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Friday, June 23, 2017

Obituary: State Board of Equalization 1879 - 2017

Comedian Joan Rivers used to lament that she liked Las Vegas more when crime was organized.

Her eye was original. Twenty years ago, when everyone was talking about how wonderful it was that Vegas had been cleaned up and the mob had been thrown out, Joan said no, no, no, they are ruining the mystique. First of all, she said, those mobsters knew how to care for a lady, those guys with bent noses were respectful and gentlemen, except when they were killing you. Second, she said, organized crime is better than disorganized crime, which will replace it.

—Peggy Noonan

We here in California are in the transition from disorganized crime to organized; also known as one party rule. The consolidation of power has been breathtakingly broad in its scope and rapidity, and it’s just getting started. Last month we had the bogus transportation tax that was whisked thru the entire legislative process in seven days—yeah all committees, approval by both legislative houses, and the signature of the governor.

This month, the governor and his fellow travelers are putting on another display of raw power politics. Their latest target is the State Board of Equalization (BOE). Over the last several months, a carefully crafted plan has been systematically and flawlessly executed to do to BOE in six months what Charles Munger Jr. took a decade to do to the California Republican Party—abolish it in all but name. BOE will exist only as a vestigial organ of the State Constitution that serves no purpose.

While this could very well be one of the longest blog posts that I have ever written, I think you will be just as amazed as I was when I started digging into this campaign. Part of the length of this post is to preserve in the public domain quotations that tend to end-up behind paid firewalls of various media outlets and also to insure that I am not accused of taking things out of context.

My introduction to this subject was a peculiar post from former CRA bigshot, Steve Frank. Steve has a very abrasive way of writing and often exaggerates but given his recent humiliation in having to retract a story about Charles Munger Jr last month, I figured that he must be forced to vet his material better; at least for now.

Steve and I both know folks that work at the Board of Equalization so I figured that he must have something good. On the face of it, the claim in his post was outrageous; however, it was easy enough to verify it. The other curious thing was the dates. This article was posted on June 19th from a press release by Diane Harkey, Chairwoman of BOE, dated June 13th about a Constitutional budget deadline on June 15th.

Frank writes:

The Board of Equalization is dead.  Thanks to the Democrats, bureaucrats, instead of elected officials will decide tax cases.  In a comparatively short time—a whole government agency, elected by the people exists, now, in name only.

Death of California Board of Equalization: SB 86 and AB 102

OK, so why did Frank take so long to get this posted? He is a prolific blogger and often posts five times a day. (I think the short answer is that Harkey got no traction with the mainstream media in trying to shed some light on the governor’s actions.) I cannot find her press release on the BOE website or her linked page as Chairwoman. Also, a quick Internet search turns up nothing on this. Steve, by default, actually scooped everybody else. As I will illustrate, it’s a pyric victory because the fix was in.

Some background about BOE would be helpful to understand what is about to happen.

Established in 1879 by a constitutional amendment, the BOE was initially charged with responsibility for ensuring that county property tax assessment practices were equal and uniform throughout the state. Currently the tax programs administered by the BOE are concentrated in four general areas: sales and use taxes, property taxes, special taxes and the tax appellate program.
Link: BOE History

As currently configured, BOE has five members. Four members are elected every four years with each representing a particular area of the state and the fifth member is the State Controller.


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Link: BOE map


Currently, George Runner (1) and Diane Harkey (4) are Republicans on the Board and Fiona Ma (2) and Jerome Horton (3) are the two Democrats. Ma and Harkey represent San Francisco and Los Angeles respectively. Please understand that these districts are drawn-up by population, (this issue will come up later in my discussion). The swing vote is interesting because the State Controller, Board member number 5, is a former member of BOE, Betty Yee. She formerly represented San Francisco.

Often the members of the BOE are legislators that were termed out under the legislative term limits laws. Harkey, Horton, Ma, and Runner were all in the legislature before being elected to BOE. Yee seems to have cut her political teeth in the Executive Branch.

Interestingly, no media coverage places any blame for the actions of the Legislature or Governor in this controversy on either Harkey or Runner. What has transpired is largely a Democrat operation to deal once and for all with BOE.

BOE has long been a thorn in the side of California’s elected officials. They can create precedent and have the right to modify regulatory actions enacted as a result of changes to law touching on the tax code. Arguably their most important function is as an appellate body when taxpayers want to appeal actions of the State. These appeals are not just limited to the actions of BOE but appeals of most taxing authorities in the State are routed thru BOE. BOE has been a buffer and interested third party in tax disputes. On their website you can easily find appeals of Fire Fees, Franchise Tax Board, Sales and Use Tax, and property tax matters.

The next thing to keep in mind as you read thru the material that I’m about to present is that many actions taken by BOE members with regards to civil service versus political appointees are identical to those of staff in the legislature. Legislative staffers often draw simultaneous paychecks for their civil service job at the legislature—their “day job” if you will—and also income from political consulting work for their member or other candidates. The transition from one to the other might involve carrying two cell phones or alternating schedules to accommodate the political cycle. Things during “election season” frequently operate in the gray areas of the campaign finance laws. Since the legislature writes and funds enforcement of campaign finance laws they tend to get a pass on enforcement as long as they don’t get too far out of bounds.

In short, BOE members learned how to navigate the legal minefield of civil service versus political appointee issues by their time at the legislature. My purpose is not to debate the merits of the current system, just to acknowledge how it works and to warn reads that they may encounter some hypocrisy as the story unfolds.

For most people, the current dust-up first appeared in newspapers like the Sacramento Bee in March of this year. The article below is coverage of a Department of Finance Audit.


March 24, 2017

Audit: California tax collectors on ‘parking lot duty’ for promotional events as politicos push boundaries

The audit takes particular aim at board member Jerome Horton, finding that he has reassigned public employees to work for him, arranged events that strayed from the agency’s mission and opened a call center in his district without securing the consent of his fellow elected leaders. Horton has defended his outreach events as a way to reach large numbers of taxpayers. His staff did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

Later on the article states:

It’s the first of several audits on the Board of Equalization that are expected to be released in coming weeks. The Legislature requested the investigation last year following another audit by State Controller Betty Yee in November 2015 that showed the agency had misallocated $47.8 million in sales tax revenue.

Further on

In one instance, the Finance Department found that 113 Board of Equalization employees spent a workday last November helping with parking and registering guests at a “connecting women to power” conference in Escondido sponsored by Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey.

Horton did what?

Unlike other elected members, Horton offers a rotational program that allows civil servants to spend a year working in his office before returning to their normal assignments.

His use of BOE resources has come under scrutiny over the years. Last year, The Bee revealed that Horton decorated his Sacramento office with $118,000 worth of designer furniture. The story prompted the agency in April to revise its procurement policies in a manner that improved transparency on smaller contracts.

Horton’s “connecting women to power events” have gained press attention intermittently since 2010, with reports in Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times noting the connection between his Board of Equalization events and a nonprofit foundation that his wife created. Last year, Horton solicited $81,500 in donations to the nonprofit, California Educational Solutions, to support the business conference and a project he promotes that helps lower-income families get help filing income taxes.

Please note that Betty Yee moved from BOE to SCO (State Controller’s Office) in 2015 and one of her first acts was to audit BOE. Her audit found an error rate of 0.07967 percent for an agency that handles 60 billion dollars. Folks, that’s statistically zero. This and the fact that BOE employees move back and forth from political to civil service jobs in exactly the same way as the legislative staffers is the basis for all that follows.

Three days later, BOE member Fiona Ma chimed in


03-27-2017
Link: Ma Letter #1

Dear Governor Brown: 

I am writing to ask that you immediately appoint a Public Trustee to manage the day-to-day affairs of the California Board of Equalization. This extraordinary step is necessary and appropriate to restore public trust and to address the various serious issues outlined by the recent Department of Finance audit.

At this point, you have Yee and Ma both tag teaming to paint a bullseye on BOE as the focus of scandal while throwing their fellow Democrat Horton under the bus.


About two weeks later, Governor Brown jumps on the bandwagon and calls for an investigation.


April 13, 2017

Gov. Brown calls for an investigation of alleged mismanagement at California’s tax board

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday asked state prosecutors to investigate allegations that employees of the state Board of Equalization misused state resources.

He also suspended the board’s ability to approve new contracts, hires and promotions, requiring those actions to be approved by other agencies including the Department of General Services.

In a letter to board members, Brown also said he would ask legislative leaders to come up with new laws to address “serious problems” with the agency that were identified in a recent state Department of Finance audit. The audit uncovered mismanagement in the agency, which is responsible for collecting $60 billion in taxes annually.

Once Governor Brown chimes in, BOE is not just a local or state story; it is elevated to a national story.


April 14, 2017

California’s Tax Collection Agency Engulfed in Scandal

Five weeks later, Ma is back and proclaiming that things are even more dire than she thought back in March.


May 23, 2017
Link: Ma Letter #2

In response to my letter to the Governor on March 27, 2017 (see attached), I am encouraged by the Governor’s actions that instituted additional controls of the BOE operations by suspending BOE’s delegated authority for making decisions on personnel, contracting, and technology matters.

However, more still needs to be done. I am writing to strongly urge the Legislature to immediately direct the State Auditor to investigate the day-to-day affairs of the BOE, and issue a report to the Legislature and Governor on or before February 1, 2018. The report should include recommendations to the Legislature and Governor on administrative and legislative remedies to immediately address the findings in the various audits.

Two days later, this editorial was published


May 25, 2017
California Board of Equalization, classic case of going astray

The board’s refusal to embrace a single governance policy this week makes no sense. Meanwhile, board member Fiona Ma wants another state audit. What a mess. If the Board of Equalization won’t reform itself, Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature should force needed changes upon it.

Three weeks later, Steve Frank is announcing that BOE is no more because of SB 86 and AB 102.


What happened?

In a nutshell, we just got scammed.  This whole progression was a carefully crafted campaign to discredit and then diminish the State Board of Equalization. Yee and Ma were working hand-in-hand with their party leadership to destroy BOE and replace it with a new agency controlled by handpicked people loyal to the governor. This kind of tactic and its scale were once common in the Soviet Union but are unfamiliar to most in this country.

My primary piece of evidence is the fact that the legislation to abolish BOE and replace it with handpicked bureaucrats appointed by the Governor was introduced in both house of the legislature in January of this year. Yep, over two months before the media campaign against BOE was launched.


Below is a summary of the legislation as it appeared earlier this week.

SB 86 introduced January 11, 2017

This bill would establish, in the Government Operations Agency, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and would place the department under the control of a director appointed by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the Senate. The bill would also authorize the Governor to appoint a chief deputy director and a chief counsel.

This bill would transfer to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration the various duties, powers, and responsibilities of the State Board of Equalization relating to the administration of various taxes and fees except for those duties, powers, and responsibilities imposed or conferred upon the board by the California Constitution, as specified, and the duty to adjust the motor vehicle fuel tax rate for the 2018–19 fiscal year. The bill would, for these purposes, also provide for the transfer to the department of the board’s employees serving in civil service, the rights and property of the board, and the board’s funding, as provided.

This bill would authorize the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to adopt regulations, including emergency regulations, necessary or appropriate to carry out these provisions. The bill would authorize the department to conduct certain inspections and examinations related to the administration of the taxes and fees under its jurisdiction. The bill would prohibit the director, the chief deputy director, and the chief counsel from divulging information concerning the business affairs of companies reporting to the department and would make it a crime to violate this prohibition. By creating a new crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

This bill would rename the secretary of the State Board of Equalization as the executive director and would specify that the board retains the authority to appoint the executive director and prescribe and enforce his or her duties. The bill would require each member of the board elected by the voters of an equalization district to have one office in Sacramento and one district office. The bill also would require each member of the board elected by the voters of an equalization district to have 2 staff persons who are exempt from civil service and other civil service staff persons, as specified. The bill would require board member procurements to be processed through the Department of General Services. The bill would repeal the authority of the board to request that the Governor convert one civil service position of the board into an exempt position, to obtain copies of licensee photographs from the Department of Motor Vehicles, and to conduct district investigations. The bill also would restrict ex parte communications in relation to a board adjudicatory proceeding.

Link: SB 86

AB 102 is virtually the same wording and was introduced January 10, 2017
Link: AB 102


The Legislature is famous for “gut and amend” bills in the eleventh hour of their closing session but this action is a magnitude of difference that is of astounding proportions. Gut and amend an entire agency and the biggest revenue generating one in the state. Wow!

The Board of Equalization will continue to exist in name only because to abolish it would require a constitutional amendment and a vote of the people. This would allow the actions of the Governor and Legislature to come under scrutiny and be subject to debate. In a one party state, this is a waste of time and resources and who knows? Having the BOE might be a good political tool to wield at some future date. If it can be unmade then it can just as easily be made into something else. (Think Mary Shelly does politics here.)

Each BOE representative will be allowed one office in Sacramento and one office in their district.

Oh, the effective date for creating the new agency and transferring all assets and responsibilities is July 1, 2017.

Today is June 23 and the bill has yet to be signed by the Governor. If the fix was not in, how would you expect a new agency to be up and running in less than a week?


Other thoughts

BOE would have had the lion’s share of the work collecting the new transportation tax enacted last month. Now the Governor can direct the money as he sees fit. Don’t be surprised if some finds its way to the bullet train to nowhere.

Lastly, BOE was the last Republican bastion in California. It was a safe harbor for people like George Runner to speak about fiscal conservatism and common sense tax policy. This bully pulpit is no more. Gone also is the safe haven for current CRA President Tom Hudson and former Sacramento County Republican Chair Sue Blake. Both Hudson and Blake are staff attorneys at BOE. The 2018 election cycle will be a much different environment for both.

 

Posted by william on 06/23 at 07:42 AM
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Flee the Wrath to Come

John the Baptist warned those of his generation to “flee the wrath to come.” Instead of heeding his warning, he was beheaded for his trouble. Those that crucified his cousin, Jesus of Nazareth, a few years later said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

True to their wishes, the wrath-to-come arrived in the form of a Roman army about forty years later. The wrath visited upon them and their children resulted in the death of most, the systematic and total destruction of their nation, and the enslavement of the few survivors. True to his warning, no loss of life is recorded for the Christians that obeyed the prophecy given by Jesus to flee when they saw the signs foretold.


Whether any of us can truly avoid the wrath to come upon our nation is doubtful but clearly some areas and people will do better than others. In my opinion, ground zero of the “wrath to come” is California. The late columnist Herb Caen used to call San Francisco “Bagdad by the Bay.” That was seventy years ago. Now, I think California can be thought of as “Sodom by the Sea.”

California is hell-bent on becoming “anti-America.” The people of California wish to remake the State into a dystopian socialist paradise devoid of petroleum, hydroelectric or nuclear power, water storage, commercial farming, privately owned automobiles, liberty, Christians and other bigots that insist on such Victorian ideals as right and wrong or personal responsibility, firearms, prisons, and small businesses. Instead, they want free college for all, publicly subsidized transportation, free healthcare, their own foreign policy, only electric vehicles within their borders, more government jobs, multiculturalism, legalization of recreational drugs, government backed pensions for all, and a bunch of other neo-Marxist crap dreamed up by baby-boomers.  Oh, and all this will be paid by taxes on “the rich” whoever they are.

Liberals here have successfully turned the Constitution from a document that insures liberty into the suicide pact that protects evildoing and punishes the righteous. Nothing in California escapes the corruption of the almighty State. They are going places that not even George Orwell envisioned. California and other places dominated by Liberals have metastasized into a Tim Burton-like modern twist on the Roman Empire.

While many have attempted to stem this precipitous decline in Western Culture, my wife and I, like many before us have concluded that our time in California is coming to an end. As a result, my family has developed an exit strategy. Seven years from now, we plan to be far away from the formerly golden state. The apocalypse is coming but hopefully we will time it so we are long gone when everything comes apart.

Posted by william on 06/21 at 08:47 AM
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Friday, June 16, 2017

You Can’t Afford to Live Here

“A new report says that in California, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,608 and to afford this level of rent and utilities—without paying more than 30 percent of income on housing—a household must earn $5,359 monthly or $64,311 annually.”
Link: You Can’t Afford to Live Here

The article then goes on to point out that this equates to $30.92 for a 40 hour workweek. For those of us in “the Valley” things are slightly more favorable but…

 
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Posted by william on 06/16 at 09:45 AM
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

GOP Hunting Season

Today some guy that was identified as a crazy leftwing nut that supported Bernie Sanders opened fire at several Republican Congress members playing baseball.

Link: Congress baseball gunman was a Trump-hating Bernie supporter: Hero cops kill white Illinois man, 66, who opened fire on Republican lawmakers on the President’s birthday, leaving five injured

Right on cue, leading Democrats were calling for stricter gun control laws; however, none were calling for civility and an end to calls to kill President Donald Trump.

Link: Gov. McAuliffe on Scalise Shooting: ‘There Are Too Many Guns on the Street’

Link: You Can Brutally Kill Donald Trump In A New Video Game. Progressive Outrage Nowhere To Be Found.

Link: Actors ASSASSINATE ‘Trump’ in SICK Theater Play

Link: GOP rep. received threatening email with subject line ‘One down, 216 to go…’ after lawmaker shooting

It’s time for Liberals to shut up and admit that they lost in November, Get over it. This blood is on your hands.

 

Posted by william on 06/14 at 12:12 PM
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When Cookies Attack

Cookies are what advertisers use to track your browser history and try to get you to buy stuff on the Internet but sometimes they don’t know when to say when.

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From Foxnews website today


A guy dies in a car wreck so of course I need to go to the Cars movie.

This kind of inadvertent social insensitivity is where artificial intelligence could help advertisers. The keyword “die” should trump any other word in the headline. If only Google had the money to prevent such stupidity…but they get paid for views and clicks.

Posted by william on 06/14 at 06:20 AM
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Friday, June 09, 2017

X Nailed It on Warren Buffet

In case you missed the dispatch from Davey Jones, no not the one with the nautical locker or the guy that used to be in the 1960’s band, The Monkeys, but the one from Sacramento that is now the State Insurance Commissioner. Yeah, that Davey Jones just nuked Berkshire Hathaway using the full faith and credit of California (and believe me the credit of California is vast). Anyway, take a look at this.


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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After a year of legal wrangling, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today that the California Department of Insurance has reached a settlement agreement with Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries to stop the bait and switch marketing tactics used to sell a workers’ compensation insurance product, which led to numerous complaints from employers caught up in the costly and complicated policies.

In May 2016, in response to a complaint by a small business owner and after a hearing by an administrative law judge, the commissioner determined California Insurance Company and Applied Underwriters, both subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway, were selling a workers’ compensation product with illegal side agreements that modified the obligations of the parties under the policy.

Link: Settlement Press Release

I will let X tell you more if he is so inclined but once again we are proven Really Right.

 

Posted by william on 06/09 at 02:41 PM
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Thursday, June 08, 2017

ESPN Layoffs Part Deuce

By X
image

Sorry about the delay, fellow readers I had “flu-like symptoms” most of last week, likely this was caused by excessive liver damage done by ESPN to my body. 

Following the “NFL Live” and “Insiders” shows, both of which were duds, on came Outside The Lines (OTL).  This show was pretty good, a journalistic type show that does deep dives into scandals or issues of our time in sports. It is only a half hour show and I guess it only airs a new show once a week.  This is a mistake, share this show with the world, and do a new recording daily. This is what journalism should look like. 

After OTL the “Happy Hour presented by Captain Morgan”  began to air.  I didn’t find a single watchable show during this two hour block.  Pardon the Interruption, Around the Horn, His and Hers (more on this bust later) and Highly Questionable are just that, highly questionable TV.  His and Hers, and Highly Questionable was just a bunch of race baiting done by hosts trying to get viewers riled up.  Both shows could and should be canceled, neither was.  Pardon the interruption and Around the Horn featured sports talk similar to political cross talk you see on MSNBC or Fox now.  Mostly screaming, inaudible television, featuring people trying to talk over one another, nothing to see or hear in this hour. 
Mercifully “Happy Hour presented by Captain Morgan” was over, again severe damage was done to X’s liver, and ear drums from the loud shouting. 

Next on the self proclaimed “World Wide Leader” was SC:6 or Sports Center at 6pm eastern.  This was hosted by resident Race Baiters Jemele Hill and Michael Smith, same hosts of His and Hers.  This Sports Center—just like the Happy Hour show—was a complete waste of resources, talent and TV time.  Perhaps what was even worse was that the shows followed a national news network philosophy where when a new show started the same topics were rehashed.  This makes for boring predictable TV.  Live sports took over from about 5pm until 9 pm then the madness continued.  Sports Center at Night (9pm) with Scott Van Pelt was awesome theatre, highlights, mixed with guest commentary, mixed with analysis and personal opinion, I loved it!  Like a throwback to the old sports center where ESPN buttered their bread.  So if you’re tuning into ESPN try Sports Center at Night with SVP.

After Sports Center at Night, we were back to strange cross talk again.  We had Baseball Tonight, it lasted one hour and was filled with random movie jargon from host Adnan Virk.  Honestly it was odd, very little baseball discussion and if I didn’t know better, I would have thought I changed the channel without knowing.  30 for 30 followed next, very good stuff, on par with OTL but instead of current event reporting more of reporting in depth on things that happened in the past, such as the Michigan Fab 5 scandal.  Much like OTL this is a once a week or even sometimes bi-monthly show.  I would expand on this, great stuff.  More Sports Center followed this program, and I decided I needed to hit the sheets as it was dreadful.  Sports Center Live from Los Angeles it was called.  Hosted by Stan Verrett and Neil Everett, and trust me it was strange television, like creepy stoner television.  Had a strange episode discussing hockey called “Barry’s Bistro” with colleague Barry Melrose, like I said bizarre.

It’s very clear the network has far more issues with its declining viewership than just the need to lay off 100 anchors.  The liberal bias that William and I have detailed over the months is still present, albeit even after said layoffs occurred, anchor Linda Cohn even admitted it.  ESPN made bad bets on the sports of basketball and baseball; they are dying and very unpopular with the younger crowd.  Basketball could be an exception, as the younger crowd seems to like the showboating and the fact some teams are considered super teams.  Football may be king, but the ratings for Monday Night Football, (rights owned by ESPN) were a disaster.  So bad they are throwing the “right a bone” and hiring back Hank Williams Jr. to sing the opening again.  Also they announced hiring conservative columnist Will Cain, not really sure why but…okay?  Cheap thrills, probably won’t work, in an era where we get football on Thursday night, then all day Sunday, we are footballed out on Monday. 


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ESPN Poster Child Randy Scott


Now into the layoffs, sorry for the rambling column but some really talented folks lost their paychecks last month.  The list includes but is not limited too; Ed Werder, John Clayton, Jayson Stark, Andy Katz, Chad Ford, Sarah Walsh (upon returning from maternity leave) and Danny Kannell.  Werder and Ford were asked to stick around and cover the NFL and NBA draft respectively, Werder said “no, thanks” can’t blame him.  Several names on the list were thought highly of by X, others not so much, these were those let go I will not shed a tear for; Roger Cossack was a know nothing legal analyst that got the Barry Bonds scandal all wrong…bye!  Britt McHenry, she was human scum and literal trash, just Google her name.  Len Elmore, he is a race baiting clown, please go away.  Rest assured more layoffs are going to come in future years; you cannot have poor ratings, race baiting and continue on as a profitable organization.

Now, my solution , I would get rid of all the race-baiting idiots that somehow survived the cut down , I’m looking at you Bomani JonesI would make Scott Van Pelt and Mike Greenberg the people I would build around.   Give them both two hour long programs; for Van Pelt, his commentaries mixed in with highlights are amazing.  Greenberg has a news breaking persona, give him a morning show and let him re-hash yesterday’s events and interview a star or two or five.  Have OTL and 30 for 30 air more often, they are both great journalistic type shows.  You can keep some of the back and forth bantering shows, but I would cut them back, these shows are alienating the older viewers.  Have more one sport type shows such as the cancelled “Baseball Tonight” show, but do highlights of all games, and commentary from all games, not just games played in very large markets, again you are alienating people.  Have Sports Center air more often, again focus on highlights, and inject breaking news, kinda like a real news show.  Lastly get rid of the live sports, mostly all the college football, they show like literally every game, seriously when I watched “Dodgeball” I thought ESPN 8 “The Ocho” was fantasy land, now I wonder if there’s an ESPN 10.  Showing games like Oregon State versus Wichita State isn’t moving many needles I don’t think, leave that to regional networks.  Finally here’s what I’m most upset about, the definition of luck has been redefined, why ESPN didn’t get rid of this anchor….. I don’t know his name but I always can find him by googling “ESPN Howdy Doody A**BAG with painted on eyebrows!

But seriously, the layoffs were done by phone call lasting just 3 minutes, most of those laid off….spent decades in ESPN.  Those in NBA and NHL (Hockey) were let go during the playoffs.  Those in NFL let go literally a day before the NFL draft, yeah, ok I guess.

Buffet…..you’re next; I’m coming after your Kraft Heinz subsidiary next week!

X

Posted by william on 06/08 at 07:38 AM
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Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Totalitarian State to Crush Your Family

If you want a preview of where California is heading once Jerry Brown is termed out and Gavin Newsome or somebody of his ilk is elected Governor then take a look at this article linked on Joe Miller today. Those of you that think “gay marriage” was the end of the trail are sadly mistaken. It was just the opening salvo of a much bigger assault on your freedom to believe in traditional Christian values. In fact, the full force of the State government is about to be directed at scouring your beliefs not only from the public square but your home as well.

Two years ago, those who were paying attention got a preview of this when the State of California threatened to withhold any student loans from colleges that opposed homosexuality. The author withdrew the measure but it has not gone away. The next time it sees the light of day will be with the blessings of the majority party leadership.

Soon litmus tests affirming abortion, homosexuality, and other “rights” will be required for student loans, employment, and benefits but it won’t stop there. For a preview of coming attractions, look to “the great, white North”; Canada.
Link: Joe Miller—Canada’s Big Brother Ready to raid you Home

Below are a few paragraphs from the article. Please read it in its entirety.

So, in the privacy of your own home, as you teach and instruct your own children, you would be forbidden by law to teach them what the Bible said about homosexual practice. And how, pray tell, was the government planning to monitor this?



Quoted in this article is Dawn Stefanowicz

I want to warn America to expect severe erosion of First Amendment freedoms if the US Supreme Court mandates same-sex marriage. The consequences have played out in Canada for ten years now, and they are truly Orwellian in nature and scope.

In Canada, freedoms of speech, press, religion, and association have suffered greatly due to government pressure. The debate over same-sex marriage that is taking place in the United States could not legally exist in Canada today. Because of legal restrictions on speech, if you say or write anything considered “homophobic” (including, by definition, anything questioning same-sex marriage), you could face discipline, termination of employment, or prosecution by the government.



Canada’s province of Ontario just passed Bill 89

This is beyond mind-boggling. It might even be beyond Orwellian. Really now, would even Orwell have predicted that the government could seize your 8-year-old boy if you wouldn’t let him dress like a girl or if you refused to affirm his perceived female identity?

For good reason, Jack Fonseca, a political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition, slammed the new bill in no uncertain terms: “With the passage of Bill 89, we’ve entered an era of totalitarian power by the state, such as never witnessed before in Canada’s history. Make no mistake, Bill 89 is a grave threat to Christians and all people of faith who have children, or who hope to grow their family through adoption.”

And it is not just an era of totalitarian power. It is an era of misguided totalitarian power.



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In America, we don’t do things in moderation. We are all in or all out. I think the pendulum in California has swinging towards full-blown craziness. Here, the Constitution is viewed as a suicide pact and a license for excess and tyranny. We are accelerating on a course of societal and fiscal destruction. In fact, we are already over the cliff and waiting for gravity to act. The only remaining question is which cause of death will be listed on the death certificate at the autopsy.

Posted by william on 06/07 at 07:31 AM
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Friday, June 02, 2017

Casablanca or Armageddon?

One of the most memorable lines of the movie Casablanca is, “We’ll always have Paris.” This line refers to the time in Paris when Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) had a summer of love with Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman). The only problem was that Ilsa was married, but not to Rick. Yeah, the back story which is shown in the movie as flashbacks ultimately boils down to adultery and poor judgment. Just to make their love affair ok with the audience, Ilsa begins their romance with the belief that her husband is dead.


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When I heard what President Trump did yesterday with the bogus global warming agreement that Obama entered us into in Paris, this movie line came to mind. What a shock it was to the Liberal establishment—including both the mainstream media and Hollywood—when they learned that they won’t always have Paris.

President Obama played the harlot and entered into illicit relationships with many of the world’s evils. Obama was a lover of thugs, murders, and charlatans. Obama was hell-bent to reduce the prominence and prestige of the United States. Obama was fine letting both Iran and North Korea advance their nuclear weapons ambitions. Obama was fine with the genocide of Christians in the Middle East. Obama even made sure that our country imported huge numbers of Muslims with no screening or background checks and then placed them in areas of the country without coordinating with state and local officials. Obama refused to enforce the laws on the books to protect our borders and citizens. He also hamstrung our economy with regulatory burdens and federal overreach—mostly via regulations. He also unilaterally entered us into many international agreements without following the Constitutional requirements for such agreements or doing what was in the best interests of our nation. In short, he violated his oath to protect and defend the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic. In fact, he did exactly the opposite.

The Paris agreement on global warming is “junk science” of the worst sort. It is based on a number of false premises not the least of which is a false view of that humans are somehow responsible for controlling the climate.

Much of the argument surrounding global warming “science” revolves around carbon. Carbon in our environment has become viewed as something bad. Believers claim that releasing carbon—often via fossil fuels—is bad. Yet these same folks ignore all the natural sources of carbon in our environment. Can anyone say, “Volcanoes”? Oh, these are the guys that love trees, right Al Gore? So if nature is so great, why is it that you so-call environmentalists are the first folks screaming about forest fires? Lightning causes many fires—especially in remote regions—and the natural thing to do would be to let them burn. Eventually the fire would go out. It would either run out of fuel by burning everything up or be doused by water when it rained thus being deprived of oxygen.

Even public school children know that much of the world used to be tropical from pole to pole. The world that we live in now is a virtual desert compared to what it was once like when dinosaurs roamed the world. Plants were everywhere and in abundance. Plants are made primarily from carbon. Trivial question Al Gore, which animal released more methane gas Apatosaurus or Bovine?

By any metric, there is less carbon in our world now than in the past. This being undeniably true, what is the real issue behind global warming?

Philosophically, it’s simple to see. However, before I go on, just remember that believers in global warming and Liberals in general cannot be persuaded by facts. They have no use for them. They are into emotions and have no consistent and coherent way of looking at the world. They are fragmented in their inner being and thus when they look at the world around them, all they see are fragments. Some fragments they embrace and others they despise or ignore. They cannot see the whole because they have no framework to reassemble the broken pieces into their original form. Sadly, when their Creator tells them that they are broken vessels made in His image they reject His counsel. Rejecting the Creator has consequences. Instead of loving their Father in heaven they hate him and anything made in His image.
They hate:
• God—idols, false gods, lovers of self
• Themselves—suicide, transgenderism, body mutilation
• Others made in His image—abortion, murder, genocide
• His creation—pollution, erosion, cruelty to animals

Despite their brokenness, men still bear the image of their Creator. But God is not just our Creator; He also sustains and controls His Creation. Nothing happens to us or our world that is not in accordance with His will. This is another point of contention that I have with the Paris accord folks. This is God’s world and He controls it. It is hubris to think that we can do anything that meaningfully impacts the fate of the planet or its climate.

The believers of things like the Paris accord are worshipers of the creation and not the Creator. Their god is Gaia—Mother Earth—not YHWH.

Such ideas as Paris are a feeble effort to usurp God and replace him with man as the ones controlling the climate—as if we really had any power to do so. Such an assertion is arrogant. Man’s pride was the original sin as it was Satan’s.

President Trump is right in his contention that this accord is trying to put us at a competitive disadvantage to other nations. His job as President is to do what is best for our country. Christ is the ruler of all nations—King of kings and Lord of lords. Trump is our President because right now that is God’s will for our nation.

I’m glad that we have a President that is actually tearing down the strongholds of the enemy. God bless you Donald Trump.

Posted by william on 06/02 at 09:26 AM
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Thursday, June 01, 2017

Cord Cutting: The Next Chapter

Our family dumped DirecTV almost 18 months ago in favor of TiVo and over-the-air (OTA) television. We continued our Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions and added Hulu. After the first year, TiVo charges $149.99 annually ($12.50 per month). Thus we are saving about $90 per month from what we were spending previously.

Last month we set our sights on a new target, Frontier Communications (formerly known as Citizens Communications). For the last ten years, we have been paying Frontier about $85 monthly for a landline telephone and Internet service. (By the way, $15 of that amount was taxes.) Our phone number once belonged to my wife’s grandparents and we figure that they’ve had that number since the 1960’s.

Our attachment to the phone number was both sentimental and contractual. Sentimental since it had been in the wife’s family for her entire life and contractual because many years ago Frontier offered us a ten dollar a month discount on our Internet if we agreed to a two year contract. Once the two years was up, Frontier raised their rates back up and as an added bonus, they had us locked into a contract that automatically renewed annually.

Yeah, in case you didn’t know that, auto renewing contracts are legal in California. Without any affirmation on your part, once you enter into a contract, the contract continues to renew unless you take extraordinary steps to terminate it. Frontier threatened early termination fees of up to $400. I have been meaning to stop the auto renewal for several years but they moved the renewal date on me once and then last year, I didn’t attempt it until I was within the 30 day termination window. This clause said that you can’t terminate the contract within 30 days of the renewal date. Talk about insuring corporate cash flow!

However, this year, I called in January to stop the auto renewal. I recorded the date and time of the call and even got a confirmation number for the request. Then if they gave me grief later on, I would take the “this call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes” and ram it down their bureaucratic throats if said that I never called.

Just to make sure, in early May, I called Frontier and asked that my service—both telephone and Internet—be terminated on June 12th (the auto renewal date). I called more than 30 days before the renewal just so I wouldn’t have to refer to the January call. I figured that that gave me over a month to switch to another provider and get all the kinks worked out before my Internet was cut off.

I know at this point that some might be wondering why I was with an obscure company like Frontier in the first place? A fair question and one that I will shed light on now before continuing.

You see back in the heyday of Ma Bell, when there was only one phone company, there were certain areas of the country where it was not cost effective for Ma Bell to service. These orphaned areas of the country—and by country I mean rural areas of the United States—were eventually pooled into Citizens Communications. (If you are thinking Roosevelt, Great Depression, and Rural Electrification Administration, then you are on the right track. I’m sure Wikipedia could give you the whole story if you were curious.)

Anyway, flash forward the better part of a century and some of these rural areas are now developed areas with lots of people. Elk Grove—where I live—is such a place. West of highway 99 you have many choices for Internet and telephone including fiber optic cable because this area was once serviced by Pacific Bell; however, east of highway 99 you will find a different dynamic. Your options where I live are Frontier or Comcast, period. There is nothing else and by law there never will be. Two choices and both with a coper cable as its backbone.

With Frontier, they were happy to provide us a blazing (insert sarcasm here) 5.5 Mb per second. I have 11 to 20 devices in my home competing for bandwidth. Frontier’s Internet went down daily—especially the Wi-Fi. We were incapable of doing anything simultaneously on the Internet; even reading books on the Kindle app was a problem. Only when I called to terminate their service did they ever try to offer me more bandwidth. 

Note to Frontier: give me your best offer because I’m a good customer; don’t wait until I’m so fed up with you that I decided to leave. If you had voluntarily raised my speed, I probably would still be with you. ‘Service” and “Customer” should be used together not opposite columns in the balance sheet. I talked with several neighbors about your company and found no one willing to praise you. If your Soviet era monopoly ever ends then so will you.

Anyway, after consulting the neighborhood, I reluctantly opted to try Comcast again. We had Comcast when I was first married. Their Internet went down constantly and their television picture—especially HD—was terrible. Only when we went to DirecTV did our TV picture look like it did at Circuit City. At the time, Frontier’s Internet was better. Over the years, Comcast invested in their equipment and Frontier rested on their laurels. Now Comcast offers speeds over 100 MB per second where I live for about the same price Frontier will sell me 5.5. Same price and twenty times the speed!

Anyway, Friday, May 12th was a memorable one. You see, when we got up in the morning both our phone and Internet were shutoff. I asked multiple people at Frontier to terminate our service on June 12. I spoke with both the customer service person that took my call and the “closer” that tried to get me to change my mind and told both people June 12. Again, no customer service.

Meanwhile, I had attempted to prepare for the switch to Comcast. I went on the Internet and set up an account on the Comcast website and ordered a do-it-yourself installation kit. (Note to readers: you likely don’t need the installation kit.) I bought a modem recommended by Comcast’s website from Amazon and tried hooking it up. After re-running the cable thru my attic, and connecting the modem, I found that the cable to my house was literally unhooked at the street. Trying to connect at the street didn’t result in any signal to the modem. All this had happened prior to being cut-off by Frontier.

Meanwhile back to May 12. After getting settled in at work, I tried a live chat on the Comcast website but after 45 minutes, I never got a response. (I think the dreaded firewall blocked the port so I couldn’t connect.) Next, I tried the option for a callback. Amazingly, I was contacted by a Comcast person in less than a minute. The lady I spoke with confirmed that we were not connected at the street and set up a service call to do that. She said we did not need to be there since the cable was just being connected at the street. She also said that she would call on the following Monday to see if everything was OK.

When I got home, the Amazon purchased modem would not connect. Per diagnostic lights, it had a failure. I tried resetting but with no luck. I decided to send it back and try my luck at Fry’s. On Saturday on the way to Fry’s I dropped the modem off at the nearby Staples. Within an hour of taking the Amazon return to Staples, I had a complete refund from Amazon in my checking account. Sadly, the modem purchased at Fry’s would connect but at very slow speeds; not anywhere near those promised by Comcast.

On Monday, true to her word, the lady from Comcast called. I told her the connection was not working like it should. She sent a service tech to my home at no charge. Per our discussion, the tech called me at work and I met him at the house. He crimped new connectors on the cable at each junction point from the street to my modem and used a signal tester on the line. Inside the house, he used his own modem which test at 250 Mb per second and then attached mine. After a reboot, it connected at just over 100 MB per second.

Subsequent, to installation, I’ve had to reboot the modem once to get my Android phone to connect. I also found that the slow connection to the back of my house was due to a faulty cable from the modem to the Cat 6 cable going to my hub. (Proof that not all store bought cables are to be trusted.)

Oh, Comcast is charging me $39.99 for the first year with no extra taxes attached. So far, it’s a much better deal than Frontier. Lastly, on my final bill from Frontier, they are showing a credit even after shutting me down a month early; so much for early termination.

Posted by william on 06/01 at 10:29 AM
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Moving from Windows Mobile 10 to Android 6

Recently my Microsoft Band 2 died; and for the last time since it was out of warranty. I really enjoyed the MS Band. It integrated with both my Lumia 640 and later 950 XL and had many features that other fitness bands and smartwatches still don’t offer. The warranty service from Microsoft was amazing but sadly too frequently. The flaw with the device was the Android operating system and battery. Once the battery was totally depleted, the watch would often fail to boot-up anymore.

I tried two other watches as replacements for the Band.

First was the Vector Smartwatch. When first released, this watch was praised for compatibility with the Window OS and recommended as a possible replacement for the MS Band. The company was recently purchased by Fitbit and was supposedly compatible with my Windows phone. The watch display was monochrome not full color like my Band. It would not connect to my phone under any circumstances. My phone could never see the device via the Bluetooth connection. I tried firmware updates and many other things to no avail. After several days, I finally returned it to Amazon for a refund.

Garmin also has a watch that did some things that my Band would do so I decided to try it. It too, was supposedly compatible with the Windows Phone OS with a caveat that it might loose Bluetooth connection occasionally. This too was a mixed bag of results. The watch itself was great but it would not maintain a connection with the phone. However, Garmin has a Windows program that runs on my PC and it works great. It is possible to use the watch without any smartphone connection. Lastly, the Garmin watch can go about five or six days on a single charge and is waterproof too!


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After trying two watches that both were supposedly compatible with Windows Phone and the trickle of media reports that per their financials, Microsoft was terminating support for their Widows Phones at the end of June 2017, I came to the conclusion that the smartwatch phone applications were “abandonware”.

Sensing both my frustration at the lack of support for the Windows mobile platform and knowing that her Band would be failing soon, my wife prompted me to buy an Android phone. Like many folks, I took a look at Samsung but the prices of their Galaxy phones are crazy. I will not pay over eight hundred dollars for a phone. After looking around, I decided to try the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom 5.5 ”.


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https://www.asus.com/Phone/ZenFone-3-Zoom-ZE553KL/


This phone has a mid-range CPU and a better than average camera. The phone comes with USB cable, wall charger, headphones, and case. It also, comes with a promise to be upgradeable—at some point in the future—to Android 7.

While I have constantly heard that Microsoft’s ecosystem suffered from an “app gap”, two of my favorite apps are not available on the Android platform. The Milton Bradley game Battleship has no app in the Android store. (It was in the Windows Phone Store but was pulled a few years ago; probably when Electronic Arts acquired the company.) I played Battleship almost daily since I bought the game. Whatever Aaron Park might say not withstanding, it was my “go to” app when camping in the boy’s room. The other app that was a constant friend was Quake Watch. While there is an app by the same name in the Google Play store, it is not the same in terms of information or versatility.

In the next few paragraphs, I plan to compare my experiences with both Operating Systems.


Windows Phone a.k.a. Windows Mobile 10
Advantages
Live Tiles
Live Tiles are the cornerstone of what makes the Microsoft mobile OS different from Android or IOS. Each icon can—if the developer allows it—scale to at least three different sizes on the phone screen. In addition, each tile can give you current information that is pushed to the phone. For example, the weather app can give you current temperature without opening the app. The money app can give you the Dow-Jones close for your favorite stock, and a news app can tell you the latest headlines without even opening the app. The newest iterations of the live tile could even take you directly to the story on the tile that you clicked on when you selected the app.

Glance Screen
Let you see time and selected alerts without logging into phone. This was a semi-sleep mode for the phone without going to log on screen. Screen was black with white text. The idea was provide the user information without using too much battery life.

Other features that I did not use were VPN and Continuum.

Disadvantages
Live Tiles, Glance Screen, and other features cause battery life to be about 1 to 1 ½ days.

Apps were not continually updated. I have already mentioned Battleship. This was removed from the Store a few years ago but I could still download it because I had purchased it. MyFitnessPal was another app that was dropped from the store. I could continue using it but if I ever logged off of the app then I would not be allowed to get back in. Then there were the apps for the fitness bands/smartwatches that are no longer supported. They are virtually worthless but still listed in the Store.

Some phone features were deprecated or removed by Microsoft.
• For example, all phones have an FM radio built into them but Microsoft dropped support for the FM radio feature from their operating system leaving this functionality to be supported by third parties.
• For many years, Microsoft has built NFC into the phone but never developed the software to support the feature. Only about five banks in the United States supported the wireless payment feature.
• Also, Microsoft used to allow me to go onto a website using my PC, purchase apps for my phone and they would magically appear on my phone a short time later. Google still allows this but MS stopped this a few years ago.
• Lastly, my phone quit supporting visual voicemail and attachments to text messages. (This last could be a carrier issue and not a phone one but I didn’t ever get to the bottom of it.)


Android 6

As I get into this, I am fully aware that the newest version of Android is 7. My ASUS phone was at a reasonable price point for a cash purchase at $330. It also will be able to upgrade to Android 7 in the future. And yes, I know that might not be a certainty in the Android world but I would trust a promise from ASUS before I would a cell provider.

Advantages
Speed
Battery life
Plays nice with Garmin Smartwatch

Disadvantages
Missing and deprecated apps. Battleship, Groove, Quake Watch
No app notification integration.
No NFC radio—specific complaint to my phone
Desktop is cluttered and clunky.
SD Card—can’t move apps to this card.
Despite assurances on the Internet that Android 6 supports it, my device is not capable of 5 GHz Wi-Fi and the OS doesn’t offer the option.

Android apps do not natively integrate into the operating system the way that Microsoft’s OS does. When I load an email app on a Windows device, the app will notify me and any devices that I sync with—including my PC—that I have a text or email.  With a few clicks, I could fully integrate Google mail, calendar, and address book but the reverse is not the case. On Android, the app installs and that’s it. Even after enabling permissions the app does very little. You need to drill down into the app to allow notifications and any app that you want to provide a notification then must also be linked to the other app.

For example, I installed Outlook on my Android phone. I had to drill down into the app until I found the notification settings, then I had to enable the feature. This then allows the phone to be notified that I received an email. Once that was done, I had to go into the Garmin app and enable Outlook notifications as a third party app in order to get notifications to my smartwatch. The process is convoluted and poorly documented—if at all.

Microsoft Groove does not work on Android the way it does on a Windows phone. The app has no ability to find music stored on an SD card. It can do this on my old phone. I can stream music via Groove or Amazon but prefer to have it stored on the SD card so as not to waste my data. When streaming, most of my stuff is on Amazon not One Drive. The bottom line is that Groove is no longer on the Droid phone.

The SD card was not what I expected either. Even though it is physically located inside the phone, the Android OS will only treat it as a removable drive and not as internal storage. Thus no apps can be moved from the internal memory of the phone to the SD card. My old Android phone had this feature four years ago. My son has an Android phone that we bought new for $5 two years ago that can do this so why can’t my $300 phone? Stupid design!

Android seems to use fewer resources on the phone hardware and thus appears more nimble but many of the apps on the Windows phone could scale to both mobile and desktop environments. My opinion is that apps are more limited in their abilities and generally I will take a full-blown program over an app any day—be it on a phone or PC. Moving to Android is like going from Windows 10 to Windows 98. Windows 98 had better screensavers (After Dark, Johnny Castaway, etc.) but Windows 10 is more productive and secure.

Posted by william on 05/31 at 09:41 AM
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Barbarism, Moloch, and Murder of Innocents

WARNING : Normal humans will find the following topic revolting and deeply disturbing. Once you read this you will have difficulty getting it out of your head, continue reading at your own risk.

Last week, I was reading my email as I usually do. One daily mailing list that I get is from Joe Miller.
Link: Joe Miller
Miller is a conservative guy from Alaska that has run for US Senate and may be eying a run at governor of Alaska in 2018. I like it because it has stuff that you may not see from Drudge and it is often openly Christian in its presentation of news.

One article that caught my attention was one about a couple in Australia that turned their children into jewelry. Yeah, that’s not a typo; they turned their unborn children into jewelry to wear around their necks.


Link: Turning Extra Embryos into Jewelry

Original story:
Link: Couples are turning extra IVF embryos into jewellery


We’re not talking about some tribe of cannibals on some remote Pacific island somewhere wearing the shrunken skulls of their enemies as trophies, or that guy from Apocalypse Now wearing the ears of his enemies around his neck, no, these folks are the proud parents of children that they deliberately killed and are parading around Australia with their tiny bodies dangling from their mom’s neck thinking this is an act of love.

My embryos were my babies - frozen in time.
When we completed our family, it wasn’t in my heart to destroy them.
Now they are forever with me in a beautiful keepsake.



My first thought was the Scripture, “the compassion of the wicked is cruelty.”

Their babies are dead at their hand, which part of destroy them do you not get? Can you say, “Cognitive disconnect?”

”…forever with you”? Yeah, like Norman Bates’ mother. Psycho is probably the right term.

Many years ago, Melody Green wrote a tract call “Children…things that we throw away” but now in the 21st Century, we can embed them in amber or plastic or something and make them into keepsakes. This is how we define compassion now?

Singing the praises of the business that embalms children as a fashion statement, the original article includes this gem

“I don’t believe there is any other business in the world that creates jewellery from human embryos, and I firmly believe that we are pioneering the way in this sacred art, and opening the possibilities to families around the world.”



Sacred art? Three thousand years after the abomination of the children of Israel offering their children to the god Moloch by burning them alive, have things changed that much?

Jesus’ words should be echoing in your head, “Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” Matthew 25: 45 But don’t stop reading there because the next verse talks about these wicked folks a little more “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment

I used to think Angelina Jolie wearing a vial of blood from Billy Bob Thornton was twisted but these folks take jewelry to the next level of absurdity.

Wanna bet these parents can read Dr. Seuss to their other children and have no problem telling them “A person is a person no matter how small.”

The article that Miller links analyses the issue from a Roman Catholic point of view. Whatever the shortcomings of Roman, their position on bioethics is worthy of consideration since they are the leading voice in the Christian world on the life issue. They argue for limits (self-government) because just because we can do something doesn’t make it right.

Most people do not understand why the Catholic Church refuses to approve the practice of in-vitro fertilization, or any form of artificial insemination, or any method of conception at all apart from sexual intercourse. The Church teaches that all such means of conception are morally wrong. The reasons are profound, thoughtful and humble. If you’d like to hear it from the horse’s mouth, read this, especially CCC 2375 – 2378.

But allow me to say it succinctly this way: What you manufacture, you own. It belongs to you, and you call the shots with authority. What you manufacture, you can control.

THAT is precisely why it is morally wrong to manufacture children. Many people will object to the word “manufacture” here, but it’s the only accurate term. Babies are ordered up and created in a lab, purchased and paid for by adults who have commissioned their creation. That’s manufacturing.

Babies are not ours to control. Human life is not ours to manipulate in that way. We have no right to create life, keep it in some suspended animation, and then decide to destroy it whenever it suits us. We are not God.

We do not own our children. We have no claim on their lives. It is not for us to decide whether they live or die and when. The Lord God is the giver and creator of life. We can only receive our children as gifts. No one can demand a gift, or claim any right to receive a gift.



Lest you think this is an isolated occurrence of evil, try this article:
Nothing says ‘I love you, Mom!’ like abortion: Planned Parenthood leader touts killing of unborn on Mother’s Day

Posted by william on 05/16 at 12:45 PM
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

ESPN Lays off 100, did they choose the right personnel?

By X
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ESPN is in a downward spiral, losing over 12 million subscribers in the past few years.  As a result, layoffs were announced; these were in addition to the 300 laid off a year and a half ago.  With one caveat, in the past, it was always the extra help that was let go, people operating switchboards, cameras etc.  This time it was the talent that faced the camera.  Layoffs are not fun or something I ever advocate—even though we are talking about overpriced blowhards, blathering on about social and political issues that they have no reason by which to involve themselves—these are real people, they have families. 

In some cases like that of now terminated Danny Kanell, he moved his family to Bristol, Connecticut (Home of ESPN) to go all in.  Regarding Kanell, anyone who desires to live or relocates to Bristol, Connecticut may need to be checked for having too many concussions.  Sarah Walsh, a sportscenter anchor, was laid off a day after returning from maternity leave.  Big names laid off include; Ed Werder, Jay Crawford, Trent Dilfer, and Jayson Stark among others, all in all hockey, basketball and baseball coverage got gutted.

There are a few reasons for this; namely people are beginning to cut the cord and stream only shows and channels they like watching.  Additionally when it comes to sports packages you (cable channels) have to bid for the rights over a period usually spanning a decade, ESPN bid very high and is paying the price now.  ESPN went all in after basketball (NBA) and baseball (MLB) as well as football (NFL).  Let’s break all these down:
National Football League: ESPN paid 15 billion to broadcast Monday Night Football, keep in mind that this is usually the worst game to broadcast due to late start on the east coast, dinner time on the west coast, in addition to being the one game that cannot be “flexed” for a better matchup late in the year. 
Major League Baseball: 5.6 billion for MLB, and that usually includes a Wednesday or Tuesday night game as well as the Sunday night prime time game.  Baseball is also a dying sport since it takes at least three hours to watch and most of the time the matchup is meh at best, in addition to the season lasting six months. 
National Basketball Association: The NBA deal is huge as well, ESPN bid almost double the next competitor, and those games and ratings are all time bad. 

So what happens when the suits make bad deals in the C-suite?  Well the common worker must pay with their jobs.  Now I’m not going to cry a river for these guys,  as their contracts require them to still be paid until they expire or find new employment elsewhere, and most were making six figures, a few likely getting millions a year in compensation.  They focused on the big picture while ignoring a problem that will make cable TV look like the newspaper in a few years.

ESPN over the last 15 years has gone on an expansion boom, spawning; ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPNU, WATCH ESPN, ESPN3, in addition to regional channels such as PAC-12 Network, ACC Network, Longhorn Network and SEC Network.  With every channel meaning more rights fees for the parent company Disney.  Doing this caused dilution in the long term, the small regional college channels add nothing as when it’s not football or basketball they usually show reruns or gymnastics which no one watches.  ESPN classic and news offer zilch, and as a result people started cutting channels out of their cable lineup, and in some cases cutting out ESPN all together.  The online access point such as ESPN3 and Watch ESPN have some value to offer, but not being offered correctly.  As long as braying lowlifes George Bodenheimer and John Skipper are in charge there is no hope for ESPN, the layoffs will continue and subscriber losses will quicken its pace. 

Here is some brilliance from Skipper regarding subscription loss a few years ago in an interview with Wall Street Journal.

People trading down to lighter cable packages, that impact hasn’t leaked into ad revenue, nor has it leaked into ratings. The people who’ve traded down have tended to not be sports fans, and have tended to be older and less affluent. We still see people coming into pay TV. It remains the widest spread household service in the country after heat and electricity.

Yeah…….NO, This is an out of touch suit, cable cutters like X and William are by no means less affluent, and not old, and are sports fans.  Maybe we don’t care for the complete garbage emulating from our television when we watch your channels.  Let’s dive into this a bit, X binge watched ESPN and its sister channels for a week here is my commentary.

My day started at 6 am, watching a four hour daily show called “First Take” not sure what this show was about as two men; Steven “Screaming A” Smith and a something called a Max Kellerman spent every segment screaming and shouting over each other.  Literally every single topic and segment, and they argued the dumbest stuff, how good was Tim Tebow, is Lebron James a choker, I mean seriously I want sports not mindless drivel masquerading as commentary.  I had an out of body experience thinking I was judge Chamberlain Haller from “My Cousin Vinny” and wanted to yell at the TV I don’t want to hear argument, commentary, or opinion!  The show was mercifully over at 10, thank god, apparently it was presented by Subway, I felt like I wanted to be run over by a Subway after watching that waste of time. 

Immediately following was a 1 hour program called “Mike and Mike”, this was better featuring two hosts and a similar back and forth format, it seemed to regurgitate the same headlines from “First Take” but with better, more controlled chaos.  Still didn’t scream watchable, and definitely not something I would go out of my way to tune in to.
UPDATE: apparently this is a radio show for 3 hours with the “best of” shown on TV, and the show will be getting a makeover as one of the Mike’s will be getting a separate show in the immediate future. 

Next up was a 1 hour program called “The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz.”  Yeah maybe I should have started drinking because this show made literally zero sense, again it was a two person banter format with Lebatard’s dad sitting in between randomly spouting off random sentences and thoughts.  His name is “Papi”; most of his thoughts are either incoherent or Spanish.  Resident buffoon—aka Bomani Jones—usually answers each question with some strange race baiting twist.  This made for very odd TV.  (By the way who/what the heck is a “Stugotz?”)
UPDATE Bomani also has a radio show where he spews his race baiting B.S. for about 3 hours, every single day.  Literally he said on the radio “white people as a whole who threw the bag of peanuts at Orioles outfielder Adam Jones should be embarrassed.”  He added this gem as well “Blaine Gabbert has been signed, Mike Glennon got 14 million, but Colin Kaepernick hasn’t been signed….just sayin, those two are white and Colin aint.” 

Ryen Russillo follows him, and his entire 3 hour radio program is a bunch of “bro talk” regarding how often he works out, and the different parties he attends.  Compelling stuff I cannot fathom why no one listens.  Back to the TV side now, as I couldn’t take the radio any longer, neither could my liver.

Next, 1.5 hours of my day was devoted to NFL Insiders, a half hour show featuring various out of work former NFL coaches and suits, nothing really discussed here.  The following one hour show was NFL Live, this time it was more of a commentary show, which was pointless, actually both shows were pointless, when talking NFL in the middle of the offseason.  This show ran every day for the same duration, not being re-run, the emperor really isn’t wearing clothes.

More to come; part II next time,

X

 

Posted by william on 05/13 at 10:17 AM
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Friday, May 05, 2017

When You Get the Call That You Child is Injured

It’s been a week since I got that phone call that every parent fears they will get one day. You know which one I mean


“This is the …
            Your child was hurt and ...
                                      Please come now ...”


About 12:30 last Friday, that was the call that I received from my son’s school. It went something like this: “This is the school. Your child was hurt and broke his arm. Please come pick him up.” 

I asked what happened. The school was having a “jog-a-thon” that day. (When I was a kid, jog-a-thon meant that you get folks to pledge so much per mile and ran your little fanny off to raise money. Now a days, I guess they just want a check for a flat fee and forget the jogging part.) Anyway, he was in a “human hamster ball” and fell thru the opening when trying to exit. He said someone hit the ball from the other side and this effectively caused him to be ejected out of the ball and onto the ground. He tried to stop falling head first thru the opening and braced himself by using his arms to break the fall.


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Human Hamster Ball—this is an example and not the actual ball

At the time, I had a coworker in the car that I had gone to lunch with. I hurried back to the office and then dropped off the coworker, told my boss I was out for the rest of the day, handed all my unfinished work to my boss for distribution, activated the out of office message, and made haste to pick up my son. I drove swiftly (up to 80 mph) to his school and met him in the office. After checking on his condition, I handed the keys to an adult at the school and told them to load my son in the car. I collected his school stuff—binder, backpack, and lunch box—and then we headed to the emergency room of the local hospital.

At his school office, he was given a small zip lock bag of ice and that was the only first aid that he received. As I drove to the hospital, every time we hit a bump, he would say “ouch”. I walked him in the front door of the hospital and checked him into emergency. I then parked the car and waited for his name to be called. Just after his mom walked into the hospital, his name was called. Our next challenge was to get him out of his sweatshirt so he could have his blood pressure taken. When his sweatshirt was finally removed, there was no doubt that the arm was broken. Up until that point, no adults, other than me, seemed to believe the word of a twelve year old—even when other children confirmed that they heard the bones crack when he fell.

Once my son’s blood pressure and temperature were taken, we were escorted to a treatment room. About two hours after the arm was broken, my son was finally given some pain killer to take the edge off of his discomfort. It was a low dose of morphine give thru an IV in the top of his hand. Getting the IV put in seemed to be more painful than breaking both bones in his forearm.


image
Broken Arm—Line shows where arm should be when resting.

After three sets of x-rays, setting both broken bones twice, and a temporary cast, we finally started heading to the exit after 7 pm. The first stop was the pharmacy for pain meds and then home for dinner.

The following Wednesday, the temporary cast was removed and a more permanent one was put on. This evolution was a primitive one and did not go as advertised. For some reason, the hospital did not have the equipment to hold my son’s arm stationary and made him use the fingers on his broken arm to grip a metal frame when the cast was assembled on his arm. Then when they got to the plaster part, the doctor squeezed his arm—right at the point of the fractures—for about two minutes so that the plaster could set. Then they took an x-ray (the fourth ones so far) and sent us on our way until next week’s visit.

As I watched this unfold over the last week, I was reminded of DeForest Kelly who played Doctor McCoy in the original Star Trek movies cursing the 20th Century doctors for being a bunch of barbarians for their primitive methods. So far the 21st Century docs aren’t much better.

 

 

Posted by william on 05/05 at 05:27 PM
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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Aaron Hernandez can Teach Millennial’s about the Real World & Baby Boomers about College Sports

John M Slamkowski—A Special Correspondent

First of all I would like to thank William for the opportunity to write in this space about a couple issues; entitlement, and the sissifying of America.  Aaron Hernandez—specifically his actions in college and in the pros leading to his arrest—will lay out my argument that our entire education and athletics system is broken and in bad need of repair.  We can all agree that in our current scholastic system, everyone gets a participation trophy, and there are no clear winners or losers.  This goes for everything; science fairs, baseball, soccer, etc.  This sets up our youth to fail badly as they approach, high school, college and then the real world.  Failing badly has to do with being unprepared but only to an extent, mostly it has to do with being coddled, and sheltered from any consequences.  Without further ado let’s look at the plight of one Aaron Hernandez as told by ESPN.

Aaron Hernandez lost his dad at age 16 from complications from hernia surgery.  So right here the liberal elite set the stage for a “rough upbringing.” I can say I have no idea what it is like to lose a father at a young age, but his father was most definitely not a thug.  The story goes on to say that Aaron began showing rebel behavior and ignoring authority.  I again find this hard to believe since he was offered a scholarship and signed with the University Florida Gators.  Let me be clear, signing a scholarship doesn’t imply an athlete is a saint, but the amount of due diligence done by the university and coaching staff tells me there could not be too much smoke with Mr. Hernandez.  Rebellious behavior?  I think that is a pre-requisite for all high school age students?  Am I wrong?  The real issues with Hernandez didn’t start until he entered college, then he was coddled and babied by world class football coach Urban Meyer.  This is where society really did in Hernandez; he always had an adult figure and a very powerful one at that, cover up drug tests and make excuses for young Aaron. 

In 2007 as a 17 year old freshman, Hernandez after drinking two adult beverages, attempted to leave a bar without paying. When confronted by the bouncer, Hernandez punched him so hard it ruptured his eardrum.  Police recommended charging Hernandez, but Meyer convinced them to allow internal punishment to suffice.  Let’s take a look at something here, a 17 YEAR OLD, at a BAR, having DRANK 2 DRINKS, then committing battery, yet Urban Meyer thought nothing was wrong here?  Maybe because Tim Tebow was on the team all of this would go away, maybe reading the Bible daily as Urban Meyer claimed Hernandez did, would help him find guidance.  This cover-up was also aided when the local District Attorney decided not to press any charges opting instead for “deferred prosecution.”  Let me be clear, numerous people had an opportunity to nip this in the bud, however they all passed or enabled. Then almost 6 months later…..


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September 2007, Aaron Hernandez was identified as the shooter in a shooting that injured 3 people.  Even with witnesses identifying him as the shooter, Hernandez walked free with no charges filed.  Notice a pattern here?  Each time the athlete gets into trouble someone—either a coach or law official—gets in the way to avoid negative consequences.  Nothing much was heard from Hernandez over the next two seasons, his draft stock rose and after his junior season, he declared for the NFL draft and was selected in round four, guaranteeing him around $700,000.  Strange, as a big fan of college sports, I had Hernandez pegged as a first round talent. He fell pretty drastically for a player as lauded as he was in college.  He won the award for best college tight-end, a very prestigious award given out once a year.  Then details about his college and personal life began to trickle out. He admitted to smoking copious amounts of weed.  Strangely enough, he never failed a drug test at Florida, or did he?  University of Florida hides behind HIPPA laws regarding drug tests but even Hernandez admits he failed at least one.  Hernandez was never punished for any of these crimes he committed, actually worse yet, authority figures hid him from reality. 

Fast forward a couple years in the NFL. Hernandez—as one of the game’s best tight-ends—lands a five year, 40 million dollar extension!  Not only making him one of the highest paid at his position, but making him an extremely wealthy man. This was in 2012; remember that year. 

In June of 2013 he was named a person of interest and later arrested in connection with the murder of his friend and the husband of his fiancés sister, Odin Lloyd.  Lloyd was a friend of Hernandez.  Hernandez would be convicted of murder in April of 2015, sentenced to life with no chance of parole. 


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Aaron Hernandez     11-06-1989 to 04-19-2017


Then came more allegations; suddenly he was being questioned about that double shooting at the University of Florida again.  Worse yet he was “arrested” on charges of double murder in Boston in July of 2012, after he signed the extension!  It was alleged he killed the two victims because one of them spilled a drink on him, and the other shot him a dirty look.  Don’t get me wrong he was acquitted by expert legal help, and prosecutorial missteps, in this case, but Hernandez was not innocent.  He was never tried in the shooting that occurred in Florida.  He was accused of shooting his friend Alexander Bradley while he was in the same car as Hernandez after a late night trip to a strip club, again, no charges filed.  Hernandez committed suicide in prison on April 19th 2017; he may or may not have had synthetic marijuana in his system, and apparently—according to TMZ and other sources—had a boyfriend in jail and didn’t want the word to get out. 

The Patriots football team sued to recover all the bonus money paid to Hernandez and it appears his fiancé will get very little or none of that money.  Good, it doesn’t belong to her.  His lawyers are trying to get his conviction thrown out by some loophole in the Massachusetts legal system; America is great if you can afford great lawyers.

The point of my writing is this, Hernandez and other athletes are getting coddled and babied by our new politically correct, “my son would never do that” culture that has poisoned our education system.  Lost a parent early in life, congrats you had a rough upbringing, thereby justifying your actions.  Fail a drug test?  Well a little weed never hurt that much, we should legalize it anyways.  Underage drinking, everyone does that right?  Shoot someone?  May have been an accident and hey we’ve got a big game this weekend, I will take care of this I’m the coach after all.  The football game or basketball game on Friday night takes precedence over the classroom.  Discipline that could have been instilled never happened and as a result a high school in Connecticut, a University in Florida, and an NFL team aided and abetted a murderer.  Make no mistake about it, Hernandez is not a troubled youth or a product of a broken system, and definitely not a good kid.  He is a murderer, who ran around killing people with his Glock.  Three people were murdered and at least two others were shot by this thug, so enough with the politically correct BS.

Memo to the baby boomers and Gen X, the coddling and excuse making needs to stop, start holding people accountable.  No more safe places or spaces and let’s allow the police to do their job.

Posted by william on 05/02 at 07:47 PM
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