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Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Microsoft Tablet Surfaces
Microsoft recently unveiled some prototypes of a Windows 8 Tablet called Surface. The devices are interesting because they bridge the divide between Tablet devices and laptops. They are faster than the Apple or Android counterparts and run more programs. The Intel version will run Office and most other programs that you can run on your desktop machine but in a portable format. They come with a physical keyboard as well as touch capability. They will support a midgrade CPU and solid state drive.
The Surface computers will make tablets mainstream and not just toys with email and GPS capability. The only concern I have is with the rumors that these tablets will be wifi but not 4G capable.
The tech press is divided into two camps on these Surface prototypes. One group says that Microsoft is just trying to push their hardware partners into going forward with a tablet design that is beyond what is on the market now while the others say that Microsoft needs more products for their Microsoft Stores. The wifi only capability gives some credence to the camp that believes the Surface devices are only prototypes and not the actual Windows 8 tablets that will be commercially available.
The almost simultaneous advent of Apollo (Windows Phone 8) will be an interesting twist to the roll-out of Windows 8. Microsoft is clearly pushing for a unified experience that is scalable from the smallest to the largest consumer computing experience. Both Operating Systems will be able to run virtually identical applications on either platform. Apollo is Windows 8 light and both share similar programming code.
Microsoft has a golden opportunity to reign in Apple and bring competition to hand held devices. Apple can’t thrive in a competitive market because they are not willing to drop their prices beyond a certain point—even in the face of competition. Apple historically will always take shareholders over market share. The boys in Redmond might be late to the party but they will be formidable once they join the battle this fall. If the press conference is to be believed then look for ARM devices in October and Intel ones around Christmas.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Movie: A Man Called Peter
I rarely do movie reviews on this blog but last night I saw a movie worth writing about. It does not have the action of The Avengers or the special effects of Prometheus but the story in this movie was better than either film. Last night I watched a film on Netflix titled A Man Called Peter. The movie had been sitting in our instant cue for the better part of a year but last night my seven year old son asked to see it. The synopsis of the film is:
Based on a true story, this drama centers on young Scotsman Peter Marshall, who travels to America and becomes pastor of the Church of the Presidents in Washington, D.C., on his way to becoming chaplain of the U.S. Senate.
Peter Marshall was a Presbyterian minister with a gift of communicating his faith in a way that could be understood by the simple and the learned. Much of the film gives you a feel for the type of man that could go from such humble beginnings to the seat of power in a short period of time. Much of the movie covers the period of the Great Depression and World War II.
If you want to know why the people of this period were called the Greatest Generation, this film will give you the answer. This film touches on many themes that are still plaguing our culture today. It has the best rebuttal of feminism that I have ever encountered and the movie was made in 1955. Marriage and family are spoken of at length as is the subject of death. The film’s depictions of the events of December 7, 1941 are haunting and very memorable. In a sense, the timeline of the movie revolves around the events on this date.
Toward the end of the film, Marshall is made the Chaplin of the U.S. Senate. As I heard Marshall’s prayers for the beginning of each day in the U.S. Senate, I thought that here was a clergyman that even humorist Will Rogers would agree had the correct view of the Congress and partisan politics.
Peter Marshall is played by Irish actor Richard Todd. Todd was a very prolific actor in the 1950s. His bio on Wikipedia reads in part,
He later appeared in The Dam Busters (1955) as Wing Commander Guy Gibson. Americans remember Todd for his role as the United States Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall in the film version of Catherine Marshall’s best selling biography, A Man Called Peter and as Robin Hood in the 1952 Disney film The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men. Todd was the first choice of author Ian Fleming to play James Bond in Dr. No, but a scheduling conflict gave the role to Sean Connery.
Wife Catherine Marshall is played by actress Jean Peters. Peters starred in movies with Marilyn Monroe, Clifton Webb and other top stars in Hollywood during the 1950s. Amazingly, her last film was A Man Called Peter. She then married billionaire Howard Hughes and stopped acting until the 1970s. Her last roll was on an episode of the television series Murder, She Wrote.
This film was nominated for an Oscar. It is great for the whole family and has a message that families need to hear.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Obama Preempts Supremes
President Obama’s Administration leaks like the proverbial sieve. Our government appears incapable of keeping any secrets.
It is clear that today’s Executive Order to enact portions of the “Dream Act” is the result of information that the White House was given that the U.S. Supreme Court is about to issue to rule in favor of Arizona’s controversial immigration law.
Lastly, why is it—when Democrats are in office—that we never hear complaining about the “Imperial Presidency”?
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Verizon Kicks Customers in the “Family Plan”
Verizon is touting its new “family plan” as some type of an improvement over what I have now. How can that be?
My current plan has two smart phones and two regular phones. Look what this does to my bill.
Here are some of the details:
• A regular phone will go from 9.99 to $30.
• Talk goes from 1400 minutes to unlimited. Currently we use about 350 minutes per month.
• Texting—which most of us never use—will be unlimited. (If you really need texting you can run it thru your data plan and not pay extra. Yes, there is an app for that.)
• Data—which I do use—will go from unlimited to pay as I go.
• Currently two Gigabytes is $30, under the new plan one gigabyte will be $50. A 300 percent increase in cost!
To have the same number of phones that I have now will cost $25 more under the family plan. That feels like a kick in the family plan to me. Only a mafia family could offer such a deal and expect us to like it. I would like to add more devices to my plan but not at the kind of prices that Verizon is offering. The price point is too high.
To avoid this plan you either need to upgrade your phones before the plan goes into effect later this month or pay full retail price to keep the unlimited data plan. Verizon doesn’t even offer a 4G Windows Phone and won’t until at least the fourth quarter of this year.
If AT&T will fix their network so it doesn’t drop calls and be competitively priced I just might consider switching. They clearly have a larger variety of offerings than Verizon. AT&T will respond with their idea of a family plan soon. Let’s see if they respect my budget or want to rape and pillage my wallet too.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Davy Jones Monkeys with Worker Comp Rates
In case you thought Barry Obama was the only one out of touch with the real world…
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones went against a unified front of labor and employer representatives siding with the insurance industry and the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) in approving a 8.3% increase mid-year rate hike for California employers. Added to the 37% rate increase he approved for January, July and later renewals are facing an average rate increase of 45.3% over last year at the same time.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
CA GOP—A Broken Organization
It is clear to me that the California Republican Party is broken. What we learned from the leadership during the June election cycle is that they are not only unwilling to follow their own rules but think that the existing rules are a hindrance to power. The last vestiges of a bottom up organization were shed during this cycle. From this point forward, rank and file average voters will no longer have a voice directly or indirectly in determining who will bear the Party endorsement.
With the top two election structure that we now have in California, the Party chose not to implement an alternate system to allow voters that are registered as Republicans to vote on who will be their choice for nominee. After more than three years of inaction, direct representation was officially scrapped. Instead, a system that only those candidates endorsed by 2/3 of each County Central Committee that was included in a district could endorse a candidate and furthermore only when all counties in a district were in agreement would a candidate be called the Party nominee in the June election. The rules further stated that failure to meet this high standard would result in no nominee in the race. These rules were ignored at every opportunity where a current office holder did not achieve endorsement thru the established process. Instead a small group of unaccountable people within the State Party leadership just did whatever was expedient to get the result that they desired. The California Republican Party is now a top-down organization that has successfully insulated itself from any responsiveness or accountability to those that identified with the Party. They have rejected both direct democracy and representative democracy in favor of an elitist aristocracy.
The only issue remaining is why would anybody care to associate with an organization that not only doesn’t care about them but is openly hostile to their views and values? I didn’t leave the Republican Party but clearly they have left me—and many others as well.
The last hope we have of saving this state is thru the initiative process and if the Democrats prevail, that window will be closed to us soon. I’m rather pessimistic about our short term prospects for any positive change. I think that we will be wandering in the wilderness until the so-called “baby boomers” are taking a “dirt-nap” and a new generation comes along with a willingness to return to the bedrock values that made us a successful and prosperous nation. I believe this will happen one day but the likelihood of it being in my lifetime is clearly diminishing.
Saturday, June 09, 2012
Adios California Republican Party
As a former political talk show host, my political rhetoric is usually saved for democrat elected’s and the Democrat Party, however what I witnessed in the days leading up to June 5th election have me furious. The CA Republican Party is broke, and very quickly becoming irrelevant in California politics. As a result they had to rely on financial donations from one Charles Munger Jr. a liberal financier from the Bay Area who has already tried to water down the state party’s platform.
The CA GOP in coordination with Munger spent over 100k on negative ads in the 6th Assembly district. The ads were used to attack republican Andy Pugno—a probate lawyer who was a lead counsel for prop 8. The ads included a quote from CA GOP chair Tom Del Baccaro who referred to Andy as a “trial lawyer” using “misleading tactics to attack incumbent Beth Gaines.” Not to be outdone Jon Coupal—Director of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association—claimed Andy “called Beth a moderate republican.” Neither statement is true. The fact is Andy Pugno is an Estate and Probate Lawyer who very seldom is involved in trials and truthfully referred to Mr. Munger as the “moderate supporting Beth Gaines.”
One must ask why would Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway want to spend over 400k to support Assemblywomen Beth Gaines in a primary where she and challenger Andy Pugno have no major policy differences? Wouldn’t that money be spent more effectively in November trying to hold more than a 1/3 minority in Sacramento? Maybe the money could have been better spent helping Peter Tateishi win a primary against a complete nut like Barbara Ortega? No! Apparently Connie Conway ordered the hit pieces be sent attacking Andy Pugno. Well the legislature won the battle for Beth Gaines but at what price? We know their poor decisions resulted in a very wounded Peter Tateishi who likely will lose in the run-off in November, further hurting the GOP cause. The unknown factor in all this is what did the Republican leadership have to horse-trade with Munger to get him to bail-out Beth Gaines?
As a result of this week’s elections I have decided I’m done with “California Republican Politics”.
For those not familiar with me, I have walked more precincts and done more for the conservative movement than most in this county. If the Sacramento County GOP decides they want to nominate moderate candidates and spend donors’ hard earned money attacking conservative candidates, good bye! Frankly, as a southern born conservative, the GOP in California is going to get exactly what they deserve in November—a very small, irrelevant minority! Additionally; I am calling on Tom Del Baccaro and Jon Coupal to resign immediately before they do any more damage to their organizations. I’m sure President Reagan was thrilled that his “11th commandment” was violated by the “latte drinking, Volvo driving, country club, liberal republicans both in the Capital and representing conservative groups on election night.”
—John M. Slamkowski, Elk Grove
Friday, June 01, 2012
Karen England’s PAC Fires on Adny Pugno
Karen England and her splinter group—California Conservative Republicans—have gone nuclear yet again in their attacks on fellow Republicans. This time their ire is directed at proven conservative leader Andy Pugno. Andy has a twenty year track record of working in the trenches for the conservative cause.
In his time at the University of California Davis he built the college republican group to over 700 members and took over student government of this notoriously liberal campus. He went on to be chief of staff for Pete Knight. (Knight was the first to lead the charge that marriage should be between a man and a woman.) Andy then worked in the private sector as an attorney for local governments too small to afford a fulltime legal staff. This is where I first met and worked with him. I found him to be professional, knowledgeable and prepared. Andy later went on to Proposition 8 and the defense of traditional marriage.
Character is often defined as what you do when no one is looking. This certainly describes Andy.
His priorities are God, family and country.
In their ad, Karen and her gang are hitting Andy below the belt. They start the ad by purposely wrongly pronouncing Andy’s name and then accusing him of doing things that he has never done; including calling Gaines a liberal. (Charles Monger is the only liberal identified by Pugno in any of his ads. Monger is the billionaire liberal that is saving Beth Gaines’ butt in this race with his independent expenditures.) Then they make their main charge that Andy was allegedly not at a particular meeting of the CRP platform committee. If this is such big deal then why is there no documentation to back-up this ad on their website? Instead, this is just what it appears to be, a slimy last minute “hit piece” unfairly directed at Andy.
We all know that the CRP is both broke (financially) and broken (institutionally). The platform committee vote was the subject of much manipulation and most of the real work was done behind closed doors by a small subcommittee. The CRP chair should be the villain of this ad not Andy. I’m sure Aaron Park has this well documented on his blog should you care to look. But why should the truth get in the way of a good hit piece?
I responded as any person would in the face of such an attack on a friend, I sent Andy a check. I thought I was done with contributions this cycle but Karen crossed the line and made me contribute one last time.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Four Republican Clubs Denounce Barbara Ortega
The following was released by Chris Orrock—President of Elk Grove Republicans—in response to the verbal meltdown that Barbara Ortega had Monday night after their endorsing meeting. Reportedly she used language that would make most sailors blush as she went after her opponent Peter Tateishi—to his face—and every Party group she could name. The only other person on this year’s ballot to promote this level of unity in Rebublican ranks is Barack Obama.
Today, the Presidents of the Cosumnes Republican Assembly, Elk Grove Republican Club, Sacramento Conservative Republicans of California and the Sacramento Republican Assembly took the extraordinary step of reprimanding Assembly Candidate Barbara Ortega and called upon her to apologize for her false claims and accusations against the California Republican Party, Sacramento County Republican Party and all of the Republican Clubs in Sacramento County.
This measure comes after Ortega made accusations of collusion and unethical practices against the clubs, elected Republican Officeholders, and official parties in Sacramento as well as the California Republican Party. Ortega stated at the Elk Grove Republican Club that the club and its membership had “rigged” the system against her to support the efforts of her opponent. She accused club members and the elected members of the Central Committee of intentionally misleading her and denying her opportunities to participate in candidate forums and endorsement meetings. She continued to berate the state party, local party and local clubs that had voted to endorse Peter Tateishi.
“Her behavior and tone at the meeting was unacceptable and should not be tolerated by any candidate” said Carl Brickey President of the Cosumnes Republican Assembly. “To accuse our volunteers and elected central committee of collusion and of unethical practices is baseless and false.”
“We are saddened today to have to take this measure against one of our own candidates, but her statements cannot go unanswered” said Tim Snipes President of the Sacramento Republican Assembly. “As a party, we do not attack our own, especially the grassroots volunteers who make our party great.”
“Sadly, Ortega has a history of making poor decisions and failing to act appropriately in public. We had hoped she would have learned from her arrests years ago for driving under the influence, which she plead down to a wet and reckless, battery of an officer and resisting arrest” said Chris Orrock President of Elk Grove Republican Club. “It does not appear that she has taken the time to grow from these unfortunate experiences and continues to behave in a way that is not becoming of any candidate running for office.”
Ortega’s claims at the Elk Grove Republican Meeting can all be proven as not just untrue but completely false.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Sermon on Acts 4
Last week I was able to deliver the sermon at my church. Here are the notes that were the basis of the message.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalm 19: 14
In today’s message we will be exploring some weighty issues in the New Testament. I am trying to distill a complex issue into a single sermon. My purpose is to help you understand the larger context of the verses in Acts chapter 4.
Throughout history, many have used these verses as the basis for various novel interpretations of ecclesiastical and social structures. In the past this was a formative text to various monastic movements and how they modeled communities of faith. This verse was important to the Pilgrims as the original basis of their social and economic structure. In more recent times both theological and political liberals have used the passage as a proof text for Marxism and Socialism. All have missed the larger context of the passage. Today, I will try to make the case for the larger context of the passage.
Acts 4: 32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Acts 4: 32-37 introduces a unity of heart and soul within the Church of Jerusalem. Additionally, the needs of each were met by the others. Many sold their property and gave to other believers. Joses who is also called Barnabas is cited as an example in his contribution to the Church. Later he becomes an ally and companion to the Apostle Paul on his missionary journeys. The generosity of Barnabas is contrasted with the selfishness of Ananias and Sapphira in the verses that follow.
Acts 5: 1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold , was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
• These events were at the church in Jerusalem; Ananias and Sapphira lied to Peter.
• There is no parallel account of property in common, only in Jerusalem
• The text of these passages makes plain that selling all and giving to the Apostles was not required but was a gift.
To understand, we need to look at other New Testament passages to build a case for a larger context.
Point 1 Why hold things in common? Monks, Pilgrims & Marxists
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” Karl Marx 1875
Marxism is antithetical to Scripture; especially as taught in the Old Testament. It is directly contradictory to the Ten Commandments. If everything belongs to the State; your wife, children, house, oxen (job) and ass (transportation) do also. The State usurps both the family and the Church and becomes “god” to the masses.
President Gerald R. Ford, said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have,” August 12, 1974
Clearly the passage in Acts has no concord with Marxists.
Limbaugh Quote See, I Told You So p 70 – 71 (reordered to make my point stronger.)
“The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well.”
“William Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives.”
Bradford wrote of the experiment, “For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense…that was thought injustice.”
Seeing the failure of collectivism, “He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage, thus turning loose the power of the market place.”
Following Acts 4 didn’t work so well for the Puritan, a people that tried to base their whole society on the Bible and not the laws of men.
Monks—poverty and celibacy
Monks link poverty with celibacy. Since at least the fifth century, Christian orders have frequently encouraged communal living and vows of both celibacy and poverty. Proof texts for this lifestyle will often cite acts 4 and 1 Corinthians chapter 7 which reads in part:
25Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to befaithful.26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. 27 Art thou bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife.28But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. 29But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 30And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; 31And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.
Paul’s words in Corinthians seem contradictory to his instruction in other epistles. Bishops should be the husband of one wife, etc. Families were created by God. Men and women were supposed to marry and within that context have children. Genesis taught this and Jesus reaffirmed it. His first miracle was at a wedding. Is there really an inconsistency or is there some provisional instruction being given for a specific reason?
I think the monks were right to link Acts 4 with this passage in Corinthian but they too missed the larger context. To understand the passage in Acts chapter 4, the context of the situation of the early church needs to be understood. We need to walk in the shoes of people living during that time.
Point 2 Coming Judgment—Prophecies of Jesus
Jesus—the heir to David—is prophet priest and king. Few talk about Jesus’ prophetic office because they think the prophecies speak of unknowable events for sometime in the future. What prophecies am I referring to?
A good starting point is by going back to Matthew chapter 24.
“1And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.2And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down .”
Jesus then talks for two chapters about the coming of the day of the Lord.
I know many of you lived through Hal Lindsey and The Late Great Planet Earth so it may surprise you to know that the biblical phrase “the day of the Lord” has nothing to do with Lindsey’s description of the “end times”.
The phrase “the day of the Lord” speaks of the impending judgment of God. It appears 29 times in the King James Bible; mostly in the Old Testament. The warnings of judgment are in connection to the fall of Judah, Assyria and Israel which culminates in the Babylonian captivity, the first coming of Jesus and yes on a few occasions, the end of the age.
We could spend the next few weeks going through the proof texts for the fact that a judgment was coming upon Israel. Jesus told us that it would happen. Just to make his point, Jesus promised that this generation would not pass away until all these things were fulfilled. The promise that the current generation would see the judgment is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
It is indisputable that the New Testament teaches that judgment was coming upon Israel. The apostles were responsible to insure that the Church was to ready. In fact, the New Testament is full of instruction for preparation of the coming judgment.
If you look at many passages in the New Testament with this idea in mind then perhaps you will see their context in a different light. Verses concerning the coming judgment can be divided into preparation and action. Our passages in Acts and Corinthians are clearly about preparing for the judgment. Why should believers hold onto their real estate and personal property when judgment was imminent? They also knew the instruction to be ready to flee when they saw the warning sign. It is also the lesson of the parable of the ten virgins and other parables to be ready.
The instruction to flee is recorded in all three of the synaptic gospels.
Matthew 24: 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand) 16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day:
Luke 21: 20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh .21Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out ; and let not them that are in the countries enter there into. 22For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
Mark 13: 14But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: 15And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take anything out of his house: 16And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.
Look at 1 Corinthians Chapter 7 again.
26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.
29But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;
31And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.
Paul warns three times in this passage that change is coming shortly.
Given the scriptures above as well as others that could be brought into this discussion I think a case can be made that provisional rules were in place because of the coming judgment. In a nutshell, believers should prepare for the judgment and flee when they saw the sign.
Point 3 Israel Destroyed
Many Christians were persecuted and martyred in the final decades of Israel but there is no record of any Christians dying in the siege and destruction of Israel in 70 AD.
Josephus, the Jewish historian, was an eye witness to the systematic destruction of Israel by the Roman armies. He documents the famine, pestilence, war, and death experienced by the Jews. Over one million people died in the siege of Jerusalem and one hundred thousand were sold as slaves.
Flavius Josephus War of the Jews Book 7 Chapter 1
1. NOW as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury, (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be done,) Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminency; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall as enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison, as were the towers also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind.
Matthew 24: 2 ”And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down .” Forty years after he spoke the words, Jesus’ prophecy was literally fulfilled. His Church not only survived but thrived.
There are a good number of prophetic statements in Christ’s teaching regarding Jerusalem’s demise (e.g., Matt. 21:33-46; 22:1-14; 23:31-38; 24: 1-34). Somewhat later in Acts 2: 16ff. the Pentecostal tongues event in Jerusalem was pointed to as a harbinger of “the day of the Lord” that was coming. Tongues-speaking was a warning sign to Peter’s hearers of the necessity of their being “saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40) before the “great and glorious day of the Lord” (Acts 2:20).6 In Acts 2:43E. and Acts 4:32ff. a strong case can be made showing that there was a practical motive to the Jerusalem church’s selling of their property and sharing of the profits. 7 Such action was not commanded them, nor was it practiced elsewhere. This selling of property and distributing of the profits seems to have been related to the impending destruction of the city prophesied by Jesus. The Jerusalem holocaust was coming in that generation and would render the land valueless. 1 Thessalonians 2:16 speaks of the Jews who “always fill up the measure of their sins” and upon whom “the wrath has come . . . to the utmost. ” Hebrews 12:18-29 contrasts Judaism and its fulfillment, Christianity, and notes that there is an approaching “shaking” of the old order coming. There are many other Scriptural indications that point to something dramatic and earth-shaking that was coming upon the world and that would be felt in reverberations even beyond Judea.8
Thus, Revelation 7 is strongly indicative of a pre-fall Judea. After the Jewish War “Palestine was proclaimed a Roman province, and a great part of the land became the personal property of the emperor. But the country was in ruins, its once flourishing towns and villages almost without inhabitants, dogs and jackals prowling through the devastated streets and houses. In Jerusalem, a million people are reported to have perished, with a hundred thousand taken captive to glut the slave markets of the empire.
Kenneth L Gentry, Jr. Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation 1989.
Our lesson today affirms that Jesus is prophet, priest and king. Christ is ruling the kingdoms of men for his own purposes. Not only did he give his life for his bride the Church but he nourishes and protects his people. Our text today is not only an admonition to love each other but a reminder that Christ is at work to guide and nourish his folk, even thru the tumult of perilous times.
Casting Pearls and Republican Attack on farmers
I arrived Friday at the annual convention of the California Republican Assembly. My hopes for this group to become relevant to the political discourse in California suffered another setback when I came across a man about 30 years of age that was gathering signatures to qualify a ballot initiative. This initiative was to require all genetically engineered foods to be labeled as such. His argument was that then the market could decide whether to eat these types of food. Almost every delegate that he asked to sign this petition did so with no questions. The man then said that voters could decide in November.
I did something I normally don’t do and that was try to engage him in a conversation about this petition. I started with the fact that this petition will be found unconstitutional because it violates the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution. He did not care.
I tried to argue that all food is genetically engineered. Anyone ever hear of Gregor Mendel? All plant breading is genetically engineering. He tried to say that wasn’t what his petition was about. I said what about engineering food to provide more nutrients. He flatly stated that this was not possible and nobody was doing this. At this point—were there any doubt—I now had all the proof I needed that this man was a fool; no evidence would convince him that this was folly. However, I did cast a few more pearls.
I told him that the presumption of such a petition would be that all food was genetically manipulated and that all food producers would have to prove that their food was not. All food would have to be tracked from grower to mill to feedlot or cereal producer or grocery store. Anything that mixed field A with field B would need to be tracked. I and my family have been in and around agriculture for many years and this man claimed his expertise was that he had his own garden. BFD! I then told him that 97 percent of the food in his local grocery store was from outside California and the only way his bill would work is if every food producer in the world was tracked by batch from the field to the local grocery store, Only then could his initiative be enforced. I told him that the bureaucracy required to track this would cost tens of billions of dollars. He did not believe me. I said that this program would dwarf the government intrusion of AB32.
He said it would be worth it to let the market decide. Consumers needed a label with this information. He repeatedly named Monsanto and Dow as the villains of this imaginary drama.
I told him that this petition was the brain child of liberals from San Francisco and asked him how he could harmonize signature gathering for such an idea with his identification with a conservative Republican political organization. I also told him if he really wanted to do some good in the food market that banning ethanol would be much more beneficial than this he was pushing. The only glimmer of hope in the whole conversation was when he agreed that banning ethanol would be a good idea.
If Republicans in Southern California are this naive then what hope do we have on issues such as water?
Thankfully, the next day this ballot initiative was overwhelmingly opposed by delegates at the convention. The dozen or so that voted to support it were—according to my source—were mostly residents of Orange County.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
My Upgrade from Android to Windows Phone 7
My Android phone has been giving me fits for several months. When trying to run programs, it would lock-up and require me to remove the battery to re-start the phone. I often got the black screen of nothingness. Also, it would just randomly start clicking on icons and start programs all by itself. This behavior also caused me to have to pull the battery and try restarting the phone. These fits of uncontrolled behavior often caused me to pull the battery five or more times. Occasionally I could never regain control of the phone. I would just have to let it sit with the screen off and after a few hours it would behave better.
I had been holding out for a new Windows Phone 7 with a larger screen and 4G speed but I decided that I could wait no longer. Verizon has some bee up their bonnet that prevents them from competing head-to head with AT&T with Windows Phones. If AT&T made me a deal, I might be tempted to go back.
I looked at the 4G Droid phones that Verizon carries and was shocked to see that all but a new Samsung were all old versions of the Android Operating System. I know that “ice cream sandwich” is the newest version available. This is version 4 of the OS, but the new 4G Motorola phones were all stuck in version 2. What is this? Why should I pay $200 for a phone with an operating system three years and three generations behind?
As I was contemplating what to do about a new phone, I learned that my daughter had cracked the screen of her HTC Trophy. She loves the phone and it still works but since it’s not insured, she is stuck with it. She is only six months into a two year contract. This is when I learned that Verizon had pulled all the Trophy phones from their retail stores and only offered the remaining inventory online.
I decided as a stop-gap measure that I would get a phone for me that could later replace the broken one that my daughter has been using. I went to my local Best Buy store and bought myself the HTC Trophy for $30. Best Buy had six in their warehouse and shipped mine via UPS ground. I took it to the store where I had purchased it to get it activated. I logged into the phone with my Windows Live account, tested the phone and then went home and upgraded the phone to “Mango”. Then I started installing apps.
Here are my impressions of the phone thus far:
• Calls are crystal clear compared to the Droid. Often I can’t tell anyone answered the phone until they talk. When there is a pause on the other end, I often check to see if the caller is there or I dropped the call.
• The Blue Tooth is more stable and connects all the time. My Droid usually took several tries to connect successfully.
• The address book is way different than the Android phone. Windows Phone 7 integrates my Live contacts with my Facebook contacts automatically to create one unified entry for each person in the address book. It even uses the profile photo from Facebook in the tiles of the phone. With a single gesture I can find the contact and then scroll thru their information, recent posts and more.
• I’ve read much about the lack of apps for Windows Phones. I can think of three that I used that were not found for the Marketplace. Thus far, there is no Amazon app to access my music stored in their “cloud drive” or apps for the web sites Blastr or KOVR. The game I miss most is Robo Defense.
• XBOX Live Games is the game hub for the Windows Phone. It even displays my avatar from my XBOX Live account. The first time I saw him on my phone, he was playing catch with a cell phone. He tossed it into the air and would then catch it again. Clever animation.
• Loading custom ringtones into the phone is a challenge but it’s not much harder than it was setting up the Android phone. Mostly it is just a matter of having a song snippet that is the right size, length and format and then loading it with Zune.
• The battery life is slightly shorter than the Droid but can usually get me thru the work day.
• I’m still trying to master the camera features. The video is mp4 format.
Some apps on my Windows Phone include:
• Adobe Acrobat
• Amazon Kindle
• Amazon Mobile
• YouVersion Bible
• Connectivity Shortcuts (Blue Tooth, Wifi, etc.)
• Fox News
• XBOX Live Games
• iHeartRadio (Clear Channel internet app)
• Knot Guide (shows you how to tie over 90 different knots)
• Microsoft Office
• Periodic Table
• Photo Enhancer
• SimiRSS (RSS reader of course)
• Stop Watch
• Sky Map Free
• Skyrim Herbarium (in case I ever get far enough into Skyrim to use the stuff I find to make potions)
• TuneIn Radio (Internet app for most AM & FM radio stations in the US)
• Voice Recorder
• Windows Phone News
This phone is a major step up from the fragmented world of Android. If you want better speed and stability consider Windows Phone 7 on you next phone—unless you have Verizon and then you need to wait for Windows Phone 8.
Monday, March 26, 2012
California Republicans Twart Grassroots Input
Assemblywoman Beth Gaines
Is the Republican Party, a grassroots organization or a top-down one? This essay is a brief look at the current direction of California’s GOP.
I once had a college professor—who was also an elected official—say that “the chief job of a politician is to get re-elected.” Those in power not only want to stay in power but they also wish to prevent any challengers from threatening their power. Both Parties are afflicted with this problem. Democrats tend to deal with this in private whereas Republicans do it more publicly and less deftly. The only thing that helps Republicans avoid publicity is that the media usually pays less attention.
Recently, I am aware of two incidents indicative of the decline of the Republican Party in California. Ironically, the death spiral of the party is nearly complete at the time that the state needs a principled conservative leader the most. My only question is will the Republican Party linger and continue to putrefy like a zombie from The Walking Dead or die swiftly and be replaced by a new one?
Both incidents that I discuss below illustrate erecting a wall of separation between the Party leadership and the rank and file people who self identify as Republicans. In short, the leadership wants to dictate what the Party should do and the less input from the public, the better.
Here in Sacramento County, the Republican Central Committee held its first ever endorsement vote for partisan office holders. This was a result of the elimination of the primary system because of the passage of proposition 14 a few years ago. Under the new system that governs elections beginning this year, only the top two candidates in June go to the November election regardless of the party preference listed on the ballot.
Sacramento’s Central Committee decided it was time to enforce its Bylaw provision that dues are required to be paid to vote. This “Pole Tax” was copied from the bylaws of San Diego County. The decision to enforce the requirement that dues be paid as a condition to vote was directed primarily at me. Throughout this term I have been allowed to vote and make motions or second them from the floor. The endorsement vote at this meeting is the first potentially meaningful vote the Committee has held since the officers were elected and the Bylaws approved. This is because the Bylaws vested all power in the Executive Board of the Committee. This draconian system has been in place for over a year.
At the endorsement meeting I was told that I was the only member who had not paid dues and I was singled out at the meeting for that reason by the Chair. (In fact several members have not paid the “tax” and some that had said they were doing so under duress. Other paid for their friends so they could vote. My source says at least three members have not paid).
I am on the Committee as an ex officio alternate for an Assembly candidate from the 2010 cycle. In effect, I represent the candidate elected by the Republicans in his district. Prior to the endorsement meeting, the candidate contacted me and told me that he would pay the dues so that I could vote. He has a friend who wanted an endorsement and felt he would need my vote. This is the only thing he has ever asked of me in my two years as his representative on the Committee. Out of respect for him I agreed to pay the $35 minimum. Dues are $100 annually unless members volunteer to work at party events and then they can pay $35. I put in my share of volunteer time, but it does not count toward their total because only their events count and not the work I do for candidates or Republican groups in the County. My Assembly candidate also spoke to the Chair prior to the meeting and thought they had an agreement.
At the meeting when the Chair singled me out for not paying dues, I talked with her and said that I had spoken to the candidate and was instructed to pay the $35 so that I could vote. Her response was that my dues were now $200. I said, “What?” “Oh, you owe $100 for last year and $100 for this year.” She said that dues were annual and I was in arrears. Then she countered with the offer that I could pay $135 and work off the rest. I again offered to pay $35 and was told “No.” When it was time to vote, I was sent to the back of the room.
I could vent on many facets of this event but I will limit comments to the best two arguments. First; members of this committee either directly or indirectly are elected by the people as their representatives. Requiring a “pole tax” is contrary to both the spirit and letter of the law in a representative republic. No barriers should be placed between people and their representatives. Second, the current leadership of the Committee is hypocritical on the issue of dues. These are the same folks that protested and did not pay dues to a previous Committee leadership for the same reasons that I have stated both here and in previous blogs. Clearly their position is not one of principle—in the past the wrong people were in charge but now the right people are in charge—so dues should be paid.
I was relegated to the back of the room and became an observer to the events that followed. As it turned-out, none of the votes were close so had I voted it would not make a difference. The consultants in the group made sure that their clients were endorsed.
This endorsement dance was played-out in many counties of California prior to the State Republican Party weighing-in on CRP endorsed candidates.
The California Republican Party has had several years to decide what should be done now that traditional party primaries are abolished. They have done next to nothing about it. As a stop-gap measure, they voted a year ago to adopt the “McClintock Plan.” This was a compromise between the “Nehring Plan” and the “Legislative Plan.” It was spearheaded by Mike Spence and subsequently endorsed by Congressman Tom McClintock. The McClintock Plan—which was adopted by the CRP—is this: each partisan legislative race was to be treated like a Special Election. Each county central committee in the district would have to endorse the same candidate by a 2/3 majority for that candidate to secure the official endorsement of the CRP. This would give the candidate—in theory anyway—access to money from the CRP and inclusion in any slates sent to voters in the state.
The CRP had decreed that all endorsement votes were to be completed on or before March 8, 2012. Please note that the filing period for these offices did not close until close of business the following day. (I really dislike taking such votes before all candidates have even entered the race).
For example Beth Gaines—a first term Assemblywoman—is running in a district that includes portions of Placer and Sacramento Counties. Under the existing rules of the CRP—the McClintock Plan—she needed to be endorsed by both county central committees to secure the CRP. Her opponent in Placer was endorsed on a Wednesday (3/7) and the next night she was endorsed by the Sacramento committee. Under the CRP rules, there can be no endorsement by the CRP in this race.
However, when the CRP Board met to review the various local endorsements, a curious thing occurred. In race after race, the results of the various committees were nullified or ignored and current office holders were given the CRP endorsement even when they did not qualify under the rules adopted by the CRP. Even the aforementioned Mrs. Gaines was endorsed by the CRP—even though she was not entitled. (Entitled? That’s irony!)
The CRP Board went even further in their “star chamber” tactics. Before a single vote was ever cast, they winnowed a field of about 12 Republican candidates for US Senate to one with another wave of their magic wands. A vote of no more than 24 political elites on the CRP Board purported to speak for more than five million republicans without any of them being allowed to vote. Talk about disenfranchisement!
Do you see the theme here? To paraphrase a book by Laura Ingraham, the Republican motto in California seems to be “Shut-up and Vote How You’re Told.” The CRP wants your campaign contribution not your opinion. My reaction to this is if I wanted to be told what to do by a bunch of elites that decide what is best then I could always join the other party. Ronald Reagan once said that he didn’t leave the Democrat Party, they left him. I seem to be in the other political party that has now left Reagan. Oh well, I’ve always been a Conservative first and a Republican second.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
California’s Economy in One Photo
High tech jobs going out of state as this vacant Intel facilty near Sacramento illustrates.
Saturday, January 07, 2012
The genius of Barack Obama
No, really. By sending all the job opportunities to other countries he is not only diminishing the superiority of America and making us a socialist country but he is solving the immigration problem without bothering to secure our borders. In fact he is making us into such an unattractive place that soon our own people will be going elsewhere to seek opportunity and freedom. Maybe ABC got it wrong on how we become Amerika.