’m getting about 24 mpg with the ECO feature on. Oh, Kia did give me a discount for being a veteran—something no one else ever offered me.

I hope that some readers of this blog might learn from my experience.
• Don’t pay more than the sticker price on any new car
• Know when to walk away
• Don’t be pressured or bullied by sales people or their “closers”
• Stick to your budget
• Know what interest rate that you can finance before shopping

Posted by william on 09/10 at 01:54 PM
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams

I know that many folks are mourning the passing of Robin Williams; frankly, I’m mystified by much of what I am hearing. From the world’s point of view, he had it all: money, fame, possessions, privilege, and a lifestyle that few people in the world ever achieve. All of this was smoke and mirrors. Williams was a hollow man. He had a God shaped hole in his soul that he tried to fill with transitory junk.

In high school, I remember listening to some of his early material that others snuck into the senior Lounge. To be polite in describing it, Williams was a vile, potty mouthed person that used profanity excessively and like to talk about bodily fluids. It was disgusting.

Then he got a gig doing the Mork and Mindy show. Williams was presented as something he was not. The media tried to make him out as Michael Landon with a sense of humor. In subsequent years, Williams did many film and television appearances but he always struck me as the kind of guy that had a crappy childhood and tried to mask the pain by being a smartass.

That Williams took his life is no surprise. It is tragic but not because pop-culture lost an icon of comedy; no, it’s tragic because Williams gained the whole world and lost his soul.

Suicide is a selfish act and in the old days Roman Catholics called it a Mortal Sin. Williams may be experiencing his eternal reward but based on the life he led, I don’t think anyone can say he is at peace.

Posted by william on 08/12 at 07:49 PM
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Adobe Acrobat Error 0:104 Fixed

Here’s what I learned at work today.

PC Configuration and Problem Symptoms
PC with Acrobat and Acrobat Reader both installed; Acrobat older version than Reader. In my case Acrobat 9 and Reader 11.

Employee has PDF form that is supposed to be filled-out automatically in web browser. In my instance it was a deposit form from State Treasurer website. When trying to generate deposit slip with numbers from the website, employee gets this error message:

There is a problem with Adobe Acrobat/Reader.
It is running, please exit and try again. (0:104)

It took three hours but the fix is easy. It is in two parts.

1. Registry Edit
  a.Run Regedit as Admin
  b.Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Software\Adobe\Acrobat\Exe
  c.Change Key
  d.From “C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Acrobat\Adobe.exe” to “C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Reader11.0\Reader\AdoRD32.exe”

2. Acrobat Reader
  a.Open Acrobat Reader
  b.Go to Edit > Preferences > Security (Enhanced)
  c.Click on Host button
  d.Enter website address where form data is coming from (copy and paste from web browser)
  e.Click OK

Step 1 changes default only for opening documents in web browser from Acrobat to Acrobat Reader. You do not need to change file associations in Control Panel. Step 2 should get rid of security prompt when opening PDF populated with data in the web browser othwise you may need to refresh the page.

 

Posted by william on 07/24 at 10:50 AM
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Obama betray America again; this time in Biblical proportions

This headline on Fox News today, “U.S. Navy admiral says he’s open to idea of giving Chinese Navy tour of carrier” illustrates what is wrong with our nation on so many levels.
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/07/23/us-navy-admiral-says-hes-open-to-idea-giving-chinese-navy-tour-carrier/

King Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun”
Ecclesiastes 1:9

This action by the admiral reminds me of something that is reported in the Bible over 2,500 years ago. Take a look at this passage from 2 Kings 20: 13 – 19

And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.

Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee?

And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country, even from Babylon.

And he said , What have they seen in thine house?

And Hezekiah answered, All the things that are in mine house have they seen : there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.

And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD. Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget , shall they take away ; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.

Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?

Remember that this act of betraying his people was done by one of the few “good” kings of Israel. Just image our end when such betrayal is perpetrated by an evil ruler like Obama. Oh, some skeptics might think it unfair to hang the admiral’s actions on Obama but I can assure you there is no way this carrier tour happens without Presidential approval.

 

Posted by william on 07/23 at 01:35 PM
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Friday, July 04, 2014

CRA: Elephant Without Memory II

Here is an update.

As I mentioned in my last blog, some local CRA chapters are enjoying the “hunting license” granted to them by the State Board thanks to the precedent set by granting the Santa Clarita chapter the power to purge undesirable members; i.e. those folks that are concurrently members in the Conservative Republicans of California organization.

Word is that the president of the Anaheim RA has rejected 22 members or applicants for new membership based on the Santa Clarita decision. Please note that Anaheim never even amended their bylaws, their president just made a unilateral decision. The Anaheim president conveniently takes this action just weeks before officer elections. He needs to be sure he keeps his job as president; perhaps his new title should be Fuhrer or Czar.

Lest you think this purge is limited to CRC members and other malcontents in southern California. Word is that the head of the San Joaquin RA is weighing his options to remove angry Libertarians from his midst. You may know these angry Libertarians better by their self-identification as Tea Party members.

These purges are in direct contradiction to other parts of local and statewide bylaws but now that the Board let the proverbial genie out of the bottle who will put a stop to this idiocy?

The CRA President—John Briscoe—condoned the committee vote to allow such arbitrary decision making.  He was on the conference call when the vote was taken. As you may recall, the committee recommended to the State Board that the Santa Clarita bylaws change be permitted by a four to one vote.

Where was our beloved parliamentarian when all this was going on? Answer: present and very silent.

Like Barbara Alby, Celeste Greg and others I have witnessed in my years in and around CRA, playing by the rules is not a sure bet. Any way to put your thumb on the scales is fair game. They only know power politics. Too bad all these self-identified Christians never read their Bible. I challenge you to look up all the biblical verses on fair scales and measurements. The Bible says “God hates” those that purposely stack the deck in their favor to gain advantage over others. CRA thinks they are God’s gift to the Republican Party and the State of California and yet their actions dishonor their Lord.

CRA has made a terrible decision and most of their leadership is oblivious to the implications of their vote. Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun. The irony that the draconian bylaws written by Markham Robinson and Ed Hernandez for Yolo County RA back in the 1990’s are now the rules of the whole statewide organization is too rich to ignore. Another irony is that both had Tom Hudson’s blessing.

CRA needs to hold an emergency vote to stay their previous decision until it can be discussed at their next Board meeting. Failure to do so will just be one more reason for conservative folks to register as Decline-to State.

Posted by william on 07/04 at 11:12 AM
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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

CRA: The Elephant Without a Memory

Last Saturday, the California Republican Assembly put on a display of incongruity so amazing, I’m struggling with how to describe the hypocrisy and irony that made the meeting such a disaster.

The train wreck of expediency over principle concerns the Conservative Republicans of California group founded by Karen England, Steve Frank and others ejected from CRA. Please understand that CRC is basically a paper organization with fewer than five active chapters in a state of almost 40 million residents. Think of the United States versus Granada in a military conflict. (Oh we did that once already.) How a group with no members in the room can cause such an irrational and emotional response in a CRA Board meeting was amazing to witness.

The first place CRC raised its hydra like head was when Aaron Park made a motion to unilaterally forgive Mark Pruner and another political operative—Mark Spannagel—from the remainder of their five and ten year banishments from CRA. Aaron’s reason was to get in good with some elected officials like Doug Lamalfa. It was argued that this unilateral act of charity would be a way of putting the unpleasantness of the mass membership purge of 2011 behind CRA and show that the group—under the leadership of John Briscoe—is interested in looking forward. It was admitted during debate that neither Pruner nor Spannagel had asked for forgiveness of past misdeeds or expressed any interest to again be involved with CRA. When the motion came to a vote, it failed by a wide margin.

Then CRC was brought up again under the report presented by Carl Brickey. It seems the Santa Clarita RA had a bylaw amendment that needed Board approval. Below is the text of their revision of membership.

Section 2. Qualifications. Regular membership of the Assembly shall be limited to those American citizens of good moral character who: 1) are registered to vote as members of the Republican Party; 2) are otherwise eligible to be CRA members, 3) do not belong to another CRA unit and 4) do not belong to the organization currently known as the Conservative Republicans of California at a state or local level.
(Bold items are changes to existing language)

When Brickey presented this item of the report, not a single person in the room asked why the committee recommendation was four to one to approve and not unanimous like all the other items before his committee.

I got up and said that both CRA and CRC are chartered by the California Republican Party and thus we have no right to tell another equally chartered group they were not welcomed in CRA. I said this is wrong and we literally have no right to approve a bylaw that is contrary to our charter. How we feel about CRC is not this issue. In effect, I argued principle—as I always do.

Others—including the Park brothers—saw no problem with this bylaw change. These are the same guys that 45 minutes before we arguing for forgiveness of Pruner and Spannagel in order to put the past behind us and now they are OK with banning CRC members? Others of the CRA brain trust said that this was a local issue and if that’s what this local chapter wants then they are OK with this amendment because the CRA Statewide Board is not making this the policy of CRA as a whole. OK so why was the Statewide Board voting on this then? The amendment was approved with three NO votes including mine.

This raises so many questions.
• First, the fact that this came before the Board means that the Statewide CRA organization has made it the policy that any chapter can reject members based on other affiliations that members may have. These words come to mind, “Have you now or ever been in the past a communist?”
• Second, CRA has no access or right to access CRC membership lists so how do they know who is a member of that group? Ironically, CRC is based on the very same principals as CRA just different leadership.
• Third, under the current Bylaws of CRA, this rule does not affect current CRA members, only those wishing to join in the future. Thus, this sell-out of principle—if applied in accordance with the rest of the CRA Bylaws—will do nothing to help eject the eight members in Santa Clarita that are a thorn in their side. Santa Clarita has over 150 members and can’t abide a few angry folks?
• Fourth, any members of Santa Clarita that are ejected have the right under the Statewide Bylaws to appeal the decision to the State Board.

Later in the meeting, Aaron Park made a pitch that CRA should consider Director’s and Officer’s Liability Insurance. This was just the cherry on top. Park votes to create a litigious situation for the CRA Board and then offers to sell them insurance in case anybody takes them to court for acting stupidly.

CRA deserved to be sued in 2011 and they deserve it today for this stupid and ill-advised vote.

OH, and just to prove they really did open Pandora’s Box, by Monday, CRA leadership had been contacted by several other chapters wanting exclusionary language added to their Bylaws to trim the unwanted from their ranks.

Way to grow CRA… sorry fellows but I expected more.

Posted by william on 07/02 at 09:00 PM
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Doug Ose Shifts Abortion Views

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Saturday, I got the opportunity to asked former congressman and current congressional candidate Doug Ose a serious campaign question. The answer, while somewhat evasive, was still important.

While attending Second Amendment Saturday, organizer and regional CRA vice-president, Carl Brickey, arranged for a pro-forma endorsement vote for two competitive congressional districts. The endorsement was just to ratify the results of the election a few weeks ago.

First, San Joaquin candidate, Tony Amador was endorsed. Tony let us know that he was not happy that he did not get endorsed for the June election. I’ll take credit for that since I spoke most vociferously against his perpetual candidacy every two years at the last endorsement vote.

Next was Doug Ose. In his last foray into Congress, Ose was adamantly “pro-choice” and a darling in the eyes of Planned Parenthood. He also was part of the liberal Republican group claiming to be a “Main Street Republican.” Ose has also claimed to be a proud supporter of business. His rehetoric has been fiscally conservative and socially liberal. In his current incarnation as a candidate, he has claimed to be a “conservative.”

Given these facts, I asked him what I thought was an important question. It came out something like this:
“In the past, you have a record of being pro-choice. As part of Obamacare, the government is mandating that all businesses must provide abortion services even when they object to this as being contrary to their beliefs, do you agree with this?”
Ose responded that “I would repeal all of Obamacare.”
Then I said, “I mean like Hobby Lobby.”
He then said, “The Court hasn’t ruled on that yet. As I said, I will repeal Obamacare.” Then he added, “Actually, I’m pro-life once the baby reaches viability.”

Wow! Ose has moved on the issue! Maybe not where we think he should be but at least he is not defending legal abortion thru all nine months of the pregnancy.

Posted by william on 06/24 at 12:22 PM
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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Sterling Week for Race Relations

Donald Sterling is in the news this week for private comments made regarding his feeling about some folks that are a different race. The conversation was recorded without his permission. The release of the recording is a violation of California law but nobody cares.

The race baiters and self-appointed PC police in and out of the media have condemned Sterling and pressured the NBA to ban him for life. As the owner of an NBA team, Sterling has the right to run his business but cannot do so in person? Really?

Why is it that words are so offensive but actions are excused? Professional athletes have murdered, raped, robbed, attacked fans, and done other acts and these folks aren’t banned for life. Yeah, Pete Rose placed a few bets on games and was banned but he is the rare exception. Michael Vick, O.J. Simpson, Tiger Woods, Ron Artest, Barry Bonds, Oscar Pistorius risked civil punishment but their sports didn’t rush to judgment and ban them for life—at least not that I can recall. 

John Rocker, Jimmy “The Greek’ Snyder, Rush Limbaugh, Donald Sterling, Don Imus and a host of others have paid a price for their words. Men like these have lost businesses, paid fines and lost jobs and been castigated by the liberal media for statements that were declared racist. Snyder was canned for making a comment on a well-documented historical fact that some slave owners bred slaves to be good manual laborers. Limbaugh has lost sponsors on more than one occasion for stating his feelings on the news of the day. He also was not allowed to be part of an ownership group seeking to purchase an NFL team. Rocker said some folks in New York are freaks. I still haven’t heard what Sterling said that have everyone so up in arms.

I think people have the right to say what they want—whether I agree with them or not. The people mentioned above are all white; nonetheless, my problem is with the hypocrisy that Blacks or Hispanics or people in other groups somehow cannot be racists. Why is the myth perpetrated that only whites are or can be racist. Why can’t Jeremiah Wright, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Louis Farrakhan be called racists also? Why do they get a pass?

Lest you think I’m reducing this to Black v White, what about California’s SCA-5? It pits Chinese and Asian Americans against the Hispanics. The “Latino” folks in the state capitol want to re-introduce race (and other categories) of discrimination into the California Constitution and barely a word of this ever appeared in the mainstream media.

I just wish the hypocrisy would cease. MLK was right when he referred to an America “where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” I think every year we are further from this ideal.

Posted by william on 04/30 at 02:50 PM
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Amazon.com Music Cloud Album Confusion

I have been using the Amazon Cloud for music but it has shortcomings that apparently they don’t have any interest in fixing.
• The most obvious is that you can’t edit or reject the album cover that they wish to assign to your music. (See below for examples).
• Secondly, I can find no easy way to distinguish between music sources. Which songs did I buy from them and which did I upload myself?
• Lastly, whatever happened to matching music and letting me get a digital copy that would replace and LP that I ripped myself?


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This English “boy band” was a big seller in Europe but this ripped CD clearly has the wrong cover.


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Johnny Depp’s short lived singing career is mistaken for The Carpenters! Does Amazon think he looks more like Karen or Richard?


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Rod Stewart is two or three decades after the folks listed on this album cover.


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Sweet Comfort Band is not Foreigner. Again, this CD purchased in Canada somehow misses the mark.


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While the Cornerstone article on Mike Warnke mentions his partying after shows, I don’t think Word ever had this as a draft cover for his comedy LPs.

Posted by william on 04/11 at 06:56 AM
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Red Robin: Faulty Family Fare

I took the family to the local Red Robin restaurant yesterday for dinner. It is the first time in over a year that we have visited them. The experience was unsatisfactory.

We waited twenty minutes for a table—which is not that unusual—even when several tables were not in use. Our waitress was not very good. We never did get napkins or silverware brought to our table—even after food was served. I had to get up and walk over to the food prep area and get them from another employee. Later I had to go back to get mustard for the wife. The food was noticeable smaller portions than it used to be and was not prepared the same way. No attempt was made to garnish the plates or show pride in the food. Also, the “bottomless French fries” weren’t very bottomless when they never brought them out right away and kept the basket full. (Our teenager eats French fries by the handful.) Our $55 outing (for four) was disappointing. Pizza would have been cheaper.

Posted by william on 03/24 at 07:30 AM
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

CNN’s Don Lemon Believes Millennium Movie Plot Happened

Holy Netflix Batman!!

Here’s proof CNN is crazier than MSNBC

Millennium is a movie released in 1989.

Here is the plot synopsis: An NTSB investigator seeking the cause of an airline disaster meets a warrior woman from 1000 years in the future.
Yeah, future babe travel thru a wormhole and steals bodies off a doomed commercial jetliner to save the human race in her time.

image

Tonight I found this story.

CNN’s Don Lemon: ‘Is It Preposterous’ to Think a Black Hole Caused Flight 370 to Go Missing?
http://www.mediaite.com/tv/cnns-don-lemon-is-it-preposterous-to-think-a-black-hole-caused-flight-370-to-go-missing/

CNN’s Don Lemon has been entertaining all sorts of theories about the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, including the chance something “supernatural” happened, but on Wednesday night, he actually asked panelists about the possibility a black hole was involved.

Lemon brought this up along with other “conspiracy theories” people have been floating on Twitter, including people noting the eerie parallels to Lost and The Twilight Zone, and wondered, “is it preposterous” to consider a black hole as a possibility?

Mary Schiavo, a former Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation, said, “A small black hole would suck in our entire universe, so we know it’s not that.”

Here’s another theory I’ll just throw out there: what about the plane entered a wormhole into another dimension? I don’t know if that’s how the science works, though.

Posted by william on 03/19 at 11:12 PM
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Monday, March 17, 2014

CRA Board Dishes Out Blarney to Tom McClintock

The governing Board of the California Republican Assembly met on Saturday just because it was tradition to have a Board meeting concurrent with the convention of the California Republican Party. The tradition—which traces itself to the heyday of Barbara Alby—used to be for the purpose of plotting voting strategy for the Sunday morning General Session of CRP. Now however, CRA has too few troops to command at the CRP gathering and nothing of significance is allowed to get to the floor for a vote (since CRP is a top-down group run by its Board); thus holding this meeting just two weeks after the CRA Annual Convention had no real purpose.

On Saturday, just to fill time, a few candidates were allowed to speak to the CRA Board and a few more were hastily endorsed with no serious vetting. In between a few committee reports and assignments were dealt with—nothing that couldn’t be done by conference call or a few emails. Then, after over an hour of nonsense, the big event—Congressional District 4 finally was brought before the body.

In the agenda, it was listed as “Resolutions.” A resolution was introduced to thank Tom McClintock for voting right. Chairman John Briscoe felt this was reasonable and assured us that he had talked to Tom McClintock on three occasions about the CD-4 situation. Even though this resolution was clearly a slap at the CRA chapters within the McClintock district, it was passed overwhelmingly by the Board.

Then the CD-4 endorsement vote was brought up. The thinking seemed to be like this…”we papered over the mistake made by the local endorsing convention for slighting the Congressman by passing our resolution, and we didn’t actually undercut the local groups because we stopped short of using the words “support” or “endorse” in the resolution, and now we need to put this mess behind us.” Any effort to call a second endorsing convention in this race was killed. Several reasons were given but the one that mattered was the likelihood that a second endorsing convention would also yield no endorsement, thus bringing further disgrace on the CRA.

I find it disturbing that the CRA Board was so willing to undercut the decision of local chapters and still proclaim itself a grassroots organization. The four chapters involved were treated dismissively. Worst of all, a congressman that has done nothing to build the party in or around his district, comes away from the whole thing as untouchable. Power triumphs over principle once again.

Posted by william on 03/17 at 11:53 AM
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Friday, March 14, 2014

Missing 777 Mystery

While it sounds like something from a Tom Clancy novel, Malaysia Airlines flight 370, a fully loaded Boeing 777 has been missing for about a week.
It is clear by now that it left the designated flight path.
No ransom claims have been issued.
No debris has been found.
No black boxes or transponders have broadcasted.

So what happened?

I think the passengers and crew are likely dead. But what of the aircraft itself? Is someone weaponizing it? I think the proper identification of the hijackers is crucial to identifying likely targets. What happens next could make 9/11 look like a picnic.

Is my idea a conspiracy or just a caution? I think we will know soon.

Posted by william on 03/14 at 12:40 PM
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tom Hudson: Buyer’s Remorse Over CD-4

Tom Hudson has “buyer’s remorse” (or a bad case of jelly spine) after the local endorsing convention that he helped organize failed to deliver an endorsement for Tom McClintock. The endorsing convention was held in conjunction with the annual convention of the California Republican Assembly in Buena Park.

The organizers of the Buena Park convention were the Placer County Republican Assembly. Yeah, I know Placer County is at least 350 miles away from the convention site but I’m just the messenger. Anyway, the Placer folks (including Hudson) wanted as many local endorsing conventions held at the convention as they could schedule. These votes were scheduled on the morning of Saturday March 1st; the first full day of the annual convention.

Some people like me went ballistic and said they wanted local endorsing conventions held in or near the district. Those that felt like me argued that candidates, delegates, rank & file CRA members and the public should be invited. It was a way to endorse candidates in an open and transparent process. In addition, the filing period was still open at the time the annual convention was held.

Lastly, the club I belong to had not voted to select any delegates for an endorsing convention—only delegates for the statewide convention. We planned to select endorsing convention delegates at the first meeting after the convention (which we did.) Traditionally, delegates to the annual convention have a large economic cost to attend while endorsing delegates can carpool to the event since it is held closer to home. In addition, the announcement for the endorsing conventions in Buena Park also said that participants had to pay the registration fee of $40 in order to vote. I also protested this as being a “pole tax”.

I went so far as to tell the folks from Placer that neither I nor any people from my club would participate in an endorsement vote for any contested election in an area where we had jurisdiction. Buena Park was simply too far and too soon to hold such a vote.

Those that protested were able to pull endorsements in their area off of the endorsement schedule. Most races in Sacramento and San Joaquin Counties were removed within days of the February 14th call for endorsement conventions.

Hudson gave his full throated support for endorsement votes at the Buena Park convention. I know he was aware of concerns raised by people like me. Then at the Buena Park convention, he was present at many of the endorsement votes that were held on Saturday morning. Before, during and for the rest of the convention, Hudson was OK with the process and its results; then on Monday—his first day back to his job with the State—he has a change of heart.!?

Clearly someone contacted him and pressured him for reconsideration. Hudson decided that what’s in the past—that he agreed with at the time—was suddenly invalid and he had called for a new endorsing convention to redo the vote. This call was revoked by CRA President John Briscoe.

So on March 11th, Hudson sent an email blast to the CRA Board. To me this was the key sentence:

It is my position that there has not been a valid CRA local endorsing convention in the Fourth Congressional District and we need to hold one right away so that we can endorse Tom McClintock for Congress.

Please note, he does not say this is now a contested race and I think we should take another look at CD-4 but he says the purpose is “so we can endorse Tom McClintock.” Why? Both Republicans in the race are conservative.

Hudson is the parliamentarian of the CRA Board and he often uses this position to obfuscate issues with voluminous amounts of nonsense that sound good at the time but upon further analysis are distorts or outright fabrications to get him to the outcome that he desires.

Besides the famous incident that I chronicled on this blog with him and the Yolo County Republican Assembly many years ago, the most recent example was ironically on the last day of the Buena Park convention. Hudson argued for a good ten minutes that local RA chapters were not required to maintain minutes of their meetings. He stated this was not required under the CRA’s Statewide Bylaws or under Robert’s Rules of Order. OK so why is Secretary a required officer?

After insulting our intelligence at the CRA meeting with that whopper, he has the stones to claim the Buena Park endorsement isn’t valid because he didn’t have minutes from that endorsing convention!

Talk about talking out of both sides!!

This might become a major focus of the CRA Board meeting on Saturday in Burlingame. What a colossal waste of time if that happens. Tom, your side (whatever that is) lost, get over it and move on.

I have more I could say about this but I will keep my powder dry…for now.

 

Posted by william on 03/13 at 08:38 AM
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