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Religion, Politics, & Culture: Defined and Explained


Monday, February 19, 2018

Limits of the Digital Age

I wish to begin this discussion today with two propositions:

Rush Limbaugh says that for most people, history begins when you are born. In a sense that is true because you remember best what you experienced.

We have also been admonished that those that don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

My subject today touches on both propositions.


In recent times, the Internet has revolutionized the availability of information; however, I don’t mean this in the way you think I do. We have made everything transient and disposable. One such casualty is “Truth”. Our culture often speaks of “what is true for you” as opposed to “Truth” as an objective, absolute standard. Liberals have their “truth” and conservatives have theirs, too. Most of the time the intersection of the facts in any discussion is tangential to the discussion and not central to it. We talk past each other not to each other. Look at the news of the day and how CCN or the old gray lady covers it as opposed to Fox or World Net Daily or Breitbart. How do folks witness the same events and come-up with this stuff?

I love the ease of finding things on the Internet but try finding the same event or article six months or a year later. There is a good chance the link (URL) is gone or broken. It could be moved, purged, or the website is just gone. If you are lucky, the article might be behind a pay firewall—and thus out of reach anyway.


Example: Rita Crundwell “The Crooked Comptroller: Poster Child for Segregating Duties”
I took a college level class a few years ago and we had to read an article about a particular person that was written by a particular author. The subject was business ethics. The required article was owned by a company that wanted $595 for a membership just to access its contents. I wrote the company and they made an exception and allowed me to get a copy to write my report. Ironically the instructor had no copy of the article and didn’t seem to know that it costs money just to get it.


I dislike the current practice of allowing school children to compose reports solely from “research” conducted on the Internet. We all know that search engines put their thumbs on the scales when it comes to getting results. This can be to promote a particular political viewpoint or to promote one advertiser over another. Furthermore, research on the Internet only goes back for a few years. The farther back you go, the less you will find. Much prior to the “digital age” is unavailable.


Another factor that affects search results is that companies and people are employed to “scrub” the internet of unfavorable reports. This is particularly true of politicians and large companies and institutions. Here are two examples. 

The University of California at Davis tried to scrub any references to an on campus protest in which students were maced by campus police. They were “busted” doing this and mercilessly raked over the coals by local media. The story eventually went national and lives on in infamy on Wikipedia.

Local Coverage: Sacramento Bee newspaper
UC Davis spent thousands to scrub pepper-spray references from Internet

National: CNET News
UC Davis spent $175K to hide pepper spray cop on Google, says report

Living in Infamy on Wikipedia
UC Davis pepper spray incident


While on Elk Grove’s City Council, Jim Cooper, ran for Sacramento County Sheriff. At the time, the department was facing budget cuts and layoffs. Candidate Cooper said that his solution would be to make the department more financially stable by the wide scale use of traffic cameras to fund the department. (Cooper by his statements admits that cameras are not about safety but revenue.) I heard Cooper say this while I was attending a candidate forum but I dare you to find a written report of his comments via an Internet search.


The Internet has other limitations as well. Ever buy music on Apple or Amazon or some other service? Here’s what you are missing.

• Who wrote the song?
• Who produced it?
• Who are the musicians?
• What inspired the artist to record it?
• Where was the track recorded?
• When was it recorded?

All this and more was once common on the jacket of a vinyl record and less so on a compact disk. Now you get no context to the song.


Electronic documents such as Adobe PDF files and EBooks are another area of concern when limitations of the digital age are concerned. With the click of a mouse or push of a remote button, these documents can be disabled in their entirety or edited without any user input. Paper books are better for sharing anyway. The thought that Amazon can edit, disable, or delete any book that you’ve purchased from them should give you some cause for concern. If someone modified or disabled, the PDF file extension then anything in that format would become unreadable. If you drill down into the licensing agreement, you will find that you really don’t own the software, music, or book that you think that you purchased. No, in reality you have only bought a use license and ownership is actually retained by some faceless corporation not you. The digital age has its benefits but don’t overlook the limitations as well.

It doesn’t take an EMP weapon from North Korea to end the “information age” as we know it. Buyer beware. Clearly I like the digital age but I like parts of the “old school” ways as well. In my mind physical media is always better.


Lastly, for your reading and amusement I present a technology called B.O.O.K. Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge.

BOOK is a revolutionary technological breakthrough: no wires, no electric currents, no batteries.  Nothing to be connected or switched on.  So easy to use, even a child can operate it!  Compact, portable, it can be used anywhere—even on a beach, yards from a power point.  Yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc!  Here’s how it works:

BOOK is constructed of literally hundreds of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information.  The pages are locked together with a custom fit device (a “binder”) which maintains each sheet in its correct sequence.

Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows the manufacturer to utilize BOTH sides of each sheet, thus doubling information density while cutting costs.  Sheets are scanned optically, registering information directly to the brain—the most efficient interface yet developed!

Read the full description of B.O.O.K.

Posted by william on 02/19 at 01:51 PM
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Friday, February 09, 2018

Thoughts on California’s Housing Shortage

Happy Friday!

I’m just wondering what things are like in your corner of the world? Here in the shadow of California’s capitol, I keep hearing how great the economy is but I think its wishful thinking. Prices of food and energy keep going up due exclusively to government policies. In my town, Elk Grove, the city council is spending money faster than a drunken Congressman with a new girlfriend.

The only fault here that any politician will admit is a housing shortage. What shortage? The only thing in short supply is affordable housing. Ten years ago, at the peak of the housing boom, it cost about $100,000 per lot just to get a building permit. Wages, taxes, and utilities cost much more than ten years ago, but real estate prices in my area have never recovered their peak values of the last decade.

Nevertheless, single people that I know at work are paying apartment rental that is double what my monthly mortgage is costing me. What is worse is that there is plenty of housing available. I have three empty homes in my neighborhood that are within a two minute walk of my driveway. Two of the three are not even listed as being for sale. Yep, they are just sitting there. One has been empty for about two years and another for six months, and the third for about four months. Another family on my street is closing up shop and heading out of state later this year. If this is a common occurrence then things are worse than I imagine.

I fear that by the time Gavin Newsom and the gang in the “bill mill” are done with this state, we will be comparing ourselves to Haiti or Puerto Rico. That’s when you know that California has achieved its goal of being the worker’s paradise that we have been promised.  Oh, and then government will have created affordable housing to boot. Until then, buckle-up.

Posted by william on 02/09 at 03:04 PM
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Thursday, February 08, 2018

Comments On Learning How To Think Straight

Bob Dylan released a track on his Grammy winning Slow Train Coming album called Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking but I’m not sure the article below is what he had in mind.


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At first glance you might think this is the prison version of My Fair Lady but we are not talking about which fork to use at the fancy dinner or “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain”. Neither is this a redux of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten where rules such as “don’t hit others” and “share” were the life lessons that folks used to learn.

No, the article below is a target rich environment for an alien way of thinking. We are in fact looking at a religion of self-improvement and behavior modification which yields no improvement in the human heart; thus there is no real moral or ethical basis why the prisoner should change.

Inmates at Corcoran learn how to think straight

By Lt. Edward Sanchez, AA/PIO
California State Prison, Corcoran

Thinking for Change recently congratulated its second graduating class on Facility 3B at California State Prison, Corcoran. The inmates in the class learned social skills such as active listening, apologizing and responding to anger.

The next subject the class learned last fall was, Cognitive Self-Change: paying attention to how their thinking affects their responses, recognizing risky thoughts and behaviors that are likely to get them into trouble and how to identify new and different ways of thinking and acting that will help them avoid conflict.

After practicing these skills, the next subject was Problem Solving: learning to take problems they experience every day, such as conflicts with cell mates, family members and staff and develop a more constructive way of dealing with those difficulties.

Members of the class learned by observing the group leader and one of their own members who had already completed the class demonstrate the specific skills they were learning.

They then identified their own problem situations, worked through the process of identifying potential solutions, chose one and acted it out in front of the class with another inmate.

For Inmate Harris, this was the second time through the class, this time as a teacher’s assistant who helped demonstrate the various skills and worked with some of the other inmates to help them complete assignments in between classes.

“This wasn’t just book learning,” said another inmate. “We actually did what we were learning about.”

“The experience I got out of this class was the most helpful thing I have received in all my years in CDCR,” said another inmate.



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Graduates of Think for Change

Folks let’s face it, the guys in prison are those that are more logically consistent than the rest of us. If Darwin is true—which is what we teach from elementary school on up—then taking what you want and exploiting the weak is proper behavior. Rape, murder, theft, and other “crimes” are just survival of the fittest in action. What these inmates learn the hard way is that society for the most part doesn’t really believe Darwin.


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You see, we want the morality of Christianity—the fruits if you will-without the consequences of the reality of God. We latch onto Darwin to explain our existence apart from God and justify abortion on demand but otherwise we don’t really have much use for him.

Inmates acted like animals (per Darwin and evolutionary theory) and subsequently got caged. Thus the society that caged them is now trying to train them to behave better. Acting according to nature got them in trouble so now somebody decided that the problem was their lack of nurture. Sorry but even with Siegfried and Roy, the animals were still wild, they just acted tame in a controlled setting for short periods of time; their fundamental nature is not changed.


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Siegfried and Roy

Likewise, this prison program cannot effect the type of change that these men really need, only the Gospel of Christ can have lasting change. Why? Because when God saves us, he gives us a new heart, a new nature, His nature.

From a biblical point of view, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation can’t really do either correct or rehabilitate. God is in the business or redeeming people from their sins. (Imprisonment is not a biblical punishment anyway.)

When the government gets into the business of trying to redeem people, they have left their God given sphere of responsibility and strayed beyond their mandate. These eight guys were able to get out of their cells and interact with others but sadly they were not given the antidote to their real problem just a placebo.

Posted by william on 02/08 at 09:16 AM
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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Sacramento Gets Another Area Code

Back when I was a kid, most of northern California was in the 916 area code. In 1997, the area code was split so that the metro Sacramento area remained 916 and the outlying areas became 530. Starting in the next few days (February 10th), a new area code will be overlaid on top of the area currently served by 916. Thus folks in Sacramento will be required to dial both area code and seven digit number—even for local calls. The new area code is 279.


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Further Reading

California Public Utilities Commission: 916 Area Code

Area codes 916 and 279

Posted by william on 02/06 at 07:51 AM
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Monday, February 05, 2018

Washington Post Warns about California

For those that haven’t believed me or aren’t paying attention (Rush’s low information voters), even the east coast Liberals see the trend.

Think California politics is on the far-left fringe? Just wait for the next elections

SACRAMENTO — For those who think California politics is on the far-left fringe of the national spectrum, stand by. The next election season, already well underway here, will showcase a younger generation of Democrats that is more liberal and personally invested in standing up to President Trump’s Washington than those leaving office.

Here in the self-labeled “state of resistance,” the political debate is being pushed further left without any sign of a Republican renaissance to serve as a check on spending and social policy ambitions. Even some Republicans are concerned about the departure of Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who proved to be fiscally cautious after inheriting a state seven years ago in deep recession.

Normally I don’t recommend the Post as reading material, but this is worth a look.

 

Posted by william on 02/05 at 07:16 AM
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Friday, February 02, 2018

San Francisco DA Gives Middle Finger to Law Abiding Americans

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By “X” the man with no name

Welcome back loyal readers, sorry for the long hiatus but I was convinced of a CRA led Coup-de-tat to take over the Presidency of this country so I had to batten down the hatches and look for shelter.  Well, IM BACK! And suffice to say my rage is now firmly directed at the DA of San Francisco County, one George Gascon, who will now be referred to as George Gascan.  Gascan the DA that “prosecuted” and I’m using that term very loosely; Jose Zarate, the illegal 5 times deported, 7 time convicted felon, and still on probation in Texas at the time of murdering Kate Steinle.  Gascan lost the case on all serious charges, thankfully CRA hated, President Donald J Trump is having his justice department charge him federally.  It is of the opinion of William and X that Gascan never wanted to try, charge or convict Zarate, thus a half assed trial occurred, with Zarate being only found guilty of 1 lesser charge.  This blog post is not to focus on Zarate.  It will focus on the policies recently enacted by the chief law enforcement officer in San Francisco County, George Gascan.

Gascan, for those of you in the CRA, or related by blood or incest to Aaron Park, has extreme amounts of voter given power.  For example, run a red light or get caught speeding, a police officer gives you a ticket, and you will pay a hefty fine in court.  Gascan on the other hand, has latitude to overrule police officers, and sheriff deputies.  Kill someone in cold blood, instead of murder 1, you could get manslaughter charges, charges can be enhanced or dropped all together.  I am of the belief power of law enforcement should be given to 1 elected partisan, and Gascan’s next move will prove my point.

On Tuesday, while the unwashed masses were watching President Trump give his brilliant State of the Union speech, Gascan issued an edict saying all prior marijuana convictions will be set aside if they are misdemeanors, and reclassified if they are felonies.  Setting a conviction aside means removing it and sealing it from their record.  Reclassifying a felony as a misdemeanor is far more troubling in my eyes.  With my background in Human Resources I can tell you, if you had a misdemeanor in your background, you check letters of recommendation and you could hire the person in some circumstances, a felony was the electric third rail and was never even considered.  This changes everything, because there is no way to tell if the misdemeanor was a reclassified felony, and for what the felony was for.  Example, felony narcotic trafficking, could be reclassified as misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.  See how Gascan is making a serious crime look very petty?  Word to the wise, a felony conviction almost always carries significant jail time, now these crimes are being labeled as not serious.

I would not have as big of a concern if Gascan implemented this retroactively to when the initiative qualified for the ballot (recently passed in November) but he is going back all the way to 1975!  Circa the time the war on drugs was being fought.  This is why I have a strong dislike for executive type orders, it takes one do-gooder like Gascan to wipe records clean and create a new liberal voter universe.  Orders like these should be voted on by the people, not enacted by an elected partisan hack looking for higher office down the road.  Think about it, if you’re Gascan, you are instantly a hero to the anti-police, pro-drug, pro-crime liberal base of the party.  Looks great on your resume if you desire to be Governor, or Mayor, or Supervisor in the near future. 

However the future of your state/city will look bleak.  The downside about San Francisco is what was a flourishing nice tourist mecca, has turned into a crime and filth ridden skid mark on the underpants of society.  Seriously, would you go visit San Francisco?  Does it even matter if during the day or at night?  San Francisco is great if you are into crime, drugs, prostitution, the smell of human waste and urine, and apparently now anarchy is allowed.  Remember it’s a sanctuary city now.

Now thanks to George Gascan in addition to prop 47 letting criminals out of jail early and de-criminalizing certain crimes, now we are retroactively removing convictions from people’s criminal records. 

Til next time,

X

PS if you’re a member of the CRA you shouldn’t like Gascan, but I heard he might be against smart meters so I guess there is that.

Editor’s Note: When applying for employment with the State of California (STD Form 678), all questions related to criminal convictions have been purged from the job application form.
Question 10 used to read: “Have you ever been convicted by any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?
Question 11 used to read: “Have you ever been convicted by any court of a felony?

Also in the last few weeks, any information on salary history has been forbidden on the form. It has been replaced with the words, “No Longer Required”.

Posted by william on 02/02 at 08:59 PM
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Thursday, February 01, 2018

Trump After One Year

Donald Trump is working wonders in Washington DC. People in Congress are “self-deporting” as Trump has forced them into the spotlight and begun to expect results from them. Trump gets Liberals (and some Conservatives) all upset about what he says on Twitter—as if it mattered—when it’s really a distraction to let him accomplish things behind the scenes. Trump is rightly being compared to Ronald Reagan. Please understand that I love Reagan but Trump may far exceed his accomplishments.

Following the State of the Union speech, I heard some “watercooler talk” at work about what Liberal people thought. They don’t understand that Trump is a negotiator. Much of what he asked for was his opening position to negotiate. Democrats give some ground. Trump gives ground, and they meet in the middle with each side getting some of what they want. This makes senses to a guy who once authored a book called “The Art of the Deal” however, in Washington, the definition of bipartisan is when Republicans capitulate and agree with the Democrats without getting anything in return.

The best thing about Trump as President is that nobody under age 50 has ever seem what a vibrant economy is capable of doing when government gets out of the way. This epiphany for the American people is the weapon the will transform the American electorate. When Trump succeeds, America succeeds.

When I was young, the difference between a politician and a statesman was that a politician was only interested in the next election, a statesman in the next generation. Today, the difference could be defined as a statesman will pay for something with existing dollars while a politician will pay for it with your grandchildren’s economic freedom.

If you want further reading on Trump, start with these articles:

Here’s How Many Times Trump Said ‘I’ in His First SOTU Address… Compare That with Obama’s

Lone Democratic Senator Who Applauded Trump’s Speech: ‘Just to Sit There and Frown Is Not Going to Fix Anything’

Rep. Trey Gowdy announced Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the year, becoming the ninth Republican chairman of a congressional committee to decide to leave Congress at the end of this session.

Trey Gowdy Is Leaving Politics

Tray, please take Paul Ryan with you.

 

 

 

 

Posted by william on 02/01 at 08:06 AM
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