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Religion, Politics, & Culture: Defined and Explained


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Trump rally in Florida shows what really divides America

Link:  Melania Trump attacked for reciting ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ at campaign rally

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.

 

Posted by william on 02/19 at 08:41 AM
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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.


Link: Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

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.

Link: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs $11.1 billion California water bond measure.

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.

Link: Schwarzenegger Pushes to Build New Dams While an Unlikely Coalition Battles to Tear Down Existing Ones

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.


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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.

 

Posted by william on 02/16 at 07:40 AM
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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.”

Link: Why I Regret Making Targeted

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.


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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.


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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.”



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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.

 

Posted by william on 02/13 at 03:40 PM
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Thursday, February 09, 2017

Liberal Playbook to Stop Trump 101

By “X”
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The ink on President Donald J Trump’s executive order regarding a travel ban from certain countries was not even dry yet when liberal Senator Chuck Schumer went straight to his old bag of tricks to stop it.  He went directly to a judge located in the 9th circus court of appeals; err wait circuit court of appeals—without a doubt the most liberal in the country.  The country, including most members of the CRA were shocked, how in the world a judge could rule against a sitting president so quickly!  This was insanity!  Or was it?  Really this is the “go to” move in the Democrat bag of tricks 101, the Blog Father and I have seen it for decades. 

Liberals know they are smarter then everyone on earth; just ask a grad from Cal Berkeley or any Ivy League institution, they will tell you.  Only they are properly equipped to lead the unwashed masses of the world.

I do give them credit for one thing though, when the Left doesn’t get their way they know what to do to remedy the situation.

Witness Proposition 8 in California. A little over 8 years ago, the majority of Californians—albeit a small one—voted in favor of a state constitutional amendment signifying married as a sacrament of unity between one man and one woman.  Before the measure was voted on, democrats already had their legal challenge written and the morning following passage, they had a lackey waiting outside the courtroom of their favorite judge to request a temporary restraining order to again thwart the will of the people.  The judge of course ruled in their favor and here we are in few years later with marriage between anyone and anybody to anyone and anybody; it’s a free for all for Christ sake! 


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Map of Federal Appeals Courts


Frustratingly, not a single person on the Right did anything about it here in Soviet California. Our so called leaders in the party wallowed along and said “by golly gee we will get them next election cycle!”  Remember that President Barack Obama won an historical election that night, winning California handily, yet Californians by a majority voted for a gay marriage ban.  The Democrat Far Left does not care to turn over their fate to the will of voters in the name of so called fairness or equality.  Point being, this is how Democrats have governed for years.  When they find themselves in the minority in Congress or because of an election result, they find a friendly judge and immediately file for a temporary restraining order; often before the votes are even counted. Then they have a federal appeal take place in the 9th circus court of appeals.  The sad fact is that Republicans in California never learned how to fight back and as a result they are a minority third party today. Because of their failure, most true conservatives have either left the state or become apathetic to our current one party rule.

This will all be changing under anti-CRA, pro-Constitution President Donald J Trump.  No wonder the CRA hates his guts and feels Ted Cruz would have been a better choice.  Trump took the fight right to the judge who granted a temporary restraining order calling him a “so-called judge.”  After hearing the appeals arguments in the 9th circus court of appeals, Trump called the court biased, and pondered his next move, knowing full well the court upholding the temporary restraining order would send the case to a still divided Supreme Court.  Trump is smarter than all the democrats (and many of the Republicans) and has moved to fast-track the nomination of his pick for Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.  In addition, he is moving to swiftly break up the 9th circuit court of appeals, much like the Blog Father stated in his earlier posts. 

There’s a new sheriff in town and it’s fun to watch the way he makes the Beltway Elites scurry about like cockroaches. I’m going to grab some popcorn, this is going to be a fun next four years.


“X”

Link: Trump “See you in Court”

Link: Republicans push bill to split up ‘nutty 9th Circuit’

Posted by william on 02/09 at 07:48 PM
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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Where’s my Refund?

We files our taxes last week, so just for fun I checked on my refund status tonight.

The IRS is promising to give me my refund 8 days after I filed.


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The IRS can process an electronic return in days


However, the State of California is a different story. They promised me a refund within 2 months if I filed electronically and four months if I filed a paper return.


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The worker’s paradise of California requires two months to process an electronic return


In previous years, my fastest turnaround for a refund from the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) was seven days. Apparently Democrats screw-up everything they touch. Now that they run everything in the State its two months? Too bad there aren’t any tech companies on the West Coast. I guess they can’t write a decent program when Trump has all their brainy people stuck at home or in some backwater airport waiting for permission to travel to the United States.

Based on the timeframe required to process my return, it looks like the State is in worse financial shape than they admit publicly. For paper returns you will literally be waiting until next fiscal year to get your money back.

If you wish to check on your refund, here are the links.

IRS  
Link: Federal Tax Refund status


FTB
Link: FTB California Refund Status

Update: 02-13-2017 Contrary to the statement on their website, Franchise Tax Board did in fact process my return. Actual turn around was less than two weeks. Apparently their time estimates are made by Mr. Scott to maintain the appearance of a miracle worker.

Posted by william on 02/08 at 10:03 PM
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Monday, February 06, 2017

Review: Super Bowl LI

Yesterday’s Super Bowl was a great game on the field but the rest of the show (i.e. the commercials) were lame unless the soundtrack featured Johnny Cash. More on that in a minute.


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Johnny Cash


At my house we skip the half time show and always have. As soon as the teams head to the locker room we hit the Mute button on the remote and pause the DVR so we can fast forward to the beginning of the second half. However, I did tell somebody prior to the game that we didn’t care which team won, we were only watching the game to see which cut of meat that Lady Gaga was going to wear for the half time show.

Now for the commercials, hands down the winner was the promo for The Walking Dead .

Much of the rest of the field was attacks on Conservatives, President Trump, or middleclass American values.

The commercials that I recall because of their in-you-face attacks on our way of life were three:
• The 84 Lumber commercial. Their unabashed defense and ever praise for illegal immigration was a clear attack on the President for trying to keep us safe and enforce existing law.
Audi—portrayed women as chattel (property for those readers residing in Rio Linda) because of the income disparity between men and women. Sorry ladies but bearing children—especially out of wedlock—is bad for your earning power. This is why feminists embrace the sacrament of abortion instead of the Christian institution of marriage. Motherhood should always be before career. Also, in this category, you might want to add the promos for The Handmaiden’s Tale from Hulu. This show is based on a novel about a dystopian society where women are property.
Anheuser Busch—also got into the immigration dust-up with their supposed origin story. For those that missed it, this beer conglomeration is no longer American owned, it was sold to a European company several years ago.  Any connection to Trump supporting Brexit? Makes you wonder.

For readers that may not know, my view of immigration is that we should welcome people that want to come here to be Americans and respect our way of life. If they want to keep their third-world values, live in some ethnic ghetto, and refuse to learn English then go somewhere else. We don’t need more people draining the resources of hardworking taxpayers and living on the dole. We have more than our fair share of home grown slackers living off of other people’s money. If folks want to come here, work hard, and play by the rules then “ya’ll come”.

The best spot during the broadcast was actually in the pregame show. The Ragged Old Flag segment featuring a 1974 song by Johnny Cash was great if you were willing to be charitable about a few things.
1. If you pretend that you don’t know the political allegiances of people in the segment like Harry Belafonte and take them at their word when praising American and the Constitution.

(By the way, does Harry look a bit like Voldemort?)


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2. Why does the Fox announcer think we are divided? Only a few well paid malcontents are causing trouble by following the lead of a recently unemployed community organizer.
3. Cash wrote the song during the height of Watergate and thus it can be interpreted as saying the country will survive despite this out-of-control-guy in the White House.
4. The video tries too hard to be inclusive and politically correct instead of just following the story told in the song.

If you can look past these four things the video is moving.
Link: Johnny Cash Video


I was surprised that it was actually produced by Fox Sports and wasn’t tied to a Super Bowl sponsor. The back story to the spot can be found here and it’s worth the read.

Link: Super Bowl: Fox Sports Addresses Political Division, Patriotism With ‘Ragged Old Flag’ Spot

 

Posted by william on 02/06 at 08:53 PM
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Thursday, February 02, 2017

A Texas Sized Pension Crisis in Dallas

By “X”
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After awaking from my New Year’s celebration I decided to do a little catchup reading. One article that caught my eye was about a pension crisis in Dallas, Texas.  The first thing that came to mind was this must be the county workers retirement pension system, I was wrong; this is the police and firefighters retirement pension system.  A very small pension fund by comparison to some such as CALPers.  However the problem in Dallas is strange, in a sense because Dallas has a booming downtown, cranes and skyscraper construction dot the skyline.  People have been moving to Dallas in droves, this is not the case study of a braying Midwestern city struggling with population loss, and the mill or warehouse closing down.  This really caught my eye.


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Larry Hagman


Government and private sector accountants have been tussling in Dallas over how large the deficit in the pension funding crisis is, however they do agree on one thing, it’s between one and five billion dollars! Yeah, Billion, like Million but with a “B”.  Dallas appointed a pension board about thirty years ago to oversee the investments of this fund; most states and municipalities do this.  These board members are supposed to have a fiduciary duty to put the financial needs of the members over any short term profits or accounting gimmicks…they failed.  I will go in to their misdeeds later; in the meantime the city is now facing a monumental crisis of epic proportions.

The pension system in most states and municipalities all work the same, work so many years, and contribute a small portion of your check, roughly 1% and you will get a defined payout amount each month for the remainder of your life once you retire.  This is true with most pension plans; they are set up in a defined benefit manner not a defined contribution manner.  This becomes a problem when the union designs a contract where employees can retire at 50 and collect full benefits until death some 30 years later.  The problem is the pension fund essentially becomes a Ponzi scheme as new money is added from current workers that go to pay out the benefits to retired workers. 

The fund receives money each month collected from current workers’ pay, and then hopes to invest the money, earn a decent return, and pay out benefits to those collecting retirement.  The main problem is these funds always use pie in the sky projections for investment return, with some such as CALPers saying they expect around 7.5% a year!  As per usual they didn’t come close to 7.5%, they actually did .41% which is well, awful especially considering the market is at all-time highs.  Enough about California; now back to Dallas. 

Dallas got creative about a decade ago, they created an option for retired members called (DROP) deferred retirement option program.  This option allowed retired members to put their pension check in a separate account, which would be a savings account, with a 10% interest annually credited to it.  If you’re scoring at home, once again this is a characteristic of a Ponzi scheme promising pie in the sky returns, risk free mind you.  Many retirees participated and I cannot say I blame them, as a 10% risk free return that is likely guaranteed by the municipality or the state is a great option.  Then as one would expect problems began to arise, since you can’t guarantee 10% returns while the fund was only projecting to earn 7%.

The fund was beginning to see trouble in 2008, and as a result the board of directors decided to make investments in real estate as opposed to stocks or equities.  Investing in real estate is extremely risky, and the bets placed by the Dallas pension fund blew up right in their face.  This was to be expected. (If X was tasked with generating a massive investment return, I admit I would have done something similar.)  The fund began buying up real estate all over the world, a winery and hotel in Napa, and quite a few investments in foreign countries that were supposed to make up the difference and generate a return that could pay off the obligations to retirees.  This solution is not an issue until the value of the real estate holdings drops, and predictably it did.  The fund took over $500 million in write-offs over a two year period from 2014-2015.  Which is not a problem until those expecting to receive pension benefits find out they may not be receiving said benefits, then mayhem ensues.  Mayhem indeed did ensue later in 2016.  Further adding fuel to the fire were an agreement to raise the cost of living adjustment by 4% a year rather than pegging the rate to inflation which would have saved over 15-20%.

Remember those DROP accounts? The pension system had over 500 worth more than 1 million dollars, as a result of the shortfall; retirees began pulling all their money out of the system. Who can blame them?  It was money and benefits they had earned.  As a result, the mayor of Dallas, pension board leaders, and the state have been looking for a solution, including the temporary halting of withdrawals from the plan.  Which as per usual from governments and the CRA these days, answers nothing.  Panic has set in among retirees and as a result lawsuits have started flying in Dallas, as well as an FBI investigation as well as an SEC investigation.  The mayor of Dallas predictably wants a state bailout, which predictably the state government told him politely no thank you.  Now he wants to raise property tax by 130% on Dallas residents.  Remember this is Dallas, not a small decaying city, but one that is lined with skyscrapers.  Stay tuned, and I will report as more details come available.

X

Posted by william on 02/02 at 09:33 AM
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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Just Odd News

Sometimes when browsing the Internet, I find the juxtaposition of certain news stories out of place or just peculiar. Here is an example from KOVR-TV’s website tonight.


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In math we did study inverse proportionality but ...

Muslim Bacon ?



Lest you think this television station—which I admit to occasionally watching—has all their oars in the water when it comes to their website, I did do a screen capture of this gem several months ago.


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When weather babe Lisa Meadows was hired, the station did a fluff piece on her but the website muffed the slug line. It should read, “Get to know the newest member of the CBS13 weather team.”

So is the website person ESL or are they poking fun at another blond female news personality?

Perhaps it’s just nerd humor.

Posted by william on 02/01 at 08:56 PM
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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump Shows Washington

The best entertainment on television during the last few weeks has been the Donald Trump show. Trump is the straight man in this farcical comedy. Unlike politicians that say what is necessary to get elected and then have nothing to show for a lifetime of “public service”, Trump goes to the nation’s capital and does what he promised and all hell breaks loose. Why, because both the political class and the media are shocked that he really meant all those things he said. Furthermore, Trump has the “stones” to actually follow thru on his promises and doesn’t care what they think. To them, this guy is worse than Reagan and that was a very low time for them.

109 people get caught in the crossfire of Trump’s immigration order and the international socialists and those likeminded travelers—with generous funding by George Soros—act like Trump just reinstated internment camps. (For those that forgot, the KKK, Jim Crow laws, and internment camps were all Democrat policies implemented against fellow Americans, not immigrants wanting to come to this country.) The ACLU reported has raised over 24 million dollars off of this non-event.

Trump fired the acting director at the Department of Justice over her refusal to defend his policy. Trust me; she will land on her feet with some cushy job in academia teaching at some liberal law school. She was on her way out so taking a cheap shot at Trump and getting fired was a resume enhancement for her. Ditto for the Pentagon bureaucrat a few days ago that said male and female Marines should sleep next to each other when in the field. Women don’t belong in combat, period.

Today, the next part of the campaign against Trump will be rolled-out, milliseconds after the Supreme Court nominee is announced. It won’t matter who it is, the campaign in a box is already part of the standard playlist of Liberal tactics. I hope Trump picks Alabama Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore just to tweak the whole lot of them but I doubt that will be his play. Frankly, I hope he picks someone like John Eastman and not a sitting judge. That would be fun to watch.

Just remember that the street theater that you are witnessing is primarily to cause the weak kneed Republicans (Ryan, McCain, Graham, et al) to cave and surrender to the will of the Liberal minority. If Republicans stick with Trump, the Liberal agenda is toast. Trump will roll them back to the Stone Age. Again, look for Trump to call on the American people if the Republicans get too wobbly and spineless.

Posted by william on 01/31 at 09:10 AM
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Friday, January 20, 2017

Hopes for President Trump

This week, we will experience the end of an error and a new beginning. Yes after eight years of Barack Obama a new chapter in American history will begin. As with all beginnings there is both uncertainty and high hopes for President Trump. Unlike Obama and his imperial declarations of unilateral executive authority, Trump has the possibility of lasting change by having his wishes turned into law by the Legislative branch of government. Not since Ronald Reagan, has anyone holding the office been so willing to bypass both the media and Congress and take his case for action directly to the American people. Trump will have the power to cause permanent changes in both political parties by being successful.

Unlike the Contract with America and Speaker Newt Gingrich, Trump has longer term goals for the country than merely 100 days. The economic picture has been so obfuscated by Obama and to some extent George W Bush before him, that both danger and opportunity will be encountered. Obama has been cooking the books thru “Quantitative Easing” and manipulation of economic data such as unemployment statistics. The plight of the American worker is the worst it has been since the 1930’s but the difference is less honest politicians and a greater willingness to print money and finance the status quo with debt. Medicare is expected to become insolvent during the Trump years and no one has been willing to fix it. Thankfully Trump has the backbone to at least try for more than a Band-Aid solution.  Cutting corporate taxes and repatriation of money that US companies are warehousing overseas will be a great boon to the economy. Trump’s tough stance on trade is needed. Proposals like the Trans Pacific Partnership and its 6,000 pages of nonsense are ridiculously complex and unintelligible even for its advocates to understand.

The legacy of the Supreme Court will be the one that Liberals will hate the most. They can’t get most of their ideas thru the legislatures of the several states or the Federal government so the legislative power of the courts has been their “go-to” play. Trump must not only put folks on the Federal Bench but realign the courts. The dreaded Ninth Circuit Appellate Court must be dismantled so the only the Left Coast states are under their sway. Look for some “out of the box” proposals to be made in this area.

To me, the Courts don’t have to overturn Roe v Wade. If the government would be prohibited from spending any public money on abortion and family planning then groups like Planned Parenthood would be irrelevant. Abortions are at an all-time low. The people that regard abortion as the Sacrament of the religion of Feminism are literally dying-off or at least beyond child bearing years. Yes, Roe needs to be overturned but I think that will be a lagging indicator not the first domino to fall.

Protecting religious liberty will be a mixed bag under Trump but the hostility against Christianity that Obama fostered will mostly be undone. Marriage will be the area to watch. I look for the social engineering of the military including its hostility to Christianity and promotion of LGBT junk to go away…for the most part. I think you will see states like California going to war against Christians while the national government stands with people of faith. The threat of withholding Federal Funds will win the day…for now.

Many of us sense that this is the last chance we will be given before following Europe into the abyss. The America of Norman Rockwell is gone; will it continue on the path into socialism (international or national) or find a way to continue to be Reagan’s “city on the hill” for the rest of the world. If Trump doesn’t undo the damage of the baby boomers and show the next generation a better way than doubling down on the narcissism of their parents then the American Experiment has truly ended as an abysmal failure.

Lastly, I predict that the biggest obstacle that Trump faces will be Republicans undermining him. If they thwart his legislative priorities, look for Trump to run a slate of candidates against these incumbents in two years.

Posted by william on 01/20 at 07:54 AM
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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas 2016

This past weekend, we celebrated Christmas. It was the most enjoyable one I can recall in many years.

My weekend started Friday afternoon by getting sent home early from work. This year it was two o’clock. This is the earliest that I can recall being dismissed. Of course the drive home was a cakewalk. I arrived home to be greeted by my wife and son. We had a nice dinner and watched a Christmas movie.

The next day we went and visited some dogs that needed a home. While my son hasn’t gotten his dog yet, he knows that mom and dad are willing to get him one when the time is right. Later we had dinner with grandpa and grandma. My son got to open many gifts from his grandparents. The evening went well and my dad’s prime rib was good. We drove home—well mostly. I had the wife dump me out of the car at California Family Fitness and I walked the rest of the way home—too many calories at grandma’s. After I got home, we went to bed ready for Christmas Day.

On Christmas Day, my son was up at his usual time of 6 AM. He played on his computer until mom had breakfast ready. We ate breakfast and then went to see what was under the Christmas tree. We opened our gifts, loaded up the car and then headed to church.

Our church was closed on Christmas. Yeah, I know that’s kind of weird but it’s the pitfall of not owning your own building. There was nobody around to let us into our usual place so we had to meet elsewhere. After many false starts, a few days before Christmas, our pastor decided that we should crash the service at Christ the King in Roseville. The service there was glorious and we got to see many people that we haven’t seen in many years. The Communion portion of the service was my favorite. They had really great homemade bread and port wine. Since this is a meal with Christ, typically you get a big handful of bread and each family gets their own glass of wine. I even got seconds on the wine. Yummy.

We then went home and got ready for our lone guest for Christmas dinner; my sister-in-law. More prime rib. (I don’t mind, the turkey is being served when the child in the military gets home next weekend.)

Since Christmas was on a Sunday this year, Monday was a holiday. My day started by stepping on the scale and amazingly enough, I had lost my final two pounds for the year! Yes, I stepped off and got back on the scale just to check. It was official; I lost 50 pounds in 2016.

After breakfast, we went to look at pet supplies and accessories in anticipation of getting our son a dog. Then I took the family to lunch. (Mr. X had dibs on lunch but had to take the wife shopping so he took a raincheck.) We then went home for a while.

Mid-afternoon I had the crazy idea to go swimming. The wife and I suited-up and headed for Cal-Fit. However, it turns-out that the pool heater has been dead for a while. I can’t understand how a solar heater is broken when the sun works just fine but the water temp was definitely in the 50’s. The wife headed for the hot tub and I endured the cold water for about 15 minutes of laps and then hit the hot tub as well. After about 35 minutes we were on our way home for a warm shower and dry clothes. I did some laundry and then did some chores around the house.

After dinner and a prolonged computer project—which I may blog about later—I went for a walk to get the rest of my steps for the day. I was glad because I figured it would be the last chance to see all the lights in the neighborhood until next year.

Truly it was a good Christmas. I hope yours was as well.

Posted by william on 12/27 at 09:42 AM
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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thoughts as We Near Christmas

Normally I don’t get so personal on this blog but this time of the year, isn’t that—at least in part—what Christmas is about; preparing for Christ and what He is doing in your life?

This last month or so I have been experiencing many changes in my life.

First two friends have died rather unexpectedly.


At Thanksgiving time, I learned that Bishop Royal Grote had died.


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Royal U Grote, Jr


Bp. Grote was based in Texas and for much of the time that I knew him, he was in charge of the Missionary Diocese of the West for the Reformed Episcopal Church. Bishop Grote was a fine man. He smoked cigars on important occasions, enjoyed adult beverages and loved the Lord. He was charitable with other believers and tried to be the best shepherd that he could for his flock. He took his vows of marriage and to serve God very seriously. He jealously guarded The Table from error and those living in it. Only once did I see him discipline a minister in his charge (although I am aware of other occasions). He acted firmly and decisively when needed. Like it or not, Grote was also instrumental in the formation of the ACNA (Anglican Church in North America). Grote hoped this organization would be an umbrella group to unite various splinter groups fleeing the heresy of the Anglican Church.
Link: Wikipedia Royal U Grote Jr.


A week later, another friend—George Fincke—also died.


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George B Fincke


George was also ordained a Bishop in the REC. George started out as the son of a Presbyterian minister in Cape May, New Jersey. He attended college at Bob Jones University and occasionally made life there a living hell for the Jones’. He attended college there in the 1970’s. While a student, George did a play at Bob Jones that was a parody of the original Star Trek. In the play, Spock was replaced by Bob Jones and the results, while hilarious, were unsatisfactory to Mr. Jones and his family. George also admitted to putting laundry detergent in the water fountain at the college’s main gate and creating a layer of foam three feet high in the fountain. He had a wonderful sense of humor and maintained a friendship with Bob Jones Jr. who was also a student there when he was.

Later George attended the Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philadelphia and spent the next twelve years in the Presbyterian Church. Finally, he “saw the light” and moved to the Reformed Episcopal Church. I met George when he was recruited by Bishop Grote to be the minister of the parish in Vacaville California. At the time, many people were hoping to recruit Ray Sutton as their pastor but Grote had other plans for Sutton.

George and I became good friends. While in Vacaville, George suffered a stroke. He had to learn to speak again and also to walk. I spent many hours at his home during this time. That was 16 years ago. George had been made a Bishop about two years before the stroke but his life changed when this happened. He was effectively stripped of his duties and became a Bishop without a flock. It was an awkward period. Once he was recovered enough to resume preaching, he was transferred to Fargo North Dakota. Despite many years of labor, the Mission in Fargo faded away and about two years ago, George moved to Prescott Arizona and took a church there. At this point he transferred from the REC to the Anglican Provence of America.
Link: All Saints Prescott, AZ

It was a fresh start for his family and much closer to his grandchildren. Two months before he died, he and his wife had finally purchased a home in Prescott.

I miss his emails and posts on Facebook; mostly his wonderful friendship and sense of humor. He always was laughing and enjoyed life.


I have another friend that is in the last stages of his life and will soon go to his reward. Unlike the other two that I mentioned, he hasn’t made his peace with God. Should you happen to see this post Frank, I’m praying for you to find the peace that only Jesus Christ can give you.


Also in the last month, the wife and I decided to pull our son from the private school that he has been attending for the last 8 ½ years and send him to a different school. The academic rigor is not there this year and the mandatory purchase of an Apple product for the second trimester was the beginning of the last chapter there. We had to buy him this device not for learning but so he could play even more games than he already does at home. Now he can play games at school too. It was time to go.

Back in November, the oldest child moved out. We are enjoying the relative peace and quiet. This move has provided us with the opportunity to do lots of cleaning and organizing. The biggest beneficiaries so far are Goodwill and Ikea.

Adding to this cleaning opportunity is the weight that my wife and I have lost this year. I’m back to where I was in my 20’s and the wife will be there soon if she survives the Holidays. (-:

Our first trip to Goodwill this fall was over one hundred clothing items, many that still had tags on them. This has been followed-up by several more trips.

Lastly, I was given a promotion at work. God is good and we keep pushing that Dave Ramsey snowball down the hill. A debt-free scream is still in our future but we’re getting there.

I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas.

Thanks Mr. X for your contributions this year. I hope to see you at the salsa bar real soon.

Posted by william on 12/22 at 09:58 AM
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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

ESPN Supports Domestic Violence?

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By “X”

It was a Friday night and I was watching ESPN with Mrs. X. ESPN came back from a commercial to announce breaking news regarding the Oklahoma Football Team.  I wondered aloud, the team is done until their bowl game?  What could the breaking news be?  A coach leaving to coach elsewhere?  A player being ineligible due to grades? 

Neither, it involved a video that was “very violent in nature” and the public was warned “to turn away” if easily offended. Only after this admonition did the anchor state that the this video is from two years ago and the athlete shown claims he was provoked by the female calling him a racial slur and spitting on him. 

At this point I’m thinking, “UMMMMMMMMM, okay?”

Then the video began playing. I was floored by what I saw.  (The Oklahoma Sooners college football team has a player who is a budding star in the upcoming NFL draft named Joe Mixon) Mixon is featured in this “video” by ESPN. 


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Oklahoma slugger Joe Mixon


Viewer warning, the video is very disturbing and may be unsuitable for many audiences, is how the clip starts out.  Then you see a white women and one other white man enter what appears to be a fast food restaurant. Shortly thereafter Mixon—a black player—walks in. He confronts the white girl; it appears that words are exchanged. Then the white girl lunges at Mixon, and Mixon throws a hard right hook at the poor girl, knocking her clean over.  Mixon probably out weighs the victim by 90 pounds. After decking her, Mixon calmly leaves the store. 

I will not reveal the accusers name—she has been through enough already—I want to focus on the University of Oklahoma and Mr. Mixon. 

The girl btw suffered four broken bones to her face. Mixon pled guilty to a lesser crime, did some community service, and was back to playing football a year later. He was never disciplined by the school for his behavior. 

Link: Mixon Video The video is on a split screen and you can clearly see the punch on the right-hand side.

Mixon is a very talented football player. I must admit that if I had not known the details or seen the video from the incident that night that I would consider taking him high in the draft next year! 

ESPN closed the coverage by saying the attack was brought on by the girl calling Mixon a “Ni**er.”

Based on the punishment that Mixon received, apparently calling someone a racial slur makes it ok to coldcock someone these days.

First and foremost, regardless of what clown ESPN had hosting SportsCenter that night, Mixon is a coward…you never hit women, period.

The release of the video was held up for over two and a half years by legal proceedings. The case eventually made it to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Mixon’s lawyers wanted no part of this footage leaking out.  After the Supreme Court ruled, the video was released on a Friday afternoon/night.  This is a ploy because everyone knows Fridays are very slow news days and typically end in date night, family game night, or some other form of entertainment not involving television. 

ESPN foolishly took the bait and ran with it, offering up a low life host who claimed to be a journalist to try to make Mixon seem like the victim here. 

Then the screen cut to commercial, no additional commentary was offered.  They returned from commercial and went right on doing sports highlights as if the incident never happened.  By the way, ESPN showed the video on the same day the victim graduated from Oklahoma, classy! 

The victim of this assault had to have her jaw wired shut, lost feeling in the side of her face for several months, and was blamed around campus for the incident because she was trying to destroy their football team!!!

As much as I am upset with their “coverage” of this issue—the reality is that a large plurality of viewers and commentators at ESPN probably believe the women is at least somewhat at fault for what happened that night in that restaurant.

Fast forward to the following Monday, 12/19. Paul Finebaum, an ESPN SEC Network radio host and commentator, delivered a scathing analysis of Mixon, saying he had no business being anywhere near a football field following this incident and should be expelled immediately.  I don’t agree with Finebaum much, but he couldn’t have said it any better. 

Then Finebaum floored me. He told the audience about a meeting that took place during the pre-trial phase involving Head Football Coach Bob Stoops, Athletic Director Joe Castiglione, OU Campus President David Boren, and the local District Attorney Greg Mashburn at the Oklahoma campus.  After this meeting it was agreed that Mixon would get offered a favorable plea deal, serve no jail time, and could be reinstated to the football team after one year.  Keep in mind he broke a women’s face in four or five places and gets community service. It seems like a fairly light sentence. 

Hang on just a darn minute. Did I hear that right? The DA who is in charge of prosecuting the case, met with the head football coach—who in a state like Oklahoma is probably as powerful as the Governor?! The DA, who is very well respected and well known in college athletics circles, and the campus President, who by the way is the same David Boren that was a former US Senator and Governor, were all in the same room, admitting to having seen the video, and agree this sentence fit the crime?  I’m speechless. 

Oh and on Tuesday, the ESPN website has an article up about the confrontation that night with the caption quoting Mixon, saying “I felt like I got hit by a man”. Well if that’s what you felt Mixon, imagine what your victim felt. 
Link: Joe Mixon to police: ‘It felt like a dude hit me’

Mixon treats women like Michael Vick treats his hounds and everybody rallies around him to save him from himself. This gutless wonder wants a multimillion dollar contract with an NFL team to play football so he can get hit by men, talk about irony.

ESPN, stay classy, keep defending athletes for the sake of higher ratings, remember Ray Rice was just a victim of unfortunate circumstances.

Pathetic,

Until next time,

X

Posted by william on 12/20 at 08:46 PM
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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

ESPN #EPICFAIL

By “X”
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I was ready to touch on the pension issue in Dallas but that will have to wait.

ESPN… seriously? This past weekend was huge for college football and you chose to push your liberal agenda.  First things first, William has done a great job recently laying out the agenda that ESPN and other major television networks have been subjecting viewers to in the name of entertainment.  However credit X for bringing this to the light a while back in one of his earlier articles. 

Anyway back to the college football game X was watching this past Saturday night.  Virginia Tech and Clemson, not because I like college football—honestly X could care less—but after working outside all day it was a nice break.  The game hadn’t started yet, and Chris Fowler, the announcer of the game (more on him later) begins the game by saying, the ACC Championship game is usually held in North Carolina, but is being held in Florida this year due to HB2.  (HB 2 is the so called “bathroom bill” saying use the bathroom of your gender, not the gender you think you might be that day.)  In all fairness, I have no issue with this statement by ESPN resident lowlife Chris Fowler, however he couldn’t help himself.  Fowler continued, “…this law is very harmful and discriminatory of transgendered people, and I support the ACC moving the game out of North Carolina.” 

Sadly this has been the standard method of operation for ESPN for a while.

William and I have both laid out that ESPN has been bleeding viewers for about two years now as more and more people such as William have cut the cord.  X has delayed cutting the cord as his “great deal” from Frontier has yet to run out.  But back to my point, I do not tune in to ESPN to get my political news ; if I wanted that I could turn to the CRA website…..oh wait they aren’t relevant, so I would probably turn to Fox News.  At least Fox News would have been fair and balanced—even Megyn Kelly would have been better than that political crusader, Chris Fowler. 

In all honesty, I’m not sure what Fowler thought he was doing. I’m not sure if Fowler is a) transgendered himself, or b) has a friend or family member who is transgendered.  I really don’t care whether he does or doesn’t or with whom; enough of your political rants already. I don’t want to hear it. I’m trying to watch a game and relax not get your take on the political hot button issue of the day.


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Chris Fowler (photo from Internet)


Now to my commentary regarding Fowler…..Fowler is a sexual deviant. I know a very close friend who has seen it firsthand.  A few years ago, Fowler was spotted by a person I will call “FOX” (a fiend of X) with fellow ESPN college game day host Kirk Herbstreit at a bar in Middle America. Both men were drinking adult beverages following a game they had announced together.  What my friend observed was behavior so outrageous that it was reported by “FOX” to ESPN’s human resources department.  The story relayed to me was this:
Fowler had way too much to drink, as did Herbstreit, but Fowler was acting a mad fool as the young people call it.  Fowler was not only doing cat calls as young coeds walked by, he also was grabbing quite a bit of derriere.  Actually Bill Cosby may have been jealous, as Fowler was so out of line.  Worse yet he was openly bragging about how he worked for ESPN, and worst of all, Mr. Chris Fowler is married or at least he is when he is in his hometown…..yeah think about that for a minute, his wife, Jennifer Dempster, is a female model/bodybuilder. 

Like a fool returning to his folly, Fowler stuck his foot in his mouth yet again after the broadcast. While commenting about a scenario in which the football playoffs had five eligible teams and only four could make the playoffs, Fowler, after listening to a couple guests, said he was flip-flopping on his picks and compared the situation as being similar to the winner of our recent Presidential election and his flip flopping.  Thanks Fowler, you hate Donald Trump, we get it.  Next time rather than listen to you, I’ll just cut the cord from cable, maybe then I can get some real rest and relaxation. I pray nightly that you make peace with your wife because based on the stories I’ve heard and those reported to me by witnesses, you need quite a bit of help.

Until next time,

X

Posted by william on 12/06 at 08:23 PM
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Monday, December 05, 2016

SEIU Releases Settlement Framework

...and now for the rest of the story

No pay increase for 2016-17
No withholding of extra money for retiree medical on January 1, 2017

Where is the State offered 12 percent and the Union wanted 22?

9.2 percent net increase over 4 years and $2,500 signing bonus!

This type of pay increase is more inline with reality but these are hardly the numbers used previously by the media or union.

What is the signing bonus? I’ve heard of incentive pay but this, who knows?

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Link: SEIU Tentative Agreement Overview

Notes
The OPEB is the extra money withheld for retiree medical.
Fiscal year is July 1 to June 30

Posted by william on 12/05 at 10:48 AM
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