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Thursday, April 13, 2017
Einstein Vindicated Again
If you thought you were having a bad year because you voted for Hillary or have other issues with the direction of the cosmos, try being a physicist or astronomer. You see, somehow 68 percent of the universe is missing.
No, joke; 68 percent of the universe—according to the currently held theory—doesn’t exist and never did.
Link: Simulation suggests 68 percent of the universe may not actually exist
According to the Lambda Cold Dark Matter (Lambda-CDM) model, which is the current accepted standard for how the universe began and evolved, the ordinary matter we encounter every day only makes up around five percent of the universe’s density, with dark matter comprising 27 percent, and the remaining 68 percent made up of dark energy, a so-far theoretical force driving the expansion of the universe. But a new study has questioned whether dark energy exists at all, citing computer simulations that found that by accounting for the changing structure of the cosmos, the gap in the theory, which dark energy was proposed to fill, vanishes.
Scientist now confirm that the guys that developed this theory and won a Nobel Prize for Physics in 2011 for its development were wrong.
“The theory of general relativity is fundamental in understanding the way the universe evolves,” says Dobos. “We do not question its validity; we question the validity of the approximate solutions. Our findings rely on a mathematical conjecture which permits the differential expansion of space, consistent with general relativity, and they show how the formation of complex structures of matter affects the expansion. These issues were previously swept under the rug but taking them into account can explain the acceleration without the need for dark energy.”
For those of you that don’t understand the quotation cited above, it means that Einstein’s general theory of relativity is correct as long as you don’t round your math answer. Yes, in this age of computers, the eggheads that should know better, took a shortcut that injected errors into Einstein’s theory. Instead of checking their math, they invented dark energy “making it a placeholder plug for holes in current models.” When you end-up with a 68 percent error in your solution you deserve a failing grade not a Nobel Prize.
Is it me or did the guys in the era of slide rules do a better job of engineering than those with computers?
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Comments on Beauty and the Beast
My protestations notwithstanding, the wife demanded to see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. (Anything that passes as a musical will usually get her to purchase a ticket. Thankfully, she went with someone else to see La La Land.) Anyway, I admit that I made treks to the little boy’s room and snack bar during the film but what I did see of the film seemed really overhyped as far as the “rainbow people” was concerned. I’ve seen worse on broadcast television. It was blink and you miss it sort of stuff. Based on the posts from Focus on the Family and their fellow travelers, I was braced for some in your face propaganda; thankfully this was not the case. Unless you’re waiting to be offended, most of this stuff will go past both you and your children with hardly a notice.
Beauty and the Beast
The wife might be entertaining a return visit to go to the Beauty and the Beast Sing Along but I will sit that one out. Visions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show somehow do harm to what I might expect to see upon attending such an event. Girls Gone Wild meets off keyed singing; single guys, this might be your best opportunity since Sacramento hosted the Xena: Warrior Princess Convention several years ago.
Friday, April 07, 2017
More Gas Taxes
Governor Brown signed the gas tax bill one week after it was introduced in the legislature. Apparently we had to pass it to learn what’s in it because I doubt anybody that voted YES actually read it.
Link: news story from KCRA-TV
Per media reports, the bill is supposed to raise 52 billion dollars over ten years. If you believe that this is a temporary tax, then I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn that you might want to buy.
The pretext for this bill is that we have horrible roads because we are woefully under taxed. Now, California has the highest taxes in the country but somehow it is never enough. We have a spending problem not a revenue problem. Anyway, I digress.
Just for fun, I put all the numbers in my trusty Excel program and learned some interesting stuff.
KCRA’s math doesn’t work. Right off the top, 7 billion dollars are missing. I guess this is the cut off the top being diverted to the General Fund or to backfill underfunded pensions.
Of the remaining 45 billion, 24.44 percent is going to public transportation and non-road repair purposes.
Thus, 34 billion is supposed to be going to road repair over ten years. This means the tax is generating 3.4 billion per year for road repair. Currently the state diverts about two billion from road repairs from just two taxes that it collects on commercial vehicles. Extrapolating the other funds diverted from road repair means that there is no reason to have this tax. If the legislature would just follow both the law and the promises made to the people, all our repair needs would be fully funded with no new taxes.
But it’s actually worse than this. Money currently going to transportation can now be diverted from transportation to the General Fund. The way government budgeting works, this is the reality of what happens. Plus, the legislature is lying when they say that this money will go to its intended purpose. Yes some will but look at their miserable track record on this issue. Every few years they find a way to weasel out of promises made in the previous election cycle.
Tax revenue creates a government dependency on the revenue source, much like the homeless guy with an addiction problem; however, what happens in 2030 (a mere 13 years from now) when the internal combustion engine is outlawed in California. On this subject, look for two things to happen simultaneously: cars with gasoline engines will no longer be sold and gas stations will be outlawed via regulatory power and people that own “legacy” automobiles simply won’t be able to purchase fuel.
Lastly, did you notice that one Republican sold his birthright to give the governor a YES vote? In the proud tradition of Maurice Johannsson and Roger Niello, Anthony Cannella voted YES in exchange for 500 million dollars. This is less than one percent of the total amount of revenue the new taxes are supposed to raise; plus the governor can now say there was bipartisan support for the bill. Any bets that this guy is out on term limits soon?
Thursday, April 06, 2017
Oroville Fix Update
The headline today, Governor Brown waived some environmental reviews on emergency construction at Oroville Dam. But look at the last paragraph in the story.
Authorities say designs for the redone main spillway are about 60 percent complete. State water officials still aren’t releasing an estimated price tag for the rush repairs, but say they hope to award contracts for the work by April 17.
OK, it’s close of business on April 6th. The state Department of Water Resources says the plans for the fix (temporary one per previous media reports) are 60 percent completed.
They hope to awards contracts by April 17th.
They are finishing the plans, soliciting bids, and deciding who will be awarded the contract seven business days from now? What could possibly go wrong with that plan?
Either the fix is in on who will be awarded this contract or these guys are dumber than dirt to think they can get a bid price with unfinished plans. Oh, change order is spelled $$$$$$
Monday, April 03, 2017
Diversity in Media
“Any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up.”
Link: David Gabriel, VP of sales for Marvel
So what has Marvel been up to lately?
Over recent years, Marvel has made efforts to include more diverse and more female characters, introducing new iterations of fan favourites including a female Thor; Riri Williams, a black teenager who took over the Iron Man storyline as Ironheart; Miles Morales, a biracial Spider-Man and Kamala Khan, a Muslim teenage girl who is the current Ms Marvel.
Writer of the Kamala Khan Ms Marvel series, G Willow Wilson responded to Gabriel’s comments … and criticising Marvel’s tendency to introduce the new iterations of fan favourites by “killing off or humiliating the original character … Who wants a legacy if the legacy is shitty?”
If this sounds familiar, it should. George Takei, said something similar about the last Star Trek movie, when producers decided to make his character—Hikaru Sulu—into a homosexual, complete with “husband” and baby. Takei said they should have made a new character, not changed the cannon of Star Trek.
“Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate” – George Takei
Hollywood is hell bent on making this issue one that you can’t avoid. Look at it from their point of view, they get to simultaneously teardown some part of an American symbol or institution and replace it with something else.
Partly, this is laziness on their part described as creativity. Stan Lee or whoever pours decades of work into something and then some young punk comes along and highjacks it in the name of diversity. Why? It’s hard to make an original thing successful.
Revisionism, especially as it relates to homosexuality, is just the latest fad in Hollywood. Xena: Warrior Princess and Wonder Woman are slated to become “gender-benders”. Xena is being revived by NBC as a television series and Wonder Woman—in her second movie—is expected to “come out”.
This is just the latest iteration of Democrat group politics. No character stands on its own merits. Everybody is just assumed to identify with a group, and the group must advance or no one does. This plantation mentality is just dumb and shortsighted; not to mention insulting.
Dear Hollywood Liberals, the more you push these issues, the less of your products that I will buy. I want characters that are entertaining and have a moral code not ones that get their identity with who they sleep with.
• I dumped my DirecTV a year ago because of this.
• I’ve seen every Star Trek movie except the last one because of this issue. Oh, and I will take a pass on the new Star Trek TV show on CBS because you are pushing homosexual characters.
• I’m done with most everything Disney because of this and yes, Disney there are many children in this country that have never owned a Mickey Mouse piece of clothing or even know who you guys are because of your abandonment to “family values”. If Star Wars or Marvel movies go the direction of Star Trek then I’m done with them too.
I want something my children can see that has good role models not morally broken ones. If I want my kids to see morally broken people and what they are really like then I’ll let them watch the evening news not your programming.
Saturday, April 01, 2017
Professional Stadiums, Taxpayers Buy’em, Governments give them away?
After a two week hiatus, most faithful readers of this blog were wondering where I was. I heard several reports from the Blog Father. Was I in rehab? Did I rejoin the CRA? Was I the one who spied on Donald Trump? Was I arrested for my shenanigans at a local Mexican restaurant a few months ago? No on all accounts.
During my absence, X was forwarded an email that almost made him burst into rage!
Dateline: San Diego.
It has come to my attention that since the San Diego Chargers have re-located to Los Angeles, the city had nothing to do with it’s largely taxpayer financed stadium. So it got a great idea, sell it for $10K, to a soccer team that may or may not ever come. Kinda sound like a situation in Elk Grove? Qualcomm Stadium—to be honest was very dated and located in the middle of a canyon—not a desirable place to play or commute too. However if the answer is selling an 80 acre stadium and land for just $10K, I don’t think I want to know the question! Yep, they sold 80 acres including the former NFL stadium for less than you’ll pay for a used Toyota.
It gets better. The group of investors “I love that term, give me something for literally pennies on the dollar” want to build 4,200 houses and over 1 million square feet of commercial development; think strip malls, malls, and office buildings. While details were not released, very likely the deal would exclude the “investors” there’s that term again, from property taxes. You are probably asking, which far left communist is leader of the republic of San Diego? That would be CRA endorsed liberal Republican Kevin Faulconer. Yup, the stadium initially built with taxpayer money, is now being given away for pennies on the dollar, since—well I guess—no professional team is a tenant now!
San Diego suffered from a cardinal sin; never give in to a billionaire owner and the temptation of a sports team to “rejuvenate” downtown. However, maybe in the long run San Diego may not be that bad off, check out these other two cities facing crazy stadium repercussions over the next few years!
Let’s examine Sacramento and Oakland, the former keeping its basketball team and pulling out all the stops, the latter losing its NFL team.
Let’s start with Oakland. This city pulled out all the stops to get the Oakland Raiders to move back to Oakland from Los Angeles back in 1995. Keep in mind; the Raiders have had a very nomadic nature during their years in the NFL shuffling from Oakland, to Los Angeles, back to Oakland, now on to Las Vegas in 2020. What Al and Mark Davis did to the City of Oakland is criminal. Upon moving back to the Coliseum in 1995, major renovations were required to add luxury boxes, etc. Again the city and in this case the county of Alameda gave in to a billionaire, as they bore almost all the costs. They both fell for Davis’ push for a personal seat license, this so called “fan tax” on season ticket holders would pay back the loan on the stadium improvements pronto. The City and County took out 200 million in bonds for stadium improvements, backed by Personal Seat Licenses (PSL’s). These licenses were to help pay down the bond debt quicker, because if you bought a PSL you got the first right of refusal to buy tickets for any event that took place in the coliseum, sitting in the seat which you would “own.” This was a well-conceived idea but far ahead of its time, as seat licenses are very popular now. What the city and county didn’t count on was a number of people not buying the seat license, but buying tickets on the day of a game or through scalpers and thus avoiding the fee the PSL would levy on them. The PSL’s were scrapped two years later. By the way, the team is leaving and the debt owed on the renovations won’t be paid off for another eight years at the earliest! Also at a cost of roughly $350 million, almost double the initial bond amount.
Now the economics of the City of Oakland will be examined. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf reports that the city will have an eight figure deficit this year, mostly due to debt service on the coliseum. This doesn’t take in to consideration the improvements made to Oracle Arena, home of the soon to be San Francisco Warriors basketball team, totaling roughly 68 million. Further, the least team standing of the trifecta, the Oakland Athletics Baseball Club, is moving to a new venue that was 100% privately financed by their owner….wow what a concept!
The city of Oakland is now left with two decaying buildings and their accompanying notes not yet paid for dreams gone bye; sounds like California accounting at its finest. Remember the argument about how stadiums revitalize the area around them? Have you been to the coliseum lately? Yeah, don’t go unless you absolutely must, it’s still a drug filled cesspool. The second argument about job creation, well if you consider part-time seasonal employees part of a hiring boom, I guess check off that box as an accomplishment as most front office jobs are filled by former players and lifelong employees.
Now let’s talk about income from the stadium itself, the items sold in the stadium such as concessions and memorabilia go 100% to the owner less any sales tax is owed to the municipality. Parking revenue generally all goes to the owner as well. The teams usually pay “rent” to the city for the use of the stadiums and in the case of the Raiders, they paid roughly $938k last year, a number that will rise to 3.5 million this season. A large sum until you realize most corporations pay more in rent/property tax a year than the Raiders would have over the course of several years! Not such a great deal at all now is it?
Rest easy Las Vegas Raiders fans, the team will be paying 1 whole dollar in rent a year in Vegas, because apparently if they pay more it could jeopardize the tax status of the bonds Las Vegas is issuing to buy the stadium. Lastly a new revelation has come out regarding how much money the city and county was spending on maintenance of the stadium, they are actually losing 1 million on the Raiders annually due to the fact the baseball and football seasons overlap and heavy maintenance is needed to change the field over from baseball to football. Sounds like a deal I wish I could get in on, but trust me Oakland you are much better off, pay off the debt and get some additional police on the streets, clean your city up and watch property values continue to skyrocket!
Looking at Sacramento, this process is still playing out as the city council, mayor and ownership groups have “passed the stadium bill to know what’s in it.” We did get a very nice shiny arena in the middle of downtown, and hosted a few top tier concerts, and the NCAA March Madness games, so I guess there is that. Yes there have been some new bars/restaurants going in downtown, however when people say the area has turned around, remember the area used to be a run-down mall sold for pennies on the dollar to the ownership group. The fact that the team is lousy and just traded their star player does not bother me even one iota. Neither does the fact the two local CRA units actually endorsed the idea of the arena without even bothering to ask questions or taking a principled “no” stance. What bothers me is Sacramento caved and agreed to a deal brokered by former Mayor and NBA athlete Kevin Johnson and former State Senate President and current Mayor Darrell Steinberg. The problem…no one really knows what is in this complicated deal; it was drawn up as a land swap, but no one really knows what land was involved.
Further additional details keep coming out that are flat out astonishing! Sacramento State University—the flagship school in the Sacramento area and a fixture to locals—just found out they can no longer have their graduation ceremonies at the old Sleep Train Arena (former home of the Kings) and must have it at state-of-the-art Golden 1 Arena. What is the problem X? Well the problem is rent at Sleep Train was $50K to have the event there, now the taxpayers are on the hook for $150K.
My overall point of this long blog is that these stadium deals generally include quite a big payoff up front for the owners and very little benefit for the taxpayers that get stuck with the tab for years to come. Owners are always angling for the next big pay-off and in this case I believe the residents of San Diego and Oakland are the winners in the long run with the residents of Sacramento due quite a few more surprises along the way. We already know that the new Kings Arena is financed over a period of 35 years and no one—including Kevin Johnson and Darrell Steinberg—is claiming that the arena will last that long. It will need to be replaced within 20 years.
I will leave you with a few quotes from the current Oakland city council president Larry Reid, the former chief of staff to Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris in the 1990’s who worked on the agreement to pay for stadium renovations; “It was a bad deal.” Congrats President Reid for your wonderful revisionist thought. Here is a more damning quote from Reid “The projections were off, but everyone was caught up in the emotion of having the Raiders return.” Yup, be careful, very careful to what you agree to.
Til next time,
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Ovoville Fix: California’s Jump the Shark Moment
Steve Camp did a song many years ago about “playing marbles with diamonds”. Camp was lamenting the fact that the Church seems to squander its opportunities and not take its job seriously. In like manner, the State of California is failing to take the issues relating to the Oroville dam seriously.
As I’ve stated before, nobody in State government has ever been involved in the construction of any large scale water storage project. There is no institutional memory in the government bureaucracy of how to successfully do such a project. All anyone knows is that a mountain of paperwork is required before such a project can be undertaken; a process that can take decades to complete. In their mind, a fix is not possible if they go thru normal channels; however, nobody wants to cede their part of the regulations to get the job done.
I submit that the situation is much more dire than you realize. Governor Brown has assembled a crack team of experts and this is what they have floated as a solution:
One temporary recommendation is building an angled flip just above the collapse site. If water needs to be released from the lake down the spillway, the flip would launch the water away from the hole, preventing further erosion.
Link: Making water jump the gap
Really? That’s the best you’ve got?
History lesson: we tried that before in California. It was called hydraulic mining.
Link: California Gold Rush hydraulic mining
It was outlawed in 1884 because of the devastation that it caused to California’s waterways and agricultural land. Now our crack state engineers want to use the same technique on an ever larger scale to save the Oroville Dam? What could possibly go wrong launching 100,000 cubic feet of water per second into the air? Amazing.
OK, so the government can’t do it, what about the private sector? I submit that in a litigious state like California that no insurance company will cover such a project. Look we already had one evacuation for 200,000 people; plus many more would be affected if the dam had further failure. Folks there are tens of billions in potential liability and whoever touches that dam will own it until the end of time. Unless the state gives the contractors a special exemption from liability, why would anyone want to participate in such a repair job?
Then there is the issue of state jobs requiring that prevailing wages be paid. In normal times, prevailing wages add forty percent to the cost of constructing a public school. Can you imagine how much this government mandated wage inflation—in one of the poorest regions of the state—is going to add to the price of any potential fix? Does Oroville even have the infrastructure in place to support the demand for concrete and related materials? I really doubt it.
Dear readers, there are thousands more similar infrastructure issues in this state that are currently being ignored by government. Oh and you have been paying taxes for decades to fix many of them but the money is diverted elsewhere. If and when “the Big One” happens, then you will know just how truly mismanaged this state has been.
Whatever happens to the spillway, I promise that it will be an excuse to raise taxes and somehow the money won’t really improve things all that much. Likely it will start out as a temporary tax that will still be in effect a century from now.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Opposition to Trump One of Biblical Proportions
Anthology series like Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, and Amazing Stories often start with a world like ours and then tweak one aspect in order to allow a character to participate in some fantastic adventure that otherwise would be totally improbable. The results are often extreme; either to the good or bad for the person that is the focus of the story.
Rarely do we get to witness a real life adventure that is on par with these types of stories. I know there have been others. I had a great uncle named Charles that entered the US Army at the ripe age of 14 in May of 1941. In December of that year, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and my uncle spent the war fighting in the Pacific. He was discharged in 1946 and still not 21 years old and thus not even old enough to vote.
Today, we are witnessing one of the greatest stories of the 21st Century; the Presidency of Donald J Trump. Barack Obama divided the country more than anyone since Richard Nixon; however, Trump has united both parties in their hatred of him. Why? Trump actually expects the members of Congress to do their job and serve the people not themselves. This is the modern day version of Mr. Smith goes to the White House.
Trump is everything that Arnold Schwarzenegger promised California voters in his first run for governor and never delivered. Trump is truly unique. What he promised during his campaign, he is delivering when in office. Folks, I can’t begin to tell you how rare and refreshing that this is. Both parties hate him for this. Trump is fighting an uphill battle against all three branches of government, plus the Federal Reserve, and the media. Make no mistake, this is total war. It’s Trump and about half the voting public versus the status quo.
Next time you read about the kings in the Old Testament tearing down the Ashura Poles and pagan high places, maybe you will understand the type of resistance that they faced and boldness it took for them to do this. I believe Trump is tearing down many similar strongholds in our nation. Gary North and R.J. Rushdooney’s idea that a change in law is a change in religion is clearly validated by Trump’s presidency.
Law, culture, and religion are all intertwined. Pluralism is just a temporary cease-fire until one faction gains a winning advantage over others. The faction that views government as their god tried to press their advantage to victory and crush the opposition; especially, Christians; this is the legacy of Barack Obama.
Trump has been compared to Cyrus or Constantine—and this may be a fair comparison—because he is a defender of The Faith while he himself may not be a believer. I for one am praying for Donald Trump and hoping that he succeeds.
Friday, March 03, 2017
Entry Level Jobs Killed by $15 Minimum Wage
Remember those economically ignorant people that demanded a $15 an hour minimum wage and conducted a campaign of protests and walk-outs nationwide during the last few years? Last year, California Legislators passed and Emperor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law here in Soviet California? How about the issue coming up time and time again during the presidential election as Democrats tried to get this implemented nationwide? This process has also played out in various municipalities and states across the nation. California workers, congratulations on your wages increased, but before you go buy that brand new car or new iPhone you may want to take a look at how far automation has come in the last few years and how it will affect your job very soon. Witness a conversation between X and the Blog Father about five months ago.
iRobot—now closer than ever
Over dinner at a Mexican food establishment with a salsa bar, the subject of automation was brought up. The Blog Father shared that he was recently at a local Wendy’s and to his surprise the monitor used to order food was turned around, facing him. Obviously something was wrong. After further analysis, it turned out that Wendy’s had two touch screen monitors back-to-back, one facing the employee and another facing the customer. The Blog Father speculated that this was a small test being done by corporate to get customers used to the idea of entering their own order. This test was for limited time only. To the Blog Father, the ordering process appeared intuitive. Clearly customers could order seamlessly and upselling was literally right at your fingertips; or for those of you in Rio Linda, asking about add-ons like bacon, fries, soda, baked potato (seriously? Are we in Russia?), and chili were just a touch away.
I imagine that the liberal counterargument to a more automated experience is that a machine can break down and isn’t unionized; thus The Party cannot receive union dues from the machine; however, the all-important sales tax still flows to government coffers. However, I would argue automation has other benefits. It doesn’t need a vacation; call in sick because it was out too late the night before partying, doesn’t activate the fire suppression system due to prank phone calls, doesn’t have mandated medical insurance or payroll tax withholding, and is always ready to do what it’s told.
The employee and all his brethren protesting for $15 an hour minimum wage were right, the owners of fast food companies and other minimum wage jobs could never replace them, they were critical cogs in the process. Initially they might have been right; the monitors were turned back to their original position of advertising products after a trial time. Yup the $15 an hour folks were the smartest people in the room….until the executives realized they weren’t needed in the room, and could be replaced cheaply.
The people thinking they would be the economic beneficiaries of a minimum wage increase were wrong; Wendy’s has announced a roll out of automated kiosks nationwide, eliminating at least 1,000 jobs across the country.
Link: Wendy’s deploys kiosks at 1,000 stores
The Elk Grove location is being renovated and modernized as we speak. I fully expect that once it re-opens for business, this Wendy’s will be equipped with technology that replaces employees with automation.
Wendy’s Order Kiosk—The future is now
A second example; Outback steakhouse—a favorite of X and Mrs. X—now has those annoying kiosk things at every table, and wait staff pushing guests to use them to order more drinks, check out, etc. Keep in mind, I was there to eat a steak on Valentine’s Day and had to look at a tablet asking me if I wanted to buy a new alcoholic beverage every five minutes! I mentioned to my waitress I thought it was a little over the top, her response shocked me; she said “corporate wants 70% usage of this kiosk at every location by the end of 2017!” Yes, hard to believe but machines will be replacing the American worker.
Readers of this blog smarter than the average CRA member understand that machines—not illegals—are replacing the American worker. This comes as no surprise to either the Blog Father or X, as corporations and especially franchisees—whom most fast food workers really work for—will do everything possible to save a few dollars. Now, that this reaction to the wage increase is happening, scores of low skilled workers will be replaced, likely on a permanent basis. This has been the Democrats goal since the party’s birth; create a permanent welfare/government dependent class!
Before you overreact, think about it, how many fast food employees would you say are worth $15 an hour? (Don’t forget to add the health insurance cost of each worker mandated by Arnoldcare, paid family leave, and all the other employer mandated taxes that employers must pay.)
Ok, now let’s play devil’s advocate:
• How much are you willing to see the dollar menu increase by at McDonalds to pay the employee $15 minimum wage?
• How about the two medium two topping pizza’s for $7.99 a piece at Dominos?
• Like the 4 for $5 at Wendy’s? Say Hello to 4 for $10, not such a great deal right?
• Applebee’s burger, fries and coke for $9.99, how about $19.99?
Okay by now I figure you get my point, but if you are a CRA member, Ted Cruz for President 2020 member, or Aaron or George Park, please stop reading as you are lost.
My point is very simple, minimum wage jobs are not intended to be career wages; they are a starting point for entry level work. By raising the minimum wage and making it seem more like a career choice, employment is going to be harder and harder to come by for younger and unskilled Americans. Sadly, these unskilled or inexperienced folks think the Democrats are trying to lobby for higher wages to help them and thus gladly give them their votes but in reality the joke is on them. They are literally voting themselves out of a job and into a life of subjugation and dependence on government. Look no further than the Wendy’s in Elk Grove, maybe I will be wrong, I hope I am, but I have a feeling that when it reopens after renovation, Wendy’s will be employing kiosks not people at the front counter.
Until next time,
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
More Proof Political Divide is Spiritual
Lest you needed more proof that the political divide is primarily spiritual, check out this from Todd Starnes yesterday.
Link: Town hall agitators explode at the name of Jesus
Below are a portions of the story.
A group of enraged protesters exploded in anger after a chaplain prayed in the name of Jesus at a town hall meeting in Louisiana hosted by U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy.
The Feb. 22 town hall meeting in Metairie, was quickly overrun by the angry mob – much like other town hall meetings hosted by Republican lawmakers across the country.
The mainstream media would have us believe the unruly demonstrations are part of an organic, grassroots effort.
But I sincerely doubt many in the mob were actually residents of Louisiana – because I know the good people of Louisiana and nobody behaves like that in the Bayou State.
Folks are raised right in Cajun Country. There’s no way anybody would embarrass their mommas by acting the fool in public.
I’d be willing to bet a cup of Community Coffee that the Jesus-hating rabble-rousers were shipped in from some God-forsaken place like Berkeley or Brooklyn.
But they became absolutely unhinged when he concluded his prayer in the name of Jesus.
“Wow, they booed the name of Jesus,” Cassidy said in remarks reported by the Times-Picayune
Friday, February 24, 2017
Adam was just entering his teen years when I last saw him. His family moved out of state shortly after I was married. His dad was in my wedding party and a great guy. His dad had a great sense of humor. Except for his irrational love of Monty Python, I usually found that we liked many of the same things.
As is common for church members, we had a going away party for the family before their big move. At the party, I happened to mention to him an obscure song by Marty McCall and Fireworks called Adam.
The song is presented from the point of view of the singer blaming Adam for causing this world of woe by sinning in The Garden. The song wonders what the world would be like if the original Adam had not disobeyed long ago. The lyrics include the line,”Adam how I hated you…”
(“Adam” was released by Fireworks in 1981 and can be found on YouTube.)
Adam’s reaction to this brief portion of our conversation was really weird. He seemed to take it as if the song was about him, not a guy that lived a few thousand years ago. I tried to get him to understand that it was not about him but I still remember him not letting it go.
Years later, he and I became Facebook friends. On Facebook, I was friends with his parents and since he was now an adult, I became friends with him too. (Subsequently, his folks deleted their Facebook account.) When I viewed his page, what a shock I had. The squeaky clean kid I knew in California was living far away and had become some kind of Goth. Everything was black. Sadly, so was his heart. He was into drugs and had tried several times to commit suicide. He was effectively homeless. I occasionally would look him up on Facebook. Sometimes I would post a Scripture or encouraging word.
How this kid that was “raised right” could end-up so messed-up was tragic. From the outside he had everything: a loving two parent family, an upper middle class home, a good church, education, etc. I remember praying for him often during my breaks at work.
Last week we visited Church of the King in Roseville. My wife and I ran into some mutual friends that we know there. It was then that we learned that Adam had committed suicide. Apparently, it happened months ago but word was circulating slowly all the way to California. I was devastated that this wonderful kid that I once knew had fallen far enough to purposely take his life.
The first chance I had, I checked my phone to see if Adam’s Facebook account was still there. I wanted confirmation. Unlike many that I know have died, his Facebook account was gone.
(Note: there is nothing creepier to me than getting an automated reminder from Facebook to wish a dead person a happy birthday.)
Later, I think I found an obituary online, but the site wanted money to access the information. Suicide is not exactly something those left behind like to brag about so I understand that it is hard to find information about one, even in this digital age.
I miss Adam. I think the world was a better place with him in it. I’m sad for his family.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Does the WNBA Have a Heterosexual Problem?
While perusing my twitter account I came across a story on the Woman’s National Basketball Association which I had a feeling was “fake news” however I clicked on it nonetheless. I was completely stunned by the fact it was most definitely not fake news, it was very disturbing. No, not that the WNBA is still around (which was news to the Blog Father since the Sacramento Monarchs went extinct years ago) but the story was a huge bombshell. It features former Stanford Basketball Star Candice Wiggins telling her story about why she—a former 3rd overall pick in the draft and at a young age of 29—has decided to retire effective immediately. As I said the story is very disturbing, I don’t follow the WNBA, nor do I care about it, but for the leagues sake I hope it is false.
Wiggins goes into detail that the league has a culture that is toxic and very, very harmful, specifically saying that she was targeted by her teammates and other players in the league because of her HETEROSEXUALITY. Wiggins added the league is about 98% homosexual…. And well ok, I’m just going to quote her verbatim “”Me being heterosexual and straight, and being vocal in my identity as a straight woman was huge ,” Wiggins told the Union-Tribune. “I would say 98 percent of the women in the WNBA are gay women. It was a conformist type of place. There was a whole different set of rules they (the other players) could apply.” Here is another disturbing line again, verbatim “People were deliberately trying to hurt me all of the time,” Wiggins said. “I had never been called the B-word so many times in my life than I was in my rookie season. I’d never been thrown to the ground so much. The message was: ‘We want you to know we don’t like you.’”
Ok, I know what you are thinking, she probably played with one team, and it was a dysfunctional clusterflip like the Sacramento Kings right? Nope she played on Minnesota, Tulsa, Los Angeles, and New York, so I think she had a pretty good barometer of the leagues players. I will say I am astonished by how smart, and even keeled Wiggins is, I know I would have retired about 6 years ago.
In closing before I make a broader point about her comments I will quote her again “I want you to understand this: There are no enemies in my life,” Wiggins told the newspaper. “Everyone is forgiven. At the end of the day, it made me stronger. If I had not had this experience, I wouldn’t be as tough as I am.” And again “I try to be really sensitive. I’m not trying to crush anyone’s dreams or aspirations, or the dreams of the WNBA. I want things to be great, but at the same time it’s important for me to be honest in my reflections. ”
Wow, Candice Wiggins folks, I’m not even joking she is really special; she left a very lucrative career, and shone a light on everything wrong with it. You go Candice, I know I don’t have to tell you this but use that degree from Stanford and change the world for the better!!!!!!
Ok shifting gears, one thing that comes to mind when reading this article is that it describes today’s political society to a T, INTOLERANCE . Just look at the dynamic in Washington between President Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party, and the opposition. Think about it, if you are a true conservative, you live what Candice did every day.
• You are a heterosexual human being, congrats you are a homophobe.
• Approve of a vetting of persons from certain Muslim countries, congrats you are islamaphobic.
• Claim to support Trump, congrats you are a fascist.
I don’t pretend to know Candice Wiggins, I don’t, but what she described is bubbling up in this country, the opposition driven by teachers unions and students who grew up knowing nothing but safe spaces, pipeline protestors in the Dakotas imported from other states. Conform or else, well, myself and the Blog Father won’t, and you shouldn’t either.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Trump rally in Florida shows what really divides America
As I wrote to Mr. Winton earlier this week, the political divide in our country is spiritual; Christianity versus Secular Humanism. Man likes to put himself in the place of God.
This is the spiritual divide:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. I Joh 2: 15-17
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Romans 1: 18-32
The Left is screaming like demons because they are following the doctrine of demons. Their god is government (and power). Trump is dedicated to tearing down many of their strongholds and they aren’t happy. I don’t know where Trump is spiritually, but I’m confident that God is using him to clean-up the mess that has poisoned our country for so many years.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Oroville Dam: Government Failure
OK, so you may be wondering why I write about this issue after the mandatory evacuation order has been lifted. In short, the danger has not passed; we will be living with this issue for several years.
I know when I find myself on the same side as the Sierra Club that the guys in Sacramento have really screwed-up.
Link: Oroville Dam: Feds and state officials ignored warnings 12 years ago
Voters have authorized tens of billions of dollars in water bonds to be sold in California and no new water storage has been planned let alone built. In fact last I heard the only activity that government was considering was tearing down existing dams servicing San Francisco and far northern California.
Consider this from 2009:
In recent months, officials in Oregon, Washington and even California have agreed to spend millions to dismantle colossal dams built decades ago in order to protect native fish species, following legal tussles over water between the federal government, environmentalists, Indian tribes and farmers.
Or this from 2008:
Meanwhile, on the California-Oregon border, in the wake of a dramatic, nationally reported fish kill in 2002, the unlikely coalition of fishermen, American Indians and environmentalists has successfully made its case to tear down four dams on the Klamath River. In this case, the courts, the state and Schwarzenegger himself have indicated support for dam removal.
So voters have authorized billions for water and all we have gotten is agreements to reduce water storage. Meanwhile, maintenance on existing facilities has been somewhere between nil and minimal. Why?
Much of the money in these so called water bonds was never for water storage or infrastructure. Critics tried to point that out but the Party in power drowned-out their criticism. Second, don’t forget how government does budgets. Money dedicated to water simply frees up more funds from the General Fund that can then be spent elsewhere. It does not mean that any additional money will actually be spent on water projects. It just grows government and nothing more.
Now for Oroville Dam; Folks this is a huge mess.
As we all know from seeing the photos, there are two separate problems with the dam now. The main spillway and the emergency spillway.
The main spillway has at least two problems that combined to tear the thing to pieces…and the damage is continuing to compound on this part of the dam’s structure. Not only is there a hole 180 feet wide and 30 feet deep—as of a few weeks ago—but this hole is continuing to erode due to use. The spillway can’t be used anywhere near capacity without totally destroying itself.
What makes it worse is that in some photos, it appears that water is freely flowing under the spillway! If you noticed the photos with the spillway shutoff a few weeks ago, water was coming out of the hole and continuing down the spillway. At a quick glance on the Internet, I can’t find the angle that I think is illustrating this but I’m concerned that this is the case. If there are issues under the spillway due to whatever cause, the calculations for repair just got even more complicated.
The patch job from a few summers ago, has clearly failed and it looks to me as if the entire thing may need to be redone. Whatever repair is selected, it will need to be done in a matter of months not the years that typically accompany government red tape on projects of this scope. In the summer they can only drain water from the hydroelectric plant so once it begins raining next fall that spillway better be ready to roll.
The emergency spillway is clearly a problem and I fear that it may need to be deployed again before summer arrives. The rock bags and other measures taken seem more for show than because they are anything resembling a fix.
In the end, it appears that the choice will be destroy the spillway by increasing the discharge and thus increasing the damage it sustains or loosing control of the structure by deploying the emergency spillway. Hobson’s choice anyone?
My other concern is also a practical one. No engineer on the State’s payroll has ever been involved in overseeing the building or construction of a dam. In fact, I would wager that none of the folks doing the real engineering work to fix these problems was even born when the last dam was being approved for construction. C.C. Myers may not be the guy for this repair but you need someone that can work that quickly.
The irony is that Jerry Brown’s rainy day fund may be needed to save us from rain.
The Best advice that I can offer is stock some emergency rations and be ready to get out of dodge at the first sign of trouble.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Jesse Winton: Another Casualty
G.K. Chesterton’s philosophical opponent, George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying, “Youth is wasted on the Young.” This is one of many ideas that came to mind while reading the latest missive from Jess Winton. Another is a quote that some have attributed to Charles Darwin; “I was a young man with unformed ideas.”
Winton and his father produced a pro-gun film called Targeted: Exposing The Gun Control Agenda. It was released at the end of last summer with the hope to inform folks about the agenda of the Left and to influence the upcoming November election. I have previously blogged about attending the premier of the film with Jesse, his father, and others that were in the film. Link: Targeted
Now, six months after it was released, Jesse Winton has decided to repudiate and renounce the film.
Here are a few excerpts of his essay.
“I regret making Targeted.”
“I spent four years of my life making a project that, for a time, I was proud of.”
“So, I regret making Targeted. I regret that it was fundamentally biased toward a particular viewpoint. I regret that it lacked empathy towards anyone that wasn’t a supporter of the Second Amendment, instead judging their motives as evil.”
I knew Winton and his family while they were making the film and know several folks that were extras in the film. Were this all that Jesse repudiated, I would still be shocked but unfortunately, he has made other more disturbing statements. The only difference is that I got a copy of this statement before he deleted it.
You see Jesse doesn’t have the courage of his convictions to stand by what he says. Twice I found Facebook posts that he initiated where as soon as he was caught advocating positions contrary to the theology of his father, he would delete the posts. One was a full throated defenses of “gay marriage”.
Jesse has left the Calvinist reservation and gone in another direction. Two themes that you will see repeatedly are his proclamation that he is a Libertarian and that he has a hatred of Donald Trump.
“Firstly, hear me say very clearly that … I am staunchly Libertarian. I have a hard time with Conservatism and the ways that it has manifested itself in our culture today.”
OK, what does this statement mean? Winton repudiates both Liberals and Conservatives and thinks that Libertarianism is a better way? Really? To some folks, Libertarians are all about live and let live; in a non-judgmental sort of way. The problem that I have with Libertarianism is that followed to its logical conclusion; it is a repudiation of Christianity. Sin is an integral part of being Libertarian. Prostitution, drug use, abortion, homosexuality, and a host of other things (euphemistically called “victimless crimes”) are perfectly fine according to a Libertarian worldview. However, all these are contrary to Biblical teaching.
Conservatism is not the same as a Biblical worldview but it often comes closer than either Libertarianism or Liberalism. Conservatives and Christians have many things in common. Politically, we both believe in limited government and that morality has a place being codified into law. The civil law exists to protect citizens from harming themselves and others, punishing crime, and defending the nation. All these are anathema to the Libertarian mindset.
Christianity does not allow room for the axiom, “My country right or wrong” or “the ends justifies the means” as some Conservatives seem to believe. The family, Church, and State have clearly defined roles. The Bible does not proscribe one form of human government as superior to all others but it does say that God’s Law is Supreme. Nations and their people are judged on the basis of how well we uphold His Standards.
This brings up to Donald Trump.
“Unfortunately, what we’re seeing now under the Trump administration is the result of years of divisive politics that gave American’s an excuse to not listen to each other. Everyone looked for ways to point fingers, we searched for methods by which we could confirm our own bias, and on a small level, Targeted was part of that. Fortunately, Targeted’s reach was limited. But it still had a reach. And I wish it hadn’t.”
This paragraph is full of nonsense from someone that should know better. Donald Trump is not now nor ever been a Conservative. Trump is outside of traditional political categories. He is President today because he said in effect, “a pox on both your houses” to the Democrats and Republicans in elected office. Trump called them frauds and said somebody needs to get off the track Obama put us on and go another way.
Last time I checked, there was a battle for the hearts and souls of men and the political divide in this country is along spiritual lines even more than policy ones.
If you look at Winton’s Facebook posts (at least the ones he hasn’t deleted yet), you will see that he endorses the Trump = Hitler meme. Last week, he has posted about Trump shredding the judiciary because Trump is not happy with the Ninth Circuit Court. The Ninth Circuit should have been dismantled back when Reagan was President, the fact that Trump is willing to say it is a good thing and long overdue.
Jesse seems to want popularity and praise more than standing for Truth. He reminds me of another film maker that departed from the faith of his father, Frankie Schaeffer.
Another thing that Mr. Winton seems to willfully ignore is that Donald Trump is there because God put him in office. And yes, ditto when Barack Obama was President. Obama was a judgement from God on our nation for rejecting His values. One of the punishments promised in Deuteronomy is the foreigner ruling over us and whether you think Obama was born in Hawaii or not, his values were not American values but something else. Obama was the first openly Communist or if you prefer, International Socialist President.
Whether Trump is another form of punishment or the savior of the American way of life is yet to be seen. So far, I have no complaints in what he has done. Trump seems content for the church and the family to carry-on without interference from the national government and from my perspective that is a refreshing change from the tyranny of the Obama administration.
Winton also spends part of his article dumping on the guests that he had in his movie. This too I find disingenuous. Unlike many bloggers, I spent part of my time in junior high school thru college in the practice of journalism. I know that part of the craft is finding quotations that help your article. You typically either go to an expert in the field or someone involved in the issue which you are writing about. Just because I quote someone does not mean that I agree with everything that person stands for. Case in point is this article when I quote George Bernard Shaw. I would find much more agreement with Chesterton than Shaw on almost any subject but quoting Shaw makes my point in that particular instance.
Speaking again about Targeted, look what Winton has to say:
I regret that it was endorsed by someone who said that Rosa Parks’ contribution to civil rights was “absurdly inflated.” I regret that it was endorsed by someone who’s sense of class prompted him to compare pictures of Hillary and Chelsea with pictures of Melania and Ivanka with the caption “Make America Hot Again.”
This appears to be the offending graphic mentioned by Winton.
Undeniable truth of life #24 comes to mind “Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women access to the mainstream of society.”
Winton is using a classic logical fallacy of the Ad Hominem attack.
Arguments of this kind focus not on the evidence for a view but on the character of the person advancing it; they seek to discredit positions by discrediting those who hold them. It is always important to attack arguments, rather than arguers, and this is where arguments that commit the ad hominem fallacy fall down. Link: definition Ad Hominem
Winton chose who to have in his movie either because they were a subject matter expert or because he was able to get quotes to bolster his argument. Attacking their character now is way too late. Jesse, you presented them as experts on the Second Amendment and nothing that you say about them now in your current rant diminishes that expertise.
Just because somebody shares something on Facebook because they think it’s funny is not sufficient grounds to throw them under the bus so Liberals and fellow Libertarians will like you more.
Jesse had a choice to make and he chose Libertarian values over biblical ones. They may appear to start in similar places but they end in very different destinations. Jesse seems content to swap his birthright for a cup of stew and that’s too bad.
In “Ode to the Outlaw”, Gary Paxton wrote about “that prison of freedom called hell” The only people with “freedom” in our society are homeless ones, everyone one else has someone telling them what to do. As Bob Dylan said it, “You gotta serve somebody.” Jesse mistakenly thinks freedom is the ultimate value. Sorry Jesse, God’s Law is the ultimate value not personal freedom.