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Religion, Politics, & Culture: Defined and Explained


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

California Adds More States to Suggested Retirement Locations

California maintains an enemies list of other States that don’t go along with their Liberal, humanist, intolerant, and anti-Christian worldview. However, I view this list as suggested places to retire or generally get away from the tyranny of California. Places where traditional views of marriage and family are still in fashion. Yes, the home of Obama’s “bitter clingers” those places that still believe in God and guns as ways to enjoy freedom and safety both in this life and the life to come.

Instead of letting conscience be your guide—a freedom that government cannot allow—California has to do the thinking for you in order to make sure you make the” right” decision. They take the idea of “there ought to be a law…” very seriously.
Note that one metric of tyranny is the number of laws on the books that are only selectively enforced. This is contrary to equal justice for all.

Oh, and for those Liberals that might stumble across this blog, don’t ever try to tell me that you can’t legislate morality. Gary North and others rightly have pointed-out that all law at its core is religious. Here is a gem from the State of California which mandates morality and religion.

AB 1887 adds section 11139.8 to the California Government Code and prohibits state agencies from requiring any of its employees, officers, or members to travel to any state, or approving a request for state-funded or state-sponsored travel, to any state that after June 26, 2015, has enacted the following:

• A law that voids or repeals, or has the effect of voiding or repealing, existing state or local protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
• A law that authorizes or requires discrimination against same-sex couples or their families or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

In order to help agencies comply with the provisions of AB 1887, the California Attorney General (AG) will develop, maintain, and post on his or her website a current list of states that, after June 26, 2015, have enacted the aforementioned discriminatory laws or practices. At this time, we believe Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee meet the criteria of states that have enacted discriminatory laws after June 26, 2015.

FOUR NEW STATES ADDED: URGENT!  As of June 22, 2017, four additional States have been added to California’s ban on state-funded and state-sponsored travel.  The additional states include Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Texas, in addition to the previously banned states of Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kansas.  For additional information regarding Restricted State Travel, please review the Attorney General’s link Attorney General - AB 1887’s Travel Prohibition.


California wants to be its own country so instead of seceding all at once, it is excommunicating one state at a time until it will finally be offended by all. Thus far, 14.2 percent of the country is off limits. Look for this list to grow significantly later this year when the Supreme Court upholds the right of religious people to not have to bake cakes for homosexual “marriage” ceremonies.

Meanwhile, I have yet another reason to consider Texas as a retirement destination.

 

Posted by william on 06/28 at 07:27 AM
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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

BOE Update

Governor Brown signed AB 102 today which kills off the State Board of Equalization on July first. (Yes three short days from now.) Virtually all power and staff assigned to BOE are now under the direct control of the governor and not members elected by the voters of California. The new agency—California Department of Tax and Fee Administration—has spring fully formed from its parent’s corpse.

Sadly, tyranny marches on and I have yet to find anyone that even cares.

Posted by william on 06/27 at 09:07 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Feinstein Lies on Healthcare

Mark Twain is often credited for popularizing the statement, “there are lies, damn lie, and statistics.”

Here’s an example from today’s news.

Sen. Feinstein: 4 Million Californians Would Lose Health Care Under Senate Republicans’ Bill

California’s senior senator said Tuesday that 1.6 million Californians would lose coverage next year.


Per Cover California’s March 2017 enrollment numbers, they insure 1,386,280 people.
Thus more people would lose coverage than are even on the program!!



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This includes both legal and illegal residents of the State. And furthermore, “Obamacare” (which is actually “Arnoldcare”) is the law for California whether it is nationally or not. The real issue is how much will the national government subsidize California’s utopian dreams?

 

Posted by william on 06/27 at 04:02 PM
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Friday, June 23, 2017

Obituary: State Board of Equalization 1879 - 2017

Comedian Joan Rivers used to lament that she liked Las Vegas more when crime was organized.

Her eye was original. Twenty years ago, when everyone was talking about how wonderful it was that Vegas had been cleaned up and the mob had been thrown out, Joan said no, no, no, they are ruining the mystique. First of all, she said, those mobsters knew how to care for a lady, those guys with bent noses were respectful and gentlemen, except when they were killing you. Second, she said, organized crime is better than disorganized crime, which will replace it.

—Peggy Noonan

We here in California are in the transition from disorganized crime to organized; also known as one party rule. The consolidation of power has been breathtakingly broad in its scope and rapidity, and it’s just getting started. Last month we had the bogus transportation tax that was whisked thru the entire legislative process in seven days—yeah all committees, approval by both legislative houses, and the signature of the governor.

This month, the governor and his fellow travelers are putting on another display of raw power politics. Their latest target is the State Board of Equalization (BOE). Over the last several months, a carefully crafted plan has been systematically and flawlessly executed to do to BOE in six months what Charles Munger Jr. took a decade to do to the California Republican Party—abolish it in all but name. BOE will exist only as a vestigial organ of the State Constitution that serves no purpose.

While this could very well be one of the longest blog posts that I have ever written, I think you will be just as amazed as I was when I started digging into this campaign. Part of the length of this post is to preserve in the public domain quotations that tend to end-up behind paid firewalls of various media outlets and also to insure that I am not accused of taking things out of context.

My introduction to this subject was a peculiar post from former CRA bigshot, Steve Frank. Steve has a very abrasive way of writing and often exaggerates but given his recent humiliation in having to retract a story about Charles Munger Jr last month, I figured that he must be forced to vet his material better; at least for now.

Steve and I both know folks that work at the Board of Equalization so I figured that he must have something good. On the face of it, the claim in his post was outrageous; however, it was easy enough to verify it. The other curious thing was the dates. This article was posted on June 19th from a press release by Diane Harkey, Chairwoman of BOE, dated June 13th about a Constitutional budget deadline on June 15th.

Frank writes:

The Board of Equalization is dead.  Thanks to the Democrats, bureaucrats, instead of elected officials will decide tax cases.  In a comparatively short time—a whole government agency, elected by the people exists, now, in name only.

Death of California Board of Equalization: SB 86 and AB 102

OK, so why did Frank take so long to get this posted? He is a prolific blogger and often posts five times a day. (I think the short answer is that Harkey got no traction with the mainstream media in trying to shed some light on the governor’s actions.) I cannot find her press release on the BOE website or her linked page as Chairwoman. Also, a quick Internet search turns up nothing on this. Steve, by default, actually scooped everybody else. As I will illustrate, it’s a pyric victory because the fix was in.

Some background about BOE would be helpful to understand what is about to happen.

Established in 1879 by a constitutional amendment, the BOE was initially charged with responsibility for ensuring that county property tax assessment practices were equal and uniform throughout the state. Currently the tax programs administered by the BOE are concentrated in four general areas: sales and use taxes, property taxes, special taxes and the tax appellate program.
Link: BOE History

As currently configured, BOE has five members. Four members are elected every four years with each representing a particular area of the state and the fifth member is the State Controller.


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Link: BOE map


Currently, George Runner (1) and Diane Harkey (4) are Republicans on the Board and Fiona Ma (2) and Jerome Horton (3) are the two Democrats. Ma and Harkey represent San Francisco and Los Angeles respectively. Please understand that these districts are drawn-up by population, (this issue will come up later in my discussion). The swing vote is interesting because the State Controller, Board member number 5, is a former member of BOE, Betty Yee. She formerly represented San Francisco.

Often the members of the BOE are legislators that were termed out under the legislative term limits laws. Harkey, Horton, Ma, and Runner were all in the legislature before being elected to BOE. Yee seems to have cut her political teeth in the Executive Branch.

Interestingly, no media coverage places any blame for the actions of the Legislature or Governor in this controversy on either Harkey or Runner. What has transpired is largely a Democrat operation to deal once and for all with BOE.

BOE has long been a thorn in the side of California’s elected officials. They can create precedent and have the right to modify regulatory actions enacted as a result of changes to law touching on the tax code. Arguably their most important function is as an appellate body when taxpayers want to appeal actions of the State. These appeals are not just limited to the actions of BOE but appeals of most taxing authorities in the State are routed thru BOE. BOE has been a buffer and interested third party in tax disputes. On their website you can easily find appeals of Fire Fees, Franchise Tax Board, Sales and Use Tax, and property tax matters.

The next thing to keep in mind as you read thru the material that I’m about to present is that many actions taken by BOE members with regards to civil service versus political appointees are identical to those of staff in the legislature. Legislative staffers often draw simultaneous paychecks for their civil service job at the legislature—their “day job” if you will—and also income from political consulting work for their member or other candidates. The transition from one to the other might involve carrying two cell phones or alternating schedules to accommodate the political cycle. Things during “election season” frequently operate in the gray areas of the campaign finance laws. Since the legislature writes and funds enforcement of campaign finance laws they tend to get a pass on enforcement as long as they don’t get too far out of bounds.

In short, BOE members learned how to navigate the legal minefield of civil service versus political appointee issues by their time at the legislature. My purpose is not to debate the merits of the current system, just to acknowledge how it works and to warn reads that they may encounter some hypocrisy as the story unfolds.

For most people, the current dust-up first appeared in newspapers like the Sacramento Bee in March of this year. The article below is coverage of a Department of Finance Audit.


March 24, 2017

Audit: California tax collectors on ‘parking lot duty’ for promotional events as politicos push boundaries

The audit takes particular aim at board member Jerome Horton, finding that he has reassigned public employees to work for him, arranged events that strayed from the agency’s mission and opened a call center in his district without securing the consent of his fellow elected leaders. Horton has defended his outreach events as a way to reach large numbers of taxpayers. His staff did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

Later on the article states:

It’s the first of several audits on the Board of Equalization that are expected to be released in coming weeks. The Legislature requested the investigation last year following another audit by State Controller Betty Yee in November 2015 that showed the agency had misallocated $47.8 million in sales tax revenue.

Further on

In one instance, the Finance Department found that 113 Board of Equalization employees spent a workday last November helping with parking and registering guests at a “connecting women to power” conference in Escondido sponsored by Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey.

Horton did what?

Unlike other elected members, Horton offers a rotational program that allows civil servants to spend a year working in his office before returning to their normal assignments.

His use of BOE resources has come under scrutiny over the years. Last year, The Bee revealed that Horton decorated his Sacramento office with $118,000 worth of designer furniture. The story prompted the agency in April to revise its procurement policies in a manner that improved transparency on smaller contracts.

Horton’s “connecting women to power events” have gained press attention intermittently since 2010, with reports in Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times noting the connection between his Board of Equalization events and a nonprofit foundation that his wife created. Last year, Horton solicited $81,500 in donations to the nonprofit, California Educational Solutions, to support the business conference and a project he promotes that helps lower-income families get help filing income taxes.

Please note that Betty Yee moved from BOE to SCO (State Controller’s Office) in 2015 and one of her first acts was to audit BOE. Her audit found an error rate of 0.07967 percent for an agency that handles 60 billion dollars. Folks, that’s statistically zero. This and the fact that BOE employees move back and forth from political to civil service jobs in exactly the same way as the legislative staffers is the basis for all that follows.

Three days later, BOE member Fiona Ma chimed in


03-27-2017
Link: Ma Letter #1

Dear Governor Brown: 

I am writing to ask that you immediately appoint a Public Trustee to manage the day-to-day affairs of the California Board of Equalization. This extraordinary step is necessary and appropriate to restore public trust and to address the various serious issues outlined by the recent Department of Finance audit.

At this point, you have Yee and Ma both tag teaming to paint a bullseye on BOE as the focus of scandal while throwing their fellow Democrat Horton under the bus.


About two weeks later, Governor Brown jumps on the bandwagon and calls for an investigation.


April 13, 2017

Gov. Brown calls for an investigation of alleged mismanagement at California’s tax board

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday asked state prosecutors to investigate allegations that employees of the state Board of Equalization misused state resources.

He also suspended the board’s ability to approve new contracts, hires and promotions, requiring those actions to be approved by other agencies including the Department of General Services.

In a letter to board members, Brown also said he would ask legislative leaders to come up with new laws to address “serious problems” with the agency that were identified in a recent state Department of Finance audit. The audit uncovered mismanagement in the agency, which is responsible for collecting $60 billion in taxes annually.

Once Governor Brown chimes in, BOE is not just a local or state story; it is elevated to a national story.


April 14, 2017

California’s Tax Collection Agency Engulfed in Scandal

Five weeks later, Ma is back and proclaiming that things are even more dire than she thought back in March.


May 23, 2017
Link: Ma Letter #2

In response to my letter to the Governor on March 27, 2017 (see attached), I am encouraged by the Governor’s actions that instituted additional controls of the BOE operations by suspending BOE’s delegated authority for making decisions on personnel, contracting, and technology matters.

However, more still needs to be done. I am writing to strongly urge the Legislature to immediately direct the State Auditor to investigate the day-to-day affairs of the BOE, and issue a report to the Legislature and Governor on or before February 1, 2018. The report should include recommendations to the Legislature and Governor on administrative and legislative remedies to immediately address the findings in the various audits.

Two days later, this editorial was published


May 25, 2017
California Board of Equalization, classic case of going astray

The board’s refusal to embrace a single governance policy this week makes no sense. Meanwhile, board member Fiona Ma wants another state audit. What a mess. If the Board of Equalization won’t reform itself, Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature should force needed changes upon it.

Three weeks later, Steve Frank is announcing that BOE is no more because of SB 86 and AB 102.


What happened?

In a nutshell, we just got scammed.  This whole progression was a carefully crafted campaign to discredit and then diminish the State Board of Equalization. Yee and Ma were working hand-in-hand with their party leadership to destroy BOE and replace it with a new agency controlled by handpicked people loyal to the governor. This kind of tactic and its scale were once common in the Soviet Union but are unfamiliar to most in this country.

My primary piece of evidence is the fact that the legislation to abolish BOE and replace it with handpicked bureaucrats appointed by the Governor was introduced in both house of the legislature in January of this year. Yep, over two months before the media campaign against BOE was launched.


Below is a summary of the legislation as it appeared earlier this week.

SB 86 introduced January 11, 2017

This bill would establish, in the Government Operations Agency, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and would place the department under the control of a director appointed by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the Senate. The bill would also authorize the Governor to appoint a chief deputy director and a chief counsel.

This bill would transfer to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration the various duties, powers, and responsibilities of the State Board of Equalization relating to the administration of various taxes and fees except for those duties, powers, and responsibilities imposed or conferred upon the board by the California Constitution, as specified, and the duty to adjust the motor vehicle fuel tax rate for the 2018–19 fiscal year. The bill would, for these purposes, also provide for the transfer to the department of the board’s employees serving in civil service, the rights and property of the board, and the board’s funding, as provided.

This bill would authorize the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to adopt regulations, including emergency regulations, necessary or appropriate to carry out these provisions. The bill would authorize the department to conduct certain inspections and examinations related to the administration of the taxes and fees under its jurisdiction. The bill would prohibit the director, the chief deputy director, and the chief counsel from divulging information concerning the business affairs of companies reporting to the department and would make it a crime to violate this prohibition. By creating a new crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

This bill would rename the secretary of the State Board of Equalization as the executive director and would specify that the board retains the authority to appoint the executive director and prescribe and enforce his or her duties. The bill would require each member of the board elected by the voters of an equalization district to have one office in Sacramento and one district office. The bill also would require each member of the board elected by the voters of an equalization district to have 2 staff persons who are exempt from civil service and other civil service staff persons, as specified. The bill would require board member procurements to be processed through the Department of General Services. The bill would repeal the authority of the board to request that the Governor convert one civil service position of the board into an exempt position, to obtain copies of licensee photographs from the Department of Motor Vehicles, and to conduct district investigations. The bill also would restrict ex parte communications in relation to a board adjudicatory proceeding.

Link: SB 86

AB 102 is virtually the same wording and was introduced January 10, 2017
Link: AB 102


The Legislature is famous for “gut and amend” bills in the eleventh hour of their closing session but this action is a magnitude of difference that is of astounding proportions. Gut and amend an entire agency and the biggest revenue generating one in the state. Wow!

The Board of Equalization will continue to exist in name only because to abolish it would require a constitutional amendment and a vote of the people. This would allow the actions of the Governor and Legislature to come under scrutiny and be subject to debate. In a one party state, this is a waste of time and resources and who knows? Having the BOE might be a good political tool to wield at some future date. If it can be unmade then it can just as easily be made into something else. (Think Mary Shelly does politics here.)

Each BOE representative will be allowed one office in Sacramento and one office in their district.

Oh, the effective date for creating the new agency and transferring all assets and responsibilities is July 1, 2017.

Today is June 23 and the bill has yet to be signed by the Governor. If the fix was not in, how would you expect a new agency to be up and running in less than a week?


Other thoughts

BOE would have had the lion’s share of the work collecting the new transportation tax enacted last month. Now the Governor can direct the money as he sees fit. Don’t be surprised if some finds its way to the bullet train to nowhere.

Lastly, BOE was the last Republican bastion in California. It was a safe harbor for people like George Runner to speak about fiscal conservatism and common sense tax policy. This bully pulpit is no more. Gone also is the safe haven for current CRA President Tom Hudson and former Sacramento County Republican Chair Sue Blake. Both Hudson and Blake are staff attorneys at BOE. The 2018 election cycle will be a much different environment for both.

 

Posted by william on 06/23 at 07:42 AM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Flee the Wrath to Come

John the Baptist warned those of his generation to “flee the wrath to come.” Instead of heeding his warning, he was beheaded for his trouble. Those that crucified his cousin, Jesus of Nazareth, a few years later said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

True to their wishes, the wrath-to-come arrived in the form of a Roman army about forty years later. The wrath visited upon them and their children resulted in the death of most, the systematic and total destruction of their nation, and the enslavement of the few survivors. True to his warning, no loss of life is recorded for the Christians that obeyed the prophecy given by Jesus to flee when they saw the signs foretold.


Whether any of us can truly avoid the wrath to come upon our nation is doubtful but clearly some areas and people will do better than others. In my opinion, ground zero of the “wrath to come” is California. The late columnist Herb Caen used to call San Francisco “Bagdad by the Bay.” That was seventy years ago. Now, I think California can be thought of as “Sodom by the Sea.”

California is hell-bent on becoming “anti-America.” The people of California wish to remake the State into a dystopian socialist paradise devoid of petroleum, hydroelectric or nuclear power, water storage, commercial farming, privately owned automobiles, liberty, Christians and other bigots that insist on such Victorian ideals as right and wrong or personal responsibility, firearms, prisons, and small businesses. Instead, they want free college for all, publicly subsidized transportation, free healthcare, their own foreign policy, only electric vehicles within their borders, more government jobs, multiculturalism, legalization of recreational drugs, government backed pensions for all, and a bunch of other neo-Marxist crap dreamed up by baby-boomers.  Oh, and all this will be paid by taxes on “the rich” whoever they are.

Liberals here have successfully turned the Constitution from a document that insures liberty into the suicide pact that protects evildoing and punishes the righteous. Nothing in California escapes the corruption of the almighty State. They are going places that not even George Orwell envisioned. California and other places dominated by Liberals have metastasized into a Tim Burton-like modern twist on the Roman Empire.

While many have attempted to stem this precipitous decline in Western Culture, my wife and I, like many before us have concluded that our time in California is coming to an end. As a result, my family has developed an exit strategy. Seven years from now, we plan to be far away from the formerly golden state. The apocalypse is coming but hopefully we will time it so we are long gone when everything comes apart.

Posted by william on 06/21 at 08:47 AM
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Friday, June 16, 2017

You Can’t Afford to Live Here

“A new report says that in California, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,608 and to afford this level of rent and utilities—without paying more than 30 percent of income on housing—a household must earn $5,359 monthly or $64,311 annually.”
Link: You Can’t Afford to Live Here

The article then goes on to point out that this equates to $30.92 for a 40 hour workweek. For those of us in “the Valley” things are slightly more favorable but…

 
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Posted by william on 06/16 at 09:45 AM
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

GOP Hunting Season

Today some guy that was identified as a crazy leftwing nut that supported Bernie Sanders opened fire at several Republican Congress members playing baseball.

Link: Congress baseball gunman was a Trump-hating Bernie supporter: Hero cops kill white Illinois man, 66, who opened fire on Republican lawmakers on the President’s birthday, leaving five injured

Right on cue, leading Democrats were calling for stricter gun control laws; however, none were calling for civility and an end to calls to kill President Donald Trump.

Link: Gov. McAuliffe on Scalise Shooting: ‘There Are Too Many Guns on the Street’

Link: You Can Brutally Kill Donald Trump In A New Video Game. Progressive Outrage Nowhere To Be Found.

Link: Actors ASSASSINATE ‘Trump’ in SICK Theater Play

Link: GOP rep. received threatening email with subject line ‘One down, 216 to go…’ after lawmaker shooting

It’s time for Liberals to shut up and admit that they lost in November, Get over it. This blood is on your hands.

 

Posted by william on 06/14 at 12:12 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

When Cookies Attack

Cookies are what advertisers use to track your browser history and try to get you to buy stuff on the Internet but sometimes they don’t know when to say when.

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From Foxnews website today


A guy dies in a car wreck so of course I need to go to the Cars movie.

This kind of inadvertent social insensitivity is where artificial intelligence could help advertisers. The keyword “die” should trump any other word in the headline. If only Google had the money to prevent such stupidity…but they get paid for views and clicks.

Posted by william on 06/14 at 06:20 AM
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Friday, June 09, 2017

X Nailed It on Warren Buffet

In case you missed the dispatch from Davey Jones, no not the one with the nautical locker or the guy that used to be in the 1960’s band, The Monkeys, but the one from Sacramento that is now the State Insurance Commissioner. Yeah, that Davey Jones just nuked Berkshire Hathaway using the full faith and credit of California (and believe me the credit of California is vast). Anyway, take a look at this.


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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After a year of legal wrangling, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today that the California Department of Insurance has reached a settlement agreement with Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries to stop the bait and switch marketing tactics used to sell a workers’ compensation insurance product, which led to numerous complaints from employers caught up in the costly and complicated policies.

In May 2016, in response to a complaint by a small business owner and after a hearing by an administrative law judge, the commissioner determined California Insurance Company and Applied Underwriters, both subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway, were selling a workers’ compensation product with illegal side agreements that modified the obligations of the parties under the policy.

Link: Settlement Press Release

I will let X tell you more if he is so inclined but once again we are proven Really Right.

 

Posted by william on 06/09 at 02:41 PM
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Thursday, June 08, 2017

ESPN Layoffs Part Deuce

By X
image

Sorry about the delay, fellow readers I had “flu-like symptoms” most of last week, likely this was caused by excessive liver damage done by ESPN to my body. 

Following the “NFL Live” and “Insiders” shows, both of which were duds, on came Outside The Lines (OTL).  This show was pretty good, a journalistic type show that does deep dives into scandals or issues of our time in sports. It is only a half hour show and I guess it only airs a new show once a week.  This is a mistake, share this show with the world, and do a new recording daily. This is what journalism should look like. 

After OTL the “Happy Hour presented by Captain Morgan”  began to air.  I didn’t find a single watchable show during this two hour block.  Pardon the Interruption, Around the Horn, His and Hers (more on this bust later) and Highly Questionable are just that, highly questionable TV.  His and Hers, and Highly Questionable was just a bunch of race baiting done by hosts trying to get viewers riled up.  Both shows could and should be canceled, neither was.  Pardon the interruption and Around the Horn featured sports talk similar to political cross talk you see on MSNBC or Fox now.  Mostly screaming, inaudible television, featuring people trying to talk over one another, nothing to see or hear in this hour. 
Mercifully “Happy Hour presented by Captain Morgan” was over, again severe damage was done to X’s liver, and ear drums from the loud shouting. 

Next on the self proclaimed “World Wide Leader” was SC:6 or Sports Center at 6pm eastern.  This was hosted by resident Race Baiters Jemele Hill and Michael Smith, same hosts of His and Hers.  This Sports Center—just like the Happy Hour show—was a complete waste of resources, talent and TV time.  Perhaps what was even worse was that the shows followed a national news network philosophy where when a new show started the same topics were rehashed.  This makes for boring predictable TV.  Live sports took over from about 5pm until 9 pm then the madness continued.  Sports Center at Night (9pm) with Scott Van Pelt was awesome theatre, highlights, mixed with guest commentary, mixed with analysis and personal opinion, I loved it!  Like a throwback to the old sports center where ESPN buttered their bread.  So if you’re tuning into ESPN try Sports Center at Night with SVP.

After Sports Center at Night, we were back to strange cross talk again.  We had Baseball Tonight, it lasted one hour and was filled with random movie jargon from host Adnan Virk.  Honestly it was odd, very little baseball discussion and if I didn’t know better, I would have thought I changed the channel without knowing.  30 for 30 followed next, very good stuff, on par with OTL but instead of current event reporting more of reporting in depth on things that happened in the past, such as the Michigan Fab 5 scandal.  Much like OTL this is a once a week or even sometimes bi-monthly show.  I would expand on this, great stuff.  More Sports Center followed this program, and I decided I needed to hit the sheets as it was dreadful.  Sports Center Live from Los Angeles it was called.  Hosted by Stan Verrett and Neil Everett, and trust me it was strange television, like creepy stoner television.  Had a strange episode discussing hockey called “Barry’s Bistro” with colleague Barry Melrose, like I said bizarre.

It’s very clear the network has far more issues with its declining viewership than just the need to lay off 100 anchors.  The liberal bias that William and I have detailed over the months is still present, albeit even after said layoffs occurred, anchor Linda Cohn even admitted it.  ESPN made bad bets on the sports of basketball and baseball; they are dying and very unpopular with the younger crowd.  Basketball could be an exception, as the younger crowd seems to like the showboating and the fact some teams are considered super teams.  Football may be king, but the ratings for Monday Night Football, (rights owned by ESPN) were a disaster.  So bad they are throwing the “right a bone” and hiring back Hank Williams Jr. to sing the opening again.  Also they announced hiring conservative columnist Will Cain, not really sure why but…okay?  Cheap thrills, probably won’t work, in an era where we get football on Thursday night, then all day Sunday, we are footballed out on Monday. 


image
ESPN Poster Child Randy Scott


Now into the layoffs, sorry for the rambling column but some really talented folks lost their paychecks last month.  The list includes but is not limited too; Ed Werder, John Clayton, Jayson Stark, Andy Katz, Chad Ford, Sarah Walsh (upon returning from maternity leave) and Danny Kannell.  Werder and Ford were asked to stick around and cover the NFL and NBA draft respectively, Werder said “no, thanks” can’t blame him.  Several names on the list were thought highly of by X, others not so much, these were those let go I will not shed a tear for; Roger Cossack was a know nothing legal analyst that got the Barry Bonds scandal all wrong…bye!  Britt McHenry, she was human scum and literal trash, just Google her name.  Len Elmore, he is a race baiting clown, please go away.  Rest assured more layoffs are going to come in future years; you cannot have poor ratings, race baiting and continue on as a profitable organization.

Now, my solution , I would get rid of all the race-baiting idiots that somehow survived the cut down , I’m looking at you Bomani JonesI would make Scott Van Pelt and Mike Greenberg the people I would build around.   Give them both two hour long programs; for Van Pelt, his commentaries mixed in with highlights are amazing.  Greenberg has a news breaking persona, give him a morning show and let him re-hash yesterday’s events and interview a star or two or five.  Have OTL and 30 for 30 air more often, they are both great journalistic type shows.  You can keep some of the back and forth bantering shows, but I would cut them back, these shows are alienating the older viewers.  Have more one sport type shows such as the cancelled “Baseball Tonight” show, but do highlights of all games, and commentary from all games, not just games played in very large markets, again you are alienating people.  Have Sports Center air more often, again focus on highlights, and inject breaking news, kinda like a real news show.  Lastly get rid of the live sports, mostly all the college football, they show like literally every game, seriously when I watched “Dodgeball” I thought ESPN 8 “The Ocho” was fantasy land, now I wonder if there’s an ESPN 10.  Showing games like Oregon State versus Wichita State isn’t moving many needles I don’t think, leave that to regional networks.  Finally here’s what I’m most upset about, the definition of luck has been redefined, why ESPN didn’t get rid of this anchor….. I don’t know his name but I always can find him by googling “ESPN Howdy Doody A**BAG with painted on eyebrows!

But seriously, the layoffs were done by phone call lasting just 3 minutes, most of those laid off….spent decades in ESPN.  Those in NBA and NHL (Hockey) were let go during the playoffs.  Those in NFL let go literally a day before the NFL draft, yeah, ok I guess.

Buffet…..you’re next; I’m coming after your Kraft Heinz subsidiary next week!

X

Posted by william on 06/08 at 07:38 AM
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Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Totalitarian State to Crush Your Family

If you want a preview of where California is heading once Jerry Brown is termed out and Gavin Newsome or somebody of his ilk is elected Governor then take a look at this article linked on Joe Miller today. Those of you that think “gay marriage” was the end of the trail are sadly mistaken. It was just the opening salvo of a much bigger assault on your freedom to believe in traditional Christian values. In fact, the full force of the State government is about to be directed at scouring your beliefs not only from the public square but your home as well.

Two years ago, those who were paying attention got a preview of this when the State of California threatened to withhold any student loans from colleges that opposed homosexuality. The author withdrew the measure but it has not gone away. The next time it sees the light of day will be with the blessings of the majority party leadership.

Soon litmus tests affirming abortion, homosexuality, and other “rights” will be required for student loans, employment, and benefits but it won’t stop there. For a preview of coming attractions, look to “the great, white North”; Canada.
Link: Joe Miller—Canada’s Big Brother Ready to raid you Home

Below are a few paragraphs from the article. Please read it in its entirety.

So, in the privacy of your own home, as you teach and instruct your own children, you would be forbidden by law to teach them what the Bible said about homosexual practice. And how, pray tell, was the government planning to monitor this?



Quoted in this article is Dawn Stefanowicz

I want to warn America to expect severe erosion of First Amendment freedoms if the US Supreme Court mandates same-sex marriage. The consequences have played out in Canada for ten years now, and they are truly Orwellian in nature and scope.

In Canada, freedoms of speech, press, religion, and association have suffered greatly due to government pressure. The debate over same-sex marriage that is taking place in the United States could not legally exist in Canada today. Because of legal restrictions on speech, if you say or write anything considered “homophobic” (including, by definition, anything questioning same-sex marriage), you could face discipline, termination of employment, or prosecution by the government.



Canada’s province of Ontario just passed Bill 89

This is beyond mind-boggling. It might even be beyond Orwellian. Really now, would even Orwell have predicted that the government could seize your 8-year-old boy if you wouldn’t let him dress like a girl or if you refused to affirm his perceived female identity?

For good reason, Jack Fonseca, a political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition, slammed the new bill in no uncertain terms: “With the passage of Bill 89, we’ve entered an era of totalitarian power by the state, such as never witnessed before in Canada’s history. Make no mistake, Bill 89 is a grave threat to Christians and all people of faith who have children, or who hope to grow their family through adoption.”

And it is not just an era of totalitarian power. It is an era of misguided totalitarian power.



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In America, we don’t do things in moderation. We are all in or all out. I think the pendulum in California has swinging towards full-blown craziness. Here, the Constitution is viewed as a suicide pact and a license for excess and tyranny. We are accelerating on a course of societal and fiscal destruction. In fact, we are already over the cliff and waiting for gravity to act. The only remaining question is which cause of death will be listed on the death certificate at the autopsy.

Posted by william on 06/07 at 07:31 AM
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Friday, June 02, 2017

Casablanca or Armageddon?

One of the most memorable lines of the movie Casablanca is, “We’ll always have Paris.” This line refers to the time in Paris when Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) had a summer of love with Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman). The only problem was that Ilsa was married, but not to Rick. Yeah, the back story which is shown in the movie as flashbacks ultimately boils down to adultery and poor judgment. Just to make their love affair ok with the audience, Ilsa begins their romance with the belief that her husband is dead.


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When I heard what President Trump did yesterday with the bogus global warming agreement that Obama entered us into in Paris, this movie line came to mind. What a shock it was to the Liberal establishment—including both the mainstream media and Hollywood—when they learned that they won’t always have Paris.

President Obama played the harlot and entered into illicit relationships with many of the world’s evils. Obama was a lover of thugs, murders, and charlatans. Obama was hell-bent to reduce the prominence and prestige of the United States. Obama was fine letting both Iran and North Korea advance their nuclear weapons ambitions. Obama was fine with the genocide of Christians in the Middle East. Obama even made sure that our country imported huge numbers of Muslims with no screening or background checks and then placed them in areas of the country without coordinating with state and local officials. Obama refused to enforce the laws on the books to protect our borders and citizens. He also hamstrung our economy with regulatory burdens and federal overreach—mostly via regulations. He also unilaterally entered us into many international agreements without following the Constitutional requirements for such agreements or doing what was in the best interests of our nation. In short, he violated his oath to protect and defend the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic. In fact, he did exactly the opposite.

The Paris agreement on global warming is “junk science” of the worst sort. It is based on a number of false premises not the least of which is a false view of that humans are somehow responsible for controlling the climate.

Much of the argument surrounding global warming “science” revolves around carbon. Carbon in our environment has become viewed as something bad. Believers claim that releasing carbon—often via fossil fuels—is bad. Yet these same folks ignore all the natural sources of carbon in our environment. Can anyone say, “Volcanoes”? Oh, these are the guys that love trees, right Al Gore? So if nature is so great, why is it that you so-call environmentalists are the first folks screaming about forest fires? Lightning causes many fires—especially in remote regions—and the natural thing to do would be to let them burn. Eventually the fire would go out. It would either run out of fuel by burning everything up or be doused by water when it rained thus being deprived of oxygen.

Even public school children know that much of the world used to be tropical from pole to pole. The world that we live in now is a virtual desert compared to what it was once like when dinosaurs roamed the world. Plants were everywhere and in abundance. Plants are made primarily from carbon. Trivial question Al Gore, which animal released more methane gas Apatosaurus or Bovine?

By any metric, there is less carbon in our world now than in the past. This being undeniably true, what is the real issue behind global warming?

Philosophically, it’s simple to see. However, before I go on, just remember that believers in global warming and Liberals in general cannot be persuaded by facts. They have no use for them. They are into emotions and have no consistent and coherent way of looking at the world. They are fragmented in their inner being and thus when they look at the world around them, all they see are fragments. Some fragments they embrace and others they despise or ignore. They cannot see the whole because they have no framework to reassemble the broken pieces into their original form. Sadly, when their Creator tells them that they are broken vessels made in His image they reject His counsel. Rejecting the Creator has consequences. Instead of loving their Father in heaven they hate him and anything made in His image.
They hate:
• God—idols, false gods, lovers of self
• Themselves—suicide, transgenderism, body mutilation
• Others made in His image—abortion, murder, genocide
• His creation—pollution, erosion, cruelty to animals

Despite their brokenness, men still bear the image of their Creator. But God is not just our Creator; He also sustains and controls His Creation. Nothing happens to us or our world that is not in accordance with His will. This is another point of contention that I have with the Paris accord folks. This is God’s world and He controls it. It is hubris to think that we can do anything that meaningfully impacts the fate of the planet or its climate.

The believers of things like the Paris accord are worshipers of the creation and not the Creator. Their god is Gaia—Mother Earth—not YHWH.

Such ideas as Paris are a feeble effort to usurp God and replace him with man as the ones controlling the climate—as if we really had any power to do so. Such an assertion is arrogant. Man’s pride was the original sin as it was Satan’s.

President Trump is right in his contention that this accord is trying to put us at a competitive disadvantage to other nations. His job as President is to do what is best for our country. Christ is the ruler of all nations—King of kings and Lord of lords. Trump is our President because right now that is God’s will for our nation.

I’m glad that we have a President that is actually tearing down the strongholds of the enemy. God bless you Donald Trump.

Posted by william on 06/02 at 09:26 AM
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Thursday, June 01, 2017

Cord Cutting: The Next Chapter

Our family dumped DirecTV almost 18 months ago in favor of TiVo and over-the-air (OTA) television. We continued our Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions and added Hulu. After the first year, TiVo charges $149.99 annually ($12.50 per month). Thus we are saving about $90 per month from what we were spending previously.

Last month we set our sights on a new target, Frontier Communications (formerly known as Citizens Communications). For the last ten years, we have been paying Frontier about $85 monthly for a landline telephone and Internet service. (By the way, $15 of that amount was taxes.) Our phone number once belonged to my wife’s grandparents and we figure that they’ve had that number since the 1960’s.

Our attachment to the phone number was both sentimental and contractual. Sentimental since it had been in the wife’s family for her entire life and contractual because many years ago Frontier offered us a ten dollar a month discount on our Internet if we agreed to a two year contract. Once the two years was up, Frontier raised their rates back up and as an added bonus, they had us locked into a contract that automatically renewed annually.

Yeah, in case you didn’t know that, auto renewing contracts are legal in California. Without any affirmation on your part, once you enter into a contract, the contract continues to renew unless you take extraordinary steps to terminate it. Frontier threatened early termination fees of up to $400. I have been meaning to stop the auto renewal for several years but they moved the renewal date on me once and then last year, I didn’t attempt it until I was within the 30 day termination window. This clause said that you can’t terminate the contract within 30 days of the renewal date. Talk about insuring corporate cash flow!

However, this year, I called in January to stop the auto renewal. I recorded the date and time of the call and even got a confirmation number for the request. Then if they gave me grief later on, I would take the “this call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes” and ram it down their bureaucratic throats if said that I never called.

Just to make sure, in early May, I called Frontier and asked that my service—both telephone and Internet—be terminated on June 12th (the auto renewal date). I called more than 30 days before the renewal just so I wouldn’t have to refer to the January call. I figured that that gave me over a month to switch to another provider and get all the kinks worked out before my Internet was cut off.

I know at this point that some might be wondering why I was with an obscure company like Frontier in the first place? A fair question and one that I will shed light on now before continuing.

You see back in the heyday of Ma Bell, when there was only one phone company, there were certain areas of the country where it was not cost effective for Ma Bell to service. These orphaned areas of the country—and by country I mean rural areas of the United States—were eventually pooled into Citizens Communications. (If you are thinking Roosevelt, Great Depression, and Rural Electrification Administration, then you are on the right track. I’m sure Wikipedia could give you the whole story if you were curious.)

Anyway, flash forward the better part of a century and some of these rural areas are now developed areas with lots of people. Elk Grove—where I live—is such a place. West of highway 99 you have many choices for Internet and telephone including fiber optic cable because this area was once serviced by Pacific Bell; however, east of highway 99 you will find a different dynamic. Your options where I live are Frontier or Comcast, period. There is nothing else and by law there never will be. Two choices and both with a coper cable as its backbone.

With Frontier, they were happy to provide us a blazing (insert sarcasm here) 5.5 Mb per second. I have 11 to 20 devices in my home competing for bandwidth. Frontier’s Internet went down daily—especially the Wi-Fi. We were incapable of doing anything simultaneously on the Internet; even reading books on the Kindle app was a problem. Only when I called to terminate their service did they ever try to offer me more bandwidth. 

Note to Frontier: give me your best offer because I’m a good customer; don’t wait until I’m so fed up with you that I decided to leave. If you had voluntarily raised my speed, I probably would still be with you. ‘Service” and “Customer” should be used together not opposite columns in the balance sheet. I talked with several neighbors about your company and found no one willing to praise you. If your Soviet era monopoly ever ends then so will you.

Anyway, after consulting the neighborhood, I reluctantly opted to try Comcast again. We had Comcast when I was first married. Their Internet went down constantly and their television picture—especially HD—was terrible. Only when we went to DirecTV did our TV picture look like it did at Circuit City. At the time, Frontier’s Internet was better. Over the years, Comcast invested in their equipment and Frontier rested on their laurels. Now Comcast offers speeds over 100 MB per second where I live for about the same price Frontier will sell me 5.5. Same price and twenty times the speed!

Anyway, Friday, May 12th was a memorable one. You see, when we got up in the morning both our phone and Internet were shutoff. I asked multiple people at Frontier to terminate our service on June 12. I spoke with both the customer service person that took my call and the “closer” that tried to get me to change my mind and told both people June 12. Again, no customer service.

Meanwhile, I had attempted to prepare for the switch to Comcast. I went on the Internet and set up an account on the Comcast website and ordered a do-it-yourself installation kit. (Note to readers: you likely don’t need the installation kit.) I bought a modem recommended by Comcast’s website from Amazon and tried hooking it up. After re-running the cable thru my attic, and connecting the modem, I found that the cable to my house was literally unhooked at the street. Trying to connect at the street didn’t result in any signal to the modem. All this had happened prior to being cut-off by Frontier.

Meanwhile back to May 12. After getting settled in at work, I tried a live chat on the Comcast website but after 45 minutes, I never got a response. (I think the dreaded firewall blocked the port so I couldn’t connect.) Next, I tried the option for a callback. Amazingly, I was contacted by a Comcast person in less than a minute. The lady I spoke with confirmed that we were not connected at the street and set up a service call to do that. She said we did not need to be there since the cable was just being connected at the street. She also said that she would call on the following Monday to see if everything was OK.

When I got home, the Amazon purchased modem would not connect. Per diagnostic lights, it had a failure. I tried resetting but with no luck. I decided to send it back and try my luck at Fry’s. On Saturday on the way to Fry’s I dropped the modem off at the nearby Staples. Within an hour of taking the Amazon return to Staples, I had a complete refund from Amazon in my checking account. Sadly, the modem purchased at Fry’s would connect but at very slow speeds; not anywhere near those promised by Comcast.

On Monday, true to her word, the lady from Comcast called. I told her the connection was not working like it should. She sent a service tech to my home at no charge. Per our discussion, the tech called me at work and I met him at the house. He crimped new connectors on the cable at each junction point from the street to my modem and used a signal tester on the line. Inside the house, he used his own modem which test at 250 Mb per second and then attached mine. After a reboot, it connected at just over 100 MB per second.

Subsequent, to installation, I’ve had to reboot the modem once to get my Android phone to connect. I also found that the slow connection to the back of my house was due to a faulty cable from the modem to the Cat 6 cable going to my hub. (Proof that not all store bought cables are to be trusted.)

Oh, Comcast is charging me $39.99 for the first year with no extra taxes attached. So far, it’s a much better deal than Frontier. Lastly, on my final bill from Frontier, they are showing a credit even after shutting me down a month early; so much for early termination.

Posted by william on 06/01 at 10:29 AM
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