Religion, Politics, Culture: Defined & Explained

Monday, July 14, 2008

Armed Police Forbid National Anthem at Capitol

When Bureaucrats Attack!

California politicians do really stupid things on a daily basis. Usually they get away with their actions because most media outlets ignore their actions. Unfortunately for us, journalists forgot what journalism was intended to be several decades ago and instead of keeping both sides honest, they chose sides.

As a result, journalists that cover the State Capitol don’t tend to work very hard. They go get their batch of press releases at their building on 10th and L Streets and use them as the basis for their next round of submissions to their editors. Usually their stories are paraphrases of the press releases in their “IN” box. They occasionally will get an additional quote from someone in their rolodex to round out their 700 word essay on the days’ news. The reason every newspaper and television station have the same stories is that they use the same press releases from the same sources. It’s not a conspiracy, its laziness.
During the last few days, the silence in the local media has been deafening with regard to the treatment of my daughter and her friends at the California State Capitol. My daughter attended the City on the Hill Leadership conference last week. This is a hands-on series of workshops on how government works. Part of the time is spent in the Capitol building meeting with legislators.

Following a meeting with Senator Tom McClintock, her group went into the rotunda portion of the building and decided to sing the national anthem and God Bless America. It has been a tradition each year to sing during their visit to the Capitol. This time however, the group was stopped in mid song by armed members of the security detail for the capitol (officers of the California Highway Patrol) and told that what they were doing was illegal because they did not have a permit! They were threatened with arrest!

A series of press releases was sent to parents and others notifying them of this government action. The irony of a group of high school kids learning the wonders of American democracy and being told that exercising their freedom of speech would land them in jail is rich. Liberalism allows freedom of speech only when it agrees with them. (Better they learn the lesson well in their youth.) Locally, Eric Hogue led his show with it today and WorldNetDaily.com featured it today. New media will boldly go places to old media cannot enter.

Posted by william on 07/14 at 05:18 PM
Christianity & ReligionNews & PoliticsPermalink

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Harder Than Being President

I have often heard that being President of the United States is one of the toughest jobs in the world. We’ve all seen the before and after photos of young candidates who leave office looking twice their age. After last night, I found an even harder job. Try being an apologist for John McCain in front of some true Reagan Conservatives.

It’s one thing to defend your own stupid statements, but to defend John McCain as a conservative candidate! That takes reality to places where no one returns without a huggycoat (straight jacket.)

This poor guy is a mid-level operative in the McCain campaign in California. He was telling us about the outreach they will be doing to conservative democrats and independents. They sort of forgot to include the outreach to get Republicans to cross over and vote for McCain.

This guy was defending McCain’s opposition to domestic drilling for oil and his stupid tax hike scheme disguised as “cap and trade” carbon credits. Yes, candidate McCain wants energy independence and he is a great fiscal conservative. What a load of steaming b.s.

Then we got to hear about whether McCain will take matching federal campaign funds. The bottom line, if Obama will, the he will. That’s true leadership? More like honor amongst thieves.

I think most people in the Republican Party would like to vote for McCain; however, it will be a very cold day in hell before we work for him. He has offered us nothing but contempt and offense. If he wants our help then he better throw us a big bone.

McCain is an economic fascist and Obama is a socialist. Some choice we have in November. As if to prove the point, today McCain talked of windfall taxes and the evils of corporate profit when addressing the rising cost of gasoline.

Posted by william on 06/11 at 07:04 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Monday, June 09, 2008

California Assembly Race Undecided After a Week of Counting

Sorry I have been gone from this blog for a while but I’m back now. It is now a week since the June 3rd primary in California. Yeah, the one without the top of the ticket candidates.

Amazingly, in this age of instant gratification and computer technology, one of the local races is far from over. California’s 15th Assembly District on the Republican side is far from decided. There were four candidates in this race. Between the four, they spent in excess of one million dollars for a job that pays only ten percent of that amount.

Once, a safe Republican district, the Fifteenth has seen the Republican registration advantage erode and at least on paper, the Democrats now out number Republicans in the District.

The two leading candidates are opposites in personality and temperament.

Robert Rao (pronounced Ray-oh) made his fortune as a car dealer. He had dealerships in several California cities. He is a self-made millionaire and mostly retired. He decided to enter politics because he was tired of the B.S. that bureaucrats and politicians keep mandating on the private sector. In short he’s mad as hell and decided that someone needs to do something. One day he decided that someone should be him.

Abram Wilson is a mellow guy that has been mayor of a mid-sized city in the East Bay Area. A veteran and former financial guy, Wilson is quiet and soft-spoken. He once managed portfolios worth tens of billions of dollars. He brought this expertise to his job as mayor and has worked wonders for his city. Wilson has decided that Sacramento could use someone with his fiscal background.

I have met with both men and decided to hitch my proverbial wagon to Rao. Wilson reminded me of the old Rodney KingWhy can’t we all just get along” or George W Bush’ New tone.” I felt that we need someone in Sacramento that will fight for us not find better ways to get along with Democrats. Arnold has been great at that for the past few years and Republicans are in worse shape now than before he took office as Governor.

Anyway, the ballot results per the Secretary of State’s website put Wilson up by 449 votes. The California Republican Party sent out congratulations to Wilson and so did defeated candidate Judy Lloyd. Better luck next time right? Wrong!

As it turns out, there are over 100,000 votes uncounted in the counties that comprise AD 15. A portion of these votes are in the district but how many?

Each of the four candidates seemed to have their bases of electoral majority. Wilson did well in Contra Costa country. Scott Kamena won in Alameda County. Judy Lloyd won Sacramento and San Joaquin Counties. However, Rao came in second in Alameda, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties.

Note to readers, the closer you get to Judy Lloyd’s home the lower she did. Translation, those that know her best voted for another candidate. The places were she underwent the least amount of scrutiny, were the ones that she did best in.

I started looking at the numbers on Wednesday (the day after the election). One of the trends that I noticed was that Rao beat Wilson 2:1 in Alameda and Sacramento counties. He and Wilson were about even in San Joaquin. It was evident that all of Wilson’s eggs were in one basket: Contra Costa. He did virtually no campaigning outside of his home turf.

The numbers that give Rao hope are the vote by mail ballots. Sacramento said they had over 66 thousand uncounted ballots. Contra Costa said they had about 22 thousand. San Joaquin had about 9 thousand. If Alameda has more than Contra Costa, then Wilson should be toast. Wilson has too thin of a margin to overcome 2:1 trends for Rao in Sacramento and Alameda.

By Friday, June 6th, Wilson’s lead had started to erode. He was down to 177 votes. At close of business on Monday, the lead for Wilson was down to 134 votes.

It appears that Contra Costa will be the first of the four counties to have all their votes totaled. Sacramento thinks they will have final numbers by Friday June 13. The big question is what is happening in Alameda County? I think by close of business on June 10th, Rao will be in the lead!

I will keep you posted.

- 30 -

Update: Congratulations to Mayor Wilson on his Primary victory. 242 votes

Posted by william on 06/09 at 10:06 PM
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Friday, March 28, 2008

Review: The Wiggles Live

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There are a lot of creative ways that people have come up with to simultaneously market to young children and separate their parents from money. A pioneer in this field was Walt Disney. Walt entertained children and made a fortune doing it.

Much of the stuff geared to children finds its way into our homes via television. Some of this programming is entertaining to children but like constant fingernails scraping on chalkboards to their parents. Teletubbies and Barney come to mind in this category. Other programs are more like Pixar animation, geared for kids but with something there that adults can enjoy also. For me The Wiggles is in this more creative group.

Last night, my wife and I took our three-year-old son to see the 2008 version of their road show. The show entitled Pop Goes The Wiggles Live! was ninety minutes long and featured The Wiggles and all their friends: Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus and Captain Feathersword. In addition there were many extras on the stage as well.

It was my first time to see Sam. He is the new Wiggle that replaced the ailing Greg. Sam was good. He knew his part and seemed comfortable with the other members of the group. His vocal range was close to Greg’s and he was able to sing and dance his way through the show.

What amazed me most was physical nature of the whole act. There was lots of running and jumping. In addition, The Wiggles exhibited limberness that would be expected more from Jackie Chan that a group of guys that sing silly children’s songs. Lets face it, the Wiggles are getting into middle age and yet they can do the splits and limbo! I would expect some of their moves from someone trained in ballet but not from some guys that majored in child development.

Some of the music they did was prerecorded but much of it was actually done live. Again, it was impressive. They did many of my favorite songs during the show. Can You Point Your Finger and Do the Twist, Fruit Salad and Rock-a-bye Your Bear. They also did an instrumental version of The Knack’s My Sharona. Big Red Car was the last number in the show.

Our seats were about forty feet from the stage. There was lots of audience singing and clapping. Many children brought roses for Dorothy (according to Wiggles lore, Dorothy eats roses) and there were a few bones for Wags the Dog. Some children brought handmade signs that they held-up during the show.

My wife and I enjoyed the show. However, it was a bit overwhelming for our three year old. He experienced sensory overload. He spent much of the show in my lap just playing with the Wiggles stickers that were in our seats when we arrived.

I would like to see The Wiggles again in about two years. By then I think my son will enjoy it more. If you have a chance go see them please borrow a kid and go. I think even my high school aged daughter would have enjoyed the show.

Posted by william on 03/28 at 09:49 AM
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Thursday, March 27, 2008

California Meltdown

I’ve been paying close attention to the on going budget discussions as the California legislature gear-up for the annual budget fight. I would like to take the occasion of this blog entry to summarize my solution for this situation.

First, the estimates in the range of 14 billion dollars are lower than the actual numbers. If nothing changes this debt will expand exponentially. Structurally, the debt is much closer to 100 billion without any reforms. The lawmakers have so much automatic growth build into retirement, healthcare, education and other programs that the economy of the State cannot support the promises made thus far let alone deal with infrastructure and other needs created by neglect of elected officials.

While the legislature’s problems are all self inflicted, they are made even worse by the multitude of ballot measures passes in the last two decades that attempt to fix issues for which lawmakers have failed to provide leadership. Term limits and safe seats created by gerrymandered districts have also made the problem more pronounced.

Republican proposals offered this week to shift blame onto illegal aliens are a diversion that only nibbles at the edge of the fiscal mess. These ideas will not fix the fiscal mess we are in.

There is a large gap between what should happen and what is actually achievable in the current climate. I would like to deal with what is achievable. My idea is both a face-saving measure for the current leadership in both parties and also provides political cover from the political fall-out that will result.

The creator of the Dilbert comic strip wrote that there is a right way, a wrong way and the weasel way. I am skipping the other two options and heading straight for the weasel way.

The legislative leadership and the governor need to do the same thing the Congress did many years ago when Congress decided to start closing military bases; namely, they need to create a “Blue Ribbon” commission to craft an omnibus fix for the mess. It will be a combination of closing tax loopholes, instituting cost of living increases for departments of government not automatic double-digit increases (kill zero based budgeting), undoing budget allocations via previously passed ballot initiatives, raising voter threshold to enact any new budget mandates to a supermajority, restructuring state employee benefits and reforming the budget process to a two-year budget not an annual one.

The legislature will then need to swallow their pride and pass this thing before it gets too hot to handle. In military jargon, pull the pin, throw the grenade and run like hell the other direction. If this idea works take credit for it, if it blows-up in your face, blame to other guys. Remember, failure is an orphan but success has many fathers.

This fix will probably require a set of ballot measures to be fully enacted.

After everything is back on track, the people should enact a part-time legislature; after all, I did say the budget was every two years.

Posted by william on 03/27 at 03:52 PM
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hillary Rips-off Bob the Builder

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Hillary Clinton is in trouble with children five and under for ripping-off the animated series Bob the Builder. As a parent of a small child, I know this to be true because Bob’s motto is “Can we build it? Yes we can!”

A central part of Hillary’s campaign is her theme that America is broken and only she can fix the ills of our country. Hillary is ambitious to do an extreme makeover of the United States. Hence her motto of “Yes we can!” This is obviously a rip-off of Bob the Builder. Where is Paul Shanklin when you need him?

Posted by william on 03/25 at 11:00 AM
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Thursday, March 20, 2008

How to Steal the Democrat Nomination

A few years ago, Hugh Hewitt wrote a book entitled “If its not Close, They Can’t Cheat.” Well, the Democrat Primary is close, so the question is how will Hillary Clinton snatch the nomination from upstart Barack Obama? I have given it some thought and would like to propose two tactics that she could employ.

First, it is clear that only the “super delegates” can elect the next nominee. Neither Clinton nor Obama can win on the basis of pledged delegates from the state primary process. If, as I maintain, Obama has peaked in his support and the current downturn in his popularity will stabilize at a lower level of support, some Democrats will have “buyers remorse” and want to support Hillary. So what can Hillary do to capitalize on this change? Simple, she gets the “super delegates” to sit out the first ballot at the convention. This allows the delegates selected by the primary process to vote as pledged and results in no candidate selected. Once this vote is cast, delegates will be free to vote as their conscience dictates. These newly freed delegates and super delegates will then rally around Clinton and anoint her as the nominee.

However, why wait for the convention to get the nomination? Once the Rezko trial is over, Hillary can pull strings with the Daily operation in Chicago and get Barack indicted. With the speed of justice these days measured in years and not weeks, Obama will be damaged and have to withdraw due to this black cloud over his candidacy. If this tactic is employed, look for it to come from an African-American judge in the Windy City.

The proof that the Clintons undermined Obama will be almost untraceable except for the gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach that this worked out just swell for Hillary.

Posted by william on 03/20 at 11:16 AM
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Horton Hears a Who

Based on the children’s book by Doctor Seuss, this movie puts into action the tale of an elephant that believes that “a person is a person, no matter how small.” Horton risks life and limb to try to find a safe place for the speck of dusk that contains the world of Whoville. The animation is wonderful and this movie should get a bunch of awards.

While watching the film with my three-year-old son, I kept wondering if any of the people doing the voice work for the film really believe in the message of this movie or if it was just another job for them. I wondered how different our world would be if people really believed that “a person is a person, no matter how small.”

Horton Hears a Who is a story that illustrates the message of Christ that whatsoever you do to the least of these you do it unto me. I believe this movie is one of the most profound arguments for the sanctity of life ever to be written.

The contrast with the Leftist sermons of Jeremiah Wright couldn’t be any more vivid. Wright accuses the evil white run government of genocide against black people for creating and spreading the Aids virus. His strawman arguments are just laughable. It is the political party that he and Mr. Obama have associated themselves that advocates the genocide of blacks by the millions and even uses tax dollars to pay for it that should be Wright’s targets of indignation.

Rev Wright can’t really help but be a polytheist. Those seeking shelter on the Democrat Plantation can have any god they choose as long as government is their chief deity. The government taketh from the rich and the government giveth to the poor, blessed be thy name oh government.

Rev Wright doesn’t love the United States because it allows us the have equality of opportunity (as the founders intended), he despises the United States because it is not founded upon equality of outcome (as Carl Marx advocated).

Rev Wright and his Liberal associates deny those smaller than they any rights that are not convenient (abortion and euthanasia) and seek to teardown any that are greater than themselves (hence the mantra against corporations). Thus in the name of creating heaven on earth, they unleash the fury of hell upon their fellow man. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 16: 25.

Too bad Rev Wright won’t learn the lesson from Jesus or Horton that “a person is a person, no matter how small.” Horton listened to that still small voice, maybe Rev Wright should try it some time. It worked wonders for Elijah the biblical prophet.

Posted by william on 03/19 at 03:28 PM
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Friday, March 14, 2008

Wright Proves Obama Wrong

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Senator Barack Obama is in the news for his association with Rev Jeremiah Wright. The sermon audio that has been featured on talk radio over the past few days is disturbing. It is racist and hate filled. It sounds like much of the lunacy that you would expect from Louis Farrakhan or other radical Muslims. While described as a Christian Church, Rev Wright seems to advocate another Jesus and another gospel.

The absurdity of Wright’s sermon claiming that Jesus was a black man who lived in a land that was under the oppressive thumb of the white Roman oppressors sound like Carl Marx or Louis Farrakhan not apostles like Peter, James and John. It is no more rational than if David Duke or some Clan member claimed that whites are superior because Jesus was white guy. Both are nonsense. Jesus was neither white nor black but somewhere in between. If Rev Wright should learn anything from the gospel it is that there is neither male nor female or Jew or Greek in Christ. We all enter the Church by adoption not by race or heritage. We are all equal before God and all enter his presence through the completed work of Jesus Christ.

Other quotes heard on talk radio speak about the evils of rich whites and the struggles of poor blacks. Then Rev Wright invokes than name of Hilary Clinton as an example of a rich white woman and Barack Obama as an example of a poor black man. Hey Rev try again. Barack is the one that earned over a million dollars a year while the Clintons were trying to get by on Bill’s 35K salary in Arkansas. Which family had more time in Ivy League schools? I don’t think it was the Clintons.

If Rev Wright is really so concerned about the rights of those that many consider non-persons then what is he doing to halt the genocide against blacks called abortion? What is he doing to strengthen black families and keep them gainfully employed? What is he doing to stop gangs, drugs and prostitution in his community? It seems that his answer is more big government and blaming white folks.

Rev Wright laments in his sermons about the number of blacks in prison. How many times has he taught his flock about the Ten Commandments? Oh, he probably can’t teach those because they are Jewish.

Rev Wright also says many outrageous things from his pulpit about the United States. While he has the freedom to do so in this country, his comments show a lack of respect for both Scripture and fact.

How such a man ever got ordained is a mystery to me. It is even more of a mystery why Obama stayed in this church for twenty years. Evidently, Obama agrees with much of the teaching he receives at the feet of Rev Wright. The only thing this whole episode does explain is the lunatic statements made by Obama’s wife.

Rev Wright is more proof that Obama is wrong.

Posted by william on 03/14 at 11:05 AM
Christianity & ReligionNews & PoliticsPermalink

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Not All are Reagan Disciples

I know the election cycle is just getting organized for most political races lower down on the ticket, but even before the filing deadline for the June Primary Election, I am getting tired of RINOs invoking the claim that they are Reagan Republicans. The most recent example that I saw was earlier this week when a candidate dropped in to a meeting that I was attending. She had really slick literature and a boatload of endorsements. It even said that she was a Reagan Republican. As proof she even managed to have a photo of her shaking the Gipper’s hand.

However, her presentation let you know that she was cozy with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bob Dole. In fact she even got Dole’s endorsement for a California Assembly seat!? Go figure!  In addition, it was clear that she had insider ties to the “bill mill” in Sacramento.

A friend of mine looked over her endorsement list and was convinced that every Republican leader in the San Francisco Eastbay that tried to thwart Conservatives was on the endorsement list. He then asked her the only question worth asking a Republican legislative candidate in California. There are slight variations but the question goes like this; “If elected, you will be a member of the minority party in Sacramento. What will you be able to accomplish in the midst of an overwhelmingly Democrat majority?” One implication of this question is will you be the weak knee Republican that sells us out and sides with Democrats to get the budget passed in exchange for some pork in your district? Will you crack under pressure or stand for fiscal responsibility in light of the 16 billion dollar budget shortfall?

Her response was that due to her extensive federal experience, she wanted to make smart cuts so she would not cause the state of California to loose matching federal funds. She assured us that she could win the game because she knew how the game was played.

I was disappointed at this response because she was already giving away the premise that the government should be involved in all these programs to start with. If she was truly a Reagan disciple, she was want the government out of many of the things that it has injected itself into that are not proper areas of jurisdiction. Where was the application of smaller government and more individual freedom? If a politician starts advocating “smarter government” or “more efficient government” then you’d better hold on to your wallet.

Within the next two weeks I will be seeing this woman again at another function that should be more interesting. This more conservative group will get to ask her about social issues and that will prove to be fun.

Posted by william on 02/28 at 12:07 PM
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Larry Norman 1947-2008

I just read on WorldNetDaily that Larry Norman had died. I will miss Larry and wanted to reflect on his music and influence on my life.

In the mid 1970’s, I made my peace with God. I had been looking hard for Him in fifth and sixth grade. I went from being a “good Catholic boy” to an agnostic and then began reading the Bible. I knew there was more to knowing God than what the nuns at my Catholic school were teaching to me.

At the end of seventh grade, I began attending a Baptist church in the town where I lived. The youth program was full of people with a living faith. They were really a breath of fresh air to my soul. (To this day I still see some of that group from time to time.) At church camp I walked forward and began my walk with Christ. While God has led me in other directions, I have continued to walk with Him.

At the Baptist church youth group we sang many songs each Wednesday night. Unknown to me at the time, Larry Norman had penned at least a third of the songs that we were singing. I remember being terrified by many of the songs and the fervor created by Hal Lindsey and The Late, Great Planet Earth. The church was full of “rapture fever.”

We loved to sing, “Life was filled with guns and war, and everyone got trampled to the floor, I wish we’d all been ready…”

Dispensationalist and Pre-Millennial theology were the tenants of orthodoxy at the church. This was the type of church that defined itself by what its members didn’t do. “I don’t smoke, drink or chew; and I don’t go with girls that do.” Another thing we didn’t do was listening to that “evil” Christian rock n’ roll. As far as I know, no one in the youth program ever mentioned Larry Norman.If the pastor had known, I’m sure there would have been hell to pay.

It wasn’t until college that I learned that Larry Norman had written those songs we were singing at church many years before. It was at this time that I realized that Larry Norman had been one of the earliest artists to blaze a trail for Contemporary Christian Music.

Norman also helped others to follow his lead in singing for God in a way that was uncompromising. Larry Norman was followed by Keith Green, Randy Stonehill, Michael Omartian, Gary S Paxton and others. These musicians helped to create a market for Christian music with a popular beat.

Larry voiced this idea when he song. “I don’t want any of those funeral marches, I aint dead yet. All I’m really tryin’ to say is why should the devil have all the good music?”

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A few years later, I joined the Navy and had a chance to see Larry Norman in concert. I took the photo for this article in the early 1980’s.

Larry Norman had been in poor health for the last several years but is now at rest and with the Jesus that he loved so dearly. Maybe it is time for me to start buying all those Larry Norman CDs that I failed to get for Christmas last year.

Related Web Sites
http://www.LarryNorman.com
http://www.harpmagazine.com/news/detail.cfm?article=12311 Obituary

Posted by william on 02/26 at 02:47 PM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Sunday, February 17, 2008

One-Way Downloads

Free Christian Music from the 1970’s and 80’s is available for download at http://mp3.one-way.org/mp3/ . The music found on this site is mostly stuff that was never issued on compact disk. They are listed by artist (alpha by first name) and each subdirectory has from one to six LPs per artist. They are taken from vinyl but many have been professionally done with new LPs and great cleaning software. A few are not cleaned-up at all but the quality is great when compared to my scratchy, cue burned music—much of which survived my disc jockey days at WDDT and KJBU.

Artists listed include: All Saved Freak Band, Bash n the Code, Cruise Family, Darrell Mansfield, Denny Correll, Ed Raetzloff, Fireworks, Michael Omartian, Prodigal, Servant and Wall Brothers Band.

I found the site purely by accident when I did my periodic Google search on Ed Raetzloff. In the past, I have spent lots of time on the one-way.org site but never seen any link or mention of this download area before. I’m not sure if the site owner intended for this stuff to be public or plans some profit making way of using these at a later date but the proverbial “barn door” is open for interested parties.

Oh, in case you were wondering, most of what I am interested in on this site is the stuff I already own on vinyl but cannot buy on CD or digital download. I still have more than a hundred albums that I cannot buy in a digital format. The less I have to convert on my still to be purchased USB turntable the better. I hope I will be able to do as good a job as the person at one-way that is working hard to preserve the Christian music experience of the 70’s and 80’s.

Posted by william on 02/17 at 05:10 PM
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Friday, February 15, 2008

Wendy’s & Rhapsody

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I have some old friends back in my life thanks to Wendy’s. Here’s the story.

I’m always buying ice tea from the Wendy’s around the corner from where I work. The cups are so ugly that I used to just toss ‘em but finally one day I read the stuff on their cups. They claimed that I could get free music downloads from Rhapsody. I’m always suspicious about things that claim to be free but I decided to investigate.

I collect obscure Christian Rock music—most of which seems to have never made it from vinyl to compact disk—so hoping for the best I went ahead and installed Rhapsody. (The frustrating thing about all these music sites except Amazon is that they won’t tell you what titles they carry unless you install their software first. There are certain titles that I look for or it won’t last ten minutes on my hard drive.) Anyway, I got Rhapsody installed on one of my computers.

My first reaction was disappointment. The interface is clunky. iTunes does a much better job of letting you do music searches. However, I was able to locate some titles that I was interested in downloading.

The other thing I don’t like about many music sites is their stupid encrypting of music. Rhapsody and iTunes both do this and it’s stupid. I only use Windows Media Player to listen to music so I have to waste a CD to get the music into Media Player. I have to take my songs and make a compact disk and then rip the songs using Media Player so I can listen to them. This creates music without the stupid copy protection. However, sometimes I must then manually enter all album and artist information and then find a copy of the album art and insert that also. What a waste of time. Thankfully Amazon is offering music that works as it should without all these other obstacles to enjoying a song. Anyway, I was talking about my free songs from Rhapsody.

Recently Servant has jumped from vinyl to digital and is now on many sites. I was able to get Rockin’ Revival and most of Shallow Water for free. The last track of Shallow Water is not available for individual download on Rhapsody so I had to buy it from iTunes. As I found out, Rhapsody and Real Player will not work on any 64-bit operating systems. Hey guys I’ve been running 64-bit operating systems now for over two years, lets get into the 21st Century. I also was able to get an old Benny Hester disk and a Wiggles Christmas album. Lastly I got the Stryper live album. That’s a lot of ice tea!

Oh the free downloads end on February 28th. Since Real Networks products don’t support any 64-bit OS, Rhapsody will come off my computer shortly after that date.

Thanks to Wendy’s for the free music.

Posted by william on 02/15 at 10:49 AM
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Friday, February 08, 2008

Conservatives in the Wilderness

Conservative Republicans are now consigned to wander in the wilderness for several years. John McCain has achieved the disaster that we were hoping to avoid. Instead of dwelling on McCain however, I would like to examine the much broader question of what is structurally wrong with the Republican Party.

Since the 1980’s both here in California and on a national scale there has been no “farm club” for training and screening local candidates. For a brief time in the 80’s, Republicans had what amounted to a “farm club” for entry-level local candidates. Many in the private sector were inspired to serve their fellow citizens by running for public office. Those that were able to keep their conservative principles and succeed were then helped to regional office. The voters then evaluated those candidates and many advanced to Congress. Many of these candidates were elected in 1994.

However, even as these were working their way up the ladder, the system behind them was collapsing. George Bush was elected in 1988 and began replacing conservatives with moderates. Also, many that helped with the Reagan Revolution returned to private sector businesses. Meanwhile, trends were happening simultaneously that tore the fabric of the Reagan Republicans.

In California, Pete Wilson was elected governor. Wilson, Schwarzenegger and others were a new category of moderate Republicans that were elected in Liberal states. These men had similar politics. They campaigned as fiscal conservatives and social liberals (moderates). One defining characteristic of these men was that they were not into party building but clearing the deck of potential opposition within their party. They purposely killed the “farm team” and placed tight reigns on the campaign funding of seats lower down on the ticket. Thus they would fund moderates—even those with no hope of winning—while denying viable conservatives funding to win seats. These governors often adopted campaign finance reforms that defunded candidates in their party while empowering traditions campaign money for democrats. This happened nationally under George Bush (43) when he signed McCain-Feingold. The direct result of this “reform” was that Bush almost lost re-election and two years later the Republicans lost both Houses of Congress.

Another trend from the 1980’s to present is the rise in the cost of elections. In California, there is a rather static pool of consultants. These guys loose elections every two years and then get rewarded by doing the same thing for the next candidate two years later. Some campaign activities result in commissions to consultants, thus they encourage candidates in these areas, while others result in no payment to consultants. This is one reason that most candidates run media centered campaigns while you rarely see bumper stickers, yard signs and more “grassroots” campaign techniques. Elected officials usually control campaign contributions and funnel money only to a few select candidates. Most challengers to Democrat incumbents are given no financial support from the state party. This frees the Democrats to funnel money to other campaigns to get more Democrats elected because they have unfunded opposition. For a challenger to have a chance against an incumbent, they historically must collect 1/3 to 1/2 of the amount the Democrat will spend against them and have better than a 37% Republican registration in the district.

Democrats have always had to work harder to get their folks to the polls but recently solid Republicans that used to vote in every election have started to vote by staying home. As the quality of candidates has decreased and the performance of elected Republicans has begun to mirror policies of Democrats, voter participation has declined. This was true in 2006 and even truer in this presidential primary season. In 2008, twice as many Democrats have voted in primaries thru “Super Tuesday” as Republicans. Voters are tired of picking the lesser of two evils and are either staying home or switching to “independent”—thus not identifying themselves with either party.

In summary, Republicans suffer a lack of qualified candidates, an inability to fundraise and an increasing dissatisfied and disillusioned electorate.

In contrast, men like Ronald Reagan had deeply rooted principles and values. All that they did grew out of these values. Like him or not, everyone knew where Reagan stood on any issue because his beliefs never waivered. Because his policies grew out of his belief, Reagan’s policies were logical and consistent. With his skills as a communicator, he could speak to any issue from the heart and persuade others that he was correct. He succeeded not by compromise but by being right and bringing others to his cause.

Many that associated themselves with Reagan both past and present do not have any anchor or internal compass to guide them through the issues of their day or ours. They claim the name of Reagan but often act contrary to the values that he espoused. You cannot be a Reagan Conservative if you favor bigger government to solve our problems, think we can tax and regulate ourselves into prosperity or think abortion or euthanasia are good public policy.

In our political system there are two types that identify themselves as Conservative. One group bases its views on their ideology of a limited federal government that should be limited to those things enumerated in the Constitution. This is a small subset of the Conservatives. There is also a group that chooses to preserve the status quo. They are satisfied to tweak the national government in certain areas but have no desire to roll back the intrusiveness of governmental reach or return power to the people they claim to represent. They favor more efficient government, not less of it.

The Republican Party lacks leadership but mostly it lacks a vision for the future. This was the element that has set Reagan apart from all others. Ronald Reagan was optimistic about America—its future and potential were both great and ahead of us. Reagan inspired people to believe in themselves and their country. Reagan never doubted that America is great because America is good. This belief was the catalyst of the Reagan Revolution.

Ronald Reagan is gone. It is our turn to carry on the work that he started. It is our job to leave the country a better place than we found it. He pointed the way. The reward is great and the cost is high. Each of us must decide what kind of America our children and grand children will inherit. The future doesn’t just happen we must work for it.

The first thing we need to do is to apply our conservative principles to state and national issues and decide what direction that we wish to move the country. The Contract with America that was put forth in 1994 was a good idea but it was all short-term ideas. Once the Republican Congress dealt with the ten items of the contract, they had no direction, goals or anything to work towards. The whole coalition fell apart within the first few months of the new Congress. We need a mixture of short, intermediate and long-term goals for both our state and nation. We must keep in mind the idea that government needs to get out of the way. Lasting solutions result from private sector creativity and competition.

In short, have a vision for the country; get candidates to implement the ideas and others will want to help once they see our success.

Posted by william on 02/08 at 02:40 PM
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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Mitt Romney is Our Guy

I have never given a dime to any Presidential candidate until last week.

With both Thompson and Giuliani dropping out of the Republican primary, the field got much smaller. The only man on the ticket that I can’t bring myself to vote for is John McCain. I will do whatever I can to prevent him from winning our party’s nomination.

The Republican Party is about to rid itself of the legacy of Ronald Reagan and start wandering in the wilderness. In California, the pro-life plank of the party will almost certainly be deleted this year and traditional marriage is also about to be dropped from the platform. If McCain is the nominee, the same will likely happen to the national platform.

If the liberals in the Republican Party get their way, we are on the verge of a Stalinist purge of Conservatives. McCain and his ilk will try to trade those pesky conservatives for moderates in the “independent” or “decline to state” category.

Is Mitt Romney the savior of the Reagan Republicans? No! But he will be a candidate that we can get behind. Romney has been willing to embrace us and stand for our values. Hugh Hewitt has been proved right. Romney has emerged as the only clear choice for Republicans.

This epiphany gained lots of steam last Thursday and Friday in the talk radio world and it is clear from both polling over this weekend and the Maine Caucus yesterday that McCain stands a real chance of being buried on Tuesday.

The states up on Tuesday are the most liberal ones voting. If Romney can survive and get his delegate count near 500 he will be in good shape to win the nomination even if McCain gets more delegates. The longer the process goes the better for Romney. The better you know John McCain the more you will want someone else to be the nominee.

Posted by william on 02/03 at 05:09 PM
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