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Friday, October 22, 2010
Sacramento Republican Voter Registration 2010
The Sacramento County Republican Party (SCPR) has completed their voter registration drive for the 2010 election cycle. The program featured the most generous bounty program I have ever seen in politics.
The program was actually run for the State Party by a consultant that worked thru the Committee to pass on the necessary funds to operate the program. The going rate per registration was about $15 each with both the consultant and SCPR getting a cut. Some local elected officials also contributed part of the funds.
The main purpose of the registration drive was to help targeted seats. The three main beneficiaries were to be Dan Lungren in Congressional District 3 and challengers to Assembly Districts 10 and 15—Jack Sieglock and Abram Wilson respectively. All three seats overlap each other and until the 2008 election were all in Republican hands. Only Lungren survived the wave that swept Barack Obama into office. The previous office holders of AD 10 & 15 left due to term limits and the GOP was unable to handoff the seats to fellow members of their Party.
The immediate result of the drive was 51,210 registrations. This sounds like an impressive number until you start digging into the results. Due to software issues and lack of early tracking, only 30,824 registrations could be tracked by district. Of these only 10,518 were in Lungren’s District. 6,410 of these were in AD 10. A token amount was in AD 15.
Per the report to the Committee, the Sacramento County portion of CD3 started with 130,272 Republicans in January and ended with 137,483; a net increase of 7,211.
Assembly District 10 saw Republicans in Sacramento beginning with 46,033 and ending with 49,256; a gain of 3,223.
In AD-15, Sacramento Republicans began with 22,017 and end with 23,143; a gain of 1,126.
If the 51,210 registrations were new Republican registrations and all increases were due to the voter registration drive then:
14 % were in CD-3
6% were in AD-10
2% were in AD-15
While this estimate does not take into account how many of the 51K were people that reregistered, I think it makes the point that the voter registration drive was not targeted and largely a waste of resources. A more targeted approach would have been more cost effective and yielded better results.
A new element was introduced as a result of the program that historically has been the purview of Democrats—voter fraud. The county clerk has received many reports of life-long Democrats that are learning that they are now registered Republican. The October 15th article in the Sacramento Bee was probably not the last that the Committee will hear about this issue. I expect the FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) to be going after the SCRP or some of its venders following the election.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Roger Neillo: the Primary Crasher
Rick Cua did a song many years ago called “Crash the Party.” More recently there was a movie about the “Wedding Crashers.” In this election cycle there is a new kind of crasher. This one is the termed-out assemblyman that desperately wants the California senate seat vacated by the death of Dave Cox.
Roger Neillo—the Primary Crasher—has shown-up at several events that he was never invited to attend to try to further his political career.
Several weeks ago the Cosumnes Republican Assembly in Elk Grove contacted both Ted Gaines and Roger Neillo to check the availability of both men to speak at their September meeting. Ted Gaines responded first so he was scheduled in September and Neillo was told he would be welcome at the group’s October meeting. Not to be dissuaded, Neillo invited himself to the September meeting anyway and spoke after Gaines.
This meeting fortunately was covered by the Elk Grove Citizen newspaper that accurately quoted Neillo as saying he was a better candidate because he would collaborate with Democrats. “And you’re only going to be effective if you collaborate. Collaboration is extremely important.”
Last Saturday Neillo did it again. This time it was a large precinct walk in Rancho Cordova for Dan Lungren and Jack Sieglock. Neillo pulls up in a motor home with billboard decals all over it touting his campaign. Out of the motor home jump about a dozen staffers in matching Neillo t-shirts. As a sitting assembly member, Neillo got a shot to speak after Sieglock and Lungren. Neillo didn’t say I’m here because we need to get these men elected or anything like that. My impression was that he wanted to be seen with the “right people.”
Neillo’s behavior was tacky and inappropriate. I asked after the event was over who invited Neillo and was told by a staffer for another campaign that no one did. Neillo invited himself!
This says to me that Neillo has been in politics for too long. He is one of the professional politicians that the Tea Party should try to retire. Neillo has forgotten the purpose of representative government. He does not represent his constituents. He likes the power and gamesmanship that he exercises because he is the California version of Lindsey Graham. He not only voted for the largest tax hike any state has ever passed but to this day he justifies this voter as the right thing to do to save California. No one ever asks Neillo if this vote really “saved California from going off the cliff” then why was the State Controller issuing IOUs five months after the vote?
The only principle Neillo has left is the one about winning. Unfortunately, his idea of winning seems to be at any price.
Lastly, have you noticed the campaign strategy that he has adopted? In addition to the usual advertisements you might see in a campaign, there are an abnormal amount of ads for the Neillo car dealerships in places that they never usually advertise. Neillo is getting an “in kind contribution” from his family. These ads try to make people feel confident in the Neillo brand. What other car dealer ads are you hearing now? None is the correct answer. My only question is does that family want Roger to win to further his career or to keep him away from the family business?
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Employer Perspective on SSN and “No Match” Letters
Most people I’ve heard today talking about the almost October surprise that Gloria Allred sprung on Meg Whitman don’t know what they are talking about. Since most folks never get to sign the front of a paycheck, they are uninformed about how businesses deal with hiring and firing of employees.
First, an employer will interview candidates for a job. Then they will make an offer to hire someone. At that point the employee is supposed to provide the necessary documents for an I-9 form. The employer has to accept the documents at face value. There is no legal requirement to make copies of the documents or attempt to verify their authenticity. In fact the employer is subjecting himself to legal peril if they rescind an employment offer on the basis of identification documents. At most places where I have worked, we kept copies of the I-9 and supporting documents in the employee files. Also, there is no government agency that an employer can send the documents to for verification if they have a doubt.
Please note that you do not need to show a Social Security Number (SSN) as a condition of employment. The card is only one of a litany of documents that can be submitted for identification purposes.
Nothing more happens with an employee SSN until year end taxes are filed. The W-2s are submitted to the Social Security Administration (SSA). If the name on the W-2 does not match the name on file with the Social Security Administration, they will eventually send the employer a “Don’t Match” letter. This letter has language that many people would be surprised to see. Two points I would like to highlight concerning this letter. It is illegal to terminate an employee if their SSN does not agree with their name. The letter also makes it clear that this is a matter between the Social Security Administration and the employee.
“Employers should not assume that the mismatch is the result of any wrongdoing on the part of the employee. Moreover, an employer who takes action against an employee based on nothing more substantial than a mismatch letter may, in fact, violate the law.”
“An employer that receives such a letter and terminates employees without attempting to resolve the mismatches, or who treats employees differently based upon national origin or other prohibited characteristics, may be found to have engaged in unlawful discrimination.”
In most cases, by the time an employer gets a “No Match” letter, the employee is no longer with the company. These letters are simply a multi-column list of social security numbers. The employer must look-up each number to find the name associated with the number.
If employer attempts to verify the name and SSN, the government will not help. They will only say if it matches or does not match. They won’t tell you what is wrong. This is especially frustrating when dealing with folks from south of the border. The SSN template cannot deal with the way Spanish people are named. SSA wants first name, middle initial and last name. I’ve seen Spanish employees that have six names by our government’s way of reckoning.
For example if you hire Mario de Jesus Garcia Esperonza, how do you make him fit the First name, middle initial, last name format? Also, many Spanish folks are barely literate in their own language and they know no English. It is common to see their first and last names transposed on their documents. Is he Valentine Edwardo or Edwardo Valentine? Again, SSA can’t deal with properly documenting Spanish names and won’t help correct errors when they occur.
One year I went thru this with 75 employees and we never could successfully resolve a single instance of “No Match”. The E-Verify system was not any better plus it was all tied to my personal SSN and not the employer tax ID number. I left the company over three years ago and as far as I know, my SSN is still tied to their employee verification account with SSA.
Lastly, the ACLU took the “No Match” letters to court in 2007 and got a favorable ruling that blocked the SSA from sending employers “No Match” letters. Here is their press release. http://www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights/court-blocks-government-implementing-flawed-social-security-no-match-rule
I don’t know how this court action was resolved or if it has been. It appears likely that the letters are still blocked. They certainly were when the current Administration came to power. Given the political leanings of President Obama, I doubt he would fight hard to have the government begin issuing these letters any time soon.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Doug Ose, Roger Neillo, Per Diem and the SD1 Special Election
As things heat-up in the special election to fill the California Senate seat vacated when Dave Cox died, it would be a good time to note the genesis of how state legislators and Per Diem became an issue.
In a word it was Doug Ose (pronounced O-see).
When Vick Fazio decided not to run for re-election for his congressional seat back in 1998, the Republicans sensed that the gains made in the district by Tim Lefever could finally more the seat from Democrat to Republican. Ose’s chief rival in the race was Assemblywoman Barbara Alby. Alby had refused to collect the Per Diem that she was entitled to collect as a legislator.
Per Diem is intended to allow legislators that live some distance from the Capitol to keep a residence near Sacramento while the legislature is in session. Since Alby lives only a few miles from the Capitol, she did not collect Per Diem on a regular basis. Ose took her Per Diem records and turned them into an attendance record and claimed that Alby had one of the worst attendance records of any legislator in the State. In short Alby did not do her job. Ose succeeded in crucifying Alby on the attendance issue and went on to win the seat.
In 2008, Ose again ran for Congress and Per Diem was once again the main issue. This time Ose went after Tom McClintock for collecting Per Diem when McClintock lived just down the road in Elk Grove. McClintock represented a southern California district and kept a second home in Elk Grove. This is what Per Diem was intended to be used for. Somehow Ose never skipped a beat when he did his 180 on the Per Diem issue.
Now Roger Neillo is making Per Diem an issue in the SD1 race. Can you guess who one of his biggest backers is? If you guessed Doug Ose then you got it right.
All-in-all, I think Ose did a good job during his three terms in Congress. I did walk precincts for him and even got a thank you call from him for my letter to the editor supporting him back when Bill Clinton was bombing Bosnia. I still keep the wave file on my computer. However, Ose’s lasting legacy seems to be making Per Diem a political club to beat-up on other Republicans.
If all Neillo has is Per Diem to go after Ted Gains then I think he is sunk. Gains can beat-up on Neillo all the way to November on the fact that Neillo proudly voted to impose the highest State tax hike in the history of the country. Roger is proud that he was able to “collaborate with Democrats” in the Assembly. Those are not my words; they were uttered by Neillo ironically enough in Elk Grove just two weeks ago.
If you want to get even more ironic, the remaining wildcard in the race is Barbara Alby. She has made some noises about getting into the SD1 race. If she does that, then Neillo might have a chance of winning. Alby can’t win but she can split the Conservative vote and give Neillo an opportunity. We are days away from the end of the filing period. If Alby files it will likely be on the last day to do so.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Brett Daniels Endorsement of Jim Cooper—Emails, Lies and Audio Files
Brett Daniels was one of three candidates that ran for Sacramento County Sheriff on the June ballot. He also is a former member of the Citrus Heights City Council. He is running again for a City Council seat in Citrus Heights and sought the endorsement of the Sacramento County Republican Party (SCRP). The SCRP met for their regular meeting last Thursday (September 9th). The main agenda item was endorsement for non-partisan races.
The way the endorsement process worked was that a committee of five people—one from each supervisorial district—met and voted their recommendations. The full body then treated the recommendations as a consent calendar unless someone wished to consider a recommendation separately. Mr. Daniels was pulled from the list and on a separate vote; he failed to get the endorsement. This was based solely on his recent endorsement of Sheriff Candidate Jim Cooper. Cooper—a Democrat—is running against Republican Scott Jones. Jones got the SCRP endorsement over Daniels prior to the June election.
In fairness to Daniels, he was at the SCRP meeting and not allowed to speak. I can understand that he was frustrated by this and that he did not prevail in a group that would normally support him. Anyway, when I awoke on Saturday, I was greeted by the message below. It was sent not just to members of the SCRP but to other candidates and elected officials. It was addressed to the chairman of the SCRP.
Daniels began his lengthy email by criticizing the endorsements process and the fact that he was not allowed to speak at the meeting. Further frustrating him was the fact that one of the people leading the effort to block his endorsement is involved with the Scott Jones campaign. I think this individual should have kept his mouth shut and let others go after Daniels but he doesn’t even consider this a problem. (It is and just not in this instance but that is beyond the scope of this entry.)
Daniels claimed that he had inside information on Jones that caused him to change his mind. Below is that portion of his email. (Note some spelling errors in the emails below have been corrected but they are otherwise unchanged.)
Because a few vocal hypocrites have decided it’s ok to put party over principle, I have decided to share the information the I shared with the Endorsement Committee with the remainder of the central committee and have attached it to this message. This contained document clearly shows that Scott Jones engaged in an on-going criminal relationship with known ex-felons to provide confidential information for financial gain. Since the document (mainly the Affidavit for a Search Warrant, pgs 14-22) can be somewhat confusing to the general public, I offer to explain it to any one that cares to ask.
In talking with the Endorsement Committee, I didn’t even get the chance to explain another troubling fact about Mr. Jones that I became aware of during the primary involving another deputy who was convicted of a misdemeanor trespass charge after he lied about a 911 call to get into the home of a woman he hoped to pursue romantically, where her two daughters were alone. A federal civil case that resulted in a more than $200,000 settlement charged the deputy with rifling the woman’s dresser drawers after ordering the two girls - then 8 and 12 - to stay in the living room. The deputy’s conduct was so egregious that the judge issued a stern rebuke as she handed down his sentence. “You traumatized those two children,” she said, calling the deputy’s actions a violation of “public trust.” Mr. Jones was a close friend of the deputy, indeed previously lived with the deputy’s wife, and it was Mr. Jones who was in Legal Affairs that lobbied to keep the deputy on the department. It is widely known that Mr. Jones plans to have his friend serve as his Legal Affairs Officer.
Daniels concludes his letter with one last complaint. Namely, others endorsed that night endorsed Cooper so why was he singled out?
Lastly, an attachment was sent with the above email. The attachment is from the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff’s Association—the union that gave Jim Cooper about $200,000—and can be found here http://www.scdsa.org/images/files/Pages_from_100428_FILED_Motion_to_Unseal_Search_Warrant_Affidavits_PART_1.pdf
When people push my button on something, I’m not shy about firing off a response. Brett Daniels got such a response from me. I have nothing against Brett, but Jim Cooper is on my list of bad guys that need to lose elections. Here are few exerts from my response.
The disciplinary records of Scott Jones have been released to the public. The disciplinary records of Jim Cooper have not and never will be.
Mr. Cooper has subjected other Council members to the wrath of the Sacramento County Grand Jury because they dared to publicly disagree with him on Council issues. He has used bully tactics on other Council members both publicly and behind the scenes. He is a bully with a badge that abuses his public trust. In July, Mr. Cooper tried to remove Sophia Scherman as Mayor because she called a special meeting about a group home for juvenile sexual offenders that happened to be the same night he had a scheduled fundraiser for his Sheriff campaign. I know, I was at the Council meeting.
Mr. Cooper has been chastised by the Sacramento County Grand Jury on multiple occasions for his behavior on the Elk Grove City Council. I am confident from what I have seen and know of him that if his disciplinary records as a law enforcement officer were released that we would not be having the email exchange.
The document that you emailed us today is a political hit piece on Scott Jones that was filed in April of this year to try to influence the outcome of the June election. The Deputy Sheriff’s Association has pumped about $200,000 into the election and this document was filed at the same time their contributions began to flow into Cooper’s campaign. This is not coincidence but part of a carefully coordinated election campaign.
Mr. Daniels fired off a lengthy response. I want to focus on the first paragraph.
I am in complete agreement with you that Mr. Cooper has not handled himself properly in certain situations. He should have recued himself in all matters that involved the Sacramento Sheriff’s Dept, which he did eventually but should have from the beginning. I also agree that Mr. Cooper has at times not handled matters in the manner that I would. And specifically to the Ms Scherman issue, that issue was the result of Ms Sherman on several occasions stepping outside her boundary as a Mayor of a “strong-City Manager” form of local government and culminated when she called a “Special Meeting” with 24-hrs notice outside the parameters of recognized legitimate “Special Meeting” guidelines, regardless of the topic of concern (which I agree was a serious one nonetheless). Somehow, I think you know these things already but refuse to acknowledge them.
The comments on Elk Grove Mayor Sophia Scherman were curious to me. They are almost verbatim what Jim Cooper, Steve Detrick and Gary Davis said when trying to oust Mayor Scherman. The phrase “strong mayor” was used many times to describe her calling of special meetings. I suspect that Daniels had been in communication with Mr. Cooper in the course of these exchanges. The assertion that Scherman did not have the power to call the meetings is a lie as I will illustrate in a moment. Cooper definitely found them damn inconvenient.
My final response to Daniels began:
As Mayor of Elk Grove Sophia does have the right to call a special meeting with 24 hours notice.
The City Council procedures manual clearly states under the heading for Special Meetings that “Special meetings and emergency meetings of the City Council may be called by the Mayor or majority of the City Council and held from time to time consistent with and pursuant to procedures set forth in the Ralph M Brown Act.”
The Brown Act states:
Twenty-four hour notice must be provided to members of legislative body and media outlets including brief general description of matters to be considered or discussed.
Brett Daniels was wrong to endorse Jim Cooper. In the June election he was the spoiler that prevented Scott Jones from winning. This forced a run-off in November. Daniels stated publicly that if he lost in June that he would endorse Jones. He has been around the block more that once as a politician and a deputy sheriff. For him to play dumb about the obvious “hit piece” by the Deputy Sheriff’s Association that was posted on their website back in April with much press and fanfare is unbelievable. Daniels was promising to support Jones after these documents were posted on the Internet and published in local media. Why is it dismissed as a “hit piece” in April and the silver bullet that slays Jones in July? There is more to this than Daniels has admitted.
To prove that I am right on all points stated here try these exerts from the debate held April 30th between Jim Cooper, Scott Jones and Brett Daniels. All quotes below and audio of the debate can be found here. http://hoguenews.com/?p=9976
As it relates to their resume, Bret Daniels was fired over his incident years back, while Jim Cooper and Scott Jones have been cleared of any wrong doing after extensive internal investigations more recently.
The scuffle has been Captain Scott Jones’ investigation – Cooper’s crew has been stating publicly that it was a cover-up, and Jones was never vetted properly by the department and the FBI.
While Jones has been taking the brunt of these shots from both Cooper and Daniels, Scott’s camp had asked for the personal records of Jim Cooper to be released for the public eye.
The first response from Cooper was no; doing so would be a violation of the union protection clause. Then, surprisingly during Friday’s 1380 KTKZ radio debate, Cooper made the announcement that he would be releasing his records.
The immediate complaint from Daniels and Jones was the limited release. Cooper was releasing some of his records, but he was holding back all of his internal investigation records from open review.
With Cooper’s news on Friday, it may tone down some of the rhetoric, but both Daniels and Jones believe his limited released is nothing more than window dressing.
As you can clearly see, Brett Daniels is lying about his July epiphany of Jones’ record. Further, when he says that Cooper has nothing left to release that he is lying. Daniels was the one leading the charge to get Cooper to release his records—including the internal investigation records.
Too bad Brett didn’t stay out of making any endorsement in this race if he had a change of heart about Jones. I would respect that a lot more than having him make a bunch of bald-faced lies not only to the Sacramento Republican Party but to a plethora of candidates and office holders in the county.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Meg’s Missing Millions
The California Republican Party was promised 30 million dollars by the Meg Whitman campaign to fund “Victory Headquarters” throughout California. The CRP planned to have the money in hand over a month ago so they could hit the ground running for the November General Election. This had the potential to boost the entire statewide ticket and move many seats from safe for Democrats to competitive. However, Mrs. Whitman has yet to write the check.
It now appears that this promised money will not happen and the CRP is scrambling to scale-down their plans accordingly. Four years ago Governor Schwarzenegger did a similar thing. While he had 100 million dollars in his campaign war chest, the Governor left the state party with about a six million dollar debt that he never helped to repay even though most of this money was spent to re-elect him. It looks as if Meg is going to follow Arnold’s precedent. Once again the party will leverage themselves up to their fiscal eyebrows and Meg will be happy to leave them hanging.
It sure looks like Tom McClintock was right about this being Arnold’s third term. Meg certainly has done nothing visible to boost the whole ticket to victory. This is all about Meg and any hopes of her being a uniter and party builder are vanishing quickly. As a result, I think she will find that Sacramento is a lonely place when you are in the corner office with no allies.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
It took me 9 days to play thru the entire game on Normal difficulty level. Wow what an experience. The story-line of the game picks up where the previous one left-off. There is some explanation of the back-story in the enclosed booklet and some cinematic cut scenes through-out the game that fill new users in on the major details.
The game engine has been totally redesigned. The units are recognizable but much more beautifully detailed than the previous game. The texture of the game is rich and well done. I was really worried about the balance of the game but the individual missions are well designed. There are several that depend on time. The player is forced into acting even when they are not ready. These were the most challenging ones for me. I prefer to build-up defenses first and attach when my technology and units have accumulated, sometimes the game makes this very difficult.
Between missions, players can buy mercenaries and technology upgrades. The mercenaries seem much more useful than the unit upgrades; only a few seem worth the price. Mining vespian gas without SCVs, fire turrets and bunker enhancements are more useful than other upgrades in the game because they get more use. By the time you get upgrades to the high-end units, the game is about over.
You need Internet access and a Battlenet Account even to play the single player missions. The game takes 12 Gigabytes of hard disk space. In addition, a multi-core CPU and good video card are a must. See this link for details.
My son’s computer was scored lowest in all video settings by the game even with a quad-core CPU. I bought a new motherboard and video card for him at Fry’s. I installed the new motherboard with all his old hardware and turned on the computer. With Windows 7 it was able to boot all the way up without a blue screen of death or resorting to Safe Mode. I installed the drive DVD rebooted and then installed the new video card and we went from a score of Low to Ultra high in all video settings. Microsoft definitely got it right this time.
Blizzard—the game makers—have a real winner on their hands. This was worth the almost $60 price tag. Oh, online game play is free unlike World of Warcraft.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Prop 8 is Right
My sister-in-law posted a link to this article on Facebook the other day. I can’t understand why. Here are my comments upon reading this essay. Red are my comments and Blue are biblical and historic quotations.
Link to original post http://archielevine.blogspot.com/2008/11/traditional-marriage-perverts-tradition.html
Monday, November 03, 2008
Traditional Marriage Perverts the Tradition of Marriage
A brilliant playwright (and close personal friend of mine) recently sent this editorial out regarding Prop 8. I thought I’d share.
Traditional Marriage Perverts the Tradition of Marriage
by Jeff Goode (Californian)
About a decade ago, as a young playwright, I was hired to write a script for the Renaissance Festival of Kansas City. It was a period piece about knights and jousts and intrigues of the court, building up to a lavish royal wedding between a prince and a princess, restoring peace to the troubled land.
This was one of my first professional writing assignments, so I was really excited about doing all the research and making sure that everything was historically accurate, especially the royal wedding which needed to follow all the traditions exactly.
Over a summer of research, I learned a lot of surprising facts about the history of marriage and weddings, but by far the most shocking discovery of all was that the tradition of marriage-as-we-know-it simply did not exist in those days. Almost everything we have come to associate with marriage and weddings—the white dress, the holy vows, the fancy cake and the birdseed—dates back a mere 50 or 100 years at the most. In many cases less.
The purpose of marriage and the traditions of marriage are two different issues. The author misses the point that marriage traditions are different around the world and thru history but the fact that marriage is a world-wide phenomenon is never explained is this essay. As you will see in the following paragraph the author attempts to force supporters of marriage to defend every practice associated with it throughout history. That fallen men apart from God can devise new ways of perverting something that God intended for our good is no surprise to us as Christians. This after-all is the reason why we oppose gay marriage; sinful men are trying to pervert something God gave us for our good and twist it into something that is so disfigured it is virtually unrecognizable. Gay marriage is an attack on God.
And the handful of traditions that do go back farther than that are, frankly, horrifying. The tossing of the garter, for example, evolved from a 14th Century tradition of ripping the clothing off of the bride’s body as she left the ceremony in order to “loosen her up” for the wedding night. Wedding guests fought over the choicest bits of undergarment, with the garter being the greatest prize.
Savvy brides got in the habit of carrying extra garters in their bodice to throw to the male guests in hopes of escaping the ceremony with some shred of modesty intact! It turns out that marriage, in days of old, was a barbaric custom which was little more than a crude exchange of livestock at its most civilized, and a little less than ritualized abduction at its worst. That’s why you’ll find no reference to white weddings in the Bible, or the union of one man and one woman.
This statement is false and easily disprove by such Scriptures as those quoted below.
Because up until fairly recently, there was nothing religious about it.
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. 3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” 7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.“7 10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” Matthew 19:1-10
You will of course find plenty of biblical bigamy, practiced by even the most godly of heroes—Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon—because that’s what marriage was in those days. Even in more enlightened New Testament times, the only wedding worth mentioning (the one at Cana) is notable only for the miraculous amount of wine consumed.
According to the biblical account, Noah had one wife.
And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Genesis 7:7
Abraham disobeyed God by fathering a child with his servant Hagar. Isaac was the child of promise with his wife Sarah. Only after Sarah’s death did he marry again and father other children. All other children of Abraham were the ones that later lead Israel away from their Covenant with God.
In the New Testament, the marriage mentioned most is the marriage between Christ (the Bridegroom) and his Church (the Bride). Marriage is also the model of God with Israel. Ancient Israel was guilty of spiritual adultery by going after other gods. This was the great indictment of the Old Testament prophets. Marriage is the chief theme of both Old and New Testament.
The passage below is an indictment of Solomon and his foreign wives. Scripture in the Old Testament has little to say about polygamy but much about foreign wives leading men of the Covenant away from God to worshipping false gods.
1 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done. 7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods. 9 The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD’s command. 11 So the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake1 of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.” I Kings 11: 1 - 13
In the 21st Century, we’ve heard a lot about the sanctity of marriage, as if that were something that has been around forever, but in reality the phrase was invented in 2004. Google it for yourself and see if you can find a single reference to the “sanctity of marriage” before the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions in that state. The proverbial Sanctity of Marriage sprang into being because opponents of gay marriage needed a logical reason to overturn an established legal precedent. And the only thing that trumps the Constitution is God himself.
This is untrue. Quoting Google like this is a cheap rhetorical debate trick. This is called the “strawman fallacy”. The claim that traditional marriage is a recent invention is untrue.
DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.
Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.
Episcopal Prayer Book: The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony 1662
This is the service which my wife and I used when we were married.
Unfortunately, God is still pretty new to the whole marriage game (or he might have made an honest woman out of the Virgin Mary, am I right? Try the veal!)
Illustrative of how seriously the author takes the biblical record.
The truth is that marriage has always been more a secular tradition rather than a religious one.
Bald faced wopper.
Up until the early Renaissance, in fact, couples were traditionally married on the church’s front doorstep, because wedding ceremonies were considered too vulgar to be performed inside the building: After all, there was implied sex in the vows and shameless public displays of affection. No clergyman in his right mind would have allowed such an unholy abomination on the premises.
Contrary to both Scripture and tradition. Another argument without foundation.
But as times changed, ideas and attitudes about marriage also changed. So when people became religious, matrimony became holy. When people became nudists, clothing became optional. And so on throughout history.
The strawman liveth.
And the wonderful thing about the institution of marriage—the reason it has remained strong and relevant through thousands of years of ever-changing times—is its unique ability to change with those times.
The root of marriage is a man and woman starting a family, ways of celebrating that may change over time but they do not diminish the purpose or meaning of marriage. The author and those who agree with him have taken on this task.
Marriage is, and always has been, a constantly evolving tradition that never fails to incorporate the latest shifts in culture and climate, changing social habits, fashions and even fads. (Because, seriously, that chicken dance is not in the Bible.)
Thus, in the 1800s when the sole purpose of marriage was procreation and housekeeping, marriage between an older man and a hard-working tween girl was considered perfectly normal. Today we call it pedophilia.
Here is another cheap shot from someone who has no respect for marriage; once again using extremes to taint everyone that believes in marriage.
For thousands of years marriage was essentially a business transaction between the parents of the bride and groom. But in the last century or so, we’ve finally seen the triumph of this new-fangled notion that marriage should be about a loving relationship between two consenting adults.
The strawman again; also notice the ease of changing marriage from a loving couple to two consenting adults; talk about being stuck in the 1980’s. Author is trying to inject his opinion as a historic fact.
Followers of the Mormon faith can tell you that the traditions of their forefathers included a devout belief that polygamy was appropriate and sanctified. But modern Mormons generally don’t support that vision of happiness for their daughters.
Author clearly has no personal knowledge of Moron theology but is simply using one point of their belief to try furthering his argument.
And during the Civil Rights era, when opponents of interracial marriage tried to pass laws making such couples illegal, we came to realize that they, too, were wrong in trying to redefine marriage to prevent those newfound relationships.
This is the part where author starts to equate interracial marriage with homosexuality as a civil right. Skin color is different than behavior. Dr. King’s offspring also disagree with this equating of the two.
Always marriage has triumphed by becoming a timely celebration of our society, rather than a backlash against it. It’s strange, then, to see “tradition” used as a weapon against change, when change is the source of all its greatest traditions.
Marriage means whatever the author wants it to mean. We are now invoking situational ethics and moral relativity. Notice the sleight of hand, author earlier invokes the Bible and then dumps it when it gets in the way of his argument. No one is arguing that wedding traditions must become static, tradition in that sense is not the issue; it is the author trying to change the core meaning of marriage into something that it is not and has never been before in human history. In the sense that all law is religious, the author is advocating nothing less that removing the biblical God as the author and finisher of marriage and replacing him with one created in the image of the author. The end result of gay marriage is spiritual adultery and idolatry.
Just ask the white dress: In 1840, Queen Victoria of England married Prince Albert wearing a beautiful white lace dress—in defiance of tradition—in order to promote the sale of English lace! The image was so powerful that practically overnight the white wedding gown became de rigueur for the well-heeled bride. And then it became de rigueur for every bride.
By the dawn of the 20th Century, the white dress had also inexplicably come to symbolize chastity. (Even though blue was traditionally the color of virginity—“something borrowed, something blue…”)
Author now confuses fashion with passion. What does the color of the wedding dress have to do with marriage? It is not part of the central meaning of marriage. It is a cultural preference and peripheral to the entire issue. Dresses, candles, rings, rice, flowers and all the rest may be used to make the occasion special for the bride and groom but they are of secondary importance to the fact that a man and woman are vowing to begin a new family.
And the new equation of white with virginity eventually achieved such a rigid orthodoxy that older readers may remember a time when wedding guests who happened to know that the bride was not perfectly pure would have felt a moral obligation to demand that she change into something off-white before walking down the aisle.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 6: 23
These issues should be dealt with before a couple takes their vows. The ability to stay faithful to your wedding vows is the object of a focus on virginity. The issue of virginity harkens back to Christ and his Church and wedding traditions in the Bible of which the author has no knowledge. Because our society has lost this emphasis on saving yourself for marriage; fornication, adultery, STDs, teen pregnancy, abortion and a host of other societal ills have been unleashed. As you will see in the next section, the author has high praise for the idea of sex with no consequences.
Fortunately, as cultural norms eased during the Sexual Revolution, a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy took hold where all brides were required to wear white regardless of their virtue and the less said about it the better.
In recent years, as a generation of divorcees have remarried and a gene
ration of young people have entered wedlock with some degree of “experience”, the pretense of a connection between literal virginity and the bridal gown has become entirely obsolete. A colorful journey for a custom which has always seemed iron clad, even as it was evolving over time.
The sexual revolution devalued marriage; the author seems to view this as an improvement.
And not all traditions have to do with changing sexual standards. The long-time custom of pelting the newlyweds with birdseed did not exist before the 1970s when animal-lovers realized that songbirds were bloating on dried rice that they found on the ground after the former custom.
Economic times have caused families to rethink the age-old convention of the bride’s father paying for the entire ceremony—a last vestige of the days of dowries when a young man had to be bribed to take a free-loading daughter off her parents’ hands—that well-established custom has gradually given way to a more humane approach to sharing the financial burden.
The biblical model of the dowry was that the Groom would pay a dowry to the Bride, the opposite of this alleged expert. Had the author understood a biblical worldview, passages like Jesus saying “I go to prepare a place for you” and “no man know the hour but my Father in Heaven” would take on their obvious meaning because they hearken back to Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church as his Bride.
Another lie put out as truth. There’s enough strawmen in this essay to start a forest fire.
Even religious traditions of marriage have experienced constant metamorphosis over the years. As more interfaith couples have wed, we have seen the emergence of multi-disciplinary ceremonies where couples have chosen not to follow the out-dated tradition of rejecting one or both of their faiths as a prerequisite of holy matrimony.
Sorry but Scripture has different values.
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbelievers 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the LORD. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” II Corinthians 6: 14-18
One of the most beautiful weddings I ever attended was between a young Jewish fellow and his Catholic fiancé, whose mother was born in France. The ceremony was performed by both a rabbi and a priest with intertwining vows in English, Latin, Hebrew and French. A perfect expression of the union of their two families, yet one which would have been unthinkable just a generation before.
But, again, marriage has such a long history of changing with the ever-changing times, that the last thing we should expect from it is to stop growing and changing. We know today that marriage is not a rote ritual handed down by God to Adam & Eve and preserved verbatim for thousands of years.
Since author doesn’t believe in the authority of Scripture it is easy for him to dismiss it as mythology.
It is, rather, an expression of how each community, each culture, and each faith, chooses to celebrate the joining of loved ones who have decided to make a life together.
The author once again tries to circle back once again to moral relativism. The question on why “each community, each culture, and each faith” has a tradition of marriage is accepted without comment. The biblical explanation is that marriage was established in the beginning by God and since we have a common ancestor it only makes sense that we would share a common tradition with variations reflecting our various human cultures.
Christians do not expect Jesus to be central to a Buddhist wedding, nor do Jews refuse to acknowledge Lutheran unions because they didn’t include a reading from the Torah. Marriage is what we each make of it. And that’s the way it always should be.
The biblical norm of marriage is presented in Scripture as for all and is not limited to any faith or denomination. Marriage—how ever distorted the imagery—occurs in virtually every culture in the world. The author again acknowledges this while rejecting the obvious reason.
Perhaps the greatest irony of the traditional marriage argument is that it seeks to preserve a singular tradition that has, in fact, never existed at any point in history.
If marriage means nothing then why is the author hell-bent on making the case that gays need to be able to marry? Marriage truly means something and clearly the author needs to have gay marriage to validate his lifestyle. Instead of conforming to the requirements of marriage, the author is flushing all of human history and substituting something else in place of marriage. You can put all the lipstick you want on that pig but it can never truly be marriage.
Because, honestly, which traditional definition of marriage do we want our Constitution to protect?
We’re off to see the Wizard… Here is the final parade of the leading strawmen.
...The one from Book of Genesis when family values meant multiple wives and concubines?
...Or the marriages of the Middle Ages when women were traded like cattle and weddings were too bawdy for church?
...Since this is America, should we preserve marriage as it existed in 1776 when arranged marriages were still commonplace?
...Or the traditions of 1850 when California became a state and marriage was customarily between one man and one woman-or-girl of age 11 and up?
...Or are we really seeking to protect a more modern vision of traditional marriage, say from the 1950s when it was illegal for whites to wed blacks or Hispanics?
...Or the traditional marriage of the late 1960s when couples were routinely excommunicated for marrying outside their faith?
The author’s examples above all have one thing in common; a man is marrying a woman to form a family. Supporters of marriage do not have to agree with the particulars of each example cited, whether they are historically accurate or urban legends, a man and woman leave their families, “become one flesh” and form a new family unit.
No, the truth of the matter is, that we’re trying to preserve traditional marriage the way it “was and always has been” during a very narrow period in the late 70s / early 80s - just before most of us found out that gays even existed: Between one man and one woman of legal age and willing consent. Regardless of race or religion (within reason). Plus the chicken dance and the birdseed. Those are okay.
But there’s something profoundly disturbing about amending the Constitution to define anything about the 1970s as “the way God intended it.”
One last fallacy to end the essay.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Abram Wilson: Missing in Action
Abram Wilson is missing in action. The repeat candidate for Assembly District 15 has been harder to find on the campaign trail than a ham sandwich at a Bar Mitzvah. When his name has come up in conversation, it is with the same love and affection that Southerners still have for General Sherman. In fact Wilson has probably burned more bridges in the last two years than the civil war general did in his march to Atlanta.
Wilson has burned bridges not only with the volunteer base but with other candidates as well. Some candidates are not even willing to share resources with him because his campaign has “dissed” them too.
Wilson is the only Republican candidate in Sacramento County that still has not received an endorsement from the California Republican Assembly. This is due to the fact that Wilson still hasn’t forthrightly answered any questions on his opinion of the Life issue. The fact that he will not say that he is a Republican on any of his campaign literature hasn’t helped either.
On paper, Wilson is a great candidate and should win handily, but he keeps surrounding himself with Bay Area Elitists that have no use for Conservatives and grassroots politics. Since this is his second try for the AD 15 seat, one can’t help but wonder if his campaign supporters are just a reflection of his values. Wilson has shown no growth as a candidate and is even less engaged in campaigning than he was last time.
My friend—the Sith Lord—sat next to Wilson at the SCRP BBQ last weekend. This is the fourth time Wilson has spent time with the Sith Lord in the last two years and Wilson has yet to even say hello to him.
The scorched earth treatment given to many Republicans by Wilson and his team seems to stem from the fact that many of us thought Robert Rao was a better candidate in the 2008 primary; even after we worked for Wilson in the general election. Give Wilson’s lack-luster performance in both election cycles, I hope Rao will be on the ballot in 2012.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Paul Smith Quits
Paul Smith—the perpetual CD 5 candidate against Doris Matsui—effectively threw in the towel today. Had this been Smith’s first run as the Don Quixote candidate in the race, I might have more sympathy but the way this was handled today was more the act of a petulant child. Paul flamed on a lot of supporters and well wishers unnecessarily.
When last I had heard from Paul’s campaign last week he was trying to cobble together enough funds to order some yard signs. Today’s message of I quit unless you give me $20,000 ASAP was unprofessional. Paul knew what he was getting into long before now.
On the whole, I like Paul but every once in a while he really gets off on tangents. I remember last summer when he was demanding $300 from the Sacramento County Republican Party so he would have the funds to rent a hall to hold a townhall event on healthcare. The SCRP couldn’t give him any funds because they felt that this would be tantamount to a pre-primary endorsement. Instead of looking elsewhere for the money, he went on the Eric Hogue radio show and publicly took the SCRP to task. The fact that a Congressional candidate could not raise a mere $300 to hold a public event seemed laughable to me.
I agree with him that Doris is part of the problem but her district is so safe that it would take millions to move enough voters to throw her out. In addition to the almost 15,000 newly registered Republicans in his district, he would need about 70,000 more to have a likelihood of winning in November.
Paul’s actions today affirm the belief that the Republican voter registration efforts in Sacramento County have largely been a wasted effort since he has been the primary beneficiary of the effort and not Dan Lungren. The high registration bounties paid in Sacramento County were intended to boost Lungren out of the vulnerable category. Lungren has only recently been made aware of this fact. Unfortunately, the political consultant that is running the registration effort seems to get paid the same regardless of where the newly registered voter lives.
As a result of the press release today, Smith’s days as a candidate are likely over. It’s too bad, I like having Paul around.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Weekend Plans Up In Smoke
Early last week I was offered some tickets to a barbeque sponsored by the Sacramento County Republican Party (SCPR). Although I am a member of the group I had not planned to attend because they were selling tickets for $55 each. Since these tickets were free to me, I agreed to go if I could get two tickets. My friend said that he had enough tickets so my wife and I planned to attend the Saturday evening event and take our five year old son with us.
Near lunch time the day before the event, my friend had to submit the names of the people using the tickets. Tickets were purchased by a candidate and they were leaving them on will call at the door. One of the people that was unable to attend was the ex officio representative of this candidate to the County Central Committee. My friend decided to give the ticket to his 12 year old daughter since no one else that he contacted wanted the ticket. The candidate’s campaign manager was reluctant to let the daughter have a ticket but agreed.
To understand what follows next, some background information is necessary to put things in context. My friend was by far the most active unpaid volunteer in the 2008 election cycle. He probably put in close to 1,000 hours during the general election cycle; plus he gave up thousands in income and probably spent a over $1,000 in out of pocket expenses to keep the campaign headquarters in Elk Grove open. He took his daughter on as many precinct walks and fundraisers as he could. She also helped him organize much of the activity in the campaign headquarters. He ranks her as one of the top volunteers in the Elk Grove headquarters. A good case could be made that she was one of the top 5 volunteers in the entire county. So when I say my friend wanted a ticket for his daughter, it wasn’t charity, it was recognition of her hard work.
Later in the day on Friday, my friend got word that the candidate’s consultant—Dwain Dichiara—said that the daughter could not have the ticket. Apparently for him, it was better to let the ticket go unused than that a child should use it. My friend was not happy. He told me he would have to go online to buy a ticket for his daughter. After he told me he was going to do this, he talked on the phone with the Executive Director of the SCRP and was told that she didn’t need a ticket.
At 10 pm Friday night, my friend called to tell me that no one under the age of 16 would be allowed to attend the event. Both he and I were furious. In the course of the conversation, I was told that this word came down from a group called Aimpoint.
On Saturday morning, I fired off an email to the County Chairman complaining about the no children allowed policy. Below is the text of the email. It differs only from the original in that one spelling error has been corrected.
I was contacted earlier this week by Carl Brickey to attend the BBQ today. He had already been invited to be a guest of Guy Huston but had been offered four tickets from Abram Wilson. The tickets were to be split as follows: one to his wife, one to John Slamkowsky and two to me and my wife. John decided that he wasn’t going so Carl decided to take his daughter. He contacted the Wilson people yesterday about noon to give them the names of the people using the tickets. There was some resistance about giving his daughter a ticket but they accepted the list. (FYI Carl’s daughter walked many precincts in the last cycle for AD 15 and 10 as well as helped to organize many walks.)
Later in the day Carl was informed that Dwain Dichiara personally vetoed Carl’s daughter from using the ticket because she was a child. She may be a minor but she works harder than most volunteers. (Carl ranks her as one of the top 5 volunteers in the south county and I would agree.) As a result, Carl went on the SCRP website and purchased a ticket to the BBQ.
Last night Carl got a call from AimPoint and was told that no one under the age of 16 was allowed to attend the event. I got a call from him as soon as he got off the phone with them. It was 10 pm.
Sue I can’t tell you how angry this makes me. It is very difficult for me to refrain from using profanity as I write this to you. Is this really an SCRP event? I know the Central Committee never authorized any funds for this but it is certainly being publicized as an event by SCRP. I went on the website and there is no prohibition about children attending the event; it just says buy a ticket.
I think Carl is owed an apology for the way he and his family have been treated and a refund for the ticket that he purchased. I think you need to get a handle on what others are doing in the name of the Committee. When did the Republican Party become the elitist, anti-family, anti-working class party? Especially in this economy?
Oh, and since my son can’t attend the event my wife and I will not be attending either. We named our son after Ronald Reagan and when a person named Reagan is not good enough to attend a Republican event, something is very wrong with the Republican brand.
I think it is contrary to everything that I value that children are treated as some type of pariah. I often see this in both churches and political events. Children are our future and supposed to be the reason why we get involved in making our community a better place. Children are not supposed to be segregated and kept out of the way until they reach some arbitrary age. If we want something like church or politics to be important to them as adults, we must instill the values in them as they are growing up. They must not just see us doing the activities but be included in them as they grow up. It is not reasonable to keep a child from participating in political activities until they are old enough to vote and then wonder why it is not important to them. It is not part of their lives. Children will not share your values if you don’t teach them. It is no mistake that these 1950’s attitudes gave rise to the generation of the 1960’s.
Yes, I know that there are adult only events sometimes but a barbeque is not one of them. Mr. Dichiara was clearly not interested in raising money because the ticket for my friend’s daughter was paid for one way or the other. If he wants to work the “grassroots’ of politics he had better figure out that families are the basis of our society and our political parties.
The chairman did not respond to the email. She only asked Carl if he had put me up to writing it when she saw him at the BBQ.
Dwain Dichiara—whom I never sent a copy of the message to—is the only one that wrote me back to say that if I didn’t like the way that the SCRP was raising money to give him a call. He also wanted to make sure I spelled his name correctly in the future.
At the event, no one had the guts to tell the candidate that attended with his children to send them home because they were not welcome.
The keynote speaker turned out to be Able Maldonado. That’s right, the turncoat, tax-raising, abolish the Republican Party candidate that supported Harvey Milk day was the surprise keynote speaker. What an insult. Having Able as the keynote at this event was about as tasteless as inviting the Ground Zero mosque people to lead the 9/11 memorial service next month.
Oh, and guess who bought a table at this event? Sacramento developer and chief funder of Democrats in Northern California Angelo Tsakopoulos. Yes the Don of the “Greek mafia” himself. I don’t mind taking Angelo’s money but I know he hasn’t changed his views on politics so it make me wonder if we are changing ours.
Friday, August 13, 2010
It’s like a classic episode of the Twilight Zone or Outer Limits. The world as it should be has been turned upside-down, inside out and backwards, but just enough familiar remains to give you a tenuous point of reference. The names of the dominant industries are the same but these engines of capitalism are now fascist vassals of the State. The pillars of Wall Street are shills for government command and control. Legislators abdicate their responsibilities in order to get reelected. The Senators of today are as irrelevant as their Roman counterparts two thousand years ago. Jury nullification has been replaced with judicial nullification. The will of the people is continually nullified by the tyranny of evil men in black robes. The specters of 1984 and Brave New World are no longer the stuff of science fiction but an integral part of our daily lives. What’s worse is that most of us can’t live without them. We say we want something else but when given the chance we become just like those that we say we hate.
Our society is sick. We have cancer. This cancer is Liberalism. Unfortunately it is the kind that cannot be surgically removed. One of the more advanced places you will find the disease is in our judicial system. Here are some examples of the extent of the illness.
• We vote over and over that the worst criminals in our society should get the death penalty. The courts keep ruling otherwise. Most death row inmates die of natural causes decades after their conviction. Judges diminish the vote of the people.
• We vote to stop government benefits for illegal aliens. The court rules that is unconstitutional. Judges diminish the vote of the people.
• We charge the citizens of our state less than the citizens of other states to attend our colleges and universities but we have to give illegals that same benefits as our citizens and even grant them scholarships. Judges diminish the vote of the people.
• We vote that marriage should be between a man and a woman but judges say no. This diminishes marriage and redefines it into something it is not. Judges diminish the vote of the people.
• We vote that private property should not be taken by the State except when it is for the public good. The courts rule that citizens have no right to keep property if the State wants it for the benefit of another private party Judges diminish the vote of the people.
• We vote that parents should be involved in the decision of their minor children to seek an abortion but the courts say no. Judges diminish the vote of the people.
• We vote that people that vote should prove they are citizens but the courts say no. Judges diminish the vote of the people.
• We vote that States should uphold federal immigration laws. Judges say that is unconstitutional. Judges diminish the vote of the people.
Then our politicians lament that nobody votes any more. I wonder why?
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Singer/Song Writer Larry Norman once lamented, “Why are the rich more equal than others?”
In state government there are the rules and then there are the exceptions for “special people”.
The point is that regardless of what the Marxist folks among us proclaim about equality, some folks are more equal than others. This is my chance to vent about such an occurrence yesterday at work.
Yesterday I got this email message “Please let me know the status of a travel advance for my boss.” Travel Advances are money loaned to a state employee prior to traveling on state related business. Once the trip is complete the employee must file an expense claim for the trip and the advance is “recovered” from the money reimbursed to the employee. In this case the travel dates of the advance were July 26 – 30.
My response was “The claim was returned on 08-02-10 since dates of travel had already past. It looks like the TA is being resubmitted. Since dates of travel have already gone past (July 26-30), this travel advance will not be paid.”
Her reply was “The TA was submitted on 7/20/10, a week in advance of his travel. Why was it not paid in a timely manner originally?”
My next response was “Due to not having a budget, virtually all travel advance requests are not being paid. We let people know this at the beginning of the fiscal year. Furthermore, no expense claims for travel after June 30th are being paid.”
Her next email message was “There are no exceptions (travel was approved by Chief Deputy Secretary)??”
My response to her was “I don’t handle travel advances; I can just tell you what is coming from upper management. Here is text of first memo on budget that we got on June 30th. As you can see travel advances and expense reimbursements in new fiscal year are not allowed.” Then I attached a June 30 memo from the Department of Finance. Part of the memo states:
This BL reminds state departments that Office Revolving Fund (ORF) disbursements are generally prohibited for fiscal year 2010-11 payments until the 2010-11 Budget is enacted. Generally, this restriction applies to ORF payments for travel advances, travel expenses, discount invoices, and other payments made by ORF check.
Emphasis in red was in the original message sent to me. (Travel Advances are paid from the Revolving Fund.)
At this point I did not have any further correspondence with this employee. However, about 45 minutes later my manager came and had a talk with me. I was told that everything I have told the employee was correct but so and so had the big boss at CDCR accounting and hesaid that we should pay the travel advance for this employee. Furthermore that any travel advance questions that I received in the future were to be referred to another employee because she had the list of people that were exceptions to the rules.
Per Travel Manual Chapter 3, “A travel advance will not be issued for the following:… When the employee is requesting an advance for days already elapsed.”
Conclusion, there is one set of rules for the masses and another set for the ruling classes.
Monday, August 02, 2010
It Begins-Budget Crisis 2010
Word come down this afternoon that no more travel claims are to be approved by the accounting department at the Department of Corrections. The stated reason is that the State of California is out of money. Will IOUs be starting soon? Is the State still hiring? (They were last month.) Stay tuned!
August 3 update:
Just in case you were wondering, my department is still doing job interviews today to fill new positions.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Detrick, Cooper and Davis Flail
Scott Adams, the creator of the comic Dilbert once wrote a whole book about the idea that there is a right way, a wrong way and the weasel way. Last night the weasel way was on full display at the Elk Grove City Council meeting. A special meeting was called by Gary Davis, Jim Cooper and Steve Detrick for 6 pm to strip Sophia Scherman of her role as Mayor of Elk Grove.
Scherman—not willing to “go quietly into that good night”—called as many of her supporters as she could and invited them to the meeting. As a result, not only was there standing room only in the back of the room and along both sides of the council chambers but both overflow areas were full also. Seeing the outpouring of support for her, Scherman’ accusers like the Pharisees and Sadducees of old, decided their best tactic was to move the special meeting from preceding the regular council meeting to the dead of night. As a result about 75 percent of the supporters had gone home by the time the four and a half hour delay was over.
Once the agenda was completed for the regular meeting, the three accusers were finally forced to do the deed they had threatened. When given the opportunity to explain their actions they bravely took a pass and choose to go straight to public comment. Many members of the public that endured the previous four plus hours then had the chance to state their support for Scherman and ask that these three councilmen reconsider their actions.
Cooper, Davis and Detrick all took turns verbally pummeling Scherman for calling a special meeting last week to talk about a group home for juvenile sex offenders in the city. Scherman was frequently accused of “strong mayor tactics” for calling the meeting and other un-named actions that she had taken as mayor. The only evidence presented was that Scherman followed Robert’s Rules of Order and the others didn’t like being bothered with the increased level of involvement that Scherman was asking them to display. Apparently their idea of limited government was being left alone so their involvement was limited.
Perhaps part of the friction was that Detrick, Davis and Cooper were upset with Sophia for acting more from her emotions. She looks at things as a mother and grandmother. Sophia responds to issues from her heart. If these married, middle-aged men haven’t figured-out that women see the world differently, I really pity their wives.
All three men are wannabes. Earlier this year, Davis wanted to be a congressman—until his party threw him under the bus. Cooper wants to be Sacramento County Sheriff but not bad enough to avoid stupid public displays like this and Detrick apparently wants to be mayor.
The three men reminded me of playground bullies taunting a small child and trying to cow her into submission by the force of their combine wills. In the end, none was willing to throw a punch. Knowing that the first man to drive the political knife into Sophia would be simultaneously ending his political future none had the guts to make the motion to remove her. Instead they kept punting to the next person like a slow motion version of the proverbial hot potato game. Trying to end this farce, Pat Hume motioned to end the meeting. The motion was defeated. All three wanted more. Like three alley cats toying with a wounded mouse they kept taking more verbal swipes at Scherman.
After all the boys had their turn to speak, Scherman read from a prepared statement. Then it really hit the fan.
After about 45 minutes of this, the city attorney even tried to suggest some language to make special meetings better fit the schedules of the three combatants but they wanted more. Steve Detrick especially wanted unconditional surrender from Scherman. He didn’t get it and Detrick kept doubling-down.
In the end, and yes there finally was an end, nobody motioned to remove Sophia Scherman as mayor. After an hour and a half, Hume finally got the others to agree, however reluctantly to end the meeting. The only clear winners were Pat Hume and Scott Jones—Cooper’s opponent in the sheriff race.
Davis, Detrick and Cooper took a crack in the community and turned it into a fissure. The unresolved episode of last night has the potential to color the political landscape in Elk Grove for many years. My wife, a fifth generation person from Elk Grove, said it had been many years since that number of old-time residents has assembled in one place. These three threw a grenade last night but others are likely to pull the pin and throw it back.
More as developments warrant.